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Between Realism and Resistance: Shiʿi Islam and the Contemporary Liberal State

This Article divides modern Shi’i thought into four categories and concludes as a general matter that at least three of those categories appear possibly compatible with liberalism, and a fourth almost appears to recommend liberalism as a preferred form of political order.

On the question of commitment to the nonliberal state, Shiʿi doctrine, which can best be gleaned from the voluminous works of modern Grand Ayatollahs, can be ambiguous. Nevertheless, some forms of what might be dubbed orthodox Shiʿism appear more compatible with modern notions of liberalism than others. This Article divides modern Shiʿi thought on the nation‐state, and the devout believers relationship thereto, into four categories. The Article concludes as a general matter that at least three of those categories appear possibly compatible with liberalism, and a fourth almost appears to recommend liberalism as a preferred form of political order. Nevertheless, the association of liberalism with Western thought at a time when so much of the global Muslim community is deeply hostile to the West and its ideas creates a substantial obstacle to its broader adoption.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Between Realism and Resistance: Shiʿi Islam and the Contemporary Liberal State

Author: Haider Ala Hamoudi

Published in: Journal of Islamic Law and Culture 11, 107-120, 2009

 Language: English

Length: 15 pages

Between Realism and Resistance

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