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Liberalism and Islam: Practical Reconciliation between the Liberal State and Shiite Muslims

This book examines the possibility of reconciliation between liberalism and Shiite Islam. By examining two key liberal theories, this book shows that secular liberalism is not justifiable in the view of Shiite Islamic thought.

This book examines the relationship between Islamic thought and liberal theory, as well as the relationship between a liberal state and its Muslim citizens. Put another way, this book intends to explore the extent to which contemporary political liberalism has more successfully accommodated religious people through softening the secularity of liberalism than traditional comprehensive liberalism. This task is undertaken by critically examining two key theories of liberalism: that of John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) as one of the clearest representative of traditional comprehensive liberalism, which belongs to the “Enlightenment Project,” and that of John Rawls (1921–2002) as a powerful representative of contemporary political liberalism, which belongs to the “Reformation Project.” To illuminate the degree to which the secularity of liberalism has been softened, Shiite Islam is adopted as a test case.

What distinguishes Mill’s liberal theory for this study lies in the general viewpoint, as John Gray suggests, that “if anyone is a liberal, it is surely John Stuart Mill.” Furthermore, Mill occupies a unique place in the history of philosophy by writing about many branches of knowledge such as logic, philosophy of science, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, economics, psychology, religion, education, literature, history, political theory, social philosophy, and on current public affairs. However, as J. B. Schneewind and Bertrand Russell suggest, Mill was not noticeably as original a theorist as Descartes or Hume, despite his undeniable infl uences on all fi elds mentioned above.

About the Author

Hamid Hadji Haidar is an Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Political Science, School of Public Policy, UCL.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Liberalism and Islam: Practical Reconciliation between the Liberal State and Shiite Muslims

Author: Hamid Hadji Haidar

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

 Language: English

Length: 254 pages

ISBN:  978-0-230-61054-5

Pub. Date:  2008

Liberalism and Islam Practical Reconciliation between the Liberal State and Shiite Muslims

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