• The Islamic Rational State: The Arab Islamists' New Politico-Legal Discourses of a Post-Caliphate Order

      Lucas, Scott; Ould Meiloud, Ahmed; Lucas, Scott; Noorani, Yaseen; Park, Thomas; Nassar, Maha (The University of Arizona., 2017)
      The future of political Islam, especially in respect to its response to the contemporary salient liberal values, has attracted immense scholarly interest. Some scholars expect a perpetual conflict because of the inherent 'illiberalism' of Islam; while others project an imminent post-Islamist turn, as liberal politics takes hold in Muslim societies. Examining the discourses of Arab Islamists, my dissertation points to a different development. Based on a comprehensive textual analysis of the writings of five contemporary Arab Islamists, projected against a survey of a century of Arab Islamic juridico-political thought—including three decades of engagement with democracy—I argue that these Islamists have formulated coherent (in foro interno) foundations for an Islamic rational state. These foundations, which reflect neither an abandonment of all traditional Islamist aims nor a neglect of divine texts, rest on a reconfiguration of Islamic legal theory, in which classical methods of textual analysis are discarded in favor of a systematic rational exploration of the Lawgiver's aims (maqasid). This novel hermeneutics warranted the exclusion of all past Islamic juridico-political frames (including the early Islamic caliphate) and their rationalizations as binding. Thus, unencumbered by legal precedents, these Islamists conceptualize the political sphere as anthropocentric and therefore open to reasonable overlapping consensus.