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date: 23 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the issue of Islamic reform, distinguishing between the application of Islamic law in general and its application as the basis of a legally monistic, homogenizing nation-state. It first discusses a fundamental feature of the nation-state—“legal centralism” or “legal monism.” This is then compared to the basic thrust of the premodern Muslim state, highlighting the extent to which the tendency toward legal homogenization among modern Muslims is more indebted to modern than premodern history. Then, the article looks at the problems associated with legal monism in a modern majority Muslim state, namely Egypt, with specific focus on religious minorities and their status in the articulations of advocates of the so-called Islamic State. The article concludes by discussing the problem of secularism as a mode of modern Muslim reform.

Keywords: Islamic reform, Islamic law, nation-state, legal centralism, legal monism, legal homogenization, Egypt, secularism, Islamic State

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