The State and the Shari’a

If divine guidance is needed, it is for the purpose of setting human life in good order. The purpose is not to control discipline, the two most salient missions of modern law and the modern state that commands it. Rather, in Muslim thinking, it is to live in peace: first, with oneself; second, with and in society; and third, with and in the world. It is to do the right thing, whoever or wherever one is. The state permits and forbids, and when it does the latter, it punishes severely upon infraction. It is not in the least interested in individuals do outside of its spheres of influence and concern. Islamic law, on the other hand, has an all-encompassing interest in human acts. It organizes them into various categories ranging from moral to legal, without however making such distinctions.

Wael B. Hallaq, Sharīʻa: Theory, Practice, Transformations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 84.

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