Between Realism and Resistance: Shi'I Islam and the Contemporary Liberal State
Journal of Islamic Law and Culture 11, 107-120, 2009
14 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2015 Last revised: 26 Feb 2016
Date Written: May 3, 2009
On the question of commitment to the liberal state, Shi'i doctrine, which can be gleaned from the voluminous works of modern Grand Ayatollahs, can be ambiguous. Nevertheless, some forms of what might be dubbed orthodox Shiism appear more compatible with modern notions of liberalism than others. 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. Nevertheless, the association of liberalism with Western thought at a time when so much of the global Muslim community, Sunni or Shi'i, is deeply hostile to the West and its ideas creates a substantial obstacle to its broader adoption.
Keywords: Islam, liberalism, Shi'ism, Shi'i politics, Shi'i political philosophy, Islamic law, Islamic political philosophy, Islamic politics
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