Noah Feldman on BookTV

The Link. Discussing his new book The Rise and Fall of the Islamic State. I’ve discussed Feldman’s work before (here for example).

This book follows on his previous (and recommended) work: After Jihad. Feldman is one of the principal theorists to help translate for the West the constitutions of both Iraq and Afghanistan. What Feldman is calling a modern version of sharia as rule of law.

There is a great deal that could be said about this talk/book. I’ll be breaking down in some future posts, but I want to highlight the historical time line Feldman provides.

Stage 1: Classical Age of Islam.
–The rise of Islamic Law (Hadith, the Schools of Jurisprudence) and the Balance Between the Ulema (The Scholars) and the Monarchs.

Stage 2: Colonial Era
–The Ottoman Empire seeks the codification of the law (as opposed to in Stage 1 as oral tradition based on the learning of the scholars/moral authority) and creates then disbands a parliament as a means of enacting the codified rule of law.
–Then the destruction of the clerical class sped up by the colonials who then install puppet regimes throughout the Muslim world who are no longer checked in their power once the colonials depart.

Stage 3: The Current Era
–The move to re-introduce sharia as a check (rule of law) on autocrats/dictators as un-Islamic figures. This to be done through parliaments/judiciaries and not a return to the ulema.  But started under the auspices of two foreign Western occupations (Iraq, Afghanistan) and the inevitable insurgencies.  i.e. Not the best of circumstances to try out this vision.

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