By Amyn B. Sajoo
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Extra resources for A Companion to Muslim Cultures
PL. 9: New heritage: Al-Azhar Park, completed in 2005, serves as an oasis amid the din of Cairo, against a backdrop of modern high-rises as well as mosques and fortifications from the Fatimid, Ayubbid, Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Introduction 15 what is the proper role of the state? Abdullahi An-Naim’s chapter revisits the common understanding of the sharia as an institution embedded in the cultural evolution of Muslim societies, and its relationship with modern constitutions as the framework of the state.
The validity of the results is judged by whether they gather a consensus of Muslims over time. Sharia and the State The authority of state institutions is exercised by individuals who act in their name. Legislation and public policy reflect the views of the governors at a particular time. A decision to punish the consumption of alcohol as a hadd (serious) crime, for example, or banning interest on loans (riba), is a political choice that is informed by what the governors think is in the public interest.
Karim H. Karim calls attention to this ‘anticosmopolitanism’ (and not only among Muslims), of which alQaeda and the Taliban are obvious exemplars with their version of cultural and religious integrity. These impulses, Karim observes, are at odds with the ‘everyday cosmopolitanism’ so typical of the lived reality of Muslims, and rooted in the ‘fundamental openness of din [faith] toward dunya [the world]’ which is Islam’s heritage. Shahzia Sikander is a hakawati of sorts, a Pakistani-American Muslim who tells her stories of modernity through paintings which adapt the Persian miniature in utterly contemporary ways.
A Companion to Muslim Cultures by Amyn B. Sajoo