From exegesis to stem cells, from governance to finance: Islamic norms in a positivist way

During the 1990s, in Egypt, Professor Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd was prosecuted by a group of attorneys and condemned by two courts of the Egyptian national judicial system to be divorced from his wife based on a Civil Code provision forbidding a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man and a literalist reading of the Qur’an which his writings had allegedly breached. In 2021, in Algeria, another university professor, Saïd Djabelkhir, was prosecuted, by attorneys again, and condemned, by a judge of the Algerian national judiciary, based on a Penal Code provision condemning offenses against the teachings of Islam and a non-critical understanding of Islam transforming it into a non-equivocal doctrinal object. Despite nearly thirty years separating the two trials, the same mix of national institutions, legal professions, statutory provisions, reifying reading of religious scriptures, and political stakes – interpreting the law opens the participation in power games – testifies to the deep upheaval of both Islam and law. Nowadays, the law, including the law referring to Islam, is defined by the states, their mostly codified statutes, their courts’ case-law, and their personnel, which is trained in positive law, including positive Islamic law, and not in religious sciences, and deals with legal rules accordingly.

Baudouin Dupret, Directeur de recherche au CNRS, Sciences Po Bordeaux

This article is republished from  fifteeneightyfour. Read the original article.