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Political Theology of Islamicate Sovereignty: The Legal Form, Concept, and Signatures of a Just Polity

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Year: 2017
COI code: ICJE01_104
Paper Language: English

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Authors Political Theology of Islamicate Sovereignty: The Legal Form, Concept, and Signatures of a Just Polity

Naveen Kanalu Ramamurthy - Phd student of South Asian History at the University of California


The Political philosopher, Leo Strauss distinguishes the the sacra doctrina ofthe Islamic way of life from the Christian idea of faith on the basis of fiqh or thescience of law as the essence of life immanent to the created world. Inunderstanding Islamic ethical practices and their political meaning for living ina just polity, how do we explain the profound role played by legal reasoning asthe central mechanism for being-together of humans How does sha ri ’aregulate activities immanent to the created world such as politics, economics, andgovernance What values of justice originate from such a reasoning from theperspective of political How does the centrality of fiqh , the jurisprudential natureof Islamic belief translate into a world of political vision for the possibility of ajust future In my proposed paper, I argue that we can read premodern textsfrom Persianate Mughal India such as Akhlāq or political ethics as a discourse,which produces ideas of justice to complement the ideal of the implementationof sha ri ’a to develop a vision of madīnah or polity that is harmonious, just,and good. Re- reading works such as Akhlāq-i muhsinī and Akhlāq-i ‘ālam ārāfrom the Mughal seventeenth century, I wish to ask what notions of sovereigntyare generated in the idea that the sovereign must be devoted to tadbīr or governance of economic and political life. In my paper, I wish to argue for thesustained meaning of these political-ethical gestures in understanding therelation between law as the framework of civic organization, and the acceptanceof the sāhib-i nāmūs or divine law-giver as the transcendental condition for theexistence of a just society, gives way to a conception of sovereignty underthe guidance of sha r i’a . How can these premodern ideas help us understandthe importance of law in general as a substitute to authority, power, anddomination as the markers of sovereignty


Political ethics, legal reasoning, just polity, sharia, fiqh, Mughal period

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COI code: ICJE01_104

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Kanalu Ramamurthy, Naveen, 2017, Political Theology of Islamicate Sovereignty: The Legal Form, Concept, and Signatures of a Just Polity, Internationa Confeence on Justice and Ethics, مشهد, دانشگاه فردوسي مشهد, the text, wherever referred to or an achievement of this article is mentioned, after mentioning the article, inside the parental, the following specifications are written.
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