Chapter

Legislative Authority

Muhammad Khalaf-Allah

in Liberal Islam

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780195116212
Published online November 2007 |
  Legislative Authority

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Muhammad Khalaf-Allah (Egypt, 19161997) first gained notoriety in the early 1950s for his literary analysis of the Qur'an. The purpose of the Qur'an, he argued, was not to record historical facts but to exhort listeners to Islam. A number of Qur'anic scholars took offense at the implication that the Qur'an was not factually complete, and Khalaf-Allah was subjected to scathing criticism in the Egyptian press. 1 His work in the 1970s continued to upset traditionalists and revivalists. In The Qur'an and the State, excerpted here, Khalaf-Allah goes beyond Abd al-Raziq's argument that Islam is compatible with democracy; instead, writes Khalaf-Allah, it lays out the basic tenets of democracy and requires Muslims to work out the implementation. In short, divine revelation does not simply allow democracy; it requires democracy. This is a new and novel idea, which cannot be found outside of Khalaf-Allah's thought, according to one commentator. 2 Chapter 3, Legislative Authority, excerpted here, discusses the revelation of the shura (consultation) system of governance and its importance for secular, parliamentary authority. Khalaf-Allah is not an easy author to follow, in Arabic or English, as he tries to build his argument on sound Qur'anic reasoning. His conclusions, however, are straightforward and bold.

Chapter.  6423 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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