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Title: Ḥisba and Maṣlaḥa as political thought : Fadlallah and Khomeini compared
Author: Nachman, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 0259
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This dissertation explores how ethical and political concepts inform and bolster theories of sovereignty in modern Islamic political thought. Commanding right and forbidding wrong, as an ethical-social concept, and maṣlaḥa, as a political concept, are intimately connected in Muslim formulations of state and good governance in the modern period. In other words, when mobilised together, the two constitute a comprehensive claim to sovereignty; where commanding right and forbidding wrong addresses social ethics related to sound public and private conduct, maṣlaḥa is used for legal decisions and national interest. Placing Ayatullah Muḥammad Ḥusayn Faḍlallah (d. 2010) in conversation with Ayatullah Rūḥallah Mūsavī Khumaynī (d. 1989) demonstrates most clearly the spectrum of debate on these concepts as they relate to sovereignty in Shi'i political thought. On the one hand, Fadlallah developed his ideas on sovereignty primarily within the precarious political environment during and after Lebanon's Civil War, when a strong centralised state was absent, and in which he promoted a politically integrous and ethically just community. Khomeini, on the other hand, wrote from within a centralised and secular monarchy, and subsequently from exile, to promote an Islamic state with juridical rule. This work examines how both scholars linked commanding right and forbidding wrong with maṣlaḥa to themes of law, the public-private spheres, gender, and state. Doing so, I demonstrate how and why these two concepts are appealing for contemporary Islamic politics and in which ways they are effective weapons for politics and sovereign claims.
Supervisor: Devji, Faisal ; Herzig, Edmund Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of the Middle East