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Human Rights and Reformist Islam$
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Mohsen Kadivar

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474449304

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474449304.001.0001

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An Introduction to the Public and Private Debate in Islamic Culture

An Introduction to the Public and Private Debate in Islamic Culture

(p.48) 3 An Introduction to the Public and Private Debate in Islamic Culture1
Human Rights and Reformist Islam

Mohsen Kadivar

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter first presents a brief explanation about the private and the public before establishing the fundamental principle of the matter. Using two of the criteria taken by private definition as the basis of discussion, the chapter will then consider the following two axes: the prohibition against prying and the right to freedom in action. Thereafter, the chapter will consider important issues pertaining to the private sphere, such as al-amr bi al-ma‘ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar (enjoining the proper and forbidding the improper), the office of accountability (da’irat al-hisbah) and the limits of the authority of an Islamic government. Finally, the chapter will conclude with a recommendation for raising religious conscience. ‘Enjoining the proper and forbidding the improper’ is essentially the duty of people versus the state and not vice versa. ‘The office of accountability’ was a medieval institution based on a restricted and incomplete understanding of this duty. Hisbah was part of an Islamic state or theocracy, on the one hand, and a legal understanding of shari‘a, on the other – both of which are problematic. The time of hisbah is over.

Keywords:   Islamic ethics and law, Islamic law (fiqh), Shari’a, Public sphere, Private sphere, Enjoining the proper and forbidding the improper, (al-amr bi al-ma‘ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar), Office of accountability (hisbah), Islamic state/theocracy

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