Hallaq’s argument that Islamic state is essentially impracticable hold’s some truth irrespective of the criticisms put forth by Abu-Odeh and March. Hallaq’s critiques believe that as long as God is the sovereign rule, the church and the Islam should not create any distinctions.
The argument by Hallaq (2014:1 -10) is that the “Islamic State” based on any standard explanation of what a contemporary state represents is both impractical and contradictory. Hallaq unveils that for approximately twelve centuries, the Muslims had used ‘Sharia” as a tool for governing their moral and legal system. Indeed, through the ‘Sharia” the Muslim region had become a well-organized society. However, during the 19th century, the socioeconomic and political system was dismantled at the hands of the European colonialists. However, Hallaq does not imply that the Muslim region was completed dismantled or whether the Muslims were barred from using Sharia as their moral law. But, it is generally affirmed that while in the pre-modern times the Sharia was perceived as a complete legal and moral framework following the rise of the nation-state, it has been weakened and ineptly isolated from its tradition. Hallaq believes that the modern Muslims have a desire of bringing back some sharia regulations. To achieve this, they will have to merge ontological and deontological facts. Regarding the ontological fact, it is rather impossible to avoid the modern statehood and the other deontological fact is the need to bring back sharia governance.
But, Hallaq argues that if the society is to bring back the recent past as a form of governance, there is absolute no reason for optimism. Hallaq cites the combats of Islamists in the various regions such as Egypt and Pakistan, the collapse of the Iranian Revolution and the contemporary iterations of the Muslim Brotherhood as ill-advised efforts to reconcile the ontological and deontological facts. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood runs a political program where they maintain that their no contradiction between the nation-state and Islamic Sharia. But, according to Hallaq there exist an inherent inconsistency and most of the contradictions emanate from what Hallaq refers to as moral predicament of modernity. Islamic governance which according to Hallaq contradicts with what is known as state in the current times vests on the moral, legal, political, social and metaphysical underpinnings that are considerably diverse from those sustaining the contemporary state. In Islam, the Community also refereed as Umma is often endowed with the role of displacing the nation of the modern state. However, the same sharia governs the community. In describing the aspect of the modern state, Hallaq believes in rational bureaucracy which allows reform, alteration, or establishment and elimination of the current order and which calls for equality between citizens and statesmen.
However, some of the Hallaq’s critiques, such as, Abu-Odeh and March seem to support some of his arguments as well disregard others. According to Abu-odeh, Islamic world rejects the separation of Sharia from the societal norms, in which the political structure is restricted to the executive powers of the rotating dynasty. The role of the leaders is to implement tax and setup troops. In the Muslim world, an individual Muslim lives according to the doctrines of the Sharia law, which contradicts with the Modern civilization whose life is dictated by the State. In the same vein, March critique’s the argument by Hallaq by claiming that the latter seems to disregard the historical wars that existed between Ulama and the leadership of the Islamic States. March asserts that there exists a wide controversy between the Islamic law and the laws of the state (Abu-Odeh 234-237).
In summation, Hallaq’s argument that the Islamic state is essentially is essentially impossible bears some truth in it. The corrective and authoritarian technologies used in the Modern states contradict with Islamism.
Abu-Odeh, Lama. “Who Cares About Islamic Law?” Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 2017.
Hallaq, Wael B. The Impossible State – Islam, Politics and Modernity’s Modernity’s Moral Predicament Columbia University Press 2014