Sohail Hashmi

Sohail Hashmi is Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation at Mount Holyoke College.

Islam and Constitutionalism

Tunisia's Constitutional Assembly, November 2011

The Arab Spring has ushered in a new round of constitution making in Arab states, but will it also bring a new era of constitutionalism? Virtually all of the forty-four or so Muslim-majority states have embraced the idea that a constitution is an essential feature of modern governance. Nearly all have promulgated formal constitutions, and most began drafting a constitution as one of their first tasks immediately after independence. Yet, as we all know, it is one thing to promulgate a constitution and quite another to inculcate constitutionalism and to establish a constitutional system of government.  The history of constitutionalism…

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The Formidable Philosophical Obstacles to Islamic Constitutionalism

Sohail Hashmi makes what seems to be a very reasonable case for the compatibility of Islam and constitutional government, and for the role of a reformed sharia as the foundation for the development of constitutionalism today.  However, his case founders upon his not having given sufficient weight to the obstacles to this development, though his…

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Muslim States and the Protection of Fundamental Rights

In his essay, “Islam and Constitutionalism,” Sohail H. Hashmi boldly confronts a difficult question: Are Islam and constitutionalism compatible? On his account, a functioning constitutional system has three essential features: (1) limited and accountable government; (2) adherence to the rule of law; and (3) protection of fundamental rights. While virtually all majority-Muslim states have embraced…

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Islamic Constitutionalism and Human Flourishing

I’m deeply grateful for Professor Hashmi’s lead essay and would recommend it to anyone interested in the intellectual history of Islam or curious about the distinctions between a modern Islamic view of the relationship between government and religion and the modern, dominant view of the Christian and post-Christian West.  It is not, in fact, my…

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