Oppgaven drøfter den muslimske reformtenkeren Abdullahi an-Na'ims model for en sekulær stat, slik den foreligger i hans bok Islam and the secular state (2008). Her hevder an-Na'im at bare i en sekulær stat kan full religionsfrihet og respekt for menneskerettigheter forenes. Et underliggende tema for oppgaven er i hvilken grad religion skal kunne påvirke politikk og lovgivning i sekulære stater.
Forfatteren argumenterer for at an-Na'ims modell er styrt av visse forestillinger om hva det vil å være religiøs i moderne samfunn. På et analytisk nivå oppstår spenninger mellom disse forestillingene som truer modellens bærekraft. Spesielt gjør modellen seg avhengig av støtte fra selv-refleksive religiøse aktører i sivilsfæren, og den er sårbar for opphopning av religiøs diskurs i offentlig debatt. Dette gjør modellen mindre attraktiv som alternativ til en islamsk stat styrt etter sharia.
ABSTRACTThe topic for this thesis is the possible public role of religion in a secular state. It deals with the plea for the establishment of such a state in Muslim societies made by Abdullahi Ahmed an-Na‘im, a Sudanese-born Islamic reformist, professor of law and human rights advocate. An-Na‘im has devoted much of his work to the question of how respect for human rights and the rule of law can be aligned with the right to religious freedom, especially for Muslims. Increasingly, he has held that these goals can only be reached within a secular state. His widely acclaimed book Islam and the secular state (2008) outlines a model for such a state.
The present thesis discusses an-Na‘im’s secular state model in light of his refutation of an Islamic state based on shari‘a as positive law. It argues that an-Na‘im’s secular state model is determined by different notions of what it means for adherents to be religious, that is, by notions of religiosity. Four such notions are identified: Of religiosity as a primary source of motivation; as conviction; as agency; and as free and autonomous. On an analytical level, tensions arise between these notions that threaten to undermine the secular state model itself, it is argued. In particular, the model depends heavily on support from conscious and motivated religious actors in civil society. It is also vulnerable to an overload of religious arguments in public debate. As a result, barriers are created in the model between citizens and the political state institutions. Furthermore, the model is weakened vis-à-vis Islamic state models on an argumentative level.
In the course of discussion, the influence on an-Na‘im’s model by the thought of John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas is highlighted. The discussion also draws on other theoretical and empirical studies of secularism, secularisation and Islamic law. It is suggested that future research of Islamic reformism along similar conceptual lines could prove fruitful.