Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 1
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2023
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

State recognition of Islam in Muslim countries invites fierce debate from scholars and politicians alike, some of whom assume an inherent conflict between Islam and liberal democracy. Analyzing case studies and empirical data from several Muslim-majority countries, Ahmed and Abbasi find, counterintuitively, that in many Muslim countries, constitutional recognition of Islam often occurs during moments of democratization. Indeed, the insertion of Islam in a constitution is frequently accompanied by an expansion, not a reduction, in constitutional human rights, with case law from higher courts in Egypt and Pakistan demonstrating that potential tensions between the constitutional pursuit of human rights, liberal democracy and Islam are capable of judicial resolution. The authors also argue that colonial history was pivotal in determining whether a country adopted the constitutional path of Islam or secularism partly explaining why Islam in constitutional politics survived and became more prevalent in Muslim countries that were colonized by the British, and not those colonized by the French or Soviets.


‘In this book, Ahmed and Abbasi present a systematic argument and a powerful empirical lens to study the interface of religion, law, and politics in the Muslim world. Democracy under God presents an original and illuminating perspective on Islamic constitutionalism, which is supported by multi-disciplinary perspectives and a rich array of historical and contemporary empirical cases ranging from the Ottoman Empire to West Africa and Pakistan. This is a provocative and insightful book that will be of interest to a wide audience.'

Adeel Malik - University of Oxford

‘In this wide-ranging book, Ahmed and Abbasi closely analyse the role of religious faith in the crafting of constitutions of diverse Muslim-majority countries. Taking nothing for granted while exploring the critical tension between human rights and Islam, the authors provide a profound insightful take that compels readers to question their assumptions. As a broad comparative study, the book is essential reading for scholars of law and religion, legal historians and constitutional law.’

Nurfadzilah Yahaya - Yale University

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.