The projects of Islamist parties rely on the idea that democracy is an Islamic concept, since the Qur’an prescribes consultation as a principle of government

This article was published in Oasis 26. Read the table of contents

Last update: 2022-04-22 09:57:20


Islamist parties came to power in various Muslim countries after the 2011 uprisings and the issue of the relationship between Islam and political freedom has become a concrete one. Indeed, these parties’ projects rely on the idea that democracy is an Islamic concept, since the Qur’an prescribes consultation as a principle of government. However, whereas popular sovereignty is the point of reference for legislation in a liberal democracy, Islamic democracy is founded on the primacy of sharia, which both legislators and rulers must follow.


If one of the distinctive features of the modern world is its affirmation of the human subject’s value, the age-old debate over the relationship between Islam and modernity may, in good part, be traced back to the question of the relationship between Islam and freedom. This is a theme that is once more claiming public attention after the uprisings of 2011 brought Islamist movements to power in many Arab-Muslim countries.


Orientalism has tended to conceptualize this relationship in negative terms, seeing the Islamic tradition as lacking a strong concept of freedom that would be capable of establishing political freedom both theoretically and practically. What Bernard Lewis wrote in his famous The Political Language of Islam is illustrative: “The Islamic terms for ‘free’, until the eighteenth century, had a primarily legal, and occasionally social, significance, and meant one who, according to the law, was a free man and not a slave. Neither term, ‘free’ or ‘slave’, was used in a political context, and the familiar Western use of the terms ‘freedom’ and ‘slavery’ as metaphors for citizen’s rights and oppressive rule is unknown to the language of classical Islamic political discourse. There too, there is much discussion of good and bad government, but the issue at stake is not freedom but justice.”[1]


Changing the terms of the orientalist thesis, the Moroccan historian Abdallah Laroui has written that what the Islamic tradition lacks is not the concept of freedom but the context that makes political freedom (in the modern sense) necessary. When this context presents itself, then political freedom also makes its appearance:


If we analyse the Islamic state as compared with the liberal state – something that everyone does unconsciously – we do indeed observe that it rejects individual freedom as a principle; but if we reinsert it in its historical context, we immediately discover that it controlled only a minimal portion of social life; beyond that, individuals felt and declared themselves to be free. […] The historical experience of freedom in the Arab-Islamic world is infinitely greater than its traditional state organization would lead us to suppose. The Bedouin is a member of society but shuns the state; subjected to immutable laws of geography, he keeps alive the idea of a natural freedom. […] Confronted with an imperialist, liberal, capitalistic Europe, the Arab world underwent profound upheavals. State, society and the individual all changed just as their reciprocal relationships did. The reformed state tried to expand its base at society’s expense; the individual felt the ever-increasing burden of the state whilst he could no longer appeal to the clan to defend his rights; it was at that moment that he loudly asserted his “right to freedom” and it was at that moment that the term hurriyyah [freedom] acquired an unexpected emotional force. In the new situation, we do well always to distinguish between freedom as a fact and libertarian utopia. […] There then arose the need to adopt a new terminology: it, too, the instrument of a new ideology. Arab essayists and journalists became ardent propagandists of Western liberal thought. But the content of the new terms was nevertheless tied to the social process.[2]


A sizeable part of nineteenth-century reformist thought has, in fact, insisted on the subject of political freedom and on the need to limit arbitrary government, in particular, considered one of the main causes of Arab-Muslim society’s backwardness.


Nevertheless, if Laroui’s historicist perspective rescues the concept of freedom from the risk of anachronism, it is less capable of accounting for this idea’s semantic variations[3] and the conflicting interpretations springing up around it in the modern era, above all. An emblematic example of this is the debate that, in 1902, pitted Farāh Antūn and Muhammad ‘Abduh, two prominent figures of nineteenth-century Arab culture, against one another and, with them, two opposing visions of political freedom and its relations with religion, in particular.



The Debate About Averroes

A Lebanese intellectual of Christian-Orthodox origin transplanted in Egypt, Antūn had published a series of articles in his magazine al-Jāmi‘a. Through a reading of Averroes that was indebted to Ernest Renan’s interpretation, these articles proposed a sharp division between science, founded on rational demonstration, and religion, traceable to the sentimental sphere. This division, wrote Antūn, implied, in its turn, the separation of politics, founded on rational action, from religion, which, on the contrary, was a matter of personal convictions. A leading figure in Islamic reformism and the Grand Mufti of Egypt at the time, ‘Abduh had responded to Antūn rejecting his “materialist” reading of Averroes and refuting the possibility of separating either philosophy from religion or politics from religion. Using a highly evocative “bio-political” metaphor, ‘Abduh went so far as to argue that this would have been tantamount to separating the soul from the body, whereas the most rigorous unity must exist in politics, as in the other areas of life. In reply, Antūn had rejected ‘Abduh’s analogy and had asserted that the role of a government is not to guide a body or soul but, rather, to protect people’s freedom through the safeguards provided in legislation and the Constitution.[4]


Underlying this controversy there were not only differing visions of religion in general terms, but also a different conception of two specific religions, namely Christianity and Islam. Antūn maintained that Christianity was more tolerant than Islam, even if his solution reflected an unconditional adherence to the secularist option dominating nineteenth-century European thought. ‘Abduh based his argumentation on a particular idea of the relationship between Islam and modernity, which he then developed in his book Al-Islām wa-l-Nasrāniyya ma‘ al-‘ilm wa-l-madaniyya[5] (Islam and Christianity in Relation to Science and Civilization). Here, ‘Abduh begins with the statement that “one of modern civilization’s achievements is the separation of religious power from civil power.” On the strength of such an experience, ‘Abduh continues, Europeans would like to introduce the same principle into Islam, but this would be both impossible and futile. Indeed, unlike Christianity, Islam does not have a religious authority. That is to say, no person or institution can claim to act as God’s representative on earth and even the institutions established by divine law (mufti, qādī, caliph and sheikh al-Islam) are merely civil in nature; something that, in ‘Abduh’s opinion, would in actual fact make theocracy impossible. Furthermore, whereas Christian authorities have proven to be hostile towards science and European progress has been made possible by virtue of civil society’s emancipation from ecclesiastical power, Islam would promote science and Islamic societies would therefore have no need to be emancipated from religion, or to separate it from politics in order to proceed down the road of modernity.


The Islamicist Uriya Shavit has recently argued that this conception of the relationship between Islam and modernity not only has become widespread amongst contemporary Muslims but also constitutes the theoretical basis for a specific school of thought that he calls modernist-apologetic[6] and that others have, in the past, labelled “moderate Islamists,” “mainstream Islamists” or “new Islamists.”[7]


More specifically, the two arguments used by ‘Abduh in response to Antūn’s accusations – Islam’s propensity for scientific research and an absence of theocracy – have helped modernist-apologetic thinkers to develop a theory of scientific and political freedom in Islam and in the Islamic state, above all. Nevertheless, as Shavit has demonstrated, the Islamic state they envisage is conditioned by an insoluble paradox: “In the Islamic state, Islam must be chosen rather than imposed, but individuals only have the right to choose Islam, as any other reference is illegitimate.”[8] It is interesting to note that, in order to reach this conclusion, Shavit does not subject the theory proposed by the modernist-apologetic school to the rigours of an external criterion (e.g. a concept of freedom drawn from the Western liberal tradition): rather, he takes their very premises and develops them through to their logical conclusion. From this point of view, the case of the Egyptian sheikh Yūsif al-Qarādāwī (perhaps the best known representative of the modernist-apologetic school) is exemplary: albeit at different times and on different occasions, he has been able to argue both that “freedom has priority over the application of sharia”[9] and that apostates deserve to die,[10] without feeling the need to reconcile the two positions.


Of the thinkers who belong to the same intellectual current, the Egyptian Muhammad ‘Imāra and the Tunisian Rached Ghannouchi [al-Ghannūshī] merit specific analysis. The former because he is the most sophisticated of the Egyptian modernist-apologists from a theoretical point of view and probably the one who has most systematically tackled the idea of the Islamic state as a non-theocratic regime.[11] The latter because, with equally wide-ranging reflection behind him, he is a man of action as well as a thinker: indeed, his political proposal has not remained confined to the realms of the ideal Islamic city but has had to reckon with a real city.



From Free Will to Islamic Democracy

A philosopher and theologian who passed from leftist activism to Islamism in the 1960s, ‘Imāra is perhaps the most conscious representative of the school that took off from the thinking of the nineteenth-century reformists (to whom he has dedicated a considerable number of studies). His thoughts on freedom are not limited to political freedom. A slim volume of his published in 2009 and republished in 2012 explores the “concept of freedom” existing in the various currents of Islam.[12] From the very first pages, the Egyptian scholar’s aim is to demonstrate that, contrary to what orientalists have traditionally maintained, it is not true that the concept of freedom is foreign to the Islamic tradition. It has, rather, been a part of it right from the beginning, as Islam’s straining to limit slavery would demonstrate. Indeed, writes ‘Imāra, playing on some verses from the Qur’an (2:256, 11:28 and 10:99), Islam has “sanctified man’s freedom in every area,” to the point that he “is free even not to believe.”[13] Of course, man’s freedom is the freedom of God’s vicar, who is thus not master of his own existence. He is free, but within the “limits of possibility, which he has not created. He is free, but within the framework of objective external circumstances and factors that he does not determine.”[14]


After these preliminary remarks, ‘Imāra reviews the position adopted by Islam’s various schools and currents regarding freedom and, more precisely, the question of free will, which was actually one of the first topics on which Muslim theological reflection centred.[15] In reality, ‘Imāra’s exposition clearly comes down in favour of the Mu‘tazila, the theological school thriving during the first centuries of Islam. This asserted that God did not predetermine human actions and that human will was, therefore, totally free. ‘Imāra does not limit himself to claiming the authentically Islamic origin of the Mu‘tazilite doctrine in the face of those who consider it a mere transposition of Greek thought: he elevates it, against other theological readings (including the orthodox Ash‘arite one), to the rank of preferred Islamic interpretation of human freedom.


Nevertheless, although centred on the question of free will, ‘Imāra’s reflections are not without their political implications. The book’s re-publication date is not accidental. Indeed, 2012 was the year that followed the revolution that, in Egypt, asked for “work, freedom and human dignity” and during which the establishment of an Islamist system guided by the Muslim Brothers loomed into view. It is ‘Imāra himself who made the political importance of his writing explicit: “Illustrating Arab-Islamic thought on the concept of freedom and expounding the various theories and points of view that the salaf (the pious ancestors) have handed down to us on the subject, whilst dwelling on the most evolved and revolutionary currents, in particular, provides our thinkers and intellectuals with the necessary ideological background for choosing the best of the contemporary concepts of freedom, which we want to spread and apply in this transitional phase that our umma is living.”[16]


Such importance appears quite clearly in the last part of the book, where the Islamist thinker expounds the political and social aspects of the Mu‘tazilite conception of freedom that are directly linked to the idea of humans as responsible beings. ‘Imāra particularly dwells on the part played by the Mu‘tazilites both in the opposition to the Omayyads (to whom the caliphate’s degeneration into a tyrannical dynastic regime is traditionally attributed) and in the ensuing victory of the Abbasid caliphate (which, moreover, through the caliphs al-Ma’mūn [813-833] and al-Mu‘tasim [833-847], raised the Mu‘tazila to the status of official imperial doctrine). ‘Imāra generally draws a direct equation between the doctrine of free will and a rejection of despotism and, symmetrically, between fatalism and a supine acceptance of tyranny: not by chance, Mu‘āwiya (founder of the Omayyad dynasty) “was the first to support the Jabarite theory,” according to which human actions are not free but predetermined by God.[17] He further explains that, for the Mu‘tazilites, the state’s responsibility to uphold justice is really a community responsibility.[18]


However, the Egyptian scholar continues, the context in which the political dimension contained in the Mu‘tazilite idea of freedom emerges most clearly is the doctrine of the imamate i.e. the Islamic community’s guidance. Indeed, the Mu‘tazilites rejected the Shi‘ite doctrine that the imam’s role was hereditary and favoured the principle of his election (ikhtiyār) by the umma, through the decision of its representatives. At the same time, they fought all attempts to sanctify the imam: his authority was seen as proceeding not from the top down, by way of divine delegation, but from the bottom up, being founded on the consensus of the umma he was to serve.[19]


Between the lines of these observations on the Mu‘tazilites’ socio-political doctrine – the imam’s election and his responsibility towards the community, the upholding of justice and the right to resist unjust sovereigns – it is not difficult to detect ‘Imāra’s suggestions for the present era: for him, the Mu‘tazilites are the precursors of a democratic Islamic order.


‘Imāra himself has dedicated many of his publications precisely to outlining the ideal Islamic state and its relations with Western liberal democracy. His idea is similar to that of other modernist-apologetic thinkers, to use Shavit’s expression once again: democracy is a system deeply rooted in Islam, because it is founded on shūrā, the Qur’anic principle that enjoins those in authority to “consult” (e.g. Qur’an 3:159). In this sense, not only is it similar to modern democracy but, in a certain sense, it anticipates it. At the same time, however, it differs from it on a decisive point: whereas popular sovereignty is the principle point of reference for legislation in a liberal democracy, Islamic democracy is founded on the primacy of sharia, which both legislators and rulers must follow.


Such a conception does not resolve the issue of authority i.e. who is deputed to check that human law conforms to religious law. ‘Imāra’s writings envisage the existence of an elected legislative council (mentioned several times but never truly defined). This would be charged with resolving possible conflicts between state legislation and sharia, by correcting the provisions adopted by the other legislative bodies and government.[20] Thus ‘Imāra’s solution does not escape the blind alley where all the modernist-apologetic thinkers end up: while they state that Islam cannot be reduced to a theocracy, they develop a model Islamic order that rests on sharia and, therefore on the body charged with interpreting it.


In ‘Imāra’s case, the nexus between free will and political freedom should nevertheless be noted. Pondering the relationship between these two freedoms, the Italian philosopher Augusto Del Noce wrote, “They apparently seem to be totally distinct problems. […] The problem of free will concerns humanity’s freedom vis-à-vis God or nature; the problem of political freedom, on the other hand, concerns “freedom in the city” and, therefore, freedom in relation to other men.” In reality, Del Noce noted, if the nineteenth century was the century during which “there was a greater propensity to sacrifice the libertas minor of free will to what is traditionally called the libertas maior,” nowadays the issue is “that of defending freedom in the democracy acknowledged as an irreversible historical fact; the ideal of freedom as a declaration of the conscience’s primacy in relation to every external power enjoyed by a minority or a majority.”[xxi] The process is curiously overturned in ‘Imāra: his emphasis on free will does not result in the conscience being incoercible but, rather, in the removal of “Islamically” unlawful powers and their substitution with an Islamic order. Here, rather than a source from which inviolable human dignity springs, free will is understood as the antidote not only to fatalism but also to blind obedience towards rulers.



Beyond the Islamist Paradigm

If we are to recover an idea of freedom that might include freedom of conscience and come out of the modernist-apologetic model’s deadend, we need to transfer to Tunisia and follow the evolution in the thinking of Rached Ghannouchi, ideologue and both founder and current leader of the Ennahda Party. Nevertheless, the exit is primarily a practical one and only partially accompanied by a new theoretical approach, as we shall see.


The question of freedom lies at the heart of Ghannouchi’s political thinking. As early as 1981, when the Tunisian Islamist movement was still called Islamic Tendency Movement (Harakat al-ittijāh al-islāmī), its leader stated in an interview that he was not seeking to establish an Islamic state in Tunisia, since it would be a mistake to demand “the achievement of the Islamic Tendency’s objectives and the application of Islam” from the other parties. Instead, Ghannouchi continued, “We have entered Tunisian political life in order to achieve freedoms, not to establish an Islamic government.”[22]


The relationship between freedom and the Islamic state is the subject of Ghannouchi’s magnum opus, Al-hurriyāt al-‘āmma fī-l-dawla al-islāmiyya (“Public Liberties in the Islamic State”,)[23] published in 1993 and re-published in 2011 with minimal variations: a sign that it continues to constitute Ennhada’s “doctrinal matrix,”[24] even after the Islamist party made a bid to guide the post-revolutionary transition following right after Ben ‘Alī’s revolutionary overthrow.


The book opens with an overview of the Western and Islamic conceptions of freedom. Adopting a rather reductive and unilateral vision of Western thought, Ghannouchi writes that the latter, being incapable of grasping the essence of freedom, shifted its attention to the practical problem of freedoms. That coincided with the rise of the bourgeoisie and its attempt to free itself from the despotism of the dominant political, economic and ecclesiastical classes. Bourgeois freedom is nevertheless only a formal freedom because, in reality, it in its turn hides new class interests. Marxist criticism was right about this but offered a solution that only produced new forms of slavery.[25]


In Islam, on the other hand, freedom is authentic because it is traced back to its source: the responsibility with which God has invested human beings, making them special in comparison with the rest of creation. Following the thinking of Abū al-A‘lā al-Mawdūdī and Sayyid Qutb, Ghannouchi interprets Islam first and foremost as an “integral liberation” that frees human beings from slavery and the tyranny of idols. Unlike the founders of radical Islamism, however, Ghannouchi does not see this integral liberation as requiring an armed struggle against a wicked ruler. Nevertheless, he does not renounce the idea that true freedom can only be achieved within an Islamic political order, i.e. a system that rejects the separation of politics from religion (and, therefore, the European secular models) and that is centred on the divine law, on the one hand, and the community (the umma) that implements it, on the other: “If, in Islam, law-making originally depended on God’s will, as emerges from the texts of the revelation, the Qur’an and the Sunna, the umma is the active part of this process.”[26] In co-operating with God’s legislative activity and participating in His sovereignty, the umma produces and appoints rulers, who are bound to comply with divine law but are not its authorized interpreters. By insisting on the umma’s centrality and refusing to assign a religious function to rulers, Ghannouchi, too, asserts the “civil”, and not theocratic, nature of the Islamic state and identifies parliamentary democracy as the form of government best adapted to expressing Muslims’ political ideal. As can be seen, the thinking of the Tunisian political figure does not, up to this point, diverge from that of the other members of the modernist-apologetic school, nor does it escape its aporias. This fact is proven by his conception of apostasy, decisive ground (as always) for checking the coherence of the systems theorized by Islamists. Ghannouchi rejects the idea of apostasy as a religious “crime” to be punished with death. However, since Islam “is a credo and a system of life, which fact implies that every action that is against Islam constitutes an act of hostility against public order,” it can nevertheless take the form of a rebellion against the ruler and the latter is therefore free to sanction it with the penalty he considers most appropriate, although he is not bound to apply the “extreme” penalty (hadd) prescribed by the Qur’an.”[27]


Nevertheless, during the political phase following the revolution in 2011, Ghannouchi felt the need to develop his ideas further and, in 2012, he published Al-dīmuqrātiyya wa-huqūq al-insān fī l-islām (“Democracy and Human Rights in Islam”.) The book takes up the topics and arguments covered in his previous work, stating for example that the Islamic conception of the state differs from contemporary democracy only in the superiority of the moral principle upon which it is founded, which must comply with sharia or, at least, not contradict it.[28] Some variations can also be noted, however. For example, the expression “Islamic state” (which even appeared in the title of the 1993 volume) is no longer used and the emphasis falls on categories of democracy and “civil state.” Furthermore, Ghannouchi adds an important specification i.e. the fact that Ennhada fully complies with the requirements for democracy: electoral participation, competition with the existing political forces, a rejection of violence or secret actions and acceptance of electoral outcomes “even were the communists to win.”[29] Faced with such a situation, the Tunisian thinker continues, it would be the party, rather, that would have to rethink its programmes, making its own the interpretation of Islam (ijtihād) emerging from society.[30]


The difference between Ghannouchi’s two works is a good explanation as to why Ennahda was able to approach two different moments in the post-revolutionary transition differently. During the first phase (2011-2013), when Ennahda guided two coalition governments (the so-called Troika), the Islamist party promoted the Islamization of the Tunisian legal and political system, trying, for example, to constitutionalize the reference to sharia as a source of legislation, the creation of an Islamic Council appointed to ensure that state law complied with divine law and relations between men and women in terms of complementarity rather than equality. When these projects were shattered by resistance from the other parties and civil society, and when a serious political crisis developed in the summer of 2013, Ghannouchi and his party were ideologically equipped to accept a compromise solution with the other political forces: they gave up government of the country and voted for a Constitution that contains, inter alia, a clear reference to freedom of conscience.[31]


One might say that full recognition of political pluralism, on the one hand, and of freedom of conscience, on the other, mark the moment when Ghannouchi and Ennahda moved beyond the modernist-apologetic paradigm. This evolution culminated in the tenth party congress (held in 2016), at which Ennahda announced that it was abandoning political Islam and setting course for Muslim democracy. Nevertheless, whilst it can be said that Ghannouchi’s thinking integrated the principle of political pluralism early on, it accepted freedom of conscience in the name of political compromise but has not assimilated it theoretically so far. It is not by chance that, on the initiative of none other than Ennahda, the latter principle’s reach has been counterbalanced in the new Tunisian Constitution by an ambiguous reference to protection of the sacred, which the state undertakes to guarantee.


The politico-intellectual itinerary of Ghannouchi and his party thus appears to be stuck between full practical adherence to democracy and a still partial assimilation of its founding ideals. The corollary of this incomplete trajectory is the argument – lavishly repeated by Ghannouchi over the last two years – that Ennahda’s evolution is basically a process of adaptation,[32] which argument leads, in its turn, to the placatory but potentially paralysing idea of some arrangement with the existing order. Having finally found its way out of Islamist democracy’s labyrinth, Ennahda is thus risking ending up in the quicksand of a political compromise at any price.[33]


Thus the thinking of ‘Imāra and that of Ghannouchi respectively end up illustrating the two possible outcomes for the Islamist political model (excluding the jihadist one): on the one hand, a system that, in the name of Islam as freedom’s guarantor, fails to avoid the freedom-killing trap of theocracy, and, on the other, a short-sighted pragmatism.


The alternative is to take seriously the freedom that both men attribute to human beings, as beings created by God.

[1] Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1988) p. 64.

[2] Abdallah Laroui, Islam et liberté, in Id., Islam et modernité (Centre culturel arabe, Casablanca, 20012), pp. 61-63 passim.

[3] See Wael Abu-‘Uksa, Freedom in the Arab World. Concepts and Ideologies in Arabic Thought in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2016).

[4] Dominique Avon, Amine Elias, “Laïcité. Navigation d’un concept autour de la Méditerranée. Contribution à la journée d’étude du 13 février 2010 (Nantes) sur le thème Religions, sécularisation et laïcité,” Droit de cités, The Antūn-‘Abduh debate has recently been republished under the title Al-Munāzara al-dīniyya bayn al-shaykh Muhammad ‘Abduh wa-Farah Antūn (Bīsān, Bayrūt, 2014). For a presentation of Antūn and a reconstruction of the context in which the debate with ‘Abduh occurred, see Paola Viviani, Un maestro arabo del Novecento arabo. Farah Antūn (Jouvence, Roma, 2004).

[5] Muhammad ‘Abduh, Al-Islām wa-l-Nasrāniyya ma‘ al-‘ilm wa-l-madaniyya, in Muhammad ‘Imāra (Ed.), Al-A‘māl al-kāmila li l-Imām al-Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abduh (Dār al-Shurūq, Bayrūt-al-Qāhira, 1993), vol. 3, pp. 257-367.

[6] Uriya Shavit, Scientific and Political Freedom in Islam. A Critical Reading of the Modernist-Apologetic School (Routledge, Abingdon Oxon-New York, 2017). The volume has been reviewed in this edition of the journal.

[7] Raymond William Baker, Islam without Fear. Egypt and the New Islamists (Harvard University Press, Cambridge [MA]-London, 2003).

[8] Shavit, Scientific and Political Freedom in Islam, p. 139.

[9] This was a much-repeated assertion. See, for example, for the transcript of a 2011 episode of the programme “Sharia and life” on Al-Jazeera.

[10] Gudrun Krämer, Drawing Boundaries: Yūsuf al-Qaradāwī on Apostasy, in Gudrun Krämer, Sabine Schmidtke (eds.), Speaking for Islam. Muslim Religious Authorities in Muslim Societies (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp. 181-217.

[11] Shavit, Scientific and Political Freedom in Islam, p. 141.

[12] Muhammad ‘Imāra, Mafhūm al-hurriyya fī madhāhib al-islāmiyyin (Dār al-Salām, al-Qāhira, 2012).

[13] Ibid., p. 10.

[14] Ibid., p. 11.

[15] See the article by Maria De Cillis and the Classics section, both in this edition.

[16] ‘Imāra, Mafhūm al-hurriyya, p. 27.

[17] Ibid., p. 86.

[18] Ibid., p. 91.

[19] Ibid., pp. 94-96.

[20] Shavit, Scientific and Political Freedom in Islam, pp. 141-144.

[21] Augusto Del Noce, Il problema dell’ateismo (Il Mulino, Bologna, 1964), pp. 324-327 passim.

[22] The interview was conducted with the Kuwaiti magazine Al-Mujtama‘ and is reproduced in Rāshid al-Ghannūshī, Min tajribat al-haraka al-islāmiyya fī Tūnis (Dār al-Mujtahid li-l-nashr wa-l-tawzī‘, Tūnis, 2011).

[23] Rāshid al-Ghannūshī, Al-hurriyyāt al-‘āmma fī-l-dawla al-islāmiyya (Markaz al-dirasāt al-wahda al-‘arabiyya, Bayrūt, 1993).

[24] Dominique Avon, Youssef Aschi, La Constitution tunisienne et l’enjeu de la liberté individuelle : un exemple d’accommodement au forceps,

[25] Al-Ghannūshī, Al-hurriyyāt al-‘āmma fī-l-dawla al-islāmiyya, pp. 31-35.

[26] Ibid., p. 119.

[27] Ibid., p. 50.

[28] Rāshid al-Ghannūshī, Al-Dīmuqrātiyya wa-huqūq al-insān fī l-islām (Markaz al-Jazīra li-l-dirāsāt-Al-dār al-‘arabiyya li-l-‘ulūm nāshirūn, al-Dawha-Bayrūt, 2012), p. 14.

[29] Ibid., p. 99.

[30] Shavit, Scientific and Political Freedom in Islam, pp. 147-148.

[31] As regards the constituent process in Tunisia, see the article by Mohammed-Chérif Ferjani in this edition of the journal.

[32] See Murat Sofuoglu’s interview with Ghannouchi, How Tunisia’s Ennahda found its path between Islam and democracy, 15 November 2017, Ghannouchi’s reply to a question about Ennahda’s evolution is significant: “When situations change, you have to find new solutions.”

[33] See Nadia Marzouki, “La transition tunisienne : du compromis démocratique à la réconciliation forcée,” Pouvoirs 156 (2016), pp. 83-93, on this point.