1Sahil B = ""The problem is that it is practically impossible to reconcile the Traditionalist view of the Shariah with
modern conceptions of democracy and human rights. Any modern Islamic state has only three alternatives
for incorporating the Shariah into its legal systems. It can accept the Shariah as a legitimate source of civil
law, but choose to ignore it in all but the most obvious family, divorce, or inheritance cases, as Egypt and
Pakistan do. It can fully apply the Shariah to the state with no attempt either to modernize it or adapt it to
contemporary norms of law and society, as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan under the Taliban have done. Or
it can attempt to fuse the traditional values of the Shariah with modern principles of democracy and human
rights through a comprehensive reform methodology. Thus far, only one Islamic state has seriously
considered the latter option.
For more than twenty years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been struggling to reconcile popular and
divine sovereignty in an attempt to construct a genuinely Islamic democracy dedicated to pluralism,
liberalism, and human rights. It has been a difficult, violent, and hitherto unsuccessful endeavor. But not
since the Articles of Confederation set in motion the drafting of the American Constitution has a more
important political experiment been attempted.
Of course, Iran is a special case. The Iranian Islamic ideal is a patently Shi‘ite one, and from their
inception as a political movement with the aim of restoring the Caliphate to the family of the Prophet to their
rise as a separate religious sect in Islam with its own distinct beliefs and practices, the Shi‘ah have never
been eager to identify themselves with the majority Muslim community."-No god but God, Reza Aslan "