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BETWEEN IDENTITY AND REDISTRIBUTION: SANHURI, GENEALOGY AND THE WILL TO ISLAMISE

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Is Sanhuri's Egyptian civil code Islamic? I examine here the distributive aspects of this identity question and argue that the code's Islamicity rests on a genealogical study of its drafter's "will to Islamise." From his doctoral theses onwards, Sanhuri's intellectual genealogy is one of discursive and existential division between two different projects, namely, the identity project of modernising Islamic law and the redistributive project of engineering modern law to promote social justice. In the Egyptian civil code, Sanhuri meant to bring together those two projects under a single normative order. To this end, he resorted to the Franco-American concept of the "social"—a hodgepodge of socialist doctrine and sociological jurisprudence. Although initially promoting the code as "Islamic," he eventually reneged on this claim as the "social" was displaced by revolutionary turns in Nasser's Egypt.

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