Few doctrinal and political issues are more controversial in Pakistan today than that of blasphemy. In her excellent and engaging new book Shariʿa and the State in Pakistan: Blasphemy Politics
(Routledge, 2019), Farhat Haq
presents the history and present of blasphemy laws, debates, and politics in Pakistan, in a manner that carefully weaves the historical backdrop of blasphemy politics with detailed descriptions of important discursive moments and contributions involving a range of different state and non-state actors. Equally conversant with Islamic Studies, South Asian Studies, and Political Science, this book will speak to and interest multiple audiences, while familiarizing readers in eminently accessible prose with the legal, political, and theological complexities invested in the question of blasphemy in Pakistan and beyond. Throughout the book, Haq convincingly shows and argues that blasphemy politics in Pakistan escapes any neat narratives or conceptual framings, and one must attend to its contingencies in order to develop a more nuanced understanding of its thorniest implications and consequences. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the hugely critical and controversial topic of blasphemy in Islam and in Pakistan.
SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at email@example.com. Listener feedback is most welcome.