Four international scholars have individually reflected critically on M. Hakan Yavuz’s new book Nostalgia for the Empire: The Politics of Neo-Ottomanism. The book recognizes nostalgia as a major variable in articulating and analyzing the current spectrum of Turkish politics by exploring neo-Ottomanism which has, in many respects, become an instrumental frontal display for Islam and Islamism.
This article explores the tensions of Islamic governance in contemporary Iran by examining the convergence of Islamic law with modern practices of governance. One key contention with contemporary statehood this political project is trying to reconcile is how to re-embed religious norms in the secularized political sphere. I assert that the political and legal practices for re-embedding these norms indicate an epistemic shift in the modes of legitimation within Muslim political and legal tradition possibly leading to the formation of a new Islamic political orthodoxy. This exploration is based on information from ethnographic interviews conducted with the former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1989–1997), the late Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and former Minister of Radio and Television (1981–1994) and the current member of the Expediency Council, Muhammad Rafsanjani. The article bases its argument by analyzing two variant forms of political practice. First, scrutinizing the fatwas of Ayatollah Khomeini that played a crucial role in influencing policy in the first decade of the Islamic Republic. Second, examining the adjudications of a conciliar governmental body (Majma-e Tashkhis-e Maslahat) formed a decade after the revolution to resolve the tensions associated with the implementation of Islamic law in this modern nation-state.