Multi-legal systems

There are a number of problems with the nation state, of which the philosophical and material foundations were laid out two centuries ago.

In particular, the regulations of the private, public and political spheres and the relationship between them remain unresolved even in the West. Of course, liberal democracies are far better than fascist and communist regimes, but the truth is that they ensure political plurality but fail to do the same for sociocultural pluralism. The existence of a multiparty system in a society does not mean that that society is pluralistic. If it is not a divine creature, then the state is a human-made thing. Mankind designs it as a mode of organization to offer solutions to its needs. The state is neither sacred nor a divine order. In the end, the modern state is a human experience. It has good and bad sides as well as flaws. The goal is to protect political and social unity and integration. This means that the main problem of the state is to attain political unity and social peace. Public order seeks to attain and preserve these two goals.

The contract the Prophet Muhammad concluded with the Jews and others in Medina ensured unity and integrity among different Muslim tribes and diverse religious groups. If there is plurality, then it means that there are multiple legal systems recognized as legitimate. The Constitution of Medina sought to ensure and preserve political unity and social peace through public order.

Some argue that the presence of multiple legal systems at the same time threatens political unity. They believe that the idea of a multi-legal system for coexistence destroys public order, political unity and social peace. They view multi-legal systems as having the potential to destroy the public order.

The Constitution of Medina is based on the idea of guaranteeing the freedoms and rights of all, offering legal protection for the private sphere, ensuring the participation of different groups and identities in public life and attaining a consensus in the government. A multi-legal system is a conceptualization that needs explanation it needs some careful analysis. What this concept actually means is the protection of multicultural life and pluralist and diverse lifestyles.

In general terms, this is a problem about the public sphere and the use of public places. In other words, how can different social groups from different backgrounds and identities be represented in the public sphere without exerting pressure upon them and how can they coexist? The current solution offers a unified and homogenous official identity and lifestyle and forces people to endorse this option. And this leads to conflicts, disagreements and disruptions to political unity and social peace.

If restricted to public space, a multi-legal system secures pluralism, but if it is enforced in public space, it causes disruption and chaos. So this suggests that the public sphere should be designed with reference to a single legal system that would emerge out of consensus among different groups, but the public and private spheres could also be governed by multiple legal systems. If the state does not impose an ideology on the people, every sectarian, racial, religious or tribal group can design its own public and private spheres. Intervention by the state in these spheres is not different from strong or soft totalitarianism.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman