Skip to main content

What the rise and fall of the Kingdom of The Hijaz tells us about a crisis in Islam

A new book by a Professor at Queen Mary University of London offers a fresh vision on Islamic governance.

Published on:
Photo: Roger Askew/The Oxford Union
Photo: Roger Askew/The Oxford Union

The Hijaz, in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia, was the first Islamic state in Mecca and Medina.  

In his book, The Hijaz: The First Islamic State by Professor Malik Dahlan from Queen Mary’s School of Law addresses a number of historical, legal and political issues relating to Islamic statehood.

The publication follows the official launch of the book, which took place at the historic Oxford Union.

Crisis in Islam rooted in the past

In his work, Professor Dahlan argues that the development of Islamic state-building was the source of collective identity in the Arab world.

Professor Dahlan said: "There is a crisis in Islam, both internally and externally. It suffers from a lack of representation in the world’s leading forums, including the United Nations. The roots of this crisis can be traced backed to the rise and fall of the short-lived independent Kingdom of The Hijaz."

Reclaiming Islamic statehood

Professor Dahlan rejects the appropriation of Islamic governance of both the post-modern, non-territorial Al-Qaeda and the neo-medievalist ISIS.

"Islam needs to go through a healing process to tell the millions of young people who rose up during the Arab Spring that deliberative democracy can be a part of their future," he added.

Speaking following Professor Dahlan’s appearance at the Oxford Union, Louise Richardson, Vice- Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “This book is an optimistic and well-argued appeal for a new way forward in the Middle East. Based on extensive archival research, and influenced by both Western and Islamic thought, The Hijaz causes us to re-examine what it is to be a nation state.”

Further information

Professor Malik Dahlan is the Chaired Professor of International Law and Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London. Read more about his research here.

Study Law at Queen Mary University of London

Back to top