The Trust State: A Theoretical Debate Around a New Form of State in the Arab World
September/October 2017

The Arab world has been debating the question of the form of the state for the last two centuries, and division as well as diversity in the debate is visible both theoretically as well as politically. The situation of turmoil in that part of the world testifies to the vitality and disagreements on the future of such a state. However, the dire political situation should not eclipse the important reform projects that have developed in this regards from the late nineteenth century until now, passing by the prolific generation of scholarship of the 1960s onwards. Resetdoc features in this issue parts of this state predicament by a young scholar from the region, Mohammed Hashas. In his “Treatise on Trust State for a New Arab World,” he builds on this debate and propose a form of the state that tries to overcome polarity through the principle of trust.

Trust here is proposed as a new paradigm of thought and work, as well as a new nomenclature, to avoid the classical concepts that have become so tarnished and misused in the Arab world, like “secular,” “liberal,” and “religious.” This proposal does also present a critique of foreign, mainly European, intervention in the region. In reply to this proposal, a group of senior and junior scholars of Arab thought provide their comments that vary from praise, because of its relevance, to critique, because of its limitations and abstraction.

Credit: Marwan Naamani / AFP