Mirza Sahib on Democracy and Islam:



Democracy and Islam

Why Compatibility of Democracy and Islam is Difficult?

ABSTRACT: There are many views for and against the compatibility of democracy and Islam. The first four caliphs who succeeded the Prophet of Islam during the seventh century, were though elected through consensus of the elite of Medina, but were not directly voted by the people. Later traditions reveal that the caliphate became a monarchic type of hereditary authoritarian ruler-ship. In spite of some thinkers pointing to the fact that a disposition to democracy is present in the spirit of Islam, it is still a big question, why it is difficult for the followers of Islamic faith to accept democracy? . . . So far there are no signs that the future of democracy in the Muslim world is bright. The only success of Arab Spring is that it has helped the Arabs to understand their position between a fading authoritarian order and the need for a democratic order. In spite of an apparent result of the Arab Spring in smashing the myth of the political passivity of the Arabs, there still exists in all Muslim societies an Islamist-utopia—a religious idealism—which stands as impediment to political modernity as well as to democracy. Another significant reason is that Islam presents itself as a public religion—revealed in the Qur’an as a way of life not a religion—that gets easily involved in the legitimization of political power by religious rules. In Islam, both, the public aspect of religion and its utopia of religious idealism, aim at retaining its society’s communal structure. Democracy is a political system that demands the singularity of a political organization implying a human to human horizontal relationship among the individuals in a society. On the other hand religion is primarily a vertical relationship between an individual and his God, where Divine sovereignty is imposed from top-down. Emergence of liberal democracy is possible when the political system is not imposed top-down. It succeeds when the system based on democratic consensus emerges bottom-up. Within such a frame of thought, Islam’s vertical belief of Divine sovereignty clashing with the democracy’s horizontal concept of people’s sovereignty, poses a key question: Is Islam, particularly in the Arab world, compatible with democracy? — MIRZA ASHRAF

To read complete article please visit: https://independent.academia.edu/MirzaAshraf


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