BBC – Islam & democracy [20/01/2015]
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St Antony's College Middle East Centre University of Oxford - Faculty of Theology and Religion…
5 commentaires - “BBC – Islam & democracy [20/01/2015]”
Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,
I want to say that I have “My First Quran” little reader book I read to my daughter.
However, several stories talk about killing and I don’t like to read these things to such an innocent little sweet girl.
Sharuka from Kuwait touched on this and it struck a chord with me.
Yes, professor Ramadan, we need to redefine. It will take some generations most likely, but we need it, InshaAllah.
It depends on what is meant by “Democracy”.
If it is said that Islam and Democracy [shoora] is compatible because Democracy implies “mutual consultation” [shoora] in the administration of the state – then this is not only compatible, but rather “obligatory” [waajib] in Islam.
But if Democracy is understood according to its Greek origin (and what the reality of Western Democracy epitomizes), then this notion that the “Demos” [common people] which consists of Criminals, Racists, Laymen, Professionals, Tradesmen, Scholars and Murderers alike – and the notion that the majority thereof have the authority to administer state affairs and hence “rule” [kratis], even though they personally have no expertise in ethics, politics, or economics, in contrast to Scholars [logios] who have expertise in the relevant fields – then yes, let there be no ambiguity that Islam holds this as completely unacceptable [haraam] and intrinsically evil [shar] because this definition allows corruption [fasaad] into governance from the outset.
What does Islam suggest as an alternative?
That Scholars [‘ulama] are responsible for administering state affairs, not the common people [awaam]. It is the job of the Scholars [‘ulama] however, to consider and listen to the needs and concerns of the common people [awaam]] in order to rectify the problem with the ~most educated/ rational alternative. This is the “mutual consultation” [shoora] which Islam obligated, however it is the job of the Scholars [‘ulama/ Logios] to ensure that the Head of State [khalifah (for sunnis)] addresses these concerns.
What is unfortunate is that us westerners think and have been led to believe that “democracy” denotes “mutual consultation” [shoora]. The truth is that Western Democracy is precisely what “Democracy” is:
That the “common people” [demos] have the right to “administer/ rule” [kratis] the state (i.e. without qualifications or credentials).
In other words, it “allows” morons into power – and that – is not cool.
Hence why we are constantly seeing reform, after reform, after reform, while the majority [jumhoor] are ~majority of the time~ upset with their rulers.
Let the “Scholars” [Logios] rule!
Forget Islam altogether, would you let a Bricklayer perform Heart Surgery on your daughter or your father?
How about a Shop Keeper build your house (with no other expertise whatsoever)??
So can someone, anyone with reasonable logic really – explain to me WHY we allow “common people/ laymen” to administer some of the most powerful countries in the world?
A discussion which every muslim mother/father must have with their child ,some aspects of Islam are very troubling and challenge my faith everyday.Till now very few of us have had the courage to challenge our narcissitic beleifs but times and violence are forcing us to face our demons and hopefully will bring about the mutation Islam needs
Is it not reasonable to fear the incursion of dogmatic, faith – based mores and ideology, especially when they are bound up with politics.
You say repeatedly that the unpleasant and violent parts of the text must be ‘interpreted’ and ‘put into context’. But when looked at objectively, without seeing the issue through the prism of faith and its bias, this can appear to be simply mental gymnastics.
If an ancient text is used unswervingly for morality and instructions for living, there is no opportunity for ideas to evolve, be debated and thrashed out for the benefit of all.
After many centuries of struggle, there has been an improvement in the 21st century in areas such as equal rights for women, equal rights for minorities such as homosexuals, laws to better protect animals from abuse, human rights legislation and so on.
But we are always teetering on the edge of totalitarianism, dictatorship and the elimination of free speech, which must be resisted unconditionally.
There are different types of democracies.
Slave owners democracy like in ancient Greece, or Republic of Rome.
Democracy of the pirate ship ( they could elect and reelect a Captain ).
Democracy of the cannibal tribe.
So let be specific.
The issue is , if Islam is compatible with contemporary Western democracy.
Unfortunately some our intellectuals and politicians
managed to miss last 300 years
of European civilization development.
Since Crusades, inquisition, religious wars of 16-17 cent. Europe gradually
accepted principle of Church – State Separation.
So politics could not be driven by religious believes.
Our law system is a secular system, which is created by people and
could be changed by people.
It is the very basic principles of European civilization , developed even before
contemporary democracy ( voting rights for women, freedom of serfdom etc ) took place.
And only separation between Church and State allowed European
civilization to distance herself from the terrible past of the, driven
by religious fanaticism, atrocities.
Islam had never adopted Church State separation the way Europe did.
The only Muslim country which separated Church from State
was Turkey and now she is going back to Islamic past.
Islamic idea of Shara Law is simply incompatible with European values and
the very principles European Democracy is based on.
European law system could not be based on religious believes.
Therefore democracy in Islamic State ( without accepting Church- State separation )
leads either to theocracy like Iran, or
theocratic military regime like Hamas in Gaza,
or in the best case Islamic Fundamentalism like Islamist Morsy in Egypt.