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(Name) (Instructors’ name) (Course) (Date) Summary Abstract and Introduction The paper is titled Democratic Islam? Assessing the Bases of Democracy in Islamic Political, by Omar Ashour. The author begins the abstract by introducing the objective of the paper, which is to determine the bases of, and barriers to, democracy in Islamic political thought…
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Download file to see previous pages The author also adds that he shall cover the vital issues concerning anti-democratic perspectives in Islamic political thought, which touch on divine sovereignty. He concludes the abstract by stating he shall argue in favor of the core of human agency as a major factor in creating and suppressing these thoughts with regard to Islam and democracy. According to the author, although shura and bay’a are extensively covered in the Quran and Sunna, they are not discussed and dissected in detail. Rather, they have been created by the ijitihad of Muslim jurists, creativity, political thoughts, and interpretations (Ashour 1). He goes on to say that he shall also address some likely counterarguments: undemocratic decipher of the above-mentioned concepts, in addition to the most salient, and that is the Islamically-grounded argument related to the notion of divine sovereignty. The research question therefore, is: what are the foundations of, and barriers to, democracy in Islamic political notions. The author ends this section by confirming that his discussion will be focused on the previously-mentioned bases (bay’a and shura) and a major impediment (divine sovereignty as opposed to populist sovereignty). The conclusion will entail a general evaluation of the connection between democracy and Islam (Ashour 2). Defining Democracy This section begins with a distinction of the two main forms of democracy: liberal and electoral. Drawing on the work of Joseph Schumpeter, electoral democracy may be defined as an institutional framework for arriving at political decisions in which individuals gain the power to decide through competitive struggle for the votes of the populace. Electoral democracy may be illiberal, condoning the tyranny of the majority as de Tocqueville described. Electoral democracy must not include detailed provisions for protecting the rights of the minorities, nor does it need the absence of special domains of power, like those of the clergy and their concept of valyi al-faqih in Iran or Turkey’s military. On the other hand, liberal democracy is made up of many provisions for defending minorities against the tyranny of the majority. It also needs the absence of special domains of power for specific social groups like the clergy and the military. Is there an Islamic Political System? Experts on Islamic studies and Muslim political scholars are usually divided on this question, with two rejectionist factions at opposite ends of the divide and a lot of accomodationists sandwiched between them. The author states that all the arguments of the accomodationists (including the one on depoliticization) and the rejectionists base their justification and legitimacy at least partially (and in a majority of cases totally) on Islamic history and/or Islamic theological literature and scholars. It is virtually impossible therefore to present the argument that there is one sole special Islamic political system. In other words, as put by two modernist Islamist scholars, “Muslims have a human comprehension of Islam….it is erroneous for us to say that there is a particular system that symbolizes the Islamic system” (Ashour 3). Does Islam have a “Political Dimension”? After a consideration of various theoretical and empirical arguments, a look at the Islamic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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