Monday, April 4, 2011

Islam and Democracy: contrary values

A few comments and articles on Islam and Democracy

1. Is Islam compatible with democracy? by Fjordman.

2. Professor Bernard Lewis is the distinguished scholar widely and aptly admired as the West’s preeminent authority on Islam. In a 1954 essay called “Communism and Islam” (published at International Affairs apud A. C. McCarthy), Professor Lewis considered “the very nature of Islamic society, tradition, and thought,” and concluded that its principal defining characteristic is the “authoritarianism, perhaps we may even say the totalitarianism, of the Islamic political tradition.” Expanding on this, he wrote :
There are no parliaments or representative assemblies of any kind, no councils or communes, no chambers of nobility or estates, no municipalities in the history of Islam; nothing but the sovereign power, to which the subject owed complete and unwavering obedience as a religious duty imposed by the Holy Law. . . . For the last thousand years, the political thinking of Islam has been dominated by such maxims as “tyranny is better than anarchy,” and “whose power is established, obedience to him is incumbent.”
Many attempts have been made to show that Islam and democracy are identical — attempts usually based on a misunderstanding of Islam or democracy or both. This sort of argument expresses a need of the uprooted Muslim intellectual who is no longer satisfied with or capable of understanding traditional Islamic values, and who tries to justify, or rather, restate, his inherited faith in terms of the fashionable ideology of the day. It is an example of the romantic and apologetic presentation of Islam that is a recognized phase in the reaction of Muslim thought to the impact of the West.
3. Translated from the website of Dr. Salah al-Sawy, the secretary-general of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), 28 March 2011:

Between the Shura and Democracy

Q: What is the difference between the Shura and democracy, and which is preferred? Are there any books which could benefit me on this topic? May Allah reward you well.

A: In the name of Allah, the most merciful and gracious.

Praise be to Allah, and peace be upon him the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family, companions, and those that follow him. The Shura comes from the rulings of the shari'a, and an entire surah of the Qur'an was sent down with this name. The difference between it and democracy is that the Shura does not exist (under Islam) except in the areas of permissible actions or legislative amnesty. For things which have been stipulated in the texts of Islam, the Ummah possesses no power except to acknowledge and obey, following the saying of the Most High: "It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path"
[Qur'an 33:36]. For example, it is not for the Shura to consider, "Should the noon prayer contain four or five bows?" Or, "Should we fast during the month of Ramadan, or should we replace it with the month of Shawwal?" Or, "Should we forbid wine or allow it?" Or, "Should we forbid adultery, or permit it if it's done by consensual agreement of those who have reached the legal age, and it's not done on the married couple's bed?"

Al-Bukhari said in his Sahih: "The Imams after the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) would consult the trustworthy scholars in things which were permissible, to take the best option. But if the Qur'an or the Sunnah was clear on the matter, they wouldn't transgress against it, following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The reciters of the Qur'an would consult, whether old or young, and they were careful to adhere to the book of Almighty Allah."

But democracy gives free reign to the authority of the Ummah, and puts no ceiling on it. The law is the expression of its will, and if the law says it, the conscience must be silent! A constitutionalist even said: "We have departed from the divine right to rule for kings, and replaced it with the divine right to rule for parliaments!" The shari'a, on the other hand, differentiates between the source of the legal system and the source of the political authority. The source of the legal system is the shari'a, while the source of the political authority is the Ummah. Meanwhile democracy makes the Ummah the source of both. On my website there is a book named "Political Pluralism." If you review it, it will you benefit you in regards to this topic, Allah-willing. Allah Almighty is all-powerful, all-knowing.

4. Excert of interview given by Islamic Scholar Abd Al-Karim Bakkar to Al-Arabiya TV on March 6, 2009. From MEMRI TV. Clip at
Interviewer: "What is your position, as an Islamic scholar, on democracy?"
Abd Al-Karim Bakkar: "Democracy runs counter to Islam on several issues."
Interviewer: "You mean it contradicts Islam on these issues?"
Abd Al-Karim Bakkar: "Yes. But democracy is compatible with Islam on other issues. In democracy, legislation is the prerogative of the people. It is the people who draw up the constitution, and they have the authority to amend it as well. On this issue we differ.
5. Five best arguments against Sharia in the US (the same for Canada)
  1. U.S. law is the “supreme law of the land,” no exceptions.
  2. Sharia, as “divine revelation,” is inherently undemocratic.
  3. Many aspects of Sharia are flagrantly unconstitutional.
  4. Sharia is fundamentally religious law, and should be inapplicable to U.S. criminal or civil law.
  5. Subjectively, Sharia is a discriminatory and cruel legal system.
6. Cleric: Arab revolution declared inconsistent with Islamic laws; rallies contradict the laws of Islam (ABC).

7. Saadi Gadhafi, son of the outed dictator of Lybia, made the following statement in relation to the incoming elections in Lybia: "We have to exert pressure to change this situation and to remove this evil doing that exists in Libya. We do not know any such thing as elections. We are a Muslim nation," he said (10/Feb/2021, Reuters).

No comments: