Islam, the State, and Political Authority: Medieval Issues by A. Afsaruddin

By A. Afsaruddin

The specialist essays during this quantity care for seriously very important themes bearing on Islam and politics in either the pre-modern and glossy sessions, such as the character of presidency, the connection among politics and theology, Shi'i conceptions of statecraft, notions of public responsibility, and the compatibility of Islam and democratic governance.

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Only in Christianity are we able to speak of political Christology, of the angels of nations, of a demoniacal dimension of power, et cetera. Theological symbols enable Christian thought to have a political theology, whereas the concept of theology is quite ambiguous in Islam and the concept of ALFARABI AND THE FOUNDATION OF POLITICAL THEOLOGY IN ISLAM 39 political theology even more. On the other hand, it is true that Islam is strongly grounded on one of the most pregnant concepts of political theology, that is, the sovereignty of God: God is the master (rabb) and the king (malik) of the universe.

3. I will use the term imamate to denote, mostly, the political structure embodied in the person of the caliph without implying the abstract notion of state as we use it today. 4. Ahmad b. Yahya b. al-Murtada, al-Qala’id fi tashih al- aqa’id, ed. Albert Nasri Nader (Beirut, 1985), 141: “A query: the majority: it [the imamate] is required by religious law (tajibu shar an). ” 5. For a brief treatment of the subject and references, see Hayrettin Yücesoy, Tatawwur al-fikr al-siyasi inda ahl al-sunna: fatrat al-takwin (Amman, 1993), 131–133.

82 Moreover, not having a ruler does not serve a practical benefit as people expect predictability and harmony rather than unpredictability and dissension. ” Left alone, al-Iji argues, Bedouins will hardly give into laws and respect customs, and act according to religious commands. ”83 Al-Iji also dismisses the argument about the difficulty of having access to the ruler. He distinguishes between reaching the ruler personally and benefiting from his rule and laws. 84 Al-Iji also does not insist on appointing an imam regardless of conditions.

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