4What is Islam? Is Islam really a unitary concept? The areas where people who follow the Islamic religion live are far apart and have different cultures and culturesIn what sense can religious identity be said to be more important than class, gender, nation, culture or history, especially when discussing a political system?
55 Pillars of IslamShahada: there is no God but God and Mohammed is his ProphetSalat: prayer to be performed 5 times a dayZakat: the giving of almsSawm: fasting during RamadanHajj: pilgrimage to MeccaBut what about Jihad?
6Islam and politicsIs it true that there is no separation between religion and politics in Islam?What is the role of the shari’a?And what is the shari’a?Is it laws derived from the Koran?Or is it the body of laws developed over time by Muslim jurists/sages?Shari’a fairly limted in scope: personal status, inheritance and some types of taxationWhat is the status of laws that cannot be referred back to the Koran?
7Different types of Islam Sunni: associated with the Caliphs and the Ummayad dynasty. Majority of MuslimsShia: followers of Ali. Minority of MuslimsKharjites. Early fundamentalistsAhmadiya/Qadia not regarded by other Muslims as Muslim. ModernAlawi in disputeDruze likewiseIsmailiNation of Islam US group FarakhanSalafySufi: mysticsWahhabi first modern fundamentalists
8Some important historical dates 571 birth of Mohammed [the Prophet]622 the Hegira632 death of the Prophet. Creation of the Caliphate [khalif=successor]Koran produced under second and thir Caliphs656 Ali became Caliph. Ummayad rebellion. Split into Sunni and Shia branches
9More important historical dates Abbasid dynasty Umayyads fled to Spain1258 Mongols captured Baghdad. Abbasids fled to EgyptOttomans captured Egypt 1517 and held caliphate as sultans until abolished 1924With dismembering of Turkish/Ottoman Empire, today’s “states” emerge
10Some contemporary significant dates Soviet “liberation” of AfghanistanIranian revolutionHamah uprising and massacre in Syria 1982Assassination of Sadat 1981FIS electoral success in Algeria then covil warAttack on World Trade Centre 1992 and 2001
11Western perceptionsTendency to think of Islam as a phenomenon of the Middle East. Untrue Indonesia largest Islamic state by population, followed by Pakistan and, surprisingly, IndiaTendency to think of Islam as violent religion: assassains and terrorismSince feminism, position of women unacceptableIslam is somehow “international” in character [Al Qaeda is everywhere!]
12“Islamism”To distinguish between Muslims and violent sectarians the term “islamist” has been coinedThis is regarded as a totalitarian ideology by many commentatorsIslamists are concerned about social differences and povertyThey feel their culture is under threat from the WestThey wish to recreate the Golden Age, but without rejecting modern technologyIran and Sudan the type states
13More on IslamistsImportant movements in Jordan [where they are the majority party], Algeria, [where the military expelled them from government]Began by calling for return to the Sharia, but have had to make ideas more concrete and modern.Like market-oriented social democrats, but Old Labour in their attitudes to women. Definitely not “New Men”“Islam reformulated as a modern ideology” Middle East Quarterly debateUrban dwellers, not tribalists
14Rise of Islamist Movements Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt early in 20th Century the firstOthers emerge in the 1970sAre they primarily religious?Or primarily social or protest movements?Or as Ulam suggests of Marxism-Leninism, ways of coping with rapid industrialistaion and modernisation?
15InstitutionsCaliphate. First four “the Patriarchs” –direct followers of Mohammed himself. Then the Ummayad dynastyTribesImam: spiritual leader originally Ali and his successorsEmirs: local governors who usurped the secular authority of the caliphs from the fall of the Abbasids in the 12th century.
16Government of Saudi Arabia Chief of State and Head of Government: the monarchCrown Prince, Deputy PM and Heir apparent chosen by the monarchCouncil of Ministers appointed by MonarchLegislature: 90 member consultative council and chair[man] appointed by monarchConstitution based on Shari’a and basic law of 1993
17Government of IranHead of state: Leader of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Khamenei, appointed for life by Assembly of ExpertsPresident elected for four-year term by universal suffrage: KhatamiLegislature: 290 seat Islamic Consultative assembly [elected]Guardian Council [responsible for ensuring all laws and practices are in accordance with Islam
18Government of SudanGovt an alliance of the military and the National Congress Party [formerly the national islamic Front]Chief of State and Head of Govt. Lt. Gen BashirMajority of Cabinet from NCPLegislature: 270 popularly elected, 90 appointed. Elections widely regarded as rigged