Presentation on theme: "Other traditions Islamic systems. What is Islam? Is Islam really a unitary concept? The areas where people who follow the Islamic religion live are far."— Presentation transcript:
What 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 cultures In what sense can religious identity be said to be more important than class, gender, nation, culture or history, especially when discussing a political system?
5 Pillars of Islam Shahada: there is no God but God and Mohammed is his Prophet Salat: prayer to be performed 5 times a day Zakat: the giving of alms Sawm: fasting during Ramadan Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca But what about Jihad?
Islam and politics Is 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 taxation What is the status of laws that cannot be referred back to the Koran?
Different types of Islam Sunni: associated with the Caliphs and the Ummayad dynasty. Majority of Muslims Shia: followers of Ali. Minority of Muslims Kharjites. Early fundamentalists Ahmadiya/Qadia not regarded by other Muslims as Muslim. Modern Alawi in dispute Druze likewise Ismaili Nation of Islam US group Farakhan Salafy Sufi: mystics Wahhabi first modern fundamentalists
Some important historical dates 571 birth of Mohammed [the Prophet] 622 the Hegira 632 death of the Prophet. Creation of the Caliphate [khalif=successor] Koran produced under second and thir Caliphs 634-656 656 Ali became Caliph. Ummayad rebellion. Split into Sunni and Shia branches
More important historical dates Abbasid dynasty 758-1258. Umayyads fled to Spain 1258 Mongols captured Baghdad. Abbasids fled to Egypt Ottomans captured Egypt 1517 and held caliphate as sultans until abolished 1924 With dismembering of Turkish/Ottoman Empire, today’s “states” emerge
Some contemporary significant dates Soviet “liberation” of Afghanistan Iranian revolution 1978-9 Hamah uprising and massacre in Syria 1982 Assassination of Sadat 1981 FIS electoral success in Algeria 1990-91 then covil war Attack on World Trade Centre 1992 and 2001
Western perceptions Tendency to think of Islam as a phenomenon of the Middle East. Untrue Indonesia largest Islamic state by population, followed by Pakistan and, surprisingly, India Tendency to think of Islam as violent religion: assassains and terrorism Since feminism, position of women unacceptable Islam is somehow “international” in character [Al Qaeda is everywhere!]
“Islamism” To distinguish between Muslims and violent sectarians the term “islamist” has been coined This is regarded as a totalitarian ideology by many commentators Islamists are concerned about social differences and poverty They feel their culture is under threat from the West They wish to recreate the Golden Age, but without rejecting modern technology Iran and Sudan the type states
More on Islamists Important 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 debate Urban dwellers, not tribalists
Rise of Islamist Movements Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt early in 20 th Century the first Others emerge in the 1970s Are they primarily religious? Or primarily social or protest movements? Or as Ulam suggests of Marxism- Leninism, ways of coping with rapid industrialistaion and modernisation?
Institutions Caliphate. First four “the Patriarchs” – direct followers of Mohammed himself. Then the Ummayad dynasty Tribes Imam: spiritual leader originally Ali and his successors Emirs: local governors who usurped the secular authority of the caliphs from the fall of the Abbasids in the 12 th century.
Government of Saudi Arabia Chief of State and Head of Government: the monarch Crown Prince, Deputy PM and Heir apparent chosen by the monarch Council of Ministers appointed by Monarch Legislature: 90 member consultative council and chair[man] appointed by monarch Constitution based on Shari’a and basic law of 1993
Government of Iran Head of state: Leader of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Khamenei, appointed for life by Assembly of Experts President elected for four-year term by universal suffrage: Khatami Legislature: 290 seat Islamic Consultative assembly [elected] Guardian Council [responsible for ensuring all laws and practices are in accordance with Islam
Government of Sudan Govt an alliance of the military and the National Congress Party [formerly the national islamic Front] Chief of State and Head of Govt. Lt. Gen Bashir Majority of Cabinet from NCP Legislature: 270 popularly elected, 90 appointed. Elections widely regarded as rigged