28east

Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

State theory in Islam

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An excerpt from Şerif Mardin‘s Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought, p. 302:

All considered, Namık Kemal’s political system is based on a peculiar idea of the state as a rather amorphous entity, but some of the peculiarity of this approach vanishes when its origins are investigated. The Islamic roots of this attitude can be stated as follows: Nothing in the Koran indicates that a state is to be formed which has been granted the right to protect itself or foster its own growth qua state, i.e., without reference to the individuals who make it up. One of the things that never permeated Islam was a real theory of the state. This is the meaning of Namık Kemal’s use of the term “community” when European writers would have used the term “state.”

And from Ahmet Davutoğlu’s Alternative Paradigms, p. 192:

The philosophical foundations of the Hegelian nation-state were absolutely alien to Madinan political imagination because it is impossible to mention the existence of a transcendental and abstract understanding of state which is independent from the existence of the society and superior to it in this first political society in Islamic history. Institutionalization of power was assumed as a political instrument to realize the ethical and social ideals of the belief system. Hence, political mechanisms to control individuals and society on behalf of the state could not emerge and exist within the framework and environment of this political mentality.

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Written by M. James

March 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm

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