RSSВсі записи з позначкою: "Sayyid Qutb"

Liberal Democracy and Political Islam: the Search for Common Ground.

Mostapha Benhenda

This paper seeks to establish a dialogue between democratic and Islamic political theories.1 The interplay between them is puzzling: for example, in order to explain the relationship existing between democracy and their conception of the ideal Islamic political
regime, the Pakistani scholar Abu ‘Ala Maududi coined the neologism “theodemocracy” whereas the French scholar Louis Massignon suggested the oxymoron “secular theocracy”. These expressions suggest that some aspects of democracy are evaluated positively and others are judged negatively. For example, Muslim scholars and activists often endorse the principle of accountability of rulers, which is a defining feature of democracy. On the contrary, they often reject the principle of separation between religion and the state, which is often considered to be part of democracy (at least, of democracy as known in the United States today). Given this mixed assessment of democratic principles, it seems interesting to determine the conception of democracy underlying Islamic political models. In other words, we should try to find out what is democratic in “theodemocracy”. To that end, among the impressive diversity and plurality of Islamic traditions of normative political thought, we essentially focus on the broad current of thought going back to Abu ‘Ala Maududi and the Egyptian intellectual Sayyed Qutb.8 This particular trend of thought is interesting because in the Muslim world, it lies at the basis of some of the most challenging oppositions to the diffusion of the values originating from the West. Based on religious values, this trend elaborated a political model alternative to liberal democracy. Broadly speaking, the conception of democracy included in this Islamic political model is procedural. With some differences, this conception is inspired by democratic theories advocated by some constitutionalists and political scientists.10 It is thin and minimalist, up to a certain point. For example, it does not rely on any notion of popular sovereignty and it does not require any separation between religion and politics. The first aim of this paper is to elaborate this minimalist conception. We make a detailed restatement of it in order to isolate this conception from its moral (liberal) foundations, which are controversial from the particular Islamic viewpoint considered here. Indeed, the democratic process is usually derived from a principle of personal autonomy, which is not endorsed by these Islamic theories.11 Here, we show that such principle is not necessary to justify a democratic process.

Islam and Islamism in Afghanistan

Kristin Mendoza

The last half-century in particular has seen the recurrent use of religious Islam as

ideology, often referred to as political Islam or Islamism, in groups espousing the

establishment of an Islamic state. Attention was drawn to Afghanistan when it became

the rallying point for Islamists in the 1980s. However, the earlier appearance of an

Islamist movement in Afghanistan in the 1960s and its subsequent development offer an

instructive, unique lesson in understanding Islam and Islamism in Afghan society.

This overview of the Islamist movement in Afghanistan is divided into three

parts: It begins by defining the differing manifestations of Islam in Afghanistan,

indicating how Islamism differs from or draws upon each manifestation in constructing

its own vision. Then, the broader context of Islamism elsewhere in the Muslim world is

discussed and analyzed. Although the theoretical basis for Islamism was constructed in

the 1960s by Abu ‘Ala Mawdudi in Pakistan and Sayyid Qutb in Egypt, this paper will

show that the Islamist movement in Afghanistan did not mirror those in either of these

countries. To this end, this paper reviews the thought of the above-mentioned

theoreticians of Islamism, and outlines historical and social conditions that colored the

implementation of their models in their respective countries. This leads back to a

discussion of the Afghan context, which makes up the final part of the paper. It is

necessary to review salient aspects of the traditional structure of Afghan society, and the

role Islam has historically played in Afghanistan to understand how the Islamist

experience was shaped and constrained by this structure, as well as how the Islamist

experience has altered it.
As Afghanistan is now faced with the monumental task of rebuilding a state and

legal system, Islamists are attempting to influence the reconstruction. This overview will

underscore for those observing and participating in this process the importance of

understanding the Afghan Islamist perspective, its historical underpinnings, and current

demands.


In the Shadow of an Arab Caesar: Sayyid Qutb and the Radicalization of Modern Islamic Fundamentalism

Research

“We are the umma of the believers, living within a jahili society. As a community of believers we should see ourselves in a state of war with the state and the society. The territory we dwell in is the House of War.”1 These were the words of Sayyid Qutb in an Egyptian military court in April, 1966 before he and two of his companions were sentenced to death by hanging. The offense; conspiring against the government and plotting its overthrow, the evidence used by the state prosecutors in the trial, besides ‘confessions,’ a book, Qutb’s final piece of literature, Ma‘alim fi al-Turuq, Signposts.2 This study does not set out to be a thorough analysis of the political and religious ideology of Sayyid Qutb. Rather it is an attempt to identify the political and social climate in Egypt as the primary motivation which led to the development of Qutb’s radical interpretations of Islam. Notions of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism dominated the political discourse of Qutb’s Egypt and hearts and minds were enraptured by promises of its populist leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser. This chapter in Arab history from the early 1950’s until the late 1960’s is etched in historical memory as the era of pan-Arabism. However, it was also a vital period in the evolution of fundamentalist Islam into its more radical form which first expressed itself in the 1970’s and is until today at the base of radical fundamentalist Islamic thought worldwide. This piece will
demonstrate the principal role played by Sayyid Qutb in this transformation and reveal that radical interpretations of Islam were given impetus to develop in Egypt during this period due to the nature of Nasser’s regime

The Muslim Brotherhood

Barbara H.E. Zollner

The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the most infl uential Islamist organisations inthe world today. Based in Egypt, its network includes branches in many countriesof the Near and Middle East. Although the organisation has been linked to politicalviolence in the past, it now proposes a politically moderate ideology.This book provides an in-depth analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood duringthe years of al-Hudaybi’s leadership, and how he sought to steer the organisationaway from the radical wing, inspired by Sayyid Qutb, into the more moderateIslamist organisation it is today. It is his legacy which eventually fostered thedevelopment of non-violent political ideas.During the years of persecution, 1954 to 1971, radical and moderate Islamistideas emerged within the Brotherhood’s midst. Sayyid Qutb’s ideas inspired aradical wing evolved which subsequently fed into radical Islamist networks aswe know them today. Yet, it was during the same period that al-Hudaybi and hisfollowers proposed a moderate political interpretation, which was adopted by theBrotherhood and which forms its ideological basis today.

Islamic Movements and the Use of Violence:

Esen Kirdis

.


Despite recent academic and popular focus on violent transnational Islamic terrorist networks,there is a multiplicity of Islamic movements. This multiplicity presents scholars with two puzzles. The first puzzle is understanding why domestic-oriented Islamic movements that were formed as a reaction to the establishment of secular nation-states shifted their activities and targets onto a multi-layered transnational space. The second puzzle is understanding why groups with similar aims and targets adopt different strategies of using violence or nonviolence when they “go transnational.” The two main questions that this paper will address are: Why do Islamic movements go transnational? And, why do they take on different forms when they transnationalize? First, I argue that the transnational level presents a new political venue for Islamic movements which are limited in their claim making at the domestic level. Second, I argue that transnationalization creates uncertainty for groups about their identity and claims at the transnational level. The medium adopted, i.e. use of violence versus non-violence, is dependent on type of transnationalization, the actors encounter at the transnational level, and leadership’s interpretations on where the movement should go next. To answer my questions, I will look at four cases: (1) Turkish Islam, (2) the Muslim Brotherhood, (3) Jemaah Islamiyah, and (4) Tablighi Jamaat