Literature Review Chapter: Islam and Democracy in Malaysia

Pages: 4 (1422 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

Democracy and Islam in Malaysia

In this short essay, the author will examine the issue of democracy and Islam in Malaysia with a topical literature review. To wit, we will consider whether or not democracy and Islam are compatible in a modern society. This will be considered in various different areas. Unfortunately, the results are mixed at best, with Islam heavily overshadowing the Malaysian social fabric, although the tension between Malays and non-Malays is a second important factor.

Western democracy and banking have made their way into Malaysia. In an article by Samal Abdus, his article examines the performance of Bahrain's interest-free Islamic banks and also the interest-based conventional commercial banks in the post war period after the first Gulf War. This with respect to profitability, liquidity risk and credit risks. He used nine financial ratios in the measurement these performances. His paper concludes that there is not a major difference in the performance between Islamic and conventional banks in the areas of profitability and liquidity. However, his study finds that there were significant difference in credit performance (Samad 2004, 1-2).

In an article by Tristan James Mabry, he reviews scholar Ernest Gellner's views upon the development of Western civil society and contrasts this dually with the failed Marxist

experiment and Islamic fundamentalism. Further, he reviews Gellner's views on nationalism and industrialization as the structural catalyst of the modern social orders. For Gellner, Muslim society is unique in how it synchronizes societal culture and Islamic faith. Islam is divided into historical and internal divisions and into High and Low versions as they react to modernity by their generation of a High Muslim culture in as part of a worldwide nation of Islam. It further looks at the contradiction of the Islamic view with which ethnicity over religion in the development of a national identity. Finally, he considers the relationship of Islam to modernization in the rapidly industrializing society of Malaysia is in contrast to Gellner's model (Mabry 1998, 64).

The article by a.B. Shamsul consists of a critique of ethnicity theories that are based upon essentialism which have been adopted by historians in mainstream Malaysian historiographies in their efforts to explain the formation of "Malay-Malayness." He instead proposes that Malay ethnicity is not am innate, but rather a learned or constructed idea. Malay-Malayness has been created due to intersecting historical, social and cultural factors at a singular moment in a culture's life and history. For Shamsul, Malay-Malayness is a constructed a colonial memory and it has been subsequently adopted uncritically by historians in the environment of postcolonial Malaysia by both Malays and non-Malays (Shamsul 2001, 355).

In the study by Aziz and Shamsul, it is pointed out that Islam in Malaysia has gone through a long and complex process that was involved in an interaction with the three major world civilizations (Indian, Chinese and European) and two colonial systems (Dutch and British) during which many aspects of its practices were reconfigured. This paper provides a brief critical survey of the evolution of the said embedization process during which Islam

and the Muslims in Malaysia were moulded by a series of sociological realities, namely plural society, secularism and modernity. This has resulted in the creation of 'moderate' Islam in Malaysia that is quite different from the fundamentalist image of Islam profiled in the contemporary worldwide discourse on global Islam

(Aziz et al. 2004, 341).

In a study by Andrew Harding, the emergence of the Islamic party PAS as a political force in Malaysia, and its demand for an Islamic state has given rise to new debates about the nature of the Islamic state. It has also given rise to debate concerning the possible the article examines the growing the relationship Harding argues that a definition of 'Islamic state' is impossible. He goes on to outline the positive He that concludes that, while a peaceful solution to the problem of Islam and constitutionalism is by no means impossible such a solution is fraught with both political difficulty and intellectual confusion (Harding 2002, 154 -- 155)

In a study by Muhammad Syukryi Salleh, the Malaysian Pan-Islamic Party (PAS) -led government from Without political power, PAS believes, not only an establishment of an Islamic State is impossible, but the execution of the laws of Allah… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Literature Review Chapter:

APA Format

Islam and Democracy in Malaysia.  (2012, February 27).  Retrieved September 20, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Islam and Democracy in Malaysia."  27 February 2012.  Web.  20 September 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Islam and Democracy in Malaysia."  February 27, 2012.  Accessed September 20, 2019.