Islam and Politics Term Paper

Pages: 6 (2281 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Islam and Politics

The Islamic states have yet to develop and adjust to the realities of today in order to be considered democratic states. The leadership of such countries does not truly respect the human rights considered essential nor grants the inhabitants the right to participate in the political process.

Bernard Lewis and Robin Wright, at the Johns Hopkins University, wrote in 1996 an essay called "Islam and Liberal Democracy: Recognizing Pluralism." In their paper they explain their belief regarding the status of locals in the political process. According to them, most Muslims live their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Qur'an, as they believe the Book to be God's final message to humanity. Therefore, most Islamists try to live their lives by the Book, just how their predecessors have, and take less interest in the country's ruling, or the any modern elements of today's world, for that matter.

Even from early times, Muslim countries have faced severe leadership problems. In the beginnings, ruling of the state was performed by "tribal" politics (source quoted before), only to encounter afterwards other difficulties: the impossibility of forming a constitutional and representative governance nor any democratic structures.

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According to historians, Muslims never participated in choosing their leader, nor were they allowed to be represented in the government. The people seldom raised against those in seek of power and recognition, and just stood by and watched what was happening to them and how leadership was being changed without their involvement.

Lewis and Wright believe that "This political passivity has its roots in religious teachings, and has gone far to perpetuate the tradition of authoritarian government in the Islamic world "- just as a wife must be obedient of her husband, the men must be obedient to his leader. Considering the teachings of the Qur'an and the important role religion plays to Muslims, leadership turned them into an advantage and encouraged people's passivity.

Term Paper on Islam and Politics Assignment

Several critics have shown their discontent towards the way in which the Holly Book was interpreted and its messages changed to benefit the rulers. However interesting and founded these accusations, they were met with the people's indifference.

Opinions on this matter are very controversial, but the most widely spread one belongs to Sayyid Qutb, the theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood (executed by the Egyptian government in 1966). He believed that the Muslim states and inhabitants' lives are ruled, above all, by the Qur'an, the Holly Book being the basis for everything in a Muslim's life. The Qur'an promotes ideas of freedom, equality and pace, therefore, no other legal or governmental organizations are necessary, as Islamists guide their behavior in accordance with the teachings of the Book, based on morals and humanity. Starting from this premise, a good Muslim does not break the law, nor does he show cruelty to other beings.

To Muslims, religion is the core element of their existence, their lives revolve around the teachings in prophet Muhammad's book and the only law they know is Allah's law. They tend to neglect the realities of today's world and even disregard the simple facts of leadership, human rights or political process. The few who have tried to rise above this condition have ended up tragically. On interpreting the Qur'an, specialists found a passage that mentions punishments for those who change their religion or believes. Leadership used this particular paragraph to install death penalty, as a result the people now believe that raising against the leader is a crime against God and accept what they are being told without further questioning.

I can only conclude that Muslims themselves do not wish to be the inhabitants of a free country and participate in the political process, but instead they prefer to "hide" behind religious believes and let others decide for them. Islamists have chosen to be passive towards what happens to them and their country under several rulings, they have chosen to follow the teachings of the Qur'an above everything and nonetheless, they chose to close their eyes and intellectually die.

Question

Ann Elizabeth Mayer is an acknowledged specialist regarding Islamic issues and the condition of Muslim women. She has thoroughly studied the Qur'an and reached the conclusion that men do not have vital rights over their wives, mothers nor daughters. The verse YUSUFALI 004.034 from the Qur'an states the following: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means: For Allah is Most High, great."

Pickthal and Shakir wrote the same verse, with very slight variations, but the changes only refer to the usage of synonyms, the content of the passages being the same.

Ann Mayer believes that this passage is to be interpreted that men should protect and provide for the women especially because the first have been given more strength by the high Divinity. Moreover, if a woman proves unfaithful or disobedient, the husband should quarrel her, separate from her "leave them alone in the sleeping-places," and only when these do not have a positive result, beat them. This beating referred to in the Qur'an has been widely criticized by non-Muslims, but in defense, Muhammad followers stated that this beating is not a brutal beating, but only a light one, for correctional purposes.

The following passage in the Qur'an, YUSUFALI 004.035 says that "If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation: For Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things." Therefore, no man should decide on his own the fate of his spouse, but request the aid of two members of both their families and decide together what needs to be done. No word to say that the man has the right of life and death over his wife is found in these passages. Moreover, in the Qur'an there are not any actual or specific passages to indicate denigration or harmful treatment towards women.

Some specialists argue regarding the various interpretations and alleged changes made to Islam's Holly Book. For example, regarding chastity and purity, the Qur'an states that both men and women are to guard it, but some pretend that this command is only addressed to women.

In the essay "Status of Women in Islam," Zuleyha Keskin brings to mind some facts regarding the Muslim woman. She noticed that the Qur'an states that "And their Lord has accepted (their prayers) and answered them (saying) 'Never will I cause to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female, you are members, one of another...'" In a simple interpretation, this means that the Qur'an not only accepts, but also promotes equality between men and women. The prophet Muhammad also said that "Righteousness alone is the criterion for one's superiority over another," therefore, Muslim women are not inferior to their spouses.

Another thing Keskin points out is that Islamic women are encouraged to educate themselves, "pursuit of knowledge being "compulsory for every Muslim" (Prophet Muhammad). They can attend lectures in the mosque and ask questions just as men can. Women are free to speak their minds, as shown in several passages of the Qur'an: "God has heard the plea of the woman...," meaning that women are allowed to sustain their points-of-view and to act according to it.

Muslim women have the right to inherit whatever their parents leave them and do not have to share it with the husband, but on the other hand, when the man inherits something, he has to use it to support his family.

The Muslim woman is free to choose the one she wants to marry; she can not be forced into an arranged marriage. The husband must be kind and respectful with his wife and to set an example, the prophet Muhammad himself did some house chores. He said "The best of you are those who are best to your wives."

As simple and fair all these seem, the Muslim woman is yet unhappy. A very touching and emotional article was written in 2005 by Jahanara Begum, called "The Bitter Lament of a Muslim Woman, Allah Amader Kandte Dao!" Allah, Please let us weep in peace!" In this article, the author gives us an insight on the life of a Muslim wife. Covered in vales, constantly pregnant or nursing a small child, humiliated and beaten to death, the Muslim wife's only right is to cry until she has no more tears in her eyes. As sad as this article is, it is sadder that a whole world knows about the injustices an Islamic woman faces, but no one seems willing… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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