Guide State in Islam

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Edited by John L. Esposito and Emad El-Din Shahin

  1. The Islamic State
  2. Mehdi Hasan: How Islamic is Islamic State?
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Written by: Ahmet T. In both academia and the media, a well-known perception is that Christianity essentially embraces religion-state separation whereas Islam essentially rejects it. Defenders of this perception provide some textual evidences.

The Islamic State

Religion is a foundation and the royal authority is a guard. Anything that has no foundation collapses and that has no guard perishes. My new book, I slam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison analyzes how during and after the eleventh century this famous Sasanian maxim about religion-state brotherhood was falsely attributed to Prophet Muhammad.

More importantly, the book emphasizes the existence of a certain level of separation between religious and political authorities in the Muslim world between the eight and eleventh centuries.

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The early ulema Islamic scholars attached importance to their financial independence from state authorities. They generally regarded close entanglements with state authorities as corrupting; thus most early ulema preferred to be funded by commerce. The founders of four main Sunni schools of jurisprudence and early Shia leaders were independent scholars, who refused to be state servants.

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They faced political persecution because of this enduring refusal. Thus, the alliance between the ulema and the state was not an essential part of Islam; instead, it was constructed during and after the eleventh century. In fact, religion-state relations in the history of Western Christianity were also too complex to be explained by a single Biblical phrase.

Interestingly, developments in the eleventh century also shaped the historical construction of church-state separation in Western Christianity. It is also extended to modern cases. The book reveals that 22 out of 49 Muslim-majority countries have constitutionally secular states today. Despite the historical and contemporary data showing the existence of certain levels of religion-state separation in the Muslim world, the perception of Islam as rejecting such separation has remained very influential for two main reasons.

John O.

Why is Islamic State group so violent? BBC News

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Mehdi Hasan: How Islamic is Islamic State?

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