Thursday, October 15

Review on: Modern Islamic Political Thought By: Hamid Enayat (Ali Abd Raziq Political View)

In this study, the late Hamid Enayat has described the modern mutations of Islamic political thought summarizing representative texts for the student and general reader. The abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924 is the author's point of departure for a discussion of the rivalry between concepts of a Muslim state, and Muslim responses to the imported principles of nationalism, democracy and socialism. Especially his lengty explanation that he was trying to minimize the different view between sunni dan shi'i, specifically Shi'i modernism and Shi'i-Sunni reconciliation. We are again in the familiar discussion of Rashid Rida. Ali Abd al-Raziq, Muhammad al-Ghazali, Mustafa al-Siba'i, Sayyid Qutb, Mawdudi and Shari'ati. As a descriptive survey, Modern Islamic Political Thought is of great value, and doubtless will win deserved recognition in the classroom.

Enayat conveys, his personal conviction that this battered modernism is not a spent force, that a balance can yet be struck between authenticity and accommodation. To buttress this belief, Enayat feels obliged to shield the icons from the iconoclasts. Characteristic is his lengthy defense of Ali Abd al-Raziq's al-Islam wa usul al-hukm. This book, published in Egypt shortly after the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate, argued the controversial view that the caliphate was not immanent in Islam, and made a case for the separation of religion and politics. Enayat goes to great lengths to establish that the work was a step toward 'a new Sunni consensus on the relationship between Islam and the modern state', but was “misunderstood' and so evoked a 'regrettable' assault by the Azhar establishment. He passes in silence over the work of political historians who suggest that the book was written to thwart a scheme of the Egyptian royal house to claim the caliphate, and was regarded by contemporaries not as a theoretical inquiry but as a partisan tract.

Ali Abd Al Raziq

In 1925 Shaikh Ali Abd Raziq 1888-1966 published a response to Rida: Islam and the bases of Government (Al Islam wa Ushul al-Hukm). Its appearance set the tone for spreading political debate in Egypt, the Arab world and Islam as whole. Abd Raziq was also a deciple of Abduh, but he had studied at Oxford. He was unlike Rida, a senior member of al Azhar University, an authoritative of Sunni Learning.

Unlike Abd Raziq, Rida could not be accused of having denied the canonical origin of the Caliphate or having pleaded the separation of religion and politics in Islam, he had after all demonstrated by paying attention to some of the practical obstacle in the restoration of caliphate in its traditional form, where after identifying these obstacles he had arrived at the conclusion which not very far from that reach by the Turks and Abd Raziq.

Rida sometime mention the term amirate, governorship, Islamic caliphate, govt of caliphate leads into many ambiguities and make his ideas was assault under two vital issues: the principle of popular sovereignty and the possibility of man-made laws.

Ali Abd Raziq main argument :
  • His central argument was caliphate has no basis either in the Qur’an or the Tradition or the consensus. Qur’an says; We have neglected nothing in the Book (6:38). All verses which are commonly supposed to sanction the Caliphate do in fact, they merely enjoin the Muslim to obey God, the Prophet and Holders of the Authority. The later were interpreted but sunni writers to means the Caliph, but this also leads into different opinions, in which according to Baydawi it means ‘the Muslim contemporaries of the prophet’, Zamakhsari ‘The Ulama’ Tradition; The imams (should be) from the Quraish’ or ‘he who dies and has no obligation of allegiance (to the Imam) dies in the death of ignorance’ even these hadist are proved to be authentic they do not prove that Caliphate is a religious doctrine. Consensus, no consensus as to whether in the form of agreement of the Prophet’s Companion and their followers or that the ulama or the entire Muslim community has never playing role in installing the Caliph except in the first four. The Caliphate has always been established by force and maintained by oppression. Although for Ulema consider that the establishment of Caliphate based on ‘the consensus of silence’ (ijma’ sukuti) but he said that consensus in this sense can never be used to deduce religious proof and canonical rule. Especially at a time when that institution was completely discredited.
  • Related question as reaction to his idea was, what would be the necessity of the creation of Islamic government.Abd Raziq admitted that the creation of government has in fact been envisaged in the Qur’an as essential instrument to administer the affairs of Muslim and protect their interest. As God says that he has elevated certain individuals above others (43;32) or when He order the Prophet to adjudicate among people according to the Book and not to follow individual vagaries (5:48), he proclaim that the necessity of government but that does not mean that government is a fundamental principle of religion. The act of Prophet as administer of state was not directly related to his Prophetic mission, similarly Jihad cannot be considered as function of prophecy, as Raziq further said that God has instructed Muslim to propagate their religion only through peaceful persuasion and preaching, here Jihad is not for the sake of disseminating the religious call but for the sake of state (kingdom, mulk) and toward consolidating Islamic polity.
  • Separation of religious affairs from political affairs, therefore the entire Prophet’s political act should be explained in term of the requirements of maintaining an emerging state. Religion..neither commands nor forbid (such things), leave them to us so that in respect of them we have recourse to the laws of reason, the experience of nations and the rules of politics. Muslim has absolute freedom to organize the state in accordance with existing intellectual, social and economic condition.

Western readers may be consider the similarity between what Abd Raziq was saying here and the usual Christian view of religion and politics. The kind of leadership he attributed to the Prophet resembled the kind which Christian theologian usually attribute to Christ. The restriction of the scope of revelation and the extension of the role of reason, were exactly the sort of moves made by Thomas Aquinas for Christianity in the thirteen century.

Thus, we may say, the needs of modern states seemed to make separation between politics and religion more imperative than ever. The challenges of European science and material development, the tremors these shaken the muslim thought across the Islamic world, were forcing people to reconsider their fundamental perspectives. Most politicians in the Islamic world in the twentieth century have certainly conducted their affairs as if politics were separate from religion. But no one had previously said this in so many words, still less that the Prophet was not a political leader. Traditional jurisprudence, notably in al Mawardi and Ibn Taymiya, vigorously proclaimed the unity between the religious and the political, and this was the stuff of rhetoric.

Abd Raziq’s book was in a sense a justification of the Turkish Revolution, defending the Turkish National Assembly’s approach to the separation of religion and political authority, and the secular origin of caliphate. He argue on the basis of Islamic text that Muhammad did not set out to establish a state and that Islam did not lay down any particular political system. Abd al Raziq’s reply to Rida was that ‘Islam has nothing to do with the caliphate as the Muslim understand it’. The rules which the prophet did lay down concerned only such things as prayer and fasting, and they were in fact rules appropriate for his particular culture, he took the modernist argument –that the social norms of the sharia could be changed because they derived from specific historical circumstances- an important stage further.

The caliphate itself was the product of history, an institution of human rather than divine origin, a contemporary convenience and therefore a purely political office with no religious meaning or function. The universality of Islam lay not in its political structure but in its faith and religious guidance. Abd Raziq’s aim was nonetheless, like that all modernist and most reformers, to enable Islamic countries to develop politically so that they could compete with other nation on equal term.

  • Political authority and government however indispensable for implementing Islamic ideals, do not belong to the essence of Islam and specifically do not constitute any of its canonical principle.
  • Second, Islam if properly understood, leave the Muslim free to choose whatever form of government they find suitable to ensure their welfare, is wrong so far to associate politics primarily with the Caliphate and then with the despotic regime that have ruled the Muslim throughout history.


  1. Wuih update yaa.....!!

    It all started from their inconsistency politic. Caliphate could happen if.. and ifonly : they run a such consistent politic and supported by majority of their people.
    Actually world political order has changed, of course we can't impose a particular political desires without effort to give understanding to all people. Very naive...

    Sorry lek gak nyambung hihihi....

  2. Halah pertamax tho aku...??? Hahahaha.... yang punya lg sibuk bertani ya? xixixixi....

  3. Wah bhsnya bhs inglis nih.

    Apa kabar mom?

  4. Datang aja dulu,..ntar setor muka dulu hehe,..

  5. hmm iya.. kalifah itu bikinan siapa dan untuk siapa sebenere juga sudah jelas, tapi kek gitu kok ya laku ya..

  6. absen dulu aja...met malem bunda.

  7. nyepam dulu...nanti baca2 lagih kesini.

  8. iyah nih update ga kira2 ,,,udah temanya berat masih ditulis dalam inggris maneh..., njuk kepiye jal??
    wes, akh nice post aja deh, ^nyerah^

  9. hehe, udah kebanyakan dengerin kuliah professor jadi gini nich postingannya...wahh! keep enjoy ya say...semoga cepet kelar dech :)


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