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Other traditions. Islamic systems. What is Islam?. Is Islam really a unitary concept? The areas where people who follow the Islamic religion live are far apart and have different cultures and histories. What is Islam?. Is Islam really a unitary concept?

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other traditions

Other traditions

Islamic systems

what is islam
What is Islam?
  • Is Islam really a unitary concept?
  • The areas where people who follow the Islamic religion live are far apart and have different cultures and histories
what is islam1
What is Islam?
  • Is Islam really a unitary concept?
  • The areas where people who follow the Islamic religion live are far apart and have different cultures and cultures
  • In what sense can religious identity be said to be more important than class, gender, nation, culture or history, especially when discussing a political system?
5 pillars of islam
5 Pillars of Islam
  • Shahada: there is no God but God and Mohammed is his Prophet
  • Salat: prayer to be performed 5 times a day
  • Zakat: the giving of alms
  • Sawm: fasting during Ramadan
  • Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca
  • But what about Jihad?
islam and politics
Islam and politics
  • Is it true that there is no separation between religion and politics in Islam?
  • What is the role of the shari’a?
  • And what is the shari’a?
  • Is it laws derived from the Koran?
  • Or is it the body of laws developed over time by Muslim jurists/sages?
  • Shari’a fairly limted in scope: personal status, inheritance and some types of taxation
  • What is the status of laws that cannot be referred back to the Koran?
different types of islam
Different types of Islam
  • Sunni: associated with the Caliphs and the Ummayad dynasty. Majority of Muslims
  • Shia: followers of Ali. Minority of Muslims
  • Kharjites. Early fundamentalists
  • Ahmadiya/Qadia not regarded by other Muslims as Muslim. Modern
  • Alawi in dispute
  • Druze likewise
  • Ismaili
  • Nation of Islam US group Farakhan
  • Salafy
  • Sufi: mystics
  • Wahhabi first modern fundamentalists
some important historical dates
Some important historical dates
  • 571 birth of Mohammed [the Prophet]
  • 622 the Hegira
  • 632 death of the Prophet. Creation of the Caliphate [khalif=successor]
  • Koran produced under second and thir Caliphs 634-656
  • 656 Ali became Caliph. Ummayad rebellion. Split into Sunni and Shia branches
more important historical dates
More important historical dates

Abbasid dynasty 758-1258. Umayyads fled to Spain

1258 Mongols captured Baghdad. Abbasids fled to Egypt

Ottomans captured Egypt 1517 and held caliphate as sultans until abolished 1924

With dismembering of Turkish/Ottoman Empire, today’s “states” emerge

some contemporary significant dates
Some contemporary significant dates
  • Soviet “liberation” of Afghanistan
  • Iranian revolution 1978-9
  • Hamah uprising and massacre in Syria 1982
  • Assassination of Sadat 1981
  • FIS electoral success in Algeria 1990-91 then covil war
  • Attack on World Trade Centre 1992 and 2001
western perceptions
Western perceptions
  • Tendency to think of Islam as a phenomenon of the Middle East. Untrue Indonesia largest Islamic state by population, followed by Pakistan and, surprisingly, India
  • Tendency to think of Islam as violent religion: assassains and terrorism
  • Since feminism, position of women unacceptable
  • Islam is somehow “international” in character [Al Qaeda is everywhere!]
islamism
“Islamism”
  • To distinguish between Muslims and violent sectarians the term “islamist” has been coined
  • This is regarded as a totalitarian ideology by many commentators
  • Islamists are concerned about social differences and poverty
  • They feel their culture is under threat from the West
  • They wish to recreate the Golden Age, but without rejecting modern technology
  • Iran and Sudan the type states
more on islamists
More on Islamists
  • Important movements in Jordan [where they are the majority party], Algeria, [where the military expelled them from government]
  • Began by calling for return to the Sharia, but have had to make ideas more concrete and modern.
  • Like market-oriented social democrats, but Old Labour in their attitudes to women. Definitely not “New Men”
  • “Islam reformulated as a modern ideology” Middle East Quarterly debate
  • Urban dwellers, not tribalists
rise of islamist movements
Rise of Islamist Movements
  • Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt early in 20th Century the first
  • Others emerge in the 1970s
  • Are they primarily religious?
  • Or primarily social or protest movements?
  • Or as Ulam suggests of Marxism-Leninism, ways of coping with rapid industrialistaion and modernisation?
institutions
Institutions
  • Caliphate. First four “the Patriarchs” –direct followers of Mohammed himself. Then the Ummayad dynasty
  • Tribes
  • Imam: spiritual leader originally Ali and his successors
  • Emirs: local governors who usurped the secular authority of the caliphs from the fall of the Abbasids in the 12th century.
government of saudi arabia
Government of Saudi Arabia
  • Chief of State and Head of Government: the monarch
  • Crown Prince, Deputy PM and Heir apparent chosen by the monarch
  • Council of Ministers appointed by Monarch
  • Legislature: 90 member consultative council and chair[man] appointed by monarch
  • Constitution based on Shari’a and basic law of 1993
government of iran
Government of Iran
  • Head of state: Leader of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Khamenei, appointed for life by Assembly of Experts
  • President elected for four-year term by universal suffrage: Khatami
  • Legislature: 290 seat Islamic Consultative assembly [elected]
  • Guardian Council [responsible for ensuring all laws and practices are in accordance with Islam
government of sudan
Government of Sudan
  • Govt an alliance of the military and the National Congress Party [formerly the national islamic Front]
  • Chief of State and Head of Govt. Lt. Gen Bashir
  • Majority of Cabinet from NCP
  • Legislature: 270 popularly elected, 90 appointed. Elections widely regarded as rigged