Is the government Countries with an Non-Islamic elected by Islamic majority countries democratic means?
Yes 11 110 No 36 35 Total 47 145 (Adapted from Hague and Harrop, 2004: 62)
The increasing level of interest towards democracy within the Muslim world is growing dramatically. People are no longer willing to support dictatorships. `... Muslims have recognized that democratic revolution may be the only way to deliver them from the hands of the dictators and despots that rule their states.` (Milton-Edwards, 2004: 116) Nevertheless the incompatibility of Islam with the notions of liberal democracy has been stressed by many scholars, although it is strongly argued by the majority that Islam and democracy can co-exist and allow the societies to prosper. This essay will try to analyze the complex relationship between Islam and democracy. The essay will identify trends within Islam that can be related towards democratic governance, as well as trends that underline Islam's irreconcilability with the liberal values of democracy. Also, some of the views of the Islamic intellectuals within the Muslim community and their relationship to the processes and experiences of democratization will be analyzed.
Islam and Democracy.
`In Islamic history, there are a number of very important concepts and images that shape the contemporary visions of what a just human society should be.` (Esposito and Voll, 1996: 23) However, the interpretations of such concepts and images vary and there are some considerable discrepancies about the definition of a just society in the Muslim countries. Just like in Christianity, the various elucidations of Islamic customs can lead to the support for authoritarianism as well as liberal democracy. This essay will try to analyse the relationship from both perspectives. First some concepts that clearly challenge democracy will be identified. In this context Abu al-Ala al-Mawdudi stated that the `political system of Islam has been based in three principles, viz: Tawheed (Unity of God), Risalat (Prophethood) and Khilafat (Caliphate).` (Mawdudi, 1967: 40) While Risalat is not particularly important to...