Monday, September 3, 2012

Islam Research Paper

Islam Research Paper

1. Introduction 
[Islam] demands loyalty to God, not to thrones. . . . The ultimate spiritual basis of all life, as conceived by Islam is eternal and reveals itself in variety and change. A society based on such a conception of Reality must reconcile, in its life, the categories of permanence and change.

Allameh Mohammad Iqbal Lahori In order to understand whether Islam is compatible with modern Arab world, we should understand primarily current situation is the Arab world and know all its aspects. Aspects of modern Arab world include political, cultural, religious, social and economic issues. We should as well be aware of main principles of Islam and only after putting all the ingredients together it will be possible to make any conclusions about the compatibility of the religion and the modern Arab world. It was historically developed, that each government in world countries needed levers of influence on its people. Religion and its interpretation have also served as a very effective tool.

What does the definition of “modern Arab world” includes? To my opinion it is primarily the state of the society and the political situation in Arab countries. And in this prospect modern means democratic, and therefore it is necessary to investigate in compatibility of Islam and democracy.

Democracy is a Western notion. But it is always important to remember that experience of one country cannot always be applied to the others with different historical background, people and religion.

So, in the paper I would try to explore compatibility of Islam with all aspects of modern Arab world and evaluate its important in all spheres of Arab people lives.

2. Islam and Social Rights 
The resurgence of Islam and the desire for democratization in the Muslim world exist in a dynamic global context. Throughout the world, many peoples express similar desires, making religious resurgence and democratization two of the most important themes in contemporary world affairs. The assertion of special communal identities and the demand for increased popular political participation occur in a complex world environment in which technology reinforces global relationships at the same time that local and national and local cultural identities remain remarkably strong.

Historians argue a lot about the fact that even though the notion of human rights had been very much developed in western counties, it should not be declared that enforcing of human rights should be announced everywhere. Attempts to lessen the importance of Islam perspectives on the topic of human rights, democracy and social justice aiming to generalize experiences of the West and of the East can cause instability of the political and social life in Arab countries and become a threat to the peace in them. I must say that attempts of Arab county leaders to experiment with democratic orders arouses just respect, but it can appear to be very dangerous not to count countries’ history and experience and just follow proposed standards.

In is essential to remember while evaluating that Islam a general way of life, and as a religion it is undividable from the all spheres of everyday life. It is a worldview that cannot be easily changed or reformed during short period of time.

Islamic law contains a lot of codes which govern social relations, foreign affairs and organization. It presumes that what I said to be personal is as well societal, and what is corporate is equally individual.

3. Islam and Democracy
For many in the West, for example, the concept of "Islamic democracy" is anathema. However, this view makes it impossible to understand the appeal and strength of many movements within the Islamic world. Because democracy is in many profound ways an essentially contested concept, it is important to understand the perception of democracy within the movements of the current Islamic resurgence. This understanding is important even for those who view the Islamic resurgence as a threat, because it is important to understand the competing definitions of democracy.

There have been argued already for many years whether Islam and democracy and coexist, whether Islam can be easily followed in political affairs, support governance that is based upon democracy, support sovereignty and pluralism. It is obvious that there are usually two points of view upon this subject. The first I would like to discuss is tat Islam is not compatible with democratic orders that nowadays are inseparably entered and took important place in modern Arab world. Democracy is one of those concepts which are incapable of accurate definition. There is no consensus on any of the definitions given. Even consulting dictionaries is of no real help, because again what we usually find there are arbitrary or stipulative definitions provided by people committed to certain schools of political theory. Therefore, the meaning of democracy must be sought in something other than a formula.

Democracy, as a political direction, requires competition, pluralism, openness and tolerance to diversity. On the other hand, Islam, as the religious way of life, presumes intellectual and personal conformity and absolute acceptance of authorities. Elie Kedourie, for example, claims that basic principles of democracy are “profoundly alien to the Muslim political tradition”. It is also important to mention that Islam can be called anti-democratic tradition because it presumes sovereignty in God, who is said to be the only source of political power and only from that kind of divine authority all present regulations to govern the community, should come from. Therefore, some observes insist that Islam is more compatible with the totalitarian state.

As I have already mentioned, there are two points of view. The second one insists of the fact that the ideas of Islam can be interpreted differently and the opinion depends solely upon the interpretation. Some analysts point out that Islamic traditions have many tendencies and facets, which can be put in one line with democratic issues. They insist that openness and progressive innovation as the direction of development do not contradict to religious traditions and therefore Islam is absolutely compatible to what is said to be democracy in the modern Arab world. And the only important thing is this arguing debated remains the question of the authority and government and how those aspects of the religion and traditions are interpreted by those people.

Debates upon compatibility of Islam and democracy are very much connected with theology, historical precedent and doctrine. It is important to understand whether Islamic conceptions have the influence upon political preference and values of common people. But I have not found any evidences or structured research papers done upon this topic. But think that in general Islam conceptions should not have drastic influence upon political preferences.

4. Islam and family traditions 
…family laws, which regulate rights and responsibilities in marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance, do not provide for equality between the sexes because they have been developed within the Islamic framework in all Arab countries. Because the legislation has been developed independently, there is a wide range in interpretation.

It is obvious that family and family orders and traditions cannot be divided from the perception and analyzing of the modern world and each country’s state in particular. But even here interpretation of the Islamic traditions plays a prominent role. Different religious authorities demonstrate different views upon the issues of family planning and contraception, they give different advices regarding those items and what is permissible and what is not in Islam. And in accordance with all previously mentioned I have just several questions- what is the motivation for different religious authorities? Are their opinions are independent from the influence of the political authorities? Can their advices be the manipulation in order to achieve some global personal or country goals? I do not have answers for those questions, but I am sure that religion should not be used as the tool to govern; it should just the mean to be closer to God and divine powers for the personal benefit and prosperity of each separate citizen.

5. Conclusion 
In the conclusion I would like to summarize that Islam is absolutely compatible with modern Arab world. And that compatibility totally depends upon world views and directions in which political and religious leaders in the country are looking. To my opinion, Arab world is unique world, with interesting history, particular experiences and original people with personal beliefs. It is impossible to compare it to any existent world, European or Asia. Arab people had gone through many trials and they have taken their own necessary lessons from them and they are able to shape their present and future depending on their beliefs and involving principles of the religious tradition they are accustomed to, which is their way of life and the primary frame through which they percept the world and live.

My personal opinion implies that democracy is a very successful order, but everything is relative and what is successful in one place can bring chaos in the other. Islam smoothly enters all sphere of modern Arab world and therefore it is just the individual choice whether to consider it compatible or not.

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