Is Islamic belief compatible with democracy?

Amergin

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I ask because Sharia Law would seem to be in violation of Our UK Constitution and the American Constitution. Yet I read and watch on telly, hundreds of thousands of Muslims protesting dictatorial rule, and demanding democratic reforms.

I realise that Christianity is inherently opposed to Constitutional freedom as well. That is why it took 1500 years for democracy to be demanded by dissidents in the Enlightenment.

Commandment 1 is opposed to US Amendment I.
Commandment 2 is opposed by US Amendment I freedom of expression.
Commandment 3 is opposed by US Amendment I (Americans/Brits) cannot be forced to tithe to church or attend mass.

US democracy is far from perfect from my one year experience there.

Are many Muslims willing to live in a democracy where some people do things forbidden by Sharia Law? Or is it a personal choice to follow theological law or not as in UK and USA?

I think Islam should be compatible with a constitutional democracy where all are free to follow any religion and free to not follow any religion. Europeans do that in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Denmark. A majority do not follow Christianity but those who do so are free to worship.

America is an incomplete democracy showing preference to Christians and allowing discrimination against Atheists, and Muslims.

Could an Islamic society extend rights of freedom to Christians, Jews, and Atheists?

Thanks for your answer.

Amergin
 

moonymoony

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The UNDP published excerpts in English of remarks made by Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb, a cousin of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), nearly 1,000 years ago about Knowledge, justice and right rule of people. The UNDP referred to the regime as governance, an English equivalent of "Al Hokm", and said most regional countries are still far behind other nations in democracy, wide political representation, women"s participation, development and knowledge.
In its 2002 Arab Human Development Report, distributed around the world, the UNDP listed six main points in the comments of Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb about ideal governance.
They include consultation between the ruler and the ruled, speaking out against corruption and other wrong doings, ensuring justice to all, and achieving domestic development.
It quoted the Imam as saying: "He who has appointed himself an Imam (ruler) of the people must begin by teaching himself before teaching others".
"His teaching of others must be first by setting an example rather than with his words, for he who begins by teaching and educating himself is more worthy of respect than he who teaches and educates others." On development he tells rulers: "Your concern with developing the land should be greater than your concern for collecting taxes, for the latter can only be obtained by developing; whereas he who seeks revenue without development destroys the country and the people."

"Seek the company of the learned and the wise in search of solving the problems of your country and the righteousness of your people. No good can come in keeping silent as to government or in speaking out of ignorance." On justice and virtue, the Imam says: "The righteous are men of virtue, whose logic is straightforward, whose dress is unostentatious, whose path is modest, whose actions are many and who are undeterred by difficulties. "
"Choose the best among your people to administer justice among them. Choose someone who does not easily give up, who is unruffled by enmities, someone who will not persist in wrong doings, who will not hesitate to pursue right once he knows it, someone whose heart knows no greed, who will not be satisfied with a minimum of explanation without seeking the maximum of understanding, who will be the most steadfast when doubt is cast, who will be the least impatient in correcting the opponent, the most patient in pursuing the truth, the most stern in meting out judgment, someone who is unaffected by flattery and not swayed by temptation and these are but few."
The report urged the Arab governments to learn from Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb in advocating knowledge and fighting ignorance as the main reason for most problems.​


It quotes him again: "No vessel is limitless except for the vessel of knowledge, which forever expands. If God has to humiliate a human being, he will deny him knowledge. No wealth equals to the mind, and no poverty equals to ignorance. No wealth can profit you more than the mind."
"Knowledge is superior to wealth. It guards you whereas you guard wealth. Wealth decreases with expenditure whereas knowledge multiplies with dissemination.

Democracy exists in Islam but it is rejected by current arab leaders because it clashes with their evil interests.
 

Muslimwoman

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There is an interesting article in National Geographic from 2003 on this subject .. this particularly rings true:

"Part of the problem in societies that have adopted a more hierarchical preference is a need for cultural reform, so that they can become more in line with the Islamic values of equality, freedom of religion, and respect for the individual," he said. "A cultural change is required, and we know that can't be undertaken without appealing to more fundamental values. That's where religion comes in, where Islam comes in. It's difficult to imagine the modern West without the Reformation in Europe and it's difficult for me to see a more reformed Middle East without Islam being a big part of that."

Can Islam and Democracy Coexist?

It's a good read
 

peaceandkarma

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To me it looks like Muslims want Islamic laws in the west, and the west wants western democracy in the middle east. Or should I say its the hard line members from both sides that want the other side to be like them. Its the making others fit into the others ideology that causes tensions between the two.
 

Muslimwoman

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Salam peaceandkarma

I agree and that is now the test for countries like Egypt. To find a middle ground, a way forward better than either culture has now.
 

wil

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To me it looks like Muslims want Islamic laws in the west, and the west wants western democracy in the middle east. Or should I say its the hard line members from both sides that want the other side to be like them. Its the making others fit into the others ideology that causes tensions between the two.
I'ma likin the way peaceandkarma lives upto the monikor...

It seems to me sharia law is extreme and there have been a number of primarily islamic countries with running democracies in the past 50 years...

It is the recent influx and rise of the radical wings which is tearing Islam from it seams with our way, the righteous way, the one and only way or the highway...they are against pornography, women glorified as sex objects, hold a moral standard that is higher than the law, and believe if you don't follow their rules you are headed to hell.... Hmmm am I talking about the Christian Right or Islamic Fundies?
 

Muslimwoman

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It seems to me sharia law is extreme and there have been a number of primarily islamic countries with running democracies in the past 50 years...

Do you mean you find Sharia itself extreme or the Sharia we see in the Muslim world today?

Is it Sharia that is extreme or the people who interpret it?

A thief can repent and receive no punishment, 4 witnesses must witness penetration for adultery to be proven, a pregnancy can occur within 7 years (according to texts) so a married pregnant woman who's husband has been away for 2 years has a get out, an unmarried woman who turns up pregnant can claim rape by an unknown person (case in point the hadith about the girl who claimed she was raped while sleeping and didn't wake up ... no punishment) .... even apostacy can be seen through the Quranic statement "there is no compulsion in religion".

There are so many get out clauses in Islam but it requires the will of those in power to look for them and in some cases in todays world people seem to want to prove their Muslimness by finding the most extreme path possible.
 

peaceandkarma

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Extremism exists on both sides. If the Taliban are extreme, George W Bush and Tony Blair are also extreme. They all force their views on others. Everyone should learn to disagree and get on with things. If you don't like something or someone its better to avoid them, rather than force change on them and make them retaliate. Talking of Tony Blair the UN peace envoy to the middle east. What has he done about the situation in Libya? Some peace envoy.
 

moonymoony

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The sharia we see today in the Muslim world is the sharia of umayyads not the sharia of Islam.
 

Muslimwoman

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Talking of Tony Blair the UN peace envoy to the middle east. What has he done about the situation in Libya? Some peace envoy.

Well he sold of arms to Gaddaffi ... maybe even the arms he is killing his people with now :mad:

It was a joke (but not a funny one) appointing a war monger to be peace envoy.

what is an umayyad? And which website is being promoted to educate ignorant westerners like me?

The links moonymoony gave you will give you the Shia perspective Wil.

In a nutshell the Umayyads were a clan from Mecca. They constantly fought the Muslims.

The greatest Umayyad opponents of the Prophet were Abu Sufyan and his wife Hind. Their son was called Muawiyah I, who would found the hereditary Umayyad dynasty.

However on the eve of the Prophets conquest of Mecca Abu Sufyan and his family decided to become Muslim to save their own skins.

Muawiyah I was appointed as a scribe to the Prophet. When the 3rd Rightly Guided Caliph (Uthman, himself an Umayyad) became Caliph he gave his cousin Muawiyah governorship in Syria.

When Ali became the 4th Rightly Guided Caliph he removed Muawiyah's governorship and this led to the First Fitna (muslim civil war ... see battle of Siffin). The battle ended with a tense peace agreement but led to effectively having two leaders and constant problems.

After Ali was murdered Muawiyah began his dynasty, based in Syria. He persuaded (by fair or foul means?) people to elect him as Caliph, rather than Hasan the son of Ali. He conquered Egypt, Yemen, etc and founded the dynasty in Al Andalus.

He was the first Muslim leader to follow a hereditary dynastic line (handing leadership to his son Yazid I when he died), rather than following the Islamic rule of Muslims appointing leaders.

Muawiyah was also an Arabist (if there is such a word). It is documented that he treated Arab Muslims better than he treated non-arab Muslims and he gave more rights to Arab Muslims ... totally against Islam.

When Yazid took hereditary control it led to the Second Fitna. At the battle of Karbala Yazid's side killed Hasan (son of Ali and grandson of the Prophet).

Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr then tried to take control and return to the early principles of Islam. He was supported by a number of Muslim groups. Yazid and his son died in the same year and Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr was recognised as Caliph ... except in Syria where Marwan, cousin of Muawiyah, was declared Caliph. He died 2 years later and his son abd al Malik became Caliph.

This means we had 2 Caliphs, Abd al-Malik in Syria and Ibn al-Zubayr in Saudi ... not a good situation.

There were uprisings galore but Abd al-Malik crushed all uprisings and killed Ibn al-Zubayr and resting all power for himself.

Phew, what a story.
 

moonymoony

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This a letter Imam Ali wrote to muawiyah

"Have you ever seriously considered what would happen to you if all your wealth and property is taken away from you. The possessions, the riches and the luxuries that you have surrounded yourself with, belong to this world, a world which has profusely decorated itself and which is bent upon alluring you with its enjoyments. It has enticed you away and you have fallen an easy prey to its allurements. It has dragged you and you have followed it like a tame animal on the other end of the rope. It has ordered you and you have obeyed its orders submissively. You have forgotten that shortly you will be called to bear the consequences of such a life; consequences from which no one can shield, liberate or absolve you.
Abstain from such a life, keep yourself ready for the Day of Judgment; be ready for death which is inevitable, bound to come and sure to end every life, rich or poor. Do not listen to the exciting whispers of those who want to tempt you and do not make them believe that they and their heinous whisperings have any importance in your mind.
If you do not faithfully and sincerely follow the dictates of religion and do not act as I have advised you, then I want to warn you of something that you have entirely forgotten. It is that you are unthankful to Allah for all which He has granted to you and you are ungrateful to Him for the Favours bestowed upon you. Satan has taken possession of your soul. Its desire to secure you as his obedient slave, is fully fulfilled. It has a firm hold on your mind.
O Mu’awiya! Were you ever entrusted with the noble status of dispensing peace and justice to mankind? Have you the necessary knowledge for the work? Do you really know the canons of equity and justice as laid down by Islam? You and your ways of government! May Allah protect me from and may withhold me from behaving towards mankind the way you have behaved and from tyranny, exploitations and murders that you commit. Take care! You are being madly driven by the lust of wealth, power and vicious indulgence, you are behaving hypocritically against man and Allah. You shall be damned forever.
You have challenged me to a battle. I accept your challenge. But I have a proposal to make. Why have a war involving murder and bloodshed of thousands of ignorant people? Why be a scourge to mankind? Let us have mercy on them, whether they are sincere and Allah-fearing Muslims, or ignorant, unenlightened and greedy mercenaries misguided and fooled by you. Let there be peace and tranquility for all the creatures of Allah.
Let us, you and I, have a single combat. Let it be a combat unto death. Let the soldiers of both armies stand aside and let two of us alone combat with each other. Let the world see and realize who is the sinner and who has forgotten Allah and the Day of Judgment. Will you accept this invitation of mine? Have you the courage for it? Are you a man to face death boldly and bravely or are you merely a vampire sucking the blood of others surreptitiously?
Remember Mu’awiya! Though now old I am still Abu al-Hasan, the man who killed your maternal grandfather, your uncle and your brother in single combats in the Battle of Badr. The same sword is still in my hand, the same blood is still flowing in my veins, the same heart is still throbbing in my chest and with the same courage I still face my enemy. Will you come and face me alone?
Remember that I have not introduced any innovation in religion, nor have I insinuated schism. Verily, I sincerely believe in the religion which you pretended to embrace hypocritically with mental reservations and pretensions, a religion which you in your heart of hearts actually hated and which you gave up quickly and cheerfully.
You pretend that you want to avenge the murder of Caliph Uthman. Do you know who actually killed him and who caused his murder? If really you do so, then seek vengeance on them.
I see before me the day when you will be tired of this war, when you will face defeat, when you will find death or disgrace facing you, when I shall scatter your armies, killing your famous but misguided marshals, when I shall thin your ranks and files; then in despondency and despair you will turn towards the Book of Allah, though you will have no faith in it and no belief in the truth preached by it because you and your followers being hypocrites have no faith in Allah, in the Holy Prophet (s) and the Day of Judgment and who have gone back on their promises."
 

moonymoony

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Fighting and uprising against evil does NOT lead to fitna. it leads to justice and liberation from slavery and oppression of all kinds.

abu sufyan, muawiyah and yazid (the axis of evil) dedicated their life to fighting Islam with all possible means.
they pretended to be muslims to fool people.
they starved, killed and tortured people who were loyal to Ahlulbayt.
they hired some people and paid them thousands of gold coins to fabricate and spread false hadiths in the name of Islam.

people did not elect muawiyah willingly. they elected him out of fear because he was a tyrant. they were worried about their lives.
their fear made them abandon Imam Hassan who was the legitimate leader of the Muslim ummah. they supported him in their hearts but they were afraid to go into battle with muawiyah

yazid slaughtered Imam Hussain (brother of Imam Hassan) in the battle of Karbala, but how can anyone stand before God with his hands stained of the blood of Imam Hussain?

Ahlulbayt teach people to uprise against tyrants and live with honor and dignity but the ummayads want to step on people thats why some false scholars today tell people it is haram to uprise against your leader no matter how corrupt he is, and they try to hide the history of Ahlulbayt because Ahlulbayt support the poor and the needy while the ummayads support tyrants.

the Shia tv channels that appeared after the invasion of Iraq taught people about Ahlulbayt and showed the real history of Islam.
people realized that obeying a corrupt so-called muslim leader is an ummayad rule that has nothing to do with Islam. the revolutions we see today in many arab countries are because of the awakening that has happened after knowing who Ahlulbayt are.

Imam Hussain got killed in Karbala battle but he was the winner.
his sacrifice has been influencing people until today. people now realize that they have rights just like their leaders. they have the right to speak their mind without fear. thats why the ummayad leaders of today prohibited studying the history of Ahlulbayt because they wanted people to follow them like a flock of sheep.
 

moonymoony

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I was amazed when i found these qoutes of non-muslims about Imam Hussain. obviously they know Imam Hussain more than some muslims do.

ahatma Gandhi (Indian political and spiritual leader): “I learnd from Hussein
how to achieve victory while being oppressed.”

Thomas Carlyle (Scottish historian and essayist): “The best lesson which we get
from the tragedy of Cerebella is that Husain and his companions were rigid
believers in God. They illustrated that the numerical superiority does not
count when it comes to the truth and the falsehood. The victory of Husain,
despite his minority, marvels me!”


Edward Gibbon (English historian and member of parliament): “In a distant age
and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the
sympathy of the coldest reader.” (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London,
1911, volume 5, p. 391-392)


Charles Dickens (English novelist): “If Husain had fought to quench his
worldly desires…then I do not understand why his sister, wife, and children
accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore, that he sacrificed purely for
Islam.”


Antoine Bara (Lebanese writer): “No battle in the modern and past
history of mankind has earned more sympathy and admiration as well as
provided more lessons than the martyrdom of Husayn in the battle of
Karbala.” (Husayn in Christian Ideology)


Dr. K. Sheldrake: “Of that gallant band, male and female knew that the
enemy forces around were implacable, and were not only ready to fight, but
to kill. Denied even water for the children, they remained parched under the
burning sun and scorching sands, yet not one faltered for a moment. Husain
marched with his little company, not to glory, not to power of wealth, but to
a supreme sacrifice, and every member bravely faced the greatest odds
without flinching.”


Ignaz Goldziher (Hungarian orientalist): “…Weeping and lamentation over
the evils and persecutions suffered by the ‘Alid family, and mourning for its
martyrs: these are things from which loyal supporters of the cause cannot
cease. ‘More touching than the tears of the Shi’is’ has even become an
Arabic proverb.” (Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, Princeton, 1981, p.179)


Edward G. Brown (Professor at the University of Cambridge): “…a reminder of
that blood-stained field of Karbala, where the grandson of the Apostle of
God fell, at length, tortured by thirst, and surround by the bodies of his
murdered kinsmen, has been at anytime since then, sufficient to evoke, even
in the most lukewarm and the heedless, the deepest emotion, the most
frantic grief, and an exaltation of spirit before which pain, danger, and death
shrink to unconsidered trifles.” (A Literary History of Persia, London, 1919, p.227)


Sir William Muir (Scottish orientalist): “The tragedy of Karbala decided not
only the fate of the Caliphate, but also of Mohammadan kingdoms long after
the Caliphate had waned and disappeared.” (Annals of the Early Caliphate,
London, 1883, p.441-442)

Dr. Radha Krishnan
“Though Imam Hussain gave his life years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.”



Mahatma Gandhi
“My faith is that the progress of Islam does not depend on the use of sword by its believers, but the result of the supreme sacrifice of Hussain (A.S.), the great saint.”

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
“Imam Hussain’s (A.S.) sacrifice is for all groups and communities, an example of the path of righteousness.”


Reynold Alleyne Nicholson
“Hussain (A.S.) fell, pierced by an arrow, and his brave followers were cut down beside him to the last man. Muhammadan tradition, which with rare exceptions is uniformly hostile to the Umayyad dynasty, regards Hussain (A.S.) as a martyr and Yazid as his murderer.”
[A Literary History of the Arabs, Cambridge, 1930, p197]

Dr. Rajendra Prasad
“The sacrifice of Imam Hussain (A.S.) is not limited to one country, or nation, but it is the hereditary state of the brotherhood of all mankind.”


Dr. Radha Krishnan
“Though Imam Hussain (A.S.) gave his life almost 1300 years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.”

Swami Shankaracharya
“It is Hussain’s (A.S.) sacrifice that has kept Islam alive or else in this world there would be no one left to take Islam’s name.”


Mrs. Sarojini Naidu
“I congratulate Muslims that from among them, Hussain (A.S.), a great human being was born, who is reverted and honored totally by all communities
 

bananabrain

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consultation between the ruler and the ruled
this assumes that the ruler is the ruler and the ruled is the ruled - it says nothing about ELECTION - in other words, whether and when the ruled get to CHOOSE the rule. that is the fundamental difference here. if i have no choice over who is the ruler - or, indeed, am precluded from being the ruler myself, say - this is nothing but a *tyranny*. tell me, moonymoony - would i, as a non-muslim, be eligible to become this "ruler"? or would this be reserved for muslims, or not only that, reserved for members of the "ahl al-bayt", as i suspect?

i will not assent to this destruction of my liberties - and neither will others.

was-salaam

bananabrain
 

fadded blue jeans

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I ask because Sharia Law would seem to be in violation of Our UK Constitution and the American Constitution. Yet I read and watch on telly, hundreds of thousands of Muslims protesting dictatorial rule, and demanding democratic reforms.

I realise that Christianity is inherently opposed to Constitutional freedom as well. That is why it took 1500 years for democracy to be demanded by dissidents in the Enlightenment.

Commandment 1 is opposed to US Amendment I.
Commandment 2 is opposed by US Amendment I freedom of expression.
Commandment 3 is opposed by US Amendment I (Americans/Brits) cannot be forced to tithe to church or attend mass.

US democracy is far from perfect from my one year experience there.

Are many Muslims willing to live in a democracy where some people do things forbidden by Sharia Law? Or is it a personal choice to follow theological law or not as in UK and USA?

I think Islam should be compatible with a constitutional democracy where all are free to follow any religion and free to not follow any religion. Europeans do that in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Denmark. A majority do not follow Christianity but those who do so are free to worship.

America is an incomplete democracy showing preference to Christians and allowing discrimination against Atheists, and Muslims.

Could an Islamic society extend rights of freedom to Christians, Jews, and Atheists?

Thanks for your answer.

Amergin

Christianity is not opposed to the constitution many reformed christian though are be cause of their beliefs .
but were not all of the reformed christian faith .. Some of us just happen to be confessional Lutherans .
Who know very well what happens when states take over the control of the church..
in fact because the constitutionwas in place is what brought many of us here to the usa..
 

Eclectic Mystic

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America is an incomplete democracy showing preference to Christians and allowing discrimination against Atheists, and Muslims.


You are being hypothetical and making an assertion at the same time. Even if I were to accept this claim, I could still argue that such "preference" and "discrimination" occur only incidentally. There is nothing inherent in the constitution causing any such preference or discrimination. In fact, such preference or discrimination could only occur if the Constitution were not upheld.

I also notice in this thread that many people are equating "democracy" with Constitutional Law. Democracy in its raw form is essentially fickle mob rule. It is only by such mob rule that dictatorship is enabled. The purpose of a constitution is to protect against such things.

Regarding Shariah law, I know that under a religious context alone it is considered to be "law," but that does not necessarily mean political theocracy, right?
 
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