Religion and Politics: Integration, Separation and Conflict - Irénées
surement of political tolerance, and/or included all the psychological . Other studies that have addressed the role of religion in relationship to. Politics and religion must complement each other, while respecting each other's exclusive domains, in order to address the plight of humanity. The meaning of separation of religion from politics (i.e., secularism) is that the arena of each of them is different from that of the other, and none of the two must .
In order to save the religion and in order not to give ground for attributing problems, unpleasant things, ignorance, and sabotages to religion, it must not be held accountable for the unbecoming behavior of some clerics and religious figures who hold government posts. And this will not be possible unless religion is separated from politics. The notion that religion must be involved in politics is wrong and a new interpretation must be brought out.
It is necessary to have an Islamic Protestantism and a Muslim Martin Luther otherwise your religion and Islam will be completely destroyed. Even wearing an Islamic clerical garb is prohibited in Turkey. If a person wears religious attire or puts on his head a scarf or handkerchief that resembles a turban, he will be held accountable.
This is the situation of a country which was one day the seat of a great Muslim caliphate and the Ottoman Empire, which a large part of Asia and approximately half of Europe were at its disposal.
Secularism viewed from outside religion In a bid to establish the theory of separation of religion from politics, some local writers and so-called intelligentsia argue that prior to touch on religion it is necessary to look at things from outside religion and discuss this question: In essence, why does man need religion, and when can religion be a good guide for man? In reply to this question, two answers are put forward.
One is to say that man is in need of religion in all things and in all aspects of life, and has to see what answer, instruction or solution religion gives—for example, how to eat foods, how to weave cloth, how to wear clothes, how to build houses, how to marry, how to form a community, etc. If we accept such an answer and have it as a basis for the idea that if one wants to weave cloth, he is supposed to know what religion says about it; if one wants to take foods, he has to know what religion says about it; if one wants to see a doctor, he has to know what Islam says about it.
Along this line, it is natural that when we need to form a government, we have to know what religion says about it. But everybody knows and obviously this is not the case. No religion claim that it can meet all the needs of mankind and it teaches you how to build this house or that building. If it was so, then there would be no need to conduct academic or scientific research because it would be possible to solve any problem through religion.
But we know for certain that the presence of religion and religious laws does not nullify the need for acquiring knowledge and conducting research. Religion cannot provide mankind with the information about the technology of the phantom jet aircraft, computer, satellite, and atomic physics. Therefore, such an answer, i. Thus, the domain of religion includes only otherworldly affairs—such as how to offer prayer, how to fast, and how to perform the Hajj. In other words, it deals with what we have to do in order not to be placed in the hellfire and to be admitted to paradise.
Regarding the things related to this world, one has to resort to knowledge and reason and regarding the things connected to the hereafter, one has to refer to religion. Politics is related to worldly affairs and basically it has nothing to do with the domain of religious concerns. Politics falls in the province of knowledge and reason, and naturally religion has no access to it.
It is clear that the above account of secularism or the separation of religion from politics is much harsher than that introduced in the Western world after the Renaissance. Now that we have clarified this point, it is necessary for assessing the relationship between religion and politics to have a consensus of opinion on the meaning of these two concepts, and point out what we mean by religion and politics.
It is laden with negative connotation linked with deception, ruse, trickery, and fraud. If we want to know the viewpoint of Christianity regarding a certain subject though we are not Christians, the logical and correct way is to refer to the Bible in general and the New Testament in particular.
Given this fact, can we accept the idea that Islam has paid attention to politics and the organization of social relationship, or assume that it dealt only with the individual devotion and morals and with organizing the relation between man and God?!
Here are some examples that demonstrate what we have put forward: If no pen and a sheet of paper are available, take something valuable from him as a mortgage which is to be given back to the borrower when he gives back the money he borrowed.
Marriage and divorce also are examples of social issues.
Religion and Politics Do Mix | HuffPost
For example, it states about settling family disputes: If they desire reconcilement, Allah shall reconcile them. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-aware.
Then, if it returns, make peace between them fairly, and do justice. Indeed Allah loves the just. When the call is made for prayer on Friday, hurry up toward the remembrance of Allah, and leave all business. For instance, regarding theft, which is one of the grave and manifold crimes of society, it states: The aim is to ensure social immunity from it and foster security against violations.
Fair-minded and rational people have no iota of doubt that Islam is not so. In other words, it has been known that since the time of Montesquieu 16 an administrative body has had three powers, viz. It is obvious that if we find that there are verses related to each of these powers, the involvement of Islam in politics, and as a result, the political nature of Islam, will become manifest. Along with the legislative power is the executive power whose function is the execution of the laws enacted by the legislative body, which is represented by the cabinet and prime minister, or by the president and ministers.
Finally, alongside these two powers, there is what is known as the judicial power or judiciary, which is neither a law-making body nor executor of laws. Instead, it assumes the responsibility of putting into effect the general laws in particular cases and adjudicating the disputes that may occur between people or between people and government. The Muslims have no prerogatives for themselves against what has been decided by God and the Prophet S. No one has the right to oppose what the Prophet S has enacted and decided for the sake of the people or to set an alternative for oneself.
In Islam, this privilege has been bestowed to the Holy Prophet S. Of course, the idea whether or not this position has been given to others after the Prophet S will be dealt with in the succeeding sections of this book. Similarly, we have noticed that the purport of the two mentioned verses Surah al-Ahzab 33, verses 6 and 36 include some ideas about the function of executive power and implementation of these laws. They will not believe until they make you a judge in their disputes, then do not find within their hearts any dissent to your verdict and submit in full submission.
Rather, they ought to accept your judgment faithfully even though it is against them. With total satisfaction and approval, they have to accept your ruling.Relationship between religion and politics
Rather, like any other Muslim judge, he used to make judgment on the basis of evidence, proofs and testimonies in order to adjudicate between two disputing parties.
So, because of the weakness and deficiency of documents and proofs, the one who has to be given the right may not get it.
Religion and Politics: Integration, Separation and Conflict
Although the right belongs to a certain person, on account of lack of solid evidence, the ruling might not be in his favor. The Holy Prophet S says: Or, it may be that a witness does not tell the truth but since the judge here, the Prophet S is meant who relies on manifest proofs does not recognize that the testimony is incorrect, his testimony will be accepted and the ruling will be issued accordingly.
This verse says that although the decision or ruling is contrary to the truth, believers have to accept it; otherwise, they would not be considered believers because it is the Prophet S who issued it while observing judicial standards. Here, this question arises, is there in the realm of enactment and execution of laws legislative and executive powers or the realm of adjudication and judgment judicial power anything higher than what has been demonstrated by these verses regarding how to manage the country and deal with social affairs?
Now, on the basis of what has been confirmed by these verses, will there remain any room for the claim that Islam has nothing to do with politics and has not dealt with social affairs?!
The answer they give is that we should expect the least from religion—that is what we must do so as to be worthy of paradise, in order not to be sent to the hellfire and in order not be subjected to the chastisement of the hereafter.
In a nutshell, our expectation from religion must be elucidation of the issues relevant to the hereafter. Religion is neither responsible for explaining worldly affairs nor has it explained them. For explaining issues of this sort, mankind has to rely on its knowledge and intellect. In connection with this theory, we should say that as a matter of fact although our life is manifested in two spheres: The question that arises here is: For example, are the first 30 years related to this world and the other 30 years to the hereafter?!
Or, does each day which consists of 24 hours have two parts: Or, does the hour day alternately belong to this world and the hereafter?! Or, do in essence, we have nothing in this world which does not belong to the hereafter and do all our actions and moments in this world have an otherworldly nature; i. According to the Islamic viewpoint, our otherworldly life is determined by our deeds and conduct in this world: All that we do in this world such as breathing, winkling of the eyes, walking, sitting, sleeping, rising up, looking, building social relations, talking, listening, eating, marital and family relations, the relations between the members of society, relations between government and people, and others can either have useful and beneficial effects or negative and arbitrary effects on our life in the hereafter.
Thus, our life in this world does not have two distinct parts or separate realms—that is, one is related to this world and another to the hereafter. As the Iranians had political and military support, they cornered ulema in their efforts and made the caliph a Persian king along with all royal symbols and rituals which once prevailed at the Sassanid court.
However, it was settled that in practice the caliph would remain absolute in administrative and political matters but he would not interfere in the affairs of the shariat nor would make any effort to change it. It would remain the domain of ulema.
It is how religion and politics separated with each other in the early stage of Islamic history. As a result of this settlement, a system emerged in which the ruler had unlimited power.
Professional bureaucracy to administer the state and its affairs supported him. Ulema joined the state as qazi judgemufti interpreter of lawmuhtasib ombudsman and as imam prayer leader. In these capacities they became servants of the state and as such their responsibility was to obey ruler and state and interpret shariat according to the interest of the caliph.
Once the economic interest of the ulema were linked to the state as they received either stipends or jagir fief from the state, their main concern was to please the ruler.
On the other hand, rulers also adopted a policy of conciliation toward then. They showed outward respect to them; invited them to their court to deliver sermons and ask for their advice on important issues. However, whenever, they wanted to use these ulema for their political interest; they asked them to issue fatwa in their favour, which they obliged with pleasure. We find that how these ulema religiously justified the Persian court ceremonies of prostration before the ruler, kissing his feet or hands and address him with high-sounding titles.
They also helped rulers if they wanted to avoid religious duties such as obligatory daily prayers and fasting in the month of Ramazan. To get sexual pleasure, rulers got religious sanction by ulema to marry and divorce as they liked and to keep as many slave girls as they wished.
During the Abbasid period, as the power of the Caliph increased, influence of ulema decreased and they ultimately became subservient to the ruler and his whims. Sultanate period With the decline of the Abbasids, provincial ruling dynasties emerged and introduced the institution of the sultanate kingship. Muslim jurists justified it on the plea that it would prevent chaos and keep law and order in the society. Secondly, they also legitimized the usurption of power by powerful military man arguing that to reject him meant to create political unrest and a situation of civil war.
After settling the issue of kingship and usurper, the question was whether a ruler should remain under religious authority or should he use religion for his political motives? Some of the important books are Qabusnama by Kaikaus d. It was a Machiavellian step that freed king from all religious bindings and made him authoritative and powerful. Their model was the Sassanid king who was all-powerful: However, attempt was made to control the authority of the ruler by asking him to follow a policy of justice like Anushirwan, the legendary king of Persia, who was famous for his benevolence and acts of justice.
- “The religion-politics relationship should be…
- Chapter 2: The Relationship between Religion and Politics
- Religion and Politics
The method was to control absolute power by asking him to follow and adhere moral and ethical values in order to govern people. In India, the Sultans of Delhi adopted this model but the Mughal king Akbar shaped a different theory of kingship which suited the Indian environment. Royalty, according to him, was the highest dignity in the eyes of God.
It was light which emanated from God. This light created paternal love for his subjects in the hear of the king and increased his trust in God. Commenting on the Mughal concept of kingship, Vanina writes that apparently this theory does not look different than the Islamic or Hindu theories of kingship. However, deeper study reveals that it is not the same but quite different than the previous traditions.
According to Abul Fazl king rules for the welfare of his subjects and to achieve this he has right to change ancient traditions and communal institutions. As royalty emanates from God, king does not need to follow the advice of ulema or religious scholars.
He is authorized by the divine power to bring changes in social structure according to the need of time. He banned the child marriages and marriage among close relatives. He also banned sati, though could not eliminate it altogether. In this respect, Akbar was the first Indian ruler who interfered in the affairs of community, caste, and family that were otherwise taboo for rulers to talk about or change them. Akbar further extended his power when his sadr al sadur Highest religious post at the Mughal court ordered execution of a Brahman on the charges of blasphemy.
The Shaikh suggested that Akbar should assume the authority of mujtahid with the approval of ulema. Akbar following his advice asked the ulema to sign a mahzar so called decree of infallibility delegating him authority to interpret religion. This combined in him religious as well as political powers and ulema lost their authority to challenge the royal decision.
Ziauddin Barani, a historian of the Saltanate period, explains his theory of kingship in his book fatawa-i-Jahandari that it is very difficult for a king to rule following the shariat. According to him there is difference between shariat and the rules and regulations of kingship.
It is important for a king to keep and preserve his grandeur, pomp and glory. He should observe all court ceremonies such as prostration, and kissing of hand and foot by courtiers. He should live in palaces, keep his treasury full with all types of wealth and use it for his own personal needs. All such acts are justified on the ground that a king without display of power and glamour is not respected by his subjects. When the king asked the qazi about his policies whether they were according to the shriat or not.
The qazi replied in negative. On it, the response of the king was that he did not know anything about shariat. He did what he thought was good for his subjects. Therefore, Muslim rulers in order to rule did not follow the shariat but formulated their own rules and regulations that were in favour of practical politics.
As he was the shadow of God Zilli-i-Ilahi and deputy to God, those who rebelled against him were regarded as his personal enemies and were punished likely. Sometimes, they were hacked to pieces, and sometimes were trampled under the feet of an elephant.
Religion and Politics Do Mix
Alauddin Khilji not only punished the rebels but also in retaliation their family members including women and children were imprisoned, tortured and enslaved. According to Barani the custom to imprison women and children of rebels as a punishment was started by him that was continued later on by other rulers.
Under this model of kingship, muftis jurists and qazis judges became servants to the state and as such served the interest of rulers rather than implementation of the shariat.
They issued fatwa whenever it was need by ruler to justify their acts. There are many such examples in the history. He married more than four wives and when it was pointed out that his extra marriages were illegal, he asked the ulema to find out some solution.
The matter was discussed in the Ibadatkhana house of worship which was founded by him in The result was that one religious scholar interpreted that in the holy Quran there is verse which says to marry: Akbar was pleased on this suggestion. He immediately appointed a Malki qazi who forthwith issued the fatwa to legalise his extra marriages. Akbar, after getting the fatwa dismissed the qazi from the post. He did not want that the others should take advantage of it.
When Aurangzeb executed Dara Shikoh and Murad, his two brothers, he made their execution religious and not political. Dara was condemned to death on the charges of atheism and Murad on the basis of qisas revenge for homicide. Though everybody knew that he wanted to get rid of his brothers because they were claimants to the throne. He used religion to fulfil his political motives and ulema readily gave fatwa according to his liking.
In another incident when he was in the Deccan besieging the fort of Satara, four Muslims and nine Hindus were brought as prisoners of war. He asked the qazi for fatwa. He told the king that if the Hindus were to convert to Islam they should be released and the Muslims should be kept in prison, as punishment.
Aurangzeb did not like this fatwa because he wanted to punish all of them and reprimanded the qazi that instead of Hanafi school of jurisprudence, he should find out other jurists for different opinion.
The qazi understood that the king wanted severe punishment and issued another fatwa recommending that both the Muslims and the Hindus should be executed. On one side Aurangzeb used religion for political purpose but when religious elements made attempts to use politics for their advantage he resisted it.
For example when he was asked to expel the Hindus and the shias from his administration, his reply was that religion and politics were two separate things and they should not be mixed with each other. Similarly, when a qazi refused to recite the khutba in his name on the plea that his father, emperor Shahjahan, was alive, he dismissed him and appointed a qazi of his liking.
Later on when some ulema opposed his invasion to the Deccan states as the Muslim kings ruled them. He did not bother their opinion; neither he bothered when a religious scholar reprimanded him in public that why he did not marry his daughters. Against this model of kingship in which ruler became absolute, there were different movements to bring political authority under the shariat.
One and the significant movement in this regard war of Imam Hanbal d. He underwent severe torture but persisted in his opinion. His followers were very strict in matter of shariat and during the Abbasid period they rioted in the different cities demanding the implementation of the rule of shariat.
For example, they used to go the bazaar of Baghdad and harasse the shopkeepers for not observing religious rules. They destroyed wine shops and threatened people not to dance or sing. It was also common to attack opponents of their view. Those caliphs who did not care of their warning also became their victims. They publicly exhorted people to revolt against them. Second important movement was of Ibn Taymmiya d.
He belonged to the Hanbali school of jurisprudence and wanted that ulema should play effective role in political affairs.
The main thrust of his movement was that instead of rulers, ulema should be given power to implement shariat. In India Mahdawi movement, which was started by Sayyid Mahdi Jaunpuri in the 15th century, wanted to purify Islam in India and establish an ideal Islamic society. All such movements, which challenged the authority of Muslim rulers, were crushed with iron hand as no ruler tolerated any challenge against his power.
Though such movements challenged the divine concept of kingship and his absolute power but at the same time they failed to win the support of people because of their fanatic attitude and ultimately collapsed without changing state structure. The Wahabi model In the second model of the state religion dominates politics and uses it for implementation of its practices.
There were two types of religious dominations over politics: In one case, a ruler, in the interest of his rule and stability of his ruling dynasty, implement the shariat and allow ulema to play leading role in the state affairs.
In the second category, ulema, after capturing political power, establish a religious state and force people to follow their religious agenda. Such religious states, wherever, they were founded in the West or in the East, basically believed that human being could be reformed only by coercion and control over his action.
Therefore, to set up a purified society, strict and exemplary punishments were given on minor crimes. It was also believed that worldly rulers were corrupt and evil-minded, therefore, only religious scholars could rule with honesty and work for the welfare of people.
One of its examples is the city-state of Geneva that was established by the Christian reformer Calvin d. After acquiring political power, he was in a position to realize his religious ideals. First thing was done by him was an announcement that those who were not in favour of his religious ideas should leave the city. Those who stayed back faced his rigorous disciplinary action on different offences including excommunication from Christianity; exile from the city; imprisonment, and death penalty.
On his order all hotels and guesthouses, which provided sexual facilities to the guests, were closed. Those traders and shopkeepers who were found involved in adulteration or weighing less were severely punished. Vulgar songs and playing cards were prohibited. Care was taken that Bible should be available on all-important places. Those who were found laughing during a sermon were reprimanded; it was obligatory for every citizen to thank God before eating.
As a result of these strenuous laws, every individual and family in Geneva was completely under the control and supervision of spiritual police of Calvin.
Punishments were severe and no consideration was made to exempt anybody. Once a child was beheaded on the crime that he struck his father. It is said that during the period of 6 years heretics were burnt alive.