Islam and Politics
Despite my ongoing class on religion and politics, I still don’t feel like I understand the main relationship between Islam and politics. Someone tell me if I’m way off base here. Traditionally, there is no separation between din and dawla, or religion and the state. Secularism is impossible. There is debate as to whether the Qur’an offers explicit instructions on how to run a society or only general guidelines as to what a society should be based upon. Either way, Muslims within Islamic countries/states is the rule rather than the exception. Surprisingly, this does not play out in expected ways, though. Instead of a religious head of state who dictates orthodoxy and orthopraxy, there is some separation. Muslims see the state as a necessary evil; it is required in order to maintain peace and order, but doesn’t rule in the name of God. An Islamic state is better than a non-Islamic state, but still does not have the right to declare itself a religious expert or God-proxy. So, what we have are political systems that try to run the country based on the Qur’an, and a religious citizenry that tries to keep the political system in check.Am I on the right track?
For my paper, I think that I want to look at how the Muslim attitude towards politics has changed with the current trends towards deterritorialization. Muslims now live all over the world, many in places where they are the minority. How can you keep din and dawla together when the political system is not of your own making? What do Muslim immigrants think of the political systems of their host countries? I don’t know, though. Is this even a valid question? I just feel like I don’t know enough about Islam and politics, or about how to write a paper for a poli-sci class, to do this. I guess I’ll have to go talk to the prof.
edit: I just got back from talking to my prof. I feel like an idiot when I talk to him – I don’t think I come across well, and I don’t understand him. Sigh.