A historical Overview by Bernard Lewis

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For quite some time, a considerable discussion and debate has been going on whether or not there is compatibility between democracy and Islam. After the birth of Islam, the extensive spread of the Muslim population make this monotheistic, Abrahamic religion is the second largest in the world with over a billion followers. Throughout the passage of time, many have come to opinionate that liberal democracy can exist in the Muslim world as it has all the necessary elements that a modern democratic state and society requires. However, many still oppose to the compatibility of the two solely due to the belief that democratic principles desecrate and condemn the values of the religion of Islam.

Throughout history, enough arguments have been given for and against this proposition. I have had the chance of going through the two articles on the subject, namely “A Historical Overview” by Bernard Lewis and “Democracy & Islam” by Irfan Ahmad. Both the articles are informative from two different standpoints and the finest thing about them from a reader’s perspective is that they are not loaded with unnecessary and cumbersome details. Nevertheless, with due apology, the article by Ahmad mystifies the position at certain instances, but pointing them out would neither matter nor be relevant in any substantial way. The gist of the argument is that the birth of secularism and the spread of its principles uplift and enshrine democracy, while the very fundamental nature of Islam, as a religion, undermines the democratic movements in Muslim countries all around the globe.

Coming first to the article by Lewis, it can be seen that he tries to draw a line of distinction between Islam and liberal democracy. He shows his concern for the misuse of the ...

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...t has replaced the centuries old monarchal system of governance throughout the world. I do not mean to say that those who boast of having a democratic system in their countries should first look at their past, which is bleak all the way. The point is that the transformation of monarchy into th republic governance is only a recent phenomenon.

Works Cited:

1. Black, Antony. "The Idea of Monarchy under the Umayyads and 'Abbasids." History Of Islamic Political Thought: From The Prophet To The Present. S.l.: Edinburgh UP, 2001. 18-19. Print.

2. Irfan Ahmad (2011). Democracy and Islam. Philosophy & Social Criticism, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp. 459 – 470.

3. Lewis, Bernard (1996). Islam and Liberal Democracy: A Historical Overview. Journal of Democracy, Volume 7, Issue 2, 52-63.

4. The Qur'an: Translation. Trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Elmhurst: Tahrike,

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