Approaching the Quran
Dr. Younus Y. Mirza
The Quran and the Islamic State
Does the Quran command Muslims to establish a state or any specific political order? Many past and modern Islamic parties, religious movements, political actors and radical groups across the world assume that the Quran requires establishing the Islamic state based on the teachings of the Quran. Therefore, they are struggling in the political sphere to realize this idea. They also considered Islam as unified political framework to oppose foreign treats. Hence, many Islamic movements have emerged through the promoting an Islamic state as an ultimate concern rather than an agenda of reform in social and ethical regeneration of Muslim societies. However, the concept of the Islamic state is a recent development, rooted in the socio-political and economic transformations of post enlightenment period in modern age. The idea of an Islamic state differed from early ideas of Muslims about governance. Early scholars and Ulama haven’t used the concept of an Islamic state as the requirement of the Quran; yet it mostly emerged as a recent phenomenon during the twentieth century. For example, the founders of al jamaat al islamiyya and Muslim brotherhood have used this term in their early activism to legitimate and motivate their political activism.
The primary requirement of the Qur’an for Muslims, however, is to reform themselves in terms of social, cultural, ethical values at individual level then societal base. The Quran emphasize the community of believers (muminun) rather than being distinct political organization. In this regard, the Quran never says that Muslim should establish an Islamic state per se as a true political system a...
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...te new interpretation of Islam. Thus, it is difficult to spread a form of doctrinal pluralism and respect to alternative understanding in the large extent. The lack of doctrinal pluralism was highly affiliated with the status quo of countries and power holders. In the last decades, many states of Muslim societies have imposed rigid ideologies and support the official (state) religion as the true religion and belief system. The monopoly of power elites over the truth has also created the most important obstacle for the development of a pluralistic ethos, which may also block the rise of Islamic enlightenment and then reform in the Muslim majority societies. In reality, there is no a ‘Islam’, there are ‘Islams’ in different contexts. This pluralist doctrine should be an integral part of studying the Quran to achieve the independent and alternative knowledge production.
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