{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

CH-03 - 3 Muslim"Church Government In Islam unlike...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
In Islam, unlike Christianity, there is no tradition of a separation of church and state, of religious organization as contrasted with political organization. At least, this is the oft-repeated statement contrasting the two religions. There will be occasion to suggest important modifications to this assertion, but let it serve as a point of departure. One simple reason for this difference between Islam and Christianity is that Islam knows no “church” in the sense of a corporate body whose lead- ership is clearly defined, hierarchical, and distinct from the state. The orga- nizational arrangement of Muslim religious specialists, or ulama, 1 makes an institutional confrontation between Muslim church and Muslim state vir- tually impossible. An ‘alim may speak out against a ruler, but there is no canonical way he can summon a Muslim “church council.” Nor has he any opportunity to pass his charges up the Muslim religious hierarchy until a Muslim equivalent of pope or council or synod renders a judgment binding on all members of the “church.” This, at least, holds as a broad generaliza- tion (with reservations and exceptions to be noted) for Sunni Islam. As for Twelver Shi‘ism, the actions of Ayatullah Khomeini and the mullahs in Iran suggest that the clergy there are more nearly a recognizable “church” hier- archy. This Sunni-Shi‘i distinction calls for separate treatment. Sunni Islam Taking the majority Sunni case first, to argue that no distinctive corporate body equivalent to the church in Christianity exists in Sunni Islam is not to 3. Muslim “Church Government”
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
suggest that the ulama have no group identity or that the ulama, individu- ally or collectively, have had little impact on politics. On the contrary, throughout the ages Muslim religious spokesmen have confronted Muslim rulers—ever so circumspectly at times, but occasionally in thundering con- demnation. The ulama have often led or been intimately involved in move- ments toppling rulers from power. The contrasting roles in the modern era of Muhammad ibn Abd al- Wahhab ( 170 3– 1787 ) and Shaykh Muhammad Abduh ( 1849 1905 ) exem- plify the range of ulama involvement in this-worldly politics. The former represented the typical Muslim challenge from the periphery to the politi- cal center. He preached a rigorous puritanical religion from the central Arabian Peninsula, and his followers took up arms against other Muslims seen as lax to the point of apostasy. Egypt’s Muhammad Abduh, by contrast, was trained at al-Azhar and spent his life not in the hinterland but at one of the representative urban centers from which political power and cultural norms have radiated throughout Islamic history.After a brief flirtation with radical politics in his early years, Abduh chose the path of meliorist reform while working with the powers that be, including foreign overlords, the British having estab- lished their military occupation of Egypt in 1882 .
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern