and Theo-democracy in the Middle East and
Paper presented at the Fourth Annual Kent State University Symposium on Democracy
There is a powerful
discourse in Western academic work that forecasts a clash of civilizations, as
expressed by Samuel Huntington (1993, 1996). A parallel discourse argues that
the Islamic world cannot create a democratic institutional structure because
Islam itself is contrary to the Western (putatively superior) concept of
democracy. In this paper, I will challenge these suppositions, using the
writings of Muslim scholars and activists in various countries of the Middle
Obviously, the process of
globalization, through its extension of economic, cultural, technological, and
political tentacles rooted in Western market society, has a major impact on
political discourses and practices in this focal area. It can be argued that
the rise of Islamist beliefs and movements is directly linked to globalization,
and is a creative response to the intense social disruptions brought about by
this globe-transforming process. It appears to be unknown to many in the
From North Africa, through the
Middle East and Central Asia and on to
On Unitary Ideologies
It must be stated immediately that there can never be a single political, religious, social, or cultural discourse that is unitary. Much of the critical discourse about Islam assumes a unitary way of thinking, a singular, and usually negative, reaction to all that the Western world represents. It should be abundantly evident to everyone that such a worldview does exist; the point I make is that it is but one among many, and does not, to my view as well as many other commentators and interpreters, represent the majority of people in the Muslim world. In fact, thinking of Islam as a singular entity is so patently ridiculous that comment should be unnecessary. Nevertheless, the problematic fantasy of “the Islamic Mind” stays with us, as if even such an orthopraxy as some claim Islam to be could have an orthodoxy that could be followed by 1.3 billion people. Is there an Islamic mindset? Well, is there a Christian one? A Jewish or Hindu one?
My preference is to recognize before we take a single step that Islam is a diverse, cross-culturally complex system of thought and practice that has a fascinating history, with a range of perspectives from modernist to assimilationist to reactionary to liberal all within its basic framework of belief and practice. I will focus here on the forms of thought within Islam that demonstrate an alternative to the broad-brush portrayal so familiar to us from Western media.
An Anthropology of Democracy
First, I need to make it clear that I am an anthropologist, not a political scientist. What anthropology brings to this discussion about the definitions of democracy is different from what is contributed from other disciplines. Anthropologists speak to the person on the street, seek local meanings and understandings, and try to get inside native minds to ascertain people’s understanding[s] of the world. This does not mean that theory is not important to us; in fact, theory is a central part of the process of interpretation of what we think we have found out. The disorganized chatter of a marketplace, the disputatious commentaries in a café, the different evaluations of a wedding couple from celebrants, all must be placed in an order, however contrary such an organization may seem to the original experience, and theory is necessary to accomplish this.
Now democracy is one of those
concepts that elicit countless definitions in the varied cultural circumstances
that enrich our planet. While many would argue that the largely successful experience
To demonstrate this, I want to look
for a moment at what one anthropologist did in his search for the meaning given
to democracy in
Demokaraasi Out of Democracy
The Wolof people of
The point of all this is to show
how the definitions of democracy will vary depending on the cultural
circumstances within which the concept is both translated and operationalized through local practices. It is not a fixed,
reified condition, but a process enacted by human agents based on their
historical and cultural perspectives. This is the approach I take in seeking an
understanding of what is happening in the Islamic world. I will now turn to the
Islam in Theory and Practice
I want to lay the groundwork for understanding Islamist perspectives on democracy by defining several key terms that are the basis for most theorizing about the intersection of Islam and democracy. These terms are: umma, shura, ijma, ikhtilaf, and ijtihad. Umma means community or nation, linked by faith (Ghadbian, 1997, 19). The term appears often in the Qur’an and appears to be used in reference to nation building. In one of the first documents produced following the Prophet’s hijra to Madinah, it says: “This is a contract from the Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of God, between the believers and Muslims of Quraysh [the tribe of the Prophet] and the people of Yathrib [Madinah] with them; verily they are one nation (umma) unique beside all the people” (Ghadbian, 1997, 19–20).
The second essential concept is shura. This term means “deliberative consultation,” that is, relying on advisers in decision making. This concept also is derived from the Qur’an and is utilized by many contemporary Islamic theorists. For example, Rashid al-Ghannoushi states that “Islam, which enjoins the recourse to Shura (consultation) . . . finds in democracy the appropriate instruments (elections, parliamentary system, separation of powers, etc.) to implement the Shura” (Esposito and Voll, 2001, 114). Moussalli argues quite effectively that shura can be glossed as democracy in the modern context (2001).2
Ijma (consensus) is the third concept. Such consensus is to emerge from the process of consultation among the umma (as found among the Wolof discussed above). Essential to this consensus is the fourth term, ikhtilaf, which means disagreement. In early Islam, it was recognized that differences of opinion were part of the umma. However, it was also recognized that such a process could go too far. Hence, disagreement to the point of chaos (fitna) in the community was banned; ikhtilaf, however, was approved. Together, these two terms imply a process of coming to consensus in community from positions of respectful disagreement. Ijma alone has elements that are contrary to the democratic process; but ijma combined with ikhtilaf assures respect for pluralism as the community seeks consensus (Moussalli 2001).
The last concept has made a resurgence in the modern period. Ijtihad, always part of early Islam, drifted from centrality in the age of the caliphate as Islamic thought became more codified and rigid. However, it returned as a key part of nineteenth century modernism. It means “independent interpretation,” and has the same trilateral root as the term jihad. Jihad means to strive with all one’s might; it has been more commonly associated with an internal struggle to follow the Islamic straight path (which Mohammad called the greater jihad), but sometimes an external battle to protect the community (called the lesser jihad).3 Hence the term ijtihad comes to mean “effort, exertions, endeavor” extrapolated into “independent judgment in a legal or theological question” (Wehr, 1980, 142–43). Fazlur Rahman defines ijtihad as “to depart from existing and generally accepted rules of law, and instead to search for original solutions” (quoted in Humphries 1999, 254).4 This independence of thought and interpretation is key in a religion that has no pope, no supreme authority above the individual’s responsibility to engage the texts and manifest the Islamic path. Each Muslim is to learn the text, even memorize it, since it is the ultimate tool given by Allah.
An intersection of these terms became key to the process of determining the succession to Muhammad after his death, which led to the creation of the caliphate (in Arabic, khalifat rasul Allah, or deputy of Allah’s messenger). At that point, the umma (community) determined that the following principles were the basis for the caliphate: (1) the leader was selected by the umma; (2) decisions were made through shura; (3) the purpose of government was to manifest justice; and (4) any legislation emerged from the umma, but it must follow Islamic law, the shari’a. Similarly, the leader would be followed only so long as he followed shari’a as well; the right of the umma to change the leader was always implicit. (Ghadbian, 1997, 20–21).
What I am hoping that you can see
at this point is how some nineteenth century modernists as well as contemporary
theorists can return to their Islamic roots and come up with concepts that
coincide with, or reflect, or at very least show a family resemblance with
various ideals of democracy, as it is interpreted in the Euro-American world.
Equipped with these terms, I want to give a very truncated history of the
stages of theoretical development as the Arab-Muslim world faced the latest
round of challenges from
History of Islamic Modernism
Rafi’ al-Tahtawi (1801–1873) has the distinction of being
There were also political actors. The first group to argue that Islam required a constitutional government was the Young Ottomans in the 1860s. They based this argument on their understanding of shura and on the fact that the first caliph, Abu Bakr, was selected by acclamation among the Muslims of the time. This meant to these young activists that Islam was essentially democratic. They achieved such influence that the sultan actually approved and implemented a constitution in 1876, and permitted a parliament to be elected to advise him. It was dismissed two years later, reconvened in 1908, lasting that time until the end of World War I. This Ottoman Constitution was a marvelous document for its time. While quite secular, it based its arguments on Islamic principles (Humphreys 1999).
I want to mention two additional
progenitors for the three Islamic theorists in the next section: ‘Ali Shari’ati (1933–1977) of
founded the Pakistani party Jamaat-i-Islami in 1941 as a means to promote an Islamic
renaissance, and was an early supporter of the formation of the Islamic state
I believe it is necessary to show how the ideas of these more conservative Islamist thinkers are transformed in the next generation. In the next section, two of my three examples studied with these men and were highly influenced by them.
I have chosen three Islamic activist writers to introduce the vibrant nature of democracy theory within Islam. Many others could be included (see Esposito and Voll 2001; Davis 1997; Monshipouri 1998; Ibrahim 2002; Cooper et al. 1998; Moussalli 2001; ‘Ashmawi 1998), so the selection of these three is somewhat arbitrary. However, I find these three men’s ideas most provocative and their dedication to their ideas inspiring.
I begin with Rashid Ghannouchi of
Ghannouchi seeks to revive and reform Islam for the modern world, to replace westernized rulers who oppress their own people with an authentic Islamic system that recognizes pluralism and human rights. As he put it in a 1992 speech:
There is no acceptable alternative other than democracy, one that is not exclusive, recognizing all perspectives. Stability will not occur unless we have a democracy of equality that embodies the people’s right to control their civil agendas without mandate; one that adheres stringently to the rotation of power; and one that strives for the fair distribution of wealth and establishment of a free-market economy. (Ghannouchi, 1993, 42)
While he knows the
We want modernity, contrary to the ridiculous allegations made by those adversely inclined against political Islam, but only insofar as it means absolute intellectual freedom; scientific and technological progress; and promotion of democratic ideals. However, we will accept modernity only when we dictate the pace with which it penetrates our society and not when French, British, or American interpretations impose it upon us. It is our right to adopt modernity through methods equitable to our people and their heritage. (Ghannouchi, 1993, 39)
He speaks often of reasserting Islamic identity, of just economic development, of reorganizing internal affairs according to Islamic principles, and of learning from other nations. All Muslims wish for, he says, is respect for their sovereignty, their religion, and their civilization in a mutual relationship. In a key paragraph from a 1997 article, he states:
The Islamic peoples aspire to complement their political independence with cultural, economic, and civilizational independence. They seek to accomplish a genuine democratic transition in their societies where the rule of the majority will replace the rule of the minority. They hope to accomplish true human development by meeting the basic needs of humans, liberating their potential energies and resources within the framework of the Islamic code of conduct that encourages work and considers it to be a form of worship, and that respects private ownership, pursues justice, promotes cooperation and compassion, replaces usury by the principle of partnership, and combats all forms of corruption (Ghannouchi, 1997, 259).
Is there more we
could ask of a political theorist than this? Much that is here resonates very
strongly with my own ideals. Of course, the steps between this ideal and
practical application are many, but perhaps you could explain to me what it is
in these words that makes the government of
Can we tell what Ghannouchi means by democracy? Well, in an interview with John Esposito and John Voll in 1993, he stated that “if by democracy is meant the liberal model of government prevailing in the West, a system under which the people freely choose their representatives and leaders, and in which there is an alternation of power, as well as all freedoms and human rights for the public, then the Muslims will find nothing in their religion to oppose democracy, and it is not in their interest to do so anyway” (Esposito and Voll, 2001, 114). And how could it be?
Soroush (1945–) is the second of my examples.
Sometimes called the Luther of Islam (by Robin Wright, qtd.
in Soroush, 2000, xv), Soroush
was trained first in philosophy at the
Soroush argues that governmental policy derived from religion is insufficient to deal with the complexities of modernity, thereby calling into question the legitimating claims of clergy. Such approaches result in a “fixed ideological worldview” (Vakili, 2000, 156) that reifies and ossifies Islam as a living system. Since all religious understandings change, any attempt to make permanent a single interpretation restricts intellectual growth, individual freedom, and even undermines the development of reason and rationality. So, instead of government by a limited religious ideology, the only form of government compatible with Islam is democracy. Soroush even goes so far as to suggest that even religion must be democratic: “In a religious society, . . . the issue of religion is too great for it to be relegated to the hands of official interpreters. In a religious society, no personality, and no fatwa is beyond criticism. And no understanding of religion is considered the final or most complete understanding” (Soroush, qtd. in Vakili, 2000, 157–58). He believes an essential aspect of religion is the command to resist oppression and seek justice (based in the classic command to resist evil and create good), as well as to work to overcome the strictures of poverty and inequality. For Soroush, religion is democracy in that both are concerned with the mitigation of imbalances in both power and wealth.
However, regardless of his popularity among students, or the respect in which he was held by many, he became too much for the conservatives in Iran. By the mid-nineties, Soroush had been fired from his job, banned from teaching, and physically assaulted by militants. He now is in exile and is most recently serving as a visiting professor at Harvard and Princeton. As an intellectual, what he calls a “powerless wielder of power” (Soroush 2003), he has suffered the indignities of exile because he questions the right of anyone, including leading clerics, to be above the law, as well as questioning the velayat-e faqih system created for Ayatollah Khomeini, which declares a religious legal scholar as the head of government. Soroush has said, “Nothing is sacred in human society. All of us are fallible human beings. Though religion itself is sacred, its interpretation is not sacred and therefore it is criticizable, modifiable, refinable, redefinable” (1997). He has staked his career, even his life on conceptualizing a liberation theology for Islam that calls for a democratic state, no longer led by the clerical establishment, and engaged in an open dialogue with the West. There are various clerics, academics, and reformers within Iran, including President Khatami himself, who continue to support his ideas to various degrees. Soroush has a powerful voice that is still being heard; curiously, there are parallels between his case and that of Ayatollah Khomeini before the 1979 revolution. Iran is undergoing another revolution today. The ending of the story has not been written.
The last of my three figures is Khurshid Ahmad (1932–) of Pakistan. It was in college in Karachi that he encountered Abul A’la Mawdudi, the Jamaat-i-Islami, and economics, his academic discipline. His early writings were often on Islamic economics, in which he argued that Islam had its own concerns with social and economic justice thereby making socialism unnecessary as an alternative to capitalism in the Muslim world. This theme has pervaded his writings since. As he stated in 1979:
The major contribution of Islam lies in making human life and effort purposive and value-oriented. . . . We must reject the archetype of capitalism and socialism. Both these models of development are incompatible with our value system. . . . Both are exploitative and unjust and fail to treat man as man, as God’s vice regent on earth. Both have been unable to meet in their own realms the basic economic, social, political and moral challenges of our time and the real needs of a humane society and a just economy. (qtd. in Davis, 1999, 237–38)
His concern for the individual person is rooted in his study of economics; he believes any economic system must provide necessities of daily life as well as opportunities for personal development to one’s highest potential (Esposito and Voll, 2001, 49). Ahmad believes deeply in an Islamic solution to economic problems that does not mirror the excesses of amoral individualism found in Western consumer society, or the godless public ownership of the Socialist states. Human resource development, to him, must be the focus of any development policy. For Ahmad, economics is a human science.
Ahmad writes, as did his mentor Mawdudi, of “theo-democracy,” defined as “a democratic system inseparable from divine guidance” (Davis, 1999, 243). This concept, while not utilized by all Islamist theorists, demonstrates the variance in defining democracy that I addressed in the section on Schaffer and the Wolof people. Activist Muslims argue repeatedly that all sovereignty comes from Allah; human actors are but “vice-regents” (translation of khalifa, caliph) representing the will of Allah. This idea may grate on absolute secularists, but the recent issues about the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, the mention of God on U.S. money, prayers that open congressional sessions, all indicate that the difference between systems is one of degree, not kind.
In a manner similar to what Soroush argues, Ahmad believes theo-democracy to be a far superior approach to human fulfillment than is theocracy. As he put it in a 1993 article:
This definition [of theo-democracy] repudiates the concept of theocracy because such a government is restrictive in its scope, i.e., it confines the leadership to a particular religious class who reserve the right to interpret religious law and wield political power. A theo-democracy, however, establishes the basic rules of law, much like a constitution; and from these essential principles appropriate laws are implemented, similar to the amendments made to the U.S. constitution and the laws Congress ratifies within the framework of that Constitution. (qtd. in Davis, 1999, 242)
In his argument for proportional representation in Pakistan, he defined the essential elements of an Islamic democratic process, rooted in injunctions about shura and umma, as well as in the necessity of democratic participation as the ultimate expression of his religion (Ahmad 1983). He has served in Parliament and in government office, and he remains a key actor in the Jamaat-i-Islami party of Pakistan and continues to write about his vision of an economics of justice.
By selecting three Islamist activists from a much larger pool, I am seeking to widen and deepen the portrayal of Islam from the single note that pervades so much of our media discourse. I very much believe that, given time and the ability to make their own choices, the nations of the Islamic world will manifest the aspects of the religion that call for economic and distributive justice, democratic participation in human political affairs, and human responsibility for the earth itself (see Haq 2001).
The Place of Islam in a Postmodern Democratic Order
So, if the Muslim world has these interesting theorists who evidently wish to direct Islam into a democratic direction, then why is the Islamic world so bereft of functioning democracies? What keeps these nations from implementing the theory? How does it come to be that pundits in the United States declaim that there is no democracy because “they” (Muslims, Islamists, fundamentalists, you name it) hate “our” (the United States,” the West’s, democratic societies’) freedom? What is it that Huntington, Lewis, Kramer, and their ilk perceive to be going on, and how do they come to have such overarching perspectives on the religion of 1.3 billion people? Earlier I said that all religiosity is interpretation, and all religious interpretation is ultimately political. The same thing is true here. My political bias here is to reject ethnocentric, essentialist reduction of all Muslims to the actions of a few.
I argue that such perceptions as those of Huntington are ahistorical misrepresentations that deny the overwhelming impact of earlier Euro-American imperial designs as well as the contemporary foreign policies of the United States and Europe that provide strong support for the indigenous practice of nondemocratic, even antidemocratic government policy in the Middle East and North Africa. The United States is a strong supporter of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and recently, Pakistan. Just a short while ago, the United States made a new deal with the government of Algeria, which has been engaged in a decade-long exceedingly bloody attempt to forbid the implementation of a democratic victory by Islamists in the early nineties. In the post–September 11 world, the United States has chosen Algeria as a fellow fighter against terrorism, regardless of the abundant information that clearly demonstrates that government’s terror against its own people (Zoubir 2002). In fact, some of the same pundits who decry the inability of Muslims to implement democracy also state that democracy would not be in the interests of the United States since Islamists would probably win, and as we all are supposed to believe, Islamists hate our freedom, and so forth (see Ghannouchi 1997 for a critique of these views).
Either you support democracy or you do not. One cannot claim the right to decide which party, which approach, which program is acceptable in someone else’s nation. One supports democracy or one does not; the outcome is up to the voters, not to Western analysts and political leaders.5 History shows us that each time the Islamist parties in various countries have been denied the opportunity to participate fairly in open elections, violence against the state has been a direct outcome. Check the recent history of Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and, of course, Lebanon. On the other hand, once given the freedom to participate, the violence decreases. See today’s Jordan, or Turkey, where a real democratic process was observed by the entire world when the Turkish Parliament, bowing to the desires of their people, refused to support the United States’ use of Turkish territory for the Iraqi Invasion. And in Soroush’s Iran, as we speak, the right-wing clerics who still hold the greatest power are being challenged on every side by the forces of democratic transformation, from students, academics, youth, professionals, people in smaller towns, and even many clerics who do not believe in Islamic theocracy, though theo-democracy might well find great support. The people are not seeking to overturn Islam. The forces arrayed in struggle in Iran are similar to those in many European countries and the United States: those who love power and think in terms of xenophobic and ideological arrogance versus those who believe in the democratic process and who think in terms of idealistic pluralism.6
The words of Rashid Ghannouchi are to the point. He said, in an interview in 1994 that Western nations
should stop double-standard behavior . . . while speaking democracy and preaching it, they are supporting dictatorships. They should stop such behavior. That is why there is a doubt now in the Islamic world about whether these democracies are true and genuine democracies. . . . How can the taxpayer in the United States support dictatorship in Algeria? Is it right only for people in the West to enjoy freedom? Don’t we Muslims have the right to a dignified life? . . . We tell them that the era of dictatorial regimes is on the brink of collapse. The real representatives, the legitimate sons of Islam, are on their way to power, regardless whether the West accepts it or not. If it keeps preventing these legitimate forces from achieving their goals . . . and if they keep putting hurdles against them and fighting them, this means when that particular force achieves power, it will be hostile. We fear that there will not only be one Iran. But the West is helping to bring about a lot of Irans around the world. . . . They should bear in mind that Islam can be a friend of the West . . . moderate and tolerant. But Islam can be hard as well, and angry and seeking revenge. And the West has the power to shape this by its approach to Islam. (Davis, 1999, 105)
None of this is to ignore the internal dynamics that occur in the Middle East and North Africa. In the recent United Nations’ Arab Human Development Report of 2002, an important contribution was made by Arab scholars themselves to a critique of the absence of freedom; gender inequality; poor quality health care, education, and technological development; and high unemployment. But this is all in a context that many in the area attribute to the north-south, west-east divisions.
This brings us to another issue necessary to grasp the complexities of the struggle for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa: international economics. Globalization has not provided its promised elevation of the standard of living to the masses of Arabs and Muslims, while it has enriched those who serve global capital throughout the world. The fantasies envisioned in the nineteenth century were of economic and political development that would revive the decrepit Islamic empire and return the Muslims to their rightful place as a center of intellect and culture. These fantasies were dashed not only by the forced destruction of the Ottoman Empire but also by the subsequent failures of experiments in socialism and democracy, and the reestablishment of militarist, authoritarian governments. These governments have not provided the benefits of economic development any better than the West had promised to do so. Instead, they appear to act as the emissaries of predatory globalization process (see Falk 1999; Pasha 2002). It is not just the most radical supporters of Osama bin Laden who perceive leaders of the Muslim world as unbelievers and as beholden to the Western powers.
Ultimately, there is much reason to believe that a combination of historical circumstances and economic conditions has prevented the development of democratic institutions in the Middle East and North Africa. That is the argument made by a collection of scholars associated with the journal Muslim Democrat (Nov. 2002). Islam may well be deeply embedded in the process of creating democracy in the Muslim world, but like all religions, “Islam” is an interpretative process, not a fixed and unitary reification (see Tessler 2002). The teaching of this religion, like all others, can at times be manipulated toward a particular telos by one influential cleric or another, but it is essential to recall that all religious interpretations, in all religious traditions, are ultimately political. As the personal is political, then, so is the religious political.
I would like to conclude with a statement made by a student at the end of the last class I taught on Islam. She said that, after reading our course materials, including the many theorists we covered, she was convinced that there would emerge out of the Islamic world a renaissance in which Islamists, reformers, and perhaps even fundamentalists would join to provide for the world a new contribution to democratic discourse. I of course do not know if she will be proven correct but I do know the potential is there.7 Islam has a strong foundation in the humanistic impulse, the desire for equality and rights, always based on the deep conviction that none of us achieve anything on our own. For many Muslims, their kind of democracy was in the mind of Allah when Gibreel the messenger spoke Allah’s words into Muhammad’s ear. To date, its implementation has only been prevented by human failing: that is, by the exigencies of the Islamic empire, the devastation of colonialism, the dismal failures of postwar secular experimentation, the creeping distortions of neoliberal economics, the double-standard foreign policy of the United States in particular, and most recently the complex impacts of predatory globalization. In an article written ten years ago that has a spooky prescience to it, Khurshid Ahmad wrote:
The West must take a hard look at itself and realize that economic and cultural imperialism are no less destructive than political imperialism. The United States, in particular, as the sole superpower on the global stage, must become more sensitized to the fears of less developed states that see the U.S. embarking on a new imperial order. In so doing, the U.S. is willing to ignore the suppression of democracy when it seems that the opposition will not bend to its will. (qtd. in Davis, 1999, 241)
We must also reach beyond simplistic efforts to project enemy status onto great collectives of people, whether nations or religions. If we learn in our own democratic process that respect for differences is a just and viable goal, how else can we move forward than to make the effort to create global democracy? I end with the words of Rashid Ghannouchi, who often speaks of his belief that cultural and religious differences do not necessitate conflict, but can lay the groundwork for mutual respect and recognition. As he says, “We appeal for and work to establish dialogue between Islam and the West, for the world now is but a small village and there is no reason to deny the Other’s existence. Otherwise, we are all doomed to annihilation and the destruction of the world” (Cheref 2002). If we truly seek democracy, we need to apply the concepts of pluralism, justice, and human rights across the board, internationally, not just inside Western nations because if we are not supporting democracy outside, we become increasingly less able to support it within. That is why we must understand, anthropologically, the insider’s meaning of such terms as democracy whenever we engage with those from the culture of Others.
1. Abul A’la Maududi and Khurshid Ahmad are Pakistani theorists discussed below. See Maududi 1976 and Ahman 1976, 1883.
2. Shura is discussed in many places, and it appears to be the most common framework for arguing that a link to democracy can be found in seventh century Arabia. See the U.S. Institute of Peace Special Report 93 (2002), Ibrahim 2002, Shadid 2002, Nettler 1998. Moussalli 2001 provides a useful history of the concept’s classical, medieval, and modern usages. Also see Tibi 2002, who critiques the claim of parallelism.
3. Muhammad was to have spoken to his warriors after their return from a great battle, “We return from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.” The greater struggle for a Muslim is the internal battle against ego, selfishness, and other forms of evil. See Esposito, 2002, 28.
4. This seems directly drawn from the Syrian thinker Rashid Rida, who is one of the earliest advocates of this interpretation of ijtihad. See below.
5. See the U.S. Institute of Peace Special Report 93 of September 2002 on Islam and democracy for a quite measured approach to this contradictory, double-standard approach of the United States toward democracy in the region.
6. I realize that dualities such as this one are both reductionist and hyperbolic. There are many forces involved in the Iranian political world; the political spectrum is more like a continuum, as is true everywhere. However, the ideal types stand as representative of the essences of the battle.
7. See, for example, Dale Eickelman’s 1998 article on Islamic reformation, which makes a similar argument, as does his 1997 piece in Entelis’s Islam, Democracy, and the State in North Africa.
Ahmad, Khurshid. “Islam: Basic Principles and Characteristics.” In Islam: Its Meaning and Message, ed. Khurshid Ahmad, 27–44. London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1976.
—. Proportional Representation and the Revival of Democratic Process in Pakistan. Islamabad: Institute of Policy Studies, 1983.
—, ed. Islam: Its Meaning and Message. London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1976.
‘Ashmawi, Muhammad Sa’id. Against Islamic Extremism: The Writings of Muhammad Sa’id al-’Ashmawy. Ed. Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban. Gainesville: Univ. Press of Florida, 1998.
Bagader, Abubaker A. “Contemporary Islamic Movements in the Arab World.” In Islam, Globalization, and Postmodernity, ed. Akbar S. Ahmed and Hastings Donnan, 114–26. London: Routledge, 1994.
Burgat, François and William Dowell. The Islamic Movement in North Africa. Austin, Tex.: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 1997.
Cheref, Abd-el-kader. Globalization, Islam, and Democracy. 2002. Available at http://septemberhearts.com/2002B/globalizationislam.htm (accessed March 10, 2003).
Cooper, John, Ronald Nettler, and Mohamed Mahmoud, eds. Islam and Modernity: Muslim Intellectuals Respond. London: I. B. Tauris, 1998.
Davis, Joyce M. Between Jihad and Salaam: Profiles in Islam. New York: St. Martin’s, 1999.
Denoeux, Guilain. “The Forgotten Swamp: Navigating Political Islam.” Middle East Policy 9, no. 2 (2002): 56–81.
Eickelman, Dale F. “Inside the Islamic Reformation.” Wilson Quarterly 22, no. 1 (1998): 80–89.
—. “Muslim Politics: The Prospects for Democracy in North Africa and the Middle East.” In Islam, Democracy, and the State in North Africa, ed. John P. Entelis, 17–42. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1997.
Entelis, John. P. “Political Islam in the Maghreb.” In Islam, Democracy, and the State in North Africa, 43–74. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1997.
Esposito, John. Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002.
— and Azzam Tamimi, eds. Islam and Secularism in the Middle East. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2000.
— and John O. Voll. Islam and Democracy. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1996.
—. Makers of Contemporary Islam. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2001.
Falk, Richard. Predatory Globalization: A Critique. Oxford, U.K.: Polity, 1999.
Ghadbian, Najob. Democratization and the Islamist Challenge in the Arab World. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1997.
Ghannouchi, Rashid. “The Battle against Islam.” Middle East Affairs Journal 1 (Winter 1993): 34–42.
—. “Islam and the West: Concord or Inevitable Conflict.” In After the Cold War: Essays on the Emerging World Order, ed. Keith Philip Lepor, 257–81. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1997.
Halliday, Fred. “The Politics of Islamic Fundamentalism: Iran, Tunisia, and the Challenge to the Secular State.” In Islam, Globalization, and Postmodernity, 91–113. London: Routledge, 1994.
Hamdi, Mohamed Elhachmi. “Islam and Democracy: The Limits of the Western Model.” Journal of Democracy 7, no. 2 (1996): 81–85.
Haq, S. Nomanul. “Islam and Ecology: Toward Retrieval and Reconstruction.” Daedalus 130, no. 4 (2001):141–78.
Humphries, R. Stephen. Between Memory and Desire: The Middle East in a Troubled Age. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1999.
Huntington, Samuel. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (1993): 22–49.
—. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
Ibrahim, Saad Eddin. Egypt, Islam, and Democracy: Critical Essays. Cairo: American Univ. in Cairo Press, 2002.
Kramer, Gudrun. “Islamist Notions of Democracy.” In Political Islam: Essays from Middle East Report, ed. Joel Beinin and Joe Stork, 71–82. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1997.
Mawdudi, Abu’l A’la. “Political Theory of Islam.” In Islam: Its Meaning and Message, 147–71. London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1976.
Meuelman, Johan, ed. Islam in the Era of Globalization: Muslim Attitudes towards Modernity and Identity. New York: Routledge Curzon, 2002.
Moaddel, Mansoor. Class, Politics, and Ideology in the Iranian Revolution. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1992.
— and Kamran Talatoff, eds. Contemporary Debates in Islam: And Anthology of Modernist and Fundamentalist Thought. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000.
Monshipouri, Mahmood, and Christopher G. Kukla. “Islam, Democracy and Human Rights: The Continuing Debate in the West.” Middle East Policy 9, no. 3 (1996): 22–39.
Moussalli, Ahmad S. Moderate and Radical Islamic Fundamentalism. Gainesville: Univ. Press of Florida, 1999.
—. The Islamic Quest for Democracy, Pluralism, and Human Rights. Gainesville: Univ. Press of Florida, 2001.
Nettler, Ronald L. “Mohammed Talbi’s Ideas on Islam and Politics: A Conception of Islam for the Modern World.” In Islam and Modernity: Muslim Intellectuals Respond, 129–55. London: I. B. Tauris, 1998.
Pasha, Mustapha Kamal. “Predatory Globalization and Democracy in the Islamic World.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 581 (2002): 121–32.
Qutb, Sayyid. “Islamic Approach to Social Justice.” In Islam: Its Meaning and Message, 117–30. London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1976.
Paley, Julia. “Toward an Anthropology of Democracy.” In Annual Review of Anthropology 31, ed. William H. Durham, Jean Comaroff, and Jane Hill, 469–96. Palo Alto, Calif.: Annual Reviews, 2002.
Pickthall, Muhammad M. The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an: Text and Explanatory Translation. New York: Muslim World League, 1977.
Roy, Olivier. The Failure of Political Islam. Trans. Carol Volk. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1994.
Schaffer, Frederic C. Democracy in Translation: Understanding Politics in an Unfamiliar Culture. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1998.
Shadid, Anthony. Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats, and the New Politics of Islam. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 2002.
Soroush, Abdolkarim. 2003. “Intellectuals: The Powerless Wielders of Power.” Available at www.iranchamber.com/personalities/asoroush/works/intellectuals_powerless_wielders.php (accessed March 11, 2003).
Soroush, Abdolkarim. Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam: Essential Writings of Abdolkarim Soroush. Trans. and ed. Mahmoud Sadri and Ahmad Sadri. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2000.
Tessler, Mark. “Islam and Democracy in the Middle East: The Impact of Religious Orientations on Attitudes toward Democracy in Four Arab Countries.” Comparative Politics 34, no. 3(2002): 337–55.
Tibi, Bassam. The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2002.
United Nations Development Programme. Arab Human Development Report: Creating Opportunities for Future Generations. New York: United Nations Publications, 2002.
United States Institute of Peace. Special Report 93: Islam and Democracy. Washington, D.C., 2002.
Vakili, Valla. “Abdolkarim Soroush and Critical Discourse in Iran.” In Makers of Contemporary Islam, 150–76. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2001.
Voll, John Obert. “Foundations for Renewal and Reform: Islamic Movements in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.” In The Oxford History of Islam, ed. John Esposito, 509–47. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999.
Wehr, Hans. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Ed. J. Milton Cowan. Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1980.
Zoubir, Yahia H. “Algeria and U.S. Interests: Containing Radical Islamism and Promoting Democracy.” Middle East Policy 9, no. 1 (2002): 64–81.
Zubaida, Sami. “Religion, the
State, and Democracy: Contrasting Conceptions of Society in