Georgetown University

An Islamic Perspective On Pluralism
Mohamed Fathi Osman
Visiting Research Professor Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

Occasional Papers Series

THE CHILDREN OF ADAM An Islamic Perspective on Pluralism

Mohamed Fathi Osman Visiting Research Professor Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs Edmud A. Walsh School of Foreign Service Georgetown University Washington, D.C. 20057

Mohamed Fathi Osman
Fathi Osman was Visiting Research Professor at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. for the Spring of 1997. His teaching positions include: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Temple University, Pennsylvania, Princeton University, New Jersey, Imam Muhammad ibn Sa’ud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Al-Azhar in Egypt, and Oran University in Algeria. Dr. Osman earned his undergraduate degree in Islamic Byzantine Relations at the University of Cairo, Egypt, and his doctoral degree in Islamic Economic and Financial Institution, Princeton University, New Jersey. Among his publications, Dr. Osman has written: The Islamic Thought and Human Change, An Introduction to the Islamic History, Human rights between the Western Thought and the Islamic Law, On the Political Experience of the Contemporary Islamic Movements, The Muslim World, Issues and Challenges, Jihad: A Legitimate Struggle for Human Rights, Muslim Women in the Family and Society, Shari’a in a Contemporary Society: Islamic Law and Change, and Concepts of the Quran: A Topical Reading of the Divine Revelation.


Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. and the corporate world. the Center combines teaching. its cultural significance and role in international affairs as well as the Christian experience in the Muslim World. Both Georgetown’s Catholic-Jesuit heritage and its location in Washington have shaped the University’s abiding interest in the study of religion and international affairs. The focus of the Center’s activities. iii . religious communities. the media. Center faculty and visiting faculty offer courses on Islam and the history of Muslim-Christian relations for undergraduate and graduate students at the University. both national and international in scope. The Center focuses on the historical. political and cultural encounter of Islam and Christianity. research and public affairs. Islam is one of the great spiritual and social forces in the world today. international conferences and extensive media coverage. A board array of public affairs activities and publications seek to interpret the interaction of the Muslim world and the West for diverse communities: government. theological. Thus. The establishment of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown flows from the role of religion in the contemporary international system. to promote dialogue between the two great religions. its influence and significance will extend and develop in the twenty-first century. is achieved through teaching symposia. the Muslim world and the West. the study of Islam at Georgetown encompasses its religious content. Located in the Edmund A. Geneva. academia.The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs was established in 1993 by Georgetown and the Foundation pour l’Entente entre Chretiens et Musulmans.

. . . . . . . . 54 Global Pluralism . . . . . 64 iv . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 In Muslim Civilization . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Pluralism. . . . 9 Human-Acquired Differences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Opposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 The Multi-party System. . . . . . . . . . . . 34 In World Commerce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Children of Adam . . . . Justice and Moral Commitment . . . . . . . . . . . 48 The Legislative Function . . . . . . . 17 Racial and Ethnic Differences . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Pluralism in a Global Era . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Difference of Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 In Islamic Law . . . . . 24 No Solution is Reached by Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Towards a Muslim Contribution to Contemporary Global Pluralism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Shura and Democracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Legal Implications of Human Dignity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Through Participation in World Knowledge And Civilization . . . . . . . . . 30 Within the Muslim Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Religious Differences . . 51 Institutional and Public Supervision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The “Human Being” and the “Human Beings” . . . . . . . 43 Elections . . . . . . . . . . 53 Fears Unjustified . . .

displays diversity in race. Pluralism. however closely related biologically. or it can develop from a system of beliefs through personal conviction. Since the world is coming closer together as a result of miraculous developments in the technology of transportation and communication. are exactly the same. and judgment. requires a serious approach towards understanding the other and constructive cooperation for the betterment of the whole. on the one hand. whether there are inborn or acquired. that accrue from the surrounding culture. All human beings should enjoy equal rights and opportunities. by all groups throughout the world.Pluralism in a Global Era: That human beings are all different cannot be argued. even the most harmonious geographic entity. knowledge approaches. Tolerance is a matter of individual feeling and behavior and co-existence is the mere acceptance of others that does not go beyond absence of conflict. there are the acquired differences in ideas. to maintain its identity and interests. that is. it can be inherited by succeeding generations from an earlier one. and secured and sanctioned legally. It means something more than moral tolerance or passive coexistence. Each group should have the right to organize and develop. as well as acquired ideological and political notions that reflect natural differences in things and judgment. and religions. requires organizational and legal measures that secure and sanction equality and develop fraternity among all human beings as individuals or groups. Physically and psychologically. priorities. The fact that religious faith is most commonly inherited collectively rather than developed individually makes the acceptance of religious diversity essential for the well-being of humanity. In addition to racial and ethnic differences. ethnicity. Religion belongs somewhere between an inherited and an acquired difference. among many others. global diversity has become a fact that has to be accepted intellectually and morally. Pluralism is the institutional form that acceptance of diversity takes in a particular society or in the world as a whole. Pluralism. also. and all should fulfill equal obligations as citizens of a nation and of the world. A nation-state. and each should enjoy equality of rights 1 . no two human beings.

Muslim unity does not require that Muslims form a single state. Where one lives may be dictated by geographic or economic factors. on the philosophical grounds that there in no single understanding of the truth and thus a variety of beliefs and institutions and communities should exist together and enjoy equal legitimacy.” It may be preferable to replace “autonomy” with “the right to maintain a common identity and interests. each with its on special interests that in no way detract from the universal relations of togetherness and solidarity required by Islam. trade unions. The Quran indicated that God and his teachings should be put above any allegiance to a particular group or land. Its definition is: “Autonomy enjoyed by disparate groups within a society. are acknowledged in the Quran (49:13). but in a democracy ideological and political differences also came to be subsumed under the same term.even the caliphate always comprised different beliefs and ethnicities. whatever their natural2 . Pluralism originally referred only to ethnic and religious differences. Is maintained by the state and the law.and obligations in the state and in the world. Muslim citizens of the country can have their ethnic or doctrinal differences within themselves or with other Muslims in the world. As Muslims live in larger groups and in lands where they can prosper. The Encyclopedia Britannica includes under pluralism both natural-born and acquired differences.such groups as religious groups. Relations should be constructive. A nation-state can be considered from the Islamic point of view as an enlarged family or an enlarged neighborhood. they have to live with other religions and sects Moreover. professional organizations or ethnic minorities. have to live with non-Muslims within a given country. first national law and eventually international law. allegiance to one’s family and other human gatherings and to one’s homeland is recognized (9:24). Pluralism means that minority groups can participate fully and equally with the majority in the society.” Muslims. yet maintain their particular identity and differences. and nothing is wrong with it so long as such divisions do not hinder universal human relations and cooperation. and so long as this principle is observed. like adherents of other religions of the world. whatever the beliefs of a particular group may be regarding the sole and universal truth. Divisions into peoples and other groups with common origin. and are not abused through chauvinistic arrogance and aggression. contemporary globalism is creating unavoidable interdependence among all humankind.

Pluralism: Against the Demand for Consensus (Oxford: Clarendon Press. asking: If we achieve consensus. Regarded consensus on fundamentals as a condition assured by God: Kant in the 18th Century. By contrast. “Aquinas in the Middle Ages. Habermas in the 20th century sees is as inherent in the very nature of Communications as an indispensables social praxis. But its workability is something else. saw it as guaranteed by the spirit of cultivation working through the march of history ever enlarging its hold on human Society. Hegel. “a sensibly managed social system should be so designed that a general harmony of constructive interaction can prevail despite diversity.” although it may be a useful epistemological instrument.[and] that different can be accommodate short of conflict.. 1993).” He emphasizes that. For a long time consensus was regarded as important because the goal was to achieve uniformity in beliefs and human values. 3 . ….” as Nicholas Rescher writes. in the 19th century. PP.born or acquired differences may be. defending pluralism in cognitive and social theory against dogmatic uniformity. “The appeal of a consensus approach to truth is easy to understand. but with hope. and indicating that in the face of differing views.1-3. can we be sure concerning the truth about which the consensus has been achieved? As he rightfully says. This requires acquiescence in difference … and respect for the autonomy of other.” one might think that reaching the truth would automatically produce consensus. many present-day writers invest social consensus not with confidence. but Rescher underlines the problem of connecting the truth to consensus by reversing the question. it is still appropriate to take a committed and definite position. if natural and rational diversity cannot escaped. considered it as something rooted in the very nature of Reason. Pluralism should not allow people to fall into the trap of “relativistic indifferentism. Rescher calls attention to the fact that “the realization of a consensus among inquiries requires 1 Nicholas Rescher. and no substitute for an objective criteriology.” He reaches the conclusion that “consensus is thus no highway to truth.” 1 Given that “the truth is one. Rescher argues for abandoning consensus as impossible.

“holocausts” and “ethnic cleansings” will continue. The empirical basis of our factual knowledge is bound to engender a variety of cognitive positions through the variation of experience here on earth. nor put the faith of any believer at risk. it is more essential when it comes to natural-born differences. When pluralism becomes a conventional national and universal principle. 52. 76-78. The unavailability of consensus and the inescability of pluralism are realities of the life of reason. or secession. which cripple the country and pressure the whole world. and legitimate activities for every individual.the pluralism that a sensible empiricism engenders in the light of such variable experiential conditions is rationally justified.”2 Political pluralism holds that power and authority should not be monopolized by a single group. However. terrorism.Rescher emphasizes . pp. inborn and acquired differences will enrich the intellectual. 109 4 . Accordingly . that all citizens should be allowed to compete legitimately or to cooperate. expression. be construed as encouraging indifference. 45-46.extraordinarily unusual conditions . or each religious group and for the group as a whole.” Thus. Pluralism in religion recognizes the multiplicity of religious groups. or organization. Multiethnic countries may always face the horrors of civil war. because parallel texts in the divine sources may sometimes seem 2 Ibid. however. Unless human understanding and cooperation supersede both inborn and acquired differences. and on a global scale will breed ceaseless conflict or self-imposed isolation.conditions of a special and particular sort which are not in general met in the difficult circumstances of an imperfect world. and the rights of belief. The divine messages from “the Lord of All-Being” (The Quran 1:1) can be invaluable in conducting their followers toward a universal pluralism.. moral and material assets of humankind through constructive interactions from al parties. If pluralism is unavoidably determined in cognitive matters. assembly. Such an inevitable cognitive pluralism should not. order. since “one can certainly combine a relativistic pluralism of possible alternatives with a monistic position regarding ideal rationality and a firm and reasoned commitment to the standards intrinsic of one’s own position.

Hermeneutics should be given the responsibility to provide the proper interpretation of God’s message in its totality and protect believers against distorting divine guidance through selectivity and one-sidedness. then may be inclined for individual or collective reasons in given circumstances to adapt chauvinistic and confrontational attitudes. which would create a false impression of exclusiveness and generate unethical behavior. Instead of making a distinction between the general principle and the particular situation. the believing masses may fail to understand them in their totality. 5 . discrimination. and conflict because they originally responded to different circumstances.

among God’s favors to the “Children of Adam” that “He has taken them through the land and the sea” (17:70). muminun. especially those who believe in the Quran.” whatever their inborn and acquired differences may be. by which is meant that the universality and movability of these creatures should not be restricted. It is the responsibility of the ruling author all over the world. and then refers to all other things and forces that God has made subservient to all humanity “in the heavens and on the earth” (45:13) as parallel to.The Children of Adam: The Quran (17:70) states that God honors and confers dignity on all the “Children of Adam. spiritual. The Creator who created the species homo sapiens conferred on humankind an abundance of physical. and the benefits of the good life (17:70) are provided by God and secured by his guidance for all humanity (2:29. and an alternative for. In return. whatever the means of transportation and communication may be. It is obvious. then. spiritual and moral merits. and has let you settle on it and develop it” (11:16) The Quran mentions. to secure human dignity and divine favor to all human beings. 45:13).” 54 times. human beings are responsible for developing their potential. and developing the world resources. the Quran refers to the ships that are enabled by God’s command to sail on the sea which He has made subservient to human beings (45:12). “Those who have attained to faith” or “the believers” are mentioned or addressed in singular or plural forms (maaemin. or as the means for any other benefit. In another place. Calling all humankind the “Children of Adam” is significant and meaningful. alladhin amanu) in other places in the Quran. and moral virtues. man amana. intellectual. Through such correlated and interacting development is human civilization generated. and enabled them to benefit from the sustenance He provided in this world in order to develop themselves and the world around them “He has brought you forth from this earth. the ships mentioned in the previous verse. and “human beings (nas)” in the plural form 239 times and directly addressed 19 times. making all human beings descendants of the same original forebears. Their physical and intellectual. bashar). The “Children of Adam (banu Adam)” are mentioned in the Quran seven times: human being (insane) in the singular form 65 times: “humankind (ins. their travels and contacts. that he Quran is concerned with humankind in 6 .

O Children of Adam! Whenever there come to you conveyors of My messages from amongst you who present my messages to you. Say: My Lord has forbidden only shameful deeds whether committed openly or secretly. those who are conscious of Me and live righteously no fear shall be on them. without going into unnecessary detail over differences. no can they hasten it. the universal character of humankind is remarked on the Quranic verses that deal with the children of Adam or address them as a whole. while it deals with or addresses “those who have attained to faith” or “the believers” in the Quran specifically. In addition to the verse about the favors of God and the dignity conferred on the Children of Adam (17:70). (7:31-35). Those who believe in God are told to deal with all humanity. to be conscious of Him. and eat and drink [freely] but do not waste. The following are some examples: O Children of Adam! We have brought down to you clothing so as to cover what may not be nice to be exposed of your bodies. and [the end of] their term approaches. nor shall they grieve. and associating with God others with no authority given to them by God. and illegitimate violation of others’ rights. and evil-doing. Even those who do not believe in God are merely urged not to associate with God others without any supporting evidence from Him and not to say about God what they do not know. they can either delay it by a single moment. and to be an adornment for you as well. God’s guidance about the wise conduct of material and moral behavior in this life provides common ground for all the Children of Adam. and would bring their hearts and minds together. and to live righteously. and saying about God what you not know.” (7:27) O Children of Adam! Care about your good looking at every place of worship. Say: who is these to forbid the beauty which God has brought forth for His creatures and the good things from among the means of sustenance [that He has provided for them]. but the raiment of Godconsciousness and righteousness is the best. if they would concisely and clearly address 7 . For every people a term has been set [in this world life].its totality. The followers of God’s messages would be more inspiring and convincing to the masses.

from their loins . One important Qur’anic verse about the “Children of Adam” mentions the common spiritual compass created by God within everyone. which the messages of God address and guide.their offspring. every individual has his or her own spirituality. or for material or social gain: “It is not you that they reject. Those who are not able to believe in God can accept guidance about moral values and ethical behavior. 8 . ‘Yea. so see what has been the end of the spreaders of corruption” [27:14]. not the mere lack of conviction or the state of being innocently and sincerely unable to believe. but it is the messages of God that the evil-doers deliberately deny” (6:33). and made them witnesses of their ownselves [asking them]: ‘Am I not you Lord [who has created you and sustained you and is wholly caring about you]? They say. [This has been done] lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Of this we were unaware’ [7:172] Accordingly. It is injustice. we do bear witness’. and immorality that God’s messages condemn. but it condemns any one who admits the truth within his or her heart and mind and denies it in public out of arrogance or stubbornness. “And out of arrogance and selfexaltation they deliberately denied them [God’s message]. God’s messages do not hold any human being responsible for what is beyond his or her individual ability.the essence of humanity and provide people with the essence of divine guidance. verily. which may be used by each individual according to his or her given circumstances: And [be aware] when you Lord has brought forth from the children of Adam . unrighteousness. while they acknowledge them in their ownselves.

the Quran deals with the individual of whatever sex or ethnicity or faith or society or class or education. 12:5. 49:13).g. 17:53. difficulties of life.g.g. 4:1. 83. and is warned against human weaknesses that can be exploited by Satan (e. The Quran repeatedly calls attention to the universe. “Human beings” in the plural are called upon to remain forever aware that they are all equal since they all stem from a single origin. such as kindness toward to one’s parents (e. 55:14. haste (e. In this way.. Whatever information comes to the human senses should stimulate thinking about what is know and what can be developed. 17:67. 49. 29:8. 17:13. 75:36-40. 43:15. 11:9-10.. 39:8. 96:1-5) and physical attributes useful for world development (95:4). human fondness for argument (e. 4:28.. 90:4. 100:6). and individual responsibility (e. moodiness. 86:5-10. 41:51.. and whatever their nation. 59:16). 22:66. The diversity of human societies and cultures should lead each to recognize the other and well know one another (49:13). diversity enriches human experience and development and becomes a sign of God’s wonderful creation and grace (30:22). 53:38-40.. 17:11. to establish solid ground for communication and interaction.g. 82:6-8. 39:8. 36:77). 83. 33:72. 80:24-31). 21:37). 96:6-7. Among the psychological and intellectual weaknesses of the human being.g. not a barrier or a cause a conflict. to the self with its powers and weaknesses. 25:29. But the Quran also stresses human limitations to secure a balanced personality which is protected against the two extremes of arrogance and hopelessness. 84:6. Intellect must be utilized and not neglected. 23:1216. 16:4. ethnic origin or tribe may be (e.. 51. 31:14. instability and inconsistency (e. Other verses that deal with the human being refer to his of her origin and creation. 46:15).g..g.42:48. miserliness (e. such as intellectual and linguistic faculties (55:33. to all of humankind and other kinds of life.. 10:12. 96:2) The human being is led in the Quran to the moral values that common sense supports. 41:49. 17:67. in order to interact and cooperated for mutual benefit and for the well-being of humankind.. 15:26. starting from the food that one eats (e. 17:100) and dismay (70:19). 70:19-20). in order 9 .g. 89:15-16. 49. 18:54. whether they are males or females.g. 76:1-2. it calls attention to God’s gifts and favors to the individual. unfairness and ingratitude (e. 42:48. 80:17. the Quran mentions impatience.The “Human Being” and the “Human Beings”: When the Quran addresses the “human being” in the singular form. 14:34.g. In all this.

30. 2:243. 2:164. 103. 30:6. as a result of mass psychology or pressures or temptations or intimidations delivered from above. human beings are urged to think about themselves. 19:80. Moral and intellectual safeguards 10 . 53:38-41). 36. and morality is human and universal. As mentioned before. 168. 61. 10:22.g. 95. and whatever living creatures He has dispersed through them. 25:53. 45:12-13). 17:70. 164. 45:26). about life and living creatures. The individual is urged to be critical. the fallibility of the majority cannot in any way be used as an excuse for autocracy or authoritarianism. Other planets may be populated by living creatures. and He is able to gather them together when He wills” (42:29). Human beings as a whole must learn to cooperate in developing themselves and developing the world around them [11:16].. so it enlightens human beings as a whole about their social limitations. 16:38. and no human barriers to them should be raised (e. 7:187. Only morality matters. since the majority can correct itself more easily than the individual can. Just as the Quran enlightens the individual about his psychological and intellectual limitations. 34:28. 45:13). 39:7. 42:38). but most human beings do not know” (40:57). 92. However.. since responsibility is individual in this life and in the life to come (6:94. 12:38. 11:17. This thinking may lead them in the end to ask themselves if such laws and order and harmony in all creation can be brought out or maintained without a know the real place of the human being in the cosmos and avoid the fatal error of individual or communal egocentrism: “Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater [matter] than the creation of human beings. The earth and the sea provide food and transportation for humankind without discrimination. 35:12. benefiting from the universal resources created for them all by God (2:29. and decisions about common matters should be reached collectively (3:159. 10:60. 17:15. 16:14-16. about the universe. to look for common errors (34:46). 35:18.g. and an encounter between them and humankind cannot be excluded: “And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth. but it is a human responsibility to think. 8. 68. 5:49. No belief can be imposed on any human being (2:256). 14:32. and it is up to all to reach whatever conclusion comes to them so long as it is honestly reached. 13:1. Even spouses have to run the famly through mutual consultation and consent (2:233). The majority may not necessarily be right and may make mistakes (e. 40:57. 59. 25:50. and about all creation they may come across.

whether in a given country among Muslims as a whole. then. 11 . provides the common ground for human communication and cooperation. Islam develops its particularity within a broader base of plurality. Thus. It addresses in general the human being as an individual and collective. and any decision should be revised as soon as it has been proven wrong.have to be followed in discussion. The Quran. while it tells Muslims in particular what they must believe and practice. raises common human concerns.

and different views will always exist among individuals and groups and are inevitable. He could surely have made the whole mankind one single community. 3:103-105. (5:48) Humankind has it common spirituality and morality (7:172. and He will then make truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ. Unto God you will all return. so they are shown how to handle their differences (e. [and differences may become serious] save among those on whom your Lord has bestowed His grace [when they follow His guidance about handling their differences].. No belief nor view should be 12 . nor in changing human nature which He himself has created. 41:45). The Quran indicated the limitations of individual and collectives. 4:59). humankind shows differences that. but [his plan is] to test you in what He has given you. Vie. He could surely have made you one single community. God’s grace lies not in the abolition to difference in beliefs and views. Any particular community of believers can have within itself differences (e. and for this [test in meeting their differences]. The Quran define the good as “what is know by common sense (al-ma’ruf)” and evil as “what is rejected by common sense (al-munkar)” (e. and the Muslim are no exception. are as serious and dangerous a source of conflict as inborn differences. but He willed it otherwise.. He has created them [in this way] … (11:118-119). showing that consensus on detailed matters is impossible. 110. then. 7:157. 9:71. people agree only about worshipping One God: For each we have appointed a law and a way of life.. 91:7-10). if they are allowed to grow. And had your Lord so willed. 22:41.g.g. and so they continue to differ. 31:17). with one another in good deeds. Had God so willed. but in showing human beings how to handle their differences intellectually and morally and behaviorally.g. 3:104.Human-Acquired Differences: Since some acquired particularities in human societies result from adopting certain beliefs or views. 11:110. Differences among the followers of the various messages of God exist. 114. 112.

since there is no way to reach consensus on the truth. 32:25.g. Besides. 23:3. 24:22. nor shall we be called for account for whatever you are doing’. 41:34). freedom of faith has to be secured for every human being. 2. 29:46). then He will lay open the truth between us in justice’ (34:24-26). An inter-faith dialogue can be conducted to reach a better understanding of “the other” avoiding any hurt or unfair imposition of belief. see also 11:28) People. there are always those who like to play God! Human beings can always discuss their differences in a reasonable way. 159. “And had your Lord so willed. 124. The Quran teaches that such a dialogue has to be conducted in the most constructive way methodologically and morally (16:125. 96. 6:164.178.g. 3:55..imposed by force: “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith” (2:225)..g. but in matters of religion.. A true believer in God has to avoid the temptation of meeting one wrong with another. and still acknowledge their pluralism. 64:14). since two wrongs do not make a right (e. then. Say: ‘Neither shall you be called to account for whatever misdeed we may have committed. However. whether an exchange of views can take place or not. 5:13. 28:55. as it has been repeatedly emphasized in the Quran (e. 16:92. in spite of this repeated emphasis. 3:134. 7:119. No party should conduct its argument on the premise that it is the only one that represents the whole truth: And it is that either we or you are on the right path or have clearly gone astray. all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith altogether. 10:93. 22:69. 45:17). Good relations have to be maintained in any case. Say: ‘Our Lord will bring us all together. cooperation in what is right and beneficial for all is the best way for building up mutual understanding 13 .. 2:113. 46. 4:149. 5:48. 237. In mundane matters. 39:3. Whenever the essential requirements for a fruitful discussion are not met. no dialogue should take place because it can hurt rather than benefit (29:46). leaving the final judgment of what is absolutely right or wrong to God. would you force people against their will to believe?” (10:99. they can settle their differences by reaching a majority for a certain view. 25L72. have to handle their differences in this world in the best way they can. Forgiveness and graciousness are repeatedly stressed in the Quran (e.

mutual acceptance. and constructive moral and practical relations. an human limitations should allow for certain risks and differences in efforts to reach the truth. without sacrificing the faith and decisiveness of a particular group of believers. 14 . Pluralism only can allow such particularity and diversity. Accordingly. since their real intentions can be known only to God. but its rightness is also possible. but they ought to compete in doing-good (5:48. it can be as such known only by God. while it can vary in the external visions of human beings.have to deal with hypocrites as believers if that is what they say they are. but only God who judges and requites it.and confidence (5:2). People instinctively compete. but its error is possible. No human attempt is infallible or holy. while the other’s views is wrong as he thinks it. so long as it secures equal legal rights. 83:26). and the believers . no human being can be condemned in matters of belief. The Quran condemns hypocrisy.theologians like other thinkers . In practice this theological stand must lead to a pluralistic society. the most acceptable view is that.discuss whether the truth is one or may vary. This explains the statement attributed to Imam Shafi’i that his view is right as he thinks it. Muslim . unless it can be proved that such a person says different from what he or she really thinks.including the Prophet Muhammad himself . Only God can know what is beyond human perception. even if the truth is one in its essence and reality.

286. 6:119. All Islamic law have to be implemented within the abilities of individuals and society. they may not sufficiently clarify the general conceptual and moral principles of Islam as the essential foundation for Shari’a. Shari’a is widely identified with the religion of Islam even with its very essence. probably because many contemporary Islamic activists concentrate their efforts on establishing Islamic states governed by Shari’a. If necessary. 5:8. not to cause or add to them. In presenting their case. Any organizational or legal experience can be adopted to an incorporated into the body of Islamic law to meet any new circumstance for which no particular rule can be found in the Quran and Sunna. 22:78).. on one side. 2:233. 5:6.between acts that are obligatory or encouraged. 65:7).g. 145.g. as well as any particular goal of Shari’a that may be drawn from the Quran and the Prophet’s traditions (Sunna). Various levels of human requirements within what Shari’a in its totality calls for or turns from have been figured out by the jurists who have characterized these three: “essential. wherever the believer finds it he [or she] is the most deserving of it” (reported by Tirmidhi). 16:115). so long as it does not contradict the principles of the Quran and Sunna and the goals of the Shari’a. 23:62. Shari’a laws are meant to prevent harm and remove burdens and sufferings (e. on the other. 6:152. and acts that are prohibited or discouraged. They may also not make a clear distinction between the various levels of Shari’a requirements . since responding to new requirements that arise fulfills the justice and good-doing which are both commanded by God (16:90). of which no specific rule is indicated in the divine sources of Shari’a but can be subsumed in its general goals and principle.g. provide important grounds for new laws that meet the ever-changing circumstances as a practice of ijtihad.” the “need” and the refinements or “complementary. A tradition of the Prophet states: “A believer has to search for wisdom. Securing public interest (maslaha)..In Islamic Law: The general conceptual and moral principles in Islam are regulated and sanctioned by the Islamic Law (Shari’a). a prohibition can even be temporarily suspended. Early Muslims benefited from the Byzantine and 15 . 7:42..” Such levels in Islamic law help to determine priorities in particular circumstances. Such ranging must be kept in mind when one considers any rule of the Shari’a in detail. 2:173. so as to alleviate unbearable hardship (e. as is repeatedly stressed in the Quran (e.

Muslims could only make their own contribution to civilization after they had absorbed the accumulated contributions of others. and arts in developing their civilization. and available science. 16 . architecture. mathematics.Persian administrative and financial precedents in their new universal state and as well as from Greek logic.

not in furthering evil and violation of others’ rights” (5:2). Men have the responsibility mainly for supporting the families for they are fee form the 3 See Fathi Osman. and it is the women’s right to choose the fields which is convenient for her. The rights of both temporary gathering and permanent organization.Legal Implications of Equal Human Dignity: Since God conferred honor and dignity on all the “Children of Adam” (17:70) whatever their differences may be. Human dignity is guaranteed for men and women.922]). 3:104. in its sources in the Quran and Sunna as well as its juristic interpretations and contributions. It is the responsibility of all believers in God as individuals and groups to enjoin the doing of what is right and to forbid the doing of what is wrong (e. it cannot be imposed on her. ethnic. Some later Muslim rulers even participated in the celebration of the nonMuslim festivals in regions such as Egypt. or political. 114) 3 The sanctity of the human body and personality and the privacy of one’s home and property and protected equally for all. 1992) 17 . and freedom of expressions: “and let no harm be done in any way to one who writes or witnesses. whether religious. it is an evil-doing committed by you. Both males and females have equal rights to education. So remain conscious of God. adults and children. al-Baladhur [d. everyone has the obligation to express and not hide what he or she knows to be right and believers in (2:283). Islamic law. The early agreements and practices of Muslim rulers toward their non-Muslims subjects in the caliphate secured personal and property as well as religious practice. whatever their differences may be. including processions with religious symbols and celebrations of festivals (for which many examples can be found in early sources such as. just as are the balance in the rights and obligations of men. Her rights and obligations in the family are perfectly in balance. 892] and al-Tabari [d. He is reaching you and He has full knowledge of everything” (2:282). Muslim Women in the Family Society (Los Angeles: Islamic Center for Southern California. are secured as long as their goals and activities are legitimate and they “cooperate in furthering virtue and righteousness.” Muslims have to guarantee freedom of faith and opinion for all people “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith” (2:256). has regulated the details of the various dimensions of this “honor and dignity. On the other had. and if you do such a harm..g.

The dignity and rights and responsibilities of the “Children of Adam” should be decided and protected in all the dimensions that are indicated explicitly or implicitly in the Quran and Sunna or that can be drawn from the general goals and principles of Shari’a or from its intellectual mechanisms of analogy. even those who are at the top of society or the state. 61-62) 5 4 See Fathi Osman. and the image of a Muslim society as male dominated is the result of social traditions that develop in a particular in a given time and place. Hyderabad. the society. they have the rights and the obligations that the Muslims have. Ahkam al-Dhimmiyyin wa al-Must? Beirut: n. Also see Zaydan. The human mind has a constructive role in developing Islamic law. not only in textual interpretation but also in producing new laws that fulfill the goals and principles of Shari’a and secure human dignity and rights for all the “Children of Adam” through ever-changing circumstances may be. and not of the rules of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunna. Pluralism thus begins with a normal society of equal men and women.. 250). Children. and intellectually. preference. such a tradition cannot be reached in the well know collections of the Prophet’s traditions. A woman can lead prayers and can become a judge. Shari’ a in a Contemporary Society (Los Angeles. Human rights are secured for non-Muslim women equally with Muslims. in his voluminous work al-Bada’ic.d. 1190) mentioned.5 This rule is mentioned widely in juristic works.4 The Quran explicitly states that in a Muslim society “both males and females are in chare of [or responsible for] one another. have the same right to be raised and cared for physically. and adaptation of experience according to jurisprudential requirements. 3 p. and the state are responsible for securing and defending those children’s rights.” According to the Islamic principle governing nonMuslims in an Islamic 1097). since all are the “Children of Adam. whether boys or girls..: Multi-Media Vera 18 . 100). alSarakhsi (d. Men and women are equal partners in the rights of responsibilities in society including politics. stated that the purpose of dhimmis agreement with the Muslims is to make their possessions and rights equal to those of Muslims (Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir. but women have the right to pursue their education and have a career whenever it is convenient and desirable for them to do so. P. 7p. Another prominent Hanafi jurist. Abdul-Karim. she may rule against men. It was reported that Caliph Ali ibn Talib said “They -the dhimmis-agreed to the Muslim promise of protection in order that their possessions would be treated equally as Muslims’ possessions. and the family.restrictions of pregnancy and delivery and caring for babies. a tradition of the Prophet stating that as soon as dhimmis agree to become under the Muslim promise of protection “dhimma” they had to be informed that they would have the rights and obligations of Muslims. vol.. enjoying the doing of what is right and forbidding the doing of what is wrong” (9:71). and their lives would be the same as Muslims’ lives. India: 1335H. morally. which keep women at home for some time. vol. and the prominent Hanafi jurist al-Kasani (d. (Cairo: 1327-8H. but its meaning is accepted by jurists. However. consideration of social interest. Calif. Family affairs must be run by mutual consultation and (2:233).

had gained their positions owing to this power. 1978).444. whether between races.1406]. to pave the way for a constructive exchange of views and experiences and to cooperate in their efforts to develop humankind and the world in which they live together. 4:25). 19 . p. and even encouraged. but not by an explicit indication of the Quran. whatever its ethnic origin.Racial and Ethnic Differences: The Quran states that racial and ethnic pluralism must be recognized. and its various components have to know each other well (30:22. especially the verse 4:25. 1959). ethnicities. Under the Abbasids. merely pointed out that any social group. Abd al-Rahman ibn-Muhammad. The non-Arab peoples who were ruled by the Arabs were called mawali. Ibn Khaldun [d.7 The Islamic requirements for being a leader in the state are International. Successive dynasties of rulers from the Arab tribe Quraysh. 6 Al-Baladuri Abu al-Hassan Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Jabir. or social rank. he pointed out. 1995). probably under the influence of sociocultural circumstance. so that the former would feel responsible for the latter and care for them.6 a form of tribal administration that the caliph could provide at the early stage of the Islamic universal state. first the Persians. In its origin the Arabic world mawla(sg).131-135. although in practice it was accepted. which he called asabiyya. the outstanding historian and social philosopher. al-Muqaddima (Beirut: Bar al-Qalam. There is no restriction on inter-marriage. Even marriage to a slave could be approved. According to the Quran. a teaching that can lead to continuous improvement in the slave’s situation and probably to the gradual diminution of slavery. 7 Ibn Khaldun. then the Turks became the ruling groups without public or juristic objection. Futuh al-Baldan (Cairo: al-Maktaba al-Tijariyya. there should be no sexual relations with a slave male or female out of wedlock. pp. 49:13). The second Caliph ‘Umar arranged alliances or affiliations between each Arab tribe that participated in the conquests and a group in the conquered lands. an Arabic word which came to have the pejorative meaning of inferiority because the Umayyads excessive feeling of Arab’s ethnic superiority. in certain cases (Quran 2:22. mawali (pl) could mean “a slave” and “an ally” both before and after Islam. can rule if it is sufficiently numerous and powerful. or from other tribes or ethnicities in Muslim history.

17:70. Muslims have always been accustomed to relate themselves to a certain region or city. Territorial distinctiveness on religious grounds. Human feelings towards a certain land and its people are legitimate as representing a wider neighborhood and an extended family. n.d. 9 p. 67:15).8 Islam recognizes the special relationship of the individual to the homeland as long as it does not lead to an excessive sense of superiority (Quran 9:24). morality.g. vol. 8 Ibn Hazam.). Abd Muhammad ‘Ali.knowledge. (fada’il) of places. 17:1.525 20 . and ability. al-Muhalla. as the Inviolable House of Worship in Mecca and the House of Worship in Jerusalem (3:96-97. 2:22. The Quran says that the earth in its totality is created for all people who can move through it freely (e. 273. (Cairo: al-Iman Press. is limited to sites where certain houses of worship were established. whoever the person may be. persons…etc. and some works in the Muslim heritage about the merits. ed. however. 97.. were compiled about a region or city. 4:94. 27:91). Muhammad Khalil al Harras. Even a slave can be a judge if he fulfills the requirements for the position according to some juristic opinion. 29:36. 99-101.

Religious Differences: Non-Muslims in an Islamic state have to be treated by Muslims and their authorities with goodness and justice (60:8). Their human dignity and rights as “Children of Adam” should be secured, and they are protected by the Islamic law and state authorities. The document issued by the Prophet Muhammad upon his arrival at Medina, where he became the head of the earliest Islamic state in history after his migration from Mecca, indicated the main components of social structure in that city-state. In addition to the immigrants from Mecca (al-muhajirun) and the supporting tribes of Medina (al-ansar) the Jews are mentioned as a community that has an identity “distant from others.“ The Jews are shared with the Muslim Medinese people the responsibility of defending the new city-state. If the relationship between the Muslims and the Jews in Medina deteriorated for whatever reason, regardless of who was responsible for that deterioration, the principle of pluralism would remain morally and legally valid. The permanent non-Muslim population of the Islamic state were called dhimmis, an Arabic word which means that they were promised protection in all their rights by the Muslim society and the state authorities. The Quran repeatedly stresses that human differences in faith should by no means cause a conflict; it is only transgression and belligerence that justifies a legitimate self-defense (e.g., 2:190, 60:9). Dhimmis, as previously emphasized have in general the same rights and obligations as Muslims [see note no. 4]. Non-Muslim’s who are temporary residents in an Islamic state also have their dignity and security guarded by Shari’a and the state authorities. Since their request for security while they live among Muslims and under their authorities is the reason for their being temporary residents, they are called by Muslim jurists musta’minun, an Arabic word which means “applicant for security.” An agreement of mutual security between the Muslims and others in their countries throughout the world has to be assumed if it does not formally exist. It should be based on goodness and justice. A dialogue for a better understanding can be conducted, but when such a dialogue cannot be fair or constructive, it is better to leave it and avoid confrontation (29:46). The Quran says to Muhammad:

…and say: I believe in whatever book God has sent down, and I am commanded to be just in dealing with you. God is our Lord as well as your Lord. To us, shall be accounted our deeds and to you your deeds. Let there be no contention between us and you. God will bring us all together and with Him is all journeys’ end (42:15) Historical sources (e.g., al-Baladhuri and al Tabari) indicated that nonMuslims paid a head tax (jizya) to the Muslim authorities in return for military protection, as they did not participate in defense, if they did then their jizya was dropped.9 The second Caliph ‘Umar agreed that a Christian tribe, Banu Taghlib would substitute the payment of jizya which they considered a sign of inferiority and subjection with the payment charity dues “sadaqa” in a certain way, while sadaqqa is term for the social welfare dues paid by Muslims.10 Any non-Muslim who lives in an Islamic state and becomes in need receives whatever is required from zakat funds.11 The Muslim leader Khalid ibn al-Walid indicated in his agreement with the people of Hira, who were mainly non-Muslim at the time, that anyone who become old or seriously ill and was thus unable to work, or lost his wealth, was exempted from the payment of jizya, and he and his family would be supported, by the state treasury.12 Non-Muslims should benefit from the economic, developmental, educational, sanitary, social, police and other state services equally with Muslims. The testimony of a non-Muslim is accepted by the Quran as equal to that of a Muslim before the law. (5:106). The life of a non-Muslim has the same sanctity and protection that a Muslim one has. Once when a Mongal leader took both Muslims and non-Muslims captive in battle, he offered to release the Muslims only. The prominent jurist Ibn Taymiyya [d. 1327] was consulted, and he found that offer unacceptable, he ruled that Muslims had to right until both the Muslim and non-Muslim prisoners or war were released, since the non-Muslims lived under Muslim protection.13

Al-Baladhuri, Futugh al-Baldan, pp. 162, 164; al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Uman wa al-Muluk (Cairo: al Husayniyya Press, n.d.), vol. 4 p. 165. 10 Ibid., pp. 185-86 11 Abu Yusef, Yaqub ibn Ibrahim, al-Kharaj (Cairo: al-Salfiyya Press, 1397 H), p. 136. 12 Ibid., pp. 155-56 13 Al-’Azm, Rafiq, ‘Ashhar Mashahir al-Islam (Cairo: Dar al-Fikr al-Arabi, 1972-73), 1: 204-205, quoting Ibn Taymiyya, in al-Risala al-Qubrusiyya. 22

The Islamic state employs non-Muslims, and any non-Muslim citizen can be an “executive minister (wazir tanfidh)” of the state, according to alMawardi [d.1057];14 and historically this actually happened several times. Muslim jurists, however, did not share the view against any discrimination in the Islamic state or in Muslims’ dealings with others in the world. They sometimes reflected a certain feeling of superiority known among various political powers in the Middle Ages, When they enjoyed material and cultural prominence in the world, the Muslim jurist understood and interpreted the legal sources form a center of power. Even they, however, seem more moderate and reasonable in many cases than their Roman predecessors or other thinkers in contemporary or later times. As Muslims power declined, later jurists had become captives to the attitudes of their predecessors, since they had closed the door on any new intellectual contribution to the legal field (ijtihad), and were content merely to follow juristic precedent (taqlid). The glories of the past tempt the Muslim juristic mind from keeping up with change. Still, to their credit, they undoubtedly have always recognized pluralism in the Islamic state and in the world, and they have always secured and sanctioned in one way or another the rights of others, although they might not always seem ready to accept their full equality with themselves. The Quranic perspective, as well as many traditions of the Prophet, can well accommodate the recognition in the contemporary world of pluralism. The permanent goals and principles of Shari’a should certainly prevail over the human juristic views influenced by the historical circumstances of time and place. Justice, genuine understanding, and recognition of other ethnicities and religions and constructive cooperation with them have to go beyond the borders of the Islamic state and become characteristic of its global relations. Muslims should know the others well, and do their best to develop mutual understanding and full and fair cooperation for the betterment of humankind and the world.


Al-Mawardi, Abu al-Hassan, Ali ibn Muhammad, al-Akham al-Sultaniyya (Cairo: Maktabat Mustafa alBabi al-Halabi, 1973), p.27. 23

Mutual consultation and consent between the spouses should govern family affairs (2:233). An expression of opinion is a moral and sometimes legal duty. The Quran indicated that the duty of inviting people to what is good. such as the Meccan immigrants (al-muhajirun). not only a right (e. enjoying the doing of what is right. from individuals and groups. even dispute is expected (4:59). Children have always to be advised and trained by their parents to express their views about what is right that should be followed and what is wrong that should be opposed (31:17).g. Differences emerged in that meeting. although not all these particular factions continued to exist. 3:110). The first caliph Abu Bakr aroused opposition when he decided to use force against the tribes who refused to pay the social welfare dues zakat after the death of the prophet. The right of temporary and permanent association and assembly is essential to make every view heard and to enable it to compete with other views and survive. peaceful and militant. This is the earliest reference to the emergence of political groups or parties in the history of Islam. in order to develop culture and tradition in the whole society. In the end. In such a climate of free opinion and expression. and every view was fairly heard. The early caliphs faced opposition of various kinds. logically and ethically.. not only among individuals. and their terms of reference should be the values and principles of the Quran and Sunna. 42:38). 2:283. a decision should be reached and carried out collectively and firmly (3:159). a public meeting was held to discuss who should succeed him as the state leader. and forbidding the doing of what is wrong can be practiced by a group (3:104). but among groups of people. spontaneous and organized. and not ignored or suppressed.Difference of Opinion: The Quran requires a general discussion and exchanged of views and serious consultation (Shura) about public concerns before a decision can be reached (3:159. Difference of opinion. Each group tried to see that the new leader of the state came from among themselves. differences are inevitable. Early Muslims had their differences even during the life of the prophet. Muslims have to argue in the best way (16. the Medinese supporters (al-ansar) and some of the Prophet’s family and their loyal followers.125). but they have to be handled conceptually and ethically. He saw this as an act of defiance toward the central authority which 24 . When the Prophet died.

‘Uthman’s successor.” The Caliph responded that what they said was right. so that oral or written errors could be avoided. in contract to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. their opposition would not deprive them of their rights. 25 . The mosques would be always open to their gathering whatever opposition they might express. 58. the Prophet’s cousin. The Caliph had to defend his case in front of and convince ten prominent arbiters. Caliph ‘Uthman. 26-28 Al-Mawardi.15 His successor. They gathered in the mosque where the caliph was speaking. for instance. Their rights to the public revenues would always be maintained for them as long as hey fulfilled their public obligations. but they were using their words for a wrong purpose.16 This is a pioneering statement of the opposition’s rights in the Islamic state. Their rights to the public revenues would always be against them. when he decided that one verified master version of the Quran had to be used by all Muslims. was strongly opposed since many through that the zakat ought to be the only tax collected by the Islamic authorities. His idea of introducing a land tax (kharaj). p. the early Arab Muslims with their tribal structure and their sociocultural 15 16 Abu Yusuf. as for example the argument that ended with the murder of Caliph ‘Uthman. and the Caliph would never initiate the use of force against them. violent rebels (khawarij) dominated and one of those whose rights of peaceful opposition the caliph had secured killed him on his way to the mosque! However essential the principle of shura is in Islamic public law. the Companion of the Prophet. who when he became caliph and his suggestions were opposed by some Companions had to defend himself through shura before gatherings of prominent Companions and even the public. Caliph ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. and no effort was made either by the authorities or by the historians to suppress it. some other supporters split and rebelled against him. When he was pressured by many of his supporters to accept arbitration between himself and the defiant Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan. and interrupted him by shouting: “There is no ruling except God’s ruling. met opposition from eminent Companions of the Prophet. al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya. All this opposition that the early Caliphs met was recorded. pp.could not be tolerated. Ironically. However. al-Kharaj. the governor of Syria. such as ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ud. met violent opposition on several fronts. even though it became violent.

as well as by the autonomous or secessionist dynasties that split off from the caliphate. It was nonetheless a principle essential for maintaining pluralism in all avenues of human life. The theological views that could generate militancy were those of the Shi’a. hereditary dynasties were established by the Umayyads and the Abbasids. The rights of having and expressing a different opinion and the right of association to support it were almost forgotten. Lacking the firm foundation of an institution. believers in the right of the descendants of Caliph ’Ali to rule through their successive generations and the followers of the rebels against that caliph who opposed the established power (Khawarij). until they were revitalized in modern times by thinkers such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani [d. Individuals could lose even their lives against the ruling power. especially after the disappearance of their Twelfth Imam.experiences. openly expressing views against the oppressive rulers could be risky. and the vigilance and initiative. It was left to the good faith of the ruler. the Khawarij faction did not survive. and courage of the ruled. Unless differences of opinion are given equal chances of expression and are allowed to gather support through a legitimate mechanism and well-organized institution. Many Shi’a became passive after several defeats. how can their merits be fairly weighed and decided? 26 . were unable to develop a mechanism to maintain its enforcement through certain institutions. since opinions there could be expressed peacefully and among limited audiences.1905].1897] and Muhammad ’Abduh [d. The areas left for differences of opinions were in theology and jurisprudence. and violence could develop into chaos with lasting physical and moral wounds on all sides. Thus. after a short life of the shura in Medina under the early caliphs. mainly students.

27 . any opinion has to be expressed in an objective. 5:54. Al-Mawardi [d.. decent. Al-Mawardi deals with apostasy as something related to war and military actions conducted for the state interest (hurub al-masalih). as long as no concrete evidence of rebellious actions could be adduced. The Prophet faced such circumstances during his last years. faced a tribal rebellion against the state which he decided to meet with force. according to the prominent Hanafi Jurist al-sarakhsi [d. Abu Bakr. 55. the Lord of All-being” (5:21).d. stipulates that no opposition group can be met with force unless they declare their disobedience and isolate themselves from the masses in a certain area. Although it is dominant in the juristic heritage that apostasy from Islam should be punished by the death penalty. Freedom of belief cannot be genuinely secured unless abandoning the faith is unrestricted the same as embracing it is not imposed. 1097]. What applies to Islam has to be generalized to any other faith. 17 18 Ibid.No Solution is Reached by Force: The Quran teaches that the good son of Adam was the one who said to his brother: “If you stretch out you hand to kill me. However. 47:25).18 Such a death penalty as a punishment for apostasy is not mentioned in the Quran and contradicts is clear principle “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith” (2:256). who became caliph after the Prophet’s death. I shall not stretch out my hand to kill you. 58. The Islamic law does not allow the authorities to use force against those who express their opposition unless they are transgressors (49:9). n. al-Mabsut (Cairo: Sasi al-Maghrabi Press. The Prophet refused to take any action against the hypocrites who might be undermining the security of the Muslim society and state from within. several historical and juristic statements support the view that the use of force is meant for group rebellion against the state and not for mere individual expression of opinion. pp.. I fear God. p. referring to the way Caliph ‘Ali dealt with the Khawariji in the mosque. but he did not deal with cases of individual abandonment of the faith in that way. and non-provocative manner. Criticizing or even insulting the ruler cannot justify imprisonment or other punishment. and the tradition attributed to him about killing the apostate can be understood as a reaction to those who rebelled against the Islamic state for tribal reasons. the Quran gives no punishment for apostasy in this life (2:217. Ibid. 10: 125-26.1058] the prominent shafi’I jurist.). Jurists explain such a transgression ought to be met by the use of force.17 As for a Muslim criticizing Islam or announcing abandonment of the faith. al-Sarakhsi. and should avoid malicious falsehood or scurrilous words or actions.

Calif. and criticism human behavior should be within legal and ethical limits. pp. 22:39-40). 159-62. it is the moral and legal responsibility of Muslims to cooperate with all humankind is securing peace and justice. he would agree to join it. pp. Non-Muslims should not be discriminated against or pressured just because some wrongdoing is allegedly attributed to some of them. and said that whenever he might be invited.: The Islamic Center of Southern California. and the cooperation of various people improve their outcome in both quantity and quality. even if deception is feared (8:61-62). and constructive exchange of experiences and cooperation ought to be developed for the benefit of all humankind. The use of force is only allowed to counter aggression and violence (2:190-194. 221-228. al-Amwal. to enter into a sincere alliance for such a purpose. if it is committed against “monasteries. (Cairo: Dar al-Fikr. synagogues. Muslim should condemn and repel the aggression and violence committed by Muslims themselves until they revert to justice (49:9). 774].”19 As for Muslim relations with others in the word. 795]. 1991). 20 For an elaboration on the legitimate use of force in Islam. 3:75. Aggression should be repelled by Muslims. Jihad: A Legitimate Struggle for Human Rights (Los Angeles. although a Al-Baladhuri.Criticism of human concepts or opinions must be objective and accurate. another prominent jurist. told the Abbasid governor in a long letter. 166-67. The Quran urges Muslims always to observe peace. see Fathi Osman. Al-Awza’I [d. This was stressed in two events in Cyprus and Mount Lebanon by distinguished jurists including Malik ibn Anas [d. 28 19 . “These dhimmis are not slaves but free people protected by the Muslim authorities. in all of which God’s name is abundantly extolled” (22:40). Harras Muhammad Khalil ed. Abu Ubayd al-Qasim. The whole world except areas that initiate fighting against the Muslims is juristically assumed to be explicitly or implicitly “ a land of concord. Ibn Sallam. churches. 11-21). The Prophet praised a tribal alliance that had been made before Islam to defend anyone who suffered injustice. peace has to be maintained [2:208]. Futuh al-Buldan. after his prophet hood. and mosques. Ethnic and religious differences enrich human knowledge and experience.”20 The secession of Muslim land from the Islamic caliphate to enjoy autonomy is accepted by some jurists when certain geographic or political-military circumstances make such a split inevitable. 1975). thus slander is prohibited and punished by Islamic Law (Quran 24: 4. In addition.

universal unity has always been the ideal. Abd al-Qahir ibn Tahir. al-Juwayni. 128. Ghiyath al-Umam. and the Umayyad in Muslim Spain (al-Andalus) with Cordova as its capital. the Fatimid with Cairo as is capital. texts selected by Yusuf Ibish in Nusus al-Fikr al-Siyasi al-Islami (Beirut: Dar al-Tal’a.21 Practically speaking there were for sometime three contemporary Islamic caliphates: the Abbasid with Baghdad as its capital. 1966). Abd al-Malik ibn Abd Allah (Imam alHaramayn). pp. 29 21 . 279. Usul al-Din. Al-Baghdadi.

Salhuddin Khuda Bukhsh and D. Megalith (London: Luzac & Co.. to Arabian in Mecca and San’a. The Islamic caliphate represented a universal state.In Muslim Civilization: Islamic civilization has reflected in its history the pluralism emphasized in the message of Islam and its laws. p. Muslims had their theological and juristic differences. its cities varied in patterns from Greco-Roman on the Mediterranean. 412 30 . The society in any Muslim country consisted of Muslims and non-Muslims belonging to various ethnic groups. and nonMuslims had their theological and religious and sects. to that of the eastern Muslim lands. The Renaissance of Islam. 1937). trans.S. to Babylonian in Iraq and Persia.22 22 Adam Mez.

” When he went to the caliph’s palace. The Fatimid Caliph al-Aziz had a Christian minister and appointed a Jew as a governor of Syria.” Under the Fatimids. They were money changers. Medieval Islam (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. The mores. was merely as the Jacobite patriarch once stated “A spiritual leader.” These leaders represented their communities before the authorities. prince of captivity of exilic. Most money changers and dealers in Syria were Jewish. but the fundamental social values were held in common. at the head of which a herald called out: “Make way before our lord the son of David. dyers. except for their cooperation in official business. The Christian patriarch. The social order of the Islamic world accommodated Muslims as well as non-Muslims. shoemakers and other craftsmen. The Nestorian Catholics was elected by the church. That important financial. and many Jews held positions in his palace. Sabians were protected and treated equally. landlords and physicians. 173 31 . while most physicians and clerks were Christian. Both groups lived under the same basic conditions. differed to a considerable extent. The Jewish leader in Baghdad has a title of Aramaic origin. the same as it was done with the Jacobite patriarch. he walked in a procession. as did Christians and Jews. Each of the three first communities had their own communal leader who was called “the king” among the Jews and the Magians and his position was hereditary. but his election was confirmed by the Abbasid caliph who issued an investiture for his position. the Jewish leader in Cairo was called “the prince of princes.” Non-Muslims in the Muslim lands practiced their professions and economic activities freely. “Resh Galutha. p. and the eagerness to assert rank and power affected the Jew and the Christian as it did the Muslim. 1946). the religious groups lived fairly apart. 23 Gustave von Grunebaum. and even the personal law of the religious communities. clerical and professional positions in the cities were held by Christians and Jews sometimes led to Muslims jealousy and sometimes to mass protests. It would seem that outside the capital. and later Hindus.23 Magians also gained the status of dhimmis. The Christian leader in Baghdad was the caliph’s physician.Within the Muslim Lands: As Grunebaum has stated. Other Jewish earned their living as tailors. businessmen.

and probably today. NonMuslims did not have to live in special areas. 43-44. Within this framework. Medieval Islam.Non-Muslims enjoyed freedom of religious practices. although each community tended voluntarily to do so. Many others showed their refined taste and skill in weaving textiles and rugs and in fashion.24 This social pluralism in the Muslim lands did not mean that tension and troubles between Muslims and non-Muslims did not break out form time to time. 51-52. most Muslims in the medieval East. had little or no say in their taxation nor in other policies either. sizable religious minorities were as good as nonexistent.” “There was in the East during the Middle Ages less persecution of nonconformists than in the West. Public hospitals treated all who were sick equally. pp.” In spite if occasional social tension or official pressure. scholars who taught at centers of learning. mentioned many women among his teachers. English Tran. As Grunebaum wrote. Mez. the prominent Muslim biographer.34-35.”25 To be fair. and some caliphs might attend their precessions and festivals. They had their religious courts organized by their leaders. Philip K. “Individual rulers might harm the communities or some prominent members this happened regularly after a period of conspicuous prosperity and political ascendancy but the Muslims themselves were equally exposed to the arbitrary and unrestrained power of the monarch. and physicians. Women could reach prominence in society as reporters of the Prophet’s traditions (hadith). nonMuslims nevertheless as Grunebaum has also pointed out “obtained in every day life conditions of laissez faire.. 180 32 24 . Muslim authorities could impose restrictions to appease Muslims or for other reasons. their economic life suffered comparatively little interference. Ibn Sa’d. Hitti. 418-24. 25 Grunebaum. p. although they could always go to the Muslim judges if they preferred. sufis. where with the exception of the Jews. History of the Arabs (London: Macmillan. as happens in multi-ethnic or multi-religious societies to this day. Renaissance of Islam. 1970) pp. as the Muslim people also often did. 353-59. Muslims who became jealous of a non-Muslim’s wealth or influence might cause trouble.” The conclusion he reached was that minorities in the world of Islam “bought their safety at the price of having more or less the status of no influence on taxation nor on foreign policy of the sovereign body to which they belonged.

Under the surface of the Muslim identification non end of changes may occur. Each ethnicity. 1967).19. they will hardly ever effect the identification as such. “The Problem: Unity in Diversity. 26 Gustave von Grunebaum. as non-Arabs especially the Persians and then the Turkics attained political and military power thought the Muslim lands. pp. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. it is in fact typical of all areas culturally identified with a civilization of a supernational or ‘universal’ outreached.” in Unity and Variety in Muslim Civilization. 17. there were works devoted to indicating the merits and advantages (fada’il) of certain Muslim countries and cities. The Arab superiority under the Umayyads disappeared after them. 33 . region. or religious group contributed to the enriching diversity of Muslim civilization. The self identification of a Muslim as ‘nationalistic’ Persian of the Samanid period would appear perfectly legitimate in as much as he would continue to accept the Islamic axioms of monistic theism and prophetism as well as the value judgment which dedicated the life of man to the service of God. while still maintaining its uniting influence and its homogeneity. but.”26 In the Muslim literary heritage. It is only within this intellectual – emotional framework that he strives after the political independence of his people and the revival of the cultural glories of the Iranian past.Writes Grunebaum: The problem of the relation between coexisting layers of a ‘universal’ and a ‘provincial’ civilization is by no means peculiar to the Islamic world.

Cases are noted where the ambassadors of the caliphate made stipulations in peace treaties with the Byzantines for ceding certain Greek manuscripts to the Arabs. the Egyptian and the Greek. in the East and Baghdad and in the West at Cordava… (That culture had) its impact on world progress in the various departments of the humanities. or if we go deeper into antiquity. and architecture… The impact of Averroes (Ibn 34 . Yet. Persian and Indian on the other.Though Participation in World Knowledge and Civilization: Writes Atiya. This is seen not only in the wider fields of Greek and Persian influence. art. Arab culture became the meeting place of the two great ancient streams of thought which had been developing throughout ancient times: the Greek. It may be asserted that al-Ma’mum’s academy in Baghdad was the first real revival of the learned atmosphere of the Alexandrine long extinct Museon. Syriac. In the course of approximately five centuries (from the latter decades of the eighth to the twelfth). it would be an error to limit the Arab contribution to transmission of ancient knowledge. showed themselves to be creative and attained extraordinary heights or originality. of astronomy. Nestorian and Indian thought and art.’ a period followed in which the Arabs began to except to reap the benefits of the superior civilizations now under their hegemony… When. medicine. but equally in regard to the impact of the more localized elements such as Coptic. therefore. it is essential for us to remember its predominantly synthetic character. The birth of Arab culture took place in the amazing synthesis of the intellectual achievements of the older nations. Arab scholars and commentators. we speak of the miracle of Arabic culture. on the one side. The caliphs dispatched special commissions to Constantinople to copy important Greek manuscripts for the purpose of translating them into Arabic. of exact sciences. and the Sumerian. After the establishment of the Pax Arabica in their ‘empire. the Arab mind reached incredible heights… (and) we can sense two apogees of Islamic culture.

210-11. might be reacting to the words of St. it is necessary not only to trace foreign borrowings but to appraise their effectiveness.. John of Damascus (d. Commerce and Culture (Bloomington: Indianan University Press. pp. but to others as well. Introduction de la Theoligie Musulmane.. Islam’s originally consists exactly in the capacity of adapting the alien inspiration to its needs. and Christian religious thinking in Western Europe in the Middle Ages is amazing. Jewish. Especially in the filed of the Crusades. 218-19. 214-15. 2: 32-48) 29 Grunebaum. Atiya. in his immortal ‘sumana Thelogica’ seems clear from his discussion on the place of revelation between faith and reason.29 The effectiveness and influence of Muslim civilization was not limited to its peoples. Crusade. And indirectly through the Latin versions of the works of the great Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) Musa ibn Maymun who had written his original texts in Arabic. Falsafat al-Fikr al-Dini bayna al-Islam wa al-Masihiyya (Beirut: Dar al-Ilm lil-Malayin. Atiya is an Eyptian Copt and a prominent historian of the Middle Ages. although condemned by the ecclesiastical authorities. see Louis Gardet & George Anawati. Thomas deliberately criticized the Muslim thinker… Averroism has reached Aquinas directly through Latin translations. Medieval Islam.”27 Such interaction between Muslim. pp. p. History of the Arab Peoples.Rushd 1126-1198) on the principal thesis of St. were openly commended for student use by the professors of the University of Paris. who lived in Syria and knew Arabic. ea. Grunebaum himself wrote.28 As Grunebaum has properly emphasized. who might naturally be attached to its Islamized or Arabized garb. of re-creating in in its own garb. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). 749). 324 35 27 . regarding the freedom of the human will and against harsh predestinarianism. and of rejecting the inadaptable… To understand both the mechanics and the spirit of Islamic civilization. 245-46. 1962). It is worthy of note that they Averroist philosophical interpretations. Ibn Rushd. 28 Hitti . though St. in contribution. for more details about the influence of John of Damascus on Islamic thinking. trans Sobhi al-Salih & Farid Jabr. as Grunebaum has pointed out. in spite of his polemics against Islam. It is curious to observe how Arab prestige rose in Constantinople at Aziz S.

and technical resources of the varied countries under their sway. “Their synthetic influence. Iranian and Indian architects and artists. Commerce and Culture.”31 30 31 Ibid. mosques. Byzantine.the same time that the prestige of Greek science was reaching its peak in Baghdad … Muslim civilization attracted the non-Muslims far beyond the spell usually cast by ideas and habits of a dominating group on groups of lesser standing and influence…. (Works. bridges. mausolea. may be helpful for those who are interested in such a debate. schools. In addition. and all manner of works of art and technology spreading out from Spain to Indian. Egyptian. 234-35 36 . The openness of Muslim civilization to others ideas and its pluralistic synthesis illustrates the point. 54-56 Atiya. materials. They availed themselves of the forms.. citadels. together with such modifications as benefited the tenets of the new religion.) Muslim Sufis played an impressive tone of universality in their philosophy and in spreading their orders as well. there were numerous private libraries. palaces. universities and research centers were very rich.30 Muslim libraries established in mosques. and paradoxically bearing the marks of unity and diversity at one and the same time. those that did come in contact with Arab thought and Arab manner often responded with reluctant admiration and not infrequently found themselves imitating Muslims ways. and they employed Syrian. irrespective of religious differences… The result was a staggering achievement in the rise of magnificent cities. Produced in the end a composite style of art and architecture which became identified as Islamic. Armenian. pp. heritage of various civilizations came together. including those of Bertrand Russell and George Sarton.” states Atiya. Through those remarkable institutions. Crusade. aqueducts. Art and architecture represented a significant area for the Muslim openness and identity in the same time.. pp.

and from there they extended their activities to India and China. Renaissance of Islam. Muslim traders reached India and China by sea.). facilitated these international transactions. routes and people which helped Muslim commercial activities and global cultural pluralism as well. Juhud al-Muslimin fi al-Jughrafia (Cairo: Dar al-Qalam. Jews. pp. Muslim trades spread through Africa and Asia where commercial centers flourished. 1960) 37 32 . 471-81 33 For a concise history of Musim Geographical treaties travel and books Nafis Ahmad. flourished as commercial centers.In World Commerce: Commerce has been always an effective means of establishing interrelations in the world and its effects extend beyond material to cultural exchange. and Cordova in al-Aldalus. Crusade. pp. (Lahore: Ashraf Publications. History of the Arabs. Atiya.32 Travel accounts and geographical works contributed valuable information and knowledge of lands. their caravans went through Africa from Morocco and Sijelmasa. Christians. Scandinavia and the Balkans. Certain forms of money orders and credit documents.d. The powerful representatives of this dominant civilization have to prove incontrovertibly in both thought and practices that a real change in attitude has been undergone in this global era from a single model of civilization to a multi-patterned one. connecting the West and the East and dealing in the commodities of both. Finland. Muslims. Arabs.33 Can the advantages of pluralism in the Muslim civilization of the past be revived in our era? To do so requires persistent efforts on both sides. Muslim coins. and the traveling merchants were hosted in guest houses attached to local market. With additional notes by: Fathi Osman. Jewish merchants came from Provence in France to Muslim lands. and Indians among others. Cairo and Alexandria on the Mediterranean. Smarqand and Bukhara in Central Asia. were all involved in extensive international trade in the Muslim lands. trans. Basra. pp. 343-46. the gold dinar and the silver dirham rivaled the Byzantine nomisma in international commerce. Commerce and Culture. The developed countries have to build up a new constructive relationship with the Muslim which can overcome the accumulated legacy of subordination and exploitation form the colonial era. with its mercantile wealth and commercial relations. Muslim Contibutions to Geography. they traded in the Byzantine cosmopolitan capital Constantinople. Values and Hitti. n. 166-69: Mez. and Zoroastrians. Recent excavations uncovered hoards of coins from Muslim lands in Russia. Persians. in addition to money exchange. Siraf on the Persian Gulf. Baghdad.

principles of material and moral development and progress must be universally accepted. though the approaches and forms can be different. 38 . As for Muslims. they have to go beyond the glories of the past and the unrealistic and impossible static notion that it can be resuscitated. and beyond bitterness over Western aggression to a constructive and dynamic ‘view of the present and the need to maintain the everlasting values that will accrue from contemporary world progress.

To deal with ethnic differences in single country pluralism can provide the solid conceptual and psychological basis for legal equality in human rights and obligations. they have to act positively both in their own countries and throughout the world. They cannot think merely in terms of repeating their past. a conviction and belief in pluralism must be present to secure a firm foundation for whatever solution is reached. They have only to overcome a lack of confidence in themselves that derives from years of stagnation and their lack of trust in others that stems from years of humiliation and exploitation. Full democracy is the only system that can secure human rights for each individual and group in a contemporary state whatever their inborn or acquired differences may be. and local autonomy can help as practical mechanisms for maintaining the harmony of the society and the unity and stability of the state. while pushing their actions much further toward contemporary pluralism. and give them confidence in themselves and in 39 .Towards A Muslim Contribution to Contemporary Global Pluralism: The Muslims have the moral and legal principles of pluralism available in their religious sources and heritages.” Such a concept can also be considered in other places where ethnic conflict is occurring. 1995. they can therefore be a constructive and effective contributor to contemporary global pluralism. ethnic. Muslim can obtain their inspiration from religious sources and historical experience. However. regardless of to which state they formally belong. Relieved of there psychological burdens. and economic circumstances. reported that Ireland’s prime minister John Bruton had suggested a recognition that “within one territory you can have two nationalities (Irish and British) of equal legitimacy. for the contemporary would has gone through too radical a change to make repetition of the past either possible of effective. When a certain ethnicity is distributed over more than one country instituting dual citizenship may provide a solution. Selection and adjustment can be made according to the given geographic. The Washington Post on March 14. Various forms of decentralization. living and sharing the same space and same streets. and they have had a long history of practicing pluralism. federation.

Democracy stimulated difference. while the reverse has occurred in many developing countries. tribe. the developed and the developing. political and socioeconomic. ethnic group) before being able to freely exercise democratic choice. In addition. Moreover. Freedom and equality of all citizens of the state and all human beings in the world represent the cornerstone of democracy. democracy has to be universal for all humankind: the rich and the poor. Constructive engagement in world relations to secure peace and justice as solid foundations for world order and to develop universal cooperation among equals for the material and moral development have to replace feelings of superiority over other human groups. Exporting tobacco to other countries without a printed warning about the dangers it poses to health on its label. the developing countries may require a release of the individual from the constraints of a primary group (e. Democracy has at its foundation the support of human rights and responsibilities. Moral relativism or indifference undermines democratic practice. Many Western democracies have since adopted the concept of the welfare state in varying degrees. The New Deal in the United States conceived by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression of the 1930’s was a turning point in this respect. it is now apparent that even in a democracy the interference of the state in the economic field may sometimes be necessary when difficult problems. Socioeconomic development preceded the establishment of democratic institutions in the West. especially the executive and the legislative branches.g. intellectual and spiritual. representation is essential to it. chemicals or other products to other countries with no expiration date on 40 . This makes some coordination essential. Contrary to what was earlier believed. especially when political parties with socialist leanings are in office. or exporting food.their society. Elections and political parities have provided the mechanism for the representations of the people in directing the main activities of the state. medicine. since giving priority to economic development over democratization is not favored by many. such as a severe recession or a serious social disparity or conflict arise. Because direct democracy is difficult or even impossible to achieve in any relatively large and populous country. but organizes opposition through a multi-party system and a representative body.. national and universal. individual and collective.

and dealt with by. the society.g. although intellectual understanding naturally does not provide the same moral depth as spiritual conviction and religious commitment. and each is only subject to God’s physical and moral laws and equal to any other human being. but it does not prescribe detailed practical programs. It allows extensive room for the creativity of the human mind to cope with those changes as they appear. All human beings are equally God’s creatures. 112:4). and fruitful relations. the family. whose son had beaten an Egyptian child who had overtaken him in a race: “Since when did you impose slavery on human beings while their mothers bore them free!” State service (e. since such detail have to change to fit changes in the human circumstances in different times and places. whatever their sex. or faith might be. Quran 42:11. However. Islam can be presented to. which is His guiding message. and the world to secure peace..them.. which represent a common property of all humanity. markets) and social security were offered by the early caliphate to all people. bridges. or ignoring the safety precautions or the harm to the environment of certain industries so long as they are established in other countries. definite consequences of belief in the One who is the only distinct and Supreme Being (e. and there is no other framework that makes selfcriticism and self-correction possible within the system itself while it is being practiced. which seeks the acceptance of the Absolute Supreme Being and the reward of eternity. justice. for the human mind is also God’s gift which has to be fully used and developed and should not be restricted or crippled by the other gift of God. however. for believers in God. Meanwhile. 59:23. Islam provides general principles for a way of life for the individual. stability. building and maintaining roads. a nonMuslim in contemporary pluralism as an ideology. There is no framework available for securing equal rights and responsibilities for all in a contemporary pluralistic society better than a democracy. freedom and equality for all human beings are. Caliph ‘Umar said to the Muslim governor of Egypt. all such actions are not only undemocratic but antidemocratic. ethnicity. The needy among the non41 . the state. canals.g. and dumping nuclear waste in the open seas.

The religious dimension in the Islamic plan of reform does no mean establishing a theocracy. Modern democracy likewise is concerned with socioeconomic justice and offers its services and care to all citizens. Every adult is eligible to participate in this process. There is no clergy in Islam. while it considers the special circumstances and needs of the deprived. nor has it ever claimed to provide a definite prescription for every specific problem that may emerge in any time or place. The ruling authorities cannot monopolize the interpretation f divine guidance or offer new solutions for emerging problems without involving the people. and no supernatural power can be required or claimed for such work. The Islamic way of life is not totalitarian. any human being who knows the language and the style can understand and interpret God’s message.Muslim were supported by the public treasury from zakat revenues. It is not overloaded with details that dominate every moment or instruct every human thought and move. 42 .

Those who are entrusted with authority by the people are always referred to in the Quran in the plural.” The outstanding jurist Ibn alQayyim has stated that the ways of reaching a given goal are not necessarily limited to what the Quran and Sunna may indicated. minds.). The Muslim people and those “who are entrusted with authority form among them by them” (Quran 4:59) are bound by the goals and general principles of the Islamic law that secure human dignity and that sustain and develop all human beings. their life. or between them and the people or groups among them. (Cairo: alMyniiriyya Press. 83) Differences may naturally emerge within these bodies which are entrusted with authority.d. and their private or public possessions.Shura and Democracy: Shura means a serious and effective participation is making a decision. which suggests that they form organizational bodies and are not considered as individuals (Quran 4:59. al Jawziyya. as the Prophet’s tradition reported by Tirmidhi indicates. Islam urges Muslims to adopt all human wisdom. 4:267-69 43 . the practice of such a means becomes an obligation in itself. Democratic mechanisms can provide the practical ways for implementing shura. n. by a supreme court. Abu Abd-Allah Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr.”34 34 Ibn Qayyim. and “whenever justice comes forth be any way. I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in. whenever this becomes necessary. families and children. and the practices of the Prophet proved that it cannot be merely a formal or ceremonial exercise. The parties at variance are referred to the guidance of God and the Conveyor of His message which may be presented and decided in the most appropriate way. there God’s law and command and good acceptance. Among the fundamentals of jurisprudence is a valuable right that states: “Whenever there is a certain means that can lead only to the fulfillment of an obligation. freedom of faith.

the voting of the electorate and the oath made by the elected head of state take s the place of the original bay’a. Many precedents can be found in the life of the Prophet and the early caliphs about decisions made according to the majority. Bay’a is a mutual pledge from the ruler to follow Shari’a and earn the public’s approval and support through his service. and it provides a reasonable chance for mutual correction and for a sensible revision of any decision that proves wrong when in practice. 6:116. 30:6. When Caliph ‘Umar selected six candidates for the caliphate 35 Abu Ya’la Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Mutamad. and form the people to support the ruler and advise him. 34:28. the public choice is determined by the majority of votes. Even when one candidate for the position is nominated by the parliament or decides to be a candidate. 1966). but in the end they went to the public in the mosque to obtain their approval in the form of bay’a. 25:50.Election: The head of a contemporary Muslim state can be elected directly be the people or by the parliamentary representatives of the people. 7:187.. A majority can make mistakes. even they differed from the leader’s views. Any procedure can be followed. Making mistakes is human.35 In a contemporary democratic procedure. all that is required from human beings is that they make a serious effort to find out what is right and use accumulated knowledge and experience to avoid error were possible. and Islam can accept any that is in the interest of the people. 103. The first four caliphs were chosen in different ways. 17:89. 36. 10:60. the Quran never teaches that a reliance on a few persons necessarily yields perfect decisions. 30. another democratic mechanism. p. Cooperation in reaching these objectives saves time and energy. 59. 68. 8. 92. 13:1. 45:26). Quran 5:49. 37:71. depending on its merits and the given circumstances. 40:57.g. The Quran frequently states most people lack knowledge or moral commitment and may fail to make the right decision (e. 12:40. text published in”Ibish ibid. 11:17. or can be nominated by those representatives as a candidate for or against whom the public then votes. 61. a majority of voters may be required to elect the candidate. 224. but their mistakes are most likely fewer than the mistakes of one of a few. When several candidates contest a position. 16:38. 44 . But.

Voting can be means for choosing the governing boards for workers’ unions. A Prophet’s tradition urges that individual to yield to greatest number (alsawad al-a’zam) when there is a serious split (reported by Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Majah). Human beings know what may be beneficial and fair for a given time and place. in spite of its limitations or abuses. and the more people involved in such collective thinking and discretion. the Quran and Sunna provide the general laws. in addition to procedural and ethical safeguards. companies. he instructed them to follow the caliphate from among themselves who would receive the majority of votes. One may ask: “Isn’t following the Quran and Sunna sufficient and the safest way?” To which one can easily answer. The same is true even of technical decisions among professionals. in schools. philanthropic and other organizations. The parliament is responsible for legislation. as well as for guarding the interest of executive succeed him after he was stabbed. Terms of reference and guidelines. each group can be allotted a certain number of seats in the parliament proportional to their numbers. as well as for making decisions on their boards. factories. The election of the representatives of a people to a parliamentary body is also based on winning a majority or voters. The argument that voting means giving the same value to the judgment of the most knowledgeable person and that of the most ignorant 45 . and even of reaching decisions in a court of several judges or judge and jury. There is no better way of learning the public’s views and interests than through a vote. professional and student associations. Decisions of the parliament and its committees are made by the majority of the voting members. reduce human error. but the human mind is entrusted with the details sand specifics for coping with the unceasing changes in human society. which may be contested in broader constituencies or in the country as a whole. A public referendum on matters of special importance may be decided by the legislature or by a given number of voters through an established procedure. or other bodies. Decisions of the executive body or any of its department or branches are also determined by a majority of voting members. the fewer the mistakes made. If the principles of “one person one vote” fail to achieve a fair representation for an ethnic or religious minority or of women.

Elections require several candidates to choose from. from the historical context. the legal rule follows. In addition.” that the verse is not meant to apply to an educated business can be answered by saying that the common interest of the people can be determined by any individual of ordinary civic abilities and experience. and al-Nasa’i). voting would be proportional to the minority population and cannot hurt majority interests or beliefs. the legal rule continues to exists. she is naturally eligible to vote. be a judge. A Muslim majority should have no misgiving about a non-Muslim voting. al-Bakhari. Non-Muslims enjoy equal human rights and dignity and are eligible for voting the same as Muslims as soon as they reach the required age and if they have no mental disability. Abu Dawud. and a woman can. and if the reason ceases to exist. According to commentators and jurists. Muslim. Some Muslims against argue such a procedure citing a Prophet’s tradition that disqualifies anyone who asks for a public position (as reported by Ibn Hanbal. without considering the responsibilities of the office or the ability of the seeker. whether Muslims or not. whether such a choice is for the parliament of for a board of a union. nor to areas of common interest which do not require specific expertise or knowledge. Only someone fully aware of what the position entails and having the abilities of fulfill 46 . The rights to vote should be equally shared by all ethnicities. It is obvious from the Qur’anic text. according to prominent jurists. The Qur’anic verse that makes a male witness equal to two female witnesses for documenting a credit contract is restricted to the special case where a women might not be familiar with such a transacting and its legal requirements “so that if one of them should make a mistake. the other could remind her” (2:282). The judgment of an older experienced person who is uneducated may be more reasonable than that of a young university gradate. and from the jurisprudential principle that “legal rule follows its reason: if the reason continues to exists. this can be interpreted as a warning against asking for a public position for personal benefit. Campaigns for candidates and laws and the mass media provide valuable information for a serious voter. As women are equal to men in their social rights and responsibilities according to the Quran (9:71). association or other organization. since votes are taken regarding matters related to common sense. not to a particular faith.

A modern state is ruled by institutions not by individuals. inheritance. Caliph Umar nominated six candidates. 47 . and they respected her wisdom and leadership. Areas that are related or close to the faith such as family matters. the government. al-Nasa’i) was informative not legislative. The Prophet expressed an opinion that was not meant to be binding as a part of God’s teachings. ministers in the government. However. should have absolute power in a modern state. Women can be members of parliament. al-Tirmidhi. judges. it could simply have been a personal view. and should not be taken out of the context. that presenting the candidate’s merits and qualifications for the position and criticizing others should follow legal and ethical principles. The requirements for a candidate and what may bar have to be decided in the light of social ideals and circumstances. The non-Muslims is equal to a Muslim as a witness (5:106). The Quran mentions in Queen of Sheba (27:28-44). The tradition that says the Prophet expected a Persian failure because they had a queen (reported by Ibn Hanbal. and non-Muslims naturally work within these bodies. and administration. No single person. the judiciary. as was done by the Prophets Yusuf (Joseph) and Sulayman (Solomon) (12:55. 38:35). A non-Muslim can also be included with Muslim judges in a multi-judge court. the Quran describes her strong personality an capable leadership. according to al-Mawardi. She did not ignore the leading persons in her country when making important decisions.those tasks can seek office by indicating his or her credentials for it. and charity endowments (aqaf). according to their merits and credentials. nothing in the tradition indicated that it represented a law of God that must be observed by Muslims. and the military forces. and can be a minister with executive power (wazir tanfidh). al-Bukhari. since they share with men the right and responsibility to do what is right and avoid doing what is wrong (9:71). and military and police officers. It goes without saying. from which one had to be chosen by the majority as a candidate for the caliphate. can be assigned to a judge of the litigant’s own faith. On the contrary. with no indication of Qur’anic disapproval of a female head of state. whatever his or her beliefs may be. Non-Muslims have the rights and the duty to occupy positions in the legislature. the non-Muslim judge has to apply the same state code of laws. but not a plenipotentiary minister (wazir tafwid) with absolute power. There were non-Muslims ministers an top officials in medieval Muslim states such as Egypt and Andalusia. even the head of the state.

g. 23:52). or even for one leading person who has his followers (16:120). 164. Various legitimate human approaches to interpret the divine texts may naturally emerge. and they are guided to settle them conceptually and morally according to their terms of the Quran and Sunna. since political differences are human and inevitable and should not affect public unity if they are properly handled in an objective and ethical way. Their political differences were represented in certain groups which openly expressed their views in a public meeting at “al48 . and it is sometimes used in the Quran for the whole Muslim community (e. 164. as they help people establish their views about persons and policies.g. 6:108. The multi-party system has proved to be the most if not the only democratic formula.” as in the above-mentioned verse 3:104: “And let there be from among you a group (umma) that calls to good and enjoins the doing of what is rights. 3:110. The early Muslims had their conceptual differences from time to time. but it can merely mean a group of people (e.” The Arabic word “umma” can be used for groups of different sizes. This does not deny the fundamental unity of the people. 5:66. 7:38. The Opposition: Political parties are essential for democracy. especially when the word is connected with the preposition “from. 7:159. As politics often represents an area of human discretion (ijtihad). beginning with the argument about who should become leader after the Prophet’s death.. 3:113.. 28:23). 28:23). since the one-party system has never produced any real or effective opposition. The Quran urges that groups be found to enjoin the doing of what is rights and to forbid of what is wrong (3:104).g. The word umma in the Quran does not always mean the whole universal body of believers. 159. 5:66. especially in a modern state where advanced technology provides a formidable tool for suppressing opponents and influencing public opinion. 21:92. and such opposition has rarely been able to grow outside the party system through individuals contacting masses directly. the Quran assumes that Muslims may face differences and even disputes (4:59). but is also used for limited groups (e. as if often assumed.The Multi-party System.. The individual can find himself or herself helpless to oppose those who enjoy governmental authority. 2:113.

and create difficulties in gaining a majority in the parliament. and should not raise any suspicion in the Muslim mind. and in presenting a strong opposition.” a spacious area that had a sort of roof (saqf in Arabic) among the homes of the clan Banu Sa’ida in Medina which was apparently allocated for tribal gatherings. Muslims can form several Islamic political parties. against a background of unity. and guard the human rights and dignity of all the children of Adam. however. as the Quran teaches. but with different concepts or different ways in carrying out their legitimate political activities. It may be acceptable in given circumstances. An opposition is indispensable to a democratic system.g. the Ahl al-Sunna.. in forming a coalition to secure such a majority. Political fronts and alliances may involve Islamic parities and others in certain circumstances or for certain issues. al-Khawarij) with different political ideas and juristic schools. Muslims have had their several theological groups (e. defend their interests. when no single party can secure it. Although establishing parties on ethnic grounds or out of personal or family considerations ought not be encouraged from the Islamic point of view. It should be handled through political prudence and moral responsibility rather than by any legal restrictions arbitrarily decided or executed. it should join in a united front during times 49 . These differences should not in any way damage public unity. is a fundamental organizational requirement to achieve pluralism. An unreasonable number of parties can reduce the efficiency an effectiveness of governance. 5:78-79).Saqifa. as a fact of life. This is a challenge for the multi-party system which some democracies face. or they may have different programs of reform when they rule. Diversity in political thinking and practice. The Quran indicates that all the People of the Book are responsible for enjoining the doing of what is right and forbidding the doing of what is wrong (3:114. Later. al-Shi’a. Accordingly. and various parties can join in coalitions to a government. The opposition does not oppose for the sake of mere opposition. however. It is needed to scrutinize the practices of the government and to provide an alternative if the party in power loses the confidence of the people. all of them committed to Islam. Women can join any party or form their own. Non-Muslims and secularists whether they are Muslims or not can also have their own political parties to present their views.

Under the early caliphs.of national crisis. opposing the views were known and recorded. for their validity and value may later be realized. and it should praise the government when it does something commendable. They have to be put forth even if they cannot prevail. 50 .

In fact. different interpretations and jurisprudential views might appear regarding a certain text because of its language or its relation to other relevant texts. The prominent jurist Ibn al-Qayyim stated that 51 . the Quran and the Sunna provide only general principles and rules. roads. They must not contradict any other rule in the divine sources. they have only to be provided according to considerations of public interest or in the light of the general goals and principles of Shari’a. importing and exporting. nor the general goals and principles of Shari’a. according to the discretion of each different judge. construction. currency. industry. Applying the goals and general principles of Islamic law to changing the social needs has been called in the Islamic law “the conduct of state policies according to Shari’a (al-siyasa al-shari’iyya). and the judge would then have to use his own discretion and judgment (ijtihad). irrigation. Many laws required in a modern state to regulate traffic. and what this is to be has to be decided by the legislature. Even the Prophet expected that some cases that may come before a judge would not find a specific solution in the Quran or Sunna. something about which the well-known writer Ibn al-Muqaffa’ complained in his time. It is essential that a certain interpretation or jurisprudential view should be adopted by the state as a law. there should be no legislative body in an Islamic state. transportation. or forbidden. which is naturally enlightened by the spirit of Shari’a and its general goals and principles. the legislature specifies and establishes the details of the required laws. etc. Such a juristic or judicial discretion (ijtihad). and such a limitless number of allowed acts ought to be organized in a certain way: making them mandatory. or optional according to changing circumstances in different times and places. What is allowed by the Islamic law al-mubah is extensive. so that the courts are not left to enforce in consisted rules. education. may have to be generalized and codified as state law and not left to the individual discretion of the judiciary. which may be needed under new and different times or places. public health.The Legislative Function: Some Muslims argue that since God is the Lawgiver. In the case of the Quran and Sunna. The public interest has also to introduce new laws not specified in the Quran and Sunna. No text in the Quran or the Sunna deals specially with all the emerging human needs until the end of this life. Changing circumstances also influence understanding of a legal text and develop new needs that require new legislation.

and thus any procedure that secures justice should be followed.wherever a sign of justice appears there is God’s law and command and good acceptance. 34. then. and the people will not accept a decision against their beliefs. is a necessary and legitimate institution for a modern Islamic state. This can be secured by the legal experts in the legislature and the administration. and through educational institutions and the information services of the media. as long as they are committed to them.”36 A legislature. a modern Islamic state may always assume in general and with no need for explicit repetition in every case that God’s guidance has supremacy over any legislation. in addition to judicial control of the Supreme Court. As democracies assume that natural law of social contract of human rights supersede any human legislation. “We do not see that a just policy can be different from the comprehensive Shari’a. but it is merely a part of it… since if it is just. and it allows all components of the sociocultural and political pluralism to participate in making state laws. it is inseparable from Shari’a. This outstanding jurist states. since God only sent the conveyors of His messages and brought down His books to secure justice in people’s dealings with one another. 52 . Democracy works within the dominant sociocultural circumstance. 36 See above note n.

The principle of “checks and balances” organizes state powers and guards the public interest through an organizational and ethical climate of cooperation. The Supreme Court has judicial control over the legislature and executive in order to secure Shari’a goals and principles and the constitutional provisions and framework (4:59). Legal and ethical safeguards ought not to hinder creativity. or from the state authorities. It and the whole judiciary as well should be independent and protected against any interference or pressure. and introduces any necessary legislation for reform. If the mass media are within the public sectors and controlled in any way by the government. Those from among the people who are entrusted with authority by the people have to respond to people’s questions about their practices. 53 .g. 4:115. Mass communication has to be secured. Courts provide the strongest protection for the rights of the individual and the different components of sociocultural and political pluralism against any violation of their rights. 47:25. 33). whether from any one against the other.. political parties and candidates for public office should be given equal time to address the voters.Institutional and Public Supervision: The legislature also watches over the practices of the executive body. while the people have the responsibility to ask the authorities about any of their common concerns and worries (4:86). together with its freedom in fulfilling its responsibilities to inform. look into any complaint or failure. The Quran requires that even God’s guidance has to be clarified to people before one becomes responsible for any deliberate deviation from it (e.

and for implementing the Shura and actualizing the goals and general principles of Shari’a. Fears of contradiction between human legislations and God’s guidance assume that the majority of Muslim voters have elected a parliamentary majority with is against Islam. as the Islamic faith deepens the Muslim commitment to human dignity for al the children of Adam. or its members not capable of running the country. or even on Islamic law and the Islamic state. and a contemporary Islamic jurisprudence has to be developed that can benefit from the heritage while observing contemporary realities and needs. then. They have no confidence in the human beings who are raising these slogans and in their capabilities and practices. But they are absolutely justified in expressing their lack of confidence in a political party or a leader. that the media and supreme court are collaborating with it. that the modern democratic process can provide a practical mechanism for securing human rights and dignity that are granted by God to all the children of Adam. and may even withdraw their confidence from any representative through a referendum. Among them. Criticism of democracy has actually appeared among those who enjoy its fruits an sincerely wish it more fulfillment and less shortcomings 54 . Pitting democracy against Islam is unfair to both. Non-Muslims may be convinced that Islam provides moral and legal safeguards for justice and equal rights. The Muslim have seriously to consider the feeling of the non-Muslim minorities in their countries and secure for them what they require for Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries. It should not be assumed that Muslims who criticize an Islamic party or leader have turned their backs on Islam. Serious juristic efforts are needed to distinguish between what is divine and permanently binding and what is human and changeable in the accumulated Islamic legal heritage. also according to a certain procedure.Fears Unjustified: It is obvious. Some constitutional clarification about the people’s commitment to God’s guidance and the supremacy of His laws can be made. pluralism and democracy ought to be major concerns. and that such a parliamentary majority will continue forever! The people can always exercise their rights at every election and initiate any legislation through a public referendum when this can be allowed and regulated. and is very awkward for the non-Muslim components of the pluralistic society as well as for the Muslim secularists or Muslims who may believe that the agenda of an Islamic party or of several Islamic parties is neither clear nor convincing.

If it happens by chance that a Muslim majority in a free election does not want an Islamic state. until they become capable of developing a better alternative for themselves. how can the Muslim conscience accept that such a state may be imposed through undemocratic and oppressive measures? Democracy protects Islam and Muslims. as well as other components of national and global pluralism. from Britain to France to the United States and others. democracy does not provide one pattern. Opening up democratic channels of expression and assembly prevents social explosions. from aggression from above or from below. This should add to its merits. However. They can always benefit from any universal development towards justice. which would enrich the universal experience as well. and moral behavior. and would demonstrate that Islam and true Muslims are always represented by reason. and they should contribute to it through their own experience the best they can. They may develop in their own pattern or brand. A procedural variety exists in genuine democracies throughout the world. 55 . Muslims can always consider their circumstances and needs in designing their democratic system. and common sense. Just repeating the self-criticism off the democrats does not provide a better institutionalization of the general Qur’anic principle of “Shura.” They have to benefit from the best available.and pitfalls. which enriches the universal political thinking and practice. while they maintain its essentials.

Besides. and in their contributions to geography and travel literature leaves no place for a constricted notion that divides the world into Dar al-Islam and an “other” part of the world. according to the intentions and abilities of every human being that He only knows and thus He only can judge. Muslims must have confidence in themselves and should not suffer forever from times of inferiority and subjection however bitter their memories may be. Muslims have to prove through their thinking and actions that they can continue and advance in range and quality their tradition of pluralism and globalism. 56 . The Economist rightfully stated about Huntington’s suggested clash. Their potential for intellectual and material development provides every opportunity for catching up and taking their rightful place in the contemporary world.” and of Samuel P. Contemporary technology has simply made that world and its huge variety of material and intellectual resources more approachable and more easily exchanged. Huntington in his article on “The Clash of Civilizations” in Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993). since Muslims have always dealt in their material and intellectual interactions with the known world in its totality. They can prove wrong or at least overly pessimistic Bernard Lewis’s views expressed in the Nineteenth Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities or “Western Civilization: View from the East. Notions of glory and religious superiority as reflected consciously or unconsciously through the Muslim intellectual heritage might sometimes color the clear and penetrating message of the dignity of all human beings conveyed in the Quran.Global Pluralism: The amazing development of modern technology is transportation and mass communications has made the world if not the universe a village. In this world all human beings are equal and have recognize to and know well the others and to cooperate altogether in the various fields on an equal basis. Both expended a great deal of energy analyzing an infinite complex of accumulated contradictions between Islam and the West. it can be revived. The exchange of knowledge reflected in Muslim translations of various cultural heritages and their own adaptations and creations. will be only judged by God. The conviction of any particular faith that it alone represents the truth. Muslim trade once extended from Spain to China and from Scandinavia to Sub-Saharan Africa.

laymen. Constructive writings by Christian authors have recently been published in Europe and America. and some re-examination by both of their present ideas about the world. Unfortunately. The proposition of this survey is that there is no separable reason why Muslims and westerners cannot live peaceably with each other.Past enmities and present bad temper need not be the premises of syllogism that is bound to end: therefore. new war between Islam and the West. Reasonable Muslims. was published in Geneva. since the massive immigration of educated Muslims in the 1960s. and scholars.37 Muslims in the West have encountered a “wider Western view of life” in their dialogue with Christians and Jews.” a survey in The Economist. the learning to absorb the principle of democracy). nothing in the essentials of either civilization to make harmony impossible … The West also has a contribution to make. The Nearest in Affection: Towards a Christian Understanding of Islam. have broadened this bridge. that Christians and Jews may also realize that Muslim-educated people in the mainstream are more realistic. There is no fatal obstacle to this. 37 “The Fundamental Fear: Islam and the West. Muslim will need to find a way of adjusting their habits in three specific requirements of modern life ( i. A book carrying the imprint of the World Council of Churches by Stuart Brown. coping with a modern economy. after the experience of decades of such a dialogue. and Jews especially in America. accepting the idea of sexual equality. These two civilizations have more in common with each other. civil leaders. One part is a matter of being clear eyed about what Europe and America wish to achieve in their relations with Islam. A bridge between Muslims and the West has gradually been built. 57 . Christians. 6 August 1994. In particular.e. moderate. these contacts have not been reflected in policy making on both sides. But attempts at interfaith dialogues have recently multiplied in Europe and America among the clergy.” edited by Vittorio Messori. The other is a possible change in the West’s own view of life. as have the numerous contacts between Western and Muslim businessmen and professionals. and flexible than they might have through. Pope John Paul II expressed his feelings about Islam in “Crossing the Threshold of Hope. than either has with the Confucian world or the Hindu one or most of the rest of the Huntington culture collection. It will take sensible handling by both sides. a change that would broaden the shared platform of ideas on which these two civilization stand. I believe.

The rights of Muslim women to property and inheritance. Egypt and Syria gave women the vote as early as Europe did its women. child abuse and drug addiction. between revivalists.’ and distinguish. We. heir to the British throne. 1993. and fanatics or extremists. Those days of conquest are over. who choose to take the practice of their religion most devoutly. gave a lecture at Oxford University on October 27. who is the patron of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. and to the conducting of business. It is like judging the quality of life in Britain by the existence of murder and rape. Extremism is no more the monopoly of Islam than it is the monopoly of other religions. to some protection if divorced.The Prince of Wales. when used as a basis to judge a society. including Christianity … Perhaps the fear of Islamic revivalism which colored the 1980s is now beginning to give way in the West to an understanding of the genuine 58 . they lead to distortion and unfairness… We should also distinguish Islam from the customs of some Islamic states… Remember. our common attitude to Islam suffers because the way we understand it has been hijacked by the extreme and the superficial… Our judgment of Islam has been grossly distorted by the extremes to be the norm. and the opportunity to play a full working role in their societies. in the West need also to understand the Islamic world’s view of us… the extent to which many people in the Islamic world genuinely fear our own Western materialism and mass culture as a deadly challenge to their Islamic culture and way of life … We fall into the trap of dreadful arrogance if we confuse ‘modernity’ in other countries with their becoming like us … We need to be careful of that emotive label ‘fundamentalism. that Islamic countries like Turkey. But even now. were rights prescribed by the Quran fourteen hundred years ago. and much earlier than in Switzerland! In those countries women have long enjoyed equal pay. if you will. as Muslims do. That is a serious mistake. The Prince said. which we hope will influence as many Western leaders as possible. But. The extremes exist and they must be dealt with.

are searching for ways to achieve responsive government. Islam and the West (Oxford: Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. fundamentalism would replace communism as the West’s designated threat. between isolation and openness. as in the case around the world. and between moderation and extremism. In the Middle East. Anthony Lake. It should come as no surprise that citizens throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa are testing and debating the role of these values in society and government. These values of devotion to family and society. A comprehensive philosophy of nature is no longer part of everyday beliefs… The Islamic and Western worlds share problems common to us all: how we adapt to change in our societies. there is a fundamental divide putting Western liberal democratic traditions against ostensibly opposing civilizations based on Islam and other religious traditions…In the quest for a new ideology to rally against. drugs and the disintegration of the family… We have to solve these threats to our communities and our lives together. 38 The Prince of Wales. Our foe is oppression and extremism. how we deal with AIDS. We strongly disagrees. 1993). how we help young people who feel alienated from their parents or their society’s values. but the fault line runs not between oppression and responsive governments. in a recent speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. At the heart of Islam is it preservation of an integral view of the universe… The West gradually lost this integrated vision of the world with Copernicus and Descartes and the coming of the scientific revolution. whether in religious or secular guise…We also reject the notion that a renewal emphasis on traditional values in the Islamic world must inevitably conflict with the West or with democratic principles.spiritual forces behind this groundswell … Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in the world which Christianity itself if the poorer for having lost. as throughout the world. 59 . People in the region. there is indeed a fundamental divide. to faith and good works are not alien to our own experience. and it knows no distinction by race or by creed… This is as true in the Middle East and the Muslim world as it is elsewhere. a national security adviser in the United States. said: Some have suggested that in the post-cold war world.38 In the same direction.

guarantee basic human rights. the phenomenon of extremism around the world flows from common sources . Islam is not the issue…There should be no doubt: Islamic extremism poses a threat to our nation’s interests…Although the circumstances vary. 29:45. which we hope will also influence policy-makers. 31. violence. 9:67. 60 . to Islam.from disillusionment. 2:231. 7:156. This is a universal quest. 24:21. 17. 6). Al-Bayruni. Published in The Minaret.39 Muslims have to respond in harmony with this tone. Buddhists. and to guide their daily lives. “Islam Verses the West” excerpt from the speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Jewish hostility and Hindu fanaticism. spent years learning Sanskrit so that he might know Hinduism from its sources.. colonization. On these common grounds of spirituality. To be committed to the universality of Islam and to cope with our era of global pluralism. Widespread disenchantment breeds an extremism or hatred. That so many of them are looking to religion. 263. 3:104. They have to approach Bahaiis and Ahmadiyyas. from dashed hopes for political participation and social justice. 16:90. Nobody is doing the 39 Anthony Lake. According. and dignity. 4:5. Taoists and other faiths. 112. all human beings can develop universal relations and maintain global pluralism. Muslims ought to display the Qur’anic attitude towards humankind by extending the range of their dialogue to reach Hindus. 65:2. and has been granted dignity by God (17:70). 71. including the Crusades. on which the common responsibility of developing the world and the human beings can be constructed: “He brought you forth from the earth and has entrusted you with developing it” (11:61).g. Muslims have to go beyond their bitter memories of history. and extremism by no means unique to the Middle East or to the Muslim world. July August 1994. from a failure to secure basic needs. and seriously approach its understanding. an outstanding Muslim shcolar of the past. 110.15. morality. 22:41. Let God judge the faith and intentions of each in the afterlife we should maintain our human dignity as a whole and develop relations and cooperate in this life. universal human relations have their moral and spiritual ground. 114. and exploitation. 8. is neither unusual nor unique. It is significant that the Quran calls the good “what is recognized by common sense” (ma’ruf) and evil “what is rejected by common sense” (munkar) (e. 114. The Quran (7:172-173) teaches that every human being has his or her spiritual compass.

and the United Nations and its subordinate and affiliated bodies and agencies.g. Muslims cannot ignore each other in this rapprochement they should also bridge the gaps between Sunnis. It must. A moral commitment in every country by the state authorities is needed to guard pluralism internally and universally. and to conform to international norms as determined by all nations of the world…The international community is now at the crossroads. but must we still have nuclear weapons around?… Who determines when a deterrent is need?… [can we be] sure that someone irrational might not become a leader and gain access to the button?…Weapons for defense should be solely for defense. Mahathir Mohammad.. Let us then work together as partners in our common endeavor to 61 . The world need policing… but are we to have self-appointed policemen. the Organization of Islamic Conference. the League of the Arab States. We cannot afford to miss this historic opportunity. We need weapons only for fighting criminals…we want to remain independent. etc. Shi’is (Zaydis. Such a moral commitment is essential in regional organizations (e. 1991. Isma’ilis) and Ibadis. the Organization of American States. the European Community. reminded the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 14.). during its forth-sixth session.other a favor. however. and use the United Nations as a principle forum and vehicle for achieving our objectives. Ja’faris. so as to protect and nurture universal globalism. the Organization of South East Asia. we are in the same boat in the same stormy ocean. be underlined that a global consensus approach requires tolerance for different ideas and practices inherent in our complex and pluralistic world. the pregnant mothers and the newborns?… Should wars be fought or police action be taken by totally destroying recalcitrant nation in order to avoid casualties among the police force?… We condemn chemical warfare. Dr. We truly have a chance to build a better world through consensus.. the Prime Minister of Malaysia. or are we to have a police force that is beholden to the United Nations?… Can our conscience be clear if a whole nation is starved into submission… and the principle victims are the old and the infirm. and other sects and subdivisions.

in 1970. humankind has to develop within each country and through the whole world a psychological and structural pluralism that suits such globalism. “The Age of Extremes”. Afghanistan. the victims numbering in hundreds of thousands. pt.S.C. to avoid in the future the fate of the Jews under the Nazis. the Middle East and Cambodia. the Chechnyans at the hand of the Russians. by an estimate of Zbigniew Brezezinski. p. that its wars have been “total wars” against combatants and civilians alike. Terrorism in its many manifestations has become an enduring fact of life on every continent in the part halfcentury. Eric Hobsbawn. address to the General Assembly of the United Nations in its 46th Session. in Bangladesh. D. in the culling of millions in the China of Mao? The “megadeaths” since 1914. “We cannot afford to miss this historic opportunity. or any other human group that may be suffering tragedy in the contemporary world. Bosnian Muslims at the hands of the Bosnian Serbs. (American Muslim Council. with huge death tools and destruction caused by technological progress? Mahathir Mohammad. Civil insurrections in this century. 62 40 . Washington. or roughly the entire population of the U.” Washington Post. The British historian. ‘the equivalent of more than one in ten of the ten world population in 1900. and Tutsis at the hands of the Hutus and vice versa in Rwanda.40 As the Malaysian leader said. 27 April 1995. A. 21. How many died in India and Pakistan after World War II.41 Would we like to see the twenty-first century continue in the same a better world. The casualties are measured in tens of millions. says of the twentieth century. in the purges or Kulaks and political unreliable in the 20’s and 30’s in the Soviet Union. most recently in Rwanda were characterized by indiscriminate internecine slaughters of indescribable cruelty. “Death in the 20th Century. have totaled 197 million. 1991) 41 Richard Harwood.” In our era of globalism.

loan and investment. and togetherness. Securing democracy in every country would be more practical. and whose who believe in God in particular . It is the responsibility of all the believers in human dignity in general. An international court that implements of the International Declaration of Human Rights and rules on violations of its provisions can guard human dignity all over the world. religious. or economic grounds would destroy all the parties involved. especially countries rules undemocratically. exports and imports. and patent rights. but these technical problems can be dealt with using justice and mutual understanding: they are in their nature quite different form racial ethnic. through mutual understanding. They must remind diverse peoples of their common ground and objectives and their common destiny. whatever the inborn or acquired differences may be. a cold war or any other form of conflict fueled by egotism or superiority between countries of the world on ethnic. for policing the entire world.the Lord of All-being who has granted dignity to all the children of Adam and has entrusted them with developing themselves while they are developing the world to represent divine grace and compassion in their relations. 63 . Opposition groups and human rights organizations can have an access to a certain body or agency in the United Nations where the concerned government can defend itself. such as in exchange of technology. ideological. would be almost impossible. and stress the importance of living together and working together in this world. monetary system. There will be difficulties in certain complex areas of international relations.In an era of globalism. religious or ideological prejudices and conflicts. especially between developed and developing countries.

Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. the gross numbers and almost miraculous developments disguise a much more complex and variegated picture. A moral commitment to justice is fundamental to the success of any legal and institutional mechanism: “Be ever steadfast in upholding terms of the nearly universal diffusion of popular demands for political freedom. that is closest to consciousness’ of God” (5:8). representation. Justice and Moral Commitment: Global pluralism requires knowledge and understanding among diverse people (Quran 49:113). Mixed signals have been received from the different corners of the world. Mutual appreciation prevents prejudice and helps the maintenance of justice. participation and accountability. lest you swerve from justice (4:135).” “The determining factor” in their differences. “is which interpretation of Islam becomes dominant. 64 . bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God. the degree to which Islam becomes explicitly mobilized as a political force and a political philosophy of government. It could even be argued that the decade saw the most widespread diffusion of democratic forms of governance since the inception of the nation state… With some important exceptions and revivals. “and never let hatred of anyone lead you to a deviation from justice.what could be called the ‘globalization of democracy’ . and consequently. even though it be against your own selves or your parents and kinsfolk…Do not follow our desires.Pluralism.” “Every year.” as Diamond says. including “the Middle East. Larry Diamond. However. Maintaining common understanding and justice should lead to the peace in the world that is essential for cooperation. recorded extraordinary progress for democracy around the world. of the Hoover Institute on War. the particularly the final stunning years of that decade. and more particularly the Islamic and largely Arab world stretching from Morocco to Iran. according to Diamond. this progress has continued in 1990s… Democrats around the world have been exhilarated by this widespread democratic progress . wrote in The Globalization of Democracy: The 1980s. Be just.

Many of the countries that have made transitions to democracy in the past decade are in grave political crisis now because democracy is simply not working to deliver the board development progress.” in Robert O. Global Transformation and the Third World (Boulder. to consolidate it.and much more difficult. these may follow in a “habituation phase” when “both politicians and citizens” come to accept and internalize the new rules and to forge “effective links of party organization. 57-59. ideas and technologies pour across them with increasing density and speed. London: Adamantine Press. But this need not stem from any profound moral conviction or conversion. because there was no other good way to resolve their internal divisions or to secure their substantive goals. honest and decent government.thing to keep it. Raven. so that we may feel the necessity for international cooperation in order to manage the earth for our common benefit. people. Global Transformation. to breathe real life and meaning into it. democratization may precede the deep changes in political culture an destitutions that permit it to endure. Slater. 1993). in its largest sense.national borders are rendered increasingly porous. 38. “The Globalization of Democracy. and Stephen R. A world in which the 42 Larry Diamond. 31. services.. values. Dorr. It is quire another . pp. Schutz. Colo. to make it endure. protection of human rights. and political and social tranquility that people want.42 As it has been rightfully pointed out: “In the transformed world of the 1990s. will be the laboratory for developing new political and economic responses to the requirements of the recorded international system. the Third World. as good. and Barry M.” the importance and highly contingent nature of this process of democratic consolidation raises the issue of “ripeness. In such circumstances.: Lynne Rienner.” It is one thing to get to democracy. symbols.”43 A “shared realization of our common humanity” is emphasized by Peter H. p. 43 Slater el al. often in the part elites have embraced democracy as a tactical and instrumental choice. This global trend of intensifying communication and economic integration itself constitutes one of the most powerful long-term impulses for the opening and democratization of political regimes… The only absolute requirement for transition is a commitment to democratization on the part of strategic elites. 2 65 .

And & London.” in Rushworth M.”45 Whatever the various implications of the international pluralism and justice may be. Mass. as with individuals. one hopes.44 Socioeconomic justice should be observed in every country and in the world. The most far-reaching detachment of world economy from power political is one of the most urgent postulates of international justice. “State of the World. 2000: What We should do to affect it. All those who are enlightened with and committed to God’s guidance will. England: The MIT Press. 1984).182 45 Julius Stone. Raven. God does not change people’s condition unless they change their inner selves” (13:11).900 times as much money is spent on national military forces as an international peace-keeping efforts. 1989). p. do all what they can to support global pluralism. combining wisdom and ethics.annual military budget of all countries combined equals the income of 2. 100-101) 66 . is a world in which it is very difficult to chart the outlines of future survival. since “with nations. the wealth of the rich is unjust when it entails the poverty of others. or one in which 2.” Emile Brunner.6 billion people in the forth-four poorest nations. pp. Kidder. Reinventing the Future: Global Goals for the 21st Century (Cambridge. declared in 1943 that “many problems depended for their solution on somehow detaching economic life from its too exclusive connection with national political life. Vision of World Order (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 44 Peter H. the moral responsibility of all human beings with all their inborn and acquired differences as individuals and groups lies in its heart and soul: “Verily.

Barbara Stowasser. Zafar Ishaq Ansari. University of Malaya Dr. and Chair of the Academic Council Dr.. and Vice Chair of the Academic Council Mr. History Department Sponsors Foundation pour l’Entente entre Christians et Musulmans. S. James Piscatori. New York Dr. George Washington University Dr. Theology Department Dr. Walid Khalid. Pakistan Dr. Director. Harvard University. Sulayman Nyang. Seyyed Hossein Nasr. University of California at Berkeley Dr.Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs Executive Committee Dr. Osman Bakar. Islamic Research Institute. Indiana University Dr. Director. John L. J. Acting Chair. Geneva Malaysian Resources Corporation . Bryan Hehir.J. Geneva Academic Council Dr. Basel Aql. Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. Fedwa Malti-Douglas. Thailand Dr. University of Massachusetts/Amherst Dr. S.. Foundation pour l’Entente entre Chretiens et Musulmans. Center for Contemporary Arab Studies Dr. Walid Khalidi. Council on Foreign Relations. Thomas Michel. Haddad. Harvard University (Vice Chair) Dr. Bryan Hehir. American University of Beirut. Chair. Georgetown University Dr.Malaysia Chair of Islam in Southeast Asia. Sana Sabbagh for Hasib Sabbagh Wing 67 . Esposito. Harvard University (Chair) Dr. Jeffrey Von Arx. New York and University of Wales Steering Committee Dr.J. Howard University Dr. Richard B. Ira Lapidus. Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs Dr. Yvonne Y. Interim Executive Vice President for the Main Campus. J. Anthony Tambasco. Robert Haddad. Schwartz. Harvard University.

Visiting Professor Chittagong University. Mohamed Aslam Haneef. Espositio. Roy Mottahedeh. Jack Shaheen. Director and Professor Dr. Visiting Professor University of Southern Illinois Dr. Diane Apostolos-Cappadona.Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding History and International Affairs Center Faculty Dr. Yvonne Y. Amira El-Azhary Sonbol. Berlin Dr. Assistant Professor of Society. Aziz al-Azmeh. Professor of Islamic History Dr. Research Associate University of Massachusetts /Amherst Dr. John L. Alamgir M. Bangladesh Dr. Fulbright Research Associate International Islamic University Malaysia Dr. Visiting Professor University of Exeter & Institute for Advance Study. Research Associate Dr. Serajuddin. Research Associate Dr. Visiting Professor Harvard University Dr. Charles Chartouni. Visiting Professor Visiting Faculty and Fellows Dr. History and Law Malaysia Chair of Islam in Southeast Asia. Senior Fellow (CMCU) Omar Professor of Arabic and Islamic Literature Georgetown University 68 . Voll. Haddad. John O. Irfan Shahid.

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