Representative Democracy & Islam

Mar 26th, 2008, in Opinion, by

Fatkhuri says there is no disharmony between Islam and democracy, theoretical or practical.

An Account of Islamic World and Indonesian Democracy in Practice

Introduction

There has been an endless debate over last decade not only among Muslims scholars but also western scholars in relation to Islam and democracy.

In general, this scholarly discourse is concerned with theological cornerstones as well as ideological reasons. In doing so, the relationship between Islam and democracy (state) is frequently seen as a binary opposition, which it is considered very hard to have complementary to each other. Both of these groups have a different view in response to political system that should be applied in Muslim countries.

As a result, these discourses yield such negative implications as hostility, resentment, cleavage and even turmoil among followers. This scholarly debate currently continues to the extent of political foundation in which some Muslim groups perceived that Islam has its own underpinning to shape state. Some Muslim scholars reject the word "democracy" as it derives from the western world, and in turn they offer Syura Maskuri Abdilah.(1999). Demokrasi di Persimpangan Makna; Respons intelektual Muslim Indonesia terhadapa konspe demokrasi (1966-1993). Yogyakarta: PT. Tiara Wacana, p 8. Adnan Ali Ridha Al- Nawawi proposes this word. He rejects democracy because it is created by Human but Syura is created by God (Allah). from Islam.

In my point of view, it is more likely to be political reasons rather than theological as whatever comes from the west these groups then would discard even if the essence were obviously the same. It is very reason since Islam bases its belief on God (divine law) whereas democracy is obviously based its value on human law (secularism). See Maskuri Abdilah.(1999). Demokrasi di Persimpangan Makna; Respons intelektual Muslim Indonesia terhadapa konspe demokrasi (1966-1993). Yogyakarta: PT. Tiara Wacana, p 5. So they think that there are no reasons to impose God's law because Islam is very holistic which integrates all things.

Such questions are regularly proposed with regard to these phenomena. Is Islam compatible with democracy? These questions have been very common to be mounted in a wider range of the debate. Therefore, this discussion will elaborate the feature of democracy and it will try to connect to Islam. In doing so, I will examine the value of democracy and Islam whether both have something in common or not. It will thus deal with how the value of democracy is connected to and rooted toward the Islamic value.

Regarding this theme, what democracy actually is and why democracy should be implemented in the public spheres with regard to political affairs will be addressed? Does Islam have an experience about democracy in the early period particularly in the time of prophet Muhammad? All these questions will be answered in this particular discussion.

The Meaning of Democracy

Let me firstly begin by discussing the meaning of democracy. According to Oxford Learner's pocket dictionary, democracy is a country with government in which all citizens share through their elected representatives and control of an organization by its members who take part in the making decisions. Martin H. Manser (1991). Oxford Learner's pocket dictionary new edition. Oxford University Press, p 111. In addition, Car et. all defines that democracy underscores that all men should enjoy an equal opportunity to make use of their talents, to show the stuff they are made of, to take advantage of opportunities that life offer, and to enjoy equal justice under the law. Robet K. Car et all (1965). American Democracy in theory and Practice, essentials of national state and local government, third edition . New York, Chicago, Sn fransisco, Toronto, London. P 17. Furthermore, democracy is power, which derives from people, and peoples themselves utilize their power in order to govern other people. This definition derives from Greek Word viz. Demos (People) and Kratos (Power).

In general there are such definition coined by social scientist in relation to democracy. First of all, Joseph A. Schumpeter defines that democratic method is the institutional planning to achieve political agreement in which individual has rights to acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for people's vote. This definition as quoted by Maskuri Abdillah in his book "Demokrasi di Persimpangan Makna; Respons intelektual Muslim Indonesia terhadapa konspe demokrasi (1966-1993)." Yogyakarta: PT. Tiara Wacana, p 72. Secondly Sidney Hook also explains that democracy is a form of government in which the major decisions of government - or the direction of policy behind these decisions - rest directly or indirectly on the freely given consent of a majority of the adults governed. ibid p 73 Finally, Philippe C. Schmitter& T. Lynn Karl Democracy is a system of governance in which citizens, acting indirectly through the competition hold the rulers accountable for their actions in the public realm and cooperation of their elected representatives. ibid p 73

Regardless of these definition, democracy in general is perceived as the appreciation toward human rights, civil society, equality, justice, freedom, open political participation and the like. It is therefore democracy clearly sets the system up as to how to organize and treat society through state as legal structure. This rule obviously comes from human being's so-called "secularism" rather than from God (divine law). In a democracy, the people are the source of the law and the law in turn is to ensure fundamental rights that protect the well-being and interests of the individual members of the sovereign. Khaled Abou El Fadl. Islam and the Challenge of Democracy. Can individual rights and popular sovereignty take root in faith? Online; http://mitworld.mit.edu./video/124/

The root of democracy is therefore dealt with appreciating society by giving an adequate sphere in order to express their interest, taking part in policy making, treating them in equal way and so forth. It requires the concrete role of Government as the leaders of society by treat them in such good-manner. These aims are to give society an access to be able to fulfil their need in which they also have authority to do so with protection from state.

The Nature of Islam and Democracy

Regarding the subject discussed formerly, there are various opinions about Islam and democracy. In this regard, for those who are proponent of Islamic state or Islamic system tends to argue that Democracy is similar to West creation. That is why democracy in this respect should be proscribed particularly for Muslim community. This is very reason because according to those who get rid of this system argues that democracy is not corresponded with Islamic value.

This argument comes up with the judgement that whatever comes from the west should be prohibited for Muslims to implement since democracy is coined by infidels or comes from Western culture. I would argue that as mentioned at the outset it is merely based in politics rather than having theological grounds as well as ideological cornerstone in which such groups tend to be prejudiced about the west and they are prone to neglect the value within democracy itself. Concerning the rejection of these groups, it is exemplified by the resistance among Muslim groups, particularly those who are fundamentalist, that it is obviously considered as the process of colonization from the West. Democracy is perceived as west purposes in order to split Islam community (Ummat) rather than support Islamic community. For this reasons, Hafid Abudrrahman Hafid Abdurrahman is The National leader of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI). argues that there are two ways by which the west (colonialists) intend to hamper Muslim community to unify. First of all, like or dislike, Muslim community is coerced to accept an understanding, belief, and parameter (democracy) that is bequeathed by colonizers to be put into practice in the country even if it is clear not in accordance with Islamic belief. Secondly, they (the west) synchronize democracy with Islam so as to produce Muslim's view that there is no such distinction between Islam and democracy. Hafidz Abdurrahman (2007). Merekonstruksi Makna Umat Islam. Media Indonesia 26 Januari p 10 . This article is as a response to Gusdur's article which describe about Gusdur's explanation regarding the changing meaning of Islamic community (Umat Islam) which has been published in the same newspaper before. According to Abdurrahman, it is one of their strategies to support their espousal in order to impose democracy. Ibid

In line with this, some argue that no one can rule people or society. In doing so, they generally put emphasis on the nature of the principles of Islamic political theory which cannot give an authority over people to lead the others (followers). The one who has authority to command people is God alone. Therefore, God's Law should rule all things, which present in the world. According to Maududi no one should be allowed to pass orders or make commands in his own right and no one ought to accept the obligation to carry out such commands and obey such orders. Abu-L-Ala Mawdudi. (1982). Political theory of Islam in John J. Donohue and John L. Esposito (eds) Islam in Transition Muslim Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press, p 522 In this sense, he refers to verse in the Qur'an,

The authority rests with none but Allah. He commands you not to surrender to any one save Him. This is the right way (of life).

They ask: " Have we also got some authority?" Say: "all authority belongs to God alone". (Qur'an 3: 15)"¦.See Mawdudi. P 253. in this discussion, Mwdudi also delineate that there are such characteristics of an Islamic state which are expressed from Qur'an. First, No person, class or group, not even the entire population of the state as a whole, can lay claim to sovereignty. God alone is the sovereign;all others are merely His subjects. Secondly, God is the real Law giver and the authority of absolute legislation vests in Him. Thirdly, an Islamic state must, in all respects be found upon the law laid down by God Through His Prophet. For futher explanation, see Mawdudi p 253.

Therefore, there is nothing to do with democracy and the pivotal thing is Muslim groups should encourage people to implement Shari'a as a fixed rule, which covers all things in this world. Given these facts, Syafi'i categorized these groups as Rejectionist groups See Syafi'I Anwar p 7 while Bahtiar Effendi considers these groups as Legal formal This argument explains that Syari'ah is the obligatory system which should be implemented where Muslim country existed. In this regard, they argue that the notion of Nation-state is in contradiction with Ummah concept, which is no political boundary. For further information, see Bahtiar effendi (1998). Islam dan Negara; Transformasi pemikiran dan Praktik Politik islam di Indonesia. Jakarta: Paramadina, p 12. who strongly encourage Syari'ah to be robustly employed in order to cope with social problems.

In conjunction with this, there are such arguments, which completely disagree with the compatibility of democracy and Islam. This point of view derives from western scholars who strongly reject an argument that Islam and democracy is actually equal. As quoted by Syafi'i Anwar, Samuel Huntington, Martin Kramer and also Francis Fukuyama are those who can be grouped as scholars who totally argue that Islam is not compatible with democracy. Syafi'I Anwar.(2006). Islam and Democracy challenges and Opportunities. Paper presented at International Conference on " toward a civic Democratic Islamic Discourse ", organized by Al Quds Center for political Stidies- Konrad Adenaur stiftung Amman Jordania 27-29 may p 5 In general, their argument lies in the fact that Islam is a threat for democracy on the one hand and contradicts with western democratic values See Syafi'I Anwar page 6 quoted from Samuel p. Huntington on the other hand since Islamic culture is considered not conducive for implementing democracy due to in certain degrees the rejection of the vast number of Islamic country toward this system. Bahtiar Effendy. (2005). Jalan tengah Politik Islam, kaitan Islam, demokrasi dan ngeara yang tidak Mudah. Jakarta; Ushul Press, p 41. This is retrieved from Huntington argument that democracy will only grow up if such supports for democracy are emerged as attitude, values, belief all of which are conducive to encourage democratic system.

To deal with, it is important to note that there have been such evidences that the movement toward democracy, liberalism, and pluralism is relatively weak in the Arab world because of the problem of culture more particularly with Islam. Gudrun Kramer. (1993). Islamist notion of Demcoracy, journal political Islam, Middle east report, no 183,,, Juli -agustus, p 2. in this discussion, Kramer refers to the result of such discussion among observes who conclude it as it is.

I would argue here that these arguments are too emotional as well as very cynical with Islam and they unfortunately do not provide any supporting arguments by exemplifying such pivotal data why it should be like that? Such data referring to Arab world could not become representative evidence to judge even generalize that Islam is not compatible with democracy in terms of culture. As we know, each country or nation has such its own characteristic of culture as Indonesia, which comprises the variety of cultural background, and democracy in this country is very suited to Islam as Indonesian culture is able to conform to this concept. It is noteworthy that Islam in Arab world is different from Islam in Asia, Africa and so forth in terms of culture, socio-political background, geographic area and the like. Therefore such generalization regarding democracy, which is opposite to Islam, leads to the weak of this argument.

Notwithstanding, other groups have different argument with regard to this particular theme. Some argue that democracy is compatible with Islam. For the most part, basically the high culture of Islam such as Unitarianism, ethics, Scripturalism, individualism, egalitarianism is similar to the value of democracy. See Maskuri Abdillah ibid p 7 These principles according to Gellner are in accordance with modern Politics. See Bahtiar Effendy. (2005). Jalan tengah Politik Islam, kaitan Islam, demokrasi dan ngeara yang tidak Mudah. Jakarta; Ushul Press, p 34. These principles are quoted from Erness Gellner who shed light that the set of Islamic civilization covers such principles such as Unitarianism, government ethic, individualism, scripturalism, Puritanism, egalitarianism, dan voluntarism. Thus, democracy actually has resemblance to Islam.

An account of Democratic Practice in Islam - Democracy in the early period of Islam

Relationship between Islam and democracy however is still to have been enmity in practice. In Islamic world, we always concern with whether Islam has clear definition about democracy or not. At least we can then grasp that Islam is similar to or contradict to Democracy.

Did Islam practice democracy in the early period? Such discussions always refer to the democratic practice, which was imposed by prophet in Medina through Misaqul Medina (Medina Charter). As we know, in this period there were no fixed democratic concept but we could find such substances that drew democratic in nature. In this regard, prophet clearly practiced the democratic principles in which Prophet unified all communities to have one group with respecting to each other. It is very clear that Medina at that time was found in a pluralist situation. There was religious as well as tribal diversity. In this manner, Prophet not only accepted this diversity but also legitimized it by drawing up an agreement with different religious and tribal groups and accorded them through this agreement, a dignified existence and rights of their own. Asghar Ali Engineer. Islam and Secularism see online http://www.punjabilok.com/faith/islam/islamsecular.htm page 5. Asghar explain that here were Jews, pagans and Muslims and also Jews and pagans were divided into several tribes, each tribe having its own customs and traditions. The Prophet drew up a covenant with these tribes guaranteeing them full freedom of their faith and also creating a common community in the city of Medina with an obligation to defend it, if attacked from outside. Engineer argues that this practices is as a milestone which sought to lay the foundation of a new political and religious culture in which the agreement was quite democratic in spirit. Ibid

Furthermore, at the period of caliph, democratic practice continued particularly in the extent of elected leader. In any case, from the beginning of Muslim history, the caliph were understood to be selected by people, not God; they were subject to God's law as describe in the Qur'an and the sayings of the prophet; they were expected to engage in sort of consultation with the community they governed. Noah Feldman. ( 2004). After the Jihad. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p 52 These features of early Islamic political theory provide the basis for all theories of Islamic democracy. Ibid p 52

Different from these facts, Islam was experienced in practicing such rules that tend to be repressive or authoritarian. This practice subsequently leads to the image that Islam, is not well-matched to democracy. This argument based on the facts that such principles of democracy as Freedom, Equality; Justice particularly in the Arab world had never been found. It also happened that such repressive roles were very common. This occurrence as pointed by Zaenuddin that Islam in the historical account presented authoritarian government with Islam as a tool for legitimating their interests. Zainuddin. (2002). Islam dan Demokrasi. http://islamlib.com/id/index.php?page=article&id=123

Similar to this argument, there have been such changes in practice with regard to political system in the Islamic world after the period of the prophet and Khilafat-e-Rashidah (i.e. the rightly guided period of Khilafat i.e. Islamic state). This might be found particularly when the Umayyad and the Abbasid empires came into existence. In this respect, both of regime conducted authoritarian system, which abandoned common interest as a whole. Engineer contends that these two empires imposed the rule were based on personal and authoritarian rule since the Umayyad and the Abbasid Caliphs followed their own personal desires rather than the Qur'anic injunctions or the Shari'ah rules and it is important to note that it was Islamic only in name. See Engineer It thus comes up with the conclusion that even if Islam in the period of Prophet substantially practiced democratic system, however Islam after the period of prophet notably at these two empires implement authoritarian regime.

Democracy in Muslim country; an account of Indonesian experience

In the Muslim world, democracy in general is still a huge problem with regard to its implementation. Here, I will deal with the Indonesian experience regarding to democratic development. I prefer Indonesia as a case since Indonesia is considered as country where the largest Muslim society lives in and this country also has a unique cultural background, race and religion. Therefore I will look at closely the debate among Indonesian scholars or intellectual Muslim in response to democracy in Indonesia and how the implementation of this system is run.

Relationship between Islam and State

Discussing democracy and Islam in Indonesia cannot be ignored from the political history since the Indonesian country was established at the early period. It is because these two components are closely related to each other.

Indonesia is a country, which comprises such characteristics as culture, race, ethnic, and religion and so forth in variety. This diversity designates that Indonesia consists of a great deal of differences among other countries. That is why relationship between Islam and politics in this country is very unique which sometimes paves the way to hostility among one to another. It is therefore very pivotal that such discussion in relation to this discourse should be based on these elements.

It is note worthy that in the early period of Indonesia, Islam was perceived as a danger for Indonesian state. In my point of view, it is reasonable because most Muslims particularly those who were proponent of right wings (fundamentalist) tend to strictly impose Syari'ah as the laws in Indonesia. It can be seen from their struggle to implement Jakarta charter Jakarta charter contents the statement which obligate all Muslims in Indonesia to impose Islamic Syariah. in the early period of Indonesia. In doing so, these groups (Muslim) strongly rejected Pancasila as basic soul (ideology) of state. Such efforts to impose Syari'ah always failed since State apparatus considered this kind of concept was a threat for Pancasila and government strongly opposed to as well as refused this effort. This lasted up until Sohearto period under new order regime in which Soeharto also believed that Islam was a hazard for Democracy Pancasila. This subsequently goes toward the popular policy by which Soeharto imposed with regard to political party so-called Asas-Tunggal in which all political parties (GOKAR, PPP and PDI) These three parties were as a result of Unified policy (FUSI) which was imposed By Soeharto to control all political power in Indonesia. It is imbued because Soeharto would support economic development and he tended to ignore political affairs. should based their ideology on Pancasila. This leads to the hatred between Muslim and state, which subsequently produced the disharmony between both of these groups. As criticized by Bahtiar effendi, Bahtiar Efendi. (1998). Islam dan Negara; Transformasi pemikiran dan Praktik Politik islam di Indonesia. Jakarta: Paramadina, p 5 this argument is criticized by Bahtiar because according to him, Islam is interpretable religion which open each individual to use their own perspective to interpret it. It is the facts some Muslim groups also become the member of secular party. Therefore not all Muslim groups agree with the implementation of syaria'ah or Islamic state. such factors which lead to disharmony between state and Islam was due to the facts that there was a dichotomy between Santri Santri is used to refer to those who are expert in Islamic knowledge or pious Muslim. Clifford Geertx popularizes this term in his book religion of java which is orthodox and Abangan Abangan is ordinary people who practice or based their view on syncretism between Javanese culture and Hinduism. Santri-Abangan is developed by Robert Jay to see the political stream in Indonesia. See Bahtrai Effendi. (syncretism) rather than the different views to the extent of state elite which are the majority of Muslim as to what should Indonesia be like?

Taking this into account, such resentment could be represented by Political stream in Indonesia in which all of these groups had their own affiliated. Effendi points out that Santri would affiliate their own interest to Islamic Party (Masyumi and NU), Abangan would devote their supports to Communism Party and Priyayi beared PNI (Indonesian National Party). Ibid see Bahtair Effendi. These political stream were categorization coined by Geertz. For further discussion, see Irman G. Lanti back to the (slightly different) future: Continuity and change in Indonesian politics, Studies visiting researchers series, Institute of South Asian no. 2 (2001), p 3 These phenomena, which in turn caused New Order, embodied a new rule to make political stability of Indonesia in order to support economic development. As discussed before, through Azas Tunggal, Soeharto tended to be repressive and authoritarian in which he obviously marginalized Islamic groups to access political affairs.

It could therefore be conclude that in the early period up until new order regime the relationship between Islam and State was in disharmony since Islam had no place in order to express their interests.

Conversely, this phenomenon has dramatically changed in the wake of the downfall of Soeharto. This can be seen from the adequate opportunity for Muslim group to express their interest. At this juncture, the large numbers of Islamic political parties then emerged which designates Islamic revival after 32 years under repressive regime. In this regard relationship between Islam and state is in harmony since both have complementary role.

Response toward democracy

In general there has been varied in terms of response of Indonesian Muslim toward democratic practiced in Indonesia. There are three elements, which are developed by Allan Samson this expalantion can be trace in Bahtiar efferndi's book. Islam dan Negara page 42. to look at closely the response of Muslim Scholars with regard to modern political system or democracy in Indonesia. These three elements are representing political ideology of Islamic group toward political system established in Indonesia. First of all it is Fundamentalist group, which put emphasized on religion rather than Politics and who has strong motivation to impose Syariah rigidly even Islamic state in Indonesia, and these groups strongly eliminate secularism, western culture, and even syncretism (traditional Belief). See Bahtiar Effendi Islam dan Negara. page 42 Secondly is Reformist Group. This group contends that religion should be conformed to modern era. This group is the same as the first group, which underscores religion rather than politics, but this group is more respect to secular system rather than the first group as long as there exists such agreement between both of them. In this respect, even if this groups still considered Islam as the way of life in dealing with politics, they are more likely to be open by involving and taking part in such political system. Thirdly is Accommodationist group, which obviously appreciates toward economic and political interests This group argues that economy and political interest should be on the priority in Islamic organization. and this group is the least strict in order to use Islamic symbol in dealing with politics. In this regard, this group tends to consider religion in terms of values rather than as a symbol.

Pertaining to the response of Muslim groups toward democracy, it can also be searched since the beginning of Indonesian independent. At this juncture, there had been established SI (Sarikat Islam) as Islamic movement organization which aimed to achieve Indonesian independent. It is important to note that SI was the first Islamic organization, which designated as well as depicted political Islam in Indonesia. See bahtiar Effendi Islam dan Negara p 63 According to Maskuri Abdillah SI at the second congress (1917) insisted colonial government (Dutch) to employ democratic system. See Maskuri Abdillah Demokrasi di persimpangan makna p 75

Basically most Muslim group could accept democracy as political system in Indonesian. Even if they in general based their perspective on Islamic law, they tended to admit Pancasila as state ideology of Indonesia. Natsir was one of Muslim intellectual who accepted Democracy even if he interpreted democracy in different way. According to Natsir, Islam is democratic system, which patently reject Istibdad (despotism), absolutism and authoritarianism. In this regard however, Natsir was considered proponent of God sovereignty See Maskuri Abdillah ibid 75.

Regarding the response of intellectual Muslim toward democracy, it is in facts that most Indonesian Muslim in general accepts democracy as political system, which should be implemented in Indonesia. There are two reasons, which deal with these. Firstly, Islam and democracy are compatible particularly in the extent of the principle of agreement (Musyawarah) ( Al-Qur'an 3: 159) and (Qur'an 42: 38). Ibid P 307 Secondly, Democracy is the best way to accommodate Muslim's goal since Muslim in Indonesia is the vast number of population and ibid p 308 it is in accordance with the concept of democracy that based its principle on majority rule.

However, in responding the value of freedom, intellectual Islam has different perspective on this in which they regards that freedom in this regard is perceived with limitation rather than liberal democracy, which consider Freedom without any restriction. ibid p 310 In this manner, most intellectual define that the value of freedom in Islam is to achieve the existence in social life.

The response toward Democratic practice at a given time increase dramatically in reform era in which State gives a enough chance for Muslim groups to take part in political affairs on the one hand, and most Muslim groups also respect to democratic concept on the other hand. In this manner, they think that there is no reason to reject democracy because both have a lot in common. However we also cannot deny that there have been such Islamic groups who still support Syar'ah as FPI FPI is Front Pembela Islam (Islamic defense Front), HTI HTI is Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (the party of Liberation of Indonesia) and other hardliners, yet it is only few numbers and it is as a consequence of democratic system.

Conclusion

By virtue of this explanation above, I would conclude that basically there is such Islamic values, which resemble democracy. These principles are Justice (al 'adalah), Equality (al Musawah), discussion (Syura), responsibility (Al Masuliyyah) and the like.

However, the opposition as a result of the different view between those who campaign Islamic state or Syari'ah (Legal-formal) and those who support Secular system (Substantial) is unavoidable due to the facts that they have no compromised or reconciliation among group elites. Such resentments lead to the bloody events because they are very strict in responding these phenomena.

However, Prophet practiced democracy at the beginning of period in Medinna through Misaqul Meddina (Medina charter) in which Prophet accommodated all interest of community event though they are different in terms of culture, religion and the like. These practice also could be found in the extent of the elected of Islamic leader after the death of the Prophet (the period of four Caliphs). Similar to this, as the largest of Muslim population in the world, Indonesia is also a country in which democracy can be implemented since Muslim groups believe that Islam and democracy is congruent.

Author

Fatkhuri, S.IP, MA is a student of the Public Policy Master Program at the Australian National University, Canberra.

Further Reading

Abdilah, Maskuri.(1999). Demokrasi di Persimpangan Makna; Respons intelektual Muslim Indonesia terhadapa konspe demokrasi (1966-1993). Yogyakarta: PT. Tiara Wacana

Abdurrahman, Hafidz (2007). Merekonstruksi Makna Umat Islam. Media Indonesia 26 Januari p 10

Anwar, Syafi'I.(2006). Islam and Democracy challenges and Opportunities. Paper presented at International Conference on " toward a civic Democratic Islamic Discourse ", organized by Al Quds Center for political Stidies- Konrad Adenaur stiftung Amman Jordania 27-29 may

Ali Engineer, Asghar Islam and Secularism see online http://www.punjabilok.com/faith/islam/islamsecular.htm

Car, Robet K. et all (1965). American Democracy in theory and Practice, essentials of national state and local government, third edition . New York, Chicago, Sn fransisco, Toronto, London

Effendy, Bahtiar (2005). Jalan tengah Politik Islam, kaitan Islam, demokrasi dan ngeara yang tidak Mudah. Jakarta; Ushul Press,

______________( 1998). Islam dan Negara; Transformasi pemikiran dan Praktik Politik islam di Indonesia. Jakarta: Paramadina,

El Fadl, Khaled Abou.Islam and the Challenge of Democracy Can individual rights and popular sovereignty take root in faith? Online; http://mitworld.mit.edu./video /124/.

Kramer, Gudrun (1993). Islamist notion of Demcoracy, journal political Islam, Middle east report, no 183,,, Juli -agustus,

Mawdudi, Abu-L-Ala (1982). Political theory of Islam in John J. Donohue and John L. Esposito (eds) Islam in Transition Muslim Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press,

Manser, Martin H. (1991). Oxford Learner's pocket dictionary new edition. Oxford University Press

Zainuddin (2002). Islam dan Demokrasi. http://islamlib.com/id/index.php?page=article&id=123


10 Comments on “Representative Democracy & Islam”

  1. avatar sputjam says:

    There is no democracy in the religion of islam.

    For muslims, you follow the the mainstream opnion of what the religious scholars agreed upon or you are doomed, considered a herectic and can be punished by death.

    for non-muslims, followers of islamic religion considers you to be sub-humans, and will never allow a non-muslim religionist to be their leader.

  2. avatar Lairedion says:

    Sputjam says it all.

    All efforts trying to find common ground between Islam and representative democracy are a waste of time.

    A True Muslim who follows Islam, advocates for an Islamic caliphate where sharia law must be implemented. According to this article Fatkhuri is not a True Muslim.

  3. avatar riyoz says:

    i wonder….which country do you think is more democratic, the US or venezuela ? 😉

  4. avatar djoko says:

    He’s essentially taking the pancasilaist stance as the major Islamic organisations in Indonesia do. The general aims of democracy are the same as the general aims of Islam and democracy does not prevent Muslims from practicing their faith (for those that consider politics and governance to be a part of religious duties, it even allows for the formation of religious parties). This is the reason why the NU and Muhammadiyah for example have no problems with the current state form, as it more or less is in line with Islam.

    What I think though is that many scholars who are writing on the compatibility between Islam and democracy are still somewhat too static in their mode of thinking. Democracy in particular is undergoing great change as we speak. In Western countries for example governments are increasingly drifting away from the emphasis on rights, and starting to talk more about what the responsibilities of citizens are.

    The problem with most Muslim’s understanding of Islam as well as democracy is that they are still caught up in demanding rights while ignoring their responsibilities. We can see this in how Muslims will protest at the drop of a hat over rights issues while doing little themselves to take on the responsibility of ensuring the development of their own countries, or their own communities where they are living in non-Muslim countries. This is where development on the compatibility between Islam and democracy needs to start heading, because as long as scholars keep scrambling to reconcile Islam with what they think democracy is, democracy has already moved on, evolved, and in another 10 years we’ll be playing catch up all over again.

  5. avatar Agusto says:

    Sputjam says it all man,

    Democracy and islam don’t mix! Sharia is the king for good muslims. It is all about darull islam or darull a harb.

  6. avatar ramster says:

    Oh my God, this debate about democracy will never end until it really ends, the end of time I mean. Sorry folks it is just the way it is. People around the world who are wasting their time with such nonsense are the saddest bunch of people on earth.

    There is no such word as democracy! It’s a dream that never comes. Where ever you go, you will see this issue being debated over and over and over again until they’re tired of talking and go home, get some sleep, and start doing it the next day until someone pulls out a gun and start shooting.

    achievement: Zero
    Casualties: A lot

  7. Mr. Riyoz,

    I think Venezuela more democratic than US.

    I think Islam is not in contrary with Democracy or Western Civilization system.
    The nature Islam gives unlimited freedom for making/demo-ing “creatos/creation”. Islam is not Government/political system. Islam is not as power for making the rulles but harmonizing the existance in freedom and responsibility ways. Islam teach liberation from “slaving/darkness” and leads them to more liberacy/brightness. It is Muhammad spirit. Islam makes/teaches guidance for human living for getting/embracing the worldwide not locally within an harmony. Terorism is contrary with content of Islam spirit,-Islam teachs peacefull.

  8. avatar Sweely says:

    One day I hope Muslim countries follow the west world in some ways. Not in everything, but in the terms of political opinions. I would want to see a Muslim world ran by democracy. That is my biggest dream.

  9. avatar Odinius says:

    It’s happening already. Malaysia looks like it will become an actual democracy soon, once UMNO gets the boot.

  10. avatar shaikh hyder says:

    Dear brothers we are following the dictats of the Democracy of West since they colonised us in Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. What happened is that Muslims lost Timur in Indonesia, Pakistan lost Kashmir and Palestine to the Eoropean Jews, etc.We are still suffering from the West in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Palestine, etc. So only Allah’s rule can bring peace through sharia laws on earth. And earth belongs to Allah Subhanahu Tallah, therefore only Allah’s Rule can bring Peace and Happiness to the world..
    Thank you and God bless you.

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