Islam & Democracy

Most people believe that Islamic political theory is anti-democratic, ie it does not allow for rule by the people. This is not true at all. In fact, in Islamic jurisprudence rulers are only considered legitimate provided they have the consent of those they govern. However the notions that underpin Islamic democracy are very different from the ideas that form the conceptual basis of Western political democracy.

An understanding of what democracy actually means in the context of Islam shows firstly that the countries in the Middle East that claim to be Islamic fall well short of the Islamic ideal. An understanding may also provide pointers as to how ‘spreading democracy’ in the Arabic world can be achieved …..

….. editorial by Paul D Kennedy
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