Chapter

Message Not Government, Religion Not State

Ali Abd al-Raziq

in Liberal Islam

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780195116212
Published online November 2007 |
  Message Not Government, Religion Not State

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Ali Abd al-Raziq (Egypt, 18881966) unleashed a storm of debate with this controversial short book. A sharia (Islamic law) judge and an academic at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Abd al-Raziq argued that Islam does not specify any particular form of government, thus allowing Muslims to create democratic regimes. This reasoning may have been intended to undermine the Egyptian king's claims to the caliphate in the wake of the elimination of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924. 1 However, the argument is worded in general terms, thereby challenging the holistic view of Islam as comprising both spirituality and politics. Abd al-Raziq was fired from his judgeship and his academic position and was even criticized by Islamic modernists such as Rashid Rida. 2 Beyond the borders of Egypt, his book generated violent controversy throughout the Muslim world and continues to stimulate debate today. 3 Other portions of Abd al-Raziq's book were translated into English from a French edition in 1982. 4

Chapter.  5940 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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