The Caliphate and the Bases of Power

Al Abd Al-Rziq

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
The Caliphate and the Bases of Power

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A disciple of Abduh, he studied at al-Azhar and later at Oxford University. In the debate that followed the abolition of the caliphate in 1924, he offered a contribution entitled Islam and the Bases of Power, which led to his condemnation by a council of ulama of al-Azhar University. He was forbidden from holding any public office, so he devoted his efforts to the Academy of Arabic Language in Cairo.

This selection is taken from Abd al-Raziqs Al-Islam wa Usul al-Hukm: Bahth fi al-Khilafah wa al-Hukumah fi al-Islam (Islam and the Foundations of Rule: A Study of the Caliphate and Government in Islam), which first appeared in 1925, only a year after Kemal Atatrk abolished the Caliphate and caused a sensation. It is one of the most famous modernist presentations in Islamic political thought. The argument is that Islam is a faith and, as such, must be separated from politics and the state. The historical caliphate, created upon the departure of the Prophet, was a contingent institution, not a categorical necessity. Muslims in each succeeding generation can thus establish whatever political system they wish, as long as it does not violate the primary principles of the faith, such as fasting during Ramadan, prayer, or pilgrimage, or, in more general terms, as long as it does not permit what God has prohibited or proscribe what God has allowed.

Chapter.  4083 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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