Chapter

Democracy or <i>Shuracracy</i>

Hofmann Murad

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
Democracy or Shuracracy

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Born Catholic in Germany, he completed his doctorate in German law at Munich University in 1957 and earned an LL.M. degree in American law from Harvard Law School in 1960. He served in the German Foreign Service and as an officer in NATO. Hofmann embraced Islam in 1980 and subsequently served as German ambassador to Algeria and then Morocco, retiring in 1994. An accomplished speaker and a prolific writer, Hofmann wrote many books, including The Diary of a German Muslim, Islam 2000, Voyage to Mecca, and Islam in the Third Millennium.

In this selection, Hofmanns basic point is that Muslims should not reject democracy because of its Western associations but should instead assess its fundamental advocacy of rule on behalf of the people and promotion of their well-being. The Islamists concept that sovereignty belongs to God alone translates into Gods daily governance of the community. He implies that this is wrongheaded and instead lends lends his voice to the position that considers that the sovereignty [hakimiyyah] of God refers to His word and His law, not to His actual rule. The author then outlines the requisites of Islamic democracy as follows: (1) a constitution based on the Qurn, (2) a special council to supervise legislation to ensure its conformity with Islamic laws, (3) a parliament that genuinely represents the people, (4) lower-level consultative bodies, (5) free and general elections, (6) binding consultation (implying that the ruler does more than merely listen to advice and is bound by majority opinion), (7) positive law, provided it does not abrogate the shariah (Islamic law), (8) separate branches of government, (9) leadership by the most righteous male believer (thus denying women the right to the highest political office), and (10) deputy-leadership by women.

Chapter.  5006 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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