The Muslim Tradition of Political Philosophy

Shahrough Akhavi

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238804
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

The Muslim Tradition of Political Philosophy

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Social and Political Philosophy



The doctrine of salvation in Islam centers on the community of believers. Contemporary Muslim political philosophy (or, preferably, political theory) covers a broad expanse that brings under its rubric at least two diverse tendencies: an approach that stresses the integration of religion and politics, and an approach that insists on their separation. Advocates of the first approach seem united in their desire for the “Islamization of knowledge,” meaning that the epistemological foundation of understanding and explanation in all areas of life, including all areas of political life, must be “Islamic.” Thus, one needs to speak of an “Islamic anthropology,” an “Islamic sociology,” an “Islamic political science,” and so on. But there is also a distinction that one may make among advocates of this first approach. Moreover, one can say about many, perhaps most, advocates of the first approach that they feel an urgency to apply Islamic law throughout all arenas of society. This article focuses on the Muslim tradition of political philosophy and considers the following themes: the individual and society, the state, and democracy.

Keywords: Islam; political philosophy; political theory; religion; politics; Islamic law; individual; society; state; democracy

Article.  6478 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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