Islamic leviathan: Islam and the making of state power

ISLAMIC LEVIATHAN PDF
  • Book Title:
 Islamic Leviathan
  • Book Author:
Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr
  • Total Pages
242
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ISLAMIC LEVIATHAN – Book Sample

Preface – ISLAMIC LEVIATHAN

In 1979 General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, the military ruler of Pakistan, declared that Pakistan would become an Islamic state. Islamic values and norms would serve as the foundation of national identity, law, economy, and social relations, and would inspire all policy making.

 In 1980 Mahathir Muhammad, the new prime minister of Malaysia, introduced a similar broad-based plan to anchor state policy making in Islamic values, and to bring his country’s laws and economic practices in line with the teachings of Islam. Why did these rulers choose the path of “Islamization” for their countries?

And how did one-time secular postcolonial states become the agents of Islamization and the harbinger of the “true” Islamic state?

Malaysia and Pakistan have since the late 1970s–early 1980s followed a unique path to development that diverges from the experiences of other Third World states.

In these two countries religious identity was integrated into state ideology to inform the goal and process of development with Islamic values. This undertaking has also presented a very different picture of the relation be- tween Islam and politics in Muslim societies.

In Malaysia and Pakistan, it has been state institutions rather than Islamist activists (those who advocate a political reading of Islam; also known as revivalists or fundamentalists) that have been the guardians of Islam and the defenders of its interests. This suggests a very different dynamic in the ebbs and flow of Islamic politics—in the least pointing to the importance of the state in the vicissitudes of this phenomenon. What to make of secular states that turn Islamic? What does such a transfor- mation mean for the state as well as for Islamic politics?

This book grapples with these questions. This is not a comprehensive ac- count of Malaysia’s or Pakistan’s politics, nor does it cover all aspects of Islam’s role in their societies and politics, although the analytical narrative

 dwells on these issues considerably. This book is rather a social scientific in-

quiry into the phenomenon of secular postcolonial states becoming agents of Islamization, and more broadly how culture and religion serve the needs of state power and development. The analysis here relies on theoretical discussions in the social sciences of state behavior and the role of culture and reli- gion therein.

More important, it draws inferences from the cases under exam- ination to make broader conclusions of interest to the disciplines.

I have incurred many debts in researching and writing this book. Grants from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies and the Faculty Research Grant Fund of the University of San Diego facilitated field research in Paki- stan and Malaysia between 1995 and 1997. Sabbatical leave from teaching, along with a Research and Writing Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, provided me with time to write.

On Malaysia, the In- stitute Kajian Dasar (Institute of Policy Studies), Zainah Anwar, Osman Bakr, Abu Bakr Hashim, Khalid Ja`far, Muhammad Nur Manuty, Hassan Mard- man, Chandra Muzaffar, Farish Noor, Fred von der Mehden, and Imtiyaz Yusuf greatly helped with the research for this project. On Pakistan, I bene- fited from the advice and assistance of Muhammad Afzal, Zafar Ishaq Ansar, Mushahid Husain, S. Faisal Imam, and Muhammad Suhayl Umar. I am also grateful to Mumtaz Ahmad and John L. Esposito for their support, wisdom, and many useful suggestions. I alone am responsible for all of the facts, their interpretation, and resultant conclusions that appear in the following page

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