THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF ISLAM AND POLITICS
  • Book Title:
 The Oxford Handbook Of Islam And Politics
  • Book Author:
Emad El-Din ShahinJohn L. Esposito
  • Total Pages
701
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THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF ISLAM AND POLITICS – Book Sample

introduction – THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF ISLAM AND POLITICS

The interaction of Islam and politics continues to draw the attention of scholars and the concern of policy makers. Under different contexts—the postindependence nation-state, changing ideological maps, globalization, the war against terrorism—Islam and Islamic activists play a visible role.

 Most recently, the Arab Spring has underlined the significant part Islamists are bound to play in emerging democratic arenas. Islamists have come to power through duly democratic processes and are already shaping the political contours of their respective countries and are eager to have a significant impact on world events.

 Evidently, the activities of Islamic movements reach beyond politics and cover the social, financial, economic, and educational spheres. Yet it is the relationship between Islam and politics that attracts the greatest attention and concern in both Muslim societies and the international community.

The forces of globalization, neoliberal economics, and democratization have accentuated, not lessened, the significance of religious values as an effective source for identity politics, ameliorating the crushing socioeconomic consequences of restructuring programs and contributing to the role of Islamic movements and Islamists as prominent actors in the political system.

 Islamists have appealed to Islam in shaping, legitimating, and mobilizing popular support for their diverse political responses and activities.

In recent years, political Islam has manifested itself in two diametrically opposed orientations: an increasing involvement in the democratization process by mainstream movements after the success of pro-democracy popular uprisings in toppling autocratic regimes and a growing inclination toward violence by fringe groups.

Political Islam here refers to the attempts of Muslim individuals, groups and movements to reconstruct the political, eco- nomic, social and cultural basis of their society along Islamic lines. This process involves different views of the place of Shari`ah in society and the approach to bringing about change.

While majorities of Islamic movements have engaged in the democratization process in their respective countries, some have embraced violence and terrorism as an ideological and strategic choice, with devastating consequences for the world and for Islam itself. What are the implications of these strategic choices on the political process in Muslim societies, the prospects of democratization, and regional and international security and stability?

Which choice is likely to prevail in Muslim societies? Is political Islam the force of the future in the Muslim world? If so, what are the domestic, regional, and global implications?

Over the past three decades, scholars, government analysts, and terrorism experts have examined the relationship between Islam and politics, resulting in voluminous publications.

However, due to the breadth and diversity of political Islam, specialists have tended to limit their analysis to a specific country or focus. Few works have provided a geographically comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the Islam and politics “phenomena.”

 The attacks of September 11, 2001 further increased interest and concern and, as a result, generated a wave of literature on political Islam and global terrorism. Much of the post-9/11 analysis fails to capture the breadth and diversity of Islamic movements as well as their nuanced evolution. This situation underscores the need for a comprehensive, analytical, and in-depth examination of Islam and politics in the post-9/11 era, in an increasingly globalizing world, and in an Arab world transitioning from authoritarianism to democratization.

The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics seeks to meet this critical need. Oxford University Press has produced major reference works and books on Islam and the mod- ern Islamic world as well as related books on Middle East politics and history.

The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics makes an important addition, filling a niche in scholarship in an area that enjoys immense academic and policy interest. This handbook addresses sev- eral significant questions and issues: What is the current state of Islam and politics? How and why has political Islam been relevant in recent years?

 What are the repercussions and policy implications of the increased role of Islamic movements? And where is political Islam heading?

Written by prominent scholars and specialists in the field, The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics is a sourcebook that provides a comprehensive analysis of what we know and where we are in the study of political Islam.

 It will enable scholars, students, policy makers, and the educated public to appreciate the interaction of Islam and politics and the multiple and diverse roles of Islamic movements, as well as issues of authoritarianism and democratization, religious extremism and terrorism, regionally and globally.

The handbook is organized into four parts. The first part analyzes the contexts and intel- lectual responses of political Islam. Khaled Abou El Fadl focuses on the issue of the Shari`ah as a central theme and addresses the questions of why and how the Shari`ah is relevant to our present-day life. He also analyzes how Islamists are formulating their views regarding the implementation of divine laws in an increasingly secular society.

Abdullah Saeed explores the quest for an Islamic reform and its different orientations (salafi, modernist, and revivalist); and Sherman A. Jackson provides a fresh look into the connection between Islamic reform and the nation-state by highlighting the distinction between the application of Islamic law and its application in a homogenizing nation-state.

John O. Voll traces the changing ways that the key concepts of dīn, dawla, and ummah reflect the evolution of social and political ideals in the Muslim world and shape the way programs and political visions are articulated.

Nader Hashemi assesses the debate on Islam and democracy and seeks to objectively frame an analysis of the relationship between Islam as a religion and democ- racy as a set of values and a system of government.

Tarek Masoud addresses the “political economy” of political Islam and argues that much can be gained from making Islamic politi- cal parties the center of our political economy analyses of Islam and politics. Margot Badran examines the consequences political Islam has had for women and gender issues.

The second part focuses on the main ideologues of contemporary political Islam. These are intellectuals-activists whose Islamically informed orientations have given birth to an activist Islam that continues to impact new Islamic movements.

They have succeeded in turning faith into a vehicle of social and political change. Ahmad Moussalli, Joshua T. White, and Niloufer Siddiqui discuss the main intellectual frameworks of Hassan al-Banna and Abu al-A`la al-Mawdudi, respectively, as the founders of contemporary political Islam. These revolutionary ideologues strongly believed that Islam presented a viable alternative to capitalism and socialism and, hence, developed a strong critique of the West.

They tried to achieve a total break with the existing order and focused on its delegitimization, based on a scathing criticism of authoritarian regimes and the religious establishment. Shahrough Akhavi critically examines the ideological frameworks of the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb and the Iranian Ali Shari`ati; and Mojtaba Mahdavi analyzes the ideas of Ayatollah Khomeini.

The “intellectuals” of political Islam could be credited for their efforts to steer Islamic movements away from the polarizing ideas of Mawdudi and Qutb. They see the West not as an enemy but as an ideological counterweight to Islam and focus on the renewal of reli- gious thought and Islamic jurisprudence, writing prolifically on modernization and Islam, non-Muslims, and women.

 Peter Woodward focuses on Hassan al-Turabi, Azzam Tamimi on Rashid al-Ghannushi, Bettina Gräf on Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Mahmoud Sadri and Ahmad Sadri on Mohammad Khatami, Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi on Abdolkarim Soroush.

The third part provides critical overviews of the interaction of Islam and politics region- ally, in North America, Europe, the Middle East, in Central, South, and Southeast Asia as well as North and sub-Saharan Africa. Abdullah A. Al-Arian, Sam Cherribi, Moataz Fattah, Shireen Hunter, Irfan Ahmad, Fred R. von der Mehden, Azzedine Layachi, and Leonardo A. Villalón address the nature, extent, and dynamics of political Islam in these regions across the world, exploring the diverse use of religion by various regimes as well as various reform and opposition movements.

Part four presents an in-depth analysis of the dynamics of political Islam in politics through a wide range of case studies that reveal the diverse manifestations of political Islam or Islamism today, both mainstream and extremist.

 These cases are divided along three foci: political Islam in power, Islamic movements and the democratization process, and jihadist political Islam. William O. Beeman presents an alternative portrait of the ruling Islamists in Iran by underlining the dynamics of political life that demonstrates the demo- cratic nature of the electoral process and government institutions in the country. Natana

J. Delong-Bas focuses on the trajectory of both religious thought and practice as intertwined with politics in Saudi Arabia and on the academic debates surrounding them.

Ibrahim Kalin discusses the rise of the AK Party as a center-right political movement with Islamic and national roots and analyzes its political identity and reformist agenda in the context of the state-centered tradition of Turkish politics.

Abdelwahab El-Affendi follows the progression of the “National Islamic Front” into power in Sudan as the first modern Islamist group to assume power there and surveys the lessons the military coup of 1989 has produced on the complexity of contemporary Muslim politics. M. Nazif Shahrani focuses on key moments when those in power, including state and substate actors inside Afghanistan as well as inter- national actors, have shaped discourses about Islam and power in modern Afghanistan and the effect these narratives have had in shaping subsequent events.

 Tarek Masoud closely examines the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, anticipating great changes in its structure and orientation toward either more liberalism or conservatism in the wake of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.

While not in power, other Islamic movements have played key roles in the political pro- cess. Beverley Milton-Edwards focuses on Hamas, surveying its foundation and history and ascent to power in the first democratic elections in the Arab world before the Arab Spring. Bassel F. Salloukh and Shoghig Mikaelian look into Hizbollah in Lebanon, tracing its doctrinal, political, and military metamorphoses.

 They also debate the themes on the party’s nature, loyalties, and intentions, and its reconciliation of the domestic with the regional struggle. Michael J. Willis analyzes the Islamic movements in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia paying attention to national particularities but also acknowledging significant common- alities. Shadi Hamid examines the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and its interactions with the Hashemite Monarchy.

Andrée Feillard examines Nahdlatul Ulama in Indonesia and the major shifts the movement has experienced in the past decade. Kamran Bokhari explores Pakistan’s Jamaat-i-Islami’s seventy-year pursuit to establish an Islamic state using democ- racy in a country ruled by the military. Fred R. von der Mehden studies the goals and poli- cies of the United Malay National Organization and probes factors that have influenced the federal government’s move toward policies of greater Islamization and control over Islamic affairs.

Jihadist political Islam has had a major impact on regional and global events. Nael Shama looks into the history and development of modern jihadist groups in Egypt and the ideological underpinnings of both the radicalization and the deradicalization phases of the movement.

David Romano investigates the Jihadist movement in Iraq both before and after the 2003 American invasion, giving special attention to al-Qaeda in Iraq. Jason Burke explores the various “al-Qaidas” and shows how over time they have interacted, all the while continually evolving in response to both exogenous and endogenous factors.

As this volume demonstrates, since the last half of the twentieth century “political Islam” has increasingly played a significant role across the Muslim world. Understanding its nature, causes, and multiple and diverse manifestations—mainstream and extremist—requires an appreciation of national, regional, and international politics and economic and social conditions. Today, vibrant and effective Islamic political parties and movements across the Muslim Middle East and broader Muslim world play and will continue to play an increasingly important role in the region’s democratizing politics…

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