Tolerance And Governance By Soroush: Chapter Analysis

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This essay is about the chapter 9 from the book ‘Tolerance and Governance’ written by philosopher/theologian Abdol karim Soroush. His writings reveal a genuinely liberal intellect rooted in his Iranian and Islamic culture but at home with Western thought, toward which he is neither aggressive nor apologetically defensive. Soroush, who has gained a following among Iranian students and even a few of the mullahs, cites the likes of Jalal al-Din Rumi, Muhammad Iqbal, Jorgen Huberman, and Alexis de Tocqueville as often as the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad. That might seem a recipe for a rambling, rootless philosophy, but his statements are penetrating and coherent. Although some observers have dubbed him the Luther of Islam, he is perhaps better …show more content…
Soroush’s has been a great supporter of democracy, which has made him a disputed figure among the staunch religious figures of Iran forcing him into exile. This essay mainly discusses the possibility of combining religion and democracy under the same umbrella. To escape from the pre-defined conclusions, it is necessary to recognize that “Islam” and “democracy” are concepts with many definitions. Democracy is moreover feeble or fictional and they practice religion to interpret this miracle. In the twenty-first century, important interpretations of Islam open the way for political visions in which Islam and democracy are mutually supportive. Indeed, it is possible to build, as medieval Muslim thinkers did, an edifice of authoritarian political theory. However, this was not limited to the Muslim world. All medieval civilizations were non-democratic in their vision of political authority. The patriarchal forms of monotheistic theology supported the conceptualization of the human political order on the pattern of divine order, with one sovereign ruler and a hierarchical society. However, Islam contains symbols and concepts upon which a theory of Islamic democracy built. Contemporary Muslim intellectuals argue that Islam should not identified with any particular political program or ideology, because doing so places limits of time and place on its universal message. Nevertheless, it …show more content…
Policymakers evaluating these trends often react with alarm, decrying the participation of religious parties in government as dangerous and backwards. Implementation of Islamic law is seen as especially troubling, standing in the way of any liberalization and the embrace of human rights. Indeed, with the so-called ‘Islamic’ regimes of Saudi Arabia and Iran justifying authoritarianism and a wide array of repugnant practices in the name of sharia, it is little wonder that some believe the West is engaged in an irreconcilable “clash of civilizations” with the Islamic world.
In fact, Western legislators, Islamic establishments, and large numbers of individual Muslims have all grossly mis-interpreted Islamic law. Sharia is not a rigid and immutable ‘law of God’ based on unchanging texts written in the middle Ages. If understood and applied correctly, sharia is an imminently flexible, dynamic jurisprudence that is fully compatible with the modern human rights

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