The Culture of Election and Democracy in the Taxonomy of Islamic Political Literature in Relation to the Democratic Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research is an attempt to study the process of election in the spectrum of formal democracy within the Islamic polity in relation to the current democratic revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. The objective of this research is to comprehensively assess the process of election and democratic compatibility with Islamic norms within the taxonomy of Islamic political literature in relation with democratic revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. The research utilized library-based methodology to arrive at comprehensive conclusions. The significance of this study lies on the fact that it contributes to a timely issue which attracts academic and political attention. The research makes calculated predictions and provides answers to current concerns of political interest.

Keywords: Process of election, Middle East, North Africa, Democracy, Islamic State, Revolution, U.S. interest in the Middle East

1. Introduction

Unlike the physical sciences or the natural sciences where greater control can be exercised in laboratory settings, the unpredictability of the human being and the difficulty of controlling factors impinging on human subjects explicate why research in political science in relation to religion and democracy in the Middle East or in the Muslim world tends to be inconclusive.

The laboratory of most political science researches is the political mechanisms of the universe and its variables capriciously swing with time and events. The theoretical framework of this research correlates concepts, ideas, perspectives and events such as Islamic political literature, electing a leader in Islam, democratic revolutions in the Middle East and in North Africa, medieval and contemporary approaches in Muslim political thought, classical address of election and the concept of bay'ah.

The research also investigates the election procedures and political legitimacy in the taxonomy of Islamic political literature in relation to the democratic revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa and the uncertainty of the U.S. foreign policy toward the region. This framework explores rather than control the study. Put differently, what guides the research is the process of exploration and endeavors of creating linkages between history, culture and religion.

The variables, characteristics and the attributes in this conceptual system or the qualities are views of Islam on election, Western democracy, Arab culture, and the political views of Muslim thinkers. The outcome variable of the research or the dependent variable is that Arab and Muslim nations can learn, practice and form democratic governments and obviously democracy has no specific culture or belong to a particular group of nations. At the same time, this research explores independent variables or the indicators. History shows that some Arab and Muslim nations had successfully performed recognized elections and this explains this aspect of the research theory.

In the frame of Islamic political literature laid by Muslim thinkers within the accessible history of Islamic political thought, the process or the idea of electing a leader to a political office, have not taken one solid structure. This was/is due to the fact that Islamic political ideals throughout its history had no codified formal constitutional documentation, rather it has been going with trends of early customs.

Medieval and contemporary Muslim political thinkers have tackled the procedural aspects of succession in their vast theo-political works and based their views about election on the procedures adopted by the first four guided leaders after the Prophet.

It seems this trend became the precedent for all subsequent discussions on election in the literature of Islamic political thought. The Suni political thinkers, for instance, consider the political methods and models of the first four caliphs as binding on all subsequent Muslim political behavior. …