Religious Institutions and Political Order
A Comparative Study of Muslim Countries
Keywords:Islamic Politics, Islamic State, Governance, Democracy, Trust in Institutions, Institutional Order
This paper examines the relationship between politics and religion in Muslim countries. Many western and Muslim scholars argue that Islam is not only a religion but also a blueprint for social order, and therefore encompasses all domains of life, including law and the state. After examining these and related issues, the paper reports empirical evidence, which shows that institutional configurations form an important factor in mediating and articulating the nature of the relationship between religion and politics in Muslim countries. Two types of configurations—undifferentiated and differentiated—are identified. Undifferentiated institutional configurations refer to social formations in which religion and the state are integrated. In contrast, differentiated institutional configurations refer to social formations in which religion and politics—by constitutional requirement or by tradition—occupy separate spaces. The empirical evidence discussed in the paper indicates that, in general, the trust placed in religious institutions and consequently their public influence is greater in Muslim countries with differentiated institutional configurations than in those with undifferentiated ones. The paper offers some theoretical underpinnings for this and other findings, and argues that undifferentiated Muslim societies tend to take on the characteristics of differentiated societies over time.
Abou El Fadl, Khaled (ed.) 2004 Islam and the Challenge of Democracy. Princeton Universtiy Press, Princeton, NJ.
Ayubi, Nazih N. 1991 Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World. Routledge, London.
Beinin, Joel, and Joe Stork (eds.) 1997 Political Islam. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
Beyer, Peter F. 1994 Religion and Globalization. Sage Publications, London.
Crone, Patricia 1980 Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511563508.
Dhofier, Zamakhsyari 1980 The Pesantran Tradition: A Study of the Role of the Kyai in the Maintenance of the Traditional Ideology of Islam in Java. PhD Dissertation, Australian National University, Canberra.
Esposito, John L. 1982 Women in Muslim Family Law. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY.
Islam: The Straight Path. Oxford University Press, New York.
Practice and Theory. In Abou El Fadl 2004: 93-100.
Gallup Pakistan 1996 Pakistan Public Opinion on Important Social Issues. Pakistan Institute of Public Opinion, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Gellner, Ernest 1968 A Pendulum Swing Theory of Islam. In Sociology of Religion, edited by Roland Robertson, 127-38. Penguin, Harmondsworth.
Muslim Society. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Postmodernism, Reason and Religion. Routledge, London.
Hassan, Riaz 1987 Pirs and Politics: Religion, Society and the State in Pakistan. Asian Survey 26(5): 552-65. doi:10.1525/as.1987.27.5.01p00575.
Faithlines: Muslim Conceptions of Islam and Society. Oxford University Press, Karachi.
Huntington, Samuel 1993a The Clash of Civilizations. Foreign Affairs 72(3): 22-49. doi:10.2307/20045621.
b The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Simon & Schuster, New York.
Keddie, Nikki 1994 The Revolt of Islam, 1700 to 1993: Comparative Considerations and Relations to Imperialism. Comparative Studies in Society and History 36(3): 463-87. doi:10.1017/S0010417500019204.
Keddie, Nikki (ed.) 1972 Scholars and Saints: Muslim Religious Institutions in the Middle East since 1500. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Lapidus, Ira M. 1996 State and Religion in Islamic Societies. Past and Present 151: 3-27.
Lewis, Bernard 1993 Islam and the West. Oxford University Press, New York.
Luhmann, Nicklas 1977 Funktion der Religion. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt, Germany.
The Differentiation of Society, translated by Stephen Holmes and Charles Larmore. Columbia University Press, New York.
Marty, Martin E., and R. Scott Appleby (eds.) 1993 Fundamentalisms and Society. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.
Maududi, Sayyid Abul A’la 1960 The Islamic Law and Constitution. Islamic Publications, Lahore, Pakistan.
Mayer, Adrian C. 1967 Pir and Murshid: An Aspect of Religious Leadership in West Pakistan. Middle Eastern Studies 3(2): 160-69. doi:10.1080/00263206708700069.
Norris, Pippa, and Ronald Inglehart 2003 Islamic Culture and Democracy Testing the ‘Clash of Civilization’ Thesis. Comparative Sociology 1: 3-4.
Rahman, Fazlur 1982 Islam and Modernity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.
Rashid, Ahmed 1998 Pakistan and the Taliban. In Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban, edited by William Maley, 72-89. Vanguard Press, Lahore, Pakistan.
Sadowski, Y. 1997 The New Orientalism and the Democracy Debate. In Beinin and Stork 1997: 33-51.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 1996 Human Development Report. UNDP, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Wahid, Abdurrahman 1983 Reflections on the Need for a Concept of Man in Islam. Unpublished paper, United Nations University, Tokyo.
Weber, Max 1978 Economy and Society, edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
Zubaida, Sami 1989 Islam, the People and the State. Routledge, London.
How to Cite
Equinox Publishing Ltd.