Islam and Democracy

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Throughout the twentieth century and continuing into the twenty-first, a leading question arose regarding Islam and its traditions. This question asked whether Islam can be compatible with democracy. Seemed as a simple question, such an inquiry requires an in-depth look at the matter at hand. When one asks whether Islam is compatible with democracy, one needs to analyze the definition of democracy. According to Webster’s Dictionary, democracy is “a form of government in which supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or their elected agents under a free electoral system.” Such is the definition that mainly pertains to western democracy and western thought. What many tend to forget is that democracy should not be…show more content…
Secondly; freedom, equality before the law, equity in the treatment of citizens are essential Islamic values. Consequently, the ideals of democracy lie in the same notion of ideals and values. Such comparison strengthens the notion that Islam and democracy have quite similar means. Furthermore, according to Islam in Transition,
Rulers are accountable to the community and are responsible for looking after its affairs. This responsibility was endorsed, in action, but the Prophet himself. No ruler succeeding the Prophet has the right to claim immunity that the Prophet himself did not enjoy (Esposito 284)
Such a statement is critical in understanding why Islam is compatible with democracy due to the important reason that contemporary democracy is mainly focused on accountability of modern day leaders. With the concept of accountability present in early Islam, it is hard to refute the reasoning that democracy does not correspond with Islam. Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami generalized the role of Islam with democracy in quite an ingenious way. President Khatami suggested that, “today world democracies are suffering from a major vacuum, which is the vacuum of spirituality, and that Islam, can provide the framework for combining democracy with spirituality and religious government .” It is arguably understandable that Islam is a religion that focuses on peace
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