chapter  6
18 Pages

Traditional Domination

Islam has known all forms of domination, except the bureaucratic one, which is the legal and rational type of authority that the Occident has employed. One should add modern, because bureaucracy is a much older phenomenon and its historical origins are universal. Islam had not experienced bureaucratic authority until it was exported to the Muslim countries at the end of colonialism. As the system of political domination and the appropriation of opportunities and economic resources are interconnected, bureaucratic authority gives precedence to progress towards a modern capitalist economy, whereas other types of domination hinder it. If one wished to redraw the historical evolution of political authority in Islam, then one could say that before Islam authority was patriarchal, focusing upon the figure of an Arab sheikh. The sheikh represents traditional authority that has had two faces in Islam, namely patrimonial and sultanic power. The first feature is universal, whereas the second is mainly typical of Islam.