Islam and Politics: Where the Principal Difficulty of Post-modernity Lies
The traditional and charismatic model of politics within Muslim civilisation constitutes major hindrances for the modernisation of these countries. Only a different interpretation of Islam and the Koran can open them up for modernity or post-modernity. What must occur is that a rational interpretation of the Koran needs to become accepted once more, as it was in the Medieval period, and traditional authority must lose its legitimacy. The aim in this chapter is to discuss the major hindrances towards political modernisation in Muslim societies. The difficulty of modernity in Islam can be located either at the bottom of society in the conception of the umma or at the top of society in the institution of the caliph (imam). Thus, the traditional conception of umma entails a threat to political tolerance, whereas the caliphate – or imamate – heritage implies a fundamental bias in favour of hierarchy.