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Majlis al-Shûrâ: past and present application of the principle of shûrâ in Islamic governance

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. J.F.J. van Rensburg Prof. A.Y. Sadie en
dc.contributor.author Mahomed, Imuran Shareef
dc.date.accessioned 2009-01-15T13:09:51Z
dc.date.available 2009-01-15T13:09:51Z
dc.date.issued 2009-01-15T13:09:51Z
dc.date.submitted 2005-06
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/1868
dc.description D.Litt. et Phil. en
dc.description.abstract Shûrâ (consultation) as prescribed conduct is found in the Qur'ân (3:159, 42:36-38, 2:33). The Sunnah also refers to several occasions where the Prophet (S.A.W.) sought the advice of his companions. In his own life the principle was thus put to practice. The same custom was also, in varying degrees, part of Islâmic governance during the period of the rightly guided caliphs and in the subsequent Umayyad and Abbasid eras. Seen from a political perspective, the question researched in the thesis is what guidelines tradition provides for conducting shûrâ in its institutionalised or political form, namely majlis (gathering). A scrutiny of history showed that in the Prophetic epoch the consultative setting varied considerably and the advice of both the minority and the majority was accepted. A kernel group can, however, be discerned with whom the Prophet consulted regularly. Members of this majlis also played a role in the election of three of the rightly guided caliphs. However, in their time, due to the considerable expansion of the Islâmic Empire, several structures came into being, which competed with the existing majlis. In the subsequent Umayyad and Abbasid era, bureaucratic organisations seemingly completely overshadowed the consultative assembly. Due to the hereditary succession, the majlis, for example, played very little, if any, role in the appointment of the caliphs. Endeavours to rule according to the Sharî`ah was however a constant factor at all times. Deriving principles from history is difficult, particularly the modern world where Western political institutions and procedures have become established even in Muslim states. The question is whether the Western heritage should be accepted or Islamised. An obvious choice is the last-mentioned one. For the purpose of the thesis majlis is thus related to Parliament and ijmâ` to majority rule. The role of President and Prime Minister is correlated with that of the traditional Amîr. For all the procedures, institutions and functions, however, an attempt is made towards an Islâmic adaptation. For this purpose a study is first of all made of Saudi Arabia (Sunnite) and Iran (Shi`ite). Both have, as one of their governing institutions, a Majlis al-Shûrâ. In Saudi Arabia it is appointed by the king, in Iran it is elected by popular vote but remains under constant scrutiny of the Guardian Council. Although both the said systems of government are exemplary in many aspects, an alternative version is suggested in the thesis in order to overcome some shortcomings in the two systems. In describing the alternative system, attention is paid to questions such as the relationship of the people, the majlis and the amîr (leader). It is argued that the majlis should be chosen through general elections and that they, in turn, should elect the amîr. The principle of majority rule is thus accepted, but with a strong accent upon the requirement of moral and religious values and striving towards consensus in decisions. Arbitration is suggested in the case of disagreement between the amîr and the people, or a referendum in which case the people are directly consulted. A separate majlis for men and women respectively is suggested (without denying alternatives). The study, however, accepts the fluidity of any idealised majlis or proposed governmental structure. Principles precede and supersede practice. What remains are the challenges toward Islâmic governance, to work towards furthering of Dîn (religion) and the benefit of the people through insistence upon adherence to the Sharî`ah. At the same time it should be remembered that governance is a combined effort where the amîr has the right to a final decision, but also the obligation to rule through consultation. The thesis of this study is therefore that: - Modern democratic institutions are, with the necessary Islamic orientations, legitimate expressions of shûrâ in its institutionalised form, - The parliamentary systems in modern Islâmic states may be regarded as heirs of the majlis in early Islâmic history The above contentions do not mean that political dimension of shûrâ supersedes all others. It is only one of the forms in which shûrâ is put into practice. It does not agree with the view that the principle of shûrâ was revitalised in modern times to provide an Islâmic orientation for majority or parliamentary rule. Neither does it accept the contention that shûrâ (formally Majlis al-Shûrâ) was adhered to only in the initial period and naîâh later. en
dc.language.iso gre en
dc.subject Representative government and representation in Islamic countries en
dc.subject Islam and state en
dc.subject Parliamentary practice in Islamic countries en
dc.title Majlis al-Shûrâ: past and present application of the principle of shûrâ in Islamic governance en
dc.type Thesis en

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