The question resulting from legislative arguments and religious politics arises from the two sides’ spheres of influence. It is necessary to remember that there can be a difference between the way these two relate. On the other side, the government can not give favors to one religion over the other current faiths (Jalalzai, Farida). Moreover, by financing the use of taxes, the government does not give assistance to religion. Although this topic is accompanied by other nuances, the exercise of a particular faith is a right that people have when the government stays impartial on any subject attached to adoring or belief in a supreme being. Therefore, the government should desist from conducting any religious test when appointing its officers and other personnel in various ranks.
In particular, examining the Islam and Sharia, we face a contradiction given the manner in which the different texts, actors, and institutions of society relate to each other. ‘Sharia’ as a word means the pathways and Muslims consider it as the best way of doing things or the right conduct which forms the basis related to law. Whenever it comes to politics, it is imperative to accept that there are conflicting opinions and thus there is the need for the responsiveness and flexibility of some issues (Mellon, James G.). In the modern world, the Muslims have found themselves in a position where they face governance through statehood and at times the marginalization of Islam which heavily depends on the symbolic role politics plays in these matters surrounding religion.
The Role of the Ruler
The past leaders in Islam include Emir, Sultan, Khalifa, and Shah. Regarding Khalifa, he held both religious and political positions with his responsibility being to ensure the Muslims are in a safe environment. Moreover, Khalifa never performed any roles in making sure the Muslims preserved the Islam religion but rather ensured it spread wide across the world. Important to note is that Khalifa never held any divine or prophetic powers as his religious powers stemmed from him putting to action what the Quran said. Unlike Emir which referred to the commander, Khalifa was not commonly used from the early years in history (Jalalzai, Farida). One of the individuals who preferred the use of Emir over Khalifa was Umar ibn al-Khattab. Therefore, the use of the two words was interchanged depending on the preference of the leader.
Over the years, there was the expansion of Islam which saw the leaders allied to Khalifa embracing the term Emir. Moreover, these leaders held the jurisdiction of their provinces. However, upon the widespread impact of the Islamic religion, Khalifa was unable to maintain control over all the regions which meant he appointed the Emirs to take charge of other vast territories. The later years saw the term ‘sultan’ meaning power became popular and was a designation of the governors. The two terms, Emir and Sultan, meant different rulers as from 868, but the two leadership positions still showed allegiance to the Khalifa (Karčić, Harun). The onset of the 8th century saw the Muslim scholar take charge as they had more power than the Khalifa. In the 9th century, there were some unrests as the Khalifa no longer had power, and the territories underwent divisions into sultanates and emirates, and there was the transfer of power to the scholars who would later perform the role of ensuring the balance of power to the emirs and sultans.
The Ruler’s Sphere (Mundane Power)
General Peace and Welfare
The Khalifa was responsible for creating the necessary environment that would enable the Muslims to align themselves well with their religion and that of the opponents. In particular, the Khalifa had to gain peace within the Muslims given the common parameters existing at their disposal as per the requirements and contents of the Islamic religion. For this reason, the rulers, Khalifa had to ensure they make intermediate progress in promoting general peace and welfare and this was through the formation of federations and confederations within and outside the Islamic territories. The ruler in the Islamic religion served as a shepherd with the responsibility of protecting his herds from wolves and lions and maintain peace with his sheep. However, the mundane power of the ruler has over the years experienced separation, especially, in the Islamic religion as political leadership given its autocratic nature has interfered with how religious rulers try to maintain general peace and welfare of their people. Further, the avoidance of fitna and the levy of taxes by the government has seen the ruled become contented with the political landscape, and they agree there is a distinction between the ruled and the rulers (Jalalzai, Farida). Hence, in their mandate, the religious rulers only demand peace which makes them submit to political governance.
Every aspect related to religion and politics has its good and bad side. The mundane power of the Muslim rulers in maintaining general peace and welfare has over the years seen the impact civilization has had on their leadership. Moreover, the Islamic community has emulated much from the West regarding its leadership when it comes to democratic governance, democracy, and human rights (Mellon, James G.). Democracy being at the center stage of the manner in which both religious and political leaders conduct themselves has seen a transformation in how the Islamic community maintain peaceful co-existence and welfare.
Mundane Economic Regulation
The Muslim leaders and rulers played a critical part in the construction of their mosques and how they conducted their ceremonies which required a sustainable economic redistribution system to keep the faithful committed to this religion. For this reason, the Khalifa, Emirs, and Sultans performed roles of economic management. In the early years, the mosques housed the redistribution system of the resources but the later years meant that the market economies would take charge and therefore the rulers would have limited economic power. The distribution of wealth has become a vital issue in most countries with both the Islamic and political rulers taking part to ensure improvement and growth are substantial. However, economic regulation in its early stages saw the introduction of strict laws mainly on the Muslim religious leaders. Despite this regulation, the Islamic rulers have protected their religion from the aggressiveness of the alien values pushed by capitalists with a good example being “garb” which pushed for a global culture (Karčić, Harun). Therefore, in the future, the intervention of Muslim rulers in economic regulation might decline but still the gaining the Islam knowledge remains popular, and there is no threat of politics overpowering the religion concerning this regulatory claim.
Regulation of Clergy and Faith
The law requires that the church maintains law and order among its clergy and faith. Therefore, it means that the political governance, especially the court, makes the church its object as the violation of these laws will lead to a fine. However, the problem stems from the fact that the government does not have any connection to the religious bodies. The absence of any linking medium between the two makes it a rightful jurisdiction of the church (Christians and Muslims) to undertake their routine activities but keeping in mind there is a regulation on the impact it has on other citizens. Important to note here is that while there is a regulation stipulate herein; there is also the protection of the interests of both the Christians and the Muslims.
The Clergy and the Faithful
Worship, Teaching, and Moral Guidance
Regarding worship, teaching, and moral guidance, the clergy has the right to have their ethical belief. However, there are no limitations as to the religion one chooses as they may opt to hold atheistic ones. However, the regulations imposed on the worship, teaching, and moral guidance come to play if there is the advocacy of national, religious, and racial hatred which may lead to violence, incitement, and discrimination. On the other hand, the practices by the clergy should in all circumstances accommodate workers from different ethical beliefs as long as their background does not interfere with the spiritual process.
Sharia Law Regulatory Claim on Mundane Aspects of Life
The regulatory claim of Sharia over the mundane aspects of life surrounding the economy stem from the fact that Muslims perceive the economy from an ethical point. Therefore, the values of the Muslims most at times conflict with those of the free-market capitalist economy. Moreover, the Islamic law does not consider the supply and demand forces to be sufficient enough to introduce equilibrium to the market (Jalalzai, Farida). Hence, they have adopted the moral filter which aligns the claims on the distribution of resources to fit those of the society first. Hence, the Sharia law is aiming at striking a balance between moral and ethical aspects of growing an economy.
In the Islamic religion, marriage is one of the prime contracts given the fact that the husband has already paid dowry. However, the payment of the dowry is made on different conditions: at marriage, a later date, or during the dissolution of the marriage. For this reason, the Muslim couples in places like Europe conduct their marriages given the provisions of Sharia law, but upon filing for a divorce, the case receives the treatment of cohabitees (Karčić, Harun). The laws applicable to the citizens of European countries view the union as a mere cohabitation, unlike the perceptions the Muslims have which creates a regulatory claim. However, the rights of a cohabitee apply in case there is no agreement, but if there is consent from the two parties, then the Sharia laws take effect.
The regulatory claims based on the religious and political landscape lead us to the subordination model where there are three options. One of them is there could be the maximization of the claims of the state while minimizing those of the religious institutions. Secondly, there could be the minimization of both (Mellon, James G.). Lastly, the divisions of the mundane and the sacred aspects could stay as they are, but there is a slight reduction in the autonomy of the sacred aspects relative to the balance of power systems.
Jalalzai, Farida. “The Politics Of Muslims In America”. Politics and Religion 2.02 (2009): 163. Web.
Karčić, Harun. “The West And Islam: Religion And Political Thought In World History”. Politics, Religion & Ideology, vol 12, no. 1, 2011, pp. 107-108. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/21567689.2011.564408.
Mellon, James G. “Religion And Politics In Turkey”. Religion Compass, vol 4, no. 5, 2010, pp. 324-333. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/j.1749-8171.2010.00219.x.