The political appropriation of religion: an obstacle to the democratization of Arab-Islamic political regimes?

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Hassan Zouaoui



An important part of the controversy which animates the political debate today in the countries affected by the Arab Spring has its origin in the uncertainties which surround the process of secularization and democratization of political regimes. Indeed, the arrival of the Islamists in power updated the debate on the political / religion relationship and at the same time gave rise to questions about the nature of the relationship that the Islamist parties have with regard to the so-called values ​​of "modernity".

It is important to remember that the interaction between religion and politics constitutes an important regularity from which Arab-Muslim societies would escape. In Islam, all political institutions are said to be based on and cemented by religious dogmas. This interpretation of Islam has imposed practical arrangements between the state and society in the land of Islam to avoid the breakup of society or its dissolution into widespread anarchy. From the perspective of legitimization, the duty to obey, which transformed after the arrival of the Umayyad dynasty to power (661-749) into a constitutive norm of Muslim public law, has as a corollary the desire not to fall back into jahiliya (disorder) and to go beyond fitna .discord.

key words: interpretation, religion, dynasty, Muslim, legitimation




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H. Zouaoui, “The political appropriation of religion: an obstacle to the democratization of Arab-Islamic political regimes?”, African Journal of Political Sciences, vol. 6, no. 1, Jun. 2018.
political sciences


[1] As Abdou Filali-Ansary made clear, "the theologians have undertaken to decipher or extract from the statements found in the Qur'an and the Hadith precise formulas for dealing with situations experienced. They proceeded by analogy, cross-checking, deductions and extrapolation according to sometimes very elaborate techniques. The result they obtain, sometimes by forcing the text to the extreme, they consider it as contained in the founding texts and therefore as part of the religious obligations or duties imposed on all believers. Thus, some theologians "have given priority to the principle of obedience (to the constituted authorities), to the point of making it the basic rule of constitution of the Islamic State: one must obey even the unjust prince, provided he make public order prevail, that it does not prevent Muslims from performing basic rites and that it does not openly attack the symbols of Islam. "See Abdou Filali-Ansary, Is Islam hostile to secularism?, Paris, Actes Sud, 2002, p. 27.
[2] Mohamed Mouaqit, From despotism to democracy, Casablanca, Le Fennec, November 2003, pp. 26-27.
[3] Danièle Loschak, “Law and lawlessness in totalitarian institutions. The right to the test of totalitarianism ", in The Institution. Collective Work, Paris, PUF 1981, pp. 125-184.

[4] J. Vatikiotis, "Authoritarianism and autocracy in the Middle East", in Islam and politics in the Middle East today. Collective work, Paris, Editions Gallimard, 1991, pp. 177-209.
[5] Since the 1990s, Saudi Arabia has faced religious radicalization challenging the political and religious legitimacy of the al-Saud family. Opposition groups have taken shape within the country and abroad largely under the rubric of Islamism. In this regard, Antoine Basbous notes that the American landing in 1990 accentuated the divorce between the Saud and the social base of the Wahhabis. Since then, the religious opposition in Arabia has taken the path of clandestinity and violence. Cf. Antoine Basbous, L’islamisme une revolution abortée?, Paris, Editions Hachettes Littérature, 2000, p. 84.
[6] Jean- Noël Ferrié, "The parliamentarization of political Islam: the dynamics of the moderns", Paris, Editions Ceri, November 2006, pp. 1-32.
[7] As is from 08/27/2012.
[8] Youssef Belal, "Islam and secularity: Reformism and geopolitical issues", Les Cahiers Bleus, n ° 17, 2002, publication of the Foundation of Abderahim Bouabid, pp. 5-16.

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