JISPIL Vol 3 Issue 2 2007 - A1


Upon the creation of the early Islamic community, one of the first issues that the Prophet Mohammed found himself dealing with was the question of governance.  Although the Qurâân does not specify a particular form of government, Islam is by no means apolitical.  On the contrary, political scientist Nazih Ayubi argues, Islam stresses above all the collective enforcement of public morals. (italics in original).[1]  Furthermore, he continues, [Islam] lays more emphasis on external than on internal moral enforcement”on precautionary safeguards rather than on internalized prohibitions.[2]  This notion gives birth to two seemingly competitive notions, the first appearing to grant an uncertain jurisdiction to police the morality of individuals.

[1] Nazih Ayubi, Rethinking the Public/Private Dichotomy: Radical Islam and Civil Society in the Middle East, 12 Contention 79, 81 (Spring 1995)

[2] Id. at 83.

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