Building on my previous post on the necessity of spreading democracy in the Middle East, I thought it would be wise to explain why I believe that democracy is compatible with Islam but not with Arab political Islamists. It is absolutely appropriate to place considerable emphasis on the compatibility/incompatibility of democracy and Islam. Islam is not only a spiritual religion that cares for nothing but believers’ spiritual relation to their God (Allah). However, it could be viewed as a political religion that regulates the relationship between people in the Muslim society (the umma) and the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world. Islam’s holly texts (Qura’an and Hadith) and moderate (non-salfi, non-extremist) interpretations embedded in moderate Shari’a dictate the various forms of governance and political systems under which Muslims and non-Muslims living in Muslim countries (known as Ahlul Kitab or the people of the book) should live.
One of the most known Islamic governance system in Islam is called “Shura” and it is very similar to the secular concept of democracy. In other words, Shura gives the people the right to elect their leaders, participate effectively in the decision making process, and hold their leaders accountable if they failed in their mission. Shura system is not an option for Muslims to take or to leave. However, it is a divine order that they should obey and follow as is.
Now, the question: if Shura (democracy) is an integral part of Islam, why the Middle East is an all-dictators area – except for Israel/Palestine and maybe Lebanon? The answer is simply because the version of Islam applied in the Middle East is a distorted version that inhibits the ill interpretations of Salafis and the Bedouin culture of the nations that lived long in deserts under arbitrary leaders of tribes or groups, whose their only license to power were their muscles and wealth!
The lack of democracy in the Middle East is not an Islamic problem but a dilemma created by Arab Islamists! Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia are clear examples on what I am saying. They are politically motivated groups who use/abuse the religion of Islam to control the vast majority of devoted Muslims.a