Islamic Statehood - History of the East

17.2. Islamic statehood

Islam as a religion and civilization demonstrated a fundamentally new model of statehood. Being the most recent of the great religions of the East, Islam absorbed much of the religious and cultural heritage of the past. In particular, he overcame the friability of the Middle Eastern religious and cultural tradition of antiquity and opposed to it harmony, even the rigidity of the dogmatic doctrine with its five symbols of faith (confession, prayer, fasting, alms and hajj), complete unconditional obedience to the will of Allah, and also to the personifications embodying it the land of the prophet or his deputy-caliph and all the assistants of the latter. Religious stiffness gave Islam an intolerance to dissenters, most often perceived as infidels, until the religious war against them (jihad, gazavat), and also created the ground for strengthening invisible, but inseparable bonds of their communities, Muslims, members of the universal ummah. Religious specificity has also shaped the basic parameters of Islamic civilization with its obvious orientation to the obedience of an impersonal person to a higher power and representing her earthly power. All this is reflected in the Islamic model of the state, the essence of which lies in the inseparable fusion of religion and politics, religion and power, religion and power.


Something remotely similar was in China, where the Confucian empire proved to be strong and indestructible precisely because the foundation of it was the country's revered Confucianism, which was respected in the country and played the main official religion. But Confucianism is not the same as Islam. It was never a single, or exclusive, ideological religious doctrine, and, moreover, did not force its dogmas anywhere. Islam was precisely an "exclusive" religion, intolerant of any other religious doctrine. Therefore, Islamic statehood, the foundation of which was Islam as a religion and as a civilization, proved to be the most powerful and militant, although it was inferior to the inner fortress and stability of the same Chinese-Confucian.

It was the Islamic, at first pre-state society, and then the head of the state-caliphate who led it and served it-that ultimately the semi-nomadic Arab Bedouins brought with them during a powerful and prolonged military wave, played a decisive role in uniting everything so different before in the ethnic, cultural, historical and civilizational plan of the conglomerate of the Middle East and North African countries and peoples into something monolithic, integral, internally cohesive and civilizationally religiously united. Even though the caliphate was not very viable, Islamic statehood as a form of power prevailed and triumphed, and on the territory of the caliphate and after its collapse, with rare exceptions like Spain, survived and survived to this day, not going to surrender its position today. Moreover, by virtue of its rigid internal attitude towards irreconcilability to the dissidence and belligerence, it continued to expand its sphere of influence even after the creation of the caliphate, outside it. It was the warriors of Islam who brought to the politically loose and amorphous India a strong power, previously unknown there. It was Islam that, as a result of transit trade contacts, had an impact on the formation of states in Tropical Africa and Southeast Asia, and at the end of the Middle Ages managed to create a strong Ottoman Empire, which regained all the lands of the caliphate, !), and in the eyes of enlightened Europeans of the XVIII-XIX centuries. became a kind of standard of classical oriental despotism.

Islamic statehood, if you pay attention to the form of power, has proved to be internally strong not only because of the inextricable fusion of religious and political principles, although this property was the most valuable, but also the extreme simplicity of its administrative organization and therefore ease of its perception. This circumstance also played a role, contributing to the involvement in the civilizational process and the formation of state entities among the stagnant ethnic communities. Tribal proto-states, taking the form of sultanates, emirates or khanates, proved to be much stronger internally due to the reinforcement of power by religion. This is also evident in the case of Africa, but with the important proviso that even Islam here did not always help to make the internal structure of the young state education strong enough, although it was usually due to the fact that Islam was not perceived by all and not all, besides often superficially. Peaceful Islamization facilitated in Central Asia, especially among nomads. It was due to the spread of Islamic statehood during the Middle Ages that the ecumene boundaries were significantly expanded, and many new ethnic communities were involved in the zone of civilizational development, which had previously been at their level of primacy. Any, even the most primitive hierarchical structure in this community was enough to create a state in a political vacuum quickly, as it was revealed by the example of Islamic Sufi brotherhood orders, the very same tarikats, which have already been mentioned with reference to Africa, but which are similar they could function - and functioned - not only in Africa, but also in Asia, for example in Afghanistan.

Finally, the strength of the Islamic state was that despite the huge role of religion as such, at the devotion to the religiosity of Muslims, the actual religious obligations of the overwhelming majority of the population, except perhaps the scholars of the Ulema, were not only to the limit simple (prayer, fasting , alms, hajj) and brought to the level of elementary ritual automatism, but always focused on the sociopolitical and, what is immeasurably more important, on the socioconfessional standard. In other words, the faithful are primarily obliged were not g azhdanami not even citizens, but loyal members of society and, as such, a true warrior of Islam. Warriors in the literal and figurative sense: if you are a Muslim, you must always be ready for battle with the infidels. Religious ideology in the service of politics is the norm, and today extremists and shahid terrorists remind us of this.

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