1887

Abstract

The uneasy relationship between religion and politics is a dominant feature of many post- colonial Muslim majority states. Two most prominent cases in this regard are Egypt and Pakistan. This paper does a comparative analysis of the two countries under the regimes of Anwar Sadat in Egypt (1970–1981) and Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan (1978–1988). The analysis takes into account the changed role and status of the state in context of public and private life, construction of the new and modification of existing institutional structures to implement Islamic visions of the two leaders. It is noteworthy that even though both leaders tried to Islamize the polity the trajectory followed was radically different. The paper argues that this difference can be attributed to the lack of a universal understanding of the notion of an Islamic State. Furthermore, because of the lack of coherence in defining an Islam state, the question of achieving an Islamic government is also addressed which does aim to seek a universal form of governance. In most cases, Islam is used as a tool to gain legitimacy by the ruling regime. This legitimacy then translates into a political catalyst for governance. State and society relations also played a factor in establishing some form of government whose relationship was classified by the authoritarianism of the regime. The conclusion emphasizes the current situation in both countries. One of the question raised in this paper is can religion and state coexist? Based on the cases of Pakistan and Egypt, religiosity harms society's trust with the state. As religiosity increases, radicalism increases and the Jammat-i-Islam and Muslim Brotherhood movements prove radicalism is the product of a divided, constructed state. The same question is raised in terms of Islamic laws and instiutions. Because there in no universal set of laws or institutions in the imagined Islamic state, one is left wondering how to create a state bearing in mind the need of the ummah, or Muslim community. Islam thus served as the legitimizing principle to govern and in order for Islam to be the political catalyst for change, devout Muslims were chosen to represent the people. Having pre-existing government structures allowed both leaders to achieve a path of Islamic revivalism more fluently. The post-colonial nature of the state impacted the cultural and national identity of both states as many did not know where they came from or what group to identify with. Both leaders raised the question of whether or not to resort back to one's colonial heritage or create a new sense of universalism within the state. In Pakistan, one's ethnic background was important when defining one's personality whereas in Egypt it was one's level of religiosity created their identity. Catering to the needs of a diverse and population became more difficult for each state to achieve. More institutions were created as a result even if some groups were completely marginalized from the process. Once independence was achieved, a new government structure was created in order to meets the demands of the society. With two governments moving in the direction towards a ‘theocracy in its purest form’, power became the authoritative. In terms of institutionalism, Zia believed governance was the knot which tied his Islamization program together whereas Sadat believed text was the same knot. Under different names, both states adopted institutions which ensured Islamic and Shari ’a law were compatible with every functioning institution. Therefore, Pakistan and Egypt fell under the category of a sue do theocracy. Even leaders who came after Zia and Sadat envied them for their dedication towards their missions. What both leaders did so well was manipulate the society in which they were the authority by convincing that whatever they did politically was justified. Even though much of both societies were marginalized, they eventually became convinced that in the long-run they would be better off. In terms of the current situation in both countries, data suggests Pakistan falls under the category of a democracy while Egypt a closed anocracy. Such a situation can be attributed to the Islamization policies adopted in the 1970’s. The only way such decision were defended was by claiming God had chosen who had the right to govern and establish an Islamic state. Believing one was chosen by God to rule was the first miscalculation, the second being believing religion and politics are inseparable. Both leaders became obsessed with the idea of Foucault's bio-politics, that they forgot what Islam was really all about. If Zia and Sadat had understood what the Quran said about governance, they would realize no one form of government exists and it is up to both the leader and its citizens to decide how they wish to be governed. It is up to Islamic scholars and those qualified to speak and interpret Islam to recommend laws and institutions to govern a society. If governments continue to regulate one's religious practices and behaviors, the freedom to practice faith decreases, with state legitimacy rising from the leadership point of view. To conclude, the changing nature of Muslim-majority states can be rendered to the rise of Islamic movements after the post-colonial era. Both Anwar Sadat and Zia ul-Haq felt their respective states were moving in the wrong direction because of the lack of religious fervor. Because of the lack of understanding of Islamic law and jurisprudence, two different visions for an Islamic state were created in the minds of both leaders. This resulted in two radicalized states whose approach to governance differed. Although the trajectory towards Islamizing was different, the desire for power and need to be accepted by society was similar in both cases. Overall, this comparative analysis takes into account all of the aforementioned factors while coming to the conclusion there is no concrete definition of Islamic governance and the impact of these Islamization programs will always exist unless a radical shift in ideologies occurs.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2016.SSHAPP1489
2016-03-21
2020-09-26
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