Wednesday 12th December sees the launch of the English language translation of Ali Abdel Razek’s ground breaking essay, Islam and the Foundations of Political Power, edited by Abdou Filali- Ansary. This is the 2nd volume in the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations’ In Translation Modern Muslim Thinkers series, published in partnership with Edinburgh University Press.
In the current climate, where questions of governance and political authority abound not only amidst Muslim societies and cultures, but equally among key nation states on the global stage, this essay remains as important as it was when first published in Egypt in 1927.
Abdel Razek systematically calls for a separation of political power from matters of faith, using first and foremost verses of the Qur’an, followed by the authority of the sunnah of the Prophet and the thought of such scholars as Ibn Khaldun, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes to build his argument.
The publication of Al-Islam wa Usul al-Hukm is credited with having launched serious debates on political power in the Muslim world, including not only ‘apologetic’ treaties in defence of the fallen caliphate but also the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood as a reactionary response.
Following the publication of this essay, Ali Abel Razek was denounced, stripped of his title of 'alim and barred from future employment in education and the judiciary. Nevertheless, until the end of his life, Abdel Razek refused to withdraw or renounce his essay.
At the launch event Professors Filali-Ansary and Azim Nanji will discuss the essay and its impact on modern thought in Muslim societies.
Sikeena Ahmed Karmali
Manager, Publications & Editing