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Is There an Islamic Ruling About People Ruling?

7 PM | Thursday February 13, 2020

Islam and Democracy: A Conversation

Featuring Andrew March and Salam Al-Marayati

7 pm, Thursday Feb. 13, at Zaytuna College (2401 Le Conte Ave., Berkeley)

Many Muslims believe that democratic aspirations are a distraction from—or even a distortion of—spiritual priorities, especially if they challenge religious authority.

We live in dark times for democracy, whether of a Muslim or a liberal form. There is no denying that popular energies are as likely to generate dark forces as light ones. One way to maintain order and prevent chaos is to temper popular energies. But can authority be commanded or coerced? Or does authority emerge from the bottom up, from people who grant it willingly to their political leaders? And if so, what is the source of religious authority?

How deeply, then, can religious Muslims commit themselves to the idea of people ruling?

Andrew March

Andrew March

Andrew F. March, associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, researches Islamic law and political philosophy. He published The Caliphate of Man, about the idea of popular sovereignty in modern Muslim thought, in 2019.

Salam Al-Marayati

Salam Al-Marayati

Salam Al-Marayati, president and cofounder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, is an expert on Islam and contemporary political issues, including issues related to democracy, human rights, and Muslim reform movements.