Justifying political decisions through theological arguments

The relationship between religion and politics in Muslim contexts has been discussed from many different perspectives. One of these proceeds from the theory of religious politics, according to which political thoughts and decisions are justified and legitimated with the support of theological explan...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Studia theologica
Main Author: Fazlhashemi, Mohammad
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Taylor & Francis [2016]
In:Studia theologica
Year: 2016, Volume: 70, Issue: 2, Pages: 179-198
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:The relationship between religion and politics in Muslim contexts has been discussed from many different perspectives. One of these proceeds from the theory of religious politics, according to which political thoughts and decisions are justified and legitimated with the support of theological explanations. A central premise is that religion is able to provide a moral sanction for political actions and decisions. This article discusses the relationship between religion and politics in a Shiite context in pre-modern and early modern times, based on the theory of religious politics. The central point is that the Shiite scholars, during the Safavid era (1501-1736), based their secular viewpoints on interpretations of the Quran, the hadiths, and the 12 Imamite Shiite sources, especially the specific ideas about the hidden imam, to legitimate their own collaboration with the Safavid kings. According to this theory, the religious politics occur within an ideological context such as a nation-state and specific historical circumstances. The religious legitimizations of political actions are usually intertwined with local and historical identities. As such the religious ideologies reflect not a return to tradition per se, but rather an ideological reconstruction of tradition for a new context. The ultimate question is which came first? Did the theological interpretations precede secular and political decisions, or was it the other way around? The theory of religious politics arrives at the conclusion that the theological explanations are employed to legitimate traditions of political thought and secular decisions and not the reverse.
ISSN:1502-7791
Contains:Enthalten in: Studia theologica
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1080/0039338X.2016.1251967