There is Nothing Inevitable About Dictatorships in Muslim States | Opinion

The Muslim Times

H.A. Hellyer
On 1/8/19


Earlier this month, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt as an autocrat for three decades, appeared as a witness against imprisoned former Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, who was Egypt’s first freely elected leader. Besides being former Egyptian presidents, they had something else in common: their religious supporters both considered revolting against them to be a forbidden form of “khuruj ‘ala al-hakim” – “withdrawing from the ruler.” This wasn’t just an idle sentiment; it was expressed by Ali Gomaa’, the-then Mufti of Egypt whose words I heard when in Cairo during the revolutionary uprising of 2011. “Khuruj ‘ala al-shar’iyya haram, haram, haram” – ‘exiting’ from [political] legitimacy is religiously forbidden, forbidden, forbidden.”

It wouldn’t be the last time I would hear this pre-modern concept of traditional Islamic law instrumentalised into contemporary political discourse. Almost a decade on since I watched the beginnings of the…

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