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In the Name of God بسم الله


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  1. Account disabled - banned members may not make new accounts

  2. (bismillah) (salam) Not yet, it's not the West who is destabilizing Iran, but it's iranians and particularly Mir Husein Mussawi. Thanks May Allah bless our souls
  3. Abstract The concept of velayat-e faqih as a type of Shi`ite Islamic government gained currency after the Islamic revolution in Iran, and it has now been experienced for a quarter of a century. A key question in contemporary Iranian politics is the compatibility of the velayat-e faqih with democracy. This question can be answered from the perspective of political thought, or from that of political sociology in view of what has happened in Iran. This essay adopts the first perspective, distinguishing three theoretical answers based on different interpretations of the concept: The first can be considered the official view of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is based on the opinion that the "absolute, appointive velayat-efaqih" is the only form of Islamic government during the occultation of the infallible authorities in religion (i.e., the Imams), and is binding on the people as a religious duty. Such a government would be popular in the sense that the government is approved by the people. But the legitimacy of all decisions and acts in the public domain depends on the approval and authorization of the supreme jurist as the vali-ye amr. According to this interpretation, the velayat-e faqih is not compatible with democracy. Limited resort to the popular vote under emergency conditions would be permissible under "necessity" (zarurat), but democracy is per se neitherdesirable nor beneficial. The second can be considered the view of the traditional Iranian reformists. It is based on the opinion that neither the absolute appointive velayat-e faqih nor democracy is entirely acceptable, but by altering and combining the two one can arrive at a type of Islamic democracy that can be labeled "elective, conditional velayat-e faqih." According to this interpretation, the people of their representatives elect a jurist as the vali-ye amr for a limited period to take over the management of society according to the law approved by the jurists and the people. The elected jurist would be responsible to the people. The third and last answered can be considered the view of the Iranian Muslim intellectuals. It rests on the opinion that the velayat-e faqih in the political sphere, be it appointive or elective, absolute or conditional, is not supported by valid religious proof. Islam has basically not offered a fixed and specific model for the political management of society, even though it is not compatible with every kind of politics. The velayat-e faqih, being an autocratic rule of God based on the divine rights of the jurists, is incompatible with democracy. Democracy, being based on principles such as popular sovereignty and participation, the rule of law and human rights, is evidently incompatible with clerical rule and the velayat-e faqih, which is a type of religious dictatorship. The illusion of compatibility of the velayat-e faqih with democracy is due to the lack of familiarity with the jurisprudential terminology, on the one hand, and the theory of democracy, on the other. The fundamental incompatibility between democracy and the velayat-e faqih is not an obstacle to the democratic management of an Islamic society. The majority of its Muslim citizens can have a democratic government while remaining committed to their Islamic faith and ethical values. Islam as a religion can be integrated with democracy as the method of modern political life. The paper describes and criticizes the first two views and analyzes the third with approval. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Are velayat-e faqih and democracy compatible with one another? If they are not compatible, could modifying one or both bring them to accord? If these two concepts are irreconcilably at odds, which should we refuse, in the interest of preserving the other? These three questions are of utmost importance to the contemporary political thought in Iran. This paper takes on deliberating the relationship between velayat-e faqih and democracy. Before debating the matter, however, a number of points are discussed: 1. Although the term velayat-e faqih is spontaneously reminiscent of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its founder, incongruity between velayat-e faqih and democracy is not necessarily the same discord as between Islamic republicanism and democracy. Velayat-e faqih is altogether distinct from Islamic republicanism.(1) Proponents of velayat-e faqih believe that Islamic republicanism is a method of governance that would give rise to velayat-e faqih—not the same as it. Similarly, the critiques of velayat-e faqih do not believe a relationship to necessarily exist between the two—they not only perceive an Islamic republic to be capable of existing irrespective of velayat-e faqih, but they additionally believe that an Islamic republicanism less the velayat-e faqih principle is the Islamic republic that was offered to the Iranian public via the Preamble to the Constitution, which gained widespread acceptance through the April 1979 referendum. What ended up being ratified as the Constitution subsequently in late 1979, and was then modified in 1989, and has been implemented by the two supreme leaders in the past quarter of a century is an amalgamation of velayat-e faqih and Islamic republicanism—an amalgamation that could be perceived as being a velayat based republicanism (jomhouri-ye velayi) (2)—the sort of republic within which government organs perform their duties under the supervision of the supreme leader (the vali-ye amr). In this paper we set out to examine agreements—or lack thereof—between the principles of democracy and velayat-e faqih—i.e. the ideal order within which the concept of velayat-e faqih has been fully realized. Velayat based republicanism or the traditional Islamic republicanism is an incomplete realization, and a subset of velayat-e faqih. In other words, in this paper we set out to contrast a democratic government with a form of governance that is based on “appointed and absolute velayat-e faqih.” The incongruity that may exist between velayat-e faqih and democracy must also be differentiated from any disagreement between religion and democracy, or Islam and democracy, and also from religious governance and democracy, or Islamic governance and democracy.(3) In the sense that if someone believes religion and democracy are totally incompatible, there would be no need to address the questions that are raised here—the conclusion is already reached. Similarly, for those who believe religion is a private matter, exclusive to the relationship of an individual with God, and do not allow for religion to influence the public domain—meaning those who subscribe to absolute secularism, and believe it is the foundation for democracy—religious governance would be basically undemocratic. The relationship between velayat-e faqih and democracy is subject to debate for someone who first, does not believe there to be only dissension between Islam and democracy—someone who gathers democratic views from Islam—and second, does not find an Islamic government to be necessarily incapable of democracy—more pertinently, someone who would allow for democracy to flourish in a religious society. Accepting the above two premises, we now take on the discussion of compatibility between velayat-e faqih—representing a specific case of religious governance—and democracy. The questions being discussed here are less than twenty-five years old. They became relevant in or about 1979, when the velayat-e faqih concept was applied to public domain. Debating these issues first took place exclusively among elites, and prior to the practical experience that ensued. The analysis and explanations that they have offered in answering these questions are mostly general and often ambiguous. At this early stage, the proponents of velayat-e faqih try to portray this principle in a popular and democratic suit.(4) Starting with the second decade, having experienced velayat-e faqih in practice for ten years, the inquiries into the matter began to spread among the general public—rather than being exclusive to elites, among whom these concepts had been traditionally applied. Furthermore, the responses to these questions gradually became more specific, more exact and much better clarified. The proponents of velayat-e faqih who have responded to the aforementioned questions fall in two camps: some candidly have proclaimed the principle of velayat-e faqih to be entirely contradictory to democracy. Others, while diminishing democracy as being a “Western notion” have defended a sort of “religious democracy” around the velayat-e faqih core. Equally devout Moslems, the critics of velayat-e faqih being applied in the public domain also fall into two groups, but according to their concern regarding democracy. One group, believing the “appointive” and “absolute” attributes of velayat-e faqih to be the cause of its disagreement with democracy, has attempted to bring the two together through stressing the elective and conditional stipulations of the Constitution, concerning velayat-e faqih. A second group has found the functioning of velayat-e faqih in public domain to lack any basis in Islamic jurisprudence—they find the discord between velayat-e faqih and democracy to be inherent in the two doctrines. Depth of analysis and spread of the views that has been offered, in reply to the three questions we raised at the outset, indicate the importance of this debate. This article is consisted of an introduction and three sections. Remainder of the introduction describes democracy. The first section examines the relationship between appointed and absolute velayat-e faqih and democracy. In the second section we explore the relationship between elective and conditional velayat-e faqih—and also that of faqih oversight—and democracy. In the third section we will discuss the means of governing an Islamic society according to democratic standards. The hypothesis that we are about to subject to scrutiny in this paper is threefold: first, velayat-e faqih and democracy are not compatible; second, the incompatibility between velayat-e faqih and democracy is essential—reforming one or both of them would not bring them into agreement. Therefore, Islamic democracy would be a contradiction in terms, if it were to be based on velayat-e faqih. Third, Islamic society can be governed via democratic means. It may seem that democracy would be a well-known concept, but the effort that has been exerted to approve or reject it in Iran indicates that many of those who have commented on the subject did not have a clear understanding of it. Democracy has been mistaken often for popularity or for populism. To prevent probable misconceptions in our discussion ahead, it is best to put forth an outline of democracy. In doing so, we should try to emphasize those aspects of democracy that would stand out, in comparison to the corresponding conditions under velayat-e faqih. Democracy is an answer to a question in politics: who is empowered to decide for the public domain? Three types of answers have been offered for this question: autocracy, aristocracy and democracy. In an autocracy, assessment of public interest and forming decisions in public domain rest with one individual—all legitimate power to govern stem from that individual. No worldly authority can oversee his actions—he is above the law, and cannot be held responsible; has absolute authority, and can exert unchecked power to manage the affairs of society. In aristocracy, the ultimate power resides with an elite class—this group of people is not accountable to the public. In a democracy, determination of public interest and decisions on behalf of the public are based on the approval of the public at large—not the approval of a specific individual or a group of elites. In a democratic regime, those executing authority in the public domain are the people’s elected representatives, whose charter is to serve in their clients’ (i.e. the public’s) interest. In a democracy, the government is responsible to the public. It comes to power through the will of the people, and at a certain time, peacefully transfers its power to govern to the succeeding democratically elected representatives. The laws of democratic societies are established through a process ensuring public consent, and are liable to change according to public will. In more exact terms, democracy is the politics of the modern world. It is an approach to instituting government—the purpose of which is to minimize the likelihood of making erroneous decisions in the public domain, through maximizing public participation in the decision making process. Thereby diminishing the role of the individual in making political decisions and shaping public policy. Proper distribution of political power throughout the society is one of the requirements of democracy. A democratic government is elected through freely expressed majority vote, to govern for a limited term. The equal rights to choose—and to be chosen—are among the bases giving rise to democracy. In a democracy, decisions that affect the society must gather consensus for support. Therefore, public oversight of decisions affecting public domain and distribution of equal rights amongst the citizenry, in order to impose oversight over the decisions regarding public domain, are two of the pillars of democracy. The main attributes of a democratic regime are as follows: a. Holding free and all-inclusive elections. b. Establishing transparent and accountable government. c. Respecting civil and political rights. d. Giving rise to a civil, or a democratic society. To complete our framework of democracy, now we should ask: what are the characteristics of an undemocratic regime? a. Sanctioning special privileges in public domain for an individual or a class of elites (such distinction is contrary to the basis of equal rights). b. Permanency in holding on to an office, or lacking peaceful transfer of power, following a predetermined term. c. Holding an office or an authority in that office above the law. d. Lacking oversight of the leadership—irresponsibility to the public. e. Having absolute or unchecked power vested in an individual or a group (even if it is sanctioned by the Constitution). f. Lack of regard for public demand in changing the law. Section I. Appointive, Absolute Velayat-e faqih and Democracy The theory of appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih is based on four principles.(5) The first principle is velayat.(6) It means having responsibility for, acting on behalf of and having jurisdiction over the affairs of others. There is inequality in the sphere of velayat (hozeh-ye velayat), encompassing public domain. The general public is considered to be incapable of making pious decisions, and unable to exert control over public domain. They need religious oversight, for their lacking religious jurisdiction over public domain. Legitimacy of all decisions and actions in public domain depend on the approval and authorization of the supreme leader, as the vali-ye amr. Another meaning of velayat over people is their guardianship, which is fundamentally different from representing them. The citizenry—having been placed in care of the supreme leader—has no say in the appointment or dismissal of the vali-e amr, and no authority to oversee his conduct of velayat, or his personal conduct (that of the vali-ye amr, or supreme leader). Opinion of the supreme leader constitutes the measure of proper decisions regarding public domain. It is expected of the public to conform to, and coordinate with the views of the supreme leader—not the other way around. All public domain functions derive their legitimacy through their lineage with the supreme leader. The most important religious duty of the people toward the supreme leader is to accept his verdicts, obey his edicts and help him succeed. Velayat is obligatory—not elective. It is permanent, and life-long—not transitory. And it is binding on all human beings, without any exception or condition. The second principle, appointment (7) stands here for an appointment by the divine ruler, as opposed to election by the people; above and beyond comprising the legitimacy to govern, it implies selection and appointment of the qualified person to reign over the people on behalf of the last Shiite Imam. Identifying the individual, possessing the proper merits, is a function of the elites of Shiite jurists. In selecting the supreme leader from the midst of the Shiite jurist elites, the public cannot be consulted, since they lack the knowledge to properly assess the merits of the supreme leader. It is generally held that the installment and dismissal of the supreme leader is a divine act. In case the leader is found to have forfeited his merits as a jurist, or is found to have become unjust, other elite jurists would find that the leader’s supremacy has been abdicated. The ruler (or the supreme leader) is responsible only to God—no human being has the authority to oversee his actions. Other elite jurists can only inquire into his merits in preparation to their finding him meritorious for asserting his supremacy—another words, beyond the supreme leader (vali-ye faqih) is only God. The third principle is absoluteness.(8) Jurisdiction of the leader (vali-e faqih) encompasses matters of sovereignty in public domain—all matters fall in this jurisdiction. The leader manages the society based on his determination, or that of his appointees. His authority is akin to that of the Prophet and Imams. His authority is not confined to the religious rule—the vali-ye faqih can rule on matters beyond religious concerns, based on what he deems to be in the interest of the state. His decrees are binding on everyone and just as all other religious decrees must be obeyed and acted on. In case of any conflict between decrees issued by the vali-ye faqih and other subsidiary Islamic standards, the former prevails. Where the Constitution draws its legitimacy from the leader’s sanction of it, it is clear that vali-ye faqih is not be bound by the laws of mankind, including the Constitution. The decrees of vali-ye faqih carry the force of law, and in case if they seem to be contrary to the law, his decrees take precedence. The judiciary, legislative and executive branches of government, armed forces and media are all his organs, which function independent of each other, but under the control of one leader—the vali-ye amr. The fourth principle, jurisdiction (feghahat) is the most important requisite for leading an Islamic society. Islamic jurisprudence plays an essential role in the planning and management of an Islamic society. All political decisions must be in accord with the religious fundamentals. Islamic jurisprudence is capable of providing solutions to all political, economical, cultural, military and social problems of the world, and therefore, capable of guiding the greater Islamic world, and the non-Islamic constituency. Politics is a branch of the Islamic jurisprudence, and a part of the religious experience. The Islamic jurisprudence provides a pertinent, and complete theory for managing the human race, and guiding the human experience from cradle to grave. Therefore, velayat or administration of public domain is held to be the exclusive right of Islamic jurists. The theory of appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih—in all four of its principles—is contradictory to democracy. In fact, this theory provides for a religious autocracy, or at the very best, it may be viewed as a clerical aristocracy. In fact it has been claimed that the vali-ye faqih, as the operative of the divine on earth, is akin to God—“He cannot be questioned for his acts, but they will be questioned for theirs” (9)—a permanent, irresponsible, sacred and absolute authority in the temporal world. In other words, this theory sustains a religious aristocracy, which is fundamentally distinct from democracy. The following are contradictions, arising out of each of the four appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih principles: Guardianship (Velayat) i. A requisite of religious guardianship is that the general public—in their capacity to make pious decisions, and capability to influence matters of public domain—is not equal to the jurists. Whereas in the democratic approach everyone is believed to have firstly, the same rights as anyone else, and secondly, the right to influence the public domain. ii. In order to administer the public domain, the citizenry is empowered to elect a representative government—rather than being rendered unable or incompetent to make proper decisions, and requiring paternal oversight. iii. The standards of proper conduct in the public domain are the views and opinions of the vali-ye faqih—the public is bound to obey his directives. Whereas in a democracy, the public officials must coordinate themselves with the will and sentiment of the public they represent. iv. In the theory of velayat-e faqih, everyone must seek the permission of vali-e faqih for any decision or action in the public domain. The situation is completely reversed in a democracy—all public officials are to seek people’s consent, in order to function in the public domain. Appointment (Entesab) i. Democracy is a bottom up approach to government. The appointive velayat based state is a top down regime—election stands in opposition to appointment. ii. People elect or dismiss their government officials in a democratic regime. Whereas in an appointive regime, members of the general public have no say in the installment or removal of the ruler. iii. Without exception, all political assignments in a democratic regime are limited to a specified term. In the appointive velayat-e faqih, however, the leader is practically appointed for life, and time-in-office for other public officials are determined by him. iv. The elected representatives of the people are charged with oversight over the government of a democratic regime, and government is accountable to the people it governs. In an appointive rule, the ruler is only responsible to God; he is not responsible to any human being for his conduct. Absolutism (Etlagh) i. All government officials are assigned limited powers in a democratic regime—there are checks and balances. In appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih, the leader possesses absolute and unchecked power. ii. In a democratic regime, none stands above the law. In appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih, the leader is not only above the law, he sanctions the law—he can shut down the Constitution. iii. Separation of powers is fundamental to democracy. In velai based state, the judicial, executive and legislative branches of government, next to the armed forces and media are the instruments of the leader (veli-e faqih)—they all function under his orders. Heads of the three branches, and key institutions of government are, in effect, his deputies. Jurisdiction (feghahat) There is no special privilege in public domain that is set-aside for any particular group in a democratic regime, whereas, governance in velayat-e faqih is the exclusive right of the Islamic jurists. In a democracy, the society is managed based on scientific principles; it is not expected of jurisprudence to provide planning for political, economical, cultural etc. Whereas in velayat-e faqih, Islamic jurisprudence provides the entire theory of government in all fields, from cradle to grave. The principle incompatibilities between appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih and democracy are so clear that they need no further proof—it is readily obvious that these principles are not compatible. The question should be raised here; is referring to public opinion not warranted under any circumstances, according to the concept of velayat-e faqih? The answer is affirmative, but it depends. Referring to public opinion may be warranted in minor cases, and only where the leader’s position is not undermined as a result. In any case, he is the final authority—he can overrule the public’s opinion at any time. Another case may be that if he does not resort to public opinion, he may come across as being dictatorial. In the second case, referring to public opinion is only warranted in a do-or-die situation—to get passed the circumstantial necessities.(10) It is evident that once the need is overcome, the public opinion would again become irrelevant, and that referring to public opinion under such circumstances is not the same as free elections held in democratic regimes. Among the proponents of appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih theory, the few who have called it democratic are clearly wrong. Their position can only be adopted either due to a lack of understanding democracy, or for future deniability or cover-up. Among the proponents of this theory, Messrs. Javadi Amoli and Mesbah Yazdi have stated candidly that this theory is incompatible with democracy.(11) But others among them, while completely rejecting “western democracies,” are promoting a “religious democracy.” (12) In effect, they are only playing with words—subscribing to appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih ideology is to deny democracy in all its forms. Apparently, the only aspect of democracy that may have been appealing to this group is its popularity. Otherwise, tooting “religious democracy” is a popularity ploy—the sort of playing with words, which this group has resorted to, is the same as deceiving the public. Proponents of appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih find democracy neither desirable nor beneficial. In their view, the citizenry must be so trained as to allow for none other than blindly following and absolutely obeying the edicts of religious leaders—for the fear of people conceiving opinions to the contrary. Section II. Elective, Conditional Velayat-e faqih or faqih oversight and Democracy Considering the great difficulties that appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih theory faces, both conceptually and in fact, an alternative view has become more significant among those subscribing to velayat-e faqih. In their approach, care has been extended to strike a balance between velayat-e faqih and democracy. The first attempt at merging velayat-e faqih in public domain with democracy has been made in the past century by Mirza-ye Naeeni. While keeping the general appointive velayat-e faqih principles intact, and taking into account lack of public confidence in the clergy, as the political reality of the time, he allowed the representatives of the people to constitute a government, which remained subject to religious oversight—hence, the conditional government.(13) It was made clear that if for any reason (e.g. regaining popularity) the clergy were to revoke their permission, that government would thenceforth become illegitimate. In the second step toward legitimizing political rights of the public independent of the jurists, the concept of public rule with jurist oversight, offered by Mohammad Bagher Sadr,(14) has been validated. In this theory, the clergy have more of an oversight and consent role than operative, although the supreme overseer is found, and appointed among them through the traditional approach, rather than by way of democratic elections. In the third step, the jurists in Qom advance the theory of elective, conditional velayat-e faqih, the evolved form of which is compiled by Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri Najaf-Abadi (15). In his approach, three of the principles in the appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih theory have been modified—as described in the following: Firstly, by expanding on the selection process for choosing a leader amidst multiple qualified jurists, prior to the eventuality of him being appointed by the divine ruler, selecting a ruler from the slate of qualified candidates ends up being based on public volition. Considering the traditional Shiite doctrine, the public opinion influencing who may rule supreme is a significant step toward democratization of the political process. Secondly, although the guardianship term (velayat) has been kept in this theory, the legal ramifications of it are different. In the first theory, velayat was a religious edict, issued by the divine ruler to compensate for the laity’s inadequacies in public domain, whereas in the new theory velayat is a binding contract, and a form of a general power of attorney establishing independent jurisdiction over someone with his consent. On this basis, the government would be a form of religious treaty between the people and the sovereign. Thirdly, as a consequence of the government having its bases in a contract, the terms and conditions of this agreement, such as a limit on time in service of the ruler and the likes, the collection of which is called the Constitution, would be legitimate. On this basis, the resulting government would not have absolute power, since it would be limited by the Constitution, as the terms and conditions of the agreement. All the elements of a healthy relationship between the general public and those entrusted with power to rule can be achieved by this approach. The jurisdiction requirement remains intact as a principle requisite in the new theory, and not only jurisdiction, but also the supremacy in jurisdiction is considered to be the primary requisite for leadership. Analysis of the recent twenty-some years of velayat-e faqih in action has inclined the author of the new theory to emphasize the advisory and oversight dimensions and lessen the operative aspects of leadership.(16) But it is clear that for prevailing religious motives this oversight is none other than velayat, and that it takes place based on the religious obligation felt by the overseeing jurist. Democratic aspects of this theory are as follows: 1. All public officials—without exception, even the leader—are elected through general elections, and the public participates in electing the government. 2. As a consequence of recognizing the public as being a party to an agreement, the public’s right to self-determination in public domain is established—accepting this fact is seminal to democracy. 3. The public right to take part in the law making process being a condition of the constitutional agreement provides the grounds upon which the society would democratize. Based on the preceding points this theory could be called “religious democracy” or “Islamic republicanism.” Its remaining true to Islamic principles is protected through the supreme leader’s guardianship and oversight. Concurrently, the society is managed democratically. But for the following reasons, the resulting religious democracy would be limited, and in a few respects it is different from democracy: 1. Accepting an exclusive right for jurists to hold the highest office in society, under the auspices of supreme oversight, poses the first discrepancy between this theory and democratic principles. Accepting such a right is contingent upon jurisprudence being effective in addressing the challenges of political and social management. Proving the Islamic jurisprudence to be capable of producing effective solutions in such scientific fields is extremely unlikely. 2. The jurisdiction supremacy requisite for assuming the leadership takes away from the elective qualities of this approach. On one hand, if the qualifying merits are concentrated in one person, then election becomes irrelevant. On the other hand, the ability to recognize and qualify supremacy, considering the broad spectrum of the Islamic jurisprudence and the variety of opinions held by the jurists, effectively shields the selection process from the public. The practical difficulties associated with this approach are above and beyond the theoretical criticisms that are due to this principle requisite. 3. What would it be like if there were widespread public discontent with the supreme leader’s stance? If there was a circumstance, where the majority of the people moved toward a direction and the leader (vali-ye amr) found that direction inappropriate or undesirable—stated his ruling on the matter as such, and the majority still refused to follow his advice. Would he resort to force, in order to establish the validity of his views, albeit against the public will? Or would he acknowledge the will of the people—having taken an stance against him as his lacking support among the public—and resign, take to cultural and educational activities to convince the public on the merits of his view, win the majority over and regain his rightful position as the supreme leader again? The evidence is in favor of the former. Section III. Democracy in a Religious Society It became evident through the discussion in the previous sections that: one, the “appointive, absolute velayat-e faqih” and democracy are entirely incompatible—these two concepts are complete opposites—just as the Platonic Philosopher-King, the Iranian theory of kingdom or the mystic’s theory of the perfect human’s reign would stand in contradiction to democracy, and two, the “elective, conditional velayat-e faqih” or the concept of the elected supreme leader’s oversight is a form of limited democracy, which differs from democracy in three respects. Although according to the leader’s capacity the religious order may extend far into democratic terrain, in cases of narrow-minded jurists the reverse would also be true. Up to this point, we obtained the two comparisons above, regardless of approving or disapproving democracy or either of the two religious theories. In this section we are about to answer two important questions: First; based on the religious principles, how credible are the two velayat-e faqih theories? Second, considering the definite discord between the first theory and democracy and the relative incompatibility between the second theory and democracy—between velayat-e faqih and democracy—which is more suitable for managing the affairs of a religious society? Regarding the first question—the concept of velayat-e faqih is a subject of dispute in the Islamic jurisprudence (17)—it falls under the category of obligations that must not be left unattended, such as guardianship of orphan children. Most jurists have accepted this principle, but not all. As the scope of effect of this principle increases (as its domain is stretched), less people have signed on. Extension of Velayat-e faqih into public domain is viewed as clerical governance (i.e. in the political arena), and is not recognized by most jurists (18)—meaning that in their view, there is not sufficient basis in the Islamic law to support the claim. The absolute velayat-e faqih in public domain, specifically emanating from Ayatollah Khomeini, has been assumed by some (not all) of his students as being true. In any case, the author believes that the theory of appointive-absolute velayat-e faqih lacks any basis in reason, or in the Islamic law. Surrounding the theory of elective, conditional velayat-e faqih and the elected supreme leader’s oversight: this is a young theory, which has not been adopted with much enthusiasm among the jurists in traditional Shiite domains. Its supporters are often found amongst intellectuals and political activists. From an Islamic jurisprudential perspective, two of the principles of this theory are subject to debate: one, the requisite of jurisprudential supremacy of the overseer, and two, the assumption of Islamic jurisprudential capability in such spheres as management, politics and social planning. The second point has not been subjected to much scientific analysis and debate among the jurists and religious scholars. The fact that every act, be it individual or social, must be according—or at least, not be contradictory—to Islam, can be assured through consultation with an advisory panel such as the council in charge of supervising compliance with Islam (hey-at-e nezarat-e mojtehedat) in the conditional (Mashrooteh) Constitution or the Guardian Council (Showra-ye Negahban) in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and does not necessarily require supreme oversight or velayat-e faqih. In any event, a number of contemporary jurists, including Ayatollah Montazeri have stated positions surrounding this theory. The author believes that both issues pivot on a more basic understanding, and that is the general expectation from religion, or more aptly from the Islamic jurisprudence. Neither the jurisprudential supremacy is the requirement for social management, nor can one expect the Islamic jurisprudence to supply the required insight for managing the society. Therefore, the jurisdiction principle in the aforementioned theory is (insufficient or) incomplete. The conclusion arrived in the above, means that velayat-e faqih, be it of religious or civil order, appointive or elective, absolute or conditional, lacks any credible religious basis for its operation in the political sphere. The jurists who have accepted certain types of velayat-e faqih have in fact researched the matter with a preconceived expectation from the religion, prior to either reasoning through, or testing their specific hypothesis. They have assumed that a complete religion must have provided a specific and constant model for managing the public policy—additionally, without assuming political power, establishing the religion is annulled; the purpose for establishing the religion is to execute the edicts of the Islamic law (shari’a); for this purpose, only jurists are qualified; hence, founding a religious governance in the sense of velayat-e faqih is necessary, or even inevitable. Referring to the context of the Islamic religion, Koran, conduct of the prophet and the Shiite Imams show that: (19) 1. Islam is not limited to the individual’s relation with God—it also includes the social domain. The social edicts of Islam are also not limited to ethical guidance and abstemious decrees; they also include requirements to act upon. 2. The Islamic society is not compatible with all politics. It has clearly declared certain political settings to be illegitimate, and has forbidden Moslems to reflect such policies. 3. In the collective teachings of Islam, its general concepts and social protocols, one can extract one specific or tens of other general political models, none of which would be illegitimate and none of which alone would suffice for a complete political system with all of its necessities and specifics. In other words, Islam does not offer a specific and constant model for managing the politics of all societies, and far be one for all times (i.e. Islam does not provide a blueprint for a universal government). 4. Avoiding such details in Islam is due to the fact that they are variables. The religion, which claims to be constant—beyond place and time—would be subjected to change, if it were to take on transitional matters. Additionally, Islam acknowledges that human faculties are capable of finding appropriate solutions in these fields. In other words, politics is a matter of intellect, and the ability to reason is a human trait. It is true that a pious individual must satisfy the requirements of his religion in all of his interactions, but acting in accord with the general principles and common protocols of religion does not negate the fact that politics is a human endeavor requiring political wisdom. 5. One cannot expect to find knowledge of politics, economy, management and sociology in the Islamic jurisprudence. At the same time, one cannot do away with the body of constitutional, commercial, criminal and other laws. The Islamic jurisprudence provides a legal framework in such branches of law as the constitutional law, law of commerce, civil and criminal law and the likes. Branches of law cannot be expected to provide political and economical planning. Although, legal council is indispensable in a variety of fields, entrusting management, economy, commerce, politics and a whole host of other specialized activities to lawyers would not produce an optimum result. Velayat-e faqih has risen out of a sort of false expectation from the Islamic jurisprudence. 6. The obligatory Islamic decrees effecting public domain do not necessarily warrant religious governance. The necessity for carrying out such edicts may as effectively be accomplished through other means—the pious conscience and the collective will of the public in a civil Islamic society could see to it that all its obligations are fulfilled. There is a difference between the law and religious obligation. The law must pass through a formal process—designed for close scrutiny and consensus gathering—including scrutiny and adoption by the people’s representatives. Religious obligation is not the same as legal obligation. Similarly, committing a sin has a different consequence than breaking the law. An individual is not necessarily punished during his lifetime for having committed a sin or for having failed to fulfill a religious obligation. Religious leadership aims to convince its followers to voluntarily take on a course of action, or relies on the individual to abstain from what may be harmful, based on the individual’s recognizance and free will. If a religious decree is to carry the force of the law—such that it may carry with it worldly punishment—it must put on a legal suit, go through the law making process and become the law. 7. More so than being a religious obligation, velayat-e faqih is a reflection of the Iranian theory of kingdom and Eastern despotism in the mind and essence of Shiite jurists, which has also been corroborated by the Platonic Philosopher-King. Its absolutism can be traced in the absolute velayat of perfect human in the Ibn-e Arabi Sufism. It seems that traditional Islamic jurisprudence—with such notions as the principle of non-velayat (20), conditions of sovereignty (21) and satisfaction (22)—cannot be compatible in public domains with such views as velayat-e Faqih. Regarding the second question—the choice between velayat-e faqih and democracy, in the event of unresolved incompatibility between the two, is democracy. Through the discourse in answering the first question, we provided that the difference between velayat-e Faqih and democracy is void of any religious requirement, and a matter of rational evaluation. In which case, the alternative that stands to yield the most benefit is the preferred choice. Velayat-e faqih has no credible foundation in Islamic jurisprudence. It is a notion that is formed in the minds of a group of honorable jurists through a specific reading of a handful of Islamic passages. Refuting velayat-e faqih does not in any way undermine any of the Islamic teachings, requirements or obligations. I believe democracy is the least erroneous approach to the politics of the world. (Please note that least erroneous does not mean perfect, or even error free.) Democracy is a product of reason, and the fact that it has first been put to use in the West does not preclude its utility in other cultures—reason extends beyond the geographical boundaries. One must adopt a correct approach, regardless of who came up with the idea; “look into what is being said, not at who says it.” (23) Adopting a democratic approach for political management is as valid in a religious society as it is in a non-religious one. A non-religious society, as well as one consisted of a mix of various religious beliefs and ideological subscriptions can be effectively managed democratically—so can a religious and pious society. The claim that absolute secularism is indispensable to democracy is only an opinion. In any case, contemplating the relationships between Islam and democracy, or the feasibility of a religious democracy is outside the scope of this paper. The author believes that it is possible to manage an Islamic society using a democratic approach. If a society consisted of a Moslem majority decides to observe Islamic values and considerations, it can incorporate the Islamic values through democratic means—meaning that Islam as a religion can coexist with democracy being a modern approach to managing its politics.(24) In this paper, I have assumed the advantages of democracy to be self-evident. No doubt that this stance would be debatable to those believing otherwise. In any event, the author’s subscription is to a democratic approach in the Islamic society. God bless you. November 17, 2002, Cambridge Notes (1) The relationship between velayat-e faqih and Islamic republicanism (jomhouri-ye Eslami) has been discussed previously in Velayat-Based State (Hokoomat-e Velayi [4th ed.]), Tehran: Ney, 1380, Chapters 11 and 12, pp. 160-219. (2) The term “velayat based republicanism” (jomhouri-ye velayi) has been described in the article: “From Constitutional Monarchy to velayat based Republicanism” (Az Mashrooteh-ye Saltanati ta Jomhoori-ye Velayi)—August 9, 2002 speech at Columbia University, New York, is online at www.kadivar.com. (3) A number of points have been addressed about the relationship between religion and democracy in the article “Religious Democracy” (Mardom Salari-ye Deeni), Tehran: Tabarestan-e Sabz weekly, number 15 (31/6/1380 issue), pp. 5-7; also accessible online (www.kadivar.com). (4) As an example, one could point out Ayatollah Khomeini’s usage of the term “democracy” during the Paris interviews, and also Morteza Motahari’s. (5) Theoretical basis is laid out by the author in The Theories of State in The Shi’ite Figh (Nazari-yeh-ha-ye Dowlat dar Fiq’h-e Shiite [5th edition]), Tehran: Ney Publishing House, 1380, the second and forth theories. (6) The subject of velayat (guardianship) has been expanded at length in the Velayat-Based State, ibid. (7) The subject of entesab (appointment) has been expanded in the series of articles “Hokoomat-e Entesabi.” (Appointive State). Nine articles in this series have been published in the Aaftaab monthly (Tehran, 1379-1381). (8) The subject of etlagh (absoluteness) has been expanded in the article “Ghalamro-e Hokoomat-e Deeni az Deedgaah-e Imam Khomeini” (Imam Khomeini’s Perspective on the Scope of the Religious State), in Dagh-Dagheh ha-ye Hokoomat-e Deeni (Anxieties of Religious Governance [(2nd ed.]), Tehran: Ney Publishing House, 1379, pp. 111-134. (9) Koran, Sura Anbiaa, Aye 23 (Anbiaa Chapter, verse 23). (10) Ayatollah, Sheikh Nasser Makarem Shirazi’s “Anvar al Feghaheh” In Al Bai’, (Vol. I), Qom, 1411 Islamic Calendar, p. 516. (11) The book: Porsesh-ha va Pasokh-ha (Questions and Answers) by Sheikh Mohammad Taghi Mesbaah Yazdi, Qom: Imam Khomeini Institute, 1380, and the book: Velayat-e faqih; Velayat-e Fegh’h va Edaalat (Velayat-e faqih; Guardianship of Jurisprudence and justice) by Sheikh Abdollah Javadi Amoli, Qom: Osara’ Institute, 1379. (12) In this midst, usage of the term “Mardom Salari-ye Deeni” (religious democracy) by the second Iranian vali-ye faqih (supreme leader) is worth mentioning. (13) Mirza Mohammad Hossein Naeeni. Tanbeeh al Aemeh va Tanzeeh al Mellateh. For analysis of Naeeni’s point of view see The Theories of State in the Shi’ite Figh, ibid. the fifth theory. (14) Seyed Mohammad Bagher Sadr. Al Eslaam Yaghood al Hayat (Beirut, 1399 Islamic Calendar). For further analysis see The Theories of State in the Shi’ite Figh, ibid. the sixth theory. (15) Sheikh Hossein-Ali Montazeri Najaf-Abadi; Darasaaton fee Velayat al-Faqih va Fiq’h al Dowlat-e Eslami-yeh, (Vol. I-IV), Qom, 1408-1411 Islamic Calendar—for analysis see The Theories of State in the Shi’ite Figh, ibid. the seventh theory. (16) Some of the recent point of views held by Ayatollah Montazeri in his book Deedgah-ha (Points of View, or Perspectives), particularly in the transcript “velayat-e faqih and Constitution” is worth studying (www.montazeri.com). (17) See Ayatollah Khomeini, Kashf al Asraar, p.185. (18) Ayatollah, Seyed Abolghaasem Khoi, Al Masaa-el va Rodoude: “the greatest Shiite scholars do not agree with it.” (19) These points were discussed sporadically throughout Dagh-Dagheh ha-ye Hokoomat-e Deeni (Anxieties of Religious Governance). Now they are clustered in one place. (20) Much has been discussed in Chapter 16 of Hokoomat-e Velayi (Velayat-Based State), pp. 242-245, about the principles supporting lack of velayat. (21) See Montazeri’s Darasaat (Vol. 1), p. 495, the Third Principle, for the framework in monarchy. (22) See Ibn-e Fahd-e Helli; Al Rasaael al Ash’ar (Ten Thesis), thesis 9, case 9. (23) Imam Ali. Nahj ol-Balagheh. (24) See Mardom Salari-ye Deeni (Religious Democracy), ibid. References Arblaster, Anthony. Democracy. Minnesota Press, 1987. Cohen, Carl. Democracy. New York: The University of Georgia Press, 1973. Ha’eri Yazdi, (Sheikh) Mahdi. Wisdom and Governance. London, 1994. Held, David. Modeles of Democracy. Polity Press and Blackwell, 1987. Helli, Ibn-e Fahd. Al Rasaael al Ash’ar (Ten Thesis). Qom, 1379 (2000). Javadi Amoli, (Sheikh) Abdollah. Velayat-e Fagih; Velayat-e Fegh-h va Edaalat. (Velayat-e faqih; Guardianship of Jurisprudence and justice). Qom, 1378 (1999). ———. “Peeramoon-e Vali va Rahbari” (Surrounding the Guardian and Leadership). In “Maghaaleh-ye Emaamat va Velayat.” Tehran, 1368 (1989). Kadivar, Mohsen. Nazariyeh-ha-ye Dowlat dar Fiq’h-e Shiite (The Theories of State in the Shi’ite Figh [5th ed.]). Tehran: Ney Publishing House, 1380 (2001). ———. Hokoomat-e Velayi (Velayat-Based State [4th ed.]). Tehran, 1380 (2001). ———. Dagh-Dagheh ha-ye Hokoomat-e Deeni (Anxieties of Religious Governance [2nd ed.]). Tehran, 1379 (2000). ———. Series of articles “Hokoomat-e Entesabi” (Appointive State). Tehran: Aftab monthly, 1380-1381 (2001-2002). ———. “Mardom Salari-e Deeni” (Religious Democracy). Tehran, 1380 (2001). ———. “Az Mashrooteh-ye Saltanati ta Jomhoori-ye Velayi” (From Constitutional Monarchy to Velayat Based Republicanism). New York, 1381 (2002). Khomeini, (Seyed) Ruholla Mousavi. Al-Bai’, Vol. I-V. Qom: Be-ta Publishings. ———. Kashf al Asraar, Qom: Be-ta Publishings. ———. Saheefe-ye Noor (2nd ed.). Tehran, 1374 (1995). ———. Velayat-e Faqih. Tehran, 1373 (1994). Khoyee, (Seyed) Abolghasem. Masa’el va Rodoude. Qom, 1409 Islamic Calendar. Makaarem-e Shirazi, (Sheikh) Nasser. “Anvaar al Faghaameh.” In Al Bai’. Qom, 1411 Islamic Calendar. Mesbaah Yazdi, (Sheikh) Mohammad Taghi. Porsesh-haa va Pasokh-haa (Questions and Answers). Qom, 1379 (2000). Montazeri, (Sheikh) Hossein-Ali; Darasaaton fee Velayat al-Faqih va Fiq’h al Dowlat-e Eslami-yeh (Vol. I-IV). Qom, 1408-1411 Islamic Calendar. ———. Deedgah-ha (Points of View)—Internet facsimile. Qom, 1380 (2001). Motahari, (Sheikh) Morteza. Peeramoon-e Enghelab-e Eslami (About the Islamic Revolution). Tehran, 1368 (1989). ———. Peeraamoon-e Jomhoori-e Eslami (About the Islamic Republic). Tehran, 1368 (1989). Naeeni, (Mirza) Mohammad Hossein. Tanbeeh al Aemeh va Tanzeeh al-Mellateh. Tehran, 1334 (1956). Plato, the Works of Sadr, (Seyed) Mohammad Bagher. Al Eslaam Yaghood al Hayaat. Beirut, 1399 Islamic Calendar.
  4. http://www.nawaat.org/portail/2005/02/03/t...ion-in-islam-i/ http://www.nawaat.org/portail/2005/02/03/t...on-in-islam-ii/ http://www.nawaat.org/portail/2005/02/03/t...n-in-islam-iii/ One of the assumptions in the dialogue of the civilizations is accepting the variety of ideas and religions. The civilizations are based on different cultures and different cultures have been found on the basis of various schools of thought and religions. Dialogue of civilizations and cultures is not possible without freedom of religion and thought. First part For Hasan Yoosofi Eshkevari. One of the assumptions in the dialogue of the civilizations is accepting the variety of ideas and religions. The civilizations are based on different cultures and different cultures have been found on the basis of various schools of thought and religions. Dialogue of civilizations and cultures is not possible without freedom of religion and thought. The dominant culture in Iran, the one that suggested the idea of dialogue, is based on Islam, while the popular (official and traditional) interpretation of Islam does not apparently reflect that. Therefore the mentioned theory is ensued from another interpretation of Islam. This article is to draw the kind of interpretation of Islam that ensures freedom of religion and thought in Islam. To reach this ideal it is necessary to answer the following questions: What is meant by freedom of thought and religion? Where does it fit in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? What is the point of view of the popular Islamic interpretation on the subjects of freedom of thought and religion and on what religious documents is it based on? Are freedom of thought and religion beneficial or are they destructive? What is the viewpoint that concords Islam and the freedom of religion and thought, what are its characteristics, and on what religious grounds is it based on? The assumption of this article is: The freedom of thought and religion is beneficial and its observance in Islam needs studying the fundamental religious rules and a second Ijtihadin in some jurisprudent orders. The article is made up of several sections. In the first section the fundamental concepts are discussed. In the second section, the popular interpretation of Islam and freedom of thought and religion and its documents would be analyzed. The third part is to prove freedom of thought and religion beneficial. In the fourth section with the use of authentic Islamic text and extraction of fundamental religious rules while criticizing the reasoning of the popular interpretation it has been tried to prove the freedom of religion and thought in Islam. Considering the sensitivity of the subject the author would appreciate criticism beforehand. Section One: Discussing the fundamental concepts. The concepts that are used in this discussion are: Freedom, Thought, Religion, Freedom of thought, Freedom of religion, Islam, The popular interpretation, the documents of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is necessary to state that the concepts have been stated in the orders that are to be paid to in the article. Freedom: The right of man to act and think in all areas as long as his actions does not deprive the right of others and does not lead to the breach of the public peace or order. Idea: The collection of viewpoints, opinions, beliefs, and impressions that each individual has concerning existence, society, history, man, religion, culture, and etc. Every opinion from the viewpoint of the person who holds it is correct, honest, useful, and superior, while it can be considered as void, delusive, destructive and unlikely to others. Religion or Creed: A kind of idea, a collection of viewpoints man, the physical and the metaphysical world, ethical manners and practical rules that the believer is to prosper eternally through faith and the deeds that have been brought tot man by the prophet. Freedom of thought: The right to choose and adhere to any idea. The right to think, believe, expression, teaching and promoting, and acting on the beliefs long as his action does not deprive the right of others and does not lead to the breach of the public peace or order. Freedom of thought is realized when the beliefs of a person does not lead to the deprivation of his individual and social rights no matter what they are. Freedom of religion: The right of man to choose any religion. The right to faith, expressing the religion and religious beliefs, and freedom to practice the rituals, teaching the religion to the children and the religious and promoting the religious teachings in the society, putting up shrines, abandoning faith and abandoning the religion (apostasy), abandoning the religious acts, and questioning the religious teachings, as long as his religious acts does not deprive the right or the freedom of others or does not breach the public peace or order. Religious freedom is realized when the religious of the individual what ever that it may be is not considered a crime and does not lead to the deprivation of his individual and social rights in this world. Islam: Faith in God, resurrection and the prophecy of Mohammad the son of Abdullah as the last prophet of God. Koran- the collection of holy revelations to his prophet-and the practice of the prophet the promise, the deeds and the saying s of the prophet- are the two main resources of Islam. Sunni and Shiite are the great creeds of Islam. Shiite means that after Koran and the prophetic tradition, and the interpretation of the household of the prophet of Koran and tradition it is taken as the third main religious resource. Sunnis do not officially believe in anyone else except the prophet himself as innocent, even though in their religious beliefs they observe in the deeds of the household of the prophet. The popular interpretation of religion: The dominant understand of Koran and tradition that is often found in the judgment of scholars and orators, and has generally become the consuetude of the intellectuals in the world of Islam, and the historical deeds of the Moslems is also in concord with it, and it can be taken as traditional. In societies that the Islamic rule is sovereign the official interpretation is often as mentioned. Some modern faithful thinkers have questioned this kind of interpretation in the last century. These teologists have a different interpretation of Koran and tradition (and the manners of the household of the prophet in Shiite). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: The international declarations, pacts, and protocols that have been legislated, with different dimensions, by the member states in the last half of this century (the majority of all the states) and are taken as universal criterion. The signatory states of these documents can sign these conditionally or absolutely or with a set condition. The most important documents of he Universal Declaration of Human Rights concerning the freedom of thought and religion are: Articles 2,18,19,26(sections2&3),29(section2)of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles2(section1),18,19,and 20of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Section Two: Freedom of religion and belief in the popular interpretation of Islam: When we come to religion people can be divided in to three groups: 1) The Moslems 2) The Jews, the Christians, and the Zoroastrian and 3) The Heathen. The popular interpretation of Islam has different judgments for each group. We would first refer to the most original sources concerning these judgments, and then we would pay to its proof. The first group: The Moslems The Moslems are free to openly practice their religion, express their religious beliefs, practice their rituals alone in groups, teach religion to their children and all believers the rituals of Hajj and sacrifice, advertise and promote the religious teachings in society and build mosque. They have the right to critic all other religions and reveal its shortcomings and shoe the supreNawaaty of Islam. Nobody has the right to force a Moslem to leave his religion with duress or to prevent him from the religious ceremonies. There is a consensus in this and there are no differences in this area. Yet in the following judgments freedom has not been considered: A Moslem is not free to change his religion, for example become a Christian or a Buddhist and or become an atheist. A Moslem who for any reason leaves his religion, or in other words becomes an apostate would be severely punished. The child of a Moslem who has chosen to become a Moslem after maturity and then has become an apostate-which means a inborn apostate-would have the following sentence: 1) His repenting and Islam are not apparently accepted 2) Would be executed 3) His wife would be separated from him without divorce and would get the period of abstention in the case of husband’s death (three consecutive menses) 4) His property would be divided among his heir. The repenting of a child whose parents have not been Moslems yet has chosen Islam after his maturity and then has become an apostate (a national apostate) would be accepted. If he repents and brings Islam until the end of the third day then he would be spared otherwise he would be executed. And as soon as he becomes an apostate his spouse would be separated from him without divorce. _ For a Moslem woman who becomes an apostate her spouse would be separated from her without divorce and the period of abstention in the case of divorce (three consecutive menses) would be necessary. And her repenting would be accepted .If she repents she would be spared otherwise her sentence would be life imprisonment with forced labor until she repents or dies [2]. Therefore for a Moslem who becomes an apostate and does not agree to return to Islam if he is a man he would be executed and if she were a woman she would be sentenced to life-imprisonment with forced labor. A Moslem is not free to deny the affair that in the religious custom has been appointed to Islam because he has other opinions. If a Moslem denies an affair that in the religious custom of the time is indispensable to religion and as a result denying, the religion or the prophet go under question then even if he counts himself as a Moslem, he would be taken as an apostate and he would be sentenced as an apostate [3]. The new impressions of some of the Islamic scholars of some religious judgments can easily come under the mentioned case, as through history charging people with apostasy and infidelity has not been few [4]. A youth whose both parents or one of them has been a Moslem is not free to choose another religion other than Islam after maturity. If he does not become a Moslem for any reason he would be considered as a national apostate and he would be sentenced accordingly, meaning that he would first be asked to repent and if he does not accept depending on whether he is a boy or a girl he would be either sentenced to death or life-imprisonment with forced labor, and the end of the sentence would be determined either by death or repenting [5]. A Moslem is not free to abandon the religious incumbents or to do things that are prohibited by the religion. If he does this intentionally and with knowledge he would be punished and the punishment would be given by the Sharia judge[6](The best example would be the punishment of whipping). The second group: The adherent to one of the other four recognized religions (Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism) Apparently the Subea (A sect that is between Christianity and Judaism) is also put in this group [7]. The other infidels are not in any way considered in this group [8]. It is necessary for the Moslems to fight with the adherent to one of the other four recognized religions so that they would choose one of the two ways: To bring Islam or by paying tribute accept the humiliation of accepting the obligations and go by the special laws that has been made for them. If they accept the conditions then their lives, property, and women would be safe. The religious leader would set the amount of tribute and the conditions would be as he sees fit. If it would lead to them becoming a Moslem they would have the right to practice their religion openly and to express their religious ideas. With the permission of the religious leader they would be able to keep their shrines and to practice their religious ceremonies either alone or in groups, and teach the religious affairs to the people of their religion. They can leave their religions and bring the permissible religions (in their own religion) changing their religion to Islam in any condition would be possible. They can leave their religious practices and critic their own religious teachings. The judgments of the followers of the Zoroaster, Moses and Christ who after entering the agreement with the head of the Islamic government acquire rights and obligations under law in following cases is against the freedom of religion and ideas: They are not free to train their children in a way that they would adopt the religion of their parents, meaning that they can not forbid their children to go to Islamic gathering and propaganda centers, they are obligated to leave them alone so that they can choose their own way and it is obvious that the way that is correspondent with the inborn nature of the child, Islam, would be chosen [9]. They are not free to build churches, synagogues, monastery, or a temple of fire [10]. They are not free to advertise and promote their religion and weaken the faith of the Moslems. Spreading their ideas is forbidden [11]. They cannot critic the Islamic teachings. They cannot openly practice what is permissible in their religion yet it is at the same time prohibited in Islam [12]. They are not free to change to any other religion (like Christianity, Judaism, or Zoroastrism) except Islam, otherwise they would be killed [13]. They don’t have the permission to stay in the Islamic community if they don’t go through with their obligations. In that they can go to a safe location or the religious leader has the right to kill them, slave them or get ransom from them are two opinions [14]. The third group: The others The non-Moslem whether he is a Christian, Jew or a Zoroastrian or not that have not accepted the mentioned obligations and the other heathen are considered infidels deserving to be fought against. It is indispensable that they would be presented with Islam. If they accept then there is no problem but if they don’t accept then the holy war against them would be indispensable [15]. Their wives and children would be slaves and all of their property and land would be confiscated as plunder [16]. Even though the well known view point of the Shiite scholars impermissibility of the preliminary holy war is for the time of absence [17] but today the permission of the preliminary holy war for the time of absence is also one of the important opinions [18]. Therefore the non-Moslem not paying tribute who does not accept Islam does not basically have the right to live, and it is needless to say that he would be deprived of other rights as well, therefore the judgment for the infidels is completely in contrast with freedom of religion and belief. With a look at the judgments for the three groups we can conclude that if the popular interpretation gets more power the freedom of religion and belief would practically be out of the question. Through the discussion that was had I don’t think that there is any doubt that the popular interpretation does not reflect freedom of religion and belief. And now very briefly we would pay to the most important documents of the above judgments. From the above judgments from every section we would choose a judgment and then we would analyze its most crucial reason. The three judgments that have been chosen are: 1) the death sentence for an apostate Moslem 2) the tribute for the followers of Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrism, and 3) the infidel who does not pay tribute and him not having the right to live. The documents for the heavy punishment of an apostate Moslem are some traditions. The Sunnis refer to this tradition of the prophet that states: “Kill any one who changes his religion” [19]. One of the documents for the punishment of the natural apostate is the valid tradition of the Amar Sabati. I heard Imam Sadegh stating that: Any Moslem who leaves Islam and denies Mohammad’s prophetic mission and accuses him of falsehood, his blood is permissible for who ever that has heard him and his spouse is to be separated from him from the day of his apostasy and his property is to be divided among his heirs, and his wife would get a period of abstention that is for the husband’s death (4 months and 10 days) and it would be a necessity for the Imam to kill him and not accepting his repentance [20]. Among the evidences for the punishment of a national apostate is the authentic tradition by Ali-ebn-Jafar to his brother Abel-Hassan. It has been said that Imam Musa-ebn-Jafar has stated that: I inquired him about a Moslem that had become a Christian and he said that he would be killed and his repentance would not be accepted. I asked him that if a Christian becomes a Moslem and then becomes an apostate then what is to be done? He stated that his repentance would be accepted and if comes back to Islam nothing but if he doesn’t then he would be killed [21]. Among the evidences that are referred to for the punishment of women is the authentic tradition of Imad. I asked Imam Sadegh about an apostate Moslem. He stated that she would not be killed, would be given hard labor and would be deprived of any nourishment or drinks except that which is necessary to keep her alive, and she is to be worn rough clothes and would be beaten at the times of pray [22]. One of the most important evidences for the judgment concerning the followers of Zoroaster, Moses and Christ who after entering into agreement with the head of the Islamic government acquire rights and obligations under the law is this Koranic verse: “Fight the followers of the book whop don’t have faith in god and resurrection and do not pay attention to the things that are prohibited by god and his prophet through religion, and do not practice the just religion, fight until they pay tribute with their own hands with humiliation [23]. The most important evidences of the infidels who do not pay tribute are: Fight all heathen as they fight you [24]. And at the end of the Hiram month, kill the infidels where you find them and take them as prisoners and siege them and prey for them everywhere, and then if they start to pray and repent and pay religious tax (Zakat) let them be free, that God is kind and merciful [25]. Fight with them (The infidels) until there is no evil and there is Godly religion everywhere. And if they let go god is observant of their thoughts [26]. Pondering in the above evidences shows that the popular interpretation of Islam has considerable evidences in denying the freedom of thought and religion in the holy book and the tradition. The critical analysis of these evidences will come in the fourth chapter. Section Three: Freedom of religion and thought as a merit In this section we are to analyze freedom of thought and religion rationally, without using any narrative schemes. First we would endeavor to create the thinking atmosphere of the deniers of the freedom of religion and thought and then through it’s criticism we would pay to proving the freedom of thought and religion as a merit and a positive element. The subject of freedom of religion and thought is not comparable with the subjects of pray and seizure so that its merits and demerits be veiled to the human mind. Therefore it can be talked about. Without a doubt, anyone who has rendered a judgment in this area has definitely done so after evaluating the costs and the benefits. The religious scholars, the orators and the decision makers are not an exception .One who gives a religious injunction against the freedom of religion and thought, no doubt have evaluated the cost and disadvantages, and the evils of freedom and one who stresses on the freedom of religion and thought for sure knows the advantages, good and the benefits of it. If the problem of freedom of thought and religion is a rational on e then before analyzing the rational judgments-that would definitely refer to the intellect as the final resource-solve the issue in the realm of intellect and reason. Other than being an issue that is not concerns of pray and being a rational issues the freedom of thought and religion is a question that has a history that is more ancient than religion. It is prior to choosing of the religion and idea. Through accepting that religion is chosen and an idea is selected. How can a religion that wants its followers to research and accept a religious idea with the help of reasoning and analysis and considers copying in the area of belief as null deny the freedom of religion and thought? The result of a research cannot be imposed before it is done. This that we say that the people are free to research through religions and ideas but they must definitely choose Islam is an incomplete statement. If they are free then the result cannot be determined beforehand and if the result has been determined beforehand and they have no choice but to accept it then they are not free. What is the difference if an individual has been born in a Moslem family and has been matured in an Islamic society and therefore is a Moslem and that one has been born in a Christian family, has matured in a Christian society an as a result he is a Christian? Good and operative ideas are the choices are for conscious individuals. How can a religion that denies the freedom of religion and thought expect freely choose it and when they do their freedom be taken away from them? Unfortunately the subjects of freedom of religion and thought have not been paid to as an individual issues. Therefore its framework and ways has not been clearly drawn. Therefore it is natural that in the interpretation of some judgments like the punishment of an apostate, the conditions that are to be accepted by the followers of Moses, Jesus and Zoroastra, and the infidel not having the right of life if he does not accept those conditions enough attention has not been paid to the common religious rules and the fundamentals of religion. Critic on the presuppositions of denying the freedom of thought and religion - First: The possibility of the realization of a closed society. Meaning that the cultural atmosphere of a society can be controlled in a way that no unwanted judgment contaminates the general atmosphere, and the people not being informed of the null ideas and religions in order to be influenced or deviate from the right path. - Second: The effect of heavy punishments for the cause of reforming the society. The nature of man is in a way that it must be kept away from the null by force, violence and applying pressure, otherwise, meaning that if he is free he would be deviated from the right path and demons would be in control of his life. If leaving Islam would have a death sentence then no one would feel like apostasy. If the followers of the holy books feel the humiliation if one who has to pay tribute then they would become Moslems, and if the infidels are to choose between death and Islam then they would surely choose the latter. Generally speaking there is no other way if the right religion is to dominate the world. - Third: Completely forbidding propaganda. Human-beings are in a way that if they are exposed by the propaganda of various ideas and religions they would easily be deviated from the right path and would be influenced by the evil forces and would lose their religion and creed. The only way that people would be able to keep their religion is to forbid the advertising of other religions and ideas otherwise there is no guarantee that people would be faithful to their religion. - Fourth: Predicting any heavy punishments in the case of this special religion having rough clashes with other ideas and religions. In the last millennium religions and ideas have had hostile contacts with each other, therefore these kinds of judgments have been particularly Islamic and have been popular in the ancient world and as a result they have never been taken as a wrong or something to be ashamed of. - Fifth: The obligation to spread an exoteric, and superficial Islam: It is clear that fear of death or escaping tribute and st6aying as a Moslem for the fear of death sentence of an apostate is in concord with the superficial Islam, but we have no reason to believe that it would lead to a real inner Islam. Even though it is difficult to imagine that these judgments would strengthen the faith, and moral and the penetration of the real religion. Now don’t the religious scholars have a duty to see to it that religion has affected the very core of the society? There is no doubt that the mentioned judgments are in concord with the five principles above, yet the authenticity and completeness one each and every one of them is disputable. I quickly point to them and pass. 1 : The fast and astonishing progress of technology in the field of communication has made the realization of a closed society impossible. Whether we want it or not general information about religions and ideas is accessible through the language of their owners. 2 : Even though heavy punishments and terror is very much effective in apparent acceptance yet it has a negative effect when it has to be accepted by the heart. We must evidently reconsider our anthropology. Man must be trusted, he accepts right in free conditions, and the important thing is that he should be informed and that he can choose freely. 3 : In today’s world, a hostile, and violent encounter with the religions and ideas has no place and these kinds of judgments cause general hatred and repellence toward that idea and are not attractive. 4 : If something for example causes a decrease in faith and religion authentically, considering that the aim of the religions is inner change how can we consent to such affair? Intellect and its stand towards the freedom of religion and idea After a short introduction and critic of the fundamentals of the denial of freedom of religion and thought we would pay to the explanation and interpretation of what intellect dictates concerning this matter. 1. Idea and religion are affairs that are chosen, or left freely by the people. Choosing s certain idea or religion are based on reasons and preludes that with their realization the idea is accepted, and with out it the idea is discarded. If the reasons and the preludes of the idea are present, force and pressure can never take that idea away from a person or change it, and if the reasons and preludes are not present, force and pressure can never create it. That which is created with force and pressure is only a fake idea and no more. 2. It is clear that all ideas and religions present in human societies do not all enjoy the same validity and justification, and in addition there is no doubt that some of these religions are null nevertheless some people have faith in these religions that we consider as null. The best way to change and reform the null ideas is convincing their believers, and convincing cannot be done but in a free atmosphere. If they didn’t accept we don’t have a duty that is more than that. Meaning that we are not let to make them accept our religion with force and pressure. Deprivation of freedom of thought and religion would lead to the acceptance of a certain idea or religion. Force and terror in the case of religions and ideas would make them go underground and it being hidden but it would not do away with it altogether. Till man sees a benefit in a certain religion like well-being or something that takes heals their pain in this world or a thing that is to lead them spiritual summits they would not let go of it. The durability of any idea in history points to the benefit that it has bright for its believers. Man is very strict in changing his idea specially if it is a religious one, this change comes when they are convinced and not ewhen they are forced. 3. Then we can say that the world is a place that one is put through test. Man is free to choose between the different religions and ideas in this world, a choice that might be right or wrong, just or null, and based on our idea he would clearly see the result in the other world. If man was to choose the right religion by force or if there were conditions that made anything but the right path impossible (otherwise he would be killed) God would be the first to be entitled to such a right and could have created man as theangelsandmaketheirworldastheirswithoutanycontrastofrightandwrong. Then whatwould be the meaning of the punishment of the wrongdoers and the awards given to the pious and the good in the other world? 4. The abundance of ideas among the people is inevitable. At least history of man up to now shows this. Deprivation of freedom and religion in such abundance would lead to discord, deceit and hypocrisy. The believers of the forbidden religions, ones that could even be sentenced to death or would be deprived of many of their legal rights if they express their idea, have no other way but to act as they believe in the dominant religion. Hypocrisy destroys faith, and with multiplication of hypocrites a society that is based on faith cannot be founded. The spread of hypocrisy and discord is the inevitable result of deprivation of freedom of religion and thought. 5. Many of the religions and ideas introduce themselves as the most complete, best, and last religion or idea and their believers believe this claim. There is no doubt that in the other world these ideas would be tested and just would be cleared from the unjust, but in the world it is centuries that every religion has based its reasoning on this great claim and this has apparently not been able to convince others. If any possessor of an idea or religion that claims to have the most complete, the most perfect, and the only acceptable idea or religion forbids other religions and only gives freedom to the followers of his religion (without letting them change their religion) then the religious societies would be closed and the secular areas would become open societies. The most perilous situation for a religion is to be put in a closed atmosphere and society that would stop its growth, and development, and would lead to its impeding. The followers of such religions and ideas as soon as they are put in a free atmosphere lose their religion and idea, or their faith would become weak. 6. The prohibition of freedom of religion and idea even in that religion and idea would lead to a kind of formal inflexibility and would make any innovation and ijtihad extremely difficult. Sentencing as an apostate, infidel, or heathen is the fruit of such societies, and its result is the deprivation of society of the judgment of its most powerful intellectuals. 7. If the followers of a religion or idea don’t give freedom to the followers of other religions and ideas (even not giving their own followers the freed to change their religion) and then it is retaliated and others choose the same means and limit or deprive the followers of this religion or special idea, outside of the dominion of this religion and special idea, who is the one that gets hurt? Other than this religion and special idea? 8. The disadvantages and the demerits of the prohibition of the freedom of religion and idea is to the point that in case of being informed no wise man would ever accept it. The scholars that have issued the judgments of the prohibition of freedom of religion and ideas have imagined that this way the good of religion and its ways would be considered more, there is no doubt that if they are also put in such an atmosphere they would reconsider. It is very likely that the possibility of the youth and children from the right path can be pointed to as one of the evils of the prohibition of the freedom of religion and ideas. It is obvious that education and advertisement among the children and the youth has its rules and that the parents have the main role in the religious teachings of their children. In addition all the activities of the followers of other various religions and ideas in a free society is regulated by the law and no religious and faithful person doesn’t have the right to disregard the rights and the legal freedoms of an others, or public order using the excuse that he is practicing his religion. 9. Religions and ideas that have a strong and rational base don’t fear their presence in the arena of freedom of religions and ideas. It is clear that religions and ideas with a weak base fear competing in the arena of ideas and thoughts and make-up for their weakness by declaring war on the freedom of religion and thought. 10. This viewpoint that it should be differentiated between the freedom of thought and the freedom of idea and accepting the freedom of thought because of it being sound and the denial of the freedom of idea because of the possibility that some rational ideas may not be correct is not acceptable [27], since thinking is not in need of justification from an authority and can not in general possible to forbid it so that by the promise of the freedom of thought we can make him indebted. The thing that is disputable is the expression of idea and acting on the basis of that idea. Therefore differentiating between thought and idea is not the solution to our problem. Because who would think of his idea as null and not good? A person who differentiates in such a way is put in the group of the people that deny the freedom of thought and idea. Therefore it can be concluded freedom of religion and thought rationally speaking is goo and positive through the viewpoint of the sages, therefore it is pleasant and beneficial. …………………… Footnote: 1 This paper was read in international congress of human rights and the dialog of civilizations in Tehran , may 6, 2001. Translated from Persian to English by Arash. Khalatbari 2 The above judgments are based on the religious injunctions of Shiite scholars for example refer to: Imam Rouhollah Khomeini, Tahrir ol’vasile, Ketab ol’ers, Mavane ol’ers, Al’Kofr, problem 10,ch2, pgs.366&367 and Ketab ol’Mahdood, Algol Fi Ertedad, Problem 1,ch2, pg.494 Ayatollah seyyed Abolghasem Khoi, Mabani Takalomat ol’Menhaj, Al’Ertedad, ch.1pgs.324&327 and problem 271,pg.330. By hard labor it is meant getting beaten at the time of pray, harsh forced labor, being deprived of drinking and eating more than it is necessary and being worn rough cloths (Mabani Takalomat ol’Menhaj Ch.1 pgs.331&332). The Sunni scholars don’t have a consensus about the killing of an apostate in the case of repenting, Only Hanfieh know the punishment of the woman apostate as imprisonment with hard labor until she brings Islam, in addition they know repenting as permissible and not mandatory. For example refer to Al’Daktour Vahbata Zahili, Al’Fegh ol’ Islami Ve Adlate.ch.6, pgs.183-193 3 Ayatollah Seyyed Kazem Tabatabai Yazdi, Al’Arvate Al’Vasge, Ketab ol’Taharat, Fi al’Nejasat, Al’Samen, ch.1, pg.67. Tahri ol’Vasile, Ketab ol’Taharat, Fi bayan ol’Nejasat, Al’Asher, vh.1, pg.118. Menhaj ol’Salehin, Ketab ol’Tahare, Al’Ayan ol’Najesat, ch1, pg.109. For sample religious injunctions of the Sunni scholars refer to: Al’Fegh al’Islami Ve Adelate ch.6pg.183. 4 The judgment of excommunication for the biggest Islamic scholars whether sophist or philosopher like Avisina, Sohrevardi, Sad ol’Moteahelin, Mohiedin ebn Arabi and even recently in between the scholars Sheikh Hadi Najm Abadi (Known as Mokafer) are small samples that represent a whole bigger group. 5 Refer to Tahrir ol’Vasile, Ketab ol’ Hodood, Al’ghole Fi Ertedad, problem 4,ch2, and pg.495. 6 Mabani Takalomat ol’Menhaj, problem 282,ch.1, pg.337. Dar Tahrirat ol’ Vasile (Forou Had ol’ Ghasf, Al’Khames, ch.2, pg477.) Not doing that which is by religion necessary and committing that by religion has been forbidden are included in punishments that have maximum and minimum if they are considered as great sins 7 Menhaj ol’Salehin, ch.1, pg.361&391, Ketab ol’Jahad, problem 62.. 8 Previous 391/1 and Tahriret ol’ Vasile, Tatamat Ketab ol’Hodood, Ahkame Ahle Zamme, problem 2,ch2, pg.497. 9 Menha ol’Salehin, Ketab ol’Jahad, problem 81,ch 1,pg.397. 10 Tahrir ol’Vasile, Sharaet ol’Zemme, Al’ Sades, ch. 2,pg.502.,Menhaj ol’Salehin, Ketab ol’Jahad, problem 85,ch.1, pg.399. 11 Tahrir ol’Vasile, Ketab ol’Hodood, Foroue Ahkame Ahle Zemme, Alrabe, ch.2, pg.507. 12 Tahriat ol’Vasile, Ketab ol’ Houdoud, AL’Sani Men Forou el’Ahkame Ahle Zemme, ch.2, pg.506, Mehnaj ol’ Salehin, Ketab ol’Jahad, problem 80,ch.1, pg.397. 13 ] Tahrir ol’Vasile, Ketab ol’hodood, Al’Aval Men Foroue el’Ahkamme Ahle Zemme, ch 2, pg.506. 14 Men Haj ol’Salehin, Ketab ol’ Jahad, problem 82, ch.1, pg.398, Tahrir ol’ Vasile, Sharaet ol’ Zemme, problem 8, ch.2, pg. 503. 15 Men Haj ol’Salehin, Ketab ol’ Jahad, ch.1, pg.360. 16 Mne Haj ol’Salehin, Ketab ol’Jahad, Al’Ghanaem, ch.1, pgs.379-381. 17 Tahrir ol’Vasile, Ketab ol’Amre Be Marouf Ve Nahye As Monker, Khotam, problem 2,ch.1pg.482. 18 For example refer to: Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Momen Ghomi, Kalamate Sadideh Fi Masael Jadideh, Kalamate Fi al’Jahad el’Ebtedai,pg. 315-358, and Ayatollah Khoii, Menhaj ol’Salehin, Ketab ol’Jahad, ch.1,pgs. 364-366. 19 Neil ol’Vetar, ch. 7,pg.90. 20 Al’Kafi, ch. 7, pg.287, tradition 11,Men la Yahzarol Faghih, ch.3, pg.98, tradition 333,Al’Tahzib, ch 10,pg.136, tradition 541, Al’Estebsar, ch.4, pg 283, tradition 957, Vasaelat ol’ Shiite, Abvab Had ol’Mortad, section 1,tradition 3,ch.28, pg.324. 21 Al’ Kafi, ch.7, pg.287, tradition 10, Al’Tahzib, ch.10, pg.138, tradition 548,Al’Estebsar, ch.4,pg 254,tradition 963, Vasael Al’Shiite,Abvabehade ol’Mortad,section 1,tradition 5,ch.28,pg.325. 22 Al’ Tahzib, ch.10, pg.143, tradition 565, Men layahzarol’Faghih,ch. 3, pg.89, tradition 335, Vasael ol’Shiite, Abvabe Had ol’Mortad,section 4, tradition 1, ch.28,pg.330. 23 Tobeh Chapter, Verse 29. 24 Tobeh Chapter, Verse 29. 25 Tobeh Chapter, Verse 5. 26 Enfal Chapter, Verse 39. 27 Professor Martyr Motahari, A book about the Islamic Republic, 87-136 and a book about the Islamic revolution pgs.6-22.
  5. (bismillah) (salam) I am from the sect of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
  6. (bismillah) (salam) I don't believe in these enchanting hadeeths without any basis. I also don't believe in the return (or the birth) of a super-powered man called al-Mahdi. Thanks May Allah bless our souls
  7. (bismillah) (salam) Maybe this is the reason why he is so anti-Israel so that nobody can assume or calls him of being a jew in 'taqiya' (Taqiya exists also for Jews) A very zionist tactic. Thanks May Allah bless our souls
  8. The paper, Akhbar Al-Khaleej, or "Gulf News," was shut down as it was about to to print late Sunday night and is to remain shut until further notice, a note on the paper's website explained. The AFP news agency reported that staff at the newspaper said the action followed the publication on Sunday of an article on Iran in which a female member of Bahrain's Consultative Council, Samira Rajab, came down hard on the Iranian government and suggested that Ahmadinejad was Jewish. Rajab wrote: "In a televised live debate between Mehdi Karroubi and Ahmadinejad, Karroubi took a jab at Ahmadinejad's origins and said 'my full name is Mehdi so and so Karroubi' so what is your full name?'" Rajab went on to write that Ahmadinejad stated his name but failed to mention his "real" surname "which all Iranians know to be Jewish and that is what Karroubi was trying to get at." The question of Ahmadinejad's origins have been raised before by the son of one of the republic's conservative Ayatollahs, Mehdi Khazali, who wrote on his website that the president had changed his family name form the originally Jewsih name Saborjhian. He grew up in a village near a small town in the desert. However, an accusation made by Mehdi Khazaali, the progeny of the prominent Ayatollah Ahmad Khazaali, may shed some light on Ahmadinejad's psychosis. Khazaali claims that Ahmadinejad's real family name is "Saboorchian," a Jewish name that he changed to "Ahmadinejad." Khazaali, naming a few other prominent leaders of the Islamic Republic as new converts to Islam from Judaism, questions whether a Jewish cabal has crept in and taken over the revolutionary government! As outlandish as Khaazali's claim seems to be, it has gone unchallenged. Link 1 Link 2
  9. A young man killed by Iranian Government men Very shocking
  10. Thanks brother for your message. (wasalam)
  11. (bismillah) (salam) Pdf files, see attachment Thanks May Allah bless our souls 14234_iranelection0609.pdf
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