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In the Name of God بسم الله

Islamic Anarchism

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I was wondering how compatible do you think is Anarchism with Islam?

I ask on account I look at a lot of the political problems in the world, both with Muslims and non-Muslims and think that sometimes it would be better if more people just abandoned more aspects of formal leadership in favor of more nomadic self reliant lifestyles and I think some forms of Anarchism can serve as positive alternatives to many of the social and political problems of economic exploitation of some so called "higher class" individuals on the lower class individuals by just abandoning outright most social classes outright.

I'm a bit of a political pluralist, I think more than one form of government can work and have the right idea, but that no single form of government or political ideology can put into practice and expect to last forever. I think all forms of governing are subject to either deterioration or corruption and certain ones just aren't even good to put into practice to begin with. I think the goal should not be what one political system is the best but what one cycle of political systems is the best. I'm wondering if certain systems of anarchism could be a worthwhile part of the cycle of proper Islamic politics.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
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  • Veteran Member

I was wondering how compatible do you think is Anarchism with Islam?

I ask on account I look at a lot of the political problems in the world, both with Muslims and non-Muslims and think that sometimes it would be better if more people just abandoned more aspects of formal leadership in favor of more nomadic self reliant lifestyles and I think some forms of Anarchism can serve as positive alternatives to many of the social and political problems of economic exploitation of some so called "higher class" individuals on the lower class individuals by just abandoning outright most social classes outright.

I'm a bit of a political pluralist, I think more than one form of government can work and have the right idea, but that no single form of government or political ideology can put into practice and expect to last forever. I think all forms of governing are subject to either deterioration or corruption and certain ones just aren't even good to put into practice to begin with. I think the goal should not be what one political system is the best but what one cycle of political systems is the best. I'm wondering if certain systems of anarchism could be a worthwhile part of the cycle of proper Islamic politics.

completely incompatible. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was a politician and statesman, as was Imam Ali (as) , and that for a reason. Just because there is corruption in the world does not give us the right to abandon socio-political involvement and activism. We have a duty as muslim individuals to enjoin good and forbid evil in all its forms and according to our capacities.

We know which political system is the best, and its down to us to make sure that this political 'template' evolves to accomodate the needs of believers in all times.

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When in doubt if Islam and some XYZ European sociopolitical term are compatible or complementary, than the answer is likely no. Anything they have in common is pure coincidence.

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completely incompatible. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was a politician and statesman, as was Imam Ali (as) , and that for a reason. Just because there is corruption in the world does not give us the right to abandon socio-political involvement and activism. We have a duty as muslim individuals to enjoin good and forbid evil in all its forms and according to our capacities.

We know which political system is the best, and its down to us to make sure that this political 'template' evolves to accomodate the needs of believers in all times.

But why can't a Muslim just live independently without being the citizen of any government or nation? Afterall, the only leader you ever really need is God.

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The truth is that we don't have absolute answers as to details on running a state. However, we have basic but important ideas, as presented together in malik ashtar's letter and in other hadiths. Many of these principles support moderate govt involvement in people's lives, especially the poor and the middle class. I would place Islamic governance between socialism and capitalism. Except for a few things, the proper Islamic govt would be pretty close to western govts of today. Not too strict, not to soft. A fully fledged welfare state is not healthy, and extreme anarchism is likewise problematic.

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^ ^ ^

I just think one problem in the world is the over abundance of "borders." if you look at a globe or map of the world, the entire world is covered in "nations." There's little to no free and commonly owned land and so people are way too easily able to set up private ownership of natural resources and thus exploit other nations for money. I'm wondering if more people just abandoning any allegiance to any actual formal nation and returning to a nomadic lifestyle, where no one person or group of persons is one place for too long is a good idea to help solve this dilemma.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
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^ Though it might well have been possible in the pre-modern period when limitations of technology and economics made such an arrangement plausible, I don't think today we can think of living in a governtmentless society today.

To get a taste of how technology has aided in the governance of the people I remember a historian saying that the greatest Sultans of Ottomans Empire were not half in control of their people and lands (such as control of interest groups, of peoples' lives, oppression methods, of trade etc), which the tin pot dictators of the Middle East are of their people and society in this age.

Edited by Marbles
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I don't really have a problem with government or leadership when it is necessary. It's the attachment to unnecessary leadership. It's like when somebody is pressured to marry so much that they pick someone who will not be a good spouse who cheats, has mental issues, and does drugs out of desperation because they feel they have to be married. It's like: you would have been better off alone and taking care of yourself and it's not like you'll die if you don't get married. I feel people attach themselves to political leaders in a similar manner.

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I don't really have a problem with government or leadership when it is necessary. It's the attachment to unnecessary leadership. It's like when somebody is pressured to marry so much that they pick someone who will not be a good spouse who cheats, has mental issues, and does drugs out of desperation because they feel they have to be married. It's like: you would have been better off alone and taking care of yourself and it's not like you'll die if you don't get married. I feel people attach themselves to political leaders in a similar manner.

But then your description wouldn't fall into Anarchism, would it? You are perhaps suggesting the opposite of emotional or blind adherence to a system of governance or the leader(s). This is different from the inevitable situation in which governments put the masses under their powerful control, and there is no way out of it for the people unless the system of power collapses; which is the ultimate objective of Anarchist theory. Even if you don't necessarily attach yourself blindly to the leaders, you haven't yet found your objective of a free, government-less society.

Edited by Marbles
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(bismillah)

Muslims who fear and worship none but Allah have no reason to fear or obey any tin-pot Dictator or flabby King. Alhamdulillah. A true Mu'min accepts no other Government or Law except the Government and Laws of Allah.

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(bismillah)

Muslims who fear and worship none but Allah have no reason to fear or obey any tin-pot Dictator or flabby King. Alhamdulillah. A true Mu'min accepts no other Government or Law except the Government and Laws of Allah.

And this post reflects clearly that the poster has no idea about the topic under discussion.

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But then your description wouldn't fall into Anarchism, would it? You are perhaps suggesting the opposite of emotional or blind adherence to a system of governance or the leader(s). This is different from the inevitable situation in which governments put the masses under their powerful control, and there is no way out of it for the people unless the system of power collapses; which is the ultimate objective of Anarchist theory. Even if you don't necessarily attach yourself blindly to the leaders, you haven't yet found your objective of a free, government-less society.

Well, I think that with Anarchism, perhaps there could be more of a balance. If you ask me, there is too much land that has been conquered or cut up between political groups that when you leave the border of one country, you are always in another. I think if we had more land that was just free from any sort of distinction between various groups that was commonly owned, where no one could lay claim to it as "their land" and thus make it their right to it before another, conflicts between nations would calm down. Basically, a large commonly owned land that no one ethnic, religious, or political group can say is theirs, but is free for all to travel about within it. Neutral land, I suppose, that could serve as a place for people who have refused allegiance to any nation dwell as nomads. I think if certain tribes or just plain individuals could move towards a nomadic lifestyle with no physical territory as permanently their own, we'd have a much less hostile society.

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There is no such thing as Islamic Anarchism because we are commanded to Enjoin the Good and Forbid the Evil

It's not a society where anyone and everyone can do absolutely anything they please!

Furthermore, this is purely hypothetical and not practical unless you own your own private island that contains all the resources and luxuries you will ever need in your life and you decide to live on it by yourself, cutting yourself of from the rest of the world until death.

Under those circumstances, hypothetically yes.

Under Current day 'average' circumstances...No.

Edited by Glow
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Islam has a great emphasis on leadership while anarchism basically call for no leadership in any form -not only political-

also as Fink said , Islam didnt define a shape to its government , rather there are some principles that are strongly advised to follow , som we can find in modern day goverments like the constiturion , Prophet had the first constitution in islam known as Madina constitution , there is the rule of acceptance of the ruler by the people , this maybe seen in the attitude of imam ali by not accepting the bay'a of ibn Abbas in Saqifa , he said i dont take it behind close doors

Given the change in technologies we have , the current international situation of borders and the central governments , the official arrmy and many forms of governance that ddnt exist back then , those who calls for anarchism can cross many similarities with Islamic governance including that natural resources should not fall into capitalism - water energy and green natural resources in islam- the rule of teh dead land - any land that has no owner is the property of those who invest on it - the rule of teh army - islamically , no official army , it s when the needs call the army is formed ? << have no historic evidence that there was official army - and the fact that muslims do only follows Allah's command and those who follow Allah's command makes them in atheists eyes some anarchists authoritarians and sometimes anti social

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Anarchism in the general sense is all about chaos.

Pretty much anything goes (e.g. someone feels like killing their wife or some random stranger for no apparent reason, just for the heck of it).

Islam is an organized religion, it has a lot of structure and meaning to it.

IMHO, they seem like polar opposites.

So I doubt they can go hand to hand.

Though I understand the meaning of anarcho-communism, I think they should have found a better label for it lol.

Edited by ShiaBen
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Anarchism in the general sense is all about chaos.

Pretty much anything goes (e.g. someone feels like killing their wife or some random stranger for no apparent reason, just for the heck of it).

Eh... no.

Classic anarchism, also known as communist or social anarchism, is about building society without coercive hierarchy and capitalist economy, based on horizontal principles of mutual aid and direct democracy.

In fact, Ali Shariati's version of socialism is very close to anarchism, and there seems to be a pro-anarchist bent in Teleqani's ideas.

In the Sunni world, early Gaddafi was also close to anarchism; his Green Book contains many basic anarchist principles. Sheikh Bedreddin in 15th century Turkey created basically a large anarchist movement. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, an important Indian anti-British revolutionary, was another Muslim anarchist.

Anarchism has nothing to do with doing "whatever you want". If someone kills his wife for no apparent reason, he imposes his personal hierarchy over her, and may deserve to be killed by people's militia or by any member of the society for committing an act that goes against the most basic anarchist principle of freedom and equality.

Anarchists are against religion organized by coercive means, but they recognize people's right to practice religion personally or as a group. In fact, some of the most active European defenders of women's right to wear hijab are anarchists. Anarchists tend to like antinomian and individualist versions of religion, but it's not a basic anarchist principle, and there is a plenty of antinomianism and individualized spirituality in the history of Sufism and in various Shia sects.

I know quite a few Catholic and Protestant anarchists, and a couple of Muslim anarchists as well. As far as I understand, after reading Shariati, anarchism works with Shia beliefs particularly well, if this word is used in classic sense, as bottom-up horizontal socialism or communism.

Edited by Yoel
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No... Please spare us.

As I said, classic communist anarchism has nothing to do with chaos. Capitalism is chaos; Anarchy is order.

Muslim Anarchsim?

That isnt Islam anymore

Why so? Was Ali Shariati not Muslim? Is Muammar Qaddafi's "Green Book" incompatible with Islam? Were the revolutionary gatherings on Tahrir Square anti-Islamic?

Anarchism is the most radical form of revolutionary socialism. It's about factories being controlled collectively by workers and decisions made by people's general assemblies. Only some uneducated kids who call themselves "anarchists", for whatever reason, think of chaos and hedonism. Real anarchists think of class war and socialist revolution.

Edited by Yoel
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As I said, classic communist anarchism has nothing to do with chaos. Capitalism is chaos; Anarchy is order.

Why so? Was Ali Shariati not Muslim? Is Muammar Qaddafi's "Green Book" incompatible with Islam? Were the revolutionary gatherings on Tahrir Square anti-Islamic?

Anarchism is the most radical form of revolutionary socialism. It's about factories being controlled collectively by workers and decisions made by people's general assemblies. Only some uneducated kids who call themselves "anarchists", for whatever reason, think of chaos and hedonism. Real anarchists think of class war and socialist revolution.

You'd want to distinguish here though between so-called "left" and "right" anarchism, though wouldn't you? Between things like anarchocapitalism and anarchosocialism / anarchosyndicalism.

Overall, this is an interesting, and I would argue, timely topic. It's something I've thought about recently a lot, with the potential for the collapse of the modern nation state as an organizing structure seeming an increasingly possible trend down the line. Which leads to the question of what comes after.

Anarchocapitalist discussions of competing systems of private law and private dispute resolution organizations reminds me somewhat of the legal situation of the Muslim empire, where there were several parallel legal systems based on religious affiliation.

The battles you see in Western countries over whether and how much to allow religious arbitration courts in parallel to the existing legal system highlights the trends.

Voluntary communities, another concept related to anarchism, would arguably allow a framework for Muslims to choose to band together to live in communities that more truly allow them to live as they want to live.

Edited by kadhim
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You'd want to distinguish here though between so-called "left" and "right" anarchism, though wouldn't you? Between things like anarchocapitalism and anarchosocialism / anarchosyndicalism.

"Anarcho-capitalism" is mostly a North American phenomenon, though it has some adherents in other countries. All "anarcho-capitalists" who I've met by far preach some sort of neo-feudal society, where a few rich people would act like little local kings. I don't see how this may be called "anarchism".

In most European countries this distinction is unknown and anarchists are revolutionary socialists of various kinds. Different libertarian forms of Marxism like council communism and situationism are similar or practically identical to anarchism, though they don't use this term. Many of these leftist ideas were developed in France and Ali Shariati merged them with Islam.

Overall, this is an interesting, and I would argue, timely topic.

Very timely. The revolutionary Tahrir Square in Egypt was basically organized by anarchist principles, though the revolution didn't take this direction. There are also revolutionary anarchist elements in Tunisia, Syria and even in Gaza.

And I think the fact that Ali Shariati, who was a major inspiration for the Iranian revolution, was a libertarian socialist, demonstrates that this topic is relevant to Islam. Most people who argue against anarchism have no clue what this is all about. Leadership, for example, is consistent with anarchism, if the leaders are chosen by the people, may be immediately revoked by the people at any time, if they don't fulfill their duties, and perform a purely coordinating role while remaining equal in social rank to others.

Anarchocapitalist discussions of competing systems of private law and private dispute resolution organizations reminds me somewhat of the legal situation of the Muslim empire, where there were several parallel legal systems based on religious affiliation.

Perhaps. Medieval monarchies did not have large government hierarchies and might have been much less authoritarian than today's state. But that's minarchism (minimalistic state), not anarchism.

Voluntary communities, another concept related to anarchism, would arguably allow a framework for Muslims to choose to band together to live in communities that more truly allow them to live as they want to live.

Indeed, but I don't think US-style "an-caps" are the type of people who would provide such framework. Left-wing anarchist would. Some of them are, in fact, fans of Ali Shariati and many are actively supporting Muslim communities. Western protests against islamophobia are often organized by anarchists.

Edited by Yoel
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