Limitations of Power in Islamic Political Thought Ana-Akim Islam Siyaset Düşüncesinde Iktidarin Sinirlandirilmasi


KAYAPINAR M. A.

Islam Tetkikleri Dergisi, vol.14, no.1, pp.121-148, 2024 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/iuitd.2024.1398630
  • Journal Name: Islam Tetkikleri Dergisi
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.121-148
  • Keywords: Islamic Political Thought, Limitation of Power, Political Power, Rule of Law, Tawhid
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

The model of good governance developed in mainstream (Ahl al-Sunna) Islamic political thought is predicated on the delicate balance between the limitation and consolidation of power, a fundamental concept observed across societies throughout history, including modern Western societies. However, in contemporary interpretations of the Ahl al-Sunna tradition, the crucial aspect of power limitation often receives scant attention, leading to a prevalent portrayal of the Islamic political model as inherently centralized and autocratic. We contend that this misreading primarily stems from neglecting the theo-political implications of the principle of "tawhid," a unique feature of Islam. Tawhid not only unequivocally rejects the deification of rulers or governance to consolidate power but also underscores the supremacy of divine law, which is rooted in Allah's absolute sovereignty. Consequently, it imposes moral and legal limitations on political power. This oversight prompts this article to critically evaluate mainstream Islamic political thought through the prism of tawhid, elucidating how political power is limited ontologically, epistemologically, legally, and morally within Islam.