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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

 
Meet Imam Rauf's Books

Ibn Warraq concludes a two part series with a look at Rauf's chief writings.

I take issue with one passage:

In short, Islam and the United States Constitution represent totally different political theories. Under the latter, sovereignty lies with the will of the people; under the former, it lies with God. The U.S. Constitution emphasizes the rights of the individual, which no mythical or mystical collective goal or will can justifiably deny, whereas collectivity has a special sanctity attached to it under Islam.

Our nation's philosophical document is not the Constitution but the Declaration of Independence - and God is a central figure in the latter. The former outlines the powers of the federal government; the latter explains why the country sought independence.

The Declaration also casts God as the highest authority. It charges the British crown with violating the will of a greater sovereign, with a list of specific charges. The differences between our political philosophy and Warraq's portrait of Islam lie in perceptions of God's will.

The chief difference is that the God of the Declaration values all humans equally. The Allah that Warraq describes does not.

Second, American government's jurisdiction over God's will is limited to secular affairs; it has no regulatory authority over the relationship between the individual and the divine.

Third, the highest human political authority is the governed. Islam, according to Warraq, places the highest human authority elsewhere.

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