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The evolution of the concept of political participation in twentieth-century Islamic political thought

Araghchi, Seyed Abbas (1996) The evolution of the concept of political participation in twentieth-century Islamic political thought. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86095) (KAR id:86095)


The aim of the thesis is to identify the concept of political participation and its evolution as approached in the political thought of Muslim writers and intellectuals of the present century. The major question is: how the concept of political participation, as the manifestation of people's sovereignty in the Western liberal democracy, can be accommodated in, or coexist with, the divinely-inspired political theory of Islam in which sovereignty belongs unquestionably to God alone.

After some preliminary study of the related concepts, the thesis will consider the political ideas of a number of the most influential Muslim thinkers who represent the main streams of twentieth-century Islamic political thought. However, the thesis is interested in the ideas of no particular thinker in themselves. Rather, it seeks an evolution of a concept by looking at the whole body of thought in the current century. Different approaches to politics and government, and to the question of political participation in particular, are investigated in order not to judge the persons involved, but to find the extent in which the political role and power of the people have evolved in contemporary Islam.

In the final chapter I argue my overall conclusion of the studied cases. The conclusion maintains that the political thinking of twentieth-century Islam has tried, albeit in an uneasy manner, to extend the absolute sovereignty and the supreme authority of God to the people, to whatever extent is possible; to incorporate the popular institutions of Western democracy into the interpretation of the religion; and in a sense, to rediscover Islamic principles and values that would provide the basis for democratic institutions within the framework of the Islamic law. While the very foundation of the concept of democracy -liberalism- is rejected, its tangible appeals and advantages are more or less approved and sought after.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86095
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: #ethos, Political science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahai Faith. Theosophy, etc
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:28 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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