Religion and politics
3 min read

Religion and politics

This is where it becomes tricky. What is moral authority anyways? How do we define moral authority? What are morals anyways? Do we derive them from religion? Do we derive them from what is popular?
Religion and politics

Throughout the history of all abrahamic religions, there is a singular pattern that emerges i.e. enabling the poor to rise against the ruler. Sure, the message starts from preaching the singularity of God, but the whole notion of singular God becomes a political movement when it starts preaching the ideas of human rights, thus destabilising the established political order. Ibrahim (AS) did it with Nimrod,  Moses (AS) did it to Pharaoh, Jesus (AS) died because he had upset the established political order and there was a risk of possible mutiny. Then there were Daud (AS)/Suleiman(AS), religious leaders being kings waging wars against tyranny and establishing the rule of law.  Yousuf (AS), being king to align an established political order to be more in line with enabling human rights. And in the end, there was Muhammad (PBUH), and he had to fight because Quraish were afraid that if they enable his radical ideas, their established supremacy amongst other arabian tribe would be hurt. Ibrahim (AS)/Moses (AS)/David (AS)/Suleiman (AS)/Muhammad (PBUH) had to fight wars. The question that needs to be asked here is, were the fights being fought just for religious reasons or were the fights fought to protect the political ideology that those radical ideas were bringing?  The whole point of penning my thoughts down is to address the notion being perpetuated that religion is has no place in the business of state. This is a radical idea that is inline with religious political movements of the past. US did this successfully and their gospel goes by the name of ‘constitution of united stated’ but what is that constitution anyways? A collection of ideas that enables the masses to pursue what was already preached by religions of the past in their original form i.e. human rights and equality of all human beings comes first. All the religions that has come before us did not become a political movement because it preached oneness of God, but because it enabled the masses to unite themselves under one umbrella and thrive for justice in an unjust society. The irony here, all those abrahamic religions rose against tyranny and other religions because the masses were being exploited by other religions. In case of Nimrod and Pharaoh, they were simply declared gods in their time, so nobody had the authority to question what they said. The movement in their times started because the only way to challenge their political authority was to challenge the divinity of these beings. In case of Quraish, Quraish were the custodians of laat, manaat and izzah, thus they drove their political power from religion as well. The had a council that drove their political authority and thus drove all the customs it had. All the religions started by challenging the divine authority be it an individual or a council. Why? Because in order to successfully rise against the tyranny and political authority, all the religious political movements started by challenging the nucleus from which they derived their political authority.The reason, we have a debate whether religion should be part of state business or not probably comes from the notion that ultimately the religious authorities become corrupt. The religious authority start pursuing all the wrong ends in order to maintain the hegemony instead of looking at the ideas that makes them successful in the first place. It is not like we do not have the precedent of religion authorities going bad. Strictly looking at Abrahamic religions, Yusuf/Moses/Imran/David/Suleiman/Jesus all acted as reformers, keeping the masses away from exploiting and going bad. So the ideas of corruption within religious authorities is not new in itself.That being said, if we look at the most popular form of modern political system i.e. democracy, it is often said, that the system works because the power is not driven from the religion but rather from the moral authority the figureheads enjoy over the masses it presides. This is where it becomes tricky. What is moral authority anyways? How do we define moral authority? What are morals anyways? Do we derive them from religion? Do we derive them from what is popular? Surely religion play some part in the popular ideas that some society holds. In the end, IMHO, the idea that we can completely decouple a religion from a political system is not workable, however some loosely coupled religious political system where we derive moral center from most religions in a particular society i.e  ideas about justice, equality and human rights but leave the rest out. But then again, i am no expert.