democratization from the
perspective of Islamic world view
The role of civil society versus state
in the Arab world
Ataul Huq Pramanik
Department of Economics, International Islamic University Malaysia,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Purpose – The issue of democracy and development interrelationship is very complex and
debatable. There does not seem to exist any automatic relationship between them and the purpose of
this paper is to analyse the relationships of democracy with civil society and development based on
Islamic World View.
Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical approach has been developed to examine how
stable democracies and sustainable human development can be attained only with a balanced
combination of the involvement of state and society to ensure socially most desired goods and services
based on the theory of choice. The empirical evidence is used to show how the democracy can be
promoted in terms of creating proper conditions that can empower the people to form civil society to
press for democratization, using self-expression values compatible to shura.
Findings – The paper concludes that democracy must be homegrown and cannot be implanted by
external forces by “Iraqi-style invasion”.
Originality/value – An original study on the interrelationship between state and civil society in the
Arab world, within the context of Islam.
Keywords Islam, Democracy, State, Civil society, Development, Arab world, Islamic world view, Shura
Paper type Research paper
The issue of democracy and development interrelationship is very complex and
debatable. There does not seem to exist any automatic relationship between them. This
relationship gets complicated when we take into account the political philosophy of
democracy contrary to its procedural manifestations in relation to the shura. This is
because shura represents a political philosophy of Islam that rejects Western liberalism
judged by the criteria of epistemological inquires of secular world view (SWV).
The empirical evidence suggests that the direct one-way causality, if any, exists only in
the long run. In fact, the epistemology of liberalism/capitalism encompassing
individual self-interest, sovereignty and methodological individualism differs from
participatory political philosophy of Islam based on epistemology of divine knowledge
within the context of Islamic world view (IWV).
In the light of the above this paper analyses the relationships of democracy with
civil society and development based on IWV. A theoretical approach has been
developed to examine how stable democracies and sustainable human development
can be attained only with a balanced combination of the involvement of state and
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