Original Research

Revisiting Shari’ah, democracy and human rights in Nigeria

Williams O. Mbamalu
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 46, No 2 | a70 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v46i2.70 | © 2012 Williams O. Mbamalu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 July 2012 | Published: 13 December 2012

About the author(s)

Williams O. Mbamalu, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa

Abstract

This article argued that in a pluralistic and complex society such as Nigeria the invocation of Shari’ah (Islamic law) does not augur well for the survival of democracy. The traditional belief of every Muslim is that fundamentalism has been and must continue to be rooted in the concept of theocracy upon which the medieval institution of the Caliphate actually rested. Muslim political leaders challenge the agitation for a secular state in Nigeria as an inspiration by Christian theology based on Western European thought. This article argued that political and social progress in Nigeria is unrealistic without the separation of religion and politics. It was identified in this article that the separation of religion and politics does not go down well with Islamic eschatology and cosmology, because Islam’s main theological drive is toward an Islamic world empire. The solution offered in this article was that emphasis should be on ensuring that any legal framework or constitutional arrangement should be one that safeguards the interests of all citizens.

’n Blik op Shari’ah, demokrasie en menseregte in Nigerië. Hierdie artikel argumenteer dat, in ’n pluralistiese en komplekse samelewing soos Nigerië, die aanroeping van Shari’ah (Islamitiese wet) niks goeds voorspel vir die oorlewing van die demokrasie is nie. Die radisionele geloof van elke Moslem is dat fundamentalisme in die konsep van teokrasie, wat sy oorsprong in die  Middeleeuse instelling van die Kalifaat het, gewortel is en so moet bly. Politieke Moslemleiers beskuldig die Christelike teologie (wat op die Wes-Europese gedagte gebaseer is) as die oorsaak van die onrus as gevolg van die poging om ‘n sekulere staat in Nigerie tot stand te bring. In hierdie artikel is is ook geargumenteer dat politieke en sosiale vooruitgang in Nigerië nie moontlik is sonder die skeiding van godsdiens en politiek nie. Daar is ook bevind dat die skeiding tussen godsdiens en politiek nie by die Islamitiese eskatologie en kosmologie inpas nie, omdat die Islam se belangrikse teologiese oogmerk  ‘n Islamitiese wêreldryk is. Die slotsom van die artikel is die beklemtoning van die feit dat enige wetlike raamwerk of grondwetlike samestellings daarop gerig moet wees om die belange van alle burgers te beskerm.

Keywords

Fundamentalism; Theocracy; Democracy; Modern nation or state; Modernity, Modernised and Modernisation; Pluralism

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