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DOI 10.12887/33-2020-4-132-06

Marek M. DZIEKAN, Was the Prophet Muḥammad a King? Alī ʿAbd ar-Rāziq and muṣayṭir

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The article discusses some detailed aspects of the problem regarding the nature of the power granted to the Prophet Muḥammad, as seen in the context of the Quranic text and its interpretations made by its various commentators and scholars of Islam, beginning with the medieval period up till today. The focus of the analysis is the controversy over the term muṣayṭir (Quran, 88:22), and the scrutiny begins with a brief consideration of the nature of power in Islam, as expounded by Egyptian thinker ʿAli ʿAbd ar-Rāziq (1888-1966) in his controversial work Al-Islām wa-uṣūl al-ḥukm (Islam and the Foundations of Political Power). The opening part of the paper also comprises a presentation of the intellectual profile of ʿAbd ar-Rāziq and some introductory remarks on his book in question, as well as a translation of the extract from this work considered as crucial to the discussed problem. Then the term muṣaytir is analyzed, and the scrutiny is followed by a discussion of the problems the proper understanding of the concept involves, as seen in the light of the translations of Quran into various European languages, as well as numerous textbooks on Quran authored by scholars investigating Muslim political thought and active both in the West and in Islamic countries. The analysis in question demonstrates that translating separate phrases of the Quranic text outside their context results in complex semantic problems and, as such, might undermine the basic principles of the functioning of the Arab-Muslim civilization.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: ʿAlī ʿAbd ar-Rāziq, Islam, politics, political power, religious power, secularism, muṣayṭir, king

Contact: Katedra Bliskiego Wschodu i Północnej Afryki, Wydział Studiów Międzynarodowych i Politologicznych, Uniwersytet Łódzki, ul. Narutowicza 59a, 90-131 Łódź, Poland
E-mail: marek.dziekan@uni.lodz.pl
Phone: +48 42 6354232
ORCID: 0000-0003-0291-2997

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887