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Islam and the Foundations of Political Power

Ali Abdel Razek
Edited by Abdou Filali-Ansary
Translated by Maryam Loutfi

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Published in Association with the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

The first English translation of this controversial essay that challenged fundamental ideas about political power

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About the Author
A Tribute to Ali Abdel Razeq Amr Hamed
Preface, Abdou Filali-Ansary
Introduction, Abdou Filali-Ansary
Foreword, Ali Abdel Razeq
Book One: The caliphate and Islam
1: The nature of the caliphate
2: The status of the caliphate
3: The caliphate from the social point of view
Book Two: Islam and government
4: The system of power at the time of the Prophet
5: Prophecy and power
6: Islam: a message from God rather than a system of government
a religion rather than state
Book Three: The caliphate and the government throughout history
7: Religious unity and the Arab people
8: The Arab State
9: The nature of the caliphate

About the Author

Ali Abdelraziq came from a wealthy, landowning family that was politically active. He was educated in the traditional curriculum and graduated from Al-Azhar University in 1915 as an 'alim. He went on to travel to Britain and study at Oxford University for a short period and the then newly founded Egypt University. The outbreak of the World War interrupted his courses in politics and economics, compelling him to return to Egypt where he served as an Al-Azhar alim, a judge in the traditional Islamic Courts of Alexandria and as a teacher of Arabic.

Abdou Filali-Ansary is Director of the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations. He is author of several books including Is Islam Hostile to Secularism? and Reforming Islam? An Introduction to Contemporary Debates.


There could not be a more propitious time for this translation that - almost a century after its publication - raises issues still relevant to the governance of Muslim societies and authority.

- Azim Nanji, Stanford University

‘It is somewhat astonishing that Ali Abdel Raziq’s Al-Islam Wa Usul Al-Hukm, one of the most discussed and most significant books of early twentieth-century Egyptian, Arab, and Islamic intellectual history, should have gone so long without a translation into English. Its appearance, in Edinburgh’s ‘In Translation: Modern Muslim Thinkers’ series, is therefore especially welcome…Filali-Ansari’s introduction situates the work in its own context, particularly stressing its importance in sparking what might be seen as the first major ‘public-opinion’ controversy of modern Middle Eastern history.’

- James McDougall, Trinity College, Oxford, Journal of Islamic Studies

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