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The Golden Age: The Political Concept of Islam

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The Golden Age: The Political Concept of Islam

Ira M. Lapidus

A transformation from integrationist approach to the modern synthesis of Islam is quite interesting. The former, the prophetic period is considered as the true golden age of Islam. The prophet worked with both religious and political leaders and unified a fragmented and desperate society into a single community. In this community, there was no politics without religion. The second golden age of later Caliphs was a contradiction to prophetic concept; the society here existed not on the basis of religious norms but the political laws of the prevailing situation. The second period is a stage of secularism within the frame of imperial rule. A non-religious concept of political authority by decentralized governance was one of the peculiar characteristics of medieval Islamic rule. In the medieval period, religious authority was a separate institutional wing under the Ulamas and Sufis. The latter stage which is also the earliest stage of the modern era and the contemporary neo-Islamic liberal movements try to define Islam only in the context of golden age. The fundamental elements of these groups undermined the Islamic ideology and the authenticity of the true golden age of Islam. A modern synthesis of Islam was begun only after the First and Second World War and the nature of Islamic empires were liquidated and replaced by the national state. A true transformation from religious authority to secular identity, the role of religion was limited to the private realm. At present, Islam has a little role in modern national state and its role is only limited to civil society. In the contemporary world, the idea of integrationist Islam is only in the hands of the small community.



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