The relationship between the sacred and temporal has been an enduring phenomenon throughout history. Both in ancient and medieval times, religion and the formation of society, including the politicization of religion into formal institutions, are intricately intertwined. The ‘divinity’ of the ruler and his unique closeness to a ‘higher power’ was often explicit and considerable attempts were made to legitimize authority based on such a rationalization. This was particularly true for West Asia. As a consequence, laws governing the temporal life of society were indistinguishable from laws pertaining to the rewards and punishments in the ‘afterlife’. On the other hand, the separation between the institutions of church and state, then, is principally a development of Western Christianity. This development was a consequence of the initial persecution of Christianity by the Roman administration. In other words, the growth and development of Christianity, in relation to the established political hierarchy, was a result of its isolation from the reins of power. The development of religion and society in Islamic history took a considerably different path. Islam’s relationship with its political leadership began on an entirely different premise. The Prophet Muhammad who was persecuted in Mecca became, in Medina, both the spiritual and temporal head of society. With that, it becomes clear that, in Muslim society, the establishment of the first political order coincided with political domination and empowerment. Of primary importance was the idea of the formation of a ‘faith-centric society’, or ‘Ummah’, based on the inter-connectedness of the world, truth and, ultimately, on the unity of God. This article examines the relationship between religion and society in Islam, by analysing the movement for Pakistan.
|Keywords:||Islam, Religion, Society and the Movement for Pakistan|
Assistant Professor of International Affairs, Department of International Affairs, Qatar University, Doha, Doha, Qatar