Justice (al-‘adl) is one of the principal values of the Islamic faith. In Islam, Justice, and Democracy, Sabri Ciftci explores the historical, philosophical, and empirical foundations of justice to examine how religious values relate to Muslim political preferences and behavior. He focuses on Muslim agency and democracy to explain how ordinary Muslims use the conceptions of divine justice—either servitude to God or exercising free will against oppressors—to make sense of real-world problems.
Using ethnographic research, interviews, and public opinion surveys as well as the works of Islamist ideologues, archives of Islamist journals, and other sources, Ciftci shows that building contemporary incarnations of Islamist justice is, in essence, a highly practical political project that has formative effects on Muslim political attitudes. Islam, Justice, and Democracy compares the recent Arab Spring protests to the constitutionalist movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Middle East to demonstrate the continuities and rifts a century apart.
By putting justice at the center of democratic thinking in the Muslim world, Ciftci reconsiders Islam's potential in engendering both democratic ideals and authoritarian preferences.
"This impressive and innovative book enriches the study of Islam and democracy by demonstrating the need to incorporate conceptions and trajectories pertaining to justice to account for variance in individual-level political preferences. Ciftci makes intelligent use of survey data but also draws on the works of leading Islamist theorists and an insightful discourse analysis of Islamist texts. Islam, Justice, and Democracy is an outstanding mixed-method study.”
—Mark Tessler, Samuel J. Eldersveld Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, and author of Islam and Politics in the Middle East: Explaining the Views of Ordinary Citizens
“This original and captivating study provides a definitive, timely, instructive analysis about how the Islamic conception of justice as well as institutional and constitutional frameworks of legal practices and codes influence, shape, and motivate the citizen’s understanding of democracy, liberation, and rights. Ciftci’s book will be of particular interest to readers who seek to comprehend the role of religious ideas in daily practices, social movements, political networks, and acts of civil disobedience, as well as uprisings, insurgencies, and rebellions. He identifies the spectrum of conditions under which specific Islamic ideas are most likely to promote systems that portend to become either democratic or authoritarian. This is an insightful, timely book for addressing issues that often have not been as widely explored in depth as they must be in the current geopolitical environment.”
—M. Hakan Yavuz, Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah, and author of Islamic Political Identity in Turkey
"In Islam, Justice, and Democracy , Sabri Ciftci explores how Islamic conceptions of justice shape historical and contemporary Muslim political preferences on democracy.... Islam, Justice, and Democracy broadens the debate on the relationship between Islam and democracy in significant ways.... The book successfully bridges studies that focus on historical long-durée factors with a new burgeoning field of comparative political behavior in Muslim-majority settings.... Another major strength of the book is its successful utilization of multiple methodologies.... This theoretically and empirically rich book should be of great interest to students of Islamic studies, Middle East politics, contemporary Turkish studies, comparative religion and comparative politics."
—Politics, Religion, and Ideology
"Islam, Justice, and Democracy indeed is a unique work on many fronts. Ciftci has made a career being one of the rare Political Scientists to have a genuine concern with understanding the traditional Islamic worldview held by devout Muslims along with a solid grasp of recent Islamic political thought as well as the ability to apply rigorous empirical, mixed methodological analysis to the data he collects to analyze this worldview. This work is a continuation of this invaluable approach to Islam and politics."
—Politics, Religion, and Ideology
"(A) comprehensive account of how Muslim societies frame their understanding of democracy around social justice ideals within Islamic beliefs…. A major contribution to the research about these movements is that Ciftci concentrates on how the concept of justice is framed within Islamism…. Overall, Ciftci provides a focused and well-written account of Turkish experiences with democracy and justice."