Talk:Anarchism and Islam

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Perhaps it would be better to whittle this down to elements which were more purely Anarchist and Musilm. Hakim Bey seems relevant but I'm not sure if he says he is Muslim. Yakoub Islam seems to fit the bill. And possibly a discussion of the Green book. But other elements seem to fit better in an article about liberal Islam, or revolutionary movements within Islam (e.g. Shariati) or leftist tendancies. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:58, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

NPOV tag[edit]

I am replacing the npov tag. While i initially thought that it's placement was vandalism/nonsense, I now realize that it was placed because the article reads like the script of an after-school special. This article needs to be cleaned up as well, and I will do as best as I can before I must leave the country this afternoon. --jonasaurus 17:12, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Clean up[edit]

I've added a lot of new stuff and I'll try to clean up the old text a bit (can be found under "Modern Muslim Anarchism and the Internet"). I'm interested in feedback. I've moved the stuff about Yakoub Islam to a new article and I've also removed the NPOV and cleanup tags, as the article looks much cleaner and more complete now. Funkybeat 03:50, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

The Kharijites[edit]

"Kharijites... believed that non-believers had no rights, and could be killed" this is non-sense what, if any, sorce is this from? The Kharijites respected the Dhimmi status of Jews and Christians even while they disagreed with the legitimacy of the islamic state and felt that opressive muslims could be killed; this is what led to a decline in their popularity. See Montgommery Watt's "formative period of Islamic thought" for more details.

Historical Anarchist Tendencies in Islam[edit]

As both Sunni and Shia strands of Islam developed into authoritarian ideologies,... Can this be elaborated? Sunni and Shi'a Islam developed in very different ways, with one the key differences being the Shi'a belief in a hereditary leadership while the Sunni believed leaders should be chosen through consensus. As far as I know, much of the anti-auhoritarian ideals of anarchism are actually compatable with Sunni tradition in Islam. --Yodakii 07:42, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

A good question, and perhaps the wording should be changed. What I meant was that many Muslims today, whether Sunni or Shi'a, live rather authoritarian lives, whether in family matters, or governmental policies. The selection of leaders is in itself an authoritarian act, as is the application of Sharia laws, common throuhout Sunni history. Wahabism is itself a part of Sunni Islam. You are right, many anarchist ideals are in fact compatible with Sunni tradition, but the way Sunni Islam is mostly practiced today is quite authoritarian. Of course, if you have insight which would help here, you are welcome to contribute. There are very few people who are familiar with both Islam and anarchism. Funkybeat 21:14, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

It seems important for the purposes of this article to differenciate between Islamic religious doctrine, or faith, and cultural tendencies in the "Muslim World." Wahaiyya is a good example of this. While backed up by specious passages from the Qur'an and the ahadith, Wahabi Sunniyya mostly comes from misunderstood writings of ibn al-Wahab, who himself was a reformer. His ideas caught on, but with folks who were mostly nationalists and conservative, I'll say, junkheads. The treatment of women, homosexuals, property and economics in, say, Wahabi Saudi Arabia are were much at odds with many many many passages from the Qur'an and the ahadith, not the least of which prohibits chargine interest on debt. They get around this by charging and "user fee on a sliding scale, dependent on time, for loans." But this is a historic cultural issue, not a doctrinal one.


Whoever has issues with neutrality should bring them up here so they can be discussed. Funkybeat 18:45, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Just a thought editors of Islam and anarchism may, or may not, find the article Christian anarchism helpful. Not in terms of content, just layout. --nirvana2013 09:10, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

This article has severe problems in terms of its tone and voice. At times it seems to attack Islam for its treatment of women, at others praises it for it compatability with Anarchism. It reads more like an argument for Islamic reform than it does an article about an existing undercurrent in Islam. As for the Christian anarchism article, that's as much of a mess as this one is. I agree that there should possibly be some sort of larger methodology for these types of articles, possibly a sub-set navigation bar for religious anarchism, but these two artcles, when set in comparison, simply point out how much work has to be done, without giving any tools to get there.--dionysius84 10:24, March 16

The problem with an article like this one is that it's a controversial topic. Many anarchists are atheists and reject religion altogether. Many religious people believe in enforcement of religious laws and religious hierarchy. You cannot have an article about this topic without pointing out the issues of contention AND the issues of similarity. This is not meant to be a manifesto, but an article describing a certain ideology (muslim anarchism) with examples, and also pointing out how it fits within mainstream Islam (as far as such a thing exists) and mainstream anarchism (as far as such a thing exists). This is what I have tried to do, and improvements and discussion are welcome. Funkybeat 19:15, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Anarchist criticism of Islam?[edit]

I don't see how most of the "Anarchist criticisms of Islam" currently in the article are actually "Anarchist" criticisms. In particular:

  • The West sees Islam as patriarchal, believing women are forced to wear a veil and denied voting rights and education.
- This critique as it is phrased here is, at best, a feminist critique of a Western stereotype of Islam. The biggest islamic country in the world (Indonesia) doesn't do those things, and even if the stereotype were true, the anarchism article says nothing about gender except in a branch of anarchism called "anarchist feminism". Furthermore, since when have anarchists fought for "voting rights"?!
  • In many majority Muslim countries, homosexuality is illegal and subject to harsh physical punishment. It is disputed, however, how many of these issues are tied to the religion specifically and how many stem from regional customs.
- Again, the article needs to make the link explicit. Is anarchism opposed to this? How and why? Again, nothing on the anarchism page suggests an anarchist position on homosexuality.
  • Also problematic to anarchists is the Islamic treatment of apostates and non-Muslims
- What treatment? Why is it problematic to anarchism per se?

ntennis 01:27, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

The problem in an article like this, which should try to show something from an NPOV is that you should present all sides of debates. Whether Islamic world fits the stereotype is ONE question, but it is undeniable that this criticism exists and to ignore it in this article would be wrong.
As for the question how these issues relate to anarchism, anarchism is a theory opposed to patriarchy and any other -archy, and oppression of women (once again, whether real or imagined) doesn't belong there. The vast majority of today's anarchists are anti-patriarchal and for women's and gay rights. Oppression of gays and women simply cannot logically be a part of an ideology opposed to rule.
As I always say, suggestions are more than welcome. Funkybeat 19:10, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Why is "presenting all sides of debates" a problem? And why do you think I want to ignore anarchist criticism of Islam? On the contrary, I am asking for the criticism to be explicit and sourced. You cannot assume readers will make the same assumption as you have, that "oppression of gays and women simply cannot logically be a part of an ideology opposed to rule." ntennis 02:03, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
While I agree that sourcing things is a good thing (albeit extremely difficult with a topic like this one, where there is very little written material before 2000), the sheer amount of citations you are asking for would exceed any other Wikipedia article. In fact, it would have more citations relating to Islam (which are also discussed in the Islam article) than the Islam article itself. This is a bit excessive. Let's set some realistic goals Funkybeat 16:16, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm not trying to be pedantic or combative — I'd like to see a decent article evolve here. I think a "realistic goal" is to have the article adhere to the three content-guiding policies that the Wikipedia community has agreed on: Verifiability, No original research and Neutral point of view. They are considered non-negotiable, and I urge you to read them thoroughly if you haven't done so already; believe it or not many editors find that the guidelines actually help rather than hinder. "Verifiability" and "Original research" both state that material that has not been published already by a reputable source should not be published on Wikipedia. As this article currently stands, the reader has no idea who has made these claims, and has no way of verifying them. If these claims have only been made on websites, then the article should at least state that — that tells us something about the state of research on this topic. Even if little has been published specifically comparing Islam and Anarchism, sources can be found for particular points. For example, when quoting from the Quran, state which chapter/verse the quote is from (I already added the source for one quotation). Other statements such as "Sufism has anti-authoritarian tendencies" can be sourced from material published on Sufism; if no-one has ever published this claim, then it probably shouldn't be in the article. Surely there is at least one published source of "anti-Islamic anarchist crtiticism". If not, then the statement that such criticism "centers on the coercion imposed on women [and] the oppression which Homosexuals experience" is very misleading. --ntennis 04:59, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
NO, I think you are right ot hold this article to a higher level of accountability than others, simply because it is so controversial and if not rigourously support could easiliy be blown off as an opinion. It would be nice though, ntennis, if you could help supply some more of these citations. I'm having to fall back on vague of general references. Dionysius84 23:35, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree that controversial statements are more likely to be removed if unsourced, but any claim without a citation may be justifiably removed by zealous editors. I added a reference to the claim about sufism having an anti-authoritarian impulse. Personally I find many of the claims in this article dubious, and so won't be looking for citations to back them up; I've removed some of the more egregious. I'm sure the writings of anarchist sufi Hakim Bey (which BTW were certainly written before 2000) contain leads to some of the references that this article is looking for. While I think it's important to avoid co-opting all progressive/radical thought for anarchism (see the start of this thread), some of the "progressive" interpretations of Islam may also provide leads. E.g. the leftist Iranian scholar Ali Shariati (Red Shi'ism vs. Black Shi'ism or The Philosophy of Supplication). Also, here are some quotes from the 13th century Turkish Sufi poet Yunus Emre, although he is known as a humanist rather than a proto-anarchist (see Halman, Talât Sait: The Humanist Poetry of Yunus Emre, Istanbul, RCD Cultural Institute, 1972):
Kindness of the lords ran its course,
Now each one goes straddling a horse,
They eat the flesh of the paupers,
All they drink is the poor men's blood.
The lords are wild with wealth and might,
They ignore the poor people's plight;
Immersed in selfhood which is blight,
Their hearts are shorn of charity.

(looking at graves of rich men):

These men were rich as could be.
This is what they come to, see!
They reached the end and had to wear
The simple robe without the sleeves.
Back in the past, these were the lords,
At their doors they used to have guards:
Come take a look, you can't tell now
Who are the lords, who are the slaves.

(against orthodoxy:)

Listen to my comment on the strictures of the canon:
Orthodox faith is a ship, its sea is Reality.
No matter how impregnable are the planks of the ship,
They are bound to crack and shatter when waves rage in that sea.
Listen, my loved one, let me give you a fact beyond this:
The rebel against Truth is the saint of orthodoxy.

In contrast, here's a quote from the Anarchist Federation's "resistance" magazine (December 2001): "...Revolutionary anarchism is atheist. Anarchists have always rejected all authority, not least that of a mythical god. Islam in contrast is all about submission to such a nonentity. Muslims are essentially enslaved not to a god but to a set of bogus revelations found in the Koran. And, it is the task of Islam to ensure that all of the peoples in the world are similarly enslaved. ... So, Islam is an enemy of all freedom loving people. Anarchism alone recognises the need to destroy all gods and replace them with human solidarity, freedom and equality. It is certain that, if given the opportunity, Islam would introduce another form of authoritarianism in Britain and across the globe. It must be resisted." full article here.

ntennis 02:50, 22 March 2006 (UTC)


I added the tag because this article has a few problems.

Although anarchism is commonly associated with atheism and rejection of organized religion, and Islam is often associated with authoritarian regimes and criticised for human rights violations in some parts of the Islamic world, there have also been significant anarchist undercurrents throughout the history of Islam.

This opening is not very good. Firstly is plays to stereotypes of both Islam and anarchism instead of addressing how they relate. If we are going to have something of that nature we first need some good sources using such wording. It will not do if that is our intro uncited. We go on to see:

This became increasingly the case at the end of the 20th century with the rise of liberal movements within Islam, when the concept of Muslim anarchism first appears.

This may be true in a certain sense of the word "anarchism", however, when we have papers called "Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists" by Patricia Crone we must at least give some explanation as to what type of Muslim anarchism appears in the 20th century. This article's sources don't appear to be especially notable but even at that we need to clarify what comes from what source. This is especially important since there is no dogmatic opinion on this... just minor groups (at least in present times). gren グレン 02:37, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but have you even read the P. Crone article. If you had you would know that throughout she questions, critizes and finally undermines the idea that these Muslims were anarchists. Furthermore, whether or not Crone would call them anarchists, they never would have used that word. It is important to keep that in mind. Dionysius84 17:30, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
First of all, the beginning of modern anarchism as a political theory dates back to Godwin and Proudhon, which is considerably later than 9th century. While there were people before that who can be argued to have lived according to anarchist principles (see anabaptists, Stoics, etc), it is generally not a part of anarchism, the political theory, but only support for this. These people you speak of have never identified themselves as "Muslim anarchists". They would make a good addition to the history section, though. Funkybeat 19:34, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
As for the beginning, I would hope you have a better suggestion. Historically, anarchism has always been against organised religion, and this is discussed in the anarchism article as well as a million other articles. Virtually every major anarchist thinker criticised organised religion. I think the best way to do this would be to link to articles relating to these issues, namely anarchism and religion and women in islam. How about this:

Although anarchism is commonly associated rejection of organized religion (see anarchism and religion), and Islam is condemned by some critics for perceived human rights violations in some parts of the Islamic world (see women in islam and homosexuality in islam), there have also been significant anarchist undercurrents throughout the history of Islam.

Does this form a good basis for discussion or not? Funkybeat 19:34, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

As to the Crone article, sorry I should have been more explicit in what I meant by that. Her article expressly denies that these Muslims should be refered to in either a cpntemorary or anachronistic sense. Her article demonstraotes that while there are certain passages written by the Mutaziliyya that sound anarchistic, the doctrine is hardly anti-authoritarian. They would mke a poor addition to the history section.Dionysius84 23:19, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

The mere fact that the question arises makes it relevant. Esepcially since it would be one of the few issues we'd be dealing with from journal articles. It's not that we must say they are anarchists in any form we'd recognize. However, she did raise the question which makes it relevant for inclusion in the aritcle even if she ultimately rejects the idea. A conception of anarchy can be many things and it doesn't have to mirror the modern debates nor does it have to be an anarchic movement like the ones we see today. It is merely a study of trends that she felt (and many of her footnotes) warranted study and we should be reflecting that. The question did not just come out of the blue. It was created because someone thought it was a legitimate question to research. gren グレン 07:47, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

This Whole Article[edit]

A general problem I am seeing in this article and the Christian Anarchism one is that while one can infinitely support an argument for a religious anarchism, there is no published material other than bits and scattered pieces here and there. I could run down all of the anarchistsic passages of the Qur'an in this article, and there are hundreds, but without anyone to cite as believing these to be anarchistic, what would that do. A lot of re-thinking how to do this article has to be done. Dionysius84 17:42, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

The problem is that it is still a rather small movement, with very little published information. However, it is apparent that there are people out there who consider themselves Muslim anarchists, and there are several notable examples in the article. So the concept of "Muslim anarchism" certainly exists, and as such it should be covered by Wikipedia, to the best of our abilities. I like your changes, BTW, thanks for that.Funkybeat 19:36, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, this whole article is problematic
Well it seems from this very article that there is no Islamic Anarchism! So far there are no movements, books, history. All I can see are 3 personalities: Hakim Bey (is he even Muslim?), Yakoub Islam and Ali Shariati (was he an Anarchist; sounds like he was more a socialst / third world-ist).

I'd say that there's the possibility, at least intellectually (or theoretically), of seeing Anarchism through Islamic eyes. However, at this stage it's nothing more than some interesting ideas. It's definitely not a movement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ezra haSofer (talkcontribs) 13:17, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Shariati and what???[edit]

An important and influential figure in the 20th century was Ali Shariati, one of the ideologues of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and of whom Jean Paul Sartre said: "I have no religion, but if I were to choose one, it would be Shariati's". After the Islamic Revolution took on a particularly vicious authoritarian note, Shariati was imprisoned for his lectures, which were extremely popular with the students, and was forced to flee Iran. He was assassinated shortly afterwards. Ahem, this is sheer nonsense.

First of all, Shariati was not an "ideologue" of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (unless Marx was an "ideologue" of the Russian Revolution or Wagner an "ideologue" of the Nazi Party.) Second, the "particularly vicious authoritarian" who imprisoned Shariati was none other than HIM Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (not your typical "Islamic Revolutionary.") Thirdly, Shariati died of a heart attack -- if we want to say that Shariati's "heart attack" was induced by an assassin (the way some conspiracy theorists say the aforementioned Shah "caught" cancer from the CIA) we should just say it, instead of using factual sounding vague statements like "He was assassinated shortly afterwards." Whomever posted the Shariati segment in "Islam and Anarchism" should consult the "Ali Shariati" article on Wikipedia first ....

The article says that Shariati was killed "After the Islamic Revolution took on a particularly vicious authoritarian note". The Islamic Revolution happened in 1979 and Shariati was assasinated in 1977.

Lack of hierarchies in Islam?[edit]

I realize I'm in no way an expert or even especially knowledgeable on the topic of Islam, however the bits of this article that state a lack of hierarchies within Islam either ignores Shi'a Islam entirely, or just plain eats failure for dinner. Far as I know, though I can only support this from other Wikipedia articles, the Shias most certainly do have a system of hierarchical religious authority, and they're the second largest denomination of Islam and thus hardly something to gloss over! If it were up to me, I'd chop this article down to listings of Anarchist Islamic groups and movements and perhaps some paragraphs about how they're not exactly like whichever denominations of mainstream Islam they originated in. 16:57, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

There is no central hierarchy in Shi'a Islam and certainly nothing that is even remotely similar to the Byzantine hierarchies of the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy. It is similar to Judaism in that there is a very loose and voluntary association of clerics and seminaries. So, there is a semblance of what you could call "hierarchy," but what it really comes down to is consensus. For example, the current Supreme Leader was granted the title of Grand Ayatollah (see Marja'), affirmed by several seminaries in Iran. However, the majority of Shi'a clerics do not recognize Khamenei as a bona fide Marja'. Laval (talk) 10:24, 12 September 2013 (UTC)


I'm new and I'm not sure I'm doing this right (Wikipedia's "guidelines" could be a short tech college course!). However, I want to address the "Anarchism in Islam" question, speaking as an active Australian Anarchist of 30 years standing and an admirer of some Sufi tendencies. There is an elephant in the room and that elephant is Libya. The ideology of Libya as expressed in the Green Book is "well-known" among Anarchists in my parts to be heavily influenced by classical Anarchism, especially anarcho-syndicalism of the Spanish type. I have spoken to several travellers returning from Libya who report much Bakunin in the libraries in Libya, and certainly in 1980s Melbourne Palestinain Libya-supporters were pitching Libya as Anarchism least to Anarchists. But you do not need to rely on such vague anecdotal claims (as I realise you must not). You just have to read the Green Book and compare it with classical Anarchism, especially what might be called its more authoritarian manifestations. The Spanish civil war document Towards a Fresh Revolution by disappointed Anarchist militants envisages a military junta sort of floating on top of a system of self-management, much as the Green Book implies and as travellers were reporting from Libya in the 1980s/early 1990s.

Much of the Green Book could come from any anarcho-syndicalist text, I quote from part one on the problem of democracy: - "A party that is formed in the name of a class inevitably becomes a substitute for that class and continues in the process of spontaneous transformation until it becomes hostile to the class that it replaces." Like much else in the Green Book this could have been written by Bakunin. For anyone even slightly familiar with collectivist Anarchist writings the Green Book's debt really is the elephant in the room. Although there are other anarchistic elements in Islam which I will get back to if I can.

The Green Book -

Towards a Fresh Revolution -,

Bakunin Archive - Jeremytrewindixon 03:11, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

You are so right, it is astounding there is no mention of Libya, Qadhafi, nor the Green Book at all in this article, anyone worth their salt in knowledge of both Anarchism, Islam and the politics of the past 40 years would have included it. Qadhafi himself has said so many times things like "the Jamahiriya is the ideal anarchist society" and also "the Jamahiriya constitution is the Holy Quran", Sorry I don't have time or involved in WP to do so, but an elephant indeed it is. But I suspect if you check WP for Democracy, there may also be no mention at all of The Green Book! Astounding. --Abu
You cannot have anarchism through the state. Anarchism is advocating a stateless society. If a political party exists advocating such ideals, it cannot be anarchism. It maybe defined as a libertarian society, but definitely not an anarchist one. --Waqas1987 (talk) 00:57, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

The Crone article[edit]

What I added today are the bare-bones points Crone mentions in "Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists". Basically they weren't individualists, secularists, revolutionaries, or socialists. They were an-archists in the classical sense of not having a leader or not wanting one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MikeBryan (talkcontribs) 16:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Usefulness / Clean up needed[edit]

I question whether this article is actually useful. I do not believe it touches deeply on the subject of Islam and Anarchism and the sections it does have are extremely weak/lacking.

For instance:

- the Kharijites section discusses about having a minimal government, or a system in which authority can be questioned. This is not anarchy. Anarchy is the elimination of government altogether. What this section touches upon is libertarianism/democracy if anything.

- The Najdiyya section seems to display some anarchist views but doesn't go into enough detail or give citations.

- How is Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan an anarchist or having anarchist tendencies? Advocating non-violence (in terms of militarily) does not make you an anarchist. I am sure billions are pacifists but you cannot therefore call them anarchists.

- Ali Shariati section is useless without citation and quotes. If he is not an anarchist, why mention his name, especially if no quotations/citations of any writings by him relating to anarchism.

- The Hardline section offers nothing to the article in knowing more about anarchy and Islam.

- I do not see how Hakim Bey's section is relevant

--Waqas1987 (talk) 00:52, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

The inclusion of Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey) is totally irrelevant to this article as the man was never a Muslim to begin with, nor was he even a bona fide Sufi. Lamborn Wilson has a very bizarre and revisionist Orientalist view of Islam and Muslim societies to justify his pedophile/pederast advocacy, like his comrades Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Harry Hay who all supported the sexual abuse of children and adolescents by defending NAMBLA and other such organizations. He also grossly exaggerates his involvement with the Imperial Academy of Philosophy in the 1970s, and not a single traditionalist scholar has validated let alone verified his claims. Furthermore, not a single Traditionalist cleric in Iran (who were closely involved with the Academy) has ever even mentioned his name and contrary to his claim that he left Iran because of the Revolution (he left before even any uprisings occurred), former Academy scholars and staff have revealed that he was going to be arrested and deported as an undesirable alien due to complaints against him regarding his flagrant and shameless advocacy of pedophilia/pederasty, use of recreational drugs (in particular opium) and his crude promotion of sodomy and other scatological remarks. So there really isn't any justification to include him in this article. Laval (talk) 10:15, 12 September 2013 (UTC)