The Central Pillars of Sunni Political Thought
Dr. Hisseine Faradj

This article argues that similar to the centrality of the concept of sovereignty in Western social, legal, and political paradigms, at the core of Sunni legal and political history there is a paradigmatic authority of Ulu Al Amr (those in authority or the legal scholars who possess a legal mastery over the sources that constitute the body of the Sharia) that is necessary in evaluating and understanding Islamic Sunni legal and political history according to its local qualities. The validity of this claim is substantiated by focusing and locating on the type of authority at the core of the Sunni legal paradigm. It finds an historical red thread that explains the legal evolution of different types of Islamic governance that has at its locus the perennial legal authority of Ulu Al Amr. Historically, Ulu Al Amr furnished temporal force with legitimacy to rule through the legal process of Bay‘a (a contract in a form of an oath of allegiance to a leader) to rule over the Umma (the community of the Muslim believers). Sunni temporal force was deprived of divine power or a central church with monopoly over law and meaning. Consequently, Sunni temporal force was never able to achieve legal authority (power) or to become a source of authority above the law. Instead, it relied on Bay‘a or contracts such as Wilayah al ahed (allegiance to a dynastic monarchy) and Wlayah al qaher (obedience to coercive power and rule) to rule throughout the history of Islam.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jisc.v6n1a3