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Egyptian Sharia Law Essay

4192 words - 17 pages

Egypt: Secular State to Religious State
Egypt has been well known throughout history for major significant monuments, but in the 1900’s Egypt was under the control of the British. They had one major leader (Nasser) in Egypt who helped Egypt declare their independence from Britain conquest. Gamal Abdel Nasser, who formed and established the Arab Socialist Union (ASU), was the second President of Egypt serving from 1956 until his death. He planned the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy, and was deputy prime minister in the new government. While Nasser was controlling the state of Egypt it was still a secular state, leaving the minority religions under somewhat stable state under the ...view middle of the document...

The implementation of the Sharia was not in his own intentions of his ideas, but rather to be accommodated with the benefits of having principles of Sharia into the constitution as other neighboring Arab nations. Surrounding factors forced him to make rational choices. His ideas were more of choices of the Arab nationalism, seeking to gain respect to negotiate with other Arab nations. I argue in this paper that Anwar Sadat included the principles of Sharia in the constitution of 1971 through an economic principle that assumes that individuals always make prudent and logical decisions that provides them with the greatest benefit, which are in their highest self-interest (rational choice theory).
Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic law ( Shari’a) are the principal source of legislation.
Brief Overview
Islam was identified as the state religion in 1971 in Egypt; the principles of Sharia included in the constitution were more liberal in contrasts to traditional Sharia law diagrams written in other Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia. With Sharia principles implemented, Sadat revived the belief of Islam and used it to unify the Egyptian public. He created Islamic nationalism with Arab nationalism; he influenced the idea of Egyptians as beings Arabs. Thus, this gave the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups who were banned from speaking their political voice (under Nasser) the authority to engage with the Egyptian citizens in public. Anwar allowed for Islam to flourish throughout academia as well as being flashed on television screens across the country. Later in his timeline of Presidency of Egypt, he established a Peace Treaty with Israel. This led to greater ties with the United States leading to the demise of Sadat with death threats. Egypt pushed away from socialist ideas and relations with the Soviet Union/Russia.
I find three factors that demonstrate how the ideational approach is a fragile argument compared to the rational choice theory argument. First of all, I will discuss: how peace with Israel contradicted the religion Sadat believed in, how he lost the Muslim Brotherhood’s support, and how he left the Christian minorities and non-Muslims to still live in the land of the pyramids where principles of Sharia existed. Furthermore, he stated in defense to non-Muslims and the Coptic Christians, who accounted for 10-15% of the population at that time (a debated census of the Coptic minority because he failed to give full recognition to the community); “those who wish to practice Islam can go to the mosques, and those who wish to engage in politics may do so through legal institutions” (Hopwood, 117). The statement can be seen through an ideational approach as thus, he is insinuating that individuals are not forced to pray, “wish” means a choice in his context. The constitution at that time stated under...

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