Notably both Shambayati (2008) and Arjomand (2013) recognize the instability of Muslim countries that have embraced a different type of leadership throughout the years. While most Asian countries whose citizens mostly that practice Muslim religion choose to stick with the sharia law, others have embraced the western type of democratic leaderships. Some of these countries include Indonesia, turkey, Iran, Egypt, and Tunisia among others. While these countries have worked to achieve an amiable balance between the western democracy and the traditional sharia law, they all face numerous challenges causing instability in the smooth running of these governments. These two articles by Shambayati (2008) and Arjomand (2013) mainly show the progress that these countries have made and the problems that they have endured in their path to establishing a semi democratic and semi authoritarian governments. However, they both have different approaches in demonstrating these changes.
While Shambayati (2008) focuses on the changes and government actions of mainly the Turkish government, Arjomand (2013) mainly focuses on Iran to demonstrate the changes and experiences of Muslim dominant countries that opt for a democratic form of government. Notably, Shambayati (286) mainly uses turkey to exhibit how a typical Muslim dominant country runs using a democratic government with a few examples from the Iranian government institution. However, Arjomand (2013) expounds on the dynamics of the Muslim dominant government using examples and history from mainly Iran but also from other Muslim countries including Egypt, turkey, Tunisia, and Indonesia.
Arguably, these two approaches yield different results in portraying the overall picture of government procedures and challenges encountered by Muslim countries that opt for democratic policies in the government. Shambayati (290) on one hand generalizes activities of such countries with a certain authoritarian body that monitors the activities of the civilian governments. It also establishes that such countries often have challenges achieving a balance between the social and political sovereignty in the running of the government (Shambayati 288). The author establishes through extensively describing historical events witnessed by the Turkish government in their history as a democratic regime. On the other hand, although Arjomand (98) mostly bases his examples from the Iranian government, the author also extensively draws from the also the Turkish, Egyptian, and Indonesian government. These two approaches benefit readers in different ways. while the a readers of the Shambayati (2008) learns the integrated processes of such government using the specific ideas of both the Turkish and Iranian governments, Arjomand (2013) provides almost specific processes and events of these government using a wider and more generalized scope in the matter in all these governments. These serve different purposes for research purposes and researchers should not overlook the benefit of one article to the other.
Both these authors have different theories regarding the instability of these Islamic countries that opt of a democratic regime. Shambayati (287) argues that the main reason for instability is the dissonant institutionalization, which leads to tension in the society. The civilian bureaucracy in political management and the dissatisfaction of the overseeing bodies are argued to lead to civil unrest and overall tension of the political system. Arjomand (309), on the other hand, argues that the Shi’ite counter constitutionalism as the major political inhibitor of uneventful continuity of Islamic democracies.
Shambayati (299) discusses in extension the role of military in the Turkish government processes over the years. Military interruption of government activity has been witnessed on numerous occasions throughout the historical map of turkey as an Islamic democracy. Shambayati (288) argues that the military interference is the main cause of tension in the Turkish Islamic government. He also argues that this tension has caused the limited success in government processes in most Islamic countries. Arjomand (301) majorly limits the democracy government policies in government like Egypt, Iran and turkey. Because of the sharia laws that still are a valid part of the policies of this government, there is often lack of organization in the judicial system, which often bleeds into the other arms of the government Arjomand (298).
Both these articles extensively discuss the judicial system in these Islamic democracies and how they affect the democratic processes of these nations. Arjomand (299) argues that most Islamic government both have modern and religious jurist, lawyers, and lawmakers who work hand in hand to produce a functional and practical constitution. This is because of the two dual jury systems, which consists of religious and secular courts like the one in Iran. As a result, most of these countries have undergone a revolution, for example, Iran in 1969 as well as Egypt. He argues that, as a result, the legal profession has been slow to development. In comparison, Shambayati (290) also argues that the military interference in the judicial activity of the country has led to the slow efficiency and progress in the judicial institution. During the military coups, the military often produced a constitution that prohibited its amendment by the civilian members of the government. This greatly inhibited the efficiency of the government as the military, and its courts do not properly serve the interest of the people as a civilian institution would.
In conclusion, both these articles dramatically depict the problems facing the Islam democratic nations all around the world. However, after reading these, the question remains if it is advisable for the Islam countries to adapt democracy as a method to increase efficiency in their government. Others may argue that they process of change is challenging but rewarding in the end while others say that these changes are not worth the coups and the revolution that compromise the few steps that have been made in increasing efficiency on the counties. However, my opinion after reading these is that governments are diverse in the and adopting a democratic government does not necessarily mean more efficiency. Arguably, efficiency in the government is determined by the overall policies and the integrity of the leaders who are involved in the government processes and therefore every country should adopt a system of government that most suitably suits its needs and the needs of its people.
Arjomand, Said Amir. The Islam and democracy debate after 2011: Constellations Volume, 20 (2): 296- 311, 2013.
Shambayati, Hoolan. courts in semi-democratic/ authoritarian regimes: The Judicialization of Turkish (and Iranian) Politics, 283-303, 2008.