By: Maksud Djavadov


In the past twenty years the International Politics has revolved around many ideologies which included Communism, Liberal- Capitalism and Islam. The collapse of the USSR left Liberal-Capitalist part of the world to be in charge of the world affairs. Even though the victory of Liberal–Capitalism was evident it was not left unchallenged. Political Islam came to be the main competitor of Liberal-Capitalism in many parts of the world where most of the population was Muslim. However, the world’s political establishment was quick to denounce political Islam to be radical and serve as destabilizing factor. The objective of this paper is to argue that an Islamic State in Central Asia can play the role of politically stabilizing factor in Central Asia.

The role of Politics in Islam

Before analyzing the role of Islam in Central Asian politics one should first view the role of politics in Islam. In order to understand the role of politics in Islam one should first see what politics in the modern understanding. Politics has many definitions and every person can define politics in his own way, however the common definition of politics is the strive to achieve common good and “the process of government” [1] Therefore since Islam as a religion pays a great attention upon governance of people’s life’s, politics is already deeply rooted in its fundamental bases. One can argue that the governance of religion is only for individual aspects of life which should not be mixed up with the governance of the community. Such argument towards Islam is illegitimate from the Islamic point of view because in Islam the well being of the Islamic community (UMMAH) is very crucial. Almost everybody can agree that modern life without the existence of government is impossible, it is necessary to note that Islam held such view ever since its foundation. In Islam politics and governance has always played a major role. The Islamic definition of politics is to “give careful consideration to good organization around the principles of public interest” [2] within the framework of Quran and the Sunna. Also Islam as a religion in its original language which is Arabic is called Deen which means the way of life. According to the Islamic teachings Islamic state just as any other state must have its goals which it aims to achieve. “The purpose of the Islamic state is “to remove Munkar (evil) and to establish Maruf (good) and to build the relationship between people on the basis of justice. However, all this should be achieved according to the laws of ALLAH (cc) which Muslims believe to be revealed to Prophet Muhammad (as) through the revelation of the Quran” [3] The Islamic state must be based clearly on the concept of justice and in the Islamic state any accomplishments should be based upon justice. Islam excludes the idea that ends justify the means and the Quran strongly condemns such a perception by stating that “O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that ye do.” (Sura 4, 135) The fundamental basis of the Islamic State or Republic should be based on the Quran and the Sunna, therefore any form of tribalism or nationalism should be strongly condemned and be prevented.” [4] Therefore after superficially viewing the role of politics in Islam and the purpose of the Islamic state it can be argued that Islam is compatible with the concept of modern understanding of politics and statehood.

Obstacle or an Alternative

After the end of the Cold War the United States of America and her NATO allies have proclaimed the victory of the “forces of freedom and democracy” over the world. [5] The victory of the Liberal –Capitalist ideology over Communism created a social, political and economical vacuum in those societies which were governed by Communism. The vacuum created by the collapse of Communism was to be fulfilled by Western liberal-capitalist system. In many parts of the world the western concept of democracy, liberty and capitalism successfully filled the social, political and economical vacuum created by the collapse of Communism. However, in many parts of the world where the most of the population were Muslim, the western ideals were if not absolutely then at least partially not accepted. Such situation led many thinkers in the Western world and Islamic world to talk about the clash of civilizations. Many influential organizations and government officials in the west were quick to denounce Islam as an obstacle to democracy. Any talk concerning the establishment of the Islamic state was viewed in the western world as the establishment of totalitarian rule. Such accusations were seen by many Muslims as baseless. The will of the Western world to define social relationships in the societies of the world, created an urge for Muslims to respond to the western expansionism by an Islamic alternative.

The Islamic response to the western ideological expansion was done through Islamic criteria of “democracy” which is rooted in the Quran and the Sunna. The most basic definition of western democracy which is government for the people and by the people came to be rejected by the Islamic movements because it goes against the fundamental bases of the Islamic order of society. The meaning of the western definition of democracy is that the government is the “absolute slave” of the people and the people have the right to remove the government which stops serving them. The western concept of democracy puts the will of the people before the will of GOD (swt) and such concept cannot be accepted by practicing Muslims. “In Islam the will of GOD (cc) is the most important priority because the Quran states “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me” (Sura 51, Verse 56) therefore according to Islam the humans fulfill their purpose only by serving GOD (cc). This does not mean, however, that Islam excludes human will because the Quran states “….. and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” ( Sura 3,159) [6] Another verse of the Quran states “Say (o Muhammad) the truth from the Lord of you (all) Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will let him disbelieve” (Sura 18, 29) Therefore it would be correct to argue that Islam not only accepts democratic rule, freedom of opinion and belief, but sees it as necessary. However, Islamic understanding of freedom is more marginalized. Therefore one can state that Islam does not represent anti-democracy, but rather represents an alternative democratic criterion which does not go against fundamental bases of freedom and equality.

Central Asia in Vacuum

After the collapse of the USSR the Central Asian states for the first time in their history faced a challenge and the possibility of determining their own independent national policies. The collapse of communism left many segments of society without any particular direction. If in the past the communist leadership and society was taught to serve the state and the party, now neither the same state nor the party existed. Such situation created a total ideological and moral vacuum in Central Asia which did not have any experience and knowledge about any alternative to communism. The absence of the new experienced people created an opportunity for the old nomenclature system of the communist trained and conformist minded people to remain in power. The governments and nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan faced severe economical, political and social problems. The incompetence of new leadership to solve arising problems created the new class which came to be known as opposition. The mythical hopes of this new class which imagined free elections and if difficult future, but at least a future without repression, soon vanished under the exercise of state repression by the regimes of Karimov, Nazarbaev, Niyazov and Akaev. The deviation from national and religious traditions caused by the seventy-five years of Communist repression and the absence of contact with the alternative political theories in the world, created an absolute absence of any new alternative. The understanding of the ruling elites that the implementation of a new system would require new methods of government made them realize that if such new system would come to exist the need for their presence in power will disappear. Therefore, the personified regimes of Karimov, Niyazov, Nazarbaev and Akaev were quick to link the future of their people and their newly independent states with their personalities and create a new “national reconciliation process” of which their personality composed the fundament al bases.

Current regimes as the cause of Instability

After the events of September 11th 2001 the so called international community was fast to talk about reintegrating Central Asia to the world of democracy and economical prosperity. The regimes of Karimov, Niyazov, Nazarbaev, and Akaev who which were before classified by the United States of America and her allies as totalitarian, today became the actual strategic partners of the US in the region. The “bigger” threat of terrorism to humanity which the United States of America is advertising so quickly today seems to blind the eyes of the world on the equivalent threat that comes from state repression. It seems that the world today is forgetting the basic physical law, that any action causes a reaction. The repressive measures of the Central Asian authoritarian regimes inspire the rise and the creation of what many call the “terrorist organizations.” [7] The creation of IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) and its use of guerrilla warfare to combat the regime of Karimov were in the long run caused by the incompetence of Karimov to try to understand and tolerate the alternative opinion of the people in the town of Namangan. [8] Another useful example which can show that repression of constitutional rights of people can give birth to the bloodiest conflicts can be seen in Algeria. Before the government of Algeria has banned the election results of December 26, 1991 in which the Islamic Salvation Front won 47.54 percent of the votes the ISF was the most peaceful Islamic movement in the entire Islamic world. [9] Only after violently violating the right of the Algerian people to elect and be elected has the ISF turned to armed struggle as means to gain power which they legitimately achieved and which was illegitimately taken away from them.

Another key problem which Central Asia faces and which is caused by the present totalitarian regimes is the issue of border disputes. The struggle between the personality influences in Central Asia drew the nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to live in the situation of potential “time bomb” explosion. The will of the leaders of Central Asia to gain more “prestige” and personal power in the region can create a hostile tension between the states of Central Asia. Such precedent has already been put forward by Karimov who is actively promoting the idea of unification of all Uzbeks of Central Asia in one “Great Uzbekistan.” The similar ideas are being promoted by the leaders of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Such provocative agendas create a potential for “Yugoslavian Syndrome” in Central Asia whose consequences will be very severe for the world in general. Constant boycotting of energy resources and severe border restriction which is being promoted by power hungry regimes of Central Asia towards each other is creating a path for nationalistic conflicts which will affect the entire world.

The Great Game in Central Asia

Almost all the time when one is engaged into a conversation about Central Asia one can often hear the reference to the historic concept of the “great game” which is always defined in terms of struggle for the natural resources of the region. In the classical terms the great game today is defined in following manner. “The classic struggle for imperial dominance and influence has never been more explosive and dangerous than it is now. Historically, the geopolitical chess game has been between Great Britain and Russia, today the sun has set on the British Empire and the United States has replaced it in the game, where global and regional powers are at odds with each other over control of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Tales of infiltrators, spies, puppet kings, and mysterious terrorist with single names, bloody battles and endless riches continue to lure oilmen and their companies, who come in droves to find new ways to extract the natural resources of the region with their new tools and technologies.” [10] However, it can be stated that such classical approach is irrelevant today. The quantity and the quality of the natural resources of Central Asia if not dramatically then at least slightly are exaggerated. [11] The main concept of the great game today revolves around the ability to exercise and gain political and military power and control over the regional powers and political ideologies and not just simple struggle for natural resources. Central Asia today represents a strategic point from which great powers such as Iran, Russia, China and India can be easily controlled. The constant fear of regional and world powers of increasing influence of one single power unit over the region, has always aided to the escalation of the conflicts in Central Asia. Historically, different alliances were formed in the region on the bases of balance of power in Central Asia. The war in Afghanistan from 1979-1987 and the cur rent conflicts which go as far as from Chechnya to Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are all caused by the fear of hegemony of one power over the region. Today this fear is present more as never before.

After the September 11th events, the ability of the US propaganda machine to successfully market the threat of terrorism managed to gain temporary support of Russia, China, Iran and India and for the first time enter Central Asia directly. Due to the US economical strength the regional powers were overpowered and became politically weak as never before. The bigger economic capacity of the United States of America and her allies appealed to the self proclaimed leaders of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan do to their narrow minded and corrupt personal nature from which non-regional powers greatly benefit. The presence of the United States of America in the region of which it is not a part, has created a big threat to China, Iran and Russia.

The Iranian, Russian and Chinese Worries

In the region of Central Asia the preservation of territory and the control over the borders has always played the key role in the “Great Game “which was played by regional powers. After the United States of America has established its military presence, the threat to territorial integrity of Iran, Russia and China has increased as never before. The threat to the territorial integrity of China, Russia and Iran has increased because the possibility of the implementation of expansionist Pan-Turkist ideology became greater as never before.

Ever since the collapse of the USSR, Turkey which is the main ally of the United States of America and the Zionist regime, has received the so called green light to increase or as some nationalist Turks state to “reclaim” their influence in Central Asia. The way through which Turkey has pursued its goals in Central Asia was through Pan-Turkish ideology which calls for the unification of all Turks in united country which Pan –Turks call Turan. Pursuing Pan-Turkic oriented foreign policy automatically creates virtual state of war in Central Asia. Since many ethnic Turks live on the territory of Iran, China and Russia, Pan- Turkism for those states means the destruction of their present borders. After the so called war on terrorism it should be noted that the United States of America has transferred the command of the so called coalition forces to Turkey. The promotion of Pan-Turkism is in the interest of the United States of America and the Zionist regime. By promoting Pan-Turkism the United States of America eliminates the threat of China from the Pacific Basin and Taiwan by causing China to concentrate its military, political and economical strength on Central Asia and Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Pan- Turkism forces Russia to become involved in Central Asia and withdraw its political and military focus from Black Sea and the Baltic frontier of Europe. Also in the Islamic Republic of Iran where Azeri –Turks make up about fifteen million people can also be used as destabilizing factor. The United States of America and her allies through propagating the concept of greater Azerbaijan in Turan can force the Islamic Republic of Iran to withdraw its resistance power from the occupied lands of Palestine and trigger another Islamic civil war within the Islamic community.

The Concept of Regional Cooperation and Security

By looking at the practice of international politics one can easily see that many conflicts occur when non-regional states try to expand their influence beyond their region of influence and presence. The wars in Vietnam, Korea, Angola and Afghanistan were all caused by the will of certain non-regional powers to expand and get involved in regions of which they were not a part. When the United States of America or any other power enters a region of which it is not a part and which is historically and traditionally has no links with it, it is viewed by the people of the region as occupying and imperialist force. Such perception of people to whose region a foreign country is getting involved always leads only to war, conflict and chaos. Today the presence of the United States of America and her allies in Central Asia is creating an urge for China, Russia, Iran and the national- patriotic forces with in newly independent Central Asian states to act and struggle for preservation of their historic interests and rights in the region. The fear of US hegemony over the region and the world naturally creates fear and uncertainty in Central Asia. The violation of sovereignty of Afghanistan and the installment of puppet government shows us in practice that stability cannot be achieved by the use of force. The collapse of Taliban rule rolled Afghanistan back into chaos and middle-aged style feudal state because bad or good some kind of law and order existed in Afghanistan during the reign of Taliban.

The most probable solution to the region today has to be based on the concept of regional cooperation and security of regional states. One should remember that one of the main reasons which many International Political thinkers think made United States of America a great power, was Monroe Doctrine. Monroe Doctrine proclaimed in 1823 that the United States of America will not get involved in European power struggle and Europe should not get involved into western hemisphere. [12] The Monroe Doctrine created a relatively peaceful and stable environment on the American continent which provided the United States of America to pursue economical, political and social development. The precedent of Monroe Doctrine should be applied in Central Asia in order to avoid regional and global war.

Islamic State as Guarantee of Regional Stability

It would most probably take a whole book to explain how Islamic State in Central Asia can be a base for stability. However, one can briefly outline a general framework. In order to understand how an Islamic State can play a role of creating stability one should first look at the problems of Central Asia that create instability . The key problems of Central Asia can be summarized in the following manner:

  • Dictatorial Regimes - which causes the violation of constitutional rights of ordinary citizens and leads to the suffering of the innocent and creation of militant resurgence

  • Corruption - is one of the main causes of economical hardship and creation of poverty which forces people to illegally earn money for living.

  • Nationalism - creates potential state of war and border disputes and social tension.

  • Lack of Order and Predictability - is caused by policies which are dependent only upon the personal will of the self proclaimed leaders and developed according with clan and family interests. [13]

  • The above stated issues that Central Asia faces today may be argued to be too broad and simplified. Such argument is reasonable; however it should be taken into consideration that only by solving big problems one can start solving the small ones. Also the in depth discussion of Central Asian problems would most probably take more then a book.

    Many people would pose a question; Why an Islamic State is the guarantee of stability in Central Asia and not a Western Democratic state? The main answer to this question is that democracy in the western sense of understanding has no traditional base among the people of Central Asia and the western concept of democracy may be seen as a threat by Russia, India and China to their territorial integrity. Also the western model of democracy is based upon the concept of nation and this will further escalate the ethnic and border problems. The Islamic concept of democracy is based upon brotherhood and the concept of Dar Al-Ahad or Dar Al Sulh (the land of peace). The concept of Dar Al Ahad comes from the Sunna of Prophet Muhammad (as) when he and his companions (ra) were granted protection by the King of Ethiopia and later Ethiopia was declared Dar Al- Ahad and Muslims were not allowed to attack Ethiopia. Therefore once the rights of Muslims in Russia, China and India is not violated the territorial integrity of those countries must not be threatened by an Islamic State because they are not forcing Muslims to abandon their religion and are not persecuted for being Muslim. Therefore the concept of Dar Al Ahad in Islamic Law hypothetically eliminates the worries of China, Russia, Iran and India over their territorial integrity and creates an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence between Muslims, China, Russia and India presuming any of these nations do not persecute Muslims. Also after the creation of an Islamic State the border disputes and ethnic tensions among Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is automatically eliminated because an Islamic state in Central Asia will be composed of all those states on the bases of Islamic brotherhood as stated in the Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of `Abdallah ibn `Umar “"An Arab is no better than a non-Arab. In return, a non-Arab is no better than an Arab. A red raced man was not better than a black one except in piety. Mankind are all Adam's children and Adam was created out of clay." [14] The establishment of an Islamic State in Central Asia will also automatically eliminate corruption because corruption is viewed as theft in Islamic Law. Another key issue which Islamic state is capable of solving in Central Asia is establishing law and order which is predictable and is not based upon the individual will of the leader because Islamic Law has fixed sources of law. “In Islam the judiciary is not placed under the control of the executive. It derives its authority directly from the Shari‘ah and is answerable to Allah. The judges will obviously be appointed by the Government but, once appointed, will have to administer justice impartially according to the law of Allah.” [15] Today we can already see how an Islamic spirit is slowly but surely is eliminating the national and ethnic tensions among Muslims in Central Asia. “When law enforcement authorities from Jalal-Abad Province tried to arrest an activist of banned Islamic party «Hizb-ut-Tahrir» in one of the villages of Bazar-Korgon District, both Kyrgyzs and Uzbeks rushed to protect him. It went as far as clashes with shooting, but the fellow villagers never gave up their coreligionist to the police” [16] Such actions are showing in practice that Islam can serve as a force of consolidation in Central Asian and eliminate if not absolutely all the problems then at least the most major ones. Most of the above mentioned problems and Islamic solutions are of political nature, so some may think that Islamic State is not capable of bringing economical progress. It should be remembered that the objective of this paper is to argue that an Islamic State in Central Asia can play the role of politically stabilizing factor in Central Asia. And those who are not well acquainted with Islam must know that Islam possess a very detailed and sophisticated econom ical system, however the discussion of the economical aspect of Islam in this paper would consume much more time and space. Therefore the economical aspect of Islam and its role in Central Asia should be dealt as a separate issue.

    By forming the Islamic state in Central Asia the regional powers such as Russia, China and India should not be afraid and be influenced by mythological anti –Islamic propaganda. The governments of Russia, China and India should remember that until 1945 European nations were constantly at war with each other, but due to common good and rational thinking, today the nations of Europe came together to form a common future on the bases of cooperation. The nations of Central Asia Russia, China and India have historically and traditionally much more in common then uncommon, therefore the grounds for cooperation are naturally existent.


    After reading this material one can develop an opinion that an Islamic State in Central Asia is mythical utopia. One should not forget that the creation of European Union in 1943 would also be considered a utopian thought, but indeed the European Union today exists. The above mentioned arguments are made with the consideration that politics is the science of possible and therefore it should not be regarded that the creation of an Islamic State in Central Asia is just a theory without practical possibility. If one looks into the original sources of Islam it will not be hard to realize that the above brought arguments are present in Islamic historical tradition and there is no reasonable argument why they may not be re-implemented. It seems that in the next five to ten years the establishment of an Islamic State in Central Asia will be a very hot issue. If the self proclaimed champions of democracy and justice will react towards all Islamic resurgences using the mask of terrorism to suppress Islamic movements because they do not absolutely serve their interests the world will plunge into war where everything will be possible except understanding, tolerance, dialogue and peace.


    [2] Dr Ibrahim Abdullah Al-Marzouqi - Human Rights in Islamic Law: page 329
    [4] Maksud Djavadov - Theory and Structure of Islamic State in Iran: page 1-2
    [6] Maksud Djavadov - Theory and Structure of Islamic State in Iran: page 12
    [8] Ahmad Rasheed - The Rise of Militant Islam page 137
    [9] John Esposito - Islamic Threat Myth or Reality? Page 183
    [12] Henry Kissinger - Diplomacy page 35
    [13] Ahmad Rasheed - The Rise of Militant Islam page 197

    * Maksud Djavadov is the son of Mahir Djavadov (also spelt Javadov), a man who is the Chairman of the in-exile Azarbaijan Takamul Party.
    This article was originally appeared on War Against Islam


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