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Constructing an Ummatics Centered Caliphate with Ovamir Anjum

This is primarily an audio podcast and the majority of our listeners subscribe using a podcast app like Apple or Spotify – for more information visit www.thinkingmuslim.com Since the destruction of the Ottoman Khilafah at the beginning of the twentieth century, many Islamic movements were formed to recreate the very institution behind much of our historic ascendency as an ummah. These calls tended to be top-down projects that borrowed much from the nation-state authoritarian political models of the twentieth century. Their vision for a caliphate was open to one-man rule, concentrated power, and erosion of citizen rights. The consequent failure of the Arab Spring, albeit its first wave, also challenged these twentieth-century movements, whose programmes were revealed to be ill-thought through and the rise of ISIS, no matter how aberrant and repulsive, merely showed the Muslim public why one needs to read more carefully Islamic political projects and their ambitions. My guest this week, Professor Ovamir Anjum, has not given up on the duty to re-establish the caliphate. Instead, he argues that any future reconstruction of this sacred institution has to be premised upon what he calls an ummatic framework, an ummah-centric model. He argues that the Rashidun model was fundamentally based on the consent of the ummah, and through shura, that is, consultation, and this is how the earlier caliphs successfully built an empire unlike any other. In this interview, I ask him to spell out what it means to think in an ummatic way and elucidate on the practicalities. Ovamir Anjum is the Imam Khattab Chair of Islamic Studies at the Department of Philosophy, University of Toledo; he wrote the article ‘Who Wants a Caliphate’, which I shall place in the show notes together with an earlier interview. He is a prolific writer and commentator on Islam and Muslim affairs. As always, you can comment your thoughts below.

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