It seems that the Arabic revolution was a new important occasion to the Arab political currents to review their political thoughts and evaluate their previous experience, although the intellectual transformations were observed clearly during the last previous decades.

The Islamic political current in both its Sunni and She’e side had shown more transformations than the nationalism, liberal and communism currents. These transformations didn’t stop on the change of the political discourse only; it further more included rereading the Islamic essentials and re-understanding the holy texts in the political field.

I may summarize the Islamic Sunni current’s transformations to three stages: from Jihadi military spirit to nonviolent movement, from nonviolent revolutional spirit to accepting the political game rules, and from the political participating in order to sweep, to participating to share1. These reviews had been observed from all Islamic currents even the extreme ones as “Jihad Group” –the Egyptian branch of Al-Qaida- which issued series of books named “correcting the concepts2“ under an initiative for stopping violence in July 1997. The other opposite Islamic fundamentalist extreme current; the Salafies, who believed always in obedience to the ruler whoever he is and the prohibition of establishing political parties, witnessed a big shift starting from the early 1990s in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and in Egypt only after the last revolution. The Salafies witnessed many inner splits regarding to these reviews which varied between establishing political parties and obeying the non-Islamic constitution, and consisting on the old principles. The Muslim brotherhood’s reviews had a steady pattern since the first generation in the 1920s, although it started from the beginning as a reform movement with a political party in aim to restore the “Khilafa”. After stages of self-criticism and taking advantage of other political theorists, MB now is almost a secular party with an Islamic rooting. And unlike the Salafie’s splits, MB remained coherent in exception of Erdogan’s party split from his teacher Arbakan in Turkey. The Moroccan, Tunisian and Turkish are the review pioneers and have an advanced Islamic political sample as they are considered the theorist teachers in the Islamic world, and I would refer that for their geographical location near the western world and their mature political experience.

The She’e transformations had a different pattern. Since the She’e doctrine belief’s in waiting for “The savior Mahdi” to rule, the she’a –since more than 10 centuries- haven’t got any political project until ” Welayat-e faqih” –the jurist ruling- theory had been stated firstly by Mulla Ahmad Alnaragy in the 1800s and applied by Alkhumaini in Iran in 1979. But the She’e reviews had been confined between the jurists not the political theorist which caused no real advance on the She’e political attitude except of some efforts from few political thinkers like Ali Shareaty and Ahmad Alkatib calling for more political pluralism.

Unlike the protestant reformation which isolated the religion totally from politics, it seems that the Islamic political currents are still developing a special political model justified Islamicly, even after ending up to secularism3.

And although Arab nationalist, communist and liberals preceded the Islamist in more than 40 years, their transformation was more likely to be retreats or renunciation than reviews. As these currents are linked to international thoughts, they had been affected by the cold war results. The collapse of the Soviet Union weakened the Arab communist’s loyalty to the idea. And as capitalism seemed to be the perfect political model and have no competitors, the liberals have no challenge to review or develop the model at least to suit with the region’s conditions. And since that, communism’s dialogues kept far away from the field, confined between high-educated class with no real project, and the liberals tend to be pragmatic, calling for social freedom, reconciled with the dictatorial regimes.

And from all theses current’s womb, new orientations have borned lately led by youth leaders and combined under one parties or movements4 calling for the consensus political principles and values as democracy, justice, freedom, and a conservative civilized states. I would simply say that this is exactly the developed Islamic political model without an Islamic justification.

These reviews and transformations have attracted many researches to mark these transformations and explain the effective elements for it. I believe more researches are needed to study how these reviews processed. When we have a close look on these transformations, we realize that the change had occurred not only on the political position, but on the conclusional tools as well, a deep change in the knowledge basics. Combining political sociology with epistemology approach could be good start to understand these reviews, how do it occur, and predicting where these reviews would end up in the future.

 Talal Alkhadher



  1. Bilal Altalidi- Islamist’s reviews
  2. Correcting the concepts- authored collectively by the Jihad group leaders
  3. Al-Nahdha Party in Tunis, PJD in Morocco, AK Party in Turkey
  4. Civil Democrat Movement- Kuwait, Median Party (Alwasat )- Egypt