Last night, I spent more than three hours talking to an old friend who happens to be a cleric (molla). The subject was if, in principle, democracy can be consistent with Islam or not. He had earlier pointed out a verse in Quran which says:
"...and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the transgressors." 5:47, Shakir's Translation
as well as other verses which say God is the only one fit to judge ( ... enel hokm ella lellah ...). So does this make democracy, which replaces the rule of God by the rule of People, un-Islamic? ... when my calling card alerted the last minute, I was starting to wonder if it is ever possible to convince the powerful self-righteous.
Don't get me wrong. My friend is not a government official or a powerful ayatollah. He is a simple university instructor who probably earns less than most of us. But, still, he belongs to the the powerful class, the class whose ideology rules the society, the class that, unlike others, does not need to hide its beliefs to stay safe.
In a closed society, the praise of this class is exaggerated, up to the only ones who deserve to rule, while the criticisms are either banned or branded as heresy or foreign imperial influence. They have answers to every question and of course your objection is always seen by them as your ignorance. So, can we ever convince the self-righteous?