On the one hand, the Islamic form
of government is an aristocracy in that the individuals who comprise the
government are elected on the basis of their piety and political acumen
and, on the other hand, it is a democracy in that they are elected and
have to run their state affairs on the basis of consultation among them.
The Qur’an says: ‘The affairs of state of the believers are run by consultation
among them’ (42:38). Keeping in view linguistic considerations, it is evident
from this Qur’anic injunction
that a concensus or majority opinion of the Muslims can in no way be overruled.
The Qur’an has not said: ‘The
believers are consulted in their affairs’, it has, on the contrary, declared:
‘Their affairs of state are run by consultation among them’.
The style and pattern of the verse
demands that an Islamic government should be established through the consultation
of the believers, continue to exist on this basis and should cease to exist
without it. It should conduct its affairs, in all cases, on the basis of
a concensus or majority opinion of the believers.
In compliance with the above mentioned
Qur’anic injunction, the Prophet
(sws) adopted the procedure that: Firstly, Muslims shall be consulted in
the affairs of state through their leaders in whom they profess confidence.
Secondly, among the various parties or groups present in an Islamic State,
only that party shall assume its political authority which enjoys the confidence
of the majority.
It is evident from this that the real
essence of democracy definitely exists in an Islamic Political System;
however, there are certain evils present in the prevailing concept of the
democracies of today, which are contrary to the teachings of Islam.
The first evil in this concept is
that in the state affairs, it bestows the final authority on the masses.
On the contrary, the fundamental principle on which Islam has based its
political law is that in the affairs of state God and His Prophet (sws)
are the final authority. The head of an Islamic state and even the members
of the parliament have no right whatsoever to have a ruling in matters
decreed by the Qur’an and Sunnah.
The believers have a right to disagree with those in authority and indeed
also have the right to ascertain the real purports of the Shari‘ah
and discuss how to carry out the directives of the Qur’an and Sunnah, but they can have no disagreement with God and His
Prophet (sws). In fact, if such a situation arises even with those in authority,
the decision must be made in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah: ‘If you disagree among yourselves in any matter,
refer it to God and the Prophet’ (4:59).
The second evil in it is that greed
for an office in the government has become so desirable a trait that even
the pious feel no aversion to it. It has now become a tradition for people
to come forward and present their names for various posts, go about proclaiming
their qualities and services in streets and employ other means to allure
the public. In Islamic ethics, this shameless attitude is not permissible
at all. The Prophet (sws) is said to have said:
Do not seek a post. If it is granted to you because of
your desire, you shall [find yourself being] handed over to it and if it
is granted to you without your desire, the Almighty shall help you. (Muslim,
The third evil in the concept is that
a general acknowledgement is given to the fact that the people should vote
for whatever is in the party’s interest, even if their conscience considers
it against the truth. Quite evidently, this attitude cannot be tolerated
in a religion which says that the whole Muslim Ummah has been instituted
to bear witness to the truth and whose followers have pledged a covenant
at the hands of the Prophet (sws) that they would always say what is right
disregarding ‘the reproaches of a reproacher’.
The fourth evil in it is that money
has become the decisive factor in the election campaigns that take place
in this system. Therefore, only people who are able to spend lavishly in
these campaigns, however little they might know about Islam, however much
they may lack in wisdom and intellect and however low they may be in character,
reach the parliament. Islam on the contrary, as every one knows, stresses
that only people who are pious and noble, worthy and competent should assume
political authority. It totally disapproves that money should rule the
realm of politics in place of intellect and morality.
These are the evils which plague a
democratic order. In their presence everything but Islam can be enforced
in the country. The whole set-up must be reformed and rehabilitated to
achieve the supremacy of Islam. The following steps, in our consideration,
must be taken:
AT THE POLITICAL LEVEL
1. It should be very clearly written
down in the constitution of our country that the Qur’an and Sunnah are the supreme law of the state to which our parliament
and constitution itself must submit.
2. For the interpretation of the Qur’an
and Sunnah, a committee of competent religious scholars should
be instituted by a direct electoral mandate of the parliament.
It should be clearly spelled out in
the basic code of this committee that the content of Islam is only that
which is endorsed by the Qur’an and Sunnah, which also, incidentally, are the only two sources
of it. Whoever considers this to be so, should undertake this task of interpretation.
3. It should be declared that the
enforcement of Tawhid (monotheism),
refutation of Shirk (associating others in the Being, Attributes
or Rights of Allah), establishment of prayers and zakah,
enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil are the primary obligations
of the state and as such should always remain in consideration of its rulers.
4. Like the departments of ‘police’
and ‘armed forces’, a department to discharge the obligation of Amar
bi-al-ma ‘ruf wa nahi
‘an-al-munkar (urging what is good, forbidding what is evil) under
specified limits, vested with proper legal authority should be established
under the system.
5. The affairs of the state should
be run by the consultation of only those who establish regular prayers,
and if eligible, pay zakah to
the Bayt-al-mal, and the only
basis of their appointment in the Shurah (parliament) should be their wisdom and piety, intellect and sagacity
which distinguish them from others.
6. A restriction should be imposed
on the standard of living of those in authority (the ul-al-amar)
that it must not exceed that of a common man.
7. The centre of every administrative
unit of the state should be a Jami‘Masjid,
and the division of these units should be such that one Jami‘Masjid should suffice for one unit.
Within each unit, all the administrative
offices and courts should be instituted adjacent to this Jami‘Masjid.
The state capital together with the
provincial capitals should have a central Jami‘Masjid.
The address of the Friday prayers
should be delivered only by the head of state and only he should lead these
prayers in the central Jami‘Masjid of the capital. The provincial governors should be entrusted with this
job in the central Jami‘Masjids of the provinces, while the representatives of the government should
perform this duty in the Jami‘Masjids of the various administrative units.
The Friday prayers should be prohibited
in all mosques except the above ones.
Mosques should be supervised by the
Every religious scholar should be
allowed to deliver a lecture or teach, educate and instruct his students
according to his own views in any of these mosques.
8. In the general elections, the mode
of proportional representation should be adopted so that instead of an
individual, a party presents itself to take charge of the affairs of state,
and as a result of which the parties, on the basis of the trust and support
bestowed on them by the public, are able to nominate their pious and competent
members for the parliament.
9. In the parliament, the tradition
should be established that instead of the party members voting only for
their own party, they should vote for what they consider as right, abide
by it and, in fact, take pride in it. Also, no one should be allowed to
forcibly convince them against something which they consider as correct.
10. After the general elections, the
process of transfer of power to the newly elected representatives should
be delayed by at least six months. During this interim period, all members
of the parliament should undergo training in political affairs in an academy
specifically instituted for this purpose -- just as in the present set
up, those selected for the civil services are given training in administrative
affairs for a certain period before they actually take charge of their
11. The present set up of the Executive
and the Judiciary should be extracted from its roots, and in its place
a new system be implanted. Under this system, the whole country should
be divided into small administrative units where all the problems of the
general public should be dealt. The present gradations in the government
should be finished, and these administrative units should be first directly
linked with the provinces and then to the centre.
12. For prompt action against any
excesses committed by the administration, an ombudsman invested with appropriate
powers should be appointed.
13. If the citizens of an Islamic
State refrain from every prohibited belief and deed, establish regular
prayers and pay zakah, it is
their right that:
Their lives should be safeguarded
at all costs and they should not be compelled to put their lives in danger
even for a very noble cause.
Their rightfully owned wealth and
property should be protected.
No tax should be imposed on them.
Their honour and integrity should
be given protection.
Even in extraordinary circumstances,
their personal freedom should not be curtailed totally or partially, until
after an open court hearing, a court pronounces a verdict after they have
been given a chance to plead.
They should not be forced to adopt
any particular thought, opinion, view, occupation, dress or attitude.
The only restriction imposed on them
in forming an opinion and presenting it to others is that while doing so
they must not hurt others and remain within the norms of decency and morality.
No responsibility should be imposed
on them against their wishes.
Every citizen rich or poor, high or
low, strong or weak, ruler or ruled should be considered equal in the eyes
of the law and no discrimination in this regard should be tolerated.
The state must grant each citizen
the same social status irrespective of his colour, creed and rank which
are given importance only in ‘uncivilised’ societies.
The doors of the ul-al-amar must always remain open without any restriction to the general public
so that at any time and place they are able to reach them to present their
grievances and petitions, and are also able to criticise them and to freely
call them to account.
They should be provided unbiased justice
in all circumstances.
14. Similarly, dealings with non-Muslim
citizens who are Mu‘ahids,
that is those who have come under an Islamic State on account of a treaty
with it, should be according to the terms of the treaty concluded with
them. The state should abide by these terms in all circumstances and should
never violate them in the slightest way.
(Translated by Shehzad Saleem)