Republic vs Democracy by Peace-Forum
Democracy has taken a number of forms, both in theory and practice. Some varieties of democracy provide better representation and more freedom for their citizens than others. Justice, tolerance, equity and moderation is hallmark of Islam, which accords great value to human life, whether Muslims and non Muslims alike. The so called corrupt and incompetent democratic governments in Muslim lands have shaken the confidence of people of in democracy. Hence disillusioned people blame democracy for all the ills, some demanding military dictatorship or Caliphate [Khilafa] while others talk of Shari’a to resolve injustice, corruption and other ills plaguing society. Exploiting the religious sentiments of the simple people, proponents of Caliphate declare democracy as un-Islamic or Haram [forbidden] and Kufr [disbelief]. Establishment of one global Caliphate is their final objective. Verses from Quran and Hadith are quoted to advance their arguments. While there are many reputed Islamic scholars who consider democracy with in bounds of Shari’a as a good system for Muslims. They also think that instead of copying a particular Western democratic system, each Muslim society should adopt a reformed democratic system suitable to its people, faith, culture and environments. The diverse views demand an objective analysis.
لفظ ’خلیفہ` کا مطلب نمائندہ یا نائب ہے اور قرآن اس لفظ کو حکومت کے معنی میں بھی استعمال کرتا ہے۔ حضرت آدم، حضرت داؤد (38:26) کو زمین پراللہ کا خلیفہ کہا اور حضرت سلیمان کو ملک (بادشاہ)۔ 632 عیسوی میں پیغمبر اسلام حضرت محمد صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے بعد یہ لقب ان کے بعد کے مسلمان حکمرانوں کے حصے میں آ گیا، پہلے چار خلفاء” راشدین خلیفہ” بنے۔ اسلامی دور کی پہلی تین دہائیاں چار “خلفائے راشدین” (رضی اللہ ) کے ادوار پر مشتمل ہیں-… آخری خلافت، خلافت عثمانیہ تھی جسے ختم ہوئے 90 برس ہو چکے ہیں۔ متحدہ انڈیا میں “خلافت موومنٹ” مسلمانوں کی اس نظریہ سے محبت کی مثال ہے جو وقت کے ساتھ ابھی بھی قائم ہے- جب سنہ 2006 میں گیلپ کے ایک جائزے میں مصر، مراکش، انڈونیشیا اور پاکستان کے مسلمانوں سے پوچھا گیا تو ان میں سے دو تہائی نے اس خیال کی حمایت کی تھی کہ ’تمام اسلامی ممالک‘ کو ایک نئی خلافت کے پرچم تلے متحد ہو جانا چاہیے- مکمل مضمون پڑھیں … >>>>>
Muslims may be weak in practice, but are deeply committed to their faith, a phenomena not restricted to Indo-Pak subcontinent but applicable universally. A new Pew Research Centre survey of Muslims around the globe finds that most adherents of the world’s second-largest religion are deeply committed to their faith and want its teachings to shape not only their personal lives but also their societies and politics. In all but a handful of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority of Muslims say that Islam is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven and that belief in God is necessary to be a moral person. Many also think that their religious leaders should have at least some influence over political matters. And many express a desire for Shari’a – traditional Islamic law – to be recognized as the official law of their country.
The percentage of Muslims who say they want Shari’a to be “the official law of the land” varies widely around the world, from fewer than one-in-ten in Azerbaijan (8%) to near unanimity in Afghanistan (99%). But solid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favour the establishment of Shari’a, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.
At the same time, the survey finds that even in many countries where there is strong backing for Shari’a, most Muslims favour religious freedom for people of other faiths. In Pakistan, for example, three-quarters of Muslims say that non-Muslims are very free to practice their religion, and fully 96% of those who share this assessment say it is “a good thing.” Yet 84% of Pakistani Muslims favour enshrining Shari’a as official law. These seemingly divergent views are possible partly because most supporters of sharia in Pakistan – as in many other countries – think Islamic law should apply only to Muslims. Moreover, Muslims around the globe have differing understandings of what sharia means in practice.
The survey – which involved more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in 80-plus languages with Muslims across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa – shows that Muslims tend to be most comfortable with using sharia in the domestic sphere, to settle family or property disputes. In most countries surveyed, there is considerably less support for severe punishments, such as cutting off the hands of thieves or executing people who convert from Islam to another faith. And even in the domestic sphere, Muslims differ widely on such questions as whether polygamy, divorce and family planning are morally acceptable and whether daughters should be able to receive the same inheritance as sons.
In most countries surveyed, majorities of Muslim women as well as men agree that a wife is always obliged to obey her husband. Indeed, more than nine-in-ten Muslims in Iraq (92%), Morocco (92%), Tunisia (93%), Indonesia (93%), Afghanistan (94%) and Malaysia (96%) express this view. At the same time, majorities in many countries surveyed say a woman should be able to decide for herself whether to wear a veil.
Overall, the survey finds that most Muslims see no inherent tension between being religiously devout and living in a modern society. Nor do they see any conflict between religion and science. Many favor democracy over authoritarian rule, believe that humans and other living things have evolved over time and say they personally enjoy Western movies, music and television – even though most think Western popular culture undermines public morality.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2012 report “The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity.” The current report focuses on Muslims’ social and political attitudes, and it incorporates findings from both waves of the survey.
Relatively few Muslims say that tensions between more religiously observant and less observant Muslims are a very big problem in their country. In most countries where the question was asked, Muslims also see little tension between members of Islam’s two major sects, Sunnis and Shias – though a third or more of Muslims in Pakistan (34%) and Lebanon (38%) consider Sunni-Shia conflict to be a very big problem.
Support for making Shari’a the official law of the land tends to be higher in countries like Pakistan (84%) and Morocco (83%) where the constitution or basic laws favour Islam over other religions.
In many countries, Muslims who pray several times a day are more likely to support making sharia official law than are Muslims who pray less frequently. In Russia, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Tunisia, for example, Muslims who pray several times a day are at least 25 percentage points more supportive of enshrining sharia than are less observant Muslims. Generally, however, there is little difference in support for sharia by age, gender or education.
According to another survey conducted by British High commission in Pakistan published in April 2013more than half of young Pakistanis believe democracy has not been good for their country and nearly 40 percent are in favour of having Islamic Shari’a rule. Just 29 percent chose democracy as the best system for Pakistan, a constitutional Islamic republic, with 38 percent favouring Shari’a, saying it was the best for giving rights and freedom and promoting tolerance. When asked to pick the best political system, both Shari’a and military rule were favoured over democracy. It is evident that the biggest issue facing Pakistan today is the lack of a social consensus over the direction people want the country to go in. Should Pakistan, as a society and state, be organized as a military dictatorship, a theocracy or should it head toward a stronger democratic culture that respects the place of Islam in society? The absence of this consensus is tearing society apart. Hence there is a need to understand the difference between ‘Sham, Pseudo democracy’, ‘Western democracy’ and true ‘Islamic Democracy’:
According to Wikipedia; Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows eligible citizens to participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.
The term originates from the Greek δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) “rule of the people”, which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) “people” and κράτος (kratos) “power” or “rule” in the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to ἀριστοκρατία(aristocratie) “rule of an elite.” While theoretically these definitions are in opposition, in practice the distinction has been blurred historically. The political system of Classical Athens, for example, granted democratic citizenship to an elite class of free men and excluded slaves and women from political participation. In virtually all democratic governments throughout ancient and modern history, democratic citizenship consisted of an elite class until full enfranchisement was won for all adult citizens in most modern democracies through the suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. The English word dates to the 16th century, from the older Middle French and Middle Latin equivalents.
A democratic government contrasts to forms of government where power is either held by one, as in a monarchy, or where power is held by a small number of individuals, as in an oligarchy. Nevertheless, these oppositions, inherited from Greek philosophy, are now ambiguous because contemporary governments have mixed democratic, oligarchic, and monarchic elements. Karl Popper define democracy in contrast to dictatorship or tyranny, thus focusing on opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to oust them without the need for a revolution.
Several variants of democracy exist, but there are two basic forms, both of which concern how the whole body of all eligible citizens executes its will. One form of democracy is direct democracy, in which all eligible citizens have direct and active participation in the decision making of the government. In most modern democracies, the whole body of all eligible citizens remain the sovereign power but political power is exercised indirectly through elected representatives; this is called representative democracy. The concept of representative democracy arose largely from ideas and institutions that developed during the European Middle Ages, the Age of Enlightenment, and the American and French Revolutions.
Most of modern societies and cultures have adopted various forms of democracies according to their needs. Even in Europe there is not a single type of Democratic system. England has Westminster type of parliamentary democracy, while France, Germany have their own type. Some countries follow direct electorate system while other have adopted proportionate representation system. USA is following its own type of presidential system and electoral procedure. Russia, China & CAR also claim to be democracies. Understanding of some basic terminologies will facilitate to comprehend the concept of Islamic Democracy:
The Law & Islamic Society:
Islam provides a legal code to govern the life of Muslims and society, known as Shari’a. The peaceful coexistence is the basic requirement of any community for its survival, development and expansion. Law, may be defined as the discipline concerned with the customs, practices, and rules of conduct of a community that are recognized as binding by the community. The enforcement of the body of rules is through a controlling authority. Total and unqualified submission to the will of Allah is the fundamental tenet of Islam: Islamic law is therefore the expression of Allah’s command for Muslim society and, in application, constitutes a system of duties that are incumbent upon a Muslim by virtue of his religious belief. Known as the Shari’a (the path leading to the watering place), the Islamic law constitutes a divinely ordained path of conduct, that guides the Muslim toward a practical expression of his religious conviction (rituals) and all aspects of life (social, economic, political etc) in this world and the goal of divine favour in the world to come.
Roman Law :
The Western Civilization has been following Roman Law and its derivatives. Romans considered ritual law (fas) to be God-given and social law (lex) as man-made. Hence it dealt with matters of succession (who was to inherit what), obligations (including contracts, such as loans, entered into by individuals), property and possessions, and persons (which included family, slaves, and citizenship). The Roman law, as a legal system and as basis for the law codes has affected the development of law in most of Western civilization as well as in parts of the East. It was the law of ancient Rome from the time of the founding of the city of Rome in 753 BC until the fall of the Western Empire. However it remained in use in the Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire until 1453 C.E.
The Biblilc Law:
The Old Testament include the Law given by God through Moses, commonly referred as Mosaic Law, which was also confirmed by Jesus by saying: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;5:17-20 also the Beatitudes, Matthew; 5:3-12 and the Lord’s Prayer Matthew; 6:9-13). However Paul changed by saying; “BUT NOW WE ARE DISCHARGED FROM THE LAW, DEAD to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”(Romans;7:6). The New Testament lays down the general principles of good government, but contains no code of laws for the punishment of offenders: “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”(Romans;13:9). Punishment proceeds on the principle that there is an eternal distinction between right and wrong, and that this distinction must be maintained for its own sake. It is not primarily intended for the reformation of criminals, nor for the purpose of deterring others from sin. These results may be gained, but crime in itself demands punishment.
The Jewish law (Talmudic Law and Jurisprudence):
It is considered to be of ‘divine’ origin. Thus, for example, unfairness in labour relations was considered a religious sin and caring for the sick a religious obligation. Though familiar with the concept of natural law (ethical principles inherent in the nature of things and apprehensible through human reason), the rabbis objected to making nature the basis of law. Even rabbinic ordinances were regarded as having validity only because the authority of the rabbis is sanctioned by the Torah. This however remained the personal law for Jews for centuries, being a minority in various countries. With the rebirth of a Jewish national state (1948) and the connected revival of Jewish culture, the Talmud has achieved renewed importance. Orthodox Jewry has always focused upon its study and has believed it to be the absolute Halakhic (“practice,” “rules of conduct”) authority. This belief has now become even further intensified. While rabbinic courts in Israel have jurisdiction only in the area of family life, it has become one of the aims of religious (Orthodox) Jewry there to establish Talmudic law as the general law of the state.
Canon Law :
In Christianity, the Churches followed Canon Law which in its wider sense includes precepts of divine law, natural or positive, incorporated in various canonical collections or codes; may be defined as that body of rules and regulations (canons) concerning the behaviour and actions of individuals and institutions within certain Christian churches, which have, through proper priestly authority, defined and codified such rules. Canon law has had a long history of development throughout the Christian Era. Not a static body of laws, it reflects social, political, economic, cultural, and ecclesiastical changes that have taken place in the past two millennia. During periods of social and cultural upheaval the church has not remained unaffected by its environment. Thus, canon law may be expected to be involved in the far-reaching changes that have come to be anticipated in the modern world. The Western Civilization separated the religion form state, by declaring the religion to be personal matter of individual and initially depended on Roman Law, later on Civil Law, also called ROMANO GERMANIC LAW, the law of continental Europe, based on an admixture of Roman, Germanic, ecclesiastical, feudal, commercial, and customary law. European civil law has been adopted in much of Latin America as well as in parts of Asia and Africa and is to be distinguished from the common law of the Anglo-American countries. The Common law is the system of laws originated and developed in England and based on court decisions, on the doctrines implicit in those decisions, and on customs and usages rather than on codified written laws.
Church and State:
The the relationship between religious and secular authority in society is generally termed as Church and State. In most ancient civilizations the separation of religious and political orders was not clearly defined. With the advent of Christianity, the idea of two separate orders emerged, based on Jesus’s command to “Render unto Caesar what are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17) and abrogation of Law of Moses by Paul for the Chrisitians. The close association of religion and politics, however, continued even after the triumph of Christianity as emperors such as Constantine exercised authority over both church and state. In the early Middle Ages secular rulers claimed to rule by the grace of God, and later in the Middle Ages popes and emperors competed for universal dominion. During the Investiture Controversy the church clearly defined separate and distinct religious and secular orders, even though it laid the foundation for the so-called papal monarchy. The Reformation greatly undermined papal authority, and the pendulum swung toward the state, with many monarchs claiming to rule church and state by divine right. The concept of secular government, as evinced in the U.S. and post revolutionary France, was influenced by Enlightenment thinkers. In Western Europe today all states protect freedom of worship and maintain a distinction between civil and religious authority. The legal systems of some modern Islamic countries are based on Sharīah. In the U.S. the separation of church and state has been tested in the arena of public education by controversies over issues such as school prayer, public funding of parochial schools, and the teaching of creationism. In Islamic system the total separation of religion from state is not possible, however it does not imply theocracy, as there is no concept of Pope in Islam. The ruler who should be well versed with religious knowledge, take advice from scholars and jurists on various matters.
Islamic Law – Shari’a:
Since Islam is a complete code of life covering all aspects including social, economic, political, military and other aspects of human life, hence the Islamic law (Shari’a) spells out the moral goals of the community, where state and religion are not separate entity. In Islamic society, therefore, the term law has a wider significance than it does in the modern secular West, because Islamic law includes both legal and moral imperatives. For the same reason, not all-Islamic laws can be stated as formal legal rules or enforced by the courts. Much of it depends on conscience alone. The Shari’a duties are broadly divided into those that an individual owes to Allah (the ritual practices or ‘ibadat) and those that he owes to his fellow men (mu’amalat). It is the latter category of duties alone, constituting law in the Western sense, that is penal law. The other laws include; offenses against the person, homicide, law of transactions, family law, succession law, procedure and evidence etc. The Qur’anic revelations laid down basic standards of conduct for the first Muslim community established under the leadership of the Prophet (peace be upon him) at Medina in 622 C.E. The Qur’an is the book of guidance for the believers, it also lay down the parameters of legal code. The Qur’an contains about ninety verses directly and specifically addressing questions of law. Islamic legal discourse refers to these verses as Allah’s law and incorporates them into legal codes. The remainder of Islamic law is the result of jurisprudence (fiqh), human efforts to codify Islamic norms in practical terms and legislate for cases not specifically dealt with in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Although human generated legislation is considered fallible and open to revision, the term Shari’a is sometimes applied to all Islamic legislation. Modern scholars have however challenged this claim, distinguishing between Shari’a and fiqh and calling for reform of fiqh codes in light of modern conditions.
The common topic of discussion among modern scholars is that, the government in the Muslim state should primarily be concerned with maintaining peace, equitable justice based upon Islamic law and other matters of statehood: “…those who do not judge by the law which Allah has revealed, are indeed disbelievers.”(Qur’an;5:44). However as far as the religious matters are concerned they think that state has the responsibility of making arrangements to establish Salah (regular prayers) and system of Zakah (obligatory charity), taking inference form verse : “…but if they repent and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.”(Qur’an;9:5), “These are the people who, if We establish them (in power, authority) in the land, will establish Salah and pay Zakah, enjoin justice and forbid evil; the final decision of all affairs is in the hands of Allah.”(Qur’an;22:41), “Let there be no compulsion in religion..”(Qur’an;2:256). They think that implementation in all other matters, should be left to the individuals through persuasion to enjoin good and forbid evil. Use of force like Taliban, forcing the men to keep beard, women to cover face, not to attend schools and colleges etc is not considered appropriate. Similarly to the performing Hajj and many other matters are left to the individual Muslims for which they is answerable to Allah. The Bible also emphasises similar aspects: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (1 Peter; 3:10-13)
Differences of Shari’a from Western Systems of Law :
In classical form, the Shari’a differs from Western systems of law (based on Roman Law) in two principal respects. In the first place the scope of the Shari’a is much wider, since it regulates man’s relationship not only with his neighbours and with the state, which is the limit of most other legal systems, but also with his Allah and his own conscience. Ritual practices,(ibadat) such as the daily prayers, almsgiving, fasting, and pilgrimage, are an integral part of Shari’a law and usually occupy the first chapters in the legal manuals. The Shari’a is also concerned as much with ethical standards as with legal rules, indicating not only what man is entitled or bound to do in law, but also what he (obligatory) ought, in conscience, to do (halal), something that is lawful and permitted in Islam, or refrain from doing (haram) not permissible. Accordingly, certain acts are classified as praiseworthy (mandub), which means that their performance brings divine favour and their omission divine disfavour. There is an other category not halal or haram but some thing doubtful, classified a Undesirable (makruh), it is divided into Makruh Tahrimi “that which is nearly unlawful without it being actually so,” and Makruh Tanzihi “that which approaches the lawful or undesirable yet is closer to the lawful.” For example it is undesirable (makruh) for a person to buy back what he has given in charity (sadaqah, or zakat), or “to wish for one’s death, or pray to Allah for it, due to poverty, distress, illness, or the like. However in neither case is there any legal sanction of punishment or reward, nullity or validity.
Thus the Shari’a is not merely a system of law, but a comprehensive code of behaviour that embraces both private and public activities. The second major distinction between the Shari’a and Western legal systems is the result of the Islamic concept of law as the expression of the divine will. Shari’a law though appears to be rigid in certain aspects but there is room for flexibility in fiqha through Ijtehad to meet the challenges of growing and changing needs of society. In Islamic jurisprudence it is not the society that moulds and fashions the law, but the law that precedes and controls society, however the legitimate changes and requirements of the modern society are kept in view with in bounds of Divine Will. The Western Law, is not based on the Bible, they have discarded the Law of Moses, which Jesus declared as his mission, when he said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. . . . Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these Commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;”(Mathew;5:17-20). By contrast in the Western Law, it is the society that moulds and fashions the law thus consumption of alcohol, homosexuality, gay marriages (not permitted in Bible) have been made legal, on the desire and public support of the Western Society, where as in Shari’a, it is not possible to make such laws which are unnatural and clearly against the Divine Will, manifested in Qur’an and Sunnah.
It means ‘independent reasoning’ as opposed to taqlid (imitation). In the absence of direct guidance from Qur’an or Sunnah for a given situation, the exercise of rational judgment by a competent authority is termed as Ijtihad. It is a unique and important component of Shari’a. Ijtihad started during the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who while sending ‘Muadh ibn Jabal’ to Yemen, asked him: “According to what will you judge?” “According to the Book of God,” replied Muadh. “And if you find nothing therein?” “According to the Sunnah of the Prophet of God.” “And if you find nothing therein?” “Then I will exert myself (exercise Ijtihad) to form my own judgment.” The Prophet was pleased with this reply and said: “Praise be to God Who has guided the messenger of the Prophet to that which pleases the Prophet.” The rules of Ijtihad were framed by Abu Bakr, the first Caliph. He laid down the principle that in deciding a case he would obtain guidance the first instance from the Holy Qur’an. If the Holy Qur’an was silent in the matter, he would look for guidance to the traditions of the Holy Prophet as duly authenticated. If the traditions were also silent he was to decide the case according to his best judgment He held: “If my decision is just then it will be from God. If it is erroneous, it will be mine, and may God pardon me.” Ijtihad is fallible since more than one interpretation of a legal issue is possible. It is possible that some thing declared forbidden at some time later declared permissible by other scholars i.e. use of loudspeakers was declared haram in India in early 20th century, but now all mosques are well equipped with it. Due to non availability of clearly defined political system as perceived at present, the concept of Islamic political system with in the Islamic Shari’a parameters falls in to domain of Ijtihad.
Islamic Political System :
Quran and Sunnah did not lay down any specific political system, which political system Muslims should follow it has been left to the people. However broad guidelines and principles are laid down. This is the reason that Prophet (pbuh) did not nominate his successor, and each one of four Rightly guided Caliphs were elected, or chosen or appointed in different manner. According to my studies I agree with those scholars who consider Democracy with in the bounds of Shari’sh as Islamic. Not the secular Western democracy, where majority can make Haram [gay marriages] as Halal. Since political system is Ijtehadi matter both schools of thought can be right as long as the guiding principles of Quran and Sunnah , justice are adhered to.
PURPOSE OF SENDING MESSENGERS AND DIVINE BOOKS: “We sent our messengers supported by clear proofs, and we sent down to them the scripture and the law, that the people may uphold JUSTICE ” [QURAN; 57:25)
Some scholars justify kingship as Islamic, on the basis of verse: “”Their Prophet said unto them: Lo! Allah hath raised up Saul to be a king for you. They said: How can he have kingdom over us when we are more deserving of the kingdom than he is, since he hath not been given wealth enough? He said: Lo! Allah hath chosen him above you, and hath increased him abundantly in wisdom and stature. Allah bestoweth His Sovereignty on whom He will. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing” (Quran;2:247)
In the Bible he [Talut] is called Saul. He was a thirty-year-old Benjaminite youth. ‘There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; from his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people’ (1 Samuel 9: 2). He went out in search of the lost asses of his father. During this search, he passed through the house of Samuel and God informed Samuel that this was the person who had been chosen to govern the people of Israel. Samuel brought Saul to his house, took a vial of oil, poured it on his head,. kissed him and said: ‘Has not the Lord anointed you to be the prince over His people of Israel? ‘ (1 Samuel 10: 1). Samuel later called the people of Israel together and proclaimed Saul to be their king (1 Samuel 10: 17).
This appointment of King was on demand of Israelites, the negative aspects of Kingship were repeated & reminded but Israelites wanted a King. So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking a king for him. He said, ‘These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you; he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plough his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make the implements of war and the equipments of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take you men-servants and maid-servants, and the best of your cattle and asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And on that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’ But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said. ‘No! But we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.’ And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Hearken to their voice, and make them a king.’ Samuel then said to the men of Israel, ‘Go every man to his city.’ (1 Samuel 7: 15; 8: 4-22.). The Biblical Kings like David, Solomon (pbuh) were also prophets of God according to Muslim beliefs. There is no clear sanction or practice of hereditary kings in the period of four rightly guided caliphs.
Traditionally the Islamic state was be administered by a Caliph (Arabic khalifah, “successor”), who is elected through mutual consultation (bai’t), which may be called democracy in modern terms. The Caliph hold temporal and sometimes a degree of spiritual authority, the empire of the Caliphate grew rapidly through conquest during its first two centuries to include most of Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Spain. The modern philosopher and political theorist, Rousseau (1712-78 C.E) admits, the practicability of the Islamic polity and records in ‘Social Contract’, that; “Muhammad held very sane views, and linked his political system well together; and as long as the form of his government continued under the Caliphs, who succeeded him, the government was indeed on and so far good”. After first four caliphs, the caliphate became hereditary against the original democratic spirit of this institution, however some good aspects were retained. The dynastic struggles later brought about the Caliphate’s decline, and it ceased to exist with the Mongol destruction of Baghdad in 1258 C.E. Later various Muslim rulers emerged all over the known world but they were hereditary, never even close to the first four caliphs. The last and biggest of its time, the Ottomans rule ended in 1922. Presently most of the governments in the predominantly Muslim countries are run by either hereditary kings, dictators, or some forms of democracies. One thing common to all types of Muslim governments in the history has been their inclination towards Islam and revival of the golden era of the first four caliphs, known as ‘The Rightly Guided Caliphs’. [For details read e-book by writer: Caliphate: Redundant or Relevant? Freely available at http://aftabkhan.blog.com]
Modern Caliphate Revivalists:
There are many organizations working for revival of system of Caliphate but they consider democratic method of election as un-Islamic. They reject democracy as a western system and un-Islamic despite such aspects as elections existing in the Islamic political system. It is argued that democracy as a system is: “The rule of people, for the people, by the people. The basis of the democratic system is that people possess the right of sovereignty, choice and implementation. … it is a Kufr system because it is laid down by man and it is not from the Shari’a Laws.
However, it is believed that the Caliph, i.e., the head of the Caliphate state, should be elected and should be accountable to those who have appointed him. The position should not be inherited through blood lines, or imposed on Muslims, but elected by them, Muslims should then pledge their loyalty to the Caliph.
The Caliph: “is the head of state in the Khilafah. He is not a king or dictator but an elected leader whose authority to rule must be given willingly by the Muslims through a special ruling contact called baya. Without this baya he cannot be the head of state. This is completely opposite to a king or dictator who imposes his authority through coercion and force. It is argued that the tyrant kings and dictators in the Muslim world are examples of this, imprisoning and torturing their populations and stealing their wealth and resources.”
The Caliphate supporters consider a system of elections for Muslims to choose the Caliph. A Majlis al-Umma for the Caliph, is an institution for consultation and accountability of political rulers. The Shura differs from Western representative democracy in that while part of “the ruling structure” of the Islamic caliphate, it’s “not one of its pillars.” This is because they consider shura (consultation) in Islam to be for seeking the opinion and not for ruling. This is contrary to the parliamentary system in democracy. More over when the Majlis makes a decision after the Caliph consults them it is binding on the Caliph to accept the decision; the Caliph’s powers outlined in one of the draft proposed constitution refer only to foreign affairs when in a state of war that he considered existent during his life. It may be noted that election of Caliph is similar to election of head of state or governments in most of Islamic democracies where sovereignty belongs to Allah and rule is considered to be within Shari’a.
The economic system should allow private enterprise, but reserves public ownership of utilities, public transport, health care, energy resources such as oil, and unused farm land (similar to communitarianism). However, it calls for use of the Gold Standard, gold and silver coinage:
“… it is the duty of the Khilafah State to make its currency in gold and silver and to work on the basis of gold and silver as it was during the time of the Messenger of Allah and his Khulafa’a after him… to fix the weight of dinars equal to the Shari’ah dinar or 4.25 grams (of Gold) for one dinar… the dirham has the weight of 2.975 grams (of Silver). The basis of gold and silver as currency is the only way to solve currency related economic problems and the high inflation rates that are common in the world, and to produce currency stability for rates of exchange and progress in international trade…. Only by taking gold and silver as the standard, can the American control and the control of the dollar as an international currency, be demolished in international trade and world economies.”
With regards to foreign policy: “The State is forbidden to belong to any organisation that is based on something other than Islam or that applies non-Islamic rules”. This includes organizations such as the UN, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund and the Arab League. It is permitted to conclude good neighbouring, economic, commercial, financial, and cultural and armistice treaties.”
Caliphate & Ayah Ishtikhlaf :
The concept of Khilafat is has been adopted as a maxim by some organizations and groups in Muslim countries to seek support form the masses to gain power. Some of them believe in peaceful struggle while the extremist justify use of violence and terrorism to get in to power. It is claimed that through establishment of Khilafat they will be able to implement Shari’a, get rid of corrupt rulers, provide quick justice, end oppression of Muslims and exploitation of their resource by super powers. Hence they will regain the lost glory of Muslim Ummah by uniting them under a Khalifah.
Those advocating Khifah or Caliph also refer to verses from Quran and interpret accordingly:
“He it is Who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you. Lo! Thy Lord is swift in prosecution, and Lo! He verily is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran;6:165)
According to Abu Ala Modudi: This statement embodies three important truths: First, that human beings as such are vicegerents of God on earth, so that God has entrusted them with many things and endowed them with the power to use them. Second, it is God Himself Who has created differences of rank among His vicegerents. The trust placed in some is more than that of others. Some men have been granted control of more resources than others. Some are more gifted in respect of their abilities. Likewise, some human beings have been placed under the trust of others. Third, all this is indeed designed to test man. The entire life. of man is in fact, a vast examination wherein man is being tested about the trust he has received from God: how sensitive he is to that trust, to what extent he lives up to it, and to what extent he proves to be competent with it. What position man will be able to attain in the Next Life depends on the result of this test.
The supporters of Caliphate also derive support form verse 55, of Surah Nur (24), commonly known as ‘Ayah Ishtikhlaf’ [The Verse for Khilafat]:
“Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), (yasta-khlif-anna -hum fe-al-‘ard) As He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their Religion – the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (Their state), after the fear In which They (lived), to one of security and peace: ‘They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. ‘If any do reject Faith after this, They are rebellious and wicked.” (Qur’an;24:55).
Instead of taking this one verse in isolation, it may be appropriate that it may be read and interpreted against the background of the Qur’an as a whole. The general divine policy for grant of Khilafat in the sense of power, rule, and kingship has been outlined in the verses of Qur’an mentioned above.[Qur’an;3:26, 2:251, 22:40, 5:40, 48:14. 47:38, 4:133, 70:40-41, 35:15-16, 7:69, 7:74, 8:53, 13:11].
Majority of scholars including Syed Abul Ala Moududi and Moulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi through Ibn Kathir, agree that the direct addressees of this promise of Allah, were the Muslims living in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). However indirectly it may also apply to the future generations of Muslims under identical conditions. The promise of Allah for bestowal of successorship (Khalifah) in the land is ONLY for those believers, who are true in faith, pious in character, sincere in devotion and who follow Allah’s religion in letter and spirit eschewing every tinge of shirk (polytheism). Allah warn the hypocrites that this promise is not meant for those people who are Muslims in name only, lacking above mentioned qualities and pay mere lip service to Islam, they are neither worthy of this promise nor its addressees. Therefore they should entertain no hope of having any share in Khalifah (successorship) in the land.
Background of This Revelation:
Imam Qurtubi has reported on authority of Abul ‘Aliyah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stayed in Makkah for ten years after commencement of revelation and declaration of prophethood, during this period they remained under fear due to persistent threat to their life from the infidels and disbelievers. Then after the Migration (Hijrah) to Medina there was also ceaseless danger of attacks from the disbelievers. So, someone asked the Holy Prophet: “Would a time come to us when we will be able to live in peace without wearing our weaponry?’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied ‘Yes, the time is coming very soon’. On that occasion these verses were revealed. (Qurtubi and Bahr). Allah had made three promises to the Prophet (peace be upon him), that 1) his Ummah will be made His vicegerent on earth and will rule over it, and 2) His favourite religion Islam will be made victorious, and 3)Muslims will be given so much power and grandeur that they will not fear to face any threat.
Allah fulfilled His promise by conferring conquest over Makkah, Khyber, Bahrain, and the whole of Yemen and the entire peninsula of Arabia even during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Also he received jizyah, (poll tax) from the Zoroastrians of Hajar and some Syrian territories. The kings and rulers of Rome, Egypt, Alexandria, Oman and Ethiopia sent gifts to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and gave him honour and respect. Then during his caliphate Abu Bakr crushed all the menacing uprisings. He also sent out Islamic armies to Persia, Syria and Egypt. Busra and Damascus fell to Islamic State during this time. Just before his death, Abu Bakr in his wisdom nominated Umar Ibn Khattab as his successor. The period of Caliphate of ‘Umar Ibn Khattab was golden period of good governance. During his caliphate the entire land of Syria and Egypt and major part of Persia were overpowered. It was during his time that the myth of grandeur of Byzantine and Persian empires was shattered. After that period, during the caliphate of Uthman the Islamic influence extended from the East to the Al-Maghrib (West) North Africa. In the west up to Cyprus, and in the east up to China. Besides, ‘Iraq, Khorasan and Ahwaz (now in Iran) all fell to Islamic State during the time of third Caliph. What the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said according to a Sahih Hadith that he was shown the entire east and west of the earth by bringing them together, and that the rule of his Ummah will extend up to all those places which have been shown to him; this promise was fulfilled by Allah even during the time of caliphate ‘Uthman. Once Adi Bin Hatim came to the Prophet in a delegation, the Prophet told him that this Din Al-Islam will extend all over and such peace will be established that a women shall travel alone without guards and return back to Hera after circumambulating Kab’a, she will have no fear. Adi Bin Hatim added that now women travel without any fear. (Extract from Ibn Kathir)
According to another Hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said that caliphate will last for thirty years after him, then there will be callous rule. Here, the word caliphate means the Rightly Guided caliphate (Al-Khalifah Rashidun), which was run on the footsteps of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It lasted up to the time of 4th Khalifah Ali. At this point Ibn Kathir has also reported a Hadith from Sahih Muslim, that Jabir Ibn Samurah has said that he had heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying that his Ummah will continue ruling until the twelve caliphs last. After narrating this Ibn Kathir has commented that this hadith is pointing that there will be twelve upright caliphs in the Muslim Ummah, which is bound to happen. However, it is not necessary that all twelve come one after the other and there is no gap in between, rather it is more likely that they turn up with an interval of time. Out of this lot, four Rightly Guided Caliphs (Khulafa) had appeared one after the other immediately after the Prophet (peace be upon him) Umar Ibn ‘Abdul Aziz who came after a gap of some time. A few others also appeared in different times after him and will continue to come until the last caliph Mahdi (Guided one) comes. There is no mention in the Hadith of those twelve caliphs which the Shiites have determined. Rather some of them are those who have no connection with the caliphate at all. It is also not necessary that all of them would be of the same status, and during their time there would be complete peace and tranquillity. This promise is related to rectitude and firmness of faith, the righteous deeds and total obedience, and any difference in their degree will naturally make difference in the power and control of authority. Islamic history spread over a period of 1400 years is a witness that in different times and different, countries whenever and wherever there was a just and righteous ruler, he has received his share from this promise of Allah based or, the extent of righteous deeds he has performed. At another place, the Qur’an says that: ““for, all who ally themselves with God and His Apostle and those who have attained to faith – behold, it is they, the partisans of God, who shall prevail!”(Qur’an;5:56).
Muslim democrats, including Ahmad Moussalli (professor of political science at the American University of Beirut), argue that concepts in the Quran point towards some form of democracy, or at least away from despotism. These concepts include shura(consultation), ijma (consensus), al-hurriyya (freedom), al-huqquq al-shar’iyya (legitimate rights). For example shura (Al Imran 3:159, Ash-Shura 42:38) may include electing leaders to represent and govern on the community’s behalf.
“.. and consult them in the matter .. ” (Quran; 3:159)
“who obey their Lord and establish Prayer; who conduct their affairs by consultation, and spend out of what We have bestowed upon them”(Quran;42:38)
Explanation by Syed Abul Ala Modudi:
This thing has been counted here as the best quality of the believers and has been enjoined in( Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 159). On this basis, consultation is an important pillar of the Islamic way of life, and to conduct the affairs of collective life without consultation is not only the way of ignorance but also an express violation of the law prescribed by Allah. When we consider why consultation has been given such importance in Islam, three things become obvious:
First, that it is injustice that a person should decide a matter by his personal opinion and ignore others when it involves the interests of two or more persons. No one has a right to do, as he likes in matters of common interest. Justice demands that all those whose interests are involved in a matter be consulted, and if it concerns a large number of the people, their reliable representatives should be made a party in consultation.
Second, that a man tries to do what he likes in matters of common interest either because he wants to usurp the rights of others for selfish ends, or because he looks down upon others and regards himself as a superior person. Morally both these qualities are equally detestable, and a believer cannot have even a tinge of either of these in himself. A believer is neither selfish so that he should get undue benefits by usurping the rights of others, nor he is arrogant and self-conceited that he should regard himself as all-wise and all-knowing.
Third, that it is a grave responsibility to give decisions in matters that involve the rights and interests of others. No one who fears God and knows what severe accountability for it he will be subjected to by his Lord, can dare take the heavy burden of it solely on himself. Such a boldness is shown only by those who arc fearless of God and heedless of the Hereafter. The one who fears God and has the feeling of the accountability of the Hereafter, will certainly try that in a matter of common interest he should consult all the concerned people or their authorized representatives so as to reach, as far as possible, an objective and right and equitable decision, and if there occurs a mistake one man alone should not be held responsible for it.
A deep consideration of these three things can enable one to fully understand that consultation is a necessary demand of the morality that Islam has taught to man, and departure from it is a grave immorality which Islam does not permit. The Islamic way of life requires that the principle of consultation should be used in every collective affair, big or small. If it is a domestic affair, the husband and the wife should act by mutual consultation, and when the children have grown up, they should also be consulted. If it is a matter concerning the whole family, the opinion of every adult member should be solicited. If it concerns a tribe or a fraternity or the population of a city, and it is not possible to consult all the people, the decision should be taken by a local council or committee, which should comprise the trustworthy representatives of the concerned people according to an agreed method. If the matter concerns a whole nation, the head of government should be appointed by the common consent of the people, and he should conduct the national affairs in consultation with the leaders of opinion whom the people regard as reliable, and he should remain at the helm of affair only as long as the people themselves want him to remain in that position. No honest man can try to assume the headship of a nation by force, or desire to continue in that position indefinitely, nor can think of coming into power by deception and then seek the people’s consent by coercion, nor can he devise schemes so that the people may elect representatives to act as his advisers not by their own free choice but according to his will. Such a thing can be desired only by the one who cherishes evil intentions, and such a fraud against the Islamic principle of consultation can be practiced only by him who does not feel any hesitation in deceiving both God and the people whereas the fact is that neither can God be deceived nor the people be so blind as to regard the robber, who is committing robbery in the bright day light openly, as their well wisher and servant.
The principle of consultation as enshrined in amru-hum shura baina-hum by itself demands five things:
(1) The people whose rights and interests relate to collective matters, should have full freedom to express their opinion and they should be kept duly informed of how their affairs are being conducted. They should also have the full right that if in the conduct of the affairs they see an error, a weakness or a deficiency, they can check it and voice a protest, and if they do not see any change for the better, they can change their rulers. To conduct the people’s affairs by keeping them silent and un-informed is sheer dishonesty which no one can regard as adherence to the principle of consultation in Islam.
(2) The person who is to be entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the collective affairs, should be appointed by the people’s consent, and this consent should be their free consent, which is not obtained through coercion, temptation, deception, and fraud, because in that case it would be no consent at all. A nation’s true head is not he who becomes its head by trying every possible method, but he whom the people make their head by their own free choice and approval.
(3) The people who are appointed as advisers to the head of the state should be such as enjoy the confidence of the nation, and obviously the people who win representative positions by suppression or by expending wealth, or by practicing falsehood and fraud, or by misleading the people cannot be regarded as enjoying the confidence in the real sense.
(4) The advisers should give opinion according to their knowledge and faith and conscience and they should have full freedom of such expression of opinion. Wherever this is not the case, wherever the advisers give advice against their own knowledge and conscience, under duress or temptation, or under party discipline, it will be treachery and dishonesty and not adherence to the Islamic principle of consultation.
(5) The advice that is given by a consensus of the advisers, or which has the support of the majority of the people, should be accepted, for if a person (or a group of persons) behaves independently and acts on his own whims, even after hearing the advice of others, consultation becomes meaningless. Allah does not say: They are consulted in their affairs, but says: They conduct their affairs by mutual consultations. This instruction is not implemented by mere consultation, but for its sake it is necessary that the affairs be conducted according to what is settled by consensus or by majority opinion in consultation.
Along with this explanation of the Islamic principle of consultation, this basic thing also should be kept in view that this consultation is not independent and autocratic in conducting the affairs of the Muslims, but necessarily subject to the bounds that Allah Himself has set by His legislation, and is subject to the fundamental principle: It is for Allah to give a decision in whatever you may differ, and if there arises any dispute among you about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger. According to this general principle, the Muslims can hold consultations in Shariah matters with a view to determining the correct meaning of a text or verse and to find out the ways of implementing it so as to fulfill its requirements rightly but they cannot hold consultations in order to give an independent judgment in a matter which has already been decided and settled by Allah and His Messenger.
[Source: Tafheem ul Quran: http://www.islamicstudies.info/tafheem.php?sura=42&verse=30&to=53]
Government by the people is not therefore necessarily incompatible with the rule of Islam, whilst it has also been argued that rule by a religious authority is not the same as rule by a representative of God. This viewpoint, however, is disputed by more traditional Muslims. Moussalli argues that despotic Islamic governments have abused the Quranic concepts for their own ends: “For instance, shura, a doctrine that demands the participation of society in running the affairs of its government, became in reality a doctrine that was manipulated by political and religious elites to secure their economic, social and political interests at the expense of other segments of society,”
Much debate occurs on the subject of which Islamic traditions are fixed principles, and which are subject to democratic change, or other forms of modification in view of changing circumstances. Some Muslims allude to an “Islamic” style of democracy which would recognize such distinctions. Another sensitive issue involves the status of monarchs and other leaders, the degree of loyalty which Muslims owe such people, and what to do in case of a conflicting loyalties (e.g., if a monarch disagrees with an imam).
The early Islamic philosopher, Al-Farabi (c. 872-950), in one of his most notable works Al-Madina al-Fadila, theorized an ideal Islamic state which he compared to Plato’s The Republic. Al-Farabi departed from the Platonic view in that he regarded the ideal state to be ruled by the prophet, instead of the philosopher king envisaged by Plato. Al-Farabi argued that the ideal state was the city-state of Medina when it was governed by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as its head of state, as he was in direct communion with God whose law was revealed to him. In the absence of the prophet, Al-Farabi considered democracy as the closest to the ideal state, regarding the republican order of the Rashidun Caliphate as an example within early Muslim history. However, he also maintained that it was from democracy that imperfect states emerged, noting how the republican order of the early Islamic Caliphate of the Rashidun caliphs was later replaced by a form of government resembling a monarchy under the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties.
A thousand years later, the modern Islamic philosopher, Muhammad Iqbal, also viewed the early Islamic Caliphate as being compatible with democracy. He “welcomed the formation of popularly elected legislative assemblies” in the Muslim world as a “return to the original purity of Islam.” He argued that Islam had the “germs of an economic and democratic organization of society”, but that this growth was stunted by the monarchist rule of Umayyad Caliphate, which established the Caliphate as a great Islamic empire but led to political Islamic ideals being “repaganized” and the early Muslims losing sight of the “most important potentialities of their faith.”
One may agree or disagree with interpretations to arrive at the most suitable political system [Khilafah, Islamic democracy or kingship] for Muslims, but one may not go the extreme to declare any one not agreeing with a particular point of view as apostate or outside the folds of islam. Being an Ijtehadi matter, any one opinion or more than one may right or suitable for any particular time and people, a possible wisdom of not defining but laying down broad principles of justice and consultation with in Shari’a law. However appointment or election of four rightly guided Caliphs clearly rejects any political system which is hereditary not based upon Justice, consultation and Shari’a.
Islamic democracy refers to a political ideology that seeks to apply Islamic principles to public policy within a democratic framework. In practice, two kinds of Islamic democracies can be recognized in Islamic countries. The basis of this distinction has to do with how comprehensively Islam is incorporated into the affairs of the state.
- A democratic nation state which recognizes Islam as its state religion and key source of legislation, such asPakistan, Malaysia or Maldives. Many religious values are incorporated into public life, but Islam is not the only source of law.
- A democratic state which endeavours to institute Shari’a and offers more comprehensive inclusion of Islam into the affairs of the state. States likeIran are firm proponents of this form.
Not all of these states are recognized internationally as democratic under concepts of western liberal democracy. There are also states in the Muslim world which are secular democracies rather than religious democracies.
The concepts of liberalism and democratic participation were already present in the medieval Islamic world. The Rashidun Caliphate was an early example of a democratic state but the development of democracy in the Islamic world eventually came to a halt following to the Sunni–Shia split.
In the early Islamic Caliphate, the head of state, the Caliph, had a position based on the notion of a successor to Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) political authority, who were ideally elected by the people or their representatives, as was the case for the election of Abu Bakar, Uthman and Ali (r.a) as Caliph. After the Rashidun Caliphs, later Caliphates during the Islamic Golden Age had a much lesser degree of democratic participation, but since “no one was superior to anyone else except on the basis of piety and virtue” in Islam, and following the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), later Islamic rulers often held public consultations with the people in their affairs.
The legislative power of the Caliph (or later, the Sultan) was always restricted by the scholarly class, the ulama, a group regarded as the guardians of the law. Since the law came from the legal scholars, this prevented the Caliph from dictating legal results. Laws were decided based on the ijma (consensus) of the Ummah (community), which was most often represented by the legal scholars. In order to qualify as a legal scholar, it was required that they obtain a doctorate known as the ijazat attadris wa ‘l-ifttd(“license to teach and issue legal opinions”) from a madrasa. In many ways, classical Islamic law functioned like a constitutional law.
Democratic religious pluralism also existed in classical Islamic law, as the religious laws and courts of other religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, were usually accommodated within the Islamic legal framework, as seen in the early Caliphate, Al-Andalus, Islamic India, and the Ottoman Millet system.
Legal scholar L. Ali Khan argues that Islam is fully compatible with democracy. In his book, A Theory of Universal Democracy, Khan provides a critique of liberal democracy and secularism. He presents the concept of “fusion state” in which religion and state are fused. There are no contradictions in God’s universe, says Khan. Contradictions represent the limited knowledge that human beings have. According to the Quran and the Sunnah, Muslims are fully capable of preserving spirituality and self-rule.
Furthermore, counter arguments to these points assert that this attitude presuppose democracy as a static system which only embraces a particular type of social and cultural system, namely that of the post-Christian West. (constitutional theocracy)
The Objectives Resolution is a basic and primary document of the constitutional history of Pakistan. It is a framework that provides mechanism to achieve goals for a better life of the people of Pakistan. It’s important that it embraces centrality of Islam to polity sustaining their links with the pre-independence period. The AIML leaders were modernist Muslims not in favour of an orthodox religious state or theocracy, as elucidated by Liaqat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister in his address. Therefore, they selected the middle way abiding by the Islamic laws and the international democratic values. The Resolution remains ‘Preamble of all the constitutions due to its importance.
The Objectives Resolution was adopted on 12 March 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. The resolution, proposed by the Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, proclaimed that the future constitution of Pakistan would not be modelled entirely on a European pattern, but on the ideology and democratic faith of Islam. It has been incorporated in successive constitutions. The Objectives Resolution proclaimed the following principles:
- Sovereignty belongs to Allah alone but He has delegated it to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him as a sacred trust.
- The State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people.
- The principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed.
- Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings of Islam as set out in the Qur’anand Sunnah.
- Adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures.
- Pakistan shall be a federation.
- Fundamental rights shall be guaranteed.
- The judiciary shall be independent.
The Objectives Resolution, which combines features of both Western and Islamic democracy, is one of the most important documents in the constitutional history of Pakistan. At the time it was passed, Liaquat Ali Khan called it “the most important occasion in the life of this country, next in importance only to the achievement of independence”. It is included in the Annex of the current Constitution of Pakistan by virtue of Article 2A of the Constitution.
The system of government in an ideal Islamic society it to be based on consultation (shura), the democratic way spelled out by Qur’an fourteen centuries ago. The era of true caliphs could not last beyond four rightly guided caliphs among his blessed companions, who followed his footsteps in spreading knowledge, preaching Islam, and managing the affairs of Islamic State according to Shari’a. The Western Civilization has been following Roman Law and its derivatives, while the Islamic law (Shari’a) spells out the moral goals of the community, where state and religion are not separate entity, the ruler consults scholars and jurists, but Islam does not have concept of theocracy. In Islamic society, therefore, the term law has a wider significance than it does in the modern secular West, because Islamic law includes both legal and moral imperatives. Democracy through consultative process is embedded in Islamic system of governance.
Democracy has taken a number of forms, both in theory and practice. Some varieties of democracy provide better representation and more freedom for their citizens than others. However, if any democracy is not structured so as to prohibit the government from excluding the people from the legislative process, or any branch of government from altering the separation of powers in its own favour, then a branch of the system can accumulate too much power and destroy the democracy. Tolerance and moderation is hallmark of Islam, which accords great value to human life, whether Muslims and non Muslims alike. The corrupt and incompetent government lead by Mr.Zardari shook the confidence of people of Pakistan in democracy. In fact this was not democracy but just an illusion of democracy worked out with a dictator through NRO, for mutual benefit for power & plunder.
Whole world is benefiting from the fruits of democracy why should Muslims lag behind? A modern democratic Islamic republic is with in the spirit of Islamic values and culture. Instead of copying a particular Western democratic system [countries follow different democratic systems in the West], each Muslim society should adopt a reformed democratic system suitable to its people, faith, culture and environments. Calling the head of state / government as Caliph, Ameer, Sultan, president, prime minister etc is for the people to decide.
Establishment of a global Caliphate with the spirit of unity of Ummah seems fascinating but using force to impose it through wars, mass killings and infighting among Muslims is self contradictory and against the peaceful teachings of Islam. However same purpose could be achieved through peaceful means by gradually upgrading OIC like European Union even if it takes longer. There are many other local issues like; independence from neo-colonialism, corruption, poverty, health, education, economic development, morality etc which needs immediate attention through good governance.
One may support a particular scriptural interpretation for suitable political system for Muslims, but one may not go the extreme to declare any one not agreeing with a particular point of view as apostate or outside the folds of Islam. Being an Ijtihadi matter, any one opinion or more than one may be right or suitable for any particular time and people, a possible wisdom of laying down broad principles of justice and consultation with in Shari’a law. However appointment or election of four rightly guided Caliphs in different ways clearly rejects any political system which is hereditary and not based upon Justice, consultation and Shari’a.
خلافت, شریعت، جمہوریت – تحقیقی جائزہ ….
Videos: Democracy, Sharia & Caliphate – Khilafah: http://goo.gl/0uMzE
- Caliphate: Redundant or Relevant? eBook available at: http://aftabkhan.blog.com
کیا اسلامی جمہوریت کفر ہے ؟ لنک
’دی اکانومسٹ‘ کے تحقیقی ادارے ’انٹیلی جنس یونٹ‘ کے نئے ’جمہوریت انڈیکس‘ کے مطابق دنیا بھر میں اس برس بھی جمہوریت زوال کی جانب گامزن دیکھی گئی۔ اس انڈیکس میں دنیا کے 167 ممالک میں جمہوریت کی صورت حال کا جائزہ…[Continue reading…]
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