Assalaamualaikum ya akhy
Further to your note on ‘Democracy & Islam’, I must point out that democracy and Islam are two VERY different things.
Democracy as a system of ruling is not Islamic in its Origin. Democracy is a system of ruling whereby man is sovereign in legislating laws and systems. It actually comes from the greek DEMO CRATUS (people rule). Britain and America are democracies.
Islam pertains that Allah is sovereign over man in legislating… i.e. man has no say in the laws that govern him, only Allah does and these come in the form of Hukm Shar’1
We as Muslims should hate this system with our hearts Democracy as it contradicts our aqeedah as it is part of the capitalist ideology. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an in Surah Al Maaidah (45 or 46)
WHOEVER DOES NOT RULE BY WHAT ALLAH HAS REVEALED SUCH THOSE ARE DHALIMOON
This brother is a kufr system and we should not aspire to it as it is man made and not prescribed for us either in the Qur’an or the Sunnah.
In relation to Shura (consultation) for it is not a FARD to have and only MANDOOB. Hence a ruler is not sinful for not adopting shura.
But what is fard on the Muslims is the system of Khilafah, where there is a khalifa to rule by Islam. The reason that this is a fard is that none of the Systems of Islam (economic, social, political and educational) can coexist and all be implemented without the khilafah system.
wa allahu a’lam2
Your brother in Islam
Thank you for your comments.
Before considering my explanation that follows, I request you to kindly take a look at one of my responses to a question regarding the prescribed form of Islamic Government, titled ‘The Recommended Form of Government‘.
In my referred responses, I have used the word ‘democracy’ in its contemporary usage. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:
The term has three basic senses in contemporary usage: (1) a form of government in which the right to make political decisions is exercised directly by the whole body of citizens, acting under procedures of majority rule, usually known as direct democracy; (2) a form of government in which the citizens exercise the same right not in person but through representatives chosen by and responsible to them, known as representative democracy; and (3) a form of government, usually a representative democracy, in which the powers of the majority are exercised within a framework of constitutional restraints designed to guarantee all citizens the enjoyment of certain individual or collective rights, such as freedom of speech and religion, known as liberal, or constitutional, democracy. (Refer ‘Democracy’)
If you would closely study the above quote from the Encyclopedia, you shall see that in its contemporary usage, ‘democracy’ actually refers to a method of decision-making in matters relating to governance, rule and other collective issues.
Keeping the foregoing explanation in perspective, let us now take a look at your comments:
I must point out that democracy and Islam are two VERY different things.
In my referred responses, I have not, in any way implied that Islam and democracy are synonymous. All that I have pointed out is that if a system of government is developed on the basis of the Qur’anic directive of ‘amruhum shooraa baynahum‘, it would basically be a system entailing a democratic spirit. In my said response, I wrote:
… On the basis of this principle, I am of the opinion that an Islamic state should have a system of government based on the principle of consultation. In such a system, all decisions shall be based on consultation. This implies that in all such cases where a unanimous decision cannot be arrived at, the decision of the majority shall prevail.
Keeping in view the aforementioned principle, I believe that the Islamic system of government, in its basis, is not very different from Democracy.
Democracy is a system of ruling whereby man is sovereign in legislating laws and systems. … Islam pertains that Allah is sovereign over man in legislating… i.e. man has no say in the laws that govern him, only Allah does and these come in the form of Hukm Shar`
I do agree with you that this would primarily be the case if the ‘people’ who are part of the democratic system do not ascribe to divine guidance. Nevertheless, in case of a state where the majority of the residents are Muslims, such a problem should not arise, provided, of course, that the residents are, indeed, true and practicing Muslims.
An Islamic state holds God to be the “sovereign” law giver, not because of any superficial reasons, but simply because of the fact that an Islamic state is the one which comprises of Muslims and a Muslim, by his faith, is one who holds the Almighty to be the supreme law giver, in his individual as well as his collective spheres of life. Thus, in a true Muslim majority state, democracy shall automatically translate into something like what the Encyclopedia has termed as ‘Constitutional Democracy’, except for the fact that the ultimate and unalterable ‘Constitution’ (as long as the majority of the people of that state remain true Muslims) in such a state will be the Qur’an. Thus, the system of an Islamic state may, if the existent terminology is deemed unfit, be termed as a ‘Qur’anic Democracy’ rather than a ‘Constitutional Democracy’.
It should, however, be remembered that even though a true Muslim, holds the Almighty to be the supreme law giver, in all spheres of his life, yet the fact remains that the interpretation of the divine law, is completely dependent on human understanding of the directives of the Qur’an. Differences in understanding and interpretation of Qur’anic directives are not uncommon. After the time of the Prophet (pbuh), there have always been differences of opinion in the interpretation of the Qur’anic directives. Under these circumstances, as far as the individuals are concerned, they may follow what in their respective understandings is the implication of a directive of the Qur’an, but the case of the collectivity would not be as simple. Would the understanding of the head of the state be accepted as the ‘directive of Allah’? Would there be a group of religious scholars, who are given the position of official interpreters of God’s directives? If so, who would select these scholars? What would be the method and criteria of such selection? In short, what are going to be the guidelines of interpreting the Qur’anic directives and subsequently passing legislation in an Islamic state? In my opinion, the answer to this question lies in following the directive of ‘amruhum shooraa baynahum‘. This really implies that in case of a difference of opinion, in collective matters, decisions shall be made on the basis of the opinion of the majority – the group termed as the “Sawaad-e-A`zam”3 (i.e. the larger group) in narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh). It should remain clear that this does not necessarily mean that according to the Qur’an, the decision of the majority is always correct (as pure democratic philosophy would like to believe). It is only a divine guidance to resolve disputes arising from differences in opinions and thereby facilitating the decision-making process in cases pertaining to the collectivity. In my opinion (as expressed in my previous responses), this guidance, in its essence, is purely democratic in nature.
We as Muslims should hate this system with our hearts Democracy as it contradicts our aqeedah as it is part of the capitalist ideology.
I am sure, if you would closely consider my foregoing explanation, you would agree that there is nothing in following the democratic principles in resolution of disputes or in facilitating the decision-making process, which is against our aqeedah (beliefs). Nevertheless, if you still feel that the principle is against our aqeedah, then I would appreciate if you would kindly elaborate, what exactly, in the foregoing explanation, is against our aqeedah.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an in Surah Al Maaidah (45 or 46)
WHOEVER DOES NOT RULE BY WHAT ALLAH HAS REVEALED SUCH THOSE ARE DHALIMOON
This [i.e. democracy] brother is a Kufr system and we should not aspire to it as it is man made and not prescribed for us either in the Qur’an or the Sunnah.
I fully agree that a system of government, which refuses to accept God’s revelations as the guidelines in its decision-making, is one based on ‘Kufr‘ (i.e. rejection), and no Muslim in his right frame of mind can ascribe to such a system. But, I am sure that you would agree that this objection shall not apply if a particular ‘democracy’ accepts the Qur’an to be its supreme law and to refrain from passing any laws that are repugnant to the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
As far as whether or not such a system is prescribed by the Qur’an or the Sunnah is concerned, I have expressed my opinion in my referred responses that the principle of ‘amruhum shooraa baynahum‘ is, in fact, the Qur’anic prescription for following the democratic principles in matters pertaining to the collectivity.
I am afraid I do not agree with you. I would, therefore, appreciate if you would kindly elaborate the bases of your interpretation, according to which the Qur’anic injunction of ‘amruhum shoora baynahum‘ is not obligatory, but only recommended (i.e. Mandoob) for a Muslim ruler to follow.
But what is Fard on the Muslims is the system of Khilafah. where there is a khalifah to rule by Islam. The reason that this is a Fard is that none of the Systems of Islam (economic, social, political and educational) can coexist and all be implemented without the khilafah system.
What exactly do you imply by ‘Khilafah‘? As far as I know, ‘Khaleefah‘, in the Arabic language (in its political connotation), simply means the head of the state. However, it seems that you have used it in some special implication. I would appreciate if you would clarify the particular connotation in which you have used the words: ‘Khaleefah‘ and ‘Khilafah‘. Moreover, to be able to fully grasp the connotation in which you have used the word, I would also request you to inform me about the basis of that implication (of the word ‘Khaleefah‘ and ‘Khilafah‘) in the Qur’an, the Sunnah or the Arabic language?
As far as whether or not the establishment of ‘Khilafah‘ (implying a government) is Fardh in the Islamic Shari`ah or not, I am not aware of any directive of the Shari`ah, which makes the establishment of a government obligatory upon the Muslims. I do not refute the fact that the establishment of rule and government is a natural phenomenon for any group of individuals who want to live independently, in an organized manner. Nevertheless, even to term such natural requirement an obligation in the Shari`ah requires a clear directive of the Qur’an or the Sunnah. I would, therefore, appreciate if you would kindly elaborate the bases, in the original sources of the Shari`ah – the Qur’an and the Sunnah – of holding the establishment of Khilafah a Fardh (obligation) for Muslims. I am sure that you would agree that nothing can be considered Fardh in the Islamic Shari`ah, without a clear directive, in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), to the effect. I would, therefore, request you to kindly tell me, where has the Qur’an directed me and other Muslims to establish (or even try to establish) a Khilafah? Without a clear directive to the effect, no one has the right to term something a Fardh, in the Islamic Shari`ah.
I look forward to your response.
24th May 2000
- That is a directive of prescription of the Shari`ah. [↩]
- That is, ‘God knows best’. [↩]
- The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said that in case of disputes, the recommended way is that of adhering with the opinion of the majority (the larger group). [↩]
- That is, obligatory. [↩]
- That is something, which although recommended is not obligatory. [↩]