Famous Theories of an Islamic State – Rev.




AL-MAWARDI, AL-GHAZALI and IBN-KHULDOON did not present any theory but defined the features of an Islamic State and the characteristics of an Islamic Rulers.  Farabi also defined the vision of the Global Islamic State presented by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  

In fact, Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal is the only theorist to be called as he presented the idea of an Islamic State as a political solution for Muslim and non-Muslim communities.  His Two-Nation Theory is a synonym or a redefinition of the State of Madinah established by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).


Correction:  The following were not the presenters of a theory but they defined an Islamic State according to their understanding of Shari’ah.

Abu’l Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad al-Mawardi (350-436 A.H/972-1058 A.D — age 86) was the first political thinker in the history of Islam.  He was from Shafa’i fiqh.  (Correction: The course book says 364 A.H/975 A.D… while http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Al-Mawardi mentions 448 after Hijra and Wikipedia says 972 A.D…The first Hijri year was 622 A.D…. The difference between 972 and 622 is 350, which means he was born in 350 A.H)

Abu Hamid Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Ghazali (436-489 A.H/1058-1111 A.D — age 53) was born near Tus in Iran.  He wrote many books on political issues out of which “Ihya-ulUloom/The Revival of Religious Sciences” was his masterpiece.

Abu Zaid Abd ar-Rahman ibn Khaldun (710-784 A.H/1332-1406 A.D — 74) was born at Tunis in an Arab family.  He was a historian, a political scientist, a scholar of Islamic law and the founder of the sciences of civilization or umran (as he called a new science) now known as sociology. (Correction: The course book says 724 A.H while Wikipedia and http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/klf.htm say 732 A.H…the difference between 1332 and 622 is 710 which means he was born in 710 A.H)

Were these three the only political scientists or experts of Muslim ummah who dared to present a present the theory of an Islamic state?  Al-Mawardi appeared as the first political thinker of Islam after a gap of more than three hundred years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in 10 A.H/632 A.D.  What were the Muslims doing during that time?  1406 to 2010 – 604 years have passed idle…or do we know any grand personalities who have made achievements on scholarly basis and gained international fame…Allama Iqbal (1255-1316 A.H/1877-1938 A.D — age 61), Maulana Mawdudi (1903-1979 A.D — age 76), Hurun Yahya, Shiekh Hamza Yusuf….. got a new name Hammad yousuf from Pakistan (http://metaexistence.org/timeline3.htm) as the philosopher and founder of MetaExistence school of thought and the presenter of a new political system against the Western one but couldn’t find more about it.

The fact is that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the first political scientist and founder of a Islamic state.  Then the first four caliphs contributed politically to improve the system and so on.

Al-Mawardi, Al-Ghazali and Ibn-Khaldun… Can Allama Iqbal be counted as the fourth political scientist/political thinker, why or why not?  He wasn’t only a poet or a thinker or a philosopher.  He was a scholar of Qur’an as he explained it in poetic form and that distinguishes him from all other scholars…a better scholar that he argued with his father regarding the change of faith and convinced him.  He knew the languages.  He knew the history.  He was a political scientist, the presenter of a political theory….the ideology which helped in forming the world’s largest Islamic state.  The whole political movement of Pakistan was based upon his theory.

The spirit of 1947 can be revived not only by remembering and mourning over the sacrifices of the common Muslims, but also by recalling the theory, the ideology, by discussing different aspects of the movement in the classrooms.



Principles/features of an Islamic state/caliphate/imamate according to Abu’l Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad al-Mawardi, Abu Hamid Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Ghazali and Abu Zaid Abd-ar-Rahman ibn-Khaldun.


1) Sovereignty belongs to Allah (SWT), His laws should be imposed so the justice, truth and goodness prevail.  2) Khalifah/imam governs the state as the successor of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  3) Khalifa/imam is responsible to impose Shariah, so Muslims can freely practice their faith, can be protected from their enemies.  (Al-Mawardi thinks that khilafat replaces prophecy to defend faith and administer the world to guidance.  Ibn-Khaldun disagrees with him on this point).

Election of imam/caliph – Al-Mawardi has set the qualifications for an imam/caliph to be elected. 1) He upholds justice under all conditions.  2) He has knowledge of religion and has the interests and policy of the Muslim community.  3) He is physical fit and healthy, not disabled.  4) His physical organs are in a state of coordination.  5) His wisdom can be trusted.  6) He is brave enough to wage jihad against infidels.  7) He must be a descendant of Banu Quresh, the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Mode of election – The imam/caliph may be elected by the electoral college which consists of the persons who are present in the capital.  OR He may be nominated by the ruling imam who may nominate his son, father or a relative (if they are qualified).

Duties/functions of the imam – 1) He must uphold the Islamic Shariah.  He should try to correct the ones who innovate in religion or corrupt the religious matters.  2) He must dispense justice and settle cases according to shariah.  3) He must maintain law and order in the country, for the growth of economic activities and for people’s safety.  4) He must enforce Qur’anic criminal code so people know their limits (hudood).  5) He must defend the borders of the Islamic state from external invasion.  6) He must establish the supremacy of Islam over other religions and creeds.  He can undertake jihad against those who oppose Islam.  7) He is responsible to collect zakah and kharaj.  8 ) He should manage to pay form Baitul-maal to those who are entitled for.  9) He should appoint honest men to assist him in the office and manage the affairs of Baitul-maal.  10) He should direct the national policy for nation’s interest.  He can delegate his duties to trustworthy men and find himself luxury and religious devotion.  (This last point is searched as if imam is incapable of executing his duties, he can delegate his duties to new imam or he can be replaced by a new imam through electoral process.)

Deposition of imam/caliph – 1) He can be deposed if a change in his moral status is witnessed as *if he surrenders before his immoral desires and dishonour shariah or *if he distorts the principles of shariah.  2) He cannot continue his leadership if he suffers bodily defects *loss of senses and/or mental ability to run the office *loss of physical organs (becomes disabled) *he becomes a prisoner or his powers are seized by his staff.


According to him, khilafah/caliphate is a divine state and Allah (SWT) is the Supreme Authority.  Thus His divine laws should rule.  He thought khilafah is necessary to protect Muslim’s religious, social and political rights and from internal conspiracies and external invasion.  His  definition of khalifah as khalifatulllah was an innovation in a sense that the four earliest caliphs, Khulaf-e-Rashideen, never claimed to be Khalifatullah but Khalifatur-Rasool (the successor of the Prophet).

Duties of khalifah/caliph – 1) He must be able to wage jihad.  2) He should discharge the duties of his office directly or indirectly through experts and ministers.  3) He should have knowledge for the purpose of ijtihad along with consultation of religious experts.  4) He must be pious for to carry one his office as a political and religious entity.  5) He must establish justice and settle cases with fairness.  6) He must have knowledge of shariah and wisdom to endorse it as the rule of law.  7) He should be a practical Muslim and must show a reliable Muslim character.   8 )He must be aware of the official matters and the performance of his administrators.  9) He should seek aid from the men of calibre to speak about the affairs of the state.  10) He must keep his morality and should avoid immoral practices.


He derived four kinds of state or governmental systems as they had developed in the history of Islam.

1) Khilafat/caliphate – The ideal Islamic state established by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) under divine guidance and maintained by Khulafa-e-Rashideen.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the law-maker and set the rules of Shariah for people’s welfare in this world and salvation in the Hereafter.  The khilafat had two forces; the Prophetic Shariah and asabiya (to be explained presently).  The asabiya would become inactive if the law-giver eliminated it.

2) Mulk under Shariah – This form of government gradually lost the inward characteristics of khilafah.  Though in early times (right after khilafat-e-rashida) state was governed by the rules of Shariah, but the electoral process of khalifah was effected by the family dynasties, loyalty to tribes and clans.  That gradually caused a great harm to the image of true Islamic caliphate.  Shariah became the matter of science and instruction while the state was ruled under the authority of the ruler.

3) Mulk under the Siyasa Aqlia – This type of government cannot be called an Islamic State but a Muslim State.  Finally the Islamic state had turned into an absolute monarchy as the ruler had become the supreme authority to rule and to use military power to extend the frontiers.  The burden of royal expenses and military expeditions was covered by imposing taxes on the people.  Religion had no role in political affairs and was left for religious scholars to discuss and solve the religion-based matters.  This form of government had no resemblance to the original form of caliphate.

4) Siyasa Madaniya – A hypothetical form of government presented by Al-Farabi and ibn-Sina.  Ibn-Khaldun disregarded it as it never existed in human history.

My Notes:

1) The course book doesn’t even define what form of government is the fourth one.  It never existed though but didn’t Ibn-Khaldun know that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had prophesied about such form of government and any prophecies of the Prophet (pbuh) can’t be categorized as hypothetical.  The world will be ruled under Islamic Shariah.

2)So the Islamic State/caliphate in it’s true meaning (as a divine state to be governed under the rules of shariah) lost it’s soul right after Ali ibn-Abi Talib’s martyrdom.  The later styles of caliphate could distinguish between the ruler and his administrators, religious personalities and common people.  This style led Muslims towards monarchy/imperialism, which finally caused the end of Muslim caliphate.

3) That lost soul of khilafah, for centuries, is in search of a territory, which is acquired in the name of God, where people’s will is to live according to God’s will and where people want to be governed by pious, honest, sincere, brave, wise and educated bunch of administrators.  If Prophet had said so, all lands will finally provide that body.  (der kiyon lug rahi hay, kiyon people of the world have decided, laaton say hi maan kay dain gay)

4) Allama Muhammad Iqbal was also the presenter of the theory of an Islamic State, literally a practical one.  This could be Allama’s big fault to choose his happy birth to be after ibn-Khaldun in a non-Arab descent, otherwise his theory would have been the part of the Islamic history and thus the part of the curriculum of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Summary: Al-Mawardi, Al-Ghazali and ibn-Khaldun – they agree that an Islamic state should be a divine state and it should be ruled under the divine laws.  A Muslim ruler must be a lover of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  He must be a pious person, honest in his duties, sincere towards the people and wise and educated enough to handle the state affairs.  He must establish justice without any discrimination and should maintain law and order for peaceful environment.  He must be a guardian of the rights of minorities.  He must be a brave man, must not surrender himself to non-believers and must keep an army alert to fight against the invaders.  And it’s a common sense that the ruler should not continue in case of any physical and mental defects, involvement in corruption or obvious moral principles that are not allowed in Sharia.

If Abu Nasr Muhammad Al-Farabi (259-339 A.H or 872-950/951 – age 79/80) was the one who gave the ideal of ruling the world under one government, his theory should be the part of our curriculum too because that is what that hasn’t happened and can be worked on.  I personally think that the followers of dajjal got this idea of ruling the world from Al-Farabi and that is why they don’t want Muslims to study it.

“He (Al-Farabi) presented some rare original ideas to political science, which have still not been realized. He held that if someone embodying all the qualities is not available, then the state should be governed jointly by a group of rulers of particular qualities. This theory presaged the present system of having council of ministers to run the administration.” taken from…. http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-10234.html



An Islamic state  is a system of government which is based upon the principles of Sharia’ set by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  The first Islamic state was established in Medinah in 622 A.H by the Prophet himself as he migrated from Makkah to Medinah and all the residents and migrants mutually accepted him as their ruler.

Muslims believe in Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the final prophet of God, after his demise, his companions continued the system as his followers and  the Islamic state got the title of caliphate.  So caliphate is an institution in which a Muslim personality of high profile rules according to Qur’an and sunnah as the follower of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  The caliphate is the symbol of the unity of Muslim nations around the world.  The period of 632 -661 A.H was ruled by Abu Bakr, Umar ibn Al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan and Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with them all) respectively.  This period is called Khilafat-e-Rashida.

Later on, from 661- 1346 A.H (March 3, 1924), different Muslim dynasties ruled over Muslim territories.  Sultan Abdul Majid son of Sultan Abdul Aziz from Ottoman Dynasty was the last caliph of Islamic caliphate.  His rule ended on March 3, 1924 when a Turk general Mustafa Kemal Ata-Turk abolished the caliphate and became the first Turk president.

A very few Muslim individuals or groups in different countries since then have proclaimed to be the caliphs for the sake of revival of Islamic caliphate but couldn’t succeed.  However, the global domination of Islam or a global Islamic caliphate is already prophesied by the Prophet(pbuh).

The nature of Islamic state:

“The sovereignty of God, the message conveyed by all the prophets, is the foundation of the system.  Legislation contained in the Qur’an becomes the basic law of the state.  This puts the fundamental law of the society beyond the lobbying power of particular interest groups and ensures that legislation is just and equitable.  The government must make decisions on the basis of what God has revealed.  If it does not, according to the Qur’an it is not Islamic, for those who make decisions on other than what God has revealed are unbelievers (Surah Al-Maida 44).  In cases not covered by revelation, decisions based on Islamic principles ar left to the Mujtahids, Islamic experts on legal interpretation.  The Muslims can make laws or regulations dealing with such matters, but these do not have the same permanence as Qur’anic injunctions” taken from http://www.islamfortoday.com/cleland04.htm

The concept of an Islamic state, is of a territory that is governed according to the will of Almighty God and where people regardless of any differences live in a peaceful environment and enjoy their rights as per granted by Allah (SWT).  Following are the elements/features/characteristics/principles of an Islamic state.

“Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.”…Surah Al-Baqarah 30

In general, all human beings are Allah’s viceroy, thus they all responsible to establish a system under His divine laws.

1. Sovereignty of Allah -  Believing in Allah (SWT) as the Supreme Authority in all matters is the foundation of an Islamic state.  Allah is self-sufficient and His being and work is free from all faults.  Everything and everyone depends upon Him for their existence and sustenance.   His divine law should be the law of His land like it is in the the rest of the universe.  So basically an Islamic state is a divine state where Allah (SWT) is regarded as the only Sovereignty over all.

“Whatever is in the heavens and on earth,- let it declare the Praises and Glory of Allah for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise… To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: It is He Who gives Life and Death; and He has Power over all things… He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things...He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and is moreover firmly established on the Throne (of Authority). He knows what enters within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven and what mounts up to it. And He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah sees well all that ye do… To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: and all affairs are referred back to Allah…He merges Night into Day, and He merges Day into Night; and He has full knowledge of the secrets of (all) hearts”…Surah Al-Hadeed 1-6

2. Khalifah/Caliph – A form of government which is founded upon Islamic Sharia’ is called khilafah/caliphate.   The head of the state/ruler/commander is called “khalifa/caliph, ameerul mu’minee or imam”.  He must be the true follower of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).  A wise, pious man who could be trusted for guarding the Islamic constitution (divine laws) and ensures it’s imposition.  He is also the symbol of Muslim’s unity and brotherhood.  He can be held accountable by the judiciary, just like an ordinary person, if found guilty of error/crime.

3.  Consultation (Shura) – An Islamic state is not a dictatorial kind of government.   It is a system where all state and public affairs are handled and accomplished by the mutual consultation of  the wise and educated representatives of people.  These representatives are elected on merit.  The criteria for merit is also prescribed by Sharia’.

“Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance;”…Surah Shura 38

4. Obedience of the ruler (Ulul-amr) – The citizens of an Islamic state must obey  their ruler/khalifa in all the matters that are not contrary to Islamic Sharia’.  They have a right to submit their doubts or complaints against khalifa or other officials in judicial courts.   They will be punished if they disobey the ruler or break laws.

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination”…Surah An-Nisa 59

5. Equality/Equal Opportunity – Islam denounces discrimination on the basis of race, colour, cast, creed, language, faith, and nationality.  Islam believes in human rights for each individual present there within the boundaries of an Islamic state.  The authorities and majority are guardians of the rights of minorities and are not allowed to interfere in there religious and personal matters.

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other.  Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.  And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted”  Surah Al-Hujraat 13

6. Justice – Rule of law and safety of people’s life and property regardless of any differences is one of the main objectives of an Islamic state.  All are equal before the law and the court cannot make distinction between elite and poor, the less privileged Muslims and non-Muslims.  All citizens are assured of the freedom to move around and enjoy their rights.  They can approach the judicial courts for fast and fair justice to solve their disputes.

“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that ye do”  Surah An-Nisa 135

7. Welfare State/Social Welfare -  The state is responsible for the well-being of every citizen and for the proper provision of basic necessities to them.  The social welfare  is maintained through  collection of zakah.  Zakah is the yearly tax imposed upon Muslims on their savings.  Khilafah is an institution where religion and politics are not considered separate and khalifa/caliph/ruler/head is an authority over both terms, thus the government is authorized to collect zakah and distribute it according to the rules of sharia’.

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah.fearing”  Surah Al-Baqarah 177

“Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah. and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom”…Surah Tauba 60

8. “Amr bil ma’roof wa nahi anil munkar” – The head of the state is ordered to follow the rule of “amr bil ma’roof wa nahi anil munkar” meaning order people to do good and stop them from wrong and punish them if they don’t.  It is to create an environment where people are persuaded to live in harmony, behave nicely, control their anger through sermons and/or public speeches.  Children are trained to develop such a character from homes and educational institutions.  The purpose is to reduce the rate of home-based or street crimes and stop people from harming each other.

“You are the best community that has been raised for mankind.  You enjoin good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah”  Surah Al-e-Imran 110

“The believers, men and women, are protectors of each other; they enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil”  Surah Tauba 71

“The hypocrites, both men and women, proceed one from another.  They enjoin the wrong and forbid the right”…Surah Tauba 67

Note – The course books do not explain the characteristics/features of an Islamic state as they are mentioned above.  #2 Khalifah/Caliph is replaced with caliphate because it doesn’t make sense to include caliphate as an article of the complete institution which is caliphate.  The references from Qur’an and ahadith are missing in three books that I have referred to.

Thus, an Islamic state or khilafah/caliphate is comprised of these eight features/characteristics; Sovereignty of Allah, Khalifa/ruler, consultation, obedience of the common Muslims towards their khalifah, equality, justice, welfare, “amr bil ma’roof wa nahi anil munkar”.  (do correct me if this is wrong).

Objection: As a Pakistani, we believe that Pakistan is naturally an Islamic state.  It has lost the true identity and couldn’t proceed in the right direction as must have been the dream of Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam.  The reasons are enormously numerous. Out of them, one is our poor and abnormal educational system.  The book writers seem highly obsessed with ancient foreign systems, most systems are proven dead.  Students cannot be blamed, even teachers do not take interest in explaining such boring, dull and dead theories for the whole year.  The curriculum does not include anything that can help a student developing positive thoughts about Pakistan.

This is very much unfair to include as a major part of the curriculum of political science, the centuries old ideologies and theories that most of them are irrelevant in today’s political environment.

Herbert Spencer’s organic theory, Bluntschli’s idea of state as a personified masculine, jusristic theory of the personality of state presented by Treitschke, Bluntschli, Jellinek and Maitland, Rousseau, Jhon Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Bertrand de Jouvenel and hundreds more….. they might be good to be studied in extra timings, but don’t deserve to be the part of the course book to occupy few chapters.

While the relevant content is not even mentioned in the book anywhere.  Allama Iqbal’s theory/ideology of an Islamic state, his political thoughts, Quaid-e-Azam’s understanding of Iqbal’s theory, his political efforts and strategies to prove it to be a practical one. What kind of state is Pakistan?  What features are missing and why, that can make Pakistan an ideal Islamic state?


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