Theory of an Islamic State – 2
December 19, 2010 2 Comments
Political Science – B.A. Part I
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. She has lost her 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?