Famous Theories of Islamic State

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 dajjal got this idea of ruling the world from Al-Farabi and that is why he doesn’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


About Rubik
I'm Be-Positive. Life is like tea; hot, cold or spicy. I enjoy every sip of it. I love listening to the rhythm of my heart, that's the best

2 Responses to Famous Theories of Islamic State

  1. Pingback: Famous Theories of Islamic State (via PIECEMEAL) « The Undergraduate

  2. Pingback: Famous Theories of Islamic State | Mesothelioma Attorneys

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