cleric in the recently held Malay Dignity Congress came to a vague conclusion
that “Muslims should not surrender power to non-Muslims”. The cleric must have
referred to a verse in the Quran:
“O you who believe! Do not take friends from
the Jews and the Christians, as they are but friends of each other. And if any
among you befriends them, then surely, he is one of them. Verily, God guides
not those people who are the wrongdoers.” (Quran, 5:51)
possibly be the only verse in the Quran that the cleric can vaguely gyrate to
make that point.
this, perhaps the cleric must have been influenced by a foreign-born preacher
who has kept on spewing that: “It’s better to vote for a corrupt Muslim than to
vote an honest non-Muslim into government”.
words, the preacher was implying that never surrender power to an honest
non-Muslim to lead even when the Muslim leader is corrupt. This is an insult to
the intelligence of enlightened Muslim scholars.
Quranic scholars are quite clear on this
matter, knowing that the verse was revealed during a time when Islam was
daunted by the Jews of Medina and the idol worshippers of Mecca.
Arabian Peninsula then, the tribal system manifested itself profoundly. The
verse was revealed during this period.
however failed to mention the fact that Muslims also continued to live
peacefully with the Jews and other tribes of Medina who had not broken any
accords much later after the revelation of this verse – with non-Muslims
playing important roles in governance. This is historical Islam.
Muslim world has seen non-Muslims holding important posts in governance without
objections from Muslim scholars.
Pakistan, an Islamic republic with less than 5% non-Muslims, there have been
non-Muslim ministers and judges. No one has questioned it on the basis of verse
5:51 even though the country has political parties based on religion.
Hussein’s Iraq, Tariq Aziz, an ethnic Assyrian and a member of the Chaldean
Catholic Church, was made the deputy prime minister (1979–2003) and foreign
minister (1983–1991), in addition to being a close adviser to Saddam.
unearth countless examples of diversity throughout Islamic history right from
the days of the Prophet.
under a non-Muslim ally is obviously not a sin in Islam. It never has been,
unless they are proven to be enemies who would undermine the human rights of
this is not the case in the Malaysian context. Muslims are free to practise
Islam and non-Muslims are no threat or obstacles to their ways of life. Muslims
and non-Muslims, for that matter, are willing to live together and share
prosperity and hardship together.
Islam is a
very diverse religion and not everybody is going to agree on what is said by
have certainly honoured the children of Adam and carried them on the land and
sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of
what We have created, with [definite] preference.” (17:70).
of Adam” in this verse certainly refers to all mankind. The verse shows that
man by his very creation deserves regard and respect. This respect is man’s
natural birth right, regardless of which community he belongs to.
justice for humankind is one of the fundamental teachings of Islam. Islam not
only recognises unqualified equality between men irrespective of any
distinction of colour or nationality, but makes it an important way of life.
“O ye who
believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against
yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or
poor: for God 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
God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (4:135)
should be cognisant of the fact that the Quran is quite clear on the issue of
should not be complicit to corrupt and untrustworthy leaders among them when
there are honest leaders among the non-Muslims who can be entrusted to lead, as
having faith in honest non-Muslims leading does not tantamount to surrendering
power to them.
the chairman of the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), KH Amidhan: “When Muslims
face two choices: one Muslim leader but unjust, and the other leader of
non-Muslim but a just one, then select the just. That is, if there is evidence
that the non-Muslim leader is just.”
numbers of Muslims outside of Muslim countries have no qualms voting for
non-Muslims to lead and are happy to live under their stewardship.
Muslims would never have voted in the elections in these countries.
working under non-Muslim corporate and industrial leaders as well holding
important administrative posts in the government in these countries without any
progressive nations and are pioneers in science and technology contributing to
the well-being of humanity. Their products and inventions are shared by all
people – Muslims and non-Muslims.
Muslims be grateful to these people? They are able to progress because of good
leadership. Why can’t they then become leaders?
texts have to be interpreted in a broader perspective and in the context of the
21st century, where in the present, people of all religions wish to live
together in peace.
have evolved with time where Muslims and non-Muslims are willing to live
together unlike how life was centuries ago. With modern education, societies of
today are less tribal and fixated when it comes to religion compared with those
living in the Middle Ages and prior to that.
of humanity has gained traction through time with modern progressive education,
technological advancement and economic prosperity.
elementary concept of human rights can be dated back to the first human being
modern era, developments of human rights were started by philosophers such as
Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mill and G W F Hegel during the 18th and 19th
further recognised after the Second World War, with the signing of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in
human-race perspective, the peace-loving, honest, incorruptible and capable
non-Muslims are of equal status with Muslims who are of the same qualities and
they are not Islam’s sworn enemies.
them to lead does not mean that Muslims have surrendered power to them. Six
decades of independence has seen power sharing in the country.
charge of the nation have come from all races and religions. This country has
been peaceful all because of mature politics of power-sharing. The country is
moving on with this formula.
and his supporters should look into the many failed Muslim countries which are
led by Muslim leaders who are war mongers, know no democracy and are corrupt to
countries have never flourished and are doomed. Compare this with some
countries that are led by non-Muslims where Muslim refugees find paradise in
them. They are democratic and the rule of law applies to all their citizens.
cherished in Islam. When minority non-Muslims are ready to live with the
majority Muslims peacefully, why the need to discriminate against the former?
mind-boggling to the cultured that a Muslim must lead even when he or she is
dishonest and untrustworthy. Nor do the cultured want a non-Muslim to lead if
he is untrustworthy.
Nair is an FMT reader.
Headline: Non-Muslim leaders and our confused clerics
Source: The Free Malaysia Today
(the wife of the Prophet) Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and Abu Bakr hired a man from the tribe of Bani-Ad-Dil as an expert guide who was a pagan (follower of the religion of the pagans of Quraish). The Prophet (ﷺ) and Abu Bakr gave him their two riding camels and took a promise from him to bring their riding camels in the morning of the third day to the Cave of Thaur.