certifired_img

Books and Documents

Islam and Politics (14 Feb 2013 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Refuting Talibani Fatwa on Islam And Democracy: Are They Incompatible With Each Other?


 

By Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam

The compatibility of Islam with democracy has been a topic of serious academic debate since the last century. According to some Islamists, democracy is antithetical to Islam. But on a keen study of Islamic principles of governance and the principles of democracy as we find today are very much identical in essence. True Democracy in its targeted goal is compatible with the rights already prescribed in Islamic laws 1400 years ago. Therefore, democracy has attracted common masses even in the Arab countries. In their view, it is synonymous with freedom.

Although Islam seriously deals with persons indulge in aggression and oppression, to a greater extent it has allocated the basic human rights including freedom of expression, equality, justice, integrity and mutual consultation etc. In other words, these Islamic principles assumed the term of democracy in the West.

From the spiritual perspective, the rights of democracy are derived from Islam. Islam is more inclusive and comprehensive than democracy in the distribution of rights and privileges, regardless of religion, caste, race, culture, economic status etc. Since human being has been endowed with intellectual capacity, therefore he gets deep insight into good and evil and therefore has gradually developed the democratic. Many political scientists and philosophers including John Austin and Rousseau whether willingly or unwillingly favoured Islamic ideologies. They defined democracy just for the welfare of the society. Their democratic concepts, though are not the same, but more or less reflect the Quranic message.

A far-sighted man can naturally embrace the fact that the principles of democracy and Islam have a lot of similarity. For example, democracy lays emphasis on public interests, self-reliance, personality development, protection from oppression and aggression, promotion of peace, mutual harmony, and love for the motherland. More inclusively, the parliamentary system of democracy has flexibility in law and order, responsibility, redressing of grievances, creating educational environment, eradicating violence and moral training of rulers in a focussed way. Liberty, justice and equality, as main principles of democracy, are implemented at all levels -- civilian, economic, cultural, political, social and so on. All these rights and privileges are not only emphasized and included in democracy but also are the basis of Islamic political theory.  

Many contemporary Muslim scholars have considered the concept of Shura (mutual consultation) much identical to the principles of western parliamentary democracy. According to them, Islamic Shura is based on three precepts. First, all individuals dwelling in a society deserve equal human and civil rights. Second, the public issues are best judged by majority. Thirdly, the values like justice, equality and human dignity, which represent Islam's moral core are best actualized, in personal as well as in public life, under Shura governance.

Muslim democrats argue that the holy Quran points towards some form of democracy, or at least disapprove despotism. These precepts include Shura (mutual consultation), Ijma (consensus), Al-Hurriyya (freedom) and Al-Huquooq Al-Shar’yya (legitimate rights). For instance, Shura includes electing leaders to represent and govern on behalf of the community (Aal `Imran 3:159, Ash-Shura 42:38). Therefore, democracy (a government by the people) is not incompatible with the rule of Islam, while it has also been argued that rule by a religious authority is not the same as rule by a representative of Allah Almighty. However, this viewpoint is disputed by more traditional Muslims.         

Ahamad Moussalli, the professor of political science at American University of Beirut, argues that despotic Islamic governments have run against the Qur'anic concepts for their own political and personal ends: "For instance, Shura, a doctrine that demands the participation of society in dealing with the affairs of its government, became in reality a doctrine that was manipulated by political and religious elites to secure their economic, social and political interests at the expense of other segments of society," (In Progressive Muslims 2003).

Shura is necessity of human at all levels; social, economic, political and individual relations. The prophet Muhammad pbuh said “when anyone consults his brother he must do that”.

Shura in the political system of Islam is one of the laws of governance in Islam. Allah says: "(Believers are those) who run their affairs by consultation among themselves." (42:38) also "And let there among you be a group of people who invite to all that is good, who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong." (3:104)

The political system in Islam is a Shura system that rejects all forms of autocratic rule and all chaotic, demagoguery and political systems. To explain it further, it may be said that all rulings pertaining to the individual and collective life of Muslims are divided into two categories: the primary and the secondary rulings.

The primary rulings comprise of all Islamic duties and obligations inferred by fully qualified jurists from the four sources; the holy Qur'an, the Sunnah, consensus and reason. These fixed rulings are not put forward for consultation, for example rulings related to the acts of worship (like ritual prayer, fasting, pilgrimage to Mecca) and rulings regarding the commercial dealings, punishments (Hudud), compensation (Diyah, blood money or indemnity for bodily injury), and besides, others pertain to the process of trial, testimony and litigation etc..

Since, these rulings are based on the Qur'an, the Sunnah, the Consensus (Ijtihad), and Reason (Qayas), they are the unchanging laws but the possibility of modifications comes only during the varying states and conditions of a Mukallaf (a responsible Muslim). These varying conditions of a Mukallaf may be such as one’s stay in his home town, travelling, compulsion, immense need, or any other ordinary or extraordinary condition like disease, sporadic rainfall, storm, and so on.

The secondary rulings do not directly correlate with the four above mentioned sources, but are inferred by highly qualified jurists taking into account the current circumstances and conditions of an individual or society such as a fatwa that does not allow the use of tobacco. Briefly, the secondary rulings are those actions and affairs that are commonly considered Mubāh or neutral.

From the above differences it does not mean that the secondary rulings by a qualified jurist are not connected with all the four sources mentioned above. But the qualified jurist, in consultation with other jurisprudents, issues a legal verdict for the welfare of the Muslim society, taking inspiration from common principles and laws that allocate the duty to protect the existence of the Islamic society.

Like men, women are also endowed with these rights and can participate in consultation. Islam has distributed practical characteristics for both males and females. Islam grants them uncountable rights of political participation in the political spheres in terms of opinion. The holy verse describes it وأمرهم شورى بينهم) it is neither confined to men without women. Hadrat umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Islam has given equal rights to both women and men in order to get education, culture.”

The most common difference between democracy and Islam is that of legislation. In democracy elected legislature makes laws from time to time whereas in Islam the source of legislation is the holy Quran and the Hadith. All the laws in Islam are miraculously fit for all ages and eras. Since there is flexibility in Islam, therefore laws if needed in modern times are also formulated through Consensus (Ijmae-Al-Ummat) and reason (Qayas). The sovereignty of God is the foundation of the system. Legislation contained in the Qur'an becomes the basic law of the state. See the verses of the holy Quran in Ahzab 33:36, Maidah 5:48, and Nisa 4:65.

The right to choose a ruler is entrusted to the nation through the people of the solution and contract. Governance in Islam is a contract by mutual consent between the citizens and the ruler. That ruler must be bound to adopt well-derived Islamic laws and should be well aware of legitimacy and illegitimacy (Halal and Haram) of actions. With sincerity, he must engage with Islamic laws through the standpoint of a class of people and nations having intelligence and experience. This class represents the nation in all its sectors and takes care of the ruler in order to settle his steps and help him make important decisions and trends.

Subsequently, it is obligatory for the people to obey the ruler. The ruler, however, must not be obeyed if he breaks the Shari`ah rules. Moreover, he will not be sacked unless he commits any outright disbelief. Allah almighty says "O, you who believe! Obey God and obey the Messenger and those from among you who are in charge of your affairs; and if you differ over any matter, refer it to God and the Messenger, if you do believe in God and the last day." (4:59)

After all, the major problem is that a class of extremists regards democracy as an emblem of infidelity (Kufr), some others consider it incompatible with Islam. While this problem is just with them to the misinterpretation of Islamic teachings.

The facts and arguments I have presented here aim to dispel the misunderstanding of the concept of democracy by Islamists and the misconceptions of west about Islam’s stand vis a vis democratic principles of governance.

URL:  http://newageislam.com/islam-and-politics/ghulam-ghaus,-new-age-islam/refuting-talibani-fatwa-on-islam-and-democracy--are-they-incompatible-with-each-other?/d/10409

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-   289


  • Dear Ghulam ghaus, i am satisfied with your excellent article.
    By Salim javed - 3/29/2013 8:05:06 AM



  • Dear GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 3/2/2013 8:23:13 AM
    I expressed my views and you yours. Story ends.


    By rational - 3/2/2013 9:15:56 AM



  • How does Allah almighty do justice? The justice is in the fact that the examiner does not burden any one with a test which might be beyond his or her ability. Allah has not given us wings to fly; and therefore, does not ask of us to fly in the air like birds. This is justice. Had He asked us to fly like birds (without giving us the wings), then it would have been injustice. But can we claim that because He did not give us wings (while birds have got it) we have been wronged by God? No. It is His sole prerogative to decide by which test should a par­ticular person be examined. And it is His justice and mercy that He does not demand from anyone more than his or her ability. If He has created a man without hands, He at the same time has exempted him from jihad, wudu and tayammum. Had such a person been required to wage war without hands, then we could have rightly complained. But as long as the responsibilities of an individual are tailored to his abilities, nobody can say that Allah has done injustice
    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 3/2/2013 8:29:41 AM



  • Dear Bedi sahab, This world could not work if all people would have been of the same strength, same ability and same life‑span.
    The working of the world requires people of different caliber, strength and ability.
    All are equal in the eyes of the religion and `laws of religion.
    Everybody's responsibilities are tailored to his abilities. And that is the only thing demanded by justice.
    Imam Ja'far as‑Sadiq (peace be upon him) was asked about qada (fate) and qadar (divine decree). He said,
    "When Allah will gather His servants on the Day of Judgement, He will question them about the things which He entrusted them with, i.e., our obedience to the shari'ah which is within our power; but He will not question them about the things which He decreed and predetermined for them, i.e., the conditions of life which are beyond our con­trol.

    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 3/2/2013 8:26:23 AM



  • Dear Rational, by the concept of "equality" it does not mean that all human beings are of equal health and strength; nor that all of them are of equal intelligence; nor that all of them are born with equal eyesight, or hearing capacity; nor do we mean that man and woman are equal in physical capacity and biological functions. What we do mean by "equality" is the equality before the law. Rich and poor, strong and weak, all are equal in the eyes of religion; all have to follow the same rules and all are governed by the same civil, criminal and ethical codes. There is neither high nor low, neither favourite nor neglected in the eyes of law. Another meaning is that anybody in Islam can achieve the highest possible honour and office without any distinction of origin, colour or tribe. The criterion of respect in Islam is neither wealth nor strength, neither birth nor colour. The only criterion is the "character." Allah says, "Verily the most honoured before God amongst you is the most pious of you." (49:13
    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 3/2/2013 8:23:13 AM



  • The Prophet Muhammad also declared to his people, who committed racism, that ethnic differences had no importance and that everyone was equal in the eyes of Allah. He repeatedly underlined that all that mattered was having sincere faith.

    The Prophet Muhammad also told people that Allah created man from nothing, that everyone is created equal and that everyone will give account of his deeds all alone before Allah. For this reason, he added that it would be a great wrong to look for superiority in one's descent.

    The Prophet commanded thus: "(All of) you are children of Adam, and Adam is from dust. Let some men cease to take pride in others. Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (r.a.), Ahmad, Abu Dawud, 4/331


    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 3/2/2013 8:19:05 AM



  • Dear Satbir Singh Bedi, the article also remarks the same points ‘A far-sighted man can naturally embrace the fact that the principles of democracy and Islam have a lot of similarity. For example, democracy lays emphasis on public interests, self-reliance, personality development, protection from oppression and aggression, promotion of peace, mutual harmony, and love for the motherland. More inclusively, the parliamentary system of democracy has flexibility in law and order, responsibility, redressing of grievances, creating educational environment, eradicating violence and moral training of rulers in a focussed way. Liberty, justice and equality, as main principles of democracy, are implemented at all levels -- civilian, economic, cultural, political, social and so on. All these rights and privileges are not only emphasized and included in democracy but also are the basis of Islamic political theory..  Many contemporary Muslim scholars have considered the concept of Shura (mutual consultation) much identical to the principles of western parliamentary democracy. According to them, Islamic Shura is based on three precepts. First, all individuals dwelling in a society deserve equal human and civil rights. Second, the public issues are best judged by majority. Thirdly, the values like justice, equality and human dignity, which represent Islam's moral core, are best actualized, in personal as well as in public life, under Shura governance.
    Muslim democrats argue that the holy Quran points towards some form of democracy, or at least disapprove despotism. These precepts include Shura (mutual consultation), Ijma (consensus), Al-Hurriyya (freedom) and Al-Huquooq Al-Shar’yya (legitimate rights). For instance, Shura includes electing leaders to represent and govern on behalf of the community (Aal `Imran 3:159, Ash-Shura 42:38). Therefore, democracy (a government by the people) is not incompatible with the rule of Islam, while it has also been argued that rule by a religious authority is not the same as rule by a representative of Allah Almighty. However, this viewpoint is disputed by more traditional Muslims.
    It is clear that the concept of democracy in its general and real forms is much identical to the laws of Allah almighty.

    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 3/2/2013 8:05:12 AM



  • Dear Satbir Singh Bedi, Indeed Allah has created men, and women with difference in color, height, weight and so on. This difference does not deal with the form of democracy. Apart from difference, Allah almighty beautifies them and endows them with human rights like equality, justice, liberty and positive freedom. He has made such laws where everyone can enjoy equal rights. He provides all the creatures with opportunities to enjoy comfortable life regardless of religion, caste, color, height and weight. 
    The rights, philosophically and scientifically incorporated in the subject of democracy, do not deal with height, weight, color, and richness or poorness but regardless of all these God-made forms. So the form of democracy is not against the laws of Allah   Almighty.
    One of the best forms of equality can be seen while Muslims are performing Namaz with congregation, where there is no discrimination into black and white, the poor and the rich: all are equal in front of Allah almighty. 
    It is another matter that some slaves of Allah almighty reach the higher extent of prestige and respect, because such level can only be achieved by virtuousness, piety and good duties commanded by Allah almighty. As for equality, He almighty gives it to every one to reach that higher extent of prestige. Similarly, the form of democracy gives equal opportunity to every one to make bigger achievements in the life but some become doctors, engineers while some become rickshaw-pullers or illiterate according to their respective efforts.


    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 3/2/2013 7:43:32 AM



  • It is said that God created everything in pairs. Muslims put much emphasis on this. But is it really true? I doubt. Are eunuchs created in pairs?

    Why the Quran is silent on this category? It is open partiality and injustice on the part of God.



    By rational - 3/2/2013 5:37:27 AM



  • I beg to differ.  God has not made everybody as equal. He has created unique persons.  Some men are tall, some are small.  Some men are rich, some are poor.  Some men are powerful, some are powerless.  Some people have a high IQ, others are just duffers.  I could go on listing the differences.  Even men and women differ in their physique.  Man is complementary to a woman and vice versa but they cannot replace each other. However, democracy treats everybody as equal giving everybody a single vote.  Hence democracy is against the laws of God and is a humbug. Whether the system is democratic or despotic, cunning, bold and scheming people would continue to run the various countries in the world.  If that were not so, then Dara Shikoh would not have lost his life and Aurangzeb would not have become the king.  Even our democratic rulers are those who are bold, cunning and scheming. Of course, I admit that consultations and consensus is necessary amongst these powerful persons to remain in power.  You may not like my views but this is the truth.  Given the laws of nature or of God, Aurangzeb will always be the winner and Dara Shikoh would always lose.
    By Satbir Singh Bedi - 3/1/2013 11:32:22 PM



  • sadaf I said ban raha hai, not you are.
    By rational - 3/1/2013 12:41:52 AM



  • @Ghulam Gauss, Rational just remarked about me of being Sufi. By the way some sufis were known to be very harsh in their saying, but did good things and had good heart.
    By sadaf - 3/1/2013 12:32:48 AM



  • Dear Sadaf, those who are intellectual and have knowledge, should remember the following Hadiht.
    The prophet pbuh said "Learn whatever you wish to learn, for Allaah will never reward you until you do deeds."
    The Messenger of Allah said: "Learn whatever you wish to learn, for Allaah, Mighty and Sublime, will never benefit (i.e. reward) you until you act upon what you know."
    Abul-Hasan 'Alee bin Ahmad bin 'Umar Al-Muqree informed us, saying: 'AbdulBaaqee bin Qaani', the Judge, informed us: Al-Husayn bin 'Alee bin Al-Azhar narrated to us in Koofah: 'Ubaad bin Ya'qoob narrated to us: Abu Dawood AnNakha'ee narrated to us: 'Alee bin 'Ubaydillaah Al-Ghatfaanee narrated to us from
    Saleek that he said: I heard the Prophet say: "When a scholar knows (something) and fails to act (on it), he becomes like a lamppost which sheds light for the people yet burns itself out."
    The Messenger of Allah said: "The example of a scholar that teaches the people good but forgets (it) himself, is like the example of a lamp that sheds light for the people but burns itself out."
    Learning anything is very easy but to keep it up is rather uphill task. Today we have lots of knowledge but are far away from practicing them. We have theoretical Islam but need practical Islam as we found in the life of Sufis
    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 3/1/2013 12:27:04 AM



  • Dear Ghulam Gauss
    Suna sadaf ne kya kaha.
    Jitnaa aur jaisa Islam aap mujhe padha rahe ho wo main pahle padh chuka hoon.
    aur sun lijiye jo science aap mujhe padhani chahte hain woh bhi main phle padh chuka hoon.

    By rational - 2/26/2013 11:46:20 AM



  • Dear GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 2/26/2013 9:17:55 AM
    Keep preaching. I am listening to you.

    By rational - 2/26/2013 10:48:06 AM



Compose Your Comments here:
Name
Email (Not to be published)
Comments
Fill the text
 
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.

Content