Saturday, December 27, 2014

Divine Precepts on Political Order

Islam is a World Order; hence the conception of Islamic state is that of a World State, for God is the Sovereign of all:

“Command is for none but God.” (12: 41).

“His is the sovereignty of the Heavens and the Earth.” (57: 6).

“Blessed is He in Whose hands is the sovereignty and He over all things has power.” (67: 2).

The ideal of Islamic state (or an Islamic country), like I just mentioned, is righteous life as it further proved by the oft-repeated voice of the Quran, “Believe and act righteously” which forms its leading theme. And to achieve this ideal God says: “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.” (3: 105).

Righteous life is the life lived in strict conformity with divine laws. The Quran is the code of right conduct which equips man to establish the will of God on earth and to lead humanity to its noblest destiny. Righteous life cannot be achieved unless society is purged of evils and virtue prevails. Virtue consists in moral excellence and in conformity of life and conduct with the laws of God who alone knows what is really good. There is no specific form of government prescribed by the Quran and the Sunnah. It seems that no detailed blue prints for the form of government are given so that flexibility be retained as to the adoption of some form suited to the occasion except despotism, for the head of the Islamic State himself is subject to the dictates of Islamic laws.

Government deals with the form of polity of persons governing a State. We, therefore, refer to some of the discussions as to the number of caliphs, whether there can be two caliphs at the same time or there should be only one. It is argued by some that there must be only one universal caliph. The word caliph has come to mean “Imam” or “the Head of Islamic State” as carrying the same meaning.

As a matter of fact Islam does not attach much importance to the outward form and is satisfied if the Islamic law is applied in its totality and decisions are taken after consultation in compliance with the Quran verse:

“Their affairs are conducted by mutual consultation.” (42: 39)

Consultation is the key word of the Advisory Council. This principle was applied to its fullest extent by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in his private and public life, and was fully acted upon by the rightly guided caliphs. With regard to consultation and advisory council (Shura), it may be noted that neither the Quran, nor the Sunnah, prescribes any hard and fast rules. Advisory Council may be selected and also elected if its decisions should have a binding effect on the community. The procedure, the form of election, the duration of representation are all left to be applied as it suits the occasion, time and place.

States in general, have divided their functions into three departments – Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. The Legislature is concerned with law-making while the Executive with carrying out the laws. But the function of Judiciary pertains to the application of law and administration of Justice.

Legislation in Islam is not law-making in the modern sense of the term, for law is already contained in the text (i.e., Quran and Sunnah) and, as such, only to be enforced and extended by means of Ijtihad or interpretation of the text. But such interpretation should not be the result of one’s reason or personal opinion but by analogy.

If the text relates to matters of religious observation and worship (Ibadat), there is no scope for legislation, because there can be no reasoning in such matters. So far as social affairs (Mu’amalat) are concerned, legislation is possible in what is left legally indifferent or Mubah (permissible) but, as indicated earlier, it cannot take the form of law-making, for laws are already revealed by God. God alone is the Legislator and He says:

“We have revealed to you a Book as an exposition to all things.” (16: 90)

Hence, there is no room for legislation except that only such rules and regulations may be framed as are necessary for administrative purposes.

Islam does not recognise the liberty of legislation, for it would be incompatible with the ethical control of human actions and ultimately of society. The Executive needs no clarification as it is concerned with the carrying out of the Law of God which is complete in itself and punishment are well defined. In case there is any difficulty, the Rule of Necessity may be invoked.

The Judiciary in Islam is independent of the Executive but is bound by the Quran and the Sunnah for “those who don’t just abide by what God has sent are:

1. The disbelievers (5: 45)
2. Wrongdoers (5: 46) and
3. Law-breakers. (5: 48).

All citizens of the State (or Islamic country) including the Head of the State are equal before the law. The non-Muslim inhabitants of the Islamic State are equal before the law. The non-Muslims inhabitants of the Islamic states enjoy a judicial autonomy, each community having its own tribunals and its own judges, applying its own laws, civil as well as penal.

I call upon Allah to enable Muslims and little by little, all humanity to abide by the perfect laws of Allah, the perfect code of life He sent through His beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) to guide all mankind to live a pure and harmonious life according to the divine precepts. Ameen.

-Extracts from the Friday Sermon of December 12, 2014 delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius