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Government and politics exercise a profound influence on the life of a people. It could, therefore, not be that God excluded a subject of this magnitude from the range of his guidance and gave men a free hand to conduct themselves as they pleased in the organization and control of their political and administrative needs.


As Islam has prescribed for our benefit a precise code of behaviour in all other domains of our existence, in the sphere of government and politics, too, it has furnished us with full guidance and enjoined on us to pursue the correct and the godly course in affairs relating to it as well. It is as much our duty to abide by the constructions laid down by God and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in respect of political matters as in matters of belief and worship, social intercourse and practical and monetary dealings, and the service and assistance of the Faith.


It was quite natural for communities that did not possess a complete program of individual and social existence like Islam which could show them the way, or, at least, march hand in hand with them in the highly advanced and complicated business of modern politics to draw a distinction between religion and the management of political affairs. They had no other choice open to them. But if the Muslims, too, are getting increasingly inclined towards that mode of thinking, it is not because they have honestly come to the conclusion, after examining the political teachings and principles of Islam in the light of the current needs and conditions, that the processes of government and politics now be ordered according to the guidance of God. The truth is that they could not being themselves to accept the restrictions imposed by Islam in the political field on the selfish pursuit of power and on yielding to the temptations of ease and comfort; they felt that they did not have the moral strength to live up to the Islamic ideals of selfless service and sacrifice; they took refuge behind the slogan that religion and politics were two separate things and divorced Islam from the science and art of the management of the affairs of the state. Otherwise, even today if the rulers of any of the Muslim States can have the spiritual courage to chose for themselves a life of piety and dedication, in the footsteps of Omar bin Abdul Aziz, (and God may also have blessed them with insight into the faith or they may be enjoying the confidence and support of men of religious vision and insight), they can prove to the world that the political structure inspired and regulated by the ideals of Islam is still the best among all the political systems and ideologies and it is through it alone that the different problems plaguing the existing times, both at the national and the international levels, can be happily resolved. The greatest misfortune with Islam in the contemporary world is that its followers, more specially those that make the top layers of the society, are, on the whole, more faithful to their personal ambitions and sensual appetites than to the precepts of their faith.


We will restrict ourselves here, as in the previous chapters, only to an examination of the basic principles. For a wider study of the subject, the reader will have to turn to books written specifically on Islamic theocracy. The cornerstone of the political philosophy of Islam is the principle, or rather, the belief, that sovereignty belongs exclusively to God, the Lord Creator and the Cherisher of the universe, and all men, everywhere, are his subjects.


"To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth." (Quran: Fath',2(


"To him belongs the dominion of the Heavens and the earth." (Quran: Hadid,1(


"For the earth is God's to give as the heritage to such of his servants as he Pleaseth." (Quran: A'raf, 15)


In Islamic Polity, the Head of the State is called the Caliph (meaning, successor, deputy representative), and the Government, the Caliphate and those are no empty terms. They derive their origin from the fact that in Islam that position of the ruler is nothing more than that of a superintendent or an administrator. He cannot rule according to his sweet will, but in compliance with the obligations placed upon him by God. He is compelled to function, as the successor of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and of his true successors and deputies of the former days, within the limits of the Divine law. He is not above reproach; he is answerable for his actions to fellow-men in this life, and to God in the Hereafter.


Furthermore, these terms help to remind us of the truth that the scope of governmental activity in Islam is not confined only to political and administrative matters. The real duty of an Islamic Government lies, as we have stated a few pages earlier, in the promotion of the work of human reform and guidance that was entrusted by God to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). The more will a Caliph depart from the way of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), the more will he be considered to have failed in the discharge of the duties of his office.


The office of the Caliph is not a hereditary one, going down from father to son. The Caliph is chosen by the people; its procedure may, however, very with the changing pattern of time.


The Caliph does not act independently but through mutual discussion, consultation and advice. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself was required to seek the advice of his Companions in matter in respect of which no guidance was available to him in the form of a Divine revelation.


"And consult them in affairs (of moment)" (Quran: Aal-i-Imran, 17)


The Quran indicates as a characteristic feature of Islamic polity and the Muslim method of conducting business that the Muslims are the people.

"Who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation." (Quran: Shura, 4)


In exceptional circumstances, however, if the Caliph honestly feels that he is in the right he can insist on his own judgement as against the advice by the popular assembly.


Power, in Islam, is desirable solely for the reason that it can be of great help in the establishment of God-worship and righteous living in the world. We have just seen how in sura-i-Hajj it was said of the Companions while they were granted the permission to take up arms against the pagan oppressors that:


"They are those (of our servants) who, if we establishment them in the land, will establish regular prayer and give regular charity and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. With God rests the end (and decision) of (all affairs)." (Quran: Hajj, 6(


This verse, as one would say, constitutes the political manifesto of Islam. The Caliphate is expected to make it its foremost duty to take all possible steps for the furtherance of the aims enunciated in it. All its policies and activities should be addressed to these ends. Its educational program must, for instance be pressed in the same direction; it should have a permanent ministry of moral and spiritual guidance and superintendence: If the need arose it should have to hesitation in proclaiming Jehad within the conditions prescribed for it. As an institution of Divine trusteeship, the Caliphate, further, is responsible for providing all the citizens irrespective of their race or religion with the necessities of life and with peace and security of person, honor and property. It has to assure that no undue burden tax, duty, charge or obligation is imposed on any section of the people. Justice, under it, should be within the reach of everyone. It should be just and impartial and be administered without fear or favour. The Quran says:

God doth command you to be just.



God doth command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due: and when he judge between man and man that yeh judge with justice: verily, how excellent is the teaching which he giveth you. (Quran: Nisa', 8)

In the foregoing verse, a part from the dispensation of justice, fairly and impartially, it is also ordained that the trusts should be rendered back honestly and to whom they rightfully belong. In the Arabic language, especially in the usage of the Quran, the term "Trust" conveys a wide range of meaning. Here, in this verse, the command: "Render back your trusts to whom they are due", also implies that a charge or responsibility should be entrusted only to a person who is most worthy of it. It, thus, becomes a major obligation with an Islamic government that public offices are granted to alone who are deserving of them, also from the point of view of piety and righteousness.  Yet another Quranic proclamation on the subject of justice, fairness and equity reads:


"Oh ye who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witness to fair dealing. And let not the hatred of others you make you swerve to wrong and apart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear God. For God is well-acquainted with all ye do." (Quran: Maida, 2)


It is related by Abu Saeed Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once observed: "On the day of Reckoning, nearer to God and more cordially beloved of him will the just ruler, and, on that day, the most detested and the recipient of the severest chastisement will be the ruler who ruled with oppression and injustice.


Omar bin Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) has related from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that:  


"On the Last Day the most eminent among men will be the just ruler (or officer) who was also kind and compassionate, and the worst among men on that day will be the ruler (or officer) who ruled with tyrany and injustice". It follows, therefore, that justice should also be sympathetically alive to the needs of the people and activity solicitous of their welfare.


Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) appointed a Companion as a governor and sent him off to the place of this duty, he used to advise him to act as the harbinger of hope and good cheer to the people (arousing in them sentiments of courage and confidence) and refrain from things that may be hateful to them and cause public resentment, and to create comforts and facilities for them and refrain from putting up difficulties and impediments in their path.


It is, thus, a part of duty of the government to the people to see that its officers are not there to boss over them, flaunting masterful and over-gearing airs and making things harder for them. The officer should strive to strengthen the moral of the people and provide opportunities for their betterment and progress. The Purpose of the law is not to be an instrument of harassment of the people. It is instrument for the removal of hindrance to good life and the creation of conditions favorable to the peace and prosperity of the land. Thus, it is said of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in the Quran that:


"He release them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them." (Quran: A'raf, )


The real sources of legislation in Islam are God and the Prophet (Peace be upon him), or, in other words, the book and the Sunnah. The laws that have been permanently enumerated in them are absolute and cannot be repealed or amended. But there are various needs and situations arising of life concerning which no clear instructions are found in the Quran and the Sunnah. For these, fresh legislation has to be brought out from time to time, but here, too, the guidance principle will be the path shown by the twin sources of law-making indicated above and the practice of Khulafa-i-Rashideen together with the considerations of public welfare.


Another prominent feature of Islamic theocracy is that solicitation for an office of the state is a positive disqualification. Abu Moosa Ashari relates that two of his relations had approached the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for some post in the government upon which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) exclaimed, "By God, we do not appoint a person to a public office who makes a request for it, or shows his longing for it in any other way."


The officers are required to live simply. During the Caliphate of Omar (may Allah be pleased with him), when an officer was appointed he was warned to shun luxury and ostentation or he would be dismissed. The exact words of the warning were: "Do not keep a Turkish horse or eat fine bread or wear and expensive dress made of delicately woven fabric or shut your doors on the petitioners; should you indulge in any of these, you will have to bear the penalty." Austerity for the government officers was. Thus, not a matter of persuasion or moral exhortation in the days of that renowned Caliph but a part of their service regulations.


The cardinal responsibility for putting in the practice the doctrines of Islamic polity rests naturally with Muslims who are in power in countries in which they live. So far a Muslims living in non-Muslim countries are concerned; they can only make a sincere and well-meaning effort, within the limits of practicability, of course, to persuade the ruling community or communities there to incorporate as many teachings of Islam as possible in their political systems



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