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All the praises and thanks be to Allah Alone. Prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.

Hypothetically, power in Islamic jurisprudence, like all else, has a moral mission from which it derives its obligations. The theory of power in Islamic jurisprudence is that of commonwealth of all the Muslims living as one community under the guidance and direction of a supreme executive head. That primary mission was to enforce the application of sharia with a view to ensuring that the individual believer performed the duties of ibada and hisba, but primarily ibada. In principle, therefore, the paramount role of government was to create and maintain those conditions within which ibada could be practiced. This task entailed four responsibilities: safeguarding the community from moral and physical danger from without and within; safeguarding the community against schisms and heresy in accordance with the rulings of the scholars jurisprudence and its principles; enforcing the rules of the good moral life as they were set forth in the Quran and sharia and interpreted by the scholars in accordance with their various schools of law, and to be just and ensure justice.

Islam is a complete code of life. It does not believe in the separation of religion form political science. Islam takes an integrative view of human life which it declares to be a preparation for the life hereafter the life in this world is meant for preparing for the eternal life of the next world, which is ever lasting. The concept of the theory of power in Islamic jurisprudence should be understood on this very principle of Islam as follows;

* Sovereignty of Allah: Sovereignty of Allah is the fundamental principle of the Islamic concept of state. In Islam, sovereignty does and can belong to Allah and no one can claim to be sovereign. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnicompetent and omnipresent. The principle of Allah’s sovereignty doest not recognize the possibility of dictatorship absolute monarchy or autocracy in an Islamic state.

 لِّلَّهِ ملك السماوات والأرض

“To Allah belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth.” Q42: 48.

* Khilafat : The Holy Quran proclaims the vicegerency of man. The concept of Khalifah which means God's delegation of authority to the ummah to maintain peace, justice and prosperity on earth. The concept is universal in that every individual member of the ummah is legally obligated to ensure the proper execution of the delegated authority. Representative governance, through which alone this collective obligation can be properly fulfilled, thus becomes constitutionally mandatory in Islam. Absolute, cosmic sovereignty belongs to God, but sovereignty on earth He has delegated to the ummah, the people, through the mandate of istikhlaf. By collectively enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, the ummah would move ahead, achieving unprecedented heights in human development. The precept of bay'ah, basically a form of electing or confirming the khalifa, or the chief executive. It is comprised of two steps. The first step is called bay'ah khassah, and it is tantamount to a nomination process through private consultation. The second step is called bay'ah a'mmah, that is popular acceptance of the nominee. Under the sovereignty of Allah and the authority of his law, the caliph is the temporal ruler of the state and the defender of the faith. Quran says:

 وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً

When your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,…” (Q2: 30)

* Power by consultation: Mutual consultation among the Muslims is a commandment of the Holy Quran and an injunction of the Sunnah of the Holy prophet(peace be upon him). Qur'an says:

وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُم

“The affairs of state are conduct by mutual consultation among themselves.” (Surah-Ash-Shura).

Islam stipulates "rida al awam", that is, popular consent, as a prerequisite to the establishment of legitimate political authority, and ijtihad jama'i, that is collective deliberation as a requisite to the proper administration of public affairs. Beyond that, Islam stipulates "mas'uliyah jama'iyyah", that is, collective responsibility, for maintaining the public good of society. And by affirming all humans as equal before God, Islam stipulates equality before the law; for to claim parity before God and disparity among ourselves is plain hypocrisy. Finally, by rejecting man's subservience to anyone but God, Islam stipulates freedom as the natural state of man, hence liberty within the limits of law is an Islamic stipulation. The famous rhetorical question asked by the second Khalifa, Omar Ibn Al Khattab, "When (implying by what right) ... when did you enslave the people, knowing that they were born free by their mothers?" speaks volumes about Islam's innate resentment of anything that arbitrarily violates personal freedom.

* Obedience of the ruler: The Quranic injunction calls upon the Muslims to obey the supreme commander among them.

Ibn Umar narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “It is obligatory upon a Muslim that he should listen (to the ruler) and obey whether he likes it or not, except when he is ordered to do a sinful thing; in such a  case there is no obligation to listen or to obey.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim].

This Hadeeth makes it clear that it is binding upon Muslims to show obedience to the Muslim ruler in power as long as he does not call to a sin or disobedience to Allah because Allah’s obedience comes first above all.

Accordingly, it is not permissible to rebel against the rulers and those who have authority, neither by utterances nor by actions. And bear in mind that committing sins and giving undue preference are not excuses for rebellion against the rulers. Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah are of the opinion that the ruler should be listened to and obeyed despite all that, and that it is prohibited to fight against him or promote hatred against him. Abu Bakrah narrated: I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying: He who dishonors the ruler will be disgraced by Allah”. [At-Tirmidhi].

Even, when a man seizes power by prevailing over the people by the sword, and he establishes his authority and takes full control, then it becomes obligatory to obey him and he becomes the leader of the Muslims. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If a man rebels and seizes power, the people must obey him, even if he seizes power by force and without their consent, because he has seized power. 

The reason for that is that if his rule is contested, it will lead to a great deal of evil, and this is what happened during the Umayyad period when some of them seized power by means of force and gained the title of caliph, and people obeyed them in obedience to the command of Allah.

For more information on this topic, and to find out how the state should operate and how its affairs should be run, read Ahkaam al-Sultaaniyyah by Abu’l-Hasan al-Maawardi al-Shaafa’i and Ahkaam al-Sultaaniyyah by Abu Ya’la al-Farra’ al-Hanbali, Giyathul-Umam by Imam Juwayni and al-Tarteeb al-Idaariyyah by al-Kattaani. 

 

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