Concept of Democracy in Islam

In Islam, besides Allah, no one has the right to make laws. Allah is our Creator, our Lord and he knows well that what is good and what is bad for us. It is the responsibility of human to implement the laws of God in his society. So, in Islam, Democracy is kufar. It is shirk. Because in Democracy, “Parliament” has the right to pass or reject any law whether it is against Islamic Sharia or not. As we can see that assemblies in this democratic system have passed many anti-Islamic laws like interest (Banking), insurance, stock markets and many other laws against Islamic Sharia. Sharia can inform every aspect of daily life for a Muslim. Allah says:

“But if they do not respond to you – then know that they only follow their [own] desires. And who is more astray than one who follows his desire without guidance from Allah? Verily, Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” (Chapter 28, Al Qasas, Verse 50)

Islamic Caliphate is the only state for which we find arguments from Islam. Which is totally opposite to democratic state, because in an Islamic Caliphate only Allah has the supreme authority in true sense. Power of making law belongs to Allah. No one has the authority to reject the law of God even the caliph of the state is unable to do it. The Islamic State is the state in which the constitution is made on the basis of teachings of the Quran and Authentic Hadiths. And the source of all laws will be the Word of God (Quran). Allah says:

“When the Prophet (SAW) gives you something, take it and when he refrains you from anything, keep yourselves away from it.” (Chapter 59, Al Hashar, Verse 7)

Due to the absence of an Islamic State (Khilafah), most of the Muslims considered that democracy is good in corrival of dictatorship. So Muslims adopted the democratic system to avoid dictatorship. And democracy became a standard of politics and government. Muslims didn’t understand that a democratic system can never replace the Islamic State (Khilafah).

Democracy According to Traditional Islamic Sources
  1. Everyone will be questioned before God alone
  2. Equality between society and the individual
  3. Everyone has an absolute right to justice
  4. Equality between the different religions
  5. Equality freedom of speech and belief
  6. Equality between races and cultures
  7. Equality between men and women
  8. Allah created us from one soul
  9. All mankind belong to the human race
  10. Allah is just and kind to all his creatures
  11. Allah is not partial to any race, age, or religion
  12. Allah judges every person according to his own deeds
  13. All men are created by One and the same Eternal Creator
  14. Allah judges every person on the basis of his own merits
  15. Allah sees equality as an important matter for human beings

Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is the Creator of all things and He knows what is good for them and what is in their best interests of rulings. Human beings vary in intellect, attitude, and customs, and they are unaware of what is best for them, let alone what is best for others. Hence in societies that are ruled by the people in terms of legislation and laws, one sees only corruption, immorality and disintegration of the social fabric.

The Roots of Democratic Culture in Islam:

What is a Democracy?: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Democracy is a system that is contrary to Islam because it gives the power of legislation to the people. Democracy is a governing style of western civilization and Muslims should reject this. Allah has chosen for Muslims only the Islamic Caliphate.

Democratic Results: Democracy produces results that do not suit the desires of the rulers, they crush it underfoot. Cases of election fraud, suppression of freedoms and silencing of the voices of those who speak the truth are well known to everyone and do not need further proof.

Process of Democracy in Islam: Islamic democracy is a ritual commandment. Direct democracy, in which every person represents himself or herself, involves decisions made by the majority and applied by all Muslims.

Be Peaceful: To be peaceful in dealing with people—that is the meaning of Islam. If you are peaceful, you are Muslim, whatever your faith. To be an aggressor, a terrorist or a criminal is not to be a true Muslim.

Islamic Society: Everyone has the right to believe or to disbelieve, to advocate his belief in a peaceful way without insulting anyone else’s belief or personality. Islamic values refer to the high values of peace, human rights, freedom of speech and belief, justice and equality.

Election or Voting:
Muslims have very positive attitudes toward democratic systems. As far as election or voting is concerned, it is only a style to select a person for performing a specific job. Islamic Shari’a permits such kind of selection but within the boundary of Shari’a.

The Culture of Power and Justice: A strong society is the one that maintains its power and rules itself by itself, through rulers that are servants of the people, accountable before them. This is the essence of a democratic society.

Roots of Democracy in the Islamic Faith: Islam states that there is no god but One God, the creator of the universe. Democracy is an aspect of Islam, while dictatorship contradicts it. The tyrant acts like God, making the people submit to him and punishing them if they do not.

The strength of the fanatic trend is also its weakness: The fanatic religious trend is active and effective, but its mighty power by invoking the name of Islam, whereas, in fact, its culture and manner contradict Islam. It uses this power to protect its ideology and to confiscate Islamic values. In any free society, the fanatics will be exposed as criminals and will lose their connection to Islam.

Here are some characteristics of the ideal leader:
  • Excellent understanding and the ability to quickly observe and grasp what he is told
  • Possesses the power to recollect what he hears, reads, senses; is not forgetful
  • Passion for education and seeks its benefits for all citizens
  • Eloquence, and the ability to express what is in the heart
  • Efficient and effective in addressing physical needs
  • Must not tire easily and be exceedingly patient
  • Not greedy for food and drink
  • Loves justice and freedom
  • Rejects oppressors and oppression
  • Quickly recognizes duplicitous people
  • Extremely generous, above stinginess
  • Firmly decides the course that will benefit society, despite intense opposition
  • A lover of the truth and its supporters; a hater of falsehood and its supporters
  • Worldly wealth must not be a factor; whether it is possessed or not should be of no concern
  • Highly intellectual; can understand the direction of a group from which an idea is generated

“And so judge between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you far away from some of that which Allah has sent down to you.” (Chapter 5, Al Maydah, Verse 49)

In Arabic, the word “shari’a” means “way” or “path”. It is pronounced SHA-ree-ah. Shari’a is not a legal system. It is the overall way of life of Islam. However, Shari’a was created by people who interpreted the Quran and the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH). Shari’a is a set of guidelines for living a responsible moral life. It covers how a person can relate to God and to others ethically. It is open-ended and flexible, while the law is not. Making Shari’a law changes it.

Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:
  • “Is not Allah the Best of judges?” (At-Teen 95:8)
  • “Lo! The decision rests only with Allah.” (Chapter 12, Yusuf, Verse 67)
  • “Then We put you, [O Muhammad], on an ordained way concerning the matter [of religion]; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know.” (Quran 45:18)
  • “It is not for a believer, man or woman when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error.”  (Chapter 33, Al Ahzaab, Verse 36)
  • “Do they then seek the judgment of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgment than Allah for a people who have firm Faith?” (Al-Maa’idah 5:50)
  • “But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (Chapter 4, Al Nisa, Verse 65)

Sharia law is a set of principles derived from the words of the Prophet Muhammad (Hadith), his actions (Sunnah), and the Quran. It is not a list of rules and regulations but instead, principles that guide the various aspects of life. Sharia law cannot be altered, but the interpretation (fiqh) by Islamic jurists (muftis) is given some latitude depending on the situation and the outcome.

The rule in Islam is based on the concept of ofshūrāa term which has two meanings in Islamic governance:
  • Shūrā is a referendum on which the majority of people agree, and is the basic method for choosing the ruler in Islam.
  • The advisory board (al-majlis ash-shūrā), which advises the ruler, is a group of elected experts. The task of such groups is to observe and oversee the ruler (murāqabat as-sulţān)
  • They are in this position to form an opinion of the ruler and his rule, and to control any aspirations he may have to override the rights of the people
  • They must be aware of the variations in these rights within ethnic, cultural and environmental norms
  • The judicial system acts to check the executive and legislative branches, ensuring fair and correct implementation of the law
  • The ruler, chosen by theshūrā and confirmed by the citizen’s individual pledge of allegiance, is obliged to consult on executive decisions. He, therefore, consults with a council, parliament or advisory group whose specific role is to advise
Statements From the Classic Sharia
  1. A Muslim could be tried and punished for not performing his religious duties
  2. A woman counted as one-half a man if called as a witness in a trial
  3. When the owner of a female slave acknowledged her child as his own, the child became free. The mother became free when her owner died
  4. The most serious crimes in the Sharia included adultery, highway robbery, theft, and drinking alcohol.
  5. Islamic criminal courts exercised due process of law
  6. If witnesses were not produced, the defendant could be asked to take an oath before Allah that he was innocent
  7. Punishments included death by sword and stoning, mutilation, lashes, retaliation, “blood money,” reparation, and imprisonment

It should be noted that in many countries this system has changed into something that has no reality behind it, and it is mere slogans by which people are deceived; in fact, the real ruler is the head of state and his helpers, and the people are suppressed and have no say in anything. Allah says:

“The command (or the judgment) is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him (i.e. His Monotheism), that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not.” (Yosuf 12:40)

Our Creator knows well that what is good and what is bad for us. So we have to obey our Creator in any condition if we want to become successful in this world and hereafter. For this purpose, there is a need to establish an Islamic State (Khilafat) where every law will be according to the order of Creator. He has sent down (Quran) for our guidance. We have to speed up the struggle to establish Islamic Khilafat. This is only a solution for us.

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