The Political Sharī‘ah
Man, by his nature, is a social being: a social set-up is an essential requirement of his nature. However, to protect this social set-up from the misuse of his God-given free-will he, soon or late, is forced to protect the created social set-up by organizing it as a collective system. In the history of mankind, politics and governments have originated as a result of this desire of man for a social set-up and this need of his to safeguard it from disorder. As long as man remains true to his nature, he cannot get rid of either this desire or this need. Therefore, prudence demands that instead of dreaming of a stateless society in this world, he should strive to constitute a social contract that purifies the state system from evils and develops it in the right direction thereby providing it with the basis of a fair and upright government.
A study of history reveals that, for the most part, man’s own nature instructed him to create such a social contract. However, the results alone of his labors that can be seen clearly by everyone attest to the last degree to the fact that, as in other affairs of human life, human intellect is unable to decisively resolve certain basic issues in this regard without divine guidance. It is to fulfill this need that the Gracious Almighty has given man a detailed political sharī‘ah through His Book and through His last Prophet (sws).
It consists of the following five statutes:
1. Basic Principle
In all affairs in which an eternal directive has been given by God and His Prophet (sws), it is now incumbent upon those in authority whether they are the rulers or members of the parliament to submit to them and they do not have any right to make a decision out of their own will. Therefore, Muslims cannot enact any law in their country which is contrary to the Qur’ān and Sunnah or without taking into consideration the guidance these sources provide. While remaining subservient to these, however, they have been bound to fully listen and obey to any directive given to them by their rulers.
2. The Real Responsibility
The real responsibility of a state which is based on this principle of obedience to Allah and His Prophet (sws) is to consign the trusts of the nation on the basis of merit to people and to strive to establish justice in its ultimate form in every walk of life.
3. Religious Obligations
The religious obligations imposed on a state are establishing the system of s~alāh, disbursing zakāh, enjoining ma‘rūf and forbidding munkar. In order to fulfill these religious obligations, following are the directives given by the Qur’ān and Sunnah:
i. The Muslim citizens shall be bound to say their prayers as an attestation to their belief in Islam.
ii. The address of the Friday prayer shall be delivered by the head of state and he shall lead this prayer in the central congregational (jāmi‘) mosque of the capital. The provincial governors shall be entrusted with this job in the provinces, while government representatives shall discharge this duty in the various administrative units.
iii. A Muslim citizen who is liable to pay zakāh on his wealth, produce and livestock shall necessarily take out the stipulated amount from his money and pay it to the government. The government in return, besides catering for other expenditure, shall strive its very best to fulfill the needs of its deprived citizens through this money, reaching out to them before they come to it.
iv. For the enjoining of ma‘rūf (the good) and the forbidding of munkar (the evil), the Qur’ānic directive is that the state should constitute a group of people which, in accordance with the bounds prescribed for them, shall constantly strive to call people towards good and forbid them from evil.
4. Rights of Citizenship
If the Muslim citizens of the state diligently adhere to the prayer and pay zakāh, then they shall be entitled to all the rights which as Muslims they should have in their state: they shall be like brothers to each other, there will be no discrimination between them in the eyes of the law, among the positive requirements of Islam, nothing except the prayer and zakāh will be forcibly imposed on them and the state can in no way commit any excess against their life, wealth, honour, and freedom of expression.
5. State System
The rulers and the government shall be elected by the people and even after assuming this position of authority, they will not have the right to overrule a consensus or a majority opinion of the Muslims.
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