An Overview of the Islamic System
The Last Messenger of Allah established a system of life in which He used to rule or judge people according to the Book revealed to him [5:48-49, 4:105, 6:114]. And this was not new only to him. In fact, all the previous Messengers of Allah also established systems of life during their time whereby they ruled or judged according to the Books revealed to them [5:44-47, 2:213]. Indeed, any one who does not rule or judge according to Allah’s Revelation is Kaafir [5:44], Zalim [5:45] and Fasiq [5:47], according to the Qur’an. The principle of ruling or judging by the Book is the foundation of an Islamic System. No system can be called Islamic unless all the judgments and rulings therein are according to the Book, Al-Qur’an, the last of the Revealed Books that is the Watcher over all the old Scriptures and guards the Truth in them [5:48].
Al-Hukm or the Judgment or the Rule or the Command belongs to none but Allah alone [6:57, 6:62, 12:40, 12:67, 28:70, 28:80, 40:12, 42:10]. He does not take anyone as partner in His Hukm [18:26]. He is Khair-ul-Hakimeen [7:87, 10:109, 12:80] and Ahkam-ul-Hakimeen [11:45, 95:8]. In an Islamic System, all the so-called rulers or judges are obligated to rule and judge as per Allah’s Rule and Judgment. Sunnah or the Way of the Prophet [s.a.] is not part of Al-Hukm, since Allah does not take any partners in His Hukm [18:26]. However, in Sunnah of the Prophet [s.a.], guidance may be sought for ways to implement Al-Hukm, or for by-laws based upon Al-Hukm. But the ways to implement or enforce Al-Hukm as well as by-laws based upon it, are not as unchangeable as is Al-Hukm itself. The ways and by-laws may be altered according to the suitability of time and circumstances but Al-Hukm itself cannot be changed in any circumstances.
The obedience to Allah [Aatee-u-Allah] is the basis of an Islamic System. But Allah is Invisible. He comprehends all vision but no vision comprehends Him [6:103, 7:143]. He does not come face to face with people to give them His Laws and Commands. All of His Commands for the people are in the Book revealed by Him. Obedience to Allah means conformity to His Laws or abidance by His Commands which are in His Revealed Book, Al-Qur’an. His Commands or Laws do not change like the whim of a despot or caprice of a king. No one can change His Laws. Even, He Himself does not change His Laws, although He is all powerful to do so [10:64, 30:30, 33:62, 35:43, 48:23, 6:34, 6:115, 18:27].
Allah’s Laws and Commands, in the Qur’an, cannot implement or enforce themselves upon people, on their own. Moreover, each individual may interpret these Laws and Commands in his own way and abide by them according to his own right. So, there is a need for one Central Authority and his obedience [Aatee-ur-Rasool]. The first Central Authority was Muhammad [a.s.], the Messenger of Allah. Hence, obedience to the Messenger was also necessary, which was, in effect the obedience to Allah by abidance by His Book as interpreted and enforced by the Central Authority [4:80].
Muhammad [a.s.] was mortal and could not live forever [3:144]. But this did not mean the end of the Islamic System. The Central Authority, after his death, would transfer from him to his Khalifa, the Successor. Moreover, as the expanse of the Islamic System will increase, it would become impossible for the single human Authority to be present at all places at all times to make judgments, rulings or implement or enforce the Law. There would become a need for sub-authorities or subordinates, hence, the obedience to Ol-il-Amr.
Unless there is one single Islamic Central Authority, the dream of implementing Islam as a System, as an alternative to secular democracy or other systems, can never be realized. Without a Central Authority, Islam may exist, as it is today, like a downgraded ritualistic religion, in which every individual or sect may keep on living on the vacuous wish of pleasing Allah or rendering Him worship in its own way and in its own right but it can never become a truly Islamic System of life to bring forth its promised benefits. And that means the transfer of sovereignty from individual states, as they exist today, to the Central Authority which itself would work under the Ultimate Sovereignty of Allah, i.e. His Book. Moreover, this also means the end of the authority of the Ullema or the Muftis of today and the Imams of the past. The interpretation of the Laws and the formulation of by-laws will be done by the Central Authority alone, within the bounds of the Qur’an. There will be no sects, no religious or political parties, not even an opposition party or Hizb-e-Ikhtilaf within the Islamic System.
All the affairs shall be decided by mutual consultation, in the light of the Qur’an. If there is any disagreement among the representatives on any matter, the judgment thereof will be referred to Allah [42:10] i.e. His Book. This referral will be through the sub-authorities or the central authority for the final verdict [4:59], which will make the judgment according to Allah’s Book [5:48].
Derived from two ancient Greek words demos (the people) and kratos (strength), Democracy is a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them. Then, the numerical majority of the elected representatives can make laws, rules or decisions binding on the whole group. While making laws and rules, these elected representatives do not have any objective standards, unprejudiced touchstones, absolute criteria or bounds of any permanent values to take into account. The difference between such a system and the Islamic System is that the law-making in the latter is based upon the objective standards and the absolute criteria given in the Qur’an and do not go against the Permanent Values enshrined therein.
Before anyone becomes a believer in such a system, He has full choice whether he wants to become a believer or not [18:29]. There is no compulsion whatsoever upon him to become a member of the Muslim community [2:256]. But once he becomes a member of the Muslim community, he is obligated to abide by its Laws. The authority would make sure that he does so. He cannot be left with that he abides by some laws that he likes and violates others that he dislikes. No community, no nation and no country would allow that.
In simple words every society or state has some rules or laws for the safety, security and preservation of its individual members as well as the society or the state as a whole. The submission or conformity to these laws and the safety, security and preservation that is expected thereby is called Islam (, the word Islam being used as a common noun. Literally, the word ‘Islam’ means submission as well as safety, security, soundness, unimpairedness, intactness or well-being). When the rules and laws are those or based upon those given by Allah, then the submission or conformity to these laws and rules, and the safety, security and preservation that results thereby, is called Al-Islam.
Since the laws and rules given by the All-Wise and the All-Knowing Allah are free from any subjectivity, bias or limitations of time and space, the submission or conformity to only these can guarantee a perpetual safety, security, preservation and well-being of all human beings living in a society and the world at large. On the other hand, since the laws made by human beings suffer from the eternal drawbacks of subjectivity or bias and temporal or spatial limitations of individual knowledge and wisdom, they can never guarantee an incessant or everlasting safety, security, preservation or well-being of all.
Muhammad Latif Chaudhery