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Political System: an Islamic vision
09/16/2015
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The three main principles that the political system of Islam based on are Towheed (Oneness of God), Risala (Prophethood) and Khilafa(Caliphate).
As for Towheed, it means that there is only one God that worship and obedience are due to Him alone. He is the only Creator, Sustainer and Master of the universe and of all that exist in it. No one except Him has the right to command or forbid, and He is the only one that has the right of deciding the aim and purpose of our existence and setting the limits of our worldly authority.
Consequently, God is the only ruler of this universe and His commandments constitute the law of Islam. Believing in this notion – “Oneness of God” – puts an end to the concept of the sovereignty of human beings that no individual, family, class or race can set himself or herself above God.
As for Risala, it means the medium through which we received the law of God represented in the Qur’an; the book in which God has expounded His law, and Sunnah; the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that interpret and exemplify the Qur`an. As for Qur’an, it laid down the broad principles that human life should be based on. In accordance with these principles, the Prophet (PBUH) established a model system of Islamic life. The combination of these two elements is called Shari’a (The Islamic law).
As for Istekhlaf representation”, it means Man, according to Islam is authorized to exercise Divine authority by virtue of the powers delegated to him by God, and within the limits prescribed, in the Qur’an and Sunnah
For more illustration, let us take the case of an estate of yours, which someone else has been assigned to administer on your behalf. Four conditions invariably obtain: First, you are the real owner of the estate not the administrator; secondly, the administrator exercises his authority within the limits prescribed by you. Thirdly, the administrator works according to your instructions and directives and fourthly, in the administration of the trust, the administrator executes your will and fulfils your desires and intentions and not his own. Breaking this covenant- represented in fulfilling these four conditions by any representative will be a kind of abusing the authority. This is exactly what Islam means when it refers to man as the representative (khalifa) of God on earth.

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Theocracy vis-à-vis Islam

It’s not appropriate to say that the political system of Islam is theocratic because the term “theocracy” implies two basic elements: the first is the assumption that there’s a certain priestly class or clergy who claim to be representatives of God on earth, which means that they alone have the right to enforce the divine law and interpret the will of God. The second is the assumption or acceptance of the principle that God alone is the Sovereign of ultimate power.
The first element makes it quite clear that theocracy is so far from Islam. Because Islam rejects the notion that a particular group of people can claim for themselves to be representatives of God on earth. Islam regards the entire human race representatives of God on earth (Istekhlaf). However, the second element that the definition of theocracy implies goes with Islam, because Islam admits the supremacy of God in that His laws are ultimate and His wisdom is infinite.
In Islam, only people’s acceptance is the source of legitimacy of any power or institution. In other words, in Islam, a ruler cannot assume power without the agreement of people, it is not allowed to impose himself on them; Islam rejects all forms of dictatorship, in Islam people has the entire freedom to choose their rulers.
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Islam and Democracy

As for the relation between democracy and Islam, we can find common principles between them: for example the principle of freedom of the people in choosing the rulers they want and the principle of participation in the decision-making process.
On the other hand, we can recognize some basic differences between the political system endorsed by Islam and democracy. In Islam, the ultimate authority belongs only to God, it does not belong to people, but in democracy the ultimate authority lies with the people. It means that in Islam there is a higher criterion for decision-making that both the ruler and the ruled are subjected to, that is, divine guidance.
This distinction between Islam and democracy is not theoretical or academic, but it has some serious implications. For example: when the majority in a western democracy, decide that the drinking age should be lowered to 13 or 14 regardless of how being harmful this may be, it becomes a law, because that is the desire of the majority. As for the Islamic law, drinking is prohibited as it is stated in the Qur`an, so it shall be prohibited and people will agree to this because they know that it is God law.
Another example, suppose in a certain society that the majority decided to deprive the minorities from their rights, the constitution itself can be changed according to that. However, in Islam this cannot happen simply because the rights of minorities are enshrined in the Qur`an and in the Prophetic tradition.
The ultimate constitution in Islam is the Qur’an and Prophetic tradition, which is different from the secular constitution in that it cannot be changed. In the secular system, the constitution is human-made so it can be changed wheneve eeded and there may be better words than the ones that were put in the first place. It is clear that democracy seems to go with systems, which are secular, where the legislation of any religious body like churches and temples has nothing to do with the actual political system. However, the system of government in Islam does not make any distinction between the moral and temporal and the whole notion of secularism is alien to Muslim thinking.

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The Purpose of the Islamic State

The aim and purpose of the Islamic state as stated in the Qur`an is to establish and develop the good virtues and to prevent and eradicate all kinds of evils in human life. The Islamic state promotes the qualities of purity, goodness, beauty, success welfare and prosperity, which God wants to flourish in the life of humankind, and rejects all kinds of disorder, injustice, exploitation. Paying due concern to the desired virtues and the undesired evils, the Islamic state can plan its welfare in any era and in any context.
In Islam, the top priority is given to the morality regardless of the domestic relations within the state or the international relations with othe ations. The principles of morality must be observed. Justice, truth and honesty should constitute the core policy of the state. There is no room under any circumstances for tolerating fraud, falsehood and injustice for the sake of political, administrative or so-called national interest.
Islam imposes some obligations on the state and the individual: to have fixed standards in all interactions and transactions; to honor all contracts and obligations; to use power for the establishment of justice and not for the perpetration of injustice; to remember obligations along with rights and not to forget the rights of others when expecting them to fulfill their obligations; to look upon duty as a sacred obligation; and to regard power as a trust from God to be used in the belief that one has to render an account of one’s actions in this world but also, most importantly, to Him in the life hereafter.

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Fundamental Rights

Universal fundamental rights for humanity have been laid down by Islam to be observed and respected in all circumstances. For example,. Human life in Islam is sacred and may not be taken without strong justification such as in a just war or criminal punishment after a fair trial. Women`s chastity and rights must be respected. Children and old people should not be oppressed. These rights are not restricted only to Muslims, they are for all people — Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
As for those non-Muslims, living within the boundaries of an Islamic state, Islam has laid down rights for them, which in fact constitutes a part of the Islamic constitution. The life of non-Muslim citizens, their property and honor are to be respected and protected in exactly the same way as that of Muslim citizens. Regarding the civil or criminal law, we will find that there is no difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim citizen, though there are differences when it comes to family law concerning the diversity of religious practices and family codes.
Non-Muslims who live in the Islamic state enjoy the full freedom to perform their religious rites and ceremonies in their own way.
It is not permissible for an Islamic state to retaliate against its own non-Muslim citizens even if a non-Muslim state oppresses its Muslim citizens.

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Executive and Legislature

The one who takes the responsibility for the government in the Islamic state is called Amir (leader or king) who can be compared to the president or the prime minister in other states.
The basic qualifications for an Amir are that he should have both virtue and ability, which means that he should command in respect of his knowledge the confidence of the majority and grasp of the spirit of Islam and that he should be endowed with qualities of statesmanship and fear of God.
For assisting and guiding the Amir, a Shoora (advisory council) is selected by people to give him the advice. It is obligatory for the Amir to administer his country with the advice of this Shoora . confidence of the people in Amir plays a vital role in retaining the Amir for his position or losing it. He may retain it if people had a confidence in him and he must relinquish it if he lost this confidence. Every person have the right to let a hand for the Amir by giving him advice.
No legislative body may change or modify the law of the Shari`a which is the source of legislation in any Islamic state. The commandments of the Shari`a that are liable to two or more interpretations are referred to sub-committee of the advisory council, and as for those issues not covered by Shari`a the advisory council is free to legislate in.
In Islam, the judiciary is separated from the control of the executive. It derives its authority directly from the Shari’a. The judges are appointed by the government but once a judge occupies the bench he has to administer justice impartially according to the law of God, under the umbrella of justice all are equal rulers and ruled, the highest executive authority of the government is liable to be called upon, to be plaintiff or defendant, there is no discrimination on the basis of positions since Islam is the religion of equality.

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