Speaking of an Islamic state [or a state of Islam ! ] Food for thought friends?
16.1 Outline of a constitution
Every state, in order to function properly, needs a constitution which defines the structure and powers of the state and the rights and duties of its citizens. The constitution can be defined either in a written document or based on traditions and practices in accordance with which the government is organised. However, any constitution needs to be flexible in order to take account of the progress of the society.
As far as the Islamic State is concerned, the constitution must be based on Qur'anic principles and guidelines, and no part of the constitution should be contrary to the fundamental principles of the Qur'an. The constitution must be decided by the community through a process of consultation, and the manner in which this consultation should be carried out should also be decided by the community. The judiciary, which must be independent of the executive, should decide on matters where there is a violation of the constitution in private or public life.
We now outline the six main concepts upon which the constitution of an Islamic State must be based:
1. Sovereignty in an Islamic State belongs only to Allah. Subservience, therefore, is due to Allah alone.
(51:56) I created the jinn and the humankind only that they might serve Me.
(16:51) Allah has said, 'Take not for subservience two authorities; for He is One.'
(3:79) It is not permitted for any human being unto whom Allah has given the Book and wisdom and the Divine Message that he should afterwards have said unto mankind, 'Be subservient to me instead of Allah.'
2. The sovereignty in practice shall be that of the Qur'an, which means that the government shall be obedient to the laws based on the fundamental principles of the Qur'an.
(6:115) Perfected is the Word of thy Sustainer in truth and justice. There is nothing that can change His Words[...]
(5:44) [...]Those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are disbelievers.
(5:47) [...]Those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are wrong-doers.
(6:114) Shall I seek other than Allah for judge when it is He who has revealed unto you (this) Book, fully explained? [..]
(6:116) If you obeyed most of those on earth they would mislead you far from Allah's way. They follow nothing but an opinion, they do but guess.
(45:18) And We have set thee (O Muhammad) on a clear road of commandment; so follow it, and follow not the whims of those who know not.
3. The Islamic State has no place for any sectarian division. Thus, a truly Islamic state should declare that if anyone who calls himself a Muslim and at the same time calls himself Sunni or Shia, or specifies any sect with regard to his belief, then as far as the State is concerned he or she is a non-believer and shall be regarded in law as such. It does not, of course, follow that he or she will be punished on that basis since no one can be compelled to believe one way or the other.
(2:256) There is no compulsion in deen[...]
(6:159) Those who divide themselves into sects have nothing to do with you. Their case will go to Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do.
(30:31,32) Turning unto Him (only); and be careful of your duty unto Him, and establish worship, and be not of those who ascribe partners (unto Him); like those who divide their deen into sects; each sect rejoicing with what they have done.
(3:103) And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate [...]
A true Islamic State was certainly formed during the time of the Prophet and the four Khalifs and lasted for about thirty years. It was then changed to kingship by later Khalifs a course which, in effect, was one of the many causes of its demise.
In such a state believers not only do good but also exhort one another to truth and duty:
(103:3) Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
(5:2) [...]but help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty[...]
(3:104) And there may spring from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful.
4. The Islamic State should be 'democracy by consultation' – allowing room for progress and flexibility. Indeed, the Qur'an warns against seeking the regulation of everything by Divine command. For instance, it gives no specifics about the form of government, rather, it leaves considerable room for the development of laws and practices as long as the Fundamental Principles are not violated.
(5:101) O ye who believe! Ask not of things which, if it were made known unto you, would trouble you; but if ye ask about them in the light of the Qur'an then they will become obvious to you. Allah has left them out, for Allah is Forgiving, Clement.
(42:38) [...]Who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation[...]
(3:159) [...]and consult them in the conduct of their affairs. And when thou art resolved, then put thy trust in Allah. Lo! Allah loveth those who put their trust (in Him)
The differences can be resolved by taking the Qur'an as the foundation of the Islamic State.
(2:213) Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent messengers with glad tidings and warnings and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people and in matters wherein they differed. But the people of the Book, after clear signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through hatred of one another. Allah (by his grace) guided the believers to the truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guides whom He wills, unto a straight path.
(42:10) And in whatsoever ye differ, the verdict therein belongeth to Allah. Such is my Sustainer, in Whom I put my trust, and unto Whom I turn.
The Qur'an does not provide instructions as to the form of government in an Islamic State. In the initial stages it is to be based on what is best and beneficial for the people. The eventual aim is to remove all barriers of a nationalist state so that freedom of movement of the individual be unrestricted, the eventual aim being to unite mankind.
In the West the feeling that democracy works better in a multi-party system is in reality a myth, as the politics involved in getting into power are based on promises which are never fulfilled in practice, once the party who wins the election by making such promises comes to power. Morality has no place in today's politics. Justice favours only those who have the wealth and the power, whereas in a truly Islamic state any immoral or corrupt person would be weeded out, irrespective of his position in the party.
5. The decision-makers and the administrators of an Islamic State should possess high standard of conduct and character. The Qur'an specifies some good attributes about individuals belonging to a Muslim community: for example, momineen, saliheen, and muttaqeen.
(49:15) The believers (momineen) are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere.
(29:9) And as for those who believe and do good works, We verily shall make them enter in among the righteous (saliheen).
(2:177) It is not righteousness that ye turn faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth his wealth, for the love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and invests in zakat. And those who keep their treaty when they make one and are patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the Allah-fearing (muttaqeen).
(49:13) [...]the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous amongst you[...]
The Qur'an accepts the differences in personal qualities of Muslims on the basis of their commitment to the cause of Islam, but fundamental good qualities will be the pre-requisite for anyone to be entrusted with the running of an Islamic State. However, this in no way compromises one's right to equal treatment. Equality means that the privileges of wealth, birth, class, colour or race are abolished by law, and discrimination in any shape or form is strictly prohibited. Similarly, there should be absolutely no bars on non-Muslims participating in any public office or government service. The allocation of such posts should be according to the appropriate personal qualities.
6. Administration of justice: Justice is the key to the functioning of an Islamic State. The Qur'an contains strict standards of equality and administration of justice, the independence and integrity of judges, and the duty of witnesses to come forward to bear true witness without any favour or partiality. See section 13.5 and also the chapter Islam and Human Rights which follows this.
The verse below gives a comprehensive idea on the standards of justice:
(4:135) O ye who believe! Be ye staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or (your) kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is nearer to both (than ye are). So follow not passion lest ye lapse (from truth) and if ye lapse or fall away, then lo! Allah is ever informed of what ye do.
Justice has to be provided free of charge by the State irrespective of a person's position in society and the law should not make any distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims. In fact, the non-Muslims in an Islamic State should have all the rights which the Qur'an declares as basic human rights, and their life, property, honour and places of worship must be protected.
1. Islamic State -- First Principles: Notes from Lecture and an unpublished article, by Syed Mustafa Ali.
2. Quranocracy, by Dr S.A. Wadud. Khalid Publishers P.O.Box 4109, Lahore - 54600, Pakistan.
summarised from p. 42-68.