Political System of Islam 1 – Religion Politics
Channel: Jamal Badawi
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Welcome to another assignment focused program. I'd like to begin today's program by greeting with our usual greeting assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you Today we're starting a very new series. We'll be talking about the new series whether we'll be dealing with the political system of Islam. Our first program in this new series will deal with religion in the state. I'm your host, Thomas Rashid. And I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University brother Jamal Assalamu alaykum Mati.
Before we get into this new series, our ninth series, I want to ask you to explain the connection between the this new series we're about to embark upon, and the previous eight series that we've dealt with so far. Okay. Well, the first first series in this program dealt mainly with the articles of faith, questions pertaining to belief, including the one on monotheism or oneness of God, one on the prophethood. The third one was on Muhammad in the Bible, which was like a shorter branching on the topic of prophethood.
The fourth was on Muslim belief. So all four first series, which is
almost a total of 40 programs, I believe, dealt mainly with the matter of faith. The fifth series, however, dealt with the
basic devotional acts of worship, or the so called the remaining four pillars of Islam. You see, the first four series are more or less like the first pillar of Islam of belief. And the first series dealt with the four other Pillars of Islam, you know, fasting, yes, prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage. The six series, however, which was quite a lengthy one, dealt with the moral teachings of Islam, which covers a wide variety of topics all the way from the philosophical or conceptual aspects, the basic questions of ethics, to the questions of lawful and unlawful and Islam, pertaining to the behavior of the individual and various aspects of life,
all the way to the last 10 programs in that series that dealt with the basic moral virtues.
However, beginning from the seventh series, we went beyond beliefs, or acts of worship, or modern teaching to examine Islam as a complete way of life by examining some of the basic aspects as to how it organizes society. So the seventh series dealt with the social system in Islam, that was also quite a lengthy one, dealing with issues like the position of woman and her role and contribution in an ideal Islamic Society. The question of engagement, marriage, marital relationships, dissolution of marriage, the question of rights of parents and relatives and so on.
The eighth series dealt with the economic system of Islam, dealing with questions of consumption, production and productivity, distribution, social justice, government policy
in the economy. So this nine series really is just like a continuation in the of the examination of the basic systems in Islam dealing with the political part. So it's like just another building block really giving a total picture of what Islam is all about. Now, most of our viewers of the program, I would suspect, when you think of religion, this data here in North America, particularly there's a clear
cut, distinction and separation between religion and the state.
Could you comment on it was revealed that you said the separation between so called religion and state or what is secular and what is religious or sacred?
In the West is something that has its own historical roots?
Basically, it has something to do with the way the church was perceived by the people and the way the relationship between the church and state was performed.
for quite a considerable period of time, the populace, the people, the masses, were still considered or perceive of the church as an institution, which at times aligned itself with the ruling elite in a way that not necessarily serve the interest of the masses. It was perceived by some people, especially in the 17th century,
as an institution, which has a strong
desire for power, struggling at all times with the ruling, elite or so called central authorities. Many people also seem to consider
have the name of the church somewhat synonymous with the Inquisition, courts, with the persecution of scientists and learning in standing against free thinking and all that. And I'm just talking about how things were seen, by by the masses. Now, when the age of the so called enlightenment came, people reacted, again, in a very strong way, going to the other extreme, perhaps, by rejecting anything pertaining to the church or church power. And even those even took a moderate position, and were less critical of the church, quote, unquote. So that the best way really is to separate the two functions to keep the church devoted entirely to the spiritual and moral aspects of life, and
leaving the central authority or secular authority in the in the hands of other people.
This can be understood in terms of the the circumstances surrounding the rise of the church and its history
in the Christian world, but this does not mean that this principle of separation is either universal, or that it has to be imposed on Islam, Islam has its own system.
This whole notion of separation doesn't really apply. In the case of Islam, it may have applied
in the case of the West, that might maybe justifiably, sir, I don't know. But I'm simply saying that Islam
doesn't apply. Well, let's take a look at this question. Now, as it relates to Islam. Why Why doesn't? Why doesn't the principle apply? Why isn't there this distinct separation, the separation of religion and state of Islam, don't just have to have the Islam there is no church. as such. Of course, I'm not talking about Churchill in terms of adulting. Of course, in Islam, also, there are also building on mosques for for prayers, but I'm talking about church, the way it's understood in the Christian world, or Western world in general, as an institution, which has the exclusive power or authority to interpret matters of faith.
Because of the same reason also, we find that Islam doesn't have any system of the priesthood, or clergy,
or even ordination,
ordained people in certain particular ritualistic way so that they can be priests.
In Islam, also the notion of saying that this is a man of the word and this is a man of religion does not exist. I do really in Islam, every man or woman, every person is a man of religion or a person of religion.
Every person has a certain responsibility to perform, it's not something that has to be invested, only adjusted to a certain class or group of people and consider them to be the exclusive buddy who can speak on matters of faith.
From the historical standpoint,
we find that in Islam, we don't see any noticeable degree at all. Anything that comes close to the notion of Inquisition chords or persecution of scientists. And we have seen in the previous series on economic system of Islam, how scientists were persecuted s were found security and encouragement, and a good atmosphere for scientific productivity in the Muslim world. So the notion did not really exist is that there was no such a conflict or contradiction. Indeed, if there were any persecution in Islam and Islamic history, or Muslim history to be more accurate. At times it was persecution not by the religious, or people who are religious scholars of the masses. But it was persecution of
those free thinkers among religious scholars.
By the ruling elite, who sought to get justification and stamp of approval for their actions. That was actually the reverse it was not them that they were persecuting people, they were the ones who were persecuted by, by tyrannical or unjust rulers. And furthermore, conceptually speaking,
the notion of religion, quote unquote,
in Islam is quite different from the way it is perceived in the west or in Christian world in general. Could you perhaps explain that for us as we know the notion of religion, how it differs with Muslim as opposed to the common conception, talking the common reaction of a common person, if you ask someone what is religion,
in the western sense, people would
typically say that it is the set of beliefs or values which deal with the spiritual
or moral aspects of life. This is how its destructive, mostly writes in certain aspects of belief, being good and so on.
In Islam, the word religion itself mean way of life and will or living, and living includes all aspects of life, be it stretch, moral, social, economic, or political. These are all part of Muslim understanding what religion is, as indicated in some previous progress, especially on the moral teaching of Islam, Islam takes the human being as he or she is not just looking at one aspect of our existence, it looks at the human being as a spiritual being and tried to satisfy those needs.
It takes the human being as an intellectual being, and respect human intelligence and human reasoning and use that as a tool for face rather than the opposite, or antithesis of face, it looks the human being even as a physical being, looking after his or her needs, in all respects, which may include economic aspects, political aspects, you name it. So the there is a whole notion of integrity or integration, of all aspects of life in one, harmonious whole.
the notion of of shirk and Islam, for example, that might clarify the integration of various aspects. And Islam shark, which means unbelief, or associating others with God and His powers, does not limit itself only to believing in more than one God, or that some individuals are creatures of God, share in any of the divine attributes of God. In fact, in Islam, the this Act, which is very much condemned of Shrek, involves recognition of any authority
as the highest or ultimate authority, in place of or alongside with the authority of God, that authority of God is the one that should really be
Supreme. And I believe that this has been basically the call and the teaching of all the prophets in the past, it's not something really that should be regarded as a total invasion of Islam.
But we're simply saying that people might have mis misinterpreted the mission of the prophets to mean only exclusively
the spiritual or moral part, all prophets taught this basic notion in some way or the others, blindly accept what you say that all of the profits but a common message, how would you respond to someone who might suggest well, Prophet Jesus peace and blessings be upon him was quoted as saying that you should render unto Caesar what a Caesar and render under god that which is God?
COVID common man.
First of all, just by reservation, even if we assume that Jesus peace be upon him, I would actually say that I'm not even getting into whether he said it or not. But even if we assume for the sake of understanding that he said that
my humble understanding as a Muslim, that he didn't really mean by that what is commonly put into his words, if you go back to this particular quotation and read the context, you will notice that some people came with kind of even intention.
strapping Prophet Jesus peace be upon him. So they were trying to prove to the Roman authorities that this man is defying the authorities and he's not should be
punished for that or you know, get some Get up.
And one way of trying to reach that objective is that they came to him and wanted to extract from him a statement that could be interpreted as the
France, of German authorities. So they came to say, should we pay the taxes to
Now, Jesus, Jesus peace be upon him, in my humble understanding was smart enough and guided by God, by inspiration to understand the evil intention behind this apparently innocent type of question.
So he said, Alright, render unto Caesar what a Caesar and render unto God let's get but he knew that never really meant in our understanding that there are two authorities in this universe, part of the authority is under the domain of God, limited and restricted to church or good behavior and so on. And the other part belongs to temporal authorities, Roman rulers or otherwise, because that contradicts the very basic notion of the supremacy of God.
So this is a source of,
you know, not getting a chance for his enemies to extract from him what they really wanted. But Furthermore, one can also refer to the fact that the meat the nature of the mission of Jesus peace be upon him, at least I've explained in the Quran was that you did not come with a complete law actually is quoted in the gospels as you know, I cannot to destroy the law, or prophets I came to fulfill. So his mission was not to come up with
a new set of laws and regulations, but rather to add some spirituality to the formalistic practice of religion that existed among the Israelites of his time. And as the Quran indicate, his mission was a transitory one, it was a mission for a certain period of time until the last prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him comes with spelling out through revelation given to him
the complete and more explicit way of living, which includes also spiritual as well as legal aspects of life, that given his circumstances and the nature of his mission, the scope of his mission, it wasn't necessary, at this time to keep talking about in detail and explicitly about the relationship with the temporal assault, he wanted really people first to be uplifted, in the in the spiritual sense. But as I said earlier, the notion of separation of what is religious and what is secular, or what is temporary,
is something which is alien, not only to Islam, but it's alien, even to the notion of essence, or the essence of all revelation to given to all of the profits, because the best contradict the notion of servitude to God, or Allah to
the notion of servitude to God, I wonder if perhaps I could get you to elaborate a little bit on this notion, and how it relates to the political system in your opinion?
Well, the Quran indicates that one of the greatest problems, biggest problems of humanity has not really been whether or not to believe in God.
It's not whether or not to admit and recognize that God is the Creator, but rather the failures, to carry this belief to its logical conclusion, and to be true servants of God, and to really submit to the will of God. Let me give you a few examples this
in the chapter 23, in the Quran, from verse 84. On
it speaks about questions that if directed to unbelievers, they would respond in the affirmative. It says, for example, that we will ask them,
are to Whom belongs the earth and what is over the earth? The answer comes in the Quran, they will say it belongs to God, and to whom belongs the heavens and what is bird and they will say it belongs to God, and to whom is the possession, or sovereignty over over or creation, they will say it belongs to Allah, or to God, in a way, they admit that everything belongs to God that they will return. They don't want to comply with what that creator, the one and only Creator of the universe, commands them to do.
In a similar way, for example, in chapter 43, in the Quran, verse 86.
It says again, when you ask them, who created you, they would say, God or Allah, once again, they stop at that. If you admit that God is your Creator, then it follows logically that you should follow what that creator tells you to do.
He knows best what is good for you. So you should talk to him. But the
Stop at just that mission that God created them.
By the same, the same vein also in chapter 29, for example, in the Quran, verses 61 on.
It talks also about asking those people who created the heavens and earth, they would say, God, who looks subservient to you, the sun and the moon, they will say, God, hello Bradford's waters, broke down water from the sky, so that it will provide you with the, you know, badly needed
agriculture and vegetation. So they again, we'll admit, it has got that, again, they stop at this at this point. So what we're saying basically, is that the problems of humanity, both in the past and prisons, is not the admission of the supremacy of God in terms of being a creator, but rather, the human private vanity and refusal to accept His guidance, his commands his directions, as to how we conduct our lives.
Now, is there explicit evidence in the in the Quran that the establishment of an Islamic system of government is mandatory? That it's part of the implementation of the fifth? Yes. Well, there are numerous evidence for that, let me give you just you know, some samples of what the Quran says about it. In chapter three, in the Quran, verse 154, it says, under akula, hula, let's say on Mohammed onto people, that all matters or affairs are holy gods.
more explicitly, even in chapter six, in the Quran, verse 54.
Speaking about God, it says, Mr. Cohen,
that is, it is, or is it not? It's a form of a question. Is it not his, that is God's, to create and govern? And that's an interesting expression. There's some quantum creation and governing.
Because, again, as we explained in the previous question, some people's problem is that they stop at the creation, they say, Alright, we admit that God is the Creator. But when it comes to God's right, as a creator, or as the creator, to govern, to tell us what to do,
that's separate. So this beautiful and very concise verse, put them both together, that if you admit that God is the Creator, then you have to admit also that he is the one who should govern. And governing here does not mean simply governing the universe in terms of physical phenomena. But also more than those
social laws, political laws, economic laws, these are all ultimately, in terms of basic principles, basic directors,
are the authority and the domain of God
in a similar way, and that's an interesting petition also in the Quran in chapter 43,
verse 84, when he says to me, that who knows and on the right says it is he that's God, or Allah, Who is Lord, and heavens and Lord on Earth.
In other words, it's not like some people think that you know, the domain of God is the, the spiritual things because God is so busy to worry about our worldly affairs, as that is Lord and heavens as the spiritual part should be directed and dedicated to him, our lives, so should also be our earthly life. What is our earthly life? It's not all just prayers and supplications, or rites, earthly life include economics as much as it includes social as well as political. So that's a clear indication also, as to what the orientation of Islam is.
In two quotations in the Quran uses basically the same expression that is in chapter six, verse 57, Chapter 12, verse 14, in chochmah, Illa, which means that the command rests with none, or is for none, but Allah are gods.
But beyond this, you might say brothers type of citations from the Quran that shows again the question of servitude and the acceptance of directors of God.
The Quran also in one section, very interesting section describes those who refuse to rule or judge in accordance to what God has revealed as unbelievers, wrong towards and rebels against God.
In chapter five, verses 47 through 53.
It says woman the neck can be mountains have a long fight with a common customer and those who do not rule according to what God has revealed. They are under
delivers. And then it goes on, describe certain things and then any diverse the following verse that will not whoever does not rule or judge in accordance with what Allah has revealed. These are wrongdoers later on again, it says they are rebels against God. So if a person ruling, being in a position of the governor or president or whatever, does not comply with this rules, then all these three descriptions apply them. But interesting enough, the same section also, after describing this
message to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him,
telling him as in verse 51, well enough combined on demands Allah and rune among them all, Mohammed judge between them, according to what Allah has sent down in terms of revelation terms of directors, so even the Prophet himself was directed to implement the law of God not to take his role only as just preaching and make sermons, but also to carry out the implementation of those of those rules.
This section ends
by reminding people or asking them in a, in a way that really would arouse their attention. It says, if I took my jacket he or one of those people seeking the judgment of the days of ignorance or an Islamic ways, judging between their affairs, and then it says and who is better?
Or what is better than the judgment or rule of God? In other words, the answers are on the surface, Brian is full of indications, direct, indirect, implicit, and many times explicit, that shows without initiatives of ballots, that the establishment of Islamic order, the establishment of Islamic rule
is mandatory. It's a requirement that the Muslims as a group and individuals whenever they are able to muster, but it's not under the Quran that provide this evidence, we find that also in the prophetic tradition.
In the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him many times he speaks about having an Amir or having a leader. When he wants a case, even he says, If even three people are traveling,
they should choose one of them as their heads or their leaders, how about if you have even a whole state
There is no doubt historically speaking, that person Mohammed peace be upon him that not only act as a prophet in the common notion understood by most people, but he was also a statesman.
He was a head of state, he did conduct affairs of Muslims, he did establish the mechanism that looked after the implementation of those rules. In fact, many times when you look into the Quran,
and the way it addresses, believers, you will notice that it addresses them in the plural,
even in matters of prayer, not only politics or social life, even in matters of prayers. It addresses people in plural, showing the collective orientation, of course collective without suppressing individuality, but at least it shows that he has to act together as a community of believers to implement the will of God. And furthermore, let me give you one more evidence that I think would be relevant to this particular question. Many times the Quran speaks, for example, about certain rules
or aspects of criminal law, if you will, how could this be implemented? Can any person just take the law in his hand or her hand and gone and implement those words? It's impossible. So the very fact that this rules are mentioned in the Quran shows of necessity that there must be some organized state some leadership that makes sure that the laws would be implemented in a fair and impartial way. So the evidence is quite overwhelming.
fact that you cannot separate religion from the state and Islam it's totally alien idea has nothing to do with one another. I think we'll conclude our program for today. We want to thank you for watching. I invite you back next week we will continue with our second program in our new series dealing with the political system of Islam. We'll be looking at the nature of the political system in Islam. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you