Channel: Jamal Badawi
Welcome to Islamic focus Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you. Today we have our third program in our new series dealing with the political system of Islam. We'll be discussing the objectives of the Islamic government and the choice of rulers. I have joining me on the program as usual, Dr. Jamal battery of St. Mary's University, but the Jamal Assalamu alaykum. Monica said Allah. Could I ask you quickly to summarize the main points that we touched on in our second program in this series, before we get into our discussion of our topic today.
And the second program, we focused on the examination of the nature of the political system. In Islam, we indicated that it is not a theocracy, because there is an absence of church, quote, unquote, an absence of clergy, and that the ruler derives legitimacy only by the consent or choice of the people.
Secondly, we indicated that many of the principles of democracy, especially the right to select the rulers, and remove them, and the participation in decision making are similar. These principles are similar to Islam. And Islam is not opposed to that to them.
But we indicated however, that Islamic system is a little different from democracy in a sense that the ultimate authority and sovereignty belongs to God, not just to the people as such. And that Islamic system is not really secularly oriented like democracies.
We indicate a tiny that it is a unique system really that dissimilar to any other system in existence.
It might have some elements of participation, it has also foundation of divine revelation or guidance. We also indicated that this system is not a utopian or unrealistic system that exists in books, but that it was fully implemented in the lifetime of the Prophet and the first four, rightly guided caliphs after him. And even then, with the variations and imperfections in the application of the system, throughout the centuries, it is a system that survived nearly 13 centuries.
As far as the present situation in the Muslim world, we said it would be erroneous to take any existing system and any Muslim country as the modern as the perfect model of what Islam teaches, by way of the way of government in many cases, it is even quite different from what Islam teaches and requires. And we said that we are hoping and praying that this kind of situations would be both reformed and corrected.
In due time.
Well, before we get into a discussion of the choice of rulers in Islam, might be useful to some of our viewers, if I were to get you to clarify the the ultimate objective of establishing an Islamic system of government. Could you explain that? Perhaps we can approach the explanation first from the Quran, which is the major source for Islamic teaching, in any respect, including course political system.
But to put it in a nutshell, really, it's the purpose of establishing an Islamic order or a political system
is to achieve the ultimate wisdom behind the creation of humankind on earth. And that is to act as the trustees of God on this earth. Now, in pursuing this objective,
the humans have to be guided by divine guidance, and in accordance with the message conveyed to them by the prophets and messengers that God sends out history from time to time.
And when we look into the Quran, you will find that the mission or the essence of that mission of the prophets, is indicated in more than one citation in the Quran. Let me just give you a few sample of that. In chapter four in the Quran, verse 64, will not send an email your tab is the law that says we have not sent a messenger or apostle except that he be obeyed in accordance with the will of God
in describing the mission of the prophets in general, in chapter six verse 89, in the Quran, it says
That those that is those prophets were the ones to whom we read that God gave the book, or scripture
and the authority and Prophethood. Notice here, the book, the authority, and Prophethood. So Prophethood and authority also on earth, and implementing was teaching in China and in the Scriptures, is presented in the Quran as part and parcel of the mission of the prophets. This authority that the Quran speaks about is not just authority in the religious sense, but rather in details everything in the life of the humans.
Another verse in the Quran looks at it from another angle, but to still within the same context. That is the objective behind any political system,
or at least Islamic political system is to establish justice on earth and balance and to reconcile the interests of different groups in different directions.
For example, in chapter 57, verse 25, and the Quran and Sunnah was lendable by
God says we sent our first time, our messengers with clear signs, and we sit down with them, the book, and the balance. Balance here means the balance of right and wrong, which in terms, of course, includes justice as well, that people may stand horse injustice.
The same meaning is emphasized and other verses in the Quran for example, in chapter 22, verse 41,
describes the true believer that verse a Latina, and mecanim, are those who if we establish them in the land, that has to give them authority and power on earth,
they establish regular prayers. They give regular charity, they enjoin the right, for dead wrong with Allah rest, the end and decision of all affairs. In other words, the the power of political power is viewed in the Quran, not as something egotistic not as something that the person benefits from materially or otherwise, but to be able to fulfill the will of God to sacrifice indeed, and to establish goodness and justice on earth. And that's part and parcel of the mission of prophets. When I on the basis of the moronic version that you've just shared with us, how did the Muslim jurists define these objectives in a concrete specific form?
Let me give you three examples of three prominent Muslim jurists who dealt with this issue of political system and Islam.
In the most concise way,
scholar by the name of Edna Tamia
put it as a comment, that is the establishment of balance and justice. Everything can perhaps fall under this basic, concrete statement to establish justice and balance on Earth.
Before admitting Nia, a great scholar also in the area of Political Studies,
by the name of ulnar ability,
define the objective of an Islamic government. A truly Islamic government is to succeed the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in safeguarding faith, and managing worldly affairs, which is a beautiful integration of both religious quote unquote, temporary because Islam doesn't make that separation, the both of them are to be protected and safeguarded.
Generally speaking, the Muslim jurist agree
that the objective of an Islamic government if you want to explicitly even describe it, in terms of concrete
is to take the definition suggested by a man a shot be
a great jurist who, after a penetrating look into the nature of Islamic teaching, he said that Islamic teaching can be summarized as serving five basic objectives
to safeguard face, life, mind,
honor, and property, anything can virtually fall under that other jurist go in some greater detail and say the purpose of Islamic government is to protect the boundaries to do this to do that. But if you don't look at it, this definitions really entailed the foundation upon which
the various functions of a truly standard government can be spelled out. But in any case, there was near unanimity
that it is imperative it is necessary for Muslims to establish a system of government based on the teaching of Islam there is no separation of
and state it is imperative it's near unanimous position of Muslim jurist. Now you didn't say unanimous you say use the term near unanimity. does that imply that there are some exceptions? Yes, I've tried to be as accurate, as accurate as as I could, even when something is very overwhelmingly accepted, if there's something that needs to be clarified, I try to be careful also not to make overly generalized statements. Yes, the reason I said near unanimity is that there have been some insignificant
views that has existed both in the past and relatively recently, that did not show this over one week view of Muslim jurists, which is based on Quran and soon after all the views that we have expressed before.
For example, in the seventh century,
in the Christian era, that's the first century of Muslim era,
a splinters a one group of another group, which was itself also in significant code coverage, or keratocytes.
This sub group called energy that held the view that if people can establish justice, and deal with each other, without the government, it is not really necessary to have a government. But they say, in the absence of this possibility, then the government must be established. So in a way, it's a lukewarm, you know, agreement, but still does not put it as decisively as other jurors, that you must practically have a system of government if you were to establish a proper orders.
Likewise, in 1925,
who was quite controversial because in fact, he was a graduate of the famous Islamic University
in Egypt. And he also served as a justice in the Sharia, or Islamic law court in Egypt,
published a book,
which is not really well founded, but it raised a great deal of controversy because it came at a time, which is quite revealing. And maybe I'll explain that later. But let me just tell you about the book a little bit. He called the book and Islam also talks about Islam and government, in which he deviated from the near unanimous view of Muslims throughout history, that religion and state are not to be separated and said, No, the, you know, the Prophetic Mission is something and the establishment of political order is something different. And he claimed that an Islamic state could be anything, so long as Islam is practiced as a religious aspect only. If, for example, people are
doing prayer, fasting and pilgrimage, the minimum religious duties is the system of government could be anything. Theoretically, it was the monarchy, dictatorship, Republic, socialism, fascist, whatever you call it, isn't it? This is irrelevant. This is independent of religiosity.
But as I indicated earlier, the timing of that book is quite revealing. It hangs around somewhere where the kings were around, that's one thing but above all, it was published in 1925. One years, almost one year after the abolition of Caliphate, in Turkey,
through the the revolution of Kemal Ataturk
and that was a very bad aspect and Muslim history because like I said before, it sort of Islamic orders, even with imperfections continued, consistently from the day of the Prophet until 1924, which is amazing keynotes, perhaps the oldest continuous orders in the world.
At this time, many Muslims lost confidence in themselves because of course, they were becoming becoming weaker and weaker. European countries were becoming stronger and stronger the West in general. So many Muslims fell into this bias of imitating blindly imitating their occupiers and colonizers, and it seemed to have reflected the spirit of the time. But in any case, there have been so many very good rebuttals of the of that book, and did some pointed out that he contradicted himself in the book, while he says religion is to be separate from government. He acknowledges particularly in Pages 138 through 144. He acknowledges that the leadership of Prophet Muhammad peace
be upon him was not only a religious leadership, but it included everything in the life of the people that his economic, political and other social aspects of it was
Totally comprehensive type of leadership.
But with the exception
of this very rare and perhaps insignificant
cases, as indicated earlier again choose my term the the near unanimity among Muslims throughout history on the basis of the clear text of the Quran and the prophetic tradition prophetic practices also is that it is imperative to establish a system of government on the basis of the teaching of Islam and to choose a Calif or leaders for that state.
Now, the the head of the state in the in some countries Republic's for example, you may have a president or prime minister or the monarchy, advocate and so on.
What is the what is the title that is used for the head of state in Islamic system of government. In terms of principle, there is no requirement for example, in the Quran or the prophetic saying that says that you must give a particular title in other words, this is not mandatory to have a given title. But a common title within Islamic tradition has been the term Elisa
Elisa means successful and that's a term actually that appears in the Quran. When it talks about the human being being Khalifa have a lot of justice of God on him, but in a different meaning here in the political sense, as a highly feminine successor means successor of the profit. That is after this is profit in
running the affairs of the believers, which includes both religious and temporary people divide them.
Notice here that succession when we say succession, succession to the profits, it does not mean succession in the prophetic office because Prophet Mohammed was the last prophet so nobody succeeding him as a prophet, but succeeding him in looking after the affairs of the of the people. Another term that some Muslims also use to us is ameerul momineen, or commanders
of believers. Another term Eman. The term, a meme literally, an Arabic means a leader, which could be a leader in prayer, a leader of the state could also apply to them. But it seems that the more common term really has been catered for Khalifa, county, and the system itself called khilafah Caliphate as usually expressed in
or both the
the qualifications are the qualities which are possessed by the literal Muslim status. Are there particular qualities or qualifications that are expected? You're talking about the idea and what Islam requires? Well, what exists? Yes, right. Okay. Well,
in principle, first of all, a leaders are head of an Islamic state must be a Muslim. And some people may wonder, you know, isn't that you know, sort of different from democracy? Yes, it is different because an Islamic State, as we indicated before, it's not just a secular state, looking after the material needs of people. It is an ideological state also. And it is based on the application of Islamic law as revealed by God. And it would be totally illogical
to expect someone who does not believe in that law, or does not believe in God at all, even to implement these laws. And there's no need for apology here. I mean, it's obvious, it's so clear. And then just to give an analogy, you would not expect somebody to be let's say, the President of the United States, if he openly declares that he does not believe in the Constitution of the United States. Is that a reasonable statement? Okay. By the same token, the Quran is regarded as the Constitution of an Islamic State the Constitution of Muslims believing in the Quran as the Word of God is a necessary step to implement it. And if someone does not believe in the Quran does not
believe in God or the prophets of the last prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, it would be totally illogical also to say that this one could be interested to implement something that he does not believe in.
it is important to note here also that to say that the most the ruler of an Islamic state must be a Muslim, does not imply in any way that it is an exclusivist state, religious state in a sense of eliminating or not allowing others. On the contrary, as we'll see later, Islam not only allows but welcomes others, non Muslims who are not fighting Muslims or doing harm to them to live under their protection and they have rights and obligations comparable to those of Muslims. So there is a sort of protection and safeguarding of their rights in terms of freedom of worship.
worship and others we can talk about that later. But it does not exclude non Muslims. It simply says that those ruling in an Islamic state should be Muslims, which is very reasonable to expect. A second basic condition is what jurists called Adela other could imply the two basic things really, one is that the person does not have any doubts in the matter of belief, which of course, we have indicated earlier, with which the court shop in the matter of faith. So, he believes in God believes in the prophet and book and so on. Secondly, that you should not have also a problem with his own behaviors,
in terms of moral behavior,
and lack of attitude of innovation in certain aspects of face, which could not be subject to any innovation.
So, this is a second Adana. A third is ability, which means all kinds of abilities needed of a head of state, physical ability, mental
courage and ability to protect the community of believers. There is, however, two other conditions where there's some kind of argument of disputes. And I'll give you my view, as to which opinion I personally tend to accept.
One is that they say a person should not seek to be a president or ruler.
And the foundation of this opinion is the court, the prophet peace be upon him saying that we are not going to appoint someone who's seeking it, we don't appoint people in a position of responsibility, they are actively seeking it or demanding it. And they refer also to one incident when Companion of the Prophet, very pious person by the name of abu allah fairy, came to the prophet and said, can't you wouldn't you appoint me in charge of some place like a local ruler, or whatever, and the Prophet did not appoint him. And they conclude that, you know, if the person is asking and the Prophet refused, the mic must carry some indication.
However, the opinion that I feel is more justifiable is that it is possible to seek
that position, if the intention of the individual is clear, that when the prophets really speaks about are people who see a position of power and authority to serve their own purposes, material or ego, but if the need arises, and a person needs to offer himself or service, it's actually sacrifice rather than benefit, as we see it as the responsibility of a ruler. And Islam, ideally, is someone who sacrifice more than others. So it's not really a technical, it's a very hard work, job and difficult job to do big responsibility. And secondly, in the incident with this Companion of
the Prophet explained to him, he said, You are weak, he knew that he was very pious, but he said, You are weak I was. And this is a big responsibility, and then the Day of Judgment, you'll be responsible for it. So juries also conclude that a person could offer himself in fact, in the Quran, and the chapter about Prophet Joseph use.
When he was in the house of the Pharaoh, he actually offered Himself said, okay, appoint me in charge of the supplies. And they conclude that there's nothing wrong offering convention is a scale, another disputed condition also have a ruler, is that some claim that you should be a crush, if that is you should be of the descendants of the family of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and some even restricted further to certain segments within the family of the Prophet.
The basis is a saying of the Prophet, in which he says that Allah in a man's or leaders should be from kurush that they forget to quote the remaining parts of the saint which says, so long as they rule with justice, and so long as they fulfill their promises, and so long as they are compassionate when they are deceased, for compassion and mercy.
But however, we find many jurists say that they had this or this prophetic saying does not mean at all that all successors to the Prophet are those who would be heads of an Islamic state must be from the crocheted
or enter this would contradict the freedom of choice of rulers, which we see has been clearly indicated in the Quran, and the prophetic tradition as well as the behavior of the closest companions of the Prophet after him.
But the proper meaning perhaps is that in the early days of Islam,
and a society which was just trying to overcome
It's valuable orientation. If a ruler was chosen from any tribe, other than the very powerful and very well respected tribe of Christ, the other rebellious Arabs would have not listened to them, you know, they still have this, you know tribalism in their, in their blood. So it was in the interest of public orders, unity of Muslims, to make sure that the head of the state would come from this well known, much well respected and obeyed, if you will, a tribe of Christ. And as a later Muslim jurist explained it, he said that what would be the purpose really, of insisting that the old successors and rollers should come from the family of the Prophet. He said, if it's just a blessing,
blessing is not a legitimate objective and Islamic teaching with respect to the system of government, that's not in itself a good cause. So the opinion that I humbly accepted as the is that this was not intended to be something forever, for all times to come. But for its time, it was quite, quite appropriate, but not meant to, to be a strict rule for all times to come.
I'm sure many of the viewers would be anxious to know whether or not a woman could become a head of state, and Islam. Okay. First of all, in the Quran itself, the Word of God, which is, of course, the primary source of Islam.
There is no specific text, one way or the other, about a woman being, for example, a head of state. However, there are texts that are interpreted to indirectly
People caught for example, verse in the Quran that say that men are responsible or maintainers of women. But that verse actually was revealed in the context of family life, or marital relationship. And we have explained that in the series on social system, and Islam that does not mean to be bossy or dictator, but simply to have a responsibility to maintain the family and to look after the needs of wife and children.
So this analogy here is not very clear, it's only indirect and cannot be a conclusive evidence.
it was reported also, in prophetic sage, which is also an important source of Islamic law, that when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him learned that the Persians in his time, appointed a woman to be their queen or to be their leader.
He said that a pupil will not prosper or will not succeed, if they have as their heads a woman, that's top position of leadership. But in interpreting this saying of the Prophet, they have been both extremes and what I consider to be a more moderate and reasonable interpretation. There are those who went to one extreme and saying that this hobbyists are the same means that a woman not only should not be a head of state, but should never be even in any position of top leadership.
Others went to the other extreme and said, no, maybe he meant only the person's because the person rulers at that time had aggressive attitude toward Muslims. So maybe it was even a prophecy that these people will not succeed, and they will actually concrete at a later time.
But I see I feel that this might be again, cutting it a little bit too far and becoming too apologetic about it. I think the mother is treason. The mother explanation, in my humble understanding is that the leadership and an Islamic State is not a figurehead.
It has certain requirements which may not be suitable for a woman even if a woman has the qualification has the other abilities to be in the top position of leadership. The head of state and Islam is one who leads public prayers. And we have explained in the series about prayers, Pillars of Islam, that prayers in Islam requires bouncing up and down. And it's not appropriate for a woman to be in front of men bound and leading her prayers. She can lead prayer for other women, but not to be in front of men, exposing her body. Secondly, is that the position of the headship of the state requires a great deal of mixing and looking and traveling alone even and that might not be again,
within the rules of modesty and the appropriate position for a Muslim woman not being too much exposed in that form. And as indicated earlier, the leader is not just a figurehead, it's a very grave responsibility. And the idea in Islam is that a woman should develop her best as a wife and as a mother. And this might not be very much consistent with the top leadership position in terms of pregnancy childbearing and child care and all that. But this does not mean that she has no right to contribute or participate in the others.
fears of the of the Muslim community and this perhaps we can explore later when we talk about the concept of buyer, or pledge or participation in election and other activities. We have no time left on today's program. Thank you for watching peace beyond you. Join us next week.