ISLAM’S RESPONSE TO CONTEMPORARY ISSUESHazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifa4Rehm’Allah talla
Prepared by Dr Shakeel Ahmad,National Tabligh Team, UK
ISLAM’S RESPONSE TO CONTEMPORARY ISSUES
Chapter wise seminars:1. Inter-religious peace2. Social peace3. Economic peace4. Political peace5. Individual peace
Current World Political Situation
Dissatisfaction- Lack of basic needs – food, clothing, shelter- Lack of fundamental rights eg of opinionLeading to protests– strikes– warsSome pockets of goodOverall lack of Political Peace
Political Systems mentioned in Quran - 1
Tribalism – self governance of clans49:14 We have created you from a male & a female, we have made you into tribes & sub-tribes for the sake of easy recognition. Verily the most honourable among you in the sight of Allah is one who is most righteous among you. Surely Allah is all knowing, all aware.Feudalism - ownership59:8 Whatever Allah has given to His messenger as spoils from the people of the towns is for Allah & for the messenger & near of kin & orphans & needy & the wayfarer; that it may not circulate only among the rich (& resourceful). And whatever the messenger gives you, take it, whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it. And fear Allah, surely Allah is severe in retribution.- Hadith – Each of you is like a shepherd to whom the sheep do not belong, (while he is entrusted with the responsibility to tend the sheep). You will be held answerable.
Political Systems mentioned in Quran - 2
Monarchy – the selected ruler- mentioned repeatedly without condemnation2:248 Their prophet said to them ‘Allah has appointed for you Talut as a king’ ….Allah bestows sovereignty upon whom He pleases. Allah is Lord of vast bounty and all knowing.5:21 Call to mind when Moses said to his people ‘O my people, recall the favor that Allah bestowed upon you when He appointed prophets amongst you and made you kings & gave you that He had not given to any other people’-notallkings are Divinely selected - notion misused by medieval Christianity- another type of sovereignty is about a prophet with Divine message4:60 o Ye who believe, obey Allah and His messenger & those who are in authority among you. Then if you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah & His messenger if you are believers in Allah & His messenger & the Last Day. This is best & most commendable in the end.
Political Systems mentioned in Quran - 3
Democracy – shared consultation3:160 Andconsult them in matters of administration, & when thou art determined, then put thy trust (wholly) in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.42:37-40 Whatever you have been given is a temporary provision of this life,but what is with Allah is better & more lasting for those who put their trust in their Lord. And those who eschew the graver sin and the indecencies& when they are wroth, they forgive. And those who hearken to their Lord & observe prayer& whose affairs are (administered) by mutual consultationand who spend out of whatever We have provided for them. And those who when a wrong is done them, defend themselves.
Islamic Political System…?1
Is any one system an Islamic political system?- NONo single system of governance has been prescribed in the Quran.Neither is a system condemned completely.Universal religion - caters for all systems - different societies would need different systems.Quran only emphasizes the principles on which the government should discharge itself.
Islamic Political System…?2
Islamic govt - free to choose the systemDemocracy- preferred and commendedMuslims - advised to elect their Govt democraticallyKhalifa (and other Jamaat positions) - elected democraticallyQuranic definition of democracy - not exactly as Western practice
Islamic Concept of Democracy - 1
Basic principles1 - Democratic election must be based on trust & integrity4:59 Verily Allah commands you to give trusts to those entitled, and that when you judge between them, judge with justice. Surely best is that with which Allah admonishes you2 - Administration with consultation3:160 And consult them in matters of administration, & when thou art determined, then put thy trust (wholly) in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.3 - Govts must function on the principle of absolute justice16:91 Indeed Allah requires you to abide by absolute justice, treat with kindness & give like the giving of kin to kin…Elected by trust of integritySteps taken with mutual consultationAll decisions made with absolute justiceTrulyof the people, by the people & for the people
Islamic Concept of Democracy - 2
Western Style democracyVoter - master of his vote; can vote for a puppet, use any criteria or even waste their voteChoice made on superficial impression & self proclamationParty politics distracts from individual role & responsibilityConsultation - politically and strategically biasedInfluence of CapitalismCorruption
Islamic democracyVoter - not the master of his vote - a trustee, responsible to GodChoice based on moral integrity of the candidateNo party politics - individual responsibilityConsultation - with those who are trustworthyMoral integrity of the elected is a prevention against vested interest
Some further difficulties withWestern Style democracy
Low polling turn out - elected govt as minority representationCoalition govt - not a majority representationParty members may vote on an issue for sake of party loyalty – vital decision passed as ‘democratic’, actually a minority decisionMajority choice may not be the best choiceIf best choiceimposed- non-democratic
Format of Islamic Government
Ultimate sovereignty belongs to God23:117 Then exalted be Allah, the True King. There is no God but He, Lord of the glorious Throne.27:63 or, Who responds to the call of an afflicted person & removes the affliction, & will make you inheritors of the earth? Then is there a god beside Allah? Little is it that you heed.Shariahis the Will of God regarding legislation expressed inQuran & Traditions- Govt cannot interfere with theShariah- No legislative process can go in contravention-Notimposedon non-MuslimsThe format:- Allah is the ultimate Master of all resources and people- His Will is enacted by people’s trusted representatives ie the elected Govt- Govts have been given the principles & are answerable to Allah
State v Religion -1
State v Religion interface:- absolute justice - to all citizens (incl those of other religious backgrounds)- not necessary to put all legislation under religious jurisdiction- religion does not need to be the predominant legislative authority- religious authority have duty to draw attention of the legislature towards moral issues- large part of moral education in each religion is common & can be integral to legislation- no compulsion in matters of faith - believer of any religion can practice under Islamic secular law- individual religious practice cannot be enforced as law- truth rather than individual religious practice, is to be promoted by the state
State v Religion - 2
No contradiction between Word of God & Act of GodIn Islam- Religion has no right to interfere in matters of state- State has no right to interfere in matters of religionMathew 22:21 Then he said to them: Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to GodQuran is in total agreementStatecraft & religion - to cooperate rather than contradict where they overlap -two of the many wheels of wagon of societySadly various episodes in human history, all over, e conflict between Divine guidance and how the govt was run - with repercussionsEvery state run on principle of absolute justice is a ‘Muslim’ state
Disagreement between different sects about what is & what is notShariah- Lack of appropriate study- Selfish motivesClergy seek power & at times possess the powerResults in:-Horrendous consequences- Complex problem for the Islamic worldPoliticians- Influenced by clergy- Exploit mullaism for their interest
Instructions of the Quran are without distinction of Muslim or non-Muslim govtInstructions are common for benefit of mankind as a whole42:39 & 3:160 (about mutual consultation)4:136 O those who believe, be strict in observing justice, bear witness (only for the sake) of Allah, even if it be against your own self, parents or kindred. Whether the person be rich or poor. Allah is more regardful of him (than you). Therefore follow not vain desires so you may act equitably. And if you conceal (the truth) or evade it, then (remember that) Allah is well aware of what you do.Obedience to law4:60 o ye who believe, obey Allah and His messenger & those who are in authority among you. Then if you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah & His messenger if you are believers in Allah & His messenger & the Last Day. This is best & most commendable in the end.Responsibilities of the State- Right of basic needs- Right of opinion and self-expression incl practice of one’s religion- Sensibility to rights of people so they don’t have the need to raise their voice
Absolute justice5:9 o ye who believe, be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity, & let not a people’s enmity incite you to act with injustice. Be just (always), that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Allah is aware of what you do.No partnership in crime – at any cost8:59 if thou apprehend treachery from a people who have made a pact with thee, terminate (the pact) with equity in manner that should occasion no prejudice. Surely Allah loves not the treacherous.Nationalism- can distract from the principle of justice- can lead to prejudice
Role of UNO
UNO - a powerful organisation, not always acting for justice, but for political lobbyingDiplomacy rather than right-v-wrong‘House of Nations’ – instead of ‘United’ NationsSome suggest better future prospect due to end of cold war - author foresaw it differently - political lobbying now more unrestrictedConditions Required for Improvement- Economic disparity needs addressing- Absolute justice in economic & other relations between member nations- UNO needs some effective means to fight the ongoing injustices
Role of UNO in Quran
Quran mentions peace, always in conjunction with justice.-Nations/tribes to be acknowledged for righteousness/justice49:14 We have created you from a male & a female, we have made you into tribes & sub-tribes for the sake of easy recognition. Verily the most honourable among you in the sight of Allah is one who is most righteous among you. Surely Allah is all knowing, all aware.-Reconciliatory body with power to enforce justice49:10-11 In case two parties among the believers fight each other, bring about reconciliation between them. If (however) one of them (persists in injustice and) transgresses against the other, bring (your collective) might to bear upon the one that transgresses until they agree (that the dispute be resolved) in accordance with the word of Allah. Then if both parties effect reconciliation between them with equity, act justly. Remember, Allah loves the just. (All) believers are brothers, so make peace between your brothers and be mindful of your duty to) Allah that you maybe shown mercy.
Current political situation is far from peacefulQuran does not specifically subscribe to a particular political system - all are acceptable but democracy is preferredThere is a difference between Islamic concept of democracy and the Western style democracyFundamental principles of Islamic Governance are:- Elect on basis of integrity – not political allegiances- Administer with mutual consultation- Govern with absolute justiceIndividual religious practice cannot be made law – breach of principle of justiceState & Religion should cooperate – not interfereIslamic govt cannot contravene Shariah – and also cannot impose Shariah on non-MuslimsQuran has taught about an effective body to implement justice and peace in the world community