Foundations of the Political System of Islam

By: Hassan Mahfooz

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

This is a humble attempt to explain the foundations of the political system of Islam in a brief and concise manner. In order to understand the political system of Islam, it is necessary to understand its foundational concepts, which are: Oneness of Allah, Prophethood and Khilafat (Trusteeship, Vicegerency). I would briefly explain these below Insha’Allah:

1. Oneness of Allah:

When we look at the world around and contemplate on the creation, we come to an obvious conclusion that there is complete harmony in nature – there are natural laws operating which sustain life on earth, there is cosmic order and fine tuning of the universe which are blessings to human beings for their survival on earth. This point to the fact there is only One Creator (without any partner) who is sustaining the universe, controlling the alternation of the night and the day and every miniscule thing on the face of this earth. This leads us to the conclusion that He is also the Owner and Master of the universe and the whole creation including human beings. Because everything is created by Allah, – the countries, the nations, the civilizations, the human beings – the One who can explain the best system of human life is none but the Creator.

Our bodies do not belong to us, our lives do not belong to us, the lands we live on do not belong to us, the countries we live in do not belong to us- Nothing belongs to us, Allah has made us trustees of the resources we enjoy on this earth. (Q-2:30, 38:26). Allah has made the Divine Will manifested to the man in the form of the Quran. He has explained to us what He expects from the human beings while they spend their lives on earth. Thus, it is clear that Allah is the Lord and Owner of whatever exists on the earth and man is but a trustee, a vicegerent of Allah on earth who is supposed to obey his Master completely.

(Trustee, Vicegerent - A person appointed by a ruler or head of state to act as an administrative deputy.)

2. The Prophethood: 

It naturally follows that there should be a mechanism to explain what Allah wills and expects from His creation; this was done through the last and final Messenger of Allah- Prophet Muhammad SAW. (Q-16:44) Prophet SAW completed his mission in his life, established the Islamic state and explained to mankind what a comprehensive Islamic state should like. The following successors of the Prophet SAW further clarified to everyone what an ideal Islamic state is.

3. Khilafah (Vicegerency): 

Allah has explicitly mentioned in the Quran at several places what He expects of man. In Q-2:30, Allah says, “I will create a vicegerent on earth." As explained previously, vicegerent is a person appointed by the ruler (in this case Allah) who acts as a deputy. This means that human beings are deputies of Allah on earth who strive to follow the commandments of Allah in its entirety and establish what has been ordered. In Q-33:72, Allah says, “We offered this trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains but they refused to bear it and were afraid of it, but the man undertook to bear it.” In this Ayah, Allah is elevating the status of a frail and weak man to something stronger than the earth and the mountains. Allah offered His vicegerency to the mountains and the earth but even they declined despite the glory and greatness. Allah is reminding the human beings about the great responsibility of trusteeship held on their shoulders.

Having explained the foundational concepts of the political system of Islam, it is important to look it in the perspective of “practicality”. Allah says in the Quran that man is a khalifa on earth; this is general in nature and regards “ALL” the human beings as vicegerents. It is important to note that linguistically, vicegerent does not mean the head of the state as understood commonly. Thus, every human being, in whatever capacity he is, must strive to prove to be a loyal deputy of Allah on earth, whether individually or collectively. Every Muslim is a shepherd and responsible for his flock. (Hadith). This necessitates that every Muslim must govern himself and his flock according to the directives given by the Master (Allah).

This leads us to the conclusion that every person has responsibilities according to his capacity. If there are Muslims living in a state who are in majority and capable, they must strive to establish the law of Allah on the land. The basic principle is, “When the land does not belong to humans, how can the law be constituted by them”. This is due to the natural conclusion, earlier discussed, that everything belongs to Allah.

Those individuals who cannot do so must strive to the best of their abilities to follow the commandments of Allah as much as possible keeping two things in mind:

  1. Our bodies belong to Allah and they are a trust given to us to be taken care of.
  2. The trust must be used as willed by the Owner and Master, Allah explained to the mankind through the Quran and the life of the Prophet SAW.

Anything good that has been written is by the blessing of Allah and any errors made are from my ignorance and the Satan. May Allah forgive us for the shortcomings we do in our lives and make us of those who He is pleased with.

And All praise belongs to Allah alone.

Note: ‘Quran’ is noted for the sake of convenience as (Q: x,y)


No comments

Powered by Blogger.