THE POLITICAL DIRECTION OF ISLAM
[By Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai]
‘VERILY, I (ALLAH) HAVE PROMISED THAT MY PIOUS SERVANTS WILL INHERIT THE EARTH.” (QURAAN)
“(THE REWARD OF ISLAM) IS SALVATION IN THE AAKHIRAH AND POWER ON EARTH.” (HADITH)
“WE ARE A NATION WHOM ALLAH HAS GIVEN IZZAT (POWER, DIGNITY AND RESPECT) THROUGH ISLAM.” (HADHRAT UMAR IBN KHATTAB)
Polity, like all other aspects and branches of human life on earth, is an institution inextricably interwoven with the fabric of our Deen of Islam. No sphere of life could be divorced from the Islamic system envisaged by the Quraan and the Ahadith. Thus, like in all other fields of our life, Islamic politics is governed by a host of laws derived from the Quraan and the Teaching of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
Islam is the Final and the Perfect Law of Allah Ta’ala ordained for mankind until the Last Day. It is therefore inconceivable that so important and so inextricable a branch of human life as politics does not fall under the strict scrutiny and supervision of Islam.
In order to get a clear understanding of the direction of Islamic politics it is necessary to understand the purpose of man’s origin on earth since Islamic politics is inseparable from this Purpose.
MAN’S PURPOSE ON EARTH
Allah, Ta’ala states in the Glorious Quraan:
“And, I have not created Jinn and Man, but that they worship Me.”
There is no other purpose for man’s existence on earth other than rendering strict and total obedience to the Divine Law of Allah Ta’ala, and that Law to us is known as Islam. Islam teaches that Allah Ta’ala is the sole Creator and Sovereign of the universe — who commands and demands our obedience. Man’s first and foremost allegience, is therefore, unto Allah-Azza wa Jal. The Believer, in his acceptance of the Declaration of Islamic Faith, pledges his total obedience and submission unto the Divine Will — the Law of Allah, viz. Islam.
Man is not the law-maker. Allah Ta’ala, the Sovereign of the universe is the sole Promulgator of Law, and man (i.e. the Mu’min) is Khalifatullah or the Representative of Allah on earth who is obliged to govern and rule in accordance with Allah’s Law. The Mu’min is powerless to formulate Laws. What he does is merely to administer the Laws already decreed by Allah Ta’ala and delivered to mankind under the designation of Islam. Anything outside the confines of Islam will be mardood (rejected) and mal’oon (accursed).
Now since the purpose of man’s creation on earth is to obtain the Divine Pleasure through the medium of obedience to the Divine Will on the basis of the Divine Law (Islam), the only purpose of Islamic politics is to procure the establishment of Islamic Law so that man will find himself free to live and lead a life in consonance with the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallaallahu alayhi wasallam) which is Divinely directed to obtain the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. Any other motive is base and accursed and has no quarter in Islam.
The existence of a perfect Islamic society in which the Believer will find free-play of Quraanic Law is not possible without “power on earth” – political power -which Allah Ta’ala has promised his “pious and righteous servants”. The quotations cited at the head of this article together with numerous other Quraanic verses and Ahadith make it abundantly clear that power on earth — the rulership of the earth — is coupled with Islam.
Islam is a dominant Code of Life. Islam is not a “religion” based on only passive worship confined to a place of seclusion. All aspects and fields of human life have necessarily to be subjected and controlled by the Law of the Quraan, and in the process of achieving this noble end, the injunction of Amr Bil Ma’roof-Nahy anil Munkar (Commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong) has to be practiced.
The highest form of Amr bil Ma’roof is the Islamic State which has been lawfully established on the basis of the Quraan and Ahadith. Corporal punishment and the utilization of force to establish the Law of Allah among His creatures is the prerogative of the Islamic State. In a nutshell the direction of Islamic politics is the establishment of an Islamic State which will be the Representative of Allah on earth — “the Shadow of Allah on earth”.
Islamic social order without political power — the total manifestation of Allah Ta’ala’s Law on earth — is not possible. The Islamic State is obliged by the Divine Law of Allah to enforce the Will of Allah on the populace — their will being of no substance if contrary to the obtainal of Allah’s Pleasure.
It will be appropriate to add here that today there exists not a single Islamic State. There are lands governed by Muslims, but any claim that these are Islamic states would be nothing but fraudulent, for these states, without exception, are all modelled along un-Islamic and anti-Islamic lines. The Law of Allah has no place in the “Muslim” countries of today.
HOW TO ACHIEVE ISLAMIC POLITICAL DOMINATION
How is the prevalence of Islamic Law to be achieved? This is a question which bothers all sincere Muslims. The modernists who have turned their backs on Islam are awed by the great strides the non-Muslims have made in the material fields. They no longer accept the proposition that dominance of Muslims on the strict basis of the Shariah is a viable entity. As a consequence they no longer accept Islamic Teaching and Islamic methods of establishing Allah’s Law on earth.
We therefore, witness in our day the modernist Muslims who are controlling all Muslim governments the world over subscribing to various man-originated doctrines to achieve political power. To them political power in itself is the end whereas Islam teaches that political power is merely a means to attain the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. Because the modernist Muslim believes that political power is an end in itself, he is prepared to accept any means and any way introduced by the Kuffaar (unbelievers) in order to achieve this end.
On the other hand, the true Believer takes his guidance from Muhammadur Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and shuns all methods and ways contrary to the example of our beloved Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Believers have no option but to follow the example of Allah’s beloved Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), for Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:
“Verily, for you (0 Believers!) there is a beautiful example (to follow) in the Messenger of Allah. (This Example) is for those who have hope in Allah, in the Last Day and who remember Allah much.”
Deviation from the Path of Islam and acting on the basis of personal opinion is not tolerated by Allah Ta’ala. He declares in the Quraan:
“It is not lawful for a believing man nor for a believing woman to have any choice in their affairs when Allah and His Messenger have decided a thing.”
Hence, like in all our affairs, we are obliged to take the guidance of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in the matter of the political direction of Islam. The Teaching and Example of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) clearly indicate that Islamic domination — Islamic control of the affairs of the world — can only be established when the following two essential requirements are fulfilled:
● SPIRITUAL PERFECTION
● DIVINE VOLITION
And, the latter of the two requirements (i.e. Divine Volition) in so far as the establishment of Islamic political power is concerned will only be activated if the condition of spiritual perfection of the Ummah exists. Without spiritual perfection. i.e. the spiritual perfection of the nation and not merely of a few individuals, Islamic political power is a vain and vague hope — an entity which cannot be realised. A careful study of the life of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his illustrious Companions clearly reveals that Islamic domination cannot be achieved without the spiritual perfection of the Ummah.
The first thirteen years of the mission of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was diligently spent in achieving this one and only aim, viz. the spiritual rectification and perfection of the Believers. During this long period of spiritual training, the Sahabas (radhiyallahu anhum) were ordered to bear with patience and dignity all persecution, torture, indignities and insults of the Kuffaar. Despite having the ability to retaliate, the Sahabas were instructed to endure and persevere.
The Arabs even prior to embracing Islam were a militant and a martial race. Fear, cowardice and niggardliness were unknown to them. But, despite all their martial qualities and fighting capabilities they remained within the confines of the Arabian Peninsula. It was the spiritual perfection realised at the hands of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which propelled them forth and cause them to spill over into the world establishing the glory of Allah wherever they went.
Wherever they established the power of Islam their aim was only one: to establish the Word of Allah. No other motive, no other consideration governed their desire to establish the sway of Islam in the world.
Once this spiritual perfection is achieved, the Divine Volition comes into play. Once the Believers themselves are spiritually elevated, Allah Ta’ala creates the circumstances for their political domination. There is no need for Muslims to invent means and ways of achieving political power. There is no need whatsoever for Muslims to subscribe to the political doctrines and theories of the numerous political parties and organizations which abound today. Muslims will not realise any success by submitting to the theories and doctrines of the Kuffaar.
The domination of the Sahabas (radhiyallahu anhum) was in fact established, not by any organized action to secure domination, but by Divine Volition — by the Will of Allah. The very first battle of Islam — Battle of Badr — was not organized to achieve political control or political domination. In fact the Sahabas had no intention whatsoever of engaging the Kuffaar in battle on the expedition which culminated in the famous history-making Battle of Badr which established the political power of the Muslims.
A state of belligerence existed between the Kuffaar of Makkah and the Muslims of Madinah. As a result of this state of belligerency the Sahabas set off to waylay and plunder a caravan of the Kuffaar returning from Syria, but Allah Ta’ala willed otherwise. The caravan was merely the circumstance created by Allah Ta’ala to propel the Muslims into open confrontation with the Kuffaar so that Islamic domination be established.
The Sahabas (radhiyallahu anhum) at that stage were spiritually “ripe”. They had no need to devise ways and means for establishing the Law of Allah, for when this condition of spiritual perfection is fulfilled, Allah will usher in the circumstances, the ways and the means to secure the political dominance of Islam.
When Muslims have attained spiritual perfection then no matter how much they may desire to divorce themselves from all mundane affairs, Allah Ta’ala will propel them onto the stage of “power on earth”, for the only true inheritors of “power on earth” are the “righteous and pious servants” of Allah. But, in the absence of “pious and righteous” servants of Allah, He denies political domination to Muslims.
The qualities necessary to pose as the Khalifah of Allah on earth go hand in hand with spiritual perfection. The Believer can never act as Allah’s Representative if he lacks the noble, the high and lofty angelic qualities imperative for the proper distribution of Allah’s Law among His creatures.
Because of the absence of this essential condition of spiritual perfection in Muslims of today we find the entire Muslim world in submission to the Kuffaar. Despite being in possession of political control of their countries, Muslims are politically subservient to the unbelievers.
Political control and political dominance are two separate entities. The power which spiritual perfection creates in political power is such that Islamic political domination will permeate and dominate all other political forces in the world. This is propounded in the following verse of the Holy Quraan:
“Allah will never establish the unbelievers over the Believers.”
The “Al-Mu-mineen” or “the Believers” mentioned in this Quraanic verse refers to Believers who have attained spiritual perfection. The realization of spiritual perfection sets into motion the Divine promise of granting “power on earth” to the “righteous and pious” servants of Allah. This is evident from the following Quraanic verse:
“Verily, I (Allah) have promised that My pious servants will inherit the earth.”
The term denoting the condition of spiritual perfection in this verse is “Saalihoon”, i.e. righteous, pious, obedient. It has the same meaning as “AI-Mu’mineen” (perfect believers) mentioned in the previous Quraanic verse.
The following verse of the Holy Quraan conveys a very clear and precise conception of what actually Islamic political power envisages:
“They (the perfect Believers) are such people that if We (Allah) grant them power on earth, they establish Salaat (the five daily compulsory prayers), pay the Zakaat, command what is righteous and prohibit what is evil.”
It is abundantly clear from the Teaching of the Quraan and the Ahadith that Islamic domination is not for any purpose other than the manifestation of the Law of the Quraan. The Islamic State has no authority to foster any political concept or any doctrine of the many “isms” existing today. And, likewise, Muslims have no authority to subscribe to the views of today’s political movements whose ambition of gaining political power is governed by motives which Islam rejects as Beath (false, null and void).
Therefore, Muslims whether living in Muslim lands or non-Muslim lands, should abstain from participation in the political activities of the various and antagonistic political organizations, parties and movements. All these political organizations operate from the base of falsehood. Their motives cannot find sanction in the Law of Allah Ta’ala.
The politics of the Kuffaar are directed towards the manifestation of man’s ego, man-made law and various other baseless and false doctrines and theories whereas the politics of Islam is a force directed to establish the dominance of the Law of Allah among His creatures. Hence, the Believers treat politics — Islamic politics — as an lbaadat (Worship) of high merit.
Again, it must be emphasised that Islamic political power – true Islamic dominance over all others – is not and cannot be obtained merely by our volition minus the fundamental condition of spiritual perfection. When the nation of Islam mounts the stage of spiritual perfection, Allah Ta’ala thrusts political power and true rulership of the earth upon it.
Spiritual perfection brings in its wake “power on earth”. This is the inescapable conclusion which the student — the Believing student — will make from a careful study of the rise of Islam. And conversely, spiritual degeneration brings in its wake political degeneration causing the Believers to be submissive to all things and all concepts of the Kuffaar. This is the precise situation of political degeneration prevailing in Muslim lands of today.
It is not to be misunderstood that because of its insistence on spiritual perfection as a pre-requisite to political action or political power, Islam advocates docility and flabby acquiescence to concepts and doctrines opposed to the Teaching of the Quraan. On the contrary Islam produces a nation of rulers. The history of Islam bears ample testimony to this irrefutable fact.
True Believers are happy and at peace only under the domination of Allah, Azza wa Jal, Sovereign of the universe. And, that total domination of Islam can only be realised by following the precept of Muhammadur Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), by initiating and fostering the exact line of action instituted by our Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and adhered to by the noble Sahaba.
And, that line of action which in Allah’s scheme is imperative for “power on earth” to be transferred to His true Representatives, is the spiritual development and perfection of the Imaan of the Believers. Once this is achieved on a nation-wide basis, “power on earth” is granted to the Believers.
Muslims, due to their state of total spiritual degeneration have become wholly submissive to the various “isms”, cults and cultures in vogue. This submission to concepts foreign to their Iman has caused Muslims to be overwhelmed by a sense of gross inferiority. As a result we are groping in the darkness looking for direction, switching allegiances from one concept to another. In a state of confusion we tend to throw in our lot today with one political grouping and tomorrow with another. We have drifted from Islam. Our backs are turned onto the Sunnah of our beloved Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Our interpretation of the Quraan is apologetic designed to acquiesce to the concepts of the “material masters” of the day.
It is therefore no surprise that fear of man has overtaken us. Confusion and fear has distorted our Islamic judgement. In this country we find ourselves at the crossroads — torn between black conciousness and white conciousness. Whither to turn, is a difficult decision for many to make.
But, for the true Believer — the Believer whose gaze is focussed on the Aakhirah — on gaining the Pleasure of Allah —the decision is not difficult to make. The Mu’min should set aside all side-issues — all such issues unconnected with the development of his lmaan —and concentrate on gaining the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala by means of imbuing within him all the qualities envisaged by the Sunnah. Disassociation from all concepts un-Islamic is a sacred duty to be carried out by Believers.
Finally whatever Allah Ta’ala wills, will come to pass. No power in the universe can thwart the Plan and Will of Allah, Azza wa Jal. If Allah Ta’ala again wishes to establish Believers in a position of dominance granting them “power on earth”, then there is none to block this. On the other hand if Allah Ta’ala does not will our elevation to dominance, then a miilion efforts and schemes devised by us will be of no avail. The Holy Quran is categoric in this assertion:
“Say (0 Muhammad!) Allah is the Lord of all dominion. You grant dominion (power) to whomsoever you please and You eliminate dominion from whomsoever He please. You grant respect to whomsoever You wish, and You disgrace whomsoever You wish. All goodness is within Your Power. Verily, You are Powerful above all things.”
Those who strive to attain spiritual perfection on the basis of the Quraan and Ahadith can take heart from the following Promise of Allah Ta’ala in the Quraan:
“And, soon will Allah block the military power of those who disbelieve. And, Allah is most powerful with regard to military might . ..”
The state of spiritual degeneration afflicting the Muslim nation today — both in Muslim lands and non-Muslim lands — is such that no Muslim who has a proper understanding of Islam will squander his time, energy and resources devising schemes and associating with blatant un-Islamic and anti-Islamic political concepts and organizations with a view for political power. The Muslim nation of today, the world over, is not fit to act as the Khalifah of Allah on earth. The only right and proper course for us grovelling in our state of abject spiritual degeneration is to concentrate fully upon the development of our Imaan. If and when our Imaan has reached perfection, Allah Ta’ala will do the rest.
In times of Fitnah and strife the need for attending to one’s own lmaan is greater. We should not concern ourselves with trying to change our surrounding conditions. We must change our degenerated condition — our degenerated Imaan. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasaliam) has spoken about these times of strife and has advised us to safeguard our Deen and our Iman and leave alone the affairs of others. Said Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam):
“Soon will a time come when the best wealth of a Muslim will be sheep. He shall migrate with his sheep to the mountains and the jungles fleeing with his Deen from the Fitnah (of the degenerated times).”
In another Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) advises us as to our line of action during times of Fitnah — strife. He said:
“Concern yourself with your own affairs and shun the affairs of the public, for verily, ahead of you lie days of patience . .”
Many Muslims are asking the question: what attitude should Muslims adopt in a country where confrontation and conflict prevail in the ranks of the Kuffaar — where one group of Kuffaar is lined up against another group of Kuffaar. The Shariah of Islam is very clear on this issue. The following Verdict of the Fuqahaa (Jurists of Islam) on the subject appears in the great and authoritative Islamic Law Book, MABSOOT:
“If a group from the Ahlul Harb (the Kuffaar) attacks the Kuffaar in their country wherein resides the Muslim, then it is not lawful for the Muslim to join in fighting these Kuffaar, but if he has fear for his life . Fighting is lawful only to elevate and establish the Law of Allah Ta’ala and in order to elevate His Deen and to ward off danger to one’s life … Hence, (if he joins one group of Kuffaar against another group of Kuffaar) the fighting will be only for the sake of the Kuffaar and for the purpose of elevating their law, and this is not lawful.”
This is the Verdict of the Shariah and in upholding the Law of Allah Muslims need not be fearful of and submissive to anyone. A Muslim must believe implicitly that all good and harm flows with only the command of Allah. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said that if the whole world unite to cause you harm they will not be able to harm one jot, and if the whole world unite to grant you benefit, they will not be able to benefit you one jot. About those who curry favour with the Kuffaar, Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quraan:
“What do they search for Izzat (respect and dignity) from them (the Kuffaar)? Verily all Izzat belongs unto Allah.”
It is precisely for this reason that Sayyidina Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) said:
“WE ARE A NATION WHOM ALLAH GRANTED IZZAT THROUGH ISLAM.”