In the name of Allah ,the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The Political Aspect of Islam

            The Islamic legislation in the political domain, as in other domain, has introduced basic principles and general rules which constitute the nucleus of the Muslim State. The ruler of the Muslim State is considered an agent that implements the commands of Allah (swt) through the implementation of these rules and principles. The Holy Qur'an says, which meaning of is translated as: �Whoso judges not by that which Allah has revealed; such are disbelievers�  (The Qur'an, Chapter Al-Ma'ida, 5:44). The ruler of the Muslim State is representative of the whole nation delegated to perform the following:

    1. To do his best to provide honest and honorable ways of living for them, as stated by the Prophet Muhammad peace and pleassings of allah be upon him, which meaning of is translated as: �If a person is made to look after some affairs of the Muslims, but fails to work for their cause and their welfare as he does for himself, he will not get even the aroma of the Paradise.�  (Al-Tabarani). The ruler of the Muslim State must be as described by the Caliph Omar ibn Al-Khattab may Allah be pleased with him, when he said to his companions. Guide me to a man whom I can assign to take care of certain affairs of the Muslims which are of concern to me. They mentioned Abdur-Rahman ibn 'Auf. He said: "He is weak". They mentioned another one and he did not approve of him. Then they asked, Who do you want? He said: "I want a man who, when appointed a governor, he behaves as if he was one of them, and even when he is not their leader, he appears as if he were their leader." They said: "We think Ar-Rabi'a ibn Al-Harith is the one". Omar said: "you are right", and he appointed him.
    2. Not to appoint in authority over the Muslims anyone who is not up to bearing responsibility or trust, such as when he favors a friend or a relative more than worthier people to the position. Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, said to Yazeed ibn Sufyan when he sent him to Syria: "O Yazeed! You have relatives and you may favor them more than others with the rank of governor, which makes me most worried about you." Allah's Messenger peace and pleassings of allah be upon him, said which meaning of is translated as: �If one is placed in authority over the Muslims and he appoints some one over them, favoring him due to his relationship with him, Allah's curse be upon him and no acts (voluntary or obligatory shall be accepted from him until Allah throws him into Hell.�  (Bukhari & Muslim). The aforesaid rules and principles are characterized by the following:

    They are divine, ordained by Allah. According to them, all are equal; the ruler and the ruled, the rich and the poor, the noble and the lowly, the black and the white - No one, however high-ranking, is to violate them or pass laws that are in conflict with them. Omar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with them, said in this regard: "The Prince of the Faithful (i.e.: the Caliph) is one of you, but he is the most heavy-laden among you." All are required to respect these rules and principles and to demand their implementation by both the ruler and the ruled. In Islam there is no absolute power for any human, even the rulers powers are governed by the Law. In case he is in compliant with the Law, he has no right to being heard or obeyed. The Holy Prophet peace and pleassings of allah be upon him, said which meaning of is translated as: �It is obligatory upon a Muslim to listen and obey (the authority) whether he likes it or not; save when he is asked to do something sinful. If he is asked to do a sinful act, then there is no hearing or obedience.�  (Bukhari & Muslim). Consultation is the pivot of the political system of Islam. The Qur'an refers to this basic element by saying which meaning of is translated as: �It was by the mercy of Allah that you were lenient with them (O Muhammad), for if you had been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from round about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs.�  (The Qur'an, Ali-Imran, 3:159). In the former verse, Consultation is mentioned side by side with prayer, the pillar of Islam, thereby gaining prominence. The counsel of wise knowledgeable people should be sought in everything that relates to the nation's interests. At the end of the verse, Allah, glory to Him, praises the believers in general in view of their commitment to consultation in all their affairs. In the latter verse, Allah, the Exalted, instructs His Messenger, who was the Sovereign of the Muslim State, to seek counsel in those matters related to the interests and affairs of the people but no judgment or verdict was revealed by Allah about them. However if there is a clear text containing a verdict, it will not be subject to consultation. Allah's Messenger used to consult his companions as stated by Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him: �I have never seen a person who is more keen on consulting his companions than Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him.�  (Al-Tirmidhi). Several events indicated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, changed his mind after he had consulted his companions. Jurisprudence considered it obligatory for the ruler to consult the people about matters relating their interests. Even if he neglects consultation, people are required to insist on their right to say their word and give their opinion. That is based on the above mentioned verses, because the Islamic Shari'a (Law) considers the ruler a representative (of the nation) who is responsible to perform what is delegated to him. The people, in return, are required to control the ruler's implementation of the Law. Islam gives everyone the freedom of opinion and criticism in the manner he deems appropriate. The Gracious Prophet peace and pleassings of allah be upon him, said which meaning of is translated as: �Whoever amongst you notices something evil should correct it with his own hands, and if he is unable to do so, he should prohibit the same with his tongue, and if he is unable even to do this, he should at least consider it as bad in his heart; this is the lowest degree of faith.�  (Muslim). It even considers opinion-giving a duty, as indicated in the following Hadith, which meaning of is translated as: �The best Jihad (struggle in the cause of Allah) is to utter a word of justice before a tyrannical ruler.�  (Abu Dawood & Tirmidhi). This opinion-giving, however, should be within the limits of constructive criticism, away from slander, insult and trouble making. Abu Bakr addressed people, saying: "O people! I have been appointed as your ruler though I am not the best among you. So If you find me in the right, just help me. But if you find me in the wrong, just correct me. Obey me so long as I obey Allah in conducting your affairs. However, if I disobey Him I have no claim to your obedience." Omar ibn Al-Khattab, one day stood on the pulpit addressing people: "O people! If you find that I have some crookedness, correct me." One bedouin rose to his feet and said: "By Allah! If we find you crooked, we will correct you with our swords." Yet Omar did not get angry or harbor malice towards him, he only raised his hands towards the heaven and said: "Praise be to Allah, Who has created among our people a person who is able to correct the crookedness of Omar." The ruler was even called to account. Once, Omar addressed people while having a two-piece dress on. When he said: "O people! Listen and obey." A man stood up and said: No listening! No obedience! Omar asked: Why? The man answered: Because you have a two-piece dress while we have a single piece one (he had allocated one dress for each Muslim). Omar at once called out: Abdullah ibn Omar! Tell them. Abdullah said: "I gave him my dress." The man then said: "Now listen and obey." Thus Islam preserved rights and protected public and private freedoms. It kept the sources of legislation away from the narrow-scooped whims and desires of legislators, as their legislation is the outcome of personal or regional needs and circumstances. What was legislated yesterday is invalidated today, and what is legislated today is likely to be invalidated tomorrow. Islam has not legislated for other partial issues and affairs. This aims to leave the door open for Muslims to lay down proper rules and regulations that suit their conditions and meet their requirements and interest anywhere and at any time, provided such rules and regulations are not in conflict with the principles and fundamentals of Islam.