Islam's Approach Towards Democracy
It is the duty of the Islamic Movement in the coming phase to stand firm against totalitarian and dictatorial rule, political despotism and usurpation of people's right. The Islamic Movement should always stand by political freedom, as represented by a true, not false, democracy. It should clearly declare its refusal of tyrants and steer clear of all dictators, even if some tyrants appear to have good intentions towards the Movement in order to obtain some gains and only for a time that is usually short, as has been shown by experience
The Qur'an denounces tyrants such as Nimrudh, Pharoah, Haman and others, but it also dispraises those who follow tyrants and obey their orders. This is why Allah dispraises the people of Nuh saying : And (they) followed one whose wealth and children give him no increase but only loss.
Allah says of the people of Hud: And (they) followed the command of every proud obstinate (oppressor of the truth, from their leaders) (Quran 11:59) Allah also says of the people of Pharaoh: But they followed the command of Pharaoh, and the command of Pharaoh was no right guide. (Quran 11:97) And they obeyed him. Verily , they were a people who were rebellious (against Allah). (Quran 43:54)
A closer look at the history of the Muslim Ummah and the Islamic Movement in modern times should show clearly that the Islamic Ideology, the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Awakening have never flourished or borne fruit unless in an atmosphere of democracy and freedom , and have withered and become barren only at the times of oppression and tyranny that trod over the will of the people which clung to Islam. Such oppressive regimes imposed their Secularism, Socialism or Communism on their people by force and coercion, using covert torture and public executions, and employing those devilish tools that tore flesh, shed blood , crushed bones and destroyed souls.
We saw these practices in many Muslim countries including Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Iraq South Yemen, Somalia and North African States for varying periods of time, depending on the age or reign of the dictator in each country.
On the other hand, we saw the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Awakening bear fruit and flourish at the times of freedom and democracy, and in the wake of the collapse of imperial regimes that ruled people with fear and oppression. Therefore, I would not imagine that the Islamic Movement could support anything other than political freedom and democracy. The tyrants allowed every voice to be raised, except the voice of Islam; and let every trend express itself in the form of a political party or a body of some sort, except the Islamic current which is the only trend that actually speaks for this Ummah and expresses its creed, values ,essence and its very existence.
However, some Islamists still have their reservations on democracy and are even wary of the word 'democracy' itself. What I wish to stress here is that Islam is not democracy and democracy is not Islam. I would rather say that Islam is not attributed to any principle or system. Islam is unique in its means, ends and methodologies, and I do not wish that Western democracy be carried over to us with its bad ideologies and values without us adding to it from our values and ideologies in order to integrate it into our comprehensive system.
However, the tools and guaranties created by democracy are as close as can ever be to the realization of the political principles brought to this world by Islam to put a leash on the ambitions and whims of rulers. These principles are : shura , nasihah (advice), enjoining the good and forbidding the evil disobeying illegal orders, resisting unbelief and changing wrong by force when possible. It is only in democracy and political freedom that the power of parliament is evident that people's deputies can withdraw confidence from any government that breaches the constitution. It is also only in such an environment that the strength of free press , free parliament, opposition and the masses is most felt.
The fears of some people here that democracy makes the people a source of power and even legislation (although legislation is Allah's alone) should not be heeded, because we are supposed to be speaking of a population that is Muslim in its majority and has accepted Allah as its Lord, Muhammad as its Prophet and Islam as its Deen. Such a people would not be expected to pass a legislation that contradicts Islam and the incontestable principles and conclusive rules of Islam.
In any case, these fears can be overcome by one article stipulating that any legislation contradicting the incontestable provisions of Islam shall be null and void because Islam is the religion of the State and the source of legitimacy of all its institutions and therefore may not be contradicted, as a branch may not run against the main origin.
It should be known that the acceptance of the principle that legislation of rule belong to Allah does not take away from the Ummah its right to seek for itself the codes necessary to regulate its ever changing life and worldly affairs.
What we seek is that legislations and codes be within the limits of the flawless texts and the overall objectives of the Shari'ah and the Islamic Message. The binding texts are very few, while the area of 'permissibility' or legislative-free space is quite wide and the texts themselves are so flexible and capacious as to accommodate more than one understanding and accept more than one interpretation. This leads to the existence of several schools and philosophies within the expansive framework of Islam
Source: The Message International
Topics: Democracy, Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh)
if you quote the old testament and call it christian theology, you are contradicting yourself. the old testament and its creeds becomes secondary to Jesus. Read the New Testament and the story of the adultress and Jesus. I'm not well informed of Islam and do not quote the Quran as if I do. Perhaps, you should read and study the christian bible before quoting things and interpreting things out of it. this ignorance, shown on both sides, i believe is the reason we have this conflict between our religions. please help end this cycle. thank you.
ps- just in case you can't find the passage about the adultress and Jesus. when the jewish priests are about to order the stoning of the adultress, jesus tells them that those who are sinless may stone her. and no one was able to. that is christianity my friend. we are about love. now, some of us misrepresent this. so please try to learn about christianity before making any misinformed judgements.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most merciful. Allah is loving and merciful and
has the most beautiful name is the world. The Quran teaches us to love and respect our parents, family, neighbours, animals and the enviroments so I don't know which Quran you have been reading. Jesus(pbuh) will not take you to heaven but your own deeds so wake up and start working for tomorrow when you are no longer in this world because there is no short cut to paradise.
Peace and love
Islamic History has many great judicial figures among them is Ali (rah), prior to becoming the fourth Caliph.
Yes, in a society, laws do have to be made, and
in the hypothetical Islamic Judicial Branch of government, the Islamic Supreme Court, would be responsible for insuring that all laws and decrees are in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. There would be no law that would not be under its microscope, political, economical, criminal, taxation, organ donation, speed limits, regulation of logging, air pollution, farming, water rights and so forth. The court would ensure that the legislative branch shall not make any law that is contradictory to the Quran and Sunnah.
Please be aware, as you have cited cruelty in Islam regarding the stoning of a married adulteress, that the Bible (NIV) shows many incidents where stoning is ordered by God for various offenses. Read for instance:
The Lord said to Moses, 2 "Say to the Israelites: 'Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives  any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him. [Lev 20:2]
Try this one, and tell me if it sounds familiar:
10 " 'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife-with the wife of his neighbor-both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.
(How do you like them apples?) [Lev 20: 13]
Here's one for the defenders of free speech:
23 Then Moses spoke to the Israelites, and they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The Israelites did as the Lord commanded Moses. [Lev 24: 23]
Now Brit, you may be happy with your faith, that's all fine and dandy. But is it fair that you come to our site, disparage our faith while the legacy of the RCC is one of burning scientists to the stake, the Witch Hunt, the Spanish Inquisition, keeping absolutely mum while knowing about the Holocaust, the raping and killing and resource draining in S. America to fatten the Church's coffers. And what about the scandals that have choked the RC priests these days?
Frankly, I got to hand it to you: to keep faith with all this weighing on you is commendable.
We should learn from our pasts, Mulsims, Christians, and Jews alike; we should work together and spread goodness.
May God Bless Us All And Forgive Us.
Peace be with you,
Shawn, how much acid did you drop. Your toughts are incoherent, your words make me wince.
Go sober up, may be you'll make sense, then we can talk.
Today i took shahadah at a mosque near to my home town. I want to tell you briefly my story.
I was a Catholic Priest for over 34 years in Detroit Michigan. I went to seminary and was quite comfortable in the ministry for many years. However, after studying the Quran for the first time two years ago, I knew that something was missing from my life.
I began to study Quran and Sunnah with a deep interest. I knew that Isalm was the truth, but how could I, a Catholic Priest, take shahadah? I had a parish of over 450 families. What would they say?
When i visited the mosque, i met four other Catholic Priests, and two former pastors from Christian Churches who were now Muslim. I was shocked, amazed, and exicted all at the same time. Could Islam have a place for me as well?
I knew of the false teachings in the so called New Testament for many years. Jesus (pbuh) never claimed to be Allah(swt), he simply claimed to be a prophet.
Today, I went to the Mosque and said,
li illi illah, muhamadur rasul allah(swt)
Elhmadulilah brothers and sisters. I am no longer a Catholic Priest, but a true Muslim. Inshallah I spend the rest of my life teaching former Catholics who have come to Islam what true Islam is.
Come see my new website as it develops:
Rev. Andrew O'Mally
Former Priest for the ArchDiosesse of Detroit
On one hand the sheikh is saying ... "Therefore, I would not imagine that the Islamic Movement could support anything other than political freedom and democracy." Then in the very next paragraph he says.
"What I wish to stress here is that Islam is not democracy and democracy is not Islam. I would rather say that Islam is not attributed to any principle or system. Islam is unique in its means, ends and methodologies, and I do not wish that Western democracy be carried over to us with its bad ideologies and values without us adding to it from our values and ideologies in order to integrate it into our comprehensive system."
So basically there is a split personality the muslims should adhere to is that right? or are we supposed to add to the existing laws of contemporary 'democracies' to make some mutated for of Islam. Sheikh, what are you talking about ? Who are you trying to please ? Are you a man of the people of a man to please Allah (SWT) ?
Had Islam been sympathetic to democracy then after the death of the Prophet (SAW) we would have seen Abu Bakr in one area of muslim land, Umar on another, Uthman and Ali in their respective lands. They would have been ruling autonomously, simultaneously and not answerable to to each other. There would have been passport control to prevent muslims from moving from one region to the next and the mind can only wonder what else could have been done oudubillah! And thats the heart of the matter. The mind wanders, reality can change, but Quran remains. I wonder Mr Sheikh, was freedom and democracy ever considered in the time of the Sahaba?
Rather this is the case today with the Mubaraks, Musharrafs, Arafats, Prince Abdullas of the muslim world. When the muslims are in danger and being persecuted and killed they sit in their palaces and take their orders from their Supreme commander in America.
Its is very interesting how the sheiks of today seem to aimlessly meander and wander about with their words, trying to please everyone, but never really pleasing anyone but their own egos.
It is clear to anyone with a sound perception of reality that Democracy is a theoritical system and cannot ever be applied. The notion that it can work has ever worked is as mythical as the stories of the ancient greeks.
The only true legislator of mankind can ever be the creator. And the leader of the muslims ummah was always defined as the successor who would impliment the laws of Allah on the people.
So the question to be asked here is why does the sheikh not condone the representation of muslims by so many corrupt rulers upon the muslims and why muslims are divided into nationalist entities. The instructions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) clearly outlines this leader should be ONE Khalifa for the entire body of the muslims. Democracy and Freedom and Shariah are not synonomous. The muslim is a slave to Allah and sovreignty is to Him (SWT) alone.
I have no historical data to know what true Islamic society was. Caliphates were time of progress but at the same time there was significant conversions by use of force. That around the same time Muslims ruled India as well. Muslim rulers in fact imposed tax on non muslims over and above paid by muslims. My religion suffered at the hands of Muslims (ninth guru and 3 of his followers were tortured and killed becasue they refuse to convert).
This I can leave open that it was maybe not true islam. What concerns me is:
No major muslim cleric opposed taliban when they destroyed 3000 year old buddhas. Why was taliban not considered a regime of infidels because if I follow what is on this web site taliban was the most un islamic regime?
As some writers would know they are a large number of sikhs in middle east (migrant workers) in Kuwait they wanted to build a simple sikh place of worship it was denied why? It was denied under the name of islam? Cearly from a large numebr of response to this article that act of denial to sikhs in kuwait is unislamic so why have the clerics in kuwait not issued a notice their government asking it to stop this unislamic practice?
We cannot go on theory?
In theory Islam might be what you say.
But your leaders and clerics as they are are practising islam makes it out to be intolerant, undemocratic, not respecting other faiths (especially eastern religions), stops women etc.
So what is true islam? Islam that is being practised by taliban, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc or what the scholars and some of the writers are saying in there comments?
It seems in the west's eyes that a muslim country can not have any form of democracy. Democracy various.
Muslims reject any form of democracy that has the blessings of any western country. Let's make China a Democracy!
The west can only offer assistant to Muslim countries only when it is asked to do so. any forced democracy will not be accepted by anyone. First thing first. Don't support dictators that opporess Muslims.
Europe is just starting to practice democracy. It's has been 50-short years ago when european were butchering each other....It will take some time before others accept democracy.
Europeans claim that they invented democracy...and even themselves are not well suited for it. For most Muslims, the Sharia is fine. thank you very much.
Islam enjoyed the best known system of government in the history of humanity. Muslims started the firt, hospital, university, public works. Citizens will pay the least tax possible when there is an Islamic government (2.5%)per annum, iregardless of amt of money you earn. Citizens and non-citizens will pay the same rate. Read the history of any old truely islamic adminstration, go back upto thousand years and learn about how Islam was able to keep the peace among different ethnic groups in the region we know call The Middle East and research yourself how the jews and christians enjoyed true security under muslim goverments. True justice is under Islam.
Asaalam u Alaikum
I read the article and it was very good. I agree with you as you said, "Islam is not democracy and democracy is not Islam." It is absolutely true especially in western countries and in the U.S. As a Muslim woman, I have hard time finding a job; I have been judged by my appearance as I wear Hijab (alhamad u lellah). It is not a real democracy in western countries because we (Muslims) have no rights. As a brother Sajjad stated that he is happy that he is in U.S and does not live in an oppressive country with no rights or freedoms, I am not agree with his comments. What type of freedom do we have? Do we have the right to go to mosque without the F.B.I. agents? Do we have the right to find a good job for those who are identified as Muslims the way they dress up? Do we have the right and freedom to talk on the phone without being taped? Do we have the freedom to express and introduce Islam and its real concept in American media especially on T.V and stop them from their propaganda against Islam? ... No, we don't have this type of democracy, but we have the freedom of doing such things that most Muslims were not allowed to do them in their countries such as going to club, drinking, smoking, having boy friend, girl friend, marring with Hindu's........... Yes we do have this kind of freedoms and rights. In regard to the oppressive countries, what I want to tell is that all Muslim countries who are facing difficulties in their daily lives is because the western countries' foreign policies. The west has succeeded its goal of deviding Muslim Ummah. And we are still sleeping and enjoying our lives unfortunately.
We (Muslims) don't have any right and freedoms in America and I am hundred percent sure that our Muslim sisters and brothers in European countries face the same rights and freedoms as we do.
Ma a Salaam
Your sister in Islam.
People (Mainly men) of demogogic and megalomanic proportions can be found in any race, culture or ideology. Hitler, Judas, Mussolini, members of the IRA, all of the aforementioned have links to Christianity. The world is not without its problems. Humanity has this distorted view of having to label situations, people or things in order to be able to digest them.
For instance, my people have thought necessary to man hunt Osama Bin Laden. I'm not saying that we should not. What I am proposing is something slightly different. A sort of long term soultion, we need to learn and respect our differences, become enlightened as to the similarities that the majority of mankind possess. Answer this, do you believe in love? I do. Do you believe in respect? I do. We have so many similarities but seem to argue and disagree over what I can only percieve as small trivialities.
We believe in the same God, only our interpretations differ. Humanity has a lot to answer for. It is wrong for both Christian's, Muslim's, Hindu's etc to assuage war in the name of God, in order to drum up the sheperd like support of the masses.
I hope that we can learn to live together and are one day able to respect our differences. Until this endeavourance occurs, I wish you all luck. The current plight of both, innocent Iraq's and the innocent victims of terror sits firmly in my mind. I just hope that people stop using God's name in order to gain power. God would not have wanted this, be it an Islamic or Christi
With regards to the rights with in an islamic setup...it is well known (unlike what Mr. Singh says), that Islam preaches the rights of all communities with in an Islamic setup (or state). Meaning that there is no compulsion in religion. The muslims and non-muslims are free to worship as acording to their belief. All have similar rights and no one has the right to harm or defile anothers belief or religion. Neither is some one allowed to hurt anyone else, with in the community. In the Quran it is stated that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was sent as a blessing to the entire world(s). It is also known from Hadith that the prophet used to entertain people of other religion and regions at his house and even at the mosque. It was the Prophets exemplary actions that were the cause of many a conversions. May Allah guide us
Abraham saw.Iseen the furure through His lovethat loves THEM both! There are many roads
to the grandeurs that Yahweh has created. I find
that the best way "Dao" is through the love of an eternal "Father of all Being". His only begotten
Son "Jesus" is the Spirit of Truth which pervades all existence. Love is the only way, stop your hate and jealousy of others that were chosen to follow the ways of heaven. NO ONE IN HEAVEN KILLS OR SHUNS THE OTHER!!! I have seen Jesus in my dream/visions and He is as beautiful as He was when I excepted Him 20 years ago. Find the Jesus of Love and not the mohammed of hate. Trust me,
I speek for the Ceator of Being. He really has caled me to speek for Him. I have seen the future since 1995 so amazingly that the future will be my judge and Our Father in time.
May you find the true path and not that of the anti-christ's
I love you,
To Sham Islam does not equate good to be the same as evil. That has nothing to do with democracy. The reason that the split between Sunni and Shia was one of democracy the vote for a leader or would it be inherited. Democracy grew from the lessons of the Shura Concil in which the opinions of pious people was sought also the basis of Ijma(consensus of juristic opinion) is a democratic concept. The Hajj if you ever make it is democracy at its highest. The salat in the mosque is also about being democratic no one better than another foot to foot shoulder to shoulder. It is obvious that you know nothing of democracy. It is not saying that everything is permissible or that all are equal but that all have equal rights to the good things in life. Just as there is American democracy there is the democracy of Canada of England and of Islam if Islam is practiced as it should be all of its' adherents are promised a good life without want or need and those who misbehave are promised punishment without regard to social status. You will never find a more democratic book than the Qur'an nor a more democratic religion than Islam. It is the fault of Muslims and Muslim leaders(read dictators) that Islam is not presented in its true democratic light. That is one of the reasons that Islam is growing so fast you can practice to the best of your ability without fear of the religous police making up the rules as they go along and the public having no say at all. Read the Prophets last sermon and you are reading a true declaration of Independence and a truly democratic proclamation.
As Salaamu Aliakum
I must say that you do not have basic understanding of democracy. In your "democracy"
1) Islam will be the state religion;
2) All laws to confirm with Islamic "revealation"
3) Justice system based on Sharia
This is all fine but it assumes that people of other religions will have no rights. What about the rights of Buddhists, Hindus, Tao's etc. Sir, till Islam accepts basic human rights of all people (muslims and non muslims), gender equity, religious equity etc it cannot hope to have freedom. Today a Buddhist cannot even build a place of worship in middle east? Woman cannot drive a car in Saudi Arabia, Women could not go to school in Afghanistan, Women is being stoned to death in Nigeria (without DNA evidence). Till islamic scholars bring Sharia inline with the progress in science, Government under sharia will always be backward and once you revise sharia based on scientific knowledge you will find that it is no different from common civil law of most nations. Ummah has to realise that Sharia was written in 8th century AD because the savages of Arabia did not have any idea of humanity. The world has progressed from that time and people live in 21st century and are not the arabian savages of 8th century. Sharia needs to be revised to keep pace with humanity. Religion needs to be separated from state christians did that in 1400, hindus in 300 BC, muslims just slow to catch up.
Unfortunately, the venerable Shaykh Qaradawi is living in a world of illusion and fantasy!
The so-called "Islamic Movement" he talks about simply does not exist in the true meaning of this concept. There is no universal political brotherhood of Islamists, who are dedicated to true representative democracy; and even where some may exist, such as in Algeria or in Turkey, the ruling dictators or military guardians do not allow them to form a government, even when they have won elections by fair and democratic means.
We saw Islamists overthrown in both Algeria and Turkey, with Western approval and support.
At the same time, most Muslim nations do not allow indigenous political opposition to the ruling tyrant dictatorships. In many countries, such movements cannot afford to be visible or politically active, due to brute repression of the ruling despots---be it Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, etc.
Except in the Far East, most Muslim nations do not have a history of the democratic tradition. So the idea of "one-man, one vote" is alien to such nations, especially those in the Middle East, where some rulers claim to govern by 'divine right'. Saddam Hussein just won 100 percent of the electoral vote, except that he was the only candidate! What kind of democracy is that?
Finally, Professor Qadarawi gave us no concrete prescription to overcome this glaring electoral weakness in Muslim states, even though he wants the Islamic Movement to get rid of tyrant dictators.
It is no wonder that Emperor George Bush can sit comfortably in the White House and plan regime changes elsewhere--Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan ...!
does islam approve of it? certainly not. Therefore democracy has got nothing to do with islam it is a man made methodology of oppresion of the havenots by the haves.
The rights and obligations of each individual of the society has been clearly outlined by Allah in the quran and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh)there is no neccecity for people to look into other sources of man made ideas and deductions.
All in all the religion of islam stands tall amidst all defunct and imperfect idelogies created by the creation of Allah and will be a light to the whole of mankind until the day of judgement.
Good article. Would like to point out that while the author was naming countries who "that tore flesh, shed blood , crushed bones and destroyed souls" he forgot to mention SAUDI and Afganistan.
It is AMAZING how the Ummah as a whole is still in denial about the sick things that went on in Afganistan IN THE NAME OF ISLAM and the things that are CURRENTLY going on in Saudi...but the "custodians of the 2 holy mosques"
What a SHAME...the Ummah of Muhammad (SAW) ignorant, stupid and looking the other way because of PRIDE!
Almost any democratic system would be better than the oppresive systems in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. People need to be respected and allowed to practise thier religion in peace. Countries like Saudi Arabia will not even accept non-Saudi Muslims as citizens of their country.
At least we have the freedom to live with the rights of citizenship and freedom to practise our religion without persecution in the USA.
May Allah help his oppressed belivers from injustice and tyrants like Saddam.
I read the article and liked it very much. I have a comment regarding to Islamic vocabulary/ terms such as deen, Ummah... I have no problem with these words, but if a non Muslim, who does not have the knowledge of such words he/she, wants to read it , will have trouble to understand the idea, so if you please add the meaning of these kind of words that will be more helpful for them to understand the exact concept of this site(Islamic city) and its articles as well.