Editorial: What Pattern Islamic State?
Official Magazine of the Woking Muslim Mission, Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking, UK
The Islamic Review (UK), April 1981 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 4)
For centuries an Islamic state has been the dream of every righteous Muslim. The wave of sorrow that swept the then entire Muslim world on the fall of the Ottoman Empire, a state Islamic only in name and not in practice, bears ample testimony to this desire of the Muslim world. Today almost the whole Islamic world is ringing with the clamour of the “Islamic Revolution.” At this juncture of history, when almost all the countries in Asia and Africa with a majority of Muslim population have achieved political independence by throwing off the colonial yoke and are now sovereign, the question of establishing a true Islamic state which might serve as a model to the rest of the world has gained ever more importance.
Glancing through the Muslim world the scene is not very encouraging. There are three hereditary kingships, some hereditary sheikdoms, a few military dictatorships, a few one-party governments, some so-called socialist people’s republics which are neither socialist nor people’s governments, one secular state, a couple of so-called democracies on the pattern of France or the United Kingdom, two communist states, and an emerging democracy dominated by the clergy. Constitutionally speaking none of these states fits the pattern of a true Islamic state, and the emergence of an Islamic state which might serve as a model to the rest of the world still remains a dream, nay a challenge to the Muslim intelligentsia.
It goes without saying that an Islamic state has to be different from both the communist dictatorships and the Western democracies, the two extremes of Western civilization. It has to be an ideological state wedded to the ideology taught by Islam—an ideology under which narrow nationalism has to make way for the emergence of the whole human race as a nation, and the will of God (Allah) has to take precedence over the will of man; that is, the pleasure of Allah rather than the pleasure of people has to be the core of law-making. The sovereignty of Allah rather than the sovereignty of mankind alone has to be established, for happiness and peace in this world are dependent on the laws of nature, the laws given by Allah, rather than laws and rules framed by men, who have always been the prey of petty prejudices, in spite of very high-sounding claims of fair-mindedness.
Today’s man, a product of hundreds of prejudices, a slave of his own thinking which in turn is formulated by his own environments, is hardly fit to be allowed to regulate the destiny of mankind. The sooner we realize this hard fact the better. So long as man tries to find the solution of global problems merely by his own whims, peace will elude mankind and we will be marching from one catastrophe to yet another catastrophe of greater magnitude.
A true Islamic state wherein the laws taught by Allah for world peace are practiced can set an example for mankind, and hence is the necessity of the time. It has essentially to be a democratic state, as there is no scope for autocratic rule in Islam, be it a kingship or a military or other dictatorship. Yet it has to be different from present-day Western democracies in essence and spirit. Here the party interest, the voters’ pleasure, the pulling down of the opposing party are the main factors to be taken into consideration by a person elected to the government, whereas in Islamic democracy these are and must be taken as a negation of real democratic values, as they all fall against righteousness.
The essence and the central idea of an Islamic state has to be “Submission to Allah and Service to Mankind.” How it should be brought in and what forms should be adopted for representation of the people can easily be solved by jurists. The doors of Ijtihad have been left open on the ummah for all ages only for this purpose. The only requisite is that true and learned jurists address themselves to this problem rather than leaving it to politico-mullahs to play with the sentiments of simple Muslims through political sloganism.