There was a time when monarchy was the only system of government known to the people. At that time Muslim scholars used to glorify monarchs and monarchy by saying that "The king is the shadow of Allah", as though Allah has a shadow! Now in modern times democracy is in vogue and the Sunni scholars are never tired of asserting in hundreds and thousands of articles, books and booklets that Islamic system of government is based upon democracy. They go so far as even to claim that democracy was established by Islam, forgetting the city-republics of Greece. In the second half of this century, socialism and communism are gaining hold of the undeveloped and partially developed countries; and I am not surprised to hear from many well-meaning Muslim scholars tirelessly asserting that Islam teaches and creates socialism. Some people in Pakistan and elsewhere have invented the slogan of 'Islamic Socialism.' What does this 'Islamic Socialism' mean I do not know. But I will not be surprised if within ten or twenty years these very people start claiming that Islam teaches Communism!
All this 'turning witH the wind' is making a mockery of Islamic system of leadership. Some time ago in a Muslim gathering in an African country,in which the President of the country was the guest of honour, a Muslim leader said in his lecture that Islam taught to 'Obey Allah, Obey the Apostle and your rulers.' In his reply the President (who, by the way, is a staunch Roman Catholic), said that he appreciated very much the wisdom of the commandment to obey Allah and the Apostle of Allah; but he could not understand the logic behind the order to obey 'your rulers.' What if a ruler is unjust and tyrant? Does Islam enjoin the Muslims to obey him passively without any resistence?
This intelligent question demands an intelligent reply. It can not be brushed aside. The fact is that the person who invited that criticism, did so because of his misinterpretation of the Holy Quran.
Let us see, what is the system of Islamic leadership. Is it democracy? First let us see what is democracy. The best definition of democracy was given by Abraham Lincoln when he said that democracy is the "government of the people by the people for the people."
But in Islam it is not the government 'of the people'; it is the 'government of Allah.' How do the people govern themselves? They govern themselves by making their own laws; in Islam laws are made not by the people, but by Allah; these laws are promulgated not by the consent and decree of the people, but by the prophet, by command of Allah. The people have no say in the legislation; they are required to follow, not to make any comment or suggestion about those laws and legislations.
Coming to the phrase 'by the people', let us see how people govern themselves. They do so by eleeting their own rulers. The Holy Prophet, who was the supreme executive, judicial and overall authority of the Islamic government, was not elected by the people. In fact, had the people of Mecca been allowed to exercise their choice they would have elected either Urwa bin Masud or Walid bin Mughira as the prophet of Allah! Vide Quran,
"And they say:
Why was not this Quran revealed to a man of
importance in the two towns?"
QURAN: 43: 31.
So not only that the Supreme Head of the Islamic state was appointed without any consultation of the people, but in fact, it was against their expressed wishes. The Holy Prophet is the Supreme-most authority of Islam: he combines in his person all the functions of legislative, executive and judicial wings of the government; and he was not elected by the people.
So Islam is neither the government of the people nor by the people. There is no legislation by the people; and the executive and judiciary is not responsible to the people.
Nor is it, for that matter, a government 'for the people'. Islamic system from the beginning to the end, is 'for Allah'. Every thing must be done' for Allah'; if it is done 'for the people', it is termed as polytheism.
Whatever you do-whether it is prayer or charity, social service or family functions, obedience to parents or love of the neighbour, leading in prayer or deciding a case, entering into war or concluding a peace must be 'Qurbatan Ilallah'- to become nearer to Allah, to gain pleasure of Allah. In Islam, every thing is for Allah.
ln short. the lslamlc forrn of the government is the government of Allah, by the representative of Allah to gain the pleasure of Allah.
"And I did not create Jinn and human beings
but so that they worship me."
QURAN: 51: 56
It is a Theocracy: and it is the nature and characteristic of the Islamic leadership. And how does it effect the meaning of the aforementioned Ayat of the 'obedience' will be seen from later chapters.