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Lady Evelyn Cobbold, daughter of seventh Earl of Dunmore (ca1930): The more I read (about Islam) and the more I studied, the more convinced I became that Islam was the most practical religion, and the one most calculated to solve the worlds many perplexing problems, and bring humanity peace and happiness.
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Islam and Governance
The issue of politics and Islam has been the topic of much controversy in the media and intellectual circles worldwide. This phenomenon is due to the fact that politics, the administrating of the people's affairs, is an integral part of the Islam. The notion of secularism and man-made laws is totally alien to Islam. It is a basic precept of the Islamic creed is that the affairs of this life must be based on the commands and prohibitions of Allah, the Creator. And to this extent there is a unique political system of Islam that serves as the mechanism by which Islamic law is applied and the people's affairs are administered properly and consequently problems solved.

Unlike other religions, Islam did not leave a void in the political sphere. The Prophet Muhammad established a State in the city of Medina. He left behind a well-defined structure to carry out all the political functions of the State and to enable the society to implement Islam comprehensively and he encouraged his followers to follow this method of governance.

Article Contents:
Western Democracy^
It is worth noting at this point that the concept of politics in the West is considerably different, as summarized by Machiavelli, who is today considered to be one of the founders of modern day political thought. He wrote: "Politics is purely secular. It is the combat of men in search of power. Men are all alike, brutal, and therefore, all selfish politics must follow universal rules which are the same for all men. Therefore, the successful ruler must have studied history, must observe his contemporaries and be willing to exploit their weaknesses".

Political democracy is a ruling system which suggests in the famous words of Abraham Lincoln, "Government of the people, by the people, for the people". The essence of democracy in this sense is that people govern themselves. They do not do this directly, except in very small communities, but by voting for representatives, who promise to rule and legislate in the best interests of the people. But Capitalism has profoundly affected the politics of the West. It considers the 'good' of the society as a variable that relies almost wholly on what benefits the wealthy, powerful and elite. Rule of the corporate rich has eliminated the essence of democracy. Instead of the 'rule of the people, by the people, for the people' it has become an established oligarchy - rule of the few, by the few and for the few, where the few are the elite who are part of, or backed by, the corporate rich or landed wealthy.

"A Congress or an executive branch largely composed of men of great wealth or of their protgs will inevitably become a class dominated legislature in which the crucial decisions will predominately be made in favor of the interest of the affluent." (Political Campaign Financing Proposals, p.382)

The design of the Western society itself is such that a very small group of people can easily become dominant. In the words of US President Jimmy Carter, "The reason for the Constitution was to empower people of property over common people. Indeed, our definitions of self government and freedom have become linked, if not equated, to the interests of the corporation". Such domination makes it easier for the wealthy class to rule and influence government policies. "In a capitalist society, it is only necessary to convince a few wealthy people to get funds to launch any idea, however strange, and there are many such persons, many independent foci of support." (Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom.)

The electoral process has lost the purpose for which it was designed i.e., the government of the people, for the people, by the people. Election campaigning is designed in a way that an ordinary person is completely eliminated from it. "It is almost impossible for a poor man to run for the public office and... a man of moderate means can do so only if he has the backing of men and forces of great wealth," complained former US Senator Paul H. Douglas in 1967 Senate testimony.

It is often heard by those who promote this type of rule, that, whether the representatives rule in the interests of the elite band who are often major contributors of capital to such governments, or in the interests of the populous, is an important issue, but not a decisive factor. Yet, to call oneself democratic and give only pseudo power to the people is deceptive to say the least.

While capitalism permits and encourages interest group politics under the garb of a just and fair democratic process, Islam strictly subjects a politician to the laws of Allah.

The Islamic State^
The head of the Islamic State is not imposed upon the people. He represents the people and certainly does not represent God as in a papal theocracy. Hence, the terms such as autocracy, theocracy, and democracy are alien to the Islamic ideological vocabulary. The authority to legislate does not belong to the government or its head. The authority simply executes the laws that are already laid down by the Creator. If a problem occurs, the Islamic law is applied in that situation. And above all, the government is not free to initiate or execute any system unless derived from the Islamic texts. However, the people in the Islamic society participate in the implementation of the systems at all levels.

As for the Islamic state, it is a ruling authority, and a political entity that looks after the citizens' affairs according to the Islamic rules.

The Islamic state is unique in its nature, structure, what it stands for and the basis on which she is built. She is a state founded on the Islamic belief. For the Muslims, it is a foregone conclusion that there is no legislator but Allah, and that there is no sovereignty in this life and in the Islamic state except to the rule of Allah, not to the people, nor the ruler. Sovereignty is rather to the law of Allah alone.

Therefore, the people and the ruler alike have no mandatory powers to legislate any rule or any system or any law other than that revealed by Allah upon His Messenger . It is forbidden for the rulers to force people or even give them a choice in following systems and laws laid down by humans in order to run their affairs.

It is forbidden to have in the Islamic state any consideration to the concepts of nationalism, patriotism or autonomy (separation), because these concepts do not emanate from the Islamic belief, and they all contradict Islamic texts, which have abhorred and prohibited them and warned against adopting them. Furthermore, it is forbidden for the Islamic state to hold any monarchical, republican, dictatorial imperial concepts, for these do not emanate from the Islamic belief, and they too contradict the Islamic rules.

Allah in the Quran has forbidden His Messenger and all the Muslim rulers after him, from following people's whims and submitting to their desires. He has also warned them against falling for people's corruption, and being lured away from implementing what Allah has revealed. Allah described whoever rules by other than Islam as a wrongdoer and oppressor.

The Islamic state is a human state, not a holy one, and the rulers who run it are human beings, having no holiness or infallibility. It is the people who appoint them and not Allah, for He has ordained the authority to the people, and He has delegated the appointment of the Khalifah (Caliph) to it by the pledge of allegiance, so that he contracts to undertake the ruling on behalf of the people. He who undertakes the post of Khalifah (Caliph) would merely be a human, it is possible that he could err, forget, lie, betray or rebel; he would not be infallible, for infallibility is exclusive to the Prophets and Messengers. Consequently, if a Khalifah (Caliph) violates his contract of rule, he can be removed.

Therefore, Allah has ordered the Muslims to hold the ruler accountable, which He made their right, for the ruler has no holiness, and no infallibility. When the Messenger of Allah was asked: What is the best Jihad? He replied: "A word of truth uttered before a tyrant man of authority." He is reported to have said: "No by Allah, you shall command what is right and forbid what is evil, and you shall hold the hand of the oppressor and you shall curb him and confine him to following the truth."

Whenever the Khalifah (Caliph) adopts a rule, he must present his reason for adopting the rule and his methodology for deriving the rule before the Majlis as-Shura (Peoples Consultative Assembly). If a conflict arises between the Khalifah (Caliph) and the Assembly, then a Court of Unjust Acts must intervene to settle the dispute. Such a mechanism acts, aside from the political parties who continuously oversee the pursue and account the actions of the Executive, as a political safety valve to ensure that the Khalifah (Caliph) adopts rules based upon Islam and to manage the citizens affairs, and not for his own personal, or any particular groups interests.

The choice for today^
The simple fact is that the majority of Western citizens, and the vast majority of poor and working people, no longer believe that their government is relevant to their lives. They understand very clearly that real power rests with a wealthy elite and that voting for Tweedle-dum or Tweedle-dee is not going to change the reality or improve their lives.

Thus, democracy, in relation to Islam, is a set back to man, since it is a return to the days of enslavement to man by man, while Islam is liberation from man's enslavement by man, to the worship to the Creator of man.

At the end of the day, the political question boils down to whether or not a human being can be relied upon to be the constructor of his own values, guidelines and law or indeed could ever agree on one standard. History shows us that man is unable to reconcile between the competing values in a way that benefits humanity as a whole. Man made ideologies like Communism and indeed Capitalism, show their increasingly intolerant and totalitarian nature, and have an extreme bloody record in their relatively short histories.

Moreover, we see today in the West, claimed to be the pinnacle of civilization, the social cost of the capitalistic democratic system, the destruction of the noble qualities, the breaking up of the family, and the ever increasing crime and public disorder. Islam is opposes such a creed that establishes the sanctity of liberty above all other values and it rejects the notion put forward by the democrats that a human is the constructor of his own values, ends and purpose of life.

When this Islamic system of governance was in place, the Islamic world was considered to be the centre of civilization, advancement, stability, harmony between people of different creeds and colours.
Extract from a speech by Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett-Packard.^
There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world.

It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.

One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilizations commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.

And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.

Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.
When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.

While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization Im talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.
Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.

And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse populationthat included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.

This kind of enlightened leadership leadership that nurtured culture, sustainability, diversity and courage led to 800 years of invention and prosperity.

In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment to building societies and institutions that aspire to this kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance of leadership bold acts of leadership and decidedly personal acts of leadership. [1]

References:^

[1] CARLY FIORINA, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA SEPTEMBER 26, 2001 "TECHNOLOGY, BUSINESS AND OUR WAY OF LIFE: WHAT'S NEXT" http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/execteam/speeches/fiorina/minnesota01.html
Categories: Challenging Myths, Islam Explained, | Tags: Khilafah, Khalifah, government, ruling,

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Cached: 21/8/2009 at 11:24