Does the Qur'an suggest a specific fprm og government?:
Theocracy and the Civil State in Islam

Ezz Eddin Naguib في الأربعاء 02 مايو 2012



Theocracy and the Civil state in Islam.

الدولة الدينية والدولة المدنيةفي الإسلام

          Theocracy is derived from the word "theo" which means God, and "cracy" which means rule, so the term Theocracy is the rule of God. The ruler in a theocracy derives his authority from God. Kings of antiquity claimed to rule by divine right. But a theocracy can never be a benevolent one except when its ruler has access to God, being a Prophet or a Messenger of Allah. In that case the ruler can never wrong his people or err, for he is supervised by God and is being constantly corrected. Examples of such benevolent theocracies are quite few, for example the kingdoms of David and Solomon who followed King Saul who was appointed by God, not as a divine decree, but in response to the wish of the Jewish people for a king. And we read in the Qur'an that Allah stipulated only that they fight in His cause when required, and we also read that He corrected His prophets when they erred.

The Medina state of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was a not a theocracy, for a state is not formed by religion but it is formed by people who have common interests, and want to be together as a state for their mutual benefit. So, the Prophet's state was actually a civil state, for although the Messenger was at its head, it consisted of Muslims, Jews, and Heathens, with their different tribes, and also the Emigrants from Mecca, whereby they were moulded into a state by the Medina Pact. This Medina pact is considered by many historians to be the first written constitution for a multi-cultural society. The prophet was instructed by Allah: "It is by the mercy of Allah that you deal leniently with them. Had you been churlish or hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from about you. So, overlook their offences, and ask forgiveness for them, and consult them in (all) matters, then when you have resolved (on a course of action), put your trust in Allah; for indeed, Allah loves those who put their trust in Him." (The Family of Imran 159).

{فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظّاً غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لاَنفَضُّواْ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ} آل عمران 159  

          A civil state is really a democracy formed by civilians of all walks of life , and not by a certain ruling class whether it is a military junta or a religious group.

           Later, due to the repeated Jewish treacheries, the Jews were expelled from Medina, and later, as Islam flourished; many tribes sought incorporation into the budding Muslim state.

          When the Prophet (PBUH) died, the Helpers (the believers of Medina who helped the Prophet) gathered in the Porch of Bani Saiida to select a successor (a Caliph) to the Prophet from among them. The Immigrants heard about that and hurried there, and after a long controversy, Abu-Bakr, the Prophet's closest friend and father-in-law was chosen, by an overwhelming majority, as the first Caliph.

          Abu-Bakr's first words to the people maintained the civil nature of the state for he said: "I am not the best among you, so if I do well help me, and if I do bad correct me. The weak among you shall be strong until I give them their rights, and the strong among you shall be weak until I take your rights from them. Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Prophet, but if I disobey them then you are not bound to obey me."

"لست بخيركم، فإن أحسنت فأعينوني، وإن أسأت فقوموني، الضعيف فيكم قوي حتى آخذ الحق له، والقوي منكم ضعيف حتى آخذ الحق منه. أطيعوني ما أطعت الله ورسوله، فإن عصيت؛ فلا طاعة لي عليكم."

And thus Abu-Bakr acknowledged the right of the people to question his actions, and to object to them  if he deviates from Allah's straight path; which is consistent with Allah ruling: "O ye who believe, obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you, but when you dispute with each other over anything, refer it to Allah and his Messenger (the Qur'an), if you believe in Allah and the Last Day; for that is best (for you) and has better outcome." (Womn 59).

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً }النساء59

          After consulting the elders of Medina, Abu-Bakr appointed Omar Ben-al-Khattab as his successor. And Omar maintained the civil state and the right of people to question his actions.

          When Omar was stabbed by a Persian slave, he appointed a six-man panel to choose one from amongst them as his successor. And Othman Ben-Affan was chosen.

          For the first half of his reign, Othman followed the footsteps of his two great successors, but being very old, he soon succumbed to the influence if his closest relatives of the tribe of Bani-Umayyah, and gave them riches and high positions. When the people objected and demanded that he abdicate his office, he said, "I will not take off a shirt given me by Allah to wear."

"لاأخلع قميصا سربلنيه الله"   

And thus he sowed the notion of his divine right to rule and, and the state turned into a theocracy.

           There was a revolt, and the insurgents overran the city, and killed Othman, and chaos reigned for a time. Then the insurgent's leaders gathered, and chose Ali Ben-Abi-Talib as the Caliph.

          Muawiyah, the ruler of the Levant الشام, and Othman's relative, demanded from Alito give him Othman's murderers, but Ali was practically powerless at the time, and could not comply. Muawiyah seized the opportunity, and waged war against Ali on the pretext that Ali was protecting Othman's murderers. Later Ali was assassinated, and Muawiyah claimed the post of Caliph, and turned the state into an absolute monarchy, and appointed his son as his successor, and from that time the caliphate became a ruling dynasty.

          The Umayyad caliphs claimed that they rule by divine decree, and soon their religious advisers issued rulings that it is heresy to revolt against the caliph chosen by Allah even if he took the people's wealth, and flogged their backs.

          For more than thirteen centuries the Islamic world was ruled by tyrants, for excepting the rule of the first two caliphs, the first half of Othman's caliphate, and the tumultuous caliphate of Ali, and the short-lived caliphate of Omar Ben-Abd-Al-Aziz, we find that of the 109 caliphs who ruled us 104 were absolute tyrants.

The Qur'an does not recommend a certain form of government as an Islamic government, but it gives general recommendations for rule. These include justice, equality, consultation, leniency, and rejection of racial discrimination; all of which can be found in a democratic government. There are also some rulings regarding social intercourse as marriage and divorce etc. and specific legal rulings regarding theft, murder, adultery, and mischief-making in the land which can be incorporated into the laws of the state.   

          Now, many religious leaders clamour for restoration of the caliphate as the Islamic government. They are at least misguided, or more probably, they are outright liars and seekers of power, using Islam as a tool to attain it.

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