Islamic Shura Is Democracy: Shaykh Muhammad Amaan Al Jaami

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In this day and age the educated’s circulated mistakes, that which we desire to deter before its sickness becomes irreparable, is their delusion that the advisory council demanded in Islam is the western style democracy. However they are two different affairs that never meet like light and darkness or the day and night. This is due to the fact that democracy is a foreign expression (unheard of in Islam) which means the majority (of people) rules. In other words the people adopt laws for themselves and enact legislation (they feel) is suitable for them without any consideration for Allah’s legislation to a point where the people are the legislative authority. It (as a result) is the worshiped deity and this is completed by way of representatives of parliament who act on behalf of the people.

As for consultation in Islam Allah made it a characteristic of the believer where He states:

و أمرهم شورى بينهم

“…and who conduct their matters by mutual consultation…” [Ash-Shura: 38]

Allah even ordered the Prophet Muhammad -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- to seek it. He the Exalted says:

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

“And by Allah’s mercy you behaved with them gently, and had you been severe and harsh hearted they would have turned away from you; so overlook their faults, seek forgiveness for them, and consult them in affairs. Then when you have made a decision put your trust in Allah, certainly Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.” [Ali-Imran: 159]

Thus the shura in reality is the expressing of an opinion to the consulted whether it be requested or not, and it is not compulsory by agreement of the scholars.

And from the more significant mistakes that we are obligated to be cautioned from is our youth falling into incorrect suspicions concerning the established rule in this Islamic land (Saudi Arabia). They believe it to be the rulings of a dictatorship in which it is binding to convert to a democratic rule. This being based on the influence of some Islamic movements -those who designate themselves as such- whose behavior Islam is free of. These movements along with their varying groups are categorized into two.

The First Category: Those who are ignorant concerning the true nature of democracy and dictatorship. This is a quality embedded in most members of these groups due to their lack of studying (and gaining) comprehension of Islam “whoever Allah wants good for He grants with understanding of the religion.” This category perhaps they are excused due to their ignorance, as a result it is said to them “learn first” because knowledge precedes statement and action. Likewise, from what is said to them is have a proper perception before placing a ruling because rulings being placed on a thing stem from the judges perception of that thing. In addition it should be said to him, “do not excessively praise a thing that you are not fully aware of.”

The Second Category: There is with them knowledge and awareness to the point where they differentiate between truth and falsehood, however their lack of advising the people, and their bad thoughts and evil intent causes them to stray, like that which their behavior manifests clearly and Allah’s aid is sought. Hence it is said to these individuals:

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تَلْبِسُونَ الْحَقَّ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُونَ الْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“O People of the Scripture! Why do you mix truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while you know?” [Ali-Imran: 71]

(this is quoted) due to them knowing that Saudi Arabia only rules by Islam. There is nothing besides that not democracy, not dictatorship, not partisanship. The Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is distinguished by this fact and to Allah belongs all bounty and praise. Also from the distinct traits of the Saudi society is that they are one community, so which party do you see? Is it the head of states party (faction)? No! It is nothing more than a governed community, a governed body by Allah’s legislation in which he revealed in His Book in which no falsehood comes to from before it or behind it. It is sent down by the All-Wise, The One Worthy of Praise.

It is a community that executes Allah’s legislation and they do not legislate anything for themselves. The king of this country and his supporters, ministers, governors, the scholars, judges, law enforcement officers, and every government official are all one community that only have executive authority they do not have legislative authority. It is not permissible in Islam for them to have such, on the contrary the legislation in which we are governed by is Allah’s legislation. Thus we praise Allah for that He who has guided us to this, and never could we find guidance were it not for Allah guiding us. We ask Allah to increase us in bounty. This community just as it believes in Allah’s legislation and is sufficed by it, in addition to that they disbelieve in other legislature. They disbelieve in democracy, dictatorships, and the partisanship of communism. They don’t believe in anything that alters Islam, and if so faith in Allah and His legislation is invalid until one disbelieves in all legislature besides Allah’s. This is implementation of Allah’s statement:

فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا


“So whoever disbelieves in all false deities and believes in Allah then he has grasped the most trust worthy of handholds that will never break.” [Al-Baqara: 256]

And His statement:

أَفَحُكْمَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ يَبْغُونَ ۚ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حُكْمًا لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ


“Do they seek a judgement of ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm faith.” [Al-Maidah: 50]

Consequently there are only two regulations with no third. Allah’s regulations and judgments of ignorance. So a person must pick and be pleased with one of the two, either the rule of Allah or the judgment of ignorance that which conflicts with Allah’s book. Therefore we must state publicly -regarding Allah’s favor- that this community has raised the banner of tawheed and as a result should not submit to any law that contradicts tawheed. Certainly surrendering to man made statutes nullifies tawheed thus there is no judgment except from Allah. In light of this there is no democracy, dictatorship, nor partisanship. Moreover there is no deity in truth except Allah. There is no Lord besides Him, no legislator other than Him, and no law except His.

This is the religion we have embraced, called to, and stand patient as it relates to harms that befall as a result of adopting it. There is neither deception nor obscurity therein and to Allah belongs all praise and bounty. Thus we ask Allah to increase us in sustenance.

Translated by Najeeb Al Anjelesi

Source:  حقيقة الشورى في الإسلام    



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