Concept of democracy in Islam
CONCEPT of democracy in Islam is different from the western democracy, as in case of a country like Islamic Republic of Pakistan no law could be made repugnant to Islamic injunctions, whereas in latter case it is liberal democracy without any constraints. In the historical Fatwa, Paigham-i-Pakistan, all renowned Mufits and Ulema of Pakistan endorsed that Constitution of Pakistan. They referred to Article 227 (1) of the Constitution, which states: “All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam, as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, in this Part referred to as the Injunctions of Islam, and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such injunctions.” Country’s most prominent religious scholars believe that the Constitution of Pakistan is based on Islamic injunctions, and there is no space for secular laws in Pakistan as prevalent in western democracies.
Paigham-i-Pakistan comprises a joint declaration and a unanimous fatwa, which is reflective of the collective thinking of the state of Pakistan. The document has been prepared with the assistance and support of state institutions and with the cooperation of all the leading Ulema, Madaris and religious organizations of the country. The message contained in the declaration makes adherence to the 1973 constitution, and to the legal system prevailing in Pakistan imperative. It stated, as ratified by the Council of Islamic Ideology, 95 per cent of Pakistan’s laws are in line with Quran and Sunnah. It further says that any disagreement among different sects leading to hate speech and sectarian violence would be considered anarchic and punished accordingly. No individual, the document declares, can take the law into his/her hand on the pretext of blasphemy, and only the state can ascertain if an act of blasphemy has been carried or not.
Preamble of Constitution of Pakistan states: “Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust; And whereas it is the will of the people of Pakistan to establish an order; Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people; Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed; Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah; etc. etc.” Islam opposes persecution, aggression and terrorism in all its forms and manifestation. It actually requires of believers that innocent people should be protected against all kinds of persecution.
Pakistan’s Constitution is mindful of the fact that it seeks to rule a diverse populace divided along religious, cultural, ethnic and sectarian lines. It lays down a general rule that no law shall be made against the dictates of the Quran and Sunnah. Many religious scholars have remained members of the parliament under this Constitution and they took oath in the name of Allah to remain loyal to this Constitution. These facts and arguments refute Al-Qaeda and TTP’s false propaganda against Pakistan’s Constitution. Al-Qaeda, DAISH and TTP militants are misguiding the people to keep public away from democratic process in Pakistan and Iraq. They are running a propaganda campaign based on faulty arguments to prove that democracy is an anti-caliphate system. On the contrary, there is nothing un-Islamic in democracy and many renowned scholars and Ulema remained part of democratic system in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and Iran.
Our four rightly-guided Caliphs adopted the method of “ba’et” to display the public acceptance of their rule. Vote in Islamic societies in a way is modern equivalent of “Ba’et” as today’s states consist of hundreds of millions of people and personal expression of “ba’et” is impossible. Therefore, vote through ballot is arranged to know the consent of public. The militants are totally ignorant of teachings of Prophet (PBUH) and the four rightly-guided Caliphs. They are promoting rule of fear, as they are well aware of the fact that public will never support them in elections. In this backdrop, they consider popular mode of government as a big obstacle in the way of implementing their agenda of terror. It is an irrefutable fact that Islam heralded the end of the ancient world of oppression, inequality and injustice, of pride and privileges based on distinctions of race, colour and creed.
Islam give the message of socio-economic justice, human dignity, reason and light. Islam is, indeed, a religion of peace and stands for progress and prosperity of mankind. Self-seeking elements and religious shysters, however, interpret Islam as a conservative religion upholding obscurantism; thus deviating from the simple, rational and humane spirit of Islam. Sultan Nizam-ul-Mulk had laid the foundation of Madarrassa Nizamia in Baghdad where the seekers of knowledge benefited, and renowned scholars like Qutubuddin Shaafi, Imam Ghazali and others enlightened them. When the West was in the Middle Ages – a part of it was an era of darkness. Spain at that time was the great Islamic civilization, and acted as transmitter of knowledge and Islamic culture to Europe. Muslims philosophers, thinkers, mathematicians and scientists such Al-kindi, Al Khwarizmi, Imam Razi, Ibne Sina, Ibn Al Haitham etc., played an important role in the progress of mankind.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.