Social system in Islam - II

Social system in Islam - II

The unique feature of Islam:

Islam was born with the unique feature of amalgamating the secular with religious, the worldly with the other-worldly, and with a clear approach to socio-economic affairs and with a well-defined administrative system.

The famous Italian orientalist and prominent scholar of Islamic studies, Dr. Laura Veccia Vaglieri, has described somthing thoughtful about Islam in her well-known book Apologia dell Islamismo.

She writes: With Islam, the spirit was liberated from prejudice, man’s will be set free from the ties which had kept it bound to the will of other men, or other so-called hidden powers, priests, false guardians of mysteries, brokers of salvation; all those who pretended to be mediators between God and man and consequently believed that they had authority over other people’s wills, fell from their pedestals.

Because the Unity of God embraces all other unities, this religion was born with the unique feature of amalgamating the secular with religious, the worldly with the other-worldly, and with a clear approach to socio-economic affairs and with a well-defined administrative system.

Man became the servant of Allah Alone and towards other men he had only the obligations of one free man towards another. While men had suffered from the injustices of social differences, Islam proclaimed equality among human beings. Each Muslim was distinguished from other Muslims only by his greater fear of Allah, his good deeds, and his moral and intellectual qualities. [Apologia dell Islamismo, Dr. Laura Veccia Vaglieri, Page No: 33-34]

Allah Says (what means): {O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted} [Quran 49:13]

The most important and fundamental principle in Islam, is the doctrine of Monotheism. Monotheism in Islam is not only a theological principle but it is the cornerstone of Islamic epistemology and the most basic principle of the methodology of Islam and all Islamic studies. In brief, Monotheism is the motto and the soul of Islam. According to this principle, authority, judgment and power belong to Allah. This doctrine liberates the whole of humanity from all sorts of domination, and every kind of intermediary and subjugation, and provides Muslims with a strong sense of independence. This doctrine, together with the Islamic principle of "the duty of enjoining, spreading and encouraging good and forbidding evil" provides Muslims with the legal, spiritual, social, theological and ethical justification to establish a Divine order. Islam never approves imperialism, dictatorship, colonialism, oppression, tyranny, power politics, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, theocracy, oligarchy and monarchy.

Main principles of Islamic way of administration:

1) The foremost feature of the Islamic administration is that its subjects should have implicit faith in Allah, and it should be clearly understood that Governments or any establishments have no absolute power over them, nor are they its slaves. the Islamic government.

2) The main objective of the Islamic administration is to establish and promote the virtues approved by Allah as well as prevent and suppress the vices disliked by Him. It is for this reason that righteousness and respect for Allah should be displayed in the character of the head of the Islamic government. The entire divisions of authorities, such as Government employees, judges and military officers should imbibe this spirit and, in turn, infuse it into the Muslim society.

3) The rule of the law is indispensable to an Islamic social order. The Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was sent with the Book, the Constitution of a Islamic Nation, the Balance, and the Divine standard in conformity with which Authority puts the Book into practice so that the people subsist by absolute justice. Nobody could be above the law in a Islamic Nation, nor could they transgress its limits. It should be enforced for all without any discrimination, the courts being free from outside pressure. History has witnessed that most of the Muslim Caliphs and rulers set up the best examples adhering to this principle. In spite of enjoying more powers than kings of the past and presidents of the present, they adhered strictly to the law. Friendship and nepotism never induced them to ignore the prescribed rules and regulations, nor did their personal displeasure cause harm to any one against the mandate of the Islamic Law.

There are many astonishing articles in the Islamic Constitution; especially, for the smooth-running social order of the society and the peaceful wellbeing of the people. Some of the remarkable points among them as follows.

Those who make their own history are responsible for their own conditions:

1) Justice and the rule of the Law being the foremost articles of the Islamic constitution, it falls to the subjects to obey the government since Islam is strictly opposed to anarchy and social disorder of insjustice. This, however, does not mean that the subjects must obey their rulers in every instance. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is reported to have said: There is no obedience in sin…” [Abu Dawood], but the failure to obey does not mean it is necessary to break out in revolt against the government. Rather it means that Muslim individuals of the community are responsible for their own felicity and salvation. Allah Say (what means): {Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves} [Quran 13:11] Men make their own history and are responsible for their own condition individually and socially, thus advice and preaching should always come first.

2) Another important article in this constitution is the establishment of an advisory system of government. Advice of the learned, of pious persons and persons of sound judgment and expert knowledge enjoying the confidence of the people is always to be sought. In turn, these persons are expected to speak out and express their opinions according to the dictates of their conscience with precision and integrity. This advisory system is so important to a Muslim community that Allah speaks of the first, exemplary Muslim community as in praise of them. Allah Says (what means): {... and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves} [Quran 42:38] This importance becomes more explicit when the fact that this first community was led by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) himself is taken into consideration, who was described by Allah in the following verse. Allah Says (what means): {Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination} [Quran 53:3] Allah again shows the importance that He, the Almighty attaches to the advisory system or counsel by ordering His beloved Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) to counsel with his companions.

Even after the reverse the Muslims experienced at the Campaign of Uhud due to the disobedience of some Muslims’ soldiers to the Prophet’s  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) orders, He instructs it. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and his rightly-guided successors never avoided counsel where and when it was necessary. Thus, counsel is one of the cornerstones of an Islamic government.

3) Many affairs are settled through counsel or consultation in Islam. A judge settles through consultation a case about which he cannot arrive at an established verdict in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah, thus consultation, like Ijtihad (a juristic opinion of scholars on matters which are not specified comprehensively in the Quran or the Sunnah) and analogy, is one way of reaching a judgment. Further, any punishment, which is of a secondary nature, and not explicitly decreed in the Quran and the Sunnah can be given by the judge after consultation with authoritative Islamic scholars and jurists.

In Islam sovereignty is vested in Allah and the people are His representatives who carry out His Commandments on earth. They have to follow and obey the legislations given by Allah through His Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). Government is subservient to the Law of Allah and exercises its authority in accordance with the injunctions of Allah and within the limits prescribed by Him.

Although a system of Sultanate replaced this ideal system following the resignation of Hasan, the son of Ali Ibn Abu Talib  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them most of the Muslim rulers remained faithful and obedient to the law and dictates of the Islamic constitutional system. Lastly, through consultation again, scholarly representatives of the people should be able to make the ruler abdicate when he deviates from the Right Path.

5) Another article of the constitution provides for freedom of opinion. Furtherance of virtue and suppression of evil has been enjoined by Islam not only as the right of Muslims, but their essential duty. Freedom of conscience and speech is the pivot on which the Islamic society and the administration function in the right direction. The people have the liberty to find fault with the most prominent among the Muslims when they go astray, and have the right to be out-spoken in all matters, in a way that won’t create or result in a greater evil. A way to avoid a greater evil, is by knowing the etiquettes of enjoining good and forbidding evil to "the rulers" and to "the ruled.”

6) The last article of Islamic constitution is that the Public Treasury is Allah’s property and a Trust of the Muslims. Nothing should be received from unlawful (Haram) sources and nothing should spend for unlawful purposes. Moreover, all financial transactions must be transperent and under the law of Islamic ethics. The ruler enjoys only so much jurisdiction over it as a trustee has over the property of a minor orphan under his custody: Allah Says (what means): {And whoever, [when acting as guardian], is self-sufficient should refrain [from taking a fee]; and whoever is poor - let him take according to what is acceptable} [Quran 4:6]

7) The ruler is bound to account for the income and expenditure of the Public Treasury and the Muslims have every right to ask him for a full account of income and expenditure.

Social system in Islam - I

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