Knowledge, Humanity, Religion, Culture, Tolerance, Peace

4.Global Shari'a

Objective Rebuttal



Islam commands its followers to create a government that supports it to bring all people on earth under the rule of Islamic law.

Every religion which commends itself widely to human beings and lasts through some space of time has a glimpse of Truth in it. But Islam being the perfect light of Truth is bound to prevail. As the greater Light, through its own strength, outshines all lesser lights, so will Islam outshine all else, in spite of the displeasure of those to whom light is an offence. Allah says: “He it is who has sent forth His Apostle with the [task of spreading] guidance and the religion of truth, to the end that He may cause it to prevail over all [false] religion- however hateful this may be to those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God.” (Qur’an; 9:33, also 48:28, 3:19). The divine disposition of events in the coming of Islam and its promulgation by the Prophet (pbuh) are themselves evidence of the truth of Islam and its all-reaching character; for there is nothing which it has not influenced. The fast growth of Islam has forced them to launch a new crusade, because ideologically they can not outshine Islam. There is no need to enforce Islam or Shari’a upon others, they are willingly accepting Islam after pragmatic analysis viz their existing beliefs and spiritual deprivation.

Lack of understanding of Islam is bound to raise disdainful perceptions. While Bible mentions about rule through kings [1 Samuel;8:20] Qur’an emphasize government based upon Shura [consultation, core of modern democracy] (Qur’an; 42:38). The success of Islam rests in its doctrines like strong conviction of life hereafter, the cardinal doctrine of Islam. The life in this world is not an end in itself; it has to be viewed in totality along with final reward in hereafter. Hence worldly power and authority may not necessarily be the only reward or goal for believers, their main thrust is on eternal life in hereafter. However asceticism and monasticism is not prescribed by Islam. Success in this life and hereafter is the balanced approach with inclination to hereafter. It is elucidated by Qur’an: “And verily the hereafter will be better for thee than the present.” (Qur’an;93:4),“Those who do wish for the (things of) the Hereafter, and strive there for with all due striving, and have Faith,- They are the ones whose striving is acceptable (to Allah.). Of the bounties of Thy Lord we bestow freely on all- these As well As those: the bounties of Thy Lord are not closed (to anyone).. See How we have bestowed more on some than on others; but Verily the Hereafter is more In Rank and gradation and more In excellence” (Qur’an;17:19-21). The acquisition of power or rule in Islam is not for worldly gains of glory, wealth and splendor but to free the people form the yokes of materialistic ideologies which subjugate people for exploitation and oppression for benefit of few. This motivated the people of Visigothic kingdom in Spain to liberate the masses from the tyrannical, suppressive and corrupt rule of King Roderick.

Allah Grants, Kingship, Rule and Authority on Land to Any One, Even Unbelievers: The Sovereignty belongs to Allah. God is not bound to grant Kingship and Rule on the land to some specific people only; it is totally at His discretion. Hence high status wealth and honor is not symbol of closeness to Allah. He grants rule and authority on land to unbelievers as well as believers (pious and sinners) according to His Wisdom and Plan: “Say: "O Allah! Maalik al-Mulk [Lord of power and Rule] , You give power to whom You please and strip off power from whomsoever You please; You give honor to whom You please and disgrace to whom You please; all the good is in Your hand; surely You have power over everything.”(Qur’an;3:26). Prophet Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary Christ warned Jews: “Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”(Matthew;21:43)., It was the death-knell of the Jewish nation with their hopes of political and religious world leadership, ultimately transferred to the Children of Ishmael (Arabs & Muslims):

He may grant Authority & Rule to His believing servants to check mischief on land: “Had not Allah repelled some people by the might of others, the monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which Allah's praise is daily celebrated, would have been utterly demolished. Allah will certainly help those who help His cause; most surely Allah is Mighty, Powerful.”(Qur’an;22:40).“By Allah's will they routed them: and David slew Goliath; and Allah gave him power (al-Mulk) and wisdom and taught him whatever (else) He willed. And did not Allah check one set of people by means of another the earth would indeed be full of mischief but Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds.”(Qur’an;2:251). If believers as a community desert the cause of Allah and deviate from the straight path, He may punish them and replace with better people, [see Qur’an;4:133, 70:40-41;35:15-16]. It happened in destruction of Abbasids Arabs rulers through Mongols, who later converted to Islam, afterward Ottoman Turks took over the rule.

Rule and Power is not the sole domain of believers, it is also granted to Un-Believers:

As it is historically established fact that belief in One God or obedience to God is not the criteria for grant of rule and authority on the land. History is full of tyrants like Pharaoh, Alexander, Hitler and Stalin who built mighty empires despite being unbelievers. An example is quoted: “Remember how you were made successors (Khulafa) after 'Ad and settled in the land, capable of building mansions in the valleys and carving out homes in the mountains. Therefore, remember the favors of Allah and do not spread mischief in the land. The arrogant leaders from his nation asked the oppressed among them who have believed: "Do you really believe that Salih is a Messenger from his Lord?" They replied: "We do indeed believe in the revelation which he has been sent."”(Qur’an;7:74-75).Remember that he made you successors (Khulafa) after the people of Noh and gave you a tall stature as compared to other people. Therefore, remember the favors that you have received from Allah, so that you may prosper. They replied: "Have you come to us with the demand that we should worship Allah Alone and give up those whom our forefathers used to worship? Well, bring us what you are threatening us with if what you say is true!"”(Qur’an;7:69-70).

Allah in His Mercy, grants prosperity and wealth to humanity as a whole. It is trial to check their gratefulness to God through obedience: “That it is He Who gives wealth and satisfaction”(Qur’an;53:48).“When they neglected the warning they had received, then, instead of punishment, We opened the gates of every kind of prosperity for them; but just as they were rejoicing in what they were given, We suddenly seized them; lo! They were plunged into despair! ;”(Qur’an;6:44  also 7:95 17:18, 21.35, 18:7).

Allah bestows His grace freely, but He never withdraws it arbitrarily. Before He changes their state and circumstances, an actual state of rebellion and contumacy has arisen in their own souls, which brings about its inevitable punishment:  “Allah has never changed the blessings which He has bestowed on a people until they themselves changed the condition of their souls; verily Allah hears all and knows all.”(Qur’an;8:53).“Allah never changes the condition of a people until they intend to change it themselves.”(Qur’an;13:11)

Allah is not intent on punishment. He created man virtuous and pure; he gave him intelligence and knowledge; he surrounded him with all sorts of instruments of His grace and mercy. If, in spite of all this, man distorts his own will and goes against Allah's Will, yet is Allah's forgiveness open to him if he will take it. It is only when he has made his own self blind and changed his own nature or soul away from the beautiful mould in which Allah formed it, that Allah's Wrath will descend on him and the favorable position in which Allah placed him will be changed. When once the punishment comes, there is no turning it back. None of the things which he relied upon- other than Allah-can possibly protect him.

Power to Believers:

The concept of Khilafat is has been adopted as a maxim by some organizations and groups in Muslim countries to seek support form the masses to gain power. Some of them believe in peaceful struggle while the extremist justify use of violence and terrorism to get in to power. It is claimed that through establishment of Khilafat they will be able to implement Shari’a, get rid of corrupt rulers, provide quick justice, end oppression of Muslims and exploitation of their resource by super powers. Hence they will regain the lost glory of Muslim Ummah by uniting them under a Khalifah. Some even think of extending to global level.  They derive support form verse 55, of Surah Nur (24), commonly known as ‘Ayah Ishtikhlaf’ [The Verse for Khilafat]:

 “Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), (yasta-khlif-anna -hum fe-al-'ard) As He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their Religion - the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (Their state), after the fear In which They (lived), to one of security and peace: 'They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. 'If any do reject Faith after this, They are rebellious and wicked.”(Qur’an;24:55).

Instead of taking this one verse in isolation, it may be appropriate that it may be read and interpreted against the background of the Qur'an as a whole. The general divine policy for grant of Khilafat in the sense of power, rule, and kingship has been outlined in the verses of Qur’an mentioned above.[Qur’an;3:26, 2:251, 22:40, 5:40, 48:14. 47:38, 4:133, 70:40-41, 35:15-16, 7:69, 7:74, 8:53, 13:11].

Majority of scholars including Syed Abul Ala Moududi and Moulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi through Ibn Kathir, agree that the direct addressees of this promise of Allah, were the Muslims living in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). However indirectly it may also apply to the future generations of Muslims under identical conditions. The promise of Allah for bestowal of successorship (Khalifah) in the land is ONLY for those believers, who are true in faith, pious in character, sincere in devotion and who follow Allah's religion in letter and spirit eschewing every tinge of shirk (polytheism). Allah warn the hypocrites that this promise is not meant for those people who are Muslims in name only, lacking above mentioned qualities and pay mere lip service to Islam, they are neither worthy of this promise nor its addressees. Therefore they should entertain no hope of having any share in Khalifah (successorship) in the land. 

Muslims believe that Prophet Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary (peace be upon him), will return before end of the world. He will prove that he was only a messenger of God and a human being, nothing more. He will kill the swine, break the cross, and abolish Jazyah [a tax taken from the non-Muslims who are in the protection of the Muslim government]. He will establish the Kingdom of God, all submitting to the will of God (Islam). He will rule as just ruler for 40 years, kill anti Christ (Shahi-Bukhari:3:425, 656,4:657, Abu-Dawud, Hadith:2025). Hence any one else trying to under take the mission of Prophet Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary (peace be upon him) can himself find his place!

Political Philosophy of Islam:

In the traditional democracies where Sovereignty belongs to the people, exercised thorough their elected representatives, in Islam the Sovereignty belongs to Allah [Qur’an;9:116], “Allah grants kingship [rule] to whom He pleases."(Qur’an;2:247). The power is exercised by the ruler, elected or chosen by Muslims through consultation (Shura, 42:38) as representative (Khalifah) through Shari’a [Islamic law]. Islamic philosophy is based on the belief that all spheres of life (including hereafter), spiritual, social, political, and economic form an indivisible unity that must be thoroughly imbued with Islamic values. This ideal forms such concepts as "Islamic law" (Shari’a) and the "Islamic state" and accounts for Islam's strong emphasis on social & spiritual life and duties in society. Even the cardinal religious duties prescribed in the five pillars of Islam have clear social implications therefore; religious authorities have had considerable political influence in the Muslim societies.

Caliphate-A Political Concept: A caliphate is the traditional Islamic form of government, headed by a Khalifah (Caliph), either appointed or elected, who is considered the political leader of all Muslims. The caliphate also incorporates a shura, a body similar to a parliament that represents the will of the people and may elect and advise the caliph. One group of thinkers considers that the concept of Caliphate as a political concept does not rely on any clear evidence from the Sunnah. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) established a state at Medina comprising believers and non believers, he did mention about his successors in rule (Khalifah). Narrated Abu Huraira; The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The Israelis used to be politically ruled and governed by prophets: Whenever a Prophet died, another would take over his place. There will be no prophet after me, but there will be Caliphs who will increase in number."[Extract from Sahih Bukhari volume.4, Number.661].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) however did not specifically advocate any form of government, or the political entity. This is the reason why the choice of the first five caliphs in Islam took five different procedures. All of them meet the general principle that Islamic government is consultative (shura), practice justice, and establish system of Prayer (Salah) and Zakah (alms, obligatory charity), enjoining good, forbidding evil in line with Qur’anic injunctions at 42:38, 3:159 and 22:41. The era of first four caliphs is considered as an era of Khilafat-e-Rashida [Rightly Guided Caliphs]. The individual character, personalities of first four caliphs and their strict adherence to the tenets of Islam being close associate of Prophet (peace be upon him) made them a role model for others to follow. However no Muslim ruler could ever reach closer to the high standards of ‘Khilafat-e-Rashida’ except Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz (682-720), [also called Umar-II]. The other rulers in Muslim history, who declared to be Caliph, were hereditary kings, using ‘Khalifah’ as title to claim some legitimacy and religious support.

Khilafat- Historic Overview: Though originally, and ideally according to some, a caliphate  is a unique entity that unites all Muslims under its rule, there have been concurrent and even competing caliphates at some points in history. The caliphate began after the death of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).  The first four successors to that office were chosen by consensus of the Muslim community’s elders and were known as leaders of the believers. After them the caliphate became hereditary. Two principle dynasties, the Umayyads and Abbasids, dominated the caliphate until destruction by Mongols in 1258. The Mamluk sultanate kept members of the Abbasid family as titular caliphs in Cairo until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. Ottoman sultans were then widely recognized as caliphs till abolition of the caliphate by Atatürk in 1924 on establishment of republic of Turkey.

While the majorities of caliphates have been centered in the Middle East and exercised authority over Muslims around the world, a notable exception is the Caliphate of Cordoba [Spain] that ruled the Iberian Peninsula during the 10th and 11th centuries. The Iberian Peninsula became part of the Islamic Empire during the 8th century, when the Umayyad Caliphate ruled out of Damascus. In 750, the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads in the Middle East, marking the beginning of a five-century dynasty. However, descendents of the Umayyads remained in control of Spain, eventually setting up a caliphate there. Many of Spain's most famous and beautiful buildings date from the period of the caliphate, including the Great Mosque of Córdoba (Qurtaba).

It should be noted that, although the office of the caliph (Khalifah, one who is successor to the Prophet in rule) is not a spiritual office [First Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, may be an exception being very close pious companions of Prophet (peace be upon him), directly taught and groomed by him], but the institution was imbued with political and religious symbolism, particularly regarding the unity of the Muslim community hence traditionally many Muslim rulers symbolically bore allegiance to the Caliph. The caliph held temporal and sometimes a degree of spiritual authority this does not imply any functions comparable to those of the Roman Catholic Pope. The caliph has no authority either to define dogma or, indeed, even to legislate. He is the chief executive of a community based upon religion, and his primary function is to implement the sacred law and work in the general interests of the community. He himself is not above the law and if necessary can even be deposed, at least in theory. The ruler could not become absolute because a basic restraint was placed upon him by the Shari’a law under which he held his authority and which he dutifully was bound to execute and defend. When, in the latter half of the 16th century, the Mughal emperor Akbar in India wanted to arrogate to himself the right of administrative-legal absolutism, the strong reaction of the orthodox thwarted his attempt. In general, the 'ulama` (religious scholars) jealously upheld the sovereign position of the Shari’a against the political authority.

The effective shift of power from the caliph to the sultan was, again, reflected in the redefinition of the functions of the caliph. It was conceded that, if the caliph administered through wazirs (viziers or ministers) or subordinate rulers (amirs), it was not necessary for him to embody all the physical, moral, and intellectual virtues theoretically insisted upon earlier. In practice, however, the caliph was no more than a titular head from the middle of the 10th century onward, when real power passed to self-made and adventurous amirs and sultans, who merely used the caliph's name for legitimacy.

The Islamic Government: The Islamic system of government is based on consultation, equal justice, freedom of expression, and serving the interest of the community. [see Qur’an;42:38, 39,42,43]A government that does not try its best to serve and protect the interests of the community is not Islamic even if it professes to believe in Islam and its system and values. In fact the aim of all Islamic legislation is to serve the interests of the community and to protect every individual - his self, mind, offspring, property and religion, as these are the five essentials of a human being. Islam does not lay down any rigid form of Islamic government, leaving this to every Muslim community to determine within the outlined guiding principles. Islamic government is a consultative one. While talking about consultative government, Islam does not lay down any form for how the consultation is to be made. Every Muslim community may decide what institutions to establish in order to achieve the requirement of consultation. If it opts for a democratic system of the type which prevails in Europe, then that system can certainly be accommodated within an Islamic government. In a different set up, a Muslim country may decide to choose its overall leader by elections or by a referendum or by some other means, which ensures that the feelings of the Muslim community are determined. Any of these methods is acceptable. A democratic government could be an Islamic government if it resolves to implement Islamic law, because by definition a democratic government provides a process of consultation. If such consultation is genuine and the law to be implemented is Islamic. It must also guarantee freedom of expression and equality of all people before the law. Secularism is incompatible with the Islamic system, because secularism allows no position for religion in the system of government. But if we take the aspect of equality of all people which secularism advocates, then this concept of secularism is compatible with Islam. What is most important to remember is that an Islamic government is an ideological government. It believes in the Islamic faith and it seeks to implement the laws of Islam, sparing no effort for the achievement of that goal.

A country is Islamic if it declares that it wants to conduct its affairs in line with the code of living God revealed in the Qur’an and explained by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This means that any law or regulation a country adopts will be in line with the message of Islam. If it is found that there is a contradiction between any part of a law in force in that country and Islamic teachings, then that law will be considered null and void while Islamic teachings will be implemented. Take, for example, a country, which declares itself Islamic, but the law in force permits usury, use of intoxicants, narcotics, gambling, fornication and, homosexuality, such country can not be called Islamic.

Last five hundred years witnessed gradual decline of Muslim empires and colonization of their lands by Christians from the West. Though most of Muslims got independence but the legacy continues in the form of neocolonialism. The nostalgia of Caliphate lingers on the collective memory of Muslims as a symbol of unity in the glorious past. The urge for revival of splendor and dignity has turned some to make efforts for revival of the Caliphate, as a quick fix to the complex problems of lost identify and grandeur but they lack mass support. Keeping in view the success of European Union model, it may not be rejected altogether. There are many other forums for regional cooperation in the new world which is a global village now. The high-tech communications, advancement in science and technology has brought people together. Hence a distant dream may come true in future. The OIC may act as spring board.

Shari’a is part of Islamic faith, which does not advocate compulsion and coercion: “If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?”(Qur’an;10:99, also 6:149); “There is no compulsion in religion”(Qur’an;2:256). Hence how it is justified to allege that; ‘Islam commands its followers to create a government that supports it to bring all people on earth under the rule of Islamic law’. However every one has the right to preach and convince others about its merits of his ideology, followers of capitalism, communism, and atheism are ever trying to project usefulness of their ideologies and systems, what’s wrong if Muslims inform the world about the merits of Shari’a?   Saudi Arabia has partly implemented Shari’a; the crime rate is among the lowest among similar cultural groups. As far as criminal law is concerned every society or state has its own laws, which could be based upon Roman Law, Common Law [English Law], Islamic Law or any other which they consider to be effective and suitable to them. If a society chooses to adopt Islamic criminal law even if they are non Muslims it is their choice. Similarly in an Islamic state, Shari’a is the law of land, then all the citizens will be governed by it [except on their religious matters], as is the case with those who adopt Roman Law. Lets take an other example, death penalty has been abolished in European Union states. In USA some states have it while others don’t. It’s their choice, then why object to adoption of Shari’a [Islamic Law] by choice not coercion! If some people think that Shari’a law is good to keep peace and order in society and peacefully plead for it, no one should get alarmed. The Muslims in UK or in EU want Shari’a as their personal law, it should not bother others.

While the ignorant extremist among Christians criticize Islamic and its political system, their intellectuals hold opposite views. The modern philosopher and political theorist, Rousseau (1712-78 C.E) admits, the practicability of the Islamic polity and records in ‘Social Contract’, that: ‘Muhammad held very sane views, and linked his political system well together; and as long as the form of his government continued under the Caliphs, who succeeded him, the government was indeed on and so far good’.

Sir George Bernard Shaw writes: "If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam." “I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity."…"I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”[ 'The Genuine Islam,' Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936]                                                             [Allah knows the best]

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