Islam and Its Political System

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Item Code: NAH184
Author: Dr. Mohammad Muslehuddin
Publisher: Kitab Bhavan
Language: English
Edition: 1999
ISBN: 817151281X
Pages: 120
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 200 gm
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Book Description


Political theories are mostly formulated on the conception that man is of evil nature. According to Hobbes, the great philosopher of Enlightenment period, whose theory of State has formed the main strand of political thought for many others, man is actuated by self interest and desires to take for himself what the other man wants and this embroils them with each other. Since all human behaviour is motivated by individual self-interest, the power of State and authority of law are justified because they contribute to the peace and security of human beings.

‘Security’, says he, ‘depends upon the existence of the government having a power to keep the peace and to apply the sanctions needed to curb man’s innately unsocial inclination.’

Islam, on the other hand, considers man as of good nature: “We have indeed created man in the best of moulds, then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low (95: 4).”

To man God has given the purest and good nature but if he follows after evil he will be abased to the lowest possible position. The purpose of Shariah is, therefore, to preserve his good nature and prevent him from following after evil. Hence the scheme of life, in Islam, is devised in such a manner that the believer, if he adheres to it, cannot fall a prey to evil.

Here, we refer to the two fundamentals of Islam –(1) Faith or the Belief in the Oneness of God and (2) Righteous acts, since “Believe and act righteously is the voice that echoes and reverberates in the Qur’ an and forms its leading theme.

How the belief in the Unity of God is accompanied by a - of fair play is evident from the fact that the believer cannot by a tyrant, for, in that way, he would be acting contrary to an important attribute of God who is Merciful. Further, he cannot be a liar, a deceiver and an evil doer because his account is with the Omnipotent and Omniscient God who knows what you conceal and what you reveal: “He knoweth well the (innermost secrets) of the hearts (11 :5); Whether ye show what is in your minds or conceal it, God calleth you to account for it (2: 284)”.

Belief in God and the virtues that attend it have yet another function in that they purify the very soul of man and divert his attention from sin to that of righteousness. And, in this, lies the prosperity and success of man as the Qur’an says “Truly he succeeds that purifies it (soul) and he fails that corrupts it” (91-9-10).

Soul is the seat of emotions and desire is that emotion which is directed to the possession of some object from which pleasure is expected. Desire is often so personal that its satisfaction leads men to deviate from the right path. To control such desires has seemed more fundamental than their satisfaction and it is well said that ‘it is better, by far, to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.’

Islamic Law with its norms of good and bad, virtue .and vice, has the full capacity to control desires which otherwise end in corruption and sin.

It is interesting to note that Plato agrees with St. Paul, according to whom man is “born in sin” and the life of man is a succession of vanities. Tossed about on the sea of desire, the ordinary man is forever restless and discontented.

Plato makes a three fold division of the soul of Man: (1) a reasoning part, (2) a spirited part, (3) and a desiring part. The reasoning part includes what is called reason or the faculty of penetrating below the surface of things to the reality that underlies it The second part of the soul, the spirited, is chiefly exemplified in the military man and is expressed in the qualities of courage, ferocity, fortitude, loyalty and patriotism, Thirdly there is the part of the soul that craves and desires. This is conceived as a kind of personal rag bag in which all the desires and impulses originate rise into consciousness and clamour for satisfaction. Unless checked and disciplined, these desires dominate our nature.

A man ruled by the third part of his soul, that is, desire is like a boat which having lost its rudder drifts first this way and then that according to the strongest puff of wind that fills its sails, or the .strongest current that deflects its keel. Such a boat is incapable of pursuing any planned or definite course and, voyaging at haphazard, is unable to avoid the reefs which lie across its course. Inevitably, then, it comes sooner or later upon destruction?

Here, he says, arises the need for reason to control and command desire, not denying it of its legitimate share. For living the good life, according to him, one should allow the first part of the soul to guide and dominate the third, enlisting the fire and spirit of the second to assist it in its task of control and dominance.

Plato’s political theory is, thus, closely modelled on the above formula. Just as there are three kinds of soul, so there are three kinds of State. The nature of State is determined by the class of man who is dominant in it. Thus there is philosophic State headed by the philosopher king in his “Republic”; military State at that of ‘Nazi Germany’ democracy is the State dominated by those, who, according to him, are money lovers, since money is wanted for the satisfaction of their desires, so States in which such men predominate will value money and give power to those who are skilled at money making.

To him the best State is that which is dominated by philosophers, men of reason and intellect.. who can very well control and manage the affairs of State.

This implies that reason is essential for state craft whereas reason is admittedly subject to change and liable to err. So it is not reason but revelation th91 counts. The unerring law of Islam, based as it is on the revelation of the All Knowing and All



I. Political Theories 6
a) The Greek Period 8
b) The Roman Period 9
c) The Medieval Period (1000-1400) 10
d) Renaissance (1400-1600) 10
e) The Enlightenment Period  
  (1600-1800) 10
II. Islam 13
III. Islamic Law 15
a) Islamic Law is the Divinely  
  Ordained System 17
b) Nature of Islamic Law 17
c) Legislation 21
d) Sources of Islamic Law 22
e) Rule or Doctrine of Necessity 24
IV. Islamic State 28
V. Nature of Islamic State 31
VI. Form of the Government 36
VII. Functions of Islamic State 39
VIII. Policy of Islamic State 41
IX. Foreign Policy 48
a) War 50
b) Slavery 53
c) Status of non-Muslims 55
X. Sovereignty of God 59
XI. Caliphate or Vicegerency of Man 61
a) Qualifications required for the Head  
  of State 63
XII. Appointment of Caliph (Head of State) 65
XIII. Caliphate by Usurpation 69
XIV Duties of Caliph (Head of State) 72
a) Social Security 75
b) Social Justice 75
c) Equality of All 78
d) Individual Freedom 79
XV. Caliph and the Shura 81
XVI. Shariah and the Existing Islamic States 97
XVII. Ijtihad (Interpretation of the Qur’an) 100
a) General Survey 100
b) The Meaning and Scope of Ijtihad 103


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