Saturday, 6 August 2011

Concept of the Islamic State

 The Concept of Islamic State

The Concept of Islamic State
Mohd. Nasran Mohamad, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Posted From


The term Islamic State is composed of two words: “Islam” and” State.” The Muslim Ummah has come to realise that the solution to their problems resides in creating the Islamic State, but much confusion remains in defining its parameters. Does a majority Muslim population establish an Islamic State, regardless of the laws, systems, and constitution imposed upon it? Does the partial implementation of some aspects of Islam or having the name Allah on the state flag suffice to consider a state as Islamic? Does the existence of Islamic movements in positions of authority constitute an Islamic State? Even if a state possesses all of these elements, it would not be considered the Islamic State. Because Islam is the Quran and the Sunnah, the Islamic state revolves around the Quran and the Sunnah and not around Muslims. The presence of a large Muslim population or Islamic movements does not produce the Islamic State.

The Formation of Islamic State

Because Islam is composed of the Aqidah (doctrine) and a collection of laws emanating from it, the Islamic State must derive its entire constitution from the Islamic Aqidah. All of the systems, laws, and regulations must emanate solely from the Islamic Aqidah and the sources of Shariah, and must be substantiated by evidence to verify such a law or article as derived from Islam, for a state to be considered Islamic.

Any contradiction that exists between any law or article in the constitution and Islam will exclude such a state from the circle of Islam. Islam is a complete way of life that necessitates the existence of the State to implement the Shariah comprehensively, both at an individual and societal level. Individuals can abide by some rules of Islam related to the prayer, fasting, and Hajj. The other rules of Islam that organise the various political, social, economic, and international relationships require the existence of the State with the authority to organise the myriad of relationships that characterise the society and the resources to mobilise the Ummah towards propagating Islam (Qadri 270).

Islam has to be the basis for the foreign policy between the Islamic State and other states. Consequently, Islam outlines the objective of the foreign policy of the State. The questioning of the ruler/state by the Ummah, individuals, or the political parties, has to be based upon Islam. Islam has to be the criterion for the State and the Ummah to measure the Islamicity of the State. Islam cannot be implemented by the State alone, Islam must be implement by both the Ummah and the State. The State implements Islam while the Ummah keeps a check and balance on the State. In addition, even the process of check and balance has to be based on Islam.

The Islamic State would not allow any concept or idea emanating from a source other than Islam, even if it had a similarity to Islam, to take root or establish itself within the social fabric. The Islamic State is not a desire that one aims to satisfy, but an obligation that Allah has decreed on Muslims and commanded them to execute; He warned of the punishment awaiting those who neglect this duty. How are they to please their Lord if the Glory and Dignity are not to Allah, nor to His Messenger, nor to the believers? How are they to be safe from His punishment if they do not establish a state that would prepare the army for battle, defend the territory, implement Allah’s penal code and rule by what Allah has revealed? Therefore, Muslims must establish the Islamic State, for Islam would not have an influential presence without it, and their country would not become an Islamic homeland unless it is ruled by the Islamic State (Qadri 270).

The Concept of Islamic State in the Qur’an and Hadith

First of all we should know whether there is any concept of Islamic state in the Qur’an or Hadith literature. A thorough examination of the scripture and Hadith literature shows that there is no such concept of Islamic state. In fact, after the death of the Holy Prophet the Muslims were not agreed even on the issue of his successor.

The Muslims split on the question—a section maintaining that the Prophet (PBUH) never appointed any successor and another section maintaining that he did. As far as the Qur’an is concerned there is, at best, a concept of a society rather than a state. The Qur’an lays emphasis on ‘adl and ihsan, i.e. justice and benevolence. A Qur’anic society must be based on these values. Also, the Qur’an strongly opposes zulm and ‘udwan, i.e. oppression and injustice. No society thus based on zulm and ‘udwan can qualify as an Islamic society. The Qur’anic values are most fundamental. It is thus debatable whether a state, declaring itself to be an Islamic state, can be legitimately accepted as such without basing the civil society on these values. We will throw more light on this later.

Historical Background

Pre Islamic Arab

First of all it is important to note that the pre-Islamic Arab society had not known any state structure. It was a predominantly a tribal society which did not know any distinction between a state and a civil society. There was no written law, much less a constitution. There was no governing authority either hereditary or elected. There was a senate called mala.’ It consisted of tribal chiefs of the tribes in the area. Any decision taken had to be unanimous and the tribal chiefs enforced the decision in their respective tribes. If a tribal chief dissented, the decision could not be implemented (Mahmassani 15).

There was no taxation system or any police or army. There was no concept of territorial governance or defence or policing. Each tribe followed its own customs and traditions. There were of course inter-tribal wars and all adult tribals took part in defending their tribal interests. The only law prevalent was that of qisas, i.e. retaliation. The Qur’an put it succinctly as “And there is life for you in retaliation, O men of understanding” (al. Baqarah, 2:179). The whole tribal law and ethic in pre-Islamic Arabia was based on the law of retaliation.

Islamic State of Madina

The Islamic movement in Mecca inherited this situation. When the Prophet and his companions faced severe persecution in Mecca they migrated to Madina, also known as Yathrib. Madina was also basically a tribal city governed by tribal laws. Like Mecca in Madina, too, there was no state, and only tribal customs and traditions prevailed. In fact Madina was worse in a way than Mecca. In Mecca inter-tribal wars were not much in evidence as it was turning into a commercial society and inter-tribal corporations for trade were coming into existence. However, Madina, being an oasis, was a semi- agricultural society and various tribes were at daggers drawn. It was to get rid of the inter-tribal warfare that the people of Madina invited the Holy Prophet as an arbitrator (al-Dhahabi 23).

The Prophet, a great spiritual and religious personality, commanded great respect and set out to establish a just society in Madina. First of all he drew up a pact between various tribal and religious groups known as Mithaq-i-Madina (i.e. the Medinese treaty), which guaranteed full autonomy to all tribes and religious groups like the Jews, the Muslims, and other pagan tribes.

Thus, all religious groups were free to follow their own law and tradition and there was no coercion in such matters. The Holy Qur’an also declared that “there is no compulsion in the matter of religion” (2:256). The Mithaq-i-Madina was a sort of preliminary constitution of the `state’ of Madina that went beyond a tribal structure and transcended the tribal boundaries in matters of common governance. It also laid down that if Madina is attacked by an outside force all will defend it together. Thus for the first time a concept of common territory, so necessary for a state to operate, evolved. Before this, as pointed out earlier, there was concept of tribal but not of territorial boundaries (al-Dhahabi 24).

The Prophet, in a way, took a revolutionary step in dissolving tribal bonds and laying more emphasis on ideological boundaries on one hand, and territorial boundaries, on the other. However, the Prophet’s aim was not to build a political community but to build a religious community instead. If Muslims evolved into a political community it was accidental rather than essential. Hence the Qur’an lays more emphasis on values, ethics, and morality than on any political doctrines. It is Din which matters more than governance. Allah says in the Qur’an that al-yauma akmaltu lakum dinakum, i.e. I have perfected your Din today (al-Ma’idah 5:3). Thus what the Qur’an gives us is a perfect Din, not a perfect political system. The political system had to evolve over a period of time and in keeping with the needs and requirements.

The Basic Task of Ummah

One of the basic duties of the Muslims is “enforcing what is good and combatting what is evil.” This clearly gives a moral and spiritual direction to an Islamic society. The later emphasis on integral association between religion and politics is, to the best of my knowledge, totally absent in the Holy Qur’an. The Prophet was an enforcer of good par excellence and he devoted his life to eradicating evil from society. But he never aspired for political power. He was one of the great spiritual persons born on this earth. He strove to inculcate spiritual power among his companions. The following verse of the Qur’an enunciates the basic philosophy of the Muslim community: “You are the best ummah (nation, community) raised up for people: you enjoin good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah” (Ali Imran 3:109).

Thus it will be seen that the basic task of the Muslim ummah is to build a moral society based on good and negation of evil. The unity of Muslims is possible only if they remain basically a religious community engaged in building a just society that has no elements of zulm (oppression and injustice), though there may be different ways of approaching the truth. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said that a society can persist with kufr (unbelief) but not with zulm (injustice) (Qadri 274). The Qur’an also describes Allah as Ahkam al-Hakimin, i.e. best of the Judges. (al-Tin 95:8). These are all value-giving injunctions and hence give a direction to the society.

Islam never required Muslims to evolve into a political community. Politics leads people basically to power-seeking projects and aspirations for power bring about division rather than unity. The Qur’an required Muslims to remain united and not entertain disputes weakening themselves. “And obey Allah and His Messenger,” the Qur’an says, “and dispute not one with another, lest you get weak-hearted and your power depart, and be steadfast. Surely Allah is with the steadfast” (al-Anfal 8:46).

Political Power
When someone aspires for political power they dispute with others and thus become weak, which is what Muslims have been warned against. And in the history of Islam the dispute between Muslims arose on the question of political power. Who should wield political power and who should rule was the main question after the death of the Holy prophet. Thus Muslims began to divide on the question of power.

Various disputes arose between different groups of Muslims even leading to bloodshed during the thirty years of what is known in Islamic history as Khulafa al-Rashidin (period of the rightly guided rule). This thirty year period is full of conflict and bloodshed. Three rightly-guided Caliphs out of four were assassinated. Why was the spirit of unity lost? Why did wars break out between different groups and parties? It was mainly on account of fights between different aspirants for power and pelf. The first signs of these aspirations appeared immediately after the death of the Holy Prophet (Majid 3).

The people of Mecca belonging to the tribe of Quraysh claimed their superiority over others and said that an Imam could only be from the tribe of Quraysh, as they first embraced Islam and were most cultured and cultivated, and had adequate experience. The supporters of the Prophet from Madina the Ansars claimed that they helped the Prophet when he was driven out of Mecca due to severe persecution by the people of Quraysh and hence they better deserved to succeed the Prophet. The Imam or Caliph, they claimed should be from amongst the Ansars.

The members of the family of the Prophet (PBUH) felt that “Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet and leader of the Hashimites, was better qualified to succeed the prophet” (Qadri 274). Thus these fissures appeared as different groups aspired for leadership and consequently for power associated with the nascent Muslim state.

It is also necessary to stress here that a preliminary state structure came into existence because it was historical and not religious need.We would like to elaborate this a bit. As every Muslim knows, the religious duties of Muslims are to pray, fast, pay the poor due (zakat), perform Haj, and believe in tawhid (unity of Allah) and not associate aught with Him. This is necessary for spiritual control over oneself. A Muslim can perform these obligations wherever he/she lives.

There is no need for an Islamic state for this. A Muslim living in a non-Muslim society can perform these obligations without let or hindrance. And even when there is Muslim rule no ruler can forcibly enforce these obligations on Muslims. Matters of ‘ibadat (i.e. acts of worship and spiritual exercises) cannot be coercively enforced by any authority. It is a matter between human beings and Allah. However, it is different matter as far as mu’amalat (i.e. relations between human beings) are concerned. A state has to govern these mu’amalat and the ultimate aim of the state is to set up a society based on justice and benevolence (‘adl and ihsan in the Qur’anic terms). ‘Adl and ‘ihsan are most fundamental human values and any state worth its salt has to strive to establish a society based on these values. But for this no particular form of state is needed. Even an honest monarch can do it. It is for this reason that the holy Qur’an praises prophet-rulers like Da’ud and Sulayman, who were kings, but Allah’s Prophet’s too. Even Queen Bilquis is praised for her just governance in the Qur’an though she was not a prophet herself.

But the Qur’an is also aware that such just rulers are normally far and few in between. The governance has to be as democratic as possible so that all adults can participate in it. If governance is left to an individual, or a monarch, the power may corrupt him or her as everyone knows absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is for this reason that the Qur’an refers to democratic governance when it says: “And those who respond to their Lord and keep up prayer, and whose affairs are (decided) by mutual consultation, and who spend out of what We have given them” (al-Shura 42:38). Thus the mutual affairs (those pertaining to governance) should be conducted only by mutual consultation which in contemporary political parlance will be construed as democratic governance.

Since in those days there was no well defined practice of political democracy, the Qur’an refers to it as `amruhum shura’ baynahum, i.e. affairs to be conducted through mutual consultation, which is a very meaningful way of hinting at democracy. The Qur’an is thus against totalitarian or monarchical rule. Here a problem may arise as far as the Shi’ah sects are concerned. They believe in the theory of imamah, i.e. only an Imam from the progeny of the Prophet’s son-in-law and his daughter, Fatima, can inherit the Prophet (PBUH). The Shi’ahs, in other words, reject the concept of khilafah, i.e. succession to the Prophet through election by the people. The right to succession is confined only to the members of the Prophet’s family and it is available to no one else. It is no doubt the very basis of the Shi’ah tradition and faith (Qadri 275).

But this hardly changes the ethos of governance. The state in Iran is today a democratically elected one. The President of Iran and the Majlis (parliament) are elective in nature. In today’s world there is no question of a ruler coming from the Prophet’s family. It was a different matter when the controversy arose immediately after the death of the holy Prophet. A group of people then did feel that Ali, the son-in law of the Prophet, who was rigorously just, who had fought and won many an Islamic battle, who was one of the bravest and most honest people, should have succeeded the Prophet. He was qualified for good governance in more ways than one.

Apart from being just, honest, and brave, he was most learned as well. The holy Prophet had described him as gateway to the city of knowledge, Prophet being the city of knowledge himself. He was also greatly confident of his knowledge. He often used to say “saluni qabla tafquduni,” i.e. ask me before you loose me. Thus even an imam from the Prophet’s family cannot be absolutist and has to base his rule on democratic principles. Thus even the Shi’ah theory of imamah cannot lead to absolutist or purely personal rule. Also, an imam can be infallible in religious matters, in laying down religious rulings. But in all secular and worldly matters he will be bound by democratic structures of governance.

Composition of Muslim Society

Once Islam spread to vast areas of the world outside the confines of Arabia, new ethnic and racial groups were added to its fold. This proved to be both the strength and the weakness of the Islamic society. Its strength lay in its rich diversity, and its weakness resulted from complex problems and group conflicts. The group conflicts greatly intensified even within the limited period of Khulafa’ al-Rashidin, which lasted for slightly less than thirty years. During this period, a number of groups came into existence.

The most powerful group was the tribe of Quraysh, who were muhajirs (immigrants) who migrated to Madina along with, or after, the Prophet to avoid persecution in Mecca. They claimed to be the sabiqun al-awwalun, i.e. those who responded to the call of Islam earlier than others and also belonged to the tribe of the Prophet. After the death of the Prophet they also came out with the doctrine that the Khilafat be confined to the tribe of Quraysh.

However, the Quraysh were divided into several clans of which the clans of Hashim (to which the Prophet himself belonged) and of Banu Umayyah were at loggerheads. Among the Qurayshites, the Hashimites and the Umayyads fought against each other for the leadership of the nascent Muslim state. Ali and his sons (particularly Hasan and Husain), who were claimants to the leadership, all belonged to the clan of Banu Hashim (al-Dhahjabi 35).

Then there were Ansars—those who belonged to the tribes of Aws and Khazraj of Madina and who had helped the Prophet by swearing allegiance to him, by helping him migrate to Madina, and by supporting him vis-a-vis his powerful opponents (hence Ansars means ‘helpers’). The Ansars also claimed leadership of the state after the death of the Prophet on the basis that they had helped the Prophet and that without their help his mission would not have survived. But the Qurayshites strongly resisted their claim to the Khilafat. Then the leaders of the Ansars proposed a compromise to let one from the Quraysh and one from the Ansars share the leadership but this was also turned down by the Qurayshites, who felt that it would lead to more conflict and confusion.

The third group was of those Muslims who embraced Islam from amongst the conquered non-Arab peoples of Iraqi, Persian, Egyptian, or Syrian origins. The emphasis of Islam on justice and equality of all believers was a great attraction for these non-Arab peoples. In the course of a few years, a large number of non-Arabs, most of them belonging to weaker sections of society, converted to Islam and demanded equal treatment. But despite strong emphasis of Islam on equality of all believers irrespective of their social status, nationality, colour, or race, the ruling classes among Muslims were not prepared to accord equal treatment to them. Most of the Muslims were accepted Muslims only when they were made mawla (affiliate or associate) of a tribe. Kufa and Basra in Iraq, Egypt, Damascus etc. became centres of these non-Arab Muslims. Many of these non-Arab people were those captured in various wars.

As for the first group, the Qurayshites, they wielded power with the second group of Ansars as their co-partners. These groups were contented to a great extent though some sub-groups were not. The Hashimites, for example, were a discontented group among the Qurayshites as the non-Hashimites had captured power. Similarly among the Ansars who were initially the allies of the Quraysh, the younger generation among them felt neglected.

The fact that the second Caliph was assassinated by a discontented non-Arab slave on the dispute about wages to be paid to him, showed the beginning of the dissidence in early Islamic society. It reached its peak during the period of 3rd Caliph Usman when the non-Arab people from Egypt, Kufa and Basra surrounded his house and murdered him in the presence of his wife when he was reciting the Holy Qur’an. Dr. Taha Husain, in his book, Al-fitnah al-Kubra (The Great Insurrection), has dealt with this problem. This uprising against Usman was a result of deep discontent found among them as they felt completely neglected and found themselves discriminated against.

Islam had tried to usher in a just society based on compassion, sensitivity towards other fellow human beings, equality, and human dignity. However, the well entrenched vested interests, though they pay lip service to these values, in practice sabotage them in various ways and continue to impose their own hegemony. The weaker sections and the downtrodden attracted by the revolutionary thrust of Islam and its sensitivity towards them, felt disillusioned and they revolted. This revolt brought about near anarchy in society and resulted in a civil war in which thousands were killed.

There was yet another group of Bedouins who lived in the desert and resented the hegemony of the urban elite. They considered the Khilafat an urban rule imposed on them. They were not accustomed to submission to any authority. Thus in the Battle of Camel fought between the fourth Caliph Ali and Amir Mu’awiyah, the Bedouins seceded from the army of Ali and raised the slogan alhukmulillah (Rule of Allah). They adopted extreme postures and caused much bloodshed in the early history of Islam.

Ultimately the Umayyads captured power and Khilafah was converted into monarchy. Maulana Abul A’ala Maududi has thrown detailed light on it in his book, Khilafat aur Mulukiyyat. Thus we see that the Islamic society went through great deal of turmoil and bloodshed and could not evolve a universally acceptable form of state. When the Abbasids overthrew Umayyads in the first half of the second century of Islam, there again was a great deal of bloodshed. When the Abbasids captured power, some Umayyads fled to Spain and established their own rule there. Now there were two Caliphs simultaneously in the Islamic world.

Earlier, the theory was that there could be only one Caliph or Imam at a time. Now that theory had to be revised in view of the empirical reality and two Caliphs at a time were accepted. But still later, at the end of 2nd century of Islam, the Fatimid Imams established their rule in Egypt and now there were several rulers at a time in the Islamic world. The Abbasid Caliphs were also reduced to nominal heads of the state as the Buwayhids and Saljuqs captured power and wielded real authority. They came to be known as Sultans, the real power behind the Abbasid caliphs. The Islamic political theory had to undergo change again. Now, by and large, non-Quraysh were wielding power and hence the theory of Quraysh alone becoming caliph had to be abandoned. Earlier, the Khawarij (Seceders), who were mainly Bedouins and hence non-Qurayshites, had rejected the theory that only a Quraysh could become the caliph.


Thus we see that the political theory of Islam had to undergo frequent changes to accommodate the empirical reality. It is, therefore, not possible to talk of an ‘Islamic State’ with a sense of finality. It is an extremely difficult task to evolve any ijma’ (consensus of Muslims) on the issue. Today also, there are several Muslim countries with varied forms of state, from monarchical to dictatorial and from semi-dictatorial to democratic. There are examples of each of these states, however, that call themselves ‘Islamic States.’ The forms and structures of state are bound to vary from place to place and time to time. It would be very difficult, for example, to create a democratic state in a feudal society.

Thus the Qur’an does not give much importance to the form of state but greatly emphasises the nature of society. While the state is contingent, the society based on values like justice, equality, compassion, and human dignity is a necessity in Islam. And needless to say, in our time it is only a democratic state with the widest possible power-sharing arrangement that can guarantee such a society. Also, as per the Qur’anic teachings, the Islamic state should guarantee equal rights to all ethnic, racial, cultural, tribal, and religious groups. The Qur’an considers racial, national, tribal, and linguistic differences signs of Allah and indicative of identity (see 30:22). It also accepts the right of other religious communities to follow their own religion and it also accords equal status to men and women (see 33:35 and al-Baqarah al-Ahzab 2:228). The Qur’an accepts plurality in society as the will of Allah (al-Ma’idah 5:48).

Thus, in view of all this, an Islamic state should have following characteristics:

1)It should be absolutely non-discriminatory on the basis of race, colour, language and nationality;
2)Guarantee gender equality;
3)Guarantee equal rights to all religious groups and accept plurality of religion as legitimate and;
4)It should be democratic in nature and its basic premise will be human dignity (al-Isra’ 17:70).

Works Cited
Al-Qur’an al-Karim
Al-Dhahabi. Tarikh al-Islam. Beirut: n.p. n.d.
Mahmassani Subhi. Falsafah al-Tashri’ fi al-Islam. Trans. Shah Alam. Hizbi, n.p., 1986.
Majid Ali Khan. The Pious Caliph. Kuwait: Islamic Book Publishers, 1982.
Muhammad Hamidullah. The Muslim Conduct of State. Karachi: Ashraf, 1986.
Al-Qadri, Anwar Ahmad. Islamic Jurisprudence in the Modern World. Karachi: n.p., 1973.

 The Falsity of the Concept of the Islamic State

by Abdassamad Clarke

The following is based on a series of postings on the DFC mailing list of Danish Muslims. The first section was in response to a preceding post and in its turn it elicited a reply that appeared to be cut and paste from a lengthy document, possibly from a web-site or a publication by the Hizb at-Tahrir to which I responded line-by-line. The whole has been worked on substantially, although I have not edited the original post espousing the idea of an Islamic state.
There is no word in the Qur'an or in the hadith literature for 'state'. The Arabic word that is commonly used - 'dawlah' - does not occur in the Qur'an. [The word doulah does occur inthe Qur'an. The best exegesis of both dawlah and doulah is in Sultaniyya by Shaykh Dr Abdalqadir as-Sufi.] I have never come across the use of this word 'dawlah' in the hadith or in the literature recording the early community of Islam [as far as my reading of ahadith has gone. If anyone knows of such a hadith, I would be very interested to learn of it].
Nevertheless, later muslims used the term, the Ottomans among others. The Ottomans were known as the Osmanli Dawlah and not the Ottoman Empire even though a word for Empire exists both in Arabic and Osmanlica. However, the Ottomans chose the term dawlah specifically in order not to use the term Empire.
The term 'state' begins to take its presentday signification in the seventeenth century in Europe, some dating it from the Treaty of Westphalia. Its most essential feature in the modern world is that of a governing entity that legislates, i.e. creates laws, and most usually in our contemporary situation through some form of process of representative democracy.

For the Ottomans, dawlah encompassed the khalifah and his appointees whose job it is to bring the shari'ah into being, but not to create legislation. (I am indebted to Professor Mehmed Maksudoglu for the above outline which is a paraphrase of what I understood from him.)

The concept of the Islamic state first came about in the modern world by means of the Islamic modernists, so let us first examine the issue of Islamic modernism or modernist Islam. It has various roots, but in essence it stems from a misunderstanding of Western dominance over the lands of Islam, which itself issues from a complete misreading of western history and the nature of Western society. The modernists assume that it was the features of Western society that were unusual to it and different from Islamic modes that gave Westerners dominance over the lands of Islam, and that therefore it is sufficient merely to imitate the West in those unusual features for there to be a resurgence of political power in the lands of Islam.

They mistakenly assume that Muslims can regain some power by taking those elements from the West which they think led to the apparent demise of Islam politically. Thus we have Islamic economics, Islamic constitutions, Islamic science, and Islamic banks, etc., etc. We have had all the rush to industrialise and to purchase armaments and fit out ridiculous 'modern' armies, which have all proved totally ineffective. The flaw in this is because there is a total misunderstanding of the nature of Western society and the modern state.
The very essence of the modern state is that it is a body which borrows enormous sums of money from banking institutions. This is needed desperately by the banks because they are in great need of large borrowers who will create grand projects and return the interest they owe their shareholders and depositors. There is tremendous pressure on bankers to put their funds to profitable use. Today those large borrowers are the different nation-states and the great multinational corporations. Then the state taxes its citizens to maintain the interest payments on the loans – the national debt [which must never be repaid].

The most fundamental mistake we make is when we think that the state taxes in order to pay for all its services. Rather the state taxes to keep paying the interest on its debts. Many of the huge state-services: for example, infrastructure, are paid for from loans.

It should be noted that a great number of matters: health services, education and social security were traditionally paid for by Islamic awqaf. The awqaf were genuine sadaqah jariyah - enduring sadaqahs. The awqaf were properties which had been returned to the ownership of Allah by private individuals and were administered by other private individuals for the benefit of whatever purpose they were dedicated. Thus in nineteenth century Turkey, over sixty percent of land was waqf property. Of course, Attaturk nationalised all of it, i.e. stole it for the purposes of the state. The rest of the muslim world has followed his lead.

The 'state', as we remarked above, denotes a body that legislates and enacts legislation; it creates laws. It is well known that before Islam, the companion Tamim ad-Dari, may Allah be pleased with him, had been an Arab Christian. While still a Christian he visited Madinah, and entered the mosque while the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was reciting the ayah in which Allah, exalted is He, mentions that the jews and the christians take their rabbis and priests as lords apart from Allah. When he spoke to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, he objected to this and said that they had not taken their priests as lords. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied that the rabbis and priests had declared some matters to be halal and some haram and that they, the jews and the christians, had taken those matters to be halal and haram, and that thus they had taken the rabbis and monks as their gods. In other words, making things halal and haram – legal and illegal – is the prerogative of Allah and His Messenger, and if anyone else does so it is an act of shirk.

Thus it is entirely irrelevant whether a single tyrannical individual [an autocrat] makes the laws or a committee of people [democrats], since they are arrogating powers which belong to Allah, which is an act of shirk. Islamic law-making is another matter, since the purpose is to find out what is most pleasing to Allah in any particular case, and for that recourse is had to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to the consensus of the people of knowledge, to the existing body of rulings and fatwas and finally to reasoning based on the aforementioned. In all of that, the intention is to follow an investigative approach until the judgement is reached that is closest to the revelation.

This is why, we object seriously to the use of the term 'Islamic State', just as we object, if possibly even more strenuously, to terms such as 'Islamic economics' and 'Islamic banks'. All of these concepts are based on the idea that we can Islamicise things which are fundamentally alien to Islam, and Allah knows best.
[The above is an edited version of my original post which elicited the following with my interpolated comments]
20. Islam is an Aqeeda and system and the State is its method of implementation
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is narrated to have said, "Al-Islam deen al-fitrah," and fitrah is held to be the natural condition of the human being and of all life. 'System - nidham' is not the same as fitrah, and could be seen as diametrically opposed to it. Therefore, how can you assert something so opposite to this well known hadith of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, unless you know of a much more sound statement such as "Al-Islam nidham wa dawlah"? Is there such a statement in the Qur'an or in the collections of ahadith or in the works of the classical ulama? If not, then this assertion represents something new, something which has been introduced (muhdath) from elsewhere, something originated and innovated (bid'ah).
Islam, in its capacity as the ideology of the State, society and life, has made the State and ruling a part of it.
In this sentence 'Islam' is the active subject of the verb 'has made'. Therefore, do you think that Islam is a being, a thinking rational being which makes decisions and does things?
And Islam ordered the Muslims to establish the State and ruling, and to rule by the rules of Islam.
The same again. Islam is the active subject of the verb 'ordered'. Even if we allow that you do not imagine 'Islam' to be a living, thinking, acting being, which you must admit would be a kind of shirk, but that you are using this language in a kind of metaphorical way, yet this language was never used before.
Listen to the old scholars. They never used to say, "Islam says this," or "Islam orders this," but they would say, "Allah, ta'ala, says in His Noble Book…" or "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, says…". They spoke like that to avoid any kind of shirk.
Some tens of verses have been revealed in the Qur'an about ruling and authority which order the Muslims to rule by that which Allah has revealed.
These ayat are very well known.
Likewise, hundreds of verses have been revealed which contain rules pertaining to the aspects of politics,
But politics in Arabic is siyasah which denotes the manner in which a ruler tends and manages his subjects, based on the way that a shepherd tends his flock, which is the primal metaphor of our siyasah: "each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be asked about his flock".
'Politics' in English denotes the manner today in which representatives of the people contend to be elected by the people, and then when elected deal with the pragmatics of banking and corporate power, the realities of the dominance of the almost invisible civil service bureaucracy over the political process, the shifting sands of coalitions and alliances, and the desperate need to be re-elected every four years.
I have already dealt with this at great length.
You know, as do I, that in its primal form, Islam has no standing army, and that thus we have no military in the sense of the West. Every muslim man ought to be ready to fight jihad, just as every muslim man ought to return to his trade and his ordinary life after peace is concluded. There is no salary for fighting, but there is a share in the spoils of victory. Therefore, to use the term 'military' falsely leads us to equate something very foreign with the transactions of Islam.
penal code,
When you say penal code, you summon up an image of the state punishing people for breaking the laws of the state, whereas in the shari'ah most crimes, such as manslaughter, murder, adultery and theft, are crimes against persons. Many such crimes permit of retaliation (qisas) from the person affected or his relatives. Although the amir must administer such retaliation, yet it is not because it is a crime against the state, but because he can do so without passion or vengeance, and Allah knows best.
transactions between individuals, and not to mention the many Ahadith which relate to these issues. All of them have been revealed in order to rule by them, to apply them and execute them.
Yes, indeed, but the secret of Islam, is that the muslim rules 'himself' or 'herself' by Islam first and foremost. Thus of the cases of adultery that happened in Madinah, most of the records of stoning to death - there are only a couple - relate to penitent adulterers who confessed and demanded their punishment, and who have high honour because of that. That sentence on them, is not a punishment in that sense, but a purification so that they can meet their Lord without a reckoning for that wrong action.
Indeed, we want the khalifah restored, and of that there is no doubt. However, it is well known that there is another usage of the word 'khalifah' which denotes man's existential standing in existence as the khalifah of Allah. What kept muslim society healthy, when it was healthy, was that each man and woman took responsibility for themselves and for everything around them, and if necessary for putting the ruler himself straight. People who are themselves khulafa over their own lives, deserve to be ruled by a khalifah who is a successor of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
They were truly implemented in the days of the Messenger (SAW) and the Righteous Caliphs (Khulafa ar-Rashidun) and the rulers who came after them.
That is the truth, and so let us return to that noble pattern. To do so, we need also to understand what they understood and to see what they saw, and a part of that is to use language in the way they used it and words with the same meanings that they used them.
All of this indicates that Islam is a system for ruling, state, society and life. Islam cannot have an active presence in life except if it was existent in a State which implements its rules.
There is no doubt that muslims must live in community and that a vital part of that is the appointment of a leader and then obedience to him. It is the use of this word 'state' that I object to.
Thus, Islam is an Aqeeda and a system, where ruling and the State are a part of it. The State is the only Shari'a method Islam has put for the application and implementation of its rules in the public life.
Well this is wrong, because such a 'state' would clearly be a tyrannical and dictatorial state. The reality is that in Madinah, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was able to bring about a society of people who all took responsibility for their lives and for the lives of their neighbours and finally for the lives of humanity at large. Today in Denmark for example, the state looks after everyone's lives, after their parents and their children and their neighbours, and everyone is living completely alone, and growing more miserable by the day; look at people's faces. Look at the faces of the old people who have been consigned to being useless at the end of their lives.
Islamic governance is distinguished by being very minimal. The ruler has some few obligations: he must collect and distribute the zakat, the jizyah and the kharaj. He must appoint imams and mu'adhdhins for the mosques. He should clarify the new moons and announce the beginning and end of Ramadan. He should appoint qadis. But remember that qadis are not there to apply state law to citizens, but rather mainly to sit between disputing muslims and to resolve their disputes by the light of the shari'ah. Many disputes are settled by mercy, forgiveness and generosity, rather than by the shari'ah. That is the Sunnah, after all.
Islam would not have an active presence except when it has a State that applies its rules in all situations.
There is no doubt that there are ahkam - rulings that can only be applied with the existence of rulership. But what about all the other qualities of Islam: generosity, courage, forbearance, forgiveness, greeting the stranger, feeding guests, looking after the poor and widows, inviting others to Islam, worshipping Allah in the night, doing much dhikr of Allah, recitation of Qur'an and weeping during it, greeting one's brother with a smiling face, being courteous to women, honouring old people, and being kind to children? These are all things which are part and parcel of Islam and are mentioned in known ayat of the Noble Qur'an or in well known ahadith. Again there is no doubt that muslims must be in obedience to an amir for Islam to come into full effect, but if the only thing is the state and the ahkam-rulings of Islam, then we are living a machine life. System is a word for machines not for humans.
Its State is a human, political State and not a priestly or theological one. There is nothing holy about it nor is its leader described as infallible. 21. The Structure of the Ruling System in Islam
The ruling system in Islam is a system which defines the structure, description, foundations, pillars and apparatus of the State. It defines the basis on which the State is established and the thoughts, concepts and criterions according to which the affairs are looked after, and the constitution and canons which it applies.
There is no constitution in Islam. The idea of 'constitution' emerges from Europe's socialist struggle against its feudal monarchies and was a means by which the power of the monarch was limited. However, it is clear that constitutionalism has put the ordinary person even further from the people who hold power today than ever before. It is clear that the constitutions of the modern world have put a group of people in power, over whom we have no control at all and to whom we have no access, people who are only responsible to banks and corporations.
The Islamic ruling system is a special and distinct system, for a State which is special and distinct, fundamentally different from all the existing ruling systems in the world. Whether with regards to the basis on which the State is established, the thoughts, concepts and criterion according to which the people's affairs are looked after, the structures in which it is represented or the constitution and canons which it applies. The structure of the Islamic ruling system is the Khilafah system, in which the Muslims pledge to their Khaleefah to hear and obey him so that he rules them with Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (SAW).
And they pledge to do that with the person taking the allegiance adding "as much as you are able".
It is a system established on the basis of the unity of the State and unity of the Khilafah. It is not permitted for the Muslims to have at any one given time more than one State on earth, or have more than one Khaleefah.
On this matter, there are different views. A number of the people of knowledge do permit the existence of more than one khalifah, if the zones of their political power are far enough apart. The truth is that since early in the second century of Islam, there has never been a single Islamic political entity, and there have been a plurality of khulafa, sultans and amirs.
If a second Khaleefah is given the Bay'a (oath of allegiance) despite the presence of a Khaleefah, the second Khaleefah is fought against till he gives Bay'a to the first Khaleefah or he is killed. He (SAW) said: "If a Bay'a has been taken for two Khulafa, kill the latter of them."
Yes, indeed, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, tells the truth, and he is the guide. But this is within a single community. In the age before telecommunications and air transport, then it was inconceivable for one person to rule both Malaysia and Sudan, both Tatarstan and Yemen.
At times, there were exceptional people such as Yusuf ibn Tashfin of the historical Murabitun who went out of his way to send Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi to Baghdad to pledge his allegiance to the Khalifah. But even this was largely a symbolic gesture, since they took several years to accomplish the journey, and Yusuf was in effect ruler of Andalusia and the Maghrib, whether or not he pledged allegiance. However, he wanted to be correct in this matter, may Allah be pleased with him.
The practice of the muslims has been established for around 1,200 years that there has not been a single united khalifah, and there are theoretical views among the fuqaha, which are quoted by Ibn Khaldun in his Muqaddimah, that such a state of affairs is acceptable.
22. The system of ruling in Islam is not monarchical3
The form of ruling in Islam is not monarchical. The monarchical system of government adopts a hereditary rule where sons inherit the throne from their fathers.
This is a mere assertion. The reality is that for for over a thousand years, in the main, but not entirely, sons have inherited rule from their fathers. There is in the shari'ah nothing against such an inheritance. However, that was not by primogeniture, i.e. the insistence on the rule of the first-born male, but rather through the rule of the most capable son, who were very often the sons of slave-women both in the Abbasid period and in the Ottoman times.
Although the muslims have always respected lineages of talented and capable families [genetics is a fact and was well known to be so long before the discovery of DNA], there has never been any superstitious theology behind it such as the idea of the Divine Right of Kings. If the ruling line or any specific ruler proved incapable or heretical they were often replaced without any great sense of loss.
The distinguishing feature of Islamic society was always the great speed at which talented people could rise from slavehood to the highest positions in society, as opposed to the rigid hierarchical system of the repugnant Hindu caste system or of European feudalism.
While in Islam there is no inheritance of authority or hereditary rule in its ruling system. Rather the one who assumes power is the Khaleefah that the Muslims have given a pledge to, with consent and choice.
But it is too well known in the fiqh, i.e. the position of the people of knowledge, that if a strong person seizes power and if he puts the shari'ah into effect, then his rule is valid, and it is illegitimate to rise against him. It is also well known that the khalifah is elected by the Ahl al-hall wa'l-'aqd, in effect the people of knowledge and influence in the society, and certainly not by the ordinary muslims.
The monarchical system allows the monarch special privileges and rights exclusively to him which puts him above the law, and answerable to none.
Either he is a monarch who does not rule or he conducts the affairs of the people and the country as he likes and wishes.
Whereas the Islamic system does not allow the Khaleefah or Imam any special privileges and rights. He represents the Ummah in ruling and in authority.
In his conduct, rules and running of the affairs and interests of the Ummah, he is restricted with the rules of the Shari'a.
Well the khalifah and his appointees are not above the law, we agree.
23. The system of ruling in Islam is not republican
The Islamic ruling system is not republican. The republican system is based on the democratic system, which is a system of Kufr, based on the creed of separating religion from life.
We are agreed.
The sovereignty in this system is for the people who enact the laws.
Whereas the Islamic system is established on the basis of the Islamic Aqeeda, and on the rules of the Shari'a. In this system the sovereignty is for the Shari'a and not for the Ummah.
No, sovereignty only belongs to Allah - al-mulku lillah - and to assign sovereignty to Islam or shari'ah is to step on to very tricky ground.
Nor does the Ummah or the Khaleefah possess the right to legislate. So the legislator is Allah (SWT)
and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
The Khaleefah only possesses the right to adopt rules for the constitution and canons
Both terms, constitution and canon, are not from Islam, and in being adopted they are clear innovations in Islam.
from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (SAW).
Therefore, it is not permitted to say that the system of Islam is a republican system or talk of a Islamic republic, due to the great contradiction between the Islamic system and the republican system.
Quite right.
24. The ruling system in Islam is a system of unity not a federation
The Islamic system is not a federal one where its regions are separated in the form of autonomy and unite under a general rule. Rather it is a system of unity. So there is only one State, one Khaleefah, one army, one economy, one finance, one domestic and foreign policy, and one diplomatic representation.
False. That is because the language is structuralist, i.e. the language of machines and mechanical entities, and it does not allow you to see an organic patterning.
As we pointed out, the thought of a single centralist rule has been impossible throughout Islamic history except in the very first century and some decades of the second. To introduce the concept now, merely because for the first time in history we have telecommunications and air transport, is tantamount to introducing a bid'ah. It might be that properly qualified people of knowledge might consider this bid'ah a worthy one and one to strive for, but it ought first and foremost to be recognised as such.
It is the same as the matter of starting and ending Ramadan. The fiqh of Ramadan does not require muslims across the earth to begin and end on the same day, since throughout history that has been technically impossible. Rather it is incumbent on muslims in one city and in one local region to begin and end on the same day. Because of the bid'ah of people trying to unify the beginning and ending of Ramadan globally, we are stuck with the introduction of a second bid'ah which is that locally the muslims are fragmented and Ramadan is not united in its beginning and ending. This local unity is obligatory, whereas that global unity is not.
Of course, it is noble to look back to the very first century of Islam when there was a single khalifate, and to draw inspiration from that. However, too many people today slander the succeeding generations and the patterns of rule that emerged. There are reasons for the dispersal of power and for the rising of local sultanates, amirates and even khalifates.
When we examine one such khalifate, which properly was THE khalifate until very recently, the Ottomans, we do not find a rigidly structured and centralised power structure at all, and that is from the very nature of Islamic governance.
One of the most inspiring source materials on this subject is the famous occasion when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent Mu'adh ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, to rule the Yemen. There are a number of notable ahadith on the parting of the two, since this was the last time that Mu'adh saw the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. His last advice to him was for him to make his character good and to show good treatment to people, or however it was that he said it, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, i.e. there was no detailed instructions on policy, the military, domestic and foreign policy, economics and the like. Mu'adh knew the deen, he knew the basics of collecting and distributing the zakat, etc., and he could be trusted to do that. It was based on that trust.
What is the shari'ah for? The entire purpose is to allow the remembrance and worship of Allah to happen. Allah ta'ala says, "I have not created jinn and human beings except to worship Me" i.e. that is the purpose of the creation of the universe. It is to allow people to turn away from all the affairs of the world to their Lord and to remember Him. Since there is no escaping some participation in business and trade and the matters of the world, there is a need for some discrimination within it, and some ahkam-rulings for it. But, the shari'ah is not the purpose of Islam; remembrance of Allah and preparation for the grave and for the accounting in the next life is the purpose of Islam.
It is a centralised system of government where the highest authority is restricted to the centre. The centre has control and authority over each part of the State. No part is allowed to be independent.
As for the administrative matters they are not centralised.
That comes back to the secret of being alive. You are both a unit in the broader sweep of humanity and yourself absolutely alone before Allah with full responsibility for everything around you. You are in that sense the centre, and yet you have to accept that there are other centres to which you are subject. As you say, there is a centre or centres of governance.

However, there is more than one type of centre. For example, the learned and knowledgeable people of Islam constitute such a zone which has its own centre. One of the tafsirs of the ayah in which Allah, ta'ala, says, "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you…" is that "those in authority", as well as referring to the rulers means the people of knowledge. Since the ruler is only there to make sure that Islam comes into effect, then that can only be done by knowledge and so knowledge is the key to rulership. Thus it is very well known that some of the people of knowledge exercised authority as if rulers without holding any kind of office at all, and without even accepting appointment as qadis. One such was Imam Malik, may Allah show him mercy, who was held in such high esteem that he was in effect as powerful as have been some rulers, without holding any official post whatsoever.

In many ways, it is the expression of what is said to which I object. The writer has adopted a language of system and structure, whereas the best minds now recognise that nature is not a system, that organic growth, i.e. 'life' is not a structure and not a system. Therefore, a systems view and a structuralist view of governance is not in harmony with existence and so not appropriate for us as Muslims.

Frankly, this position reminds me more of fascist, Nazi or Stalinist ideologies of the state than of the position of Islam concerning governance. They too insisted on strong centralised governance, and that was one of the pitfalls of their way, since, for example, when Hitler began to make eccentric decisions there was no more sensible voice to counteract him and the whole thing became lost.

It is one of the ironies of history that the Allies basically absorbed every essential element of Nazi statism, so that today we have a more totalitarian form of state than Hitler could ever have imagined, and in which there is more complete surveillance over the citizen and more total control of his every move from birth to death than even Pharaoh could have desired or envisioned.

The fatal flaw in that, as I have said, is that when everything is centralised so totally, then when the centre is taken by a lunatic, a criminal, a charlatan or a band of criminals, then everyone must suffer the consequences. Centralisation is very prone to that. When the Bolsheviks seized the Russia of the Tsars, they only needed some three hundred dedicated and committed revolutionaries to seize power over an enormous land mass and to begin a movement which was to result in almost one hundred million dead people in the Soviet Union and China in one century.

It is, in my view, the very anarchic nature of the muslims that is the guarantee of the safety and the continuance of Islam, as in the battle of Qadisiyyah against the might of the Persian Empire, when simple bedouins attacked at night without centralised command or even a valid order, poorly armed, hungry and half naked, simply because they were frustrated by three days of carnage, and thus swept away an army that could only function by means of centralised command, sophisticated logistical support and hierarchical structures.
Having evoked anarchism, that much misunderstood philosophy, let me quote their famous slogan, "Governance without state, commerce without usury," and with that conclude, asking forgiveness of Allah for anything which is not in agreement with His Generous Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

1state \'stāt\ n, often attrib, [ME stat, fr. AF & L; AF estat, fr. L status, fr. stare to stand — more at stand] (13c)
1 a : mode or condition of being ‹a ~ of readiness› b  (1): condition of mind or temperament ‹in a highly nervous ~› (2): a condition of abnormal tension or excitement

2 a : a condition or stage in the physical being of something ‹insects in the larval ~› ‹the gaseous ~ of water› b : any of various conditions characterized by definite quantities (as of energy, angular momentum, or magnetic moment) in which an atomic system may exist

3 a : social position ; esp: high rank b  (1): elaborate or luxurious style of living (2): formal dignity : pomp — usu. used with in

4 a : a body of persons constituting a special class in a society : estate 3 b pl: the members or representatives of the governing classes assembled in a legislative body c obs: a person of high rank (as a noble)

5 a : a politically organized body of people usu. occupying a definite territory ; esp: one that is sovereign b : the political organization of such a body of people c : a government or politically organized society having a particular character ‹a police ~› ‹the welfare ~›

6 : the operations or concerns of the government of a country

7 a : one of the constituent units of a nation having a federal government ‹the fifty ~sb plcap: The United States of America

8 : the territory of a state
2state vt, stat·ed stat·ing (1579)
1 : to set by regulation or authority

2 : to express the particulars of esp. in words : report ; broadly: to express in words

— stat·able orstate·able \'stā-tə-bəl\ adj

1false \'fȯls\ adj, fals·er fals·est [ME fals, faus, fr. AF & L; AF, fr. L falsus, fr. pp. of fallere to deceive] (12c)
1 : not genuine ‹~ documents› ‹~ teeth›

2 a : intentionally untrue ‹~ testimony› b : adjusted or made so as to deceive ‹~ scales› ‹a trunk with a ~ bottom› c : intended or tending to mislead ‹a ~ promise›

3 : not true ‹~ concepts›

4 a : not faithful or loyal : treacherous ‹a ~ friend› b : lacking naturalness or sincerity ‹~ sympathy›

5 a : not essential or permanent — used of parts of a structure that are temporary or supplemental b : fitting over a main part to strengthen it, to protect it, or to disguise its appearance ‹a ~ ceiling›

6 : inaccurate in pitch ‹a ~ note›

7 a : based on mistaken ideas ‹~ pride› b : inconsistent with the facts ‹a ~ position› ‹a ~ sense of security›

8 : threateningly sudden or deceptive ‹don't make any ~ moves› faithless

— false·ly adv
— false·ness n
2false adv (13c) : in a false or faithless manner : treacherously ‹his friends played him ~›

Интервью с Имамом Абдуссамадом Кларком

hajj abdus-samad clark

Имам Абдуссамад Кларк родился в Северной Ирландии, изучал математику и физику в Эдинбурге. В 1973 г. он встретил своего наставника Шейха Абдулькадыра ас-Суфи в результате чего принял Ислам. Позднее он отправился в Каир в Университет "Аль-Азхар", чтобы изучать Священный Коран, Дин и арабский язык. Он переводит с арабского языка, редактирует и набирает книги по Исламу, и в настоящее время, вместе с Шейхом Али Лараки, является имамом мечети "Ихсан" в Норвиче, Великобритания.
Это интервью первоначально было размещено на сайте Мухаммада Умара в Швеции и было затем переведено на шведский язык Sidi Абдуссаламом аль-Малики (Sufierna har alltid lett jihad – intervju med Abdassamad Clarke).

МО: Как вы приняли Ислам? Расскажите нам свою историю.
В 1973 г. Шейх д-р Абдулькадыр ас-Суфи приехал в Эдинбург с группой людей, принявших Ислам из его рук, с тем чтобы призвать людей к Исламу. Я там учился и присутствовал на встрече, которую он организовал. Я встретился с шейхом, и он предложил мне провести некоторое время с ним и его людьми, пока они были в Эдинбурге, что я и сделал. Затем я отправился с ним в Лондон и провел несколько недель в сообществе, я научился молиться и принимал участие во всех общинных мероприятиях. Они исполняли вместе молитвы и вместе ели. Это был важный опыт, после которого я стал мусульманином.
МО: Вы являетесь частью движения Мурабитун. Кто они?
Собственно говоря "Мурабитун" это не название движения, потому что Имам Малик, да будет Аллах доволен им, не признавал никакого другого имени кроме "мусульмане". "Мурабитун" переводится как "Люди Рибата", что означает несколько вещей, в том числе людей, отправляющихся к границе, чтобы стоять на страже и защищать мусульман и землю Ислама, и оно также означает, "тех, кто находятся на переднем краю битвы". Так что я не уверен, заслужил ли я такое имя, и предпочитаю себя называть одним из мусульман, живущих в сообществах, созданных Шейхом д-ром Абдуль-Кадыром ас-Суфи.
МО: Считаете ли вы суфизм неотъемлемой частью ортодоксального Ислама?
Мое мнение не столь важно в этом вопросе. Вместо этого, давайте посмотрим, что основные ученые говорят о таких вещах. В этом смысле тасаввуф это наука об Ихсане как упоминается в известном хадисе о Джибриле*, мир ему, когда Посланник Аллах, мир ему и благословение Аллаха, говорит словами, смысл которых: "Ихсан – это поклонение Аллаху так, как будто вы видите Его, хотя вы Его не видите, а Он вас Видит". Существует много литературы по этому вопросу и если мы обратимся назад, в доколониальную эпоху и до начала «реформистского» движения Мухаммада ибн Абдульваххаба из Неджда (Аравийский полуостров), и до появления реформистов Мухаммада Абдо и Джамалуддина аль-Афгани, то хотя и найдем в этой области правовые разногласия о некоторых аспектах, мы не обнаружим современного спора о  суфизме. А если вернуться к еще более раннему обществу, до появления тарикатов, то вы не найдете никаких разногласий о таких личностях как Имам Джунайд, Сахль ибн Абдуллах ат-Тустари и Хасан аль-Басри, да будет Аллах милостив к ним ко всем. Так что, да, суфизм является неотъемлемой частью Дина Ислама.
МО: Почему так важен суфизм?
Так как большинство мусульман рассматривает намерение как наиболее важную часть деяния, значение суфизма очень важное. Это основано на словах Пророка, да благословит его Аллах и приветствует: "Каждое деяние оценивается по намерениям", и поскольку намерение формируется в сердце, то очевидно что чистота сердца имеет принципиальное значение. И это не простое дело. Об этом гораздо легче говорить, чем делать. Сердце легко поддается влияниям и легко загрязняется. Его очищение это серьезная работа, и если люди даже не имеют понятия что делать, то их Ислам становится суровым и жестким, а у тех мусульман, которые слишком жестко сосредоточены на внешних деяниях, сердца как правило скрывают множество внутренних болезней.
Доказательства необходимости работы над сердцем и внутренними аспектами во множестве находятся в Коране и Сунне.
Однако, это только негативный аспект, есть еще другая сторона, это огромный потенциал очищенного сердца в условиях непосредственного знания Аллаха, которое называется по-арабски "маарифат". Это прямое знание Бога, по мнению ученых Акыды, имеет основополагающее значение перед любым другим обязательством Дина, потому что это знание, к которому приводит очищенное сердце, может помочь вам действительно понять всю глубину Божественного Величия, подобающего Господу Вселенной. В первые поколения после Пророка Мухаммада, тех кто обладал таким глубоким религиозным пониманием называли "арифин", то есть люди знания. "Ариф" - это человек, который обладает знанием непосредственно от Аллаха, а не исключительно из текстов и рациональных доказательств. И как мы можем сомневаться в таком понимании, когда Аллах говорит о предоставлении прямого знания Его рабу Хизру в суре аль-Кахф: "И нашли они раба из Наших рабов, которому Мы даровали милосердие от Нас и научили его Нашему знанию".
МО: Некоторые критики говорят, что суфизм - квиетистская, аполитичная форма Ислама. Вы согласны с этим?
Только тот, кто ничего не знает из истории, может сказать так. Нет ни одного джихада в XVIII и XIX столетиях, подлинного джихада против колониалистов и в защиту мусульман, который не возглавляли бы суфии. Даже такое индийское движения, как школа Деобанди, известная по своим последователям из "Талибан", имеет суфийские корни, вместе с очень строгим соблюдением шариата. С другой стороны, движение, возникшее в Неджде (в нынешней Саудовской Аравии) воевало только против других мусульман и начало восстание против законного Османского халифата, нарушив тем самым единство Ислама.
Но здесь проблема в том, что в первую очередь, Суфизм не является формой ислама. Суфизм - это название для науки Ихсан, и является одним из трех аспектов Дина наряду с Исламом и Иманом, без которого Дин будет несовершенен. Многие ученые считают, что получать знания суфизма - это фард 'айн, то есть индивидуальная обязанность для каждого мужчины и каждой женщины. Поэтому не может быть "суфиев" как таковых, или даже "суфиев-мусульман".
Великий общепризнанный ученый аш-Шахрастани в своей работе "Аль-Миляль ва-н-Нихаль", описал 73 секты, упомянутых в пророческом хадисе. Книга очень подробная и упоминает даже самые малочисленные ереси и то во что они верили, но не упоминает о суфиях как об одной из этих сект, не говоря уже о мазхабах, то есть правовых школах. В этом классическом труде наука Ихсана упоминается как естественная часть Дина. Автор жил в то время, когда считалось смешно утверждать, что суфии это секта.
МО: Вы считаете, что бумажные деньги должны быть отменены и заменены золотыми и серебряными монетами. Почему? 
Возможно отмена это не совсем правильный взгляд на это. Например, банкнота британского фунта это «обещание выплатить предъявителю по требованию определенное количество фунтов». Таким образом бумажные деньги это не деньги. Они не обладают реальной ценностью. Это вексель. Вексель не допустим для использования во многих шариатских операциях, в первую очередь это закят. Вексель не может быть использован для сделок между частными лицами, за исключением ситуаций с очень строгими условиями, которые регулируются фикхом правовых школ.
Но ситуация на самом деле гораздо хуже. Человечество молчаливо передало группе совершенно скрытых людей право просто написать цифры на бумажке, а затем выдавать их нам в своих интересах. Масштаб этого так велик, что, если мы посчитаем цифры, написанные на бумажках, то сумма, во много раз превысит реальное богатство всей планеты. Безусловно, такая чудовищная ситуация не может длиться долго. Это жутко, но людям, которые придумали и используют эту систему, хорошо известно, что рано или поздно она падет. Поэтому, пока это продолжается, они скупают все реальные ценности, которые только могут взять в свои руки. При этом мы испытываем  резкий рост цен на основные сырьевые товары, необходимые нам для жизни: продукты питания, бензин, землю и т.д.
С другой стороны, мы читаем в известном сборнике хадисов "Сахих" аль-Бухари о человеке, которого попросили купить барана для Посланника Аллаха, да благословит его Аллах и приветствует, за один динар, что являлось обычной ценой, но он имел возможность купить два, то есть продать за динар и вернутся с бараном и нетронутым динаром. То есть хадис говорит нам о стоимости золотой монеты в то время. За этот же самый динар сегодня можно купить барана, а иногда и двух,  практически в любом месте Земли. Существуют аналогичные свидетельства покупательной способности золотых монет Римской империи. Таким образом за две тысячи лет золото и серебро не затронула инфляция.
Бумажные деньги и электронные кредиты имеют безумные возможности для удивительного и быстрого роста и обогащения, и люди поэтому не хотят отказаться от системы,  даже если ее негативная сторона это голод, депрессия и невыносимое порабощения образа жизни для миллиардов людей.
Но мы не утверждаем, что каждый человек должен отказаться от бумажных денег и законодательно использовать только золото и серебро. Мы говорим, что люди должны получить свободу использовать все, что они хотят,  до тех пор пока это имеет реальную ценность (то есть за исключением ростовщических документов). Когда люди свободны в выборе, они всегда выбирают золото и серебро.
Аргумент, являющийся еще более важным для нас, это тот факт, что выплата закята является актом поклонения, а не частью социального обеспечения, как многие думают, хотя это является результатом закята. Поскольку это акт поклонения , все должно совершаться так, как это делалось в ранней общине и согласно мусульманским обычаям на протяжении всей истории, вплоть до современности. Закят должен быть выплачен золотом и серебром, когда выплачивается со сбережений и товаров для торговли. Те же мотивы, что заставляют мусульман во всем мире, в новом духе возрождающегося Ислама тщательно совершать вуду и строже совершать свои молитвы, в отношении закята означают, что мусульмане должны вернуть в оборот реальные деньги. Которые неизбежно приведут преступную банковскую систему к падению. От этого выиграют не только мусульмане, но и все человечество.
МО: Как вы думаете, западная цивилизация находится в состоянии кризиса? 
Да, но поскольку мы сейчас живем в эпоху мирового государства, глобальной финансовой культуры и промышленности, зародившихся в Европе, этот кризис носит глобальный характер. Китайский иероглиф "кризис" состоит из двух символов: один означает "опасность", а другой – "возможность". Во многом кризис в Европе и в Америке несет в себе большой потенциал. Есть много новых побегов для роста. Тот, кто изучал нашу историю, тот помнит, что эта история состоит из множества различных взаимосвязанных нитей, и он увидит стремление западных людей выйти из-под мертвой руки тирании церкви и форм авторитарного и произвольного управления, одобряемых ею. Здесь мы должны провести четкое различие между христианством как верованиями и обычаями простых людей и политической организацией, которая есть Церковь. Религиозно, философски и политически, европейский и западный человек стремился к свободе, справедливости и правде. Последние оковы, которые держат его сегодня, это финансовая система, и должен сказать, что это худшие из всех оков.
МО: Считаете ли вы, что Ислам должен идти в ногу со временем? 
Ислам имеет свои параметры, четко определенные Книгой и  Посланником Аллаха, да благословит его Аллах и приветствует. Тем не менее существует реальная тенденция среди некоторых мусульманских ученых, не слишком обременять трудностями мусульман и приспосабливаться к обстоятельствам времени. Но мы должны помнить, что многие из этих приспособлений взяты из принципа дарура, насущной необходимости, ярким примером которого, является человек в пустыне, умирающий от голода,  и который может найти лишь неразрешенную пищу, чтобы поесть. В этом случае для него не только допустимо, но и является обязательным ее съесть. Но здесь мы должны понимать, что это лишь тогда допускается, когда он старается изо всех сил, чтобы выбраться из пустыни и вернуться туда, где он может питаться халялом. Если же он решит создать дом в пустыне и начнет бизнес по продаже незаконной пищи, то он явно насмехается над Исламом.
Существует динамика в некоторых правовых школах, позволяющая им действительно достичь согласия с новыми эпохами истории и различными культурами, в которые внедряется Дин, в любом случае без ущерба для всех. Это присущая Исламу способность противостоять новому без реакции и осваивать то, что здорово и полезно, при этом отвергая то, что нездорово. Шейх д-р Абдуль-Кадыр ас-Суфи подытожил, сказав, что Ислам это не культура, но фильтр для культуры.
МО: Как вы думаете, какой будет новая европейская исламская культура?
Мы узнаем из истории, что там, где Ислам укоренился, он приобретает цвет местной культуры. Таким образом китайские мусульмане это и китайцы и мусульмане, так же как африканские мусульмане это и африканцы и мусульмане. Мы точно знаем, что если Ислам не найдет здесь свою «европейскость», он не укоренится и не сможет здесь выжить. Но это (будущее Ислама) не в наших руках, это силы, над которыми властен только Аллах. Наша роль в том, что мы должны быть подлинными, честными и верными самим себе. Для нас невозможно стать марокканцами или арабами или пакистанцами. Уже сейчас мы видим, что молодые люди из второго и третьего поколений потомков иммигрантов являются настоящими европейцами, и вместе с тем у многих из них очень конформистский Ислам. Худшим что могло случиться, стало это пресловутое противопоставление "Ислама и Запада". Они в любом случае не являются двумя противоположными понятиями. Отчасти потому что такая враждебная конфронтация не логична, и отчасти потому что, на мой взгляд, Запад Исламу не враг. Мы живем в ситуации, когда многие простые люди являются дружественными по отношению к Исламу, на самом деле больше чем мы думаем.Но большинство из нас живут – гораздо больше чем нужно для нашего же блага - в ментальном пространстве, которое создается средствами массовой информации. Шейх д-р Абдулькадыр ас-Суфи считает что СМИ являются частью триумвирата власти, которую он определяет так: финансовая система, политический класс, и средства массовой информации. Средства массовой информации являются частью оккупационных сил, которые пытаются помешать жизни и свободе. Если вы поговорите с людьми, вы получите совсем другую историю. Именно в этих встречах между мусульманами и обычными люди, здесь, в этих землях, возникает новая европейская исламская культура, о  которой мы говорим.
МО: Какого композитора вы предпочитаете – Бетховена или Вагнера? 
Ваш вопрос подразумевает уже многое. Во-первых, мы должны выяснить, разрешено ли нам в действительности слушать музыку**. Многие мусульмане справедливо говорят, что музыка не допускается. Мой собственный взгляд на это таков, что в силу политической, интеллектуальной и духовной тирании церкви и поддерживаемой ею автократии, европейскому человеку не позволялось говорить правду, особенно правду Таухида.  Но, правда должна быть сказана. Для человека недопустимо молчать об этом, и поэтому в этих странах были музыканты и поэты, нашедшие способы и язык, на котором можно говорить истину, потому что музыка это язык, но это язык, который принимает во внимание чувства и состояния человеческого сердца. Человеческий язык как сборник утверждений и предложений, лишенный чувств – довольно тривиальная вещь. Вы можете назвать Баха одним из первооткрывателей этого языка, а Бетховен был одним из тех, кто наиболее ясно сформулировал этот абстрактный язык инструментальной музыки и использовал его, чтобы выразить стремление человеческой души к свободе и к Божественному. Бетховен был глубоко духовным человеком. Вагнер принял этот удивительный дар и соединил его с другой формой выражения, драмой.  Использование слов в его операх создало нечто иное. Но в этом был их взгляд на Божественное, на человеческий потенциал для возможной свободы и будущее свободного общества. Что касается моих любимых, на это практически невозможно ответить.
МО: Почему люди принимают Ислам? Назовите нам несколько причин. 
Люди находят следы божественного по-разному. Для некоторых это интеллектуальная аргументация. Они находят убедительные аргументы. Для других это эстетика. Некоторые влюбляются в мусульман и глаза любви показывают им истину Ислама. Некоторых привлекает общественный строй и поиск универсальной системы, которую они могут принять. Последнее мне кажется наиболее убедительным аргументом, так как общественные структуры распадаются и заменяются самой ужасающей культурой надзора и тиранического контроля. Очевидно, что исламское общество, воплощающее в себе самые высокие человеческие качества, этику и социальные права, является сильнейшим приглашением к Исламу. Как только мы это осознаем, для нас станет обязательным забыть все миссионерские типы активности и вместо этого как бы повернуть внутрь и встать на путь создания чего-то реального. В этом смысле мы имеем высказывание имама Малика о том, что Сунна это Ноев ковчег, кто взойдет на него, тот спасен. Это весьма осязаемый и материальный образ, который означает нечто боле глубокое, чем те тривиальные вещи, до которым мы порою низводим Сунну. С другой стороны у нас есть фраза Шейха д-ра Абдулькадыра ас-Суфи о том, что нам необходим "спасательный комплект Ислама", что то, что не смоется огромным наводнением, ждущим нас впереди. И мы должны быть великодушными, чтобы помочь, как можно большему количеству людей подняться на борт. Посланник Аллаха Мухаммад, да благословит его Аллах и приветствует, это единственный мощный символ Ислама, пытающийся спасти всех, кроме небольшой группы наиболее непримиримых. Именно эти великодушие и широта сердца нам необходимы.
МО: Последний вопрос. Можете ли вы описать концепцию сообществ в "Мурабитун"? 
Наверное, будет легче описать реальность наших сообществ. Шейх д-р Абдулькадыр ас-Суфи был почти в полном одиночестве в своем даавате, когда он убеждал людей жить вместе, вместе созидать Дин, вместе работать – как на пути Аллаха, так и в бизнесе и профессии. Мурабитун достиг того, что сейчас появилось наше второе поколение, и среди них – молодые люди, имеющие профессии и бизнес, имамы и хафизы Корана, ученые, учителя следующего поколения. А они в свою очередь имеют свои семьи и уже подрастает наше третье поколение. Это происходит впервые в европейской истории, и конечно, тоже самое происходит в других общинах "Мурабитун", в  Европе и во всем мире.
На протяжении истории люди в Европе принимали Ислам, но он никогда не утверждался надолго. Иногда из-за таких зловещих причин, как пытки людей христианской инквизицией, требующей от них оставить  Дин, а часто их просто убивали.  Но в другие времена Дин не совсем «прижился», потому что есть разница между тем, чтобы просто быть мусульманином и утверждением (икама) Дина, так же как есть разница между молитвой и утверждением молитвы. Итак, сегодня растет число общин Шейха Абдулькадыра ас-Суфи, как в Европе и на Западе, так и в мусульманских землях, и в таких местах, как Южная Африка. Они не основаны «по замыслу», но скорее они выросли из органичной потребности у людей поддерживать свой Ислам и соблюдать его правила, от их взаимной привязанности друг к другу и ради удовольствия в общении друг с другом. Но очевидно, что общение в сообществах второстепенно по сравнению с необходимыми знаниями Корана, Сунны и понимания того, что есть Сунна (фикх).
*Знаменитый диалог между Джибрилем, мир ему, и Посланником Аллаха, мир ему и благословение Аллаха.
**Для того чтобы определиться, разрешена ли музыка или нет, сначала нужно определиться с термином "музыка".

Louay Safi  
The Islamic State: A Conceptual Framework
 American Journal Of Islamic Social Sciences (September 1990), Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 177-91. 
The purpose of this paper is to delineate the basic elements involved in the concept of the Islamic state and to clarify the basis and scope of political power. More specifically, discussions will focus on the purpose of the Islamic state, the source of political legitimacy, and the scope of state power. I will contend that a clear distinction should be made between the role and purpose of the state and those of the ummah, for only through the separation of the responsibilities and objectives of the two can the injunctions of the Shari‘ah and the principles of revelation be properly observed.
Historical Background
Although the word “state” (dawlah) was first used in the Qur’an, almost six centuries had to elapse before the word was given its first technical definition by Muslim scholars. The word dawlah was mentioned once in the Qur’an (in 59:7)[1] in connection with the distribution of   fay’ (the property Muslims appropriated from the Banu al Najjar upon the latter’s expulsion from Madinah. The Qur’an justified this departure from the usual practice of dividing the spoils among the fighters by referring to the divine intention of preventing the circulation of wealth among a small group within the society.
Up until the late fifth century, one could hardly find any reference to the state in Muslim literature, or in Western literature for that matter. Other terms such as al amsar or dar al Islam were employed whenever a reference was made to the territories under Muslim control. Alternatively, the state as a political body was identified by its political organs, i.e., al khilafah, al imamah, or al wilayah.[2] In the sixth and seventh centuries of the Muslim era, the term dawlah began to acquire a political connotation. Muslim scholars at this time, mainly historians, began to employ the word in reference to the various Muslim dynasties which emerged when the institution of khilafah lost its executive power and was reduced to a nominal office symbolizing Muslim unity, while the real political and military power fell into the hands of strong clans and families. Ibn Manzur (630-711 AH), in his voluminous dictionary Lisan al Arab, distinguished between two variations: dawlah and dulah, the former denoting the domination of one group by another through military power and the latter referring to economic domination.
Ibn Khaldun presented, in the eighth century AH / fourteenth century AD, the first empirical study of the state. He associated the concept of state with that of social solidarity (‘asabiyah) and contended that human beings were naturally inclined toward social organization. Such organization could be maintained only with the existence of an authority or a leadership that facilitated coordination and provided guidance. Ibn Khaldun distinguished between two types of authority: coercive and participatory. The former resembled the authority of a king who extracts obedience through coercive capacity, the latter that of a chieftain whose influence is ensured by the homogeneity of his interests and those of his followers.
Ibn Khaldun associated the state with the dominance of a powerful group whose power emanates from the solidarity or community spirit (asabiyah) enjoyed by the group as well as the coercive capacity (qahr) it can bring to bear upon other groups. He therefore conceived of the state as a cyclical and recurring phenomenon it comes into existence with the emergence of a social group enjoying a superiority of group spirit and coercive capacity and disappears when these two elements are lost after two generations.[3] Central to Ibn Khaldun’s conception of the state is the emphasis on the heterogeneous nature of civil society and the domination of the political community by the most cohesive and organized social group, an emphasis that makes him a forerunner of modern theorists who stress the conflict-driven aspects of the state.
Defining the State
There is a tendency on the part of modern political theorists, including some Islamists, to define the state in terms of the major components of the nation-state, the basic political unit in the contemporary international system. It is argued that the state is distinguished from other political systems by three elements: population, authority, and sovereignty.[4] The problem with this approach is that it fails to provide any meaningful explanation of the basis for political divisions in the international political system without relying extensively, and even exclusively, on the concept of power. Furthermore, defining the state in terms of the three components cited above is of little help in identifying the essential elements which distinguish the Islamic state from other types of states. An alternative and probably more fruitful approach is to identify the Islamic state with the order it purports to realize and which, in turn, determines its goals and actions. In other words, the Islamic state should be identified with the system of rules that determines the quality of life in the political community as well as the political organs necessary for the realization of the Islamic ideals.
Defining the Islamic state in terms of a system of rules and the organization responsible for their realization is crucial for avoiding confusion between the concept of state and that of ummah. The two may, and often do, differ in their moral significance as well as in their territorial boundaries. Morally, the state and the ummah, as will be shown later, operate on two different moral planes. Territorially, the geographical boundaries of the Islamic state need not coincide with those of the ummah. This means that although the territorial component of the state is important for determining the jurisdictional boundaries of a specific state, it is not an intrinsic element of the state, since territorial divisions mainly reflect the balance among the relevant powers in any historical epoch.
A given state’s population, in any society that has developed beyond tribalism, consists of a multiplicity of collectivities. Although social groups in any society could be divided along different lines (i.e., linguistic, ethnic, or racial), the Islamically significant and politically relevant element of social differentiation is the ultimate purpose that brings the community members together and unites them with one another. The organization of purposes attains its highest expression in the state, the central organization of any society. The cohesion of collectivities is maintained by a system of norms (normative system) that determines the socially acceptable behavior of individual members. Likewise, the cohesiveness of the state is guaranteed by a political consensus (ijma‘) on a set of principles and values which constitute the fundamental law of society.
The Nature of State Power
The state is not the only organization of purposes in society, and state law is not the only system of rules. What distinguishes the state and its laws from other social associations and norms is, however, the supremacy it enjoys over all other social organizations and the overriding power of its rules. As the bearer of political power in a specific society, the state is endowed with the authority to regulate all forms of association and determine the general social and economic conditions which have a direct bearing on the quality of life in that particular society. The authority of the state, the central organization of the society, signifies the recognition by individuals as well as social groups of its right to regulate (and later to enforce its regulations) social behavior, and hence of the citizens’ obligations to comply with state regulations. The state’s ability to enforce its decisions, and hence ensure conformity, is crucial for the integrity of the political community and the functioning of society. The state’s failure to enforce law or implement public policy is a signal that the political community is on the verge of disintegration or that the social order is about to collapse.
We need not conclude, however, that force is all that the state requires to ensure compliance, for after all its authority is contingent upon the support and cooperation of a significant portion of the active social forces of society, i.e., on a system of purposes representing the normative foundation of state law. Political authority, on the other hand, represents the system that brings about the realization of the dominant social purposes.
In other words, force is a necessary but insufficient condition for enforcing the law, unless the state is willing to use brute force against deviance and dissension. The state is unlikely to be able to effectively enforce a law when a significant proportion of society is vehemently opposing it. Its coercive power is needed, under ideal conditions, only to deter and punish those individuals whose unprincipled egocentricity drives them to violate the rights of others and ignore the demands of justice. By ideal conditions is meant the availability of two elements: a general consensus over the fundamental values of society (i.e., the conception of the desired society to be realized) and a political authority representing the common interests of society and working for their realization. Therefore, in the absence of a set of fundamental values unanimously accepted by the bulk of society to guide and enlighten the decisions of political leaders, and of a political leadership providing a true representation of the society’s common interests, law may well become an instrument of exploitation and repression. Furthermore, in the absence of a true moral commitment on the part of the society’s members, the state’s coercive power cannot be employed as a substitute for the self-motivation required for the realization of social goals.
Political Consensus (Ijma‘ Siyasi)
It is conceivable that a system of rules, including the Islamic legal system, could be maintained through the excessive use of naked and brute force, at least for a while, against the will of the state’s population. A stable and effective order, however, requires the masses’ cooperation and support. The imposition of a legal system by a powerful group on the rest of society through the use of violence would inevitably lead to the alienation of other social groups, giving rise to animosity, and would eventually lead to disorder and violent confrontations. The effectiveness of the Islamic order and the stability of the state therefore require political consensus (ijma‘ siyasi).
The concept of consensus (ijma‘) was regarded by classical jurists (al fuqaha’ al usuliyun) as the fundamental principle which confers legitimacy on the state. Al Juwayni, for instance, contended in his book Ghiyath al Umam that political legitimacy could not be derived directly from any textual source, since a firm textual statement (nass qat‘i) was lacking. Consequently, political legitimacy had to be achieved through the principle of consensus:
The question of imamah should not be sought in the rules of reason, but should rather be subordinated to textual evidence (dalil nassi). But since no specific Qur’anic statement exists (on the subject), and a confirmed tradition (khabar mutawatir) is lacking, the validation of the doctrine of (imamah) falls under the principle of ijma‘.[5]
In their attempt to develop a model of legitimate authority, classical jurists confined the exercise of consensus to the first generation of Muslims. The limitation placed on the principle of ijma‘ was not induced by constraints provided by the Shari‘ah but by practical considerations stemming from historical conditions. The principle of ijma‘ itself, devised by earlier fuqaha’ was employed for the purpose of establishing the authenticity of statements and practices attributed to the Prophet and his Companions. Malik and al Shafi’i, for instance, respectively defined ijma‘ as the consensus of ahl al Madinah (people of Madinah) and the consensus of the ummah. The principle was later used as a means for substantiating the rules of the Shari’ah arrived at through individual ijtihad.
In the absence of definite textual evidence (dalil qat‘i) concerning the form and scope of government, the first generation’s consensus on a specific method of selection for the head of state reaffirms the idea that the ummah is the source of political power and legitimacy. The consensus of the Companions on certain political institutions and practices does not give these institutions and practices an absolute legitimacy; it only shows that the early Muslims were able, using their fallible judgment and contemplating the particular conditions of their society, to agree on a set of mechanisms for the selection and exercise of political authority.
But if the principle of ijma‘ is the basis of political legitimacy, the question arises as to what are the proper ends of consensus? Consensus occurs when all members of a community unanimously agree on the meaning or desirability of certain issues. Since unanimity on all questions confronting the community is virtually impossible, the objects of consensus should be narrowed down to those which are fundamental for the realization of the Islamic order and relevant to the goals and proper functions of the state. What we need to achieve is a consensus on the basic parameters which permit the individual to lead a meaningful life while respecting the moral integrity and collective well-being of the community.
Before delineating the area of essential consensus for establishing a viable Islamic political order, we need to recognize that consensus is a multidimensional concept involving three distinct areas of agreement: a) Agreement over the basic values and principles of the desired order. Value consensus (ijma‘ qimi) therefore represents an agreement on the general purpose of the state and the essential moral foundations of social life; b) Since disagreement is bound to arise within the general framework of value consensus, a society will need to establish mechanisms which permit a peaceful resolution of social conflict. Regime or procedural consensus (ijma’ ijra’i) represents an agreement on political processes and institutions; and c) Even after agreeing on the political regime or the structure of authority, a society must agree on the scope of authority, i.e., the limits to be imposed upon the exercise of political power. We will call this final area of agreement policy consensus (ijma‘ siyasi). The three areas of consensus are respectively discussed below under the headings purpose, organization, and power of the Islamic state.
The Purpose of the Islamic State
We saw in the previous section that value consensus refers to the general agreement between social groups over the purpose of the state. In this section we will turn to the fundamental question: What is the proper purpose of the Islamic state? To begin with, the Islamic state is not a political community whose population is mainly composed of Muslim individuals, but rather one whose legal order is based on and derived from the principles of the Shari’ ah.
This should not, however, be interpreted to mean that the Islamic state’s purpose is to impose a narrowly defined code of behavior on society. Far from it. Toleration of differences in beliefs and doctrinal commitments is an established Islamic principle. Both the Makkan and Medinan Qur’anic revelations ascertain in unequivocal terms the principle of toleration:
If it had been your Lord’s will, all those on earth would have believed; will you then compel mankind, against its will, to believe?
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error. (2:256)
The principle was respected by the ummah throughout the better part of Muslim history. Differences in belief were tolerated by Muslim governments throughout history. The right of non-Muslim minorities to express their beliefs and practice their own legal codes was given full recognition.[6] Likewise, doctrinal differences among ideological and doctrinal groups were for the most part respected and kept out of the state’s domain. Incidents involving the violation of religious and doctrinal tolerance represented the exception rather than the rule. For example, al Ma’mun’s efforts to bring the state into the doctrinal domain were resented and condemned by the bulk of the ummah, and the practice was quickly abandoned by the rulers who succeeded al Mu‘tasim.[7]
The purpose of the state is not to impose Islamic teachings on society, but rather to establish the general conditions that will facilitate the realization of the human mission (khilafah). It is important here to distinguish between the role and purpose of the Islamic state and those of the ummah. While the latter purports to foster the Islamic character and help the individual grow morally and spiritually, allowing him/her to define his/her role and objectives in life within the general framework of the Shari’ah, the former attempts to coordinate the activities of the ummah in ways that will enable a society to cope with economic and political challenges and to enhance the quality of life in the community.
The distinction between the roles and purposes of the ummah and the Islamic state should not be taken to mean that one could be isolated from the other. Both are closely interconnected, and the functional existence of one presupposes the other. The creation of the Islamic state presupposes the emergence of a society committed to Islamic principles and norms; in a word, it presupposes the existence of the ummah. On the other hand, although the ummah qua the moral Islamic order could exist and has existed without an Islamic state, the creation of the state is imperative if the ummah qua the legal Islamic order is to be realized. As such, the Islamic state is indeed a supreme moral goal, because Islamic moral life can never be complete in the absence of the Islamic state. The Islamic state, being the political dimension of the ummah, comes into existence when the ummah becomes centrally organized for the purpose of pursuing Islamic goals and ideals. Yet the purpose of the state, as the moral expression of the higher objectives of the Shari’ah, transcends the domain of the Muslim community to encompass the whole of humanity. The humanistic and global purpose of the state is derived from the overall purpose of the Shari’ah as it is expressed in different parts of the Qur’an and articulated by eminent Muslim scholars.[8]
The Organization of State Power
Historically, classical scholars and jurists (al ‘ulama’ wa al fuqaha’ al usuliyun) endorsed the khilafah as the only legitimate institution for the ummah’s governance. Though rejecting the concept of divine commission advanced by Shi’i jurists, classical scholars looked at the first political system, the consultative khilafah, as a model from which they derived their theories and argumentations.[9] The first model of Islamic government existed during the reign of the four rightly-guided caliphs who succeeded the Prophet. During this period, the Muslim community was involved in the selection of its leader either directly or through its local leaders. The selection (ikhtiyar) of political authority, however, was transformed gradually during the reign of the Umayyad dynasty from the community at large to an increasingly smaller group of Muslims, and was eventually confined to the ruling family and a few other influential government officials. Al Baqillani (d. 403/1013) summarizes the views of the major political groups of his time on the selection of the leader:
There is disagreement also on the method whereby the imamate is established, whether it is by designation or by election. The vast generality of our associates and of the Mu’tazilah, Khawarij, and the Najjariyah hold that the method of its establishment is by election on the part of the community, through the exercise of responsible judgment (ijtihad) by those qualified to do so and their selection of one who is fit for the office.
. . . there is a further disagreement among the partisans of election as to the number of actual electors of the leader. Al Ash‘ari held that the imamate is validly contracted on behalf of one who is fitted for it by the contract of a single pious man who is qualified to exercise ijtihad. . . . the Zaydi and certain of the Mu‘tazilah held that the least number . . . is two persons of piety and ijtihad. . . . Al Qalanisi (an Ash’ari contemporary] and those of our associates who follow him hold that the contract . . . is validly made by the ulama of the community who are present.’[10]
Despite the fact that the khilafah had become a hereditary system after the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty, it was never sanctioned or recognized as such by Muslim jurists. They maintained that the leader could be either elected (ikhtiyar) or designated (‘ahd) and that the selected head of the community should meet certain physical, moral, and intellectual requirements. Al Mawardi (d. 450/1058), for instance, predicated the foregoing two modes of selection on the practice of the Muslim community during the time of the four rightly-guided caliphs. He based the election of the leader on the precedent of the choice of Abu Bakr (the first khalifah) by election and that of ‘Umar (the second khalifah) by nomination. Al Mawardi also stated that the leader should receive confirmation (bay‘ah) from the community or its representatives as it was practiced during the early caliphate. This practice was modeled after the bay‘ah of al Aqabah, in which people expressed their allegiance to the Prophet and acknowledged his commission and leadership.”
Classical jurists divided the selection process into two stages: nomination and confirmation. While most leading jurists and schools of law agreed that the leader may be nominated by one competent individual, they differed as to what constituted confirmation. However, the widely accepted proposition was that it was the right of the community, through its local leaders (ahl al hal wa al ‘aqd) and scholars (ulama)[11] to confirm the leader. Muslim scholars disagreed, however, on the number required for the nomination stage and how the people of ikhtiyar were to be chosen. The vast majority of classical jurists settled for the number one. They nevertheless insisted that this one person could not be chosen arbitrarily, but that he had to represent and be supported by the bulk of society:
I contend that if ‘Omar’s nomination of Abu Bakr had been challenged by others; I would have argued that the nomination (of the head of state) by one individual was insufficient (under the circumstances). Similarly, if the nomination by two or four was challenged by many others, it would not have been binding. But when ‘Umar made the bay‘ah others followed suit, (eventually) the community declared its allegiance (to the new kha1ifah[12]
Although the model adopted by classical jurists was designed to correspond with the practice of the Prophet’s Companions, it was evidently founded on the belief that the ummah, being the bearer of divine revelation, was the ultimate source of political power and that the community’s approval of the head of state was essential for the legitimation of state actions. Clearly, the political model of the Islamic state is secondary to the principle which justifies it, and it should therefore be modified and even changed when it fails to realize the principle which justifies its existence. In fact, classical jurists and the Muslim community before them were willing to endorse different variations of the model so long as these variations continued to reflect the fundamental principle.
Two questions regarding the method of selection went unanswered by classical jurists. The first question had to do with the nature of the ahl al hal1 wa al ‘aqd, and the other with the mechanisms to be used in the confirmation stage of elections. Classical jurists were content with spelling out the basic qualifications that the ikhtiyar people had to meet while overlooking the important question of how these individuals were to undertake their extremely important tasks. This was probably due to the fact that there was then no urgent need to clarify this question, for by the time classical jurists developed the khilafah theory, political power was practically under the tight control of powerful families and clans. Evidently, the ahl al ha11 wa al ‘aqd was not conceived of as a clearly defined body with formal duties, but rather as a group of influential persons interacting loosely among themselves. As a system of representation, the ahl al ha1l wa al ‘aqd could be reduced to one person whenever the choice made by this one individual reflected the will of the ummah. The number had, however, to be increased until this body became reflective of the entire ummah:
We consider that one person should be sufficient (for the selection of the leader) so long as this individual is obeyed and esteemed (by the people) and so long as his inclination to one side coincided with the inclination of the masses. . . . But if achieving this objective (popular support of the leader) required that two or three persons (should agree), then their agreement is necessary.[13]
The Scope of State Power
Historically, classical jurists gave the head of state a wide array of executive powers, including an indefinite term of office, unlimited appointive power, and tight control over all appropriations and the budget. The head of state was indeed supreme on the executive side, but he was never an absolute ruler. Beyond his executive supremacy, he was subordinate to the Shari’ah and limited by its rules and principles. The Shari’ah was the ultimate source of law, and both the community and the jurists acted as a check on the ruler. Ordinary members of the Muslim community were able to curb the ruler’s power in their capacity as trustees of the divine revelation, and believers were religiously obliged to obey the ruler only so long as he abided by the Shari‘ah’s rules. Jurists could also act as a barrier to the ruler’s abuse of power because they were seen as the repository of knowledge and the only segment of society which had the capacity to interpret the law.
Furthermore, not only did the ruler lack any legislative power, but his influence over the judiciary as well as educational and social welfare institutions was minimal or nil. Judges who were appointed by the kha1~fah had to apply civil and criminal codes developed by the jurists, whereas schools, universities, and social welfare institutions were completely independent from government control and were run by both private citizens as well as the ‘ulama. The tremendous power which the ummah and the ‘ulama exerted over the government notwithstanding, their influence remained informal and loosely channeled to the political system; indeed, both failed to transform their political function into that of well-defined and organized institutions.
In short, the power to enact law (i.e., legislative power) remained historically in the domain of the ummah. Admittedly, the head of state and his ministers could occasionally establish public rules, but these rules were more like executive orders than laws, and they had to conform to the rules of the Shari’ah developed by Muslim jurists in order to be considered valid by the community.
In recent years, contemporary Muslim leaders and intellectuals have started to call for the establishment of legislative bodies, stressing the need to add a legislative function to the state. It is argued that the withholding of legislative power from the state was understandable when political power was usurped by tribal dynasties. But an elected government should be entrusted with the responsibility to legislate, instead of keeping this important function unorganized.’[14] Some prominent scholars have even argued that since the purpose of the state is to implement the Shari’ah, and since the Shari’ah addresses various aspects of life, the Islamic state is in a sense totalitarian’[15] Such statements underscore confusion between the concept of ummah and that of state, a confusion that mistakes the role of the ummah as the moral manifestation of the Shari’ ah with the role of the state as the bearer of political power. The distinction between the roles of the state and the ummah should not be interpreted, however, to mean that the political is to be separated from the moral. Far from it. The political and the moral are, from the Islamic point of view, inseparable. The Islamic state, as we saw earlier, presupposes the existence of the Islamic normative order, i.e., the ummah with its unique set of values and beliefs whose realization requires the establishment of specialized political organs. The distinction is rather one of scope and degree. That is, state activities are distinguished from social activities in that they reflect a commitment to the higher objectives of the Shari’ah and, consequently, a broader basis of consensus.
The difference between commitments associated with the ummah and those identified with the state can be better understood by considering the structure of the Shari’ah. The Shari'ah’s rules may be divided into three categories: a) Rules identifying moral principles and personal obligations. These mainly involve teachings intended to promote individual character and to help the Muslim grow spiritually and hence improve his/her relationship with his/her Creator (akhlaq and ‘ibadat); b) Rules intended to regulate individual behavior in respect to other members of society. These include rules regulating interpersonal relations among the members of society (mu’~ma1at); and c) Rules intended to regulate individual behavior in relation to society as a whole. These are essentially general guidelines outlined in broad terms. Many of the rules in this area fill within the realm of the Shari’ah known as masalih mursalah (public good). Rules of this sort are subject to reasoned judgments in line with the guiding principles of the Shari’ah. It is only this last category of rules that should be delegated to the state.
Personal and interpersonal rules should fall under the control of the ummah, because individual character and morality can be better influenced by inspirational and educational means, while personal exchange is subject to local considerations and should be regulated by local communities. Only intergroup behavior and questions concerning the general well-being and quality of life in society should come under the state’s control.
Whereas economic and contractual relations involving members of the community should be left to the ummah and civil society in general, economic and contractual relations involving classes’[16] of citizens must be regulated by the state so as to prevent the formation of a closed economic elite and to ensure that public resources are equitably distributed among the society’s members. The state’s authority to regulate intergroup economic and contractual relations is derived not only from its overall responsibility to ensure that social relations are structured pursuant to the principles of justice and human dignity, but is also prompted by Qur’anic injunctions which emphasize fairness, decency, and compassion.[17]
It is argued in this paper that the Islamic state should be identified with two elements: the system of rules that determines intergroup activities and the general social and economic conditions, as well as the political organs necessary for the realization of Islamic ideals. A distinction is made between the Islamicity of the state and the legitimacy of state power. The former is connected with the source of law, the latter with the source of authority. The state is Islamic insofar as its rules and laws are based on and derived from the principles of the Shari’ah. The legitimacy of the state, on the other hand, depends upon the extent to which state organization and power reflect the will of the ummah, for as classical jurists have insisted, the legitimacy of state institutions is not derived from textual sources but is based primarily on the principle of ijma‘.
It is further argued that a distinction should be drawn between the role and purpose of the Islamic state and those of the ummah. This is because while the latter purports to facilitate the moral and spiritual growth of the individual and to provide the environment that would allow the individual to define and then realize his/her role and objectives in life within the general framework of the Shari’ah, the former aspires to establish the general conditions that would enhance the quality of life in the political community.
The distinction between the role and purpose of the state and those of the ummah translates in practice into two distinctive spheres of moral and social responsibility. On the one hand, control over personal and interpersonal behavior should be localized; decisions regarding interpersonal social and economic activities should be handled by local communities, and hence should fall under the domain of the ummah. The state, on the other hand, should focus on global questions concerning the quality of life in society as well as intergroup activities.


[1] ”What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger (and taken away) from the people of the townships belongs to Allah, to His Messenger and to kindred and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; in order that it may not take a circuit (li alla yakuna dulah) between the wealthy among you ..7 (Qur’an 59:7).
[2] See for instance al Mawardi, al Ahkam al Sultaniyah (Cairo: Dar al Fikr, 1401/1983); also Abu al Hassan al Shaybani, al Siyar al Kabir.
[3] For Ibn Khaldun’s views on the state, see al Muqaddimah, chapter III (Beirut: Dar al Kitab al Lubnani, 1956), 121-44.
[4] See for example ‘Abd al Qadir ‘Awdah, al Is1am wa Awda‘una al Siyasiyah (Beirut: Mu’assasah al Risalah, 1984), 177; or Muhammad Faruq al Nabhan, Muhadarat fi al Fikr al Siyasi wa al Iqtisadi fi al Islam, 35-5 8.
[5] Abu al Ma’ali al Juwayni, Giyath al Umam (Alexandria, Egypt: Dar al Dawah, n.d.), 47.
[6] See T. Walter Walibank, et al., Civilization Past and Present, 5th ed. (Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman and Company, 1965), 208.
[7] See for instance Ibn Kathir’s al Bidayah wa al Nihayah.
[8] The Shari‘ah’s humane and global orientation is reflected in many verses of the Qur’an, such as: “We sent you not but as a mercy for humanity” (21:7). Its humanistic orientation has been articulated by Abu Ishaq al Shatibi (d. 730 AH), who posits in his major work at Muwafaqat five purposes of the Shari’ ah: the protection of religion, life, progeny, property, and mind. For a detailed discussion on the subject, see at Muwafaqat (Cairo: al Maktabat al Tijariyah), vol. II, 5-20.
[9] See al Mawardi (d. 450 A.H.), al- Ahkam al-Sultaniyah (Cairo: Dar al Fikr, 1404/1983),
6-9; also al Juwayni, Giyath al Umam.
[10] Quoted in Ann K. Lambton, State and Government in Medieval Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 81.
[11] Al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyah, 6-9.
[12] Al-Juwayni, Ghiyath al Umam, 55-6.
[13] Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali, Fadaih al-Batiniyah (Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyah), 176-7.
[14] See Rashid Rides al Khilafah; also Abu Ala Mauduidi’s Islamic State, trans. Mazheruddin Siddiqi (Karachi: Islamic Research Academy, 1986).
[15] See al Mawdadi, Islamic State, 14-7.
[16] The term “class” includes but is not limited to the economic sphere. It may also include social groups divided along political, ideological, or regional lines.
[17] The Qur’an expresses in so many ways the obligation of the ummah to establish an equitable order in which human exploitation and abuse is prevented and human dignity is protected and promoted. See, for example, 4:135, 5:8, 16:90, 57:25, and 59:7.

Copyright © 1999 Louay Safi. All Rights Reserved.

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