Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

The one and only free public forum for Bohras. The focus of this forum is the reform movement, the Dawoodi Bohra faith and, of course, the corrupt priesthood. But the discussion is in no way restricted to the Bohras alone.
ozmujaheed
Posts: 889
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:14 am

Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#1

Unread post by ozmujaheed » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 am

Smoothing the Path to Religious Democracy

The advocates of Islamic democracy usually refer to the shura (consultation) as the most important Islamic teaching that supports and justifies the authority of people in an Islamic government. Rashid al-Ghannouchi (Tunisia, born 1941) writes:

The Islamic government is one in which:

1- Supreme legislative authority is for the Shari’ah, which is the revealed law of Islam, which transcends all laws. Within this context, it is responsibility of scholars to deduce detailed laws and regulations to be used as guidelines by judges. The head of the Islamic state is the leader of the executive body entrusted with the responsibility of implementing such laws and regulations.

2- Political power belongs to the community (ummah), which should adopt a form of ‘shura’ which is a system of mandatory consultation[135].

Thinkers like Sadek Sulaiman (Oman, born 1933) maintain that shura in Islam includes basic elements of democracy. He says:

As a concept and as a principle, shura in Islam does not differ from democracy. Both shura and democracy arise from the central consideration that collective deliberation is more likely to lead to a fair and sound result for the social good than individual preference[136].

The Holy Qur’an explicitly proposes and encourages that public affairs and the governance of the ummah should be based upon shura:

And those who respond to their Lord and keep up prayer, and their rule is to take counsel amongst themselves. (Chapter 42, Verse 38)

And ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair. (Chapter 3, Verse 159)

The second verse orders the Prophet (pbuh), who receives revelation and enjoys infallible knowledge, to take counsel with believers in management of public affairs. This command shows the fundamental significance of the participation of Muslims in social and political affairs. It is somewhat an exaggeration to suppose that the shura is the functional equivalent of western parliamentary democracy because there are some controversies amongst scholars about the political status of shura. For instance, those who believe in the theory of Caliphate, emphasize that members of the council only have a duty to express their opinion with no right to make political decisions. Accordingly if the Caliph refers to the assembly to take their opinion regarding rulings, which he wants to adopt, their opinion is not binding on him, even if it is a consensus of majority opinion.

What makes shura one of the basic elements of Islamic democracy, it seems, is the fact that shura refers to one of the significant essentials of democracy. Democracy in its long history has had evolutions and alterations, but matters such as public participation, the rule of law and the responsibility and accountability of governors can be recognized as essential to democracy. In conclusion, the assumption that the Islamic political system could be a democratic one, merely implies that Islamic teachings endorse and agree with the essentials of democracy. From this point of view, there is no doubt that the verses of the Holy Qur’an concerning shura along with some transmissions from the prophet and Imams emphasize on the necessity of public participation in political and social affairs. But the question concerning the political role of consultation (shura) in the process of making decisions still remains. Is consultation merely a religious duty of the ruler of the Islamic state, or is he bound by the decisions of those consulted?

The last verse of Surah Aale-Imran verifies the view that shura is not binding upon the ruler, for the Almighty God delegates the final decision, after consultation, to the Prophet (pbuh):

And take counsel with them in the affair, so when you have decided then place your trust in Allah. (Chapter 3, Verse 159)

However, the practice of the Holy Prophet, according to some traditions, testifies that he had implemented and respected the opinion of the believers even when it was against his own views. It is recorded that the Prophet not only consulted with his experienced or close companions, but sometimes he held open meetings in which all Muslims were invited. The consultation that took place about the battle of Badr and Uhud was one such example. In the case of Uhud he gave precedent to the opinion of the majority of Muslims over his own concerning the location of the battlefield and decided to fight outside the city of Madina. He also consulted the people concerning the treatment of prisoners of war following the battles of Badr and al- Khandaq[137].

Clearly, however, the Prophet did not consult the Muslims concerning religious affairs or divine matters. His consultations were restricted to war, peace and ordinary public affairs that were not determined by revelation and were not amongst the situations in which divine order determined must be done. For example, with regard to the treaty of al-Hudaybiyah the Prophet (pbuh) did not submit to the opinion of the majority of his companions who were in disagreement with the covenant, it was not in fact a consultation but a series of complaints made to the messenger regarding the terms of the peace. He rejected their suggestions to break his promises and continued to respect the agreement, which he had made because it was a command of Allah (swt). He told them: “Verily I am the servant of Allah and his messenger. I shall never disobey his order.”

In short, even though the shura in its historical function within the Islamic world does not totally overlap with the modern concept of democracy and the political status of parliament in contemporary representative democracies, it would be appropriate for shaping a limited democratic model for an Islamic state. The Qur’anic emphasis on the status of shura as an essential aspect of the Islamic political system – according to those who interpret the word for amr in both of the two verses relating to shura, as referring to governmental affairs – makes way for defining a determined systematic role for the people’s representatives (members of the shura) within the body of the Islamic state. The above- mentioned verses are silent about how the form and mechanism of shura in an Islamic political system might be, consequently the constitutional approach inclines to determine and stabilize the political status of shura (people’s authority) under the supreme authority of Islam does not confront any religious problem.

The second element, however, often mentioned by advocates of religious democracy as an appropriate approach to an Islamic democratic state is Bay’ah. In the first Chapter, the meaning of ‘Bay’ah’ has already been discussed. Here, the aim is to examine its legal nature, for it is supposed that its political function is the same as the function of an election in democratic systems. It should be noted that Bay’ah in the sense of adherence to a religion (as occurred between the Prophet and his supporters from Madina before Hijrah) or recognition of a pre-established authority by other means (such as the testamentary designation, such as the Bay’ah of people to the second caliph Umar) is irrelevant to our debate. Bay’ah as a means and method of designating a person as a ruler (caliph) among other legitimate methods is held to be the same as democratic election in its legal nature. This political view exclusively belongs to Sunni jurists, because Shi’a political thought, except that of the Zaydis, maintains that the Imamah is acquired by election within the Alid family. The Bay’ah has never been able to play this role, for the Shi’a recognize only one method of designating the Imam. He is appointed through the testament (nass) of one in the legitimate line of descent[138].

This sense of Bay’ah is a supposed contractual agreement between those who elect and he who has been designated as the ruler. As far as democracy is concerned, for at least two reasons, Bay’ah is not simply and solely a democratic election. Firstly, Bay’ah implies binding obedience to the ruler, and since it is a contractual agreement, like commercial agreements such as bao (to sell), the obedience of the elected ruler as a religious duty, would be obligatory. Secondly, this obligatory obedience is life long, whereas the democratic process of appointing a person as ruler is merely temporal with no religious implications.

One of the most important characteristics of a democratic government is its accountability to its people. A democratic state must be accountable and its citizens must have the right to criticize its policies and functions. Advocates of religious democracy maintain that al-amr bi'l-maruf wal nahy'an al- munkar (enjoining good and forbidding evil) is one of the most significant Islamic duties placed upon Muslims and it should render the Islamic state accountable. Many Qur’anic verses emphasize on this fundamental injunction, which if Muslims take seriously would produce a healthy and healthy society that is far removed from tyranny, injustice and dictatorship. Almighty God says in the Holy Qur’an:

And from amongst you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong, and these it is that shall be successful. (Chapter 3, Verse 104)

And (as for) the believing men and believing women, they are guardians of each other, they enjoin good and forbid evil. (Chapter 9, Verse 71)

It is an Islamic duty, incumbent upon all Muslims, to concern themselves with the health and well being of society, to oppose injustice and immorality, and to scrutinize the actions of those who undertake governmental affairs. There exists a mutual responsibility between the rulers and those whom they rule to implement and uphold the Islamic Shari’ah and this provides a clear framework and basis upon which citizens may question the actions and policies of their governors with regards to their socio-religious duties. As the most-noble Messenger (pbuh) in a famous tradition says:

Every one of you is a shepherd (of the community), and all are responsible for their dependants and herd[139].

In order to fulfil this obligation (to monitor governmental functions) there is a requirement for certain conditions to be met, such as the freedom of speech and to criticize as well as access to accurate and objective information. Otherwise, the active participation of people in public-religious duties such as providing constructive feedback and criticisms toward the governors and standing for justice and truth would be impossible. It is obvious that Islam does not concur with individual freedom to the extent prevalent in western culture. However, the preconditions of an Islamic and democratic government that respects the rights of the people and their contribution in socio-political affairs, are outlined by the Qur’an and Sunnah (valid traditions). For example the Qur'an encourages believers to listen to different opinions and to select the best of them:

Therefore give good news to my servant. Those who listen to the word, then follow the best of it; those are whom Allah has guided, and those it is who are men of understanding. (Chapter 39, Verses 17-18)

There are many narrations in historical and religious texts documenting dialogue and debate that occurred between Shi’a Imams and non-Muslim intellectuals in which disbelievers (even atheists) were able to express their ideological views so long as they were voiced as academic opinions and kept within the circles of scholarly debate, rather than attempting to propagate them. In a true Islamic state, it is the right granted to the people that they be kept aware of affairs in society and government.

Imam Ali (pbuh) once explained the mutual rights and duties that exist between an Imam (leader) and the people:

It is your right that I must not hide any secret, except that of war, from you. And that I should not take over matters (without your consultation or awareness) other than those concerning divine laws (hukm)[140].

Aside from the obvious distinction between religious democracy and western liberal democracy, the former holds the same essential advantages as any democratic government. These include the participation of citizens, the distribution of political power by election, political accountability of governors, constitutionalism and political transparency as well as mutual responsibility between the rulers and the ruled. Religious democracy however, is far more desirable for Muslims than any feasible alternative because of the supreme role of the Shari’ah in providing a basis for, and shaping the growth of, the contents of this political system. It is also desired because of the qualities and moral-religious commitments that the governor must have as the leader of Muslim society.

For instance, constitutionalism and accountability in secular, western democracies as Nathan Brown says, has expressed itself most frequently in human authored constitutional texts and rights, whereas religious constitutionalism is defined under the authority of the Shari’ah. Therefore, the religious government is not only accountable with regard to people's rights and needs, but also with regard to the Shari’ah and divine laws. He writes:

Many Muslims have come to believe that the crisis of political accountability can be solved by insisting that Muslim governments rule within the bounds fixed by the Islamic Shari’ah. In essence, this demand renders the Islamic Shari’ah as a kind of constitution. Governments may not cross the boundaries firmly established by the Islamic Shari’ah; rulers are held accountable to God's law[141].

Religious Democracy is Paradoxical

Critics of religious democracy maintain that there is an inherent antagonism between the fundamental aspects of the Islamic creed and the basis of democracy. According to this view, those who subscribe to the idea of religious democracy ignore the true nature of religion and overlook the epistemological foundations of democracy.

The democratic system is based upon pluralism that places emphasis upon freedom instead of regulation, diversity as opposed to homogeneity, and multiplicity rather than unity. According to pluralistic doctrine, no single person, group or school of thought can possess or claim to possess the absolute truth or that it's understanding and opinions are correct and that all others are false.

Truths are distributed amongst humanity, hence, every opinion is but a composition of truth and falsehood, and consequently no opinion has superiority over another, and cannot claim such. People are free to follow and support any opinion they decide upon, whether it be religious or secular, theistic or atheistic, moral or immoral. The unlimited freedom of choice is one of the most important foundations of democracy, a foundation that Islam is opposed to. Hamid Paydar writes:

One of the epistemological foundations of democracy is the obscurity of truth and its distribution amongst all human beings, however, if an ideology or religion should call itself the sample of truth, maintaining that other religions and opinions are manifestations of infidelity, polytheism and misleading, it would not be compatible with democratic government. Islam, according to some verses of the Qur’an introduces itself as a unique right and true religion. Verses such as “This then is Allah, your true lord; and what is there after the truth but error” (10:32) “And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it should not be accepted from him” (3:85) and the opening verses of Surah Taubah (repentance) are in contradiction to man's freedom of choice[142].

This view emphasizes on the inflexibility of Islamic laws and the absolute authority of the Shari’ah as evidence of incompatibility between Islam and democracy. Obviously the interpretation of democracy stated above does not represent what exists in an ordinary democratic state. It is a particular version of democracy mixed with extreme liberalism, which asserts the absolute neutrality of a liberal democratic state. For this new approach a desirable political system should ignore any conception of good and should not based upon any particular philosophical-religious doctrine of life. As Galston says:

According to this view, the liberal state is desirable not because it promotes a specific way of life but precisely because it alone does not do so. The liberal state is ‘neutra’ amongst different ways of life. It presides benignly over them, intervening only to adjudicate conflict, to prevent any particular way of life tyrannizing over others, and to ensure that all adhere to the principals that constitute society's basic structure[143].

It is not our objective to discuss whether the neutrality of a political system is possible. However, the fact is that no form of political life can be justified without appealing to certain ideas and values concerning society and the individual. Some advocates of liberalism maintain that liberal theorists covertly employ theories concerning goodness. However, their adamant denial of any reference to a basis or foundation reduces the strength of their argument and leaves their theories vulnerable to criticism[144].

Regardless of whether a neutral government is feasible or not, there is no doubt that Islam is in complete disagreement with many underlying values of liberal democracy, including secularism, pluralism and radical individualism. Consequently the above-mentioned theory merely explains the general incompatibility of Islam with liberalism and specifically the new conception of a 'liberal state'. This, nevertheless, does not in any way undermine other versions of limited democracy, including religious democracy.



Usurpation of God's Sovereignty

Some Muslim thinkers who emphasize on Islamic governance argue that democracy is contradictory to Islamic principals because it involves the legislation of laws, and there are may verses of Qur’an that demonstrate that legislation is reserved for Allah (swt).

Indeed judgment (hukm) is only for Allah. (Chapter 6, Verse 57)

And in whatever thing you disagree, the judgment thereof is with Allah. (Chapter 42, Verse 10)

And if you were in dispute in anything amongst yourselves, refer to Allah and His Messenger. (Chapter 4, Verse 59)

In conclusion, Islam holds that sovereignty is with God (Divine law = Shari’ah) and not with the ummah (people), thus the ummah does not possess the right to legislate on any matter. For example, even if all the Muslims were to gather together and agree to permit usury, usury would remain prohibited because it is a decree from Allah and Muslims have no choice in the matter. On the other hand, in democracy sovereignty is with the people, thus they are able to legislate according to their own free will and desires, either directly or indirectly via the representatives they have elected[145].

The Egyptian revivalist scholar, Sayyid Qutb holds that the essential doctrine of liberal democracy, namely the sovereignty of man, is a usurpation of God's sovereignty and a rebellion against His authority, for it subordinates the individual to the will of other individuals instead of God's governance on the earth[146].

Clearly this approach to religious government, in principal, should not ignore the administrative and executive role of the people in an Islamic state, because for them the problem of legislation is fundamental. This approach insists that the believers cannot frame any law for themselves, nor do they have the right to alter or modify God's laws. This assumption has emanated from the idea that it is incumbent upon Muslims to follow Shari’ah and to restrict all actions and principals to this basis. It is not allowed for them to undertake or leave anything except after understanding the rule of Allah regarding it. Furthermore, those who deny any legislative role for the people maintain that the Islamic Shari’ah contains rules for all past events, current problems, all possible incidents and that it encompasses the actions of man completely and comprehensively. Allah says:

And we have sent down to you the book as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy and glad tidings to those who have submitted themselves to Allah. (Chapter 16, Verse 89)

Accordingly, Muslims are allowed to make use of the sciences and thoughts of human beings unless they contradict Islam. However, with regard to laws and legislation it is prohibited for Muslims to devise and obey un-Islamic rules because it is impossible to find a human action that does not have an evidence or a sign that indicates its rule in the Quran. This is due to the general meaning of His saying ‘exposition of everything’[147].

Since the above view is both influential and popular amongst Islamic revivalist movements, it would be both convenient and useful to examine its various aspects. In order to do this, one must first clarify the meaning of “God’s sovereignty”, then the assumption that all legislative authority rests with God and that believers and qualified jurists (fuqaha) cannot frame any laws for Muslim society should be examined. It should also be emphasized that there is a lack of knowledge concerning the Islamic model of democracy, which insists on the sovereignty of God as well as people’s authority in limited aspects of political affairs. The followers of this doctrine focus solely on a comparison between their conception of an Islamic state and a purely democratic (or liberal democratic) model.

By definition, sovereignty is the claim of ultimate political authority, subject to no higher power with regards to the legislation and enforcement of political decisions. In the international system, sovereignty is the claim by the state to independent self-government and the mutual recognition of claims to sovereignty is the basis of international society[148].

Through regarding sovereignty as the basis and foundation of the political power that a government relies upon in order to be able to exercise its power and organize its domestic and international relationships, the idea that sovereignty as a political term has no connection to God has come to being. Therefore those who attribute the quality to God confuse between the religious status of God amongst believers and the political power of a state referred to by the term ‘sovereignty’. Hence many thinkers such as Fazlur-Rahman essentially deny any attempt to translate the supremacy of Allah into political sovereignty.

The term ‘sovereignty’ as a political term is of a relatively recent coining and denotes definite and defined factors in a society to which rightfully belongs coercive force in order to obtain obedience to its will. It is absolutely obvious that God is not sovereign in this sense and that only people can be and are sovereign, since only to them belongs ultimatecoercive force i.e. Only their 'word is law' in the politically ultimate sense[149].

As a matter of fact, every formed state has sovereignty regardless of how its political hegemony and power are established and shaped. So, all political models of government - democratic, dictatorship, guardianship and even a military government established by a coup d’etat - so long as it remains in power and can exercise ultimate political authority, possesses sovereignty. In the Islamic ideology, however, there is no unique origin for the establishment of political sovereignty and thus the fundamentally crucial question in this regard is one of ‘legitimacy’. Which form of political sovereignty is the legitimate one? Amongst political philosophers there are several answers to this significant question. The idea that ‘only people can be and are sovereign’, as Fazl ur-Rahman stated, represents the democratic approach to this question. Certainly, for philosophers who believe in ‘guardianship’ such as Plato, the rule of majority and the consent of the people does not legitimize the political sovereignty of a government.

Therefore, sovereignty as such could be created through a number of means and in different forms, but every political doctrine presents its own specific interpretation of legitimate sovereignty and emphasizes on one factor as an essential element of a legitimate state. In the view of those who support the doctrine of an Islamic state, the legitimacy of a government is strongly tied to the extent of that government's commitment to the Shari’ah as well as Islamic teachings and values. Muslim thinkers construe the phenomena as God's sovereignty because God's will is embodied in his legislations and His will and orders have priority over the will and orders expressed by the rulers of an Islamic government, who are obligated to rule in accordance with divine laws (Shari’ah).

With regards to this interpretation of God's sovereignty with its particular insistence on his supremacy in legislation, the key issue that arises is whether sovereignty prevents the believers from any form of legislation. This important question distinguishes between religious democracy and the above-mentioned doctrine that does not recognize any right for the believers to frame any law for themselves. Religious democracy, as emphasized before, is based firmly upon the belief in the ultimate authority of almighty God, including his legislative sovereignty. But it is essential to recognize that the unquestionable legislative superiority over dimensions of Muslim's life is one issue, and their frequent need for appropriate, fresh and temporal laws to handle new and unusual situations is another. Muslims society, like all other societies, is in need of new laws and regulations in order to adapt its legal system with the frequent alterations in social relationships, namely, new developments in human lifestyle, technological development and cultural– economical changes. Social change in its broad meaning regularly produces many fresh judicial questions, which often cannot be resolved without new legislation.

The conception that Islam is perfect, comprehensive and all- embracing with regards to the needs of human beings, particularly the judicial-legislative necessities that arise, andthat the Islamic legal system consequently includes all rules required for a desirable Islamic way of life, with no need to draft new legislation and laws, can be interpreted in two ways. The first notion incorporates a misinterpretation of the idea that Islam is indeed a perfect religion. This theory asserts that in every case in which mankind is in need of laws, there are appropriate rules that already exist in the Shari’ah that can be automatically applied. Islam contains every law that people require in order to handle their private and public affairs. In conclusion, there remains no legal vacuum to justify the existence of another legislative sovereignty to derive new laws. According to this view, Qur’anic verses such as “And we have sent down to you the book as an exposition of every thing” (16:89) should be interpreted as supporting this view, because the word ‘everything’ embraces all rules we need in the various dimensions of our life, at all times and in every model of social formation. Regarding the Islamic legal system, all judicial demands would be satisfied either by in advance prepared rules or through Ijtihad (fuqaha derive new laws by referring to Islamic sources), which in turn is not legislation. Through ijtihad the faqih recourse to the sources of Shari’ah to declare the position of Islam with regards to new questions and situations, this in its nature is completely separate from legislation. Islamic jurists have no right to legislate, they merely are able to understand and announce to believers what Almighty God has declared.

Small-scale societies have a relatively simple social structure that can be easily regulated by a basic set of rules. However, contemporary society is considerably larger and possesses a vast social structure permeated by many complex interrelationships. In such an environment, every circumstance and aspect of public life requires a flexible legal network, consisting of both fixed and changeable rules, in order to be able to stay in harmony with the demands of a growing and modern society. The existence of ahistorical, non-temporal and fixed laws is a significant characteristic that is common in many comprehensive legal systems, especially in the Islamic legal code, nevertheless, the importance of temporal, changeable rules that every government must legislate according to new economic, social and political situations cannot be ignored. These policies are required to protect the interests of society and to overcome different social difficulties concerning education, taxation, security, exports, immigration and so on. Therefore the adoption of policy is one of the most important functions of a government.

The Shari’ah is perfect, not because we do not need any kind of legislation or because all the rules needed have been previously prepared, rather it is because Islam is the most perfect of all legal systems. It consists of comprehensive and all-inclusive divine laws and Islamic jurisprudence also has specific elements, which render it a dynamic and flexible system that is capable of operating hand-in-hand with changes in society and reality. One of the most significant aspects of this structure is the right of a well-qualified jurist (Wali al-Faqih mujtahid a-adil) to issue rulings and commands. If the Shari’ah has already providing a verdict regarding a specific issue, it is an obligation upon the Islamic state to adopt the ruling of the Shari’ah.

If a situation arises in which the Shari’ah is ambiguous or there exists a difference of opinion concerning the divine law, the opinion and edict of the Wali Amr (who carries the responsibility of rulership in the absence of the infallible Imam) has precedence over all others. In the case where there exists no obligation or prohibition in the Shari’ah, it is permissible for the just faqih to issue a governmental order necessitated by the interest of Islam and Muslims. Since the just faqih has legitimate authority (wilayah) and legislative sovereignty other governors, including those elected by the people such as members of parliament and the president, should be appointed by the just faqih otherwise they would have no legitimate authority to make governmental rules and decisions. For instance Ayatollah Khomeini says:

In the absence of the guardianship of a faqih or divine ruler, the taghut (illegitimate authority) will prevail. If the president is not appointed by a just faqih, he would be illegitimate[150].

In letters appointing the members of the Islamic Revolutionary Council in Iran as well as the first premier, referring to the above points, he writes:

As a person who enjoys the wilayah of the sacred religion, I appoint him...any opposition to this government is tantamount to opposition of Shari’ah[151].

Therefore, being elected by the majority or obtaining public consensus does not automatically grant legislative sovereignty or legitimate religious authority to rule and govern Islamic society. And in cases that governors have been appointed by the just faqih – even elected officials – their authority for making decisions and orders cannot contradict the Shari’ah. Finally, in instances where there is noclear indication from the Shari’ah because the case is totally new, and without previous record, it is the responsibility of the fuqhaha (jurists) to deduce the appropriate rule from Islamic sources.

Benefits of Democracy

There are many advantages that make democracy more desirable than any other feasible alternative political system. Even though to attain all of the potential benefits is beyond the capacity of current democracies, these ideal consequences cannot be overlooked. When properly implemented and regulated, the democratic political system should in theory produce a series of beneficial objectives.

Avoiding tyranny: Democracy reduces the likelihood of a tyrannical or autocratic government obtaining power. However, this does not mean that democracy can totally guarantee the prevention of oppressive or dictatorial rule, or that it is entirely capable of preventing injustice in society. For example, the Nazi party in Germany (1933-1945) obtained power through the manipulation of the democratic and free-electoral systems. Advocates of democracy argue, though, that in the long-term a democratic process is less likely to do harm to the interests of the citizens than a non- democratic one.

Protecting essential rights: Democracy guarantees its citizens a number of fundamental rights that undemocratic systems do not grant. These political rights are all necessary elements of democratic political institutions.

Human development: It is claimed that democracy fosters human development more fully than any practical alternative. This claim is controversial and very difficult to substantiate. The only way to test this assertion is by measuring human development in democratic and non- democratic societies.

Political equality: Only a democratic government can guarantee a high degree of political equality amongst citizens.

Protecting essential personal interests: Democracy assists people in protecting their own fundamental interests. It allows people to shape their life in accordance with their own goals, preferences, values and beliefs[110].

Perhaps the most common justification given for democracy is that it is essential for the protection of the general interests of the persons who are subject to a democratic state.

ozmujaheed
Posts: 889
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:14 am

Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#2

Unread post by ozmujaheed » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:27 am

Reconciling Islam and Liberal Democracy

Muslim advocates of religious democracy strongly support the conception of a democratic political system possessing a religious framework drawn by Shari’ah. In other words, a judicial (fiqhi) based model of democracy that respects the authority of the people regarding God's sovereignty and Islamic law. They emphasize upon the accountability of the government, the participation of the people in political affairs and the implementation of the Shari’ah. According to their conception of religious democracy, the political power belongs to the people, but their authority is limited by the Shari’ah. Hence, it is not in the people's power to make political decisions that contradict Islamic rules and values. The basic structure of a fiqhi based society, namely the system of rights and duties, should be defined according to instructions and limitations set forth by Islamic teachings in general and Shari’ah in particular.

Some Muslim intellectuals attempt to present a model of Islamic democratic government, which in principle welcomes with open arms many underlying values of contemporary liberal democracies. As a notable sample of this modernist approach there is the conception of Abdul- Kareem Soroush (an Iranian intellectual born in 1945) regarding religious democracy. Here we will briefly explore a political approach that strives to reconcile Islam and the western conception of human rights, justice and rationality, by reducing the status of Shari’ah to juridical conflicts with no connection to the management of society or the regulation of social relationships. The basic elements of this doctrine are as follows:

* In contrast to the prevailing conception of a religious society and Islamic government, that is essentially fiqh based and defines a religious society as one wherein the implementation of Shari’ah is the ultimate aim and major function of the religious state, the above mentioned doctrine does not give Islamic jurisprudence such a crucial role. According to a fiqh-based interpretation of religious society and Islamic governance, the rights and responsibilities of people have been defined and determined by Islamic laws, in other words the issue of human rights is defined within a religious context, particularly jurisprudential arguments. However, the above doctrine insists that defining human rights, and thus human duties, belongs to the extra-religious area and should be determined outside the domain of religion and Shari’ah.

* “The first issue concerning human rights is that it is not a solely legal (fiqhi) inter religious argument. Discussion of human rights belongs to the domain of philosophical theology and philosophy in general. Furthermore, it is an extra-religious area of discourse. Like other debates on matters that are prior to religious understanding and acceptance such as the existence of God, and the election of the Prophets, human rights lies outside of the domain of religious”[153]

* Religious law (Shari’ah) is not synonymous with the entirely of religion; nor is the debate over the democratic religious government a purely jurisprudential argument, so we shouldn't define the religious society according to the extent of its adoption of Shari’ah. The prophets founded a society based on faith and spirituality, not on legality. The heart of a religious society is freely chosen faith, not coercion and conformity. Religious society is based upon free, invisible faith, and dynamic and varied religious understanding[154].

* The jurisprudential governing and attempt to resolve social and public difficulties by Islamic laws must be replaced by rationality and scientific magnanimity. Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) was a solution for simple, underdeveloped societies that had simple, uncomplicated relationships. Fiqh could handle and successfully organize such societies, but the problems of complicated modern societies would be resolved solely by rationality and science instead of jurisprudence[155].

* Democratic religious regimes need not wash their hands of religiosity nor turn their backs on God's approval. In order to remain religious, they, of course, need to establish religion as the guide and arbiter of their problems and conflicts. But, in order to remain democratic, they need dynamically to absorb an adjudicative understanding of religion in accordance with the dictates of collective reason. Furthermore, every democratic religious government must be mindful of both the inside and the outside of the religion in order to remain faithful to both of its foundations[156].

* Debates concerning justice, human rights and the methods of government cannot be resolved through intra-religious debate: these are extra-religious arguments that deeply influence the understanding and practice of religion. Religious understanding must constantly renew and correct itself according to philosophical-theological debate concerning human rights, the meaning and nature of justice, the effective method of government and so on. The legal and jurisprudential schools of thought should harmonize their achievements with these novel insights[157].

Having accepted these premises, one comes to the conclusion that many substantial changes of modern humankind in its ideas, attitudes, worldviews and lifestyle must be admitted and respected by religion. These profound and widespread alterations include the desirable political system, human rights, the structure of fundamental rights and duties and the limited role of religion in human life. According to this doctrine, these significant changes should be noticed as new realities and truths, hence, religious knowledge must try to acknowledge and adopt itself to these facts. Therefore Muslims should not strive to deduce their political system from Islamic sources or form their social relationships according to the Shari’ah, instead they have to shape the fundamental basics of their society (i.e. The system of rights and duties) to become consistent modern mankind's world views, ideas and perspectives. The keystone of this political approach consists of the concept that the traditional Islamic thought – religious knowledge – is temporally limited and must therefore undergo a drastic metamorphosis in order that it be brought into line according to the views of “modern mankind”.

This political doctrine suffers from three major categories of weakness. The first of these is that the fundamental aspects of this theory, presupposed by a specific doctrine about the nature of religious knowledge, rests on a subjective approach to the interpretation of texts. This subjective approach, called by Soroush “theoretic evolution and devolution ofShari’ah”, insists that religious knowledge and the science of religion are relative to presuppositions, and in addition, that they are also temporal.

He states that since these presuppositions are varied and restricted by time, religious knowledge and the interpretation of religion is entirely human and this worldly. All of this implies that religion is constantly surrounded by a host of contemporaneous data and deliberations, thus the interpretation remains constant so long as these external elements are also constant. However, once they change, the change will be reflected in the understanding of religion as well. Consequently, religious texts (such as the Holy Qur’an and Islamic traditions or ahadith) do not carry their meaning on their own shoulders, instead it is necessary to situate them within a context. The interpretation of the text is in flux, and presuppositions are actively at work here. Therefore, the interpretation of religious texts is subject to expansion and contradiction according to the assumptions preceding them. These assumptions are part of the world’s view of an age, which need not and usually does not enter the mind through any formal education or conscious adoption, but rather are utilized inadvertently and fluently[158].

This approach to religious knowledge and the interpretation of texts has been strongly influenced by subjectivist schools of interpretation particularly the German philosopher Georg Gadamer (died 2001) and the philosophical hermeneutics of his famous book “Truth and Method” (First German edition 1960)[159].According to these, the horizon of the reader (his presuppositions, attitudes and expectations) share in the process of interpretation, thereby making the reader more than a passive observer who merely receives the message of the text, rather he is an active participant who creates the meaning of a text, or at least the horizon of the reader shares in the process of constructing a meaning around the text. Hence, according to this theory, admitting modern and popularly viewed and shared ideas as extra-religious presuppositions is acceptable, even if this should interfere in the interpretation of religion. Examples of such ideas include the western conception of human rights, political system and the social formation of rights and duties. Below are a few brief criticisms of this conception of the nature of religious knowledge and understanding religious texts.

à When referring to a religious text, the fundamental aim of interpretation for believers and religious scholars is to understand the 'intention' of the author (for instance the intention of God in divine revelation and what the Prophet had in mind with regard to interpretation of his hadith). To achieve this understanding, they seek objective and valid interpretations of the texts. Obviously every form of interference originates from the reader's prejudices, presuppositions and expectations, which imposing a specific meaning upon the text, this is obviously harmful for any attempt to interpret religious texts.

à It is quite possible to subjectively interpret a religious text with no regard to the intentions of its author or its context. This form of interpretation is known as tafsir bi rai (interpretation by personal attitude and prejudice), and is criticized in many traditions originating from the Prophet and the Imams (peace be upon them). Developing a meaning according to the varied presuppositions and prejudices that exist in human society, is not a question of feasibility, rather it is a question of legitimacy.

à The assumption that religious texts do not carry their own meaning ignores the profound semantical relationship between words and meanings that is established in every natural language. This doctrine supposes that sentences of a text are empty vessels that a reader may place his own meaning within, as Soroush says:

Statements are hungry of meanings instead of being pregnant of them[160].(meaning a statement requires a meaning to be given to it, rather than providing a meaning from it).

Clearly anyone who wants to use or understand a language must respect its structure and limitations. Why aren't we free to apply and understand an English text as we wish? The point is that the pre-established connection between words (and their meanings) in this language prevent us from doing so and these limit the shape and framework of our linguistic activity. Therefore, statements in a text are not devoid of meaning, rather they contain their own meaning and play a crucial role in the process of understanding and transmitting the intention of their author, although this is not to say that other elements (such as the context of the text) are not important.

à This method of understanding in general, and understanding religious texts in particular, lends itself towards 'relativism'. It emphasizes tha religious knowledge and the interpretation of text is a theory-laden, as Soroush writes:

Religious knowledge will be in continuous flux, and since it is only through those presuppositions that one can hear the voice of revelation. Hence the religion itself is silent[161].

This absolute relativism doesn't allow any room for the question of validity in interpretation of the text and religious knowledge. According to this approach, the validity of religious knowledge is connected to the validity of extra-religious knowledge, which consists of the presuppositions of each age, which in turn are varied and changeable. Whereas appealing to religious beliefs and knowledge based on reliability and validity of religious knowledge is undermined by this theory.

à As a matter of fact readers face a text through their horizons that means they cannot ignore their knowledge, mental abilities, backgrounds and personal experiences concerning the context and content of the text. In other words, it is quite impossible that someone can overlook his own horizon and keep his mind empty when confronting a text, because our knowledge, experiences and so on are inseparable parts of our identity. This reality would not excuse free and nonstandard interference of the reader ‘s horizon in the process of the interpretation of the text. Indeed, the horizon of every reader consists of several categories and some of them play a crucial role in understanding the text. For instance, those who know Arabic and have suitable background in Islamic philosophy understand philosophical texts that have been written by Muslim philosophers in Arabic language much better than others. On the other hand, there are some elements whose influence we have to control during the interpretation of text, such as our prejudices and expectations that tend to impose particular and prejudged meanings over the text. That is why even some great advocates of philosophical hermeneutics notice the danger of some pre-understandings that hold back the correct process of interpretation. Heidegger and Gadamer emphasize that we have to distinguish between ‘correct and incorrect’, ‘legitimate and illegitimate’ conceptions and prejudices that come into understanding[162]. Consequently we are not free to allow our prejudgments, attitudes and fore conceptions to be presented in the event of understanding. Substantial changes in ideas, lifestyle and attitudes among modern humankind should not decide the message of a religion. Certainly these radical alterations sometimes create challenges and conflicts between a religion and modernism that require solutions, but reinterpretation of religion in favour of these new ideas and attitudes is not an appropriate solution, especially when we know that there is no justification for many of these modern concepts and approaches. Values such as consumerism, individualism, the liberal concept of freedom, secularism, free market (capitalism) and technology that make the major paradigms of contemporary civilization and modern humankind ‘s lifestyle, have established themselves because of the personal preferences of the majority. However, most of these paradigms suffer from the problem of justification. Therefore, there is no reason for believers to blindly apply all modern values and conception to their religious texts and to reproduce their religious knowledge in accordance to them.

Another criticism of the above mentioned political doctrine concerns the ambiguous role of religion in this version of “religious” democratic government. The scope of political- social affairs concerns the practical aspect of Islam, which is largely embodied in Islamic law. Yet, this doctrine essentially denies the fiqhi based model of governing and, therefore, it remains ambivalent about the role (if any) of the Shari’ah with regards to the organization of social relationships and the process of making significant social- political decisions.

On the other hand, if we endorse the claim that religious understanding should constantly be renewed and corrected in light of extra-religious presuppositions and that Islamic jurisprudential thought must harmonize its achievements with these novel insights obtained by human sciences, then what reason would justify and obligate us to harmonize our political-social decisions with such dependent, relative and changeable religious knowledge? Why shouldn't we just directly trust these novel extra-religious sights and presuppositions and relinquish religion?

Soroush emphasizes that religious democracies in order to remain religious, need to establish religion as the guide and arbiter of their problems and conflicts[163].

However, by overlooking the role of the Shari’ah in resolving the problems of contemporary modern societies, he does not explicitly state the mechanism upon which Islam might be the guide and arbiter of conflicts in the modern world.

Also significant is the fact that this doctrine fails to demonstrate why the problem of human rights and the system of rights and duties are extra-religious and why we shouldn't respect the explanation of religious sciences from intra-religious contents. It seems that the only reason that could possibly justify this approach rests on an extremely subjective conception of the nature of religious knowledge and the interpretation of texts, which has been criticized previously. In spite of this, there is no justification for ignorance concerning Islamic teachings, conceptions and laws with regards to human rights and duties. In cases where extra-religious notions and values contrast some Islamic teachings first of all we have to assess their capacity for truth-valid objective reasons that support and justify them. Clearly many fundamental notions in the modern conception of human rights are deeply influenced by concepts and values of liberalism, which in turn suffer from absence of valid justification. For instance the liberal conception of freedom plays a very significant role in shaping modern conceptions of human rights, while advocates of Liberalism still have not presented a valid convincing rational argument for this conception of liberty.

Consider John Stuart Mill who tried to base and defend this freedom entirely on the principle of utility[164], which as many critics have pointed out is ill-equipped to bear the burden. If personal liberty is as valuable as Mill insists, liberals should at least attempt to find a more permanent foundation for it than the disputable proposition - the principle of utility. Classical liberals like Mill are not the only liberals whose defense of individual freedom have run into trouble. Recent defenders of the liberal conception of personal freedom such as Friedrich Hayek and Isaiah Berlin do not present a convincing rational justificatory basis for it. Hayek stakes his defense of personal liberty on skepticism about moral rationality, while Berlin resorts to a kindred species of moral relativism. For Hayek ‘reason’ is powerless to determine ‘ends’ and, therefore, cannot tell us what we ought to do. Human intellect cannot by itself settle questions concerning value, especially questions about moral values.

Consequently people personally must be absolutely free to choose[165],Berlin, on the other hand, emphasizes on ‘relativity of values’ and the subjective nature of values to conclude that there is no objective higher good than the arbitrary or relative good each individual sets for herself[166]. The weaknesses of these arguments seem plain. How is it possible to claim that there are no objective values and that all values are purely subjective, and yet simultaneously state that we should always hold personal liberty in such high regard as to make it one of the central pillars of human rights and political life. If they are right that there are no objective ends or values, then there can be no rational or objective grounds for valuating individual ends or liberty. In short, liberals must avoid the temptation to base their argument on relativistic or skeptical premises because it undercuts rather than supports their own arguments.

There are other points about the above mentioned political doctrine regarding the role of Islamic law (fiqh) in an Islamic government, which were discussed in the first chapter and do not need to be repeated again.

badrijanab
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#3

Unread post by badrijanab » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:40 am

Brother Oz Mujahid,

Islam has always and only practiced and advocated "Dictator" model (Ameeriyat / Peshwaiyat) and never ever otherwise.

Adam was 'Peshwa' of his time in matter relating to Islam, so was Nooh, Dawood, Suleman, Ibrahim, Yusuf, Moosa, Isa, Mohammed and his progeny. Salwaat on all.

Never ever "democracy model" was practiced nor was advocated in history of (rightful) Islam / Quran.
Last edited by badrijanab on Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

ozmujaheed
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#4

Unread post by ozmujaheed » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:49 am

This topic needs very intellectual commentary....but regrettably it will end into a pub style brawl! Anyway I am trying to engage the silent majority who visit this site to read and digest that thinking. It will not be easy, comfortable but needs to be discussed.

If one looks at the growth of Sunni belief one will make correlation between Sunni being more democratic than Ismailiism , which over time diminished its appeal. Bohraisn are remnants of a fatimid large dynasty. Is it not worth exploring why sunnism was more successful , was it because it allowed more freedom to its constituents then before.

Our own Shia example in Iran is based on sophisticated democratic practises. Leading a large population of 75 million Shias is not small feat, under immense international pressure.

Is it not interesting that bohraism currently faces decline in its alignment to Islam because of failure to have its leadership in check.

So for the few PDB , which I hope are the older generation, to avoid discussing democracy so that not to upset the ideological concerns...is likely to expose as a hollow movement.

Bohraism needs extreme overhaul if it is to survive the 21 st century without further disintegration. The 1 million will not grow apart from birth related growth. Any modern society which breeds internally and cannot import new ideas, like the way Islam was able to import good ideas as it conquered, is bound to have a half life and diminishing future.

Therefore it is my hope that PDB reconsiders its established vision and approach and ask the difficult question...
Who will lead the future...what will protect the future leader from falling into the same trap as the current .

My previous posting describes democracy is not alien to Islam.

PDB have such a good opportunity to offer more than a complaints channel...we the constituents of bohraism can improve to be more than a cultural group, we can be a sophisticated diverse group of tolerant Islamic community that is admired not for its secrecy, mystism but for its ideals, practises and rationale .

It should be noted OZM does not hold an official position in the Progresive movement but is a public supporter of its objectives.

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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#5

Unread post by ozmujaheed » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:56 am

Badrijanab thank you for the courtesy

How would you explain the Quran quotes mentioned above, our historical ideology if contradicts the Quran then Quran statements should be considered superior.

What I am saying God has given us the right to choice , discussion, debate and if we cannot agree refer to Quran for guidance . Of course I do not mean we agree to disagree with the Quran .

And take counsel with them in the affair, so when you have decided then place your trust in Allah. (Chapter 3, Verse 159)

And from amongst you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong, and these it is that shall be successful. (Chapter 3, Verse 104)

And (as for) the believing men and believing women, they are guardians of each other, they enjoin good and forbid evil. (Chapter 9, Verse 71)

Therefore give good news to my servant. Those who listen to the word, then follow the best of it; those are whom Allah has guided, and those it is who are men of understanding. (Chapter 39, Verses 17-18)

Imam Ali (pbuh) once explained the mutual rights and duties that exist between an Imam (leader) and the people:

It is your right that I must not hide any secret, except that of war, from you. And that I should not take over matters (without your consultation or awareness) other than those concerning divine laws (hukm)[140].

Indeed judgment (hukm) is only for Allah. (Chapter 6, Verse 57)

And in whatever thing you disagree, the judgment thereof is with Allah. (Chapter 42, Verse 10)

And if you were in dispute in anything amongst yourselves, refer to Allah and His Messenger. (Chapter 4, Verse 59)
Last edited by ozmujaheed on Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

badrijanab
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#6

Unread post by badrijanab » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:59 am

Oz,

Ab initio, the basic premise of your post is "Democracy" - it is indeed alien in rightful model of Islam.

Sunni and Ithna Asheri of Iran - they may practice Democracy but they are anti to each other. Their practice of 'Democracy" is proof that they do not belong to Islam because there is no democracy model in Islam.

Islam works only on "Ameeriyat", Mohammed s.a.w.w. was Ameer of Islam of his time and on Gadeer-Khum he appointed Mola Ali a.s. as Ameer after him. And the chain goes on.

Only Fatimi Dawat who follows the dictator model is in compliance with established practices of all Nabi/Prophets/Quran. Alhamdolillah.

anajmi
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#7

Unread post by anajmi » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:27 am

Their practice of 'Democracy" is proof that they do not belong to Islam because there is no democracy model in Islam.
That is Islam according to those that are most ignorant about Islam and those that get Islamic knowledge from books of fiction.
Only Fatimi Dawat who follows the dictator model is in compliance with established practices of all Nabi/Prophets/Quran. Alhamdolillah.
And then we wonder why the rulers of the Fatimi Dawat have gone into hiding and left their stupid followers at the mercy of people like the Syedna!!

humanbeing
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#8

Unread post by humanbeing » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:38 am

BJ
Can we have deomcracy untill Imam-in-seclusion comes out in Presence ! Then we can handover the democracy into hands of Imam.

Its been 800+ years, we can manage for couple of more 100 years !! Just in case, if it may take that long.

BJ, Do you live in democracy or Dictatorship ?

anajmi
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#9

Unread post by anajmi » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:06 pm

You know, the best thing that can happen to mankind is if all the current dictators were to follow the Fatimi Dawat guidelines and go into hiding. :wink:

badrijanab
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#10

Unread post by badrijanab » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:12 pm

humanbeing wrote:BJ
Can we have deomcracy untill Imam-in-seclusion comes out in Presence ! Then we can handover the democracy into hands of Imam.

Its been 800+ years, we can manage for couple of more 100 years !! Just in case, if it may take that long.

BJ, Do you live in democracy or Dictatorship ?
Bhai Humanbeing,

Imam is always present, as forecasted by Prophet Mohammed s.a.w.w. the last Imam of Mohammadi era will be from progeny of Molatina Fatima a.s. - Imam Abul Quasim Mohammed ibn Abdullah a.z.s. (also known as Mahdi / Quaim Imam). This hadees is acknowledged by all sects of Islam including Sunni's. So you are misinformed that Imam is absent for past 800+ years.

Be advised, during Imam concealment, they are represented by their viceregent (Dai Mutlaq's), during this period limited missionaries have access to Imam. The last rightful Dai Mutlaq was 46th Dai Molana Syyedna Mohammed Badruddin (a.q.), approx 125 years back he was martyored. So we are not having front end Islamic leadership for past approx 125 years and not 800+ years.

Our state is like: should there be no water for ablution then do "taiyamum". Imam is in concealment, and should one require to learn answer to any religious matter then he/she may approach any mumin with intent that that person is not entitled with any "rutba" (like Sheikh, Mukasir, Mulla, etc) he is only common mumin and know deeniyat, he will show you the answers in our rightful Fatimi Dawat books. If you get satisfactory answers then good, otherwise keep patience till you get another knowledgable mumin.

This is hard time, because we are reaching towards end of cycle of 'Satr'. Good, bad and worst time runs in cycles. The period of Mohammadi (s.a.w.w.) Shariyat is nearing end, it will completely end on day of Qayamat (mening ending of one period and beginning of new period by Imam Abul Quasim Mohammed bin Abdullah / Imam Mahdi a.z.s.).

There are times in world when too many rightful mentors are avaiable. Likewise there are times when there is "du-kaal" draught of rightful teachers. We are presently in one such time.

However, those who can see neutrally, they can recognize that in Islam leadership is always by appointment by Almighty Allah/Prophet/Imam. In any era of any Prophet/Imam like era of Aadam, Nooh, Ibrahim, etc never ever the leader of Islam was elected (no democracy). Through out history - only Islam followed "Dictator Model" for leadership. Was Mohammed s.a.w.w. appointed by Allah or by voting/democracy? Any "Aamil"/Governor during time of Prophet - was he ever elected by residents of that city/village or were they appointed by Prophet Mohammed s.a.w.w. himself? Prophet s.a.w.w. appointed his governors - hence Prophet himslef practiced dictatorship model - what Prophet does is Sunnat. Those sects who follow democracy are acting against Sunnat of Prophet

There is no scope of democracy in matter of leadership in Islam. Hence, only Fatimi Dawat is in compliance with Islamic code of conduct. Alhamdolillah.
Last edited by badrijanab on Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

anajmi
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#11

Unread post by anajmi » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:22 pm

Imam is always present, as forecasted by Prophet Mohammed s.a.w.w.
This is fiction at best and a big lie at worst. There exists no such forecast!!

The last Imam will be from the progeny of Hazrat Fatima doesn't mean Imam is always present. If Imam was always present, there was no need to say that the last Imam will be from the progeny of Hazrat Fatima. The fact that it is mentioned that the last Imam will be from the progeny of Hazrat Fatima automatically means that those in the middle can be dismissed as pretenders.
So we are not having structural leadership for past approx 125 years and not 800+ years.
So what happened to "Imam is always present" forecast? Did the Imam forget about that? Since the Imam has failed in appointing his vicegerent, we can claim that he has either failed in his duty or neglected it.

Allah appoints prophets. The rest are not appointed by Allah. This is according to the non-fictional Islam.

humanbeing
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#12

Unread post by humanbeing » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:28 pm

badrijanab wrote:. So you are misinformed that Imam is absent for past 800+ years.
I never said, Imam is absent, I said in seclusion !
badrijanab wrote: However, those who can see neutrally, they can recognize that in Islam leadership is always by appointment by Almighty Allah/Prophet/Imam. In any era of any Prophet/Imam like era of Aadam, Nooh, Ibrahim, etc never ever the leader of Islam was elected (no democracy). .
Seeing Neutrally, I agree with you, Leader of Islam has been appointed by Allah and that is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Allah can appoint another leader when Allah wants to establish another extenssion of Islam as Allah did previosly for Judaism, Christianity. However as we learnt that, Allah says in the Quran, that faith is perfected in Islam. So I can safely say. Prophet Muhammad was the last of the Prophets (imam) appointed by Allah.
badrijanab wrote:. There is no scope of democracy in matter of leadership in Islam. Hence, only Fatimi Dawat is in compliance with Islamic code of conduct. Alhamdolillah.
So what have you been doing since last 125 years ? is Imam-in-seclusion guiding you ?

Can you answer me please ! do you live in a democracy or Dictatorship ?

badrijanab
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#13

Unread post by badrijanab » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:36 pm

anajmi wrote: The last Imam will be from the progeny of Hazrat Fatima doesn't mean Imam is always present. If Imam was always present, there was no need to say that the last Imam will be from the progeny of Hazrat Fatima. The fact that it is mentioned that the last Imam will be from the progeny of Hazrat Fatima automatically means that those in the middle can be dismissed as pretenders.
Zahil Anajmi,

Last Imam of Prophet Mohammed s.a.w.w. era can only take birth if he has his parents, parents should have their parents.... now, today, in this chain there must be parent of Imam Mahdi a.z.s. = Imam is present.

Imam is born as Imam, he inherit Imamat from his father that is why Prophet Mohammed s.a.w.w. said, the last Imam of my era; Mahdi will be born, whose name will be on my name and his father name will be on my father name and his 'quniyat' will be like mine. Prophet s.a.w.w. also said, he will be from progeny of Fatima (not from progeny of 1/2/3) - and the progeny of Fatima a.s. is called Fatimi Imams.

Point of "DEMOCRACY" / "DICTATORSHIP" in Islamic leadership - it is very simple tool to recognize that only Fatimi Dawat is in compliance with Islam and all those sects who follow democracy are acting against the Sunnat of Prophet s.a.w.w.

Remember - Aamils/governors were not democratically elected by people but were appointed by Prophet s.a.w.w. - thus Prophet s.a.w.w. practiced DICTATORSHIP = Sunnat of Prophet s.a.w.w. is dicatatorship model of leadership in Islam.

humanbeing
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#14

Unread post by humanbeing » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:44 pm

We live and breathe democraccy day in and day out. Its nature of our lives and civility. Denying democracy is dangerous to all.

The very people who are shouting from the roofs against idea of democracy can do so because of freedom of speech which is one of the fundamentals of democracy.

Democracy isnt only about election, but its set of rights that can be regulated to govern behaviors of the people. Democracy gives rights, dictators give previleges !

Prophet Muhammad was appointed by Allah, but the idea of governance was through common sense, natural justice, honest conduct, transparency, accountability. This fundamentals stand test of time across history and religions. These very fundamentals are part of democracy.

Infact if I can say, democracy is evolved from religions, a code of conduct, a law acceptable to regulate human behaviors. Be it appointed Imam or elected Imam cannot or shall not go against these laws.

What is the fuss about being appointed or elected. the point is rightful governance. Be it an appointed or elected leaders, rules are written and anyone on that position has to abide by those rules.

Promoting dictatorship is going to do you no good, unless you are the sidekick of that dictator !

anajmi
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#15

Unread post by anajmi » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:30 pm

Last Imam of Prophet Mohammed s.a.w.w. era can only take birth if he has his parents, parents should have their parents.... now, today, in this chain there must be parent of Imam Mahdi a.z.s. = Imam is present.
Which simply means that they are just parents, not Imams. If they are Imams, then they are useless.

The problem with ignorant morons like you is that you understand neither dictatorships nor democracies. That might be ignored, but the biggest problem you create is because you do not understand the Islamic system of governance. It is neither a dictatorship as you believe it to be, not is it a democracy as you understand. The Syedna is following your brand of dictatorship, but you don't like him do you?

badrijanab
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#16

Unread post by badrijanab » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:35 pm

We live and breathe democraccy day in and day out. Its nature of our lives and civility. Denying democracy is dangerous to all.
I'm refering to leadership in Islam and in above you are referrring to general sense.
The very people who are shouting from the roofs against idea of democracy can do so because of freedom of speech which is one of the fundamentals of democracy.
"Freedom of Expression" is broader and important than only "Freedom of Speach". Many countries have democracy but riots kills this freedom! Right dictator are required to protect "freedom of expression". The Fatimi Imams have protected this right for all their subject without any biasness for any caste/sect/creed.
Democracy isnt only about election, but its set of rights that can be regulated to govern behaviors of the people. Democracy gives rights, dictators give previleges !
Democracy gives right but cannot protect it. Example) Babri masjid/Ram janam bhoomi riots, Gujrat riots, etc.
Rightful dictators (like Mohammed s.a.w.w., Ali a.s. and Fatimi Imams) gives and protect everybody's freedom of expression.
Prophet Muhammad was appointed by Allah, but the idea of governance was through common sense, natural justice, honest conduct, transparency, accountability. This fundamentals stand test of time across history and religions. These very fundamentals are part of democracy.
Still Mohammed s.a.w.w. was dictator.
Infact if I can say, democracy is evolved from religions, a code of conduct, a law acceptable to regulate human behaviors. Be it appointed Imam or elected Imam cannot or shall not go against these laws.
Democratically elected Narendra Modi cannot protect these rights indeed he is like fence eating farm. Only rightful dictator can protect freedom of expression.
What is the fuss about being appointed or elected. the point is rightful governance. Be it an appointed or elected leaders, rules are written and anyone on that position has to abide by those rules.
Those who are divenely appointed are guaranteed to abide by Shariyat = peace and honesty practiced. Others are like Banu Umaiyya and Abbasi - all selfish and corrupt.
Promoting dictatorship is going to do you no good, unless you are the sidekick of that dictator!
I am not promoting. Islam model is dictatorship. Mohammed s.a.w.w. was dictator and he practiced dictatorship = dictatorship model is Sunnat of Prophet s.a.w.w.

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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#17

Unread post by anajmi » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:47 pm

Rightful dictators (like Mohammed s.a.w.w., Ali a.s. and Fatimi Imams) gives and protect everybody's freedom of expression.
The prophet (saw) and Hazrat Ali should not be equated with the Fatimi Imams. The Fatimi Imams were no doubt dictators. That is the reason why people do not remember them and that is the reason why they have been forced to go into hiding for a thousand years. There is a reason why dictators today are amongst the most hated rulers on earth.

badrijanab has no knowledge of Islam or the sunnah of the prophet (saw). His ignorant musings should be ignored.

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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#18

Unread post by Maqbool » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:51 am

The Sayedna and Shazadas do not believe in democracy, but they take maximum advantage of it in India.

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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#19

Unread post by Muslim First » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:20 am

badrijanab wrote:
Rightful dictators (like Mohammed s.a.w.w., Ali a.s. and Fatimi Imams) gives and protect everybody's freedom of expression.
Br
Who is your rightful Benovelant scholarly dictato, whome you obay todayr?

ozmujaheed
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#20

Unread post by ozmujaheed » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 am

Hamsafar and badrijanab

Your response indicates you are placing more emphasis on the history of Ismaili diai rather than a simple guidance given in Quran . Can you still deny that Quran allows democracy ...I have given you some handful of Ayats justifying the cause.

I may have mistaken that humsafar's comments were the official PDB position on anti democracy, I take back any such inference. I urge PDB to think through this issue and make an informed position soon.

Back to the discussion . If you can not interpret it in a simple way I am afraid you are the misguided minority . Please do not twist the interpretation to suit your deviation . Why complicate your belief when Quran is keeping it transparent for you

1400 years is along time and no wonder inventions and strange theories have crept into a simple religion. Now bohras want to create convoluted stories to justify a dictatorship. When the rest of the ummah has moved on.

More explanation of how Muhammad saw practised democracy...so you to claim he was a dictator is an insult to his character.

in accordance with a command from allah, the prophet (saas) would consult with the faithful and seek their opinion. this was commanded in the following verse:

… so pardon them and ask forgiveness for them, and consult with them about the matter. then when you have reached a firm decision, put your trust in allah. allah loves those who put their trust in him. (surah al 'imran: 159)

after canvassing the opinions of the faithful, the prophet (saas) would come to a decision and place the outcome in the hands of allah. one important fact that must not be lost sight of is that all decisions are known beforehand by allah. allah has decreed every decision and its outcome. it is an act of worship on all believers to consult and then arrive at a decision. knowing that, the prophet (saas) would consult the faithful before coming to a decision, though, while leaving the outcome of that decision to allah, he knew that allah would produce the most beneficial outcome from it.

consulting with others is an approach that can bring about the most auspicious results for muslims. in the first place, anyone who consults others demonstrates better morality by acting modestly. for instance, the prophet (saas) was the wisest of the community of the faithful, and had the greatest foresight and understanding. despite that, however, his consulting those around him and asking their opinion, enquiring how they would resolve a particular matter, shows what a modest person he truly was.

those who produce a good action will receive ten like it. but those who produce a bad action will only be repaid with its equivalent and they will not be wronged.
(surat al-an'am: 160)
everything in the heavens and everything in the earth belongs to allah so that he can repay those who do evil for what they did and repay those who do good with the very best.
(surat an-najm: 31)

the faithful must display humility in all matters, not thinking that they know better than everyone else. they will gain great benefits from consulting with others. by adopting this manner of the prophet (saas), they will come to resemble him, and will earn the good pleasure of allah and the faithful by practicing the humility and affection that he showed the believers. they will also avoid pride of their own intelligence. in the qur'an, allah has revealed that: "… over everyone with knowledge is a knower..." (surah yusuf: 76) meaning that a person can arrive at better results by not relying on his own intelligence alone but by making use also of the intelligence, ideas and accumulated experience of others. instead of one mind, he will actually possess the number of however many people he consults. the prophet reminded the faithful that they ought to consult one another in these words:

"every people who seek the pleasure of allah and consult with one another are guided to the best course in their affairs."27

every path shown to mankind by allah in the qur'an, and all behavior displayed by the prophet (saas), are the most auspicious and best. consulting others is one such example. it is therefore most important to be familiar with allah's commandments and to know the character of the prophet (saas) well to perform our religious obligations as well as possible, and to be of good moral character.

Humsafar
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#21

Unread post by Humsafar » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:02 am

OZ,
It seems we are talking about the same thing: enlightened leadership. Only enlightened leaders who work for the social and spiritual benefit of the community, like the dais we had in the past, will be in line with the precepts of the Quran and the Prophet's conduct that you're elaborating on. The question is how do we make that possible?
As for the rest of the ummah, it does not have a leadership, and neither wants or needs one. So lets not talk about it. Also, you and I are under no obligation to have a leader, a Dai.

Bohra spring
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#22

Unread post by Bohra spring » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:56 am

Humsafar wrote:OZ,
It seems we are talking about the same thing: enlightened leadership. Only enlightened leaders who work for the social and spiritual benefit of the community, like the dais we had in the past, will be in line with the precepts of the Quran and the Prophet's conduct that you're elaborating on. The question is how do we make that possible?
As for the rest of the ummah, it does not have a leadership, and neither wants or needs one. So lets not talk about it. Also, you and I are under no obligation to have a leader, a Dai.

There is a difference between enlightened leaders who can be decent people and leaders operating within democratic controls...

Enlightened places trust on an individual to do the right thing..history may paint that picture of previous Diai's , I can only read what was published and whether only the positive stories were sanctioned for historical records. ANy way I think arguing that point does not help resolve the current or future issues.

Democratic control ensures that the individual acts within acceptable behaviours or guidelines, regardless of personal motive. It is like a new swimmer jumping in a deep end with or without floaters. Which one has a better chance of survival. The swimmer can personally have all the courage and confidence but if he cannot swim he cannot swim,...I think the reader gets the point.

In Kothar case the last 2 diais and their family were very enlightened, they new what they were doing, exploited the weakness of the community and situation with politics, end of colonial era, massive migration to new lands, and were able to override society controls which the few opponents were completely overwhlemed by their charge and manipulations

Now what I am suggesting if we have strong democratic controls where future leaders can work comfortable if personally they can, if not the public has established mechanism to replace the error, and prevent a systemic damage to an institution or society.

ozmujaheed
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#23

Unread post by ozmujaheed » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:56 pm

This topic about democratisation of the dawaat has evolved over the last few days.

I am delighted to see comments that I interpret eg AZ acknowledging there is need for democracy but not right now and Humsafar who has shifted too. GM has sent signals that are positive too.

I think it is not that I raise the democracy context to alienate the abdes, the purpose is that abdes needs to see a real need for change and , the change has to be to be so beneficial that it replaces their current abuse and perceived comfort provided by the Sayedna style.

What troubles me and I am happy to be corrected that even though Quran has provided guidance not once but several times , that democracy is permitted and recommended, PDB commentators are making conscious decision to bypass Quran for the intent that it is too risky, and use example such as we will alienate people. Why would we have less confidence in the Quran to help us along to perfecting our faith.

Whether it be the position on FGM or other matters, Quran has been the guidance. You will also notice the FGM discussion references what Islam states, it does not conflict with Quran , ie the Quran does not recommend it, hence Islam does not mandate FGM hence it can be dropped. That is a consistent position and the rest of Muslims also accept that position. So whatever the future brings and our response we should always fall back on what our first principles state, in our case it is the Quran.

Trivialising the Quranic guidance as my zeal or implying it irrelevant over statement, is not fair and heading for unchartered territory , I hope that is not what you meant . I am happy for a PDB or Abdes member to say they interpret the Quran references I have provided as different and we can debate it. I will however be very surprised that 1.2Billion Muslims would have got it wrong but that is another argument on its own.

PDB if it wants to attract Bohras so they do not drift to other sects, has to establish itself back to the fundamental Islamic framework. The Quran, the Prophets traditions, the initial Imams experiences have to be our guiding principles on which all our plans, strategies and intents have to be based.

The leadership in Bohra is such a complex issue, it encompasses Diai, Amils, Scholars, local administrators and if we cannot get the top right we will always mess around with the rest.
But if the PDB is so inflexible not to accept informed advise , or want to not be too aligned to Quran, Islam and broader society principles then surely it will raise concern that is the ship that is trying to rescue the sinking passengers, really the safe ship …or should we build our own raft to be more likely to reach safety ! AZ thanks for the offer I am still considering it.

If there are abdes die hards who are celebrating our disagreement thinking this will be the beginning of the end of the resistance movement, sorry this is normal in any mature society to be able to discuss difficult topics sincerely and openly with facts. This only makes plans robust and “passengers” feel confident that they have made the right choice. There is no motive to fool or mislead people. It better to disagree in a discussion and people know where one stands then backstab or sabotage when we are in the thick and thin of the battle.

Maqbool
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#24

Unread post by Maqbool » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:54 am

I think if a democracy in functioning the Jamats is allowed, will be considered a great reform in our community.

badrijanab
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#25

Unread post by badrijanab » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:21 am

Maqbool wrote:I think if a democracy in functioning the Jamats is allowed, will be considered a great reform in our community.
Jamat functioning democratically in matter of finance and other spheres. But not acting against tenets of Islam.

Should Jamat conduct activities like - singing/dancing competitions or alike activities then it is religiously (Fatimi dawat) incorrect. If Jamat promotes dancing in marriage "baraat" procession - it is unacceptable.

The finance part should be transparent. And acting not against moral/religion.

Bohra spring
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#26

Unread post by Bohra spring » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:12 pm

badrijanab wrote:
Maqbool wrote:I think if a democracy in functioning the Jamats is allowed, will be considered a great reform in our community.
Jamat functioning democratically in matter of finance and other spheres. But not acting against tenets of Islam.

Should Jamat conduct activities like - singing/dancing competitions or alike activities then it is religiously (Fatimi dawat) incorrect. If Jamat promotes dancing in marriage "baraat" procession - it is unacceptable.

The finance part should be transparent. And acting not against moral/religion.

I dont think anyone is suggesting democracy that overrules the Quran and Islam ...

And anyway the current diai era has contradicted Quran so many times and yet the public can only be a spectator, hence this system is not working .

In your example if the elected committees and the diai, let us say for example disagree , one wants to build a gold zaree for sawaab, finance committee thinks they would rather build a local hospital , who vetoes the decision and who wins the argument ?

In my suggested structure the 2 would seek guidance from Quran ...what would the decision be...which action will please Allah most ? Based n that detailed consultation and analysis the decision would be made.

In my opinion building a local hospital has the most benefit to local mumineen and the local Jamaat committee would win, the diai would accept as it is based on logical rather than emotional reasoning

Another example which is a real , the worldwide tiffin scheme which is a drain on money which could have been used for something better, no society benefit in developed countries , questionable what sawaab is gained yet it is going on and becoming a complex ritual. Democracy would have resolved this matter long time and food service would have been targeted to who needs it, and by doing that sawaab would have also flowed. But in present ruling we can only watch and comment

ghulam muhammed
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#27

Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:58 pm

The Concept Of Democracy in Islam

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan- President, Islamic Centre

Islam is a religion of peace and co-existence, wherein there is ample scope for freedom of expression. You can express your views even if you differ. The decision is arrived at through consensus in all important matters. Islam's superiority over other religions lies in the fact that it gives utmost importance to the opinion of the people. This fact is clearly illustrated in the Quran and the Hadiths. The Quranic verse 'Am Ruhum Shura-bai nuhum' (Chapter 42-Asura; verse 38)- whose affairs are a matter of consultation is an ample proof.

In order to understand the concept of democracy in Islam, one should have the knowledge of the Quran, the Hadiths and the Sunnah. Prophet Mohammed himself set a tradition by not appointing his successor during his lifetime and left it to the people to decide their leader. The first four Caliphs - Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali, known as Khilafat-e-Rashida (the Enlightened Caliphs), were the choice of the people. The Umayyat King Umar-bin Abdul Aziz also qualifies to be enlisted among the enlightened Caliphs because he refused publicly to accept the Kingship on the basis of his nomination by his father. He accepted the kingship only when the people elected him.

TThe misconception, that Islam cherishes dictatorship has its roots in the history of Muslim rulers. The Indian Mughal rulers, the Abbasid rulers of Baghdad, the Turkish and the Spanish rulers were not the real rulers as per the injunctions of the Holy Quran. They were mere Dynastic rulers.

Islam is not against 'change' but it is certainly against 'coercion'. The established Governments should not be replaced by resorting to erroneous methods but by going to the people and making them realize the shortcomings of the prevalent system. The so-called Jehadis, working at the behest of Pakistan, instead of launching deadly attacks on institutions of democracy like the Indian Parliament or the J&K. Assembly, should go to the people and ask them to vote against the present systems if they were not satisfied with it. But the irony is that they neither themselves cast their votes nor allow others to participate in the electoral process. Instead they issue threats against people participating in elections. They even resort to killing and humiliating innocent people. They should realize that by resorting to such mean tactics they are toeing the agenda of Pakistan who is out to demolish every possible institution in our country to hamper our progress. Such heinous crimes are acts of cowardice in the eyes Islam.

The concept of democracy in Islam is best understood that Islam is practised at two levels - the Infaradi-individual level and the lslamayee- collective level. At the individual level, a person is free to adopt the manner of worship he likes etc. But at the collective level, it is the voice of the people, which is to be given preference. In the social context, it is the Islamayee Islam, which is to be practised, and democracy is a social concept.

http://www.jammu-kashmir.com/insights/i ... 1219a.html

ghulam muhammed
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#28

Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:28 pm

Democracy can be defined as “government by the people; especially, rule of the majority; a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections; the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority; the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges”. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

The reality is that Islam is not only compatible with the above aspects that define or describe democracy, but also that those aspects are essential to Islam. If we can cut through the labels and semantics, we find that Islamic governance, when distilled from all the extraneous aspects, has at least three core features, based on the Qur’anic vision and guidance on one hand and the experience under the Prophet (s) and the Rightly Guided Caliphs on the other.

a. CONSTITUTIONAL: Islamic government is essentially a "constitutional" government, where constitution represents the agreement of the governed to govern by a defined and agreed upon framework of rights and duties. For Muslims, the source of the constitution is the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and anything deemed relevant, effective, but not inconsistent with Islam. No authority, except the governed, has the right to put away (abrogate) or change such a constitution. Thus, Islamic governance can’t be an autocratic, hereditary or military rule. Such a system of governance is egalitarian in nature, and egalitarianism is one of the hallmarks of Islam. It is also widely acknowledged that the beginning of the Islamic polity in Madinah was based on a constitutional foundation and pluralistic framework involving non-Muslims as well.

b. PARTICIPATORY: An Islamic political system is participatory. From establishing the institutional structure of governance to operating it, the system is participatory. It means that the leadership and the policies will be conducted on the basis of full, gender-neutral participation of the governed through a popular electoral process. Muslims can use their creativity using the Islamic guidelines and human experience to date to institute, and continuously refine, their processes. This participatory aspect is the Islamic process of Shura (mutual consultation).

c. ACCOUNTABLE: This is an essential corollary to a constitutional/participatory system. The leadership and the holders of authority are accountable to people within an Islamic framework. Islamic framework here means that all Muslims are accountable to Allah and his divine guidance. But that is more in a theological sense. The practical accountability relates to people. Thus, the Khulafa ar-Rashidoon were both Khalifatur Rasool (representative of the Messenger) as well as Khalifatul Muslimeen (representative of the Muslims).

This point needs further examination because a key and stubborn misperception of Muslims in regard to democracy is based on the notion that in Islam sovereignty belongs to God, while in democracy it belongs to people. This is a naive and erroneous notion or interpretation. God IS the true and ultimate Sovereign, but he has bestowed a level of freedom and responsibility upon the human beings in this world. God has decided not to function as the Sovereign in this world. He has blessed humanity with revelations and his essential guidance. Muslims are to shape and conduct their lives, individually and collectively, according to that guidance. But even though essentially this guidance is based on divine revelation, its interpretation and implementation are human.

Whether people will choose the path to heaven or hell is a human decision. Whether they will choose Islam or another path, it is a human decision. Whether people will choose to organize their lives based on Islam or not is a human decision. Whether Muslims would choose an Islamic form of governance or not is a human decision. It can be argued that for making wrong choices in this world, Muslims might be facing negative consequences in the life hereafter. But, still it is a matter of choice; there is no room for compulsion or imposition.

What happens when the society and leadership faces a conflict? For example, if the majority of the society does not want to uphold Islam, the leadership cannot coerce the society into what it does not want. There is no compulsion or coercion in Islam. Coercion never delivers sustainable results, and the foundation of Islam cannot be based on coercion. God IS the sovereign from the viewpoint of Islamic reality, but not from practical standpoint. When our decisions are to be made based on Ijtihad (and we could be wrong), where our constitution and policies would be formulated through human consultation (and we can err), when our judicial system would be guided by the revealed guidance, yet, based on the evidence presented, there would be chance for an innocent to get convicted and a guilty to go free, God is not acting as a sovereign in this world. To think like that is not to show due and full respect to the very freedom and responsibility that God has entrusted us with.



Indeed, thinking like this leaves room for big abuse, as someone or some institution declares that God is the sovereign, and then they impose their own rule or whims in the name of the sovereign. History is full of such abuses, where Shariah has been enforced or allowed for the people, but some powerful or privileged people remained above the Shariah. Even if one person remains above such Shariah, that is not true rule of law or Shariah at all.

Thus, based on the above core features, it is important to recognize that Islam is incompatible with monarchy, military rule, dictatorship, or any other type of authoritarian political system. Islam envisions a constitutional, participatory, and accountable system of governance. This is the Islamic concept of Khilafat. However, we need to be less concerned about terminology, label or semantics than substance.

In its fundamental character based on those core features, there is no conflict between democracy and Islamic political system, except that in an Islamic political system people cannot call themselves Islamic while themselves being in conflict with Islam. That is why Muslims should not shun democracy in a general sense as conflicting with Islam; rather, they should welcome it. , As Dr. Fathi Osman, one of the leading Muslim intellectuals of our time, remarked: “democracy is the best application of Shura."

This issue of Islam and democracy is important not just for Muslims, but also for the west. As Esposito argues, democracy in the west is arguably not a model of perfection at the end of history; rather, a reconceptualization of democracy is viewed as a continuous imperative. “[S]ince we are not at the end of history and the United States has not yet solved all of the problems of survival in a heterogeneous world, it is as important for us to continually adapt to changing conditions as it is for Muslims.” Esposito's well-articulated views are based on a common-ground-seeking approach, not on a sophomoric “us vs. them”, or “good vs. evil”. Rather, Esposito contends, we ALL have something to benefit from each other in light of our human experience.

http://globalwebpost.com/farooqm/writin ... ocracy.htm

ozmujaheed
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#29

Unread post by ozmujaheed » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:27 am

Gmbhai, ....that was a good article, there is enough material around to support the concept of democracy, let us see how many enlightened Bohras see the sense , once we have a critical mass we can discuss the stages of implementation.

Anyone has sought Mr A Engineers position on democracy

badrijanab
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Re: Democracy, Bohra future and Islamic guidelines

#30

Unread post by badrijanab » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:45 am

ghulam muhammed wrote:The Concept Of Democracy in Islam

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan- President, Islamic Centre

The decision is arrived at through consensus in all important matters. Islam's superiority over other religions lies in the fact that it gives utmost importance to the opinion of the people. This fact is clearly illustrated in the Quran and the Hadiths.
Aap jeso ka yeh statement; haqiqat me sare non-Fatimi Dawat walo ki gumraahi ki acknowledgement receipt he.

"Islam's superiority over other religions lies in the fact that it gives utmost importance to the opinion of the people." - Should this be the case then Islam should be promoting Christianity than Islam!
Last edited by badrijanab on Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.