Ghamdi on Islam and the Taliban
May 14, 2009
A friend sent this piece with an introductory message that ” Ghamdi’s life is under threat by the Taleban as they want to eliminate all who can challenge them. Can they eliminate 168 million of us?” Ghamdi is a beacon of hope and enlightenment in these dark days.
The Taliban say that democracy is a concept alien to Islam.
According to them, the ideal method of establishing a government according to
Islam is the method adopted by Mullah Omar in
Their declared agenda has the following points:
The hatred of people for the
Ideological opponents should gradually be exterminated or compelled to run away. All those people who command positions of influence in society should also be eliminated.
So much terror should be spread through suicide bombings that the confidence and morale of the army/police and public is undermined to the extent that they are no longer able to challenge.
When the administration is forced to surrender, then dialogue should be initiated in order that the government should accept their conditions for the sake of peace and should hand over the administration of the area to them.
The same mode of governance should be shown from their
occupied territories as has been seen in
This is objective and strategy of the Taliban. Whatever I understand of Islam I can say with confidence that this is not acceptable in light of the Quran. The mode of governance enjoined by the Quran is democracy. The Quran says “Amro Hum Shura Bainahum” (Muslims conduct their affairs through mutual consultation). The Caliph Omar has explained this further “Whoever accepts a leader without consultation from the Muslim community shall be liable to being killed”.
However, the first mentioned method is the one enjoined by the Quran. As to what are the ingredients required for this mode of governance in the modern day has been elucidated by Maulana Abulala Maududi in his interpretation (tafsir): “First of all matters concerning the community and the rights and benefits of the people should be open to expression of opinion by the people and they should be kept fully informed as to how their matters are being resolved. They should have the full authority to criticize any misconduct or mistake or shortfall which they notice. They can protest and if they find no improvement they can change the leaders. It is bad faith/misconduct to shut the mouths and tie down the hand and feet and keep people unaware of their collective matters. This cannot be accepted as Amro Hum Shura Bainahum.
Secondly, a person who is entrusted with the responsibility of governing the community must be appointed by mutual consent, which should be freely obtained. Any consent obtained by force, restraint, bad faith, purchase, fraud or misrepresentation is in reality no consent. A person who obtains leadership by using unfair means or foul is not qualified for leadership. The leader should be chosen happily and by choice.
Thirdly, the advisors of the leader should also be those who have the trust of the people and obviously those who obtain confidence by compulsion, fraud or lies, or by misleading people in order to obtain representation, are unsuitable.
Fourthly, advisors should advise according to their knowledge, their conscience and their faith, and they should have the freedom to do so. If these are absent and advisors advise on the basis of fear or greed or due to some ulterior motive/grouping and they give an opinion that is against their knowledge and conscience, this amounts to dishonesty, breach of trust and treason and it is not Amor Hum Shura Bainahum.
Fifth, the unanimous opinion of the gathering of parliament, or that, which has the support of the majority, must be accepted. Otherwise, if one person or one party does what it pleases after consulting others then the consultation becomes meaningless. God does not say that you seek their advice in their matters. God says their matters are conducted according to their advice. This injunction is not fulfilled by merely seeking opinions -whatever is decided by consensus must be acted upon.”
It is clear from the above that whatever is enjoined by
religion must be interpreted in this manner.
Different scholars can present their own varied interpretations, but it
only becomes effectively enforceable only when the majority of elected
representatives accept such interpretation.
Parliament is established for this purpose in modern day democracy.
Ultimate decision in governance should rest with them. People have the right to criticize
parliamentary decisions and point out their mistakes but they do not have the
right to rebel against them. Neither the
Ulema nor the judiciary is superior to Parliament. Each institution is bound,
despite its reservations, to uphold and follow Parliament’s decisions. If we accept this position of Parliament,
then the distinction between Islamic state and secular state becomes
irrelevant. These devices are used by
dictators. Our effort should be focused
on establishing a true democracy. If this government is established where
Muslims are living Islam itself will automatically manifest itself in state
policies. This is the natural way of
Islamic government; any deviation is based on hypocrisy, which we have
The obligation/real duty of scholars and reformers is that they should prepare the minds of the public and the elite through education and awareness. They should invite people to this point of view in a kind gracious and persuasive manner. They should answer their questions and remove their doubts with convincing arguments as to why God revealed the Shariah and what it has to do with collective life, what is the basis of Quranic injunctions and why do people find it difficult to understand these today. They should adopt such strategies to explain and interpret these matters as would make their purpose their philosophy, and their understanding easy for people, and their hearts and minds should be able to accept it. The role of the Ulema is to extend an invitation to others to the Quran, they are not appointed as watchdogs who can organize their followers as militants to force people to accept Sharia by force of the gun. Leave aside the Ulema, even the state authority cannot impose prayers and zakat or other pillars of faith on the citizens through force or legislation. The Quran is clear that as far as the accountability of the believers on judgment day is concerned, that is something quite apart. The only method the state can use in this regard is through teaching, guide, and extend knowledge to its citizens. If the Ulema are keen on politics, then they should join a political party and get elected to parliament and then bring in laws in conformity with Islam through recognized modes
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