Does Islam have a room for Democracy?
Like Western democracies are based on western values, Islamic democracy can be based on Islamic values. Need is just to accept that in its essence there is nothing objectionable in democracy and that it is the closest to Caliphate people can get.
Before coming to the question of how compatible they are to one another, let me first specify what really is democracy? And by democracy I do not here mean what some refer as ‘Perfect Democracy’ which to me is more a modified version of a secularist liberal state. Democracy is not the name of this system on which today most of the West is functioning but the princple that “the people of the land should be deciding how and who should be running their state”. How different countries have implemented this principle according to their needs that may differ but as far the principle is concerned where ever the masses will be getting complete ownership, there would be a Democracy. Let that be under the banner of socialism, secularism, facisim or even theocracies.
What most of conservative Muslim Scholars do wrong is, that they either do not analyse democracy in the way they should and reject it all together because it is something coming from the West or even if they do, they mix the principle with the system, which west has adopted to implement it and thus consider whole of it as Kufr, without even putting forward what they think is wrong in the system and should be amended. This approach is what has ended us up here. The impact which this of their miscalculated stands made on their following is what really hurdles us today in getting rid of these tyrannies extending half of the Middle East. To them a system where a son succeeds his father with not only his wealth but also his nation with little or no eligibility is acceptable but giving people the ownership they deserve is not.
When they are asked what sort of system do they want? their answer is ‘nothing else but Caliphate’ but even they don’t know how to get and then how to sustain it once achieved. If not Democracy then what really is the system which Islamic scriptures propose and what really was an ideal Caliphate like in comparison to how today a democracy is? These are the questions I’ll be trying to answer in this article.
For a while even if we accept the Conservative view point that Islam demands Muslims to make an universal Islamic state, they refer as Caliphate the main question still remains how the head of that Caliphate be chosen? Will a Wahih (divine revelation) be coming to tell us? or as some suggest the ‘Majlis-e-Shura’ (Advisory Council) will decide? and how we will be determining who deserves and who deserves not to be a part of that Shura? A scholar for one may not be a scholar for other and what justification do those who suggest this, have from the Islamic scriptures to back this of their suggested role of clergy into state up? The point of the matter is that most of those who call for such solutions themselves do not have any clue about the technicalities of the matter they are talking about. To them it is more a matter of one speech, speech over matter over!
I never understood why they mistrust the Muslim Majority? Why they think that if Muslims will be given a chance to make their laws on their own they will be having laws other than Islamic Sharia? and by implying this what they think is that without the will of people they can if ever get chance to implement Sharia on those who deep-down doesn’t want it. If things could be forced down against the people’s will won’t Iran and Turkey be secularist states today?
And then there are those like the Taliban and ISIS who are hell-bound to force who they think deserves to be the Caliph on over 2 billion people of this world. If we accept their logic, At every other corner there will be a man gathering hundreds and thousands of people in his support and declaring his own version of Caliphate.
Fear which is among conservative scholars that in case they approve democracy they will indirectly make ways for the indoctrination of western agenda into society is completely baseless, the only way they can unite the Muslims and resist this process of westernization is through giving people a workable system. I never understood why they mistrust the Muslim Majority? Why they think that if Muslims will be given a chance to make their laws on their own they will be having laws other than Islamic Sharia? and by implying this what they think is that without the will of people they can if ever get chance to implement Sharia on those who deep-down doesn’t want it. If things could be forced down against the people’s will won’t Iran and Turkey be secularist states today?
We don’t even need to put this in constitution that no law will be made against Islamic Sharia, wherever Muslim Majority will be given chance they will prefer themselves to be subjected to Islamic laws, rather than civil laws and then there is this fear that what if a Non Competent and an insincere man wins the elections? I ask why is this fear not when they endorse a monarch after a monarch? Unlike in monarchy when people get chance they elect someone for a reason and then there can be checks and balances on the one choosen by the people through judiciary so that he could not act against the tenants of state’s constitution. All justified reservations one has in regards to system with time can be addressed, let them be issues like how much power a Caliph should have, to the tenure of his, need is just to accept the principle of ‘Amarhum Shurabianhum’ and to me that is the only way Muslim of this world can be United under one flag in this age.
Author is a political writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.