Page 101 - Islam In Focus

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can have as many representative councils or municipal governments as desired. The
right of election or selection and the conduct of administration are governed by the
Law of God and must be aimed at the best interest of society as a whole. Prophet
Muhammad said: “ Whoever entrusts a man to a public office where in his society
there is a better man than this trustee, he has betrayed the trust of God and His
Messenger and the Muslims” . In a political sense this means that the electorate
cannot, morally speaking, be indifferent to public events and that they, whenever they
cast ballots, vote after careful investigations and premeditated choice. In this way the
State could have the best possible safeguard of security and responsible citizenship,
something which many democratic states of modernity lack
7. After the people make their choice through election or selection of their ruler, every
citizen is enjoined to supervise, with his means, the conduct of the administration and
question its handling of public affairs, whenever he sees anything wrong with it. If the
administration betrays the trust of God and the public, it has no right to continue in
office. It must be ousted and replaced by another, and it is the responsibility of every
citizen to see it that this is done in the public interest. The question of hereditary
power or lifetime government is therefore inapplicable to an Islamic State
8. Although the ruler is chosen and appointed by the people, his first responsibility is
to God and, then, to the people. His office is not just symbolic nor is his role simply
abstract. He is not a helpless puppet whose function is to sign papers or execute the
public will invariably, i.e., whether it is right or wrong. He must exercise actual
powers on behalf of the people for their best interest in accordance with the Law of
God, because he has a dual responsibility. On the one hand, he is accountable to God
for his conduct and, on the other, he is responsible to the people who have put their
trust in him. He will have to give full account before God of how he treated his people
themselves or their representatives. But both the ruler and his people will also have to
give full account before God of how they treated the Qur’ an, how they regarded the
Law of God which He has given as a binding force. It is by his responsibility to the
people that he should handle their affairs in the best common interest, and it is by his
accountability to God that he should do so according to the Law of God. Thus, the
political system of Islam is fundamentally different from all other political systems
and doctrines known to mankind, and the ruler is not to govern the people according
to their own desires. He is to serve them by making justice a common law, by making
their genuine obedience to the Sovereign Lord of the universe a regular function of
the state, and by making sound morality a noble undertaking of the administration
9. Although the Qur’ an is the Constitution of the Islamic State, Muslims are ordained
by God to handle their common affairs through consultative methods. This makes
room for legislative councils and consultative bodies on the local as well as on the
national and international levels. Every citizen in the Islamic State is enjoined to offer
his best advice on common matters and must be entitled to do so. To insure
fulfillment of this obligation in a practicable and useful way, the rulers must seek the
advice of the learned and experienced people in the state. But this does not in any
sense deny the right of average citizens who must speak out whenever the occasion
In this way every citizen of the Islamic State has an obligation, in one capacity, or
another, to fulfill and is deeply concerned, directly or otherwise, about the conduct of