Page 103 - Islam In Focus

Basic HTML Version

provided the majority’ s decision is not contrary to the Law of God. Yet in the process
of forming a public opinion he is fully entitled to express his own opinion and
persuade others of his convictions without disturbance or distortion. When it becomes
clear that the majority have chosen a different course, then he is bound to go along
with them, because the matter in question is no longer under individual consideration
or deliberation but is undergoing public implementation (3:102-105; 8:46)
11. The governorship of the Islamic State is a public trust, to which the administrators
are entrusted by the word of God as well as by the common consent of the people.
With God being the Supreme Sovereign of the State, whoever represents Him in the
top office must be faithful to the Entrusting Authority, must be a believer in God. And
with the majority of the people being Muslims, whoever assumes the office of
Presidency or Caliphate must be a true Muslim. These measures are taken to serve the
common interest and fulfill all the obligations of the State to God as well as to the
citizens. They are able to secure and honor the rights of the so-called religious or
racial minorities
It is unfortunate for humanity that this ruling of Islam has been poorly understood and
badly distorted. The fact of the matter is that this ruling is not discriminating against
minorities but is rather protective and assertive of their rights. Whoever wishes to be a
law-abiding citizen of the Islamic State is welcome to it, and shares with others the
duties and prerogatives of responsible citizenship. His being a non-Muslim does not
lower his status or drop him down to second class citizenship, as long as he obeys the
common Law of the State and exercises his rights in a responsible manner. If he
wishes, for example, to pay the religious tax (Zakah) and other state taxes, like the
Muslim citizens, towards the maintenance of the State and in return for his own
security and welfare, he may do so. But if he thinks that paying the Islamic Tax
(Zakah) is humiliating to his dignity or injurious to his feelings on account of his
being a non-Muslim, he may pay his taxes in different form known as “ tributes” or
jizyah – so he in fact enjoys a choice which Muslims of the same state do not
themselves enjoy. In return for his contributions to the State, he is fully entitled to
protection and security by the State officials and the society
Similarly, if such a citizen wants to administer his personal life of marriage, divorce,
foods, inheritance, and so on, according to the Islamic Law, his desire must be
recognized, and his rights must be respected. But if he wishes to administer these
affairs according to his own religious teachings, he is absolutely free to do so, and no
one can hamper the exercise of his rights in that respect. So in personal or sentimental
matters, he may resort to his own teachings or to the public regulations. But in matters
of public interest and common affairs he must abide by the Law of the State, the Law
of God. No matter what he chooses, he is no less entitled to protection and security
than any other citizen. All this is not a dream of a heavenly kingdom yet to come. It is
the teaching of the Qur’ an, the practice of Muhammad and the record of Islamic
history. It is reported, for example, that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Caliph after
Muhammad, was once passing by a place where he found an old Jew in pitiful
condition. ‘Umar inquired about the man and found out what his state was like. In a
regretful tone he said to the man: “ We collected tributes (taxes) from you when you
were able. Now you are deserted and neglected. How unjust to you ‘Umar has been!”
After he finished his remark, a regular pension for the old man was ordered and the
order was made effective immediately. ‘Umar and other rulers received their political