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Researching of Islam and Politics Coursework

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Updated: Jun 19th, 2022

Justice in the Quran (Five verses in the Quran that advises justice)

The world is full of injustice. Rulers oppress their subjects, corruption is like the order of the day, and innocent people are accused falsely for crimes they did not commit while judgment is marred with the unfair ruling. Yet we have laws meant to foster justice. Is this the type of justice described in the Holy Quran? No. There are many verses, which advise justice in the Holy Quran. The Quran advises leaders to rule with justice.

You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is aware of what you do. (The Quran, Sura An-Nisa, 4:135)

The Quran also advises people to emphasize justice in judgment.

Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching, which He (Allâh) gives you! Truly, Allâh is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer. (The Quran, Sura An-Nisa, 4:58)

According to the Quran, every judgment should be made with reference to Allah who is the supreme judge.

My Lord! Judge You in truth! Our Lord is the Most Gracious, Whose Help is to be sought against that which you attribute (unto Allâh that He has offspring, and unto Muhammad that he is a sorcerer, and unto the Qur’ân that it is poetry)! (The Quran, Sura Al-Anbiya, 21: 112)

The Quran also advises against corruption, which has become one of the major injustices in the world.

And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g., stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully. (The Quran, Sura Al-Baqara, 2: 188)

Finally, the Holy Quran advises justice by refraining from false accusations. “And whoever earns a fault or a sin and then throws it on to someone innocent, he has indeed burdened himself with falsehood and a manifest sin” (The Quran, Sura An-Nisa, 4: 112).

According to these verses, true justice can only be achieved through non-oppressive rule, fair judgment, protection of the rights of others including their property, and truth in the course of justice. These verses also show that for humanity to exercise true justice, it is necessary to refer to the Holy Quran and follow its advice on the situation at hand.

Individual Rights in the Hadith

Islamic faith emphasizes communal life more than individual life. Islam establishes a legal framework that protects both rights of an individual and the society hence creating a balance between private life and group life. According to Islamic Shariah, the five basic necessities of human existence are the right to the sanctity of wealth and property, the right to religion, the preservation of honor and family, the protection of life, and the safeguarding of the minds of the intellect (Abdul-Rahman, 10). Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, summarized these individual rights in his Hadith as follows:

Whosoever wakes up (in the morning) feeling that he is secure in his community, free from ailments and diseases in his body, and has enough provision for a single day, it is as if he owns the entire world. (Tirmidhi no. 2346, cited in Abdul-Rahman, 10).

I chose this hadith because it summarizes the basic individual rights and shows how important they are in ensuring an individual sense of fulfillment and contentment. Every individual is entitled to peace, freedom, tranquility, and basic needs. Unless an individual feels that these rights are taken care of, he or she will never be concerned about the public welfare as demanded by political responsibility in Islam.

The Term “Majority” in the Quran

The term “majority” or “majority of people” as used by political scholars reflects a democratic system characterized by popular sovereignty. The Quran, to some extent, does not demand a democratic approach in the sense of popular sovereignty in decision-making and in a number of verves gives a negative impression of the term “majority” (The Quran, 12:21; 23: 70-71; 40; 42;21; 68). These verses have formed the main basis for criticism of democracy in the Islam political system. However, the Quran highlights the democratic representation in a number of verses that when analyzed carefully brings out a positive impression of the term “majority”. The phrase “majority of people” as used in the Quran refer to democracy through popular representation as reflected in verses (4: 58; 42: 38-43).

Nevertheless, the Quran advocates for a democratic approach to truth-finding through the principle of consultation. In quite a number of verses, e.g., verse 42:38. A comprehensive consultative approach to decision-making must involve the “majority” participation hence democracy. It is, therefore, wrong for some Islamists to question the existence of an explicit notion of democracy in the Quran. While the Quran warns about popular sovereignty, it encourages democratic representation.

Briefly examine the three democratic factors of governance in relation to Islam

The cornerstone of democracy in Islamic states lies in the element of consultation. Consultation in theory refers to a participatory approach to decision-making that requires proper consultation and consensus among the concerned parties (Esposito, 325). The principle of consultative government as used in Islamic states is derived from the Quran: “…the conduct of their affairs is by mutual consultation…” (The Quran, Al-Shura 42:38). In practice, Islamic states have a clear framework for political consultation guided by three principles, i.e. shura- meaning consultation, ijtihad- meaning independent reasoning, and.ijma– meaning community consensus. All citizens are involved in the decision-making either directly or indirectly through their representatives. The parliament is the consultative group (majlis al-shura) and every decision made including the selection or election of a caliph (the equivalent of a president) is done in a consultative manner.

While Islam states have all three arms of government, there is no clear separation of powers between the legislative and the executive, except for some successful cases such as Turkey, Iran and Indonesia. The political ideology of an Islamic state is built around the religious notion that Allah is the supreme ruler hence human ruling must follow his guidelines (Esposito, 325). This, therefore, means that the executive powers are checked through the provisions of the Quran and not the legislative, as is the case in western democracy. Besides, the Quran curtails much of the legislative powers by instructing total submission to the Shariah hence every legislation should follow the guidelines in Shariah.

Islamic politics also shows some elements of democracy through the oath of allegiance. The Shariah, which is the source of all Islam law, demands that Islamic leaders take an oath of allegiance to protect it. Through the oath of allegiance, Islamic leaders swear to protect Shariah by using it as the point of reference while administering justice as well as when making any subsidiary law. Shariah is the supreme source of law and no human-made law should contradict it.

What is the political responsibility of human beings in Islam?

The political responsibility of human beings as spelled out by the Islamic faith requires human beings to play an active role in the political affairs of their ummah (community). Man is expected to be truly concerned about the problems and affairs of his community, to fight oppression and autocracy, and to help and fight for the weak and meek in the community. Human beings thus have a responsibility bestowed on them by virtue of being members of a society, a responsibility they should perform with due diligence as refraining from it may have severe consequences. According to the Islamic faith, anybody who retreats from political responsibility risks being a victim of the flames of hell. Such a severe prescribed consequence compels people to play an active political role in their community.

The importance of individual rights

Just like group rights, individual rights play an important role in every Islamic society. Theoretically, the main purpose of Shariah was to assure people’s welfare, expounded to be individual rights. Individual rights are those rights that have a direct impact on an individual’s life and denying an individual such rights would mean violating the rights of the whole community. The most important individual rights in Islam are the right to life, religion, property, intellect and lineage. The importance of these rights lies in the fact that they shape how people relate with others in society and form a basis for justice and democracy.

Works cited

Abdul-Rahman, al-Sheha. “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions.” Revised edition. n.p., n.d. Web.

Esposito, John L. Islam and Politics. 4th ed. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1998. Print.

The Quran (Oxford World’s Classics). Trans. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem. Oxford, USA: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

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