A study of history reveals that man, by nature, has always
been a gregarious being and just like food and clothing, a social set-up is his
indispensable physical need. Therefore, from the earliest days of his creation,
he has striven for the formation of a society. His needs induced him to live in
a community and the community itself had some requirements. Gradually, the
community developed into a civilization and with it came the need for resources.
The natural tendency in man to expand and augment these resources together with
other wicked inclinations within him led to a state of anarchy and disorder. The
only way to protect a community from such turmoil and discord was to organize it
under a single leadership. Again, since this leadership, for its own existence
and well-being, depended on the support of the masses, things like caste, race,
language and ideology were instrumental in forming this support and allegiance.
Hence, the result was that the progeny of a single human being was divided into
many clans and tribes. Finally, as a result of some social need or the outright
internal strength of a group, there emerged a supreme group to which other
smaller groups became subservient.
The political history of man is but the tale of a mere
repetition of this process. Ibn Khaldūn, the founder of the subject of the
philosophy of history, writes in his celebrated treatise ‘The Muqaddamah’:
ثم ان القبيل الواحد وان كانت فيه
بيوتات مفترقة وعصبيات متعددة فلا بد من عصبية تكون اقوى من جميعها تغلبها ?
تستتبعها وتلتحم جميع العصبيات فيها ? تصير كانها عصبية واحدة كبري والاوقع
الافتراق المفضي الى الاختلاف والتنازع
Furthermore, if in a single group there are different
families and various sub-groups, it is certain that a single group will emerge
which is the strongest in the lot. This group achieves its supremacy over others
and demands their obedience. Finally, all groups merge into it and a larger
group comes into existence. If this does not happen, the outcome is turmoil
which leads to disagreement and dissension.
The political parties are actually these groups and to
ascertain the strongest among them, the Qur’ān has directed us to follow the
principle of: ‘أَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ’ (Their
system is based on their consultation), and has thereby provided mankind with a
peaceful means of transfer of power. History bears witness that when in the
Thaqīfah of Banī Sā‘idah the two major groups of the Muslims – the Ansār and the
Muhājirūn – had gathered over the issue of the Prophet’s (sws) successor, the
Muhājirūn, in accordance with the Prophet’s (sws) directive, were transferred
the reins of power since they commanded the confidence and support of the
majority of the Arab Muslims. Therefore, it is incorrect to believe that in an
Islamic State there is no justification for political parties. However, it must
be conceded that some of the parties which at the moment tread this country’s
political arena have no basis for exist.
The leaders of some of these parties do not dare to openly
invite people towards secular ideologies. However, they have adopted another way
to propagate their ideas: They say that religion is a personal affair and as far
as a state is concerned, it should have no religion. Previously, the king and
his nobles were the final authority and now the parliament should play this
role. A majority opinion should decide what is right and what is wrong.
Religious laws are relics of the past and are outdated and ill-suited for the
requirements of the modern era.
This viewpoint is obviously based on ignorance. Truth is an
indivisible whole. If religion is a truth then it is so for both a person and a
state. If people who hold this point of view regard it as being contrary to the
truth then there should be no discrimination between a state and an individual
in this regard. A reality whether divinely revealed or intellectually derived is
a reality for all. It addresses both an individual and the collectivity in which
he lives. Veracity, justice and honesty are universal and not relative truths.
If, for example, a religion directs the individual to observe fasts in a certain
month, and directs the state to follow the principle of consultation, enforce
collective justice, establish prayers and promulgate a certain penal code, then
these are two aspects of the same reality. Both a state and an individual must
necessarily adopt it. If it is a truth that man on this earth is a creation of
the Almighty and one day he shall be held accountable in front of Him for all
his deeds then it is so for an individual as well as for a state. It cannot be
correct for one and incorrect for the other.
Similarly, there are leaders of some other parties who at
times openly and at times secretly try all what they can to dismember the state
of Pakistan and wish that it should be, God forbid, wiped out from the face of
the earth. Such horrible campaigns, obviously, are heinous crimes which no
Muslim can commit against his country. People who die in such a cause, according
to the Prophet (sws), die the death of Jāhiliyyah:
مَنْ كَرِهَ مِنْ أَمِيرِهِ شَيْئًا
فَلْيَصْبِرْ فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ خَرَجَ مِنْ السُّلْطَانِ شِبْرًا مَاتَ مِيتَةً
جَاهِلِيَّةً (بخاري: رقم
He who sees something despicable in his ruler should
bear it for he who even slightly disassociates himself from the obedience of the
sovereign authority and dies in this condition shall die the death of ignorance.
(Bukhārī: No. 7053)
Such ignorance cannot be tolerated in an Islamic State. But
apart from these parties, other political parties, groups and clans of an
Islamic State must, also, follow certain principles and observe certain limits.
To quote the Qur’ān:
يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا
خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ
لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ
O Mankind! We have created you from a single [pair] of a
male and a female and divided you into nations and tribes that you might get to
know each other. The most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who fears
Him the most. (49:13)
The sociological principles of Islam which are so compactly
stated in the above verse need a lot of space for their explanation. Some of
these are explained below.
The first thing on which the verse throws light is that
although mankind has been created from the same man and woman, yet the nearness
in blood relations, association with a country and its customs, common
collective needs, harmony in cultural traditions, conformity in behaviour and
mental tendencies, collaboration in achieving aims, common targets and many
other natural and instinctive needs and sociological requirements have divided
mankind into many groups and tribes and prevented them from living as a single
Secondly, the real aim behind this division is that various
people are able to show and express their characteristics and features and are
identified on their basis as separate groups, instead of being lost in the
vastness of a single group. Furthermore, if as a result of this identification,
some values exist in common, then efforts should be made for mutual cooperation
and collaboration to achieve wider collective needs by regarding these values as
the principles for such an alliance.
Thirdly, these groups and clans should not become a means
for expressing arrogance, pride and vanity and an association with anyone of
them should not be regarded as a basis for a person to be on the right path and
should also not be regarded a standard for his nobility and righteousness
because the most honoured in the sight of Allah are those who fear Him the most
and observe the limits set by Him. If these groups instead of being a means of
expressing individuality start showing hostility and malice towards each other
then they shall not only be deprived of the very utility for which they were
actually created, but also become a source of harm and injury for the society.
If in an Islamic State, groups, clans and parties do not
exceed these limits and are strong and stable then they serve to check the
tyranny and oppression of the rulers and restrain their dictatorial tendencies.
They also nurture and nourish alternative leaderships for the country. They are
the fountainhead of power for those in authority and their existence ensures the
freedom of a society. Dictatorship and monarchy may not tolerate them, but the
political system based on consultation envisaged by Islam thoroughly relishes
their existence. Islam wants its followers to think and reflect and freely
express themselves both through individual and collective means. Though it
curtails this freedom, yet it does not totally prohibit it.
(Translated from ‘Burhān’ by Shehzad