In the history
of human civilisation, there have remained only four ways for a particular
ideology or movement to attain the position of political supremacy in a country:
exponents of the ideology seize power through an armed struggle.
supporters of the ideology are made to turn against the existing government in
the form of a popular uprising and the government, as a result, is forced to
process of elected representation is used by them to attain this goal.
those in authority in a country after being influenced by the ideology and
impressed by its philosophy accept and adopt it.
The first two
methodologies, in Islamic terminology, are called khurūj (revolt against the
government). Since Islam stresses that the life of a person can only be taken
when he is guilty of either murdering another person or of spreading disorder in
the society and since it lays emphasis on the fact that no amount of disruption
can be allowed in the political set-up of a country even if it is plagued by
numerous flaws and since it asserts that a person even if he is of the calibre
of Abū Bakr or ‘Umar cannot assume political authority if he does not enjoy the
support of the masses, therefore, it only allows the first two methods ---allows
and not considers them obligatory or desirable in any condition--- when the
following three conditions are necessarily fulfilled:
government should be guilty of openly denying the sharī‘ah in any way.
government should be a despotic one, which neither came into existence through
the opinion of the people nor is it possible to change it through their opinion.
person who leads this uprising should have a clear cut majority of the nation at
his back and they are willing to accept him as their future ruler in favour of
the existing one.
The reason for
the first condition is that as long as the rulers of the Muslims are from among
them and in settling any difference of opinion are not rejecting the verdict of
Allah and His Prophet (sws), it is imperative for the believers to obey them. No
one among the believers should adopt a different attitude. The Qur’ān says:
Obey Allah and
the Prophet and those among you who are in authority, and if you disagree among
yourselves in any matter, refer it to Allah and the Prophet. (4:59)
explaining this Qur’ānic directive, the Prophet (sws) said:
You can only
refuse their submission if you witness outright kufr in any matter from them, in
which you have a clear evidence from God. (Muslim, Kitāb-al-Imārah)
another occasion, he remarked:
imperative on the believers to obey their rulers whether they like them or not
except when they are ordered to do something against the sharī‘ah. If they are
commanded so, they should neither hear nor obey this command. (Muslim,
The reason for
the second condition is that if the principle of amruhum shūrā baynahum,
which governs the formation and removal of a government, is fully implemented in
a system and the government has come into being on its basis and can be changed
according to it, then changing it by a revolt amounts to a violation of this
principle; consequently, it is tantamount to revolt against the masses and not
the government. This, according to the sharī‘ah, is spreading disorder in the
land and is punishable by death in the most exemplary manner. The Prophet (sws)
is said to have said:
majority consent to the authority of your ruler and someone tries to disrupt or
dismantle this system, execute him.
The reason for
the third condition is that since according to the Qur’ānic principle of amruhum
shūrā baynahum a government comes into being due to a majority mandate and
remains in existence on this basis, therefore, only that person has the right to
revolt about whom it can be safely said that the majority of the nation is with
him and is willing to accept his leadership instead of the existing ruler. ‘Umar
Fārūq, while he was once delivering a speech, remarked:
If a person
pledges an oath of allegiance to someone without the opinion of the believers,
both of them shall have to face execution. (Bukhāriy, Kitāb-al-Hudūd)
If takes the
form of an armed struggle, there is a fourth condition as well: the rebels first
must establish their political authority in an independent territory.
The reason for
this condition is that the Almighty had never allowed any of his Prophets (sws)
to wage war unless after migrating to an independent piece of land they had
established their political authority there. It is evident from the Qur’ān that
The Prophet Moses (sws) was directed to wage war only after he had fulfilled
this condition. Similarly, the Prophet (sws) and his companions were allowed to
launch an armed struggle only after the second pledge of ‘Aqabah they were able
to establish a state in Madi#nah. The reason for this is that without political
authority, Jihād amounts to spreading disorder in the land. How can a leadership
which is not able to punish criminals be allowed to wage an armed struggle? All
the scholars of this Ummah have strongly advocated this fourth condition. To
obligations, the third category is that for which the existence of a ruler is
necessary e.g., jihād and administration of punishments. (Sayyid Sābiq, Vol 3,
In the words
of Imām Farāhī:
In ones own
country without migrating to an independent piece of land, Jihād is not allowed.
The tale of Abraham (sws) and other verses pertaining to migration testify to
this. The Prophet's life (sws) also supports this view. The reason for this is
that if Jihād is not wage by a person who holds political authority, it amounts
to anarchy and disorder.’ (‘Majmū‘ah-e-Tafāsīr-e-Farāhī’, Pg 56)
My mentor Imām
Amīn Ahsan Islāhī has explained this in the following words:
reason for this is that the Almighty never approves of dismantling even an evil
system unless there is a chance that those who are endeavouring to destroy it
will be able to implant a right one in its place. The conditions of indiscipline
and anarchy are unnatural and so alien to human nature that an unjust system
holds priority over it. Consequently the Almighty has not allowed any party
(mubham majhūl) whose power and authority is doubtful and unknown , over which
there is no ruler possessing political authority, whose sincerity and obedience
has not been tested, whose members are indisciplined, who though may have the
ability to dismantle a system but have not presented any evidence of setting
order in a disordered system. Such a trust can only be reposed in a group which
has actually assumed the shape of a political party and which in its own circle
of authority possesses so much order and discipline that the term of Al Jama‘āh
(political system) can be applied to it. Before a party attains this position,
it though has the right to struggle to attain this position and its struggle can
be termed as Jihād (JS) but it has no right to launch an armed struggle.
It is clear
from the foregoing discussion that in the existing democratic set-up of Pakistan
both these methodologies cannot be adopted according to the Sharī‘ah.
Consequently, those who are trying to topple the government through an armed
struggle or by adopting the method of nahī ‘anil munkar bil yad (forcibly
eliminating evil) are doing something which is against the Sharī‘ah.
exponent of an Islamic revolution in present times, Abu-al-‘Alā Mawdūdī, while
he was addressing his workers in a historic session at Machi Goth, said:
in a constitutionally democratic state, the sharī‘ah does not allow you to adopt
any unconstitutional means to change a government. Precisely, because of this
reason the constitution of your party binds you to adopt constitutional and
democratic means for the envisaged change. (Tahrīk-e-Islamī Kā Ā’inadah
Lā’iha-e-‘Amal, Pg 205)
As far as the
third method, i.e. assuming the reins of power through the process of elected
representation, is concerned, the sharī‘ah does not object to it. However, a
little deliberation shows that keeping in view its nature, there are three
pre-requisites to it:
a struggle should be led by a person who is actually a politician and possess
the qualities of leadership. People like Iqbal, Azād and Mawdūdī who are
basically scholars and thinkers should not lead such an endeavour. People like
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Muhammad ‘Ali Jawhar and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who have a
natural inclination towards statesmanship are the suitable leaders of such
enterprises. No doubt, if such people lead the struggle for an Islamic
revolution in the field of politics, extraordinary results can be achieved, but
if researchers and scholars tread this path, all their efforts would inevitably
end up in vain.
for this purpose, a set-up is formed, it should be a political party like the
Muslim League or the People's Party. The party should regard the bringing about
of an Islamic revolution as its object and should try to win over people in its
ranks who possess a political position and as such can become natural supporters
of this movement. Religious parties are neither appropriate for this struggle
nor will they ever be. The are destined to suffer successive set backs and to
eventually lose their identity.
whatever strategy is adopted during the elections, it should be based on
capitalising on the existing position of political affiliation of the masses.
Elections are not contested for the propagation of one's ideological views or as
an introduction for the party; they are only contested to benefit from the
realities which exist and they are contested for victory. In such matters,
remaining indifferent to victory or defeat is against human nature, and nothing
against nature can persist in this world for long.
These are the
pre-requisites of this methodology. If a movement or a party does not fulfil
them, its fate will be no different from that of The Jamā’at-e-Islamī whose
struggle spans more than five decades. Consequently, it is apparent to every
keen eye that the Jamā‘at’s quest for success in this struggle has:
totally deprived it of its ideological identity, its goal of reforming the
Muslims and its zeal of disseminating the truth.
transferred the leadership within the various levels of the party from scholars
and intellectuals to people who are not only devoid of these abilities but are
also politically ineffective. Consequently, an atmosphere of gloom prevails at
its various frontiers.
--- gone a
long way in eliminating the integrity and nobility its ranks once possessed and
whatever little remains of them seems to perish soon.
therefore, certain that this methodology is appropriate for a scholar or an
intellectual only if his message has influenced the masses so much and they
agree to his leadership to such an extent that elections merely become for him
merely a constitutional need for a political change, and whenever he intends he
can obtain the public mandate in his favour through them.
method, i.e. to preach, educate and influence people in favour of an ideology
has though become an alien concept, yet for this object it is the most congenial
to the sharī‘ah and can produce the most desired results. All the Prophets of
Allah adopted it. In every period of time, whenever they were sent to their
people, they vigilantly stuck to this methodology. True that many a time was
their message rejected, they were exiled from their territories and many a time
they were even killed, but they never changed this modus operandi. The Almighty
always bade them to remain steadfast on this cause for this is their real duty.
They have to reform and educate the society. They are not to force ideas and
concepts on their people.
it is a historical fact that whenever the Prophets have been able to bring about
a revolution, it has been through this methodology. It is through this way that
the mission of the Prophet Moses (sws) was accomplished and it is by adopting
this course that the rulers of the Prophet Jonah's nation accepted faith. Above
all, the first Islamic state was founded in Madinah by the Prophet Muhammad
(sws) by working on these lines.
It is known
that the chiefs of Mecca did not respond to the Prophet (sws) in almost eleven
years of his preaching. The Prophet (sws), on the Almighty's bidding, then
presented his message to other tribes. Consequently, a few people of Madinah
accepted faith and through their efforts of propagation and preaching, within a
short period of two years, the whole leadership of Madinah was subdued by the
call of this faith. The last pledge at ‘Aqabah decided that the Prophet (sws)
could migrate to Madinah as its leader whenever he wanted. On this occasion,
one of the Companions of the Prophet (sws) composed the following couplets:
‘For more than
ten years you delivered the truth to the Quraysh expecting that they you would
win over some companions and supporters [from their rulers].’
presented yourself on the occasions of Haj to people but you did not find anyone
who was willing to give you refuge nor could you find anyone who could help you
in your mission of delivering the truth.’
this, when you came to us, the Almighty gave supremacy to His religion.
Consequently, you became pleased and happy with this city.’
from among the political scene of our country intends to launch a struggle in
order to bring about an Islamic revolution, he would indeed, be advised to adopt
the methodology of elected representation, but this fourth methodology is the
only proper way for scholars and intellectuals. It is about them that the
Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: ‘They are the heirs’ of ambī‘ah.
Consequently, whenever they shall deviate from this path, they shall deviate
from their legacy. The only result of this would be that by becoming the
political rivals of various other parties, they will lose their original and
real identity. In fact, the ‘ulamā’ and scholars have no option in this regard;
the Qur’ān explicitly tells them that it is only through da‘wah education and
exhortation should they convince the rulers about the changes which, according
to Islam, should be brought about in the individual and collective spheres of
our lives. The Qur’ān says:
It was not
possible for all the believers to undertake [this job]. So why did not a few
from every group among them come forward to gain sound knowledge in religion and
warn the people of their [respective] nations, when they returned to them that
they may also take heed. (9:122)
clearly determines the bases of the strategy which should be adopted for this
undertaking. However, its details can be different in different conditions and
set-ups. In our opinion, the following strategy should be adopted as far as
Pakistan is concerned:
which can carry out research and Ijtihād in the various domains of religious
thought and educate and train people on these lines, should be established . The
Qur’ān should occupy the position of final authority in all its undertakings and
the basis of Islamic thought should once again be linked to its two original
sources--- the Qur’ān and Sunnah.
aim at purifying the souls and reforming the thoughts of the Muslims in general
and their intelligentsia in particular, should be established countrywide.
The basis of
propagation in these centres should be Tazkīr-bil-Qur’ān i.e., reminding people
of the truth through the Qur’ān. Instead of calling people towards some sect or
personality, they should be called towards a manifesto in which is clearly
stated the changes which must be brought about in the affairs of this country at
the political, economic, social, educational and penal levels.
A network of
general educational institutions up to F.A. F.Sc. should be set up throughout
the country in which the message of the Qur’ān is inculcated within the minds of
the students so that in subsequent years they are able to truly follow their
religion in letter and spirit.
take up the mission of propagation and da‘wah, should once and for all adopt the
strategy that unless the majority of the country supports them, they shall not
adopt any measure beyond da‘wah.
If such a
da‘wah movement is initiated in this country, there are four possible outcomes
which may result:
One outcome of
this movement could be that during the course of this endeavour, its exponents
are overtaken by death and like most of the Prophets of the Children of Israel,
they will leave their unaccomplished task to their successors.
outcome of this movement could be that the rulers of this country get influenced
by its message and subsequently adopt it.
outcome of this movement could be that the majority of the nation consents to
the leadership of this movement and as result they are able to assume the reins
of power whenever they like through whichever means possible.
outcome of this movement could be that some political personality of this
country adopts the ideology of this movement and in the democratic set up of
Pakistan is able to assume power through the process of elections.
(Adapted from Ghamidi’s ‘Mīzān’)