17 April, 2006
This section covers the political ideology that emerges from Maududi’s thought.
Political Ideology of Islam according to Maududi
Once we have established the need for the state as a political entity, it becomes essential to define the political ideology of Islam. It is evident that the ideology will based upon the basic principles already elaborated in the discussion. Before we proceed further, the following clarifications must be made with respect to the Islamic state (Maududi, 127):
1. No individual, group or class will be vested with the political power and the right to govern. Sovereignty belongs to God alone and humans merely constitute the subjects of God.
2. God alone as has the right to legislate and not even the Muslims are allowed to define laws according to their own or to modify the ones already laid out by God.
3. The Islamic state will be set up on the laws given by God to his Prophet (pbuh). This Islamic state will have the right to govern and expect the obedience of its masses, as long as it is implementing the laws of God. Any violation of the codes provided by God will automatically nullify its right to command obedience from the masses.
The next logical step is to define the nature of the Islamic state. The political ideology outlined above obviously does not allow for a secular democracy. At the same time the Islamic state cannot be a theocracy, as it is not a state governed by the clergy. Maududi terms the Islamic state a “theo-democracy”, where the masses will have a say in political process which is defined according to the laws given by God in the Quran and the Sunnah. The masses will be provided with “limited popular sovereignty” (Maududi, 130).
The executive and the legislature will be constituted and the Muslims as a community will have the right to legislate on all those matters for which the Quran has not provided any direct injunction. This process of legislation would be carried out through mutual consultation. These properties would make the Islamic state into a democracy. The distinguishing feature of this democracy would be that the subjects will be ruled by the law of God and not by man-made laws and thus the Islamic state will be a theo-democracy.
The purpose of the establishment of the Islamic state is elaborated by this Quranic verse:
We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure; and He revealed iron, wherein is mighty power and (many) uses for mankind, and that Allah may know him who helpeth Him and His messengers, though unseen. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty.
(57:25, Pickthal’s translation of the Quran)
Maududi clarifies that the “mighty power” in this verse is the coercive political power exercised by the state that aims to create a well-balanced society for the attainment of the ideal of social justice.
Lastly, we must clarify the concept of an Islamic state with respect to the widely ideal of a Khilafah. We have already established that the Quran provides for a system of vice regency, in contrast to a system of direct government. God appointed vicegerents in the form of prophets who were delegated specific powers. But this was the case with the chosen men of God and is cannot be replicated.
Therefore, in the absence of direct delegation to an individual, the Quran provides for the concept of “popular vice regency” – where the vice regency has not been accorded by God to any specific group but to the larger group of Muslims as a whole. This strengthens the notion of the Islamic theo-democracy. The salient features of this theo-democracy are then identified as (Maududi, 142-144):
1. Every Muslim will be eligible for the position of the vicegerent and no discrimination will be carried except on the basis of his piety.
2. In the society formulated under this system no citizen shall be discriminated against on the basis of social status or any perceived disabilities. Every individual will be provided with an equal chance to develop and prosper.
3. No group will be allowed to establish a dictatorship over the masses or to engage in any sort of regimentation that will curb individual liberty.
4. Every sane and mature individual will be accorded with the right to vote and thus he will be able to decide the nature of the Khilafah.