By Khwaja Azhar Abbas, Sawt ul Haque
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Desk)
Sawt ul Haque, May 2014
The English dailies of Pakistan, Dawn and The News published the news on May 1, 2013 that according to a survey carried by Pew Forum, 84 percent population of Muslims want implementation of Shariah. The news has some other information as well, like to some people Islamic punishments are a little harsher. Some of them have also expressed their religious reservations on international laws. Mr Ansar Abbasi has a good reputation in media world. He comes on various TV channels. From his views, it is evident that he is also inclined towards Shariah. His report on this issue has appeared in The News. We will at this moment ignore the views and comments of Muslims of various countries and will confine ourselves to the implementation of Shariah.
In fact, the restlessness and anxiety that pervades the world now might not have been so pervasive before. Every country is facing problems more or less. The condition of Muslims in Islamic and non-Muslim countries is worst. Today Islam has been maligned by the misdeeds of Muslims themselves. Since Muslims are more wretched and in a miserable condition, they think that the laws made by man cannot solve their problems and so they have nurtured this hope that the Shariah laws will rid them of the worldly problems. That’s why they are demanding implementation of Shariah Laws. According to newspaper reports, there are 86 Shariah courts in Britain where the disputes of Muslims are resolved according to Shariah. The main point to consider here is what the causes of restlessness and anxiety in the world are. The first reason is that as long as man will nurture the passion to rule over others, there cannot be peace in the world. In the modern age, the end game of every political party is to gain power.
Next, these senior and powerful people have the desire to rule over others till their last breath and after them, their children should rule over people generation after generation. This malady is more common in Muslim countries. The state of Pakistan is before all of you. That’s why we do not want to comment on that. However, everyone knows about the affairs of Saddam Hussein and Libya. Hafiz Assad was the President of Syria till his last day. Because of this people would sarcastically call him Hafiz Assad the Eternal. His son succeeded him. In their constitution, the age for becoming president was 40 but to enable Bashar al Assad president, the constitution was amended. Apparently in this age, the Constitution is considered sanctimonious. In our country too some people are punished because they violate the constitution. But this also happened in our country that President Ziaul Haque had said that the Constitution has no importance. It consists of some pages. I can tear it off whenever I wish. The constitution of any country is not absolute. Amendments are made whenever it is deemed necessary to protect one’s interests. Quran says:
“Do you dispute with me concerning [mere] names you have named them, you and your fathers, for which Allah has not sent down any authority? “(7:71)
The Quran is the Constitution of an Islamic country which is revealed by God. It can neither be amended nor changed nor can it be revoked. In fact, it cannot be more humiliating and insulting for a man that another man rules over him. In an Islamic country, there cannot be the rule of an individual. There can only be the rule of law. There is no concept of the ruler and the ruled. Every individual is subservient to the rule of God.
Another reason for the anxiety in the world is that according to the Quran, man is not only a physical existence. Apart from his body, he possesses something else that is called human being. Present countries do not approve of this as to them man is only a physical existence. Present governments only make arrangements for the fulfillment of the needs of its citizens but they do nothing for the nourishment of human being. So as long as man does not recognise this being, the restlessness and the anxiety will not end. According to the Quran, it is necessary to nourish that being. The purpose of the human life is also to nourish the being. Since the nourishment of the human being is through constant values, the management of the Islamic government is according to constant values. For this reason, the Islamic government is a cradle of peace and prosperity and guarantees peace to the whole world. Those who are demanding the implementation of Shariah are in fact mixing up the establishment of Islamic government with Islamic Shariah. They ignore the true meaning of Shariah.
After the end of Khilafat-e-Rashida, kingdom got dominance and Islam turned into a religion instead of remaining a Deen. The major difference between the Deen and religion is that in Deen there is no distinction between public laws and personal laws but in religion, the government formulates public laws and leaves the formulation of personal laws for the Ulema of the time. Now you can see that the government of Banu Abbas was a large one and laws must have been formulated to run such a large government but we do not have a single page of the public laws formulated in that age but the personal laws that were formulated by our Ulema have been handed over to us generation after generation. The Shariah that is being demanded to be implemented is not the divine or Quranic Shariah. It had been formulated according to religion. The entire Shariah is the result of individual efforts. It is evident from the fact that a major portion of this Shariah Is in violation of the Quran because it had been formulated according to religion.
The Quranic concept of the Shariah is that there is no distinction between worships and affairs. The fulfillment of every divine ordainment is worship and every affair of the world that is decided through the revelation of God becomes a religious decree and following it becomes worship. In our Shariah, worship and affairs have been separated from the beginning. The division of worship and affairs is anti-Quranic. The Quran says:
“And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give Zakah.“(2:83)
In this verse, establishing Salat (Namaz), paying Zakat and treating people affectionately have been put in one category and there is no distinction between worships and affairs.
In Surah Jumuah, God says:
“And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” (62:10)
Again, establishing Salat, looking for livelihood and remembrance of God has been mentioned together. Worship and affairs are not separated here.
The Quran further says:
“[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give Zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.“ (22:41)
In this verse, all the four affairs, establishing Salat, paying Zakat, enjoining good and forbidding evil and deciding all the affairs according to the ordainments of God—have been put in one category.
On another occasion, it is said:
“So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give Zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan.” (73:20)
In this verse, performing Salat, paying Zakat and giving loan to God is put in the same category.
Our Shariah had been compiled during the age of Banu Abbas. The conditions then were different from the conditions of today. The situation in the modern day is quite different from the situation in during the days of Banu Abbas. The laws compiled in that age cannot go with the situation of today. In this age, our social relationship has changed, the methods of production have changed, values have changed, the ways of the Deen have changed, and our thoughts have changed. Science has made many discoveries and inventions. TV, Fridge, Air-conditioned, cars, railways, air plane and ships have changed our lives.
When our Shariah had been compiled, there were no banks. Electronic media and print media did not exist. So laws cannot be formulated under this Shariah through Ijtihad. Obviously, new laws have to be formulated for them. Similarly, laws for State Bank, Election Commission, VISA, PIA, WAPDA, VASA, post office departments and the obedience to these departments will be akin to worship of God. A Shariah formulated 1000 years ago cannot go with the modern times.
When Prophet Muhammad pbuh established the government in Madina, the state had expanded over ten lakh square miles. The holy Prophet pbuh had appointed local governors in different regions. The Quran has spoken about authorities and Ulil Amr (2:188, 4:59). When disputes arose among residents in distant areas, they did not come to Madina for the resolution of their disputes but they would get their disputes resolved through their local governors. Whatever the governor or the authority decided they would accept. That was worship to God. God says:
“And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. “ (4:59)
We are not ordained to obey the former authorities but to obey the living authorities among us.
Suppose there is a vacant land in your town. You along with some senior and influential people of your town submitted an application saying that you want to turn this vacant land into a playground for children and that a sum of Rs one lakh will be needed for it. The people of the town will spend Rs 60, 000 and the government should spend the rest of Rs 40,000. Quran calls such a financial offer Nazr:
“They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows” (76:7)
On another occasion, the Quran says:
“And fulfill their vows “(22:29)
But some other people from the same town opposed the proposal and told the DC that they want to open a school for girls in this land. The local DC will adjudge the dispute between the two groups of the town. The two parties will not have to go to Islamabad to resolve their dispute. Both the parties will accept and obey the DC and their obedience to the decision of the DC will be worship to God because this obedience is not to the DC but to the system that is issuing the orders of God and his Prophet pbuh. Even to our Ulema, the obedience to the Ulil Amr is a duty of the citizens and obedience to him is akin to obedience to the Prophet pbuh. These decisions of the Islamic government are called Shariah. Shariah is not something comprehensive or static that is already present in ready form. Shariah is continuously compiled according to the situation and the changing age. The obedience to this Shariah is worship to God. If this Shariah is not present, there can be no other way of worship of God.
This should be clear that the decisions of the Islamic government would be in accordance with the Quran. That’s why the source of the Shariah is only the Quran. The verse quoted above (4:59) says that if there is a dispute among you, then revert to God and his Prophet pbuh. Here Ijma and Qiyas that are included in the sources of our Shariah are not mentioned. The Quran has used ‘God and the Prophet’ as a term which has already been explained before, that is; it means the head of the Islamic government who is ordered as follows:
“To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is, of all things, knowing. “(42:12)
Whatever dispute you have among yourselves, the decision on it rests on God. This verse makes it very clear that the source of the law and Shariah of the Islamic government is only the Quran. Our Shariah whose implementation is vociferously being demanded in our time is antagonistic to the Quran because the Quran has clearly ordained
“And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers. “(5:44)
Revelation of God is not the sole basis of our Shariah but it includes traditions, Qiyas and Ijma though, according to the Quran, nothing can be included as the source of Shariah apart from the Quran.
In an Islamic state, The Council of Islamic Ideology, Shariah courts, Standard Zakat and Ashrah, Standard Times do not exist. All the courts of an Islamic government are Shariah courts. Whatever has been written makes clear that whenever a dispute was brought to the holy Prophet pbuh, he would decide it in consultation with Sahaba according to the Quran. And it was the Shariah of that age. If a case would be brought to Hadhrat Abu Bakr, it was found out if such a case had been brought to Hadhrat Muhammad pbuh or not. If the decision of the Prophet pbuh was known and there seemed no need of any change in the decision, the decision would be implemented without any change. If there seemed a need for a little change in the decision, the change would be made, otherwise an appropriate decision would be taken in the light of the Quran.
This was the prevalent procedure during the age of Caliph Hadhrat Umar. In that age, the decisions of Hadhrat Muhammad pbuh and Hadhrat Abu Bakr was kept as precedence. Hadhrat Umar’s caliphate was long and the state was ever expanding. That’s why during his age we see a disagreement with the previous decisions. Shah Waliullah Dehlavi has mentioned 40 such decisions of Hadhrat Umar and termed them “Awwaliyat-e-Umar” (The Firsts of Umar).
In this way, while deciding disputes, all the four – Quran, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas – were taken into consideration. The source of the law being the Quran, the decisions of the governments were taken into consideration and in the light of Sunnah and the Quran, with the help of Qiyas, decisions were taken and since while taking the decisions, the views of common Muslims were also taken, the decisions were based on Ijma. The source of law was only the Quran and all these three methods were used to formulate Shariah.
The purpose of the governments, secular or theocratic, is to fulfill the physical needs of the people. These governments have before them a life of the animal level. These governments do not rise up to the level of human life. All these physical problems are the common problems of man and animals. The Islamic government does not only solve these problems but goes beyond that. The Islamic government solves those problems that are related to pure humanity. Humanity can progress only in an Islamic state. The problems of pure humanity cannot be solved in a non-Islamic state because these governments do not believe in the human being. How can they present a solution of the problems?
I request those who demand the implementation of Shariah to first try to establish an Islamic government. The laws of the state will automatically become Shariah. Islamic government does not come into existence as a result of use of power. Islamic government is a natural culmination of true faith and good deeds. God says
“Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth “(24:55)
Government and kingdom are acquired with the help of power. The British acquired power. They ruled most of the countries of the world but the Islamic government is a result of faith and good deeds. It is called caliphate because of its distinctive features because it fulfills the needs of pure humanity. It is based on the names of God. Its management is run by constant values. That’s why this state is a manifestation of the traits of God. In other words, it is responsible to fulfill the promise of God. Because of its composition, the traits of God are reflected in the citizens of the state. This way, all the abilities of its citizens fully awaken and become potent. Bringing out the full potentials of its citizens was the duty of the holy Prophet pbuh.
“Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. “(2:129)
Source: Monthly Sawt ul Haque, May 2014, Karachi