Quranocracy: Search for Eternal and Unchangeable Laws – Dr. Sayed Abdul Wadud
After giving a trial to democracy the trend of modem western thinkers is that it is wrong to accept the majority decision as right under all circumstances. We have no objective standard, they say, for judging human action. The Italian patriot Mizzini says, “The principle of universal suffrage was a good thing in as much as it provides a lawful method for a people for safeguarding against forces of destruction and continuing their own government. However, in a people who have no common beliefs, all that democracy can do is to safeguard the interest of the majority and keep the minority subdued. We can, he adds, be subject to God or to man, one man or more than one. If there be no superior authority over man, what is there to save us from the subjugation of powerful individuals? Unless we have some sacred or immutable law, which is not man made, we can have no standard for discriminating between right and wrong. A government based on laws other than the God’s will, produces the same results, whether it be despotic or revolutionary one. Without it whosoever be in authority will be a despot. Unless a government conforms to God’s law, It has no right to govern. The purpose of government is to enforce God’s will; If a government fails in its purpose, then it is your duty to try for and bring about a change.” 23.
After centuries of unsuccessful experiments, with man made laws, modern man is still in search of the kind of laws which are eternal, unchangeable, applicable to all and at all times. The source would have to be super human, i.e., the laws given by God Himself. The West had naturally to seek the help of religion to ascertain such laws. They tried Christianity but there was no response. Christianity has got no laws to give. It Is all other-worldliness.
In the words of Joad – “Christianity places man’s life not in this world but in the next. While the next world is wholly good, this world is conceived to be, at least to some extent, evil. While the next world is eternal, life on earth is transitory. For man’s life hereafter, this, his present existence, is to be regarded as a preparation and a training, and its excellence consists in the thoroughness and efficiency with which the training is carried out. Nothing on the earth is wholly and absolutely good. and such good deeds as earthly life contains, are good only as a means of greater goods which are promised hereafter.” 28
Now the question arises, what is that code of life and where to find it?
The man-made laws are limited In scope, conflicting and ever changing; and are thus too fragile to solve the problems of entire mankind. A universal code of life, that can bring peace, can only be found in the objective laws given to humanity through the messengers of God. As the divine codes of life given to humanity by the earlier messengers of God, who appeared successively, have been subjected to the onslaught of human whims and wishes, the only code of life that comprise immutable laws applicable for all the succeeding generations of mankind, through all ages, is the one that lies safely preserved in the pages of the holy Quran, unapproached by falsehood. The Quran lays great stress on the study of history of the foregone nations and advise us to see that they rose when they acted according to the revealed laws and fell from the pinnacle of their glory when they acted in the opposite way. The holy Quran comprises laws, injunctions and permanent values The laws and injunctions given In the Quran. themselves form a vast subject. However we shall describe here only the most prominent Permanent values. There are two beliefs which form the basis of all the permanent values. Let us describe them at the outset–
(1) Belief in One God – According to the holy Quran the belief in One God is neither an academic problem, nor a dogmatic creed. It has practical bearing on the day to day life of a man. Belief in God means the acceptance of the sovereignty of God, or in other words it means the submission of one’s action to the will of God. The word Allah in the Quran is a proper noun and is a combination of the words and The word contains the following underlying concepts:
(1) To seek protection in a state of anxiety. (2) To become perplexed. (3) To be out of sight and to have an exalted status. (4) To accept subservience of some body or to admit sovereignty of some body.
Accordingly the Quranic word Allah’ means the Supreme Existence which is out of sight; whose extremely exalted position leaves the human intellect perplexed; whose sovereignty reigns supreme in the universe and to whom subservience is due by all components of His creation. Allah is beyond human perception
“No vision can grasp Him”.
A finite thing can not grasp an infinite object. However we know Him through His attributes given in the Quran. Accordingly belief in Allah means to accept the sovereignty of One whose attributes are given in the Quran.
The sovereignty of Allah reigns supreme in the physical world as well as in the human affairs.
‘There is no sovereign except Allah”
‘The command is for none but Allah”
“Nor does He share His command with any one whatsoever.”
On the other hand one who believes in Allah is subservient to only One Command and that command is of Allah Himself
“In the subservience of Sustainer, let no body admit any one as partner.”
Allah does not deal with the human affairs directly. In the human world He exercises His command by means of revelation, to his messengers. Thus it is said:
“Say!, shall I seek for judge other than Allah, when it is He Who has sent unto you the detailed book.”
Thus the sovereignty of Allah means the sovereignty of the book of Allah. This in turn is exercised through an organization. The central command of the organization of believers is an instrument to enforce the law and it is not allowed to exercise its personal authority.
2) The other basic concept upon which rest all the permanent values provided by the Quran is the Belief in human personality. Man is composed of two things, physical body and human personality. The physical body is controlled by the physical laws and human personality is controlled by the laws revealed to the messengers of Allah. Physical body is destructible, on the other hand human personality has got potentialities, which when actualized make the developed personality indestructible.
The development of human personality is controlled by human actions. This being a world of cause and effect, every action has got its reaction. In other words, every human action is rewarded. An act may be good or bad. A good act is one which is consistent with the divine laws; bad act is one which is inconsistent with the divine laws. The holy Quran says that the entire machinery of the universe has been created in order that no act of any human being remains unrewarded:
“Allah has created the heavens and the earth for constructive purposes and that every one be repaid for what it has earned, and that they will not be wronged.”
A good act produces a positive or constructive effect on human personality and a bad act has a negative or disintegrating effect. The act may be manifest or concealed, it makes no difference. It requires no outside policing. The reaction is automatic. Even an idea that flashes across the mind, has its impact on the human personality:
(40:19) “He knows the traitor of the eye and that which the bosoms hide.”
“And he who does good (to the extent of) an atoms weight will see it then and he who does ill an atom’s weight will see it then.”
Thus the human body ends with the physical death, while the developed human personality passes on to its next evolutionary stage. This forms the basis of the belief in the Hereafter and thus the basis of all the permanent values provided by divine guidance.
The rest of the permanent values are as follows:-
(1) Respect for Humanity
“We have honored the humanity as a whole.”
It means that Allah has created, all human beings equal by birth worthy of respect. This proclamation was made by the Quran, for the first time in human history, and it is a fundamental human right.
(Note – Meaning of equality – Absolute equality is, in fact, an impossible ideal. Equality means that special privileges of all kinds should be abolished. All barriers of wealth, birth, race and color be removed, so that no one suffers from any kind of social and political disabilities. All should have the right to Equality which means the absence of legal discrimination against any individuals).
(2) Criterion of position in Society
After birth the ranks are according to how far one’s actions are consistent with the divine laws:
“And to all are (assigned) degrees according to their deeds.”
Thus, the measure of greatness of an individual, are his virtues. The more one acts according to the divine laws, the more worthy of respect he becomes:
“Verily the most honored of you, in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most subservient to the divine law.”
The Quran thus changed the old Criterion of respect for man. From then onwards the measure of respect for man became his virtues instead of relative ones. This single change in the measure for respect for man declared, all the old systems of kingship, priesthood and capitalism, as wrong and hateful. However, the old measures of respect, especially the possession of wealth, still persist in the modern societies; one who possesses big property, bungalows, cars and all other amenities of life is considered respectful, even if he is a smuggler or a trader in narcotics.
No man shall be a slave or a subject to his fellow beings. A man can only be subjective to divine laws and not to any person, however highly placed he may be, even as high as a messenger of Allah:
“It is not for any human being unto whom Allah had given the scripture and wisdom and the Divine Message, that he should afterwards have said unto mankind, “Be slaves of me instead of Allah. He should rather say, “Be faithful servants of your Rabb by virtue of the code of life that He has given you and which you teach one another and constantly study.”
This verse is the charter of human freedom. The extreme individual or collective desire of man, is his desire for freedom. Slavery is opposite of freedom. A look at the human history shows that although slavery appears in so many forms but basically there are two forces which make other people slaves; the authority to rule and the dignity of priest-hood. Authority to rule appears in a manifest form and its entangle the human body; but the authority of the self-made representatives of God appears in an invisible and imperceptible form and it controls the human mentality. Inspite of his best efforts humanity has not been able to release itself from the grip of these two enslaving powers. Their hold goes on changing itself but the strength of their grip remains unaffected.
The holy Quran brought forth this revolutionary proclamation that no man has got the right to enslave others. In this verse the Quran has clarified the above two enslaving powers, generally called the Temporal and Spiritual. In spiritual powers, the messengers of God are the highest in ranks. The Quran has emphatically declared that even the messengers of God have no right to make others subservient to their personal desires. It is apparent that if even the messengers of God are not given this right, the priests stand no where. The temporal power in past ages was the autocratic rule of the kings and now dictators have come into being. The political thinkers rejected the rule of autocrats and gave the power of law making to the people and this came to be known as Secular Democratic rule. The Quran on the other hand has declared that law makers may be individuals or groups of individuals, it makes no difference. They have no right to make others subservient to their self-made laws. That is all slavery and not freedom. The Quran thus broke the chains of both temporal and spiritual slavery in one stroke.
But on the other hand, if there is no ruling power and no restraint on freedom, it shall result into Anarchy. Thus it is said that although no individual or a group of individuals shall rule others but there shall be the rule of God over them.
On this the priestly class said that God does not rule people directly; we are His representatives and thus subservience to us shall be the subservience to God. The Quran rejected this claim of the priests and declared that no human being can be the representative of God. He has given a code of laws, subservience to this code means the subservience to God and that is the true of freedom. In the subservience of man to man, all the human potentialities are crushed, but in the subservience of the book of God, man is able to actualize his potentialities which is the aim of human life in this world and which makes him fit to pass on to the next evolutionary stage of man in the hereafter.
4) ADL (or Justice)
It means a condition where every individual in a human society gets what is due to him, not only economically but all the fundamental rights that belong to him by virtue of being a man. This provides equal opportunities to individuals for the physical development as well as the development of their personalities.
“Indeed Allah commands justice and proportion.”
It means to give to every body what is due to him.
Adl is a very comprehensive subject. However, let us describe here a few examples of the Quranic Adl:
(a) To do justice in a favorable or a natural atmosphere is meritorious enough, but the real test comes, when you have to do justice to people who hate you or who are your enemies. Thus it is said:
“Oh you who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just. That is nearer to Allah. Allah’s law of requital is well-acquainted with what you do.”
(b) About transactions involving future payment it is said:
“Oh you who believe! when you deal with one in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties.”
As regard orphan’s property it is said:
“And come not near the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength: give measure and weight with (full justice).”
Adl while fighting against the enemy:
“Fight in the cause of Allah, those who fight you, but do not transgress limits for Allah loveth not the transgressors.”
It means that war is permissible in self defense. When undertaken it must be pushed with full vigor; not reluctantly but to restore peace freedom for the protection of the Quranic Social Order. Women and children, old and infirm men should not be molested: trees and prop not destroyed.
Another splendid example of Quranic Adl:
“Oh you who believe! when there come to you believing women refugees, examine them, Allah knows best as to their belief; if you ascertain that they are believers, then send them not back to the unbelievers; they are not lawful (wives) for the unbelievers, nor are the (unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them. But pay the unbelievers what they have spent for them.’
(5) Law of Equality
“Oh you men of understanding! in the law of Equality there is the secret of collective life for you.”
QISAS – Life for life in the case of murder. But Qisas is not a personal act. It is the duty of the Government formed on the basis of divine laws to prescribe and give punishment. The punishment should be proportionate to the crime committed:
(10:27) “But those who have earned evil, will have a reward of like evil.”
But one who apologizes must be pardoned:
(42:40) “The recompense of an is an injury equal there to (in degree) but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah”.
“Allah command justice and proportion in society.”
The words Adl and Ehsan come together in the holy Quran. In the Quranic Social order Ehsan is the next higher stage after Adl. As described earlier, Adl provides equal opportunities to Individuals. On the other hand, Ehsan means a condition where an individual (Inspite of his best efforts) lags behind, his deficiency is made good by others to restore the disturbed proportion of the society. This is not by way of charity but as a matter of right.
(7) Justice in Courts of Law
- (a) Evidence-
The Quran warns that while giving evidence in a court of law one must not conceal the testimony.
“Conceal not evidence; for whosoever conceals it – his heart is tainted with sin. And Allah knows all that you do.”
The Quran says that the concealment of evidence has a serious effect on your own personality because it taints the every source higher life. Again it is said:
“Oh you who believe! Be you staunch injustice. Give evidence for Allah. even though it goes against yourself or (your) parents. or (your) kindred, whether (the case be) of a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is nearer to both (than you are). So follow not passion lest you lapse or fall away. For lo Allah is ever informed of what you do.”
Pleaders in the court of law, are warned as follows:
“So be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust.”
One who deceives others thinks that he has gained something. In fact he has lost something, on account of the destructive effect on own personality. Actually he has deceived himself. To plead the cause such people is prohibited:
“Fight not the cause of those who betray their ownselves.”
Moses repented after he helped a wrong person and said:
“I shall never be a helper to those who sin.”
(8) Personal Responsibility
Each person is responsible for his own acts. The consequences one’s acts can not be transferred to another:
“Every personality draws the meed of its own acts on none but itself no bearers of burden can bear the burden of another.”
is opposite to justice. It means to put a thing in a place where it should not be’. The Quran not only prohibits wrong acts but also that you should not be wronged:
Wrong not and you shall not be wronged.”
If every Individual on his part avoids wrong acts, the wrong shall be eliminated from the society and all shall be protected against it. The verse also means that you should gain so much strength that no body may attempt to do wrong to you.
“Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged”.
(10) Enforcement of Law
It is the duty of the Quranic Social order to enforce what is lawful according to divine law and prohibit what is unlawful. In other words Do’s and Dont’s are not a matter of preaching. They are rather to be made the law of the country:
“You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.”
Islam is a Deen’ which is non-sectarian, non-racial and universal, it is just a submission to the will of Allah. This implies (a) Belief in One God (b) doing right, being an example to others to do right and having the power to see that the right prevails (c) eschewing wrong, being an example to others to eschew wrong and having the power to see that wrong and injustice are defeated. Islam therefore lives not for itself but for mankind.
(11) Lawlessness is prohibited
“Allah loveth not lawlessness.”
(12) Render back the Trust
“Verily Allah commands you to render back your trusts to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice.”
The holy Quran lays great emphasis on rendering back the trusts to whom they are due. The trust may be an ordinary deposit. On the other hand, ‘the reigns of power’ being the biggest and most sacred trust that any human beings can entrust to their fellow human beings, it is imperative that those who are given power must be most trustworthy and most fit persons, those who are capable of deciding the human affairs with full justice and fulfil the responsibilities entrusted to them.
(13) Quranic Economic System-
(a) Subsistence – The serving of man’s physical needs, though not an end in itself, yet it is the grim reality to be faced. Only that person can attend to the higher ideals of life whose mind is not assailed with pangs of hunger. According to the holy Quran. nourishment of individuals is the responsibility of the state:
‘Those who. If We establish them in the land, establish a social order based on divine law and provide nourishment (to the individuals).
(b) Contract between an Islamic State and the believers – In a Quranic social order the state becomes a symbol of divine attributes, guaranteeing the fulfillment of Allah’s promises. Thus the life and property of the believers are at the disposal of the state; and in lieu of it, it is the responsibility of the state to provide peace and plenty to the individuals i.e., a heavenly life on the earth:
“Allah has purchased of the believers, their persons and their wealth, surely for them is a heavenly life (in return).”
This contract between the state and the believers is not merely an abstract idea; it ought to be put in to practice.
(c) Sources of production are for the humanity as a whole
“It is He Who has created all that Is In the earth, for your collective benefit.”
“It is He Who has given you the authority on the earth and provided you (humanity) therein the means of fulfillment of your life.”
(d) All that is surplus to the needs of an individual belong to the society
“They ask thee (0 Rasool?) how much to spend (for the benefit of others) say: what is surplus to your needs.”
This spending on others is not by way of charity but by way of their human right: Those who spend on others shall say:
“We provide you with the means of sustenance only because it is prescribed by the divine law. We do not intend to receive any personal benefit from you, nor any thanks.”
(e) Giving to others, promotes the nourishment and stability of your own personality:
“In the stability of their own personality.”
(f) The Quran disallows an economy based on interest Thus it is said:
“Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury.”
The Quran condemns and prohibits usury in the strongest terms and differentiates between trade and usury. The Quran only allows a return in lieu of one’s labor. In trade one puts in both capital and labor while in usury only capital is spent. Thus interest on capital is disallowed, while genuine profit in trade is allowed. Every type of profiteering is usury.
Sexual relationship between a man and a woman, other than marriage are strictly forbidden.
“And come not near adultery. Lo, it is an abomination and an evil way.”
Marriage is a contract between two adults by mutual consent only. It is not allowed to compel some one for marriage.
“Oh you who believe! It is not lawful for you to become masters of women forcibly.”
(15) Universal Brotherhood
“Mankind were but one community, then they differed.”
To reorganize universal brotherhood, the holy Quran has prescribed one fundamental code of life for the humanity. In other words one world Government:
“Oh mankind! There has come to you a (common) code of life.”
(16) The survival of the constructive
The welfare work may be confined within parties, countries or nations. According to the holy Quran, that which is beneficial for the entire mankind, survives:
“All that is useful to humanity, remains on the earth.”
As a first step towards achieving this goal, the holy Quran directs mankind to cooperate with one another without distinction of race. color, country or nation; in those affairs which are constructive and based on permanent values: and not in those affairs which are destructive and unlawful:
‘You cooperate with one another in matters of broad mindedness and matters consistent with the divine laws, and do not cooperate in matters of sin and enmity.”
(17) Division of mankind
Distinction between man and man on the basis of caste, color, race and language is forbidden. According to the holy Quran, there is only one criterion for the division of mankind. That division is on the basis of ideology. Those who believe in the permanent values of the Quran belong to one group. Those who do not believe in them belong to another group:
“It is He who has created all of you, some of you are non-believers and some of you are believers.”
(18) Freedom of choice
There is no compulsion for belief in the Quranic Fundamentals. A decision that is not willful is not a decision. Thus non-believers are under no compulsion to join the ranks of believers:
‘There is no compulsion (to follow) the way of life based on Quranic Fundamentals. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error.”
Thus there is a freedom of choice whether one follows this way or that way:
“Say: (It is) the truth from the Rabb of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe and whosoever will let him disbelieve.”
In a social order based on Quranic fundamentals, it is not only that the non-believers are allowed to disbelieve but the holy Quran enjoins upon believers to protect the non-believers and their places of worship:
“Had not Allah checked one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measures.”
But it is important to note that when one willingly joins the Quranic social order then it remains no more optional to follow this law or that. Then he is bound to follow the Quranic law.
(19) Defense of the Social Order by raising Arms
Believers are commanded to raise arms for the defense of the Quranic social order:
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you. But do not transgress limits, for Allah loveth not the transgressors.”
It means that believers are prohibited not to fight for personal motives or material gains: nor against those who do not cause hindrance in the way of the Quranic Social order. Limits must not be transgressed and women, children, old and Infirm should not be molested.
- (20) Hijrat
According to the holy Quran it is the duty of a messenger of God, as well as a believer, to strive hard for the establishment of a social order based on the divine law. His first step would be to establish it at the place of his birth. But inspite of his best efforts, if the circumstances around him are not favorable, he leaves this place and migrates to another land where he finds suitable environments. His objective is to establish a social order and not to worship a particular locality. The choice lies between his wealth, property, relatives and place of birth on one hand: and the Quranic Social Order on the other. He chooses the latter and sacrifices the former. This type of migration is termed by the holy Quran as ‘Hijrat’. It is not a migration in search of food or wealth nor is it an escape from facing difficulties; it is rather a more feasible and practicable procedure and a part of his struggle to establish the Quranic Social order. That is why the words and often come together in the holy Quran.
‘Those who believed and those who emigrated and strove and struggled in the path of Allah, they have the hope of being nourished by Allah in His specified pattern.”
The above brief description represents the more prominent and main fundamental principles that one comes across during the study of the holy Quran. These principles were proclaimed to the world. 1400 years ago, by an unlettered orphan (p.b.u.h.) who belonged to a backward, uneducated, unskilled and undisciplined community of idol worshippers of Makkah. He was born at a time when the edifice of the world civilization, that was built through the past 4000 years, was razed to the ground: when despotism was the rule of the day: when superstition dominated the human thought: when every tribe was thirsty of other’s blood: when the way of life prescribed by the messengers of the past throughout the world, which was meant to produce peace and integration, was thrown over board and was replaced by chaos and disruption. In short that was the time when the forces of disintegration prevailed upon the entire human society Inhabiting the globe.
The principles described above are immutable and provide guidance for the development of human personality as well as the smooth running of the human society, as truly today as they did 1400 years ago: and they shall remain as such for all times to come. Anything constructive that we find in the human world today, is in consonance with these principles; and anything positive, constructive and lasting that man is in search of shall be available from this very source. Anything repugnant to this code of life, is bound to be negative, destructive and perishable. The more a nation follows the above-said principles, the more it pulsates with life; the more a nation forsakes them, the more it is full of misery and disappointment. Any unbiased observation and any pragmatic test can prove the truth of this assertion. In the words of Iqbal:
‘Where ever you find a world displaying life and beauty from the soil of which blossom sublime aspirations: it has either already received light from Muhammad (p.b.h.u.). or is still in search of that light.”
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