Amain Ahsan Islahi
by Ehsan Butt
There was a time when I studied political science books with the assistance of my teacher, Moulana Hameeduddin Farahi, Rahamahu Allah alaih. The one I liked the most was The Theory of the State, First English Edition published in 1895, by the famous German Philosopher, Johann Kaspar Bluntschli(1808- 1881) . I intended to write a book myself in the same way about principles and fundamentals of an Islamic State. The reason that motivated me in my heart was that I saw the internationally famous books either do not mention the Islamic State or if they do, they take it as a theocracy, which is all derived from the Papal system, which is a well known infamous system, and it is very unfair to Islam to speculate about any resemblance of the Islamic political system with it.
My intention remained alive in my mind and I kept collecting material for it however, I never got enough time to complete this book according to the plan I had in my mind. Different chapters of this book were written at different times and they were continuously published in the form of articles or booklets. It was my desire that once all the chapters were complete they would be shaped in the form of a book after a review but my work on Tadabbur Qur’an occupied me in such a way that neither I could even complete its all chapters according to my plan and nor it is expected that I could do it in future. On the other hand, the people who understand the value of this work continued demanding its publication as it is. Thus satisfaction of their demand was preferred over its completion. Although even in its present form, the book will be very beneficial for people interested in this subject, they will find new light on crucial issues, I feel sorry that I could not complete my favorite book according to my plan. The people who realize the value of the book are requested to accept it ignoring its weaknesses. It is no wonder that a servant of Allah would organize a comprehensive book on these lines. This is not difficult for Allah
And Peace (Wassalam)
Amin Ahsan Islahi
October 6, 1976
Part 1- Few Basic Issues
Chapter 1- The Concept of The Islamic State
The Concept of the Islamic State
The concept of the Islamic state is concealed in the term Islam uses for the state. Anyone who has some insight in the Islamic literature knows that Islam does not use terms like, a state, kingdom or government for a political organization established on its principles but it uses terms like Khilafa, Imama or Imara. For this reason in order to explain the concept of the Islamic state it is necessary to reflect upon these terms and understand things associated with them.
The Difference between Khilafa and Imara
It is unfortunate that in some Islamic jurisprudence and dialectic rhetoric (ilm-ul-klam) books’ terms of Khilafa, Imama and Imara have been improperly used as being equivalent to each other, which can sometimes create confusion. However in the light of Quran and Ahadith it is obvious that they differ in their meanings. Khilafa is used for a state established in conformity with Islamic principles and the terms imama or imara stand for a government which fulfills intents of Khilafa and implements its plans. In other words the difference between a- Khilafa and b- Imama or Imara is the same as that between state and government.
This introduction explains that the first thing we need to remember is that in Islam a state is not merely a state but a Khilafa. Then we also need to bear in mind that an accurate concept of something is gained only through its standard form therefore, only standard forms of Khilafa are under consideration here. Its distorted forms, which are found in history, can not be useful in this discussion.
Origin of Khilafa in Human Nature
When we reflect on this issue, first of all, we should explore signs of Khilafa in human nature and society. Luckily, Islam has not left us in the dark about the earliest political concepts of man that we have to resort to conjectures as political philosophers do. On the contrary heavenly guidance has presented us, along with other things, a clear anthropological science with the assistance of which we can find the origin of the Khilafa and in its light we can understand basic concepts of the Khilafa. Here I present in brief the anthropological science extracted from The Qur’an in my words.
The beginning of Khilafa has been narrated in The Qur’an as such: when Allah decided to create man He disclosed His decision, first of all, before angels saying that “I am about to appoint my Khilifa, a viceroy, on earth”. As the angels did not know the full scheme of Allah, a question arose in their circle: Wouldn’t it be a source of chaos therein? They understood that for sure the creature is going to assume management of earth as viceroy of Allah which means it will be granted some authority. This gave rise to the worry the creature would becomes a source of anarchy, chaos and bloodshed rather than equality and justice. Angels presented their concern in the form of this question: They said, “What wilt Thou set therein one who will do corruption there” Verse 30, Al-Baqara. Allah answered them that their concern was based on their ignorance about His whole scheme. Consequently they were presented with all the descendents of Adam and were asked to identify those people in support of their apprehension. The Angels were asked if all of the descendants were those perpetrators of chaos and bloodshed. Or if they also included ones promoting modesty and justice? Angels confessed they had no knowledge about it. Then Allah ordered Adam, who had already learned the names of his descendants, to tell the names of those Prophets, leaders of righteousness and reformation to be born in the generations to come. This made it clear to the angels that although the Khilafa was being granted with freedom of action and intention and a level of authority, which have risks, Allah would also reveal his books, knowledge of the heavenly code of conduct for the guidance and training of man. The event revealed wisdoms of Allah’s scheme to the angels, which satisfied them.
Logical Deductions from the Concept of Khilafa
The Qur’an is not merely story telling about the beginnings of humankind. Its objective is to provide us clues to a few facts of social and political sciences. Relating to the concept of Khilafa, the following facts become apparent for us from the Quranic account:
1. Consciousness about Khilafa is innate in human nature. This is not something he picked up from his surroundings, rater Allah created man Himself for this role and bestowed upon him consciousness about it. He has been equipped with this consciousness ever since and it has motivated him towards taking on a political life. He did not embrace this political life artificially or unintentionally but it is the fulfillment of its craving in his nature without which his personality remains incomplete.
2. The natural role of man on this planet is not of a sovereign autocratic existence but of Khalifa, viceroy of Allah. Although he enjoys an authority in a particular sphere, the authority is not his personally but rather it is delegated by Allah. For this reason its exercise is fair and lawful only within the bounds decreed by Allah and not outside of them. A consequence of the concept of vice regency is also that he has to be answerable about all those exercises where they were against the intent of the final authority.
3. Final authority on this earth belongs to Allah and not to mankind. The authority of legislation and execution that mankind enjoys is either under revealed commandments or within defined circles where Allah has left man to exercise his choice.
4. As far as the objective of creation is concerned everybody qualifies for this status. Abilities to fulfill its responsibilities are innate in everyone. However, man is not forced to assume that status, rather he is free to assume it or not. He can become khalifa by confining himself within the bounds decreed by Allah or become rebel by crossing His bounds. As Allah has created everybody for His worship but has not forced anybody and left everyone free to worship Him or not worship Him. Similarly He has not forced man for Khilafa.
5. If man does not fulfill his responsibilities of this status in compliance with the scheme that Allah liked for him, it is very probable that he will get involved in corruption and bloodshed.
6. Allah has not left it vague; what He likes and dislikes regarding management of His land. It is an indisputable requirement of the nature of Khilafa that Allah continually provides him with his likes, dislikes, commandments and guidelines. For this reason, the angels’ assumption that after assuming Khilafa man will fall into corruption and bloodshed was removed when they knew the fact that series of prophets will be continued in descendents of Adam and Allah will reveal His books and commandments.
7. Nationalistic, territorial or ethnic ideas do not serve as foundation of Khilafa rather due to its attributes and nature it is a principled global state.
8. This system stands on absolute equal rights. This authority of Khilafa is not restricted to any specific group or class but to everyone. In this if one is preferred over another it is merely due to capability and according to people’s advice and consent.
Allah’s Wont (Custom) with Khilafa
We mentioned above that the Khilafa is by choice not by force. That choice consequently entailed that Allah would grant nations rule over land to test them; whether they follow their whims or keep their rule abiding by bounds decreed by Allah. The nations that behave rebelliously against Allah are deemed guilty and annihilated after their allocated test period ends. Qur’an mentions this tradition of Allah as:
وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا الْقُرُونَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَمَّا ظَلَمُوا ۙ وَجَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَمَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ ﴿١٣﴾ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ خَلَائِفَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ لِنَنظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿١٤﴾
We destroyed the generations before you when they did brutal-injustice and their Messengers came to them with the clear signs, but they would not believe; so we recompense the guilty people. 13
Then We appointed you viceroys in the earth after them, that We might behold how you would do. 14
Sura 10 Yunus - Verses 13-14
Those Who are Truly Worthy of Khilafa
This Khilafa is, although, effectively available to all human beings: its true deservers are only those who fulfill its obligation. Thus Allah declared Prophet Daud AS His Khalifa in clear words because his rule was in conformity with His commandments:
يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسَابِ ﴿٢٦﴾
Daud, behold, We have appointed thee a viceroy in the earth; therefore judge between men justly Sura 38 Saad - Verse 26
True worthy of this Khilafa are in actual fact the Prophets AS or those who fulfill its obligations in obedience to the Prophets AS. Those who get organized for His worship and submission He grants them the unique robe of Khilafa. Thus Sura Noor mentions this issue as:
وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ ﴿٥٥﴾
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds that He will surely make you successors in the land, even as He made those who were before them successors, and that He will surely establish their religion for them He has approved of them, and will give them in exchange, after their fear, security: ‘They shall worship me, not associating with Me anything’. Sura 24 Al-Noor – Verse 55
Degeneration of Khilafa
That is the genuine form of Khilafa. As long as it keeps its characteristics it is a blessing of Allah on earth. If those attributes start weakening these are forms of its degeneration. Degeneration up to a particular level does not throw it out of the sphere of Khilafa. However if the degeneration eliminates its fundamental attributes, the Khilafa does not continue to exist rather it becomes tyranny and corruption on earth.
The Difference between Khilafa and a Common State
After this description it is not difficult to understand similarities and differences between a common state and an Islamic state (Khilafa). Aristotle defined Man as ‘Speaking Animal’ this definition holds true for a non-Muslim equally well as it does for a Muslim because in spheres of physical existence and natural instincts both have similar needs and cravings. However, despite that everyone knows there is a big difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. Principles of life of a non-Muslim are different and principles of life of a Muslim are different.
Similarly there is not much difference between a common state and an Islamic state as far as their visible structure and physical composition are concerned. Establishment of a common state requires a human society, control over a land, ruling status with respect to internal affairs, a sovereign status with respect to external relations and a political organization (government) that can implement its intents and accomplish its objectives. Similarly an Islamic state or Khilafa for its establishment also requires all those elements. From this point of view there is not much difference between both of them however as far as their principles and objectives are concerned both are as far apart as heavens and earth.
اصلاحي امين احسن ‘اسلامى رياست’(Islami Riyasat)The Islamic State by Amin Ahsan Islahi,
Published in Urdu by http://www.dar-ut-tazkeer.com دار التذكير
English Translation of the above is a continuing project of ARFA
The above are just few pages of a hundreds of pages of work. It has been presented to introduce the work to ask suggestions, help and donations from people interested in completing the English translation of the complete work.
Tariq Mahmood Hashmi, 2012