The Islamic concept of state is based on the teachings of Islam and the principles of justice and equality.
The state is seen as the servant of God. And its primary purpose is to uphold the laws and teachings of Islam.
According to Islamic political theory, the state must be based on consultation and consensus and should strive for justice, equality, and social welfare for all citizens.
The Islamic state should be both religious and secular and should promote economic, political, and social development.
The main principles or features of the Islamic State may be summarized as follows:
The Sovereignty Of Allah
In Islam, sovereignty belongs to Allah.
The Holy Quran says, “To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth.
He gives life and death and has full knowledge of all things”.
In Ayat Ul Kursi, God says, “His chair covers the skies and the earth.”
Maulana Maudoodi explains the supremacy and sovereignty of Allah under the topic ‘Tawhid.’
Tawhid means that one Allah alone is the Creator, Sustainer, and Master of the universe and all that exists.
Allah alone has the right to command or forbid. Worship and obedience are due to Him alone.
It is not for the people to decide the aim and purpose of our existence or to set the limits of our worldly authority.
Nor does anyone else have the right to make these decisions for us. This right rests only with Allah.
This principle of the Oneness of Allah makes meaningless the concept of the legal and political sovereignty of human beings.
No individual, family, class, or race can set themselves above Allah. Allah alone is the ruler, and his commandments constitute the law of Islam.
It reveals that sovereign powers belong to Allah Almighty in the Islamic state.
Risala And Islamic Concept Of State
Risala is the medium through which we receive the law of Allah.
We have received two things from this source: the Holy Quran and the authoritative interpretation of that Book by the Prophet Muhammad, through words (Hadiths) and deeds (Sunnah), in his capacity as the representative of Allah.
The Quran laid down the broad principles on which human life should be based. And the Prophet of Allah, in accordance with these principles, established a model system of Islamic life.
The combination of these two elements is called Shariah (Islamic law).
Khilafat And Islamic Concept Of State
Khalifat means ‘representation.’ Man, according to Islam, is the representative of Allah on earth.
He is the vicegerent of Allah on earth, that is to say, by the powers delegated to him by Allah, and within the prescribed limits, he is required to exercise Divine authority.
Maulana Maudoodi explains it, To illustrate what a caliphate is, let us take the case of an estate of yours, which someone else has been appointed to administer on your behalf.
Four conditions invariably obtain: First, the actual ownership of the estate remains vested in you and not in the administrator.
Secondly, he administers your property directly following your instructions.
Thirdly, he exercises his authority within limits prescribed by you.
And fourthly, in the administration of the trust, he executes your will and fulfills your intentions, not his own.
Any representative who does not fulfill these four conditions will be abusing their authority and breaking the covenant, which was implied in the concept of “representation.”
This is precisely what Islam means when it affirms that man is Allah’s representative (khalifa) on earth.
Hence, these four conditions are also involved in the concept of Khalifa.
The state established under this political theory will, in fact, be a caliphate under the sovereignty of Allah.
The Institute Of Khilafat
Khilafat, or Caliphate, came into being after the demise of the Holy Prophet.
The khalifa or Caliph was also known as the Imam, for he combined both political and religious duties of the leadership of the Muslim community in matters of the state and religion.
Erwin Rosenthal says, “Under the sovereignty of God and the authority of his law, the Shariah of Islam, the caliph is the temporal ruler of the state and the defender of the faith. Constitutional law in Islam is based on the theory of the Khilafat”.
The Muslim jurists have consistently recognized the institution of the caliphate as a legally valid constitution of the Muslim community of ummah. Al Mawardi, al-Ghazali, and Ibni Khaldoon have expounded on the theories of a caliphate.
The institution of the caliphate had a very long history. It existed from 632, when Hazrat Abu Bakr became the first Caliph in the history of Islam, up to 1924, when modern Turkey under Kamal Ataturk formally abolished the institution of the Caliphate.
Accountability Of The Ruler
In an Islamic state, the ruler is ordered to execute and rule according to the provisions of Shariah.
The Holy Prophet said, “If somebody sees his Muslim ruler doing something he disapproves of, he should be patient. For whoever becomes separate from the Muslim group even for a span and then dies, he will die as those who died in the Pre-Islamic period of ignorance (as rebellious sinners).”
Further, the Prophet said, “A Muslim has to listen to and obey (the order of his ruler) whether he likes it or not, as long as his orders involve not one in disobedience (to Allah), but if an act of disobedience (to Allah) is imposed one should not listen to it or obey it.”
The Prophet says, “Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never feel even the smell of Paradise.”
The ruler is accountable before Allah and his subjects for his deeds.
Government By Consultation
Mutual consultation among Muslims is a commandment of the Holy Quran and an injunction of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet.
The Quran says in the Surah 42, “When they are said to put their trust in God. When they are regarded as off-keepers of evil, when they are said to be brave defenders of their rights, they are praised for taking each other’s counsel in time of need.”
It further says, “Not only that, but the Apostle is also advised to consult even those who are his enemies at heart” (Quran III: 159).
It was also the practice of the Holy Prophet, who consulted his Companions in all matters of state.
The institution of Majlis-e-Shoora was developed by the Khulafa-e-Rashideen afterward.
This institution is the foundation of democratic government in Islam.
Democracy In Islam
In the Islamic Concept Of State, the authority of Khalifa is given to the whole of any community, which is ready to fulfill the conditions of representation after subscribing to the principles of tawhid and Risala.
Such a society carries the responsibility of the Khalifa as a whole, and each one of its individuals shares in it.
Every individual in an Islamic society enjoys the rights and powers of Allah’s caliphate. In this respect, all individuals are equal.
No one may deprive anyone else of his rights and powers. An agreement with these individuals will form the agency for running the affairs of the state.
And the state’s authority will only be an extension of the powers of the individuals delegated to it.
Their opinion will be decisive in forming the government, which will be run with their advice and per their wishes.
Whoever gains people’s confidence will undertake the duties and obligations of the caliphate on their behalf.
And when he loses this confidence, he will have to step down.
In the Islamic state, the judiciary is independent, criticism is allowed, the rulers are accountable, and people fully participate in state affairs.
There is a capacity for consultation, guaranteed human rights, and equality in the Islamic Concept Of State.
In this respect, the political system of Islam provides for democracy.
Obedience of The Ruler
The Quranic injunction calls upon Muslims to obey their rulers.
The Holy Quran says, “Obey Allah, obey the Holy Prophet and obey those who are the rulers among you.”
Equality Of Mankind And Human Rights
The fundamental doctrine of Islam is the equality of all humanity.
It is implied in the primary Islamic teaching of the Tawhid, or belief in the unity of God.
As Allama Iqbal puts it, “The essence of Tawhid as a working idea is equality, solidarity, and freedom.”
Accordingly, in Islamic polity, there is no discrimination between man and man on race, color, language, profession, or country.
Islam gives a detailed list of human rights. The last address of the Holy Prophet is a universal charter of rights.
In the Islamic state, non-Muslims are also given complete protection and honor.
Order Good And Punish Wrongdoers
The Islamic State is to maintain morality. It asks the ruler to order to do well and punish wrongdoers.
Islam emphasizes Amr al Maruf Wa’l Nahi ‘An Al Munkar.
The Quranic verses in this connection are crucial, as much as they declare that the chief objective of the Islamic state is to be the enforcement of duties on the Muslims.
The Purpose Of The Islamic State
The Holy Qur’an clearly states that the aim and purpose of this state is the establishment, maintenance, and development of those virtues by which the Creator wishes human life to be enriched. And the prevention, and eradication of those evils in human life, which He finds objectionable.
The Islamic state is intended neither solely as an instrument of political administration nor for fulfilling the collective will of any particular people.
Rather, Islam places a high ideal before the state for the achievement of which it must use all the means at its disposal.
This ideal is that the qualities of purity, beauty, goodness, virtue, success, and prosperity, which Allah wants to flourish in the life of the people, should be produced and developed.
And that all kinds of exploitation, injustice, and disorder which, in the sight of Allah, are destructive for the world and detrimental to the life of His creatures should be suppressed and prevented.
Welfare Program Of An Islamic State
The Islamic state can plan its welfare program in every age and environment.
The Islamic State should base its policies on justice, truth, and honesty. It is not prepared, under any circumstances, to tolerate fraud, falsehood, and injustice for political, administrative, or national convenience.
Whether it is relations between the rulers and the ruled within the state or the state’s relations with other states, priority must always be given to truth, honesty, and justice.
Islam imposes similar obligations on the state and the individual: to fulfill all contracts and duties; to have uniform standards in dealings; to remember obligations along with rights and not to forget the rights of others when expecting them to fulfill their commitments; to use power and authority for the establishment of justice; to look upon duty as a sacred obligation and to fulfill it thoroughly, and to regard power as a trust from Allah.
Executive And Legislature In Islamic Concept Of State
The responsibility of the administration in an Islamic state is given to an amir (leader), who may be compared to the president or the prime minister in a Western democratic state. All adult men and women allowed by the constitution are entitled to vote for the election of the amir.
The basic qualifications for an amir are that he should command the confidence of the majority in respect of his knowledge and understanding of the spirit of Islam.
He should possess the Islamic quality of fear of Allah and be gifted with qualities of statesmanship. In short, he should have both virtue and ability.
The people also elect a Shoora (legislature) to assist and guide the amir. The amir may retain office only so long as he enjoys the people’s confidence and must give it up when he loses it.
Every citizen has the right to criticize amir and his government. And all reasonable means for the ventilation of public opinion must be available.
Legislation In An Islamic State
Legislation in the Islamic Concept Of State is to be carried out within limits prescribed by the law of Shariah.
The orders of Allah and His Prophet are to be accepted and obeyed. No legislative body may change them or make any law contrary to them.
In Islam, there is a separation of the judiciary and the executive. It derives its authority directly from Shariah and is answerable to Allah.
The government appoints judges. But once a judge occupies the bench, he has to administer justice impartially according to the law of Allah.
The organs and functionaries of the government are not outside his legal jurisdiction, so even the highest executive authority of the government is liable to be called upon to appear in a court of law as a plaintiff or defendant.
Rulers and ruled are subject to the same law, and there can be no discrimination.