Saturday, January 4, 2014

A discussion on democracy and Khilafah

(On G+, a brother posted a graphic critical of "democracy," and I wrote:)

I'd be interested to hear how people feel about a democratic system based on the principle of shura (consultation). Also interested in opinions about what process resulted in the selection of Abu Bakr (ra) as Khalifa. You don't have to call that process democratic if you don't want to, but I am curious as to what you would call it.

(Someone suggested that Abu Bakr [ra] had been appointed by the Prophet [pbuh]. In response, I wrote:)

I'd be interested to see the citation on his appointment. I believe this is disputed. The present system by which individuals seek office for their own aggrandizement is manifestly un-Islamic, I agree.

(A brother wrote: ISLAM BELIEFS IN KHILAFAT NOT IN DEMOCRACY BUT SELECTION OF KHALIFA IS DONE IN A DEMOCRATIC WAY BY SHURA)

(The brother who had posted the original graphic wrote: " I believe this is disputed. " i think you taking selection process as disputed ? we will definitely share citations with you, but what will be the aftermaths ? 1) your just belief will change  towards Abu Bakr R.A's khilafah ? 2) if the both systems are same then Khilafah's english translation is Democracy ? i will try my best to share historical moments as soon as possible which were accepted by masses at that time collectively and till today approximately all Muslims also accepting those incidents positively. )

Thanks for the reply. I think both the outcome and the process are disputed as history. My belief is that shura took place, and a man who did not put his own candidacy forward -- Abr Bakr RA -- was selected as the legitimate, authentic Khalifa. This should be our model. Our Shia brothers and sisters disagree on some of these points, but this gives us all needed practice on implementing the etiquettes of disagreement!

Our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, instituted the system of shura for the Muslims in obedience to Allah (swt). To the degree that we deviate from it, we do ourselves and the Ummah a disservice. In my humble opinion, Khilafah is as fard as salat, and non-Muslims who object to it need to dismantle the institution of the papacy before they take the step of oppressing those who advocate for Khilafah peacefully. That said, I think we need to choose our words about political matters carefully, because we live in a time when Shaytan is very busy twisting them. The principle of shura has significant overlaps with some of the principles of constitutional democracy, and demonizing the latter seems pointless to me. If that's how non-Muslims wish to conduct their affairs, so be it. When Muslims come to the point of governing themselves, I believe they have a religious obligation to select Islamic principles over non-Islamic ones. I also believe we should make it as easy as possible for them to do so, and that means moderating polarizing rhetoric that seems designed to turn people who choose to vote into "enemies of Islam."