The Islamic system of government is based on consultation, equal justice, freedom of expression, and serving the interest of the community. [see Qur’an;42:38, 39,42,43]A government that does not try its best to serve and protect the interests of the community is not Islamic even if it professes to believe in Islam and its system and values. In fact the aim of all Islamic legislation is to serve the interests of the community and to protect every individual – his self, mind, offspring, property and religion, as these are the five essentials of a human being. Islam does not lay down any rigid form of Islamic government, leaving this to every Muslim community to determine within the outlined guiding principles. Islamic government is a consultative one. While talking about consultative government, Islam does not lay down any form for how the consultation is to be made. Every Muslim community may decide what institutions to establish in order to achieve the requirement of consultation. If it opts for a democratic system of the type which prevails in Europe, then that system can certainly be accommodated within an Islamic government. In a different set up, a Muslim country may decide to choose its overall leader by elections or by a referendum or by some other means, which ensures that the feelings of the Muslim community are determined. Any of these methods is acceptable. A democratic government could be an Islamic government if it resolves to implement Islamic law, because by definition a democratic government provides a process of consultation. If such consultation is genuine and the law to be implemented is Islamic. It must also guarantee freedom of expression and equality of all people before the law. Secularism is incompatible with the Islamic system, because secularism allows no position for religion in the system of government. But if we take the aspect of equality of all people which secularism advocates, then this concept of secularism is compatible with Islam. What is most important to remember is that an Islamic government is an ideological government. It believes in the Islamic faith and it seeks to implement the laws of Islam, sparing no effort for the achievement of that goal.
A country is Islamic if it declares that it wants to conduct its affairs in line with the code of living God revealed in the Qur’an and explained by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This means that any law or regulation a country adopts will be in line with the message of Islam. If it is found that there is a contradiction between any part of a law in force in that country and Islamic teachings, then that law will be considered null and void while Islamic teachings will be implemented. Take, for example, a country, which declares itself Islamic, but the law in force permits usury, use of intoxicants, narcotics, gambling, fornication and, homosexuality, such country can not be called Islamic.
Last five hundred years witnessed gradual decline of Muslim empires and colonization of their lands by Christians from the West. Though most of Muslims got independence but the legacy continues in the form of neocolonialism. The nostalgia of Caliphate lingers on the collective memory of Muslims as a symbol of unity in the glorious past. The urge for revival of splendor and dignity has turned some to make efforts for revival of the Caliphate, as a quick fix to the complex problems of lost identify and grandeur but they lack mass support. Keeping in view the success of European Union model, it may not be rejected altogether. There are many other forums for regional cooperation in the new world which is a global village now. The high-tech communications, advancement in science and technology has brought people together. Hence a distant dream may come true in future. The OIC may act as spring board.
Shari’a is part of Islamic faith, which does not advocate compulsion and coercion: “If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?”(Qur’an;10:99, also 6:149); “There is no compulsion in religion”(Qur’an;2:256).
Hence how it is justified to allege that; ‘Islam commands its followers to create a government that supports it to bring all people on earth under the rule of Islamic law’. However every one has the right to preach and convince others about its merits of his ideology, followers of capitalism, communism, and atheism are ever trying to project usefulness of their ideologies and systems, what’s wrong if Muslims inform the world about the merits of Shari’a? Saudi Arabia has partly implemented Shari’a; the crime rate is among the lowest among similar cultural groups. As far as criminal law is concerned every society or state has its own laws, which could be based upon Roman Law, Common Law [English Law], Islamic Law or any other which they consider to be effective and suitable to them. If a society chooses to adopt Islamic criminal law even if they are non Muslims it is their choice. Similarly in an Islamic state, Shari’a is the law of land, then all the citizens will be governed by it [except on their religious matters], as is the case with those who adopt Roman Law. Lets take an other example, death penalty has been abolished in European Union states. In USA some states have it while others don’t. It’s their choice, then why object to adoption of Shari’a [Islamic Law] by choice not coercion! If some people think that Shari’a law is good to keep peace and order in society and peacefully plead for it, no one should get alarmed. The Muslims in UK or in EU want Shari’a as their personal law, it should not bother others.
While the ignorant extremist among Christians criticize Islamic and its political system, their intellectuals hold opposite views. The modern philosopher and political theorist, Rousseau (1712-78 C.E) admits, the practicability of the Islamic polity and records in ‘Social Contract’, that: ‘Muhammad held very sane views, and linked his political system well together; and as long as the form of his government continued under the Caliphs, who succeeded him, the government was indeed on and so far good’.
Sir George Bernard Shaw writes: “If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam.” “I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity.”…”I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”[ ‘The Genuine Islam,’ Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936]