Justice through Islamic governance
The Islamic system provides a level of scrutiny unrivalled in the West
The continuing protests in the Arab world are demanding change rather than more of the same Western interference
With the Arab spring in full flow, it is becoming clearer that many players are competing for the space created by the overthrow of some rulers in the Middle East. Whilst the Ummah braved the brutal crackdown on the streets to end the architecture of client rulers, foreign interference and foreign dependency constructed by the Western colonial powers, the West continues to call the Arab spring as a call for democracy, Western values and more Western involvement. The decades of oppression by the dictatorial rulers has led to some confusion on where Capitalism ends and where Islam begins.
However, the Islamic system is fundamentally different in that it takes the Qur’an and Sunnah of the prophet (saw) as the basis of governance. What follows are some of the key aspects of the Islamic system:
• The Khilafah applies the Islamic constitution, it replaces the existing plethora of constitutions that keep the Muslim world subjugated and backward. The Khilafah guarantees elections, and regional and ‘nationwide’ assemblies which form the pre-requisite governance institutions, including a judicial authority to check the actions of the executive, and protect the rights of all citizens – men and women, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. The Islamic state will neither be theocratic nor does it model itself on any other contemporary Muslim state.
• The new Islamic constitution will have one head of state (Khalifah) to replace the current unstable and ill-defined roles of Monarch, President or Prime Minister. A new People’s Assembly (Majlis ul Ummah) will replace the plethora of lower and upper houses and a strengthened judiciary, with a new court targeting state injustice (Mahkamat ul-Madhalim), will replace the existing politically manipulated legal system. Both the new judiciary and elected People’s Assembly will provide the requisite institutional checks and balances in the Islamic political system.
• Both the head of state and the new People’s Assembly will be elected via an open, transparent and fair process. The People’s Assembly comprises representatives from across the Khilafah and will include Muslims and non-Muslims. The council is designed not only to make representations to the state, but also has the power to scrutinise and overturn state policy, analyse the budget and hold leaders to account.
• All judges in the new Court of Injustices and other courts will be independent from the executive and consultative assembly. No individual – not the Khaleefah, armed forces and their chiefs, the elite, or industrial barons – is above the law. The rule of law will be implemented without fear or favour. All policies of the state can be challenged in court. Where the court is actively investigating a complaint against the head of state, the head of state has no right to remove any judge involved in the case. Any verdict by a Judge is final irrespective of the wishes of the ruler.
• The appointment of a Chief Justice and Qadi in the Court of Madhalim (injustices) creates a dedicated office of the judiciary charged with checking the state’s compliance with the law. The Madhalim court does not rely on a plaintiff raising a specific complaint against the state and is charged with ongoing monitoring of all organs of state. The Madhalim has the power to remove the head of state if he breaches his terms of contract.
• Islam obliges the people to criticise, account and denounce, if necessary, any action of the ruler, his advisors or any policy carried out by the state that disagrees with Islam or oppresses the people. This is done by individuals, scholars, the media and political groups and parties.
• The independent judiciary and People’s Assemblies institutionalise the culture of accountability and scrutiny that is a collective obligation in Islam.
• The state believes torture, spying and arbitrary arrest as carried out by the Muslim world’s intelligence and security apparatus under the supervision of the US is forbidden under Islamic law. Such activities therefore are absolutely illegal (haram), have no place at all in any civilised society and would be prosecuted under the Shariah.
• The Khalifah will introduce radical Islamic policies that tear down any provisions that enforce the Police State. Citizens of the Khilafah, Muslims and non-Muslims, will have the right to take any member of the enforcement agencies, regardless of rank, to court and/or register a complaint to an independent judiciary (Mahkamut ul-Madhalim) without any implications for his/her wellbeing.
Whilst the West has a history of developing checks and balances fundamental problems exist in every secular democracy, advanced, emerging, large, small, western or eastern. They all show the same thing: they serve the elite and not the public; their politicians are largely corrupt; wealth remains confined to a tiny minority; and long term challenges are consistently ducked – this is the reality of democracy. To copy and paste this system in the Islamic lands will just turn the uprisings from dictatorships to examples of democratic failures.
وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ
And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’an) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allah as Muslims). [TMQ An-Nahl 16:89]