Islam is not a Political Ideology
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, All Praise is due to Allah Lord of the Worlds and Peace and Blessings be upon our Master Muhammad the crown of creation, mercy to the worlds and shining lamp guiding to the truth, his family, companions and true followers all of them.
Allah the Exalted says in the Holy Qur’an:
Allah had promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then who so is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.
(Surah Al-Nur, Verse 56)
Sadly today we are often exposed to the idea that Islam is a political ideology by Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, we often hear the terms Islamic State, Khilafate, the Muslim Nation, Islamists, Jihadists etc etc. However these terms have almost nothing to do with the noble way of Islam. Political ideologies and political systems of the secular world all start from the question: “Who has the power?” Is it the people, a dictator, a King, corporations, the state? In Islam there is a simple and radical answer- no created being has power- only Allah- Exalted is He- possesses power. A sovereign state is the idea that political institutions rule a territory and its’ people- in Islam only Allah- Exalted is He- rules. The Khalifah is the representative of the Messenger of Allah in leading the community, protecting their lives and property under the Islamic Law and ensuring justice and the carrying out of religious duties, he doesn’t rule anyone. Similarly a nation in the political sense consists of a group of people sharing a common culture, ethnicity, language inhabiting a common territory. We hear about the interests of the British people, the American people, the Trinidadian people; yet Islam is not narrowly concerned with the interests only of those people believing in the articles of the Islamic faith or people inhabiting a particular territory, it is concerned with the interests of Allah the Exalted, what He deems is best for the entirety of humanity.
We often hear Muslims talk about political, economic and military strategies for gaining power in the Muslim world, yet they forget that Allah the Exalted already holds power over everything, He hasn’t been deprived of power, He simply has taken it away from us. Why? Well he promised to give the privilege of representing His Divine Will to those who believe and do good deeds. In other words Allah the Exalted is displeased with us, as an Ummah, neither our faith is strong enough nor are our good deeds sincerely done for his good pleasure. As Allah the Exalted says:
“Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran Ar Rad 13:11).
If we wish to restore ourselves to the positions of Allah’s representatives in the earth, we need to recall the example of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (May Allah be Pleased with them all). These are men and women who sacrificed their sleep to stay up at night praying to Allah, sacrificed their food to share it with the poor and needy, sacrificed their time to learn and preach Islam. Our Master Umar ibn Al-Khattab would find out who was poor and old amongst the non-Muslims under his rule so that he could spend from the treasury on them. If one of the ladies of Madinah found out that any of their Jewish neighbours were without food then they would divide the food they were cooking and send it to them. If a Muslim businessman had made a reasonable profit he would close his shop so that his Christian neighbour could sell his wares without competition.
Our history shows us that wherever the Muslims served the creation rather than seeking to rule them that Allah the Exalted gave his religion victory in that land. Hazrat Khwaja Moiuddin Chisthi converted 9 Million Hindus in his lifetime because he spent his life in poverty feeding the poor and looking after their needs. Indonesia was never invaded, yet Muslim traders displayed such beautiful business ethics that the country is now the most populous Muslim country in the world. By serving creation we become the true representatives of Allah who looks after his creation believers and unbelievers at every moment and we become true representative of the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon him) who was sent as a Mercy to the Worlds, not just to Muslims. When we do this then Allah the Exalted will fulfil the promise He made us in Surah An-Nur and restore to us the Dar-us-Salam- the Abode of Peace where all of creation can partake in the blessings and tranquillity of life under the Laws of Allah.
Maulana Ismaeel Haneef de Silva BA Hons. Politics, MA Islamic Law and Theology, Lecturer Hijaz College, Islamic University.
Published in the Eid Magazine of the Anjuman Sunnah Jamaat Association of Trinidad September 2009