As for today, i will unveil part one of the incompatibility between Islam and liberal democracy with a caveat : that the views expressed herein are solely mine from my reading and observations and under no circumstances should these views be misconstrued either as a fatwa or as an indictment on the beliefs of my fellow Muslims or as an aspersion on any personality whether living or dead. My game plan is solely to provoke discussion (not that i get much traffic anyway in these parts anyway, sited as I am on the periphery of civilisation between Kuala Lumpur and Timbuktoo! and the Malaysiakini bus forever zipping past) on this vexing issue and to answer numerous enquiries as to why i am loath to be a participant (voter or otherwise) in the rambunctious and gutterish local poltical scenario. So folks, allow me to take you on a spin on my admittedly tame roller coaster which due to space constraints will not endeavour to bore you .Hence, a series of short but fulfilling rides.
"Islam is not democracy: for democracy is the name given to that particular form of government in which sovereignty ultimately rests with the people, in which legislation depends both in its form and content on the force and direction of public opinion and laws are modified and altered, to correspond to changes in that opinion". Pg 30: Maududi.
Section 1 : Hakimiyah (Sovereignty)
In quoting Maududi(1), I wish to establish why Islam and democracy are two mutually incompatible paradigms based on the the concept of Hakimiyah ( sovereignty). The term "Hakimiyah" carries differing connotations in Islam and democracy. In the former, it refers to the fact that sovereignty rests with Allah SWT while in the latter, sovereignty rests with the people, hence Lincoln's oft quoted mantra: a government by the people................". Maududi's view esentially rests on verses in the Holy Quran that explicitly makes clear that Man is subservient to the dictates of Allah SWT in all spheres of existence, be it the personal or the public. These verses include : Verse 49 and verse 50 of Surah Al Maaidah. His view is fortified by other Islamic revivalists, notable among them Qutb(2): Banna (3) and Awang (4).
This usurpation of sovereignty by the democratic system is most evidently manifested in the realm of formulating and applying legislation. This is in contradiction to Allah SWT's decree that the judgement is His Prerogative as evident by verse 57 Surah 6, verse 42 surah 10 and verse 59 Surah 4. In critiquing the context of sovereignty within the democartic construct, Zalloom (5) delineates that "Islam holds that sovereignty is with God (Divine law = Shari’ah) and not with the ummah (people), thus the ummah does not possess the right to legislate on any matter".(my emphasis). This is in tandem with Qutb's (6) assertion that "following Sharia as a complete system extending into all aspects of life, would bring every kind of benefit to humanity, from personal and social peace, to the "treasures" of the universe. Awang reaffirms this position as a travesty of Allah's prerogative:
" sesungguhnya Allah SWT menamakan hukum yang lain daripada hukumNya dengan nama hawa nafsu. (Verily, Allah SWT has decreed laws other than His law as laws borne from base desires- my translation) : pg 137 (to be continued..........)
1. Abu al-A’la Mawdudi, Political Theory of Islam, Karachi: Maktaba-e Islami.
2.“Sayyid Qutb, "Ideologue of Islamic Revival”, in Voices of Resurgent Islam, John Esposito (ed), Oxford University Press, 1983.
3. Hassan al-Banna as cited in "Lia, Brynjar. The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt: The Rise of an Islamic Mass Movement. Reading, UK: Garnet,1998.
4. Haji Abd. Hadi Awang,Muqaddimah Aqidah Muslimin, Kuala Lumpur: GG Edar Publications, 1989
5. Abdul Qadeem Zalloom, Democracy is a System of Kufr, London: Al- Khilafah Publication,