Man-made laws differ from Shari’ah in a number of significant ways.
Shari’ah or The Creator, Allah’s law
|1. Men make laws when they feel the need; these laws start from a few and then grow in number over the years.2. Man-made laws are not permanent; they can be changed according to the time and circumstances. For example, in a particular country at a particular time, drinking alcohol may be banned; but this can change when public pressure grows.
3. Man does not have knowledge of the future. Hence, manmade laws cannot stand the test of time.
4. Man is a created being. His laws are the creation of the created.
5. Man-made laws may be suitable for a particular nation or country. They cannot be universal.
6. Men make laws to suit their own needs. Suppose members of parliament want to decrease the rate of tax on rich, they would do so, even if the majority of the people suffered and there was high unemployment in the country.
|1. Islamic Law is complete and perfect and covers all aspects of human life.2. Shari’ah is permanent for all people all the time. It does not change with time and conditions. For example, drinking alcohol and gambling are not allowed under Islamic law. No-one can change this; it is a law that is valid for all time and for all places.
3. Allah the Almighty is All-knowing and All-powerful; He is the most Wise and His laws are the best and are complete.
4. Allah swt is the Creator and His laws are for all human beings, His creation.
5. Allah’s laws are for all nations, all countries and for all time. They are universal.
6. Allah is above all needs. He is not dependent on anything, so His laws are for the good of all people and not for a few, selfish people.
Ruler of France, Napolean Bonaparte Quoted in Christian Cherfils, ‘Bonaparte et Islam,’ Pedone Ed., Paris, France, 1914, pp. 105, 125.
“I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of Qur’an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness.”
Thus Islam is a complete Socio-Economic-Political system for the success of whole humanity and not just for people of a particular race or region. Let us briefly understand what each one of them mean.
Social System of Islam
Family Life in Islam
1. FAMILY life is the basis of the lslamic society. Its origin goes back to the beginning of the creation of man and woman– Adam and Eve. So, it is an institution founded by Allah’s will. Allah says in the Qur’an: “O mankind, be mindful of your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from the two created many men and women.”(Qur’an 4:1)
2. Marriage is the basis of the lslamic family. A good and sound society can only grow if a man and woman are bound in a solid relationship through the sacred contract of marriage
3. Marriage develops love, care and co-operation between the husband and wife. It gives peace of mind and provides a secure atmosphere for the growth and progress of the whole human race
4. Marriage is a sacred social contract between a bridegroom and a bride. A great deal of thought is necessary therefore before the couple decide to marry
5. Piety should come before all other considerations. AIIah’s prophet said, “Do not marry only for the sake of beauty, maybe the beauty becomes the cause of moral decline. Do not marry even for the sake of wealth; maybe the wealth becomes the reason of disobedience; marry rather on the grounds of religious devotion.”
6. Islam does not allow free mixing of grown-up boys and girls, nor does it allow sex outside marriage
7. Divorce is allowed but is regarded as the least desirable of all lawful acts. Islam encourages adjustment and happiness but when living together is impossible, Islamic low does not stand in the way of divorce.
STATUS OF WOMEN IN ISLAM
1. Women have a very important place in Islamic society. Unlike number of other religions, Islam holds women in high esteem. Her importance as a mother and a wife has been clearly stated by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).The prophet said, “Paradise lies at the feet of your mother.” Once a person asked the Prophet, “Who deserves the best care from me?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother (he repeated this three times), then your father and then your nearest relatives.”
2. In his farewell speech at ‘Arafat in the tenth year of the Hijrah, the Holy Prophet said, “O people, your wives have certain rights over you and you have certain rights over them. Treat them well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers.” These sayings clearly prove the important position given to women in Islam.
3. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) also said, “The best among you is the one who is the best towards his wife.”
4. Islam has given women a right to inheritance. She has a claim on the property of her dead father, husband or childless brother (4:7, 32,176).
5. A woman has the right to choose her husband. No-one can impose a decision on her against her will. She has a right to seek separation (Khula’) from her husband if their marriage becomes impossible to sustain.
6. Allah has created every living being in pairs – male and female Quran (51:49) -including mankind. Allah has honoured the children of Adam – both male and female Quran (17:70). Men and women who believe are protectors of one another (9:71). Allah will reward both men and women in the life after death Quran (3:195).
7. In lslam a woman has a distinct and separate identity. Islam has given her the right to own property. She is the owner of her earnings. No-one (father, husband or brother) has a right over them. She can dispose of her earnings and property as she wishes, within the bounds of Halal (lawful) and Haram (unlawful).
We can conclude that lslam liberated women from the Dark Age of obscurity fourteen hundred years ago!
Economic System of Islam
Islam views life as a compact whole and does not divide it into many separate and conflicting parts. The economic aspect is one of the most important parts of our life, while not being the whole of it. The Islamic system is balanced and places everything in its right place. Islam has given detailed regulations for the conduct of our economic life which concerns mainly the earning and use of wealth.
Man needs bread to live but he does not live for bread alone. This means that earning and spending money is essential for our living, but we do not live only for this. We have a greater purpose in life. We are Allah’s vicegerents (Khalifah) on earth. We not only have a body but we also have a soul and a conscience. Without our soul and conscience, we would be considered little more than animals.
Everything in Islam is for the benefit and welfare of mankind. The economic principle of Islam aim at establishing a just society wherein everyone will behave responsibly and honestly, and not as some one fighting for as big a share of something as possible without regard for honesty, truth, decency, trust and responsibility.
The Islamic Economic System is based on the following fundamental principles:
1) Earning and expenditure by Halal (legitimate) means
Islam has prescribed laws to regulate earnings and expenditure. People are not allowed to earn and spend in any way they like. They must follow the rules of the Qur’an and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh):
a) Any earnings from the production, sale and distribution of alcoholic drinks are unlawful (Haram), as are earnings from gambling, lotteries and from interest (Riba) transactions – Quran (5:90-91, 2:275)
b) Earning by falsehood, deceit, fraud, theft, robbery and burglary is unlawful. Deceitful acquisition of orphans’ property has been particularly banned – Quran (2:188, 4:2, 6:152, 7:85, 83:1-5)
c) Hording of food stuff and basic necessities, smuggling and the artificial creation of shortages are unlawful – Quran (3:180, 9:34-35)
d) Earnings from brothels and from such other practices which are harmful to society are also unlawful – Quran (24:23)
e) Unlawful expenditure is also not allowed in Islam. It does not at all befit a Muslim to spend money irresponsibly. His actions should be responsible and meaningful. Extravagance and waste are strongly discouraged – Quran (7:31, 17:26, 19:27-31, 25:68)
2) Right to property and individual liberty
Islam allows a person to own his earnings. The Islamic state does not interfere with the freedom of speech, work and earnings of an individual provided this freedom is not harmful to the greater good of society. Every individual will be answerable to Allah the Almighty for his or her actions – Quran (4:7, 36:71, 16:111).
3) System of Zakah (Charity -welfare contribution)
Compulsory payment of Charity is one of the main principles of an Islamic economy. Every Muslim who owns wealth more than his needs must pay the fixed rate of Charity to the Islamic state. Zakah (Charity) is a means of narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. It helps the fair distribution of wealth. It is a form of social security. The Islamic state is responsible for providing the basic necessities of food, clothing, housing, medicine and education to every citizen. No-one should have any fear of insecurity or poverty – Quran (9:69, 103, 98:5).
4) Prohibition of interest (Riba)
In Islam, the economic system is free of interest. Islam prohibits all transactions involving interest. Interest is neither a trade nor a profit. It is a means of exploitation and concentration of wealth.
· The Qur’an says: “They say, trade is like interest; and Allah has allowed trade and prohibited interest.” – Quran (2:275)
· “Whatever you pay as interest, so that it may increase in the property of (other) men, it does not increase with Allah.” – Quran (30:39)
· “O you who believe, do not take interest, doubling and quadrupling, and keep your duty to Allah, so that you may prosper.” – Quran (3:130)
5) Law of Inheritance (Mirath)
The Islamic law of inheritance is a wonderful system of stopping the concentration of wealth. It provides very detailed laws regarding the rights of dependents over the property of the deceased person. Suratun Nisa (chapter four) of the Qur’an deals with the law of inheritance in great detail (4:7-12, 4:176).
Islam and the Judiciary
- In the Islamic political system, the Judiciary is independent of the Executive. The head of the state or any government minister could be called to the court if necessary. They would be treated no differently from other citizens. The Qur’an has many injunctions about justice. One of the main functions of the Islamic state is to ensure justice to all citizens Quran – (4:58, 4:135, 5:8). The ruler and the government have no right to interfere in the system of justice.
- Severe punishments are not the only means to deter crime. Islam tackles the problems from all angles. The economic system secures the needs of people and cuts the want for stealing. The education system, through reminding society of accountability to the Creator, cuts the desire for stealing. So, all the systems work in harmony. The reason why some Muslim countries fail is because they only implement parts of Islam side by side with man-made law, such that they punish by Islam but do not secure the needs by Islam.
- Imagine a society where there is a sense of security. There would be no need to turn over your shoulder when walking the streets at night for fear of being assaulted, and no need to buy extra door locks, window locks and letter box locks for fear of being burgled. Indeed it was the case for centuries under the Islamic State.
- Furthermore, Islam in its judiciary upholds values that are downtrodden in society, for example honor. In Islam accusing someone of adultery is a punishable offense, whereas for newspapers today it is a source of revenue.
Political System of Islam
Religion and politics are one and the same in Islam. They are intertwined. We already know that Islam is a complete system of life and politics is very much a part of our collective life. Just as Islam teaches us how to pray Namaaz, observe fasting, pay charity and undertake Hajj, so it teaches us how to run a state, form a government, elect councilors and members of parliament, make treaties and conduct business and commerce.
The Islamic Political System is based on the folloing main principles:
1) Sovereignty of Allah the Almighty Lord
- Sovereignty means the source of power. In Islam, Allah is the source of all powers and laws Quran (3:154, 12:40, 25:2, 67:1). It is Allah who knows what is good and what is bad for His servants. His say is final.
- All human beings unitedly cannot change His law.
- According to Islam, this order is unchangeable by any parliament or any government which claims itself to be Islamic (5:44, 2:229). There are many more laws in the Qur’an concerning our life and those laws must be put to practice by an Islamic state for the greater good of human beings.
2) Vicegerency of man
v Man is the vicegerent, the agent or the representative of Allah the almighty on earth Quran (2:30, 6:165). Allah is the sovereign and man is His representative. Man should do as Allah commands him to do. But he has a choice to either obey or disobey Allah and, because of this freedom of choice, he will be tested on the day of judgement.
3) Legislation by Shura (Consultation)
- Islam teaches us to run a government, to make legislation and decisions by the process of Shura. Shura means “to take decisions by consultation and participation” Quran (3:159, 42:38). This is an important part of the Islamic political system. There is no scope for despotism in Islam. The Qur’an and the teachings of Holy Prophet (pbuh) will be the basis of legislation in Islam.
4) Accountability of government
- The Islamic political system makes the ruler and the government responsible firstly to Allah and then to the people. The rular and the government are elected by the people to exercise powers on their behalf. The ruler shall have to work for the welfare of the people according to the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings. Both the ruler and the ruled will appear before Allah swt and account for their actions on the day of judgement. The responsibility of the ruler is heaver than the ruled.
- Any ordinary citizen of the state has the right to ask any question on any matter to the ruler and the government.
5) Equality before law
- The Islamic political system ensures equality for all citizens before the law. It does not recognise any discrimination on the basis of language, colour, territory, sex or descent.
Islam’s Domestic and Foreign Policy
|“O Messenger (Muhammed)! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed his Message.” – Holy Qur’an 5:67|
Islam has its own unique view about foreign policy.
The Islamic state’s dealings with other states are not on the basis of securing national interests. Rather its sole interest is to free man from the slavery to another man, and return human beings to the true purpose for their creation – the worship of our Creator, Sustainer Allah Almighty
Islam believes in the brotherhood of human beings and al-Qur’an emphasises common ancestry of man. There is no denial of the fact that all human beings belong to the common stock as they come of the same parents Adam and Eve. The Qur’an brings into focus this fact of common parentage and hence brotherhood in its following verses:
O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you. (Quran – 4:1)
And it is He who produced you from one soul and [gave you] a place of dwelling and of storage. We have detailed the signs for a people who understand. (Quran – 6:98)
Since human beings belong to the same human stock and have common ancestry, all of them are like brothers and sisters. Like children of the same parents, they are equal having equal rights and duties to each other. Thus, Islam promotes universal brotherhood and fraternity not only among the individual human beings but also among the peoples and nations. Hence the fundamental principle of the foreign policy of the Islamic state is to promote brotherhood and fraternity among the nations of the world.
The Prophet of Islam (pbuh), in his famous address delivered before a large gathering on the occasion of his farewell pilgrimage, had declared that all human beings are sons of Adam and Adam was created out of clay. No white one has superiority over a black one or an Arab over a non-Arab. All are equal and in the sight of Allah he is best one who is most excellent in conduct.
This principle of equality of all nations and no discrimination between them on any prejudice is strictly followed by the Islamic state in its foreign policy.
Islam emphasises justice and equity among the human beings. Dispensation and establishment of justice in human dealings is its fundamental objective. The Qur’an exhorts its followers: “Verily! Allah enjoins justice and kindness…..”(16:90). Fair play and justice is to be administered among all human beings without any fear or favour. The Qur’an stresses this principle when it lays down: O you who believe! Be ye staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or your parents or your kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is nearer unto both……” (4:135). This rule of justice and fair dealings would not only govern the relations of one individual with the other but would also govern the relations of one state with the other. Thus, one of the most important principles of the foreign policy of the Islamic state would be to promote the cause of justice in international affairs and establish justice in its relations with the foreign states. The Qur’an clearly hints at this principle when it states: ” O you who believe! Be steadfast witness for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty.…..” (5:8). Therefore, justice in foreign relations is to be followed, and even hatred or enmity with another state or people can not be a valid cause for an Islamic state to deal unjustly with that state or people.
Relations between the Islamic state and a non-Muslim allied state would be governed strictly in accordance with the terms of treaty or alliance or pact executed between them. Terms of the agreement would be fulfilled in all circumstances and at all cost by the Islamic state and all the rights and obligations flowing from the treaty relationship would be duly honoured. However, if the other party to the treaty is not fulfilling its terms or is openly violating the agreed conditions, the Islamic state would be at liberty to overthrow the treaty after issuing a warning to that party. Otherwise much emphasis has been laid by Islam on the sanctity of a pact as the violation of promise or pledge is a great sin liable for severe punishment. The Qur’an says: “How can there be a treaty with Allah and with His messenger for the disbelievers save those with whom ye made a treaty at the inviolable place of Worship? So long as they are true to you, be true to them. Verily! Allah loves those who keep their duty.” (9 :7). At another place the Qur’an ordains: “And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief……..” –––(9 : 12)
As the very word implies, Islam means ‘peace’ and ‘security’. It also means ‘submission’ to Allah and hence salvation. Islam is thus, a religion of peace and, no wonder the basic principle of the Islamic state in its relations with foreign countries is ‘peace with all and war against none’ or, in other words, ‘friendship towards all and malice towards none’. Al-Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam, does not allow an aggressive war; it allows taking up arms only as a last resort in self-defence. The Qur’an enjoins upon its followers: “Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Verily! Allah loves not aggressors”. (2:190). History of Islam is witness to the fact that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions resorted to fight only when they had been wronged, persecuted and even expelled from their homes by the enemies of Islam. The Qur’an mentions this fact when it says: “Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory” (22:39). Although Islam, like any other religion or ideology, wants its propagation with the view to bring to its fold as many adherents as possible, but this is achieved through peaceful preaching and not through aggressive means. Thus, the religion of peace does not allow war for its preaching as well. The Qur’an says: “There is no compulsion in religion” (Quran – 2:256). At another place, it exhorts the Prophet of Islam to say to disbelievers”- Unto you your religion and unto me my religion”. (Quran – 109:6).
Please, further refer to the article “What is Shariah” at http://iichyderabad.org/what-is-shariah/ for the basic components of Shariah.