There are two basic aspects of
1. The process of electing
representatives of the people to run the country.
2. The scope of legislation done in the
parliament of a country by the elected representatives.
The first aspect is in complete harmony
with the political law of Islam as mentioned in the Qur’ān:
The affairs of state of the believers
are run by their mutual consultation. (42:38)
Keeping in view linguistic
considerations, it is evident that a consensus or majority opinion of the
Muslims can in no way be overruled. The Qur’ān has not said: ‘The believers are
consulted in their affairs’; it has, on the contrary, declared: ‘Their affairs
of state are run by their mutual consultation’. The style and pattern of the
verse demands that an Islamic government should be established through the
consultation of the believers, continue to exist on this basis and should cease
to exist without it. It should conduct its affairs, in all cases, on the basis
of a consensus or majority opinion of the believers.
As far as the second aspect is
concerned, Islam imposes a broad restriction on it. The scope of legislation
must never exceed the directives of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. According to the
Qur’ān, Allah God and his Prophet (sws) are the final authority in the affairs
of state. The head of an Islamic State or the members of its parliament have no
right whatsoever to have a ruling in matters decreed by the Book of God or the
Sunnah of the Prophet (sws). Their legislation and commandments can only be
obeyed after obeying God and his Prophet (sws), and if they do not overrule or
exceed the limits adjudicated by these authorities. Therefore, in an Islamic
State no law can be enacted contrary to the Qur’ān and Sunnah or one which does
not take into consideration the guidance provided by them. The believers indeed
have a right to disagree with those in authority, but they can have no
disagreement with God and His Prophet (sws). In fact, if such a situation arises
even with those in authority, the decision must be made in the light of the
Qur’ān and Sunnah. The Qur’ān says:
Obey God and the Prophet and those of
you who are in authority, and if you disagree among yourselves in any matter,
refer it to God and the Prophet, if you are believers in Allah and the Last Day.
This is better and more seemly as regards the consequences. (4:59)
Therefore, it can be said that with this
qualification, the political system of Islam resembles democracy in its essence.