View Printable Version :: Email to a Friend
The Islamic Political Law (1)
Political Issues
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

Principles of Consultation

The word shuraa is nomen verbum (masdar) of the pattern fu’alaa and means ‘to consult.’ Due to the fact that it occurs as an inchoative (khabr) in the given verse1 and is also qualified by the word bainahum, the meaning of the verse is not the same as of shaawirhun fil amr. Fa izaa ‘azamta fa tawakkal’alalaah, which is often quoted as its parallel. To convey the same meaning as the latter verse, the words should perhaps have been something like this:” wa fil amri hum yushaawiroon i.e., ‘And in the affairs [of state] they are consulted.’ In the case, it would have been necessary that in the whole society the rulers and the ruled be distinct. The ruler in such a case would be divinely appointed or nominated by an innocent Imaam or be someone who had seized power by force. Whatever the case, he would have only been obligated to consult people in matters of national interest before forming his own opinion. However, he would not be bound to accept a consensus or a majority opinion. Acceptance or rejection of an opinion would rest on his own discretion. He would have all the right to accept a minority opinion and reject a majority one.

However, the style and pattern of the verse amruhum shuraa bainahum demands that even the head of an Islamic State be a appointed through consultation, the system itself be based on consultation, everyone should have an equal right in consultation, whatever done through consultation should only be undone through consultation, everyone part of the system should have a say in its affairs, and without a consensus, a majority opinion should decide any disagreement which many arise.

The difference in the two meanings can be appreciated if the following example is kept in mind. If it is said: ‘The ownership of this house shall be decided after consulting these then brothers’, then it means that only the ten brothers have the authority to make the decision and the opinion of anyone of them can not prevail over the others. If all of them do not agree in the matter a majority opinion would be decisive. But, if the above sentence is changed a little to ‘In deciding the ownership of this house, these ten brothers shall be consulted’, then it only means that someone else has the final say. It will be his opinion which will finally be only thing he must do is consult the ten brothers before forming his own opinion. Obviously, he cannot be bound to accept a consensus or a majority opinion of the brothers.

Since, in our consideration the collective affairs of the Muslims are based on the Qur’ānic injunction: amruhum shuraa bainahum, the election of their ruler as well as their representatives must take place through consultation. Also, after assuming a position of authority they will have no right to overrule a consensus or a majority opinion of the Muslims in all the collective affairs. However, the Prophet (sws) was an exception to this rule. He was divinely appointed and there was no element of human error in his judgements, which he made directly under the guidance of the Almighty. Therefore, where he has been directed to consult others in Sūrah Aali Imran, it has been clearly stated that whatever opinion he forms after consultation, he should strictly adhere to it and rely totally on the Almighty:

Keep consulting in the affairs of state; then when you take a decision, put thy trust in Allah. (3:159)

The above directive of the Qur’ān is in accordance with human nature and in harmony with all norms of common sense. No Muslim can be free of faults and shortcomings. He can be the most distinguished as far as piety and knowledge are concerned; he can be the most suitable for the position of authority he holds and can even consider himself so. With these abilities also, he cannot attain the position of khilaafat without the general opinion of the Muslims and the assumption of this position does not necessitate at all that he cannot err and has the prerogative to overrule a consensus or a majority opinion of the authorised people. The Prophet (sws) had this prerogrative because he was maa’soom (innocent) and could not err. Even so, not one example can be cited from history in which he had ignored a majority opinion in favour of his own.

A Muslim ruler is indeed only one individual and everyone will acknowledge that the opinion of a group of people has more chances of being correct than that of a single person. A God fearing Muslim ruler should regard his own opinion in the way Imam Shafi used to: ‘We consider our opinion as correct but concede the possibility of an error, and consider the opinion of others as incorrect but concede the possibility of correctness in it.’

Also, if the people consulted know that even their consensus and majority opinion have all the chances of being rejected, they would not agree to offer their opinion in the first place. Even if forced to do so, they would never take serious interest in it.

Condition of Consultation

The addition of bainahum has incorporated a condition in the sentence: only those people will have the right to give their opinion who are the antecedents of the pronoun hum (they) in bainahum. The Qur’ān has not just said ‘Their affairs of state are based on consultation.’ It has added the condition that the affairs of state shall be based on their mutual consultation. Therefore, in an Islamic State, it is quite evident that only the believers will have the right to give an opinion in state affairs.

The Qur’an has imposed the following conditions on the people included for consultation.

Hence, if they repent and establish regular prayers and pay zakat, they are your brother in religion. (9:11)

In the above verse, three conditions have been clearly stated:

1. They should refrain from adopting a rebellious attitude against the Islamic Order, stop indulging in polytheism, profess faith in the tents of Islam and accept the supremacy of the Islamic law.

2. They should offer prayers according to the way prescribed by the Prophet (sws).

3. They should pay zakat to the public treasury (bait’ul mal)

According to the Qur’an, whoever, fulfils these three conditions shall be granted complete citizenship in an Islamic state. He can be included among the consultors and the consulted. As far as the rights and obligations in a state are concerned there will be no difference between him an a person who had accepted faith in the early stage. The Qur’an has used the word fa ikhwaanukum fid deen (they are you brothers in religion) to convey this meaning. From the word Ad-deen, the Islamic collective system is implied and by the words fa ikwaanukum those who had accepted faith in the crucial early stages have been addressed and told that after the three conditions are met these people are equal to them and will have the same collective rights.

The Prophet (sws) has explained thus the Qur’anic directives in this regard, as reported by Abdullah Ibni Umar:

I have been ordained to fight with these people until they testify to the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad, establish regular prayers and pay zakat. If they accept these conditions their lives and wealth shall be given protection except if they are deprived from this protection on the grounds of some offense they may commit. As far as their account is concerned, it rests with Allah.’ (Muslim: Kitab’ul Iman)

A similar statement is attributed to the Caliph Abu Bakar, when he was launching an attack against those who were desisting to pay zakat.

After the death of the Prophet of Allah, Abu Bakar became khalifa and a group among the Arabs rejected faith [and he decided to fight with them]. Hadhrat Umar objected: How can you fight with these people when the Prophet of Allah had said: ‘I have been ordained to fight with these people until they testify to the oneness of God and my prophethood, so whoever will declare this he shall safeguard his life and wealth from me except for some right of the Almighty. As far as his inner accountability is concerned it rests with God.’ Abu Bakr replied: By God! I shall definitely fight with those who differentiate between prayers and zakat, because zakat is God’s right in wealth. By God! Even if they refuse me a young goat which they used to give to the Prophet, I shall fight with them on their refusal.’ (Bukhari, Kitab’uz Zakat)

The following words are also attributed to Hadhrat Abu Bakr.

The Prophet waged war on three conditions: on testification to Laa ilaaha illalaah, on the establishment of regular prayers and on the payment of zakat and the Almighty has said: ‘Therefore, if they repent establish regular prayers and pay zakat, spare their lives’. By God I shall neither ask for more nor less.’ (‘Ahkaam’ul Qur’an Jassaas, Vol. 3, pg 82)

It is clear from these directives that all those people will have a right to offer their opinion in the affairs of state who fulfil the above three conditions. A state’s affairs shall be instituted and run in accordance with their consultation. The Almighty has granted them this right and no head of state or a political institution can deprive them of it.

The citizens of a state who do not accept these conditions whether they be Jews, Christians or followers of any other religion, will have to live in the state as second rate citizens. An  Islamic government in  different circumstances and on different conditions, whose mention is not appropriate here, can sign a treaty regarding their rights which according to the treaty they will always have. But they will not be eligible for consultation on matters as important as the dismissal and appointment of representatives or for that matter in any policy making institution.

It is therefore clear that the pronoun hum in amruhum shuraa bainahum refer to those who fulfil the three conditions and an Islamic government is only one which is run through the mutual and unrestrained consultation of these particular people. If this right is usurped from them a tyrannical government results  and if those who do not fulfil the above conditions are include in policy making, western democracy comes into being. If such a government is formed and its change is made impossible, it will indeed have to be tolerated but it cannot be termed legal according to the Islamic political law.


1. No one should have a misconception from the words qitaal (war)  in the traditions quoted. The opponents in this case were Bani Ismael, the nation towards whom the Prophet (sws) was assigned. For them the law was either to  accept  faith or face  destruction. Like the People of the Book, they could not remain on their own beliefs by paying Jazya. Citizenship meant the fulfilment of the three conditions stated in verse eleven of Sūrah Tauba quoted above. Therefore, the Companions of the Prophet waged war against  them if they declined to fulfil even of the necessary conditions.

(Translated from Ghamidi’s ‘Meezan’)

1. amruhum shuraa bainahum: ‘Their affairs of state are run by their mutual consultation.

For Questions on Islam, please use our

Replica Handbags Bottega Veneta fake Bvlgari fake Celine fake Christian Dior fake Gucci fake Gucci Bag fake Gucci Wallet fake Gucci Shoes fake Gucci Belt fake Hermes fake Loewe fake Louis Vuitton fake Louis Vuitton Belt fake Louis Vuitton Calf Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Infini Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Quilt lamb fake Louis Vuitton Embossed Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton Epi fake Louis Vuitton Game On Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Jewellery fake Louis Vuitton Key Holder fake Louis Vuitton Mahina Leather fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Denim fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Eclipse Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Seal fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Shadow fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Vernis fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Watercolor fake Louis Vuitton New Wave fake Louis Vuitton Shoes fake Louis Vuitton Since 1854 fake Louis Vuitton Strap fake Louis Vuitton Taiga Leahter fake Louis Vuitton Taurillon leather fake Louis Vuitton Transformed Game On canvas fake Louis Vuitton Utah Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton X Supreme fake Mulberry fake Prada fake YSL fake