Ideas of governance in Islam

Ideas of governance in Islam

Islam is deemed to permeate the entire gamut of our life and manifest itself not only in the mosque but also in the market place, in the schools and universities, in the courts and in battlefields. The issue would become amply clear if we understand that Islam is essentially addressed to the human heart and is supposed to cultivate in him a specific psycho-moral attitude, an attitude of submission to God and service to the humankind. In short, muslims are enjoined to establish good governance through a just socio-moral order wherein they could organise their individual and collective life in accordance with the teachings of the holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad (SAW). The moral obligation of all the muslims is to either reform the earth by eradicating corruption, discrimination, exploitation, injustice and all forms of evil or lay their lives in this process. There are no other alternatives for them. They are enjoined to do justice as it is nearest to piety (Taqwa). They are admonished to be careful lest the enmity of the community (or of a person) deter/hinder them from being just, fair and upright. This is the foremost obligation of the muslims in general and the functionaries of an Islamic state in particular. It is true that Mecca and/or Madina, the cities of the Prophet Mohammmad (SAW), were not industrial centers but they were positively renowned commercial centers of the era. They were located on the international trade routes and were truly the well known hubs of the business world. Professional integrity and moral uprighteousness are pivotal ingredients for good governance in business as was the case for the Prophet Mohammad (SAW) and his family. It does not matter whether it is the home, an office, an organisation, business, state or Government, one can hardly overlook the radical and revolutionary element, that is, the involvement of women in good governance.

Healthy and fair economic activity is indeed the lynchpin of the community or the state. Unless we are committed to the establishment of financial justice, we cannot promote peace and harmony in a society.

Islam emancipated women, right from its inception, and acknowledged their rights – right to life, right to liberty, right to equality before Law, right to education, right to inheritance (or property), right to run a business and make a decent living, right to marriage and divorce and run a family life in accordance with the injunctions of Islam, right to free thinking and free expression including the right to differ even with the personal rulings of the Prophet (SAW) and his righteous caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them). These provisions sound truly revolutionary, especially when we examine them in the light of socio-moral consideration rather than cheap labor and exploitation. Islam insists that our business transactions should be based on fair play and justice. We must ensure just treatment and treat humans as humans. Islam requires that capital and consumer goods should remain in circulation. Healthy and fair economic activity is indeed the lynchpin of the community or the state. Unless we are committed to the establishment of financial justice, we cannot promote peace and harmony in a society. Islam insists that our business deals/ transactions should be put to writing in the presence of the witnesses, and if there are any disputes, the matter may be referred to the courts of law for proper adjudication. After this brief preamble, let us now turn to our main problem of finding some guidelines for good governance in Islam. If our presumption is not faulty, we can identify these principles with relative ease and comfort. Our contention is that the administration/governance of an organisation is analogous to the administration/ governance of the state. In fact, principles regulating the conduct of both are essentially the same.

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