Sun. Aug 18th, 2019

Structure of Islamic Society

Dr. Bilal A. Bhat , Intizar Ahmad

The Islamic Society is unique in its structure, composition and its characteristics. These characteristics are depicted from the Quran and Hadith. The difference between the Islamic society and all the other societies lies in the origin of its thoughts, actions, social behavior, upbringing, trading, politics and the source of its movements and the axis of all the intellectual, industrial and reformative activities, i.e. Quran and Sunnah (tradition). Therefore, if the Muslims can bring such a revolution in the Islamic world at the beginning of the fifteenth century inside their societies, there future will indeed become successful and accompanied with prosperity and freedom; and they will find themselves capable and suitable for propagating the message of Islam in the entire world and rescuing humanity from all these waywardness and misguidance..Islam does not encourage its followers becoming hermits and living a stoic life. Rather, Islam is a religion of society and encourages the establishment and sustaining of a society in which the members of the society interact and cooperate with each other. Islam wants its followers to live within the society and while staying there, make the existence useful for the members of the society. The Islamic society can clearly be distinguished from any other society in the world. It has certain characteristic attributes that differentiate it from the rest of the societies of the world and the identity of a Muslim society is universal and Muslims from different parts of the world can easily form and adjust in an Islamic society, regardless of their cultural differences.Perhaps the most rudimentary element that can easily be found in an Islamic society is the belief in Allah. the reason why an Islamic society is different from the rest of the societies of the world is the fact that this society is build on the foundation of Islam, which is a religion sent down by Allah. Thus, adopting Islamic structure of society does not mean anything if it is void of belief in Allah. As Allah says in Quran:“O you who believe! Fear God as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam.” (3:102)
The first thing that will be present in an Islamic society is justice and balance. Before the advent of Islam the Arab society was living in darkness where there was neither any justice nor any balance in the society and all that was there for them was the rule of jungle where the fittest survived. However, when it comes to the establishment of an Islamic society, Allah tells Muslims to establish justice and balance in the society. This teaching is mentioned in Quran in the following way:“Thus have we made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that you might be witnesses over the nations, and the Apostle a witness over yourselves…..” (2:143)
Therefore, the first element to be present in a Muslim society is justice and balance among its people. Another element that needs to be present in a Muslim society is unity. There are countries and nations in the world, which are created on the bases of the cultural or racial divide that exists between them. However, when one speaks of the Muslim Ummah, there is no divide and segregation between the members of the Ummah. Regardless of whatever cultural or racial background one has, once one is the member of an Islamic society, all are equal and there is no differentiation between them. As Allah says in Quran:“Verily, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your lord and cherisher. Therefore, fear me (and no other).” (23:52)
Islam believes in considering the opinion of everyone. Regardless of whatever the system of ruling in the society is, Islam wants its authorities to reach a decision after consultation and no personal or single opinion or judgment is encouraged in Islam. Therefore, whether it is taking the opinion of people by asking them, or taking the learned people into consideration, Islam wants its members of society to reach decisions of collective benefit after proper consultation with each other. As Allah says in Quran:“And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is (determined by) consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” (42:38). Therefore, a Muslim society conducts its processes and decisions after proper consultation and everyone has a right to give their opinion. Although it is the duty of an Islamic society to create and provide such an environment where Muslims are able to practice Islam easily and they get to live by Islam in a way they want to, however, an Islamic society has no right to force other people from other religion to live by Islam in an Islamic society. There is no compulsion on people of other religion to leave the way they live and shape their living to Islam. Therefore, it is imperative that an Islamic society does not force people of other religion to accept Islam or live according to Islam. As Allah says in Quran:“…there is no compulsion in the matter of religion.” (2:256).
Although it seems an understood thing, however, for a Muslim society the commendation of good is not an option, rather it is one of the requisites for an Islamic society. When a society becomes Islamic, it needs to commend goodness and encourage people to do good. As Allah says in Quran:“You are the best Ummah raised up for people: you enjoin good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah.” (3:110). As imperative it is for an Islamic society to encourage the doing of good among people, it is equally imperative for them to forbid evil as well. An Islamic society needs to establish Islamic law as per which the members of the society are stopped from falling the way of evil. Moreover, the detestation and forbiddance of evil in general is something, which the members of an Islamic society must have in them. The same ayah of Quran as above can be quoted for this purpose:“….. you enjoin good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah.” (3:110). In addition to the fact that the Muslim society exists in the form of a brotherhood where there is no segregation among the members, an Islamic society also needs to eliminate factors that harm the unity and cause damage to it. One of such elements that needs not be present in an Islamic society is the element of dispute. Quran says about it in the following way:“….And dispute not one with another, lest you get weak-hearted and your power depart, and be steadfast. Surely Allah is with the steadfast.” (8:46)
Islam does not want its followers to be extremists of fanatics in any sense. Rather it preaches them the message of moderation and wants its followers to conduct their business by being moderate in their approach. Moreover, Islam detests going beyond the boundaries even in the case of fighting with those who fight the Islamic society. This message of staying in limits is evident from the following ayah of Quran:“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors.” (2:190). Although Islam is accused of causing women oppression, however, if one sees the true preaching of Islam and the concept of Islamic society, then one immediately knows that women have equality in an Islamic society and they in no way can be oppressed by men, therefore, in an Islamic society there is to be gender equality in every respect. As Allah says in Quran:“Whoso does good whether male or female, and is a believer, shall enter Paradise and they shall not be wronged a whit.” (4:124). In short, an Islamic society is an ideal society that a particular group of people can create in this world. The need of the time is that the world in general and Muslims in particular understand the true concept of an Islamic society and create a community where people cooperate with each other and there is justice and peace among its members.

( The authors write regularly on Islamic topics exclusively for “ Kashmir Horizon”. Views are their own bhat_bilal@rediffmail.com)

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