Islam and Democracy

Beliefs & Practices / Sunday, August 17th, 2008

The system of western democracy is a system in which every murderer, drunkard, fraud, rapist, ignoramus, prostitute, and gay have the “inalienable” right to vote and choose leaders. It is an abhorrent system which
has absolutely no connection with Islam. Democracy is a kufr system in which bribery, corruption, dishonesty, tribal and communal affinity and worldly allegiances of a variety of sorts are the criteria of voting. You vote for your party man regardless of him being Shaitan incarnate. The western system of democracy is in total conflict with the Islamic system of government.

The Islamic system is autocracy which is headed by the Khalifah, and it has no resemblance with the Western system of democracy whatsoever.

After Hazrat Abu Bakr (raziyallahu anhu) assumed the reigns of the Khilaafat, addressing the people, he said: “O People! I am a follower of the shariah, not an innovator when I do good, aid me. If I become crooked, straighten me.”

The pivot of the Islamic system of government is the Khalifah who heads the autocratic government of the shariah. He is the head of the divine law of the kitaab and sunnah. He translates the kitaab and the sunnah into practical life. He administers the sacred laws of Allah and he compels the servants of Allah to submit to His Commands. Despite the pivotal importance of the autocratic
Khalifah, he is like any other member of the Muslim Ummah. In front of Allah’s law the Khalifah and the slave are equal. No worldly system of government can ever vie with the lofty system of justice and benevolence of Islamic autocracy.


Shuraa or consultation is a Sunnah practice which the Khalifah adopts. But he is not constrained to succumb to the advices and decisions of those with whom he consults. In the ultimate end, the decision is made by only him.

Some misguided Muslims who are in love with everything from the West, are at pains to find Shar’iah accommodation for western democracy in the Qur’aanic aayat which orders Shuraa. They fallaciously cite the Shuraa verse in substantiation of their belief that Islam accepts the western system of democracy. In this aayat, Allah Ta’ala says: “And, consult with them in affairs. Then when you (the Khalifah) have resolved (to adopt a particular course), put your trust in Allah.”

The resolution and final decision are the prerogatives of the Khalifah. The Islamic system precludes any parliament or legislative body from enforcing its decisions by majority vote on the Khalifah. He is fully empowered by the Qur’aan and Sunnah to act in accordance with his own determination.

The purpose of consultation is to discuss and explore all angles of an issue. By mutual consultation with men of experience, knowledge and piety, all angles and aspects of a matter are highlighted. This allows the Khalifah to form a balanced and the correct decision.

Those with whom the Khalifah consults act in only an advisory capacity. They have absolutely no legislative power. If the Khalifa’s view is in conflict with the unanimous opinion of all his advisors, the Shariah does not bind him to accept such consensus. The Qur’aan vests him with all the authority to make decisions alone and to
adopt his own view even if it is in opposition to what the entire nation believes is right.


For acting in accordance with the Qur’aanic order of consultation, the Khalifah is not required to establish a formal forum or a formal body of counselors. The obligation of Shuraa is discharged by the Khalifah consulting on an informal basis with whomever he wishes, whenever he wishes, and wherever he wishes.

The concept of Shuraa does not envisage the establishment of a forum like a parliament or any other legislative body. The Khalifah discussing with one or two persons at his home, at the Musjid, outside the Musjid or anywhere else, satisfies the requirement of Shuraa.

It is also not a requirement that there be particular and permanent members whom the Khalifah has to consult. He is free to consult with anyone.

Neither the masses nor a council of elders appointed the first and the greatest Khalifah of Islam. Hazrat Abu Bakr (raziyallahu anhu) was appointed by one man Hazrat Umar Ibn Khattaab (raziyallahuy anhu) without
consultation with anyone. Utilizing his seniority and authority, he took the oath of allegiance on the hands of Hazrat Abu Bakr (raziyallahu anhu). Then a small group of Ansaar and Muhaajireen followed suit. It was only after the
Khalifah was officially appointed by Hazrat Umar (raziyallahu anhu) that the general public came forward the next day in Musjid Nabawi to swear allegiance, not to vote, not to appoint a Khalifah. He was already appointed. Furthermore, 124,000 Sahaabah did not vote for the Khalifah nor were all of them present at the public ceremony of Bay’t (allegiance). The public Bay’t was a formality. It was not a Shura to appoint the Khalifah. Indeed the appointment of the first Khalifah of Islam is a far cry from the kufr system of democracy. If we look at the other Khalifahs and how they were appointed, we find that none of them were “elected” in the way that democracy promotes.

Commenting on the un-Islamic system of democracy, Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) said:

“As evidence for their idea of the validity of democracy, they (the supports of democracy) present the aayat, “Consult with them in affairs”. But, I refute their contention with this very same aayat. While this aayat orders mashurah (consultation), it should be understood that consultation does not mean democracy. You (i.e. the votaries of democracy) regard yourselves to be wise men while in reality you are bereft of understanding.

You should first prove that even one of the four righteous Khulafa or the government of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) was a democracy (in the western concept). The Khulafa were never bound and subservient to the advices/decisions of their advisors (with whom they would consult). According to the Shariah, the government of the individual is the rule.

When the supporters of democracy cite the aayat of Shuraa, they stop midway, without reciting the whole aayat. They conveniently omit: “Then, when you (the Ruler) have finally decided (a matter), repose your trust in Allah (and act accordingly).”

They either conveniently overlook this decisive portion of the aayat or they lack the ability to understand it.”

Thus, the concept of democracy or majority rule has absolutely no validity in the Shariah.

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