Who should legislate?

Beliefs & Practices, Chapter 06, Islam & Modernism / Sunday, August 17th, 2008

As for the claim that Dr. Fazlur Rehman has published in the monthly “Fikr-o-Nazar” in these words:

“In Islam the Muslim Ummah as a whole had been doing legislative work and it should still have the right to do so.”

I wish they had further clarified what he meant by it. Does it mean that every individual of the Ummah should be allowed to become a legislator. Every illiterate and uncivilized person should be entrusted with legislation. Or, does it mean that the Ummah as a whole enjoys the right to select some deserving, reliable and knowledgeable person from among them to be entrusted with this sacred job? In that case it will be a work of these selected people.

Obviously even the very staunch believer in democracy does not take the term democracy to mean that every single individual can interfere with each and every affair of the state. In fact, they hold that every matter and problem is to be entrusted to the experts of that field and those who lack knowledge in that trade have to place their trust on these experts, and it is not termed as an infringement of the rights of democracy.

After this analysis of the rights of people one can easily conclude who, out of one hundred and twenty million people of Pakistan, are worthy of trust in the matter of interpretation and exegesis of the Qur’an and the Traditions?

When any one of them really wants to understand the Qur’anic injunction or prophetic tradition would he seek the help of the Institute of Islamic Research or any other modernist institution or to those “Obscurantist” scholars whom the modernists blame to have robbed the people of their democratic right? If the multitude of Muslims turn to these scholars without any compulsion, pressure or legal restrictions, place their trust on them and their conscience get satisfied with it where does the democratic right of people get hurt. Who have injured the beliefs of the Muslim Ummah with their interpolation, the Ulema or these modernists is known to all.

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