The following is an extract from the draft translation of the arabic book entitled 'Dawa ilal Islam' (Dawa to Islam) by Sheikh Ahmad Mahmoud, published by Al-Waie Publications in Lebanon. I will be posting the sections of the book related to this subject.
The West is built on the idea of the separation of the deen from life. According to this idea or basis, The West banished every effect of the deen from the people’s lives. Its concepts about life began to be judged by this basis. In accordance with this, westerners developed thoughts from this basis, of the same type as this fundamental thought. Thus, the idea of Democracy made man the master over himself instead of making that mastery for Allah (swt). Thus, the idea of benefit became the criterion for their actions, and their definition of happiness became to attain the greatest amount of pleasure possible. It was the idea of sanctification of the individual, which led to the idea of sanctification of freedoms. The West established a society based on these thoughts, and at the same time, were opposed to any thought that contradicted it. The result of these thoughts was that the western people experienced misery, instead of the happiness they sought. This is natural, since man is deficient, thus is not able to legislate for himself or for others. The society in which selfishness prevails and freedoms dominate, such a society can only be animalistic, where the law of the jungle reigns supreme.
Then The West gave free reign to the mind. They went to discover and invent things, thus it made huge scientific and technological breakthroughs. It managed to get hold of the means of power that enabled it to dominate the world by the logic of power and not logic of truth. Then it started to impose itself on the world, first materially and then intellectually. In other words, after controlling the country, it used to establish rulers who would serve its interests and impose the systems that suited it. The media and education curricula were established to create propaganda for The West, its thought and its way of life. It tried to convince them that the reason for its power is its viewpoint about life.
Then it divided the world in a manner that suited its interests. So you have states that are industrialised, producers, powerful, dominant and colonialist, which The West describes as progressive and advanced. Other states are poor, consumers, weak and controlled, and The West calls them backward. It worked to concentrate this division, and prevented any change in the circumstances of these states or disagreement with the status quo.
Then it gave free reign to the freedoms in its country and made the people there enjoy political stability. It enabled the people to ensure their basic needs and enjoy some of the luxuries, in a disparate manner. At the same time it prohibited the poor countries from advancing, when it withheld science from them, which would provide them with the material power. It prevented them from establishing primary industries, so they stay in dire need of them. It imporverished such countries and made them a market for its goods. It deprived their people from having political stability and security. That is because the rich industrial nations struggled amongst themselves to colonise the poor nations. This struggle is no longer direct, where wars are declared on each other. Rather the struggle takes place by making the people fight amongst each other, or by initiating revolutions and disturbances in the country that it does not control. Thus the security and stability is disturbed, and hatred flares up between the people. Not to mention inciting racism, tribalism and nationalism amongst the people of a country themselves.
Likewise the western state has provided for its people social security such as medicine, education, unemployment benefit and pensions in old age, while people have been forbidden that in other nations.
It has also established, by way of diversifying its means of colonisation, world bodies such as the International Court of Justice, United Nations Security Council, World Bank and the Amnesty International. It established forces of different nationalities to intervene in stopping struggles taking place between other nations or to protect aid given to poor nations. It established organisations and bodies to intervene in a covert manner in the affairs of poor nations and to buy allegiance, such as Save The Children aid organisation and Medicins Sans Frontiers (doctors without frontiers).
Indeed, the idea of separating the deen from life and the notion of benefit, which arises from it, has led to the idea of colonisation in the west. However, this colonisation does not appear in its primitive image, as it was in the past. Rather, its thoughts, means and styles have developed and have become a hidden colonialism. On the surface it is a mercy, but inside it is torture. In this way, The West began to falsify the facts and appear as if it is the ideal example that the people should aspire to emulate, and it is the qiblah towards which the Muslims should turn their faces. There can be no greater deception and hypocrisy than to claim that the favour they have comes from Democracy and the idea of freedoms. They are the refuge and help to the one who wants to live in the like of their paradise. They, at the same time, concealed the true nature of colonialism; exploiting peoples and usurping their resources, impoverishing them, keeping them backwards technically and economically, and keeping them as a permanent market for its resources and trade, and the reason of its control over the world. The story of The West and its colonialism is long; we just mentioned a brief account of it that benefits our discussion.
Yes, The West has twisted the facts, turned matters upside down and obscured the true perception of people with things that they wanted them to see. So false general thoughts have been established in life, in which the concept of might is right, is prevalent. This slogan is based on the principle: ‘the argument of the strong is strong and the argument of the weak is weak.’
The role of the ideological group or party comes here, to return matters to their original state, correct the viewpoint and stop the deception. If the group is affected by this reality, then it will lose the correct perception and it will propose the solutions its enemies are proposing. However, if it reached the true understanding of the reality and referred to the Shar’eeah in the correct manner in order to find the solution, then it will bring the true solution to the people, and become able to take the people away from the injustice of the western thought to the justice of Islam.
From this introduction, we can see that the reason The West has the sole power is because it gave complete freedom to the intellect in science and technology, whilst at the same time it prevented other peoples from possessing the means of material power. Indeed, the excessive wealth that they have is due to colonialism, spilling the blood of different peoples, and the plundering of their resources; it is not due to Democracy.
As for what Democracy is and what the results of its implementation; that is another story.
The idea of ‘separating religion from life’ came about in The West after the suffering that was caused by the Church’s interference in life’s affairs of people. The interference took place in the name of religion, though their religion was actually innocent of this. This is because in the Christian religion, there is no legislation for worldly matters. The clergy, in the name of religion, were legislating oppressive laws that led to certain reactions; the first reaction was to reject religion altogether. The other reaction was to recognize the religion, but that it had to be separated from life. On the basis of the first idea, thoughts were established that gave rise to regimes known as the Socialist States, which collapsed after some decades had passed and the people had suffered under their implementation. On the basis of the second idea, thoughts were established that gave rise to regimes known as the Capitalist States, which are on the way to ruin. This is indicated by the thought and the reality.
The idea of ‘separating religion from life’ has given man the right to legislate and prevented religion from having that right. Though they recognize the existence of God they turned it into an individual notion that has nothing to do with society and has no effect on it. For them, there is nothing wrong if the deity is Allah, Jesus, Buddha or any other person. There is nothing wrong with having a belief that is not from any religion. But all the time man is the only one who manages the affairs. For them, this idea is not open to negotiation or interpretation. Man in their view is the one who manages his affairs, administers them and organizes the satisfaction of his instincts. It was owing to this that the idea of Democracy was born, an idea which means, ‘the rule of the people, by the people and for the people.’
‘The rule of the people’ means the people are their own masters, i.e. they are the ones who enact laws i.e. they are the ones who legislate.
‘By the people’ means that people are the ones who rule by what they have legislated.
And ‘for the people’ means that it is the people who are ruled by what they have legislated.
This, in their view translates into three authorities.
1 - The legislative authority. It is the authority that legislates laws and canons, amends them, abolishes them and monitors their execution.
2 - The executive authority. It is the body that executes the general law or the general will of the people and the laws legislated by the legislative authority.
3 - The judicial authority. It is the body that judges everything presented before it according to the laws and canons issued by the legislative authority.
These are the fundamental characteristics of Democracy. It is possible to say that every system that distinguishes itself by these basic attributes is a democratic system. Any system that lacks a single attribute from these is not called a democratic system. The most prominent of these characteristics is the concept of the sovereignty of people. It is considered the primary support of the democratic thought and backbone of the democratic systems.
So, is there Democracy in Islam? Is this reality of Democracy present in Islam? If this reality of Democracy is present in Islam, then we can say that ‘Democracy is from Islam’ and ‘the Righteous Khulafah were the first to apply Democracy’ and that ‘Democracy is our lost property, which has been returned to us.’ If this reality is not present, then it is not from Islam at all. Consequently we must know Islam’s opinion regarding Democracy.
Indeed, the idea of Democracy is one that is in harmony with the idea of its basis, which is the separation of religion from life. It is born from it, and it takes the same rule. This is because it is a branch of a rejected basis, and the one who believes in it is considered a kaafir. It is known that the idea of separating religion from life contradicts the fundamental idea of the Muslims, which is ‘Laa ilaaha illallahu muhammadur rasoolullah.’ The idea that emanates from and is in harmony with the ‘Aqeedah of the Muslims is: “Indeed, the Hukm is only for Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him, that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not.” [TMQ 12:40]. His (swt) saying; “…but most men know not.”, means that there is no consideration for the majority’s opinion as regards the decision of the Lord of the Worlds, and that legislation should be only for Allah (swt). Thus, in the Islamic system the final word is for Allah (swt). The order, prohibition, allowing and forbidding is for the One Who is Most High, Most Great, the All-Knowing, All-Informed and NOT for any creation. No individual or group has the slightest share in legislation beside Allah (swt).
Allah is the only One Who gives judgment; “Indeed, the Hukm is only for Allah.” [TMQ 12:40]. No one has the right to put back Allah’s judgment; “And there is none to put back His Judgment.” [TMQ 13:41]
So how can the dark night of Democracy be compared with the shining day of Islam? Allah (swt) states clearly in his explicit ayaat; “And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.” [TMQ 6:116]. He (swt) says; “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you know not.” [TMQ 2:216]
What is Taghut?
Islam has determined that referring for judgment to anyone other than Allah (swt) constitutes referring to the Taghut. He (swt) said; “Have you seen those (hypocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and they wish to go for judgment (in their disputes) to the Taghut while they have been ordered to reject them. But Shaytan wishes to lead them far astray.” [TMQ 4:60]
The rule of Taghut is the rule of Jahiliyyah. It is every rule that contradicts the rule of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). Ibn al-Qayyim says in his book, A’laam al-muwaqqi’een; “Taghut is everything with which the servant exceeds the bounds, in terms of something that is worshipped, someone followed or obeyed. Thus, the Taghut of every people is the one whom they refer to for judgment other than Allah and His Messenger, or the one they worship other than Allah, or follow without a proof from Allah, or obey in what they do not know as being from the obedience to Allah.”
The Qur’an considers the Imaan of the one who refers to Taghut as a claim or pretense and not a reality. Also the Qur’an has made Taghut a rival to Imaan when He (swt) said; “Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold.” [TMQ 2:256]
Thus, the Islamic Ummah must be a witness over mankind after the Messenger until the Day of Judgment. The Ummah should say to mankind what the Qur’an has said; “Worship Allah (alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut.” [TMQ 16:36]
Therefore, the idea of separating religion from life, and the thoughts that emanate from it, such as Democracy, are thoughts of Taghut. Islam has commanded us to discard and reject them.
This is Democracy and this is the opinion of Islam regarding it. As for the results produced by applying all of this on the earth, is it an honorable and beautiful system under which we would like to live or is it an evil system, which burns the people with its fire whilst they live a life of emptiness and loss due to its application?
The freedoms in the West
By resorting to the idea of separating religion from life, The West has given the right of legislation to itself. It takes the view that man must live his life as he pleases and not as others would like; in accordance with his own whims and not the will of others. They took the view that man cannot practice this right until he enjoys his freedom. This has led his freedom to be represented as the freedoms of belief, ownership, opinion and personal freedom. It considered this idea of freedoms as sacred. These freedoms have specific technical meanings.
Freedom of belief allows the individual to believe in the religion he chooses. Or it allows him to move from one creed to another, even if it was a daily occurrence. It permitted him to reject religions altogether.
Freedom of ownership allows the individual to own whatever he wants and through any means he wants. He also has the right to dispose of with his wealth in any manner he wishes. If he wants to give it as a gift to his dog and prevent his inheritors from it, then nobody can stop him from doing so.
Freedom of opinion allows him to say whatever he wants, whether it is true or false, without any obstacle or monitoring. He can violate or criticize any opinion that goes against his understanding or whims.
Personal freedom allows individuals to run their personal affairs without any consideration for values, ethical constraints or spiritual restrictions.
This idea of freedoms, which are basic requirements of Democracy, has caused the values of those who advocate it to decline to a level lower than that of animals.
The freedom of belief has made religion lose its importance in capitalist societies. It belittled religion greatly when it permitted individuals to change their religion the way they changes their clothes. With the spread of the materialistic thought and the restriction of the religious thought, the ethical, humanitarian and spiritual values have disappeared. The souls of the people have become devoid of compassion, and they have come to live like wolves, where the strong subjugate the weak.
Freedom of opinion has permitted the people to say what they like and to call for whatever they want. So, every false, strange and crazy opinion is to be found in their societies; they are devoid of the truth any criteria for it. You also come to hear any common person blaspheme against the Messenger (saw), without any law to prevent him from this; like Salman Rushdi, who uses freedom of belief as a pretext and hides under freedom of speech.
As for freedom of ownership and its criteria of benefit, it has created the monstrosity of Capitalism, which has taken colonialism as a method to control people’s future, and to seize their resources, exploit their wealth, and spill the blood of their peoples. This is to compete with others for the Haraam earning, to trade with the blood of the Muslims, to fuel civil wars and wars between nations so as to sell their products and those of their military industries, which have made huge profits. These capitalist states have stripped themselves of any spiritual, ethical or humanitarian values. Rather they use religion, if compelled, to cover their interests and claim to have ethical and humanitarian values to conceal their ugly face and putrid smell.
As for personal freedom, it has transformed societies in the democratic countries into declined animalistic societies. They have descended to a level of disgusting licentiousness that even the animals have not reached. Their legislation has permitted abnormal and erroneous sexual relations. You see amongst them practices that you do not see even amongst animals. They practice group sex and incest with their mothers, daughters and sisters. They practice sex even with animals. Hence diseases appear amongst them that never existed before. The break up of the family can be seen in their societies and the mutual respect between the members of a single family has been lost. Personal freedom is the freedom to do away with all restrictions; allowing any kind of values and the freedom to destroy the family. It is in the name of freedom that all the grave sins are committed and all the prohibitions are permitted.
So the freedom of fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, nudity, and alcohol, and the pursuit of every action no matter how low or despicable it may be, is all done with the utmost freedom without any pressure or compulsion.
These are the effects of Democracy. They are the product of man’s whims and not from Allah (swt), and they are not derived from the revelation that comes from the heavens. They have nothing to do with any religion whatsoever. If we return to the thing that established Democracy in the minds of its advocates and thinkers, and the circumstances into which it was born, it will become very clear that it was founded on a kufr basis and it was established as a response to sayings such as those of Louis XV; “We did not receive the crown except from God”, and Louis XIV; “The authority of the kings derives from the delegation of God. God is its exclusive source and not the people. Kings are not accountable for how they practice their authority, except before God.” The intellectuals described the theory of the social contract of Jean Jacque Russo as, ‘the Bible of the French secular revolution.’
From all of this the complete contradiction of Islam with Democracy becomes clear to us, in regards to the source from which it came, the creed from which it emanated, the basis on which it is founded and the thoughts and systems it has brought.
- The source from which it has come is man. He is the ruler who is referred to in issuing judgments on actions and things, in respect of them being husn (pretty/worthy of doing) or qubh (reprehensible). This is nothing but following one’s whims and desires. The roots of its creation lie with the philosophers of Europe.
As for Islam, it is opposite to that. It is from Allah (swt). He (swt) revealed it to His Prophet Muhammad, His Servant and Messenger (saw). The ruler in Islam refers to the Shar’a in issuing rules and not to the mind. The role of the mind is restricted to understanding the Sharee’ah texts.
- As for the creed from which Democracy emanates, it is the creed of separating religion from life, which is the creed based on the compromise solution. This creed did not reject religion but abolished its role in life and State, and consequently gave man the right to lay down his own system. It was on the basis of its creed that its civilisation was founded and its intellectual direction was defined.
As for Islam it is contrary to this. It is based on the Islamic ‘Aqeedah that obliges all of life’s affairs, and the State to be directed according to the orders and prohibitions of Allah (swt). In other words, life proceeds according to the Sharee’ah rules that emanate from the Islamic ‘Aqeedah. It was on the basis of its ‘Aqeedah that its civilisation was founded and its intellectual direction was defined.
- The basis on which Democracy is founded is that sovereignty is for the people. The people are the source of the powers. Based on this, the democratic systems created three powers; the legislative, executive and judicial powers, so as to practically express its sovereignty and authority.
As for Islam, sovereignty lies with the Shar’a, and the Ummah does not possess the right of legislation. However, Islam has obliged the Muslims to execute the orders and prohibitions of Allah (swt), and it manifested this through the establishment of the Khilafah State as defined by the Sharee’ah texts.
- Democracy came with systems and thoughts based on benefit and the following of whims, whilst the legislation of Islam is based on following the texts and deducing the Shar’eeah rules from them, i.e. it is based on the adherence to and following of guidance.
The statement that Democracy has some good elements from which Islam can benefit is baseless and is not based upon evidence. We have seen some of the effects of Democracy; it has created an evil situation that contains no goodness. The best Ummah brought forth to mankind does not need to take anything from Democracy. Is there a deficiency in Islam, which needs to be compensated for by making such a claim?
Science and technology are not a result of the western civilisation
There is a view that the scientific and technological advancement found in The West is the fruit of Democracy. Those who advocate such a view do not know the facts of this matter. This is because inventions based on scientific experiments are things that Allah (swt) has enabled the human mind to achieve and they are not linked to a viewpoint. We see this with capitalists, communists and Muslims, and with anyone who allows his mind to proceed freely. No religion or ideology has any effect in this, except from the perspective of whether the ideology allows sciences and permits the use of the mind, or it stands in the way as the church did before? It is well known that the Islamic ideology not only permits the examination and understanding of things, but also obliges it in terms of preparing the material power that is necessary for the sovereignty of the ideology.
The West has presented to us its evil goods, such as Democracy, which the Shar’a has forbidden us to adopt, but has forbidden us from taking its other goods, such as the sciences and inventions, that the Shar’a does not prohibit us from taking. This is because they allow us to obtain the means of power that we require. The West’s actions indicate that it is aware of what it is doing. So should some of the Islamic groups accept to remain blind to this?
This shows that the one who says Democracy is from Islam is a person who does not understand Islam and neither does he understand Democracy.
Democracy is not Shura
One does not know whether to laugh or cry when one hears the statement of one of those people claiming to have knowledge, whilst saying that Islam begins with Democracy and ends with dictatorship. They cite as proof the saying of Allah (swt); “And consult them in their affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah.” [TMQ 3:159]
One idea relevant to our subject still remains to be discussed, which is their view that Islam approved of Democracy when the Qur’an and the Sunnah alluded to the subject of Shura. They say: Democracy is nothing but Shura. Just as Democracy is built on taking the opinion of people, Islam has also ordered us to take other people’s opinions. He (swt) said; “And consult them in their affairs.” [TMQ 3:159]; and He (swt) also said; “And who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation.” [TMQ 42:38]; and the Messenger (saw) in his practical, political and military life, used to constantly consult his companions and adopt their opinions. Since this is the command of the Qur’an and the reality of what the Messenger (saw) did, then Muslims should follow it. In addition they say, that the difference between Shura and Democracy is only semantic. Different names are not a problem as long as the meanings are the same.
We know that those who call for Democracy are of various types and groups. From amongst them you have the evil deceiver, and also the sincere one who is ignorant of the reality of Democracy. The sincere groups are required to keep far away from such ideas, otherwise they will be like the one who worships Allah (swt) out of ignorance, and it will lead him to commit sin. It is the nature of a sincere person to repent, restrain himself and reflect.
Such people once said that Socialism is from Islam and that the Messenger (saw) is their Imaam. Now that the putrid smell of Socialism has disappeared, how will they respond now? The same applies to Democracy, which is in its final pangs of death. So what hope do the advocates of this call have? Such an idea is not for the benefit of Islam but for the benefit of Democracy. Instead of exposing its falsehood, they adopt it as their highest thought. They carry it to the people instead of crushing it under their feet.
The realisation of Allah’s (swt) command is by making the Word of Allah the highest, and making the deen exclusively for Allah (swt). This can only be achieved by a group that is guided in its understanding and aware in its establishment, and enlightened in its creed, deep in its understanding of the Sharee’ah rules and that rejects the alien thoughts and the foreign definitions. It does not accept to bow to the reality or fall under the influence of the circumstances.