The Concept of Sovereignty in Islam

As per the Islamic and Quranic teachings the ultimate and absolute sovereignty is vested in Allah. His sovereignty was handed down to the Holy Prophet (SAW) in the form of manifested sovereignty (for the purpose of implementing it in social and political life of a society). In today’s world when the Muslim Umma has been divided in geographical boundaries to form various countries, this manifested sovereignty has been transferred to the people of these Muslim countries as a SACRED TRUST. This sovereignty was not transferred directly either to the states or to the governments or even to the parliaments of these countries.The people of Pakistan, where the population is over 1800 million, are now having the ownership of this sovereignty as a sacred trust. Since the population as a whole cannot possibly perform the sovereign (administrative, executive, legislative, judicial etc) functions of the state, they have to elect their representatives who perform these functions on their behalf. The people of Pakistan are thus duty-bound by the command of Allah to return His sovereignty (which was transferred to them as a sacred trust) to their representatives, who will now be the TRUSTEES of that sovereignty.Allah commands people in Quran (Aya 58 of Sura Al-Nisa):

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَأْمُرُ‌كُمْ أَن تُؤَدُّوا الْأَمَانَاتِ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَن تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُم بِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرً‌ا“ No doubt Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due, and when you rule among the people, rule with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. No doubt Allah hears and sees (everything).”This Aya sets the foundation of a political system to be established in an Islamic state. People are the custodians of the sovereignty given to them as a sacred trust and they are constrained by Allah to return this trust to persons who are capable to hold this trust. Those persons (trustees) will then run the affairs of the state with justice, in accordance with the principles of Quran and Sunnah. In earlier days of Islam (during the tenure of Four Caliphs), people used to transfer this trust to the Caliphs through pledge (بیت). In today’s world of knowledge, enlightenment, awareness and democracy, this exercise can be done through voting, referendum, opinion polls or whatever system is deemed appropriate.

The relevant Articles of the Constitution of Pakistan as read in conjunction with the above mentioned command of Allah makes the social contract between the people of Pakistan and the State of Pakistan very clear. Both have their specific duties to perform and obligations to discharge.

Participating in electoral process (or any such activity that leads to transfer of sovereignty to the state through chosen persons) and casting vote in favor of persons who are ‘Trustworthy’ and ‘Truthful’ is compulsory as per Quran. Those who abstain from this process on any pretext will be willfully withholding الْأَمَانَاتِ against the explicit command of Allah. The people of Pakistan from all strata of society should be educated on these lines. This is the only way to get rid of the exploiters and looters from coming to power.
Akhtar Malik

18 March 2013

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