The Muslim society that came into existence with the advance of Islam shaped its state during the period of the pious caliphs and its assumption of temporary power was based on certain clear-cut principles that are discussed below.
When sovereignty of the people and of the state belongs to Allah and the Islamic temporary state on earth is in reality vice-regency, its rights, and the rights of its deliberative bodies whether the Caliph’s or the consultative assembly’s are subordinate, to the law revealed by Allah through his prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
The Shariah is the supreme law under which everyone from the most humble person up to the head of the state must submit the Quran and to the authentic practice and saying of the Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) who said “nations before you were destroyed because they punished those among them of low status according to the law and spread the high ranking. By God my life in His hand, Fatimah (daughter of Muhammad Peace Be upon Him) had committed this theft; I would have chopped off her hand”.
The government, its authority and possessions are a trust of Allah and Muslims and it must be entrusted to him who is the most God-fearing, the most honest, and the most just. No Caliph, Imam, or a president has a right to rule the community in ways not sanctioned by the Shariah.
The head of the Islamic state must be appointed by Muslims after due consultation and concurrence of Muslims. He must run the administration and take care of the legislation, which the Quran and the Sunnah left as the responsibility of the community.
The head of the state, the “Ameer”, must be obeyed, in whatever is right and just be no one has the right to command obedience in the service of the sin. The prophet said, “It is incumbent on a Muslim to listen to his Ameer and obey, whether he likes it or not, unless he is asked to do wrong; when he is asked to do wrong, he should neither listen nor obey”. It guides us that Caliph must be chosen exclusively based on roles, family, origin, or previous social status. The Prophet said, “Hear and obey even your Ameer be an Abyssinian slave with crinkly hair”.
Purpose of Islamic State
The most important purpose of the government of Islamic state and the Caliph is to institute the Islamic order of life, to promote all that is good and to eliminate all things, which are evils. The Holy Quran explains “Those who, if we give them power in hand, establish worship and pay the poor due and kindness and forbid inequity; and Allah is the sequel of events”.
Rights and Duties of Muslim in Islamic States
In Islamic and in the concept of Shariah, all members of the community have a share in the governing process without any differentiation. In Islamic state, Muslims have equal rights regardless of their origin, race, color, and language nor can any such individual or group determine that any other group’s or individual’s position is inferior. The Prophet said, “Muslims are brothers to one another, none of them has any preference over another except on grounds of piety”.
It is not only the right but also the duty of every member of the Muslim society to check the wrong, that which is adherent to the Islamic principles committed by the government or any of its agencies. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) said, “the highest kind of jihad is to speak up for the truth in the face of a tyrant or a government that deviates from the right path”.
Non-Muslims in Islamic State
In an Islamic state, non-Muslims must be accorded all privileges and freedom with the same full protection which any Muslim citizen legitimately claim, with one exception that a non-Muslim cannot be the head of the state. A non-Muslim may have personal integrity and loyalty to the state but due to psychological reason, he can never work wholeheartedly for the ideology of an Islamic state. In an Islamic state a non-Muslim is not require to render military service yet the Islamic state protects their life, liberty, and property.
Shariah provides a vast area in the constitution making activity open to the citizen and to the government of the time, to be their sole responsibility and to be guided by the principles of jihad. The first four Caliphs had developed the principles of Islamic government and state institution in true sense of the word “Islamic”. This discussion helps us to understand that it is misleading to apply non-Islamic term to Islamic concept of state and government.