Part 5: Association with Mankind - Leadership and Government
D. ASSOCIATION WITH MANKIND
Human life is difficult to calculate, much more to analyze and examine. Below is given on a small scale, a plain sketch of the social organization of mankind, just to give an idea of the general trend of Islamic Teachings in this respect.
(a) EQUALITY AND STATUS:- Man is admitted to be a weak creature, liable to sink to the animal level, and still capable of rising to the highest rank in creation, according to his righteousness, a proper combination of knowledge and action. Vide 28 : 4, 44: 25, 179 :7, 70 :17.
“Surely the most honorable of you, with Allah, is the most righteous among you. Surely Allah is knowing, Aware.” 13:49.
In this passage, Islam, while insisting upon the inherent equality of mankind, recognizes ranks of superiority on the basis of personal accomplishments. In the code of the Qur’aan, “Taqwa” or righteousness is the best criterion of status, and “Muttaqoon” or the Righteous represent the higher class in Islamic Culture and possess three features:
1. Belief in the Revealed Truth,
2. Association with the Supreme Being, and
3. Beneficence for mankind vide 3 :2, 33: 39, 177: 2.
So in view of family prestige and prosperity, the Qur’aanic prayer is in 74 :24. The all round nobility and solidity of character summarized for Muttaqoon deserves study.
(b) RELIGIOUS MISSION:- The Qur’aan clearly and definitely lays down rules of conduct for preachers, how they should equip themselves, and how they should carry on their mission, among the People of Scriptures and of Disbelief as well as among the Followers.
“Say (O Muhammad): This is my way, I call people to Allah; on (the plane of insight am I and my followers (too). God is above all imperfections and impurities, and I am not of those who set up partners with Him. 108 : 12, 33 :41 109, 103 :3.
The mode of preaching should be polite and considerate, based on wisdom, but the inequity of the opposite party may be duly requited. On the whole there should be no compulsion in conversion. 46 :99, 109, 125 :6. “There is no compulsion in religion. …” 256 :2. The Prophet Muhammad seems to be extremely anxious to call utmost people to Allah and to reconcile them with Truth, so he has been told not to grieve and overstrain himself, and to be satisfied with his success. Vide 2 :26, 8 :35, 56 to 58 ;25, 215 to 277; 26.
Exaggeration wavering and hypocrisy should be avoided. 77 :5, 127, 138 : 4. The Prime belief is the Oneness of God, the bedrock of Islam.116:4.
(c) LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNMENT:- The Qur’aan points out the character of a leader, and of a ruling class, which can guarantee the happiness and prosperity of mankind. The description is marvelous for its apparent simplicity and deep significance.
“Thus it is by the Mercy of Allah (O Muhammad), that you deal gently with them, and had you been stern and hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you and consult with them on the conduct of affairs” 159: 3.
“And those, who shun the great sins and indecencies and when they are enraged they forgive, whose government is by council among themselves. . .” 37: 42.
It would appear from the above that a leader must be gifted with a mild dignity and a magnetic personality. He should enjoy full confidence in virtue of consultation and must possess a firm determination to execute his resolution. In the same way, a ruling class must cultivate high morals and self possession. They should be God-fearing, initiated into spiritual culture. They should govern by council, and follow the policy of beneficence.
As to the Head of Government, he should not be hereditary or rich in wealth but he should be rich in health and strength, and above all in Knowledge-a sound mind in a sound body.
“Their Prophet said to them, Allah has raised Saul to be a king over you. They said: How can he hold kingship over us, while we have a greater right to kingship than he, and he has not been granted abundance of wealth. He said. He (Allah) has increased him in knowledge and physique, and Allah grants kingdom to whom He pleases, and Allah is Ample Giving, knowing.” 247: 2.
Kingship is not incompatible with sainthood. One need not renounce the kingdom of the earth to gain the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps just the reverse. The more one serves humanity in the hardships of life, the greater one’s spiritual achievement. And what a better opportunity for service, than Sovereignty. The only point is to feel responsible to the Supreme Being. 251: 2.
“O David! We did indeed make thee an Agent (Ruler) on earth. So judge thou between men (and men) in Truth and Justice. . .” 26: 38, 165: 6, 101: 12.
Kings may come and kings may go,
Kingdoms may rise and fall,
But there is the truth for all:-
“Say O Allah! Master of the Kingdom! Thou givest sovereignty to whom Thou wilt, and Thou withdrawest sovereignty from whom Thou wilt. Thou exalted whom Thou wilt, and Thou abasest whom Thou wilt. In Thy hand is the good. Thou hast power over all things.” 25: 3.
How many countries like Russia, Germany and Italy, like Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan, bear witness to the truth today, and how many seem inclined to do the same in near future.