Democracy means power/rule of people. We can generate a long debate whether or not people factually exercise power to rule in a democratic system and, if they exercise such power, to what extent they exercise such power and to what extent they are free to exercise such power- whether they exercise such power with their free-will or their free-will is maneuvered by capitalist class to obtain desired results- and how minority will of capitalist class becomes majority will of common people. Without going into this debate, we can safely say that ‘principle of majority’ is the linchpin of western democratic system. In this article, we would see ‘principle of majority’ is also linchpin of Islamic political system, but the major difference between western democratic system and Islamic political system is that western democratic system moulds majority will according to minority will of capitalist class but Islamic political system moulds majority will of common people according to Allah’s Will i.e. Quran and Sunnah. In other words, decision-making in Islamic political system is made on the basis of majority will of people but people are constrained to express their will keeping within limits delineated by Quran and Sunnah.
In the succeeding lines, we will see why decision-making in an Islamic state has to be made on the basis of majority will of the people. Secondly we will see why people's will in an Islamic state has to be operated within certain boundaries fixed by Quran and Sunnah. Thirdly we will see how majority people’s will (keeping within specified boundaries) can be made basis of decision-making through state apparatus.
First, we dwell on why majority people’s will has to be made basis of decision-making in an Islamic state. There are many texts from Quran and Sunnah in favor this opinion.
“Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran and Sunnah) and surely, We will guard it [from corruption]” (al-hijr-9).
From afore-mentioned verse, it is clear that Quran is a protected book, and Allah is protecting it from being corrupted. But the question is how Allah is ensuring protection of Quran; what ways and means Allah adopts to achieve protection of Quran.
Suppose any person changes any verse of Quran and whole Muslim ‘Ummah’ or a part of Muslim ‘Ummah’ accepts such change, it would mean, for all practical purposes, that change has occurred in Quran. This is how change in previously revealed books has occurred; each of previous ‘ummahs’ (Christians or Jews) followed corrupted form of their respective revealed book; that is why Allah has labeled previously revealed books as corrupted books. But al-hijr-9 declares that Allah Himself is protecting 'dhikr' from being corrupted; it means whenever a change is made in Quran, such change is straightaway rejected by the whole Muslim Ummah. This fact is proved historically that the Quran presently in hands of Muslims is the same Quran which has been revealed on our Nabi (saww). It means Allah is protecting Quran through Muslim Ummah; in other words, if Quran is being protected by Allah through Muslim Ummah's opinion, Islamic state can also make decision-making on the basis of majority Muslims’ opinion; if Muslim Ummah's opinion guarantees correctness of Quranic words, Muslims’ majority opinion may also guarantee correctness of decisions made on the basis of Quran and sunnah. In other words, a correct decision may be reached at on the basis of majority Muslims' opinion provided such decision is based on Quran and Sunnah.
There are many sayings of our Nabi (saw) which also endorse this opinion. A few such sayings are quoted below:
“ whatever the Muslims hold to be good is good before Allah”;
“ My followers will never agree upon what is wrong”;
“ It is incumbent upon you to follow the most numerous body”;
“The protecting hand of Allah is over the entire body and no account will be taken of those who separate themselves”.
From all these sayings of our Nabi (saw), it is clear that decision-making in an Islamic state has to be on the basis of Muslims’ majority opinion. It does not mean the majority people should reach at a decision which is not based on Quran and Sunnah; the correctness of such decision will not be guaranteed. The correctness of only such decision is guaranteed which is based on Quran and Sunnah.
Similarly Allah advises our Nabi (saw) to consult Muslims in matters. “So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]” (al-imran-159).
Allah has mentioned identity of Muslims as “And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves…” (al-shura-38).
From these above mentioned two Quranic verses, it is evident that decision-making among the Muslims has to be made on the basis of consultation. But what is important is that the decision reached at through consultation must be based on Quran and Sunnah
From the foregoing discussion, it is evident that decision-making in an Islamic state has to be on the basis of majority will of the people but such decision making has to be based on Quran and Sunnah.(continued)