In part (1) of this article we have seen that decision-making in an Islamic system has to be on the basis of majority will of Muslims.
Now we move on to SECOND point: why people’s will of people in an Islamic state has to operate within limits enshrined in Quran and Sunnah.
Islamic state has been assigned with certain duties; people of Islamic state are not allowed to do away with those duties. An Islamic state’s People are under obligation to perform those duties whether they like it or not; people in Islamic state are not allowed to deviate from such duties even through majority opinion. In other words, majority opinion is to be respected and implemented only if it does not run counter to duties of Islamic state.
Because Islamic state has certain duties to perform, people’s opinion in Islamic state has to be in consonance with those duties. Islam, as a code of life, deals with individual as well as collective affairs of people. That is why Islamic state has to perform duties relating to all fields of human activities including political, economical, social, moral and psychological. These duties of Islamic state may be inferred from various texts from Quran and Sunnah. A few such texts are mentioned in succeeding lines.
“[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters” al-hajj-41).
From this verse, it is clear that one of the basic duties of an Islamic state is to establish such society which is based on enjoining the right and forbidding from the wrong so that a society based on principles of equity and justice may be established. In other words- social, legal, economic, educational, political systems- in short all systems in Islamic state have to be based on principles of equity and justice. For this purpose the state is advised to constitute a special group of people; in modern age such a group of people may be called institutions. “And let there be [arising] from you a group inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful” (al-imran-104).
Similarly Islamic state has obligation to establish a welfare state. This function is to be performed through zakat, ‘sadaqat’ and other financial and administrative means. ‘Zakat’ is taking away wealth from the rich and giving away to the poor. “[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong…” (al-hajj-41). ‘Riba’/ usury is banned in Islamic state so that wealth may not be accumulated in few hands, and the needy people may not be economically exploited by the rich people. “Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, "Trade is [just] like interest." But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest…” (al-baqra-275).
On the one hand, Islamic state is under obligation to dispense with its assigned duties as enshrined in Quran and sunnah by establishing Islamic systems, on the other hand, Islamic state is under obligation to export these social, political, and economic principles to other parts of the world so that Islamic systems may dominate and be enforced over other systems/religions. "He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion. And Allah sufficeth as a Witness". In addition to peaceful means, the approach to get Islam enforcing over other systems/din is, if required, 'Jihad bil saif', as has been mentioned in Surah al-taubah-29 which states that " Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled". A ruling Muslim nation is under obligation to get Islamic system dominating and enforced over all other systems (for details plz see my article “Qattal and its imperatives”).
If Muslims or Islamic state fulfill their duties as enshrined in Quran and Sunnah, Allah promises to grant them authority upon earth. “Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them….” (al-nur-56).
If there is difference of opinion between the state and the people as to implementation/ performance of duties assigned to them, the matter will be referred to Allah and His Messenger (Quran and Sunnah).
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result” (al-nisa-59).
In this above quoted verse, basic principle of conduct of Islamic state and Muslims has been given. Whether the difference of opinion is between the Islamic state and the Muslims or it is among the Muslims, the dispute will be resolved according to Quran and Sunnah. It may be noted in such cases matter will not be resolved according to majority opinion; rather it will be resolved according to Quran and Sunnah (through shariah experts) which are supreme law in Islam. It is just like as no legislation can be made in contravention to the constitution in western democracies, even on the basis of majority opinion; similarly no decision-making can be made in contravention to Quran and Sunnah, even on the basis of majority opinion. Like decision-making is made on the basis of majority opinion in democratic states, but such majority opinion has to be in consonance with the constitution, similarly decision-making is to be made on the basis of majority opinion in Islamic state, but such majority opinion has to be in accordance with Quran and Sunnah.
Our Nabi (saw) states: “ you will find your rulers doing both righteous deeds and wrong deeds. One who will show annoyance over wrong deeds or disapprove such wrong deeds, he will be absolved of the responsibility of such wrong deeds. But one who will be pleased with such wrong deeds and follow them, he will not be absolved of responsibility of such wrong deeds”. The criteria to label something as right or wrong is Quran and Sunnah. It is the job of shariah experts to interpret provisions of Quran and Sunnah. The majority opinion can choose out of more than one righteous decisions, but majority opinion cannot hold right what has been held wrong by Quran and Sunnah; nor can majority opinion hold wrong what has been held right by Quran and Sunnah. If majority people reach at a decision which is not based on Quran and Sunnah, the people should not follow that wrong decision; rather it is the duty of most pious and learned people to correct such wrong decision (continued).