All praise is due to Allah, the King of mankind.
Recently, someone claimed that the community should be run by a "Majlis-e-Shura" (Advisory board). I would like to refute this claim with the help of Quran and Sunnah.
It is the core of the problem today, so I have to respond to it publicly. First, I will present my response, followed by the original email.
What you said so far is almost correct, but look further. Cardinal principle does not mean final authority. What it means is that Imam should follow these four principle. Please understand the difference.
Shura is an Arabic term for advisors. Advisors are the ones who advice, and not the ones who make day to day decision. In almost every instance you quoted, it was the Imam who tasked the Shura with providing an advice.
It is an obligation on Imam to take advice, but it is not an obligation on Imam to heed Shura on all matters.
For example, Abu Bakar had a shura which unanimously agreed that Muslims that have stopped paying Zakat should not be attacked. Abu Bakr overruled the shura and got on the horse and said I am going to fight them, who is with me, and he was alone. Can Imam do that in our community? This alone shatters your whole case.
Let us look at each example you gave, and see if Shura has authority to make final decision, or is it Imam with whom rests the final authority?
You referred to the following verse of the Quran.
“And those who answer the Call of their Lord, and perform the Salah, and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them” (Quran 4:38)
Ibn Kathir says that “means, they do not make a decision without consulting one another on the matter so that they can help one another by sharing their ideas concerning issues such as wars and other matters. The Prophet used to consult with them concerning wars and other matters, so that they would feel confidant.”
It is clear from the tafsir that there is only one mode of political system. An Imam should not make decision until he has consulted with all, so they feel that they have been heard, but he is the one makes the final decision. Please do not misuse words of Quran, and understand the context and background.
Then, you mentioned Ali appointing a governor, and advising him to be just and listen to people before making the decision, so this case supports what I already mentioned. A governor had full authority of an Imam over the area, unless you think these governor were weak and could be over ruled by people. You are mixing Justice with Shura having final authority.
Then, you mentioned the incidence of Abu Bakar being selected khalifah, and it happened due to mutual consultation of people. This is an exception to the rule, because if there is no Imam, one has to be selected, and the shura have to come together to unanimously agree on one person to be an Imam. I agree with this, and Imam should be selected by the vote of people. However, once Imam is selected, shura has no authority to overrule the Imam, as Abu Bakar showed in the event of war for Zakat.
Then, you mentioned the incidence of Umar forming a committee to select the next Khalifah. First, it was his decision to let them decide, so it is he who ultimately decided. This is the correct way, as it is the Sunnah. Khalifa should not be appointed, but selected by believers. Once again, selection of Imam is one thing that need to be done by the community. So, this comes under the exception of the rule but not the rule.
If you like to run the community leader less like a country without a President, then go right ahead, but it is un Islamic as I have proven to you. Copying and pasting from a blog written on internet does not mean it contains the truth. Only the evidence it provides can make it true.
Once again, Shura has no authority in making decisions for the community, after they have selected the Imam. Otherwise, it is absurd to have a puppet Imam who only lead in Salah, and does not have a final say in every decision Shura suggests. Even USA does not follow that. Can you imagine US Congress running the administration? Not a single bridge will be constructed. It is exactly what is happening here.
In your form of government, lay person get together and make a decision, but 100 lay men can not equal one scholar. You need a scholar to make decisions. It is like running a home where children get together and tell the father the decision they made. No! No! No! Father is the Imam of the house and he should makes the final decision.
Would you like to fly in an airplane, where Pilot asks the passengers for every button he presses? Well, it will crash for sure. Even in the animals and insects, we know that, there is a leader. Every aspect of our life has a leader. I am sure, your business is run by a single person, who either is the president or Chairman of the board of directors. It is un natural to run a community with Shura alone. Imam has to take charge, or we are doomed.
All your evidences are weak so far and have been refuted. Do you have any other?
I will not rest until this deviant form of government is abolished and replaced by Islamic political system of a single leader.
And Allah Knows best.
Following is the email I received.
From: ***** ********
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 7:34 AM
To: Adnan Jumani
Subject: Re: *************
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 7:34 AM
To: Adnan Jumani
Subject: Re: *************
We are missing here...
Shura constitutes one of the four cardinal principles in the Islamic perspective on socio-political organization. The other three are justice, equality, and human dignity.
Present Shura or any other Shura are the volunteers who are working on our behalf when we are enjoying in our worldly affairs. They are all sincere people. Don't blame anyone unless you have a solid proof or three wintnesses. We, muslims, are losing only for the reason we overbelieve ourselves and tend to find faults in our effort to prove we are supreme! We are not true believers!!
Please let this Shura work and when election time come offer your services - Let us admit their efforts, their time and sacrifice!
In the Quran, two modes of political consultation are mentioned. In the one, the Prophet Muhammad is asked to consult with his companions, but, ultimately, to decide on his own. In the other, the community of the faithful is described as the one that (among its other attributes) administers its affairs by mutual consultation. In the one, consultation is mandated but is not binding; in the other, it is depicted as constituting the very process by which binding decisions on public matters are reached. In the one, the Prophet is personally involved, in the other, it is the community deliberating on public matters collectively.
This all-inclusive notion of the ummah comes through clearly in the directive that the fourth Khalifa, Ali Ibn Abi Taleb gave to Malik Ibn Al Ashtar Al Nakha'i, upon dispatching him as governor to Egypt at a time when Egypt was more Christian than Muslim. Ali wrote:
covet not that which is not rightfully yours. Train your heart to feel compassion for the people, to love them and be kind to them. Do not behave like a ferocious beast toward them, snatching away their sustenance, for the people are of two categories: they are your brothers in religion and/or your fellow human beings".
This right was expressly affirmed by the first Khalifa, Abu Bakr Al Siddique, upon being confirmed by consensus as successor to the Prophet. Said he addressing the community present in the Medina Mosque: "I have been given authority over you, but I am not the best among you. Obey me so long as I obey God in the administration of your affairs. Where I disobey God, you owe me no obedience."
Upholding this very principle, the second Khalifa Omar said: Where I do right, assist me; where I do wrong correct me.
There is agreement that Shura in Islam has to do with a group of Muslims called the people of Shura (people of power and decision). Scholars said those people should have some qualities, such as justice, knowledge, opinion and wisdom. So, it can be said that they are “the scholars, leaders and dignitaries who can meet easily. When Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was stabbed and was about to die, the companions asked him to name his successor, but he refused. However, he named six of the Prophet’s companions who the nation was unanimous over their goodness. Thus, Umar wanted to awaken the principle of Shura among Muslims. He said:“Choose from among those people who the Prophet said the people of Paradise; Sa’id ibn Zayd ibn Amr ibn Nufayl is one of them, but I will not include him. The six men are: Uthman and Ali the children of Abd Manaf, Abd-al-Rahman and Sa’d the Prophet’s maternal uncles, Al-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam the Prophet’s cousin, and Talhah ibn Ubaydullah. So, choose a man from among them. If they choose one, support.