From Issue: 1036 [Read full issue]
Legacies of Ignorance
Consultation (shura) is an immensely important Islamic principle, but the means of achieving consultation and its precise apparatus are not defined for us. It seems that this lack of precision is intentional in view of our great diversity of environment and levels of culture. We see that one developed nation may alter its means of consultation several times over according to its experience. What happened in France in less than half a century is a model for that change. In the governance of the khalifate shura appeared in various forms. The important thing is not which model to cling to. The important thing is that we fulfil the responsibilities and means which make shura a reality so that despotism vanishes, political paganism dies, sound opinion is preferred without encumbrances, and man advances without malice.
That is quite impossible when doctrine and morality are lacking. The Muslim world has imported the external form of western democracies at a low stage of its history. It has been brought low by legacies of ignorance and deceived by foolish colonialist customs. So what has happened? Falsification of elections occurs in an extraordinary way and political secularism holds sway, backed by false populist support. If a delegation of critics and scouts were to visit the dust heap of history, they would find in it a number of Arab and Muslim leaders who killed many thousands of people in order to achieve glory and have their names broadcast internationally and stand with those Pharaohs, the 'beloved' leaders.
"The Sunna of the Prophet" - Muhammad al-Ghazali