Freedom to Move, Peaceful Justice, Free Election

Issue 815 » November 7, 2014 - Muharram 14, 1436

Living The Quran

Freedom to Move
Al-Isra (The Night Journey) - Chapter 17: Verse 70

"We have conferred dignity on all the children of Adam; bore them over land and sea; given them sustenance from the good things of life; and conferred on them favours above a great part of Our creation."

Islam considers “human dignity” fundamental to its guidance for the right way of life. All the children of Adam, whatever their race, ethnicity, gender, age, social status and beliefs may be, have been granted dignity by their Creator without any distinction, and this human dignity must be secured and maintained by His guidance and laws through the Muslim teachers and authorities, and should never be subjected to violation or declination. Human dignity is comprehensive; it encompasses all human dimensions: spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical. Sustenance from the good things of life must be secured for every human being through fair conditions of work and decent social welfare for those who cannot work temporarily or permanently. Freedom to move from one place to another is an essential feature of human dignity that fulfills the universality of the human creature with his or her unique spiritual, moral, and intellectual potential. Any restrictions in this respect within the country or throughout the world must be considered against human dignity.

Human dignity comprises the fulfillment of obligations as well as the security of rights. Thus, the Quran uses the word “dignity” to underscore the correspondent human rights and obligations, which should be together carried out to secure the human dignity.

Early jurists gathered out from the various rules of Islamic Law (sharia) held that its goal is securing and developing the human being in these five basic areas: life, family and children, mind, freedom of faith, and rights of ownership whether private or public. Human dignity is supported in Islam by educational and organizational measures, and is not presented as empty words, mere rhetoric or personal piety.

Compiled From:
"Islam in a Modern State: Democracy and the Concept of Shura" - Fathi Osman, pp. 9, 10

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Peaceful Justice

"Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil." [Tirmidhi]

We should avoid over-generalization or universalizing victimization of Muslims by the “West”. Each Muslim country that is in conflict, either imposed or self inflicted is unique in its nature and cause. Every situation must be contextualized so that we have a balanced world view. There is no justification for oppression, aggression and occupation of any people, country or state.

The narrative of the victimization of the Muslim Ummah (Muslim community) by western powers as promoted by terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida is strategic. They play upon our anguish over the suffering of our co-religionists and offer an over simplified world view of good and evil. The questions to be posed are: How did this situation come to be? Is there a lesson to be learned and how can we address and correct this injustice in a just and peaceful way? Resorting to terrorism and violence in retaliation to a real or perceived injustice will in itself not bring about justice or relief from violence.

Compiled From:
"United Against Terrorism"


Free Election

A government is to be established on the free consent of the masses and this is the foundation of the Islamic constitution. This was meant to ensure that no individual by his struggle be able to secure power for himself, and that the masses should entrust power to the best among the candidates after mutual consultation. Allegiance should not be secured based on rulership but be a consequence of assuming power. There should be no manoeuvring to secure allegiance [or oath of fealty] on the individual's behalf. Everyone should be free to exercise their right to pay allegiance or to refuse it. Unless the oath of allegiance is secured, no one should seize power; and when confidence is lost in his rule, no longer should the individual be in a position to rule.

Each of the righteous successors to the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to power according to this prescribed article. In the case of Amir Muawiyah (may Allah be pleased with him) his position of claim to succession became dubious. This is the reason why he was not included among the righteous successors of the Prophet, despite of his being a companion of the Prophet. And, eventually it was the drastic event of Yazid's nomination as Muawiyah's successor that overturned the validity of these articles. This resulted in the beginning of a chain of hereditary monarchy – and ever since, the Muslims have not been able to revert back to the principle of electing a caliph. Now individuals had assumed rule not by virtue of free and consultative deliberations of the masses but by their dint of power. Allegiance was secured through power instead of securing power through allegiance. The masses were not free in giving or holding back their oaths of allegiance. Securing allegiance was no longer a prerequisite of acquiring power. In the first place, people had no option to refuse allegiance to the ruling individual. And even if people refused to give allegiance, the person ruling did not part with it (rule).When Imam Malik during the reign of Mansor Abbasi committed the offense of asking the caliph to abstain from coercive method of securing allegiance, he was flogged and his arms were amputated.

Compiled From:
"Martyrdom of Imam Hussain" - Abul Ala Mawdudi