The New Saudi King – #aWordAboutPoliticsInIslam

I slept while my king was Abdullah and I woke up and my king was Salman. No troubles, no intermediate government, no protests in the streets; Thank you Allah for the Islamic Sharia

Someone posted the words above on twitter and it went viral: some are spreading it happily agreeably while other had so much fun mocking it. I will admit that I was one of those who had a little bit of fun commenting on one of the posts.
What made me write this post is not that I want to continue having fun commenting on this post; Not even to talk about Saudi Arabia or its king. I am not writing this post to avenge the few offensive comments I received when I made fun of the quote above. Rather, to make a comment about this statement “The Islamic way of selecting a leaders.” Someone made this comment during the discussion that made me want to write a few posts hash-tagged #aWordAboutPolitcsInIslam. “A few companions got together and chose Abo Bakr; Abo Bakr chose Omar; Omar chose 6 and asked them to choose the leader from amongst themselves; There are 3 legitimate ways of selecting a leader in Islam.” Same person claimed.

In these few posts, I will share my view regarding this and I ask Allah to make these posts beneficials, educational, and somewhat fun to read.

In my favorite format (bullets):

  • In these posts, Politics = “governing and taking care of public affairs, whether a small group, a large community, or a whole nation.”
  • Politics is one of the things that are very progressive; that is, it is required to develop and progress to cope with new situations, life advancements, population increase, different backgrounds and social and traditional practices, etc. Unlike beliefs, rituals, or character–which are constant despite the circumstances, politics of one period may cause a huge burden when applied to another.
  • Islamic Sharia when addressing issues that are subject to change would not give specific and detailed guidance. Instead, a general framework of principles and overall guidance is prescribed, leaving the details to be figured out within this framework. Politics, I believe, is at the extreme end of this category.
  • Several (and few) principles define the framework of politics in Islam. Among them are these two main pillars:
    • 1- The moral (value) system by which politics is practiced is Islam itself. What is right and what is wrong, what is just and what is unjust, what is acceptable and what is not; what is a crime and what is not, and what is moral and what is immoral are ALL defined by this value system which stems from Islam. The verses in the Quran stating that are numerous. In simple words, as the Muslim individuals are obligated to rule their personal life according to the guidance of Islam, the Muslim community/society/nation is obligated to rule their public life according to the guidance of Islam (aka Sharia)
    • 2- The public affairs, and decisions thereof, lies in the hands of the PUBLIC. Allah said describing the believers, ” … whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves …” That is the authority of making decisions in public affairs is in the hands of the public; of course according to the moral system in principle 1 above.
  • To me, any violation to one of these two main principles is a violation of the guidance of Islam in doing politics even if practiced by statesmen at a time Muslim nations ran very successful advanced, and powerful states.
  • But what is the “Islamic” way of selecting the leaders? What is the Islamic way of legislating detailed laws? What is exactly the Islamic way of consulting the public in their affairs? The answer is exactly what I mean above by “stating a framework of principles, leaving details to be figured out.”
  • Therefore, I would say that selecting the leader directly by everyone, selecting a number of representatives and delegating the choice to them, or proposing names and conducting a massive approval, can all be considered Islamic IF and only IF they achieve “their affairs are determined by them.”

Next: The Appointment of Abo Bakr, Isn’t that the same way the Saudi King was appointed?