Is democracy unislamic? Is Khilafat only form of government acceptable in Islam?

Other day a friend of mine was talking about Khilafat being a solution  as democracy has not been able to solve our problems. He was probably influenced by Hizb-ut-Tahrir propaganda. Having met a few of these Hizb-ul-Tahrir aficionados, I find them educated, intelligent and much more world-wise than what passes for liberal-educated class in Pakistan (but then this is just my opinion). However, whenever I ask them how will they choose their Khalifa (will it be a democratic process, will Khalifa nominate himself, or have they already decided on a Khalifa but he is invisible/underground like the 12th imam etc) I have always drawn a blank. Lets assume that some how Khilafat is established and against all odds we accept a Khalifa. Will he be Khalifa for life? Once he steps down, how will we agree upon the next Khalifa?

I have heard some people (mainly liberals) criticize the Prophet that he left his companions without telling them how to choose their leader. Its my belief that the Prophet was Divine messenger and the Divine had given us a choice of whatever method we deem suitable for selecting who rules over us. Obviously certain things are common sense that the leader should be of clean character, just in his dealings etc. I am sure that if some method had been suggested or recommended by the Prophet for selecting a leader, the liberals would have hounded it as another example of rigidity of Islamic rules even if it had been democracy. Another so called secular liberal had said that democracy does not suit the genius of [Pakistani] people and later words to similar effect were uttered by the last dictator but that does not bother the liberals.

Since none has been divined, I believe all methods of ruling whether it is Khilafat, Monarchy, Democracy are fine as long as they don’t usurp on anyone’s rights and work towards the betterment of people. If democracy does not work, replace it with Khilafat but then there needs to be a system in place for choosing and replacing the Khalifa which is not clear or which has not been made clear to us by the proponents of Khilafat. Even if the monarch is just, I would not mind living under his rule.

Couple of years ago I remember surfing the channels and I chanced upon Zaid Hamid being interview by Lucman. The Commando was ruling us at that time. Someone, probably a Zaid Hamid fan, telephoned in the show and he wanted Zaid Hamid to say that democracy is un-islamic. The guy calling in sounded educated. However, the reason he wanted democracy to be labelled un-Islamic was that movement for removal of Musharraf and restoration of democracy had gained momentum and he wanted a justification for his support of Musharraf. One of the most ridiculous way for justifying a dictatorial rule.

US citizens were celebrating 4th of July few days ago and I had a chance to read through their declaration of independence. What a marvel of human thought.

This comes from the second sentence of declaration:

….Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Here they do not talk about democracy or any other form of government. They just say that if the system government does not deliver, they can throw away the system and put in place a new one. However, they add a little qualifier that prudence should taken when making such a decision.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

What beautiful prose and ideas. I could not have said it better myself :).

I don’t consider the takeover by military or military rule removal of a despot or change of a system. They are as much a despot as the despot they are replacing. A game of musical chairs between democratic despots and military despots is played and we are the spectators.

The way things are moving, a time will come that our troubles will become insufferable, we will need to walk out and demand our rights even if it means changing the system. We have done it before (most recent example being restoration of Judiciary which showed two things: 1) if we get together we can get the military man to remove his uniform and even give up his seat and 2) that sometimes there is no difference between military and civilian despot _ both refusing to reinstate the judiciary) and when the time comes, we need to do it again.

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