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There has been a never-ending debate amongst the Islamic scholars and groups of people within Muslim societies whether Islam accommodates democracy, or whether democracy is a concept which is against Islam or at least not promoted by Islam. I am not a scholar of Islam, I am merely a student, and being a student of Islam this is my opinion on the issue.
Those scholars who oppose the very concept of democracy and consider democracy as something which is against Islam, do so by generally presenting the following verse of Quran “And if you obey most of those upon the Earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying” (surah al-An’am verse 116). To this I must reply that every verse or at least every surah, a chapter within the Quran, has a particular background and purpose behind its revelation. For instance, the Quran states: “Don’t make allies with Jews and Christians” (5:51) Most of the people after reading this verse consider that the Quran and Islam forbids us from making Christians and Jews as our friends. This is the result of not paying attention to the purpose and background behind this verse. The fact is that when the newly Islamic state was established in Medinah, the local Jews and Christians (since they were not in power anymore) were believed to be conspiring against the new Islamic state. It is therefore believed that God revealed this verse that arguing not to take Jews and Christians as your friends and allies(for that particular time period).
Similarly, the verse I mentioned before, which is generally considered by many people as anti-democratic, also has a particular purpose and meaning. This verse means that the decision on matters of verity and falsity are not made on the basis of the majority ; Rather it depends upon the quality, purity and substantiality of the argument. For instance, once the world thought that the Sun revolved around the Earth, however this was later scientifically proven wrong by Galileo. Therefore the decision between verity and falsity always depends upon the substantiality of the argument and not on the majority.
Democracy is not a decision between verity and falsity, it is merely a system which enables the people to elect their representatives. Therefore, to say that this verse contradicts the concept of democracy is simply untrue. Those who are about the view that the Quran supports democracy generally support their stance by presenting the following verse of Quran ‘Amruhum Shura Beynahum’: “The affairs of the Muslims are run on the basis of their mutual consultation” (38:42), The message of this verse is very loud and clear. It clearly states that the type of government people want depends upon them. No one has a right to enforce their opinion upon the majority forcefully. only the people possess the power to decide who should be their leader and what type of law and governance should be implemented in the country they live. The Quran does not support the concept of dictatorship or dynasty. It gives people the very fundamental right, that is to elect their representatives. However, Muslims have the choice to select different methods to select their representatives , there is no hard and fast rule regarding this, but the concept of mutual consultation between the Muslims remains the same.
The ability to choose elect and hold representatives accountable for their actions, and sometimes inaction, is one of the many benefits of living in a democratic system. Calls for Caliphate, implemented through political means or by force, should be pushed back against. Islam even tells us to struggle against an Islamic State that is established without the mutual consultation of the Muslims(or the majority living in that particular area).
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