Who Needs a Secular State?

front-cover-who-needs-an-islamic-state_0001I recently read the book  ‘Who needs an Islamic State?’ written by Abdul-Wahab al Effendi, a pro-secular reformist.
In the book, Mr Effendi posits that Secularism is a better principle for governing a state than Islam. He attempts to claim that Islam never had a political system, and that any which arose was merely a pragmatically pursued accident of history.

‘Who needs an Islamic state?’, the question would be risible if it wasn’t held seriously. However for someone professing to be Muslim, it becomes absurd. It is the equivalent of asking ‘Who needs to believe in One God?’ or ‘Who needs to believe in Muhammed (saw) to be Muslim?’

Unfortunately, due to the absence of the practical implementation of the Islamic way of life on a societal level, and the pervasiveness of Liberalism, some Muslims have become so intellectually colonialised, that they question Islamic history from a pro-secular viewpoint, and adduce that Islam had no model for ruling and organising Man’s affairs (i.e. politics, economics, penal system etc). This is despite the fact that the assertion by Mr Effendi flies in the face of every single historical record of the Islamic civilisation (pertaining to ruling), and disagrees with all historical schools of thought and sects, be they Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Mutazila, and even most Khawarij.

Mr Effendi achieves his conclusions by denying huge swathes of hadith texts (which coincidentally refute his arguments) and speculating that the Prophet (saaw) and the Companion-Caliphs were all just pragmatic secularists, whose authority came merely from being a ruler, not an executive of revealed law!

This is despite the blatant fact that the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) was a political leader who ruled according to the revelation from God, in ALL matters pertaining to politics, diplomacy, economics, social system, judiciary/penal system and many other areas.

‘And so (O Muhammed) judge/rule [Hukm] among them in accordance with God’s revelations to you’

[Quran 5:49]

This verse of Quran is not a verse that Secularism would agree with, nor could Secularism accept the constitution of medina document due to its clause:

‘In case of any dispute or controversy, which may result in trouble the matter must be referred to Allah and Muhammed

Can we use Western methods to achieve Islamic objectives?

Secular Reformists speculate of the possibility of using ‘modern methods’ to establish ‘Islamic objectives’. However, in reality these are deliberately misused in order to pervert the Islamic system of ruling, and turn the Muslim concept of politics into something subservient to western political theory and ruling systems.

Though Islam and the West have a concept called ‘Justice’, they do not mean the same thing. Likewise, Muslims and the West do not share the same conception of terrorism and fighting for justice, when Muslim anti-occupation fighters are called terrorists and the U.S. Marines are called fighters in a noble cause.

Obviously, Islam has a very different concept of justice to the West. This is just as the West has a different concept of justice to communists. The West’s definition of justice, imposes legal identicality upon it’s citizens, whereby everyone under the law gets ‘equal rights’ (albeit with many self-contradicting exceptions in practice). But it does not take into account that people are different from each other, with some who are stronger and others who are weaker than others (e.g. free speech for everyone to slander who they like and verbally defend themselves is good, until you consider that media mogul Rupert Murdoch has considerably more power than you to express his opinions! – though you both have equal rights!).

Likewise, traditional communists believed in economic equality where everyone gets the same about of wealth, thereby creating justice. The problem with this is, that different people have different abilities, thus those who had more to offer society felt oppressed and unsupported to reach their full potential.

Islam answers this differently. Islam does not believe in the definition of equality that means identicality because people are different to each other in strengths, weaknesses, abilities, needs and skills. Islam addressed man’s human nature by assigning to humans what they deserve from other humans man. The Islamic concept of justice is about preventing the strong from oppressing the weak, or having an advantage against the weak such that the weak do not realise their rights as humans .

Allah (swt) has given us a method by which we may implement the laws of Islam, which negates the need to seek other methods elsewhere:

‘To each among you have we prescribed a law [hukm] and a way [Minhaj– method of implementation]’

[Quran 5:48]

Finally, since Islam was not the first to introduce the concept called ‘Justice’, why did the Quran come in the first place if it were possible to establish justice without revelation?

We have sent our messengers with Clarifications. And We revealed with them the Book (of Allah) and the STANDARD, so that people may establish Justice…

[Quran 57:25]

Secularism, an irrational ideology

In conclusion, Islam must be studied rationally, devoid of prejudice or bias to derive solutions for how mankind should live. Furthermore, it is not only Islam that should be studied rationally, but also Western political theory. If Western political theory was studied rationally, then the blatant flaws in it’s premises and derived solutions would become apparent.

If we looked at Secularism, we notice that it stipulates a separation of religion from lifes affairs (politics). If this is the case, does that make sense? How can man’s purpose in life be separate from his life’s affairs?

It’s like saying ‘a car’s purpose for transportation has no connection to its natural use’ Again, it would be a risible if it wasn’t held seriously by people.

Responses from the Quran to Western Social Theory

Would Allah (swt) fail to mention how humans should live in any aspect of their lives in accordance with his purpose?

Does man think that he will be left aimless?

[Quran, 75:36]

Can humans determine there own criteria of what is good for them, and build a system of life around it?

It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. God knows and you do not know

[Surat al-Baqara: 216]

Was the Prophet’s state a democracy? Did he rule by will of the people?

‘Do not follow their wishes, and beware lest they divert you from some of GOD’s revelations to you, if they turn away, then know that GOD wills to punish them for some of their sins. Indeed, many people are wicked.

[Quran 5:49]

What does the Quran say about Majorities being able to make decisions?


“And if you obey most of the people on Earth, they will lead you astray”

[Quran, sura al-Anaam 116]

Was the Prophet Muhammed (saw) rule a non-religious political authority?

It is not (right) that a man, to whom is given the Book, and Wisdom, and the prophetic office, should say to people: “Be ye my servants rather than Allah’s”: on the contrary (He would say) “Be ye worshippers of Him Who is truly the Cherisher of all: For ye have taught the Book and ye have studied it earnestly.” 

[Quran 3:79] 

Can Islam use other Ideologies and theories to supplement it’s viewpoint to political system?

Say (O Muhammad): “Shall I seek for judge [HAKAMan] other than Allah? – when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, explained in detail.” They know full well, to whom We have given the Book, that it hath been sent down from thy Lord in truth. Never be then of those who doubt.

[Quran 6:114]

All these verses, conclusively prove that Islam has a distinct, detailed and elaborate system of ruling and government. This system is pure, consistent with human nature, and able to advance the potential of man further than any other ideology in the world today.

Instead of aping the West and prostrating ourselves to western political theory and solutions, let us be proud of Islam, strive to establish it and create a noble, progressive and advanced Khilafah, to take us into the 21st century and beyond.

Categories: ARTICLES, Response to Secular Reformation & Modernism, Secularism, The Muslim Debate Initiative, WRITINGS

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11 replies

  1. An interesting article, providing much food for thought. I just have one small reservation with regards to this sentence:

    “This is despite the blatant fact that the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) was a political leader who ruled according to the revelation from God, in ALL matters pertaining to politics, diplomacy, economics, social system, judiciary/penal system and many other areas.”

    My understanding is that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would, at times, defer to the opinion of one or more companions, in areas where they had better knowledge/expertise than him.


  2. Salam alaikum Uthman,

    Thank you for your question.

    The Prophet Muhammed (saaw) would not defer to his companions regarding the judge of laws, but rather the execution of laws. So he referred to them in how to defend Madinah from an incoming Quraysh army, but did not ask them whether Jihad was an obligation or not, nor whether Jihad should involve fighting or not as a method of its implementation.

    The latter case is one of law and its prescribed method, the former case, is one of choosing a sucessful strategy in pursuing the legal obligation and method.


  3. “And if you obey most of the people on Earth, they will lead you astray”

    [Quran, sura al-Anaam 116]

    This quote is used to create the idea (rightly so) that Islam is incompatible with the current notion of democracy in west. It is also used to declare that under an Islamic state there would be no listening to the view of the majority of peoples i.e. no referendums where the electorate has the opportunity to decide.

    I have no problem with the caliphate system and I completely endorse the idea, however a Caliphate system would at times have to take into consideration the majority of people’s wishes right? For example if not then he (the Caliph) may be viewed as a tyrant (having legalised and made illegal certain stuff) and hence his removal would be justified, by any means possible, including violence. This would then, potentially, descend into chaos. How would we prevent such a problem if we cannot endorse the opinion of the majority who may be completely be out of touch with those in power in a Caliphate? How did previous Islamic Caliphs overcome this issue?

    Thank you, Shaun


    • Quran, Surat Ali Imran #3 ayat 159
      “And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).”

      Consultation is a very important part of ruling in Islam.
      If done correctly it is far superior than just voting and going for any majority vote.
      Consultation is superior than voting in representing the will of the people and utilizing the wisdom and insights of the people.


    • @ shaun

      Consultation is part of the Shariah. It was practise by the prophet (peace be upon him) and the Rashidun Caliphate.

      Yes the Caliphate can take into consideration the majority or minority of people’s views. However such ideas or policies cannot go against the clear texts of the Quran or authentic hadith.

      Shariah allows flexibility which makes it practical at all times including the current complex way of how the world operates.

      Accountability in the Islamic tradition is a spiritual and political concept.

      “Let there be among you people that command the good and forbid the wrong. They indeed are the successful.”
      [The Qur’an, Chapter 3, Verse 104]

      The middle east, north africa and central asia generally speaking were in much better state during the caliphate as compared to colloniasm.

      Shariah allows tolerance; The Prophet (peace be upon him) offered the people of Najran unprecedented tolerance, freedom of religion and protection, which they never experienced under the Byzantines.

      The rule of Law was implemented by the Caliphate. Caliphate spent centuries formulating and codifying laws and principles of jurisprudence based on the Islamic texts. In the absence of the rule of law, what remains is chaos and social disharmony.

      However Generally speaking it was rare to overthrow a caliph and also there are conditions for it to be permissable.

      Second caliph Umar once asked the public what they would do if he went astray in his office of power. A normal citizen who heard what Umar had asked the public, replied by saying that that he would correct him. Umar responded by saying:

      “Praise be to God, there are people in the nation who would put me right if I go astray.” [Suyuti – biography of the pious caliphs]

      Caliphate should protect minorities’ rights. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the treaty of Medina said:

      “It is incumbent on all the Muslims to help and extend sympathetic treatment to the Jews who have entered into an agreement with us. Neither an oppression of any type should be perpetrated on them nor their enemy be helped against them.”


  4. If Western methods to achieve Islamic objectives pervert Islam, then why are you using the Internet (a Western invention) to spread Islam? Why can we accept the technological advances of the West but not the advances in political theory?


    • Political methods (i.e. systems) are tied to ideology, but technology is universal. The Nazis were the first to develop long range rockets – does that mean that all countries that use rockets (for putting satellites into space) are implementing Nazism?



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