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The form of the Islamic state

Date: 14/04/2012 A.D 23/05/1433 H

By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

translated by: Manal Samhat

A question keeps coming up: How do we establish the [Islamic] state?

Here, we ought to study at first the form of the state that could preserve the general order, and since there is no specific formula, we can choose the form we find best. Thus, it can take the form of the democratic system within the framework of the general Islamic lines that determine what is allowed (Halal) and what is forbidden (Haram).

In the light of this, we can talk about the legitimacy of the rotation of power; i.e. preserving order could be based on electing a ruler for a certain period of time, and he would be succeeded by another ruler, for a certain period of time. In this way, the Islamic parties can assume power in succession so that the rule would be founded on their ruling-derivation (Ijtihad); i.e. according to the Ijtihadi line they find the best…

It must be noted that we are referring here to the Muslims who form the majority in a certain country and who are represented by a system that is based on an Islamic constitution headed by a Muslim ruler who is capable of exercising power and ensuring the application of the laws according to the Shariah. Actually, the same applies to the secular system whose constitution is based on [the principles of] secularism and that is headed by a ruler who believes in secularism which he seeks to preserve by exercising his powers, as well as applying, protecting and preserving the constitution… As a matter of fact the two trends might have the same stand with regard to the other trends, for secularism does not allow handing over the powers to those who oppose its secular constitutions, and so is the for the Islamic community…

Actually, we differ with democracy about a central philosophical point, which is that democracy considers that it is the majority that possesses the legitimacy, and that all the decisions and actions of this majority are right without any restraints, for no one, within this framework, can impose on the majority any restraints or limits, which contradicts with the view of Islam…

We have always said that we adopt democracy or the rule of the majority as a mechanism, yet without adopting its philosophy… Therefore, I am not talking here about the concept of democracy; but rather about the concept of the majority, for democracy, as a concept, has many intellectual implications which we do not approve of. Thus, this drives us to express our conservations with regard to the usage of the prevalent terms in the political arena, which entail implications and concepts that contradict with our belief…

Source: Extracted from the book “Ijtihad between the Seizure of the Past and the Horizons of the Future."

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