The Basis of Legislation

The Basis of Legislation

Man has been created free. He is not subservient to anyone except the Almighty. Hence, neither an individual nor a state has any right to impose any restrictions on his ideology and deeds or take any step against his life, wealth and honour. This freedom is a birth right of a person, and has been granted to him by his Creator. The Global Manifesto of Human Rights is a declaration of this reality. All nations of the world have accepted it and have guaranteed that they will not violate it in their constitutions. This is a testimony to the fact that the awareness of freedom is found in human nature and a person would never want that any individual or government to try to arrest it. The Prophet Muhammad (sws) in his sermon of hajj stressed this very reality in the following words:

اِنَّ وَدِمَاءَكُمْ وَاَمْوَالَكُمْ وَاَعْرَاضَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ حَرَامٌ كَحُرْمَةِ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا فِي شَهْرِكُمْ هَذَا فِي بَلَدِكُمْ هَذَا

Indeed, your lives, your wealth, and your honour are as sacred and inviolable as this day of [sacrifice of] yours in this city of [Makkah of] yours in this month of [Dhu al-Hajj of] yours.[1]

The question, however, arises: is this freedom of life, wealth and honour absolute in nature? The answer to this question is firmly in the negative. This freedom ends when a person usurps the rights of others or takes a step against the life, wealth and honour of an individual. Man's moral awareness and God's shari'ah both agree that after this every society has the right to terminate this freedom and refrain from acknowledging this sanctity of life, wealth and honour.

It is this which in reality forms the basis of legislation in an Islamic state. All laws are made to stop people from usurping the rights of others and committing excesses against them or to punish their perpetrators. The right to legislate of every institution, every government and every parliament begins and ends here. The directive God has given a Muslim state to punish people who kill, steal, falsely accuse people of fornication and spread anarchy in the land is because fornication is tantamount to usurping rights while killing, stealing, falsely accusing someone of fornication and spreading anarchy in the land are excesses committed against the life, wealth and honour of people. When in the times of the rightly guided caliphs the issue of prescribing a punishment for liquor arose,'Ali (rta), on this very basis, opined that a drunkard should be given the same punishment as the one prescribed by the Qur'an for falsely accusing someone of fornication. That is when people drink, they will get intoxicated and once they get intoxicated, they will utter nonsense; and once they start uttering nonsense, they will falsely accuse other people.[2] Similar is the case of marriage, divorce, distribution of inheritance and other similar matters. All these relate to the state only when a person does not discharge the rights imposed on him by the Almighty, and in this manner is guilty of usurping rights. In the state of Pakistan, laws regarding permission of the first wife for second marriage and prohibition of marriage of minors have been made on this basis.

Every government and every legislative forum of the world is bound to justify the legitimacy of all the laws and statutes they enact on this basis as well. Moreover, it is the right of the people to analyze the laws made by them and if they see that there are some laws which are devoid of this basis, to not accept them. Thus, if a government, for example, has enacted the law that people will not be allowed to wear their religious identifications like the zunnar, the cross, the turban or kirpan, or they will have to necessarily give a wife a certain amount of their wealth at the time of divorce or will not shave their beards or not wear shorts or not listen to music or women will not go out without wearing the veil or will not put on the scarf then this indeed is exceeding the limits. Similarly, if, on the contrary, it has enacted the law that they cannot go out unless they wear the veil or not go for hajj or 'umrah without a mahram or will not drive cars, or will not adopt such and such a profession, or will not take part in politics or will not cast votes, then this also is exceeding the limits. Even if any of these is God's directive, then people are answerable before God if they follow or violate it. No government of the world has the authority to order a person to obey such matters. The Almighty has made it evident in unequivocal terms that among the positive requirements of religion, a state can only demand two things from its Muslim citizens: the prayer and the zakah. The Qur'an asserts that after this a state must leave them alone and not try to implement anything else on them through law. It says:

فَاِنۡ تَابُوۡا وَ اَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَوُا الزَّکٰوۃَ فَخَلُّوۡا سَبِیۡلَہُمۡ (5:9)

So, if they repent, are diligent in the prayer and pay zakah, leave them alone. (9:5)

This directive was given to the Prophet Muhammad (sws) at the time when God ruled on this earth. Thus, while explaining this, I have written:

… This means that at the state and legal level no additional demand can be made from the Muslims to fulfil the requirements of faith and religion. This is because if God did not allow this under His own rule, how can others be given this permission.[3]

(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)


[1].Al-Bukhari, Al-Jami' al-sahih, vol.1, 37, (no. 67).

[2]. Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd, Bidayah al-Mujtahid, 1st ed., vol. 2 (Beirut: Dar al-fikr, n.d.), 332.

[3]. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Al-Bayan, 1st ed., vol. 2 (Lahore: Topical Printing Press, 2014), 325-326.

Articles by this author

Unsung Heroes


Man with a Mission


Selections from Hadith



Your Questions Answered


Successful Parents

Colours of Life


The Responsibles!


The Art of Positive Thinking

Humanity Unplugged


A Purposeful Life


Winning Hearts


Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Overcoming Prejudice

Overcoming Greed

Overcoming Greed


Spiritual Advancement

To Young Adults

Fasting in Extreme Conditions

Humanity First

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (3/3)

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (2/3)

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (1/3)

Introduction to the Special Issue




The Hagar-Zam Zam Narrative

Introduction to the Qur’an

Overcoming Despair and Dejection


The Better Human

Poise and Balance

When the Tough get Going!

Surah Bani Isra’il (3/3)

Surah Bani Isra’il (2/3)

The Importance of the Word “Self”

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Animal Rights

Qualities of a Good Teacher

Let us Live for Others!

The Art of Positive Thinking

Virtues of Silence

The Person in the Mirror

Some Requests to Young Adults

Some Requests to Wives

Humanity burnt at the Stake*

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (2/2)

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (1/2)

Some Remedies for Jealousy

Four Steps to Selflessness

The Five Essentials of Constructive Criticism

An Introduction to Ghamidi’s Mizan

How to overcome Selfishness

Your Question Answered

Explanation of Some Qur’anic Words

Anger Management

Some Suggestions for Married Couples

God’s Domain

Let us Light up our Prayers!

Successful Parents

The “Successful Spouse” Test

Let us Value what We have

Dear Husbands … If I may say!

The “Blind Drill”

Life goes on all the same!

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Two types of “Junk Food”

Reforming Our Conduct

Supplications from the Hadith

Supplications from the Qur’an

A Small Act of Kindness

Respecting the Privacy of our Mature Children

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

Selections from Hadith

Your Questions Answered

Two Tough Trials

Benefiting from Criticism

Your Questions Answered

The Cause of Truth

Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Restraining our Wounded Pride

Selections from Hadith

The Power of One

Preparing for the Inevitable!

Selections from Hadith

Let us Refuse to Lose!

The Sound of Silence

Selections from Hadith

Let us Enjoy every Moment of our Lives

Lets be Just, Come what May!

Selections from Hadith

Beware of the three C’s: Cynicism, Criticism and Complaint

Never Give Up!

Do We have a Spiritual Part of the Day?

Tears of Old Parents … for their Children

Life goes on all the same!

The Decorum of Criticizing Others

Tears that would not stop!

Selections from Hadith

Hobbies we must have!

Death in Innocence

“Thank you” Culture

Visit to an Old Home

We Owe it to Our Society

Experiencing God

Discovering our Inner Talent

The Battle for Honesty Continues!

Saintly Sinners

Secret to Inner Peace

Your Questions Answered

Small Acts of Kindness

Illness can be a Boon!

Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id

Tears of Gratitude!

Lookout to Leap for Others!


Turning Foes into Friends

Let us then Live for Others!


A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (1/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (2/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (3/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (4/4)

Abdus Sattar Ghauri (The Father Figure of Al-Mawrid!)

Brief Profile

Special Issue

Charity: Points to Ponder

Your Question Answered

“Dignity in Hard Labour Lies!”


Never Lose Hope!

The Trials of Life

Anger Management

Handling Mature Children

Let us Promise…

An Introduction to Ghāmidī’s Mīzān

Visit to a Graveyard