Political Power

Question

I sometimes read your websites for understanding, yet I afraid I cannot help to say that your associate answers on certain caliph issues after Hadrat Ali (ra) is quite contrary to the history lessons I read in the famous books. My questions follow: Does power when assumed by someone itself is the criteria of right or wrong? Does power of Ommayyeds and the founder of the dynasty necessarily curtails the man who is brought up in prophetic traditions, from childhood, even without giving him any divinely inspired role? Is Islam nothing but an extension of political power and without it, it is simply collapsed, as a non-entity? Does anyone who grasps power is now the ultimate source of inspiration as ulul amr, ideally with consultation, practically without just like communist leaders of bygone days of soviet union?


Answer

I am not sure what particular questions and answers you are referring to. It helps if you could be more specific. Nevertheless the following is what I believe in based on my understanding:

1. The basis of rulership and appointment of the ruler is consultation. This is based on clear directive of the Qur'an (42:38) and is also what most of the civilized societies have been practicing. If you know any verse of the Qur'an that has abrogated this verse and has given a diffident basis as the alternative please do let me know and I will look at it.

2. Accordingly, what makes a ruling power legitimate is for that power to be given on the basis of consultation.

3. According to verse 4:59, in principle, we are to follow those who are in charge. This is again the most obvious and common sense rule of any civilized society. Otherwise if every individual who disagrees with those in authority starts disobeying them then only anarchy will be the outcome.

4. The very verse 4:59 puts following those in charge after following God and the Prophet (pbuh). What I understand from this is that if those in charge go to a path that is clearly other than the path of God as introduced by His prophet (pbuh) then they no longer are legitimate and will lose their right to be obeyed. Now how to remove them from the office and replace them is a different question that will have different answers depending on different circumstanes.

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