“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealings and let not the hatred of others toward you, make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” (The Noble Qur’an 5:8)
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor…” (The Noble Quran 4:135)
‘‘We must work on our personal behavior…I am speaking of intelligent profitable behavior. It is to behave in a certain way, to favor a good future and prosperous outlook. I am emphasizing intelligent and profitable behavior. The more serious area of behavior is caused by the way we think. Go and stand by the strength of somebody. Everyone has a good side, a good sensitivity or some good quality…Look for the good and don’t give up…The Muslim is supposed to look for something to build on before looking for something to tear down…We should remember and practice that wisdom. When having to confront each other as family, or as brothers and sisters, or as friends or strangers, remember this: Look for something to build upon before looking for something to tear down. That will help tremendously.’’—Imam W. D. Mohammed (ra)
Just like for all people, “the Islamic family is the first Muslim government for the individual. Within the family we learn that there is authority, responsibility, and accountability; we learn that there are mutual ties that bind the family and that there are duties parents owe to children and vice versa.
We learn discipline, communication, understanding, and compassion. And hopefully, within the micro government of family, we develop the social and intellectual skills to function in the macro governments of our schools, masajid, and communities. For Muslims, these systems of government are interdependent and the dome topping each is the Holy Qur’an and the life of Muhammad (S). Genesis of New American Leadership, p. 41.
Islamic government begins with the individual and the rights of the individual to realize his or her highest potential while respecting the rights of others and the society in general. Government is an essential element in the organized management of rights and resources. When there is more than one individual, the need for government becomes apparent.
There have been and still exists many forms of government from feudalism, monarchies, and theocracies, to serfdoms, parliaments, and republics. As Muslims, we believe that the Prophet established the model government during the early development of Islam in Medina and Mecca. In a political context, true Islamic government is a democratic republic.
Many years ago, Imam Mohammed stated that democracy in the Islamic context does not simply mean freedom (blind passions and ambitions to do as we please no matter the outcome or effect on others) as we have been given in American contemporary culture. Instead he commented that freedom is the ability to think, to reason and to develop the intellect responsibly.
Free-[dome] means a free mind and it implies some structure and authority for our thinking and decision-making. Dome means head, the top portion of a structure; the crown. As Muslims, we are free to move within established boundaries—to be ‘‘free thinkers’’ as long as we have something guiding our thinking (something to serve as a dome over the intellect).
Our freedom is the ability to develop the individual and society within the established boundaries of Qur’an and Hadith without stifling the creative processes of reasoning, rational discourse, and the presenting of opposing view points. Free thinking does not mean irrational thinking, poor reasoning, or spiritual extremism that serves neither the individual nor society well. Genesis of New American Leadership, p.40.
Once we understand the natural order that God wants, we can make real progress as an individual or a group. Many developments during the last part of the twentieth century are manifestations of the natural development toward interdependence.
The specialized sharing of information in cyberspace via the world-wide web, the interlinking of macro-economics among the nations, and the emergence of free-market economies and democratic reforms are not accidental. These interdependent characteristics are an outgrowth of the natural development toward mutual cooperation, shared outcomes and the gradual elimination of virtual domination by the few. Allah (SWT) denies domination to all who seek it.
Interdependence is not served by racism, extreme nationalism, ethnicism, religious intolerance and other xenophobic tendencies. Despite occasional bumps along the global path of human relations, humanity is moving further away from racism and destructive nationalism. The world is becoming the neighborhood that the great reformer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others envisioned”…(Genesis of New American Leadership, p. 42.) The question is what are you and I doing to help the ‘neighborhood’ along? What is our masjid doing? Is the American Muslim Community sufficiently interdependent to help usher in the next level of reformation and progression for the global community?
Left open for further thought and research…Peace until next time.
Sincerely & respectfully,
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated from its original posting for accuracy and comprehensiveness.