Pakistan’s betterment – in Caliphate or Democracy?
In recent years, as a result of social unrest and economic stagnation, the idea has taken hold that we need an Islamic Caliphate in place of this so called “Democracy”. And always, the question comes to mind, what is the difference between the two?!
Upon the death of Hazrat Ali, the nature of the Caliphate changed completely; from then till its end in 1924, the Caliphate was a synonym for Kingdom and the Caliphs, for all intents and purposes, were kings. It is abundantly clear however, that the Caliphate as it is meant to be, the Caliphate as it was during the time of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs is just another name for Presidential Democracy with the addition of religion into the mix.
At the head of the Caliphate was of course the Caliph, who was elected by the people. Case in point is Hazrat Abu Bakr was unanimously elected by the people of Madina. So here we have a democratically elected Caliph at the head of the government who is required to act within a framework of rules, the Shariat, the Islamic Constitution. Note the resemblance to the modern day President of the United States who is the head of the government and bound to abide by the Constitution of the United States.
Then there is the Majlis al-Shura, the parliament of the Islamic state which advises the Caliph. This body has the authority to appoint a new Caliph, but only with the consent of the people. Again, note the similarity to the US House of Representatives.
Next comes the judiciary, more specifically, an independent judiciary, which as we all know is the cornerstone of any civilized and just society. Such was Hazrat Umar’s emphasis on a free judiciary and the rule of law that he himself appeared in a court in response to a complaint made against him. Nowhere is the judiciary more independent than in modern Western democracies. Ironically, our own Islamic Republic’s president enjoys immunity.
It’s sad really that Non-Muslims seem to have learnt much more from Islam than us, but it only shows how much we need to broaden our horizons, how much we need rearrange our priorities. Islam isn’t only about praying, or about covering up women, or about protesting against Danish cartoons. It’s much more than that! It’s a guide to building a peaceful, prosperous society, a society where every citizen feels secure, where he knows that his rights will be protected.
And the question is not what we’ll call our government. It’s about what our government will do to that name. We don’t need a Caliphate or democracy in name. What we need is radical Islamic systems being incorporated into the way the country is run.