The Principles of State and Government in Islam

The Principles of State and Government in Islam

The Principles of State and Government in Islam

The Principles of State and Government in Islam

Excerpt

This book represents a development of ideas first set forth in my essay, Islamic Constitution-Making, which was published in English and Urdu under the auspices of the Government of the Panjab in March, 1948.

At that time I was Director of the Department of Islamic Reconstruction, a government institution devoted to the elaboration of the intellectual and sociolegal principles which should underlie our new society and our new state. Among the problems which preoccupied me most intensely was, naturally enough, the question of the future constitution of Pakistan. The shape which that constitution should have was then, as it is now, by no means clear to everybody. Although the people of our country were, for the most part, imbued with enthusiasm for the idea of a truly Islamic state--that is, a state based (in distinction from all other existing political groupments) not on the concepts of nationality and race but solely on the ideology of Qur˒ān and Sunnah--they had as yet no concrete vision of the methods of government and of the institutions which would give the state a distinctly Islamic character and would, at the same time, fully correspond to the exigencies of the present age. Some elements of the population naïvely took it for granted that, in order to be genuinely Islamic, the government of Pakistan must be closely modeled on the forms of the early Caliphate, with an almost dictatorial position to be accorded to the head of the state, utter conservatism in all social forms (including a more or less complete seclusion of women), and a patriarchal economy which would dispense with the complicated financial mechanism of the twentieth century and would resolve all the problems of the modern welfare state through the sole instrumentality of the tax known as zakāt. Other sectors--more realistic but perhaps less interested in . . .

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