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An Islamic state (Arabic : دولة إسلامية, dawlah islāmiyyah) is a type of government primarily based on the application of shari'a (Islamic law), dispensation of justice, maintenance of law and order. From the early years of Islam, numerous governments have been founded as "Islamic".
Sharia, Sharia law, or Islamic law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. It has been described as "one of the major intellectual achievements of Islam" and its importance in Islam has been compared to that of theology in Christianity. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists.
In politics, law and order refers to demands for a strict criminal justice system, especially in relation to violent and property crime, through stricter criminal penalties. These penalties may include longer terms of imprisonment, mandatory sentencing, three-strikes laws, and in some countries, capital punishment.
The history of Islam concerns the political, social, economic and developments of the Islamic civilization. Despite concerns about the reliability of early sources, most historians believe that Islam originated in Mecca and Medina at the start of the 7th century, approximately 600 years after the founding of Christianity. Muslims, however, believe that it did not start with Muhammad, but that it was the original faith of others whom they regard as prophets, such as Jesus, David, Moses, Abraham, Noah and Adam.
However, the term "Islamic state" has taken on a more specific connotation since the 20th century. The concept of the modern Islamic state has been articulated and promoted by ideologues such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Israr Ahmed or Sayyid Qutb. Like the earlier notion of the caliphate, the modern Islamic state is rooted in Islamic law. It is modeled after the rule of Muhammad. However, unlike caliph-led governments which were imperial despotisms or monarchies (Arabic: malik ), a modern Islamic state can incorporate modern political institutions such as elections, parliamentary rule, judicial review, and popular sovereignty.
Ayatollah or ayatullah is a high-ranking Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah cleric. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, Quran reading, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hujjat al-Islam.
Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian politician and marja. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the end of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei on 4 June 1989.
Israr Ahmed was a Pakistani Islamic theologian, philosopher, and Islamic scholar who was followed particularly in South Asia as well as by South Asian Muslims in the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America.
Today, many Muslim countries have incorporated Islamic law, wholly or in part, into their legal systems. Certain Muslim states have declared Islam to be their state religion in their constitutions, but do not apply Islamic law in their courts. Islamic states which are not Islamic monarchies are usually referred to as Islamic republics.
The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic community (Ummah), consisting of all those who adhere to the religion of Islam, or to societies where Islam is practiced. In a modern geopolitical sense, these terms refer to countries where Islam is widespread, although there are no agreed criteria for inclusion. The term Muslim-majority countries is an alternative often used for the latter sense.
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state. A state with an official religion, while not secular, is not necessarily a theocracy, a country whose rulers have both secular and spiritual authority. State religions are official or government-sanctioned establishments of a religion, but the state does not need be under the control of the religion nor is the state-sanctioned religion necessarily under the control of the state.
A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity, and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed.
The first Islamic State was the political entity established by Muhammad in Medina in 622 CE, under the Constitution of Medina. It represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah (nation). It was subsequently transformed into the caliphate by Muhammad's disciples, who were known as the Rightly Guided ( Rashidun ) Caliphs (632–661 CE). The Islamic State significantly expanded under the Umayyad Caliphate (661–750) and consequently the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258).
The Constitution of Medina, also known as the Charter of Medina, was drawn up on behalf of the Islamic prophet Muhammad shortly after his arrival at Medina in 622 CE, following the Hijra from Mecca.
Ummah is an Arabic word meaning "community". It is distinguished from Shaʻb which means a nation with common ancestry or geography. Thus, it can be said to be a supra-national community with a common history.
A caliphate is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph, a person considered a religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire ummah (community). Historically, the caliphates were polities based in Islam which developed into multi-ethnic trans-national empires. During the medieval period, three major caliphates succeeded each other: the Rashidun Caliphate (632–661), the Umayyad Caliphate (661–750) and the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258). In the fourth major caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate, the rulers of the Ottoman Empire claimed caliphal authority from 1517. During the history of Islam, a few other Muslim states, almost all hereditary monarchies, have claimed to be caliphates.
The essence or guiding principles of an Islamic government or Islamic state, is the concept of Al-Shura . Different scholars have different understandings or thoughts, with regard to the concept al-Shura. However, most Muslim scholars are of the opinion that Islamic al-Shura should consist of:
Shura is an Arabic word for "consultation". The Quran and the Prophet Muhammad encourage Muslims to decide their affairs in consultation with those who will be affected by that decision.
The Quran is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God (Allah). It is widely regarded as the finest work in classical Arabic literature. The Quran is divided into chapters, which are subdivided into verses.
Sunnah, also sunna or sunnat, is the body of traditional, social, and legal custom and practice of the Islamic community, based on the verbally transmitted record of the teachings, deeds and sayings, silent permissions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, as well as various reports about Muhammad's companions. The Quran and the sunnah make up the two primary sources of Islamic theology and law. The sunnah is also defined as "a path, a way, a manner of life"; "all the traditions and practices" of the Islamic prophet that "have become models to be followed" by Muslims.
Muhammad himself respected the decision of the shura members. He is the champion of the notion of al-Shura, and this was illustrated in one of the many historical events, such as in the Battle of Khandaq (Battle of the Trench), where Muhammad was faced with two decisions, i.e. to fight the invading non-Muslim Arab armies outside of Medina or wait until they enter the city. After consultation with the sahabah (companions), it was suggested by Salman al-Farsi that it would be better if the Muslims fought the non-Muslim Arabs within Medina by building a big ditch on the northern periphery of Medina to prevent the enemies from entering Medina. This idea was later supported by the majority of the sahabah, and thereafter Muhammad also approved it.
The reason why Muhammad placed great emphasis on the agreement of the decision of the shura was because the majority of opinion (by the sahabah) is better than the decision made by one individual.
The Ottoman Sultan, Selim I (1512–1520) reclaimed the title of caliph, which had been in dispute and asserted by a diversity of rulers and "shadow caliphs" in the centuries of the Abbasid-Mamluk Caliphate since the Mongols' sacking of Baghdad and the killing of the last Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad, Iraq 1258.
The Ottoman Caliphate as an office of the Ottoman Empire was abolished under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1924 as part of Atatürk's Reforms. This move was most vigorously protested in India, as Gandhi and Indian Muslims united behind the symbolism of the Ottoman Caliph in the Khilafat (or "Caliphate") Movement, which sought to reinstate the Caliph deposed by Atatürk. The Khilafat Movement leveraged the Ottoman political resistance to the British Empire, and this international anti-imperial connection proved to be a galvanizing force during India's nascent nationalism movement of the early 1900s, for Hindus and Muslims alike, even though India was far from the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate in Istanbul. However, the Khilaphat found little support from the Muslims of the middle east themselves who preferred to be independent nation states, instead of being under the Ottoman (Turkish ) rule. In the Indian sub-continent, although Mahatma Gandhi tried to co-opt Khilafat as a national movement, it soon degenerated into a jihad against non-Muslims with thousands being killed in malabar region of Kerala (also known as Moplah riots).
"The very term, 'Islamic State', was never used in the theory or practice of Muslim political science, before the twentieth century," according to Pakistani scholar of Islamic history Qamaruddin Khan.
The modern conceptualization of the "Islamic state" is attributed to Abul A'la Maududi (1903–1979), a Pakistani Muslim theologian who founded the political party Jamaat-e-Islami and inspired other Islamic revolutionaries such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.Abul A'la Maududi's early political career was influenced greatly by anti-colonial agitation in India, especially after the tumultuous abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924 stoked anti-British sentiment.
The Islamic state was perceived as a "third way" between the rival political systems of democracy and socialism (see also Islamic Modernism).Maududi's seminal writings on Islamic economics argued as early as 1941 against free-market capitalism and socialist state intervention in the economy, similar to Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr's later Our Economics written in 1961. Maududi envisioned the ideal Islamic state as combining the democratic principles of electoral politics with the socialist principles of concern for the poor.
Today, many Muslim countries have incorporated Islamic law in part, into their legal systems. Certain Muslim states have declared Islam to be their state religion in their constitutions, but do not apply Islamic law in their courts. Islamic states which are not Islamic monarchies are usually referred to as Islamic republics,such as the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Mauritania, Iran and Afghanistan. Pakistan adopted the title under the constitution of 1956. Mauritania adopted it on 28 November 1958. Iran adopted it after the 1979 Revolution that overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty. In Iran, the form of government is known as "Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists". Afghanistan was run as an Islamic state ("Islamic State of Afghanistan") in the post-communist era since 1992 but then de facto by the Taliban ("Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan") in areas controlled by them since 1996, and after the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban the country is still known as the "Islamic Republic of Afghanistan". Despite the similar name, the countries differ greatly in their governments and laws.
Pan-Islamism is a form of religious nationalism within political Islam which advocates the unification of the Muslim world under a single Islamic state, often described as a caliphate or ummah. The most famous, powerful and aggressive modern pan-Islamic group that pursues the objective of unifying the Muslim world and establishing a worldwide caliphate is the Wahhabi/Salafi jihadist movement Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The Libyan interim Constitutional Declaration as of 3 August 2011 declared Islam to be the official religion of Libya.
Leading up to the Iranian Revolution of 1979, many of the highest-ranking clergy in Shia Islam held to the standard doctrine of the Imamate, which allows political rule only by Muhammad or one of his true successors. They were opposed to creating an Islamic state (see Ayatollah Ha'eri Yazdi (Khomeini's own teacher), Ayatollah Borujerdi, Grand Ayatollah Shariatmadari, and Grand Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei).Contemporary theologians who were once part of the Iranian Revolution also became disenchanted and critical of the unity of religion and state in the Islamic Republic of Iran, are advocating secularization of the state to preserve the purity of the Islamic faith (see Abdolkarim Soroush and Mohsen Kadivar).
Pakistan was created as a separate state for Indian Muslims in British India in 1947, and followed the parliamentary form of democracy. In 1949, the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan passed the Objectives Resolution which envisaged an official role for Islam as the state religion to make sure any future law should not violate its basic teachings. On the whole, the state retained most of the laws that were inherited from the British legal code that had been enforced by the British Raj since the 19th century. In 1956, the elected parliament formally adopted the name "Islamic Republic of Pakistan", declaring Islam as the official religion.
Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by nearly 90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word sunnah, referring to the behaviour of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and subsequently acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions.
Political aspects of Islam are derived from the Qur'an, the Sunnah, Muslim history, and elements of political movements outside Islam.
The Rashidun Caliphs, often simply called, collectively, "the Rashidun", is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the 30-year reign of the caliph(successors) following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, namely: Ali of the Rashidun Caliphate, the first caliphate. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the later Abbasid Caliphate based in Baghdad. It is a reference to the Sunni imperative "Hold firmly to my example (sunnah) and that of the Rightly Guided Caliphs".
Pan-Islamism is a political ideology advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic country or state – often a Caliphate – or an international organization with Islamic principles. As a form of internationalism and anti-nationalism, Pan-Islamism differentiates itself from pan-nationalistic ideologies, for example Pan-Arabism, by seeing the ummah as the focus of allegiance and mobilization, excluding ethnicity and race as primary unifying factors. It portrays Islam as being anti-racist and against anything that divides the human race based on ethnicity.
The Ahmadiyya Caliphate is a non-political caliphate established on May 27, 1908 following the death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, who claimed to be the promised Messiah and Mahdi, the expected redeemer awaited by Muslims. It is believed by Ahmadis to be the re-establishment of the Rashidun Caliphate that commenced following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The caliphs are entitled Khalīfatul Masīh, sometimes simply referred to as Khalifa. The caliph is the elected spiritual and organizational leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and is the successor of Ghulam Ahmad. He is believed by the Community to be divinely ordained and is also referred to by its members as Amir al-Mu'minin and Imam Jama'at. The 5th and current caliph is Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
The Khilafat movement, also known as the Indian Muslim movement (1919–24), was a pan-Islamist political protest campaign launched by Muslims of British India led by Shaukat Ali, Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Abul Kalam Azad to restore the caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate, who was considered the leader of Sunni Muslims, as an effective political authority. It was a protest against the humiliating sanctions placed on the caliph and the Ottoman Empire after the First World War by the Treaty of Sèvres.
Islamic democracy is a political ideology that seeks to apply Islamic principles to public policy within a democratic framework. Islamic political theory specifies three basic features of an Islamic democracy: leaders must be elected by the people, subject to sharia, and committed to practicing "shura", which is Arabic for "consultation". The expression of Islamic democracy is different in different Muslim majority countries, as sharia interpretations vary from country to country, and the use of sharia is more comprehensive in countries in which sharia forms the basis for state laws.
Amir al-Mu'minin is an Arabic title that is usually translated "Commander of the Faithful" or "Leader of the Faithful". Shias hold that the title is exclusive to Ali; though Sunnis maintain the caliph at any point in time is the bearer of the title.
In Arabic culture, a Majlis-ash-Shura is an advisory council or consultative council. In Islamic context, the Majlis-ash-Shura is one of two ways that a Khalifa may be selected, the other way being by nomination.
The Rashidun Caliphate was the first of the four major caliphates established after the death of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. It was ruled by the first four successive caliphs (successors) of Muhammad after his death in 632 CE. These caliphs are collectively known in Sunni Islam as the Rashidun, or "Rightly Guided" caliphs. This term is not used in Shia Islam as Shia Muslims do not consider the rule of the first three caliphs as legitimate.
Shi‘a Islam, also known as Shi‘ite Islam or Shi‘ism, is the second largest branch of Islam after Sunni Islam. Shias adhere to the teachings of Muhammad and the religious guidance of his family or his descendants known as Shia Imams. Muhammad's bloodline continues only through his daughter Fatima Zahra and cousin Ali who alongside Muhammad's grandsons comprise the Ahl al-Bayt. Thus, Shias consider Muhammad's descendants as the true source of guidance. Shia Islam, like Sunni Islam, has at times been divided into many branches; however, only three of these currently have a significant number of followers, and each of them has a separate trajectory.
Syed Abul A'la Maududi Chishti was a Pakistani Muslim philosopher, jurist, journalist and imam. His numerous works, which "covered a range of disciplines such as Qur’anic exegesis, hadith, law, philosophy and history", were written in Urdu, but then translated into English, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Burmese and many other languages. He sought to revive Islam, and to propagate what he understood to be "true Islam". He believed that Islam was essential for politics, and that it was necessary to institute sharia and preserve Islamic culture from what he viewed as the evils of secularism, nationalism and socialism, which he understood to be the influence Western imperialism.
The ideas and practices of the leaders, preachers, and movements of the Islamic revival movement known as Islamism, have been criticized by Muslims and non-Muslims. Among those authors and scholars who have criticized Islamism, or some element of it, include Maajid Nawaz, Reza Aslan, Abdelwahab Meddeb, Muhammad Sa'id al-'Ashmawi, Khaled Abu al-Fadl, Gilles Kepel, Matthias Küntzel, Joseph E. B. Lumbard, and Olivier Roy.
The definition and application of secularism, especially the place of religion in society, varies among Muslim countries as it does among western countries. Secularism is often used to describe the separation of public life and civil/government matters from religious teachings and commandments, or simply the separation of religion and politics. Secularism in Muslim countries is often contrasted with Islamism, and secularists tend to seek to promote secular political and social values as opposed to Islamic ones. Among western scholars and Muslim intellectuals, there are some debates over secularism which include the understanding of political and religious authorities in the Islamic world and the means and degree of application of sharia in legal system of the state.
Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is a messenger of God.
The claim that Islam is a harmonious blend of religion and politics is a modern slogan, of which no trace can be found in the past history of Islam. The very term, “Islamic State” was never used in the theory or practice of Muslim political science, before the twentieth century. Also if the first thirty years of Islam were excepted, the historical conduct of Muslim states could hardly be distinguished from that of other states in world history.
The Pakistani writer Qamaruddin Khan, for example, has proposed that the political theory of Islam does not arise from the Qur'an but from circumstances and that the state is neither divinely sanctioned nor strictly necessary as a social institution.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)