What is democracy and what are its origins?
Democracy is the principle of the mastership of the people; and that mastership is an absolute and a supreme authority. This authority consists in the people’s right to choose their leaders and legislate whatever laws they want.
The people usually practice this authority through delegation, by electing MPs who will represent them in the parliament and practices authority on their behalf. This mastership is the supreme authority above which there is no authority. Joseph Frankel – a western politician said: `the mastership means the supreme authority, which does not acknowledge any authority to be above it.
(The word `parliament’ derives from the French word `parler’, to speak or talk, and from the middle ages kings summoned representative advisers to their palace at Westminster to discuss the affairs of state).
The democratic system was founded in England and France, then from them it was transmitted to the other countries.
The pillars of democracy were established by the French Revolution in 1789. However, the parliamentary systems was founded in England one century before that. Ideologically, the principle of the mastership of the nation – which is the basis of democratic school of thought – had developed before the French Revolution for decades. This appeared in the writings of John Locke, Montesquieu and Jean Jacque Rousseau, who founded the theory of the social contract, which is the basis of the theory of the mastership of the nation. This was as a reaction and a war against the theory of divine delegation which had been widespread in Europe for about ten centuries. Such theory decided that the kings ruled by a choice and delegation from God. As a consequence, the Kings used to possess an absolute authority, supported in this by the priests (Roman Catholic Church).
Indeed the European peoples suffered severely from the absolute rule. Accordingly, the mastership of the nations was the best substitute for them, so as to find their way out of the supreme reign of the kings and the priests who ruled by the delegation of God – as they claimed. Therefore, democracy was originally founded to rebel against the authority of God, and grant the entire authority to Man to make his own way of life and laws without any restrictions.
The transition from the theory of delegation of God to that of the mastership of the nation was not a peaceful one. Rather, it happened by means of one of the bloodiest revolutions in the world, and that was the French Revolution in 1789, which had as its motto: `hang the last King by the intestines of the last priest’.
The French Revolution ended up with some highly important outcomes. Indeed there was born, for the first time in the history of Christian Europe, a non-religious republican state. Its philosophy was based on ruling in the name of the people instead of Allah (swt), on the freedom of belief instead of Catholicism, on individualism instead of being restricted by the religious conduct, and on man-made rule instead of the decisions of the church’.
The theory of the mastership of the nation and its right to lay down its laws appeared, indeed, in the principles of the French Revolution and its ruling system. Thus the sixth act of the declaration of the rights in 1789 stated: `the law is the expression of the will of the nation’. This means that the law is not an expression of the will of the Church or the will of God. In a declaration of the rights of man, which was issued along with the French ruling system in 1793, the 25th Act stated: `the mastership is centered in the people’. This why Abdul Hamid Mitwalli said: `the principles of the Revolution of 1789 are considered to be the basis of the western, democratic principles.’
The Islamic Verdict On Democracy, MPs And Those Who Vote For Them
With democracy, the supreme authority does not recognize any other authority to be higher than it, because its authority emanates from itself. Therefore, it does that which it wills and legislates that which it wills, without being accounted by anyone. But this is the ATTRIBUTE of Allah (swt):
And Allah (swt) judges there is none to put back His Judgment and He is swift at reckoning. (Qur’an 13:41). Allah (swt) commands that which He Wills. (Qur’an 5:2) Verily Allah (swt) does what He Wills. (Qur’an 22:14 )
We conclude from this that democracy ascribes the attributes of Uluhia (Godhead) to man, by granting him the absolute right to legislate. Owing to this, it has made him an Ilah (God) beside Allah (swt) and a partner to him concerning the right of legislating for the creation. This is no doubt a Kufr Akbar (i.e. Kufr that takes a person outside the fold of Islam). To put it more precisely, the new God in democracy is the desire of man, who legislates what he fancies and desires, without being restricted by anything. In the Qur’an Allah states:
Have you (O Mohammed) seen him who has taken as his Ilah (God) his own desire ? Would you then be a wakil (protecting guide) over him ? Or do you think that most of them hear and understand? They are only like cattle – nay; they are even farther astray from the path (i.e. even worse than cattle) .(Qur’an 25:43-44)
This makes democracy a self established religion in which the mastership is for the people. In contrast, in the religion of Islam the mastership belongs to Allah (swt) as the messenger of Allah (swt) said: the master is Allah (swt) [Narrated by Abu Dawud in his sunan, the book of Al-Adab (manners) and classified as Sahih].
One famous person wrote:
“The western civilization is founded on three pillars: secularism, nationalism and democracy. As for the third principle: (that is) democracy or ascribing Godhead to man, by joining the previous pillars, the picture which encompasses within its frame suffering and the weariness of the world becomes complete. With democracy the inhabitants of a place are free concerning that which fulfils their social welfare, and that the law of such a place stems from their desires.
Secularism has liberated the people from worshipping Allah (swt), obeying Him, fearing Him and from the established restrictions of conduct. It has also caused them to wander wherever they wish, and has made them slaves of themselves without being responsible to anyone.
Nationalism has come to give them big mouthfuls of the wine of egoism, pride, arrogation and disrespect for others.
Finally, democracy has come to make this man – after granting him freedom and making a prisoner of the desires of the self, and obsessed by the pleasure of egoism – sit on the throne of Godhead. Thus it has bestowed on him the full authority of legislating and making laws, and has made the ruling system, with all its capacities, at his services in order to fulfill everything that he requests.
Nationalism, secularism and democracy contradicts the religion of Aqeedah that Muslims embrace. So if you surrender to it, this would as if you have left the book of Allah (swt) behind your backs; and if you take part in establishing or keeping it, you have indeed betrayed your Messenger whom Allah (swt) sent to you. Wherever this system is present, Islam does not exist, and wherever Islam is present there is no place for this system.”
The above was said by Professor Abu Ul-Aala Al-Mawdudi, founder and former leader of a group called Jamaat Islami. Unfortunately in Pakistan, Jamaat Islami has taken democracy as a methodology and has participated in the parliamentary elections in Pakistan – which is a secularist state – during Al-Mawdudi’s lifetime, after his death and until today.
Allah (swt) said:
Why do you say that which you do not do ? Most hateful in the sight of Allah (swt) that you say that which you do not. (Qur’an 6:23)
Allah (swt) also said:
`Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah (swt) on the people and you forget (to practice it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture ! Have you no sense? (Qur’an 2:44)
As the people are the ones to whom the mastership belongs – in democracy – and who practice it by means of their delegates in the parliament, therefore both parties are falling into Kufr. The members of the parliament and those amongst the people who vote them for these positions.
As for the MPs, the cause of their Kufr is that they are the ones to whom the applicable mastership belongs, and are the ones who legislate for the people beside Allah (swt), be it by making laws, legislating them or consenting on them.
Besides all the modern, secularist ruling systems state that: `the authority of legislation belongs to the Parliament’, whether this parliament is called the House of Commons, The National Assembly, The Congress, The Legislative Assembly or something else. This sets up the MPs as partners to Allah (swt) in His Rububia (i.e. His right of being the sole Legislator for mankind, and this is one of His Actions).
`Or have they partners (false gods) with Allah (swt), who have instituted for them religion which Allah (swt) has not allowed’. (Qur’an 42:21)
The religion – in one of its meanings – is the people’s life system, be it true or false because of His saying: to you be your religion and to me my religion. (Qur’an 109:6)
So Allah (swt), Praise and Glory be to Him, called the Kufr that the Kufr were upon, a religion. Therefore whoever legislates for the people, has indeed appointed himself as a God to them and has made himself a partner with Allah (swt). This is one evidence.
Another proof concerning the Kufr of these MPs is that by legislating for the people, they have set themselves as gods besides Allah (swt), and that is the very same Kufr mentioned in his saying:
`Say (O Mohammed [saw]: O People of the Scriptures Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah (swt) and that we associated no partner with Him, and that none of us shall take other as Lords besides Allah (swt). And if they turn away: then say: Bear Witness that we are they who have surrendered unto Him’. (Qur’an 3:64)
Indeed this Rububia (Godhead), which is mentioned in this verse in regard to legislating beside Allah (swt), is the same as the one mentioned in His saying:
`They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lord, beside Allah (swt); (Qur’an 9:31)
Adey bin Hatim, may Allah (swt) be pleased with him – who was a Christian and then embraced Islam said: I came to the Messenger (saw) of Allah (swt) while he was reciting Surah At-Taubah till he reached this verse: ` they (Jews and Christians) took their Rabbis and their Monks to be their Lords beside Allah (swt)’. So I said: `O Messenger (saw) of Allah (swt), we never took them as lords. He (Prophet (saw) ) said: `Yes (you did). Did not they legalise for you that which Allah (swt) forbade you, and you forbade it ?’ I said: `yes indeed’. He said: `that is worshipping them.’ [Narrated by Ahmed and Tirmidhi who classified it as Sahih].
Concerning the tafsir of this verse Al-Alussi said: ‘Most of the tafsir scholars said: `the meaning of lords is not because they believed that they were the gods of the universe, rather, the meaning is that they obeyed them in what they commanded and forbade’. All of this illustrates that whoever legislates for the people besides Allah (swt), such as the Rabbis of the Jews, the Monks of the Christians and the MPs, he has indeed set himself up as a lord to them, and that is enough as a clear kufr. So should anyone of these MPs be pleased with this parliamentary job of Shirk or participate in it, his Kufr is clear without any doubt. As for the MP who claims that he is not pleased with it, and that he has only entered the parliament for Daawa and reform, he is a Kafir as well. His saying so is but a trick to deceive the laymen and the ignorant people, and a shield by which he defends himself. The reason behind his kufr is that his entering the parliament is a recognition of the legality of their activities i.e. going to the desire of the people for judgment, and is an abiding by its principles and the principle of the system through which they (parliaments) were established. So all of this is a voluntary going to the Taghut (false gods) for judgment, which makes the person who does it a Kafir, because Allah (swt) says:
‘And in whatsoever you differ the decision thereof is with Allah (swt) (He is the Ruling Judge) (Qur’an 42:10)
In contrast, democracy states: `And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with the delegates of the people in the parliaments or with the majority of the people in the referendum.` All the MPs of the House of Commons are abiding by this Kufr principle, and if they show the least opposition to it, they will be dismissed from it according to its regulations. So whoever manifests Kufr to us we shall manifest to him Takfeer (i.e. judging a person as a kafir)… These parliaments are based on disbelief in the verses of Allah (swt), because their prime task is to legislate beside Him, Praise and Glory be to Him. Therefore, whoever sits with them in Kufr…. There is another Kufr task for the MPs which some people are not aware of. Their job is not only to take charge of the authority of legislating beside Allah (swt).
Rather, all the modern, secularist ruling systems state that the parliament is the one which gives assertion to the general politics of the country and observes the activities of the government which carries out (laws), and that is the government; and that the government is responsible in the presence of the parliament. This means that all the kufr which the government practices – such as ruling by man-made laws and following the secularist method – the non-religious one – in both external and internal politics, in education, media, economy, or else – is decided upon by the MPs, who grant license to the governments to implement them. In fact they have the right to account the government if it deviates from this kufr or permits its implementation.
The fourth thing that nullifies Islam: everyone who believes that it is permissible to rule by other than the Shariah of Allah (swt) in dealings, hudud (Islamic Penal code) or something else. In fact, even if he does not believe that this is better than the rule of the Shari, because by permitting this, he would legalese that which Allah (swt) has forbidden by the Ijma (unanimous consensus); and everyone who legalizes that which Allah (swt) has forbidden and which is known from the religion by necessity, such as fornication, wine, riba (usury) and ruling by other than the Shari of Allah (swt), he is a kafir by the Ijma of the Muslims. Additionally, in his essay, `The Criticism of the Arabs Nationalism`, Sheik Bin Baz described the ruling by man-made laws as `This is the great mischief, the clear kufr and the manifest Ridda (Apostasy). As for those amongst the people who vote for them (MPs), they are committing kufr as well, because according to the parliamentary democracy, the voters are in reality delegating them so as to practice the mastership of shirk-legislating beside Allah (swt) – on their behalf. Thus the voters give the MPs the right to implement shirk, and set them up – through their voting – as legislating lords beside Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says:
`Nor would he order you to take angels and Prophets for lords (gods). Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to Allah’s will.’ (Qur’an 3:80)
So if a person who takes angels and Prophets as lords has become a kafir, how then about the person who takes the MPs for that?
“Say (O Muhammad [saw]): O People of the scriptures (Jews and Christians), come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah (swt), and that we associate no partners with Him, and one of us shall take others as lords besides Allah (swt)” (Qur’an 3:64)
Consequently, taking people as lords besides Allah (swt) is a shirk and a disbelief in Allah (swt), and that is what those who vote for the MPs are doing.
Professor Sayyed Qutb, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, said concerning the previous verse: `Verily, people, in all the systems of the earth, are taking one another as lords beside Allah (swt). This is happening in the most progressed democracies as well as in the most declined dictatorships…Verily the prime quality of Rububia is the right of making people worship Allah (swt), the right of establishing systems, schools of thought, Sharai’ (plural of Shariah ?), laws, values and standards.
These group of people, who are subjugating the others to their laws, standards, values and conceptions, are the lords of the earth whom some people are taking as lords beside Allah (swt), and are allowing them to claim Uluhia and Rububia. Owing to this, they are worshipping them beside Allah (swt), even if they do not make sujud (prostration) and ruku (bowing) to them, because worship is ascribed to none but Allah (swt).`
Sayyed Qutub said: `And Islam…is the religion for Allah (swt), and which every Messenger came with from Allah (swt). Indeed Allah (swt) sent the Messengers with this religion to liberate mankind from the worship of the slaves to the worship of Allah (swt), and from the oppression of the slaves to the Justice of Allah (swt). Therefore, whoever turns away from it, is not a Muslim by the testimony of Allah (swt), no matter how the misconceived people misinterpret and the misguided lead. Verily the religion for Allah (swt) is Islam.’ These secularist parliaments, wherein legislating kufr laws, permitting them and, in fact, reinforcing their implementation are fulfilled, are today similar to the Mushrikuns’ temples, in which they set up their lords and practice their pagan and shirk rituals. Therefore, whoever helps to establish these parliaments – either by taking part in them, as the MPs do, or electing the MPs, as the voters do, or beautifying them to the people – is a Kafir.
Democracy and parliament, is the religion of the kufaar and their desires. Therefore, being pleased with entering into their religion and following it means going out of the fold of Islam.
`Verily, if you follow their desire after that which you received knowledge (from Allah (swt)); then indeed you are of the Zalimun (polytheists, wrongdoers, etc)’. (Qur’an 2:154)
`And it is the disbelievers who are the Zalimun’ (Qur’an 2:254)
Accordingly, do not turn your back on your heals as kafirs and apostates, and do not let the Shaytan mislead you and give you hope regarding establishing the laws of the Shari by means of these houses of Kufr. Allah (swt) says:
`He (Shaytaan) makes promise to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytaan’s promises are nothing but deceptions.’ (Qur’an 4:120)
Likewise, democracy is the religion of America (and western countries in general), which regards itself as the protector of democracy in the world. The American Congress (parliament) has laid down a law, which has as its condition the implementation of democracy in the countries that are offered American aid. This is because the democratic system is one of the easiest systems that give America the opportunity to interfere in the affairs of the countries in a lawful manner. This happens by taking over the members of the legislature, and by making specific MPs succeed in elections by seducing the masses with money. (Italy, Iran, Russia, etc)
Indeed America interfered in many legislative elections; for instance its interference in the Italian elections in 1947, the year in which the American president Truman, declared his famous principle which legalized form America’s secret services to spend over $70 million to make the Christian Democratic Party succeed and the Communist Party fail. Moreover, America has made this public and is proud of it. Once again America interfered in the Italian elections in 1976, in which the American secretary of state, Henry Kissenger, proclaimed his famous principle in order to meddle in the Italian elections.
This is the religion of America, the religion of the Jews and the Christians, and that is what the Prophet (saw) warned us from falling into by his saying: `You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, span by span, and arm by arm, even if they enter the hole of the lizard, you will certainly follow them.’ They (Sahabah) asked: `Do you mean the Jews and the Christians O Messenger of Allah (swt)?’ He said :’who else then?’
This (democracy) is nothing but an evil deception to divert the Muslims from Jihad which is obligatory upon them, the Jihad against the apostate rulers and the other kafirun. Thus the human satans have come to say: `And why Jihad and hardship while the election boxes are the solution ?; what is obligatory upon you, as far as the Shari is concerned, is to go and throw a card in the box, and indeed Sheik bin Baz issued a fatwa about the permissibility of this. `But if you do not win in this round, you may well win in the next one.’
Thus, people would spend their lives awaiting what the election boxes would result in. Undoubtedly, the happiest amongst the people about this satanic way are At-Tawagheet (Apostate Rulers), in their various types, who allowed some of those who belong to Islam to enter into the parliament for nothing but to divert the Muslims from their Jihad. Indeed Sheik-ul-Islam, Ibn-Taymia, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, mentioned that: `the Imamate is established by giving the allegiance to the people with power.` Similarly, no Islamic state will be established in our age except by power. Therefore, one should not be lured by the millions of people who vote for those who claim to be Islamist in parliamentary elections.
Verily, if these people were asked to raise their arms and wage Jihad in order to implement the Islamic rule, they would certainly run away. So what power or so strong military do these people have against kuffar rulers? The state belongs to those who possess the power and power consists of men and arms, then reinforcements. The result of the parliamentary elections are nothing but falsities and delusions, which are not based on power, let alone being founded on a legal evidence (from the Shariah).
Additionally, democracy, with its parliaments and elections, is nothing but a deception which drugs the Islamic capacities, and a station which consumes these capacities far away from the thrones of the Tawagheet (Apostate Rulers). The Kuffar, various as they are, are calling for democracy as long as it fulfills their desires. But once it opposes their benefits, they would be the first ones to destroy it. Theirs is a similitude of that Kafir who mad his Idol out of dates, but when became hungry he ate his lord which used to worship. The examples concerning this are numerous both in the East and the West.
The conclusion, is that the MPs are the ones who have the right to legislate for the people, and are, in reality,, lords that are worshipped beside Allah (swt); and those who vote for them are appointing them as lords besides Allah (swt). So both parties become Kafirs because of this.
`Say (O Muhammad [saw] O People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah (swt), and we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords beside Allah (swt). Then if they turn away: bear witness that we Muslims.’ (Qur’an 3:64)
Therefore, it is not permissible to enter into Parliament or participate in electing their members. Indeed, it has become clear for you that participating in these parliaments, either by being candidate or voting is from the Kufr Akbar.
Indeed some kuffar claimed that their intention and aim from committing kufr was to bring themselves near to Allah (swt). But Allah (swt) rejected their saying and judged them as kafirs and liars. This is because if they intended to draw near to Allah (swt) they would have done so by means of that which He (swt) enjoined and not by that which He forbade.
`And those who take Awliya (protectors and helpers) beside Him (Say):’We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah (swt). Verily Allah (swt) will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allah (swt) guides not Him who is a Liar and a disbeliever.’ (Qur’an 39:4)
Bin Baz himself said: ‘And indeed some Mushrikun claimed that their intention from worshipping the Prophets and the pious people, and from taking idols as lords beside Allah (swt), was to bring them near to Allah (swt) and gain the intercession through them to Allah (swt), Praise and Glory be to Him. But Allah (swt) rejected that and refuted it by saying:
“And they worship besides Allah (swt) things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say `these are our intercessors with Allah (swt)’. Say `Do you inform Allah (swt) of that which he knows not in the Heavens and on the Earth?’ Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him!”
The case is, therefore, the same with the one who enters into the parliament and says that his intention is to call to Allah (swt): he is a liar and a Kafir, even if he calls his shirk in regard to Allah (swt) a Daawa to Allah (swt).
`Say (O Muhammad) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are al-Fawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc…) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah (swt) for which He has not given authority, and saying things about Allah (swt) of which you have no knowledge. (Qur’an 7:33)
It is wrong to make, support and participate in systems which rule by what Allah (swt) has not revealed, and (then) claim to be Muslims and have respect for Aqeedah at the same time. Consequently, they have destroyed the feeling of the people, guaranteed for themselves their friendship and drugged their conscience.
Then they have hastened to destroy the Shariah of Allah (swt), while being secure from their uprising. Owing to this, the lords of these systems do not dare to confess that they are atheists or non-religious. On the contrary, they are admitting – with pride – that they are democratic, for instance.
(Article by Shaykh Abdul Qadir bin Abdul Aziz)