The form of Muslim government and its source of authority in contemporary Islamic thought : a comparative study of the views of Ayatollah Ruḥollah Khomeini and Sayyid Quţb
Ebrāhim, Badrudīn Sheikh Rashīd
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The year 1924, which coincided with the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate and more recently, the Arab Spring which started in Tunisia in December 2010, and spread across much of north Africa and parts of the Middle East, has captured the attention of worldwide audiences, but also policy makers from the West to relook at the masses in the Muslim world as not politically acquiescent, even ignorant, but also, and more importantly as to which forms of government these regions would adopt, secular or Shari‘ah based (Islamic Law), or a combination of the two. The proposed research will examine and compare the views of the Shī‘i Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Egyptian Sunni intellectual and Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, Sayyid Quţb regarding the form of government and its source of authority. Both scholars agreed on the sovereignty of the Sharỉ‘ah. Khomeini stressed the centrality of the establishment of an Islamic government and the concept of Wilāyat al-faqīh in his book of Ḥukūmah al-Islamiyyah (Khomeini, undate). Therefore, Khomeini’s doctrine of Wilāyat al-faqīh argues that the government should be run in accordance with the Shari‘ah. For this to happen, a high-ranking cleric (Islamic jurist) should provide political guardianship over the people in the absence of and until the reappearance of the Hidden Imām. Sayyid Quţb stressed the establishment of an Islamic society before attempting to codify the Sharī‘ah (Quţb, 1981:76). His writing on politics and government does not lay out a comprehensive plan for Islamic governance. He does however; provide a foundation and three sub-principles that help determine its powers and structure. He declared that the foundation of Islamic political rule is Ulūhiyya (servitude) and Al-ḥākimiyya (sovereignty of Sharī‘ah) of Allah. This means that the Islamic government is the rule of God (Loboda, 2004: 25) Furthermore, Quţb, argues that Islam does not provide man with sovereignty, but Allah (God) is the only sovereign. In addition, he clarifies that an Islamic form of government itself is not divine as past Christian governments considered their kings to be divinely ordained. Instead, any rule with reference to Al-ḥākimiyya and based on three subprinciples is Islamic rule (Quţb, 1993). The three sub-principles for Islamic political rule indicated by Sayyid Quţb are as follows. Firstly, the rulers should be just. Secondly, the people should be obedient to the ruler as long as he submits to the sovereignty of Allah and implements the Sharī‘ah. Thirdly, there should be consultation between the rulers and the community. However Sayyid Quţb does not indicate a clear method of consultation between the ruler and the people. Instead, he leaves it up to the local conditions of the community. In the third principle, Quţb indicated that the importance of consultation encompasses the entire concept of Islamic rule and Muslim community life (Quţb, 1993:45). This means Sayyid Quţb "indirectly states that rulers should be elected by democratic vote" (Loboda. 2004:28).