By Irfan Jalil and Sajid Iqbal
You're probably thinking what the heck has politics got to do with Islam? I know, you're thinking Islam is a religion and has nowt to do with politics. You've always been told Islam is about worship, prayer, fasting, obeying God, being good and other nice and fluffy things.
Well you know what, if that's your understanding of Islam then you're in for the shock of your life.
You ready for it? Here goes: Islam is not a religion!!!! “WHAT??!!So what the hell is it?”. Well my friend Islam is a 'Deen', a complete way of life. You're confused. I know you are...now sit down, have a sip of water and read on.
Islam Is Much More Than A Religion
In order to understand the link between Islam and Politics we must first understand that Islam is not a religion. It is rather a "Deen". You see the Arabic word "Deen" maybe translated into "Religion" in the English dictionaries, but it is quite different from the English connotation of "Religion".
Religion deals with the spiritual, moral and ethical aspects, along with the acts of faith and with the reckoning of the Day of Judgment. Its primary concern is placed on how the spiritual link and relationship is to be established between a man and his Creator.
However, Deen is quite different. It is concerned with the whole entire conduct of life. Whether religious or secular, moral or material, social or cultural, economic or political, individual or collective, rather national or international. You see, Deen is a totality whereas religion is a part-and-parcel of Deen.
Now I bet you didn't know that did you? You always hear people going on about how ‘Islam is a complete way of life’. Guess what? They’re right. Islam IS a complete way of life. It covers everything- including politics.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had established the link between Islam and Politics during his lifetime
Islam provides us with rules with which to build a better society. By looking at the Prophet Muhammad (saw)’s life we can see the best way to play a part in politics.
Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) life can be divided into two phases:
Meccan Period: In the 13 years of his Meccan period he concentrated on the religious and spiritual activities.
Medinan Period: After migration to Medina he started his political life accompanied with the religious and spiritual activities.
Prophet Muhammad - The Greates Politician Ever!
Just check out and be amazed by the political work and achievements of the prophet (pbuh):
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the first person to establish a political state. He gave the first written constitution to mankind, consisting of 60 articles. This was "The First" practical, written constitution of the world. It provided the guarantee of fundamental human rights in our history- and it beat the American constitution we hear so much about by 1000 years.
The Constitution of Madina guaranteed freedom of religion and it protected all the members from outside aggression. And it beat similar agreements and alliances such as the UN and NATO by over 13 centuries.
Islam had its charter of human rights in the Constitution of Medina and the Prophet's (pbuh) last sermon. A very long time before the French Revolution and the UN Charter of Human Rights.
The Prophet introduced the world’s first welfare state. This was the first time in history that the idea of sharing with the poor and the idea of the circulation of wealth was introduced.
He showed us how to establish an economic system, moral system, commercial law's, civil law's, penal laws, executive laws, and international laws all within the faith of Islam.
He also revealed to us the laws of war, the rights of non- Muslim minorities and the rights of Muslim minorities and a system of taxation. Nothing in the world of law or rights was left unturned or undefined by Prophet Muhammad .
Now you understand how politics is a part and parcel of Islam? No politician, prime minister or president throughout history can boast such political achievements as the Prophet (pbuh).
Just as the Prophet(pbuh) was active in politics so should you be.
But this is a non-Muslim country, it has man-made laws, it doesn’t follow the Sharia. Should we still get involved in the politics of this country? YES. We should.
The Qur’an tells us to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil (3.110).
The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Whoever sees an evil, he should change it by his hands; if he could not do so, then he should change it by his tongue; if he could not do so, then he should do that by his heart, which is the least of all faith’ (Muslim).
Islam doesn't allow a Muslim to just do his prayers, follow Islam and that's it- No! Islam says stand up for your rights, do your bit to make sure society is good. As Muslims we have a massive role to play.
What Is The Point?
But why do I need to get involved in politics? What will I achieve by being politically active in the UK? Well as a Muslim, if you want:
- a voice,
- if you want to be successful, effective and influential,
- if you want to have a say in local, national and international issues,
- if you disagree with a policy and want to do something about it,
- if you want to hold the councilors and MP's accountable,
- if you don't want to be discriminated, left out and ignored,
- if you don't want to be victims of Islamophobia and racism,
- if you are sick of the 'Islam and Muslim-bashing' in the media,
- if you disagree with the anti-terror laws,
- if you are angry and frustrated about the Iraq war and the situation in Palestine,
- if you totally disagree with the introduction of ID cards,
- if you want more facilities in your community.....etc. etc.
THEN YOU HAVE TO BE A POLITICALLY ACTIVE MUSLIM! DON'T JUST MOAN- BE ACTIVE!
Religious dudes in politics?
And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t let Islam influence your politics. Committed Christians have seats in the Cabinet. Christian clergy have seats in the House of Lords. Religious figures always comment on social, economic, and political affairs. As an equal citizen of this country you have as much right as anyone else to let your religion inform your political views and actions.
Being able to make our voices heard and being able to get involved in the political process is a privilege that no one should turn their back on.
So what should I do?
It’s no good just sitting at home and shouting at the news. It’s no good just telling your mates you don’t like what’s going on in the world. Pick yourself up and get politically active. Get more interested in politics. Understand the political system in the UK. Join and support politically active Muslim groups and organisations. Write to and phone-up your local Councilor and MP, make him or her work for you. Write to the papers, media channels and put them right when they say anything against your fellow Muslims and Islam. Join demonstrations. Attend public meetings.
So never forget - politics is a part of Islam. Be a practicing Muslim and be a politically active Muslim too. Get out there and make a difference. Don’t be an all talk and no action Muslim.