Shura in Islam
Fatwa No: 84768

  • Fatwa Date:4-9-2002 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 27, 1423
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Question

I want to ask about the difference between parliament use by countries at present day and Shura that were used long ago by Khulafa ar-Rashidin? Does parliament have similar characteristic with Shura? What is your opinion about it according to Islamic perspective? Do you think that Muslim countries nowadays are using Shura in solving the problem or not?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Al-Shura (Mutual consultation) is a pillar of ruling and governing in Islam. So, all decisions that are made by the state should be through Shura; decisions relative to war, peace, duties towards other countries, establishment of Hudud and amassing armies. In addition, organizing all the affairs of the state should all be made following the consultation of the responsible people of the Muslim community.
Muslims nowadays however do not apply this principle in their lives because of the wide gap existing between those times where the right application of Islam and the present influence of the culture of their enemies.
The Shura that was practised during the rule of the four Caliphs is different from a democratically elected Parliament. First, in Shura no one has the right to go beyond the texts that are in the Qur'an and the Sunnah or legislate something that does not conform to them.
The modern Parliaments make their own texts and have the right to pass legislation.
Second, in Shura only the scholars and experts are asked to give their opinions over a given issue while in Parliaments anyone who is elected has the right to participate in passing laws. In those procedures there is no difference between the opinion of a scholar and that of an ignorant person, or the opinion of an expert to that of a novice in the matter.
In Parliaments heads (votes) are counted but not weighed while in Shura they are weighed according to their knowledge and savoir-faire. This is the right logic.
No matter how many inexperienced people you put together, they won't be able to give the same valuable opinion as an expert and a scholar in the field.
There are many other differences between the Shura and the modern Parliaments. But it is sufficient that Shura is the way Allah has chosen for His servants. He is the one who knows His servants and creatures and what is good to them Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything).} [67: 14].
Allah knows best.

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