by Kamran Rifat
A research essay on The System of Good Governance with reference to Holy Quran.
|Governance relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists either of a separate process or of a specific part of management or leadership processes. In the case of a business or of a non-profit organization, governance relates to consistent management, cohesive policies, processes and decision-rights for a given area of responsibility. For example, managing at a corporate level might involve evolving policies on privacy, on internal investment, and on the use of data. Generally people set up a government to administer these processes and systems.
As a process, governance may operate in an organization of any size: from a single human being to all of humanity; and it may function for any purpose, good or evil, for profit or otherwise. A reasonable or rational purpose of governance might aim to assure, (sometimes on behalf of others) that an organization produces a worthwhile pattern of good results while avoiding an undesirable pattern of bad circumstances.
Perhaps the moral and natural purpose of governance consists of assuring, on behalf of those governed, a worthy pattern of good while avoiding an undesirable pattern of bad. The ideal purpose, obviously, would assure a perfect pattern of good with no bad. A government comprises a set of inter-related positions that govern and that use or exercise power, particularly coercive power.
A good government, following this line of thought, could consist of a set of inter-related positions exercising coercive power that assures, on behalf of those governed, a worthwhile pattern of good results while avoiding an undesirable pattern of bad circumstances, by making decisions that define expectations, grant power, and verify performance.
Politics provides a means by which the governance process operates. For example, people may choose expectations by way of political activity; they may grant power through political action, and they may judge performance through political behavior.
Conceiving of governance in this way, one can apply the concept to states, to corporations, to non-profits, to NGOs, to partnerships and other associations, to project-teams, and to any number of humans engaged in some purposeful activity. But in this article we will be specifically looking at the system of governance of country.
Generally a country has four pillars; Head of the State, Head of the Government, Judiciary and Law Enforcement agency whose sole responsibility is to maintain law and order in the country and to safeguard its border. In the modern age today the Law Enforcement Agency is bifurcated in two parts army and police. In the time of the kingdom they used to have only one army who was responsible for the internal law and order, doing the job of police in modern times, as well as the safeguarding of the borders. Now generally the internal law and order is looked after by police department and the army protects the borders of the country. All the countries of the world have this system in place and there are countless examples like Pakistan, India, United Kingdom, Australia, China, South Africa, Turkey, Iran, Bangladesh, South Korea and etc. All have a president, a prime minister, judiciary and the law enforcement agency. Generally in any country the president makes the law and he is the supreme authority; the prime minister receives the instruction from the president and then spread them all around: the judiciary and legislature does the citation of the laws made by the president and the law enforcement agencies protects the country from any internal or external unrest and threat.
It is very much clear from the above paragraph that the approval of the law is only granted by the Head of the State of the country. Unless he promulgates the rule or regulation cannot take its final form. Whether he has got the parliament for consultation or not, it does not matter. The final order rests with the Head of the State. Once he has inked the law then it comes to the Head of the Government, cabinet and machinery. Their sole task is to spread and apply this law everywhere in the country. But when there is a requirement to know the exact details and connotations of the law it goes straight to the Judiciary which explains the exact verdict of the law.
Similarly, when a conflict arises and there are confrontations against the law of the president with in the state then the law enforcement agencies come forward and take charge to protect the supremacy of the state laws. Once the President of any country has made a law he does not sermonize, the prime minister will do that and elucidation of the law will be done by Judiciary. But when the time of defense comes then neither the president comes forward nor the prime minster or the judiciary, it is only done by law enforcement agencies. All these four departments are distinctly separate and no one has interaction amongst them with regard to their core responsibilities.
A country generally cannot survive without this system, the governance would be impossible to do unless the four pillar are there and performing their distinct responsibilities. If any one of the four is missing the system may derail. A president cannot preach and explain the law; for this he needs a specialized person who is the head of the government. The head of the government also cannot carry on the responsibility of explanation of the law and defense of the country. For that he has judiciary and defense system.
There have been a lot of debates that whether the governance system mentioned above is based on Universal system or not, which many believe is not. Just as the president of country is the symbol of its sovereignty, Allah as the Creator and Owner of the whole universe is the symbol of its sovereignty. If He is not there the universe would not have any existence, the universe is known because of Him, and His very existence is the symbol of the sovereignty of the universe. There is nothing in the world which is in practice and has not been mentioned in Quran. For example an aspect of governance is explained in the following verse of Holy Quran:
“We sent aforetime Our Messengers with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; and We sent down Iron, in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help, unseen, Him and His Messengers: for Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might (and able to enforce His Will).” Holy Quran, Chapter 57 (Surah Al Hadid), Verse 25
Before moving further I want to highlight few points which are very important in understanding what is being said in the verse:
1. In Arabic language when the word “AL” is used as prefix to a word it means a proper noun, pointing towards something in particular.
2. The meaning of the term “Irsaal (post)” to receive something and to deliver the same with safety and in the same shape as was received to the person for whom it is meant.
3. The word “Nazil (sending down)” means that you just drop a thing from some height towards the ground and it will always travel from upside to downside.
4. Prophets have always been sent, they were never dropped from the heaven and whatever directions they get are hurled to their hearts.
5. There is no doubt that the iron is used to make ammunitions for war but it is also the source of creation of so many ornaments but in this verse the term Iron is used specifically with reference to war.
6. The sending down of Book can be possible but not of Iron and the Scale.
7. The term balance refers to some kind of scale or criteria through which one determines the equilibrium.
To post something is to transfer the message safely from one point to another through a controlled and monitored system in which there is a guarantee that the information posted will remain intact. When a letter is written and posted, the postman delivers the same letter to the addressee with complete honesty and without modifying the written text because he does not have the access to do so as whatever is written is inside. In modern days email can be a very good example once you compose it and press the send button it will be received and read by the addressee as it is, there will be no change in the text. But in the case of sending down you just drop a thing from a height downwards. It is an uncontrolled and uninsured mechanism and there is no guarantee that the information will remain intact. For example a person, having house on the fourth floor of the building, while leaving from the house forgets something (assuming two things) but as he reaches the ground floor he makes a call to his wife. He asks her to throw the two things he has left up, through the window. She hesitates but upon his insistence she hurls down his glasses from the window. The man fails to catch the glasses despite positioning himself for it and the glasses fall down and break in to pieces. Just when his wife is about to send down the second thing he says don’t do it I am coming up to take it. He reaches the fourth floor and gets the handkerchief from his wife. The first one was an example of uncontrolled medium “drop” and second was of the controlled medium “transfer”.
If a book is thrown from the fourth floor then it might reach the person in some reasonable condition following the rule of free fall, but even then its binding could very well split. If you are attentive then you might catch it but if you are not it probably will fall on your head and cause some serious damage. It is a rule of science that during freefall the speed gets squared after every second and greater the speed the greater will be the damage. And suppose you drop a metal scale object from top even if its height and width is according to your stature, you can well imagine the destruction it will cause. Now visualize that Allah drops a 20 feet x 18 feet iron scale having two metal plates from the sky down to the earth then according to the rule of freefall, if it falls on a person what damage it will do to that person and if it will by chance fell on the earth it will cause enormous destruction. It can go either ways because as I said earlier that sending down is always uncontrolled.
Even if you drop the smallest piece of iron it will come down hard and will tear apart the part of the earth where it will drop because of the freefall rule. The small stones which the birds (Ababeel) threw from a good distance caused much destruction only due to the speed; it is mentioned in Surah Al-Fil, Chapter 105 verse 3 - 5. The speed got squared with every second and by the time it reached the ground it had a lot of force. Suppose Allah drops a small iron piece from the sky, I can say without a doubt that it will split the earth.
And in this verse Allah says that He has sent down the Book and the Balance so that justice reigns amongst the people and the Iron because it is hard-hitting and powerful, useful for the wars. Then Allah says that these also have the benefits for the people. In the end Allah wants to know who amongst you will help Allah and his Prophet, though Allah is the Strongest and Mightiest. Moreover all three words the Book, Balance and Iron have been used as a proper noun referring to a specific and particular incident or identity. So what does this verse really means? How does it explain the system of governance? There has to be some logic and depth in it because it is part of the Quran and there is nothing in it that does not have logic and application.
The simple thing that comes to our mind after reciting this verse is that we are told to follow the Book and keep a balance between right and wrong and remain steadfast on it; or Allah has sent down the Book (Quran) and I should follow it in its complete spirit and weigh the right and the wrong in the light of the Quran. And once I know what is right I should follow it stringently. Lets analyze it in a different way, consider the very first thought that comes to my mind pertaining to a particular point as Book and if I act according to that thought and do justice (balance) to it and then stay firm (iron) on it. This might be the interpretation of the verse but even if I do so what help I will be doing to Allah first and then to His Prophet, obviously nothing. If I do become righteous and steadfast, it will only help me and no one else.
According to the verse it is crystal clear that all the three things the Book, the Balance and the Iron are in some way helping Allah and His Prophet. It is a general observation that one requires help only when one is helpless. And Allah is saying that He wants to see who helps Allah and His Prophet; it means that there is something in which Allah also needs help. But the criterion told is a bit odd; that Allah will be helped through whatever happens by the combination of the Book, the Balance and the Iron.
So this could also mean that when you got guidance from the Holy Book and kept following the guidelines persistently than you will face difficulties, people will stand up against you, and they will challenge you and fight against you. At that time you will require the arms, made of Iron, to fight against them. Because I will have the knowledge of the Book I will not succumb to their challenges and mischievous doings rather I will use the Iron to fight these people. It is quite common that whenever someone follows the right path they face difficulties and people stand against him even his close relatives and friends as well. But during that period if they stay firm and use the power of Iron to shield myself from them. This explanation seems to be better than the above mentioned ones but still not the hundred percent correct because in this also I am only helping myself.
One other way of looking at the verse could be that the Book is related to something which is fixed like rules and regulations which are written and recorded. The word Balance is referring towards weight while the Iron can be understood in terms of shielding. Moving forward let us see all three of them in the shape of characters.
The existence, completeness, survival and sovereignty of the whole universe is only because of Almighty Allah just like a president of the country is the symbol of its sovereignty. The task of spreading and teaching is done by the prophets. If one asks a prophet that what the explanation of a certain law is, he will not address the query. Like if Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is asked to tell that why there are only two Farz and two Sunnah in the Fajr prayer why not four; Muhammad (PBUH) will not divulge its explanation because it is not the role of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); the responsibility of the prophet is only to spread the law but to explain the citation of the law. For this there is a separate division which in the worldly system is called Judiciary. In the worldly system the Judiciary department explains the law and in the true system of Allah it is done by the division of Walayat (Sufism). Allah neither spread the law nor does He elucidate and He will not even protect it. There is separate division for the protection of the laws of Allah and it is IMAMATE.
In the light of the above verse and the explanation, the Book is the law of Allah, the Balance is Walayat (Judiciary) and the Iron is IMAMATE. If you concentrate a bit on the verse it will be clear that by balance it means to do justice or to choose between right or wrong and for anyone to be able to do it must have the complete knowledge and explanation of the laws, rules and regulations. When a person files a case in the court he knows the law but what he does not know is the proper application of it which is only explained by the sitting judge. Likewise the explanation of the laws of Allah will be done by the division of Walayat. And the protection will be the responsibility of IMAMATE; the history proves it and the future will also provide evidence.
There is no country in the world which exists without the judicial and the defense system except for Japan, Sweden and Switzerland which do not have law enforcement agency. They do not have their own defense system instead they have entered in to agreement with United States of America to do the task of law enforcement whenever they face internal or external security issues. If the imperfect system of the world cannot function properly without the Justice and Defense divisions than how can the perfect and true system of universe survive without Walayat and IMAMATE. So when Walayat and IMAMATE will perform their distinctive role independently it will help Allah and His Prophet in the smooth running of the system just like a president is being helped by the judiciary and army; take them away from him and he will be helpless. To help himself the president appoints the Chief Justice and Army and Police Chiefs; similarly the department of Walayat and IMAMATE were created by Allah when He created the universe. They have existed from the Day One and will continue to exist even after the Day of Judgment.
Before moving in to further details I would like to share with you an incident which almost all of us know about as it is related to Clinton-Monica affair. I would not go in to the details of what happened because it is not relevant to our subject but we will start it from the point where a Judge of a provincial court (high court) found Mr. Clinton guilty. The president accepted the decision but filed appeal in Supreme Court which upheld the decision of high Court and asked Mr. Clinton to either apologize to the nation or face the punishment. Mr. Clinton apologized to the nation and he also wrote a letter to the judge of the High Court who gave verdict against him. He wrote that “I am happy to see that we have such judges in America who hold the law supreme even for the president. I will be more than happy to meet you in person in White House and have lunch with you.” The judge of the High Court replied to the president through letter that “It does not suit well to judges and also I do not have any association with the White House. My job is to give citation on the law, why should I come to White House?” It is evident from above example of the president of United States of America that under perfect circumstances the president cannot disagree with the explanation of the Judiciary.
Based on the above mentioned details, the sending of divine revelation (Wahee) is purely in the hands of Allah alone The Owner and Creator of the universe, and the revelation sent is one such law and code of ethics which the prophets will state and preach publicly. The prophets have neither said anything from their own self nor have ever made a regulation. For the prophets it is written in Quran about 40-50 times that your job is to only proclaim the divine message clearly. It is evident from Quran, Surah Yaseen verse 17, “And our duty is only to proclaim the clear Message.” Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself always said that whatever I am telling is being received from Allah through the divine revelation. In the same way the Sufi and Imam will neither make a law nor will ever preach it. Allah alone makes all the rules and regulations and the message will always come from Allah as only He can send the divine message. The Quran was sent down on Apostle of Allah, Muhammad (PBUH) via revelation through angel Jibraeel and before Quran; Torah, Bible, Gospel and the Book of Ibrahim all were the divine message sent by Allah, this fact is mentioned in Quran. None of the prophet has ever proclaimed that what he is telling is a message from him or someone has told him this thing; he would always say that I have received this message from Allah. This means that whatever is there in Quran is from Allah and was sent by Allah and was received by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the form of divine message.
Likewise, if there is a need to elaborate whatever message is sent by Allah to his prophet then only the Sufi (Wali Allah) will do it. An incident of Hazrat Musa is mentioned in Quran that he stopped at a place there was a Sufi (Wali Allah) present at that place, he said something to Hazrat Musa and he got worried, the Sufi (Wali Allah) said do not worry I will give you an explanation of it. It also happened with Hazrat Ibrahim and it is mentioned in Surah Baqarah of the Holy Quran that when he required the inference of the divine message, the Sufi (Wali Allah) of his time explained him that it is like that. Hazrat Dawood also got enlightenment from a Sufi (Wali Allah) on the celestial message its citation is there in Surah Al-Anbiya of Quran. It is also evident from the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad and history as well that whenever a question arose which required certain clarification of the revelation the Sufi (Wali Allah) of that time, whose name was Hazrat Ali, used to tell him the proper denotation. By coincidence Hazrat Ali was an Imam as well but he donned the role of Imam only after the demise of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). When Muawiyah, son of Abu Sufiyaan and Hinda, tried to make changes in the laws of Allah and introduced new laws then Hazrat Ali took his sword and stood against him. Hazrat Ali did not make a call on Allah, Prophet or even Sufi of the time (he himself was the Wali) he just went ahead and kept going till he was martyred and after Hazrat Ali the rest of the Imams kept fighting the people who stood up against the laws of Allah and died. There cannot be any other befitting example of IMAMATE standing up against the evil than the Incident of Karbala, in which Hazrat Imam Hussain called war on Yazid with some 70 odd people, who were without any weaponry, and most of them were the family members of Hazrat Imam Hussain; still this did not deter him in his fight against the evil doings and the innovations in laws of Allah. He alone travelled and fought the battle only to establish the writ of Allah and attained martyrdom. Without a doubt whatever presence Islam has in the world now is because of the efforts of Hazrat Hussain, the third Imam. While fighting against the FITNAS he had set such precedence, such an example that no one really dared making changes in the laws of Allah.
This is the era of the twelfth Imam, Hazrat Mehdi and till the time of his emergence it will remain his era. He is yet to perform his role and all the mischief that are fast spreading against the teachings of holy Quran and the rules and regulations ordained by Allah, he will appear and settle all this waywardness like his predecessors.
With reference to this verse of Surah Al Hadeed the word Iron has been used with the prefix “AL” which means that it is referring towards something in particular. This word “ALHADEED” is in fact referring to “Zulfiqar”, the sword of IMAMATE. The swrod Zulfiqar remained in the usage of the first Imam Hazrat Ali until his death and after that the sword was used by of all the Imams that followed him. The same sword, Zulfiqar, will be used by Imam Mehdi to eradicate all the FITNAS against Islam.
In the light of the rationalization above it appears that the imperfect systems of governance we have in the world today are in fact have been derived from the perfect and true system of Almighty Allah and if I say that it is the Sunnah of Almighty Allah it is justified. Allah as a Creator and Owner is the Lord of all the lords makes the laws and Shari’at and then gives His Shari’at to the Prophets and it is their responsibility to proclaim the law. When the time of explanation of the law will come it will not be done by Allah and Prophet, it will be done by the Sufi (Wali Allah) just like the Judiciary in our present system. The fourth department is of IMAMATE and its responsibility is to protect the laws of Allah. If the internal or external forces stand up against the Laws of Allah then the Imam of the time will act. These four branches are as distinct as the ones we have in place in the world and they do not interact and interfere in anybody’s tasks they just carry on their own individual roles. No one will make the Law except Allah and the Prophet will just state the laws of Allah publicly, the subtext of the laws will be explained by a Sufi (Wali Allah) and the protection of the laws of Allah will be the sole responsibility of IMAMATE. It is of utmost importance to keep this in mind that in no way one department has superiority over the other and for this particular reason they should not be compared. They have designated tasks and they keep performing them independently.
The totality of a country is incomplete without these four divisions; one is the identity of the country; the president or the king, the second division is of head of the government prime minister, third one is the judiciary and the fourth one is of protection i.e. army and police. Wherever in the world this basic system is religiously practiced, good governance is working perfectly well but where there is a shift in the level of commands they are facing problems. The running of a country is dependent upon the performing the designated and exclusive role and responsibilities assigned to each of the pillars of the State. Till the time there will be no interference in the task of one and other the system of governance will sail smoothly. All of us must have witnessed this within our country or abroad as well. Needless to say, that all will be well if we adhere to and carry out the command of the divine rule. Any deviation will only create problems, issues and troubles like the one we have faced in the past and are continuously experiencing.
Much similar to the worldly system of governance the totality of the perfect system of the Universe is incomplete without these four divisions; Tauheed (Uniqueness), Prophet Hood, WALAYAT and IMAMATE. Like we all know that the process of law making culminated with Holy Quran about 1400 years ago, the last Book and Shari’at of Almighty Allah and are also aware of the fact that Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the last Prophet of Allah. Then after Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) how Islam has reached us intact? As the prophet hood was culminated with Him and this means that no new prophet will come on the face of the earth. It is pertinent to mention here that had it not been the division of WALAYAT and IMAMATE the religion Islam would never have reached us. A rational observation of the facts might lead us to the answer that it was only due to the assiduous and untiring efforts of WALAYAT and the sacrifices of IMAMATE that the religion Islam has reached us and we now have the privilege to proudly say before the world that “We are Muslims”. It is very much clear that in the present era only two divisions are functional WALAYAT and IMAMATE. Thus we can say that the balance in the perfect system of governance of the universe has been maintained by these two divisions. The branch of Walayat is continuously doing the explanation and citation of the laws of Allah and will carry on this responsibility till the Day of Judgment; while the fourth division IMAMATE has performed its role in the past and in this era Hazrat Mehdi, the Twelfth Imam, will execute the responsibility of safeguarding and protecting the laws of Almighty Allah. So it would not be wrong if someone assume that the perfect universal system has been kept operational by WALAYAT and IMAMATE by performing their distinctive and distinguished task persistently and continuously.