This is an essay on “GOOD GOVERNANCE IN ISLAM” for CSS, PMS, and All Judiciary examinations. The Holy Quran describes good governance as the law of justice, just and principled order, and compliance of rights and responsibilities in society. So here is a complete essay on the topic of good governance in Islam for CSS, PMS, and All other Judiciary Examinations.
Essay on “GOOD GOVERNANCE IN ISLAM”
Leading an Islamic center is a solemn responsibility that entails great consequences for both the community and the individual leader. The Qur’an stresses the importance of leading with wisdom and justice and warns against complacency in conducting one’s leadership duties. “O you who believe! betray not the trust of Allah and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.” (8:27) “God doth command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice.” (4:58).
Muslim communities that leave decisions to the whims of individual leaders are in violation of divine commandments. Communities should strive to institutionalize their practices, by setting specialized committees, adopting sound procedures, and establish a due process to ensure fairness.
Much resource is wasted in quarrels because the community has no clear and transparent rules to guide actions and relations. A great deal of confusion and friction can be avoided when the community adopts a well-developed constitution and bylaws, and when community leaders embrace a code of ethics that sets parameters for using their authority judiciously.
Decision-making should be based on consultation, and should always be guided by established principles and the collective wisdom of the community. The American Muslim community is very diverse, and community leaders must strive to accommodate various practices recognized by various schools of fiqh or rooted in established cultural traditions, as long as the latter do not contravene established Islamic principles.
- The leadership of the Islamic center should .ensure that the center is governed by clear and fair rules and guidelines rooted in Islamic teachings and approved by the general body.
- Islamic center leaders should closely and reasonably adhere to established policies and procedures.
- Decisions that fall within the mandate of the governing the body should be taken after proper consultation with elected leaders. Elected leaders should, however, consult with the general body in matters that fall outside their constitutional authority.
- Community leaders must ensure that the rules and procedures that govern conduct in the Islamic center respect the diversity of the Muslim community. Enforcing limited interpretations of Islam, or practices specific to a particular Muslim culture or tradition, are bound to exclude important segments of the Muslim community, alienate Muslims who would otherwise add to the
strength of the community, and inhibit the growth of Islam in North America.
- Islamic centers should strive to hire full-time imams and administrators and ensure that they are well qualified and well paid to do the work assigned to them.
- Imams, and other individuals involved in teaching Islam and providing religious and moral guidance, must be well versed in Islam and reasona_bly acquainted with American culture and institutions. The community should provide learning opportunities for its imams and public
- Imams and community leaders should adhere to a code of ethics developed by the community, or adopt the one designed by ISNA, and pledge to uphold it and adhere to its stipulations.
- Islamic centers must set a due process for handling all grievances. The due process must ensure fairness and be clear and sufficiently transparent.
Justice is an absolute standard for the conduct of human relations while democracy is a formalism by which decisions are made. In modern times, Western societies have had more success in establishing a degree of domestic justice within a democratic formalism than have Muslim societies.
Assertions that this is because Islam is inherently unjust or undemocratic are fallacious. I shall argue instead that Muslims face two special challenges. Democracy is a contentious term with conflicting definitions. Although attracted to the concept, the Muslim world has had insufficient familiarity with its nuances and insufficient experience with its practice.
We may compare the turns and upheavals faced by the British in the centuries it took to establish their democracy with the difficult and painful progress of Iran in establishing an Islamic republican government. We may also compare the obstacles faced by the Americans in moving from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution with the constitutional issues facing the Iraqis today.
In public administration, all the key public functionaries ought to be people of high caliber, just energetic, and must possess qualities of head and heart. In the words of the fourth rightly guided Caliph Hazrat Ali (RA), they should have the qualities of refinement, experience, alertness, power of comprehending problems, secrecy, freedom from greed, and lust.
A careful analysis of principles of administration and qualities of an administrator from an Islamic point of view would show that man’s personal character is the key to good governance.
Perhaps the most exhaustive work on Islamic ethics of administration and qualities of an administrator is by a Pakistani specialist on public administration Shaukat Ali. His book “Administrative Ethics in a Muslim State” offers a comprehensive survey of instructions in the Holy Qur’an and “Traditions” on the subject.
The other monumental work on the Islamic system of administration is by Dr. Mohammad Al Burray of Medina University. The book is titled “Administrative Development: An Islamic perspective.
The following advice to Governor (Wali) Mali AlkAshtar contained in a letter of Hazrat Ali (RA) gives, in a nutshell, the qualities of an administrator. He should be an ideal for his staﬀ and fellow citizens and choose the most qualified yet pious, honest, truthful, and God-fearing men for his administrative structure.
He should be impartial and dispense justice with equity and should be very careful about the back biters, sycophants, corrupt, and scandal-mongers. He should constantly remain in contact with his staff consult them and should not issue authoritative and arbitrary orders.
He should strike against corruption, injustice, and evil usages of authority against citizens and take responsibility for any defect in his subordinates and staﬀ. He should not reserve for himself or his relatives any common property in which others have a share and stake.
If studied carefully, this letter of Hazrat Ali (RA) (text available in Nahjul Balagha) is a blueprint for eﬀicient administration. It is based on the golden principles of Islam. The emphasis is on the character of the administrators.
They should continuously watch that justice, social equity and honesty prevail in the society and conduct themselves as servants of the people and trustees of state and of those below them in command as well as the public in general. They should love their fellow citizen as they love themselves and their families and not behave like rulers.
A long letter written during the rule of the Abbasid Caliph AI-Marun is another best available source on the principles of administration in Islamic literature.
Written by Tahir lbn AI-Husayn, AI-Mamun’s general, to his son Abdullah lbn Tahir. This letter is summarized in lbn-e-Khaldun’s “Muqqaddamah”. According to lbn-e-Khaldun, Tahir in this letter to his son gave him advice concerning all religious and ethical matters.
He urged him to strive for virtue and good qualities in a manner so exemplary that no king or commander can do without. The general theme of this letter is the duties and responsibilities of
the administrative leaders or executives.
In the letter principles of administration abound and deal with accounta_bility and punishment, moderation in administration, avoidance of falsehoods, consultation with specialists, on employment policy, supervision and foresight, punctuality, redressal of grievances and complaints, care for subordinates and the people of the State generally, a time schedule for officials, and policies governing revenue and expenditure.
Since the Islamic system is democratic in nature and is based on Shariah and the Sunnah, there is no place in this system for dictatorial leadership, authoritarian attitude, and one-man decision-making. This is the principle which forms a constant current in the Islamic system of administration. The system is human in nature, content, and application. When Hazrat Omar (RA) would appoint a governor, he would invariably advise the incumbent.
“Not to make reception halls so that you are accessible to everyone, not to eat refined flour as it is not available to all citizens of the Ummah, not to wear thin cloth because this would make you easy going and not to ride a Turkish horse because this would make you haughty”.
There is absolutely no doubt that principles of administration in Islam are by far the most scientific and comprehensive set of principles for effective and efficient administration. Instructions of Hazrat Omar (RA) and Hazrat Ali (RA) were noted earlier to provide a complete frame for Islamic administration.
The Islamic system of justice includes social justice, which means that the Government must manage to meet and fulfill the needs and requirements of all citizens because they have a rightful share in State resources and are bonafide citizens of the country.
This includes the provision of jobs, means of subsistence, and economic justice. This further implies that it is the responsibility of the State to provide food, shelter, and clothing to all the citizens of the State. Economic justice is aimed at equitable distribution of means of living and check the concentration of wealth in a few hands.
That is why the rightly guided second Caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) refused to allot lands to the Muslim soldiers and commanders in areas conquered by Muslims in Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
Only justice can create discipline in the life of the people. Also essential is administrative justice, which means that all State functionaries are’ also subject to accountability and do not consider and treat people as “slaves” or “personal servants”. They should not insult the people in any manner. They should be honest and efficiently administer public aﬀairs. It should be ensured that the concentration of wealth in one class or in a few hands does not occur.
According to lbn-e-Khaldun, a successful and viable administrative setup is that in which people’s participation is ensured. If the governed feel that they share the administrative process, the society would be stable.
What lbn-e-Khaldun observed is reflected in the modern theory of New Public Administration(NPA) that administration should be such as make people feel that they are equal partners in the process of planning, administration, and implementation. Thus public participation is an essential part of the Islamic model of administration.
During the caliphate of the first four rightly guided Caliphs and the rule of Umayyads and partly during Abbasid rule and under Fatimids in Egypt, public administration was a great success because of its efficiency and God-fearing administrators.
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