Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Modern State vs. Allah's Commands

Albert Jay Nock in 1936, wrote about the reality of morality and law in the context of a State.
...the State is entirely dissociated from moral considerations. Like the old-time king, it stands alone, outside any ethical code, with no prescribed duty to anyone, and no responsibility but to itself; it is its own judge of its own acts. As Mussolini puts it, "The State embraces everything, and nothing has value outside the State. The State creates right." In this view, whatever the State disallows is wrong, because the State disallows it; and whatever the State allows is right, because the State allows it. There is no other criterion of right and wrong but the approval or disapproval of the State. There is no criterion of justice between man and man except the interest of the State. If what one man does to another affects the State favorably, it is just (even fraud, arson, theft, murder) and if unfavorably, it is unjust.
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the dangerous thing is not what actually happens here or there, but the general subversion of moral theory with respect to the State, for this subversion permits anything not only to happen but to be approved. Loose talk about "it can't happen here" is crudely superficial. Given a people thoroughly penetrated with the idea that the State may do anything it likes and can do no wrong, and anything inimical to the interest of the people can happen anywhere.
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As with the State, so with the political party. In the struggle to get control of the State's machinery, the most flagitious misdemeanors are divested of any moral character in the estimation of the public, on the ground that the party shares the moral exemptions accorded the State. Mendacity, duplicity, breach of trust, diversion of public money to party purposes are accepted as acts having no moral quality.
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Whichever party wins, whichever candidate is elected, their measures will be taken, not for maintaining the liberties and security of the people, but for "assuring the position of the State" — that is to say, their own position — by every means consistent with what the traffic will bear; and the traffic will bear as much and no more from one party than from another, as much and no more from Mr. Roosevelt than from Mr. Landon, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Lemke, or Mr. Browder.

Compare this to what we have been ordered as Muslims. The only moral and legal standard should be that provided by Allah and His Messenger (SAWS). Of course there is need of a state. But the functions of a state are severely limited. It has the duty to avoid injustice and to settle any disputes that may arise. The model Islamic state, the one established by the Khulafa-e-Rashidoon, was the Khilafah. In a Khilafah only the law of Allah prevails. There can be no legislature. The purpose of the Khilafah is to enforce what Allah has ordered. Period.

In addition, the Khaleefah (the head of the Khilafah State), is not above the law, as most political characters are in a man-made State. He may be prosecuted for crimes just as easily as any other citizen in the Khilafah State. In addition he regularly faces scrutiny and prosecution by the Court of Unjust Acts, which monitors all actions taken by the Khaleefah. Contrast this with the "immunity" enjoyed by most leaders of State in today's world. Some States go to the extent of providing past presidents with security for their entire lives, making sure they are never tried in any court. The case of George Bush Jr. is prominent in this regard.

The difference stems logically from the fact that the modern State is made by men. The institutions and the systems implemented by the State are therefore made to serve men. Men who rule, of course. It is easy to see how the gears of State can be made to turn in favor of the men who turn them. This is human nature. On the other hand, a Khilafah's internal workings are specified by the life of the Prophet (SAWS) and ijma'a of the Sahabah. These have not been made to serve the holders of power, but to serve Allah and to implement his will.

In the analysis of States we should be careful not to confuse the ideology of the State with its actual implementation. These are two separate things. The ideology behind democracy and communism are both very noble. However, it is in the actual implementation that men inevitably exercise their corruption.

An example is suffrage. The right to vote is often quoted as proof that democracy equates freedom. However, as a serious study of modern democracy shows, suffrage does not matter. It is the execution of power that matters. A vote is merely an illusion that grants citizens the fantasy that they are in control. We should be wary of appeals to ideals and should carefully observe how the machinery actually works. This is the only way we can study and compare different systems of State and select the best one.

Any man made system, whether it be democracy, monarchy, dictatorship or communism, inevitably falls into the same trap. It concentrates power in the hands of a few, strips people of their freedoms and makes injustice legal. Democracies are just as susceptible to this as communes.

When one observes democracies around the world implementing their own laws, making sure privileged groups gain benefits, we see the truth behind Allah's wisdom. A State with powers of legislature will eventually deteriorate into immorality and corruption in order to advantage a select few. This is proven again and again by recorded history over several millennia. From Rome to Russia, to the United States. Yet still we cling to wrong and utterly destructive ideas.

May Allah guide us all to the straight path.

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