View Full Version : Sovereignty Explain sovereignty in Islam

12-12-2011, 01:36 AM
Q. Explain sovereignty in Islam. (1997)
1. Introduction
The concept of sovereignty in Islam is entirely different from western concept of sovereignty. Sovereignty as a western expression does not stand equivalent to the Islamic attributes of Allah almighty. It is derived from Quran and Sunnah.
2. Meaning of sovereignty
The word sovereignty has been derived from the Latin word “Superanus” which means the supremacy of one over the other.
(I) General meaning
Sovereignty may be defined in a general meaning as under.
“The supreme power of authority of an individual or a group of individuals which is unquestioningly obeyed the bulk of people in the state.”
3. Islamic concept of sovereignty
The basic tenet of Islam is the sovereignty of Allah. Islam teaches that sovereignty or supreme power belongs to Allah and Allah alone.
Quran says:
“To Allah belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth.” (42: 48)
“It is He who gives life and death and he has power over all things.” (42: 48)
“He is the first and the last the Evident and the Immanent” (47: 3)
4. Attributes of Allah’s sovereignty
The sovereignty of Allah has the following attributes.
(I) Absolute
Allah is almighty. He is supreme over all things. He is malik-al-mulk and Malik-un-Nas. Quran says:
“Say, Allah is the creator of all things and He is one, the Almighty.” (Ar-Rad: 16)
(II) Indivisible
Sovereignty of Allah is indivisible. It cannot be divided. There is not God Except Him.
Quran says:
“Your God is one God, there is no God save Him, the beneficient, the Merciful.” (Al-Baqrah: 163)
(III) Inalienable
Allah’s sovereignty is inalienable it cannot be given away to anyone nor it is shared with anyone else.
(IV) Unlimited
The powers of Allah are supreme and unlimited.
Quran says:
“The whole command is with Allah in all things.” (Ar-Red: 31)
(V) Universal
Allah’s sovereignty is universal. It extends to every particle in the heavens and on the earth. Quran says:
“Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens (Of his sovereignty) for men of understanding.” (Al-Imran: 190)
(VI) Comprehensive
The sovereignty of Allah is comprehensive. There is no exception to his power.
(VII) Eternal
Allah’s sovereignty is eternal, form the beginning of the time to the and end of time. It is permanent and everlasting.
(VIII) Original
Allah’s sovereignty is not derived from any being or authority superior to Him. He is himself sovereign. Quran says:
“Allah’s creator of all things and He is guardian over all things.” (Az-Zumar: 62)
5. Attributive names of Allah’s sovereignty
Allah’s sovereignty is also reflected from his Attributive names or Asmaa-ul-Sifaat. Some of them are as follows.
(i) Al-Wahab The Granter
(ii) Al-Khaliq The Certain
(iii) Al-Ahad Only One
(iv) Hai Eternally Alive
(v) Al-Jabbar The reckoner
(vi) Al-Qadir The Omnipotent
(vii) Al-Qadiam The Eternal
6. Vicegerency of men
Allah Almighty is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth. He delegates authority for the administration of peace and justice as a trust to such men as He wills. Those who exercise authority form a state, but their authority is a trust, to be exercised so long as they dispense justice, and within the limitation prescribed by Allah Almighty.
Quran says:
“Lo! The earth is Allah’s he gives it for an inheritance to whom He will. And lo! The sequel is for those who keep their duty (unto Him).”
“”And when the lord said unto the angels Lo! I am about to place khalifa (Vicegerent) in the earth.” (2: 30)
7. Concept of sovereignty and amir in Pakistan
The principle of sovereignty is recognized and embodied in the preamble of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan.
“Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs Almighty Allah, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him as a sacred trust.”
The amir may be one or group of men, such as legislature. But they exercise authority only in a limited sense, that is within the limits imposed by Allah and His sovereignty. The conctitution of Pakistan, 1973 declares.
“And where it is the will of people of Pakistan t establish an order, wherein the state shall exercise its power and authority through the chosen representatives of the people.”
It means that the supreme authority in Islam can lie with a single ruler or with a legislature.
8. Concept of sovereignty in west
The concept of sovereignty is a modern concept, born with the modern state. It was propounded by Jean Bodin first in 1576. He declare sovereignty not only the power to make law, but also to be itself above law. Following writers also defines sovereignty.
(i) Blackstone says
“It is the supreme, irresistible, absolute, uncontrolled authority in the state.”
(ii) Willoughby says
“If a human superior not in the habit of obedience to a like superior receive habitual obedience from the bulk of a given society.
(I) Analysis
The western concept of sovereignty is imperfect and there are limitations on it. According to western concept the sovereign is some determinate human being with unlimited powers and the sovereignty is discussed with reference to the state. It means there can be as many sovereigns as states in the world. This whole concept is too vague as we can see that there are many limitations on state, such as international, human moral etc. as compared to this, Islamic concept of sovereignty is more realistic and logical. The sovereignty of Allah is unlimited and extends to whole universe, heavens and the earth.
9. Differences between Islamic concept of sovereignty and western concept of sovereignty
I. As to authority
(i) In Islam sovereignty of entire universe belongs to God.
(ii) In western concept sovereignty belongs to people.
II. As to kinds of sovereignty
(i) In Islam there is no kind of sovereignty.
(ii) In western concept sovereignty his different kinds.
III. As to state
(i) Sovereignty in Islam is not subject to state.
(ii) In western concept there must be state for sovereignty.
IV. As to scope
(i) Islamic concept of sovereignty has wider scope.
(ii) Western concept of sovereignty has less scope.
V. As to perfection
(i) Islamic concept of sovereignty is perfect in all aspect.
(ii) Western concept of sovereignty is imperfect.
VI. As to nature
(i) Islamic concept is permanent nature.
(ii) Western concept is temporary nature.
10. Conclusion
To conclude, I can say, that the Islamic theory of sovereignty is radically different from the western theories of sovereignty. It is derived from the Quran and Sunnah, which are its basic sources. Islam teaches that the sovereignty belongs to Allah alone and no human being can be the lord of other human beings.