Today, the most deceptive and magical slogan is democracy. But what is it and where is it needs to be appraised and seriously debated. If we sincerely probe it in the essence of its definition, it is practically nowhere to be seen any more. The concept of the government of the people, by the people and for the people has been pushed aside and transformed into ‘government of few people , on all people, and not for people’. This transformation of the western type of democracy is proving far more destructive than the dictatorial form of government for the world in general and the Muslim world, in particular. But how?

We must understand that in personal or dictatorial form of government people are ruled by one person and in normal circumstances all decisions are taken with his consent. When a specific party assumes power as a result of obtaining majority in elections, the form of government that follows is branded as democratic, but it is also personal as majority of its decisions are taken and implemented by the leader of the elected house in consultation with a select few (cabinet) and no one dare refuse or dissent. In our case, if anyone differs he or she is branded to have joined the opposition. In the general practical and administrative terms, leader of the house acts sometimes as a leader while mostly as the ordering authority. In fact, this cluster of people i.e. the Parliament is also subservient to the leader of the house i.e. the Prime Minister. Parliament is a group of members, yet this group is one known as the treasury benches who dare not oppose their leader, therefore they jointly become one person to take decision. Whatever law is passed though it is done collectively yet it is approved by majority decision. But no one goes against   the will of the leader of the house. Therefore, practically there is no significance of an individual’s opinion, only majority decision is considered valid and proper. So as explained above being subservient to the will of the leader of the house this collective opinion can easily be an order and by no means a consensus. So in fact while in dictatorial regime rule is by one or single person; in the democratic system rule is by a single party; all the rest are are subservient to that party, e.g. assertive decisions based on democratic authority such as non development expenses and discretionary financial powers make them squander country’s wealth at will considering these to be OPM, other people’s money. Such practices might suggest that one man’s rule is better than the rule of hundreds. However, whether the rule is of one or many, practically there is little freedom in either of the systems. One cannot do what one wishes to do as absolute freedom will result in chaos in the world.

In the personal or dictatorial rule decisions are based on hereditary, family considerations, affiliations or personal whims. In a democratic system elections are held as per term allowed by the constitution of a country. In third world countries, elections result in chaos, enmities, and scuffles leading to murders, besides entailing economic perils. All this results in uncertainty as has been often evident in the subcontinent. In the dictatorial rule there is no precondition of ability and capability. Similarly the person irrespective of ability or capability gets elected on the basis or obtaining maximum votes in a democratic system. Both in dictatorial and democratic system leaders could be good or bad.

The so called advantage of democracy is that it is considered to be the real rule of the people. If there is a consensus on anything good or bad the democratic governments are bound by that decision. Morals and ethics have no value or consideration nor are the decisions necessarily in consonance with any type of sharia. The decisions in a democratic system are based upon only the will of the majority present in parliament where the opinion of an honest, well meaning and capable person has no value. Allah Kareem commands in Holy Quran:

“Thus We have sent it down, being a command in Arabic, And if you follow their desires, after the knowledge that has come to you there shall be neither a friend for you against Allah, nor a saviour

–  (Sura Al Rad ,Part 13,Ayat 37)

One of the most glaring example is of the decision of the majority in western democracy to legalize sodomy though despised even in their and other societies.

Thus In a democratic form of government decisions are not always based on logic; common sense has no value. Allah Kareem regarding the will or desire of the majority of people, commands in Quran,

“ O Muhammad (pbuh), if you obey the majority of those on earth, they will make you lose the way of Allah. They follow nothing but whims and they do nothing but make conjectures.”

– (Sura Al Anaam, Part 8,Ayat 116)

In the present day democracy, the law making is done by the ruling party, though other parties in parliament also play their role, but because of the majority of the ruling party they have very little say. It is natural, therefore, that in enacting laws personal objectives, inclinations and vested interests might be of primary importance, which, though, might be devoid of justice and equality. The other parties accept them like a bitter pill because they have no choice. This results in continuous bickering mutual running down of each other. As soon as the government changes in a third world country all that has been done is scrapped; the newly elected majority party has its own objectives and motives.

The party in power becomes the master of the country’s fate and through different actions becomes the recipient of state benefits, while the people stand deprived of  them. And at times the ruling party might become absolute and dictatorial in nature and actions.

In one way, the right of appeal of the people is usurped and the ruling party’s decisions are enforced since no one could successfully challenge the government. In other words, this becomes Democratic Martial Law. The only difference being that instead of a single person’s absolute rule, it becomes absolute rule by a collection of persons who have little regard for the law. The case in point is MNAs, MPAs, Senators, etc. Our democratic leaders blatantly flout the law considering it their democratic right to use cars without registration and/or display only their party flags or their parliamentary position.

It seems axiomatic to say that where western democracy becomes fully entrenched, corruption, bad governance and mutual discords ensue. It is thus evident that democracy based on the opinion and support of the majority results in certain evils; for example, man and woman living together without wedlock and legalising sodomy.

In the modern day democracy a new type of trade has emerged i.e. in some cases even for a single vote hundreds of millions are paid to win favour. Because of this no honest or cash strapped can win election. At this I just remember one supplication;

“ O Allah do not force such rulers on us who do not have mercy on us.”

Thus, it clearly shows that if shortcomings of a dictatorial rule are present in democratic system as well, some solution has to be found? In my opinion, it is not Western democracy, but Islamic form of governance or in other words ‘Islamic Democracy’ that should become the norm. But it is easy to say or call for Islamic democracy but rather difficult to define in the modern world’s context?

Islamic form of governance or Islamic Democracy

Islamic form of governance means governance of society based on rules of equity and justice in which the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak are all treated and dealt with equally. Islamic government is free from the ills and evils of modern day democracy. Although it is somewhat similar to personal or one man rule yet Islamic Democracy is far better than modern day democracies because…

In Islamic Democracy every citizen of the country can question the top leadership whereas in today’s democracy only the elected and that also an opposition member can raise his or her voice.

In Islamic democracy very ordinary citizen can stop the ruler/s in doing an illegal or anti sharia act , whereas in modern democracy it is neither possible nor accepted. Once having cast the vote the nation has to wait for the next elections to counter or check the ruling government.

Thus in Islamic democracy there is personal rule of the old days. The modern day democracy claims that the rule is of the people; while factually once in power the people are totally left at the mercy of the illiterate, uncouth and selfish rulers who can reject their opinion on the strength of majority.

In Islamic form of government you are only required to obey the ruler/s till their actions and orders are in consonance with sharia, but in modern day democracy the rulers supported by the decision of the elected majority, can enforce any law even if it is against the rights or welfare of the people.

Religion of state

There is no government in the world which does not follow any religion. The American, the British, the Europeans follow Christianity, the Russians’ religion is communism, Islamic countries follow Islam and India despite claiming to be following secularism, Hinduism.

Therefore today, if we follow rules of governance purely based upon Islamic principles there is no reason why we cannot introduce such governance which is based on high principles that help the needy and the weak living in Pakistan. It is incumbent upon us, therefore, to adopt the golden principles taught to us in the Holy Quran and explained to us by the Holy Prophet and his companions.

n    The writer is President Malik Khuda Bakhsh Zarai Foundation.