Is Democracy Better Than Islamic Governance?
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Is Democracy Better Than Islamic Governance?


Is democracy the ideal form of
government? this is something that Muslims have to think about very
carefully. we hear from our context in the modern day about how democracy is
supposed to be the best form of government, the most just form of
government, but this claim can create doubt for Muslims. why? because democracy
is not something that is advocated explicitly within the Quran and the
Sunnah of the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhi wa sallam. the Prophet didn’t establish
a representational democracy in Medina The rightly
guided caliphs didn’t establish a kind of democratic system with branches of
government and so forth. so if this is the best form of
government then why wasn’t it revealed? why isn’t it a part of guidance? because
why would we think that human beings could conceive of and think of and
theorize and come up with a form of government that is better than what came
to the Prophet in the final revelation? how do we address
this kind of doubt? well we have to in my opinion go and ask a very fundamental
question: why is democracy considered the best form of government? and if you take
any kind of government class within grade school or college what you’ll hear
is that one of the main features of democracies that make them superior and
more just is the notion of checks and balances.
what is checks and balances? the idea is that power is distributed across
different branches within the government and these three branches check each
other’s power so that no one group or one individual can monopolize power
and exercise this kind of unfettered unhindered authority over the rest of
the nation. so in the United States for example you have the executive branch,
the judicial branch, and the legislative branch. basically the president, Congress,
and Supreme Court to make things very simple and these three branches check
each other’s power and not one branch can just make decisions about what laws
the country should follow or what Wars should be fought and all of these kinds
of major national decisions have to be made in light of all three branches not
just one branch making decisions for everyone. so this is checks and balances
and on paper theoretically it seems to make a lot of sense and the thing is
that in Islam we also have this notion of checks and balances but the checks
and balances that we find in Islam are much more real and tangible than
what I consider to be fake or superficial checks and balances found
within Western democracies in the modern day. so let me explain what I mean by this.
if we look at the US government or the government of any Western nation that
claims to be a democracy we find a lot of corruption, we find a lot of
corruption where you have lobbyists and different political parties and action
groups that manipulate the branches of government in their favor and so when we
see for example in the US context health insurance companies that will
lobby Congress and will lobby the President of the United States they are
trying to influence these branches of government with money to make laws that
will benefit the insurance companies financially.
this is a type of corruption because these congressmen, the president,
senators they are supposed to represent the interests of people but because of
money they end up representing the
interests of the corporations that are lobbying them and paying them and so on
and so forth. so it’s very easy as we see throughout US history for interest
groups to Lobby and influence the different branches of government and
this has a very bad effect. and that’s why we see so much injustice when we
look at the history of the United States injustice that anyone can recognize when
we look at the genocide of the Native Americans, when we look at the oppression
of African Americans when we look at atrocities like the bombings of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all of the different atrocities that America has
been involved with in war crimes throughout its history, even recently
look at the invasions of Iraq Afghanistan, Libya all of this happened
with the branches of government all in agreement, all three branches. and so this
idea that having three branches prevents corruption and prevents atrocities and
prevents genocide, this is disproven by American history itself and we see that
even up until this day when you have arguably one of the most corrupt
presidents in Donald Trump. now someone could say that, Daniel, this is democracy that’s gone wrong but democracy in the ideal case works. it’s
supposed to work. nowadays, yeah there’s all kinds of problems but those are not
really essential to what democracy is. if we could have an ideal situation and if
we just implement a few more anti-corruption laws or maybe anti
lobbying laws, legislation then we wouldn’t have these kinds of problems.
this is a counter argument so as critical thinkers we have to anticipate
this counter argument and give a response. so my response and maybe you
can have a different response if you think about it is that, no there is a
fundamental problem here with democracy because we have to ask what are the laws
of a democracy going to be based on? if they’re going to be just based on
popular opinion and people who are voting for representatives in Congress
or in the president who are going to implement laws based on popular opinion,
then who says that popular opinion is going to be moral? who says that popular
opinion is going to arrive at what is truly just? in fact it’s very easy to
manipulate a population and we see this throughout American history and even to
this day if you look at the way that mass media and social media and
educational institutions are able to manipulate public opinion you can see
that public opinion is no check on people’s baser instincts and in fact
popular opinion can lead a nation quite astray in terms of justice and morality.
the thing is that democracy cannot be a substitute for morality and this is
where religion is so important and this is where Islam as the religion
of truth with true morality, God our Creator, Allah, is sending guidance,
sending rules on right and wrong and what is truly just that can be a check
on a government. if you have a standard, an objective standard then that can be
used as a check to basically identify whether a government or a leader is
making decisions that are good or bad, just or unjust. you have to have that
kind of objective standard. if you don’t have that standard as is the case
with modern secular democracies then there can be no check or balance. what we
see today is that all three branches of government will more or less
have the same opinions on morality. it’s just the popular view of right and wrong.
there is no independent standard to judge whether those views of morality
are just or unjust, right or wrong and so there’s not really a check even though
you have different branches of government, they can all collude they can
be all aligned and there’s not a true standard to hold against and to judge
them by and that’s why it’s so easy for secular liberal democracies to commit
atrocities and to commit all kinds of crimes that we see throughout their
histories. so when we look at Islamic history we see that this is not the case
because the objective standard of morality is Islamic law. and who are the
guardians of Islamic law and that objective standard of morality? it is the
ulama (Islamic religious scholars) and the ulama were very careful not to involve
themselves with the sultan with the amir with the khalifa because there is this
recognition that power can corrupt and that if a scholar is too close to the
sultan, then the sultan can negatively impact the scholar and corrupt the
scholar to make religious rulings that benefit the Sultan. and so this is a very
very strong check. it’s a real check unlike the superficial fake kind of
check that we find within democratic systems. and so this distance between the
ulama and the Sultan is something that the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhi wa sallam explicitly
mentions. there’s an authentic hadith
narration from the Prophet where he says that “As my servant
approaches and gets closer to the Sultan, he gets more and more distant from
Allah.” and so based on this hadith and many other examples from the life of the
Prophet and his statements as well as the practice of the Rightly Guided Caliphs as well as the majority of scholars and ulama of history, they came to the
conclusion that there needs to be a very big distance between the sultan and the ulama. so this is a real check and balance based on real morality.
because while it is the case that the Sultan the khalifa can be corrupt and
he can manipulate a population or manipulate an economy for his material
gain but there’s always the `alim (scholar) who is going to call that out and who is
going to object to that kind of corruption and that abuse of power. and
we see many examples of this within Islamic history where scholars were
tortured, they were imprisoned, they were tortured and sometimes were even killed
because they opposed the Sultan and so this is something that is very unique
about Islamic history and Islamic governance and it means that there is
not this notion of separation of church and state within Islamic thought. no the
expectation was that the Khalifa, the Sultan, the Amir he is going to implement
Islamic law and he is going to rule according to Islamic ethics and
jurisprudence and you also have an entire system of governance based on
that but the bearers of the objective standard of morality is someone who is
separate, people who are separate, the ulama who are not involved directly with
the Sultan and therefore are going to be prevented from the corrupting influence
of power and money. that’s a real check on power, that is a real
check on corruption and that is something that we don’t see within
secular democracies. in secular democracies it’s just popular opinion.
fundamentally there’s a flaw there because who says that popular opinion is
going to be right? in most cases mob rule is very wrong. mob rule is very unjust
and even if you put limits on what the mob can do with for example a bill of
rights within your Constitution, that’s still a very flaky a
very unreliable system of morality to base your entire government on and
that’s why we see so many changes in what is considered right and wrong
within Western history. opinion about morality is constantly shifting. popular
views are constantly shifting and that’s why you have so many atrocities that
continue to happen over and over again throughout the histories of modern
Western liberal democratic governments. and so as Muslims we need to recognize
what it is. we need to call a spade a spade and recognize that we have a
better system within our tradition. yeah we have wars in our history, we have
corrupt leaders. that’s true but you also have a morality, you have the sharia,
you have Islamic law that provides that anchor that keeps us as as an umma on the
straight path and understanding what is just and that is true guidance from
Allah and this is a big blessing that we have to recognize and not have this kind
of inferiority complex thinking that other people, other nations and their
philosophers from a particular part of the world have understood justice and
morality and government better than the Quran, better than the Prophet
sallaAllahu alayhi wa sallam

55 Comments

  • Sami Yusuf

    Democracy = jahiliyyah

    5/50 Then is it the judgement of [the time of] ignorance they desire? But who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who are certain [in faith].

  • Salman Alfarisy

    Truth is truth, no popularity contest will turn Truth into falsehood.

    Ibn Al-Qayyim reported: Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud said, “The true community (jama’ah) is that which adheres to the truth, even if you are alone.”

    Nuaim ibn Hammad said, “If the community becomes corrupted, then you must adhere to its practice before it became corrupted. Even if you are alone, then you by yourself would be the true community.”

    Source: I’lām al-Muwaqqi’īn 3/308

  • ibnuothman 142

    If you decide base on popular opinion than most ( majority ) people is not good.
    Al Quran mentioned:
    و أكثرهم لا يعقلون …… و أكثرهم لا يؤمنون ….. وأكثرهم لا يعلمون….
    Most of people doesn't have intelligent….most of the people not believe…most of the people not knowed..
    If you base of majority than most of people will chose wrongly..
    و الله اعلم
    Sometimes is allowed to decide by majority..but not all the time.

  • Osumanjin

    democracy blurres the line between government and citizen. It let the citizen think the people themselfes are the government. Therefore, when it comes to any kind of misuse or curroption, the opposition of citiziens is less severe than when the same is done under a monarch.

  • The Sabu

    Democracy not being revealed doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. Islam in fact has an element of urf. Also, the reason why democracy is considered the "best" form of government is in reality beacuse, à la carte atleast, there has been relative peace (or perceived peace). You could in theory conceive a democracy where the ethical laws come from Islam while the technical things come from the choice of people (how to manage health, education etc). For Muslims to claim that Democracy is bad for religious reasons is an obvious tendency based on denying all that is western, something that ironically is even against the sunnah of the Prophet.
    The evil of a nation such as USA is not enough of a proof to say democracy is bad. Corruption was there without democracy and is here today.
    my two cents.

    A Muslim and political sciences major.

  • Zahed Muhammad

    Masha Allah brother. This is a brilliant video. I have been following everywhere. Sadly had to diactivate. However, still following you on Twitter and YouTube ❤🙂

  • Pasho Spahiu

    Assalaamu alaykum to all without even watching the video I am commenting and making it clear that democracy is an anti God system why because democracy makes halal what Allah made harram it also makes harram what Allah made halal if we look around us we notice that nearly everything Allah made harram democracy has made it halal and nearly everything that Allah made halal democracy has made it harram what we need is a khilafah whereby all aspects of Islam are implemented the khilafah will bring Muslims out poverty will put a stop to the killing of Muslims around the world and so on and so forth

  • Kamal Fansa

    Financial corruptions are related to human nature and not Democracy. American's history has nothing to do with the idea of a democracy, nor it is an indication that democracy doesn't function correctly when implemented correctly and morally. You still did not prove why democracy is a dysfunctional form of government. I still disagree with Democracy because as a Muslim, and because I believe in a Theocracy.
    You are dismissing the "Muslim Collective" by mixing Democracy with another word that can explain what is the "Muslim Collective" = والذين استجابوا لربهم واقاموا الصلاة وامرهم شورى بينهم ومما رزقناهم ينفقون

    There is a better way to explain all of this, but I know where you are coming from, I know your background and I know you will not agree with me.
    This can be explained in less than a minute if you presented it correctly..

  • Safeer Ameen

    Democracy is just a way for common people to take out their frustration every 5 years therefore its just change of Face but not Fate with every new elected president.

  • ryan jacobo

    hmmmm…. isn't allah gonna forgive your sins if you loan him money accdg to your quran? and didn't muhammad ask for money whenever anyone wants to talk to him accdg to your hadiths? maybe you should clarify this with CP.

  • doctorikon

    Once again, another really enlightening upload from the brother Haqiqatjou. You really hit the nail on head about the Sharia being the objective standard and maintaing distance between the Uleima and the government.

  • ARIQ RAHMAN

    brother can you review this debate on "Does traditional Islam needs to be liberalized"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzlOG4jntzw

  • NostalgicMuslim

    Excellent video brother mashaAllah, and may I add that i feel like the constant fear of tyranny is a exaggerated one to justify democracy. Just because there are people who abuse power does not discredit the power structure if the power structure is legitimate. Like, just because there are bad parents who abuse their power does not mean we need to democratize parenting, or get rid of parents. Even for monarchism, for every bad king there were plenty decent or even great ones.

  • HAMZA ASAD

    Socrates was also famously opposed to democracy. Not to mention the famous quote,
    “The greatest argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter” (anonymous)

  • muhajir ibn abudllah

    democracy = shirk akbar
    its power to the people
    its making halal haram and halal haram
    its making new law thinking those laws are better (for a short term or long term) than those of Allah azawajell
    its preferring ruling with other than what Allah reveiled
    its giving the right to humans before giving the right to Allah

  • Saajid Lipham

    Excellent video, JazakaAllahukhair. Wallahi yesterday I was thinking about how you’re way overdue for a new YouTube video, inshaAllah you find the time to post more often, BaarakaAllahufeek!

  • PrinceGaraad

    Yes yes good topic. I before learning didn't see political side of Islam…so naturally looked for alternative only to find that Islam has completed everything.

  • rogersevers123

    Another excellent video Daniel, very informative and ur ability to pick holes in a system which more or less has been almost universalized by the west as representing the pinnacle of justice is second to none. MashaAllah.

  • Atko 47

    To all the self identifying Muslims that are blindly defending Democracy. Ask yourselves, did Allah and His Resull saws promote Democracy? Or, did they guide us to something better, perhaps Islamic?

  • Nathaniel

    It may not be the best form of government but the greatest improvements to human society have happened under democratic governments.

  • BlackBird

    I thought the point of democracy was to prevent the government abusing its own people not other populations, at least to a certain degree. if the majority gets the laws they morally agree with, then they will be happy with democracy and will consider it the best form of government

  • Ma Mo

    This vidéo is interessant for those muslims who think that democracy is better than islamic governance but they are not a lot.
    Muslims and non muslims will agree upon the fact that popular opinion is not reliable. but if you speak about refering to a standard to a non muslim we will say : "yes its true lets have one, lets draft a better constitution" or something like that.
    I think in our time nobody is still thinking that demcrocacy is something ideal. we see it everyday : a lot of governments are authoritarian and proudly against democracy. We can see it with Putin who is much loved around the world for his style of governance. Peoples know that propaganda is everywhere

    the point is that it is impossible for a non muslims to understand the truth and the reliability of islamic governance to fight against corruption, poverty, crime etc.. If he dont believe in islam first.

  • false sects like shia are judeo made

    if being popular is what makes you right, why don't ppl vote on medical procedures or who should be there nuclear safety inspectors? most ppl won't even understand whats being said. Knowledge is what makes things correct, ppl aren't pure knowledge is pure. Also atheists built no civilizations a clear sign we can't do it alone, but need Allah to guide from Adam to today. evolution is a marxist science, mutations in multi cell organisms especially humans is cancer. its clearly a fact that evolution is a lie with a political marxist agenda and isn't even an observable science, its pushed due to flaws in the system and lies and agendas like how sceintists were paid to lie about cigarette being healthy, or monsanto being healthy or johnsons baby products being healthy or psychologists paid 80 million dollars to say water boarding isn't torture. we have a clear judeo marxist agenda being pushed by rich facist zionist lobbyists.

  • false sects like shia are judeo made

    judaism wants atheism so there organized racist ideas can rule over the divded masses, like we see with zionist aipac lobbyists. Islamt eaches Oneness of Lord leads to Oneness of Man through following Prophet peace and blessings on him , like MAlcolm X aka Malik Shabazz said when fighting racism. many evil groups like kkk have been popular. being popular doesn't mean to you are knowldgeble or honest etc.

  • Assanhaji Mohamed

    I agree with all what you say brother daniel jazaka Allah but i have a question about the hadith :what if the sultan was a good one , if the alim was with him it will be a plus , why we imagine always sultan as a shaytan always ?

  • Capn Smo

    The Majority are astray, in west majority drink poison called alcohol in india majority worship and believe cows to be gods, as Allah swt says:

    6/116. Quran And if you pay heed to the majority of those on the earth, they will lead you astray from God's way. They follow only conjecture (not knowledge), and

    they themselves do nothing but make guesses

    (they pronounce and act according to their fancies, selfish interests, and personal value judgments).

    "And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly". (Yusuf, 103)

    And We have explained to man in this Qur'an every kind of similitude(example): yet the majority of men refuse (to receive it)

    except with ingratitude!- Holy Quran 17:89

  • Mohammed Khan

    in 3rd world countries democracy is a joke, its nothing but blatant dictatorship, votes are bought for few bucks, elections are rigged in broad daylight. its all a scam.

  • Anony Moose

    Imagine the majority of people in a country are dumb (which is the case in some countries today, like the US). So the next President/leader that gets elected would depend almost entirely on the votes of this majority. The result would be a government of the dumb, by the dumb, and for the dumb.

  • F Haque

    The ruler of a Muslim government is always God, and no one else. So that means that a Muslim government consists of God and His people ie us. BUt since God has issued the Quran with His laws, then the 'we people' have to submit to that law already contained in the Quran, so there is a God and there is His words in the Quran to whom we submit. So in a proper Muslim government there is no intermediary and no Human ruler ruling over humans. This means that a foreign enemy has no one to negotiate with in a Muslim government to do dirty deals or for anyone to action corruption, as God is not going to do deals with humans to authorise corruption. Likewise an enemy cannot takeover a Muslim government if there is no human role to takeover or occupy. So then no enemy can control a Muslim government that is made up of an invisible GOD. The Caliph is only a person whose job it is to oversee that the Quran is implemented in law courts and the guideline for implementing in all institutions eg army, the banks, the schools, the policeforce, the various economic ministries etc.

  • Hussain Fahmy حسين فحمي

    “Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable [abominable] cruelty of one or a very few.”
    — John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot.

  • iamdestinedtobehere

    In Islamic government, if a Sultan is corrupt and the ulema have made this known to the people, how do they take down/dethrone the sultan? Or do the ulema just advice the sultan to repent and change his way? What if he refuses?

  • pico ist eine Maßeinheit

    Nice video! I would've enjoyed it if the video was longer and more detailed by talking about the economical stands of an Islamic government ec.

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