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Post Al-Mawardi’s theory of Imamate

Abual Hassan Ben Muhammad Ben Habib Al-Mawardi born in 974 A.C. and expires in Baghdad in 1058 A.C. He worked as teacher and then was appointed as judge. Al-Mawardi was a well known judge of Baghdad. When he was offered the office of Chief justice, he denied accepting the offer by saying people than him to work as CJ.
He wrote many books including Kitaab Al Ahkaam Al-Sultania, Tafseer, Nishat al Maluk, Qawaneen ul Wazarat and adab al Qazi etc.
Theory of Caliphate or Imamate:-
Al Mawardi is a Muslim philosopher. Therefore, he presents his theory of imamate within the limits of Shariah. Mawardi says that Allah has laid down laws in order that issues might be satisfactorily and principles of right ,truth and goodness may be widely known. Allah has given as trust the control of his creatures to various governments so that the administration of the world might be properly carried on.
According to Al-Mawardi Imamat is the base on which the rules and regulations of the community depend. Mawardi says that the real motive of the institution is to follow the straight path and to strengthen the political bonds.
Main Features of his concept of Imamat are as under:
Requirements of Shariah: Al-Mawardi says that the institution of Imamat is the need of Shariah and not of reason. Through this Institution Allah almighty want to run the early administration in a proper way.
Al-Mawardi is of the opinion that imamate or Caliphate is to represent the mission of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). This institution is to save Islam from the destructive propaganda. Caliphate is the institution, which is the result of the versus of the Holy Quran. Quran stresses an ideal society where there is dominance of good over evils and where there is general obedience of the laws of Allah.
The holy Quran is not to answer the question whether there is any need of Imamate? According to Al-Mawardi the need is proved either by consensus or reason. Quranic Verses give us general principles i.e.
• ‘’Obey Allah, obey the prophet (PBUH) and the ruler from amongst you.’’
• ‘’The Muslims should settle their affairs by mutual consultation.’’
• The Quran commands the Prophet (PBUH) to consult the Muslims in state affairs.
So he is to conclude from these verses that Imam is allowed to nominate the members of Shura. But in practice the early period of Islamic state and modern thought is to oppose his view. Al-Mawardi holds that the Holy Quran says nothing about this institution but it is the result of consensus.
There is flexibility in Islam and this issue has been left to the Muslims community to decide.
Election of the Imam: Al-Mawardi advocates that it is very important to elect someone as imam through the consensus of the community. Mawardi is to describe the qualification of the voters. He ignores artificial factors like age, Property and residence etc but those who can distinguish between good and bad, between right and wrong and between the wise and poise.
Election procedure is:
1) People are to elect Imam Through consensus.
2) The existing Imam is to nominate his successor.
No Absolutism in Caliphate: Al-Mawardi after studying history concludes that the forty years of Pious Caliphate represented the Islamic democracy. The fundamental principles of Caliphate remained unchanged and in working condition. There was no idea of absolute caliphate. Al-Mawardi is right to say that Caliphate was a responsible institution because basic elements of democracy were there. After the period of the Pious Caliph, Caliphate converted into monarchy.
Although Al-Mawardi was not a political philosopher and he did not the basics of the constitution but his theory of caliphate is of prime importance. It paved way for further research. it appreciated the period or pious caliphs. A problem in his idea is that Al-Mawardi stresses on the rights and prerogatives of the caliphs but ignores rights and obligations of the people.
Concept of imam or caliph or sovereign
Mawardi’s political philosophy revolves around his concept of imamate. The first chapter of his book, kitaab Al-Ahkam Al Sultania is to tell us about the sovereign of Imam. Al-Mawardi used the term ‘Imamate’ for the term ‘Caliphate’ and the term ‘imam’ for ‘Caliph’. He describes method of appointment, powers, qualities and method of deposition of imam. He says an imam is to run state’s political and social administration but within the limits of the divine laws. Imam is the highest leader fully obeyed and supported by the people of his state. Societies are need of such leaders who are trustworthy and who are supported by all the people of the state. Such a person is called imam or sovereign. Al-Mawardi is of the view that the office of imam established after the pouse caliphs. Al-Mawardi says various factor made this institution controversial. E.g. what will be the qualities of imam? Which family or tribe is suited for this office? Is it specific for a particular family or race? These questions are responsible for the sects in Islam. A group specially Shiats or of the view that is a specific right of a particular family and is a hereditary institutions another group says that it is specific Quraish. While a third group supported by Al-Mawardi is of the opinion that any person may be appointed as imam. But on the bases of his qualities and merit.
Al-Mawardi is of the view that imam is must because to maintain justice in the state and to differentiate good and bad. Imam is a natural need of a state to organize the society and to solve mutual differences.
Qualification of imam:
A candidate for this office should have the following qualities:
Male: Al-Mawardi says only male are allowed to be imam of an Islamic state. Female is not in position to become imam.
Adult: only adult and man of conscience is allowed to contest this office.
Free: according to Al-Mawardi, only free citizens are allowed to be imam. Slave, even if they are free, are not allowed.
Man of character: a man of high character with soft and clean heart should world as imam. His character must be exemplary. If there is only a small stigma in the character of the candidate, it pollutes purity of human conscience. It is to produce vagueness in the bright of human heart.
Man if justice: a ruler must be proponent of justice. A cruel person is neither in position to give rights to his people now can protect their rights.
Not miser: a miser person is always coward. Therefore, only those who are not misers are to contest for this office.
Brave: imam must be brave. A coward or weak person is never in position to fight with social and political evils and events. He is not in position to face up downs.
Stable: it is an important quality of a good ruler that he must be stable in his decision and governing. An instable person cannot become a good ruler. The person who feels fear cannot prove himself a good leader.
Neutral temperature: statesmanship is an art that is in need of a neutral and cold-mined person. An emotional person is not in position to handle difficult situations.
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Deep sighted: a good ruler is to go to the roots of the events and then he is in position to decide correctly and with justice. An imam should have the qualities like foresightedness and deep sightedness.
Of firm opinion: to become an impressive ruler, the imam must have firm opinion. His opinions must be mature. A person of raw-opinion has no command.
Physically and sensually fit: imam’s administration will be ineffective if he is physically or sensually weak. Therefore, his physically fitness and sensitivity are must. Weakness in organs and senses is to inversely influence administration.
Mumem- obedient of Shariah: a person decimated from Shariah of Muhammad ( PBUH ) cannot become a good ruler. So, he must be moment.
Allim, Faqih and preacher: the ruler must be alim and Faqih .A person who as no knowledge of Islam and who has no command in fiqa, is not true and effective imam. He is then to represent ignorance. He should preach Islam.
Liked by majority: A good ruler is that who choice of the Majority is to opt for such a ruler. who is has the aforesaid qualities.
Al-Mawardi describes qualification for the office of the imam. The most significant may be summarized as follows:
1. Imam must be male Muslims.
2. He must be free and adult.
3. Man of justice.
4. Brave and courageous. Mujahid.
5. His senses and organs are right.
6. Preferably from Quraish.
Election/ succession of the imam
According to Al-Mawardi, imamate comes into being through an electoral process. This office therefore, is the outcome of Ijma. People have been empowered to elect the best one among them as caliph. He quotes a Hadith: ‘’ my followers cannot come into consensus on a sin.’’ This is the supreme duty of Ummah to elect imam. Al-Mawardi describes two methods. i.e.
Elected by the majority of the electorates or
Nominated by the existing imam.
Election: Al-Mawardi says if people are given opportunity to elect their imam, a cunning opportunist may deceive the voters and a corrupt person may become imam. This method is suitable only if qualities of the voters are also assessed. If there is a limited number of a voter so, there will be more chance to elect the best one as imam. He is of the view that this method is suitable only if qualities of the voters are also assessed. If there are a limited number of voters so, there will be more chance to elect the best one as imam. He is of the view that this method was adopted to elect Hazrat Abu Bakar (May Allah Be Pleased With Him). He gives the instance of Hazrat Abbas who said to Hazrat Ali ‘’Stretch your hand, I will swear my allegiance to you, and when people come to know that the Prophet’s uncle has sworn his allegiance to his once the new imam takes oath to that he would loyally perform the duties assigned to him. This is followed by the allegiance of the people to be loyal to the new Imam.
Al-Mawardi holds that the election of a less qualified in the presence of a more qualified is valid if the elected one fulfills the requisites qualification. He also holds that if there is only one candidate for this office, he automatically becomes caliph and there is no need of election. There is no capacity of two imams at the same time.
Nomination: in the second method, an existing imam is to nominate his successor. This method is also suitable because an imam is nominated keeping in view the determined qualities. He presents the example of Hazrat Abu Bakr (mAbpwh) who nominated Hazrat umar Farooq (mAbpwh). He is of the view that there consensus on this point that the existing imam can nominate his successor. Hazrat Abu Bakr nominated Hazrat Umar and people obeyed his order in the form of unquestionable allegiance. Hazrat Umar appointed a shura to elect imam. It was an order of the existing imam. Al-Mawardi says that nomination of the heir is invalid unless the nominee shows his willingness to accept the office, the imam when nominated one as heir, he cannot withdraw his nomination until there occurs in the heir some important changes making him disqualified. The imam has the power to appoint an electoral college or to nominate heir imam.
Al-Mawardi says that the existing imam can nominate more than one Imam to succeed one another in turn. He gives example of the battle of Mutah. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) nominated Zayd as commander of the Muslims forces to be succeeded by japer Ben Ali if he fells. Jaffa would be succeeded by Abdullah and in case he also fails when the Muslims are allowed to choose anyone among themselves .
Deposition/Removal of Imam
Al-Mawardi is of the view when imam is one elected, he cannot be removed. Imam mau be deposed if:
Moral Degradation: Imam must be a symbol of morality and justice. He may be deposed if he becomes morally degraded and his immoral acts are dangerous for the collectible interests. To al-Mawardi moral degradation secondly if he becomes interested in worldly affairs. Thirdly, if there is change in this ideology either willingly or under the influence of a foreign body. ‘’ in such a situation people have their right to remove him from his office.
Laws of Islamic state: in the lifetime of the holy prophet (PBUH) there was no any legal problem but after his sad demise, the rulers faced varicose problems. They resorted to the holy Quran and hadiths. With the passage of time Itihad was also introduced. He stresses the importance of hadiths but he also says that some elements invented hadiths just to serve their personal case and to destroy unity among the muslims. He explained various case of the invention of baseless hadiths i.e. for political purpose because of creeds, inventions by the non- Muslims to praise the rulers and to satisfy those who were the disbelievers of ijtihad or qiyas etc. so, Al-Mawardi says that there are three major sources of the Islamic law i.e. the holy Quran, hadiths and sunnah.
Administration: Al-Mawardi explains state administration in very detail. he is of the opinion that state government should comprise of executive judiciary various departments , commander and police. he explains qualities of these office barriers .he even explains functions of various office barriers.
Concept of rebellion
Al-Mawardi is to empower citizens of the Islamic state to rebel against the government but in case of certain reasons’ and both
In his book he quotes a Hadith. The prophet (PBHM) said, ‘’ after me there will be appointed rulers over you and both the good as well as bad deeds will go by them; for if they rule with fairness the good of it will occur to them and to you both. If they rule with inequality you will get the benefit of it and they, the evil consequences thereof,’’ (Hazrat Abu Hurairah).
The people of the Islamic state must revolt if:
• The ruler become, enemy of Islam and he preaches un-Islamic ideas.
• If he is to impose laws quite contradictory to Shariah.
• If the ruler is to ignore provisions of opportunities to his people for worship.
• If he is to openly violate human rights.
• The ruler is found to follow un-Islamic practices and crosses the boundaries of Islam. It despite peoples objections, he is to exercise the same practices.
• If justice is crushed by the ruler or he becomes silent spectator on violation of justice.
• If he enters in agreements with the enemies of Islam. If the same agreements are hazardous for the cause of Islam and the Muslims
Al-Mawardi is of the view that people should not extend unconditional obedience to the caliph or imam. He says if one or all of the above conditions are there and the Muslims are still silent, so, one should imagine that their faith has weakened to a large. He discards tyrannical attitude of the sovereign. His theory of rebellion is not quite obvious. He is silent how to depose the imam. There is no any example, when Hazrat Abu Bakr delivers his first official statement, he said, ‘’ obey me as long as I obey Allah, but Quran and hadiths discourages tyrant imam. The holy Quran says, ‘’ the holy prophet (PBUH) says, ‘’ some of the most loved the nearest persons to me on the day of judgment shall be the just imam and the most hated and damnable person to me on the day of judgment shall be the tyrant imam.’’

Source: polsciencenotes
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imamate, muslim political thought, pol science

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