1. Home
  2. Shari'ah
  3. Can the religious scholars of a Muslim country impose shari‘ah on the population?

Can the religious scholars of a Muslim country impose shari‘ah on the population?

Religious scholars have no right to make or approve the laws of a country. Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih IV rta said that if this is allowed, then:

As such, again, the power-balance will be shifted from the elected members of the country to the extremist mullahs. So, once you accept something, which is impractical to be imposed, then this will always lead to various troubles and it is impossible for you to carry on without further complications. 

(Shari‘ah Relationship Between Religion and Politics in Islam, p. 12).

The responsibility of religious scholars is to try and convince the population of a country to adopt certain laws. If the majority of the population is convinced, they will themselves enact the laws. For example, if the Democrats are in majority in the House and the Senate, then although the Republicans have representation, it is the Democrats who have more say in passing laws. Every democracy is based on the principle of representing the majority while protecting the rights of the minority.

However, the majority of the population of Pakistan declaring a minority as non-Muslims is called a Tyranny of the Majority, which is a corrupt misuse of democracy that goes against the teachings of Islam. The passing of laws is to be regulated by a constitution that protects the rights of minorities. Without such checks and balances, democracy is no less oppressive than two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for dinner. The Holy Prophet sas established a constitution in Medina, and it had a bill of rights that established rights which no law could impede on; this included the freedom of religion (Seal of the Prophets, vol. 2, p. 27)

In Islam, no legislature has the right to pass laws that infringe on inalienable human rights. When the ulema [Muslim Scholars] of Pakistan imposed the shari‘ah, they did so against the will of the people, and this is un-Islamic and oppressive. Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih IV rta said:

I quote an example how the shari‘ah law has already failed in Pakistan. During the late General Zia’s regime, Muslim shari‘ah courts were also constituted. And the choice was left to the police either to charge a criminal and channel him through the Muslim shari‘ah court or to channel him through the ordinary court. Do you know what was the result? Hardly any case was tried by the Muslim shari‘ah court because police had raised the price of bribery and they threatened everyone that if they did not pay double the price of ordinary bribe, they would channel their case through the shari‘ah court.

(Shari‘ah Relationship Between Religion and Politics in Islam, p. 21–22).

Even a Muslim population has to be convinced of each shari‘ah law before it can be enacted. In a majority Ahmadi Muslim state, if any shari‘ah law will be adopted, it will be adopted on the insistence of  the majority of the populace and by the power of the populace, not otherwise.

Shari‘ah law will not be imposed as a religious law, nor will it be introduced all at once. It will be introduced one law at a time, on secular grounds, as the population is gradually convinced of it. Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih IV rta said:

Every prophet—not only Prophet Muhammad sas—every prophet first created that healthy climate for the law of God to be imposed, willingly not compulsorily. And when the society was ready, then the laws were introduced and stiffened further and further, until the whole code was revealed. That society was capable of carrying the burden of the law of religion, whether you call it shari‘ah law or any other law.

(Shari‘ah Relationship Between Religion and Politics in Islam, p. 13–14).

The responsibility of religious scholars is to strive to create that healthy climate where society is capable of carrying the burden of the law. For example, if religious scholars wish to make marijuana illegal, then they must convince society that it is harmful. When society is genuinely convinced, legislation can be introduced to limit its use. If society is unconvinced, such legislation would never be passed. The law of shari‘ah does not introduce change, it simply reinforces the change that the majority of society has already adopted. Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih IV rta said:

The Ahmadi governments which come into being will not
come into being by coups. They would come into being when the majority of a country have become Ahmadis. And when they will form a government, naturally they will abide by the Islamic principles, and they would look for explanation of those principles to Khilafat and to their Center. So whatever interpretation of the Holy Quran, as far as how the government is to be run is concerned, that interpretation will carry weight which will come from the Center. So there won’t be any necessity of any sort of clash or friction between a truly established Ahmadiyya government and the Caliph of that time.

(Question Answer Session, Jan 24, 1986).

In Surah al-Hujurat, Allah Almighty has commanded nations to reconcile two governments of the believers if they combat with each other or raise a dispute. This is a prophecy foretelling that even when the entire world would have embraced Islam, multiple governments would still exist instead of just one.

Thus, even after the predominance of Ahmadiyyat in the world, separate governments would coexist with each other whose policies and laws would not contradict the Islamic principles. At that time, matters relating to religion and politics would be settled independently. Khilafat would be one and the same for the entire world, and all governments in the world would seek spiritual and religious guidance from the Khalifah of the time. The Khalifah will not interfere in their political affairs nor will he gather an army in order to dominate any one government by force.

Updated on January 4, 2019

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles