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Yusuf al-Qaradawi: “The Islamic Shari’ah Governs All of the Actions” of Muslims

Posted by paulipoldie on March 21, 2011

from: Translating Jihad

Yusuf al-Qaradawi: “The Islamic Shari’ah Governs All of the Actions” of Muslims

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, explains in his book “Al-Din wal-Siyasa” (Religion and Politics) that religion and politics in Islam are inseparable:  “The Islam which was initiated by Allah did not set aside any of the facets of life without committing itself to its legislation and guidance for it–by its nature–is comprehensive in all aspects of life:  material and spiritual, individual and society.”

Al-Qaradawi begins this section of his book by citing the efforts of “the Islamic reformers [to] blend politics with religion.” Among these reformers are such notables as Ibn ‘Abd-al-Wahhab, Hassan al-Banna, and al-Mawdudi. He explains that all of them strove to put into practice the comprehensiveness of Islam, for three reasons:  first, the comprehensiveness of the doctrine of Islam; second, Islam rejects the partitioning of its rulings; and third, life is an indivisible and inseparable unit, and so is man.

I plan to write about this in greater detail at a later date, but I think one important thing to take from this is that Islam, being a complete and comprehensive religiopolitical system as al-Qaradawi explains below, leaves no room for Western systems of law. Islam is not like Christianity which can separate between what is God’s and what is Caesar’s. In Islam, everything belongs to Allah, even and perhaps especially political power and the right to legislate. Thus the problem is not just that Islam is incompatible with Western liberal democracy, but in essence it chokes it out, leaving no room for it. This obviously does not bode well for those hoping for any type of democratic reform in the Middle East (at least one which respects the human rights and equality of all its citizens), especially considering a recent poll shows that a huge majority of Egyptians want more Islam, not less, in politics.

(Source:  Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf. 2006. Al-Din wal-Siyasa, pp. 45-48. Doha.)

The Idea of the Comprehensiveness of Islam

Why did the Islamic reformers blend politics with religion?:

The issue (of the comprehensiveness of Islam), which is denied and rejected by the modernists, secularists, and Marxists in an overall sense, is an idea agreed upon by all Islamic scholars. We have seen the Islamic reformers in the modern era, beginning with Ibn ‘Abd-al-Wahhab, al-Mahdi, Khayr al-Din al-Tunsi, al-Sanusi, Prince ‘Abd-al-Qadir, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, then up through al-Kawakibi, Muhammad ‘Abduh, Shakib Arslan, Rashid Rida, Hassan al-Banna in Egypt, Ibn Badis and his brothers in Algeria, ‘Allal al-Fassi in Morocco, al-Mawdudi in Pakistan, and others. All of them embraced the comprehensiveness of Islam in doctrine and law, da’wa and the state, and religion and politics. They were not satisfied with merely reporting this in theory, but instead they plunged right into the hardships of putting politics into practice, and faced its risks and troubles, and suffered its trials and afflictions. They did this for three reasons:

1. The Comprehensiveness of the Doctrine of Islam

First: The Islam which was initiated by Allah did not set aside any of the facets of life without committing itself to its legislation and guidance, for it–by its nature–is comprehensive in all aspects of life: material and spiritual, individual and societal. Almighty Allah spoke to His Messenger, saying: “We have sent down to thee the book explaining all things, a guide, a mercy, and glad tidings to Muslims” [Qur’an 16:89].

The Qur’an which says, “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you…” [Qu’ran 2:183], is the same which also says in the same surah, “O ye who believe! Retaliation for the slain is prescribed for you…” [Qur’an 2:178], and also, “Bequest is prescribed for you when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind wealth for parents and near relatives, according to reasonable usage…” [Qur’an 2:180], and also, “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you…” [Qur’an 2:216]. The Qur’an expressed the imposition of all of these things with a single phrase: “prescribed for you.”

All of these things are among those which were prescribed, or rather imposed, by Allah upon the believers: fasting, from (the area of) rites of worship; retaliation, from criminal law; bequest, from what are called “personal affairs”; and fighting, from international relations.

All of them are obligations of the shari’ah, and by carrying them out the believers express their veneration for, and come closer to, Allah. A Muslim would not think to accept the obligation of fasting, and (at the same time) reject the obligation of retaliation, or bequest, or fighting.

The Islamic shari’ah governs all of the actions of those who are obligated (to it). There is no act or occurrence which exists without a corresponding ruling from one of the five shari’ah rulings (obligatory, recommended, prohibited, reprehensible, or permitted). This has been confirmed by fundamentalists and scholars from every faction and school of thought associated with Islam.

The Qur’an and the Sunnah have provided evidence for the comprehensiveness of Islam. The Most High said, speaking to His Messenger (peace be upon him): “and We have sent down to thee the book explaining all things, a guide, a mercy, and glad tidings to Muslims” [Qur’an 16:89]. He also said concerning the Qur’an: “It is not an invented story, but confirms that which went before it, and explains all things, and a guide and a mercy for people who believe” [Qur’an 12:111].

This proves that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not leave anything which would bring us closer to Allah without commanding the same, nor did he leave anything which would move us away from Allah without forbidding the same. He even left us the bright path: “Its night is as its day, no one deviates from it except he perish.”

Islam is the message for all of life, for all men, for all the world, and for all time.

Whoever reads the books of the Islamic shari’ah, I mean the books of Islamic jurisprudence, in its different schools of thought, will find that they comprise all of the affairs of life, from the jurisprudence of purity, to that of the family, society, and the state. This is very clear for every elementary student, not to mention those in the world who are more capable.

2. Islam Rejects the Partitioning of Its Rulings

Second: Islam itself rejects the partitioning of its rulings and teachings, and taking some of it without the rest.

The Qur’an harshly rebuked the children of Israel for this behavior. The Most High said, speaking to them: “Then is it only a part of the Book that ye believe in, and do ye reject the rest? but what is the reward for those among you who behave like this but disgrace in this life?- and on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty. For Allah is not unmindful of what ye do” [Qur’an 2:85].

When some of the Jews wanted to enter into Islam on the condition that they would keep some of the Jewish laws, such as sanctifying the Sabbath day, the Messenger forbade them from doing so, unless they would enter into all of the laws of Islam.

On that, the saying of Allah Almighty was sent down: “O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy” [Qur’an 2:208].

Almighty Allah spoke to His Messenger (peace be upon him), saying: “So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires, but beware of them lest they seduce thee from some part of that which Allah hath revealed unto thee” [Qur’an 5:49].

Here Allah warns His Messenger against the non-Muslims, that they may not turn him away from some of the rulings of Islam, and this is addressed to everyone who will lead the people after him.

The truth is that the teachings and rulings of Islam in doctrine, in the shari’ah, in morals, in acts of worship, and in social dealings–they do not bear their fruit unless they are taken in whole, for they need each other. It is similar to a medical prescription, with a complete (regimen) consisting of a full array of foods, various types of medicines, dieting and abstaining from some things, and some exercise. In order for the prescription to achieve its goal, it must be executed fully. If a part of it is left out, the entire end-result may be affected.

3. Life Is an Indivisible and Inseparable Unit, and So Is Man

Third:  Life is an inseparable and indivisible unit.

[…]

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