Speach of Justice Ch. Muhammad Ibrahim Zia, In a seminar at the AJ&K University on “The responsibilities of voters under the teachings of Islam”.
Responsibilities of the Voters under the teachings of Islam
In the 20 minutes short time it is not possible to cover all the aspects of the topic comprehensively with reference to the teachings of ISLAM so I have very precisely confined myself only with reference to few verses of the Holy Qur’an which in my humble opinion are related to the subject. Therefore, these submissions be treated as Head Notes and not a complete article.
Before deliberation on the topic, in my opinion, for proper perception, the pre-awareness regarding the status of human in the universe is of vital importance. In Surah Bani Israel verse No. 70 the Allah Almighty has commanded:
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا
“And indeed We have honored the children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea and provided them with Al-taiyabat (lawful good things) and preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment”
According to this Holy verse the human beings are the most honoured creature of the God in the universe. It is further commanded in Surah At-teen verse No. 4 that:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
“Verily, We created man in the best stature (mould)”
Which means that the man is not only the Honoured, distinguished creation of God but also is the Master Piece in the whole universe. Surely, this status requires a distinguished conduct and behavior. That is why the Islam demonstrates the most organized, disciplined, peaceful, perfect, individual, collective, social and statesman life. The Islamic system of worship is in fact a statesman training course for disciplined, peaceful life and organized life which is not possible without proper organized society.
In this regard I would like to refer here the saying of the Holly Prophet P.B.U.H. as Hazrat Abu Saeed Khazri, stated that the Prophet P.B.I.H said: (Urdu Translation)
“جب تم میں سے تین آدمی سفر پر نکلیں تو اپنے میں سے ایک کو امیر مقرر کر لیں”
In verse No. 110 of Surah Imran, Allah commanded: (English Translation)
“You are the best of the people ever raised up for mankind, you enjoin the good (المعروف)and forbid the evil (المنکر) and you believe in Allah” (Al-Imran Ayat No. 110)
The basic duty of the Ummah is to invite good and enjoining all that Islam orders to do and forbid all that Islam has forbidden as mentioned in number of verses of Holy Quran. For reference verse No. 104 and 114 of Surah Al-Imran can be recited. This is an intrinsic part of faith and therefore one of the communal obligation in the Islam.
Appreciating the fact that the politics and state crafts are subject to change and variable according to the temperament and culture of different societies. Quran being complete code of life guides us also about the determination of our collective issues. In Surah Al-Shura Ayat No. 38 Allah commands:
وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
“And who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them”
This verse advances the concept of the elected notables for the purpose of consultation and peoples participation in the elections for conduct of the collective affairs of the society.
According to Islamic spirit, a complete code of life has been given by the creator, Allah Almighty, and the most exalted dignified personality of the last Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is a role model for the mankind. Despite this for running the day to day affairs in verse No. 159 of Surah Al-Imran the Prophet (P.B.U.H) has also been guided by Allah Almighty to consult the people in the affairs. It has been commanded that:
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لاَنفَضُّواْ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
“And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pas over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certain, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).”
Surely, to run the general and collective affairs of the society leaders, administrators and managers are required for protection of rights of the people under a disciplined system. As there is no messenger of God after Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad SAW, therefore, we have to choose our leader by ourselves because without a leader, governor or administrator, an organized society cannot be emerged. Even the Ants and Bees have their queens. In this regard in verse No. 59 of Surah-Al-Nisa it has been commanded:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ
‘O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority اولی الامر)).”
Obviously, there is no one else except Allah Almighty to be worshiped. The Messenger of the God is not a choice of people but is choice and selection of God. However, the اولی الامرpersons charged with authority among us are surely the persons who have to be chosen by the society for running the collective affairs and having an organized civilized, progressive society. Though, the prevailing system of election may not be called to be strictly according to Islam but the main theme can be treated to be consistent with the theme of Islam for the purpose of selecting the اولی الامر. Thus, this costs heavy duty upon the voters to have a choice of best among them to become اولی الامر.
What should be the top priority while selecting or chosing such اولی الامر? In Surah Al-Baqarah in verse No. 257 it has been commanded:
اللّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ يُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّوُرِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَوْلِيَآؤُهُمُ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
“Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliya (supporters and helpers) are Taghut (false deities and false leaders), they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever.”
This basic qualification and duty for leadership is mentioned in verse No. 5, Surah Al-Ibrahim as follows:
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا مُوسَى بِآيَاتِنَا أَنْ أَخْرِجْ قَوْمَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَذَكِّرْهُمْ بِأَيَّامِ اللّهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ
“And indeed We sent Musa (Moses) with Our Ayat (signs, proofs, and evidences) (saying): “Bring out your people from darkness into light, and remind them of the Annals of Allah. Truly, therein are Ayat (evidences, proofs and sings) for every patient, thankful (person).”
So the top priority for voters should be the quality of the person to be elected who may be able to bring out his voters and nation from the depths of darkness into the light, whether the darkness is of poverty, illiteracy, corruption, terrorism, mal-administration, ill health, lack of proper education and health facilities etc. or whether it is the darkness of faith.
سینہ شب سے کوئی خورشید پیدا کیجیے
روشنی کی راہ تکتے صدیاں ہو گئیں
Another foremost duty of the electors according to teachings of Islam is mentioned in Ayat No. 2 of Surah Al-Maa’ida as:
وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الْبرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
“Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah, Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.”
The voters should be conscious of the fact that whether by exercise of right of franchise the ultimate outcome will be flourishing Al-Birr and Al-Taqwa or sin and transgression. So, it is the very important aspect with reference to its consequences. Such act either will make geometrical progress of piety or enhance the sins. To be precise in the legal term we can say that it is endless multiplying vicarious liability. If the voters elect the proper person who delivers properly for general goodness, betterment and welfare the voters will be rewarded by the Allah Almighty for such good acts but if the situation is otherwise the electors will surely deserver for punishment for the acts and follies committed by the their elected persons. The very basic and important purpose which should be kept in mind of the electors is progressive enlightened change for achieving the good of the Islamic welfare state. That is why in Ayat No. 11 of Surah Al-Rahad it has been commanded by Allah Almighty:
إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ
“Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves”
For achieving this purpose a heavy duty is costed upon the voters that while exercising their right of franchise they should not be subjective to any personal gain, benefits, nepotism, favouritism or tribalism or vote for petty purposes rather they should keep in their mind the greater ultimate purpose of emerging the Islamic Welfare state. Exercise of right of franchise is the best occasions for implementing this command of Allah for change. It is well said by the poet that:
شکوہ ظلمت شب سے تو کہیں بہتر تھا
اپنے حصے کی کوئی شمع جلاتے جاتے
It has also been rightly said by our national poet Iqbal said that:
افراد کے ہاتھوں میں ہے اقوام کی تقدیر
ہر فرمد ہے ملت کے مقدر کا ستارہ
In case of failure of electors to elect the proper representative the result will be:
ہم سے پوچھو ساحل والو کیا بیتی دکھیاروں پر
کھیون ہارے بیچ بھنور کے چھوڑکے جب اس پار گئے
Before concluding my submissions I appreciate the managing such Colloquium at a proper time. In this regard, the efforts of the University authorities under guidance of Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner are appreciable. The Hon’ble Chief Justice High Court in the national interest has accepted the challenging assignment of Chief Election Commissioner with the commitment which can be expressed in poetic sense as:
پرونہ ایک ہی تسبیح میں ان بکھرے دانوں کو
جو مشکل ہے تو اس مشکل کو آساں کر کے چھوڑوں گا
اللہ ہم سب کا حامی و ناصر ہو اور ہم سب کو توفیق عطا کرے کہ ہم آنے والی نسلوں کو بہتر مستقبل دے سکیں۔
Ch. Muhammad Ibrahim Zia
Judge, Supreme Court