Example of the Sahaba
We will not take the example of the Sahaba blindly, noting that their interpretations may or may not be appropriate for all ages. We also note that many decisions were made on the basis of pragmatism and political expediency. More controversially, noting that the Sahaba disagreed with each other on points as to the nature of the state.
Quran & Hadith
We must be clear that our major principles must derive from the Quran and the examples of those principles must derive from the sahih hadith. We should only draw our examples and ancillary principles from the hadith. We must not make the mistake of taking our major principles from anything other than the Quran.
Reason over Blind Faith
We must be able and willing to take up the intellectual challenge of creating an Islamic state and not be afraid of fatwa's and opinions of the traditional ulema.
Open Over Closed Society
We must accept that the state in Medina was not an authoritarian regime. Rather, it was an open society where differing opinions were tolerated, people where not arrested without charges and people where not forced to pray. Many people from the Quraish and Mekkah accepted Islam when they saw the model state of Medina and how it was governed, with peace, justice and respect for all citizens, Muslim, non-Muslim and even the hypocritical.
Mechanism to Agree & Understanding Devolution
What is most important is not whether everyone agrees, but rather, it is finding a mechanism by which people can compromise. This has to be understood not only at the highest level but also at lower levels – at the level of the state, a province, a district, a city or village. The importance is of finding a mechanism by which each community can galvanize the collective will and intellect and implement them effectively. Thus, a community in X location may agree to certain policies and implement them, but one in Y location may think differently and implement their own interpretations and thoughts. We must be willing to accept that flexibility without being at each other’s throats. The extent of devolution will be part of the debate but the recognition that devolution is an issue must be universally accepted.
The practical expediency is figuring out what the mechanism is for agreeing (i.e. voting) and how the decision making levels are to be rationed.
We must agree that fate does not call us to inaction but presupposes our actions. Fatalism needs to be addressed for it can and is used by the Muslim clergy to create paralysis and inactivity amongst the Muslim people. The concept of Fate and what is foretold does not call us to inaction. It presupposes our actions not necessarily because we believe in the prophecies but because as good Muslims witnessing now and openly before us, Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Philippines, Thailand and many more places, we need to act if we are to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet (PBUH) never believed in fate in such a way as to sit back and relax but rather the opposite: he actively and in great earnest went about fighting against all the problems and issues that he came across. We must follow that example.
Japan versus Turkey
Japan and Turkey provide two contrasting and diametric models of how to react to the rapid advancement of the Western civilization. Historically both Japan and Turkey faced the West and had to make a number of hard decisions as to how they can react, what to take and what to reject. They provide a classic case of comparison; ancient empires, facing a stark choice of change in a similar period in history, and yet made completely different choices.
Japan combined its tradition and progress in a way that reinvented its culture while Ataturk’s Turkey threw out their culture and belief system to transplant a Western imitation instead.
Our discussion and dialogue concerning the Islamic state will be set within finding the Japan Route for the Muslim world rather than the Turkey Route.
Dialogue with Civility
This dialogue must be held with the utmost civility. We do not want to be dishonorable in our conduct nor do we want to put a sword to the neck of those who disagree.
Free Market over Planned Economy
While the free market will be restricted by Islamic laws and regulations and with welfare obligations that are ordained, the essential nature of the economic system must be that of a free market, as was the case with Medina-tun-Nabi.
Non-Muslims Not Part of this Dialogue
No matter how well intentioned we would rather keep this discussion, so close to our hearts and so close to our religion, exclusively a Muslim affair. We thank all non-Muslims for their interest, but respectfully decline your contribution. Please allow us this space as a sign of mutual respect. As someone once memorably said, talking to a non-Muslim about an Islamic state would be like trying to convince someone that chocolate pudding is better than chocolate cake, when they dislike chocolate to begin with.
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