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Islam encompasses each and every aspect of human life irrespective of its nature but the
rules that must be followed while running a state are the cornerstone of Islamic teachings.
The reason for giving so much importance to this aspect of human life is the collective
effect of governance on all the subjects of a state.

Here we are going to discuss some of the very important pillars of Islamic guidance that
makes a state a welfare state in the true sense.
Legal justice

Laws of the Islamic Sharia are very clear on the subject of providing legal justice. Quran,
Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and the traditions of the rightly guided Caliphs
make it compulsory for the state to dispense legal justice at all costs without taking care of
the ramifications or backlash from the wealthy or influential people. It was at the time of
the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) that a woman named, Fatima, was found guilty of
stealing. The woman belonged to the influential tribe of Bani Makhzum and the tribesmen
presented Hazrat Usama bin Zaid ( adopted child of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)) as an
intercession for the Woman to be spared. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) rejected it
by saying that “people before you were destroyed because if an influential would steal, he
would be forgiven and if a poor would commit such act, the legal punishment would be
inflicted upon him”. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) then said, “ By God, even if she
was the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), she would not be spared”.
The Rashidun Caliphs also followed the same tradition and the precedents set by them
became a standard not only for the Ummah but for the whole world to follow. The Second
Pious Caliph was once ordered to appear in court for some matter. When he entered the
court, the judge stood up in honor of the Caliph. When the Caliph saw the Judge behaving
like this, he dismissed him from the post by saying that all members of the state are legally
equal irrespective of their positions.
The Fourth Caliph, Imam Ali (r.a), once filed a case against a man in the court for stealing
his armor. The Caliph presented his son and his slave as evidence against the man.
However, the judge rejected both of them by saying that both are too close to the Caliph to
be accepted as evidence. The man who was Jew impressed so much by the justice of the
judge that he accepted Islam and gave the Caliph his armor.
The Quran also ordered quite clearly each and every one of us to dispense justice in our
control. The Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran,” No Doubt, Allah orders justice and
good conduct” ( Surah Al-Nahl). Similarly, Allah says,” If you judge them, judge between
them with justice” ( Al- Maidah).

Moral justice
Moral Justice is also an important part of Islam. As per the rules set by Islam, no one is
allowed to abuse anyone or the personalities he reveres, no one is allowed to violate the
honor of women in the society and no is allowed to spread false rumors about others Nor
one is allowed to backbite against others.
The Islam clearly lays down some laws according to which a person committing such things
will be brought into the court. If a person blamed another person of committing adultery or
other such things and he did prove it in the court of law then according to the Islamic
teachings he will be given the same punishment as that of the accused. This strict
punishment is for the purpose to make it as a deterrent against any false blames.
Similarly, if any person was blamed for any moral corruption without any evidence can
pursue his legal rights in the court of law. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) termed backbiting as
the eating of the flesh of a dead brother.

Economic justice
As Islam is a complete guide for all the aspects of human life so Islam definitely deals with
the economic needs of a man. Islam orders the head of the state and other officials to take
care of their subjects and provide them with every kind of economic assistance in case if
they are poor. Islam has introduced a moderate system in the economics in which every
person who has the means to earn to a certain level will have to give 40 percent of his
wealth in the way of Allah ( the way through which poor will be supported by the state).
Allah says in the Quran,” Those who believe in the unseen, establish prayer and spend out
of what we have given them” (Surah Al-Baqara).
The Quran instructs Muslims by saying” You shall observe the prayers and give the
obligatory charity” ( Surah Al-Baqarah).
The life of the Prophet Muhammad and that of Rashidun Caliphs are practical manifestation
of the Holy Quran and serves as a guiding light for all of us. It was the norm for the Holy
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) to give all of what he had to the poor and would spend his life
even without eating for several days. During his Caliphate, Hazrat Umar (r.a) would move
around in the cities to get an idea of the security, safety, and needs of the citizens. One day
the Caliph was passing through a street when he heard some children crying. The Caliph
inquired their mother that why they are crying. The mother said that they had nothing to
eat tonight. The Caliph went back to Baitul mal and brought a sack full of flour for them.
This was the level of justice of the Great Rashidun Caliph.
Islamic Law provides protection to all the sections of society irrespective of their religion,
caste, color, creed or status. When the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) migrated to
Medina he not only signed an agreement of the formation of a nation state with Jews and
other people but also pledged to protect the communities in case of any war from outside.
When the Muslims conquered Makkah, it was the Prophet of Islam who announced a
general amnesty for all the excesses committed by the Quraish against Muslims. The
Islamic protection ranges to all sections of society and the Allah Almighty and Holy Prophet
Muhammad makes it forbidden for Muslims to even smell the fragrance of Heaven if they
kill any of the Non-Muslim. The Holy Prophet Muhammad says,” Those who kill Non-
Muslims in the Islamic state will remain deprived even of the fragrance of the Heaven”
( Hadith).
The second Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar (r.a), conquered Jerusalem during his Caliphate.
The Christian clergy offered him to pray at their Cathedral but the Caliph of Islam turned
down the offer by saying that if I prayed here the Muslims may consider it a place of
Worship of Islam in future. The caliph did not want to create even a minute difficulty for
the non-Muslims residents of the state. Islam has termed the killing of one person as the
killing of whole humanity.
Efforts for welfare of the people
The Islamic state is not only responsible to strictly enforce the rule of law but also to work
for the welfare of the people. Hazrat Usman (r.a) on the direction of Prophet Muhammad
(s.a.w) bought half of Bair-e-Roma from a Medinite and spared it for the public use
irrespective of religion.
The Second Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar (r.a), formed a separate department called Bait-
Ul-Mal to transparently distribute Zakat and other funds among the poor class. The Holy
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and his rightly guided Caliphs would serve the same life which
the common people of the state would live. Once Hazrat Abu Bakar (r.a) was asked to
increase salary for himself but he refused by saying that if the poor can live on a daily wage
I m getting how can I increase for myself.

Islam introduced the concept of Zakat to take care of the needs of the poor sections of the

slamic Concept of Good Governance

Written by: M. Sheraz on September 16, 2016.

The issue of good governance is being widely debated all over the world nowadays. All sociologists
and political scientists have a consensus that good governance has major influence for human
resource development in the society. They further believe that no nation can make the dream of
development come true sans developing a culture of good governance. It is inevitable for all state
and non-state organizations to abide by the principles of good governance in order to move forward
and attain the goal of public welfare. At the state level, it is considered important and connected
with a nation’s overall development and its sustainability.
Good governance is a culture that makes people act responsibly, thoughtfully and conscientiously. In such
a system, all public functionaries ought to be people of high calibre, with traits of justness and being
energetic in them. An important principle of good governance is that the ruler must be sincere and of
impeccable character. He must consider himself not a ruler but a servant. Similarly, he should be mindful
of his every act, that it should not harm his subjects.

In Islamic concept of good governance, those in authority behave with restraint and avoid abuse of power.
They act within the parameters of the law and take upon themselves the country’s concerns and hardships.
They remain impersonal in the discharge of their duties and imperturbable in front of critics. They respect
popular will but never go beyond their tether.

A shining example of this can be found when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) became head of the state of Madina
and exemplified good governance through his acts. He created a bond of brotherhood among the Muslim
citizens, concluded agreements with non-Muslims and remained concerned about their welfare. He upheld
the Islamic value system in which justice remains central. He declared that all humans are the offspring of
Adam and that there is no difference between Arab and non-Arab (Ajam).
Islam is a religion which guides us in all aspects of human life. Our value system originates mainly from the
Holy Quran and our progress is forever dependent on its application. We find a number of Quranic
injunctions considered to contain the essentials of good governance.

First is the concept of amanah (trust). Allah says that to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and
whatever is on earth.

Every human being is a trustee on earth. All his possessions, including health, wealth, livelihood, power
and status belong to Allah. One who performs his or her duties honestly and diligently is upholding his

Allah enjoins believers to “…Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your amanah [things
entrusted to you and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you]” (8:27). In the light of this concept, no
one in authority is absolute; one has to remain answerable to his conscience.

Those who transgress their limits are the most disgraceful, and the Quran refers to them as zalimoon.

Merit is also one of the important principles of good governance, whereby all appointments in state and
non-state organisations are made on the basis of competence. Every human is born with certain inherent
competencies and those who actualise their competencies with hard work, integrity and honesty get a

Nature rewards them for being active and hardworking. The Quran says “And that man can have nothing
but what he does” (53:39). In meritocratic societies, people upgrade themselves professionally and grow
economically due to their performance, competence and ability.

Islam encourages Muslims to acquire knowledge and occupy the best position in their societies. We read
the life story of Hazrat Yousuf who was in captivity but was called to head the food ministry because of his
high degree of competence and knowledge. He was thus able to prevent the impending famine.
Here knowledge becomes fundamental in governance. Many Western societies are ahead of us because
of knowledge and it is the demand of the present time that our parliament and all lawmaking and law-
enforcing bodies be occupied by knowledgeable people.

Similarly, the concept of taqwa is also closely linked to good governance. It is an all-inclusive concept which
says that every believer should be mindful of Allah’s omnipresence and be aware of accountability. We live
in the constant presence of Allah. No act goes unrecorded and no one escapes the accountability of his or
her doings. If a public servant develops such a sense of Allah’s presence in his mind and heart, it would
result in peace and well-being in society.

The absence of taqwa in any society often leads to unethical practices. For example, our present-day
society is in the grip of widespread corruption. This is the result of poor governance over the years.

When a politician submits a fake degree to contest elections; when a police party kills a person in a fake
encounter; when a businessman evades taxes, when a builder uses outdated material; when a teacher
skimps on class work in order to sell his time privately and when a doctor recommends a drug to gain
commission from a pharmaceutical firm, then the concept of taqwa is grossly violated. The foundations of
society are undermined and the nation’s future is ruined.

Many think they will escape judgement but the Quran says “And We have fastened every man’s deeds to
his neck and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall bring out for him a book which he will find wide open”