Following notes on Islamic Concept of Administration have been taken from An introduction to Islamic Ideology by Anwar Hashmi.
Basic Features of an Islamic administration and Good governance in Islam:
The advice to the Governor (Wali) Mali Alk-Ashtar contained in a letter of Hazrat Ali (RA) gives in a nutshell the qualities of an administrator.
Umar was very painstaking in every matter. His meticulous was evident from his appointment of governors and judges that never let him lose his grip on the government. He never appointed governors for more than two years, for they might get influence in their county. He dismissed his most successful general Khalid ibn Walid, due to his immense popularity and growing influence that he saw menace to his authority. Rather than tenacious conquest he stressed more on consolidating his rule in the conquered land, a fact that saved Byzantine empire from complete disappearance.
When Hazrat Omar (RA) would appoint a governor, he would invariably advise the incumbent
“Not to make reception halls so that you are accessible to every one, not to eat refined flour as it is not available to all citizens of the Ummah, not to wear thin cloth because this would make you easy going and not to ride a Turkish horse because this would make you haughty”.
The Qur’an defines good governance as the rule of justice, a just and ethical order and observance of rights and obligations in a society.
Umar’s general instructions to his officers were:
“Remember, I have not appointed you as commanders and tyrants over the people. I have sent you as leaders instead, so that the people may follow your example. Give the Muslims their rights and do not beat them lest they become abused. Do not praise them unduly, lest they fall into the error of conceit. Do not keep your doors shut in their faces, lest the more powerful of them eat up the weaker ones. And do not behave as if you were superior to them, for that is tyranny over them.”
Hazrat Umar’s reported in final words of his testament:
“Lead life as a model Muslim. As you are the leader of the Muslims, justify your leadership by being the best among them all. May God bless you.”
According to Islam, corruption is a sin for which there is no atonement. The Holy Quran has clearly pointed out that the corrupt will be subjected to divine chastisement. It enjoins Muslims from usurpation of each other’s wealth and from offering bribes to judges so that through their aid someone’s property might not be seized dishonestly.
Islam enunciates certain principles in order to eliminate corruption from administration.
Honesty in the Light of Quran:
“O you who believe! Betray not the trust of ALLAh and the messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.” (Surah-Anfal: 27)
Honesty in the light of Holy Prophet (SAW):
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) in his administration reforms gave the highest priority to honestly and moral integrity of officers.
Officers were disallowed to have anything beyond their salaries and allowances and even gifts of all kinds were forbidden to them.
The Holy Prophet took special care in allocating offices of the state. A tradition has been narrated by Bukharee from Abu Hurraira in which The Prophet pointed out that if the offices were assigned to unworthy people, which would mean the end of this world.
Honesty in the Caliphate:
Hazrat Umar (R.A), who created effective and efficient governmental machinery, set very high ethical standards for public servants. Civil and military officers found guilty were always subjected to severe reprimand and were very often given exemplary punishments.
Hazrat Omer (R.A) in a letter addressed to Hazrat Amar bin Aas, Governor of Egypt, made serious inquiries about the ways and means by which he had accumulated wealth and property which he did not possess before his appointment as Governor.
Similarly, in an official circular addressed to all the Governors, The Caliph of Islam forbade them to accept even gifts.
In a similar letter to Osman Bin Haneef, the Governor of Basra, Hazrat Ali condemned officers who had the habit of attending parties arranged in their honour by interested people. This, he thought, was a corruption of a subtle nature.
To ensure honestly in administration, several steps were taken including provision of all possible amenities and comforts to the officials because it was believed that inadequate salaries and absence of reasonable facilities could be one of the factors of corruption.
Various other strict code of conducts were to be obeyed by the governors and state officials. The principal officers were required to come to Mecca on the occasion of the Hajj, during which people were free to present any complaint against them. In order to minimize the chances of corruption, Umar made it a point to pay high salaries to the staff. Provincial governor received as much as five to seven thousand dirham annually besides their shares of the spoils of war (if they were also the commander in chief of the army of their sector).
JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN ADMINISTRATION:
Islam also takes into consideration the evil consequences of force and fraud and for this it emphasizes complete justice in administration.
Islamic system of justice includes social justice, which means that the Government must manage to meet and fulfil the needs and requirements of all citizens because they have rightful share in State resources and are bona fide citizens of the country.
This includes provision of job, means of subsistence and economic justice. This further implies that it is the responsibility of the State to provide food, shelter and clothing to all the citizens of the State.
Economic justice is aimed at equitable distribution of means of living and check concentration of wealth in a few hands.
Also essential is administrative justice, which means that all State functionaries are also subject to accountability and do not consider and treat people as “slaves” or “personal servants”.
Justice in the Light of Quran:
The Holy Quran says, “When you speak a word or pronounce a judgment, be true and just, though the person concerned be your relative speak not falsely, although the declaration might be against your parents or your near relatives”.
It further says: “O you who believe stand up as a witness for Allah in all fairness, and do not let the hatred of people deviate you from justice (‘adl). Be just, this is closest to piety (I’dilu huwa aqrabu littaqwa)” (Al-Maidah 5:8)
Rule of Law – “O you who believe, be custodians of justice (and) witness for Allah, even though against yourselves or your parents or your relatives. Whether a man be rich or poor, Allah is the greatest well-wisher than you. so follow nor the behests of lust, lest you swerve from justice…” (An-Nisa 4:135)
Justice in the light of Holy Prophet:
Hazrat Abu Saeed reported that The Holy Prophet said, “Verily the dearest of men near Allah Almighty on the Resurrection Day and the nearest before Him for company will be the just ruler.”
Justice in the Caliphate:
Economic justice is aimed at equitable distribution of means of living and check concentration of wealth in a few hands.
That is why the rightly guided second Caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) refused to allot lands to the Muslim soldiers and commanders in areas conquered by Muslims in Iran, Iraq and Syria.
The saying with which Hazrat Umar (R.A.) began his reign will never grow antiquated: ‘By God, he that is weakest among you shall be in my sight the strongest, until I have vindicated for him his rights; but him that is strongest will I treat as the weakest, until he complies with the laws.’
Hazrat Umar (R.A.) Testament:
In the matter of administration do not prefer the rich to the poor.
Treat all the people as equal. Be a pillar of strength for those who are weak and oppressed. Those who are strong but do wrong, make them pay for their wrong-doings. In the distribution of booty and other matters be above nepotism. Let no consideration of relationship or selfish interest weigh with you.
MINORITY RIGHTS: RELIGIOUOS TOLERANCE:
Hazrat Ali’s Letter to Governor of Egypt, Maalik:
Remember, Maalik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have; they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to, they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you.
One of the reasons of the compactness of Hazrat Umar (R.A.) political rule in the conquered lands is reputed to his policy of tolerance to their religious beliefs and imposition of far lower taxes on them as compared to Sassanid Persian empire and Byzantine Empire. Their local administration was kept un-touched and several of the former Byzantine and Persian official were retained on their services under Umar’s governors.
Every action must be in line with Islamic teachings. We need to fulfill the Will of Allah to seek Allah’s pleasure (RAZA).
Islam lays greater emphasis on this point. An official is not only accountable to Allah Almighty on the day of judgment but also to the people in this world.
Accountability in the Light of Quran:
Public Accountability – “…Lo the hearing and the sight and the heart – of each of these will be asked” (Bani Isra’il 17:36)
Accountability in the Light of Prophet (SAW):
“Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: Everyone of you is a guardian (ra’in) and accountable (mas’ul) for his charge. Thus the amir is a guardian of the people and He is accountable for them. And a man is a guardian (ra’in) of his household and he is accountable for them; and a women is in charge (ra’iyah) of the household and her children and she is accountable for them; and a servant is guardian of his master’s property, everyone of you is accountable for his subjects” (Bukhari, al-Jam’al-Sahih)
The Holy Prophet (SAW) says:
“Each one of you is a guardian and each guardian is accountable to everything under his care.”
DEMOCRACY IN ISLAM:
Since Islamic system is democratic in nature and is based on Shariah and the Sunnah, there is no place in this system for dictatorial leadership, authoritarian attitude and one man decision-making.
According to Ibn-e-Khaldun, a successful and viable administrative set up is that in which people’s participation is ensured. If the governed feel that they share the administrative process, the society would be stable.
What Ibne Khaldun observed is reflected in modern theory of New Public Administration(NPA) that administration should be such as make people feel that they are equal partners in the process of planning, administration and implementation. Thus public participation is an essential part of Islamic model of administration.
Decision making in the Light of Quran:
Participatory Decision Making:
The Qur’anic command “and take counsel from them in matters” (Al-i-‘Imran 3:159)
was translated by the Prophet s.a.w.s in all critical matters such as Badr, Uhad, Hudaybiyah, and ahzab.
Decision making in the Light of Holy Prophet (SAW):
Striving for Excellence – “An amir (ruler) who accepts an office but does not make his utmost effort with sincerity (ikhlas), he will never ever enter jannah with other Muslims” Muslim, (Sahih, Kitabal-Imarah)
Democracy in the light of Quran:
Participation – “…and consult (washawirhum) with them in the conduct of affairs, and when you have resolved then put your trust in Allah” (Al-i-’Imran 3:159 also Al-Shura 42:38)
CAPABLE AND COMPETENT:
Competent in the Light of Quran:
“Lo Allah commands you to restore trusts to their owners, and, if you judge between people, you judge justly” (An-Nisa 4:58)
Competent in the Light of Holy Prophet (SAW):
“O Abudhar, you are weak (in administration), a public office is a trust and will be the cause of humiliation and regret for a person who was not efficient in his responsibilities. (Ali-al-Muttaqi al Hindi) (d 975 H) Kanz al-’Ummal
Saeed M.Mohtsham cites from Caliph Umar’s rule in his research paper Vision and Visionary Leadership – An Islamic Perspective:
“He used to monitor very closely the public policy and had kept the needs of the public central to his leadership approach. As second caliph of Islam, he refused to chop off the hands of the thieves because he felt he had fallen short of his responsibility to provide meaningful employment to all his subjects. As a ruler of a vast kingdom, His vision was to ensure that every one in his kingdom should sleep on a full stomach.”
If a dog dies hungry on the banks of the River Euphrates, Umar will be responsible for dereliction of duty—(Umar)
Patience in the Light of the Holy Prophet:
A tradition of the Holy Prophet narrated by Abdullah Bin Abbas says, “When Allah wishes the welfare of a community, He blesses it with officers who are patient and large-hearted.
Patience in the Caliphate:
Hazrat Ali (R.A.) letter to Governor of Egypt Maalik:
Do not get angry and lose your temper quickly over the mistakes and failures of those over whom you rule. On the contrary, be patient and sympathetic with them. Anger and desire of vengeance are not going to be of much help to you in your administration.
For complete Islamiat notes click here.