in category Politics

Does Imam Ghazali argue in favour of a secular government?

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Imam Ghazali did not believe it is permitted Islamically for Muslims to be ruled by non-Islamic law. In his famous book Nasihat ul Muluk he states:

'The quality which rulers most need is correct Deen, because al-deen wa'l dawlah are like brothers...He must be diligent in matters of Deen, performing the duties at the proper times, avoiding eccentric desires and heretical innovations in religion and shunning unjust and immoral actions. If he hears that any person in his territory is suspect as regards Deen, he must summon him and interrogate him until he repents, or else punish him or exile him from the territory; in this way the dominion will be purged of eccentric desires and innovation and Islam will be strong. He must...strive to increase the power of Islam and keep the Prophet's Sunnah fresh (and vigourous)'

In the same book Ghazali reported the advice given to Caliph Harun al Rashid by a famous man of knowledge, that if he didn't feed the poor or implement the Islamic hudood punishments upon 'those who disobeyed Allah's commands', Allah (swt) would replace him with another ruler and put him in hell

He argues Islamic ruler if forbidden from breaching the Shari'a and must command obedience to Allah (swt) and enforce prohibitions, he must discipline the people to obey God and practice virtue and people seeking claims against the ruler, must have the case referred to an Islamic court.

He also argued the mission of the Prophet (saaw) included political goals: 'God on High sent the Prophet to transform the abode/lands of Kufr into the abode/lands of Islam through his barakah and to bring development and prosperity to the world through justice and equitable (rule)'

In his book Iqtisad he argues a Muslim government must be based upon the Deen of Islam or it will collapse. He does not just expect Islamic government to simply bring order and prevent civil strife, but also to prepare people for the hereafter too

It remains for readers to ask themselves whether any of these teachings by Imam Ghazali sound even remotely like a Secular government.

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