The Electorate and the Electoral Process

The Electorate and the Electoral Process

The Quran does not explicitly give any specific composition of the electorate or any specific electoral process for electing the Chief Executive or Head of the Islamic State. However, it has alluded to various criteria for the candidate[1] and has enjoined to incorporate the ‘consultation among the Muslim community’[2] in the appointment process. Moreover, the Quran has not given any fixed method of consultation, and this may vary depending on time and circumstances as is evident from the early history of the Muslims. After the demise of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), all the first four rightly guided caliphs were elected through different electorate and varied electoral processes. The first Caliph, Abu Bakar (r.a.,), was elected by the representatives of the Muslim community present at the time of the demise of the Prophet (s.a.w.) by mutual consultation. While the first Caliph was on his death bed, he designated Umar (r.a.) as the second Caliph after consultation with some representatives of the Muslim community. This designation was later on ratified by the Muslim community (by a process that may be likened to modern-day referendum). The second Caliph formed an electoral body of six most prominent representatives of the Muslim Community. The electoral body nominated Uthman (r.a.). This nomination was later on ratified by the majority of the Muslim Community. The fourth Caliph, Ali (r.a.) was elected by a congregation of the Muslim community at Masjid-e-Nabwi, with majority of the community pledging him support[3], [4].

[1] See the section ‘The Criteria for People in Authority”.

[2] Al-Quran Surah 42: Verse 38

[3] Muhammad Asad, “The Principles of State and Government in Islam”, Islamic Book Trust, Kuala Lumpur.

[4] M. Basheer Ahmed, Syed A. Ahsani, Dilnawaz Ahmed Siddiqui, “Muslim Contributions to World Civilization”, International Institute of Islamic Thought (2005).

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