Constitution of the Caliphate State/ Ummah Council
- Category: Ummah Council §105-111
Article 108: Shura (consultation) and Mashwarah (deliberation) is the taking of opinion in its absolute meaning, and it is not binding in legislation, definitions, and nor intellectual issues such as disclosing facts, nor technical and scientific issues; and it is binding when the Khalifah consults in any operational issue and the actions that do not require research and deep examination.
Shura is from the verb shawara, which is to seek opinion and consultation, and it is said I sought Shura from him – is to seek Mashurah for him.
Shura and Mashurah have the same meaning as Mashwara. In Lisan Al-‘Arab it mentioned: it is said So and so is good Mashurah and Mashwarah, in two dialects. Farraa’ said: Al-Mashura comes from Mashwarah, and then it became Mashura for the sake of ease. And Al-Layth said: Al-Mashwara is on the form Mafa‘la derived from Al-isharah, and it is said: Mashura, which is Shura and Mashura and similarly Mashwarah, and you say ‘I did Shura with him in an issue, and I sought Shura from him’, and it is mentioned in Mukhtar Al-Sihah: Al-Mashwarah is Al-Shura, and also Al-Mashurah, we say from it ‘Shaawarahu (I did Shura with him) in an issue, and I sought Shura from him’, with the same meaning.
The origin of the legitimacy of Al-Shura is the order of Allah (swt) to His Messenger to seek consultation with the Muslims when He (swt) said:
((وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ))
“And consult them in the matter.” (TMQ 3:159),and this indicates a request, and the indication that came with this request, which are reported in the texts, indicates that this is a request for something recommended. These texts are:
1) Allah praises Shura through his praise of the believers, by making the issue of Shura linked to them:
((وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ))
“And whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves.” (TMQ 42:38).
2) The Messenger of Allah would often consult (take Shura) from his companions in many issues, which indicates the extent of his concern to do it and how he considered it important and useful and to teach the Muslims after him to be careful to undertake it. Al-Tirmidhi reported from Abu Hurayrah:
«مَا رَأَيْتُ أَحَدًا أَكْثَرَ مَشُورَةً لأَصْحَابِهِ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ
“I did not see anyone who took Shura (Mashura) from his companions more than the Messenger of Allah ”.
3) The order of Allah (swt) to His Messenger to conduct mashawara (consultation) with the believers, when He (swt) ordered him to be kind and remissive towards them, and to seek forgiveness for them, when He (swt) said:
((فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ))
“So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter.” (TMQ 3:159).
Accordingly the origin of the rule of Shura (consultation) is that it is recommended.
However, when the Khalifah consults the Ummah Council, he must adhere to the opinion of the majority in practical affairs that do not require research and deep consideration, such as the internal affairs of the state linked to ruling, education, health, trade, industry, agriculture, and so on, and in the same manner when he is held accountable for actions which are being practically undertaken from these affairs and actions. This is derived from when the Messenger of Allah left his own opinion for the opinion of the majority in the issue of leaving Madinah to meet the army of the idol-worshippers in the battle of Uhud. This is despite the fact that the opinion of the Messenger and the senior companions was to remain in Madinah and not to leave. It is also derived from his words to Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra)
«لَوِ اجْـتَمَعْـتُمَا فِي مَشُورَةٍ مَا خَالَفْـتُكُمَا»
“If the two of you agree on an issue I consult you on (Mashura) I will not differ with you” (as reported by Ahmad with a Hasan chain from ‘Abd Al-Rahman Bin Ghanam Al-Ash’ari).
Whereas if the Khalifah consults the Council on anything else, such as consulting them on technical and conceptual issues that require research and deep consideration, or the affairs of war, insight and strategy, then the opinion of the majority is not binding and the Khalifah retains the right to make the decision. This is derived from the Messenger of Allah’s acceptance of the opinion of Al-Hubab Bin Al-Munthir in specifying the place for the battle of Badr and not paying attention to the opinions of the companions; rather he did not even consult them regarding it. And it is also based upon the rejection of the opinion of the companions by Abu Bakr (ra) in regards to not fighting the apostates and those who withheld their Zakah at the beginning of his Khilafah. In the same manner, when the Council holds the Khalifah accountable for an action that has already been practically carried out, the majority opinion is not binding.
Likewise, the opinion of the people is not sought regarding legislation, since the legislation is from Allah (swt) and not the people and consultation (Shura) in what Allah (swt) has legislated is only within the permitted (Mubah) issues, since in issues other than the Mubah there is no choice, rather it is compulsory to accept what is reported of obligations, recommended and disliked issues, or that which is prohibited. Therefore, the actions that there is consultation in are only those that fall under the permitted (Mubah) acts.