These are the lecture notes of the course "Principles of Governance and Leadership in Islam" which I teach at the School of Graduate Studies, University of Hargeisa, particularly in M.A. in Governance and Leadership classes.
Abdirahman NurTrainer um Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention
Principles of Islamic Governance and Leadership Week 1 Lecture
1. Historical Background of Governance
and Leadership in Islam plus
Objectives of Shariah
Lecturer: Abdirahman Hassan Nur,
M.A., LL.B, B.A. and LL.M (Candidate).
4. Preliminary Discussion…cont
Islam, State and Politics – separable or inseparable?
“Islam and the state must be institutionally separate in order
to safeguard the possibility of being Muslim out of personal
conviction rather than conformity to the coercive will of the
“The enforcement of Shari`a through the coercive power or
authority of the state is neither desirable nor possible, while a
secular state is both desirable and possible.”
Abdullahi Ahmed Na’im,
Professor of Law, Emory University, USA.
5. “The fact that some Muslims assert there is an
Islamic state model does not make that claim
true or valid. But the separation of Islam and the
state does not mean that Islam and politics are also
separate. In other words, I am saying that Islam and
the state are and must remain separate, but Islam
and politics cannot and should not be separated.”
6. Definitions of Terms
“Politics is the process of making decisions that apply to
members of a group. It refers to achieving and exercising
positions of governance—organized control over a human
community, particularly a state.”
– A state is a compulsory political organization with a
centralized government that maintains a monopoly
on the legitimate use of force within a certain
7. Historical Background of Islamic
Governance and Leadership
• Islam is the religion of truth. It is the embodiment of
the code of life which God, the Creator and Lord of the
universe, has revealed for the guidance of mankind.
• For the proper development of human life, man needs
a) the resources to maintain life and to fulfill the
material needs of the individual and society, and
b) knowledge of the principles of individual and
social behavior to enable man to fulfill himself
and to maintain justice and tranquillity in human
8. Historical Background of Islamic Governance
• The Lord of the universe has provided for both of these
in full measure. To cater to the material needs of man,
He has put all of nature's resources at his disposal, but in
accordance with the principles of Islamic Shariah.
• To provide for his spiritual, social, and cultural needs, He
has raised His prophets from among men and has
revealed to them the code of life that can guide man's
steps to the right path.
• This code of life is known as Islam, the religion preached
by all of the prophets of God.
9. Historical Background of Islamic Governance
• In the first phase of our historical journey, a single individual was chosen by
God and appointed to reconstruct the life of mankind. This reform was
based on the belief in the Oneness of God, the life Hereafter and in the
Messages brought about by all of God’s Messengers (peace be upon them
• For thirteen long years, this individual preached the Divine Message in
Makkah. But he was not an ordinary person - he was the embodiment of the
type of sublime (inspiring) individual that the Islamic way of life sought to
• His thoughts and behaviour, his words and motives, his treatment of others
and his selfless deeds for humanity, showed the kind of character and moral
excellence that Islam could develop. He was a shining example of how a
believer in God should conduct himself throughout his life.
• This man was not an ordinary man but a Prophet of God - Muhammad
(peace and blessings of God be upon him), and his pure and upright
personality was a perfect model of the principles he preached.
10. Historical Background of Islamic Governance
• The Prophet (p.b.u.h), by fulfilling the
commandments of the God Almighty, laid down
the primary principles of governance and political
system of Islam.
• Governance and Islamic political system have
been based on three principles which are:
– Oneness of Allah (Tawheed);
– Message (Prophethood); and
– Caliphate (Khilafah) or Imamate.
11. Historical Background of Islamic Governance
• Our religion is called “Islam” i.e. submission to the will of
God. Its distinctive features are two:-
1) A harmonious equilibrium between the temporal and the
spiritual (the body and the soul).
2) A universality of the call – all the believers becoming brothers
and equals without any distinction of class, race or tongue.
• The only superiority that Islam recognizes is a personal one,
based on the greater fear of God (piety).
• All this was the practical mission of the Prophet that he
taught his companions. 11
12. Historical Background of Islamic Governance
• Hence, the main reason that the Prophet was sent was
to guide them to the right path. This indeed was a
mercy from the God Almighty and the sending of the
Prophet was a mercy to the whole mankind.
• Islamic religion has three comprehensive dimensions
for which the Prophet P.B.U.H was sent:-
a) Dimension 1: Doctrine (Faith).
b) Dimension 2: Morality
c) Dimension 3: Human Acts/Deeds
• These above dimensions are the components of Islamic
Shariah and they complement each other.
13. Historical Background of Islamic Governance
• Our Prophet taught us that Islam is a way of life and as such it has
implications regarding belief as well as behaviour and other actions.
• Hence, Islam consists of two inseparable components: a) a
doctrine; and b) a law, which are inextricably linked.
• The Islamic doctrine is the foundation upon which all laws are
established as it legitimates the law.
• That is, the doctrine provides the basis for Muslims to respect the
law and to apply it without external compulsion, and the law
organizes all aspects of the life of the individual as well as the
15. Difference between Ibadat (Rituals) & Mu’amalat
•Determined by God
•Based on the legal maxim:
•Original ruling in Ibadah is
prohibition unless there is a
valid justification that
makes it permissible.
•Otherwise, it is considered
•Combination of Fixed & Flexible
•Based on the legal maxim:
•Original ruling in transactions is
permissibility unless there is a
clear & valid justification that
•Understanding the ‘illat (cause)
16. Historical Background of Islamic Governance
• As such, the roots of Islamic governance and leadership
started as early, when the first Islamic state started in
• The fundamental bases of the Islamic work was enunciated
by the Quran and practiced by the Prophet p.b.u.h., and he
started organizing his government by appointing advisors,
lieutenants, and assistants to counsel him and to perform
certain duties on his behalf.
• Among his advisors were Abu Bakar who was the successor
of him as a head of state, and Omar who was the successor
of Abu Bakar.
17. Historical Background of Islamic Governance
• Omar is credited with the first formal
organization of civil service in Islam. He
established Diwan to enumerate people and to
compile a register for the revenues and
expenditure of the treasury.
• Omar also divided the Muslim land into provinces
and appointed a governor and a judge for each
province. He minted the first Islamic coin and he
established the Hijri calendar, the general
archives, and the general stores for food.
18. Introduction to the Objectives of
•The injunctions of Shariah are based on the
interest of man both in this world and in the
•The aim of Shariah is to preserve the five
objectives; namely: religion, life, intellect, progeny
•These are the five basic interests of man. They are
also known as the “Maqasid Al-Shariah” literally
meaning “Objectives of the Shariah”.
19. Introduction to Objectives of
•Preservation of these five objectives, being the
primary interests of man and a basic objective
of the Shariah, occupies a significant place in
the Islamic legal philosophy in terms of
governance and leadership.
•It regards these objectives as sacred and
inviolable, and Islam forbids all acts and/or
omissions that damage any of them.
20. Masalih (Benefits) and Shariah Objectives
•Categories of Benefits in Islam:
◦ Imam Al-Ghazali defined Maslaha: as that which secures
a benefit or prevents harm. However, benefits
mentioned in the Islamic Shariah are of three kinds:
First: Accredited Benefits (): which are regulated by The Lawgiver in the
sense that a textual authority from the divine law could be found to prove
Second: Nullified Benefits (): they are the benefits and interests that the
Shari’ah neglected because they lead to harm and hardship (Mafsadah),
such as stealing or usury.
Third: Unregulated Benefits (): since the benefits of people can be as
numerous as their public interests, we find that the divine law did not
regulate a number of these benefits. So it provides no indication as to their
validity. In the principles of Islamic law, these kinds of benefits are called
the unregulated benefits, and it is left for legal scholars or jurists to work
21. Masalih (Benefits) and Shariah
• According to Imam Al-Ghazali, masalih or benefits
should be harmonious and consistent with the
objectives (Maqasid) of the Shariah, since the
basic purpose of legislation (tashri’) is to protect
the interest of people against harm.
• In regard to their importance and priority, benefits
were divided by Muslim scholars into three kinds:
1) The necessities (),
2) The complementary (), and
3) The embellishments () 21
22. Masalih (Benefits) and Shariah