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17 May, 2021 05:59:22 PM
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Islamic perspective of good governance

Justice is a core component of Islamic Shariah. It means putting things in their proper places and equal treatment to every citizen of the state irrespective of race, caste, religion and colour. All groups in society must be given the opportunity to improve and sustain their well-being in order to be considered equity.
Md. Obaidullah
Islamic perspective of good governance

Islam is not only a religion, but also a complete code of life. This complete code of life is conducted by the Shariah (the holy Quran and Sunnah). Being a complete code of life, it disseminates guideline about economic, social, political and governance systems also.
Good governance is a widely discussed topic in the modern governance system. As a concept it's new albeit in contemporary management science and public administration, it has become a frequently used term alongside terms, such as, sustainable development, accountability and transparency, rule of law, devolution of power and democracy.
The holy Quran describes the good governance as the rule of justice (adal). The final goal of this is the people's welfare. Both of these elements of good governance are included in Islamic Shariah and modern good governance concept as well. Islamic view of good governance is qualitative rather than quantitative. These principles are solely based on the holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). The following are the major features:
Rule of law
This element is most crucial in democracy and good governance. Rule of law means a country will be ruled by the law not by the person or king. Everyone is equal under the law. One of the most relevant constitutional concepts in Islamic law is as-shura. It's very significant as it is mentioned in the Quran. In addition, the holy Qur'an has a sura (chapter) named after that principle. It's known as "Shura." However, this demonstrates the significance of this theory in all Muslim activities. Shura must lead the Islamic state's entire structure, from its creation to the recruitment of the state's Khalifa and all those in key positions, as well as its communications, so it should be carried out directly or indirectly through chosen or nominated councils. And the absolute law for the Islamic state is the holy Quran whereas Sunnah is vast explanation.
Allah stated in Quran:
O believers! Stand firm for justice as witnesses for Allah even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or close relatives. Be they rich or poor, Allah is best to ensure their interests. So do not let your desires cause you to deviate ˹from justice˺. If you distort the testimony or refuse to give it, then ˹know that˺ Allah is certainly All-Aware of what you do (4:135).

People’s participation
Participation of the people is a crucial component of good governance. Good governance is needed for development, while true citizen participation ensures inclusive and long-term development. Participation of the public increases the consistency of decisions taken and citizen’s adherence to policies. In Islam, all the activities of state will be conducted by the instructions of Quran and Sunnah where taking the public opinion or opinion of intellectuals is necessary.
The Quran states that:
Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance. (42:38)
Even the Prophet (pbuh) commanded by the almighty for doing consultation with his companions, as Allah mentioned
Consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him). (3:159)
Following this advice and lead, Caliph Umar admonished that: “There is no khilafah without consultation.”
As a consequence, participation is the mechanism used by Muhammad and his followers at all phases in the selection of political leadership.
Accountability
Accountability is indeed a sort of liability that involves evaluating or assessing a person or an organization's performance or actions in reference to something for which they are liable. It could be the acknowledgment of responsibility for his or her action including the administration and governance.  
Islam puts a focus on accountability in a broader perspective. The word hesab (account) appears in the holy Qur'an more than eight times in different chapters. The references occur in a broad context, referring to a Muslim's duty to answer to Allah (God) for all subjects to that he or she is responsible. The Muslims must believe that on the Day of Qiyamat (judgment), he or she will be held accountable for his or her actions and it is the responsibility to carry out their work for according the will of Almighty. Every action of a Muslim i.e., praying, sleeping, eating and governing a state must follow the Islamic framework. The holy Quran also emphasizes the importance of accountability in a man's life: " Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned."
Narrated `Abdullah bin Umar: Allah's Messenger (pubh) said, "Surely! Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges: The Imam (ruler) of the people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects; a man is the guardian of his family (household) and is responsible for his subjects; a woman is the guardian of her husband's home and of his children and is responsible for them; and the slave of a man is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it. Surely, every one of you is a guardian and responsible for his charges." (Bukhari 7138).
Hence, the public servants and representatives should perform their duties for the satisfaction of citizen as well as the almighty.
Transparency
It is a process of being transparent regarding decision making. Transparent governance refers to elected representatives of government officials acting in an open manner, with people aware of the decisions they are making.
Allah revealed the idea of openness in the following Ayat: O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And let a scribe write [it] between you in justice ...  . (2:282)
Written document is a theory of Weberian bureaucracy which is being followed by the modern administration; thus, any transaction must be recorded in order to avoid ambiguousness and ensure transparency, according to this verse.
Equality and equity in justice
Justice is a core component of Islamic Shariah. It means putting things in their proper places and equal treatment to every citizen of the state irrespective of race, caste, religion and colour. All groups in society must be given the opportunity to improve and sustain their well-being in order to be considered equity. Contrarily, backward regions or citizens of the state shall get extra facilities to develop their socio-economic condition. Indeed, equity is the process to ensure equality in society. However, all people are equal in Allah's view, but they are not always separate, according to Islam. Capabilities, abilities, determinations, income, and other factors all varies.
Justice should be ensured in anyway, there is no way of nepotism and cronyism. Allah says in Quran,
O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor... (Quran, Al-Nisa, 4:135).
 Furthermore, he stated in another place,
Let not the hatred of a people swerve you away from justice. Be just, for this is closest to righteousness… (5:8).
Even the prophet came to the earth to make justice among the citizens, Quran says,
…Say: I believe in the Scripture, which God has sent down, and I am commanded to judge justly between you... (Al-Shura, 42:15)

By and large, it is clear from the above Islamic perspective of governance is much similar to modern good governance system and that is why it is not mere a religion but the way of life.

The writer is a policy intern at Youth Policy Forum and a student of public administration, University of Barishal.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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