Dear Sheikh! Some people keep on yelling that Islam is the religion of one political party meaning that when Muslim activists come to power, they will never allow the existence of any other political party, a thing that marks a defeat of all forms of democracy. Please comment!
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All thanks and praise are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner! Thanks a lot for your question and the interest you show in having a clearer view of the true teachings of Islam. May Allah help you get the right understanding and stand firm on the Straight Path! Amen!
First of all, we would like to highlight the fact that pluralism is something known to Islam and Muslim scholars a long time ago. Islam does not say that only one party should run the affairs of the whole state or seize power; rather, it leaves the matter to be determined according to the rules of As-Siyasah Ash-Shar`iyyah (Shari`ah-Oriented Policy) that vary according to time and place. Muslim scholars accept the articles of the democratic system that cope with the teachings of Islam.
Making this concept clear, here is the fatwa issued by the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, vice President of the European Council for Fatwa and Research:
“To claim that Islam advocates monocracy is untrue. It is well-established that since the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, Muslims have known different political parties that have constituted in shaping political structure of the Muslim societies.
The Emigrants (Al-Muhajirun) and the Helpers (Al-Ansar) acted as if they were two parties, still they were far remote from enmity known among the fans of each party. They (the Emigrants and the Helpers) differed concerning choosing the Caliph. This was the first political difference of its kind occurring among Muslims. Each party demanded that the Caliph was to be chosen from among them. This is not far different from the demand of any contemporary political party.
Yet, the emergence of real partisanship was remarkable after the assassination of Caliph `Uthman ibn `Affan, may Allah be pleased with him. The assassination itself was a form of a military coup against the ruler, another act that can be carried out by a political party.
Later, the Kharijites appeared during the reign of Caliph `Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, and were known as a political party as well as a sect. Many dynasties that appeared later including the Abbassyds, the Turks and the Mamlukis were no more than political parties taking power.
In fact, forming political parties or gatherings that call for political legal goals is completely Islamic. Muslim activists who hold the view that Islam allows one party are very few and even have no effect on the mainstream. Muslim activists who can win elections all believe in pluralism within the framework of Islam. In case those peaople come to power, there will be no fear of any political despotism.
As for the true concept of democracy, it is not our main concern. We, Muslims believe in pluralism and political freedom as part and parcel of Islamic teachings. It is worth stressing here that we accept the articles and the principles of democracy that cope with the teachings of Islam and reject those principles that are non-Islamic. Our main reference is Islam when deciding whether to accept or reject any new ideology.”