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Limited Government in the Quran

The principle of limited government is the principle that the powers of the government are very small and not wide. This means that government should have no business in doing business, nothing to do with welfare and obviously not involved “social engineering.”

In the modern world, most governments look at their people as “chattels,” unlike what you may believe. The government gives you a free health service, only because so that you are not sick to work the cogs of the economy.

The government builds roads, schools and other public amenities, not because they care about you, but so that they can get more money by doing projects and to share with their cronies.

The libertarians (a secular Western ideology) understands this very well. They understand that power is intoxicating. So there must be measures to limit power. But Western libertarianism is void of soul and void of God. A civilization void of God will fall due to decline of morals, inevitably.

That is where Islam comes in. The teachings of limited government is clear in the Quran.

فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ
“And judge between them according to what Allah has revealed”

– Quran, Al-Maidah, 5:48

Hence, all judgments, decisions and commands should be according to Allah’s revealed Book and nothing can be against it.

In pure democracy as it is in Britain, the parliament is supreme and has unlimited power while in a republic like USA the constitution is supreme and the powers of the congress are limited by the constitution.

In an Islamic Republic, the Word of God is supreme and the powers of the Islamic government are limited by the Quran.

For example, welfare states, social engineering, and mixed economy (state corporations like GLCs) are all unfounded in the Qur’an as they are based on force.

Islam teaches that trade must happen only by way of mutual consent.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْكُمْ
O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent

A welfare state, social engineering state, and mixed economy state are all based on the idea of forcing the people to pay tax in the name of “welfare.”

In the Qur’an wealth can only be taken by force when:

  1. Collecting zakat (which the beneficiaries have been clearly defined)
  2. Collecting jizyah (tribute paid by specific ahl-kitab and dhimmis)
  3. Spoils of war (ghanimah)
  4. Enforcing customary obligations (like enforcing a husband’s duty to provide maintenance for the wife, returning stolen property, blocking a bankrupt) so long as they are aligned with the Qur’an

None of these allows the government to take taxes and “build roads” for the people or build “schools.”

These charitable efforts are only meant to be done through voluntary, decentralized efforts, known as “sadaqah.”

Sadly, we find Islamic government authorities making up their own rules, or even changing what is in the Qur’an due to “maslahah” or “maqasid.”

The road to hell is always paved with good intentions.

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Published inFinding Islam

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