The Political Dimensions of Islam

By: Imam Khomeini

At the same time that Islam orders man to worship and at the same time that Islam shows man how to worship, it tells man how to live and how his relationship with other humans must be. Islam even tells us how an Islamic society must deal with other societies. There is no action or movement from an individual or a society that does not have a ruling in Islam. Therefore, it is clear that the concept of an Islamic leadership and being religious encompasses all facets of the society because Islam takes the responsibility of guiding a society in all of its dimensions. (Sahifah Nur, v.4, p.167-168, 1978, Paris)

Islam is not something that only looks at one side of an issue. Islam has rulings on all sides of all issues – all of the issues relating to the world, relating to politics, relating to the society, relating to economics, and relating to everything which the people of the world do not know about. Monotheistic religions came to glance at both sides of the issue; to devise a plan which would be implemented by both sides. It is not the case that it only deals with one side while the other side is left ambiguous. Islam is especially this way – more than the other religions. [The two sides are referring to matters of this world and matters of the hereafter] (Sahifah, v.9, p.137, 1979, Langarud)

The Glorious Quran which is in the hands of the Muslims is the same as it was from the beginning of Islam to now; one letter has not been added to it or taken away from it. When this Quran invites people to ponder it does not mean that they should sit in their homes and remember Allah; to remember Him in private. The issue is a social issue, it is an invitation to politics; an invitation to governance and at the same time all of these issues are acts of worship. Worship was not separated from politics and social benefits. In Islam, everything which has been encouraged has a spiritual dimension, even working in factories, farming on farms, teaching in schools – all of these are in the benefit of Islam and have spiritual dimensions. (Sahifah, v.18, p.275, 1984, Tehran)

Islam’s ethical rulings are also political. The ruling that is in the Quran which states that Muslims are brothers to one another is an ethical ruling, a social ruling, and a political ruling. If the members of the various tribes that have become Muslim believe in Allah and the Prophet they are brothers. In the same way that brothers love each other, all groups must love each other. In addition to this being one of the huge Islamic ethical and in addition to it having huge ethical results it is also a huge social ruling that has huge social results. (Sahifah, v.13, p.23, 1980)

It can be said that, without exception, all of the divine encouragements, even in personal matters and even in issues regarding one’s relationship with Allah, have a social and political dimension to them. (Sahifah, v.18, p.274, 1984, Tehran)

If you were able to understand the meaning of religion in Islamic culture you would clearly see that there is no contradiction between religious leadership and political leadership. Rather, just as political struggles are part of one’s religious duties leading political movements is part of the responsibility of religious leaders. (Sahifah, v.4, p.167, Paris, 1978)

The slogan that religion and politics are separate is one of the propagational aspects of the occupational forces who want to keep Muslims away from deciding their own destiny. In Islamic law political and social issues are discussed before matters of worship. The Prophet’s methods in regards to internal and external political issues show that one of the great battles of the Prophet (s) was a political battle.

The martyrdom of the Commander of the Faithful (a) and Hussayn (a) as well as the imprisonment, torture, and poisoning of other imams (a) was all on the path of Shia political battles against oppressors. In one word: fighting and political activity make up an important part of religious responsibility. (Sahifah, v.4, p.33, 1977, Paris)

Islam Times

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