To know whether democracy falls within the rules of the time of Jaahiliyyah [the Period of Ignorance before the advent of Islam], one needs to know what democracy is first.
Knowing democracy is very simple, in that it has been well sold to the people. But a critical exercise is imperative.
Simply put, democracy is derived from two Greek words: demos and kratein. Demos means 'people' and kratein means 'rule.' To express the two words in a more logical manner, democracy is the 'rule by the people.' In other words, democracy is any rule whereby people play a very active role. The rule is according to what the people feel is good for them, and in it, the majority plays a very significant role.
In the Greek and Roman city-states where democracy originated, people then would go to the village-square and slog it out on what they thought was good for them as a people living in a community.
The period being referred to was the ancient Greece when the Greek philosophers were selling their pagan philosophies to those who cared to listen to them. It is therefore not strange if it is said that democracy was of a pagan origin.
Democracy is therefore an atheist political system that defines a specific view for a political life built on separating the religion from the state. Democracy is not based on elections alone, as some people think, because there could be elections yet a political system (that might be in place) will survive. True democracy stands where there is a complete separation of the state from religion. Thus democracy, as a secular system, is aimed at controlling the world with capitalism as a tool. Democracy is a school-of-thought that intends to return the root of authority to the wish of the majority.
A doubt and answer to it
At this point, someone might argue that since democracy is the rule by the people as they might want, then can we say if a people adopt a Shariah system of government and start its implementation over themselves is that form of democracy not welcome in the Deen? Or, as some Muslims democrats will say, an Islamic democracy?
Before answering the above poser, it will be recalled that some Muslims have put that to test in that they went into democracy in the name of using democracy to implement the Shariah but what became their result was not unknown to the people of proper sight. The Nigerian example is good to be cited here.
Therefore, to say that if a people try to use democracy in order to implement the Shariah that it will be tantamount to saying that democracy is good so far it can be used to achieve the Shariah.
The reply is that democracy has a set of rules and one of its cardinals is that there must be a book that gives guidelines to how the people will govern themselves. The book is what is usually referred to as the constitution. To agree to write down a book first in order to implement the Shariah is nothing but a sheer hypocrisy towards the laws of Allaah.
Also making a choice that the Shariah will be implemented via democracy is showing love to the latter and a systematic rating of the latter. Showing love to democracy is nothing but showing love to Kufr.
Another point is that saying there is a sort of Islamic democracy is coming with a term which the owners of democracy themselves have not come with; and they know democracy more than those who adopt it among the Muslims.
And possible to say Kufr can be called Islamic? Refuge is sought in Allaah from such a horrendous claim.
The conclusion therefore is that democracy is alien to Islaam it is nothing but a new idea unknown to Islam. The rule has always been for Allaah in Islaam and it will continue to be. Allaah says:
"…. the command (or the judgement) is for none but Allaah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him (i.e. His monotheism), that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not. [Yoosuf: 40]
>Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) Ignorance? And who is better In judgement than Allaah for a people who have firm faith? [Maaidah: 50]
In the last Verse cited, Allaah made it clear that there are just two rules: His Rule and that of other than Him that can come from His creatures. He explains that the latter is nothing but the rule of ignorance no matter what might be said about it. Allaah also said:
"And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, such are the Kaafiroon (i.e. disbelievers ). [Maidah:44]
"And whosoever does not judge by that which Allaah has revealed, such are the Zhaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers). [Maaidah: 45]
"And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed (then) such (people) are the Faasiqoon (the rebellious) to Allaah. [Maaidah: 46]
It will be interesting to know that the above Verses were revealed with regard to some People of the Book who rejected a judgement that was given over a person that committed Zinaa which Allaah had ordained in their Book. Rather they went after a law they formulated by themselves. With that, Allaah ruled they were unbelievers, unjust ones and rebellious.
What will therefore be said about a person who derides Allaah's laws or reject them, will he not be said to be guilty of a severer Kufr, Zhulm and Fisq?
'Therefore whoever accepts a law other than Law of Allaah has associated partner with Allaah; and whatever Allaah and His Messenger (salaLlaahu alayhi wa sallam) have not legislated as acts of worship is nothing but innovations; and all innovations are misguidance…
'Whatever Allaah and His Messenger (salaLlaahu alayhi wa sallam) have not legislated as methods of administration and judgement among the people then such is rule of Taaghoot and rule of Jaahiliyyah…
'So also legislating the lawful and unlawful is a sole right of Allaah; it is not for anyone to compete with Allaah in this regard. Allaah said:
"Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allaah's Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal), for sure it is Fisq (a sin and disobedience of Allaah). And Certainly, the Shayaatin (devils) do inspire their friends (from mankind) to dispute with you, and if you obey them, then you would indeed be Mushrikoon (polytheists) . [Al-An'aam: 121].'
ADAPTED FROM THE BOOK: 'EVILS AND CONTRAVENTIONS OF THE SHARIAH IN DEMOCRACY AND ELECTIONS.' DOWNLOAD IT HERE FOR FREE.