Non Governmental Organisations
Non governmental organisations (NGOs) are important elements in a society as they are at the leading edge of change. They share crisis intervention work with the government and take an interest in long term development of society.
This enables individuals to take an active role in working for a better society such as through voluntary work. People would willingly volunteer their time, money and services to NGOs that they may not necessarily be able to do so for official government jobs.
The Islamic state should encourage NGOs to bring about change and alternative models. Through their advocacy work they provide innovations, fresh thinking and new visions.
They are sometimes response for setting the pace in areas like economic development and environmental protection. Ethical investment guidelines based on the guidance provided by God in the Holy Quran should be adopted by the government so that there is no investment in foreign corporations that are major defence contractors, or corporations which injure the environment, discriminate against women or minorities or are involved in repressive regimes. Imam Ali (a) said: "Do not appropriate to your self that in which all the people have an equal share."
The Islamic state has the right to raise resources through taxes provided that taxes are raised in a just manner and are within the bearable limit of the people. Imam Ali has stressed that taxes should be collected with justice and kindness. The taxes and the budget suggested by Islam were not only to meet the needs of the poor and the needy ones of the Holy Prophet's (s) descendents, but to establish a government and to meet its necessary expenditure required for a vast executive-administrative system.
Khums is one the huge incomes pouring into the Islamic treasury forming part of the budget. It is levied on profits coming from agriculture, commerce, the internal and external and resource and in general it is taken equitably from all kinds of profits and incomes. After extracting their own expenditures, every individual has to pay one-fifth of his surplus profits to the Islamic authority. The aim of such a tax system is to remove the financial needs of the several departments and enable it to discharge the functions of a modern Islamic state.
Law and Order
The degree of law and order in a society and the extent of security of life and property are one of the prime determinants of growth and stability of an economy and the inner happiness of individuals. Thus it is the duty of the state to safeguard the life and property of all individuals within its boundaries.
Social and economic justice
Equal treatment of all individuals in society and before the law would be not be meaningful unless everyone gets his due for his contribution to society and there is no exploitation of one individual by another. "Defraud not people in their dues goods" (Holy Quran Sura Ash-Shu'ara: 183) where God cautions man not to withhold what is justly due to others.
Islam shows a concern for women that it does not show for men in that it pays greater regard to their rights than those of men. "… and they (women) have rights similar in fairness…" (Holy Quran Sura 2:228). The government should ensure the rights of women in all respects, in conformity with Islamic criteria and create a favourable environment for the growth of woman's personality and accord her material and intellectual rights. The state should provide protection for mothers during pregnancy and child rearing.
Imam Khomeini held women in especially high regard especially in their role as mothers. He prayed to Allah to protect women so that they may carry on the job of training human beings, a job that the prophets were also assigned . Imam Khomeini addressed the ladies in stressing: "It is in your laps that virtuousness, decency and greatness are fostered. You have a duty to raise your children well, to bring up with Islamic values, with human values…"
Orphans and destitutes without guardians.
In absence of legal guardians, the orphan's interest is to be protected by awarding their guardianship to worthy mothers. "…And they ask you concerning the orphans. Say: To set right for them (their affairs) is good," (Holy Quran Sura Baqarah: 220).There is the establishment of special social security for widows and aged women and women without support.
It is the indisputable right of every citizen to seek justice by recourse to the judicial system. "… And whoever judges not by what God has sent down, they are the unbelievers."(Holy Quran Sura Maidah : Verse 44). "… And whoever judges not by what God has sent down, they are unjust." (Sura Maidah Verse 45). "… And whoever judges not by what God has sent down, they are corrupt."(Sura Maidah:Verse 47). The state should ensure that access to courts and lawyers must be easy and affordable.
This also entails that no one is entitled to exercise his rights in a way that is detrimental to others or public interests. The judges of courts are not to execute laws and regulations of the government which are in conflict with Islamic laws.
Social security and equitable distribution of income and wealth.
It is the duty of the Islamic state to ensure a respectable standard of living for every individual who is unable to take care of his own needs and hence requires assistance.
Imam Ali emphasized the gravity of this role: "Beware! Fear God when dealing the problem of the poor who have none to patronize, who are forlorn, indigent and helpless and are greatly torn in mind - victims to the vicissitudes of time." "For God's sake safeguard their rights; for on you rests the responsibility of protection. Assign for their uplift a portion of the state treasury, wherever they may be..." For no excuse will be acceptable to God. "Make such provision for these poor people as shall not oblige you to offer an excuse before God on the Day of Judgment."
To harmonise international relations and ensure national defence
Islam has come to all nations and to all peoples. Therefore the Islamic state is not hostile to any nation and it has friendly relations with those who want to have friendly relations with it. This humanistic leadership is expected from all nations and governments.
Struggle and defending of human rights is an important role of the Islamic state regardless of borders. Under the Islamic leadership the two principles are applied: "Be neither a wrongdoer nor a wronged". The struggle is the stand of the right with the wrong and it has no end.
The state's foreign relations policy is based on the principle of protecting the freedom of the people, independence, interests of Islam and the Muslims. Therefore if another country accepts that, then the Islamic state will act on mutual respect. Imam Ali (a) has cautioned: "Bear in mind that you do not throw away the offer of peace which your enemy may himself make.
Accept it for that will please God. "…Under the peace treaty if you have accepted any obligations these are to be discharged scrupulously. It is a trust and must be faithfully upheld." Imam Ali (a) exhorts to exercise extreme vigilance so that the enemy does not lull the state into a false sense of security.
With regard to national defense, peace is a source of comfort to the army; it reduces the government's worries and promotes order in the state. "And make ready for them whatever you can of force and of horses tethered." (Holy Quran Sura al-Anfal: 60). This is an order by God to be on the alert by preparing as much as possible of the armed forces and defensive power in general. It is an order to be ready and to always keep watch during peacetime. The army has to be not only well prepared but also hold high morale and have an unwavering belief in its ability to achieve victory.
Unity in Rising: Difficult times ahead
God the Blessed and Exalted says: "I exhort you only to one thing: to rise for Allah." (Holy Quran Sura Saba': 46). Imam Hussain (a) the Master of Martyrs said of an oppressive ruler that whoever sees an unjust ruler governing among the people unjustly; he must oppose and stop him as much as he can. Rising against injustice and steadfastness are the two characteristics of prophets.
God exhorts "Arise and warn" (Holy Quran Sura al-Muddaththir: 2) The steadfastness and keeping to the right path will prove valuable in paving the path for easy and pleasant reappearance of His Eminence our Imam (af). "Continue then in the right path as you were commanded." (Holy Quran Sura Hud: 112).
The system encourages the citizen at every level to be resolute and determined. This firm determination will cause the individual not to despair or become pessimistic, despite the fact that there may be no help while the all powerful and influential forces of evil are seemingly against him.
Impostors and false representations of the Mahdi (a)
The writers, orators and speakers must think and tell the person of the danger and confusion which threatens the entire humanity. All the people of the world should be informed about devastating destruction and uncertainty including the rise of impostors and false propaganda and representations of the Mahdi (a) that will prevail before the reappearance of our Imam (af). The people should be supported so as not to lose heart but to be steadfast and mobilized to raise a single call and to have a single objective.
The Islamic state which is prepared for the Reappearance of Imam al- Mahdi (af) stands for effort, struggle, movement and social reconstruction. "Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in their souls" (Sura ar-Ra'd:11).
The Islam that is practiced by the people in the Islamic state is not merely a set of beliefs. This is why both the state and the citizen work together as one, hand in hand to achieve the state's primary function of guiding the citizen's development with economic development which is how it will lay the foundations in preparation of the Reappearance.
Each individual has to be inspired to seek the One Creator and purifying oneself to rise to protect Islam so that both individually and collectively with the state, each citizen will contribute to creating a firm establishment that withstand the turbulence and utter confusion that will prevail before the emergence from occultation of Imam al-Mahdi the Remainder of Allah on Earth to firmly establish the absolute peaceful and productive environment where there will be tolerance and justice for all of mankind.
May Allah (swt) hasten the reappearance of our Twelfth Imam (af) to establish equality, truth, and justice throughout the world.
- Nahj Al Balaghah, Letter 53. Vol 2, Selection from sermons, letters and sayings of Amir Al-Mu'minin Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS). Selected and compiled by As Sayyid Abul-Hasan Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ar-Radi Al-Musawi.
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