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Shura (democracy) in Islam

Written by: by Moustafa Kattih :: (View All Articles by: Moustafa Kattih)

In the name of Allah the most gracious, the most merciful


Allah says in Surah 4, verse 59 [O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.] Therefore, obeying the leader is a must in Islam to keep the unity and success of the Muslim community. Furthermore, obeying those who are charged with authority is the duty of every true Muslim.

In Salah (daily prayers) is a lesson which shapes up each Muslim. A Muslim praying behind the Imam is like a soldier behind his leader; if the Imam stands up you stand up and if he sets down you follow him in setting down. It is your right to correct the Imam, by saying glory to Allah, if he makes a mistake during Salah. Then, you will have to follow the Imam as he proceeds in conducting the Salah.

Imara (Leadership) is Ordained:

All Muslim Scholars as well as non-Muslim philosophers has agreed upon the necessity of a leadership for every organization. In Islam, this leadership is named Imara or Imama thus, it is ordained that every group has an Imam or a commander. The Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessing from Allah be upon him) said [If three people travel they must assign an Imam (commander)] he also said [It is not permissible for three to be traveling in this earth unless they assign an Imam (commander)]

It is a fact that all successful companies and institutes in Muslim and non-Muslim countries have a plan, a group of directors who direct the implementation of these plan and adjust them as needed, and a leader whose duty is to lead the company or institute into success.


Obeying the Ameer (Islamic Leader) is ordained upon Muslims, Disobeying the Ameer is Kufr or infidelity. The prophet (peace and blessing from Allah be upon him) said [Listen and Obey regardless who is elected to be in command] and he said [Whoever obeys me has obeyed Allah, whoever disobeys me has disobeyed Allah, whoever obeys the Ameer has obeyed me, and whoever disobeys the Ameer has disobeyed me.] and he said addressing one of his companions [You must listen and obey whether you are in difficulty or in relief and whether it is something you desire or reject, and always put the Ameer ahead of yourself]

In our history we find that the eldest of the prophet's companions used to join the Muslim army in all battles while the younger and the less experienced were assigned to be Omara' (plural of Ammer). The army that was lead by Osama Ben Zaid included Abu Bakur, Omar, Ali and many others of the companions, yet no one objected that assignment.

Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessing from Allah be upon him) said [No creature is to be obeyed in matters that are forbidden by the creator]. The prophet (peace and blessing from Allah be upon him) is telling us not to obey the Ameer in that which is forbidden such as drinking liquor and worshipping an idle rather than the almighty Allah. As for planning and daily activities, it is ordained that we obey.

It is such in all companies and organization, if an employee refuses to carry the orders of his director his job is automatically terminated.

The Frail

Dear bothers in Islam

As we build our Islamic community in Chattanooga, we are in a great need to be organized behind a commander who will lead us into success and it is important that we obey that commander; otherwise, failure is a sure result.

In every community or organization there exist the frail . Those who talk too much but take no action. All they care about is criticism and bringing out the less desirable parts of other Muslims. They spend their time talking badly about everyone else to spread disorder in the community, they criticize everything without knowing its details. Stop the frail among you and tell them to ask the Imam in that they are criticizing .

Furthermore, the elected community leaders are not obligated to take every member view in every matter; but, every member is obligated to obey and carry the orders and the decisions of the community leaders. Criticizing the leaders' decisions spreads disorder and takes the community astray. The prophet (peace and blessing from Allah be upon him) said [If one comes to you, while you are united around an elected leader, wanting to spread disorder and to disturb your unity, kill him] and he also said [He whoever wants to disturb and divide the Unity of this nation (meaning the Islamic nation), hit him with the sword regardless who he is]. It is important for you know that killing can be carried only by Islamic government.

Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) ,on the day of his death, chose six candidates for Khelafa (commander of the faith). The six candidates where among those who promised paradise. Omar asked to behead any of the six candidates if they do not obey the elected candidate among them. So brothers beware the result of disobeying the elected leaders.

Shura (Mutual consultation)

Dear brothers in Islam

Your leaders are part of you and elected by you. Islam orders us to use mutual consultation in our life. Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessing from Allah be upon him) said [And their matters are mutual consultation among them].

The community members who will elect the community leaders are (1) those who are the original founders of this community, (2) those who attend prayers regularly at the Masjed and (3) those who are always there for Jumma (Friday) prayers, (4) those members follow the teachings of Islam and are not proud of their less desirable conducts, for that we are a religious community.

As for those who come to the masjed once a month and those are not willing to provide any service for there community, we say you are good Muslims. The Masjed is Allah's house for your to attend it as you wish. Also, they are welcomed to our community gatherings in their spare time. But, they can not have the right to vote in the community elections.

In all companies and organizations, not every employee or member is given the right to elect the board of directors or trustees.


Dear brothers in Islam

I ask of you to listen and obey the community leaders and the Imam. And I ask the frail to be silent. The community leaders will be elected from among you. The leaders are not obligated to take your suggestions in every matter. The prophet (peace and blessing from Allah be upon him) said [he who diverts from the group unity as if he has diverted from Islam]


By Moustafa kattih

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Those khutabs and speeches are a part of what have been said at masjed annour in chattanooga/Tn during friday prayers by imam Moustafa.
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