Does Islam believe in democracy?what is the practical Islamic form of government?
Before answering your question i would like to clarify one thing that the final message of God to humanity had not come to give a more modern or a more comprehensive system of politics or economics or punishments for the human race. Islam holds man to be quite capable of not only solving his everyday problem on his own, but also of successfully developing highly intricate and sound systems of economics, politics, and other collective matters. Islam has given directives only in matters where the human mind, due to its inherent limitations and weaknesses, is prone to making such errors in its judgment, which are likely to lead him to a path of failure both in this world and in the life hereafter. Such matters are generally restricted to those spheres where man’s immediate pleasures or his, individual or collective, interests can lead him astray from the path of the good. It should, therefore, be quite interesting to note that in all such matters relating to interpersonal relationship or interpersonal behaviour, where Islam has given any directives to mankind, the prime objective of these directives is not to make any immediate worldly gain or to develop a fancy system, but to, directly or indirectly, help the individual in cleansing his soul and thereby qualifying for the everlasting bliss of God’s Paradise.
Keeping the foregoing explanation in perspective, it should now be quite easy to understand that Islam has not directed the Muslims to adopt a particular form of government. This means that Islam allows the Muslims to adopt any form of government as long as they follow the directive of Quran given in Al-Shooraa 42: 38, where Quran has prescribed the basic principle for decision-making in all collective affairs in the words, “Amruhum shooraa baynahum” (i.e. “their affairs are based on their mutual consultation”).
According to this basic principle, Muslims may develop any form or style of government for themselves, but this form of government must possess the following qualities:
Because all collective affairs are to be decided through mutual consultation, therefore there should be no restriction on expression of one’s opinion regarding collective issues. Every person should be given the freedom, within moral limits, to express his opinion on these issues and to try to convince others of his opinion on these issues.
The designing and the formation of the detailed system, style and form of government, also being among the collective issues, should also be affected through mutual consultation. Any subsequent change in this system can also be brought about through mutual consultation. The selection of the head of the state, his/her qualifications/disqualifications and removal from office etc. shall all be decided through mutual consultation.
The words “based on their mutual consultation” imply that all decisions should be made through consultation; if there is no difference of opinion among the decision makers, then obviously the unanimous opinion shall prevail. However, if there is a difference of opinion among the decision makers then the opinion of the majority shall be honored. No individual or a select group has the right to impose their opinions on the Muslims.
It should further be noted that in the sentence “their affairs are based on their mutual consultation”, the words “their affairs” and “their mutual consultation” actually imply “the collective affairs of the Muslims” and “mutual consultation among Muslims”. This implication adds a few more qualifications of the system of government that Muslims should adopt. These qualifications include:
Every Muslim belonging to the particular collectivity in question has a right to participate in the “mutual consultation”. No Muslim can be denied this right.
Non-Muslims living in that collectivity will enjoy the same rights in participating in the consultation if they have agreed to the terms of the contract of citizenship that has been agreed upon with them.
If the number of Muslims residing in a particular collectivity is so large that all of them cannot be included in the mutual consultation, as is generally the case in all the countries, then the affairs may be decided through mutual consultation among the representative of all the Muslims.
Any system of government, which possesses the above qualities, shall qualify as an Islamic system of government.
I do not see any reason why, based on the above qualities, can we not call the Islamic system of government a democratic system. There is no doubt that two or more systems of government based on the above principles may vary in their details, yet I feel that if the above principles are followed in letter and spirit, whatever the form of government adopted by a particular Muslim collectivity, its apparent nature cannot be a non-democratic one.
Hope it answers your question