The Political Organisation Shaped
By the Advent of Islam
Islam writes Mr. Stanley Lane Poole, “is a form of a pure theism, simpler and more strict than the theism of most forms of modern Christianity, lofty in the conception of the relation of man to God, and noble in its doctrine of the duty of man to the lower creatures. There is little in it of superstition, less of complexity of dogmas: it is an exacting religion without the repulsiveness of asceticism: strict but not merciless.
“Nothing in fact is more hateful, according to the doctrines of Islam, than the self–inflicted torments and voluntary self-punishment of the ascetics. It always recommends the cultiva-tion of the social virtues and the practice of those qualities which form the graces of a corporate life. Islam laid the foundations of a social system which breathes the spirit of charity, friendship, and mutual trust among its members. So impressively did the Prophet bring these high lessons home to the Arabs mind, both by teaching and example, that the tribal jealousies of centuries soon became dead, the old spirit of revenge, inherent in the nation, died away, and the hearts of the true believers were knit together in the closest bond of sympathy and brotherhood. They now felt themselves as the brethren of one and the same faith and citizens of the same commonwealth, enjoying equal rights and privileges.
“Islam penetrated into the very hearts of the Arab people, and the old spirit of jealousy and revenge, of hostility and ill–will, yielded place to a happy consciousness, of the power of love, sympathy and fellow-feeling; the very character of the Arab mind was changed, and many of the evils rooted in the nation were fast eradicated. Within the Islamic commonwealth the internecine wars, which were cause of much unjustifiable bloodshed, soon became a thing of the past; and hostile tribes were united in faith and obedience; and the bravery which had been carelessly spent in domestic quarrels, was energetically directed against a foreign enemy.”
Political System of Islam
When the Prophet settled at Al-Madienah, he established an Ummah [nation] based not upon the old basis of the common origin of their ancestors, but upon Religion, with the Prophet himself as the chief magistrate. The spirit of blood–revenge derived from the Arabs fiery and sensitive temper which was responsible for long protracted blood feuds between clan and clan, disappeared, and in its place there grew up in each member of the new Ummah a genuine, earnest desire to see community peace and unity maintained. Sense of tribal pride and superiority lost much of its keenness; kindred bond was greatly relaxed. They were taught to respect the new institution, planted through the Prophet, by God Himself, and to sink their tribal disagreements in the common welfare of the brotherhood of faith:
“O men, verily, we have created you of one male and one female; and we have divided you into peoples and tribes, that you might have knowledge one of another. Truly, the most worthy of honour in the sight of God is he who fears Him most. Verily, God is knowing and Cognisant.” [49:13]
The equality of rights was thus distinguishing feature of the Muslim Ummah. A convert from a humbler clan enjoyed the same rights and privileges as one who belonged to the noblest Quraish. Even a slave was admitted as a brother from the very moment of his conversion, and the highest public figure in state thought it no dishonour, to take part in reminding him of his past. Nor in the place of worship were suffered artificial differences between man and man; the high and the low, the prince and the peasant, the rich merchant of Makkah and the roaming bedouin of the desert, stood shoulder to shoulder in the presence of their common Deity. This equality and fraternity was, and is even today, though much weakened, the key-note of Islam and the secret of its power as a world-religion.
This levelling principle, underlying the tenets of the new faith, proved a genuine blessing to the Arabs in particular. Tribes and races, previously at war with one another, were, in the embracing fold of Islam, welded into one Ummah, inspired with common ideas, common aims and aspirations, and devoted to a common cause. Conflicting interests were harmonised from a loyal desire to advance the public good.
The Glorious Qu’ran laid down certain principal laws, intended to govern their new relations as members of state, to extinguish the fire of old tribal jealousy, and to affect a union of hearts unknown before. The laws soon succeeded in bringing order out of chaos and confusion and made civic life possible for the first time in Arabia, “O believers.” So run the fine verses of the Qu’ran:
“If any wicked man comes to you with news, make a thorough inquiry, lest through ignorance you harm a people and have to repent on the morrow of what you have done; and know that an apostle of God is among you. Should he submit to you in most matters you would certainly fall into difficulty. But God has endeared the faith to you, and has given it favour in your hearts, and has made unbelief and wickedness and disobedience hateful to you. Such are they who pursue a right path, a bounty from God and a grace: and God is Knowing and Wise. If two bodies of the believers are at war, then make you peace between them with fairness and do justice: God loves those who are just. Those who believe are brethren; wherefore make peace between your brethren; and fear God, that you may obtain mercy. O believers, let not a people laugh another people to scorn who haply may be better than themselves; neither let women laugh women to scorn who haply may be better than themselves. Neither defame one another, nor call one another by bad names. Wickedness is such a bad quality to adopt, after becoming true believers, and whose who repent not [of this] are wrongdoers. O believers, avoid frequent suspicions; verily some suspicions are a crime, and pry not into others’ secrets, neither let the one of you traduce another in his absence. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely you would loathe it. And fear you God, for God is ready to forgive, and He is Merciful. O men, verily We have made you of one male, and one female, and We have made you peoples and tribes that you might know one another. Truly, the most worthy of the honour before God is he who fears Him most. Verily God is knowing, and Cognisant”. [49: 6-13]
Such were the principles, on which the political system of Islam was grounded. “It recognised individual and public liberty, secured the person and property of the subjects, and fostered the growth of all civic virtues. It communicated all the privileges of the conquering class to those of the conquered who conformed to its religion, and all the protection of citizenship to those who did not. It put an end to old customs that were of immoral and criminal character. It abolished the inhuman custom of burying the infant daughters alive, and took effective measures for the suppression of the slave-traffic, it prohibited adultery and incestuous relationship; and on the other hand, inculcated purity of heart, cleanliness of body, and sobriety of life.” 
 In fact there is not to be found such a pure theism in any other religion than Islam.
 There is not the slightest superstition in Islam.
 Stanley Lane Pool’s ‘Lectures on Islam.’
 T. W. Arnold, ‘The Preaching of Islam’.
 Bosworth Smith, ‘Mohamed and Muhammadanism’
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