Islam at a Glance

Religion and Politics

by S.D. Ilahi

We gratefully acknowledge and thank Islamic Publications Ltd. 13E Shah Alam Market, Lahore, Pakistan for permission to reproduce this excerpt which is from Islam at a Glance  by S.D. Islahi © 1992
Please also see:

Concept and Meaning
Islamic Law - Fundamental Beliefs
Admission of the Unity of Prophethood
Islamic Law and Worship

If they had not imparted political injunctions to their followers they could at least show them that the establishment of the Divine Government was their final aim. In short, if politics was a primary constituent of the religion of every Prophet why did they not give such an explanation of the words "worship Allah" as it would have made the position of politics in the religion abundantly clear.

But this question arises if we lose sight of the two cardinal principles of Divine laws. Firstly, no constituent of the Islamic Law is revealed before its scheduled time and practical need. Allah imparts His Divine injunctions when they are necessitated by the affairs of a society and when its people are in a position to act upon them. It is an established principle of the Divine law and its heed and expediency are evident. Secondly, it would be wrong to assume that on the basis of this principle such Diyine injunctions which are revealed at a sub- sequent stage are of secondary importance. Similarly, if, in accordance with this principle, religious laws in respect of certain affairs of life are not revealed, it does not mean that they were unimportant and for that reason could not be made a part of the Divine law.

These principles would be better explained by the following examples:

In the words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) "war in the cause of Allah (Jihad) is the highest peak of Islam" and "best of the acts." But before the second year of Hijrah (Islamic calendar) it was not only regarded so but prohibited. Why was it so? Because the conditions and circumstances required for such a war had not yet arisen. Similarly, usury is the worst kind of sins. It is described as a "revolt against Allah and His Prophet," and one who indulges in usury is punishable like the disbelievers in the After-life. But it was declared unlawful on the later stage, in the 9th year of the Islamic calendar. Prior to it usury was permitted. [The] reason being that before the time the society was in a position to implement it.