Media nowadays has become incredibly powerful and is often referred to as the fourth branch of government. They play a vital role in accounting governments and shaping public opinion. For this reason, governments in the Muslim world impose strict controls on the media and many journalists and editors have been imprisoned for exposing government corruption.
This infographic depicts the institutions (ajhizat) of the first Islamic State in Medina ruled by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Allah (Most High) has guided human beings in all aspects of life including ruling, politics and economics. As with all Islamic rules the general rules are detailed in the Holy Qur’an and the fine details are specified in the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the best example that we are obliged to follow.
The House of Representatives (Majlis al-Ummah) is an elected council whose members can be Muslim, non-Muslim, men or women. These members represent the interests of their constituencies within the state. The Majlis has no powers of legislation like in a democratic parliament but it does have many powers that act as a counterbalance to the executive powers of the Caliph.
It is true that Umar, Uthman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all) were all assassinated and honoured with shahada (martyrdom). Only Abu Bakr died a natural death.
In addition to the institutionalised mechanisms of accountability discussed so far, Islam also ordered the establishment of political parties. Although members of the government will in many cases be members of political parties the Caliphate does not have a party system of ruling as found in western democracies.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.” (An-Nisaa, 4:59)
The Caliphate’s judiciary is responsible for issuing judgments that are enforced by the state. It settles disputes between people, prevents whatever may harm the rights of the community and also settles disputes between people and any person who is part of the government whether this is the Caliph, his cabinet, civil servants or any other official.1