Dr Ghayur Ayub comes from Kurrum Agency, Parachinar. He passed MB, BS from Khyber Medical College, Peshawar in 1968. After moving to UK for higher education and training, he passed FRCS from Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, in 1978. He joined, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad, in 1986 and climbed up to become; Professor of surgery; Dean/Chairman Shaikh Zaid Hospital, Lahore; Executive Director, PIMS, and Director General of Health, ministry of health. He retired from services in January 2005 and joined International Secretariat of PML-N, London, on instruction of Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and Mr Shehbaz Sharif.
At present, he is Advisor to Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif on Health Affairs and is member of Central Organizing Committee (COC) of PML-N. Recently, on the instruction of Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, he started sitting in the Central Secretariat of PML-N at Islamabad.
He has published three Books; over 120 articles/papers; and over one
thousand short write-ups on Health Sector Reforms, Poverty Alleviation,
Drug Pricing, Pharmaceuticals, Surgery, Socio Economics, Politics,
Religion and Spirituality. As Director General Health, among other
achievements, he introduced; National Health Policy; National Drug
Policy; Poverty Alleviation Program; Community Orientated Medical
Education etc. Representing Pakistan at Geneva, in 1998, he played
crucial role in adding the term ‘Spiritual’ in the definition of Health
as prescribed by WHO.
Islamic Democracy: the way I perceive it
Dr. Ghayur Ayub
These days, democracy is sweeping the globe; it has become a buzz word among politicians, elites, intellectuals and the public at large. Over two thousand years ago, it was the budding democracy which helped bringing down the Greek Civilization after it divided the country into 42 sub-states. History tells us that ever since, it has been crumbling cultures, customs and civilizations by using one are more of the following four forces;
· Pharaohic; when the elected leaders physically crush their adversaries.
· Rapacious; when the rulers buy their opponents or the opponents sell their conscience.
· Financial; when the powerful influence corporations for personal interests.
· Demonic, when the astute use faith for individual gains.
It gradually took the present shape of what we call the Western Democracy (WD) after the Industrial Revolution. Today, it stands on five principles;
Electoral system based on one-man one-vote and the age of the voter;
Basic human rights;
The WD sets aside religious beliefs, cultural leanings and mental capabilities of individuals as a result, for example, the votes of convicts and mentally handicaps from prisons and mental hospitals respectively, played an essential role in the success of Netanyahu in Israel. Or, in the USA, Al Gore lost the presidential election despite getting more votes on the principle of one-man one-vote. The question is whether nations with traditions, cultures, and religions need a system which is not only flawed but also tends to destroy the basic heritage they stand on. And would it not be preferable if they adapt a modified form of democracy, which suits their traditions and satisfies their public psyche?
Pakistan is a typical example. The reason that the army has not given a chance for western democracy to flourish is partly true. The public psyche, which is not framed for such a system, is also a major factor. They believe it deviates from Islamic values so the only system that can work in Pakistan would be one that confines itself to the Islamic tenets. The question arises can we have a democracy which is acceptable to the west and yet shrouded with religious creed. Yes we can. Let us call it Islamic Democracy (ID).
Broadly speaking, Quran teaches Tawheed (Unitarianism) and stresses on the rights and privileges of people through noble deeds. So, Islamic Democracy links those rights and privileges with God. Standing on these two principles, in ID as opposed to WD, the power is entrusted in God rather than in people. Moreover, it does not propagate nationalism as nationalism is contrary to Islamic teachings. Thus, without propagating for one global Islamic state, it propagates fraternity between the Muslims living in different Muslim countries. It also opposes separation of state from religion, a concept creeping up in America after 9/11. On materialism, ID downsizes it by bringing it in the garb of religion so that material needs do not become desperate desires.
For elections; there are qualifying criteria for the voters, the candidates and the chief executive;
1. The voter should be a sane adult, having basic education with no criminal record. In this way, the irresponsible, malefactors and the mentally unstable are removed from the voting list giving chance to the educated, alert and accountable to choose their candidates
2. The candidate, in addition to the above-mentioned qualifications, should be a graduate, have optimum level of intelligence (IQ), and be known for piety. (Taqua).
The Chief Executive (Amir-ul-Momineen), in addition to the
above-mentioned qualifications, should be known for his/her wisdom,
(Hikmah). A Wiseman has foresight, possesses revere insight and has
determination of steel. He knows his goal, the hurdles in the path that
leads to that goal, and has the willpower to overcome those hurdles.
As one can see, in ID not every person can become a voter or a candidate. This is in complete contrast to WD, in which, age is the only criterion for the voters and the candidates. It is important to note that the key ingredient in selection criteria for a parliamentarian is piety (Taqua); and piety is an essential part of spirituality.
Now the question is how does one scale intelligence, knowledge, wisdom and piety? Briefly, we are born with intelligence which cannot be increased or decreased. Knowledge is achievable according to the intelligence one has. Wisdom is the fulfillment of knowledge. So a person may be intelligent and knowledgeable but may not be wise. While a wise person is always knowledgeable and intelligent. Piety is achieved through worldly noble deeds by helping humanity. In addition, he/she prays regularly, gives alms, and believes in the Divine scriptures and the Day of Judgment. He/she is not restricted by the five senses and strives to prevent people from evil acts and propagates noble deeds. In the ‘virtual intelligence’ world of the computer, it is possible to scale intelligence, knowledge, wisdom and piety of individuals quantitatively and make an Organogram of electoral system in ID.
On the question of human right issue; the WD primarily focuses on free speech and that too is used selectively against certain states as pressure tactics, while ID expands this issue to five fields:
The right to protect the quality of one’s life and the life itself
The right to protect one’s assets and the assets of others (Maal).
The right to protect one’s honor and the honor of others (Abroo).
The right to protect one’s intellectuality and innovations (Aqal).
The right to protect one’s religion and faith. (Din).
Coming to the gender equity; certain pressure groups in the west highlight this issue primarily for their interests. The ID looks at this issue in the context of family and its values which hinge on the strength of parenthood. Among the parents, the wife plays a pivotal role in shaping the psyche of children who are the future builders of the state. Because of social structure, it has become imperative for both the parents in the west, to work full time. It started as fulfillment of basic minimum needs but with passing time it has become an integral part of social order irrespective of individual or family needs. In the process, it broke the delicate familial bonds between parents and their children eroding the society at the core of social values. As a result, today, we find the mutual respect linked with united families is diminishing. ID keeps that link intact and in that context, the female gender is given more responsibilities within family affairs. This does not mean that they are deprived of taking active part in other compartments of the society. They are free to take part building up the state in politics, in social work, or in any field, as long as it does not adversely affect bringing up their offspring or breaking up family units.
Child labour is comparatively a new clause endorsed in the charters of WD, otherwise, when the west was building its economy during the Industrial Revolution, it exploited laborers of both gender; young, old, and children, from the poor countries. The clause was added by the strong private sector of industrial states to choke the competition arising from the developing countries. The question arises should a family starve to death or send some of their youngsters reluctantly out to work? The ID promotes alleviation of poverty from the society making child labour practically nonexistent. Hadhrat Omar, the second caliph announced in one of his sermons that he would take full responsibility if a dog died of hunger in his caliphate.
Lastly, it was reported in the press that the World Bank criticized the capitalistic fiscal system for its failure to alleviating poverty. It complained that the individuals and the corporations become disproportionately wealthy at the expense of the destitute. In contrast, in ID, the financial corporations carry out their business by Mudharaba where the borrowing institutions become partners with the borrowers, removing the notorious clause of ‘default’ observed especially in Pakistan.
I believe, Islamic Democracy can work in Pakistan without antagonizing western systems. If introduced in its true essence, it would reverse the existing corrupted electoral system and change it into a working structure in which people with political decency, moral integrity, ethical reliability and spiritual propensity represent us in the parliament. It doesn’t need Plato’s logic to foresee a bright future for Pakistan in the presence of such parliament in coming years. Pure western democracy has disappointed the average Pakistanis because of the moral decay and financial ills that it carries in its baggage.