In 1987, the United States of America marked the 200th
anniversary of its constitution. The event was well publicized in the media and the
Constitution was hailed as the greatest governing document ever produced by and for
mankind. However, despite all the greatness attributed to it by contemporary historical
scholars, the Constitution has not been able to provide the solutions to the major
problems which threaten to destroy the American society.
The Constitution has been unable to take the issues of homosexuality, pornography, child abuse, gambling, adultery, cyclical poverty, racism, marriage and divorce, women's rights etc. and put them in the proper perspective.
The fact is, the constitution is not equipped to handle these issues in a definitive manner. If it were able to do so, these matters would have been resolved with expedience and justice long ago. Instead these issues go round and round in the courts. Most often, the courts don't resolve an issue but merely prolong doubt and uncertainty with ambiguous and contradictory rulings. For example, the Constitution did not protect certain classes of people based on their color, sex or religion for decades after it was ratified in spite of its guarantees to the contrary.
Without judging their intentions, it would be safe to say that the authors of the Constitution envisioned a state where people could realize and achieve certain lofty ideals such as unity, justice, peace, equality and liberty. It is no secret that the writers of the Constitution greatly admired the Iroquois (native American) nation and, in fact, tried to mimic their democratic ideas. Yet, those coveted democratic ideals have yet to become a reality for many Americans, particularly African Americans and Native Americans who were not included in the group that was to partake of the 'unity, justice, peace, equality and liberty'.
So the formula for perfection fell short of what was needed. On so many issues; religion, free speech, the right to bear arms, etc. the Constitution is supposed to be the final word. Yet the courts constantly entertain arguments pro and con on the issue of the constitutionality of this or that piece of legislation. Solutions are arbitrary, often brought about by political pressure and subject to change when a new administration comes to office.. This means that when a decision is made according to the correct procedure and it subsequently becomes law; then if those opposed to the law can mount enough political opposition to it, it can be reversed.. This is what happened in regards to slavery, and in regards to the prohibition of alcohol, and this is what is happening now, state by state, in terms of legal gambling.
The ideals of the founding fathers were not wrong but they are incomplete. The attempt to sever the spiritual from the material sabotaged the whole. The purpose of man's existence is crucial in determining what is unity, what is peace, what is justice and what is equality. Unity does not end with us all calling ourselves Americans. Peace is not merely the absence of war. Justice is not possible without a clear understanding of right and wrong. Equality must mean that the letter of the law is carried out regardless of the individuals color, rank, etc. It must never mean that good and bad are equal or that good and evil are equally protected under the law.
Good government. as put forth in the pre-amble to the Constitution, should be able to "bring unity, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity". In order for good government doctrine to provide for those basic human needs mentioned above and others, it is essential for that government to have a clear knowledge of right and.wrong, of good and evil, of what is healthy for social development and what is harmful to it. Without a criterion to follow, mankind inevitably will go astray.
The Criteria that man must judge by is provided by Allah, the Most High, via Al Islam. Islam and only Islam contains the formula by which mankind can achieve success in this life and salvation in the hereafter. Islam and only Islam teaches the sincere seeker about his origin, what is his destination and how to get successfully from the beginning to the end. If you do not know the purpose of life, how can you judge what is good for it and what is bad.
Islam provides mankind with a criterion with which he can distinguish right from wrong. Islam makes clear what is beneficial and what is harmful to the individual, to the family, and to the society as a whole. The criterion is both a guide and a reference. It is government for the individual, government for the family, government for the community and government for the nation.
Because in Islam, the believers recognize the Almighty Creator as the Sovereign Ruler, the Cherisher and Provider who has given us laws for our guidance, there is no change in the law when there is a change in the administration as long as the administration follows the Sharia. Man is fallible. Man is unreliable. Man succumbs to pressure. The Creator is high above all those human weaknesses. Is not the one Who created the Heavens and the Earth and all that is between, the best to guide?
He it is Who causes the night to follow the day and the day to follow the night. He brings the change of seasons, all according to his design and Wisdom. He created the Sun and the Moon and set them in orbit according to His command, and by the accuracy of their movement, mankind has kept the measure of time. He, in His Infinite Mercy, set the stars in the sky and by them, navigators have found their way for thousands of years. He, the Most High, created all living things and gave them their nature and set them in balance with each other. These are signs and indications for those who reflect.
It is only mankind out of all of creation, who, due to arrogance and greed, deludes himself into thinking he can author his own guidance and rule justly. History and current events prove conclusively that man tends towards oppression, exploitation, and all manner of perversions against his fellow man, his environment, and even himself. In fact, unless man comes to his senses, he will be ruined by his own deeds.
By accepting Allah as our Lord, and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as our example, and Islam as our way of life, you will be in the care of a Ruler that never oppresses, a Guide to those who have lost their way, a Friend in a time of need, a companion in the time of loneliness, the Helper in times of distress; the Hearer and the Answerer of your prayers and the source of Peace in the midst of turmoil.
Those who submit to Allah in Islam, have the best doctrine of government to abide by. This is so because Islam governs not only man's physical state but also his spiritual state. The spiritual and physical aspects of man must be guided by the same values in order to achieve order and balance. Governments that separate religion from state are doomed to failure for they pretend to divorce belief from action. In reality thev are creating their own religion. Nationalism is the religion in secular governments. The pledge of allegiance, the visits to the memorial statues of past leaders, the salute to the flag, standing for the national anthem, the holidays etc. are all rites and rituals of the religion of nationalism.
Those opposed to Al Islam refer to it as an anachronism, a dinosaur unsuitable for the present fast-paced high-tech world. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the beauty of the Sharia of Al Islam is its flexibility. The Sharia is a framework appropriate for all times, all places and all peoples.
5 March 1998.
[Currently, he is the technical advisor for the Islamic Post and member of Muslims of the Americas Inc. He was trained in combat photography and photo journalism and had experiences in the Vietnam and Afghanistan war.]