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Good Governance: An Islamic Perspective Prof. Dr. Anis Ahmad* * Prof. Anis is meritorious professor and Vice Chancellor, Riphah International University, Islamabad. He is also Editor of Quarterly Journal West & Islam , Islamabad. He can be contacted at [email_address] and [email_address]
Importance <ul><li>As a concept it is not something new though in modern management science and public administration, it has become a frequently used term alongside terms like sustainable development, civil society, transparency, devolution of power and democracy. </li></ul>
Definition <ul><li>The Qur’an defines good governance as the rule of justice, a just and ethical order and observance of rights and obligations in a society. </li></ul><ul><li>The Qur’an declares: “Those when given authority in land, establish (system of) salah , give zakah and enjoin what is good ( ma’ruf ) and forbid what is wrong ( munkar ). </li></ul><ul><li>al-Hajj 22:41 </li></ul>
<ul><li>It further says: “O you who believe stand up as a witness for Allah in all fairness, and do not let the hatred of people deviate you from justice ( ‘adl ). Be just, this is closest to piety ( I’dilu huwa aqrabu littaqwa )” </li></ul><ul><li>al-Maidah 5:8 </li></ul>
Characteristics of Good Governance <ul><li>Islamic view of good governance is qualitative and not mechanical. Major characteristics of good governance can be summarized under eleven points: </li></ul><ul><li>Coherent, and based on unity ( tawhid ). A governance which follows dual standards and not a single principle ( tawhid ) in its policies and management cannot observe ‘adl or justice. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Participation – “…and consult ( washawirhum ) with them in the conduct of affairs, and when you have resolved then put your trust in Allah” </li></ul><ul><li>al-i-’Imran 3:159 also al-Shura 42:38 </li></ul><ul><li>Competent and Capable, Worthy of Amanah – “Lo Allah commands you that you restore trust to those who are capable and if you judge between mankind, that you judge justly” </li></ul><ul><li>an-Nisa 4:58 </li></ul>
<ul><li>Transparent – Decision making and their enforcement must follow rules, and regulations. No difference between a rich and poor, an official and an ordinary citizen. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Public Accountability – “…Lo the hearing and the sight and the heart – of each of these will be asked” </li></ul><ul><li>bani Isra’il 17:36 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: Everyone of you is a guardian ( ra’in ) and accountable ( mas’ul ) for his charge. Thus the amir is a guardian of the people and He is accountable for them. And a man is a guardian ( ra’in ) of his household and he is accountable for them; and a women is in charge ( ra’iyah ) of the household and her children and she is accountable for them; and a servant is guardian of his master’s property, everyone of you is accountable for his subjects” </li></ul><ul><li>Bukhari, al-Jam’al-Sahih </li></ul>
<ul><li>Rule of Law – “O you who believe, be custodians of justice (and) witness for Allah, even though against yourselves or your parents or your relatives. Whether a man be rich or poor, Allah is the greatest well-wisher than you. so follow nor the behests of lust, lest you swerve from justice…” </li></ul><ul><li>an-Nisa 4:135 </li></ul>
<ul><li>Consensus Oriented – “…and when you have reached a consensus, put your trust in Allah” </li></ul><ul><li>al-i-’Imran 3:159 </li></ul><ul><li>Welfare Oriented – welfare of the people ( maslahah a’mah ) and not of specific interest groups, privileged persons or the ruling class should be the objective of policies. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Effective and Efficient – Decisions made on time and effectively enforced make the governance good. Red-tapism, bureaucratic and lengthy process lead to inefficiency and making governance in-effective. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Quality Assurance – Public transactions and dealings when done with honesty and fairness lead to confidence building in society. The Qur’an enjoins use of one and same standards for quality control in delivering systems. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Fill the measure when you measure and weigh with a right balance; this is better, and excellent its consequences” </li></ul><ul><li>Bani Isra’il 17:35 </li></ul>
<ul><li>Striving for Excellence – “An amir (ruler) who accepts an office but does not make his utmost effort with sincerity ( ikhlas ), he will never ever enter jannah with other Muslims” </li></ul><ul><li>Muslim, Sahih, Kitabal-Imarah </li></ul>