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Quranic Principles of Good Governance


Table of contents

1. Accountability and Responsibility

One of the essential principles of good governance, as outlined in the Quran, is accountability. The Quranic verse that suggests this doctrine is, “Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, whom they are due; and when you judge between men, that you judge justly.” (Nisa: 58)

The concept of accountability has been explained by renowned Islamic scholars, such as Imam Ghazali and Ibn Taymiya. According to their interpretations, this principle emphasizes the obligation of leaders to follow Allah’s decrees and handle the resources of the state justly and fairly. It’s about executing duties guiding by Allah’s laws and avoiding personal gains, even if to the extent of sacrificing their careers.

2. Consultation (Shura)

Consultation or Shura, as stated in Quranic verse, “… And consult them in the matter…”, (Ash-Shura: 38), denotes exercising wisdom through consultation in making decisions for the well-being of the state. This principle promotes the inclusion of individuals from various groups, whether from the people or their specialities, to ensure that decisions’ details are examined from several perspectives.

Moreover, it indicates that a single person, no matter how knowledgeable or wise, cannot handle all the issues that arise as a group’s input would promote quality decision-making. Even in the Prophet’s time, Shura was practised, as demonstrated in his companions’ consultative approach during the expedition of Tabuk.

3. Public Welfare and Interest

The principle of public welfare and interest (Maslaha) conveys the significance of social justice and the welfare of the Islamic state’s populace. It presents the basis upon which leaders exercise their powers of governance, i.e. For the betterment of society. The value of empowering the people and meeting their fundamental needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and education, should be recognised by rulers.

It’s a proactive approach, not reactive, with regards to the affected groups, supplying as necessary answers to bear the country’s greatest interests. In this aspect, Islamic values and laws strive for the benefit of the people with never allowing themselves to permit the slightest abridgment on individual’s fundamental freedoms.

4. Equality and Justice

The inclusion of equality and justice as essential elements of good governance means that all individuals, regardless of their social status or financial standing, are dealt fair laws. For the people to be treated equally, there should be no difference in the punishment for similar offences, or be preferentially more lenient than the others.

The lawful standard would make everyone subject to the same measures. All people have a right to be handled with equality under all circumstances. The practice of justice is based on Allah’s laws and his teachings. The commemoration of Allah’s name, “Allahu Akbar” signifies that one’s God is greater than themselves, hence reflecting the belief that people all deserve to be treated with respect and equality.

5. Religious Tolerance and Pluralism

The promotion of religious tolerance and pluralism is essential for good governance based on Quranic principles. The Quran says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from Error…” (Al-Baqarah: 256), and also, “To you be your religion, and to me my religion.” (Al-Kafirun: 6)

This directive, precisely, specifies that followers of different religions should have the right to practise their faith independently, without any restrictions, persecution or infliction of any sort. The state’s affairs must be devoid of enforcing any particular religion or sect upon the people. This practice signifies that decisions affecting the follower’s religious beliefs are to be left in their hands to observe and practise according to their interpretation of Allah’s decrees.

In conclusion, the five Quranic principles of good governance, as a composite, are in line with Allah’s laws. Each principle serves as a tool to uphold people’s interest, rights, equity, and social justice. Applying these principles in group or nation building persuades that a profound Islamic state would emerge. These principles would be the cornerstones of the prospective Islamic state towards their people’s well-being and fulfilling Allah’s commands.


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Ramadan Kareem

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