What is the Foreign Policy of an Islamic State? (1)


Before entering into discussion on the subject, I would like, to refer to two points. The first relates to our conviction that Islam is concerned with politics and has laid down the principles of establishing a State and governmental institutions and has legislated rules and laws pertaining to social life. Of course, this is already an accepted fact, and here we cannot substantiate it in detail.

The second point: Islamic government is based on a particular ideology and faith and is aimed to attain certain objectives made obligatory by God. The legitimate Islamic ruler and all officers of such a State are not free to choose and pursue any line in internal and external policy according to their convenience. They have to follow the rules laid down in the revelation and have to work in that framework.

In other words, firstly, they have to learn what Islam expects from them, and then they should translate the Islamic teachings into action for attaining the Divine objectives. At this stage they make use of the guide‑lines of the Shari’ah.

It is also to be kept in mind that they do not enjoy absolute freedom in reaching the desired targets; they should not violate, in any way, the Shari’ah. For instance, in the sphere of external policy, at the very outset it is to be ascertained if we have some responsibility towards the peoples of all countries, and whether Islam demands from us something in this respect.

Whether, as an Islamic Republic, we have Islamic interests in and commitments towards all other countries. If so, what should be our target? We should be aware of our aim in having relations with other countries, so that we may know whether to maintain relations with a particular country or not. Keeping these points in view, we have to discuss some relevant issues and then arrive at the main subject.

The Universality of Islam

The Prophet (S) of Islam was sent for all peoples of the world, and his Shari `ah was universal. It was not meant for a particular race or nation or any specific linguistic or regional group. The Qur’an declares:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ النَّبِيِّ الْأُمِّيِّ الَّذِي يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَكَلِمَاتِهِ وَاتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

“Say: `O people! Surely I am the Apostle of Allah to you all, of Him Whose is the kingdom of heavens arid the earth; there is no god but He; He brings to life and causes to die; therefore, believe in Allah and His Apostle, the ummi prophet who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you may walk on the right path.’” (7:158)

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“And We have not sent you but to all men, as a bearer of good news and as a warner, but most men do not know.” (34:28)

These two verses clearly state that the Prophet (S) was sent to guide the whole humanity and was designated as a bearer of good tidings (bashir) and as a Warner (nadhir) as well. In some verses, it is said that Islam is a Din for the whole world, and shall ultimately prevail over all other religions. The Qur’an declares:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ

“He it is who sent His Apostle with guidance and the religion of the Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse.” (9:33)

And it further says:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا

“He it is who sent His Apostle with the guidance and the religion of the Truth that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness.” (48:28)

In some verses God promised to ultimately entrust the believers with the job of ruling the earth and that power would fall into the hands of Islam. The Qur’an makes this promise in these words:

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

“Allah has promised those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth, as He made rulers those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange. They shall serve Me, not associating anything with Me; and whoever is ungrateful after this‑those are the transgressors.” (24:55)

It is again asserted:

وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ

“And We desire to favour those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them the imams, and to make them the heirs.” (28:5)

These verses indicate that a bright future awaits the true believers and the righteous, who would rule the world, and Islam would be the ruling force. The believers would be free of fear in the matter of worship and polytheism would be uprooted completely.

Written by Ibrahim Amini