Controlling Power in Islamic State

Question No. 37

How much do the Islamic ruler’s mistakes and faults negatively affect Islamic State and religion? What are the methods of their control and supervision?

In this regard, it is necessary to note some points:

The Impeccable leader is free from any faults; expecting a non-impeccable person to make no mistake, however, is nonsense. Nevertheless, Islam has determined some qualifications for the Islamic ruler in Occultation period. Among these qualifications are knowledge and piety, which are two important factors in reducing mistakes. They entail two sorts of control: “rational control” and “moral control”. Besides, the injunctions such as the necessity of counsel and refraining from autocracy and other controlling factors are very effective in reducing the probability of making mistakes. Enjoining good and forbidding evil or the principle of “public supervision” is also one of the ways stressed by Islam. According to this principle, it is incumbent upon every Muslim to accurately supervise the performance of all authorities of Islamic government, and in the case of noticing any mistake or diversion, to warn them in a benevolent and useful way, offering guidelines or any other suggestions for improving the situation.

Another point is that “making a mistake” is conceivable in two ways:

1. Expertise mistakes

By expertise mistakes, it is meant that experts and specialists have different views and opinions on some issues which are sometimes contrary to one another, and just one of them is right. Naturally, the opinion of the ruler or the agents of the Islamic government is also one of those opinions; and in case of a non-impeccable person’s dominance, it is probable for that opinion to be right or wrong. Such probable mistakes are quite natural and unavoidable.

2. The mistakes resulting from deficiencies

Some mistakes do not originate from theoretical or expertise foundations. They originate, rather, from lack of knowledge, inability in discerning social needs, and finding the appropriate solutions for social problems in religious sources. Such errors are easily discernable by experts and authorities in religion and those informed in social issues, revealing the person’s inability in social management. Such mistakes would clearly cause more harmful and negative effects, even leading to dismissal of the officials.