CSS Solved Political Science Past Papers | Compare and contrast the concept of Executive presented by Muslim thinkers Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, and Shah Wali Ullah.
The following question of Political Science is attempted on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
In this question, the examiner has asked you to give a brief insight into the concept of Executive illustrated by Muslim thinkers Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, and Shah Wali Ullah. Moreover, he has asked for an in-depth analysis in the form of comparison and contradiction in the concept of Executive between all three political philosophers.
2- Al-Farabi’s Concept of Executive
3- Al-Mawardi’s Concept of Executive
4- Shah Waliullah’s Concept of Executive
5- Comparison between the concept of Executive presented by Muslim thinkers Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, and Shah Waliullah
- ✓Concept of Philosopher-King
- ✓Division of Power
- ✓Quality of Virtue
- ✓Islamic Principles
6- Contradiction in the concept of Executive presented by Muslim thinkers Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, and Shah Waliullah
- ✓Philosopher-King vs. Religious Obligation
- ✓Ultimate Power vs. Division of Power
- ✓Knowledge and Virtue vs. Religious Background
- ✓Emphasis on Philosophy vs Emphasis on Religion
7- Application of Al Farabi’s concept of Executive in the contemporary world
8- Application of Al Mawardi’s concept of Executive in the contemporary world
9- Application of Shah Waliullah’s concept of Executive in the contemporary world
10- Critical Analysis
Answer to the Question
An executive is a powerful person who makes things run smoothly. The concept of executive power has been a central theme in Islamic political thought, with numerous Muslim thinkers offering their unique perspectives on the subject. The top Muslim philosophers of political science held relative views on the concept of the Executive. However, at some points, contradiction among them prevails. Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, and Shah Waliullah, all Muslim thinkers, presented different views on the concept of Executive power. All three have the same emphasis on the role of the Executive. They were of the view that the Executive should be knowledgeable and virtuous. Moreover, these renowned thinkers stressed that the Executive should be religious. One who follows the teachings of Islam. Despite their similarities, there are various points where they contradict each other. Overall, while all three thinkers agreed on the importance of the Executive being virtuous, they approached the concept from different perspectives, with Al Farabi focusing on the Executive’s knowledge and expertise, Al Mawardi on their religious obligation, and Shah Waliullah on their faith and obedience to Islamic principles.
Al Farabi’s Concept of Executive (Philosopher King)
Abu Nasr Muhammad Al-Farabi is known for being a second teacher, highlighting the philosopher-king’s role in society. He gave the concept that a leader or Imam in the state is a philosopher who possesses prophetic qualities and is knowledgeable by using thoughts and actions through mustafad reason. Moreover, he believed that the Executive should be knowledgeable and virtuous. He further argued that the Executive should be selected based on merit and hold ultimate power in making decisions for the benefit of the community. Al Farabi gave 12 standards to judge an Imam, which include (Sound health, Intelligence and sagacity, Good memory, Prudence and talent, Eloquence, Devotion to education and learning, No greed for food, drink, and sex, Friendliness towards truth and truthful persons, Bigness of heart, Indifference to dirham and dinar, Devotion by nature to justice and just people, Strong resolution, and courage). For him, a person possessed of these is a chief. It is optional that only one person be the Executive. If two persons are equally qualified, they can both serve as the state’s executive.
Al Mawardi’s Concept of Executive (Imam)
As far as Al Mawardi’s concept of Executive is concerned, he also believed in the importance of the Executive having virtue. However, Al Mawardi emphasized their religious and moral obligation to govern justly. Moreover, he believed in a division of power between the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislature. He emphasized that an Imam needed to protect religion, but he is not a God-appointed person. He has to be chosen by the people, and he is only their mandub (deputy). In his Theory of Imamate, Al-Mawardi says that Almighty Allah laid down laws in order that issues might be satisfactorily settled and the principles of right, truth, and goodness might be widely known. He has also entrusted the control of His creatures to various governments so that order and peace in the world may be maintained.
Shah Waliullah’s Concept of Executive (Caliph)
The Muslim scholar Shah Waliullah has made significant contributions to the concept of the Executive. Shah Waliullah is the rising sun, born in the South Asian subcontinent in the 19th century. His point of view regarding the Caliph (Executive) occupies the central theme in his works. His concept of justice emphasized the importance of the Executive being just and fair. Apart from it, he stressed the importance of seeking the guidance and support of Islamic scholars. The second Mujadad of Islam held the belief that the Executive should be a good Muslim who follows the teachings of Islam and makes decisions based on the principles of the religion. Moreover, a caliph must have enough force and power and cannot be dominated by others. Apart from it, a Caliph must be free to administer justice and equality and run the government without the interference of others.
Comparison among the concept of Executive presented by Muslim thinkers Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, and Shah Waliullah
The concept of executive power presented by Muslim thinkers Al Farabi, Al Mawardi, and Shah Waliullah can be compared on the following grounds:
- Concept of Philosopher-King
As far as comparison among all three Muslim philosophers is concerned, there is no doubt that all three thinkers emphasized the importance of the Executive being virtuous but approached it from different angles. For instance, Al Farabi emphasized that an Executive (Imam), being a philosopher-king, must possess knowledge and virtue. However, Al Mawardi and Shah Waliullah placed less emphasis on the Executive’s philosophical background.
- Division of Power
Based on the division of power, Al Mawardi believed in the maximum division of power between the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislature. Al Farabi saw the Executive (the caliph or chief) as holding ultimate power. However, Shah Waliullah emphasized that for an Executive the faith is imperative and requires obedience to Islamic principles.
- Quality of Virtue
Virtuous qualities are also common in the writings of all three thinkers. They emphasized the importance of the Executive being virtuous but adopted a different approach. In the view of Al-Farabi, virtue is a result of knowledge and expertise, but in Al-Mawardi’s concept, virtue is a religious obligation. In Shah Waliullah’s eyes, virtue is the Executive’s faith in and obedience to Islam.
- Islamic Principles
All three philosophers emphasized that the Executive should be a good Muslim and follow the injunctions of Islam in letter and spirit.
Thus, the concept of executive power presented by these Muslim thinkers differed in terms of their focus on the Executive’s knowledge, division of power, virtue, and adherence to Islamic principles.
Contradictions in the concept of Executive presented by Muslim thinkers Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, and Shah Wali Ullah
Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, and Shah Waliullah’s ideas about executive power can be compared and contrasted in a number of ways, which are listed below:
- Philosopher-King vs Religious Obligation
Al Farabi placed a strong emphasis on the Executive’s status as a philosopher-king who embodies wisdom and virtue. At the same time, Al Mawardi recognized the Executive’s religious obligation, and Shah Waliullah emphasized the Executive’s faith and submission to Islam.
- Ultimate Power vs Division of Power
In Al Farabi’s concept of the Executive, he is the one who holds ultimate power, while Al Mawardi believed in a division of power between the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislature, and Shah Waliullah emphasized that the Caliph should seek guidance from Islamic scholars.
- Knowledge and Virtue vs Religious Background
Al Farabi highlighted the importance of the Executive having knowledge and virtue. However, Al Mawardi emphasized the Executive’s religious obligation, and Shah Waliullah held the concept that the Executive must adhere to the Islamic injunctions.
- Emphasis on Philosophy vs. Emphasis on Religion
Al Farabi had a philosophical approach to the concept of executive power. Al Mawardi had a more religious and moral perspective. And Shah Waliullah emphasized the Executive’s faith and obedience to Islam.
In a nutshell, the concept of executive power presented by these Muslim thinkers differed in terms of their focus on the Executive’s knowledge, division of power, virtue, and adherence to Islamic principles. Diverse perspectives have been seen in their Islamic thoughts.
Application of Shah Waliullah’s concept of Executive in the contemporary world
The idea of executive power put forth by Shah Waliullah, which is founded on faith and adherence to Islamic principles, is used in many different contexts today. Some of these include
- Islamic political thought has been influenced by Muslim leaders’ adherence to Islamic principles in governance, as Shah Walli Ullah emphasized. Politics without religion are just ideas, as is evident in the world today.
- Jalal Padshahi ho ya jamhuri tamasha hoo
Juda ho deen siyasat say, to reh jati ha chengezi
- It is true to say that Shah Waliullah’s theories might not immediately and directly apply to modern society. His theories, however, are still used to guide and inform debates about political theory, leadership, and the function of religion and belief in influencing public policy.
Application of Al-Farabi concept of Executive in the contemporary world
Al Farabi’s concept of the philosopher-king and the ideal state has been used in a variety of ways in the modern world. Some of these include the following
- Al Farabi’s ideas on the role of the philosopher-king and the importance of knowledge and virtue in leadership continue to influence political philosophy and discussions on governance
- The importance of education and the development of knowledge and virtue in a leader, as stressed by Al Farabi, has influenced discussions about how education shapes leaders.
- Al Farabi’s ideas about how important balance and fairness are in government have helped develop democratic theory and constitutional democracies.
- In comparative politics, Al Farabi’s ideas have been compared and contrasted with Plato and Aristotle.
Application of Al-Mawardi’s Concept of Executive In the contemporary world
Al Mawardi’s theory on the division of power and the roles of the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislature has been applied in various ways in the contemporary world. Few are as follows
- Al Mawardi’s ideas about how power should be shared and how different parts of the government should check and balance each other have influenced the design of constitutions and the growth of parliamentary systems.
- Al Mawardi’s ideas on the division of power, the importance of justice, and fairness in governance have influenced Islamic political thought and discussions on the relationship between religion and politics.
- His ideas on the division of power and the importance of checks and balances have contributed to democratic theory and the development of constitutional democracies.
- Al Mawardi’s theories have been compared to and contrasted with those of other political theorists like Montesquieu and John Locke in comparative political studies.
Critical evaluation of Shah Walliullah, Al Farabi, and Al Mawardi’s concept of Executive
In a critical analysis, Al Farabi’s idea of the philosopher-king has been called unrealistic and not very useful. Critics have said that it is unlikely that a leader with the right knowledge and virtues would ever come to power. Additionally, Al Farabi’s emphasis on the importance of education for leaders has been criticized for being elitist and excluding most of the population from meaningful political participation.
In the same manner, Al Mawardi’s concept of the division of power has been criticized for being too rigid and not allowing for adequate adaptation to changing circumstances. Critics argue that the strict division of power can lead to a lack of flexibility and prevent the government from responding effectively to changing conditions. Additionally, Al Mawardi’s ideas have been criticized for being based on a patriarchal and hierarchical understanding of society, which limits the role of women and marginalized groups in governance.
Shah Waliullah’s theories on the function of the Executive and the significance of the ruler’s piety and justice have come under fire for placing too much emphasis on the personal traits of the ruler and insufficient emphasis on the institutional frameworks and checks and balances required for effective government. Some critics claim that Shah Waliullah’s theories can overemphasize a ruler’s personal traits while downplaying the significance of systemic reforms and the checks and balances that are essential for effective government.
Despite the criticism, the concept of Executive presented by the philosophers significantly impacted Islamic political thought.
To sum up, Al Farabi, Al Mawardi, and Shah Waliullah each look at the idea of the Executive from a different angle, focusing on different things like knowledge and virtue, the division of power, piety, and justice. Despite the differences in their ideas, these thinkers emphasized the importance of good governance and the need for the Executive to exercise power in a just and responsible manner. Comparing and contrasting their concepts provides valuable insights into the development of Islamic political thought and the ongoing debates surrounding the role of the Executive in governance.
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