Nowadays we have all prevalent forms of government in Islamic Ummah Muslim-majority countries:

  1. Autocracy/dictatorship (most common... Egypt, Bangladesh, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, ...)
  2. Absolute monarchy (numerous... Saudi Arabia is the most prominent)
  3. Democracy (only a handful... Tunisia is one of them)
  4. Theocracy (Iran is probably the only example)

My questions:

  1. Does Islam suggest any structure of government?
  2. Among above four, What type of government is suggested by Islam?
  3. Does Islam explicitly/implicitly support/reject democracy?

Note.1: I am looking for a Sunni view in particular .

Note.2: Kindly, don't give quotations from Quran/Hadith inline. First, state a point and give an external link of Quran/Hadith.


Related: According to Shi'ites, what type of government is suggested by Islam?

  • Basically all Muslim countries are autocracies with very few exceptions (all those you listed actually are), even if you may call them otherwise.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 11:10

2 Answers 2


A government has five functions as listed:

  1. Legislating Laws

  2. Judging disputes

  3. Enforcing Laws

  4. Collecting and distributing taxes

  5. Advancing a defense and military agenda

A theocracy is a government where all five are in the hands of a person "appointed by God". An absolute monarchy is where all five are in the hands of a hereditary monarchy. A representative democracy is where all are in the hands of representatives elected by the people.

Islam commands that 1 must be in the hands of Allah. And the Islamic scholars are in charge of interpreting the Law of Allah. No amount of popular opinion can change that bribery is a crime and that interest is prohibited. It is also commanded that 2 be in the hand of judges who are scholars of Islam and only judge based on the Law of Allah. (Quran 5:44–50) All five however have guidelines given by Allah that must be followed.

The rest (3, 4, and 5) are in the hands of the Caliph. The Caliph is advised and often appointed by the Shura (or advisory council). The Caliph must do his duties with the consent of this Shura. (Quran 42:38) The method of appointing the Caliph and the Shura is left ambiguous and thus can be any amount of different things. It is better for the Caliph and the Shura to be scholars of Islam and to be with the consent of the people. (Sahih Muslim)

Open rebellion and disobedience against a Caliph is not allowed though, as long as he is doing the minimums of his job. (Sahih Muslim) Non-violent protests against an unjust Caliph or ruler is always encouraged. (Sunan Ibn Majah)

In conclusion, the Islamic system is not any of the mentioned. It is not a theocracy because none of the rulers are "appointed by God" (in the sense that the Pope claims to be appointed by God) although they are supposed to maintain Allah's Law on earth. Perhaps a better way of describing it would be ecclesiocracy, but that is still a bit inaccurate because many functions of the government (especially 3, 4, and 5) can be carried out by non-scholars although it is recommended that they be by scholars. Thus there is a lot of leeway in how the government can be run.


Bismilla hir rahman nir raheem As sallamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa baraktuhu May allah have mercy on me and you and all those who will read this.

Islam does say how the goverment and country should run, and none of the four above is what islam promotes and islam rejects that the majority rules what should be halal or haram for the society even if it is against what allah loves which is called democracy, this is a quick response to your three questions.

For a more detailed response.

Q1) allah says to the prophet muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم who was the ruler in surah 5vs49 “And so judge between them by what Allaah has revealed . . .” And in same verse and follow not their vain desires . . .” [aayah 49] Why is this evdidence it is because it is also aimed at whoever assumes role of leadership . Allah says in surah hadid on last page surah57vs 25 "Certainly We sent Our Messengers with clear proofs and We sent down with them the Scripture and the Balance that may establish the people justice". This strengthens what i previously mentioned because allah says "so mankind can judge". So any muslim government has to rule.by quran sunnah upon understanding of the sahabah.

In regards to the way things are run, it is of two types that which is restricted to the evidences and that which the ruler has freedom to choose what he sees fit for his people such as cars,airplanes etc. Everything in worship is haram until proven halal, but all wordly issues are halal until proven harram. And judgements in inheritance, etc is from acts of worship and building roads, etc is from wordly issues worship here doesn't just me salah. And one can look into how sahabah run their states for guidance.

Q2) none of the four is what is encouraged. The way it should be is how the companions after death of prophet done things which is one khalifah and he appoints the governers for each land and the khalifah is voted in by the people of power and influence or he comes into power by being appointed by current khalifah or he takes power by force.

There should never be more than one overall ruler hence abu bakr was sole ruler then umar etc. This isnt an dictorship because this khalifah rules by book of your lord which is most just and you obey him in that which is good.

  1. Democracy is disbelief in allah and his messenger because a person is making the society the criterion for whats halal or harram. Allah says Or have they partners with Allaah , who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not allowed?” [al-Shooraa 42:21]

Partners here can mean you make the people like Allah in that they say whats the religion and is not. Religion also means way of life.

"Have you seen those who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and they wish to go for judgement to the Taaghoot (false judges, etc.) while they have been ordered to reject them" [al-Nisaa’ 4:60-61].

The Hukm (Legislating, Commands, Judgment) is for none but Allah. "He has commanded that you worship none but Him, that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not.” [Qur’an Chapter 12: 40]

Imam al-Baghawi (died 509AH) commented on Quran Chapter 12: 40 in Tafsir ul-Baghawi, Vol2, Pg. 427, saying, “Indeed the (Right of) ruling, commanding and prohibiting is for none but Allah".

And Allah knows best.

  • Islam doesn't exactly call for democracy with people. The preferred way of Islam is how the caliphs were chosen, a collection of righteous sahaba voted and told their suggestion of who gets to be the new leader and the one with most votes becomes the new caliphs, but do note that only those righteous sahaba chose the leader, not the people, because people can be manipulated in many ways and most of the time vote the wrong person but those righteous sahaba see everything from the top and know who is good and who is evil.
    – user44632
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 8:35

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