(Given below is the gist of the speech delivered by Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad Ayaz, O.B.E. at: Peace Symposium organized by Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Malta recently.)
Dr. Ifthikhar Ahmad Ayaz, OBE
1.(Officer of the Excellent Order of the British Empire)
2. Consul General of Tuvalu Island in the United Kingdom
3. Senator World Nations Congress
4. Ambassador of Peace appointed Universal Peace Foundation
5. Recipient of International Peace Prize
6. Member UN Human Rights Council Committee in the Rights of
Minorities – Rights of Woman / Rights of Children
7. Member World Poverty Alleviation Forum
8. Honored as the 2010 Man of the Year in Human Rights.
9. An eminent member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Islam.
10. Visited Sri Lanka in 2009.
I witness that there is no God but Allah. He is one, and I testify that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah. I seek the refuge of Allah from satan and I begin in the name of Allah the Gracious ever Merciful.
The topic of my speech today is Democracy and Human Rights in Islam.
The concept of Democracy, despite its Greek origins, is based on Abraham Lincoln’s brief definition of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.’
According to the Holy Quran, people have a free choice to adopt any system of rule which suits them. Democracy, sovereignty, tribal or feudal systems are valid provided they are accepted by the people as the traditional heritage of their society.However, it seems that democracy is preferred and highly commended in the Holy Quran. The Muslims are advised to have a democratic system though not exactly on the pattern of Western style democracy.
Islam does not present a hollow definition of democracy anywhere in the Holy Quran. It only deals with principles of vital significance and leaves the rest to the people. Follow and benefit, or stray and be destroyed.
There are only two pillars to the Islamic concept of democracy. These are:
1) Democratic process of elections must be based on trust and integrity.
Islam teaches that whenever you exercise your vote; do it with the consciousness that God is watching over you and will hold you responsible for your decision. Vote for those who are most capable of discharging their national trust and are in themselves trustworthy.