An excellent and timely answer by Dr. Khalid Blankinship.
Question: Assalamu alaykum Dr. Blankinship. I was watching a lecture by you titled “The Life of the Prophet Muhammad,” and towards the end of it there was a discussion on the concept of a Muslim state. Just as a clarification on your stance on the topic, do you negate the idea of a state that governs according to the dictates of sharia’ or a state that becomes affiliated with the religion (as per Iran, for example)? You have stated that historically Muslims opposed the concept, viewing the institution of a state as “profane” and that you think that what is happening today is a form of Muslim Zionism. I feel like I may have misunderstood your statements, and a clarification would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Response (Dr. Khalid Blankinship):
Al-salamu `alaykum. This is a historical question (see original questions below) that can only be addressed with reference to actual history. The answer does not preclude the possibility of an acceptable or even an ideal state, but one does need to attend to the details.
The state established by the Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) in al-Madinah was extremely rudimentary and lacked any of the institutionalization connected with the modern state. That is, while the Prophet (SAAS) was clearly and absolutely in charge, because of his direct connection with Allah through revelation and because of his good example, as amply proven in the Qur’an through frequent direct commands to obey him, no other offices seem to have existed until quite late in the Prophet’s career, and these were few.
See the complete answer: http://www.masud.co.uk for the full article.
The article first appeared on the Lamppost Productions website and is reproduced with permission.