SOVEREIGNTY UNDER MUSLIM LAW

Sovereignty means supreme power. The word sovereignty has been derived from the Latin word ‘Superanus’. It denotes the higher power, i.e. for power over which there is no other power superior to it. Under Muslim law, when it is said as the sovereignty of God, it means that Allah is the highest authority. There is no power superior to him, there is no power equal to his power and there is none who shares powers with him.

It is believed that for the purpose of State also there must be a sovereign power. By this we understand that the state is Unity. It does not take orders from an external authority. Its power is not shared or limited by any other authority. Its power is undivided and therefore the essential elements of State are- the people, territory, government, unity or sovereignty. Sovereignty thus is Unity and Unity is sovereignty.

Attributes or essential features of Sovereignty:

1. Sovereignty is absolute.

2. Sovereignty is universal or all comprehensive.

3. Sovereignty is permanent.

4. Sovereignty is inalienable.

5. Sovereignty is indivisible.

1 Sovereignty is Absolute

Primarily, it has been said that sovereignty is absolute. It is not relative. There is no check or limit on its power. Thus, it is omnipotent exercising infinite power.

2 Sovereignty is Universal or all Comprehensive

It means that within the binders of the state no group or association can claim equality with it or immunity with application of its powers or jurisdiction.

3 Sovereignty is Permanent

The government may change and does change from time to time but the state remains where it is. Without a government, the state may experience some inevitable situation or civil war, but the state is their even though temporarily their is no clear exercise of supreme power. Hence, the permanence or perpetuity of state means the permanent exercise of Sovereignty.

4 Sovereignty is Inalienable

It cannot be separated or transferred from one person to the other or cannot be transferred from the holder of the supreme power because alienation of supreme power to any other authority is equal to destruction. Power may be developed or delegated but devolution or delegation does not mean permanent separation.

5 Sovereignty is Indivisible

The Sovereignty is unity and it cannot be divided into two or three claimants. If the state comes to be divided into two or three parts, there would be two or three sovereign powers in a state. But two independent sovereign authorities cannot be fitted in a state. One state can only have one sovereign authority. Hence, Sovereignty in a state is Indivisible.

The sovereignty of God and related ideas have had a prominent place in Islamist discourses. Key figures like Mawdudi of Pakistan and Qutb of Egypt have argued that anything less than exclusive submission to God’s law, and all that it necessitates in religious and political terms, is idolatry. Yet the idea of the sovereignty of God has been invoked by many more people than the Islamists, and it has meant quite different things in different quarters.

References :

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-royal-asiatic-society/article/abs/sovereignty-of-god-in-modern-islamic-thought-1/578DF12F53C671A53807F7D715E48973

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