The Muslim Brotherhood is proud of its motto, which reads, “The Qur’ān is our constitution, Muḥammad is our messenger, and dying for the sake of God is our highest aspiration.” Is the Qur’ān therefore fit to be a constitution for a state?


WHAT IS A CONSTITUTION? It is a set of rules that lay down the principles for the protection of public rights and freedoms, which define the form of the state and the rules of governance. These rules regulate the ‘legislative, executive and judicial’ public authorities on the one hand in terms of their competences, jurisdictions and relations with each other, and on the other hand with their relations with the individual with regard to his or her rights, duties and public freedoms.

This word ‘individual’ in the above definition is very important. In the modern democratic state, democracy is defined by the rule of the people, by the people, for the people – bearing in mind that the majority chooses the government but at the same time enacts laws that preserve the rights of minorities and take into account the rights of the individual.

The individual in the Qur’ān and in Islamic jurisprudential legislation does not exist. Individuals and minorities simply dissolve into the nation. Any country in the world now embraces several ethnicities, several languages, and a number of religious beliefs. These minorities must be protected by the constitution from the encroachment of the majority. But the God of the Qur’ān does not recognize this. This God wants the Muslim to be the ruler, and the non-Muslim to ‘pay the tribute with his hand while he is submissive’. He does not want any kind of friendship or cohabitation to occur between a Muslim and a non-Muslim:

O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.[1]  

There is no country today without Jews and Christians. Yet it is not allowed for any Muslim to befriend them or care for them:

Do the disbelievers reckon that they can choose My bondmen as protecting friends beside Me? Lo! We have prepared hell as a welcome for the disbelievers.[2]

It takes some extreme jealousy in the God of the Qur’ān to say that whoever takes those who do not believe in His message as allies cannot be loyal to God. But there is no relationship whatsoever between our worldly loyalties and religious belief. My neighbors could very well be Jews, and I could stay up late with them or attend their weddings, and then I would go, from their house, to the mosque. Yet that appears not to please the God of Islam.

And those who disbelieve are protectors one of another – If ye do not so, there will be confusion in the land, and great corruption.[3]

I believe that the God of the Qur’ān here has said the opposite of what actually happens. Sedition in the land and great corruption occur precisely when there is no friendship, no exchange of opinions, no sharing of suggested solutions between Muslims and others.

If they believed in Allah and the Prophet and that which is revealed unto him, they would not choose them for their friends. But many of them are of evil conduct.[4]  

Instead of the table being a place where neighbours of Muslims and other beliefs meet to exchange opinions and avoid discord, Sūrat Al-Mā’ida acts like some drug store for dispensing pills of hatred and division between people of the same country. The believer who befriends the infidels is a sinful person, no matter how committed he is to worshiping the God of the Qur’ān.

Those who chose disbelievers for their friends instead of believers! Do they look for glory at their hands? Lo! all glory belongs to Allah.[5]

The truth is, most people do not make friends or guardians for the sake of glory. Friendships are formed between people when there is a homogeneity of ideas, social tendencies and pastimes. Friendships are simply not formed for the sake of esteem.

O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers.[6]

I do not believe that there is any religion on earth, with the exception of Judaism and Islam, that calls on its followers to boycott their brothers and parents simply because they have chosen to convert to a different religion. If this is the position of the God of the Qur’ān towards parents and brothers if they do not become Muslim, what is His position towards your neighbour or co-worker if he is not a Muslim? The Qur’ān has another verse that repeats the above verse with a slight variation:

You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their own fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk; these are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith, and whom He has strengthened with an inspiration from Him: and He will cause them to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein; Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him these are Allah’s party: now surely the party of Allah are the successful ones.[7]

O ye who believe! Choose not disbelievers for (your) friends in place of believers. Would ye give Allah a clear warrant against you?[8]

The God of the Qur’ān does not hesitate to use threats and intimidation against a Muslim who takes non-Muslims as allies. How can people live together in harmony in one of the countries of today’s world, when a Muslim is threatened with God’s wrath if he takes friends and allies among his non-Muslim neighbours or co-workers?

And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. It is these that Allah will have mercy on. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.[9]

The God of the Qur’ān says things that do not actually happen. Believers in Islamic countries such as Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are not ‘guardians of one another’, nor do they ‘forbid evil’, nor do they ‘enjoin what is right’, but rather practice lies and deceit upon each other, and exploit women for prostitution under many guises such as ‘houses of chastity’ in Iran for poor women and destitute widows who are forced by their circumstances to work in prostitution in order to earn their living. Believers in these countries also blow up mosques of other Muslim groups that differ from them doctrinally. The only thing that this verse achieves is that this verse serves is to fragment the country’s citizens into groups that fight each other, oppress religious dissenters and perhaps permit their killing as ISIS was doing. The Qur’ān thus does not serve citizenship, but rather division and wars between the citizens of a single state.

They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.[10]  

According to the logic of the Qur’ān, your Christian neighbour likes nothing more that for you to leave Islam and disbelieve in the God of Islam, just as he has disbelieved. You are obliged to call him to Islam and to emigrate for the sake of God and pay the zakāt – in other words, invite him to become Muslim, and if he does not comply, take him and kill him ‘wherever you find him’. You are certainly not to befriend him and take him as a confidant. I do not think that there is a more explicit summons for division and war than this verse:

There is a goodly pattern for you in Abraham and those with him, when they told their folk: Lo! we are guiltless of you and all that ye worship beside Allah. We have done with you. And there hath arisen between us and you hostility and hate for ever until ye believe in Allah only – save that which Abraham promised his father (when he said): I will ask forgiveness for thee, though I own nothing for thee from Allah – Our Lord! In Thee we put our trust, and unto Thee we turn repentant, and unto Thee is the journeying.[11]

Can the reader imagine any incitement for division and political assassination more explicit than this call? The son is to say to his father and his group: ‘enmity and hatred has arisen between us and you’ because the father does not accept the son’s view on religious belief? Any country in the twenty-first century that has citizens embracing these destructive ideas could not exist. Such a state, if it were to exist, is destined to destroy itself because of internecine conflict between its citizens, much like what happened in Sudan when Shaykh Ḥasan al-Turābī and the dictator al-Bashīr waged war against southern Sudan – for no other reason than that the people of southern Sudan are Christian or non-religious. The war ended with the secession of South Sudan.

O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord? If you go forth struggling hard in My path and seeking My pleasure, would you manifest love to them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest; and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path.[12]

Even if a Muslim secures the affection of his Christian neighbour, he has strayed from the right path. Even after a non-Muslim dies, he will not find forgiveness and pardon from Muslims because the God of the Qur’ān said to His Messenger:

And never offer prayer for any one of them who dies and do not stand by his grave; surely they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and they died while they were evil-doers.[13]   

The God of the Qur’ān only steps up the incitement to hatred if a Muslim tries to show some affection for his non-Muslim neighbour:

When they are alone, they bite the ends of their fingers in rage against you. Say: ‘Die in your rage’; surely Allah knows what is in your breasts.[14]

Can one imagine something more inciting of hatred for one’s neighbour than this? Even if you secretly loved your Christian neighbour, the God of the Qur’ān will know your secret and punish you for it. It is this incitement against non-Muslims that prompted some early Muslims to kill their fathers and uncles because they had offended Muḥammad. When ‘Abdullah ibn Abī Salūl said: “When we return to Medina, the honorable will expel the meanest therefrom” – meaning Muḥammad and the Muhājirūn. ‘Abdullah, the son of ‘Abdullah ibn Abī Salūl, asked permission from Muḥammad to cut off his father’s head because he pronounced his disbelief by insulting Muḥammad

We see this same fanaticism today in Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh when Muslims kill and burn a Christian on charges of insulting Islam or insulting Muḥammad.

It is not possible for a modern country, with its plurality of ethnicities and faiths, to have the Qur’ān as its constitution, since it incites hatred of non-Muslims and even forbids the expression of courteous pleasantries on religious occasions. The Qur’ān does not allow a Muslim to congratulate a non-Muslim on his holidays or on their social occasions. In the Qur’ān anything that leads towards sedition between different sects is held to be worse than killing:

And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, for sedition is worse than killing.[15]   

After all these verses that incite hatred towards non-Muslims, the God of the Qur’ān then tells us:

Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve.[16]

For all these reasons, we see that the Qur’ān is not suitable to provide a constitution for a modern state.

[1] Qur’ān V (al-Mā’ida), 51.

[2] Qur’ān XVIII (al-Kahf), 102.

[3] Qur’ān VIII (al-Anfāl), 73.

[4] Qur’ān V (al-Mā’ida), 81.

[5] Qur’ān IV (al-Nisā’), 139.

[6] Qur’ān IX (al-Tawba), 23.

[7] Qur’ān LVIII (al-Mujādala), 22.

[8] Qur’ān IV (al-Nisā’), 144.

[9] Qur’ān IX (al-Tawba), 71.

[10] Qur’ān IV (al-Nisā’), 89.

[11] Qur’ān LX (al-Mumtaḥina), 4.

[12] Qur’ān LX (al-Mumtaḥina), 1.

[13] Qur’ān IX (al-Tawba), 84.

[14] Qur’ān III (Āl ‘Imrān), 119.

[15] Qur’ān II (al-Baqara), 191.

[16] Qur’ān XVIII (al-Kahf), 29.