What is democracy?
Democracy means that the opinion of the people should be the criterion for determining the political methods of managing and governing a country. Democracy means that the political system and its officials should originate from among the people. A genuine democratic system lies where the decisions, emotions, faith, and interests of the people overlap.
Democracy has two sides. One side requires the establishment of a political system on the basis of the wishes and votes of the people. That is to say, the people should elect the government and its key officials directly or indirectly. The people should willingly identify the right choice and make a decision so that they can fulfill their religious duty. They will have no duty to carry out in the absence of knowledge and willingness.
After government officials are elected in a democracy, they take on serious responsibilities. This is the second side of democracy.
The meaning of religious democracy
Religious democracy ties the rule of God’s religion to the votes, beliefs, faith, wishes and emotions of the people. Just as we consider ourselves as servants of God alone, so we ask Allah the Exalted to help us tread the path of righteous people: “You (alone) we worship. You (alone) we ask for help. Show us the right path, the path of those on whom You bestowed grace.” [The Holy Quran, 1: 5-7] Following the path of righteous people and God’s prominent servants is the same as pledging allegiance to faith, religion and spirituality. It is not the same as surrendering to a particular person. It is not the same as surrendering to the whim of a particular individual. In Islam, it is religion that is in power, the kind of religion that pays attention to prosperity of all human beings. And this is something that human beings are responsible for.
The founder of logical democracy
In fact democracy belongs to Islam. It was Islam that founded the appropriate and logical form of democracy. All Muslims, men and women, went to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and pledged allegiance to him. At that time women did not enjoy a good position in society. Women had been kept behind in Arabia. Even in the Iranian Empire and the Roman Empire women were not allowed to prove themselves. But the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) took orders from God alone. “O Prophet, when believing women come to you to pledge that they will not associate anything with Allah….” [The Holy Quran, 60: 12] Allah the Exalted tells the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) that when believing women go to him to pledge allegiance to him, they should follow certain principles, just like believing men. Both men and women went to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) to pledge allegiance to him. Hearts and wills came together, and monotheism revealed itself among the believing members of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) society. It is a fact that they loved the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), but this is irrelevant because in Islam individuals do not matter.