Unlimited giving and constrained taking
We assume that Islam is a strong religion of an inherent power rendering it fearless of? With virtue of this power, Islam never awes interacting with others. Islam is an eternal religion not doomed to death though it is not protected by any earthly powers. It would never be an extinct religion. This is despite the fact that people do not adhere to it as strongly as they must.
Islam will stay strong and powerful, not weakened by the lapse of years and unaffected with calamities and catastrophes. Islam has caused justice to prevail. It paid respect to fair dealing and adopted objectivity, even with its mortal enemies. In this it implements the qur'anic verse, "…and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety…" (Al Ma'idah: 8)
ـ Islam preserves the legacy of all cultures and communicates with these cultures in a taking-giving manner. It affects these cultures and is influenced by them. Islam is never built on the rubble of the human heritage and other cultures' human contributions. It is not keen on undermining the former nations' experience. It rather adds guidance and reformation to these nations and cultures in a way that steers them towards attaining the welfare of the human kind.
At the same time, Islam takes from these cultures the quintessence of their humane experience and the substance of their secular knowledge and sciences as well as their cultural giving. This Islamic attitude towards other cultures goes in conformity with common sense. It is not logical to boycott or ignore these cultures. Yet, it is not lawful in Islam to dissolve and melt in them. Sound thinking and discretion recommend interacting with these cultures and holding a dialogue with them in a way that achieves our interests, steers us towards renaissance and creates a bright image of our religion, culture and civilization.
Our stance towards modern western civilization is a stance of picking and choosing. We pick whatever is beneficial and useful from these cultures so long as it does not go counter to Islam. We put the harmful aspects of these cultures aside, inspired through this with the spirit of moderation highlighted by the noble Qur'an, "Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced." (Al Baqarah: 143)
This is the exact way Islamic civilization fared in the past. It interacted with the Persian and Roman cultures. In this interaction, it chose what it saw to be good like some administrative patterns and regal systems. Yet, the Islamic civilization shunned what was contradictory to the principles of Islam.
Our religion forbade us from and warned us against being mere followers to others pursuing and tracking them. Islam also prohibits imitating non-Muslims in their religious rituals and the peculiarities of their belief. Thus, we think, contemplate, research and discuss everything. Whatever complies with our religion is accepted without hesitation, for wisdom is the Muslim's long-sought end. Whatever disagrees with our religion is fearlessly dumped.
Democracy, as a concept and an approach, involves ideas that conform to Islam and others that contradict it.
ـ Democracy and Islam agree on rejecting the individual power and the call for establishing the state of institutions. They both call for separating the authorities and acknowledging man's right to expression
Both concentrate on the values of freedom, justice and equality. Theocratic religious governments are renounced by both democracy and Islam. Islam does not have this kind of governments. For one, there are no theological men in Islam. Further, the nature of ruling in Islam is a civil contract between the ruler and those ruled. Thus, ruling by Islam does not mean the establishment of a theological government.
Democracy and Islam encourage innovation and useful creativity. Neither of them incriminates giving full rein to thought so long as this collides not with the constants of Islam and its pillars.
Democracy and Islam acknowledge the human rights and call for respecting them. They both see that societies would never progress but through man's self-development and observing his different rights.
Democracy conforms to Islam in several points, as the ones abovementioned. Yet, they also have many differences and points of disagreement as follows:
Democracy holds that people, with their various mechanisms, are the source of legislation. On the other hand, Islam declares that the Islamic Jurisprudence is the source of all legislation in community. This is called "the legal support of the regime". The Islamic Law; with its general principles, as well as its detailed and general verdicts; represents the law that regulates the Muslim society as a whole. No nation is to shoulder its message when this message lacks clarity and is of no definite features.
ـ The set of laws governing any society is but a reflection of its ideas, values and peculiarity. We, as a Muslim nation, have a set of bases, laws and legislations peculiar to us.
Democracy exaggerates the sanctification of the individual freedom at the expense of morality and values. This led to the practice of all shapes of deviation and debauchery in the name of personal freedom as long as the general order is not breached.
As for Islam, despite its full respect for man and his freedom, this freedom is not an absolute one. It is controlled with the laws enacted by Islam and the manners Islam calls for. Man is not entitled to do whatever he wants whenever he wants in the name of freedom, or else society would crumble down and its moral foundations would disentangle as the case is in western societies.
Another dissimilarity between Islam and democracy is that democracy deploys a condescending colonial manner in its address to other nations, especially Arabic and Islamic countries. At the time that western democracies adopt a speech that calls for respect of her people's right of expression and their right of delineating the features of their regimes, the same democracies adopt a colonial arrogant speech with other peoples. In this, these democracies take advantage of their huge financial powers disguised behind the mask of globalization. These democracies are fettered with racist theories like the ones about the clashes of civilizations and Armageddon.
On the other hand, the Islamic civilization heeds the moral dimension in dealing with other peoples. Even at the peak of its glory and hegemony, the Islamic civilization never looked down on other peoples and never regarded them to be outcast. On the contrary, it applied the motto, "they are entitled to the same rights we enjoy and are requested to perform the duties we perform."
Democracy has no legislative ceiling. Therefore, if any given idea, even an invalid one, received the majority of votes in the House of Commons, it becomes a powerful idea in the society with virtue of its legal legitimacy.
Homosexuality, hideous as it is, received the majority of votes in the British House of Commons only to become a codified matter of fact.
Accordingly, society there approves of homosexual marriages.
Western democracy suffers from serious problems known to those experiencing them. For instance, the people may sometimes elect persons, like Adolph Hitler, for important offices in the country and they cause destruction and wreak havoc on their societies and the neighboring ones.
This is our perspective of the western democracy with its pro's and con's. Hence, we would never be carried adrift by the call for assimilation and westernization. Thus, we maintain our ideological and cultural identity. Simultaneously, we never deprive our nation of any good or wise developments on the mere pretext that it is a tributary of the western secularism though there are many common principles between Islam and western democracy.