Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Speaking Tree Blog | August 16, 2022
How is political power defined in the Quran? It is clearly set forth in the chapter Al-‘Imran (The Family of Imran). The translation of the relevant verse is as follows:
Say, ‘Lord, sovereign of all sovereignty. You bestow sovereignty on whom You will and take it away from whom You please; You exalt whoever You will and abase whoever You will. All that is good lies in Your hands. You have the power to will anything. (3:26)
According to this Quranic statement, political power is a gift of God. It cannot be achieved through fighting or conquest. If anyone tries to capture political power by dethroning the existing ruler, it is against the law of nature, and any endeavour of this kind is doomed to failure. Sooner or later, it will prove to be disastrous.
This formula given in the Quran can be summarized in two words: political status quoism, that is, acceptance of the political situation and waiting for your turn to come. If someone achieves political power by God’s decision, it will prove to be good for him, but if he tries to snatch power from others, it will prove to be counterproductive.
The principle of status quoism is not the result of passivity or cowardice: it is the result of the greatest wisdom. When you accept the political status quo, you instantly find time for your work. But if you try to change the political status quo through fighting and violence, you will lose all available opportunities.
This Quranic formula means that in political matters, you must first consider the result of your endeavours. Your struggle must be result-oriented and not simply ambition-oriented. Do not look to your own political desires, but anticipate the actual result by objectively analyzing matters. Then, certainly you will find that the pro-status quo formula is far better than the pro-change formula. When you adopt political status quoism, it is an apparent attempt to adjust to the existing political setup, whereas you are in fact trying to seek adjustment with the laws of nature. You are pursuing the policy of buying time.
According to the law of nature, political rule is not the monopoly of one person or one group; it is bound to change from one group to some other group, so adopting a pro-change policy is wasting your time and energy in terms of the result, while accepting the political status quo is simply waiting for your turn which is bound to come to you, sooner or later.
Politics is not the only important field of human activity. There are many other vital spheres of work, like education, business, industry, social reform, academic learning, scientific research, etc. The formula of political status quoism means taking no action against the prevailing political system and availing of the opportunities that are present in so many other fields. In this sense, political status quoism is the formula that is based on the greatest wisdom.
If you adopt the method of political confrontation, you have to fight the opposing party and fighting invariably yields negative results. However, when you adopt the formula of political status quoism there is no rival group, you do not need to fight against anyone, and you have enough time to try to achieve what is achievable for you.