Shura al-Foqaha

"Shura al-Foqaha" or Leadership Council of Jurists

  • Under the Islamic system of government, the leader or the Head-of-State is the Mujtahid who satisfies all the criteria required for a Mujtahid.
  • If there was only one Mujtahid who meets all the required criteria, then he is the Head of State.  If there were more than one Mujtahid, the Head-of-State is the leadership council of jurists' which consists of the qualified Mujtahids.  Under the consultative leadership system, the public elects the Mujtahid council members.
  • The nation may replace the Head-of-State and it may decide the duration of the term of office of the leader as well as the number of terms he may serve.
  • The Head of State may not remain in power without the approval of the nation.
  • The term of office of the Head of State terminates if he fails to meet one of the criteria upon which he was elected to office.
  • The elected Head of State may appoint the Head of Government e.g. Prime Minister. The head of government should be a trustworthy, competent and knowledgeable in Islamic law but does not have to be a Mujtahid. The two heads must co-operate in the process of running the affairs of the country.
  • Criteria based on country, nationality, race, etc. are not required as pre-conditions for the Head of State and in fact such conditions are not accepted in Islam.
  • It is imperative for the Head of State to consult with others. In order to set a precedent, the prophet Muhammad used to consult with his selected companions on the affairs of state. Taking lead from the prophet's consultation policy, other Muslim rulers used to practice this policy too.

Extracts from imam Shirazi's book The Islamic System of Government.

See also Features of the Political Theory of Imam Shirazi's Thought by M. G. Ayyub.