The Secret Beyond Matter

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Two Administrations Described in The Qur'an

The Qur'an gives two important examples of state administration: that of the Queen of Saba and that of Pharaoh.

What happened after Prophet Solomon (pbuh) invited the Sun-worshipping Sabaeans to the true faith gives some idea of how their kingdom was administered.

After receiving Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) letter, the Queen of Saba assembled her advisors and asked for their opinions. In other words, she did not have the sole right to make decisions that affected the kingdom. The queen valued her advisors' ideas, and they respected her and authority. This shows that Saba may have had an administrative system that was similar to democracy.

views of the river

We expelled them[Pharaoh and his people]from gardens and springs.(Qur'an,26:57)

At first sight, Pharaoh may have had a similar type of administration. He appears to have had a council of prominent persons who had great influence. But they led him astray and gave him commands that would cause dissension and injustice. They talked to Pharaoh in the following way:

They said: "Detain him [Moses] and his brother, and send out marshals to the cities." (Qur'an, 7:111)

The Egyptian government at this time may be called an oligarchy, for power was in the hands of a limited number of people. The power of such a government is most often proportionate to its material or military strength, and its governing body is always a tiny minority in proportion to the people it governs. These individuals govern the land for their own profit and pleasure. We can see from the Qur'an that Pharaoh's system of government was an oligarchy.

As "Then We sent Moses and his brother Aaron with Our Signs and clear authority to Pharaoh and his ruling circle. But they were a proud and despotic people"(Qur'an, 23:45-46) reveal, Pharaoh and his court formed a community that sought to impose its will on others. The oligarchic class, which was composed of Pharaoh's counselors, magicians, and soldiers, established its intellectual dominion over the public so that the people would remain loyal to the pharaonic system. In addition, it inculcated the masses with the false belief that Pharaoh was a superior being. Basing his rule upon this misguided system, Pharaoh and his circle oppressed the people. In fact, the Qur'an states that:

No one believed in Moses, except for a few of his people, out of fear that Pharaoh and the elders would persecute them. Pharaoh was high and mighty in the land. He was one of the profligate. (Qur'an, 10:83)

Another evident proof of this administration's oppressive nature was segregating the people according to their race or religion and deliberately oppressing the Tribe of Israel.

north africa

North Africa, twelfth century, Spink College, London (Qur'an, 27:36-39)

Surat an-Naml tells of the meeting between Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and the Queen of Saba, during which she saw his wealth and power.

Pharaoh exalted himself arrogantly in the land and divided its people into camps, oppressing one group of them by slaughtering their sons and letting their women live. He was one of the corrupters. (Qur'an, 28:4)

In Qur'an 7:127, we are told that Pharaoh had "absolute power."This power came from his army. We can understand his government's power from the commands he gave to his soldiers:

Pharaoh sent marshals into the cities. (Qur'an, 26:53)

They said: "Detain him [Moses] and his brother, and send out marshals to the cities." (Qur'an, 7:111)

As the above verses indicate, this oppressive state mechanism and system of intelligence gathering allowed the state hierarchy to watch over the kingdom's remotest regions. This supervision shows the strict discipline and oppression of Pharaoh's administration.

In the Queen of Saba's meeting with Prophet Solomon (pbuh), as well as her subsequent conversion and submission to him, there may be an indication that Saba knew no such oppression. The Qur'an relates that:

She said: "My Lord, I have wronged myself, but I have submitted with Solomon to the Lord of all the worlds." (Qur'an, 27:44)

In other words, Saba's method of administration was pretty democratic for that period of time. The people were not oppressed, the most important decisions of state were taken after agreement was secured among all levels of government, and there was mutual respect and freedom of conscience. It seems to have been a model in which rights were protected.

By describing these different systems of government, God shows us that one system opposed religious morality, whereas another one lived quite close to that morality, even though it had not yet heard of or embraced the true religion.


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