The Concept of Collectivism in Relation to Islamic and Contemporary Jurisprudence

Author:Nehaluddin Ahmad
Position:Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University, Brunei Darussalam
The Open Law Journal, 2011, 4, 15-20 15
1874-950X/11 2011 Bentham Open
Open Access
The Concept of Collectivism in Relation to Islamic and Contempo-
rary Jurisprudence
Nehaluddin Ahmad*
Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University, Brunei Darussalam
Abstract: The main aim of this paper is to provide an introductory discussion of the issue of the human need for a Social
symbiosis and Collectivism in the contemporary global community and of the constructive role that religion could play in
delivering this global need. There are many ways to categorise ideologies and religions, but the most constructive is one
between collectivism and individualism. In the matter of collectivism and Islam, these worlds are misinformed and mis-
guided; it is always at great pains to prove that Islam contains within itself the elements of all type of contemporary social
and political thought and action. It can well be understood by separating the paranormal and transcendental aspects of
Quran from those dealing with the human affairs, both individually and collectively in an organic social structure includ-
ing the sacred guidelines for the ruler and the ruled.
This paper will, however, be examining the issue at hand mainly from the perspective of the Islamic Jurisprudential phi-
losophy and contemporary jurisprudence.
Keywords: Individualism, Collectivism, social symbiosis, positiv ism, natural law, jurisprudence, Sharia and Islamic Philo sophy.
The Quranic view of Social symbiosis and collectivism
has encouraged many Islamic thinkers in different ages to
offer a philosophical and scientific understanding of it. Un-
doubtedly, the theme of mutual interdependence in human
society has been a popular one in classical Islamic philoso-
phy. Whenever Islamic philosophers then discuss the subject
of human society or human civilization, it is incumbent upon
them to dwell on the idea of mutual interdependence as a
basis of human social organization. They emphasize the
point that human beings are mutually interdependent for
their physical needs such as food, shelter, and defense or
protection from external danger. This means that mutual
cooperation is necessary to the human species, the result of
which is social civilization based on collectivism.
While discussing the very concept of social symbiosis
and collectivism, what at first strikes the mind is the com-
posite structure of those norms which buttress up the society
at various levels. To speak negatively, it is essential to be
much vigilant about those problems in the social hierarchy
that are apt to cause dissension and that ultimately might
snowball into a major social disturbance. Most of such prob-
lems always remain outside the effective authority of sover-
eign power and its coercive instruments. Discussing the Is-
lamic philosophy in this context, Ameer Ali says:
'The grand and noble conceptions expressed in the Koran
of the power and loves of the Deity surpass everything of
their kind in any other language. The unity of God, His
*Address correspondence to this author at the Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic
University, Brune i Darussalam and Multime dia University, Malaysia;
Tel: + 6738618591; E-mail:
immateriality, His Majesty, His Mercy, form the constant
and never-ending theme of the most eloquent and soul-
stirring passages. The flow of life, light and spirituality never
ceases. But throughout there is no trace of dogmatism. Ap-
peal is made to the inner conscience of man, to his intuitive
reason alone (Syed Ameer Ali,1997)’ .
The main aim of this paper is to provide an introductory
discussion of the issue of the human need for a Social sym-
biosis and collectivism in the contemporary global commu-
nity and of the constructive role that religion could play in
delivering this global need. It is realized that the perspective
of Islamic jurisprudence on this question is little known to
many non-Muslims, even though it is important in its own
right, thus meriting a serious study by scholars.
It is a common knowledge that social order is always
amenable to change. The wealth may change hands, th e
giver of yesterday might be the taker of today and the son of
today is likely to be the father of tomorrow. Therefore, the
status of individuals always undergoes social transformation
but the values that govern them are always the same .The
obligations shift from person to person but for a living soci-
ety they must always be in a concrete form and not embed-
ded in some incomprehensible philosophical abstractions.
Equally important for their effective observance must be the
notions of the reward and punishment in a manner that di-
rectly appeals to the inner and saner sense of human under-
A general idea of what social ideals must be the basis of
an organized and civilized society may be gathered from the
many verses of Quran:

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