Good governance, in Islam, for toll gates keep who are using Red tapes to get greased handsers

 

Good governance, in Islam, for toll gates keepers

who are using Red tapes  to get greased hands

Good governance, in Islam, has a more refined description than the Western notion of ‘the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented’.

IT IS to be duly noted that one of the distinctive features of the religious, intellectual and scientific tradition of Islam is the utmost care given to the correct and precise connotation and denotation of terminologies, a feature rendered possible by the root system of the Arabic language.

As such, it is commonplace in this tradition for the conceptual content of a science, or an art, to have its most appropriate terminological form.

Good governance, being a topic of great relevance as much as a concept that points to a particular activity or process, cannot therefore be an exception to the aforementioned rule on terminological precision.

As it is a composite term, a clear understanding of its true meaning draws mainly on what is meant by its two singular terms “good” and “governance”.

Whereas neither of these two notions, “good” as well as “governance,” is new – in fact, they are as ancient as human society – we cannot deny that in the contemporary context, good governance has been much discussed in Western academic circles.

And as is widely perceived, the West, through its many representatives and agencies, has been championing its cause.

Muslims who are interested in addressing the foregoing cannot, therefore, avoid attending to the way, or ways, it has been understood and defined by their Western counterparts.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, for instance, describes “governance” as “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)”.

I personally do not think that any enlightened Muslim will have fundamental objections to this description of governance.

But what I think can be done is to offer a more refined description of it.

And such a refinement will come in the form oftadbir, as both theoria and praxis, as discussed in IKIM Views, Oct 28.

To recapitulate, one’s tadbir of any matter, or affairs, basically points to one’s act of relating it to its end or result. And insofar as human logic grants, such an act of relating can be either mental or extra-mental, intellectual or practical.

Hence, its descriptions in the religious, intellectual and scientific tradition of Islam as:

> “The mental act of looking into the consequences of the affairs so that a praiseworthy result will be obtained” (al-Baydawi, d. 791H);

> “The act of examining the outcomes by means of knowing what is good” as well as “the act of putting matters into effect in accordance with the knowledge of what will follow in the end” (al-Jurjani, d. 816H); and,

> “one’s disposing of, or reflection, pertaining to the outcome of an affair” (al-Tahanawi, d. 1158H).

At the very least, such descriptions demonstrate that governance is not simply about “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)” but also about the substance of the decision-making, i.e. the end, the outcome, the result, and the consequence.

It is to be noted here, that goals or objectives, despite their being related in many respects to ends or outcomes, are not really synonymous. For not every aim will result in an outcome and, likewise, not every outcome achieves the intended aim.

On this account, therefore, there are some elements of unknowability about goals as something yet to be realised in the future, whereas outcomes, when referring to past events that are well documented, are more factual.

Nevertheless, Muslims strongly believe in God’s Pattern of Recurrent Acts (the Sunnatullah) which apart from appearing in the various forms of the cause-effect correlation, is manifested in history, especially as the rise and decline of nations and civilisations.

Granted the regularity of this Pattern of Recurrent Acts, it is partly to the past outcomes that our noetic observations should be directed in order to not only derive some meaningful lessons and useful insights with regard to the future, but also to avoid repeating similar mistakes, facing much the same pitfalls, and being trapped in essentially the same quagmire.

 

Refining the notion of governance, IKIM VIEWS

By DR MOHD ZAIDI ISMAIL, Senior Fellow/Director,
Centre for Science and Technology IN THE STARS ONLINE

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