What is the importance of Mashverat in Islam?
Mashverat (consultation) means consulting to the skilled and qualified people in their fields upon the conduct of affairs. (For example; for the interpretation and execution of Islamic Law, there was an Advisory Council, which was composed of such Companions who were considered to be most capable in matters of religion and law.) Shura (council) and Istisharat (to consult) words are used to refer the same meaning.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not such a person who dictates his views. He used to consult to his Companions almost in every matter and took their advices. Messenger of God (pbuh) used to consult his companions as stated by Abu Hurairah, I have never seen a person who is keener on consulting his companions than God's Messenger, peace be upon him.(Al-Tirmidhi). (1)
He (pbuh) consulted to his companions before Badr, Uhud, and Handak wars and took their advices. (2)
For instance, Hubab ibn Muzir, from among the companions of Prophet asked to the Messenger of God (pbuh) if it was his decision or a revelation to deploy the army in such a place. When he was answered as no, Hubab ibn Munzir told him (pbuh) to change the army-camp before the battle of Badr. Prophet Muhammad was pleased with the opinion and changed the camp. (3)
As it is seen here, Companions make clear distinctions between the Prophets prophethood and his humanity. Any issue, which is related with messengership cannot be put into consultation. What companions have to do is not delivering an opinion but to obey. Theoretically, any problem for which there is no correspondent revelation could be subject to consultation.
Mashverat gives opportunity to find the truth in the best possible way under the prevailing circumstances. It denotes that it is given importance to the members of the consultation committee, and pleases their hearts. Thus, provides unity while conducting affairs. (4)
It is meaningful that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received the verse, So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs, (Al-Imran Surah, 3:159) after the Uhud defeat. For, many Muslims expressed their wish to fight Quraish outside Medina at the battle of 'Uhud. The Prophet's opinion was to wait for Quraish inside the town so that they would have cover against them. But the others gave no other argument than they would be called cowards if they waited inside the town. Even though, it resulted in wrong decision and even Prophet knew the possible consequences, he followed the consultation, because ingraining the principals of consultation and educating the community were much more important than temporary possible defects. (5)
A child, just because he is falling down when he is walking should not be hold back. Community of Muhammad (pbuh) as well, while fostering the Islamic principals should learn how to step up by staggering. A child cannot go through his development if he is continuously directed.
After the statement of Consultation, stating ...and when you are resolved (on a course of action), put your trust in God (Al-Imran Surah, 3:159) is related with the method of application. Once, a decision is given, it should be proceeded to the stage of application. After it was decided that the enemy should be resisted outside the city at Uhud, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) went home to put his Armor on. However, some came to see him and blamed people for pressing on the Prophet. They said, O Messenger of God, we should have not disagreed with you. So, you are free to do what you desire. If you prefer to stay inside Medina we will stay with you. Upon this the Messenger of God remarked, It does not become a Prophet that once he had put on Armor, he should take it off, until God has decided between him and the enemy." (6)
1-Tirmidh, Jihad, 35
2-Ibnu Kesir, II, 128-129
3-Ibnu Hişam, II, 272
4-Ibnu Kesir, II, 128; Yaz?r, II, 1214
5-Kutub, I, 501
6-Ibnu Kesir, II, 91; Beydavi, I, 178
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