Shura is a term used in Islamic governance to refer to the process of consultation and decision-making by the leaders of the community. During the early period of Islam, the Shura system was an important part of governance, and it worked as follows:
- The community leaders would gather to discuss and deliberate on important matters concerning the community.
- The decision-making process was consultative and democratic. Each leader had an equal opportunity to speak and express their opinion, and decisions were made through a consensus-building process.
- The leaders were accountable to the community and were required to make decisions that were in the best interest of the people and in accordance with Islamic teachings.
During the early period of Islam, the Shura system worked well and helped to establish a system of governance that was accountable to the people. However, under the Umayyad Caliphs, the Shura system deteriorated for several reasons:
- The Umayyad Caliphs were more authoritarian and centralized than the previous Caliphs, and they often made decisions without consulting the community leaders.
- The Umayyad Caliphs were more interested in consolidating their power and expanding their empire than in upholding the principles of Islamic governance. As a result, they ignored the Shura system and ruled with an iron fist.
- The Umayyad Caliphs were more interested in wealth and luxury than in the welfare of the people. They spent lavishly on palaces, gardens, and other luxuries, which depleted the state treasury and left the people in poverty.
The deterioration of the Shura system under the Umayyad Caliphs contributed to a decline in the quality of governance and an erosion of the principles of justice and accountability that were central to early Islamic governance. However, the concept of Shura remained an important part of Islamic political theory and continued to inspire later generations of Muslim thinkers and leaders who sought to establish a system of governance that was accountable to the people and rooted in the principles of justice and fairness.