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  • 6/10/2013

The Concept of Theocracy

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Theocracy is “a government that has accepted the authority of a particular religion in managing the society and the field of politics”‌[1]. Therefore a Theocracy does not require people or rulers to be religious, rather, it means the principles and the purpose of the government must be based on religion.

The issue of necessity and basis of government’s legitimacy and nature, types of political establishments and their merits and weaknesses as well as their purpose and obligations is one of the most important discussions in political philosophy. The subject of government’s purpose and obligations is considered a practical issue. Adopting a stance with regards to this matter depends on previous discussions.

The ruler’s perception of the concept of government influences their actions and behaviors. If their perception of government is to dominate people and employ them in order to achieve the objectives and interests of the ruler, they will act accordingly. But if the ruler’s intention to rule is to serve people, guide and manage them, they will pursue these objective and their actions will be aimed at serving, guiding and managing.

The phrase of “Islamic Government”‌ implies that Islam has determined the framework and general policies of the government or at least its basics and objectives. Therefore the concept of theocracy can be defined as an “organization that all its pillars are based on Islam.”‌

Commenting on the government, al-Farabi says, “The supreme ruler is he whose intention of ruling, which governs the cities, is to direct him and people toward attaining ultimate happiness. This is the purpose of the government. Achieving this objective requires the ruler of the al-Madina al-Fadilah (virtuous city) to have attained the ultimate happiness, because he is the cause of the happiness of the people.”‌

Ahmad Niazi, graduate of Qom Seminary and Phd student of Al Mustafa international university


1. Mohammad Javad Nowrozi, Introduction to Islam political system, p. 62.

Source: political science journal, No. 3

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi

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