Democracy is a catchword that becomes a controversy for all Islamic activists today, diverse interpretations of democracy are being served like a meal, but in essence all Islamic activists agreed on one thing about democracy, that democracy is the product of the kafir and thus contrary to the Islamic law. There are a few people who claim that democracy is a shura like in Islam, but this is also invalidated. The presence of some similarities on systems that are incompatible does not mean that the systems are alike. One side of good may not be able to justify that all sides are good, let alone a system that is very incompatible to human beings.
However, to this day there is still a group of people who refuse to budge from the view that democracy is not a religion but a vehicle for heading towards a civil society or heading towards a society with the Shari'ah of Islam. So is it true that democracy is a religion? Let us prove with the daleels from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Democracy Is A Religion
In the daleels of the Qura’an and Sunnah, or the books of the ulama's of Ahlus-Sunnah, yes, the word democracy has never been mentioned explicitly because at the time of Rasulullah SAW or in the old days, this word had never been known or was still foreign, but this does not fool us and make us fall into the trap.
In understanding democracy, we should go back to the fundamental subject of one's Islam, namely iman. Iman is a pledge that makes a person being called Muslim and that makes him different from the people who disbelieve (kafir) although they are practising good deeds in the eyes of the world, without iman all those do not mean anything.
And the basis of one's faith (iman) is like what Allah SWT says in the Holy Qur’an:
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (QS. Adz-Dzriyaat: 56)
“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], 'Worship Allah and avoid Thaghut.'” (QS. An-Nahl: 36)
“The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Thaghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it.” (QS. Al-Baqarah : 256)
“But those who have avoided Thaghut, lest they worship it, and turned back to Allah - for them are good tidings. So give good tidings to My servants.” (QS. Az-Zumar: 17)
The above verses are the commands of Allah to mankind after they have iman, to keep away from all kinds of obedience and submission to others besides Allah SWT which in the Qur’an is called Thaghut. So one's iman is not valid before they deny (to be kafir toward) and be free of all the millah, manhaj and aqeedah of others besides Islam.
Included in the category of thaghut is every one who positions himself as a musharri' (legislation and law maker) along with Allah, whether he is a leader or a common citizen, a people's representatives in the legislature or the people whom he represents from among those who elected him (in the general elections), because with that deed, he has exceeded the limit which Allah SAW created for him, because he is created as a slave of Allah, and his Lord orders him to surrender submissively to His Shari'ah, but he is reluctant, and he becomes arrogant instead and oversteps the limits which Allah SWT has set, he on the other hand wants to make himself as a match for Allah and affiliate with Him in the authority of tashri' (establishment of law and legislation), whereas it should not be turned to any other except to Allah SWT and for anyone who does that, then he has made himself as ilaah musharri' (God the lawmaker), while it cannot be doubted anymore that for such a person, he is a part of the ru'uusuth thawaghiit (frontmen of thaghut) where one's Tawheed and Islam is not valid until he is kafir towards that thaghut, avoiding it, as well as bara'ah (be free) from its worshippers and troops.
Allah SWT says:
“They wish to refer legislation to Thaghut, while they were commanded to reject that Thaghut.” (QS. An-Nisa': 60)
Imam Mujahid rahimahullah said: “Thaghut is devil in human form, where the humans refer the laws to him, while he is taking control of them.”
Shaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyyah rahimahullah said: “On that account, one who rules by other than Kitabullah (God's Book) where he becomes the legal reference, he is called thaghut.”
Imam Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah said: “Thaghut is anything in which the limit is exceeded by the slaves, be it the one worshipped, or followed, or obeyed, that the thaghut of every society is the people whom they make as legal reference other than Allah and His Rasul, or which they worship besides Allah, or that which they followed without any foundation of daleels from Allah, or the people whom they obeyed in matters which they do not know that it is a form of obedience to Allah”.
And he said further: “Anyone who refers the law or reports lawsuits to others in addition to what has been brought about by Rasulullah sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, then it means that he had been referring the law and reporting lawsuits to the thaghut.”
And among the types of thaghut worshipped besides Allah SWT today, and which becomes the obligation of every Muwahhid to be kafir towards them and be free from them, as well as from their followers so he can hold on to al 'urwatul wutsqa (the most trustworthy handhold [Luqman : 22]) and be safe the fires of hell, are the false gods and arbaab maz’um which have been made by many people as shurakaa musharri'iin (allies who make the laws and legislation) besides Allah SWT.
"Or have they other deities who have ordained for them a religion to which Allah has not consented? But if not for the decisive word, it would have been concluded between them." (QS. Ash-Shuura: 21)
That's a brief explanation of democracy and why Islam is so opposed to it and threatens the perpetrators of democracy as a people who are out of Islam.
“There has already been for you an excellent pattern in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, 'Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah . We have denied you, and there has appeared between us and you animosity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone' …” (Al-Mumtahanah: 4)