People who have only ever known life in a secular democratic state, imagine that all States are like the secular democratic state. All Powerful and extensive in scope and scale. Except they call such States which do not have four yearly elections which allow votes to change the ruler a ‘Dictatorship’ (or Tyranny with negative connotations). If it is such a dictatorship with a religious dimension added to it then, it is a “Theocracy” (God rule literally). Of course it can also be a Monarchy with a Theocracy (again seen as very bad, giving power to clerics and priests and to the wishes of fantasy Gods and the human interpreters of the Will of the Gods). Or it could be a Theocratic empire like the Ottomans, again very very bad or ruthless). The best is always secular democracy.
However if we attempt to by-pass this superficial value judgement imposed on different governments by secular democrats, I think we would find it more useful. Secular democrats in my view are too hopelessly immersed in their own democratic dialectical framework to think straight.
So what is Islamic government if it is not Theocracy; Tyranny; Dictatorship; Monarchy; Empire? The big problem in attempting to answer this question is that there are some governments which use the word Islamic to describe them, and these appear to match the descriptions given to us by the secular democrats. So are they right then? No, it is just that when men become corrupt they create these type of States, whether they are Muslim or not, but if they are Muslim they call it ‘Islamic’, rather than ‘secular’, also these States use (I should say mis-use) some aspects of the Quranic Laws to control their societies and keep the elites in power.
In addition many of the so called modern Islamic States are artificial creations of the European colonizers of the Islamic world. They were created in order to fulfill some important geo-political objectives of the departing colonial powers. Borders were created and separate States, in order to keep resources and people tightly governed. It was basic divide and rule. The departing colonialists, gave independence to these States, but had a structure set up in the countries so that a small indigenous ruling elite would rule, exploit the people and resources of that country on behalf of the small indigenous elite and the foreign western governments and corporations. It was Western Elite rule by Proxy, the vast populations would be kept down while the few elites would help each other to stay in power and to exploit the resources for profit.
On top of this political geography a invisible global financial architecture was formed which benefited the rich countries and allowed them to gain more from the poor for less effort or exchange. For instance the US buys oil in dollars which it can print at will. Oil is given to the US in exchange for paper dollars. These petro-dollars are then sent back to the US financial system or to buy second rate arms and weapons…which further benefits the US economy. The local people in oil producing countries get ruthless governments supported by the US exploiting them and keeping them poor.
A true Islamic government may resemble a type of Monarchy. Where a personal ruler who abides by the law of Islam and governs the people who are also mostly Muslims. The Law is held supreme. There are various jurists who interpret the law and codify it. When the law is adhered to in this way, and well established in existing mores and ways there is peace and security.
Judges sit in judgement, there are no standing armies, no police, no prisons. Criminals are judged and given swift punishment in a court of law, if there are complex cases of murder, the judge can authorise investigations by qualified people. The Ruler and the Judges are kept in check by the law and its supporters and by the ordinary believers. They criticise the Ruler and everyone is educated to understand that the source of all peace, security harmony and freedom is Islamic law and adherence to it. Anyone who does not adhere to it is causing social harmony to breakdown and for corruption to enter. There is a culture of mutual advice and criticism, encouragement and Knowledge is pursued which will benefit the Muslims, the foundation is Islamic knowledge, then crafts, management, business, etc.
Non beneficial and harmful knowledge is shunned. Trade is encouraged as are free markets. Foundations and waqfs act as an outlet for lasting charity, which build hospitals, schools, orphanages, travel inns for travellers etc. persuing money for its own sakes without adherence to Islamic ethics is strongly discouraged. This organic society grows and will eventually become corrupt, until a new movement to renew its vitality appears and the people who will enliven the people again appear. This society is not mechanical, it is close to nature and respects nature, it does not over exploit it, or develop harmful technologies which dehumanize man or create natural and ecological disorder.