(247) وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا قَالُوا أَنَّى يَكُونُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ بِالْمُلْكِ مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُؤْتَ سَعَةً مِّنَ الْمَالِ قَالَ إِنَّ اللّهَ اصْطَفَاهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَزَادَهُ بَسْطَةً فِي الْعِلْمِ وَالْجِسْمِ وَاللّهُ يُؤْتِي مُلْكَهُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَاللّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
247. " And their Prophet said to them: ' Verily Allah has raised up Saul for you as a king.' They said: ' How can he hold kingship over us, while we are more rightful to kingship than he, and he has not been given abundance of wealth? ' He said: ' Verily Allah has chosen him over you, and He has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. Allah gives His kingdom unto whomso He wills; and Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing '."
This group of oppressed Israelites, though they had asked their prophet to appoint a chief for them to guide them to be able to escape from the torturous subjection of the tyrant rulers, failed in the field of trial.
It is appropriate to note that their Prophet was Samuel. Talut, who is the same as Saul, was called ' Talut ' (according to the Bible) on account of his height and the strength of his stature, for he was the tallest of his people (Sam. 10: 23) . The proper names used in Arabic are different from their Hebrew originals.
So, when their prophet, Samuel, appointed Saul (Talut) , who was
an unknown poor shepherd, as their chief, they, being affected by their proud and vain consideration that they had from their own leader and leadership, despised Saul's kingship for the lack of wealth and reputation. Those people, who had wealth in abundance, said that they were worthier than him for the position because of the gross great wealth they had.
When the prophet heard their pretexts about the poverty and lack of wealth of Saul, he told them that undoubtedly Allah had appointed him as a king for them, and, instead of wealth, he had ability in knowledge and in body. Besides that, he had the necessary authority and ability of command of an army in fight.
So, Allah selects whosoever He wills for leadership due to his efficiency and his inner faculties.
* * * *
Whatever be the details of the Israelites' history referred to here, the instructions to be inferred from it regarding the religious authority who can wage war in the way of God is as follows:ِ
1. Besides the presence of a divine legislator and a religious judge sometimes an excutor is also needed. It should be borne in mind that all the three aspects of government (Aamiriyat) ... i.e. legislation, justice and execution are included in the sovereignty of God. He may delegate all the aspects to any one man as His Vicegerent and He may distribute the various functions to different persons. In any case the appointment rests with God and none else. Here the Prophet represents the Divine
Authority in law and justice. When the people asked him to appoint a king as an executor, he said that God has appointed 'Talut' as their king, indicating that he (the Prophet) had no right to do it. This refutes the tendency now developing among the people that in the establishment of the legislative and the judicial bodies the 'Kitab', i.e., the Book and the 'Sunnat', i.e., the Tradition to be the final authorities, and the people should have no voice in the matter. But in the establishment of the final executive authority people may have voice and call it the Theodemocratic form of government.
The sovereignty ('Aamiriyat') is exclusively God's. To allow the public to have any say in it, means return to the age of ignorance and not Islam.
2. 'Jehad', i.e. war in the way of God was prescribed and practiced by the previous prophets also, and the reaction favourable or unfavourable, to this precept had been the same as in Islam.
3. The unfavourable reaction of the people to the divine appointment as based on temporal consideration which are known to the limited and narrow views, as was the case with the angels regarding the vicegerency of Adam. The answer to this criticism is almost the same that it was God's selection and the selection is based on the extensity and the intensity of knowledge, strength and character and that the Kingdom is God's and He alone has the right to give to any one whom He likes, but His liking is not arbitrary or unreasonable. It is based on the superiority and the excellence of the person, known only to Him as He alone is the all-Pervading and the Omniscient. This discards the importance of the temporal consideration as wealth, seniority in age, racial or parochial. Therefore whenever the question of the authority succeeding the Holy Prophet in regard to legislation, justice and execution, is dealt with, the implication of this exemplary passage should be taken into consideration, as the method of the succession to the Holy Prophet has continued to be the same as before (See the Qur'an, 24: 55) .