Quranic Teaching and John Locke: Two Compatible Approaches to Good Governance
In his 1689 “Essay Concerning the True, Original Extent and End of Civil Government”, John Locke set forth a number of famous propositions on limited government. His fundamental premise is that the extent of government authority is limited by its end. The purpose of government defines the scope of its responsibilities, which in turn justify its use of power to accomplish those specific ends. Government, under Locke’s approach, has no authority where it has no mission to accomplish. For Locke, public power was thus to be held in trust to accomplish enumerated goals and objectives on behalf of certain beneficiaries; for Locke government was stewardship. Government was to be the servant and the people were to remain the master. For different reasons, the Qur’an, too, teaches us that government is a trust that should not be abused. This article tries to compare both views with each other in order to make out common ground.