An Islamic Constitution ? Zawahiri



  • The morning and the Lamp by Ayaman al zawahiri -( Edited)

    The Content of the Risala

    Zawahiri begins his monograph by noting that Pakistani “brothers,” have told him that Pakistan was unique in that it has an Islamic Constitution that actually governs the state and allows citizens to elect representatives freely. According to these , “the problem [in Pakistan] is not with the constitution or the system; instead the problem is with the corrupt ruling class, which assumes power by force or other means and does not abide by the rules of the constitution.”

    Zawahiri claims that these statements stirred up a series of perplexing questions that baffled him. He prefaces his points by asking:

    “How is it possible that the [Pakistani] system is based on Islamic foundations:

    • Yet results in all this corruption, sabotage, and subordination to the West and the Americans?

    • Yet is the system that teaches the confusion which results in the creation of generations with a sentimental attachment to Islam, while in fact, practice, tradition, and general fascination [are sympathetic] to Western culture.

    • Yet the Army - the uncrowned king in Pakistan - is subordinate to the Americans?

    • Yet Pakistan has become the greatest ally of America in its crusader war against Islam?”

    Citing these questions, Zawahiri claims he studied the constitution because he was convinced that those who were praising it actually did not know much about it. He concluded that the answer to his fundamental question is quite simple if painful to some of his audience. “Pakistan is not an Islamic state; it contradicts the Islamic Shari’a in a number of fundamental and significant ways.” All of the arguments that follow are directed to Pakistanis but could just as well be directed to Iraqis, Afghanis or to any Muslim community as a fundamental attack on democracy itself.

    Zawahiri uses many references to the Quran, rational arguments and rhetoric to convey his message. Towards the end of his introduction, he explains that he chose the title The Morning and the Lamp to convey a message to the “sons of English culture” that the “sun of Muhammadan guidance rose 14 centuries ago. Thus your weak lamps are extinguished, [the lamps that] have illumined only your teachers in the West who are living in the darkness of modern barbarism (jahiliyya).” Zawahiri thanks Shaykh Atiyatullah and Shaykh Abu Yahya al-Libi for helping him with a draft of the monologue, but does not refer to Bin Laden.

    Under the subtitle “Who has authority (hukm)?”, Zawahiri defines an argument that depends on Sayyid Qutb’s formulation that sovereignty (hakimiyya) belongs to Allah alone. [2] It is a clever argument, which at one stroke denies the validity of the majority of the legal edifice built up over the centuries within Islamic jurisprudence. It is one thing to say that Allah is the source of all legal and governmental authority and another to say that Allah provides all law, even the most mundane, rather than being the source of infallible divine law and the principles upon which all human law should be based.

    Zawahiri asks, “Who has the right to legislate and who has authority in Pakistan?

    Is it Allah alone or the majority of the representatives in Parliament or [does authority reside in] whatever the Advisory Council declares?”

    Zawahiri goes on to say that he has found the answer settled authoritatively in the fundamental documents of the State of Pakistan.

    “The answer is that the right to amend the constitution or issue laws belongs to the majority of the representatives [of Parliament] alone.”

    He then presents by declaring that a two-thirds majority vote of the Parliament could change the name of Pakistan to the “Pakistani-American Republic” or the “Pakistani Christian Republic.”

    In fact, he argues that a two-thirds majority of Parliament could change the constitution in any way they want and those changes could not be contested in any court.

    Zawahiri’s text provides the constitutional provision in its English version to demonstrate that he is on solid ground in making these assertions. [3]

    In fact, one of the major goals of Zawahiri’s risala is to disabuse Pakistanis of the belief that the real problem is the corruption of the ruling class, asserting it is the nature of the Pakistani system itself.

    He provides a close analysis of eight examples from the constitution that contradict Shari’a:

    1. A two-thirds majority of Parliament can change the constitution without any check by higher authority.

    2. Immunity from prosecution or questioning of the president and other high officials.

    3. The right of the President to pardon crime.

    4. Lack of a clear stipulation that judges should be Muslim and no requirement that judges be just in any court.

    5. Lack of a requirement that the president be male.

    6. Absence of protection from the application of retroactive punishment.

    7. Absence of protection from double jeopardy.

    8. The lack of a prohibition on usury.

    The Impact of the Risala

    Zawahiri’s analysis of the Constitution is likely not intended to influence groups like the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) or the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) since they need no convincing. Voices similar to these have been arguing for the strict application of Shari’a for as long as the Pakistani constitution has existed.

    The real target is much more likely the the youth. It is probable that Zawahiri assumes these groups know as little about the Pakistani constitution as the more extreme “brothers” who motivated him to write his monograph in the first place.

    A recent poll of Pakistani youth revealed that 64% want an Islamic state in Pakistan even though religious parties have received an insignificant share of the vote (Dawn, February 22).

    Similarly, a recent Gallup Poll showed that fully 60% of the Pakistani public thinks that Shari’a should be the only source of legislation and one-third thinks that religious leaders should play a direct role in government. [4]

    Both polls show that despite these answers, support for freedom of speech and other democratic values co-exist with what many see as Islamic values.

    Perhaps this is the confusion that Zawahiri is referring to when he complains that Pakistanis are attached both to Islam and Western culture, which he asserts are incompatible.

    The public had initially been against violent attacks associated with the red mosque, but then reversed itself after what it perceived to be indiscriminate violence by the army (see Terrorism Monitor, July 19, 2007).

    In any case, the challenge to Pakistani security authorities will be to act with carefully calibrated operations that do not repeat the Red Mosque experience.

    This is a very difficult challenge that will play itself out over the next year of increased American operations in Afghanistan and a potential increase in spillover violence in Pakistan.

    Dr. Michael W.S. Ryan is an independent consultant and researcher on Middle Eastern security issues and a Senior Research Associate at the Jamestown Foundation.

    http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=36176&cHash=ff976df363

    Notes:

    1. This written piece is referred to as a monograph in Western sources but is referred to as risala in Arabic, which could mean anything from a “letter” or “essay” or even the generic “communication.”

    2. Sayyid Qutb was one of the foremost theorists for the Muslim Brotherhood and was executed by the Egyptian Government in 1966 (see Terrorism Monitor, May 4, 2005).

    3. See www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/.  The amendments cited by Zawahiri are Amendments 238, 239 of Part IX. Zawahiri is fluent in English but does not claim to know Urdu.

    4. Dalia Mogahed, “Islam and Democracy,” Gallup Muslim West Facts Project, n.d.,

    www.muslimwestfacts.com/mwf/105643/Islam-Democracy.aspx.



  • He provides a close analysis of eight examples from the constitution that contradict Shari’a:

    _

    1. A two-thirds majority of Parliament can change the constitution without any check by higher authority.

    2. Immunity from prosecution or questioning of the president and other high officials.

    3. The right of the President to pardon crime.

    4. Lack of a clear stipulation that judges should be Muslim and no requirement that judges be just in any court.

    5. Lack of a requirement that the president be male.

    6. Absence of protection from the application of retroactive punishment.

    7. Absence of protection from double jeopardy.

    _

    8. The lack of a prohibition on usury.

    A pretty fine list of faults (Shari’a or no Shari’a), won't you agree? :)

    "A recent poll of Pakistani youth revealed that 64% want an Islamic state in Pakistan even though religious parties have received an insignificant share of the vote (Dawn, February 22)."

    Let's add to that the latest Pew survey I was talking about earlier...



  • Islam is actually no issue in Pakistan.

    No problem for any Muslim.

    This is only used to grab power only.



  • Assalam-o-Alaikum-Warahmat-ULLAH ALL,

    @Anwer Kamal: Your words don't make sense. o_O

    I believe you are 'seriously' mistaken on this point.



  • Brought over from: http://pkpolitics.com/discuss/topic/islamic-constitution-zawahiri

    hariskhan

    member

    Assalam-o-Alaikum-Warahmat-ULLAH ALL,

    People of Pakistan, educated or otherwise, most of them, have not reached the;

    (1) 'thought process', its 'maturity'

    (2) financial independence

    to 'look past' their;

    (1) ego

    (2) 'acute' 'attitude' 'problem'

    (3) 'self' 'interest'

    (4) 'misplaced' 'criticism' / 'sarcasm'

    (5) 'unjust' 'nature'

    plus they are ready to sacrifice everything! just so they can attain luxuries of life, disregarding the 'way' they attain those luxuries. They are ever-ready to live 'beyond' their 'means'.

    Hence, it is 'likely', it will take them 'much much longer' to reach a point, where they will be mature enough to 'take charge' of their 'predicament'.


    As always, I'll repeat: the only problem in Pakistan is 'neeyat' (in urdu) of the people. ALL the rest is already in place.



  • Aiman Al Zawheri, head of AlQaeda which has done most damage to muslim ummah, making comments on Pakistani constitution?...Allah help us all.



  • Assalam-o-Alaikum-Warahmat-ULLAH ALL,

    @Not Possible: Ok, so the discussion ends there ? with this! note ?

    No!, it doesn't.

    Tell me about 'credibility' ? What is it ? How is it established ? When is it possible to establish 'credibility' ?



  • Assalam-o-Alaikum-Warahmat-ULLAH ALL,

    Why is no one talking on this issue ?



  • Haris Khan Sahib-

    Because everyone is scared to death of having an Islamic Justice system.

    An Islamic system will deal with all the crimes and criminals in a swift and forthright manner wihtout the need for lawyers. The crooks who are in power do not like that.

    Mark my words- They will fight any attempt to enforce the Islamic Sharia no matter what.



  • shimatoree bhai

    zawahiri is not pakistani national. you think he has any right to criticise our constitution? you think he has any right to tell us what is wrong and what is right in constitution? you think he has any right to propose changes in our constitution? you think he has any any thing to do in our constitution? you think one disputed person should talk about our constitution?

    if zawahiri want to change constitution he should change constitution of his own country.



  • Assalam-o-Alaikum-Warahmat-ULLAH ALL,

    @shimatoree: Is that meant to scare me .. or us ?

    They would have been of no concern to anyone in our society, our community, our country, our nation states, our UMMAH, if common man of this nation was not supporting them.

    We are not afraid of them or those who they pledge their allegiance to, or anyone else.



  • @shimatoree

    Do you and others who want to see Islamic Justice System support stoning to death and chopping of hands? If so, why were we upset on beating to death in Sailkot? In Islamic Justice System things of that sort will be a norm.

    As far as Mr. Zahwari is concerned why doesn't he analyze constitution of his country Egypt? Both he and O$ama are not forced out of their home countries. Our foolish pushtoons (both Afghan and Tribal) accepted them as guests and as traditional Sheikh's camel they want to throw owner out. Even educated people like you are yet again fooled by Arab militants in the name of religion.



  • Assalam-o-Alaikum-Warahmat-ULLAH ALL,

    @shirazi: How are you equating what happened in Sialkot with Islam's justice system ?

    How do you substantiate this claim ?

    I claim there is a huge difference between the two.



  • Shimatoree

    Because everyone is scared to death of having an Islamic Justice system.

    An Islamic system will deal with all the crimes and criminals in a swift and forthright manner wihtout the need for lawyers. The crooks who are in power do not like that.

    Do you seriously believe that an 'islamic system' suggested by Zawahiri will be an islamic system.

    How come this system will provide justice if it requires that the president be a MALE only?

    and why dont Zawahiri suggest something for his country or atleast for his race Arabs who are the scum of this earth (really).

    I'm disappointed...



  • Achtung-

    The oldest TRICK in the world is-

    To question the legitimacy and credibility of the messenger when you cannot rationally deal with the message.

    Whether Mr. Zawahiri has any rights or not is not the issue here- the ISSUE is if the constitution of Pakistan meets the requirements of Islamic Sharia.

    After reading the article( put forth by Jamestown Foundation- a Think Tank in Washington.D.C. USA) I am affraid the answer is obvious to any reasobale and rational observer.

    Of course those that do not wish for a system strictly based on Islamic Sharia will try all kinds of convolutions and contortions to try to de-legitimize what is being said by questioning the credibility of the messenger.



  • Dildar-

    The article has been translated by Jamestown Foundation- An American Think Tank based in Washington D.C. and is put up here for a thoughtful and intellectual discussion.

    I would have expected a more scholarly critique from YOU rather than a visceral and emotional outburst.

    I will repeat again-

    "Whether Mr. Zawahiri has any rights or not is not the issue here- the ISSUE is if the constitution of Pakistan meets the requirements of Islamic Sharia. "



  • @hariskhan

    Stoning, or lapidation, refers to a form of capital punishment whereby a group of persons throws stones at an individual until the person dies. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoning)

    How different is that from what we saw in Sailkot? It's as brutal, if not more, as mob killing two individuals through sticks and kicks.



  • @shirazi

    "How different is that from what we saw in Sailkot?"

    I think we talked about it in the Sialkot thread. Again I will say it is VERY different. Second, what does that have to do if this topic?



  • I am in favor of secular democratic Pakistan. I strongly deplore an attempt by Arab militant to turn Pakistan into theocratic state. Few of his claims, as stated above, are factually incorrect and others are ridiculous though I agree with some of his reservations.

    1. A two-thirds majority of Parliament can change the constitution without any check by higher authority.

    That's incorrect. Laws enacted by legislative body can be over turned by superior judiciary if deemed in confrontation with constitution in almost all secular democracies.

    2. Immunity from prosecution or questioning of the president and other high officials.

    I agree with immunity from prosecution but not with the questioning of the President. President can be impeached. GIK and Musharaaf left their office after impeachment was publically announced.

    3. The right of the President to pardon crime.

    It is part of many secular constitutions and was added with good intention. If it is deemed un-Islamic and is exercised with ill-intention, as we have seen recently, it can be easily amended.

    4. Lack of a clear stipulation that judges should be Muslim and no requirement that judges be just in any court.

    Our history is full of non-muslim honest jurists including Justice Baghwan Daas who played pivotal role in judicial independence movement. We do not need jihadi recommendation on who can sit there and who can't?

    5. Lack of a requirement that the president be male.

    That's true. How about banning women drivers too?



  • @nota

    I remember this discussion but I believe it was inconclusive. I agree with your argument that instead of mob passing the judgement qualified judges would do that. But I think we agreed else where that even if they were guilty (they were not as per report submitted to supreme court) that barbaric punishment had no justification or place in civilized society. As far as execution part is concerned, not the judgement, stoning to death is not much different than what we saw in Sailkot.

    "what does that have to do if this topic?"

    The proponents of Shria Law should also defend barbaric punishments or as you say punishments to set an example for others.