Thank you for your same old rant :). The journey towards khilafah has started for over half century now and will end when it is accomplished, even if people like you dislike it!!!!
Technological progress and education etc comes after the system is in placed and not the other way around. Historically there is no example to cite where a nation is advanced in all the areas you mentioned first and then change took place.
The best example for us Muslims is the life of our beloved Prophet (saw), he (saw) first took charge in his hand, implemented Islam as system, as a result of which the state progressed. Hence the formula is Thought+System= Progress.
By Abdullah al Andalusi on July 6, 2013
In Islamic Revivalist thought, the concept of Gradualism is the belief amongst Muslim revivalists that the method to re-establish Islamic government (Khilafah) lies in a gradual (re-)implementation of Islam in a Muslim country. Gradualists typically achieve this by seeking to gain power in a system, and gradually phase out of the pre-existing political system until the full implementation of the Islamic system has been achieved.
However, this pragmatic approach, represents a shallow way of thinking – looking at how to carve out a niche for Islam in the current reality, instead of how to carve the current reality to fit the Islamic niche. Therefore it is common to notice that gradualists make the status quo the object of their thinking, not the subject of their thinking.
The shallow thinking that leads people to employ gradualism, creates a fundamental lack of understanding about the reality of human society, ideology, geo-politics and Islam.
Understanding how to change a Human Society
The first mistake made by gradualists, is an inaccurate understanding of human society. All human societies are based upon transactions of its members seeking their needs. In order for society to be effective, all transactions are regulated by a common set of agreed values (Arabic: furqan) for determining permissible actions, prohibitions, forms of communication and expectations of duty. This is called a ‘way of life’ (Arabic: Deen), or ‘culture’. A way of life can derive from either tradition, imitation of external civilisations, or from a worldview/belief, or a combination of all three. Since some individual humans may act against their own culture, each society will create Laws to preserve some aspects of their way of life necessary for the preservation of social order. Law will be preserved by a specialist faction of that society devoted to the preservation of order in society. This is the ‘Enforcement faction’ (e.g. Military, Police or in ancient times, most male members of a tribe), and they generally possess a monopoly on the application of force. The ‘Enforcement faction’ generally underwrites the ruler(s) of a society, and no ruler can possess power without their consent, or the consent of their commanders, These Commanders are the ‘kingmakers’ (in Arabic they are called the ‘Ahl Hal wa Aqd’).
Gradualists, using a pragmatic approach, attempt to gain power by using whatever processes or traditions exist within a society, in order to rise to government. However, any group attempts to change society by rising to power and then applying new laws based upon a different way of life, it will be resisted. The people will always reject something they don’t understand or believe in.
In order to change a society, you must change its beliefs or understandings about what it should want for a way of life. Muslims should not assume that because the people of a Muslim country believe in the some of the original sources of their culture (e.g. Allah and his Messenger), that they will believe in the applicability of the Islamic laws emanating from these sources. This is because many Muslim populations no longer make Islam the only source for their culture, but have mixed it with other sources, and actively use those other sources as a basis for their transactions and political affairs (e.g. Nationalism). But seeing as Muslim populations have knowledge that they emanated from an extensive Islamic Civilisation, how could they justify this to themselves? Take the example of the Chinese and Italians who revere their Imperial pasts and the achievements of Chinese and Roman culture and civilisation. Yet, they do not believe that laws of those civilisations are still applicable. Likewise, the Pagan Arabs of Arabia believed in Abraham as their revered ancestor, and they believed in Allah (swt) as the Chief God, but they rejected the Message of the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) when he told them that this shared belief means they must turn away from their immoral customs and polytheism, live by Allah’s laws, and desist in their spiritual practices of seeking intercession through idols.
The key issue is belief. The Muslims of post-colonial countries believe in the origins of Islam, but do not believe that Islam (in its totality) is applicable in their societies. It is not the issue of whether or not these people are virtuous, or whether they pray regularly, that prevents them from establishing Islam in politics – but it is their belief that Islamic law cannot be applied to politics (or at most parts of it), that cause them to not call for it. However, once they have been persuaded through proofs and arguments to believe in the applicability of a holistic Islam, that change becomes imminently possible. But society would not reach this possibility for change if you focus only on spiritual matters, nor would society change even if the people became fully observant in their prayers (e.g. just look at Saudi for evidence of this). Until a society begins implementing a new way of life, its people will always follow the last officially applied way of life (or aspects of it) – regardless of whether most don’t believe in it anymore.
An example of this, is the UK keeping the Royal family. In the UK, the belief that no one is above the law, is accepted in the way of life in that society, and that the people are the ultimate sovereigns. However the Royal family acts as the traditional pillar for the state, and (currently) the citizens of the UK cannot agree as to what would replace them and attract the same national stability and respect from the people, if the UK became a republic. Because of no alternative being implemented, people keep the pre-existing tradition, even though they do not believe it can be justified according to their beliefs in equality and sovereignty to the people (democracy). So it is belief together with the application of a new system based upon the new beliefs, that cause real changes to society, not whether or not people change their personal actions, like praying more or less. This is because private actions are not what creates a society’s way of life, but beliefs, which are the basis behind social actions:
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” [Quran 11:13]
However, this cannot be done by using the way of life against itself. The reason for this is because a way of life is preserved by humans continuing to act according to it, and hence acting according to the culture is only continuing to preserve it, not change it. Any group who rises to power using the existing way of life to give it authority, will only continue to have authority on the condition that it implements the existing way of life. As soon as it veers away from that culture, the group will be resisted by the people – and will be perceived as outside the bounds of the current way of life (i.e. extremists).
Furthermore, if the ruling group attempts to overturn the way of life, without the the law ‘Enforcement faction’ supporting them to do so, then they will be overthrown by the enforcers – who perceive them as going outside the bounds of the current (i.e. extremists).
In order to change a society, you must understand how your worldview differs from the society you live in. Then you make your group’s alternative worldview known to the people, to get a sufficient portion of them to believe in it – and to agree to live by the new way of life once it is implemented. Society will then only be changed once a critical mass of people in the ‘Enforcement faction’, and a critical mass of the general population, agree to accept the rules, and give your group power, being prepared to overcome/deter the dissenting factions who attempt to attack you once the change has occurred.
To change a modern society a group needs the belief and backing of the people, and the Army/Police force. This is the method of the Prophet Muhammed (saaw). He established the first Islamic state in Madinah upon this sound method. Muhammed (saaw) met the powerful commanders of the two leading tribes of Medinah – the Aws and Khazraj, and invited them to pledge their belief in him (saaw), to worship only one God, to obey Muhammed (saaw), and agree to give up their past practices, and perform the Islamic practices (i.e. prayer and charity). However, it should be noted they were not expected to be perfect, for the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) was reported to have said to them:
“Allah has prepared Paradise and guarantees rewards for those of you who fulfill his pledge. If someone commits one of these misdeeds out of human error and is punished in this world, that punishment will be considered atonement. And whoever commits one of these out of human error and conceals what he has done and does not reveal it, then it is left to Allah to decide to forgive or punish him.”
After the commanders made their pledges, Muhammed (saaw) did not then command the change of power to himself. Instead, understanding the need for the general people to accept Islam in their belief, and understand and be willing to know what this commitment entails (even if they aren’t perfect), he sent his companion, Musab Ibn Umayr to Madinah (then called Yathrib), to teach and educate people about Islam. This occurred until it was said that ‘there was not a house where Islam was not talked about’, although many people had not converted to Islam, a sizeable group had enough to form a critical mass of support.
When Muhammed (saaw) learned of this, he met the commanders of the two tribes, and requested their pledge for protection and fighting – indicating that they would not only believe him, and obey him as an authority, but also back up that authority with force against domestic and foreign enemies. They said to Muhammed (saaw):
“O Allah’s Apostle, every invitation has a way. That way can be either be easy or difficult! The invitation you make is a difficult one for the people of today to accept. You invited us to your religion and to abandon the religion we used to follow. This was a very difficult task. Despite this, we accepted your invitation…We testify to our Lord and your Lord. Allah’s powerful hands are upon our own hands. Our blood is with your blood, our hands are you with your hands. We will protect you as we protect ourselves, our children, and our wives. If we break our promise, then let us be grief-stricken people who have broken Allah’s promise.”
Muhammed (saaw) then left for Madinah, and upon his arrival, the Aws and Khazraj’s fighters put on their war clothes (animal skins) and publicly received the Prophet Muhammed (saaw), indicating to the rest of Madinah that the power of Madinah had changed, and none of the other factions of Madinah would be allowed to take up arms and fight this new reality. Abdullah ibn Ubayy (sometimes known as ‘ibn Salul’), who was marked to be the king of Madinah, suddenly discovered he had been deposed – and pretended to convert to Islam in order to keep his social standing. He and a significant group of dissenters against Islam, officially became Muslim, but remained self-interested individuals who later became known as the ‘hypocrites’. It is noteworthy to mention them, since although they did not believe in the new way of life that was being implemented in society – they could not deny it had gained currency – and so they accepted it as the new political situation (albeit not without causing much trouble later).
Understanding how to establish an Ideology (A way of life emanating from a creed/worldview)
An ideology is a way of life based upon an intellectual foundation (Arabic: Deen min mabda) from which the entire way of life is constructed. This foundation is its worldview (Arabic: Aqeeda), and will only gain currency in a society as a way of life (and not just a mere personal belief) if it can be demonstrated that it can solve human problems and have a plausible justification for its worldview (i.e. Creed).
A sad irony of gradualism, is that this method is the result of the Colonialist idea of utilitarianism present in the mind of the Gradualist, namely the end result justifies the means. As long as the end goal is ‘righteous’ or ‘noble’ or for the ‘greater good’, then a pragmatic method is selected in the mistaken belief that it is the most expedient choice. The problems with utilitarianism, of course, primarily consist of the impossibility of knowing the future to judge whether an action will lead to the desired result – so to judge wrong actions as permissible, merely due to the hope they may create a good result is unprovable and therefore morally unjustifiable. However, the main harm occurs in that, by doing the most expedient actions, you undermine, in the public eye, the very reasons for which you claim to be re-establishing. For if Islam can be dispensed with for perceived interest, then why should it be followed in other things that bring a clash with personal interests?
Secondly, if the only way Islam can achieve anything in politics, is by using the politics and ideas of other ways of life, then what use is Islam in the first place?
In essence, contradicting Islam to get Muslims in power ‘in order to establish Islam’ – leads only to Muslims in power, not Islam in power. Which was no different to the previous power arrangement in Muslim countries.
Understanding the Geo-political situation
One of the biggest mistakes that Gradualists make is to assume the existing system remains passive while they are free to implement ‘gradual changes’ unopposed. This ignores the fact that there exist foreign factions with strong vested interests in Muslim societies, that will take pro-active steps to resist the re-establishment of Islam, especially if they themselves are advocating an opposing ideology that they are trying to spread and implement throughout society, like the U.S’ promotion of Liberal Democracy and Secularism. This means that not only are many Muslim societies going to resist change from those calling to a comprehensive implementation of Islam, but there is an active external competitor seeking to implement its own new way of life in that society – and do so as quickly as it can, with a lot of resources at its disposal. Can gradualists really afford to take the slow road?
Understanding the requirements of Islam
The sad truth of the matter, is that Gradualists are themselves the products of colonialism. The idea of gradualism is the result of Muslims attempting to take a pragmatic approach to undoing the colonialist destruction of the governance of the Islamic way of life. This is because what makes gradualism acceptable to its followers, is the unconscious concept imbedded in the mind of some Muslims, that Islamic rule is a condition of preference, but not an immediate necessity. The lack of an Islamic state is not viewed as an urgent matter of life or death for these Muslims, but merely a desired end-state. While gradualists believe they should strive for it, it is not viewed as too problematic to embrace the status quo temporarily – as long as a intention is present to pursue a ‘perfect’ end result. Consequently, gradualism does nothing to inculcate Muslims with a sense of urgency in the matter, so Muslims do not exert themselves in the manner required to address the problem.
Secondly, Utilitarianism’s willingness to judge immoral actions as good, if they lead to a ‘greater good’, leads to a morality of doing ‘necessary evil’ when circumstances deem it beneficial – which is no different to the morality of materialistic cultures that Islam contests against.
Islam requires that human’s are witnesses to God’s sovereignty, His commands, and His values. By seeking to use contradictory methods, Muslims undermine their witnessing to those things. For example, many Muslims believe that since Democracy is popular in the world, and used by many post-colonial Muslim countries, it is the only way to achieve power for Islam. This is despite the fact that democracy (which means that the people are the sovereign’s of a country, and are the ultimate determiners of legitimacy) contradicts the Islamic principle that God alone is the sovereign (law giver) and the revealed laws are the determiner of whether a ruler is legitimate or not:
‘[Say], “Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail?’
‘So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth…Do they then seek the judgement of Ignorance (pre-Islamic society)? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm Faith’
O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result….Have you seen those (hyprocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and they wish to go for judgement (in their disputes) to the Taghut (false judges, etc.) while they have been ordered to reject them.
Narated By ‘Abdullah : The Prophet said, ”A Muslim has to listen to and obey (the order of his ruler) whether he likes it or not, as long as his orders involve not one in disobedience (to Allah), but if an act of disobedience (to Allah) is imposed one should not listen to it or obey it.
(Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 203, Vol. 4)
What would the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) do?
There came a time when Muhammed (saaw) had the opportunity of gaining leadership over his pagan tribe of Quraysh. In response to his invitation to Islam, and his social critique of Quraysh customs, traditions and practices, they made him an offer. His Uncle Utbah said to him:
“O my nephew, if you want, by this matter which you have brought, money, we will collect to you from our monies until you shall be the wealthiest of us. If you want, by it, honor, we will make you the master over us that we shall not decide anything without you. If you want, by it, authority, we shall make you the ruler over us”
[Ibn Hishaam / Kanz al Ummal]
This could have been an opportunity for Muhammed (saaw) to avert persecution, and gradually implement Islam over his tribe, bit by bit. But no sooner was the offer made, then Muhammed (saaw) rejected it outright. He suffered greatly afterwards at the hands of the Quraysh, but he never compromised his Message – and maintained his faith in his mission, and that God would eventually bring him victory, or he would die trying:
‘“O my uncle! by God if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this course, until God has made me victorious, or I perish therein, I would not abandon it.”
And indeed, many years later when he peacefully marched back into his town at the head of 10,000 Muslims, was his decision against gradualism vindicated. The Islamic (and rational) method to re-establish the Islamic state (i.e. Khilafah) is to explain clearly to Muslims in post-colonial countries:
what the Islamic laws are – in detail, with their subtleties
how they are derived from the Islamic Creed (Aqeeda),
how they work and compliment each other,
how they alone can effectively solve human problems,especially ‘modern’ ones
How they are superior to Communism, Socialism, Nationalism, Liberalism and Secularism
and why they are are urgently required for immediate re-implementation.
When these matters have been made clear to all the Muslims in the Muslim world, and a sufficient portion have declared their acceptance and desire for the return of the Islamic laws – including from a portion of those who are military commanders, an effective (and co-ordinated) regime change can be planned and occur within one day. The group or party responsible can then set about a rapid implementation process once all government institutions are secured – and the Islamic State will have been re-born. The Islamic state is not a supernatural state; it does not require angels descending from the heavens to achieve a regime change, or the Secular dictators turning into pillars of salt by miraculous intervention, or the Mahdi or Jesus reappearing (we should note, that they will not have any special powers when they come in the future anyway). The return of the Khilafah will be no different in appearance to any of the historical revolutions, coups or regime changes – except that it will be based upon justice. And after the change, the current ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy’s’ of the Muslim world will wake up the next morning and find themselves deposed.
This is the method of the Prophet, and the method is the only effective one.
Gradualism ultimately is self-defeating and counter-productive. Serving to re-enforce the culture it seeks to change, rather than actually changing it. Employing Gradualism, is like deliberately choosing to sail on an old boat with a hole, hoping to remove the surging water. It is better to build a new and sturdy boat that gets you to your destination without sinking – then taking the easier option that takes you to the bottom of the sea.
The biggest lie the West ever created, was convincing the world that its values were universal and 'neutral'. But unbeknownst to most people, its values are based upon its own particular worldview, which is quite distinct and antithetical to most of the world's (original) belief/law systems. Thus like how the U.S. promotes the dollar, the West printed out its intellectual currency, and asked everyone to use it as a universal standard for moral and intellectual transactions. But like how the dollar is linked to US economy, so Western values are linked to their beliefs and worldview. And if ones fails, so does the other.
It is for this reason that, the 'values' of (the Western conception of) 'Human Right's', 'Freedom', 'Democracy', 'Democratic legitimacy' [unless you vote for an Islamic party], and (the Western concept of) 'Equality' - are so ubiquitous in global usage. Now anywhere you travel, you can intone these 'sacred' and 'holy' words, and instantly gain some moral currency.
After the ravages of colonialism upon the Muslim mind, many Muslims have taken to dangerously using this currency to explain Islam and demand justice for themselves.
This is because the Western worldview [or intellectual bank] highly esteems those words, and many Muslims have succumbed to the use of them, in order to placate the demands of Western societies. So we see Muslims use words like Democracy, Secularism, Feminism, Humanism and Freedom, not only to demand justice for themselves, but also as descriptions for aspects of Islam!
Such Muslims obliviously and naively use words impregnated with foreign and blatantly un-Islamic concepts, with the excuse (they tell themselves) that if they assign them a different meaning to the patiently obvious meanings they have, they will somehow be 'ok' to use.
Some even pre-fix the words with 'Islamic' in order to render them some how acceptable, like 'Islamic Democracy', or 'Islamic Feminism'. As the American saying goes, 'You can clean up a pig, put a ribbon on it's tail, spray it with perfume, but it is still a pig."
The Prophet Muhammed (saaw) is narrated to have ordered Muslims not to drink using wine cups, even if Muslims were to drink water by them. This is simply because of the connotations that wine cups have. Yet some Muslims are happy to use words that have connotations antithetical to Islam! This would be the equivalent of not just using wine cups, but drinking wine along with it - but calling it 'not-wine' [The Prophet Muhammed (saaw) is narrated to also have prophesied that some Muslims would literally do that too!].
So we see Muslims saying 'well, when I use the word democracy, I mean choosing the leaders, not denying God's right to rule'. This is despite the fact that the term 'demos kratos' means ultimate sovereignty and law making by the people, not from God. The simple response is to tell these Muslims that insist upon using the word, 'ok - but then EQUALLY you should be also happy to call for 'Theocracy 'too, since it means rule by God, which is something you claim you don't deny'. Only the truly innocent of mind, and sincere of heart would agree with you.
Muslims say 'Feminism just means rights for women' - despite the fact that all legal systems have given rights for women [the disputes are only in what those rights are]. Of course, Feminism actually [claims to] mean the absolute equality and identicality of the legal treatment of men and women (negating all gender roles), the independence of women from all responsibility and duty by dint of their gender, and gender sectarianism. The simple response is to tell these Muslims that insist upon using the word, 'ok - but then EQUALLY you should be also happy to call for 'Masculinism' too, since it means 'rights for men', which you surely believe in too right? Only the truly innocent of mind, and sincere of heart would agree with you.
Some Muslims say that 'Secularism' just means 'politics in the material world like building roads, making taps, education and schools etc'. They then claim that the historical Islamic Caliphate was 'secular', and the Prophet (saaw)'s rule was secular!!. However, Secularism actually means the separation of religious concerns, beliefs and worldviews from politics. This means the negation of all laws based upon morality that isn't rooted in physical considerations like physical harm/benefit. This means, infidelity, publicly insulting religious beliefs, dealing in interest banking, sexual exploitation of women, and drinking of alcohol all become legal.
No Secularist would accept or call for a Secular constitution that says 'if any fall into dispute, refer it to Allah and his messenger for judgment', yet this was the constitution of Madinah!
Building roads, taps, schools etc, are not neutral acts, or non-religious acts, but are based upon the motivation of the ideology that demands these things to be built. If a government built a road because it believed it is God's Will, then THAT IS NOT A SECULAR ACTION.
Besides, no government builds a road just because it is natural to do so. For thousands and thousands of years, most governments never built roads [except being states like the Romans, or the Islamic Caliphate]. A government would build a road either because they possess a worldview (e.g. like Communism, Liberalism, or Islam) that demands the state should ensure people's safety and efficiency of travel that would maximise some value the ideology reveres. Although a government may build a road, because everyone else is doing it [i.e. 'its the modern thing to do'], or to facilitate its own Army to travel quickly [i.e. as the romans did]. The simple response is to tell these Muslims that insist upon using the word, 'ok - but then EQUALLY you should be also happy to call for, and use the phrase, 'Religious government', because according to you, Religious government would surely call for the same things e.g. roads, taps, schools, bridges etc wouldn't it? Again, Only the truly innocent of mind, and sincere of heart would agree with you.
Some Muslims call for Humanism claiming it means 'only look after the rights of Humans'. But this too is naive and false. For Humanism refers to a human centric worldview, where Humans and 'this life' are the primary concern of thought, and not anything else, including God. That's why virtually all Humanists today are Atheists. If Atheism is their creed (aqeedah), then Humanism is the religion (deen) of this creed. The simple response is to tell these Muslims that insist upon using the word, 'ok - but then EQUALLY you should be also happy to use the word 'Divine Law' since it would also call for rights for humans, albeit under a God centred worldview. Again, Only the truly innocent of mind, and sincere of heart would agree with you.
Of course, if these Muslims were truly sincere in their use of these terms, 'as long as they give them an 'acceptable' meaning', then lets see if they would also be happy to use the following terms, along with their new 'meanings' [i.e. excuses]:
Islamic Polytheism - 'it just means' belief in a God, with many names
'Islamic' Fascism - 'it just means' strength through unity'
'Islamic' Communism - 'It just means' respecting community values
'Islamic' Atheism - 'It just means' negating false idols, not negating the One transcendent God
'Islamic' Idolatry - 'It just means' honouring Muslim heroes from the present and past, as role models and celebrity 'idols', but not in the literal sense
'Islamic' Racism - 'It just means' that we honour the the race of Adam (as)
'Islamic' Satanism - 'It just means' that we believe in a concept of the Devil, and guard against his works'
'Islamic' Trinitarianism - 'Is just means' that we believe in three aspects of God, the Tawheed al Rububiyah, Tawheed Uluhiyyah and Asma' wa siffat.
Of course, all these new terms are absurd, and we'd laugh at anyone who'd be so foolish as to use them, despite attributing to them seemingly benign explanations. But this are no different then using 'Islamic Feminism', 'Islamic Secularism', 'Islamic Democracy' and 'Islamic Humanism' - which are all equally absurd for a Muslim to use, and equally derisory.
As Muslims, we must reject the false intellectual currency we are told to use. We should not use borrowed words which have a widely understood, and unIslamic meaning, but rather we should use words which are supplied to us from Islam itself, or at the very least (for non-Arabic speakers) the best translations of linguistic equivalents in foreign languages e.g. Deen = 'worldview/Ideology', Aqeedah = 'Creed'. This is because if Muslims use Western words which are loaded with a particular meaning, these then become a prelude to believing in Western concepts. This is how the West spreads its ideology. It is equivalent of teaching Arab Christians to use the word 'Tawheed' to describe their monotheism. After a generation or two, none of them would believe in the Trinity was literal anymore!
So let us give back to the West their intellectual currency, for surely it bares the stamp of their own worldview upon it, and we should keep for ourselves our own intellectual currency supplied to us by God in the Quran and Sunnah. This is the key to keeping our beliefs pure, and ensuring we derive correct intellectual conceptions from our own worldview without distortion.
As famously (allegedly) narrated of Jesus in the New Testament (Mark 12:15-17):
'Should we pay or shouldn't we?" But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it."They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose image is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied. Then Jesus said to them, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him'.
Abdullah Al Andalusi
Osman Bakhash discusses Syria on Press TV
Osman Bakhash, Director of Hizb ut-Tahrir's Centra Media Office, discusses the latest developments in Syria and highlights the reasons for US intervention. He then shows a way forward for the people of Syria.
This was aired live on Press TV on 10th September 2013.
Free books for those who really want to understand Islam as Deen, a way of life. I am sure you would like it.
The military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood backed Morsi administration has seen a revival of the “failure of Political Islam” thesis, even though the events in Egypt along with the latest massacre of protesters more vividly demonstrate the failure of the liberal-secular trend which has historically allied itself with dictatorship in the Middle East. Hardly original, “Political Islam” has been declared dead or dying numerous times – most famously in the 1990’s by the French orientalist Olivier Roy in his book The Failure of Political Islam. In it Roy argues that political Islam has failed due to being co-opted by the very state that it wished to Islamicise, and in doing so offers nothing different and has instead become normalised.
Roy asserted that “politics” prevailed over “religion,” a paradigm that effectively denies Islam has any politics in the first place and therefore “political Islam” can never succeed since it doesn’t really exist in the first place. There are a number of reasons why Roy comes to these conclusions, partly due to the fact that he analyses Islam through a secular paradigm and Western understanding of the separation of religion and politics, along with a lack of knowledge of orthodox Islam. As an example, Roy claimed that no classical theologian ever claimed that the establishment of a caliphate was an obligation, when in fact the opposite is true – the obligation is considered agreed upon and any disagreement is an aberration to be ignored.
A Normative Approach
But despite the repetitive and clichéd subject matter, the article written by Imam Zaid Shakir on the fate of political Islam was of interest, given the authors background in both political science and normative Islam. However, as a reading of the article itself proves, breaking free of the paradigms imposed upon political discourse and practise by others is not straightforward.
Among the points raised in the article was that Islamic politics should not be sectarian – a brief glance at Islamic history shows that attempts to impose aspects of the belief upon others led to oppression and was counter-productive, famously the mihna (inquisition) under the Abbasid caliphate led by Ma’mun.
A second point was that any Islamic political party should not be self-serving, and if they were to take authority they must not be seen as simply advancing their own interests. This can be considered common across any political ideology and system in order to be successful – the more meritocratic a society, the more content it may be. Islam is no different, with one of the narrations of the Prophet explicitly stating that “Whoever is responsible for anything from the Muslims’ issues, and then appoints over them a person due to his love of them, then the curse of Allah is upon him.”
A “Spiritually-Rooted” Political Analysis
Beyond these two, there are a number of other issues that warrant discussion, some stated explicitly and yet others implied. Shakir reminds us that what happened in Egypt was a result of the Will of God as ultimately all results of actions are brought into being by forces beyond the control of man, and victory, or defeat, is from Allah alone. So the Will of Allah was, according to Shakir, that there should not be a “Muslim regime” running Egypt. His lesson from this decision of Allah is that to succeed in the modern context, you have to work towards and within a constitutional model that reconciles itself to the nation-state, and compromise with a range of political actors therein. As such, there is no precedence within Islam for this model which therefore requires new thinking.
And herein lies the disconnect in the ideas proposed; a disconnect between the fact that fate is in the hands of Allah, what Shakir rightly describes as one of the greatest manifestation of Tawhid – the affirmation of divine oneness – and the actions of the believer given that this is part of his fundamental belief. While often misunderstood as fatalism, if understood correctly the knowledge that the ultimate result, victory or defeat, acceptance or rejection is all from God, is a revolutionary mentality that frees the slave of God from the depression of hopelessness, the bleakness of acceptance of the status quo, and from the chains of pragmatism and accommodation with all that differs with the commandments and injunctions laid down in the sources of Islamic law.
The failure of the Morsi government was not that it was not pluralistic enough or pragmatic enough, despite the propaganda of the coup plotters among his liberal opposition. It could easily be argued that it gave up too much in trying to accommodate the non-Islamic trends such as the secularists, liberals, and the SCAF, and was exclusionary towards other Islamic movements. It agreed to manage the remains of the Mubarak-era system rather than seek a revolutionary overhaul. Ironically, it is the secularists in Egypt who recognise that pluralism only works if the various groups share the same world-view and fundamental politics, having been forced to discard of the pretence of the privilege of neutrality assumed in secularism as a result of the victory of a Muslim Brother. Hence while they refused to respond to Morsi’s overtures previously, the interim junta government made up entirely of secularists is now attempting to exclude the Brotherhood rather than accommodate them despite the amount of ideological compromises the Freedom and Justice party previously made. This is something belatedly recognized by Brotherhood spokesmen, realizing that the constant seeking of compromise meant that ultimately they governed for no-one. They are now confronted by a choice – to become more normalised within the secular system, or return to principles of seeking to establish an Islamic state which should be recognised as a revolutionary project.
With a “spiritually-rooted” political understanding in mind, there is a clear contradiction between seeking the most pragmatic and accommodating solution within the status-quo – which is the symptom of a defeated mentality perhaps made more pessimistic by the fate of the failed Morsi experiment – and on the other hand seeking a comprehensive Islamic solution. This is because when the Muslim recognizes that while he is responsible for his actions, it is the Will of God that would bring about the results. In other words, he is ready to become a revolutionary, freed from the quietism that springs from fatalism and recognizing his role is to pursue the commandments of God, and that God would through that bring about the change he so desired – as noted in the Quran (47:7) “O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.”
Outside the Nation-State
This leads onto the point regarding the finality of the nation-state, and the implied understanding that it is something deterministic and inevitable, a natural evolution of human society. A critical study of the nation state would highlight that there is nothing evolutionary or deterministic about it at all. It rather emerged from a specific set of circumstances and events in Europe after a period of empires, city-states and feudal kingdoms, due to decisions taken by political actors therein. Its imposition in the Middle East came in the wake of the defeat Ottoman caliphate in World War One, after which it was artificially forced upon the region. In other words it is simply the result of human effort, in both the creation of the ideology and its spread and imposition elsewhere.
There is nothing which forces Muslims or anyone else to accept this as a fait accompli never to be challenged – in actual fact just about every Islamic group since the destruction of the caliphate has, at least in theory, the ultimate objective of removing the nation-state due to its incompatibility with Islam, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Hasan al-Banna. To bring about an Islamic polity necessitates the uprooting and removal of the nation-state, and in its place the establishment of an Islamic constitution based not upon artificial borders dividing a people but rather adherence to Islamic law. A return to the dar al-Islam (abode of Islam) paradigm may not chime with contemporary political theory which is dominated by European thought, but it is in line with Islamic political theory and normative Islam.
According to normative Islamic law, the establishment of a unitary leader who is ultimately responsible for applying Islam upon the people under their authority through the institution commonly known as the caliphate, or imamate, or Islamic state, is an obligation and not merely a matter of preference or compatibility with contemporary accepted state models. This is a matter of consensus upon across all the Islamic sects, including the Shia, whose original difference is not upon the model of the caliphate but rather who should be appointed the caliph.
A Revolution to Normative Precedence
While Shakir notes the absence of a precedence for an Islamic constitution within a nation-state, perhaps ignoring the fact that the nation-state is not an Islamic institution in the first place and therefore the lack of such a precedence is not only expected but demanded, he also seems to ignore the Islamic precedence of the Islamic state established by the Prophet Muhammad upon a constitutional basis, which then formed the exemplar for his successors, or khulafa. There is a rich literature of Islamic political theory and thought as part of the heritage of normative Islam, but due to several factors this is neglected in study even by Islamic scholars in favor of European-centric political theory.
The creation of such a state in the Middle East would mark a rupture with the legacy of Sykes-Picot, and in its normative precedence (and demand) the establishment of such a caliphate would provide the masses of the Muslims with the higher vision and belief they would follow while sacrificing their immediate personal interests.
Such a state would also serve to give the politicians a clear viewpoint and policy, rather than the confused mix of policies and intentions which occurs when Islamic parties try to take control of vehicles created upon a different foundation. Rather than trying to force the “islamisation” of the nation-state constrained by existing paradigms, it could bring about a completely new set of political norms and institutions.
It can be noted here that the most accurate aspect of Roy’s failure of political Islam theory is that the normalization of Islamic parties within the nominally secular nation-state effectively renders their project of political Islam as redundant, but he is incorrect to state that political Islam has failed. Rather, the most that could be claimed is that the project to Islamise the existing nation-state has failed thus far, and if Shakir wished to draw any conclusion from God’s Will in this case it would be more accurate to understand it as such. But the overthrow of the current system, its replacement with a different form of polity and the breaking of the post-colonial settlement, is a project still underway.
The kind of “spiritually-rooted” political analysis mooted by Shakir has the potential to be a liberating force, if understood correctly and within the paradigm of normative Islam. Its aim would be to advocate for an Islamic state based upon the social contract between the ruler and ruled, that the ruler is appointed by the consent of the ruled to run their affairs according to Islam, guaranteeing the rights of all citizens Muslim and otherwise to be treated fairly and with due process, without interference in their personal affairs of worship and private conduct, with public spaces and transactions governed by Islamic law.
The move to the establishment of such a state which disrupts the status-quo created as a result of imperialism could serve as the platform Shakir advocates for collaboration with other anti-imperial forces internationally whether in South American, Africa or Asia, providing the opportunity for all to re-imagine their futures in a manner unconstrained by the strictures of post-colonialism and the destructive politics of nationalism.
Dr. Reza Pankhurst (Twitter: @rezapankhurst) is a political scientist and historian, specialising in the Middle East and Islamic movements.His latest book, The Inevitable Caliphate? A History of the Struggle for Global Islamic Union, 1924 to the Present, is published by Hurst and available now. He was formerly a political prisoner of the Mubarak regime.
Science in essence is the study, research, and experimentation into the observable parts of the universe, no civilisation can lay claim to science belonging inherently to them but rather they made a contribution to this universal area. The nature of Science as a universal subject means no single civilisation can lay claim to inventing it but rather most civilizations have documented their contributions throughout history which acted as previous information when experimentation was carried out by latter civilizations.
You all must have noticed a small red ticker saying "the same methodology of Hizb-ut-tahrir". Hamid mir is so much against the concept of khilafah and HT, IF he really wanted to know the methodology of HT and its objective, he should have invited some one from HT to clarify its position. Poor and old tactics to malign HT and Khilafah!!!!
Other thing i don't understand is the news about Bollywood in the entertainment section. Its very shamful!!!!
I wonder what Islamic law they are talking about. You can’t pick and choose in Islam either you implement it holistically or not. Look at the situation in Dubai, women roaming around almost naked, no one is stopping them and on the other hand implementing Hudood... It’s nothing but a joke!!!!