Islamism vs Islam
So make sure when you say you’re 'in it, but not of it'
You’re not helping to make this earth a place called Hell *
All Islam is not Political !
By Mahmoud Andrade Ibrahim
When Islam becomes ideologized (an ideology, not a comprehensive religion) which is the same as being politicized, rather than being a method of self purification and a way of serving Allah and humanity, it steps down from the high heavens to dwell beneath the feet of corrupt and greedy men.
Definition: ideologize, 1) to give an ideological character or interpretation to some entity, i.e. principles, moral code etc. 2) to change or interpret in relation to a sociopolitical ideology often seen as biased or limited
This position does not mean that Muslims cannot agitate against tyranny and oppression but it does mean that the goal of our strivings as humans is to purify our hearts in order to gain Allah’s pleasure, our goal or ‘end game’ is to attain Allah's paradise in the next life not to establish an ‘Islamic State’ in this life.
Islamism is political nationalism, the very same kind of political nationalist entity that is Zionism only in the hands of Muslims.
Islamism = Zionism as political constructs. So if you oppose Zionism you should equally oppose Islamism.
O Muslims, it is my position that we should oppose Islamism and it’s quest for an Islamic State because Islamism seeks to change the essence of Islam and substitute chauvinism, militarism and loyalty to the Islamic State above the lofty and unchangeable principles of the Muslim faith given to us by Allah and our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (pboh).
In Islamism, the state is the idol that takes the place of Allah. Islamism uses religious language to attain a political end. This concept was unknown before the writings of Abu A’la Maududi of Pakistan and Syed Qutb of Egypt.
For example: Jahaliyyah was, for the past 1400 years, always understood to be the period of time of the pagan, idolatrous control of the Meccans prior to the Qur'an being revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pboh) and with the acceptance of Islam, the jahalliyah period ended. We must remember that he (pboh) came to rid the Arabs of idol worship and purify the House of Allah, as a mercy to all mankind, and then the period of jahaliyyah was over. We think of Jahalliyah as a specific time period in the same way we think of the Middle Ages in Europe as a specific time period, its over.
However, under Islamist thinking, Jahaliyyah is no longer a past historical period, it is any social situation that is not Muslim in essence or governed by Muslims.
Another example: Prior to Islamist thinking, when someone chose not to be Muslim after hearing about Islam they remained either Christian or Jew etc.. The Prophet did not refer to the Jewish or Christian tribes as kafirs, no, they remained what they were and had always been, ‘ahl kitab, people of the Book. However now, with Islamists redefining religious terms, anyone that does not become Muslim after hearing about Islam is Kafir, and so it becomes alright to dehumanize them or wage war against them, this would include many of our parents and relatives. Was this the sunnah of Muhammad (pboh) ? However when you ideologize Islam, as the Islamists have done, then it’s alright to ignore Allah’s definitions.
Allah says :
وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
"If Allah had not checked one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which the Name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure." 22:40 Sura al Hajj
لَيْسُواْ سَوَاء مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ أُمَّةٌ قَآئِمَةٌ يَتْلُونَ آيَاتِ اللّهِ آنَاء اللَّيْلِ وَهُمْ يَسْجُدُونَ
The People of the Book are not all the same: among the followers of earlier revelation there are upright people, who recite Allah's messages throughout the night, and prostrate themselves before Him.
يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ
They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works: and there are among the righteous.
وَمَا يَفْعَلُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلَن يُكْفَرُوْهُ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالْمُتَّقِينَ
And whatever good they do, they shall never be denied the reward thereof: for, Allah has full knowledge of those who are conscious of Him. SURA al IMRAN 113-115
This Islamist thinking is a recently innovated perspective. It is a post-modern movement, unheard of in the annals of Muslim history and increases in momentum because of its ‘in your face aggressiveness’, which is exactly what a defeated people look to when other avenues of legitimate expression fails.
It doesn’t matter that there are scholars that justify worshipping at the altar of Islamist thinking. They are, Islamist scholars. They have imbibed the Islamist ‘kool aid’. In the very same way that there were and probably are still scholars that justify racism, (does anyone remember the ‘Bell-Curve’), eugenics or any number of deviant philosophies. Scholars are just academics and prone to error just like you and me. To be a Muslim scholar only means that this person has put some time into the academic study of things 'Muslim', it does not mean that the conclusions that the scholar reaches are always the correct ones. Nor does it mean that a scholars position is beyond critique. This is why there are differences among the scholars, as there should be. ( see my essay on Scholars )
The observant Jews faced the same problem:
The Orthodox Rabbinical Scholars were overwhelmingly opposed to Zionism prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 for the very same reasons. They were concerned that the Jewish faith and lofty religious principles that have survived in tact for over 5000 years would take a back seat to the body politic of the zionist state. And they were right. Some communities of young millennial Jews here in America, even as late as 2016, established functional synagogues around the idea that Judaism is a spiritual tradition not a political entity. “I think anyone who comes to either a service or a program at Tzedek Chicago will see that we’re first and foremost a Jewish community,” Rabbi Rosen tells The Times of Israel. “We just happen to be an intentional Jewish community. That is, we’re founded on a common set of shared values – values of justice, anti-racism and universalism. We seek a Judaism that finds common cause with all who are oppressed around the world, including Palestinians.”
Asked what it means to be “non-Zionist,” Rabbi Rosen says, “Let me read from our core values: ‘While we appreciate the important role of the Land of Israel in Jewish tradition, liturgy and identity, we do not celebrate the fusing of Judaism with political nationalism. We are non-Zionist, openly acknowledging that the creation of an ethnic Jewish nation state in historic Palestine resulted in an injustice against its indigenous people – an injustice that continues to this day.’”
And in many ways, the advent of Islamism is a reaction to the State of Israel because the Muslims felt impotent and powerless to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state in their own backyard and so some intellectuals innovated a counter political philosophy which held that the establishment of the Islamic State was the primary objective of all Muslim endeavors. It is important to note that prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, Muslims weren’t concerned with Kalifah movements, not in the 1920's after the dissolution of the Ottoman Kaliphate or in the 1930's , or in the 1940 or in the 1950 or even in the 1960' when the most prominent and potent political entity in the whole Muslim world was al Fattah, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, a secular socialist entity (after the Nasser's Arab nationalist experiment in Egypt).
There had been some anti-colonial activities in Lybia and in the Sudan, for example, but again these were localized and very specific and limited in their political expectations. So nobody was concerned with the ideas of an Islamic State until the successes of competing socialistic ideas both from the USSR and Maoist China were witnessed by the world. Only then did the ideas of re-defining Islam as a 'politique' , not a deen, begin being discussed with the idea of establishing a state. Before that, Muslims were content with practicing this deen and demonstrating Allah’s grace to them by becoming the embodiment of Muslim morals, halal business practices and wholesome living.
*Ali Abd al-Rizq (Arabic: ﻋﻠﻲ ﻋﺒﺪ ﺍﻟﺮﺍﺯﻕ) (1888-1966) was an Egyptian scholar of Islam, religious judge and government minister. His writings, some then controversial, debated the role of religion and Islamic history in 20th-century politics and government.
While the implication of his arguments still remain a point of debate, his 1925 book Islam and the Foundations of Governance argued against a role for religion in politics or the political prescriptive value of religious texts.
He argued that Islamic texts were and should remain neutral in political debate and civil institution building.
He attended Oxford University and he was a scholar and jurist at Al Azhar, Cairo.
Ali Abd al-Rizq was born in 1888 to a well-off family. His father, Hassan Abdel-Rizq, was a large farm-owner and was, in 1907, among the founders of the Ummah Party.
Ali Abd al-Rizq later received his ‘alim degree at Al-Azhar in 1911. In 1912, he traveled to Oxford University to study economics and political science, but he returned to Cairo at the outbreak of World War l.
Back at Al-Azhar in 1915, he also became qadi (religious judge) at Mansoura. Ali became famous for his book Islam and the Foundations of Governance (Al-Islam Wa Usul Al-Hukm), published in 1925, and Consensus and Islamic Law (Al-Ijma´ Fi Ash-Shari´ah Al-Islamiyyah), in 1947.
Following the popular debate around his 1925 book, Al-Azhar stripped him of his office, but he got it back in the 1940s.
Sh. Ali Abd al-Rizq twice served as Minister of Endowments, one of the three highest positions in religious administration, beside the Rector of Al-Azhar and the Grand Mufti.
Sh. Abd al Rizq died in 1966.
The main argument of his 1925 book has been summarized as "Islam does not advocate a specific form of government.” He focused his criticism both at those who use religious law as contemporary political proscription and at the history of rulers claiming legitimacy by the caliphate.
Abd al-Raziq first point of call was to affirm, quite correctly, that the two textual sources of the Shari'a, which are the Quran and the Sunnah (Traditions of the Prophet), make no mention of the Caliphate or any form of State as we understand it. The Quranic verses that traditional fuqaha (scholars) commonly attribute as proof of the legal requirement of the Caliphate actually do nothing of the sort. There are certainly verses which enjoin Muslims to obey God, the Prophet and the "holders of authority" (ulu' l-amr) but opinion on the meaning of the term' authority' differ. Some scholars have thought it to mean the Prophet's contemporaries and others the Ulama.
Another extraordinary accomplishment of Abd al Raziq's work was to refute the notion that the Caliphate was based on the doctrine of Consensus or Ijma. Ijma is one of the four essential predicates of Shari'a law by which it grants divine fiat. In the 14th century, a scholar named Ibn Khaladun claimed that the Caliphate was derived from an Ijma and thereby, almost single-handedly, elevated the status of the Caliphate to the level of dogmatic axiom. Ibn Khaldun does not claim the Caliphate is the only possible form of Islamic government but he does state that it had the backing of the Companions of the Prophet thus endowing it with the status of religious obligation.
Al-Raziq disagrees politely, but fundamentally, with Ibn Khaldun. His view was that the formation of the Caliphate was based on nothing more than political necessity and not on Ijma, thus denying its juridical basis and the notion of the Caliphate as an article of Muslim faith. Rather than acquiesce to Caliphs, Muslims have never been in a position, al-Raziq claimed, to make the kind of free choice on which Ijma must be based. On the contrary, Muslims have had to suffer "Caliphates of Tyranny", instances of which abound in Islamic history; a theme which he touched on next.
Although Caliphal patronage of the study of science, philosophy and the arts has been colossal, Muslim thinkers have always been thin on the ground and uncharacteristically muted in the area of political science. The reason for this, al-Raziq claims, is because the Caliphs, imbued as they were with the virtue of divine authority, actively discouraged criticism and political thought. In fact, Caliphates were more often than not, established by force and maintained by despotic rule
Its controversial standpoints regarding the necessity of the caliphate and religious government made the book trigger an intellectual and political battle in Egypt. In essence, it claims that the Muslims may agree on any kind of government, religious or worldly, as long as it serves the interest and common welfare of their society.
The focus of this debate was Mustafa Kemal’s abolition of the caliphate in 1924 and the response of a small group of Arab Muslim scholars with the position that it was incumbent upon Arabs, in particular, to reinstate the caliphate in Arab lands, however this enthusiasm did not last for very long.
Al-Rizq wrote that past rulers spread the notion of religious justification for the caliphate "so that they could use religion as a shield protecting their thrones against the attacks of rebels".
link to essay on Scholars (click here)
* lyric by Stevie Wonder