Islam-bashers used to complain that terrorism is “simply a technique” and there cannot be “war on terrorism.” Well, they don’t have to worry any more. After crossing the initial milestones, the war lords in the US are now clearly defining their goal and the allied tyrannical regimes are taking full advantage of their determination.
Holding Muslims from establishing Khilafah is now the best justification for invading sovereign states, supporting dictators, running concentration camps and butchering hundreds and thousands of civilians without any fear of accountability.
The more the scare-mongering terrorists in the position of power travel this road, the more they dig a grave for their moribund democracy and hasten the establishment of a single Islamic entity.
To justify his recent slaughter, dictator Karimov instantly alleged the dead with the most heinous crime of the 21st century. He said: "Their aim [wa]s to unite the Muslims and establish a caliphate.” No one dares ask him: what is wrong with that?
The reason is simple. Karimov tried to be on the same wavelength with the US General Abizaid, who declared earlier that the US forces are after “the most despicable enemy.. who use 21st century-technology to spread their vision of a 7th-century paradise [and] try to re-create what they imagine was the pure and perfect Islamic government of the era of the prophet Muhammad.”
The United States ‘ most favored dictator, General Musharraf also told BBC: “there’s no chance of going back to Khilafat really-¦[it] is totally a Utopian idea.”
This is, in some senses, convenient for dictators like Musharraf and Karimov. Like Stalin, their opportunistic response to their political ambitions is murder, torture and claiming that every arrest, every execution, is part of the US efforts against Khilafah under the cover of a “war on terrorism.” They feel very comfortable with this cover because it grants them protection of their masters in Washington .
Many in the East and West are carried over with the propaganda that justifies every possible inhuman action and crime against humanity when it comes to the most misunderstood issue of Khilafah or Islamic State. Someday we will pay a price for our ignorance and present lassitude.
The community of dictators work hand in hand with the champions of the most convoluted form of democracy, who claim to be on the mission to promote democracy while giving a pass to the dictatorships in their midst to commit crimes against humanity in order to safeguard against the imaginary crimes, which an Islamic State may commit in case it comes to power. This ignores the fact that an Islamic State did exist but the magnitude of crimes that we witness to thwart its re-emergence are the worst crimes human history has ever recorded.
The basic, often unstated, and universally accepted assumption is that living by Islam is inherently violent and against human rights. Initially keeping Muslims away from living by Islam was attempted through sugar-coated term “political Islam.” This was later upgraded to “Islamism.” Lately, Muslims are told in their face, without any sugar coating, that the problem actually lies with their following the Qur’an and Prophet Mohammed PBUH as a model. For example, read Lawrence Auster in Front Page Magazine, January 28, 2005 and Sam Harris in Washington Times, December 2, 2004 .
Thus the smokescreen has long been lifted and the motives behind demonizing Muslims and Islam in the name of “political Islam” and “Islamism” have been fully exposed. It is naÃ¯ve to continue believing that it is a very small part of the activity that is referred to as “political Islam.” It is a broad brush to discredit everything that is associated with Islam.
That’s why, it is imperative to point out that the lies about WMD in Iraq are nothing compared to the lies and deceptions which the Islamophobic fascists have been disseminating in pre-planned phases to finally conclude that unless Muslim discard the Qur’an and stop following Mohammed PBUH as a model, they cannot be equal and acceptable human beings.
Many impartial and learned analysts like Graham Fuller also become victim of such misconceptions. However, the days are gone when political Islam was defined as the belief of some Muslims that “Islam as a body of faith has something important to say about how politics and society should be ordered in the contemporary Muslim world and implemented in some fashion.” According to the new standards, anyone who believes in the totality of the Qur’an is an Islamist. Period.
Since, living by Islam is a pre-requisite for being Muslims; it also means to live by Islam in all spheres of life without any compartmentalization. It was, thus, quite natural to expect that in true sense the simplest of the definitions of Political Islam will finally apply to all Muslims alike. Once the Islamophobes succeeded in demonizing political Islam with the most benign of definitions, they actually succeeded in demonizing the roots of Islam because the Qur’an clearly tells human beings not to judge with any other standard in life than the standards of Allah. (Al-Qur’an 5:44-47)
A little detailed definition by political scientist Guilian Denoeux clearly leads to lumping all Muslims together as Islamists -” regardless of their political ambitions -” and to the conclusion where Lawrence Auster and Sam Harris are brining us today i.e., the problem lies with the Qur’an and Muslims’ following the Prophet of Islam.
To Guilian Denoeus, Islamism is “a form of instrumentalization of Islam by individuals, groups and organizations that pursue political objectives. It provides political responses to today’s societal challenges by imagining a future, the foundations for which rest on reappropriated, reinvented concepts borrowed from the Islamic tradition.”
Although it seems that this is a 2002 definition, but in fact, the term “invention of tradition” is borrowed from the earlier Islamophobic work by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.
The 7th Century Mantra
Living by Islam and the standards of Allah, as given in the Qur’an, are complicated by the Islamophobes with terms like Islamism and political Islam to confuse both Muslims and non-Muslims. The Qur’an was not revealed for the Arabs of 7th century alone, nor was Mohammed PBUH sent for a particular period of time. The message of Islam was sent for the humanity, for all times to come.
Living by Islam is neither “reappropriation of the past,” nor the “invention of tradition.” The life and times of Mohammed PBUH is not a “mythical golden age” for “Islamists” to dream about. Mohammed PBUH presented a perfect demonstration of the application of Islam. He left behind his life as a role model for the humanity to follow as a guide.
It is too sad that application of Islamic principles and teachings is belittled as “instrumentalization of Islam.” If one likes to call it instrumentalization of Islam, it is what Islam exactly requires: to live by the standards and within the limits set by Allah. There is nothing political of Islamist about it.
It is not mentioned at any place in the Qur’an or anywhere quoted in the Hadith to keep the Qur’an and Sunnah aside and start living by the history and innovations with the passage of time.
Living by core guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah is not de-historicizing Islam. Living by the basic sources of Islam -” the Qur’an and Sunnah -” is separating Islam from all innovations and the needless sectarian divisions that occurred in the past fourteen hundred years. For instance, nowhere does the Qur’an or Hadith tell the believers to call themselves Sunnis or Shias and to pit against each other. Labeling Muslims as Islamists who attempt to decontextualise such innovations is pure injustice perpetrated to maintain the status quo.
If the present Muslim societies, almost all, are living by secular standards in social, economic and political life, returning them to the basic requirements of Islam is not decontextualizing of Islam by “Islamists.” It is actually contextulizing Muslim life in the sense of providing it with the right and required context and perspective for realization about how it is supposed to be and what has it really become.
Islam is not an abstract theory which will create problems if attempts are made to put this theory into practice. A model of Islamic theory in full practice was presented to the world after the most unique revolution of human history 1400 years ago. Of course, time has changed. Means of communication have improved and breaths taking technological advances have been made.
Nevertheless, the basic human nature remains the same and the basic principles of Islam for living life have nothing to do with the rocket science, except that the latest discoveries further confirm the truth revealed 1400 years ago. The guidance of Islam is for human excellence and governance in all fields of life; whether it be the stem-cell research or attempts to conquer the Mars and the Venus.
To spread confusion and thwart the establishment of a single Islamic entity, some Islamophobes argue that no two “Islamisms” are alike. Consequently, what works in Egypt will not work in Indonesia . What works in Saudi Arabia will not work in Turkey . This argument makes it evident that in fact Islamism is a contrived rancid notion and there is nothing present in reality as such. Islam is one, with one Allah, one book and the teachings of the last Prophet to follow.
Olivier Roy argues in The Failure of Political Islam that it “is intellectually imprudent and historically misguided to discuss the relationships between Islam and politics as if there were one Islam, timeless and eternal.”
Of course, over a period of time, Muslims have tended to make innovations and even keep shying away from Islam. The diversity of the Muslim world is because of the historical process these societies went through. The fact that in today’s world, we don’t see Islam in real practice anywhere doesn’t mean that we should accept this state of affairs as Islam and start building something new on this foundation to be labeled one or another kind of Islam.
Similarly, it is wrong to assume that Islam has to take as many different shapes to accommodate to all the different forms of societies in existence. Instead it is all these societies which have to live by the same basic principles of Islam. For example, if it is the Bank of Malaysia of the Bank of Oman, they have to follow the same basic principle of “no interest” regardless of the language they use and the kind of dress they put on. Similarly, there is no harm in cultural and political diversity. However, none of the law and standard of living and judgment should be repugnant to the Qur’an and Sunnah.
It is not about state
The Islamophobes are hiding behind the argument of Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, whose background forces him to be against the concept of Khilafah anyway. Accordingly, they try to make others believe that it is the “modern Islamist political thinkers” who have devised the term “Islamic state” in order to reconcile their romanticized vision of the Islamic polity with the existence of sovereign states on the European model that were products of the twin processes of colonization and decolonization.
Calling the Islamic entity a State or Khilafah is as irrelevant as the introduction of romanticism and feasibility in this debate. Basic principles are the issue. After submitting themselves to the Will of Allah, Muslims are bound to live their individual as well as collective lives by His guidance. If the resultant polity becomes a State or Khilafah, there is nothing of romance or obsession with it. Those who struggle to make the conditions favorable for living by Islam know that there is no place for “Islamo” or any other kind of nationalism in Islam. Romanticism with state is out of question, because the objective is not the state but the establishment of Islam as a way of life. State is the bye-product, not the primary objective.
So it is the so-called modern state system, whether pure dictatorship, or secular democracy, or the US supported Kingdom that feels threatened for the obvious reason that Islam has no place for imposed dictatorships and secular bulwarks. Common man in the street has nothing to worry about, not even about the much hyped “specter” of Shari’ah, because the most dreaded laws do not apply until a just socio-political and economic order is in place. Shari’ah laws are just a fraction of the encompassing way of life of Islam.
The required transformation in Muslim societies is as much intended in social and political spheres of life as much it is for moral and cultural aspects. Islam has always been the central core for reference in Muslim societies since 1400 years. Interestingly, this applied even to the secular republic of Turkey , despite the attempt on the part of the Kemalist elite to denigrate Islam. During the Turkish war of independence, Islamic identity was the primary vehicle for popular mobilization, and it became the principal defining element of the territorial contours of the Turkish Republic .
The acceptance of Islam as integral to identity formation didn’t occur just over night in reaction to colonialism, nor did the movement against colonialism open the gates of “Islamist intrusion” into the post-colonial political process as some Islamophobes may suggest. In fact, the more Muslims went through many experiments with the models based on human rationality alone, the more they realized that they have gone astray from the real objective and the right way to live.
It is easy to blame everything on religious schools and “Wahabist ideas” and “Saudi petrodollars paying for the construction of mosques.” However, it is difficult for the Western propagandists to see that the strong resistance to their ideological onslaught for religious and cultural transformation of the Muslim world is put by those who are educated from the Western institutions and have seen the real face of democracy, capitalism and secularism from a close range.
Expecting Islamic revival and the establishment of a just socio-political order from the major Muslim political formations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt , Jamaat-i-Islami and Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Is-lam in Pakistan , Nahdat al-Ulama in Indonesia , the Parti Islam se-Malaysia, and Turkey ‘s Muslim parties is useless. These parties, in their various forms, have all by and large played according to the rules established by secular regimes normally unsympathetic to the Islamic cause.
Several of them have performed credibly in elections despite the fact that the dice are usually loaded against them. This, however, in no way guarantees the much needed Islamic revolution, transformation or the establishment of an Islamic State. Many of these have submitted to the secular systems and contended to function within the parameters set by authoritarian regimes. They lie low when suppressed; bounce back organizationally and politically when autocracies need them for political purposes, such as when Musharraf needed them to fill the vacuum created by ban on two major parties and the need to exploit them for consolidating dictatorship. In all cases, these political groups are hardly different than other secular parties in their ability to bring any fundamental change to the secular system.
It will be the masses, led by the followers of these religious parties, who will bring about the change after realizing the fruitlessness of struggle to establish Islam through playing by the rules of un-Islamic systems. The struggle towards the establishment of a single Islamic entity has far less to do with restoration of dignity and virulent anti-American feelings than Muslims’ obligation to live by Islam in all aspects of life.
The Prime Objective
Anger against the domestic oppression and external subjugation is present, but its role is limited to realization among Muslim masses. Defeating US or transforming their relationship with the West into one of equality rather than subordination is not the prime objectives of the Islamic movement. These could be the bye products. The objective is to create conducive environment for living by Islam in individual and collective lives.
It is not the restoration of dignity that strikes a sympathetic chord even among the large majority of Muslims who cannot be characterized as Islamic activists, it is in fact the failure of the man made systems and the exposed hypocrisy and double standards of democracy, human rights and the hallow claims of liberation. It resonates with Muslims of all social and economic strata because of the injustices that they continue to suffer at the hands of the former and new colonialists and their capitalist institutions and system -” not to speak of the surrogates imposed on Muslim societies to serve their masters abroad.
Due to years of suffering under the colonial rule and the continued interference in their internal affairs from outside, masses in the Muslim world are politically more conscious than the public in Europe or America . They have come to realize that all Muslims are potential Palestinians and Iraqis, who can be dispossessed and dishonored with impunity, and the justice of whose cause will always be dismissed as irrational fanaticism.
The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan , and the continued support to Musharraf, Karimov and Hosnie Mubarak further confirm that the only way Muslims can live successful lives is to live by the guidance of the Qur’an. Subservience and blind following of the corrupt and descript ideologies such as socialism, communism and now democracy are incapable to govern humankind and take them towards human excellence.
The Roots of resistance
It is not just a disillusionment with American foreign policy in the context of Muslim humiliations and the sense of powerlessness that makes resistance to external domination come alive in the Muslim imagination. It is the gradual realization that blind following of alien ideologies, based on petty human rationality, are the source of injustice and oppression across the world.
Democracy, which was recently considered to be the most viable governance mechanism, stands naked after the recent US and UK adventures at home and abroad. Behavior of these democracies is far worse than any of the tyrannies in the recorded history. All this is ever more evident from the way abuse and torture and police state tactics are presented as the most civilized way of life.
By promoting terrorism and undermining Islam under a perverted label of “a war on terrorism,” extremists succeed only in making Muslims realize that living by the guidance of Islam is now the only course left for the humanity to follow.
The history of bigotry
While the threat from political Islam to the West has been accentuated and its antagonistic image reinforced by the Islamophobes open calls for a war on Islam after 9/11, Western perceptions of this threat predate the events of 2001. Influential Western analysts, such as Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, were writing about the “roots of Muslim rage” and the “clash of civilizations” long before the staged 9/11 attacks. After the Soviet Union ‘s demise, the New York Times blared a full-page headline on January 21, 1996 : “The Red Menace is Gone, but Here’s Islam.”
So, it is the morbid dread of Islam that the Islamo-phobic fascists are spreading with unremitting assiduity which makes re-emergence of Khilafah inevitable. American and the allied governments are reacting to Islam, just the way communist Soviet Union used to react to democracy and the outside world. The internal repression of dissent and inhuman treatment of Muslims have crossed the limits of communists’ treatment of dissidents. At least the Soviets didn’t establish concentration camps on most continents in the world out of fear of an alternative ideology.
The reason for fear
The US and its allies are not scared of Islam because it will transform and lead Muslim societies towards human excellence. It is seen as uniquely threatening because it would undermine the capitalist system that has become the life blood of democracy. Without capitalism and corporate backing, bubble of the convoluted form of democracy that we witness today will burst sooner than many can even imagine. Capitalism cannot thrive without expansion and what the US has become cannot survive with a major portion of the globe rejecting the unjust order: from the UN structure and system to trade and environment. It is this dimension of Islam that makes it appear threatening to the dominant powers in the international system.
Those who call for a unified Muslim world, a single Islamic state or Khilafah, are considered more dangerous because so far the Islamophobes console themselves with the misconception that “political Islam” is a multifaceted phenomenon and is in almost all instances context specific, circumscribed by the borders of individual states. The truth is that the reaction in these individual states must be context specific. However, when it comes to the solution, it is one: Islam as brought forward to the humanity by the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
Irrespective of its beginning in individual states, emergence of Khilafah has become inevitable. The US and its allies would only hasten it with further actions like the one they took to eliminate the Taliban. The years long propaganda before invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was out of the fear of the emergence of a true Islamic State.
The overwhelming majority of Muslim political activity is conducted through peaceful means, even where governments are unsympathetic to the Islamic causes. The more the lies of the corporate terrorists are exposed and the more the world sees the real face of democratic-fascists, the more Muslims win their argument in the war of ideas, which is fast becoming America ‘s waterloo.
The staged, alleged and real transnational extremist activities on the part of Muslims are the exception, not the rule, when it comes to the action undertaken in the name of Islam which will make a difference in the long run. Most importantly, mostly it is the words and deeds of the 21st century fascists which are paving the way for the single Islamic entity. Titles such as Islamic State, Islamic bloc, Union or Khilafah do not count much.
Islamic movements would not have done in 50 years what the US has done since 9/11 to expose the real face of democracy and the faÃ§ade of freedom and human rights. The more it goes with all guns blazing to demonize Islam and kill all prospects of the re-emergence of a single Islamic entity, the more Muslims and non-Muslims would get the opportunity to see the truth behind the intellectual and physical barbarity of this age.
Keeping the zeal of war lords in Washington in mind, one can safely predict that re-emergence of an Islamic entity is just a matter of time: no matter how naÃ¯ve it may sound from the political analysis point of view.
This is the writing on the wall, no matter how most analysts may consider saying so against the accepted conventional wisdom.
Notes:. Al-Jazeera report, “Doctor: Uzbek protest toll about 500,” Sunday 15 May 2005 , 17:21 Makka Time, 14:21 GMT . David Ignatius, “Achieving Real Victory Could Take Decades,” the Washington Post, December 26, 2004 , page B01. . BBC Islam and the West Thursday, 11 September, 2003 , 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK . Graham Fuller, The Future of Political Islam ( New York : Palgrave, 2003), p. xi. . Guilain Denoeux, “The Forgotten Swamp: Navigating Political Islam,” Middle East Policy, vol. 9 (June 2002), p. 61. . Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983). . “And We have not sent you but as a mercy (guidance) to the worlds.” Al-Qur’an 21:107. . Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, “Mohammed a Prophet for all humanity,” Goodword Books (India) http://onlineislamicstore.com/b5684.html The Quran is not an utterance of a banished devil, but it is a Message to all the Worlds from the Almighty, for those who wish to go straight. (81:25-29) (38:87) . Olivier Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, trans. Carol Volk [ Cambridge , MA : Harvard University Press, 1996], p. vii . Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism ( New York : Oxford University Press, 1996 . See Bernard Lewis, “Roots of MuslimRage,”Atlantic Monthly, September 1990, pp. 47-“60; and Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs, vol. 72 (summer 1993), pp. 22-“49. . See: Abid Ullah Jan, “War of Ideas: America ‘s Waterloo.” http://world.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/8654/