Ottawa Citizen embraces Pipesism

The Qur’an teaches ‘fascism.’ Please don’t take my words for this conclusion. Have trust in the wisdom of Ottawa Citizen’s editorial board and believe in its June 5, 2006 editorial, which attempted to prove it so.

The Citizen’s editorial says:

“Let’s be clear about who we mean by ‘they.’ We mean Islamists. Not Muslims, but Islamists. A Muslim is one who practises Islam, a great religion. An Islamist is one for whom Islam is not just a religion, but a political ideology. Islamists seek to establish pure Islamic societies governed according to the harshest interpretation of Islam. Islamism has apocalyptic echoes of another millennial ideology, fascism (think of the Thousand Year Reich). Islamism is totalitarian, utopian, violent –” and like fascism it is expansionist.”

Based on the Citizen’s definition of Islam and Islamism, let us see how the Qur’an is nothing but a guide to fascism and expansionism–” a collection of Islamist thoughts, and those who believe in it are Muslims no more. They are Islamists.

The Citizen says, for Islamists, ‘Islam is not just a religion.’ That is exactly what the Qur’an says that Islam is not just a religion. It is, rather, a way of life: Deen (3:19). A way of life is never limited to one’s home or private life. It encompasses all aspects of life, private and public. The Qur’an further stresses that if the believers desire a way of life other than Islam, it ” will never be accepted of” them (3:85). Muslims are not free to accept only parts of the Qur’an according to their liking. (Al-Quran 2:85).[1]

To the Citizen’s it is Islamism. But the Qur’an emphasizes that no one is better in adopting Islam as a way of life than those “who submit [their] whole self to God” (4:125) without any ifs and buts. Logically submitting one’s whole self means total submission to the revealed guidance. It means not taking Islam “just as a religion.” The Qur’an elaborates it further with the verse 3:137: “Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth.”

Taking Islam as a way of life sensitizes Muslims to look at their words and deeds in all walks of life from the point of view of the life in the hereafter. There is no option for accepting Islam merely as a religion for a few rituals at home or in mosques. The Qur’an clearly instructs: ” Leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world” (6:70).[2]

Islam is not ‘just a religion.’ The Qur’an tells its believers: ” And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth…We appoint a law and a way" (05:48).[3] The Qur’an says, God has sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion of judgment between right and wrong (3:3). Where is this criterion of law going to be applied if not both in personal and public life?

According to the Citizen’s definition, a Muslim becomes Islamist if he seeks to establish pure Islamic societies governed according to the revealed laws and standards. But the Qur’an says that if a Muslim doesn’t do so, he is Muslim no more: ” And whoever fails to judge on the basis of that which Allah revealed has committed Kufr (disbelief),… Dhulm (injustice and oppression),… and Fisq (wickedness and enormous sin), (Qur’an, 5:44 – 47). The Qur’an doesn’t say to judge on the basis of what Allah has revealed only in select places and select aspects of life.

It is not possible for Muslims to have two ways of living their lives: Islamic in private and secular in public life. Muslims cannot have two standards for judging their affairs: Qur’anic for private and secular for public affairs in the society. This becomes impossible when the Qur’an stresses that if the believers desire a way of life other than Islam, ” never will it be accepted of” them (3:85).

The Citizen claims that Islamists seek governing Islamic societies ‘according to the harshest interpretation of Islam.’ The question is: ‘harshest’ by whose standards? For Muslims, the Qur’an is the standard, which says, “He sent [has] down the criterion of judgment between right and wrong” (3:3). So it is not the question of interpretation that makes Muslims Islamists. It is merely their desire to govern Muslim societies according to Islam that makes them Islamists by the standards of Islamophobes.

The Citizen says, ‘A Muslim is one who practises Islam.’ Great! But what does practicing Islam mean? Where does one practice Islam?

If the editors of Ottawa Citizen read the Qur’an, they will find that it gives laws and principles, covering issues from eating, to dressing, marriage, divorce, inheritance, charity, economic dealings, human rights and to war. It clearly shows that the Qur’an does not limit the practice of Islam to one’s home or mosque but makes it part of life in the society at large. At the same time, it differentiates between Deen il malik (law of the king) and the law of Allah (12:76). Muslims are clearly told that they are not supposed to live by Deen il malik. Instead, whosoever seek as Deen (way of life) other than the Deen of Allah, "it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter" (3:85).

The so-declared Islamism of the Qur’an is evident from its making Muslims responsible for establishing Islam as a Deen (3:85, 5:3, 2:208, 42:13) and exhorting them to struggle to make it prevail over all other Deen (48:28, 9:33 and 61:9). Is it possible without living by Islam in private as well as public life and not taking Islam “just as a religion”?

According to the Qur’an, lahu al-Deen specifically means that obedience ( Al-Deen) is only to Allah (10:22, 16:52, 29:6531:32, 39:2, 39:11, 40:14, 40:65, and 98:5), not to any worldly authority or law. Obedience to worldly authority is allowed only when that authority is responsible for ensuring obedience to Allah (4:59, 4:83).

Practicing Islam as a Deen is not possible without establishing an order, a governing mechanism in the society that guarantees living a life according to the laws and principles of the Qur’an under a complete politico-socio-economic order. The Qur’an clearly says the Al-Hukm (the command) is for none other than Allah: ” Verily Al-Hukm belongs to none but Allah and He has commanded that you should serve none except Him; this is Al-Deen-e-Qayyam (the right Deen)" (12:40). The word Hakoomat (government, governance) is derived from the word Al-Hukm in the Qur’an, used in the context of Deen.

The two definitions of the Citizen contradict each other. It says: ‘A Muslim is one who practises Islam, a great religion. An Islamist is one for whom Islam is not just a religion, but a political ideology.” In the Qur’an, Islam is referred to as a Deen, not just a religion. Al-Deen, in particular, is used with the word ‘ Maalik‘ and ‘ Tamlik‘ in verses 1:4 and 82:18-19. The root of these words is dominion, sovereignty, authority, kingship, rule and ownership. The Qur’an stresses the fact that sovereignty belong to Allah alone (40:12, 82:19-19). How do the editors of Ottawa Citizen explain all these concepts without considering them in the context of a society at large? When one practices Islam as a Deen in all spheres of life, it automatically becomes what is called political ideology in the modern terminology. But to the Qur’an this is simply Islam, not Islamism or political ideology.

The more we study the Qur’an and the more we understand its stress on taking it as a guide for living life in this world, the more we realize that Islamophobes are pushing its believers into the despicable camp of Islamists. Ottawa Citizen’s editorial is one of many other write-ups they appeared in the mainstream media in the wake of recent arrests in Toronto. These anti-Islam write-ups totally ignored the criminal aspect of the issue and instead focusing on Islam, is the sign of Islamophobia going mainstream. This is Pipesism.

There were distinct, virulent Islamophobes, who used to demonize Muslims and Islam in these terms. Covert Islamophobes found a great opportunity in the wake of recent arrests. They are coming out of their closets to speak in the same dirty language and to spread hatred against the basic sources and teachings of Islam. Equating the followers of the basic teachings of Islam to despicable invention–”‘Islamists’–”and Islam to totalitarian, utopian, violent ideology like fascism amounts to digging a bigger hole for all in Canada. This amounts to sowing the seeds of hatred that will undermine the concept and hope of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, integrated and free society for good.

Instead of spewing hatred and coming up with nonsense about Islam, Islamophobes would do the society a favor if they focus on the criminal aspect of the issue. Taking lives of civilians is a crime. Islam does not allow it, even of all Muslims in Canada and the 1.4 billion around the world say so and plan to do so. Therefore, it is better for all of us to leave Islam alone and focus on the relevant issues which really need a focus and debate.

It is not Islam on the rampage. Other ideologies have gone totalitarian, utopian and violent. Take the example of Iraq, where the zeal to impose an ideology and way of life has already taken more than 150,000 lives. Have a look at the past 400 years, where colonial zeal to ‘civilize’ others has taken millions of lives and de facto colonization is still taking its toll. Has Islamophobic hatred blinded us to what really needs discussion and debate?


[1]. Believing in the totality of the Qur’an is one of the criteria for believers and non-believers: "3.119": Lo! you are they who will love them while they do not love you, and you believe in the Book (in) the whole of it; and when they meet you they say: We believe, and when they are alone, they bite the ends of their fingers in rage against you. Say: Die in your rage; surely Allah knows what is in the breasts.

[2]. [007:051] "Such as took their religion to be mere amusement and play, and were deceived by the life of the world." That day shall We forget them as they forgot the meeting of this day of theirs, and as they were wont to reject Our signs.

[3]. Also see Al-Qur’an 03:03; 33:36; 5:33, 38; 24:2; 24:4, 2:178; and 17:33.