Political struggle means entering into conflict with the ruler or whoever holds the reins of power. It involves fighting a bloodless and non economic battle with the aim of achieving a comprehensive or partial change. This struggle is taken up by a section of the ruler’s subjects.
Political struggle is as old as civilisation itself, since people began living together, whether in tribes or countries. Individuals who felt the need for either a comprehensive or a partial change have always existed. Some groups wanted to do away with old customs and heritage, others aimed at eliminating injustice and others at taking power. Some of those groups used armed struggle and economic pressure and some opted for political struggle to achieve their goals.
The struggle takes shape between two sides, one side is at the head of the political system i.e. the state which holds the reins of power, enjoys the support of its subjects and has the armed forces at its disposal, defending its policies, principles and infrastructure; and another young and weak side i.e. the opposing party that works towards luring and gathering the masses around its ideologies and ambitions in order to bring about the desired change.
Political struggle is one of intellect and will-power. Will-power is in no means less important than the power of intellect, it is even pointless to have will-power without an opinion and an intellectual framework to guide it in order to accomplish the change, and it is also pointless if the bearer of the idea is weak. Will-power means the firmness and determination to achieve the change, it means taking brave decisions in the battle of defiance to the present regime. It is only natural for the ruler to use all his might and all his resources to crush the movement of change and neutralise it or to even exterminate it and uproot it lest it leaves any traces or after effects. The ruler would bribe, threaten, torture and starve people, he would even become an expert in such atrocities. The party activists would therefore suffer and their resolve would be put to the test. If they waned and weakened, their campaign would fold and disintegrate, but if they resisted and patiently persevered they would attain their goal.
An Islamic party is a political party based on the Muslim Faith to the exclusion of all others, a party that struggles ideologically and politically in order to convey the message of Islam and attain its aim.
In order to achieve its goal, the general requirements of political struggle should be available. These are the belief in the cause, strong will and steadfastness. These qualities should not only be the qualities of the party but of every member of the party. The party, throughout its campaign is confronting the regime and attempting to take over the leadership from the ruler. The Nation is never led by intellect alone, for she is never satisfied merely with the ideas and theories of the party but always judges it by the personality of its leader; the Nation admires struggle and is seduced by tales of courage and heroism even about villains and bandits. Therefore the conduct of the party leader is put under scrutiny before the leadership is handed over to him by the Nation. The Nation never hands the leadership to a coward, weak, cheating or complacent person.
The members of this political party are the carriers of the Islamic Message. They campaign for Islam and by Islam. They must therefore refer to the Holy Quran, the Sunnah and to the heritage of the Companions of the Prophet (SAW) - may Allah be pleased with them all - and they must learn how the Islamic call was carried out, how they should adopt it, carry it to the Nation and determine their strategy before entering the battlefield of political struggle with the ruler.
If we were to look deeply into the Muslim Faith, we would soon realise that it is in no way separable from the political struggle and that it includes the politico-intellectual struggle i.e. the inviting to all that is good and forbidding what is wrong. It also includes the armed struggle which is Jihad. The Muslim Faith prepares the Muslim to become a man of Jihad and struggle; it abolishes all other beliefs and it invites all mankind to Islam regardless of religion, creed, colour or race, and regardless of profession or title, in order to remain the one and only Faith on Earth; and as long as there is one single Muslim on Earth, spreading the Message of Islam remains a continuous obligation anytime and anyplace.
The verses of the Holy Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) demonstrate that carrying the Islamic Message requires open and frank defiance of any other value and creed without any fear. The verses of the Holy Qur’an have set the path that Muslims should follow and addresses the unbelievers harshly with the rituals of Islam ringing in their ears like thunderstorms. Allah (SWT) says:
“Verily you (unbelievers) and the false gods that you worship besides Allah, are (but) fuel for Hell.” [TMQ 21:98]
He (SWT) also says:
“Perish the hands of the father of flames (Abi-Lahab)! Perish he.” [TMQ 111:1]
And Allah (SWT) also says:
“Heed not the type of despicable man - ready with oaths a slanderer going about habitually hindering (all) good, transgressing beyond bounds, deep in sin, violent (and cruel) with all that, base-born.” [TMQ 68:10-13]
These Qur’anic verses have manifested that the Islamic principles should not be surrendered nor compromised under any form or shape be it in theory or practice, - it is forbidden to cede any of the Divine Laws of Islam. The unbelievers tried to persuade the Prophet (SAW) to compromise his Message but he stood firm and rejected any kind of concession.
The verses and the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) have also manifested that campaigning for Islam forbids anyone from being pliant and flexible, because it means the beginning of complacency in the struggle, deviation from the path, and neglect of the cause. Allah (SWT) says:
“Their desire is that you should be pliant: so would they be pliant.” [TMQ 68:9]
This shows that defiance is fiercer and the words are more meaningful in times of confrontation. Allah (SWT) says:
“And speak to them a word to reach their very souls.” [TMQ 4:63]
When Abu-Jahl came to the Prophet (SAW) holding in his hand rotten bones and asked him if Allah would raise him after he would have become like those bones, not only did the Prophet (SAW) answer him positively but he also told him that Allah would raise him (Abu-Jahl) and throw him in Hell.
Since the carrying of the Islamic Message brings with it all kinds of physical suffering like martyrdom, torture and starvation to the activists on both fronts, the armed struggle (Jihad) or the intellectual one i.e. the politico-ideological struggle, the Qur’anic verses and the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) came to reprimand and pledge the punishment of those forsaking the duty, and to reassure the patient and pious people, urging them to stand firm and promising them in the Hereafter a Heaven as big as the Universe. The verses are thick and fast in their description of Hell and the types of punishment and in their depiction of Heaven and all its splendour, emphasising therefore that the trials and tribulations that the Muslims endure are in fact high rewards. Allah (SWT) says:
“Alif Lam Mim. Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “we believe”, and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.” [TMQ 29:1-3]
And He (SWT) says:
“Or you think that you shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of Faith who were with him cried: When (will come) the help of Allah. Ah! Verily the help of Allah is (always) near.” [TMQ 2:214]
And Allah (SWT) also says:
“Do you think that you would enter Heaven without Allah testing those of you who fought hard (in His Cause) and remained steadfast.” [TMQ 3:142]
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Heaven is bordered with suffering, and Hell is bordered with desires.” And he (SAW) also said, “The reward will be as great as the suffering”. And the Prophet (SAW) also said, “Be like the companions of Jesus (Issa)! They were sawed and nailed on wood! I swear by the One whom my destiny is at His will that a death in obedience of Allah is far greater than a living in disobedience to Him.”
The Holy Qur’an tells the story of the Prophets and those who believed in them, and tells of the suffering they experienced and the hardships and tribulations they faced, and of the injustice and tyranny they had undergone at the hands of their own people.
These verses are meant to serve as a morale booster for Muslims and to strengthen their resolve until victory is achieved. Allah (SWT) says:
“Woe to the makers of the pit (of fire). Fire supplied (abundantly) with fuel. Behold! They sat over against the (fire). And they witnessed (all) that they were doing against the believers. And they ill treated them for no other reason than that they believed in Allah, Exalted in power, Worthy of all praise.” [TMQ 85:4-8]
The steadfastness of all the Companions, be they slaves, freemen or dignitaries (may Allah be pleased with them all) came as no surprise; they all suffered and experienced hunger, homelessness, torture and intimidation and there is no need to mention what they endured in Abu-Talib’s quarters and what Al Yassir, Khabib and Zayd suffered at the hands of the unbelievers; many books which are known to everyone tell of their suffering.
This is the natural course of action for anyone - Muslim or not - wishing to enter the battlefield and fight the ruler in order to change the society’s way of life, and the take over of the reins of power should follow. There is no need to refer to the suffering that the communist party activists for instance had received at the hands of the Tsars during their struggle, nor to refer to the freedom, equality and fraternity campaigners who filled the Bastille prison before the French revolution, nor those who stood up to injustice in Europe until they succeeded in changing the face of Europe by using both armed and intellectual struggle.
There are stacks of books telling of the treatment the Muslim campaigners met, ranging from physical extermination, killing, torture, violation of honour, to confiscation of properties.
There are numerous Qur’anic verses praising Jihad in the way of Allah and telling of its excellence and rewards. The verses appeal for, exhort, and praise Jihad, and give the Martyr a status that every Muslim yearns for.
Nevertheless, the Qur’anic verses and the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) exalt political struggle - inviting (the ruler and the subjects) to all that is good and forbidding what is wrong - and consider it to be one of the most glorious and honourable of deeds. They exhort Muslims to take up the duty and make the ruler accountable for his actions and insist on promoting it because the benefits and rewards are high and forsaking it leads to grave and damaging consequences.
The Prophet (SAW) said, “The best Jihad is a word of wisdom told to a tyrant ruler.” Not only did the Prophet (SAW) manifest the excellence and merits of political struggle but he also confirmed the high status that the political activist who sacrifices his life in the way of Allah would attain. He (SAW) said, “The masters of Martyrs are Hamza, and a man who stands up to a tyrant ruler to reproach him and is killed.”
These two sayings not only show the high status of political struggle, but also approve and exhort confrontation and defiance. The phrase “to a tyrant ruler” means to his face and at his quarters, and to stand up to a tyrant ruler means to advise and to reproach him face to face.
The door from which Al Yassir, Khabib, Imam Hussein, Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal and others entered Heaven is still open for other Muslims, and the high status that Hamza (may Allah be pleased with him) attained for his heroism in armed struggle (Jihad) can also be attained by those who lose their lives in the political arena. Those who yearn for armed struggle (Jihad), they verily yearn for the supreme status, and those who seek Martyrdom, they verily seek the status of “Master of Martyrs”.
This is what political struggle is all about and these are its requirements. This is also how the Islamic Message should be carried and spread and those are the specifications for such work. This is how the members of an Islamic party should operate in their political struggle. They ought to adopt the Islamic Message, spread and promote it as follows:
• To have a strong and unshakable Faith
• To comprehensively adhere to the principles
• To possess a great deal of will-power
• To be always steadfast and determined
• To be firm and abiding to their adopted political views
• There should be no power sharing with the ruler, his government or his parliament
• No pliancy and no cheating.
The picture will become magnificent and moving once the political party comes face to face with the authorities and clashes with them, and once the intellectual and politico-ideological struggle begins.
Then the merits, rewards and praises as well as the highest ranks of Heaven will be duly deserved, and the party will be on the road to achieving its goal. Whereas, pliancy and cheating are two lethal components to the party members and damaging to its structure and consequently to the Islamic cause.
The party members should be devoted, heroic, defiant and firm in their stance; they should adhere to their principles - Islam - and to the path of struggle; this should not be approached by swearing and the exchange of insults, - even if Islam allows non vulgar reprimanding within reason - but by being uncompromising, and not supplying the authorities with information about the activities and the members of the party whatsoever, even if the authorities were already aware of such information, because this contravenes the spirit of political struggle and heroism, and it shames those party members and diminishes the prestige and credibility of the Islamic party in the eyes of the authorities and the Nation. Otherwise, why would the authorities be so keen in acquiring information they already have? Party members faced with this situation should not only refrain from supplying the information but they also should address the authorities with words that would shake their very souls and make the fear creep upon them so that they reflect on their own position and will fear other members as well.
Evidences from the Holy Qur’an are numerous. Allah (SWT) says:
“Those who prosecute (or draw into temptation) the believers, men and women and do not turn in repentance will have the penalty of Hell: They will have the penalty of the burning fire.” [TMQ 85:10]
And He (SWT) also says:
“The day that the wrong-doer will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a (straight) path with the Messenger. Ah! Woe is for me! Would that I had never taken such a one for a friend.” [TMQ 25:27-28]
Allah (SWT) also says:
“And they would say: O our Lord! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us as to the right path.” [TMQ 33:67]
In the steadfastness of the Message carriers, there is insult and degradation to the authorities and damage to their morale. Therefore, the Islamic campaigners should intensify their defiance of the authorities and their proxies, who are only fighting a lost cause in the last ditch, and only one more quake is needed before the first piece falls followed by all the other pieces of domino... Verily the help of Allah is coming and verily the help of Allah is always near... Only then can the Muslims rejoice.
[TMQ - Translated Meaning of Qur’an]