Monday, May 27, 2013

The Defensive Approach - A Result of Intellectual Decline

The following is an extract from the translation of the excellent book 'A Warm Call from Hizb ut-Tahrir to the Muslims'. It addresses errors of the defensive approach that we continue to see today when Islam is put in the dock. 

The struggle between the Islamic Ummah as one Ummah and the Kuffar as peoples and nations continued for thirteen consecutive centuries. The conflict between Islam as a Deen, her unique way of life and Kufr also continued throughout these past thirteen centuries. At the advent of the thirteenth century (nineteenth century CE), the capitalist system, which is a system of Kufr, challenged the system of Islam in its thoughts and emotions. It was but a short round before the Muslims fell defeated. It was an intellectual blow that was followed by the destructive political subjugation. However, Islam was not truly defeated and it will never be defeated, because it and it alone is the truth. How is it that Islam remains in the arena of conflict whilst its followers were defeated and they did not realise its position in the struggle? As for this challenge to Islam’s thoughts, it took place by attacking the Islamic thoughts through bringing extensive criticism and falsification against them. The Kafir nations confronted the ummah demanding solutions for new and diverse problems: Demanding their rules (Ahkaam) and the manner in which they would be solved. The position of the Muslims as regards to these two issues was one of utter weakness. They tried to retaliate but with failed and twisted attempts. The Muslims were demoralised which led to indifference.

The capitalists attacked polygyny by claiming that it was unjust for man to be allowed to marry two, three or four women. They accused Islam of disgracing the honour of the woman. The followers of Capitalism slandered the Islamic rules on divorce, articulating lies about the so called betrayal of women and destruction of homes. “How can it be allowed for a man to divorce a woman whenever he wants when they were tied together with an eternal bond?” It attacked the Khilafah and labelled it a dictatorship. “How can the ruling be just if all of the mandatory powers are with one man who is prone to error and despotism?” They claimed that (for the Muslims) the Khaleefah had a religious sanctity that grants him immunity from any criticism or reproach. They attacked Jihad and said it was an aggression against others and that it meant the spilling of blood.  Thus Jihad was labelled brutal beyond words. They attacked the concept of al-qada wal-qadar (the divine fate and destiny) by claiming that it meant submission to the events of the time and that it was holding the people back from assuming the burdens of life. In this manner they began to study the Shar'ai rules and the Islamic thoughts, pursued them and brought extensive criticism and defamation against them; they portrayed them as corrupt thoughts that contradict the truth and treat problems incorrectly. In addition to this, they began to present their answers to the problems and asked what Islam’s opinion was regarding these problems, questioning Islam in its capacity for solutions. They inquired about Islam’s verdict on insurance. They asked about the trade relations between states and what is the Shar'ai rule regarding them: “does Islam support the freedom of exchange or does it support trade protection?” They inquired over the issue of parliamentary system and free elections: “what is the stance of Islam regarding them?” They sought answers about inclinations in legislation: “does Islam prioritise the material inclination or the spiritual inclination?” Is the spirit of the text or its letter to be considered? They inquired about general freedoms such as the freedom of the individual, freedom of opinion and religious freedom. “Has Islam come with any of these freedoms?” They philosophised about the spiritual aspect: “is it thinking and thought? Or is it morals and virtuous acts? Or is it what the ancients said, that Ruh (spirit) is opposite to body and that man is composed of body and spirit?” With this approach, they highlighted problems that have taken place and that occur to man, problems which take place only in a society such as the capitalist society and not in the Islamic society. So they asked about the solutions for these problems. These were questions of disapproval, implying that Islam was incapable in this regard, and that it did not contain any explanation for them and that Islam did not have the capacity to give solutions.

Capitalism was not content with just that, but proceeded to criticise Islamic emotions. Thus it denounced the Muslim’s adherence to the rules of Islam. It said that adherence to the rules produces partisan bigotry and disgusting fanaticism and that people should rise against such things. They attacked the Muslim’s hatred for Kufr and the Kuffar, and their love for Islam and the Muslims. They called this religious bigotry.  The capitalists said that a human being is the brother of another human being whether he likes him or hates him. “There is no difference between a Muslim and a Jew.” The Kuffar said each person is entitled to own religion and his own opinion, and they are all merely opinions with no way of justifying one over another. “So why should there be discrimination between religions and discrimination in love and hate between human beings?” In addition to this, they stirred up nationalistic agitation. They provoked in the Turks the emotions of sovereignty and incited them against the Arabs. Simultaneously they provoked in the Arabs the emotions of sovereignty and provoked them against the Turks. They maligned the Islamic enthusiasm which becomes angry for the sanctities of Allah and said that it was religious prejudice. They began to advocate the abandoning of Islam and leaving the adherence to its rules. They called this religious tolerance. They also denounced the expression of anger at the critics of the Qur’an and those who insult the Prophet (saw) or  slander the Sahabah (r.a.). They claimed all this to be scholarly research and debate. They said, as examples, that the Qur’an narrates the story of Ibraheem, but in history there is no one by the name of Ibraheem to verify this story, and that Muhammad claimed that the Qur’an is from Allah, but Muhammad brought this Qur’an from his own genius and he claimed that it was from Allah so that the people would follow it. They said much more than this and then they insisted that the Muslims should not be enranged over these lies and that they should accept this blasphemy in the name of scholarly research! In this manner they began to pursue the emotions characterized by the thoughts of Islam, in terms of the emotions of happiness, anger, displeasure, approval, love and hate. They changed the motive behind such emotions so that they lost their quality as Islamic emotions.

A glaring challenge was thrown down to Islam by the systematic assault on its thoughts, rules and emotions. It was natural, even inevitable, that the Muslims should have accepted this challenge, and plunged themselves into the intellectual battlefield with the Kuffar. Not only that, it was obligatory on them to carry the initiative against Kufr and the Kuffar because they are Da’wah carriers and people who convey a Message. However the reality was that the Muslims weakened before the challenge in a manner which incited derision and ridicule of them, and covered them with shame and humiliation. So they came up with excuses for Islam regarding its rules on polygyny. They began to defend it by saying that polygyny can take place only in a situation of justice. They avoided the fact that Islam allows divorce and said that it does not allow it except within certain conditions. They accepted the accusations against the Islamic Khilafah and were silent over it, and they tried at the end of the Ottoman era to change its system. After its destruction, they avoided mentioning it or did not find the courage to mention it in public. They retreated concerning the issue of Jihad, and considered it an accusation thrown on Islam. So they responded to this accusation by saying Jihad is defensive war and not offensive. They renounced the fact that Jihad is the fight against the Kuffar because they are disbelievers. They defended al-Qada wal-Qadar by saying that Islam has ordered us not to discuss it and thus interpreted this as a licence for inaction and submission. In this manner they consented to what the Kuffar said and allowed Islam to stand accused. They proceeded to defend Islam in a way that can only be interpreted as a shocking defeat in the confrontation against the Kuffar. A direct consequence of this humiliation was that all the rules under attack were abandoned and the rules and thoughts of Capitalism took their place. As for the new issues and the problems that only occur in the Capitalist society, they interpreted Islam and distorted it in relation to them. They said that Islam holds the opinion of al-Massalih al-Mursalah (unqualified interests), that the law of Allah agrees with mans interests. They said that wisdom (al-Hikmah) is the lost property of the believer and he should take it wherever he finds it. Based on this, an attempt was made to reconcile the solution brought by the capitalist system with Islam. They adopted it as Islam but Islam is immiscible with such ideas. They said that Sikurtah (insurance) is not forbidden by Islam. Justification was based on it being a contract. Others said there is no evidence to prohibit it so it is allowed, for in origin all things are permitted (mubah). There were those amongst them who said that insurance is a permitted guarantee allowed by Islam. They said concerning foreign trade that it should take place according to the Muslims’ interest. So the state should facilitate it according to the interest, thus acting according to al-Massaalih al-Mursalah. They allowed the system of parliament by saying that it was Shura and that Shura has been permitted by Islam. They followed what the French civil law advocates of the state of mind and inclination in legislation, so they said: What matters is the spirit of the text, and the issue relates to the intention. They claimed on behalf of Islam that it maintains the principle: What matters in contracts are the aims and meanings and not the words and speech forms. As proof they cited the saying of the Messenger (saw): “Indeed, actions shall be judged according to the intentions.” They also claimed that Islam came with general freedoms and ordered people to adhere to them, and that Islam is the religion of freedom. They proceeded as the Christians had proceeded before them by saying that the spiritual aspect is the spirit as opposed to the body, and that man is composed of matter and spirit. So the spirit should not dominate the body and the body should not dominate the spirit. In this manner they became confused and bewildered before the Kuffar’s challenge. They did not study problems in order to derive solutions or to study the rules in the Kitab and Sunnah. Rather they adopted the West’s solutions to these problems wholeheartedly. Muslims then accepted them as Islamic solutions on the basis that Islam does not forbid them. Some adopted them on the basis of the opinion of al-Masaalih al-Mursalah as held by certain Imams, and not according to what the Qur’an and Hadith had brought. The capitalist rules were therefore introduced by justfying them from Islam. It was inevitable that the laws in society and the societal transactions (Mu’amalat) of the Muslims would proceed without any regard for whether they were Islamic or not. Thus the capitalist rules became established and Islam was forgotten. (The altering of the thoughts facilitated the changing of the common emotions as long as it was easy to change the thoughts.) Thus aversion to the strict adherence to the rules of Islam became widespread because the people considered it as religious fanaticism. Then the aversion moved to encompass the discrimination between the Muslims and the Kuffar, and between Islam and other religions. The concept of ‘nationalism’ came to stir the emotions and the Islamic zeal was buried. Thus, showing anger towards any attack on the Qur’an came to be seen as a sign of backwardness and decline. This is because, in their view, this assault constituted impartial scholarly research. With this the Islamic sentiments were wiped out. Nothing remained of the Islamic emotions except the priestly emotions, the emotions of worship. This was the shocking indignity which the Muslims faced before the capitalist system’s contest with Islam. This would almost have been a defeat for Islam if the Islamic thoughts that were attacked were not in fact correct and true. That is to say if they were false as the attackers have described them, whilst the attacking Capitalist thoughts were not false and a lie, rather they were true and agreed with reality. This would have also been the case if the Islamic emotions, which were attacked, were not fit for man in the sense that they are emotions which contradict the sublime values and nature of man. If this were the case, then the defeat would not have been restricted to the Muslims only, as regards the thoughts they carry, the relationships according to which they deal with one another, and the political situation. Rather this defeat would have led to the eradication of Islam from intellectual and emotional existence in the same way as it was removed from political existence. However, the reality is contrary to that, for the defeat before the capitalist system’s crusade against Islam was a defeat of Muslims and not of Islam. That is why the factors of waging the attack again against the capitalist system and Kufr still exist the same way they existed when they defeated Kufr and Kuffar. These factors are the thoughts and emotions of Islam. This is what gives reason for hope and reminds us of the days of victory, instigates the revival, moves the human disposition (Fitrah) and makes the return to carrying the Islamic Da’wah to the world an impending reality and not just a desire and yearning.

As for the thoughts of Islam being the only true and correct thoughts, and the capitalist aggressor’s thoughts being false and untrue, this is proven from the reality of the thoughts themselves. Thus, the capitalist thoughts which consider polygyny a mistake while considering it correct to restrict the man to one wife, are solutions applied to the reality of the human being and not some logical hypotheses. So where exists a society in the world, in which there is no more than one woman for a man? There is no society in the world where there aren’t at least some men who have more than one wife. However, some of them call their partners mistresses or girlfriends and some of them call them wives. Do the rules allowing polygyny, which leave the choice for a man to practise it or leave it, thus making the second, third or fourth woman a legally recognised wife and not a mistress or girlfriend, agree with the natural disposition (Fitrah) of man and address the problem? Or do the rules which prohibit polygyny agree with the natural disposition (Fitrah) of man and solve the problem, when they remain silent at having relations with more than a woman illegally? and which remain silent when this is not adhered to, i.e. since it is not allowed? Or is making the living together of spouses one of companionship and choice: “either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness.” [TMQ 2:229]? He would keep her if living together in a state of happiness for both spouses or he would divorce her if living together is the cause of their misery; does this not accord with the happiness and tranquillity of the spouses? Or does the imposition of a forced life together, even if it causes the worst type of misery, achieve the happiness and tranquillity of the spouses?

The reality of ruling is that the Ummah has the authority to give the responsibility to whoever she wishes. In terms of practising this authority, this cannot be done except by one person; it will not be for two or more as an absolute matter of fact. However, this one person will restrict himself to a specific program which he believes to be correct and he cannot go beyond it. What controls this single ruler, in addition to the motives of his belief in the system by which he is restricted, i.e. in addition to his taqwa or what is known as his own conscience, is the nation he rules accounting him by speech if he misapplies the system or by force if he betrays the system. This is on condition that the Ummah does not disobey him in what he orders of the Fard, Mandoob and Mubaah, but does not obey him in any forbidden and sinful action. This is the reality of the Khilafah. So which one of the two ruling systems agrees with reality and is correct in its application: the system of Islam or the democratic system, which claims that it is the nation which practises the ruling? This claim is impossible to implement therefore it is a lie, for the only one who holds authority in a Democracy is the prime minister with the assistance of the ministers.

As for Jihad, it is slander against Islam to say that it is only a defensive war. Furthermore, such a statement contradicts the reality of Jihad in the time of the Messenger (saw) until the end of the Islamic state. This is because Muslims themselves used to initiate the fighting with the Kuffar and they used to adopt this as a method to spread Islam. It is a lie against the Qur’an, for Allah (swt) said in the explicit verses of the His Book: “Fight against those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who do not acknowledge the religion of truth among the people of the Scripture, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” [TMQ 9:29]. He (swt) also said: “Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you” [TMQ 9:123]. He (swt) also said: “O Prophet [saw]! Urge the believers to fight” [TMQ 8:65]. 

It is evident that Jihad is a material war against Kuffar in order to establish the rule of Islam. Its cause is to fight the Kuffar who have refused Islam after it has been presented it to them in a manner that draws attention, i.e. Islam should be offered in a state that attracts attention, then Jihad will take place. This is what any ideology which is believed in by any nation dictates upon her. She prepares the material power and attains a strong military spirit in addition to this. Based on this material power she begins political battles and diplomatic manoeuvres, thus creating a situation through which the Da’wah is conveyed and the political status of the state is promoted. When the material friction takes place then fighting is inevitable. The Cold War represented nothing other than this situation, when each of the two camps attempted to spread their own ideology. Their well-equipped military forces were thus prepared to engage in fighting, but this ultimately did not materialise. Likewise, there existed a similar situation before the advent of World War II between the Nazis and the so-called free world. Before that it was between Islam and Capitalism and so on and so forth. The reality of life is that there are thoughts which are contrary to each other. These thoughts are embodied in states and material power is utilised to spread them and defend them using political, cultural, economic and military means. This is the reality of Jihad. It is to fight using material force for the sake of the thought after exhausting the political and cultural styles. However, the Islamic army or the spirit of Jihad is not like the German military which is a military power for the purpose of putting the (German) people above the other peoples. Rather, it is the military force that removes the material obstacles in front of the Islamic Call in order to make the people embrace Islam and join with the rest of the Muslims to form one Ummah, in which there is no superiority for one Muslim over another except in Taqwa (the fear of Allah).

Al-Qada wal-Qadar, as a meaning of these two words together, is the actions which fall within the sphere that controls man, i.e. which takes place against his will, together with the attributes of objects. As for the specific meaning of the word Qadar, it is the knowledge of Allah. Thus it has nothing to do with the voluntary actions of man for which he is accounted by Allah, just as he is accounted in the Dunya by the state, parents and guardians. Where is the fatalism in this understanding of Al-Qada wal-Qadar? Where was the fatalism when the Muslims, with this understanding, conquered the world and subdued other nations?  Moreover, adoption of this concept forces the person to investigate, study, and assess the outcome and consequences of an action before undertaking it, so that he is clear on the aspects of blame and accountability. There is also the view of the action after it has occurred whether with or without his choice, is that it has occurred and it is finished. Thus, one must accept that it has happened, but one should not necessarily accept what has happened, and thus act to change it. Thus the event that happened as a Qadar (fate) according to the knowledge of Allah, man must accept that it has happened and is finished. He should not feel agitation or worry. Neither should he accept what has happened, thus leaving it without remedy. Rather he should not accept the situation that arose due to what happened, so as to treat it after it happened. Those two views together are indispensable such that life continues with vitality and force in a real and practical manner in accordance with high values. The fact that he is accounted for the voluntary actions whereas he is not blamed for the non-voluntary actions, because it is not within his ability to repel them. This is the fact that every action that has happened would not have happened except according to the knowledge of Allah. All of that insures the presence of those two viewpoints. In other words, it makes a person proceed in his actions not based on imagination, theoretical hypotheses, or whims, nor linked to continuous sorrow and sadness over what has already occurred; rather he moves forcefully in a real and practical manner, in accordance with the high values required by life. That is why the view of Qadar on its own and Qada and Qadar together incites man and makes him active, and it stands between him and hopelessness and sorrow, just as it stands between him and laziness and lethargy. The focus is not regarding the voluntary actions before undertaking them, rather it is regarding the actions after they have been carried out and the actions which took place outside the sphere of his control. This is because such events have occurred and the matter is finished. So he must not feel sorrow or pain that torments the soul and deviates it from its sublime goal in life and from entering the mainstream of life. How far is this from what the Capitalists have in terms of agonising pain and distressful sorrow felt by the losers, which make the word ‘luck’ play such a big role in their lives? Consequently, belief in Qadar and belief in Qada and Qadar is one of the greatest blessings for the mind and one of the greatest incentives to plunge into the battlefield of life with courage and dignity. This is because in the sphere which man controls, he is responsible for all his voluntary actions. He is obliged to be aware of them and bear responsibility. If a mistake or misguided act took place then he must bear the consequences. However, he must also realise that what has happened, whether correct or incorrect, has happened with the Knowledge and Comprehension of Allah (swt). It was inevitable that it would happen. Therefore he should not be preoccupied by it, rather he should move on, i.e. persevere in life. As for the sphere which controls him and in which the actions occur without his choice, he is not responsible for them and he will not bear their consequences. Furthermore, they happened with the Knowledge and Comprehension of Allah (swt), so it was inevitable that they would happen. Therefore man is not allowed to stand preoccupied with what happened, rather he must move on. This is the greatest of characteristics a person can possess in this life.

This is the reality of some of the Islamic thoughts which were savaged by the Kafir colonialists. This is also the reality of the capitalist thoughts with which the Islamic thoughts were criticised. From this reality it becomes clear that the thoughts being attacked are true and that the thoughts that were attacking are false. The intellectual weakness of the carrier of the true thought in comprehending it does not mean it is not true, just because the one who carries it was not able to explain it or because he consented to it standing accused. Also the eloquence of the carrier of falsehood does not mean it is not fabricated, just because its carrier was able to disguise falsehood as truth. Rather the true thought is the one which agrees with the reality which it indicates, or it agrees with a natural disposition (Fitrah) with which man has been created. In other words, truth is that which agrees with the reality, whilst falsehood is that which does not agree with the reality. So what matters is the nature of the thought and its reality and not its carrier, whether he could explain it forcefully or not.

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