Islamic parties

Muslim Brotherhood Inc., and righteous greed

Both ends of the spectrum of Political Islam have more or less collapsed.

The presence and influence of moderate Islamist political parties is in steep decline, particularly since the debacle of the Mursi presidency in Egypt, and the coup that ended it. The territorial demise of Da’esh, and with it, the evaporation of their delusional political project, as well, represent the coming irrelevance of the ideology of Political Islam in the Muslim world.

That is not to say that Islamists have renounced their ambitions for power. On the contrary, they are just as power-hungry as ever; it is just not manifesting itself in the desire for political positions so much as it is in the desire to accumulate wealth and to form business syndicates around the world.

This is not, of course, an entirely new trajectory for them. When the Muslim Brotherhood held the government in Egypt, however briefly, they articulated explicitly that the satisfaction of foreign investors was their top priority. Indeed, a contingent of government officials and businessmen from the US visited Egypt at the time, and characterized the Ikhwan as indistinguishable from the American Republican Party (historically regarded as the party of Big Business). Mursi agreed in principle to the demands of the International Monetary Fund, all of which are designed to favour multinational corporations, and generally to the severe detriment of the population. Mursi merely requested a longer timetable for the IMF reforms to be implemented.

It seems the Brotherhood has taken a tip from the AK Party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and perhaps learned from the scattered efforts of activists in Egypt against the IMF and foreign investor domination; that lesson being: real power rests in the private sector. This realization, of course, makes it inevitable that the Islamist political agenda will collide against the private business interests of party members. This was most apparent when the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt went deafeningly silent about the IMF loan agreement for $12 billion (the largest loan the institution ever offered to a Middle Eastern country), which handed over Egypt’s economic sovereignty to Christine Lagarde and her successors for the next twenty years. The country’s fiscal policy, budgetary program, monetary controls, and everything from the price of medicine to the system of taxation, were all surrendered to the IMF; all without a word of protest from the “Islamic” opposition, despite the fact that the IMF reforms would have, and are indeed having, devastating effect on the economic lives of average Egyptians.

But, you see, the Muslim Brotherhood have become not only committed Capitalists, they have joined the ranks of the Neoliberals; presumably in the belief that this will financially enrich them as an organization, and with the newfound wealth they will wield greater political influence. The paradox should be obvious. They tell themselves that they will be able to serve the Islamist agenda in the long run, by sacrificing it in the short run for the sake of making money. This is not dissimilar from their previous strategy of serving the Islamist agenda in the long run by sacrificing it in the short run for the sake of infiltrating the established power hierarchy.

Based in Turkey, they are quietly building global business syndicates, particularly in the real estate sector; and continuing to fund projects for private profit through financial contributions to their many charities by religiously motivated, if naive, believers in the Ikhwan’s advertising slogan that “Islam is the Solution”.

Their political posturing, their continued declarations about Political Islam, have become exactly that: advertising.  A way to sell the Ikhwan brand, to keep revenues flowing in support of their private enterprise ambitions.  Their greed, you see, is righteous, because they have high-minded future plans of how they will use their nascent economic power.  Their less than exemplary actions must not be judged poorly because of their exemplary intentions.  So when they call for “escalation” in Egypt, which they know perfectly well will only result in the death or detention of who knows how many young people, it is still good, because it promotes the brand.  If the brand is successful, everyone wins in the end.  There is, however, no guarantee that either we or their intentions will make it that far.

Now more than ever, it is imperative that the Muslim Brotherhood become completely transparent about their finances. Where does their money come from, and where is it spent? Who is profiting, how much? Or are we to believe that their private business interests do not impact their public statements (or silences), nor their political aims; because why? They say so?

Turning Islam into an ideology

The 20th Century was the heyday for ideology. Marxism, Socialism, Communism, Nazism, Fascism, on and on.  The 20th Century also sent the Muslim world into a tailspin with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.
In some ways, you can kind of see a parallel between what happened intellectually in the Muslim world with what happened in Europe in terms of the shift away from traditional religious structures of thought and understanding to rationalistic ideology, because they basically lost their moral footing when they turned away from religon.  Something Fredich Nietzche predicted well before it happened, when he said “God is dead…we have killed Him…who will wipe the blood off us?”  What he meant, of course, was that men had killed their belief in God, renounced religious structures, and in so doing, had ventured into chaos.

For Europe, the turn away from religion made them turn to ideologies for something to believe in.  For the Muslims, the end of the Ottoman Empire left them scrambling for a way to re-energize themselves around a concept that could restore their power and sense of identity.  Extremism emerged both in the West and in the Muslim world in the form of radical belief in ideologies.  For Europe, these were rationalistic, while for the Muslim world, it was still religiously based, with the concept of Islamism or Political Islam.

Since Islam is a religion and not an ideology, turning it into an ideology was not an easy thing to do.  So what they did was to basically borrow elements of other ideologies.  While there were a variety of trends, generally aligning with one or another European ideological trend, Islamism was essentially focused on building an ideology that was state-centric.  This isn’t surprising, since the whole movement developed as a response to the collapse of the Ottoman state.

As Islamism was developing, in the Arab world, there was also the emergence of another ideology, that of Pan-Arabism, or Arab nationalism; which, in fact, was already brewing prior to the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, and played a role in its collapse.  This then saw the Baathist ideology form, and spread in the Arab world.  It was a kind of mix between Fascist and Socialist, Totalitarian dogmas, and Islamism was quite influenced by this.  In fact, it is more or less the same, politically, but with the religious element blended in.

So what sort of religious element would work here?  Well, it makes sense that it would be an interpretation that emphasizes a strict view on the rules and regulations of the religion, I think.  It should be an interpretation that creates a necessity of enforcement of those rules by the state.  And this is predictably going to mean exaggerating the status of what may just be recommendations into the status of obligatory legislation, and it is going to mean denying the existence of divergent opinions on a single issue.  It should also be an interpretation that emphasizes a divisive group identity and a method of proving group identity through superficial, observable adherence to the rules being mandated.

This is the only viable religious interpretation that can be used to support a state-centric ideology, and to a certain extent, that is exactly what happened with Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia when the modern state was founded.

Now, I should say, of course, that this is not to in any way lessen the centrality and importance of the Shari’ah in Islam.  But the fact of the matter is that the Qur’an, as explained by some of the most eminent scholars of Islam, only contains about 500 verses that provide explicit legislation, explicit meaning, they are not open to interpretation, they are clear-cut rulings; and most of these pertain to acts of worship, not to governance or the penal system and so forth.  That is out of a total number of verses over 6000. So the actual explicit rulings in the Qur’an are relatively few.  The same sort of ratio exists in the Hadiths; the overwhelming majority of Hadiths do not contain explicit legislation.  What has happened is that the line between what is an explicit ruling and what is an interpreted ruling derived from non-explicit verses and Hadiths has become blurred.  That is, the line between the Law itself and jurisprudence, or Fiqh, has been blurred.  And this means the line between what is Revelation and what is opinion has become obscured.

Furthermore, the methodologies for deducing jurisprudential rulings have decreased.  We have started to take a very cut-and-dried approach to jurisprudence, we over-simplify, we discard nuances, we fail to consider circumstantial factors, environmental and historical factors, and so on.  And it is necessary to do that when you are creating an ideology.  You have to over-simplify.  You have to reduce complexity.  You have to create a black and white perspective and eject as many alternate views as possible.

So we have this idea today that because the early generations of Islam are the best generations, we have to do what they did, we have to imitate their actions; rather than saying that we should engage in the same intellectual processes that they did to determine what our actions should be; because those processes are complicated, and because those processes may very well result in a multiplicity of opinions about what we should do.  That approach does not lend itself to the uniformity and cohesion required by an ideology.

An ideology must be able to manifest itself into a system; you have to be able to tick the boxes, with the belief that once all the boxes are ticked, you will have established a Utopia.

But here is the thing:  there is no such thing as an Islamic System.  This term does not appear in the entirety of the Qur’an or Hadith literature.  But, you know, Marxists have a system, Communists have a system, Fascists have a system, Baathists have a system, so we have to have a system…if we are going to have an ideology.

What the Qur’an is, and what the Sunnah is, and what they say they are, is Guidance; not a system.  That is because Islam is a religion, not an ideology; and when you reduce it to an ideology, you make it dysfunctional.  You turn it into a man-made construct, and not Divine Guidance.  We always like to say that Islam provides a prescription for an ideal society; as the Islamist slogan says “Islam is the solution”.  But that is not what the Book says, that is not what the Prophet said.  And if Islam really did claim to provide a panacea for each and every human problem that has ever and will ever occur, and if it claimed that it lays out the blueprint for a Utopian society; that would be proof positive that it did not come from the Creator.

I know for Muslims, this sounds strange.  We are fond of likening the Qur’an to an instruction manual for life.  We say that Allah has provided us with a rule book for how to live our lives, how to deal with any and every difficulty and challenge; and that it is the very comprehensiveness of Islam that proves it has a Divine Origin; because who else could have come up with such a system other than God?  But the truth is that our Creator Knows better than we do how complex we are, how complicated our nature is, how much our circumstances and situations change, and that any sort of comprehensive set of instructions are inevitably going to become obsolete in a very short span of time.  That is why what we get from the Qur’an and Sunnah is Guidance that can be adapted as we and our circumstances change.  That is why Islam does NOT provide a list of boxes to tick to create a Utopian society, because our Creator Knows that the nature of the Creation He produced and the nature of the creatures in it are such that there is no such thing as an earthly Utopia.

The proof of the Divine Origin of Islam is that it does NOT present a formula, a plan, a system for creating an idyllic society, because only a human being would imagine that such a society could be created.  Islam provides Guidance and Wisdom that can adapt to circumstances and that can inform us about our nature to help us navigate through life in ways that will hopefully make our lives more successful and our selves more virtuous, and most importantly (as it IS a religion) improve our relationship with the Creator and make us successful in the Afterlife.

Even though Islamism is awash with religious rhetoric and references to Allah, really, it functions as a secular neo-fascist ideology, almost exclusively concerned with material issues and explanations of worldly matters, and it has very little to do with worship or spirituality.  Allah has become the rhetorical figurehead of a conceptual state in the Islamists’ minds almost like the mythologized image of Joseph Stalin in Soviet Russia, whom everyone wants to please and associate themselves with through their strictness and expertise in the ideology.  Islamists have kind of become the clergy Islam never had, and isn’t supposed to have; the priest class who are the arbiters and enforcers of an ideology that is primarily interested in power and control.  And again, that is one of the things that happns when you turn religion into ideology; you create a class of experts and authorities who have no real qualification outside of the niche they have created for themselves. That is what happens with any ideology I suppose; you have a group of intellectual interpreters of the ideology, and they become authorities; and they are people who could never attain authority in any other scenario.

Towards a new Islamism             نحو إسلام سياسي جديد

لقراءة المقال مترجم إلى العربية انتقل إلى الأسفل

Any political system, and any platform for a political party or movement, of course, is going to be a product of a belief system; and usually that is going to be a religious belief system.  The secularism of the West (and indeed, in Turkey), should not be construed as being “unreligious” at its foundation.  It is a secularism that emerged as a reaction to the tyranny of the church, or of the religious scholars; but religion permeates their political philosophies.  How could it not?

Angela Merkel, after all, heads the Christian Democratic Party of Germany.  In America, it is possible to elect a Black president, a woman president, a Jewish president, and so on; but an atheist does not stand a chance.

I consider myself an Islamist; I believe in Political Islam; but I find myself at odds with what can be called “mainstream Islamism”, because, frankly, I think it is a scam. As a Muslim, it makes sense that my religion would shape my political views, my vision of how governments should behave; just as anyone else forms their political views based on their overall belief system.  I don’t see why that should be controversial, or why it should feel threatening to anyone, or why my political views should be dismissed out of hand simply because I have reached them through a belief system different from non-Muslims.

You can argue that Islamic texts do not support ideals like equality, freedom, leniency, and so on; just as I could argue the same about Christian texts.  But what is the point?  Those ideals are what I take from my texts, and they are what you take from yours.  I don’t really care how you reached these ideals, nor should you care how I reached them; they are shared ideals.

Political Islam, for me, means government that manifests the values and principles of my religion and cares about promoting those values in the society I live in through the practical implementation of laws, policies, and regulations; which, if we are honest, is exactly what non-Muslims want from their governments. What Political Islam does NOT mean for me, is an archaic system of government that replicates the model implemented 1,400 years ago, nor the model of the Muslim imperial era.  As I have stated innumerable times, there is no mandated governmental system in Islam; there are a handful of rules that apply to societal matters, and any government that implements them, or is even committed to pursuing the aims of those rules, is acceptable.

We have a history from which we can draw tremendous guidance for understanding how the state should behave, how government should be conducted and structured, and how the economy should be managed for the overall benefit of the society.  Of course, in our history, there are also plentiful examples of tyranny and oppression.  When we make reference to our history we learn from what we did right and from what we did wrong; and I don’t think that is peculiar to the Muslims.

The mainstream Islamists, however, are in my opinion, political hacks using religion to carve out a niche for themselves in the political landscape which they could never otherwise attain because of their profound ignorance and incompetence.  They spout empty and divisive rhetoric that alienates Muslim intellectuals, and non-Muslims alike, and they inadvertently present the best possible argument in favor of secularism, because, well, may Allah save us from these people ever wielding power.

Genuine Political Islam has every right to have a place in the political spectrum, and there is no reason why it should not garner the support of non-Muslims as well as Muslims; but it falls upon us to define and articulate it, and indeed, to develop it conceptually, in a way that makes it more than slogans and reactionary identity politics.

أي نظام سياسي، وأي برنامج لأي حزب أو حركة سياسية، سيكون بطبيعة الحال نتاج مجموعة من المعتقدات، التي عادة تكون دينية. ولا ينبغي أن نفسر علمانية الغرب (وبكل تأكيد علمانية تركيا) على أنها “غير دينية” في أساسها، فهي علمانية برزت كرد فعل على طغيان الكنيسة، أو علماء الدين، وبالتالي فإن الدين يتخلل فلسفاتهم السياسية. ولكن كيف يكون هذا؟

فكما نرى، أنجيلا ميركل ترأس الحزب الديمقراطي المسيحي في ألمانيا. وفي أمريكا، من الممكن انتخاب رئيس أسود، أو امرأة، أو رئيس يهودي، وهلم جرا؛ ولكن الملحد لن تكون له أية فرصة.

أنا أعتبر نفسي إسلاميًا، وأعتقد في الإسلام السياسي، إلا أنني أجد نفسي على خلاف مع ما يمكن أن نطلق عليه “التيار الإسلامي الرئيسي”، لأنني بصراحة، أجد فيه الكثير من الاحتيال. كمسلم، من المنطقي أن يشكل ديني وجهات نظري السياسية، ورؤيتي لكيفية إدارة الحكومات، تماما كما يشكل أي شخص آخر آراءه السياسية على أساس مجموعة معتقداته العقدية العامة. ولا أرى سببًا يجعل هذا الأمر مثيرًا للجدل، أو سببًا يجعله يمثل أي تهديد لأي أحد، أو سببًا يجعل وجهات نظري السياسية يتم استبعادها لمجرد أنني توصلت إليها من خلال نظام عقائدي يختلف عن نظام غير المسلمين.

قد تقول أن النصوص الإسلامية لا تدعم مثل عليا مثل المساواة، والحرية، والتسامح، وما إلى ذلك؛ كما يمكنني أن أقول الشيء نفسه عن النصوص المسيحية، ولكن ما هو الهدف من كل هذا؟ هذه المثل العليا هي ما أتخذه من نصوصي، وهي ما تتخذه أنت من نصوصك، ولا يهمني حقًا كيف وصلت إلى هذه المثل العليا، ولا يجب أن تهتم أنت كيف وصلت إنا إليها؛ فهي مُثُل مشتركة.

إن الإسلام السياسي بالنسبة لي يعني الحكومة التي تجسد قيمي ومبادئي الدينية وتهتم بتعزيز هذه القيم في المجتمع الذي أعيش فيه من خلال التطبيق العملي للقوانين والسياسات والأنظمة؛ والتي، إن كنا صادقين، هي نفس ما يريده غير المسلمين من حكوماتهم. وما لا يعنيه الإسلام السياسي بالنسبة لي، هو أن يكون نظام قديم من الحكم يحاول أن يقلد نموذجًا انتهى قبل 1400 سنة، ولا هو يمثل نموذج العصر الإمبراطوري الإسلامي. وكما ذكرت مرات لا حصر لها، لا يوجد نظام حكومي منصوص عليه في الإسلام؛ هناك عدد من الأسس والتشريعات المتعلقة بالمسائل المجتمعية، وأي حكومة تنفذها، أو حتى تلتزم بالسعي إلى تحقيق هذه الأسس، ستكون مقبولة.

يوجد لدينا تاريخ عريق يمدنا بتوجيهات هائلة تعيننا على فهم كيفية إدارة الدول، وكيفية إدارة الحكومات وتنظيمها، وكيفية إدارة الاقتصاد لتحقيق المنفعة العامة للمجتمع، وبالطبع، في تاريخنا، هناك أيضا أمثلة وفيرة من الطغيان والاضطهاد. فعندما نشير إلى تاريخنا يجب أن نتعلم مما أصبنا ومما أخطأنا فيه؛ وأنا لا أعتقد أن هذا شيء غريب على المسلمين.

أما الإسلاميين في التيار الرئيسي اليوم فهم، في رأيي، محتالون يستخدمون الدين لرسم مكانة لأنفسهم في المشهد السياسي الذي لم يتمكنوا من تحقيقه بسبب جهلهم العميق وعدم كفاءتهم. فهم يبثون الخطاب الفارغ والخلاف الذي ينفر المثقفين المسلمين وغير المسلمين على حد سواء، ويقدمون عن غير قصد أفضل حجة ممكنة للعلمانية، وليحفظنا الله من مثل هؤلاء لو حازوا على السلطة في أي وقت.

إن الإسلام السياسي الحقيقي له كل الحق في أن يكون له مكان في الطيف السياسي، ولا يوجد سبب يمنعه من كسب دعم غير المسلمين والمسلمين، ولكن علينا أن نحدده ونوضحه، بل ونطوره من الناحية النظرية، بطريقة تجعله أكثر من مجرد شعارات وردود أفعال متعلقة بالهوية.

Gulf-subsidized Islamism

Like any social movement, in order for Political Islam to succeed, it will need to grow from the grassroots.  It will need to express and address not only the genuine concerns of the general public, but it will also have to reflect their understanding, interpretation, and their relationship with Islam.  Islamist leadership is going to have to learn to preach less and listen more.

But we have a problem.


Gulf money has created a class of career Islamists; people who make their living promoting a version of Islamism that suits the ideology and interests of rich Khaleeji shaykhs, even if it does not adhere to the views of the masses. We know from extensive polling data that the majority of Muslims support making Shari’ah the law of the land.  Most Muslims would like to see their governments become more Islamic. But at the same time, most Islamist parties are losing their appeal for the general public, who tend to view them as either too extreme or too obsequious. The Islamists are becoming increasingly disconnected from the people who should be their constituency; and I believe a major reason for that is that they no longer have to depend upon them for their financial survival.


Instead, Islamist organizations and individuals rely on the patronage of wealthy men from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE. The GCC has become a giant ATM machine for them, and it is much easier and more lucrative to go to the Gulf for a handout that will be given in huge bundles of cash rather than to collect a few coins here and there from the generally impoverished Muslim community at large.  But this affects the entire discourse of Political Islam, and this discourse affects the extent to which the idea resonates with the Muslim community; or alienates them.


Political Islam is becoming a propaganda project rather than a social movement.  The vision of Islamism is being determined, not from the grassroots, but from palaces in the Gulf States. It is not a “peoples’ Islamsim”. It is an Islamism of elites.  And this is reflected in how impractical, utopian, narrow-minded and absolutist the discourse is becoming.  It reflects a vision of people who live in a bubble of relative privilege. It is anti-democratic, pro-capitalist, intolerant, and astoundingly uneducated about the real dynamics of geopolitics, economics, and international affairs in general. And, it is worth noting, it is a vision which is never applied to the Gulf States themselves.


To some extent, we can assume that Islamism’s Gulf sponsors are sincerely driven by ideology.  They genuinely believe in their interpretation of the religion, and really think that the Muslim masses are astray to one degree or another; so they use their wealth to try to purge us of our misunderstandings.  Most Muslims believe in following the approach of the first three generations of Islam; but most of us are not Najdi, “Wahhabi” or “Salafi” or whatever term you want to use for their puritanical, literalist interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Following the example of the Sahabah and the Salaf means different things to different people.  I am not criticizing the Salafi minhaj, but it is not the only acceptable minhaj.  It developed as a necessary reformist response to the particular circumstances at a particular time and place.  The “Najdi da’awah” did not gain much traction in the wider Muslim world for over 100 years; basically, not until the region’s oil wealth began to flow. For even most of my life, the Salafis were associated with the view that Muslims should not involve themselves in politics.  They were the people that focused on the length of someone’s beard and trousers, and they thought Sayid Qutb was a deviant.


Today most of the Islamic organizations in the world, from humanitarian relief to schools, from websites to satellite channels, depend on money from the Arabian Gulf.  And, yes, Islamist parties from across the spectrum, from the Ikhwan to the jihadis, all turn to the GCC for considerable portions of their budget. And this trend of dependency has had an accompanying trend of intellectual ossification, if not outright petrification.


One would be forgiven for suspecting that the Khaleej decided to begin funding Islamism in order to control and undermine it.  Whatever the case may be, the Gulf is in a position to dominate the discourse of Political Islam today, and unless we begin to build a grassroots popular Islamic movement, I fear that the entire Islamist project will become increasingly irrelevant to the lives of most Muslims.




The deterioration of Islamism

(to be published in Arabic for Arabi21)

The election of Donald Trump to the American presidency takes place within the context of a global trend towards Right-wing nationalism.  This trend takes place within the context of global discontent with a status quo that has been managed for decades by center-Left political parties.

In France, which will hold elections next year, Francois Hollande has a lower approval rating than George W. Bush at the nadir of his popularity.  The National Front (the anti-Europe, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, overtly racist far-Right party) is the most popular political party in France; it is expected to win at least 40% of the votes in the upcoming election, which will see Neo-Fascists take the government.

In Italy, there is to be a constitutional referendum on December 4th which most Italians view as a vote for or against the authority of Brussels.  Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said that he will resign if the referendum’s proposal is rejected, and it will be rejected; thus Italy will be forced to hold elections. In all likelihood, this will result in a Right-wing coalition taking power.

The administration of Angela Merkel in Germany is also vulnerable, and will most likely fall next year, again, being replaced by a far-Right, nationalist government.

Left-wing parties are less able to harvest the fruits of popular discontent primarily because they are relentlessly attacked by the center-Left.  Bernie Sanders in the US was sabotaged by his own party, and the major European Left parties have been the prime opponents of Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, and so on.

How will this shift to the Right impact the Musllims?

The obvious answer to this question is that it will make life considerably more difficult.  And, frankly, I expect that we are beginning a new era within our Ummah of, for lack of a better term, secularization.  Advocating Political Islam is going to become entirely too dangerous, and more and more people will feel it is wiser to compromise and capitulate with a power structure that will be increasingly vicious.

But the real blame for this, in my opinion, cannot be laid at the feet of the ultra-Right, but rather Islamists themselves are responsible.  Whether we are talking about the Muslim Brotherhood at one end of the spectrum, or Da’esh at the other end; the voices of Political Islam have miserably failed to offer a clear, constructive, and responsive program.  In the absence of any articulate policies and comprehensive plans, it is not realistic to expect people to stand up and face the very real risks involved with advocating Political Islam.

Da’esh as a territorial project is essentially over. They will continue to struggle through small scale terrorist attacks and setting up franchises around the world, no doubt, but this will only push more people away from the concepts they champion; quite simply because 1.) people will have to distance themselves from such ideas for their own safety, and 2.) because, at the end of the day, not only do terrorist attacks do nothing useful to advance the ideas advocated by the perpetrators, but they also do nothing helpful in terms of the real issues affecting people’s lives.

We are entering an era in which people will no longer tolerate empty slogans, but it is also an era in which people are entirely open to radical change.  This should be a marvelous opportunity for Islamism, but unfortunately, Islamism’s proponents have failed to do the serious intellectual work that would make it a viable alternative to either the status quo or to the ultra-Right wing.  Therefore, I expect, the relevance of the Islamist project will be diminished year after year, and our people will turn elsewhere for solutions.  We have no one to blame for this but ourselves.


عن اعتزال الفِرَق                                     On avoiding sects…

روي في الصحيحين وفي غيريهما عَن أَبِي إِدْرِيْس الْخَوْلَانِي أَنَّه سَمِع حُذَيْفَة يَقُوْل:

“كَان الْنَّاس يَسْأَلُوْن رَسُوْل الْلَّه-صَلَّى الْلَّه عَلَيْه وَسَلَّم- عَن الْخَيْر، وَكُنْت أَسْأَلُه عَن الْشَّر مَخَافَة أَن يُدْرِكَنِي، فَقُلْت: يَا رَسُوْل الْلَّه، إِنَّا كُنَّا فِي جَاهِلِيَّة وَشَر فَجَاءَنَا الْلَّه بِهَذَا الْخَيْر فَهَل بَعْد الْخَيْر شَر؟ قَال: نَعَم. فَقُلْت: فَهَل بَعْد هَذَا الْشَّر مِن خَيْر؟ قَال: نَعَم وَفِيْه دَخَن، قَال قُلْت: وَمَا دَخَنُه؟ قَال: قَوْم يَسْتَنُّون بِغَيْر سُنَّتِي وَّيَهْدُوْن بِغَيْر هَدْيِي تَعْرِف مِنْهُم وَتُنْكِر، فَقُلْت هَل بَعْد ذَلِك الْخَيْر مِن شَر؟ قَال: نَعَم فِتْنَة عَمْيَاء دُعَاة عَلَى أَبْوَاب جَهَنَّم، مَن أَجَابَهُم إِلَيْهَا قَذَفُوْه فِيْهَا. فَقُلْت: يَا رَسُوْل الْلَّه، صِفْهُم لَنَا، قَال: نَعَم، قَوْم مِن جِلْدَتِنَا وَيَتَكَلَّمُوْن بِأَلْسِنَتِنَا، فَقُلْت: يَا رَسُوْل الْلَّه، وَمَا تَأْمُرُنِي إِن أَدْرَكْت ذَلِك، قَال تَلْزَم جَمَاعَة الْمُسْلِمِيْن وَإِمَامَهُم قُلْت فَإِن لَم يَكُن لَهُم جَمَاعَة وَلَا إِمَام؟ قَال: فَاعْتَزِل تِلْك الْفِرَق كُلَّهَا، وَلَو أَن تَعَض عَلَى أَصْل الْشَّجَرَة حَتَّى يُدْرِكَك الْمَوْت وَأَنْت عَلَى ذَلِك”.

يبدو لي أن ما حدث بعد تفكك الدولة العثمانية؛ أي بعد تقسيم بلاد المسلمين إلى دول قومية وابتداع الجنسيات، وبالتالي القوميات، يمكن أن يُقَارن منطقيًا بالفترة الموضحة في الحديث أعلاه حيث لا يوجد كيان رئيس للمسلمين يوحدهم تحت إمارة إمام واحد، والدول القومية نفسها، في هذه الحالة، يمكن اعتبارها كفِرَق.

والفِرَق المتمثلة في الدول القومية تؤدي إلى ظهور فِرَق فرعية؛ مثل الجماعات المعارضة والجماعات المتطرفة، والحركات الانفصالية…الخ، وكل هذه الفِرَق في تفسيرها وتطبيقها للدين منشغلة بأمور قومية، وتركز اهتمامها على القضايا الدولانية والهوية الثقافية، كما هي حالة العديد من المنظمات الاسلامية اليوم.

أرى أن المفكرين من جماعة الإخوان المسلمين في مصر، على سبيل المثال، أو من الجماعة الإسلامية في باكستان، يميلون إلى تفسير الدين من خلال عدسة الظروف الاجتماعية والسياسية التي كانوا يعيشون فيها، وبهدف تجنيد العقيدة الدينية في دعم أهدافهم السياسية، بدلا من تفسير ظروفهم من خلال عدسة الدين، وبدلا من اشتقاق أهدافهم السياسية من العقيدة الدينية.  هؤلاء المفكرين، وتفسيراتهم، أصبحوا هم المرجعية التي تنتمي إليها الجماعات الإسلامية، مما يجعلهم أقرب لشكل الفِرَق.  إلى حد ما، هذا النمط لا مفر منه لأية مجموعة، فمنظريهم ومفكريهم يصبحون هم السلطة الدينية لهذه الجماعات، فهم فقهائها، ومفسريها، حتى إن لم يكونوا مؤهلين لهذه الأدوار، وحتى لو اختلفت رؤاهم لبعض الأمور بشكل كبير عن الإجماع التاريخي.  ونتيجة لهذا النمط، تنعزل معرفة وفهم أعضاء المجموعة، وبقدر أو بآخر، تصبح مشوهة.  مرة أخرى، هذه الظاهرة أقرب ما تكون لشكل الفِرَق.

في الغالب نحن عندما نتحدث عن “البنيان الرئيسي” للمسلمين، فنحن لا نتحدث عن مجموعة بشكل حرفي، بل عن توافق في العقيدة والتفسير يتمسك بالإجماع والتفسير المبنيين خلال الأجيال السابقة.  في هذه الحالة، فقد أخبرنا نبينا ﷺ أن نتمسك بالجماعة، وهي نفس نصيحته في ظل غياب الجماعة، لآننا بهذا نعزل أنفسنا عن الفِرَق.  فإذا لم تكن هناك جماعة (أي إن لم يكن هناك أي تمثيل فعلي للمعتقدات الراسخة لأهل السنة والجماعة)، فالمطلوب منا مرة أخرى هو تجنب كل الفِرَق، أي ببساطة عزل أنفسنا. وفي كلتا الحالتين، فخلاصنا يكون في الامتناع عن الانضمام إلى أي من الفِرَق التي قد تنشأ، لأنهم “دُعَاة عَلَى أَبْوَاب جَهَنَّم”.

يجب أن نذكر هنا أن تعبير “دُعَاة عَلَى أَبْوَاب جَهَنَّم” لا يعني بالضرورة أنهم وأتباعهم سيعاقبون بالخلود في جهنم، ولا يعني بالضرورة أنهم مرتدون يدعون الآخرين إلى الردة، ولكنه يعني ببساطة أن أخطائهم خطيرة بحيث أنها تشكل كبائر، وبهذا سيستحقون عقوبة الله.

من حيث التنبؤ بالمستقبل، فهذا الأمر مفيد لأنه يخبرنا أن النصر النهائي للإسلام لن يأتي على يد أي من هذه الفِرَق، لا من الفِرَق التي في شكل دول قومية ولا من الفِرَق الفرعية التي تعمل بداخلها. في المقابل، فإن النصر سيأتي من التمسك بالبنيان الرئيسي للمسلمين والتمسك بالتوافق الذي تم بنائه في العقيدة والتفسير.

In the Two Sahihs, and elsewhere,  it is reported on the authority of Abu Idris Al-Khawlany that he heard Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yaman say:“People used to ask the Messenger of Allah  about the good, but I used to ask him about the evil lest it should afflict me.

Once I said, “O Messenger of Allah! We were living in ignorance and evil, then Allah bestowed upon us this goodness (i.e. Islam), so will there be evil after this goodness?” He said, “Yes”. I said, “Will there be goodness after that evil?” He said, “Yes, but in it there will be Dakhan (blemish, impurity).” I said, “What will its Dakhan be?” He said, “A people following a way other than my way (Sunnah) and calling to a guidance other than my guidance; you will approve of some of their actions and disapprove of others.” I said, “Will there be evil after that goodness?” He said, “Yes, callers on the doors of Hellfire; whoever accepts their invitation to it they will throw into it.” I said, “O Messenger of Allah! Describe them to us.” He said, “They are from our own people, speaking our language.” I said, “O Messenger of Allah! What do you command me to do if this happens in my time?” He said, “Adhere to the Jama‘ah (main body or group) of Muslims and their Imam (leader).” I said, “What if there was not a main group for them or a leader? He said, “Then detach yourself from all these sects, even if you have to bite the root of a tree until death comes to you while you are in that state.”

It does seem to me that what occurred after the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire; the partitioning of the Muslim lands into nation-states and the creation of nationalities, and thus, nationalisms, can reasonably be compared to the period described in the above hadith in which there is no main body of Muslims unified under one imam, and that the nation-states themselves can possibly be regarded as sects.

The sects of nation-states give birth to sub-sects; opposition groups, extremist groups, separatist movements, and so on, whose interpretation and application of the religion are preoccupied with matters of a nationalistic nature, and fixated on issues of statism and cultural identity; as is the case with many of the Islamist organizations today.

Thinkers from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for instance, or from Jamaat Islami in Pakistan, in my opinion, tended to interpret the religion through the lens of the social and political circumstances in which they lived, and with a view to recruiting religious doctrine in support of their political aims; rather than interpreting their circumstances through the lens of the religion, and rather than deriving their political aims from religious doctrine.  These thinkers, and their interpretations, have become the major point of reference for the Islamic groups to which they belonged, and that is a quality of a sect.  To some extent, this is an inevitable pattern for any group; its ideologues and intellectuals become the group’s religious authorities, its jurists, its mufassireen, even if they are not qualified for these roles, and even if their opinions on certain matters differed significantly from the historical scholarly consensus.  As a result of this pattern, the knowledge and understanding of the group’s members become insular, and, to one degree or another, distorted.  Again, this is a sect-like phenomenon.

What is most likely is that when we talk about a “main body” of Muslims, we are not talking about a literal group, but about a consensus of belief and interpretation which adheres to the established consensus and interpretation of the previous generations.  In this case, our Prophet ﷺ told us to adhere to the Jama’ah, which is like his advice in the absence of a Jama’ah, because it means distancing ourselves from sects.  If there is no Jama’ah (meaning if there is no longer any considerable representation of the established beliefs of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah), we are again told to avoid all of the sects, and simply seclude ourselves.  In either case, our recourse is to abstain from joining any sects that may emerge, for they are “callers to the Gates of Hell”.

It should be stated here that being a “caller to the Gates of Hell” does not necessarily mean that they and their followers will be punished with eternal damnation.  It does not necessarily mean that they are apostates inviting others to apostasy; it simply means that their errors are so grave that they constitute major sins, because of which they will earn Allah’s Punishment

In terms of forecasting the future, this is informative because it tells us that the ultimate victory of Islam will not come at the hands of any of these sects; neither the nation-state sects nor the sub-sects that operate within them.  Rather, victory will come from adherence to the main body of the Muslims and to the established consensus of belief and interpretation.

التفاصيل العملية للإسلام السياسي               The nuts and bolts of Political Islam

سيكون على دستور الدولة الإسلامية أن يضع الشريعة كقانون أعلى للبلاد؛ أي أن السلطات التشريعية للحكومة ستقع ضمن حدود هذه المعايير. أما القوانين الأساسية والصريحة للشريعة والمتفق عليها فسيتم تأسيسها دستوريًا، ولن يتم سن أي تشريع يتناقض مع الشريعة الإسلامية.  وإذا وجد أي قانون يتعارض مع الأحكام الصادرة من الكتاب والسنة، سواء منذ البداية أو عند مراجعته في أي وقت لاحق، فسيتم إلغاءه.  الدستور، بالضرورة، سيحتاج أن يكون قابلًا للتعديل بشكل مشروط، ومع ذلك، فإن التعديلات أيضًا لا يمكن أن تتعارض مع الشريعة الإسلامية، وأما وضع الشريعة الإسلامية باعتبارها المصدر الأعلى للتشريع فهذه لا يمكن أبدًا أن تكون عرضة للتغيير أو التعديل.

من الممكن أن نتصور نموذجًا لحكومة تتألف فيه السلطة التشريعية من ثلاثة أقسام: 1) الهيئة الأدنى فيه وهي مثل مجلس النواب تتألف من ممثلين تنتخبهم الجماهير العامة، وهؤلاء عليهم أن يمثلوا مصالح ناخبيهم، ويدعون لاحتياجاتهم ومطالبهم، ويصيغون مقترحات تشريعية وفقا لذلك.  2) أما الهيئة الأعلى فيه فهي مثل مجلس الشيوخ وتتألف من ممثلي منظمات المجتمع المدني والنقابات العمالية، والجمعيات المهنية والأكاديمية وسيكونون منتخبين من قبل أعضاء هذه الجهات، وأي اقتراح تشريعي تقوم بصياغته الهيئة الأدنى سيتم عرضه على الهيئة الأعلى للنظر فيه ومراجعته، وذلك بالاستعانة بمعرفتهم المتخصصة وخبرتهم.  ويمكن للهيئة الأعلى أيضًا أن تقترح التشريعات، وهذه سيكون من شأنها أن يمر عبر الهيئة الأدنى للتصديق الشعبي عليها.  وأي اقتراح تشريعي أقره كل من الهيئتين سيتم عرضه على مجلس أعلى من “العلماء” كي يحددوا مدى مطابقته لأحكام الشريعة.  وإذا اعتبر الاقتراح متعارض مع أحكام الشريعة الإسلامية، سيتم شرح أوجه القصور فيه، وسيعاد هذا الاقتراح الى الهيئة الأدنى للتعديل.  وأما إذا اعتبر الاقتراح متوافق مع أحكام الشريعة الإسلامية، فسيقدم بعد ذلك إلى الحاكم للتصديق أو النقض.

من خلال هذا الهيكل، سيتم صياغة التشريعات أولا كاستجابة لاحتياجات ومطالب الجمهور، وسيعاد النظر فيها من قبل ممثلين من ذوي الخبرة في المجالات ذات الصلة لهذه المقترحات لتحديد سلامتها وتأثيرها الاجتماعي والاقتصادي المحتمل، وأخيرا، سيتم تقييم مدى التزامها بالشريعة الإسلامية، مما يضمن أن أي تشريع سيكون من شأنه أن يلبي الشروط الثلاثة الأكثر أهمية بالنسبة للحكومة الرشيدة.

كما ذكرت عدة مرات، فإن جل ما تفعله الحكومة علاقته قليلة أو تكاد تكون معدومة بالشريعة، فهي تتعامل مع قضايا سياسة دنيوية لن نجد لها توجيهات صريحة في القرآن والسنة.

على سبيل المثال، الهيئة الدنيا للسلطة التشريعية قد تقترح تغيير في برنامج وجبة الغداء المدرسية، أو طلب تمويل إضافي للنقل العام، أو قد تقترح وضع حد أقصى لرواتب المديرين التنفيذيين للشركات.  هذه الأمور لا تعتبر، بالمعنى الدقيق للكلمة، من مسائل الشريعة.  ثم يتم استعراض المقترحات من قبل الهيئة العليا، وتتم دراستها من قبل لجان متخصصة داخلية ومتمرسة في المجالات ذات الصلة (التعليم، ورعاية الأطفال، والصحة، والنقل العام، والاقتصاد والأعمال، الخ) لتحديد جدواها وتأثيرها الاجتماعي. ثم يعرض الاقتراح على مجلس “العلماء” للتقييم، مشفوعًا باستنتاجات الهيئة الأعلى حول فائدة هذا الاقتراح، ليحددوا ما إذا كان هذا القانون الجديد يتفق مع أحكام الشريعة الإسلامية أو لا.

يبدو لي أن هذا الهيكل معقول.  ولكن من الواضح أنه ستكون هناك حاجة إلى تدابير تهدف إلى منع الفساد والمحسوبية والحفاظ على الاستقامة، وهذه ستدرج في الدستور.

ما ذكرته أعلاه هو محاولة لطرح الأفكار، ودعوة للمفكرين الاسلاميين والقادة للبدء بعد كل هذا الوقت في عمل صياغة حقيقية للإسلام السياسي، لكي نقوم بتطوير نموذج نعرضه على الشعوب، بدلا من التصريحات الجوفاء.

هناك كم هائل من العمل مطلوب القيام به، وعلينا أن نقوم بكل هذا حتى قبل أن نبدأ في السعي للسلطة.  فمن أجل أن يكون نموذج مثل الذي اقترحته أعلاه قابلًا للتطبيق، بالتأكيد سيكون هناك قدرًا كبيرًا من العمل التأسيسي مطلوب القيام به، وحتى يكون لدى الإسلاميين أنفسهم فكرة عن كيفية التعامل مع قضايا مثل تلك التي ذكرتها… يوجد الكثير هنا علينا القيام به.  فعلى سبيل المثال، ما هو قول الإسلاميون في برامج وجبات الغداء المدرسية؟ حول وسائل النقل العامة؟ حول التفاوت الكبير بين رواتب المديرين التنفيذيين والعمال العاديين؟ هل لديهم أي أراء؟ هذه هي نوعية القضايا التي تتعامل معها الحكومة، فكيف تسعون للحصول على مناصب حكومية رغم أنه لا توجد لديكم أية مواقف بشأن هذه القضايا؟

لقد حان الوقت لكن نصبح  أكثر جدية!  علينا تحديد المواقف السياسية للإسلام السياسي، وتصميم نموذج للحكومة، والبدء في بناء وحشد الدعم له.


تنويه: هذه النسخة منقحة ونهائية!

A constitution for an Islamic state would need to fix the Shari’ah as the supreme law of the land; the legislative powers of the government would be limited within these parameters.  The agreed upon fundamental and explicit laws of the Shari’ah would be constitutionally established, and no legislation could be enacted that contradicted Shari’ah.  If any law was deemed to contradict the rulings of the Kitab wa Sunnah, whether initially or upon review at a later time, it would be annulled.  The constitution, necessarily, would need to be conditionally amendable, however, amendments also could not contradict Islamic Law, and Shari’ah’s status as the supreme source of legislation would not be subject to change or amendment.

It is possible to envision a governmental model in which the legislature is comprised of three sections. The lower house of the legislature would be comprised of representatives elected by the general public.  They would represent the interests of their constituents, advocate their needs and demands, and draft legislative proposals accordingly.  The upper house of the legislature would be comprised of representatives from civil society organizations, labor unions, and professional and academic associations who would be elected by their members.  Any legislative proposal drafted by the lower house would be submitted to the upper house for consideration and review, utilizing their specialized knowledge and experience.  The upper house could also propose legislation, and this would also have to pass through the lower house for popular ratification.  Any legislative proposal passed by the lower and upper houses would then be submitted to the high council of ‘Ulema who would determine its compliance with the Shari’ah.  If the proposal was deemed to contradict with the Shari’ah, its shortcomings would be explained, and the proposal would be returned to the lower houses of the legislature for modification.  If the proposal was deemed compliant with the Shari’ah, it would then be submitted to the ruler for ratification or veto.

In such a structure, legislation would be drafted first to respond to the needs and demands of the public, it would be reviewed by representatives with expertise in the fields relevant to the proposal to determine its soundness and potential socioeconomic impact, and finally, it would be evaluated for its adherence to Islamic Law; thus ensuring that any legislation would meet the three most important requirements for wise government.

As I have mentioned numerous times, the bulk of what government does has little or nothing to do with Shari’ah; it deals with mundane policy issues for which we will not find explicit guidance in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

For example, the lower house of the legislature proposes a change in the school lunch program, or requests additional funding for public transportation, or proposes a cap on the salaries of corporate executives.  Such matters are not, strictly speaking, matters of Shari’ah.  The proposals would be reviewed by the upper house , studied by internal dedicated committees specialized in relevant fields (education, child care, health, mass transit, economics and business, etc) to determine their feasibility and social impact.  The proposal would be submitted to the ‘Ulema for evaluation, including the upper house’s conclusions about the benefits of the proposal, and they would determine if the new law complies with the Shari’ah.

This seems to me like a plausible structure.  Obviously, there would need to be measures to prevent corruption and favoritism and preserve integrity; and these would be included in the constitution.

This is an effort to brainstorm, and an invitation to Islamist thinkers and leaders to finally begin the real work of Political Islam; to develop a model we can offer to the people, instead of hollow rhetoric.

There is a tremendous amount of work to do, and we have to do it before we even begin to seek power.  For a model such as the one I suggested above to be workable, obviously, there is a great deal of groundwork that would need to be done; and even for Islamists to have an idea of how to approach issues like the ones I mentioned, we have work to do. For instance, what do the Islamists have to say about school lunch programs?  About public transportation? About the huge disparity between the salaries of executives and average workers? Do they know?  These are the kinds of things government deals with, so how can you be seeking governmental positions while you have no stance on such issues?

It is time for us to become serious; define the policy positions of Political Islam, design a model for government, and start building support.

الإسلام السياسي والفقراء                         Islamism and the poor

هناك نوع من الإنفراجة تحدث حاليًا بين الكنيسة الكاثوليكية واليسار السياسي ومعظمنا لاهين عنها تمامًا، فالبابا الجديد ينحدر من أمريكا اللاتينية، وهي بيت لاهوت التحرير في سبعينيات وثمانينيات القرن المنصرم، وهي الفترة التي شهدت القساوسة الكاثوليك وهم على الخطوط الأمامية في نضال الفقراء ضد النيوليبرالية.  وبما أن النيوليبرالية أصبحت هي النظام الاقتصادي السائد عالميًا، فيبدو أن الكنيسة قد اعترفت بأهمية مواءمة نفسها مع الفقراء في جميع أنحاء العالم، ومع الذين يدعون لنظم اقتصادية بديلة؛ على الأقل كنوع من العلاقات العامة، وعلينا أن نحترز لهذا الأمر جيدًا.

في عام 2014 عقد الفاتيكان اجتماعًا مع الماركسيين الأوروبيين حيث “اتفق الجانبان على وضع” جدول للعمل”، للسماح لكل واحد بتحصيل فهم أفضل للجانب الآخر، و”لإجراء تحليلات وحلول مشتركة على نطاق واسع، ومتى كان ممكنًا، لتحديد مجالات عمل مشتركة”. نعم كما ترون، الكاثوليكيين يتحدون مع الملحدين من أجل الفقراء، لأنه بشكل مذهبي وخطابي، فإن كلا الطرفان يشعران بتقارب مع الطبقة الدنيا.

بالنسبة للكنيسة، فهذه مسألة يحافظ على مصداقيتهم مع الدوائر الأساسية في أفريقيا وأمريكا اللاتينية، التي يعاني سكانها بشكل كبير من استعمار الشركات، فالكنيسة الكاثوليكية تحتاج أن يكون لها تواجدًا، أو على أي حال صورة من صور التواجد، في النضال من أجل العدالة الاجتماعية؛ وهو الصراع الذي يقوده اليساريون في معظم الأحيان، وبشكل واضح، في كثير من البلدان.

علينا أن نتفكر في هذا كإسلاميين، فبلداننا هي الحدود الجديدة للهجوم النيوليبرالي، ونحن لا نستجيب بأي شكل، وقد تقولون “فليعمل الكاثوليكيين والملحدين معًا فكلهم كفار على أية حال!”، ولكنكم ستفقدون جوهر الأمر بهذا الشكل… فالكنيسة تعلم أنها إن لم تنضم إلى كفاح الطبقة الفقيرة، حتى ولو كان على المستوى الخطابي فقط، فإنها ستفقد ولاء الشعب. والإسلاميون والإسلام السياسي يواجهون مستويات غير مسبوقة من عدم الرضا بين المسلمين للأسباب نفسها تحديدًا، فنحن لا نعمل على تلبية الاحتياجات الأساسية لشعوبنا، وليس لدينا شيء لنقوله عن النيوليبرالية، ولا نقدم أي خطة اقتصادية بديلة، ونحن إما غافلين أو غير مبالين بأوضاع الفقراء في مجتمعاتنا، باستثناء توزيع المساعدات الذي يحدث كل فنية وأخرى لدوافع سياسية هنا وهناك.

كما أننا نرفض التعاون مع الجماعات غير الإسلامية حتى إذا كان عملهم قيمًا، وحتى لو كان في إمكاننا أن نتعلم منهم… وإذا واصلنا على هذا النحو، فسينتهي بنا الأمر أن نهمش أنفسنا، في حين أن الآخرين (مثل اليساريين) سيكونون بانتظار ليرحبوا بأذرع مفتوحة وبأفكار جاهزة، بكل من سينفضون عنا بسبب قلة كفاءتنا وانعدام صلتنا بما يحدث.


تنويه: هذه النسخة منقحة ونهائية!  

There is a kind of détente underway between the Catholic Church and the political Left about which most of us are unaware. The new pope hails from Latin America, the home of Liberation Theology in the 1970s and 80s, which saw Catholic priests on the frontlines in the struggle of the poor against neoliberalism.  As neoliberalism has become the prevalent economic system globally, the church seems to have recognized the importance of aligning itself with the poor worldwide, and with those who advocate alternative economic systems; at least for the sake of public relations.  We should take note of this.In 2014 the Vatican held a meeting with European Marxists at which “both sides agree on establishing a “Working Table”, in order to permit each one to better understand the other side, and “to work out widely shared analyses and solutions, and where possible, to define joint fields of action”. Yes, Catholics joining ranks with Atheists for the sake of the poor, because, doctrinally and rhetorically, both parties identify with the underclass.

For the church, this is a matter of maintaining their own credibility with their core constituencies in Africa and Latin America, whose populations are suffering tremendously from corporate imperialism.  The Catholic Church needs to have a presence, or anyway, the image of a presence, in the struggle for social justice; a struggle which the Leftists are most often, and most obviously, leading in many countries.

We have to consider this as Islamists.  Our countries are the new frontier of  the neoliberal assault, and we are not responding.  You can say “the Catholics can work with the Atheists because anyway, they are all kuffar”, but you would be missing the point. The church knows that if it does not join the struggle of the underclass, even on a rhetorical level, it will lose the loyalty of the people.  Islamists and Islamism are facing unprecedented levels of dissatisfaction among the Muslims for exactly the same reasons.  We are not addressing the basic needs of the people, we have nothing to say about neoliberalism, we present no alternative economic plan, and we are either oblivious or indifferent about the conditions of the poor in our societies, except for politically motivated distribution of charity here and there.

We refuse to cooperate with non-Islamist groups even if their work is valuable, and even if we can learn from them. If we continue in this manner, we will marginalize ourselves, and others (such as Leftists) will be waiting to welcome with open arms, and with ideas, those who desert us because of our incompetence and irrelevance.



عليكم أولا بفهم القانون                         Know the Law

لماذا من المهم التعرف على الآيات والأحاديث التي تشكل في حقيقتها الشريعة بشكل مباشر وواضح؟ لأن الشريعة هي ما ندعو إليه جميعًا وما نريده جميعًا، وعلى هذا الأساس قال الكثيرون منا بتكفير الحكام الذين لا “يحكمون بما أنزل الله”. لذا علينا أن نعرف ما هو في واقع الأمر.

كيف يمكنك أن تعرف أن الحاكم لا يحكم بما أنزل الله، إذا كنت لا تعرف ما أنزله الله؟

هل تعتقد أنه يعني أنه لن يكون هناك أي بيع أو تناول للكحول في الأراضي التي تحكمها الشريعة الإسلامية؟ ولكن النبيذ باعها وتناولها أهل الذمة تحت الحكم الإسلامي. هل تعتقد أنه يعني أنه لن يكون هناك ربا؟ ولكن العديد من المذاهب الفقهية (باستثناء الحنفية) سمحت للكفار أن يتعاملوا بالربا. هل تعتقد أنه يعني أن على جميع النساء ارتداء الحجاب؟ ولكن غير المسلمات لم يكن يرتدين الحجاب، بل في الواقع، لم يكن يسمح لهن بلبسه. هل تعتقد أن ذلك يعني، في مصر على سبيل المثال، أن الأقباط سيتم طردهم أو منعهم من ممارسة شعائرهم الدينية؟ ولكن الخلافة لطالما حافظت على حق الأقليات الدينية في ممارسة شعائرها. فما الذي ندعو إليه تحديدًا؟ هل أنت متأكد من أننا ندعو إلى الشريعة وليس إلى مجرد تفسيرنا وفهمنا لها، وهو تفسير قد يتعارض فعلًا مع فهم الدولة الإسلامية للشريعة على مر 1400 سنة الماضية؟

هل تعلم أنه كان مسموحًا للزرادشتيين الذين يعيشون في ظل الدولة الإسلامية بإجراء الزواج بين الأخوة؟ وعلى هذا الأساس، يقول البعض أنه حتى زواج المثليين قد يكون مسموحًا به في الشريعة إذا وقع بين غير المسلمين. لم يكن غير المسلمين في ظل الدولة الإسلامية خاضعين للمحاكم الشرعية إلا إذا كانت القضية تتعلق بمسلم. لذلك، كما ترون فهتاف “إسلامية! إسلامية! “ليس بالسطحية التي قد يظنها معظمنا. هل نفترض أن معظم الجهاديين الذين يطالبون بحكومة إسلامية يضعون في الاعتبار أن القواعد الإسلامية ستطبق على المسلمين فقط؟ أم لعلهم ينوون طرد غير المسلمين، حتى لو أنهم غيرمعادين أو معتدين؟ لماذا تعتقد أن غير المسلمين الذين كانوا يعيشون في الخلافة الإسلامية كانوا يرتدون ملابس سهلة في التعرف عليها أو شارات محددة؟ أحد الأسباب على أقل هي أن يتم إعفائهم من قواعد الشريعة الإسلامية.

حسنًا، ما تقصده بقولك “قواعد الشريعة” حقا هو تفسير معين للشريعة من قبل الفقهاء خاصًا بوقت ومكان معين. هذه التفسيرات ليست، بحكم التعريف، قواعد أنزلها الله … بل آراء حول تلك القواعد، وبالتحديد هي آرائهم حول تلك الآيات والأحاديث التي بطبيعتها تحتمل التأويل. فلو قبلنا بهذه التفسيرات على أنها هي الشريعة المطلقة، فلن يحدث تقريبا أي تغيير إذا أصبحت الحكومة “الإسلامية” في مكان مثل مصر أو المغرب، أو في أي مكان… فالنظام المصرفي الربوي قد يستمر، على أن يظل حصرًا في ملكية وإدارة غير المسلم ومع زبائن من غير المسلمين حصرًا. وقد يستمر تداول الكحول، ولكن فقط عن طريق غير المسلمين؛ الخ، الخ هل ترى ما أعنيه؟ هذه ليست مسألة بسيطة.

إذا كنت تقول إن السيسي لا يحكم بما أنزل الله، عليك أن تكون قادرًا على تحديد النقطة التي يوجد بها انحراف، وبصراحة، أنا أشك أن معظمنا مؤهلين للقيام بذلك. فحسبما يفهم معظمنا لم تحكم دولة الخلافة الإسلامية بما أنزل الله لما يقرب من مجمل تاريخها، وإلا فكيف نفهم أن أشياء مثل الربا والكحول ونكاح المحارم يمكن أن تكون مقبولة في ظل حكومة إسلامية.

لكن، كما ترون وأنا آسف لإخباركم أن معظم القوانين في ظل الخلافة ومعظم القوانين تحت أي حكومة إسلامية يمكن أن نشكلها في حاضرنا ستكون لا محالة قوانين “من صنع الإنسان” ، لأنها ستكون قواعد مستمدة من تفسير الفقهاء، وكما ترون قد تكون هذه القواعد مختلفة للغاية عما يتخيل معظمنا عندما نفكر في الحكم بالشريعة.


Why is it important to identify the ayaat and Hadiths which actually constitute the explicit, revealed Shari’ah? Because Shari’ah is what we are all calling for, what we all want, and it is on this basis that many of us make takfir on rulers who do not “rule in accordance with what Allah has revealed”; therefore, we have to know what it actually is.

How do you know a ruler is not ruling in accordance with what Allah revealed, if you do not know what Allah revealed?

Do you think it means that there will be no selling or consumption of alcohol in Shari’ah controlled lands? But wine was sold and consumed by the Dhimmis under Islamic rule.  Do you think it means there will be no Riba?  But many schools of Fiqh (except the Hanafis) allowed Kuffar to deal in Riba. Do you think it means that all women will wear hijab?  But non-Muslim women did not have to wear hijab, in fact, they are not allowed to wear it. Do you think it means, in Egypt for instance, that the Copts will be expelled or will be prevented from practicing their religion?  But the Khilafah always protected the right of religious minorities to practice their religions.  So what exactly are we calling for? Are you sure it is Shari’ah and not just an interpretation of Shari’ah, and interpretation that may actually contradict with the way the Islamic state understood it over the past 1400 years?

Did you know that Zoroastrians living under the Islamic state were allowed to conduct marriages between brothers and sisters? On this basis, there are those who say that even gay marriage might be permissible under Shari’ah if it takes place between non-Muslims.  Non-Muslims under the Islamic state used to have their own courts they were not subject to Shari’ah courts unless the case involved a Muslim.  So, you see, the chant “Islamiyya! Islamiyya!” is not quite as straightforward as most of us think. Do you suppose that most of the jihadis who are calling for Islamic government have in mind that Islamic rules will only apply to Muslims?  Or perhaps they intend to expel non-Muslims, even if they are not hostile or aggressors?  Why do you think that non-Muslims living in the Islalmic Khilafah were required to wear immediately identifiable clothes or badges?  At least one reason was so that they would be exempt from Shari’ah rules.

OK, by “Shari’ah rules” what is really meant here is a particular interpretation of the Shari’ah by the Fuqaha unique to a given time and place. These interpretations are not, by definition, the rules Allah revealed…they are opinions about those rules, specifically, their opinions about those ayaat and Hadiths which are not explicit in nature. If we accept those interpretations as absolute Shari’ah, you could have almost no change whatsoever in a place like Egypt, or Morocco, or wherever, if the government became “Islamic”…the Riba-based banking system could continue, but under exclusively non-Muslim ownership and management, with exclusively non-Muslim clientele.  Alcohol could continue to be sold, but only by and to non-Muslims; etc, etc.  Do you see what I mean?  This is not a simple issue.

If you say that Sisi is not ruling by what Allah revealed, you need to be able to point out exactly where the deviation exists, and, frankly, I doubt most of us are qualified to do that.  According to the understanding or most of us, the Islamic Khilafah did not rule in accordance with what Allah revealed for almost the entirety of its history, because it is inconceivable to us that things like Riba, alcohol, or incest could be tolerated under an Islamic government.

But, you see, and I am sorry to have to tell you, most of the laws under the Khilafah, and most of the laws under any Islamic government that we may ever form today, are inevitably going to be “man-made” laws, because they are going to be rules derived by the interpretation of the Fuqaha, and, as you can see, these rules may be extremely different from what most of us imagine when we think of Shari’ah government.


الواقعية الصادقة                                 Sincere realism


لو نظرنا فيم وراء الأمور الأكثر وضوحًا، مثل إقامة الصلاة (أي مجرد وجود مساجد تقوم برفع الآذان علنا)، وجمع الزكاة ومنع الربا وتنفيذ الحدود الإسلامية على النحو المنصوص عليه في القرآن والسنة، فلن نجد الكثير من الأمور الأخرى التي يمكننا أن نُعَرِّفْها كشروط صريحة لما نطلق عليه “الحكومة الإسلامية”، وأي اقتراحات أخرى تزيد عليها ستكون مستندًة بشكل عام إلى تأويلات شخصية متعلقة بكل شخص على حدة.

ولكن حتى هذه العناصر الواضحة للحكومة الإسلامية تتطلب التخطيط. على سبيل المثال، هل سيكون كل شخص مسؤولًا عن تقدير مبلغ الزكاة الوجب عليه إخراجه، أم ستكون الحكومة هي المسؤولة عن مراجعة أصول كل مواطن؟ ما هي أنواع التدابير التي سيتعين اتخاذها لضمان مراعاة الأصول القانونية ونزاهة القضاء قبل فرض العقوبات الحدية؟ هل ستتطلب جريمة الزنا حرفيا 4 شهود، أم سيتم قبول أدلة الحمض النووي، وهلم جرا؟ كيف سيتم التأكد من أن الاعترافات تم الحصول عليها بشكل طبيعي وبدون إكراه؟ أعني أن هناك الكثير من العمل حول مسألة الحدود الإسلامية سنكون في حاجة إلى القيام به … ولهذا فأنا أسأل: أي الأحزاب الإسلامية يقوم بهذا العمل؟ من لديه الخطة؟ أو من حتى يعمل على أي خطة؟

لقد ذكرت من قبل عدد قليل من الأولويات التي أرى أنها تعكس المبادئ الإسلامي، مثل توفير الغذاء والمأوى والملبس، وتوفير راتب نقدي لجميع المواطنين، وتأميم الموارد الطبيعية، والسماح بالمواطنة المفتوحة لأي مسلم، والتعليم المجاني، وهذه كلها سياسات لها أساس في القرآن والسنة وفي ممارسات الخلافة الراشدة، ولكن، مرة أخرى أسأل: أين هي الخطة الإسلامية لأي من هذه الأشياء؟

لقد صرت أرى حقًا أننا نبتعد عن لُباب الموضوع كلما تحدثنا عن “الحكومة الإسلامية”، فبدلا من هذا نحن بحاجة أن نتحدث عن السياسات الإسلامية والأهداف الإسلامية للمجتمع، وكيفية تحقيقها.

كيف سنتصرف حيال عدم المساواة في الدخل؟ كيف ستتم صياغة السياسة التجارية التي تعكس مبدأ الولاء والبراء؟ كيف سنتصرف حيال البطالة؟ وحيال الأمية؟ كيف سيكون شكل السياسة الضريبية “الإسلامية”؟

يحب أنصار الإخوان أن يرددون أن الإخوان لديهم نية للإصلاح التدريجي للنظام حتى يصبح متوافقًا مع أحكام الشريعة الإسلامية، ولا بأس بهذا ولكن هل لديهم خطة للحظر التدريجي للربا؟ هل عندما طلبوا من صندوق النقد الدولي الحصول على قرض بفائدة كان هذا الأمر جزءًا من تلك الخطة؟ بالطبع لا. إذا لا توجد خطة، كل ما يوجد هو “فقط دعونا نصل للمناصب، وسنفعل بعدها كل شيء!” حسنا، لقد رأينا ما تم فعله … في مصر، وفي تونس، وفي المغرب …

سأقولها بصراحة، أنا لا أعتقد في الحلم الطوباوي للدولة الإسلامية، فعملنا كإسلاميين ينبغي أن يكون، بل يجب أن يكون صناعة السياسات، والمحاربة من أجلها، وهذه هي المعركة التي لن تنتهي. لذا فلا تقولون أنكم تقاتلون من أجل الإسلام، أو من أجل الحكومة الإسلامية، أو أحكام الشريعة الإسلامية، وأنتم لا تستطيعون أن تُعَرِّفون لي حتى ما يعنيه ذلك على وجه التحديد، ولا توجد لديكم أية خطة لكيفية تحقيق حتى السياسات التي حددتموها بأنفسكم بصفتها “الإسلامية”.

إذا قلتم أنكم تريدون فرض الحد على الزناة (كما لو كان هذا الأمر هو أس كل مشاكلنا)، عليكم أن تقولون لي أيضا كيف سيتم ضمان طريقة مقبولة من التحقق وقواعد الإثبات، وما هي التدابير التي ستتخذ لضمان الحياد، والمحاكمات العادلة، ومنع الفساد، ولا يهمني إن كان هذا سيتطلب عملية تستغرق سنوات عدة (لأني متأكد من أن هذا هو الطبيعي)، ولكن على الأقل سيعني هذا أنكم واقعيون، وكونكم واقعيون فهذا هو الجانب الأكثر أهمية في مسألة صدقكم.

Beyond the obvious, like establishing the Salah (which just means having masjids with the Adhan called publicly), collecting Zakah, banning Riba, and implementing the Hudood as mandated by the Qur’an and Sunnah; there is not much that we can identify as explicitly required of  an “Islamic government”.  Whatever else one may suggest is generally going to be based on one’s own interpretation.

But, even these obvious elements of Islamic government require planning.  For instance, will each person be responsible for assessing the amount of Zakah he must pay, or will the government be in charge of auditing each citizen’s assets? What types of measures need to be taken to ensure due process and judicial impartiality before the Hudood is imposed?  Will the crime of Zena literally require 4 witnesses, or will DNA evidence be accepted, and so on? How will you ensure that confessions are genuinely obtained, and not coerced?  I mean, on the issue of Hudood, there is a lot of work that would need to be done…so which Islamist party is doing this work?  Who has a plan? Who is even working on a plan?

I have mentioned before a few priorities that I think make sense and which reflect Islamic principles; like providing food, shelter, clothing, and a monetary stipend to all citizens, nationalization of natural resources, allowing open citizenship for any Muslim, and free education.  These are all policies with a basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and the practices of the Khilafah Rashideen. But, again, where is the Islamist plan for any of these things?

I really think we are missing the point when we talk about “Islamic government”.  We need to be talking about Islamic policies and Islamic goals for society, and how to achieve them.

What are you going to do about income inequality? How will you craft a trade policy that reflects the principle of al-Walaa wal-Baraa? What are you going to do about unemployment? About illiteracy? What should an “Islamic” tax policy look like?

Supporters of the Ikhwan like to say that the Brotherhood have the intention of gradually reforming the system to make it compliant with the Shari’ah.  OK, fine, do they have a plan for the gradual prohibition of Riba? Was asking the International Monetary Fund for an interest-bearing loan part of that plan? Of course not.  There is no plan. There is only “put us in office, and we will work everything out”.  Well, we see how well that has worked out…in Egypt, in Tunisia, in Morocco…

I will say it frankly, I do not believe in the fantasy of a Utopian Islamic state.  Our work as Islamists should be, must be, to craft policies, and fight for them; and this is a fight that will not end.  So don’t tell me that you are fighting for Islam, for Islamic government, for Shari’ah, when you cannot even tell me what that specifically means, and when you have no plan for how to achieve even those policies which you can identify as “Islamic”.

If you tell me that you want the Hadd imposed on adulterers (as if that is the root cause of all of our problems), you have to also tell me about how you will ensure acceptable method of investigation and standards of evidence, and what measures you will take to establish impartiality, fair trials, and prevent corruption. I don’t mind if this requires a process that takes many years; I am sure it will; but at least it means you are being realistic, and being realistic is the most important aspect of being sincere.