Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Jama at e Islami unmasked - II.
II. The Purpose, The Duty and The promise
1. Allah’s Religion and the Code for Muhammad (PBUH)
The word for religion in Arabic is ‘Deen’*. Maulaana Maudoodi gave it a patently novel definition and interpretation. Religion is always one and the same. For example, he says that the Deen of all the prophets were the same. The Deen of Noah was the same as that of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Shu`aib, Hud and Muhammad etc. But Shari`ah is not so. By Shaiah is meant way or path and mode. Shari`ahs differ according to the time and clime in which these were revealed to the prophets. Modes of prayers and observance of fast can be seen as different among the prophets; so also injunctions about Halaal (Pure, Permissible) and Haraam (Impure, Forbidden), rules of cleanliness and codes of marriage, divorce and inheritance. He says, “The key difference between Din and Shari`ah is this: while Din always was, has been, and still is one and the same, many shari’ahs were revealed. Some were subsequently cancelled or changed, but without changing the Din. The Din of Nuh was the same as that of Ibrahim, Musa, `Isa, shua`ayb, Hud, Salih and Muhammad, peace be upon them, but their Shari`ahs varied from each other to some extent.” (1). While Din is Islam, the precise injunctions, regulations and details of following it differ. On the appearance of Muhammad, all the previous shari`ahs were abrogated and he being the last messenger, the Shari`ah revealed to him by Allah remains forever.
2. The preparatory training
Traditionally Muslims believed that rituals (Ibadaat) like Prayer (Salaath), Fasting (Sawm), Almsgiving (Zakat) and Pilgrimage (Hajj) were intended to purify them. Many Muslims even now consider that these rituals will help them become ethically better. The spiritual height thus attained, they are sure, will enable them to face their God, the Almighty, on the Day of Judgment with confidence. Not so with Maulaana Maudoodi. Let him say: “Just as governments train their armies, police forces and civil services before employing them to do their job, so does Islam, the Din given by Allah. It first trains all those who volunteer for service to God before allowing them to undertake Jihad and establish God’s rule on earth.” (2). Instead of telling us that it is his interpretation, he says, “so does Islam”. It is to be pointed out here that one will be on the safe side if one takes care to be a bit skeptical wherever he uses such assertions. Many Islamic scholars rejected his definitions. He himself complains that they characterized him as Kharijite and Mu’tazalite – the groups diverged from Islam even in its early days of expansion because of their extremism.(3)
It is quite funny to notice that Maulaana Maudoodi himself admits that nobody or nowhere in the annals of Islam has his ideas ever been preached. The poor Muslims have been continuing with prayers and other rites without ever being told that there must be some greater purpose to be aimed at. In his view, Jihad is the greater purpose for which a Muslim ought to have been trained through ‘ ibadaat. Our Maulaana finally awakens the Muslims to a truth which the common run of Muslims never knew; the learned ulema through out generations were not aware. Devout might have been the Muslims, but they were in lethargy due to misunderstanding. Nobody explained to them that Allah wanted every Muslim to be trained without arms in the form of ‘ibaadaath. Having acquired the secret of Jihad, suddenly all his rituals imbibe a new meaning and aim. Lo and behold, now we have what can be called Islamist Jehadis in the world, thanks to our Maulaana! He exhorts: “For a long time, brothers, you have been performing the various acts of worship without giving any thought to the ultimate purpose behind them. Never did you prepare yourself for that purpose. But now, I say, you must understand that a heart devoid of any intention to undertake Jihad will find all ritual worship empty of meaning. Nor will those acts bring you any nearer to your God.” (4)
3. Coercion and not education is the remedy
In Maulaanaa Maudoodi’s dispensation, preaching as a vocation is dismissed as a thankless job. Capturing power is what is essential and obligatory. Everything else is subsidiary. Look at the government. It is in a mutilated shape. Corruption is rampant. Drinking, gambling, indecent attire, exploitative financial dealings all exist because power is vested in wrong hands. So long as power remains in other people’s hands, working as a mere preacher is of no use. Instruments of coercion like the police and army is essential to bring order and harmony. You might say Rationality is an essential characteristic of human species. But, having no use for it, the Islamists start from muscular training. They don’t believe in the capability of human beings to reach moral and ethical standards making use of the capacity to reason. Let us hear the prognosis from him: “Corrupt rule is the root of all the evils you find in the world. Governments have access to power and resources; they frame laws; they control administration, they possess the instruments of coercion like the police and army. Evils exist and flourish in the life of society because governments themselves either spread them or condone them. Obviously the power required to make anything prevail lies with governments.” (5). Gone are the days of mysterious divine interventions when the devout painfully sought the almighty’s grace. Through our Maulaana, Islamists are now empowered to take law in their own hands and be the ultimate power of coercion. By default, governments are out of gear. It is only proper for the good guys to topple or smash what is not to their taste. Preaching doesn’t pay. The argument goes like this: “If people are free to commit adultery, no amount of sermons will stop them. But if governments forbid adultery, people will find it easier to give up this evil practice. Similarly, it is not enough to preach sermons against drinking, gambling, usury, bribery, pornography and morally corrupting education if the overall environment of the surrounding society encourages or at least condones these things. Power, however, can do much to eradicate them.” (6). Any person having some idea about spiritual or ethical quest will find it astonishing that here is a movement launched in the name of a religion that insists on the necessity to capture power and tirelessly dissuades its adherents from educating the deviants. He adds: “So, I say to you: if you really want to root out corruption now so wide spread on God’s earth, stand up and fight against corrupt rule; take power and use it on God’s behalf. It is useless to think you can change things by preaching alone.” (7). It is easy to deduce from the above statements of the Maulaana that the Jama at e Islami activists cannot be deterred from rebellious vandalism by rational arguments.
4. Every Din wants power
Many of the religious as well as most of the secular consider religion to be a private affair – a relation between a person and his God or any of the manifestations of God, if there is one. Other concepts like Democracy, Monarchy, Colonialism etc. are purely secular concepts with which a modern man will not relate his religious faith. But not so with our Maulaana!
He tells us that Democracy is a Deen (religion). It is the Deen of the masses. Are not the common people of a country considered sovereign if the country is designated as a democracy? Sovereignty belongs to Allah. Whoever usurps Allah’s sovereignty is committing the Sin of Shirk (= ascribing equality or partnership to Allah). Shirk is the greatest of sins. Allah will never condone the attempt to show Him in a position that suggests He is lesser in His Might. What about the Shariah? In a democracy laws are framed by the people. This, in Maudoodi’s parlance, is like the following: the common people in a democracy will be governed by the Shariah which has been framed by the ones who are ignorant of Allah’s Shariah. The people in a democracy owe and affirm their allegiance to the shariah which they themselves have created. They obey and serve the authorities created by the democratic process. What is the plight of Allah’s Deen in such a country? Is it not obvious that in a democracy there is no place for a despot or a monarch? So also, in a country which is governed making use of rules created by Muslims who have no concern for Allah’s Shari ‘ah or non-Muslims, there is no place for Islam at all. On Allah’s earth how do you dare to hoist your own flags representing ignorance of Allah’s Laws?
In sum: “Din, therefore, actually means the same thing as state and government; Shari ‘ah is the law of that state and government; and ‘Ibadah amounts to following and complying with that law. Whenever you accept someone as your ruler and submit to his orders, you have entered that person’s Din. If you accept Allah is your ruler, you have entered Allah’s Din; if your ruler is some particular nation, you have entered that nation’s Din; and if it is your own nation or your people, then you have entered the people’s Din. To whatever you submit yourselves, you have entered its Din; and you are performing the ‘Ibadah of the one whose laws you are following.”(8)
This astonishing maneuver in creating patently new definition is very important for an understanding of Political Islam. The social system of Islam in itself is totalitarian. The way how Maulaana Moudoodi manipulates various elements of it to suit his purpose has to be studied if the democratic forces fighting against Islamo-fascists have to make their success certain.
It is interesting to note that he cannot conceive of a ‘Deen’ without a government. He insists that you have to capture power in order to establish your Deen. He says, “Whether it is popular sovereignty or monarchy, communism or Islam, or any other Din, it must govern to establish itself. A Din without power to govern is just like a building which exists in the mind only. But it is the building which actually exists, in which you actually live, that is important. Through its door you go in, through its door you come out. Its roof is above you, its walls surround you. You arrange your living pattern according to its shape and facilities.” (9)
The conclusion is pretty clear. Every Deen needs its idiosyncratic government. It may be the Deen of the masses which you call democracy or of the kings which has been known as monarchy or of the communists which they call that of the proletariat or of God – without its specific government you cannot establish any one of these. The purpose of a Deen implies that nothing other than its ‘Ibadah and Shari ‘ah (services and rules) should be enforced. In a democracy, the Jama at e Islami activist expects that any threat to the democratic State and Government would be crushed by the government to enforce its rule of law. If the government does not strictly impose its laws so as to maintain its avowed ideology, it means a lack of faith in the democratic system by the concerned entity. Since, according to the Islamist, this being Allah’s earth, he is not ready to compromise with anything less than Allah’s State, Sovereignty and Governance.
5. Governmnt of the Islamist, for the Islamist and by the Islamist
The offer of Maulaana Maudoodi to the follower is a government in the name of Allah and for Allah. Since Allah will not have a physical presence, nobody can complain or appeal for justice in case of wrong doing by the Islamist authorities. Since there are many Muslim communities and organizations which reject or condemn the Islamist interpretation, the rule imposed by Jama at e Islami will be that of an active minority which has captured power in order to bring about the state and government of their desire making use of the coercive powers of which alone they can impart the great teachings of Islam as understood by Maulaana Maudoodi. Hence what is on offer is a rule of the Islamist, for the Islamist and by the Islamist. No wonder they are against democratic governments and always resort to violence even when peaceful means are available before them. By now we are clearly made to understand that prayer by a Jama at e Islami activist is qualitatively different from the prayer of another Muslim who is not an adherent of Maudoodism. We are clearly told that any other interpretation save theirs will not be tolerated. If this is the case of other Muslims, there is no doubt that other religious minorities will also have to face the terror Allah strikes through His Jama at e Islami emissaries.
They want to make sure that they take the army, police, judiciary, tax authorities and all such executives who have coercive power at their disposal in tow. Such a situation is congenial to bring the subject people to the ‘right path’. Look how pleasantly he describes the situation: “Imagine in what a happy state God’s creation will be where the army, police, judiciary, tax authorities and all other government functionaries are God-fearing and consider themselves accountable to Him in the Hereafter, where all government policies and laws are formulated on the basis of Divine guidance, where unjust actions have no place, where evil is quickly rectified by a government constantly ready to promote virtue with all its power and resources.
Such a government will quickly be able to reform the people………………………..” (10).
Their dream is not that of an enlightened majority establishing a democratic government which rules according to the wish of all the people including its minorities according to democratic principles, but capturing the state power to put up a coercive government machinery so as to begin the work of spreading Islamic teachings. By Islamic teachings ,it is implied , ‘as understood by Maulaana Maudoodi’ and not any other brand of Islam. They are sure that people will be ‘reformed’ under their regime. Maulaana candidly wonders: “I doubt that more than a handful of people in a thousand will display such great obstinacy as to reject the truth of Islam in preference to Kufr. Who will choose a thorn as against a flower?” (11)
* Both spellings, Deen and Din refer to the word for religion.
(1) p129, Fundamentals of Islam. 2008 (February) edition.
(2) p 291, ibid.
(3) p 306, ibid.
(4) p 293, ibid.
(5) p 286, ibid
(6) p 288, ibid.
(7) p 288, ibid.
(8) pp 295- 296, ibid.
(9) p 297, ibid.
(10) pp 292 – 293, ibid.
(11) p 293, ibid.