- Islamic Movements
- December 20, 2007
- 13 minutes read
Is The Islamic Project Backpedaling?
Whenever an Islamic experience faces a failure whether it is resulting from the Islamic movement itself or due to external factors, like what happened to Jordan”s Muslim Brotherhood in latest legislative elections or Algeria”s Muslim Brotherhood in the Municipal elections, or even when the failure is restricted to the ceiling of expectations like what happened in Morocco”s PJD, where Islamists maintained and even lightly improved their grounds, we hear voices from the East and West, from Arab and non-Arab intellectuals reiterating what was declared and then retreated, what was declared by the French intellectual Olivier Roy ” Fall of the Islamic Project ” like the fall of communism. How far is this true?.
On the belief level, Muslims believe that the message of the prophet- peace be upon him- is Allah”s last word to humanity. Allah pledged to protect this last world like His pledge to maintain the system of the universe. If people turned it down, this presages the emergence of the indications of the Last Day and the end of the universe system. This is because Allah created the universe to be reflection of His good names and Hs omnipotence, His magnificence and His beauty, His justice, His mercy and His aims, according to His sharia and according to what His servants do, including carrying out and protecting them.
If the resistance ( Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of vice and jihad) stopped and if evil dominated unrivalled, the reason for creating and maintaining this universe expires. Then it is time for the sun to be wrapped up and the universe to collapse:
“1: When the sun Kuwwirat (wound round and lost its light and is overthrown).
2: And when the stars shall fall;
3: And when the mountains shall made to pass away;
4: And when the pregnant she-camels shall be neglected.
Thus, Islam will last as long as there is day and night, sun and moon, marriages and giving birth. That is regarding the belief level.
As for the visible world, the way of contemporary Islam and its preachers faces plots that aim to eradicate them, spearheaded by major powers that demolished huge empires like fascism, Nazism, Japanese empire and communism.
Although the Islamic nation is experiencing- on internal and international levels- state of weakness, deterioration and disintegration after the collapse of the last state speaking in its name, causing a disintegration and leading even some of its brain-washed elites and leaders to turn into fighters against Islam and its civilization. This even reached the extent of writing several constitutions that ban the creation of any Islamic party. That”s, any party can be founded on the basis of any thought except for Islam although it is the main religion of these Islamic states.
However, the gap is increasing between rulers and ruled in Islamic countries as the nation”s interest in prayers, Islamic dressing, Islamic books and Islamic financial dealings is increasing. The gap increases between these peoples and their rulers whose isolation and affiliation to foreigners are increasing.
Certainly, King Farouk”s Egypt that welcomed and hosted revolution leaders in Arab Maghreb and late President Nasser”s Egypt that welcomed and hosted Algerian revolution leaders is stronger and more independent than Mubarak”s Egypt that can”t even supply its natural extension in Gaza strip with fuel and food, let alone hosting resistance in Palestine and Iraq .
While Islam was targeted and as the Islamic nation”s governments gave in to foreigners, the facts on the ground prove that Islam hasn”t only kept its existence, but it has also advanced firmly and quickly while its under attack both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Its geographical landscape is expanding through its mission, migration and increasing birth rate and through restoring its huge central Asian countries extending over millions of miles and were usurped in the past by the communist tide from the Islamic world. These countries are currently renovating their deserted mosques and schools despite the Western schemes of offering a huge aid to the communist old guard even if they established despotic republics, while it practices outside the Islamic region all kinds of pressure to end remnants of communism in those republics from Bologna to Ukraine.
Also on the geographical level, contemporary Islam has expanded into new worlds all over the world from both Americas to Europe and across all continents.
Islam is currently interacting with its new worlds, giving and taking and contributing to their prosperity, unopposed by anything except for extremist thought and actions, a foolish reaction to unjust western policies.
However, Islam goes on bolstering its roots in its new worlds and developing an Islamic culture that goes in line with privacies of these countries like its previous actions when it developed Arab, Islamic, Persian, Indian, Malawian and African cultures.
As for the qualitative level, Muslims managed to make use of their faith through returning to roots after two centuries of reform. They are currently more aware of the modern age, its languages, sciences and technologies. They have waked up from the shock and admiration of modernism. They cleared their religion of many of the effects of deterioration, distinguishing between them and fundamentals of religion, entering the world of modernism as Muslims.
This process started two centuries ago, through exercising Ijtihad (technical term of Islamic law that describes the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation of the legal sources) and resuming interaction between revelation and reality, seeking new solutions for the new problems ago and to benefit from everything useful in our heritage and take from the new civilization what serves Islam and its purposes.
Thus, a very important process has taken place and is taking place in Islam, a very important process that did not take place in any other religion- according to British sociologist Ernst Gellner- that Islam contained Western modernism instead of its contain Islam as it did with all other religions. Islam contained Western modernism to use it to inject new blood into minds and life of its people without paying the required price: carrying out deep amendments in its structure to be in line with the secular modernism, like what was enthusiastically carried out by elites and rulers like: Ataturk, Bourguiba and the Shah of Iran… in addition to a number of intellectuals, some of them are graduates of religious institutes like: Abd Al-Razeq, Taha Hussein and Khaled Mohamed Khaled… Before repenting.
This very important historical operation carried out by Islamic reform- i.e Islam”s containing modernism with its conditions and to its service- spawned this Islamic awakening that spreads across the nation, including education sectors where Islamic student sector dominates over all faculties in Islamic countries, and in any place where Muslims enjoy the same amount of freedom.
This was reflected also in professional associations that represent the middle class: engineers, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, collegians, journalists and even feminist societies and charities.
This very important historical operation spawned liberation revolutions that erupted in the 20th century and kicked out occupation armies. This includes also nowadays resistance movements that proficiently fight occupation armies which will very soon leave Islamic countries after they are defeated like predecessors.
It led also to reactivating the Ijtihad engine which has been stalled for ages, an Ijtihad that considered science, knowledge, education and economic activity as parts of Islam and worship of Muslims. It also consolidated fine arts, human rights, freedom, democracy and women”s role as equal to men.
Thus, landmarks of the Islamic life have successively emerged in this age in many fields. This includes the economic field in which the concept of Islamic economy imposed itself against the capitalist traditional economy, yielding a huge series of Islamic banks and companies that abide by sharia regulations. This huge series of banks and companies succeeded to the extent that big Western banks like City Bank and Barclays opened branches that deal according to Islamic Sharia, the latest of which was the British Islamic bank which was a big leap.
Academic conferences and seminars have been held to discuss it, to the extent that western universities like Afra University in England opened a faculty to study Islamic economy because it can offer solutions for problems that the capitalist economy failed in and even caused serious crises.
This very important historical operation spawned other landmarks for the Islamic life in the fields of literature and arts like the International Association for Islamic Literature and developing women”s Islamic dress, a contemporary form that reflects Islamic values in decency, in order to be in line with necessities of the contemporary life that requires a wide participation for women in the public life, in addition to offering studies and programs for Islamic parties, syndicates and societies.
Islamic parties managed to reach considerable successes through mobilizing huge numbers of people to support the Nation”s important causes as much as justice, freedom and supporting victims of the international aggression on Islamic countries are concerned and supporting resistance in them like Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir, Iraq and Afghanistan or through fighting defeatist and tyrannical regimes by supporting human rights, democracy, social justice. This did so through cooperating with all national, patriotic, leftist and liberal powers to form fronts for imposing a democratic change, and cooperating also with liberal powers in the world like the Anti- Globalization International Movement, and religious groups defending family and chastity.
Islamic parties and their MPs in parliaments from Morocco to Indonesia proved the high level of originality and pragmatism that these groups are enjoying. The Islamic movement is currently reformulating the political elite to replace a secularist political generation that ruled till it got overridden with corruption and reached a point of sterility.
Even when Islamic parties assumed power and were ousted, like the Turkish Welfare Party, they didn”t incite people to a mutiny, underestimating accusations of exploiting democracy. Such parties quickly returned to power even stronger after they learned from past experiences, forming new institutions that realistically progressed, given power through their peoples” aspirations for honour, peoperity, clear handedness. This made them achieved unprecedented levels of development.
Some of this applies also to Islamic parties participating in the legislative authority, mostly in Pakistan , Egypt , Yemen , Kuwait and Algeria in addition to parties participating in governments like Indonesia , Bangladesh and Algeria .
Generally speaking, experiences of these Islamic parties have contributed to reaching a self-development, making it more aware of the local and international status quo, and contributed to serving Islam and establishing the democratic experience, and avoiding anti-Islam intrigues of causing any clash between them and the governments in a way that may harm the democratic experience.
However, these participations are generally partial and are sometimes harmful. The general image of the position of Islam- perhaps the best among current conditions- remains representing an opposition to local secular tyranny and international hegemony supporting this tyranny, whether it is a legally recognized opposition or its is an opposition which is sometimes repressed or even crushed at other times.
In all conditions, the Islamic project is too wide for a party or a rule program to contain. The rule is only a part, not the biggest or most important part, of the Islamic project. This accounts for the collapse of countless Islamic countries while Islam maintained its effect on the nation and history. A civilization of a certain country has often embraced modernism till it suffocated initiatives of the society and swallowed this society.
The centre of Islam flourished in societies full of thought and wealth under corrupt states, when the powers of the state were restricted and free initiatives was within reach.
Islamists” seeking rule increased due to the effect of the Islamic project on human beings as individuals, families and social relations, because it is an educational and social project that targets mankind to achieve in his life- whatever his position- a presence for Allah in his life, a presence that give all his thought, feelings and relations with a divine hue.
The Islamic project has achieved- despite its weak achievements on the level of reaching power because of obstacles- considerable achievements that deservingly qualify it to speak in the name of the Islamic public opinion.
It is true that the Islamic project is in the opposition while secularism is in power, but the opposition is stronger and has a wider popularity. This actually wasn”t the state of affairs more than 30 years ago. Islam is representing nowadays representing the hope of the nation and even humanity in restoring manners, justice and meaning to a civilization that terrifically strips itself of all these values. Take as examples scandals of Guantanamo , Abu Gharib, Catrina and poverty belts surrounding many modern cities like Paris .
Lessons derived from experiences of applying the Islamic project in levels of change and rule include:
-The importance of the principle of gradation and rejection of being lured to violence except for resisting occupation
-Concentrating efforts on reforming human beings and institutions of the society, instead of centralizing around the state.
Islam”s most important demand especially under this situation of fragmentation is: Freedom, the big Islamic value and the main key to every reform.
Participating in rule within national fronts is better than monopolizing rule even if this monopolization can be reached through ballot boxes.
The future of Islamic movements is related to Islam. They progress when it progresses and they retreat when it retreats, regardless of any circumstantial retreat for any specific movement, a retreat that can be easily avoided. Islam is soaring high. This proves that its ruling elite are within reach from power, God willing.