Monday, 19 March 2018

Iqbal's Statism

بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتقين

In the previous entry I exposed Iqbal’s defense of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s secularist and anti-Islamic social and political ‘reforms’ in Turkey, such as the abolition of the veil, polygyny, the Arabic alphabet, etc. It is quite ironic that in the Indian subcontinent, particularly Pakistan, some of the most traditionalist and fundamentalist Islamic leaders and scholars laud Iqbal. Dr. Israr Ahmad, recently deceased political Islamist, and the contemporary populist Barelwi firebrand, Khadim Hussain Rizwi, both claimed to represent the spirit and message of Iqbal in modern times. Khadim Rizwi even affectionately refers to Iqbal as ‘Qalandar Lahori’. Ironically, if Iqbal was alive today he would be appalled at both individuals and their movements which aggressively challenge the central State. Keep in mind that Iqbal viciously attacked what he termed ‘Mullaism’, which at the moment is best exemplified by the likes of Khadim Rizwi. Hence, Iqbal wrote: “As to the [abolition of the] licentiate Ulama I would certainly introduce it in Muslim India if I had the power to do so. To the inventions of the myth-making Mulla is largely due the stupidity of the average Muslim. In excluding him from the religious life of the people the Ataturk has done what would have delighted the heart of an Ibn Taymiyyah or a Shah Wali Ullah. There is a tradition of the Holy Prophet reported in the Mishkat to the effect that only the Amir of the Muslim State and the person or persons appointed by him are entitled to preach to the people. I do not know whether the Ataturk ever knew of this tradition; yet it is striking how the light of his Islamic conscience has illuminated the zone of his action in this important matter.” [Islam and Ahmadism, p. 45]. As for the two great Reformers, Ibn Taymiyya and Shah Wali Ullah, Iqbal’s assertion that they would be delighted by the abolition of the Ulama is absurd. Iqbal’s claim that there is a Hadith of the Prophet to the effect that only the Amir or his appointees are entitled to preach is as even greater lie. At most it can be said that this is the position of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, but certainly not based on any authentic Hadith. But Iqbal’s notion that only the State is authorized to preach Islam is absolutely contrary to the spirit of our Religion. History has shown that calamity follows when the State monopolizes and defines Islam. Consider the Mihna when the pious elders of orthodox Sunni Islam, such as Imam Ahmad bin HanbalRA were persecuted for defying the doctrines of ‘State-sanctioned Islam’. Since most of the rulers are corrupt and political power is corrosive except for very race exceptions, it stands to reason that if the State were to monopolize the preaching of Islam it would undoubtedly be a very distorted Islam that is ultimately engineered to benefit the interests of the ruler and the ruling class. Like a Prophet, a Mujaddid [religious reformer] is raised up directly by Allah every century to revive the Religion and purify it from innovations and accretions. Islamic preachers who act in the capacity of reformers are independent of the State precisely for this reason. The institution of Ulama is likewise independent of the State. In fact, the true Ulama who are fearful of Allah are those who strive to keep aloof from the government because of the latter’s tendency toward corruption and favoritism. Hence we see that Islam, in temperment, is cynical and skeptical in relation to the rulers and the governments. Islam is characterized by a strong strain of anti-statism. To be continued ان شاء الله

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