Monday, 23 July 2018

Trial of Statism and the Modernist Narrative


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والصلاة والسلام على نبيه الكريم

وعلى آله واصحابه اجمعين

Based on firasa and nur which Allah Most High places in the hearts of His chosen servants from among the Awliya and Atqiya, many imminent, terrible tribulations are strongly warned about prior to them manifesting in their full expression. The illustrious Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wa-Aalihi wasallam) said:

مَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُفَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ

“Whoever Allah intends good for, He gives him understanding of the Religion”

Part of this comprehension of the Religion is the knowledge and ability to understand the reality of various trials and tribulations that the Muslims are faced with or will soon face. As I have said, this kind of understanding and knowledge is in a special category of its own, and requires a degree of divine inspiration. It cannot be discerned merely on account of empirical observation or study. One must be intimately acquainted with the underline narrative of this Religion. Understanding the narrative of Islam is truly a rare blessing which few of even those who consider themselves Ulama have been granted. Most of the madaris and other academies, learning institutions and universities which churn out licensed and qualified Ulama only acquaint their students with the formal and outer aspects of the Religion, but do not really nurture in their students a strong comprehension of Islam’s underline narrative. This leaves the door wide open for the deceivers and false callers to manufacture their own narratives while claiming allegiance to Islam, indeed, even going to the extent of claiming that their narrative is Islam. Here I am referring to the modernists who possess greater mastery over how to penetrate their ideas into the public imagination than the traditionalist Ulama.
Now the seeds of the fitna which I am referring to have already been sowed, and we are only now just beginning to see them sprout. The traditionalist Ulama, that is those who have some consciousness of it, are bewildered as to how to respond to this fitna. The fitna is of course the unholy alliance between the modernist narrative and the coercive power of the nation-state. Within the Muslim world, this profane union reared its head during the reign of Muhammad Ali, the Khedive of Egypt. He laid the foundation for transforming that country into a modern nation-state, a project that continued to progress under the supervision of later rulers like Nasser. Prior to the 19th century reforms introduced by the likes of Muhammad Ali, the religious leadership of the Muslim community exerted greater independence because they were able to administer their affairs and projects outside of strict state control. Only when the awqaf were seized by the State, especially the nationalization of waqf land and property, and the hitherto prestigious Islamic universities nationalized as well, was a steep decline in the dynamism, independence and influence of the Sufi brotherhoods and schools of Ulama observed. The Sufi brotherhoods and orders, despite the fact that many of them exhibit harmful innovations and practices which have no sanction in Islam, nevertheless acted as forces which maintained the independence and integrity of Islam from the corrosive control of the modern state. By cutting off the source of funding for the propagation of various Islamic charities, associations and spiritual orders through the seizure of the awqaf, the State succeeded in reducing their influence significantly, consequently leading to a downfall of religiosity within the society. The State also aggressively promoted greater industrialization and modern infrastructure projects, leading to an urbanization of society which sped up the pace of life and left little time for private religious pursuits. This catastrophic transformation of lifestyle was extremely detrimental to the flourishing of Islam, which speaks of the constant struggle between a mundane life of worldly pursuits and the higher life dedicated to the remembrance and worship of Allah Most High.
According to the modernists, the natural state of an ideal Islamic society is one in which the State is extremely powerful so that it can adequately defend the Muslims on the world stage. But in order for the State to achieve that position of strength and power, it must have full control over the society and particularly over Religion, which if left privatized has the potential to constantly pose as a rival to the writ of the State. Therefore, the State must monopolize the institutions of Islam, particularly the institutions of Islamic learning and activity, and ensure that there is no class of Muslims who wield any kind of religious influence who are not dependent on the State. This is what Javed Ghamidi, one of the very prominent contemporary modernists, openly speaks of in his notion of a “counter narrative”. Ghamidi cleverly uses the word “counter” in reference to the destructive Jihadist narrative which seeks to create a global Islamic empire. Since the Muslims by and large have come to reject the harmful so-called Jihadist narrative, having witnessed the great destruction it has wreaked upon the Umma, Ghamidi has seized the opportunity to present another dangerous narrative in the context of countering the Jihadist one. In doing so, he has given the impression that his own “counter narrative” is the only alternative one to that of violent extremism and terrorism. Now realize the fact that the scourge of violent extremism and terrorism has been waning for some time now, but since the media had exaggerated the problem of religious extremism and terrorism inappropriately, it led many unsuspecting Muslims to be deceived by those snake oil salesmen into thinking that the modernist project is the only way to resolve the “crisis”. Notice that here the modernist counter narrative is directly opposed to the principle of secularism, which seeks a strict separation between religion and state. The American model of secularism, which one can appreciate because it was instituted for the purpose of protecting the integrity of religion from being encroached upon by the State, is not to be confused with the French model known as laicite, whose purpose is the exact opposite, namely, to protect the state and the public from the negative influence and expressions of religiosity. In other words, the American model of secularism has an inherent respect for the institution of religion and seeks to protect its integrity, while the French model of secularism fundamentally views religion as an undesirable element which must be restricted and robbed of as much dynamism and power as possible. In the Muslim world, when secularism is spoken of it is usually the French model of secularism that is intended and conceived as the only antidote to the “problem” of religious extremism. Regarding the American model of secularism, however, Ghamidi has expressed the sentiment of the so-called Muslim modernist: “In a Muslim society, the promotion of secularism is not the solution to this problem”, and has elaborated on this point further: “in order to curb religious extremism, it is essential that the mini-state which is available to religious scholars in our country in the form of the Friday sermon and running the affairs of mosques be dismembered” (Counter Narrative on Collective Issues pp.11, 13). If anyone wishes to see what the consequences of such a policy will look like in practice, one need not look further than the neighboring People’s Republic of China. That malevolent, beastly dragon, a one-party, authoritarian state, one of the worst examples of statism, perhaps only surpassed by its own satelite of North Korea, has totally monopolized the institution of religion in its country, to the extent that devotion and reverence to the State itself has been added to creeds of every religion under its control. In Communist China, the religions of Islam and Christianity are particularly persecuted, since they are viewed as foreign ideas that do not exactly fit into the State’s sinocentric worldview. Interestingly, the Catholic Church in China is directly controlled by the State and not by the Vatican. Its bishops, clerics, etc., are appointed by the State, whose legitimacy the Vatican naturally rejects, while the Vatican recognized clergy are forced to operate underground. The situation of Muslims is worse, especially in East Turkestan, the so-called Xinjiang province which the Chinese forcefully annexed and now brutally occupy. There, Muslims are literally being detained in concentration camps and “re-educated”. This process of re-education is meant to distance the Uighur Muslims from their Religion and to adapt the religion of worship of the Chinese State and the ruling Communist Party. Any private expression of Islam independent of State control is likewise brutally supressed in the former Soviet republics, especially Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Nevertheless, far from seeing a greater liberalization in those countries with regard to religious freedom, we instead see a move toward such statism in the heartland of Islam, the Arab world in particular, and even in Saudi Arabia. The recent crackdown and imprisonment of Ulama and Mashayikh in Saudi Arabia is cause for concern, as the crown prince MBS aggressively implements the modernist and statist vision for his country which will require the full supression of the Ulama and any possibility for the amplification of a dissenting voice from among their ranks to the State’s irreligious policies.
I shall, in sha Allah, write more extensively on this great tribulation, especially in light of the guidance concerning it from the holy Qur’an and the stories of the ancient Prophets of old who dealt with similar situations. The story of Prophet Moses and the cursed Pharaoh of Egypt is especially relevant. Anyone who has read the holy Qur’an knows that this story presents a key theme for our Religion and its narrative that requires deep introspection and understanding from the reader. It is that narrative which I wish to elaborate upon and explain, the narrative which the satanic statists and modernists are so keen to oppose.

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