Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Dr. Israr Ahmad and "Establishing the Din" (42:13)


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والصلاة والسلام على رسوله الكريم

وعلى آله واصحابه اجمعين

والعاقبة للمتقين

Continuing from the previous entry, here I shall examine in depth the ideology and program of the Tanzimi Islami founded by Dr. Israr Ahmad (d. 2010). Like the HT, Tanzimi Islami is dedicated to establishing a Khilafa. But it has a more balanced and moderate approach than the HT or Mawdudi’s Jama’ati Islami. According to Dr. Israr Ahmad, the Tanzimi Islami considers spiritual rectification and reformation as an essential prerequisite for the members of its organization in order to better prepare and arm them for the struggle of establishing a Khilafa. In his book The Call of Tanzeem-e-Islami, Dr. Israr Ahmad outlines his ideology and objectives regarding the issue of the Khilafa. He quotes the Quran:

أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ

That you are to establish the Din

(Sura 42:13)
In Dr. Israr Ahmad’s interpretation, the order to establish the Din means establishment of the Islamic state, the Khilafa. However, both the context and the classical understanding of this Ayah point to the fact that it means the Believers are commanded to establish Tawhid, the worship of Allah alone. This is why the Ayah states that it is the same order that was given to the previous Apostles of Allah mentioned therein: Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Furthermore, after ordering that the Din be established and that there be no division therein, Allah says that this is a matter that is an enormity for the mushrikin. Hence the context reveals that ’’establish the Din’’ means establishing of Tawhid, the worship of Allah alone. It should also be kept in mind that none of the prophets mentioned by name in the Ayah (Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus) ever succeeded in establishing a state or polity with temporal authority. As I’ve said, this is the classical interpretation of the Ayah by the exegetes, for example, as found in the Tafsir al-Jalalayn:
{ شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلِدِينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحاً } هو أوّل أنبياء الشريعة { وَٱلَّذِى أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ أَنْ أَقِيمُواْ ٱلدّينَ وَلاَ تَتَفَرَّقُواْ فِيهِ } هذا هو المشروع الموصى به، والموحى إلى محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو التوحيد { كَبُرَ } عظم { عَلَى ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ } من التوحيد { ٱللَّهُ يَجْتَبِى إِلَيْهِ } إلى التوحيد { مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِى إِلَيْهِ مَن يُنِيبُ } يُقْبِلُ إلى طاعته
In the initial pages of Dr. Israr Ahmad’s book, he reveals the strong influence of Iqbal and Mawdudi on his mind. While Iqbal awakened within him a sense of Muslim nationhood and the desire for a restoration of Muslim power and dominion, it was Mawdudi who ’’filled in the details left bare by by Iqbal’s general outline’’ (p. 11). Dr. Israr absorbed into his own psyche and ideology the novel re-interpretation and re-definition of the terms Ilah, Ibada and Din. It is the redefining of these terms which forms the basis of Mawdudian thought and separates it from the orthodox understanding and approach to Islam. Although clearly influenced by Mawdudi and having formerly been a member of the Jama’ati Islami’s student wing, Dr. Israr’s break with the JI is significant in that it reveals a major flaw with the latter. The JI, under the direction of Mawdudi, entered into mainstream, electoral politics, but till this day has never succeeded in forming a government. Dr. Israr, however, rejected participation in the system, noting that it is rigged to maintain the power of the feudalists and capitalists. It seems, then, that his organization seeks to bring about the establishment of the Din, as it understands it, by working outside the system, at a grassroots level, thereby not having to compromise its core values, unlike the JI which has entirely immersed itself in the dirty game of electoral politics, thereby sapping its initial dynamism and appeal. Nevertheless, the Tanzimi Islami, which Dr. Israr founded in 1975, has been even less successful in gaining support of the masses or bringing about an Islamic state than the JI. Having a talent for explaining the Quran, many Muslims simply tuned in to hear Dr. Israr’s discourses on the Scripture, but never really showed any interest or willingness to go further and join Dr. Israr in launching a dynamic movement to establish the Din. His ’’movement’’, therefore, remained restricted to lectures, discourses and discussions, and has never been able to reach the next critical step of its own agenda. I therefore coldly conclude that the Tanzim has been a failure. It certainly did not acquire the help or blessing of Allah Most High in attaining its stated objective, or even coming close to that. It is not even particularly successful in being a simple educational and religious organization, judging by the increasing lack of followers and enthusiasm among its current members. And since the death of Dr. Israr, the Tanzim has lost the only individual it had who exhibited at least some charisma and name recognition.
Next, Dr. Israr falsely claims that the divine punishments that the Muslims have had to face in modern times, specifically what happened and is continuing to happen in places like Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir, Afghanistan, etc., is due to their failure to strive for and establish the Islamic state: ’’put bluntly, we are being punished by the Heavens because we have failed to fulfill the duty of establishing Islam on earth’’ (p. 15). As I have explained previously, Muslims are not obligated to establish the Khilafa or Islamic state, as these are in fact divine favors and compensation for the righteousness of the Muslims. In other words, it is the prerogative of Allah Himself to establish for us the Khilafa. Our duty is to worship Allah alone and be righteous, observing all His commandments and strictly avoiding His prohibitions. According to the Ayat al-Istikhlaf, Allah has promised to establish the Believers in the land as He established those who came before them on the condition that they have faith, perform good deeds, worship Him, not associate any partner with Him, establish the Salat, pay the Zakat and obey the Apostle Muhammad – peace be upon him (Sura 24: 55-56). Therefore, the cause for the present humiliation and degradation of the Muslims, undoubtedly a divine punishment, is our spiritual and moral corruption, and our failure to fulfil the conditions that have preceded as outlined in the Ayat al-Istikhlaf.
To be continued  إن  شاء الله

No comments:

Post a comment

There is No Prophet After Me. Meaning of بعد

Our interpretation of La Nabi Ba'di to mean no prophet that is in opposition to the Shari'ah of the Prophet and is not his follower ...