Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Political Narrative of Islam (Part 2)

بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم

والصلاة والسلام على رسوله الكريم

وعلى اهل بيته الطيبين الطاهرين المظلومين

والعاقبة للمتقين

As pledged earlier, I would like to turn the focus of my columns and articles to the third dimension of Islam, namely, its political narrative. Our sacred and holy Quran speaks of the liberation of the weak, oppressed people from tyranny:

وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا

And what is it for you that you fight not in the Way of Allah and (for) the weak among men, women and children; those who say: “Our Lord, take us out of this town of its oppressive people, and make for us, from Yourself, a protector, and make for us, from Yourself, a helper.”

(Sura 4:75)

In the context of the Prophet Muhammad’s ministry, this Verse is referring to the persecuted Believers in Mecca who were prevented from leaving it to join the Prophet and their brethren in faith in Medina. The final liberation for these weak and oppressed Believers came about with the Conquest of Mecca, in the eighth year after Hijra, corresponding to 630 CE. The Verse states that the Believers should fight in the Way of Allah, meaning for the purpose of establishing Tawhid and to make His Word supreme in the land, and after that, their second motivation should be to liberate the weak, oppressed men, women and children. The prayer of those weak, oppressed people is that Allah make for them a Wali and a Nasir. By the latter is meant someone who should come to their aid, a savior and deliverer, but the former term, Wali, requires more explanation as it is most relevant to Islam’s own political ideology. The Wilayate that Islam seeks to establish is the desire and expectation of the weak, oppressed people, in place of the tyranny and oppression they are forced to endure. Such a Wali and a Wilayate is made by Allah Himself:

وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا

“Make for us, from Yourself, a Wali”

The words mil-ladunka signify that the Wali of the weak and oppressed is sent by Allah Himself. Once this divine Wilayate is established, it is dutibound to fight in the Way of Allah and to liberate the weak, oppressed people from their tyrannical, un-Islamic regimes. During the epoch of the Prophet’s first two successors, sayyidina Abi Bakr al-Siddiq ؓ and sayyidina Umar al-Faruq ؓ, the pure and divinely-supported Islamic state engaged in war with both the Eastern Roman and Neo-Persian empires. That was undoubtedly a Jihad in the Way of Allah to establish Tawhid and the Religion of Allah in their domains. But it was also motivated by the desire to liberate the weak, oppressed peoples of those domains from the tyranny and cruelty of their regimes. These empires and kingdoms were known for tyrannically oppressing their peasants, with burdensome and unjust taxes for example, while the corrupt aristocracy and rulers lived in shameless luxury. Due to the bigotry of the Christian clergy, the Jews of the Eastern Roman empire were often persecuted and mistreated. In the early 7th century, while the Prophet Muhammad   was struggling against idolatry and the persecution of his own people in Arabia, the Jews launched an insurrection against Heraclius, the Eastern Roman emperor. This insurrection was led by two enigmatic figures, Nehemiah ben Hushiel and Benjamin of Tiberias. It was fueled by apocalyptic and messianic fervor, and, though brutally crushed by the Romans, demonstrated the genuine need for liberation from the latter. Today, it is the Muslims and particularly the Arabs that have become weak and oppressed, and are crying out to Allah to send them a Wali and a Nasir. Only by adapting the apocalyptic, messianic worldview, will Muslims truly begin to understand the “big picture” and eagerly anticipate the arrival of the promised Mahdi . The latter shall be the Wali and Nasir that the weak, oppressed are crying out for, whom Allah Himself shall appoint and strengthen with heavenly forces, to overthrow and decimate the forces of oppression, and substitute, in their place, a pure Islamic wilayate.

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