Tyranny is Anathema to Islam [Archives:2000/49/Focus]

December 4 2000

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
And so let there be from amongst you,
People calling for the common good,
Who insist on what is duly recognized,
And who put an end to that which is abominable,
And it is those who shall be the successful winners1.
(The Holy Quran, Al-Imran, II-104)

The eternal message that descended from the heavens to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), through the Quran, over the span of over twenty years or so, starting on that fateful night of the month of Ramadhan (around 610 AD), unlike the missions of the prophets and messengers that preceded Mohammed (P), left no doubt as to how mankind comes to terms with his infallible Creator, while at the same time, it left man with the ordinances required to arrive to that blissful regime, which will ensure the prevalence of good over evil, right over wrong and justice over inequity.
The problem confronting Islam, since a few years after the Prophet Mohammed (P) passed away, lies in the poor comprehension of its essential ordinances on government and social legislation, as well as the spiritual elements needed to form the basis for the true feel of such ordinances. This poor comprehension is found, not just among non-Moslems, but the great majority of Moslems as well. While this does not entail that Moslems are not equipped with the essential elements of faith, it goes without saying that most Moslems are unfamiliar with the modus operandi of Islam as a functioning social order, essentially being satisfied with the fulfillment of its worship rites and dos and donts, etc., leaving the social regime to those who engage in politics, for all they are worth.
With respect to the non-Moslems, the obvious lack of comprehension was encouraged and promoted by various institutionalized vested interests that saw in Islam a threat to their political, economic or spiritual power and influence among their constituencies. These included clerical establishments that have acquired tremendous power over the earlier years of the Middle Ages in Europe and Asia Minor, the monarchies and feudal orders that ensured the sustainability of these feudal societies and the patriarchs and medicine men of the Jewish and heathen communities that saw in Islam a threat to their spiritual influence among their constituencies. For the Jewish religious orders, Islam was further despised, because, at first they recognized the coming of a final prophet to bring mankind out of the ignorance of having no faith in God, or distorting that faith to meet the interests of opportunists who took advantage of the human instinct for piety, to further their selfish greed for economic wealth and social eminence, but when that prophet did not come out to be a Hebrew they quickly amended their own scriptures to remove any mention of Mohammed, who was duly named by Moses as the coming savior of mankind later on after him, although Mohammed was a descendant of a grand-uncle of the Hebrews, Ismael (or Ishmael), the son of Ibrahim (or Abraham or Abraham). The Christian patriarchs also amended their scriptures accordingly later on as well, although many Christian and Jewish clergyman at the time of Mohammed quickly saw logic in Islam as the final outcome of many missions delivered by God in an effort to bring salvation to mankind from the pitiful rule of soothsayers and medicine men, who saw in religion a means of acquiring wealth and social prominence. One still sees how the wording of the Old and New Testament is still subject to revision from time to time, even now to make them more compatible with the times. Whereas the Quran remains intact since its delivery some 15 centuries ago.
In understanding Islam, as delivered in the Quran and in the manner by which Mohammed gave illustrative proof of the significance of the religion as a revolutionary social order, we are lead to believe that existing Moslem states have a long way to go before arriving to the true social order and just society, which Islam truly ordains. It is, therefore, not surprising to find that Moslem states are finding it difficult to achieve progress, in both the political and economic development of their peoples, despite the abundance of references to bank upon in order to achieve such progress. The truth of the matter is that Islam is given no more than lip service treatment by most Moslem leaders. Even those aspiring Moslem fundamentalist organizations that proclaim to stand for Islam as the solution, have yet to grasp the true fundamental principles that give Islam its magnetic appeal among the majority of its adherents its call for civil rights, justice and incorrupt political institutions that manage the state of affairs of the nation. Thus, we find that most Moslem regimes, are in principle, what symbolize the tyranny that Islam came to eradicate altogether, because of the oppression they unleash in order to keep their authoritarian rule over their people and the corruption, on which the regime they have set up thrives on. It is a vicious circle which did not begin with the Crusades, Imperialism or Zionism, but in fact began around three decades after the death of Mohammed (P) and the last of the Orthodox Caliphs, Ali Ibn Abu Talib, when the struggle for power within the new Moslem state, founded by Mohammed, lost its democratic semblance and the Umayyad Caliphate converted the state into an inherited monarchy, through the use of cold blooded repression and severe punishment to anyone who contested the rights of the dynasties that prevailed after that to dominate the Moslem World. While the political history of Islam has not been very healthy in terms of fulfilling the dogma preached and practiced by Mohammed and his early followers, on the political and social front, it still stands to reason that Islam is the first religious movement that insisted that men are born free and possessive of various inalienable rights that no ruler can ever take away from his constituencies, which include the right to decide who that ruler is, the right to protest any action by that ruler that goes against the public interest and against the interest of the Nation of Islam and the right to take any necessary action to get rid of any corrupt regime that prevails over the affairs of the Nation, state or country. Thus, Moslems are bound by their religion to stand up against tyranny, of any form and if they fail to put an end to any abomination, especially, when it is caused by the state or the prevailing political order, then in fact they have not fulfilled their religious duty, nor have they taken advantage of the rights that Islam has ordained for them in the Quran and the traditions and practices of the Prophet Mohammed (P).
For non-Moslems, the problem is not a serious problem, as one might think it to be, for in a modern world of rapid communications and easy access to reliable information, this observer believes that Islam will gain tremendous weight among non-Moslem societies, especially Western societies, because, much of the political and social legislation ordained in the Quran, have already been adopted by Western societies and much of their literature is based on themes and fantasies adopted from oriental or Islamic literature and thus it should not be surprising that Islam is now the fasting propagating religion in Western Europe and the United States.
Further knowledge of Islam in the West will go a long way in bridging the comprehension gap. Proper adherence to Islam by the political regimes overseeing the affairs of Moslem constituencies will also go a long way to providing the examples that will project the true social order that Islam stands for and supports and will go a long way towards improving the welfare of Moslem societies and their progress and development, economically and socially. The movements that stand for the rejuvenation of Islam are to seriously look upon Islam not merely a revolutionary movement for the sake of the fulfillment mundane aspirations, but are to reflect the tolerance and reasonable principles that Islam stands for and surely need to amend their ways by being more transparent and democratic within their own regimes.

1 The translation of the observer.