Chapter 18 – What Future for Muslims?

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed here.

I started this book intending to look into the roots of the current crisis in Islam. I believe that I have outlined the main causes that gave rise to the intense current crisis, bearing in mind that it is not a new crisis but has been heightened by several factors including especially the horrendous attacks of Western Imperialism of the last century against three generations of aspiring Muslims lost in the myriad years of their history.

It is inconceivable that I can conclude my project without shedding some light on what I think awaits Muslims this century, and what they and others may do about it. Following on from my analysis, it becomes obvious that two parties need to consider what to do in order to break the vicious cycle of terror tearing the Muslim world apart and spilling over to other non-Muslim countries. Both Muslim religious and political leaders and Imperialist planners ought to heed this call.

It is not enough for religious or political leaders to appear day in day out simply stating that what the Salafis are doing today is not part of real Islam, like I have already argued throughout this book. Most of those politicians and all the clerics know that they are in a dilemma. On the one hand, they are eager to dismiss the murderous image of Islam which these Salafi movements are presenting to the world. But on the other hand they cannot refute the Salafi argument that they are adhering to the path of the ‘righteous predecessors’, which the clerics themselves consider as untouchable.

Muslim leaders need to set up a Commission, whether under auspices of The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or another forum, whose task would be to reread; reconsider and possibly reinterpret Islamic history and the theological legacy. Naturally, this call applies to other religions. Islam is not simply being singled out but Islam is in urgent need of this review because the religion itself is being used as an excuse for terror. No other religion is currently implicated in heralding such a campaign. This Commission should consider among other things the following issues.

Real Islam is exclusively embodied in what the Prophet delivered in the text of the Qur’an and what can be asserted within the Qur’anic principles as having been said or done by the Prophet: “And what Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns – it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and orphans and the [stranded] traveler – so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you. And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.”(Al-Hashr 59:7) Any other action or principle added later by Companions or fuqahā should not form part of Islam, as has been accepted by Muslins generally in adding such political constructs as consensus of the fuqahā, or by some analogous construct. It is an insult to Allah to claim that when He delivered His message He left a few things out for others to complete. It should be obvious that He only left things out because these matters were not integral to His message.

  1. Since there is no reference in Qur’an or the life of the Prophet to indicate otherwise, then Islam should be accepted as a religion deciding the relationship between man and his creator and between man and man. It is not intended by Allah to be a political economic system for His Kingdom on Earth as has been propagated for centuries.
  2. In asserting that Islam is a religion, there is no denial of the fact that moral obligations are imposed by Allah on His creatures to be good; do good deeds and refrain from harming life or nature. Muslims as part of this creation, who had the message delivered by the Prophet Muhammad at that particular juncture in human history, should be guided by the Hadith attributed to him when asked what is Halal and Haram, He replied that ‘Halal [admissible] is clear and Haram [forbidden] is clear’ indicating that instinctively we were created knowing the path.
  3. While religious principles are static, state matters are dynamic: “Whoever is within the Heavens and Earth asks Him; every day He is bringing about a matter.” (Ar-Rahmaan 55:29). Thus while matters like prayers, their times and paying alms are unchanging, means of contracts and marriage ceremonies for example should change with time as part of the changing nature of the state.
  4. Since the Qur’an does not specify the nature of the political or economic systems under which Muslims should live, then it is not axiomatic to argue that an Islamic State can be established. It is possible to argue that a political system may borrow some noble principles from Islam relating to man’s obligations to his fellow citizens, but that does not mean that Allah has made that a Divine Law simply because some fuqahā had said so.
  5. Allah has purposely left essential matters intended for the running of a state out of his message because it is His Eternal Will that religion and state should be separate, contrary to what people in the ‘West’ have been led to believe. One such example is that of the lack of a coherent philosophy of punishment, which every state requires in order to establish peace and security. Allah’s wisdom determines that such matters are dynamic and should be adjusted according to time and place and not eternal principles.
  6. The fact that the principle of a Caliphate did not exist in Qur’an or Prophet’s life indicates that the later assertions of the fuqahā that, at the heart of Islam was the setting up of the Caliphate, has no basis. The Prophet himself, despite living more than twelve years in Medina, did not set up a state in the political and economic sense or create a state apparatus as required by a state nor declared himself a Caliph. He ruled a community of the faithful just like Jesus did. It would be bizarre to suggest that as soon as the Prophet departed it was discovered that Islam needed a state apparatus, which the Prophet had overlooked.
  7. The Islamic State created by Abu Bakr, and practised since, was an innovation imposed by necessity to legitimize authority and not according to Allah’s Will.
  8. Islam was meant for the Arabs, as the Qur’an determines that every people should have a message in their own tongue before they are punished for disobeying. “And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Ibrahim 14:4), “Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.” (Al-Israa 17:15)
  9. Spreading Islam by the sword is and would always be contrary to Allah’s will. “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” (Al-Baqara 2:190)
  10. Islamic invasion of states outside the land of the Arabs is a heinous crime as determined in the Qur’an.
  11. Killing a soul contrary to the principles set out in Qur’an in three stated occasions is as unforgivable a crime as that of killing all humankind.
  12. The Killing, pillage, capture of slaves and so on are totally alien to Islam and repugnant barbaric acts carried out by the pre-Islam Arabs which Islam came to put an end to ”Then is it the judgement of [the time of] ignorance they desire? But who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who are certain [in faith]” (Al-Maaida 5:50)
  13. No principle not specified in Qur’an or clearly proven to have been decreed by the Prophet should be automatically assumed to be Islamic because one of the Prophet’s companions had decreed it. Infallibility should be restricted to the Qur’an and the Prophet. “Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination.” (An-Najm 53:3)

These are but some of the essential matters which leaders of Islam need to discuss and come to a consensus upon. Once such a task is accomplished, then history should be rewritten for the new generations in the objective light of the above considerations and they should not be restricted by the fear of criticising the ‘predecessors’. The only restrictions Muslims should impose on their rereading of their history are the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet.

In considering the Sunnah of the Prophet, Muslim leaders ought to carefully consider all the Hadiths and practices which have been attributed to the Prophet in the light of the Qur’anic principles, common sense and basic moral values, before attributing them to the Prophet. The most simple argument to refute a Hadith or practice attributed to the Prophet is that since there are no means of verifying events or reporting, then errors are possible especially since matters are being reported from times when even writing was scarce and language was going through a major transformation even in its writing as the alphabets did not have dots or diacritic, being a sign placed above or below a or letter to indicate that it has a different phonetic value, is stressed, or what vowel is associated with it.

Having looked at what the Muslims need to do in order to understand where they stand in human history, it is time to shed some light on what the Imperialist ought to do, not out of generosity or good heart of the Imperialist, but out of necessity dictated by the facts of Globalization, which some Imperialists thought that human history had ended up with. Imperialism thrives on the principle of the open market which marks its channels of exploitation. Thus any process that would hinder such freedom of movement of capital or goods or investments ought to be resisted because it effectively hinders the principles of a free market on which Imperialism thrives. It is imperative for the Imperialists to come to terms with the current state faced by Muslims. It is not enough for them to rely on the old policies of buying some leaders, threatening some and intimidating others.

But in order for the Imperialist planners to understand the current state of affairs they need to appreciate the core roots of their rejection of Islam as a formidable force. Although I said earlier in the book that the West has found Islam a formidable obstacle to Capitalism on which Imperialism pins its objectives, the rejection has even deeper philosophical reasons, which I shall try to present.

There is a serious element in the new wave of Salafi terror. It is not comprised of illiterate peasants who can be bought or appeased. Most of those enlisting are highly educated with specific engineering, medical and scientific skills. When some of those are born in the West it becomes a serious domestic matter to deal with and cannot be dismissed as a problem across the seas, or as one of mind-altering indoctrination.

The West has held a sense of superiority above the rest of humanity during the last five centuries brought about by its ability to subjugate the rest of humanity and produce the long and durable technological advances and improvements in the general standard of life. However, the West has been consciously or subconsciously suffering from an inferiority complex in its need to borrow its religions.  Despite all the material and intellectual achievement, Europe had had to borrow its religions from the Semites. All the West religious beliefs come from the Semites; the Prophets are Semites; the Holy Books are in Semitic languages, and the codes of behaviour are Semitic. This reality has created a deep resentment as to why these superior people have to borrow the beliefs of the lesser Semitic people.

Such resentment has been displayed in different forms with some being so violent and bloody as happened in the treatment of Jews by the German Nazis which found great favour among many Europeans at its time. Christianity has been easier to accept through the clever mechanism of having presented Jesus as partly European through Paul, Rome and the Holy Roman Empire as if Jesus was slowly Europeanized. This may also explain why sects have arisen in the West among Christians, like the Pentecostalists, the Laestadians or the Mormons, all claiming to be Western home-grown churches.

But so for Islam which still seems alien, so much so that many European cities refuse to allow mosques with minarets to be built, not because of the architecture which some of them exhibit, because the rejection is not based on architectural or urban considerations. The rejection of Islam and what it represents, as a formidable intellectual barrier to the arrogant Western ideologies, baffles the mind. The more resistance the Muslims put up the more vicious the European reaction becomes. The invasion and destruction of Iraq is one of the most evident and recent examples of this conflict. It really had nothing to do with a fictitious threat, which Iraq allegedly posed to Europe, but was more as a lesson to a disobedient Muslim state refusing to accept to submit to European domination. Maybe in six centuries from now when Islam will be as old as Christianity is today, attitudes will change but six centuries is a long way to go.

Western Imperialism has to understand and accept this realization and deal with it not because of love for Muslims or kind consideration for humanity but out of self-interest. Imperialism depends on Capitalism as its arm of control and domination. Capitalism needs free movement of people, goods and money. Instability preventing such a safe movement would be detrimental to Imperialism. In the past Imperialism dealt with disobedience by threat of force. This will not work with young men and women who are chasing death. How can you intimidate a teenager who drives a car loaded with explosives straight at you?

With millions of young men and women, some of whom have been born and raised in the West, willing to die and take people and property with them, Imperialism has to rethink its ideas and practices in earnest. It is time the West stopped denigrating Islam and humiliating Muslims as it has been doing for two centuries. It is time the West stopped sending its armies to invade Muslim land, providing the Muslim fundamentalists with the fuel needed to mould young people’s minds about the Western conquest. More importantly, the West has to stop believing that it has a divine right to impose its will on others and tell them how they should live. Europe should reconsider the use of such ludicrous phrases as ‘Judeo-Christian values’ to distinguish itself from others in general and Islam in particular. There are no such values in reality. There are no common values uniting a Siri Lankan Catholic to a Norwegian Protestant to a Falasha from Ethiopia in order for such a phrase to have any meaning other than being a euphemism for Imperialism.

There is a serious element in the new wave of Salafi terror. It is not comprised of illiterate peasants who can be bought or appeased. Most of those enlisting are highly educated with specific engineering, medical and scientific skills. When some of those are born in the West it becomes a serious domestic matter to deal with and cannot be dismissed as a problem across the seas, or as one of mind-altering indoctrination.

Both Muslim leaders and Imperialists planners must consider taking notice of the above suggestion as one way of tackling the crisis in Islam. Failing to do so would only mean looking into the abyss where more violence against Muslims will feed more terror and more suicide bombers all over the world – a dark prospect indeed- although not for the oligarchs who thrive on the ensuing chaos to use force to grab resources and impose their restrictive laws.

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