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Nigeria: Islam and Revolution (I)


By Adamu Adamu

 7 February, 2014

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it. Karl Marx said this, but the revolution his economic philosophy unleashed didn't so much change the world as divided it into two. And when the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the revolution that would challenge the international system on its every assumption came, Marxists and capitalists banded together to oppose it. In four days, the Islamic Revolution in Iran will be 35 years--a far cry from the one week given to it by Saddam Hussein and his Arab and Western sponsors.

In all this period, Iran had stood alone without the support of any country or organisation in the world; and even after more than three decades of death and deprivation caused by comprehensive Western political, economic and diplomatic sanctions and an eight-year long imposed war, it never wavered. But within these 35 years, Iran has been transformed from the diplomatic backwaters of the United States to a veritable regional power that has become the cynosure of all diplomatic eyes; and, from the Western standpoint, its high point would seem to have been reached when the world saw two sitting American presidents waiting expectantly in the hallways of the United Nations hoping,, almost begging, for a handshake from two reluctant Iranian presidents. What could have been responsible for this transformation?

According to Ivor Benson, South African dissident analyst, "An exploration of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and its meaning for the rest of the world can begin with three wide-ranging generalizations: [t]he Iranian Revolution showed that religion can still be a more potent mobiliser of mass political action than can secular ideologies; [t]he revolution challenges the cultural hegemony of Western ideas, not only as a religion but as an alternative social model and way of life; [and t]he Iranian Revolution thus can be regarded as one of the most important happenings in modern history, comparable to the French Revolution in the 18th century and the Russian Revolution in this century...[and it]...conveys two great truths with vast implications: religion can still be a more potent mobiliser of mass political action than can secular ideologies, and the long-time hegemony of Western social models has ended."

But for those who know, no revolution could ever come near the Islamic Revolution in its appeal or people's popular participation in it. The French Revolution was a Freemason enterprise and the only role played by the French public was no more than that of the Mob, which in the end couldn't eat even the cake of Mary Antoinette. The Russian Revolution was an exploit of a handful of New York Zionists over the heads of the Russian Mensheviks, though none dared call it that. In neither revolution was popular participation up to ten per cent of the population but the revolution in Iran sprang, and was sustained by pressure, from all the mosques, bazaars, factories, streets and seminaries in the vast country. For long the world was reeling from what happened, and it inspired global messianic expectations.

In 1980, less than a year after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, I asked the late Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi whether it could be considered a fulfilment of the prophecy contained in verse 47:38 of the Holy Qur'an: "... If you turn back [from the path], He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!"

According to Suyuti and ibn Kathir's exegesis of it, following the revelation of that verse, Companions of the Holy Prophet [SAW] asked him [SAW] who the people were referred to in it with whom Allah would replace the Arabs if they turned back. He [SAW] patted Salman and said, "These are his people, and even if Islam were to have been taken to Thurayyah, they would bring it back to earth." Thurayyah, Pleiades, was the farthest star known to the observable universe of Arab proto-astronomy.

While affirming the authenticity of the Hadith, Sheikh Gumi said the Islamic Revolution was not its fulfilment; and, after a long pause, he added that the prophecy had in fact already been fulfilled. When I asked him what the fulfilment was, he said it could be seen in the fact that almost all the classical works of Islam on Hadith, Tafsir, Tarikh and the sciences, on which Islamic theology and scholarship came to depend, had been written by the scholars of Islamic Persia. But whether it was the revolution that was the fulfilment of that ayah or it was the literary output of Persians, what was undeniable was that an event had occurred in Iran that had forever changed the world.

And the first and most notable effect of the revolution on Islamic political theory has been to close the hitherto unbridgeable gap between the Sunni and Shii positions. With the doctrine of Wilayat al-Faqih, Imam Khomeini [qss] empowered the Ulema in Iran to participate and even assume leading positions in governance. Before him this was unthinkable in Shi'ism, because of the Shiite belief of the illegitimacy of all authority except that which is exercised by the designated members of the Household of the Holy Prophet [SAW]; but in Sunnism, Wilayat al-Faqih was organic to it and had been the norm wherever a jihad tradition had existed.

The meaning of the doctrine of Wilayat al-Faqih is simply 'the rule of the [most learned] Alim;' and when Sheikh Usman Danfodiyo led his revolution here, it was a Wilayah of the Faqih that he created, though he didn't have to call it that since his followers had no problem with the leadership of the Ulema, whom both traditions recognise as the inheritors of the prophets. Imam Khomeini [qss] had to spend his entire life preaching and writing books to convince the Shia of its necessity and practical implication. In the very early years of the revolution I had myself met some Ulema in Iran who had, on account of his formulation of the doctrine, accused the Imam [qss] of being a crypto-Sunni!

So, it is really sad to see people, who, for want of a better term, may have to be called commentators, relying on no more knowledge than the misrepresentation of some wilfully ignorant Western analysts of Islam, repeat the lie that the Imam [qss] had to invent something, as if it was outside Islam. And when this charge is parrot-copied and repeated by those who think they are Sunni, the irony becomes even more grotesque and laughable. The tragedy is that they do not even know what it is to be themselves, yet they are busy hurling Takfir at others.

In contradistinction, the revolution has given the world a chance to see the true visage of an accommodating faith: it showed the world that there is another type of Islam that is not at war with Christianity though it has eternal, unceasing hostility to imperialism; that there is an Islam that is not anti-Semitic but is virulently anti-Zionist.

And thus, though of its 76 million people, the entire non-Muslim population is less than half a million, but 14 of them today sit in the country's 290-member Majlis--five Armenian Christians, four Assyrian Catholics, two Zoroastrians and three Jews. If representation was strictly determined by population, none of the religious minorities would have been able to elect a single representative, but the right of minority is guaranteed by the constitution--and the Imam [qss] had given them his personal guarantee.

The revolution has also given the lie to the claims of that world of superficiality, still reeling from the effects of medieval obscurantism that has continued to deny the efficacy of philosophy and the necessity for philosophical inquiry in interpreting and understanding the world. Today, the nucleus of the atom may be invisible to the naked eye but it holds more secrets from the disciples of Jabir bin Hayyan; for, in the case of nuclear chemistry, more than any other modern example, is knowledge the lost property, and therefore the inheritable estate, of the believer.

Thus, while Sheikh Abd al-Aziz bin Baz, the late chief exponent and leading cleric of Wahhabism, died in 1999 insisting and teaching that the world is flat and stationary, Iran has split the atom, is today one of the leading nations in stem-cell research, and has, after harnessing nuclear know-how, already joined the race for the conquest of space. Imam Khomeini [qss] led a revolution that has changed the world forever and become the prelude and harbinger of the total disinheritedness of imperialism. It was a revolution that has rescued Islam from the image given to it by gambling princes and pie-eyed oil sheikhs in hot pursuit of catwalk models and Hollywood actresses; and it reminded the world that there is an alternative tendency that is steeped in knowledge and the pursuit of spiritual purity; and it revived the idea of believers as strugglers by day and devotees of God prostrate in worship at night as a heedless world slept.

After smashing Karl Marx's opium thesis and hitting the final nail on the coffin of Marxism, effectively sending it to the dustbin of history; and then, here comes a tumultuous revolution taking place in full view of the world inspired by nothing other than religion, which they had said was an opium--and it put everyone in his place, and including the world powers in theirs.

Without doubt, it is the epic and most momentous of all the titanic, ideological struggles of modern times--a struggle to free Islam from the suffocating embrace of Zionism, deliver it from the stranglehold of a myriad of atheistic ideologies and the effect of a duplicitous, complicit international media, and establish God's rule in the most Westernised country in the Muslim World.

This revolution has challenged the cultural hegemony of West: telling it that the brigade of God is back to put Caesar where he belongs--back in the backburner, and to give unto God what is God's and take from Caesar what he has appropriated that isn't his.