By Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam
April 2, 2013
In Islam, there are mainly two ideological groups. The first thinks that the solution to all our problems lies in the Islamic government while the second group thinks that if all (or most ) of the society starts following Islamic teachings, all the solutions will be solved one by one. In other words, an Islamic government is not as necessary as is following the teachings of Islam through which reform or improvement in condition is not only possible but certain.
Since the time Muawiyah turned Islamic caliphate into a kingdom, Muslims have been facing various problems which still persist. The first problem is the issue of succession of power which left the issue of reform of the ruler of the Muslims to his fate. If a just and noble ruler comes to power, he can lead the country to progress in his short tenure and if a corrupt ( and mostly so) ruler assumes power and creates a horrible condition then the subjects have the only option of waiting for his death. Such a situation compelled the Islamic jurists to turn their attention to the issues that posed no threat or inconvenience to the contemporary government, for example, the issues concerning beliefs, the opposition of rulers, beard etc.
Such problems (issues of succession) did not put obstacles in the progress and advancement of the Islamic caliphate during its initial phase. The Islamic caliphate was a world power and there was no one to challenge it. A strong economy and the abundance of wealth made caliphs encourage scientists because it did not pose any threat to their rule.
But the status quo could not be maintained for long. The Europe woke up 5 centuries ago. Scientists freed themselves from the church. The businessmen wiped out the feudal system and after capturing power in the Europe, started protecting the interests of the business community instead of protecting those of the feudal section. The affluence of the new world turned its direction towards Europe. The social, cultural and economic awakening widened the cultural gulf between the Europeans and the Muslims even culminating to confrontation two centuries ago.
For the last two centuries, the West has been the master of the fate of the third world including Muslims which encompasses all forms of military, economic and political imperialism. The most dangerous situation is that of cultural defeat. Due to this cultural defeat, Muslims have lost self-confidence. At the height of inferiority complex, they started looking upon their own Islamic heritage with doubt and considered everything from the West ideal and worthy to be emulated. Some even thought that the Westerners were superior to them genetically and therefore they could never match up to them in any field.
The problems of the Muslims can be summed up in two points:
1. The West’s hegemony over Islamic countries and power: All the Muslims know that their next ruler will come to power with the blessings of the West or at least the West will not have any reservations against him. Apart from it, their hegemony on the economy and culture and the dependence of the Muslims on the exported goods of daily use and more importantly their being a psychologically defeated lot before the West makes the situation even worse.
2. The problem of Islamic jurisprudence: There is no Islamic solution to the issue of succession or government in sight yet because discussing it was a taboo for fourteen centuries. Therefore, the Islamic jurisprudence is not competent to solve this problem now.
Can Then Political Islam Be A Solution?
In this situation, it is not possible for the Islamists to come to power in those Muslim countries where they are under the West’s domination but even if in an exceptional case they reach the seat of power, they will not be able to retain it for so long that they can implement their Islamic agenda. And even if they succeeded in it too, will the Islamic agenda be able to solve the problems of the people?
Yes, the Islamists can solve the problem of corruption as others can do. Perhaps they can also solve the problem of education as others can do. In short, they can solve all the problems in the same way as others can solve them. However, the solutions of the most of such problems will not come from the Quran and the Sunnah, but they will be logical and rational solutions for which all is needed to be done is to place appropriate people in appropriate places. For instance, the problem of education can be solved by an increase in the budget earmarked for the salaries of teachers and for education and by modernising the syllabus. What do all this have to do with the Quran and Hadith? These are purely administrative problems and can be solved by any educationist or an efficient administration whether they are Muslims or Hindus. What is needed is honesty and sincerity of purpose.
Is Social Islam A Solution?
Will the condition of the Ummah improve if all the Muslims become pious? If all the Muslims become pious, they can at best go to heaven but cannot get freedom from the hegemony of the West. Even if Muslims take to the path of jihad, they cannot stand up to the superior and latest weapons of the West and so they will be obliterated. It will not also solve the issue of power or succession until the Islamic jurisprudence finds a solution to it. Also, economic, education and intellectual backwardness and unemployment cannot be solved through piety.
The most important point is: Can Muslims remain or become pious in such a situation? Is it possible to attain piety in a state of cultural and psychological defeat? Can the most poor and backward community attain piety? Can Muslims attain piety when they are subjects of corrupt governments that care a damn for the Deen? On the contrary they stand against Deen whenever there is a little resistance against them.
Perhaps Islam can solve some of the problems of the Muslims but Islam did not come to solve the problems of politics. Islam does not render any service to politics but politics serves Muslims. Islam has been revealed to solve the moral and ethical problems of the people because perhaps politics cannot solve them or does not have any role in it.
Islam faces some serious issues. It is in the face of severe threats from the political realities and economic and intellectual situations arising out of them. It is therefore not in the least possible for the Muslims to become ideal Muslims in the context of such a situation.
It is Islam that needs a solution. It is necessary for the Muslims to rise and take control of their fate by realising the reality. It is required of Islamic jurisprudence to break its silence on the issues of governance and present an acceptable logical solution to them otherwise Muslims will be lost into oblivion.