In a June 11, 2011 article on the website of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, veteran movement member Sheikh Ahmad Gad argued that the implementation of shari’a in Egypt must be achieved gradually, by preparing the peoples’ hearts and minds for it and introducing it in stages. He proposed learning from the methods of the early Muslim Brotherhood, which worked in a step-by-step fashion, and called on Al-Azhar to focus on promoting the implementation of shari’a.
The following are excerpts from the article:
“There Is No Hope for Reform Without a Return to Divine Rule”
“Following the blessed popular revolution on January 25, 2011, there was a debate between the majority, which hopes and yearns for the implementation of Allah’s shari’a, and the minority, which uses Islam as a tool of intimidation and fears the Islamists and a return to the Middle Ages.
“This minority, which denies the results of the referendum while calling for democracy, is made up of those who oppose a religious state or a caliphate state, and advocate a return to the tyrannical secular regime that corrupted the land and the people — a minority [that receives] prominent media coverage…
“Islamic shari’a ruled for centuries, but became distant and absent for centuries more. The various forms of imperialism were a burden on the [Muslim] nation in various ways, and caused people to change… In that dark period, the state alternately mimicked Eastern and Western regimes. Corruption developed, grew, and accumulated… [Nowadays], there is no hope for reform without a return to divine rule, which the Creator chose for man. This nation will have no chance of success, [except] by that which caused it to succeed in its beginning.
“[However,] we must not impose Islamic shari’a, forcing the people to adopt something about which they are ignorant and with which they are unfamiliar… If we do this, [various] ploys will be used to circumvent it, and there will be hypocrisy. [People] will exhibit Islamic [behavior] only outwardly… […]
“There is no other way but gradual action, preparing the [people’s] souls and setting an example, so that faith will enter their hearts… Gradual action does not impose Islam at once, but rather step by step, in order to facilitate understanding, studying, acceptance, and submission. […]
“The Prophet, peace be upon him, acted in a gradual manner, by first preparing the people, and then [preparing] family, society, state, and finally the caliphate… This gradual method is also employed in the Koran [itself] with respect to the prohibition on [drinking] wine… It was also employed in presenting the duties of Islam… First, there were two prayers — at noon and in the evening — and after people grew accustomed to them, Allah ordered five prayers during the day and night…
“At the [Muslim Brotherhood’s] fifth conference, [the movement’s founder,] Imam [Hassan] Al-Banna, spoke about gradual action and reliance on education, and clarified the stages [of implementing the shari’a]. They [i.e., the movement’s founding members] believed that da’wa must come in phases: The phase of reading, learning the idea, and delivering it to the public; the phase of forming [the idea]; and the phase of implementation, work and results. At that same conference, Al-Banna said, addressing the hasty: ‘Listen to what I say in a loud, resounding voice: This way of yours, whose phases are written and whose boundaries are defined, is long, but there is no alternative [way]. I am not with those who want to pick the fruit before it has ripened. Those who wait patiently for the seed to sprout, the tree to grow, the fruit to ripen, and the harvest to arrive — their reward will be with Allah… May that be the payment of those who do good.'”
The Islamic Streams Should Unite to “Restore the Caliphate”
“I ask the honorable Al-Azhar to rally the Islamic streams in order to unite the Muslim word and effort, restore the caliphate, and prepare a practical plan to implement the law of Allah the Exalted. This is the goal of the honorable Al-Azhar and of all Islamic streams. And Allah will help.
“O Allah, guide us, open our hearts to faith, and restore this [Muslim] nation to its previous self — one united nation worshipping You and You alone.”