Our good friend Ali Sina of Faith Freedom has sent us this article about political Islam. It is a thought-provoking analysis from someone who was born into Islam, raised in an Islamic society, and now, as an ex-Muslim, works to enlighten both questioning Muslims and interested non-Muslims as to the nature of Islam.
Also, there is an ongoing gnat infestation in my email box: a steady stream of messages from people either insulting Ali Sina and demanding I denounce him, or insulting me and saying that Ali ought to denounce me. Ali pointed out in an earlier article that divide and conquer is a tactic of war preached by the Prophet Muhammad. As a continuing indication to the senders of those messages that their campaign is not working, I am happy to put this up.
Islam is a religion with a very political agenda. The ultimate goal of Islam is to rule the world. But what kind of government an Islamic state would have?
It certainly won’t be democratic. Islam is not compatible with democracy. Amir Taheri, an Iranian born author/journalist in a debate on Islam and democracy argued that in fact the word democracy does not exist in any of the languages spoken by Muslims. “To understand a civilization,” Taheri said, “it is important to understand its vocabulary. If it was not on their tongues it is likely that it was not on their minds either.”
Democracy implies equality. But equality is unacceptable in Islam. Un-believers cannot be equal to believers and women are not equal to men. Even the non-Muslims are not deemed to be equal. The People of the Book (Jews and Christians) are accepted as second class citizens and allowed to live in an Islamic state provided they pay the protection tax; Jizyah. But the pagans, atheists and idolaters are not regarded as fully humans. According to the Quran, the idolaters are to be killed wherever they are found. (9:5)
In the April 9, 2002 issue, The Wall Street Journal published the concept of blood money in Saudi Arabia. If a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the latter has to pay blood money or compensation, as follow.
100,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
50,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
50,000 riyals if a Christian man
25,000 riyals if a Christian woman
6,666 riyals if a Hindu man
3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman
According to this hierarchy, a Muslim man’s life is worth 33 times that of a Hindu woman. This hierarchy is based on the Islamic definition of human rights and is rooted in the Quran and Sharia (Islamic law). How can we talk of democracy when the concept of equality in Islam is inexistent?
Of course killing the idolaters “where ye find them” was not always expedient. What would the Muslim rulers in India gain if they killed all the Hindus? Over whom would they rule? So pragmatism often prevailed and the Muslim rulers would exert some degree of tolerance towards their pagan subjects. Furthermore, it is hard to find a Muslim ruler as ruthless as Muhammad himself. Muslim rulers killed whenever profit dictated and since live subjects were more profitable than dead ones, the extermination was not total as was intended by Muhammad. Nonetheless this tolerance was out of political expediency and not a right of the pagan. Muhammad’s butchery of his victims on the other hand, was psychopathological. He would massacre entire populations simply because they rejected him or hurt his humongous narcissistic ego.
The Christians and the Jews, the so called People of the Book, had some conditional rights. They had to pay Jizyah and buy their protection. Nonetheless they lived in a state of religious apartheid and were subject to humiliating treatments. For example, they were considered najis (impure) and were not allowed to go out on rainy days, lest their impurity may rub to a passing Muslim, make him “impure” and annul his prayer. The Jews and Christians were required to dismount from their donkey or horse if they met a Muslim in their way and they were supposed to greet the Muslim humbly and show submissiveness towards him. The Dhimmis were not allowed to build their houses taller than those of their Muslim neighbors and in some cases they were not allowed to build new churches and synagogues and needed permission to repair the existing ones.
Taheri said: “To say that Islam is incompatible with democracy should not be seen as a disparagement of Islam. On the contrary, many Muslims would see it as a compliment because they sincerely believe that their idea of rule by God is superior to that of rule by men which is democracy.”
One Islamic site explains: “In Western democracy, the people are sovereign; in Islam sovereignty is vested in Allah and the people are His caliphs or representatives. The laws given by Allah through His Prophet (Shari “˜ah) are to be regarded as constitutional principles that should not be violated.”
Taheri quoted several Muslim thinkers who expressed their disdain and disapproval of democracy.
“Ayatollah Khomeini called democracy “a form of prostitution” because he who gets the most votes wins the power that belongs only to Allah.
Sayyed Qutb, the Egyptian who is credited to be the ideological mentor of Safalists, spent a year in the United States in the 1950s and wrote: ” America is a nation that has forgotten God and been forsaken by Him; an arrogant nation that wants to rule itself.”
Yussuf al-Ayyeri, one of the leading theoreticians of today’s Islamist movement, published a book ( available on the Internet) in which he warned that the real danger to Islam did not come from American tanks and helicopter gunships in Iraq but from the idea of democracy and rule by the people.
Maudoodi, another of the Islamist theoreticians now fashionable, dreamed of a political system in which human beings would act as automatons in accordance with rules set by God.
He said that God has arranged man’s biological functions in such a way that their operation is beyond human control. For our non-biological functions, notably our politics, God has set rules that we have to discover and apply once and for all so that our societies can be on auto-pilot so to speak.
The late Saudi theologian, Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Jubair, a man I respected though seldom agreed with, sincerely believed that the root cause of all of our contemporary ills was the spread of democracy. “Only one ambition is worthy of Islam,” he liked to say, “the ambition to save the world from the curse of democracy: to teach men that they cannot rule themselves on the basis of manmade laws. Mankind has strayed from the path of God, we must return to that path or face certain annihilation.–
So what kind of government Islam is proposing?
Democracy means the rule of people. This is unacceptable in Islam. The Quran is empathic that “to Allah belong all Dominion and power” (2.165, 35:10, 35:13, 64:1). The words “No judgment but God’s” (la hukm illa li-llah) is based on several Quranic verses (esp. 6.57; 12.40, 67 etc.) This power is vested on His regent known as Khalifat al-Allah.
The Khalifa cannot legislate. He can only interpret the Law given in the Quran and the sunnah and apply it. Naturally, since the Quran is not a clear book, this allows for a wide range of interpretations and this explains why there are so many Islamic schools of thoughts and sects. “But the bottom line is” says Taheri, “that no Islamic government can be democratic in the sense of allowing the common people equal shares in legislation.”
Common people are called awwam, and as the saying goes: al-awwam kal anaam! (People are like animals).
It is up to the “experts” of the Law to interpret the Sharia and let the awwam know how they should live their lives. This endows the “expert” ruler, all the power and allows him to act as the deputy of God on Earth. There can be no opposition to the ruler. You can’t oppose God by opposing his representative.
In democracies people’s beliefs are irrelevant. They can belong to any religion or no religion and still manage to govern themselves in a secular state. This is not the case in monotheistic societies where God is the lawgiver. Christians and Jews have managed to separate the Church from the State. This evolution in Islam is not possible. The concept of Church (with capital C) as understood in Christianity does not exist in Islam. There is no authority like the Vatican or the Church of England in Islam. The Mullahs and Imams are average Muslims who through their knowledge of the Quran and Sharia gain reputation among the ummah and their own peers. You can’t separate the Islamic “Church” from politics, because there is no such thing as the Islamic “Church”. Every Mullah can interpret the Sharia in his own way. But he can’t redefine the explicit teachings of Islam.
Presently Muslims do not have a khalifa. But even if they had, the khalifa would not have been able to deviate from the Quran and announce the separate Islam from politics.
Islam’s main goal is to give the dominion of this world to its “rightful” owner, Allah. No authority on Earth can change that. Impeding Islam to achieve this goal is denying its raison d’Ãªtre and it is tantamount to blasphemy. Islam by definition is imperialistic.
It must advance, conquer and reclaim the dominion of all Earth or there is no reason for it to exist.
Democracies are pluralistic. People have different faiths and are free to criticize, not only each other’s religions but also their own. Islam does not tolerate that. Anyone who dares to criticize Islam faces severe punishment including execution or assassination. Islam is regarded as The Truth, the Only Truth and the Absolute Truth. Defying this truth is the same as defying God and that cannot be tolerated. Challenging the authority of the representative of God is like challenging God himself.
On May 27, 1999 Rafsanjani, one of the ruling Mullahs of Iran said: “If the Islamic nature and fundamental pillar of the state and the velayat-e faqih (Shiite version of khalifa) are undermined, nothing would be left around.” The same day, Khatami, the so called “reformist” president of the Islamic Republic said in the city of Qom: “Society’s parting with religion and the clergy is the beginning of our fall.” Khatami in July 5, 1998 said: “velayat-e faqih is the axis and pillar of the state,” he reiterated, “velayat-e faqih is the raison d’Ãªtre of our state. As such, opposing it… is to oppose the fundamentals and pillar of the state”¦.No state would tolerate assaults on its principles and pillars,” he said. [Iran Zamin News Agency]
In a commentary, iran-bulletin.org defines the concept of velayat-e faqis which is not distinct from that of khilafat: “In the theory of velayate faqih none of us can tell the difference between good and bad and, indeed, the whole edifice of the clerical rulership has been constructed to cope with our “ignorance”. The supreme clerical leader is our custodian (qayyem), and we are like sheep that if separated from our shepherd would surely be lost. The velayate faqih embodies every rights and the rest of us are only to carry duties. At its most pithy definition, the system of velayate faqih is the expression of this ignorance and absence of rights on our part in contrast with the all knowing, all powerful, clerical ruler.”
Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader explained the concept of velaya-e faqih, the position that he himself is occupying, with an uncanny frankness when he said: “the leadership means that point where the insoluble problems of government are solved at his hands. His person lights up the truth for the people and exposes the conspiracies of the enemy.” [ibid]
In the Islamic state religion is preeminent and God serves as the only legitimate source of legislation. Temporal rulers merely implement the laws of Islam as dictated by God.
The following article titled “Essential Features of the Islamic Political System” explains the concept of khilafat as understood by Muslims.
“The political system of Islam is based on three principles: Tawhid (unity of Allah), Risalat (Prophethood) and Khilafat (vicegerency).
Tawhid means that only Allah is the Creator, Sustainer and Master of the universe and of all that exists in it organic or inorganic. The sovereignty of this kingdom is vested only in Him. He alone has the right to command or forbid. Worship and obedience are due to Him alone, no one and nothing else shares it in any way. Life, in all its forms, our physical organs and faculties, the apparent control which we have over nearly everything in our lives and the things themselves, none of them has been created or acquired by us in our own right. They have been bestowed on us entirely by Allah. Hence, it is not for us to decide the aim and purpose of our existence or to set the limits of our authority; nor is anyone else entitled to make these decisions for us. This right rests only with Allah, who has created us, endowed us with mental and physical faculties, and provided material things for our use.
This principle of the unity of Allah totally negates the concept of the legal and political independence of human beings, individually or collectively. No individual, family, class or race can set themselves above Allah. Allah alone is the Ruler and His commandments are the Law.
The medium through which we receive the law of Allah is known as Risalat. We have received two things from this source: the Book in which Allah has set out His law, and the authoritative interpretation and exemplification of the Book by the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him through word and deed, in his capacity as the representative of Allah. The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, has also, in accordance with the intention of the Divine Book, given us a model for the Islamic way of life by himself implementing the law and providing necessary details where required. The combination of these two elements is called the Shari “˜ah.
Now consider Khilafat. According to the Arabic lexicon, it means “˜representation”. Man, according to Islam, is the representative of Allah on earth, His vicegerent. That is to say, by virtue of the powers delegated to him by Allah, he is required to exercise his Allah-given authority in this world within the limits prescribed by Allah.
A state that is established in accordance with this political theory will in fact be a human caliphate under the sovereignty of Allah and will do Allah’s will by working within the limits prescribed by Him and in accordance with His instructions and injunctions.”
This definition makes clear that the rule of Islamic system of government is not limited to Muslims but to every “organic or inorganic” thing that exists in this universe. This of course includes the non-Muslims. In an Islamic state everyone must live according to the dictates of Islam.
What we learned so far is that khilafat or the velayat-e faqih are not dissimilar to fascism.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, defines fascism as: “A totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.”
Characteristics of Fascist Philosophy:
“Fascism, especially in its early stages, is obliged to be antitheoretical and frankly opportunistic in order to appeal to many diverse groups. Nevertheless, a few key concepts are basic to it. First and most important is the glorification of the state and the total subordination of the individual to it. The state is defined as an organic whole into which individuals must be absorbed for their own and the state’s benefit. This “total state” is absolute in its methods and unlimited by law in its control and direction of its citizens.
A second ruling concept of fascism is embodied in the theory of social Darwinism. The doctrine of survival of the fittest and the necessity of struggle for life is applied by fascists to the life of a nation-state. Peaceful, complacent nations are seen as doomed to fall before more dynamic ones, making struggle and aggressive militarism a leading characteristic of the fascist state. Imperialism is the logical outcome of this dogma. Another element of fascism is its elitism. Salvation from rule by the mob and the destruction of the existing social order can be effected only by an authoritarian leader who embodies the highest ideals of the nation. This concept of the leader as hero or superman, borrowed in part from the romanticism of Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Carlyle, and Richard Wagner, is closely linked with fascism’s rejection of reason and intelligence and its emphasis on vision, creativeness, and the will.”
Let us compare that to Islam. Islam is opportunistic par excellence. It is extremely deceptive and despite being a doctrine of war it portrays itself as the religion of peace. It wants to have a universal appeal. It subjugates women and Muhammad was a misogynist of the worst kind but its apologists present him as the champion of women’s rights. The Quran is an asinine book of nonsense, yet its defenders claim that it is a miracle which contains scientific facts. It opposes knowledge and technology, yet it is presented as the religion that encourages learning. Muslims are fond of reminding others that Muhammad said “seek knowledge even if it is China” But the fact is that any knowledge that is perceived as contradicting the Quran is regarded satanic and is to be destroyed.
The Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt was once the largest in the world. It was founded at the beginning of the 3rd century BC during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt . It stored at its peak 400,000 to 700,000 scrolls. In 640 AD Muslims took the city and upon learning of “a great library containing all the knowledge of the world” the conquering general asked Khalifa Omar for instructions. Omar has been quoted as saying of the Library’s holdings, “they will either contradict the Quran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous.” And to be on the safe side he ordered the library to be destroyed and the books burnt.
This is how Muslims try to portray a false image of Islam so it can have a broad appeal.
However, the most important feature of Islamic polity is the glorification of Islamic state and the total subordination of the individual to it.
Just like in fascism, the Islamic state is defined as an organic whole to which individuals must submit. In Islam “freedom” is in submission to Allah and his messenger. The very word Islam, which Muslims deceptively translate as peace, means submission. What is good for Islam and the Islamic state is good for Muslims and what is bad for Islam and the Islamic state is to be spurned and regarded as bad for the Muslims too. Islam and the establishment of Islam’s dominion is the greater good and the ultimate goal that every Muslim must strive for.
The Islamic site muslim-canada.org writes: “The highest organization in society is the state. Islam has given to the world the practical form and ideals of statehood. Therefore, the question of how religion should inspire, inform and discipline life, is naturally related to the question of how should it be related to the highest organization of society (i.e. the state).”
The other ruling of Islam is the concept of Jihad and the necessity to struggle in order to advance the Islamic dominance. The motto that “Islam is a religion of peace” is a preposterous slogan that is part of the strategy of the Islamic “Game of Deception”. Islam does not mean peace, it does not preach peace, it has never been peaceful and it will never be. Islam has advanced through aggressive militarism and regards Jihad and martyrdom as the most meritorious acts. Islam is militant and imperialistic by its very nature.
Fascism is elitist. Islam is also elitist. The Khalifa or the velayat-e faqih is the ultimate authority on Earth. He is the one who can read the scriptures and the only one who can understand them properly. His word is the ultimate undisputable decree. However theoretically, just as in communism, anyone can aspire to become Khalifa. The Khalifa in Sunni sect is elected by the populace while the velayate-e faqih in Shiism is nominated by a body of the ruling Mullahs called: “The Assembly of Experts”. Whether this ruler is elected or nominated, just like in other totalitarian regimes, he occupies his seat for life and responds to no human authority.
Another similarity of Islam and fascism is the disdain of reason and intelligence in both ideologies. In Islam, the emphasis is on faith and unquestioning obedience to the mandates of God. Reason is rejected as a fallacy. Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, (1058 – 1111 CE) is arguably the greatest Islamic scholar ever. In his book “Incoherence of the Philosophers” he bitterly denounced Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and other Greek thinkers as non-believers and labeled those who employed their methods and ideas as corrupters of the Islamic faith. He took aim at Avicenna for being a rationalist who drew intellectually upon the Ancient Greeks. By emphasizing on the incompatibility of faith and reason, and by asserting the futility of making faith subordinate to reason, Ghazali gave validity to unreasoned faith and thus glorified stupidity.
Watt says: “The early period of Islamic thought is dominated by the conception of the unchangeability of true religion and the special Arab and Islamic conception of the nature of knowledge. Knowledge that is important for the conduct of life — and this is knowledge in the fullest sense — is obtained in the revealed words of God and in the sayings of prophets and other specially gifted men. From this conception of knowledge it follows that the work of the scholar is to transmit accurately the revealed text and other wise sayings”. [The Formative Period of Islamic Thought, p.63]
It is important to note that when Muslims talk about knowledge, they are talking about the “revealed” knowledge and not the secular scientific knowledge that has given birth to our civilization. The word science in Arabic is Ilm. The people, who possess this Ilm, are called Ulama. But Ulama does not mean scientists. It means religious scholars. Ilm is religious science. Islam does not encourage the learning of science. Islamic languages don’t have even a proper word for it. Islam encourages religious learning. This is what Muhammad meant when he said “seek knowledge”. Seeking knowledge in Islam, means memorizing the Quran and the hadith.
Inspired by the Quran various Muslim groups have employed sectarian violence to achieve political ends. The first group was Kharijiyya. The Kharijiyya insisted on two things. First, that the Islamic community must be based on the Quran. The second point emphasized the ascendancy of the Islamic state over the individual rights. Motivated by many verses of the Quran (32.13, 76:29-31, 3:39, 3:159, 16:93, 2:6-7, 4:88, etc.), they maintained that God’s will, must supersede men’s will and claimed the community is the bearer of the values that constitutes meaningfulness, in other words men’s life has meaning only if he belongs to Muslim community. This is how fascism defines the position of the individual vis-Ã -vis the state. These ideas were based on the Quran and were eventually adopted by the rest of the Muslims.
The Islamic rationalists such as Mutazilis placed reason above revelation. But their school was vehemently opposed by more fervent Islamists and became extinct. They were attacked by a group called Ashariyya to which al-Ghazali and the celebrated poet Rumi belonged. Rumi mocked the rationalists and in a catchy verse that left its mark on the psyche of the gullible masses said the rationalists stand on “wooden legs”.
The Ashariyya glorified irrationality and remained faithful to the Quran. They rejected the rationalists whom, in their view, had forsaken religion and had detracted from God and his revelation. Thus rational objectivism was quashed with mockery and violence, the books of rationalists such as Zakaria Razi were destroyed and they themselves had to hide for their safety. The Ashariyya won because they had the backing of the Quran, the rationalists did not.
With Ashariyyah’s unconditional embrace of the authority of revelation, and their glorification of irrationality, rationalism was nipped in the bud and most likely the Renascence that was about to be born 1000 years ago, did not. We shall never know the extent of the harm that these celebrated religious zealots caused to mankind’s civilization.
In an article titled: Is Rumi What We Think He Is? Massoume Price quotes Dr. Shaffiee Kadkani who wrote: “unfortunately the emergence of geniuses such as Rumi and other Urafa (religious mystics) who unconditionally supported Ashariyya did not give freedom of thought a chance”. He concludes, “If it wasn’t because of Ashariyya our history might have evolved differently”. [Creation and History, (Afarinesh va Tarikh, p.50)]
Price contends: “It is not a coincidence that in Mathnavi, Rumi attacks all thinkers including atheists, naturalists and philosophers etc”¦. When Ibn Khadon [Khaldun] troduction (Mogadameh) [Muqaddimah] t Africans are black because of geographical and environmental conditions, it was the Ashariyya who ended such scientific observations by declaring people are black because God created them as such. When Physicians tried to find the connection between the brain and hand’s movements, it was Imam Muhammad Ghazali who mocked scientific inquiry and stated “hands move because God wants them to move” (Alchemy of Happiness, Kimiyaya Saadat). It was Ashariyya who imposed inquisition culture that still exists today and haunts us even in North America.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, (Third Edition. 2002) says: “As a rule, fascist governments are dominated by a dictator, who usually possesses a magnetic personality, wears a showy uniform, and rallies his followers by mass parades; appeals to strident nationalism; and promotes suspicion or hatred of both foreigners and “impure” people within his own nation, such as the Jews in Germany.”
In Islam, the Khalifa does not wear a showy uniform. On the contrary, in accordance to Muhammad’s sunnah, he exerts himself to make a public “display of modesty”. Modesty is just a show and a hallmark of Islam. The more modest you dress, the more pious you look. But the Friday prayers and the hajj are the Islamic version of mass parades that are designed to impress the believer, give him a sense of pride and belonging and make him firm in his belief that Islam is strong.
This parade to Muhammad was so important that in one hadith he is quoted saying:
“I thought that I should order the prayer to be commenced and command a person to lead people in prayer, and I should then go along with some persons having a fagot of fuel with them to the people who have not attended the prayer (in congregation) and would burn their houses with fire. [Muslim4,1370; Bukhari1,11,626]
Islam also promoted suspicion and hatred of the unbelievers. Muhammad said that the unbelievers are impure (najis) 9:28 and instilled in them the hatred of the Jews, saying God transformed them into apes and swine. 2.65, 5.60, 7.166
Clearly Islamic system of government is fascistic.
“¢ It is marked by centralization of authority under a supreme leader vested with divine clout.
“¢ It has stringent socioeconomic control over all aspects of all its subjects irrespective of their faith.
“¢ It suppresses its opposition through terror and censorship.
“¢ It has a policy of belligerence towards non-believers.
“¢ It practices religious apartheid.
“¢ It disdains reason.
“¢ It is imperialistic.
“¢ It is oppressive.
“¢ It is dictatorial and
“¢ It is controlling.
Islam, like fascism, appeals to people with low self esteem and low intelligence. Both these ideologies are irrational. They disdain reason, and hail devotion and submission to a higher authority. Like fascists, Muslims are triumphalists. They seek power, domination and control. They pride themselves in their strength of number, in their mindless heroism, in their disdain for life and in their willingness to kill and die for their cause.
Islam is political and political Islam is fascism.