Archive for the ‘04) the Field Of Education And Religious Training’ Category

The Islamic Movement In the Field Of Education And Religious Training

Belief based

Education is the basic and necessary approach for any Islamic movement that seeks to change the state of affairs by changing people themselves.

The point of focus in the field of education should be the preparation of the Muslim vanguard who will aid the cause of Islam. They would be to our age what the Prophet’s Companions were to the Prophet’s age.

The foremost quality that members of this vanguard must have is belief, by which I mean the belief of Quran and Sunna; the belief that has over seventy branches of values and morals; the belief on which whole volumes were compiled, for belief does not come about by the wish or by pretence: it is what settles in the heart and is proved by acts.

So, what is meant here is not just the mental knowledge whose effect does not extend to the heart to light it or to the will to move it. Neither is it just filling the memory with words and terms such as God and the Lord; religion and worship; the various branches of monotheism; idols and (the Times of) Ignorance, and then feeling proud that one possesses what makes a true believer and what constitutes yaqin [perfect and absolute belief] and dragging others to arguments and verbal battles over these words and terms.

Neither argument nor verbal battles would yield a belief like that of Pharaoh’s magicians when they believed in the Lord of Moses and Aaron, or like that of the Prophet’s Companions when they believed in the Message of Allah’s Messenger.

The needed belief is the one of the first generation, as prescribed in the Quran and Sunna.
Only one verse from a surat in the Quran needs to be quoted here: it is the verse with which Allah answers the desert Arabs who said, “We believe” while belief had not entered their hearts: (Only those are believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and have never since doubted, but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the Cause of Allah. Such are the sincere ones) [Surat Al-Hujurat: 15]. It is also narrated in the hadith that the Prophet said, (Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness [delight] of faith: to love Allah and His Messenger more than anything else; to love a person only for Allah’s sake, and to hate to revert to atheism [disbelief] after Allah saved him from it like hating thrown into Hell) [Bukhari & Muslim].

It may be enough for the common people who follow the leaders to have a half, or even a quarter, belief, but the leading vanguard must have a true belief. They should never include a half – or a quarter – believer.

Imam Hassan Al-Banna used to say to his disciples, “Give me twelve thousand believers, and I will conquer with them the mountains, cross the seas and invade the land”.(l)

But is this number enough to bring about the great hopes and realize the ambitious aspirations of the Islamic Nation? I say yes, we will do with twelve thousand of the true believers. But I also say that we will not do with twenty-four thousand half believers or forty-eight quarter believers, or any of the “fractions” of believers whom one stumbles upon as a result of their stupendous numbers but who can do nothing of use in times of need.

We want believers like the Ansar of Medina, who were described of becoming large in number at the time of war and few at the time of distribution of the war booty.

As for those who are many in numbers but of little use in reality and are no better than ‘the scum of the torrent, they will never be fit to be in the leading vanguard, even if they are millions in number.

Belief based or God inspired education is the first precondition for bringing up a generation that will defend the cause of Islam.

It is this generation that has been described by the Almighty (you who believe, if any from among you turn back from his faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him – lowly with the believers, mighty against the rejecters, fighting in the way of Allah and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the Grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleases. And Allah encompasses all, and He knows all things) [Surat Al-Ma’ida: 54].

The Necessity of a Measure of Proper Sufi education

A measure of proper Sufi education based on the Quran and Sunna is in order here, as it would help in shaping a religious character whose owner would put Allah before Allah’s creation, the Hereafter before earthly life and the motives of religion before the motives of desire.

Not all Sufism is evil as some would imagine. Neither are all Sufists misled as claimed by those who lack in knowledge or fairness. Sufists are like other groups, as Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn-Taymia said in his treatise entitled “Al-Fuqara”‘ [the Poor]. He said about them, “Among them you find the straightforward and the deviant; the one who wrongs his own soul, the one who follows a middle course, and the one who is, by Allah’s leave. foremost in good deeds”.

Of course, we reject all the fallacies of philosophical Sufism (including such tenets as: hulul” divine incarnation” and ijtihad “mystic communion with God”), ecstatic utterances of heretic Sufists and the deviations of money oriented Sufism. What we really seek is the pure, quintessential Sufism of the pioneer Sufists, such as Al-Hassan Al-Basri, Al-Fudayl Ibn-lyad, Ibrahim Ibn-Adham, Abu Sulayman Al-Darani, Abul-Qasim Al-Junayd and others like them.

We seek the sunnite Sufism that follows a balanced line of Quran and Sunna – the Sufism that cares about the “piety of hearts” before it concerns itself with the “acts of the organs of the body”. It is said in the sound hadith that (Allah shall not look at your bodies or your faces, but rather into your hearts} [Muslim].

We seek the Sufism that addresses the ailments of the heart, plugs the holes through which Satan can steal into hearts, and resists the desires of the human soul, so that it may have proper morals and virtues and abandon sins.

Someone described Sufism in a nutshell, saying, “Sufism is being true to Allah and good to mankind”. This is what Allah the Almighty means by saying, (For Allah is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good) [Surat Al-Nahl: 128]. The Sufists are with Allah by being pious, and with people by doing good.

Allama Ibn Al-Qayyim quoted the early Sufists as saying, “Sufism is good manners, an anyone who surpasses you in manners should be better than you in Sufism”. Ibn Al-Qayyim comments on that by saying, “No, religion is good manners, and anyone who surpasses you in good manners should be better than you in religion”.

True ! And we need only to quote the Prophet’s hadith, (I have been sent [with the Message] to make manners perfect) [Bukhari].

Four Points of Focus

There are four points of focus in this education, as follows:

1. Pure Intention: The first focal point is making one’s intention pure, so that his work may be done solely for the sake of Allah, not for the sake of any other gain such as money, power, people’s favor or any other of the ambitions that the soul may covet in secret.

Islamic work is a worship and a jihad. Worship is good only when it is practiced in pure intention for the sake of Allah: (And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true [in faith]) [Surat Al-Bayyinah: 5].

Jihad in Allah’s cause is proper only when it is performed with an intention that is pure and is directed at making the Word of Allah exalted to the heights.

Allah the Almighty does not accept a deed with shared objective, nor a heart with shared beliefs.

This why Imam Hassan Al-Banna was keen to raise his first slogan as, “Allah is Our Goal”, so as to assert that the pleasure and reward of Allah are our most aspired goal. We might say that we seek to establish an Islamic community, an Islamic state or an Islamic ruling system, or that we work for restoring the integrated Islamic way of life, or any other near – or long -term objective, but our goal in all this will be to gain the pleasure of Allah so that He may count us among His righteous servants.

Every Islamic worker should bear in mind these two verses,
(Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are [all] for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. He has no partner: thus I am commanded, and I am the first of those who submit to His will) [Surat Al-An’am: 162-163].

Causes are not made victorious through the efforts of fame – seekers, but through the efforts of those who were described in hadith to be (charitable, pious and quiet people, who are not felt when present nor missed when absent, and whose hearts are the lamps of [Allah’s] guidance) [Al-Hakim].

2. Fearing Allah: The second focal point is to fear Allah in any deed, so that such deed may take its share of perfection.

This is why the Prophet, when Gabriel asked him about perfection, said: (Perfection is to worship Allah as if you were seeing Him, for although you do not see Him, He does see you)

This is a prerequisite in any deed, be it earthly or religious, for perfection in work is a farida that every Muslim should seek to observe. Allah has prescribed perfection in everything, and nothing should make a man seek perfection more than his feeling that Allah sees and hears him and knows all that he does.

Perfection is more a prerequisite when the deed in question is related to religion, such as work in the fields of the Islamic Call and the Islamic Movement, where Islamic workers discharge
m      their duty on behalf of other Muslims who sit idle and watch, and even sometimes attacks them and try to bring them to abandon their efforts.

Islamic workers never lack in supervision, nor do they ever require administrative inspections, for they are under supervision from within themselves, and they are the first inspectors of their efforts, as they always have in mind Allah’s saying, (And He is with you whosesoever you may be, and Allah sees well all that you do) [Surat Al-Hadid: 4].

3. Calling Oneself to Account: The third focal point is self accounting. First, we have to have a true intention before setting to work. Second, we have to seek perfection in our work. Third, we have to call ourselves to account. It is the hadith (A wise man is that who calls his soul to account and works for that which comes after death, and a helpless (fool) is that who gives his soul a free right and hopes for Allah’s forgiveness [without cause for such forgiveness] )

It is also related that Omar said (Call yourselves to account before you are called to account, and weigh your deeds before they are weighed against you) Another saying by Maymun ibn-Mahran, is: (A pious man is that who calls his soul to an account that is fiercer than that of a tyrant ruler and a tight-fisted partner.)

The origin of our point here is Allah the Almighty’s saying in the Quran, (And I do swear by the self reproaching soul) [Surat Al-Qiyamah: 2).

Self accounting always breeds more effort towards rectification of errors and elimination of shortcoming, making one always seek perfection and avoid self admiration, conceit and contempt of others.

Calling oneself to account is also one of the moral and educational fundamentals in Islam. This is why it is considered as a must by all Sufists and experts of education. People nowadays repeat the term “self-criticism”. There is no harm in using this term, but there does exist real harm in regarding its meaning as being new to us and regarding it as a practice that we have copied from others, for it is nothing but the self accounting that is called for by our Quran, our Sunna and our very culture.

4. Putting One’s Trust in Allah: The fourth focal point is putting one’s trust in Allah. It is the spiritual weapon that turns weakness into strength and few numbers into large numbers. It was also the weapon with which the Apostles of Allah faced up to the tyrants among their people, never being intimidated by their tyranny or weakened by their mischief, but saying, (Why should we not put our trust in Allah? Indeed He has guided us to the ways [we follow]. We shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt you caused us. For those who put their trust should put their trust in Allah) [Surat Ibrahim: 1 2].

Putting one’s trust in Allah means to take Allah as one’s guide, following His commands and depending on Him, as He says, ([He is] the Lord of the East and the West: there is no God but He, take Him therefore for [your] disposer of affairs) [Surat Al-Muzzammil: 9].

You should take Allah as your disposer of affairs, however, only after you prepare yourself and, take every precaution, then go ahead in confidence that Allah will not abandon you.
Putting one’s trust in Allah should by no means be taken to mean neglecting one’s work, abandoning the means that lead to ends, ignoring the approved practices or waiting to reap unsown seeds or harvest unattended crops. It means what the Prophet and the Apostles before him did: doing one’s best and leaving the outcome to Allah, out of trust in Him, out of conviction in His promise and out of belief in His support.

Our noble Prophet made the best arrangements for his hijra, but the unbelievers managed to reach the cave where he was hiding. When Abu-Bakr said, “If any of them looks under his feet, he will certainly see us!”, the Prophet said, “What do you think of two people whose third is Allah?” (Have no fear, for Allah is with us) [Surat Al-Tawbah: 40].

This was also what Moses said to his people when Pharaoh pursued them at the head of his army, and they were caught between the sea before them and their enemy behind them: (And when the two bodies saw each other, the people of Moses said.

“We are sure to be overtaken”. He said, “By no means!! My Lord is with Me! Soon will guide me!) [Surat Al-Shuara: 61-62].

We really need this sort of conviction to face up to the grandchildren of Pharaoh and Abu-Jahl, trusting that Allah is with us. Those who have Allah with them will not fail (If Allah helps you, none can overcome you. If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? In Allah, then, let the believers put their trust) If Allah helps you, none can overcome you. If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? In Allah, then, let the believers put their trust) [Surat Al-Imran: 160]. If Allah helps you, none can overcome you. If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? In Allah, then, let the believers put their trust) If Allah helps you, none can overcome you. If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? In Allah, then, let the believers put their trust) [Surat Al-Imran: 160].

Focusing on Seeking Right in Addition to Pure Intention

In preparing vanguards, we have to insure the presence of a combination of two things: pure intention and correct work.

Pure intention and goodwill are required in every Islamic work, because every Islamic work is a worship and a jihad, and no worship or jihad will be accepted unless there was a pure intention behind it, as we have already said. This is why our ‘ulama’ attach so much importance to the Prophet’s hadith saying, (Deeds are [measured] by the intentions behind them) that they regard it as a quarter, a third, and even a half, of Islam as a whole.

However, this alone is not enough for steering the Islamic Movement’s ship among the waves and winds of the tempest. For besides pure intention, there should exist an ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and even differentiate between the more right of two opinions and choose the lesser of two evils or the best of two good things. It is said that a man in his right mind is that who knows good from evil, but a wise man is that who knows the better of two evils, if there could ever be an evil that is good!

True, a Muslim is required to try and seek what is right; and if he goes wrong, he is excused, even rewarded. However, as the hadith says, one who tries and goes wrong is rewarded only once, while one who tries and goes right is rewarded double: once for trying and making the effort, and once for going right.

A double reward is promised to those who go right so that “seeking correctness” may always be an objective for those who try, and that all wise believers may set their sights on going right in their endeavors.

However, I would like to underscore two points here:

First, he who gets rewarded for trying should be qualified for trying in the first place, i.e. he should possess the minimum qualifications to make an ijtihad [personal reasoning]. I do not mean the literal meaning of ijtihad as pertaining to the conditions for making such endeavors as they are mentioned in usul al-fiqh [ principles of jurisprudence] books, but rather to any attempt made in any field that requires special knowledge. Making a trial in politics is certainly different than making a trial in the military, economic or educational fields, as each field requires special knowledge in addition to common sense.

But he who launches himself into a topic that he does no. know well, passing judgment in it without proper knowledge, should only wrong himself, his topic and his people, and should get no reward at all, but rather get (a punishment for) an undeniable sin, for he would be passing judgment in ignorance and wading into waters he does not know how to swim in.

This was why the Prophet said in hadith (Judges are three kinds: one shall go to The Garden, and two shall go to Hell. The first is a judge, who knows right and judges by it, and he shall go to The Garden. The second is a judge who passes judgment in ignorance, and he shall go to Hell. The third is a judge who knows right but passes judgment unjustly, and he shall go to Hell) [Abu-Dawad, Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn-Majah, Al-Nasa’i, Al-Hakim].

This hadith makes a judge who passes judgment in ignorance equal to a judge who knows right but passes unfair judgment, as an ignorant judge would be sailing in unknown waters that he would get lost into, and had better leave them to those who can steer the ship safely through them, and give the helm to a skilled master.

Even if he does right, a man of this kind will not be rewarded by his right deed, as it is a shot without a marksman, and a right word from the wrong quarter, having no value because.: it is not based on a proper methodology.

It is said in the hadith, (He who gives his own opinion [without knowledge] in the Quran and goes right shall be wrong) [reported by Al-Tirmidhi who classified it as “gharib”, i.e.. a hadith which is related by only one narrator. In other Sunna collections it is classified among the “da’if”, i.e. weak traditions].

He will be wrong, although his opinion is right, because his right opinion came out of a haphazard trial, not through a proper methodology that he followed strictly. Such a haphazardly reached right is not to be depended on.

The second point I want to note here is that those who will be rewarded for their ijtihad, even with the single reward for trying, will be worthy of reward only if they do their best in seeking the truth and exert every effort to ensure that they understand things right. In so doing, they have to use all the means at their disposal and digest all the available information to discover right. They have also to consult knowledgeable people, so as to arm themselves with sound opinions and valuable experience that will help them do right.

The importance of ideological education of future leaders
Preparing Leaderships for the Future

The problem of the Islamic Movement in many countries is that its base is larger than what its leadership can cope with. There is no shame in admitting that.

The reason for this situation is that the contemporary Islamic Movement has spread all over the world, driving roots in all countries, its base becoming more expansive. However, this growth has not been accompanied by the appearance of a suitable number of leaders that can cope with it at ideological, educational and political levels.

This is a situation that the current readerships have to bear in mind and prepare for in the next phase.

The first fact that should be taken into consideration here is that being faithful to the Call, making sacrifices for its sake or being among the first to enter its field are not the only qualifications for leadership of the Islamic Movement, though they have their weight as points in favor of candidates and have their own value before Allah and in the eyes of people.

The required type of leadership should enjoy certain mental, psychological and practical abilities in addition to the traditional prerequisites of morals, behavior and faith.

By leadership, I do not mean the figure at the top of the hierarchy, but rather the group that plans for work, launches the work and directs and controls it and gets out the best in those working under its command, so as to divert them from destruction to construction; from argument to work; and from idleness to serious endeavor.

Those who were first to assume leadership should not stand in the way of new leaders, thinking that leadership is a life-long right that is invalidated only by death, thus denying the youthful talents and young abilities the opportunity to come into the light.

We have to abandon the idea that leaders are selected for life, like the Rightly Guided Caliphs, whom we were commanded to take as an example.

In fact, such historical precedents are not a law that the Nation should observe until the Day of Judgment, and we have discussed this point elsewhere.

However, what matters here is that we should, even must, prepare the readerships required for the coming phase, so as to ensure that there will stand at the helm only those leaders who are strong, honest, dependable and knowledgeable.

We must prepare ideological, educational and political readerships.

This is what we must seriously think of, taking the practical steps and measures to achieve. We have to bring it about from theory to application.

A special Institute for Preparing Leaderships

I suggest, for this purpose, that an institute be established for preparing Islamic leaders. Its students should be selected from among the faithful talented elements who possess the required mental, psychological, behavioral and belief related qualities. They should also be recommended by prominent figures known to be good judge of men. They should also sit for written and oral examinations of various kinds before they are admitted to this institute.

The institute had better be a boarding – school – type, so that the students may live as a community in it, leading a life in which religion, knowledge, the Call, brotherhood and jihad will be the basic elements.

The curricula of this institute should be comprehensive, profound and diversified, combining traditions with contemporary knowledge, mixing religion with human sciences from an Islamic perspective, and giving due attention to the study of the local, Arab, Islamic and international state of affairs, with emphasis on the examination and analysis of the forces opposing our religion, our Nation and our march. This institute should combine knowledge and work, theory and practice.

The faculty to teach these curricula should be selected from among trustworthy professors who combine high qualifications with mature thought and true belief. They should be far from being either lax or extreme. There should exist among them an integration and a coordination that would ensure that none of them would tear down what another has built, and that there would not be among them Accidentalists and Orientalists or Rightists and Leftists who would wreak contradiction, confusion of thinking and disturbance in the character – formation process among the students.

However, I do not mean that the great professors we should seek should be replicas of one another: I only mean that there should be a harmony among them in terms of the general way of thinking of major issues and in terms of the general philosophy that will be adopted in the institute. At this point I would 1ike to discuss some of the features of the ideology we should established through this ambitious endeavor.

Features of The Ideology Needed

What I would like to assert beyond any doubt or ambiguity is that besides the belief- based education that is the foundation of the moral upbringing of future leaders of the Islamic Movement, there should be a strong ideological education that is based on the sort of ‘fiqh” explained earlier, which we want for the Movement in its days to come.

Belief, to us Muslims, is not against reason or intellect. On the contrary, it is based on and fed by reason, and the believers are described in the Quran as “men of understanding”, and the Quran is meant to give signs to “people who understand” or ” people who ponder”. Reason to the prominent intellectuals of the Nation is the basis of all [inherited] revealed knowledge, for without it nobody could have proved the existence of Allah or the validity of prophethood.

Through the instructions it contains, the Quran has laid down the foundation of the “scientific mentality” which worships Allah superstitions and denounces the imitation of forefathers or prominent figures.

A Scientific Ideology

The ideology on which our aspired education is based has specific features that should be sought and established by teachers and driven home by educational curricula.

First, this ideology is scientific in the full sense of the word.

By ” scientific “, we do not mean that it is scientific as related to abstract and applied sciences – though they are a field that should be sought by Muslims by all means – but rather that it is an ideology that would not accept any claim without proof, any result without preamble, any evidence without documentation or any preamble that is not totally free from suspicion.

We want “scientific thinking” and scientific spirit” to guide our life in every way, so that we may view things, issues, situations and people in a scientific way, and pass our tactical and strategic decisions on issues related to economy, politics, education and other fields with a scientific mentality that is free from the influence of emotions, improvisation, self -centeredness, herd – effect and the many diversified pretexts given for everything today. Such adverse factors have come to dominate our behavior to a great extent. A decision maker who is under the influence of his or his party’s whims will only be seeking to appease the public by doing what they like, not what is good for them and their future in their homeland and their Nation as a whole.

The “scientific spirit” has major characteristics that I have already dealt with in my book, “The Islamic Solution: A Farida And A Must” In the course of “self – Criticism” of the Islamic Movement. However, I think it would be better to recall them here for purposes of reasserting the Nation’s need to them, not to imported “secularism”.

Characteristics of the Scientific Spirit We Need

The scientific spirit has many characteristics, the most important of which are as follows:

1. Adopting an objective attitude towards matters, situations and statements, regardless of who is behind them. Ali Ibn Abi-Talib said, “Do not know Truth by men. Know Truth, and you will easily know the men who belong to it”
2. Respecting specialization. The Quran says, (Ask of those who possess the Message) [Surat Al-Nahl: 43] (Ask, then, about Him of any acquainted [with such things]) [Surat Al-Furqan: 59] and (And none [O man!] can inform you like Him who is All-Aware) [Surat Fatir: 14]. Religion has its own experts, as do economics, military affairs and other branches of knowledge, especially in this age of ours, here specialized knowledge is the rule. He who knows religion, politics, economics, arts and military arts, giving his opinion on everything, is a jack of all trades who is a master of none.
3. Having the ability of self-criticism, admission of mistakes and learning from them and evaluating past experiences under a fair light that is not dimmed by the “glory seeking” view which sees the past only as being full of glories and victories.
4. Employing the latest and best techniques so as to ensure success, and learning from the experience of others, including enemies. Wisdom is a believer’s quarry, wherever he finds it, he is more worthy of it than any other man.
5. Subjecting everything, except religious and ideological incontestable facts, to tests and accepting the outcome regardless of whether it is in one’s favor or not.
6. Avoiding haste in passing decisions and judgments, and adopting attitudes only after a careful study based on examination and evaluation and only after a constructive dialogue [with the other side] that would reveal shortcomings and advantages [of the issue being discussed].
7. Appreciating the other view and respecting the opinions of those who adopt contradictory attitudes towards multi-faceted issues in fiqh and all branches of knowledge, so long as each has his own evidence and argument, and so long as the point at issue is not decided by a clear text that would preclude any dispute. Our ‘ulema’ have established that there is no ban on an ijtihad -based opinion, as no one who tries to come out with a judgment based on ijtihad should be regarded as better than another. However, this should not prevent constructive dialogue and academic, impartial verification in an atmosphere of tolerance and love.

Some Practices that Run Against Scientific Ideology

It is against the scientific way of thinking to oversimplify complicated issues, underrate serious issues, view difficult problems with an alarming superficiality or deal with major issues with the mentality of the uneducated and the practices of the dervishes.

It is detrimental to our thinking that we should see behind anything that we do not like those invisible hands and evil foreign powers that had masterminded our plight wickedly and waited patiently until we stepped into the trap of our own accord. This may be true in some cases, but it is wrong to generalize it.

This explanation of events in our history to be the results of schemes and conspiracies, regardless of whether the events in our countries are political, economic, social or cultural, only bears two bad fruits:

First, if such a feeling escalates, it breeds a sense of “fatalism”: that there is nothing we can do about these satanic schemes because of the gigantic financial and intellectual capabilities of the forces of them and our own weaknesses and shortcomings. This way, we become “chessmen on a chessboard”, as is often said. Such a feeling would breed only despair and a destructive sense of defeat.

Second, this attitude prevents us from self-criticism and precludes any sincere attempt to understand our deficiencies, remedy our ailments or examine our failures and sins. It impedes any effort to look for the causes of our diseases so that we may find a cure for them. This situation will remain as long as any deficiency, neglect, corruption or ruin is seen as the result of a devious foreign scheme, not as the consequence of our own behavior.

We had often adopted this attitude despite the fact that the Quran teaches us to blame only ourselves whenever we are met by a misfortune or are the target of a calamity or a defeat, as Allah the Almighty says, (Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because of the things your hands have wrought, and for many [a sin] He grants forgiveness) [Surat Al-Shura: 30].

After the Muslims had been struck by the calamity of losing seventy of their heroes in the Battle of Uhud while they had scored a dazzling victory in the Battle of Badr, they asked themselves what the reason was. The answer was sent down by Allah in (What! When a single disaster smites you, although you smote your enemies with one twice as great, do you say? -“Whence is this?” Say [to them]: It is from yourselves) [Surat Al-Imran: 165]

A Realistic Ideology

Among the characteristics of the scientific ideology we want for the Islamic Movement in the next phase is that it is based on reality, not on illusion or dreams.

Balancing ambitions with Capabilities

One of the realities we have to etch on our minds is that we should balance our ambitions with our capabilities and weigh what we wish against what we can actually get, so that we may not commit ourselves to matters for which we are not prepared or for which we do not possess the necessary tools.

The Holy Quran includes an authorization for a warrior to turn his back to battle if “he is trying to execute a stratagem of war or retreat to a troop of his own people”.

A warrior is also authorized to withdraw from battle when the situation is not in his favor as a result of the presence of large enemy numbers that are more than double the number of the Muslim army: (For the present, Allah has lightened your [burden], for He knows that there is a weak spot in you: But [even so], if there are a hundred of you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a thousand, they will vanquish two thousand, with the leave of Allah: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere) [Surat Al-Anfal: 66].

In the Battle of Mu’ta, the Roman Army was many times the number of the Muslim Army (the Muslims were 3,000 against 150,000 Romans). This correlation of troops made the military genius Khalid Ibn Al-Walid plan for the Muslims withdrawal to safety, preferring that to throwing his army into a battle that would be more like suicide.

When he returned with his companions to Medina, the enthusiastic Muslim youths received them by throwing stones at them, describing them as the deserters”, but the Prophet defended them saying, “No, they will be the attackers by the will) of Allah”.

A wise commander is that who cares for his troops lives. This is what made Omar Ibn Al-Khattab early in his reign reluctant to invade the Byzantines, saying to those who urged him to do so, “By Allah, a single Muslim is dearer to me than the Byzantines Empire and all [the wealth] that it has”!
A wise Muslim is that who does not get himself involved in things he cannot undertake. Allah the Almighty says, (So fear Allah as much as you can) [Surat Al-Taghabun: 16].

It is said in the hadith (“A Muslim should not humiliate himself”, [said the Prophet]. “How could he humiliate himself, O Allah’s Messenger?” [asked the people] “By shouldering such ordeal he cannot carry”, [answered the Prophet]).

A mistake that the Islamic Movement could easily make is to be driven by the emotions of the common people in making vital decisions.

In some countries, the Muslim masses may push some of the Movement’s leaders into the political battle where they would be fighting with all their might before they are fully in possession of the mental, political and specialized abilities required for that task. In so doing, these leaders would be shouldering more than they can carry, which is sure prescription for failure.

Such failure is the result of haste, miscalculation, overestimation of one’s abilities and underestimation of the abilities of others.

We have before us the example of the Prophet when he denied his Companions in Mecca permission to initiate an armed clash with the polytheists, even when they were being harmed and tortured. He used to say, ( Hold back hands from fight and establish prayer).

The Prophet followed that practice until Allah provided for him a free land and a solid base for launching his operations, whence he started jihad and launched battle. It was then that Allah the Almighty sent down His Words: (To those against whom war is made, permission – is given [to fight], because they are wronged; and verily, Allah is Most Powerful for their aid) [Surat Al-Hajj: 39].

Burying Old Problems

We want the new ideology to make us bury old problems that have preoccupied Muslim minds and wasted Muslim efforts for some time, such as the problem of divine entity and qualities; attributes are the divine attributes the very divine essence, or rather something else? Or are those attributes neither essence nor anything else? The problem of whether, the Quran was “created” and the ensuing ordeals to which a number of Islam’s prominent Imams were subjected; the unneeded exaggeration in raising controversies about Ta’wil (exploring hidden meanings in interpreting religious texts) between early and later generations; the attempts to refute the tenets of Asharites, Maturidites and their proponents among the Muslim world’s religious universities scholars of Al-Azhar, Al-Zaytuna, Al-Qarawiyyin, Diobard, etc.

None of those problems should be allowed to preoccupy the minds we prepare for the next phase to face up to Zionists, Crusaders, Marxists and advocates of destructive philosophies that blow on our Nation from East and West alike.

A Debate that We do not Need Today

The realistic ideology we need is one that focuses on construction and work, not on haggling and debate. For when Allah wants to punish people, He preoccupies them with debate and denies them [serious] work.

By debate, I mean debate on problems that are historical, purely hypothetical or have a controversial nature.

A debate that we do not need, or would not benefit from today is that debate which is raised from time to time about the nature of military jihad (fighting) in Islam: whether it is a “defensive” Jihad for defending Islam’s creed, sanctums and territories, or an “offensive” Jihad for spreading Islam in the world.

Many of the contemporary scholars wrote on this topic, and have been divided into two groups as follows:

Those who adopted the first opinion [that jihad should be defensive] include: Sayyed Rashid Reda, Sheikh Mahmoud Shaltut, Sheikh Mohammad Abdallah Diraz, Sheikh Abdel-Wahab Khallaf, Sheikh Mohammad Abu-Zahra, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Ghazali and Sheikh Abdallah Ibn-Zeid Al-Mahmoud.

Their argument is based on many verses from the Holy Quran, such as, (Fight in the Cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits, for Allah does not love transgressors) [Surat Al-Baqara: 190]; and (Therefore if they withdraw from you but do not fight you and [instead] send you [guarantees] of peace, then Allah has opened no way for you [to war against them]) [Surat Al-Nisa: 90] etc.

The second group includes Allama Abul A’la Al-Mawdoudi, Imam Sayyed Qutb and others.
Their argument is based on what they call “the Verse of the Sword” which to their claim, has abrogated all the verses that preceded it and were representing a phase that had ended. However, they have differed over the Verse of the Sword itself, being unable to determine unanimously which verse it is in the Quran.

I believe that there is no call for this fierce controversy over this issue at present, for three reasons:

First: we Muslims have not discharged the duty of jihad that is compulsory for everyone of us in many Islamic countries to liberate the Muslim land from usurpers and aggressors in Palestine, Eritrea, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and other Muslim republics (and cities) of the Soviet Union, and other similar places in China, Ethiopia and Thailand, etc. No Muslim can argue against the necessity of rescuing them from the hands of anti-Islamic forces, and Allah’s judgment in the Holy Quran included in the following verse applies to them, (And why should not you fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated [and oppressed]? Men, women and children whose cry is, “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors, and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from you one who will help!”) And why should not you fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated [and oppressed]? Men, women and children whose cry is, “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors, and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from you one who will help!”) And why should not you fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated [and oppressed]? Men, women and children whose cry is, “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors, and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from you one who will help!”) [Surat Al-Nisa’: 75].

The Muslim Nation has not carried out this compulsory defensive duty, so how can it talk now of offensive jihad?

Second: offensive jihad, to those who advocate it, is removing the forces that block the path of Allah’s servants and have taken it upon themselves to prevent Muslims from conveying the Word of Allah to people.

But no force can stand in our way today if we act in earnest and devote our efforts to conveying our Call to the whole world. The spoken, written and televised word can be spread all over the world in all languages by radio, television, book, messages, the Press and the Muslim communities in all countries of the world.

However, we are the most abysmally negligent people in this respect, if we compare our efforts to those of the men of Christian missionization and what they do to promulgate their doctrine and translate their Bibles to languages and dialects that may be counted by the thousand, sending their missionaries, male and female, to the four corners of the earth in hundreds of thousands, to the extent that they now aspire to convert us to Christianity so that we may follow their creed!!

Third: we depend on others for military power. Those against whom we want to launch our offensive jihad are the same people who make all sorts of weapons and sell them to us. But for them, we would be unarmed, defenseless and unable to do anything!

That being the case, how can we talk of launching offensives to subject the whole world to our Message, when the only weapons we can muster are those given us by them and when the only arms we can carry are those they agree to sell us?

A Traditionalist Ideology

Among the characteristics of this ideology is that it is a traditionalist ideology.

By traditionalist here we mean that it should be an intellectual methodology based on an application of the understanding of the provisions of the Quran and the guidelines of Sunna by the best generations of the Umma; the Prophet’s Companions and those who followed correctly on their path.

Fundamentals of the True Traditionalist Methodology

This methodology is generally based on the following principles and fundamentals:

1. Judging by the infallible texts, not by men’s sayings.
2. Having recourse, in determining the meaning of the intricate (texts), to the perspicuous ones of the inconclusive ones to the conclusive ones.
3. Understanding secondary concepts and subsidiary judgments in the light of the principles and generalities.
4. Advocating ijtihad (personal reasoning) and renewal, and denouncing rigidity and imitation.
5. Advocating commitment (to proper conduct), not looseness, in the field of morals.
6. Advocating facilitation, not complication. in the field of jurisprudence.
7. Advocating tabshir (being affable to people and giving them a nice and kind example) rather than tanfir (scaring them away by behaving harshly with them) in the field of guidance.
8. Devoting attention to the cultivation of true and firm belief, not argumentation, h1 the field of faith.
9. Devoting attention to content, not form, in the field of worship.
10. Paying attention to adherence to rules in religious matters, and innovation of rules in earthly matters.

This is the essence of the methodology followed by the early believers and applied in the theoretical and practical education of the cream of this nation’s generations, who were praised by Allah in the Holy Quran and by the Prophet in the hadith, and proved to be worthy of that praise as told by history, for they have handed down to their successors the Holy Quran after they had led a life in which they kept the approved practices, accomplished conquests, spread justice and goodwill, established the State of science and belief and laid the foundations of a universal, moralistic, humanitarian and religious civilization whose memory is still alive in history.

The Wronging of “Traditionalism” by Both Proponents and Opponents

The term salafiyya (traditionalism) has been wronged by its proponents and opponents alike.
Its proponents – those who are claimed by people and by themselves to be its proponents, or many of them, to be precise – have confined this methodology to a framework of formalities and polemics on issues of scholastic theology, jurisprudence or Sufism. They spend their days and stay awake all night in a relentless attack against anyone who goes against their opinion on any of these issues or refutes their judgment on any particular detail.

Their attitude has become so absurd that some people now think of traditionalism as the methodology of polemics, not construction and work, or that it focuses on details at the expense of generalities; on disputed concepts at the expense of approved concepts; on form and letter at the expense of content and spirit.

The opponents of traditionalism, on the other hand, describe it as being “backward” – always looking back but never going ahead, and never caring for the present or the future. They also describe it as being fanatic, never listening or even paying attention to the other opinion, as they regard it to be against renewal, innovation and ijtihad and also far from moderation. In fact, this is an injustice to real traditionalism and to its true advocates.

Perhaps the most prominent advocates of traditionalism in old times were Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymia and his disciple Ibn Al-Qayyam.

They were truly the most worthy of being representatives of the Islamic revivalist movement in their time, for theirs was an all encompassing renewal of the sciences of Islam.

They stood in the face of blind imitation and the ideological, theological and jurisprudential fanaticism that had been dominating Islamic thought for several centuries.

However, although they had stood against the fanatic methodology of imitation, they did give the imams of the schools of jurisprudence their due share of respect and esteem, as manifested in Ibn Taymia’s treatise, “Lifting The Blame Off Prominent Imams”.

Moreover, in their campaign against the ideological and doctrinal aberrations, especially by the proponents of hulul and ijtihad and behavioral deviations that had infiltrated into Sufism, at the hands of the ignorant, the imposters and the mercenary people, Ibn Taymia and Ibn Al-Qayyem did do justice to true Sufism, and paid tribute to its faithful advocates. They produced much literature in this field, including two volumes containing the fatwas (Islamic legal opinions) of Ibn Taymia and a number of books by Ibn Al-Qayyem, the most famous of which are “Madarij al-Salikin”, Sharh “Manazil al-Sa’irin” (“The Pathway of The Travelers”, a commentary on “The Stations of The Walkers”) in three volumes.

Adopting the Methodology of Early Muslims, Not Just Their Judgments

I have to emphasize here that you should adopt the methodology of early Muslims, not just apply their judgments on spdetails, as you could apply their judgments on some details but know nothing of their balanced, integrated, all -encompassing methodology.

You could also apply the spirit of this methodology and seek its goals while differing with some of the opinions given by early Muslims.

This is how I stand from Imam Ibn Taymia and Imam Ibn Al-Qayyem: I do respect and appreciate their overall methodology, but that does not make me accept all that they say.

If I accepted all that they say, I would be imitating them in everything, and thus violating the very methodology which they advocated and for which they had to contend with so much trouble and opposition, for their methodology called for contemplation, judging by proof and weighing by the judgment itself, not by its author.

How can one be right in criticizing those who imitate Abu-Hanifa and Malik in one is himself imitating Ibn-Taymia or Ibn Al-Qayyem?

It would also be unfair to the two Imams to mention only the academic and intellectual part of their lives and ignore the other bright sides of their active lives.

We should not ignore the righteous trait that made a man like Ibn-Taymia say, “Sometimes I say: “if the people of the Garden are leading a life like mine, then they should be leading a good life!”.

We should also remember that it was the same trait that made him say in his distress and captivity, “What [harm] can my enemies do to me? My captivity is a seclusion [for worship], my banishment is religious travel, and my murder is martyrdom!”

He was a man of godly taste, and so was his disciple Ibn Al-Qayyom, as must be realized by anyone who reads their literature with attention and good faith.

Moreover, we should never ignore the aspect of helping the Call and jihad in the lives of the two Imams. Ibn-Taymia took part in some of military battles himself, fighting with his hands and raking the flames of enthusiasm in the hearts of other warriors with his words. The two Imams lived in a continuous struggle for renewing Islam, going to prison several times on account of their zealous efforts, until Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymia died in prison in the year 728 A.H. This is what true traditionalism is!

If we examine our contemporary history, we will find that the most prominent scholar who advocated traditionalism in his articles, his books and his magazine, which carried the flag of modern traditionalism, was Allama Mohammad Rashid Reda, owner of the “Al-Manar” magazine, in which he published the “Al-Manar Interpretation” (of the Holy Quran), and which was famous all over the Muslim World.

Imam Mohammad Rashid Reda was the true renewer of Islam of his time. Anyone who reads his “Interpretation”, his “fatwas” or his books such as “The Inspiration Of Mohammad”, “the Facility Of Islam”, “A Call To The Fair Sex”, “The Caliphate”, “The Arguments Of The Reformer And The Imitator” and many other books and articles, will certainly realize that the man’s thought was a real “lighthouse” [manar, the name of the magazine] that has guided the ship of Islam in modern history. The man’s practical life was a real application of his traditionalist ideology.

Imam Reda was the originator of the golden rule which was adopted later by Imam Hassan Al-Banna, namely, “We should cooperate in what we agree upon, and find excuses for each other in what we differ on”. What a marvelous rule, if only it could be properly understood and applied by those who claim to be advocates of traditionalism.

A Revivalistic Ideology

Another characteristic of the ideology we want is that it is revivalistic and would not be confined to the boundaries of the “old”, nor would it adhere to inherited forms or accustomed means. It is an ideology that believes in ijtihad and adopts creativity, as it rejects imitation and subordination and sees stagnation as death itself. It renews jurisprudence, education, politics and all other fields.

Revivalism is not Opposed to Traditionalism

There is no contradiction between revivalism and traditionalism, as I explained in my book “The Islamic Awakening And The Woes Of The Arab-Muslim world”. On the contrary, the two of them are two faces of the same coin: revivalism is true only when it is traditionalist, and traditionalism is true only when it is revivalistic.

Islam Approves of Revivalism

We should never say that the Movement is Islamic in it`; origin, direction, goals and principles, that Islam is only one thing that is fixed and cannot be renewed. First, we say that Islam itself approves of [the legitimacy of] revival, as told in the accepted and verified hadith (Allah shall send [a man] who will revive the religion of this Nation at the start of every hundred years) [Abu-Dawud & Al-Hakim].

Revival is legitimate and required by hadith, and what .say could be better than the Prophet’s’?
We should not be intimidated by the term revival in religion, now that it has proven to be stated in the [accepted] hadith. What we should do here is to determine the meaning of “revival” so that no manipulators would manipulate the religion in the name of their so-called revival while they are far from revival as can be.

I have explained in a study I had written on this hadith the meaning of “revival”. its aspects and who should undertake it. In short, reviving something does not mean eliminating it and substituting something for it, but means restoring it as much as possible to the shape it was in when it first emerged into existence, and maintaining its essence, characteristics and features to the minutes” detail without altering them in the least.

This applies to both the concrete and abstract senses. Renovating an ancient building, such as a palace, a temple or a mosque, does not mean demolishing it and building another in its place along the latest lines of construction, but rather means restoring it and taking every care to return it to its original state as much as possible. This is what true revival is.

Revival of religion includes the renewal of its understanding- its fiqh, which is an ideological revival; renewing belief in it, which is a spiritual one; and renewing the effort for its help and the call for its promulgation, which is a practical one.

Each age requires its own type of revival that addresses the deficiencies and cures the ailments of this specific age.

However, there is an area that renewal can never enter under any conditions: it is the area of “conclusive” where Islam has passed its decisive judgment in the various aspects of doctrine, worship, morals and legislation, which embody the doctrinal, spiritual, intellectual and behavioral unity of the Muslim Nation.

I have elaborated on this point in other books, which the reader may refer to if he so wishes.

The Necessity of Renewal in Means

Second, we say that the Movement, though it is Islamic in source, orientation, principle and objective, adopts such methodologies and means as it sees fit to serve its religion and establish it on the earth, as appropriate to time, place and conditions.

Methodologies, means and systems are not as immortal as Islam itself. They do not possess the consistency of Islamic fundamentals and principles, as they are tools produced by human endeavor and effort for reviving and renewing Islam in the hearts and in life itself.

Imam Hassan Al-Banna, who laid down the first rules of organized work of the Islamic Movement for the renewal of Islam, did not claim infallibility for himself or for the tools which Allah inspired him with, despite the fact that his tools were so good and powerful that it was right for Sayyed Qutb to call them “the genius of building” and for Guide General Omar Al-Telmisani to describe him as “the inspired, talented leader”. and for Sheikh Al-Ghazali to say that he was “the reviver of the fourteenth century after Hijra. “These means should be subjected to evaluation from time to time, just as education experts do to their curricula and reference books, bringing them up for revision every few years and making a deletion or insertion here and an amendment there. This is necessary for any human activity, regardless of how close it may be to accuracy or perfection”.

Hassan Al-Banna was not stiff

Hassan Al-Banna himself was not stiff, but was always renewing and developing means and approaches for the Movement’s structures, institutions and systems.

Hassan Al-Banna would not turn in his grave if some of his children and followers went against him in an issue on which he had passed an opinion in the past, such as the multi-party system in an Islamic state, which I myself have done in one of my studies.

Hassan Al-Banna would not do that either if somebody added to his fundamentals others which that somebody deems as complementary to these fundamentals, which Sheikh Al-Ghazali has done in his explanation of the twenty fundamentals in his book entitled “The Constitution of Cultural Unity For Muslims”.

There is nothing legal, traditional or mental that prevents the reconsideration of educational means and systems inside the group, such as the (Muslim Brotherhood’s) Fraternal Groups and Katiba, with a view to adding new means or systems to them if appropriate.

It should also be right to re-examine political tools in the light of local, regional and international changes and developments, which would make it imperative to enter into fronts or alliances, or resort to truces or partnerships, as dictated by the high interests of Islam, the Nation and the Movement under the current circumstances. Every country has its unique conditions, every period has its own rules, and every group has its own capabilities, imperatives and conditions that are known to it better than to any other group.

The Islamic Movement, like jurisprudence and other Sharia-related sciences, will not live, prosper and grow without the minds of studious. creative renewers, and will wither, shrink and become impotent only through the minds of the stiff imitators, if what they had in their heads could be called “minds”!

Stiffness is a Serious Disease

Stiffness is one of the diseases that afflict the “systemized” ideologies of the Islamic Movement, and one of the obstacles that hinder the Movement from within, as I have explained in my book “The Islamic Solution: A Farida And A Necessity” [Stiffness’ its] sticking to a stiff pattern in organization, stiff methods in education, stiff means in advocating the Call, stiff procedures in attaining an objective and stiff ideas in pursuing politics, so that anyone who tries to change or amend these procedures, means and methods finds facing zealous refusals, even accusations and denunciations.

Once again, I would like to stress that the renewal we seek does not mean the abolition of the old. it rather means modernizing, improving, upgrading and adding to the old, especially in terms of tools, means and procedures, which are flexible and changeable, with a view to making use of’ the capabilities afforded by our contemporary age and possessed, and used. by others. The word of wisdom should always be sought by believers.

What I Fear for the Islamic Movement

My worst fear for the Islamic Movement is that it opposes the free thinkers among its children and close the door to renewal and ijtihad confining itself’ to only one type of thinking that does not accept any other viewpoints which prescribe different objectives. means or phases for the Movement, give a different assessment of events, situations or men, or differ with that single way of thinking in any other of the pursuits that fall under human ijtihad. For human ijtihad is always subject to development and change according to the changing conditions and factors. Our felyih.` said long ago, “A fatwa must change with the change of time. place, customs and conditions”. If my fear turns into reality, then the capable minds that can renew and innovate will escape from the ranks of the Movement like water through fingers. leaving behind those conservatives who can only imitate and who like everything to stay as it is regardless of how ancient it is, as they believe that what we know is better than what we do not know and that what we have tried should be better than what we have yet to try.

The end result will be for the Movement to lose the creative minds among its ranks and eventually fall prey to stagnation, or to an impotence that afflicted jurisprudence and literature in the ages of imitation. The remaining members of the Movement will then creep into their shells, despairing of any fruitful effort to help Islam, or they will work individually, disassociating themselves from any collective effort, or they will throw themselves with others in another collective venture whose consequences are unknown.

The worst damage to Muslim minds in all ages, past and present, has been done by that adage which says, “The predecessors have left nothing to be added by the successors”! or, in other words,” It cannot be better”!

There is nothing that can benefit Muslim minds now more than the adoption of a contrary adage saying, “The predecessors have left a lot to be added by the successors”! or. “It can always be better!” (And He has created [other] things of which you have no knowledge) [Surat Al-Nahl:8].

A Balanced Ideology

Another characteristic of the ideology we seek is that it is balanced in its objectives and orientation, for it is an ideology that reflects an intermediate, balanced, comprehensive attitude towards people and life, a balanced attitude of an evenly balanced nation that is far from being extremist or negligent.

The Balanced Ideology’s Attitude Towards Major Issues

The even balance of this ideology is evident in its attitude towards important major issues, as follows:

It is balanced between the advocates of strict M a d h habiyyoh (adherence, in theology, jurisprudence, etc., to one certain school of Islamic law, such as the Malikite, Hanafite, etc.) and the advocates of loose non-Madhhabiyyah (freeing oneself from any abidance by rules of whatever school of Muslim law).

It is balanced between those who support Sufism regardless of whether it deviates or invents, and those who oppose Sufism regardless of whether it is proper and abiding (by Shari’ah).

It is balanced between the advocates of an uncontrolled open-door policy, and the advocates of an unjustified closed door policy.

It is balanced between those who refer to reason even if it goes against conclusive text, and those who never refer to reason even in understanding the text.

It is balanced between those who regard heritage as sacred even if it shows human failures, and those who disregard heritage even when it shows signs of heavenly inspiration.

It is balanced between those who indulge in politics at the expense of education, and those who neglect politics completely on the pretext of devotion to education.

It is balanced between those who hurry to pick the fruit before it is ripe, and those who fail to see it until it falls into the hands of others after it becomes ripe.

It is balanced between those who are preoccupied with the present and do not heed the future, and those who exaggerate in foreseeing into the future as if they were reading from a book.

It is balanced between those who regard organizational structures as idols to be worshipped, and those who shirk any organized work as if they were beads in a broken string.

It is balanced between those who go to an extreme in obeying a sheikh or a leader, as if they were dead men committed to the hands of the washer, and those who behave with such freedom as if they were not members of a group.

It is balanced between the advocates of worldwide action without regard to local conditions, and the advocates of narrow regional action that has no connection with the world movement.

It is balanced between the overly optimistic who disregard obstacles and dangers, and the overly pessimistic who see nothing but darkness and never hope for the break of dawn.

And it is balanced between those who go to an extreme in forbidding as if there were nothing halal in this world, and those who exaggerate in allowing as if there were nothing haram in it.

This is the balanced ideology we seek. However, the rule in our societies today is to go to either extreme, and the exceptions are few!

The Decline of the Balanced Attitude Among Some Islamists at Some Times

Some Islamists can see only two colors: black and white. They know no other colors, nor can they see any of the original and mixed colors that other people can see and which have countless shades.

Some of these people restrict all colors, and life itself, to only one color-black. They see people and things through a black film that covers their eyes.

It is through this black, pessimistic look that they have formulated ready answers for every question, which they launch like missiles, not caring whom or what they hit.

[To them] the whole society is (as) pagan (as the pre-Islamic people), Everything in life is a sin;

All people are either unbelievers or hypocrites;
The world is full of monsters;
The universe is full of evil.

[In their eyes] everything that people do in their contemporary life is haram and nothing else:

All singing is haram;
All music is haram;
All acting is haram;
The theatre is haram;
All art is haram,

They venture in their judgments, despite the fact that our predecessors were very careful not to use the word “haram” to describe anything except what they knew to be haram beyond any doubt. That is why two Quranic verses denounced wine in Surat Al-Baqara: (They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and some profit, for men, but the sin is greater than the profit”) (219) and in Surat Al-Nisa’): (Do not approach prayer in a state of intoxication) (43), but some of the Prophet’s companions continued drinking it, and some said “O Allah, send down to us a decisive judgment on wine”, and the decisive verse was sent down in Surat Al Ma’ida: (Avoid [such abomination] that you may prosper)(90).

We have to admit that the past period, especially the 1950’s and 1960’s, was a rich breeding ground for a certain type of dark ideas that proliferated in the Islamic fore, to the extent that the predominant way of thinking was one that advocated rejection of everything, pessimism and suspicion and accusation of others regardless of their beliefs and tendencies, including Muslims.
Yes! The idea of judging others as sinners and heretics, even unbelievers, found a very rich breeding ground, and was helped to grow and proliferate by the oppressive environment in which the Islamic Movement and its advocates lived at that time. In that period, the advocates of the Islamic movement were hanged in public, tortured to death in secret or subjected to all kinds of persecution, while the doors were opened wide to communists, secularists and enemies of Islam from every color.

It was in that period that the books of Sayyed Qutb, which reflected the last phase in his thought, were published. They were full of ideas that advocated branding society as an unbelieving society, advised the postponement of calling for an Islamic system, made fun of the idea of renewing and developing Islamic jurisprudence and reviving ijtihad, advocated isolation from society as a whole, called for launching an offensive jihad against all people in general, and made light of the advocates of tolerance and flexibility, branding them with naively and psychological defeat in the face of Western civilization.

This trend in Sayyed Qutb’s thinking is most evident in his interpretation of the Holy Quran entitled, ‘In The Shade Of The Quran [lit.]” in its second edition, as well as in his book “Signs Along The Road”, most of which was taken from the former book, and “Islam And The Problems of Civilization”, and other books that had great positive effects but also had negative effects.

There were also the books of Sheikh Said Hawwi. may Allah forgive him and have peace on him, who advocated the same ideas.

Meanwhile, there emerged a new type of jurisprudence invented by those whom I call “the neo-Zahirites [who interpret the Holy Quran according to its literal meaning] who claim, or are claimed by people, to belong to the school of Ibn-Taymia and his disciples, while lbn-Taymia and his disciples were as far as can be from “literal interpretation of the Holy Quran” and never confined themselves to the “forms and moulds” which these people hold so desperately to.

That was how stiffness and obstinacy came to dominate the Islamic way of thinking and the tolerant, easy spirit of evenly balanced thinking was forced to give ground for some time. I believe that the Islamic Movement now has to disentangle itself from the way of thinking peculiar to times of distress, or crisis, so that it may move on to the moderate, evenly balanced ideology that expresses the evenly balanced Muslim Nation and the evenly balanced Islamic way of life, by which Allah intends facility, not difficulty.

Balancedness Goes Hand in Hand With Facilitation

Being evenly balanced goes, in my view, hand in hand with facilitation, which is a balanced attitude between stiffness and undue exaggeration in religiosity on the one hand and laxity and looseness on the other.

The Movement Should Adopt a Line of Facilitation

The Islamic Movement must adopt a line of facilitation, not complication, in its jurisprudential opinions regarding society and its policies, economy, laws, dealings and international relations. I say that for more than one reason.

First, our Shari’ah is based on facility, mercy tolerance and elimination of difficulty and unease as manifested in many texts. Allah the Almighty says after the verse in which He prescribes fasting: (Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties) [Surat Al-Baqara: 185]. At the conclusion of the verse that prescribes Tahara [cleanliness] we find (Allah does not wish to place you in a difficulty) [Surat Al-Mai’ida: 6]. After the judgments on marriage and forbidden liaisons, Allah says, (Allah wishes to lighten your [burdens], for Man was created weak [in flesh]) [Surat Al-Nisa’: 28]. In the context of prescribing equality in cases of murder and the remission related to that, He says, (This is a concession and a mercy from your Lord) [Surat Al-Baqara: 178].Our noble Prophet says, (render matters easy, not difficult) [Bukhari & Muslim] and, (You are sent to facilitate matters, not make them difficult) [Al-Tirmidhi].

When Amr Ibn Al-As was afflicted by janaba [a ceremonial] impurity on a cold night, he performed prayer without performing ghusl [ritual bathing]. The people who were with him complained to the Prophet, and Amr defended himself saying, “I remembered the saying of Allah, (Nor kill yourselves, for verily Allah has been to you Most Merciful) [Surat Al-Nisa’: 29], and the Prophet smiled. But the Prophet very strongly denounced the attitude of some people who opined that a wounded man who had had a janaba must perform ghusl, and the man bathed and died as a result of their cruel opinion. The Prophet said, (They killed him, may Allah kill them! Why did not they ask when they did not know? The cure for him who does not know is to ask. It was enough for him to tie a bandage around his wound and perform tayammum [striking lightly with hands over clean earth, then passing the palm of each hand over the back of the other, blowing off the dust and then passing them over the face. This is performed instead of ablution when water is not available or when it is feared that water will be harmful for some reason]) ‘ [reported by Abu-Dawud, on the authority of Jabir. and by Ahmad, Abu-Dawud and Al-Hakim, on the authority of Ibn-Abbas. The hadith is also in “Sahih al-Jam) Al-Saghir”].

Second, in this age of ours, people are in as dire a need as they could ever be for facilitation, out of mercy to them, for their will has eroded and they have become reluctant to pursue the ways of good and charity, as their motives for philanthropic deeds have become less while their motives for doing evil have increased.

It is, therefore, more advisable to give people license of facility instead of ordering them to follow the strictest rules in religious rites. This was what the Prophet did with the people who had taken up Islam recently, or with the bedoiuns of the desert. The Prophet used to accept those who vowed not to perform, over and above the basic faridas, any other voluntary acts of worship, saying about any of them, “He would fare well if he was good as his word”, “He would go to the Garden if he kept his promise”, or “If any of you wants to see one of the people of the Garden, let him look at this man”.

The Prophet only did that out of kindness to such people and consideration of their shard] circumstances.

Third, an individual may impose on himself the hardest conditions if he so wishes, testing his will to the limit, though moderation is the best and most appropriate way as the Prophet says, (Allah likes people to take the [facilitation] licenses He gave them as He hates their committing of sins [that anger Him]) reported by Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and Al-Bayhagi, on the authority of Ibn-Omar. It is also in the “Sahih al-Jam)’ al-Saghir”]. However, a faqih should not impose hard conditions on Muslims in the matters that concern the wide majority: he has to take into account that among them are the weak, the old and those who have lawful reasons for exception. A hadith says about leading congregational prayers, (He who acts as imam [leader] in prayer should make his prayer short, for among- the people [behind the imam] are the old, the ill and those with errands to run). Prayer is a symbol of the various aspects of life.

Therefore, the faqihs of the Islamic Movement just cannot adopt strict opinions that restrict and do not facilitate, and prohibit but do not allow, especially with respect to the issues related to women, family, arts, entertainment and their likes. It also applies to penal codes, where the least punishment should be imposed, including the opinion that the repentance rescinds the hadd, the opinion that the punishment for drinking wine is a discretionary one, and so on.

I would like our motto in this phase to be the statement of Imam Sufian Al-Thawri, “Only the trustworthy faqihs can give licenses, but everybody knows how to pass a restraining pinion ” .

A Futuristic Ideology

One of the characteristics of the ideology we want for the Islamic Movement is that it is a futuristic ideology that always looks into the future and does not confine itself to the present. It is not strange that the Islamic Movement should care about the future, for this is the logic of [slam, as manifested in the Quran and the Sunna.

The Holy Quran and the Future

A careful study of the Holy Quran should make us see that since the Meccan time, the Quran attracted Muslims’ attention to the aspired future, telling them that the world was changing and circumstances were fluid, with victor becoming vanquished and weakling becoming a giant, each having his turn [for assuming power] at both regional and international levels.

Muslims have to put their house in order and prepare themselves for the developments that will come sooner or later, but come they eventually will.

If we read Surat Al-Qamar (the moon), which is Meccan, we will find Allah’s saying about the polytheists who were strongly built, large in number and heavily armed: (Soon will their multitude be put to flight, and they will show their backs. Nay, the Hour [of judgment] is the time promised them [for their full recompense]. And that Hour will be most grievous and most bitter) (45-46).

Ibn-Kathir says in his interpretation of the Holy Quran that Ikrima said, “When the verse (Soon will their multitude be put to flight) was sent down, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab asked, which multitude will be put to flight! On the day of [the battle of Badr, I saw the Prophet moving in his armour and saying, “Soon will their multitude will be put to flight! I knew then what was meant by this verse”.
Al-Bukhari says, “Narrated Aisha: Mohammad received in Mecca when I was still a young girl the Qur’anic verse: (Nay, the Hour [of Judgment] is the time promised them [for their full recompense]: and that Hour will be most grievous and most bitter).

Such verses were aimed at preparing the Muslim mentality and psychology for the inevitable change and the awaited future.

At world level, we find the Holy Quran speaking of that historic conflict between the two super powers of their time: the Romans and the Persians – a conflict that the two groups in Mecca: the Muslims and the Unbelievers, were concerned about. The Quran promised the Muslims that the days to come would be dominated by the Romans who were people of the Book, while the Persians, who worshipped fire, would be vanquished. Surat Al-Rum asserts: (Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In a land close by. But they [even] after [this] defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious – within a few years, with Allah is the command in the past and in the future: on that day shall the believers rejoice – with the help of Allah. He gives victory to whom He will, and He is Exalted in might, Most Merciful) [1-5].

These verses tell us two things:

1. That the Muslims, small in number and means as they were, were quite aware of the great events in the world and the conflicts of the great powers around them and the positive and negative effects of those conflicts on them.

2. That the Holy Quran recorded those events and attracted the Muslims’ attention to the factors of change and the transition from present to future.

In Surat Al-Muzzammil, which is Meccan, we have the last verse which tells of Allah’s lightening of the burden of the Prophet and the Muslims staying up [in prayer] and reciting the Holy Quran were concerned, as the Prophet and the Muslims were to be tasked with great missions, meeting with enemies who would fight them and block their advance on the path of Allah, which required that they save some of their strength for that meeting which would be forced on them. Allah the Almighty says (Your Lord knows that you stand forth [to prayer] nearly two-thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and so does a party of those with you. But Allah appoints night and day in due measure. He knows that you are unable to keep count thereof. So He has turned to you [in mercy]: read, therefore, of the Quran as much as may be easy for you. He knows that there may be [some] among you in ill health, others traveling through the land, seeking for Allah’s bounty, and yet others fighting in Allah’s cause. Read, therefore, as much of the Quran as may be easy [for you]) [20].

The Prophet and the Future

[He] who examines the Prophet’s sirat carefully should find that the Prophet was not negligent of the future of his Call, but was always thinking of and planning for it within the limits of the opportunities presented to him and the tools bestowed on him by Allah.

It should be enough for us to read about his effort and activity during the hajj [pilgrimage! seasons had brought members of all the Arab tribes together, and how He {peace be upon him) used to present the Call to them – asking for their support and promising them the wealth’s of the Roman and future.

Persian empires, to know how much he had his eyes on the Prophet believed in two main principles:

First, that that state of affairs had to change, because it had bred the reasons for its own disappearance, that its substitute was Islam, and that the dark night of Ignorance should be followed by a real dawn, and the Muslims had only to stand fast and be patient and not try to pick the fruit before it was ripe.

When the persecution [by the unbelievers] became too much for the Prophet’s Companions in Mecca, especially the weak among them, Khabbab Ibn Al-Aratt came to Allah’s Messenger complaining and asking for help. The Prophet was sleeping in the shade of the Ka’ba. Khabbab said, “Will you pray Alla to help us, O Allah’s Messenger? Messenger? “The Prophet said, ( There were among those before you some men who would be taken and buried in holes in the ground, then their skulls would be split in half with saws, and their flesh would be parted from their bones with combs of iron, but that [torture I would not turn them away from their religion. By Allah, He shall make this [Islam] complete so that a caravan would travel from Sanaa to Hadhramout [in Yemen] and the travelers would only fear Allah and [guard against] wolves lest they attack their sheep. But you do not have the patience [to wait to see that come true].

Second, that this aspired future would only come about according to the [approved] practices of Allah in doing one’s duty, preparing oneself as much as possible, removing obstacles from the way and leaving everything beyond that to Providence, for what humans cannot do will not be difficult to Allah at all. This was quite evident in the Prophet’s hijra to Medina. The Prophet had chosen his place of hijra in the Arabian Peninsula, not outside it, like in Abyssinia for instance, for that was the appropriate place. He took for ansar [supporters] pure Arabs who had pledged to spare and protect him against what they would spare and protect themselves and their families against. He gave precedence to the hijra of his Companions, as that would make it easier for them [to leave Mecca] and because it was more appropriate for him to arrive after them.

After getting Allah’s permission, the Prophet prepared the animals he would ride and sought the companion he would ride with and the guide who would lead him, as well as the cave he would hide in until the search for him became less intensive and the enthusiasm of the unbelievers cooled down.
He subjected all his preparations to all the secrecy and precautions that was humanly possible, and left everything else that he had no control over to Providence.

That was why he had no doubt whatsoever that Allah would help him.

When Abu-Bakr said to him while they were in the cave, “O Messenger of Allah, if any of them should look under his feet, he would certainly see us!” The Prophet said, “Abu-Bakr, what do you think of two people whose third is Allah?”. It was on this situation that All the Almighty sent down His Words: (If you do not help him [the Prophet], [it is no matter], for Allah did indeed help him, when the Unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion. They two were in the Cave, and he said to his Companion, “Have no fear, for Allah is with us”. Then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which you did not see, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: for Allah is Exalted in might, Wise) [Surat Al-Tawba: 40].