Archive for the ‘05) Rational Political Fiqh’ Category

Towards A Rational Political Fiqh
Adverse Ideological Phenomena

There are ideological phenomena that no careful examiner can miss in the sphere of the Islamic Movement, particularly in the political field.

There is the ideology of the crisis “which still influences many of the leaders and writers of the Islamic Movement and tints, in one way or another, much of the material written for purposes of promoting the Call or for education, as well as the political tendencies.

The Movement has to shake off this ideology of the crisis and deal with people, life and the world as a whole according to an “ideology of well-being”.

There is the “Zahirite ideology”, which stops at the letter of [religious] texts and does not go beyond it to deal with the [real] purposes of Shari’ah, thus not heeding the interests of people. Prominent ulema have affirmed that rules are meant to serve the interests of people in earthly life and in the hereafter. Any rule that abandons interest for evil, or neglects wisdom in preference of nonsense, has no relation whatsoever with Shari’ah, even if it is misunderstood as belonging to Shari’ah, as Imam Ibn Al-Qayyem said.

Such an ideology might be acceptable in relation to some rituals or rules that apply to individuals, but it can never be acceptable in the field of “Shari’ah politics” which should be based on flexibility and tolerance and take into account the change in time, place and the humans themselves.
There is the Kharijite ideology “whose advocates are characterized by honesty and bravery but are narrow-minded and near-sighted in their attitude towards religion and life, violent in dealing with others and always rejecting, accusing and suspecting everybody, even the Islamists themselves, while they admire their own opinions, which is a fatal shortcoming indeed.

There is the “Imitational ideology” which seeks an answer to every ideological, political or legal problem in the books of the earlier scholars of its school, never breaking out of their boundaries or examining Shari’ah in its broader concept and with its various schools and methodologies, nor addressing this age and its contemporary developments and problems. In adopting this attitude, such an ideology narrows what Allah has made expansive, and makes difficult what Islam has facilitated.

The Islamic Movement will not have a rational political ideology unless it overcomes these adverse ideological phenomena and their effects on its men and nurtures this new type of fiqh that we are focusing on: the fiqh of [approved] practices, the fiqh of goals, the fiqh of balances and the fiqh of priorities.

A Deficiency That Should Be Addressed in Political fiqh

The Islamic Movement should seek to rectify the defective, strange concepts and decisions that we read and hear, and the methodologies of deduction that are even more strange and more peculiar.
These peculiar concepts, rules and methodologies are most evident in political fiqh, which has not received in the past the same degree of attention devoted to the fiqhs of worship, transactions, marriage etc.

The political fiqh of today is afflicted with much misconception and ill judgments, and its basics are so much varied in the minds of Islamists that the rules applied by some may be far from those applied by others like east is far from west.

We have seen some people who regard shura [consultation] as mere informative, not a compulsory duty, we have seen others who vest the head of state with the right to declare war and conclude treaties without consulting the representatives of the nation, and we have seen still others who consider democracy as a form of unbelief.

We have also seen those who believe that woman has no place in Islamic politics and that her only place is her father’s house, from which she may only go to either of two place: her husband’s house or her grave. To them, woman has no right to vote in any elections, let alone run in the elections for local governments or the Parliament.

There are also those who see political plurality as an arrangement that is rejected by Islam, and believe that no parties, groups or bodies that have any political views or affiliations should be established in a Muslim state.

I was dismayed when some brothers showed me a treatise that some zealous advocates of the Call had written under the title “Monotheism Is Against Membership Of Parliament”, for I saw that as a peculiar confusion of issues of practice with issues of doctrine. Issues of practice deal with right and wrong, not belief and unbelief, and they are part of Shari’ah politics where ijtihad is rewarded twice when it is right and once when it is wrong.

The same mistake was made by the Kharijites in the old days when they branded Imam Ali lbn Abu-Talib as an unbeliever on account of a worldly matter related to politics that they had turned into a doctrinal issue, saying “He had given people control over the Religion of Allah, and none but Allah shall have judgment”. The Imam’s reply to their allegation was most eloquent, as he said, ” A word of right intended to establish wrong”!

An Important Dialogue on Political fiqh

I was greatly amazed to see among the ulema of Afghanistan, those who have led the jihad so zealously and bravely, some who see the education of women as haram (illegal) and think the same of using elections as a means for selecting people’s deputies or the president of the state. They also believe that the determination of the term of office of the president of the state and the saying that shura is obligatory are haram.

One of the brothers who are convinced of such ideas discussed them with me, saying that the failure of the Islamic Movement in modern times had been brought about by its belief in ideas which he regarded as non-Islamic and that we [Muslims] would not succeed unless we used Islamic means to attain Islamic ends.

I asked him, “What makes the determination of the term of office for presidents haram if Muslims deem it as being in their interest”?

He replied, “It is against the practice of Muslims since the days of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr Al-Seddiq (may Allah be pleased with him). None of the Caliphs was chosen for a fixed term but they stayed in rule for life, especially the Rightly-Guided Caliphs whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered us to cherish and follow every practice they set and cling to it stubbornly. The Prophet warned us in this hadith narrated by Al-Irbad Ibn-Sariya against newly-invented matters, as he said that every innovation (in religion) is a straying [from the straight path], and this is a new matter that the people have invented”.

I countered, “We were ordered to follow the Prophet’s Sunna [practices] before following the practices of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, as the Sunna is the second source of legislation in Islam and should be referred to, besides the Quran, in any disagreement, and the hadith you mention that was narrated by Al-Irbad says {Follow my Sunna and the practices of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs ) Therefore, you have to refer to the Prophet’s Sunna first.

The Sunna of the Prophet, as everybody knows, is either a statement, an action or an approval. His actions in particular may not be obligatory in themselves, but indicate only allowance and permissibility, except when they are coupled with other pieces of evidence that indicate recommendation or compulsion.

That is why some of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs went against the actions of the Prophet whenever they saw that the interests for which the Prophet had done such actions had changed so that acting in the same way would not be in the interest of Muslims. An example of that is distribution of [the property in] Khaybar among fighters by the Prophet after its conquest, while Omar did not do the same when he conquered the rural areas of Iraq, as he saw it more fit for his time not to do so. Many of the prophet’s Companions argued against Omar’s opinion, particularly as his opinion was contradictory in letter to the general provisions of Surat Al-Anfal (And know that out of all the booty that you may acquire tin war], a fifth share is assigned to Allah) [41].

Omar commented by saying, “I found property that can suffice for the people in present and future. Do you want the people of the future to find nothing left for them?”

This means that Omar took into account the welfare of coming generation, which is a wonderful act of mutual dependence among the generations of the Muslim nation, so that one generation may not live in luxury at the expense of a coming generation or generations. Omar’s argument in so doing was based on the verse of Surat Al-Hashr which stipulated the distribution of the war booty between the Muhajirin and the Ansar (and those who came after them) [10].

Imam Ibn-Qudama explained the difference between the action of the Prophet and that of Omar by saying that each had done what was most appropriate for his time.

Now, if the actions of the Prophet. which were a part and parcel of his Sunna, were not compulsory for those who came after him and the companions sometimes acted otherwise for certain consideration, how can the actions of the Muslims after him be compulsory for those who come after them?

Precedents do not have the property of legal obligation. It is only that they were adequate for their time, place and circumstances. If these factors change, so must the actions built on them.
The focal point here is that we should choose from the systems and legislations of those before us what is suitable for our time, our environment and our circumstances within the limits of the general texts and goals of our tolerant Shari’ah.

As for the argument that Muslim scholars unanimously stand against the limitation of the term of office of rulers, it is somewhat misleading.

There is no arguing against the unanimous agreement that a ruler may reign for life. However, the limitation of terms of office, on the other hand, was never discussed or researched, but was a subject of complete silence by these people. It is said that no words should be attributed to a silent man, therefore we should not attribute either affirmation or negation on this issue to them.
On the other hand, as for the saying that the determination of the term of office of the head of state is an introduction of a newly invented matter in Islam and that it is unanimously agreed that every innovation is a straying, we admit that the second part of the saying – i.e. every innovation is a straying – is accepted. However, the first part of the saying – i.e. that such action falls under innovation in Shari’ah – it lacks proofs.

In fact, an innovation is what is invented in matters of a purely religious nature, such as creeds and worship and their branches, while the changing matters of life such as norms, traditions, customs and administrative, social, cultural and political practices are no innovation at all, as they fall under what ulema call ‘public interests” as explained by Imam Al-Shatibi in his book “Al l’tissam”. Thus, the Prophet’s Companions did some things that the Prophet did not do, such as writing copies of the Quran, using registers, levying land taxes and building a jailhouse.

Those Muslims who came next, after the Prophet’s Companions, did, in their turn, things that their predecessors (the Companions) had not done, such as minting money, organizing a mail service, etc.
Muslims have introduced innovations that were unheard of in the days of the Prophet and his Companions, such as recording the sciences that were existent before their time and introducing other sciences like sciences of religion, linguistics and various human sciences.

The Wrong Employment of the Prophet’s Sirat for Absolute Inference of Judgments

One of the reasons of error and misjudgment in political fiqh is the confusion of the Prophet’s Sunna [practices] and Sirat [biography] in argumentation.

The Sunna is a source of legislation and guidance in Islam besides the Holy Quran. The Quran is the basis and the origin, and the Sunna is the explanation and the application.

However, some people make the mistake of putting the Sirat in the place of the Sunna, citing the events of the Sirat as if they were as compulsory as the Quran and the Sunna.

The Sirat is not a synonym for the Sunna, as there are some details in the Sirat that have nothing to do with legislation at all. That is why the ulema of Usul (principles of jurisprudence) have not integrated the Sirat into their definition of the Sunna. They only said, “The Sunna is what the Prophet either said, did or approved.” They did not include the Sirat in that.

But the ulema of Prophetic Traditions have added to the Prophet’s actions, statements and approvals a description of the Prophet: how he looked like, how his morals were like and what his biography was. That’s because they usually gather everything that pertained to the Prophet, regardless of whether any of the pieces of information they collected was related to the field of legislation or not. They have told everything in the Prophet’s life: his birth, his nursing, his upbringing, his marriage, his conduct, his looks and every other piece of information that pertained to his life and death.
What concerns us here is that some Islamic groups regard the Sirat as an absolute proof to support judgments. and they believe that it is compulsory to all Muslims.
Here I have to point out two things:

First, the Sirat includes many events that have been narrated without irrefutable proof that they have been handed down from one narrator to the next, as they [the narrators] used to narrate the Sirat with a flexibility that they did not use in their narration of the hadith related to legal provisions and matters of halal and haram .

Second, the Sirat represented the practical part of the Prophet’s life, i.e. it mostly dealt with the “action” part of the Sunna. Actions are not an indication of obligation and compulsion by itself; it only indicates permissibility, as another proof must be present for compulsion to be effective. True, we are required to follow the example of the Prophet:
(You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who remembers Allah much) [Surat Al-Ahzab: 21], but this verse indicates that it is recommended, not compulsory, to take the Prophet as an example.

However, following the example of the Prophet should be in morals, values and general, not detailed, situations.

It is not necessary to copy the example of the Prophet by starting the spreading of the Call in secret, if it is possible and authorized to spread it openly.

It is not necessary to migrate as the Prophet did, either, so long as we have nothing that requires us to migrate from our homelands where we feel safe and are able to spread our Call.

It is for this reason that migration to Medina is no longer a farida for every Muslim after the conquest of Mecca, for the Prophet said ( there shall be no hijra after the Conquest [of Mecca] but jihad and yearning for it; when you are called you should go forth), which meant that there would be no migration to Medina, but what was allowed was the migration from any land where Muslims are unable to establish their religion.

It is also unnecessary for us to request “help” from those who are strong and powerful as the Prophet did with some tribes and the Aws and Khazraj tribes responded to his call, for this method is no longer adequate for our age.

It is not necessary for us to nurture the creed and spread the Call of Islam for thirteen years as the Prophet did, for we live today among Muslims who believe that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah, and therefore do not need such a long time to learn the creed.
If we devote our attention today to such issues as social justice, shura, freedom, the Palestinian Uprising or the Afghan struggle, we will not be acting against the guidance of the Prophet who cared about such things only in Medina. For while he was in Mecca before the hijra, the Prophet was living in an ignorant, polytheist community that adamantly rejected the Call, and therefore his first battle with that community was over monotheism and the Message.

Our society is not like that. It believes in Allah, His Religion and His Messenger, though it may have its faults and deviations from the path of Allah.

The Movement and the Liberation of Muslim Territories

Nobody with a fair judgment on things could deny that the Islamic Movement has made the liberation of Muslim territories – all Muslim territories – one of its foremost concerns since it emerged into existence.

I heard Imam Hassan Al-Banna in one of his speeches saying, “Our efforts and our jihad are focused on two main axes: the Islamic idea and the Muslim land”.

He combined the two of them because an idea can only be established in an independent, free land where its value is preserved and its judgments are enforced.

Hence the importance of “Dar Al-Islam [the Land of Islam]” in which Islam lives and out of which it operates and leads the Nation.

This is why the faqihs of Islam have agreed that it is a duty to defend every land invaded by infidels, stating that such jihad is imperative for Muslims in this land as an individual obligation and that all Muslims must support them with money, arms and men as required until all their land has been liberated from any aggressor who usurps it.

Therefore, the Islamic Movement cannot stand idle and watch while any part of Muslim land is occupied by a foreign aggressor.

It is not strange that the general headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo was the home of mujahideen (freedom fighters) and revolutionaries who fought the occupation in all parts of the Arab and Muslim worlds from Indonesia to Morocco.

I heard imam Al-Banna once describing the national demands of the Muslim Brotherhood in a national conference. He spoke of the minor homeland that comprised the Nile Valley, i.e. Egypt and Sudan; the great homeland that comprised the Arab World, which extended from the Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean; and the greater homeland – the Muslim World that extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. He emphasized that emancipating that greater homeland from every foreign influence imposed on Muslims was a farida for all Muslims and one of the major missions of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Palestine was one of the major issues that Imam Al-Banna put at the top of his list: he attracted attention to its seriousness, urging the masses to pay attention to the Land of Messages, of Isra’ and Mi’raj and to be aware of the Jewish threat that was lurking to pounce on it while many Arab and Muslim leaders were unaware of the great conspiracy being staged against the first of the two qiblas, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, whose precincts are blessed by Allah.

Many were the articles that Hassan Al-Banna wrote, many were the marches he led, the conferences he organized, the men he recruited, and much were the funds and arms he collected, for the Palestine cause.

It is enough credit for him to mention the heroics performed by his spiritual children and fighters on the land of Palestine in 1948 – those feats that have gone down in the annals of history, as testified to by Major-General Al-Mawawi and other Egyptian Army commanders, and even by the Jews themselves.

Kamal Al-Sherifs book entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestine War” contains more than enough facts that testify to this glorious jihad.

This has always been the role of the Islamic Movement in every cause of the Muslim Nation in East and West and against imperialism of all colors, be it Eastern or Western, white or red.

Hence the Movement’s interest in the cause of Afghanistan, which represents the first line of defense against the red communist sweep. This interest has been so keen that some people thought that the Movement had forgotten the Palestinian cause. In fact, the Movement has never forgotten and will never forget the Palestinian cause, because Palestine is the first and foremost Islamic cause, and its liberation is the first and foremost duty, as the Afghan Mujahideen themselves believe. It is only that the Palestinian cause required an Islamic flag that would gather people around it, uniting them in one: this has come about since the outbreak of the revolution in the mosques and the Intifada [ uprising] which has taken its sole slogan as there is no God but Allah, and Allah is great, and has been crystallized in the steadfast, brave, aware Islamic resistance movement “Hamas”. Hamas is an embodiment o f the Palestinian People’s belief in its Muslim and Arab origins, and a testimony that this people is still alive and will never die and that its jihad will be carried on by pure hands and clean hearts until victory is achieved with the will of Allah.

The Islamic Movement should consider itself at the beck and call of every Islamic cause, responding to every cry for help wherever that cry may come from.

It should stand with Eritrea in its jihad against the unjust Marxist Christian regime that wants to swallow it and keep it as a colony under its rule, with its people as the serfs of the land in feudal systems.

It should stand by Sudan against the treacherous Christian racist rebellion that wants to impose its racist fanaticism on all the territories of Sudan to remove it from the Muslim Nation and the Arab World.

It should support the Muslims of the Philippines against the biased Christian regime that seeks to annihilate them, leaving only those who accept the life of slaves who can do nothing to help either themselves or others.

It should help the Muslims of Kashmir in their struggle for self-determination, until they attain annexation to Pakistan or gain autonomy, so as to foil the conspiracy of the Indian imperialism which is trying to obliterate the province’s Muslim identity through non-religious education and encouragement of sin and drug addiction to turn it into a base of conspiracy on Pakistan and the Muslim World as a whole.

It should support the Muslims of Somalia against the tyrants who kill scholars, persecute the religious and hunt down anyone with religious or intellectual tendencies.

The Islamic Movement should have good information on all these movements. It should have some sort of presence among their readerships and ranks. It must also work incessantly for their unity and solidarity in order to close the gaps in their ranks and remove their minor disagreements for the sake of greater goals. The most serious disease that can afflict jihad is disunity among its groups. Allah the Almighty says ((Truly Allah loves those who fight in His cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure) Truly Allah loves those who fight in His cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure) [Surat As-Saff:4].

The Islamic Movement should mobilize the Muslims of the world for the Palestinian cause as the Zionist Movement has mobilized the Jews of the world for the Israeli cause. It should even mobilize the support of all the conscientious elements in the whole world for our just cause.

Such efforts by the Islamic Movement are most badly needed at present, for this is a serious stage of the Palestinian cause: a stage where there are plans to bring Soviet Jews into the Occupied Territories at the expense of the Palestinians, in order to realize the old dream of Greater Israel that extends from the Nile to the Euphrates, and then to the land of Hijaz, Medina and Khaybar as a later ambition!

The Movement And Liberation Movements

The Islamic Movement’s concern should not be focused solely on the Muslim lands – albeit they should enjoy a special attention by virtue of the mutual dependence and solidarity called for by Islam. The Movement should support all the causes of freedom from serfdom, imperialism and injustice all over the world, regardless of whether the subjects of persecution and imperialism are Muslims or not.

Islam was sent down as an all – embracing call for the emancipation of man, on the grounds that man is honored by Allah who made him His vicegerent on earth and subjected all that is in heaven and on earth to his power.

Islam came to liberate man from slavery to any Taghut [anything worshipped other than Allah] and to qualify him to stand against any Taghut.

While the Message of Moses was one for liberating the Children of Israel from the tyranny of Pharaoh, Haman and Qarun, the Message of Mohammad was one for emancipating all mankind from all the Pharaohs, “Qaruns” and “Hamans” who enslave people and impose themselves as high and mighty rulers without right, looking down their noses on the servants of Allah, as they seek to share with Allah His Greatness and Grace, and so make themselves into gods that enslave their people.

The Quran has carried the call for freedom loud and clear. sending it through the Messenger of Allah to Caesars and monarchs: (Come to common terms between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we do not erect from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than Allah) [Surat Al-Imran: 64].

Reb’iyy Ibn-amir declared [it] before Rustom, commander of the Persian troops, saying, “Allah has sent us to turn people away from the worship of humans to the worship of Him alone, from their narrow world to the vast expanses of the whole world, and from the injustice of religions to the justice of Islam”.

Allah the Almighty sent down His Books and tasked His Messengers to carry the Messages only for establishing justice on earth, as He says in the Holy Quran, (We sent aforetime our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance [of right and wrong], that men may stand forth in justice) [Surat Al-Hadid: 25].

Therefore, any injustice by individual against individual, group against group or people against people, is an injustice against all the Messages of Heaven, especially when it is committed by tyrants and powerful men against the weak and downtrodden.

Hence the Quran’s fierce attacks on tyrants and fearsome threats to them, as conveyed by the following verses:

(But they sought victory and decision [there and then], and frustration was the lot of every powerful obstinate transgressor. In front of such a one is Hell, and he is given, for drink, boiling fetid water) [Surat Ibrahim; 15-16].

(Thus Allah seals up every heart of arrogant and obstinate transgressors) [Surat Ghafir: 35].
(So enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein. Thus evil indeed is the abode of the arrogant) [Surat Al-Nahl: 29]

The Quran also attacked the unjust in its Meccan and Medinan surats, see:

(Verily Allah does not guide a people unjust) [Surat Al Ma’ida: 51].

(Truly to no good come those who do wrong) [Surat Yusuf: 23].

(Such were the towns we destroyed when they committed iniquities) [Surat Al-Kahf: 59].

(Now such were their houses, in utter ruin, because they practiced wrong-doing) [Surat An-Naml: 52].

(Such is the chastisement of your Lord when He chastises communities in the midst of their wrong: grievous, indeed, and severe is His chastisement) [Surat Hud: 102].

(Of the wrong-doers the last remnant was cut off. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds) [Surat An’am: 45].

(And incline not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will seize you; and you have no protectors other than Allah, nor shall you be helped) [Surat Hud: 113].

Islam does not only hold injustice at fault and prohibit it to the extreme, it also urges that it must be fought by all means, holding those who do nothing against injustice as participants of sorts who are sinners on earth and will be punished in the Hereafter.

Islam even considers a nation where wrong-doers commit their wrong freely, with nobody facing up to them or denouncing their deeds, as a nation that has brought upon itself the punishment of Heaven and will certainly come to ruin. When the punishment comes down [on such a nation], it will take all of its members: the wrong-doers for their doing, and the silent for their silence.

Allah the Almighty says, (And fear tumult or oppression, which does not affect in particular [only] those of you who do wrong: and know that Allah is strict in punishment) [Surat Al-Anfal: 25].

A Prophetic Hadith says, (If people see a wrong-doer and do not prevent him, they come close to a punishment from Allah, coming down on all of them).

Another Hadith (When you see my Nation fall victim to fear and does not say to a wrong-doer, “You are wrong”, then you may lose hope in them]. The above texts generally include all wrong-doers, regardless of whether their wrong-doing is against Muslims or others, for all wrong-doing is evil.

It should not also be strange that Islam blesses every positive step that involves resistance of wrong-doers or support of the wronged and the weak. It even considers that [resistance and support] as an act of worship and jihad in the cause of Allah. We find the Holy Quran urging believers to fight wrong-doers and rescue the weak from their evil, saying, (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 An-Nisa: 75].

True, the weak [referred to] here are believers, hence their prayers mentioned in the verse, but Islam would not accept injustice for anyone even if he is an unbeliever, as hadith says, (Beware of the supplication [in complaint] of the wronged, even if he is an unbeliever, for there is no barrier preventing it [from reaching Heaven].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once heard the story of a weak woman who had been wronged by a cruel man of power in the land of Abyssinia, and the Prophet commented, (How does Allah hold as sacred a nation where the right of the weak is not taken from the strong?) Abyssinia was Christian at that time.

Islamic conquests were in their reality a rescue of oppressed, wronged peoples from the tyranny of wrong-doers and the injustice of oppressors, and a liberation of these peoples from the domination of Persian monarchs and Roman Caesars. It was for this reason that these peoples welcomed Islam and took it up voluntarily.

It is the duty of all those who have a true faith and proper morals to urge one another to resist any wrong against a weak person and to support such a person until he gets his right wholly from the person who has wronged him.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us of an experience of that kind that he had witnessed and participated in during the Age of Ignorance while he was a young man – that is Hilf Al-Fudul [the Alliance for Charity]. This pact comprised a group of good. charitable and honest men whose mission was to stand by the weak against the strong so as to get them back their rights and save their pride.

It was in speaking of this pact that the Prophet said, (I witnessed with my uncles in the house of Abdullah Ibn-Jud’an a pact that I regarded as most precious. Were I to be invited to join such a pact in [the time of] Islam, I would readily agree). And why does not Islam restore the right of humans when they are wronged, abused, persecuted or forced to do what they do not want to do, when it defends the mute animals that are wronged, tortured or made to carry burdens that they cannot carry?

The Movement And Muslim Minorities

Muslim minorities all over the world should be among the targets of attention of the Islamic Movement.

Important Facts About Muslim Minorities

We must take some factors into account in this connection, including the following:

1. These minorities account for about one – quarter of the total number of Muslims all over the world, perhaps even more, as indicated by the studies made in Imam Mohammad Ibn-Saud Islamic University in Riyadh about fifteen years ago.
2. One of these minorities represents, in sheer numbers alone, the second largest Muslim community in the world: that is the Indian Muslim minority, which comprises over one hundred million Muslims and has had its historic, scientific and cultural impact on the Indian subcontinent and Islamic culture in general.
3. Some of the so-called minorities are actually peoples of purely Muslim countries that were annexed by force to larger countries so that they might dissolve in them and become oppressed minorities among larger majorities. Examples of these are the “Muslim republics” of the Soviet Union – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan etc, which, on examination, have proven to be part and parcel of the Muslim World.
4. Some of the Muslim minorities counted as such by -biased world statistics are in fact quite the contrary, as true figures state that Muslims are an overwhelming majority in the countries in question despite the fake statistics that intentionally cite smaller numbers for Muslims, especially in certain regions, so as to serve the political purposes of the enemies of Islam. The most obvious example of that is the Muslims of Ethiopia: they are a majority, but an oppressed one that is deprived of even the most basic human rights.

What Do These Minorities Need Most?

These minorities need many things from their fellow Muslims in the big Muslim World, such as the following:

1. They need support for their religious institutions, especially educational establishments, so that they may preserve the Muslim character, especially in the face of the fierce campaigns that the advocates and establishments of Christianization wage against Islam to uproot it.
2. They need to obtain the original Islamic references that explain Islam’s creed, worships, morals and legislations in the languages of these minorities, so as to provide them with a proper source of knowledge. They particularly need the interpretation of the Holy Quran and a number of the approved and accepted hadith collections.
3. They need to have some of their members admitted to the Islamic universities of Arab states, so that they may return later and preach and instruct in Islam in their own countries (And admonish their people when they return to (And admonish their people when they return to them – that thus they [may learn] to guard themselves [against evil]) [ Surat Al-Tauba: 122]. Unfortunately, such universities have recently been closing their doors to students from these countries, despite the risk posed by such action to the future of Muslim minorities and the Islamic call in these countries, even to the future of the Muslim Nation itself.
4. They need support for the teaching of Arabic and the financing of Arabic schools in their countries, a field where the failure of Arabs has been most abysmal. Advanced countries pay tens, hundreds even, of millions of dollars for spreading their languages, which are the messengers of their civilizations and cultures. But not the Arabs, who hold to their pennies when it comes to spreading their language. If the Muslim minorities were not moved by their own love for their Religion, their Prophet and their Book into learning Arabic and building schools and colleges for teaching this language on the basis that it is the language of the Holy Quran, hadith, worship, Islamic culture and understanding among members of the Muslim Nation, then we would not find anyone outside the Arab World who knew Arabic or ever heard of it. I am only to speak highly here of the Association of Arab Schools headed by Prince Mohammad Al-Faisal Al-Saud and managed by Dr. Tawfiq Al-Shawi. It has held several useful courses in many African and Asian countries to promote Arabic and help educational establishments that teach Arabic there.
5. They need preachers and teachers who are well-versed in the languages of these minorities, so that they may live among their people, teaching the ignorant and admonishing the straying, answering questions and giving fatwas, uniting people on religion and piety and hearts on love and goodwill. We have, however, to beware of destructive preachers, who only know how to demolish and set fire through useless debate and dissent that only produce hatred. Some of those [preachers] may be good-intentioned, but good intentions coupled with foolishness yield more harm than good, as the old adage goes: God deliver me from my friends, far from my enemies 1 will deliver myself.
6. They need frequent meetings and visits with prominent intellectuals, education experts and preachers, as such meetings open new horizons for thought and boost the morale of members of these minorities. Such meetings, visits and symposiums should be arranged as frequently as possible, so that those brother whose destiny is to be living in countries far from the heart of this Nation may not feel neglected by the mother Nation, or isolated from the focus of thought and feeling by the leaders of the Islamic Movement.
7. They need, perhaps before everything else, to be united in one front, so that they may be able to preserve their entity and religious presence. It is unfortunate that we should see minorities all over the world uniting and closing their ranks to form stronger entities against the majorities facing them, except for Muslim minorities, which are always at odds with one another and spending their time and effort on useless and meaningless disputes, especially religious differences over jurisprudential or doctrinal issues.

It is the duty of all Muslims to stand side by side as ordered by Allah. It is enough for them that they have a unity from which to start, for they are united on belief in, Allah, the Prophet and the Holy Quran.

I say this although I know that Muslims living in the heart of the Muslim World have their grievances. So how could those Muslim minorities living outside the Muslim World not complain?

If the Muslims living in Muslim countries are suffering persecution, injustice and oppression at the hands of rulers who are supposed to be Muslims, why should we expect no complaints from those Muslims living in non-Muslim countries and ruled by non-Muslims, be they Christians, Communists or Heathens?

A Nation Without a Leadership [Neither a Caliph nor a Pope]

The most serious problem of Muslims and their minorities scattered all over the world is that our Muslim Nation, expansive and large in numbers as it is, has no leadership that can order it to move, stop, cry or keep silent, or turn right or left.

We did have a caliphate system that united Muslims under one flag someday. We did have a caliph who represented the central leadership of the unified Nation. When the enemies of the caliphate system plotted against it and managed to tear down that magnificent edifice which embodied the unity of the Muslim Nation, we no longer had one entity, nor one flag under which to gather.
We lost the caliphate system, and we have found no other system to replace it, so we have lived without any leadership of any kind.

Christianity has its leadership recognized by its followers. This leadership is an organized religious one that has its own institutions and its own men; and its financial means come third to those of the United States and Russia. Its preachers are all over the world, including Muslim countries.
But we Muslims have neither a caliph to obey nor a Pope to listen to. We are like orphans that are turned away from every door they knock at.

There used to be a position called Sheikh Al-Islam one day. Though there was no official post like that in Islam, some scholars were so knowledgeable, studious and pious that they deserved to be honored by the Muslim masses who gave them this title. Today, with ulema keeping in step with- the rulers, not only refraining from speaking the word of right but speaking the wrong word, people have lost confidence in prominent sheikhs, and none of the senior ulema is called “Sheikh Al-lslam” any longer! As for those scholars who resist temptation’ they turn on them with their tremendous resources and with the tools of their masters who dictate their acts and words, trying to isolate or taint them, unless they stop resisting and thus become isolated from the people.

The Movement’s Mission In This Regard

The Islamic Movement should play the role of the missing leadership of the Muslim Nation with all its trends and groups. It should seek the support of true scholars until a real “Sheikh Al-lslam” appears from amongst them to claim their loyalty and support and possess the ability to call the great Muslim Nation at the time of need and find a response to his call.

The Movement And Expatriates

Besides minorities that live in non-Muslim countries, there is another group that the Movement should devote its attention to: expatriates who moved from Muslim countries to Western countries in Europe and the Americas, to Australia and to the Far East.

Why The Interest In Expatriates?

Expatriates are no longer few in number: they are counted in millions, especially in France where there are large communities of North Africans; in Britain where Indian and Pakistanis go; in Germany due to the presence of Turks; and in the United States because of the presence of Americans who descend from Muslim ancestors who were kidnapped from Africa long ago as well as the intensive immigration to that country.

There is not a single Western country that does not have transient expatriates, who go there to study or work, anti permanent immigrants who intended to stay there for good. Despite the numerous recommendations by different Islamic conferences that scholarships should be confined to those scientific and technological fields that Muslim countries do not have, Western countries still receive more newcomers who go there everyday at their own expense or at the expense of their countries to study. More expatriates are also leaving Muslim countries for Western countries in search for employment or to seek protection or freedom.

Allah the Almighty says, (O My servants who believe! Truly, spacious is My Earth. Therefore serve Me – [and Me alone]!) [Surat Ankabut: 56].

The presence of the Islamic Movement in Western countries was at first guided by the Almighty and not planned by the Movement. Young men and women had emigrated there to escape with their religion from the rifts tearing their homeland apart and to seek knowledge, freedom and safety, then they found very good opportunities for working and spreading the Call amongst their fellow Easterners, scholars and others alike.

The Necessity Of Islamic Presence In The West

I believe that it is necessary for Islam in this age to have a presence in such societies that affect world politics.

Islamic presence is necessary in Europe, the Americas and Australia for several reasons, including the following:

1) Islamic presence is required for spreading the Message of Islam and getting Islam’s voice heard among non-Muslims through good word, rational dialogue and exemplary conduct.
2) It is required for taking in new Muslims in order to follow their conduct and nurture their belief in an Islamic environment that helps them lead a healthy Islamic life.
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It is required for receiving newcomers to Western countries, such as scholars and immigrants, so that such newcomers may find themselves among people like the “Ansar” [the people of Medina who received the Prophet well and supported him at the time of hijra] who love those who migrate to their land and provide for them an atmosphere of Islam.

3) It is required for defending the causes of the Muslim Nation and the Muslim Land against the antagonism and misinformation of anti-Islamic forces and trends.

It is not right, in my view, that Christianity should monopolize all these countries unrivalled, or rivaled by Zionist Judaism that only joins forces with it against us.

This is what I told our brothers in America, Canada, Australia and other countries years ago.
However, it should be done through good plans and proper organization and according to the fiqh of priorities.

We should look for the best place, the best work and the best means.

Muslims should have their own communities in well-known states and cities, and they should have their own religious, educational and recreational establishments.

They should also have amongst them their own ulema and men of religion to answer their questions when they ask them, guide them when they lose the way and reconcile them when they differ among themselves.

A Conservatism Without Isolation, And An Openness without Melting

I used to tell our brothers in foreign countries, “Try to have your small society within the larger society, otherwise you will melt in it like salt in water. What has preserved the Jewish character over the past centuries was their small community that was unique in its ideas and rituals and was known as “the Jewish ghetto”. Try to have your own “Muslim ghetto then”.

I am not advocating self-isolation and keeping our doors closed to the people around us, for this will be the same as death itself: what is required is openness without melting – the openness of people with a message who seek to affect and interact, not people who imitate and whose only concern is to go along and be affected to the extent of following in the very steps of others, whatever they do.
We have complained for some time of the drain of Arab and Muslim brains in important fields of specialization as a result of the migration of scientists who fail to find a place for themselves in their home countries but find it in foreign countries.

If this is true, we must not let such geniuses lose their loyalty to their religion, their nation, their culture and their fatherlands. We have to exert every effort to ensure that their loyalty and feelings remain with their people and homeland.

This will only be possible if their loyalty remains with Allah, His Messenger and the believers, and if they continue to be concerned over the woes of their nation and riot their own interests alone.
It is the duty of the Islamic Movement not to leave these expatriates to be swept by the whirlpool of the materialistic trend that prevails in the West, for they must always be reminded of their origins, to which they long all the time.

I believe that Islamic student unions have played a praiseworthy role in this respect over the past three decades, after the elapse of the era in which the Leftists, the Nationalists, the Secularists dominated and guided the actions of these unions.

No one with a grain of fairness in him can deny the efforts of the Association of Muslim Students in the United States and Canada. The Association has established branch offices and organized several conferences. Other establishments have emanated from it, such as the Union of Islamic Sociologists, the Society of Muslim Scientists and Engineers, the Islamic Medical Society, the Islamic Association in North America and others. There is an intention to base the Movement in the United States, so that it may assume its natural position in a society based on multiplicity and freedom.

The Five Duties Of The Muslim Expatriates

I have participated in conferences organized by the Union of Muslim Students for several years. What I saw there was a source of gratification. The same applies to the Society of Muslim Students and the Federation of Islamic Societies in Britain and other organizations in Europe.

In my meetings with expatriates, I always reminded them of five duties as follows;

1. The expatriate’s duty to himself: to preserve and develop himself.
2. The expatriate’s duty to his family: to protect it from disruption and establish it on Islam.
3. The expatriate’s duty to his fellow Muslims: to unite with them to form one group.
4. The expatriate’s duty to the non-Muslim community living around him: to invite the members of that community to the way of Allah with wisdom and beautiful preaching.
5. The expatriate’s duty to the causes of his Muslim Nation: to care for them and support them.

Warning Against Two Things

There are two serious things that I have to warn about: racial and nationalist sympathies, and extremism and differences.

It is regrettable that we should see racial and nationalist sympathies given expression by several Muslim groups, with each closing itself to others and isolating its members from other Muslims, except for those spared [this wrong-doing] by the Grace of Allah.

Even the mosques are attributed to this or that group. It is not strange today that when you visit a city you may be told that this is the mosque of the Turks, that is the mosque of the Moroccans, and the third mosque over there is the mosque of the Yugoslavs and the fourth is for Indians, the fifth for Pakistanis; the sixth for Arabs, or a certain group of Arabs.

In the United States, in particular, there are special mosques for black Muslims.

Islam has come to eliminate the differences among people and make them equal. Mosques are just the tools ordained by Allah for performing this mission, so how can they become a tool for discrimination?

True, the language difficulties had made such separation necessary at first for the first generations of expatriates that did not know the native languages of the countries they had migrated to. But this could have been remedied by the allocation of lectures for each group in the same mosque for some time until there was a common language for all the Muslim community in each country or city.

However, this separation has become unnecessary in most cases, but the mosques remain attributed to certain groups or nationalities!

A mosque should be a mosque for Muslims and nothing else, and the flag under which the expatriates should unite must be the flag of Islam alone.

Expatriate Muslims will be strong only if they unite and help each other, for unity is strength, and dissent is weakness. Although solidarity is always required, it is more so in the case of being in an alien land, where one needs others of his kind to help him overcome his loneliness.

The second thing I want to warn about is extremism and differences over minor details, a phenomenon that, while still in its bud in Western countries, dates back to some time ago.

Our brothers in the East should not carry their differences and problems to the West, reviving and reliving them in their new home countries. For the time, place and people have changed, and these expatriates have been taught by their religious teachers that a fatwa changes with the change of time place and people, so why do not they apply what they have been taught?

About ten years ago, I visited the Islamic Center in Los Angeles, where some brothers asked me disapprovingly, “Is it right to show films in a mosque, even if they are educational films?” I replied, “What is in that? If these films teach some thing good, watching them would be an act of worship, and a mosque is a place of worship and a forum for knowledge and education “.

I added that the Prophet [peace be upon him] had allowed Abyssinians to dance with their spears in his mosque and had allowed his wife Aisha to watch them and had encouraged them to go on dancing.

Others asked, ” May women not wearing Islamic dress be allowed to enter the mosque on Saturdays and Sundays, when lectures and lessons are given? “I answered”, Yes, because if we restrict the admission into mosques to women who wear Islamic dress, where would others hear the Word of Islam and receive the Message of Allah? If we deny such women access to the mosque and its lectures and lessons, we will lose them forever, for the Call will not reach them. But if we Allow them to go to the mosque, then there is a great hope for them to be guided by Allah to observance of the rules of Islam. Many a true word has been made by Allah to open a heart, even several hearts”.

At the time I was getting this manuscript ready to go to the press, I received a report, or rather a letter, from my honorable brother, the doctor, scientist, poet and advocate of Islam, Dr. Hassan Hathoot, in which he explained some of the activities performed by the Islamic Center in Los Angeles and the responsibilities carried by the center to help Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It was a letter that would warm the heart of any Muslim who reads it, as it was a true manifestation that Islam will never wither if it has on its side men who combine proper understanding and good intention.

The Movement And Political Freedom And Democracy

It is the duty of the Movement in the coming phase to stand firm against totalitarian and dictatorial rule, political despotism and usurpation of people’s rights. The Movement should always stand by political freedom, as represented by true, not false, democracy. It should flatly declare its refusal of tyrants and steer clear of all dictators, even if some tyrant appears to have good intentions towards it for some gain and for a time that is usually short, as has been shown by experience.

The Prophet said, (When you see my Nation fall victim to fear and does not say to a wrong-doer, “You are wrong”, then you may lose hope in them). So how about a regime that forces people to say to a conceited wrong-doer, “How just, how great you are, O our hero, our savior and our liberator!”

The Quran denounces tyrants such as Numrudh, Pharaoh, Haman and others, but it also dispraises those who follow tyrants and obey their orders. This is why Allah dispraises the people of Noah by saying, (But they follow [men] whose wealth and children give them no increase but only loss) [Surat Nuh: 21].

Allah also says of Ad, people of Hud (And followed the command of every powerful, obstinate transgressor) [Surat Hud: 59]

See also what the Quran says about the people of Pharaoh: (But they followed the command of Pharoah, and the command of pharaoh was not rightly guided) [Surat Hud: 97], (Thus he made fools of his people, and they obeyed him: truly they were a people rebel [against Allah]) [Surat Az-Zukhruf: 54].

A closer look at the history of the Muslim Nation and the Islamic Movement in modern times should show clearly that the Islamic idea, the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Awakening have never flourished or borne fruit unless in an atmosphere of democracy and freedom, and have withered and become barren only at the times of oppression and tyranny that trod over the will of the peoples which clung to Islam. Such oppressive regimes imposed their secularism, socialism or communism on their peoples by force and coercion, using covert torture and public executions, and employing those devilish tools that tore flesh, shed blood, crushed bone and destroyed the soul.

We saw these practices in many Muslim countries, including Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, [the former] South Yemen, Somalia and northern African States for varying periods of time, depending on the age or reign of the dictator in each country.

On the other hand, we saw the Islamic Movement and the Islamic Awakening bear fruit and flourish at the times of freedom and democracy, and in the wake of the collapse of imperial regimes that ruled peoples with fear and oppression.

Therefore, I would not imagine that the Islamic Movement could support anything other than political freedom and democracy.

The tyrants allowed every voice to be raised, except the voice of [slam, and let every trend express itself in the form of a political party or body of some sort, except the Islamic current which is the only trend that actually speaks for this Nation and expresses its creed, values, essence and very existence.

However, some Islamists still have their reservations on democracy, and are even wary of the word ” democracy ” itself.

What I wish to stress here is that Islam is not democracy and democracy is not Islam and that I would rather that Islam is not attributed to any principle or system. Islam is unique in its means, ends and methodologies, and I do not wish that Western democracy be carried over to us with its bad ideologies and values without us adding to it from our values and ideologies in order to integrate it into our comprehensive system.

However, the tools and guaranties created by democracy are as close as can ever be to the realization of the political principles brought to this earth by Islam to put a leash on the ambitions and whims of rulers . These principles are: shura [consultation], good advice, enjoining what is proper and forbidding what is evil, disobeying illegal orders, resisting unbelief and changing wrong by force whenever possible. It is only in democracy and political freedom that the power of Parliament is evident and that people’s deputies can withdraw confidence from any government that breaches the Constitution, and it is only in such an environment that the strength of free Press, free Parliament, opposition and the masses is most felt.

The fears of some people here that democracy makes the people a source of power and even legislation (although legislation is Allah’s alone) should not be heeded here, because we are supposed to be speaking of a people that is Muslim in its majority and has accepted Allah as its Lord, Mohammad as its Prophet and Islam as its Religion. Such a people would not be expected to pass a legislation that contradicts Islam and its incontestable principles and conclusive rules.

Anyway, these fears can be overcome by one article stipulating that any legislation contradicting the incontestable provisions of Islam shall be null and void because Islam is the religion of the State and the source of legitimacy of all its institutions and therefore may not be contradicted, as a branch may not run against the main stream.

It should be known that the acceptance of the principle that legislation or rule belong to Allah does not rob the Nation of its right to seek for itself the codes necessary to regulate its ever-changing life and earthly affairs.

What we seek is that legislations and codes be within the limits of the flawless texts and the over all objectives of Shari’ah and the Islamic Message. The binding texts are very few, while the area of “permissibility” or legislative free space is quite wide and the texts themselves are so flexible and capacious as to accommodate more than one understanding and accept more than one interpretation, which leads to the existence of several schools and philosophies within the expansive framework of Islam.

I perused some laws that were passed in Qatar recently, and have found them to include scores of articles that rest on realizing interests and removing evils, but were not directly introduced by texts except for one or two of them.

The most serious danger threatening the Muslim Nation and the Islamic Movement is the rule of the Pharaohs who believe that their opinion is infallible and is right itself that can never go wrong. Such rulers adopt Pharaoh’s logic: (I but point out to you that which I see [myself]; nor do I guide you but to the path of right) [Surat Ghafir: 29]. (I but point out to you that which I see [myself]; nor do I guide you but to the path of right) [Surat Ghafir: 29].

To these rulers, every opinion that runs against theirs is rejected, even accused, just like Pharaoh spoke of Moses: (What I fear is lest he should change your religion, or lest he should cause mischief to appear in the land!) [Surat Ghafir: 26]. fear is lest he should change your religion, or lest he should cause mischief to appear in the land!) [Surat Ghafir: 26].

The Islamic Movement And Ethnic And Religious Minorities

The Islamic Movement must take a decisive attitude towards ethnic and religious minorities in the Arab and Muslim Worlds.

The Problem of Ethnic Minorities is Solved in Islam

Ethnic minorities do not constitute a problem in the Islamic system that the movement advocates, for Islam embraces all races under one creed, on qibla [direction of prayers] and close brotherhood.

Islam regards Muslims as one nation, regardless of their origin, color, tongue or homeland. It sees as equal all Muslims, be the Arabs, Persians, Berbers, Kurds, Turks, Indians or members of any other race; the lowest among them in rank is as entitled to speak in their name as the highest, and they stand as one man against their enemies. They are as Allah the Almighty describes them: (The Believers are but one brotherhood) [Surat Al-Hujurat: 10].

No Arab is better than a non-Arab, and no non-Arab is better than an Arab; no white man is better than a black man, and no black man is better than a white man, unless by virtue of piety and righteousness (The most honored of you in the sight of Allah is [he who is] the most righteous of you) [Surat Al-Hujurat: 13].

The [esteemed] position of Sulayman the Persian, Bilal the Abyssinian and Suhayb the Roman in the eyes of all Muslims in all ages is known to everybody.

The position enjoyed by non-Arab scholars who served Islam and Arabic language cannot be denied by any scholar of Islam, either. The history of Islam is full of numerous examples of prominent scholars and geniuses of Islam, such as Al-Hassan Al-Basri, Ibn-Sirin, Ata, Said Ibn-Jubayr, Abu-Hanifa, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu-Dawad, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nisa’e, Ibn-Majah, Sibaway and others.

Although all of them were originally non-Arabs, Islam made them Arabs when it made Arabic their language, so that they spoke, wrote and researched in the language of the Quran. A hadith, reported by Ibn Asakir said, ( Being an Arab is neither father nor mother: it is the tongue. He who speaks Arabic is an Arab ).

Those who did not take Arabic as their mother tongue when they adopted Islam, such as the Kurds, the Berbers, the Persians, the Malaysians and other non-Arabs, were Arabized in their hearts and minds through Islamic culture and through Islam itself that was carried to their lands by the Arabs many centuries ago to guide them to the straight path through the Guidance of Allah.

Every Muslim loves Arabic because it is the language of the Quran, Sunna and worship. Every Muslim loves the Land of Arabs, because that is where the Ka’ba and the Prophet’s Mosque and Grave are. Every Muslim loves Arabs, because they are the defenders of the Prophet and Islam and have spread Islam all over the world. It is therefore said in the sayings handed down to us by past generations, “If the Arabs become strong, so will Islam; and they become weak, so will Islam!”

There is no ethnic problem in the Islamic perspective, then. The Islamic outlook is even the infallible remedy to the ethnic problem.

But if the Arabs call for an Arab nationalism that is separate from Islam, the Kurds will also claim their own Kurdish nationalism, and the Berbers will call for a Berber nationalism, and so on, which will certainly tear the one Nation, even individual countries, apart among these ethnic sympathies that were a characteristic of the Age of Ignorance that was replaced with the Islam brotherhood by Islam. Our noble Prophet has disowned anyone who advocates, fights for or dies while believing in a fanatic nationalism or tribalism.

How to Solve the Problem of Religious Minorities?

The problem that should be addressed is the problem of religious minorities, or what I called in a previous study the “non-Muslims in the Muslim community”.

This problem should be solved within a context of frankness and openness, not through political maneuvers and hypocrisy.

I have discussed the attitude of the Islamic solution towards these minorities in the third volume of the “Inevitability of the Islamic Solution” study, and I cannot repeat all that I wrote there once again. However, what I want to say here can be summarized in the following points:

1. There are no grounds for the allegations by some people, most of whom are secularists who have no loyalty to either Islam or Christianity, that the tendency for Islamic solutions and Islamic laws is against the principle of freedom for non-Muslims – a principle that has been established at both international and Islamic levels. For those people forget, or ignore, a more serious and more significant point: that abandoning. Islamic laws and Islamic solutions for the sake of non – Muslims, who are minority, runs against the principle of freedom for Muslims, who are a majority, to do as their religion orders them.

When the right of the minority runs against the right of the majority, which right should we put first?

The logic of democracy, which those people advocate, says that the right of the majority should be given precedence over that of the minority.

This is what goes on in all countries of the world. the system that can gain the approval of everybody is yet to be invented, for people were created different and can never be brought to accept the same thing. It should be enough for any given system to gain the acceptance of the majority, provided that it does not do wrong or injustice to the minority or transgress on the minority’s sanctities. Christians and other religious groups will not come to any harm if they give up their right so that their Muslim compatriots may rule themselves by their religion and effect the laws of Allah in order to gain His Grace.

If the religious minority does not do so, insisting that the majority relinquish what it, the majority, believes to be a religion whose relinquishing is punished with the Fire by Allah, then the minority will be imposing a dictatorship on the majority, with three million, for instance, controlling over forty million. Such a situation would not be acceptable to either religious or secular logic.
2. All the above is said on the assumption that there is a contradiction between the right of the Muslim majority and the right of the non-Muslim minority. In fact, there is no contradiction between the two of them.

A Christian who accepts to be a subject to a secular, not religious, rule, would not mind being under an Islamic rule. Moreover, a Christian who understands his religion right should welcome the rule of Islam, as such a rule is based on belief in Allah, the Messages of Heaven and the reward in the Hereafter. Such a rule also seeks to reinforce the values of faith and morals that were called for by all Prophets. It also reveres Christ, Mary and the Injil, and has a special regard for the people of the Book. So, how could such a rule, with its heavenly, moral and humanitarian nature, be a source of concern or fear for a believer in a religion that recognizes Allah, His Messengers and the Hereafter, while that believer is not concerned or afraid of non-religious, secular rule that despises all religions and allows them, if it ever does, only a small corner in life?!

It would be good for faithful Christians to accept the rule and system of Islam, looking at them as a rule and system like all rules and systems, while Muslims look at them as a religion that pleases their Lord and brings them closer to Him.
It would also be good for Christians, as Hassan Al-Hudaibi once said, if Muslims look at Muslim rule as a religion, as such a perception would make them guard against mistake in its enforcement, because they will feel that they are under the watchful eye of Allah, not fear of the ruler that can be shaken off in most cases

Therefore, wise, broad-minded Christians have welcomed’ the Islamic rule as a formidable barrier that can stop the advance of horrid materialism that threatens all religions at the hands of world Communism, as the prominent scholar Faris Al-Khouri said I would like here to put right a mistake that many people make: that is believing that the man-made laws imported from the Christian West are related to Christianity. This is a mistake beyond doubt, and those who study the origins and historical sources of laws certainly know this. It is a fact that stands to any argument that Islamic fiqh [jurisprudence] is nearer to Christianity and Christians of our countries than these laws because of its religious origins on the one hand and because it is affected by the surrounding environment, of which they are part.
3. The allegation that applying a Muslim regime would involve forcing non-Muslims to do things that run against their creed is also false. Islam has four branches: creed, worship, morals and laws [Shari’ah]. It does not impose its creed or its worship on non-Muslims in any way.

There are two decisive Quranic verses to this effect, one Meccan and the other Medinan. In the first, Allah addresses His Messenger saying, (Will you then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!) [Surat Yunus: 99].

In the second, Allah says in a decisive manner, (Let there be no compulsion in religion) [Surat Al-Baqarah: 256].

The Prophet’s companions used to say about Ahl al-Dhimmah, leave them and their religion”.
Since the time of the Rightly-guided Caliphs, Jews and Christians have worshipped and performed their religious rights unmolested, as testified to by the documents of treaties between them and Muslims during the eras of Abu-Bakr and Omar, such as the treaty of reconciliation between Omar and the people of Jerusalem.

Islam is so considerate that it does not require non-Muslims to pay zakat [alms] or perform jihad, as these are major Islamic worships; zakat being a financial tax and jihad a military service. Instead, Islam requires non-Muslims to pay another head tax, of which women, children and poor and disabled men are exempted, that is jizya (poll-tax).

If some people cannot bring themselves to accept the term jizya, then let them call it whatever they like. The Arab Christians of Banu Taghlib [banu, pl. ibn, means sons of] asked Omar Ibn Al-Khattab to allow them to pay double zakat like Muslims and not pay the jizya, and Omar agreed and signed an agreement with them to that effect. He commented on that, saying, “These people are fools. They accept the meaning, but refuse the name!”

As for the morals branch of Islam, it is not different from its counterparts in other religions in its origins, for morals are the same in the eyes of religions.

This leaves Shari’ah in its particular meaning, i.e. the laws that regulate the interrelations among people. It governs the individual’s relations with his nation, his community and his State, and it governs the State’s relations with its subjects and with other states.

As for family relations and marital affairs, such as marriage and divorce etc., non-Muslims can choose between their religion and ours. They are not forced to accept the rules of Shari’ah. If they opt for the Islamic law in dividing estates for , as they do in some Arab countries, they have their wish. If they do not want to have Islamic laws applied to their affairs, then they are not subjected to them.

As for other domains, such as civil, commercial or administrative laws, non-Muslims are like others under any laws that are derived from East or West and are accepted by the majority.

That is why Ahl Al-Dhimmah have their own courts which they can go to; they can also resort to Islamic courts, as recorded by history.

So, we see that Islam has not forced non-Muslims to abandon anything that they regard as necessary under their religion, nor has it required them to do anything that they regard as forbidden in their creed, nor has it forced them to believe in anything against their religion. It is only that there are some things that are prohibited by Islam but deemed lawful by non-Muslims, such as wine and pig meat. Lawful things can be abandoned by individuals of their free will, so Christians may give up wine and not be guilty of any sin under their religion. I do not even think that any religion would encourage alcoholic drinking and bless the life of drinking and (the ensuing) running amok. All that the Bible says about wine is that a little of it cures the stomach, and that is why the Christians themselves are divided over drinking.

A Christian can also spend his whole life without taking a bite of pigmeat, because eating it is not a religious rite, nor is it a practice handed down the generations by prophets. Pig meat was even tabooed by Judaism before Islam. However, we have seen a number of Muslim ulema who have opined that Christians may eat pig meat and drink wine and trade in both amongst themselves and in their own villages, provided they do not spread them in Muslim communities or defy the feelings of Muslims with them. This is an unequalled tolerance.

The Movement And Dialogue With Others

The Movement should not confine itself in the next phase to addressing itself: it must enlarge its scope to address others as well.

Many Islamic writers and men of thought write for themselves, I mean that they write for those who follow their steps and advocate their ideas, not exceeding the limits of what they have to say to each other, as if there were no other people on this earth besides themselves. If they get out of this circle, they write only to the other Islamic groups which share Islam and its call with them but use different means and adopt different concepts.

When they do leave that second circle, they write for the religious in general, regardless of whether they, the religious, were members of any groups or movements.

Now that the Islamic Movement has attained its zenith and broadened its base, it should address itself to those who differ with it in ideology and trend and not leave them to their old, inherited ignorance and mistrust of Islam and its advocates without trying to provide them with guidance or light their path.

It is high time for the Islamic Movement to abandon its self- imposed isolation, so that it may regard all Muslims as part of it and enter with them into a dialogue between itself and them first and then between itself and them on one side and opposing, even antagonist, parties on the other side. Perhaps the rational, quiet, academic dialogue will make the reluctant become sure, give confidence to the uncertain, calm down the anxious, and may be even alleviate the animosity of those with a grudge. Allah the Almighty says, (It may be that Allah will establish love and [friendship] between you and those whom you [now] hold as enemies. For Allah has power [over all things]; and Allah is oft-forgiving. Most merciful) [Surat Al-Mumtahana: 7].

I recall here the invitation I received some years ago for participating in the symposium called “The Islamic Awakening And The Woes Of The Arab World” which was held in Amman, Jordan.

The participants in that symposium included Muslims, Christians, Communists and nationalists of every color. Some of the brothers with whom I discussed the symposium were of the opinion that I should not go, so that my participation might not be used for giving a tint of legitimacy to such symposiums that do not follow a proper Islamic line.

However, I did not heed these fears and vivid imaginations that see a ghost behind every corner. I accepted the invitation and presented a paper that was published in a separate book later. My presence and the presence of a number of Islamists, including Dr. Hassan Al-Turabi, Fahmy Hewaidi and Kamel Al-Sherif, had a very significant effect in making the voice of Islamists heard through the moderate Islamic trend, which I believe in and advocate. Despite the small number of lslamists, their influence was the strongest, and their voice was best heard.

I will never forget what one of the participants, a nationalist Christian, said to me at the lunch table. He said, “We have changed our opinion about you completely”. I asked, “And what was your opinion?” He replied, “that you are a hard-liner and a fanatic”. I said, “Where did you get this idea about me? He answered, “I don’t know, but, frankly, that was our impression about you”. I asked “And now?” He said, “Now we have learned through seeing, hearing, discussion and direct contact what has changed this unfair idea about you completely. We now see you as a man who respects logic, refers to reason and knows how to listen to the other opinion as a man who is not stubborn or adamant, but extremely flexible and tolerant”.

What I want to convey by telling this story is that direct contact and reasonable, quiet dialogue that is held on equal footing is in the interest of the Islamic Movement, which stands to gain from it and will lose nothing at all in it.

I can testify to that myself out of my experience in all the meetings that comprised both Islamists and non-lslamists. the latest of which was the “Issues Of The Islamic Future” symposium in Algeria.

Therefore, we say that the motto of the Islamic Movement in the next phase should be “Welcome to dialogue with others”.

By others, we mean those who differ with the Islamic Movement in their ends, means, attitudes, ideologies and their very creeds.

The Movement has to welcome the dialogue with all those who differ with it and keep up the dialogue with those with whom it has already started discussion.

It should also seek to enlist the support of all the Islamic forces that agree with it on the main issues and general principles, including both groups and individuals who have intellectual and academic influence.

The Quran orders us to hold dialogues with those who differ with us, not to regard them as hopeless cases and isolate ourselves from them. It says, ( Invite [all] to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious) [Surat An-Nahl; 125].

All that the Quran requires is that the argument, the dialogue, be in ways that are best, i.e. with the best means that ensure persuasion of the mind and awakening of the heart. A marvel of the Quranic expression is evident in this verse, as the Quran deems it enough for preaching to be beautiful, but would only accept argument, or dialogue, that is performed in ways that are best, because preaching is usually directed at someone who already agrees, while argument is directed at someone who does not agree and therefore should be addressed in the best manner.

The Dialogue With Rational Secularists

The required dialogue also includes holding a dialogue with secularists, I mean with those of them who are rational and fair and would be willing to hear the Islamists and understand what the Islamists advocate and want.

Those secularists are originally Muslims. Many of them still declare proudly that they are Muslims, and some even-perform the Muslim rites, praying, fasting and perhaps also going for umra or hajj.

However, their problem is that they never came to learn Islam properly – as is the problem with many of the cultured like we said earlier – for they never had a chance to take the teachings of Islam from their original, pure sources, nor meet with scholars and men of thought, but have taken their religion from orientalists or (Christian) missionaries or their disciples, or even formed their perception of Islam through the pathetic state of affairs of Muslims or from what they read or hear from extremist or deviated people who claim to belong to Islam.

Anyway, their upbringing, education and way of life never gave them the chance to know an Islam that is clear of the impurities that afflicted it in past and present, including misconceptions, misapplication and misuse.

Besides, the glamour of Western civilization at its zenith has coupled with the darkness that prevails in the Muslim World, which has sunk low in all aspects of life, to provide some excuse for secularists to misjudge Islam and the Islamic sharia and way of life and believe that the way out of the present dilemma lies in following in the steps of the West when it wished to achieve progress. For the West shook itself free of religion and its institutions and clerics, using science as its sole vehicle to reach out to building, innovation, production and creativity, until it has mastered the powers of nature for man’s comfort and prosperity.

We started the dialogue with secularists in Cairo in the summer of 1985 with the historic symposium held in Dar Al-Hekma on invitation by the Physicians Association. The Islamists were represented by Sheikh Mohammad Al-Ghazali and the author, while the only representative of secularists was Dr. Fuad Zakariya.

The symposium received a warm welcome from journalists and men of thought, as it was a manifestation of the importance of dialogue among the various sides in the same homeland.
Many writers, including Fahmy Huwaidi, mentioned several benefits of this meeting, the most significant of which being that each side listened to the other directly.

However, I found a shortcoming in the meeting: that it took the form of a debate between Islamists and secularists, not a dialogue.

A debate breeds heated discussion, especially if there is a large audience.

Besides, the representative of secularists in that dialogue was an obstinate man who did not have the least flexibility, tolerance or modesty that could make him listen and understand what the other side of the dialogue had to say so that he might learn something about Islam, of which I regret to say that he was abysmally ignorant.

He actually realized the weakness of his position and the flimsiness of his argument, so he went to the newspapers to which he was contributing articles and started a ferocious, slashing attack on the audience in general, Islamists in particular and myself by name.

That attack forced me to reply by explaining the whole issue in my book “Islam And Secularism Face To Face”.

Once again, what I am calling for here is “dialogue” not “debate”. The word “debate” in itself gives an impression of challenge and a desire to win, with each side trying to deal the other a fatal blow.
I do not think that such a debate could do much good, as neither side would be likely to give ground or abandon its stand as a result of debate, but may even become more obstinate and fanatic.

A debate may be accepted only if the Islamic side is embarrassed as a result of challenges by the other sides that leave it no option but to accept the challenge in order to avoid being accused of fleeing the confrontation and deserting the battlefield.

But the principle is dialogue in which proper manners are observed, as the Quran urges us to “argue in ways that are best”.

The Dialogue With Rational Rulers

Another type of dialogue that is required is the dialogue with wise, rational Muslim rulers who do not take an aggressive stand based on [different] doctrine against Islam; for those rulers who adopt a different doctrine and stand against Islam are useless: they are a hopeless case because they would like nothing better than to see Islam wither and go to total obliteration, but (Fain would they extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow but that His Light should be perfected, even though the Unbelievers may detest [it]) [Surat Al-Tauba: 32].

However, there are also those rulers who do not hate Islam but fear it, and their fear is in most cases due to their ignorance of the facts about Islam and the characteristics of Islam’s Shari’ah and Call. Many of these rulers should be excused, of course, as they have not had a chance to know Islam as it really is, and get their knowledge from the pure sources and the trustworthy scholars. In that ignorance, they are just like the members of our cultured elite that we have mentioned. The concepts are jumbled in their heads, and fact and fiction are one to them.

If Allah the Almighty sends to such rulers those who explain to them true Islam as a whole without division, as a pure subject without innovations, and as a simple matter without difficulty, showing them the good things that Islam carries for the individual, the family and the community, and the evils it wards off to protect the Nation’s morale and material property, and if they accept that explanation with an open heart, they will certainly change and adopt attitudes that will be different in part or whole towards Islam and its Call. For rulers are only human, just like us, and they can change and become influenced and convinced in such a way as to change their ideas and behavior.

History is full of examples of rulers who changed under the influence of well-meaning ulema and scholars.

Many of the rulers who are apprehensive of Islam have adopted such an attitude under the influence of false warnings by their ill-intentioned advisers or conspiracies by the “devils” abroad.

This type of rulers can be reached by addressing the goodness that still remains in their hearts and stirring the Muslim blood that still runs in their veins, and also by assuring them that they will retain their thrones and their powers, at least for the time being, if they give freedom to the Call of Islam to discharge its mission of raising the youth to the values of right, good and purity, protecting them from intoxicants, drugs and prostitution. and countering the destructive principles that will be the ruin of the ruler and the ruled alike.

There is nothing against holding such a truce, or agreement, with rulers, even though the Movement may not approve of their behavior or their affiliations, for the Movement, guided by the fiqh of balances, believes that such a position would be better than abject refusal or continuous animosity towards them.

However, a word of warning is in order here: such an attitude must never be a prelude to flattery or lip-service to these rulers. There is a big difference between pacification and hypocrisy towards them!

The Dialogue With Rational Westerners

Another important dialogue is required from the Islamic Movement, despite the fact that the path of such a dialogue will be strewn with difficulties and obstacles: it is the dialogue with the West.

There are several differences between us and the West. There is a difference of religion, as the West is predominantly Christian while we are Muslim. There is difference of trend, for the West is materialistic and realistic but we are spiritual and idealistic. There is difference of politics, because the West is, in most cases, on the side of Israel and against us, though this attitude may differ in its strength from one Western country to another.

However, we cannot do without a dialogue with the West.

It is the West that has been ruling the world for centuries and it owns the civilization that prevails in our contemporary world, whether we like it or not. It ruled our countries and occupied our land for varying durations, then left voluntarily or against its will, but still affects us directly or indirectly, and influences our decision – makers one way or another. Its influence on the minds and wills of our rulers cannot be denied, either.

Moreover, it is no longer possible for a group of people to live alone with its creed and principles, isolated from the world around it, in its own Utopia. The fluid technological changes in the field of communications have actually made the world a “global village” as one writer said.

Therefore, a dialogue with the West is a farida and a must for us, so that we may make Westerners understand what we want for ourselves and others, and because we are preachers of a Call, not hunters for loot; messengers of mercy, not carriers of bad omens; advocates of peace, not callers for war; supporters of right and justice, not helpers of wrong and injustice.

Our mission is to guide the confused humanity to the Way of Allah and link earthly life to the Hereafter, Earth to Heaven and human being to human being, so that a man may like for his fellow man what he likes for himself and hates for him what he hates for himself, and so that mankind may be cured of the illness of all nations: envy and grudge. For this renders humanity bare of religion.

We know that the West still looks at us through the gloomy perspective that has mired its outlook to us since the Crusades and has nestled in the hearts of most Westerners till this day.

Many of the West’s free and fair thinkers have admitted to that fact, including Gustave Le Bon, the French philosopher and sociologist, who said it frankly in some of the footnotes of his book, “The Civilization of the Arabs” When a Western scholar delves into Islamic causes, he assumes a character other than his normal, independent one with which he deals with all issues, and becomes biased and anti – Islamic even if he does not realize it.

The same was recently said by the orientalist Montgomery Watt in his book “What Is Islam?” We also see the spirit of the Crusades raising its head from time to time in various fields.

We see its influence in the West’s attitude towards Israel, the aggressor, and towards the Palestinian people, the victimized.

We see its influence in the West’s attitude towards the Christian Lithuania and the Muslim Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union.

We see its influence in the actions of French, Spanish and Italian officials who are motivated by their fear of the Islamic trend in Algeria.

We see its influence in the West’s attitude towards the issues of southern Sudan, Eritrea, Kashmir, the Philippines and other political Islamic issues.

We see its influence in several social issues, the most important of which is that of Salman Rushdie who shed his skin and betrayed his Creed and his Nation. And in the issue of the “Hijab (Islamic dress) in France” and how a country that proclaims itself as the mother of freedom could not tolerate a few Muslim girl students whose religion required them to be modest in their dress and who sought to please Allah and avoid Hell with their attire, but the land of freedom and human rights did not give them the right of seeking Allah’s pleasure in a purely personal matter.

Unfortunately, the spirit of the Crusades is present in attitudes and situations that defy counting. Even Turkey which is a country that has panted after the West for two-thirds of a century and imposed the West’s secularism on its Muslims by sword and bloodshed, driving the Islamic Shari’ah out of every corner – was unable to gain the favor of the West when it applied for membership of the European Common Market, and the Chancellor of West Germany explained the reason for turning its application saying, “Turkey has a culture that is different from that of the West. It has a Muslim culture, while we have a Jewish, Christian culture”.

However, we would despair of the west or leave it alone as a hopeless case that can never be swung around with dialogue, even though our culture is different from their culture, for can there be a dialogue except between two different sides? Let it then be a dialogue of culture, as it was called by the famous man of thought Rajaa Garoudi …. let it be a dialogue of cultures, not a conflict of cultures. And why should not we hold a dialogue with the West when the Quran has laid down for us the practice of dialogue with those who differ with us, thus making dialogue a means of advocating the Call of Allah.

Moreover, the Holy Quran tells us of the dialogue between Allah and the worst of His Creation, Iblis [Satan]. Allah the Almighty did not close the door of dialogue in the face of the damned. Iblis. And what a dialogue it was! a dialogue with the Lord of the Worlds.

Read these verses of Surat Sad: (Behold, our Lord said to the angels, “I am about to create man from clay: When I have fashioned him (In due proportion) and breathed into him from My spirit, fall down in prostration unto him”. So the angles prostrated themselves, all of them together: Not so Iblis: he was haughty, and became one of those who reject Faith. [Allah] said, ‘O Iblis, What prevents you from prostrating yourself to one whom I have created with My hands? Are you haughty! Or are you one of the high [and mighty] ones? Iblis said, “I am better than him: You created me from fire, and him from clay.” [Allah said, “Then get out from here: for you are rejected, accursed. And My Curse shall be on you till the Day of Judgment”. Iblis said, “O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day the [dead] are raised.” [Allah] said, “Respite then is granted you – till the Day of the Time Appointed”. Iblis said, “Then, by Your Power, I will put them all in the wrong, Except Your servants amongst them, sincere and purified [by Your Grace]”. Allah said, “Then this is the Truth and the Truth I say. That I will certainly fill Hell with you and those that follow you, – every one) [Surat Sad: 71-85].

And also let the dialogue with the West be on more than one level:

On the religious level,
On the intellectual level,
And on the political level

The Religious (Islamic-Christian) Dialogue

Let there be a religious dialogue between Islam and Christianity, for various objectives, including the following:

1. Standing in the face of the atheist and materialistic trend that stands at swords ends with all the Messages of Heaven, making fun of belief in the Unseen, and rejecting Allah, His Messengers and His Punishment and moralistic values, as well as the trend of permissiveness and loose morals that have almost completely destroyed the noble characteristics that humanity has acquired with the guidance of the Messages of Heaven.
2. Confirming the points of agreements between the two religions, which are pointed out by the Holy Quran in speaking of how to argue with People of the Book: (But say, “We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we submit [in Islam]) [Surat Al-Ankabut: 46]. and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we submit [in Islam]) [Surat Al-Ankabut: 46].
3. Purifying relations of the remnants of the hostile feelings left over by the Crusades of the past and the imperialism of the present, and promoting the feelings of brotherhood, humanism and charity, to turn a new leaf for purer and clearer relations. This includes that the Church stop supporting Christians against Muslims in every battle that erupts between the two sides, such as those in southern Sudan and the Philippines and in other regions. The Church would even stand by Communists and pagans against Muslims.

I do know that many Islamists are suspicious of a dialogue of this kind, as they regard it as a suspect dialogue that hides invisible hands that move and exploit it for special purposes, and because they believe Muslims to be the unsuspecting weak side of the dialogue that is used by the strong side without its knowledge. Therefore, anyone who takes part in such a dialogue is a target of accusation in their eyes, for he will be either a fool or a collaborator!

I think that such suspicion is unnecessary. For while their doubts may be right, this is not always the case. Why should we lose confidence in ourselves to this extent? Why should we regard ourselves as the weak side while we are strong with what we have? Why should we regard anyone who holds a dialogue with those as having abandoned the right of his creed and surrendered to the other side?

What is actually important is that we enter the dialogue while standing on firm ground, sure of ourselves and of those who speak in our name, believing that dialogue is better than fighting or escape.

In fact, dialogue was one of the means of promuloogating the Call that the Prophet [peace be upon him] started in his historic letters to Hercules, Al-Muqawquis (Chief Copt in Egypt), the Negus (of Abyssinia) and other rulers of People of the Book, which he concluded with the verse, (Say, O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partner with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lord and patrons other than Allah”. If then they turn back, say, ‘Bear witness that we [at least] are Muslims [bowing to Allah, Will) [Surat Imran: 64].

Some dialogue of this sort did take place, and it achieved positive results, as I was told by Mr. Mohammad Al-Mubarak, may Allah have mercy on his soul.

This dialogue took place between a delegation of the Muslim World League, headed by the then secretary-general Sheikh Mohammad Al-Harkan, and including Ma’ruf Al-Dawalibi and Mohammad Al Mubarak, and representatives of the Vatican. This took place in Rome.

The dialogue resulted in improving the image of each side in the eyes of the other, especially the image of Islam that had been distorted unjustly and maliciously. This has reflected on Muslim-Christian relations at some time.

Another dialogue took place in Libya between a number of Muslim men of thought and some senior members of the Church. It had good results, as I was told by Dr. Ezz Al-Din Ibrahim, who was one of the main participants in it.

I read his paper that he had presented in the dialogue, and I found it to be very balanced and sound in a moderate way that has neither extremism nor neglect.

The Intellectual Dialogue (With Orientalists)

The religious dialogue with the West should be coupled with another dialogue that complements it: this is the intellectual dialogue with Orientalists and Western writers who are interested in the studies related to Islam and its Quran, Messenger, Creed, history, culture, knowledge, peoples, present and future, especially those scholars who are interested in intellectual trends, modern revivalist movements and contemporary awakening upheavals.

Such a dialogue is necessary for correcting concepts, bringing viewpoints nearer, clearing the air between the two sides and paving the ground for better relations.

If dialogue is possible with clergymen and representatives of the Church, who are more zealous by virtue of their positions and deep-rooted ideological beliefs that have been handed down to them across the generations, then dialogue with orientalists and intellectuals should be easier and more beneficial, though many people say that there is no difference between Western clergymen and Western men of thought, or, in other words, between missionaries and orientalists. They say that the only difference is that the former are dressed in priests’ attire while the latter don the cloaks of scholars, but the two of them are only two faces of the same coin.

However, a dialogue should not be impossible if it is sought with a strong will, if the objective is known, and if the road is clear. Universities and intellectual fore can take the initiative by bringing representatives of the two sides together to launch research work on certain topics that be decided in an academic, objective atmosphere that is free from bias or provocation.

We have to take also account here that Orientalists are not equal in their attitude towards Islam, the Muslim Nation and the Islamic Awakening.

Many books have been written about Orientalists, such Al-Aqiqi’s book, while others were written to reply to their allegations or to defend them. Still other works classified them, such as the treatise prepared by Dr. Mohammad Al-Bahayy, May Allah grant him forgiveness, for which he had chosen the topic of “Orientalists and their attitudes towards Islam”.

I have to say that there are several points of weakness that are almost common in most orientalists. These are:

Firstly, orientalists are not well-versed in Arabic and cannot fully grasp its different implications, which naturally affects their comprehension of the original Islamic sources, especially the Holy Quran and Sunna . Therefore, their understanding of Islam and its Message is hazy and incomplete.

Secondly, Orientalists suffer from the complex of superiority of the Western man, the Western mind and Western civilization. They regard the West as the master of the world and Europe as the mother of all countries, and they think that history began in the West and will end there.

Thirdly, they start their research from points that are not subject to testing from their point of view, as they believe that the Quran was not sent down by Allah and that Mohammad is not the Messenger of Allah. This way, they form their ideas in advance, prior to starting their research, then direct their research in such directions that may enable them to prove these ideas by any means, thereby accepting narratives of poor credibility, believing lies, magnifying small events, making a mountain out of a molehill, taking suspicion as evidence and rejecting all that contradicts their ideas even if it hits them in the face!

Fourthly, the studies made by Orientalists are often directed to-serving practical goals that are required from the authors by certain countries. In many cases, millions are allocated to these research works, which makes these studies not completely free of bias or ill-intentions.

Nevertheless, the dialogue is still required in many fields, and it can still be held with the number of free men that is increasing every day as more people shed old complexes and rid themselves of new influences.

When we set ourselves to start this dialogue, it should be reasonable to choose those Orientalists who are nearer to fairness and moderation among all nationalities, such as Professor J. Berque who was invited to Qatar’s University several times.

However, we can feel from the translated works of contemporary Orientalists that today’s Orientalists are closer to fairness and farther from exaggeration and fanaticism than yesterday’s Orientalists, especially as Muslims now read their works, discuss what they say and counter what they do not like in their statements, while the old Orientalists wrote for themselves, i.e. one for – the other, so that their writings were more like special reports than general topics.

The Political Dialogue With the West

After accomplishing these religious and intellectual dialogues, the Islamic Movement should have another dialogue with the West, a political dialogue with decision makers, those of them who stand on stage as well as those who stand in the back scenes.

I believe that the two previous dialogues should pave the way for this important dialogue. The Church, while officially kept away from politics, still wields much influence over men of state, and still plays from behind the scene in the field of foreign policy, especially where Islam and Muslims are concerned.

Orientalists, while appearing as mere academics, have undeniable connections with intelligence and national security agencies and ministries of foreign affairs.

There are many who try to sow the seeds of despair of any attempt at political dialogue with the West. There are others who quote the old Western poet’s saying. “East is East, West is West. they never meet!”

But we have seen the West meeting with India, Japan and, most recently, China! . Other says, “The West may meet with India, Japan and China, or with Hindus, Buddha Communists but not with Muslims”. They may quote missionaries, Orientalists or politicians who slashed at Islam with poison-dripping tongues.

There are also those who look with suspicion at anyone who tries to contact the West or hold any sort of dialogue with Westerners, and use such contact or dialogue to smear that who attempts it with their always-ready accusation: treason, collaboration, treachery etc. No one can forget what our strong, faithful brother Hassan Al-Hudaybi, second Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, suffered as a result of his contact with Mr. Evans. Although the Egyptian Revolution leaders had known and blessed these contacts they eventually turned them into a weapon that they used against him, and into a tool for tainting his image and the images of the Movement and its men and policies!

This is an aspect that we have to take into account and guard against, so that similar contacts may not be exploited by the enemies of the Movement to attack it.

I have to say here also that the complexes of fear of Islam and the grudges against it still influence the behavior of Western politicians in general, and the memories of the battles of Yarmuk and Ajnadin, the Crusades and the Arab and Ottoman conquests still haunt their dreams, with names like Khalid Ibn AI-Walid, Tariq Ibn Ziyad, Saladdin Al Ayyubi and Mohammad Al-Fatih (the conqueror of Constantinople) robbing the sleep from their eyes.

However, we should not ourselves fall victim to fear of these complexes. We have to break psychological barriers and try to shake off all complexes, old and new alike.

Despite the wars, feuds and bloodshed that raged over Europe over the past centuries, the countries of that continent are coming together into unity, and will become one country in the near future.

The Americans and the Soviets have also closed the gap between them, having ended their hot and cold wars.

So why cannot there be rapprochement with the Muslims?

The logic of the West is well known: there is no permanent friendship or permanent enmity. There are only permanent interests.

We have no objection to starting from the principle of securing mutual interests between ourselves and others.

I believe that the West’s interest lies in avoiding the hostility of a thousand million Muslims and winning their trust, friendship and respect.

We in turn should seek to improve our image in the eyes of the West, so as to change that image formed over the ages through bitter conflicts that were not free of exaggeration and fiction.
We are not denying that there are some people among us who do not paint the best image of Islam neither by their way of thinking nor by their behavior.

They present Islam in an image of violence, fanaticism, bloody collision with others and neglect of freedoms and human rights, particularly the rights of minorities and women.

Perhaps this image have, been helped by the actual state of affairs in many Muslim countries that could be taken to be the result of Islam and Islamic law.

Such strong illusions do not just fade away by themselves, or disappear overnight, but can be removed by means of good intentioned, long-lasting dialogue that is based on frankness and straight forwardness, not maneuvering and elusiveness. Although this sort of dialogue is unlikely in politics, it is not impossible, for nothing in impossible is the world of politics today!

If we manage to convince the West’s leaders and those who influence its policies that we have a right to live by our Islam, led by its Creed, governed by its Shari’ah and guided by its values and morals, without harboring any ill intentions towards the West or doing it any wrong, then we will have covered a long distance towards our objective of establishing the Muslim community that we wish for our homeland.

There is no doubt that the first obstacle that stands in the path to this objective is our rulers who stand guard over us, watching our every move and resisting any tendency for establishing Islam as the rule in social, political and cultural life. There is also no doubt that the most influential power that affects our rulers is the West and its leaders, who warn our leaders against Islam and throw fear of Islamists in their hearts, making them suspicious of Islamic movements by direct and indirect means and through covert and overt statements.

Therefore, persuading the West of the necessity of the emergence of Islam as a guiding and leading force, if possible, will be a vehicle for persuading Arab and Muslim leaders as well, and this will certainly be a great benefit.

The Islamic Movement And The Official Religious Institution

The Islamic Movement should work hard in the next phase for winning the official religious institution to its side. This includes the prominent figures of Al-Azhar in Egypt, Al-Zaytuna in Tunisia, Al Qarawiyyin in Morocco and the religious institutions of Pakistan, India and other countries. The Movement should set its sights on a major objective that should feature in its essential plans: to invade this official religious institution from inside with its ideologies and its members. If the Movement succeeds in this endeavor, it stands to make significant gains, including the following:

1. It will be able to avert the collision with the members of the institution, many of whom still are in favor with the Muslim masses and still possess the ability to distort the image of the movement in the eyes of the uneducated or half-educated public by right or wrong allegations, especially from those who have put themselves at the service of the rulers, as their allegations will hinder the march of the Movement and cost it much time and effort for defending itself and clearing its image of untrue charges . This way, the Movement will be free to devote its efforts to confronting the true enemies of Islam who want to put out Allah’s light with their mouths.
2. There will be hope in reforming this important institution, so that it may carry its original and important responsibility of spreading the true teachings of Islam, and advocating only Islam in its whole, pure and unadulterated form, in such a way that it will free itself from the unjust rulers and communism and Christianity agents and be a formidable fortress that defends the Islamic call against the con of Islam’s enemies. If the official religious institution is corrected, it will turn out men who will serve the Message and the creed, not just government officials.
3. It will be possible to draw on the official religious institution’s ability of infiltration and influencing people to spread the awareness of Islam’s major causes, the problems of Muslims all over the world, the duty of Muslim peoples towards the Islamic idea and Muslim lands, and what the Islamic Movement is doing for effecting the Islamic cultural resurrection in the field of knowledge, work, education and shaping the Muslim personality. It will also be possible to use the official institution’s capabilities in combating the false trends that are trying to sneak on the Nation overtly and covertly through the plots of Islam’s enemies abroad and the collaboration of the hypocrites inside. Through such a cooperation and such an integration between the popular movement and the official institution, the front that supports the Islamic Call and its great cultural efforts will be expanded.
4. t will be possible to refute the excuses of those governments that try to shirk the adoption of Islam’s rules as a guide of life and a leader of society. These governments take as a pretext for their attitude the fatwas of some weak and misguided members of the official religious institutions. Another target is to give a legitimate status to the Islamic Movement’s demands and efforts for establishing a state that rules by what Allah has sent down and embraces Islam as a creed, a way of life and a message for the guidance and advancement of all people.

Imam Hassan Al-Banna was always keen on keeping his lines open with Al-Azhar scholars, among whom he had many good friends. I once heard him say in a convention that was held in Tanta and attended by a number of Al-Azhar institute there, “you”, Ulema are the regular army of Islam, with us behind you as the reserve army.’

Naturally, this does not apply to those institutions that have sold their religion to have the good things of this life, becoming mouthpiece for tyrants, and a sword that unjust rulers brandish in the face of true Islamists. Such institutions should never be rejected or given a respite, as they should be laid bare before their peoples for what they really are, so that their peoples may guard themselves against the evils of such institutions. We have also to differentiate between those who have become tools in the hands of tyrants, or shoes on their feet, and those weak who hate tyrants but are prevented from resisting tyranny by their weakness and fear. For the weak, though intimidated to the extent of keeping silent and not uttering the word of right, do not get involved in saying the word of wrong, so their circumstances should be taken into account and help provided to them for overcoming their weakness and fear.

The religious institution in Iran was the driving force behind the revolution against the Shah’s regime.

It was- helped in so doing by the right of absolute obedience due to it by the masses of the people, as dictated by the Ja’fari doctrine, as well as by the people’s willingness to sacrifice their property and their lives if they were asked to do so by the sheikhs and ayatollahs of the sect.

It was also helped by the funds voluntarily given to it by the people. which represented the “Khums” [one-fifth] which the Ja’fari jurisprudence imposes on net income, i.e. at 20% and which is handed to the ulema of the sect in their capacity as deputizing for the “absent Imam”.

This way, the Iranian men of religion no longer remained at the mercy of their government that paid their salaries and thus controlled their – and their families – destinies because it had the power of keeping them in its employ or dismissing them at will.

Therefore, one of the essential principles for reforming the religious institution is that it enjoy academic, administrative and financial independence and restore its usurped awquf [religious endowments] and the freedom to dispose of them as it deems fit, so that it may regain some of what some old princes said about the secret of power of Imam Hassan Al-Basri: “We need his religion, and he has no need for our money”.

It is a real problem when the religious scholar becomes just a civil servant in a state which does not need his religion while he has every need for its money!

The Movement And The Islamic Awakening’s Groups

The Islamic Movement should do its best to unite all the Islamic groups and all the groups of the Islamic Awakening into one front for helping Islam and establishing it in the earth and standing in the face of all the invading currents that oppose Islam’s Call. This front must play an active, part in promulgating the proper manners of dialogue and the right ways for dealing with opposing views, so as to lay the groundwork of cooperating in what we agree upon and being tolerant in what we differ on.

Imam Hassan Al-Banna sought with his every effort to close the ranks of Islamic groups in Egypt and laid the famous “twenty principles” as the “minimum” of concepts that should be agreed upon.

This is what the Islamic Movement should always do to achieve its major objectives, for the Movement is strong only through the strength of all the groups working in the Islamic arena, I mean, of course, the serious, faithful groups, not those playing or deviated groups or those groups that are described as Islamic by way of fraud.

Any Islamic group will be making a fatal mistake if it thinks that it can undertake, single-handedly, the establishment of a contemporary Islamic rule that can withstand the internal problems and the externa1 plots.

What all the groups and movements should actually do is that they consolidate their efforts and close their ranks to form a formidable Islamic b10c that can support its friends and deter its enemies.

What I fear most here is that selfishness overcome the Islamic spirit of brotherhood, with each group trying to prove itself and to show others as incapable, to the extent of focusing its efforts on destroying others not on building itself into a strong part of a larger edifice comprising the whole.

I also fear that narrow-mindedness supercede and control the way of thinking of Islamic groups, making them magnify their conflicts, running molehills into mountains, branches into main topics and matters of ijtihad into fundamentals of Shari’ah, like what was done by the author of the treatise entitled, “The Right Opinion on the Contradiction Between Membership of Parliament and Monotheism”.

The establishment of a strong Islamic rule that can revive the religion of this Nation and make our earthly life better is a matter that should be collectively undertaken by all the Islamic groups and forces, regardless of their difference and various attitudes and policies in addition to all the faithful individuals who are zealous for their religion without being necessarily members of any group or organization.

I believe that the Islamic Movement will actually succeed if it manages to recruit and unite the efforts of all Islamic forces towards this end, so that all of them may think that the State is their State, the rule is their rule, the victory is for them and the defeat is on them.