images51Why is it that ideologies that promise to create heaven on earth lead to the creation of hell on earth?

The other way to phrase this question is to state that all those who promise heaven on earth end up dragging people to hell.  It is the story of this malady that is told by Karl Popper in his important work The Open Society and its Enemies and which some “Islamists” may even be tempted to use in critiquing Marxism, as many see in Popper’s work the decimation of images8Marxism in the same way that Al-Ghazzali knocked out Avicenna and the Philosopher’s.  Yet they should be wary of such a path and instead of grasping it as a sword hold it up to themselves as a mirror of refrain because what is really at stake is the future of Islam and the Muslim peoples. 

I begin like this because the movements of liberation (physical, spiritual, political, economical, philosophical) in the Muslim world, their various trends are based on certain ideas and historical paths that I will come to, some very positive and a few negative.  The one we must address and confront firstly is the challenge offered by what can only be described as those whose sole work and emphasis is centered around the acquisition of power or who (wish to) impose upon a society, rules and laws that they are not ready to bear or for which the context is unapplicable and unsuitable, similar to a gardner watering a seed in the middle of  dead soil.  One must ask: Is this any better, or will this be any better than what came before it?

This mode of thinking is not reform of society and in fact ends up reducing Islam into an ideology, just one more ideology in the market place of ideologies. This narrow boxing-in of Islam in the parameters of ideology betray reform and make the flowing waters of Islam stagnant, muddied like the water of a shallow puddle that blocks the natural running course of water. 

It also surrenders to the concept of infusing Ideologizied Islam into the post-colonial world of un-natural boundaries and nation state power: a recipe for failure.  It shifts from the original pre-occupation of the giant Muslim intellectuals, scholars, scientists, poets, philosophers, righteous men and women who emphasised that what is important is “how to rule” and not the very Platonic question of “who should rule.”

The focus in this group has shifted from that early call of Allamah Iqbal for the Reconstruction of Religious thought in Islam. Reading Iqbal it is as if one witnesses a mosque that due to a lack of upkeep and maintenance is decaying and falling apart.  He calls for the urgent restoration of the mosque but it is not a matter of putting the pieces back inimages1 place and layering the front with fine enamel creating the illusion of eternity when the substance that’s used itself is temporal and unstable.  Instead what is called for is to capture the spirit of that structure, while expanding it, reinforcing its foundations and bringing in a skilled group of artisans to add a new evolving design to its features: it is this that will bring in the masses Afwajan, in “Multitudes.”

What must be rejected is the utopian fairytale the unending urge to get caught in the web of obfuscation, slogans and inanities. Who wants to be convicted of thrusting upon Islamic thought idiocy and hijrah away from remembrance, the return to ourselves and towards forgetfulness and dissolution into the world order. 

Just as the Creator does not force our actions those Islamic states to come must be careful in the balance of the usage of power and adherence to the rule of law and must not force moral decisions, or at least should create a methodology of consistency and faithfulness that leaves space for personal choice; in the end this will be a more faithful path to realizing the Shariah aims of achieving the greater good and reducing harm. 

The temptation of promising a heaven on earth, a kingdom of God, a “utopian Islamic state” must be avoided at all cost, scaleback the expectations foremost because this is not a vision ensconced in reality. The usage in this discourse of the Prophetic City of Medina, the unique generation that surrounded the Prophet must also take a healthy dose of realism. Not in the sense of re-evaluating that time and devaluing its model for us which stands the test of time but by comprehending the very simple fact: Will there ever be a teacher, a leader, a general, a friend, a walking Quran, a Servant of God like Muhammad (p.b.u.h)?  Will there ever be a generation such as the one that was pleased with its Lord and their Lord was pleased with them?