Islam is as simple as philosophy and as complicated as commonsense.
A PAS leader repeated today his party’s highly-criticised call to form an Islamic state, claiming it will put an end to the nation’s racial and religious woes.
“I realise this solution is not as easily accepted and implemented as it is proposed but I urge all parties, including all races and religions, to see, examine and discuss this solution for the good of the people’s future and racial unity,” said PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan at Tantawi in a blog posting today.
The Islamic state issue has been a major source of conflict between the Islamist party and its partners in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact, particularly the DAP.
While PAS has been more widely accepted by non-Muslims over the years due to its more liberal and progressive stand, its leaders have often made it clear that the party has yet to abandon its intention to form an Islamic state, which DAP has vehemently rejected.
Nasrudin’s posting appeared on PAS organ, Harakah Daily’s website earlier today, but was removed later for reasons unknown.
When contacted, the youth leader said he was unaware of this.
He, however, insisted that he would stand by his statement, despite acknowledging that the Islamic state issue remains a sensitive matter between PR parties.
In his post, Nasrudin said there was no need for panic or phobia over the Islamic state concept and called for a fair, honest and rational assessment of it.
“After all, all this time, people have been forced to accept the bitterness, trauma and prolonged suffering under this manmade system of administration that is treasonous towards God the Creator,” he said.
Nasrudin was addressing the ongoing racially-charged spat spurred by a recent report in Utusan Malaysia on an alleged conspiracy between DAP and Christian leaders to wrest Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional (BN), usurp Islam as the religion of the federation and appoint a Christian prime minister.
He said that the issue was being exploited by those in power for the purpose of achieving their “divide and rule” agenda.
“Every time they hit a wall in trying to defend their power, the issue of race and religion is used as capital to formulate a divide and rule conspiracy.
“Newspapers and television will be fully exploited to fire up conflict and hostility between the different races.
“But as long as the government or the opposition continues to be locked in the shackles of such narrow understanding, the people will continue to suffer,” he said.
On this note, Nasrudin said PAS’s Islamic state agenda should be implemented.
“I believe this is the solution to achieve racial unity,” he said.
He said that governments should be founded on the basis of God’s teachings for the purpose of ensuring racial unity, adding that mankind, as God’s creation, are bound by his rules and regulations.
“All would agree that he who created the heaven, earth and all its contents is Allah. We, as inhabitants of his world, are subject to the rules and regulations as established by God the Creator.
“It is God who wants religion kept alive; lives protected; dignity preserved; property not pillaged; for our future generation not to suffer; justice upheld; affection fostered; friendships unbroken; that there is no coercion of religion; mutual respect; that there is security and peace; a responsible government with trustworthy leaders; harmony among citizens; stable politics; economic development; and a welfare state,” he said.
Nasrudin added that these regulations were set by God to ensure mankind’s survival on earth and should therefore form the foundation of any government administration.
“God created man with regulations that must be followed so that they do not perish … similar to how a vehicle factory produces cars with operation manuals so that users can use their products without damaging them.
“Users would not be able to use operation manuals from other companies as they would not be applicable,” he said.
They say in Persian: Shud pareeshaa(n) khwaab-e man az kasrat-e ta‘beerhaa (my dream got spoilt by so many interpretations), and it sums up the case of Islam very well. Maybe our ta‘beer of Islam is complicated while Islam is in fact quite philosophical i.e. very simple. Islam will be complicated when we will consider “interpretation of Sharee‘ah laws or Hadeeth or Fatwas or Personal laws or matters dealing with madrasas” as “religious” and matters like “Muslim educational institutions, or reservation for Muslims in educational institutions and jobs, or the need to address the community’s socioeconomic and educational uplift, or the political situation of the community, or the civil liberties, or the situation of Muslim women” as “non-religious”. And we will do so with utmost self-confidence and with no room for second-thoughts.
Islam is a ‘way of life’ – very simple. It sounds complicated because it is divorced from life. It gives a direction and greater sense to all that we do. Without it we will not be able to satisfactorily reason any higher purposes of our actions. It gives the complete answer. If I were to meet Charles Darwin I would ask him, “Thanks a lot for taking the pain of explaining to us where we have come from. Kindly tell us more about the origin of species and how the fittest survive. After having done the above, please do one more favour and tell us what are we supposed to do on this earth and what is our ultimate objective and destination – after having successfully evolved from all the named and unnamed species”. If, however, we settle down for an incomplete answer then the simplicity of Islam will elude us.
Islam guides the human beings in every aspect of life with its beautiful principles – without dividing it into the categories of “religious” and “non-religious” or Deeni and Dunyaawi. You divorce it from life and it will become extremely complicated. It will become difficult to understand and explain. Because it will not have a frame reference. It will lose the ground which is where it was supposed to be standing. When you keep it in suspended animation it will not be itself. It will certainly complicate the situation. When we hear a lecture dealing only with what is beneath the earth or above the heavens we are certainly going to say, “Islam is really complicated, my friend”.
Islam does not make the lawful unlawful and the unlawful lawful. It is between fisq (transgression) and rahbaaniyyah (monasticism). Islam is not about speeding when the signal is red. It is not about remaining stationary even when the signal is green. (For an assessment of the current situation we only need to ask a few people about the percentage of Halaal and Haraam in Islam and then analyze the answers.) This is what is meant by the ‘middlemostness’ (wasatiyyah), which is inherent to Islam. As soon as we utter ‘Islam’ it immediately implies wasatiyyah. This is the ‘bi-polarity’ of Islam which combines the East and the West (soul and body) – seamlessly. If, however, we do not combine the two despite believing in Oneness then Islam will certainly be complicated.
Islam and truth are one and the same thing. If instead of walking all the way to the truth we start urging the truth to follow our path it will not remain simple anymore. Because it will not remain truth anymore. An incomplete truth is anything but truth. Ek bhi harf ahtaanay ki nahee(n) gunjaa’ish! Truth has never been complicated. Our perception of Islam has, in fact, been partial and distorted. Truth is not easily recognized due to the conditioning effects of generations after generations. Hence, truth has become extremely “complicated” and highly “philosophical”.
Islam is a religion of common humanity. It is as simple for that humanity as air, light and water within everyone’s reach and satisfying everyone’s need in all walks of life (whether public or private). If it remained like that it was simple. But it has become a private affair. Becoming a private affair and a matter of personal preference, it has immediately become complicated. Now it is so complicated that we don’t know in which aspects of our life we can refer to this manual and in which situations there isn’t any need, in fact! In many a matters of life it is obviously non-applicable!! Being applicable at one time and non-applicable at another and a constant switching between the two is a sure recipe for making it complicated.
For commonsense to become common and for philosophy to become simple we will have to change our discourse. We will have to redefine the terminologies which we frequently use in a borrowed sense. We are not going to use new words for a change in the discourse. We are only going to assign new meanings to the already existing words. Or more correctly, to regain the lost meanings. If we do not do so, Islam will not become as simple as philosophy and as complicated as commonsense.
Enough already. The blood of Usama Bin Laden’s corpse had barely dried on the Abbottabad compound floor when the complaints about the raid began. By Sunday May 8, the whining had become a veritable Greek chorus.
First came the unseemly dispute between some veterans of the Bush administration and supporters of the White House over who deserves credit for the raid. Bush proponents argued that there would have been no mission without their reform and restructuring of the nation’s intelligence and homeland security capabilities. A senior Obama official claimed that President Bush had deliberately downgraded the importance of getting Bin Laden after the U.S. botched the attempt to catch him at Tora Bora and shifted vital intelligence and special forces assets to the war in Iraq, a catastrophic diversion, he called it, from the manhunt.
On his show Sunday, Fareed Zakaria blasted both sides of the debate, calling the argument “silly.” “Lots of people deserve credit,” he said, sensibly, a view echoed on his program by former Bush national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice. She called the stunning raid “a victory across presidencies.” (Yes, that includes President Clinton, the first commander-in-chief to sense that Bin Laden was more than a nuisance – a militant Islamist creep mouthing off in remote, Islamist-friendly Sudan.)
Then came the even more ridiculous debate over whether Bin Laden had gotten a proper Muslim burial. Although Bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white shroud, prayed over in Arabic and English and dumped into the sea within 24 hours of his death – which is more consideration that the thousands of his Muslim and non-Muslim victims alike received — Ahmed al-Tayeb, the sheikh of Al Azhar, Egypt’s preeminent authority on Islamic issues, called the burial “inappropriate.”
So, too did Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood whom the Bush administration had banned from America but to whom the Obama administration gave a visa to speak here.
Bin Laden’s death and burial were also attacked by the militant Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza, newly triumphant from its “reconciliation” with the Palestinian Authority’s “Fateh” on the West Bank, a merger designed to strengthen the Palestinians’ hand against their true enemy, Israel.
Writing in the Evening Standard, Lee Smith gives this idiotic argument about Islamic burial the rhetorical burial it deserves. Examining what leading Islamic authorities have said about disposing of the dead since the birth of Islam, Smith, a frequent critic of the administration’s foreign policy, nonetheless concludes that the Obama administration “has more justice on its side here.” It’s a lengthy, complex discussion, which boils down to this: burial at sea is permissible if a person died at sea or would be difficult to bury on land. The latter was certainly true for Bin Laden, since even his family had disowned him and no country wanted to play host to what might well have become the dead “martyr’s” shrine. (Never mind that most fundamentalist Sunni Muslims, including the Wahabi sect that spawned Bin Laden, ban such shrines and bury even Saudi kings in unmarked graves).
The argument was followed by an equally unseemly dispute over whether torture (the euphemism is “enhanced interrogation techniques”) played a role in unearthing information that ultimately led to the Abbottabad compound.
Here, former CIA director Michael Hayden cut thru the hyperbole. The man who told George Bush about the existence of a courier who might lead the U.S. to Bin Laden adroitly dodged the specific issue of whether such techniques directly produced the information at the base of the intelligence pyramid that led years later to the raid. But on Zakaria’s program, Hayden confirmed that initial clues to Bin Laden whereabouts came from detainees who had been interrogated at the CIA’s infamous “black sites,” which he still declined to name or locate, and after – how long after he did not say – some of them had been subjected to such extreme measures. Yet no single bit of intelligence had been dispositive, he said. Rather, it was “one pebble” rather than “one brick” at a time. All of the intelligence community’s many capabilities – among them “humint,” or human intelligence, electronic signals, satellite feeds, wiretaps, etc etc. – had played a role.
A confession here is in order: For me, the issue of whether such measures work – I concede that they sometimes do — is secondary to the moral aspects of the debate. As a rule, people who believe in civilized government and the rule of law should not engage in such barbaric activity. It’s antithetical to everything America stands for, shatters the nation’s moral high ground and therefore reduces our reputation and influence at home and abroad. In non-moral, marketing terms, it’s bad for the brand.
Finally, we ended the week with a debate over whether Bin Laden’s killing was legal. My usually wise friend, Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, whose group has done excellent work in the complex, politically charged arena of domestic and international law, tweeted that Bin Laden’s murder was unjust because there had been “no trial” or “conviction.” Never mind that the man and his organization explicitly declared war on Americans back in 1998, or that it openly claimed credit for the death of thousands of victims throughout the world – most of them Muslim, incidentally –during his rampage of terror.
Roth’s tweet was more proof that our country has too many lawyers. Yes, Bin Laden was unarmed and may not have been given a chance to surrender. And yes, it is still unclear what kind of “resistance” he offered, as the White House called it in its competing descriptions of the raid and his death. No, he was probably not told to drop his weapon, raise his hands above his head and get down on the ground. He was not read Miranda rights.
But in the court of public opinion, this was a no-brainer. Every now and then, law courts and trials are not the only appropriate venues for justice. Bin Laden has gotten what for so long he has so richly deserved. End of discussion.
Amidst all the kvetching, one group may deserve some sympathy. Soon after Obama’s announcement, Suzan Shown Harjo, president of the Morning Star Institute, a Washington-based Native rights group, denounced as “shocking” and “insulting” the military’s use of the Indian hero Geronimo as a code name for Bin Laden. She had a point, said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Indian Affairs panel, who called the Navy SEALs’ inadvertent comparison of the legendary Indian warrior to a terrorist “unfortunate.”
Compared to Bin Laden, Geronimo was a pussycat.