The fallacy of political Islam: A Modern perspective

By: Shukri Mokhtar
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During the rise of the Arab spring, many have claimed that it is a movement of the rise of Islam. This is in contrast to Dr. Maszlee Malik’s opinion, (Malaysian political analyst) said something viewed this differently; it is a misconception to say that the Arab spring is the movement of the rise of Islam, but it is a movement of the rise of people against injustice, dictatorship, tyranny, and against those who have demolished the rights of the people. I believe what he said is true, as sometimes we have failed to see the bigger picture that surpassed religion which is humanity as a whole.

Political Islamic movement is popular but has never succeeded in their long-life carrier. The real question you and I need to ask is why? Why it fails? Regardless of how rhetorical it may have sound, we need to face the facts that political Islam has failed us.   

If we look at the history of political power scene in the middle-east, we will see that during the time of colonization, there was a radical secularization within the intellectual elites in the Muslim world. Many of them adopted the political ideology of socialism and communism in their struggle against colonialists.

For example in Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella a socialist and his revolutionary against colonialism, in Libya with the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya lead by Muammar Gaddafi, in Iraq the Ba’ath Party led by Fuad al Rikabi and much more. As Muslims, we tend to forget how deeply the Marxism ideology has influenced our world back then.

What is interesting was communism has always seen religion as the enemy,


Die Religion….is das Opium des Volkes said the German economist Karl Marx in his work “ A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” which literally means religion… is the opiate of the masses. Due to the strong attachment of Islamic traditions in the Muslims world, there is a reinterpretation of religion which in Christianity is called the liberation theology.
A reformed socialism and communism that can go hand by hand with religion, therefore statements like “the Prophet was a communist”, “Umar al-Khattab was a socialist” is what we will get from the Muslim communists and socialists. It has become appealing to the people, easier to bear when religion and Marxism are blended if you are oppressed and the struggle for pure materialism is changed to for the sake of God.  
Devastation takes place when communism and socialism begin to crumble in the middle-east, where most of the governments struggle for equality and liberty has changed into dictatorship and tyranny. Most of the middle-eastern suffered more during the time of colonialism, and people started to question what went wrong? The answer that brought to mind is “Islam is the solution”.
 The Muslims were great in the time of Ummaiyyah, Abbasid, and the Ottoman Empire and it is all because the grace of God was upon us. The idea of contesting for the grace of God when there is a power struggle between men.
 For example, in December 2014, the MP for Pasir Mas, Ustaz Nik Muhammad Abduh stated that the reason behind the flood in Kelantan is because we did not uphold the law of hudud, therefore, the wrath of Allah is upon us, in 2012 during issue of the Kelantan states royalty , Dato’Seri Najib Razak states that
“As the government of Barisan Nasional, we must abide by commands of Allah, therefore government of Barisan Nasional has been justice to the people of Malaysia” and if we look to the west, President Ronald Reagan is also a firm believer in playing the grace of God when he said “America has a divine mission”, “God bless America” and we are a nation under God”  .
Human beings in their struggle for power has made believed themselves as representative of God on earth, where they will determine the grace of God depending on their action what is good or evil. This is something very alien to the Qur’anic perspectives because the Quran clearly states that in Surah Fajr ayat 15, 16 and 17.
When he is tried by his Lord by exalting him and bestowing favors on him and he says “My Lord has honored me” (Surah jar ayat 15) 
But when He tried him, by restricting his subsistence, he says “My Lord has humiliated me” (Surah Fajr  ayat 16)
No! (What you have said is not true) (Surah Fajr ayat 17)  
The Quran sees that good and evil as a test from God, not a measurement of God’s grace. In a nutshell, political Islamic movement is the product of modern history and society.
The success of political Islamic movement is not whether they would come to power or not, but the failure of the ideology itself that does not consist of a blueprint for good governance and economy within a complex society.
Thus there is a growing discrepancy between ideological references and real practices. This gap is unsustainable and will lead to destruction unless political Islamic movement is able to put away their theological terms rather concentrate on ethics and morality.
The fact its religious reference has been turning into a conservative sociocultural agenda that has nothing to do with their concept of “Ustaziatul Alam”, the concept where Islam has become all the aspects of life.
The reaction of the political Islamic movement is torn into two possibilities, the wave of neo-fundamentalism that stressed a strict return to purely religious norms such as the call implementation of the sharia and the wave of the Muslim democracy that endorses Islamic moral and cultural values with an appeal to a larger conservative constituency. 
Islamic political movement such as PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Paty) has faced these problems which have to lead the party to split into a new party named AMANAH (National Trust Party) and the Muslim Brotherhood has also faced with the same issue. Henceforth, the concussion between Muslim technocracies and Muslim democrats is undeniable and has caused the people to be exhausted.
The movement is strongly attached to the sharia law till it has made them dull and gray when facing a pluralistic society. As they are very nostalgic people, it has led them to become afraid to see the things that surpass religion such as humanity. The reference made by them is very nostomania, while to them it is an obligation to only quote and look the Islamic teaching and tradition of the past. They have blocked themselves with the wall of denial.
In order to go further, they must have Sapere Aude! (Dare to know) and demolish the blockage of thinking. In philosophy, this is known as Immanuel Kant theory of enlightenment. Only by this, they will have a holistic view of the world of the modern day.   
I would really argue that politics, good governance, and economy have nothing to do with the sacred of a religion. Every caliph among the caliphate of Rashidin has their own view on politics, good governance and economy and they are all companions of the prophet. 
Particularly Islam as a religion that does not give a roadmap guide in terms of politics, good governance, and economy because it is included in the category of ‘Muamalat’(worldly affairs) which the prophet himself approve of this. 
In Sahih Muslim: “I am only a human being. When I command you with something regarding your religion, accept it. When I command you with something from my own opinion, then I am only a human being.”  and the next hadith after mentioned he said, “You know best the affairs of your worldly life”.
Lastly, we must all acknowledge that most of the people involved in the political Islamic movement have made them become nice and decent human being, their ties of brotherhood and spirits are strong and deep. These are the values which we can learn from them and are rarely found in most human beings of the day.  Other than that, they are the people with vision and mission. 
But they are just delusional when it comes to politics, economy and nation building. This is just the nuisance and differences that we share in this world. By the words of Hassan al-Banna, “We unite ourselves for the things that is agreed upon, and we forgive one and another for the things that we disagree”. 

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