Islam And State :a counter narrative is a must

By Dr. Mohammad Ghitref(Shahbaz Nadwi)*

The grim situation created by exteremists by their high headedness, in  the world of Islam, is a matter of concern , serious thinking and introspection. Yet it is necessary to realize that religion as such is not the cause of this situation,rather false interpretation of religion is the main cause of this state of affaire.In fact this is the out come of  so-called Islamism,being taught in our seminaries and propagated by so- called Islamic movements and political and religious parties day in and day out.To counter this exteremism it is not sufficent to inculcate secularism in Muslim societies as is done by West and its protege Mid east dictatorships and army rulers of Arab world.But it is necessary to give a counter narrative to this political islam.Hear are some outlines of this desired counter narrative,explained by both Wahiduddin Khan and Javed Ahmad Ghamdi in their thought provinkg and insightful writings:

(1)In contrast to the popular viewpoint put forth by Modudi,syed Qutub, followed by Jamaate Islami Hind and Muslim brotherhood and their affliated outfits,Islam in deed addresses ,in absolute terms, an individual not a society.Of course it addresses a society too, but the cociety always comes in, in conditional terms.An individual   necessarily will be responsible to God in the hereafter too and not a society.Collective injunctions given in the Quran and Hadith are also meant for Muslim rulers in their individual capacity.Hence it is a baseless notion that state is rooted in Islam’s basic teachings,so it should be Islamized, as is argued by Islamists these days.Several Muslim thinkers of twentieth century propagated in absolute way ,the notion that Muslims are bound to establish an Islamic state, failling to do so they are committing a grave mistake.With this propagation Islamists have committed a blunder in their relevant countries by creating an unbridgable clevage between Muslim and non Muslim communities of a country.As with the political theory of establishing a theocracy,non muslim citizens of a Muslim majority country are compelled to regard themselves as second class citizens of the country,wherein Islamists are not ready to give them the equal status. A minimum status they could be given is of a minority protected only. Exept this reduced position non Muslims have no right in a theocracy, dreamed by Islamists in Pakistan,Egypt and elswhere.

(2)Muslim majoritarion countries may establish their united state or Common Wealth. We may dream for that and we may also struggle to realize this dream. Yet this is neither a Shariah order,nor Muslims are supposed to do this job,otherwise they committ a sin,never.

Likewise neither Caliphat is a religious term nor Islam pursues its followers to establish it on a global scale. In the wake of first Hijri century,Muslim world was devided in to two rival and often inimical to each other, houses;Abbasid Caliphat in the east making Baghdad its seat of power on one hand,and Umayyad rule in Spain(Islamic Andulus)on the other hand .The two caliphates had been there for many centuries. And during that firtile period there lived many top most authentic scholars,great jurists and Imams of Islam.They never expressed their resentness,dislike or disagreement with this schism of Islamic rule.No one amongest them stated that that was anti Islam and anti Shariah action .Why?Because there was no order in Quran and Hadith of this effect that Muslims should establish a united caliphat.

Yes,it is true that whenever there establhed an Islamic state anywher in the world,revolting against its jurisdiction is an unpardonable sin,purperaters of this sin, according to a Hadith,will go to hell.

(3)In Islam the basis of nationality is not religion,eg islam.It is only a popular yet baseless notion,as our religious texts are silent on this subject. Neither Quran,nor Sunnah mention that Muslims are a nation or they should be a unified nation.Yet it is clearly stated that Muslims are brothern(10:انماالمومنون إخوة(الحجرات),so accordingly Muslims related to each other as brothers not as a unified nation.

So notwihtstanding their division into different nation states,various races and communities they are brothern to each other,linked with a strong bond of Islamic brotherhood.So they  are bound morally,to defend their rights if they face oppression or torture or aggression, to care for their brothern when they are in agony and need,they should help them,prefere them to maintain economic and social relations with them,they may be demanded not to close their doors upon them for job market etc.Yet they can not be demanded that surpassing geographical boundries ,giving up all their nation states and forgiving their seperat national identities,they must be transforemd into one Islamic state or caliphat as they call it generally.Contrary  to this popular notion,Muslims  are free to form their seperat nation states.Likewise ,if they have full religious freedom,they can live in non muslim countries too as their citizens on the basis of their native land.Nothing is unlawful for them according to Quran and Sunnah.

(4)People who claim to be Muslim,nay insist on their being Muslim,yet they adhere to any blief or action regarded by  Muslim scholars or Muslim masses a fals belief and untrue creed.That belief of them may be regarded untrue, even may be termed as waywardness or infidelity,but, since these people are aslo giving reasons from Islamic sourses:Quran and Sunnah,therfore they cannot be termed as non Muslm or unbelievers. To know the right position of such beliefs,actions and creeds in the sight of God we have only one option;to wait for the day of judgement.In this world peoples having such astry faith,are Muslims accoring to their anouncements and must be treated as Muslims ala other Muslims who are adhering to main stream Islam.Yes,Ulema have the right to try to correct them,to call them to main stream,to condomn any thing in their belief ,if any, infidelity or idolatory. They also have  the right to let people know that regarding them.Yet the decision that they are no longer Muslim or they must be outlawed in Muslim society,is a divin provision.No one is entitled to give this decree himself.Every body who have a slight  insight into Quran and Sunnah knows that God did not give this privilege to any body.

(5)In Islam idolatry,infidelity and apostacy are considered great sins.Yet no one is entitled to give punishment to a man on the count of these sins.Again the punishment on these sins is a divin prerogative. Only God will give a befitting punishment of these sins on the day of judgement. Of course, He gives that also in this worldly life if He wanted to do so.The law for it is that a messenger is sent to a people,who delivers his mission to the extent that no excuse remains for them.Then if that people persist on their polytheism, infidelity and wrong doing,then they are due to be doomed.Now after the last messenger of God this door of divine punishment is closed forever.

These are some outlines of the persived counter narrative of the popular political interpretation of Islam which is quite prevalent in today’s world of Islam and which is ,to me, the main cause of all trouble making.

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