Islam Protects Minorities and Safeguards the Rights of Foreigners
People think that adhering to Islam and making it the basis for regulating ones life, as well as the unity of the different races of a nation, one of the strongest pillars of modernist revival, are incompatible with the existence of non Muslim minorities within the Islamic nation. However exactly the opposite is true. Islam, which was originated by the All Wise and All Knowing, The One who knows the past, present, and future of a nation, had taken all the measures to overcome this problem before it arose. The wise and sanctified rules did not appear without containing clear and unambiguous injunctions concerning the protection of minorities. Does mankind require anything more self evident than the following text:
‘Allah does not forbid you to deal with those who have not fought against you in religion, and have not driven you from your homes, with benevolence, or to show them justice. surely Allah loves those who are just.’
(Surat-al-Mumtahinah (60), ayah 8)
This text does not merely include protection, but it also counsels benevolence and sincerity towards them, for Islam sanctified the unity of mankind as a whole. The Almighty says:
‘O mankind. We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another.’
(Surat-al-Hujuraat (49), ayah 13)
Likewise, it sanctified universal religious unity, putting an end to fanaticism, and ordaining its people to have faith in all the revealed religions (in their original untammpered form) As the Almighty says:
‘Say: "We believe in Allah and what He revealed to us and what He revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and what the prophets received from their Lord. We do not distinguish between any of them, and we have surrendered to Him." And if they believe the like of what you believe, they are rightly guided. But if they turn away, then they are in dissension, and Allah will suffice thee against them. He is the Hearer, the knower! (Our religion is) the baptism of Allah and who is better than Allah in baptism?’
(Surat-al-Baqarah (2), ayahs 136-138)
Then it sanctified religious unity of a special kind, without any arrogance or animosity. The Blessed and Almighty said:
‘The believers are none other than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brothers and fear Allah; perhaps you will find mercy.’
(Surat-al-Hujuraat (49), ayah 10)
This Islam, which was founded according to such a pattern of moderation and extreme justice, could not possibly be the cause for its followers to disrupt a long lasting unity. On the contrary, it has endowed this unity as sacred, whereas formerly it used to draw its strength solely from the civil authority.
Islam has very precisely defined those whom we ought to oppose and boycott, and with whom we should cut off all relations. Following the verse cited earlier (Surat-al-Mumtahinah (60), ayah 8), the Almighty says:
‘It is only as regards those who fought against you on account of religion, and have driven you out of your homes, and helped to drive you out. Whosoever befriends them they are wrongdoers.’
(Surat-al-Mumtahinah (60), ayah 9)
No fair minded person in the world would compel any nation to remain at ease with an internal enemy of this type, or with great discord among its people, or any impairment to its internal or general organisation.
This is Islam’s position with respect to the non-Muslim minorities - clear, unambiguous, and free from injustice. Its position with respect to foreigners is one of peace and sympathy, so long as they behave with rectitude and sincerity. But if their consciences grow corrupt and their crimes increase, the Qur'an has already defined our stance regarding them:
‘O you who believe! Do not take for confidants those who are not of you; they will not fail to hinder you; they are pleased by what troubles you. Hatred has been revealed out of their mouths; what their hearts conceal is yet greater. We have made the signs clear to you, if you would but understand. Behold, you love them, but they do not love you!’
(Surat-aal-Imraan (3), ayah 118-119)
And with this, Islam has dealt with all of these aspects in the most precise, benevolent, and sincere manner.
Islam does not disrupt the relationship between Us and the West
People may imagine that the our Islamic way of life in this modern age, disconnects us from the Western nations, and this will only serve to disturb our political relations with them just when these were on the point of being settled. This too is a notion rooted in pure fantasy. For those nations which are suspicious of us will not be content with us whether we follow Islam or not. If they are truly our friends, and mutual trust exists between us, their own spokesmen and politicians have already declared that every nation is free to adopt whatever path it wishes within its own borders, provided it does not infringe on the rights of others. It is up to all the leaders of these nations to understand that the status of international Islam is the most sacred status known to history, and that it has laid down the most firm and solid principles to guard and preserve this status.
It is Islam which speaks about safeguarding treaties and fulfilling its obligation:
‘And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily! the covenant will be questioned about.’
(Surat-al-Israa’ (17), ayah 34)
‘Except for those of the polytheists with whom you have a treaty, and who have not subsequently failed you in anything, and have not helped anyone against you. fulfill your convenant with them up to its stated term. Truly Allah loves the god-fearing.’
( Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 4)
And He said:
‘So long as they behave with rectitude toward you, behave with rectitude toward them.’
( Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 7)
And He said, regarding the generous reception of refugees and the treatment of those who seek protection:
‘And if any one of the polytheists seeks refuge with thee, give him refuge so that he may hear Allah's Discourses, then take him to a place of security.’
( Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 6)
If this is the case for polytheists, what do you think will be the case for the People of the Book?
The Islam which prescribes these principles and takes its adherents along this path must surely be regarded by Westerners as guaranteeing still another type of security, namely for themselves. We maintain that it would be to Europe 's benefit if these sound concepts governed its own internal relations this would be better and more enduring for them!
The Fundamental Sources of Renaissance in the East Are Not Those of the West
Among the causes which have impelled some of the Eastern Nations to deviate from Islam, and to choose to imitate the West, was the study of the Western Renaissance made by their leaders, and their conviction that it was only accomplished by overthrowing religion, destroying churches, freeing themselves from papal authority, controlling the clergy and prelates, putting an end to all manifestations of religious authority in the nation, and a definite separation of religion from the general policy of the state. If this is true in the case of the Western nations, it can never be the case for the Islamic nations, since the nature of Islamic teaching is quite unlike that of any other religion. The jurisdiction of the religious authorities in Islam is defined and limited. They are powerless to alter its statutes or to subvert its institutions, such that the fundamental principles of Islam, across the centuries, have kept pace with time, and have advocated progress, supported learning, and defended scholars.
You cannot say that what happened in the West will also happen to Islam. Investigations on this subject are extensive, one on which many books have been written: Our purpose in this paper is to survey the subject briefly in order to bear it in mind and dispel any doubts. We are sure that every fair minded person will agree with us on this principle; therefore such sentiments should never be allowed to lead us in our modern renaissance, which must first of all be based on the strong pillars of a virtuous moral code, a flourishing science, and far reaching power, which is what Islam enjoins.
The Men of Religion and Religion are not One and the Same
One of the excuses adopted by some of those who have followed the path taken by the West, was that they had become aware of the path taken by the Muslim religious authorities, in view of their hostile attitude towards nationalist revival, their activities against the nationalists and their alliance with the occupiers, their choice of selfish interests and worldly ambitions over the welfare of the country and the nation. If true, this was a flaw within the religious establishment itself, not in the religion as such. Does the religion command such things? Or are they dictated by the lives of the most virtuous and illustrious ‘Ulamaa’ (scholars) of the Islamic Ummah, who used to burst in upon kings and princes, past their gates and walls, censuring them, forbidding them, rejecting their gifts, declaring what the truth was before them, and bringing them the demands of the nation? Nay, they even took up arms in the face of tyranny and injustice! History has not yet forgotten the ranks of jurists of Ibn-al-Ash’ath in the eastern region of the Islamic Empire; nor the rebellion of the Qadi Yahya ibn Yahya al-Laythi al-Maliki in its Western region.
Such are the teachings of this religion, and such is the past history of the jurists of Islam. Is there any trace in this of what they assert ? Or is it just that this religion should tolerate the irresponsible actions of those who have deviated from it?
Nevertheless, even if these allegations hold true for some people, it is not the case for the people as a whole. And if it can be substantiated for a particular circumstance, it is not the case for all circumstances. This is the history of the modern renaissance in the East, laden with the position of the Muslim religious authorities in every single nation. The position taken by Al-Azhar in Egypt; and by the [Arab] Higher Committee in South Syria, or Palestine, and North Syria, or Lebanon; and by Mawlana Abul-Kalam [Azad] and his brothers among the most illustrious of the Indian ‘Ulamaa’ (scholars), and by the Muslim leaders in Indonesia, is not forgotten nor is it alien. Therefore, these assertions must not be used as a pretext for diverting any nation from its religion simply in the name of nationalism. Is it not more productive for a nation to reform its religious authorities and to reconcile with them, rather than adopt an oppressive attitude towards them? Even if these expressions which have crept into our language by way of imitation, like ‘religious authorities’, are not in accord with our own usage, since this usage is peculiar to the West, in the sense of ‘clergy’. According to the Islamic usage, it includes every Muslim, for all Muslims from the least to the most outstanding of them, are ‘religious authorities’.
A Bold but Successful Step
After all the foregoing, it would be inexcusable for us to turn aside from the path of truth, that of Islam, and to follow the path of carnal desires and vanities - that of Europe . Along the path of Europe are to be found enticement and glamour, pleasures and luxuries, laxity and license, and comforts that captivate the soul, for all of these things are loved by the soul, as the Almighty says:
‘Made beautiful for mankind is the love of material desires: women, and children, and heaped up mounds of gold and silver, and branded horses, and cattle, and tilled land. That is the comfort of this world.’
(Surat-aal- Imran (3), ayah 14)
But the path of Islam is one of glory and fortitude, truth, strength, blessing, integrity, stability, virtue, and nobility. Take the nation along this path, may Allah grant you success!
‘Say: "Shall I inform you of something better than that? For those who are God-fearing in the presence of their Lord, there are Gardens beneath which rivers flow, they being in them forever, and purified spouses, and the approbation of Allah . Allah is aware of His worshippers.’
(Surat-aal- Imran (3), ayah 15)
Luxuries only annihilate nations, all that destabilised Europe was pleasure and greed:
‘And when We wish to destroy a city, We command its men of wealth, and they commit transgression in it, and the sentence against it is justified, and We destroy it utterly.’
(Surat-aal- Imran (3), ayah 16)
Allah (SWT) sent His Apostle as a mercy to the world, and with him He sent His Book as a light and a guidance until the Day of Judgement. The leadership of the Apostle (PBUH) survives in the form of his Sunnah, and the authenticity of the Qur’an is strengthened by the validity of its arguments. Humanity is marching inevitably towards them both, with the might and the humility, from near and from far, so that Allah's Word is fulfilled;
‘That He may make it triumphant over every religion.’
( Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 33)
Be the first to come forward in the name of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), with the healing provided by the Qur’an, to save the tormented, sick world! It is a bold step, but one crowned with success, Allah willing (SWT), for Allah is victorious in His affairs:
‘Then the believers will rejoice in Allah's succour. He gives success to whom He wills, for He is the Mighty, the Merciful.’
(Surat-ar-Rum (30), ayah 45)
Some Steps Toward Practical Reform
Having given a clear presentation of the spiritual sentiments that should prevail within the nation in its modern renaissance, we would like to point out, by way of conclusion, some of the practical manifestations and results which these sentiments should dictate. We are going to mention here only the broadest topics, since we are well aware that each one of these questions requires extensive, broad and detailed study, taxing the energies and capacities of even specialists. We know too that we have not yet fully analysed all the requirements and demands of the nation, nor all the manifestations of the renaissance. We do not believe that to fulfil these demands will be a simple matter which can be accomplished overnight, and we know there are manifold obstacles before us which will require vast patience, great wisdom, and a long running determination. We know all this and can take it in our stride. Besides this, we know that where there is genuine resolve, the way will be made plain, and that if a strong willed nation chooses the path of virtue, it shall, by the will of Allah Almighty, attain what it desires. Stride forward, and God will be with you !
Following, are the principal goals of reform founded on the spirit of genuine Islam:
Political, judicial and administrative goals
(1) An end to party rivalry, and directing the political forces of the nation into a unified front.
(2) Amending the law, such that it conforms to all branches of Islamic legislation.
(3) Reinforcing the armed forces, and increasing the number of youth groups; igniting in them the spirit of Islamic jihad.
(4) Strengthening the ties between all the Islamic countries, especially the Arab countries, to pave the way for a practical and serious consideration concerning the departed Caliphate.
(5) Spreading the Islamic spirit throughout all departments of the government, so that all its employees will feel responsible for adhering to Islamic teachings.
(6) Keeping a close eye on the personal conduct of all its employees, there should not be any dichotomy between ones private and professional life.
(7) Setting the hours of work in summer and winter ahead, so that it will be easy to fulfil religious duties, and bring an end to late hours.
(8) An end to bribery and nepotism, promotion should only be given to those who have the capability and have a legitimate claim.
(9) Weighing all governmental acts in view of Islamic rules and teachings, National holidays, receptions, official conferences, prisons and hospitals should all be compatible with the Islamic teachings; hours of work should be arranged such that they do not conflict with the Salah times.
(10) The employment of graduates of Al-Azhar in military and administrative positions, and their training.
Social and educational goals
(1) Conditioning the people to respect public morality, and issuing law bound directives on this matter; the imposition of sever penalties for moral offences.
(2) To deal with the ‘woman issue’ - In a way which will both elevate her position and provide her protection, in accordance with the Islamic teachings. So that this issue (socially the most important) is not left at the mercy of the biased pens and unorthodox notions of those who are either deficient or excessive.(in their opinions)
(3) An end to prostitution, both clandestine and overt: and to recognize fornication as a crime, whatever the circumstances, a detestable crime whose perpetrator must be flogged.
(4) An end to gambling in all its forms: games, lotteries, racing, and casinos.
(5) A campaign against drinking, similar to the one against drugs: its prohibition, and the salvation of the nation from its effects.
(6) A campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior; the instruction of women in what is proper, with particular strictness as regards female teachers, pupils, physicians, and students, and all those in similar categories.
(7) A review of the curricula offered to girls and the necessity of making them distinct from the boys' curricula in many of the stages of education.
(8) The prohibition of Free Mixing between male and female students; and to consider privacy between a non-Mahram (marriageable) male and female a punishable crime.
(9) The encouragement of marriage and procreation, by all possible means; promulgation of legislation to protect and give moral support to the family, and solve the problems of marriage.
(10) The closure of morally undesirable ballrooms and dance halls, and the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes.
(11) The inspection of theatres and cinemas, and a rigorous selection of play scripts and film rolls.
(12) The censorship of songs, and a rigorous selection and inspection of them.
(13) The careful selection of lectures, songs, and subjects to be broadcast to the nation; the use of radio broadcasting for the education of the nation in a virtuous and moral way.
(14) The confiscation of provocative stories and books that implant the seeds of skepticism in an insidious manner, and newspapers which strive to disseminate immorality and capitalize indecently on lustful desires.
(15) The supervision of summer vacation areas which will bring an end to the wholesale confusion and promiscuity which nullify the soul purpose of going on holiday.
(16) Restricting the business hours of cafes; supervising the activities of their owners; instructing them as to what is in the best interest of the public; and not allowing them to stay open for such long hours.
(17) The utilization of these cafes for teaching illiterates reading and writing; assisting towards this end, the rising generation of elementary school teachers and students.
(18) To resist harmful customs, whether economic, moral, or anything else; turning the tide of the masses away from such practices, and orienting them to that which is beneficial, or educating them in a way which conforms with their best interests. This involves such customs as weddings, funerals, birthdays, the zar (a meeting of supernatural-believers), civil and religious holidays, etc. Let the government set a good example in this respect.
(19) Due consideration for the claims of the moral censorship, and punishment of all who are proved to have infringed any Islamic doctrine or attacked it, such as breaking the fast of Ramadan, wilful neglect of prayers, Insulting the faith, and similar such matters.
(20) Merging the elementary village schools with the mosque, and a thoroughgoing reform of both, as regards employees, cleanliness, and overall custodial care, so that the young may be trained in prayer and the older generation in learning.
(21) To appoint religious education as a basic subject in all schools as well as in the universities, each according to its type.
(22) To encourage the memorization of the Qur'an in all the free elementary schools: making this memorization mandatory for obtaining diplomas in the areas of religion and language; The memorization of at least a part of the Qur’an should be a must in all schools.
(23) The establishment of a firm educational policy which will enhance and raise the level of education, which will unify its goals and purposes; bringing the different cultures represented in the nation closer together, and making the first stage of its process dedicated to instilling a virtuous, patriotic spirit and an unwavering moral code.
(24) To pay attention to the Arabic language at every stage of education; and the use of Arabic alone, as opposed to any foreign language, in the primary stages.
(25) Emphasis on the Islamic, national and cultural history, as well as that of the Islamic civilization.
(26) A consideration into the means of gradually forming a national uniform
(27) An end to the foreign spirit in our homes with regard to language, manners, dress, governesses, nurses, etc; All this should be corrected especially in upper class homes.
(28) To give journalism a proper direction, and to encourage authors and writers to undertake Islamic subjects
(29) Attention to be given to matters of public health by spreading health information through various means; more so via hospitals, doctors, and mobile clinics and facilitating the means of obtaining medical treatment.
(30) Attention to be given to problems of villages, regarding their organization, their cleanliness, the purification of their water supply, and the means to provide them with culture, recreation, and training.
The Economical Goals
(1) The organization of zakah in terms of income and expenditure, according to the teachings of the Sacred Law; using it to carry out necessary benevolent projects, such as homes for the aged, the poor, and orphans, and strengthening the armed forces.
(2) The prohibition of usury, and the organization of banks with this end in view. The government should be an example in this domain by relinquishing all interest due on its own particular undertakings, for instance in the loan granting banks, industrial loans, etc.
(3) To encourage (the development and number of) economic projects; providing jobs for the unemployed; the transfer of those in the hands of foreigners to the purely national sector.
(4) To protect the masses from the oppression of mul tina tional companies, keeping these within strict limits, and obtaining every possible benefit for the masses
(5) Improving the situation of junior civil servants by raising their salaries, granting them steady increases and compensations, and by lowering the salaries of senior civil servants.
(6) To reduce the number of government posts, retaining only the indispensable ones; and an equitable and scrupulous distribution of the work among civil servants.
(7) To encourage agricultural and industrial counseling; giving importance to the production level of the peasant and industrial worker.
(8) To be concerned about the technical and social problems of the worker; raising his standard of living in numerous respects.
(9) The exploitation of natural resources, such as uncultivated land, neglected mines, etc.
(10) Priority over luxury items to be given to necessary projects in terms of organization and execution
This is the message of the Muslim Brotherhood. We submit it, and place ourselves, our talents, and all we possess in the hands of any committee or government desirous of taking a step forward, hand in hand with an Islamic nation, toward progress and advancement We will answer the call, and we are prepared to sacrifice ourselves. We hope that by so doing we will have fulfilled our trust and said our piece, for religion means sincerity toward Allah, His Apostle, His Book, the Imams of the Muslims, and their community at large. Allah is our sufficiency; He is enough; and peace to His chosen worshippers!
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