Policy Papers

January 18, 2017

Religious discourse in the face of the era of endings and transformations

Ibrahim Gharaibeh

Contemporary Islamic discourse can be dated with the contemporary assimilation of issues of religion and the state at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Islamic countries began trying to adapt the contemporary Western model of the modern state, as happened in Egypt, Muhammad Ali, the Ottoman Empire, Tunisia and many Islamic cities. The phenomenon (Islamic political discourse) developed and its paths multiplied. Its trends and trends have gone through several transformations according to the transformations and developments of the modern state in the world of Arabs and Islam, and in this they are transformations that reflect the social and civilizational situation, its changes and crises, and it is in short the crisis of the modern state itself, and it can also be said that the crisis of political Islam and the blockage of its horizon indicate that the modern state is facing the same crisis. .

These shifts and trends can be displayed in the following map:

1- Reforming the caliphate and authority, which was an extension of the Middle Ages and was based on divine right and dominance in order to accommodate the new political and philosophical trends in the organization of states and societies, such as the constitution, separation of powers, building public institutions for education and care, and restoring or quoting rational trends in understanding and interpreting texts, and among the pioneers of this stage Rifa’a al-Tahtawi, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad Abdo, Khair al-Din al-Tunisi, and Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi.

2- Working for the restoration or resumption of the Islamic caliphate after its termination in Istanbul. Examples of this trend are Rashid Rida, Shakib Arslan, Muhib al-Din al-Khatib, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928 and clearly presented its goal in resuming the caliphate and the renaissance of the Islamic nation.

3- Abandoning the caliphate and dismantling the relationship between religion and power. The clearest and most important example of this trend is Ali Abdel Razek and his book Islam and the Origins of Government, which was published in 1925. In the extension of this trend, its development and crystallization in what can be described as “Islamic rationality,” quite a few thinkers can be included. And intellectuals, such as Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid, Taha Hussein, Abdullah Al-Naeem, Muhammad Mahmoud Taha, Muhammad Arkoun, Wael Hallaq, George Tarabishi, Muhammad Abed Al-Jabri, Abdul-Wahhab Al-Masiri, Abdul-Majid Al-Sharafi, Abdul-Majid Al-Sagheer, Hisham Djait, and Taha Abdul-Rahman Muhammed Abed Al-Jabri, Ahmad Sidqi Al-Dajani, Muhammad Al-Talbi, Waheed Al-Din Khan, ..

4- Renaissance thought, although this trend intersects with the previous trend, and although it includes different and different trends and ideas, but it can be noted that they were trends and efforts that focused on renaissance, progress or reform more than their preoccupation with the relationship between religion and the state, and among the pioneers and owners of this trend: Sayyid Qutb In the stage prior to 1954, which is expressed in his book Social Justice in Islam, Mustafa al-Sibai (The Socialism of Islam), Hassan al-Hudaybi (preachers, not judges), Malik bin Nabi, especially his book Conditions of the Renaissance, Sayed Desouki: The Civilization Resurrection, Ismail al-Farouqi: The Islamism of Knowledge, and Gharaibeh’s departure: Rights and freedoms and in Islamic law and the wisest nationality and citizenship

5- The application of Islamic law and the religious role of the state

Although this trend has not been adequately studied, and the attempts of history and analysis of the religious situation have not yet noticed the impact of the processes of applying Sharia and its replacement in laws, legislation, institutions, daily life, and the broad religious role of the modern state, and perhaps an unprecedented role in Islamic history, where modern states have established ministries and institutions based on Religious affairs and scientific faculties in universities to teach religious sciences and provide research and studies, as well as a large number of master’s and doctoral theses. The political authorities have contributed to the establishment and development of an Islamic discourse and an influential religious situation, and perhaps it is the largest and most important source in shaping the religious phenomenon that exists today, including the rebellious and hostile situation. to political authorities.

6- Islamization and Islamism

This trend refers to the non-governmental social and economic processes for the Islamic assimilation of contemporary life, such as the new Islamic groups, the “Islamic” educational, media and economic institutions, and the intellectual and political discourse represented by a network of studies, attempts and actions, which created a broad and extended religious situation in markets and societies.

7- The Islamic alternative and conflict

The idea of ​​the Islamic alternative refers to “Islamic” social and economic institutions and entities that constitute an alternative to other existing institutions that are considered “non-Islamic” such as schools, clubs, banks and tourist resorts, as well as the systems and trends of dress, food, homes and architecture, and in this a peaceful social conflict is formed between the two models, one of which is described as “Islamic” and the other “un-Islamic”

8- The Islamic alternative, leaving society and social division

This case indicates a separatist “Islamic” model of society and the surrounding environment, and it differs from the previous case in the nature and level of its conflict, if it takes the nature of moral and material violence sometimes, and hatred, aggression and rejection of the other described as “ignorant” and although it is an unspecified expression invented by Sayyid Qutb Then Muhammad Qutb crystallized it in his book “The Jahiliyyah of the Twentieth Century,” but it means practically against Islam or practical infidelity, even if its companions did not explicitly say that those who are not others are infidels. Governance, emotional separation, and the superiority of faith,…

9- Salafis and Fundamentalisms “Reclaiming Early Models of Islam”

The Salafi “Baath” began in the eighteenth century as a limited political and social gathering in Najd in the Arabian Peninsula, but it spread and flourished quickly and strongly after the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate, then its spread and influence doubled in the seventies of the twentieth century (perhaps in response to the defeat of June 1967) and rose in the nineties of the twentieth century To turn, at the beginning of the third millennium, into a global challenge that occupies the world.

Although Salafism remained for a long time a peaceful state, representing a conservative trend in the religious and social sphere and a political ally of the authorities, it turned into an incubator and creator of a succession of militant and extremist groups with unprecedented extremism.

10- Islamic democracy

The political Islamic trend in the Muslim Brotherhood and the Brotherhood’s counterpart groups in Turkey, the Indian continent and East Asia has developed a democratic model, which is clearly expressed in the Arab world by Rashid Ghannouchi in his book Public Freedoms in the Islamic State and in the experience of the Ennahda Party founded and headed by Ghannouchi in Tunisia, and Hassan al-Turabi in his book Politics and Governance between Origins and Reality in addition to the realistic political experience of the Muslim Brotherhood and then the Islamic Front in Sudan headed by al-Turabi, and the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Morocco (Justice and Development) and the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, in addition to the numerous political participations of political Islam in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Kuwait, …

11- Religious chaos, rebellion, and rebellion against states and societies

A large part of the contemporary religious situation has developed into bloody violence and violent armed and civil conflict in many Arab and Islamic countries, as happened in Egypt since the mid-nineties, and in Algeria throughout the nineties, and in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Iran and Tajikistan, and in the killings, bombings and attacks belonging to Islamic trends, feelings and organizations that occur in large parts of the world.

12- The crisis and the impasse

The state of extremism, hatred, violence, chaos, and the grinding religious and civil conflicts that are sweeping the world of Arabs and Muslims today represent a deep crisis for the Islamic political discourse and a challenge that may afflict it, or make it reformulate itself in a new formulation radically different from what was the case since the early nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century. It is a crisis that can only be faced with a series of comprehensive revisions in the religious discourse itself and in its applications, as well as in the social and economic system that created and shaped this discourse, which is also facing the challenges of the end and transformations.

Confronting extremism begins with the dismantling of a deep institutional, educational and economic network sponsored by states, societies and companies, based on “Islamisation”. A huge and complex succession of institutions, colleges, educational curricula, markets, banks and companies has formed, and it is no longer possible to stop this growing extremism except by returning to the concept of “Islamization” that has ignited in the Arab and Islamic world. This is because what the regimes do in the face of extremism is not different from the preoccupation with extinguishing fires without stopping the source of their ignition, as a huge tank from which fuel flows, supplying burning fires and creating new fires without stopping. What authorities and societies do in the face of extremism will remain an eternal and impossible Sisyphean task.

The “Islamization” system and the resulting groups and new patterns of political and violent religiosity and the destruction of religious, scientific and spiritual institutions that had existed and operated for several centuries began to shift from religiosity to Islamization, or from influencing individuals, societies and institutions based on religion to changing them or Creating alternative systems that are radically different from it to replace the “ignorant” system or to struggle and compete with it. This is how we have Islamic banks, university colleges for Islamic banking, Islamic media, colleges and university studies for Islamic media, and the same is true for governance, politics, dress, food, and the arts. In every Arab and Islamic country, there are active institutional and intellectual systems that are parallel to, alternative to, or competing with, the existing systems. Among the puzzling paradoxes is that they are systems created and nurtured by the systems themselves. Thus, students study in the official universities of the states, on which public resources are spent “Islamic” systems. The existing and applied systems are considered blasphemy and ignorance that must be changed. School and university students. And what better than that for extremism and extremist groups to mobilize supporters, members, supporters and fighters, or to work in safety and peace in mosques, universities and schools, and in addition to that, governments provide them with a scientific and research environment to transform these trends into coherent ideas, scientific studies, master’s and doctoral theses!

That there are applicable provisions in the political or economic fields or general directives in the Qur’an, does not mean that there is an Islamic system of government, an Islamic economic system, or an Islamic banking system. The application of Quranic provisions in legislation and public life does not mean an Islamic state, and not applying them does not negate Islam from the state or the political leadership of the state, because the state, any state, cannot be described as Islamic, Jewish, Christian or Buddhist. When we say a monarchy, republic, or military state, is this Islamic or non-Islamic? And if it applies a system of state ownership of basic resources, institutions and services, or a state adopts a market system or a mixed system, is it Islamic or non-Islamic? Likewise, the prohibition of usury does not establish an Islamic banking system: Well, if Sweden bans usury, can its economic or banking system be described as Islamic? Since the former communist countries were implementing a non-usurious economic system, can we say that they were Islamic? And by the way, what is usury? Who said that existing banks are usurious? How did the so-called Islamic banks become Islamic?

Thus, making scientific and institutional efforts to establish Islamic regimes is nothing but an act against oneself. We create institutions for its service and development that we spend from public resources on. This is not a religious requirement and it was not commanded by God, but in that we foster extremism and give it an encouraging and safe environment.

Finally, how can religious affairs, religious institutions, and religious education be organized without contradicting religion or the requirements of the modern state, and without sponsoring extremism?