Pre-Islamic Arabia Structure of the Arabian Society


Bedouins Nomads Kingdoms Hadar (Sedentary) Town Dewellers

Ghasasinah (North-West Arabia) Manadhira (North-East Arabia) Himyar in Yemen (Abyssinian Protectorates)

Loose Tribal Entities

Pre-Islamic Arabia Urban Centres of Hijaz

Makkah Al-Ta’if

Quraysh Thaqif Aws


Khazraj Jewish Tribes

Banu Qurayza Banu Qaynuqa Banu Nadeer

Pre-Islamic Arabia Status of Makkah and Quraysh

Religious Leaders

Annual Pilgrimage (Hajj) to the Ka’bah Ka’bah as a Centre of Idol Worship

Economic Significance

On the trade route from Yemen to Syria Hajj as a commercial opportunity

Hajj and Related Administration

Al-Sidana and Al-Hijabah Al-Siqayah and Al-’Imarah Al-Rifadah

• Maintenance of the Ka’bah and opening and closing of its doors • By Banu ‘Abd al-Dar Ibn Qusayy • Providing the pilgrims with drinking water and other refreshments • By Al-Abbas ibn Al-Muttalib • Providing food for pilgrims • By Banu ‘Abd Manaf

Beginning of the Prophethood

The Makkan Era

Invitation to Quraysh

Visit to Ta’if to invite Tahqif to Islam

Contacts with Arab Tribes at Hajj

Migration to Madina

Migration to Abyssinia

Formation of the Muslim Community

Pledge of Aaqabah

Beginning of the Prophethood Migration to Abyssinia

First migration to Abyssinia (5 A.B.)
 Consisted

of 11 men and 4 women  Including Uthman bin Affan and his wife

Second migration to Abyssinia
 Consisted

of 83 men and 19 women  Led by Ja’far bin Abi Talib

Beginning of the Prophethood Invitation to Quraysh
1.08 

“O King! We were ignorant people and we lived like wild animals. The strong among us lived by preying upon the weak. We obeyed no law and we acknowledged no authority save that of brute force. We worshipped idols made of stone or wood, and we knew nothing of human dignity. And then God, in His Mercy, sent to us His Messenger who was himself one of us. We knew about his truthfulness and his integrity. His character was exemplary, and he was the most well-born of the Arabs. He invited us toward the worship of One God, and he forbade us to worship idols. He exhorted us to tell the truth, and to protect the weak, the poor, the humble, the widows and the orphans. He ordered us to show respect to women, and never to slander them. We obeyed him and followed his teachings. Most of the people in our country are still polytheists, and they resented our conversion to the new faith which is called Islam. They began to persecute us and it was in order to escape from persecution by them that we sought and found sanctuary in your kingdom.” – Ja’far bin Abi Talib in the Court of Negus of Abyssinia

Beginning of the Prophethood Formation of the Muslim Community

Education and training of the believers
 Dar

Al-Arqam as a training centre  Learned Muslims teaching newer Muslims (e.g., Khabbab bin Al-Arat)
  

Muslims as a minority in the Christian Abyssinia Muslims as a minority in the polytheist Makkah Emergence of a new and distinct social order

Beginning of the Prophethood Visit to At-Ta’if

Increase in persecution of Muslims after the death of Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and passing of Banu Hashim’s leadership to Abu Lahab led to the Prophet seeking support and a home from Islam outside of Makkah Thaqif of At-Ta’if has close familial and commercial ties with the Quraysh

Did not want to offend the Quraysh by giving refuge to the Prophet

Prophet returned to Makkah under the security of a Makkan notable: Al-Mut’im bin ‘Adi

Beginning of the Prophethood Contacts with Arab Tribes

Using the annual pilgrimage to spread the message of Islam beyond Makkah
 Invitation

to Bani ‘Amir bin Sa’sa’ah and their response  Conversions to Islam from outside of Makkah start

Visit from Yathrib
 Six

Khazrajis accept Islam in Makkah in 11 A.B.

Beginning of the Prophethood First Pledge of ‘Aqabah

Five of the six Khazrajis returned the next year with seven other Yathribis (five of Khazraj and two of Aws) to pay homage Known as the first Bay’ah (pledge) of ‘Aqabah

An apolitical pledge

You will not:
     

Associate any with Allah Steal Commit adultery Kill children Utter lies Disobey the Prophet in any good

Beginning of the Prophethood Second Pledge of ‘Aqabah

Mus’ab ibn Umayr sent to Yathrib to teach its Muslims the Qur’an A year later, Mus’ab returns to Makkah with 73 men and 2 women This led to the Second Bay’ah of ‘Aqabah

A political pledge
To listen and obey in all difficulty and ease  To spend in plenty as well as in scarcity  To enjoin good and forbid evil  To fear the censure of none in Allah’s service  To aid the Prophet when he comes to them, to protect him from whatever they protect themselves and their women and children from

Madani Period

   

Departure from Makkah to Madina Building of the mosque in Madina Establishing the brotherhood between believers Charter of Islamic Brotherhood
 An

‘internal’ document between the Emigrants and Helpers all citizens of the new state

The Madina Document
 Between

Madani Period The Madina Document

Al-Muhajirum Muslims Al-Ansar Banu Qurayza Jews Arab Mushriks (Pagans) Banu Qaynuqa Banu Nadeer

Citizens of the New State

Madani Period The Madina Document



Islam is the frame of reference for citizenship of the State The document speaks of two Ummahs
Ummah of all citizens All accept political leadership of the Prophet (reciprocity of rights and responsibilities) Ummah of believers Accept divine mission of the Prophet

Madani Period The Madina Document


The State is founded on:
a. b. c.

Tawhid Justice Brotherhood (equality)




Establish a concept of treaties in regional and international relations Treaties may be joined by other parties in the future

Madani Period The Madina Document


6. 7.

Forbids entering into unilateral treaties with hostile parties Punishment is deserved only by those proven guilty Keeps traditions and norms that do not contradict Islamic values

Madani Period

   

Ghazwat and treachery of the fifth column Role of Munafiqoon under Abdullah bin Ubayy The treaty of Hudaybia Correspondence beyond Hijaz
       

Letter to Abyssinia Letter to Muqawqis of Alexandria Envoy to Chosroes of Persia Envoy to Caesar of Byzentine Letter to Mundhir bin Sawa of Bahrain Letter to Haudah bin ‘Ali of Yamamah Letter to Al-Ghassanids of Damascus Letter to King of Oman

Madani Period

  

Consolidation of power around Madina Conquest of Makkah and At-Ta’if Wide-spread acceptance of Islam by Arab tribes
 The

year of delegations

The farewell pilgrimage

Madani Period Practice of Shura

 

Shura is a Quranic injunction Shura is a necessity since it is a requirement of ijtihad

But, what is the essence of Shura and how is it put into practice?

Examples of Ijtihad and Shura during the time of the Prophet
a. b. c. d. e. f.

Palm trees pollination incident Camping site at Badr. Captives of Badr incident Battle of Uhud site incident Al-Khandaq (ditch) incident Al-Hudaybiyah truce treaty with Quraysh

Madani Period Practice of Shura

 

Lesson learned by the companions Prophet’s actions, sayings and choices are:
 Either

divinely inspired  Or his own personal ijtihad

Session 3

Caliphate of the Rightly Guided

Caliphate of the Rightly Guided Disputes

    

Debate over Prophet’s desire to write a will Debate over Osama’s army Debate over Prophet’s death Debate over where to bury the Prophet Debate over leadership

Caliphate of the Rightly Guided Disputes

  

Dispute over the land at Fadak Dispute over fighting Zakat withholders Debate over Abu Bakr’s decision to name Omar as successor Debate over the Shura process upon Omar’s assassination Dispute during Ali’s time

Caliphate of Abu Bakr

The Saqifah (shed) Incident
 The

polarization between Al-Ansar & Al-Muhajirun; the proposal of two Amirs  The arguments at the saqifah  Bay’ah to Abu Bakr, first at the saqifah and then at the mosque (632CE/11H)

Rida wars

Caliphate of Umar Ibn al-Khattab

  

His suggestion regarding the ‘collection’ of the Qur’an (Zayd ibn Thabit’s report) His nomination & bay’ah (634CE/13H) Ijtihad during his term His assassination & the six – member Shura Council (644CE/24H) Rapid & significant changes in the size and composition of the Ummah

Caliphate of Uthman Ibn Affan

 

  

Selection process His decision to centralize copying Al-Qur’an from a ‘standard version’ that was collected by Abu Bakr and kept with Hafsa; he ordered the burning of all else (Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman’s report) Complaints and grievances Events leading to his assassination (655CE/36H) The essence of shura remains but the mechanism no longer works

The Fitnah (Sedition)

   

The rebels & Ali bin Abi Talib Dispute between Ali and Mu’awiyah Arbitration and the Khawarij (Kharijites) Assassination of Ali (661CE/41H)

Session 4

After the Rightly Guided Caliphs

The Ummayyads

   

Al Hasan and Mu’awiyah (661CE/40H) Mu’awiyah’s caliphate (661-680CE/41-60H) “The killing of Shura” (Al-Hasan al-Basri) Al- Hussain and the Iraqis, the tragedy of Karbala’ (680CE/61H) Ibn Al-Zubayr and Al-Hajjaj (683-692CE/64-73H)

The Withering of Shura

    

The end of the Rightly Guided Caliphate. Al-Khawarij (The Kharijites) Al-Shi’ah (The Shi’ites) The historic compromise Political theorists

Al-Khawarij The Kharijites

 

Plural of khariji, which means ‘exiter’ A consequence of the “great fitnah” between 37 and 41H (656-661 CE) Born out of the dispute over al-tahkim (arbitration)

Al-Khawarij Al-Tahkim (Arbitration)

It was the Al-Khawarij who insisted on Ali to stop the fight despite his warnings that it was a trick by Mu’awiyah’s army It was them that rejected any arbitration in what, to them, seemed the absolute truth and nothing but the truth They ended up declaring infidel whoever that disagreed with them, including Ali himself

Al-Khawarij Their Slogan

No one decides but God

‫ﻻ ﺣﻛم إﻻ‬

Ali was demanded to admit his guilt, even his infidelity, and to repent Having debated with them and lost hope in convincing them to re-join his camp, Ali responded to their slogan: “This is word of truth intended to serve falsehood”
 ‫ﺑﺎطل‬

‫ﻛﻠﻣﺔ ﺣق أرﯾد ﺑﮭﺎ‬

Al-Shi’ah The Shi’ites

  

Companions who thought Ali should have been the successor of the Prophet The killing of Ali and initiative of ending the bloodshed by Al-Hassan The murder of Al-Hussayn The era of political and military strife The evolution of shi’ite ideologies

The Historic Compromise

 

Initial attitude of scholars In fiqh: The era of tadwin (writing down) followed by the era of shuruh (explanations): did not deal with government explicitly In hadith: a special section was always allocated, cf. Al-Bukhari (Al-Ahkam), Muslim (Al-Imarah), Abu Dawud (Al-Imarah) In kalam: Defending/justifying the past, cf. AlAsh’ari (Al-Ibanah)

Islamic Political Thought

 

Political ideas derived from or based on Islamic values and teachings? Historical political experience of the Muslims? Political ideas, choices and practices by Muslim powers, groups or individuals, both historical and contemporary?

The Islamic Sources

   

Al-Qur’an (The revealed Book of Allah) Al-Sunnah (Sayings and actions of the Prophet) Al-Ijma’ (Consensus) Ijtihad through Qiyas (Analogy)

Early Political Theorists

Early attempts by
 Al-Baqillani

(d. 403H)  Al-Baghdadi (d. 429H)

First comprehensive treatments:
 Al-Mawardi

(450/1058)  Abu Ya’la (380-458) [almost replica]  Abu Al-Ma’ali Al-Juwayni (419-478H)

Most Quoted Classical Political Theorists

Al-Mawardi (d. 450/1058)
 Al-Ahkam

Al-Sultaniyah al-Shar’iyah

Ibn Taymiyah (661/1263-728/1328)
 Al-Siyasah

Al-Shatibi’s (d. 790/1388)
 Al-Muwafaqat

Ibn Khaldun’s (732/1332-808/1406)
 Al-Muqaddimah

Milestones in Political Ijtihad

Ibn Taymiyh’s Al-Siyasah al-Shar’iyah and his interpretation of verse 25 of Surat al-Hadid and verses 58-59 of Surat al-Nisa’ Al-Shatibi’s Al-Muwafaqat and his theory of maqasid al-Shari’ah (the purposes of Shari’ah) Ibn Khaldun’s masterpiece Al-Muqaddimah and his theory of al-’umran (civility)

Surat Al-Hadid [57: 25]

‫ﻟﻘد أرﺳﻠﻧﺎ رﺳﻠﻧﺎ ﺑﺎﻟﺑﯾﻧﺎت وأﻧزﻟﻧﺎ ﻣﻌﮭم اﻟﻛﺗﺎب واﻟﻣﯾزان ﻟﯾﻘوم اﻟﻧﺎس‬ ‫ﺑﺎﻟﻘﺳط وأﻧزﻟﻧﺎ اﻟﺣدﯾد ﻓﯾﮫ ﺑﺄس ﺷدﯾد وﻣﻧﺎﻓﻊ ﻟﻠﻧﺎس وﻟﯾﻌﻠم ﷲ ﻣن ﯾﻧﺻره‬ ‫ورﺳﻠﮫ ﺑﺎﻟﻐﯾب إن ﷲ ﻗوي ﻋزﯾز‬ We sent aforetime our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of right and wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; and we sent down iron in which is great might as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will support Him and His Messengers in the unseen. Verily Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.

Surat Al-Nisa’ [4: 58-59]

‫إن ﷲ ﯾﺄﻣرﻛم أن ﺗؤدوا اﻷﻣﺎﻧﺎت إﻟﻰ أھﻠﮭﺎ وإذا ﺣﻛﻣﺗم ﺑﯾن اﻟﻧﺎس أن ﺗﺣﻛﻣوا ﺑﺎﻟﻌدل إن‬ . ً ‫ﷲ ﻧﻌﻣﺎ ﯾﻌظﻛم ﺑﮫ، إن ﷲ ﻛﺎن ﺳﻣﯾﻌﺎ ً ﺑﺻﯾرا‬ Allah does command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between people that you judge with justice; verily how excellent is the teaching with He gives you, for Allah is He Who hears and sees all things. ‫ﯾﺎ أﯾﮭﺎ اﻟذﯾن آﻣﻧوا أطﯾﻌوا ﷲ وأطﯾﻌوا اﻟرﺳول وأوﻟﻲ اﻷﻣر ﻣﻧﻛم ﻓﺈن ﺗﻧﺎزﻋﺗم ﻓﻲ ﺷﻲء‬ . ً ‫ﻓردوه إﻟﻰ ﷲ واﻟرﺳول إن ﻛﻧﺗم ﺗؤﻣﻧون ﺑﺎ واﻟﯾوم اﻵﺧر، ذﻟك ﺧﯾر وأﺣﺳن ﺗﺄوﯾﻼ‬ O you who believe, obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best, and most suitable for final determination.

Al-Shatibi’s Theory of Maqasid

Shari’ah-based obligations relate directly to their purposes in the lives of humans. These purposes, he suggested, belonged to one of three categories:
necessities that are indispensable for both faith and life and whose loss will lead to misery, destruction and death;  utilities that are needed for the purpose of avoiding hardships that may in turn lead to discomfort; and  ameliorates that may be expressed in terms of good manners.

Necessities or Essentials

    

The protection of faith; The protection of life; The protection of progeny; The protection of wealth; and The protection of the mind.

Utilities or Special Requirements

These according to Al-Shatibi are requirements without which man would be in distress and would suffer hardship. They include the requirement to enjoy lawful and good things in life.

Ameliorative Requirements

These are requirements whose absence would not seriously undermine life. They include the various manners related for instance to eating and drinking etc. The fulfilment of such requirements is aimed at improving the quality of life or imparting beauty on it.

Session 5

Revival and Revivalism


  

Ihya’ (revival) --- muhyi[ddin] tajdid (renewal) --- mujaddid Islah (reform) --- muslih

Phases and Stages

   

Pre-modernity Eighteenth century Nineteenth century Twentieth century

Pre-modernity Revival

‫روى أﺑو داود أن اﻟﻧﺑﻲ ﺻﻠﻰ ﷲ ﻋﻠﯾﮫ وﺳﻠم ﻗﺎل: “إن ﷲ ﯾﺑﻌث ﻟﮭذه‬ ”‫اﻷﻣﺔ ﻋﻠﻰ رأس ﻛل ﻣﺎﺋﺔ ﺳﻧﺔ ﻣن ﯾﺟدد ﻟﮭﺎ دﯾﻧﮭﺎ‬  Abu Dawud narrated that the Prophet peace be upon him said: “Verily, Allah sends to this Ummah at the turn of each century one that renews its religion for it”  The work of Abulhasan Ali al-Hasani al-Nadwi entitled in Arabic:
 ‫اﻹﺳﻼم‬

‫ --- رﺟﺎل اﻟﻔﻛر واﻟدﻋوة ﻓﻲ‬Rijal Al-Fikr Wal-Da’wah Fil-Islam


         

Omar ibn Abd Al-Aziz Al-Hasan al-Basri Ahmad ibn Hanbal Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari Abu Hamid al-Ghazali Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani Jalal al-Din al-Rumi Ibn Taymiyah Ahmad al-Sirhindi Shah Wali Allah al-Dahlawi

(62-101H) (21-110H) (164-241H) (270-324H) (450-505H) (470-561H) (604-672H) (661-728 H) (971-1034H) (1114-1176H)

Session 6

18th Century Reformers

Eighteenth Century Revivalism

Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1115-1206 H / 1703-1791CE) Shah Wali Allah al-Dahlawi (1114-1176 H / 1703-1762 CE) Uthman bin Fudi (Usuman dan Fodio) (1168-1232 H / 1754-1817 CE)

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1791 CE)

 

He was born in al-’Uyaynah in Najd He studied Hanbali jurisprudence, tafsir, hadith and tawhid under the tutorship of his father His opposition, in his twenties, to shirk (polytheistic) practices and rejection of laxity alienated him from the establishment ‘ulama’ and led to dismissal of his father from the position of qadi In 1726, his family had to leave their home town to neighbouring Huraymila while he stayed back for a while He was eventually forced out and went to al-Hijaz where he studied under renowned Hanbali scholars He visited al-Basra in Iraq where he engaged Shi’ia scholars in debates but was forced out of the region for his views

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1791 CE)
6.03  

He joined his family in Huraymila where he began to criticize bida’ (innovations). This time he met opposition not only from the Najdi ‘ulama’ but also from his own father It was during that period that he composed his most important work Kitab al-Tawhid (Book of Monotheism), which quickly spread throughout Najd The year 1740 saw the death of his father and the birth of what later on became known as the Wahhabi movement. Now he felt less constrained since his father was no longer around The first fruit of the consolidation of his movement was the offer of protection made to him by the ruler of al-’Uyaynah, his home town to which he loved to return. He even married al-Jawharah, the ruler’s aunt. This was the first political empowerment he received Najd ‘ulama’ were alarmed by his rising influence and managed to convinced the ruler to terminate his support for him and even ask him to leave

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1791 CE)

He sought refuge in al-Dir’iyah at the invitation of its ruler Muhammad ibn Sa’ud For two years he sent letters to rulers of neighbouring regions inviting them to join his movement. Responses were varied and mixed The year 1746 saw the waging of jihad by the allied ibn Abd al-Wahhab and ibn Saud against those who opposed the Wahhabi teachings His death in 1791 did not stop the expansion of the new Saudi state In a relatively short period of time, the movement was able to spread to Makkah and al-Madinah, which were captured in 1805 and 1806 respectively


Shah Wali Allah al-Dahlawi (1703-1762 CE)
6.06  

His tutor was his own father Shah Abd al-Rahim (d. 1719), a well-known scholar in charge of his own madrasah in Delhi and a leading sufi In addition to religious studies, Wali Allah was taught falak (astronomy), hisab (mathematics), Arabic and Persian language and grammar, and tibb (medical science) He married at the age of fourteen and accepted by his father as a disciple in the Naqshabandi order at the age of fifteen, when he was permitted to teach others the Islamic sciences In 1731, twelve years following the death of his father, he left India to perform hajj where he stayed at Makkah and al-Madinah for some fourteen months, where he studied hadith, fiqh and tasawwuf with various eminent teachers During his stay in al-Hijaz he developed an interest and respect for Malik’s Al-Muwatta’ on which he later wrote two commentaries: Musawwa in Arabic and Musaffa in Persian

Shah Wali Allah al-Dahlawi (1703-1762 CE)
6.07  

In the decade following his return home he wrote his most famous work Hujjat Allah al-Balighah in Arabic, in which he aimed to restore the Islamic sciences through hadith studies. Following his return to India he taught at his madrasah, acted as a guide in sufism, and wrote on a wide range of Islamic subjects. Among his important works is the pioneering annotated Persian translation of the Qur’an. After his death, his teachings were carried on by his descendants, in particular his sons, Shah Abd al-Aziz (d. 1824) and Shah Rafi’ al-Din (d. 1818), and his grandson Shah Isma’il Shahid (d. 1831). Today, all major religious movements in Muslim South Asia claim Shah Wali Allah as an intellectual progenitor. He is claimed by the Deobandis, Ahli-I Hadith and the followers of Mawlana Mawdudi.

Usuman dan Fodio


He is the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate, which continues to exert strong cultural influence in Nigeria He was born into a family of Muslim Fulani scholars in the Hausa kingdom of Gobir in present-day northern Nigeria He was taught the Islamic sciences by his parents and his grandmother, and then by renowned scholars A form of mixed Islam (combining animist practices and elements of Islam) prevailed as he grew up prompting him to declare jihad billisan When his peaceful da’wah work was obstructed and his followers persecuted he led his followers on hijrah and then on a campaign of jihad bil-sayf that led to the establishment of the Sokoto caliphate

Usuman dan Fodio


He is said to have been the first African da’iyah to have sought to change munkar with his heart, his tongue and his hand and then established a shari’ah implementing political order moulded on the first ideal model of khilafah Unlike Ibn Abd Al-Wahab, he did not rely on an existing power or political leaders to accomplish his mission No less than one hundred renowned scholars graduated from his school that was Maliki in jurisprudence, Ash’ari in Kalam and Qadiri in tasawwuf (mysticism) He set up his own mystic tariqah (order) known as al-Fudiyah, which was still a form of Qadiriyah The Sokoto caliphate lasted until 1903 when it was brought down by the British

Sokoto Caliphate

Sokoto Caliphate

Session 7

19th Century Struggles and Reforms

From Commerce to Colonialism

  

1510: Portugal chose Goa to be the capital of all their Indian possessions. Throughout the 16th century, the Portuguese were the sole European power to conduct significant trade with India 1521: Magellan discovered the islands of the Philippines leading to establishment of links between the islands and Spain 1526: Beginning of the Mughal Empire in India 1600: Founding of British East India Company 1650-1690: Dutch seize many Portuguese ports posts and become dominant mercantile power 17th Century: Dutch, English, French & Danish companies established coastal trading centres across S. and S.E. Asia

Empires and Colonial Powers

         

1280-1923: Ottoman Empire 1500-1722: The Safavid Empire 1526-1857: The Mughal 1779-1925: The Qajars 1857-1914: British control of S. Asia. 1798: Napoleon takes Egypt 1830: The French occupy Algeria 1882: The British occupy Egypt 1883: The French take Tunisia 1912: Italy invades Libya

19th Century Jihad-Revivalists

  

1786-1831: Sayyid Ahmad Barelwi (Shahid) 1787-1859: Muhammad ibn Ali Al-Sanusi 1844-1885: Muhammad Ahmad Al-Mahdi

19-20th Century Reformers

       

1801-1873: Rifa’ah al-Tahtawi 1810-1899: Khairuddin al-Tunisi 1838-1897: Jamal al-Din al-Afghani 1849-1905: Muhammad ‘Abduh 1849-1903: Abdurrahman al-Kawakibi 1865-1935: Rashid Rida 1873-1960: Badee-u-Zaman Said Nursi 1889-1940: Abd al-Hamid ibn Badis

20th Century Activism

   

1903-1979: Sayyid Abu Al-A’la 1906-1949: Hasan al-Banna 1905-1973: Malik Bennabi 1906-1966: Sayyid Qutb

Sayyid Ahmad Barelwi (Shahid) 1786-1831

He was born into a family of sayyids (known for their piety and learning) in a small town (Rae Bareli) about 50 miles from Lucknow in the old Mughal province of Awadh in N. India From 1806-1811, he entered into the circle and da’wah programme of Shah Wali Allah’s family in Delhi At 25 years, he left Delhi to spend seven years as a cavalryman for Amir Khan (1768-1834) in central India Back in Delhi, he rejoined the reformist ‘ulama’ but rapidly distinguished himself by more stringent reform, opposing certain sufi practices and enjoining the re-marriage of widows His teachings were compiled in two books Sirat Mustaqim & Taqwiyat al-Iman, both circulated in the vernacular Urdu

Sayyid Ahmad Barelwi (Shahid)
7.07    

 

Of particular interest to him was identifying false doctrines and practices (from both sufism and shi’ism) that compromised tawhid (monotheism). With some followers, he toured N. India in 1818-1819. In 1821, he undertook the hajj as a prelude to jihad. He returned to Raibareilly in 1823 and spent 2 years teaching and preparing for jihad. Some of his followings saw him as the mujaddid of the age, some even the Mahdi. In 1826, he left for the frontier, an area of Muslim population, to launch jihad on the Punjab, then under Sikh rule. His followers called him amir almu’minin. In 1831, he was trapped with some 600 followers in Balakot and killed. His followers continued jihad after him until the 1860’s; his teachings inspired reformers long after his death.

Muhammad ibn Ali Al-Sanusi (1787-1859)

 

He was born near Mostaganem in Algeria As a young boy, he learnt sufism and Islamic sciences in the reformist environment of Fez, and in 1823, he moved to Cairo and later to Hijaz for further studies In Mecca he met Ahmad ibn Idris from whom he took his sufi doctrine. When Ibn Idris left for Yemen, ibn Ali took charge of his students in Makkah and built the first lodge at Abi Qubays, outside Makkah, in 1827 Al-Sanusi moved back to N. Africa and in 1841 settled in Cyrenaica (N.E. Libya) His movement is known as Al-Sanusiyah, a revivalist brotherhood whose doctrine doest not show great variation from traditional sufism except in its disapproval of excesses in ritual, such as dancing & singing, and its emphasis of following the Prophet’s model

The Sanusiyah Movement

Shortly before Al-Sanusi’s death (1859) a lodge was established in Jaghbub, on the Libyan Egyptian border Toward the end of the 19th century, the movement spread across the Sahara to the area east of Lake Chad where it gained adherents from other population groups In 1895, the centre of the order moved from Jaghbub to Kufra, in the middle of the Libyan desert The French, who were moving toward Lake Chad, saw the Sanusiyah as a threat and opened hostilities at Bir Al-’Ali lodge in Kanem in Igoi. Initially the Sanusiyah withdraw but later carried arms and led the local population’s struggle against the French until 1913-1914

The Sanusiyah Movement 2

 

In the meantime, the Italians invaded Libya in 1911. When Turkey withdrew from Libya the following year, Sanusi leader Ahmad al-Sharif raised the call for Jihad against the Italian invaders. Omar al-Mukhtar led the jihad until 1932. When modern Libya was created Muhammad ibn Idris was brought back from exile and appointed king in 1951. Since Qaddafi came to power in 1969, the movement has been banned inside Libya and the only remaining lodge is that at Abu Qubays near Mecca.

The Mahdi of Sudan (1844-1885)

 

Muhammad Ahmad al-Sayyid ‘Abdallah The armies of the Egyptian viceroy Muhammad ‘Ali took control of the Nilotic Sudan in around (1820-1822) Originally from Dongola, Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad, of the Sammaniyah Sufi order, led a revolutionary movement against Egyptian authority On the basis of someone’s dream, in 1881 the Shaykh declared himself to be the Expected Mahdi and called for the overthrow of Turkish rule His successes against government troops sent to arrest him enhanced his credibility and authority

The Mahdi of Sudan 2
7.13  

 

After an initial victory in August 1881, he emulated the Prophet’s hijrah by moving from the white Nile to the more defensible highlands of Kordofan He named his followers Al-Ansar and declared jihad against those that opposed him The provincial capital of Al-Ubayid surrendered to him in January 1883 In Nov. 1883, he successfully destroyed the British-commanded force at Shaykhan in Kordofan and by early 1884 he was in command of the northern provinces of Egyptian Sudan In May 1884 the city of Berber fell paving the way for the fall of Khartoum on 25 January 1885 Six months later, the Mahdi died of sudden illness in Omdurman

The Mahdiyyah Movement 1

The Mahdi was succeeded by ‘Abdallah ibn Muhammad, one of his earliest followers According to Mahdist ideology, the Mahdi was Khalifat Rasul Allah (successor of the Prophet) while his successor was Khalifat al-Siddiq (successor of Abu Bakr), etc. This ideology was born out of the predicament caused by the Mahdi’s ‘premature’ death Other successors included Ali ibn Muhammad, of the white Nile Arabs, named Khalifat al-Faruq (succ. of Omar) and Mhammad Sharif ibn Hamid, the Mahdi’s cousin, named Khalifat al-Karrar (succ. of Ali); Succession to Caliph ‘Uthamn was offered to Muhammad al-Mahdi of the Libyan Sanusiyyah but was declined

The Mahdiyyah Movement 2

Jihad, the original raison d’etre of the Mahidyya, came to an effective end with the destruction of the Mahdist army by the Anglo-Egyptians at Tushki, north of Wadi Halfa in August 1889 Anglo-Egyptian invasion led to the occupation of Dongola province in 1896. A railway line built across the Nubian desert paved the way for more AngloEgyptian take over up the Nile The end of the Mahdiyah came at the battle of Karari, north of Omdurman, on 2 September 1898

Session 9

East-West Rendezvous: 19th and 20th Century Reformers

East-West Rendezvous

    

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1812) Muhammad Ali Pasha (1769-1849) Uprooting the Wahhabis (1811-1819) Failed Industrialisation Era of Secularisation

East-West Rendezvous

 Decline

and Backwardness  Colonial Onslaught  Admiration of (or Infatuation with) Europe

Encounter with Europe

      

Rifa’ah Tahtawi (1801-1873) Khairuddin At-Tunisi (1810-1899) Jamal Ad-Din Al-Afghani (1838-1897) Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) Abdurrahman Al-Kawakibi (1849-1903) Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935) Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)

Rifa’ah Tahtawi (1801-1873)

The first Islamic scholar to campaign for interacting with the European civilization with the objective of borrowing from it that which does not conflict with the established values and principles of the Islamic Shari’ah Shortly following his return to Cairo from Paris, Tahtawi published in 1834 his first book Takhlis Al-Ibriz Ila Talkhis Bariz in which he summarized his observations of the manners and customs of the modern French He praised the concept of democracy as he saw it in France and as he witnessed its defense and reassertion through the 1830 revolution against King Charles X He tried to show that the democratic concept he was explaining to his readers was compatible with Islam. He compared political pluralism to forms of ideological and jurisprudential pluralism that existed in the Islamic experience

Khairuddin At-Tunisi (1810-1899)
9.06 

The leader of the 19th century reform movement in Tunisia and author of Aqwam Al-Masalik Fi Ma’rifat Ahwal Al-Mamalik in which he attempts to tackle the question of political reform in the Arab world He warned the general Muslim public against shunning the experiences of other nations on the basis of the misconception that all the writings, inventions, experiences or attitudes of non-Muslims should just be rejected or disregarded He called for an end to absolutist rule, which he blamed for the oppression of nations and the destruction of civilizations He believed that “kindling the Ummah’s potential liberty through the adoption of sound administrative procedures, and enabling it to have a say in political affairs, would put it on a faster track toward civilisation, would limit the rule of despotism, and would stop the influx of European civilisation that is sweeping every thing along its path

Jamal Ad-Din Al-Afghani (1838-1897)

Dispute over his origin; Persian Asad Abad or Afghani As’ad Abad

Hence is the dispute over his madh-hab

Having acquired Arabic and Islamic sciences at home, in 1855, around the age of seventeen, he traveled to India for the first time From India, al-Afghani traveled in 1857 to Mecca for hajj. Then he returned to Afghanistan where he served in the government of Dost Muhammad Khan until he died in 1864 He returned to India in 1869 where he stayed until 1883 during which period he came face to face with British imperialism whose primary victims were the Muslims

Al-Afghani in Egypt

In 1870 he arrived in Egypt for the first time having been expelled from India by the British colonial authority. But soon afterwards he received in invitation from the Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz but Shyakh Al-Islam turned against him out of envy He returned to Egypt less than a year later in 1871 where he was welcomed and honored until 1879 when, under pressure from the European governments, Khedive Tawfiq issued a deportation order. He left for India for the third time where the British sought to suppress his activities In 1883, he left Calcutta for London and then to Paris where he published Al-’Urwah Al-Wuthqa whose main objective was to combat British colonialism and awaken Muslims in the Arab world and in India

Al-Afghani on Government
9.09 

He diagnosed that decline in the Muslim world was due to the absence of ‘adl (justice) and shura (council) and non-adherence by the government to the constitution One of his main demands was that the people should be allowed to assume their political and social role by participating in governing through shura and elections He criticised thinkers in Muslim countries of the Mashriq for failing to enlighten the public about the essence and virtues of republican government. For those governed by the republican government, it is a source of happiness and pride To Al-Afghani, a republican government is a ‘restricted government’, a government that is accountable to the public, and that is thus the antithesis of the absolutist one. It is a government that consults the governed, relieves them of the burdens laid upon them by despotic governments and lifts them from the state of decay to the first level of perfection

Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905)
9.10 

 

Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) believed that Islam’s relationship with the modern age was the most crucial issue Islamic communities needed to deal with In an attempt to reconcile Islamic ideas with Western ones, he suggested that maslaha (interest) in Islamic thought corresponded to manfa’ah (utility) in the Western thought He equated shura with democracy and ijma’ with consensus He denied the existence of a theocracy in Islam and insisted that the authority of the hakim (governor) or that of the qadi (judge) or that of the mufti was civil He demanded that ijtihad should be revived because “emerging priorities and problems, which are new to Islamic thought, need to be addressed He was a proponent of the parliamentary system, defended pluralism and refuted the claims that it would undermine the unity of the Ummah

Abdurrahman Al-Kawakibi (1849-1903)
  

He wrote two books on the subject, Taba’i’ Al-Istibdad (The Characteristics of Tyranny) and Umm-ul-Qura (The Mother of Villages) In the first book, he defines despotism and explains the various forms it may take While stressing that Islam as a religion is not responsible for the forms of despotic government that emerged and reigned in its name The entire book is an attempt to explain the reasons why the Muslim Ummah had declined and had become an easy prey for 19th century colonial powers In his other book, he constructs a series of dialogues among what he describes as thinkers, each belonging to a known town in the Muslim world. In their conference held at Umm-ul-Qura (Mecca) during the hajj (Pilgrimage) season they discuss the causes of decline of the Muslim Ummah The conferees finally agree that progress is linked to accountability while regress is linked to despotism

Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935)

He believed that the cause of the Ummah’s backwardness was the loss by the Muslims of the truth of their religion. Bad political rulers, he explained, had encouraged ignorance True Islam, he added, involves two things, acceptance of tawhid (the creed of monotheism) and shura (council) in matters of State. But despotic rulers, he lamented, have tried to make Muslims forget the second by encouraging them to abandon the first He stressed that the greatest lesson the people of the Orient can learn from the Europeans is to know what government should be like In his book Al-Khilafah (The Caliphate) he stresses that Islam is guidance, mercy and socio-civic policy, which he seems to use as a synonym for politics

Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)
9.13  

Philosopher, poet, and political leader, born in Sialkot, India (now Pakistan). He was considered the foremost Muslim thinker of his day In 1905 he went to Cambridge then to Heidelberg and Munich where he obtained his doctorate in philosophy In 1927 he was elected to the Punjab provincial legislature and in 1930 became president of the Muslim League Initially a supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity in a single Indian state, he later became an advocate of Pakistani independence His poetry and philosophy, written in Urdu and Persian, stress the rebirth of Islamic and spiritual redemption through self-development, moral integrity, and individual freedom His many works include The Secrets of the Self (1915)--a long poem; A Message from the East; and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1934)

Session 10

20th Century: Abul A’laa Mawdudi

Abul A’laa Al-Mawdudi

Was born at Aurangabad, Deccan, which is now known as Maharashtra, on 25 September 1903

Mawdudi in Brief

Influenced Muslim thinkers and activists from Morocco to Indonesia Had a marked influence particularly on Sayyid Qutb His ideas have been embodied in the actions and policies of Islamic groups in the Indian continent

His Family

Is from Delhi, the descendents of renowned leaders of the Chishti Sufi order, credited for the spread of Islam in India Was close to the Mughal court, especially during the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar Was adversely affected by the 1857 British onslaught on Delhi, especially upon the end of Islamic governance in India

His Father: Sayyid Ahmad Hasan

Was among the first to join the Muslim AngloOriental College at Aligarh Was among the first to embark on Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s experiment with Islamic modernism Moved to Allahabad to study law and then to Haydarabad and finally settled down in Aurangabad

His Father: Sayyid Ahmad Hasan

Left his profession for a while to devote himself to the Nizamuddin Auliya in New Delhi His sufi inclination impacted on the environment he chose for rearing his children He was keen to teach his children classical Islamic studies intentionally excluding English from their curriculum He taught them at home: Arabic, Urdu and Islamic studies

Abul ‘Alaa Mawdudi: His Education

At the age of 11, young Mawdudi was enrolled at Al-Furqaniyah school in Aurangabad where he came face to face with modern education for the first time in his life At the age of 16, he was forced to abandon school due to sickness and then death of his father

Career in Journalism

In 1918, he joined his brother Abul Khair in Bijnor to practice journalism Between 1918-1919, with his interests being secular, focusing primarily on nationalist issues, he wrote articles praising the leaders of the Hindu Congress especially Gandhi and Madan Muhan Malaviya Shortly he moved to Delhi where he was exposed to the various intellectual trends dominating the Muslim community there

Congress and Khilafat

Upon learning modernist writings and acquiring knowledge of the independence movement, he moved to Jabalpur in 1919 to work for the proCongress Taj newspaper It was there too that he became involved with the Khilafat movement and engaged in mobilizing the Muslims in support of the Congress Party His passionate articles eventually led to the closure of the weekly by the authorities

Tahrik-i Hijrat

He then returned to Delhi where he met Muhammad Ali, a leader figure in the Khilafat movement He continued supporting the Independence Movement but from an Islamic perspective For a brief period, he joined Tahrik-i Hijrat movement which encouraged Muslims to migrate from British India (dar al-harb) to Afghanistan (dar al-Islam)


In 1921, Mawdudi met two prominent leaders of Jam’iyatul ‘Ulama’-i Hind, Maulana Mufti Kifayatullah and Maulana Ahmad Said. They found him talented and assigned him the task of editing the group’s publication Muslim and later on AlJami’yat, which replaced it He continued in the service of Jamiyat until 1924, when he developed an acute awareness of Muslim political consciousness and became more directly involved in the affairs of his faith

Focusing on Muslim Plight

Mawdudi started writing on the plight of the Muslims in India, the predicament facing the Turks in their confrontation of European imperialism, and the past glories of Muslim rule in India So far, his writings had been communalist and political; revivalism was not yet a central focus of his writings He embarked on a journey to intellectual growth and learning; he learned English and acquainted himself with Western thought

Religious Education

Mawdudi’s association with Jamiyat motivated him to acquire religious education He learned Arabic and started darsi nizami, the syllabus of education of ‘ulama’ in India In 1926, he obtained Ijazah in religious studies and became a Deobandi ‘alim, something that has not been well known about him until his death

Parting with Nationalism

The end of the Caliphate in 1924 was a turning point in his life. He lost faith in nationalism and became convinced that Egyptian and Turkish nationalists were responsible for ending Muslim unity He became suspicious of the Congress Party’s manipulation of nationalist sentiments to serve Hindu interests Eventually he found himself at odds with Jamiyat and decided to part with his Deobandi mentors who chose to support the Congress in favour of getting rid of British rule Instead, he advocated an Islamic anti-imperialist platform

Jihad in Islam

In 1925, a Muslim zealot assassinated Hindu revivalist leader Swami Shradhanand leading to widespread press criticism of Islam as a religion of violence Motivated by an appeal to Muslims to defend their religion made by Muhammad Ali in a Friday sermon at the Jami’ mosque in Delhi, Mawdudi wrote his book “Jihad in Islam” to explain Islam’s position on violence From that day onwards, Mawdudi became convinced that his mission in life was to pave the way for the political and religious salvation of India’s Muslims

The Road to Activism

In 1928, Mawdudi moved to Hyderabad and dedicated himself to writing and translation

He wrote A History of Hyderbad and several Islamic texts the most famous of which was Towards Understanding Islam

This period witnessed his adoption of an Islamic appearance: beard, Islamic Indian costume, etc. The political situation in Hyderabad prompted him to think of the causes of decline of the Muslims, which he attributed to corruption and deviation from true Islam He lost trust in existing Muslim political structures and found the solution in radical reform

Mawdudi’s Revivalist Position

 

Assertion of Muslim rights A program for promoting and safeguarding these rights Severance of all cultural, social and political ties with Hindus in interest of purifying Islam Advocating a separate cultural homeland for Indian Muslims

Model Community

In 1932, he purchased Tarjuman al-Quran journal, which became his forum In 1938, he agreed to head Darul-Islam, an educational project founded by the famour philosopher-poet Muhammad Iqbal in Pathankut, a hamlet in Punjab
 There,

he set up a model Islamic community in the hope that it would lead Islamic reform in India

Political Activism

He became embroiled in the struggle between the Pakistan Movement and the Muslims of the Congress Party He first criticized Congress Muslim supporters, who were his mentors in Jam’iyatul ‘Ulama’-i Hind accusing them of betraying the Muslim cause Then he denounced the Muslim League supporters for their secular communalism

Mawdudi in Lahore

Mawdudi moved to Lahore to involve himself in direct political activity
 He

worked as a lecturer at the Islamiyah College, Lahore, and took part in the debates about the future of Muslims in India

It was here that the idea of an organizational expression of his ideas, combining a model community and a political party, found shape in his thoughts and works

Jama’at-i Islami

Together with a number of young ‘ulama’ and Muslim literati, Mawdudi formed Jama’at-i Islami in 1941 He moved the headquarters to Pathankut where he articulated the ideology and the plan of action of the Jama’at When India was partitioned, Mawdudi divided the Jama’at into independent Indian and Pakistani units and moved back to Lahore

Mawdudi and Islamic State

 

His discourse turned into a campaign to establish an Islamic state Mawdudi concentrated on motivating the ‘Ulama’ so as to push for an Islamic constitution He was soon accused of undermining the state and of being a tool of India and a subversive element He was imprisoned 1948-1950 for refusing to religiously legitimize the military campaign in Kashmir

Back to Prison

He was imprisoned once more in 1954 and sentenced to death for his role in instigating disturbances against the Ahmadiyah in Punjab The death sentence was cancelled and he was released in 1955 He was imprisoned twice afterwards in 1964 and 1967 for challenging Ayoub Khan’s regime In 1969, he led a campaign against Awami League’s effort to gain independence for East Pakistan and for putting Pakistan People’s Party out of power


His efforts did not succeed and his Jama’at lost the 1970 elections, the first open election in the country that were won by the left As a consequence, Mawdudi resigned from his leading position in the group and dedicated his life to writing He passed away in Buffalo, New York on 22 September 1979; his funeral was attended by more than a million people

Session 11

20th Century: Hasan al-Banna

Hasan al-Banna (1906-1949)

Hasan Al-Banna

  

Nominated Muslim personality of the 20th century Founder of al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun His writings and speeches have been compiled in: Majmu’at al-Rasa’il (Letters)
 Mudhakkirat

al-Da’wah wa-al-da’iyah (Memories)  His influence, and that of the movement he founded, has been global and instrumental in effecting revival across the Muslim world


Born in Mahmudiyah near Alexandria, Hasan alBanna, from his youth onwards, took part in the Hasafiyah Sufi order with his friend Ahmad alSukkari After attending the Damanhur teachers’ training college (1923-1927) he went to Dar al-’Ulum in Cairo, founded by Muhammad ‘Abduh (d. 1905) and made famous by Muhammad Rashid Rida, who taught there until his death in 1935

Growing UP 2

While a student, he read Spengler, Spencer and Toynbee In September 1927, he began teaching at a primary school in Isma’iliyah While on the job he wrote for the Cairo Muslim Youth magazine Al-Fath and pursued his relationship with Rida’s al-Maktabah al-Salafiyah group and with his scholarly journal Al-Manar, which Al-Banna took over from 1939-1941

Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun

In March 1928, al-Banna and six of his friends founded a “religious association devoted to the promotion of good and rooting-out of evil,” a branch of the Hafsiyah By 1929, the organization was already being referred to as Jam’iyat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun in the Al-Ahram newspaper, where a photograph of the group was shown

Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun

The growth of movement, which moved to Cairo in 1933, was rapid: 4 branches in 1929; 15 in 1932; 300 by 1938; more than 2000 in 1948. By 1945, it had half a million ‘active members’ in Egypt Between 1946 and 1948, branches were opened in Palestine, Sudan, Iraq and Syria

Facing the World

       

Opposition to the British & Palace Attempts at Politics Jihad in Palestine Mass detention of members Assassination of the Imam Free-Officers’ Revolution Internal Feud Reign of Terror

The Genius of Al-Banna

He took to the masses the concerns of the intellectuals, working not from mosques or cultural clubs but from café shops and popular meeting places

The Genius of Al-Banna

He reiterated in simpler more direct terms the calls for reform made by reformers of the 19th century:
on colonialism (Al-Afghani & Mustafa Kamal);  on riba (‘Abduh & Rida);  on foreign companies (M. Kamal);  on intellectual chaos and loss of moral values (‘Abduh & Rida);  on blind imitation of the West (Afghani & Arsalan);  on man-made laws that fail to curb crime or deter criminals (Arsalan);  on mismanagement of education (‘Abduh);  on signs of desperation and loss of will (Arsalan & Kamal).

The Genius of Al-Banna

 

He was the first to condemn partisan divisions His mass mobilizing movement is said to have learned the lessons of previous failing renaissance attempts and to have benefited from the example of the powerful Fascist and Nazi movement in Europe

Oswald Spengler (1880-1936)

 

German historicist writer born in Blankenburg, Harz. He is famous for his work Untergong des Abendlandes (1918-1922), translated as Decline of the West (19261929), in which he argues by analogy, in the historicist manner of Hegel (1770-1831) and Marx (1818-1883), that all civilizations and cultures are subject to the same cycle of growth and decay in accordance with predetermined ‘historical destiny’. “The soul of Western civilization is dead. The age of soulless expansionist Caesarism is upon us. It is better for Western man, therefore, to be engineer rather than poet, soldier rather than artist, politician rather than philosopher.”

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

 

English philosopher born in Derby. His particular interest was in evolutionary theory which he expounded in Principles of Psychology in 1855, four years before The Origin of Species by Darwin (1809-1882). He applied his evolutionary theories to ethics and sociology and became an advocate of ‘social Darwinism’, the view that societies naturally evolve in competition for resources and that ‘survival of the fittest’ is therefore morally justified. His other works include: System of Synthetic Philosophy (1862-1893); Social Statics (1851); Education (1861); The Man Versus the State (1884); and Autobiography (1904).

Arnold Joseph Toynbee (1889-1975)

English historian who was born in London, educated at Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford, and became a fellow there. He served in the foreign office in both world wars and attended the Paris peace conferences (1919 & 1946). He was Koraes professor of modern Greek and Byzantine history at London (1919-1924) and director and research professor of the Royal Ins. of Int. Affairs, London (19251955) He is well-known for his grand scale monumental ten-volume History of the World (1934-1954). He also wrote: Greek Historical Thought (1924) and War and Civilization (1951)

Session 12

20th Century: Sayyid Qutb

Sayyid Qutb

was born in the village of Musha nearby Asyut in Upper Egypt in 1906

His Significance

Literary critic, novelist and poet and Egypt’s most famous Islamic activist Some experts list him among the greatest Islamists of the 20th century:
 Badi’uzzaman

Sayyid Nursi (1873-1960)  Hasan al-Banna (1906-1949)  Al-Mawdudi (1903-1979)  Ali Shari’ati (1933-1977)  Ayatollah Khomeyni (1902-1989)

His Family

 

His family is said to have been partly of Indian extraction He was the eldest of two brothers and three sisters His father Qutb Ibrahim was a member of the Mustafa Kamil-led National Party He attended the Kuttab as a child and memorised the Qur’an at the age of ten

His Education

He finished government mandatory schooling in 1918 He then moved to Hilwan, a district of Cairo, in 1919 (or 1920) and graduated from the Teachers’ Training College in 1928 In 1930, he enrolled at Dar al-’Ulum (founded in 1872 as a modern Western-style Egyptian university) and graduated in 1933 with a BA in Arts Education


He worked as a teacher at Dar al-’Ulum and then joined the Ministry of Education as an inspector until 1951 In the thirties, Qutb wrote in fiction, literary criticism and poetry He was influenced by Taha Hussein, Abbas al-’Aqqad and Ahmad al-Zayyat (all three of them were modernists) Qutb soon turned against al-’Aqqad for his overtly intellectualized writings and against Taha Hussein for his Western orientations

Higher Education

He became critical of the Ministry of Education for its submissiveness to the British He joined Sa’d Zaghlul’s Al-Wafd Party but then left it to join the breakaway Sa’dist Party that was founded in 1937 only to abandon it in 1942 In 1948, Qutb was dispatched by the Ministry to the U.S.A. to study Western Methods of Education He studied at Wilson’s Teachers’ College for three years until 1950


On his way back from the U.S. he toured Britain, Switzerland and Italy arriving back home in 1951 His experience in the U.S. was a defining moment for him
 His

interest shifted from literary and educational pursuits to intense religious commitment

Without denying America’s scientific progress, he disliked its racism, sexual permissiveness and proZionism

The Ikhwan

Upon returning home, he refused to work at the Ministry in spite of an offer of promotion He started writing articles for different publications on issues of society and politics Upon joining the Ikhwan (MB) in 1953, he was appointed editor of their publication Al-Ikhwan alMuslimun He then became the director of the MB’s Propaganda Section

At the forefront

Soon afterwards he became a member of the MB’s Guidance Council and Executive Committee, the two highest bodies in the MB He was a key liaison between the MB and the Free Officers, who overthrew the king in 1952 A dispute erupted between the MB and Nassir over the 1954 withdrawal treaty with Britain, which recognized Britain’s right to re-deploy its troops in Egypt within seven years should its interests be threatened


The MB demanded a plebiscite on the agreement to the displeasure of the Free Officers and the R.C.C. In October 1954, an assassination attempt was made on the life of Nassir, who used the occasion to hit hard at the MB Qutb had initially been imprisoned for three months early 1954. As a result of severe torture he was transferred in May 1955 to the prison’s hospital and was released due to bad health


In July 1955, Qutb was sentenced to 15 years, most of which he spent in hospital While in prison he witnessed the persecution of his colleagues. He was particularly affected by the Turrah prison massacre in 1957. No less than ten MB members where killed and many more wounded when prison guards opened fire at them in their cells That was the moment he started thinking of the creation of a disciplined secret cadre of devoted followers

Qutb’s ideology

 

Qutb’s initial objective was self-defense He later believed that the MB had the right to resort to violence to respond to state violence The culmination of his theory was the belief in the use of violence against the unjust state that refuses to alter its behaviour Upon an appeal for clemency by Iraqi President A. Arif, Qutb was released from prison in 1964 In August 1965 he was re-arrested and charged with terrorism and sedition


The trial was a fiasco. Initially the press were permitted to cover it. As soon as defendants started testifying, proceedings were held behind closed doors Milestones (1964), the evidence presented in court against Qutb, was not convincing because, in it, he never called for a coup against the regime but to resistance through isolation from society so as to form the ‘model Ummah’ Qutb and two of his colleagues were executed on 29 August 1966


Qutb continues to inspire those who believe in the necessity of resisting the West and Arab and Muslim rulers that are seen as serving Western interests Qutb considered leaders of Muslim societies, and even those societies that agree with them, to be living in a jahiliyah, a term referring to all that is inimical to Islam In Milestones, Qutb launched a scathing attack on this jahiliyah, which pervades contemporary life throughout the Islamic world His books have been translated into Persian, Turkish, Urdu, English and several other languages

Terms and Concepts

Prior to Milestones, Qutb wrote in 1962 a book entitled: Khasa’is al-Tasawur al-Islami wa Muqawimatuh (The Characteristics and Constitutive Elements of the Islamic Conception) In Khasa’is, Qutb indirectly emulates Mawdudi by elucidating in detail a number of concepts He explains wahdaniyah (oneness of Allah) and rububiyah (Allah’s divine nature)

Terms and Concepts 2

He also explains the permanence of Allah’s order and the all-encompassing nature of Allah’s order Qutb also addresses the concept of hakimiyah (obedience to the sovereign commands of Allah) Qutb emphasized the interpretation of verses 5: 44, 45 and 47: implying that those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed are unbelievers, oppressors and sinners The verb yahkumu in his exposition is equaled to ‘to rule’ instead of ‘to judge’

Terms and Concepts 3

Al-Tajammu’ al-Haraki (Dynamic concrescence) is the embodiment of the Ummah, whose success in its mission is translated into acceptance of the trust given to it by Allah The mastery of the Ummah as a result of accepting this trust is aimed at accomplishing al-Hakimiyah This seems to have given way to the concept of tali’ah, the vanguard who figures in Al-Tajammu’ alHaraki at the time when the Ummah is absent

Groups claiming to be inspired by Qutb

 

 

The Technical Military Academy Group Al-Takfir wal-Hijrah (Pronouncing unbelief upon infidels and emigration to Islam) Al-Jihad, which assassinated Anwar Sadat Al-Gama’ah al-Islamiyah, whose spiritual leader is Sheikh Omar Abdurrahman There is no doubt that Qutb has had a lasting influence on many MB members as well

Ideologues claiming to be inspired by Qutb

Muhammad Abdussalam Farag in his book AlFaridah al-Gha’ibah (The Absent Precept) [1981] Ayman Al-Zawahiri in his book Al-Hasad al-Murr (The Bitter Harvest) Some of the ideas and writings of Hizb al-Tahrir, especially with regard to democracy and the West, are said to derive from Sayyid Qutb as well

Session 13

Islam, Democracy, Secularism, Human Rights

What do we mean by democracy?

 

An American concept of democracy An Economist article once claimed that as far as the USA was concerned democracy means two things:
 Free-market,

and  Posing no threat to American interests.

But is democracy really what you make of it?

Modern democracy according to the academics has five main stipulations:


3. 4. 5.

government and legislatures are chosen directly or indirectly by periodic elections with universal equal franchise, the voters’ choice being normally a choice between political parties; there is a sufficient degree of civil liberties (freedom of speech, publication, and association, and freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment) to make the right to choose effective; there is formal equality before the law; there is some protection for minorities; and there is general acceptance of a principle of maximum individual freedom consistent with equal freedom for others.

Democracy is understood as…

A system of procedural rules which specify who is authorized to make collective decisions and through which procedures such decisions are to be made Democracy comprises procedures for arriving at collective decisions in a way, which secures the fullest possible participation of interested parties

Democratic Procedures

 

 

Formal equality before the law Majority rule and guarantees of minority rights, which ensure that collective decisions are approved by a substantial number of those expected to make them The rule of law Constitutional guarantees of freedom of assembly and expression and other liberties, which help guarantee that those expected to decide or to elect those who decide can choose among real alternatives

Democracy in brief is

“A method of preventing those who govern from permanently appropriating power for their own ends.” Or:

“A system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens, acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of their elected representatives.” If this is what democracy is about, is it not compatible with the value of shura as practiced by the Prophet peace be upon him and by his rightly guided successors?

Democratization versus Liberalization

Liberalization entails a mix of policy and social changes, for example:
less censorship of the media,  somewhat greater space for the organization of autonomous working-class activities,  the introduction of some legal safeguards for individuals,  the releasing of political prisoners,  the return of exiles,  perhaps measures for improving the distribution of income, and  toleration of opposition.

Democratization versus Liberalization

Democratization is the transformation from authoritarian systems of government to democratic systems of government where open contestation over the right to win control of the government through free competitive elections takes place in an atmosphere of respect for basic human rights and the freedom of speech and assembly.

Islamic Perspectives on Democracy

Malik Bennabi (1905-1973) called for founding democracy in Islamic thinking and practice, and for translating democracy into an educational enterprise He further believed that democracy ought to be considered from three aspects:
  

democracy as an attitude toward the ego, democracy as an attitude toward the other, and democracy as the combination of the socio-political conditions necessary for the formation and development of such attitudes in the individual.

He stressed that “democracy can never be accomplished as a political reality unless its conditions are fulfilled in the character building of the individual and in the norms and traditions of the country. Democracy is not a mere political process. Nor is it simply a process whereby powers are handed over to the masses, to a people whose sovereignty is recognized by a specific statement in the constitution.”

Rachid Ghannouchi

“The Europeans benefited from the Islamic civilization in creating profoundly enlightened conceptions of social values whose fruit was the emergence of liberal democracy.” His most important book is in Arabic and is entitled:
 ‫اﻹﺳﻼﻣﯾﺔ‬

‫اﻟﺣرﯾﺎت اﻟﻌﺎﻣﺔ ﻓﻲ اﻟدوﻟﺔ‬  Al-Hurriyyat al-’Ammah fil-Dawlah al-Islamiyyah  (Public Liberties in the Islamic State)

Tawfiq Ash-Shawi

 

“Democracy is a European version of Islam’s shura.” “When the tree of shura withered in the land of Islam for lack of maintenance, its seeds landed, that is during the renaissance, in the lands of the Europeans where the tree of democracy grew and blossomed.” His most important book is in Arabic and is entitled:
 ‫واﻻﺳﺗﺷﺎرة‬

‫ﻓﻘﮫ اﻟﺷورى‬  Fiqh al-Shura wal-Istisharah  (The Jurisprudence of Shura and Consultation)

Hasan At-Turabi

“The origin of modern democratic thinking is traceable back to the contract of bay`ah.” The Europeans derived the origin of democratic theory from their contacts with the Islamic political fiqh. His most recent book on governance is in Arabic and is entitled:
«‫»اﻟﺳﯾﺎﺳﺔ واﻟﺣﻛم: اﻟﻧظم اﻟﺳﻠطﺎﻧﯾﺔ ﺑﯾن اﻻﺻول وﺳﻧن اﻟواﻗﻊ‬  Al-Siyasah wal-Hukm: Al-Nuzum Al-Sultaniyah bayn al-Usul wa-Sunan al-Waqi’  (Politics & Governance: Sultani Rules between fundamentals and the norms of reality)

Secularism: Reading Material

The following papers are strongly recommended:
John L. Esposito, ‘Islam and secularism in the 21st century’  Azzam Tamimi, ‘The origins of Arab secularism’  John Keane, ‘The limits of secularism’  Peter L. Berger, ‘Secularism in retreat’  Abdelwahab El-Messiri, ‘Secularism, immanence and deconstruction’

In Azzam Tamimi & John Esposito (Eds.), Islam and Secularism in the Middle East, London: Hurst & New York: NYUP, 2000

Arabic Derivative of Secularim

Secularism in Arabic is either ‘ilmaniyah (from ‘ilm science) or ‘alamaniyah (from ‘alam - world) More accurately it should have been translated into the Arabic dahriyah or dunyawiyah, meaning that which is worldly, mundane or temporal

Colonial Package

Together with other related terms - such as
 Modernity,  Westernisation  Modernisation


The concept of secularism came to the Muslim region within the context of colonialism

Marginalizing Religion

In the Western tradition, secularisation is usually taken to imply liberating the political from the authority of the religious In the Muslim world it has been used to describe a process aimed at the marginalisation of Islam, or its exclusion from the process of re-structuring society during both the colonial and the post-independence periods In the Arab region, it has entailed severing society’s cultural roots

The objective has been to effect a complete break with the past

Christian Roots 1

In the English literature on secularism, it is agreed among historians that ‘secularism’ is a Christian product Whether defined as a reaction or a protest movement, as a doctrine or an ideology, whether the eventual objective is to deny God and eliminate religion altogether or just to restrict religion to the private sphere and recognise the existence of a ‘god’ that has no say in people’s worldly, or secular, affairs, secularism cannot be comprehended unless viewed within the context of Europe’s evolution and its Christian reform movement

Christian Roots 2

In the middle ages, the term ‘secular’ was used to describe functions that were extra-ecclesiastical In order to survive in the first centuries of its existence, Christianity had to posit the principle of the separation of faith and the city; a separation that ran parallel with the distinction between the world and the body

Christian Roots 3

Christ’s injunction of ‘render unto Caesar’ - which became extremely important in St. Paul’s writing added a political dimension to Christianity and the already dual nature of Christ Christian reform movements, which sought to purge Christianity of cultural, traditional, or superstitious accretions, had an almost explicit secularising impact. In the process, religious institutions ceased to be central in society and religious consciousness diminished

Term and Concept

 

George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906), coined the term Secularism described a 19th century movement that was expressly intended to provide a certain theory of life and conduct without reference to a deity or a future life, thus proposing to fulfil a function of religion, apart from religious associations It proclaimed the independence of ‘secular’ truth, arguing that secular knowledge was founded upon the experience of this life and could be maintained and tested by reason at work in experience In its mildest forms, secularism deals with the known world interpreted by experience and neither offers nor forbids any opinion regarding another life Theoretically, unless dogma actively interfered with human happiness, secularism was content to leave it to flourish or perish as it may

Term and Concept 2

Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891), an associate of Holyoake, considered that secularism was bound to contest theistic belief and that material progress was impossible so long as ‘superstition’ so powerfully manifested itself His position was further bolstered by the assumption that the attempt to ignore, rather than deny, religion is impractical because religion embraces both secular and spiritual concerns It would be impossible to maintain that there is a God, but that He does not concern material existence


The French equivalent of secularism, laicisme, has a much more radical connotation than the English term Laicisme is conceived of as a doctrine of complete freedom from, and non-interference by, religion

The Origin of Secularism in Muslim Lands

The rise of secularism in the Muslim world occurred in completely different circumstances It was during the Western colonial era that Muslim lands witnessed gradual intellectual, social and political changes as a result of the impression left by the modes of thought and conduct brought to the area by the Western colonialists

The Rise of Arab Secularism

By the middle of the 19th century, Europe began to have a tangible cultural impact on the Arab region. It was then that secularism entered the intellectual debate in the Arab world A new cultural model was being introduced quietly by enthusiasts and admirers of the West, or imposed by the authorities of colonialism that put forward a new set of standards alien to the Islamic standards upon which local culture was based

Diagnosis and Remedy

The early Arab debate on secularism centred mainly on the relationship between religion and the state, and on the means of accomplishing the successes Europe had been able to achieve in science, technology and governance The decline of the Islamic civilisation had prompted a number of Arab intellectuals, some of whom had already been exposed to European culture and had been impressed by the accomplishments of Europe, to call for radical reform

Between Religion and Reason

Conflicts were initiated between din (religion) and `aql (reason), between asalah (nobility) and mu`asarah (modernity), between din and dawlah (state) and between din and `ilm (science or knowledge) Two trends were initially distinguishable among the intellectuals engaged in the debate; one Islamic and the other Christian

Early Advocates of Arab Secularism

A group of Christian Arabs some of whom had received their education at the Syrian Protestant College and then settled down in Egypt were the first to campaign for secularism. The group included:
 Shibli

Shumayyil (1850-1917)  Farah Antun (1874-1922)  Georgie Zaidan (1861-1914)  Ya`qub Suruf (1852-1917)  Salama Musa (1887-1958)  Nicola Haddad (1878-1954)

Intellectual Platforms

Al-Muqtataf and Al-Hilal, founded respectively in 1876 and 1892, were two bulletins published and edited by writers and thinkers belonging to this group to propagate such ideas as the love of country and fellow countrymen should transcend all other social ties even those of religion The main aim of these intellectuals was to lay down the presuppositions of a secular state in which Muslims and Christians could participate on a footing of complete equality

Muslim Pioneers of Secularization

Qasim Amin (1865-1908), known as the emancipator of women, suggested that the problem with the Muslims was the lack of science. He wrote:

“Perfection was not to be found in the past, even the Islamic past; it could only be found, if at all, in the distant future. The path to perfection was science, and in the present age it was Europe which was most advanced in the sciences and therefore also on the path to social perfection. Europe is ahead of us in every way, and it is not true that while they are materially better than us we are morally better. The Europeans are morally more advanced; their upper and lower classes, it is true, are rather lacking in sexual virtue, but the middle class has high morals in every sense, and all classes alike have the social virtues.”

Muslim Pioneers of Secularization

Ahmad Lutfi As-Sayyid (1872-1963) believed that religion, whether it be Islamic or not, was relevant only as one of the constituent factors of society Ali Abd Ar-Raziq (1888-1966), an Al-Azhar graduate who had come to Oxford for higher education, published a book in 1925 entitled al-Islam wa Usul alHukm: Bahth fi al-Khilafah wa al-Hukumah fi al-Islam (Islam and the Fundamentals of Government: A Thesis in Caliphate and Government in Islam)

He claimed there were no such things as Islamic political principles and denied the existence of a political order in Islam claiming that the Prophet never established one and that it was not part of his mission to found a State

Islamic Critique

The pioneers of Arab secularism founded the principles of their thought on a number of incorrect assumptions Islam was assumed to have a spiritual authority, or a clergy, that hindered progress and prohibited the freedom of thought, and that should therefore be prevented from interfering in temporal matters It was furthermore assumed to conflict with reason and science. This led to the conclusion that as Europe rid itself of the influence of religion as a prelude for progress, the Arabs needed to constrain Islam

Islam and Human Rights Basic Questions

  

What is Islam? What is Islam’s vision of humanity? Can a concept of human rights be found in Islam?

Islam is a faith that demands living in accordance with

  

A divine frame of reference A divinely ordained standard of preference A divinely structured code of morality

The Beginnings of the Islamic Discourse

Egyptian Islamist thinker Ali Abd al-Wahid Wafi authored Huquq al-Insan fil-Islam, in which he defended Islam’s record on human rights and tried to show that Islam both preceded the West in declaring rights and continues to offer a superior system Leftists and liberals migrating to the Islamic camp after the defeat of the Arabs in 1967 The Islamic left and Al-Muslim Al-Mu’asir (Beirut) in the mid 70’s

Mawdudi’s Input

Mawdudi delivered a lecture at the Civil Rights and Liberties Forum in Lahore, Pakistan in November 1975 He argued that the call for respect for basic human rights had been anticipated by Islam and that its teachings in this regard were far superior to Western norms He spoke of Islam’s guarantees of the rights to life, property, freedom of conscience and expression, justice, etc.

Islamic Conventions and Declarations

In 1980, the University of Kuwait hosted a seminar on Islam and Human Rights in collaboration with the International Commission of Jurists and the Union of Arab Lawyers In 1981, the London-Based Islamic Council produced its Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights, emulating the UN Univ. Dec. article by article The OIC Cairo Declaration of Human Rights (1991)

Islamic Human Rights Activism

Islamic Movements introduced human rights into their discourse starting with the Tunisian Islamic Tendency Movement in the early eighties, the Turkish Islamists in the early nineties and later on the Muslim Brotherhood in the mid-nineties The first Islamic organisation for the defence and promotion of human rights was the London-based Liberty for the Muslim World (1992-1998) In Turkey, the Islamists set up Mazlum Der (Home of the Oppressed) in around 1993-1994

Islamic Thinkers on Human Rights

Since the early eighties, several prominent Islamic thinkers have address various aspects of Human Rights in Islam These include from the Arab world:
 Fat-hi

Osman, Muhammad al-Ghazali, Hasan Turabi, Muhammad Amara, Muhammad Salim El-Awwa, Tariq al-Bishri, Fahmi Huwaidi, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Abd al-Wahab El-Affandi, and others

Rooting the Concept in the Islamic Doctrine

Ibn Taymiyh’s Al-Siyasah al-Shar’iyah and his interpretation of verse 25 of Surat al-Hadid and verses 58-59 of Surat al-Nisa’ Al-Shatibi’s Al-Muwafaqat and his theory of maqasid al-Shari’ah (the purposes of Shari’ah) Ibn Khaldun’s theory of al-’umran (civility) in his AlMuqaddimah

Qur’anic Principles

Al-Hadid (25): We sent aforetime our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of right and wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; and we sent down iron in which is great might as well as many benefits for mankind. Al-Nisa’ (58-59): Allah does command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between people that you judge with justice; verily how excellent is the teaching with He gives you, for Allah is He Who hears and sees all things. O you who believe, obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best, and most suitable for final determination.

Legitimate Rights

Shari’ah-based (legitimate) rights in the Islamic conception are not the product of some philosophical contemplation, but are religious rights & duties Scholars classified legitimate rights into two categories:
the rights of God, which refer to whatever pertains to the public good (or the interest of the public at large); they are not exclusive to an individual or a group of individuals, and  the rights of the servant, which refer to whatever pertains to an individual (personal) interest.

These two categories refer to the rights of the community and the rights of the individual

An Islamic Conception

Rights are part and parcel of a whole system of social functions and responsibilities that take into consideration the rights of others Legitimate human rights include guarantees of both individual and communal interests in an endeavour to establish a balance between individuality and the need to protect the security and harmony of the entire community


Human rights in Islam are faith-based rights that aim to accomplish the objectives of human existence Human rights in Islam are derived from what Al-Shatibi (d. 790H/1388CE) ‘the five necessities’ of protecting faith, of protecting life, of protecting the mind, of protecting progeny and of protecting property These necessities are individual duties as much as they are individual rights. For instance, preserving life entails the individual responsibility of guaranteeing the individual’s moral and material dignity. Since man does not possess his soul, which is the property of its Creator, he has no right to kill himself or to inflict harm on his body let alone causing death or harm to others

Al-Shatibi’s Theory of Maqasid

After thorough consideration of the rules of Shari’ah, Al-Shatibi concluded that Shari’ah-based obligations relate directly to their purposes in the lives of humans. These purposes, he suggested, belonged to one of three categories:

necessities that are indispensable for both faith and life and whose loss will lead to misery, destruction and death; utilities that are needed for the purpose of avoiding hardships that may in turn lead to discomfort; and ameliorates that may be expressed in terms of good manners.