This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
http://www.qaysarthur.net/pro tests-the-state-and-the-co mprado r-bo urgeo isie/
Protests, the State, and the Comprador Bourgeoisie
by Qays Arthur
T his post is in response to a request by students to f urther comment on the matter of the revolts that have gripped this part of the world with particular consideration to the question are they halal or not. I will not attempt to give a ruling, I am a madrasateacher, not a mufti. What I will attempt to do is add to the discussion, started by Imam Z aid Shakir in a recent commentary on these revolts in emel magazine, then of f er some advice. Imam Z aid mentions some key f actors that need to be taken into account when assessing revolts such as those we are witnessing in the Arab World, from the point of view of political theory. T hese f actors are thoughtf ully chosen and comprehensive in scope and make a suitable point of departure f or f urther discussion. Bef ore stepping into the discussion however, I should like to state that my perspective is not one of a scholar of political science or international relations. It is, however, based on the f act I that I am of eligible voting age, am Guyanese and thus a survivor of one of Washington’s post-colonial cold war political adventures, and a Muslim student of sacred knowledge who loves dearly, and currently resides in the Muslim World. So be warned. To proceed; it is important to acknowledge, as Imam Z aid mentioned, that it may not be said that all protests are halal or haram . In the f inal analysis each case merits it own consideration. It seems to me that there is no real disagreement on this matter as even those recent fatwaswhich give a blanket ruling, whether one of permissibility or otherwise, do so with particular def initions of “protests” or muzaharat in mind. It is also important, when looking at contemporary legal (whether Sharia or otherwise) issues, to recognize that it is absurd to expect any legal corpus to address the specif ics of new matters; if the texts addressed the matter it would not be new. However, a mature legal system, such as the Shar’ al-Sharif , may be expected to address all matters in principle and provide a basis f or new situations. I intend to demonstrate, later in this article insha Allah , that in the Hanaf i school while rebellion is permitted as a departure f rom the basis, it is not to be undertaken in the manner we have seen since the beginning of the 20th century in the Muslim World, and that the basis regarding regimes in Muslim nations today is that they are legitimate even if terribly f lawed.
THE BOURGEOISIE STATE
T he basis or asl, however, is the starting point and there are situations when one may or must depart f rom it. Yet discerning when to depart f rom it requires sound understanding. It is theref ore necessary, bef ore considering the legality of any particular protest, f or both the jurist as well as the politically astute observer to attempt to correctly understand the “Arab Spring” in the broader context of the Ummah. And it is with regard to achieving such an understanding that the f actors mentioned by Imam Z aid are particularly usef ul. T he f irst of the f actors mentioned is the nation-state. Given what I can discern of the basis in the Hanaf i school, that rule is legitimate once it is established even if it is established by illegitimate means (out of necessity – more on that later), it may be said that so long as the nation-state may be ef f ectively used to establish order, its philosophical and political underpinnings are secondary to whether or not it works. Furthermore the f act that it is adopted as the f ramework f or
in Egypt. the most f undamental of which was the nation-state. at the expense of the ulama (and their madrasas). the comprador bourgeoisie. within the leadership of the Empire. nationalism and secularism come to Muslim shores. who would. who. typically vilif ied in many Western sources. or proxy middle class. convinced by the marvels of European military technology.social organization in the Muslim World does not necessarily mean that all of its underpinnings have been accepted or even understood by rulers or the populaces. T he Sultan’s court nevertheless persisted. the turban was all but outlawed in the civil service. Salim II and Mahmud II (with his Tanzimat) in the 1800s. it seems. but the Janissaries and jizya were abolished (the f ormer. were incapable of other than post-enlightenment European thought. I contend. began at least as early as the 18th century in the Ottoman empire when Ottoman leaders. but rather due to the historical dynamic that it is part of . wittingly and unwittingly but ever consistently act in the interest of f oreign powers. through the same means. T hrough those military institutions. Additionally.T hat brings our discussion to another important f actor mentioned by Imam Z aid. Ref orms of Ottoman sultans. T he modern nation-state was all but imposed on Muslims through a unique process of colonization of minds via education. in more than one territory represented by ulama and dif f erent military divisions such as the Janissairies. Earlier “ref orm-minded” Ottoman rulers like Salim II and later nationalists like Kemal Ataturk. and homosexuality was decriminalized. and. T hus by 1860 not only had paper banknotes along with a French f inance and legal system been introduced. Ahmed Orabi or Saad Z aghlul were examples of that one class. nationalistic ideals were introduced under islahat (ref orms) that removed provisions associated with religious af f iliation and promoted French revolution liberty. modernization and ref orm would bring something else that would render all f ormer . T he empire of course would continue its decline despite those “enlightened” remedies. T hese schools. in f act. unprecedented corruption. It seems the religious establishment. T he result was sundry revolts throughout the ailing empire. Innocuous as such objectives appeared what was being ref ormed was more than a f ailing bureaucracy. crushing those who opposed ref orm. invited the French to set up schools to teach things like artillery methods in the empire. aimed at altering Muslim attitudes towards religion and society and dividing their ranks. since that time islah or ref orm. T hat class of elites would be reproduced. T his intelligentsia was. and would supervise the gradual replacement of the organic Sharia-based Ottoman model of social organization with the nation-state. T hat agenda would be advanced as one of modernization and ref orm. this intelligentsia would rise to prominence. merits or demerits in political theory. T hey were nevertheless maintained by the rulers and were run parallel to religious schools ormadrasas. which were being set up at a cost of course. T hus would the nation-state. f or example. and technology by establishing Western laws and institutions. were brutally eliminated). T heir ethnic causes may have dif f ered but their methods and goals were very similar. were opposed by many of theulama on the grounds that they were teaching not only artillery methods but secular thought. was keenly aware of that. T his process. meant something that targeted the religious and social f abric of society as well as politics and bureaucratic practices. at other power centers in the Muslim world such as Egypt. Clearly. Post colonial elites sought the promotion of liberal Western thought and mores (with all that entails of the marginalization of religion). and debt. and loss of the leadership’s religious identity would result. T he program of Sultan Mahmud II was said to be aimed at modernizing and ref orming the military and government while addressing the empire’s decline and widespread corruption. in the Muslim World. helped land the Ottoman empire in massive debt and set in motion powerf ul f orces that would ultimately result in Ataturk’s imposed secular nation-state. So to my mind the nation-state is signif icant regarding revolutions in the Muslim world not because of its nuances. the early manif estation of Imam Z aid’s “comprador bourgeoisie”. T hese secularizing institutions played a vital role in the emergence of a new “intelligentsia”. Western technology and education.
represented ethnic nationalism. How could it have been otherwise when the revolutionaries f elt entitled to rule in the f irst place due to their own conf ormity to European. It was. workers. T he point of the f oregoing is that it seems revolutions in the Muslim world. yes. not in 2011 but. elite. as such. young of f icers. Saad Z aghlul who. dangerously unstable and prone to manipulation: revolutionary ideology of the particularly French variety. . occurred f irst. with their static. since the 20th century. merchants. Little did the youths: young Turks. Indeed the very impetus f or the 1919 Egyptian revolution was the revolutionaries’ conviction that Egyptian society was suf f iciently Westernized (monogamous and Victorian in morality) to be granted independence (which was a condition of the British f or granting “f ull independence”). was annexed meaning the nation was split and the British military remained to keep an eye on the Suez and other interests. and about 800 dead. a “mass movement… characterised by the participation of both men and women… spanning the religious divide between Muslim and Christian Egyptians”. where women were in the streets and on public platf orms. the British granted f ormal statehood and “independence” to an entity that we now know as Egypt. peasants. T hat revolution was heavily inf luenced if not lead by the nationalist leader. T hey sought a nation-state which. civil servants. was a moral imperative synonymous with independence. T he new nation-state with its constitutional system was one that Western powers could and did manipulate to their advantage as was evident in events that unf olded thereaf ter which would eventually lead to the 1952 revolution by the young Free Of f icer’s Movement and eventually Mubarak’s long rule. T he Egyptian revolution f or example. not unlike Orabi’s revolution in the late 1800s. would ultimately serve European interests in the region. and almost religious f aith in and reliance upon f oreign technology. patronizing rhetoric of “ref orm“. T he scheming of f oreign powers plays a most signif icant part in all this. where “normal lif e was brought to a halt”. and religious leaders”. yet another “youth” revolution. thought? So af ter the non-violent 1919 revolution. in 1919 against the British. but it is also clear f rom our history to date that the success of such scheming depended heavily on Muslims and Arabs not being suf f iciently genuine to Islam and even Arab traditions to pursue paradigms that dare to challenge Western philosophical and political dogma. not excluding those in the Arab World. How this can be said to be the case when so many of the comprador bourgeoisie who are being challenged today are themselves retired revolutionaries is beyond me. like Ahmed Orabi bef ore him. Sudan. their seeking the imposition of Western values (even if they manage to conscript “Islamists” f or cultural legitimacy) and institutions.Ottoman provinces. have represented little more than competition and struggles f or power among the comprador bourgeoisie to enf orce the agenda of non-Muslim powers in Muslim lands. to secular revolutionaries of the time (like the Young Turks in Turkey and the Fatat or youths in the Arab world). the truly unprecedented one that saw “demonstrations and strikes across Egypt by students. REVOLUTION AND REFORM It is truly astounding that so many regard the revolutions of the Arab Spring as novel and unprecedented. not so much a revolution against f oreign rule and inf luence as it was against f oreign rulers. all over the Muslim world realize that they were helping to build systems that would be ef f ectively used by f oreign powers against their people’s interests. T he type of education revolutionaries like Z aghlul and other effendis (the Egyptian intelligentsia) received under the Khedive then the British ensured that they were in no position to question the social and political underpinnings of f oreign rule much less divest themselves or others of them. in particular Victorian British. bef ore. T he 1919 revolution. young Arabs. which was part of “Egypt” bef ore the revolution and whose people participated in it.
T he question theref ore with regard to the Arab Spring of 2011 is whether that dynamic has changed. not to mention technology. and subordinated by having to perpetually learn (as opposed to master) ever changing systems of social organization. Insha Allah my next post will examine just that. at times. Cambridge University Press. 2010. .T he misguided if . . 2003. What this indicates to me is that f or any revolution in the Arab Muslim world to be truly revolutionary it needs to demonstrate a Muslim and Arab self -awareness that has hitherto been absent f rom revolutionary discourse in the region (but that is f or another post). Routledge. prone to exploitation. Today the Muslim World is a volatile. seem suf f iciently educated to imitate but not suf f iciently motivated to innovate. since the 19th century. that are not at all indigenous.Such revolutions are part of a dynamic that sees power conf ined to a class of people who. Notes:  See: Boyar and Fleet. utterly divided. . and resources. To sum up. as I said f oreign powers have depended on this complex dynamic that negates both genuine Islam and genuine Arabness (I don’t see the latter as f ar removed f rom the f ormer) by f acilitating a comprador bourgeoisie to set up nation-states that negate the religious and cultural f abric of Muslim societies leaving them f ractured. pseudo-secular landscape that struggles to hold on to its religion. culture. sincere ef f ort of that group speaks f or itself .  See: Haney and Pollard.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.