In response to the barbaric rhetorical attack based on faith against Muslims, we almost must agree that what happens almost on daily basis is only a very subtle demonstration of how space for a Muslim’s ‘humanness’ has been snatched away. But what one does not get enough space to engage with is Political Islam.
By Inshah Malik
The persistent pleas of exhibiting autonomy on the pretext of political stability are overdue and resilient in a large part of the world. Today we witness ravaging conflicts, especially in a world that is well clad in rhetoric of all encompassing shades. We stand at a time where politics employs labels that implore absolute meanings. The countries/terrains/ spaces with Muslim populations are witnessing a trend which has not been unknown for certain reasons historically. Our politics is slowly turning into absolute truths fashioned and refashioned with time to be strengthened and endorsed. We do not of course witness how difficult it is to engage with mere labels until our personal encounters happen to us. Times have long passed when a ‘black’ person could be so conveniently humiliated in public or perhaps we are well over the times when racial bias against the Jews was a norm. In India especially (the country where political claims weigh far much greater than actualities) a dominant mainstream is still very receptive of a ‘Dalit’ (Socially discriminated caste) but what about a Muslim?
In response to the barbaric rhetorical attack based on faith against Muslims, we almost must agree that what happens almost on daily basis is only a very subtle demonstration of how space for a Muslim’s ‘humanness’ has been snatched away. But what one does not get enough space to engage with is Political Islam. The use of this term that i am borrowing from academia refers to a varied difference–sans nationalism– sans a cultural claim. Are we conveniently than ascribing labels (political ones) to simply defy a more nuanced inquiry that it demands? After all what are these claims that Political Islam lays over us? I would like to dwell into these claims and also place it inside a context (often very misplaced from journalistic pieces and liberal commentary).
Some of the interesting claims that it lays on Human beings (in this case first Muslims and then the world) are basically and foremost ‘god centric’ and not ‘power’ centric. The pan-ultimate claims of an internal reform (Muslim reform) to build a relation of human with God and make human’s connection of servitude with God alone. All political structure that bases its premise on ‘sovereignty’ is demonized by the political Islam as against Human beings. It claims every thing/system on this earth is fallible. Therefore ultimate sovereignty must not belong to anything but to the ‘book’ which is God’s guidance for mankind. These claims are not as simplistic as we assume they are, nor is Islamic theology a rule book but a diverse realm of debate, argument on the realm of difference and plurality. Many Western scholars have noted the ‘culture of difference’ existent within Islam is to the extent that one Muslim Scholar on the drop of a hat would accuse another of ‘disbelief’. Therefore, emerges the actuality of Islam as a political system. If theology is vast and varied how does one suppose that political Islam is a monolithic, and essentially an anti-human entity?
Political Islam agrees unanimously on one proposition that Human beings are not slaves of each other but slaves of God alone. There is an important scanty awareness that our disagreement with political Islam that transpires and of which it is deliberately accused– that is of being medieval in nature. This awareness stems on the assumption of ’we have evolved’. Most probably the secular mainstream believes that there was a time when we needed God, but that need is over and displaced–replaced by modern scientific advances, rationality and pure reason.
The leaps of human progress– have been— polytheism to monotheism to atheism and hence, our overwhelming success in doing away with the dependency on God. This misinformed social evolution has led us to under estimate the fact that in the ‘other’ there exists the Hinduism (polytheism), Buddhism (atheism) and Islam (monotheism), and one has to but agree that we have not overcome either of the phases (if they so be) but they have existed side by side and continue to do so. Social evolution does not serve more than an illusion that forces existent knowledge into channels, filtered and altered.
But here I must mention that political Islam has emerged through violent politics from Egypt, Chechnya, Afghanistan to Kashmir in an organized fashion largely against political oppression. There is a recognition that political power that once allowed Muslims to advance into rationality and all human geniuses, —its lack, taming through colonization has led to political regress. Our cold treatment to political Islam that seeks to build a just governance ‘God centric’ (religeo-secular) pattern has led to constricted space for pluralism.
If we can, we must retrieve Political Islam from the onslaught and oppression of political rhetoric and label politics