Welcoming 2012

Peace be with you!

As the year 2012 approaches, for most of the newly elected and soon to be elected Islamic parties in the middle east and north Africa it will be a year of hope and anxiety. Faced with a legacy of corruption and mismanagement and the distrust of mixing “religion” with politics as well as a global recession, Islamic parties will have a short time to prove that they can transform the people’s insecurities to security and poverty to prosperity. A word of comfort is God’s promise:

“…those who believe and engage in reforming actions, He will grant them legitimacy in the land, as He granted it to those before them, and He will establish for them their way of life, which He has chosen for them … and will transform their fears into security providing they are steadfast to serving Me and non other. (and) Whosoever, turns away ( from these principles) thereafter, they are the corrupt.” 24:55

Hence, Muslim and non-Muslim governments and non-state agencies ( groups and organisations) could maximise their popularity and legitimacy with God and their masses, should they trod a path as follows:

  • To strengthen their belief and understanding in the Oneness of God (Tawheed) and how this permeates throughout society and work towards manifesting its meaning in society through principles of equality and distributive justice.  A useful principle to remember here is that all humans and all creation, whether knowingly or not are ‘Servants of God,’ and Allah is One and Unique and expects no less than justice for all of His servants, Muslim and non-Muslim.
  • To be conscious that it is only through applying an ideal of social justice which stems from an understanding of Tawheed, in a non-oppressive manner as far is humanly possible that popular legitimacy and social justice can be achieved. “Those who believe in the Oneness of God and worship (live a God Conscious life) and do not confuse their belief with Zulm (Social and Spiritual Oppression) they will obtain security and guidance from Allah.”6:82 
  • The aforementioned ideals in practice are extremely difficult to achieve given the wide and complex range of current social agents shaped by a decade of social, historical and religious factors. This is why it is necessary for forthcoming Muslim governments to establish a clear definition of citizenship, citizen participation and civil action. The recent awakening of the masses worldwide, especially in Muslim countries, is now pushing to the forefront of the social and political agendas of all states and governments questions of: the meaning of Citizenship, Human Rights and Religious Freedom within the public space. Couple with the use of global social media and networks it is only a matter of time before the very agency and sovereignty of the ideas of ‘Statehood’ and of ‘Nationhood’ are deemed questionable and or redefined. Hence, instead of thinking merely about the meaning of Citizenship, forthcoming leaders, policy makers and thinkers across world-views may well be advised to clarify their nations’s role and place as global citizens.  Will western nations reform their policy approaches towards others, especially Islamist led states? Or will they forge alliances with minority and shared-interest groups to destabilise these new Islamic democracies? How will Muslim nations tackle issues of social cohesion and justice and to what extent will they go in breaking the monopolies of business cartels and promote free and open markets? Will old and stale conflicts be reignited in 2012 or take the path to conflict resolution? Share with us your views, news and reviews as the events unfold and may the peace of God be with you.
Admin at vivaislam.org

Published by

Malick Elias

The vision of 'Vivaislam' is to provide a space for Muslim and non-Muslim activists to air their voices on how best to organise and manage their world. The aim is to focus upon recommending solutions to issues of social injustices, freedoms and citizenship facing predominantly Muslim and non-Muslim societies, rather than offering descriptions of problems. It is our hope that these voices will reach the echelons of power and influence.

4 thoughts on “Welcoming 2012”

    1. As-salamu ‘Alaikum Abdullah.
      What in particular was interesting? Your wisdom and solutions will be appreciated.

  1. Salaamun aleikum, all.

    A thought provoking opening piece and I broadly concur with the line of questioning.

    A principal concern of mine is the continued threat of counter-revolutionary/reformational forces, and the possibility that the ‘revolution’ was orchestrated and/or co-opted for purposes of maintaining, expanding and refining the dominant/hegemonic global power system – White Supremacy (Racism) under the mask of liberal democratic capitalism. In terms of solutions, I would counsel extreme caution and a scepticism (without cynicism) at every phase of tackling the challenges you outline: To be cautious is to exercise behaviour consistent with taqwa (self-preservation through heightened awareness of the consequences of exceeding the boundaries that God/Allah has laid down for the benefit of human self-development); to be sceptical, or rather, suspicious is fully warranted on grounds of prudence and, in my opinion, is consistent with Qur’anic teaching. (In this regard, I refer interested readers to the following Bandung2 blog post: http://bandung2.blog.co.uk/2006/12/10/yvonne_ridley_a_jane_brown~1424060/)

    Recently, Muslim scholar, Dr Khaled Abou El Fadl, presented an interesting lecture which goes some way toward tackling some of the concerns you raise in your opening piece. The talk is entitled “Is Shari’ah The Solution – Promises and Problematics of Divine Law Today” and is available for download (MP3 format) from here:


    Fi amaan illah

  2. And Peace be unto you!
    I have just learnt my first lesson in blogging. I spent a significant amount of time replying to you mail with references for further research but in the end I pressed the wrong button and lost it all. Here is a short summary of my reply. Readers will have to do the research.
    (1) The curent changes taking place world wide were destined to take place. All planners will know that it is difficult to plan away uncertainty. The governments which introduced social change top-to-down are now faced with failure. They are now relearning that the only way to the peoples’ heart is to share their cultural, social and political concerns and that repression will eventually fail. Hence, counter-revolutionaries and hegemonists will now have to rethink their winning of hearts and minds strategies. In this, there is a message for Islamists too, both in the middle east and those in western countries. Change cannot be clothed in unfamiliar garb is has to be fostered at the grass roots levels of society.
    (2) I listened to the comments made by Dr al-Fadl in his lecture on: ‘Is the Shari’ah the Solution?’ Though mainly descriptive his pontifications on the meaning of the Sharia’h are not new. Soon after the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Muslim authorities struggled with questions of the manifestations of the Divine will (Justice) on earth. In my mind the best extrapolations of what that Justice meant in essence were the thoughts of Abdul Jabbar Ahmed a 9th -10th century (AD) Mu’tazilite theologian who argued that essentially ‘Tawheed’ was justice in that Allah represented all that was moral and good (Hasanah) and did not represent the ugly or immoral (Qabeeh). The thoughts of Imam al-Ghazaali a Shafi’te jurist and later of Imam ash-Shaatibi who explained that purpose of the Shari’ah itself and indeed its social objective was to promote the ‘Maslahah’ or social good. In other words to ensure that the requirements of social justice were being met. Shatibi, proposed the idea of the ‘Maqaasid’ or objectives of the law citing that the Shari’ah had set out to protect the life, property, procreation, religion and intellect of the masses. Today the terms are now articulated in a new discourse of ‘Awlawiyaah ash-Shari’ah’ (priorities of the law). I did reference these concepts in my now lost response. However, the crust or pragmatism of the matter is that the Shari’ah bears the essence of any legal system which sets out to protect society from chaos. The differences are in the value systems which underpin both legal systems and ways of life. In many ways it is like the semantic in the dichotomy of western democracy and Shurah as a consultive form of governance.
    And God knows best. Excuse any errors you may find.
    Peace be with you.
    Admin at vivaislam.org

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