Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mission: Neutralization


Maryam Sakeenah

Daniel Pipes, in his article ‘Fixing Islam’ in ‘The Jerusalem Post,’ writes: “The global War on Terror cannot be won through counter terrorism alone; it also requires convincing the terrorists and their sympathizers that their goals and methods are faulty and bound to fail… the immediate war-goal must be to destroy militant Islam, and the ultimate war goal the modernization of Islam.”

That was shortly after the Crusade received its name in 2001. Pipes, an undisguised Zionist, works hard for the establishment of the ‘Islamic Progress Institute’ (IPI) in order to ‘articulate a moderate, modern and pro-American view’. This he hopes to achieve with the help of unnamed ‘anti-Islamist Muslims.’

He need not have taken the pains. All over the Muslim world, the media as well as the leaders (in most cases implanted and perpetuated by the West) have taken up Pipes’ mission with self-righteous zeal.

The mission to neutralize the Muslim mind, to create in it a battleground of conflict and confusion between the traditions he has held on to and the modernity he must submit his ancient convictions to. A war within Islam. The dictator on his cushioned seat and the anchor on the T.V show have assumed the all-important roles of preacher and jurist on the unholy mission to decapitate Islam.

And in winning ways. The mission is heavily financed, designed and overseen by the approving glance of Western think-tanks. The Muslim is being told to redefine his belief and its parameters in the context of the New World Order. Islam, they say, must succumb to a more malleable, adaptable, pluralist, impotent version approved of by Western standards, posing no moral threat to its Great Game, no promise of strength to revivify the great tradition that engendered it. An Enlightened, Moderated Islam. The Islam of ‘Khuda Kay Liye’, preached with missionary zeal: a secularized, humanitarian doctrine, a spiritual theology that makes no onerous demands, that asks for no sacrifice, no blood; that tolerates, includes, allows, lets things be. Merely. The Islam that wins words of approbation by the Father of Enlightened Moderation. We are being taught how to understand Islam and how much to understand it by all the Toms, Dicks and Harrys you can think of_ especially those that do not sport an unseemly beard; those that show the skin a little more and talk Islam with a toss of their salon-styled tresses.

This is the talk-of-the-town Islam. ‘Islam is peace, tolerance, moderation. Jihad is the purification of the inner self. Jeo aur Jeenay do.’

On the other side of the divide is the cornered, muffled group all our Operations Silence cannot silence. Irritable, unsettling, unnerving… it makes an echo in the heart…

Abu Huraira (R.A) relates that the Prophet (S) said, “The best life is of the man who undertakes Jihad sitting on his steed, holding its stirrup and hastening in the land; when he hears from some direction clamour or anxious news, he runs in its direction to be killed and seeks death its haunts. Out of all the people, there is no other on a better path.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (S) said, “When you leave Fighting in Allah’s Cause, Allah will impose on you disgrace and shall not remove it till you take up Fighting in Allah’s Way again.” (Abu Daud)

The Prophet (S) said to the Companions (RA), “ ‘Soon, non-Muslim nations will pounce on you like the hunger-stricken on a food-laden tablecloth.’ The Companions asked, ‘Will we be few in number then?’ The Prophet (S) answered, ‘No! You will be great in your numbers, but you will be like foam in the water. Allah will remove your awe and fear from the hearts of your enemies and will afflict your hearts with love of the world and the fear of dying.”

The guns at G6 have fallen silent, the cries muffled. But we are faced with an overwhelming question that demands an honest confrontation with the concocted, manipulated, self-styled Islam that we made submit to ourselves.

Prattlers on peace, we feign shock and horror at the terrifying prospect of a worshipper / student being trained to use a gun while in the seminary. We forget that the holistic vision of Islam equips its upholders with necessary strength to defend its name. That in the many battles fought by the Prophet (S)’s army, prayers and swords went together and the masjid housed the Muslim arsenal. The Prophet (S) advised arrow-shooting and the martial arts be learnt and taught as a part of a Muslim upbringing. That a Muslim is not trained to be a secluded, retreated hermit but an active agent for social reform through the establishment of Islam.

While we love to tell of how the purification of the self is the greatest jihad, we shrink from quoting the myriad verses of the Quran that unequivocally talk of the use of physical strength to eradicate injustice. Ever wondered why it was thought necessary to exclude Surah Taubah from the syllabi? It takes honesty and courage to call a spade a spade:

“Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; And indeed Allah is able to give them victory. Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ For had it not been Allah’s repelling one group by means of another, monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft-mentioned would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily, Allah helps those who help Him. Allah is Strong, Almighty.” (Surah Hajj, 40-41)

The Islam we profess is a convenient compromise, selective, sifted-out in the mesh of secularism. In the battleground of ideas, we are the ignoble side-switchers, not deserving of the nobility of holding out in the struggle.

President Bush said this was a war between ‘our values and theirs.’ At home, Musharraf has reiterated many times that the real battle is between ‘moderation and extremism.’ Years ago, the U.S think-tank RAND in its report classified Muslims into four broad categories: the ‘Fundamentalists’ who ‘reject democratic values and Western culture’, the ‘Traditionalists’ who are ‘suspicious of modernity, innovation and change’, the ‘Modernists’ who ‘want the Islamic world to become part of the global modernity’ and the ‘Secularists’ who ‘want the Islamic world to accept the separation of religion and state.’ While the latter two support the West and ought to be considered allies in the Mission, the first two classes ‘are the real enemy and deserve to be killed,’ said the report. The first two groups subscribe usually to an orthodox version of Islam. As an effective antidote to their beliefs, ‘Sufism’ must be propagated among Muslim societies as it is ‘ideal for the Western cause.’ Ideal because of its Perennialist approach, its belief in the oneness of all religions, its emphasis on the spirit alone and not the letter of the Law; on the inner self alone and not the outer milieu in the midst of which ‘Deen’ achieves its fruition, its flowering. Encage Islam within the rosary bead-string, the prayer mat, the dhikr-chanting circles, the ‘qawwalis’, the whirling dervishes in the air heavy and thick with poppy-scent. And sit easy.

But the Believer, the eternal dreamer, the coarse-clothed, dusty-haired, hardy loner still holds out, formidable, unassailable. His simple mind, his straight but firmly-rooted convictions do not cave in. His unlettered, madrassa-educated intellect isn’t seduced; his upstanding being not colonized, what with all the think-tanks, the bombs, the propaganda, the intelligence, alliances, policies, discourses_ the wiles and guiles of neo-conservatism. In the battlefield of ideas, he is the Unvanquished:

In the shadow of this monstrous monument of your power

I am buried.

Trampled in the dust, trodden on,

Bathed in sacred blood.

Alive! I herald your doom,

For I am not the dust clinging on feet

Swept off at will,

Nor the flickering candle you can blow out with your icy breath,

But an Indelible Image,

The Truth

Inscribed in the Immortal Heart of the Earth

That sleeps beneath your feet…

Waiting for the Resurrection

From beneath your very foothold