The Ummah and America
In the present world situation it is important that we, the Muslim nation, both protect and propagate the Deen. On the face of it, admittedly, it appears confusing. We have been landed with a secret society of terrorists in a secretly funded and executed guerrilla war. There is a hidden leadership with a hidden agenda, and one highly dubious, iconic ‘Old Man of the Mountains’. While pretending to be Islamic, they slaughter Muslims. Yet at the same time that they pose as ‘extremist’ Muslims, they have a zero ideological position. The founding terrorist groups of 19th century Russia had Proudhon, Bakunin and Marx. The Chinese revolutionaries had Mao’s Little Red Book. Yet when they call on us to rise up and destroy, they do not tell us what they are calling us to establish.
Since Deen is not founded on ideology but on ‘aqida and ‘amal and jama’at, how can we, the Muslim masses, fall behind them when they have no jama’at, we cannot approve of their ‘amal, and we know nothing of whatever ‘aqida they may claim? Added to this is that while terrorism and anarchism have an ideological base, Deen has a ruhani base which traces social equity back to the right-acting individual. ‘Birr’ is a term both of Fiqh and Tasawwuf. Qadi Iyad’s ‘Tartib al-Mudarak’ was written to demonstrate that, properly speaking, the Shari‘at is not founded on canon principles, but in reality is founded on right-guided and right-acting individuals. In other words, without a just Qadi there can be no just society. The existence of the zahid fuqaha is the evidentiary necessity of a Muslim society.
Our present difficulty does not lie with these people, but in the bitter fact that kafir media and indeed state authorities in some cases have taken this as a licence to persecute the Muslims and in a massive anti-Da’wa have used these grisly events to stand as a denunciation of Islam itself.
In order to steady our own ship of state, which at present has no commanding officer on the bridge, just as, in our metaphor, in a similar situation the sailors without a captain would simply go back to the basic rules of sailing in order to survive, so we must return to the basic essentials of our Deen in order to steady the boat and give a safe passage. Our compass, the Book of Allah, gives us clear guidance. So important to the Deen is it, that we repeat it in at least five Salat in a day. Allah the Exalted has declared in His Oft-Repeated Sura, Al-Fatiha (1:1-7):
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds,
the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful,
the King of the Day of Judgement.
You alone we worship.
You alone we ask for help.
Guide us on the Straight Path,
the Path of those You have blessed,
not of those with anger on them,
nor of the misguided.
Let us remind ourselves of the power and might and majesty and Divine secrets, whose lights spill over us, in our recitation of Fatiha. As Shaykh al-Akbar said, addressing the Fatiha,
“You are the Seven Mathani for us, which our Master was
especially given without falsehood.
You are the key of guidance for the intellect, and
Whoever opposes you is characterised by the two parties.”
He goes on to say that the Divine Names are the cause of the existence of the Universe, and that they control and affect it.
“Therefore, for us, ‘Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim’ is the predicate of a hidden beginning: the beginning and manifestation of the universe. It is as if He were saying, ‘The manifestation of the universe is ‘Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim,’’ i.e. ‘Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim’ — the universe appeared. The ‘Bismillah’ has three Divine Names because the realities accord that. Allah is the Name which gathers all the Names together. Rahman is a general quality for He is Merciful to this world and the Next. Allah shows mercy to everything in the universe in this world. The name Rahim is particular in the Next Abode for all those who believe. The universe was complete by these three Names: as a whole in the name Allah, and in detail in the names Rahman and Rahim.
‘Bismi’. Existence appeared by the ba’, and the worshipper was distinguished from the worshipped by the dot. Ash‑Shibli, may Allah be pleased with him, was asked, ‘Are you Ash‑Shibli?’ He said, ‘I am the dot under the ba’.’ We say that the dot is for distinguishing between the worshipper and the worshipped. It is the existence of the slave by the reality of what slaveness demands. Shaykh Abu Madyan, may Allah be pleased with him, used to say, ‘I did not see anything without seeing the ba’ written on it.’
The ba’ which accompanies existent things is from the presence of the Real in the station of gatherdness and existence, i.e. by the ba’ everything is established and appears. It is also from the Visible world.”
Look at the meanings that our blessed ‘Awliya draw from the Divinely commanded Fatiha. Look how they draw its meanings from its phrases, and its letters, and even its silences. Both the Mutakalimun and the Sufis draw meanings from it not only in Shari‘at but in Haqiqat. Look at what you may find of its wonders in Ibn Kathir, Ibn Juzayy, Ibn ‘Atiya and Ibn ‘Ajiba. Indeed, the number of books written on the Fatiha has never been counted, nor have the number of Qasidas written on the dot of the ba’ ever been gathered.
The first benefit we gather from this modest glance at our Fatiha is that this affair is a Divine matter that can never be reduced to the dialectics and vengeance of a chaotic insurrection led by an embittered secret society which is now no longer secret, for Allah has laid bare their identity through His ruling of the universe from within the universe, devoid of interventions yet held in constant dynamic by His generous answering of the prayers of the muminun.
Now it is clear that in effect there is no such thing as Al‑Qaeda, and this was confirmed to us by the foolish Saudi ambassador to Britain when, in a TV interview, he mentioned their name 20 times. It had to mean they were not what he said, but something else, and what that something else turns out to be is the embittered second and third generation wave of wahhabis turning against their two old enemies, the Saudi tribe and the great Jama’at beyond their desert sands who not only worship Allah but also love the Rasul, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
Allah is “the King of the Day of Judgment,” that is, ‘King’ in the Riwayat of Warsh, which as our scholars confirm was the Reading of the Salaf communities. This reminds us daily that the Judgment which matters, when that Judgment comes, is neither on nations nor on ideologies. The Judgment is on the person, that person who had been appointed in this world as the representative of the King Himself. What is at issue, that is, what matters, is what the individual makes of his life. What sum of actions does he bring to the Reckoning? So, paramount to everything is the central reality that we come before Allah to face Him alone, or, as in His generosity He grants that we may stand before Him as couples, but the meaning of the Day of Judgment is that the ultimate reality is what we do with our lives.
This, we must note, is also why we disagree with the Shi’a. Because it means that taking a sect is no protection, that making Takia is no protection, that practising Mu’ta is no protection. The One who is the King is also Ar‑Rahim. What we bring to Allah that may rescue us are those deeds which in His Book He has reminded us are those actions pleasing to Him, and they are all actions of mercy and generosity, and their motor-force which has realised them is Taqwa.
In the central ayat of the Fatiha comes the position of the slave. Our ‘ulema have pointed out that the first part of Fatiha is about Allah, the middle portion is about the slave, and the last portion is about the slave’s journey to Him. The middle ayat is the ayat of absolute dependence, and our dependence is on Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds.
The last section is:
Guide us on the Straight Path,
the Path of those You have blessed,
not of those with anger on them,
nor of the misguided.
In these generous ayats Allah shows us that the path He desires for us is that which He has outlined with inescapable clarity in His Book and in the Sunna of His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Of the last ayat,
not of those with anger on them,
nor of the misguided,
our Mufassirin have indicated that, in its primary meaning, this refers to the jews, who have persistently rejected the Prophets, and then to the misguided, being the christians in their false identification of Sayyiduna ‘Isa, Allah’s mercy on him, and Allah Himself. Equally it can be said to refer to the kuffar and the mushriks.
The inspiration that comes to us in the Fatiha reminds us that we Muslims have a way of measuring events in the world that is different not quantitatively but qualitatively from the kuffar. This allows us to say that the thinking and exhortations of those now fighting a lawless war against state powers do not have any recognisable element that we could call Muslim, let alone Islamic.
Revolution and terrorism are dogmas of kufr, just as much as everything that sustains the Najdi tribe is sustained by dogmas of kufr. If the sons of the wahhabi Ikhwan are blighted by an excess of cruelty, then the sons of Saud are blighted by an excess of wealth and greed. Look at the extremist sects today. While the Saudi tribe have uncritically embraced capitalism, handing over the real wealth under the ground and receiving in exchange for it utterly worthless, daily devaluing paper dollars, at the same time the sons of their old enemies the Ikhwan, in order to strike out at the force they imagine is sustaining their old enemy the Saudi family, have to use these same dollars to buy their weapons of destruction to bring down skyscrapers, blow up buildings and damage warships. As kafir intellectuals have pointed out, it is capitalism under attack by men using capitalist weapons and wealth, that is to say, it is an in-house affair.
Look at Tablighi Jama’at. Financed and backed by the old British imperialism, and then by simple international capitalism, a pacifist, non‑jihad Islam, which utterly denies the whole edifice of Islamic fiqh as forged by Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’ and Imam Abu Hanifa, a monotheism without Zakat—look how they ended up, a recruiting ground for the terrorists. Why, because given the nature of men, if you impose a puritanism and a pacifism on them, they will respond to the opposite extreme, that is, Isma‘ili terrorism, whisky, prostitutes and suicide-bombing.
Look at the Shi‘a. Again they use the ideology that had already been provided by the ongoing discourse of kafir society. They gave a reality to the nation state which we do not find in the Qur’an, nor indeed in the protocols of banking. Their revolution had all the characteristics of the Marxist one, only instead of ideologists they had an elite class of ‘ulema. It is important that we note that in the School of Madinah the creation of a class of ‘ulema, and what is essential to that, distinguishing robes and a departure from zuhd, is strictly warned against by Qadi ‘Iyad. They cast out the wicked Shah. They set up a democratic government with an Assembly Hall an exact copy of the U.S. Senate. They destroyed the Shah’s paper currency and then went on to create a new paper currency and open a stock exchange, but prefixed with the name ‘Islamic’. They declared “La Sharqia! La Gharbia!—thawra, thawra Islamiyya!” “No East, no West, Islamic Revolution!”
Let us remind ourselves of the flight path of revolutionary doctrine in the land of its founders, Russia. Czar Alexander II began to introduce reforms. The doctrines of terrorism decreed that reform had to be halted as well as the tyranny. The reformist Czar was assassinated. Czar Alexander III, as a result of this, began to undo the reforms of his father and imposed extreme state repression. So great was his tyranny that he in turn was assassinated. This brought to the throne the last of the Czars, Nicholas II. Despite his weakness he was, as Carrère D’Encausse demonstrated in ‘Nicholas II: The Interrupted Transition’, in the process of modernising and reforming the state. He in turn was assassinated, giving way to Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin.
In the same way the wahhabi elite army of the Ikhwan gave way to the Saudi capitalist state, so too Ikhwan II, now called Al-Qaeda to confuse the Americans, if it were to succeed would all too soon yield to its extreme opposite, and a victory for capitalism. The Marxists and modernists of Palestine found their extremist wing, Hamas, driven into the no-man’s land where they were trapped with the Shi‘a militants, Hizbollah. There in that limbo they took from them the Isma‘ili doctrine of suicide-assassination. Look at the Palestinian leadership and try to convince yourself that the end result will be something other than a secular capitalist state living in amity with Israel. All of this brings us back to a reality from which we cannot escape, and that is, that the battle that is raging now is internally caused by, and a result of, the inner contradictions of capitalism.
It is not an accident that my book of fiqh, ‘The Sign of the Sword’, which outlined the legal parameters necessary for Jihad, was used by German journalists to try to align me with the terrorists, while the rules I outlined from the fiqh were a definitive proof that neither Palestine, Afghanistan nor the current madness could be defined as Jihad. Stronger than the so-called, declared War on Terrorism is an alarming open war against our Muslim Ummah.
Allah the Exalted says in Surat al-Falaq (113:1-5):
Say: ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of Daybreak,
from the evil of what He has created
and from the evil of the darkness when it gathers
and from the evil of women who blow on knots
and from the evil of an envier when he envies.’
In Palestine and in Iran one can denote a powerful impulse to transform into the declared enemy, capitalist America. The modernists and the Ikhwan al‑Muslimun first flirted with Nasser then surrendered to Sadat. Egypt is a vassal state of the USA. The exiled Ikhwan al-Muslimun who fled Egypt are now not only the governors of banks, but give outrageous licence to justify banking if it is prefixed with the name of ‘Islamic’. In the same way, Iran can be seen rushing to free itself of that opposite extreme from which it began.
Let us glance now at the USA, the curious object of their desire. The USA is fraught with contradictions. It boasts a doctrinal necessity to separate the state from religion, yet it still pays lip-service to theism and even christianity, as well as an uncomfortable acknowledgment of judaism. State funerals still require the presence of christian priests. Even Israel is not, in majority, judaic. Both these countries are secular, i.e. atheist, with a new religion of banking and its cult practice of consumerism.
To say that the USA is in crisis is to indicate that constitutionalism has failed, with its humanist bible, the Constitution, proving to be hopelessly inadequate in the face of current events. But its defeat is the end result of a battle that traces back to the foundation of the American state. The primal building blocks of modern capitalism were put together at its inception. Private banks evolved into state banks, which in turn evolved into the Federal Reserve Bank. Or we could say that the personal wealth of the bankers increasingly disguised itself by a set of institutions which laid claim to being the holders of the wealth of the people, so that even today many Americans think that the Federal Reserve Bank is the wealth of the nation rather than a club of private bankers. From this same primal dichotomy, between bank and people, whose first debate tore the Founding Fathers apart, the initial drama of the USA was not separation from Georgian England, but the failed attempt to prevent the bankers’ wealth from dominating the lawyers’ State.
Today that rule of the bankers, and their allies, the corporations of media, commodities and military, instead of reaching its logically argued goal—one world bank defended by one world government—stands on an abyss. What is that abyss? On its left it risks plunging into the collapse of the Futures market now ballooning into trillions. On the right, just under its feet, is the terrible risk of that plague of bankruptcies which has already started to decimate the high street banks and the Savings and Loan institutions of the masses, which in practice secure the whole system. That is the cause of the civic crisis, and who cannot say that endemic child kidnapping, the legislation of a third sex community and their inter‑marriage, the gambling epidemic, and school shoot-outs with pupils killing each other and teachers, is not a civic crisis?
The other fundamental flaw in the USA was defined by its Nobel Prize writer, William Faulkner. He defined the republic as being founded on the genocide and subsequent enclosing in Reservations of one race, and the enslavement and subsequent segregation, then ghettoising and drugging, of another race, that is to say, the persecution of both the indigenous American ‘indian’ population, and the only legally freed black population.
The present split in America is not political, for Democrats and Republicans are identical. It is not rich jews and christians versus poor blacks and ‘indians’. Casinos have taken care of the ‘indians’, while hip-hop and crack cocaine have taken care of the black population. It is not even the split between the disastrous American reality and the impossible American Dream, the latter an unhistorical invention of Hollywood. It is the split between the puritan moral values of the founding community of American settlers, and all that has led to the current abdication of all moral values and meaning through the totalitarian system of media education, an abolition of all moral evaluation, and a denial of the country’s own past. The distance between Nathaniel Hawthorne and Hollywood is a bridge too far.
America’s three great 20th century writers were in fact three neo-christian (everything christian is neo) martyrs whose heroic attempt to bring forward that founding spirit into the modern age killed Faulkner by his alcoholism, and killed Hemingway by a suicide caused not only by his own personality flaw but by the state-encouraged decision to submit him to electric shock treatment, while Pound, the greatest poet of the century, ended his days in a prefiguration of Guantanamo, kept in a monkey cage in the open air in a bitter Italian winter, and then, to avoid him defending himself, which they could not risk, they had him declared insane and locked up in a mental hospital. After them, America basically entered into a civic reality of media fantasy, where people lived in a world of Star Wars, with its ruling elite of Judaic Knights.
At the macabre celebration of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, on which tens of thousands uselessly died, the American veterans were addressed on the beaches by two Hollywood personalities, Hanks and Spielberg, whose only connection with the event was to have become millionaires by turning their heroism into movie fantasies. After them came a President who, as a politician, sent others to their death while remaining securely at home. As Cocteau remarked of World War I: “Our army have advanced to the Somme, and our government have retreated to Bordeaux to conduct the affair.” It would be true to say that the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building is more germane to the U.S. crisis than the Twin Towers.
It is in this situation that our Ummah has to recognise that in this heartland of the banking and capitalist elite, Islam is the fastest growing religion. Islam is growing in America almost as fast as it is in Africa. Alongside this lies the important demographic fact that the Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the American population. Added to this we note that entry into Islam among Hispanics is even higher than in the rest of the population.
“Allah uses the enemies of the Deen to advance the Deen.” This is well known to us all, but we should apply it for verification. Professor Yalçintaş told me that at the very point that Turkey had a government which oppressed Islam, it was also oppressing communism. He remarked that if they had not crushed communism the country might have gone communist, whereas the crushing of communism drove the Turkish people back to their Deen. In the same way, we did not fight the wahhabi event with anything like the ferocity it merited, and now the job is having to be done by people who are manifesting tyranny to us.
The end result of all this affair will be to see the dramatic absorption of Islam in the land of Quincy Adams, William James, Thoreau, and Eudora Welty. This is why Mawlana Hamza Yusuf was perfectly correct in being received by the American President. Because that President does not know what Islam is, and wants it just to be the impotised monotheism of peace and tolerance, tolerance, that is, of every capitalist iniquity, it is vital that he should find himself standing next to an erudite Muslim faqih who knows exactly what Islam stands for. The proof of his right-guided action was that in the event of the torture revelations in the Iraqi and Afghan prisons, the Mawlana forcefully insisted, in a CNN interview, that the President should apologise. The very next day the President yielded to his commanding voice and apologised.
The real front line of our Ummah today is certainly not in the Middle East, but rather it is in two arenas. The first is in the high-wealth zones of capitalism, like Europe and the USA, and the other is in the shambolic, mythically democratic India, with its million mushrik religions only connected generically by the term ‘hindu’. In both these arenas it is a Muslim minority which will bring to life a new Islamic civilisation which will reflect with a greater splendour than its Mughal and Osmanli past. Allah the Exalted has said in Surat al-Nasr (111:1-3):
When Allah’s help and victory have arrived
and you have seen people entering Allah’s deen in droves,
then glorify your Lord’s praise and ask His forgiveness.
He is the Ever-Returning.