The terror on Paris Friday night(13 November 2015) and the claim of ISIS that they have wreaked the havoc might have persuaded many like me to revisit the seminal work of Tarek Fatah“Chasing A Mirage :The tragic Illusion Of An Islamic State” since ISIS has the avowed mission of setting up a New Caliphate.They called the attacks “First of the Storm”.
I would like to understand if the wisdom of prophets, be it Hazarat Muhammad or Jesus Christ, and in Holy Books like the Quran, the Bible, the Geeta and the Tripitak precludes the freedom of man to knowledge and faith. Besides, it’s a matter of curiosity if an Islamic State, a Christian, a Buddhist or a Hindu state is possible in a world where unbounded search for knowledge, science & technology and the sense of human rights hold the sway in their own right.
A scholar par excellence Fatah asserts” Nowhere in these verses of the Quran (the holy book of the religion of peace) does God ask or authorize the creation of an Islamic state.” He contradicts, depending on extensive research and profound insight, the claims of Abul Ala Maudoodi, a founder of pan-Islamic revivalist movement recruiting Muslims for a jihad and who also founded the Jamat-e-Islami political party in India and Pakistan. In his booklet Call to Jihad, Maudoodi pronounced:” An independent Islamic state is a prerequisite to enable them (Muslims) to enforce Islamic laws and fashion their lives as ordained by God.”
Tarek writes:” Since the first caliphate in Medina in the 7th century, clerics have continually reminded Muslims that their mission on Earth – to spread Islam – is impossible without the establishment of an Islamic State. Such edicts by caliphs and imams have gathered near-universal acceptance despite the fact that neither the Quran nor the Prophet asked Muslims to establish such a state. In fact, the five pillars of Islam,’ which form a Muslim’s covenant with the Creator, do not even hint at the creation of an Islamic State.” He states how through the centuries, since the time of the ‘Rightly Guided Caliphs to the Umayyad and the Abbasids, hundreds of Muslim dynasties have tried to create ‘this illusive Islamic State’ without success.
Tarek remarks:” If the creation of an Islamic State was not possible when Muslims were at the peak of power and intellect, it would be reasonable to conclude that this ambition is not realizable when Muslims are at their weakest and most divorced from education and the sciences.” He contends that in the wake of the rebirth of the movement for Islamic State today threatens moderate, liberal and secular Muslims more than it does the West. He cites example of the Public hanging of Mahamoud Muhammad Taha who, according to Egyptian author Samir Amin,”was the only Islamic intellectual who attempted to emphasize the element of emancipation in his interpretation of Islam.”
Tarek states:” From the moment the Prophet of Islam died in 632 CE, some Muslims took the path of strengthening the state of Islam, while others embarked on the establishment of theIslamic State.” He says, the phrase state of Islam defines the condition of a Muslim in how he or she imbibes the values of Islam to govern personal life and uses faith as a moral compass while Islamic State is a political entity: a state, caliphate, sultanate, kingdom, or country that uses Islam as a tool to govern society and control its citizenry.
Tarek says his book is an appeal to those who are chasing the mirage of an Islamic state to reflect on the futility of their endeavour and instead focus on achieving the state of Islam. Maybe, Tarek is right – there is no harm in soul-searching and introspection.
By Nidhu Das in indiaopines blog