Muslim Brotherhood declares ‘Mastership of World’ as Ultimate Goal through ‘Resurrection of a caliphate.’ Some think that Caliphate ‘very existence would usher in a state of constant hostility. Both historically and doctrinally, the caliphate’s function is to wage jihad, whenever and wherever possible, to bring the infidel world under Islamic dominion and enforce sharia. In fact, most of what is today called the “Muslim world”—from Morocco to Pakistan—was conquered, bit by bit, by a caliphate that began in Arabia in 632.’
There is no chance of Pan-Islamicism aka Caliphate in the world of today. The 400 years old Ottoman rule: the last great Caliphate that ruled Arab lands was built on military defeat of Arabs and Iranians; and the absolute supremacy of Turks. Until the most recent of the times when a universal Islamic Ottoman Caliphate existed under Selim the Grim, Mamluks and Saffvids lost their dynasties. Islamic world today is a result of constant elimination and eradication of their own. The Arab Islamic world opted out of free choice and through ‘Jihad’ against the usurpers of the Caliphate, the Turks. Power , force and conquest was an integral part of previous obligatory unity under Ottoman Caliphs. Fire power has always been the name of the game.
Sayyid Qutb, is the intellectual pillar of the Muslim Brotherhood, he was moved by an all-consuming revulsion at the ‘moral corruption of Western modernity.’ He is the author of the concept of ‘there is no such thing as a defensive, limited war in Islam, only an offensive, total war.’ It is academic redefinition of the struggle of Islam by Sayyid Qutb and Sayyid Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi that ignites fanaticism. Political Islam of today interestingly finds its roots in Sayyid Qutb and Sayyid Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi; former known as the Karl Marx of the Islamic Revolution, though he acquired the core ideas from the later.
Muslim Brotherhood Declaration of the ‘Mastership of World’ is similar to the wishes of militants all over who think caliphate is their goal. Very ‘noble goal’ indeed, but the way these proponents of caliphate are murderously handling their differences between various strains of Islam only goes to show that future ‘Caliphate’ will have 1,000 different colours and can only be conceived on mass elimination of dissenting ideas.
Qutb’s writings later became the theoretical basis for many radical Islamic groups of today — including al Qaeda. Qutb increasingly saw the redemption of Egypt in the application of Islamic law. Far from viewing jihad as a collective duty governed by strict rules and regulations(similar to just war theory in Christianity, international law, and classical Islamic jurisprudence, or fiqh), jihad, for Qutb, was a permanent revolution against internal and external enemies who usurped God’s sovereignty. He attacked Muslim scholars and clerics with ‘defeatist and apologetic mentalities’ for confining jihad to ‘defensive war.’ There is no such thing as a defensive, limited war in Islam, only an offensive, total war.
Last time nearly universal Islamic Caliphate was established; it entirely took two wars with Mamluk and Saffvid armies to unite the Caliphate. No universal Caliphate is possible, going by what happened to the ‘Ottoman Caliphate’ under the name of Arab revolt. The Ottoman family, the House of Osman of Turkish origin, was not a member of the Prophet’s family. They were always considered as usurpers by the Arabs. Blood is thicker than ties of Islam, 1400 years of history is living proof.
Mullah Omar likes the title of Ameer-ul-Momeneen; Hezbollah awaits an even bigger appearance that of ‘Imam Ghaib.’ Osama would have liked to be the first rejuvenated Caliph of Islam after the end of the Ottoman Empire, which his forefathers under the guise of ‘Arab National Army’ and leadership of Lawrence of Arabia, fought to destroy and obliterate.
It was not an Arab freedom fighter like Arafat or Osama bin Laden, but Lawrence who as a great military leader and strategist got them freed from the ‘yoke of Caliphate.’ Demands of Caliphate are an expedient tool to find the cannon fodder of Islamic Jihad, find new ideologues who hallucinate heavenly rule on earth in anticipation of a vast Caliphate land. Islamic global unity brings out a lot of emotion and a lot of sham harmony.
It was paradoxically Lawrence of Arabia who organized the national rebellion of the Arab peoples and gave them the first opening in 400 years to become a significant Middle Eastern power. It was later overthrown by the French with considerable bloodshed. Feisal, having been robbed and deposed of his kingdom in Syria was awarded with Iraq. On his death, Sheikh Hamoudi of Aleppo exclaimed in his grief: “It is as if I had lost a son. Tell them in England what I say. Of manhood, the man; in freedom free; a mind without equal; I can see no flaw in him.”
What grudge could ‘Arab Muslim Brotherhood’ possibly have with the westerners; it was not until 400 years after the Mamluks defeat at the hands of Selim I that under Lawrence of Arabia as the head of the Arab armies they captured Damascus and installed an interim Arab administration, deputizing for King Feisal. So after 400 years of Turkish rule, the Arabs were once again a power to be reckoned with in the contemporary world, though very much below the authority and strength which Lawrence had intended for them. As Lawrence himself put it, the opponents of Arab nationalism had bigger guns, and that was all. Is ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ going to re-install the Caliphate that his forefathers in the name of ‘Arab revolt and nationalism’ busted?
The creation of an Islamic caliphate, or empire, has long formed also a part of Al-Qaeda’s worldview, and it is a vision that seems to have unsettled many in the west. But it will remain just a militant’s dream. It is these very people who had torn the Caliphate apart when it existed. Before he went into hiding in 2001, Osama bin Laden often talked of deposing Muslim rulers, seen as indebted to Western powers, and abolishing modern state borders to unite all Muslims under a caliphate – an Islamic state where God’s word was law ruled over by a caliph, or “successor” to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The intellectual bedrock on which terrorism, hatred and Islamic caliphate to destroy ‘the morally corrupt west’ is deep-seated in the spirit and mind of Islamic philosophers. The revulsion, the hatred and venom we see is cultivated over the last seven decades. It is academic redefinition of the struggle of Islam by Sayyid Qutb and Sayyid Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi that ignites fanaticism.
Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Political Islam’ of today interestingly finds its roots in Sayyid Qutb and Sayyid Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi; former known as the Karl Marx of the Islamic Revolution, though he acquired the core ideas from the later. Sayyid Qutb, is the intellectual pillar of the Muslim Brotherhood, he was moved by an all-consuming revulsion at the ‘moral corruption of Western modernity.’ He is the author of the concept of ‘there is no such thing as a defensive, limited war in Islam, only an offensive, total war.’
Nothing is innovative these days in the way Hamas and Fatah are tearing each other apart like famished dogs. Political processes take a backseat as radicals are more prone to draw blood, albeit of their own – they are not used to talks or negotiations; you reap what you sow, when hatred is sown one reaps bloodthirsty tormenters expert at slitting throats. Radicals like Hamas and Al-Qaeda and now seemingly Muslim Brotherhood wish of the ‘Mastership of World’ as Ultimate Goal of Resurrection of a caliphate is like incessant whipping a dead horse.
Those sweeping devoted calling for the ‘resurrection of a caliphate’ are the supreme advocates of Islamic unity and caliphate through barrel of the gun. The unique method to reach this unison is mesmerizing. The modus operandi is straightforward: first, eliminate any divergent ideas and then impose sacred concord from top to down. Definitely unity can be achieved by force.
Qutb’s stay in the United States reinforced his earlier belief that the Islamic way of life was man’s only salvation from the abyss of godless capitalism. Qutb’s writings in 1954-1965 would become an integral part of Islamic resurgence in the next forty years. Gerrah describes ” Two central concepts, that he adapted from the Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi, became central to Sayyid Qutb’s thought and later became the “common denominator among extremist factions in the Islamic awakening movements.” These were al-Jahiliyyah (paganism),and al-Hakimiyyah (God’s rule on earth).
In Muslim history, Muhammad and Islam rescue Arabia from this darkness, the age of Jahiliyyah. Hence Jahiliyyah has extremely negative connotations. Sayyid Qutb adopted the term to mean secular society in general; all societies, including Muslim ones, that were not governed under Sharia law. This is how the war against secularism became a war against Jahiliyyah!In a milieu where state craft has become part and parcel of the new world, the radicals are, on the one hand, selling the dream of nirvana where ‘great Islamic unity’ will under a caliph achieve the dominance that Islam is missing today, on the other, to achieve that domination they have to abolish any dispute within; that is a essential impracticality.
Elimination of dissent is the primary object of Brotherhood as well as Iranian clergy; nothing can be resolved peacefully within the nations of Islam; hence bloodshed is a legitimate tool of statecraft. Assad used it mercilessly in Hama and Saddam deployed this to perfection during the Anfal campaign against the Kurds and Shiite genocide in the marshlands. Negotiations rarely work, muzzle of guns speak louder than reason, and the thirst of blood never diminishes.
Intra-Islamic divisions are now resolved by suicide bombings. Brothers eliminating brothers is the new norm. Not only is human life scorned, but holy places are a target of destruction too. Internecine wars need provocation and destruction. Sectarian and political divisions are leading to mass inter-communal terror: the way Hamas and Al-Fatah are ready for a civil war; the manner in which Hezbollah is readying for the civil war in Lebanon; the approach taken by Taliban. Nearly all of these varied groups, whilst coloring their hands with the blood of their own brethren, talk about the ultimate Caliphate where they all can live peacefully under the tabernacle of the God-entrusted Caliph.
What Universal brotherhood? Hamas and Palestinians Fatah cannot even handle a barren strip of Gaza and West Bank. For the sake of their people, why can common sense not prevail, why education and prosperity cannot become the clarion call for these demagogues? In what way is God’s purpose being served when human limbs are shattered? According to Islamic tradition, a caliph had to trace his lineage to Prophet Mohammed (Umayyads and Abbasids are examples of this).
The treacherous battle of Shiite and Sunni Islam in the heartland of Iraq is another unique example of this hysterical exposition of internecine abhorrence. People of peace and advocates of inter-sectarian unity have been totally sidelined. The mass frenzy of carnage has overtaken the hotspots of the Islamic world, and no one seems to notice that this is actually the consequence of continuous chastisement of ‘hatred against mankind’ that is now revealing its full impact on fledgling societies. The so-called blood-infested freedom struggles have come to a full circle and are now consuming the children of Jihad; the first victim of misplaced revolutions, rather, all revolutions, has been its own children.
Such naked and barefaced vengeance has seen very few parallels in modern history. Medieval world had seen Protestants and Catholics war on the lines of Shiite and Sunni war between Iraq and Iran. But within the Middle East, where these communities are so intermingled in modern day and age, the spectre of inter-sectarian violence at this height is a new threat to regional balance and economic stability of the world as far as energy goes.
For the consumption of these bloodthirsty tyrants who want to claim universal ‘Caliphate’ by waging a war against their own brethren, let us take a whirlwind tour of history; let us see how bloody and forceful it was the last time when Selim I united the Caliphate of Islam. The Ottomans under Selim at the Battles of Marj Dabiq and al-Raydaniyya destroyed the Mamluk Sultanate, which led to the annexation of Syria, Palestine and Egypt. It was he who extended Ottoman power to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The holiest sites of the Islamic world – the Great Mosque in Mecca and the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina – fell under his dominion when the Turks took Egypt and her Arabian provinces from the Mamluks. The title which ‘King Fahd’ took in the 80’s, that of Khadim ul Haremeyn, or ‘The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines,’ was originally instituted by Selim I. Instead of styling ‘Hakim ul Haremeyn,’ or The Ruler of The Two Holy Shrines, he accepted the more pious title Khadim ul Haremeyn, or The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines.
It was after the conquest of Egypt and the Holy Cities, Al-Mutawakkil III (1509 -17), the last Abbasid Caliph in Cairo, formally surrendered the title of Caliph and its emblems, the sword and the mantle of Muhammad to Selim. Once cementing his claim to the position of the “Guardian of the Faithful”, Selim waged a war against Persia, whose ruler Shah Ismail I claimed to be Caliph as well. The triumphant crusade which followed was a victory for Selim, whose determination and bravery overcame the insubordination of the Janissaries, the household troops of the Ottoman dynasty.
After assuming the Caliphate, Selim assumed the title Malik ul-Barayn, wa KhaKhan ul-Bahrayn, was Kasir ul-Jayshayn, wa Khadim ul-Haramayn – that is, King of the Two Deserts, KhaKhan of the Two Seas, Conqueror of the Two Armies, and Servant of the Two Holy Shrines. This designation alludes to his dominions in Africa and Asia (namely, Egypt, Anatolia, and much of the Fertile Crescent), his rule over the Mediterranean and Black seas, his conquest over the Mamluk and Safavid armies, and his guardianship of the shrines of Mecca and Medina. It was Selim who expanded the 2,500,000 km of Ottoman land to 6,500,000 km. After completely filling the royal treasury, he reportedly locked it with his own seal and decreed that “he who will fill the treasury more than this, may use his seal to lock it.” The treasury remained locked with Selim’s seal until the collapse of the Empire 400 years later.
One predicament that is faced by the Islamic world is the factionalism, distrust and infighting amongst them; the violence within communities is extensive. In the face of huge diversity of religious and political systems in the Middle East today, no such ‘messianic’ figures are on the scene. Selim-kind of temporal power do not exist anymore; it is decentralizing of authority where every state within the Arab world wants respect and authority. The massive schism between Sunni and Shiite Muslims who argue bitterly over the first four caliphs (632-661 AD) to succeed the Prophet (PBUH) makes this dream of a universal caliphate even more part of a fairy tale.
Shiite Iran has its own form of Islamic government where supreme authority lies with an Islamic jurist chosen by a body of senior clerics to rule in the place of a disappeared line of descendents of the Prophet (PBUH). In Saudi Arabia, the adherents of an austere school of Sunni Islam, known as Wahhabism, give their allegiance to the Saudi family to rule as kings in return for wide latitude to enforce their version of sharia, or Islamic law. “I can see the whole Arab world falling into sectarian violence, so I can’t see this caliphate happening,” said London-based anthropologist Madawi Al-Rasheed, referring to Sunni-Shiite tensions in Iraq and Lebanon. “This is just part of (Al-Qaeda’s) war of slogans.”
These brewing struggles are suggestive of a roadmap of insecurity, all through the crescent of volatility from Morocco to Afghanistan. The internecine wars have to be stopped. Continuous fanning of the message of ‘Jihad’ against the infidels have to be revisited and abolished once for all; sowing hatred breeds hatred, sowing bullets leads to a harvest of bullets. Eventually the Muslim world should wake up to realize that this ‘Jihad’ is being fed by the blood of its own children. Guns, dynamite, venom and poison have no boundaries. They flourish on the easiest of prey, and when these guns fail to find the ‘infidels,’ they can easily find unarmed civilians in their own neighbourhood with whom they don’t agree ideologically and they become the new target. Governments who snub are in period of al-Jahiliyyah (paganism),and negate al-Hakimiyyah (God’s rule on earth) therefore enemu of God on earth.
Hamas and Hezbollah and Alqaeda deliver messages of poison that need continuous feeding of blood to sustain their efforts. The best antidote is ‘peace.’ That means demise of these extremist trends; unfortunately when they are contained they start gulping their own children with identical ferociousness. It is their brand of ideology that matters and in absence of their brand being accepted, every other shade of human thinking is discarded.
Mature societies respect life and respect law. These signs of medieval immaturity need to be buried; the Middle Eastern media should join hands to denounce this vain violence all around us. It is not the enemies who are killing Muslims, once again, it is the Muslims killing each other and if unchecked it will be the biggest unfolding tragedy. There are hundreds of regions where fragile balance between communities can dribble over to bloodshed.
A lesson from history where coexistence, even in wars, was most important has to be revisited; sensibilities and rejection of hatred should take the front seat. The best caliphate would be the respect of the territorial integrity of bigger and smaller states and respect of life and property with the tolerance of opposing strains of ideas. Radicals who are destroying peace and security and demanding the promotion of universal Islamic unity amidst this carnage of bloodletting under the name of ‘caliphate and Islam’ is nothing but a visa for elimination and cleansing the minority thought. Governance is about inclusion not exclusion. The atrocities in the hotspots within the fringes of the Islamic world demand removal of this toxic thinking of self-righteousness associated with eliminations.
The Palestinian civil war, the Iraqi civil war, and the Afghanistan civil war, none of which are officially recognized as such, have one common element: that of suicide bombers and killers taking their own kin to graves at Godspeed. Never before in human history has the lust of destroying life of their own kin through one’s own sacrifices has been recorded with this humongous intensity. This is an era which can be termed as the end of common sense within the polity of Islam.
Muslim Brotherhood instead of the ‘Mastership of World’ as Ultimate Goal through ‘Resurrection of a caliphate’ would do well if they improve the social standing of their Egyptian populace to a height where the entire forlorn and pitiful Islamic world my go back to the drawing board and believe really that Islam the way defined by Qutb shall work! Total war has never worked before but that is the challenge, that is the test. Only instituting restraint, tolerance, mercy and connectivity with the whole mankind is the answer to the problems of Islam.