I am presenting Alija Izetbegovic's book, The Islamic Declaration. Alija Izetbegovic is the former President of Boznia and Hercegovina. Along with Muhammad Iqbal and Muhammad Asad, Alija's work lays the intellectual foundations of what an Islamic State today should be. Please bear with me as I post the book in sections.Today,I give first one third portion.
The Islamic Declaration
A Programme for the Islamization of Muslims and Muslim Peoples
Our Goal: The Islamization of Muslims
Our Motto: Believe and Struggle
The Declaration which we today present to the public is not prescribed reading, intended to demonstrate to foreigners or doubters the superiority of Islam over any particular system or school of thought.
It is intended for Muslims who know where they belong and whose hearts clearly tell them which side they stand on. For such as these, this declaration is a call to understand the inevitable consequences of that which their love and allegiance bind them.
The entire Muslim world is in a state of ferment and change. Whatever form it eventually takes when the initial effects of these changes is felt, one thing is certain: it will no longer be the world of the first half of this century. The age of passivity and stagnation has gone forever.
Everyone is trying to take advantage of this time of movement and change, particularly foreign powers, both East and West. Instead of their armies, they now use ideas and capital and by a new mode of influence are once more endeavouring to accomplish the same aim: to ensure their presence and keep the Muslim nations in a state of spiritual helplessness and material and material and political dependence.
China, Russia and the Western countries quarrel as to who among them will extend patronage and to which part of the Muslim world. Theirs is a pointless dispute. The Islamic world does not [unreadable] them but to the Muslim people.
A world of 700 million people and enormous natural resources, occupying a first class geographical position, heir to colossal cultural and political traditions and the proponent of living Islamic thought cannot long remain in a state of vassalage. There is no power which can check the new Muslim generation from putting an end to this abnormal state of affairs.
In this conviction, we announce to our friends and enemies alike that Muslims are determined to take the fate of the Islamic world into their own hands and arrange that world according to their own vision of it.
From this point of view, the ideas contained in the Declaration are not absolutely new. This is rather a synthesis of ideas heard with increasing frequency in various places and which are accorded about the same importance in all parts of the Muslim world. Its novelty lies in that it seeks to promote ideas and plans into organized action.
The struggle towards new goals did not begin today. On the contrary, it has already exprerienced shihada (martyrdom) and its history contains pages of the suffering of its victims. Still, this is mainly the personal sacrifice of exceptional individuals or courages minor groups in collusion with the mighty forces of the Jahiliya (godless). The magnitude of the problem and its difficulties however, require the organized action of millions.
Our message is dedicated to the memory of our comrades who have fallen in the name of Islam.
Do we want the Muslim peoples to break out of the circle of dependence, backwardness and poverty?
Do we want them to step out confidently once more on the road to dignity and enlightenment, to become the masters of their own destiny?
Do we want burning courage, genius and virtue to burst forth again in their force?
Then we can clearly show the way which leads to this goal: The generating of Islam in all areas of personal individual life, in the family and society, through the renewal of Islamic religious thought and the creation of a united Islamic community from Morocco to Indonesia.
This goal may seem remote and improbable, but it is nonetheless realistic because it is the only one located within the bounds of possiblity. In contrast, every non-Islamic programme may seem to be close and within range of its target, but for the Islamic world this is pure utopia, because these programmes lie in the realm of the impossible.
History demonstrates one fact clearly: Islam is the single idea which has been able to excite the imagination of the Muslim peoples and to instil in them the necessary measure of discipline, inspiration and energy. No other ideal, foreign to Islam, has ever managed to hold sway in any meaningful way either int he cultural or at state level. In fact, all that is great or noteworthy in the history of the Muslim peoples has been done under the banner of Islam. A few thousand tried warriors of Islam forced Britain to withdraw from Suez in the 1950s, while the combined arms of the Arab nationalist regimes are now for the third time losing the battle against Israel. Turkey as an Islamic country ruled the world. Turkey as a plagiary of Europe is now a thirdrate country, like a hundred others around the world.
Just as an individual, a people that has accepted Islam is thereafter incapable of living and dying for any other ideal. It is unthinkable that a Muslim should sacrifice himself for any king or ruler, no matter who he might be, or for the glory of any nation or party, because the strongest Islamic instinct recognizes in this a kind of paganism and idolatry. A Muslim can die only in the name of Allahand for the glory of Islam, or flee the battlefield.
Periods of passivity and stagnation in fact mean the absence of an Islamic alternative or unreadiness on the part of the Muslim population to take the uphill path. They are the negative expression of the spiritual monopoly that Islam holds over the Islamic world.
While accepting this situation as an expression of the Will of God, we positively state that the Islamic world cannot be renewed without Islam or against it. Islam and its deep-rooted percepts on man's place in the world, the purpose of human life, the relationship between God and man and between man and man, remains a lasting and irreplaceable ethical, philosophical, ideological and political foundation for every authentic action taken towards renewal and improvement of the state of the Muslim peoples.
The alternative is stark: either a move towards Islamic renewal, or passivity and stagnation. For the Muslim peoples, there is no third possiblity.
The Islamic Declaration - Backwardness of the Muslim Peoples
CONSERVATIVES AND MODERNISTS
The idea of Islamic renewal, which understands Islam as capable not only of educating human beings but also of ordering the world, will always have two types of people as its opponents: conservatives who want the old forms, and modernists who want someone else's form. The former drag Islam back into the past, the latter pushes it towards an alien future.
Despite differences, both categories of people have something in common, both see Islam only as a religion, in the European sense of the word. A certain lack of feeling for the finesses of language and logic, and an even greater failure to grasp the essence of Islam and its role in history and the world, lead them to interpret Islamic belief as religion, which for very special reason is quite erroneous.
Although it may seem a reconfirmation of the fundamental truths on the origin of man and his mission, the Islamic approach is quite new in one aspect - that for its demand for the conjunction of faith and knowledge, morals and politics, ideals and interests. By recognizing the existence of two worlds, the natural and the interior, Islam teaches that it is man who bridges the chasm between them. Without oneness, religion tends towards backwardness (the rejection of any kind of productive life), and knowledge to aethism.
Starting from the viewpoint that Islam is merely a religion, conservatives will conclude that Islam should not, and progressives that it cannot, organize the external world. The practical result is the same.
The main, if not the only, proponent of the conservative idea in the Muslim world today is the class represented by the hajjs and sheikhs who, in contrast to clear dictates on the nonexistence of a clergy in Islam, have emerged as an organized class which has preempted the interpretation of Islam and set itself up as an intermediary between man and the Qur'an. As clergy, they are theologians; as theologians, they are invariably dogmatic and, as the faith has been given once and for all, in their opinion it has also been interpreted once and for all. Therefore the best thi to do is to leave everything as it was handed down and defined a thousand or more years ago. The unavoidable logic of these dogmatists turn theologists into bitter enemies of anything new. Any furhter remodelling of the Sharia as law, in the sense of applying Qu'ranic principles to new situations which continue to emerge from world developments, is equated with an attack on the integrity of the faith. Perhaps even here there is a love of Islam, but it is the pathological love of narrowminded and backward people, whose deathlike embrace has strangled the still living Islamic idea.
It would, however, be wrong to think that Islam has remained a closed book in the hands of the theologists. Increasingly closed to knowledge and ever more open to mysticism, theologists have allowed much that is irrational to be written in this book, things totally foreign to Islamic learning, including sheer superstition. It would be immediately evident to anyone who knows the nature of theology why it has been unable to withstand the temptation of mythology, and why it has seen even in this a certain enrichment of religious thought. The monotheism of Qu'ran, the purest and most perfect in the history of religious learning, has been gradually compromised, while in practice a distasteful trade in belief has emerged. Those who call themselves interpreters and guardians of the faith have made a career out of it - a very agreeable and profitable one - and without many qualms of conscience have come to accept a state of affairs in which its messages have not been implemented at all.
Theologians have turned out to be the wrong people in the wrong place. Now, when the Muslim world is giving all signs of an awakening, this class has become the expression of all that is gloomy and sclerotic in that world. It has shown itself to be quite incapable of taking any kind of constructive step towards making the Islamic world face up to the adversities which press upon it.
As far as the so-called progressives, westerners, modernists and whatever else they are called are concerned, they are the exemplification of real msfortune throughout the Muslim world, as they are quite numerous and influential, notably in government, education and public life. Seeing the hajjs and conservatives as the personification of Islam, and convincing others to do likewise, the modernists raise a front against all that the idea represents. These self-styled reformers in the present-day Muslim countries may be recognized by their pride in what they should rather be ashamed of, and their shame in what they should be proud of. These are usually "daddy's sons", schooled in Europe, from which they return with a deep sense of their own inferiority towards the poverty-striken and backward surroundings from which they spring. Lacking an Islamic upbringing and or any spiritual or moral links with the people, they quickly lose their elemental criteria and imagine that by destroying local ideas, customs and convictions, while introducing alien ones, they will build America - for which they have an exaggerated admiration - overnight on their home soil. Instead of standards, they introduce the cult of a standard; instead of developing the potential of their own world, they develop desires, thus opening the way to corruption, primitivism and moral chaos. They cannot see that the power of the Western world does not lie in how it lives, but in how it works; that its strength is not in fashion, godlessness, night clubs, a younger generation out of control, but in the extraordinary dilligence, persistence, knowledge and responsibility of its people.
The main problem, therefore, is not that our westerners used alien forms, but that they did not know how to use them, or - to put it better - that they did not have a sufficiently developed sense of what was right. They failed to choose the useful product and took over instead the harmful, suffocating byproduct of another civilization.
Among the props of doubtful value which our westerner takes home with him are to be found various "revolutionary" ideas, reform programmes and similar "rescue doctrines" which will "solve all problems". Among these "reforms" are examples of unbelievable shortsightedness and improvization.
Thus, for example, Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, who was obviously a greater military leader than a cultural reformer and whose services to Turkey should be reduced to their proper measure, in on e of his reforms prohibited the wearing of the fez. It soon became evident that changing the shape of their caps cannot change what is in people's heads or habits.
Many nations outside the Western sphere have been facing the problem of how to relate to this civilization for over a century: whether to opt for outright rejection, cautious adjustment or total unselective acceptance. The tragedy or truimph or many of them has hung on how they have responded to this fateful question. There are reforms which reflect the wisdom of a particular nation and others which signify betrayal of itself. The examples of Japan and Turkey are classics of modern history in this resepect.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, both countries provided a picture of very similar "comparable" countries. Both were ancient empires, each with its own physiognomy and place in history. Both found themselves at approximately the same level of development; both had a glorious past, which indicated both great privilege and a heavy burden. In a word, their chances for the future were about equal.
Then followed the well-known reforms in both countries. In order to continue to live in its own way and not in another, Japan tried to unite tradition and progress. Turkey's modernists chose the opposite path. Today, Turkey is a third-rate country, while Japan has climbed to a pinnacle among the nations of the world.
The difference in the philosophy of Japanese and Turkish reformers is nowhere more evident than in the question of the alphabet.
While Turkey abolished Arabic writing, which because of its simplicity and just twenty-eight characters is one of the most perfect and widespread of alphabets, Japan rejected demands by its Romaya to introduce the Roman script. It retained its complicated system which subsequent to the reforms, contained 880 Chinese ideograms in addition to 46 characters. No one is illiterate in modern-day Japan, while in Turkey - forty years after the introduction of Roman letters - over half the population cannot read or write, a result which should cause the blind to regain their sight.
And that is not all. It soon became evident that what was at issue was not simply the alphabet as a means of register. The true reasons, and thus the consequences, were much deeper and more significant. The essence of all human civilization and progress lies in (unreadable, continuation?), not destruction and negation. Its way of writing is the way in which the nation "remembers" and endures in history. By abolishing the Arabic alphabet, all the wealth of the past, preserved in the written word, was largely lost to Turkey, and by this single act the country was levelled to the brink of barbarianism. With a serious of "parallel" reforms, the new Turkish generation found itself with no spiritual prop, in a kind of spiritual vacuum. Turkey has lost the remembrance of its past. Whom did this profit?
The supporters of modernism in the Islamic world, then, were not wise men who sprang from the people, who would know how to implement in a novel way the old ideals and values under changed circumstances. They rose up against the values themselves and often with icy cynicism and staounding shortsightedness, trampled on what the people held sacred, destroying life and transplanting an imitation in its stead. As a consequence of such barbarity in Turkey and elsewhere, plagiary nations emerged or are in process of emerging, countries where spritual confusion reigns, featureless and with no sense of where they are going. Everything in them is derivative and artificial, lacking in force and enthusiasm, like the false glamour of their Europeanized cities.
Can a country unsure of its identity, of where its roots lie, have a clear picture of where it is bound or what it should be striving for?
The example of some of Attaturk's reforms may seem drastic. At the same time, they represent a pattern for the western approach to problems of the Islamic world and the way in which westerners think to "correct" it. This invariably means alienation, fleeing from real problems, from painstaking work on the true moral and educational elevation of the people, an orientation towards the external and the superficial.
What was meant by the independence of a Muslim country in which the administration of public life fell into the hands of this type of person? How did they make use of that freedom?
By accepting foreign modes of thought and by seeking political support from foreigners, whether East or West, each of these countries, voluntarily, through the mouths of their new administrators, acquiesced to re-enslavement. A spiritual and material independence was created, embracing an alien philosophy, an alien way of life, alien aid, alien capital and alien support. These countries formally achieved independence, but they did not achieve real freedom, since freedom of any kind is primarily sprirtual. The independence of a people which has not first won this is soon reduced to an anthem and a flag, two very minor factors for true independence.
The struggle for true independence of the Muslim peoples, then, must begin anew everywhere.
The Islamic Declaration - The Roots of Helplessness
These two types - conservatives and modernists - provide the key to understanding the current state of the Muslim peoples. However, they are not the only cause of this state. Taken further, both facets are the manifestation of a deeper cause: the degradation or rejection of Islamic thought.
The history of Islam is not only, or even mainly, the history of a progressive affirmation of Islam in real life. It is just as much a story of incomprehension, neglect, betrayal and abuse of this idea. Thus the history of each and every Muslim people is simultaneously a chronology of brilliant achievements and victories, of grievous mistakes and defeat. All our successes and failures, political and mora, are only the reflection of our acceptance of Islam and how we have applied it to life. A weakening in the influence of Islam on the practical life of the people has always been accompanied by their degradation and that of social and political institutions.
The entire history of Islam, from its first beginnings to our day, unfolded under the inexorable influence of this coincidence. Something of the unalterable fate of the Muslim peoples and one of the laws of Islamic history is to be found in this parallel.
Two characteristic moments in Islamic history - one from the age of its ascendancy, one from the age of decadence - very cearly illustrate this effect.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) died in 632 A.D. Less than a hundred years later, the spiritual and poltical power of Islam extended over a huge area, from the Atlantic Ocean to the river Indus and to China, from Lake Aral to the lower reaches of the Nile. Syria was conquered in 634, Damascus fell in 635, Ctesiphon in 637, India and Egypt were reached by 641. Carthage in 647, Samarkand in 676, Spain in 710. Muslims were at the gates of Constantinople in 717 and in 720 in southern France. There were mosques in Shantung by 700 and about 830, Islam arrived in Java.
These unique expansion, to which no other can be compared before or since, provided a space for the development of Islamic civilization in three spheres of culture: Spain, Middle East and India, a period of history covering about one thousand years.
What do Muslims mean in the contemporary world?
The question can be phrased another way: how far are we Muslim?
The answers to these questions are linked.
We are enslaved: at one point in 1919, no single independent Muslim country existed, a state of affairs never registered either before or after that date.
We are uneducated: in the period between two world wars, no Muslim country had a literacy rate of over 50 per cent. At independence, 75 per cent of the people of Pakistan, 80 per cent of Algerians and 80 per cent of Nigerians could neither read nor write. (In contrast, no one in Islamic Spain of the tenth and eleventh centuries, according to Draper, was illiterate.)
We are poor: gross national income per capita in 1966 in Iran was 220 dollars, in Turkey 240, in Malaysia 250, in Pakistan 90, in Afghanistan 85, in Indonesia 70, as against 3000 in the USA. The share of industry in the national income of most Muslim countries varies between 10 and 20 per cent. The number of calories in the daily diet is an average 2000, compared to 3000 - 3500 in Western Europe.
We are a divided community: instead of a society without either misery or luxury, Muslim society has turned into the opposite. In contradiction to the Qu'ranic command "...that this wealth should not remain within the circle of the rich among you" (Qur'an 39/7), property gradually passed into the hands of a small number. Prior to the agrarian reform in Iraq in 1958, out of 22 million dunum (about 1/10th of a hectare) of arable land, about 18 million dunum (82 per cent) were held by the great landownders. Meanwhile, 1.4 million peasants had no land at all.
This was the state of affairs which some have called with reason "the night of Islam". In fact, that night began with th twilight of our hearts. All that hasa happened to us or is happening to us today, is only the echo and repetition of what has previously happened within ourselves (Qur'an, 13/12).
We as Muslims cannot be subjugated, uneducated, estranged from one another. We cannot be renegades from Islam. All our defeats, from the first at Uhud to the latest on Sinai, confirm this.
The phenomenon of the abandonment of Islam, most frequently seen in the suppression of Islamic thought from active and vigilant life and its reduction to transience and passivity, can e most clearly observed by taking the Qur'an, the central truth of Islamic ideology and practice.
It should be remarked that every advance of the Islamic peoples, every age of refinement, began with the affirmation of the Qu'ran. The expansion of early Islam, whose miraculous course I have already mentioned and which in the course of two generations brought it to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in the West and to the outer reaches of China in the East, is not the only but is the most glorious example. All major swings in the course of Islamic history confirm this parallel.
What was the position of the Qu'ran at the time preceding the age of stagnation and retreat?
Devotion to the Book did not cease, but it lost its active character while retaining what was irrational and mystic. The Qu'ran lost its authority as law while gaining in sanctity as an object. In study and interpretation, wisdom yielded to hairsplitting, essence to form and grandeur of thought to the skill of recitation. Under the constant influence of theological formalism, the Qu'ran was read less and "learned" (recited) more, while commandments on struggle, uprightness, personal and material sacrifice - harsh and repellant to our inertia - dissolved and vanished in the pleasant sound of the Qu'ranic text learnt off by heart. This unnatural state of affairs came to be accepted as the norm, because it suited an ever more numerous group of Muslims who could neither break with the Qu'ran nor summon the strength to order their lives according to its dictates.
The psychological explanation of the exaggerated importance given to recital of the Qu'ran may be found in this fact. The Qu'ran is recited, interpreted and recited, then studied and recited again. One sentence is repeated thousands of times in order not to have to apply it once. An extensive and pedantic science has been established on how the Qu'ran should be pronounced so as to avoid the issue of how to practice it in daily life. Ultimately, the Qu'ran has been turned into the naked sound without visible sense or meaning.
All the reality of the Muslim world, with its discrepancy between word and deed: its debauchery, dirt, injustice and cowardice: its monumental, empty mosques; its great white turbans, devoid of ideals or courage: its hypocritical Islamic catchphrases and religious posing: this faith without belief is but the external reflection of the fundamental contradiction in which the Qu'ran found itself, in which burning allegiance to the Book was gradually combined with total neglect of its principles in practice.
The situation of the Qu'ran is the first and most important cause of backwardness and helplessness among the Muslim peoples. Another cause of universal importance is education, or rather the system of upbringing in the broadest sense.
For centuries now, our people have been deprived of educated people. Instead, they have two other types, equally detestable: the uneducated and the wrongly educated. In no Muslim country do we have a system of education sufficiently developed and thus capable of responding to the moral understanding of Islam and the needs of the people. Our rulers either neglected this most sensitive institution of any society, or left it up to strangers. The schools to which foreigners donated money and personnel, and thereby curricula and ideology, did not educate Muslims, not even nationalists. In them, our budding intellectuals were injected with the "virtues" of obedience, submission and admiration for the might and wealth of the foreigner: in them foreign tutors fostered a vassal mentality in the intelligentsia, which would in the future replace them with extraordinary success, because the latter would feel themselves to be foreigners in their won country and behave accordingly. It would be most informative to discover the number of schools and colleges which are held, directly or indirectly, by foreigners, and to reflect on the reasons for this extraordinary generosity. The curricula of these institutions should be gone into in depth and examined for content, perhaps even more so for what they fail to contain. It would soon be clear that the real question is not whether our intelligentsia wishes to find a path to its p people, to their real inclinations and interests, but whether, constituted as it is, it can find that path at all. What is at stake are the values and ideals which have been imposed on it, and the psychological gap which has been created. Iron chains are no longer necessary to keep our peoples in submission. The silken cords of this alien "education" have the same power, paralyzing the minds and will of the educated.
While education is so conceived, foreign wielders of power and their vassals in Muslim countries need have no fear for their positions. Instead of being a source of rebellion and resistance, this system of education is their best ally.
The tragic gap between the intellegentsia and the people, which is one of the darkest features of our overall position, is re-entrenched from the other side. Sensing the alien and the non-Islamic character of the schools on offer, the people instinctively reject them, so that the estrangemet becomes mutual. Absurd accusations are constructed as to the disinclination of Muslim environments towards school and education. In fact, it is clear that this is not a question of rejecting schools as such, but of rejecting alien schools, which have lost every spiritual link with Islam and the people.
The Islamic Declaration - Indifference of the Muslim Masses
The about-turneffected by modernists in a series of Muslim countries was, almost as a rule, anti-religious and led by slogans on the de-clericalization of political and social life. From this aspect it is reminiscent of the struggle between the awakening national states and the church in Europe on the threshold of the Modern Age. But what meant progress and constitutionality for the West, represented an unnatural process in the Islamic world, one which was incapable of effecting constructive change. Declericalization and nationalism had no positive aspects here, and were in fact merely a negation. Foreign in origin and matter, they were the reflection of a pervasive spritual sterility. With them, the curtain rose on the last act in the drama of the Muslim world. From the situation which ensued, this act could be called: "a dual [text could not be found]
Every renaissance occurs as the result of creative contact, affinity or internal concord between the thinking and leading elements in a society on the one hand, and the populace at large on the other. The leading group represents will and thought, the people the heart and the blood of any great undertaking, without cooperation or at least consent of the ordinary man, all action remains superficial, lacking in strike force. The sluggishness of the masses can be overcome if it is merely the consequence of a natural resistance to hard work, danger and struggle. It is impossible to overcome if it represents a rejection of the very ideals of the struggle, because it perceives that ideal as opposed to the most intimate wishes and feelings of the masses.
It is the latter case which may be observed, to a greater or lesser extent, in all Muslim countries where modernists attempt to implement their programmes. They flatter and threaten, plead and goad, organize and reorganize, change names and personalities, but run up against the stubborn rejection and indifference of ordinary people, who make up the majority of the nation. Habib Bourgiba - mentioned here simply as being representative of a widespread tendency - wears European clothes, speaks French at home, isolates Tunisia not only from the Islamic but also from the Arab world, restricts religious training, calls for the abolition of the Ramadan fast "as fasting reduces productivity", while he himself drinks orange juice in public in order to set a suitable example. After all this, he wonders at the passivity and the lack of support on the part of the Tunisian masses for his "learned" reforms.
[unreadable] would not [unreadable] if they did not demonstrate this type of blindness.
The Muslim peoples will never accept anything which is expressly opposed to Islam, because Islam is not just a collection of ideas and laws but has transcended into love and feeling. He who rises up against Islam will reap nothing but hatred and resistance.
By their acts, modernists have created a state of internal conflict and confusion in which any programme - Islamic or foreign - becomes impracticable. The masses want Islamic action, but cannot carry it through without the intellegentsia. An alienated intelligentsia imposes a programme, but cannot find enough people prepared to contribute blood, sweat and enthusiasm for this paper ideal. The opposing forces cancel each other out and a state of powerlessness and paralysis sets in.
There is an order, a dynamic, a prosperity, a progress which could be brought about on this ground and in this part of the world, but this is not the order, progress or prosperity of Europe or America. The indifference of the Muslim masses is not indifference at all. It is the way in which folk-Islam defends itself against outside, alien assualt. Wherever there was the least prospect of an Islamic struggle, the ordinary people proved his readiness to fight, suffer and die. This was the example given by Turkey in the liberation struggle against Greece, following defeat in World War I, the heroic resistance in Libya against Italian occupation and the recent examples of struggle against the British in Suez, the war for the liberation of Algeria, for the retention of Indonesia and for Islamic influence in Pakistan. Wherever the masses had to be aroused, Islamic slogans were used, however temporarily and insincerely. Wherever there is Islam, there is no indifference.
The manifest feelings of the Muslim masses need an idea which would move and direct them, but this cannot be just any idea. It must be one which corresponds to their deepest feeelings. It can only, therefore, be an Islamic idea.
There is no chance that the Muslim masses and their present intellectual and political leadership could agree on someone among them renouncing his ideal, regardless of how long this state of expectation and indecision may last. There is only one possible way out: the formatio and grouping of a new intelligentsia which thinks and feels Islam. This intelligentsia would then fly the flag of the Islamic order and, together with the Muslim masses, take action to bring it about.
To be continued
Religion & The Law - The Islamic Declaration - Alija Izetbegovic
The Islamic order, what does this mean, translated into the language thought, spoken and felt by our generation? The briefest definition of the Islamic order defines it as a unity of religion and law, upbringing and power. Ideal and interest, the spritual community and the state, willingness and force.
As a synthesis of these components, the Islamic order posits two fundamental assumptions: an Islamic society and Islamic governance. The first is the matter and the second the form of the Islamic order. An Islamic society without an Islamic authority is incomplete and without power: Islamic governance without an Islamic society is either utopia or violence.
Generally speaking, a Muslim does not exist as a sole individual. If he wishes to live and survive as a Muslim, he must create an environment, a community, a systerm. He must change the world or himself submit to change. History has no instance of any truly Islamic movement which was not at the same time a political movement. This is because Islam is a religion, but it is at the same time a philosophy, a moral system, an order, a style, an atmosphere - in a word, an integrated way of life. One cannot believe in Islam and act, do business, enjoy one's leisure or rule in a non-Islamic way. This state of discordance creates hypocrisy (praising God in the mosque, betraying Him outside it), or unhappy people full of conflict (unable either to break with the Qu'ran or to find the strength to fight and change the circumstances in which they live), or a monk-like, eccentric type of individual (who withdraws from the world because the world is not Islamic), or, ultimately, those who in their dilemma break with Islam and accept life and the world as find them, or rather, as others have made them.
The Islamic order is a society freed of this conflict, a framework of relations in which the Muslim finds himself in complete harmony with his surroundings.
To the question: what is a Muslim society? We would say it is a community composed of Muslims, and we think that this says it all, or almost all.
The meaning of this definition is that there is no system of institutions, relationships and laws disparate from the people who are its object of which it could be said: this is an Islamic system. No system is Islamic or non-Islamic of itself. It is only so because of the people who compose it.
A European believes that society is ordered by the rule of laws. Since Plato's "Republic", and the various utopian ideas which followed up to the most recent - Marxism - the European spirit has been searching for one scheme, one pattern, which, by simply altering the relationships between people or groups, would give birth to the ideal society.
In the Quran, on the other hand, there are relatively few real laws, and much more religion, and requirement for practical action in keeping with this religion.
A multiplicity of laws and a complex legislature is usually, a sure sign that something is rotten in a society and that it should stop passing laws and start educating people. When the rottenness of the environment surpasses a certain point, the law becomes impotent. It then falls either into the hands of corrupt executors of justice, or becomes the subject of open or concealed trickery on the part of a corrupt environment.
Wine, gambling and sorcery - once widespread and deeply rooted vices throughout the entire Middle East - were eliminated for a lengthy period from an enormous region by a single Ayat of the Qu'ran, and by a single explanation: God has forbidden them. As soon as religion weakened, intoxication and superstition returned with unabated vigor, to which the incomparably higher level of culture by now obtaining offered no obstacle. America's Prohibition Law, proclaimed in the name of contemporary science and implemented with all the force of one of the most highly organized communities of the world, eventually had to be abandoned in the 'forties, after thirteen years of futile attempts, full of violence and crime. An attempt to introduce prohibition into Scandinavian countries ended in similar failure.
This and many similar examples clearly demonstrate that a society can be improved only in the name of God and by educating man. We should take the one road which surely leads to this objective.
While in principle confirming the spiritual, interior approach in all of its manifestations, Islam, however, did not content itself with that. It endeavored to tear the devil's weapon out of his hands. If, in what concerns man's relationship with the world, Islam did not start with man, it would not be a religion; if it were to remain at that, it would be simply a religion, merely repeating Jesus's (peace be upon him) teaching on the ideal and eternal aspect of man's being. Through Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the Qu'ran, Islam addressed the real man, the outside world, nature, in order to evolve as a teaching on the complete man and on all aspects of life. Faith allied itself to the law, education and upbringing to power. Thus Islam became an order.