Democratization of Moslem Brotherhood
Dr. Ahmad Sobhy Mansour
October 17, 2007
Is it possible to acclimate the “Islamic” movements with the democratic traditions?
Answering this question is not predicting the unknown. Though, the answer to this question deals with the prediction frame of reference. Futuristic assumptions are a science itself. However, predicting the future of the fundamental movements can be easier and more realistic when referred to the roots. That’s to say, understanding the future by deeply understanding the past. This is most credible when exploring the roots of a past movement in its nature, as the fundamental one, that tries to repeat the production of the past fundamental culture. In essence, to answer such question of acclimation, we may say that it depends on major factors and emergent ones. In all, these factors are related to the intellectual, social and geographic roots of the researched fundamental movement.
Simply speaking, these political fundamental movements are of religious origin with religious background. These movements want to impose such dogma and reach the governance by it. This religious movement belongs to a certain type of religious following common to the people. This category of religious following or view of the people is influenced by the circumstances that they live in. Hence, it affects the type of religious behavior being selected. This reactive mixture of intellectual, cultural and historical roots will affect such selection and it becomes the constitution of such movements at any time. The above were the essential factors.
However, there might be an intellectual intrusion to a certain religious ideology at any time to any people that have different religious views. This intrusion might cause qualitative change in the manners of religion that is different from the original cultural and intellectual behavior that was dominant before to such people. These are the emerging factors. Let’s get into more elaboration and examples following this theoretical introduction.
The desert environment is harsh by nature. These areas are good incubators for intellectual radicalism, blood shedding and human rights violations. This is true for Najd desert, where the revolt movement, great conflict and the outlaws emerged from in the first Higri century. Then followed by the Karamits and Negro movements in the Abbasids, followed by the Wahhabis in our current period. Also, this goes along with the Sahara desert in North Africa and Algeria where the conflict is flaming between the Arabs and the Berbers in the first century of the Islamic invasions, as well as the tribal conflicts within the Berbers and the Arabs. All in all, these conflicts in both Najd and North Africa were conducted under religious banners. Sociologist Ibn Khaldoun in his famous Epilogue had formulated the laws of this conflict. He decided that Arabs could not establish any rule without religious coverage. They also cause damage and decline to the country they rule. He repeatedly described them as racists and savage despite being a voice for Islamic caliphate and rule that he preferred to the normal rule based on sanity. (Refer to our book: Ibn Khaldoun Epilogue: A historical fundamental and analytical study. Published by Ibn Khaldoun Center and Al-Amin publishing Establishment in Cairo). What Ibn Khaldoun had deduced seven centuries ago is true today and applies to the fundamental movements from Najd to Algeria. Being religious based on radicalism, racism and blood shedding. All this being carried out under a religious cover through strayed narrations and decrees God never authorized. However, these narrations and decrees enjoy the belief of their followers since they represent their followers’ inherited bloody culture. This gives the culture the backing so terrorism and killing innocent civilians, randomly or deliberately, becomes a crusade (Jihad). So, it’s not astonishing to witness what’s happening between the terrorism of the authority and the terrorism of the fundamental movements in Algeria. This is a stark reminder to what used to occur between the Arabs and the Berbers in the medieval.
Although the Sufi methods were widespread in Algeria since the Higri seventh century, the culture of violence and radicalism converted them into quasi-armed movements. In the modern era, Arabization in Algeria was tarnished with the violent Fundamental Hanbali dogma by the fundamentalists such as; Mohammad Al-Ghazzali, Al-Shaarawi and the leaders of Moslem Brotherhood and the Wahhabis. The mentality of the Algerian youth was formulated in the Information and Education so that beheading the infants and women is a form of God worshipping and a crusade (jihad) in His name.
The Algerian Salvation Front declared to the Algerians to be ready for a strict fundamental change. This radicalism was faced by a similar one from the military authority by first canceling the elections and then the alternating mass massacres. What happened in Algeria is happening in Afghanistan and did happen during the establishment of the first and second Saudi states in absence of humanity. So, it is not easy to tame and acclimate these savage fundamental movements to democratic traditions due to the intrinsically harboring these intellectual and social bloody roots.
The moderate climate areas with fertile lands have different situation. Their circumstances were reflected on the behavior of their inhabitants and their culture. The human being there tends to be more tolerant, patient, peaceful and acknowledges the others. So, their religious behavior was affected by these principles. Egypt was a classical example of this type of religious behavior. Although radicalism, religious wars and inspection tribunals characterized the medieval times, the religious radical movements in Egypt were coincidental in its history. A foreign ruler or Moroccan clergyman usually carried these out. Soon after that, things resumed their natural course in tolerance. So, Al-Maqreezi, wrote in his book, The Plans, expressing the astonishment of Ibn Khaldoun when he came to Egypt from Morocco and found that everyone in Egypt minded his own business either in worshiping or in his open lusting pleasures. No one was interfering in others business or freedom. It was contradictory to what he was used to in his own environment in Morocco. However, that was Egypt at that time.
Mysticism, Sufism, was the dominant form of religious behavior in Egypt. Basically, Sufism is based on differentiation and variation. Sufi Roweim once said in his translation of the Kasheeri letter:”Sufis are in a good shape as long as they are different. Once they agree, they become useless”. The Egyptian Sufis also say: “Every leader has his own unique methodology”. This phrase later became an Egyptian folklore saying showing the general admission of tolerance of being different. So, the Sufi methods increased and branched out in an environment of religious and social tolerance that was coherent with the Egyptian nature. That was obvious through the Medieval up to the beginning of the current era. But all had changed with the Wahhabi intellectual invasion.
Turkey is another example in the Welfare Party experiment together with Raceb Ardecan and Abdullah Gul. The Turkish culture is based on Sufism. The religious movement was founded in the mould of the Ataturk Secular movement. When it was faced with that secular movement, it was with moderation and it acted in a democratic frame of reference despite the fact that the Turkish Secularism is a radical movement that differs not from the Algerian secularism. However, the religious culture in Turkey acted as a diluted catalyst to ease the political conflict on both sides. That was a stark distinction with the Taliban culture in Afghanistan, since the roots of the intellectual and social culture of Turkey are different from those of Afghanistan.
Back in Egypt, a Saudi fundamentalist founded the Moslem Brotherhood movement. The Brotherhood religious culture was Wahhabi fundamentalism. We already explored this in previous researches such as: “ The Moslem Brotherhood Tree, A Saudi Plant in Egypt”, and the book published in Ahl-Al-Qur’an Website about the violent roots in Wahhabism and Brotherhood.
Hassan Al-Banna founded fifty thousand branches for the Brotherhood in the span of twenty years, from 1928 to 1948. He utilized the liberal, political and social circumstances to consolidate his movement in the political and popular arenas. Then, the Brotherhood allied themselves with the free Officers and the Revolution erupted. However, they differed with Abdel-Nasser and conspired against him. Consequently, Nasser smothered them and forced their leadership into exile to their intellectual home: Saudi Arabia.
Nasser confronted the Brotherhood politically and not intellectually. So, the fundamentalist thinking remained well and alive at Al-Azhar, Egyptian mosques and the fundamental groups that tactically abandoned politics for religious duties like Al-Sunnah disciples, the Legal Society and the Moslem Youths. By using these groups, the fundamentalists continued to mould the youth minds until Sadat came and not only made this as an Islamic intellect, but Islam itself. By then, the Egyptian religious ways were converted from tolerance to violence, from peace to terrorism and from moderation to radicalism. These are the characteristics of the political and fundamental movement of the Brotherhood and whatever offshoot parties generated secretly or publicly. However, the political activities need double standard dealings. This is exactly what the Brotherhood excelled on everyone else.
The Egyptian Brotherhood benefited from the tolerant environment in Egypt to consolidate their stance. However, they hid their real radical terrorist and fundamentalist culture under the claim of moderation. This false moderation was revealed by the book (Sunnah Methodology) by their clergyman Sayyed Sabiq. Hassan Al-Banna wrote the epilogue of this book. Sayyed Sabiq re-iterated the ideas of Ibn Taymeiah and the Hanbal radicals in this book. As example of that is the killing of the apostate once he is found and without trial and even if he/she repented. The definition of the apostate is the one who believes in Qur’an and Sunnah but does not agree with the Hanbalis and he/she has the capability to discuss and argue with them and win by proof. So, his/her reward according to Hanbalis is death even if repentance was warranted. It was known that after the scandal of the “Jeep” and the revelation of the Brotherhood organization before the assassination of Al-Banna, Al-Banna was issuing the killing orders secretly. If the villains were caught, he would disavow their act and declare: They are not “brothers” and not “Moslems”. This is the nature of claimed moderation in the Moslem Brotherhood intellect. They were forced to it to deal with the tolerant nature of the Egyptian environment. They rewarded this tolerance with conspiracy and assassinations. It is well known that the most famous who dealt with them became their victims such as: Khazendar, Naqrashi, Maher and lately Sadat.
Now the question is: Is it possible for the fundamental movement in Egypt to acclimate itself with the democratic traditions? For the old generation of over sixty is almost impossible. However, for the young generation, it is possible by paving the way for the religious thinking and breaking the monopoly of the fundamental culture on religious thinking, religious education and mosques.
There are reasons that make abolishing this fundamental intellect an easy thing:
1. The Fundamental Movement in Egypt is not rooted in the Egyptian soil. It was imported and belongs to the desert fundamental culture. They are not in coherence. We explained that point before.
2. This movement is not coherent with the presence and future either. It is a movement of the past calling for backwardness while the world is moving forward. So, no matter how strong it is, it is living in different time and predestined for vanishing. At one point Dinosaurs inhabited Earth, but they gave way to the mammals and turned into fossils. It was even said that rats ate the dinosaurs’ eggs and killed them.
3. It is impossible for these movements to coordinate between our time culture of democracy and human rights and the bloody fundamental ideology that they called Islamic Law. Their ideology failed to respond to its own time, so, how could it respond to changes in our time. When Al-Shaffiai moved from Iraq to Egypt, he changed his ideology due to the change of place in the same time. Those who came after him differed with him, especially his own student Al-Muzni. So, how come this ideology becomes the solution to the problems of our time? If Al-Shaffiai woke up from his grave and wandered in the streets of Cairo, not New York, he would have died again from the shock. So, his or others speeches are not suitable for our time legislation. Bearing in mind that Al-Shaffiai ideology is much better than that of Hanbalis despite its narrow-mindedness and radicalism. From Hanbalis, the modern Wahhabis emerged. For this fundamentalist movement to produce enlightened legislations for our times from its ideology is of a great problem. Their legal fundamentals, that oppose Qur’an, were inoculated with false narrations attributed to Prophet Mohammad, peace is upon him. We, the Quranists, say that these are false narrations and they believe that they are Devine revelations. When we prove to them that these narrations are contradicting Qur’an, they hold on them and ignore Qur’an. These narrations are their torment in this life and hereafter, carrying them on their backs and in their hearts. They do not know how to adapt them with our times and persecute those who deny them. Their problem arises with these narrations when we demand them with political methodology in governance and law. The people fed up with their continuous rubbery slogans like “Islam is the Solution” and the “Application of Islamic Law”. They were asked to present a defined political and legislative program. They were forced lately to invent a political and legislative agenda. However, they differed among themselves and failed. They will continue to differ and fail till they solve the problem of this strayed heritage that they carried as sins in their hearts and on their backs. The political adaptation enforced them to accept democracy, human and women’s rights, citizenship rights, peace, freedom in thinking, belief and religious rights. All these are paradox to the narrations and the backward law that they considered sacred. The law that rules the killing of the apostate, the one who does not perform prayers and the married adulterer. The law that considers the woman deficient in her thinking and religion and prevents the Moslem woman from marrying a non-Moslem. The law that makes the Christian an infidel and should be forced to pay for it and lives as a third degree citizen. The law that allows them to chase people in the streets and in their private lives and inspect their consciences in the name of preventing vice. Since there is no room for maneuvering, they have a choice of either select these narrations and lose their political prestige and enter the museum of natural history with their comrades the dinosaurs, or exonerate themselves from this heritage and consider it a thing of the past and it is expired. So, in the latter case, they will join us, the Quranists. However, they will refuse to become students in our forum after a long animosity, since these movements do not know perseverance and antagonize who thinks. They have no place in the present or the future if they are faced with real, reformed and enlightened intellectual thinking. They have a long way to go filled with differences and conflicts. This could be good news except for the fact that they may drag the whole nation with them into the quagmire of conflict. This also, might revert to terrorist movements as they always do when they deal with those who have different point view.
4. The Quranists methodology is a good example for successful dealings with the fundamental intellectualism. The Quranists always succeed in confronting the Wahhabi and Hanbali fundamental culture with a Quranic culture that they cannot respond to except by broken records of things that already dealt with before. So, when they fail to respond and explain the contradiction with Qur’an and within their own philosophy, they revert to persecution and encourage the security forces to persecute the Quranists. They also, revert to the decrees of making the Quranists atheists. This will be followed by the personal assassination by telling lies and innuendoes. This raises the proof that those people have no intellectual system or methodology stemmed from Islam. This also gives rise to the fact that they have no moral methodology when they deal with intellectual issues with persecution and violence in facing a weak and peaceful opponent. It is well-known that the Quranists are poor and persecuted and do not have much to go around with in comparison with thousands of mosques, leader, institutions, universities, TV and Radio stations in addition to websites available to the others. Moreover, the Arabic torture apparatuses used against the Quranists. Quranists have only one simple site they fight with. What if the Quranists does have 1% of what the fundamentalist intellectuals have? This shows that if there was a popular will or political will, it would revert the fundamentalist Wahhabi intellect to the past that it came from.
5. This fundamentalist movement was not an action. It was a reaction to oppression and social injustice. The rejectionist generation appeared in Egypt in the first half of the twentieth century. This educated generation did not find a room for itself. So, a protest movement against the social injustice appeared after World War One. This protest took the religious shape by the Brotherhood, the racial nationalistic shape by the Party of Egypt Youth and the cultural shape by the Communists. Then came the Free Officers with all this list of protest and ignited the revolution. The political oppression grew with defeats and setbacks after Abdel-Nasser established the social justice. Then Sadat came up with the openness policy and the social injustice that are equivalent to political and economical corruption. So, it natural for the dissatisfaction to spread and climaxed in a reaction that grew the Fundamentalist political movement.
So, if the political, economical, legislative, social and religious reforms are achieved, it will be possible to eliminate the radicalism and send the fundamentalist culture back to the medieval. Then moderation will dominate and the “former” fundamental movement can be contained in a true democratic process. All this in the frame of wishful thinking and daydreaming that we only have.