No god but God

Many Muslims resent it if we call Islam ‘political Islam’ and if we say that Islam spread at the point of the sword. They consider this as negative publicity and will say that this is western propaganda meant to smear or disparage Islam. However, it is time that Muslims stop being defensive and apologetic and accept Islam for what it is: a political force.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The article by Irfan Husain, published in The Dawn, Ideological divide in Egypt, makes very interesting reading indeed. Irfan summarised the current turmoil in Egypt as a clash of opposing ideologies and he drew parallels with what is happening in Egypt with what happened in Algeria and Pakistan (and, I would add, in Iran and Iraq and many other Muslim countries as well).

Irfan also said that the majority of Pakistanis prefer military rule to western-style democracy. I know many would probably find this hard to believe but this is actually very true and is based on a poll that was done — which I have, in fact, written about before. And this is the sentiment in many Muslim countries, although this may not be too apparent to most people.


Now, when we talk about ‘a clash of opposing ideologies’ in these many Muslim countries, you may be wondering whether we are talking about political ideology or religious ideology. And this is where not only the non-Muslims but also the Muslims themselves do not comprehend the ‘real’ Islam.

There is no such thing as a separate political and religious ideology. There is no separation of church and state in Islam. Islam is not a religion. It is a political structure, as what Anwar Ibrahim is fond of saying: Islam is an adeen or way of life.

Of course, being politicians, most Umno, PKR and PAS leaders (the Muslim leaders, that is) would talk about democracy, free and fair elections, freedom of opinion, freedom of choice, and whatnot (the so-called noble western ideals). In their hearts, however, they are not really committed to these noble western ideals. This is just political talk because Malaysia is only 50% Malay and 65% Bumiputera (and not all Bumiputeras are Muslims).

Hence, while the Muslim population of Malaysia may be majority Muslim, it is still not large enough for Islam to dominate Malaysian politics. So the Muslim politicians need to make some compromises. Now, if Malaysia was 90% Muslim, you will see something else emerge and all these noble western ideals would be discarded in favour of Islamisation.

In other words, there will no longer be any compromise and Islam would dominate Malaysian politics and all policies.

We must remember that the first 24 Prophets mentioned by name in the Qur’an were Jews. And Islam accepts these Prophets as also Prophets of Islam (in fact, Islam regards them as Muslims). Muhammad, the last and 25th Prophet mentioned by name, was an Arab.

(I say ‘mentioned by name’ because Islam believes that since the beginning of time until the time of Muhammad there were 124,000 Prophets of God but only 25 are mentioned by name in the Qur’an).

During the time of Muhammad there were a total of 360 religions in Mekah and the Ka’abah was home to all these 360 religions. Of these 360 religions only two, Judaism and Christianity, were monotheist in nature.

In his early life Muhammad followed the religion of his ancestors — meaning the pagan religion. However, Muhammad had extensive contacts with the Jews and Christians of the Arabian Peninsular and was attracted to monotheism although he did not quite grasp the concept of these religions yet — until, according to Islamic belief, he received the first revelation from God.

So we need to break up Muhammad’s life into three phrases. The first phase of his early life was in Mekah when he was still a pagan (I know many Muslims are going to whack me for saying this). The second phase of his life was also in Mekah after he received the revelation and began to preach Islam (which attracted only a handful of followers). And the third and final phase of his life was after he had migrated to Yathrib (now called Medina) and when he emerged as a military leader.

Islam did not make any inroads in Mekah in that second phase of Muhammad’s life. In fact, Muhammad and his followers faced so much persecution that they all had to leave Mekah and resettle in Medina or else they would all have eventually been put to death. It was not until Muhammad had resettled in Medina and had built a military force that Islam began to spread.

Hence it would not be entirely incorrect to call Islam ‘political Islam’ and to say that Islam spread at the point of the sword.

Many Muslims resent if it we call Islam ‘political Islam’ and if we say that Islam spread at the point of the sword. They consider this as negative publicity and will say that this is western propaganda meant to smear or disparage Islam. However, it is time that Muslims stop being defensive and apologetic and accept Islam for what it is: a political force.

As it is, most Muslims will argue that Islam is not a religion but a way of life (adeen). So what do you mean by a way of life? And what was Muhammad? Okay, Muhammad was a Prophet. But he was not just a Prophet. He was also a military leader. And he planned and embarked on and even led many battles and wars.

Muslims will shy away from admitting that Islam is not just a political system but also a military system. Now, the most important thing to a Muslim is jihad. However, the apologetic Muslims will argue that there are two jihads: the big jihad and the small jihad. And the big jihad is the struggle between your own self and your lust, greed, vanity, ego, arrogance, anger, etc. The other jihad, the Muslims will argue, is the small jihad.

There is no such thing as small jihad and big jihad. There is only one jihad. Jihad means struggle. You struggle not only against lust, greed, vanity, ego, arrogance, anger, etc., but also against ignorance, injustice, persecution, racism, corruption, and more.

Now, this is where the catch comes in. When you launch a jihad or struggle against ignorance and injustice this includes fighting against the ignorance of those people who do not accept ‘no god but God’  — Lailahaillallah (لاَ إِلَهَ إِلَّاالله) – plus the injustice to God (the injustice of not implementing God’s laws).

Hence it is the duty of all Muslims to participate in jihad and this jihad includes bringing people to the right path of ‘no god but God’ and to see justice done by implementing God’s laws. Muslims are not allowed to stand by and do nothing when ignorance and injustice prevails because under fardu kifayah all Muslims share the blame plus the sin for this inaction.

I hope now the non-Muslims as well as the Muslims themselves will understand what is currently going on in Egypt plus the many Muslim countries all over the world. And if you can understand that then maybe you can understand what is going to happen in Malaysia in time to come.

To most Muslims, political power is not just about good governance and about running the country with better transparency and accountability and with no corruption and abuse of power. It also about doing justice to God by implementing God’s decrees and eradicating the ignorance of those non-Muslims who reject the concept of ‘there is no god but God’.