Last night (Day 4, 23 Shawwaal 1432 – Wednesday, 21 September 2011) I was a call-in guest on a show called Awakening. The topic was “Islamic Awakening and the Arab Spring”. It’s a program on a satellite channel called Sahar TV, a subsidiary of the IRIB network. They sent me the questions a day earlier, and here are the responses I typed up in preparation for the show. It’s just about what I ended up saying on the show.
1 The World Bank and the G8 are already planning to sponsor the so-called Arab Spring. Less than a fortnight ago, G8 finance chiefs pledged $38-billion in financing to Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan over 2011-13, widening a deal agreed in May and offering Libya the chance to partake too. Analysts are now concerned over a possible Euro-US containment of the regional movement through this type of “cheque book diplomacy”. What’s your take on that?
What is money anyway? A bunch of pieces of cotton paper? A readout on a bankslip? It’s a promise to pay and I can tell you about the G8’s ability to pay. The UK has been bankrupt since a hundred years ago, and it’s owed money to the U.S. since WWII. The US, in turn, owes money to China and Russia. So how can these bankrupt countries lend money? All their doing is tricking Muslim countries into promising to pay them money that isn’t even real, that they don’t even have to lend in the first place.
When they lend this money, they lend it at interest. Allah says in Surah Baqara 279 that He and His Messenger are at war with people who devour usury. This is because it enslaves the borrower to the debtor. These Islamic populations have just freed themselves of West-serving leaders. By indebting themselves to them, they would be re-enslaving themselves, and this is the goal of cheque-book diplomacy, to create a situation by which they can continue to dictate over us.
2 A large number of scholars have constantly been warning against the risk of the revolutions being hijacked or contained in one way or another. How concerned should we really be about that?
One common colonial trick is to make the village thief the village chief. There will always be someone without scruples, with no goal beyond his own selfish interests. Colonial powers usually find that person, support him with every means, such as money, glorification in the media and so forth until he rises from vagabond to ruler, from thief to chief. Then, because the colonizers, not the people, are his true power base, he does their bidding to ensure their continued support.
This is how I see things being hijacked. In the end, a politician only cares about one thing. He doesn’t have a religion. He doesn’t believe in any idea or purpose. His only goal is to get and keep power, and he will do whatever it takes to do that. They let the parade get going and then run out in front of it like they’ve been leading it the whole time. Colonial powers are only waiting for that man, woman or group to show themselves and start the politicking.
3 I think it’s fair to say that the reaction of the West towards the wave of Islamic awakening in the countries affected has been quite selective. Let’s talk about the most recent case, i.e. Libya, where we saw military intervention. Do you think that NATO may follow the Libyan model of intervention elsewhere in the Arab World?
The West’s selection process is based on what they think serves them best. They use language clevery to disguise their self-serving intent in the language of freedom, democracy, human rights, etc. For example, there has been brutal repression by certain regimes, even invasions and occupations, but this is either completely ignored. For example, the Bahraini royal family, which hosts the US 5th Fleet, is immune to criticism no matter what it does. As for Qathafi, whose friendship with the West was less easy, but a friendship just the same, they wanted him out, and made sure he got out. What’s the difference? Why do they support Syrian protesters, and even go so far as to reveal their arrogance by mentioning that al-Asad is “expendable”? Why don’t Bahrain protesters get any support? The only consistent factor has nothing to do with rights or freedom or legitimate aspirations. It has only to do with who they want, and who they don’t. I would say that Western powers are willing and waiting to intervene in other countries. They are going through no end of rhetorical gymnastics, political treachery and covert operations in the meantime to justify an attack on Iran, as we all know. I would also say that Syria is another target. They’d be more than happy to make it look like their helping the people like in Libya rather than a full invasion like Iraq, because it’s easier to justify and probably cheaper. In these cases, the revolutionaries run the risk of being nothing more than volunteer soldiers in a Western invasion.
4 A serious problem in the countries affected by the wave of Islamic awakening is- as a matter of fact- the problem of a strong leadership leading the opposition in those countries. In fact, in several cases those working under previous dictatorial regimes are still ruling the country. Is there any solution to this problem?
Well, in the case of Libya, to my understanding, the transitional government has been planning and plotting for years while in exile in England, and there’s only one reason why that government would support them while they were doing that. If I’m correct. Otherwise, the greatest threat to these movements is the lack of leadership. The Islamic revolution in Iran is unique because there was already an established figurehead, Ruhullah Khomenei, even though there were groups of many different stripes. He united them.
Islam united them. But look at the movements today, there is no one leader. There is no spiritual leader uniting them. The most basic elements of history’s greatest revolution are two: negation of falsehood, and affirmation of truth. With the words “laa ilaaha” we negate every falsehood, every impure motive, all the weaknesses in ourselves and communities. The revolutions of today have thrown out corrupt rulers, but does this mean the people have achieved self-purification? The leaders were corrupt, but we have to remember that a leader is of his people, he reflects their characteristics too. The people need to revolt internalyl-, the inner, greater jihaad– against their own corruption. And they can only achieve this, the life that is lived by truth with the second half of our testimony of faith: illAllaah. They must make the Qur-aan their constitutional document, and the shari’a– which literally means “path to salvation”- as their new legal framework. For that a leader must arise with the knowledge and integrity to rule by Islaam, and the people must recognize and pledge allegiance to him.
5 The question that everybody’s now asking is whether the unexpected, amazing and unique wave of Islamic awakening will shape, influence or rather change the future of the Arab world in particular and the whole world in general. Now has Islamic Awakening got the potential to dramatically change global equations, do you think?
Muslims got to open their eyes to the ground beneath their feet. We have every imaginable resource from A to Z- untapped human potential, water, oil & natural gas, agriculture, precious metals and stones, varieties of landscapes, geo-strategic position. Pakistan’s soldiers are arguably the best in the world. Egypt and Syria alone could have defeated the Zionists in Palestine and completely checked other Western powers in the Middle East more than 30 years ago. Look at how much Iran changed the equation from 1979 until now. What if we all did the same? Pakistan and Sudan alone could feed the world. WE DO NOT NEED THE WEST. WE DO NOT NEED SYSTEMS THAT DON’T EVEN WORK FOR THEM.
ALLAAH HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING. When we realize it, and when the people who realize it insist on leading and refuse to be misled, we’re gonna unleash peace all over this planet. But, there is only one condition. Allaah Doesn’t
Change the condition of a people until they change the condition of their selves.
6 What’s the most important challenge that the Islamic Awakening in the Middle East and North Africa will have to face?
The Awakening part. The people who we let lead us are obviously corrupt and naïve, but so are the people. We have no idea how eager the Zionists are to control Libya’s vast water reserves. That’s their whole M.O. in the Golan Heights, for example. We’ve forgotten- though the Western polities haven’t- what happens when we think for ourselves, such as the 1973 Oil Embargo, the Iranian revolution. We’re unaware of the lengths these fading, illegitimate powers will go through to make sure we do NOT regain autonomy. Here’s an example: they bombed the bomb the Islamic Courts
Union out of Somalia, even though they restored order, justice and peace to the extent that Mogadishu’s airport was running again, just because they were not indebted to and controlled by anyone. They were of, by and for the Muslim Somali people. They would rather tempt a country into civil war that leads to famine than allow Muslims to decide what to do with their uranium, their geographical position, and their coastal waters. We need to wake up to this level of awareness, which will lead us to believe in Allaah’s Promises, rather than the unsubstantiated promises of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
1 How do you think the momentous events of last few months or the so-called Arab Spring will help shape the future of American relationship with its allies in the region?
The best possible outcome is that it is the foundation of a model- the Islamic society- which will provide the alternative to the Western lifestyle the world is starving for. We did that before- our societies have inspired and uplifted the world- but that was long ago. Instead of always quoting anecdotes from our great past to defend Islam, we need to present Islam in a real way as the hope for the future.
2 How successful and effective has the US policy been in the Middle East since the Arab Spring started?
It has been effective in some instances. So far the regime in Egypt has only changed in name. Whereas Mubarak was its face, now it has no face and is in that sense all the more deceptive. In North Africa in general, with the exception of Libya, it has made sure the people think they get what they wanted by allowing the dictators to leave on a golden parachute, without any fundamental or meaningful changes. There not less but more American military bases and operations in North Africa, for example.
On the other hand, they have lost their complete stranglehold on Muslim’s imaginations. We know we can stand up to their strongmen. We’ve reminded ourselves of a lesson we learned in 1979, that Allaah Supports the believers when they unite, wa Huwa l-Wahidu l-Qahhaar. Politically, there are some instances of greater unity between Muslim governments, such as Palestine’s confidence in pushing for full recognition by the UN, greater ties between Egypt and Iran. And it’s efforts to isolate the powers it doesn’t support have not been very successful, though the double treatment of Syria and Libya compared to Bahrain is a glaring exception.
Overall, revolution is not really a solution. Heads of state have been changed, but that has been the only result so far. We have yet to see if the lives of the people will improve, and right now they are actually worse in most cases. It is an awakening and revival of our Islam that we need, not a revolution. Revolution is only one vehicle towards this- not necessarily the best one- and we only get to the point of dealing with the external after we’ve dealt with the internal. A Muslim has the duty and right to rule if he excels the people in knowledge and piety. At the very least, he should not block the people from Islaam. After that, it doesn’t matter about a vote, or what they think of him, or how the West evaluates him. They should follow and advise him. Lastly, we have the duty and right to rule ourselves by Islaam individually, and accomplishing that is the true Awakening, Revolution and Spring.