I have been thinking a lot lately about how we as Muslims operate amid difficulties. Here I am not specifically referring to the apologetic groups, or those who choose slavery and betrayal. It is those institutions and groups that have been at the forefront of fighting the good fight and defending the downtrodden at considerable personal cost.
They are the vanguards of this Ummah. Yet it is these vanguards that must be more vigilant than others, not due to the seen threats that exist but the unseen threats which encompass the believer. It is the blurring of truth with falsehood, and clarity with obscurity. By virtue of their esteemed position, they lead others; legitimise and delegitimise for others. The weight of cascading deeds, good or bad, are thus upon the shoulders of these vanguards.
In an effort to extricate ourselves from the dire situation, the initial intention begins with theological platitudes. We must unite and stand for Justice and Truth. Speaking the Truth is the highest form of Jihad. Today, these platitudes are useful for extracting wealth from those who are considered unadvanced in their thinking, as they suffice with an understanding of the deen. In reality they are the successful ones because their gaze is upon their Lord and divine recompense, not the material. What else can one construe from a people who give their wealth in exchange for something immaterial?
The same, however, cannot be said of the ideas that are being increasingly relied upon by Muslims. Whilst taking the wealth of Muslims, we work the task of formulating modes of resistance by engaging and co-opting ideas that can assist us. It was liberal human rights that happened to be the saviour of choice, once upon a time. Understanding its epistemological problems and incompatibility, we realised its use for Muslims was self-deprecating and inhibiting. We then turned to ideas which, like the human rights discourse, initially resonate, but also carry baggage that is far more corrosive. These ideas are multiple and are generally rooted in Marxism, the Frankfurt school, the structuralist and poststructuralists – intellectual trends, which, it should be emphasised, emerged off the back of the horrors of WWII. Whilst there is a tendency to lump them all as “neo Marxist” (and there are good reasons to do this, as nearly all of them were influenced in one way/at one time or another, by Marxist vernacular), the fact remains that it is a combination of these ideas that have informed contemporary resistance movements. A detailed examination of the underpinning philosophies depicts a collage of abject godlessness, confusion, amorality and indeterminacy. Yet the movements that leverage these philosophies are taken as paragon examples of “resistance”, from which one can derive valuable knowledge from, and perhaps even inform our tactics.
Ignoring the fact that these movements themselves have been by and large failures, useful knowledge may perhaps be gleaned. How is beneficial knowledge determined? It seems to me that for some time the baggage has been ignored or downplayed, and associated jargon which is constituted by this baggage has been uncritically diffused into Muslim discourse as an advanced level of understanding related to oppression, which has escaped the cognitive grasps of those simpletons known as “Ulama”. Pretty much most discussion about oppression in contemporary society is protracted through nebulous ideas of racism understood through the aforementioned philosophic lenses. And the solutions must be available to us now. Change must occur now. Resistance must continue in what seems like an infinite deadlock. Islam itself has become protracted through political resistance, altering the perfect balance of priorities the faith espouses.
In the process, the concern for what Islam has to say, what is halal and haram, is displaced, because, resistance. The compliance of the mode of resistance with Islam does not matter because, resistance. Concern of the hearts of those who follow uncritically is relegated as a peripheral consideration because resistance. Resistance to resistance, it seems becomes futile, as resistance becomes an irresistible dogma that displaces the concerns for the akhira. It becomes a messianic movement where messiahs are not the Prophets of God, but self-designated agents of change.
This situation is an ultimate failing. A dead end.
“And the worldly life is not but an amusement and diversion but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah, so will you not reason?”