Wahhabism and Modern Islamic Ideology

Report
Wahhabism and Modern
Islamic Ideology
From Muhammad ibn Abd-alWahhab to Sayyid Qut’b
Wahhabism and Modern Islamic
Ideology
Wahhabism: A conservative 18th century
reform movement of Sunni Islam
Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab--(1703–1792).
Born in Najd, Arabia.
Was from a line of scholars of the Hanbali
school of jurisprudence
The Hanbali school of jurisprudence stressed reliance
on the Qur’an as the preeminent source of Islamic
law (Sharia)
The next most reliable source was the Hadith, or
sayings of the Prophet, that reflected the way the
early community (umma) interpreted the message of
Muhammad.
Wahhabism and Islamic Ideology
Wahhabi stressed the following:
The “oneness” of God (monotheism)
All acts of piety and deference toward the Prophet
and other Muslims, dead or alive, as idolatry.
Jihad (holy war) against such Muslims who violated
this principle
No blind adherence to the interpretations of Islamic
scholars
Responsibility to learn the “way of the Prophet” (the
sunnah), i.e. the Qur’an and Hadith, fell upon the
individual Muslim (to be educated in Madrassas, or
‘holy schools”
Wahhabism and Islamic Ideology
Islam had endured through several centuries of
political leadership that had diluted its pure message
(The Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties).
Islam needed purification
What was needed was a revival of itjihad
(independent reasoning) within the Muslim, not a
reliance on accepted teaching (this movement
became known as Salafism).
Muslims should avoid shirk:
– Major shirk, which relates to the aspects of worship,
intention, obedience and showing fidelity to people.
– Minor shirk, which relates to the act of showing off
– Hidden shirk, in which a believer may fall inadvertently,
modes of dress, associating with idolatrous Muslims,
adopting western styles, or customs
The Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood
British Colonial rule 1882-1922
Indirect Control 1923-52 during which Egypt was ruled
by a monarchy
Ottoman Caliphate abolished in 1924
Egyptian politics during this period dominated by the
struggle between Egyptian nationalists,the monarchy
and the British
Egypt used by the British as an operations base during
World War II
1948 Arab-Israeli war (Brotherhood sends volunteers)
Hasan al-Banna
The Muslim Brotherhood
Born in Mahmudiyya, north-west of Cairo
Importance of Sufism (Hasafi tariqa)
Moved to Cairo in 1922 and studied to become a
primary school teacher
Graduated in 1927 and moved to Ismailiyya, on the
Suez canal
Founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928
Back to Cairo in 1932, grassroots organizing
In 1948 Prime Minister al-Nuqrashi assassinated
In 1949 Hasan al-Banna assassinated by security
forces
The Muslim Brotherhood
the social organization of the tariqa
(to which he took an oath of
allegiance at 18)
levels of understanding (khassah
vs. ‘ammah)
importance of helping the poor
belief as social practice
opposition to Christian missionary
activities
The Muslim Brotherhood
Islamic decline and renaissance
Westernization and colonialism,
especially as seen in education
Social and political justice
The function of the ‘ulama
Islam as a comprehensive
system
The Muslim Brotherhood
The propagation of Islam as an allencompassing solution to political and
social problems: The Qur’an is the
answer
The mosque as a center of
socialization, the institutional heart of an
Islamic revolution: a school, a hospital, a
spiritual base
The importance of organization and
moral probity: rejection of colonialism,
imperialism, secularism and the West
The Muslim Brotherhood
Distinct from the Salafi movement of
Afghani, Abduh and Rida: Banna was
from a different social class and was
no ‘alim
Primary interest was in social
organization, not in theoretical
speculation
Brotherhood and ‘ulama in
competition for the masses
Superiority of turath to modernity
The Muslim Brotherhood
Spirituality in the East
Islam the solution, defined by the Qur’an
the pros and cons of patriotism and
nationalism
Ideologies of racial superiority fraudulent
The Brotherhood supports debate, difference,
and gentleness
Qur’an and Sunna and a strong determined
leadership are the answer
Sayyid Qutb
Sayyid Qutb
Continuity of Qutb’s thought? Different
phases
Q8.53: “Truly God does not change the
state of a people until they change that
which is in themselves”
The full implications of submission and
servitude to God
We must see ourselves as though we
were of the Prophet’s generation
Sayyid Qutb
Quote: “…in our capacity to reconstruct and relive
the abundance of the feelings, comprehensions,
and experiences accompanying the revelation (of
the Qur’an) and the first generation of Muslims,
who received the Qur’an in the thick of the
struggle. Theirs was an environment of jihad
(striving) – jihad against the self, temptations, and
people . . . The ambiance of the emerging Muslim
community and its nascent social system was a
reflection of a lively friction between feeling,
interests, and principles.”
Sayyid Qutb
Islam was corrupted and distorted
by philosophy, leisure and the ulama
only those who take up the position
of the vanguard (and thus the place
of the Prophet and his Companions)
can interpret the Qur’an
The implications of God’s lordship
Sayyid Qutb
The Renaissance was the beginning of the
end: man over God, reason over scripture
The West’s focus on materialism: Darwin,
Freud, Marx, no room for spirituality
All Western ideologies have exploited
humanity: Feudalism, Capitalism, Marxism,
Nazism
Capitalism: destruction of the soul and the
individual
Sayyid Qutb
Tawhid: submission to God in all realms, no
difference between ibadat and mu’amalat
Man, as vice-regent of God, measure of all things
The limitations of reason and technology
Islam is the solution for alienation and spiritual
malaise
Qutb an independent thinker, with fully articulated
theory by 1962, same time Nasser brings the
Azhar under state control
Sayyid Qutb
The Qur’an a dynamic, revolutionary document
Mecca and Medina: 1) patience and oppression, 2) political
formation and expansion (importance of jihad in its fullest
meaning)
Enemies: International Zionism, Crusaderism and
Communism
Vanguard: the poor, weak (Nasserism?)
Egypt in a state of jahiliyyah -> jihad
Interpretation in the hands of the vanguard, not the ulama
Dynamic fiqh, not paper fiqh, but first an Islamic State
Sayyid Qutb
What do we make of Sayyid
Qutb?
Hasan al-Hudaybi (d. 1973)’s
Missionaries not Judges, and the
shift of the Brotherhood towards
moderation and gradualism
Influence on other Islamist groups
The Iranian Revolution
The Question of Succession: The Rightly Guided Caliphs
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Abu Bakr (632-34)
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‘Umar (634-44)
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father of the Prophet’s wife Hafsah
vast expansion of Muslim rule, Jerusalem falls
‘Uthman (644-56)
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father of the Prophet’s favorite wife ‘A’isha
the ridda wars
Married to the Prophet’s daughter Ruqayya
Murdered in his house while reading the Qur’an
‘Ali (656-61)
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Married to Fatima al-Zahra, the Prophet’s daughter
The Prophet’s cousin, first male convert to Islam
Important Battles
656: Battle of the Camel
Talha, Zubayr and ‘A’isha against ‘Ali
657: Battle of Siffin
‘Ali vs. Mu’wiya (cousin of Uthman, son of Abu Sufyan and Hind) ->
661 Umayyad caliphate
Arbitration: some of ‘Ali’s followers desert him (Kharijites)
661: ‘Ali assassinated by a Kharijite
Second generation after the Prophet
680: Karbala
Ali’s son Husayn is killed by Mu’wiya’s son Yazid
-> this defeat central to later Shi’a identity,
commemorated on 10th of Muharram
(Ashura)
Distinguishing characteristics of postformative Shi’ism
o Muhammad designated ‘Ali his
successor -> ritual cursing of first
caliphs
o belief in God’s guidance of the Prophet’s
family -> Imams are protected from error
o division into three major groups, Zaydis
(5ers), Ismailis (7ers), Imamis (12ers)
o different legal and theological canon
than Sunnis -> distinct ritual practices
o importance of ‘Ashura -> example of
Husayn
o Shi’a states: Fatimids, Buyids, Safavids
Ayatollah Khumayni (d. 1989)
Ayatollah Khumayni
A sayyid and mullah
Status advanced to
marja in 1963; clash
with Shah (Khurdad
15 movement] move
to Iraq
Forced to leave Najaf
for Paris by Saddam in
1978
Becomes spiritual
head of Iran after
revolution
Dies of heart failure in
1989
The Iranian Revolution
Shah’s Iran in the ‘70s: secular
modernism, nationalism based on national
myth going back to pre-Islamic Persia
Khomeini, one ayatollah among many,
exiled in 1964 for criticizing the Shah
Social classes opposed to Shah: devout
middle classes (bazaar), working classes
Student opposition: Marxism vs. the
socialist Shi’ism of Ali Shariati (d. 1977)
The political and economic independence
of the ulama in Iran
The Iranian Revolution
Rational explanation of the importance of
God’s Law
The necessity of the ruler to exhibit the
following qualities: knowledge of law and
justice
Citation of relevant ayas and traditions that
justify the central role of the faqih
Enayat’s argument that Khumeini
downplayed the importance of the return of
the 12th Imam; and brought the Shi’a closer
to Sunnis by stripping the Imam of
supernatural qualities
The Iranian Revolution
Khomeini’s doctrine of wilayat al-faqih (guardianship
should include all issues for which Prophet of Islam and
Shi'a Imam have responsibility, including governance of the
country)
This view opposed by most other ulama
Economic downturn in the late 1970s, Khomeini drew
on Shariati’s concept of the “disinherited”
(mustadafeen)
Attack on Khomeini in 1978: demonstrations for a
year, Shah flees in January 1979
Liberal and religious rivals sidelined by the 80s
Iran-Iraq war 1980-88
The legacy of Hussein at Karbala: a culture of
martyrdom in the context of war
A harsh critique of moral authority of the West
Iranian Exportation of the
Revolution
Lebanon: balance between Sunnis, Shi’a,
Maronite Christians, Druze; political roles
distributed according to demography
Civil War begins in 1975, Syrian presence since
1976, Israel invades in 1982 to throw out PLO
Imam Musa Sadr (d. 1978 ?) from Iran in 1974,
founds Amal (Hope); thought is similar to Shariati
1982 and on: in response to Israeli invasion,
Hizballah is established, Fadlallah recognized by
them as spiritual advisor

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