Zahir Ebrahim | Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
Excerpted From Part-III Section IV
Path Forward: Altering The Legacy With Qur'anic Political Science – Impacting Muslim Existence
As far as Mr. Spock has been able to ascertain from his study of the Holy Qur'an, there are no Imams mentioned in the Holy Qur'an by name, nor the fact of their number as in how many, except for the sole fact of the existence of some وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ . That latter fact is categorical. It cannot be denied. Nor can it be denied that logical deductions from the verses of the Holy Quran have led Mr. Spock to the conclusion that these could only be from the Ahlul Bayt. That point does require adjudication from empirical data as already discussed in the preceding sections. Beyond that, everything else on the subject is shrouded in metaphorical verses of the Indeterminates. These are open to interpretation and historical fixing, and usually almost entirely by socialization bias. Neither the names of the members of the Ahlul Bayt, nor the names of the four Caliphs who took power in temporal succession after the Messenger's demise, nor the names of the Ummayad and Abbaside imperial rulers who came thereafter to create the Muslim empires, nor the names of the Hadith compilers and jurists, nor the names of any of the companions of the Messenger, nor the names of his wives, are mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. This silence is also a fact.
What the Holy Qur'an has instead specified is exclusively the criterion by which to judge, adjudicate, ascertain and affirm, all matters pertaining to the religion of Islam in its categorical verses. Some of these criterion have been used by Mr. Spock to figure out many things, some shocking, like the admonishment that some Muslims in the time of the Messenger were “on a clearly wrong Path” (Surah Al-Ahzaab, 33:36). Similarly, on the topic which principally divides Sunnis and Shias and from which all their other sectarian differences follow – was there, or was there not, appointment of an apostolic successor by divine decree and proclaimed by the Messenger? So judge by the Determinate criterion of the Holy Qur'an alone, to your own good heart's content, who is entitled to be وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ from among the distinguished players of history. Mr. Spock's path to understand the Qur'anic criterion is summarized in the Self Study section at the end.
But also observe that its relevance today is principally only of theoretical and academic interest from the point of view of the Determinate verses of the Holy Qur'an. Because, if it wasn't, these historically entitled وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ would have been identified in the Holy Qur'an by name and details about them would be contained in the Determinates of the Holy Qur'an for subsequent generations to follow categorically, until the end of time. The reason they are not identified by name, is arguably because they were clearly known to the peoples in the era they each lived in, and were principally meant for. Whereas, the theologies surrounding them which have reached Muslims some millennia later, are not to be found in the Holy Qur'an except by way of interpretation of the Indeterminates, largely drawn from the preferred penmanship of history. What would have happened if none of these scribes existed, or had written anything – just as nothing was written down for more than a century after the demise of the Prophet of Islam? On what logical basis, deduced from the criterion of the Holy Qur'an, are these fallible scribes predicates to the understanding of the infallible Holy Qur'an? Mr. Spock found no reference in the Holy Qur'an mandating the existence of these scribes. There is no mention in the Holy Qur'an of scribes who have been “perfected” for this task of faultless preservation of historical narratives that exist today as the primary written sources of Islam outside of the Holy Qur'an.
Every generation has the new opportunity to start afresh – for the natural cyclical process of birth and death can also have a beneficial cleansing effect upon the baggage of legacy. Why should a new generation born into their own times be shackled by what went before? Which is why the Holy Qur'an itself advocates starting afresh for every man and woman rather than remain shackled by the holiness of others who came before them:
“That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case!” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:134, repeated again for emphasis in 2:141)
When the Holy Qur'an so clearly vouches for that separation from the people who went before without equivocation: “Of their merits there is no question in your case”, then how can it endorse the acceptance of their workmanship for you to follow for your merit? That would create a contradiction!
Indeed, the Holy Qur'an unequivocally confirms that conclusion with the following explicit warning:
“(On the day) when those who were followed disown those who followed (them), and they behold the doom, and all their aims collapse with them. And those who were but followers will say: If a return were possible for us, we would disown them even as they have disowned us. Thus will Allah show them their own deeds as anguish for them, and they will not emerge from the Fire.” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:166-167)
The Indeterminates of the Holy Qur'an weren't meant to be filled in by the imaginative scribes in pious robes, nor spawn Muslim empires by subverting their meanings from the pulpit, nor the latter day lucrative industry of madrassas, howzas, and seminaries which run into unaccountable billions of dollars of annual zakat, khums, and endowment funds. Like the financial secrecy enjoyed by the Papacy, no one has any accounting for these funds. No nation demands it. No accounting firm produces the balance sheet for the public for the funds harvest from the public in the name of religion. This holy industry feeds for lifetime, generations of savants who often cannot be gainfully employed in any competitive sector of society. In modernity, if you are a mental midget who cannot get into college, or are too poor to feed yourself, you become an “alim”. If you are more fortunate, you become a “revolutionary”, or acquire a Ph.D. to “bring reform to Islam”. The religion of Islam remaining in the clutches of the pulpit that feeds off of it, for profit, power, or glory, can never stand up to the hectoring hegemons. It becomes the stage for house niggers, useful idiots, and mercenaries of empire to rally the public mind to its agendas. We even empirically witness this in our own times. Caught between the Hegelian Dialectic of “militant Islam” and “moderate Islam”, with “revolutionary Islam” soon to be added to its mix to foment more “revolutionary times” of internecine violence, the sectarian pulpit spells worldwide national suicide for Muslims today.
Just as the ancient scribes fixed the Indeterminates of the Holy Qur'an to suit their narrow self-interests, we have the opportunity to rationally unfix the Indeterminates of their subversive bindings to suit our broader existential self-interests. We have the same ability to de-emphasize the Indeterminates in our religious ethos, or to treat them as options not to be fought or disunited over, just as the earlier times went in the opposite direction. We have the opportunity to actively build on what is common ground so easily forged by the Determinates of the Holy Qur'an, just as those who went before us differentiated on the basis of the Indeterminates.
Only that sensible path offers any coherent possibilities for Muslims to finally stop being puppets on a string. Only that approach permits the sectarianly divided Muslims to come together against common global predators whose only real leverage upon Muslims is their superior Machiavellian ability to divide and conquer the simpleton public mind.
We have the opportunity to stop being simpletons. That is why we are each given our own little “zulfiqar”, our intellect! But it is born dull just as man is born naked at birth. And just as we don't go prancing about in our birth-day clothes au natural for the rest of our lives, and if someone did they'd be simply locked away in an asylum, those still prancing about in their birth-day mind au natural are just as simply harvested for fodder of the Nietzscheian superman.
Focussing on the Determinates effectively checkmates the hijacking of the religion of Islam from all pulpits. It helps overcome the sectarian divide among Muslims without either requiring anyone to give up their own socialization biases, nor requiring anyone to accept any particular sect's supremacy as the sole custodian of the religion of Islam some fourteen-fifteen centuries later.
Just acquiring that first crucial understanding, that Indeterminates by definition seed diversity of viewpoints, and those viewpoints that are inimical to the spirit of Islam expressed in its Determinates will always sow discord, is sufficient for this coming together of the Muslim public mind. Such common ground does not require a common pulpit. It only requires reaching a common understanding of the above principle so lucidly visible in the Holy Qur'an with even a modicum of reflection. All else will naturally follow with the realization that Muslims should abstain from building the core religious values of their faith upon the narratives of the scribes of history who fixed these Indeterminates according to their own logic and motivations pertinent to their own epoch, when today Muslims have the same pristine text of the same Holy Qur'an untampered by human hand also available to them to guide them in their own epoch!
Muslims today have that momentous benefit denied all other peoples none of whose sacred scriptures can stand that test of time. To then journey voluntarily on the path that peoples of other religions are involuntarily forced to adopt because they do not have such un-tampered sacred scriptures, and that path lead to disunity and infighting, is outright stupidity. Nay, asininity. When such foolishness leads to internecine warfare, it is outright criminal. And not to fight back that criminalist path when it perches a people on the very brink of existentialism, a national suicide!
Who can liberate the Muslim public mind so steeped in rituals, so manipulated from the pulpit in every sect, and so incestuously socialized into their respective sectarian ethos generation after generation? How to bootstrap that transformation of the Muslim public mind without wiping out that cultural history? How to fight back that national suicide?
If Mustafa Kemal Atatürk can ruthlessly separate a domineering people from their 300 year old Muslim heritage of Ottoman empire within a single generation to create Westernized Turkey, if Ayatollah Khomeini can wipe out 2500 year old heritage of monarchy in Persia in far less time than that to create a Revolutionary theological Iran, it surely can be done. But can it be done without bloodshed, internecine violence, and a forced separation from who we are? Both those cited transformations of the twentieth century came at the expense of that forced separation of a people from their heritage; and much spilled Muslim blood – mostly by Muslims themselves! Neither is necessary nor desirable in order to end the divisiveness of sectarianism.
All it takes is pulpits in all sects to perceptively understand, and judiciously promulgate, the concepts of Determinates and Indeterminates to their respective flock. The rest will naturally follow. That initial first step will surely take state power to affect at national and international levels – for, if the pulpit was ever so rational, it had the choice of addressing the problem in the previous centuries on their own. Just as it took state power to first preserve the Holy Qur'an, it will also take state power to first push its common Determinate meaning through. The rest will surely be organic once a new generation grows up learning the new understanding. Other principled measures can also be adopted by any state, such as mandating Determinate verse 5:48 of Surah Al-Maeda as the overarching mission statement of every Muslim sect under its suzerainty in order for the sect to be accorded state recognition and constitutional protection of rights as a legitimate Islamic sect.
There is no fundamental political problem in sowing good – Ayn Rand's twentieth-century theology of Objectivism and individual selfishness notwithstanding. Holy Qur'an is inimical to such ideas and therefore, to not accord ideas inimical to the religion of Islam any protection in a Muslim state is rational and self-consistent with the theology that is espoused by the state. In the same vein, fraternal ideas the Holy Qur'an engenders in its Determinate verses are both a spiritual and political constitution to live by for Muslims and therefore, there is no principal reason why certain key political principles extracted from it not be adopted as governing principles of a state even if it is a secular state. Just that one simple fundamental measure, like its Biblical counterpart known as The Golden Rule, will ensure that vitriolic sects whose entire raison d'être is ominously self-righteousness, declaring others non-Muslim their principle enactment of their philosophy, get naturally wiped out by making the soil infertile for their growth.
The power of political sagaciousness and beneficial mutual co-existence inherent in the Determinate verse 5:48 of Surah Al-Maeda both checkmates, as well as preempts, all internecine warfare among Muslims. No outside or inside Machiavelli can harvest Muslims cracks and lacunas with the adoption of verse 5:48 as part of the state constitution where diverse Muslim sects live in any substantial numbers and permitted to practice their religion with state protection of their rights. Those religious rights can be made contingent on the directives of the very religion that is being accorded state political rights.
This line of reasoning is neither platitudinous nor theoretical. But straightforward Qur'anic political science to defeat Machiavellian political science. Take political science out of religion, and all a people are left with is the empty shell of banal rituals ripe for harvesting by the Machiavelli. That's how the Religion of Islam was principally hijacked, and that's also how it will ever be un-hijacked! The world might pay attention to this if they care to rid themselves of the curse of the repeated diabolical harvesting of the religion of Islam for “imperial mobilization”. The world might also pay attention to the political evils spread in the name of “freedom” that is nipped in the bud with such cautious political adoption – even if it may sound exclusionary to the nihilistic advocates of unlimited freedom. This includes the so called avant-garde in political thought who want freedom to spread political evil in the name of political freedom, freedom to destroy with vile speech in the name of freedom of speech, freedom to belittle others' religion in the name of freedom of religion, and freedom to spread anarchy in the name of freedom of individualism. No civilization can exist for long with predators flourishing among them in the name of freedom and devouring its every civilizational construct in the lofty guise of liberté, égalité, fraternité.
The aforementioned solution-space is applicable even when the political governance system that Muslims live in is a theological state of any sectarian flavor. Today, these span the full gamut of defining governance characteristics that are not to be found in the Holy Qur'an but is presented as being part of the religion of Islam. Drawn entirely from the Indeterminates, it spans the gamut of extremes: from the strict orthodox Wahabi-Salafi Sunni sect that rules Islam's holiest places as a private kingdom named after their own ruling family which interprets ( وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ) of verse 4:59 as anyone vested in temporal power by any means (amply supported by their own preferred history's scribes and precedents); to the “virtuous philosopher-king” model of the Iranian Shia sect asserting a mandate for “Imammate by proxy” also based on the same verse 4:59 (and also amply supported by their own preferred history's scribes and precedents)!
The Iranian revolution of Ayatollah (imam) Khomeini (imam in the ordinary sense of political and spiritual leader whom people followed, hence lower case usage) however was somewhat more creative and principled than the Wahabis pernicious takeover of Islam's sacred soil under the banner of the House of Saud.
The latter were largely an ignorant but locally powerful tribe, cognitively infiltrated by the Wahabi sect invented by the British empire as part of its ongoing subversive warfare upon the Muslim Ottoman empire, and brought to state power in the Hijaz by the interplay of victorious superpowers on the grand chessboard of the early twentieth century.
Whereas, the Iranian revolution in the second half of the twentieth century was led largely by well-read scholars and theologians. Ayatollah (imam) Khomeini easily adapted Plato's “philosopher-king” for his “governance of the faqih” (vilayat-i faqih) model, seamlessly tying it to the shia jurisprudence principle of “taqleed” to shepherd the flock. He equally easily sold the new franchise of “revolutionary Islam” to the Iranian public mind which had been readily primed for the revolution through the good graces of the ignoble Shah's CIA trained SAVAK, that it was far nobler in the mind to be ruled by an enlightened clergy in the name of God as the perpetual enemy of America (the Great Satan) rather than by America's own Shahansha in his own royal name – without the conception of Hegelian Dialectic ever becoming part of the discourse space. The arc of crisis was lighted simultaneously by American President Jimmy Carter with both revolutionary Sunnis in Afghanistan and revolutionary Shias in Iran.
A non hagiographic examination of the conception of vilayat-i faqih in both Ayatollah (imam) Khomeini's book: “Islam and Revolution” (translated by Hamid Algar, 1981), and how it has been enacted in post Revolutionary Iran, reveals that it is little different in terms of absolutist governance than what it replaced: both autocratic rules by those who ascribe to themselves the divine right of kings to rule and consequently, absolutely intolerant of dissenting ideology and dissenting politics. Both demonized their respective antagonists at home (never mind abroad) with the absolute righteousness of divine authority. Both asserting with unsurpassed oratory, and with the power of the state backing their oration, that the chosen elite, respectively themselves, is more entitled to govern the public than the public itself. In the case of Revolutionary Iran, the people agreed to accept that determination with an unprecedented public referendum which remains unsurpassed as a choice exercised by a fed-up people to be willingly ruled by their clergy class, brought to political power on an Air France jet airliner flying through America's NATO controlled skies, instead of living under the suzerainty of the most cruel King of kings who had previously been brought to political power by America's CIA.
The public in post Revolutionary Iran, just like in America, comes out to vote periodically to select from among their respective ruling elite who will govern them under their respectively pre-established structures of power espousing unchangeable sacred ideologies, making it quite irrelevant whom the public selects in both nations. It is the power structure, once established, that governs, with new faces only representing who gets to occupy the established musical chairs and put their signatures on pieces of parchment.
All of the preceding is just reporting palpably recorded facts. None of it is state secret, or speculation. No conclusions are being drawn from it in terms of the legitimacy of governance, only of how power actually flows in reality, stripped off its mythological air and public relations veneers, and the public's acceptance of one form of power over another when both have served an insidious function for the same Great Satan. One as its policeman, the other as its fabricated enemy to continue sustaining its superpower war footings upon the peaceable instincts of its own democratic public (see Zbigniew Brzezinski in The Arc of Crisis and The Grand Chessboard cited in reports referenced in Part-I).
Irrespective of whether a public makes the choice of governance with their ballot, or a “choice” is imposed upon a public with the bullet or even “democracy”, neither is “rule by kingdom” specified in the Holy Qur'an, nor is “rule by clergy” specified in the Holy Qur'an, and nor is “rule by parliament” or “rule by Western powers' orchestrated friendly puppets and fabricated enemies of any flavor, religious and secular” specified in the Holy Qur'an.
In fact, there is no method of governance demanded, specified, or even outlined in the Holy Qur'an, at least not any that Mr. Spock has been able to discover in its Determinate verses, except the articulation of the general and platitudinous mandate to build a righteous and just society in which no one takes unfair advantage of another. The Holy Qur'an instead affirms the lovely beatitudinous (exalted in happiness) promise:
“And We desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs,” (Surah Al-Qasas 28:5)
وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱسْتُضْعِفُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ ٱلْوَٰرِثِينَ
“Allah has decreed: "It is I and My messengers who must prevail": For Allah is One full of strength, able to enforce His Will.” (Surah Al-Mujaadila 58:21)
كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا۠ وَرُسُلِىٓ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ
Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Moses): "My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth." (Surah Al-Anbiyaa 21:105)
وَلَقَدْ كَتَبْنَا فِى ٱلزَّبُورِ مِنۢ بَعْدِ ٱلذِّكْرِ أَنَّ ٱلْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِىَ ٱلصَّٰلِحُونَ
Caption The Holy Qur'an's equivalent of the Biblical Beatitude: “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 Holy Bible KJV). Is the Holy Qur'an proclaiming Divine Rule?
These verses are Indeterminates. Like verse 4:59, verse 28:5 “who were deemed weak in the land,” is unknown. Perhaps it can be similarly qualitatively reasoned from other verses of the Holy Qur'an, but without context which is not in the Holy Qur'an, it would remain metaphorical and strictly Indeterminate. It can just as easily be argued by all oppressed to apply to themselves to encourage themselves with hope to continue in their perseverance! And it can also be argued by Machiavelli to apply to the oppressed to foment manufactured revolutions. However, a closer analytical examination also reveals that for the promise: “to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs,” these heirs must logically also share common characteristics with the Imams the Holy Qur'an has referenced elsewhere. For instance, in Surah Al-Baqara, 2:124, where the Author proclaims that He alone makes Imams by divine appointment: “He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.” When the Author makes Imams as per his covenant with Prophet Ibrahim, the word is used in a specific sense from its common meaning. The Arabic-English dictionary of the Holy Qur'an defines the common meaning of the word “Imam” thusly: “Leader; President; Any object that is followed, whether a human being or a book or a highway”. That common meaning of the word “Imam” for instance is in verse 17:71: “One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams”.
Therefore, in the specific sense of Imam appointed by the Author in the context of 2:124, as opposed to just any ordinary leader that has a following in the context of 17:71, obedience is made obligatory for those for whom they are Imams, and the entire discussion of وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ of verse 4:59 also carries over wherever and whenever obedience is made obligatory to any man by the Author. As already reasoned out in preceding sections, the Author cannot make obedience obligatory towards anyone who can make an error and not make a mockery of His Own divine Guidance System as the right path. Imam, obedience to the Imam, and inerrancy sort of go together as a package – in order for it to make any logical sense to demand obedience to a man and still remain on the path of divine guidance which is proclaimed to be error free, infallible.
Therefore, if the word “Imam” is used in verse 28:5 in that specific sense of 2:124, the verse is still only a Beatitude, an uplifting promise of some future time. The brilliant ability to harvest that theological concept for self-interest by the superman among both: the Shia pulpit to orchestrate “Imammate by proxy” to seed IRAN: The Crescent of Crisis as the birth of the uncompromising “Revolutionary Islam”, and among the hectoring hegemons to orchestrate the fiction of “Armageddon”, not withstanding. A contorted “doctrinal motivation” on two opposing sides for synthesizing the fear of “Clash of Civilizations” in order to continually lend credence to the threat of “End Times”. It enables manufacturing a brilliant Hegelian Dialectic which cannot be disputed by those caught in its web – as it is already written in the sacred books that more than half the world's population believes in. It promotes the fiction of the existence of a global existential threat, putting the entire world on perpetual crisis footing.
And if the word “Imam” represents the common meaning of 17:71 as an ordinary leader, it is exactly akin to the Biblical Beatitude: “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 Holy Bible KJV). Once again no reason to obey the meek when they inherit the earth – for they could become the next tyrants as was amply witnessed in the French Revolution.
Even whether verse 28:5 is speaking of the Messenger's own contemporary epoch when Prophet Muhammad finally prevailed over his own oppressors of twenty three long years and conquered Mecca just before he died, or of some future time, is Indeterminate. As is verse 58:21 affirming: "It is I and My messengers who must prevail"; and verse 21:105 similarly affirming: "My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth". All remarkably akin to the aforementioned uplifting promise in the Biblical Beatitude, and all recipient of the preceding analysis in toto.
When will such bliss transpire on earth is of course an ageless open question. It has been the source of speculation and anticipation from time immemorial, and the principal argument for Divine Rule since the adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire. As far as the Holy Qur'an is concerned, it is Indeterminate.
It is of course also extraordinarily utilitarian for any believer or their chief to claim that inheritance for oneself in any era – mostly to survive with hope and dignity through dark periods of tyranny – for who can challenge that presumption?
Especially if one succeeds in acquiring state powers and engages a thousand scribes and orators to extol one's divine rights to that inheritance as the vilayat-i faqih. Since it is an Indeterminate, it can be posited any which way one wishes to dignify it, limited only by the fertility of one's imagination and foundation of one's eruditeness. It cannot be disproved from the Holy Qur'an because it is anchored as an Indeterminate! And it can certainly be proved to one's own audience by drawing upon one's own historical narratives that are collectively subscribed by the sect.
"That which is left you by Allah is best for you, if ye (but) believed! but I am not set over you to keep watch!" (Surah Hud, 11:86)
بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ ۚ وَمَآ أَنَا۠ عَلَيْكُم بِحَفِيظٍ
Say: "Each one (of us) is waiting: wait ye, therefore, and soon shall ye know who it is that is on the straight and even way, and who it is that has received Guidance." (Surah Ta-Ha, 20:135)
قُلْ كُلٌّ مُّتَرَبِّصٌ فَتَرَبَّصُوا۟ ۖ فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ أَصْحَٰبُ ٱلصِّرَٰطِ ٱلسَّوِىِّ وَمَنِ ٱهْتَدَىٰ
Caption Is the Holy Qur'an proclaiming a Savior?
Verses 11:86 and 20:135 of the Holy Qur'an are intriguing examples of Indeterminates along the same lines of allegorical Beatitudes, but which directly fall on the Shia-Sunni sectarian divide on how these are understood by the Muslim mind. One must in fact go to sources outside the Holy Qur'an to even get an inkling of who or what (the people in the past believed) is being spoken of by the Author: بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ . These exemplary verses, and a few more like these, are esoterically proclaimed by some of these outside sources to be about Imam Mahdi – the Awaited Savior of humanity who will rule in End Times --- that entire eschatology itself being only in pages outside of the Holy Qur'an. Why are these verses not categorical rather than metaphorical if the knowledge of eschatology is of pertinence to every people in every epoch? Speculation upon these verses is rife with absurdities.
Whereas, the prima facie meaning of verse 11:86 refers to some object ( بَقِيَّتُ ), a nominative feminine noun, which can mean anything including persons or thing or guidance, that Allah leaves for “you” ( لَّكُمْ , both male and female) as a gift or benefit or mercy ( خَيْرٌ ).
Straightforwardly, to the ordinary non doctrinaire mind, بَقِيَّتُ can represent the Holy Qur'an itself, which Allah has left those who believe ( مُّؤْمِنِينَ ), as being best for them. Or it could mean the أُولِي الْأَمْرِ of verse 4:59. Which one, if either, is not further disambiguated. The remaining part of the verse indicates Allah is not going to shepherd the believers beyond what He has already left them – it is entirely up to the believers to run with the remnant of Allah, بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ , and: “Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.” (see verse 76:3 quoted above)
The remnant of Allah, بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ , in this verse is just a common noun, a symbol, a placeholder variable waiting to take on the instance of the object, or objects it represents, and not the object itself. Surely the Messenger of Allah must have explained what it means – but that explanation is not contained in the Holy Qur'an itself.
Therefore, verse 11:86 is prima facie allegorical, metaphorical, and not categorical; it is آيَاتٌ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ and therefore Indeterminate. This verse, like all the other مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ , as a cynic would surely surmise, evidently exist only to sow confusion and discord among the Believers, perhaps to separate those who think ( أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ ) from those who do not: “and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.” In addition, to stochastically seed diversity of beliefs based on socialization, tribe and nation that one is born into – which it has also always succeeded in doing, in every era. That observation is empirical.
Notice that the Sunnis and the Shias each fill in the variable according to their respective sacred books. The Sunni Muslims are not remiss if they think بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ might mean the Holy Qur'an, or the Caliphate; and the Shia Muslims are not remiss if they think it is the أُولِي الْأَمْرِ of verse 4:59. Since the latter today is the twelfth Imam, Imam Mahdi, according to the dogma found in Shia Ithna Ashari books of history, that's how that variable is fixed by them accordingly. Whereas the Shia Ismaili Muslim aren't remiss if some among them might believe it represents their Hazir Imam, the Aga Khan. However, unless it can be logically adduced from the Determinates alone who or what is being referenced by the Author in Surah Hud 11:86, it is categorically an Indeterminate.
Similarly, in the case of Surah Ta-Ha 20:135 where the Author commands, Say: "Each one (of us) is waiting: wait ye,", the object noun for “wait ye” is noticeably absent, making the verse also an Indeterminate even on first reading. However, whatever that “wait ye,” might be for, the verse avers that it will unequivocally permit clear adjudication when that wait eventually does expire: “soon shall ye know who it is that is on the straight and even way, and who it is that has received Guidance." Once again we are immediately besieged by more imponderables. What does “soon” mean? How soon is soon? Is that the final Day of judgment? Or is that the arrival of the day of fulfillment of the promise made in the Qur'anic Beatitudes quoted above? Is that perhaps also what بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ refers to, the fulfillment of the divine promise which is the remnant of Allah: “That which is left you by Allah is best for you”?
Thus, whichever way one examines it, بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ is at best a metaphor whose semantics, never mind hidden meaning, is known only to Allah, (and as per the alternate parsing of verse 3:7) and to “Ar-Rasikhoon-fil-ilm” ( الرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ ).
All these inquiry questions are clearly Indeterminate, each one leading to more questions than answers, and thus entirely speculative to ponder upon. It is for this reason that these verses have been speciously speculated upon throughout the ages – an occupation of idle minds who perhaps never had to pursue a day's honest labor to earn their keep in their lifetime of paid employment from public funds as glorified theologians and scribes. The only function they ended up serving is causing needless differentiation to arise among Muslims based purely on speculative hearsay, “he said she said”, leading the foolish public mind deeper and deeper into sectarian quagmire which subsequently became a permanent unshakable part of their socialized ethos and religious beliefs. Today, the same public mind will kill, and die, for these same beliefs on matters entirely Indeterminate. The Holy Qur'an clearly prescribes the accumulating fortunes of such scribes, scholars, and imams in Surah An-Nahl:
Let them bear, on the Day of Judgment, their own burdens in full, and also (something) of the burdens of those without knowledge, whom they misled. Alas, how grievous the burdens they will bear! (Surah An-Nahl 16:25)
لِيَحْمِلُوٓا۟ أَوْزَارَهُمْ كَامِلَةً يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَٰمَةِ ۙ وَمِنْ أَوْزَارِ ٱلَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ أَلَا سَآءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ
To conclude this mini thread on the examination of Qur'anic Beatitudes and appeal to divinely sanctioned rule, we can now appreciate that there are layers of meaning to these metaphorical verses not resolved by the Determinates, and hence are Indeterminate. And unless these do become resolved by Determinates, either by acquiring new understanding, or new knowledge that is discovered over time that makes comprehending the Indeterminates better, these categorically remain Indeterminate. Perhaps the Messenger had explained their hidden meanings. Those who believe they still retain these explanations accurately in their socialization context, can of course believe whatever they like – they are socialized into these beliefs anyway with little choice exercised by them. However, the men and woman of understanding among them, ( أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ ), must also force their pulpits to publicly acknowledge to their own flock that their fixing of an Indeterminate is drawn from sources outside the pages of the Holy Qur'an, from their respective holy books and sectarian dogmas. If one is to stay within the pages of the Holy Qur'an, one is forced to leave these matters as the Author Himself counsels in verse 3:7, as metaphorical, and therefore, Indeterminate. Meaning, as unknowns, without feeling any inner compulsion to fix their meaning at all.
Observe that despite the arguable metaphorical allusions to divinely sanctioned rule in its Indeterminates, the Holy Qur'an does not categorically prescribe in its Determinate verses any kind of governance, never mind specify who must rule apart from أُولِي الْأَمْرِ of verse 4:59 previously analyzed, and which is itself left as an Indeterminate. It is arguably to transpire only in some unknown and unspecified epoch whence all the Qur'anic Beatitudes quoted above are finally realized: "It is I and My messengers who must prevail". Thus far, that allegorical promise of both the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur'an have not been realized. We still live in a world of tyranny run by vile Hectoring Hegemons, now even more sophisticated than ever, employing diabolical instruments and philosophies to continually corral mankind from one misery to another under different Hegelian Dialectics. So who governs in the mean time? Sensibly, the people have to govern themselves! The Holy Qur'an has categorically prescribed its recipe that man must willingly stand up to these usurpers and exploiters of mankind among them (see tinyurl.com/Surah-Asr-Tafsir ). However, the Holy Qur'an has not prescribed in its Determinate verses what such governance must look like that stands up to tyranny, except for some desirable general characteristics of righteous collectivism which it categorically prescribes for realizing the good Islamic society that is the harbinger of justice for all mankind.
In fact, these Qur'anic platitudes are not that much different in principle from what Solon, the ancient Athenian law-giver, advocated for social responsibility. When asked which city he thought was well-governed, Solon said: “That city where those who have not been injured take up the cause of one who has, and prosecute the case as earnestly as if the wrong had been done to themselves.”
For that matter, even the United States Constitution and its famous American Bill of Rights are not inconsistent with the Holy Qur'an. There isn't anything in that manmade republican governance principle that is intrinsically in conflict with the Good Book. In fact, it can be cogently argued to be implementing some of the principles of Islam itself. Unlike others claiming the divine right to rule through 4:59, the American Constitution however does not claim itself to be divine – but Declares itself to be self-evident for the spelled out inalienable rights of the people.
It is a travesty that all these lofty platitudes on lovely parchment have been instrumented in society with the same inimical zest for justice and fairness as any other lovely words in any Sacred text from time immemorial, including the Ten Commandments, and the Holy Qur'an. This topic has been examined in depth in Islam and Knowledge vs. Socialization (see tinyurl.com/Islam-Socialization).
Rule in the name of divine went away during Christendom's reformation period. It was replaced by people choosing to govern themselves. Whereas, it has been the principal raison d'être of governance of all Muslim empires and Caliphates, including latter day Muslim oligarchic states. None of which is to be found in the Determinates of the Holy Qur'an itself; appeal is always made to its Indeterminates in every era to justify and sanction man's rule in the name of divine.
There is surely no name more abused for narrow self-interests than the name of divine since the dawn of civilization. In the past it was to verse 4:59 that thirteen centuries of Muslim empires looked to justify their rule. In the contemporary present, the principle of vilayat-i faqih in the Islamic Republic of Iran has most imaginatively made that appeal inter alia to both 4:59 and 28:5, asserting that its clergy class are representatives of those inheritors of the promise made in 28:5, and therefore must be obeyed as per 4:59.
One can see that the Indeterminates permit open interpretation – and that's the premeditated diversity engine of the religion of Islam. When diversity based on the Indeterminates does not sow discord, is in the spirit of Islam as categorically outlined by its Determinates, then it is theologically not deprecated in the religion of Islam as should be evident from all the preceding discussions. It is the sowing of discord by interpreting what is metaphorical and allegorical in the Holy Qur'an that is deprecated. If interpretation was in fact not expected by the Author despite His Counsel against it, arguably there'd be no Indeterminates in the Book which claims itself a Divine Guidance for all mankind. The ambiguity in its specification is prima facie evidence of its sophisticated and pragmatic engine to seed diversity because man, by the very nature of its construction, will argue and dispute: “If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.” The Qur'anic guidance system endeavors to take man from that disputative warring state, to willingly rising to a stature in which he will come to excel the angels. Only the journey on the road of fuss-tabi-qul-khairaat ( فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ) can take a disputative, ethnocentric, tribalistic, nationalistic, and fiqhilistic people there.
To even begin the process of transformation of coming together on the Determinates of the Holy Qur'an, since no Muslim sect is going to give up their emotional and theological attachments to their historical legacy any time soon, if ever, the realities of the matter and the dangers of fratricide facing Muslims, call for immediate co-existence of sects as they are. Arguably therefore, so long as the interpretations and fixing of the Indeterminates do not sow discord among Muslims as per verse 3:7, why should any particular fixing by one sect be deemed any more holier than any other sect's? All fixing make recourse to material outside the Holy Qur'an anyway --- whatever may be deemed to be its sacredness by the socialization in the respective sect. It is still not in the Holy Qur'an.
That is the singular recognition which must finally be truthfully admitted from every pulpit in order to form any kind of coherence among the disparate Muslim sects.
The abstractions Determinate and Indeterminate naturally permit such realization to first be articulated, and then percolated inwards, outwards, upwards, and downwards. A bold public admission of just this reality of the actual sources of their beliefs, driven from all Muslim pulpits, either voluntarily, or through state power according religious rights to Muslim sects, is the first step of coming together as one Muslim nation – without coercing anyone to change their emotional attachments to their respective heroes of history or come under the stewardship of any one sect's ideology.
Consequently, regardless of which Muslim sect or political group defines their nation's philosophical and national characteristics, if they employ the Determinate verse 5:48 of Surah Al-Maeda as the cornerstone of their state's constitution; if they espouse the fairness expressed in the Biblical Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you have others do unto you” and adopt the powerful corollary that naturally falls out of it as their force majeure to preempt exploitation: “no one shall take unfair advantage of another”; and make these worthy first principles of fairness the very foundation of their governance structure whereby all civil, political, and religious rights are accorded to its citizens irrespective of their own theological beliefs, with equality and without prejudice, both in theory and in practice, such a state would be sufficiently Islamic to legitimately call itself an Islamic state – even if it was entirely a secular state! It would be irrespective of the rest of its colorful artifacts, whether theologically drawn from the Indeterminates and therefore not something to be sown discord over as verse 3:7 clearly avers, or a separation of state and religion in terms of the philosophical outlook of the state itself! What does it matter to the ordinary man and woman what type of state it is if the state gives the public fairness, justice, is not exploitive, does not usurp, does not plunder, is not a vassal of foreign powers, and lends all its denizens the opportunity to believe and practice as a community what they each commonly hold sacred?
As one can immediately see, an almost infinite array of diverse governance systems are possible under that enlightened rubric – only limited by the creative energies of the people and their enlightened stewards. The stony silence of the Holy Qur'an on the governance structure, and its explicit categorical articulation of the general social principles to enact among Muslims in its Determinates, yields only this logical deduction, and no other!
This isn't a utopia. Many Muslims governments exist today – they can just as easily adopt the political recommendations noted above to eliminate fratricide and foster amity among Muslims in their own nations. That would of course only be possible if these states were themselves not part of this Machiavellian fratricide, state sponsored, both nationally and globally, as surrogate vassals of the hectoring hegemons.
Therefore, if any presumptuously “Islamic” state sheds the blood of Muslims in the name of Islam, sows discord, then it is clearly not an Islamic state by definition of the religion of Islam – but a tyrannical state no different than any other tyrannical state, Islam's lofty symbols proudly adorning its national flag notwithstanding.
What is perhaps of utmost most significance however, is the recognition that the Hectoring Hegemons not only perceptively understand these matters concerning the religion of Islam, they also understand the cracks, fissures, and lacunas among the Muslim sects, and how to both tickle these further, and how to harvest the subsequent fruits. They know how to invent new sects just as well as they know how to create revolutions by harnessing the indigenous discontent which they ab initio create in the first place.
As in recent past, internecine warfare is the unnatural destiny that has been planned for Muslims in the twenty-first century as well – and they had better wizen up before it is enacted on the scale which has been apportioned. To appreciate the urgency, and just how much of an existential necessity it is to immediately overcome sectarianism which continues to directly play into the hands of hectoring hegemons, see the excerpt from the political novel (or historical fiction) “Memoirs Of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy To The Middle East” ( tinyurl.com/excerpt-memoirs-of-mr-hempher ). It is sure to distress the naïve and the erudite mind alike to learn just how accurately the hectoring hegemons understand and exploit the cracks and lacunas among the two major sects of Islam comprising nearly 99 percent of the 1.6 to 2 billion Muslims on planet earth today.
Source URL: http://faith-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2013/02/path-forward-impacting-muslim-existence.html
The author, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley ( http://tinyurl.com/zahir-patents ), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. His maiden 2003 book was rejected by numerous publishers and can be read on the web at http://PrisonersoftheCave.org. He may be reached at http://Humanbeingsfirst.org. Verbatim reproduction license at http://humanbeingsfirst.org#Copyright.
Last Updated 03/03/2013 09:13:38 pm 7865
Path Forward: Altering The Legacy With Qur'anic Political Science – Impacting Muslim Existence