By Shakir Mumtaz
April 15, 2015
IS, i.e. the Islamic State, has become a monster for the western capitals. 60 plus countries are involved in its eradication which speaks of its monstrosity and megalomaniacal stature. What is of concern to most of us in the West is its so-called “Islamic Character” and style, epitomized in its establishment of a “Caliphate”. Strategists and opinion makers are, however, most puzzled by its attraction for foreign individuals who are flocking to its folds. On the other hand the analysts and commentators – on the opposite side of the mainstream – who could possibly be closer to reality/truth, are scared of expressing their dissenting point-of-view, for fear of falling on the wrong side of the law.
Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of the stakeholders: chaos, is chaos. Murder is murder, be it in the name of religion, democracy or national security. Now, let us try to find out the reason behind the inexplicable phenomenon of finding the primal goal of life in an absolutely unknown and uncharted world. Human nature is always searching, consciously or unconsciously, through various avenues, a black hole to sink-in to attain meaningful annihilation—which is the ultimate culmination of life. The main reason, inter alia, why people become religious is that the event horizon of life vortex can’t sustain it beyond a short span of time. In the present set of religions, especially the main stream religions, there is hardly any which provides required basis for logical and rational bonding. Human beings, due to their psychological fragility and corporal vulnerability are always searching for something all-powerful and indestructible to compensate their sense of vulnerability. This ingredient is missing in most religions. Most religions, including Islam, have been distorted for the sake of compatibility, commensurability, commercialism, vested interests or zealotry. Commanding authority – the hall mark of Divine religions – which humans by their very nature are desirous of, has been compromised.
There is, however, a subtle difference in the case of Islam: despite inexhaustible efforts, from within and without, to give it a blend of liberalism, the gist of its message remained protected and preserved. This resilience however is purely due to Divine ordination. This is what is attracting these (apparently) skewed minded people towards such organizations. The legitimacy of such organizations, across the board, is questionable and hard to be addressed satisfactorily even by religious scholars. The legitimacy or illegitimacy of such organizations depends mainly on who is being talked to and where – and each one would have convincing arguments to support his or her case.
A majority of Muslims are sceptical of IS’s coming into existence and then gaining tactical and financial strength. On the other hand, there are many who would love to join hands with it blindly and sacrifice their lives for its cause – which, in their eyes, is an utmost sacred cause. Ahadith (sayings) of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) regarding Jihad and the establishment of Caliphate usually obviate any counter/critical-narrative for those in favour. The establishment of Caliphate is also deduced from a verse of thd Qura’an (Surah Al Hajj V-41) where it is said “Those who, when we give them power in the Land…” The first Caliphate of the rightly guided Caliphs started after this Surah. However, few of such endeavours carried out in the past by certain groups met strong opposition and, basing on another Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) declare them as “Khawarij”. (expelled/rejected ones). The use of Black flag with the words which reportedly were used at the time of Prophet (PBUH), black head covering by the fighters and the names such as Khurasan and Caliphate are being used to solidify the notion that this struggle is for the fulfilment of the Qura’anic Prophecies and Ahadith (sayings).
Western elites/decision makers generally are oblivious of the changes in the psyche of their masses: people do not get swayed by the propaganda or illogical narratives furthered, such as WMD in Iraq, military incursions of Iraq and Afghanistan, stirring of the Arab spring which resulted in General el-Sisi being at the helm of affairs in Egypt. Meddling in the affairs of Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Syria and Iran for the implementation of the doctrine of the Greater Middle East. The internet has equipped them with a counter checking tool. For anyone with a rational mind it would be impossible to ignore this the illusions created by the decision/opinion makers.
The monster of the IS would, most likely, be around for a long time to come since the entrenched ideologies are hard to defeat. The West’s jingoistic approach to global issues allows it to use double standards leisurely, primarily due to its economic leverage. This provides legitimacy and reason for the sprouting of such organizations. Now, we in the west, victim of our own skewed wisdom, are incapable of presenting even legitimate counter narratives. IS seems to be gaining strength and currency as, reportedly, many organizations from all across the world are declaring their allegiance to it or emulating it. I suspect many more Sheikhdoms will be devoured by this monster.
”Lone Wolf Vengeance” is mostly a local phenomenon of despair and can be sufficiently addressed by stopping the Muslim Counsels from converting prison inmates to Islam. Criminals- or addicts-turned-Muslims not only hurt the society, but also give bad name to Islam. This may eradicate a significant portion of the problem.
Now after all this discussion, the obvious question would be: what is the solution? The most befitting answer is the example of Canada and Australia. They are both peaceful and prosperous countries simply because most often they keep their hands to themselves. Their Banker is neither China nor Saudi Arabia. Can’t we do the same?
Shakir Mumtaz has been writing for national and international media since 2000. He is a political analyst and commentator