December 16, 2004
Sorry about the delay in getting back to Sayyid Qutb. It's been longer than I anticipated, partly because it's rather tedious to prop a book open on my knees and type in passages from his book, or from others, and partly because it's tedious to think about Qutb.
I was going to write something trying to tie together some information from Nazih Ayubi's Political Islam with the illusion of surveying infinite time that seems to pervade many works I'm encountering these days. But. There's a roaring fire (the first I've set here in the executive suite of ideofact worldwide corporate headquarters), an unexpected pleasure discovered while browsing, and one I haven't wanted to put down just yet. (Although why the back cover insists on calling Danilo Kis -- a Jew whose family came from Hungary -- a Serbian writer is beyond me; it is either a case of Serbian having lost all meaning, or yet another annexation.) In short, I'll get back to Qutb (there's a long way to go, and a great deal of interesting ground to cover) but just not tonight....
Posted by Ideofact at December 16, 2004 12:16 AM
I have read Qutb’s Milestone in my quest to understand the stupid 19 and find a solution to this Muslim Problem-the literal interpretation of the Koran and the Sunna. From his postings on your bog a fundalmentalist like our Abu would find no problem with Qutb’s book and it took me some time to figure out why. Given that most Western liberals have said that Tariq was the next best thing for Islam after Mohammad, I read Tariq’s 3 main books “Islam, the west and the Challenges of Modernity”, “Western Muslims and the Future of Islam” and “To be a European Muslim” (you can get them from the Islamic Bookstore rather than Amazon). The three books are similar - all for example contain a section on the classification of Muslims (as they say if you are on a good thing stick to it) and if the cash is short just get the first.
Though Tariq is a western philosopher trying to be a Muslim Islamic Scholar, he does have some logical intelligence compared to the likes of Sheikh Yousif Al-Qardhawi (one of the “Sheikh’s of Death) and attempts to say Islam can change using its own Islamic Tools to examine the Koran and Sunna (these are Ijtihad, Al Maslaha and Fatwa) and comes up with a few examples. This is the opposite of what Qutb said who maintained that everything was fixed (p42-43). However Tariq is not successful and really does not reconcile the Western secular society and the Muslim who believes in the literal interpretation of the Koran and Sunna (as are 95% of Muslims –especially the lower social strata living European Muslim who Tariq was writing for-and Tariq himself). Even accepting that Islam can change Tariq ends up saying:
1. Completely reject and destroy the western capitalist economic system including the World Bank and the IMF and establish an Islamic economic system.
2. Completely reject the current political party and process system for a shura based governing system.
3. Declares such secular constitutional documents as the Declaration of Human rights be altered to include the supremacy of God and rights be balanced with obligations i.e. abolition of any absolute rights of the individual because you are an individual human being.
4. Tariq says that women can do anything men can do but they need to wear a veil to show they are modest Moslem women.
5. And finally, though he rejects the Koran revelling modern scientific knowledge, he insists that what actual science that can be carried out has to conform with Islamic principles instead of allowing all and any science to be carried out and then judging the application of the resultant scientific discoveries as is done in western culture.
The main reason is that though the tools have great potential, he uses them in a very conservative fashion due I supposes to the more fundamental and isolationist nature of the European Muslim audience whom he is writing for. Getting these people even to think independently from their Imams is a great step so Tariq has to take it easy. In addition I think Tariq himself is a fundalmentalist Muslim.
OK, if Tariq is not going to be able to bring the Muslim into the 21st century who or what is. Surfing around I looked up a few Muslim web pages and what do you think I found. There is a group of American Muslims (surprising what 9/11 does to the thinking organ) who like most American Muslims have above average incomes (most likely due their acceptance of the American “can do” culture), who have formed the “Progressive Muslims”(see Muslim wake up and Free Minds and Progressive Muslim) Now what do you think these Muslims have done. In the typical American approach you eliminate the problem. If it stinks cut it off. What the Progressive Muslims have done is they have got rid of the Sunna!. The Sunna are 90% of the Muslim Problem. They are the source of the Orientalist ridicule of Islam. They are the source of most of the negative aspects of Islam. Typical of the American way. Get rid of the problem and you have no problem! Fantastic!! It couldn’t happen but in the USA! Tariq’s European Muslim will not save Islam. In fact they will cause a civil war in Europe! It is the USA Muslim that will save Islam!!
Now all we have to do is to see who wrote the Koran and poof! no Moslem Problem!
So while Muslims like Abu will say Qutb is the next best thing to Mohammad and the European Muslim will look to Tariq with glassy eyes as their hope to drag them up from the gutters of society, it is only the independent thinking American Muslim whom the rest of the world can rely on to prevent the clash of civilisations.