by Abu Dharr (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 50, No. 9, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1443)
In the last several articles we have been repelling the mental markers as well as the psychological projectiles that are aimed at our global Islamic social rebirth by the imperialist-zionists for their purpose of incapacitating Islamic self-determination. As these monthly writings were taking on the gender gap in custom-laden and outdated communities throughout the mainly Afro-Asian continents a new round of verbosity and volleys are coming in at Muslims of self-determination from another historical hole; i.e., sectarianism.
Afghanistan with all the unknowns about it has captured the tenuous attention of multifarious members of the worldwide Islamic movement(s) with a nebulous ambition that it—the Emirate of Afghanistan—can become a near future safe haven if not a distant future base of operations for Islamic Movements that have been struggling with their own unremitting diaspora for generations. What is driving this hollow hope of such “Islamists” is a decade long roller-coaster of tactical ups-and-downs accompanied by a precipitous political plummet into an unanticipated unknown of unfavorable options. This applies to the “highs” of what was labeled as the “Arab Spring” when “Islamists” came to power in Tunisia, followed by their mother organization reaching a superficial control of governance in Egypt which only lasted a ne’er-do-well year, accompanied by their parallel “Islamist” party gaining virtual control of parliament in Morocco… not to mention the cat-and-mouse jockeying for legislative power in such countries as Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, etc…
All of these “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” methods and strategies have, in the course of the past 10 years, come to a screeching halt. The official “Islamists” in Egypt who occupied “false seats of civil authority” are now either behind bars, on the run, or have gone to meet their Maker. May Allah (swt) have mercy on them in the world to come and guide the others to learn from such terrible mistakes before it is too late. Two months ago, the “Islamist” party in Morocco was dealt a crushing defeat in parliamentary elections – so much so that they are thinking about “stepping out of the system” because they lost confidence in a Zionist friendly monarchical electoral arrangement. Their counterparts in Tunisia are hanging on a thread.
In years past, these aspiring Islamic politicians and officials when reaching a political roadblock or a diplomatic dead-end would turn to their trend-setter in (secular) Turkey for administrative advice or procedural planning – but now as much as their corresponding ‘Islamist’ personas in dilettante Turkey would like to help, they too find themselves surrounded from a combination of numerous international enemies and internal opponents.
In all these countries the Islamic parties and organizations cannot be faulted for their sincere effort at obtaining Islamic self-determination. They are at fault for their inability to recognize Islamic self-determination when they see it. What do we mean? Well, the Islamic leadership and its ‘Alawi (not Safawi) populace in Iran have demonstrated in the past forty plus years what Islamic self-determination is, and can be. The Islamic cause and campaign led by what many Hawzah (sectarian) ‘ulama considered to be a “black sheep” i.e., Imam Khomeini in Iran did not cozy up to the Shah’s regime, did not try to win parliamentary elections, and did not come to power via a coup d'état etc. In the best Islamic tradition, he was endorsed as an Islamic leader, an Islamic leadership, and an Islamic independent course of strategic action and from there on the Shah was toppled, Israel was declared a colonial, expansionist, apartheid regime; that all was followed by an Imperialist-Zionist-Arabian war that was launched against Islamic self-assertion in Iran, pursued by wars-by-other-means up to this very day. And, by Allah’s safeguard, an (offended) Islamic Iran still continues to exist in spite of the combined forces of evil in the world working against it in every conceivable way.
There are, in a sense, two sides to the avant-garde Islamic action groups in our world today: the “wishy-washy” decision-makers in the “Sunni” milieu who have not gained a historical depth of what it means to be actively involved in “unseating illegitimate ruling classes” and the mistrustful decision-makers within the “Shi‘i” setting who have not gained a historical depth of what it takes to be actively involved in identifying with populations suffering for too long from illegitimate ruling classes. The failure of the dithering “Sunni” ‘Islamist’ leaderships to discover and take the wraps off ruthless rulers and deceitful dictators has cost everyone a very high price in life and limb. The generational behind the scenes marriage of convenience between the major Arab Islamic party and the Sa‘udi family kingdom has ended with Sa‘udi officials publicly classifying their erstwhile “Islamist” allies as terrorists – forcing some of them to leave that kingdom-from-hell and driving others into the same underground that they fled during the 1950s and 60s when Arabian Nationalism (king Mu‘awiyah’s 20th century political resurrection) wanted them all – dead or alive.
Not to be overlooked in this reversal of fortunes are those sincere Islamic personalities who are behind bars in that imperialist-zionist backup Sa‘udi kingdom. One can only imagine the internal flare-ups and in-house tension that is flying off the handle when these immature Islamist decision-makers come to grips with their mortal mistakes in places like Syria, ‘Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc… And with all the pressure and problems these “Sunni” Islamic brothers find themselves in, they still cannot find it within their Islamic duties to join hands with their Islamic “Shi‘i” brothers in Iran.
The only exception to this is Hamas. It had its mistakes and missteps but it incrementally and without delay learned from such slipups and miscalculations and maybe Hamas can serve as a pacesetter for its Islamic kith-and-kin in other countries. We hope and pray for that to happen.
At this point we cannot but notice that it is the “sectarian” definition of Sunnis and the sectarian definition of Shi‘is that has alienated the two sides from each other. The decade of bloodletting, destruction, and depopulation in Syria and ‘Iraq, among other places, has aggravated sectarian penchant and factional prejudice on both sides. This has its resonance in Afghanistan; and this is where the danger becomes aggravated and crucial in shaping the fate of future generations when we all remain tight-lipped about the political malignancy of sectarianism.
The Islamic leadership in Iran has been very mindful of this sectarian trap that is macro-managed by the spying agencies of Tel Aviv and Washington working hand in hand with their Arabian counterparts. But the Islamic leadership in Iran whose sincerity and selflessness are beyond doubt, has its own limitations and constraints. There are hard core Shi‘is whose understanding of their own articles of faith does not endorse an Islamic leadership much less an Islamic state during the occultation of the twelfth Imam – even though these types have been working their way up the chain of (civilian) command within the evolving political structure in Iran. They are well grounded in the Hawzah (seminary) in Qum. And for those with short memories, they were/are the taciturn opponents of the late Imam Khomeini (ra) as well as the challengers and antagonists of Walayat al-Faqih. It is within this theological crowd that we detect the characters of sectarianism.
With the never-to-be underestimation of the budgetary khums they have spread their tentacles far and wide – so much so that instead of ceasing the historical opportunity of winning over the oppressed “Sunnis” and the underclasses of the world on a common and broad justice-cum-Islam platform and then mobilizing for an all-inclusive universal leadership that goes beyond the historical sectarian divide and even goes beyond the imperialist-zionist “religious divisions” in the world, these Shi‘i schismatic types are putting emphasis on a sectarian definition of who a Muslim is after they dropped the factor of mustad‘afeen (the oppressed) from their foreign policies. And that Shi‘i sectarian definition renders a “Sunni” a lesser Muslim at best, and an enemy of the Prophet (pbuh) and his family circle at worst!
We can understand the wise steps taken by the Islamic leadership in Iran to avert a head on clash with these sectarians as that may lead to an Iranian or even a larger intra-Shi‘i civil war. What we cannot understand is the leeway these sectarians are given that has permitted them to incrementally influence the course of the Islamic revolution and eventually take possession of it if there are no checks and balances on what they are doing. In some quarters it may be argued that the upper echelon of the Islamic Revolution in Iran is tolerating this Shi‘i sectarian mission-creep for the sake of concentrating all efforts on the coming inevitable confrontation that is strategically aimed at the Zionist target in support of Sunni Palestinians. This configuration of events will have us think of whose side time is on – is it on the side of the Shi‘i sectarians who will eventually take over what used to be a wide-ranging Islamic state and then draw back from that highfaluting slogan of “liberating Palestine” as that type of task, according to breakaway sectarian dogma, can only be undertaken by the awaited 12th Imam, or is time on the side of the higher ranking decision-makers who are putting up with these isolationist sectarian types until zero hour – the time and date when the Holy Land is finally liberated? And let us here tip the balance in favor of the latter and include ourselves in that momentous historical achievement – the decisive return of stolen lands and properties to their rightful owners – Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Palestinians with apartheid Zionism buried six feet under.
Definitely that day will be a global holiday when freedom and justice loving people will universally rejoice. But in the larger context of Islamic history, the liberation of Palestine from Zionist Israelis by a Shi‘i united east to west front will stand on par with the north to south liberation of Palestine from the Byzantines by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab initially and then by Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi from European Crusaders subsequently. Remember when Salah al-Din liberated Palestine, he did away with “Shi‘i” rule in Egypt. If we can put these pieces of history together, we would like to ask: how much admiration do Shi‘is have for ‘Umar and Salah al-Din? Do Shi‘is consider the “Sunni” liberators of al-Quds and the Holy Land (‘Umar and Salah al-Din) as heroes? I’ll have you answer to your own self. And the reason for this inability to appreciate the sacrifices of our leaders (past by an Arab and a Kurd – both “Sunnis”) and present-in-the-making by a Persian (a Shi‘i) is because we are victims of our sectarian elites, sectarian scholars, and sectarian backgrounds.
Iran and Afghanistan share, more or less, the same history, same culture, same geography, same traditions, same language, and same objective of Islamic self-determination. The only difference: one is predominantly Shi‘i and the other is predominantly Sunni. Will the imperialists and Zionists working through their sectarian connections be able to exacerbate the sectarian divide through their Wahhabi and Safawi substitutes? Afghanistan is filled with mercenaries who will shoot to get paid, soldiers of fortune who report to their sectarian bosses, and dogs of war who think that their commanders have a monopoly on the Qur’an and the Sunnah… As this article is being penned there were two bloody occurrences – the blowing up of two masjids packed with Shi‘i prayer attendees offering their Jumu‘ah salat. This is the tip of the iceberg.
Some sectarians have to be subtle because they are a minority. Other sectarians are blatant because they are a majority. In both cases sectarianism has to be called out for what it is: deadly and irreconcilable.
Are you not aware of those who consider themselves highly exceptional? No, but it is Allah who causes whomever He wills to become highly exceptional; and none shall be wronged by as much as a hair’s breadth. Al-Nisa’, 49