Brotherhood, Freedom, and Justice
At this moment Hasan al-Banna and Syed Qutb come to mind in abundance
MEHMOOD UR RASHID
FREEDOM and Justice Party’s victory in the Egyptian elections would have attracted a substantial opinion in the columns of Greater Kashmir had the tragedy at Khanyar not struck. Muhammad Morsi’s journey from jail to the presidential house marked a historical transition in Egypt, but we missed it only because we were in a state of mourning. The expression of shock over the loss of history that Greater Kashmir carried in its pages for almost a week was indicative of how overwhelming the grief was. The passionate, yet matured, response over the incident was reflective of how the emerging mind of Kashmir wants to engage with its tragedies. It was a very important moment for us. When things could have easily slipped into chaos, people could discern that the divisive forces are lurking around. In the time of distress this came as a relief.
Anyway the developments in Egypt merit lots of attention. It holds lessons for us as a nations confronted with chronic crisis. We know Muslim Brotherhood for decades now. We know Hasan al-Banna and Syed Qutb as great souls who laid their lives but didn’t compromise on the principles they stood for. There could be differences with what they did or thought, and there are, but they stand out as extra ordinary souls who sacrificed all comfort for the sake of their cherished principles. They were the saints of our times and we are indebted to them. Anyone, anywhere in the world fighting tyranny has a reason to know who Hasan al Banna was. Anyone, anywhere in the world looking for the possibility of an alternative vision of the things has a reason to read Syed Qutb. The pages and the practices bequeathed to us by the early leadership of the Ikhwan can be accepted or rejected after subjecting them to regular critical evaluation, but the spirit that moved them was exemplary and worth emulating.
The ideas of Karl Marx were considered antithetical to religion. But this did not stop Iqbal, someone who was driven by the ideals of Islam, from praising him profusely. Look at Iqbal, one of the decisive intellectual forces in the history of revival and reform in Islam, admiring Marx:
A Moses less by Sinai, a Christ without Cross
He was no prophet, but he gave us a Book
Had the Islamic Movements, and the Muslim societies, followed this Iqbalian tradition, and understood the fundamental urge of the Communist Movements, things could have been better. Humanity was a loser in the pitched battles that were fought between the two forces in the way they were fought. Similarly if the people, who are afraid of Islamic Movements understand the urge that produced people like Hasan al- Banna and Syed Qutb, world can change for better.
All the great people have their limitations. The conditions that surround them decisively determine their writings, speeches and the actions. Reading them has to be accompanied by the realization of the conditions that surrounded them. Now that Muslim Brotherhood has won the elections in Egypt, it is hoped that people, especially the detractors, read Banna and Qutb with a degree of recognition; summarily dismissing them may now be little difficult. But for those who have an unmitigated love for them are equally responsible to understand others. The plurality of opinions and the multiplicity of practices has to recognized respectfully and not as a compulsion. The statements of Muhammed Morsi after he was declared as the winner are encouraging but will this be followed by a real democratic and tolerant practices has to be seen. If Freedom and Democracy come to all the Egyptians in equal measure it will really be a spring time for Egypt, Arab, Muslim world and the world at large.
Times can change miraculously. Who could have imagined a person like Morsi walking into the presidential palace after spending years in jail; and who could have thought of Mubarak in jail after occupying the presidential palace for decades! Subtle are the way of Lord.
Remember when Hasan al-Banna was assassinated on 12th February 1949. Nobody was allowed to do the last rites. His father had to do it all by himself. When he could not lift the body alone, the ladies of the house had to join him. And when they reached the mosque to offer the last prayers, there was none. The father was alone with the dead body of his son. He offered the prayers alone. No one was even allowed to pay a condolence visit. This is the time to remember Banna who laid the foundation of the revolution.
It was in those dark times when Syed Qutb, facing death sentence, wrote an immortal poem, full of resolve and hope.
My brother, the armies of darkness will disappear
And the new dawn will rise on the world
Just allow your soul to lighten up
And see the dawn is wishing at us from a distance
We wish, and pray, that the change is Egypt doesn’t prove false. We wish the verses of Syed Qutb come true. Even a modest measure is a great beginning. The test for Brotherhood has definitely begun now.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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