Islamic Politics (Al E’itedaal fi Maratib -ar- Rijaal)
Al Eitidal Fi Maratib al Rijal aka Islami Siyasat Islamic Politics
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By Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelvi (r.a)
Muslims everywhere are going through a period of uncertainty, turmoil and suffering. Throughout the world, there appears to be a concerted effort to wipe out the very presence of Muslims. Bosnia, Somalia, Algeria are the better known examples of this onslaught, but Muslims are under attack in many other countries. Kashmir, Cambodia, Burma are examples.
In South Africa, too, Muslims live in uncertainty. The country is experiencing a period of lawlessness and anarchy. There is an undermining fear of the future. Questions abound: “What should we do?”
“Should we vote?”
“Whom should we vote for?”
“Why don’t we get guidance from the Ulema?”
Islam does provide an answer, but the answers for Muslims are different from the answers for non-believers. The causes for the elevation or degradation of Muslims are not the same as they are for non-Muslims.
A student of Sheikh-ul-Hadith, Hazrat Maulana Zakarriya Saheb, asked seven questions. Hazrat Sheikh’s reply was publised in a kitaab “Al-Eti’daal Fe Maraatibur-Rijaal”. This kitaab not only provides answers to the problems we are facing, but serves as a guide according to which a Muslim’s life can be conducted.
It should be read and re-read. It should be studied carefully, so that full benefit can be derived from the advice and guidance of Hazrat Sheikh.
May Allah Ta’ala fill the graves of all our pious elders with noor, particularly the grave of Hazrat Sheikh-ul-Hadith, (Rahmatullah Alayh). May He grant them a high place in Jannat and may He create in our hearts true love for Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). May He make all of us think of and live our lives for the ultimate end i.e. success in the Aakhirat. Aameen.
Shabbir Ahmed Saloojee Principal: Darul Uloom Zakarriya.
Assalaamu Alaykum. Your kind letter reached me.
It gave me great pleasure to note with what sincerity and deep feeling you express your thoughts. The type of questions which you posed, are quite frequently put to me.
Generally, I reply in a concise manner. This could possibly be as a result of incompetence but on the other hand it could also be because I am extremely busy.
This time however, because of your sincere intentions and special relationship with me (and the importance of your question), I have decided to write the replies in considerable detail. I advice you to seclude yourself and pursue this letter with close attention. Do no confine yourself to reading it merely once, but do so repeatedly with thought and reflection.
Because of the special relationship that you have with me, I am sure that you will definitely go through the contents more than once. It is only as a precautionary measure that I saw fit to appeal to you to cut yourself off from feelings of sadness, anger, passion and prejudice, while reading with an open mind. Should my words make sense to you, then please accept; otherwise there is no compulsion upon you to do so.
As I understand the contents of your long letter, the gist of it consists of the following points:
(a) Although Maulana Thanwi and Maulana Madani are both saintly personalities of high character, how is it that between them there exist such deep differences in (political thought)? How can there be such deep differences between the saints of Allah?
(b) Who in your opinion is on the right path and with whose views do you find yourself in agreement?
(c) What should we do? Why is it that you do not side with any of the parties?
(d) Today the Muslims are being crushed, overwhelmed and destroyed. What should they
(e) Selfish personal matter play a great role in peoples actions and intentions, and it seems as if everyone is following his own desires.
(f) We see that the dignity of the Ulema is purposely being destroyed and on every front we hear them being criticized and abused.
(g) Through the differences of the Ulema, the Ummat is suffering great loss.
These points seem to be the gist of your letter. These very same points are continuously being written and talked about. For this reason I feel that even though greatly troubled by the same, I shall now proceed to answer your queries in some detail. I am not saying that whatever I shall write will be the exact truth and the correct replies. What I am in fact saying is this, that in my humble opinion, I see matters thus: And the Real True Knowledge is only with Allah (Wal Ilmu Indallah).
Al- Eti’daal Fi Maraatibur- Rijaal
How is it that Maulana Madani and Maulana Thanwi, although both being such saintly personalities, can have such differences of opinion?
Let it be known that it is not unheard of to find differences of opinion among the true and sincere saintly ones. There have always been such differences and there always will be. However, there is no need for anyone who has acquired Islamic Knowledge to be surprised at the fact that Ulema can differ. As for me, I am unconcerned about these differences. During the month of Shawaal, our class lectures commence and finish in Rajab of every year. During the course of these ten months, hardly a day passes when the lecturer does not say at least twenty times: “Regarding this masala, such-and-such an Imam believes this, whereas such-and- such an Imam holds a different view.” “The Sahabas are of this opinion, whereas among the Tabi’een there are such-and-such differences of opinion.”
If we held the opinion that disagreement is a sign of lack of sincerity, it would cause us great anxiety and confusion because it would mean (May Allah forbid) that those saintly persons (May Allah be pleased with them all) will be excluded from the ranks of the saintly ones, just because they differ!
As for the disagreement being of tremendous depth, I say that I do not consider the differences to be strong at all. All I can say is that the present political situation causes temporary disagreement. One person’s view is that joining the Muslim League is beneficial for the Muslim Ummat and that to join the Indian National Congress is to their disadvantage, the other person on the other hand believes sincerely that the opposite is true.
Now, it is the duty of every man of sound opinion, who looks at the present situation and understands it, while bearing in mind the tenets of the Shanat, to choose the path of that person whom he honestly and sincerely considers to be following the better path. As for him who is not well versed in these matters, he should stay in the presence of these persons for a couple of days. Thereafter, whomsoever of the two he feels himself drawn to most strongly, he should follow.
بانهم اقتديهُمُ اهْتَدَيْتُمْ
“Whomsoever of them you follow, you shall find guidance.”
There is definitely no need for any fighting or arguments.
Now I ask you: Why do you consider their disagreement to be so deep? Can this disagreement be worse than what we found at the Battle of Jamal, which had to be settled with swords on both sides? Tell me: Which of the two factions at Jamal (Sayyidina Au on one side and Sayyida Aysha on the other) will you exclude from the ranks of the true Saintly Ones? Can you? When the name of Sayyidina All is mentioned, we say: “Radiyallahu anhu i.e. May Allah be pleased with him.” He is the rightful Khalifa, the fountain head of the saints. When Sayyida Aysha’s name is heard, we also say:
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