Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fr Georges Massouh on the ISIS Caliphate

Arabic original here.

What a Difference between "Abu Bakr" and "Abu Bakr"!

With the conquest by armed militias that use religion as a cover to hide behind of vast areas of the Levant, people are haunted with worry for themselves and their future. These militias group together under their banner things that sound logic itself could not hold together, with sectarianism alone as the common denominator. It is a blend of intellectual, social and ideological contradictions motivated by sectarian prejudice in order to put a stop to another sectarian project.

This prejudice reaches its peak with the oath of allegiance by ISIS to its leader as caliph over the Muslims and their territories. However, the majority of Muslims categorically reject this. This declaration also violates the Islamic legal principle that says that the oath of allegiance must come from those in power and the leaders of the Muslims and this is what the self-appointed "caliph" is lacking.

No doubt, bringing back the "Islamic Caliphate" is a dream that seduces many activist Muslims who belong to various currents of contemporary Islam. There is no difference here between the extremists and the moderates except about the necessary means for realizing this dream, violent for the former and non-violent for the latter.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not the only group that believes in the necessity of bringing back the caliphate and of striving seriously to realize it at any time when the conditions for this desired return are met. There are other groups and parties that do not conceal this but rather openly struggle for it with all their might. Among the major authorities in Islam, there is not a single jurist who asserts that the caliphate has passed a way, never to return, in favor of the civil state. We all know the fate of Ali Abd al-Raziq when, in his book Islam and the Foundations of Governance, he dared to say that the caliphate is not necessary and was condemned and expelled from al-Azhar.

History shows us that the great empires embraced and protected ethnic and religious minorities. The Islamic caliphate respected this and legitimized the existence of non-Muslims, especially the Peoples of the Book, Jews, Christians and Sabians, within the framework of the system of dhimmitude. We do an injustice to the caliphate if we neglect to take into consideration the historical context when we regard dhimmitude as unjust. Naturally, with changing situations and the advancement of our modern age, we completely reject this system and we strive for full citizenship with absolute equality between Muslims and non-Muslims.

In reality, the Islamic caliphate preserved religious diversity, especially when it was at the apex of its power and expansion. However, the suffering of non-Muslims was aggravated with the decline of the caliphate in the Second Abbasid Period and it reached its height under Mamluk and Ottoman rule.

Who would have thought that Iraq, which during the height of the Abbasid caliphate witnessed unparallelled Christian flourishing, and Syria, which was much the same under the Umayyads, will see the existence of Christians and other minorities in imminent danger on account of the Caliphate of ISIS?

The  struggle against dictatorial regimes cannot take place through an effort to erect a regime that is no less backward, even if it takes a name that is honored by the Muslim masses. The ISIS Caliphate is a perverse caliphate that has no connection to the Islam to which we are accustomed in this country. And so, what a difference there is between Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the first of the ISIS caliphs, and Abu Bakr al-Sadiq, the first of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs!


Anonymous said...

Sorry Father. This article is out of touch with is happening now and what accurately happened then. ISIS is not against dictators or backwards regime. They are against everyone. Their concern has spurred into this volatile wave of beastly actions, not from disliking Assad or Mubarak or Saddam, but from the essence of the violent nature of the sect called Islam. Dhimmitude is unjust from the beginning. Lets stop defending injustices like CNN and other outlets are defending the other terrorists in this region, the Israelis, hiding behind an image called a State. The truth hurts.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Antioch has done backflips being respectful of Islam and supporting pan-Arabic nationalism. Their efforts are admirable--particularly in contrast to Istanbul, Alexandria and Jerusalem--and they have earned them exactly nothing.