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Friday, 02 January 2015 00:00

Will the Brotherhood retreat from politics?

Will the Brotherhood retreat from politics?

By Yahya Hamid 

Every day we hear of calls for the Muslim Brotherhood to stay away from politics, or even for it to be dissolved. The intention, it is claimed, is to give democracy a chance to take its course in the Arab world, especially in those states that have witnessed popular revolutions in pursuit of freedom and dignity.

The people who come up with these ideas assume that the movement has made many mistakes during the Arab Spring and, they believe, has thus become an enemy to most of the political currents in the field as well as the deep state. In this sense, it is claimed, the Brotherhood is an obstacle to any initiative for renaissance and democratic transition in the region.

The demand for the Brotherhood to stay away from politics is, in essence, a contradiction of the wish to promote a democracy within which everyone can participate. Nobody should be excluded per se, so that the whole country can benefit from the skills and experience of all political and social movements.

Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood won the trust of the Egyptian people in five different elections after the January 2011 revolution. In the December 2012 constitutional referendum, two thirds of the electorate voted "yes" to back the movement's position. It was seen by everyone as a vote on the popularity and legitimacy of President Mohamed Morsi. As such, if those who are demanding that the Brotherhood should step aside indeed want to support democracy, does it really make sense for them to demand the exclusion of the party that won the confidence of the people in all previous free elections?

It is no great secret that there are some initiatives proposed by certain parties based on ending political detentions and releasing members of the Brotherhood from prison provided that they recognise the current regime and accept a nominal representation within the current ruling framework. I can declare unequivocally that the Muslim Brotherhood rejects all such initiatives, not because it is after winning a majority but because the group understands that the Arab revolutions only arose in order to effect radical change and bid farewell to past mechanisms, past regimes and past parliaments, which were all used by the ruling class to give a false image about the existence of democracy in Egypt.

The revolution is partly a reaction to the class system headed by a group which has used the government for their own benefit, including judges, military and civilian leaders, sovereign institutions and businessmen. This is a class that represents no more than two per cent of the Egyptian people but still controls most of the country's resources.

When we understand the revolution as a class conflict, we know that its success cannot be achieved through the exclusion of any group within Egyptian society. It is telling that while people demand the exclusion of the Brotherhood they still engage politically with the corrupt class and do not struggle against those who usurp the will and sacrifices of the Egyptian people.

Within the discussion about the role of the Brotherhood during the democratic transition period, some people mention the Tunisian model as being the most appropriate compared to what happened in Egypt. They believe that the main difference between Egypt and Tunisia has been the performance of the Islamic movement. While Ennahda provided a positive example that prioritised reconciliation and compromise over the desire to win, the Brotherhood, it is argued, set out to be in government, which is what led to the military coup against the elected president and the political impasse that has resulted from this coup.

However, I believe that the Tunisian model changed radically after the coup in Egypt. It has come to represent the worst case scenario of what is likely to happen during this stage of the popular revolutions. It led eventually to the restoration of the deep state and its various hegemonic institutions as well as the class that lives on the regime in a manner that appeared to be democratic. The reality of what happened in Tunisia is that the alliance of the deep state, the media and the ruling class prevented the ruling troika from achieving any real progress and cost it some of its popular base, thus forcing it to relinquish its right and duty to effect change and complete the revolution. Consequently, the government has neither been able to perform its duties nor has the revolution been able to achieve its objectives.

When we strike a comparison between the Tunisian and Egyptian models, we notice that the military institution in Egypt is more deeply immersed in political and economic action compared to its Tunisian counterpart. The Egyptian State was founded in order to serve the army's top brass and it is because of this that the revolution erupted, namely to change this anomalous situation and restore things to normality, with the army in the service of the state and the people. The military coup took place simply because the army wanted to maintain the status quo.

Irrespective of the performance of President Morsi during his one year in office — filled with mistakes say some, while others point to his struggle against the hostility of the deep state, the judiciary and the media — any fair-minded person cannot but respect him for his position vis-a-vis the coup. He insisted on defending democratic legitimacy to the bitter end even if the cost was going to be his own life. He knew that to surrender would see the return of the ruling class, the class that had already been tried by the Egyptians, the Tunisians and all the Arabs and found to provide nothing in its governance but destruction, corruption, oppression and violations of the people's dignity.

It is, therefore, an act of sheer folly, while this political revolutionary battle is raging between the people and the corrupt ruling class, to demand that the largest civil and political movement in the country should relinquish its role in public life. The Muslim Brotherhood is still the party most capable of standing up for the people and remaining steadfast until the revolution accomplishes its legitimate objectives.

Following years of experience and struggle, the Egyptian revolution has become aware of its role and of the nature of its battle. For this reason, every effort must be made in order to mobilise all sections of society in the struggle for civil and political rights and rid the country of internal as well as external colonialism. It makes no sense for a major faction such as the Muslim Brotherhood to give up the revolution. What is required, indeed, is for all progressive constituencies to align themselves with the Brotherhood, side by side. The Brotherhood should never be asked to step back from the struggle. The people's confidence in the group remains strong, as has been evident from recent polls, so the Brotherhood cannot relinquish its role. It will remain steadfast in the struggle for changing the essence and the structure of the deep state in Egypt. This in turn will change the shape of the entire region.

Translated from Arabi21, 31 December, 2014

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عقیدۂ رسالت کے تقاضے‘‘ کے موضوع پر امیر جماعت کا خطاب
سرینگر// امیر جماعت اسلامی جموں و کشمیر محمد عبداللہ وانی نے آج جامع مسجد وڈی پورہ بڈگام میں نماز جمعہ کے موقعے پر ہزاروں لوگوں سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ اِس وقت اُمت مسلمہ تہذیبی جارحیت کی لپیٹ میں آچکی ہے۔ ہماری نوجوان نسل کو غیر اسلامی افکار اور عادات میں اس طرح سے جھکڑا جارہا ہے کہ وہ اپنی اصل شناخت ہی بھولتے جارہے ہیں۔ جس نوجوان نسل کو دعوت دین کے کام میں پیش پیش ہونا چاہیے تھا ، جن تعلیم یافتہ مسلم جوانوں کو اسلام کے نمائندوں کی حیثیت سے کام کرکے غیر مسلم اقوام کے سامنے اسلام کی صحیح تصویر پیش کرنی چاہیے تھی وہ مغربی و دیگر غیر اسلامی تہذیب کے اس قدر دلدادہ ہوچکے ہیں کہ اُنہیں اپنی اصل شناخت کا ہی پتہ نہیں رہا ہے۔ امیر جماعت نے کہا اس صورتحال سے نپٹنے کے لیے ضروری ہے کہ علماء کرام اور مسلم دانشور مسلم ملّت میں سنتوں کا احیاء کرنے کے خاطر دن رات کام کریں۔

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The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime but if married persons commit it, the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah's Law).

Al'Quraan Surah Noor

Prophet Mohammad PBUH

Narrated: Abu Huraira (R.A) that a man said to the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam: "Advise me! "The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Do not become angry and furious." The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, "Do not become angry and furious." [Al-Bukhari; Vol. 8 No. 137]

Sunan Abu-Dawud.

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