Religion and Politics … Do they Meet?
Prof. Muhammad Abdul Fadeel al-Qousy
Member of Authority of Senior Scholar of al-Azhar
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When we directly and correctly understand "the religion" and when the good and just "politics" is truly realized, you will find that they, religion and politics, are harmonic and compatible without infringement or violation. But when one of the scales falls, whether by the twisted understanding of religion or by corruption and transgression or opportunism and mercurial nature of politics, then there will be miserable disagreement, permanent  separation and great loss. As a result, the mankind shall live ages of injustice, humanity shall decay, standards shall be doubled, selfishness and egoism shall prevail, and people shall do injustice to one another, internationally and individually. Abu al-Alaa represented this meaning in his poetry saying:

Whom shall we blame if Kings oppress us and we though weak are more oppressing?


Thus, you hardly hear in the existence low voice of the moaning of starving people, aches of the bereaved, complaints of miserable, cries of oppressed, even if the aspects of this existence show fake civilization full of luxury, achievements of  modernization  and bragging its pleasures .


Is there any way for meeting between religion and politics? Or is it just a utopian dream envisioned by perfectionists after their absence?


It is worth mentioning that the Islamic intellectual genius in the golden ages of the Islamic civilization introduced a new-fashioned science of this luxurious civilization. It granted this science a unique name "lawful politics". Such accurate name proves the necessity of combining "politics with "Islamic law" Shariah". However, it clearly demonstrates the close relation between both of them. Its function, as conceptualized by its media, is confined  to affirming acts that bring people closer to righteousness and farther from corruption, even if it had not been instituted by the Prophet (bpuh), or it had not been revealed, provided that these acts conform with the spirit and general principles of Shariah and do not contradict its definite fundamentals.


What would be the case when "the politics" is void of this simple and deep concept? What would be the case when politics stays away from "religion" on the pretext that religion is restricted to the abstracts and the occult, away from the noisy and rumbling life of human beings that is filled with behavioral discrepancies and mundane evils in the everyday dealings and actions. In such case, human beings will be totally  controlled by conflicting passions and transient desires without regulations or protections, as if the human beings are  exposed to a whole fusion and divided into wandering "spirituals which are controlled on the one hand by the religion and "behaviors and processes", which are only controlled on the other hand by politics with its loose concept liberated from a "law" that directs it to good and rightness and purify it from selfishness, opportunism, injustice and aggression and protects the humanity from evil and tyranny?             


How much politics will lose when it detaches itself from religion in such a shocking way that some people call for? At that moment, we would be like someone who squanders a wealth full of refined meanings and disciplinal values which are the foundation of optimal human life. Or we would be like someone who throws away the hidden human component based on self-monitoring and self-accountability, as if the human self holds a sensitive scale that prevents it from aberrance and judges it harshly.

On the one hand, the minds that confined the role of "religion" to "spirituality" and distanced it from politics deliberately harmed the foundations of lawful politics and totally disregarded them. On the other hand, there is another party that also harmed lawful politics gravely by manipulating religion. In other words, this party exploits religious texts, from the Holy Quran or Sunnah, to serve the foreign aims that altogether pour down in the stream of the "manoeuvre of politics". This second party only targets seizing power even if this caused bloodshed and fragmentation of entities. Again, this second party does not object to approach Quranic or Prophetic texts pragmatically. In other words, it exploits the sacredness of texts, detaches them from their context, disregards their Asbab al-Nuzul (reasons or circumstances of revelation) and selects what arouses the public emotions.

There is also a third party that snaps only texts of Harb and Qital from "lawful politics", the Holy Quran and Hadith without intertwining it with verses of mercy, justice, pardon, forgiveness, peace and security. In other words, this third party deals superficially with the significance of Asbab al-Nuzul, without a full awareness of the spirit of Islam that widely opened gates of countries in the East and the West and paved the way for its spread just as mighty armies and great soldiers did.

Then I say: Was not Shaykh Muhammad Abduh right, in his book "Islam and Christianity", when he explicitly sought the protection of Allah from politics that is detached from religion and from every word associated with politics and all derivatives of the word?  


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