IN DEFENCE OF RELIGION


English: A green version of http://commons.wik...

English: A green version of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Allah-eser2.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If NATO had air supremacy during the war in Libya, the Islamists had religious zeal on the ground. If NATO had lethal weapons to neutralise Gaddafi‘s forces, the Islamists had unbridled force of will to pounce upon the enemy. In no less equal term, both had an edge over each other. Both were complimentary and the coordination of each was vital in winning the battle.

NATO alone could not have made a difference until Islamists were brought in to the center stage of the conflict.

To award credit to one actor, either to NATO or Islamists, is to discriminate the other in the whole drama of war.

Gaddafi’s mechanism was unique in the character and style of governance. The exceptionality of his authority was such that when revolutions in Libya started, even families were divided over the idea of armed-struggle…husband and wife had differences, father and son held opposite views, brothers parted their ways…one fighting for the government while the other joining the rebellion.

In such complex concord of conflict, would NATO have won the war alone? Would NATO have defeated the individuals in the drawing room? Definitely not.

Previously, the west had tried to rein in Qaddafi’s arrogance and domination …they had bombed Tripoli, had imposed severe sanctions, had threatened the dictator over nuclear proliferation and so on, yet they failed miserably. In contrast, Gaddafi’s hold on power grew and supremacy multiplied.

To doubt the blood spilled by Islamists for the cause of the revolutions in Libya is to deny one of the existing realities of contemporary history. To refute their contributions would amount to deception and hypocrisy.

Now the country is liberated from tyranny, from suppression and from slavery, is it sensible enough to marginalise the Islamists and disregard the cause for which they sacrificed whatever they had? The major impetus to revolutions in Libya derived from the victims of 1200 Islamists in Abu Salim Prison.

One should not forget that while secularists in Libya were holding conferences, the Islamists were actually on the ground for liberation. They were waging the real battle facing Qaddafi’s fire power.

Well! To ban formation of political organizations on the basis of tribal and regional affiliations makes some sense keeping in view the tribal history of Libyan society.

However, banning an outfit on the basis of religious awareness, how fair it is to the common masses whose unity in the country survived only through spirit of religion when Qaddafi had all sorts of mechanism to divide and rule in the name of tribalism and regionalism!

Generally, people’s loyalty to tribal or regional cause in Libya holds much more sway than the cause for the religion. The ban, in this respect, is a worthy decision as it is likely to enhance the patriotic impulse to serve the people and the nation.

On the other, religion does not play the role of a group identity or a divisive force to the people in Libya. It is also less likely to influence the electoral process.

To accord religion to tribalism and regionalism in Libya is a violation of the sacredness of the spirit of Islam it stands for.

What secularists are trying to impress upon now, the religion of Islam did many centuries ago fighting all discriminations on the basis of tribalism and regionalism.

Tribalism and Islam are contradictory. No person in the world advocated as much against tribal divisions and regional identities as did Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. He fought against all sorts of social evils and set an example for judicious authority.

In face of the ban on religious party, to what extent is it possible to bring the real case for making Libya an Islamic state as envisioned by the interim leader of National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, at the start of the conflict?

He remarked, ‘We are seeking to establish a state government by law and welfare, and Sharia, Islamic Law, should be the main source of law ’. (The Tripoli Post, 20 January, 2012)

Was Islam brought in only to galvanize the support from the Islamists for the revolutions? Was religion a play card in the hands of the secularists to attain their objectives in ousting Qaddafi?

In what way the current decision by the government to ban religious party any different from those dark days of Gaddafi’s era when religion was relegated next to nothing?

How effective the ban on religious party is also likely to be when Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Ennahda in Tunisia are deciding the political course of future in the region?

The ban on religious unity seems illogical and appears driven by the influence from outside in view of the fact where most of the population in Libya have one religion and one sect, i.e. Sunni.

One should not forget the contribution Islam made to the revolution of Renaissance in Europe? Why can’t it be relevant here in the rebirth of Libya as a vibrant, modern and democratic state?

To mention further, Islam is not merely a spiritual belief. It is a social contract. It is the common will of the public in Libya.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, ‘The general will always tends to the public advantage…and alone can direct the forces of the state to the common good.’

He continued, ‘A particular will (that is, imposing ban on religious outfit) cannot represent the general will’ , and thus should not cause confused and conflicting interests in the society.

The law of a country differs from the law of another, for the law is formulated upon the general will, collective conscience, of the public, upon the common ethos of the land and upon the decree of the whole constituted as one, and that is what makes a Law.

Rousseau remarked, ‘The laws are only registers of our wills’ or ‘The law combines the universality of the will’. (The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Wordsworth Editions Limited, London, UK, 1998)

The decision to ban party based on religion is self-inflicted and is detrimental, in the long run, to the moral and ethical life of the Libyan population. The ban also does not reflect the common will of the public?

When Libya was utterly forsaken, when tribalism and regionalism had rudely broken the rib of Libyan society, it was Islam that had kept them in unity; it was Islam that had sheltered them in harmony; it was Islam that had instilled in them nationalistic feelings.

How come to ban the religious distinctiveness …the source of their existential beliefs!

It is time to debate in defense of religion, i.e. in defense of Islam…its value and role it has played and can still play in social and political discourse of Libya.



Categories: Democracy in Libya, Faith, Islamic Perspective

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: