The debate on the term of Islamic state will constantly reappear in the political discourse in country that Islamic Party exists. It used to be a phenomenon during the post colonialism era when the Egyptian Islamic scholars (Muslim Brotherhood) were driven to bring back the institution of Islamic Caliphate. In 2009, I happened to write an essay entitled “Searching New Substance of Islamic Movement of the First Post Islamic Rise” in which I set out to discuss the articulation of remarkable social trends, political perspectives, and religious thought in Malaysia following the extension of Islamism era in 1960s-1970s from Muslim Brotherhood.
I had outlined some main points the Islamic revival in the year of 1970s. Among the major treasures including scattering of Islamic heritage, especially knowledge of materials and guidelines in solving the current problems and challenges, and the deep confidence of Islam as a potential solution to all diseases and healing of individuals and society. The Phenomena that occur during the era of 70’s is often referred to historians as the era of Islamic Revivalism Rise / Islamic Resurgence.
According to Gordon P. Means in his book Political Islam in South East Asia, “the persistence of some Islamic movement like Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) and Dar Al-Arqam in united the energy of da’wah finally yielded success a lucrative generation today. The Islamism era in which the Muslim Brotherhood’s dominance of global Islamist activism perceived by orientalist as a big failure.
Apart from due to undemocratic dictators who inhumanely persecuted Islamist, Esposito and Oliver Roy articulated the problem of vast majority of them when the Islamic Revivalism (Islah & Tajdid) was dragged into political Islam without preparation of complete blue print of the good governance as alternative to the so called secular state. The failure of Political Islam?
In a book “The Failure of Political Islam”, Roy shows that the recruitment of large numbers of alienated young men without much hope in the future has transformed political Islam into what he calls “neo-fundamentalism.” Unlike the actual Islamists, many of whom were serious intellectuals who tried to adapt to aspects of modernity, the neo-fundamentalists do little more than channel the discontents of urban youth into political opposition. Neo-fundamentalists worry about morals, mixed education, veiling, and the corrupting influence of the West, but they have no real political or economic program.
If they come to power they will resemble the repressive, one-party regimes that they are likely to replace, and will in turn face the opposition of these same disaffected classes. The evidence to date, however, from Iran and Sudan supports his view that Islamists in power are far from finding solutions to the social and economic problems of their peoples. Roy sees contemporary Islamic movements not as serious efforts to return to the classical paradigms of Islamic governance, but rather as a result of a failed modernization.
The poor ethics and attitude of the Islamists who run the politics contributed to the failure of political Islam. Implementation of Syariah for example, it is perceived as embarassing when the essential objectives of Islamic Law (Maqasid Syariah) to achieve justice is obstructed by the double standard and selective prosecution policies practiced by the official in the ”Islamic state”.
The late 1990s and early 2000 the trends had primarily shifted in stages when the Islamists no longer articulate the term Islamic Revivalism or Islamic state as the main idea of their movement but rather to conceptualize and strategize the rationale of transcending Islamism in social, political, and intellectual domains. Asef Bayat considered the transformation of this societal trend as “post-Islamism”.
Islamist becomes aware of their system’s inadequacies as they attempt to normalize and institutionalize their rule. The continuous trial and error makes the system susceptible to questions and criticisms. Islamism becomes compelled, by societal pressure to re-invent itself and the tremendous transformation in religious and political discourse by En-Nahda movement in Tunisia and AK – Justice and Development Party in Turkey exemplifies this tendency.
Rashid al-Ghannushi and Erdogan decided to follow the system which the mainstream familiar without irrationally imposed the Islamic rules or terms to alternate the policy. En-Nahda and Turkey post-Islamism were embodied in remarkable social trends – expressed in religiously innovative discourse by youths, students, women, and religious intellectuals, who called for democracy, individual rights, tolerance, and gender equality.
The advent of post-Islamism does not necessarily mean the historical end of Islamism but it means the birth out of discourse and politics. It is an attempt to turn the underlying principles of Islamism by emphasizing rights instead of duties, plurality in place of singular authoritative voice, historicity rather than fixed scriptures, and the future instead of the past.
Falling into Islamism net A paradox is how still certain of the Islamists, used to be more creative when under pressure, tend to loss perspective or fighting among themselves when confronted with a situation that is somewhat deals with the notion of liberalism, moderation, openness and equal rights.
Perhaps, the idea of some cleric-Islamist who fails to aware the tremendous change in the era of Post Islamism resulted in the movement to fall into Islamism net. They proudly subscribe the idea of rigidity, claim others who denounce their leadership as un-Islamic, bring the idea of Islamic Revivalism at the most extreme line, and often articulate the terms of Islamic state/rules without providing a tangible blue print as alternative to the society.
The scenario eventually recruits the young people to be irrational and perceive Islam as religion that cannot compromise at all with the individual choice and freedom, democracy and modernity in order to achieve what some have termed an “alternative modernity”. Worse still, this failure to appreciate the change of global trend indeed have reversed them back to the era of extremist Jihadist believing extremism as the only solution for Islam rather than mercy and compassion.
The extremist Jihadis around the world highlighted by media for instance indeed rooted from this failure. Perhaps, the prevalent perception among them is that idea of post-Islamism is an attempt to extremely dilute the Islamic principles. Post-Islamism is neither anti-Islamic, nor is it secular. Rather, it represents an endeavour to fuse religiosity and rights, faith and freedom, Islam and liberty.
PREPARED BY: MUHAMMAD FAISAL BIN ABDUL AZIZ SECRETARY GENERAL MUSLIM YOUTH MOVEMENT MALAYSIA (ABIM)