Episode (3): The Justice and Kindness Association and its views on political participation
To recognize the stance of the Justice and Kindness Association’s leader, we should differentiate between two main stages: the stage of rebellion against the “Sultan State,” and the post-establishment stage of the “Qur’an State,” in which the Association itself controls the state.
In this stage, the leader classifies the parties into two main categories: The ‘Party of Allah’ and the ‘Party of Satan.’
This classification is based on loyalty to the leader and his party as follows: loyalty and partiality for disbelievers are the basic characteristics of the Party of Satan, while loyalty and partiality for Allah are the main characteristics of the Party of Allah (Al-Adl, p. 133).
During the rebellion stage, Sheikh Yassin differentiated between liberal and leftist parties. He cooperated with liberal parties, as they did not represent any risk or threat to his social project. He believed these parties could show tolerance and cope with other parties because their main target was making profit and raising money. This means that these parties would not challenge his dominance, as long as this dominance did not contradict their interests.
As for the leftist parties, they are considered the Sheikh’s enemies for two reasons: firstly, they adopt an ideology contradicting the ideologies on which the Association is based. In addition, he accuses them of disbelief as well as wickedness, and accordingly will not accept their apology when he comes to power. “We are calling for an Islamic covenant which gives shelter to all repentant parties regardless of the sins they had committed unless they insist on disobedience, wickedness as well as lying to Allah and people” (Al-Adl, p. 571). Secondly, these parties have a social project contradicting that of Sheikh Yassin’s. Their modernized, democratic project is open to the values of the society and the culture of human rights. Yet, the Sheikh refuses to incorporate human rights and the values of the society, which respect equality of rights and duties, especially those related to the rights of citizenship.
The Sheikh stresses: “The law that relies on democratic equality in regards to rights and duties is materialistic and not religious.” (Al-Shura wa al-Democratiyyah, p. 113) He wants all parties to recognize his divine right to political leadership. Yet, the leftist parties refuse to accept the absolute political and religious authorities that put the Sheikh above all popular and institutional control.
Due to the current political circumstances, characterized by tension between the system and the group that seeks to topple it, the Sheikh decided to ally with all liberal and leftist parties, with the aim of weakening the system in preparation for toppling it.
Moreover, the Skeikh tried to make use of the conflict between the late King Al-Hassan II and the democratic opposition; he highlighted the importance of unifying efforts with the Islamists at the end of his book “Al-Shura wa al-Democratiyyah,” saying: “The virtuous democrats should unite with the Islamists, not only for the sake of love for truth and justice but also for the enhancement of communication and understanding, to undermine the policies of the dominant parties that are heavily biased to a political party, with the aim of making the Muslim nation weak, confused and dispersed…O virtuous democrats, you are convinced like us that this nation can get free from the grip of domination that encircled our necks with the shackles of backwardness and lowness of adulation through making use of minds that are the wealth of nations.”
The Sheikh had previously urged all parties to ally with him, according to the conditions stated in what he called “The Islamic Covenant.” However, these parties refused to cooperate with the Association in any political coordination due to its negative impact on the parties, the system, the state and the society.
The Sheikh blamed the parties for not paying much more attention to his call. He stated, “In the book ‘Dialogue with Virtuous Democrats,’ we called for an Islamic covenant which is supported by the truthful people out of convention, because Islam is not the historical illusion which rulers seek to perpetuate. A lot of people failed to understand my view because of their interest in the political events such as the devolution of power, support of parliamentary opposition, condemnation of election fraud and the request of reviewing the constitution.” (Al-Shura wa al-Democratiyyah, p. 31)
The Sheikh requests parties to ally with him yet he does not comply with their demands, because he considers them un-Islamic, quoting the verdict of Al-Maududi that reads: “It is a gap on which a bridge is built in order not to meet in the middle of the road, but to be used by the people of ignorance to convert into Islam whether they live in the Islamic state and pretend that they are Muslims or live outside the Islamic state.” (Al-Adl, p. 548)
Not only did the Sheikh cite Al-Maududi’s verdict about democratic parties, but also decided not to comply with their requests in case they accepted his invitation to dialogue. “So what about a compromise between falsehood that takes fast strides to the political abyss and a young movement that opened its eye to truth and thus is considered trusted?” (Hiwar ma’ al-Fudala al-Democrateen, pp. 78-79)
In the Sheikh’s view, these parties lost their popular momentum and support and, accordingly, became isolated from the people. “We faced untrustworthy regimes and elites looking forward to democracy but isolated from people. They will continue to try to plant democracy in the land of Islam. Yet, the land of Islam will only yield the fruits of Islam.”
This shows that the Sheikh is contradicting himself; how does he call for allying with isolated political powers that have no foundations? And how does he call for cooperating with parties and elites after rejecting their democratic program? The Sheikh is convinced of the popular and organizational depth of these democratic parties, and accordingly decided that his group is the pivot around which all political parties should gather. The Sheikh’s view is based on two justifications: first, the strength and popularity of his Association compared to the isolation of the other ones, which qualifies the Association for leading the alliance. He said, “As long as we stay beside you as a peoples’ organization, the Islamic power will strengthen your political constituents which will help break your isolation.” (Al-Adl, p. 531) Second: In the Sheikh’s view, his Association is rightly guided, while the others are going astray. He said, “We refuse to be a base for a group misleading Muslims.” (Al-Adl, p. 523) This is logical for the Sheikh, as how would he offer a popular base for those who are struggling for democracy in the Islamic state while his political and organizational program opposes democracy, fights democrats and challenges their programs?
How would he also help democrats fasten their roots after considering them isolated? “Democracy in the Islamic state is the issue of isolated elites who are looking for a popular base.” (Al-Adl, p. 539) However, the risks which could face the leftist parties after the Association forms an alliance or coalition include not only marginalization and dependence but also punitive procedures, which the Sheikh prepared for them upon the establishment of the “Qur’an State” and the fall of the “Sultan State.”
The punitive procedures include the following:
1- Preventing these parties from managing public affairs as a preliminary procedure set by the Sheikh, who said, “The Shari’ah does not call for building gallows for such parties, as this would not benefit Muslims. They should merely be punished by preventing them from taking part in managing public affairs.” (Al-Adl, p. 481) This is due to the fact that the worldly people cannot manage the Muslim affairs in the second Caliphate (Al-Adl, p. 120)
This stance was adopted previously by Al-Maududi, who said, “Whoever received the intellectual and moral upbringing necessary for becoming qualified to manage the secular state cannot manage Muslims’ affairs.”
The Islamic state should be made up of citizens, candidates, members of parliament, judges, rulers, generals, ministers as well as directors of different departments and authorities, and it should follow a special, innovative methodology.
2- Banishing these parties from the country until the “Qur’an State” stabilizes. When the State is fully established, they are to be killed and their limbs cut off. Considering that Sheikh Yassin claims to follow the suit of the Prophet, peace be upon him, he decided to punish these parties as the Prophet did with the people of Ukl.
Thus, the Sheikh threatened to punish his enemies in the same way, saying “We have the choice of exiling them from land before laying the foundations of our state.” (Al-Ihsan 2, p. 149) But when the Sheikh lays the foundation of his state, he will certainly move to the “severe punishment.”