Why Religious Parties Fail?

محمد عباس شاد
محمد عباس شاد
نومبر 01, 2014 -

Rahimia Magazine (November,2014)

slamic ideology comprises of Islamic law (Shariat), purification of human soul (Tareeqat) and political strategy (Siasat) for implementation of Islamic teachings. Islam is an advocate of troubled humanity and is against all sorts of exploitation and oppression. In Pakistan, religious parties hold a substantial position in our political and social spectrum along with political, reformist and so called “revolutionary” parties. However, failure of Islamist parties in Pakistan is a big question mark over their thought process and practical implementation. Failure of religious leadership around the world is attributed to some common reasons which are listed below.

First reason is their limited and static view about religion. Instead of systematically adopting religion as a way of life, they confine themselves to the fulfillment of few rituals. As a result of their narrow mindedness, they fail to understand the linkage between different aspects of human life like politics, economics, morals and social attitudes. Their sole aim is to introduce partial religious reforms in the already established system. Such isolated and partial reforms are destined to fail. Holy Quran states: “O you believers! Embrace Islam as a whole (instead of following only a particular portion of Islam while neglecting other portions) and do not follow the path of Sheitaan. Verily, he is your greatest enemy.” (Surah Al-Baqra, Ayat-208)

Second reason is their lack of political awareness. Many religious outfits consider participation in political struggle as an ‘evil’ and ‘worldly’ act which should be avoided. Due to their inability to understand importance of politics in social life and how it can be utilized for the betterment of society, they unintentionally serve the objectives of imperialist and local exploitative powers. Shah Saeed Ahmed Raipuri (R.A) rightly highlighted that biggest curse for any society is the unawareness of its religious scholars about political affairs.

Third reason is their support and cooperation for global capitalist system in return for few personal and short term benefits. For the attainment of their corporate and strategic objectives, international powers exploit religious parties by using the name of Islam. Global imperialism hosts welcome parties at the White House in the honor of such religious leadership. While working for imperialist objectives, these religious leaders intentionally or unintentionally believe that they are serving the cause of Islam. So called Afghan ‘Jihad’ is the most obvious example of this mindset. Holy Quran categorically states: “Do not assist anyone in the acts of sin and injustice.” (Surah Al Maida, Ayat-2)

Fourth reason is their ignorance towards contemporary needs and challenges faced by society due to which they are isolated from real life issues. In our glorious past, it had been a hallmark of religious leadership to acknowledge and fulfill the needs of their respective times. However, our present religious leadership has neglected this aspect by presenting a discouraging and conservative attitude towards science, technology and contemporary knowledge of different fields related to human life. This attitude is drastically opposite to the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad who said: “Beware of the foresightedness of a true believer as he perceives in the guidance of Almighty.”(Tirmizi)

Fifth reason is their sectarian and factional mindset. Islam provided unity and centralization to the tribal society of Arabs in the medieval times. On the contrary, these parties divide the society into different sects and groups. Every sect self-proclaims to be on the right path while considers all others as mislead and lost. Consequently, the whole fabric of society is deteriorated into fragments. This behavior is strictly against the teachings of Islam which states: “People divided the religion and created sects. Every sect is happy with its own portion of Islam.”(Surah Al Rome, Ayat-32) ”Hold the rope of Allah steadfastly and do not create divisions.” (Surah Al e Imran, Ayat-103) “Do not quarrel with each other. You will become coward and you will lose your strength over your enemy.” (Surah Al-Anfal, Ayat-46)

Sixth reason is their attitude of intolerance and extremism. True religion teaches patience, mutual coexistence and respect of humanity to its followers. But sectarian mentality promotes prejudice, intolerance, narrow-mindedness and disintegration in the society. Difference of opinion which was regarded as a blessing for society is transformed into fierce enmity. Consequently, ideological and practical harmony which is essential for the success of every nation becomes a rare commodity.

Seventh reason is their violent approach to preach and implement religious teachings. Due to their extremist and irresponsible behavior, they consider the whole society as their permanent opponent. Islam is the religion of love and forbearance which attracts its audience with logic and respect. Quran states: “Invite people towards your Lord with wisdom and compassion.” (Surah Al-Nahl, Ayat-125)It is an undeniable reality that no system can win the hearts of people with sheer force and violence. Rather, it will permanently repel the hearts of those who are in search of truth and guidance.

Eighth reason is the political misuse of religion for their personal and factional interests. Islam is an inseparable constituent of every Muslim’s life. Even if there are many deficiencies in Muslims, still they are spiritually and emotionally linked with Islam. Implementation of political, economic and social system of Islam in the society is the ultimate aspiration of every Muslim irrespective of the country he belongs to. Instead of utilizing this passion for the construction of society, these selfish leaders exploit the name of Islam as a mere rhetoric slogan. Allah says in Quran: “And do not sell my commandments for worldly gains and fear from me.” (Surah Al Baqra, Ayat-41)

Ninth reason is their hypocrisy and double standards. Due to their exaggerated claims and religious rhetoric, people tend to associate huge expectations from these parties. However, testing times reveal the reality of these false claims which leads to frustration among its followers and general public. Quran highlights this hypocrisy by stating: “Why you say something which you do not act upon?” (Surah Al-Saff, Ayat-2)

Tenth reason is there effort to establish a system of religious and intellectual monopoly in the society (like Christian Church and Hindu Brahamanism). Religious leadership conceals religious knowledge to their limited circle and present themselves as the true interpreters of religion. Compassionate teachings of religion based on justice, equality and human rights are deceitfully misinterpreted to serve the interests of a particular class. Thus, religion becomes a tool for the oppression of masses used by the ruling class. Quran describes this problem in the following words: “O you believers! (beware that) there are many religious scholars and saints who tactfully loot money of common people and detract them from the path of Almighty.” (Surah At-Taubah, Ayat-34)

In the present circumstances, there is a dire need to abstain from conventional religious parties and develop a consciousness in the society about the economic and political systems of Islam. Next step is to transform this consciousness into a collective effort based on sincere relationship with the Almighty and compassion for human beings which will ultimately liberate mankind from oppression and injustice. This will pave the path to reconnect humanity with its compassionate Creator which is the ultimate goal of Islam.

Translation: Muhammad Usman, Faisalabad

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محمد عباس شاد
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