Militant vs Non-violent Interpretation of Islam
Wahabism, as an approach, mindset and lifestyle, has mutually supportive relation with illicit or corrupting power. Power serves it and, in return, it serves the power. In this way it is far older than its assumed father—Abdul Wahab Najdi.
When we try to know the world or Supreme Reality before knowing yourself, you would start hating others to love what is same. Therefore, Wahabism is not exclusively Islamic phenomenon. Those who have gone through Micheal Dibdin’s novel, Dead Lagoon, or have been wakeful watchmen over their ego-centers (raqeeb in Quranic terms) know well that “when you hate what you are not to love what you are”—you are, to far extent, exclusivists, or Wahabi in popular parlance.
In this way, universal Wahabism is product of commonsense or rock-logic, in other words. For, our common sense logic tells us that, “There can be no true friends without true enemies”. So, common rationality hunts or manufactures enemies to hate for facilitating and camouflaging the basest self-love under lofty and self-assumed divine ideals.
Our commonsense based families, societies and states are, in fact, factories to produce enemies. Therefore, every state in the world, based on enemy image, is a kind of Wahabi state and Yazid is the arch-devil in its service—Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him!), on the other hand, is an armless and harmless arch-angel—a living symbol of non-violent resistance.
Sufism or the non-violent interpretation of Islam on the contrary, is product of uncommon-sense. The enemy is within! The evil is within! Know thyself before knowing the world! If you tried to know others before knowing yourself; you would make a hell of heaven and heaven of hell!
Quran clearly states, “Know thyself, know thy Allah”. Self is the one big thing. The time you know it; you know all. On the other you know many things without knowing one big thing and you know nothing. Sufis, in the light of Quran, know themselves and know all. Wahabis or Zakir Naiks draw on a wide range of books and for them the world or truth cannot be boiled to a single idea and they miss all. For missing self, in the light of Quran, is missing Supreme Reality and missing Supreme Reality is missing all.
Why knowing one-self is more important than knowing all? The answer is simple. The phenomenal or external world is shadow (not in literal but metaphorical sense) of internal or noumenal world. In other words, “we see though ourselves”. For seeing the things clearly we must wipe our goggles. If our specs were transparent and stainless we could clearly see that, “we are humanity—we are life—life is sacred—everything is living—everything is sacred”.
By knowing ourselves and our Allah, the enemies disappear. The darkest fire of hatred extinguishes. We become an ocean—overflowing with nectar of immortality and love. But we are afraid of it!
We are afraid of love for love is a difficult realization. Love is slaughter for all ego-centers. Love demands dethroning ourselves from the center of our universe and placing “other” on the throne to make same. Love demands seeing the existence and all forms of life through the eyes of lover.
What would happen if we really love Mohammad (pbuh)? We would start seeing from his point of reference! What was his standpoint? Love!
Love is the divine point of reference and, in its essence; it is no point of reference at all. Because Allah, or Supreme Reality, is omnipresent and, it follows, is at once available on trillions of trillions or all possible points of references. Allah is not (nauzu billah) prisoner of singular or myopic point of reference.
It is hatred, commonsense or logic that entails the imprisonment of singular or exclusive point of reference. Love appears to be illogical for it drives us away from our shared blindness! And we love blindness for we are led by arch-blinds! And we are blind for we don’t know ourselves and try to know the world!
As universal phenomena, Wahabism has always waged war against love! To Wahabis, there is nothing more profane and blasphemous than love! Wahabis read Quran and its preamble before every surah—in the name of Allah the beneficent the most merciful—and they are neither beneficent nor merciful. Why? For their goggles are stained with blood of rage and hatred! So, whatever comes up are the cries of their badly injured egos!
They cannot understand Sufis’ metaphor of intimate love between human soul and Soul of the Souls (Allah) in Sufi literature and their hatred misinterprets it as blasphemous! They could not bow before the Will of the Wills (Allah) and, to deceive themselves, make gods of their own stuck-up selves. They bow down in slaughterhouse of false ego (masjid) and come out with their egos nourished. What an irony!
Theirs’ is a world where everything has been turned topsy-turvy by nafs (false ego). In their holier than thou kind of world you would see an ignoble “form” of every noble ideal or spirit.
They think that Islam is a question of knowing and rotting books. But, in fact, Islam and every rightly guided religion is a question of being! They cry that Islam is a way of talking but, in fact, it is a way of walking! They think that Islam is a divine excuse to hate others on sacred grounds. But, in reality, Islam teaches exactly what Mohammad (pbuh) did with a women who used to throw refuse on him. Islam teaches what Mohammad (pbuh) did with people of Taif. Because Islam or any true religion is the morality or lifestyle touched by the noblest emotion of love and compassion.
Who are recipients of the universal message of Islam? Sufis or those who believe only in militant piety? Who practice Islam? Those who have rotted books or those who dethroned their selves to make room for others? How many books were mugged up by Mohammad (pbuh)? Rotting books, especially in current info-tech era, is far—far easier than loving others! Locking verses and chapters in one’s memory is far easier than dethroning one’s self from the center of one’s universe and knowing one’s true self through stainless vision of soul! What abut teaching that art? Isn’t it even harder than making show of one’s memory?
I have tried to make clear that Wahabism takes birth with the painful awareness of the “other” and touches its heights when the plague of otherness becomes violently exclusive. When everything is washed but I, MY, ME! When there remains no room for thought, beauty, peace, harmony, love and justice—Wahabism cuddles up to rust and wear away the remaining traces of love.
However, I would once again repeat, that Wahabism is not altogether Islamic phenomenon. It is not a sect. It is a degenerative mindset. There are Wahabis in religions, politics, and even sciences in every part of the globe. But they are least in art. For art is intensified aesthetics or aesthetics intensified. And, therefore, Sufis or mystics were great artists as well. Loves sustains and creates but hatred bulldozes and demolishes! Quran says that Allah is sustainer, beautiful and loves beauty! So, only those who are blessed or are striving to cultivate beauty, harmony, peace and love could win the blessings of Allah. Rests have only words…but love is silent—heavens don’t speak!