How to compete for power and why
By Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi, Oxford
The principal reason for the waste of the effort of the Muslims, whether they are fighting or not fighting, is that they do not have a clear and comprehensive plan. For example if we know that the Americans are harming Muslims or Islam, we may think that the right thing to do is to fight them, to bomb them. But it is not the right thing to do. Unless and until we have worked out the consequences – the immediate and long term outcome – of doing this. The same is true for those who say we should not fight, because we cannot win. What is wrong in this case is the same. Those who say this they have not reflected the long and short term consequences of this attitude.
What is right or wrong in such situations is not being active or passive, but being intelligent about what follows. Actions that you take, this includes taking no action at all, have an effect on your society and your state. When you have deliberated on those effects, then and only then you are likely to make the appropriate decision. It is very rare indeed that a situation leaves you no choice, but it can happen. In this case there is no sin in what you are forced to do. So long as you do not become habituated to it, or worse come to accept it. If there is a danger of that, you have religious duty to move out of that necessity – if you cannot, then at best you can desire and pray for it.
What I mean by Muslims having clear and comprehensive plan? As always we look for guidance to the practice of the first Muslims and God’s Messenger. His primary concern was not that the idolaters were in power and persecuting the believers, but that the idolaters would not listen to God’s Message. He was not primarily interested in achieving or restoring glory, but in enabling all the people including idolaters to come into safety of Allah’s protection and favour. Because this was always his priority, his manner of speaking about his enemies, his policies and actions towards them and his decisions about if, when, and how to fight were beneficial to the Muslims and the idolaters.
For us now this means that we should desire, imagine and work towards not the destruction of the enemies of Muslims, but their guidance. If we do this, then the decisions that we take, whether it is fighting or not fighting, will be wise and fruitful.