Monday, April 2, 2012

Islamic Parties may rule Egypt, but Islam does not

The political situation in Egypt is very depressing for me and for most of the Egyptians I know, both in Egypt and out outside it.  The most obvious reason for that is the total lack of transparency in the political scene, combined with near total lack of credibility in Egyptian media.

Poor credibility, lack of political integrity and absent strategic vision taint the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Salafi Islamic parties,  as much as it taints the more secular, progressive and liberal groups.  Most Egyptians I interact with, which – for full disclosure – is not a representative sample of all Egyptians, feel totally lost.  They have no one that speaks for them, and no clear political figure that they trust.

I have no trust in  the ability of Islamic-leaning parties  to lead politically, yet I have to admit that the election that brought them to power was technically fair election for the most part.  They control 70% of the seats in the parliament: 45% for MB, and about 25% for Salafi groups.  The secular, liberal and progressive groups suffered humiliating loss garnering less than 20% of the votes.  The remaining 10% or so belong to Wafd Party that truly is a Machiavellian Chameleon that is hard to classify politically, and I personally would not rust with a penny.

And even though I am a believer in Islam and a practicing Muslim, I have to admit: I do not like any groups to rule in the name of religion, any religion.  But, in Egypt, that was the people's choice – like it or not.

But I am stull disturbed, and confused, but the results of Egyptian elections.  And here is why.
Nearly 70% of Egyptians voted willingly to be governed by parties with some version of Islamic ideology.
But, Islam is big on deeds – not words.
Quran 9:105 "And say: ‘Work (righteousness): Soon will God observe your work, and His Messenger, and the Believers: Soon will you be brought back to the Knower of what is hidden and what is open: then He will show you the truth of all that you did.’"
"وَقُلِ اعْمَلُواْ فَسَيَرَى اللّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَسَتُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ"
In Islam, you are supposed to do your work to the BEST of your ability.
"God loves, if one of you is doing something that they should perfect it".  A saying by Prophet Muhammad pbuh.
ان الله يحب اذا عمل احدكم عملا ان يتقنه""
In Islam, you should honest in your testimony, fair even to those that treat you with hatred.
Quran 5:8 "O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for God in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to God. Lo! God is Informed of what ye do."
"يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ"
In Islam, you are supposed to not take, give or mediate for a bribe.
Quran 2:188 "…  nor seek by [your wealth] to gain the hearing of the judges that ye may knowingly devour a portion of the property of others wrongfully."
"وَلاَ تَأْكُلُواْ أَمْوَالَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتُدْلُواْ بِهَا إِلَى الْحُكَّامِ لِتَأْكُلُواْ فَرِيقًا مِّنْ أَمْوَالِ النَّاسِ بِالإِثْمِ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ"
Or as the Prophet, pbuh, said "God's curse is on the one that gives a bribe, and the one that takes a bribe"
"لعنة الله على الراشي والمرتشي"
In Islam, you are supposed to care of you fellow society members as you care for your own family.
"Believers are like one body; if part of it is sick, the rest of the body responds to it with fever, and sleeplessness" ".  A saying by Prophet Muhammad pbuh.
"المؤمنون كالجسد الواحد  اذا مرض عضو منه تداعى له سائر الجسد بالسهر و الحمى"
In Islam, you are supposed to be fair, equitable, charitable, tolerant, non-argumentative, kind and merciful.
Quran 3:134 "Those who spend (of that which God hath given them) in ease and in adversity, those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind; God loveth the good;"
"الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاء وَالضَّرَّاء وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ"
And Quran 42:40  " But requiting evil may, too, become an evil: hence, whoever pardons [his foe] and makes peace, his reward rests with God - for, verily, He does not love evildoers."
"وَجَزَاء سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ"
In Islam, you are supposed to put your faith to work.  And when you do that, the society you live in transforms into a society where life is worth living and you become the envy of the world.

Well, Egypt is far from that enviable society.  That make me, and many others, wonder: if 70% of Egyptians voted freely for someone that declares Islam as a reference ideology, how come that Egypt is in the deep social, moral and economic trouble it is deep in?

And more importantly, if Islam-based political powers, be it Salafi movements or the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood are really keen on repairing and healing the society, rather that just being power hungry, how come they have not initiated nation-wide Islam-based campaigns encouraging their voters - the huge 70% of the population - to correct the social and moral evils that plague Egypt rather than focus on getting votes of those that responded to political Islamic slogans with no desire or intention to live Islamic morals rather that just vote for the candidate with Islamic slogan?

People of God care more - or should care more - about goals of religion and not about political positions.  If they control the hearts and minds of that huge segment of the population, why have not we seen any real change into the why their followers lead their lives?  If they do have that power over people and their use it for good, Egypt will be rebuilt and become great, even if there is not a single Islamic party in the parliament.
Unfortunately, Egyptians may have voted for Islamic parties to rule Egypt, but not for Islam.



  1. Glad to see you writing again.

  2. Very good comments.

  3. it was amazing to for these groups to get 70% of the seats, since as I see -very unprofessional poll- that doesn't represent the Egyptians I see anywhere. May be I am dealing with kind of people who don't represent the majority of people there. God Knows Best

  4. Very good thoughts Khalid. Situation is not different in any other muslim majority. Unfortunaltely, we are getting what we have worked for collectively, as an ummah - Nothing!!

  5. I think that the election results are a reflection of the trouble that existed in the country before the revolution; the electorate want people who can deliver services or at least look like they can deliver services. These groups have the infrastructure and the organization that makes them capable of delivering services, but they used these abilities in the past to taunt the regime (e.g., how they responded to the victims of floods)…Now with power in their hand, it will be interesting to see if they can give people the life they were promising. Like you I am not very optimistic, but I sure hope I am wrong because Egypt and the Egyptians deserve a break!

  6. MB was most organized,it seems. Quite different to rally people when you are in opposition than it is to win elections and exercise power. It is not so much the moral I would be concerned with, but more the pragmatic policies that will ensure employment and income. Can MB hold on if they don't deliver? There is one lesson from the Arab Spring: people are no longer afraid!

    Muhammad, St. Louis

  7. You may not agree with me, Islam is not a political system, Islam is a set of values, and according to the
    prophet of Islam, Muhammed (pbuh), if you adhere to those values you will enjoy this life and Haven will be your place in the life after. Therefore, those who elected the "Islamic parties" in Egypt, not electing a political system to provide justice and prosperity for all. In their minds, they are electing enablers, who carry the keys to the promised Heaven. Until, those people realize "Islamic parties" have only Islam in their names, we will have one hell of ride.

  8. Anonymous (May 9 comment):
    I actually agree with you totally, if I understood your comment correctly.
    I do not think that electing 'Islamic parties' serves Islam. Most of the examples and the history we know of suggests it ends up hurting Islam.
    The point I wanted to stress was that choosing and 'Islamic candidate' and possibly cabinet does not even reflect commitment of Egyptians to Islamic values, except in appearance. And even though Egyptians chose, for various reasons, an Islamist majority parliament (Brotherhood plus Salafi), their everyday life and practices do not reflect any serious commitment to Islamic values of ethics and behavior. It is hypocritical and misguided at best.