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Muslims have faced significant political and social problems in the 20th century. The political troubles faced by many Muslim nations have been caused by poor governance and increased violence as people react to various socio-political injustices. In response to the crises faced by Muslims, a number of prominent Muslim scholars have analyzed the situation facing Muslims in the 20th century and offered solutions.
Two scholars who have presented solutions and suggestions are Hasan al-Banna and Yusuf al-Qaradawi. This paper will analyze the solutions and suggestions presented by these two scholars and highlight the major differences between the recommendations that the two propose to the political crises affecting Muslims in the 20th century.
Solutions and Suggestions
Al-Banna and al-Qaradawi believe in the importance of democracy. Al-Banna asserts that the political and social foundations of Nations are destroyed by dictatorship (232). Dictatorial rule is unjust and tyrannical in nature. It leads to the suffering of millions of citizens. Al-Banna shows a deep dislike for the political and religious teachers who use their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the society (50).
Al-Qaradawi reveals that the Muslim community has been troubled for many centuries since Muslims have allowed arrogant and powerful rulers to govern over them (243). These rulers neglected the principle of consultation and instead ruled as dictators. The troubles faced by Muslims can therefore be solved by embracing an inclusive government where the citizens are allowed to decide on matters such as the head of the state, the tax imposed by the government, and organization of commerce.
The two scholars view foreign powers as detrimental to the well being of the Islamic society. Al-Banna condemned the exploitation of native Egyptians by the foreign powers (50). He saw the domination of foreign capital on Muslim societies as undesirable. This view is shared by al-Qaradawi who sees foreign aggression as a cause of immense strive in Muslim countries (235).
Foreign capital reinforces the position of unpopular leaders who oppress their subjects. Reducing the influence of the foreign powers on Muslim communities is therefore a desirable goal for both scholars. Once Muslims are free from foreign interference, they can freely elect leaders who will have concern for the well-being of their citizens.
Both Scholars encourage Muslims to seek knowledge from fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Al-Qaradawi exhorts Muslims to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Western concepts of science and politics and then adopt them to suit Islamic laws and needs (235).
Al-Banna admits that the Western civilization was brilliant by virtue of the scientific perfection of its past (58). He then proceeds to declare that science is necessary for a nation to be powerful. This knowledge can be acquired from believers or non-believers since Islam does not reject science but rather makes it obligatory. Due to the evident link between science and power, al-Qaradawi and al-Banna propose that Muslims should increase their scientific knowledge in order to solve some of the problems they face in the 20th century.
Al-Qaradawi and al-Banna make provision for engaging in violent insurrection against tyranny. The two hold the view that an oppressive ruler should be deposed by the masses since there is a link between tyranny and the spread of corruption in the nation. Allowing tyrants to rule therefore causes ruin and destruction of the nation. According to al-Qaradawi, the people who allow themselves to be ruled by tyrants are guilty (234).
He further declares that taking action against an oppressive ruler is a noble act that every Muslim should engage in (al-Qaradawi 234). Al-Banna declares that Islam permits the use of violence for the sake of justice for the believers (62). Muslims are therefore supposed to take action against the tyrant ruler since allowing him to lead will make the subjects wholly or partly responsible for the injustices done against them.
Major differences between Recommendations
The two scholars differ in the form of Islam that should be used to resolve political crises. For al-Qaradawi, the most effective form of Islam is that which is neither extreme nor too liberal in nature (230). As such, the most effective form of Jihad is one that is waged through words.
Al-Qaradawi advises that Muslims leaders should engage in consultation with their followers in case of contention (245). In contrast to this, al-Banna advocates for a form of religious extremism to solve the political problems (62). He asserts that instead of a pacific form of jihad, the believers should engage in an armed fight against unbelievers.
Hasan al-Banna and Yusuf al-Qaradawi differ in their emphasis of ideology and action in tackling the political crises facing the Muslims. For Al-Qaradawi, the Muslim should seek in-depth knowledge of ideas to help tackle their problems (232). These ideas should then be adopted for favorable use by Muslims to resolve their political problems.
Al-Qaradawi states that democracy is the only means through which Muslims can hold their leaders accountable and if necessary replace them with other leaders without having to resort to violent revolutions (236). On the other hand, al-Banna shows a preference for action over words (53). He asserts that deeds outweigh words or theoretical knowledge. Muslims are supposed to engage in action to bring about the political changes they desire.
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There is a difference in the level of religious ideology that each scholar suggests should be imposed on the society. For al-Qaradawi, Islamic principles are crucial to the prosperity of the Muslim nation (239). A nation that adheres to these principles will be just and fair to its citizens. However, al-Qaradawi does not support a State that would use Islam to stifle the individual freedoms of its citizens (231). On the other hand, al-Banna recommends the formation of a State that is founded on strict Islamic laws (74).
He advocates for Islamic teachings to be imposed on people not only in Mosques but also in schools and government offices. Al-Banna also supports greater surveillance of personal conduct, which essentially leads to privacy invasion (74). These proposals by al-Banna are contrary to al-Qaradawi’s ideas of how Muslims should solve their political problems in the 20th century.
This paper set out to highlight the solutions offered by Hasan al-Banna and Yusuf al-Qaradawi to the political crises that Muslims face in the 20th century. It began by noting that Muslims have experienced significant political upheaval in the 20th century.
This turmoil has primarily been caused by despotic rulers and foreign influence on Muslim countries. It then noted that both al-Banna and al-Qaradawi support democracy and are of the opinion that tyrants should be deposed by the people. The two also agree that science should be used as a tool for empowering Muslim States.
The paper notes that the two scholars differ significantly in their tolerance for the use of force to achieve political objectives. Al-Banna places a strong emphasis on using force to achieve the goals of an Islamic state. Al-Qaradawi advocates dialogue and the use of democracy to bring about a just State. Al-Banna is a strong proponent of a strict Islamic State while Al-Qaradawi favors a State that followers Islamic principles without being repressive.
Al-Banna, Hasan. “Toward the Light.” Princeton Reading in Islamic Thought: Texts and Contexts from Al-Banna to Bin Laden. Eds. Euben Roxanne and Muhammad Qasim. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2009. 49-78. Print.
Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf. “Islam and Democracy.” Princeton Reading in Islamic Thought: Texts and Contexts from Al-Banna to Bin Laden. Eds. Euben Roxanne and Muhammad Qasim. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2009. 230-245. Print.