SHAFAQNA – An active minority of Muslims in the West are consciously creating and driving an ideological and moral revolution. Their goal is to generate an ethical transformation movement that leads the West back to the innate nature or fitra of mankind and its ideas are already impacting mainstream Britain.
Shaykh Ahmed Haneef is upbeat about the development of this movement, which, he says already exists without the scale of its impact being formally recognized; even by its own movers and shakers. Nonetheless he sees it as a trigger for real political awakening among the justice-oriented Western masses George Monbiot, Angus Fraser of the Guardians writings and Jeremy Corbyn’s political rise providing but a few examples of this moral awakening.
There is a sense within this Muslim ethical movement that if Muslim activists in the West can translate Islamic principles into socio political service models then they could potentially play a pivotal game-changing factor in steering the ethical narratives here. Shaykh Haneef suggests that this grassroots movement will also help to identify the true role of the Western Muslim communities; many of whom are currently confused by the lure of the hyper materialist ideology. He says an ever increasingly hostile environment of hate for Muslims in the West will further awaken many from their own mundane worldly illusions to join this movement.
This perspective would surprise many ‘doom and gloom’ commentators who are more focused on the chastening experiences which Muslims in the West are currently being subjected to by Islamophobes in power. This includes British Environmental Minister Michael Gove and others who have carried out instutional assaults on Muslim communities with witchunts in schools the NHS and the Charitable sector among others spreading fear about radicalization which,actually for them, means the rise of Islam in the West.
Shaykh Haneef explains his definition of this subliminal transformation movement as the phenomena of ” a number of people being grasped by an idea, or a set of ideas, who take that idea and spread it” He adds that when those ideas are rooted in the ethics and principles of Islam and are applied to “contemporary cultural socio- political or educatuonal issues in the West such as gender rights, same sex marriage and arms sales policy” they become a way of sparking people into thinking out of the box and also catalysing the beginning of a transformation towards the improvement of society. For society to benefit from such a movement he says ” their ideas must also be acceptable to the people and the public must be able to use that ideology” practically too.
He further argues that modern neoliberal ideology “is born out of Dajjal“ and having fatally undermined Christianity this dominant dajjallic neoliberalism, limited to seeing only the worldly dimension, ignores the reality of holistic religious cosmological perspectives which take into account the unseen too. Scientific and metaphysical phenomena like dark matter, dark energy, Djinn, Angels, Heavan and Hell still compel the majority of mankind to reject the corporately motivated secular West’s narrow and limited worldly paradigms which are all too often destroying the fabric of human fitri existence at a rate faster than any previous civilization.
“Ideology rooted in the Divine, is on a vertical plane and is ultimately impossible to limit because at it’s most expansive it deals with the limitlessness of the Divine realities which are unknown to man.Therefore ,according to the Shaykh, Islam is not only above mere ideology it is also impossible to define a pure Islamic ideology in its absolute sense. Islam can certainly not be contained within tbe modern manmade ideologies such as feminism, socialism or capitalism. It can however, he says, take on-board admirable ethical elements, such as standing against oppressors or fighting mysoginy, from within these limited contemporary ideologies. This is perhaps Islam’s all-encompassing beauty; for it is capable of remaining relevant in all ages by absorbing modernity.
“The 20th century was a victory of ideologies” and Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979 was arguably a watershed for ideological movements and it was preceded significantly by the crystallization of the Russian and Chinese communism and the Western capitalist ideological movement. These 20th century socio-political phenomena were paralleled by liberation theology which spawned the Latin American social justice movements exemplified by the Sandinista’s in El Salvador, Fidel Castro in Cuba and of course Che Guevare among these movement’s most prominent heroes. The culmination of this process was the Iranianian Islamic Revolution’s ‘ Wilayat e Faqih’ political hybrid. This leadership of wise ethical Jurists arguably remains the only divinely inspired ideological movement that has realized a functioning State apparatus in the world today but is clearly not a system the West is going to embrace any time soon. However the ethical principles it offers are based on Prophetic virtue ethics wbich are easily accessible to all societies so the transformational movements focus has to be the promotion of this universal divinely rooted ethics.
Shaykh Ahmed Haneef asserts boldly, however, that ” human civilization is now living in a post-ideology society’ and that Muslims in the West have both a unique opportunity and responsibility to offer Western society morally clear ideas which could help it become better than it is. However he says,” to acheive this goal the Islamic transformational movement must first work out how to develop an analytical methodology whereby ordinary men could use this process to help steer their lives towards a better more holistically balanced existence.”
The Islamic transformation movement is post-ideological and by necessity cannot be an elite exclusivist club nor limited by dogma or doctrine. It’s power lies in its ability to absorb ethically and morally sound narratives, individuals and institutions from any ideology and to be both a bottom up and top down populist movement that challenges the status quo and contemporary tyranny in all its forms. Its polar axis revolves around Prophetic virtue ethics capable of embracing the affairs of the people with wisdom.
This movement already exists in the myriad individual and collective expressions of a sincere striving for truth and manifests itself in their commitment to establishing real social justice – whether for the homeless or the victims of institutional terror. This multi-dimensional Islamic transformational movement is fighting for the enjoining of good and opposition to evil and will catalyse the evolution of a New Western society committed primarily to developing optimal and good human beings. A destination more noble than the current structural elite’s Dajjalic vice- ridden hyper material ‘dream’, that seduces far too many, before they realise, too late in the depression and loneliness of uncaring cities, nursing homes, and prisons , that it was no dream but a nightmare all along.
By Shaykh Ahmed Haneef for Shafaqna
Shaykh Ahmed Haneef is one of a growing number of scholars with style – his intimate knowledge of east and west, ineffable energy and sincere love of all things spiritual have placed him as a firm favourite with young Muslims everywhere.
Born in Trinidad in the 1950s,he was raised a Roman Catholic. He grew up during the 60s and 70s witnessing the political movements surrounding the Vietnam war and black power movement. In 1980, Shaykh Haneef became a Shia and in 1993, moved to Iran with his family to study at the religious seminary in Qom, Iran.
Today he continues to combine study with action and regularly lectures at masjids around the world, as well as hosting programs on channels such as PressTV.