, by DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI
In this Section
The iconic Tahrir Square burst into cheers on June 24 to celebrate the epoch-making victory of the first Islamic head of State of Egypt. It was an event to be itched in the memory of Egyptians, nay the Islamic world, for two reasons: the president-elect had won through democratic process and secondly, the winner had been thrown up by Ikhwan al-Muslimoon’s political wing Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE
How we wish the historic occasion had been solemnly celebrated by the grand assembly through two cycles of gratitude to Almighty Allah. And, the prayers of gratitude had been led by the Mufti of Egypt. It had been more in the fitness of things, more so because it is not our labour, our struggle, nor, to put it succinctly, our perspiration, tears or blood that brings revolutions. It is the munificence and graciousness of Allah that crowns our humble efforts in His way with success.
It was obviously the awe created by massive demonstrations by the Egyptians that refrained the US and Israel from transplanting its dummy in Egypt. In this context, it appears to be logical that the defeated, Mr. Gen. Ahmad Shafiq preferred to evaporate into thin air along with his three daughters and grandchildren and is not traceable in Egypt. The United States felt forced to abandon its tradition of rejecting Islamic governments even if they came to power through democratic process as we sadly saw, not long ago, in the Sudan, Algeria and Palestine.
Mr. Mohamed Morsi’s importance lies in the fact that he is the first elected president of Egypt. He is also the first publicly endorsed Islamic president of the land of Prophets. It goes without saying that he has won with a sufficient margin of votes. The military could not fudge the election results.
The military however did not cover itself with glory when it annulled the parliamentary elections simply because the Brotherhood won nearly half the seats. Equally questionable is the military decision to draft constitution and arrogate to itself the veto power. Does it not look ridiculous to the military that it is now under a powerless president and Egypt has no parliament?
It is time to recall the sustained sacrifices of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Late Syed Mohamed Qutb along with Hasan al-Hudaybi mounted the gallows. Their crime and the crime of their constituency was their firm belief that Sovereign is Allah alone. The governance, they believe, should be in accordance with the Qur’ān and Sunnah. And who can forget the elegant lady, Zainab al-Ghazali for her uncalled for trials and tribulations (may Allah be pleased with them all).
A significant impression that one receives after a cursory glance at the latest developments in Egypt is that the ethos of Egypt, rather the ethos of all the apparently looking un-Islamic states is Islamic. It is the inflicted and unrepresentative leadership that misguides us. To prove the point, recall Libyan or Syrian reaction witnessed during the Arab Spring. As another example it was the liberals that sowed the seeds of freedom from dictatorship in Egypt. In just 18 days Mubarak entered into political history. The recent election has not thrown up the liberals. It is the Islamists.
Now Islam has emerged as a force to reckon with. At the bottom of the phenomenon is the strong presence of Islam at the subterranean level.
It was a masterstroke of diplomacy that soon after the election Mr. Morsi expressed his desire to undo the long snapped relations with Iran, which in turn welcomed the gesture enthusiastically. Another masterstroke of the president-elect was his clear-cut announcement that his regime would honour all the past treaties and pacts signed by his predecessors like Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar El-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. Large-heartedness begets large-heartedness. Iran’s reaction was superb: “It is a splendid vision of democracy.”
That Israel is jittery is understandable in view of former’s crimes against Islam, Arabs and humanity at large. The United States seems to have lost a dependable client state. Do you know the extent of help that Washington doles out to Egypt $1.3 billion, just to keep the former into its orbit? This is how the White House usurped Pakistan’s manhood.
The first and foremost task before Mr. Morsi is to create reconciliation between the Egyptian army and his party. As the 18-day revolution has been guided by the liberals, they may also demand their pound of flesh. Then there are the ominous remnants of the past dispensations. All this calls for a sustained effort to keep Egypt united rather solidified in this hour of crisis.
NASSER ON JAMAAT-E-ISLAMI
It should be of interest to recall that whenever any dignitary of Egypt came to India, particularly before the Bandung Conference, the entire leadership of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind was, without any rhyme or reason, pushed behind the bars. This always happened whenever Mr. Gamal Abdul Nasser visited New Delhi. They remained in prison as long as he stayed in the capital.
It is also interesting to recall that it was President Nasser who, without caring to verify the facts, dinned into the ears of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the Jamaat is a subversive, fundamentalist and extremist organisation, and is after his head. The enlightened Prime Minister of India did not give too much importance to the garbled intelligence. He took no concrete steps against the Jamaat except asking the IB only to keep a watch on the body.
As the over-a-billion-strong nation knows the Jamaat is a peaceable, peace-loving and peace-keeping Islamic organisation. It does not believe in breaking heads and windows. To what extent it attaches importance to dialogue and debate can be understood from the fact that it severed its relations with the now outlawed Students Islamic Movement (SIMI) simply because its zealots wanted to stage a demonstration against Mr. Yasser Arafat for his various failures. Had our Union Home Ministry cared to understand the Jamaat in its proper perspective, the clever-by-half Nasser would have never succeeded in vitiating India’s atmosphere and multiplying misgivings about a respectable Muslim organisation.
As far as the responsibilities and the tasks ahead of Mr. Mohamed Morsi are concerned, unfortunately he has to prove the relevance rather inevitability of Islam for the solution of the problems confronted by Egypt itself. In wider perspective, he has to prove how Islamic social system, how Islamic economy, how Islamic diplomacy and Islamic governance usher in tranquillity and equilibrium in a turmoil-torn society.
The President designate is expected to prove to the hilt that Islam has no horns on its head and that Muslims are neither freaks nor moonies. They are normal human beings. Egypt, after being grossly disappointed by Pakistan, has to prove a successful laboratory of Islam. It should prove an ideal model state. It should show how judiciously interest-free banking increases wealth, how a veil-clad Muslim woman behaves in society, in the seat of power, in a police station and on the steering wheel. How a Muslim man behaves with dignity on the street, in the queue, in the seat of power, on a panel of judges in a court of law or in a business house or in the cabinet. Mr. Morsi has to show to the world how a model Islamic state transforms the lives of the under-privileged, the less-fortunate and the destitute.
Unfortunately there is no model Islamic state on the surface of the earth today. Let Egypt fill the vacuum.
The Islamic change in Egypt, we feel, would go beyond its borders. It is in the grain of Islam. Egypt should, and is bound to, impact the entire West Asia and North Africa. Islam is the voice of the heart and the conscience. Somebody is needed to just stir the slumber.