Allah Hafiz to Khuda Hafiz

As most Pakistanis over the ages of six and seven would remember, before the now ubiquitous ‘Allah Hafiz’ came ‘Khuda Hafiz’.

The immediate history of the demise of Khuda Hafiz can be traced back to a mere six to seven years in the past. It was in Karachi some time in 2002 when a series of banners started appearing across Sharea Faisal. Each banner had two messages. The first one advised Pakistani Muslims to stop addressing God by the informal ‘Tu’ and instead address him as ‘Aap’ (the respectful way of saying ‘you’ in Urdu). The second message advised Pakistanis to replace the term Khuda Hafiz with Allah Hafiz.

The banners were produced and installed by Islamic organisations associated with a famous mosque in Karachi. Ever since the 1980s, this institution had been a bastion of leading puritanical doctrines of Islam. Many of the institution’s scholars were, in one way or the other, also related to the Islamic intelligentsia sympathetic to the Taliban version of political Islam and of other similar fundamentalist outfits.

However, one just cannot study the Allah Hafiz phenomenon through what happened in 2002. This phenomenon has a direct link with the disastrous history of cultural casualties Pakistanhas steadily been suffering for over thirty years now. Beyond the 2002 banner incident, whose two messages were then duly taken up by a series of Tableeghi Jamaat personnel and as well as trendsetting living room Islamic evangelists, a lot of groundwork had already taken place to culturally convert the largely pluralistic and religiously tolerant milieu of Pakistan into a singular concentration of Muslims following the “correct” version of Islam.

The overriding reasons for this were foremost political, as General Ziaul Haq and his politico-religious cohorts went about setting up madressahs in an attempt to harden the otherwise softer strain of faith that a majority of Pakistanis followed so they could be prepared for the grand ‘Afghan jihad’ against the atheistic Soviet Union with a somewhat literalist and highly politicised version of Islam. The above process not only politically radicalised sections of Pakistani society, its impact was apparent on culture at large as well.

For example, as bars and cinemas started closing down, young men and women, who had found space in these places to simply meet up, were forced to move to shady cafes, restaurants and parks which, by the mid-1980s, too started to be visited by cops and fanatical moral squads called the ‘Allah Tigers’, who ran around harassing couples in these spaces, scolding them for going against Islam, or, on most occasions, simply extorting money from the shaken couples through blackmail.

Then, getting a blanket ideological and judicial cover by the Zia dictatorship, the cops started to harass almost any couple riding a motorbike, a car or simply sitting at the beach. Without even asking whether the woman was the guy’s sister or mother (on many occasions they were!), the cops asked for the couples’ marriage certificate! Failing to produce one (which in most cases they couldn’t), hefty sums of money were extorted as the couples were threatened to be sent to jail under the dreadful Hudood Ordinances. The same one the Musharraf government eventually scrapped.

Some of these horrendous practices were duly stopped during the Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif governments in the 1990s, but the cat had long been set among the pigeons. Encouraged by their initial successes in the 1980s, Islamist culture-evangelists became a lot more aggressive in the 1990s. Drawing room and TV evangelists went about attempting to construct a “true” Islamic society, and at least one of their prescriptions was to replace the commonly used Khuda Hafiz with Allah Hafiz.

This was done because these crusading men and women believed that once they had convinced numerous Pakistanis to follow the faith by adorning a long beard and hijab, the words Khuda Hafiz would not seem appropriate coming out from the mouths of such Islamic-looking folks. They believed that Khuda can mean any God, whereas the Muslims’ God was Allah. Some observers suggest that since many non-Muslims residing in Pakistan too had started to use Khuda Hafiz, this incensed the crusaders who thought that non-Muslim Pakistanis were trying to adopt Islamic gestures only to pollute them. The first time Allah Hafiz was used in public was in 1985 when a famous TV host, a frequent sight on PTV during the Zia era, signed off her otherwise secular show with a firm ‘Allah Hafiz.’ However, even though some Islamic preachers continued the trend in the 1990s, it did not trickle down to the mainstream until the early 2000s. As society continued to collapse inwards — especially the urban middle class — the term Allah Hafiz started being used as if Pakistanis had always said Allah Hafiz.

So much so that today, if you are to bid farewell by saying Khuda Hafiz, you will either generate curious facial responses, or worse, get a short lecture on why you should always say Allah Hafiz instead — a clear case of glorified cultural isolationism to ‘protect’ one’s comfort zone of myopia from the influential and uncontrollable trends of universal pluralism?

I’m afraid this is the case.

Brand New Fatwa in the House

“Infidels! My name is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. I’m the ISIS guy. I know, these pics suck – but what can you expect from the State Dept? From now on, I’m the new Caliph; fell free to bask in my holy glow. Apart from a lot of cool Toyotas, I own a chunk of real estate stretching from Aleppo to Diyala – but there’s more to come. Obey me – or else, and “else” includes beheading and crucifixion. Now excuse me because I must get a piece of that Obama $500 billion “appropriately vetted” gig. Allahu Akbar. And as a leader of Muslims everywhere, I also proclaim that Algeria is only allowed to win the World Cup if it imposes sharia law on the pitch. Beheading Neuer, Muller and Schweinsteiger is also allowed. Allahu Akbar!”

Reflections of Humanity by Dr.Ali Shariati

Debates on the definitions of culture versus barbarism, or on the question of who is civilized and who is modern are best discussed in the light of Islamic doctrine. Quite significantly, this point must be kept in mind, particularly as a matter of concern to individuals of the educated classes of Islamic societies upon whom lies the burden of responsibility and leadership of the Umma. 

Modernity is one of the most delicate and vital issues confronting us, the people of non-European countries and Islamic societies. A more important issue is the relationship between an imposed modernization and genuine civilization. We must discover if modernity as is claimed is a synonym for being civilised, or if it is an altogether different issue and social phenomenon having no relation to civilisation at all. Unfortunately modernity has been imposed on us, the non-European nations, in the guise of civilization. 

For the past 150 years, the West has undertaken the task of modernizing men with missionary zeal. All non-European nations were put in close contact with the West and western civilization and were to be changed to ‘modern’ nations. Under the guise of civilizing nations, acquainting them with culture, they presented us with this modernity, (when I say “us”, I mean the non-European and third world nations), which they persisted in calling “ideal civilization”. Our intellectuals should have understood years ago and made people realize the difference between civilization and modernity. But they failed to do so. Why did the educated not notice this issue during the 150 years of western modernization of their nations? I will discuss their failure in this paper later. 

Before any further discussion I should like to define certain terms on which I intend to concentrate, which, if left ambiguous, should render the discussion vague. After explaining the terms, I shall address myself to the subject. 

1. Intellectual: An everyday term frequently heard in Iranian society and in all societies, European or otherwise. What does it really mean? Whom do we name intellectual? Who are the intellectuals, and what is their role and responsibility in their own societies? 

An intellectual is one who is conscious of his own “humanistic status” in a specific social and historical time and place. His self-awareness lays upon him the burden of responsibility. He responsibly, self-consciously leads his people in scientific, social and revolutionary action. (See also “From Where Shall We Begin” and “The Intellectual and his Social Responsibilities” by Dr. Shariati for further discussion on this). 

2. Assimilation: This is at the root of all the troubles and constraints facing the non-Western and Muslim countries. Applies to the conduct of an individual who, intentionally or unintentionally, starts imitating the mannerisms of someone else. A person exhibiting this weakness forgets his own background, national character and culture or, if he remembers them at all, recalls them with contempt. Obsessively, and with no reservation, he denies himself in order to transform his identity. Hoping to attain the distinctions, and the grandeur, which he sees in another, the assimilator attempts to rid himself of perceived shameful associations with his original society and culture. 

3. Alienation: The process of forgetting or becoming unfamiliar with or indifferent to one’s self. That is, one loses the self and directs perceptions from within another person or thing. This grave social and spiritual illness manifests itself in many different shapes and forms and depends on many factors. One factor alienating a human being is the tools with which he works. Sociology and psychology report that a man, during his lifetime gradually tends to forget his real, independant identity as he increases his contact with a certain tool or profession more and more every day. He begins perceiving his tools in place of his selfhood. 

For instance, in a person who deals with nuts and bolts every day from 8a.m. to 6 p.m. all feelings, thoughts, affections and personality will gradually become suspended. He must perform a certain mechanical task continually. Possibly an assembly belt runs in front of him and he is ordered to skip two nuts and twist the third nut once. This man, who has diverse emotions, aptitudes, thoughts, tastes, tensions, hatred, feeling and talent, becomes a body which skips two nuts and twists the third one once most of his time, during his working hours, which is also the time when he is most active and energetic. He becomes an instrument, simply a piece of equipment for production and his effort is confined to a monotonous job which he must do day after day, and in so doing, suspend all the characteristics which make up his personality. 

The best among many examples of such situations was given by Charlie Chaplin in a famous film, “Modern Times”, in which he plays a man originally free from any attachment or obligations, with all his desires, emotions, feelings, excitements and needs. He feels love for his sweetheart, respect for his parents and sympathy for his friends. He enjoys sitting and chatting with others, partaking of their normal customs, and exhibits a normal variety of fears, hopes, talents and responses. For instance, when he sees his mother, he displays feelings towards her as if he had not seen her for a long time. When he meets a friend from the past, he wants to spend some moments with him talking about what happened, about life and the good old days. He feels love and affection when he sees his sweetheart; he feels hatred and rancour boil when he sees his enemy. He wants to fight, attack him and gain revenge. He is a human being, with complex needs and expectations. He enjoys a good view and hates seeing a depressing one, just as a normal, free man might be expected to. 

Then he goes to work in a huge and complicated factory whose functioning he cannot even conceive. He neither knows what the factory produces nor what synchronizes its many diverse elements. He applies in an office, fills out some forms and then is told to report to Mr so and so. Then, he is taken through a hall and into a room. A man comes along and tells him what to do. And just what is his job? Here is what his job is all about: there is a big hall used as a place for an assembly line where a huge metal belt constantly moves. The belt comes in from one side of the hall and goes out the other to other sections of the assembly line. He does not know where the belt comes from and where it goes and why it does so. Seven or eight workers are standing there beside each other. His job is to skip two nuts on the moving tape and twist a third nut once. And again he is to skip two and twist the third, and this he has to repeat over and over during his 10 hours of work. Then the bell rings and his day of work is over. He goes home without knowing what the nuts were and why he did what he was told to do, where they came from and where they went to and what they were used for. He cannot understand this job at all. Beside him stand the 7 or 8 other workers; they cannot even speak to each other because the belt is moving at such a speed that if he tries to find out about the worker next to him, and neglects the moving belt, he will miss the third nut, the whole factory will stop, and he will be punished or fired. 

This man must be all eyes to watch the nuts. The work that he performs, this human being, is to twist the nuts once or twice and that is all. But a human being is a creature with certain characteristics. First of all, he must know the purpose of his work, and secondly, he must do a job in order to achieve a particular goal. He chooses the goal, and then, once chosen, he creates a job as a means toward that goal. He then begins during the job, to touch and feel the essence of his purpose. A certain goal and a chosen outcome limits one’s work, and eventually one achieves the goal. Apart from seeking a goal while he works, being aware of the job, the man is a human with diverse feelings and urges. 

Charlie Chaplin, in the role of this particular worker, sees his mother, fiancée and friend, who have come to see him in the factory. He is not yet accustomed to the rough and monotonous system of machinery; he is not broken in yet. While he is working, suddenly he sees his mother, fiancée or friend, and putting down his tools, leaves his job behind to go to say “Hello . . .. how are you?” “Where have you been?”” It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. I missed you . . . sit down, let’s have a cup of tea and. . . .” 

Suddenly he sees policemen rushing in, red lights on, alarm bells ringing, inspectors coming in. What has happened? The factory control system has reported that one single nut has been skipped without being twisted, and everything has come to a standstill. “What have you done?!”” How could you?!” He is arrested, blamed and punished for his negligence. 

A momentary manifestation of a simple and natural human sentiment in him causes the system of machinery to break down. This clearly illustrates that in the present system there is not the slightest room for expression of a human sentiment. However, they train and control this very man who once had feelings and emotions until he becomes like a machine, too, and after 20 years of work the phrases “a human is a rational being,” and “a human is a worshipping animal” and “a human is self-conscious and creative animal” and similar phrases normally used to apply to a human, no longer apply to him. 

What has this man, after all, become? He is now a “nut twister animal” who skips two and twists the third nut once. On the street when this man sees a policeman with buttons like nuts on his uniform, he immediately takes out his wrenches to tighten them. He sees a woman with decoration on her hat or coat: immediately it comes to his mind to go and twist it once or twice or whatever! For him the whole world is summarized in the phrase, “Skip two and twist the third.” That is his philosophy, identity, reality and title to being a human. Why does he twist? In order to eat. Why does he eat? In order to twist! A circular man! 

This man no longer perceives himself as the being who once had varied sentiments, desires, needs, weaknesses, sensibilities, memories and virtues. Those have tumbled down and he has become, in the words of Marcuse, a “one-dimensional man.” But Shondel calls him a “circular man” who produces for the sake of production. 

This man who once was a little world, a microcosm, like God and with the attributes of God, has now been reduced to an extension of a wrench; which is to say that the character of the machine, of the bolts and of the mechanical motion, has penetrated him. He no longer considers himself as such and such, the son of so and so, from such and such a family, such and such a race and background, with such and such peculiarities. Rather he perceives himself and his reality as nothing more than part of a machine. 

Alienation may sometimes become a serious mental ailment requiring the attention of a psychoanalyst. At its highest degree of intensity, it may necessitate confinement in an asylum. Alienation, which affects men through mechanical and dehumanized discipline, may be caused by bureaucracy and technology as well. As one of the sociologists put it, either Max Weber or Marcel Moose, in a complicated bureaucracy where there are many booths, all numbered, the man who has been working in, say booth 345, for 20 or 30 years and has been doing the same job for that long, generally considers himself as booth 345, rather than one having any other name or title. People address him as “booth 345” and think of him as “booth 345.” And the general feeling that he is not attached to anything except “booth 345” generates in him a feeling that he is “booth 345” not Mr so and so, the son of so and so, with such and such characteristics. Such is the alienation caused by bureaucracy. 

Alienated, as a word, means being possessed by a ‘spirit’, or in Persian, a “Jinn.” People believed in such ‘spirits’ in the past, and when a person became insane, they believed that the ‘spirit’ had possessed him and affected his brain. They thought that the ‘spirit’ had ejected his intellect and taken its place, so that the possessed no longer felt himself human but was rather an evil being. The word today means a type of sickness described by psychologists and sociologists. 

As men were possessed by ‘spirits’ in the old days, today a man is reduced to the position of a cog in a strict, monotonous and ruthless bureaucracy due to perpetual contact with a certain mechanical tool. He no longer feels and comprehends his individuality; he has “lost” himself. As they used to believe that a “jinn” possessed man’s spirit and made him insane, so today, means of production, tools and his type of work, possess him and control his spirit. They gradually obliterate his true personality and fill it instead with the characteristics of machine tools, job routine, bureaucratic hierarchy, and eventually he begins to identify himself with these. 

There is another kind of “control by jinns” which possesses humanity and alienates a person or an entire class from itself. This type of alienation is more real, more frightening, and more damaging, and it is this . . . omnipresent form of alienation which affects us, the Iranians, Muslims, the Asians, and Africans. It is not an alienation caused by technology – we have not been alienated by machines. No machine is involved, nor any bureaucracy. A few administrative departments with a limited personnel are in no position to alienate any one. Nor has the Bourgeoisie reached the stage from which it could alienate us. Rather, what we are at grips withis something extremely unpleasant and dangerous – “cultural alienation.” 

What does “cultural alienation” mean? As we have already mentioned, alienation, in any shape or form, indicates a condition in which one does not perceive himself as he is, but rather perceives something else in his place. A man in this condition is alienated. What he conceives himself as is not his real self at all, and whether it be as money or as machine or as booth 345, his conception makes no difference at all and depends only on luck or taste. 

What is culture? I am not going to quote the differing definitions of culture here. However defined, culture includes a collection of intellectual, non-material artistic, historical, literary, religious and emotional expressions (in the form of signs, traditions, customs, relics, mores) of a nation which have accumulated in the course of its history and acquired unique form. They signify the pains, desires, temperaments, social characteristics, life patterns, social relations and economics structure of a nation. 

When I feel my own religion, literature, emotion, needs and pains through my own culture, I feel my own self, the very social and historical self (not the individual self), the source from which this culture has originated. Therefore, culture is the expression and super-structure of the real being of my society, actually the whole history of my society. But certain artificial factors, probably of a dubious nature, creep into a society which has well defined social conditions or social relations, developed through a specific historical framework, and aquaint it with pains, sufferings, emotions and sentiments which have an alien spirit and are a product of a different past, a different society (different both socially and economically). These artificial factors wipe out any real culture and substitute a false culture suitable for different conditions and an altogether different historical stage, a different economy, and a different political and social setup. Then, when I wish to feel my own real self, I find myself conceiving another society’s culture instead of my own and bemoaning troubles not mine at all. I groan about cynicism not pertinent to cultural, philosophical and social realities of my society. I then find myself harboring aspirations, ideals and anguishes legitimately belonging to social, economic and political conditions of societies other than mine. None the less, I treat these desires, ideals, and anguish as if they were my own. 

Another culture has alienated me. The dark skinned man of Africa, the Berber of North Africa, the Persian and Indian in Asia, each has a particular past and unique present. However, they feel inside particular pain and concern which they regard as their own, but which are actually offshoots of problems of periods following the Middle Ages, the 16th Century renaissance, 17th Century liberalism, the scientific progress of the 18th century, and the ideologies of the 19th century and the capitalist societies that came into being after World Wars 1 and 2. 

So, African, Asian people, how does it concern you? Which problem do you have that causes you so much concern regarding its existence, solution, feeling, and reaction? It is as if I had a foot pain and put it down to nerves! Why? Because I associated with people I think more intelligent, polished, respectable and wealthy than myself, and they have “nervous disorders.” Rather than admitting that my foot aches, and seeking medication for, let’s say, corns; I seek a psychiatrist for the “nervous disorder” to which I attribute my pain. 

My conceptions of myself are not as I actually am in reality, but as “they” are; that is, I am alienated. Is it not ridiculous to have, in a society with so much starvation and general feelings, desires and behaviour resembling those of present day Americans, English or French? The latter is surfeited with an excess of delicacies and pleasures and lacks purpose and goals. He wants rest and seeks peace. He is sick of the strict discipline imposed on him by the machine. He groans and complains of the discipline and order which have caused him so much distress. But I, suffering from the lack of technology, am yet groaning and complaining of distresses caused by technology! It’s as if we were run over by a car, had broken our arms and a leg, had blood all over our face and head; and yet, we empathize and feel for the person behind the wheel, who is fed up with having to drive and run over people! 

In this way non-European societies become alienated by European societies: their intellectuals no longer feel Eastern, groan like an Eastern person or aspire to be Eastern people. The intellectual does not suffer because of his own social problems, rather he conceives of the pain, sufferings, feelings and needs of an European in the final stage of capitalistic and materialistic success and enjoyment. Thus, today the most painful disorder possible sweeps non-European countries, the psychological disorder of non-Europeans who possess a unique character and yet deny it. They hold in mind something alien. They conceive of someone else and imitate him blindly. 

These non-European countries in the past were real and genuine. If you had visited these countries, say 200 years ago, they would have lacked today’s Western Civilization, but each and every one of them had its own authentic and solid civilization. They were unique: their desires, their delicacies, their forms of worship and all their good and bad behaviour; their action, their beauties, their philosophy, their religion – everything belongs to them. For instance, if I had gone to a country like India or any African country, I would know that they had their own unique tastes and buildings. They composed their own unique poetry, pertinent to their culture, and relevant to their lives. They had their own unique social manner. They had their own unique colors, maladies, desires and religions. All they had was their own. In spite of the fact that they were far below the level of present day civilization and material enjoyment, still, what they had, however trifling, was their own. They were not sick, poor they were, but poverty is something different from sickness. 

But today, western societies have been able to impose their philosophy, their way of thinking, their desires, their ideas, their tastes and their manners upon non-Europeans countries to the same extent that they have been able to force their symbols of civilization (technological innovations) into these countries which consume new products and gadgets; countries which can never adjust themselves to European manners, longing, tastes and ways of thinking. 

As Alined Yope, one of the greatest black intellectuals, puts it: “societies have come into being outside the European civilization – like our societies – which are “mosaic societies.” What does he mean by “mosaic societies”? A mosaic contains hundreds of colored tiles with different shapes and colors, all pressed in a mold. What shape do these tiles make? None! A mosaic has different colors and is composed of different pieces of gravel with different shapes, but in sum has no shape. Some civilizations, too, are mosaic civilizations. That is, civilizations which carry some leftover parts from the past, some deformed parts from Europe, and the combination of the two produces a half-civilized, half-modernized society. It is a mosaic also in that we did not choose the same materials as the Europeans to make a civilization for ourselves, because we did not know what a civilization was and how to form it. It is they who gave us the form, as well. 

So without knowing what to make and without having any prior intention of how to form our society according to our own tastes and thoughts, and without knowing how to integrate different parts, or properly taking from here and there according to pre-planning, we started putting together different parts and elements to build a modern but formless society with no aim or goal. In the distorted result we find parts from everywhere, some native, some European, some old-fashioned and some modern – all piled up in shapeless, aimless confusion, and in result, creating a shapeless, aimless society as well. Such societies are non-European societies which, during the last century, have been able to get their construction materials from the West, in the name of civilization. 

What is the origin of the emergence of this mosaic civilisation (or what I would call camelopard societies) in non-European countries which have no special shape and no fixed goal? It is not clear what kind of societies they are; their people and intellectuals cannot understand what they live for, what their goal is, what their future holds and what their ideology contains. 

The machine emerged and developed during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries in Europe in the hands of the capitalists and the rich. The machine has the characteristic of the need for constant increase in production when it is working. This is the machine’s coercion. If it does not increase its production with 10 or 11 years, it will die out, it cannot continue to function and cannot compete with other machines. Why? Because if it does not increase its production, other machines, producing the same merchandise on a larger scale, can sell it cheaper. Therefore, the production of the obsolete machine stagnates. The machine must produce more and more to be able to pay more to labor and to put products in the market more cheaply than its competitors. Science and technology have contributed to the development of the machine and improved its efficiency. This development has changed the face of humanity today. We should not consider it as one of the problems emerging in the world today; rather, strictly speaking, there is no other problem but this, which has been before us for the last two centuries. From it grow all the other problems facing the world today. 

The machine must increase its production progressively each year. Therefore, to avoid stock-piling, it must also progressively create the necessity of continuous consumption. However people’s consumption does not increase at the same rate as does production. A certain society may have 30% increase in its paper consumption in 10 years and 300%, or tripling, of its paper production. Ten years ago machines produced 5 kilometers of paper per hour and today produce 50 kilometers per hour, while paper consumption has not risen and cannot rise to that extent. 

So what is to be done about excess production or surplus? What is to be done with the extra piles of paper? New fields of consumption must be provided. Each European country has a special and particular taste and a fixed consumption; their populations do not exceed 40 to 60 million. The frantic production rate, rising constantly, exceeds the desires of people to consume. They can’t keep up! Thus since the machine has compulsively produced excess goods, it must step over it’s national boundary and push goods into foreign markets. When the capitalists gained control of machinery, technology and science in the 18th century, humanity’s destiny was determined. Every single human on the face of the earth would be coerced into becoming a consumer for the produced merchandise. European markets became saturated rapidly; consequently the surplus goods had to go to Asia and Africa. Asians and Africans had to consume the surplus European products. 

Can these products actually be taken to the East, whose pattern of life does not require them, and force their consumption? Impossible! When you enter an Asian society you notice that the Asian’s clothing is made by his wife or in a native workshop. They wear traditional garments. There is no demand here for the products of factories which make machines, or “high fashion” clothes, or the “modern” fabrics of Europe. In an African society we will notice that their desires, interests and joys are confined to horse-riding and appreciation of the grace of their horses. They lack highways, drivers, ideas of machines, and the need for any of these. In their style of life their production is equal to their consumption, which is consistent with their traditions, tastes and necessities. For them, therefore, an automobile, as any other European product, is entirely redundant. 

European factories produced an ever-increasing quantity of luxury goods and sought for them a market in Asian and African countries. It was out of the question to expect Asian and African men and women to use these products in the 18th century or even the 19th even if the products had been furnished free. They had other enjoyments; they had their own special native adornments. An African or Asian woman had no need for European cosmetics and no need for trinkets to beautify herself and dress up. She already had her own cosmetics, her own materials and make-up. She would use them and all would admire her. Nor would she feel any need for a change. 

As a result of her attitude, the capitalist’s merchandise remained unsold. People with this way of thinking, with unique necessities and tastes, who have their own life style and produce their own necessities, were not the type of people who would consume the products of 18th century European capitalists. So what to do? The problem was to make people in Asia and Africa consumers of European products. Their societies must be structured so they would buy European products. That meant changing a nation literally. They had to change the nation, and they had to transform a man in order to change his clothing, his consumption pattern, his adornment, his abode and his city. What part of him to change first? His morale and his thinking. Who could change the spirit of a society, the morale of a society and the way of thinking of a nation? In this respect, there was little the European capitalist, engineer or producer could do. Rather, it was the business of the enlightened European intellectuals to plan a special method of perverting the mind, the taste and lifestyle of the non-European, not in a way that he himself chooses, – since the change he desires might not necessitate the consumption of European products – rather his desires, his choices, his suffering, his sorrow, his tastes, his ideals, his sense of beauty, his tradition, his social relations, his amusements – all must be changed so that he is coerced into becoming a consumer of European industrial products. So the big producers and big European capitalists of the 18th and 19th centuries let the intellectuals handle this project. 

This was the project: all the people of the world must become uniform. They must live alike. They must think alike. Practically, it is impossible for all the nations to think in the same way. What structural elements go into the personality and spirit of a man and nation? Religion, history, culture, past civilization, education and tradition. All of these mentioned are the structural elements of a man’s personality and spirit and, in its general term, of a nation. These elements differ from one society to another. They result in one form in Europe, another in Asia and in Africa. They all have to become the same. The differences in thinking and spirits of the nations of the world must be destroyed in order for men to become uniform. They must conform, wherever they are, to a single pattern. What is this pattern? The pattern is provided by Europe: it shows all Easterners, Asians, Africans, how to think, how to dress, how to desire, how to grieve, how to build their houses, how to establish their social relations, how to consume, how to express their view, and finally how to like and what to like. Soon it is realized that a new culture called “modernization” was presented to the whole world. 

Modernity was the best method of diverting the non-European world, from whatever form and mould of thinking, from their own mould, thought and personality. It became the sole task of Europeans to place the temptation of “modernization” before the non-European societies of any complexion. The Europeans realized that by tempting the inhabitant of the East with a compulsive desire for “modernization”, he would cooperate with them to deny his own past and desecrate and destroy with his own hands the constituents of his own unique culture, religion and personality. So the temptation and longing for “modernization” prevailed all across the Far East, Middle East, Near East and in Islamic and Black countries – and to become modernized was regarded as becoming like the Europeans. 

Strictly speaking, “modernized” means modernized in consumption. One who becomes modernized is one whose tastes now desire “modern” items to satisfy his wants. In other words, he imports from Europe new forms of living and modern products, and he does not use new types of products and a lifestyle developed from his own original and national past. Non-Europeans are modernized for the sake of consumption. Westerners, however, could not just tell others they were going to reshape their intellect, mind and personality for fear of awakening resistance. Therefore, the Europeans had to make non-Europeans equate “modernization” with “civilization” to impose the new consumption pattern upon them, since everyone has a desire for civilization. “Modernization” was defined as “civilization” and thus people cooperated with the European plans to modernize. Even more than the bourgeois and capitalist, the non-European intellectual labored mightily to change consumption patterns and lifestyles in their societies. Since the non-Europeans could not produce the new products, they became automatically dependant upon the technology which produces for them and expects them to buy whatever it produces. 

While studying in Europe, I heard of an automobile factory that advertised high-paying jobs for sociologists and psychologists. I was looking for a job, and besides I became very interested in knowing why a car factory needed sociologists and psychologists. So I went there for a job interview with the man in the public relations department. He asked me, “Perhaps you are wondering why we are recruiting sociologists while we usually hire mechanical engineers and the like?” I said yes. He brought out a map of all of Asia and Africa and pointed to some cities, telling me that in some there was a great demand for the cars and many customers but that in others there was no demand. He continued: “We can’t find out why there is no demand from engineers. It is the sociologists’ task to find out what these people like and why they don’t buy cars, so we can change the color or design of the cars, if possible, and if not, make them change their taste.” Then he gave me an example of European sociologists’ success in modernizing a certain tribe. 

He showed me a wooded and mountainous area on the bank of the Chad River in Africa where many long-nomadic tribes lived. People there did not wear clothes and kept cattle for a living. He pointed out some areas where a group of people lived around the tribal chief’s castle. They had no schools, no roads or highways, no clothes and no houses. They lived in tents. Then he told me that the chief of this semi-wild village had parked two modern Renaults with gold trim in front of his palace. 

“These natives were only interested in horses originally. The person who possessed the best horse was the most well-known and envied. Everyone tried to raise the best horse as a means of self-glorification and achieving dominance. As long as this kind of consciousness predominated in the tribe,” the car employer told me, “no-one would buy a car. Rather, all of them would continue to buy horses, and we do not produce any horses. So we tried to think of a way to make the natives buy the automobiles we produce in Europe.” 

“The women of the tribe make themselves up attractively with preparations made of gum and sap from the forest, and everyone likes their style. Happy with their local culture, folk dance and native food, it is obvious that no women in the tribe will buy Christian Dior cosmetics nor would the men buy Renaults. Europeans never even tried to sell them anything. But eventually a development allowed the European sociologists an opportunity to change the taste of the natives. The chief of the tribe used to tie two beautiful horses with his best hunting dog in front of his headquarters, and now we have changed his taste. We have modernized him: instead of tying up his horses in front of his place, now, he takes pride in parking there the two Renaults with golden trim.” 

I asked him with surprise: ” But they don’t have any roads?” “They have built a temporary 8 kilometer road,” he said. 

“When the chief of the tribe first bought the car, every morning he would take a ride and all the people of the tribe would gather and watch the car. He did not know how to drive, so he hired one from here. The driver worked for him eight months and received a handsome salary. There were no gas stations near the tribe, so the gas was bought from far distances by boat.” 

So the goal of the capitalist was not really to civilize this tribe but to modernize it. The chief who was proud of his horse and was a horse rider is now proud of his car and enjoys driving it. The chief of the tribe, like many other Asians or non-Europeans, has become modernized but one must really be naive to judge superficially that he has become civilised as well. 

Modernization is changing traditions, mode of consumption and material life from old to new. People made the old ways; machines produce the new. To make all the non-Europeans modernized, they first had to overcome the influence of religion, since religion causes any society to feel a distinctive individuality. Religion postulates an exalted intellectuality to which everyone relates intellectually. If this intellect is crushed and humiliated, the one who identifies himself with it feels also crushed and humiliated. So native intellectuals began a movement against “fanaticism”. As Franz Fanon says: “Europe intended to captivate the non-European by the machine. Can a human or society be enslaved by a machine or certain European product without taking away or depriving him of his personality?” No, it can not. The personality must be wiped out first. 

Since religion, history, culture, as a totality of intellect, thought, amassed art and literature give personality to a society, they all have to be destroyed, too. In the 19th century I would feel as an Iranian that I was attached to a great civilization of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th centuries of Islam which was unparalleled in the world and had the whole world under its influence. I would feel that I was attached to a culture, more than 2000 years old, which in various forms and shapes, had created new intellectualism, new art and literature in the world of humanity. I would feel that I was attached to the Islam that was the newest, the most sublime and the most universal religion, creating all those intellectualities and dissolving all those different civilizations in itself to create a greater civilization. I would feel attached to the Islam which created the most beautiful spirit and the most sublime face of humanity, and I could also feel, as a human, that I had a unique personality in the eyes of the world and every person in it. So how could they convert such an “I” into a gadget whose only function is to consume new products? 

They would deprive him of his personality. He must be dispossessed of all the “I’s” he feels within. He must be forced to believe himself related to a humbler civilization, a humbler social order, and accept that European civilization, Western civilization and the Western race are superior. Africa must believe that an African is a savage, so that he is tempted to become “civilized” and put himself readily into the hands of the Europeans who will determine his fate. The poor man does not realise that he is being modernized instead of being civilized. That is why we see that all of a sudden in the 18th and 19th centuries the Africans were described as savages and cannibals. Those Africans who had dealt with the Islamic civilisation for centuries were never known as cannibals. Suddenly the Black African becomes a cannibal, has a special smell, has a special race. The grey part of his brain does not work, and the forepart of his brain, like the Asian’s, is shorter compared to the Westerner’s! 

Even their doctors and biologists have ‘proven’ (!) that the Westerner’s brain has an extra gray peel, which Easterners and Blacks lack!! They also have ‘proven’ that the Westerner’s brain has an additional length to the genes in the brain cells which allows him to think better than a non-Westerner! Then we see that a new culture was built on a basis of “Western superiority” and “the superiority of its civilization and its people”. They made us and the world believe that the European was exceptionally talented mentally and technically, whereas the Easterner had strange emotional and gnostic talents and the Negro was only good for dancing, singing, painting and sculpture. 

Consequently, the world was divided into three distinct races: one which can think, that is, the European(!) (right from the days of ancient Greece up to now!) and the one which can only feel or make poetry, the Easterner, who has only mystical and gnostic feelings, and the Black, who can dance, sing and play good jazz. 

Then this very way of thinking, which was introduced to the world to justify the need for modernizing the non-European nations, became the basis of thought for the non-European elites as well. We see how they created a conflict between the “modernized” and the “old-fashioned” in non-European societies for 100 years; a conflict which was, and still is, the most senseless fight one has ever seen. 

Modernization in what? In consumption, not in mind. Old fashioned in what? In the form of consumption. It was natural that the fight ended in favor of modernization, and even if it had ended otherwise, it would not have been to the benefit of the masses. In this fight, the fight between the modernized and civilized, the European was the leader. In the name of civilization, the campaign for modernization was carried on, and then for 100 years, for more than 100 years, the non-European societies themselves strove to become modernized under the leadership of their sophisticated intellectuals. 

Let us consider the genesis and composition of this class of intellectuals. Jean Paul Sartre in the preface to “The Wretched of the Earth” points out: “We would bring a group of African or Asian youth to Amsterdam, Paris, London……for a few months, take them around, change their clothes and adornments, teach them etiquette and social manners as well as some fragment of language. In short, we would empty them of their own cultural values and then send them back to their own countries. They would no longer be the kind of person to speak their own mind; rather they would be our mouthpieces. We would cry the slogans of humanity and equality and then they would echo our voice in Africa and Asia, “-manity”,”-quality.” 

These were the persons who convinced people to lay aside their orthodoxy, discard their religion, get rid of native culture (as these had kept them behind the modern European societies) and become westernized from the tip of the toe to the top of the head! 

How is it possible to become Europeanized through export and exchange? Is civilization a product that one can export and import from one place to another? Of course not ; but modernity is the collection of modern products which can be imported by a society within a period of 1,2 or 5 years. A certain society can be completely modernized within a few years. Likewise an individual could also become throughly modernized, even more modernized than the European himself. You can change his mode of consumption and he becomes modernized. That is exactly what the Europeans were expecting. 

But it is not so simple to civilise a nation or a society. Civilization and culture are not European-made products whose ownership makes anyone civilized. But they made us believe that all modernization nonsense was a manifestation of civilization! And we eagerly threw away everything we had, even our social prestige, morality and intellect, to become thirsty suckers of what Europe was eager to trickle into our mouths. This is what modernity really means. 

Thus a being was created devoid of any background, alienated from his history and religion, and a stranger to whatever his race, his history and his forefathers had built in this world; alienated from his own human characteristics, a second-hand personality whose mode of consumption had been changed, whose mind has been changed, who had lost his old precious thoughts, his glorious past and intellectual qualities and has now become empty within. As Jean Paul Sartre puts it: “In these societies an “assimilae”- meaning a quasi-thinker and quasi-educated person – was created, not a real thinker or intellectual.” 

A real intellectual is one who knows his society, is aware of it’s problems, can determine its fate, is knowledgeable about its past and who can decide for himself. These quasi-intellectuals, however, succeeded in influencing the people. Who were these quasi-intellectuals in non-European societies? They were intermediaries between those who had the products and those who had to consume the products. A mediator who, aquainted both with the Europeans and with his own people, eased the way of colonization and exploitation. 

That was why they created native intellectuals who did not dare to choose for themselves, who don’t have the courage to maintain their own opinions and who cannot decide for themselves. Such persons came to be deemed mean and inferior to the extent that when asked about the flavor of their food, the music they listen to, the clothes they wear, they do not have the conviction to say whether they like or dislike them. This is because it is no longer they who decide. They have to be told that such and such a dress is worn in Europe, and so they can like it. They are told that a particularly bitter food, which to them tastes like poison, is eaten in Europe and, therefore, they can eat it, even if it does not suit their taste. They eat it anyway because the Europeans eat it; they lack the courage and assurance to say they dislike it. 

In Europe and America, when people go to a place where jazz is being played and they don’t like it, they just say so bluntly, and loudly. But in Eastern countries no one can be brave enough to say “Jazz is bad and I do not like it.” Why? Because they have not left him enough personality and human value to let him choose the color of his dress and the flavor of his food. As Fanon says: “In order for Eastern countries to be the followers of Europe and imitate her like a monkey, they should have proven to the non-Europeans that they do not possess the same quality of human values as the Europeans do. They should have belittled their history, literature, religion and art to make them alienated from all of it. We can see that the Europeans did just that.” 

They have created a people who do not know their own culture, but still are ready to despise it. They know nothing about Islam but say bad things about it. They cannot understand a simple poem but criticize it with poorly chosen words. They do not understand their history but are ready to condemn it. On the other hand, without reservation they admire all that is imported from Europe. Consequently, a being was created who, first became alienated from his religion, culture, history and background, and then came to despise them. He was convinced he was inferior to the European. And when such a belief took root in him, he tried and wished to refute himself, to sever his connections with all the objects attached to him and somehow make himself like a European, who was not despised and looked down upon, and at least be able to say, “Thank God I am not an Easterner since I modernized myself sufficiently to reach the level of a European.” 

And while the non-European is happy with the idea that he has been modernized, the European capitalist and bourgeois laugh at their success in converting him into a consumer of their surplus production.

Ali Shariati’s View of Islamic Modernity

Ali Shariati, contends that the two types of Islam, that had confronted one another in Islamic history were ‘the degenerate and narcotizing religion’ and ‘the progressive and awakening religion’. Shariati was convinced that Islam had been reduced by the traditional religious leaders, or Ulama and others to a ‘degenerate and narcotizing religion’ and had to be replaced by an Islam, which could be progressive and dynamic. At the same time, he was against those Muslim intellectuals who imitate the Western ideologies, which are being imported into the Muslim society “like canned and packed products to be opened and consumed.” Ali Shariati says: “Strictly speaking, ‘modernized’ means modernized in consumption. One who becomes modernized is one whose tastes now desire ‘modern’ items to satisfy his wants. In other words, he imports from Europe new forms of living and modern products, and he does not use new types of products and a lifestyle developed from his own original and national past. Non-Europeans are modernized for the sake of consumption. Westerners, however, could not just tell others they were going to reshape their intellect, mind and personality for fear of awakening resistance. Therefore, the Europeans had to make non-Europeans equate ‘modernization’ with ‘civilization’ to impose the new consumption pattern upon them, since everyone has a desire for civilization. ‘Modernization’ was defined as ‘civilization’ and thus people cooperated with the European plans to modernize.” 

According to Ali Shariati, modernity is one of the most delicate and vital issues confronting us, the people of non-European countries and Islamic societies. A more important issue is the relationship between an imposed modernization and genuine civilization. We must discover if modernity as is claimed is a synonym for being civilized, or if it is an altogether different issue and social phenomenon having no relation to civilization at all. Unfortunately modernity has been imposed on us, the non- European nations, in the guise of civilization. Shariati further says: “Modernization is changing traditions, mode of consumption and material life from old to new. People made the old ways; machines produce the new. To make all the non-Europeans modernized, they first had to overcome the influence of religion, since religion causes any society to feel a distinctive individuality. Religion postulates an exalted intellectuality to which everyone relates intellectually. If this intellect is crushed and humiliated, the one who identifies himself with it feels also crushed and humiliated. So native intellectuals began a movement against ‘fanaticism’.”

Ali Shariati after describing all the ills of society brings attention towards the responsibility and duty of the society so as to know the reason and cause of backwardness, deterioration, and stagnation, and to find out the way, that is to educate the snoozing society. Afterward, he ought to find out the ways and means and rational solution in the available resources. By proper utilization of resources then one should know the causes of problems, sufferings, miseries, and other factors, that is, of external and internal nature. At last, an enlightened being would be able to transmit his understanding to the society outside the narrow and limited group of his generation. Shariati was innovative, seeking to apply Islam to the contemporary context and make it relevant to modern times. He aimed at transforming Islam from a private moral and religious system to a revolutionary movement. Shariati called for launching of religious revival that is, awaking them from slumber. By revival and renewal he wants to revitalize and make them aware and making society going back to life and movement, and fighting suppressions. He alleged that going back to life and motion the society will regain the revival and renaissance of cultural independence in countenance with Western culture. He pleaded that the destruction of various factor affecting Islam, hindered, and obstructed the development of thinking and destiny of the society. Shariati also called for eliminating the imitation and replacing it with independent reasoning, that is, Ijtihad. He alleged that Islamic societies were in distress due to oppression, internal and external, and the only solution is revolution. The moving force for revolution is ideology. By ideology fatalism is replaced with the psycho-moral ethos “ought to be” by which the present utopia can be ousted. Shariati believes that Islam needs revival and renewal which will  be beneficial and helpful for the change. He thinks Islam has the solution of every problem. He finds in the Qur’an the people (al-nas) are the chief force inducing social change. The masses collectively represent God and the Qur’an equalizes God with masses in social matter which like Marxist conviction, legitimizing mass mobilization by revolutionary Islamic discourse. Ali Shariati says, an enlightened Muslim must be aware of truth that he has inimitable culture which is neither completely spiritual, mystical, or philosophical, nor completely materialistic and technological like Western. It’s the combination of spirituality, idealism, faith, justice, equality. He advised the Muslim intelligentsia to gain resources from present day social life and society.

There exists no universal type of enlightened person, with common values and characteristics everywhere. Our own history and experience have demonstrated that whenever an enlightened person turns his back on religion, which is the dominant spirit of the society, the society turns its back on him. Opposition to religion by the enlightened person deprives society of the possibility of becoming aware of the benefits and the fruit of its young and enlightened generation.

According to Ali Shariati the progressive Muslim should know that the Islamic strength covers his moral codes, culture, and historical process which are all designed by Islam. Shariati thought that only the enlightened intellectuals and not the traditional Ulama could spearhead an Islamic resurgence. This can be accomplished through scientific research and logical analysis of political, religious, and philosophical illmotives and class factors which had been at work throughout our history as well as through diagnoses of religious innovations, deviations and negative justifications that have occurred throughout history plus their negative social effect and ominous ideological and practical consequences in the lives of the Muslims. According to Ali Shariati:

“An enlightened person should start with ‘religion’. By that I mean our peculiar religious culture and not the one predominant today. He should begin by an Islamic Protestantism similar to that of Christianity in the Middle Ages, destroying all the degenerating factors which, in the name of Islam, have stymied and stupefied the process of thinking and the fate of the society, and giving birth to new thoughts and new movements. Unlike Christian Protestantism, which was empty-handed and had to justify its liberationist presentation of Jesus, Islamic Protestantism has various sources and elements to draw from. Such a movement will unleash great energies and enable the enlightened Muslim to:
• Extract and refine the enormous resources of our society and convert the degenerating and jamming agents into energy and
movement;
• Transform the existing social and class conflicts into conscious awareness of social responsibility, by using artistic, literary and speaking abilities and power as well as other possibilities at hand;
• Bridge the ever-widening gap between the ‘island of the enlightened person’ and the ‘shore of the masses’ by
establishing kinship links and understanding between them, thus putting the religion, which came about to revive and
generate movement, at the service of the people;
• Make the weapon of religion inaccessible to those who have undeservedly armed themselves with it and whose purpose is
to use religion for personal reasons, thereby acquiring the necessary energy to motivate people;
• Launch a religious renaissance through which, by returning to the religion of life and motion, power and justice, will on the
one hand incapacitate the reactionary agents of the society and, on the other hand, save the people from those elements
which are used to narcotize them. By launching such a renaissance, these hitherto narcotizing elements will be used
to revitalize, give awareness and fight superstition. Furthermore, returning to and relying on the authentic culture
of the society will allow the revival and rebirth of cultural independence in the face of Western cultural onslaught;
• And finally, eliminate the spirit of imitation and obedience which is the hallmark of the popular religion, and replace it
with a critical revolutionary, aggressive spirit of independent reasoning (ijtihad). All of these may be accomplished through
a religious reformist movement, which will extract and refine the enormous accumulation of energy in the society, and will enlighten the era and will awaken the present generation. It is for the above reasons that I, as a conscientious teacher who
has risen from the depth of pains and experience of his people and history, hope that the enlightened person will reach a
progressive self-awareness. For whereas our masses need self-awareness, our enlightened intellectuals are in need of
‘faith’.

The social theory of Ali Shariati is based on the concept of Man, that is, the creation of Man. Initially God addresses angels say, “I wish to create a vicegerent for Myself upon earth”. The angels replied, “You wish to create one who will engage in bloodshed, crime, hatred and vengeance” God replied, “I know something that you do not know”, and created man. After the completion of Man’s creation, God taught the names to His Vicegerent. Shariati says in the light of various verses of the Qur’an, the real humanism, as:

See how great the value of man according to Islam is. Even the Post-Renaissance humanism of Europe has never been able to conceive of such exalted sanctity for man. God, who in the view of Islam and all believers is the grated and most exalted of all entities, the creator of Adam and the master of the cosmos, addresses the angels and presents man to them as His vicegerent. The whole mission of man according to Islam is evident from this divine address. The same mission that God has in the cosmos, man must perform on earth as God’s vicegerent.

See how great is the dignity and stature of man, so great, indeed, that all the angels, despite their inherent superiority to man and the fact that they are created of light while he is created of mud and clay, are commanded to fall down before him. God tests them because of their protest, and asks the angels concerning their names, they do not know the names, but Adam does know them. The angels are defeated in this test and excellence of Adam, which lies in his knowledge of the names become apparent.

The bowing down of Angels to the human being shows the value and importance of Adam, that is the Islamic concept of man. Man in Islam is two dimensional being who needs a religion which will also be two dimensional, after that he will be able to maintain balance.

Two-dimensional man, bearing the burden of such responsibility, needs a religion that transcends exclusive orientation to this world or the next, and permits him to maintain a state of equilibrium. It is only such a religion that enables man to fulfill his great responsibility.

According to Ali Shariati, religion is a road or path, initially moving from clay to God, and passing on man from depravity, unawareness, and stagnation from the lowly life of clay and satanic character, towards adoration, movement, visualization, and the life of spirit and divine character. He says people plays effective and basic role for change in society in every school of thought. Both individual and society have the duty towards the maker and creator and at the same time determines his fate as well. The superior the knowledge of human beings of rules, regulations, customs and traditions then, greater the responsibility he has, and more autonomy in changing and transforming the society. According to Shariati the roots of the three contemporary intellectual trends of the West viz. Western liberalism, Marxism, existentialism, and their consequent interpretation of the role of religion are based in the Renaissance movement of humanism and its materialistic worldview. Hence, there exists a relationship between them.

Ali Shariati says that the material world of “Marxism and Capitalism” revolved round the cognition of matter instead of knowing the nature of ‘man’, his spiritual and moral needs; they are engaged in gaining power over economic resources. Their worship is to provide material comfort to man and in doing so they have forgotten the value of man himself and have brought him under the dominance of machines. For them advancements means to conquer space and provide modern technology for various purposes, as in agriculture, industries, and war weapons etc. their purpose of life becomes satisfaction of instincts and economic needs dominate over all other human needs. So in this situation, externally a man, who is equipped with all the material needs of the world, appears powerful and strong, while internally he is as disintegrated as a mount of sand, because whatever he had gained was meant for his external survival and safety and his soul becomes weaker. So we find a downward curve in human moral values. Ali Shariati then moves on to one of the branch of existentialist’s view of human nature, which dismisses God and place man in his place, who is bestowed with all divine qualities. Existentialist puts all its emphasis on man’s action, that is, action through free choice and is guided by his own inner desire and passion. Ali Shariati contends that, Islam on the other hand, goes beyond granting humanity an honoured place in nature, that is, Man is God’s trustee. In order to enlighten and inform the Muslim who, unaware of the philosophical foundations of Marxism and are somehow swayed by it, Shariati claims Western liberalism is a movement which try to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Western society through the separation of church and state. Since that exercise resulted in the appearance of the excessive ills of Capitalism, Marxism arouse as a movement aimed at achieving the socio-economic justice as denied by Western Capitalism.

Shariati intends to develop an Islamic view of humanity, which stands in total contrast to the other views such as Western Liberalism,
Existentialism and Marxism. His purpose is to do away with the static and narrow view of humanity presented in medieval thought, which developed during the period of crises of the caliphate and continues even in the modern times. Further, the Muslim being a part of third world have become the victim not only of colonialism but also neo-colonialism in all sense: economically, politically and ideologically. And as a result of communist propaganda, they have fallen into the trap believing that liberation lies in the adoption of the Marxism as an ideology due to its strong criticism of capitalism. Shariati seeks to bring back the Muslims out of this situation through his own critique.

Describing the Islamic view of humanity and how it contrasts itself from Marxism and other Western ideologies, Shariati says that in Islam God, human being and nature each has an independent existence but is related through the principle of Tauhid-Unity of God. It is a relationship of cooperation and not of dialectical materialism: Tauhid in the sense of oneness of God is of course accepted by all monotheists. But Tauhid as a world-view in the sense I intend in my theory means regarding the whole universe as a unity, instead of dividing it into this world and the hereafter, the natural and the supernatural, substance and meaning, spirit and body. It means
regarding the whole of existence as a single form, a single living and conscious organism, possessing will, intelligence, feeling and
purpose.

According to Ali Shariati, ‘Tauheed sees the world as an empire, Shirk as a feudal system. Tauheed means that man fears only one power, and is answerable before only one judge. Tauheed bestows upon man independence and dignity. Submission to Him alone-the supreme norm of all being-impels man to revolt against all lying powers, all the humiliating fetters of fear and of greed. In Islam, through the principle of Tauheed, it resolves the issue of opposition between man, nature and God by describing their positive existential relationship with each other. Islam requires from humanity that it should build and establish its own destiny, both spiritual as well as the material for life itself. It’s a ‘trust’ or ‘freedom’ endowed with humanity. In other words, there is neither divine fore-ordination nor material predestination in Islam. It is required for human reason that it comprehends and constantly reinterprets revelation in changing circumstances: Every ideology, religious or anti-religious necessarily revolves around the question of the human, and it is in fact at this point that Marxism diverges from Islam. This ever-increasing divergence is the natural result of the two opposed world-views from which the two ideologies arise, and which underlie their whole manner of interpreting phenomenon. From this point on, Islam and Marxism prove incompatible in all areas of politics, economics, ethics and social concerns. Islam interprets and evaluates man on the basis of Tauheed, and Marxism does so on the basis of production.

Ali Shariati says that through the principle of descent (of Adam and Eve i.e., from heaven to earth): “The conversion of the ‘Adam in heaven’ to the ‘Adam on this earth’ exemplified the character and behavior of mankind today. It was a portrayal of the rebellious, aggressive and sinful man who was swayed by Satan. Although he was expelled from heaven, exiled onto earth and subdued by nature. Adam nevertheless ate fruit of ‘the forbidden tree’. What was the outcome? Adam acquired the wisdom, consciousness and insight of a rebel. Opening his eyes and finding himself naked, Adam entered the state of ‘knowing himself’.” It
dispatches him into earthly life, so that he may realize heaven through his Will, Love, Awareness, and Responsibility, amid contradiction and suffering, and so that he may forge his ultimate destiny with his own hand. The resurrection is ‘The Day on which man will see what his two hands have sent forward.’

Ali Shariati says, the ideal society of Islam i.e., “Umma is a society in which a number of individuals, possessing a common faith and
goal, come together in harmony with the intention of advancing and moving toward their common goal”25 and has made the intellectual responsibility and shared movement based on its philosophy: The infrastructure of the Umma is the economy, because ‘Whoever has no worldly life has no spiritual life’. Its social system is based on equity and justice and ownership by the people, on the revival of the ‘system of Abel’, the society of human equality and thus also of brotherhood the classless society.
After defining the ideal society of Islam, “Umma”, then he defines the ideal Man, ‘The Vicegerent of God’, who is a theomorphic man whom the spirit of God has overcome the half of his being that relates to Iblis, to clay and to sediment. He passes through the very midst of nature and comes to understand God; he seeks out mankind and thus attains God. He does not bypass nature and turn his back on mankind. He is not a man who has been created by his environment; on the contrary, it is he
who has created his environment. He has freed himself from all the forms of compulsion that constantly pressing down upon man and
impose their stereotypes on him by means of science, technology, sociology and self-awareness, through faith and awareness. His
ideology reveals a marked influence of Iqbal.

He is a man whom philosophical thought does not make inattentive to the fate of mankind, and whose involvement in politics does not lead to demagoguery and fame-seeking. Science has not deprived him of the taste of faith, and faith has not paralyzed his power of thought and logical deduction… He is a man of Jihad and Ijtehad, of poetry and sword, of solitude and commitment, of emotion and genus, of strength and love, of faith and knowledge. He is a man who has dissolved his transient individuality in the eternal identity of the human race, who through the negation of self becomes everlasting.30 It can be concluded that Ali Shariati attempted to develop the social vision of Islam and showed its essential distinction for the other ideologies by isolating the foundation on which the sociological thought of Islam should proceed in modern times. Islam concerns with humanity, to whom the Qur’an presents its message, indicates the essential universality of Islam. Shariati believes that the Islamic thought of today, too, can benefit from studying and entering into dialogue with other prevailing intellectual currents. He believes that a dynamic interpretation of Islam, which takes into account the contemporary issues of human mind and society, is required. For Islam with its multi-dimensional world
view rooted in the concept of Tauheed, incorporates within itself mystical sensitivity and concern for social justice, and also treats the
existential questions about human existence in an integrated manner.

Ali Shariati’s comprehensive and humanistic understanding of Islam is reflected in his recognition that humanity as a whole faces
common problems of freedom, equality and justice, in response to which have appeared the one dimensional approaches of mysticism, Marxism, Existentialism, etc., the issues addressed by the above three intellectual currents are not restricted to West, in fact, they extended to all humanity. Islam no doubt addresses itself to such commonly faced human problems and offers scope for responding to them. Yet in its expressive aspect of Islamic thought it has failed to answer these questions, and as a result its own community finds itself caught between different worldviews. The reason for this is the ignoring Ijtihad and lack of confidence in its own
thought process evident in the contemporary Islamic thought that is highly repetitive rather than creative and development. And this is what he expects from the contemporary Islamic thought to do. Shariati was thus able to revive the confidence, giving them a more purposeful view of life, human existence and how to attain social justice in an Islamic framework in the contemporary period of political corruption and intellectual stagnation found in galore in the Muslim world.

In short, Ali Shariati, in: Where shall we begin, addressed the essential issues of human existence, i.e., questions about the creation of Man, his place, and purpose of existence that every human being asks.

Contemporary Islamic thought in its current stagnated form has neglected this question and what few attempts it has made have been in the form of medieval perspective that are irrelevant and un-meaningful for today’s humanity, or of offering a highly ritualistic interpretation of Islam failing to explain in contemporary terms the world view bearing to it and its (Islamic world view’s) social implications. Shariati points out that the tragedy is that, on the one hand, those who have controlled our religion over the past two centuries have transformed it into its present static form and, on the other hand, our enlightened people who understand the present age and the needs of our generation and time do not understand religion. As a result, our Islamic society, despite Islam with its rich culture and history which would have otherwise enabled it to emancipate itself, could not acquire the religious awareness necessary for its salvation. The intellectuals erroneously fought Islam and the reactionaries used it to narcotize the masses and to maximize their own gains. Meanwhile, true Islam remains unknown and incarcerated in the depths of history. The masses buried in their own static and restricted traditions and the intellectuals isolated from the masses and disliked by them. Therefore, whereas our masses need self-awareness, our enlightened intellectuals are in need of faith.

Progressive Pakistan to be Victorious.

I know that I have been putting down all the various things that are wrong in Pakistan. And why should we criticise that which is wrong. But there also comes a time to talk about the positives that fill us with hope and energy.

After the last attack by the TTP on Karachi airport, it seems that the youth of Pakistan has not only swung against the Taliban in a huge way. But even more importantly, they are no longer afraid of the threats of the Taliban.

When Shahid-ullah Shahid made a recent statement saying that Pakistan will burn, I saw in personal conversations, on social media and in so many other places that nobody, and I mean, NOBODY is intimidated by their threats anymore. Quite the contrary, the people have begun responding to these threats with a rage and anger that I have never seen.

It seems the sense of confidence and purpose has been steeled. There is no longer any doubt that the TTP is our enemy and it must be fought and defeated. Everyone knows that this will not be an easy task. But people are finally convinced that Pakistan cannot progress unless it is rid of the evil of extremism and terrorism.

The people are more important than any military operation. The people are more than any government policy. The people are more important than any intelligence operation. It is the people who hold the key to the final victory against religious extremism. A people united can never be defeated. And I see the people of Pakistan uniting more and more firmly against this evil.

Let us love our people, honour and cherish their spirit of resistance. Let us have confidence in the people. This new people’s rage and energy that is developing against the Taliban was always the missing factor in the fight to defeat these forces of darkness and reaction. Now that this new energy is flowing and developing as a torrent, I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that progressive Pakistan will be victorious.

Onwards to victory.
Onwards to a progressive Pakistan.

What? Nawaz Sharif in Tajikistan while country is in a state of war.

Apparently Pakistan is controlled and managed by military forces now as it was strange that PM along with the Defense Minister went to Tajikistan while country is in a state of war. The details of the operation are being communicated by ISPR instead of Information Ministry. It looks like that the dirty game has begun, it seems like that an important political personality might lose his life. 

Where in World have you seen that the country is in a state of war and the head of state leaves the country? Are we about to hear another speech which starts with “Meray Azeez Ham-Watano”? Perhaps time will tell what happens in this Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Good news is that according to ISPR operation is progressing according to the plan. We need to stand by the sides of our soldiers in these times of despair. 

No one can be against democracy if it is a proper democracy. When you claim to be an elected government then it is your constitutional responsibility to manage and govern the country. Right now it does not seem to be the case. Once again armed forces are doing what needed to be done by the civilian government. The kind of government we have, if Britain had such kind of government then there is no doubt that a Martial Law would have been imposed there.

As far as operation is concerned then it is only a partial solution of the problem. We would need to introduce Madaressa Reforms to make sure that hate materials and speeches are not promoted. We would need to educate the uneducated, we would need to change the mind sets, we still need to do a much more to completely eradicate the terrorism from the roots of the country.

Imran Khan per Drone Strike

Please ek drone Imran Khan k ghar per maardein, and make sure he is in his house when the drone strikes. Khan sahab aap ki samajh nahi aati, aap chilatey rahey k “Give Peace a Chance”, tu phr dialogue bhi kia gaya lekin phr bhi Pakistan per Taliban hamla awar hotey gaye aur mazaqraat buri tarah nakaam hogaye. Aap farmatey hain k ye hamarai jang nahi hai, chalein thori dair k liye maan letay hain k hamari jang nahi hai, lekin phir un logo ko kiya jawab dein jo inn logo k haathon maarey gaye, apney sipahiyo ko kiya mun dekhayein jinko inn logo ne shaheed kia? Agar ye hamari jang nahi thi tu ab ye hamari jang ban chuki hai, kyun k maarney waley Pakistani hain, nuqsan Pakistan k infrastructure aur image ko hota hai, duniya k har airport per mashqoor nazro se Pakistaniyo ko he dekha jata hai.

Pehlay aap dialogue ka rona rotey rahey, aaj aap ka rona hai k aap ko operation ka pehlay se nahi bataya gaya. Chalein logically tu aap ki baat theek hai kyun k sub se ziada mutasir KPK ka soba he hoga, lekin main aap ker maazi ka kiya karo? Main ye sochta ho k agar aap ko pehlay se operation ka batatey tu iski kiya guarantee hai k aap hukoomat ka saath detay? Kyun k bazaahir tu aap ki commitments kisi aur k saath nazar aati hai. Tu aap key maazi ka soch kar meray khayal mein Nawaz Shareef sahab ne acha he kia jo aap ko operation se pehlay inform nahi kia.

P.S Jamaat-e-Islami has proved again that they have never loved Pakistan, un per bhi drone mardein please.