I have to run, so this is a mishmash. More coherent arguments to follow.
Boko Haram has (at least for a few days) put one particular “non-western” alternative form of social organization front and center: the partly imaginary, partly historical “Islamic model”. Observe their leader Abubaker Shikau in action:
The video starts with quranic verses and Jihadi slogans and bears more than a little resemblance to similar efforts from the Pakistani Taliban. These are people who believe they are on the right path and they are not doing something wrong; they are fulfilling the will of Allah. In fact, they are the ONLY people fulfilling the will of Allah. In this, they are one step ahead of other murderous gangs in ungoverned African countries. They have a coherent ideology and they sincerely believe it is superior. And most of this speech could be repeated without adverse comment on PTV or Saudi TV as long as you take out the specific threats to the current rulers of Nigeria. The bit about marrying girls at 9 years old and 12 years old reflects a continuing Islamic clerical obsession with what we would now call pedophilia (though of course child marriage, with or without fairly early sex, was pretty much normal in most of the world for a long time, being commonplace, though not universal, in India, China, the Middle East and Africa ).
Incidentally, a White woman on twitter said Boko Haram sounds so Hollywood. She refuses to believe its real. Its a Western front to disrupt Africa to get at their natural resources. I kid you not.
Anyway, this is a problem.
It is a practical problem in the sense that murderous gangs with coherent ideologies have a longer life span and greater power than murderous gangs who are just murderous gangs (see 20th C for many examples, most completely in glorious Democratic Kampuchea).
But it is also a problem in another sense; it is a problem for moderate Muslims. For 50 years, the “moderate” response to the modern world has been based on fictive loyalty to the perfect model of early Islam and EXTREMELY selective adoption of that model. This is an important point. There are Christians and Jews and Hindus and who knows, Shintoists, who believe they follow the “essence’ of their great (and superior) religion and tradition (the two words are used interchangeably based on context and need) but do not feel bound to imitate every particular act or order of their glorious ancestors. In fact, they are even willing to re-examine what those acts supposedly were…which ones actually happened, which ones are likely fake, which ones are apocryphal, etc. But the “moderate Muslim” model adopted in most Muslim countries (Turkey being a notable exception under the Ataturkists, but now reverting to mean) adopted complete (even if insincere in many cases) agreement with classical texts and traditional accounts of early Islam as the publicly accepted consensus model, while carrying on with very different lives by ignoring inconvenient traditions and theological points.
This process has led to problems. But they too shall pass. My description of the process was given in this earlier comment:
Phase 1: “moderates” obtain license to rule from colonial powers and being half-educated opportunists for the most part, and with some encouragement from the CIA (whose own ignorance of such things is legendary), some of them mindlessly repeat “Islamic formulas” in designing the curriculum and ideology for their new “nations”.
Phase 2: In Pakistan’s case, a specific CIA project to arm and train Islamic terrorists for Afghanistan, leads to dissemination of tradecraft (how to make bombs, set up secret cells, take hostages, spread terror, etc) to specially selected young morons while the magic curriculum infects PMA level “strategists” with just enough confusion to lose sight of their own future vulnerability to such nonsense. The high level of corruption and nepotism also creates resentment, pool of recruits, yadda yadda yadda. .
Phase 3. Idiot ruling elite now includes haramis who actually believe in boko haram level BS. They are a small minority but the majority is has been ideologically paralyzed by their own over-smart curriculum and propaganda. BOOM BOOM BOOM…But its a passing phase. If the haramis win, its over in a few years, if they lose, its over in a few years.
But it will get worse before it gets better. See the above video. We have trained similar psychopaths in our Jihadi organizations. Alhamdolillah.
From another earlier comment thread on facebook:
Omar Ali Boko haramis are going to send all of Karen Armstrong ‘s diligent apologia straight to hell
13 hours ago · Like · 2
Amer: Sex slaves and trading of women was very much part of Islamic history from day one so this man is just a shining example of an Islamic tradition.
10 hrs · Like · 1
Omar Ali: But to be fair, in early Islamic history all this was very much within period norms. WTF are the haramis doing in THIS day and age?
1 hr · Like
Ahmed : Well, if the general premise of Muslims is that the Prophet’s actions and teachings are good for all times and all humanity, then it’s quite natural to descend to this level of tragic absurdity.
1 hr · Edited · Like
Omar Ali: Ahmed you said “the general premise of Muslims is that the Prophet’s actions and teachings are good for all times and all humanity” …Yaah, but you know muslims dont really mean that (except for the nutcases, retards and haramis, all of whom are in a minority). EVERYONE i know selectively borrows from the quran and even more selectively from hadith and mostly ignores both. Thats just a meaningless line people repeat because they learned to repeat it in Islamiyat class. Its not taken THAT seriously. Look around you.
1 hr · Like
Coming to Pakistan in particular, someone asked if and when this may happen there. I think the Pakistani state is an order of magnitude more competent than the basket-case Nigerian institutions. So I think right now this is unlikely at this scale. But smaller scale events will happen.
But the Pakistani state and army have to come out of their Islamiyat-Pakstudies stupor to recover. They may do it. They may not. If not, what then?
Here is my summary of who may be in a position to save us if the Pak army fails (I sincerely pray to Allah that they do NOT fail)
Punjab can only be saved by the Khalsa.
Pakhtoons can only be saved by Afghanistan.
The Baloch can only be saved by China (i.e. if the Chinese switch sides)
The Sindhis can only be saved by? …India? I dunno. I await input on this one.
And of course, even short of time, I have to bring in Tariq Ali and Pankaj Mishra. I will just say this: the modern (“Western”) model of the nation state is not the only way society can be organized. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Show me where Haramis or Trotskyites or Leninists have created something better and different and we can talk.
Cuba is a modern nation state. Just not as liberal as some, but maybe to the liberal side of others that managed to survive. The essential elements include borders, army, police, bureaucracy, schools, colleges, exams, nationalism and propaganda, in no particular order. Various political systems (modern democracy being the best of the lot till now) can manage this state. And of course, Marxists and Leninists have managed them too…I just meant they managed them AS modern states, not as some alternative “system” that rejects modern states. Something like that.
We will get back to this…
7 thoughts on “Boko Haramis, alternative models, and the good old days…”
You make a good point that there is an overwhelming ideological method in Islam which is to achieve perfect duplication of a putative historical set of behaviors. So even "moderate" Muslims feel duty-bound to show some historical Prophet/Companion precedent for any opinion or behavioral choice they make.
This is very different from a tradition like Vedanta. As Madhusudana Saraswati observed, if any scriptural recommendation was in conflict with one's "purushaarthas" (sense of (1) righteousness, (2) ambition, (3) rational sensual indulgence, (4) desire for liberation), then one's purushaarthas override that scriptural recommendation.
See here: "Policy and Law: Moral consequences in the Here and Hereafter" – http://parikramah.blogspot.com/2014/04/policy-and-law-moral-consequences-in.html
Lastly, I'm intrigued by how you said Punjab would have to be rescued by the "Khalsa", while Sindh by "India". As if you consider the Khalsa separate from the Dharmic family that is India.
Omarali is right. Do indulge a bit in Sikhism it is much more similar to Semitic "religions", i.e. Islam, Christianity, Judaism or communism than the amorphous beliefs of the east with poorly defined borders, such as Hindu, Buddhism, Jain or Shinto.
Khalsa (army) was established by Guru Govind Singh Ji with the help of Banda Bahaddur, a Hindu Yogi/Sanyasi whom Guruji met near Nanded-Paithan, Maharashtra. Guru Granth sahab has many Owis (dohas) of Sant Naamdev who spent more than 20 years in Punjab. Darbari Historian Ne Kiya Nikamma Warana Hum Bhi The Kuch Kaam Ke Kuch Naam Ke. Pakistaan is an Anglo creation and such artificial creation needs rewritten convenient history.
The propoganda that Sikhism is more similar to Semitic religions than Indic ones is one that has taken root only in the late 19th and the 20th centuries after the British conquered Punjab. It was their conscious effort to create a wedge between the Sikh and the Hindu communities and they found willing Sikh who helped their cause.
Certain Sikh writers bend over backwards to prove that Sikhism has nothing whatsoever to do with Hinduism and the Bhakti traditions which existed in the Punjab. They give ludicrous explanations to prove that the existance of names of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and the reams of praise for them in Sikh texts are not what they seem like.
Read a bit of Khushwant Singh to know the History of Sikhs and Sikhism. He in no uncertain terms categorises Sikhism as a sect of Hinduism, a part of the whole Vendantic tradition.
Even a religion which seems very monolithic as Sikhism actually has many many sects. And these sects all have different level of Hindu-phobia, so to speak.
The most numerous Jat-Sikh Akalis are the ones who totally distance themselves from Hinduism. Whereas others like Namdharis or even the Blue togs wearing Nihangs (who claim Shiva as their original preceptor) are much more comfortable with the Hindu roots of their faith.
Moderate Muslims can claim moderation only in a society that has a very large (usually majority) of kafirs. Anything less and the moderates are killed or subjugated by the pious who do not accept that there is such as moderation or lack of it. It is a 1 or 0. One is all Muslim or not at all. "Moderate Muslims" have never had the guts or the conviction to challenge this – so they are frauds to a great extent – behaving in both ways as convenient, depending on the environment.
The downside (or maybe I should have said "bright side") of killing or driving away all kafirs – an act that was cheered by moderates in Pakistan, is that they now have to accept Islam as is without pretence. Congratulations. Pakistan is an Islamic country after all and there cannot be two types of Muslims "moderate" and "immoderate" or fundamentalist. Muslims are all united as one nation remember? There can be no greater unity than that. Why fret?
"Punjab can only be saved by the Khalsa."
Omar, This comment can only be taken in jest. Maybe its wishful thinking on your part. Maybe some kind of Quixotic Pan Punjabiyat feeling in you.
The Khalsa doesn't exist now. As a political institution it ended after the Anglo-Sikh wars.
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