By: Omar Elkeddi*
The church was obstacle in front of evolution of science, arts and literature, ordered the burning of all those who violated its
teachings. Galileo almost meet the same fate as Savonarola who was burned after accused of heresy. When french revolution erupted, it targeted not only royalty but also religious institutions, which justified the presence of the king as “God’s shadow on the earth”. Since then, religion was separated from the state, across all Europe, religious parties turned to secular one like Christian Democratic party in different countries.
In Islam, there is no priesthood nor institutions similar to the church, especially in the Sunni sect, but some references in the Shia sect, especially in Iran that relies on state of jurist. Even in Iraq, what the top cleric Ali al-Sistani say is more important than what the president say or the Prime Minister. It is obvious that the Twelver sect, that believes in the state of Jurist, who believe in the absentee Imam legend, even the Iranian president once said that “Iran is preparing for the return of the awaited Al-Mahdy”.
That kind of confused theology resembles what happened in Europe in the medieval ages. Though, the falling of the Iranian regime would mean the separation of religion from the state. As for the Sunni sect, with the absence of religious institution similar to the Catholic or Orthodox Church, despite the presence of Al-Azhar, Qarawyeen, Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, but such institutions can’t impose their opinion regarding state policies, except Saudi Arabia.
In situations like this, some organizations and groups have to play the same role played by the church in impeding progress and preventing people from free thinking. In the beginning, we saw Muslim Brotherhood who was seeking to reach power and establish caliphate erased by Ataturk. Then other organizations appeared like Al –Tahrir Al-Eslamy.
From inside Muslim Brotherhood, appeared the leap that paved the way for extremist groups, when books of Sayed Kotb were published, and also Abu Al-Aala Al-Maodody, founder of islamic group in Pakistan, whose ideas affected Sayed Kotb himself, especially the idea of governorship and usage of power for change.
Two years before Kotb was executed, the Egyptian Al-Jihad group appeared in 1964, then Takfir wal Hijra, then Al-Qaeda which was a convergence between Wahhabism extremism and Kotb extremist thoughts.
Television channels turned Wahhabism Sheiks into promotion stars to send as many youth as they can to Afghanistan. And despite terrorist attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda, it gained sympathy from Muslim youth all over the world, as the group is fighting the United States and its allies responsible for many grievances across the Islamic world, especially the Palestinian cause, but that wasn’t enough for muslims to change their thoughts about terrorist groups, that’s why the Islamic State (IS) has to emerge and do this job for them.
Many believe that the IS was founded in the hallways of intelligence agencies, but history has different opinion. What happened in Europe after the French revolution is happening now in the Islamic world. And those who was affected by the IS atrocities in Syria, Iraq, Libya would have different opinion.
When the question of separating between religion and the state is raised, then those who want to exercise religious rituals, the state can guarantee the freedom of religion for them, but anyone of those religious citizens must leave their religious believes as soon as they step inside the parliament as members, and they must act as independent politicians, who must defend their voters’ interests, not their own beliefs that voters may not share. But before reaching this phase, there will be religious reforms similar to Martin Luther’s that helped Europe get into secularism and modernity stage.
*A Libyan Writer
Translated By LIBYAPROSPECT: Source