Saudi deputy minister of Islamic affairs: Political Islam caused much bloodshed

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Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia Dr. Tawfiq al-Sudairi has expressed his disapproval for the “political interpretation of Islam” slogan, arguing that it is a “self-serving interpretation” for religion which resulted in a bloodbath of the impeccable.

Al Sudairi explained, during a seminar held in cooperation with King Saud University on the sidelines of the National Festival for Heritage and Culture Festival, that political Islam as a theory has influenced a lot of Muslims’ paths. And it is regarded as the crux of numerous theories and opinions that have ignited uprisings, were established by its theoreticians and advocates: Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Abul A'la Maududi, Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna.

He pointed out that the embracing of political Islam that prevailed in the corridors of contemporary Islamic philosophy, launching platforms for an assortment of Islamic movements, resulted in beliefs, creeds, worship and all Islamic laws, being considered as methods to institute a political system. Al Sudairi cited Wahiduddin Khan’s statement in his book "The political interpretation of religion, which was a rebuttal to Abul A'la Maududi, the spiritual leader of the political Islam movement.

THUMBNAIL_ مقابلة مع الدكتور توفيق السديري
THUMBNAIL_ مقابلة مع الدكتور توفيق السديري

However, he viewed political aspects as a prime pillar of religion, the goal of the prophetic message cannot be defined without politics as well as understanding the full meaning of the beliefs and the significance of prayers and other acts of worship, to sum up, he added “without politics religion becomes void and unintelligible.’

The official considered such arrangement as an oblique utilitarian interpretation as observing the chief principle of religion as empowerment on earth, and not for people to worship the Creator, which is unfeasible but through a political coup, regime change, and the establishment of fair governments.

Dr. al-Sudairi regarded the Iranian abolitionist Jamal al Din al Afghani as the father of the interpretation of utilitarian political Islam gained through his connection with political movements, philosophy, Western contemplation and Masonic associations which, as a whole, represents the Western Philosophy stance from religion.

He considered “al-Afghani” as the inspiration for the political Islam movements, whose majority members are immensely motivated by his influence, nonetheless, his elitist rhetoric was not palatable by the ordinary Muslims, until the emerge of Hussan al Banna, the founder of “Muslim Brotherhood” movement, who transformed al Afghani’s intellectual theories about reform and changes from its scientific domain to general principles and concepts, to a youthful and popular movement distant from the Ulma’a

Al-Banna’s admiration for al Afghan’s essence were clearly underscored on his writing where he mentioned in his memoir (advocacy and preacher): "Mustafa Kamel and Farid, before them Jamal aluldin al Afghani and Sheikh Mohamed Abdu built the renaissance of Egypt, if continue moving forward in this path without any shift, goals would be achieved, the least to say, it won’t retreat, made gains rather than losses.”

In this context, Dr. al-Sudairi said: "Quite obviously Hassan al-Banna has resurrected al-Afghani’s dogma and marched with it away from the Ulams’ parade despite his young age, 22-year-old at the time, at the same time, lacking the religious understanding while influenced by the eastern and western ideas prevailing at the time.”

Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1929. He was assassinated in 1949. (File photo: Reuters)
Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1929. He was assassinated in 1949. (File photo: Reuters)

“Perhaps the general circumstances led him to contextualize the interpretation of political utilitarian form his concept of Islam particularly after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, when the Muslim Brotherhood movement, soon after being founded, moved to fill the political vacuum, raising the issue of political power, governance, sociology, economy and the reconstruction of the land, establishing justice in the mundane affairs of life, the central core of inclusive religion, which is the goal of the prophecy, the message, the worship, and Shariah even the judgment day, resurrection, heaven and hell,” he added.

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