The general outlook of politics is as defined by the academic construct of politics, associated with ‘governments’, ‘civil strife’ and ‘statesmanship’. Outside this, it is associated with ‘manipulation’, particularly to individual or wholesome principles, with regards to power, control, and status. As a noun, the word originates from Greek, Politiká, which means ‘affairs of the cities’. This is what we refer to as ‘Human Politics’.
Ibn Khaldun famously stated, مؤسسة تمنع الظلم بخلاف ما يرتكبها “(government is) an institution that prevents injustice other than what it commits”, which elaborates how wrongdoing can eventually be justified by a ‘government’ that turns Haraam into Halaal, such as the consumption of Riba or Homosexuality, both of which defy religious law, and even go against morals and virtues, and yet are ‘permitted’ by secular law under the false pretense of ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’, and the confounded perception of ‘Justice’. If you oppress your fellow man, you will be charged for illegal activity, but if the oppressor is wearing a government-sanctioned badge and uniform, no harm no foul. This is the justification of falsehood by manipulating Logic and Rationality, even when the act is illogical and irrational by all accounts. Ibn Khaldun further said, الظلم مؤذن بخراب العمران “injustice denotes the ruin of civilization”. This is a distinction he makes between the governance founded on the ideology of man, and the governance descended from the Heavens.
A core component of politics is speech and how it is used. Logic and rhetoric play a crucial role in relaying a personal ideology so that it can be convincing enough to change the other’s ideology. But it can also be applied in lessening the credibility of the opposition, granting oneself victory over the other. Take, for instance, the conversation between Nabi Musa and Nabi Adam, mentioned in the previous article. Note the choice of words. Neither Nabi would speak a lie, of course. Nabi Musa’s claim was just as justified and truthful. It was indeed Adam’s mistake that led to disbandment from Paradise. But it was Nabi Adam’s application of intelligible logic and rhetoric that gave him triumph in the debate. As such, it was Nabi Adam’s politic that won over the ultimate philosophical argument as to man’s existence on earth. The fundamental structure of all ‘politics’ is equivalent to the fundamental structure of the ‘civilization’. The hierarchy eventually leads back to ‘two’ primary candidates, and which one will succeed over the other. Civilizations stem from nations, which stem from tribes and clans, which stem from families, which stem from man and woman. It all boils down to the core of a relationship between two beings, and ultimately it boils down to the core of a relationship between man and God. As man is the Vicegerent of God, the Supreme. Here, we will not be looking at ‘Political Philosophy’, or what can be understood as ‘Political Science’, the push and pull between opinionated philosophies of governance, or what is idealized as the ‘perfect system’. Our focus is on understanding the essence of Politics, as the Philosophy of Politics. The descent of rightful governance, with both law and supremacy from the Throne of Allah. To gain a deeper understanding of how things transpire between the Heavens and the Earth. In the rightful context, Almighty Allah sends down the structure of governance to Nabi Ibrahim, blessed be he. (Baqarah 2:124)
وَإِذِ ٱبۡتَلَىٰٓ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ رَبُّهُ ۥ بِكَلِمَـٰتٍ۬ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّۖ قَالَ إِنِّى جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامً۬اۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِىۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهۡدِى ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with His commands, and he fulfilled them, He said, ‘Verily! I appoint you as the Leader of all mankind’. Ibrahim said, ‘And of my progeny?’ He Allah said, ‘My covenant does not extend to the wrongdoers (those who do injustice).’ Likewise, Almighty Allah also made a similar delegation of governance with Nabi Da’ud. (Saad 38:26)
يَـٰدَاوُدُ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَـٰكَ خَلِيفَةً۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱحۡكُم بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ ٱلۡهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ۬ شَدِيدُۢ بِمَا نَسُواْ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡحِسَابِ
O’ Da’ud, verily we have placed you as a Vicegerent on earth, so judge between the people with truth, and do not follow desire for it will lead you away from the path of Allah. Surely, those who go astray from the path of Allah will suffer a heavy punishment for neglecting the day of reckoning. The key components of ‘Truth’ and ‘Justice’ against ‘Falsehood’ and ‘Injustice’ are a highlight of Ibn Khaldun’s thoughts, and of countless others, who affirm that governance by rightful attribution of Allah as Sovereign is a governance everlasting. The politics conveyed here is what one could term as ‘good politics’ or ‘good relations’ where the law, the enforcement of the law, and the enforcers of the law, are all in agreement of the same ideology. But what happens when there is a difference of opinion? What happens when man chooses to enact his own laws by virtue of fulfilling his own ideology. In other words, how do we define ‘bad politics’? Dirty politics? An impasse of relations? It cannot be denied that politics is part and parcel of religion, just as it is part and parcel of worldly coexistence with the Heavens. We find a unique structure of governance where Allah sends forth His emissaries with His edicts, depicting how things should be run. These policies are contained within the religious structure, from inter-human relations to education, health, trade and finance, legislature. This dynamic of Truth and Justice is like the dynamic of body and soul— neither can exist without the other. For there is Truth in Justice, and there is Justice in Truth. This is an absolute concept in all of existence, and it cannot be challenged on any level. After all, who can challenge, and succeed, the sovereignty of Almighty Allah? There is someone who attempted… and failed miserably. Let us see what unfolded, how it unfolded, and why it unfolded in the manner that it did. (A’raf 7:12-13)
قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسۡجُدَ إِذۡ أَمَرۡتُكَۖ
He Allah said, ‘What prevented you that you did not prostrate when I commanded you?’ Isn’t it strange? That Allah did not ask “WHY did you not prostrate?” Instead, He asked, “WHAT prevented you?” The choice of words is crucial here. Iblees is a very good logician, and a very good articulator as well. Credit where it is due, even to the devil. We saw how he enticed Adam and Hawaa, how he made ever sin sound so plausible to commit. But Almighty Allah knows him better than he knows himself. Had Allah asked ‘why’, Iblees could have found any number of loopholes to escape from. Observe how the conversation unfolds... He responded;
قَالَ أَنَا۟ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّنۡهُ خَلَقۡتَنِى مِن نَّارٍ۬ وَخَلَقۡتَهُ ۥ مِن طِينٍ۬
He said, ‘I am better than him. You created me from fire, and created him from clay.’ This second portion of the Ayah needs to be examined in two halves. The first half is an outright statement to the question. “What prevented you?” — “I am better than him.” The second half is a quick explanation, one that is unwarranted. It is often instinctively prompted when the responder realizes his monumental mistake. You see, Iblees essentially shot himself in the foot by falling for the trap. By giving a thoughtless response, ‘I am better than him’, he did not see what Allah could see. How could he? He had not, till then, till this day, seen the true essence of Allah’s intent behind creating Man. By responding in such a manner, he exposed his true self. He exposed his arrogance and envy, and made a hasty attempt at covering it up by giving, what he assumed, was a plausible reason. ‘I am from fire, he is from clay. Everyone knows fire is better than clay’. Logically, he was right. Fire does have a destructive power over Earth (clay). Then again, Fire has a destructive power over everything. But he failed to see that Allah did not create Fire to have supremacy over other elements, rather He created all the elements to have both strengths and weaknesses so that they could coexist harmoniously. Look at the contrast here. When Adam and Hawaa realized their mistake, they acknowledged it themselves and sought forgiveness. Because emotion and affection for Allah triumphed over all manner of logic and rationality to conceal the sin. Whereas Iblees did quite the opposite. Just because his logic was sound by his own standards, does not mean he was right. He could not have been closer to the truth by leagues upon leagues. Similarly, just because the government made it ‘legal’, and they can manipulate the logic to justify it, does not mean they are right. Like Iblees, they could not be closer to the truth by leagues upon leagues, and as Ibn Khaldun defined it, this injustice, when it surfaces, will be their demise, and only Truth will prevail. Watch closely, and you will see the depth contained within Allah’s response, that to fully elaborate it will take oceans upon oceans of ink to scribe.
قَالَ فَٱهۡبِطۡ مِنۡها فَمَا يَكُونُ لَكَ أَن تَتَكَبَّرَ فِيها فَٱخۡرُجۡ إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰغِرِينَ
He Allah said, ‘So descend from it, not is it for you to be arrogant therein. So leave, verily you are among the disgraced.’ Points to be noted here; First comes the descend. The lowering of Rank. Then comes the dismissal. This is affirmed by the ‘disgrace’, as those who degrade themselves with pride and prejudice, have no rank before Almighty Allah. It is a core part of rightful governance, that he who betrays sovereignty is stripped of all rank and exiled. Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, evil did not arise with Iblees. It already existed. This is given by the statement, ‘You are among the disgraced’, meaning there already existed evildoers before Iblees’s sin. And lastly, Iblees was not disgraced by Allah, rather he disgraced himself by his own actions. It is by the height of his disobedience, that not only did he do wrong, but that he was branded as ‘he who is disgraced’, denoting that there would be no return for him. Arrogance holds no place in paradise, ergo, arrogance holds no place among the righteous. Politics, when played correctly, leads to resolutions. It is the nature of an inherently flawed being to err. And where there is a mistake, there is a need for resolve. Jinn and Man alike, even though uniformly created, all have thoughts on an individualistic level, where some may agree, others may not. A difference of opinion is a privilege, so long as perspective is inclined towards truth and intent is virtuous. It is respectful to say ‘I disagree…’ followed by a dignified explanation, but when arrogance is presented before humility, the rank is lowered and the opposition is disgraced. What we find here is a conflict of interest between Allah and Iblees, as ever is a conflict of interest between individuals, and Almighty Allah’s approach to resolution is the zenith of Heavenly and Rightful Politics to conflict resolution as being diplomatic and sincere. Iblees was arrogant, and because of this, he could not find a resolution, not with Allah, and not with himself. He fell to disparity, earning his title as Iblees, ‘the one who despaired’. He left empty-handed. He will die empty-handed. Is this not the state of the world we live in? Is this not at the core of every single political conflict? I… Am… Better… Than... Him… Food for thought…