Some youths who are members in parties say that their affiliation resulted from ignorance or fear.
When a person acts on marginal issues rather than social or personal realities, certainly it is possible that he may adorn a bit here, and act on personal negative or positive factors there. When the issue is one of self-determination-i.e., when his actions are associated with those of others in order to put his efforts in a lawful undertaking reflecting a matter of importance to the party-whether or not associated with this or that center of politics, an entry into war here or there, the establishment of an undertaking for the country according to this or that pole-then it becomes a matter of self determination for which the person must accept full responsibility, positive or negative.
With regard to man or to Muslim youth, certainly God calls him to account for every negative result in proportion to his link with it, and in terms of his strength and esteem in it. So that he must fear God in his undertakings, as well as assume responsibility for his people now and for the future.
The Separation between Religion and Politics
As some people express it, "separation" here entails specialization-i.e., religion has its role and politics its role. Is it proper then to separate them?
Religion does not represent a condition that can be detached from life; likewise, politics does not represent a limited condition in the affairs of humankind. If religion extends to every aspect of daily life, how can we restrict it to a specific area? And if religion extends to every aspect of human life, how can we restrict it to a specific sphere? Specification and limitation rather are for things which can be indeed particularized; how can we seek to limit that which does not accept particularization and which covers every aspect of life?
Yes, it is possible to have specification in religious culture and its facets, and the same in political culture and its individual spheres. But cultural specialization is one thing and specialization of the role of something is another. There is a difference in saying that the role of religion is a limited one in a particular arena, with no relation at all to politics; and that the role of politics is limited to a specific setting which bears no relation at all to religion. The reason is that religion plays a role in every aspect of life and political facet; and politics plays a role in every aspect of life and religious facet.
Woman in the Political Theatre
What is our view of those who say that Islam has wronged the woman in the area of politics, since it has excluded her from the judiciary, leadership of the country, and other political activities?
We figure that Islam has given women rights in many political arenas, and when Islam legislated the exclusion of women from the judiciary, this did not in anyway lessen their right in this sphere. It was rather a precautionary measure taken for probity, in consideration of emotional makeup of women, which is a noteworthy female characteristic-something which motherhood requires but which may become a factor in her issuance of judgments. When the judicial dimension dictates that there should be a particular perspective here (in the judiciary) and another one there (motherhood), it was a precautionary measure in the interests of probity and not a blemish on women's honor.
As far as leadership of a country is concerned, it may be found in the disposition itself; or it may be that specific complications arise from circumstances associated with a leadership, which may not be in harmony with the ethical or other limitations needed to distinguish between the roles of men and women.
The Woman and Leadership Positions
More precisely, does Islam forbid women from rising to the position of cabinet ministers or national leaders?
This query may require new research, because of a hadith-though not recognized by us as relevant to the subject under discussion-which states that : "The nation that is led by a woman will never succeed." This hadith may have been applicable to the type of rule that was prevalent in previous eras, based on a type of authority vested completely in the ruler. However, when the governance is such where the ruler is under scrutiny and subject to protocol, this ruler cannot break the judicial principles of lawmaking and governance, both of which ensure propriety through recourse to knowledgeable people, consultants, and a parliament.
Therefore, one may put aside the hadith that appears on this subject in favor of the view that new research is needed. We need to ascertain whether the problem evolves around the role of the woman in office, implying that such a position is not for her; or it revolves around the type of functioning of authority for that office based on either absolute or restricted power.
Job Rivalry and the Difficulties of Stratification
Is it possible to steer away from this problem of job stratification which delineates between one rank and another?
If the supervisor and his subordinates come to oppose each other, with respect to the identification of one thing with another, then it leads to an unnatural situation. For when a worker assumes that his employer controls him, and feels coerced, then no matter how much service and opportunity, rights and good conditions that this employer provides for him, he will always think of his employer as an exploiter, a controller, and a tyrant. If the employer feels that the employee wants to confront him and to keep him from the positive results which his project has brought, then the issue here become transformed into something resembling stratification-in that each party looks at the other from an absurd viewpoint, or from the point of view of exploitation and counter-exploitation.
However, when the relationship between the worker and the employer is structured in a way which allows the worker to work sincerely and according to conditions that make him feel worthy and independent, without in any way impinging on the rights of the employer; and when the employer does not look at the worker merely as part of the means of production, but rather as a person who has needs and desires similar to those of the employer himself; then the employer must realize that the worker can help him achieve his goals and desires.
In this spirit, work must be cooperative. When the workers are in a cooperative work setting, then no individual should attempt to breach the conditions which such cooperative working dictates on the employer whether it be a country, a person or a company. Rather it must be where the employees can discuss a problem freely with the employer, and have the right to decide and the right to whatever achieves their good and that of the employer.
Difference not Destruction
Are our words regarding employment in companies to be taken as specific to workers and not the other domains; or is it that student societies and youth groups may be considered under the rubric of the topic?
The professional organizations we are speaking about provide several positive aspects, for they bring into being actual guidelines for the development of the relevant field, be it in the area of nurturing, education, medicine, engineering, or the like. This is because these organizations may improve the services, or strengthen relations between one group and another, each complementing the other in one field or the other.
We are concerned that the process of forming organizations does not lead to the fragmentation of this society, since establishing such groups is acknowledgment of the various specialties of this society. This should reflect the different needs or services in the area of operations of each group. When these organizations transform themselves into interactive, complementary bodies, cooperating on mutually agreed terms, and striving to enrich their common existence, then they are a positive rather than a negative force.
Each professional organization that has several specialties must carefully try to establish a program that best achieves its goals and attains the positive consequence of benefiting the world. It should not be overcome by political bigotry, but rather operate on the level of political competition working towards specific political goals. But it must not isolate itself from the broader issues of society. It must not focus on itself only when the society wants it to work for a national goal or some such thing.
Towards International Islamic Student Activity
There are calls for Islamic student bodies and youth groups to form a foundation that encompasses all Muslim students, regardless of their affiliations. To what extent is this actually possible?
When we speak of the Islamic vis-a-vis non-Islamic student movements, it is possible for us to lay down certain general outlines which are connected to the welfare of Muslim student groups involved in student activities. This may be done in a manner whereby the Islamic component dominates the non-Islamic component of the other groups.
In this spirit, perhaps we can consult with each Islamic student body which we wish to amalgamate into a single student organization, meeting with Islamic organizations so that the various political viewpoints do not influence a particular issue, and that unity in diversity or diversity in unity may reign.
This certainly requires much study and effort, in the course of which we may take the edge off much of the bigotry, factionalism, and political disagreement.
The technological age-or the race towards it-is undoubtedly something positive. However, how can it be relied on? What are the negative aspects involved?
Striving towards something can be a positive element when it carries with it the results of humankind's long experimentation. It can do so when it has an active, dynamic, and rich culture, at a theoretical and experimental level; or a diverse working background at the level of assessing things in abstract and practical terms. It may, however, be negative when it restricts the aspirations of man, restricts his activities, taxes his resources, and then gets transformed into something devoid of value, possessing nothing that inspires effort any longer.
In fact, it may change the work to whatever attracts man's exhausted efforts and saps his resources. We may find that a long technological age may drown a person in imitation, by dictating the parameters in which he lives. The circumstances which mental and intellectual conditioning has developed has become so deep-rooted that it prevents any progress that could represent a new thrust at a methodological level or in the pursuit of goals.