Author: M.A. Sherif
Publisher: Islamic Book Trust (2009)
Pages: 49 Binding: Paperback 5.75 x 8.5 x 0.25"
Description from the publisher:
This is a serious book by Dr M. A. Sherif about European roots of the struggle for an Islamic State. I say serious book, although it is more a long essay (40 pages), yet at a time when such thoughts are increasingly considered as an anathema, addressing the subject is indeed of profound importance and Sherif has handled it with his customary academic rigor.
The author successfully demonstrates why ‘the socio-political dimension of Islam’ is not a ‘dead-end project of the ‘Eastern’ mindset’. By carefully sifting through the thoughts and actions of two outstanding European Muslims, Mohammad Asad and Alija Izetbegovic, he established how it is rooted firmly in European soil with little or no cross-fertilization from the ‘East’.
Sherif rejects this ritualistic trashing of the noblest of Islamic institutions – the Islamic State. ‘Re-reading’ the life mission of these two European Muslim giants he conclusively proves that there exists a distinct European strand for the struggle for an Islamic State;which, I am sure, will be a welcome reassurance for the workers for the Islamic idea in the West. He recounts how until the end of his life Asad remained true to his early understanding of Islam articulated in 1934 when he was only 34 years of age that, ‘unlike other religions’
Islam is not only a, ‘spiritual attitude of mind …but a self-sufficing orbit of culture and social system of clearly defined features’. This idea was translated into practical activism when poet-philosopher Iqbal persuaded him to stop his restless wandering ‘and to remain in India to help elucidate the intellectual premises of the future Islamic state’. (p-13). Sherif’s finding (p-15) that Asad was one of the two Mawlanas (the other being Mawlana Mawdudi) in setting up the Policy Institute, the Darul Islam Trust in 1938 further underlines how deeply involved Asad had been with the practical work of establishing this ideal. Quoting from Asad’s 1980 publication ‘The Principles of State and Government in Islam, Sherif demonstrates that not only did the Idea of Islamic State ‘remain un diminished’ in Asad’s mind till this latter part of his life but he also felt the need for the ‘continuation of the discussion imperative’ because ‘none of the existing Muslim countries has so far achieved a form of government that could be termed Islamic’ (p-34).
Asad’s ‘unchanging ideals’ and ‘continued commitment’ to an Islamic state ‘despite his disappointment of the Pakistan experience’ is explored in greater length when the author provides further evidence from the notes of Asad’s monumental commentary on the Qur’an – the Message of the Qur’an (published in1980). In Asad’s view verse 4:59 provides ‘the conceptual basis for the conduct of the Islamic state’, while 3:159 as ‘one of the fundamental clauses of all Qur’anic legislation relating to statecraft’ (p-32/33).