By Aashiq-ul- Islam
The book is basically an outcome of author’s analytical exploration of the factors responsible for the stagnation and decline of Muslim world. During the fecund years of his intellectual life with Muslim Brotherhood, the author vividly expressed his religio-political ideology and places himself in strong argumentation with the advocates of so called ‘Western enlightenment’ which finally culminated in his martyrdom in 1966. It is considered to be one of the significant works of the author in connection to the discussions about reformation and revival of socio-religious thought of Islam. It discusses the relevance of an Islamic political state in the restructuring of a contemporary Muslim community so that it (Islam) becomes the actual code of practice for the society as a whole. The book is originally in Arabic Ma’alim fi al-Tareeq and has been translated into many languages including English “Milestones”. The overall content of book has been divided into twelve chapters and in each chapter author has diligently described the basic idea of Islamic political philosophy that absolute sovereignty belongs to the Almighty Allah alone and whenever the sovereignty has come into the hands of man, it has led to corruption, injustice, oppression and atrocities.
The author in the first chapter “The unique Qur’anic Generation” explains that Quran ought to be the only guide in this generation and others to come. Not only as a personal guide towards spiritual purification but ultimate milestone in all the spheres of life including social, political and economic etc. The author rightly proves the futility of all other ideologies except Islam. The second chapter is on “The Nature of the Qur’anic Method” in which he presents Islam as the only cure of all the individuals and the collectivity in personal and societal affairs. He discusses the Qur’anic method of revolution as the best method as it is divinely ordained. Primarily, in the Makkan period more stress was given to the real relationship between human beings and their only creator—Allah. Quran addressed the whole human kind irrespective of caste, nationality, color, gender etc. He describes the Madinian period when an Islamic society was created Allah gave the best societal order. This was not the abrupt phenomenon but a gradual washing of the human hearts. The third chapter is on “The Characteristics of the Islamic Society and the correct method of its formation” in which his concept of Hakimiya is same as propounded by Maulana Maududi that when Allah is only to be worshipped likewise only his revealed system should be obeyed and implemented in the world.
One who is firm, in whose heart the belief on Allah and his Messenger (S.A.W) is deep rooted his condition never changes neither he has the fear of defeat nor of getting killed this fearlessness belongings only to a Muslim (one who surrenders) and this is because of faith only. Chapter fifth ‘La ilaha Illa Allah’ in which author gives a universal interpretation of the Kalima—this not means that Allah is the only worthy of worship but also He is to be obeyed in all aspects of religious and mundane activities. He says that a Jahiliyah or ignorant society is the one which does not base their lives on the precepts of Allah. Hence he considers contemporary period i:e un-Islamic activities without the Shar’iah law as the Neo-Jahiliyah.
The author in the sixth chapter “universal law” makes an elaborate discussion about the universal law as delivered by Muhammad (SAW) to mankind for all times to come. This law admits of no difference between man and man except in faith and religion. Those religious, social, political and cultural ideologies which differentiate men on the basis of caste, color can never become universal creeds or world ideologies. Such ideologies and social systems must remain confined to one country or community. They are bound to be narrow and nationalistic. Islam, on the other hand, is a universal ideology. Any person who declares belief in La illaha illallah Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah (there is no god, but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet) enters into the fold of Islam. Its appeal is to the whole humanity. It is based on the same principles of nature on which man has been created. And as that nature remains the same in all periods and under all circumstances, law based on it is applicable to every period and under all circumstances.
The chapter’s seven to eleven in which author presents Islam as the real civilization showing the unique character of Islamic culture. He says that a Muslim’s nationality is not based on his/her place of birth but his belief in Islam. The author also shows the far reaching changes and consequences of the preaching and propagation of Islam as more and more people will come towards Islam there will be more and more peace. The author says that the struggle between the believers and their enemies in essence a struggle of belief and not in any way of anything else. The enemies are angered with Muslims only because of their faith as it is in Quran. They were angered with the believers only because they believe in Allah, the All-powerful, All-praise worthy. The author further explains that the real victory only belongs to those who have the faith in the All-Powerful aspect of the creator and though he will be deserted by all but Allah will never leave him without his protection in this world and hereafter. It is the only due to the faith of a human being that he/she will not surrender in front of any false ideology or person nothing in the world can trouble him but the fear of Allah.
The author in the twelfth chapter ‘This is the road’ explains in the light of Surah Buruj that Allah is prompting believers to be always ready to give any kind of sacrifice in the way of truth. The martyrs described in the Surah were severely tortured by sadistic unbelievers but they tolerate patiently all those painful tortures. This is all because of the concept of real salvation after death in the heavenly abode with bliss and tranquility. So it is incumbent upon the believers to persevere in the way of Allah and continue preaching and practicing the oneness of Allah and his command in all the spheres of life that is social, political, economic and spiritual etc. And only this is the way.
The book under review in which author has rightly showed the uniqueness and supremacy of Islamic social, political and economic systems over all other man-made institutions and systems. It is not backwardness as said by many westerners as Syed Qutb encourages mundane and material education and scientific progress within the holistic educational approach of Quran to explore the creation of Allah to adore the creature alone.
—The author teaches at Government Degree College, Pulwama, in the Department of Islamic Studies. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org