Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Democrats to Form 'Perfect Slavery to Allah Party'

 From Ikhwan Web:


Egypt's largest political opposition the Muslim Brotherhood, has confirmed that it is preparing to establish a political party calling it the Freedom and Justice Party, or Horeya and Adala."

Horeya or Hurriyya, Arabic  for "freedom," and the uniquely Western concept of freedom are completely at odds. Hurriyya "freedom" - as Ibn Arabi (d. 1240) the  lionized "Greatest Sufi Master", expressed it - "being perfect slavery." And this conception is not merely confined to the Sufis' perhaps metaphorical understanding of the relationship between Allah the "master" and his human "slaves."

The late American scholar of Islam, Franz Rosenthal (d. 2003) analyzed the larger context of hurriyya in Muslim society. He notes the historical absence of hurriyya as  "...a fundamental political concept that could have served as a rallying cry for great causes." 


An individual Muslim

...was expected to consider subordination of his own freedom to the beliefs, morality and customs of the group as the only proper course of behavior...

Thus politically, Rosenthal concludes, 

 ...the individual was not expected to exercise any free choice as to how he wished to be governed...In general, ...governmental authority admitted of no participation of the individual as such, who therefore did not possess any real freedom vis-a-vis it.

Bernard Lewis, in his analysis of hurriyya for the venerated Brill Encyclopedia of Islam, discusses this concept in the latter phases of the Ottoman Empire, through the contemporary era. After highlighting a few "cautious" or "conservative" (Lewis' characterization) reformers and their writings, Lewis maintains,

...there is still no idea that the subjects have any right to share in the formation or conduct of government-to political freedom, or citizenship, in the sense which underlies the development of political thought in the West. While conservative reformers talked of freedom under law, and some Muslim rulers even experimented with councils and assemblies government was in fact becoming more and not less arbitrary....

Lewis also makes the important point that Western colonialism ameliorated this chronic situation:

During the period of British and French domination, individual freedom was never much of an issue. Though often limited and sometimes suspended, it was on the whole more extensive and better protected than either before or after.

And Lewis concludes with a stunning observation, when viewed in light of the present travails of the so-called "Arab Spring,"  and throughout the Muslim world, delusively optimistic assessments  notwithstanding:

In the final revulsion against the West, Western democracy too was rejected as a fraud and a delusion, of no value to Muslims.

Writing in 1979, Hava Lazarus-Yafeh described the perverse phenomenon-borne of complete Western rejection-that nevertheless caused an "amalgamation" of Islamic and Western values in the warped political language of Islam's contemporary theocrats-the Muslim Brotherhood, being a prime example-then, and now. Thus,

When calling for an Islamic totalitarian Republic, wherein the ulama hoped to restore God's will in history, they used Western concepts of democracy, liberty, equality etc.,...All of these contemporary religious leaders in Islam were raised and nourished by the literary activity of the Modernists who consciously blurred the differences between East and West. Hence we may understand the unintelligible [note: to Westerners with their wits about them!] phenomeonon of the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, talking about Islamic democracy and freedom while cultivating a vision of an Islamic State, which is certainly a far cry from any Western democracy.