Is history repeating itself?

MARCH 18 ― Obeying our leaders is one of God’s commands, said Jakim at one of their sermons titled A Test Of Loyalty last week.

“Sesiapa yang memuliakan dan menghormati pemerintah, maka Allah akan memuliakannya pada hari kiamat. Manakala mereka yang tidak memuliakannya (pemimpin), maka Allah akan menghinanya pada hari kiamat kelak.”

(Translation: On the Day of Judgement, Allah will honour those who honour the government. Whereas on the Day of Judgment, Allah will punish those who do not honour their government.)

This statement reminded me of something that I read many months before in Mustafa Akyol’s “Islam Without Extremes”, and I just thought of sharing it with everyone.

Let’s take a step back into history.

In the 7th century, a group of Muslim theologians called the Qadaris assembled in Syria. They claimed that it would be unjust for God to punish and/or reward humans if He had not given them the free will to choose, thus they developed a doctrine that emphasised personal responsibility and disposition.

Not everyone agreed with their ideology. It didn’t take long for an opposing movement to form, called “Jabriyyah.” This movement refused to believe that humans had any free will.

The controversy between them caught the eyes of the Umayyad caliphs. After the passing of Muawiyah, the caliphate was passed to his son, Yazid, who was hated for killing Hussein (the grandson of the Prophet) during the Karbala Massacre. The Umayyads were known for their despotism and were eager to manipulate religion for power.

They were interested in the argument between the Qadaris and Jabriyyah because the argument of predestination from the latter meant that if God had determined everything in eternity, He must also have determined the sovereignty of the Umayyad dynasty.

What was originally a theological controversy quickly turned into a political war. Throughout the 90-year reign of the Umayyad dynasty, the Qadari movement remained suppressed, with some of its members even getting arrested and executed for questioning the authorities.

Rational thinking was prohibited by those in power as they did not want their power to get threatened. There was absolutely no religious basis behind it. In the words of human rights activist Iyad El-Baghdadi, “Historically, what is or isn’t mainstream (in Islam) has always been a function of power, not of truth.”

As you can see, this kind of dirty political tactic has been in play for centuries. People have been misusing and manipulating religion for their own selfish gains for a long time. Using the name of religion is a very convenient way to justify all injustices and irresponsibilities.

The real question now is: Are we going to allow history to repeat itself?

Most politicians don’t care where you end up on the Day of Judgement. They only truly care about their position and their sovereignty.

Is it necessary that we blindly follow our leader merely because of his title? I will never bow down to a leader who is a liar and a cheat, but shall willingly respect and honour a leader who upholds virtues of justice and righteousness.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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