May Allah have mercy on Mohamed Morsi.
It is quite depressing when not even a man like Morsi is allowed to have political power in this world.
Let’s be honest. Only Allah knows, but by all indications, he wasn’t going to be a champion of the Sharia. He wasn’t going to bring back the Khilafa. He wasn’t going to unite the Muslims of the world under a banner of tawhid.
Importantly, I have husn al-dhann that he did want these things. But such aspirations didn’t tangibly manifest in his policy. Due to the enormous pressures surrounding his short-lived presidency, he had to play the role of the balanced moderate who made the appropriate concessions to the secular elite, the US, and even Israel. I’m not blaming him for being in that position, which is not to say that some of his early decisions as president were not blameworthy. Only Allah knows, but maybe some of those pragmatic calculations could have led to more bold, principled leadership after he had established himself.
But the tragedy is that, despite all those concessions, despite all that moderation, he was still ousted and locked up to die alone.
As the Prophet, peace be upon him, informed us, the Garden is surrounded by hardships and adversity. Morsi will be recompensed for what he offered in the cause of Allah and we pray for his forgiveness.
Now, what have we offered?
Two bad reactions to this state of affairs:
1) Falling into despair and cynicism. Defeatism is not going to help anything. We have to maintain hope. One manifestation of this defeatist mentality is to say, “Well, nothing is going to change until the Mahdi is sent.” Fine, but the Mahdi is not going to come into a vacuum. Furthermore, the Mahdi is not going to be alone. He will need support from the Muslims. Are we prepared to provide that support? Are we doing what we can today to make sure that when he comes inshaAllah, he comes to the best situation?
2) Lowering our standards. This is psychological response to disappointment. If a person sees failure after failure, then after some time, he may lower his bar for success. As Muslims, we cannot do that. We can’t lose the ideal. Above, I have characterized Morsi as a man who had to suppress his Islamic ideals for pragmatic ends. But it would be very easy to also characterize him as not having those ideals at all and just being a symbol of liberal democracy as the “first democratically elected” president, the phrase that is being repeated over and over again. This image of Morsi is what is being promoted now as he is being eulogized. This is deliberate.
We shouldn’t see our heroes as liberal secular politicians fighting for freedom, blah blah blah. Our heroes should be champions of Islam and the Umma. That is our ideal. And just because someone fitting that mold hasn’t been able to gain power in recent history doesn’t mean we lose the ideal.
Again, the Mahdi is relevant here. If Muslims start seeing democratically elected politicians as their ideal for leadership, they won’t recognize the Mahdi. Guess what? He won’t be democratically elected. He won’t be a politician. And he won’t be calling for liberal secularism. In fact, according to modern liberal secular standards, the Mahdi will be the ultimate villain.
Are Muslims going to be duped in this way to reject the Khalifa of Allah because they have internalized those secular standards?
This is a very real concern.
NB: This post is NOT an attack on Morsi. I remember how happy I was when he was elected and how sad and upset I was when he was ousted. What was done to him was completely unjust. I am simply reflecting on the boundaries of Islamic ideals and political pragmatism and how the tensions therein can have implications for our faith and aspirations as a community. That’s all. Please don’t get the wrong message.