July 29, 2014

THE ARAB SPRING AND THE PROSPECTS FOR GENUINE RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL REFORMS



There is a guarded optimism that the Arab Spring could result in genuine religious and political reforms. This optimism is grounded in the belief that for the new governments to be reelected, they must reduce unemployment and poverty quickly and convincingly. Dogmatic posturing produces neither jobs nor prosperity. Islamists, Salafists, and jihadists–with Wahhabi inspiration and cash–will assail the new policies as un-Islamic. The confrontation could marginalize Islamist and other extremists, cement democratic governance, reform Shari’a laws, and lead to the evolution of a more tolerant, peaceful Islam.

The late Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Minister Prince Nayif bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud (who died on June 16, 2012), was intensely against the Muslim Brotherhood. He declared in a November 2002 interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Siyassah, carried by the Saudi Press Agency, “All our problems come from the Muslim Brotherhood… The Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed the Arab world.”[1] More recently, the New York Times reported that a question in February 2011 about the improving prospects of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood set Prince Nayif off on “a diatribe against both the treachery of the Brotherhood and the journalist who asked the question, with the prince labeling the journalist a terrorist sympathizer.”[2]

THE ARAB SPRING: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

 

Prince Nayif had three good reasons to be worried. First, the democratic ballot box that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt and other Arab Spring countries contrasts greatly with his father’s use of the sword and Wahhabism as well as British assistance to create the family’s enterprise in 1932. Ever since that time, the sword and Wahhabism–combined with U.S. support–have guaranteed the survival of the al-Sauds’ system. “What we won by the sword, we will keep by the sword,” revealed Prince Nayif in 2003.[3]

The al-Sauds must fear that future democratic parliamentary and presidential elections in Egypt and other Arab countries, coupled with articulated Islamic reasoning in support of democratic representative governance in Islam, will pressure Riyadh’s absolute monarchy to become representative and participatory, let alone a republic. Second, Muslim Brotherhood governments will challenge the al-Sauds’ allegation that theirs is the only “true” Islamic regime in the Arab and Muslim worlds. For eight decades now, the alliance between the al-Saud and Abd al-Wahhab clans have claimed the religious high ground.

The Wahhabi clerics have denigrated Shi’i Islam and other religions as heretical. They have also criticized the three other Sunni rites (Hanafi, Maliki, and Shafi’i) as insufficiently Islamic and preached that non-Wahhabi Muslims and non-Muslims will end up in hellfire. The Wahhabi clerics propagate that Islam, according to Muhammad, would split into 73 sects, but only one sect, the Wahhabi sect, would inherit paradise.

In July 2012, Wahhabi cleric Dr. Sa’ad al-Durayhim caused a stir when he tweeted that even within Saudi Arabia “the saved sect will be the Najdi ulama and the Najdi people and their followers.”[4] Najd is the hot bed of Wahhabism.[5] Yet in their claim of superiority, the Wahhabi ulama ignore Koran 9:97: “The desert Arabians are most confirmed in unbelief and hypocrisy.” They also disregard Sahih al-Bukhari’s reported prophetic statement that from Najd “comes out the horn of Satan.”[6]

The third reason for concern is the modernization and reform of Arab Islam. This could undermine the al-Sauds’ religious credentials and political legitimacy. It might even tame Wahhabi extremism.

This article will only discuss Arab Sunni Islam. Arabs represent around a quarter of world’s Muslims. Among Arab Muslims, more than 90 percent are Sunni.

Influenced by the teachings of Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 855), Wahhabism is more austere, extreme, rigid, and coercive than the other Islamic rites and sects. In the Wahhabi book, to protect monotheism from idolatry, a person’s love for God must be so total, intense, and pure that an ancestor’s grave, for example, must remain unmarked and never visited so that the family’s love of God would not be adulterated by their love for the ancestor. Further, good Muslims should spend their free time in prayer and reading the Koran; better yet, memorizing its 6,236 verses instead of diluting their love of God with the love of music, painting, or reading a novel. Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernissi considers that Islamists see love between a man and a woman as a threat to the couple’s allegiance to Allah.[7]

As a result of its extremism, Hanbalism failed over the centuries to attract a large following. Presently, despite Saudi oil wealth and active proselytizing at home and abroad, only around 2 percent of world’s Sunnis follow this rite. Mostly are in Saudi Arabia, among the Taliban minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and in tiny Qatar, in addition to an indeterminate number (possibly a few million) of expatriate workers who held and continue to hold jobs in Saudi Arabia and became indoctrinated in the Wahhabi creed.

THE EMERGENCE OF ARAB POLITICAL ISLAM IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

 

Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood movement, as well as Sharif Husayn’s 1916 revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, reflect, in part, the Arab reaction to Istanbul’s modernization and secularization policies beginning in the early nineteenth century. While Mustafa Kemal Ataturk blamed the Ottoman decline and destruction on the failure of a rigid Islam to evolve with the modern age, Arab Muslims regarded the Ottoman defeat as a punishment from God for abandoning Islam. In 1924, Turkey abolished the caliphate and separated Islam from the state. In 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood came into being in Egypt, while Wahhabism seized power in Riyadh in 1932.

The history of Saudi rule is a history of exploiting extreme Islamism for political legitimacy. In 1805, Muhammad Bin Saud joined Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab, the pioneer of Wahhabi doctrine, in a rebellion against Istanbul. They accused the Ottoman sultans of corrupting the “true” Islam. In 1817, acting on behalf of the Ottoman sultan, Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali crushed that rebellion. However, in the early 1900s, Abd al-Aziz al-Saud allied his clan with the Abd al-Wahhab clan once more and led a second rebellion against Ottoman rule, once again using the restoration of the “true” Islam as a pretext. The second rebellion succeeded in establishing Saudi Arabia, the kingdom that bears the al-Saud family name, in 1932.

The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1928 in Egypt. Today, the Brotherhood claims to operate in 70 countries under different incarnations.[8] It has changed colors in recent years by renouncing violence and advocating democratic representative governance. This strategy has paid off. In Tunisia’s parliamentary elections, the Islamic al-Nahda party achieved 41 percent of the votes cast (October 2011). In Morocco, the Islamic Justice and Development Party achieved 27 percent of the votes cast (November 2011), more than any other party. In Tunisia and Morocco, the leaders of the winning parties became president and prime ministers. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate won the presidency with 51.7 percent of the votes cast (June 2012).

Further, in all Arab monarchies and republics (excluding Lebanon), Islam is the religion of the state (In Syria, Islam is the religion of the president instead).[9] Also, Shari’a law is either “the main” source of legislation, “a principal” source of legislation, or “the basis” of legislation. The exceptions are Tunisia and Jordan, where Shari’a is not mentioned. Arab personal status laws also follow Shari’a rules, except in Tunisia, where polygamy and Shari’a courts were abolished in 1956. Even the former Iraqi dictator, the supposedly “secular” Saddam Hussein, added the words “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) to the Iraqi flag in 1991.

WHY ARAB RULERS EXPLOIT ISLAM

 

Islam has been used by Arab rulers as a means to prolong their dictatorships. The word “Islam” means submission or surrender–surrendering to God, to Muhammad, and to Muslim authority. Koran verse 4:59 reads: “Obey God and obey God’s messenger and obey those of authority among you.” Such wording occurs dozens of times throughout the Koran. In addition, according to the canonical hadith collection of Sahih Muslim, Muhammad reportedly said, “He who obeys me, obeys God; he who disobeys me, disobeys God. He who obeys the ruler, obeys me; he who disobeys the ruler, disobeys me.”[10] Similar wording appears dozens of times in Sahih Muslim and other canonical hadith collections.

As a result of these injunctions a culture of obedience to hierarchical authority developed in Arab societies–male ruling over the female, the father over the children and wife (or wives), the teacher over the student, employer over the employee, and so forth. Arab kings and presidents have taken advantage of these commands. Whether in Riyadh, Damascus, or Cairo, the palace ulama–in return for wealth and power–have energetically indoctrinated the masses into believing that blind obedience to the king or president (wali al-amr) is at the heart of the Islamic faith, synonymous with piety.

Verse 4:59 became a psychological weapon against political dissent, supplementing Arab rulers’ brigades of security forces. In this respect, Saudi Arabia is unique. Security measures are turned into Wahhabi dictums in order to eliminate the potential opposition to the regime of one half of the population; namely, Saudi women. Male guardianship rules over women mean that a husband, father, son, or brother of an errant wife, mother, daughter, or sister must pledge in writing to the police his assurances and responsibility for the woman’s future infractions. Further restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia include severe gender segregation, a ban on driving, the requirement to wear a head-to-toe black cloak, the ability to obtain a passport or to travel only with her guardian’s permission, and even being forbidden to undergo any type of surgery without the guardian’s approval.

On March 11, 2002, a fire broke out at a girls’ school in Mecca. Firemen and concerned citizens quickly arrived on the scene. However, the religious police locked the schoolgirls inside the inferno rather than let them escape into the streets without their veils and head-to-toe cloaks. For this same reason, the religious police prevented the firemen from entering the school to rescue the girls for fear that the girls would be seen without their coverings. As a result, fifteen young girls burned to death and dozens more were injured.[11]

These restrictions are all enforced in the name of the “true” Islam, but in reality serve to tighten the regime’s security grip on the population. As if to legitimize the actions of the religious police concerning this incident, a noted Saudi cleric, Abd al-Rahman al-Barrak, opined in a fatwa (religious ruling or decree) in 2010 that those who promote heresies like the mixing of men and women in the workplace or in educational institutions should be put to death.[12] Islamic scholars at Egypt’s al-Azhar University were outraged and demanded al-Rahman retract the fatwa.[13]

CONTRADICTING 4:59

 

On December 17, 2010, in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, a 26-year-old vegetable street vendor, Muhammad Bouazizi, burned himself to death. Bouazizi’s actions might have been triggered by his poverty and the disregard of the local authorities. However, the following hadith provides a religious cover for those who rebel against the Muslim ruler: “Whoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart.”[14] Political leaders have used this to rally the disaffected against the Muslim ruler. Although the Arab Spring was triggered by the generally secular Facebook generation, it was hijacked by the well-organized Muslim Brotherhood parties and by other Islamists, by Salafists, and jihadists. The above hadith provided these groups with the justification to remove the Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan, and Yemeni presidents from office and has sustained the popular uprising against Bashar al-Asad in Damascus.

ARE WESTERN FEARS OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD EXAGGERATED?

Western fears of the Muslim Brotherhood may be exaggerated. An Islamic regime does not necessarily mean its policies will be anti-Western or anti-American any more than a secular regime means one with pro-Western and pro-American policies. Three examples will illustrate.

Wahhabi Saudi Arabia is the world’s most extreme Islamist regime; yet for eight decades Riyadh has been obsequious to and protected by Washington. In the case of Tunisia, its ruling party, al-Nahda, while Islamic, refuses to add Shari’a law as a source of legislation in the country’s forthcoming constitution, despite demands by Tunisian Islamists for an Islamist constitution.[15] On the other hand, Syria, a so-called “secular” regime has been anti-Western and anti-American for decades. Indeed, Syria is more Islamic today than in 1963, when Hafiz al-Asad seized power. Like Hafiz al-Asad’s 1973 constitution,  son Bashar’s new 2012 constitution makes Islam the religion of the president (Article 3 (1)) and enshrines the Islamic Shari’a as a main source of legislation (Article 3 (2)).

Seventh-century Shari’a laws and courts continue to regulate Muslims’ personal status affairs in “secular” Syria. For example, Shari’a allows a man to engage in polygamy–marry four wives simultaneously (4:3) and to divorce any of them at will (2:227-2:237), with limited alimony or child custody. The law also prohibits a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim while a Muslim man is allowed to marry non-Muslims (5:5). In addition, it equates two women to one man in inheritance (4:11) and when serving as a witness in court (2:282).

Religious dogma has taken center stage in Syria. An increasing number of mosques and veiled women have become common sights in “secular” Syria. During a period of drought in the winter of 2010, Bashar al-Asad, trained as an eye doctor, ordered a special rain prayer, which was performed in mosques across the country on December 10, 2010. Syria’s elementary, middle, and high schools teach Sunni Islam, regardless of the Islamic sect to which a pupil belongs. The textbooks are also discriminatory, divisive, and intolerant of non-Muslims. It is difficult to imagine how a future Muslim Brotherhood regime in Syria could be more Islamic or belligerent toward Europe and America than the Asad regime.

THE LIKELIHOOD OF GENUINE ARAB RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL REFORMS

 

The Arab Spring could lead to three significant developments. The first is the marginalization of Islamists, Salafists, and jihadists. The second is the reform of Arab Islam. Third is the establishment of democratic representative governance. Such possibilities were unthinkable even just before the advent of the Arab Spring. Contributing to this shift are three factors:

    1. The ascent of non-Wahhabi, non-Salafi, non-jihadi politicians to commanding political positions in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.
    2. The many contradictory injunctions that exist in the Islamic scripture.
    3. The abject poverty, high unemployment, and low rates of economic growth in the non-oil producing Arab countries.

 

To appreciate the future challenges facing the new governments, it would be helpful to outline the religious structures that have prevented Arab Islam from forming new religious opinions or further interpreting the Koran and Sunna for a thousand years.

To Sunnis, Shari’a law has four sources. The first is said to be the work of God–the Koran. The other three were constructed by the ulama during the first two centuries after Muhammad’s death in 632; namely, the consensus of the Sunni ulama, analogical deduction, and the Sunna (Muhammad’s hadith (sayings) and Sira (actions)). The hadith, totaling about 34,000 traditions (including repetitions), was collected in six books, considered canonical by Sunnis[16] (Shi’a have their own hadith collections, whereas the Koranists disregard the Sunna altogether as unreliable). The violation of the established dogma would come at a heavy price, even death.

To the ulama class, an unchanging Shari’a is their safeguard to the maintenance of their political influence, social standing, and lucrative careers. As teachers, preachers, muftis, judges, and court officials, they realize that religious reform would reduce their hold on the faithful and deprive them of these benefits. Today, Muslims are admonished and threatened with God’s eternal damnation if they fail to seek or heed the ulama’s guidance on the tiniest details of daily living. The religious advice columns in Arabic newspapers and on Arabic radio and television programs deal with such issues as how to greet a guest, what to say to a person who sneezes, whether to have a tattoo, or to color one’s hair, or to darken one’s eyebrows, or to wear a silk garment, or a gold ring, what to eat, how to eat, etc.

Marginalizing Islamists, Salafists, and Jihadists

The new Arab Spring governments realize that unless they reduce poverty and unemployment quickly and convincingly, they stand no chance for reelection. Their performance in office will be the test. Having won all the authority, the new regimes must bear all the responsibility. In Egypt, the removal on August 12, 2012, of the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Field Marshall Husayn Tantawi and Chief of Staff General Sami Anan make it impossible for President Muhammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to blame any failure on the generals.

Of course, there is the risk that a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood might betray the democratic process that brought them into power in the first place. The Brotherhood could decide to abandon democratic elections and instead build an Islamist dictatorship. However, there is the hope that the masses, who triggered the Arab Spring, would ensure that the new governments would not trample over democratic rule.

The new governments recognize that dogmatic and rhetorical religious and nationalistic posturing will produce neither jobs, nor housing, nor health services, nor prosperity. They thus have little choice but to enact laws that would reorder national budgetary priorities away from military spending and toward human development and economic growth. To make graduates employable in modern jobs, emphasis must be placed on teaching the sciences. The new governments will have to welcome foreign investors’ capital and encourage the flow of dollars and euros from tourism. Further, the new governments are not likely to introduce supreme religious councils to nullify parliamentary laws–which are deemed to be non-compliant with seventh-century Shari’a rules. Nor are they likely to form religious police forces to coerce people into an alien way of life from that of the Arabian Desert, nor to compound poverty by preventing women from earning wages to help sustain their impoverished families.

There will almost certainly be a confrontation between the new governments and Islamists, Salafists, and jihadists, as the latter groups assail the new laws as un-Islamic. The leader of the Ansar al-Shari’a group, Sayfullah bin Husayn, already attacked the government on October 23, 2012, claiming it to be a stooge of the “atheistic West”–America and France, in particular—and that its Islam was farthest from the “true” Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood leadership and ulama would counter the attacks with references and intellectual arguments from the Muslim holy script–a debate that could set the stage for the evolution of a more tolerant, less austere, extreme, and less coercive Islam than Wahhabi Islam, which  shaped the Taliban, bin Ladin, al-Qa’ida, and led to September 11.

Of course, the possibility exists that the new governments might pursue strategies amenable to Salafi and jihadi leaders. Such gestures, however, are unlikely to succeed. New uncompromising Salafi and jihadi leaders would sideline the compromisers and accuse them of treachery, let alone heresy.

To eliminate a terrorist cell or two–even a hundred or a thousand–will not root out terrorism. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan did not and will not eradicate terrorism. To fight terrorism, not only must the financial and material infrastructure of jihadism be destroyed, but the Wahhabi and other extremist doctrinal foundations upon which jihadism rests must too be dismantled. Intellectual reasoning drawn from the Koran and the Sunna as articulated by credible Arab ulama is crucial. Non-Arab ulama and Western scholars have no effect on the beliefs of Arab Muslims. Arab Muslims feel they are the guardians of an Arabic religion: The Koran describes the Arab race as the “best nation evolved to mankind” (3:110). Muhammad, his Companions, the Koran, and the holy Muslim sanctuaries in Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem are all Arabic. Non-Arab ulama are viewed with suspicion and as irrelevant.

Currently, it is the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Arab Spring governments that provide the best hope to tame Islamist extremism. The possibility of achieving meaningful Islamic and political reforms under such governments outweighs the risks involved. Indeed, there is little alternative to the hope that an Islamic government chosen by the people through free democratic elections would lead to meaningful Islamic and political reforms.

Reforming Arab Islam

 

The Arab Spring could also lead some to challenge the traditionist ulama’s views on taboo subjects and bring about changes such as reconciling the contradictory verses in the Islamic scripture and instituting representative democratic governance. Contradictions on the same subjects inspire moderate Muslims, Islamists, Salafists, and jihadists in different ways. The treatment of Christians and Jews, the treatment of women, the punishment for adultery and apostasy from Islam will be discussed next.

On relations with non-Muslims, a moderate Muslim focuses on the peaceful and tolerant verses, such as 2:136: “Say; We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and their progeny, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and to all the prophets by their Lord,” or, for example, 29:46: “Do not argue with the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] unless in a fair way.” A moderate would point out that the Koran dedicates Chapter 14 with its 52 verses to Abraham, and Chapter 12 with its 111 verses to Joseph. To Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Koran dedicates Chapter 19 with its 98 verses. In 2:135, the Koran refers to Islam as the Religion of Abraham.

On the other hand, an Islamist finds inspiration in verses such as 2:120: “Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you unless you follow their religion,” and 5:51: “Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends.” Other examples include 5:78: “Curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus,” and 62:5: “The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah, which they did not observe, is that of a donkey who carries a load of books (oblivious of what the books contain).”

A jihadist is drawn to verses like 2:216: “Fighting is prescribed for you”; 8:60: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost, that you may strike terror into the enemies of God”; 9:5: “Slay the polytheists wherever you find them and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place”; and 9:29: “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day… even if they are of the People of the Book until they pay the protective tax (jizya) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” The promise of the eternal delights in paradise for the martyrs (61:11-12) also encourages jihadists. That 15 of the 19 terrorists involved in September 11 (all Wahhabis) were Saudis is not a coincidence. While Islamists and jihadists may be hostile toward Christians and Jews because they purportedly conspired against the Muhammad 14 centuries ago, a moderate might befriend the People of the Book viewing them as innocent of the alleged accusations against their ancestors and because the historicity of the Islamic creed is not established reliably.

On the treatment of women, while the personal status affairs of Muslims in all Arab countries (except Tunisia) follow Shari’a rules, Islamists go beyond Shari’a to impose additional restrictions on women. Regarding appearances, while 24:31 requires women to be modest in dress and behavior, Islamists demand women cover themselves completely: face, hair, and toes. Regarding gender segregation, while there is no Koranic injunction to segregate the genders–except in the specific case of the wives of Muhammad (33:53)–Islamists enforce gender segregation in schools, parks, the workplace, and even in elevators.

The Sunna, too, contains unflattering references to women. Muhammad reportedly said that most of those in hell are women[17]; that women’s lack of intelligence is the reason the weight of a woman’s testimony in an Islamic court of law is equal to half the testimony of a Muslim male[18]; and that the reason women are prohibited from praying and fasting during menstruation is due to their being deficient in religious belief.[19]

The contradictions between Muhammad’s treatment of his first wife Khadija and how the Shari’a evolved on the treatment of women must be reconciled. We are told that Khadija was a successful businesswoman; that she employed young Muhammad; that she proposed marriage to him when he was about 25 years-old; and that she was about 15 years his senior and twice a widow. We are told that for the 25 years of Muhammad’s marriage to Khadija, until her death in 620, he remained monogamous and faithful to her; that she was his confidant and the first convert to Islam.

Such serious contradictions suggest that either the stories about Muhammad’s exemplary treatment of Khadija are false or the Islamic scripture is false, tailored by generations of Muslims to suit the political agendas and personal interests of the ruling classes. In this regard, a meaningful first step was announced in June 2006: Turkey formed a committee of 35 religious scholars to study the removal of all hadith references attributed to Muhammad that encourage violence against women.[20]

Muslims also disagree on the punishment for adultery.  While a moderate might believe in 24:2: “Flog each of them with a hundred lashes,” an Islamist could invoke traditions attributed to Muhammad to stone adulterers to death. Finally, on apostasy from Islam, to absolve the apostate from punishment, a moderate might cite 2:256: “Let there be no compulsion in religion” and 18:29: “The truth is from your Lord: so believe if you like, or do not believe if you will.” However, an Islamist might invoke to traditions attributed to Muhammad to impose the death penalty.

Establishing Representative Governance

Muhammad reportedly said, “My community reaches no agreement that is in error.”[21] According to the hadith, the truth on all matters is dependent upon whatever the Muslim community decides. Before the advent of electricity, computers, telecommunications, and modern polling techniques, gauging the community’s opinion in its far-flung lands was impossible. Thus, the opinion of a caucus of learned men made the Consensus of the Ulama one of the four sources of Sunni Shari’a law. It was a pragmatic approximation to the possible verdict of the majority of the Muslim community.

Today, however, modern technology has made referendums on specific issues simple, just as it has made the election of community representatives easy. Modern telecommunications and polling techniques have allowed the hadith to become a reality. For the religiously minded, democratic parliamentary and presidential elections–like those that took place in Arab Spring countries–should provide the comfort that their elected representatives would enact laws that are not in error.

The hadith makes the nation the source of all powers. It challenges the ulama’s contention that Shari’a is the unchangeable law of God. It renders the Consensus of the Ulama and Analogical Deduction unnecessary. It also introduces, for the first time in the Arab world, a mechanism to replace an unjust ruler peacefully. Since the advent of Islam, Arab dictators had only one way to be challenged; namely, the sword. It may be said that Muslim countries that hinder the emergence of democratically elected parliaments are in violation of the hadith: “My community reaches no agreement that is in error.”

* Elie Elhadj, born in Syria, is a veteran international banker. He was Chief Executive Officer of the Arab National Bank in Saudi Arabia during most of the 1990s. After retiring, he received his Ph.D. from London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

 

NOTES


[1] “Naif Says Muslim Brotherhood Cause of Most Arab problems,” Arab News, November 28, 2002, http://www.arabnews.com/node/226291.

[2] Neil MacFarquhar, “Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Crown Prince Who Led Crackdown on Al Qaeda, Dies at 78,” New York Times, June 16, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/world/middleeast/saudi-crown-prince-nayef-dies-led-crackdown-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all.

[3] “Nayef’s Conservative Policies to Outlive Him,” al-Jazeera, June 16, 2012,

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/06/2012616185546905427.html%22.

[4] See Sa’ad al-Durayhim’s Twitter post, https://p.twimg.com/Aw_AxHCCAAAzPl8.jpg:large.

[5] The Najd plateau is located in the central part of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered on the west by Yemen and Hijaz, where the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina are located; to the east by the Eastern Province, where all Saudi oil fields are; and to the north by Iraq and Jordan.

[6] The Six Books, Sahih al-Bukhari, tradition 1037, p. 81 and tradition 7094, p. 592.

[7] Hisham Sharabi, Neopatriarchy, A Theory of Distorted Change in Arab Society (Oxford, UK:

Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 33-34.

[8] Muslim Brotherhood Official Website, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/.

[9] International Constitutional Law, http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/.

[10] The Six Books, Sahih Muslim, traditions 4746 to 4763, pp. 1007-08 and traditions 4782-4793, pp. 1009-10.

[11] “Saudi Police ‘Stopped’ Fire Rescue,” BBC News, March 15, 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/1874471.stm.

[12] “Saudi Cleric Backs Gender Segregation with Fatwa,” al-Arabiya, February 24, 2010,

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/24/101355.html.

[13]  “Egypt Scholars Demand Saudi Cleric Retract Fatwa,” al-Arabiya, February 25, 2010, http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/25/101454.html.

[14] The Six Books, Sahih Muslim, tradition 177, p. 688; Sunan Abi Dawud, tradition 4340, p. 1539; and Sunan al-Nasa’i, traditions 5011 and 5012, p. 2411.

[15] “Tunisia Says Constitution Will Not Cite Islamic Law,”

The New York Times, March 26, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/world/africa/tunisia-says-constitution-will-not-cite-islamic-law.html.

[16] Al-Bukhari (d. 870), with 7,397 traditions; Muslim (d. 875), with 7,563 traditions; Ibn Maja (d. 886), with 4,341 traditions; Abu Dawud (d. 888), with 5,274 traditions; al-Tirmithi (d. 892), with 3,956 traditions; and al-Nasa’i (d. 915), with 5,761 traditions.

[17] The Six Books, Sahih al-Bukhari, traditions 304, p. 26; 3241, p. 263; 5197 and 5198, p. 450; 6449, p. 542; and, 6546, p. 549; and Sahih Muslim, traditions 6938 to 6942, p. 1152; and Jami al-Tirmithi, tradition 2613, p. 1915.

[18] Sahih al-Bukhari, tradition 2658, p. 210.

[19] Ibid., tradition 1951, p. 152.

[20] “Turkey Strives for 21st Century form of Islam,” The Guardian, February 27, 2008, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/27/turkey.islam.

[21] The Six Books, Sunan Abi Dawud, tradition 4253, p. 1532; Jami al-Tirmithi, tradition 2167, p. 1869; and Sunan Ibn Maja, tradition 3950, p. 2713.