Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

A Sufi Response to Political Islamism: Al-Aḥbāsh of Lebanon

  • A. Nizar Hamzeh (a1) and R. Hrair Dekmejian (a2)
Extract

The rise and spread of Islamist political movements have been topics of focal concern for scholars and analysts in recent decades. Since Richard Mitchell's seminal work on the Muslim Brotherhood, a plethora of writers have analyzed the attributes of both Sunni and Shiʿa revivalist movements and the policies of Arab regimes and the West toward the Islamist phenomenon. Yet scant attention has been paid to the reactions generated within the larger Islamic community toward the Islamist groups and their militant offshoots. One such unnoticed source of reaction to political Islamism is the nebulous confraternity of Sufi orders (ṭuruq) whose mysticism and esoteric beliefs and practices have set them apart from the exoteric revivalism and political activism of the Islamist societies, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its many affiliates.

Copyright
References
Hide All

NOTES

1 Mitchell, Richard P., The Society of the Muslim Brothers (London: Oxford University Press, 1969).

2 Gilsenan, Michael, Saint and Sufi in Modern Egypt (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), 1011.

3 Weber, Max, The Theory of Social and Economic Organizations, trans. Henderson, A. M. and Parsons, Talcott (New York: Oxford University Press, 1947), 328–33, 358–73. For an overview of Sufi orders, see Eickelman, Dale F., The Middle East: An Anthropological Approach (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1981), 222–35.

4 Gilsenan, , Saint and Sufi, 12.

5 Humphreys, R. Stephen, ”The Contemporary Resurgence in the Context of Modern Islam,” in Islamic Resurgence in the Arab World, ed. Dessouki, Ali E. Hillal (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1982), 7475.

6 Dekmejian, R. Hrair, Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab World, 2nd ed. (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1995), 64, 210.

7 Gilsenan, , Saint and Sufi, 203–5.

8 Esposito, John L., The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 132–33.

9 Jansen, Johannes J. G., The Neglected Duty (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1986), 65–68, 7981.

10 Ibid., 81–88.

11 Dekmejian, , Islam in Revolution, 150. For a penetrating analysis of Sufism and other branches of Islam, see al-Jābiri, Muḥammad ʿĀbid, Takwīn al-ʿAql al-ʿArabi (Formation of the Arab Mind), 4th ed., 2 vols. (Beirut: Markaz Dirāsat al-Waḥda al-ʿArabiyya, 1989); and idem, Bunyat al-ʿAql al-ʿArabi (Structure of the Arab Mind), 2nd ed. (Beirut: Markaz Dirāsat al-Waḥda al-ʿArabiyya, 1987).

12 Majmuʿa Fatāwā Shaykh al-lslām Aāmad ibn Taymiyya, 37 vols. (Compilation of Legal Opinions of Shaykh al-lslam Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya), ed. and comp. Qasim, ʿAbd al-Rahman ibn, (n.p., n.d.), 11:5–24, 401–33, 27:106–11, 114–288, 314444.

13 Recent research has shown that Ibn Taymiyya and other Hanbali jurists were not as opposed to Sufism as once believed, and that some Hanbali ulama were well-known Sufis. See Makdisi, George, “Hanbalite Islam,” in Studies on Islam, ed. and trans. Swartz, Merlin L. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), 247–51.

14 al-Wahhāb, Shaykh Muḥammad Ibn ʿAbd, Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, trans. Faruqi, Ismaʿil Raji al (Beirut: The Holy Koran Publishing House, 1979), 25, 64, 68.

15 Maududi, S. Abul Aʿla, A Short History of the Revivalist Movement in Islam, trans. Al-Ashʿari, (Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd., 1981), 135–36.

16 Beyond Sayyid Qutb's advocacy of militancy, his understanding of a worshiper's relationship toward God sets him apart from Sufi beliefs and practices. See Qutb, Sayyid, Fī Ẓilāl al-Qurʾān (In the Shade of the Qurʾan), 6 vols., 9th ed. (Cairo: Dār al-Shurūq, 1980), vol. 4, parts 12–18:2139, vol. 5, parts 19–25:2577–78, 26032812.

17 Jansen, , Neglected Duty, 910.

18 Yakan, Fatḥi, Al-Mawsūʿa al-ḥarakiyya (Encyclopedia of Movements) (Amman: Dar al-Bashir, 1983), 259–67.

19 For a comprehensive Islamist critique of Sufism, see ḥasan, ʿUthmān ʿAli, Mawāqif AM al-Sunna min al-Manāhij al-Mukhālifa Lahum (Positions of the Sunni Toward Dissenting Views) (Riyadh: Dar al-Watan lil-Nashar, 1413/1983), 54102.

20 For an overview, see Hamzeh, A. Nizar and Dekmejian, R. Hrair, “The Islamic Spectrum of Lebanese Politics,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Affairs, XVI, 3 (Spring 1993): 2542.

21 Deeb, Marius, Militant Islamic Movements in Lebanon: Origins, Social Basis and Ideology (Washington, D.C.: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, 1986), 59.

22 Norton, Augustus Richard, Amal and the Shia (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987), 1383.

23 On aspects of Shiʿa radicalism, see Kramer, Martin, ed., Shiʿism, Resistance and Revolution (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1987).

24 Darnikha, Muḥammad, Al-Ṭuruq al-Ṣūfiyya (The Sufi Orders) (Tripoli: Dār al-Inshāʾ liʾl-ṢaḤāfa wal-Nashr, 1984), 87–286.

25 Manār al-Hudā, June-July 1993, 34; Ibid., December 1992-February 1993, 31–33; Ibid., November 1992,41.

26 Al-Muslimūn, 20 11 1992, 3.

27 Manār al-Hudā, 12 1992-January 1993, 41.

28 See interview with ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Habashi, son of Shaykh Habashi and president of the Ahbash in Australia, in ibid., 32–34. See also al-Shiraʿ, 27 07 1992, 3031.

29 Al-Nahār, , 8 12 1992, 11.

30 al-Ḥabashī, Shaykh ʿAbdallāh, Ṣarīḥ al-Bayān (Explicit Declaration) (Beirut: Jamʿiyyat al-Mashārīʿ, 1990), 195.

31 Ibid., 24.

32 Ibid., 28, 30.

33 al-Ḥabashī, Shaykh ʿAbdallāh, Al-Sirāṭ al-Mustaqīm (The Correct Path) (Beirut: Burj Abī Ḥaydar Mosque, 1984), 34.

34 Ibid., 31.

35 Ibid., 32.

36 Ibid., 30.

37 Ibid., 88; see also al-Ḥabashī, Shaykh ʿAbdallāh, Al-Kāfil bi-ʿllm al-Dīn al-Ḍarūrī (The Guarantor of the Necessary Science of Faith) (Beirut: Burj Abi Haydar Mosque, 1984), 46.

38 Ḥabashī, , Ṣarīḥ al-Bayān, 90.

39 Ibid., 111. Ḥabashī does not give much importance to the Hanafi and Maliki Schools of Law.

40 Ibid., 107; see also Manār al-Hudā, April-May 1993, 45.

41 Ḥabash‛, , Ṣarīḥ al-Bayān, 86, 88, 105. These aḥādīth are: “For whosoever I am master, this Ali is his master; O God support whosoever is loyal to him and fight whosoever is fighting him,” and “Hasan from me and Husayn from ʿAli.”

42 Manār al-Hudā, 11 1992, 32;Ibid., April 1993, 37.

43 Ibid., November 1992, 18.

44 Ibid., December 1992-January 1993, 24–25.

45 Ibid., April-May 1993, 36–37; Habashi, , Ṣarīḥ al-Bayān, 74.

46 Manār al-Hudā, April-May 1993, 3637.

47 Hasan al-Bannaʾ is the sole Islamist who is spared criticism.

48 al-Ḥabashī, Shaykh ʿAbdallāh, Al-Ḍurar al-Sunniyya fī al-radd ʿalā Aḥmad ibn Taymiyya (The Sunna Jewels in Response to Ahmad ibn Taymiyya) (Beirut: Jamʿiyya al-Masharīʿ, 1990), 5.

49 Ibid., 10.

50 Ibid., 25; idem, Sirāḍ al-Mustaqīm, 55.

51 Ḥabashī, , Ḍurar al-Sunniyya, 51; idem, Sirāḍ al-Mustaqīm, 50. Manār al-Hudā, May-June 1993, 47. Ibn Taymiyya's followers do not regard him as an anthropomorphist.

52 Manār al-Hudā, April-May 1993, 45.

53 Al-Nahār, 12 September 1992, 11.

54 Ḥabashī, Ṣarīḥ al-Bayān, 118.

55 While requiring strict standards to differentiate the Muslims from the Tatars, Ibn Taymiyya was reluctant to use takfīr, as is done frequently by some contemporary militant Islamists. For a discussion of takfīr, see Dekmejian, R. Hrair, Islam in Revolution, 1st ed. (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1985), 40, 9295.

56 Ḥabashī, , Ṣarih al-Bayān, 32.

57 Manār al-Hudā, April-May 1993, 4546.

58 Ibid., 47.

59 Ibid., 48.

61 Ibid., 49.

62 Ibid., May-June 1993, 46; see also Ḥabashā, , al-Kāfil, 511.

63 Ḥabashī, Ṣarīḥ al-Bayān, 28.

64 Ibid., 24.

65 Ibid., 25.

66 Manār al-Hudā, April-May 1993, 49.

68 Al-Safir, 19 11 1992, 3.

70 Ḥabashī, Ṣarīḥ al-Bayān, 76.

71 Ibid., 169; see also Manār al-Hudā, December 1992-01 1993, 42.

72 Manār al-Hudā, 11 1992, 6; Ibid., April-May 1993, 6.

73 Al-Nahār, 12 09 1992, 11.

76 Al-Nahār, 9 12 1992, 113.

77 Manār al-Hudā, August-September 1992, 1213.

78 Al-Shirāʿ, 27 07 1992, 3031; Manār al-Hudā, 11 1992, 59.

79 Manār al-Hudā, December 1992-01 1993, 41.

80 Al-Muslimūn, 20 11 1993, 3; Manār al-Hudā, December 1992-01 1993, 41.

81 Al-Muslimūn, 20 11 1992, 3.

82 Yakan, , Al-Mawsūʿa al-Ḥarakiyya, 259.

83 Ibid., 267.

84 Al-Masīra, 27 12 1992, 15.

86 Al-Shirāʿ, 7 09 1992, 20.

87 Al-Safīr, 1 10 1992, 4.

88 Al-Shirāʿ, 5 10 1992, 1617; see also, al-Muslimūn, 30 11 1992, 3.

89 Manār al-Hudā, 11 1992, 41; Ibid., June-July 1993, 37.

90 Ibid., December 1992-February 1993, 31–33.

91 Ibid., 35.

92 Al-Safīr, 10 09 1992, 3; Manār al-Hudā, August-September 1993, 3032.

93 Al-Muslimūn, 30 11 1992, 3.

94 Manār al-Hudā, August-September 1992, 12.

95 Al-Nahār, 9 10 1995, 6.

96 On the preconditions of liberal Islamic regimes, see Binder, Leonard, Islamic Liberalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 357–59.

97 On the adaptability of the Sufi orders to modern societies, see Voll, John Obert, “Sufi Orders,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, 4 vols., ed. Esposito, John L. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 4:116.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Journal of Middle East Studies
  • ISSN: 0020-7438
  • EISSN: 1471-6380
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-middle-east-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed