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When we present glimpses of the thoughts of these greats, we are not trying to say that they should be followed uncritically or followed at all. Muslims follow only Allah and the example of the Prophet (pbuh). It's important to realize that these great thinkers are also creatures of their social, cultural, national contexts. If we look at them in detail, we will find that they had all the weaknesses of their colonized lands and peoples. They are great because they transcended their local contexts.

Imam Khomeini, for instance, was at one time a typical Shi'a scholar and proved himself capable of distinguishing himself as scholarly Shia. If we look at the details of his background, the elements which divide Muslims will seem important. However, Allah transformed him into a revolutionary who could see that AMERICAN IMPERIALISM and KINGSHIP, not inter-Muslim issues, were central to the Muslim situation.

IMAM KHOMEINI moved from one level of greatness to another till he became a world-shaping thinker. Yet he shaped the changes he wrought from WITHIN the Iranian, Shi'a context. His people believed that they should wait for the Mahdi to come and save society from its ills. With his knowledge of the Shia dialectic, Khomeini taught his people that even while they are waiting for the Mahdi, they must organize themselves and accept the leadership of a scholar they could trust to change their current situation. [That's the concept of WILAYATE FAQIH.]
IQBAL was deeply versed in, impressed by and influenced by western philosophy. He was an outstanding scholar at Heidelberg University in Germany. [Pakistanis have an important link with Germany!] Later when he studied the Qur'an, he realized that all other knowledge was minor as compared to wisdom of the BOOK.

MAUDOODI too has his highs and lows. His greatest achievements were: MAUDOODI also had his conservative background and conventional religiosity which he steadily overcame. Those who hate him ignore his major contributions [listed above] and point to his weak publications such as PURDAH and MASALA-e-MILKIATE ZAMEEN
[Again we must remember that we don't follow Khomeini or Maudoodi. We are servants of Allah and we follow the path of the Prophet, pbuh. Khomeini and Maudoodi are important because they give us the ability to be aware Muslims.]

OMAR'ABDEL RAHMAN, GREAT SON OF AFRICA, Hafiz of the Qur'an and of Sahih of Bukhari, was seemingly an ordinary Egyptian preacher. However, he transcended not only his physical weaknesses (he lost his sight during childhood) but also the milieu of local Egyptian concerns. HE BECAME THE SPIRITUAL GUIDE OF THE JIHAD MOVEMENT which today is a global phenomenon. His Ph.D dissertation from al-Azhar was on JIHAD.
In an era when just about all Muslim governments have been infiltrated, if not taken over, by the enemies of Islam, Muslims often see no guidance, seemingly, in conventional commentary on the Qur'an. If the REGIME is the OPPRESSOR and envelopes itself in the sacred name of Islam, how are the Muslims to fight back? Should they WAIT TO FIGHT ISRAEL till their corrupt governments declare Jihad (which of course would never happen)? OMAR 'ABDEL RAHMAN showed the relevance of the JIHAD VERSES in the Qur'an and the Hadith on Jihad. These verses are FOR EVERY MUSLIM, and JIHAD is the duty of every Muslim, he taught. Hence today the Muslims are fighting back everywhere, in growing numbers, aware that Jihad is as important as prayers and fasting.
[To be continued.]

2003-11-27 Thu 14:12ct