Allah: Chastiser of Nations
The theological rationale for replacing the Western system of the nation-state rests in the Koran. Allah made it clear to Muhammad that all nations have a term and that all nations will be judged. The Koran contains frequent references to two pre-Islamic nations who have disappeared following the judgment of God: Ad and Thamud, two Arab-related people. The citizens of Ad are described as abnormally tall and were descendent from the biblical Noah. Ad was allegedly a powerful country, which stretched from Oman to Hadramaut (the southernmost province of Yemen, and homeland of Osama bin-Laden). Allah dispatched the Prophet Hud to warn the Ad that they must abandon their worship of false gods. Unheeding of the warning, the Ad people vanished from the world stage. The Koran asserts that the Thamud people met the same fate: oblivion.
The Koran describes Muslims as the chastisers of godless nations that refuse to amend their evil ways, and who give their hearts to Satan. In a possible attempt to explain why political tyranny triumphs temporarily, Koranic scholars agree that Allah permits nations to practice their corrupt and perverse pleasures until their tyranny and transgression reach extraordinary proportions. “We (Allah) opened the gate of all things (for them) …until they rejoiced in which (what) they were given (but) we seized them suddenly; then lo, they were in despair.” This reference of course is embraced by some Muslims, who may hope that eventually the scales of justice will be balanced and that even the “Great Satan” (America) will have its day of judgment when Allah decides. Osama bin-Laden used to taunt the al-Saud rulers of Arabia that, because of their illegitimate nature and having failed to adhere to the ways of Allah, they too will soon disappear. Bin-Laden would call upon the Saudi ruling clique “to fight in Allah’s way and to urge believers on because the might of Allah is stronger as is His punishment.”
Some Arabs and Muslims may have derived a sense of confidence that they are Allah’s new chosen people; that they will be raised by Allah to become a great nation in a manner similar to the one God promised Abraham. The Koran, for instance, describes how Allah sent 3000 angels to bolster the outnumbered Muslims against the Mecca-based Quraysh forces at the Battle of Badr in 624 A.D. Thereafter, Muhammad consolidated Muslim power throughout the Arabian Peninsula. The early Muslims were then confronted with the hostility of the world’s two greatest powers, Rum (Byzantium) and Persia (Sassanid Dynasty). Both attacked Islam first, but Allah again came to the rescue, and Rum and Persia were conquered. Muslim commentators also recall how fierce were the Mongols, who devastated the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate but who ultimately were converted to Islam. These historical lessons are applied to present day enemies of Islam as well.
The Umma Trumps the Nation-State
The 1648 Peace of Westphalia elevated the concept of national sovereignty above all other claims of loyalty by a country’s citizens. This international agreement ended a century of warfare, which had been fueled by religious differences and the conflicting dynastic claims of the principal royal houses of Europe. The sovereignty principle was the cornerstone of the modern nation-state system, and curtailed the ability of Europe’s dynastic families to exploit religious differences within European principalities as an instrument to augment their power. The Westphalia arrangements also helped to establish Western civilization’s principle of the separation of church and state by acknowledging the political leadership as a society’s primary power rather than the officials of the dominant religious denomination of each principality. This documentary precedent ultimately facilitated the development of a liberal, democratic, and secular order in the West. And it is this order that political Islam intends to expunge, replacing it with a new global system ruled by Islamic Sharia.
Muslim states have not emulated the West’s example. In Islamic countries there is no separation of religion from politics. Moreover, the nation plays a minor role in governmental administration and legislation. Koran-based legality is the law of the land. Parenthetically, the majlis in Islamic countries is a consultative assembly lacking the authority to create law, unlike the legislatures in non-Muslim governments. In political Islam, law-making is the prerogative of Allah alone.