VI. STRATEGIC PLANNING
The Islamic movement must be clear in its purpose, goals and strategies, and must distinguish them from subordinate objectives, courses of action and tactics.
Clarity of purpose in the Islamic Movement is a source of strength for the fully committed. This purposiveness and coherent goals structure avoids wasted or inefficient effort and permits all one’s abilities and strength to focus on the most effective Islamic work.
From study of Islamic methodology and analysis of texts of the Qur’an and hadith, and Islamic history, it is clear that the purpose of Revelation is for mankind to serve Allah, the Almighty, both individually and collectively. Men and women should be the servants of Allah not only while praying in the mosques but in their daily lives while earning a living or doing business; not only during their fasting, but also while they are governing. Not only when they make supplications to Allah but also when they sit in judgement on others.
Allah, the Almighty, says:
I have created Jinns and men only that They may [know, worship, and] serve Me. [Qur’an 51:56]
In other words, Muslims in an Islamic Movement are the true servants of Allah and their obedience is only to Allah, the Almighty, in all matters of life. It encompasses not only religious affairs but also worldly affairs. This is because Islam teaches its followers that there is no segregation or separation between religion and worldly affairs. Islam rejects the idea of secularism which is based on separation of religion and state in accordance with the superficial understanding of the supposed statement of the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, -Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s, which is translated into the idea that religion is for God (Allah) and the state is for everyone. The servitude of man means that he must reject all manmade philosophies and systems that by nature lead mankind to submit to the false gods of materialism.
Islam rejects totally all of these paradigms, systems and methods because:
1) It is clear that they transgress against Allah’s rights and rules. Allah, the Almighty, says:
The Command Rests with none but Allah. [Qur’an 6:57]
2) All such man-made concepts and practices cause weakness and failure. Therefore they are unable to bring out the true nature of mankind in the trials of life. Allah, the Almighty, says:
Is then He Who creates like one that creates not? Will you not receive admonition? [Qur’an 16:17]
Working for Islam means to establish Allah’s rule on this earth, which means replacing man-made laws and systems of governance and problem-solving. Allah’s rule is complete and comprehensive consisting of the greatness of its creed, the beauty of its moral teachings and the universal laws and methods that provide detailed guidance for every practical situation in life.
Since our ultimate goal is to replace the un-Islamic system with a total Islamic one, every effort that does not contribute toward achieving the goal of destroying the un-Islamic system is useless and will only prolong evil. Allah, the Almighty, says:
Now then, for that (reason), call (them to the Faith), and stand steadfast as you are commanded, and do not follow their vain desires. [Qur’an 26:15]
The method of work must be determined entirely by this overriding goal, because Islam has been revealed for the purpose of achieving this same goal. This method of work is clear from the path the Prophet (s) chose, to reach this goal.
The Islamic method used for this ultimate goal gives depth of meaning to our work. The Islamic Movement wants to bring all people to a state of total submission to Allah, the Almighty, in their practice, their interactions, their political and economic systems, their laws, -in every aspect of their lives.
Fundamental transformation of society requires actions that can change it at its very roots. The Islamic Movement therefore must reject every cosmetic act or process of putting band-aids on the wounds of the fundamentally flawed societies of materialism. The Islamic Movement must reject un-Islamic methods and refuse to coexist with any man-made ideologies.
As to its method four things are critical to the Movement’s Success. It must be:
The scope and focus of all Movement work should include four elements in order to be comprehensive. These are implementation of thought and political strategy, organization and tactical planning, human preparation, and the manpower and weapons. These elements should be separated from each other, because they are complementary and mutually reinforcing in every effort to pursue the ultimate goal. Allah, the Almighty, says:
And fight them until persecution is no more and religion is all for Allah. [Qur’an 8:39]
The Movement must be universal in its planning, organization, and implementation, in the sense that it is active everywhere, in every country and throughout every society. Islam is a universal system of thought and action. It goes beyond the boundaries of country, nationality, family, and language. This system is unique in the sense that it covers all aspects of thought and governance, with the flexibility essential for effective implementation. This has made Islam the only system capable of offering solutions to the problems of life wherever or whenever they may arise.
The universality of Islamic teachings can be seen through the development of an Islamic community that reaches out to a great portion of the world, and preserves the beliefs, values and methods of effective action.
The universality of the Islamic work is essential and obligatory because our major problems are now global and interrelated. Therefore the Islamic Movement must be universal in its thinking, ideology, direction, and strength. All local problems have some universal characteristics and links with the broader external world.
Therefore those who work for Islam must free themselves from thinking only about their local problem or from a local frame of reference.
Duties and responsibilities of the Islamic movement are not limited to finding or providing solutions to the myriad of problems that arise in un-Islamic societies, e.g., in education, the mass media, food, clothing, politics, and economics. Islamic movements should get involved in these issues, but their involvement should focus on exposing the falsehood and the evil and the destruction caused by un-Islamic systems. This focus will undercut any efforts by un-Islamic rulers to exploit these issues in order to retain or consolidate their power.
As an example, the Islamic movement should address the issue of inflation by identifying it as a natural result of monopoly capitalism, whose leaders can benefit from inflation to further narrow the ownership of the nation’s wealth. Hence, the Islamic movement must explain to the public that property ownership in the means of production must be widely held in order to be Islamic and that Islam is the only system of thought that recognizes the man’s right of property ownership as the core of economic and social justice. The Islamic movement should not work together helping an un-Islamic system solve its problems without addressing their underlying causes, because cooperation in alleviating the effects of injustice only prolongs the power of an unjust system.
In addressing the Palestinian problems and all its injustices, the Islamic movement should point out the failure of all un-Islamic systems that have attempted to govern Palestine. These un-Islamic systems have failed to instill in the people the spirit and the feeling of struggling in the path of Allah and have failed to free the land that has been usurped by transgressors. The Islamic movement should also build the belief, trust and pride in Islam as the only method capable of preparing and molding the ummah to face with fortitude any difficulties in the struggle of justice.
3) Faithful to the Way of the Prophet
The Islamic movement should rely only on the methods the Prophet Muhammad (s) used, to achieve Islamic goals. In this regard we must remember that his methodology is the only correct way to move forward. The Prophet’s life-example shows the right techniques of preaching, public relations, and working with people; it is a perfect model for confronting and defeating forces of ignorance (jahiliyyah).
The life of the Prophet Muhammad (s), brings out four principles as the foundation of all our Islamic work:
First, at the very beginning, the declaration of submission to Allah. Allah, the Almighty, says:
In order that Allah may separate the impure from the pure. [Qur’an 8:37]
This declaration was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s), in many ways, all calling mankind to worship only Allah, in his sublimity, and divinity, in every aspect of life.
Even though the Prophet (s) and his companions suffered various kinds of torture, but they never gave up and did not take the easy way out in practicing their beliefs and calling people to believe the Message and basic truths for which they struggled. Allah, taught the Prophet declare:
Say: O you that reject Faith! I worship not what you worship, nor will you ,N,orship what I worship. And I will not worship what you have been wont to worship, nor will you worship what I worship. To you be your way, and to me mine. [Qur’an 109:1-6]
Say, The Truth is from your Lord: let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it). [Qur’an 18:29]
Second, the formation and mobilization of a group of people bound together by belief and faith in Allah, the Almighty, who obey the organization and its leadership and who perform their responsibilities with the guidance of Allah. Such a group is not diverted from the goals by the decision-making process nor by small matters and trivial problems. Rather they are more concerned with working and preparing themselves to achieve the goal of Islam in their allocation of time and effort. Their commitment to the future of Islam overcomes their own personal interests, as it did for those of Darul Arqam bin AI-Arqam, whose faith was firm, and for all the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who sacrificed in jihad in the Battles of Badr, Qadisiah, and Yarmuk.
The history of the first generation, prepared and groomed by Muhammad, peace be upon him, is filled with this kind of countless brave and fearless heroes. Through this generation, Allah opened the doors for the Message of Islam. They are our forefathers [in Islam], so let us be like them.
Third, carefully prepared all-out effort against the forces of ignorance. The Prophet (s), exercised such care because he knew that the central Islamic goal is to totally change all aspects of human life, especially thought and belief, the way of life, and the system of governance. This form of confrontation requires pioneers, who are strong in faith, well prepared, capable of carrying out their responsibilities, and ready for the greatest sacrifices in pursuing the great Islamic goal.
Therefore the preparation has to be comprehensive and complete, encompassing worship and education in ways of thinking and knowledge, organization and planning, and training for jibad, both spiritual and physical. All of this preparation must be carried out according to priorities, based on the quantitative, qualitative and urgent needs of the particular stage.
4) Materially Strong
A successful revolutionary movement requires a balance of material and non-material strength. Neglect of either leads to extremism, and extremism is strongly condemned in Islam.
Imam Hasan AI-Banna explained the role of material strength in the strategy of the Islamic movement as follows:
Many people ask, "Does the Islamic movement plan to use its strength in achieving its goal?" "Does the Islamic movement have in mind a comprehensive or a complete revolution to replace the ruling system and other social systems that exist today?" Since I do not want to allow these questioners to continue in their state of confusion, I want to use this opportunity to answer those questions thoroughly and clearly.
The Qur’an says:
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into [the hearts of] the enemies, of God and your enemies. [Qur’an 8:60]
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: A strong believer is better and more loved by Allah than the weak believer.
Prayer for strength and the courage to use it is common in Islamic prayer. Thus, the Prophet (s), prayed for the strength of total concentration and calmness, and taught this prayer to his Companions:
Oh Allah, Oh my God, I seek refuge from you from the feeling of depression; I seek refuge from You from the feeling of cowardliness and stinginess, I seek refuge from you from the burden of debt and from suppression by those in power.
Our slogan is "strength in everything." Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood must work from and with this strength.
The Islamic movement must be mature in its thinking and far sighted in its vision, so it will not be influenced by undue enthusiasm for the insignificant objectives of the shortsighted. We know that the most important strength is our faith and belief, followed in order by, the strength of togetherness, and the strength of manpower and weapons. No group can be strong without values. An organization or group with superficial strength in manpower and weapons, but disorganized or weak in faith, will lead itself to destruction.
Should the use of force he the initial solution or only if necessary, the choice of last resort in a final stage? How does one identify and evaluate the good or had results of the use or non-use of force in each stage of the systemic revolution to which all Muslims are called? The Islamic Movement should consider these questions carefully.