Tucson Discourses

May 1978

Islam and the Death of Democracy

Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim

I affirm that there is no god but Allah - no god but the One Creator of the universe, and Muhammad, blessing and peace of Allah be upon him, is the Messenger of Allah - that is to say that Sayyiduna Muhammad, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, the beloved, came with the complete message of Islam, with the science of Islam, with the knowledge of Islam, which is a light that has illuminated the world for 1400 years. The light of Islam is the light of Qur'an - the light of Qur'an is the light of Muhammad, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam. The people who follow Sayyiduna Muhammad, salla'llahu''alayhi wa sallam, are a people who are illuminated by the wisdom and the beauty that comes from the teachings of Qur'an al-Karim, the Generous Qur'an, the Noble Qur'an.

For 1400 years, whenever Islam has established itself, it has swept away ignorance, it has swept away cruelty and oppression, and it has brought life to people and that life is so sweet and it has such a fragrance in it and the dust of this fragrance still so enchants the people of this barbaric society that they put it in museums and they walk in awe around it and look at the artefacts of these civilisations of Islam and see something they have not got in their own lives. But this is the dust of the teaching of Islam. Islam has always flowered where the society has been collapsing - has become over-full, has become decadent, has become soft, has become sentimental, has become over-educated, over-knowledgeable without wisdom. People who know too much - people who know everything - this ignorance is swept away when the light of Islam comes.

The project of Islam is not visible which is why all these enemies of Islam failed to understand what was happening in Iran, failed to understand what was happening in the Middle East and in Indonesia and in the sub-continent of India. Why do they not understand it? Because it's not visible. The reality of Islam is in the heart and this reality is so powerful that there is not anything in this world that is worth taking in exchange for it. The famous statement that was made to Lord Cromer when he said, "We must stop the Muslims" in Egypt in the 1890's. They said - even in the early 19th century, "What are we to say against a people who, when they look into the mouths of the cannons. see the gardens of Jinna?" A people who see the gardens of Paradise.

The people were not looking at the visible world at all. Islam has no negotiation with ignorance. It has no negotiation with a decadent society. One has to cut through the decadence and establish - what? Iqama as-Salat - establish worship of Allah - establish prostration before the Divine Reality. Islam is original awareness - deen, it is called in Arabic - Deen al-Haqq - the life-transaction of the Real. What is the life-transaction of the Real? It is to stand before Reality and recognise that you are in-time, that you are dependent and that the Real is beyond time, is before-time and after-time, and time, and it is independent, and before the enormity of the Divine Reality of which you are an infinitely minute speck, a blink of an eye - less than the blink of an eye, your life is a tiny thing in the cosmic reality - before the awareness of this and the physical/ physiological/biological reality of our helplessness, before the Majesty of the Real, to stand before it, to bow before it, and finally completely to prostrate and put one's head on the ground before it. That is Islam - finished!

And this Reality brings with it awareness. What awareness does it bring with it? - that this world is passing and disappearing and leaving us. What lies after death is coming towards us, is approaching and coming nearer. There isn't any moment in which it isn't more near than the moment before it. Therefore the only non-neurotic way to live is a way that is aligned to recognising the biological inevitable. In all the society of outwardness that is this insane society, and of all the insanities there has never been one like the current dominant culture - never - there is no recognition of the biological fact of death - none.

Look at the implication of this. The result of recognising this in your own being is that you are brought to have other goals.You cannot have the same social goals. You cannot aim at the same things because you are not permanent nor can you create permanence. You will not create a social order that is just, with peace and harmony throughout the land and-and-andÉ This is rhetoric, this is poetry, this is fantasy. Everything is created in opposites. If you want something to be raised up - you have to bend down in order that it can be raised up. Without the opposite, the thing cannot happen.

How could they possibly understand the fall of the Shah? because they believe that this figure on his peacock throne is real. They have to believe it's real because they believe their own infantile projects are real. But what was the real project of Sidi Ayatollah Khomeini, rahimahu'llahu? It was to prostrate before Allah. The first pictures the world saw were the pictures of a man in sajda - with his head on the ground - completely helpless. People went to him and then said, "But where's his government? Where's his this? Where's his that?" He had nothing. He said, "I haven't got anything - Allah!" He went down as far as you can go without disappearing into the earth and the Shah couldn't go any further up - equally without disappearing out of the earth. And now he's mad. Now he has gone mad. But wasn't he always mad. Because it is against nature - it is against existence - and you cannot go against existence.

This is a society where the highest intellection is opinion - and what is opinion but indoctrination and programming of the most banal mass information? Wherever you go in the United States of America people tell you - as if they had arrived by some spectacular spiritual illumination - at opinions that are mass-produced, not by the hundred thousand, but by the million. They say, "Oh well... I ... of course, am against organised religion. You see, because I have reached this monumental decision that it's false and only inhibits people..."

Or the whole dialectic of women's liberation which is completely set up, not to liberate women, but to put women into the industrial mechanism - without which, the industrial mechanism cannot reach the next stage of its inevitable technical development. And all this rhetoric that is mouthed doesn't mean anything at all because it is simply taking women out of one slavery and putting them into another slavery - the same slavery that men have been in for the last fifty years.

Our project is not the same, Islam is disruptive. Islam is peace among the Muslims, but it is war on this ignorance. Now American society has collapsed. It has collapsed. It is finished. It was based on democracy and democracy is demonstrably over. We've seen recent statistics that go right back to 1960: every President has been voted in on a twenty to thirty per cent aggregate of the voting population. So democracy is not democracy. And still this ghastly fantasy is being imposed on people who'd have nothing to do with it, who want nothing to do with it, Iran has rejected it. Pakistan has rejected it. And it has collapsed in Turkey. Political democracy as a viable form of existence has collapsed in Turkey after an attempted imposition on the Turkish people of it by the Masonic movement instigated by the same western banking elite who have been running this country as an occupied state from the 1890's.

This is occupied territory. This is no longer America in any recognisable form. This is already occupied territory in the same way that Palestine is occupied territory - and the left bank is occupied territory - by the same people - controlled by it, governed by it, and media-dictated by it, So you can't arrive at a world picture from within the dialectic that you are offered by your education and by the already imperially controlled media that are manipulating the indigenous population of the United States of America.

This is the viewpoint of the Muslim - arrived at by the evidence of the last twenty-five years in the Middle East - in which everything that was before that considered a paranoid fantasy of those people who said it was going to happen, has proven a historical reality by what has happened with the Zionist victory in governing America and in seizing the lands of the Palestinian people. But the issue of the Palestinian people only focuses on the helpless struggle of innocent people against a life-transaction which in fact stretches beyond the 'Russian' occupation of America. The Russian power struggle in which America has been involved is a struggle over who is to lead this enormous country.

It stretches beyond that. It stretches beyond it to what has always been the tension in the human race and in human society at different stages and at different degrees, manifesting different conflicts and different cultures and different transformations of culture at different times in society. That is, that man is able to grasp the message of the Prophets or he is able to reject them, because according to the teachings of the Qur'an there has never been a people who have not received direct revelation from the Divine about how to live - but they have rejected the Prophet as the Jews rejected Moses and have become Baconised - so the Christians have rejected Jesus and have turned him into a Greek mystery cult, and all that happened when Sayyiduna Muhammad, salla'llahu 'alayhi was sallam, came is that he returned people to what he called Deen al-Haqq.

What is Deen al-Haqq? The life-transaction of the Real? That you are mortal, that you will die and the only means of peace is for you to have inner awareness of your existential dilemma which only remains a dilemma as long as you are unable to grasp your situation. Once you have grasped it - you recognise you are helpless - you recognise you are poor.You give up. You surrender. Islam is surrender. You surrender this idea that you can sculpt some kind of monumental autobiographic reality that will stand immutable when you are a vanishing thing.You are in annihilation. You have come from non-existence and you are going to non-existence. You are an imagination in an imagination in an imagination. Everything is perishing - it says in Qur'an - except the Face of Allah. And it remains. Endless. It goes on. Lord of Majesty and Generous Gifts. This is the reality of existence. But the secret of the most minute particle of existence is the secret of the whole. And this secret is in the heart of the human being. And knowledge of this secret is what illuminates the Muslim society.

There was published recently in England an anthropological series with all the ludicrous invented complexities of anthropology, which is in itself a crucial political arm of the dominant culture trying to grasp and understand all the varied sorts of human beings and cultures and groupings of human beings in the world in order to control them, in order to manipulate them into this hideous profit nexus that has been set up in this culture. But if you didn't read the pseudo-fantasies of the academics and looked at the photographs, you saw something quite overwhelming, you saw basically three groups of people. Right through the whole world, today you can basically divide people into three groups:

1) what you might call the 'primitive' - they were naked and they were painted. They were bare or they were decorated and they have the nobility of this primal condition of the human being according to how much they have avoided the corruption of our society.

2) Then there were the middle group who were these bloated fat, pinkish, suited, seated, frozen, impacted, opaque, dead creatures - the European and the American - there was really something so completely suffocating and stifling in their lack of transparency, so utterly geared to play and utterly geared to infantile projects.

3) And then there was a third group of people who first of all were staggering, by their vastness in numbers - because they also stretched around the world - and they were noble. They were from Somalia, and they were from Sudan, and they were from Pakistan, and they were from Malaysia, and they were from Indonesia, and they were from southern China, and they were from south-eastern Russia, and they were from the Tuareg in the desert and they were from the islands of the Comoros, and they were from Nigeria and Gambia and Senegal and you could not look at them without your eyes filling up with - if not tears, at least some kind of deep admiration that was not aesthetic. It was a recognition. "I didn't realise, I had forgotten how noble the human being was," and where was their project? Where was their idolatry? There was nothing - they were against the background of the earth and the sky - men, women and children - because their main project was worship of Allah - and they looked quite fulfilled and they didn't look as if there was something wrong or something had to be brought to them, but the dominant culture says that they are underdeveloped, that they are 'third world' and by the Mercy of Allah this event in Iran has made the whole of these people of whom we are part as Muslims, realise the fantasy of this. They are not third anything - they are not underdeveloped - they are developed.

And here is a country so based on fantasy, so based on a magical pharaonic hermeneutic of numbers - something they have invented totally to manipulate and to exploit people, the economic system and the financial market - that they have actually condemned the Untied States already - in advance, because they are not getting their way - to destruction. It's done, and it's signed and sealed, and it's delivered - and everybody knows it. And the people are helpless, and still they are carrying on these ludicrous dialogues about women's freedom, about black people's freedom, about the freedom of sexual deviants, about every kind of freedom that is, in fact, a rhetoric in a balloon that doesn't mean anything at all. It's been given to them to keep them all hearing about it and to control any psychological restlessness and turbulence that would allow them to ask any questions - to say., "How can we unlock the dilemma we are in?"

The only way you can unlock the dilemma you are in is to turn away from the society and the dominant culture that has reduced people to the state of people in western Europe and in the United States today. It is not the life-transaction of technology that is spreading - it is Islam that is spreading and Islam is bounded in worship of God, worship of the Creator of the universe, and direct experience of Divinity - pure mysticism - crystalline diamond mysticism - without priesthood, without ritual, without magic, without bells and mystic figures, without dragons and fairy stories - a pure rational foundation - from which you look out on an abyss that is totally incomprehensible by intellect. And that solid foundation allows you to make sincere true judgements that are illuminated by compassion and concern for your brother and your sister.

From that clear foundation of judgement that is in Qur'an you are able to embark on the adventure of examining and discovering the secret of your own heart and the meaning of your own existence - not linguistically so you can talk about it and rap about it - but by illumination, by vision, by inner vision. Not some special group, for some people with a proclivity for the unseen and a proclivity for the esoteric. It is the ordinary Muslim. It is the simple person in Islam who becomes the saint, who becomes the luminary, who becomes what we call the wali - the friend of Allah - who reaches Allah, who has the vision of the Face of Allah, who gazes on the beloved - it is the poor person, it is the cobbler, it is the carpenter, it is the clerk. These become, among the Muslims when they meet together for Allah, these people become the princes, these people become the kings in that circle. It is not the ruler of the society who is honoured - it is the one who is in the highest place with Allah who is honoured.

When Sayyiduna 'Umar, the second Caliph, radiya'llahu 'anhu, arrived with Sayyiduna 'Ali, karima'llahu wajhuhu, when they arrived at the place where the great mystic and saint, Uways al-Qarani, lived and they realised they were in the place where this man lived. The Prophet, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, had never seen Uways al-Qarani in the visible world but he said, "There is a man in a certain place and you will come to it and when you come to it, go to him and greet him for me because he is my beloved friend." They asked, "Is there any man here who is a great man of Allah?" and people said, "No, no, there's nobody here," and they said, "There must be, because the Prophet described the place and we're at it," and they said, "Well, there's like a madman in the hills. He lives in a cave, but he'll throw stones at you if you go near him." They laughed and said, "This will be him!" They went to him, but he didn't throw stones. He came out and said, "Ya 'Umar and Ya 'Ali! Marhaban! Come in! I've been waiting for you. Sit down, describe him to me!" They said, "He looks like...this and this and this and this..." and they described the Prophet. He said, "That is right. That is right. That is right. That is right... and you have missed out this..." He was the one who was close to Allah, and before this man - the amir of the mu'minun - the ruler of an empire that already stretched from Europe to the gates of China within the lifetime of the Companions of the Prophet, this man who had an empire stretching a third of the way around the world who was dressed, remember, in a robe of patches and walked barefoot, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, wept and said, "You should be the Amir al-Mu'minin. You should be the ruler of the believers. Let me stay in the cave!"

This is the life quality of the people of Islam. They move between government of the social and pure mysticism with complete ease - not like these terrible dead figures who are leading men and women and their children today into complete chaos so that, in the last week, in one week, we have had at least three cases of murder by 14 year olds, two cases on their parents. Completely a kind of limit situation of social breakdown, and still they laugh, and still they shrug their shoulders, and sill they believe what they read in the newspapers, still they believe what they are told on television and still they think they know everything, because they have been crammed with ludicrously unstructured data in the university and these same people who laugh - have got no say whatsoever in any significant aspect of their society whatsoever. They are as helpless as children who have not even any teeth.

Now, if Islam establishes itself in America, it can only do one thing - which is sweep away a decadent society and establish it with a just society, Not by legislation, not by Shari'a - it's not about that - Islam is about people who already are capable of leading moral lives. All the propaganda against Islam makes it seem that there is a pile of hands that have been cut off and lumps of people buried under stones. This is so ludicrously distant from the realities of a Muslim society.

The point is, in a Muslim society, people have opted for a moral existence. They are able - it is a conceivable goal - to police yourself. They are not in the ludicrous, the insane dialectic of crime and statistics, by which the crime prevention is improved by a larger police force and more inhibitions to stop the crimes which are on the increase - which proves that their method is not working in the first place. There are no policemen in Islam, there is no army, there are no banks. The structure is organic.

Your body is not rigidly structured. It is structured in flux, it is structured in movement, it is structured in cellular growth and breakdown. One half of the whole process of your body you do not even have any conscious command of - and without that you could not even live. But you canot say you are not structured. Well, that is the same in a Muslim society. You cannot police your digestion anymore than you can police morality within the house. This is the foundation of Islam, in moral terms and that's why, in a Muslim society today - even today - with all the incursions on Islam and the corruption of Islam by the kafir, you can walk through a Muslim village in Africa in the dead of night and not even look behind you. If you hear a noise you are absolutely safe and - in the rare event that you are not safe - if you called out there is no question but that people would come to your rescue, and neither the first nor the second is true in American or European society.

The issue of women's freedom cannot be debated or confronted or opened up at the personal, psychological and social level at which it is being made in the present time. All liberation is based on a just and moral society that has respect for men and women, for the fulfilment of their goals, according to a healthy, wholesome and reasonable bounded existence - because we are bounded. We are bounded biologically by the limits of our body. We are already lawful, we are already organised, we are already structured, as I have said. The issue of the freedom of women is a political issue and can only be solved by the politicisation of women, as the liberation of men is a political issue, which can only be solved by the politicisation of men.

But politicisation means being aware of the total social nexus, and the social nexus has an outside and an inside. It has a physical aspect and an inner aspect, and nothing less than something that answers both of these is of any use. Do you follow? Unless you have inwardness, that social life will not be tolerable for you anyway. Whatever material goals you get, whatever social zone you answer or establish yourself in, you will still not be content. Sayyiduna Muhammad, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, "The son of Adam will never be content until the dust fills his mouth."

If your orientation is the unseen and what lies beyond it, not as an idea, not as a fantasy, but something which you will see with your own inner eye while you're alive because the Prophet, salla'llahu Ôalayhi wa sallam, has said, "Every mu'min, everyone who accepts Allah, will see his place in the Garden before he dies" - and it is true. And this is an orientation that not only makes life possible, it makes death possible. If your life is bearable, your death will be bearable. If you're not afraid of death, you will not be afraid of life. All fear of life is fear of death and fear of death is based on not having coming to terms with your inevitably destined limited existence. All Sufic knowledge is attuning people to relax before the inevitable, before what Qur'an calls the Certain: "When the Certain comes to you, and what is the Certain?" (Qur'an)

These are themes of mediation and of reflection and of contemplation by the intelligent Muslim. In the social sphere, and in the private sphere, Islam invites you take its way. Islam is an invitation itself. Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa'llah. Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadun rasulallah, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam. I confirm that there is no god but the one God and that Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the Messenger of God.

That is it, and that is enough. On this incredibly simple statement, a whole profound and ravishingly beautiful metaphysic and social reality is offered to the human being, It is not laid out in advance. It is not 'going back 1400 years' and so on. Ridiculous propaganda! All your options are open - what are laid down are the limits - the parameters of the possible for sanity and for justice. And then you do what you like, do what you like. Those are the limits, and within them, you do anything you want. This is the Islamic republic that they are so terrified of.

But it is not mullahs, and as long as there are mullahs it is not Islam. Islam has got no elite. Islam is a bunch of human beings who have elected to follow this and who accept it. They have said mullahs - it is not mullahs! In Afghanistan it is not mullahs - it is simple mountain people fighting for their lives. And the same in Iran. And the same in Egypt, And the same in Turkey - which we will soon see insha'llah. But it will happen here and it is happening here. It is started here, not just in Tucson, but from one end of America to the other - it is happening. It is growing. Nothing can stop it, because it is for this time - it is for this place. It will go around the world. It is in Korea. It is in Japan. Last year the venerable 85 year old leader of the Buddhist Church in Korea embraced Islam and he is now Hajj Abu Bakr. The world is changing.

But you are changing. You are the microcosm and the world is the macrocosm. The world is changing - you are changing. You are in change - there isn't anything but change. Allah is the Ever-Continuing. Make Islam your life-transaction and hold to Islam. Strengthen your Islam and extend your Islam. Expand it, because each person has an Islam according to his station of knowledge. One man's Islam is very narrow. One man's Islam is very closed - another person's Islam is very wide, very vast. It depends on your intellect, on your generosity, Because of all the qualities of Sayyiduna Muhammad, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, his greatest quality was his generosity.

And people who have good qualities before Islam are the people who are the best Muslims, because he said, "The best of you before Islam are the best of you after Islam" - because all it does is it ennobles and enhances and gives focus to the moral good qualities of the human being and there is not one thing in the teaching of Islam and in the beautiful revelation of Qur'an, there is not one thing that offends the human intellect. You cannot find one thing to offend the human intellect - and that is why Islam has grown, is growing, and will continue to grow - will flower - will become decadent - will crumble - and then the seeds of it will go somewhere else and the same process will go on, as it has gone on, in a world that is running down, that is decaying, and in which all sense of justice and sanity is disappearing according to precisely what was said by Sayyiduna Muhammad, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, yet still the people of the Truth call on Allah and worship Allah, whatever happens in the world. They are not looking for a utopia. We do not expect a utopia. We are not Christian. We have no fantasy that everone will become Muslim and will all live happily ever after. Every age, the Prophet, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, 'every age after us will be worse than the age before it, until the end of time, That is the historical perspective of the human being. That is the dilemma of the human being, and the reality of Islam confronts it.

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