Stands >2006 Stands >The Stand of  Rabih `1 27 1427H /April 25, 2006 A.D.


Islamic parties

Sayyed Fadlullah: Islamic parties should derive their popularity from their own agenda, and not from opposing the counter project.

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question: What is this Islamic position regarding political parties?

The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said

Political parties represent one of the political and ideological essential instruments in this age, being one of the bases of building the modern state. In principle, we do not feel that there is a problem in the legitimacy of participating in parties and trade unions, since parties represent a movement to organizing man's actions, and achieving his aims of elevating the nation's level and guiding it ideologically, politically and economically. It also aims at unifying the nation’s efforts to serve its general interests.

Islam has emphasized all these issues, especially that of running the affairs of the nation in a way that establishes law and order, maintains stability and preserves the social and economic security of the nation. The legitimacy of any political party in Islam depends on its conforming in its principles, stands and decisions with the Islamic Shariah and its teachings that aim at protecting man and establishing justice in the society. And we have found as a result of monitoring the experiment of the of the parties’ political experiment in the Arab and Islamic worlds that they have made a lot of mistakes which distorted their image.

The most important mistake or illness these parties suffered from is the personality cult which made the head of the party summarize all of the party in his person by his appropriating of political decision making. And this led to the emergence of the phenomenon of opportunists who try to draw closer to the leader at the expense of the honest members who would be besieged and distanced, for various reasons including their standing against his dictatorship in running the party.

The party system was born in a democratic atmosphere to exemplify the multiplicity and diversity of the society. It also served to promote freedom that would enable it of presenting the best model of building the state.

But what happened in the Islamic and Arab worlds was that most of their parties practiced just the opposite. They adopted internal dictatorship, thus running their parties in a closed and iron fist manner that prevents any internal reform, at a time they were presenting themselves as the viable alternative for reform in the nation.

There is no doubt that the phenomenon of the personality cult and internal dictatorship that was prominent in most Arab and Muslim parties Led these parties to fall in the sphere of violence, with each party member resorting, once he reaches power, to accuse his old comrades of treason, and then liquidate them whether morally or physically, turning party multilateralism into a perpetual struggle for power.

Another negative point was partisan fanaticism, which made each party member defend his party even at the expense of principles and values.

Thus, parties became gods that were worshipped instead of worshipping Allah, the most Exalted, alone. This state of affairs prevented the Islamic parties from internal development and renewal, which could have given them a much needed vitality and pumped new blood into them, leading to a state of freeze in both the nation and the state.

Thus our parties should strive to break this circle of political calcification, by allowing the youth to participate in the party's decision making process, for we have noticed that most parties in the Arab and Islamic worlds suffer from a fatal old age phenomenon. What is most dangerous is that the parties that are still living in a climate of vitality derive it form their reactions to the counter – project and not from the viability of its own project.

We want the Arab and Muslim parties to mobilize the nation by the strength of their own programs, turning into shadow governments, and not to build their strength by opposing the oppression and totalitarianism of the regimes. This requires an intellectual, cultural and political effort that generates a viability in the party's body , mobilizes the nation on their own agenda, values and aspirations. We want the movement of building parties in the Arab world and especially in Lebanon to start from the actual need for building and present the appropriate plans for building the human and the society, and not base its agenda on personal concerns and narrow-interests, which will lead to the birth of similar parties which do not differ much in their agendas and aims, although there might be either leftist or rightist.

We have always emphasized the need to educate the voter in order to play his part in the process of change… saving him from the beast of ignorance or the multiple pressures, including that of poverty.

And we would like to emphasize the same thing regarding the issue of political parties. This is because the problem lies in that the leaderships have given themselves the right to know everything and take decisions in everything, leaving no role for the base.

This attitude made the leaderships adopt a policy of keeping the base in the dark, which in turn led to a lethal indifference by this base. Thus we have lost the actual chances of change, at a time the partisan and sectarian culture is flourishing. The culture of political instincts has become dominant, while the culture of criticism and solidarity has dwindled. We, in Lebanon, have once again entered in the Lebanese unknown that leads to more dangerous unknown of the region, and even the unknown of the game of nations in our country.