Role of criticism in Islam
We are facing a new stage in which international pressures will escalate
and the political and even security polarization will aggravate, thus
affecting Lebanon that will once again play the role or an open front
that is influenced by all the contradictions in the region instead of
being a politically and culturally productive homeland that serves its
citizens and environment, and takes into account its being a link between
the East and the West
Asked in his weekly seminar the following question:
How does Islam view criticism?
The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein
Islam was concerned in building the Islamic
personality in a comprehensive way, emphasizing the necessity of seeking
knowledge as one of its priorities. It urged the people to participate in
everything that could enhance their living or build their society through
their participation in the process of criticism that is the result of a
natural interaction with the environment, and the basis of the
individuals’ or ‘ feeling of responsibility towards the social, cultural
or even political movement of their community.
That is why not only did the Prophet educate the people as the need to
hold the ruler accountable, he also asked the people, although he was
infallible, to question him, for he said to them that although “you
cannot hold anything against me, for I only made lawful what the Quran
made lawful and prohibited what the Quran did…" they should hold him
accountable on the basis of the Quranic Holy constitution.
Yet, although we recognize the importance of promoting the culture of
criticism, we differentiate between the objective criticism that is based
on concrete facts and the negative one that is based on insults, emotions
and accusations of treason. Such a criticism does not enable the other
party to respond to the accusations in an objective rational and even
legal way. And thus it intersects with the culture of intimidation that
is practiced by the tyrant rulers.
It might be that our problem in the Arab and Muslim World lies in that
most rulers as well as opposition blocs belong to these two kinds of
culture: A ruler that appropriates the nation and prohibits any
criticism, which could be a short road to jail…. And an opposition that
does not allow an internal opposition to the leadership of the party or
the bloc, although such an internal freedom might be of great help in
confronting the ruler.
The nation, thus, has entered in a maze of appropriation either at the
top or within the grassroots. Any exception has become rather limited and
restricted to certain individuals that it became a formality or a
political or media decoration.
We in Lebanon are living a political comedy with tension escalating to
reach a climax, and no rational addressing of the problems in sight. It
is as if the country is meant to remain unstable, since the US wants the
region to enter into a waiting stage where nothing is decided since the
fate of the American presence in the region is not decided, and since
certain European parties have begun to benefit of this state of
immobility to try to create trouble to other Western parties, or at least
draw for themselves a line that. although remains within the general
framework of the American project, tries to find other means of pressure
to keep Lebanon unstable and vulnerable to pressure.
We are facing a new stage in which these international pressures will
escalate and the political and even security polarization will aggravate
thus affecting Lebanon that will once again play the role or an open
front that is influenced by all the contradictions in the region instead
of being a politically and culturally productive homeland that serves its
citizens and environment and takes into account its being a link between
the East and the West.