There isn’t much difference between modern Islamic Fundamentalism and Right Wing Conservatism. Both have insidious views on homosexuality, both prefer the domestication of women and both are hypocritical in their pursuit of religious gratification. But with Donald Trump’s crusade against Islam and Muslims, it has seemed he has adopted one of the most controversial aspects of an Islamic caliphate. I am of course talking about Bay’ah.
What is Bay’ah you ask? Bay’ah is Arabic for pledge of loyalty towards the leader of the Islamic Caliphate. So when Former FBI Director, James Comey, alleged that Mr Trump made these incomprehensible and abhorrent comments towards him; comparisons were bound to be produced.
In Islam a pledge of loyalty is not just seen as a political tool for stability, but also a seen as pledge that pleasures God. For instance the companions of Muhammad pledged allegiance towards to him in an event known as ‘The Pledge Under the Tree’. After this pledge, which was initiated after the death of their friend Uthman ibn Affan, Muslims believe that God sent down a revelation, in the form of verses of the Qur’an. It is commented that God was pleased with the oath of loyalty the men had taken, and that pleasure is intrinsically connected to the value of a Muslim.
This pledge was used throughout the early Islamic Caliphates, and is under current use with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. The main purpose of this pledge, other than the apparent pleasure if gives God, is to accentuate political affiliation with the ruler of the caliphate.
However when an ideological practice has immense spiritual significance attached to such a political sentiment, there can be tumultuous reverberations. In the case of Islam – death. This is because anyone who leaves the fold of Islam is considered an apostate. Though Islamic scholars differ on the repercussions of apostasy (it must be argued that the Qur’an say there is no compulsion in religion), many agree that death is the appropriate protocol. So breaking a pledge towards Islam or the caliphate has disastrous penalties.
In the case of Trump and Comey, those implications are more philosophical than psychical.
The US governmental system works on a checks and balance program. That is to remove the idea of collusion or fraudulent behaviour. It is meant to keep the notion of democracy integral, without any erosion. Governmental organisations work in that same capacity.
The FBI is an independent entity from the executive branch of government. Demanding loyalty, as the executive, from different branches or institutions undermines the whole checks and balance system, and destroys the basic principle of democracy. This principle, that supersedes any political party, upholds the international integrity of the sovereign nation of United States of America. Without that, America has no philosophical mandate to sustain.
By asking for loyalty from Comey, Trump has abused the delicate system but also he has tarnished the philosophical identity of America. After all America is not an Islamic meritocracy, but a fundamentalist democracy. Surely his supporters cannot advocate a President who is against America’s values, and supports Islamic fundamentalism?
Or has America always been hypocritical? Have they always adopted Islamic ideology? Is this a meritocracy masquerading as a democracy?
I bring forth the pledge of allegiance.
When you pledge a loyalty to a flag, with your hand on your heart, and the United States of America, it does sound rather ominous and portentous. It also sounds very similar to how ISIS followers would pledge loyalty to their leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid states, “With regard to how the allegiance should be given to the leader and the Muslim empire, in the case of men it is done in word and in deed, namely with a handshake.” The similar hand jesters and oaths are strange, especially in the modern era. But it highlights the similarity between America and ISIS.
So is Trump exercising his love of Islamic ideology, or is he just following on the tradition that the founding father’s implemented? It is an interesting debate. After all Thomas Jefferson did have a copy of the Qur’an with him in the Oval Office. Nevertheless we do have one certainty after all this: American democracy is slowly being eroded, and the voices of the people will perish with it. When that day comes there will be no Edward Murrow or Malcolm X. All there will be is the darkness of the abyss. But we can stop that. We can rally against insidious individuals who want to annihilate our freedom and our liberty. Research about current events, read primary sources instead of secondary commentary and help those around regardless of creed. We are the masters of our fate. We are the captains of soul.