Wael Hallaq's name is no longer associated only with the impossible state's intellectual project, but has become a phenomenon that indicates a strange development in the institution of Orientalism in the West and the mechanism of operation of this institution. In response to a question about his relationship with Islam and what prevented him from embracing this religion, which is desperate to defend its law, Hallaq responds with words that the Arab Muslim viewer feels that he is facing a soft power that adopts a strategy that engages the Western consciousness in order to defend the issues of Islam and Muslims in the best way. It is better for a non-Muslim Hallaq to defend the interests of Muslims in the West than for him to defend them while he is a Muslim.
This answer bequeaths us great bewilderment. As for Wael Hallaq, he understands that we are in an open world, and that when he speaks to the Arab-Muslim world, he is also talking to the Western world as well? Is he not afraid that he will reveal his soft power strategy that aims to penetrate deep into Western consciousness in order to influence it? Has the institution of Orientalism become, to this extent, serving the interests of Muslims, defending their causes, and carrying their agenda? Or has Hallaq's soft power strategy become part of the strategy of orientalist discourse in the era of soft power, a force that targets the psychology of the masses in the Arab and Islamic world, not Western consciousness or imagination?
We find ourselves forced to find ways out of the impasse of the question of the state, as Barber puts it. Talking about the impossibility or possibility of establishing a state is a theoretical talk that has nothing to do with historical reality
Risk undermining the pillars of the modern state
What is new about Wael Hallaq's orientalist speech is that it has become the agenda of debate in the Arab and Muslim world. We have been lured into a debate on the question of the state that is supposed to arrive at two answers: either to undermine the pillars of the modern state from the ground up, or to accept living under its roof.
Calling for the undermining of the modern state is too risky. We are like those who are inside a house and want to demolish its corners, and it is not safe for the roof to fall over their heads. With this in mind, we are forced to find ways out of the dilemma of the state question as Barber puts it. Talking about the impossibility or possibility of establishing a state is theoretical and has nothing to do with historical reality. The State is the product of circumstances and causes created in a historical context marked by friction between different forces.
Political meeting in the Greek perception
When we read Aristotle's famous book on politics, we find in his first chapter devoted to political meeting and its relationship to other forms of society a saying that "every city (Polis) is a kind of meeting, and that all kinds of meeting arise to serve what is good, for all people come all their actions for the purpose of achieving what they consider good from their point of view." At the top of the type of meeting is the political association, as embodied in the city meeting (Polis), which embodies the supremacy of the absolute good.
Aristotle progresses in his presentation of the meaning of political sociology until he reaches the definition of man as a "political being". This definition raises a question related to the question of morality: is the charity of this political man, the city dweller, the same as the charity of the natural man before the founding of the city? Or is the charity of the natural human being more comprehensive because it does not adhere to a constitution of political society?
Aristotle makes a great theoretical effort in trying to answer these questions with a mental answer aimed at elaborating on what is mentally the best form of the city-state, which is the embodiment of the ideal human meeting. Although Aristotle's effort is governed by its limited societal context, a context of Greek society obsessed with establishing boundaries between who has and who does not, for example, he played a major role in drawing the major lines that would determine the nature of the debate about the state, whether in the first classical or modern periods.
Islam, in the words of the Qur'an and the Hadith, does not limit the identity of man to the closed socio-political dimension, limited by the city limits in its Greek sense.
To say that the purpose of human existence is the city-state is a broad narrowing. Therefore, a great theoretical effort has been made over the last two centuries at least to break the dilemma of the Aristotelian definition, which reduces human existence to its political dimension. Many have realized that to break free from this predicament requires liberation from the captivity of the Aristotelian organon (Aristotelian) mind-tool or machine-mind, on which the concept of political sociology was founded. There is no doubt that many attempts to break the impasse of the Aristotelian concept converge with the religious conception of postmodernism.
Political sociology in the Islamic perception
It is indisputable that Islamic conceptions of existence establish the concept of society differently. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, says that the Islamic Ummah "does not gather on misguidance." What interests us from this hadith, apart from delving into its validity or not, is that it establishes a perception that there is good in the meeting of Muslims. However, the meeting of Muslims, unlike Aristotelian society, takes place under the roof of the city. The name of the city here does not denote (Polis), but rather is independent by denoting an open space that "owes" its existence to a metaphysical force, and is not only controlled by politics, but also by jurisprudence or art that regulates the relationship in a bilateral political organization between citizens, that is, the inhabitants of the city in its Greek sense. The Holy Qur'an presents us with two possibilities: either salvation by collective sit-in with the rope of God, or destruction by separation.
This leads us to believe that Islam, in the words of the Qur'an and the Hadith, does not limit human identity to the closed socio-political dimension, limited by the city boundaries in its Greek sense. Whoever contemplates the Holy Qur'an will find in it an affirmation that the absolute reign belongs to God alone, glory be to Him, and invites man to meditate on the kingdom of heaven and earth in order to realize this truth, as in the Almighty's saying: "Will they not look at the camels how they were created, and at the sky how they were raised, and at the mountains how they were erected, and at the earth how they were flattened. 17).
There is no doubt that the Islamic Ummah has reacted throughout its history to Islam's call to expand the horizons of perception to transcend the reduction of man to his dimension as a "political being" disciplined by the controls of the constitutions of political society. However, the meeting of Muslims and the resulting challenges made them interact with the concepts of the state that have existed throughout their history in order to consolidate the Sultan's control over social reality, which is no longer a reality of faith only. To the extent that the Qur'anic call to "look" persisted in the history of Muslims, carried by the Islamic moral discourse, the need arose in this history for a "theory" in sociology made by the Islamic mind. Muslim history is replete with theories in political sociology that try to reconcile the exigencies of considering the kingdom of heaven and earth with the exigencies of controlling society. The divergence between these theories has reached a high degree of violence in some contexts.
Religion, as we are entitled to imagine it, is not concerned with determining the forms of empowerment of the Sultan, as much as it calls for the need to avoid falling into tyranny, putting man before his moral responsibilities.
The debate over the dialectic of religion and politics has never been resolved in Muslim history, nor will it be resolved by Wael Hallaq's seemingly simple call for a return to the "typical phenomenon of Sharia" and his call to undermine the foundations of modernity. Muslim societies are called upon to formulate their political theories out of a dual interaction with the religious discourse of morality, which recalls the great dimensions of existence in order to avoid confining human identity to its narrow Greek "political" dimension, and with the modern state as the embodiment of one of the finest forms of control of the Sultan.
The need for a new political theory
If it is true that the "typical phenomenon of Sharia" has absorbed various forms of power, it is true that this phenomenon is capable of absorbing forms of power in the modern era. The call to undermine the forms of the modern state is a condition for Islamic authority to achieve something contrary to the spirit of religion. Religion, as we are entitled to imagine it, is not concerned with defining the forms of empowerment of the Sultan, as much as it calls for the need to avoid falling into tyranny, thus placing man before his moral responsibilities.
The statement that modernity is corrupt is true on one side, but not on the other. It is correct to consider its extravagance and tyranny that threaten to destroy the foundations of human civilization today, but it is not correct to consider its credit for liberating man's creative energies in the universe. It is not envisaged that any Islamic model would emerge in politics or elsewhere without going through modernity; nor is it imagined that modernity was established in isolation from the influence of Islamic culture.
In conclusion, it seems to us that there is no need to modify the need for Muslims today to be aware of the double necessity: the need to criticize moral modernity, and the need to resume speech in order to develop a political theory that enables Muslims in today's world, a theory that combines heritage and modernity, to foresee a new political horizon.