National Civic Forum (NCF)@                        Workshop    Citizenship in a Multi Ethnic, Multi Cultural Society      ...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬           ...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬The Quest f...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬             ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬         I...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬teaches the...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬happened in...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬individuals...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬             ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬Sufi Islam...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬           ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬         It ...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬           ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬1821. This re...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬          ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬        Howeve...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬           ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬        their...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬Conservativ...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬           ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬independence...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬           ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬        Besi...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬           ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬        Desp...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬         Ta...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬Sudanese as...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                 ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬            ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬        The...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬          ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬should do ever...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                      ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬                      ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘ...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                     ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬                     ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣ...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                      ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬                     ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮ...
2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬                    ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬                  ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬83...
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Citizenship and identity

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Citizenship and identity

  1. 1. National Civic Forum (NCF)@ Workshop Citizenship in a Multi Ethnic, Multi Cultural Society Towards a National Social Contract in Sudan The Concept of Citizenship Interface With Gender Issues Prof. Balghis Badri 4-5 October 2011 Al Neel Hall Sudanese Bankers Union Building Jamhoriya St., Khartoum
  2. 2. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ The Constitutional Right in a Multi-cultural Society: Identity and Citizenship in Sudan Albaqir Alafif Mukhtar (PhD)IntroductionIn the late sixties there was an interesting dialogue on citizenship rights that took place betweenfather Philip Ghabboush, and Dr Hassan al-Turabi inside the Sudanese Parliament. This dialogue ledto the collapse of the first bid for an Islamic constitution in the Parliament. The dialogue goes asfollows: • Mr. Musa al-Mubarak: In the memorandum of the Technical Committee of the Islamic Constitution, there is a clause in page 7 that says “The Head of the State should be a Muslim”. My question is “Do non-Muslims have the right to participate in the election of this Head of State”. • Dr. Hasan A. Al-Turabi: The State considers both Muslims and non-Muslims citizens. There is nothing that prevents non-Muslims from participating in the election of the Muslim president. They can even become members of the parliament, and participate in making laws that are not governed by a text of Shari’a”. • Mr. Philip A. Ghaboush: “I want to ask, Mr. Speaker, does a non-Muslim Man have the right to contest for the position of president in the state” • Dr. Al-Turabi: “The answer is clear, Mr. Speaker … There are other conditions for the qualification for this position, such as age, fairness, for instance, and one should not have committed a crime, and nationality, and other legal conditionality”. • Mr. Speaker: “Mr. Philip repeats his question” • Mr. Philip Ghabboush: “My question, Mr. Speaker, is the reverse of my colleague’s question. Is it possible to select, in the state, and specifically within the framework of the state, is it possible to select a non-Muslim man to become president? • Dr. Al-Turabi: “No, Mr. Speaker”.1This answer which was forced out of Al-Turabi, after being cornered by, not only a Christian memberof the parliament, but also a priest and veteran politician who sat at the receiving end of theinstitutional racism and religious bias of the state, marked the start of the campaign against theIslamic Constitution bid in the late 1960s which ended up in throwing it away.2 But nevertheless, Al-Turabi hung on to his bid for an Islamic state, albeit using other means, whereas the question ofcitizenship rights remained an unanswered challenge. About twenty years later, Al-Turabi succeededto control the state through a military coup de tat, and was able to realize his life-long dream, of theIslamic Constitution, which he failed to achieve through democratic means. However, the issue ofcitizenship that he failed to resolve in the 1960s continued to hover over his head. The right to fullcitizenship represents a major component of the conflict that finally led to the separation of theSouthern part of the country on the 9th of July 2011. It is also the issue that may well lead to thedisintegration of the country.The problem that this paper discusses is the interplay between the legitimacy of Muslims’ pursuanceto establish the constitution on their cultural heritage, and the legitimacy of the non-Muslims’entitlement to full citizenship in their own country. What underlies the dismal failure to reconcilethese two wishes and pursuits? 1
  3. 3. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬The Quest for an Islamic ConstitutionIslam has throughout been a source of conflict and a means of domination of non-Muslim groups.3The quest for establishing the system of governance based on Islam figures prominently in thecharters of the major northern parties, namely the Umma Party (UP), the Democratic Unionist Party(DUP), and National Islamic Front (NIF).4 Even the two military dictatorships had strong Islamictune to them. Suffice it to say that the first military regime of General Abboud 1958-64, expelled themissionaries from Southern Sudan and forced Islamization and Arabization as a replacement.5 Thesecond military regime of Numeiri, 1969-85, imposed Shari’a law in the country in 1983. Neither thetransitional government that followed Numeri’s demise, 1985-86, nor the democratically electedgovernment of Sidiq al-Mahdi 1986-89, were able to abrogate Numeiri’s highly unpopular SeptemberShari’a laws.6 Francis Deng attributes this failure to fact that the north has always been seeking “anational Arabic-Islamic model” as an expression of its identity.7 This is, by and large, true, but thispursuit is guided by sentiments rather than intellect. In other words, this pursuit for Islamicconstitution has not been accompanied by real intellectual efforts that aim to reform medieval Shari’alaws in order to reconcile them with this modern age, especially democracy and comprehensiveequality. When Southern Sudan posed a challenge to this model8, it is mainly because of its negativeimpact on these issues and especially their citizenship rights. For the South, whose emerging identityrevolves around Christianity and Western culture, as well as for northern democrats and humanists,this model has to be restructured, i.e. reformed along these lines, in order to be accepted.9 Advocatesof this model simply failed to recognize the country’s multi-cultural nature as well as the spirit of itsindigenous Muslim culture. In what follows, I will try to provide evidence for these two mainfailures.Diversity as a Historical and Contemporary RealityThe Nubians did not only achieve one of the world’s oldest civilizations, but also established one ofthe longest surviving kingdoms. The kingdom of Kush continued in one form or the other from3700BCE to the A.D. 16th century, apart from the 500 years under the Egyptian occupation. Duringthis exceptionally long period, the Nubians have continually been religious. They worshipped allsorts of Gods;10 the Pagan God, the Christian God, and finally the Muslim God. Therefore, theindigenous culture in Northern Sudan evolved for thousands of years, and adapted itself to manyoutside influences. It is also evident that Christianity landed in Nubia softly, i.e. through the peacefulwork of missionaries, not through war and conquest. It was accepted and embraced voluntarily, notimposed upon them by the brutal conqueror. It flowed easily into their hearts, and opened newhorizons in their souls and minds. It was not forced into their throats by fear, and it did not fill theirhearts with hypocrisy. The response of the King of Nubadia, when he received the ambassador ofEmperor Justinian, testifies to this.11 So the Nubians adopted Christianity on their own terms, not on Justinian’s terms, and theypracticed freedom of choice and freedom of religion. They embraced and assimilated the essence ofChristianity in a way that deeply influenced their perception of religion, and affected their innerpsyche. When after several centuries Christianity waned away, the Nubians were at a date withanother religion, Islam, which they would take in the same manner. The Muslims tried to bring Islamto Nubia by war and conquest in the 7th century, but they failed, and Nubia retained its Christianityfor almost a thousand years. Islam had a second chance to come to Nubia in the right way; the waythat the Nubians wanted, not the way that the Muslim armies wanted, i.e. through interaction,missionary work and generally peaceful means. 2
  4. 4. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ Islam was initially introduced to the Nubians mainly by two main Muslim groups; traders andnomads, neither of them was literate or versed in Islam. Until the fourteenth century the Nubianswere described as neither Christians nor Muslims. Forms of Christianity and Islam co-existed foralmost two centuries; one dying away and the other not yet established itself. Also forms of theindigenous matrilineal system co-existed with newly absorbed Islamic patriarchal order. For instance,the law of idda (waiting period for widowed or divorced women), was not observed by the SudaneseMuslims until the sixteenth century. This indicates a society in the transition from the matrilinealsystem to the patriarchal order. In the matrilineal system children belong to the mother and the role ofthe father is marginal. Therefore there was no need for such a waiting period. In the patriarchalsociety, on the other hand, the children belong to the father, and in order to determine who the fatheris, the society demands that widowed and divorced women abstain from sexual relationship for fourmonths and ten days, and thus the waiting period before a widow or a divorcee could remarry. Duringthis time the society will know whether the woman has conceived from her late or ex-husband. Thisstage in the evolution of culture is best shown by the following passage from the Tabaqat: It is reported that a man might divorce his wife and she get married by another man that same day without any waiting period (idda), until Sheikh Mahmoud al-Araki came from Egypt and started to preach the people to observe the law of idda.12 This story shows how the patriarchal Islamic culture developed naturally spreading its sphereto more cultural territories of the dying matriarchal order. The story also demonstrates a naturaldevelopment of the indigenous culture as it was taking in another dose of the new cultural injunction.Awareness of the fact that the Nubians continued their being while changing their cultures andreligions makes people not only tolerant of the “other” and the “different”, but also respectful of theiridentities. Being aware of this historical diversity enables people to see “themselves” in the “other”. Italso enables them to celebrate the contemporary diversity and multi-culturalism, and see it asenriching and a blessing. But unfortunately, short-sightedness and lack of vision motivated thepolitical and cultural elites to decide not to identify with this historical reality, and to cut the longestand richest part of our history from our consciousness, and throw it away like a worthless garment.These elites also failed to recognize the indigenous component of our Islamic culture. They adoptedinstead the alien component of this culture. In what follows I will elaborate on this point.Faqih and FaqirThe Sufi Islam appealed to the Nubians and they embraced it and assimilated its essence as they didwith Christianity. In the Sufi centers, the Nubian holey men indigenized Islam to the extent that themost important religious symbol for them is not the Mosque, but the “whitewashed domed tomb of asaint”,13 and the most important religious leader is not the faqih,(plural fuqaha’) but the faqir (pluralfuqara’). The word faqih literally means profoundly learned in any discipline, and as a term it means aman learned in Islamic jurisprudence. It is used interchangeably with the word ‘alim to indicate thesame meaning. The word faqir literally means poor, and as a term it means an ascetic holey man. Thefirst term indicates men with theoretical knowledge that may not have, a. any effect on their behavior,and b. any relevance to the communities. The second term, on the other hand, refers to men of thepeople in every respect. The first is disconnected from the community in appearance, discourse andconcerns. The latter is connected in all these respects. The first looks down upon the communities andpasses judgment on them, the latter identifies with their communities. The first is arrogant andintolerant whereas the latter is humble and tolerant. The first preaches the fear of God, the latter 3
  5. 5. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬teaches the love of God. The first earns his living by preaching, the latter earns his living by workingin the field. In one word, the first lives on God, while the latter lives for God.Two Arabic Islamic Cultures in the NorthPeople usually speak of the “Arabic Islamic culture” in Northern Sudan. It is my thesis that there isno one Islamic culture in the North, but two distinct and, at times, conflicting cultures. These twocultures have been observed by scholars, but were treated as two faces of the same coin. For instance,Trimingham refers to ‘Sufi Islam’, ‘indigenous Islam’ and ‘Popular Islam’, on the one hand, and‘Orthodox Islam’, on the other. In another variation, he speaks of ‘living Islam’, and ‘theoreticalIslam’.14 The first set of terms refers to the old Islamic culture that evolved since the 14th century andthe latter refers to the new culture that came to the country with the Turko-Egyptian invasion in the19th century. However, in this study I adopt the term ‘Sufi Islam’ to refer to the concept that the firstset of terms tried to capture, and ‘institutional Islam’ to refer to the concept that the second set ofterms tried to define. I also intend to make the case that Sufi Islam represents the indigenized cultureof the Muslim Sudanese, while institutional Islam represents an alien culture. However, before I proceed, I have to make an important caveat. First, although I do not makeany pretensions of objectivity towards these two cultures, I am impartial in my analysis. Second, forme the term ‘indigenous culture’ refers to a native or local culture that ‘developed naturally’, takingin and assimilating outside influences in a harmonious way transforming them into one’s ownexperience. ‘Alien culture’, on the other hand, simply means foreign, bearing other people’sexperience, and remained at variance with the indigenous culture. Third, for me ‘indigenous’ does notalways equal right, nor does alien always-mean wrong. Indigenous cultures have their weaknesses;many have relied on believes that proved to be false, and practices that ceased to be effective, andsystems that become dysfunctional. Indigenous cultures can even be inflicted by decadence and lossof essence. Indigenous peoples can be obliterated, as the historical experience shows. On the otherhand, elements of ‘alien’ cultures are very important for revitalizing indigenous cultures, providedthat they come as a natural development, in the process of cross-cultural interaction, without puttingstrain on indigenous culture, or trying to dismantle some of its fundamental elements. When cultures evolve over millennia they become indigenous. As societies endeavor to meetthe new challenges they face in their local environment, and from outside influences, they developnew adaptive strategies drawing on their flexibility, self-creation and capacity for continuity andchange. In the process, a new blend of concepts, social and political forms will come into being, andoutside influences will be assimilated and thoroughly indigenized.15 In the previous sections of thischapter, we have seen how the Nubian culture adapted itself to the many foreign influences andindigenized them in a natural way.The Dominance of the Indigenized Arabic Islamic CultureThe study of Islam, Trimingham maintained, is not a question of theoretical knowledge about itsfundamentals and dogmas, but rather a realization of the meaning of Islam in Muslims life, i.e. howthe personalities of the people have been molded by the religion.16 When Islam began its journeyfrom the Arabian Peninsula to embrace different races and societies in Asia, Africa and Europe, itchanged in the process, and adapted itself everywhere to local experiences. Therefore, the study oftheoretical Islam, and especially Islamic jurisprudence, fiqh, reflects only the experiences of thesocieties that produced this knowledge, mainly in Arabia. The dynamics between theoretical Islam,fiqh, and living Islam, Sufism, may create tension if it hasn’t been handled with care, and this is what 4
  6. 6. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬happened in Sudan; a tension was created between the Domed Tomb and the Mosque, and betweenthe faqir and the faqih, as we will see later. Although the first learned Muslims who came to the Sudan for missionary purposes belongedto the brand of fuqaha’ 17, the Sufi personalities who came later on were the ones who won the heartsof the people. Thus the Sufi culture spread fast and dominated the country between the 15th and the18th century and became a popular movement that embraced almost all the population of central andNorthern Sudan. Nubian social customs and rites, some of which are pagan in origin and some ofwhich are Christian, were incorporated with complete freedom.18 As mentioned before, the Funj Sultanate 1504-1821 recognized the moral and social power ofthe Sufi leaders, and supported them. Even the few fuqaha’ who operated during these times wereinfluenced to a great extent by the Sufi culture and many of them abandoned their fiqh enterprise andjoined the Sufi order.19 The Tabaqat reports the story of Sheikh Hamad wad al-Turabi, a faqih whotaught mukhtasar Khalil, a classical fiqh book. He then joined the Sufi order, and went into the Sufipractice of khalwa (seclusion) for thirty two months and when he emerged from his khalwa, hisstudents returned to him to study the mukhtasar khalil, but he told them that he had nothing to dowith fiqh any more: "Khalil and I have separated until the Day of Judgment".20 The absolute domination of the Sufi culture in the Sultanate of Sinnar had made the fuqahathe dissident voice; they were thoroughly defeated and lost every argument. Unlike the situation inthe rest of the Muslim World, where the fuqaha aided by the sultans and Khulafa of the IslamicEmpire, tried and killed many great Sufis such as Mansour el-Hallaj, the crucified, and el-Sahrawardi,the slain.21 The first Sufi leader to come to the Sudan was probably Sheikh Hamad Abu Dunana. He camein the 15th century, settled in Saqadi near al-Mahmiya, northernSudan, and initiated people in theShadhiliyya order. Two of Hamad’s daughters were mothers of two great Sufis: Sheikhs Idris wad al-Arbab, and Sheikh Hamid Abu ‘Asa’.22 Sheikh Idris commanded great following and influenceduring the first century of the Funj sultanate in the early 16th century.23 Sheikh Hamid abu ‘Asa’ wasthe ancestor of the ‘Umarab Ja’aliyyin.24 Sheikh Taj ald-Din al-Buhari came in the second half of the 16th century and introduced theQadiriyya order to the Funj sultanate.25 Three of his disciples became great Sufi leaders. These areSheikh Mohamed Ibn Abdelsadiq known as el-Hamim, Sheikh Mohamed al-Araki, and Sheikh Ajibal-Manjuluk.26Sufism, Sufi Leaders, Turuq, Pseudo-Sufis, and SectarianismWriters on Sudanese Sufism, such as Trimingham, Hasan, Abu Salim and others alsoused the term Sufism (Arabic Tasawwuf) and Sufis (Arabic Sufiyya or Mutusawifa) to refer to thewhole experience that resulted in the Islamization of the Sudanese Muslims from the beginning to theend. The term is used in a way as to refer to the teachings of the Sufi leaders, their organizations, orsects (Turuq) and following. It is also used to refer to the state of decadence in Sufism, pseudo-Sufism, and the fall of the Turuq into exploitative Sectarianism.27 It is my thesis that thisunderstanding of Sufism is inaccurate; it led them to lump the best and worst practices together underone term. Sufism (in Arabic Tasawwuf) is a methodology; it is the term that was used to describe acertain endeavor by individuals to emulate the life of the Prophet, and to undergo a spiritualexperience similar to his. In other words, it is an attempt by individuals to achieve unification of theirinner divided self, in order to be at peace with their selves, and at peace with the universe. In otherwords, they wanted to be true to themselves, to other people, and to God.28 Using this methodology, 5
  7. 7. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬individuals such as “Ibn ‘Arabi and men of his caliber passed through profound spiritual experiencesthat belong to the greatest heights and depths that the spirit of man has yet reached”.29 They camefrom these spiritual heights with knowledge, varying from one individual to the other, according totheir attainment of the Prophet’s example. They expressed their experiences in prose and poetry thatconstitutes the Sufi literature, a vast repertoire of visions, insights and wisdom that call for living inpeace with animate and inanimate entities. Some of these Sufi leaders, such as Sheikh ‘Abdel Qadiral-Jailani of Baghdad (AD 1025-1116) started to teach in order to reform their communities, and helpthem have similar spiritual experiences. They used their knowledge to simplify the methodology sothat it will be grasped by illiterate masses, and this is how the Sufi sects, turuq, (sing. tariqa, meaningpath to God) came into being, and became a popular movement. The turuq succeeded to produce,from amongst the illiterates, individuals who “attained such heights of wisdom that commanded therespect and love of a nation of illiterates to religion itself”.30 As time went bye, and humanityproceeded into the modern age, Sufi turuq failed to rise up to the challenges of modernity; theydescended into monotonous rituals that lost much of their essence and efficacy to produce the type ofindividuals they used to produce in the past. In Ustadh Mahmoud Mohamed Taha’s word: The Sufi turuq have served a great purpose; they spread the genuine message of the religion, and produced exceptional men who have been minarets of guidance, and sources of wisdom for the nation (umma) throughout its long history, during its surge and during its descent; in these men, the umma sought its religion, morality and education. But today, the challenges of the age are bigger than the turuq and the Sheikhs.31 The turuq descended into sectarianism,32 the matter which impacted negatively on the conceptof Sufism, because people generally confuse the two, as we have mentioned earlier. To apply theconcept to the Sufi culture of Sudan, one could say that whereas Sufism represents forms of culturalpractices that reflect the essence of the religion, sectarianism represents forms of practices that aredevoid from the essence of the religion. There is an essential distinction between Sufism andSectarianism. Sectarianism represents a state of decadence in Sufi sects. Sectarian leaders inheritedtheir statuses and following from their Sufi ancestors, whereas they lacked their charisma and moralguiding. Whereas Sufism can be defined as live, active and creative religion, Sectarianism is stagnantreligion. In Sufism, the spirit of the religion as well as its rituals and symbolism works together,leading the advancement of life. Sectarianism loses sight of the spirit of the religion and the ritualsbecome monotonous and lifeless, while life passes by leaving Sectarianism behind. Sectarianism hasvested interests in keeping people ignorant, while Sufism represents enlightenment and is essentiallya methodology of liberation. Sufi leaders recruited their following through teaching and enlighteningpeople and Sectarian leaders inherited the following of their forefathers, and maintained their loyaltyby keeping them ignorant and uninformed. There is a big difference between the Sufi leader and the Sectarian leader. The Sufi leadergives people moral guidance. He helps them solve their problems, and he is too ascetic to take anymaterial incentive back from them for himself. The sectarian leader, on the other hand, has nothing tooffer in guidance to people, and he exploits them to accumulate wealth. Thus asceticism as a majorcharacteristic of Sufism was lost. This is why we see now in place of every Sufis hut, there is amansion-like house. 6
  8. 8. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬Sufi Islam in GeneralSudanese Sufism, although unique in characteristics, is essentially part of the school of Sufism in theMuslim world. Islamic Sufism came to be known by this term in the 2nd and 3rd centuries of Islamwhen Islamic jurisprudence developed into schools, madhahib (sig. madhhab), and the religion ofIslam started to be institutionalized. Sufi Islam generally continued to be questioned by institutionalIslam, i.e. conservative fiqh-oriented Islamic culture. The conflict between the fuqaha and the Sufiyyawithin Sunni Islam continued unabated, despite the efforts of people like Abu Hamid al-Ghazali whotried to reconcile the two conflicting interpretations of the sources of the religion.33 Whereas the Sufisstress the spiritual aspect of the religion, i.e. chastening of the self, tazkiyat al-nafs, and remedyingthe heart, islah al-qalb, the fuqaha, on the other hand, stress the legal aspect of Islam, i.e. fiqh, fatwa,qada’, etc.34 The Sufis emphasize practice ‘amal, as the way of obtaining knowledge of the Qur’an,whereas the fuqaha emphasize theoretical knowledge that can be attained by reading and reciting.Sufis stress taqwa piety, inward looking, and humbleness before people and the fuqaha tend to bearrogant, outward looking, and they distinguish themselves from the people in dress andappearance.35 Sufis teach by example, they are role models; their ways are subtle and peaceful. Thefuqaha, on the other hand, teach by telling people what to do, their ways are direct, pushy and violentin discourse. Sufis teach the love of God while the fuqaha teach fear of God. Sheikh Abu Hamid el-Ghazali maintained that the Sufis are the closest individuals to theProphet because their endeavor was to mould themselves into his character model. He assimilates thisto a journey inside ones own self. At the start the Sufis preserve the Prophets commands, at themiddle of the journey they imitate his deeds, and at the end of the journey they acquire his morals.This is why they define Sufism as the state of being moral with fellow humans and sincere with God.Tension between two Cultures in SudanThe confrontation reported in the Tabaqat between the Sufi leader al-Sheikh Idris wadel Arbab, andthe faqih al-Sharif ‘Abdelwahab, on the issue of tobacco, and between the Sufi leader al-SheikhMohamed b. Abdelsadiq al-Hamim, and al-Qadi (Shari’a judge) Dishein on the issue of the first’sexcessive polygamous marriage, represents a station in the conflict between indigenized and alienIslam. When tobacco was introduced to the Islamic world in the 18th century, a debate heatedamongst Muslim societies on whether it was permitted halal, or prohibited, haram. The Sufi leaderSheikh Idris wadel Arbab said it was haram, and the faqih el-Sahrif ‘Abdelwahab said it was halal.36The other confrontation between el-Sheikh al-Hamim and Al-Qadi Dishein ended up in the formerproducing a karama that would defeat the latter.37 Although these stories do not reflect a highly intellectual discussion, but they show howduring the formation period the Sufi Islam had dominated and controlled institutional Islam, fiqh, andhow the few fuqaha who dared to challenge the fuqara were considered aliens to the culture,ostracized and thoroughly defeated. They also reflect two different theories of knowledge. For theSufis, knowledge of the religion is intuitive, and comes as a fruit of their piety, sincerity, andunification of the divided powers and faculties of the human self. Illiterate and semi-illiterate fuqaramight not be able to explain their positions and findings intellectually, as Sufis like Ibn Arabi and al-Ghazali were able to do, so they resort to karama, miracle, to prove that they were right, for the Sufisdiffer considerably in type and direction, attainment and articulation. For the fuqaha, on the otherhand, knowledge is found in the fiqh books, which they consider the standard religion, and by whichthey judge their societies, and found them erroneous in religion. 7
  9. 9. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ It has been mentioned earlier that during the formation period, many of the fuqaha forsake thefiqh enterprise and joined the Sufi order, i.e. they became fuqara. We will see later how this situationhas gradually been reversed, to the extent now many of the descendants of the fuqara did not onlybecome fuqaha’, but also joined extreme Islamic movements, such as the Muslim Brothers, and theWahabbis, which essentially view the indigenous Sufi heritage and culture with utmost contempt.These are individuals who have been alienated from their indigenous heritage either by training ininstitutional Islam, especially fiqh, or by modern education. The two classes of people provided thereservoir for the Muslim Brothers and Wahabbis. The first class of people, i.e. the category trained ininstitutional Islam, is described by Trimingham as ‘assertively Orthodox’, rigid and narrow minded.They become hard-hearted zealous. At their hands religion turned into a dead letter. These prove their orthodoxy by turning away from all modernistic ideas, finding satisfaction in the mechanical formulae of scholastic theology. Only that is good, they believe, which conforms with the standards of the past. Faith to them is blind dogged assent to fixed doctrine; it has nothing to do with the heart, mind and will. Their morality is the blind performance of fixed duties. They possess that uncompromising narrowness of outlook which is the specialty of this class everywhere and divide mankind into kafirin (unbelievers) and mu’minin (believers).38 The second class is the educated, or the Effendiyya, as Trimingham calls them. These are thegraduates of modern education established by the British colonial authority in the beginning of the20th century. Their education represented a thin layer of the form rather than the essence ofmodernity, combined with a thin layer of the letter rather than the spirit of Islam.39 It is enough tomake them look down upon the indigenous culture and the popular religion of the masses as a matterof superstition and ignorance, but it is too little to help them to distinguish the essence from the formof both the religion and modernity. They did not possess the tools that would enable them to dig deepinto their own religious heritage in order to pick up and keep the essence and reform the forms andpractices. So, their education increased their intellectual vulnerability, and made them an easy prey toforeign ideas, especially “Islamic” ones. Trimigham describes their vulnerability as follows: They are loyal Muslims in the main even though their outlook to life differs widely from the preceding groups. They are loyal because Islam is the system into which they were born and outside which they would be at sea. At the same time they are up against aspects of the system which they find cramping and against which they struggle in vain. They have lost faith in the religious aspects of Islam, yet show no intelligence in religious matters, more in matters which the western system of education stresses. Too modern to have any vital connexion with popular or orthodox religion, they dabble in a rationalized Islam, yet would visit a faki (a Sufi Sheikh) for guidance in life’s crises.40 Such intellectual feebleness, ignorance and rejection of the essence of popular Islam, as wellas tendency towards rationalized Islam led a sizeable number of this class to go for readymade ideas,such as the Egyptian Muslim Brothers model, and the Saudi Wahabi model and to try to implant themin the Sudanese social fabric as we will see later.Institutional Islam: The Turko-Egyptian RegimeWhile Sufi Islam evolved for more than five centuries, institutional Islam was a 19th centuryphenomenon. It came to Sudan in a systematic way and state promoted with the Turkish invasion in 8
  10. 10. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬1821. This regime laid the foundation for institutional Islam. The invaders brought with them three‘ulama’/fuqaha’, belonging to the Shafi’i, Hanafi and Maliki schools of jurisprudence (madhahib),and linked the country with the Egyptian institution of al-Azhar, the custodian of the institutionalIslam. The Turko-Egyptian government in Sudan is an “orthodox” regime that labored to underminethe indigenous culture of northern Sudan.41 They employed certain methods to achieve this end. Theintroduction of Shari’a courts and the government-subsidized Qur’anic schools (Kuttabs) “was aimedat curtailing the Sufi hold over their adherents”.42 They sent some of the sons of Sufi leaders to studyin al-Azhar and appointed them as qadis upon their return.43 According to Khalid, The Turko-Egyptian regime was a profound change in the relations of the local religious elite to the central authorities. The jurisdiction of the conquest is that it claimed the Sudan for the Ottoman Sultan, the lawful ruler for the Muslim world. For this reason three Egyptian ‘Ulama, learned men, from al-Azhar, traveled the initial expedition with the intention of forming an orthodox Islamic state in the Sudan.44 The three fuqaha’, were openly contemptuous to the indigenous culture, and theircontemporary Sufi leaders.45 They trained Sudanese individuals to administer the system of Shari’acourts that they grew up.46 These courts “had never before been known to most of the Sudanese”.47Khalid continued to say that, The political conflict between the new rulers of the established system is easy to understand. It reached a peak under the rule of Kedive Isma’il, during his renewed attempt to impose Azharite Islam upon the country.48 Since that time sustained, rather than sporadic assault against indigenous Islam wasunleashed. The fuqaha’ aided by the state took the lead in that. However, their attempts dismallyfailed. Gabriel Warburg explains this failure by saying the following: The Turkiyya failed in its attempts to replace sufi orders or its local fikis (meaning fuqara) with its newly imported Azharite ‘ulama. This was the result of the popularity of the local holey men among the rural population. The fuqara’, as they were called, did not perform a merely religious function, they also played a dominant social role in spheres such as education and health within their societies. Hence even after the introduction of educated ‘ulama’, shari’a courts, government schools and modern clinics, the majority of the rural Muslims continued to prefer their local ‘holey men’ since they were imbued with karama (saintliness) and baraka (blessing). People who suffered from government oppression, taxation and forced labor could hardly be expected to trust the Azhar trained qadi, ‘alim, who were after all government employees. Instead they remained loyal to the fuqara’ who had healed them and guided them through previous calamities and who shared similar interests.49The Mahdi RegimeWhen Mohamed Ahmed b. Abdellah, a staunch Sufi leader, declared himself the Mahdi andstarted his campaign against the Turks, the fuqaha’ were employed by the government inorder to refute the Mahdis claims, and to quell the publics anger. The conflict between theMahdi and the fuqaha’ was a salient station in this dispute. The Mahdi, who called thefuqaha’ the evil learned ulama’ as-su’, achieved a decisive victory against the Turks, thematter which sent shock waves across the world. 9
  11. 11. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ However, the total Mahdist experience strengthened institutional Islam, and weakenedthe structures of the indigenous culture. It is ironical that a product of the indigenous Islamwould set out to destroy it. Considering himself the end fruit of all the Sufis’ endeavor, theMahdi decided to close down the path that made him what he was, and to break the ladder thatascended him to absolute religious authority. He wanted the population to be loyal to himalone, and would not accept loyalty to any other man. So, “in order to reduce the influence ofthe Sufists patronage on local population, he engaged in a deliberate destruction of a numberof Sufi orders and divested them of their economic power”.50 He harassed his contemporaryfellow Sufis, prohibited people to venerate them or to visit the tombs of their forefathers. Healso prohibited music and tobacco.51 He established an extreme and narrow minded theocracy,and maintained Shari’a courts that adhere to the letter of the law. Although the Mahdistrudimentary political and legal structures were dismantled by the British, his brief and highlyturbulent experience which cost the country almost half its population as a result of wars andfamine, have implanted religious extremism in the social fabric of tolerance. In MansourKhalid’s words, “his introduction of what can be described as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ at anational level, is used, even today, as a historical frame of reference”.52 Almost a centurylater, the Islamic Movement, inspired by Mahdism, introduced religious extremism andviolence, and established another theocracy that cost the country millions of deaths, andunspeakable sufferings.Institutional Islam: The Colonial EraA Joint British Egyptian force put an end to the Mahdi State in 1898 and established thecondominium rule in the country. During the first years of their occupation of the country they weremet with strong resistance movements. Almost all of these resistance movements were religiouslybased. The revolt leaders were pseudo-Sufis each of whom claimed to be Nabi Issa.53 Thus theBritish concluded that the Sufi culture was responsible of Mahdism as well as all of the resistanceagainst their rule, and they set out to weaken it, and to promote institutional Islam. The government’sreligious policy was designed by Rudolph von Slatin and Reginald Wingate. The first was a formergovernor of Darfur during the Turko-Egyptian regime, 1875-83, and a former captive of the Mahdiand his successor al-Khalifa ‘Abdullahi. He escaped from his confine in 1895, and came back withthe British-Egyptian armies. He was appointed General Inspector of the country. The second manwas the head of the Intelligence Branch of the Egyptian Army during the Mahdi regime, and wasappointed Governor-General of the Sudan in 1899- 1916.54 The attitudes of these two men towardsthe Sufi Islam were deeply influenced by the Mahdi regime which they rightly considered as aproduct of this culture. Their views were also influenced by what they call superstition, meaningpeople’s belief in the spiritual powers and blessings of their Sufi leaders, dead or alive. They failedto recognize that the Mahdism was the exception within the Sufi culture rather than the rule. TheMahdi’s endeavor from start to end was less than 20 years, compared to more than 400 years of Sufipractice in the country. They also failed to recognize that almost all the Mahdi’s cotemporaries ofSufi leaders rejected his claim, and some of them resisted him. The views and attitudes of these twomen also trickled down to the provincial governors whose knowledge about Islam and Sudan wasobviously limited. Sufi rituals such as dhikir, (collective chanting the name of God in a rhythmicway) seemed to the young British officials as dangerous and would lead to fanaticism. One of theseofficials described the celebration of al-Mawlid al-Nabawi (the Prophet’s birthday) as follows: [O]n all their faces is a sort of ‘far away’, rapt expression, not a pleasant dreamy look, but a look that makes one picture them waving blood-stained swords, as they hack 10
  12. 12. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ their way through the forces of ‘unbelievers’, to the cry of ‘Allah Akbar’ … their barbaric discords adding to the weirdness of the scene, and the pious ecstasy of the religious maniacs.55 In his first visit to the country after the conquest, in the beginning of 1899, Lord Cromer,outlined the colonial policy in his address to the religious leaders. He stated two main points. Thefirst point was that the authorities would not interfere in the religious life of the inhabitants; theywould allow the Muslims to conduct their personal affairs and resume the pilgrimage to Mecca andMedia which had been stopped by the Mahdi. The second point was that he would not allow Sufiorders to restore the tombs of their saints and their mosques which had been destroyed during theMahdi era. The authorities called upon the population to give up their superstition and to refrain fromfollowing their Sufi leaders. In Gabriel Warburg’s words, It was therefore clear that the authorities would not recognize the traditional fikis (fuqara) or Sufi leaders in the Sudan, but would assist the establishment of an orthodox Muslim hierarchy on the lines that existed in Egypt and which Egypt had introduced into Sudan in the years 1821-81.56The colonial authorities set out to implement this policy. They engaged in building mosques,encouraging waqf, (religious endowments), and training fuqaha’ who were to teach elements ofinstitutional Islam, especially fiqh and Shari’a and sit as qadis (judges).57 The government establisheda number of primary schools (kuttabs) for teaching the Qur’an “by teachers who are orthodox in theirbelief”.58 It also established an Advisory Board of ‘ulama’/fuqaha’ to provide it with advice onreligious affairs, and to support the government’s measures. The Board rubber stamped a number ofpolicy proclamations written by Slatin and other officials, investigated the religious activities ofcertain suspected individuals, such as al-Mudawwi ‘Abdel Rahman,59 and sanctioned the deathpenalty of those who resisted the government, such as ‘Abdel Qadir wad Habouba.60 The British colonial authorities also granted the fuqaha/ulama what was called the "garmentof honor". In return the ulama/fuqaha put themselves at the service of their masters to quell down anyresistance to the colonial rule among the population. They even produced a fatwa for the British thatthe Muslim soldiers of the Sudan Defense Force who were fighting with the Alliance armies duringWorld War II are mujahidin, i.e. fighters in the name of God, and thus they did not have to fastRamadan during combat.61 In the following section we will see how the alien culture became theincubator of extremism and political Islam.The Institutionalization of the Alien Islamic Culture in SudanInstitutions such as al-mahad al-ilmi, (later on the Islamic University of Omdurman), the AfricanIslamic Center (later on the African Islamic University), Islamic Da’wa (propagation) Organization,along with graduates of al-Azhar, religious affairs departments, and the numerous official mosquesrepresented the springboard for the assault on the indigenous Islam. These institutions played a rolesimilar to the role played by the madrasas in Peshawar in Pakistan that produced the Talibanmovement in Afghanistan. After independence they became the cradles that nurtured the MuslimBrothers and the Wahabbi movements, as offshoots from the mother movements in Egypt and Arabiarespectively. 11
  13. 13. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬Conservative Islamic MovementsThe process of implanting alien Islamic culture in Sudan resulted in two main extreme movements;the Wahabbis and the Muslim Brothers. While the Wahabis have always operated under the name ofAnsar el-Sunna, the Muslim Brothers experienced splits and changed the name of their organizationseveral times, since the 1960s of the last century (Islamic Charter Front ICF, 1964-1985, NationalIslamic Front, NIF, 1985-1989, National Congress, NC, 1989-1999). Now the movement split intotwo factions, the ruling NCP, and the opposition People’s Congress, PCP), lead by their veteranleader Hasan al-Turabi. To avoid confusion, I will refer to the whole experience by the name “IslamicMovement”, a name that both factions preferred and usually use to refer to the totality of theirmovement.62 The Islamic Movement and the Wahabbis share the same objective, to start an organizedonslaught against the indigenous Sufi culture, to swing the balance and ultimately to besiege theindigenous culture and control it by institutional Islam, and finally to obliterate it. They also aimed toestablish an Islamic state in the country, fashioned after the Saudi model, for the Wahabbis, and theIranian model, for the Islamic Movement. The Wahabbis of Saudi Arabia achieved a record success in obliterating the Sufi culture inArabia. They destroyed all the Sufi centers and all the shrines of the Companions and the great Sufisin Arabia. They stopped short of destroying the Prophets tomb despite their belief that it was inspiredby the devil.63 In Sudan their main activities are centered on the Sufi centers, with a vehement andrelentless attack against them. They call them centers of Shirk, non-belief. They took advantage ofthe state of decadence in Sufism, the wide spread ignorance among their followers, and themalpractices of pseudo-Sufists and Sectarianism. Although the Islamic Movement shares the same objective with the Wahabbis, they differfrom them in strategy and approach. While the main achievement of the Sufis was that theynationalized Islam, the objective of these two movements is to Islamize Sudan. The salient identityfor them is Islam not Sudan. In their thoughts and ideology, Sudan is not their real land; it is just aplace that they happened to be in, by an accident of history. Their real land is, ironically, imagined; itis found in history, the Islamic golden age that they want to retrieve from the folds of history, startingfrom Sudan. The major obstacle in front of them is this indigenous Sufi culture that is so deeplyrooted in the soil of the country, and conscience of the people. However, unlike the Wahabbis, theIslamic Movement is politically conscious, and for political exigency they abstained from publicattack against Sufism, although they disguised their intent by attacking Sectarianism in stead. Theydid not want to alienate the population knowing their respect and love of their past Sufi leaders andloyalty to their progeny. Indeed a member of the Islamic movement refers to this when he said thatuntil the late 1970s, the general public viewed the two movements with suspicion. He said: People in general (meaning the Sudanese Muslims) did not distinguish between the Islamic Movement and the Wahabbis, where this later movement was haunted to a degree of hallucination with the domed tombs, and with fighting the Sufi heritage amongst the Sudanese society. And as Sufism is well entrenched in the Sudanese people’s conscience, the public become hostile towards the Wahabbis, and this hostility was extended to include the Islamic Movement, on the assumption that there is no difference between them.64The Islamic MovementNo doubt that the Islamic Movement is the most serious disease that hit the body of the indigenousculture in its entire history. It also played a parasitic role within the body politics in post 12
  14. 14. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬independence Sudan, and succeeded to suck it almost to death in the end. Such an avowed, violent,scheming and aggressive movement would not settle for less than changing the very social fabric ofthe Sudanese people, and to transform their communities into something similar to the Saudi society.Indeed what they did in the country when they controlled the state was no less than a social tsunamias we will see later. They adopted a two-step strategy; first to infiltrate the turuq, target individualsfrom the Sufi families for recruitment in their movement, and form alliances with pseudo-Sufists,such as al-Nayyal Abugrun, Al-Mikashfi Taha al-Kabbashi, Al-Mahallawi, and ‘Awadaj-jidMuhammad Ahmed65; and second, to try to turn the turuq inside out, and to obliterate them. When the Islamic Movement finally succeeded to control the state in 1989, it simply wagedwar against the society. Its leaders imposed on the Sudanese Muslim and non-Muslim masses anIslamic culture that is totally alien and abhorrent to them, causing incalculable damage to theirmaterial and spiritual well-being. They established a system of governance that could be classified as“bruising thuggery”.66 Not only that they enacted and implemented an Islamic Penal Code, in March1991, which prescribes Shari’a punishments such as executions, amputations, flogging, etc., but theyalso summarily executed their political opponents, and established secret detention centers, called‘ghost houses’, where political opponents were held ‘incommunicado’ and tortured.67 At the cultural level, the regime attempted a social engineering program aiming at uprootingsome of the best and most positive elements of the indigenous culture, and the Sudanese Muslims’characteristics, such as religious tolerance, open mentality, and generosity of the soul. They declaredjihad against the southern rebels, and tried to militarize and mobilize the whole Muslim society tofight the war. They also targeted the culture of open society where men and women mix naturally.They targeted the flourishing and colorful cultural life of the country, censored music and songs,restricted private wedding parties, and banned mixed dance.68 They established public orderemergency courts,69 whose judges were officers, empowered to arrest and flog women for notcomplying with the dress code, or for accompanying a non-muhram male, i.e. a friend, a colleague, ora relative who is not a father, a brother or a son, in public.70 Their Public Order Police made rounds inpublic parks to oversee women’s compliance with the dress code, and to forbid mixing between thesexes and playing what they called “low immoral songs”.71 The Public Order Law also includes asection against certain Sufi practices under the name of ad-Dajal wa al-sha’waza, i.e. deceit in thename of religion and superstition. Mansour Khalid describes this social tsunami by saying: In their first five years in office, the NIF kept busy entrenching themselves in power, taking over the army, police, security agencies, banks, media, education, mosques, trade unions and anything that was left of the civil society. Having populated the judiciary, armed forces and the civil service with their supporters, the NIF proceeded to expunge from the service all those who posed a real or potential threat to the regime. … In return, the NIF offered to the people of Sudan a so-called system of governance based on Shar’a Allah (Laws of God), conceived by their chief ideologist Dr Hassan Turabi. Having founded his ‘city on the hill’, Sudan’s Winthrop expected the Sudanese Muslims to abandon their scruples and follow blindly the soi-distante Allah’s laws even when they were inconsequential to the country’s real problems. … To that end, that domination tendency was crystallized in the creation of a ministry of social development as the regime’s principal means of social control, and about a decade after Orwell’s 1984, the regime established its own version of the Ministry of Truth which monopolized the totality of the communication media (print, audio and visual). Characteristically, the full occupation of that intricate apparatus was disinformation, and behind the smokescreen of disinformation, truth dissipated. 13
  15. 15. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ Besides, the regime used all public assets to ensconce itself in power and as the years passed it hardened to injustice and cynicism.72The extent of this social tsunami brought to mind memories of the Mahdi’s regime, especially duringal-Khalifa ‘Abdullahi era. This matter baffled the Sudanese Muslims, elite and masses alike; theynever thought that there could emerge from their midst such an alien body. The celebrated Sudanesenovelist Tayib Salih once expressed this bafflement in a poetic article that is widely read and quoted.The article is entitled ‘from where did these creatures emerge’? In it he refers to some aspects of thework of the ministry of Social Planning. He said: The beautiful Khartoum is like a small girl, forced to go to bed, with the door locked on her. She goes to bed at 10pm; she sleeps weeping in her ragged clothes. No movements in the streets. No lights seeping from the windows. No happiness in the hearts. No laughter in the throats. No water, no bread, no sugar, no medicine. Security is established. Everything is quiet. Just like the quietness of the dead. .. The patient River Nile continues its wise flow, and plays its old melody. But our new masters do not listen and do not understand. They think that they found the keys to the future. They know all the answers. They are certain of everything. They fill up the TV screens and the radio’s microphones with dead talk in a country that is lively in its essence, but they want to kill it in order to feel secured. .. From where did these creatures emerge? Weren’t they breast fed by their mothers, and the sisters of their fathers and mothers? Didn’t they listen intently to the winds blowing from the north and the south? Didn’t they see the southern lightening ascending and descending? Didn’t they see the wheat growing in the farms, and bundles of dates weighing on top of palm trees? Didn’t they listen to the mada’ih, Sufi chants, of Awlad Hajj al-Mahi, and wad Sa’ad, and the songs of Sarour and Khalil Farah, Hasan ‘Atiyya, Kabli and Ahmed al-Mustafa? Didn’t they read the poetry of al-‘Abbas and al-Majzoub? Didn’t they listen to the age-old voices, and feel the age-old aspirations? Don’t they love this country as we do? Then why they love it as if they really hate it, and work for its construction as if they were employed for its destruction.73Does that mean the indigenous culture has lost the struggle for good? The following section tries toanswer this question.What the Future Holds for the Struggle between the Two CulturesThe foregoing demonstrates that the indigenous culture of northern Sudan has experienced arelentless and continuous assault since 1821. It has been on the retreat and lost grounds to the alienIslamic culture. However, the indigenous culture proved to be too deeply rooted to obliterate. All themeasures taken by foreign or national governments (namely the Turks, the Mahdi, the Britishcolonial authorities, and the current Islamist government) failed to break the indigenous culture, andtheir effect remained like a scratch on the surface of its skin. After each phase of suppression on thisculture, it bounced back. After each ban on the turuq, they immediately reorganized and came back invigor; they built their zawiyas (religious functionaries) and resumed their activities. Almost all of thegovernments that took measures against the indigenous culture realized at some point the futility oftheir measures, and tried to change their strategies. They tried either to cooperate or live withelements and structures of this culture. Some of them tried to win the support of the leaders of theturuq. Gabriel Warburg states that: 14
  16. 16. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ Despite their suspicion and their reluctance to recognize Sufism as an integral part of Islam, the British were gradually compelled by force of circumstances to change their attitude. The influence wielded by sufi orders and their leaders, especially in the outlying provinces, forced the British administrators to work in coordination with them.74 On the same token, the current Islamist government, after many years of costly attempts todismantle the indigenous culture, they realized and admitted the futility and failure of their attempts.Their president, Bashir, after eleven years of controlling power with the professed purpose ofdelivering the nation from evil, said: “we have failed to implant our values and ideals in the heart ofsociety, and essentially depended on the state organs and laws to impose these values and ideals”.75 Also after many years of multi-million dollar Saudi-financed Wahabi campaign against theindigenous culture, the impact is almost negligible. Sufi leaders of the past still command the loveand respect of the absolute majority of the Muslim population in the country. Sufi centers, whichdubbed by them as centers of Shirk, attract increasing numbers of visitors. Nowadays, amid all thedismal and highly costly failures of political Islam, Sufi culture is experiencing a surge; it became themoral anchor that holds a poverty-stricken population within the confines of the religion during war,crises and social turmoil. It also became the resort of many people defecting from both secularismand alien Islam.Modern Sufism: The Republican IdeaThat being said, however, the indigenous culture has also been experiencing attempts to modernizeand revive. Probably the most important attempt in this regard is the experience of Republican Idea,al-Fikra al-Jumhuriyya. Conceived and espoused by Mahmoud Mohamed Taha (1909-1985), theRepublican Idea came as a natural development of indigenous Islam. The life and works of al-UstazMahmoud Mohamed Taha resembles in many aspects the life and works of the great Sufi leaders ofthe past. A graduate of the Gordon Memorial College (later the University of Khartoum), in 1936,and a civil engineer by training, Taha was able to grasp the essence of the indigenous culture and theessence of western civilization and to blend them into a comprehensive humanistic ideology. Hisapproach to reform is an example of how indigenous cultures could take in elements of alien cultures,assimilate and reproduce them as one’s own. Taha started his political career in the late 1930s, and was an active participant in thenationalist struggle for independence. He was unsatisfied with the performance of the educated elite,and criticized them for lack of leadership qualities; they succumbed to the sectarian leaders seekingtheir support instead of engaging with the masses, in order to enlighten and empower them, and leadthem to achieve independence.76 Together with other like-minded, Taha formed the Republican Partyin October 1945. The new party wasted no time in top down politics, and immediately threw itselfamong the masses and started to mobilize them for action. The party’s direct and open confrontationwith the colonial authorities led to the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of Taha. Although Tahawas jailed twice in 1946, it was his second term of imprisonment, which lasted for two years, thatwould put him in the path that would alter his life and lead later to his dramatic death. Taha took theopportunity of his second confinement to undertake the path of Sufism; intensive prayer, fasting andmeditation. Upon his release from prison, he retreated to his home town- Rufa’a, and continued hiskhalwa, seclusion or spiritual retreat) for another three years. In 1951, Taha resurfaced in the publicdomain with his social reform ideology. 15
  17. 17. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ Taha’s reform ideas came out as a result of his genuine search for the universal elements inhis own culture, the eternal and immutable laws that pertain to what is common between all humans,i.e. their minds and hearts. “His method of reconciling Muslim belief with twentieth-century valueswas, in its way, every bit as revolutionary”.77 His point of departure was to distinguish between twodiscourses in the Qur’an; one universal and the other local and transient. He classifies the verses ofthe Qur’an into primary verses, which contain the universal component of the message of Islam, andthe subsidiary verses which contain the transient components of the message of Islam. The Qur’an,therefore, contains two messages of Islam not just one, as the majority of the Muslims believe. Thefirst message was based on discrimination (between Muslims and non-Muslims, and men andwomen), in its internal social order, and on jihad wars in its international relations. The secondmessage is based on universal equality (between all human beings regardless of their religions, sexes,colors, cultures and languages) in its internal social order, and peaceful coexistence in internationalrelations.78 Thus for Taha, Shari’a is mutable, and that all its discriminatory aspects should bereformed along the lines of the second message. Taha’s theory of reform has a great resemblance to St. Thomas’s theory of natural law. Just asthe latter’s theory aimed to overcome the rigidity attributed to natural law by the classicalphilosophers, the former’s theory aimed to overcome the rigidity attributed to Shari’a by the classicaljurists.79 The essence of Islam, Taha insists is not found in Shari’a, but is found in the higher level ofthe Qur’an that he refers to as Sunna. To him, the call for the immediate implantation of Shari’a,without reform, is no less than a fitna, meaning great social turmoil, which will do Islam disserviceand harm, and will cause great hardship and unspeakable miseries to the Muslims. This is why Tahaopposed and resisted Numeiri’s80 decision to enact and impose Shari’a laws in the country inSeptember 1983s. He declared that the September Shari’a laws, [H]ave jeopardized the unity of the country and divided the people in the north and south (of the country) by provoking religious sensitivity. .. It is futile for everyone to claim that a Christian person is not adversely affected by the implementation of Shari’a.81This position led to Taha’s detention and prosecution in front of a Shari’a court that he refused torecognize.82 The summary trial ended up in sentencing him to death, confiscating his properties andbanning his organization. He was executed publicly by hanging on the 18th of January 1985, and hisbody was buried in an undisclosed location. However, when he was brought under the gallows, thehood covering his head was removed for a few moments. He was reported to have surveyed thecrowd with a smile on his face.83 Taha’s trial represents one of the salient conflicts between Sufis and the fuqaha’ in the historyof Islam, or between the indigenous culture and the alien culture in Sudan.84 The senseless legalmurder of a 76 year-old highly respected pacifist shocked the nation, but nevertheless was supportedby all the representatives of institutional Islam inside and outside the country.85 The leaders of theIslamic Movement participated actively the conspiracy against Taha’s life, crowded its membershipin their thousands to witness the execution, and rejoiced it as well as the public burning of hisbooks.86 However, Taha’s courageous stance has shattered the regime’s authority, broke the barrier offear, and inspired massive public resistance that lead to the demise of the regime in less than threemonths of his execution. He left a rich intellectual legacy, and a movement that kept his ideas alive.Simone stated that: “Taha commanded great love and respect among the young; many indicated thatthey have learned what Allah is through him”.87 He was regarded by the absolute majority of the 16
  18. 18. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬Sudanese as a paragon of virtue. He presented his life to his followers as a model and he identifiedwith the wider Sudanese masses. In Howard’s words, “Taha’s simple home and a few possessionswere another way in which he acknowledges a link with the poor and the disposed”.88 “What’s truly remarkable about Taha” in George Packer’ words, “is that he existed at all”. In themidst of a gathering storm of Islamist extremism, he articulated a message of liberal reform that wasrigorous, coherent, and courageous. His vision asked Muslims to abandon fourteen hundred years ofaccepted dogma in favor of a radical and demanding new methodology that would set them free fromthe burdens of traditional jurisprudence”.89Comparison between the Epitomes of the Two CulturesIn the previous sections of this paper, I made a case that whereas the Islamic Movement builds on thealien Islamic culture of northern Sudan, the Republicans represent a development of the indigenousculture. Therefore these two movements could be considered as the modern representatives of thesetwo different and conflicting cultures. The Islamic Movement is alien on three counts; first it did not grow in Sudan. It was importedfrom Egypt, and still holds the Egyptian trademark. Second, its content is conflicting with the localindigenous culture, as we have demonstrated above. Third, it looks down upon the local culture asinferior to their imported epistemologies and knowledge system. Turabi has repeatedly said that theSudanese Muslims are on the whole weak in their religiosity, and that they are intent on correctingthe people’s religion. The Republican Movement on the other hand, is indigenous on three counts.First, its method and contents being based on the Sufi culture of northern Sudan, the movement is apure Sudanese product. Second, its content embodies the essence of the Sudanese indigenous SufiIslam. It values and respects the positive aspects of the local culture and intends to universalize them.In what follows I discuss methods of social reform and universal equality as examples.Methods of Social ReformThe Republicans called for empowering the masses through knowledge and information, as the basisof social reform. For them the end is the individual human being. Everything else is the means to thatend, including religion and the society.90 Under their motto “freedom for us and for the others”, theyalso called for establishing “Free Platforms” throughout the country, for all parties, movements,organizations, groups and individuals, to air their ideas and views and engage with the masses indiscussions and debates, so that an age of enlightening and renaissance would be unleashed. Tahabelieved in the wisdom of the masses. He said, “the masses do not lack the ability to distinguishbetween the values of things, but they lack the adequate information that enables them to do so, andthere are many barriers blocking the flow of information to the masses”. Through their activism, theRepublicans set out to dismantle these barriers. And as all the media outlets in the country were andstill are controlled by the state, the Republicans had to innovate ways and techniques to reach themasses. They produced low cost booklets and leaflets and sold them directly to the public. Theytransformed their membership into walking bookshops; they went into offices, schools, universities,public parks, market places and on the streets, meeting people informing them about theirpublications (which were usually about a current hot political, religious or social issue). They alsoestablished their own daily speakers platforms, which they called “arkan al-niqash”, (meaningdiscussion corners) in all universities, and in different parts of Khartoum, the capital, and other citiesacross the country, wherever they have presence. They sent missions, which they called “wufud”(meaning delegates) to the different regions, including remote areas where no other group hadreached. 17
  19. 19. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬ The Republicans developed and promoted the universal elements of their culture. They calledfor religious reform through the evolution of Shari’a, towards the higher discourse, which they callthe Sunna. In this way, Muslims will be able to embrace universal equality, democracy, human rights,and the best achievements of human heritage, including full citizenship rights to all people regardlessof gender or religion differences. They focus on education and social reform before any laws could beenforced. They warned that the Shari’a laws needed to be reformed, not implemented; the laws haveto be democratic and non-oppressive. Their idea of the good society is one with material welfare,social justice, and moral guidance; where people are empowered by good education, access toinformation, enlightened public opinion, and non-oppressive government.91 The Islamic Movement, on the other hand calls for the immediate implementation of Shari’alaws. This is their major campaign. For them, Shari’a laws are ready to be implemented. A Muslimsociety that does not apply Shari’a laws is kafir, fasiq, (meaning un-Islamic),92 and it is legitimate forthe Islamic Movement to use force in order to correct that.93 Shari’a, for Turabi, is the yardstick; it isabove, and superior to, the constitution.94 Their idea of a good Muslim society is that where theShari’a rules without any major reform; where harsh punishments, such as the hudud and qisas, are inforce, and where the law is coercing people to behave well. Their motto is that “God deters (people)by the force of law better than He does by the force of the Qur’an”, meaning that the law is muchmore effective than reform and education. Their ideal society is authoritarian where the Public OrderPolice looking upon people’s shoulders, to see how they dress, how they behave, etc., and will punishthem summarily if they deviated from the standard behavior as they understand it.IdentityTaha was able to sort out the interplay between the cultural/religious identity and the national identityin a harmonious way. The national identity is the salient identity. The Republicans considerthemselves Muslim Sudanese, who share the country with Christian Sudanese and African-religion-adherents Sudanese. Like their Sufi predecessors, the Republicans Sudanized Islam, or you can say‘nationalized’ it. They believe in Sudan; its culture and people, and that God has endowed them withgreat potentials that, when they were tapped and utilized, will make them the center of the universe.95Taha continued to say, “nobody should get surprised (by what I am saying) because Sudan is nowignorant, insignificant, and small, for God has preserved for its people genuine and deeply rootedattributes, asa’il al-taba’i’, that will make them the centre where earth and heavens meet”.96According to Taha’s vision Sudan will present the example of reform that will attract the attention ofthe world and which makes it an example to be followed. His aim is to bring about a Sudaneserenaissance and civilization and to universalize it. In doing that, Taha makes Sudan the end and Islamthe means. The Islamic Movement, on the other hand, views themselves as Muslim Sudanese, i.e.Muslims that happened to be in Sudan. Islam is their salient identity, which they wanted to make theidentity of the rest of the country, and beyond. They don’t believe in, and never accepted the nationstate. They dream of and work for a pan-Islamic Umma, in which Sudan is just the launching pad.Their main support is coming from trans-national-Islamic networks. Turabi was credited with theidea that all regional Islamists groups “collaborate in order to establish a springboard state designedto provide a base and launching pad for other conquests”.97 This is why when they usurped thepower in the country in 1989, they immediately established the Peoples’ Arab Islamic Congress,(PAIC) in which Islamic extremists from all over the world gathered.98 In 1993, PAIC declared“Covenant of Solidarity with Islamic Project in Sudan”. The regime was described as the “pioneeringmodel, which represents the historical hopes and aspirations of the Islamic Umma” and therefore they 18
  20. 20. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬should do everything in their capacity to support it. They also declared “any aggression against it isan attack on the whole Islamic Umma”.99 The Islamic Movement, and its regime, identify with non-Sudanese Muslims, and do notidentify with Sudanese non-Muslims. This is also why they issued the 1994 Nationality and PassportLaw, which gave the President the right to grant citizenship to any foreigner regardless of the (normalconditions). The intention behind the law was revealed by the Head of the Legal Affairs in theNational Council. He said: The citizenship and passports which are recognized in our Shari’a state are the words “la ilaha illa Allah, there is no God except Allah and thus the Sudan is open for all Muslims, especially those who serve the directives of the Islamic state or those who seek refuge as a result of persecution in their own countries”.100 It is no wonder that some of the top wanted men for “terrorism” have passed through andlived for some time in Sudan. These included Usama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri, Omer ‘AbdelRahman, and Carlos the Jackal.Equal Citizenship RightsGrasping the nettle of the spirit of Islam and the practice of the Sufis, the Republicans base theirperception of the “other” on the primary message of Islam where all people are God’s creation, andare equal in value, dignity and rights. The original message of Islam is democratic in nature andendorses universal equality. They call for complete equality between men and women, and betweenMuslims and non-Muslims. For the Republicans, a non-Muslim citizen, male or female, has the rightto contest for the highest office in the country, i.e. head of state. The Republican showed theirmethodology of bringing out the primary intent of the religion, which they call the evolution ofShari’a.The Islamic Movement on the other hand adopts the traditional model of Shari’a as formulated byclassical fiqh. This model discriminates against non-Muslims and women. It is also undemocratic andhierarchical in its nature. The ruler is a guardian over the populations, men are guardians overwomen, Muslims are guardians over non-Muslims, and it sanctions slavery. It is no wonder that theIslamist government is known for its discriminatory and oppressive measures against women andnon-Muslims, and its complicity in regard to enslaving southerners. This is the theoretical basis onwhich Dr. Al-Turabi responded to father Philip Ghabboush. The fact that Dr. Al-Turabi tried toescape forward from the question shows his internal psychological fissures. His aborted attempt toevade the question, exhibits that he was shameful of espousing a discriminative model. Nevertheless,instead of reconciling Shari’a to the spirit of our age, he chose to compromise his own integrity inorder to implement a medieval model.Civil Society & CitizenshipSudanese Civil Society, along other community entities, tried to pick up the pieces of a shatteredcountry. Their access was citizenship rights. They initiated the Sudanese Civil Society Initiative forPeople’s Unity and against statelessness in Sudan. They called for the protection of the rights ofSouthern Sudanese in the North, and Northern Sudanese in the South. They perceived of the principleof dual citizenship as a measure that would maintain the unity of the Sudanese people in theaftermath of the separation. They also called for mutual granting of the four freedoms to citizens inboth parts of the country. But unfortunately, the state of the civilization project decided to withdraw 19
  21. 21. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬citizenship from southern Sudanese, dismissed them from their jobs, and threaten to expel them enmasse.ConclusionThe state of the Civilization Project has resulted in the split of the country. Around 98% of theSouthern Sudanese voters have voted for “independence”. The withdrawal of the non-Muslimmembers of the parliament in the late sixties after the discussion that we quoted at the start of thispaper, symbolizes the withdrawal of the Southern part from Sudan’s body. This unanimous verdictprovides stark evidence, not only of political failure, but of cultural bankruptcy as well. The “Arabic-Islamic model” failed to coexist with the “other”. This paper has set out to make the case that thismodel is inherently hegemonic; it looks down upon other cultures. It does not accept from the“others” anything less than total forfeiture of their identities. This cultural bankruptcy permeates thefailure to grant equal citizenship rights to all.1 Minutes of the Parliament, Vol. 2,2 Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, The Islamic Constitution: Yes and No, Omdurman 1968.3 Albaqir Mukhtar, Human Rights and Islamic Law: the development of the rights of slaves, women and aliens in twocultures, unpublished PhD thesis, Manchester University 1996, p. 311.4 Ibid.5 Ibid.6 Francis M Deng, War of Visions: Conflicts of Identity in Sudan, The Brookings Institute, 1995, p. 238.7 Ibid.8 Ibid.9 Ibid.10 In 1208 Abu Salih wrote from hearsay: “It is said that the Nubians formerly worshiped the stars, and the that the first ofthem who was converted to the knowledge of the truth and the religion of the law of Christ, was Bahriyya, son the king’ssister, who was learned in the science of the sphere and was wise and skillful. When he was converted to the religion ofChrist, all the blacks of Nubia followed him and he built for them many Churches throughout the land of Nubia andmany monasteries, which are still flourishing., and some of them at a distance from the Nile and some upon its banks.Quoted in Trimingham, Islam in the Sudan,11 The encounter between the king and the ambassador is described in the following passage:When, therefore, the other Ambassador arrived, he gave the King the letters and gifts and began to inform and tell him,according to his instruction as follows: ‘The King of the Roman has sent us to you, that in case of your becomingChristians, you may cleave to the Church and those who govern it, and not be led astray after those who have beenexpelled from it’. And when the king of Nobadae and his princes heard all these things, they answered them, saying: ‘thehonorable present which the King of the Romans has sent us we accept, and will also ourselves send him a present. Buthis faith we will not accept: for if we consent to become Christians, we shall walk after the example of pope Theodosius,who, because he was not willing to accept the wicked faith of the King, was driven away by him and expelled from theChurch. If, therefore, we abandon our heathenism and errors, we cannot consent to fall into the wicked faith professed bythe King. See J. Spencer Trimingham, Islam in the Sudan, Oxford University Press, London New York Toronto, 1949, p.53.12 Yusuf Fadl Hasan, (ed.) Kitab Tabaqat wad Dayf Allah fi awliya’ wa-salihin wa-‘ulama’ wa shu’ara, Khartoum,University Press, 1985, p.40. See also Yusuf Fadl Hasan, The Arabs and the Sudan: from the seventh to the earlysixteenth century, Edinburgh, University Press, 1967, p. 179.13 Trimingham, Islam in the Sudan, ibid, p. 105.14 Ibid.15 Kenneth Keneston & Leo Marx, (ed.) Indigenous Rights, indigenous cultures and environmental conservation:Convergence and divergence, The case of Brazilan Kayapo, Cambridge, MIT Press, 1989.16 Trimingham, ibid., p. 105. 20
  22. 22. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬17 The first of these Fuqaha’ was al-Sheikh Ghulam Allah Ibn ‘Aa’id from Yemen. He arrived in Dongola in the secondhalf of the 14th Century and built a Mosque and started teaching the sciences of the Qur’an to his sons and, students andthe sonns of the Mulims. See Hasan, the Tabaqat, ibid.,18 Trimingham, Ibid, p. 101.19 Abu Salim, “Dawr al-‘ulama fi nashr al-Islam fi al-Sudan” in Muddathir Abdel Rahim and al-Tayyib Zein al-Abidin,Al-Islam fi al-Sudan, buhuth mukhtara min al-Mu’tamar al-Awwal li jama’at al-fikr wal-thaqafa al-Islamiyya (Khartoum,dar al-asala lil-sahafa wal-nashr wal’intaj al-‘ilmi, 1987, pp 31-42.20 Ibid, p. 12.21 (Some info re these two personalities)22 Ibid.23 Ibid.24 Ibid.25 Yusuf Fadl Hasan, (ed.) Kitab Tabaqat wad Dayf Allah fi awliya’ wa-salihin wa-‘ulama’ wa shu’ara, Khartoum,University Press, 1985, p.41.26 Ibid.27 See Trimingham, ibid, and Hasan, ibid.28 Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, As’ila wa Ajwiba, (Questions and Answers) Second Part, Omdurman, 1971, p.2 of theEnglish part of the book.29 Ibid.30 Ibid, p. 3.31 Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, Tariq Mohamed, (the path of the Prophet Mohamed), Omdurman, 1966, p. 16.32 Ibid.33 Abu Hamid al-Gazali, Ihya’ Ulum ad-Din, Beirut, Dar an-Nadwa al-jadida, no date, vol. 1, p. 3.34 Ibid.35 Ibid.36 Yousif fadl Hasan, (ed) the Tabaqat, ibid, p.13. The main argument of el-Sheikh Idris wadel Arbab was that he wasinformed directly by the Prophet that it was haram, and he performed a miracle, karama, that convinced his adversaries,who included el-Sheikh al-Ajahuri, an Egyptian grand faqih, to submit to him.37 Ibid, p. 14. The Qadi was furious because he heard that al-Sheikh al-Hamim had violated Shari’a by marrying the sisterof one of his wives, a practice prohibited by Sharia and fiqh. He ordered the prominent Sheikh to repudiate the aqd,marriage contract. The Sheikh told the Qadi to get lost, and cursed him with a disease that would disfigure his skin. TheTabaqat reports that al-Qadi Dishein was inflicted by a disease that caused his skin to fall apart38 Trimingham, Islam in the Sudan, ibid, p. 111.39 See Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, Za’im Jabhatel-Mithaq al-Islami fi Mizan (1) al-Islam and (2) al-Thaqafa al-Gharbiyya (The leader of the Islamic Charter Front in the scale of (1) Islam and (2) Western Culture), Omdurman 1968.40 Trimingham, Islam in the Sudan, ibid, p. 112.41 Mansour Khalid, The Government they Deserve: the Role of the Elite in Sudan’s Political Evolution, London and NewYork, Kegan Paul International, 1990, p. 29.42 Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Sectarianism and Politics in Sudan Since the Mahdiyya, , The University of Wisconsin Press,2003, p. 9.43 Ibid.44 Ibid. p. 31.45 Ibid, p. 32.46 Willian Y. Adams, Nubia Corridor to Africa, ibid, p.619. See also Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Sectarianism and Politics,ibid. The University of Wisconsin Press, 2003, pp.6 & 7.47 Mansour Khalid, ibid, p. 31.48 Ibid. p. 32.49 Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Sectarianism and Politics, ibid. p. 9.50 Mansour Khalid, The Government they deserve, ibid, p.34.51 Willian Y. Adams, Nubia Corridor to Africa, ibid. p. 626.52 Mansour Khalid, the Governemnt they deserve, ibid, p. 36.53 Nabi Issa is a Sudanese concept equivalent to the concept of the return of Christ, or the second coming of the Messiah.It is related to another concept of al-Mahdi al-Muntathar, the awaited Mahdi, who would save humanity and fill earthwith justice as it is filled with injustices. 21
  23. 23. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬54 See Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Sectarianism and Politics, ibid, p. 59.55 Butler’s Journal, 1911, SAD/422/12; James Butler was a graduate of Trinity College Dublin. He served in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan from 1899 till 1913. Cited in Gabriel Warnburg, ibid, p. 63.56 Ibid., p. 58.57 Mansour Khalid, the Government they Deserve, ibid, p. 51.58 Ibid.59 Although al-Mudawwi Abdel Rahman was a graduate of al-Azhar, and belongs to fuqaha’ brand, and opposed theMahdi, but still he was suspected by the government because of his experience with the Mahdi. He visited the Mahdi inJabal Qadir, at the start of his movement, in order to examine his claims. He concluded that he Mahdi’s claims were false.He went to exile during when the Mahdi prevailed, and returned shortly after the British-Egyptian conquest of thecountry. The government feared that he would apply the same vigorous examination to the colonial authority and wouldfind it anti-Islamic. Slatin instructed the Board to interrogate him and keep him under surveillance. See Warnburg, ibid, p.62.60 ‘Abdel Qadir wad Habouba led a revolt against the government in 1908, and killed two officials, an Egyptian and aBritish. His revolt was easily crushed, and he was sentenced to death. The Board did not only approved the death sentencebut also criticized the government for not listening to their advice in 1901 to kill all the Mahdist preachers. See Warburg,ibid.61 The Republican Publications, Ulama bi-Zamihim, Umderman, 1982.62 Name of the movement when it staged the military coup in 1989, was the National Islamic Front (NIF). After thesuccess of their coupe, they dissolved their organisation and established the National Congress Party in the early 1990s.This party split as a result of a power struggle that cost the leader of the party Dr. Hasan el-Turabi, his post as thespokesperson of the National Council, as well as his freedom. Hasan al-Turabi then formed the Peoples Congress Party(PCP) and remained in opposition.63 The Republican Publications, Ismuhum al-Wahabiyya wa Layu hum Ansar al-Sunna, Umderman 1981.64 Abdelrahim Omer Muheiddin, Al-Turabi wel-Inghadh, Sira’ al-Hawiyyati wel-Hawa: Fintant al-Islamiyyin fil-Sulta,min Mudhakirat al-‘Ashara Ila Mudhakkirat al-Tafahum ma’a Garang, (Turabi and the National Salvation Government:Conflict of Identity and Prejudice, Damascus, Darel Karama Publication, 2006, p. 28.65 All these played a key role in the implementation of the September Shari’a laws during the last years of the May regimein 1983-85, and the execution of Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, the 76 year-old respected leader of the Republican Brotherson apostasy. For a full account of Taha’s trial see the translator’s introduction to the Second Message of Islam, byAbdullahi An-Na’im, ibid, pp1-30.66 This is how Mansour Khalid describes the current government. See Mansour Khalid, War and Peace in Sudan: A Taleof Two Countries, London, New York, Bahrain, Kegan Paul, 2003, p. 217.67 Ibid.68 Khalid al Mubarak, Turabi’s Islamist Venture: Failure and Implications, Cairo, El Dar El Thaqafia, 2001, pp. 756-77.69 Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Sectarianism and Politics, ibid, p. 209.70 Khalid al Mubarak, Turabi’s Islamist Venture, ibid., p. 75.71 Ibid., p. 76.72 Mansour Khalid, War and Peace in Sudan, ibid, pp. 198-99.73 Al-Tayib Salih, Selected Writings: Sudan is My Country, no. 7, Beirut, Riad El-Rayyes Books, 2005, p. 82.74 Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Sectarianism and Politics, ibid. p. 64.75 Al-Hayat Newspaper, 4 October 2000, quoted in Mansour Khalid, War and Peace in Sudan, ibid, p. 205.76 Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, The Second Message of Islam, Syracuse, New York, Syracuse University Press, 1987. Seethe translator’s Introduction, by Abdullahi A. An-Na’im, p. 2.77 George Packer, “The Moderate Martyr: A radically peaceful vision of Islam”, The New Yorker Magazine, issue of 11September 2006.78 Albaqir Alafif Mukhtar, Human Rights and Islamic Law: the development of the rights of slaves, women and aliens intwo cultures, unpublished PhD thesis, Manchester University, 1996, p. 340.79 Ibid, p. 341.80 Ja’far Numeiri was president of the country 1969-1985. He started as a secular leftist, who came to stop passing anIslamic constitution in Sudan through the parliament. In the span of 16 years he turned full circle and ended up in 1983implementing the laws that he came to stop in 1969. He was overthrown by a popular uprising in April 1985.81 Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, The Second Message of Islam, p. 11.82 For full account of the Taha’s trial see the translator’s introduction to the Second Message of Islam, by Abdullahi An-Na’im, ibid, pp1-30. 22
  24. 24. 2011 ‫اآﺘﻮﺑﺮ‬ ‫ورﺷﺔ اﻟﻤﻮاﻃﻨﺔ ﻓﻰ اﻃﺎر اﻟﺘﻌﺪد اﻟﻌﺮﻗﻰ و اﻟﺜﻘﺎﻓﻰ‬ ‫ﻟﻤﻨﺘﺪى اﻟﻤﺪﻧﻰ اﻟﻘﻮﻣﻰ‬83 Ibid, p. 17.84 Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Sectarianism and Politics, ibid, p. 164.85 Ibid.86 Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, The Second Message, ibid, see the translator’s introduction, pp. 1-30.87 T. Abdou Maligalim Simone, In Whose Image? Political Islam and Urban Practices in Sudan, Chicago and London,the University of Chicago Press, 1994, p. 181.88 Stephen W Howard, “Mahmoud Mohamed Taha: a remarkable teacher in Sudan”, in Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 10,no. 1, 83-93, 1988.89 George Packer, “The Moderate Martyr: A radically peaceful vision of Islam”, The New Yorker Magazine, issue of 11September 2006.90 Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, The Second Message of Islam, ibid, p.62.91 Ibid, pp. 152-153.92 Turabi, al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya, ……….93 Khalid Al-Mubarak, Turabi’s Islamist Venture, ibid., p. 14.94 Ibid.95 Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, “As-Sudan huwa Markaz Da’irat el-Wujud”, Ash-Sha’b Newspaper, 27th January 1951.96 Ibid.97 Khalid Al-Mubarak, Turabi’s Islamist Venture, ibid, p. 30.98 Ibid, p.3299 Ibid, p.33.100 Al Khartoum Newspaper, 2 June 1994, quted in Al-Mubarak ibid, p. 100. 23

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