chapter  6
17 Pages

Islamic citizenship and its qualifiers

The Muslim Brotherhood have consistently spoken of a contractual relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in an Islamic state in accordance with the

Shari‘a. The Brotherhood’s political thought on non-Muslims did not undergo significant reform since the conception of the movement. This is not to suggest a complete uniformity within the movement on every matter, there are different positions on jurisprudence. At one end of the spectrum is Salem el-Bahnasawy, representing the most liberal perspective and on the other end of the spectrum, representing the most conservative standpoint is Al Gabry, and Sheikh Mohammed el Khattib. Somewhere close to the conservative end of the spectrum is Sheikh El Qaradawy. Let us take the example of a Muslim man marrying a woman from the People of the Book as an example. El-Bahnasawy allows the marriage from People of the Book (2004: 89), Al Gabry prohibits it. El Qaradawy allows a marriage to a woman from the People of the Book, but forbids her inheriting from her husband. On the subject of sharing burial sites with nonMuslims, El-Bahnasawy believes that in dire circumstances it is permissible to bury a Muslim in a non-Muslim graveyard, while El Khattib prohibits it on the basis that this would mean a Muslim would share in the eternal suffering (punishment) of a non-Muslim in his graveyard. The difference in opinions can be explained in terms of agential and structural factors. Salem el-Bahnasawy is part of the international Muslim Brotherhood, based in London, and his primary audience has often been Muslim Diaspora and non-Muslims living in the West. It is no surprise that the tone is often more conciliatory. On the other hand, El Khattib as the Mufti of the Brotherhood speaks to a majority audience of Muslim Brotherhood followers and rank and file in Egypt who tend to be very conservative. El Qaradawy presents himself as a follower of the moderate school in Islam and therefore to qualify the negation with exceptions or qualify the acceptance with restrictions. It is also important to note that whether one is examining the views of leaders at whatever end of the spectrum, they all relate specifically to the position of non-Muslims in Dar el Islam, and in some cases specifically to the position of non-Muslims in Egypt. They do not apply to contexts categorised as belonging to Dar al Harb. Also, it is pertinent to note that for the Muslim Brotherhood, not all non-Muslims can be put in the same basket. The rights of non-Muslims are qualified according to whether they belong to the People of the Book or not, and whether they have deviated from Islam or were born into another religion. In the qualification of rights, there is no room for atheists, they simply do not exist as a category. Below is a discussion of the one unified stance taken by virtually all members of the Brotherhood, the doctrinal principle of lahum ma lana wa ‘aleihum wa ‘aleina followed by a discussion of the concept and practice of Islamic citizenship as an identity, and as a set of rights and duties.