Books Review


By Abid Ullah Jan, Pragmatic Publishing & Distributors, Canada, ISBN: 0-976336870-5 Reviewed by: Afroz Alam

In the West a veritable mountain of literature has been published on the state of, and prospect for, democracy in the world, both serious research works and primitive apologetics. To varying degrees, however, all are official in character, have a clear class essence and thrust. In this context, the buzzwords like “end of history”, “end of ideology” and “clash of civilizations” are of only fleetingly attractive, having been sustained by the wave of democratization in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and drawing impetus in particular from the collapse of communism. In true sense, this liberal-democratic triumphalism reflected the persistence of wholly designed western-centric viewpoint. But the champions of “democratic superiority” completely failed to recognize the visible rot at the head of democracy. The twenty-first century is a century of the comprehensive and deepening crisis of US model of democracy which continues to bring mankind wars, suffering, starvation and spiritual emptiness. It is becoming increasingly understood that democracy is no more democratic but turned into Demons-cracy or Americocracy. It is the end of the age of democracy that was cultivated for centuries on the basis of “rule of the people, for the people, by the people.” Democracy is steadily loosing its former attraction. It’s egoism, immoralism, godlessness, the thirst for profit, soullessness, and the entire mass culture is increasingly becoming intolerable. Its entire path is washed with blood and tears, and marked with indifference to the general population. The book under review indisputably confirms this assessment.

The book, The End of Democracy, is a personal endeavour of Abid Ullah Jan to understand the implied design behind the US campaign for “world democracy”. The author strives to provide the most obvious monstrosities of democratic system as practiced and championed by the US and its allies. The goal of the study is to determine the potential of Islam as the only alternative to the world as a system of governance as well as mode of life. It is this objective realization of Islam as an alternative increases the fear felt by the ruling forces of democratic triumphalism in the face of the impending disappearance of their system. It is out of this very factor, democratic survivalists reacts in a very diabolic way and their entire arsenal of force was brought in use against the Muslim countries: intervention, counter-revolution, regime-change blockade, various types of provocation—both military and economic. In no sphere has Washington oriented democracy managed to overcome its inherent contradictions. The disclosure of imperialistic crime in the name of democracy itself invalidated the self-opinionated belief of certain official intellectuals that no society can survive without practicing liberal democracy. Now people around the world start realizing that no civilized society is possible under the contemporary model of democracy. The author observes that all governing mechanisms have failed to provide justice to everyone because of their inherent imperfections. “It is not only democracy that is facing a challenge, but also its challengers who have to show that the alternative is practicable.” (p.x) This work is not an experiment in futurology or forecasting, but in virtually all the chapters the reader will discover certain ideas concerning the course of the probable development of the situation most particularly since September 11.

However, the author has divided his well-researched book into 10 chapters. In the very introductory part, the author reflects on the visible and latent maneuverings of Washington’s mission of democratization in the Middle East and Muslim world at large. The great values of democracy are being compromised only to satisfy the Washington’s survival instincts. This is manifested in the US and its ally’s creation of, and support for autocratic regimes and puppet rules in the Muslim world. The objective behind their democratic hypocracies are dual in nature: “a) holding the rising tides of Muslim opposition to the existing puppet regimes at bay and b) effectively legitimizing and maintaining new occupations.” (p.3) The first chapter highlights the state of rotten democracy in United States. After carefully diagnosing the disease within the democracy, the author finds that democracy is no longer a people’s government but turned into a “government of puppets, by the puppets for the bullies in Washington.” (p.19) The Western democracies at its peak now reduced to the status of the worst kind of tyrannical system that human beings have ever experienced. After scrutinizing the failure of all governing systems tested till today, the author argues that “the only remaining alternative that can cater to the ultimate needs of human beings and address all the weaknesses of democracy is Islam.” (p.32)

The second chapter is devoted to study the countries other than the US. The author provides a most exciting detail about the state of democracy in other countries and concludes that the democracy is not a criterion for progress and peace. The democracy as pioneered by the US failed to provide an effective alternative rather it intensified the crisis to the worst. It is no longer being treated as the only solution but as the only problem to this world. The third chapter aims to provide the real beneficiaries of the democracy. In this pursuit, the author exposes the specter of corporatism and designated the US as corporate democracy. The author believes that being “the forefront of globalization, corporations will be free to manipulate weaknesses of democracy and democracy, and hinder development of any alternative to the contemporary forms of governing mechanism.” (p.58) The fourth chapter concerns itself to the utmost decline in the values and virtues of democracy. The author completely rejects the view that democracy poses any challenge to Islam. “It is rather Islam that has become a challenge to the kind of democracy practiced in the West today.” (p.67) In the fifth chapter, the author disapproves the superficial analyses of Western and neo-moderates among the Muslims that Islam and democracy are essentially incompatible. While examining the cores of democracy and Islam, the author finds that all positive aspects of modern democracy are already part of the Islam’s comprehensive package for all spheres of human life. Can democracy only succeed in a state where there is a complete separation of religion and politics? Is there no hope of democracy without secularism? These are the questions which haunts the author in the sixth chapter. In the course of his analysis, the author raises the question, how many countries will US invade and how many thousands of people will it kill to secure America’s future or making them secular and progressive in the image of the United States of America? He also highlights the irrelevancy of democratic secularism with respect to theo-democratic state of Islam.

The final four chapters undertake the comparative analysis of the philosophy of Islamic State with respect to democratic state, the question of divine sovereignty with respect to people’s sovereignty, Islamic laws and government. The author modesty attempts to answer the query of western minds: Do Muslims really need an Islamic State? If they do, does Islam prescribe a specific form of governance? After scrutinizing all niceties and subtleties associated with the democracy and Islam, the author reaches at the conclusion that Islam provides an integrated homogenous whole. It is capable of creating the most human and just society, a peace and blessing for humankind. In an Islamic, “people are free to have multi parties, hold elections, referendums, ensuring majority rights, protecting minority rights, having opposition, have press freedom and safeguarding the independence of the judiciary.” (p.212) The author not only questions the validity of democracy but also reflects upon the two extremes within the Muslim community: Mullas and Moderates. Both are equally harmful for the health and future of the Muslim Ummah. Both provide ample opportunities to USA and its allies to manipulate the things and to promote a war within Islam. Both the extremes joined the cause of dying democracy, knowingly or unknowingly.

Reading this book is really like entering into a different domain. Without an iota of doubts, the book under review is a serious challenge to the champions of “end of history” schools. Though the author judged the things with a perspective of Islam. Yet, unlike the stalwarts of liberal democracy, he is rational, unprejudiced and uncloured.

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