The distillation of thought for negotiation on the communal level most likely began with the Al-Fudoul confederacy. But it was a meeting at Wadi Al-Muhassab, and subsequent social boycott of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers which forged the thoughts regarding future domestic and foreign policy endeavors. Undoubtedly, the grandson of ‘Abdul-Muttalib and his followers were also emotionally impacted by a trail of ants and the story of their own small intervention to validate the end of a social boycott and the supremacy of the Muslims. This caused the Messenger of a growing cadre of loyalists to say, “I will guide you in the means by which you will gain sovereignty over both the Arabs and the non-Arabs.”
The crafting of the Hudaibiyah treaty showed a distinct doctrinal strength which established precedent for negotiations which did not place the Muslims at a disadvantage. The Makki text of the Qur’an focused on pivotal eternal issues and soft social issues. But after the rise of a nascent Islamic capitol at Madinah, a suite of laws regarding issues of state and foreign policy began to emerge. Usool al-Fiqh (sources of Islamic Law) as provided in the Madani text gave greater emphasis on issues of state, including both military and diplomatic options.
Islamic conquest and expansionism was the cadence heard across the region after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The concept of the authority of Muslims above all other people became an anchoring thought. To the winner belong the spoils of war. Today, this cadence is felt in Afghanistan. “Allah will never give the kafirun a way over the Muminun”, is the word on the street for the Taliban. This posture has been noted throughout the years in which America and NATO allies have sought to clip the wings of jihad. In a sense, the holding pattern of the talib regarding belief has brought us to the place we stand today. We are in need of an exit plan, a security agreement, and future squared-jaw interactions across negotiation tables.
Law is the filigree of Islamic culture when viewed through the eyes of the Western powers. It is subtle and difficult to understand for those who have not mentored under Shari’ah chain of command. We examine text and see stagnation. But for those who are strongly observant of Islamic principles, law is effervescent. These individuals envision a fountain.
Document retrieval from a jihad portal provides a counterweight analysis of the Bilateral Security Agreement between Afghanistan and the United States. The author states that Afghans are Sunni Hanafi. Hence, the works of Hanafi maddhab (scholars) are used in support of an argument against the agreement. The document is powerfully written. The primary defense against the Bilateral Security Agreement finds a platform with codified Fiqh rulings which provide a compendium of thought regarding foreign affairs. I am reminded of a current reality. Many of the jurisprudential rulings and writings which were the domain of scholars are now within the reach of the “Awamm”, or “common people”. Ancient text harbored within library archives and museum displays in a prior era is now available on the internet. The ability of the Qur’anic Sciences to function as signal, symbol and code is moving from Arabic, to transliteration, to desktop.
A basic thought which is threaded throughout the Taliban document is based on the concept of Wala wal Bara. The boundaries regarding limited friendship with idolaters (non-Muslims) and more demographically specific, Jews and Christians, is strongly conveyed. Qur’anic ayat are liberally tossed about, without balancing the text with an understanding that each ayat in the Qur’an has a historical backdrop.
In and of itself, timeline constraints are difficult for many Muslims because temporal sense of space is enveloped within the concept of eternity. So the history and battles of the early Islamic state become more than just history. They spring to life for re-enactment in the 21st century. Enmity is forever.
The author gives the well-worn trope of Dar ul Islam and Dar ul Harb. He speaks of a world separated into two spheres. I have to smile. In actuality, a third concept, that of Dar al-‘Ahd (treaty territory) and an additional “two spheres” or two suite of laws apply.
The concept of Ma’ahid resonates in the writing of the author. It is a term which does not denote a security agreement with an opposing force. Rather, it is the truce between two mutually-hostile forces which allows for a cessation of hostilities for ten years. (Author’s note: the legal precedence for a decade of cessation of hostilities is the Hudaibiyah treaty.) In other words, a document which provides for appeasement is allowed. It is allowed for ten years. But beyond the truce, all documents must be signed by a legally recognized Amir of a territory, his deputy or someone with by direction signatory authority. President Hamid Karzai? He remains a disappointment to the West. His administration is pock-marked with corruption and cronyism. He remains a target of the Taliban. In the document, he is treated as a legal non-entity.
The document states there is no legal basis for a security agreement because Americans do not fall within one of two categories. We are neither tax-paying non-Muslim, nor do we come with a legal document which the warring party will agree to sign.
The author states that while solid objectives are obtained for the United States (control over land and air space, military bases, access to communication, etc), that which is offered to the Afghan population is ambiguous and general in nature.
Interestingly enough, the document ends on a weak note because of the inclusion of a paragraph about the open sale of pork and alcohol products. This topic falls under a completely different suite of laws and on a basic level, the sale of alcohol falls under the category of Hisbah/public order. Perhaps the author ran out of steam. But as for me, I think I need a drink…. of water, of course.
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