March 1, 2018
Imam Abdessalam Yassine’s thought is unique both in conception and execution. It is conceived in a true Islamic spirit; it is non-sectarian in approach; it eschews factional involvements and projects the essence of Islam without emphasizing the incremental elements which sometimes result in group wrangles and squabbles among the Muslims.
Imam Yassine was a true Muslim, charged with the irrepressible urge to bring about an Islamic moral uprising in the world. The expression ‘true Muslim’ has normally become a pious cliché and a hollow label to designate people whose outward proximity to Islam reflects their inward remoteness from it. In other words, a vast majority of Muslims, especially, people with scholarly pretensions, wear religious piety as a mask or persona to conceal the impiety that nestles in their hearts. The discrepancy between the exterior and interior of a large number of Muslims has made the epithet ‘true Muslim’ dubious in the eyes of the world. They react to it with a kind of ingrained skepticism as it is invariably rooted in exaggeration and hyperbole. But in the case of Imam Yassine, its application is neither distended nor irrelevant. Therefore, I vehemently see that he was a true Muslim and a devoted believer, as this basic clarification of the emotional and spiritual tenor of his outlook formed the essential matrix of his prophetic theory. I mean in simple terms that his pan-Islamic vision was never hampered by sectarian and parochial interests. He desired an international Islamic uprising and his desire has been reflected through each and every phrase and sentence of his books.
The stars of his splendor and radiance might seem rare in the Islamic galaxy, but when they do appear, they sweep the world along with them on the inevitable journey to spiritual glory and grandeur. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the exceptional nature of his personality and the unique aspect of his assignment are found in every page of his books and every act of his deeds. Throughout, he stresses the universal dimensions of Islam and minimizes and often completely ignores the peripheral and accretional issues which serve to side-track real concerns and, in lieu of welding Muslims into a unity, tend to rip them apart. His thought is therefore the best spiritual glue that will unite not only the fractured hearts in the Muslim world, but also the lost and lacerated souls on their egos and are consciously being deprived of the springs of vitality and spirituality.
Imam Yassine claims that Islam is not restricted to the moral and spiritual uplift of a few individuals, rather its orbit is as extensive as the universe itself. Thus its uniqueness is an all-embracing extensity of approach and it does not exclude from its area of concern and sympathy even those who are its professed adversaries. This attitude springs directly from his close and emotionally-charged reproduction of the prophetic model. The holy Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) converted people to his point of view through persuasion and humility and not through arrogance and coercion. A religion that discriminates, has no right to claim itself a divine religion, when God Himself does not discriminate among His creatures, how can true religion, which comes into existence through the light of His revelation, treat them differently from one another. Therefore, the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) extended his message to everyone, and he left it to the people to accept or reject it. But his optimism never flagged or flickered and he kept up persuading people till the end of his life on earth.
Imam Yassine, being inspired by the prophetic model, embarked on a similar course. He believed in persuasion, not coercion; and it was his earnest desire that the message should reach the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims. Besides, his thought should appeal to all the Muslim sects, irrespective of their sectarian and factional affiliations. It is this catholicity of approach which has made him extremely popular among the Muslims of the world. Wherever he spoke, he was heard with rapt attention; whatever he said, his words received the maximum weight from the Muslims. They were, and still are, genuinely impressed by his warm and deeply concerned neutrality, and his immunity to bigotry and fanaticism.