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Tuesday, 23 September 2008


In a world that is being destroyed by Machiavellian realpolitikers, what should moral people do?

Well, they can practice moralpolitik, which can be defined as politics based on morals, the exact opposite of realpolitik.

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) once said that no one should have thought that he was less clever than his main rivals, and pointed out that if he had been allowed to use treachery and dirty tricks, he could have outsmarted them all.

This is a classic example of moralpolitik vs. realpolitik.

Imam Ali (PBUH) practiced Islamic moralpolitik because he felt compelled to follow the sharia in his confrontation with his foes, who felt no qualms about practicing unbeliever realpolitik and violating the tenets of Islamic law.

Throughout history there are many other examples of the clash between moralpolitik and realpolitik.

Iraqi forces made extensive use of chemical weapons in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, but Iran never responded in kind.

In fact, many military analysts have said that Iran could have won the war and deposed Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime if it had also used chemical weapons, since the Islamic Republic of Iran was a more industrialized country at the time, had a much larger population, and had comparable military capabilities, while its troops had higher morale than the Iraqi forces.

However, Iran would have been the loser in the long term if it had chosen that path.

If Iran had used chemical weapons and the decision to adopt such a strategy had become the turning point in the war, allowing it to topple Saddam's Baathist regime and to install a democratic government in Iraq, Iran would have lost on the material plane and the spiritual plane.

Iran would have lost on the material plane because the world would have found it guilty of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

And Iran would have lost on the spiritual plane because it would have been guilty of violating the sharia, which is God's law.

In addition, the leaders of the new Iraqi government probably would have been regarded as Iran's puppets, and even if that had not been the case, the world would have believed the new Iraqi government had come to power due to Iran's decision to use chemical weapons.

So, it seems that Iran made the right decision.

It is often difficult to take the moral high ground, especially when it appears that the treacherous are riding high and the just people are oppressed, but we must be certain that the just always win in the end.

We must have yaqin, which is the Arabic word for certainty, and sabr, which is the Arabic word for patience.

Islamic forces will be victorious if they stick to the tenets of Islam, but Muslims will lose if we abandon the principles of Islam, as the Holy Quran admonishes us.

The ends do not justify the means.

Practice moralpolitik and be certain that the forces of justice always win in the end.