Hani Ruishi: Explaining Hamas

By Dr. Hani Ruishi
Special to PalestineChronicle.com

Recently, Hamas has been subjected to a relentless campaign and unjust attack from many governments, organizations and individuals, especially after its control over the Gaza Strip. The target of this campaign seemed to aim at hurting the image of Hamas and thus used a vulgar and dishonest conclusions. The motto, which Hamas raised in its electoral campaign "Islam is the solution" had its share of this attack.

Although much of this criticism has been political and interested solely in serving the United States government’s misguided foreign policy, I shall assume, for the purpose of this article that the criticism was made in good faith. My hope is to explain Hamas’s true motives which is contrary to the overriding conclusion already reached in regards to the Islamic movement.

Hamas follows a balanced version of Islam, whish is a religion that has unique legislations; these legislations cover all aspects of life including worship, morality and various types of transactions. The transactions include the regulatory aspects of civil and family provisions and the provisions of the judiciary, the system of governance, and how to choose the head of state and form a government, and the relationships between individuals and their rights, and the relations with other countries in war and peace, and the organization of financial relations, and the relationship between the state and individuals. The transactions also involve determining punitive relationship of the individual to the state on one hand, and the acts prohibited "crimes and the amount of each penalty".

To those who claim Islam is a religion which has nothing to do with the state, Hamas offers what I believe is the true nature of Islam.

It is important to note, that Hamas’s views in regard to statehood is very similar to that of an ideal democratic nation. In most cases, from its revival more than 14 centuries, Islam came up with the basic constitutional principles that the west now implements, after a long journey of trial and error and too many wars and social upheavals.

In brief, these are some of the constitutional principles which Hamas is trying to implement (as a reflection of Islamic guidelines):


1- Freedom of belief and worship.
2- Freedom of opinion and expression:
3 – The only political doctrine is consultation, or Shura "Islamic democracy". Moreover, a governor does not have the power to make decisions without consultation with a council. 
4 – People have the right to choose on their own free will who will govern them. This concept was implemented in many occasions after the death of Prophet Mohammed.
5 – The governor is like a deputy of the nation and as a source of the authorities but subject to accountability. He/she continues to have the trust of people as long as he/she implements the law, otherwise he/she loses power.
6 – All people are equal, regardless of color, race, religion, etc.
7 – All are equal before the law and courts.

Human Rghts:

Hamas also calls for human rights in the fullest and broadest form:
1 – The right to life: "We ordained for the Children of Israel that whoever takes a life without the same, or due to corruption in the land, it is as if he had killed all mankind" "The Holy Quran; Almaeda : From verse 32". (The extraordinarily huge efforts Hamas put in releasing the British reporter Alan Johnston early Wednesday, July 4, in Gaza City after nearly four months in captivity, is a manifestation of Hamas attitudes, although they exposed their fighters to a great risk. Ironically, Hamas pressed Johnston’s abductors into freeing him, at a time the British government is imposing a strict blockade on Hamas and Gaza.)
2 – The right to dignity and humanity:
3 – Outlaw of injustice.
4 – The right to establish a family through marriage.
5 – The right of each person to get a suitable job.
6 – The right of an individual to ensure compensation from the community due to disability or unemployment
7 – Outlawing profiteering.
8 – The inviolability of private property.
9 – Fight against poverty.
10 – The responsibility of the governor over the work of his ministers and his staff.
11 – The duty to fight against injustice, corruption. Accordingly, the “promotion of virtue and prevention of evil.”
12 – The rights of a woman to choose her partner and to direct all civil contracts, and her right to work commensurate with her nature, and the right to vote and stand for parliamentary elections and local councils, and her right to hold public offices, which she fits.
13 – Non Muslims enjoy equal rights and freedoms outlined above.

When Hamas says that Islam presents a leading solution, it means implementing and protecting the abovementioned principles. Therefore, Hamas will never be a Taliban or Qaeda like organization in terms of its principles or overall objectives.

Hamas should not be faulted if the applications of these principles were unreasonable and crude in some places, and rejected in others. Hamas has the right to be judged based on its declared principles and practices, not based on politically motivated misconceptions.

-Dr. Ruish is affiliated with the Centre for East Studies and can be contacted at: haniruishi@yahoo.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com

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