Arrangement of the defenses is generally the first step in any struggle or conflict. Defense is a frequently used mode of war and if properly practiced, it’s wiser and rather sober face. When the leadership devises a defensive strategy, most practitioners of war tend to begin with fortifications, digging trenches, organizing interior lines, and so on. Though apparently sound, this is nevertheless a deficient strategy. Building fortifications, digging trenches, organizing interior lines of defense surely impedes enemy movement, often delaying it… until the enemy reorganizes its forces to attack anew. If the enemy is ignorant of the art of war, a strong defense may exhaust it temporarily, but this will not prevent the recurrence of attacks in the future. From another perspective, a defensive strategy that relies on shoring up the defenses has a negative side to it too: it breeds boredom, laziness, a laid-back defeatist mindset (the trench mentality). Viewed from this angle, a strategy that relies on defense and defense only stifles initiative, lowers morale and weakens zeal. The soldiers, and beyond them the masses, transform into a helpless static crowd, unable to change gears from defense to the offense. The enemy hardly ever waits for the fortifications to collapse, for as long as it possesses initiative, it will always evolve new methods of attack. And so a decisive enemy attack is only a question of time and advances in tactics and technology.
A defensive strategy must be accompanied by two parallel processes, which are akin to conditions for its success:
Firstly: Preparing the ground, from building fortifications to digging trenches and organizing interior lines. This is obviously inevitable for the defense to succeed.
Secondly: Building man himself: the fuel of the struggle. A most vital yet often ignored factor, this is a two-stage process:
The starting point is making man aware of his condition, his responsibilities and rights, the reality of his existence, his role in life; that he is part of a billion strong Ummah, not a stray lone individual. Likewise, the enemies, their known and potential allies must be correctly identified, the appropriate approach to dealing with each type understood in depth. Those overseeing the process of change must explain how the enemy and its allies distort history, perpetuate oppression, scheme to deprive the masses of their freedom and dignity, terrorize them so that they live in an eternal state of fear and lose their humanity to become slaves to tyrannical regimes, adapting their lives to repression and humiliation. Man must be introduced to the reality of the eternal struggle between good and evil, darkness and light, Religion and atheism, the Will of God and the deceptive designs of Satan. The extent of the injustice that the masses have had to endure at the hands of an unjust global order and the corrupt regimes circling in its orbit must be made part of the popular narrative. Why and how the Ummah lost its position of leadership, and how Islam’s decline at the global stage impacted humanity must be elucidated.
The process of raising the level of awareness may therefore be summed up as acquainting man with his humanity… his rights, inspiring defiance against repression, giving practical shape to this defiance against the status quo and directing the masses towards change. It requires the maturity necessary to make the shift from the stage of individual defense to that of collective defense.
The second stage in the process is developing the collective will to bring about change. This is done first by identifying objectives, laying out sound strategies for implementation at the grassroots level, and teaching the masses the tools of the craft: protests, civil disobedience, popular uprising, revolt, revolution, war… It is critical to psychologically prepare society for change so that it willingly accepts sacrifice for the sake of Deen and future generations that shall live in its shade. This is important so that the masses are generous in spending their wealth and lives, diligently serve their cause and move to support it till the very end of the journey. Those willing to participate in the process of change must be united under a single administrative system that oversees their collective efforts. A revolutionary organization for the masses must be created; its political, military, economic and security institutions set up. The masses must be trained in the art of war and given expertise in utilizing the tools and weapons of change. Finally, the spark must be lit, the journey must begin, and all it entails must be patiently endured until victory is achieved.
The idea of developing the will to change is in its essence the transformation of knowledge to action. We want change. We know how to bring about change. What we need is action that transforms the state of individual or collective defense to consecutive waves of collective offense- a process accompanied by a constant evolution in tactics until victory is achieved.
In war, victory is manifested by occupying the enemy’s territory, bringing about a collapse of his capital and system, and replacing it with our own system. The essence of victory in war, however, lies in literally occupying the will of the enemy, holding it hostage to our genius, and breaking the enemy’s will to fight until it surrenders.
In revolutions, victory is manifested by leading the masses using both positive and negative means to bring about a total collapse of the system, putting rogue elements of the regime on trial, and building our own new system. The essence of victory in revolutions, however, lies in building man himself so that he knows what he wants and what he rejects, and how he may overthrow that which he rejects to achieve that which he wants.
Man is the building block of war and revolutions. If he is broken, no fortifications will be built, no trenches dug, no lines of defense organized. And even if all of this is somehow achieved, it will be of no avail. The masses will never come out to occupy roads and square, and life will simply move on; the status quo unchallenged, undisturbed. Our role is to build man himself by giving him his most vital weapon: knowledge. It is to raise his morale, give him the tools, teach him how to use them, and support him until victory is attained.
While not underestimating the importance of defense, let us also not forget that it only weakens- and not defeats- the enemy. Offense is what ultimately decides wars. The spirit of offense must therefore be instilled in the masses and put into action. To acquire an offensive spirit, men must be diligently prepared- morally, spiritually, psychologically, ideologically and militarily. Doubters, waiving characters, dissuaders must all be kept at bay. There must be serious efforts to obtain weapons, for technology today has evolved to become an immense force multiplier, opening new horizons unexplored thus far. In revolution, as in war, there is no choice but to engage in military action… masses who spring to action…. force that inspires… defends… resists… overcomes all barriers…
Emotions dictates that I say: We must liberate ourselves from any pressure that defeats our will and imposes on us the mentality of a victim. We must inculcate in ourselves the spirit of the hunter so that we may fight the pressures surrounding us and so that those who prey on us become the hunted. Wisdom dictates that I say: We must move forward to spread our call, our thought, our worldview… and anyone who stands as an obstacle in our path, his will to fight and resist must be broken. Let us never forget that our ultimate goal is to protect life, save humanity, lift oppression to establish a just order, and bring about a revolution in our condition so that it becomes in sync with what our Lord expects from us.
To be continued…
(Source: Safhat ma qabl al Milad, al Juz al thani)