When a king reigns, corruption rules
Whenever kings enter a country they corrupt it, and turn the noblest of its people into the most abject. And this is the way they [always] behave. — Surah an-Naml, 26-34. The Message of the Qur’an, Muhammad Asad
Something that should be obvious to everyone, not just to readers of the Qur’an, is that a monarchy, with its intrinsic system of patronage and privilege, is a perpetual source of corruption in society. As Keith Allen says in Unlawful Killing, the suppressed documentary on the MI6 assassination of Princess Diana: “Every reporter is beholden to his editor, who is beholden to his proprietor, who wants a knighthood.”
In such a system, telling the truth is secondary to toeing the line — in the hope that, someday, one will receive an impressive title, or at least the right to put some letters after one’s name. To paraphrase: When we stand in thrall to a throne, status trumps integrity every time.
But Muslims are different, aren’t they? A Muslim would never accept a medal from a monarch who sends soldiers to kill Muslims on the other side of the world, right? I used to think so — until my Muslim roommate in Madinah handed me his namecard. “Muhammad Awad, MBE,” it read.1 Apparently, even in the cradle of Islam, being a “Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” is assumed to carry some weight.
Of course, Her Britannic Majesty can offer only medieval baubles to her obsequious subjects, unlike the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. King Fahd, who held this august title until his death in 2005, and King Abdullah usually have a few petrodollars to spare, after their spending on proxy wars against other Muslims and their purchases of prodigious quantities of useless American military hardware.2
These petrodollars are used to create dependence, and indirectly to silence criticism throughout the world. Some years ago, a prominent New Zealand Muslim who told a media interviewer that authentic Islam was not practised anywhere in the world, not even in Saudi Arabia, was formally expelled from the local association. The message was clear: “Thou shalt not criticize those in power.” Others, too, have fallen foul of this dictum, or have been insufficiently subordinate in some other way and have lost their jobs or positions.
Furthermore, such expulsions, far from displaying “openness, transparency and kindness” (to quote from the letter below) are invariably done in a sly, underhand manner, presumably to save face and to maintain the fiction of Muslim unity. Only occasionally does some internecine dispute burst into the open — as in the case of the Avondale fitnah of 2014. Likewise, Saudi Arabia’s funding (either official or unofficial) of jihadist movements such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State is shrouded in the deepest secrecy.
But the chickens could be coming home to roost for the self-styled Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. At the time of writing — August 18, 2014 — the Frankenstein’s monster that is Islamic State has come perilously close to the Saudi border, while making no secret of its ambitions further south.3
1. I have changed the name, to protect the gentleman from embarrassment.
2. Click here to read Fahd’s bankrupt kingdom.
3. See http://www.crescent-online.net/2014/07/isis-have-guns-will-fight-even-in-saudi-arabia-zafar-bangash-4534-articles.html: “The Saudis may have created a monster that is likely to bite them as well. Should the ISIS invade Saudi Arabia, it will be a fight of a lifetime. Muslims will have a ringside view of a blood-curdling duel between ideological twins…”
Footnote: To read the original Crescent International article, click here.