Political programme of the Islah party

Introduction

1. The human being

2. The state

3. The economy

4. Defence and security

5. Foreign policy


This version of the Yemeni Islah Party's programme, published in English, appeared on its website in the late 1990s.

Introduction

Praise be to Allah Lord of the worlds.

Prayer and peace be on Prophet Mohammed the last messenger, his family and companions and all those who follow the guidance until The Last Day.

In the early stages of decline of Islamic Civilisation, anxiety grew as the decline became a fact that has withered various aspects of the Islamic way of life - starting with the political system. This erosion of identity reached to the core of the human being. When all this was recognised, the Islamic Nation's (Ummah) anxieties turned to limited confused action searching for the way to return, and escape from this destructive trap.

During this endeavour there appeared movements and initiatives, best characterised by their attempts at partial or superficial reform which did not reach to the core of the problem.

These reform initiatives remained attached to the symptoms which made it only natural for it to adopt a defensive, reactionary stance as it was governed by the tremor of defeat and the agony of (Islamic) civilisational decline.

During the various stages of conflict between a contracting civilisation and another that is spreading removing others from its path, it became clear to the observer of this conflict the nature of the problem, and it was apparent that the fault, which needs to be identified first before initiating the renaissance - lies in the nations fabric which made it grow incapable of renewal, continuity, and innovation.

We became a nation living an ineffective life, due to the rapid collapses all along the decades and centuries. It is Allah's will that our nation was always saved from being completely swamped. Despite the large conspiracies and recurring attacks and wars, the Islamic civilisation could not be destroyed. There remained its belief, whereby the nation of Islam, despite its incapabilities and backwardness, has kept the seeds of survival that will enable it to renew its civilisation.

In the worst periods of decline, we never lost belief nor commitment as individuals, with all the negativism and stagnation that was associated with them. What we lost was the institution which nurtures the natural instincts of man, doing away with the causes of deviation and widening the circle of adherence to religion to include more of life's realities, with man's goodness and well-being as the objective.

Material success, is in other words the comprehensive achievement of civilisation. This is the challenge which confronts us today and represents a priority in the lists of concerns.

It has become necessary today to put forward the comprehensive Islamic system in the arena of conflict between civilisations. This is the system (Menhaj) that is able to withstand the challenges and has the constituents of civilisation.

The Islamic movements are requested today more than ever before to understand the nature of the conflict and to comprehend the priorities of its civilisational endeavour under the huge challenges of the current period which represent the peak of civilisation conflict and its most dangerous. Foremost amongst which are the following:

  1. Cultural and social challenges;

  2. Backwardness;

  3. Zionist endeavours.

Hence, the objective today is represented in returning to our selves, to move human endeavour, to relive a new civilisational revival, to move from a period of negative rejectionism to a period of comprehension of our role, with all its constituents.

The Islamic civilisational endeavour which we are seeking, is essentially an international human one, seeking goodness for mankind. It is an endeavour of broad horison that knows no boundaries - in which action and innovations are assured to blend with the movement of the universe and nature in complete harmony and in which the spirit, mind and body are balanced. This is an endeavour that is based on faith, where the link between the Heavens and Earth are acknowledged.

Yemen has the unique characteristics which can make it an important building block in this endeavour for revival of civilisation. It is important to realise these characteristics so that Yemen can occupy a prominent role.

Since the dawn of history, Yemen has contributed to the human civilisation. Yemenis have contributed to the make up of the old world, a factor that gives civilisational depth which bears witness to the fact that religion was a 'prominent feature. The Yemenis accepted Judaism and Christianity when they appeared on the world scene.

When Islam was brought to mankind, Yemenis were among the first people to accept it willingly. They became one united entity within the nation of Islam - the nation of goodness - and as such became a center for intellectual enlightenment.

Even during the periods of decline in the Muslim world, Yemen produced leaders who played important roles in the process of revival and renewal. People like Ibn Al-Wazeer, Al-Muqbili, Al-Jalal, Ibn Al-Ameer and Al-Shawkani are among many others.

During the Thirties of the present century, and along the same line of renewal, the current reform movement started to take shape at the hand of a few pioneers who devoted their energies to reform the conditions which prevailed in our country. Through speech, poetry and peaceful campaigns and other times through struggle and revolutionary means such pioneers conducted their reform campaign. The 1948 revolution was the beginning of a new method of change, continued through the movement of 1958, the uprising of 1959 and the eventual victory of 26th September 1962, which in turn led to the beginning of the revolution of 14th October 1963.

The struggle continued with the defence of the revolution and the republican regime and opposing the British occupation (in the south) as the new objectives. This was supported by our sister country Egypt until victory for our people was assured by the defeat of the royalist forces in February 1968 and the independence from Britain in 30th November 1967.

Following the victory of the two revolutions, new objectives came to the fore revolving around the defence of the revolutionary path, in case of deviation whether by the remains of royalists or British influence, and the stage of state-building. The right pre-condition for this was re-uniting the homeland. Efforts to achieve this continued until the dream was fulfilled on 22 May 1990. Unity was an end in itself, but became a mean which gave rise to new objectives and goals. Foremost among these are the following.

  1. Protection of the united homeland and removal of the remaining signs of division.

  2. Strengthening of the modern state and developing the new political experiment which is based on shura and democracy and multiparty system.

  3. Comprehensive re-development.

Unification was achieved by mature dialogue and popular interaction which represented great civilised achievement that gave shura and democracy new depths, making it the only choice and the most suitable means to protecting the unity of the country and building the Yemen of the future ... Yemen of civilisation and revival ... Yemen of prominence and advancement ... Yemen in which the citisens - groups and individuals - compete to promote it among other nations.

Within this process the Yemeni Islah Party (YIP) was established on 13th September 1990 to be the lively continuation of the modern Yemen reform movement and a framework for all who seek to reform and change the current situation to a better one guided by Islamic faith and Shari'ah.

The YIP appreciates the enormity of the challenges inherited from the royal and colonial past as well as the period of division, all of which reinforce the backwardness which cannot be simply overcome in a short period of time with limited efforts based on minor corrective measures in the political institutions or changes of positions within the ruling establishment. What is needed, however, is the interaction and participation of the whole population and all the popular forces, social and political, that are sincere and true to this country, through a programme that achieves a comprehensive revival based on firm principles which facilitate consensus and allow for the building of the individual, as the core of society, and activates and mobilises society by utilising all its powers to build the Yemeni state. A state based on justice, law and order. Such a programme requires strong will from people who must posses ability and integrity.

For this, the YIP puts forward a programme of action for reform and development representing a vision based on Islam as a faith and Shari'ah and a life governing guidance. This is because we realise that success will not be the result of any programme that is not based on people's belief and noble values, or not taking account of their suffering and embodying their hopes and aspirations, while at the same time it should be centered on the realities and events of their experience. As well as appreciating the network of external and internal factors that influence the running of its affairs. A programme that appreciates the need for a gradual approach and a recognition for the time factor in the plan for reform and change that is desired.

This is our programme and direction to which we invite and to which we adhere. We will work to achieve it, through our participation in Government or in opposition, by working with all the political and popular forces in society.

Principles and approach

FIRST: ISLAM AS A BELIEF AND A LIFE-GOVERNING LAW (SHARI'AH)

Islam is a belief from which a complete vision emerges for humans, universe and life, and a law (Shari'ah) that organises every aspect of life. For Islam is God's eternal religion, in which Yemeni people believe, permitting what it permits, forbidding what it forbids, obeying its orders, accepting its guidance and seek its judgment in their disputes and use it as the basis from which to resolve their problems.

By following Islam and treading along the path of its teaching, happiness and goodness is achieved for humanity - both in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah says in the Qur'an:

As sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, will not lose his nor fall into misery." Ta'ha (20:123)

SECOND: JUSTICE

Justice is one of God's patterns (Sunan) on which the Heavens and Earth are based. Civilisation cannot be built and countries cannot achieve stability without justice. God only sent messengers and scriptures so that people will be governed with justice.

Justice cannot be established without guarantees of freedom, equality and shura. Through justice, balance can be achieved between the rights of individuals and groups, and through it we can guarantee that the state and its institutions do not turn against the interest of the citisen.

Establishing justice is a practical endeavour which necessitates that society owns the tools and means to realise justice and defeat aggression. This is so that individuals are brought up on values and principles which encourage them to sacrifice in the cause of justice and establishing equality between people. Governance is based on justice as represented by the governing authority in itself and by implementing it in its domain.

Establishing comprehensive justice cannot be without adherence to Shari'ah of Islam and its guidance in all aspects of life. The Yemeni Reform Group (YRG) shall work to realise a number of basic aims which guarantee the establishment of justice. Among these aims are the following.

  1. Educating society about the necessity of justice and what it entails. To strengthen the faith-based safeguards which guarantee the neutrality of individuals and groups so far as justice is concerned and encourage them to sacrifice in the cause of justice and to prevent injustice.

  2. Strengthening the institutions which guarantee the fulfilment of justice and guaranteeing the rights of every one. To open up opportunity for all citisen's political participation, guarantees equality of opportunity, social security, job opportunity, preventing unwarranted wealth accumulation and making the country's resources meet the needs of the majority in society.

THIRD: LIBERTY

God created man with free will, able to choose whatever desired of opinions and activities. Liberty is a natural characteristic of man.

Freedom in Islam is based on its nature as a unity-based faith (one God) which calls man to free himself from the chains which restrain him and to serve God alone and resist every attempt to deprive him of his freedom, and to help others to do so. Islam recognises that depriving one of his freedom is a direct challenge to the Creator, and made it compulsory on the authority to protect people's liberties and to create the environment which motivates people to liberate themselves from all social pressures.

Freedom, understood this way, is a noble value and a fundamental principle encompassing all aspects of human life that gets entrenched in the person's inner being - in his intellect and his comprehension, making that individual free in his view of himself and his view of others. Freedom is absolute and cannot be constrained except by religious values. Exercising constraint on freedom should be guided by two factors.

Firstly, acknowledging the general principle on which freedom is founded, and secondly that constraint of freedom should not be to the extent of confiscating this basic right.

Respecting freedoms is a life necessity and an important precondition for releasing the energies of the individuals, their creativity and encouraging citisens to the productive -the central pillar of reform and the pre-condition for revival. For this reason, The YIP gives human rights and defence of freedoms due importance in its political and social programs. The YIP shall work to:

  1. Deepen the AWARENESS of the importance of freedoms and the dangers of any attack on, or restrictions of, liberties.

  2. Organise the judicial monitoring of the activities of the authorities as the most important guarantor, for the practical protection of the rights of citisens and their freedoms.

  3. Organise various political means to guarantee and protect the freedoms of citisens according to the rules and principles of Islam in the following areas:

    1. Personal freedoms which relate to the individual and his private life, such as his right to security, peace and freedom of movement. The sanctity of one's home, privacy of his communications and all the rights of citisenship including career choice.

    2. Freedom to express opinion and publication of knowledge and arts so far as it does not conflict with the rules of Shari'ah.

    3. Economic freedom, such as the right to personal ownership, and to consider ownership as a right and a social duty. Freedom to undertake trade and commerce, so long as it does not infringe on the common interest, and adheres to the rule of Shari'ah.

    4. Political freedom, where citisens can exercise their right to participate in elections and to nominate themselves for membership of parliament as well as other official and popular bodies and to occupy posts within the public sector. The right to assemble and to establish societies, clubs, trades unions, political parties and other political organisations is also guaranteed

FOURTH: EQUALITY

The principle of equality is based on the fact that of the human being is one. All humans are from Adam. The essence of equality is the equality under the law between members of society. All people, rich or poor, strong or weak, ruler or subject are equal in front of the law and the judiciary. No differences are recognised whether due to race, sex, colour, profession or social status.

The YIP shall work effortlessly to strengthen the principle of equality among all members of society.

FIFTH: SHURA AND DEMOCRACY

Shura as understood Islamically is not just an isolated political principle governing political relations. It is a mode of behavior and a general system that colours all aspect of life. In addition to being a faith and a moral based value, guiding the behavior and social relationships of individuals, when it becomes part of their character. It is a principle as well as a political and legal value necessary for defining the system of government, the basis of authority and method of decision making.

The concept of shura is based on the principle of general vice-regency on earth which is the basis of individual and group responsibility in inhabiting the earth and establishing justice. The whole group is responsible and all individuals within it are equal and their affairs amongst them is democratic (shura). Every individual has his place and specific role which he must be allowed to play, monitored against it - a guaranteed right no one has the power to deny - and a religious duty that cannot be wavered or declined and by so doing shunning responsibility.

Shura is a religious duty that must be fulfilled first and foremost. It is the practical mean to reform government in a time when oppression is widespread among the Arab/Islamic nations leading it from one failure to another.

The shura which we believe in and which we seek to realise and establish the system of government on, is not a static mold which we try to force on our current situations. It means participation in government and the people's right to decide on their affairs and choose their rulers, monitoring them and making them accountable and ensuring their adherence - in the decisions they make and creation of conditions for the nation's good - to take the opinion of the people directly or through their representatives, so that no individual or one party monopolises the state to the exclusion of others.

For the best embodiment of the concept of shura in our current times, it is incumbent on us to take the best of what civil society has achieved from its practice of democracy. This relates to form, basis and practical and technical process for organisation of consensus and improving the practice of authority and ensuring the peaceful change of government and widening the scope of popular participation in it, as well as ensuring active accountability.

The modern practical implementation of shura, as a basis for the political and constitutional system, does not lack concepts, as it is well enshrined and affirmed in Shari'ah. However, the real barriers are the lack of framework and institutions that can give expression to these concepts which can be capable of being developed and inherited.

The YIP is working persistently to entrench this concept of shura and to develop its institutional and organisational forms so that it can give expression of our civilisational uniqueness and so that citisens can feel a sense of belonging to, and ownership of, it.

  1. Entrench the values of shura in all aspects of life as well as making it fundamental to the system of education and culture so that the social system can compliment the political system in affirming the practice of shura.

  2. Provision of the basis which are necessary for establishing and broadening shura in society.

  3. Adoption of popular referenda as a means of resolving all issues of fundamental national interest which apply to the whole society.

  4. Adoption of shura as the basis of establishing authority and change of government, in a peaceful way, with all this means in terms of enabling the people to practice their rights in deciding their general affairs. The elections of rulers, and making those rulers accountable are some of those general affairs.

  5. Strengthening the constitutional institutions of the state and accepting the parliamentary institution as the practical tool which represents the wish of the people and the embodiment of the principle of shura.

  6. Developing and strengthening local government institution and the adoption of decentralised administrative structure of government as a practical mean of widening the practice of shura.

  7. Reviving Hesbah, which is a unique Islamic system of welfare and accountability, and developing it to suit modern times. The society can then be made more aware of its obligations in monitoring people in power. It will also be capable of enshrining good and forbidding unlawful practices

SIXTH: REPUBLICAN SYSTEM

The Yemeni revolution removed a dictatorial, hereditary and closed regime that was not just based on power and authoritarianism, but a direct result of a narrow political view that tore the nation apart, monopolising power and authority. The revolution also removed colonial rule (from the southern part of the country).

For this reason, the republican system represents a civilisational achievement that has saved the people from the oppression of the closed royalist rule and British colonialism. This is also why the protection of the republican system, and restructuring its institutions that implied the value of truth, justice, liberty and shura represent the most important national goal.

For the above mentioned reason we should, as we urge others, not either deviate from nor disregard.

Along this line, the YIP affirms that the day of 26th September 1962 is the national day for the Yemen Republic, and refuses all attempts to devalue the event which our people made, and for which this day became a symbol and under which all accomplishments were realised.

SEVENTH: YEMENI UNITY

The reunification of Yemen is a blessing which Allah bestowed on our people. We are made obliged to protect such a historical achievement by entrenching the roots of unity and stopping in the way of any one intend to spoil this achievement. We believe that unity can be protected through the following:

  1. The speedy removal of the remains of division where they exist within the laws, state apparatus and schools syllabi as well as public organisations associations and trades unions. The removal also of all the deformities which the period of division has left behind.

  2. Utilisation of the media, culture and education to affirm the meanings of unity and directing developmental programs to nurture its roots.

  3. Reinforcing national unity as the only mean to accomplish peace and stability and the building of a strong Yemen in which all sections of society live in harmony. A nation that is built on the inherited religion and language and history which make it difficult for enemies to transgress against. Through this the concepts of justice and equality are re-enforced and balance within society is achieved.

Continued ...