In a critical review of the work of Sadiq Nayhum (1937-94) the renowned populist literary figure from Libya, Dr. Suha Taji-Farouki offers the following insights on his text Sawt al-nas:
"Nayhum posits al-Fatiha (recited several times a day during the obligatory prayers) as the encapsulation of a hidden expression of the identity of the authentic Islamic citizen, who upholds Islam's collective law. It survives in this 'protected fortress' like 'the soul in the breast of a bird in a cage on a remote island', where it is safe from falsifications dictated by the whims of politicians. The constituent elements of this identity are elucidated through his commentary, translated below, with the Qur'anic text reproduced as it appears in his elaboration:
PRAISE BELONGS TO GOD, THE LORD OF ALL BEING
There is nothing here about the Shi'a, the Sunna (i.e., the Sunnis), the Christians, the Jews or the Communists. This is because the Arab citizen who has been educated by Islam is a world citizen, whose exclusive affiliation is this universal, human doctrine. Such a citizen does not permit himself to be put to the service of partisan or disputatious doctrines. Neither is he legally prepared to serve such doctrines.
THE ALL-MERCIFUL, THE ALL-COMPASSIONATE
The world citizen's doctrine is compassion (rahma), because this is the only doctrine that is directed at the people, and not their institutions. Every slogan - apart from the slogan of compassion - can be put, philosophically speaking, to the service of the interests of institutions, at the expense of the people themselves.
THE MASTER OF THE DAY OF RECKONING
Religion is not politics, and it does not address the state, but the people.
THEE ONLY WE SERVE; TO THEE ALONE WE PRAY FOR SUCCOUR
This is a community (jama'a) that openly speaks with the conscience of the community. It is not just a solitary Muslim citizen.
GUIDE US IN THE STRAIGHT PATH
Someone who asks for guidance knows that the decision, first and last, rests with him. He knows that whatever befalls him in his life (and in the lives of his children after him) is not the responsibility of some administrative or ideological agency. Rather, he is himself personally responsible for this: specifically, he is responsible for every atom's weight of it.
THE PATH OF THOSE WHOM THOU HAST BLESSED,
The distinguishing feature of this path is that it leads to goodness and happiness, in a society that guarantees the right of the community, encompasses its outward differences, and brings it together in an efficient administrative system, erected on compassion and mutual human understanding, love and respect.
NOT OF THOSE AGAINST WHOM THOU ART WRATHFUL,
There are many other laws, apart from the collective law, which are also capable of bringing people together. However, these do not show compassion towards the people, because they are not able to protect them from the tyranny of the powerful.
NOR OF THOSE WHO ARE ASTRAY.
The mark of someone who is astray is that they are a solitary person, far away from their world. For without the collective law, the people are captives in cities, at the mercy of feudalism. Without any administration, they are tribes wandering aimlessly in the desert." (2004, pp. 318-319)
~ Excerpted from "Modern Muslim Intellectuals and the Qur'an", edited by Dr. Suha Taji-Farouki, lecturer in Modern Islam, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.