Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How to establish the Islamic State - Part 7

The following is an extract from the draft translation of the arabic book entitled 'Dawa ilal Islam' (Dawa to Islam) by Sheikh Ahmad Mahmoud, published by Al-Waie Publications in Lebanon. I will be posting the sections of the book related to this subject.

Is it allowed to have more than one movement calling to Islam?

We have tried, in the different sections of this book, to give a complete and integrated vision that can form a program for any movement, party or group. We did not congest it with details; rather we gave the fundamentals that must be adhered to whilst leaving the details to the group and its mujtahideen. Today in this field of work there are many approaches that are not founded on a correct basis. It can be said that many groups have not fullfilled the conditions required by the Shar’a. They are nothing short of gatherings of Muslims that wish to do partial work. They do not even solve the partial problems, and they fail to have a complete Shar’ee vision. Consequently, they do not carry Islam in a manner that would bring Islam into the daily life of the Islamic Ummah. Such groups are numerous to the extent that in a single country there may be hundreds of groups. They have become like shops and fields in which people exhaust their energies, and they make the people lose the correct direction and work. With the existence of so many of these groups (associations) that attract attention, only a few can be described as having a far-reaching vision of the objectives of Islam and the work to achieve them. If we disregard the groups that are like shops and fields from our appraisal, and instead focus on the large groups that are farsighted and undertake comprehesive work, then we must ask; does the Shar’a order the existence of one group, which encompasses all that it needs to do and does what is required? Or does the Shar’a permit more than one group, to work for change within the Shar’ee principles? What is the correct viewpoint regarding partial work, and work that is complete and balanced? What is the correct viewpoint regarding the regional and universal approaches?
The unity, or plurality, of the Islamic work has generated a vast range of opinions, between acceptance and rejection. There are those who oblige the unity of the Islamic work for bringing change, and there are those who permit its plurality. If we refer the peripherals of the discussion to its foundations, then we will be able to distinguish the Shar’ee evidences from the rational justifications, so that we are able to separate the wheat from the chaff.
If we take a look at the opinion that obliges the unity of the Islamic work, then we shall see that for its protagonists the obligation comes with two points.
Firstly, the unity of the Islamic work is a Shar’ee obligation.
Secondly, the unity of the Islamic work is an organisational necessity.
1- As for it being a Shar’ee obligation, this is because of the following evidences:
a) In origin, the Muslims and the Ummah should be united. This is owing to His (swt) saying; “Truly! This, your Ummah is one Ummah, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me (alone).” [TMQ 21:92]. His (swt) saying; “And verily! This, your Ummah is one Ummah, and I am your Lord, so keep your duty to Me.” [TMQ 23:52]. And his (saw) saying; “The similitude of the believers in their mutual love, compassion and sympathy is like that of a body. If one part of the body hurts then the entire body responds in sleeplessness and fever.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad].
b) In origin, we have been urged to be united, and forbidden from having differences. This is owing to His (swt) saying; “And be not as those who were divided and differed among themselves, after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.” [TMQ 3:105]. And His (swt) saying; “Verily, those who divided their religion and break up into sects, you (O Muhammad [saw]) have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do.” [TMQ 6:159].
c) In origin, we have been ordered to stick to the Jama’ah (community) and not to groups. This is owing to his (saw) saying; “There will be flaws and faults, so whosoever wanted to divide the matter of this Ummah while she is gathered, strike him with the sword, whoever he may be.” [Reported by Muslim]. And owing to the noble hadith; “The Rasool of Allah (saw) called us and we gave him our bai’ah, so he said that he would take from us a bai’ah that entails us to hear and obey, willingly or unwillingly, in case of hardship and in evil circumstances; and that we would not dispute with the people in authority, unless we witness a kufr buwah (flagrant act of disbelief) for which we have proof from Allah (swt).” [Reported by Muslim]. And his (saw) saying; “The jama’ah is mercy, and division is torment.” [Reported by Imaam Ahmad]. And his (saw) saying; “The hand of Allah is with the Jama’ah.” [Reported by Tirmizi and Nasa’i].
2- As for the necessity of unity from an organisational and human perspective, the reasons are many:
a) Islamic change is difficult, and dislodging the forces of jahiliyyah from their positions is not an easy matter. Realising the guardianship of Islam in the society - in respect of thought, behaviour and system - obliges us to unite the ranks into a merged entity and not one that is seperated.
b) The collusion between states against Islam and the Islamic movement obliges us, as a consequence, to face and oppose them in a united manner. Since the forces in the world that are hostile to Islam are cooperating and uniting their fronts, will it not be better for the forces of Islam in the Islamic world to call each other towards unity, so that they do not become easy prey, and so it is not easy to eliminate or crush them?
If the unity of the Islamic work were not a Shar’ee obligation in respect of the ideology, it would be so in order to protect the future of Islam and guard the Islamic activity against suspension, torture and extermination.
c) The local forces, and parties hostile to Islam are forming strong fronts alongside the Islamic world. These fronts do not cease studying, monitoring, planning and preparing at all sorts of levels. In view of this reality, is it an advantage for the Islamic forces to remain fragmented and scattered; or is it more appropriate that they rise above all the considerations and reasons that stand against their unity and solidarity?
These and other such justifications inevitably leave no room for doubt, reluctance or hesitancy in establishing one worldwide Islamic movement, which can be opposition on the appropriate level of thinking, organisation, planning and preparation.
These are the evidences and the justifications that oblige the unity of the Islamic work and forbid groups. We must proceed according to the method of Islam in Ijtihaad to understand the extent to which these evidences apply to the reality.
Previously, we have mentioned that the reality that the Muslims live today is one of dar al-kufr, and that it is an obligation to change it to dar al-Islam. We have discussed the fact that there must be a group that works to realise this matter, and that it must proceed in the footsteps of the Messenger (saw).
Before we discuss the Shar’ee evidences that the protagonists of this opinion relied upon, we must explain the reality of the group that wishes to engage in this work. Is it the Muslim community, or is it part of the Muslim community? In other words, is it a group from the Muslims?
To understand this point we say the following. Allah (swt) has enjoined on us obligations, which the Muslims must strive to establish. Some of these obligations are individual, meaning the Muslim can undertake them as an individual, and the sin is not removed from his neck until he undertakes them. The performance of some of the other obligations requires a group. From amongst this latter type of obligation is the fard to work for the establishment of the Islamic State. The establishment of the Shar’a of Allah (swt) is a fard, which is not within the capability of one individual alone; rather the hands must join together and the will of people must be united to establish it.
This is understood from the principle: Maa laa yatimmul waajib fahuwa waajib (‘That which is necessary to fillfil a waajib is itself a waajib.’)
This obligation is from the collective obligations that must be established. Neglecting it will cause the person who does so to be in great sin. However the nature of its establishment does not require all the Muslims; rather in needs those who are sufficient to fulfil the obligation, ie a group from amongst the Muslims. The fact that this group works for this fard removes the sin of negligence from its members, but the sin remains on the one who does not work.
This group from amongst the Muslims will undertake the establishment of the fard to realise the objective for which it was established, and it will be accounted on the correctness or error of the thoughts and adopted rules necessary for the work.
This group is not the whole Muslim community, because there are many individual Muslims who do not work with it. Rather they may be working with other groups (a point that we shall explain when we talk about the permissibility of having more than one group) or they may not even be working with any group.
This group is not the Khaleefah and nor can it take his position. The rules pertaining to the Khaleefah do not apply to it, and it does not have the right to carry out any function that is entrusted to the Khaleefah.
Rather, it is only a group from the Muslims, and the Islamic Ummah in her totality is the Muslim community (jama’atul muslimeen), which includes the groups, individuals and the Khaleefah.
The Muslim community is the Islamic Ummah that has been united and made into brethren by the Islamic ‘Aqeedah, and not by the Shar’ee rules. The Muslims differ in the furu’ (peripheral matters), without letting this difference affect their brotherhood. If the rules were the criterion of brotherhood, then one Muslim would not have been the brother of another Muslim. Any Muslim individual or group that leaves the Islamic ‘Aqeedah is considered as having left the Islamic Ummah, and it will be considered to be deviating into the fire. This is what is meant in the hadith of the Messenger (saw); “The one who leaves his deen and separates from the jama’ah (community).” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim], ie the Muslim community. This is also what is meant in the hadith of the Messenger (saw); “My Ummah will divide into seventy three sects. All of them will be in the fire except one.” They said: “Which sect is this O Rasool of Allah?” He (saw) said: “What I and my Sahabah are upon.” [Reported by Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hanbal]
The Muslim community is the Islamic Ummah, which is one Ummah to the exclusion of the rest of the people. The blood and the property of the Muslims is one. They stand by each other, and they are one hand against the rest, even though their understanding and Ijtihadaat may differ.
Thus, there is a great difference between the jama’aatul muslimeen (Muslim community) and a group from the Muslims. It is wrong to bring evidences relating to the Muslim community and apply them to a group from the Muslims.
Thus, the saying of Allah (swt); “Truly! This, your Ummah is one Ummah, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me (alone).” [TMQ 21:92]. And His (swt) saying; “And verily! This your Ummah is one Ummah, and I am your Lord, so keep your duty to me.” [TMQ 23:52]. And his (saw) saying; “The similitude of the believers in their mutual love, compassion and sympathy is like that of a body. If one part of the body hurts then the entire body responds to it with sleeplessness and fever.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad]. What is meant in these ayaat is the whole of the Islamic Ummah and not a group from the Muslims. If any group considers its work to be that of the Muslim community, then this is a clear mistake and strange understanding, that will lead to dangerous consequences; not least of which is considering the one who is not with them as not being part of the brotherhood, and being like the one who has left his deen, separated himself from the community, and deviated into the fire.
As for their view that prohibits the presence of many groups, using the following evidences: “And be not as those who were divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.” [TMQ 3:105]. And His (swt) saying; “Verily, those who divided their religion and break up into sects, you (O Muhammad [saw]) have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do.” [TMQ 6:159].
These evidences are also not applicable to the reality for which they have been used.
These two ayaat have nothing to do with the subject of groups. Their subject is the beliefs and not the Shar’ee rules. The tafseer of ‘be not as those who were divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them’ is that it means the clear beliefs and definite proofs. It is the Jews and Christians that are being mentioned here: ‘It is they for whom there is an awful torment.’ Imam al-Baydawi says about this verse: “Be not as those who divided and differed among themselves’ such as the Jews and Christians, who differed in: Tawheed (divine unity), removing any elements of tanzeeh (anthropormorphism) and the conditions of the Last Day, as defined by: ‘after the clear proofs had come to them.’ The signs and proofs that clarify the truth must be agreed upon. It is most apparent that the prohibition is specific to the division over the Usool (beliefs) and not the furu’ (ahkam), became to his (saw) saying: “Whosoever made Ijtihaad and was right, he shall get two rewards and whosoever made a mistake, he will get one reward.” And ‘It is they for whom there is an awful torment.’ is a threat to those who were divided, and a warning to those who emulate them.”
In other words, the group that works to change the reality is distinguished from other groups by Shar’ee rules. It differs from others, and other groups differ with it regarding the Shar’ee rules. It is a Muslim group and its ‘Aqeedah is Islamic. Its disagreement with others is not over ‘Aqeedah, rather it is to do with rules. That is why this ayah takes a person outside of the deen if he goes against the ‘Aqeedah of the Muslims, and not if he disagrees about rules. Definitely, this ayah has nothing to do with the subject of the plurality of Ijtihaad.
If it is said that the ayah is ‘aamm (general), and what is considered is ‘the generality of the wording and not the specificity of the cause’, we respond by saying that; ‘the generality does not go beyond the subject for which it was revealed’. It is general regarding the contradiction in beliefs and nothing else. This is from one perspective. From another perspective, their understanding contradicts the ahadith that permit difference in Ijtihaad. From a third perspective, their understanding means that separation from them is separation from the deen.
As for the second ayah; “Verily, those who divided their religion and break up into sects, you (O Muhammad [saw]) have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do.” [TMQ 6:159] Ibn Katheer said; [Mujahid, Qatadah, ad-Dahhaak and as-Suddi said; ‘This ayah was revealed regarding the Jews and Christians.’ ‘A’ishah (ra) narrated that the Rasool of Allah (saw) told her: “They are the people of Bid’ah (innovation) and they were shi’ah (factions)” ie sects like the people of milal (different religions) and nihal (different creeds), whims and misguidance. Allah (swt) cleared His Messenger (saw) from what they were upon. In the reading of Hamzah and al-Kasa’i, that ‘Ali b. Abi Talib said regarding the ayah: ‘Verily, those who divided their religion’ ie they abandoned their religion with which they were enjoined, and they are the Jews and Christians; ‘You (O Muhammad [saw]) have nothing to do with them in the least.’] Al-Baydawi says: [ie they became divided, so some of them believed and some disbelieved and they split up over this.]
Indeed, disagreement in the beliefs is different from the furu’ (rules). Regarding beliefs, the disagreement in these evidences and many others has been forbidden, so that we do not become like the Jews and Christians, who differed over their Prophets and left their deen to follow bid’ah (innovation) and falsehood, and became sects, ie milal and nihal. This is explained by the saying of Allah (swt): “But they differed - some of them believed and others disbelieved.” [TMQ 2:253]. Thus, the subject is one of Imaan and Kufr. As for disagreement in the furu’ (the rules) there are numerous evidences that permit different understandings within the text and its meaning but not outside it. This matter is known by necessity by the Muslim scholars. It is too simplistic and naive to use the evidences prohibiting disagreement in beliefs as a proof for the prohibition of plurality of groups, as long as these groups are based on the Shar’ee rules.
As for the evidences: “There will be flaws and faults, so whosoever wanted to divide the matter of this Ummah while she is gathered, strike him with the sword, whoever he may be.” And “Whosoever divides is not one of us.” And “The Rasool of Allah (saw) called us and we gave him our bai’ah, so he said that he would take from us a bai’ah that entails us to hear and obey, willingly or unwillingly, in case of hardship and in evil circumstances; and that we would not dispute with the people in authority, unless we witness a kufr buwah (flagrant act of disbelief) for which we have proof from Allah (swt).”
These evidences are related to the Khaleefah, his bai’ah, obedience to him and the prohibition of rebelling against him, except in a situation where he manifests open kufr.
If someone comes to fight him, wishing to divide the unity of this Ummah, then let him be struck with the sword, whoever he is. These evidences have no connection, whether close or remote, to the subject of the group from the Muslims. The group does not take the same rules of the Khaleefah nor does it represent him, rather it only works to establish the Khaleefah and account him.
The ahadith “The hand of Allah is with the jama’ah.”, and the hadith, “The jama’ah is mercy, and division is torment.”, have nothing to do with prohibition of plurality of groups. Muslims will feel the mercy, living under the shadow of the Muslim community or a group from the Muslims. As for the separation and division, it enables Shaytan to get closer to the Muslim, upon which the following saying of the Messenger (saw) applies: “Indeed, the wolf only eats the straying sheep.” This implies the punishment. There is nothing in the mantuq (wording) or mafhum (meaning) of these two ahadith that indicates the obligation of uniting the Islamic work to establish the rule of Allah (swt).
These are the Shar’ee evidences that are used to prohibit plurality of groups, and none of them apply to what has been cited.
As for the rational justifications that have been mentioned, and the negative effects of having many groups; none of this prevents, prohibits or obliges anything. Rather what prevents, prohibits or obliges is only the Shar’a. The bad reality is understood as it is and its essence is understood precisely. Then we go to the Shar’a to get the evidences, which oblige or prohibit, for treating this reality. Hence, we cannot take any Shar’ee rules from the reality.

The permissibility for plurality of groups

It has been clarified that the evidences used to oblige unity of the Islamic work cannot be considered as evidence. However, this does not mean that the other opinion, which permits the plurality of groups, has become legitimate. This is because the negation of a matter does not prove its opposite. There must be evidences that demonstrate the correctness of the istidlaal (deduction), and precision of the istinbaat (inference). So what are these evidences?
Indeed, the evidences that permit disagreement in the furu’ (rules) and not the Usul (beliefs) are innumerable. The Sunnah has indicated the permissibility of disagreement in furu’. Hence we find the Sahabah disagreeing amongst themselves, as well as the Tabi’in and the scholars of the Salaf (pious predecessors). As for the prohibition of disagreements, it came regarding the disagreements of the Kuffar, which was about the fundamentals of the deen and not in the furu’. For example the disagreements they had over the Prophets, the Day of Resurrection, life, death and their books, until they became sects, parties, and milal and nihal. They went away from the truth revealed by Allah (swt) to their Prophets, and deviated their Prophets’ followers. He (swt) said; “Then the sects differed, so woe unto the disbelievers from the meeting of a great Day.” [TMQ 19:37] Thus, Allah (swt) warned us about the disagreements like those of the Kuffar.
The Messenger (saw) accepted, at the day of the trench, the different understandings of the Sahabah for his (saw) words; “Whosoever hears and obeys, let him not pray ‘Asr (prayer) except in Bani Qurayza.” [Sirah Ibn Hisham]
The following things are deduced from this hadith:
1- The Mujtahid will make mistakes and get things right. The fact that he is a mujtahid does not mean he does not make mistakes.
2- The rule deduced by the Mujtahid is considered a Shar’ee rule, even if it was a mistake.
3- The Mujtahid who has made a mistake does not know that he has made a mistake. If he had known then he would not be allowed to remain in his error. Rather his understanding is more weighty, in his view, than the understanding of others.
4- The mujtahid is rewarded by Allah (swt), whether he was right or wrong, though the reward is different.
The Imams (the scholars) agreed that the sin is removed from the Mujtahideen regarding the Shar’ee rules that pertain to speculative issues in jurisprudence.
Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) says in his tafseer; “The Sahabah still continued to differ regarding the rules of the incidents, though they remained in harmony.” Al-Baghdadi reported the following saying of ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul-’Azeez (ra) in his book ‘Al-Faqeeh wal Mutafaqqih’; “I would have not been pleased if the Ashab (Companions) of Mohammed did not differ, because if they did not differ, there would not have been a permission (for us to differ).”
Many books have been written by great Muslim scholar that clarify the reasons for disagreement.
One of these reasons is that man’s understanding, by his very nature, will differ from one person to another. Their abilities differ and so does their understanding. Hence, different ijtihadaat and istinbaat existed since the age of the Sahabah until our age today, and this will remain until the Day of Judgement. One of these reasons is the fact that the nature of the Shar’a forces the Muslims to differ, and there is a mercy in that.
- The difference in the qira’aat (readings) leads to differences in understanding. Every mujtahid will have an understanding in accordance to his reading. This is like the disagreement regarding the ayah of Wudu (ablution) in regards to whether the feet should be washed or be wiped?
- The ulamaa’ and fuqahaa’ differed on certin ahadith. A hadith may be Sahih (authentic) for one scholar but not for another, depending upon the method employed by the scholar in accepting or rejecting ahadith. For instance let’s take the example of the Mursal hadith. The Muhaddithun (hadith experts), Usuliyyoon (scholars of the foundations of jurisprudence) and Fuqahaa’ (jurists) from the a’immah of this Ummah, have differed on the use of Mursal hadith as proof. Some used it as proof whilst others did not, considering it a Munqati’ hadith (ie an hadith that had a break in the chain of transmission.)
- The conflict of evidences is another reason for difference. For example, some texts prohibited the use of something that is najas (impurity) or something that is haraam for medical purposes, as in the hadith, “Verily, Allah (swt) revealed the disease and the cure, and for every disease he has given a cure. So do not cure with the Haraam.” [Reported by Abu Dawud], whilst other texts permitted the use of the najas (impurity) or haraam substance, as in the hadith: “That the Prophet (saw) permitted ‘Abd ar-Rahman b. ‘Awf and ah-Zubayr to wear silk because they suffered from itching” and like the hadith, “The Muslims used to use the urine of camels as medicine and they did not see anything wrong in that.” [Reported by Bukhari]
- When there is no clear text regarding an issue, then the method of finding the rule of Allah (swt) will be by Ijtihaad, and Ijtihaad is a speculative rule prone to disagreement.
- The expansive nature of the Arabic language in its meanings is also a cause for difference. The presence of Ishtiraak (homonyms), Haqeeqah (literal meaning), Majaz (the metaphorical), Mutlaq (absolute) and Muqayyad (restricted), ‘aamm (general) and Khaas (specific) illustrates this. Thus, the nature of the Arabic language in which the revelation was sent down, is that its expressions and syntax are open to different meanings and diverse indications.
Thus, the saying of Allah (swt) regarding the divorced women; “And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three Quru.” [TMQ 2:228]. The word (quru’) in Arabic can mean either pure or the time of menstruation. But which meaning is intended? This was one of the reasons for the disagreement of the Fuqahaa’ (jurists) regarding this subject.
This is regarding the Sharee’ah in general. But does any of what has been mentioned apply to the subject under discussion? In other words, does the permissibility of disagreement in the Shar’ee rules, which is accepted by the Shar’a, allow the plurality of movements, groups or parties working for change? Or does this subject have its own specific evidences which exclude it from the original rule?
The group or party is established on a Shar’ee understanding of texts that have the propensity to be understood in different ways, just like any other Shar’ee understanding is, except for that concerning the definite rules. The Shar’ee rules adopted by the group are Shar’ee rules that have been deduced, and are liable to be correct or mistaken. It is not allowed for a Muslim who sees many errors in a group to work with it. Rather he should advise it and search for the group that will relieve him of the sin in front of Allah (swt) through him working with it. As we have mentioned, the nature of people, their scholars, the Shar’a and Arabic language all indicate that it is permissible to have multiple understandings. This is what justifies the presence of more than one group. There is no harm in this, as long as it is not more than disagreement in understanding. In that case the work with the group or party that is closest to the truth becomes an obligation.
In addition there is the ayah: “And let there arise out of you a group inviting to all that is khayr (Islam), enjoining the ma’roof (good) and forbidding the munkar (evil). And it is they who are successful.” [TMQ 3:104]
The order in this ayah is focussed on the obligation of establishing at least one group whose work will be the following; calling to the Khayr (Islam), enjoinng the ma’roof (good) and forbidding the munkar (evil). The ayah does not mean the presence of one group. Otherwise He (swt) would have said: ‘Ummah waahidah (one Ummah).’ Rather what has been ordered is the type of group whose work will be da’wah, enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar. This fard is a fard of sufficiency and its obligation is realised by the presence of one group. As for when more than one group exists, because of the different understandings of the work to be done, there is nothing wrong with that. This type of expression has been repeated in hundreds of ayaat and ahadith. For example the hadith;
“Whosover amongst you sees a munkar, let him change it with his hand...” It does not mean one munkar, but the type of munkar.
Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi (may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned the following in his book ‘Islamic concepts regarding religion and state’ under the chapter on: The obligation of enjoning the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar; “What is apparant from the partative in the ayah; ‘And let there arise out of you a group inviting to all that is khair (Islam).’ It does not mean that the Muslims are ordered to have a group that will undertake the obligation of da’wah to Islam, enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar, whilst it is not an obligation on the rest of the Muslims to undertake this task in origin. Rather its meaning is the obligation that the Ummah should not be at any time without -at least- one group that will guard the light coming from the lamp of truth and goodness, and struggle against the darkness of evil and dangers of falsehood. When no such group exists amongst the Muslims, then it is impossible for the Ummah to be saved from the curse and severe punishment of Allah (swt), let alone be the best Ummah brought forth for mankind.”
Based on what we have mentioned previously:
- We must know very well that whatever the Shar’a approves is a mercy. If it turned into an affliction then that is because of the misunderstanding of the Muslims and nothing else. Look at the exalted Fiqh of two great Imaams of this Ummah; it has been mentioned in ‘Shuzuur az-Zahab’ (Fragments of gold) that the students of Shafi’i came to him one day complaining how he visits Imaam Ahmad b. Hanbal, while they dispute with his students because of their differences in opinions. Shafi’i said;
“They say; ‘Ahmad visits you and you visit him’,
I say; ‘The virtues do not separate from his home.
If he visits me, then thanks to him, and if I visit him, this is because of his grace.
In both situations the grace is for him.’”
A similar thing happened with the students of Imaam Ahmad and him. So Imaam Ahmad told them;
“If we differ in lineage, then a knowledge which we have put in the position of a father unites us; If the water of the seas differ, we are all fresh (water) that streams out from one vessel.”
- Whosoever wishes to unite all the Muslims on one action, besides his negligence of the reality of Shar’a and the reality of people, we say to him what Imaam Malik said to Harun ar-Rasheed when Harun ar-Rasheed wanted to adopt Malik’s understanding and mazhab (school of thought) and make it binding on the people and forbid them from (following) the understanding of others; “Do not make narrow for the Muslims that which Allah (swt) has made wide for them.”
- When the Kaafir states and the regimes under their control see a group or groups working seriously to establish the rule of Allah (swt), in addition to using harsh measures against them and spreading rumours, they try to derail these groups or cause them to fail by establishing groups which are under their control. If we assume that having more than one group is not allowed, this means the group must unite with all the other groups, and thus include the good and the bad. But what is required is the opposite, where we have to throw away the bad, and keep the good that benefits the people.
- Since this suggestion, (the obligation of uniting the Islamic work and prohibiting the plurality of groups) contradicts the reality of the Shar’a, human beings and the language in which the revelation was sent down. Then this is an impossible suggestion to realise. Discussing it will remain a distraction from what is more important, which is the work to establish the Khilafah. The statement that Allah (swt) does not help the Muslims, unless they unite, is an baseless judgement that is unacceptable. Rather, Allah (swt) does not help the Muslims unless they adhere to the Shar’a and hold fast to the rope of Allah (swt) and fulfill His command. Allah (swt) will help them even if they are few. For the one person committed to the truth counts as many, while the many people who are on the falsehood are like the scum (of the sea).
It remains to mention a word on this subject, that the presence of the Khaleefah and the Islamic State is the most important aspect that unites the Muslims; there is no unification without it. The understandings will remain different, but we are ordered to obey the Khaleefah. The Imaam adopts, and by his adoption he settles the dispute, but he does not prevent the dispute or remove it. His order must be obeyed openly and secretly by the Muslims. As for the Ameer of a party, his order is obeyed within the party and he settles the dispute between the members of the party and not the Muslims at large.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

How to establish the Islamic State - Part 6

The following is an extract from the draft translation of the arabic book entitled 'Dawa ilal Islam' (Dawa to Islam) by Sheikh Ahmad Mahmoud, published by Al-Waie Publications in Lebanon. I will be posting the sections of the book related to this subject.

The culture of the group

Since the situation of the Ummah requires change, working for change necessitates political work via a political structure that is established on the ideology of Islam. Therefore, it is necessary to study the characteristics and constituent elements of the structure, and of the previous structures in order to understand the reason for their failure and how to avoid it. It is especially important to study the structural aspect. This aspect is part of the subject of styles. In origin the styles are left for the Muslim to choose in respect of their correctness and suitability for the work. This forms one of the topics of the party culture.
- Since the Muslims live in societies where there are mixed thoughts, emotions and systems, the work to establish the Islamic State necessitates addressing the society; its reality, constituents, what affects it, and the way of changing it, so as to bring about the cohesive Islamic society in terms of its thoughts, emotions and systems.
- Since the reality of the individual differs from the reality of the society, consequently the constituent elements of the individual differ from the constituent elements of the society. Accordingly the Shar’ee rule relating to the individual will be different from the Shar’ee rules relating to the society.
- Since the work of the group relates to the changing of society, then the group must adopt in a detailed manner the thoughts and Shar’ee rules related to treating this reality. At the same time the group will direct the individual and the masses to the obligation of adopting whatever rules relate to its work. Whether the adopted rules relate to him as collective duties that he is not excused for if he ignores them; or they relate to him as an individual, like when the group calls him to abide by the transactions, worships and morals that are all established on the Islamic ‘Aqeedah in his daily life.
- Since the Muslims’ use of the mind is affected by the west, and they are defining interest by using the mind, then to achieve the best emulation (of the Prophet (saw)) and most exacting adherence (to the Shar’a), the work necessitates that one examines the mind and its elements. This is so as to know the limits of its use, and the manner in which to use it, whether in the ‘Aqeedah, Shar’ee rules or thinking about the reality.
- Since the work relates to establishing the rule by what Allah (swt) has revealed, and the establishment of dar al-Islam, it necessitates the knowledge of how the Messenger (saw) proceeded in Makkah and the actions that he did that led to the establishment of the Islamic State in Madinah. After the knowledge has been gained then we must be guided by it. The work necessitates that one also distinguishes between the rules of the method and the rules of the means and styles, so we can emulate the actions of the Messenger (saw) with precision.
- Since the work is the establishment of the rule by what Allah (swt) has revealed, and the changing of the existing regimes, then it necessitates that we politically follow up the actions of the rulers and understand their reality and the reality of their ties with others. It is also necessary to know the policy of the super-powers that control their actions and work to expose their plans.
- Since the Muslim lands are subjected to the kufr systems, especially the western culture and its political, economic, social and intellectual systems, then the work to establish the Islamic State requires the study of ideologies, their creeds and the thoughts built upon them and the systems that emanate from them.
- Since the Shar’ee aim is the application of Islam and conveying it to the world, then this necessitates that one studies ruling, the Islamic State, its form, pillars, structure, constitution and that one has a general idea as to what will be applied in the Islamic State. It is also necessary to examine the present ruling structures so as to distinguish us from these structures and not be influenced by them. It is necessary as well to examine the basis on which the State is established.
In this manner, the group should define the topics of its culture so as to act upon them and call people to them in the way necessitated by the work to resume the Islamic way of life and establish the Khilafah. The Khilafah will rule the Muslim and non-muslim citizens with Islam, and then it conveys the Message to the world via Da’wah and Jihaad.

The importance of the ‘Aqeedah

Since the Islamic ‘Aqeedah is the incentive for the work of the group or party, and since establishing the ruling by what Allah (swt) has revealed is the objective, then it is obligatory that the culture, which has been adopted by the group, is taken in a way that firmly links it to the ‘Aqeedah. The purpose is to create a sense of responsibility, concern, seriousness, blazing passion, zeal and readiness to sacrifice, amongst those who are working. It will also enable the Muslim to bear the hardships and difficulties of the path. It will make the da’wah carrier not wait for the people to thank him. Rather he would fear his Lord (swt), and a Day when faces shall frown from worry. He will accept the hardship of the worldly work and being deprived of the joys and pleasures of the dunya, just to attain the good pleasure of his Lord, and to enjoy the bliss and happiness of the Aakhirah. The purpose of making the adoption of the ‘Aqeedah the basis of the culture is to use the ‘Aqeedah as the basis of initiating change in the people, and not the hatred of the injustice that falls upon them, the liberation from ignorance or the improvement of the circumstances. Rather what pushes the Muslim to do the da’wah and makes the other Muslims accept it is the thoughts of the Imaan, and this is the original way in Islam.
Moreover, the thoughts of Imaan (that are taken as the basis for the culture of change) together with the culture, must be given in a manner that aims towards achieving the objective.
The ‘Aqeedah must be given in manner that aids the realisation of this objective.
The adopted Shar’ee rules must be given in a manner that shows the aim of giving them.
The study of the reality must be given in a manner that serves the realisation of the aim as well.
In short, the party culture must be linked with the Islamic ‘Aqeedah. It must be supported by the Shar’ee evidences, and given from the angle that achieves the Shar’ee aim. This is the realisation of the servitude to Allah (swt) practically, via the establishment of the Islamic State, ie the realisation of the sovereignty of Allah (swt). The Shabab of the group must be raised on this understanding.
Since the Islamic ‘Aqeedah is like the head to the body, and the heart to the organs; since it is the foundation of the whole matter, and everything depends upon it, then when it is given it should achieve the following.
- It must lead to making Allah (swt) the sole object of worship and source of legislation. No one else has this right except Him. He is the only Rabb (Lord). He is the only Khaaliq (Creator). He is the All-Knowing, All-Aware and the Legislator, the only One who manages the affairs. Since man, by his very nature feels weak, limited, needy and dependent, then he will refer to this Ilah (deity) to guide him to the correct path and bring him out from the depths of darkness into the light. Allah (swt) has sent a Messenger from amongst His servants and has chosen him (saw) to convey the Message, with which He guides those who follow His Good Pleasure in the paths of peace. He (swt) has ordered us to follow what he (saw) has conveyed to us from His Lord. He (saw) is ma’sum (infallible). Allah (swt) revealed the Qur’an to him, as a Message to the whole of mankind. As guidance, light, mercy, admonition and healing for what is in the hearts. He (swt) promised them the everlasting Bliss if they believed and obeyed and he warned them with Jahannam if they rejected. Thus, man has been created to worship Allah (swt) alone, according to the Message brought by the Messenger of Allah (saw).
- It should be clear to the Muslims that Islam ties the human being to Imaan in what came before this life, which is the belief in Allah (swt) the Creator and Manager of affairs. It also ties him to the Imaan in what comes after life, which is the belief in the ba’ath (resurrection), nushoor (gathering), hisaab (reckoning), thawaab (reward) and ‘iqaab (punishment). This should be given in a manner that shows this relationship. The one who severes this relationship and separates it, his words will not be based on a clear proof or authority. Rather they will be words of kufr.
- It must be given in a manner that leads to reviving the Ummah and driving her to carry Islam as a Message to the world.
- Muslims should understand its correctness in confronting the contemporary kufr thoughts. This is achieved by clarifying the falsity of the current thoughts coming from Capitalism, nationalism or patriotism. This is done by establishing an intellectual comparison between Islam and these thoughts, to arrive at a twofold result: firstly the refutation of the other thoughts and everything built upon them, and secondly clarifying that Islam is the only truth that is suitable for the whole world (due to the universal nature of its ‘Aqeedah and system) and then establishing the State in which Islam will be represented. The group works in this field to eliminate the slogans, flashy propaganda and billboards and the false claims placed in the minds of the Muslims by the kaafir colonialists. For example slogans such as: ‘freedom of thought and culture’, ‘Give to Caeser what belongs to Caeser and give to God what belongs to God’, ‘My homeland shall always be on the truth’, ‘Help your brother whether he is oppresser or oppressed’ (according to the pre-islamic concepts). The effect of the western thought must be removed from the minds of the Muslims and from their life. This is done by refuting the thoughts based on ideas such as ‘developing the Sharee’ah’, ‘modernising the Sharee’ah’, ‘flexibility of the Sharee’ah in meeting the needs of the age’ (according to the western concept), and ‘separation of deen from life’, ‘there is no politics in the deen’, ‘It is not rejected that rules change according to the change of the time and place.’ In addition to eliminating all of these slogans, the group works to implant the alternative thoughts, which are built upon and emanate from ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’
It is known in the Shar’a that the meaning of the words, ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, will not be pure in a person as knowledge and action, until every thought or belief other than it is discarded. He (swt) says; “Whosoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break.” [TMQ 2:256]. Allah (swt) mentioned the disbelief in Taghut first, so that no shirk or kufr stain can touch the mind, and Imaan comes after that, pure in the mind, which is the situation of someone who holds onto the trustworthy handhold. He (swt) said; “So know (O Muhammad [saw]) that there is no god but Allah.” [TMQ 47:19]. So ‘there is no god’ means, after study and thought, one acquires the knowledge that there is no god existing as a god who consequently deserves worship. And His (swt) saying: ‘but Allah’ affirms the deity of Allah (swt). It negates the deity to anyone else, and establishes it for Allah (swt). This is the strongest type of affirmation in the Arabic language and it gives the meaning of restriction. Thus, neither the thought of socialism, nationalism or patriotism will save us, nor is it correct. Rather they are corrupt and false. They cause misery for man and cannot ensure his happiness. There can be no guidance, light or healing other than the deen and Shar’a of Allah (swt).
The group proceeds to build its individuals and form their Islamic personality, by giving them the correct Islamic criteria and filling them with the love to adhere to the Shar’a and hatred of whatever contradicts it, and the love to refer to it for judgement and the hatred of referring to anything other than it. As a result, their understanding of things becomes governed by the criteria and thoughts of the Shar’a, and their inclinations follow Islam, the way it decides. Thus they like what Islam likes and hate what Islam hates.
The group proceeds to concentrate this culture in its Shabab via concentrated circles, whose purpose is to prepare the Shabab for leadership and undertake the work of the da’wah after carrying it in reality in order to convince the people of adopting it. The group would understand the reality using the mind, and explain to the Shabab the intellectual process through which it arrived at its definition of the mind. This would serve as a guide for them regarding how to deal with reality, and how to arrive at a set of intellectual definitions that are explanations of reality and are the Manaat to which the shar’ai rules apply. When the group defines the mind, instincts, organic needs, revival, society, and culture and civilisation, it defines them because the group needs to understand their reality, and because many Shar’ee rules are related to these things.
The group proceeds to derive the Shar’ee rules via the Shar’ee evidences. It will deduce those things that relate to the problem or provide solutions for the reality. This requires that the group adopt all the disciplines that will enable it to understand the Shar’ee texts, and through which they would reach an understanding of the rules of Allah (swt) that were necessary for the group. The group must conduct the method of istidlaal (deduction) openly for the Shabab and Muslim to see, so that it teaches them about it and builds the correct Islamic method of understanding the Shar’a and deducing its rules in their minds.
The group must strive, when giving this adopted culture to its Shabab, to adhere to the practical aspect, which is the aim. For this culture is not for the purpose of knowledge, increasing information or to make the shabab attain a solid academic level. Rather, it is there to generate an intellectual and political struggle, and to be conveyed as an intellectual leadership in the Ummah to establish an entity that represents her.
The group must endeavour to represent this culture in a practical and precise manner. It should not say one thing and do another. It would anger Allah (swt) greatly if the group taught the truth and then acted contrary to it.
Indeed, the group must adopt this culture and build its Shabab and establish them upon it, such that it becomes consolidated in their minds. Thereafter, the group takes the fundamental thoughts of Islam and gives them to the Ummah in a manner that produces the ra’i ‘aamm (public opinion) for the fikrah (idea), which emanates from the wa’i ‘aamm (general awareness) about it. Thus, it takes the thoughts of the ‘Aqeedah and principle Shar’ee rules to the Ummah, in a manner that unites the Ummah on one objective, which is the sovereignty of the Sharee’ah of Allah (swt). In this manner the Ummah will acquire the correct orientation, and that is considered the beginning of the return of her personality, which she had lost a long time ago.
These fundamental thoughts, and principle Shar’ee rules are thoughts that lead to assigning the legislation and worship to Allah (swt) alone, and assigning the right to be emulated to the Messenger (saw) alone. These fundamentals make the people yearn for the Paradise and fear the Fire, and make the people understand that the work to establish the Islamic State is one of the most important obligations in Islam, owing to the fact that many fara’id depend on it. They make the Ummah understand that they are one Ummah to the exclusion of all other people, and neither race nor regime separates them. The Muslims are one brotherhood and no nationalistic or patriotic bond shall separate them. Neglect of Allah’s Shar’a is what has caused the Muslims’ humiliation and disgrace. The Muslims must adhere to the Shar’a of their Lord; they should not do an action except after knowing the evidence for it.
Such thoughts prepare the fertile ground on which the rules of Islam will grow and bear fruit.
Everything we have mentioned must be included in the culture of this group. Our concern is to develop the sound way—which has been ordered by the Shar’a—to outline the culture, and the basis upon which the culture is adopted.
The group will have the great mass of thoughts, opinions and Shar’ee rules, that are necessary for the group to plunge into the intellectual struggle and political strife, and to generate the concentrated culture in those who will bear the responsibility of the da’wah. These thoughts are also necessary to produce the public opinion in the Ummah. That will make her accept the fikrah (idea) upon which the group is established.
This is the framework to which the group must adhere. If the group succeeded in outlining it, then the group would not be harmed if afterwards it made a mistake in some of the peripheral rules, or it disagreed with other groups or they disagreed with her. This is an inevitable and unavoidable matter.
This is the culture that the group requires to acheive its goal, which is making the sovereignty for the Shar’a of Allah (swt) and spreading the da’wah to the rest of the world. Indeed, Allah (swt) is the one who grants the success.

The obligation of adopting thoughts that are necessary for the work of the group

The Shar’a does not require the mere presence of a group. Rather what the Shar’a requires is the establishment of a group whose purpose is to establish this order. The evidences for the existence of the group clarify this for us.
- In His (swt) saying; “And let there arise out of you a group inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining the ma’roof (good) and forbidding the munkar (evil). And it is they who are successful.” [TMQ 3:104]. The Shar’a has obliged the establishment of a political group whose ideology is Islam and that carries the thoughts and Shar’ee rules necessary for the achievement of the aims the group was established for, which are the dominance, establishment and accession to power [of Islam]. The order is not to have a group for its own sake. It is rather to realise what was commanded, which is the da’wah and enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar. Also, it is not the da’wah and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil for their own sake. Rather the order is to realise the objective for which the da’wah and enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar exist; dominance, consolidation and accession to power.
- The Messenger (saw) said; “It is not allowed for three people to be on any part of the earth without appointing one of them as ameer (leader).” [Narrated by Ahmad b. Hanbal]. The Shar’a indicated that for any joint action that the Muslims have been ordered to perform they must have an ameer. The obedience to him will be obligatory in the matter he has been made ameer for, and for the people over whom he has been made ameer. The group must comply with the order of the ameer, so that the results of this collective work are achieved according to the Shar’a.
- Since Allah (swt) has enjoined upon the Muslims many obligations that are entrusted to the Khaleefah only, then it has become imperative to appoint a Khaleefah in order to realise these obligations. Since the appointment of a Khaleefah and the establishment of the Khilafah cannot be achieved except by a group, then the presence of a group whose aim is to establish the Khaleefah and the Khilafah becomes inevitable. This is based on the priciple: ‘That which is necessary to establish a wajib is itself a waajib (ma la yattimmul waajib illa bihi fahuwa waajib).
So it becomes clear that the presence of a group is inextricably linked to the presence of the required Shar’ee objective. Thus, it is not a group that merely undertakes the da’wah to Islam. It is not a group that conveys the message just for the sake of conveying. Rather it is a group established for the purpose of establishing Islam in the life of the Muslims, through the establishment of the Islamic State, which is considered the Shar’ee method of applying all the rules of Islam, both individual and collective. Hence a group must exist whose purpose is to realise the aim for which it has been established.
Until the group can be considered to have fulfilled all that is required of it, it must do the following things.
- It must adopt all the thoughts, Shar’ee rules and opinions that are necessary for its work, and it should adhere to them in word, deed and thought. This is because the aim of adoption is to protect the unity of the party. If the group is established and its members have different thoughts and diverse Ijtihaadaat the group will be afflicted with splits and fragmentation, even though they may be united on the aim and on Islam in a general manner. Within it there would be other factions, leading to groups forming within the group. Its da’wah will turn from being a da’wah to others to work with it and establish the fard, into a da’wah to each other. They will start to dispute with each other, with each faction trying to get its view across to the leadership of the group. Hence, the importance of adoption and its legitimacy becomes evident. The unity of the group is necessary by Shar’a. Nothing can maintain its unity in this situation, except the adoption of all the thoughts necessary for the work, and obliging the shabab with this adoption. Accordingly the adoption becomes required in compliance with the principle ‘That which is necessary for a wajib, is itself wajib.’
As long as the thoughts, rules and opinions for the work of the group are all based on the Shar’eeah; and as long as this group has the trust of its shabab it is allowed, in origin, to restrict the shabab in the thoughts regarding the work because it is allowed for a Muslim to leave his opinion and work according to the opinion of others. Thus, in the bay’ah of ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan he accepted to take the pledge of Khaleefah on condition that he left his Ijtihaad for the Ijtihaad of Abu Bakr and Umar (ra), even where it differed with his Ijtihaad. The Sahabah accepted this and they gave him the bay’ah. However, this is considered to be permitted and not obligatory as is made evident by the fact that Ali (ra) did not accept to leave his Ijtihaad for the Ijtihaad of Abu Bakr and Umar and not a single Sahabah objected. Also, it has been authentically narrated from ash-Sha’bi that Abu Musa used to leave his opinion for the opinion of Ali, Zayd used to leave his opinion for the opinion of Ubayy b. Ka’b and Abdullah used to leave his opinion for the opinion of ‘Umar. Ahadith have been narrated that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar used to leave their opinion for ‘Ali (ra). This shows that it is allowed for the Mujtahid to leave his opinion for someone else based on trust in his Ijtihaad. The shabab of this group must adhere to these two concepts and they should have a be intellectual and emotional body.
- Just as the group must adopt the Sharee’ah rules necessary for its work, it must also adopt the styles to execute these rules. The style is the manner in which the Hukm Shar’ee is executed. It is a rule which relates to the original rule for which the daleel came. For example: The group is required to culture its shabab in a concentrated manner following the example of the Messenger (saw). This is a Hukm Shar’ee that must be adhered to. But in what manner? How should this Hukm Shar’ee be executed? There must be a specific style through which this Hukm Shar’ee can be fulfilled. The style may be through halaqaat (circles) or the usar (families) etc.
So the choice of the style is a rational selection of the most appropriate action through which the Hukm Shar’ee will be executed. It will take the ruling of ibaahah (permissibility) in terms of the basis. The Shar’a has ordered the Hukm Shar’ee, but left the style of its implementation to the Muslim.
Due to the many styles available for a single Hukm Shar’ee, the group is compelled to adopt a specific style and direct its shabab towards it. Then the group would have adopted a style, which will lead to the implementation of the Hukm Shar’ee. Then the style will take the same rule as the work which it falls under. In other words, it becomes binding, like the Hukm Shar’ee that it falls under is binding.
When a group chooses the halaqaat system (circles) as a style to bring about the concentrated culturing, it must adopt it as a style that is binding. When adopting the style, the group must realize the aim of this style, which is concentrated culturing. So for the halaqah style, it would adopt everything that will realise this aim. For example; the number of people in the halaqah should be consistent with the aim. If the number increases then this may be at the expense of the concentrated culturing. If the number is less, then there will be too many halaqaat and they will form a burden and obstacle to the aim. The number must be conducive to the culturing process, without excess or deficiency. So the fixing of the number is a decision for the mind. Similarly, the time period of the halaqah should be such that the students can maintain their attention in order to understand the thoughts, otherwise the comprehension will be reduced. If the time is too short then the thoughts will not be given in a complete manner. How often should the halaqah take place? Should it be daily, weekly or fortnightly? Halaqah times should not be an obstacle to the practical aspect of the da’wah. The academic aspect, at the expense of the practical aspect, should not preoccupy the Shabab. This is how the appropriate styles are adopted for the execution of the Sharee’ah rules, such that they are in complete harmony with the Hukm Shar’ee that is to be realised. What we have said about styles roughly applies to the means as well. It is allowed for the Ameer to change the means and styles according to the requirements of the work.
- Since the group will be dealing with a wide expanse of land and its reach will extend to many States, then the sheer size and volume of the work necessitates the presence of an administrative system through which the party can pursue the da’wah and realize its aims in all spheres of its work. The administration system will organize and regulate the movement of the da’wah. It will follow the culturing of the shabab and prepare the general atmosphere for the idea. It will organize the intellectual and political struggle. The party will appear to the Ummah as a body, which committed itself to realise this task. Hence, there must be an organisational structure, which is devoted to realising the aim as best as possible, so it monitors the achievements of the work and maintains them.
So the party must adopt an administrative system or an organisational structure that will enable it to organise the da’wah successfully, thus leading to the attainment of the aim.
The party must adopt an administrative law through which the body and its movement is organised, where the rules regarding the powers of the Ameer, how he runs the party and how he is selected are defined. It explains who will appoint those responsible for the areas and provinces, and what the limits of their powers are. It is the law that will organise the administration concerning every action of the Hizb and specify the mandatory powers of everyone concerned.
All of these rules will take the Hukm of the means and styles that are required for executing the Sharee’ah rules related to the work. It is obligatory to adhere to the adopted administrative styles as long as the Ameer considers them necessary, because obedience to the Ameer is waajib.
- One is obliged to adhere to whatever is adopted, so what will the party do when there is a violation? Will it deal with the violation by rebuking the person or should there be administrative punishments?
The group is obliged to adopt administrative punishments for those who violate any adopted rule or deviate from the Shar’ee course that has been drawn out. These punishments are legitimate because they are for disobeying the Ameer. Since the Hukm Shar’ee obliges the presence of an Ameer it obliges obedience to him and forbids the disobedience in the matters that he was appointed an Ameer; otherwise, there would be no meaning to having an Ameer for the group.
The Messenger (saw) said: “The one who obeys me is (as if) he has obeyed Allah. And the one who disobeys me is (as if) he disobeyed Allah. The one who obeys the Ameer is (as if) he obeyed me and the one who disobeys the Ameer is (as if) he disobeyed me.” [Reported by Muslim]
The administrative punishments from the Ameer should extend to everyone, even to a junior member in the movement. These punishments are for violations of adoption. The one who violates the adopted Shar’eeah rules or styles, does not adhere to the administrative body or administrative law, or crosses the limits of his powers, should be taken to account.
In this manner the intellectual framework should be accompanied by a disciplined organisational framework, which is dedicated to the precise execution of the thoughts of the work and the rules of the method. Our eyes have seen how many Islamic, and non-Islamic organisations, have failed because they didn’t pay any attention to the structural aspect.
It is natural for the group to be plagued with disagreements if it doesn’t give the concept of adoption due attention; it will proceed haphazardly and go around in circles. It will exceed all bounds with nobody to bring it to account. This will prevent the group from being able to achieve its objective.
It is natural that if the members and people of responsibility are not chosen based on legitimate and consistent conditions, but instead are chosen for reasons such as who they are related to, having a social standing or having an academic post, then the tasks will be badly distributed and the individuals will become interested in attaining particular positions.
It is natural that if there are no administrative laws to which everyone is subjected, then there will be discrimination in accounting and balance and fairness will be lost.
It is natural that if there are no administrative punishments, which do not differentiate between big violations and small violations, then disobedience will continue in the work and mistakes will increase.
Therefore, one has to pay attention to the organisational aspect and the shaping of a party body that is effective in its movement, such that the thoughts of the da’wah and its shabab are organized within it, and its work is facilitated. The structure and composition of the party or group must be in complete harmony with the aim for which the group was established.
No one should think that the structural aspect is secondary; rather it is a very important matter indeed. If the group is not well structured and does not adopt the necessary rules and make them binding, then whatever success the group has will be in danger of being lost.
Moreover, undertaking the party tasks obliges the party or group to bear some financial responsibilities. This is owing to some shabab being specially assigned a duty required by the group, for travel expenses, printing costs or other expenses necessary for carrying the da’wah. These financial costs must be borne by the party body itself, ie its shabab. The one who has given himself to the da’wah, it is easier for him to give that which is less than himself, ie financial support.
The group should be careful not to extend its hand outside the group, whether it be to an individual, to a group or to a government. This is how groups are approached. The enemies of the da’wah exploit the group’s need for money, so they begin by giving seemingly innocent financial assistance to it. Very soon, this assistance becomes assistance for a purpose.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

How to establish the Islamic State - Part 5

The following is an extract from the draft translation of the arabic book entitled 'Dawa ilal Islam' (Dawa to Islam) by Sheikh Ahmad Mahmoud, published by Al-Waie Publications in Lebanon. I will be posting the sections of the book related to this subject.

The method of Islam in understanding the ahkaam (rules)

The work that a group or party does in enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar related to establishing the deen, must be based on the necessary knowledge of the Shar’a. This is because, as we have explained earlier, there is no action without knowledge, and there is no worship of Allah (swt) without knowledge and sincere intention to Allah (swt).
So what are the limits of the required Shar’ee knowledge for this group? What is the culture to develop the group with and on whose basis its Shabab will be built and the Ummah will be prepared?
Enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar takes place based on this obligatory Shar’ee knowledge, which the group must adhere to. If it contradicts what the Shar’a required from the group, the group should be advised. If it deviated, it should be corrected. What applies to the group of Shar’ee obligations applies to others. The issue is simply adherence and following, so deviation is not allowed. The advice should come from everyone, and to everyone.
At this stage it is worth mentioning that there is a fixed method for deducing all of the Shar’ee rules, whether they relate to carrying the da’wah, ibadaat (worships), mu’amalaat (transactions), ‘uqubaat (punishments), mat’umaat (foodstuffs), malboosaat (clothing) or akhlaq (morals) ...
This fixed method has been dictated by Islam and its very nature, and it is not due to the genius or intelligence of Muslims. That is because the Islamic ‘Aqeedah dictates to the Muslim that he does not take, even if it is one hukm, from outside the Shar’a. He should restrict himself to its deduction according to the limits indicated by the texts. Hence Islam requires this methodology which protects this direction, controls its understanding such that it is confined solely to the revelation, and in order that its view of the ‘Aqeedah fits completely with its view of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and its conditions are integrated.
This fixed method of Ijtihaad is so important that it should take the highest position in the culture of the group or party. It is this method that will lead to the deduction of rules; if the method of deduction is correct it will lead to the presence of correct Shar’ee rules by least amount of doubt, and one would get the reward for it. Otherwise, there is no consideration for any opinion that is not based on the fixed Shar’ee method of deduction, even though someone may falsely call it a Shar’ee opinion. This is because what matters is not the name, but the reality. Hence this is binding.
Today, more than ever, we need to follow this method, which prevents the Muslim from being influenced by the western thought and its method of deduction. It is the disease of this age, by which many have been afflicted from amongst those known as the ‘Ulema. We find their ijtihaadaat and fatawa have become far removed from dawaabit (regulators), where they proceed according to the western whim and not the divine guidance.
Thus, referring to the Shar’a, which has a fixed method, in Ijtihaad, is something all the Muslims must gather upon, even if the results of their Ijtihaadaat differed. Here we wish to present this method in a general manner. Just as it was the method of the Salaf (predecessors), it must also be the method for the khalaf (later generations) and those who come after them, until the coming of The Final Hour.

Understanding the manaat (reality)

The method of Islam in understanding the ahkhaam is based upon: the deep understanding of the problem, followed by the retrieval, study and understanding of the shar’ai evidences required for the treatment of the problem, and finally, the deduction of the hukm from these evidences.
Thus, the presence of the group (or hizb) that works for change is related to the reality in which it exists, in respect of the necessity of adopting the Shar’ee rules that are necessary to change that particular reality in which it exists.
Understanding the reality demands that one undertakes thorough study of it.
Understanding the Shar’a requires the defining of the sources of the Shar’ee evidences, and the extraction of the principles of Usool that are the laws according to which deduction takes place. This process of deduction requires a Mujtahid who has the ability to apply the rules upon their respective realities and to enforce the rules according to their ‘illah (divine reasons).
Thus, the establishment of any group or party is linked to the reality in which it has emerged. The party aims to change the reality, so it makes it the object of its thought and the object of change. Consequently, the party or group is obliged to study the reality in a deep and precise manner and identify the problems that must be solved. The problems are multitudinous so it is necessary to differentiate between them. One must distinguish between the problems that were the result of other problems, and the problems that caused those results. This requires a distinction to be made between a problem and its apparent appearances; between the main illness and its symptoms. With this type of understanding, one will determine the main illness and the symptoms that resulted from it. After identifying the illness, one must move to identifying the cure.
Here we would like to make an analogy with the skilled doctor; he should not be deceived by the symptoms when diagnosing the main illness. If a man has a disease of his stomach and this leads him to have a reaction, this reaction leads to the appearance of a skin rash with a fever. If the doctor is content just to treat the skin rash and fever by prescribing the appropriate medicine, and if he doesn’t treat the stomach, then his treatment is deficient and he has failed to cure the disease. The doctor must first treat the origin of the problem, which is the disease in the stomach. When this is treated, then the disease will go, together with its symptoms. After that, the doctor will decide whether the symptoms will require treatment or not. They may clear up automatically just by treating the disease that caused them, or some symptoms might remain and they may require treatment. In any case, the treatment of the symptoms will only be a partial job; and so the discussion continues as before.
The same apply to the reality that we live in today. We know that in reality, there are fundamental problems, which in turn have created many other peripheral problems. One of the fundamental problems that afflicts the Ummah today is that Allah’s (swt) sovereignty has no pressence in the life of the Muslims. This has resulted in many partial problems such as; poverty (which arises from injustice), ignorance, the spread of immoral acts and the dominance of corrupt relationships. Regarding this Allah (swt), clarifies the main cause; “Whosoever turns away from My Reminder verily, for him is a life of hardship.” [TMQ 20:124]
These partial problems exist because of the presence of this reality. The permanent and radical change cannot take place until this reality is changed first. One cannot eliminate the effects of referring to other than what Allah (swt) has revealed, until the work focuses on resuming the Islamic way of life, by making the Islamic ‘Aqeedah a political creed that guides all the Muslims’ actions in life, according to the orders and prohibitions of Allah (swt), and pushes them to establish the rule by what Allah (swt) has revealed.
Hence, the fundamental problem is not educational, ethical or economic. The fundamental issue is not salvaging the rights of Muslims and strengthening their social, economic or military position. Rather the issue is al-Hakimiyyah (the sovereignty) in its creedal and practical aspects. This sovereignty is only for Allah (swt), so in the reality we must regain the confidence of the Muslims in the rules of their Islam. We must restore what has been lost from the ‘Aqeedah in their hearts; the interest in establishing the system that emanates from the ‘Aqeedah in their life; to long for Jannah and yearn for it, and to fear Jahannam and escape from it, and to have concern for the conditions of all the Muslims - and the whole of mankind - through the Islamic ‘Aqeedah.
With such an understanding, the group will define the fundamental problem and know with certainty that when this disease is treated, then all the symptoms will be eliminated. So, the importance of having awareness of the reality is clear.
This is what the Usuli scholars term the Manat (reality). It is imperative that one scrutinises the Manat before starting to bring the Shar’ee evidences.
Gaining awareness of the reality and understanding it is more difficult than understanding the rules that relate to it. It requires precision, because if we make a mistake in understanding the reality - and this misunderstanding is imprinted in our minds - and then start searching for the Shar’ee evidences to treat this reality, we will inevitably bring evidences that treat the erroneous reality imprinted in our minds, not the actual reality in which we live. Hence we will have brought evidences not relevant to the reality.
Understanding the reality necessitates the use of the mind. It is not allowed to make the reality the source of our thinking. There should be no solutions arising from the reality. Rather, the reality should be understood as it is, in its true state.

Understanding the Shar’a

After understanding the reality in its true state by using the mind, the Shar’ee solution deduced from the Shar’ee evidences is brought to the reality. It is not allowed to use the mind in deducing the solution as an arbitrator or a source. Here, the function of the mind is to understand the solution that is present in the Shar’ee evidences.
Understanding the Shar’a requires us to have knowledge about the sources from which the group takes the Shar’a, and knowledge of the juristic principles on which it relies to understand the Shar’a, and with which it wishes to change the bad reality. Accordingly, it would give the correct view of the reality that it wants to take the people to, and it would have knowledge of the method it will follow in the process of Ijtihaad, ie the method of deduction.

Sources of the Shar’a

Since every rule must come from a correct source, the source must be adopted after study and becoming definitely convinced of it. It is well known that the principal sources of Islamic legislation are the Book and the Sunnah, over which there is no disagreement. As for the resultant sources – Ijmaa’ (consensus), Qiyas (analogy), Istihsan (juristic preference), Mazhab as-Sahabi (following the opinion of the Sahabah), and Shar’a man Qablena (the Shar’a of those before us) - there is disagreement over all of these. Examining the group’s view of what constitutes an evidence gives an insight into its approach in adopting from the Shar’a.
It is well known that the adoption of the resultant sources depends on definite evidences. Hence, something that decisively proves that they can be depended upon as sources of Shar’ee evidences, must come from the Qur’an and Sunnah. In other words, the two main sources have indicated in a decisive manner the adoption of a particular source. It is not enough to take the Shar’ee sources by Taqleed (imitation). They are from amongst the fundamental things (kulliyaat), and therefore they must be definite, and we know that Taqleed does not lead to certainty.
When the sources of legislation have been determined, then we know the springs from which the group can drink and from which ones it cannot. Defining the sources is of utmost importance, because a single mistake in any one of the sources will lead to mistakes in all the rules coming from that source. Defining the Shar’ee sources should precede the deduction of the Shar’ee rules that are related to the actions of the group. It is unacceptable for a group to carry the message of Islam without first adopting the Shar’ee sources.
It is also not acceptable that all of the resultant sources should be adopted, thinking that this will bring a lot of good. This would rather make the group take the good and the bad, and would lead the group to subjugate the Shar’a to the reality, the mind, desires, emotions or interests. In this situation, the Daleel will be used only to serve these aims whilst it is the opposite that is demanded by the Shar’a.
In principle, the group should set down its sources before giving its opinion on changing the reality. It should not be affected by the reality regarding its sources; rather it should only be affected by the texts and their definite indications, in relation to establishing and disproving the sources. Moreover, the sources that the group establishes for itself will be its Usul without obliging others to abide by them. Rather the group will discuss its opinion with others to convince them through proof and persuasion; especially what it regards as being definite. If the group considered its sources to be binding on others it would create difficulty for itself and for them.

The rules of understanding the Shar’a

After the group has established the sources from which it will obtain the Shar’a, it must move onto understanding how it should use and adopt from them. In other words, it must move towards understanding the principles (qawaa’id) by whose study one can make deduction of ahkaam from their sources. There is no doubt that when the scholar puts his mind to adopting a Shar’ee rule, he would have in his mind the principles of Usul on which he bases the hukm he adopts. There is no knowledge that does not have an Usul, whether that has been written or not.
The Shar’ee texts contain the ‘aamm (general) and the khaas (specific); the mujmal (unelaborated) and the mufassal (elaborated); mutlaq (absolute) and the muqayyad (restricted); awamir (orders) and nawahi (prohibitions); the naasikh (abrogator) and the mansukh (abrogated); mafhum al-muwaafaqah (conformable meaning) and mafhum al-mukhaalafah (opposite meaning); the mantuq (wording), mafhum (implicit meaning) and ma’qul (rationale) of the text; the khabar al-wahid (solitary report) and when it can be used as proof and when it cannot be used as proof and many things besides these. The group must set out its juristic principle, adopt them, and present them to others.
Most of these principles of Usul that have been mentioned are disputed over. It is well known that each principle has many branches emanating from it. Since they are disputed, they must be taken away from being of disputed status. This is done by the group adopting what it views as correct. After the adoption of the principles of Usul, the branches are understood according to these principles.
After gaining knowledge of the Usul and its principles, the group will have acquired the ability to understand the Shar’a from its sources. After that it has no option but to follow the fixed and known method of Ijtihaad. This is what must distinguish the group from others. This is what the group must take to the people by culturing its shabab with it. This is the first thing that the group must be established upon.
Indeed, the work of the Mujtahid is like the work of the doctor. The first thing he does is to listen to the patient and describe his condition. Then he diagnoses the fundamental illness, which the patient complains of, after distancing himself from being distracted by the symptoms of the illness. Then he refers to the knowledge that he gained in his days of study. He may then review the books that help him to prescribe the treatment. After that he gives the solution, in this case the medicine. In other words, he goes to the texts in describing the solution.
If the group that wants change and undertakes the responsibility of change is an Islamic group, its work for change must be Islamic. The change should be based on the Shar’ee evidence, and not on personal opinion, whims, rationally perceived interest, the reality or the circumstances. Rather, it must be the Shar’a that dictates the hukm Shar’ee to the group. The love of Islam or the concern for the circumstances of the Muslims, do not in themselves dictate any rules to the group. The interests of the Muslims are defined by the Shar’a, because the Shar’a defined the interests of the Muslims. Here, it becomes necessary to go into some details that clarify Islam’s viewpoint towards maslahah (the benefit) and when benefit is recognised by the Shar’a.

Al-Maslahah (the interest)

The maslahah is an acquisition of a benefit or repulsing of a harm. It is either decided by the mind, or by the Shar’a. If it is left to the mind to decide, then the people will find it difficult to determine the true interest, because the mind is limited. The mind is not able to encompass the essence of man and his reality, so it cannot decide what is an interest for him, because it cannot grasp the reality in order to know whether something is beneficial or harmful. Nobody can comprehend the reality of man except his Creator. No one can decide what is in man’s interest in a certain manner, except his Creator, who is Allah (swt). Yes, it is possible for man to consider something as beneficial or harmful, but he cannot be definite. That is why leaving the mind to decide what is beneficial, based on speculation will lead to danger and to man’s peril. For he may think something is harmful and then it appears to be beneficial, hence he keeps the good away from himself. He may think something is beneficial, but later it appears to be harmful, and so he brings harm upon himself. Today the mind may judge upon something to be harmful, but tomorrow it judges upon it to be beneficial. Today something may be judged harmful, while yesterday it was judged beneficial. Giving such (contradictory) judgements is not allowed. This is something for which secular systems are well known. Their human legislators wish to bring good for the people, from themselves. We see them constantly changing and altering the laws until the development of the system becomes a requirement for solving problems. This is because in reality, they are not able to arrive at the correct judgement on things and actions; a judgement that is correct and final. That is why they accuse people whose system does not develop as being rigid and static. Consequently we see the Muslims being affected, in this aspect, by the Kuffar. In defence of their own selves and their deen, and because they are far away from correctly understanding the nature of Islam, we see them drifting towards their enemies by adopting this way of thinking.
The Creator is the only one Who can manage the affairs of man and solves the problems that arise from his organic needs and instincts, and enable him to satisfy them in a correct manner. What is required is the correct solution for the reality that is to be treated. Since the reality of human beings is fixed and does not change then his solutions should be constant and not change. The man, as a man according to his original nature, needs to satisfy his inclination towards women. Since men and women in their essential reality do not change, then the relationship, in principle, is constant. It is not acceptable that we set down a system to define the relationship of a man with a woman, and then go back and change the system after a certain period of time under the pretext of development, even though their realities have not changed.
Alcohol, as a reality, is the same and has not changed. So what is the reason for changing its rule?
Gambling, as a reality, is the same and does not change. So what is the reason to change its rule all the time? And there are many more examples than these.
That is why “development”, “flexibility” and “modernisation” are features of man-made systems, which do not lead to the truth. They will continue in a process of change, which expresses man’s inability to guide himself to the correct system. This process of changing expresses their inability, but they use beautiful words such as “evolution”. It is from this standpoint that one must reject the principle that people claim to be from the Shar’a: ‘It is not renounced that rules change according to the change of the time and place.’ Rather, one should reject this principle.
Therefore, the hukm of Allah (swt) on a single issue is one and cannot be more than one. If its reality changes, then the hukm changes according to the change of the reality. Thus, grapes take the rule of permissibility, but when its reality changes and it becomes alcohol, then the ruling changes and it becomes prohibited. When the alcohol changes to vinegar, then it needs another rule, which is also one of permissibility. Hence there is no consideration for the time and place. Thus something is not prohibited in one place, and allowed in another; neither is something allowed in one time and prohibited in another. Time and place have no effect on the Shar’ee rule.
The Islamic Sharee’ah contains the rules for all past incidents, all the current problems and the incidents that may occur. No incident happens, no problem occurs and no event takes place without there being a rule for it. The Islamic Sharee’ah has encompassed all the actions of human beings in a complete and comprehensive manner. He (swt) said: “And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’an) as an exposition (tibyaan) of everything.” [TMQ 16:89]. So the Sharee’ah either presents an evidence from the Qur’an and hadith regarding the action or thing, or gives the divine reason for its legislation. This requires the mention of an ‘illah, indicated by the text, ie the ‘illah shar’iyyah (Shar’ee reason) and not ‘illah ‘aqliyyah (rational reason). Here we need to clarify the difference between the rational analogy and the Shar’ee analogy.

Qiyas ‘aqli (The rational analogy)

The mind gives the same rule on similar and comparable things. That is why analogy is made between two things that have the same resemblance. The mind also differentiates between different things when giving judgement, ie it gives different judgements for different things.
This is contrary to the qiyas Shar’ee (Shar’ee analogy), because the Shar’a frequently differentiated between things that are similar, and made similar many things that are different. The Shar’a differentiated between similar things, such as two different times. Thus it gave preference to laylatul qadr (Night of Power) over other nights. It differentiated between similar places, such as the preference of Makkah over Madinah, and the preference of Madinah over other places. Regarding the salah (prayer), the Shar’a differentiated between four rak’aat and three rak’aat when shortening the prayer. Thus, it permitted four rak’aat to be shortened but did not give permission for three rak’aat or two rak’aat to be shortened. The mind cannot make comparison in any of these things. For the emission of the maniyy (semen), which is pure, the Shar’a obliged the ghusl (bath) but it ordered wudu (purification) for the emission of the pre-semenal fluid (madhy), which is impure, even though they are both emitted from the same place. It made the ‘iddah (waiting period) of the divorced women three menstrual cycles and the ‘iddah of the widower four months and ten days, even though the condition of the womb is the same. It made water and dust similar in terms of purification, even though water cleanses and dust dirties. It made death the punishment for the adulterer, the murderer and the apostate even though they are different.
In addition, the Shar’a has clarified rules, over which the mind has no say. Thus, it forbade the sale of gold with gold, if not equally or in credit. It forbade the men from wearing gold but allowed the women to wear it, and the same for silk. It forbade usury and allowed trade. It permitted the Kaafir to testify in wasiyyah (bequests) but stipulated that the witness be a Muslim in a remarriage after a revocable divorce.
That is why ‘Ali (may Allah honour him) said; “If the deen was to be taken by personal opinion, then masah (wiping) of the bottom of the shoe would be preferable to its top.”
These principles must be understood by the group or party that works to resume the Islamic way of life. It must show in its culture how it understands the reality and clarifies it to the people, so that they can understand this reality. It must also define the Shar’ee sources and the Usuli principles, and adopt them and the shabab must be cultured with them. This is because the process of shaping their mentality must be based on such principles. This must also be part of the culture of the group. It is also inevitable to adopt an intellectual and Usuli culture, which will preserve the purity of the revelation and clarity of the thought, and remove anything that may not keep the revelation clear. For example, principles such as: ‘It is not renounced that rules change according to the change of the time and place’, and – ­in its comprehensive meaning -’Necessities permit the forbidden things’, and ‘The deen is flexible and evolving’ and ‘Wherever there is an interest, that is the law of Allah.’
Indeed, this is what the group needs to adopt as its own Usul, which will govern its view and understanding of the Shar’a, before adopting the Shar’ee rules related to its work, and the adherence to them must be its guide and light, so as to please its Lord.
There may be many Ijtihaadaat on one issue. Therefore the group must adopt Shar’ee rules that are from the disputed issues based on the strength of their evidences, and must stick to them. After this the group announces its Usul (juristic principles) and Furu’ (the peripheral principles). It also builds its shabab with this culture, and proceeds in life with it and discusses using it. It wins others to adopt it via proof and persuasion as itself adopted it. It works to achieve its objective according to this culture; otherwise it will lose itself intellectually and stumble in its path of work.
Study of the sources and Usul has precedence over the study of Shar’ee rules related to change. The group will face immense hardships and difficulties during its course of work. If it did not adopt an Usul in a disciplined way and based on the strongest evidence, then we will see it wavering quickly and changing what it holds. It may resort to entering the democratic game with the existing corrupt system, which is the actual problem and the main obstacle in the face of the da’wah. They will do this, under the pretext that there is a principle which accords with this orientation; that Islam has something called Shura, which resembles Democracy. They may resort to complying with the previous religions and taking from them, under the pretext that ‘The Shar’a of people before us is a Shar’a for us.’ The thing that made it resort to this change is the difficulty in following the correct Shar’ee method. Or it may take the view that the work, by using the style of associations, enables it to change the reality, so it becomes preoccupied with the style at the expense of the method. Or it may rely on armed struggle and not the Shar’ee rule, because the circumstances have imposed that upon it.
Thus, adopting the Usul and the sources and following the fixed Shar’ee method of Ijtihaad, is what will restrict the group to what Allah (swt) wants and not what the reality and circumstances impose, or what interest dictates.
In this manner the group, after defining its method of legislative thinking, arrives at defining its method of work. Otherwise it will diverge into many paths, and Allah (swt) will not show concern for those who diverged into paths where they would perish.
The party or group, after setting out the sources of its culture and controls, must move to define its culture in the light of these sources and the Usul that it has adopted.
In studying the sources and the Usul, the group must ensure its understanding of the Shar’a is not impure or mixed up with other ideas. It must strive to remove anything that does not protect the purity of the revelation and it must strive not to be affected by whims in understanding the Shar’a and not allow the mind to be in control of the legislation. It is not possible to study the culture of the group without studying the sources or the Usul on which it is based.
Based on what we have mentioned previously, the group must then turn to the reality in which the Ummah lives and study it. Thus it studies the thoughts, emotions and the systems that exist in it, to know the extent of the people’s response and acceptance of these thoughts and systems. The Ummah has been attacked by the Kufr thoughts, which the Kaafir portrayed as the energy that she needs to regain her health. The Ummah has been controlled politically by the puppet rulers whom the Kaafir colonialists have imposed over the Muslims, in order to dominate her resources and prevent any sincere work from threatening their interests or endangering their colonisation. Since the western Kaafir colonialist is aware of the dangers of organised collective work to his own existence and consolidation, he spread thoughts amongst us that drive people away from collective or party work. Instead he encourage people to undertake partial associative actions, which treat the peripheral problems, such as poverty and corrupt morals. The western Kaafir has also shaken the confidence of the Muslims in their deen as the only true solution to the problems of man, when he separated their ‘Aqeedah from their life, forced this separation upon them, and prevented them from working to abolish it. Therefore, the party or group is obliged to study the reality, and the thoughts, emotions and systems present in it, in a deep and precise manner. This is in order to know the land upon which it stands and the nature of this land, and to know after that how to walk upon it, and what it needs in terms of pickaxes and tools to overcome the obstacles, and what it needs in terms of fertiliser and other substances to regain its fertility. So one must understand the reality first. This in itself will form an important part of the culture of the group, because it must be clear to the group and it must clarify it for the shabab and the people so that they are not ignorant of it, and they comprehend afterwards the importance of the solution and its correctness.
After the intellectual, political and social reality in which the Ummah lives has been defined, the group moves to adopting thoughts, opinions, and Shar’ee rules, in light of the Usul (principles of jurisprudence), regulators, and Shar’ee sources that we have mentioned previously. It must clarify to the shabab and the people the method by which it reached these thoughts, opinions and Shar’ee rules. This is because all this will create the conviction, awareness and Islamic personality in the Shabab of the group in a concentrated manner, and in a general manner in the Ummah.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lessons from the story of Musa (as)

The following is the translation of an article that originally appeared in Al-Waie Magazine published in Lebanon.

Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem informs us about organizing the relationship between man and his Creator, man with himself and man with others. This is done so that harmony will be existent until the Day of Judgment. In addition to this, one cannot help but notice that in many places, the Qur'an includes stories about previous Prophets. What is the role of these Qur'anic anecdotes in carrying the da'wah during this and every age? There is no doubt that the Qur'anic stories are replete with signs, lessons and miracles, and that a da'wah carrier needs to be attuned to them. The Qur'an does not leave any aspect of our life without having an effect on it in one way or another.
It is quite true that we are bound to the Shari'ah that Muhammad (saaw) brought, and we are not allowed to take the Shari'ah of those that preceded us. It should be noted, however, that when we examine the stories of previous prophets (pbut), we are not taking any legislation from them, only the wisdom and lessons about how they carried the da'wah. It is solely for this purpose that Allah (swt) mentioned these stories in the Qur'an. Now, if we had to choose a lesson from the Prophethood of Muhammad (saaw), one story that may initially come to mind is the Isra' and Mi'raj. This story reminds us of what happened to the Holy Land that Allah (swt) has blessed, and how today this land has been taken away from the Muslims. This should become a source of motivation for Muslims to save the Holy Land, and all other lands.
The story of Musa (asws), in particular, has many lessons and many steps that Musa (asws) undertook when he called Firawn (Pharaoh) to believe. These actions are tactics that we now need to examine and study. Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem has a variety of stories of different Prophets. When it comes to Musa (asws) and his life, we can conclude that Surah Taha is enough as a source to expound upon the lessons from his life. We will examine this Surah, Insha'Allah, understand it, and see how Syed Qutb (ra) explained it in his book Fi-dhelaal Al-Qur'an (In the Shade of the Qur'an).
Surah Taha begins with Allah (swt) telling Prophet Muhammad (saaw) that the Qur'an was not revealed to him (saaw) in order for him to suffer or live in misery, especially when people reject him and disbelieve in the message he (saaw) carries. This is because Muhammad (saaw) had no control, whatsoever, over the hearts of people, which would compel them to believe. As the Surah continues, it gives many details about the be'tha (when Allah sent Musa), and describes how Allah (swt) takes care of those who carry His message. Even though it is true that the stories comprise almost one-third of the Qur'an's contents, the story of Musa (asws) occurs most often, being mentioned many times and in many Surahs.
As we begin to analyze Surah Taha in understanding the story of Musa (asws), we see that Musa (asws) and his wife returned from Medyan, where Shu'ayb (as) once lived. On the way back to Egypt he saw a fire near the mountain of Sina. He asked his wife to stay behind as he went to examine the fire, hoping to catch some of its flame and start a fire of his own, to help guide him and keep him warm during the cold night. This beginning shows how Allah (swt) prepares a da'wah carrier, both mentally and physically, for what is required of him in delivering the message. A da'wah carrier is willing to do what the da'wah requires from him no matter how difficult the challenge is. This example exhibits this attitude, where Musa (asws) knew he would have to climb mountains and walk long distances to reach his destination.
When he reached the light, Allah (swt) revealed,
"And when he came to it (the fire), he was called by name 'Oh Musa!, Verily! I am your Lord! So take off your shoes, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa. And I have chosen you. So listen to that which is inspired in you' " (20:11-13)
Upon hearing this, Musa (asws) was given the knowledge that he had been chosen to be Allah's messenger, and this required him to prepare, with all of his senses, to understand the message he would be carrying. This message was based on three fundamental issues, as described:
"Verily! I am Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me, and offer prayers perfectly, for My remembrance. Verily! The hour is coming - and My Will is to keep it hidden - that every person may be rewarded for that which he strives. Therefore, let not the one who believes not therein, but follows his own lusts, divert you therefrom, lest you perish (20:14-16)."
These core elements, which are required from every message and da'wah carrier, are:
To believe in Allah (swt) and His oneness; to believe that Allah (swt) is the only one who deserves to be worshipped and not anyone or anything else; and to expect no reward from anyone, whomsoever, except from Allah (swt).
In doing so, the da'ee will pay no attention to those who are trying to deviate him, or those who are telling him things like: "you are just wasting your time", "nobody listens to you", or "why don't you do something more pragmatic."
Then the Surah proceeds to another issue, of how Musa (asws) felt when he saw his staff transformed into a snake, and how fear overwhelmed him. Nonetheless, he was ordered to pick it up, and not to be scared, because Allah (swt) would make it go back to its real nature. After witnessing this, Musa (asws) felt relaxed and Allah (swt) continued to comfort him. Allah (swt) cured Musa (asws) from the ailment he had in his hand, Allah (swt) said,
"And press your (right) hand to your (left) side, it will come forth white (and shining), without any disease as another sign, (20:22)."
This was another miracle the Messenger of Allah (swt) would use as proof of his prophethood. Once all of this took place, then all of his senses, abilities, and every part of his body was ready to carry the requirements of this obligation from Allah (swt).
This brief description of how the Qur'an prepared Musa (asws) to carry the message, reminded our Prophet (saaw), and reminds us, that the nafs need preparation in order to carry the requirements and responsibilities of the Da'wah. This preparation requires special attention and signs, and might be through a miracle like making the staff of Musa (asws) a snake, or a miracle like Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem, which is the case with Muhammad (saaw). Then the ayat talk about the first obligation placed on Musa (asws),
"Go to Firawn! Verily, he has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience, and has behaved arrogantly, and as a tyrant) (20:24)."
After receiving this order, he began to remember how oppressive and cruel Firawn was to his people, enslaving and torturing them. Musa (asws) began to seek help and support from his Lord, Allah (swt),
"Musa said: 'O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness). And ease my task for me; And loosen the knot (the problem) from my tongue, (i.e. remove the impairment in my speech), that they understand my speech, And appoint for me a helper from my family, Haroon, my brother; Increase my strength with him, And let him share my task (of conveying Allah's message and Prophethood), That we may glorify You much, And remember You much, Verily! You are of us Ever a Well-Seer (20:25-35)."
He asked for all this because he knew the weaknesses he and his brother had, and would have to overcome in order to accomplish their mission. With this, Allah (swt) reminds us that whenever he orders someone to do something, whether it is one of His prophets or a da'wah carrier, He will provide them with the abilities to achieve their obligation. Allah (swt) will never ask His da'wah carriers to do something beyond their reach or their abilities. In response to Musa's request,
"Allah said: 'You are granted your request, O Musa! (20:36)."
Allah (swt) continues to remind Musa (asws) of the favors that have already been bestowed upon him, starting with how he was supposed to be killed at birth, like the rest of the children that Firawn was killing, but was spared. This reminds the da'wah carriers that Allah (swt) will never let them down, because they are the ones that are trying to establish His Deen, and they are the ones who are trying to spread the call to obey Allah (swt) amongst all of mankind.
Allah (swt) then told Musa (asws),
"Go you and your brother with My Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelation, etc.,) and do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My remembrance. Go to Firawn, verily, he has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience, and has behaved arrogantly, and as a tyrant). And speak to him firmly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah (20:42-44)."
This demonstrated to us that when Allah (swt) ordered Musa (asws), Muhammad (saaw), and all the prophets to carry the da'wah, He also told them how to carry it. He even told them which style to use, as in this example. They were told not to be harsh, rather they should be firm with the people, even with the oppressors. Also, they shouldn't become desperate or frustrated, nor should they ever lose hope that the people will be guided. This is because once frustration gets to the heart of the da'wah carrier, then the da'wah will lose its momentum and its spark. This will make the da'wah carrier slow his efforts, and eventually stop him from carrying the da'wah. Those who deliver da'wah must continue carrying it without any frustration, even if the road is full of Firawns.
Fear was in the hearts of Musa and Haroon (pbut), mainly rooted in the imminent interaction between them and Firawn,
"They said: 'Our Lord! Verily! We fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress (all bounds against us)' (20:45)."
This shows us how a da'wah carrier may become fearful of the dangers posed to him, and how peace-of-mind is needed in order to overcome his fear. This must be accomplished in a way that will never make him have fear from delivering da'wah again, and to the point where he will disregard the source of the fear. Upon this request, Allah (swt) sent them good news
"He (Allah) said: 'Fear not, Verily! I am with you both, Hearing and Seeing' (20:46),"
reminding them that He, Allah (swt), Al-Qadir, the one in control, the one above every oppressor and every person, the one who is stronger than anybody, was with them. This was enough for them to become relaxed, allowing them not to fear anything, and to realize that when Allah (swt) is with them, then no one can harm them.
Subsequently, Allah (swt) gave them the order
"So go you both to him, and say: 'Verily, we are Messengers of your Lord, to ask you to let the Children of Israel go with us, and torment them not; indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance!' (20:47)."
They were the two messengers sent to save Bani Israel from the oppression of Firawn, to bring its people back to the 'aqeedah of Tawheed, and to take them to the Holy Land. This was also good news to Muhammad (saaw), reassuring him that Allah (swt) would never let him nor those who follow him, down. The ayat continues, relaying to us the conversation that took place between Musa (asws) and at-taghiya (the tyrant), Firawn.
"Firawn said: 'Who then, O Musa, is the Lord of you two' (20:49)?"
Then, "Musa said: 'Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright' (20:50)."
Firawn neglected and ignored the fact that Haroon and Musa (asws) were messengers of Allah (swt). That is why he asked them about their Lord, and he heard the answer, that their Lord is the Creator and the organizer of everything. Then Firawn questioned Musa (asws) again,
"(Firawn) said: 'What about the generation of old' (20:51)."
To which,
"(Musa) said: 'The knowledge thereof is with my Lord, in a Record. My Lord is neither unaware nor He forgets. (20:52)."
In actuality, by this Musa (asws) was telling Firawn that Allah (swt), the Creator, was the One who was guiding him, and without this guidance, Musa (asws) would not have knowledge. He continues to tell Firawn,
"Who has made earth for you like a bed (spread out); and has opened roads (ways and paths etc.) for you therein; and has sent down water (rain) from the sky. And We have brought forth with it various kinds of vegetation. Eat and feed your cattle, (therein). Verily, in this are proofs and signs for men of understanding (20:53-54)."
His aim in this was to explain to Firawn the ability of his Lord, Al-Khaliq (The Creator), Ar-Razzaq (The Provider), Al-Mudhabir (The organizer). This description which Musa (asws) gave to Firawn called upon every good mind to think about this wonderful system that was created by Allah (swt). Musa (asws) continued his discussion with Firawn, hoping he might fear Allah (swt) and believe
"Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again (20:55)."
Firawn, however, was stubborn and arrogant, claiming that he was a lord himself. In reality, of course, he was very weak, and had no answer to the signs that Musa (asws) was bringing him. Instead of responding to the evidence which Musa (asws) brought with another evidence, he started maneuvering and tried to change the subject. He began throwing accusations at Musa (asws),
"He (Firawn) said: 'Have you come to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Musa? Then verily, we can produce magic the like thereof; so appoint a meeting between us and you, which neither we, nor you shall fail to keep, in an open, wide place where both shall have a just and equal chance (and beholders could witness the competition)' (20:57-58)."
To this Musa (asws) responded,
"(Musa) said: 'Your appointed meeting is the day of the festival, and let the people assemble when the sun has risen (forenoon)' (20:59)."
Now in order to understand what type of person Firawn was, we must remember his crimes, namely that he killed the sons of Israel, he used to kill their men and their boys, leaving their womenfolk alive. He did this because he was so afraid of his people, fearing that they would threaten his status in life, which he was so careful to protect. He paid attention to nothing but his kingdom, to the throne he sat on, and whatever else he owned. This behavior is typical of our rulers today. They are so fearful that some ideological movement or political parties who are trying to implement Islam as a complete system, which would wrest their rulership from them. That is why today's rulers slander and hunt down such movements the same way Firawn attacked Musa (asws) and his people.
The way Firawn challenged Musa (asws), thinking that Musa (asws) would give up, serves as a valuable lesson for da'wah carriers nowadays. However, Musa (asws) did not give up, he accepted the challenge because he was assured that Allah (swt) was with him. He was confident that the Haqq would win and the batil would be defeated, no matter what the oppressors and the liars did.
"So Firawn withdrew, devised his plot and then came back (20:60),"
He assembled all his magicians and all his powers. This is quite similar to what our current rulers do today when they are confronted with the Haqq. Their aim is to manipulate the minds of the populace, trying to make them believe what the rulers want them to believe. This can be easily observed when we hear government backed scholars giving us fatawa that legitimize whatever haram our rulers commit, such as accepting peace with a Jewish state established on Muslim lands, or inviting the troops of the kuffar to Muslim lands to fight against other Muslims. Our rulers attack those who carry da'wah by all means, at all times.
Musa (asws) did not forget to remind Firawn about something very important before the day of the meeting. He told him what the end would be for those people who fight against the da'wah and its carriers,
"Musa said to them: 'Woe unto you! Invent not a lie against Allah, lest He should destroy you completely by a torment. And surely, he who invents a lie (against Allah) will fail miserably (20:61)."
This statement made its way into the hearts of some of Firawn's people who were listening. Those who heard what Musa (asws) was saying started to think about it. Some of them believed that Musa (asws) was calling for Haqq, and Firawn was on the side of batil.
"Then they debated with one another what they must do, and they kept their talk secret (20:62)."
This shows us that good elements do exist in society during all times. They may even be from the offspring of the kuffar or from the oppressors. More importantly, this shows us that the da'wah carriers must not hesitate from saying the truth anywhere they are, at any time, because this word of truth might influence some people. Even in this example, we should know that the wife of Firawn became a believer.
In the meeting that came thereafter, Firawn's magicians faced Musa (asws),
"They said: 'Verily! These are two magicians. Their objective is to drive you out from your land with magic, and overcome your way of life. So devise your plot, and then assemble in line. And whoever overcomes this day will be indeed successful' (20:63-64)."
The ayah indicates that the dawah of Musa (asws) was comprehensive and was accused of threatening the status-quo. Also, the ayah shows that Firawn underestimated the people around him, assuming that they all would help him, and they would not say anything against him. However, he was mistaken. From this there is another lesson to be learned, that the Will of Allah (swt) was there, and that He (swt) witnessed all that occurred, and made Firawn offer to Musa (asws) the challenge to confront him in front of the people. This demonstrates how Allah (swt) will help da'wah carriers develop a platform from which they can address the people in an effective manner.
When the magicians met Musa (asws),
"They said: 'O Musa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw (20:65)?"
Musa (asws) told them to begin, showing that the challenge was accepted from both parties. The magicians threw down their ropes and staffs. They were so convincing that Musa (asws) became frightened of what they had produced, believing what he saw to be real snakes. This serves to remind us that after everything, Musa (asws) was still a human being, and even though he knew Allah (swt) was on his side, he was overwhelmed by what he witnessed. So Allah (swt) reminded him,
"We (Allah) said: 'Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand. And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician's trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount (of skill) he may attain (20:68-69)."
Again, this is because what Musa (asws) was doing was the Haqq, and what they were doing was the batil. The batil will never succeed, no matter how powerful its proponents appear. When the batil is confronted with the clear Haqq, then the batil will collapse.
Musa (asws) responded to the order of Allah (swt), and threw down his staff. Upon doing this, a reaction that nobody expected took place.
"So the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: 'We believe in the Lord of Haroon and Musa (20:70)."
The prior disputes they had amongst themselves were reconciled, and now they all agreed with what Musa (asws) had brought. Their doubts transformed into iman, and their darkness became light. In response to this,
"(Firawn) said: 'Believe you in him (Musa) before I give you permission? Verily! He is your chief who taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of palm-trees, and you shall surely know which of us [I (Firawn) or the Lord of Musa (Allah)] can give the severe and more lasting torment (20:71)."
Firawn was arrogant, believing that before the magicians could become mu'mineen (believers), his permission was required. This is the way all of the oppressors are, believing that the people are their slaves, and that they have to do whatever they command, whenever they want it.
Firawn refused to accept what Musa (asws) did as a miracle, but rather as magic. He threatened the magicians who believed in Musa (asws) with torture and execution. This is similar to what we find ourselves in today, when our current rulers use the same tactics, claiming that they want to maintain stability and the current way of life, and that they don't want any radicals or extremists to change the way people are living. Firawn thought that just by his order, the people who responded to Allah (swt) and His messenger would return to kufr. He underestimated the power of iman, which enters the heart and makes it more powerful than a mountain. The magicians responded to Firawn,
"They said: 'We prefer you not over the clear signs that have come to us, and to Him (Allah) Who created us. So decree whatever you desire to decree, for you can only decree (regarding) this life of the world (20:72)."
These are the believing sparks, which attack falsehood and the kufr, destabilizing its very foundation. Imagine the way Firawn perceived the scene, how dare they say something like this directly to Firawn's face, who claimed himself to be a god. He believed he owned the whole world, and the ability to take and give life. Firawn listened to these powerful statements, and how these believers didn't care about him or his threats and warnings anymore. They told him that they consider the iman which they just accepted as a means for their forgiveness. They continued,
"Verily! Whoever comes to his Lord as a Mujrim (criminal, polytheist, disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah and His Messengers, sinner, etc.), then surely for him is Hell, therein he will neither die nor live. But whoever comes to Him (Allah) as a believer (in the Oneness of Allah, etc.), and has done righteous good deeds for such are the high ranks (in the Hereafter), - Everlasting Gardens ('Adn Paradise), under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever: such is the reward of those who purify themselves [(by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds) which Allah has forbidden and by doing all that which Allah has ordained)] (20:74-76)."
Not only did they tell Firawn how they felt about his threats and their feelings towards this life, but now they began to threaten him. They told him that his crimes and his tortures would lead him to the torture of jahannam, a punishment which is more severe than Firawn could ever impose, leaving him to never die and never live. They declared their belief in their Lord, and vowed to never do anything but the khayr (good), in order to attain the highest level in Jannah. This level of conviction is completely foreign to the understanding of the oppressors. Their hearts are sealed, and refuse to be opened to the truth.
The ayat described the victory of the Haqq and the defeat of the batil, and exhibited the blessings of Allah (swt) when He (swt) directly intervened to save Musa (asws) and his people, and how He (swt) made Firawn and his soldiers drown in the sea. This came at a time when Musa (asws) and his people had no hope, because they were much weaker than the army of Firawn. The ayat tell us that the end of the struggle between the believers and kuffar resulted in a victory for iman and defeat and humiliation for the kufr.
This serves as a good example for us today, showing how in the past the believing sons of Israel were tortured and they had no helper or supporter whatsoever. Nowadays, the da'wah carriers who carry the Haqq, have no support or help, and no one to rely on, except Allah (swt). Consequently, they must remain on the Haqq, until Allah (swt) provides them with victory, the way He provided previous believers with victory.
".Verily, Allah will help those who help His (cause). Truly Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty (22:40)."
The batil, the falsehood, will not last forever, it will be defeated sooner or later. The da'wah carriers must work until Allah (swt) gives His victory to the Muslims.
"It is He Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Deen of truth (Haqq), to make it superior over all other ways of life, even though the Mushrikun hate it (9:33)."
Oh Shabbab of Muhammad (saaw)! We call upon you to raise up once more the rayaat (flags) that Muhammad (saaw) held up in the past, under which kufr and oppression were destroyed. Carry them, lift them, and spread the da'wah everywhere, so that you will live happily, your Ummah will live happily, and the Haqq will become superior on the earth, as Allah (swt) wants it to be.