Monday, December 18, 2006

Is the Caliphate a dream?

Muslims worldwide aspire for unity and the return of the Islamic Caliphate. As recent surveys show the majority of Muslims in some of the major Muslim countries want a Caliphate.

But does a 21st century Caliphate have any chance of being established or are Muslims just dreaming?

You can read what the ‘experts’ say here and what a ‘leading journalist’ says here. I have summarised the main points below.

The Muslim world is too diverse. Different languages, customs and traditions
Nationalism and is too deeply rooted
Sunni / Shia differences
Muslim rulers prefer to live separately in nation states

The Muslim world is too diverse with different languages, customs and traditions

It’s true there are multitudes of languages, foods, clothing and other customs prevalent in the Muslim world. But this diversity is meaningless when it comes to the political system ruling the country. Political systems do not develop from people eating the same food or being the same colour skin. They develop from adopting economic, political and social legislation to govern the society. In most of the Muslim world today the political system derives from western constitutions such as the French constitution which became a basis for many Muslim countries after their independence.

Taking Iraq as an example. Many Kurds long for an independent Kurdish state. But the problem in Iraq as elsewhere in the Muslim world is not one of ethnicity but rather the governing system. Saddam Hussein not only oppressed Kurds but he brutally tortured and murdered thousands of his own people whether Kurd, Arab, Sunni or Shia. He even executed his two son-in-laws!

The underlying culture of the Kurdish people is Islamic. They share the same Islamic culture as the rest of the Muslims whether in Turkey, Iraq or elsewhere. The most famous Kurd in history was Salahudeen Ayyubi. He is honoured not just by Kurds but by all Muslims, from all ethnicities, because of his liberation of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam.

Moreover is there anything in the sharia (Islamic law) that cannot be implemented on a person due to his ethnicity?

Muslims throughout the world pray five times a day, fast in Ramadan, give charity and go for the pilgrimage to Makkah. They get married, educate their children, fight to defend their lands from occupation, pay taxes, establish companies and punish criminal behaviour.

Nationalism and is too deeply rooted

“Incidentally, try selling a Pakistani Caliph to a Bangladeshi...” as one journalist said. The Caliph is not a Pakistani Caliph or a Bengali Caliph or an Arab Caliph for that matter. He is a Muslim Caliph who heads the Islamic State. It’s true if a leader claims a particular nationality then people of another nation won’t follow him. But if a leader claims to represent the interests of Islam the entire Muslim world will follow him.

Bengali’s and Pakistani’s are all Muslim. During the devastating earthquake in Pakistan, Muslims in Bangladesh and throughout the world sent $millions to help the victims.

Ordinary Muslims do not recognise these artificial borders drawn up by the western powers. They are one people who share the same Islamic culture. The Islamic concept of Umma (Islamic nation) runs deep. Its also a major problem for western powers conducting their colonial foreign policy since support for the resistance to their occupation not only comes from the indigenous population but from all corners of the Muslim world.

Nationalism is an outdated concept that took root in the Muslim world during its declined period in the 19th century. Nowadays with globalisation and modern communications nationalism and racism are being consigned to the dustbins of history.

Sunni / Shia differences

There is much talk of a Shia crescent being formed in the Muslim world with Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran uniting against the other Sunni states in the region. The civil war in Iraq is also painted as a Sunni Shia conflict.

I have already partially addressed the issue here but to do justice to the subject a more detailed analysis will appear in a later article.

The Sunni Shia schism has been hyped out of all proportions by those powers within the Muslim world and outside who are seeking to make political gain from it. There was never a problem between Sunni and Shia before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Now there is a civil war. The cause is clearly not the Sunni Shia schism but the occupation government in Iraq that was set up along ethnic and sectarian lines. Each grouping has its own militias that are now fighting for their own selfish political interests not for any Sunni or Shia interests.

The victory of Hizbollah in Lebanon was not seen as a shia victory but an Islamic victory supported by Sunni and Shia across the world. Incidentally Hizbollah has the support not only of Muslims but also Lebanese Christians who are standing shoulder to shoulder with them in their peaceful protests to oust the Lebanese government.

Whenever a leader plays the Sunni or Shia card he is doing it for his own selfish political interests. It has nothing to do with Islam. stoking the sectarian flames by Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia is just one more example of their treachery and their complete disregard for the interests of their people and Islam. We should not be surprised by claims that Saudi will arm Sunni militia against Shia in Iraq if America leaves.

Muslim rulers prefer to live separately in nation states

Agreed. The rulers in the Muslim world are some of the worst this world has ever seen. They are also some of the richest people the world has ever seen - having got rich on the backs of their own citizens wealth. Ordinary Muslims want shot of them. Unfortunately, these rulers have friends in high places namely London and Washington. These rulers suppress their people with an iron fist. Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan literally boils alive his political opponents!

Of course these rulers want to live separately and are only concerned with their own selfish political interests. But this cannot last. The Muslim leaders are running scared. Their peoples no longer fear their brutal torture and imprisonment. They are speaking openly against them. Demonstrations have been seen throughout the Muslim world. In Egypt, traditionally the most oppressive county of the Middle East has seen huge opposition amongst politicians, judiciary and the media to Hosni Mubarak’s brutal rule. Unfortunately, Mubarak has a good friend in London – Tony Blair – who regularly holidays in Egypt and has just met with him now to show his support for the Egyptian regime.

Europe only 50 years ago was at war. Now they are united under the EU with a single currency - something unimaginable just a few decades ago. If the EU with its strong nationalism, diverse languages and separate customs can unite, why cant the Muslim world?

Some commentators even in the west can see the possiblility of a Caliphate returning.

Ann Berg discusses from an economic viewpoint the potential power of economic union in the Muslim world. Osama Saeed discusses the potential benefits of a developed Muslim world under a Caliphate.

Is it really a dream for these brutal dictators in the Muslim world to be replaced in a Coup d'état by a representative government?

None of the Muslim leaders were elected by their people save one or two. Many assumed power through a Coup d'état such as General Musharraf of Pakistan. No matter how hard the governments try to suppress Islamic political movements and their culture they cannot stop an idea. The idea of a Caliphate is now deep rooted among the Muslims. It’s slowly rising up through the officer class of the armed forces. It’s only a matter of time before one or more senior army officers in the Muslim world decide enough is enough and do the right thing – removing the current dictator and replacing him with a Caliph.

The armies of the Muslim world should remember that if they do this the entire Muslim world will be behind them and the west will have no power to stop them.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I came across this excellent article about this subject. You can publish it if you like it.

The call to Islam must be a call to Fikra and Tariqa.

Many believe that when they call to an aspect of Islam that they have correctly conveyed dawah. For dawah to be carried properly it is a must for the dawah carrier to have the correct understanding about what Islam is. For example in a talk about the importance of salah with a direct message that salah is a fard; if the speaker held incorrect concepts about the nature of Islam then he would indirectly pass flawed concepts to the audience.

Along with the truth speakers often convey the concept of individual reform, imply that the practical solution is to call for salah, or via preaching and perhaps even knocking on doors. These actions can be considered to be ways to address the issue but they are not the solution that was given by Islam. The same is true when subjects like giving dawah to the kuffar, or jihad are discussed. Whilst the explicit message is usually correct the implicit message is not – this harms the ummah in her quest for revival- as the message does not link to the change that is required. Inadvertently the person delivering the subject would have sedated the ummah by implying that it was possible to solve the issue being discussed in a framework that was outside Islam. This effectively puts the brakes on revival by distracting and confusing the ummah from returning to what gives her strength, might and dignity.

The carrier of the Islamic dawah must make sure that the message that he conveys gives the correct implicit and explicit ideas. For instance there are converts to Islam that have come from a liberal western tradition and interpret Islam on the basis of liberal ideas. The intellectual construct within which they discuss is a western liberal one. There are those that have converted from Christianity and approach Islam in the same way as Christianity. There are those that were born and raised as Muslims but due the declined situation of the ummah they find themselves giving solutions in the current framework of kufr both in the Muslim and kafir lands. All these individuals need to study the nature of the Islamic ideology in order to give an Islamically correct message.

The dawah carrier must be aware of his ideology before attempting to call for it. The understanding of how society works and the nature of Islam as an ideology are vital for a dawah carrier to hold correctly. This is especially true of the concepts of fikra and tariqa. Without the correct understanding of these concepts it is impossible to carry the Islamic dawah in a correct manner – the danger being that one does more damage than good when conveying Islam - which indeed would be calamity on the day of judgement.

Indeed it is mentioned as a principle by the great scholar of Islam Sheikh Taqiudeen an Nabhani in his book the Nizam al Islam in the chapter about carrying the Islamic call Therefore, care must be taken in delivering the Islamic da’wah to preserve the completeness of the idea and the completeness of its implementation without any compromise in the fikrah and Tareeqah.

Understanding the Concepts of Fikra and Tariqa.

It maybe decided that it is good idea that men and women should mix and socialise or it may be decided that this should not be allowed. It may be decided that stealing is an offence or that riba-usury is prohibited. It maybe decided that individuals can say anything they want or it may be decided that there should be limits. All these ideas would be fantasy and dreams without having a way to bring them to life.

When one examines different strands of thinking that exist in the world it can be seen that they all have many views, ideas and solutions about dealing with issues. For example in the UK the view settled that there should be a minimum wage therefore it was made law. The view has been formed that there is nothing wrong with having same sex marriages, so this is being legalised. There is a similar view forming about the use of cannabis and the legalisation of prostitution. In all these examples we can see that they have 2 dimensions firstly the idea or the fikra and then the method via the enactment of law through the state apparatus. In these examples the fikra being the thoughts of minimum wage, acceptability of same sex marriages and the permissibility of smoking cannabis and prostitution. All these would be brought to life via the tariqa i.e. the rules of legislation and implementation. The west base their ideas (afkaar) built upon their aqeeda- secularism and they enact these using a state apparatus built upon secularism. This is why we can say that they have an ideology.

Many religions have ideas but they lack a method of implementation Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity all being examples. Today they generally exist within secular framework in which they are dominated by the secular tariqa. Equally they would exist within the framework of the Islamic ideology.

Islam is not a fanciful philosophy it is a way of life that came for application. This is so that mankind may live in the way Allah (swt) obliged them. It is clear that Islam has a tariqa to implement its thought. For instance Islam gave the right to the woman to ask for nafaqah maintenance, if this was denied by the man and the matter could not be resolved the man would be obliged by the state via the judiciary to pay. Otherwise he would face the full force of the law. In our example about salah Islam did not just leave it to the individual rather the ideology gave an education system, facilities like mosques and prayer halls as well as punishment for the ones that do not pray. This shows that Islam consists of fikra and tariqa. Islam for example did not allow slander – it did not leave it at this idea- this fikra would be implemented as law via the tariqa that punishes those that violate this rule. The reason why this understanding has become rare in the minds of the Muslims is because Islam is not implemented as an ideology anywhere in the world- so the practical example cannot be seen. This however is not an excuse for misunderstanding Islam or twisting it to find a tariqa to suit the circumstances. Muslims must seek to implement Islam completely.

When one studies the nature of the Islamic ideology it can be described as being the beliefs and all the shari ahkam (rules) to deal with all the affairs of life. The beliefs and the ahkaam that do not show the way of implementation would be termed as fikra. As an example from the Islamic fikra it is not allowed to steal. Those rules from the sharia that allow other rules to be brought to the affairs of life are termed tariqa. From the Islamic tariqa the rule to stop theft is to cut the hand of the thief. Here the tariqa practically enforces the fikra and brings it into existence. To understand this correctly one can think of many other rules that Islam commanded Muslims with and split them into idea and method.

Implications of not understanding fikra and tariqa

The implications of not understanding these concepts are disastrous for the Muslims. It means that the Muslims energies to revive would be diverted away from implementing Islam to other paths that would simply increase the problems faced. It would leave them in their declined position at the mercy of the colonialists. It would mean that every khutba, talk, discussion and article or group that was established would carry a poison that would numb the sentiments and the minds of the Ummah. It would and has been a great detriment to bringing the Muslims back to their rightful position.

Fikra and Tariqa and Muslims in the West

Islam is Islam- from Jakarta through to Marrakech, in London and in New York. The nature of Islam does not change. It always has and it always will be an ideology comprising of a fikra and tariqa. There is not a western Islam or eastern Islam- an American Islam or a British Islam. There is only one Islamic ideology.

It is alarming to note that some Muslims in the west are attempting to redefine Islam in a western context. The term reformation of Islam is often used. There is strand of thought that believes that they can fulfil their Islamic fikra with the western tariqa. They therefore resort to lobbying the governments, doing demonstrations, petitions and participating in the political system. They believe that the demands of the Islamic ideology may be satisfied through politics in western societies. This is a most dangerous concept for the Muslims as it means deviating from Islam. This also means the eventual extinction of the Islamic identity by means of integration as the lines between the Islamic ideology and the western ideology become blurred.
These erroneous understandings are sick understandings of Islam and devoid of understanding of the real nature of the kuffar and their society. The quest to find a western tariqa to implement the Islamic fikra is a great danger, naïve and foolish. This is because it is not realised by such individuals that it is not allowed to compromise Islam in idea or in method. Indeed it is mentioned in the Quran “is it part of the book that you believe in and the remainder you reject”. It is not permitted to leave any part of Islam- it must be taken holistically.

The correct view is that only the Islamic ideology can cater for the needs of the Muslims. With the will of Allah (swt) this ideology will soon be applied in the Muslim lands. At which point the Muslims in the west must question themselves – should they be living under the rule of Islam or the rule of kufr? As for the Muslims in the west they must carry the correct dawah to Islam – dawah that includes the correct idea and method. It is not permitted for the Muslims in the West to say that the kuffar can provide them solutions to the demands placed upon them by Islam. The west will not abolish democracy, reconstruct haram corporate structures, ban riba, ban adultery, make women dress according to shara or give up killing Muslims for securing their interests. The west will concede to points that have no impact on their way life like so called Islamic finance or halal meat and mosques – a few crumbs for Muslims compromising Islam.

Muslims must reject western solutions and remain steadfast to Islam. They must beware of the hidden dangers that cannot be seen except by the ones that have correctly understood the Islamic ideology. Muslims need a clear understanding about their ideology, one that is not subject to fluctuations and at the whim of the environment that they live in. Islam cannot be compromised, those who give up on it, as an ideology should be warned of the painful torment in the hereafter and disgrace in this dunya. They must expose every statement made or trend of thought that detaches fikra from the Islamic tariqa. The Muslim Ummah has lived under the cloak of humiliation and the disgrace of false ways of life for too long. Those working to derail the revival ought to be shunted aside and make way for Islam. No halfway house, no short-term solutions only the Islamic fikra and tariqa in its completeness. This is what Islam obliged O Muslims- so do not be seduced from the haq for the false hopes of comfort of life.