Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Use of Islamic Policies to Bring Change to the Muslim World

The following is the transcript of a useful talk given in 1999.

May all the praise be to Allah (swt) the master of the universe. He that guided us to Islam, this
great deen. The deen for all of mankind, but most of mankind know not. The only deen for
mankind that can elevate us from the depths of darkness to unity and strength, to protect the
weak and guide the lost. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad (saw) is
the last messenger of Allah (swt).

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuhu
The Muslim ummah is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. On all fronts: economic, political, military, even our social system is under attack. There are several reasons for this situation, some of which are discussed today, the decline of the ummah, its abandonment of Islam in all but a few personal rituals, and the occupation of our lands by the kuffar both militarily and intellectually figure high on anyones list of reasons for our plight. I would like today to focus more upon the tremendous potential latent in the ummah, and how Islam gives us comprehensive solutions for all problems. Amidst the oppression and disasters that are befalling us we have lost sight of what Islam means and how Islam will definitely solve these crisis. Occupation of our lands is nothing new, the exploitation of our resources has been a target of our enemies over the centuries and the blunting of our military might a key objective of the kuffar ever since Islam dawned on this earth. What is of far greater concern as we look at our lands “at the crossroads” is the lack of political will and drive from the Muslims to solve the problems.
Most of us are painfully aware of the reality. Our countries are ruled (virtually without exception) with an iron fist by regimes that are directly supported and imposed by western powers such as Jordan (Britain), Egypt (the US) or Algeria (France). Following the dismemberment of the Khilafah in 1924 first the European powers, then the US took direct control of our lands, they were divided into tiny and easily manageable pieces and a process of re-culturing started. All links to Islam were phased out either directly and abruptly such as at the hands of Mustapha Kemal in Turkey who can number amongst his many crimes the destruction of the Khilafah, enforcing free mixing between the sexes and even enforcement of a Turkish language adhan. Or more subtly via enforcement of a secular principles through emphasising exclusively Islam and its religious rituals in a secular manner, and divorcing all political and economic matters from Islam as we have experienced throughout the Middle East. The French in one famous case publicly hung 2 of their military officers for desecrating a Mosque in Algeria, the message was clear “we will rule how we like in public, but will keep sacred your places of worship” the very essence of secularism. The Muslims duly took the bait and have obediently forgotten that Islam must dictate policy both inside and outside the Mosque.

The political domination did not disappear with the passing of colonialism, a neo-colonialism merely replaced direct European rule with a local henchman that spoke impeccable Arabic and had been well schooled to obey his western masters, usually at Sandhurst or Oxford. Political agendas designed to maximise foreign influence including pro western constitutions as in the Gulf or advantageous trading arrangements were set in stone and continue to this day. With the growth of US hegemony in the region a new struggle developed, not to re-establish our correct Islamic identity and liberation from foreign control but to maximise the interests of their US or UK institutions and multinational corporations. The establishment of the state of Israel in the heart of Muslim land is only one of a catalogue of intrigue and oppression brought to keep us weak and defeated.

Todays political reality has changed little some of the faces have changed but the policies are the same. The US and Britain still dominate the region. They may vie for position and differ over detail, for example whether there should be a Palestinian state or whether the Palestinians will be subsumed into Jordan but the overall objective is the same to keep any semblance of Islam from the region, and to protect their interests by maintaining regimes under their influence.
Not content with merely dominating the political landscape the Western regimes now also focus upon ensuring any possibility of re-unification of Muslim lands will be thwarted. For example the stampede to attack Iraq post its annexing of Kuwait, the current attempts to divide Iraq, and the establishment of alliances for example the Israeli/Turkey military agreement signed in February 1996 which presents a joint opposition to traditional Muslim allies of Turkey. Further, if the “Nightmare Scenario of the re-unification of the Muslim lands under an Islamic leadership” as Richard Nixon put it in his last book “Seize the Moment” eventuates - then there are the many military bases which have been established on our lands (Turkey, the Gulf, etc.) to quell such plans quickly. And all the while the wholesale looting of our resources continues unchecked, with the Muslims drifting further and further from Islam.
Against this backdrop it would be easy for the Muslims to become downhearted or feel depressed. Yet despite this appalling situation there is indeed much to be confident about. It is my job today to try and present a much more positive picture of our lands, a picture of how Islam could be applied in its detail to solve these and many other problems that a modern state will face, and relying solely on the commands and prohibitions of our Creator Allah (swt) and the guidance as passed to us by Muhammad (saw).

I’d like to focus on three matters the political, economic and military policies of the State in Islam.

Firstly the Political imperative: The unification of all Muslim lands. In dozens of ayah and hadith Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw) describe this ummah as one. We are commanded to strike the neck of the one that tries to disunify us or who dares to establish a second political authority. The first priority of the kafir colonialist was to deal a death blow to the unity of the Muslims under one Khaleefah, and it comes as no surprise that the greatest setbacks for this ummah have always come in times of weaker leadership or confusion… the first occupation of Al-quds by the Crusaders, the sacking of Baghdad by the Mongols or the second occupation of Al-Quds by the British leading to the establishment of Israel. No society can function efficiently amidst a political vacuum and the next worse scenario is a disunified mass of countries governed by agents who do not have the objectives of Islam as their own. There is no allowance in Islam for anything but the Khilafah ruling system (or what is also referred to as the Imama system). The previous arab league, or Muslim league (which were British inventions) and the latter day OIC, or alliances such as that linking Turkey, Israel and Jordan in a defence pact are all batil (invalid) and must be opposed for what they are, attempts at hiding the weakness of these tiny states and trying to legitimise that which is indefensible - relations with Israel being the worst example.
Strategic analysts would characterize the middle east, north Africa and the near east as a shatterbelt, which is a large strategically located region that is occupied by a number of conflicting states and is caught between conflicting interests of adjoining superpowers. In short a recipe for conflict and disaster…. Yet this whole region was under a unified leadership, and in times of very primitive modes of transport and communication. The key was the strict adherence to Islam, a strong centralised leadership with a decentralised administration, and the rationale for the state was solely to apply Islam and carry it to mankind via Dawa and Jihad.
In preparation for such a scenario we must concentrate heavily upon destroying all vestiges of nationalism and the following of interests which counter to the unification of our lands. It is all to easy to give lip service to this most vital of issues, but there can be no unification of our lands without a overbearing desire for this from the people. If the reality is different in our own country then we all share in the responsibility of changing this. Salahudin Ayyubi showed that painful though it may be, it is necessary to enforce the unification of our lands, as was done prior to the liberation of Al-Quds in 583 ah or 1187 ce.

Leadership of this noble ummah entails a strict adherence and knowledge of Islam and a strong political ability to steer a large nation in its ideological responsibility, to not only unify the numerous Muslim countries but to expand the frontiers of the state. This is a course that cannot involve collusion or any influence from our enemies, so naturally the current crop of agents and their sycophants will never qualify and must all be removed. Similarly the credentials of any Islamic political movement will be increasingly under the spotlight to ensure scrupulous adherence to Islam and a deep understanding of its application. That movement must also of a necessity work throughout the Muslim world, showing no bias for a localised Sudanese, Saudi, Iranian, Afghani, Pakistani, or indeed any other pseudo Islam.

So in summary the Political imperative includes:
1. The Khilafah (or what is also referred to as the Imama) system as the only acceptable ruling system in Islam
2. Unification of our lands – including the annexation of Muslim countries to the Khilafah
3. Nationalism is a disease that must be eradicated from the minds of all Muslims
4. Focus upon skills of the Islamic movement and capability to rule and lead

Turning to the question of Economic policy. It comes as no surprise that we are economically teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, not for lack of material resources but because of a combination of gross mismanagement, foreign influence and control, a lack of political will, and most tellingly - a lack of the thoughts required to unify and provide direction. We have become easy prey to the western banks, the main powers of the world treat our resources as their own and mock us by selling back to us our resources as manufactured products at exorbitant prices. Even where a Muslim country provides commodities or products in demand elsewhere in the ummah, it invariably is provided via western intermediaries. Look at production of cotton from Egypt or rubber from Malaysia.

The main economic policy of the Khilafah state is to provide for the basic necessities of a healthy and expanding society. Islam defines the main economic problem as one of distribution and not production as Capitalism does. This requires a clear distinction between the state’s, public, and privately owned property. Capitalism has clouded the issue horribly so that the oil and gas can be treated as the Kings (or more often as rights to be sold to the White House’s favourite oil company). Public property such as the abundant natural resources can not be privately owned either by members of the state or external powers and companies. This policy alone renders the privatisation programmes that are being forced upon us as redundant. The prime focus of the Khilafah state will be to mobilise its manpower, wealth and resources to launch a “revolution” in heavy industry, manufacturing and distribution. A flourishing secondary and tertiary market must be established rather than the very dangerous (and almost complete) dependence upon western suppliers for manufacturing and human specialists, the literally myriads of foreign consultants that effectively manage our economies. Incentives to business start ups and state established industries are both examples of how this process can be started.

The great incentive provided by the Islamic taxation system must not be forgotten in this analysis. The current practices of income based tax rather than wealth based, as mandated by Islam is a great dis-incentive to investment and growth. There is a positive incentive for full investment as un-used wealth is taxed through zakat or could be raised for essential expenditure. Accordingly the Islamic economy is very dynamic, characterised by full investment and a tremendous circulation of wealth. Western commentators are well aware of this and focus therefore upon the spread of capitalism with its appalling divergence between the wealthy and poor, overly competitive and exploitive nature. The waste of windfall like profits in the gulf (usually as a result of the theft of natural resources) versus stomach churning levels of poverty in parts of Asia or Africa are a clear testament to these inefficiencies.

It is not surprising that the west have focussed upon service including financial services. It provides a convenient and confusing cover for excessive transfer of wealth from the undeveloped world to the northern hemisphere. Witness the manipulations of developing stock markets in Asia, currency speculation and imposed open market trading policies in our lands. The west is far better placed to benefit from these and indeed on many occasions have manipulated the markets for fantastic returns. Returns which effectively milk our economies. The rulers rather naively (as they did in Malaysia or Saudi Arabia this past month) call foul after the event and we are left to carry the price of their refusal to adopt Islam. Islamic company law and trading policy is based squarely upon dealing with real assets, based on offer and acceptance and forbids trading in common stocks and shares which do not meet the requirements of company law and forbids the practice of short selling (or selling what you do not own). The Islamic monetary policy allows only a currency based on gold and silver and the prohibition against usury or interest coupled with the inherent stability of these precious metals makes for much greater stability for traders and all business people. The interest based economy can only mean large scale transference of wealth at very low risk for the banking community and the Islamic economy targets this theft directly.

There is no easy solution to the debt crisis in our lands. Again the regimes have tied the hands of the ummah to massively unproductive and expensive loans at interest. Debt in the Arab world is greater than 250 billion dollars. When you consider that this is more than 50% of the countries combined GDP or more than $1000 for every man woman and child you can realise the seriousness of this situation. The worst hit of these countries like Sudan can boast a per capita earnings of only $240 per annum, for Somalia it is $67. There is no quick fix, the state will need to repay legitimate loans. When I say legitimate I exclude of course those stolen by the regimes, it is no coincidence that the late King Husseins legacy almost totally equates to the outstanding debt of Jordan - $8 billion. This is another reason why the west is trying its utmost to legitimise these regimes through democracy in order to put these loans onto the neck of the Muslims. High compounding interest rate loans entrap the borrower in many ways. In addition to the crippling and increasing interest payments institutions like the IMF will attempt to dictate economic policy through its supposed right to guide and influence the debtor. This “guidance” usually takes the form of increasingly oppressive measures (called conditionalities) to remove domestic subsidies on essentials like bread (Jordan) or fuel (Indonesia), high interest rates that stifle investment, investment in large unproductive projects and probably most significantly the wholesale sell off of national assets under privatisation. This last policy is gaining momentum in our lands and will spell disaster as the very infrastructure (electricity, water, even roads) are put into the control of western multinationals to raise prices and lower standards as they wish.
Fortunately Islam has warned us of all these policies and placed restrictions over involvement in them. Privatisation of public property is prohibited, as is allowing foreign interference in domestic economic affa. Accepting loans at interest is of course forbidden. Therefore the measures required of the state may seem harsh, but in reality are the best policy for mankind in defence of these inhuman capitalist objectives. Examples of policies to negate such tactics include:

a. A stringent emphasis upon only the necessities, too much of the our problems stem from an illogical desire to emulate the west with all its luxuries and mega projects which owe more to the vain desires of planners and politicians than to the bare necessities. Africa has seen crackpot regimes establish international airports in their hometown villages, or the massive buildup of arms by the tiny gulf statelets for tiny armies that could never even dream of utilising the weapons.
b. Proper utilisation of our public properties, because they are public does not mean that they cannot be utilised and used for the whole nation - the state must properly manage these resources to maximise returns, establish its own infrastructure and develop favourable trading terms.
c. Loans are only sustainable if they are very short term, at no interest and can be properly covered, for example to meet short term cash requirements - this places an emphasis on projects such as bilateral trade with neutral states, that, like us are not enamoured with the main western powers.
d. Self sufficiency in agricultural, industrial and military requirements is a tough ask for any nation, but under the circumstances we find ourselves in, is an absolute necessity. The ummah must be motivated for this task and be prepared for the sacrifices necessary to acheive it. I’m sure the Muslims of Iraq understand only too well what it means to be dependent upon the west for medicine, spare parts and even many basic foodstuffs.

Self sufficiency plays a big part in the our economic policy. As former President Gerald Ford once said: “failure to cooperate on oil, food, and inflation could spell disaster for every nation” - this veiled threat indicated that all of these vital economic matters should be under the direction of the US or its agencies. Look at how many of our countries are now hopelessly dependent on western suppliers for basic foodstuffs. The cause in many cases has been the dictates to use our fertile soils for “cash crops” such as cotton which heavily deplete the soil of its nutrients but provide the greatest opportunity for cash to repay foreign loans, and all the while we become more and more dependent. Food has become no less a weapon than the smart bombs that are now regularly dropped on our lands.

None of these policies will have a chance of success without a strong unified state under strong leadership - again making it incumbent upon us all to focus on establishment of the Khilafah first and foremost.

To summarise the key economic policies could include:
1. Correct definition and management of public property and state property as opposed to private property and the current Capitalist vague notions of freedom of ownership
2. Islam’s wealth based taxation system a prime factor in the re-distribution of wealth
3. Stable monetary system (currency based upon gold and silver)
4. Prohibition of usury, monopoly, extortion, and short selling
5. Accountability of former regimes and leaders for loans taken including flight capital
4. Self sufficiency as a domestic economic policy
5. Industrial development the highest priority
6. Company law based upon shared responsibility, and clearcut ownership and trading law
7. Non piecemeal implementation of policy via a unified Khilafah.
Lastly we turn to the question of Military policy. I’ve purposely left this challenging area to last.... the reason being that things are not as bad as they might seem. Yes, we are increasingly finding our lands occupied and further fragmented (for example the recent splitting of Bosnia into tiny unworkable cantons) The regimes are adopting policies diametrically opposed to Islam (such as the acceptance of Israel, dependence on the kuffar for weapons, and even asking the kuffar for defence aid and guidance). And our forces seem only to be used in either quelling internal Islamic dissent or to fight long wars against each other. We have become a testing ground for modern weaponry and the regimes are wasting our resources on expensive but outdated equipment which comes with massive strings attached in the form of US personnel to train or in some cases drive the equipment itself, and a zealous control over spare parts or systems code which would lend much equipment redundant if things turned nasty. This is no way to develop a coherent military policy.

The defence agreement with Turkey, improved economic ties with Jordan and the Gulf countries strengthen Israel’s position and aspirations to be the leading power in the region. That it has lead to closer ties between Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran is of no positive benefit for Islam and Muslims as the basis of an opposition axis or agreement is not built on the basis of Islam. These agreements, overt or covert do nothing in bringing these countries towards the establishment of one Islamic state, in fact every meeting focuses upon “Terrorists” the euphemism used to describe all Muslims that work for this noble objective. These alliances and agreements perhaps have only highlighted in the eyes of Muslims globally how far we have descended, it would be inconceivable that a country with the rich heritage of Islam that Turkey has could ever enter into such blatant agreements with Islam’s formost enemy - Israel.
Military the new Khilafah will have several great challenges, however Allah (swt) has indeed bestowed great advantages upon us, our policy must be to exploit these.

Perhaps our greatest resource, besides the thoughts that Islam provides us is our numbers, the Arab speaking world and Turkey alone amount to over 330million. When the rest of the Muslim world is included this is more than a billion and close to 20% of the worlds population. Even a military force of 1% of this would amount to more than 10 million. In fact we currently have far more than this: Egypt has 450,000 active in the armed forces, in reserves a further 600k, Iraq over 1 million active, Iran 600k (in reserve 350k) Pakistan over 520k active (over 500k in reserve), Turkey 650k active, 950k in reserve, Syria over 400k active, Ethiopia 315k active, Morocco 300k Indonesia 300k with 800k in reserve, and so on. Against this we observe Israel at 130k active with perhaps double this in reserve.

We control 60% of the worlds proven oil reserves, and this is becoming increasingly more important as producers like Britain and Norway see there reserves depleted. We control large proportions of the worlds reserves of Boron (40%), Phosphate (50%), Perlite (60%), Strontium (27%), Tin (22%) and Uranium. And perhaps of most significance following the great efforts of our Muslim forefathers we sit over the most strategic waterways of the world - directly under our control is the straight of Gibraltar in the western Mediteraneum, the Suez canal in the eastern Mediteraneum, the narrow straight of Balb al Mandab which provides an inlet into the Red sea, the straights of the Dardanelles and Bosporos control the sea lanes leading from the Black sea to the Mediteranean, and the straights of Hormuz in the gulf. The straights of Malacca is strategically located overlooking the sea lanes to the far east. The Atlantic is a back door to Muslim Africa, but there are no natural harbours except for Morocco, and coastal sand bars provide numerous problems for would be aggressors. The Indian ocean has in fact a Muslim dominated shoreline although we are threatened by the US base in Diego Garcia. Most of the important air routes pass through our air space.

In terms of manpower although generally our literacy rates are below 50% we do have some of the best trained graduates in the world and they are in abundant supply. Egypt alone has over 560,000 Scientists and Engineers, Turkey more than 330,000. A key imperitive is to tap into these resources and to be able to motivate the many thousands of top military and technical Muslim minds that are around the world to return to a strong and ambitious Khilafah state.
As raised earlier the drive for self-sufficiency is critical to our success, none more so than in heavy industry the manpower, base resources, money and even technical skills are available. But until the strong political will and leadership is provided it will not happen. And until this happens we will not be able to resume major power status with a strong and viabrant military able to defend our shores and under whose banner the call of Islam to the world will resume.
Lastly it is not possible to speak of our military capabilities without focussing on the major impediment of the foreign bases in our lands. This is becoming more and more prevalent with bases springing up in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and numerous islands surrounding our lands, with the sycophant regimes attempting to protect themselves from internal unrest at all costs. No doubt the Golan heights is the next target. Yet despite the presence of these bases they cannot survive in the face of a strong unified Khilafah that will enforce its sovereignty over the region and is not afraid to stand up to foreign aggression. The Muslim world will support strong leadership and is just looking for such an opportunity. And despite the strength of these bases the US still took close to 6 months to amass a force it was comfortable enough to challenge Iraq with.

So in Summary:
1. Abundant resources and the most strategic location in the world
2. Strong manpower potential in terms of number, motivation and technical skills
3. Heavy industry development is key
4. Self sufficiency paramount
5. Foreign bases a problem, but not insurmountable

Thoughts in any nation are the key for revival and progress including in the fields of Politics, Economics, and the Military. The fact that we are declined in so many areas compared to the west should never disillusion us when we remember how quickly this can be turned around, provided we carry the correct thoughts and use them productively. The Rasoolallah (saw) turned a backward jahil people that the main powers of the time ignored into a dynamic force for change in the space of a few short years, and within one hundred years had conquered most of the then developed world. Islamic revival is indeed gaining momentum but without the radical political change that the re-establishment of the Khilafah will bring us any economic and military potential we retain will remain just that (potential). Furthermore that our resources are dwindling at an alarming rate and our lands are further fragmented with each passing month should motivate us to focus upon this re-establishment of the Khilafah as the only viable path that will unify us and destroy for once and for all the petty competition and destructive practices of the false fragmented states that are what we now call the Muslim world.

Jamal Harwood
7th March, 1999

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