Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Profile of Sheikh Ata Abu Rashta

Ata Abu Rashta; full name Sheikh Abu Yasin Ata ibn Khalil Abu Rashta (born in 1943 in Ra'na, Hebron, Palestine); is an Islamic jurist, scholar and writer. He is the current global leader of the Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Early life and education

He was born into an observant Islamic family in 1943 in the small village of Ra'na in the Hebron area of the Palestinian territories. He observed first-hand the Israeli destruction of Ra'na in 1948 and thereafter moved with his family to a refugee camp near Hebron.

His primary and middle education was completed at the refugee camp. He subsequently obtained his first certificate of secondary education in 1960 from the Al Hussein Bin Ali school in Hebron and later completed his general secondary certificate at the Ibrahimiya school in Jerusalem in 1961. Abu Rashta then joined the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University in Egypt and graduated in civil engineering in 1966. After graduating, Abu Rashta worked in a number of Arab countries as a civil engineer and wrote a book concerning the calculation of quantities in relation to the construction of buildings and roads. [1]


Ata Abu Rashta joined Hizb ut-Tahrir in the mid-1950s and subsequently carried out party activities throughout the Arab world. He worked closely with Taqiuddin an-Nabhani, the founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir and Abdul Qadeem Zallum who became the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir following Nabhani's death in 1977. In the 1980s he was a leading member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Jordan and was appointed as the organisation's first official spokesperson.

Abu Rashta came to prominence in Jordan during the Persian Gulf War when he convened press conferences, lectures and debates at public venues throughout the country. He debated the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait at the Jerusalem Mosque in Amman at which he delivered a lecture entitled The Neo-Crusader Assault on the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf. He was regularly detained by the Jordanian authorities [2].

In 1994, in an interview, Ata Abu Rashta said, "The establishment of the Caliphate is now a general demand among Muslims, who yearn for this: the call for Islamic government (the Caliphate) is widespread in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria and so on. Before Hizb al-Tahrir launched its careeer the subject of the Caliphate was unheard of. However, the party has succeeded in establishing its intellectual leadership, and now everyone has confidence in its ideas, and talks about it: this is clear from the media worldwide" [3].

Abu Rashta was designated a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International after his detention by the Jordanian authorities in the 1990s [4]. Abu Rashta completed a three year prison sentence for an interview published in 1995 in the journal al-Hiwar. He was later imprisoned for a further six months for membership of an 'unlicensed organisation'.

Abu Rashta became the global leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir on 13th April 2003 following the death of Abdul Qadeem Zallum.

Since assuming the leadership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Abu Rashta has launched his own website and has spoken at conferences in Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen and Britain.


Tayseer fi usool at-tafseer surah al-baqarah (2007)
Economic crises - the reality and the perspective of Islam
Tayseer al Wusool min al-Usool

External Links

Official website of Sheikh Ata ibn Khalil Abu Rashta
Audio of speeches by Sheikh Ata ibn Khalil Abu Rashta
Amnesty International annual report Jordan 1998


1. Biography of Ata Abu Rashta
2. Suha Taji-Farouki, A Fundamental Quest – Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate, p. 156, Grey Seal, London 1996
3. Suha Taji-Farouki, A Fundamental Quest – Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate, p. 107, Grey Seal, London 1996
4. Amnesty International annual report Jordan 1998



Dr Abu Ahmad said...

Assalamu alaikum brother,
In the 1994 interview Ata Abu Reshta says that before the launch of Hizb Tahreer,the subject of caliphate was unheard of.Is it true? I heard a brother saying the call for caliphte had started long before hizb,i mean immediately after the destruction of the Khilafah, by Hasan Al Banna,Ikhwaan,Maudoodi and Jamaat Islami in the Indian subcontinent.Hope you would give a clarification.

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

Whilst it is true that immediately after the destruction of the Khilafa in 1924 some scholars like those in the Khilafat movement of the Indian subcontinent raised the issue - they lost it as the central focus of their work and in fact the Khilafat movement in the end turned into an indpendence movement after being infiltrated by Gandhi.

The other scholars like Maududi (ra) and Hassan al-Banna (ra) discussed the concept of an Islamic state in vague terms and did not put Khilafah as their explicit central agenda. Therefore the concept of Khilafah was somewhere in the minds of the Muslims but it was not an agenda and was not internationalised.

Anonymous said...

can you post video of the ata abu rashta, cannot seem to get hold of it on the site, though it makes references to it

Anonymous said...

If I can quickly add: no where in the aims and objectives of the organisations founded by the likes of Maududi, Hassan al-Banna, Syed Qutb etc do we find a clear mention and outline of the Khilafah. There works are widely available and this point can be verified quite easily. They objectives were rather quite vague and general.

As for the Khilafat Movement started by the Ali brothers in 1918 it's aim was to maintain the Uthmani Khilafah. When the Uthmani Khilafah was dismantled in 1924, the movement too dies away and its leader joined the work for Independence.