The following is from the recently published book 'Introduction to the Systems of Islam':
The situation of Muslims today lies in stark contrast with their glorious past. It is important for us to understand how and why such a state of affairs has arisen. Indeed this is a key to our revival. To this end, it becomes necessary to study carefully the history of Islam, from the time of the Prophet’s (saw) State and the period of Islamic civilisation and influence that followed it, until today, in order that we may identify the main factors of our weakness.
The result of such a study shows that the main factor is a gradual intellectual decline in the minds of the Muslims with regards to their understanding of their deen.
In this background, the enemies of Islam were able to exploit the oppportunity presented to them in their battle against the Islamic State, and utilised all the means at their disposal to overcome it and subjugate it and all its resources to their control. In this section, we will outline some of the history behind this attack of the kuffar against Islam, and the devious means and machinations they employed.
The enormous power and influence of Islam, militarily, culturally, and religiously since its beginning is something that the West has never fully understood; the question of how, in so short a time, Islam could conquer such vast areas of the world has troubled the Western mind for decades. From 632 CE onwards Persia, Syria, Egypt, Turkey and North Africa fell to the Muslim armies, in the 8th and 9th centuries. Islam ruled as far east as India, Indonesia and China. To the Christian West the Khilafah represented a constant danger and threat and by the 15th century it became apparent to European thinkers that something would have to be done about Islam.
To overcome the threat of Islam and its adherents the European thinkers recognised that it first needed to be understood. It soon became clear to them that the strength of the Muslims lay in their organisation as a state, which unified them, protected them and co-ordinated their efforts to dominate the world. They concluded that the Islamic State must be invaded, possessed and finally re-created in a less offensive form. The justification that was provided for this aggressive stance, to both the Westerner and the Muslim, was that Islam was a misguided version of Christianity which had caused a once great region to fall into barbarism and which needed to be revived through the civilising influences of the modern West.
Initially, the West attempted to defeat Islam militarily, with the launching of a vast military campaign against the Muslim army of the Khilafah known as the Crusades, yet for the medieval Westerner it soon became clear that any hope of defeating Islam militarily was fruitless. The Muslims were fighting in the way of Allah; they were fighting for Islam and with their understanding of Islam as an ideology they simply could not be defeated by the power of the sword. Every Muslim knew that there could only be two results of a battle with the kuffar : victory or martyrdom and paradise. Fear of death therefore had no sway on them, and they would gladly give up their lives for the sake of Islam. As this became obvious to the armies of the kuffar, who in comparison were not so willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause which by and large had no real meaning for them, they conspired to defeat the Muslims through the waging of an intellectual campaign against them by attacking the key Islamic concepts and implanting false ideas in their place.
This plan was carried out with devastating efficiency, directly attacking the Muslim beliefs and practices with the aim of casting doubt into the minds of the Muslims about the Islamic way of life and its ability to be implemented for all time in a rapidly changing world. Furthermore it was constantly emphasised that anyone who did believe in Islam as such must be backward, degenerate and inferior to their Western counterparts.
The attack was waged on all fronts throughout the Ummah; in the Turkish and Arab speaking lands, through the sub-continent and South East Asia; and it came on many matters. The Khilafah was portrayed as despotic and a dictatorship; Jihad an aggression against all people; polygamy was portrayed as uncivilised or savage, or an affront against women; divorce was a betrayal; belief in divine fate and destiny was dismissed as irrational fatalism; the Qur’an was a brilliant piece of poetic writing merely promoting certain moral values, not a basis of rules and laws for mankind; Muhammad (saw) was portrayed as a devious genius who had fooled the people, not a prophet; the pious Muslim was a man of great humbleness, poor and not involved with worldly matters, and the inhabitant of the mosque.
Such ideas were all too often given weight by the winning over of scholars and learned men of Islam by the kuffar; one such example being that of Napoleon when he invaded Egypt in the late eighteenth century. Through his use of the scholars Napoleon was able to wage a uniquely benign and selective campaign against Islam. When it became obvious to Napoleon that his force was too small to impose itself on the Egyptians he tried to make the local imams, qadis, muftis and ulema interpret the Qur’an in favour of the ‘Grande Armée,’ by deceiveing them about his intentions in the area. This along with the flattering and cajoling of the scholars of al-Azhar worked, and soon the population of Cairo seemed to have lost its distrust of the occupiers. Napoleon later gave his deputy strict instructions after he left always to administer Egypt through the Orientalists and religious Islamic leaders whom they could win over; any other strategies were seen as too expensive and foolish. Such policies continue to this very day with the likes of ‘government scholars’ in the Muslim countries, who consistently produce so-called ‘Islamic’ judgements in accordance with the wishes of the West, thereby facilitating the West’s objectives of keeping Islam only in the backgrounds of Muslim’s lives.
To encourage this weakening of the Muslims’ belief and understanding of Islam, the European states, with Britain playing a leading role, worked to establish movements within the Muslim world which could work to bring down Islam and divide Muslims. A complex apparatus for tending this purpose was established initially in the form of missionaries such as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (1698), the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (1701), the Church Missionary Society (1799), the British and Foreign Bible Society (1804) and so on.
In addition there was to be an influx of trading societies, learned societies, geographical exploration funds, translation funds, as well as the implantation of foreign schools, consular offices, factories and sometimes even large European communities. All gave the West increasing interests in the area which would eventually gain legitimacy for their more physical presence in these lands, due to the need to protect such interests. In the meantime such institutions were havens for men like Muhammad ‘Ali in Cairo and Ibrahim Pasha in Syria who were recruited to the Western cause.
On another level the constant pushing of the idea of Western superiority and Muslim inferiority encouraged many Muslims to make a pilgrimage to Europe to sit at the feet of and be educated by the kuffar, then return to their homelands in order to teach their fellows how to become ‘civilised’ and ‘modern’, even though it meant adopting the ideology of the West, including its acceptance of ideas like democracy, secularism, free mixing, freedom etc., which all contradict the Islamic viewpoint.
These ideas had a dramatic affect on the Muslim mindset, causing many in the Ummah to be enchanted by non-Islamic ways of life. Even today this attitude is manifest in some sections of the Ummah.
However nothing has been more successful in the work to bring Muslim against Muslim and distancing them from Islam than the implantation of assabiyah (nationalism). It was such feelings of nationalism and patriotism that so devastatingly severed the Muslims from each other and eventually led to the destruction of the Khilafah. Such ideas and feelings were encouraged through the gradual occupation and division of the Islamic State into separate states, each with their own individual national interests and objectives thereby increasing the disunity amongst the Muslims, until today when we have at least 55 different states, and we see ourselves as Pakistani, Jordanian and Egyptian rather than Muslims. Such concepts remain amongst many in the Ummah today, lingering like a disease fit only to be kept at a distance; Muhammad (saw) said, “He is not one of us who calls for assabiyah, and he is not one of us who fights for assabiyah, and he is not one of us who dies for assabiyah.” Abu Daud
Having successfully crippled the Muslims by waging such an attack upon their understanding of Islam and the introduction of corrupted and false concepts, the old imperialist powers of Britain, France and Russia went on to conspire to strike the final blow against the Muslims by destroying the Islamic State; to break up its territories, to abolish the Khaleefah and the system he represented, to create artificial states and to place the enormous resources of the Ummah into the hands of tiny pro-Western families.
In fact, throughout the 1800’s the kuffar chipped away at the unity of the State by taking territories, and inciting division amongst the people that lived within it. At the same time they fought hard to remove all traces of Islamic Law from ruling in Turkey. In 1855 pressure was applied from Britain and carried by agents like Rasheed Pasha for the establishment of a new constitution in which Islam would no longer be the code of the State but simply the ‘official religion’ of the State.
By the turn of the century, the Khilafah had become known as the ‘sick man of Europe’, and the European powers laid plans to kill the State off irrevocably. Many countries conspired to bring its downfall, for example as this telegram from the Russian ambassador in London to the Russian Foreign Minister in 1915 details :
“The Italian government supports the Russian government’s opinion of the necessity of separating the Islamic government, which is to be established in Hijaz, from the Khilafah, and to put it under the absolute control of Britain. The Italian government wholeheartedly supports wresting the Khilafah from the Turks and abolishing it if necessary.”
With the help of the Western puppets, like Mustafa Kamal - the father of humiliation - in Turkey, Islam was systematically removed from all of lifes affairs within the Muslim lands - the Khilafah was destroyed; Arabic was replaced with regional languages and dialects, mosques were closed and the hijab (Islamic dress for women) was forbidden; the once global superpower of the Khilafah, implementing the deen of Allah (swt) was reduced to simply a weak country on the periphery of Europe. All the while the majority of the Muslims sat by in silence as they watched this treachery, indicating the success that the nationalist and secular groups enjoyed in warping the understanding of the Muslims of their creed and the duties that belief in Allah (swt) demand.
The success of this intellectual attack upon the Muslims has been staggering, much more potent than any military attack could have been. Today so many Muslims are divided by the disease of nationalism; they turn to the West for their knowledge and they have left Islam to the realm of the mosque. The secret behind such success has been the ability of the kuffar to re-create the Muslims understanding of Islam as a simple religion and not a way of life, i.e. secularism. The key to this has been the decline in the knowledge of the classical Arabic language which ensured also the lack of understanding of both the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and hence the rules and laws of Islam regarding all affairs of the Muslim. The result has been the relegation of Islam to the prayer mat.
Alongside this devastating decline of the Muslims came the constant bombardment by the kuffar of negative images of both Islam and Muslims; Muslims were camel riding terrorists, barbaric lechers who were not completely civilised nor indeed human, and they were thus shown to be an affront to the civilised west. The ultimate result is that the Islamic world is today an intellectual, political, economic and cultural satellite of the Western powers. The Arabian peninsula is considered by the Western powers to constitute “A stupendous source of strategic power and the greatest material prize in the world’s history.” The United States is especially aware that the control of the region’s oil supplies is a lever to control the world, and today with the exception of all but a few states most of the regions regimes are under direct US or British control.
Unfortunately the effects of these conspiracies and attacks are not a thing of the past, today the Ummah is disease ridden and weak, the corrupt concepts which have filtered into our belief and action through our neglect of understanding Islam are like an all-consuming cancer which keeps us weak and fills the kuffar with delight at our suffering. We have forgotten that we are the best Ummah, we have forgotten the strength and power of Islam as a deen. We have forgotten that the non-believers will never be satisfied with us until they have destroyed our deen. We should remember that Islam is a gift from the Creator of all the universe which should bring dignity and justice to mankind, not humiliation..
Today, the sole factor behind the many problems faced by the Ummah, whether it is wars, famine, corruption and oppression, is the absence of the Islamic way of life, manifested by the Khilafah. Without the Khilafah, our lives and honour have no protection, and the kuffar can torture, rape and kill, without any fear of retribution. Our resources and lands are easy prey for all who want to steal and exploit them. Our minds are subjected to lies, distortion and slander of the deen, with no voice of truth that can stand up in the face of this with authority and force. With all of these problems we can see clearly that the re-establishment of the Khilafah the vital issue for the Muslim Ummah.
We must shake off the influence of corruption and disbelief which our ignorance has caused us to fall into and turn once again to Islam, planting it firmly in all our hearts and minds, by educating ourselves as to its laws and systems which are perfect in their entirety, a blessing from Allah (swt).