Friday, October 03, 2008

Article 8, Explanation of the Draft Constitution of the Khilafah

The following is from the draft english translation of the Arabic book مقدمة الدستور
أو الأسباب الموجبة له (Introduction to the constitution and the evidences that make it obligatory) published by Hizb ut-Tahrir 1382 Hijri (1963 CE). Please refer to the original Arabic for accurate meanings. Please note some of the adopted opinions of the Hizb have changed since the time the book was published so any of the adopted literature published after this book which contradicts what is mentioned in this book abrogates those specific points.

Article No 8

The Arabic language is exclusively the language of Islam and it is exclusively the language used by the State.

Explanation and evidences:

The evidence of this article is derived from the fact that although all people are addressed by the Qur’an, because of Allah’s (swt) saying: [17-89] “And We have explained to man in this Qur'an every kind of similitude” T.M.Q Allah (swt) also says: [30-58] “And We have propounded for people in this Qur'an every kind of parable” T.M.Q. Allah (swt) has However revealed it in Arabic and made it an Arabic Qur’an. Allah (swt) says: [12-2] "We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an in order that you may learn wisdom." T.M.Q. Allah (swt) also says: [26-195] "in the perspicuous Arabic tongue." T.M.Q.

Therefore, the Arabic language is the sole language of Islam, because it is the sole language of the Qur'an and because the Qur'an is the miracle (Al-Mu’jizah) of the Messenger of Allah (saw). The I’jaaz of the Qur’an, i.e. the wondrous nature of the Qur’an lies in its expression with this Arabic wording; i.e. with the Arabic wording and style. Although the I’jaaz is found in both the wording and the meaning inseparably, what is however meant by its I’jaaz in meaning is not the I’jaaz of what the Qur'an has brought in terms of meanings and topics, for the Sunnah has expressed these meanings and topics and yet it is not considered a miracle. The I’jaaz in meaning is established through the fact that the meaning is itself expressed by this wording and this style. Hence, expressing such a meaning in such a wording and in such a style is miraculous. Therefore, the I’jaaz lies in the Arabic wording that expresses the meaning with the Arabic style. In other words, Allah’s (swt) saying: [8-58] “If you fear treachery from any group, throw back their covenant to them so as to be on equal terms, for Allah does not love the treacherous.” T.M.Q. , is in itself incapacitating to all people to produce something similar; its I’jaaz comes from the splendour in expressing these meanings, with this formulation and with such a style. Therefore, the miracle was the Arabic wording and the Arabic style which expressed this meaning. the I’jaaz in the Qur'an is confined in its Arabic, for it is the origin of the I’jaaz and the subject of the challenge to produce something equal to it. Hence, the Arabic language in an integral part of the Qur’an that cannot be separated from it. The Qur'an itself could not be considered Qur'an without it. It is therefore forbidden to translate the Qur'an, for if it were altered, it would loose its versification and it would no longer be Qur'an and nothing like Qur'an; it would rather be a commentary of it, and if its commentary were anything like it, people would not have failed to produce something equal to it when they were challenged to do so. Besides Allah (swt) saying: “An Arabic Qur'an” means that if it were not Arabic, it could not be called Qur'an. Furthermore, we worship Allah (swt) with its wording; thus the prayer cannot be performed but with it, for Allah (swt) says: [73-20] “So read of the Qur'an as much as may be easy for you.” T.M.Q., and the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “A prayer is not accepted from he who does not recite the Fatiha of the Book in every prostration.” Therefore, the Arabic language is an integral part of Islam. As for Allah (swt) saying: [6-19] “This Qur'an has been revealed to me that I may warn you and all whom it reaches.” T.M.Q., this means: So that I warn you with what is in the Qur'an, and this applies to warning people with its wording and with its commentary, for all of this is considered as warning. By contrast, Allah (swt) saying: “Read” does not refer to the reading of its commentary, nor does it refer to the reading of its translation, because reading the Qur'an means just that, i.e. reading its text, and this is nothing like warning with the Book. It is fitting to warn with the Qur'an’s wording and to warn with what is in it. Besides, Allah (swt) had decreed that the Messenger of Allah (saw) warning is made in Arabic, so Allah (swt) says: [26-193,194,195] "With it came down the Faithful Spirit * To your heart so that you may admonish * in the perspicuous Arabic tongue." T.M.Q. This serves as a conclusive evidence that it is forbidden to read the Fatiha in prayer in other than the Arabic language, and this nullifies and refutes the argument of those who claimed that the verse in which Allah (swt) says: [6-19] "And this Qur'an has been revealed to me" T.M.Q, refers to the permissibility of reading the Fatiha in other than the Arabic language for those who do not master Arabic.

This is as far as the Arabic language being a fundamental part of Islam. As for the evidence pertaining the fact that the Arabic language should be exclusively the official language of the State, this is derived from the fact that the Messenger of Allah (saw) sent letters to Caesar, Kisra, and Muqawqas, in which he invited them to Islam; those letters were written in Arabic, though they could have been translated into their own languages. Therefore, the fact that the Messenger of Allah (saw) did not write his letters to Caesar, Kisra, and Muqawqas in their own languages, though they were non Arabs, and though he wrote in order to covey Islam to them, serves as evidence that the Arabic language is exclusively the official language of the State, because the Messenger of Allah (saw) did this. Besides, the fact that the need to translate was pressing, in order to convey Islam, and the fact that the Messenger of Allah (saw) did not translate, this serves as a Qarinah (conjunction) indicating the obligation of restricting the State’s address of people to the Arabic language, whether the addressees were Arabs or non Arabs. Therefore, all non Arab people should learn the Arabic language, and it is forbidden of the State’s official language to be other than the Arabic language. Imam Al-Shafii outlined in his celebrated book of Usul (foundations of jurisprudence) entitled Al-Risalah the following: “Allah (swt) has made it an obligation upon all nations to learn the Arabic tongue following their address with the Qur'an and their worshipping by it.”

Therefore, all this makes it obligatory for the State to adopt the Arabic language as the exclusive official language. However, it must be made clear that the fact that the Arabic language is exclusively the State’s language does not necessarily mean that the State could not use other than the Arabic language, for it is permitted for the State to use in an official correspondence other than the Arabic language, either for fear of distortion, or to acquire vital information or to convey the Da’awah abroad or for any similar reason. This is so because the Messenger of Allah (saw) used Hebrew and Syriac. Hence, the rule stipulates the singling of the Arabic language when adopting the State’s official language, rather than preventing the State from using other than the Arabic language.

The question that springs to mind is: Would it be permitted to have in the lands ruled by the Islamic State a written and spoken language other than Arabic?

The answer to this is: The speaking and the writing of other languages could either be related to the State itself, or related to the subjects’ relationship with the State, or related to the subjects themselves, or to the relationships of individuals with one another.

If it were related to the State itself or to the State’s relations, in this case the language cannot be but Arabic, because the fact that the Messenger of Allah (saw) did not translate his letters to the non Arabs despite the pressing need to translate in order to convey Islam, serves as evidence stipulating the obligation of singling out of the Arabic language alone in the State’s administration and relations or in anything related to her. Therefore, it is not fitting for the State to introduce in its educational curricula any other language apart from Arabic, whether these were the languages of the non Arab peoples living under the authority of the Islamic State or the peoples living outside the authority of the Islamic State. Also, public schools are prevented from adopting other than the Arabic language as an academic language and from introducing other than the Arabic language as a subject because they are obliged to adhere to the State’s curricula. Therefore, every matter related to the State, or to her relations with the subjects or any other matter related to her, must be conducted in the Arabic language, oral and written.

However, if speaking and writing in other than the Arabic language were related exclusively to the subjects, or related to people’s relationships amongst themselves, this would be permitted, because the Messenger of Allah (saw) permitted the translation of other languages into Arabic and permitted also the learning of other languages. This indicates that it is permitted to speak and to write in other than Arabic. Bukhari extracted in the section entitled “The rulers’ translation”, on the authority of Zayd Ibnu Thabit who said: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) ordered me to learn the book of the Jews, until I became able to write the letters of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and read to him their letters if they wrote to him.” In the Masnad of Ahmed, on the authority of Zayd Ibnu Thabit who said: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) asked me once: “Do you speak Syriac? For I receive letters.” I said: “No.” He (saw) said: “Do learn it.” So I learnt it in 17 days.” This serves as evidence that it is permitted to speak and write in other than Arabic. In the times of the Sahaba there were people who used to speak and write in other than Arabic and they were not forced to learn it. The ruler used to summon interpreters whenever they needed to. Bukhari reported: “Omar said in the presence of Ali, Abdul-Rahman and Uthman: “What is this woman saying?” Abdul-Rahman Ibnu Hatib said: “She is informing you about the man who did so and so to her.” Abu Jamrah also said: “I used to translate between Ibnu Abbas and other people.” When Omar ® asked what that woman was saying, he meant the woman who was found pregnant, so Abdul-Rahman was translating for him; and the fact that Abu Jamrah used to translate for Ibnu Abbas what people were saying means that there were people who spoke other than Arabic. Therefore, speaking and writing in other than Arabic is permitted according to the Hadith and to the actions of the Sahaba. Accordingly, the State would allow the publication of books, newspapers, and magazines in other than Arabic, and their publication would not require a permission because it is part of the Mubah (permitted) actions. It is also allowed to television programmes in other than Arabic, that is if these stations belonged to an individual or to a group of people. However, this will be prohibited in the State’s own radio and television stations, because everything related to the State must be exclusively in Arabic. As for that which is related to people among themselves, it will be permitted for them to use other than Arabic in everything; save for a specific item of Mubah that may lead to harm, in which case that matter will be prohibited.

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