Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Understanding the current anti-government protests in Iran

This article is written by Brother Adnan Khan

The Western media has once again gone into overdrive as mass protests have hit the streets of Tehran. On the day of Ashura mass protests took place across Iran's main cities and images of baton wielding security officers were broadcast across Western news channels. On the day of Ashura as many as 15 people were killed in the clashes during the protests. The demonstrations although small in number have been the continuing result of what followed the June 12th 2009 presidential elections. The defeated reformist candidates claim the entire election was against the sentiments of Iranians, the majority of whom opposed incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his policies but whose will was thwarted by a falsification of the electoral results by an unpopular and dictatorial ruler who made it appear that he had won the election massively rather than lost it. The Western media has continued to beam this narrative around the world and argue that the demonstrations represent the will of the Iranian people for Freedom and Democracy.

Western-Iranian relations

The Western coverage of the elections is rooted in the old axis of standing against the Islamic revolution and supporting the reformists who want a free and liberal Iran. The West has engaged with Iran on this basis for decades and continues to do so. The myth the Western world has duped themselves into believing is that the fall of the shah was due to a mass movement of people demanding liberalisation. If such a group of reformists are supported by the West they would become the majority and rule the country. Western reporters believe that anyone who knows who Beyonce is, owns an iPod, has a blog and knows what it means to Twitter must be an enthusiastic supporter of Freedom and Democracy. Such individuals can be found among the professional classes in Tehran, as well as among students. Many speak English, making them accessible to Western journalists, diplomats and intelligence services. They are the ones who can speak to Westerners, and it is from such people Westerners receive the information that a revolution is on hand.

This is why it is important to bear in mind that almost all reports coming out of Iran on the demonstrations are originating from opposition Web sites, which are inclined to make the crisis appear as intense as possible and to maximize the apparent strength of the protesters. Many of these sites are based outside of Iran and depend on the same intermittent communication with Iran as others do.

Western interference in Iran is not new. The West has constantly interfered in Iran's domestic affairs throughout recent history. In 1953 the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) overthrew the elected government of Mohammed Mosaddeq at the request of, and with support from the British government due to the nationalisation of Iran's Oil wealth in what the CIA called Operation Ajax. This brought to power the pro-Western Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who became the lynchpin for protecting Western interests in the region until he was overthrown in the Islamic revolution in 1979. US financial support is in fact aimed at regime change and goes beyond the allocated $75 million. In May 2007, ABC News reported that President Bush had authorised a covert CIA program against the Iranian regime. In addition to public and covert funding of Iranian opposition groups, the United States also supports individual dissidents through various means.

Failed State

The current unrest has its origins in the elections. However what we are witnessing is a backlash as both the conservatives and reformists have been unable to solve many of Iran's problems especially its economic issues. 3 million people are unemployed in Iran and the trend is set to continue.

Currently less than 30% of the Iranian population witnessed the Islamic revolution, as 70% of Iran was born after 1979. Those born after 1979 view the economic problems as a result of the failed policies of the Islamic revolution. As the conservatives dominate the key ministries some have taken the slogan of reform, established political parties on this basis and taken to the streets.

The fundamental problem with Iran is the fact that the people of Iran have been failed by successive governments. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi focused on modernising Iran in the name of advancement. This modernisation was in many areas and included social reforms. However nothing materialised. The construction of a few factories did nothing to halt poverty and poverty increased even though more and more oilfields were discovered in the Persian Gulf. The Shah wanted to break the existing economic structure which was built upon farming and made the clergy immensely wealthy. During the 1960's the Shah concentrated on his Social reforms. His reforms were built upon the emulation of the West and instituted western dress, symbolised by his wife and daughters. Such behaviour only alienated the mostly Muslim population from the ruler and this led the Shah to resort to brute force. As the 1970's were in full flow many viewed the Shah as a despot, and the economy had not modernised as he promised. As the Shah became ever more authoritarian many began to demonstrate in what they saw as injustices perpetuated by the Shah. The Shah's failure to solve the problems of the country resulted in many to look for alternatives.

Ayatollah Rahulla Khomeini came to symbolize ‘change' and many groups that were not even Islamic mobilised with other groups and brought the country to a stand still. When the Shah ordered the army to open fire on the demonstrators - that was the final straw. Before anyone could shout revolution the Shah had fled the country.

As soon as the Islamic revolution was in full swing cracks began to appear with the groups that brought Khomeini to power. What had began as an authentic and anti-dictatorial popular revolution based on a broad coalition of all anti-Shah forces, it soon transformed into a power grab. Except for some of Khomeini's core supporters, the members of the coalition thought Khomeini intended to be more a spiritual guide than a ruler. However his core supporters took positions in important offices whilst many of those who had sacrificed to bring Khomeini to power found they were either exiled, imprisoned or sidelined.

The 8 year war with Iraq resulted in the nation's production being geared towards the war effort. The economic concerns of the people were completely neglected. Islam was nowhere to be seen. Islam was never applied, however Khomeini did everything but refer to the Qur'an or the Sunnah. Khomeini had been in exile for over 10 years and had no ruling or leadership experience, however he held his grip on the nation through hook and crook - in reality Khomeini turned out to be no different to the Shah.

Like the Shah Khomeini did nothing to address the economic problems of the nation. The 1997 landslide victory of Mohammed Khatami, brought the reformists to power. Many students viewed reform as the way forward. Khatami openly campaigned for engagement with the West and Western values in the shape of freedom and democracy. The reformists have attempted to end the animosity with the US but decades of mistrust between Iran and the US remains. Reformists attempts at moving closer to the US was undermined when Bush made his state of union address and included Iran in his axis of evil speech. Many Iranian seeing this brought Ahmadinejad to power, a staunch conservative.

The Iran economy has long relied on its energy sectors. Iran has the world's largest gas field, the world's largest gas reserves after Russia and the world's largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. However Iran's 1940's constructed energy infrastructure is crumbling and inflation and unemployment is rampant and out of control. Ahmadinejad came to power on back of many economic promises that have not materialised. Today's Iran suffers from a major prostitution problem. According to many surveys up to 500 000 women under the age of 30 make up Iran's prostitution problem. Many have been forced into this due to poverty and the stigma of divorce. A number of such girls are also runaways who were forced into temporary marriages. Iran also has a huge drug problem. According to the Iranian government there are over 1.2 million drug addicts, with HIV on the rise. Alcohol is widely available and if one is not a cocaine addict they are most likely addicted to Alcohol.

The demonstrations that have filled the news stories of the West represent those who want change due to Ahmadinejad's economic failures. He has reneged on all his economic promises and created an economic bomb that will go off at any time. Ahmadinejad's 12th June 2009 election victory is seen by many in Iran as a continuation of such failed policies. Ahmadinejad has done nothing for the 3 million unemployed. While the catalyst for these demonstrations was an election, the election issues were the economy and unemployment. The Western media continues to propagate that the demonstrators represent Iranian public sentiment, but they fail to see the economic legacy that haunts the people of Iran.


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad symbolises the failure of the conservatives who have unable to revive the economy. Iranian society is polarised, the educated middle classes adore the West whilst the poor although Islamic are unable to understand how the Islamic texts deal with modern problems. This confusion is leading many to conclude Islam has been the problem. Whilst the Reformists call for the developing of relations with the West, the Conservatives on the surface have remained anti-Western which resonates with large sections of the Iranian public. However behind the scenes the conservatives view the US very differently and have worked hand in hand with the US and protected their interests in the region. Tehran continues to extend support to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), a party Tehran created in 1988 to maintain Iran's influence in Iraq's Shi'ah South. The ISCI gathered many of the groups in the South together in order to partake in America's political settlement for the nation. In Afghanistan, Iran runs extensive reconstruction and training programs in Kabul, Herat and Kandahar. Thus far, Iran has successfully prevented American embarrassment in both countries.

The Conservatives in Iran have like many leaders across the Islamic world used Islam for their own ends. They have failed the Ummah and have used the sincere Islamic sentiments of the Ummah to keep themselves in power whilst the Ummah languishes in poverty. Such insincere leaders will meet Allah سبحانه وتعالى and will receive what they deserve. The people of Iran like the wider Ummah want change, however the imitation of the West has a track record of failure. Only through unification of the Muslim lands cannot the Ummah take her destiny into her own hands.

Other related Article
Q&A: The Iranian Election Crisis

The Collapse of Dubai's Economic Dream: A Consequence of Abandoning the Islamic Economic System

This article is written by Brother AdnanKhan

Whilst many have been looking at the prospect of global economic recovery, Dubai sent investors into a tailspin in December 2009 when the government revealed that it planned to ask creditors of Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate, for a six-month standstill on its debt repayments, stopping short of defaulting. Dubai has $80 billion worth of debt, with the vast majority held by Dubai World, which owns Nakheel, the property developer.

Nakheel, which built the Palm Islands in the Gulf, was due to repay a $4 billion Islamic bond on December 14th 2009. Most investors had assumed that there would be no difficulty doing so as Dubai World, the Government of Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's billionaire ruler, were assumed to be supporting the developer. It now appears that nobody has the money to repay or refinance the bond and so the other $56 billion of Dubai World's liabilities are also at risk.

Dubai's rulers were considered to have provided a master class in how to develop an economy from almost nothing. They used what oil revenues they had to create a port and free-trade zone, believing that their little state could become a business hub if they created the right conditions. For many this was a shrewd move. Emirates, the airline, bolstered the hub and became the best possible mobile advertising banner. Dubai was considered a genuine economic miracle.

However the global economic crisis brought Dubai to its knees and has exposed the fragility of its economic model. Dubai's growth was initially through its oil wealth. This wealth was used to develop Dubai in order to attract foreign investment and soon enough, foreign companies and foreign workers arrived looking for opportunities in Dubai. Its position as a trading hub meant many companies relocated their staff to work from Dubai which is fundamentally what brought Dubai its wealth.

This however was never sustainable. The skilled workers that were developing the service sector were mostly from overseas, with only a small percentage of Dubai's population today considered to be native Arabs. Its growth has been a direct result of it becoming a tax-free zone for foreign nationals and companies. These companies, whilst providing jobs and income to people in the country, are not transferring any technical skills to the people. Its property market boom was due in large part to speculation that the prices would continue to rise.

Dubai has merely exploited limited natural resources and has been importing talent from abroad with little skills and knowledge-transfer to drive its economy. Dubai was always nothing more than a mirage in the desert; its growth and survival was dependent upon the talent and expertise of foreign entities. It could only offer specialist services such as banking and finance as a means to guarantee its future, along with tourism. As these sectors rely heavily on the goodwill and confidence of foreigners, if in any way this sentiment was affected, Dubai's desert empire will crumble.

This is exactly what happened with the Global credit crunch. In order for financial companies to shore up their losses they have withdrawn their money from expensive and lavish projects. Service companies which relied on loans are now seeing this dry up as one bank after another either collapsed or required government bailouts. One expert from Nomura investment Bank encapsulated the situation in Dubai: "Lenders blinded by rising oil prices and borrowers spellbound by easy returns have helped build a mountain of private sector debt in parts of the region that has generated an illusion of excess and abundance." As Dubai was built upon foreign money, it now awakes to find this has dried up, so in essence Dubai's source of growth has been cut, causing the breakneck building-boom to come to a crashing halt. The lending bonanza has evaporated and the government continues to ponder wider steps to repay its debt, including asking its neighbouring emirate, Abu Dhabi, for financial assistance.

Dubai accumulated huge debt to construct the islands lavish towers and lavish lifestyle to attract foreigners. The development of the islands infrastructure led to Dubai borrowing large amounts of money in the form of bonds. Dubai even attempted to sell its development as a distinctly Islamic approach through the development of Islamic finance and through the sale of Islamic Bonds (Sukuk).

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has attempted to calm investor confidence through the tried and tested formula Western nations attempted on the eve of the global financial crisis with regard to the ‘fundamentals.' Sheikh Mohammed said: "The economic fundamentals, such as our highly developed infrastructure, strong transport and communications hub and regional financial centre will ensure Dubai remains an attractive regional market."

Islamic Economy

The suggestion that Dubai offered a new model for economic development and an Islamic approach could not be further from the truth. Building an economy upon foreign wealth, external expertise and personnel is a tried-and-tested model which has a substantial track record of failure. Latin America, South East Asia and the Baltic states have all attempted this approach with catastrophic results.

The development of the economy has extensive rules in Islam which have been elaborated by many scholars throughout history. Islam has made the Khilafah responsible for da'wah and the defence of the Ummah and this can only be achieved through a process of industrialisation. It also obliged the Khilafah to organise the fulfilment of the basic necessities of the people which are food, clothing and accommodation. This cannot be achieved by having an economy geared around services but needs one geared around manufacturing and agriculture. This allows a nation to produce all that it needs and export any surplus. Relying and depending on imports and foreign money is not an assured path for development and survival.

The Islamic economy also makes the aim of the economy the catering for it citizens, not foreigners. To attract foreign industry, labour and money, Dubai has had to compromise on many Islamic values to do with the mixing of the sexes and alcohol in the name of necessity. The imposition of some Islamic rules in reality is a charade. Islam has a framework for the economy and Islamic finance forms one aspect of its detail. The mere existence of some Islamic financial contracts does not make a nation Islamic. Britain was one of the first nations in the world to offer Islamic bonds yet nobody would argue that Britain has an Islamic economic system.

The Islamic economic system has extensive rules for ownership and disposal of citizen's wealth and assets. Beyond this Islam recognises a sphere of the economy as the economic science i.e. through study and research a solution can be derived. Hence how to develop and economy or to industrialise, where the factories and the supply lines should be, how the steel and iron mills should be constructed fall under this category, however what is produced and how it is distributed falls under the ‘system' for which Islam has extensive rules.

The Islamic economy is based upon wealth generation where participants partake in investment, employment and trade in the real economy. Islam does not have a dual economy where the real economy operates alongside a financial sector. The Islamic economy focuses all participants on the real economy, through employment, company profits, utilisation of land (agriculture) and manufacturing. This brings the huge benefit of wealth only circulating in one sector - the real economy, where all can participate.

The Islamic economy is built upon the real economy this is where the process of production of tangible goods and services, Islam has designated a role for finance in the economy - due to Islam's focus on the real economy which is the wealth creating aspect of any economy finance in Islam is not an end in itself as there is no interest (Riba). Wealth in Islam is created through each stage of industry i.e. mining, refining, manufacturing and sales' All of this adds value at each stage and creates wealth for the economy.

Islam's monetary policy is centred around a legal tender based upon the Gold and Silver and not one based upon interest rates to regulate inflation and the economy. In Islam when it comes to exchanging a commodity with a specific monetary unit, Islam has guided Muslims to the monetary unit by which the exchange is to take place. It has restricted the Khilafah to a specific type of money, which is gold and silver. The Islamic evidences have designated gold and silver as the primary measuring unit for prices and labour. This is understood from the actions of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم when he collected Zakat, levied taxes and imposed fines, all were measured according to gold and silver. This means the notes and coins circulating in the economy would all be backed by gold and silver. This will no longer make possible the free printing of currency as the Khilafah would need to increase the actual holdings of gold and silver. This has a unique effect on Inflation which free market economies have been unable to contain.

Although Islam is built upon the real economy and the financial sector is based upon providing finance for the real economy, Islam has allowed a few purely financial transactions. Islam has permitted currency exchange as this was a common practice amongst the people of Mecca and Madina and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did not object to it. Islam permitted some forward contracts - this is where payment is taken before the actual delivery of goods or before the final transfer of ownership of the goods. However the items that can be sold before ownership is undertaken must be of a defined nature where they can be counted, measured or weighed, this is due to what is established in the hadith of ibn Abbas, that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Whoever pays in advance in dates, let him pay in advance for a known price and a known weight for a known period." And in another narration of ibn Abbas who said: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Whoever pays in advance in something then (it should be) in a known measure and a known weight for a known period" (narrated by Al-Bukhari). Islam has categorically prohibited purely financial transactions where one lends money in the hope of receiving more in repayment. All trade and transactions are linked to the real economy as they are built upon construction, manufacture, services, or the production of goods and so on.

In conclusion it will not be surprising if Dubai eventually defaults on its debts, this is because the cash line for Dubai has been cut, which was foreign wealth entering the nation and going into lavish projects. Dubai could have utilized the foreign expertise and developed oil refineries in the region which although blessed with huge oil reserves lacks the necessary refineries. Instead it was duped by the notion of hyper finance and geared its economy around finance, which may bring some wealth, but it does not give a nation any skills or technical knowledge. Bankers have lost all credibility in the West due to inventing dubious financial products. Dubai could have taken a lead in constructing the 21st century's first Islamic economy and unified with the wider Muslim world that are blessed with mineral resources. Success only lay's with Allah سبحانه وتعالى deen

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحَادُّونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ فِي الأَذَلِّينَ

"Indeed, the ones who oppose Allah and His Messenger - those will be among the most humbled." [Al-Mujaadila, 58:20]

View on the News 24-12-2009

US survey reveals: Islam is a dangerous religion

Two out of three Protestant pastors believe Islam is a "dangerous" religion, according to a new survey from a US Southern Baptist-affiliated research group. The survey of more than 1,000 Protestant clergy by LifeWay Research, released last week found that 45% strongly agree with the statement "I believe Islam is a dangerous religion" and another 21% agree somewhat with it. The results of the telephone survey were based on a random sample of 1,002 senior pastors taken in October 2008 and had an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. On Dec. 10, evangelist Franklin Graham told CNN that while he loves the Muslim people in countries he's visited with his Samaritan's Purse ministry, "I don't agree with the teachings of Islam and I find it to be a very violent religion."

UK priest: Rob the rich if you are poor

A priest from North Yorkshire UK has advised his congregation to shoplift if they find themselves in hard times. Father Tim Jones, the parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda in York , said people should steal from big chains rather than small businesses. He said society's attitude to those in need "leaves some people little option but crime".

Speaking to his congregation, Father Jones said: "My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift...We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime."
World leaders 'have betrayed people of Gaza '

Human rights groups have released a report accusing the world of betraying the people of Gaza , by failing to end an Israeli-led blockade. The report by 16 non-government organisations accuses Israel of violating international law by imposing an indiscriminate blockade which it says punishes the entire Gaza population for the acts of a few. Its authors include the groups Oxfam, Amnesty International and many church organisations. It highlights the blockade on building materials which has prevented Gaza from restoring countless buildings destroyed in the war.
Turkey buys 10 Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles

Turkey has decided to go through with the purchase of ten unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from Israel , Israel Radio reported Tuesday. The announcement of the decision was made Monday by the director-general of Turkey Aerospace Industries. Official affirmation of the deal is expected in the coming days. Israel and Turkey agreed on a $185 million UAV deal four years ago, but the Turkish defense minister in July announced the deal would not go through as scheduled due to Israeli delays.

President Shimon Peres met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul while in Copenhagen and Defense Minister Ehud Barak is to travel to Turkey in January for talks with his Turkish counterpart.

Ahmadinejad denies reports of Iranian efforts to test a nuclear trigger

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said a document apparently showing that Tehran plans to test a trigger for a nuclear bomb is a US forgery. In an interview filmed on Friday with ABC News, Mr Ahmadinejad said the report in the Times newspaper was "fundamentally not true". Mr Ahmadinejad said criticism of Iran 's nuclear programme had become "a repetitive and tasteless joke". The Times reported last week that it had obtained a document, dating from 2007, describing a four-year plan by Iran to test a nuclear trigger using uranium deuteride. The product can be used as a neutron initiator: the component of a nuclear bomb that triggers an explosion.
US Special Forces conducted multiple raids in Pakistan

US Special Forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids as part of a secret war inside Pakistan 's tribal areas where Washington is pressing to expand its drone attacks, a report in Britain 's Guardian newspaper said. Citing a former Nato officer, the Guardian said these incursions, only one of which was previously reported, occurred between 2003 and 2008. It involved helicopter-borne elite soldiers entering through the border at night. The incursions were never declared to the Pakistani government, the report said. The source said Pakistan was kept in the dark about the operations and that the United States would not officially confirm the procedures. After the only publicly acknowledged special forces' raid in September 2008, Pakistan 's foreign office condemned it as ‘a grave provocation', while the Pakistani military threatened retaliatory action.
World Bank doesn't accept Kashmir as part of India

The World Bank has refused to accept occupied Kashmir as an integral part of India and has insisted on a disclaimer from the Jammu and Kashmir government that funding for a project will not be seen as recognition of India 's territorial claim on the state. The bank has put a ‘disclaimer clause' for bankrolling a key project in the disputed state which indicates that funding of projects in disputed areas should not be used to endorse territorial claims, said a news report here on Tuesday. The government of the occupied state wants New Delhi to settle issue with the World Bank, which has refused to fund more projects in the state, treating it as a disputed territory between India and Pakistan . Mr Ahmad said the World Bank had raised the disclaimer issue last year after assessment of the project which was then at the funding stage.

24th December 2009

The Yemen Crisis

This article is written by Brother Adnan Khan

What has led to the current crisis in Yemen?

The US-led war against terrorism entered a new phase in December 2009 when military action switched from Afghanistan to Yemen, the US launched Cruise missiles in concert with Yemen government forces, who used tanks, helicopters and artillery to storm mountain villages suspected of harbouring Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. Yemen appears to be facing multiple issues on various fronts, which the weak central government has failed to solve diplomatically and continues to use primarily military means to solve. Yemen faces civil war with it's largely Shi'ah population in the North. It faces secessionist calls in the South who are demanding a reversal of the 1990 unification of North and South Yemen. Yemen also apparently faces al-Qaeda attacks throughout the country. Yemen today is a nation that remains largely underdeveloped and is led by many different tribes, central government has been unable to change this reality.

Why is there Civil war in the North?

In 1962, an army coup ended centuries of rule by Shi'ah (Zaydi) imams, establishing the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR), in north Yemen. The North looked for a union with the South due to its oil wealth. The two leaders - Ali Salim al-Baidh in the south and Ali Abdullah Saleh in the north - declared a union in May 1990. Electors in the north voted for an Islamic party, Islah, and Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC). In the south they elected Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) candidates. The lingering divisions between the North and South resulted in civil war in 1994 which ended in southern defeat. After the war the authorities in San'a pushed many southern military officers and civil servants into retirement, and replaced them with northerners. In August 2009 the Yemeni army launched a major offensive, dubbed Operation Scorched Earth, against Sa'ada, the Shi'ah in the North launched an uprising against the Yemeni government. Most of the fighting has taken place in Sa'dah Governorate in northwestern Yemen. The government claimed that the fighters, who are named after their leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, seek to restore the Shi'ah imamate system, which was overthrown in a 1962. The Houthi clan is part of the Zaydi madhab, a branch of the Shi'ah that is unique to Yemen. Most of the fighters are tribesmen who would probably put down their arms if they were given economic help by central government and concessions such as roads and schools. There is consensus in Sanaa that eventually the crisis in the north will have to be resolved through negotiations. But for the moment the central government's strategy is to force the rebels into a position of weakness so that they will accept a political settlement. This situation has been complicated by the involvement of Saudi forces on the side of the Yemeni government which in turn accuses Iran of backing the rebels.

Why are there Secessionist calls in South Yemen?

The 100,000 retired southern military officers and civil servants in 1994's civil war, only sporadically received their pensions. The former civil servants, who were forcibly retired, called for their reinstatement and increased pensions. These former officers formed the Society of Retired Military Officers (SRMO) and began a series of sit-ins and protest marches. Southern demands now include more employment opportunities, an end to corruption, and a larger share of oil revenues for Southern Provinces. By mid-2009 the Southern movement had begun to demand secession and the re-establishment of a southern state. In June 2009, the Southern Movement reportedly appointed a five-person Council for the Leadership of the Peaceful Revolution of the South. There are increasing tensions between "southerners" and the Shi'ah in the south, who see themselves as culturally distinct from each other. Human rights watch outlined the reason for this: "There are elites in south Yemen who feel marginalised, but the groups they head represent real grievances of the people. The people want lower prices, better services, and more employment. That is the reason they line up behind the secessionist slogans." (‘In the name of unity', Human Rights Watch report, December 2009).

The Al Qaeda threat?

Yemen was home to many of the Mujahideen who fought against the Soviet Union when they invaded Afghanistan. Many Mujahideen returned to Yemen after the conflict ended. At the end of the Afghan war against the Soviet Union training camps flourished in Yemen for much of the 1990's. One of these - at Huttat in southern Yemen - was the base for the Army of Aden-Abyan. As the US manhunt for the Mujahideen (who the US has termed as al Qaeda operatives) around the world after 9/11 intensified, Yemen was given an ultimatum to join America's crusade against the Ummah. Like Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, President Ali Abdullah Saleh capitulated to US demands and as part of the deal agreed with President Bush he accepted US aid in return for promising to round up the former Mujahideen. The government in San'a needed the help of the Mujahideen in the 1994 civil war against the South - mainly former Marxists - who were attempting to secede. This all changed when the USS Cole in Aden was attacked in October 2000 where 17 American sailors were killed. 9/11 only intensified US demands on Yemen.

How much of the Crisis is due to foreign interference?

Both Saudi Arabia and the Yemen government have attempted to link the Houthis's to Iran, the evidence being that both are Shi'ah even thought the Yemen Shi'ah are Zaydi, whilst Iran is largely Itna Ashar'I (twelvers). Saudi Arabia has long been troubled by Yemen's increasing lawlessness, its porous border, and the ability of local villagers to cross at will. Saudi Arabia is currently enforcing a 10 km-deep buffer zone inside the Yemeni border.

On orders from President Barack Obama, the US military launched cruise missiles on the 20th December 2009 against two suspected al-Qaeda sites in Yemen. The US has now directly intervened in Yemen. The US has until now used a carrot and tick approach with the Yemeni government. Special Forces trained with American help have carried out attacks based on US intelligence ever since Ali Abdullah Saleh joined America's war on terror. Such attacks by the US military represent a major escalation of the Obama administration's campaign in the region.

Does the US have strategic interests in the region?

The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden for the US and any power will always represent an important strategic waterway. Over 30% of all crude oil and over 10% of global trade pass through this region. The US has also failed to achieve victory in Somalia - which across Yemen has a coastline with the Gulf of Aden and as a result focused on controlling the region through the seas. There has been a heavy presence of foreign naval warships in the Gulf of Aden and along the Somalia coastline. There are ships from the US Navy Fifth Fleet in the region, which of late have become the centre of numerous hijackings of international ships. Interestingly mostly European ships have been hijacked, no US ships have been hijacked, which are present in large numbers, in fact, under US policing such attacks have been conducted.

The United States Central Command set up the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA), a specified patrol zone in the Gulf of Aden in August 2008. Its borders although unmarked are a narrow, rectangular corridor between Somalia and Yemen, within the Northern sector of the gulf. From this is would seem the US is working to construct a permanent base in the Gulf of Aden to protect its interests in Africa and is using the inability of the Yemen regime to deal with its domestic issues to justify its presence in such an important waterway. A senior French military official stated in the Asharq Alawsat on the 28th October 2008 "by deploying its forces in Djibouti, America aims to ensure its permanent presence in the horn of Africa in the hotbeds of conflict in Yemen, Somalia and even Sudan."

In conclusion is appears the launching of US attacks in Yemen fit within US aims to control the Gulf of Aden after failing to defeat the Somali regime and due to America's general strategic interests in Africa. Like the Sudanese government's inability to deal with what was in origin tribal differences over land the US intervened and used the conflict to achieve its aim of controlling Sudan's oil wealth. It seems the US is using the Yemeni's regime's inability to deal with its domestic problems to meddle in its affairs and establish a permanent presence in the strategic waterways of the Aden.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Freedom to Speak

The freedom to speak is an enshrined value of the Western world. Something they pride themselves on and wish to promote in the Muslim world. So when the Danish cartoons happened, it was the freedom of speech debate which took centre stage. When the film Fitnah was created it was all protected by this freedom of speech value. One should be able to criticise and debate ideas, with openness as this is what creates a society which thinks about what it believes in, and questions it. So questioning the Islamic traditions in fitnah was the freedom to question and probe. Depicting the Prophet SAW as a terrorist was all about questioning the place of Islam and the Prophet SAW.

Therefore one would hope that the ability to question and debate the values embedded in the society all around us would be encouraged, urged. However the recent war on terror in Britain has set quite a different standard for Muslims, when it comes to their ability to speak and debate freely. If Muslims voice their different views about politics, society and question the norms which people swallow as universal around them, freedom of speech suddenly has no place for them. If Muslims believe that the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan is fully legitimate, as these lands have been bombed and destroyed, masses killed without any type of consent of the people, then are we supporters of terrorism? Because we believe in the self-determination of a people who are in the hands of foreign occupation? Did not Britain fight back during the Blitz? Did they welcome the bombing of their cities and embrace the Germans with open hands? Would we call those who assisted in the war effort to counter the blitz, insurgents and terrorists, simply because they wanted sovereignty in their own land?

What about those who believe the values of the people of the Muslim world should shape the way they live. The Muslim world should be allowed to let their way of life manifest itself in society and wiithin the state. Is this barbaric, backward if they want to live by the just Economic system of Islam, which distributes the wealth of the state to the poor, instead of letting the rich and elite accumulate it? A system which provides stability putting the interests of the people first, above the speculative markets? What about if they want their social values to manifest in society so that men and women maintain a respect towards each other instead of being encouraged to sexualise one another? So that family units are sanctified over individual's freedom to run after desires and temptations. Is this extremism? As if you call for a Caliphate, the Khilafah system, for the Muslim world, believing that democracy only perpetuates tyranny of man, allowing corruption of power and wealth; you have rejected the values of the West and have gone to far for this society.

But is this not the West who prides itself on the debate of ideas and values? Is this not the West who encourages people who criticise and discuss what leads to better societies? More harmonious societies?

Questions. Questions. No one seems to really answer. The problem is, the Government today, the prospective Conservative Government today is banding around alot of what will never be allowed. Extremism will never be allowed in British society, terrorism will never be allowed in British society and as Cameron has promised, he will ban Islamic groups who call for such terrorism once he comes to power. But Cameron has been quick to shove the debate about productive values in a very broken society which he wishes to mend, under the carpet. As these Islamic groups are those who are not and have never been engaged in any type of violent extremism, but have always been at the forefront of speaking out against colonisliam, occupation and the ability for Islam to solve the broken problems of society in the Muslim world. They want to discuss what values could potentially mend a society broken socially, economically and politically. So clearly Cameron's promise to ban such groups essentially means the promise to ban discussion and debate about values in society and silence those who actually think and don't just adopt the status quo blindly - That democracy is supreme. Rather maybe Cameron could stop to think - The reasons why some Muslims believe and call so wholeheartedly for Islamic law in the Muslim world, is because they wish more than anything for justice to return to our world today, the ceasing of the rich usurping the poor, and the powerful oppressing the weak. Something he could actually learn from maybe?


Views on the News - 11-12-2009

Sarkozy tells Muslims to hide their faith

Nicolas Sarkozy stoked the debate over immigration today with a warning to Muslims to practise their religion discreetly or face rejection by moderate Islam in France. The President voiced sympathy for Swiss voters who opted last week to ban minarets as he tried to reassert himself in a debate over national identity which he launched last month. In a column for Le Monde, Mr Sarkozy said that the result of the Swiss referendum showed how important it was for France to define its identity. "Instead of condemning the Swiss out of hand, we should try to understand what they meant to express and what so many people in Europe feel, including people in France," he wrote. "Nothing would be worse than denial." Addressing himself to Muslims, he wrote that anything that could appear as a challenge to France's Christian heritage and republican values would "doom to failure" a moderate Islam in France. Opinion polls show rising unease over the population of 6 million Muslims. A survey last week found that 46 per cent favoured banning minarets, with 40 per cent against. More than 40 per cent opposed building any mosques, compared with only 19 per cent in favour. France has 64 mosques with minarets but only seven are deemed to be full height, according to Brice Hortefeux, the Interior Minister.

Record number of Americans receive state food hand outs

A record 37.2 million people, or about one out of every eight Americans, received food stamps in September, as the recession drove a surging jobless rate, according to a government report. Recipients of the subsidy for retail-food purchases climbed 18 percent from a year earlier, according to a statement posted today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Web site. Participation has set records for 10 straight months. The government boosted food aid as unemployment soared, heading to a 26-year high of 10.2 percent in October. The jobless rate cooled to 10 percent last month, the Labor Department said on Dec. 4. "We've been working to get that money out the door" to families that need assistance, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said last week in an interview.

Canadian Newspaper Calls for Global Population Reduction Policy

Diane Francis, writing for Canada's Financial Post, begins an editorial by declaring a myth - the world is over-populated. "The ‘inconvenient truth' overhanging the UN's Copenhagen conference is not that the climate is warming or cooling, but that humans are overpopulating the world," she writes. "A planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days."

Karzai wants crusaders to stay till 2024

President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that Afghanistan would not be able to pay for its own security until at least 2024, underscoring his government's long-term financial dependence on the United States and NATO even as President Obama has pledged to begin withdrawing American troops in 2011. "For another 15 to 20 years, Afghanistan will not be able to sustain a force of that nature and capability with its own resources," Mr. Karzai said, referring to the force required to secure the entire country. The price of building up Afghan forces to take over significant security duties could be enormous. Some estimates say it will take up to $50 billion over five years to increase army and police rolls to 400,000, the level sought by General McChrystal. At the news conference, Mr. Gates held out the possibility that a future improvement in Afghanistan's finances would defray some of the costs. "Whether that is 15 or 20 years, we'll hope for accelerated economic development in Afghanistan," he said, adding that "as the Afghan economy expands, then the proportion of the costs of supporting the Afghan security forces will diminish."

Zardari loots Pakistanis to a tune of $1.5 billion

The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has assets of $1.5 billion (£920 million) around the world, according to the country's main anti-corruption body. A report by the National Accountability Bureau said that the wealth accumulated by Mr Zardari was "beyond his means". It said Mr Zardari allegedly owned properties and bank accounts in several countries, including Britain, the US and Spain. In 1996 he allegedly bought a $4 million, 355-acre estate in Surrey. Investigators said that most of Mr Zardari's fortune was made during his wife Benazir Bhutto's two terms in office as Prime Minister in the 1990s. They alleged that the money had come from kickbacks and commissions on government deals. The report was given to the Supreme Court as it deliberated over a proposed amnesty for the country's leaders. The amnesty, brokered by the US and Britain, was introduced by former President Pervez Musharraf.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Politics: An Integral Part of Islam

Recently, Saudi Arabia's interior minister warned the pilgrims that they should not involve politics in Hajj. The current rulers in the Muslim lands are attempting to prevent Muslims from gathering and discussing issues and ideas which are pertinent to the future of the Ummah. Politics which is the act of "taking care of the affairs of the Ummah according to Shar'a rulings" is an integral part of Islam. We must take it upon ourselves to reclaim Islam and discuss the issues affecting the Muslim Ummah in all gatherings.

Prior to the commencement of Hajj, Saudi authorities were warning pilgrims not to stage any protests during the ritual. Saudi Arabia's interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz said, "It is not permitted to undertake any actions which are not part of the ritual... and we will not permit anyone to damage the hajj or the pilgrims."

Hajj is an amazing journey where Muslims have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with Allah سبحانه وتعالى. It is also an event where Muslims from every corner of the earth gather together as one Ummah to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood. Today, the pilgrims are grouped according to the nation states they belong to. Furthermore, Muslims are not given an opportunity to bond with each other, by getting to know one another and discuss our condition as Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed:

إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا

"We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other." [Al-Hujraat, 49:13]

Obstructing the Ummah: Hajj and Beyond

The discouragement of Muslims gathering and discussing the affairs of the Ummah is not only seen at the time of Hajj. Rather, this is a recurring theme throughout the Muslim world. Rulers regularly prevent Muslims from gathering and discussing issues and ideas which are pertinent to the future of the Ummah. Such preventions are usually enforced with great hostility and aggression:

• Palestine - In November 2007, 36-year-old Hisham Baradi died in a hospital after Palestinian police shot him in cold blood. According to reports, riot police and other security forces moved in on members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir as soon as they left masjids in the cities of Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron aiming to march in non-violent demonstrations planned against the treacherous Annapolis Conference attended by Abbas and other Arab rulers.

• Turkey - In July of this year, KöklüDeğişim Magazine organized a Khilafah conference in Istanbul. Two weeks prior to the conference, the organizers received permission from the Governor of Istanbul and notified him of the speakers along with a summary of their speeches. On the day of the conference - in the early morning - the Turkish police arrested (without any resistance) 200 speakers and attendees which led to the cancellation of the conference.

• Bangladesh - In September of this year, Muslims in Bangladesh organized a peaceful rally outside the national masjid after Jummah prayers calling for the re-establishment of the Khilafah and a unified Muslim Army. The rally, which was attended by several thousand Muslims was prevented by the police. Furthermore, they arrested 30 Muslim activists.

• Pakistan - In October of this year, 30 members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir were arrested in Islamabad while they were having a seminar in a residential home.

Islam: A Complete Way of Life

Islam is more than a mere set of rituals; rather it is a complete way of life. Islam does not confine the relationship between man and his Creator to his personal sphere. Instead, Islam properly recognizes that man needs guidance from Allah سبحانه وتعالى in all affairs, especially in the matters of siyasah (politics), which is "taking care of the affairs of the Ummah according to Shar'a rulings". As such, it is part of our Deen to be concerned with the affairs of our brothers and sisters across the world. Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

"The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy." [Al-Hujraat, 49:10]

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "You will see the believers in their mutual kindness, love and sympathy just like one body. When a limb complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever." [Muslim & Bukhari]

The ayah and hadith make it clear that it is part of our Deen to be concerned about the Ummah. Just as our hearts fill with joy when we see our brothers and sisters in their success, we are also overwhelmed with sadness and pain when we see their hardship and suffering. As a result, it is only natural that when we meet our fellow Muslims - be it at Hajj or after prayer at the masjid - that we discuss our problems and the solutions on how to resolve them.

Siyasah in the Gatherings of Muslims

When we look to the example of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahabah (ra), we see that the Muslims gathered and engaged in siyasah (politics) be they in Hajj, or outside of Hajj.

In the Hujat-al-Wada sermon which occurred during the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم Hajj, RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم discussed many issues that concern the affairs of Muslims including the property of a Muslim, riba, the obligations of men towards women and the equality of all Muslims with the exception of their Taqwa.

The masjid itself (which today is known only as a place of Juma, Jamat, Qiyamul-Layl and maybe some Islamic education) used to be the center of all activities. During the time of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم it was a place to congregate and discuss the affairs of the Ummah. For example, the news of Zayd (ra), Jafar (ra) and Abdullah ibn Rawaha (ra) being martyred at the Battle of Mua'ta was relayed to the Muslims by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in the masjid while he was on the minbar.

After the death of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and prior to burying his body - an action which Shar'a requires urgency - the Sahabah (ra) gathered, discussed and debated as to who should be the leader of all Muslims. It was after heated discussions that Abu Bakr (ra) was nominated as the Khaleefah. Only after the appointment of Abu Bakr (ra) was the body of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم buried.

During the Khilafat of Abu Bakr (ra) the tribes in the Arabian Peninsula apostatized and rebelled against the Islamic State. He then gathered the Sahabah (ra) in the masjid to discuss whether the Muslims should declare war on the apostates and rebels. When Umar (ra) was the Khaleefah, he used to meet the Wulaa (governors) during Hajj to discuss their activities and any issues of the Muslims in the region.

We can also see throughout the Islamic history stories of how the Ummah would not let any wrong pass by their eyes without correcting it even if it was the doing of a governor or the Khaleefah himself. Those in authority did not respond by imprisoning, suppressing or torturing these people rather they were quick to correct themselves as they understood the great responsibility and accountability they had before Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

When Umar (ra) was the Khaleefah, he received some cloth and distributed it equally amongst the Muslims by giving them one piece each. When he was on the minbar it was apparent that he was wearing 2 pieces of cloth. Immediately, Salman al-Farsi (ra) said, "By Allah, we will not hear you, because you prefer yourself to your people." At this point Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) explained that he gave his father his cloth. Salman al-Farsi (ra) responded by saying: "Now we shall hear you."

In another incident, Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan who was a governor ordered a person to sell a silver utensil received from the spoils of war for payment to the soldiers who went out in battle. The news of (this state of affairs) reached Ubada bin Samit (ra) and he stood up and said, "I heard Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم forbidding the sale of gold by gold, and silver by silver, and wheat by wheat, and barley by barley, and dates by dates, and salt by salt, except like for like and equal for equal. So he who made an addition or who accepted an addition (committed the sin of taking) interest." So the people returned what they had received. This reached Mu'awiya and he stood up to deliver an address. He said, "What is the matter with people that they narrate from the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم such tradition which we did not hear though we saw him and lived in his company?" Thereupon, Ubada bin Samit (ra) stood up and repeated that narration, and then said, "We will definitely narrate what we heard from Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم though it may be unpleasant to Mu'awiya. I do not mind if I do not remain in his troop in the dark night."

Seeking Solutions

The Ummah is seeking solutions to the problems that are currently plaguing it. The Muslims are growing tired of insincere rulers who would rather host a concert with scantily clad women than permit our Muslim sisters to wear the niqab at universities, as has happened in Egypt. It is fear that drives these despotic rulers to try their utmost to clamp down on any sincere gathering of Muslims working to free the Ummah of the problems that ail it. They are aware that they are sitting on borrowed thrones which do not rightfully belong to them, but rather belong to a sincere leader who will rule only by what Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed and fear no one but Him. It is only then that we can see this great Ummah return to the state that it was. Insha-Allah we will again see rulers who follow the method of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and fulfil their covenant towards Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the Ummah.

With ample evidence that all of Islam was discussed and that there was no separation between the rituals and other aspects of Islam we must take it upon ourselves to reclaim Islam from the treacherous rulers. By obeying only the commands and prohibitions of Allah سبحانه وتعالى we must return Islam back to the norm by making Muslim gatherings such as Hajj, the masjid and even family gatherings an arena to discuss the current affairs of the Muslim Ummah.

May Allah سبحانه وتعالى replace the current rulers with one who will work with the Ummah to resolve our issues in a manner that is pleasing to Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَـئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللّهُ إِنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

"The believers, men and women, are Auliya' of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma‘ruf, and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar; they perform As-Salat, and give the Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise." [At-Tawba, 9:71]

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Views on the News - 4-12-2009

America to collapse in 2010
Russian Professor Igor Panarin says that events are continuing to confirm his doomsday prediction first made over 10 years ago, that the United States will completely collapse like the Soviet Union before the end of 2010, and warns that the chaos could begin to unfold in as little as two months. Panarin, doctor of political sciences and professor of the Russian Diplomatic Academy Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told journalists during the unveiling of his new book that President Obama has done nothing to forestall the fast approaching crisis. "Obama is "the president of hope", but in a year there won't be any hope," said Panarin. "He's practically another Gorbachev - he likes to talk but hasn't really managed to do anything. Gorbachev at least had been a secretary of a regional communist party administration, whereas Obama was just a social worker. His mentality is totally different. He's a nice person and talks nicely - but he's not a leader and will take America to a crash. When Americans understand that - it will be like a bomb explosion."

Muslims should pull their money out of Swiss bank accounts
Muslims should consider withdrawing their money from Swiss bank accounts in response to the country's ban on construction of minarets, a Turkish minister said. "I am certain this (vote) will prompt our brothers from Muslim countries who keep their money and investments in Swiss banks to review their decision," said Egemen Bagis, cited by Turkish daily Zaman. Bagis is the chief negotiator for Turkey's European Union accession as well as minister for European affairs.

Dubai's prime companies declared junk
International ratings agency Standard & Poor's said it had cut the credit ratings of six Dubai government-linked companies. S&P said it had taken the move after the likelihood of extraordinary support from the Dubai government appeared "low" after the emirate indicated it would not guarantee the debt of Dubai World currently at $59 billion, its flagship conglomerate. The six Dubai government-related entities (GREs) lowered to junk status were DP World, DIFC Investments, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority, Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group and Emaar Properties PJSC. Their credit ratings remain under surveillance and could be downgraded further, the agency said.

French troops bribe Taliban in exchange for safety
French troops deployed in Afghanistan are attempting to bribe Taliban fighters not to attack them, a senior Taliban leader has told Al Jazeera. In an interview, Saif-Allah Jalili, the Taliban commander of the Kabul district, said on Monday that his men have been offered gifts and money by the French soldiers in order to persuade the fighters not to engage their forces. "The French in Sorubi [in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan] tried to send gifts to Taliban fighters and offered them a lot of money in return for not launching attacks targeting the French troops," Jalili said. "But Taliban fighters replied by rejecting everything and by strongly demanding the departure of the French troops and all other troops from our country, which they invaded by force," he said. The Taliban claim comes only a month after Italian troops in the same area were accused of paying off Taliban fighters to keep the area calm.

Obama's new strategy points to an expansions of America's war against Pakistan
Obama's Afghan strategy is quickly turning into an official proclamation of war on Pakistan. ‘What happens in Pakistan ... will do more to determine the outcome in Afghanistan than any increase in troops or shift in strategy,' said Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Opening a hearing on Afghan strategy, Kerry, a Democrat, said that it is the ‘presence of al-Qaida in Pakistan, its direct ties to and support from the Taliban in Afghanistan and the perils of an unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan that drive our mission'. Sen. Richard Lugar, the committee's top Republican, chimed in, saying the president and his administration ‘must justify their plan not only on the basis of how it will affect Afghanistan, but also on how it will impact our efforts to promote a much stronger alliance with Pakistan.' Lugar said ‘it is not clear how an expanded military effort in Afghanistan addresses the problem of Taliban and al-Qaida safe havens across the border in Pakistan.' Both Gates and Mullen sought to underscore the threat that al-Qaida poses in Pakistan, which maintains its own arsenal of nuclear weapons. Gates said he considered the dangers to be greater than they were 18 months ago because al-Qaida has become ‘deeply involved' with Taliban forces operating inside Pakistan that are trying to destabilize the government there. Mullen said al-Qaida's pursuit of nuclear weapons and interest in Pakistan is ‘extraordinarily dangerous.'

4th December 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Chapter 6: The Legal Ruling [al-Hukm al-Shar’i]

The following is the draft english translation from the Usul Al-Fiqh masterpiece of the Arabic book الشخصية الاسلاميَة الجزء الثالث (The Islamic Personality Volume 3 ) by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani. Please refer to the original Arabic for accurate meanings.

Allah addresses the legally responsible persons [mukallafīn] with the entirety of the Islamic Shari’ah, comprising both its foundations and branches, that is, the beliefs and the rules related to actions. However the science of Usūl al-Fiqh is not concerned with the foundations (beliefs). Rather it is concerned with the branches (legal rulings related to actions). Further it is concerned with the legal rulings related to actions from the perspective of the bases upon which the rulings are built, not from the perspective of the various rules and issues a ruling contains. Hence it is necessary to appreciate the reality of the legal ruling [hukm shar’i] when studying the legal evidences.

The scholars of usūl have defined the legal ruling as ‘the address of the legislator related to the actions of the servants in terms of compulsion [iqtidā’], choice [takhyīr], or declaration [wad’].

The legislator is Allah, the Exalted, and hence the ‘address of the legislator’ means the address of Allah. Further, although the address of Allah directs the listener towards certain rules and principles, the address is the original meaning itself not what it directs towards. Thus the very meaning which the words and compounds denote is the address.

The reason for using ‘the address of the legislator’ instead of ‘the address of Allah’ is to include the Sunnah and the Ijma’ al-Sahabah, both of which also signify the address of Allah. The use of ‘the address of Allah’ may give the wrong impression that the Qur’an alone is intended; yet the Sunnah too is revelation and as such is the address of the legislator, and the Ijma’ al-Sahabah reveals an evidence from the Sunnah so it too is the address of the legislator.

The reason for using actions of the ‘servants’, instead of ‘mukallifīn’ is so as to include the rulings related to the child and the insane like the zakat due on their wealth.

The meaning of the legal ruling being related to compulsion [iqtidā’] is its being related to a request [talab], because the meaning of the word iqtidā’ is talab. The request is of two types: the request to act, and the request to abstain. If the request to act is decisive [jāzim] then it denotes the obligation [ījāb, fard], and if it is non-decisive then it denotes the recommendation [mandūb, sunnah, nāfilah]. If the request to abstain is decisive then it denotes the prohibition [tahrīm, hadhr], and if it is non-decisive then it denotes the reprehensibility [karahah]. As for choice [takhyīr] it denotes the permissibility.

As for the address of declaration [wad’], or the address related to the action of the servants in terms of declaration, then it is the making of a thing a cause [sabab] or preventative factor [mani’] etc. like the sunset being the necessitating factor for the presence of the prayer, and thereby being the cause [sabab] of prayer, and like the impurity being a preventative factor for prayer. Hence these things, whilst they are signs [‘alamah] for the rulings, they are also rulings in their own right. Allah has made the moving of the Sun from its zenith [zawāl] the sign for the presence of Dhuhr, and the presence of impurity a sign for the invalidity of prayer. There is no meaning to the zawāl being necessitating except its being a request to perform the prayer, nor is there a meaning to the impurity invalidating except its being a request to abstain from impurity. As such these things in their reality are an address from the Legislator.

Hence the definition of the hukm shar’i as ‘the address of the legislator related to the actions of the servants’ is both comprehensive and exclusive [jāmi mani’]. With its reference to the relation to compulsion or choice it covers the five rulings: wājib, mandub, harām, makruh, mubah, and by its reference to the declaration it covers the sabab, shart, mani’, sahih, batil, fāsid, rukhsah and azimah. On the basis of this definition the address of the Legislator is of two types: the address of responsibility [khitab al-taklīf] and the address of declaration [khitab al-wad’].

Monday, November 30, 2009

Are the contracts, transactions and court verdicts before the establishment of the Khilafah considered valid?

The contracts and transactions that were concluded, together with the courts' verdicts that were confirmed and executed before the establishment of the Khilafah are considered valid between their parties till the end of their execution before the Khilafah. Judiciary in the Khilafah would not repeal them and nor start them again. No new lawsuits would be accepted regarding them after the establishment of the Khilafah.

Two cases would be excluded of that:

1. If the case that was confirmed and its execution was finished still have a continuous effect that contradicts Islam.

2. If the case relates to somebody that hurt Islam and Muslims.

The evidence for not repealing the contracts, transactions and lawsuits that were confirmed and whose implementation finished before the establishment of the Khilafah, and nor raising them again in other than the above mentioned two cases is that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم did not return back after the conquest of Makkah to his house from which he emigrated.

Uqayl ibn Abi Talib had, according to the laws of Quraish, inherited the houses of his relatives that embraced Islam and emigrated. He had disposed of them and sold them, including the house of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم. It was said at that time to the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم: "In which house are you going to stay?" He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Has Uqayl left any of our houses?" [Bukhari, Sahih, #3058]

In another narration, he said: "Did Uqayl leave to us any house?" He had then sold the houses of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, but the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم did not repeal them. The hadith is reported by Al-Bukhari through Usama ibn Zayd, he said: "That he said on the day of the conquest, ‘O Messenger of Allah, where do you want to stay tomorrow?' The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, ‘Did Uqayl leave us any house?'" [Bukhari, Sahih, #3058].

It was also narrated that when Abu Al-‘As ibn Al-Rabi' embraced Islam and emigrated to Al-Madinah, his wife Zainab had then embraced Islam and emigrated after Badr, while he remained Mushrik in Makkah, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم returned to him his wife, without renewing her marriage contract to him. This was recognition of the marriage contract concluded at Jahiliyyah time. Ibn Majah reported through Ibn Abbas (ra): "That the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم sent back his daughter, i.e. Zainab to Abu Al-‘As ibn Al-Rabi' after two years based on her first marriage contract". [Tirmidhi, Sunan, #1142]

With regard to raising the lawsuits that have continuous effect contradictory to Islam, the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم had cancelled the usury left to Abbas on the people after they came to the Islamic State, and only gave their actual capital. This means after dar ul-Islam, the usury left upon them would become cancelled usury. Abu Dawud narrated through Suleiman ibn Amru from his father, he said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم say in the farewell pilgrimage:

"Behold! Any usury from the days of Jahiliyyah is cancelled. You are only entitled of your capitals, where you do not wrong (others) and nor are you wronged."

Moreover, those who were married to more than four wives according to the laws of Jahiliyyah were obliged after dar ul-Islam to hold to four only. Al-Tirmidhi reported through Abdullah ibn ‘Umar that Ghaylan ibn Salamah Al-Thaqafi embraced Islam while having ten wives in Jahiliyyah, and they embraced Islam together with him. "The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم commanded him to choose four of them."

Therefore, the contracts that have continuous effect contradictory to Islam, such effects are removed after the establishment of the Khilafah. This removal is obligatory.

If for example a Muslim woman was married to a Christian before Islam, then after the establishment of the Khilafah this contract is cancelled in accordance with the rules of shara.

In regards to starting lawsuits related to those who harmed Islam and the Muslims, this is permitted because the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, when he conquered Makkah declared the blood of some people to be shed with impunity as they used to harm Islam and Muslims in Jahiliyyah. He asked that their blood be shed even if they hung themselves to the curtains of the Ka'bah. This is despite the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم saying: "Islam removes that which comes before it", as narrated by Ahmad and Tabarani from Amr ibn Al-As. This means the one that harmed Islam and Muslims are excluded from this hadith.

Since the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم forgave some of them later on, such as his forgiving to Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl, therefore the Khalifah is allowed to start a lawsuit against these or forgive them. This applies to those who used to torture Muslims for saying the truth or those who defamed Islam. The hadith: "Islam removes that which comes before it", [Ahmad, Musnad, 4/199] does not apply to them, for they are excluded of it, and a case is started against them according to the view of the Khalifah.

In other than these two cases the contracts concluded before the establishment of the Khilafah, together with the transactions and lawsuits are not cancelled and nor started as long as they were confirmed and their implementation finished before the establishment of the Khilafah.

Thus, if a man for example was sentenced with two years of imprisonment for a charge of breaking the doors of a school, and he finished the two years before the establishment of the Khilafah and he left the prison. Then after the establishment of the Khilafah he wanted to start a case against the one that imprisoned him for that charge because he views that he did not deserve imprisonment. Such a case is not accepted, because it happened, and a sentence was given for it and its implementation finished before the establishment of the Khilafah. He has to refer this matter to Allah سبحانه وتعالى, anticipating reward from Him سبحانه وتعالى.

If however, this man was sentenced for ten years, of which two had finished, and the Khilafah was established; in this case the Khalifah is allowed to examine the case, either by cancelling the sentence of punishment from its origin, thus letting him come out of the prison as free of the charge, or to be satisfied with the period he already spent, and he comes out of the prison. It is also possible to study the remaining time of the sentence taking into consideration the relevant divine rules and the interest of the citizens, particularly the issues related to the rights of the people, such that it removes the discord.

The above chapter is taken from the book:

The Institutions of State in the Khilafah in Ruling and Administration

(A translation of Ajhiza Dawlat-al-Khilafah)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Views on the News - 25-11-2009

Europeans debate on how best coerce Muslim integration

In future an immigrant arriving in Germany and wishing to stay may have to sign an "integration contract". That is the idea of the Integration Minister, Maria Boehmer.

The contract would set out basic German "values," including "freedom of speech" and "equal rights for women". The idea behind this is the club: if you join you have to accept the rules. "Anyone who wants to live here for a long time," says the minister, "and who wants to work has to say 'yes' to our country". In different forms ideas like this are surfacing across Europe. The concern is that significant parts of European cities exist as "parallel societies".

The French are currently debating national identity and emphasizing "core values". The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has said that all beliefs are respected in France, but "becoming French means adhering to a form of civilisation, to values, to morals".

Britain, too, has introduced citizenship tests. Migrants have to take language and citizen classes designed to help them integrate better. Only the other day Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that "British people want to be assured that newcomers will accept the responsibilities as well as the rights that come with living here, obeying the law, speaking English, and making contributions". In Switzerland this weekend voters will be asked to decide whether to ban the construction of minarets. So on the European continent there is a strong debate on best to integrate Muslims and all indications are that the situation will only get tougher for them.
Britain's Islamaphobia on the rise: Sikh to become first non-white BNP member

The British National Party (BNP) has lined up its first non-white member - an Asian man who hates Muslims. Sikh Rajinder Singh is desperate to join the BNP when its whites-only membership rule is dropped. The activist hates Muslims and blames them for the death of his dad during the partition of India more than 60 years ago. The ex-teacher, who is in his 70s, has supported the BNP for almost 10 years and appears in their publicity material. He is now poised to become their first ethnic minority member after the leadership started the process of dropping a ban on non-whites. Members will vote on the move after the Human Rights Commission threatened the party with legal action if they did not change the policy. Communications officer Martin Wingfield wrote on its website: "Give the brave and loyal Rajinder Singh the honour of becoming the first ethnic minority member of the BNP."
Ahmadinejad contradicts Western account over Iran 's nuclear programme

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday the proposal to give part of Iran's uranium to Russia and France in exchange for enriched uranium came from his country not the West. At a press conference after his meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Ahmadinejad said Western powers had given a false account of what happened to the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, covering up the fact that Tehran made the initiative. The plan submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran would send about 70 percent of its low-grade enriched uranium to Russia and France, where it would be turned into fuel rods for an Iranian reactor to produce nuclear energy. He claimed Iran has the right to enrich uranium to a purity of 20 percent. He sent letters to the governments of Russia and the United States indicating his readiness to buy enriched fuel from other countries.
US in back-channel talks with Afghan Taliban

After fighting a bloody war in Afghanistan for more than eight years, the United States appears to have undertaken a re-think of its policy and has started engaging the Taliban in negotiations through Saudi and Pakistani intelligence agencies, highly-placed sources told Dawn News on Monday. ‘We have started ‘engagement' with the Afghan Taliban and are hopeful that our efforts will bear fruit,' a source involved in secret negotiations told dawn news. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that the United States is open to the prospect of Afghan government peace talks with elements of the Taliban, but she advised Kabul officials to proceed cautiously.

The Obama administration is giving a cautious nod of approval to possible peace contacts between the Kabul government and Taliban factions, as it nears a decision on whether to add as many as 40,000 troops to the Afghan war effort. A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that the Afghan leader, newly sworn in to a second term in office, might invite Taliban elements and other militant opponents of the government to a Loya Jirga, or grand council meeting, aimed at bringing peace and reconciliation to the war-torn country.

Senior leaders of BJP implicated in the destruction of the Babari Masjid

This week angry Indian parliamentarians forced the adjournment of sessions at the Lok Sabha after a local newspaper printed leaked excerpts of a judicial report into the destruction of the Babri Masjid by Hindu activists in 1992. The leaked portions, published in the Indian Express claimed that leaders of the Bharatiya Janata party, the Hindu nationalist opposition, had played a part in a carefully planned operation to storm the mosque, which Hindu activists claimed sat upon the birthplace of Lord Ram.

Among those mentioned were Atal Behari Vajpayee, the former prime minister, and Lal Krishna Advani, the leader of the opposition.Mr Advani accused the Congress-party led government of deliberately leaking selected parts of the report to skew its interpretation and demanded that the full report be tabled in parliament immediately. The demolition of the Babri Masjid remains a divisive issue in India. In the run-up to parliamentary elections this year, Mr Singh attacked his rival Mr Advani, blaming him for sectarian violence including the destruction of the Babri Masjid and the 2002 Gujarat riots that cost the lives of about 2,000 Muslims.

25th November 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

India's Deluge of Challenges

This Article is written by Brother Adnan Khan

The Western world for over a century has dominated economic development and has managed to even define development as the path they undertook to achieve progress. Like China, India has been analysed by economists, geopolitical experts, intelligence agencies and futurologists. India today is recognised as a BRIC nation, a nation rapidly developing due to embracing global Capitalism. It has become difficult to not notice India whether this is its successful unmanned lunar mission, the creation of the world's cheapest car - the Tata Nano, or the acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover by the same company or the fact that India is home to many of the worlds call centers. Combined with the development of nuclear weapons and a population of 1.2 billion with a workforce of 500 million, for many India has all the ingredients to become a future power. Commentators have praised India's membership of the global free market and the Indian development model is being hailed as another success story of Capitalism. This article will chart India's development and asses the prospects of India becoming a world power and outline the lessons that can be learnt - if any, from India's development.

Indian progress: Past and Present

After partition India implemented a number of 5 year plans along Socialist lines in order to achieve economic development and prosperity. By aligning with the USSR during the cold war, technology flowed India and the territories of the USSR become India's key export market. Until the liberalisation drive in the 1990's India's economy was termed ‘licence raj,' this was the elaborate licenses, regulations and the accompanying red tape that were required to set up and run a businesses in India. India's economy was characterised with protectionism, public ownership and corruption.

It was the fall of the Soviet Union that forced India to change its direction. The collapse of the Soviet Union, which was India's major trading partner, caused an economic crisis. At the same time the Gulf war also led to oil price rises, causing a financial crisis and forcing India to turn to the IMF. India was given a $1.8 billion bailout loan from IMF, which in return required many stringent reforms. For nearly 50 years successive Indian leaders closed the Indian economy to the outside world, the IMF demanded India to open its 1 billion domestic market. With strong rhetoric directed towards India by the US administration due to the stalemate on Kashmir, Narasimha Rao began the liberalisation of the Indian economy allowing foreign multinational companies to enter the Indian market and heralding India's embracement of the global Capitalism.

The liberalisation, privatisation and opening of the Indian economy were handed to a finance minister who was at the time an unknown economist - Manmohan Singh, (the current prime minister). Manmohan Singh instituted reforms through opening Indian markets to foreign investment, opening India's capital markets to foreign investment banks, deregulating domestic businesses and reforming the trade regime. Liberalisation got rid of Licence Raj and ended many public monopolies, allowing automatic approval of foreign direct investment in many sectors.

India Today

After nearly 20 years of implementing reforms cities such as Bangalore have risen in prominence and economic importance and have became centers for foreign investment. On the eve of reform India's economy was a mere $317 billion, today the Indian economy has grown to a whopping $1.2 trillion, the 12th largest economy in the world and after China and the world's fastest growing economy.

The liberalisation of India's economy has resulted in India transforming from an economy that was dominated by agriculture to one where the service sector generates 54% of the nations wealth. Business services such as IT and business process outsourcing contribute 33% to the total output of services. Several Indian firms were listed among the top 15 technology outsourcing companies in the world in 2009. The growth in India's IT sector has been a result of increased specialisation and an availability of a large pool of low cost, but highly skilled and educated workers. However the share of India's IT industry to the Indian economy is still relatively small and is currently only 7% of the economy. Annual revenues from outsourcing operations in India currently stand at $60 billion and this is expected to increase to $225 billion by 2020.

India's industry generates 29% of India's wealth but is still dominated by simple household manufacturing. Whilst advances have been made in software development India's industry is still dominated by oligopolies of old family firms who have used political connections to prosper when faced with foreign competition. Government policy is centered on promoting the designing of new products and relying on low labour costs and technology.

Agricultures generates 17% of India's wealth, however it employs the vast majority of India's workforce, 2 out every 3 Indian's work in India's agricultural sector. India is the world's largest agricultural producer after China and produces more Bananas, Sapotas, Milk, Cashew nuts, Coconuts, Tea, Ginger, Turmeric and black pepper than any nation in the world. India has the world's largest cattle population of 193 million and produces 10% of the world's fruit.

Current issues

India will soon be in its 20th year since its liberalisation drive began, it is already well behind the level China reached at the same milestone. India faces many challenges the most critical of these, in order to become a world power, are summarised below:

• - Energy

For any nation to develop a stable and secure supply of domestic energy sources is paramount. India has severe problems in this area, While 80% of Indian villages have at least an electricity line some 600 million Indians have no mains electricity at all, just 44% of rural households have access to electricity. In India's case rising energy demand due to economic development has created a perpetual state of energy crunch. India is poor in oil resources and is currently heavily dependent on coal and foreign oil imports for its energy needs. Although India is rich in certain energy resources which promise future potential such as renewable energy resources like solar, wind and biofuels (jatropha, sugarcane) such sources however are still in their early stage of development and can in no way provide sufficient energy for development of industrial scale.

• - Wealth Distribution

India's development for the last two decades has been anything but equal. The benefits of liberalisation and globalisation are still restricted to certain geographical areas of the country and certain economic sectors. The IT boom is concentrated in the Southern metros of India while the petrochemicals sector is thriving mostly in Gujarat, in western India. Large parts of Northern and Eastern India are severely lagging in economic development. The traditionally poor and populous BIMARU states - Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh - are still largely agrarian economies.

Whilst the Indian economy has grown fourfold over the last two decades, this new wealth has remained in the hands of a small minority of the population. 85% (930 million) of the Indian population lives on less than $2.50 a day, this is more than Sub-Saharan Africa. 75% (822 million) of the Indian population lives on less than $2 a day. 24% (300 million) of the Indian population live on less than $1 a day. This means 41% (444 million) Indians live below the international poverty line of $1.25. 33% of the world's population that lives in poverty resides in India.

• - Infrastructure

For any nation to have any global power projection capabilities it needs to develop domestic infrastructure of roads, ports, electricity grids, water supply and telecoms in order for the nation to move forward and contribute towards progress. Indian infrastructure has come to be characterised with crumbling roads, jammed airports, and power blackouts and rampant corruption in mega projects. Indian technology firm Infosys Technologies Ltd has confirmed that with virtually no mass transit in Bangalore it spends $5 million a year on buses, minivans, and taxis to transport its 18,000 employees to and from its offices and factories. It also confirmed that traffic jams mean workers can spend upwards of four hours commuting each day. India's spending in this area is only $31 billion. India has only 1% of the world's vehicles, but it accounts for 8% of the world's vehicle fatalities. Recent estimates by Goldman Sachs have shown that India will need to spend $1.7 trillion on infrastructure projects over the next decade to deal with its rapid economic development.

India at the same time has many other problems that it will need to overcome if it has any ambitions of becoming a superpower, among these are:

• - 1000 Indian children die of diarrhea sickness every day

• - 40% of children under the age of three are malnourished (underweight)

• - 100,000 villages have never heard a telephone ring

• - According to the World Bank it takes an entrepreneur 35 days to start a business, 270 days to obtain various licenses and permits, 62 days to register a property, nearly 4 years to enforce contracts, and a shocking 10 years to close a business

• - One in every three urban Indians lives in homes too cramped to exceed even the minimum requirements of a prison cell in the US

• - 338 million Indians cannot read or write

A False Dawn

India does not represent a unique or new form of economic development. The adoption of the free market is a tried and tested formula that has failed Africa, Latin America and the Far East. The apparent success stories utilised to prove the success of the free market, such as the Western world, has in reality been due to the leg up provided by national governments. Becoming the world's outsourcing hub will also not stimulate India's huge economy as such a strategy is too narrow to stimulate multiple sectors of the economy, this is why India's infrastructure is in chaos as only those sectors that act as supply lines to outsourcing such as IT have seen development. India's economy is mostly dependent on its large internal market with external trade accounting for less than 15% of the country's GDP. The trend of relying on International trade looks set to increase and as the financial crisis has shown dependency on the global market is a fragile way to construct an economy. This was a similar strategy the Asian tiger economies pursued through the 1980's and 1990's with disastrous results in 1997 in what has come to be known as the Asian Crisis.

Such issues will stop India from ever becoming a global power, India on the other hand has a number of more fundamental challenges that will always hinder it from becoming a global power unless they can be resolved.

• - Politically, India is a hugely fragmented nation with competing factions with varying interests pulling and pushing across various geographical, religious, caste-based and class-based faultlines. Indian politicians have, for most of India's post partition history, utilised the differences for their short term gains never bothering to rise above petty differences and marshal the resources of the nation. The fact that India is the world's largest democracy is a problem not an advantage for India. Parliamentary democracy institutionalises differences and allows parties to be established to protect such interests. This results in most issues lingering into parliamentary deadlock as was seen with the civilian nuclear deal with the US.

• - India has a population of 1.2 billion, with 80% of the population Hindu. However India is a fragmented nation that has been unable to integrate its minorities, this has created a secessionist problem with various factions leading violent campaigns against the Indian government.

India's fundamental problem lies in its identity. Is India a Hindu nation or a secular nation? Secularists are in the minority and have argued against Hindu nationalists who have led mass riots against minorities. Those who have benefited from India's liberalisation have to a large extent been those who believe Hinduism should have no role in governance. If India is a Hindu nation with Hinduism its identity, then this institutionalises the caste system which stratifies India into a system of hereditary groups. Currently India is a mixture of secularism and Hinduism which means the nation cannot move in a unified direction and this is what has caused its secessionist problem as Hinduism cannot deal with people outside such a caste system.

• - To become a word power a nation needs global ambitions. A nation would need to posses a way of life that they are prepared to take to the rest of the world. India has no global ambitions. India was a world power from the 11th to the 18th century, but it was Islam that made India think globally. Today's India has no global ambitions. India has strategic interests, such as Chinese expansion and Pakistani threats, but such interests are not sufficient to become a superpower. Hinduism looks upon India as the homeland and offers a caste system, with no integrated system of governance, economy, foreign relations and judiciary, as a result India's fundamental interest will always come from within - from its endless, shifting array of domestic interests, ethnic groups and powers.

• - Hinduism lacks the characteristics of an ideology and as a result India faces the prospects of being unable to tackle its problems with any consistency. The liberalisation of India has created issues of wealth distribution, food scarcity, and industrial priority. Every time India solves an issue this will create a host of other challenges, in order to face such issues a nation needs to adopt an ideology where solutions are derived from the same basis, be they economic, social, ruling etc. India currently is solving its issues through pragmatic polices and this will only increase the challenges and issues that India will have to deal with.

If India decides to adopt Capitalism as its ideology and take Secularism as its basis than although it will see some development it will also suffer the fate that nations that have already embraced secularism suffer from. India is already showing signs of this. Old age was never a problem in India. Old age homes were alien in concept and elder abuse was considered a Western problem. Not any more. As life expectancy has increased hundreds of old age homes have sprung up in India. The neglect of ones elders has very quickly turned into an endemic issue that the Indian government was forced to address. It has attempted this through ‘the maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens bill 2006.' This made it imperative for adult children to look after their parents. The regions culture is built upon parents being an honour and their neglect, a humiliation. In 1998 there were 728 old age homes in India, today there are more than 1000.


Many analysts have a tendency to look at economic growth and population trends when assessing potential world powers, whilst such indicators may indicate future prospects on their own they show very little in terms of future power. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's Japan was seen as the nation that would replace the US as the worlds superpower due to its rapid economic development and population, this was brought to an abrupt end when its asset bubble burst in 1990.

The real indicator of future prospects is not the resources of a nation, its population size, the technology it posses or geography - although these would be advantages. A potential global power would need to posses global ambitions, this in turn would come from the way of life of a nation or people have embraced. Japan like Germany in the 1930's had global ambitions which came from the belief that they were superior people to the rest of the world, this drove the need to develop and motivated their people to contribute towards the aims of global domination. It took WW2 to stop both nations. Japanese development in the 1970's and 1980's was economic and not political and hence it remained within Japan's borders. Both Japan and Germany have always lacked mineral resources in order to develop but their global ambitions forced them to develop a strategy to overcome such challenges.

In a similar manner Britain and the America on the eve of their development had small populations and lacked the technology to compete with their competitors. Britain's global ambitions of colonising the world, to benefit from their mineral resources, drove them to develop a state of the art navy and turned them into the world's superpower by the turn of the 18th century. American development began through the American Revolution where Briton was expelled as the American people wanted to embrace the unalienable rights of freedom. The belief in ‘manifest destiny' this is the divine belief that the original United States was ordained to conquer the North American continent motivated Americans to work for the territorial expansion Westerward. This in turn led to the US to take Latin America away from European colonisers for its own security. US industrial development was necessary as its small population would have been unable to do the necessary tasks and hence many tasks were mechanised. In the case of Britain and America all challenges were mere obstacles that stood in the way of global aims and just needed to be removed (solved). The adoption of Capitalism unified their societies and motivated them to work towards developing the nation and in turn fulfilling their global ambitions.

The image of an ‘India Shining' post-1991 is not representative or a fully accurate portrayal of a country where over 100,000 villages have never heard a telephone ring. While the economic reforms of the 1990's did much to liberalise and stimulate growth, the direct beneficiaries were more affluent urban dwellers. Whilst India has many challenges to overcome such as its lopsided development, a 1.2 billion population, who constitute a third of the world's poor, with over 70% of Indians living in deprived rural areas, these can be overcome as all the industrialised nations have shown. However solving such issues is the product of progress, at the heart of progress lays a very simple concept of global ambitions which India does not posses. Its way of life - Hinduism does not outline or give an international outlook. Whilst India will build state of the art cars, send many into Space, invent new technologies, achieve self sufficiency and superiority in various fields, this is however something sought by every independent nation, but on its own insufficient to become a superpower.

The one lesson that can be learnt from India's development is that the Muslim Ummah possesses a way of life that gives it global ambitions. It is for this reason the majority of Muslims today reside beyond the original birth place of Islam. The global ambition of taking Islam to the world is why today the majority of the Ummah are not Arabs. If there is one lesson that can be learnt from India's development, that is the fact that the Ummah is a sleeping giant, once it awakens it will again by Allah سبحانه وتعالى permission take it rightful place as the world's superpower.