Saturday, February 28, 2009

Q&A: The apparent disagreement between Karzai & America

The following is a translation of an Arabic Q&A:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Question: Ever since Obama has taken over the new US administration, it is being observed that the statements by some American officials as well as Hamid Karzai indicate a worsening of relations between Karzai and the United States. Put it together with Karzai’s moves towards Russia and China as seen in some of his statements regarding supply of arms to Afghanistan by harnessing the position of Afghanistan as a prominent member of the Shanghai organisation. So, have their relations really soured to the extent that America no longer wants to sustain Karzai anymore either by preventing his nomination or by bringing him down in the coming presidential elections later this year? Or even by assassinating him? Or is it that this whole episode of such statements is a mere façade created by mutual agreement to give the Afghan people the perception that relations between him and the US have soured? Which will make Karzai acceptable to the Afghan people and help him win the elections? Further, can America find a similar agent who will remain a stooge to them, who could that person be?


1. To begin with it must be reminded that the Democratic Party’s policy towards Afghanistan were fundamentally different with respect to the policy of the previous Bush administration. Joseph Biden, the current US vice president was the conspicuous face of the Democratic Party who worked on the Afghanistan and was very critical of the Bush administration’s Afghan policy.

The American newspaper New York Times varied a report about the visit of Joseph Biden and other US Congressmen to Afghanistan in February last year where during the course of the official dinner, they ‘interrogated’ Karzai regarding the rotten advisory mess in his government. Karzai denied any such problem which infuriated Biden so much that he declared: “the dinner time is over” and cut short his visit before schedule!

The same newspaper stated on 8th February, 2009: “The situation has changed for Karzai and Afghanistan as Karzai considers himself unwanted both by his people and Washington.” The paper added: “Indeed Obama considers Karzai as untrustworthy. It also reported Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying: “Karzai presides over the nation of narcotics.” The paper concluded saying: “The Americans regret and fear defeat in their war on Afghanistan, and they perhaps intend to override Karzai and deal directly with the provincial rulers and regional governors.”
However it is clear that the current Obama administration accords top priority to Afghanistan in its foreign policy, it wants a fundamental change in Afghanistan especially because Obama had been focusing on bringing about a change during his elections campaign speeches. Karzai on his part is aware of this reality and realizes that as an American agent, he cannot seek assistance from any other country like Russia or China in order to retain his position and he does not exercise control over any Afghan city and his position hinges on the support of the US armed forces.

2. In it is this context that Karzai’s relations with Russia and China can be understood in their proper perspective which is that these relations are decided and approved by the US to seek these countries support in its war with the Taliban.

As for Russia acceptance of Afghanistan as an honoured member of the Shanghai Organisation, it does not mean that Karzai can afford to be free of America; rather it implies that Russia itself allowed even US agent countries to enter the SCO club (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) to ensure security and peace for the SCO countries. This in itself does not mean that Russia is not trying to gain of influence in countries loyal to the America, rather it implies that it has ruled out any attempts to gain a foothold in Afghanistan, at least in the foreseeable future.

As for the Russia agreeing to supply arms to Afghanistan, and President Medvedev’s letter to Karzai regarding Russia readiness to cooperate with Afghanistan in the defence field, it means that America itself has asked Russia to assist because the Afghan armed forces have Russian weapons which require Russian spare parts.

In fact this was stressed by the Karzai government’s spokesman Humayun Hamid Zadeh who said: “Despite Karzai request to Russia for defence assistance, Afghanistan remains committed to its relations with the NATO and the United States.” He added: “The request to Russia for assistance has a technical angle, the equipments of our armed forces, the aircrafts and armoured tanks are Russian made and we are strategically committed to the NATO and the US.” The spokesman was referring here to the presence Russian made aircrafts in Afghanistan since the Soviet Union’s war with it.

This indicates that Karzai’s relations with Russia are a routine matter and they do not reflect a global conflict…

3. Based on these it can be said that Karzai is aware that his days in Afghanistan are numbered and he also realizes that the Obama administration has taken a decision to bring about a change including him. His recent criticisms are nothing more than theatrics by which he hopes to highlight himself as the real president.

In other words the Obama administration intends to try its luck with a person other than Karzai who has outrun his utility and is no longer suitable for continuing as president.
As for the new face, the Americans will try to find another person more acceptable to the Afghan people than Karzai whom everyone regarded a worthless toy of the Americans.

The popularity of any future Afghan president will depend on his being from the Pashtun lineage because it represents the Afghan majority and it is for this reason that the US will rule out important and popular personalities belonging to the Uzbek, Hazara and Tajik minorities like Younis Qanuni, Qayyum Faheem, the deputy to Ahmad Shah Masood who was killed some years back, or Ismail Khan, the governor of Heart, Rashid Dostum, Burhanuddin Rabbani or any other person from the Northern Alliance who conspired with the Americans to bring down the Taliban in the aftermath of the war in 2001 C.E.

As per the information available until now, it appears that Ali Ahmed Jalali; the former Interior Minster is the Americans’ best bet to replace Karzai in the upcoming elections scheduled for August/September next. This is because first of all he is a Pashtun, then he is a military man; and this is what the Americans want. As for other Pashtun leaders who are in the running for the president’s post, we do not believe that they possess similar qualifications.

However, the political situations and equations change rapidly and it is expected that of the Americans fail to find a suitable replacement for Karzai, the elections may be postponed and Karzai may remain in office until and a suitable and pliable stooge is found. In other words, Karzai’s term is just a matter of time. As for the chance that the US may even kill Karzai in order to eliminate him, it looks far fetched and unlikely since more than being an American stooge, he is a faithful US employee.

In conclusion, what appears to be a confrontation between Karzai and the Obama administration, is nothing more than theatrics designed to give the perception that the post of Afghan president is a real one and he is not a mere puppet.

Finally, we can say that the present Obama administration intends to change its course in Afghanistan which will be different to the direction taken by the Bush administration which failed miserably. A necessary requirement in this change of course is replacing the soiled face of Karzai and with this; the US hopes to improve the grim and deteriorating situation in Afghanistan which will reduce the security pressure on the US and its allies’ armed forces…

16th Safar, 1430 A.H
10th February, 2009 C.E

Arabic Source

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Part 7, The Islamic Rules of Trade - Renting Houses for Residence/Dwelling (Sukna)

Due to the current global financial crisis there is increasing interest in the Islamic Economic System, the most comprehensive book on this topic is 'The Economic System of Islam' by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani. However as people have many questions relating to the Islamic rules of trade we will be posting related extracts from the draft translation of the Fiqh masterpiece 'The Islamic Personality, Volume 2' by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani.


Whoever rents immovable property (house) for residence/dwelling, then he himself can reside therein and he can accommodate anyone else he wants therein if he takes his place because he has the right to receive that which is contracted over by himself or his representative. Whoever resides therein is his representative in receiving what was contracted upon so it is permitted just as if he delegated an (wakeel) agent in taking possession of the sold thing. He has (yasna’) the right to do in the house what is the custom of the tenant (farash) to do beddings furniture, food etc.

However, the tenant cannot accommodate in the house which he rented anyone whose harm would be worse than his own harm upon the house. So he should not accommodate therein one who would harm the house such as bleachers or blacksmiths if the tenant himself is not a bleacher or blacksmith because that is harmful to it, and it is more than the benefit upon which the contract was convened. The contract was concluded upon a benefit which is known for such house, even if by mutual acquaintance, so it is not permitted for him to receive a benefit greater than the one over which the rent contract was concluded.

It is not required in renting the house for accommodation to explicitly state the residence. Rather it is permitted to make the contract unrestricted without being necessary to mention residence nor its description because the house is not rented except for accommodation so there is no need to mention it, and because the variance in accommodation is small, so there is no need to be recorded. He can rent the house to another tenant for the same period of his (own) rent. If the rent occurs upon each month for a known thing (rent), it is not for either of them to annul (it) except after the end of each month. However the tenancy the first month is bound therein due to the unrestricted nature of the contract, because it is known and follows the contract and for it has a known rent. Whichever month after it the contract is bound in it by being involved therein i.e. residence in the house. Once he is involved in, then the entry in is designated, so it becomes valid the first contract. If he was not involved in, or the contract was annulled at the end of the first month, then it is annulled.

Whenever involvement is left in a month, then the renting is not proved in it due to the absence of the contract. If he said, ‘I rented to you my house for twenty months for so much for each month’ it is permitted because the period is known and its rent is known. It is not allowed for either of them to annul the contract in any situation because it is one period. If he rents a house for the period of a year then it appeared to him to annul it before the end of the year, full rent is obliged upon him.

If someone rents his house, it is upon the landlord to complete what would facilitate the tenant to benefit (of it) like delivering the keys for the house, paving the bathroom, making the doors, running of water and all that is required to repair or provide, to facilitate the benefiting with the house. As for what is necessary to use the benefits like delivering the ladder, rope, bucket, the water meter and the electricity meter, these are the duty of the tenant. As for what is necessary for improvement and decoration, these are not obliged on either of them because utilising (the home) is possible without them.

As for whitening the house, bleaching the sink and water-closet, if that was required at the time of renting then it is obliged upon the landlord since this is among what facilitates the utilization, but if they were filled by the tenant’s action, then it is duty upon him to empty them. As for removing the rubbish, then it is duty upon the tenant. If the landlord stipulates upon the tenant in the rent contract to pay the expenses of what the Shar’a obliged upon him of what facilitates the use (of the home), the condition is invalid, for it contradicts the requirement of the contract. Similarly if the tenant were to stipulate upon the landlord to pay the expenses obliged upon the tenant, the condition is invalid as well for it contradicts the contract’s requirement. If the landlord and tenant die, or either of them, the renting remains as it is because renting is a binding contract which is not annulled by as long as the matter contracted upon is sound.

Article 20, Explanation of the Draft Constitution of the Khilafah

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

Article 20:The Muslims reserve the right to account the ruler

It is a duty of sufficiency upon them i.e. (Fardhu Kifaya) . The non-Muslim citizens reserve the right to lodge their complaint against any unfair treatment by the ruler or against any slackness in the implementation of Islam upon them.

The ruler is appointed over the subjects in order to look after their affairs. If he were negligent in this guardianship, he then should be accounted. Although, he will be judged before Allah (swt) and although he will be punished for his negligence or abuse, Allah (swt) has conferred upon the Muslims the right to account him and He (swt) obligated them to undertake this accounting by way of sufficiency (Kifayah). Allah (swt) has made the Ummah the supervisor over the ruler's actions and responsibilities, and He (swt) obligated the Ummah to condemn him if he were to neglect these duties of his, of if he were to be slack in his undertakings.

Muslim reported on the authority of Umm Salama that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

" In the near future, there will be Amirs; you will like their good deeds and dislike their bad deeds; He who sees through their bad deeds is absolved from blame; and he who hates their bad deeds is also safe, but one who approves and imitates them... meaning that he who recognises the bad deeds should change them and he who cannot do so but condemns them with his heart will be safe.

Therefore, the Muslims from among the subjects should account the ruler in order to make him change his ways and they would be sinful if they approved and followed the rulers in the actions that in principle should be disowned. As for the non-Muslims, they are entitled to lodge a complaint against the injustice perpetrated by the ruler, because all types of injustice have been absolutely and categorically forbidden, whether these were perpetrated against Muslims or non-Muslims, because the harming of the Dhimmi has also been forbidden.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
"He who harms a Dhimmi , I am his adversary, and if I am his adversary, I will be against him in the Day of Judgement."

Also, because some specific types of harm have been made forbidden by text, and likewise would be all types of harm.

Abu Dawood extracted from the Hadith pertaining the peace treaty which the Messenger of Allah (saw) signed with the people of Najran that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
"And on condition that no church of theirs is destroyed, no priest is banished. They would also not be coerced away from their faith."

Therefore, if the Dhimmi were wronged of if harm were inflicted upon him by the ruler, he reserves the right to lodge a complaint until the injustice is lifted and the perpetrator is punished. His complaint would be heard in any case, regardless of whether he was right or wrong. It has been reported that Abu Bakr (ra) talked to a Jew called Finhas with the aim of inviting him to Islam, so Finhas said to him: "By Allah o Abu Bakr we are not poor compared to Allah but He is poor compared to us; we do not humble ourselves to Him as He humbles Himself to us; we are independent of Him while He needs us. Were He independent of us He would not ask us to lend Him our money as your master pretends, prohibiting you to take interest and allowing us to. Had he been independent of us He would not have given us interest." Finhas was referring to Allah's (swt) saying:

مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً
"Who is he that will lend to Allah a beautiful loan, which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply many times?" T.M.Q [2-245].

But Abu Bakr was enraged and could not contain his anger; so he hit Finhas hard in the face saying: "By He Who owns my soul, were it not for the treaty between us I would cut your head off you enemy of Allah." Then Finhas complained to the Messenger of Allah (saw) against Abu Bakr, and the Messenger of Allah (saw) listened to his complaint and then asked Abu Bakr about what had happened. Abu Bakr (ra) related to the Messenger of Allah (saw) what Finhas had said, but when he (saw) asked Finhas he denied what he had said about Allah (swt) to Abu Bakr.
Then Allah (swt) revealed the following:

لَقَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَقِيرٌ وَنَحْنُ أَغْنِيَاءُ سَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَالُوا وَقَتْلَهُمُ الْأَنْبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَنَقُولُ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ
"Allah has heard the speech of those who say Allah is poor and we are rich. We shall write what they say and their killing the prophets wrongfully and we shall say, taste the punishment of burning." T.M.Q [3-181].

It is also known that Abu Bakr (ra) was a minister of the Messenger of Allah (saw) i.e. a Delegated Assistant; thus he was a ruler, and Finhas was a covenanter. The Messenger of Allah (saw) heard his complaint against Abu Bakr even though he was in the wrong; and if the complaint is heard from a covenantor, the more reason it should be heard from the Dhimmi, for he is granted the oath of Dhimma.

As for the complaint pertaining the mal-administration of the rules of Islam, Muslims and non Muslims alike are entitled to lodge them. Some Muslims did complain to the Messenger of Allah (saw) against Mu'ath Ibnu Jabal because he used to lengthen the recitation during the Salat. The Messenger of Allah (saw) listened to their complaint and reprimanded Mu'ath to the point where he said to him: "troublemaker." three times. Mu'ath was at the time Wali over Yemen and Imam over his people. This Hadith had several narratives. Therefore, whether the complaint was against him while he was in Yemen or while he was Imam over his own folk, it was nevertheless a complaint against someone appointed by the Messenger of Allah (saw); thus it was complaint against a ruler and a complaint against the mal-administration of the Shari'ah rules; this is so because the Shari'ah rule stipulates that the Imam should be brief in the Salat, for the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

"He who leads people in Salat should be brief."

Therefore, it was a complaint against the abuse of the Shari'ah rule; and just like it was heard from the Muslims pertaining the rule of Salat, the complaint should be heard against all other rules and not just the Salat. Furthermore, the mal-administration of Shari'ah rules is considered an unjust act, i.e. (Mathlama), thus complaint against it is the right of the Muslim and of the Dhimmi, because the Messenger of Allah (saw) is reported to have said:

"And I hope to meet Allah(swt) without having anyone claiming a Mathalma against me."

The word "anyone" in the Hadith includes the Muslim and the Dhimmi, for he (saw) did not say "without having a Muslim", but he said: "without having anyone." These are all the evidences of this article.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Part 6, The Islamic Rules of Trade - Hiring Things

Due to the current global financial crisis there is increasing interest in the Islamic Economic System, the most comprehensive book on this topic is 'The Economic System of Islam' by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani. However as people have many questions relating to the Islamic rules of trade we will be posting related extracts from the draft translation of the Fiqh masterpiece 'The Islamic Personality, Volume 2' by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani.


If the contract was concluded on the benefits of things like hiring houses, animals, cars and the like, then that which is convened on is the benefit of the thing, and estimating of the equivalent wage inevitably requires looking to the thing whose benefit equals the benefit of the hired thing. Whenever hiring of the thing is completed, then the lessee can receive the benefit of the thing which he leased; so if he rented a house, he can reside therein, and if it were an animal or car, then he can ride it. The lessee can rent the hired thing once he possessed it at the same (amount) he hired it or for more or less.

This is because taking possession of the hired thing is equivalent to taking possession of the benefit, with the evidence that he is allowed to dispose of it, so he is allowed to contract it, and because it is a contract permitted with the capital, so it is allowed with increase or decrease. However, if he hires the thing for the benefit he can receive the equivalent to that benefit or less in case of harm, but he has no right to receive more than the equivalent of that benefit. This is because it is not permitted for him to receive more than his right or other than what he deserves. If he hires an animal to ride it, it is not permitted for him to load a burden upon it because riding is lighter than loading. If he hires a car for a certain distance, it is not permitted for him to ride it for a distance longer than that which he hired it for. If he hired a house to live in, he is not allowed to make it a storehouse for wood, iron or the like which is of greater harm to the house than accommodation.

In short, if the contract was concluded on the thing for a recompense then it is a sale, and if it was concluded on the benefit of the thing for a recompense, then it is hiring. Accordingly the contract can be concluded upon the thing alone like selling a tree with produce whose goodness has appeared without selling its produce. It could also be concluded on the thing with its benefit like selling a house. It could be concluded on the produce alone like selling produce whose goodness has appeared, and it could be concluded on non physical/tangible benefit like living in a house. If it was concluded on a benefit which is not considered a thing, it is hiring not a sale. Just as the buyer of the thing owns the thing and disposes of it in all forms, the hirer of the thing owns the benefit which he possessed by hiring and he can dispose of it in all forms once he took possession of it. Just as the purchaser of the trees of produce, once its goodness appeared he has the right to sell it while it is on its trees, the hirer of the thing has the right to lease/rent it because he owns its benefit the same way as the purchaser of the produce owns the produce which he purchased.

Accordingly, the hirer is allowed to rent/lease the hired thing once he received/took possession of it. This is because taking possession of the thing when it is hired is equivalent to taking possession of the benefits, with the evidence that he is permitted to dispose of it, so the contract over it is permitted like selling the produce on its tree. Whenever the hiring of the thing is completed and he took possession of its benefit, the hirer possesses all of the Shar’ai dispositions in the benefit of the thing which he hired because it is his ownership. So he can hire it at the wage he considers, whatever (amount) it reaches. So if he hired it for 50 and then leased/rented (to someone) for 500, it is permitted, because he owns the benefit so he owns (the right to) rent it (to someone) according to what he considers not according to what he hired it for. Hence what is called as (khulow) for storehouses, houses and others—which is paying a specific amount of money on top of the estimated rent of the house or storehouse to the first tenant from the one who wants to hire it from him—is permitted and there is nothing (wrong) in it because the tenant can rent the house or storehouse which is his lease to another tenant for the estimated rent together with an extra amount he pays for him; and this is renting of the thing he rented with extra amount over the rent by which he rented it. This is a permitted matter because it is permitted for him to rent out what he rented for more or less (rent) than he rented it, because it is a contract permitted with the capital, so it is permitted with increase, like selling the purchased good after he takes possession of it for more than he bought it with.

Herein is a question of handing the hired thing to the owner after the end of the contract: Is it obligatory or not?

The response upon that is that returning the hired thing is obligatory upon him if the hired thing is in his possession due to what Ahmad narrated from Sumra from the Prophet (SAW) who said:

“It is duty upon the hand (possessor) what it took until it hands it over .”

Whereas if the hired thing is not in his possession, then it is looked into. If it were seized by force from him, it is duty upon the one who seized it by force to return the hired thing to its owner and not upon the one who hired, since the one who seized is the one commanded to return the thing.

Ahmad has narrated from As-Saib bin Yazid from his father who said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“One of you should not take the furniture of his friend whether seriously or playfully. If anyone of you took the stick of his friend, he should return it to him.”

This is general whether he took it from its owner or from someone else. However, if he lent the rented thing to someone else or rented it to him, then after the end of the contract between him and the owner of the property, he is obliged to deliver the hired thing to its owner.

That is due to the generality of the hadith:
“It is duty upon the hand what it took until it returned it/handed it over” and there did not come another text in hiring or otherwise excluding it, as it came in seizing by force (usurping).

Therefore it remains general regarding the statement “until he returned it/delivered it.”
It is not true to say that the hadith also covers the second tenant because his hand took over so it is obliged upon him to return it, thus he is the one responsible for returning it. This is not true because the hadith, even if it applies upon the second tenant, does not annul returning of the hired thing from the first tenant. So it is duty upon the first tenant to return the hired thing to its owner, and it is duty upon the second tenant to restore the hired thing to the first tenant.

The obligation of returning it upon the first tenant does not annul returning it upon the second tenant.

Similarly the obligation of returning it upon the second tenant does not annul returning it upon the first tenant. However, the owner pursues the one whom he rented and handed the thing to him i.e. the first tenant. Accordingly if a person rented a house to another then the tenant rented it to someone else for a greater rent i.e. he took what they call the (kulow rijl) then once the renting period for the first tenant ended the contract ended, and it becomes obligatory upon him to deliver the house to its owner, unless if its owner renewed the contract with him, so it remains under his authority, even if not under his possession. Or its owner made contract with the second tenant, and considered himself to have received the house. In that case the first tenant is acquitted from the responsibility of delivering the house and it is considered that he delivered it to its owner and the owner’s relationship became with the second tenant.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Article 18 & 19, Explanation of the Draft Constitution of the Khilafah

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

Article 18: The rulers are four types
The Khalifah, The Delegated Assistant, The Wali and the Amil. Other than these four are not considered rulers, but employees.

Article 19: It is forbidden for anyone to assume the rule or any action considered to be a ruling matter, unless he is Muslim, free and just.

Allah (swt) has conclusively forbidden the Muslims from appointing a Kafir ruler over them.

Allah (swt) says:

وَلَنْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلًا
"And never Allah will grant to the disbelievers a way over the believers." T.M.Q. [4 -141]

Allowing the Kafir to rule over the Muslim is to grant him a way over him and Allah (swt) has conclusively and categorically prohibited this by using the Arabic preposition "Lan" meaning "will not", and this serves as a Qareena (conjunction) stipulating that the prohibition of allowing the Kafir to have any dominion over the Muslims is conclusive and decisive. It denotes that it is forbidden. Besides, Allah (swt) has imposed the condition of Islam on the witness of the Raja'a (return to one's wife after divorce), i.e. he should be a Muslim.

Allah (swt) says:

فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ
"So when they fulfill their appointed term, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms, and take for witness two persons from amongst you endued with justice." T.M.Q. [65-2]

The understanding is that the witnesses could not be from other than the Muslims. Allah (swt) has also imposed Islam as a condition upon the witness in a matter of Deen.

Allah (swt) says:

وَاسْتَشْهِدُوا شَهِيدَيْنِ مِنْ رِجَالِكُمْ
"And get two witnesses out of your own men." T.M.Q. [2-282]

Which means not other from your own men. If Shari'ah imposed Islam as a condition for such a witness in both these matters, the more reason why Islam should be imposed as a condition for the ruler. Furthermore, the rule means the implementation of Shari'ah rules and the execution of the judges' sentences and they are commanded to rule by Shari'ah, which stipulates that the implementing person should be a Muslim, because he believes in what he implements, and the Kafir could not be trusted with the implementation of Islam; thus the person implementing the rules should be a Muslim. Furthermore, the rulers are those in authority and when Allah (swt) ordered us to obey those in authority; he imposed the condition of being Muslim for those charged with authority.

Allah (swt) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ
"Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority from amongst you." T.M.Q. [4 - 59]

In this verse Allah (swt) says "from amongst you “, i.e. from amongst other than you. Allah (swt) also says:

وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ
“When there comes to them some matter touching safety or fear they divulge it.If only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority amongst them"T.M.Q [4 -83]
And again, Allah (swt) says in this verse "from amongst them" i.e. the believers, not from amongst other than the believers. This indicates that the person charged with authority must be Muslim. The phrase "those charged with authority.” mentioned in the Qur'an is always qualified as being in reference to those in authority from among the Muslims. This confirms that the ruler must be a Muslim. Besides, the ruler enjoys the total obedience of the Muslims and the Muslim is not obligated to obey the Kafir because the obligation upon him is confined to obeying the Muslim person charged with authority.

Allah (swt) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ
"Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority from amongst you." T.M.Q. [4 - 59]

Therefore, Allah (swt) ordered the obedience of those in authority from among the Muslims and did not order the obedience of other than the Muslims; which indicates that the Muslims are not obligated to obey the Kafir person in authority, and there can be no ruler without obedience. It would be wrong to say that a Muslim is obligated to obey the Kafir if he happens to be a director of a department, because the head of department is not a person charged with authority, but rather a hired employee, thus obedience to him is in the first instance derived from the order issued by the person charged with authority stipulating that the head of department should be obeyed, and the point at issue is pertaining the person charged with authority, not the hired employee. Therefore, it is not fitting for the person charged with authority over the Muslims to be other than a Muslim; he cannot be a Kafir.

Hence, it is categorically forbidden for the rulers to be Kafir.
As for the condition stipulating that the ruler must be a man, this is derived from what has been reported on the authority of Abu Bakr who said: "Allah (swt) has made me benefit during the days of Al-Jamal, from a word which I heard from the Messenger of Allah (saw), when I was on the verge of joining the people of Al-Jamal and fight alongside them.

When he (saw) heard that the people of Persia appointed to the throne the daughter of Kisra he said: "People who hand their affairs to a woman shall not succeed."

Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (saw)'s saying that success will not come to those who appoint a woman to be in charge of their affairs, this saying acts as a prohibition against appointing a woman, for it is a form of request. Since this information has come in the form of a reprimand, it therefore serves as a Qareena denoting that the prohibition is decisive; thus the appointment of a woman to be in charge of people's affairs is Haram and that is why being a man is a condition for becoming a ruler. As for imposing the condition of being just upon the ruler, this is because Allah (swt) has made it a condition upon the ruler to be just.

Allah (swt) says:

وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ
"And take for witness two persons from among you endued with justice." T.M.Q. [65-2]
Therefore, the more for he whose position is higher than the witness, i.e. the ruler, to be just, because if the witness should be just, the more reason the ruler should be just. As for the condition of being a freeman, this is because the slave does not have control over his own affairs, thus he could not have control over other people's affairs. Besides, slavery necessitates that the slave's time is owned by his master. These are the evidences of this article.

Views on the news - 20/02/2009

Britain one step away from the return of the Spanish Inquisition

On Feb 17 the Guardian newspaper reported that British government was considering plans that would lead to thousands more Muslims being branded as extremists. The proposals are in a counterterrorism strategy which ministers and security officials are drawing up that is due to be unveiled next month. Some say the plans would see views held by most Muslims in Britain being classed by the government as extreme. According to a draft of the strategy, Contest 2 as it is known in Whitehall, people would be considered as extremists if:

· They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries.
· They promote Sharia law.
· They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world.
· This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.
· They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.
· They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Contest 2 would widen the definition of extremists to those who hold views that clash with what the government defines as shared British values. Contest 2 is still being finalised by officials and ministers. Those considered extreme would not be targeted by the criminal law, but would be sidelined and denied public funds.
No doubt such measures will fail to halt the tide of Islamic awareness that now encompasses the whole world. But real question is—how long before Britain and the rest of Europe resort to a modern day Spanish Inquisition in a desperate bid to purge their Muslim populations for so called “belief crimes”.

Jim Rodgers on the current economic crisis: Get yourself a tractor and learn how to farm

In an interview with Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera television, veteran investor Jim Rogers attacked Obama’s economic plan, blamed the Federal Reserve for the economic crisis and said that the World Bank and the IMF should be abolished, not given more power, if a recovery is to be made. Rogers strongly slammed Obama's stimulus package, pointing out that more good money was being thrown after bad, and that the bailouts were only making things worse. The veteran investor said that the U.S. was following the same disastrous policies as Japan in propping up companies that should be allowed to fail, and that the same consequences would be reaped as much as 20 years into the future.
"The way the system is supposed to work, when times like this come, the solid people, the competent people, take over the assets from the incompetent people and then you start over again from a sound base, this is what South Korea did, this is what Russia did, and they did fine. What they're doing this time is they're taking the assets away from the competent people and giving them to the incompetent people and saying now you compete with the competent people with their assets and their money - it's terrible economics and it's not going to work, it hasn't worked before and it's not going to work this time," said Rogers. Rogers said that price had to be paid for 15 years of excess, but that the crisis could have been overcome in two or three years had zombie companies and banks been allowed to go to the wall.
"The central bank in the United States, the Federal Reserve, would not let people fail," said Rogers. Asked if he had any respect for the World Bank and the IMF, Rogers responded, "Zero....the best thing that would happen would be if we could abolish the World Bank and the IMF, they were set up in 1945 and '46 with very sound goals and very sound aspirations - they have far far left behind those aspirations and goals, they're now run by people who do little more than take care of themselves....look at their projects and you would be mortified." In response to a question about what if any sectors would be profitable amidst the crash, Rogers advised people invested in stocks to "get yourself a tractor and learn how to farm".

America reveals Pakistan’s complicity in providing airbases for drone attacks

On Feb 14 the Pakistani English newspaper The Dawn revealed that Pakistan had granted permission to the US to use its airbase(s) to carry airstrikes in FATA. Expressing surprise over Pakistan’s opposition to the campaign of Predator-launched CIA missile strikes against targets inside the Pakistani border, Senator Feinstein said: “As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base.” The CIA declined to comment, but former US intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Senator Feinstein’s account was accurate. Later, Philip J. LaVelle, a spokesman for the senator, said her comment was based solely on previous news reports that Predators were operated from bases near Islamabad. Another Pakistani English newspaper The News reported that the US was secretly flying unmanned drones from the Shamsi airbase in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan as early as 2006, according to an image of the base from Google Earth. It also stated that the drones were Global Hawks — which are generally used only for reconnaissance, flying for up to 36 hours, at more than 400mph and an altitude of up to 60,000ft. The existence of drone bases inside Pakistan demonstrates that the Pakistani leadership is fully involved in the slaughter of its own citizens to please America.

Indonesia wants America to ‘educate’ its army officers

The cash-strapped and poorly equipped Indonesian Armed Forces, or TNI, has no plans to purchase military equipment from the United States but would welcome assistance in the area of officer training, Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said on Feb 18. Juwono told reporters that he had asked Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda to relay the message to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is currently in Jakarta for a two-day visit.“We want to enhance cooperation with the United States in order to give our military officers better educational and training opportunities,” Juwono said, adding that an exchange program involving TNI officers would be more constructive than an equipment purchase deal. Juwono said the TNI needed its officers to undergo advanced training programs, to enable them to lead the military in a more professional manner. American military programmes are renowned for producing loyal agents through which America secures her vital interests. Calling for such programmes is dangerous and is a betrayal of the Indonesian people. Rather the defence minister should have announced a complete cessation of ties with the US and demanded that America ends its military presence in the area.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Part 5, The Rules of Islamic Trade- There Does Not Exist a Labour Problem in Islam

Due to the current global financial crisis there is increasing interest in the Islamic Economic System, the most comprehensive book on this topic is The Economic System of Islam  by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani. However as people have many questions relating to the Islamic rules of trade we will be posting related extracts from the draft translation of the Fiqh masterpiece 'The Islamic Personality, Volume 2' by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani.

The capitalist system in economics was implemented upon the western world, and upon Russia before the communist party ruled it. Among the principles of the capitalist ideology is freedom of ownership from which resulted the owners manipulation (misuse) of the employees i.e. the workers as long as there existed mutual consent and as long as the theory of liability is the one dominating over them. Labourers received from the employers evil, injustice and exploitation of their sweat and efforts. When the socialist thought appeared and called for justice to the employee, it emerged upon the basis of solving the problems of the labourers; not on the basis of treating the hiring contract. Accordingly socialism came with solutions to give justice to the worker, by determining the time of work, the wage of worker, guaranteeing his leisure etc….So it destroyed the theory of liability and showed its incompetence to solve the problems. So the jurists of the western law were forced to change their view towards liability, so that the theory of liability can stand/face before the problems; therefore they inserted amendments to patch up their theory.

 Principles and rules were inserted into the work contract aiming to protect workers and to give them rights which they did not have before, like the right to get together, the right to form syndicates/unions, the right to strike, beside giving them retirement bonuses or compensation etc…even though the text of the theory of liability does not permit such rights. However interpolation had been made to the theory to solve the problems of workers which Socialist thought provoked/evoked amongst the workers. Then the socialist theory came to prevent ownership of wealth and give the worker everything he needs. Due to the contradiction of the viewpoints between the two ideologies, socialism from which emanates communism and capitalism, in respect of ownership and in respect of the employee, there emerged to them the labours problem. Each one of the two came to have a specific method in solving this problem which was generated by their two different viewpoints with respect to life.

As for Islam, there does not exist a problem known as labours problem nor is the Islamic Ummah divided into classes of workers and capitalists, or peasants and landlords etc….The whole issue is related to the employee, whether he was hired based on the work like specialists or technicians (faniyyeen) or he was hired based on his work only, like the rest employees; and whether he was an employee for persons or an employee for groups or a State employee, and whether he is a private employee or a common employee; they are all employees. The rules for such employees have been clarified and explained. 

Once the employees commenced with a named wage, they are entitled of the named wage for the hiring period, and they can leave their employer after their hiring period ends; and if they differed with him, there comes the role of experts to estimate the equivalent wage. These experts are chosen by the two parties but if they could not agree upon them, the ruler chooses them and obliges the two sides to accept the experts say by force. It is not allowed that the ruler decides a specific wage by making analogy with the impermissibility of price-fixing for goods, because the wage is the price of the benefit and the price is the price for the good. Just as the market of goods decides the price of the good naturally, the market of the benefits of workers is decided by the need for workers. However it is duty upon the State to prepare work for workers: 

The Imam is a shepherd (ra’i) and he is responsible (mas’ul) for his subjects (ra’iyah)” (narrated by Al-Bukhari).

 It is duty upon the State to remove the injustice of the owners of work upon workers, for silence upon injustice with the ability to remove it is forbidden and therein is great sin. If the State was complacent in lifting injustice or it itself oppressed employees, then the whole Ummah is obliged to account the State over this injustice and to endeavour to remove it. The Court of Unjust Acts is also obliged to look in this injustice and lift if from the oppressed people, and its verdict in the matter is executed upon the ruler and the State. This duty is not left to the employees who were oppressed alone as is the situation today in solving the problems of workers with strikes and demonstrations. This is because the injustice against any invidual of the citizens and the State’s complacence in taking care of the affairs of any individual citizen is a matter related to taking care of the whole Ummah even if it were specific to a person or persons. This is because it is execution of a Shar’ai rule, and it is not related to a specific group, even if it falls upon a specific group.

As for what workers require of medical/health guarantee for them and their families, and guarantee of their expenses in the situation of leaving work and at old age and guarantee of education for their children and similar guarantees usually discussed to secure the labourers, Islam does not discuss them when discussing the employees and employers because these are not the duty of the employer but rather the State. They are not also for workers only but rather for each unabled person among the citizens. This is because the State secures health and education freely for all, and secures for the unable person his expenditure whether he is a worker or not, since this is duty upon Bait ul-Mal and upon all Muslims.

Accordingly there does not exist labours problem nor a problem specific for a particular group or section of the Ummah. Any problem related to taking care of the affairs of citizens the State is responsible to solve it. The whole Ummah accounts the State so as to solve this problem and remove the injustice, not the official alone is responsible for the problem, nor the one upon whom the injustice falls.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Article 17, Explanation of the Draft Constitution of the Khilafah

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

Article 17: The rule is centralized and the administration is decentralized:

This article has been drafted to differentiate between the rule and the administration. Differentiation between them could be illustrated in two aspects:

1-    The reality of each one of them.

2-    The actions of the Messenger of Allah (saw) pertaining the appointment of the rulers and the employees. As for the reality of each one of them, the rule (Al-Hukm), the power (Al-Mulk) and the authority (Al-Sultan) mean the same thing, it is the competent entity that executes the rules.

                  This is explained in the celebrated Arabic dictionary Al-Muhit. To quote from the dictionary: "The power is the authority and the competence of the ruler.", "The rule is the judiciary, and the ruler is the executor of the rule." This means that linguistically ruling means judging, and the ruler is the executor of the rule; what is meant by the rule in this context is the terminological expression meaning the execution of the rules i.e. the power and the authority and the competence of the ruler. In other words, it is the function of the Imara which Shari'ah has made an obligation upon the Muslims.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

 "It is unlawful for three to be in any part of the earth without appointing one from amongst them as Amir."

The function of the Imara is the authority utilized to repel unjust acts and to settle disputes. In other words, the rule is the government or the guardianship mentioned in the Qur'an.

 Allah (swt) says: 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ

"Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority from amongst you."

T.M.Q(4-59) .


 Allah (swt) also says:

وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ

"If only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority amongst them." T.M.Q(4-83),

 It is the effective management of people's affairs. This is the reality of the rule; therefore, the government, the Imara, the power and the authority is the rule, and anything beyond this is the administration. Therefore, the work undertaken by the Khalifah and his Amirs, be it Walis or Ummal (pl. of Amil meaning governor) , in terms of looking after people's affairs by imlementing the Shari'ah rules and executing the judges' verdicts, is considered as part of the  rule. Any other function undertaken by those persons or other persons is considered part of the administration. Hence, the difference between the rule and the administration becomes clear. The Legislator has conferred this rule, with this reality upon the Khalifah whom the Ummah elects, i.e. the Amir whom the Ummah chooses. By choosing the Amir, i.e. by giving the Baya'a to the Khalifah, the Khalifah becomes the one with the competence of government, i.e. the rule becomes the competence of the Khalifah i.e. the Amir. This competence, could not be given to anyone else, unless the Khalifah delegates it to someone else himself. This is why the rule is centralized. In other words, the rule is to the Ummah and she in turn appoints a Khalifah i.e. an Amir; by giving him the Baya'a i.e. by electing him, he becomes the competent ruler; and he consequently reserves the right to delegate ruling matters to whoever he wishes; and no person can have this competence unless the Khalifah delegates him with it. Hence, the centrality of the rule becomes apparent; that is confining the competence of government to whom the Ummah has chosen, to enjoy personally the exclusive power of ruling. No other person apart from him enjoys a personal competence of government unless this is conferred upon him by the Khalifah within the specifications of this conferment, related to the place, the time and the matter at hand. We gather from this that the rule is centralized and this centralization is binding.

As for the actions of the Messenger of Allah (saw), he (saw) dispatched the Walis to their respective Wilayas and ordered them to implement the Shari'ah rules upon people. He (saw) also appointed employees to undertake certain actions, not to implement the rules. For instance, he (saw) appointed a host of Walis and gave them the right to execute the rules, without however specifying the means nor the styles of execution; he rather left it up to them. In other cases, he (saw) used to write a document containing the Shari'ah rules, not the means of execution, nor the styles of execution; he used to ask other to execute the rule of Allah. 

He appointed Amru Ibnu Hazm as a Wali and he handed him a document. He (saw) also appointed Mu'ath Ibnu Jabal and asked him how he would rule, and approved of his opinion in the matter. The Messenger of Allah (saw) appointed also Utab Ibnu Usayd as a Wali to execute the Shari'ah of Allah. He who used to be appointed as a Wali, used to also deem it within his competence to execute. Imran Ibnu Hassin was reported to have been appointed once as an Amil over the Sadaqa; so when he returned he was asked: "Where is the money?" "He replied: "Was it for the money that you sent me? We took the money from where we used to take it in the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and we placed where we used to always place it." This is different to the employees, for they would have their jobs specified and they would execute what they are ordered. For instance, the Messenger of Allah (saw) appointed Abdullah Ibnu Rawaha as an assessor over the Jews, i.e. he used to assess their produce before it is harvested. He (saw) used to dispatch the Ummal to levy the Zakat, so they would collect it and bring it back to the Messenger of Allah (saw); and he used to give them a wage. Basr Ibnu Said Ibnu Al-Saadi Al-Maliki said: "Omar Ibnul Khattab appointed me as Amil of Sadaqa, so when I finished and handed it over to him he paid me a wage. Upon this I said: "I did this for the sake of Allah." He said: "Take what you have been given, for I did your job in the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and he gave me a wage, then I said the same as you have just said; so the Messenger of Allah (saw) said to me:

 "If you have been given something without asking, take and give Sadaqa."

                  Imran Ibnu Hassin was a ruler, and he disapproved of being asked for the Zakat he had collected, for he executed the rule of Allah (swt) and gave it to those who were eligible, just like he used to do in the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw). However, Basr Ibnu Said was an employee who had performed what he had been commissioned in terms of collecting the Zakat and did not implement the Shari'ah rules. Hence, the difference between the actions of the ruler and the actions of the employee becomes apparent. The actions of the ruler is to implement the Shari'ah, i.e. to carry out the function of government, power and authority; whereas the actions of the employee (civil servant) is to carry out specific tasks and not to implement rules, and such actions are not part of the ruling matters, but rather part of the administrative tasks; and this also illustrates the difference between the actions of the ruler himself, for some of his actions are part of ruling matters, that is to implement the Shari'ah rules and execute the judges verdicts, which no other person has the competence to undertake, unless he is delegated by the one who has the power to rule, to undertake specific ruling matters; and other actions of the ruler are styles and means utilized to achieve the implementation, and these are part of the administrative matters. This type of actions does not require an appointment as far as the ruler is concerned; he also does not have to refer back to he who delegated him, because his appointment as ruler entitles him to utilize the means he deems fit and the styles he wishes, as long as the one who had appointed him does not impose specific styles and means, in which case he would have to abide by the specified styles and means. In other words, his appointment as ruler gives him the competence to undertake administrative actions provided there exist no administrative systems established by the one with the competence to rule, in which case the system must be adhered to.

Therefore, it becomes clear that the meaning of the rule being centralized is that assuming the authority, i.e. the implementation of Shari'ah is not a personally acquired right, it is rather given to the one whom the Ummah elects, and this authority is confined to him and to those whom he personally and exclusively delegates. The fact that the administration is decentralized means that the appointed ruler does not have to refer administrative matters back to the one who delegated him, he would rather perform them as he deems fit. This is established and deduced from the reality of the rule as mentioned in the Shari'ah texts, and from the actions of the Messenger of Allah (saw) pertaining the appointment of rulers. These are the evidences of this article.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Understanding the Hadith

Nothing historically has received more scathing attacks from the kuffaar than hadeeth literature, that is, the preserved body of narrations related to the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم sayings, actions and conduct. Originally, manykuffaar attempted to stir doubt in the genre of hadith literature by spreading dubious lies about the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and highlighting supposedly contradictoryahadeeth. Orientalists then took up the mantle of destroying the credibility of the Prophetic traditions by carrying out extensive research on the wholesale rejection of hadeeth as a historical source. This was initiated by Orientalists such as Goldziher and Schact, an attack that continues to this day at the hands of modern-day Orientalists.

There exist many misunderstandings about the reality of hadeeth even amongst the Muslim Ummah. Amongst some, there is an attitude that the Sunnah is of much less importance than the Qur'an. From this a mentality has emerged disregarding or neglecting legislation (ahkaam) simply because it is not found explicitly in the Qur'an. Unfortunately, many Muslims have criticised the use of ahadeeth (pl. Hadeeth) by using the very same arguments non-Muslims have used against the authenticity of the Sunnah. In 1977 Colonel Gaddafi, ruler of Libya, announced that the ahadeeth mentioned by the tongue of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم are of doubtful authenticity because they were compiled two hundred years after the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. He gave an example of a contradiction in the hadeeth by quoting ‘Aisha رضي الله عنها which says, "Aisha رضي الله عنهاis deficient in mind and Deen." He also mentioned another hadith were we read, "Take half your Deen from the mouth of ‘Aisha رضي الله عنها." Gaddafi concluded that it is not allowed to accept ahadeeth because one cannot be certain whether they are authentic or fabricated. He thus concluded that the Sunnah cannot be taken as a source of legislation.  


Historical origins

At the time of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم questions of authenticity were never an issue since the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was living amongst Muslims and his companions were able to correct each other if any mistakes were made in narration. ‘Umar رضي الله عنه once narrated that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "The deceased is punished due to the weeping of his family."  ‘Aisha رضي الله عنها corrected him, saying, "The Prophet صلى الله عليهوسلم said this regarding a Jewess that she was punished whilst her family were crying for her," meaning that she was punished due to dying upon disbelief (kufr) whilst the family wept and not because the family was weeping for her. Due to their proximity to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, the Sahabah would check strange attributions and reports when they felt doubt.

The earliest record of fabrication of ahadeeth started after the first civil war between Ali رضي الله عنه and Mu'awiya from 35AH following the murder of Uthman رضي الله عنه. According to ibn Sirin (d.110AH), "They did not ask about the isnad (chain of narration) but when civil war (fitna) arose they said: Name to us your men; those who belong to Ahl al-Sunnah, their traditions were accepted and those who were innovators, their traditions were neglected."

After this time the fabrications increased with varying motivations. Initially the false attributions reflected political differences. According to ibn Abi al-Hadeed: "Lies were introduced in hadeeth on merits originally by Shi'ah. They in the beginning fabricated many ahadeeth in favour of their man, motivated by enmity towards their opponents. When the Bakriyya (i.e. supporters of Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه) found out what the Shi'ah had done they fabricated on their part ahadeeth in favour of their man."

From this problem arose the challenge to authenticate and verify the narrations being attributed to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. There were thousands of transmitters of ahadeeth scattered throughout the Islamic lands and an even greater number of reports to sift through. What was required was for the sound narrations to be separated from the weak and then to be compiled. This was all in the days when the best form of data storage was the human memory.


Understanding the Hadeeth methodology

The essential argument for the rejection of ahadeeth is that they were a human construct and not revelation. The discussion of the Shari'ah begins with its sources, which in origin is the Qur'an. The other legislative source is the recorded sayings, actions and conduct of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم which are termed ahadeeth. The ahadeeth are a collection of around 600,000 authenticated narrations comprised of the sayings, actions and consent of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. A hadeeth is always composed of two parts: the matn (text) and the isnaad(chain of reporters).

When one wants to authenticate any incident or statement one would look at those people narrating the incident and then look at their characters. It was out of this need that an entire science, known as 'ilm al-rijaal (knowledge of the men who transmitted ahadeeth) emerged and this science evolved into an extremely sophisticated discipline. This is because if one is characterised with lying, sin or memory loss, one cannot be considered trustworthy. One can also examine how close the narrators were to a reported incident in terms of whether they actually witnessed it or spoke to another person who narrated the event. This would require the specialist inhadeeth and the scholars of Islam to check accounts of a given narrators memory, eyesight, tendency to exaggerate etc. If the people narrating the event were small in number, then it must be asked if they could have colluded in their accounts. If the opposite were the case and the numbers of trustworthy individuals relating a similar account unknown to the others incredibly numerous, the possibility of collusion diminishes accordingly.

Since each narrator related narrations to others, and so on, chains of narrators develop and we must then examine the chains themselves as well as those within the chain. A tawaatur narration (a narration confirmed generation to generation) is a hadeeth which has been transmitted from one generation to another with each generation being composed of individuals so numerous that the possibility of fabrication or lying is effectively non-existent. It would be similar to taking into account the numerous different narrations from various generations and still claiming the Second World War never took place.

The chain of narration (isnaad) and its study is where the muhaditheen (scholars who collected and categorisedahadeeth) establish the continuity of the chain of narrators i.e. they ensure that there were no gaps, inconsistencies, distortions or errors in the chain. This was achieved by cataloguing the dates of birth and death of narrators and the towns they came from in order to establish the possibility that they had met and hence were actually able to transmit ahadeeth to one another.

The second issue that had to be ascertained was the probity or mendacity of transmitters. It is not sufficient to verify an unbroken continuous chain if even one of the transmitters was known to be of unsound character. Like any chain, all that is necessary for the whole sequence to collapse is simply one weak link that would allow it to fall apart quickly and easily. So one weak link, or in the case of hadeeth literation, a liar in the chain, will weaken or nullify the report respectively even if the rest of the chain features illustrious and trustworthy transmitters. It is for this reason that the Muslims at the time gathered information about the narrators ('ilm al-rijaal) which was a colossal accomplishment since it involved assessing the character, reputation and state of mind of thousands upon thousands of transmitters. This repository of biographical material would then be used to identify each and every transmitter in the chain to ensure a valid link back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. It is as a result of this that the genre of biographical dictionaries emerged, a genre that went on to become one of the pillars of hadeethclassification with countless books being compiled on this subject. After the study of the chains the ahadeethwere classified into strong (sahih), good/sound (hasan), not sound (da'eef) and fabricated or spurious (maw-doo'). The ahadeeth came to be further categorised into topics such as purity, prayer, charity, partnership, marriage, trade, taxation, brokerage, ruling and deputation, amongst many others. This now meant that legislation could be deduced from this basis from the Sunnah, and Muslims have been doing this for the last fourteen centuries.

The ahadeeth is confirmed as a source of law by the Qur'an itself,

مَّنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللّهَ

"He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God." [TMQ An-Nisa: 80]

This method became the method of verifying what the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did and said. This is why the science of ahadeeth developed and became a whole discipline itself. Thus a valid hadith is one whose chain is continuous by trustworthy and meticulous transmitters whose reports contained no abnormality or defects.  Thus, the conditions in this definition can be listed as the following:

1. Ittisaal as-Sanad (continuity of the chain)
2. ‘Adaalatu Al-Ruwwaah (probity or trustworthiness of narrators)
3. DabT Al-Ruwaah (The precision and accuracy of narrators)
4. The absence of conflict with stronger narrations


Detecting forgery

A wide variety of techniques were developed to detect forgery and deception. There are techniques related to thesanad (chain) and also techniques relating to the matn (text). Such techniques were many in number and are beyond the scope of this article; two such techniques are reconciling facts with narrations and mukhtalaf al-Hadeeth, reconciling seemingly contradictory hadith.

An example of reconciling facts with narrations through textual analysis is the one quoted by ibn Qayyim in hiswork, Naqd al-Manqool. He quotes a report which says that an agreement was made with the people of Khaybarthat exempted them from the payment of Jizyah. This report was declared a fabrication due to the following indications in the Matn:

The text mentions Sa'd bin Mu'aadh رضي الله عنه but Sa'd had died before then in the Battle of Ahzab.

It mentions that Mu'aawiyah wrote the letter but Mu'aawiyah had not embraced Islam until the Conquest of Makkah which occurred after this incident.

The hadeeth mentioned Jizyah but the verses (aayaat) legalising Jizyah were not revealed until after the Battle ofTabuk.

Its text mentions that certain types of taxes were levied but these were known not to exist at the time of Khaybar.

The Jews of Khaybar fought the Messenger (saws) and his Companions. What did they do to deserve being granted such an exemption from the obligation of Jizyah, when other tribes equally bellicose had not been exempted?

Had the Prophet (saws) exempted the people of Khaybar from the Jizyah, he would not have stipulated that they be expelled when he صلى الله عليه وسلم willed. This does not fit with the ruling that the Ahl al-Dhimmah cannot be expelled as long as they abide by the rules of Islam.

If the Prophet had exempted them, why did none of his companions, the Sahaabah, ever exempt them?

In this way, established facts were utilised to ascertain the validity of the content in the various ahadeeth.

When presented with two sets of contradictory hadith, one of three options is possible. Either one can resort to reconciliation of the hadeeth by considering a whole host of issues such as textual indication or, if this is not possible, then the outweighing (tarjeeh) of one report over the other if the chronology is not known and finally, accepting abrogation if the chronology is known.

Thus, the means of removing conflicts are three:

a) Jam' a (reconciliation)
b) Tarjeeh (outweighing if the chronology is not known)
c) Naskh (abrogation if chronology is known)
d) If none of the above methods are possible, then the muhadditheen revert back to the original rule and assume the contradictory texts are non-existent.

The process of reconciliation succeeds by attempting to reconcile two conflicting texts due to certain linguistic and circumstantial considerations. Here, the textual indications can assist in the reconciliation between two texts. For example, in one hadeeth, we read, "Water is pure so nothing can make it impure." (Abu Dawud). In another, we read, "If the water is enough to fill two pots (qullatayn), it carries no impurity." (An-Nasaa`ee) The first text is ‘Aam (general) for all amounts of water except the wording of the second text indicates that water can become impure if its nature is changed. This is a specification (takhsees) of the first text by the meaning of the second.

Tarjeeh (outweighing) can occur in a number of ways; one such way is if one of the conflicting hadeeth accords with another authentic hadith. For example, one hadeeth reads, "There is no nikaah (marriage) without a wali (guardian)." (Abu Dawud) This hadeeth stipulates the presence of a wali but it seems to contradict anotherhadeeth which indicates that the wali is not stipulated. That hadith is as follows, "The matron has greater right than her guardians and the virgin her permission is sought. Her permission is her silence." (Saheeh Muslim) Yet the first hadith stipulating the presence of the wali agrees with another sound narration which says, "Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian (Wali), her marriage will be void, her marriage will be void, her marriage will be void." (al-Haakim) Therefore, the tarjeeh here will be that thehadeeth which says that there is no nikaah without a wali is outweighed and accepted because it is supported by another authentic narration.

As for abrogation, this happens when it is not possible to reconcile a hadeeth but abrogation is possible because the chronology is known. For example, one hadeeth reads, "The one who cups blood and is cupped has broken his fast" whereas another hadeeth reads, "...that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was cupped while he was fasting." If we scrutinize the circumstances of these ahadeeth, we find that first hadeeth took place in the 8th year after Hijrah during the Conquest of Makkah while the second hadeeth is in the Farewell Khutbah in the 10th year after Hijrah. Thus, Imaam Ash-Shaafi'ee رضي الله عنه took the view that the second hadeeth had abrogated the first, allowing the cupping of blood while fasting in Ramadaan.

The Muslim scholars and experts were able to amass a database of thousands of narrators, define rigorous criteria to assess authenticity, classify and adopt a grading system for chain narrators, devise techniques to detect and avert mistakes and fabrications and adopt a methodology to reconcile the differences within certain texts. The result was the remarkably robust and effective preservation of the Islamic ideology and its legislative capacity.

If we compare the system of hadeeth collection (Isnaad) to the modern system of historical analysis, we will find the former to be much more sophisticated and successful in establishing the authenticity of historical incidents and events. What the Muslims called a da'eef hadith is perhaps stronger in historicity, in some of its forms, than modern sources such as history textbooks, numismatics or historical criticism of literary texts. This is because da'eef does not mean fabrication but simple that it does not satisfy the stringent criteria developed by themuhadditheen.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

One State Solution: A Jewish Dream

Recent events in Palestine have raised many concerns about the practicality of the so-called ‘Two States Solution’. Political analysts are now perplexed, thinking as to whether this ‘solution’ will ever really work. Political commentators are now seriously questioning whether this proposal is realistic and if Israel will ever treat its potential neighbour, the imaginary state of independent Palestine, with fairness and justice? The overwhelming majority of these commentators and analysts, having witnessed Israeli barbarity in Gaza, will reject the notion of trusting Israeli authorities altogether and will propose many different solutions. A different solution is already in existence, which, is deliberately ignored by the powers vested with the responsibility to diffuse this conflict. This solution is a ‘One State Solution’[1], which has worked perfectly well in the past and still has the potential to restore the same prosperous and peaceful co-existence – which lasted for centuries - between the Muslims, Jews and Christians: The Golden Age of Islam.

The Islamic system is the only system that carries the capacity of treating others with complete fairness. Under the Islamic system, Jews lived in harmony and peace for over one thousand years and some of the Jewish scholars/historians remember that era as the ‘Islamic Golden Age’. Whenever the non-Muslim powers took control of any land, they failed to demonstrate impartiality and justice towards the other, especially, in political as well as socio-economic affairs.

In recent years, the British government has exerted immense pressure on Muslim leaders to combat anti-Semitism in the Muslim community. Muslims are however, the least deserving people to be accused of fostering anti-Semitism, as the facts presented below will amply demonstrate that the Jews were not treated in Islamic lands as they were treated elsewhere. The following discussion will substantiate the value and necessity of reviving the ‘One State Solution’ for Palestine, a solution that will provide freedom and security to all.

Jews had reached the peak of their prosperity under Islamic rule. Hasdai Ibn Shaprut (915-990 CE) was the chief minister of the Islamic Caliphate of Cordova, governed by the most powerful monarch in Western Europe, Abdur-Rahman III. Hasdai’s position inevitably benefited his people, as he made inquiries into the affairs of his brethren scattered as far as Caucasus. In a letter to the Jewish Khazar King Joseph, he elaborated upon his fortunate position in the Islamic lands:

‘Praise be to the beneficent God for his mercy towards me! Kings of the earth, to whom his [the Caliph’s] magnificence and power are known, bring gifts to him, conciliating his favour by costly presents, such as the king of the Germans, the king of the Gebalim, the king of Constantinople, and others. All their gifts pass through my hands, and I am charged with making gifts in return. (Let my lips express praise to the God in heaven who so far extends his loving kindness towards me without any merit of my own, but in the fullness of his mercies.) I always ask the ambassadors of these monarchs about our brethren the Jews, the remnant of the captivity, whether they have heard anything concerning the deliverance of those who have pined in bondage and had found no rest.’ [2]

Due to an active implementation of the Zionist apartheid policy in Palestine, one can never imagine a Palestinian Muslim becoming the prime minister of Israel. Samuel Ibn Nagrella ha-Nagid (993-1056 CE) was another powerful Jewish chief minister of Granada in Islamic Spain who served his people well. Abraham Ibn Daud (ca. 1161), a Jewish chronicler, elaborated upon ha-Nagid’s significance for the spread of the Jewish tradition:

‘He achieved great good for Israel in Spain, the Maghreb, Ifriqiya, Egypt, Sicily, indeed as far as the academy in Babylonia and the Holy City. He provided material benefits out of his own pocket for students of Torah in all these countries. He also purchased many books – [copies] of the Holy Scriptures as well as of the Mishna and Talmud, which are also among the holy writings. Throughout Spain and the countries just mentioned, whoever wished to devote full time to the study of the Torah found in him a patron. Moreover, he retained scribes who would make copies of the Mishna and Talmud, which he would present to students who were unable to purchase copies themselves, both in the academies of Spain as well as of the other countries we mentioned. These gifts were coupled with annual contribution of olive oil for the synagogues of Jerusalem, which he would despatch from his own home. He spread Torah abroad and died at a ripe old age after having earned four crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of power, the crown of Levite, and towering over them all, by dint of good deeds in each of these domains, the crown of a good name.’ [3]

Samuel ibn Nagrella’s fortune and his influence benefited the Jews worldwide. This was only made possible because of his position as a chief minister of an Islamic power, and the relaxed attitude of the Muslim government towards the Jewish faith. For the Jews, this was certainly a practical manifestation of the promise made by Allah in the Quran:

‘And We have sent you (O Muhammad [SA]) not but as a mercy to mankind’ [4]

The mercy that Prophet Muhammad was sent with was not restricted to the Muslims alone, rather Islamic domination was to bring prosperity for others too. Note, that all the Jewish activities, under the patronage of Samuel Ibn Nagrella, mentioned above by Ibn Daud were taking place in the lands controlled by the Muslims. In other words, the freedom and autonomy allowed by the Shariah Law enabled the Jews to carry out their religious pursuits without any hindrance. Can one imagine an independent Islamic university or Madrasa functioning freely in the present day Tel Aviv? One needs not to be a genius to find an answer to this question. Bahya ibn Paqudah, a medieval Andalusian Jewish writer, describes the prosperous existence of the Jews in the Islamic lands in a treatise titled Kitab al-Hidaya (ca. 1080):

‘If one of our contemporaries looks for similar miracles now, let him examine objectively our situation among the Gentiles [Muslims in this case] since the beginning of the Diaspora and the way our affairs are managed in spite of the differences between us and them both secret and open, which are well known to them. Let him see that our situation, as far as living and subsistence are concerned, is the same as theirs, or even better, in times of war and civil disturbances. You see how both their leaders and their vulgar peasants toil much more than the middle and lower classes among us, according to our Lord’s promise contained in the Scriptures.’ [5]

Ibn Paqudah’s satisfaction concerning Jewish prosperity in Islamic Spain was not due to any other reason than the effective adherence by the authorities to the Islamic regulations with regards to the treatment of the non-Muslim subjects. He even acknowledges that ‘in spite of the differences between us and them both secret and open, which are well known to them’ the Jewish living conditions were some times better than those of the Muslims. This can not be attributed to anything other than the commandments in the Quran whereby Muslims are asked by God to uphold justice at all times, even towards those they may dislike:

‘O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as just witnesses; and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety; and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is well-acquainted with what you do.’ [6]

Can a Palestinian citizen assert with confidence, like ibn Paqudah, today that his living standard is at least similar to that of an Israeli? The question of an ‘even better’ living standard for a Palestinian is as laughable as an American promise to deliver a just solution in the region. Benjamin of Tudela, a Spanish Jew who travelled to Baghdad in the year 1168 CE, described the situation of the Iraqi Jewry in these words:

‘In Baghdad there are about forty thousand Jews, and they dwell in security, prosperity, and honour under the great Caliph [al-Mustanjid, 1160-70 CE], and amongst them are great sages, the Heads of the Academies engaged in the study of the Law…’ [7]

The security, prosperity, and honour conferred upon the Jews of Baghdad is not surprising if one considers the teachings of the Prophet of Islam and his immediate followers in regards to protecting non-Muslim minorities living under Islamic governance. In the book of Sahih al-Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad (SA) is reported to have said:

‘Any one who kills a non-Muslim (Mu’ahid [protected one]) protected by the Islamic state will not smell the fragrance of paradise even though one can identify it from the distance of 40 years journey.’ [8]

Al-Bukhari narrated that even the immediate followers of the Prophet (SA) exercised maximum care in regards to fulfilling the promises of protection made with the non-Muslim citizens:

‘Omar bin Khattab [the 2nd Caliph] said on his death bed that whoever shall succeed me must fulfill the promises of Allah and his Messenger. Whatever treaty has been made with non-Muslims must be respected by my successor. He shall fight (if he has to) to protect them and he shall not put a burden upon them which they can not bear.’[9]

Will the Muslims in Palestine ever live in ‘security’, ‘prosperity’ and ‘honour’ the likes of which were enjoyed by the 12th century Iraqi Jews? In 1420 CE Rabbi Yitzhak Tsarfati wrote a letter to his persecuted German brothers from the Ottoman Turkish territory (Edirne [Adrianople]) inviting them to join him in prosperous and tolerant Islamic lands:

‘Your cries and laments have reached us. We have been told of all the sorrows and persecutions which you suffer in German lands. Listen, my brothers…if you…knew even the tenth of what God has blessed us with in this land, you would give heed to no further difficulties. You would embark at once to us…Here the Jew is not compelled to wear a yellow hat as a badge of shame…You will be free of your enemies. Here you will find peace.’ [10]

‘Here you will find peace’, is the concluding statement Rabbi Yitzhak used in his letter. This peace was an outcome of the justice delivered by the Ottoman authorities. If the Ottomans were just, this was due to the ideal they followed. The Prophet of Islam told his followers that on the Day of Judgment, when there will be no other shade, seven will be under the shade of Allah’s throne and a just ruler is at the top of the list [11]. Does a Muslim from Palestine have similar peace or can he invite other persecuted Muslim brothers and sisters to his homeland using the words of Rabbi Yitzhak? Are the Muslim men, women and children enjoying even the tenth of the prosperity the Israelis are enjoying today? Again the answer is easy to deliver, even by a Palestinian toddler. Even the Jewish pilgrims were protected from any injuries unlike today’s situation in Jerusalem. The Muslims are asked to produce all kinds of draconian paper work and endure humiliating security checks before they can even think of gazing upon the third most important land mark in Islam: Masjidul-Aqsa. In a stark contrast, an Italian Rabbi, Obadiah Yareh Da Bertinoro, travelled to Jerusalem in 1486 CE and he wrote a letter to his father telling him about the country and its people:

‘The Jews are not persecuted by the Arabs in these parts. I have travelled through the country in its length and breadth, and none of them has put an obstacle in my way. They are very kind to strangers, particularly to anyone who does not know the language; and if they see many Jews together they are not annoyed by it. In my opinion, an intelligent man versed in political science might easily raise himself to be chief of the Jews as well as of the Arabs…’ [12]

The Muslim scientists and academics are unable to achieve anything in the laboratories in Tel Aviv or any of the Israeli controlled institutions for that matter. One may argue that this may be due to the security threat posed by the Palestinian resistance. But the question ultimately boils down to what has caused this security threat to occur? Lack of justice and violation of rights naturally produces anxiety and fervour for resistance. Historically speaking, the Jews had no desire to resist Muslims in any way due to the prosperity they enjoyed under Islamic rule. They did, however, resist the Christian powers, as they were very often persecuted and provoked. A Jewish historian Elijah Capsali describes the Jewish prosperity in the Ottoman Empire in this way:

‘The Jews gathered together from all the cities of Turkey, both far and near, each person coming from his own place, and the community gathered in Constantinople in its thousands and its tens of thousands. The heavens helped them, too, and the king provided them perfect estates and houses filled with all kinds of goodness. The Jews resided there with their families and their clans; they were fruitful and swarmed and multiplied, and the land was full of them. From that day on, whenever the king conquered a place where there were Jews, he would immediately shake them up and drive them from there – and despatch them to Constantinople, the seat of his kingdom, and he would pick them up and cuddle them for ever. Now, since the Jews feared the Lord, he provided them with houses filled with all kinds of goodness in a place where formerly, at the time of the King of Byzantium, there were only two or three congregations, the Jews increased in numbers, becoming a people with more than communities, for the land could not support them altogether – for their property was overwhelming.’ [13]

‘For their prosperity was overwhelming’, having read this, can one still assert with reasonability that the Muslims were ever anti-Jewish or ant-Semitic? Islamic behaviour towards the Jews has been consistently filled with kindness and sympathy. This is due to the law Muslims follow, which is derived from the Quran and Sunnah. The Holy Quran instructs the Muslims to be kind to those who do not fight them for their religion:

‘Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity’.[14]

The Jewish chroniclers themselves testify to the Islamic kindness towards the weak and vulnerable. The Portuguese Jewish chronicler Samuel Usque elaborates upon the Jewish migrants’ situation in the city of Salonika, which was under the Ottoman rule:

‘The majority of my children who have been persecuted and exiled from Europe and many other parts of the world have taken refuge in this city, and she embraces them and receives them with as much love and good will as if she were Jerusalem, that old and ever pious mother of ours.’ [15]

Having read so many Jewish testimonies, one can easily see that the Jews found a safe haven in the Islamic lands and this fact alone is enough to convince one to place one’s confidence in the Islamic ‘One State Solution’. Those persecuted Jews who took refuge with the Muslims were also treated as friends and furthermore, their vulnerable situation was not exploited by the Muslim authorities. An Italian Jewish traveller, David dei Rossi, travelled through the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. He documented his observations about Jewish people living in Safed in these words:

‘The Exile here is not like in our homeland. The Turks hold respectable Jews in esteem. Here and in Alexandria, Egypt, Jews are the chief officers and administrators of the customs, and the king’s revenues. No injuries are perpetuated against them in all the empire. Only this year, in consequence of the extraordinary expenditure caused by the war against Shah Tahmsap al-Sufi, were the Jews required to make advances of loans to the princes.’ [16]

The aforementioned primary testimonies provide a vivid perspective on the Jewish experience in Muslim lands, however, it is equally prudent to ponder upon the views of the contemporary Jewish and non-Jewish historians. The following paragraphs will shed light upon some of the modern works on the Islamic behaviour towards the Jews.

Some contemporary views:

Karen Armstrong notes in her History of Jerusalem that the Jews hailed the early Islamic conquest of the Byzantine lands as a mercy from God:

‘Toward the end of the seventh century, a Hebrew poem hailed the Arabs as the precursors of the Messiah and looked forward to the ingathering of the Jewish exiles and the restoration of the Temple. Even when the Messiah failed to arrive, Jews continued to look favourably on Islamic rule in Jerusalem. In a letter written in the eleventh century, the Jerusalem rabbis recalled the “mercy” God had shown his people when he allowed the “Kingdom of Ishmael” to conquer Palestine. They were glad to remember that when the Muslims arrived in Jerusalem, “there were people from the children of Israel with them; they showed them the spot of the Temple and they settled with them until this very day.”…In about 750 the Jewish author of “The Mysteries of Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai” saw the building [the Dome of the Rock] as a prelude to the messianic age. He praises the Muslim Caliph as “a lover of Israel” who had “restored the breaches of Zion and the breaches of the Temple” [17]

After having studied some early Jewish sentiments about the Muslim compassion, Karen Armstrong further concludes that:

‘The Muslims had established a system that enabled Jews, Christians, and Muslims to live in Jerusalem together for the first time.’ [18]

What Karen Armstrong failed to acknowledge was the fact that, under Islamic governance, it was not only the first time in Palestine but also the last time when the Jews, Muslims and Christians lived together in peace. And if this is proven to be accurate historically, then all sincere peace-brokers in the region and elsewhere should propagate the return of the Islamic system. History has proven beyond any element of doubt that this is the only long-term and durable solution for Palestine: ‘The One State Solution’.

Professor Dean Phillip Bell, who is dean and professor of Jewish history at Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago, had similar views in regard to the Jewish treatment at the hands of Muslims:

‘Jews under medieval Islam never suffered from the same general negative perception as in the Christian West. Despite regional variations and high medieval political instability, in medieval Islam multicultural environments, combined with active engagement in sciences and literature, led to something of an Islamic golden age for the Jews, at least according to most historical accounts. It has been primarily in the context of recent political developments that the once assumed positive views of Jewish life under medieval Islam have been seriously questioned.’ [19]

Professor Bell’s comments are self explanatory and decisive, not requiring any further elaboration. Zion Zohar, an American Jewish historian, confirms the Jewish appreciation of the Muslim arrival in Spain (711 CE) in this way:

‘Thus, when Muslims crossed the straits of Gibraltar from North Africa in 711 CE and invaded the Iberian Peninsula, Jews welcomed them as liberators from Christian Persecution…Born during this era of Islamic rule, the famous Golden Age of Spanish Jewry (circa 900-1200) produced such luminaries as: statesman and diplomat Hasdai ibn Shaprut, vizier and army commander Shmuel ha-Nagid, poet-philosophers Solomon Ibn Gabriol and Judah Halevi, and at the apex of them all, Moses Ben Maimon, also known among the Spaniards as Maimonides.’ [20]

This prosperity and the Golden Age did not just end in the Middle Ages, rather this pattern continued for many centuries to come. In some places Jews were so comfortable with the Islamic system that they deliberately applied to Shari’ah courts for the purpose of attaining justice and arbitration, even when they had complete autonomy in their religious affairs [i.e. they had their own courts to refer to]. For instance, Amnon Cohen, another American Jewish historian, studied the 16th century documents stored in the archives of the Shari’ah religious court of Jerusalem (commonly known as sijill), whereby he found 1000 Jewish cases filed form the year 1530 to 1601 CE. Cohen published his research in 1994 and during his research he made some astonishing discoveries, as he himself states:

‘Cases concerning Jews cover a very wide spectrum of topics. If we bear in mind that the Jews of Jerusalem had their own separate courts, the number of cases brought to Muslim court (which actually meant putting themselves at the mercy of a judge outside the pale of their communal and religious identity) is quite impressive[21]…The Jews went to the Muslim court for a variety of reasons, but the overwhelming fact was their ongoing and almost permanent presence there. This indicates that they went there not only in search of justice, but did so hoping, or rather knowing, that more often than not they would attain redress when wronged…The Jews went to court to resolve much more than their conflicts with Muslim or Christian neighbours. They turned to Shari’a authorities to seek redress with respect to internal differences, and even in matters within their immediate family (intimate relations between husband and wife, nafaqa maintenance payments to divorcees, support of infants etc.).’[22]

Cohen further elaborates upon the Jewish condition in the 16th century Ottoman Jerusalem:

‘Their possessions were protected, although they might have had to pay for extra protection at night for their houses and commercial properties. Their title deeds and other official documents indicating their rights were honoured when presented to the court, being treated like those of their Muslim neighbours[23]…The picture emerging from the sijill documents is baffling. On the one hand we encounter recurring Sultanic decrees sent to Jerusalem – in response to pleas of the Jews – to the effect that “nothing should be done to stop them from applying their own law” regarding a variety of matters. There are also many explicit references to the overriding importance of applying Shari’a law to them only if they so choose. On the other hand, if we look closely at some of the inheritance lists, we see that the local court allocated to female members of Jewish families half the share given to male members, exactly as in Islamic law. This meant, ipso facto, a significant improvement in the status of Jewish women with respect to legacies over that accorded them by Jewish tradition, although it actually meant the application of Islamic law in an internal Jewish context [24]…he [the Muslim Judge] defended Jewish causes jeopardized by high-handed behaviour of local governors; he enabled Jewish business people and craftsmen to lease properties from Muslim endowments on an equal footing with Muslim bidders; more generally, he respected their rituals and places of worship and guarded them against encroachment even when the perpetrators were other Muslim dignitaries.[25]’

And finally Amnon Cohen describes the effective practicality of the Islamic One State Solution for the Jewish interests:

‘No one interfered with their internal organisation or their external cultural and economic activities…In a world where civil and political equality, or positive social change affecting the group or even the individual were not the norms, the Sultan’s Jewish subjects had no reason to mourn their status or begrudge their conditions of life. The Jews of Ottoman Jerusalem enjoyed religious and administrative autonomy within an Islamic state, and as a constructive, dynamic element of the local economy and society they could – and actually did – contribute to its functioning.’[26]

Therefore, the modern scholarly opinions too seem to suggest that the Muslims were never anti-Semitic nor did they ever persecute Jews because of their religion. If the Muslims have this historical record then they should be allowed to run the affairs of Palestine and other Islamic lands ensuring that the Islamic law is implemented comprehensively, as it was the effective implementation of this law in the first place which produced the ‘Golden Age’ discussed above. The ‘One State Solution’ based upon the Islamic model supported by Shari’ah is a cohesive model that allows a diverse multitude of ethnicities to co-exist and enjoy the same freedoms and rights that are thwarted by the Zionist state today. The ‘Two State Solution’ based upon Secular Democracy does not qualify to be a solution for the conflict, but rather will only intensify the divisions between the Muslim Palestinians. Furthermore, the proposal of the ‘Two State Solution’ is divisive and advocates the segregation of a ‘Jewish’ Sate from a Secular ‘Muslim’ state, proving that it is not a long term solution for the Middle East.

The Israeli authorities are not to be trusted, as their policies are adverse to peace and stability, and these policies are harmful for both the Muslim and the Jewish people. Orthodox Jews are also severely persecuted in Israel due to their opposition to the apartheid state of Israel. Neturei Karta Internationa[27] and International Jewish Anti Zionist Network[28] are two Jewish organisations working hard to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people. This in itself proves that not all the Jews sympathise with the Zionist cause. The 60 years Israeli criminal record alone should suffice to convince one to disqualify this terrorist state from taking charge of the holy land. Re-implementation of Islam and Islamic values alone can bring back the ‘Golden Age of the House of Jacob’, as the Muslims are bound to follow the teachings of their prophet concerning Jews, which are to be found in the treaty of Madina:

‘It is incumbent on all the Muslims to help and extend sympathetic treatment to the Jews who have entered into an agreement with us. Neither an oppression of any type should be perpetrated on them nor their enemy be helped against them.’[29]

Adnan Rashid
The Hittin Institute


[2] Hasdai Ibn Shaprut quoted in The Jewish Caravan edited by Leo W. Schwarz, The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1946, p. 199.
[3] Abraham Ibn Daud quoted by Olivia Remie Constable.Medieval Iberia,
Pennsylvania, 1997, p. 101-2.
[4] The Quran, Surah 21 AL-Anbiya, verse 107.
[5] The Book of Direction to the Duties of the Heart, translation of Bahya ben Joseph ibn Paqudah’s Arabic work al-Hidaya ila Faraid al-Qulub by Menahem Mansoor. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973, p. 171.
[6] The Quran, Surah 5 al-Maidah, verse 8.
[7] Benjamin of Tudela, The Jew in the Medieval World, a source book edited by Jacob R. Marcus, New York, 1972, p. 185.
[8] Sahih al-Bukhari, Book of Jihad.
[9] Sahih al-Bukhari, Book of Jihad.
[10] Rabbi Yitzhak Tsarfati quoted by Howard M. Sachar. Farewell Espana, New York, 1994, p. 75.
[11] Al-Bukhari 660, Muslim 1031.
[12] Rabbi Obadiah Yareh Da Bertinoro, quoted in The Jewish Caravan edited by Leo W. Schwarz, The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1946, p. 249.
[13] Elijah Capsali quoted by Joseph R. Hacker “The ‘Surgun’ System and Jewish Society in the Ottoman Empire during the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth Centuries.” In Ottoman and Turkish Jewry: Community and Leadership, ed. Aron Roderigue, Bloomington, IN, 1992, p. 6-7.
[14] The Holy Quran. Surah 60 Mumtahanah, verse 8.
[15] Samuel Usque, Consolation for the Tribulation of the Jews, trans. Martin A. Cohen. Philadelphia, 1965, p. 211-12.
[16] David dei Rossi, quoted by Norman A. Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book. Philadelphia, 1979, p, 291-92.
[17] Karen Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem: One City Three Faiths. London, 1997, p. 233-40.
[18] Ibid, p. 245
[19] Dean Phillip Bell, Jews in the Early Modern World. New York, 2008, p. 25.
[20] Zion Zohar, Sephardic & Mizrahi Jewry, New York, 2005, P. 8-9.
[21] Amnon Cohen, A World Within: Jewish Life as Reflected in Muslim Court Documents from the Sijill of Jerusalem (XVIth Century). Part One, 1994, Pennsylvania, p. 8.
[22] Ibid, p. 17.
[23] Ibid, p. 18.
[24] Ibid, p. 20-21.
[25] Ibid, p. 22.
[26] Ibid, p. 22-23.
[29] Ibn Hisham, as-Sira an-Nabawiyya, Cairo, 1955, vol 1, P. 501-4.