Sunday, March 08, 2009

Article 21, 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 21:The Muslims reserve the right to establish political parties in order to account the rulers

The Muslims reserve the right to establish political parties in order to account the rulers or to reach the reins of power via the Ummah, provided the basis of these parties is the Islamic Aqeedah and provided the rules adopted by these parties are Shari'ah rules. Establishing a party does not require permission and any gathering based on other than Islam will be prohibited.

The evidence is derived from Allah's (swt) saying:

وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

"Let there arise from amongst you a group calling to the Goodness and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil; and those are the ones who will attain felicity." T.M.Q. [3 -104]

The evidential aspect pertaining the establishment of political parties is reflected in Allah's (swt) command to the Muslims to establish from amongst them a group that undertakes the Da'awah to the goodness i.e. the call to Islam. The group also undertakes the enjoining of Ma'aruf (good) and the forbidding of Munkar (evil). Hence, Allah's (swt) saying: "Let there arise from among you." denotes a command to establish a group structured in a way that gives it the quality of a group from among the group of Muslims, for He (swt) says: "From amongst you." Therefore, the meaning of "Let there arise from amongst you." is let there be a group from among the Muslims, not let the Muslims be a group. i.e. let there arise from amongst the Muslims an Ummah, not let the Muslims be an Ummah.

This means two things:
1- The establishment of a group from among the Muslims is a duty of sufficiency and not an individual duty.
2- The presence of a bloc enjoying the quality of a group from among the Muslims is sufficient to establish this duty regardless of the number of this bloc, as long as it is capable of undertaking the actions expected of it and stipulated in the verse.


Hence, the phrase "Let there arise." is an address directed at the Islamic Ummah as a whole; however, the emphasis is on the word Ummah meaning a group. In other words, what is requested is directed at the Muslims as a whole, and what is requested is the establishment of a group that meets the quality of a group;

Hence, the meaning of the verse is: O Muslims, do establish a group that will undertake two actions: Calling to the Goodness and enjoining Ma'aruf and forbidding Munkar. It is therefore a request to establish a group, and within this request, the function of this group is determined. Although this request is a mere order "Let there arise.", there exists nonetheless a Qareena (conjunction) that indicates that this request is binding. The action that the verse has stipulated for the group is an obligation upon the Muslims, as it is confirmed in other verses and several Ahadith. This serves as a Qareena denoting that this request is a binding command. Therefore, the command in the verse is obligatory, for the verse indicates that the Muslims must establish from amongst themselves a group that undertakes to call to the Goodness i.e. to Islam and to enjoin Ma'aruf and forbid Munkar.

This on the one hand is pertaining the obligation upon the Muslims to establish a group that undertakes the two actions mentioned in the verse, for which all the Muslims would be sinful if they did not establish.

On the other hand, the evidence stipulating that the group whose establishment is requested in the verse should be a political party is reflected in two aspects:
Allah (swt) did not order the Muslims in this verse to undertake the call to the Goodness and the enjoining of Ma'aruf and the forbidding Munkar, He (swt) rather ordered the establishment of a group that undertakes these two actions; hence, what is requested is not the undertaking of the two actions, but rather the establishment of a group that undertakes them. Hence, the emphasis in the request is on the establishment of the group and not on the two actions.


The two actions are an indication of the actions of the group whose establishment is requested and they are not the requested matter; thus they act as a specific characteristic to the type of the group whose establishment is requested. For the group to be qualified as such and to be able to assume the role assigned to it in its quality as a group, it should meet a host of specific criteria in order to become a group and maintain its status of a group while assuming its task. Therefore, in order for the group to acquire the quality mentioned in the verse, that is to be a group undertaking two actions, it ought to have what is necessary to render it a group and to maintain it as a group while functioning. What renders it a group is the presence of a bond that binds its members so that they become one single body, i.e. a bloc; without this bond, the group -whose establishment is requested- will be non-existent while functioning in its quality as a group. Also, what maintains it as a group while functioning is the presence of an Amir whose obedience is compulsory. This is so because Shari'ah has ordered every group of three people and more to appoint an Amir.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
"It is forbidden for any three person to be anywhere on earth without having appointed one Amir from amongst them."

Also, because forsaking obedience leads to the exclusion from the group.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
"He who sees from his Amir something that he detests, let him be patient, for he who forsakes the group as much as a hand span and dies, his death will be that of the days of ignorance."

Therefore, Shari'ah deems the rebellion against the Amir as a separation from the group. What maintains it as a group, while working, is the obedience to the Amir. These two indispensable characteristics for the group to exist and to undertake the two actions as a group, namely the presence of a bond and an Amir whose obedience is obligatory, indicate that Allah's (swt) saying: "Let there arise from amongst you a group.." means let there be from amongst you a group that has a bond binding its members and an Amir whose obedience is obligatory. This is the bloc or the party or the association or the organisation or any of these names which refer to the group which meets all the criteria that renders it a group and maintains it a group while undertaking its function. Therefore, it becomes clear that the verse stipulates a command to establish parties or associations or organisations or similar. As for the fact that this command is pertaining the establishment of political parties, this is because the command is a request to establish a specific group by specifying the function which it undertakes, not just to establish any group, for the verse has outlined the work that the group should undertake in its quality as a group and by outlining its work it has outlined the type of group whose establishment is requested, i.e. it has outlined the type of association whose establishment has been ordered; the verse mentioned that there ought to be from among the Muslims a band that calls to the Goodness and enjoins Ma'aruf and forbids Munkar.

This is a specific description of this band. Hence, the band which meets the description is the band whose establishment has been made obligatory, and not any other band. As for the call to the Goodness, i.e. the call to Islam, this can be undertaken by an association and it can be undertaken by a party and can also be undertaken by an organisation.

However, the enjoining of Ma'aruf and the forbidding of Munkar which has come in general terms, cannot be performed but by a political party, because it includes enjoining the rulers with Ma'aruf and forbidding their Munkar; it is even the most important type of enjoining Ma'aruf and forbidding Munkar and this is included in this verse, for it has come in general terms "And enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil." Hence, it is a generic noun with a definite article denoting a general tense. This action is deemed as the most important work of the political party, and it is such action that lends the party or the association or the organisation the political aspect and makes it a political party or a political association or a political organisation. Since this work, that is enjoining the rulers with Ma'aruf and forbidding their Munkar, is the most important work and since it is one of the two actions requested by the verse to be the work of the group whose establishment is obligatory, the command is the verse is therefore targeted at a specific group whose work is to call to the goodness and enjoin the rulers as well as all other people with Ma'aruf and forbid their Munkar.

It is this type of group which Allah (swt) has made its establishment an obligation upon the Muslims, i.e. the group that satisfies all the qualities stipulated in the verse. Such a group that has such qualities is the political party. It is not fitting to claim that the establishment of a group that calls people to the goodness and enjoin them with Ma'aruf and forbid their Munkar without however tackling the rulers is sufficient to fulfil the duty; it is wrong to claim this because fulfilling the duty cannot be brought about unless the group that the Muslims have established satisfies all the conditions that characterise it, i.e. a group that enjoins Ma'aruf and forbids the Munkar with the call to the Goodness because the coordinating conjunction has come to indicate a participatory form, and because the wording of "enjoining Ma'aruf and forbidding Munkar" has come in general terms and in a form denoting generality, thus it should maintain this generality and fulfil it. The obligation cannot be fulfilled unless the work of the group with regard to enjoining Ma'aruf and forbidding Munkar is general as stipulated in the verse, without any exception whatsoever. If enjoining the rulers with Ma'aruf and forbidding their Munkar were excluded, i.e. if the political work were excluded, the group whose establishment is requested in the verse cannot be generated, and such a group would not be the one requested by the verse, for it would have excluded one important type of enjoining Ma'aruf and forbidding Munkar, whereas in the verse, this has come in general terms; thus it could not be given the quality of the group stipulated in the verse unless the rulers are enjoined with Ma'aruf and forbidden from Munkar. Therefore, the fulfilment of the obligation as mentioned in the verse cannot be achieved unless a political group i.e. a political party or a political association or a political organisation is established; that is the group for whom the enjoining Ma'aruf and forbidding Munkar in general without any exception, and this cannot be achieved except through the political party or the political association or a similar body.

Therefore, Allah (swt) ordered in this verse the establishment of political parties that undertake the carrying of the Islamic Da'awah and the accounting of the rulers by enjoining them and the rest of the people with Ma'aruf and forbidding them from Munkar. This is the evidential aspect of this verse that acts as evidence for this article.

It is wrong to say that the verse says "Ummah" meaning one party, which entail the non plurality of parties, because the verse did not say "One Ummah" i.e. one group, it rather said "Ummah" with the form of indefinite noun, and without any attributive. This means that the establishment of a group is obligatory; so if one group is established the obligation will be fulfilled, however, this does not means that the establishment of several groups, i.e. several blocs is prohibited. Hence, if one person performed the duty of sufficiency for whose establishment one individual would be sufficient, this would not mean that others are prevented from performing the same duty. The word group in this context is a generic noun, meaning any group; thus it is used to indicate the gender not the one individual.


Allah (swt) says:

كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ
"You are the best Ummah." T.M.Q.[3-110]


And this indicates the gender. Similar to this is the saying of the Messenger of Allah (saw): "whoever sees a Munkar he should change it." and clearly the Hadith does not mean one single Munkar but the gender of Munkar, and similar to this are many texts, where the performing of the gender is commanded or prohibited without necessarily indicating the one single individual, but rather indicating the gender or the type. Hence, this could apply to the one single gender and to several numbers of the same gender. Hence, it is permitted to have in the Ummah one single party and it is also permitted to have several parties.


However, if one party is established, then the duty of sufficiency will be fulfilled if this party is performing the function requested in the verse; however, this does not prohibit the establishment of other groups. The establishment of the political group is a duty of sufficiency, so if one single group is established and others wanted to establish other groups, i.e. to perform that particular duty, it would be forbidden for anyone to prevent them, for it would be a prevention from performing what is an obligation, and that is Haram. Therefore, it i forbidden to prevent the establishment of several political parties. However, this is pertaining the Islamic parties which are based upon what the verse stipulates, which is the Da'awah to the Goodness and enjoining Ma'aruf and forbidding Munkar including that of the rulers, as well as accounting them.

As for other groups, this depends on whether such groups are to perform something forbidden such as the call to nationalism or the spread of non Islamic thoughts or anything similar, in which case the establishment of such blocs would be forbidden and they would be prevented by the State; and anyone taking part in such blocs will be punished. If on the other hand such groups were not established to undertake any unlawful activity and if they were based on a legitimate basis, they would then be permitted, but these blocs would not however be fulfilling the obligation which Allah (swt) imposed in this verse, unless they were political parties fulfilling all the conditions stipulated in the verse.

Since performing a duty does not require a permission from the ruler, and since it is forbidden to make the performing of any duty subject to the ruler's permission, the rise and the establishment of political parties does not therefore require a licence.

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