Recently, Saudi Arabia's interior minister warned the pilgrims that they should not involve politics in Hajj. The current rulers in the Muslim lands are attempting to prevent Muslims from gathering and discussing issues and ideas which are pertinent to the future of the Ummah. Politics which is the act of "taking care of the affairs of the Ummah according to Shar'a rulings" is an integral part of Islam. We must take it upon ourselves to reclaim Islam and discuss the issues affecting the Muslim Ummah in all gatherings.
Prior to the commencement of Hajj, Saudi authorities were warning pilgrims not to stage any protests during the ritual. Saudi Arabia's interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz said, "It is not permitted to undertake any actions which are not part of the ritual... and we will not permit anyone to damage the hajj or the pilgrims."
Hajj is an amazing journey where Muslims have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with Allah سبحانه وتعالى. It is also an event where Muslims from every corner of the earth gather together as one Ummah to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood. Today, the pilgrims are grouped according to the nation states they belong to. Furthermore, Muslims are not given an opportunity to bond with each other, by getting to know one another and discuss our condition as Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed:
إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا
"We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other." [Al-Hujraat, 49:13]
Obstructing the Ummah: Hajj and Beyond
The discouragement of Muslims gathering and discussing the affairs of the Ummah is not only seen at the time of Hajj. Rather, this is a recurring theme throughout the Muslim world. Rulers regularly prevent Muslims from gathering and discussing issues and ideas which are pertinent to the future of the Ummah. Such preventions are usually enforced with great hostility and aggression:
• Palestine - In November 2007, 36-year-old Hisham Baradi died in a hospital after Palestinian police shot him in cold blood. According to reports, riot police and other security forces moved in on members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir as soon as they left masjids in the cities of Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron aiming to march in non-violent demonstrations planned against the treacherous Annapolis Conference attended by Abbas and other Arab rulers.
• Turkey - In July of this year, KöklüDeğişim Magazine organized a Khilafah conference in Istanbul. Two weeks prior to the conference, the organizers received permission from the Governor of Istanbul and notified him of the speakers along with a summary of their speeches. On the day of the conference - in the early morning - the Turkish police arrested (without any resistance) 200 speakers and attendees which led to the cancellation of the conference.
• Bangladesh - In September of this year, Muslims in Bangladesh organized a peaceful rally outside the national masjid after Jummah prayers calling for the re-establishment of the Khilafah and a unified Muslim Army. The rally, which was attended by several thousand Muslims was prevented by the police. Furthermore, they arrested 30 Muslim activists.
• Pakistan - In October of this year, 30 members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir were arrested in Islamabad while they were having a seminar in a residential home.
Islam: A Complete Way of Life
Islam is more than a mere set of rituals; rather it is a complete way of life. Islam does not confine the relationship between man and his Creator to his personal sphere. Instead, Islam properly recognizes that man needs guidance from Allah سبحانه وتعالى in all affairs, especially in the matters of siyasah (politics), which is "taking care of the affairs of the Ummah according to Shar'a rulings". As such, it is part of our Deen to be concerned with the affairs of our brothers and sisters across the world. Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
"The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy." [Al-Hujraat, 49:10]
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "You will see the believers in their mutual kindness, love and sympathy just like one body. When a limb complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever." [Muslim & Bukhari]
The ayah and hadith make it clear that it is part of our Deen to be concerned about the Ummah. Just as our hearts fill with joy when we see our brothers and sisters in their success, we are also overwhelmed with sadness and pain when we see their hardship and suffering. As a result, it is only natural that when we meet our fellow Muslims - be it at Hajj or after prayer at the masjid - that we discuss our problems and the solutions on how to resolve them.
Siyasah in the Gatherings of Muslims
When we look to the example of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahabah (ra), we see that the Muslims gathered and engaged in siyasah (politics) be they in Hajj, or outside of Hajj.
In the Hujat-al-Wada sermon which occurred during the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم Hajj, RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم discussed many issues that concern the affairs of Muslims including the property of a Muslim, riba, the obligations of men towards women and the equality of all Muslims with the exception of their Taqwa.
The masjid itself (which today is known only as a place of Juma, Jamat, Qiyamul-Layl and maybe some Islamic education) used to be the center of all activities. During the time of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم it was a place to congregate and discuss the affairs of the Ummah. For example, the news of Zayd (ra), Jafar (ra) and Abdullah ibn Rawaha (ra) being martyred at the Battle of Mua'ta was relayed to the Muslims by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in the masjid while he was on the minbar.
After the death of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and prior to burying his body - an action which Shar'a requires urgency - the Sahabah (ra) gathered, discussed and debated as to who should be the leader of all Muslims. It was after heated discussions that Abu Bakr (ra) was nominated as the Khaleefah. Only after the appointment of Abu Bakr (ra) was the body of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم buried.
During the Khilafat of Abu Bakr (ra) the tribes in the Arabian Peninsula apostatized and rebelled against the Islamic State. He then gathered the Sahabah (ra) in the masjid to discuss whether the Muslims should declare war on the apostates and rebels. When Umar (ra) was the Khaleefah, he used to meet the Wulaa (governors) during Hajj to discuss their activities and any issues of the Muslims in the region.
We can also see throughout the Islamic history stories of how the Ummah would not let any wrong pass by their eyes without correcting it even if it was the doing of a governor or the Khaleefah himself. Those in authority did not respond by imprisoning, suppressing or torturing these people rather they were quick to correct themselves as they understood the great responsibility and accountability they had before Allah سبحانه وتعالى.
When Umar (ra) was the Khaleefah, he received some cloth and distributed it equally amongst the Muslims by giving them one piece each. When he was on the minbar it was apparent that he was wearing 2 pieces of cloth. Immediately, Salman al-Farsi (ra) said, "By Allah, we will not hear you, because you prefer yourself to your people." At this point Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) explained that he gave his father his cloth. Salman al-Farsi (ra) responded by saying: "Now we shall hear you."
In another incident, Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan who was a governor ordered a person to sell a silver utensil received from the spoils of war for payment to the soldiers who went out in battle. The news of (this state of affairs) reached Ubada bin Samit (ra) and he stood up and said, "I heard Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم forbidding the sale of gold by gold, and silver by silver, and wheat by wheat, and barley by barley, and dates by dates, and salt by salt, except like for like and equal for equal. So he who made an addition or who accepted an addition (committed the sin of taking) interest." So the people returned what they had received. This reached Mu'awiya and he stood up to deliver an address. He said, "What is the matter with people that they narrate from the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم such tradition which we did not hear though we saw him and lived in his company?" Thereupon, Ubada bin Samit (ra) stood up and repeated that narration, and then said, "We will definitely narrate what we heard from Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم though it may be unpleasant to Mu'awiya. I do not mind if I do not remain in his troop in the dark night."
The Ummah is seeking solutions to the problems that are currently plaguing it. The Muslims are growing tired of insincere rulers who would rather host a concert with scantily clad women than permit our Muslim sisters to wear the niqab at universities, as has happened in Egypt. It is fear that drives these despotic rulers to try their utmost to clamp down on any sincere gathering of Muslims working to free the Ummah of the problems that ail it. They are aware that they are sitting on borrowed thrones which do not rightfully belong to them, but rather belong to a sincere leader who will rule only by what Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed and fear no one but Him. It is only then that we can see this great Ummah return to the state that it was. Insha-Allah we will again see rulers who follow the method of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and fulfil their covenant towards Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the Ummah.
With ample evidence that all of Islam was discussed and that there was no separation between the rituals and other aspects of Islam we must take it upon ourselves to reclaim Islam from the treacherous rulers. By obeying only the commands and prohibitions of Allah سبحانه وتعالى we must return Islam back to the norm by making Muslim gatherings such as Hajj, the masjid and even family gatherings an arena to discuss the current affairs of the Muslim Ummah.
May Allah سبحانه وتعالى replace the current rulers with one who will work with the Ummah to resolve our issues in a manner that is pleasing to Allah سبحانه وتعالى.
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَـئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللّهُ إِنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
"The believers, men and women, are Auliya' of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma‘ruf, and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar; they perform As-Salat, and give the Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise." [At-Tawba, 9:71]