Monday, November 30, 2009

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

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


Two cases would be excluded of that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The above chapter is taken from the book:

The Institutions of State in the Khilafah in Ruling and Administration

(A translation of Ajhiza Dawlat-al-Khilafah)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Views on the News - 25-11-2009

Europeans debate on how best coerce Muslim integration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

25th November 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

India's Deluge of Challenges

This Article is written by Brother Adnan Khan

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


Indian progress: Past and Present

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

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

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

India Today

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

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

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

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

Current issues

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

• - Energy

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

• - Wealth Distribution

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

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

• - Infrastructure

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

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

• - 1000 Indian children die of diarrhea sickness every day

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

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

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

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

• - 338 million Indians cannot read or write

A False Dawn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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

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

Q&A-The Nature of Bid'ah

Question:
During one of our meetings, we discussed the word "Bid'ah." Some of us said that it refers to everything that contravenes the command of The Legislator (Al-Shaari'), and others said that it refers only to contravening the command of The Legislator in matters of ‘Ibadaat (acts of worship). Could you please clarify this issue? Jazakum Allahu Khairan.

Answer:

1- The commands of The Legislator are two types: The first type is in Seeghat Al-Amr (the form of a command) and accompanied with the explanation of the method to complete this command (i.e. the practical steps to implement it from start to finish). For example, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ

"And perform Salat" [Al-Baqara, 2:43]

this is in Seeghat Al-Amr, but it was not left to man to pray however he pleases, but rather other texts were revealed that explain exactly how prayer is performed, including the intention, standing, recitation, Rukoo', Sujood, etc. Equally, Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ

"And Hajj to the House (Ka'ba) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah" [Al-Imran, 3:97],

and this is also in Seeghat Al-Amr, but in the form of "news in the context of a command," and this is also accompanied by texts explaining how this command to perform Hajj is to be completed from start to finish.

The second type is also in Seeghat Al-Amr, but is general (‘Aam) or unrestricted (Mutlaq), and is not accompanied by the method to complete the command (the practical steps to implement it). For example, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

"Whoever (loaned something or sold something on credit), then the measure must be known, the weight must be known, and the period (until payment is made) must be known" [Bukhari];

here, the command with relation to selling something on credit is in Seeghat Al-Jumla Al-Shartiyyah (the form of a conditional sentence), ordering us to know the measure, weight and payment period, but The Legislator did not explain the specific steps to complete the contract, such as, for example, having the two contractors stand before each other, one of them recite something from the Qur'an, then each of them take a step forward, then they hug each other, then they discuss the credit contract, followed by an offer and an acceptance, etc.

Another example is the Ahadith of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم:

"Gold (traded for) gold is Riba, except when (it is exchanged immediately in the same meeting)" [Bukhari] and

"Gold (traded) for gold, likeness to likeness, and paper (traded) for paper, likeness to likeness" [Bukhari and Muslim].

These Ahadith are "a command in the form of news," but the specific steps to complete the trading were not given, as explained in the previous examples.

In another example, it was narrated to us through authentic Ahadith that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم would stand up when a funeral procession would pass him. It was narrated in Sahih Muslim:

"If you see a funeral procession, then stand up for it..."

and the actions of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم are a form of a Talab (request or command), but he صلى الله عليه وسلم did not show us exactly how to perform the exact steps related to this command, as demonstrated in the first example.

Hence, there are commands from The Legislator that were accompanied by texts detailing the practical steps for implementation, and there are commands from The Legislator that are general (‘Aam) or unrestricted (Mutlaq) that were not accompanied by detailed practical steps for implementation.

2- The expression (Istilaah) "Bid'ah" applies when a command of The Legislator, with which texts detailing the practical steps for implementation were also revealed, are contravened. This is because the command was not implemented exactly as instructed by The Legislator.

The linguistic (Lughawi) meaning of the word "Bid'ah," as explained in Lisaan Al-Arab: "The Mubtadi' (person who carries out a Bid'ah) is the person who brings forth something in a manner that is different than was known previously [...] and if you (Abda't) something, it means that you invented it and it is unique."

The above definition also applies to the Istilaahi meaning of the word "Bid'ah," i.e. contravening the Shar'iee method, as detailed by Islamic legislation, to complete a Shar'iee matter. This is what the Hadith,

"Whoever performs an act that is not upon our command, it is rejected" [Bukhari and Muslim]

is referring to. Thus, whoever performs three Sujood (prostrations) instead of two during his Salat has committed a Bid'ah, and whoever throws eight stones at the Jamrat of Mina instead of seven has committed a Bid'ah. Every Bid'ah is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire (i.e. he is sinful for the action).

3- Contravening a command of The Legislator that was not accompanied by the practical steps for implementation falls under the classification of Hukum Shari'ee, and is defined as Haram, Makruh or Mubah if the address was Khitaab Takleef (prescriptive address), and Baatil (invalid) or Faasid (corrupt) if the address was Khitaab Wadh' (descriptive address). This, in turn, is dependent on the form of the Qareena (conjunctive evidence) that accompanies the command, whether in the form of Jazm (decisive), Tarjeeh (outweighing), or Takhyeer (choice).

So, going back to our first example, if someone sells something on credit (i.e. completed the contract of sale) in contravention to the command of The Legislator (i.e. without knowing the measure, or the weight, or the deadline when payment will be made), it cannot be said that he has committed a Bid'ah, but rather it is said that this contract contravenes the command of The Legislator and is Baatil or Faasid depending on the type of contravention.

And in the second example, if a person traded gold for gold in contravention to the command:

"Gold (traded for) gold is Riba, except when (it is exchanged immediately in the same meeting)" and "...likeness to likeness," (i.e. not exchanged immediately and not likeness to likeness),

it cannot be said that he has committed a Bid'ah by contravening the command, but rather it is said that he committed Haram by being involved in a Riba contract.

And failure to stand up when a funeral procession passes, choosing to remain seated, cannot be called a Bid'ah, but rather is called Mubah (permissible) because Islamic texts have been narrated for both cases. It was reported by Muslim of Ali Bin Abi Taalib (ra) who said:

"The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم stood up then sat down" [Muslim].

This also applies to the command of The Legislator,

"...seek (the wife) with (strong) Deen, otherwise you will (lose)" [Bukhari],

where contravening this command cannot be called a Bid'ah, but rather the Islamic ruling regarding marrying a woman who does not have a strong Deen should be researched. This is because the practical steps for choosing a wife have not been given, where, for example, the man might stand before the woman and recites Ayat ul-Kursi, then he takes one step forward and recites the two Mu'awithaat, then he takes one step forward and says Bismillah, then he extends his right arm forward and proposes marriage, and so on.

This also applies to the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم to the tradesmen,

"O tradesmen, this buying and selling (or market) is attended by Laghw (false speech) and swearing oaths, so fill it with charity" [Abu Dawood and Ahmed],

due to their excessive swearing of oaths during trade. But The Legislator did not clarify specific steps to implement the command "...so fill it" and therefore it cannot be said that if someone sold something and swore an oath, but then did not give charity, that he come with a Bid'ah; rather, the Islamic ruling regarding a tradesman not giving charity after swearing oaths should be researched on its own.

This applies to all contraventions of the commands of The Legislator that were not accompanied with specific steps for implementation.

4- By looking more deeply (Istiqraa') into the Islamic legal texts, we find that only the majority of the ‘Ibadaat (acts of worship) are accompanied by exact, practical steps for implementing the commands of The Legislator, and therefore Bid'ah does not occur outside of the ‘Ibadaat.

We say "the majority of the ‘Ibadaat" here because some of them were not accompanied by practical steps for implementation. One example of this is Jihad. Even though it is an act of ‘Ibaada, but the commands related to it came unrestricted (Mutlaq) or general (‘Aam), such as the verse:

قَاتِلُواْ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَكُم مِّنَ الْكُفَّارِ

"Fight those of the disbelievers that are close to you" [At-Tawba, 9:123]

and the verse:

جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ

"Fight (Jaahiduu) against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them" [At-Tawba, 9:73]

These commands are not accompanied with Islamic texts to detail the exact steps to implement them, such as how to fight: if you would recite an Ayah, then shoot a bullet, then take a step forward, then shoot another bullet, then take a step to the right, and so on.

Hence, a person that does not perform Jihad when it is prescribed upon him is not said to have come forth with a Bid'ah, but rather he has committed a Haram for his neglecting Jihad.

5- In conclusion, contravening a command of The Legislator that was accompanied by an exact explanation of the steps required to complete the command is a Bid'ah. And contravening an unrestricted (Mutlaq) or general (‘Aam) command of The Legislator that is not accompanied by an exact explanation of the steps required to complete the command is a contravention of the Ahkam Shar'iee: Haram, Makruh, or Mubah if it is in a Khitaab Takleef (prescriptive address), and Baatil or Faasid if in a Khitaab Wadh' (descriptive address).

And by looking more deeply (Istiqraa'), we find that the majority of ‘Ibadaat were accompanied by the exact steps for implementation, and therefore contravening these laws falls under the classification of Bid'ah.

6- As for the evidences regarding Mu'amalaat (transactions) and Jihad, these were revealed in an unrestricted (Mutlaq) and general (‘Aam) fashion, and therefore contravening these commands falls under the classification of Ahkam Shar'iee: Haram, Makruh, or Mubah if it is in a Khitaab Takleef (prescriptive address), and Baatil or Faasid if in a Khitaab Wadh' (descriptive address).

29th of Ramadhan, 1430 Hijri
18/9/2009

Lessons from Eid Al-Adha

The first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah are almost at an end. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has informed us about the significance and value placed on these days. We should take the remaining time to reflect not only on ourselves, but the Muslim Ummah at large. This Eid, we remember our brothers and sisters who are suffering throughout the world. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى allow this year to be the last year in which we live without the shade of the Khilafah.


We are now in the best ten days of the year - the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. It is an occasion for many to perform Hajj and for those not partaking in this act of worship, there are extra rewards for deeds performed during this time. We should take the opportunity during these days to reflect on the rewards that can be earned Insha'Allah and derive lessons to implement in our lives.

The First 10 Days

Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed:

وَالْفَجْرِ

وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ

"By the dawn; by the ten nights." [TMQ 89:1-2]

In the above verse Allah سبحانه وتعالى swears an oath by these days and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Ibn Abbas, Ibn Az-Zubayr, Mujahid and others of the earlier and later generations are of the opinion that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: "There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." The people asked, "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing." [Al-Bukhari]

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم also said: "There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of tahlil, takbir and tahmid." [Ahmad]

Hajj: The Fifth Pillar of Islam

Muslims from all over the world are gathering together in Makkah to perform Hajj. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى reward those amongst us who have left and may He accept their Hajj. May He also enable those who were unable to undertake this blessed journey to fulfil it in the future. Hajj is an obligation from the pillars of Islam, the reward of which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم has spoken about:

"Whoever performs Hajj for Allah's pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return as if he were born anew." [Bukhari]

Indeed one of the astonishing things about Hajj even for the non-Muslims is that people from all colours, black and white; people from all races - from Europe, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Africa; people from all ages - the young and the old are united in the worship to Allah سبحانه وتعالى and are all equal before Him.

"There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colours, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white." Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

Hajj symbolizes the concept of Ummatun Wahida (One Ummah). The Muslims from all parts of the world who speak different languages and have different looks upon their faces, all perform the various obligatory acts together like the wearing of the Ihram, the tawaf around the Ka'ba, the running between Safa and Marwa, the standing at Arafah and the stoning of the Jamarat.

Indeed the concept of one united Ummah with no distinction, with no racism or nationalistic divisions is a fundamental concept in Islam. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed:

وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat clear to you, that you may be guided." [TMQ 3:103]

Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said, "A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other." The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that). [Bukhari]

But unfortunately as soon as Hajj is over, Muslims will return to lands where they are divided by false borders and dominated by man-made laws. The creation of false borders is not something of mere coincidence or an event that naturally occurred over time.

The British Foreign minister addressing the Prime Minister shortly before World War II said, "We must put an end to anything which brings about Islamic Unity between the sons of the Muslims. As we have already succeeded in finishing off the Caliphate, so we must ensure that there will never arise again unity for the Muslims, whether it be intellectual or cultural unity."

Nationalism is a concept alien to Islam because it calls for unity based on belonging to a piece of land crafted by the colonial powers whereas Islam binds people together on the Aqeedah, that is, belief in Allah سبحانه وتعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: "He is not one of us who calls for ‘asabiyyah, (nationalism) or who fights for ‘asabiyyah or who dies for ‘asabiyyah." [Abu Dawud]

It is forbidden in Islam for the Islamic land to be divided as it is today. When Muslims go for Hajj, why do we need a visa? Did Muslims need a visa in the past under the Khilafah which ruled for over a thousand years? Ruling according to Islam can only be achieved under one state, with one Khaleefah - not the over 50 divided nation-states we have today. This should make us work harder to liberate the Islamic lands from the oppression of Kufr by re-establishing the Khilafah Rashidah in the Muslim lands according to the method of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم. Only when the Ummah submits to the authority of one Khaleefah, in one Khilafah, will complete unity be achieved.

Ibrahim عليه السلام and his adherence to the Shariah

We should take a lesson from the well known story of Ibrahim عليه السلام and his son Ismail عليه السلام. We are all reminded of this story as Eid al-Adha represents the culmination of the first ten glorious days of Dhul-Hijjah. Allah سبحانه وتعالى informs us of his story in the Quran:

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

فَبَشَّرْنَاهُ بِغُلَامٍ حَلِيمٍ

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَى فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ

فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ

وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَنْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ

قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ

"My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous." So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy. And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!" He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha'Allah (if Allah wills), you shall find me of As-Sabirun (the patient)." Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); And We called out to him: "O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the dream!' Verily! Thus do We reward the Muhsinun." [TMQ 37:100-105]

If we ponder over the story of Ibrahim عليه السلام carefully we find that Allah سبحانه وتعالى ordered His believing slave to slaughter his beloved son! Both the father and the son fully submitted to the order of Allah سبحانه وتعالى without questioning it. Ibrahim عليه السلام didn't look for a reason for the command that Allah سبحانه وتعالى gave him, nor did Ismail عليه السلام knowing that he was going to be sacrificed. Rather they both willingly accepted the decision of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, because they realised that He was the Creator and that their purpose was to worship Him. The lesson we can learn from this is to submit to the orders of Allah سبحانه وتعالى whether Allah سبحانه وتعالى has given us a reason for them or not. So we know that Allah سبحانه وتعالى issued a judgement on the many actions that are before us such as the prohibition of dealing in Riba (usury), pre-marital relations and supporting political parties not based on Islam. We must submit to these rules completely without attempting to justify engaging in them based on our own rationale.

Indeed, Eid al-Adha is a time of celebration for over one billion people around the globe. Although we will perform the slaughter, pray the Eid Salah and play with our children on this day, our hearts and our minds will not be at ease due to the suffering felt by our brothers and sisters around the world.

The food that we eat on this day should remind us of the many who are dying of hunger in Gaza, Darfur, Chechnya, Kashmir, and all over the world. The slaughtering that we perform on this occasion as a worship to Allah سبحانه وتعالى should provoke us to think about the agent rulers in our lands who allow the continuous slaughter upon the Muslims of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan, Somalia, Chechnya and the list goes on. On this occasion of Eid when we spend the days with our family and friends, let us make sure that we do not forget the problems of the Muslims worldwide. Let us work for the pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى so that we may be of the Muhsinun (good doers).

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانصَبْ

وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ

"Verily, along with every hardship is relief, verily, along with hardship is relief. So when you have finished (your occupation), devote yourself for Allah's worship. And to your Lord (Alone) turn (all your) intentions and hopes." [TMQ 94:5-8]

Articles on Hajj

As we are now within the blessed month of Zull-Hajj the following are some useful articles related to Hajj:

The Magnitude of Hajj

Lessons from the story of Ibrahim (as)

Lessons from Hajj

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Views on the News- 18 -11-2009

Swiss President: Muslims have right to pray but not to adhan
Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz on Tuesday told voters that the call of the Muslims’ prayer leader would not sound in Switzerland, as he campaigned against a referendum motion seeking to ban the building of minarets. “Muslims should be able to practice their religion and have access to minarets in Switzerland too. But the call of the prayer leader will not sound here,” Merz said in a video broadcast to Switzerland. The Swiss are due to vote on November 29 on the motion launched by right wing groups to ban the construction of minarets, which is backed by the country’s biggest political party, the hard right Swiss People’s Party.

Endemic corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan: Fruits of American occupation
Afghanistan and Iraq, countries that receive billions of dollars a year in international support, are among the world's most corrupt nations, a watchdog group said in a report released Tuesday. Afghanistan, which slipped to 179th place from 176th, has been dogged by corruption for years. Under heavy pressure from the U.S. government, Afghan President Hamid Karzai unveiled an anti-corruption unit and major crime fighting force on Monday following his fraud-tainted re-election. Somalia remained the world's most corrupt country, followed by Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq, Transparency International said in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index. "The results demonstrate that countries which are perceived as the most corrupt are also those plagued by long-standing conflicts, which have torn their governance infrastructure," the report said.

However, the report conveniently forgot to mention that the root cause corruptions is either American occupation of these countries or America’s unwavering support for the despots who rule with an iron fist.

Uzbekistan intensifies its oppression of Muslim women
Unabashed, Uzbek authorities have continued their arrest of Muslim women. Since the beginning of November , some 30 women have been arrested in the southern Uzbek city of Karshi, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports. Apart from arrests Uzbekistan recently banned women from wearing the hijab in schools and universities in the country's south, where Islamic activity is on the rise. Authorities also forbade women from wearing the head scarf during the country's Independence Day celebrations in early September, claiming that female terrorists could use the loose-fitting head scarf to conceal a bomb.

US instructs Pakistan to expand its war against Islam
The US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to expand its fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, warning that the success of the new Afghanistan strategy depends on it, The New York Times reported on Monday. Obama sent a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari saying he expects the Pakistani leader to rally political and national security institutions in a united campaign against extremists – reported the Times, citing a US official who was briefed on the letter’s contents. In his letter to Zardari, Obama offered a range of new incentives to the Pakistanis for their cooperation, including enhanced intelligence sharing and military cooperation, said the Times. The report said the letter was delivered by US National Security Adviser James Jones, who held meetings with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad on Friday. Jones also warned Pakistani officials that Washington’s new Afghanistan strategy would work only if Pakistan broadens its fight beyond the Taliban attacking cities to “groups using havens in Pakistan for plotting attacks against US troops in Afghanistan”, said the Times, citing American officials briefed on the confidential talks. In Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit confirmed Jones had delivered a letter, but declined to give details. “It was a diplomatic communication,” said Basit, who also declined to comment on the reported US call for Pakistan to do more.

America is clearly admitting that its success in the region is linked to Pakistan’s military might. Yet rather than recognizing this fact as a source of strength, Pakistan’s leadership continues to weaken the country to new lows by siding with America’s war against Islam.

America presses for resolution of Kashmir
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the leader of the moderate Hurriyat Conference, said there had been a flurry of activity between New Delhi, Washington and Islamabad to kick-start a new dialogue. Mirwaiz was speaking after it emerged the Indian government has been holding secret talks with senior Kashmiri separatist leaders in New Delhi to promote a new peace process. According to Western diplomats, the Obama administration believes a settlement on Kashmir, or even a credible, inclusive peace process would allow Pakistan to focus its energies on fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in its tribal areas close to the Afghan border. "India has to come out of Mumbai attacks and start a dialogue with Pakistan The international community is concerned about the prevailing situation in Pakistan. [It] is in a situation where it [does] not need to be pushed against a wall. Pakistan wants U.S intervention in solving Kashmir issue to help the U.S in Afghanistan," said Mirwaiz.

18-November-2009

Q&A- The Political Situation In Central Asia

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Question:
It is noted that the political situation in West Turkistan (Central Asia:-Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), is in a volatile state, sometimes we find such and such ruler under the mantle of Russia and after a while he rushes toward America ... and so on, can you clarify the current political situation in these republics? Jazaakum Allah Khairun.

Answer:
Before getting into the details of the political situation in Central Asia and its volatility, we must be aware of the following matters:

1 - When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, and its former republics seceded, Russia was aware that it is essential to maintain a strong link with these republics, because they are neighboring regions ... essentially she tried to gather them in the so-called "Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)," but many of that association withdrew from it later whereas some did not enter the association at all, such as the three Baltic states ... after that she used the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and CSTO’s Rapid Reaction Force and so on...

Russia also used centers of influence that she established in these republics during the era of the former Soviet Union, amongst whom the most notable are:

A – a demographic change created by the Soviet Union, particularly in the Central Asian Republics, wherein a Russian population was introduced and remained in the republics as "Russia’s arm " ...

B – Russian bases, which were spread throughout these republics and which were not all withdrawn. So, some bases remain present in the Central Asian Republics and are centers of power and the frontline for Russia.

C - The nuclear and missile tests fields that were conducted in these republics, and Kazakhstan in particular because of its vast area...

D - Some economic ties with those countries, such as gas and oil pipelines...

2 - Although the disintegration of the Soviet Union produced a near-collapse of the Communist Party and excluded it from ruling, in the Central Asian Republic, the heads of the Communist Party remained the rulers, which means that those who were rulers in the era of the Soviet Union continued in government. The aim of this malicious plan is to allow the governments of these republics to keep fighting Islam and the people who work for it, even after the demise of the Soviet Union, out of fear of the effective spread of Islam within these republics, their unification on the basis of Islam, ruling by Islam and performance of Jihad in His path.

3- The disintegration of the Soviet Union was an opportunity that America did not miss. Central Asia, apart from neighboring Russia, shares an extensive border with China, making it a strategic area for America. Accordingly, America begun to spread its agents, institutions, intelligence and above all, its money, in order to secure a foothold in these republics.

Thus, Central Asia is a vital and strategic interest for both Russia and America, and the conflict between them that had eased has now intensified again. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is continual change in the influence and the type of agency of the rulers of this region, in accordance with the strength of influence available to each competitor:

* As for Russia, it has its former supporting factors: the demographic change that has been mentioned previously, let us call them the “Russian community” in these Republics, as well as their former bases and economic ties and so on...

* As for America, she has generous “carrots” on offer to these Republics, i.e. financial assistance, as well as her proposal to them that Russia is no longer a major power that they should be fearful of, and her promise of protection...

* This is from the aspect of an intense conflict between Russia and America in the region.

* However, the other aspect is the enmity of the rulers against Islam and the carriers of Islam, a matter which both parties in the conflict agree with.

In the light of these matters, we will review the political scenario in these Republics:

1 - Kyrgyzstan: We know how Bakiyev came to power in 2005 backed by Russia. He then renewed his presidency in the recent elections of 23/7/2009. Russia's support of him was clear, as was America’s dissatisfaction with him. The U.S. Embassy issued a statement in Bishkek saying, “The United States shares the concern expressed by many observers regarding the presidential elections and its results. And that, whilst there were some positive aspects of the voting process, the United States has reservations that the elections in the Kyrgyz Republic did not fulfill many democratic requirements.” The statement called for a “strict application of the electoral laws during the entire electoral process in accordance with democratic requirement in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.” (France-Press 2/8/2009). In contrast, the Russians congratulated Bakiyev on his re-election and the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, visited Kyrgyzstan in 31/7/2009 and met with him to congratulate him and declare his support, before Bakiyev’s formal inauguration for a second presidential term on 2/8/2009. It was announced that the Russian president's visit to Kyrgyzstan came within the context of the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in the Kyrgyz city of Cholponata. It was stated in “Russia Today” on 1/8/2009 that “Russian President Medvedev signed on Saturday, 1/8/2009 in Cholponata in Kyrgyzstan, a document on the development and improvement of post-contractual legal basis of bilateral relations, governing the presence of the Russian formations and the presence of the Kyrgyz-Russian additional unit in this country. The document provides for the establishment of a joint training center for Russian and Kyrgyz military.” And it was reported on Russia today, “The two presidents agreed on the drafting and signing a special agreement to establish a military base for the rapid reaction forces in the south of Kyrgyzstan for 49 years with a possible extension for another 25 years.” It also stated that, “Bakiyev noted that the agreement must be signed before the first of next November and it will determine the entire Russian military presence in the country.”

As for why Bakiyev re-extended the lease for the American Manas airbase, after it was threatened with closure- that does not indicate that Bakiyev distanced himself from Russia and shifted to America. Rather this extension was with the permission of the Russia in order to placate America, so that she will not move her followers in Kyrgyzstan against the regime, for they are able to disturb the regime’s “comfort” and thus have an adverse effect on the Russian bases in Kyrgyzstan. And so as to clarify this, we will recap the story of the base from the beginning:

Bakiyev had tried to close the American Manas air base in February 2009. The President of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, announced from Moscow that he will close the Manas base (Reuters 12/2/2009) and he elaborated further by saying: "Over the past three years I personally raised the issue of increasing the rent for the base with senior U.S. officials. I told them that we shall review the terms of our agreement, the prices have changed and Kyrgyzstan is in a difficult financial situation.” He added, “They always respond to us; okay ‘fine.’ They have done so for years. But how long can we wait, we are a sovereign state and we should demand respect." (Reuters 12/2/2009).

It may understood from this that the problem of the Kyrgyz regime is acquiring funds. It may also understood that the Americans did not care for three years, even though Kyrgyzstan was begging them. Kyrgyzstan's parliament -which is under the control of Bakiyev's party- had adopted a resolution to shut down the American base. And it gave the US 180 days to leave. But before the deadline expired, an agreement between the two parties was announced in mid-July 2009. The U.S. embassy in Bishkek issued a statement regarding the agreement, included "The Government of the United States and the Kyrgyz Republic have agreed in their negotiations for the continued use of the Manas Air Base," (Al-Jazeera 15/7/2009). It was reported that the rent rose to $150 million annually, after it had been 17 million! The truth is it was in the previously it was “17 million basic rent with an additional 133 million as aid, making a total of $150 million annually.” Under the new agreement it has become “the basic rent of 60 million with financial assistance of 90 million, making a total of $150 million annually." As such nothing actually changed regarding the rent issue, rather it only termed the financial aid and the non-financial aid which was provided to Kyrgyzstan as “rent,” instead of the term “aid,” so as to preserve the prestige of Kurmanbek as a president of a country that wants to be respected and so that he shows that the state is respected regarding her sovereignty, as he said!! The New York Times 24/7/2009 has stated something similar to what we have said above about the actions of Bakiyev. It stated, “The agreement signed recently by the governments of Kyrgyzstan and the United States to extend the use of the America Manas air base is only a way to save the prestige of the Kyrgyz government in its reversal of its decision to close the base and to increase the annual rent for the base.” Russia was behind this and the new agreement was announced after the meeting between US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev in Russia from 6 to 8/7/2009, when Russia agreed to allow US and NATO supplies to pass through the territory of Russia and her allies. Russia was anxious about its base in Kant, Kyrgyzstan. Her concern was that if she did not settle with America regarding its base, America would work on “color” revolutions, aimed at overthrowing Bakiyev, who protects Russian interests in Kyrgyzstan.

All of this indicates the loyalty of Bakiyev to Russia. Bakiyev’s allowing the Americans to continue to use the Manas air base in their operations against the Muslims in Afghanistan is only to satisfy the Americans, so that they do not move to overthrow him, as they did with his predecessor, Askar Akaev. He did so with the consent of the Russians, who want to maintain their presence and influence in Kyrgyzstan, fearing that otherwise America would work on destabilizing him and then overthrowing him.

As for why there is a conflict between Russia and America, it is because of Kyrgyzstan's important strategic location in Central Asia. It border with China extends for 858 kilometers. If America gained Kyrgystan it would become a base for her on the borders of China. Kyrgyzstan is of utmost importance for America in her work against China and the entire region. The Manas base has been of central importance in the war against Muslims in Afghanistan, since 2001 until today, and has a permanent presence of more than 1,000 US troops. The Kyrgyz government does not know anything about what happens in the Manas base, because the agreement states that no inspectors, Kyrgyz observers or anyone else are allowed to enter the base and that there is to be no inspection of any cargo, entering or exiting the US base. The base is far from Kyrgyz control and therefore it is far from the control of the Russians. "Russia Today" stated on 31/7/2009, within the news about Medvedev’s visit to Kyrgyzstan and the issue of signing the military agreements with Bakiyev, that, “Kyrgyzstan has an important strategic location, unique in Central Asia and for many years has been marked as the intersection point of the interests of Western countries and Russia.” This means that there is a conflict between Russia and the West, led by America within this strategic location. Recently, US General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces, visited three Central Asian Republics, including Kyrgyzstan, the other two being Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Russians reported via the news agency "RIA Novosti" on 20/8/2009 that commented hailed General Petraeus’s visit as successful because officials confirmed in the three capitals that they want to increase cooperation with Washington. This visit is just part of the intense American activity in these countries, including Kyrgyzstan, in an attempt to attain and strengthen US presence there. Although the Kyrgyz President Bakiyev did not meet with the US General himself, Petraeus was met by the Kyrgyz Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is despite the fact that Bakiyev is still aware that America is not satisfied with him and has been raising concerns regarding his election. However, he is afraid of American influence upon followers at home and abroad and therefore he wanted to satisfy America. So he concluded the issue of Manas base by allowing America to use the base without changing the basic conditions but only playing with words regard to money to save him and the respect of his country’s sovereignty, as he said!

2 - Uzbekistan: "volatile" is the most apt term to describe the President of Uzbekistan, Karimov. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, it was quite clear that Karimov started to distance himself from Russia. Russia had formed a joint security organization in 1992 to maintain the cohesion of all the republics of the former Soviet Union, or at least some of them, and then changed its name to the Collective Security Treaty in 2002, similar to the North Atlantic Treaty ... but Karimov has been temperamental towards such organizations. He withdrew from the Collective Security Treaty and joined the GUAM organization which consists of countries of the collapsed Soviet bloc opposed to Russia, such as such as Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. But he then left the GUAM organization and returned to the Collective Security Treaty, after America and the Western countries demanded to send teams to investigate the Andijan massacre of May 2005, whereas he was supported by Russia and its allies, who have stood by him during the brutal massacres in Andijan and elsewhere ... But then after America closed the subject of massacres and human rights violations, which is tied to US interests, America began contacting him and trying to attract him. Karimov returned to display a suspension of activities with Russians and started to show activity with the Americans and to work with them. The peak of his leaning towards America was when Russia felt that the Collective Security Treaty no longer met her security needs and aspirations of sovereignty and influence. She resorted to what is called the Rapid Reaction Force which entailed a rapid reaction to any threat to Russian influence in the region. But, Uzbekistan stood against it. She did not sign the convention for establishing the Rapid Reaction Force and stood against the deployment of forces in the region of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, and Uzbekistan. The leaders of these countries then decided to establish a rapid reaction force, under another name “rapid deployment,” on 4/2/2009. They signed this convention in Moscow on 14/6/2009, but Uzbekistan refrained from signing it, with Karimov providing an excuse that, “this agreement did not specify the tasks of the joint forces.” He suggested that the agreement should stipulate that, “The joint forces only launch in order to repel external aggression and each state of the joint forces shall station only its forces only in its territory.” (RIA Novosti 26/8/2009). This indicates that Karimov is aware that this force will be controlled by Russia and that Russian troops will be deployed in the countries mentioned in the Collective Security Treaty, including Uzbekistan. And this force could interfere under any circumstances, allowing Russia to interfere in the territory of the members of this organization, because the tasks were not specified. Therefore, Karimov asked that the forces are deployed only when an attack is external to these countries and nothing else. And also that no troops other than the troops of the participating state are deployed in the territory of each state, i.e. to refuse entry to Russian troops within the Uzbek territory in response to any matter that may threaten Russian influence in Uzbekistan and the region.

Thus, Uzbekistan is currently the opposite of Kyrgyzstan, which agreed to this Convention and allowed the Russians to establish a second base on its territory. Uzbekistan did not participate in the recent exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which ran from 26 August until 15 October 2009. Uzbekistan's behavior is lukewarm such that its membership in this organization is not announced officially. Not only that, but Uzbekistan has objected to the deployment of a second Russian base in Kyrgyzstan on the grounds that it threatens her sovereignty because the base will be deployed near the Uzbek border, in the Fergana Valley. RIA Novosti quoted on 5/8/2009 that Uzbekistan announced in a statement released by the “Gakhon” agency of the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 3.8.2009 that they do not see “the need or feasibility of implementing the plan for the deployment of a Russian military base, in addition to the other Russian base in southern Kyrgyzstan, noting that the deployment of the new base could lead to instability in the region.” It was announced in the statement released by the “Gakhon” agency of the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs that: “the implementation of such projects in a complex area, where the borders of three Central Asian countries meet, may give impetus to acceleration in militarization of the region and fuel confrontation between various forms of nationalism and raise radical forces.” (Novosti 3/9/2009). All this indicates that in recent times the Karimov regime in Uzbekistan clearly began moving away from Russia and is closer to America. And the indications of this are:

* On 18.8.2009 during his meeting with US General David Petraeus, in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, President Karimov said that “Uzbekistan is ready to extend constructive cooperation with the United States on the basis of the principles of mutual respect and equal partnership.” (RIA Novosti Russian 18/8/2009). The US General, David Petraeus, in response said that, “I commend the efforts of Uzbekistan in order to support the stability in Afghanistan and the security in the region," which indicates that Karimov has manifested his desire to return to the Americans and be tied to them. The straw that broke the camel's back in the former relationship between Karimov and the American was his refusal of America’s request to allow the US investigators to investigate his massacres in Andijan, which led America to levy sanctions against him. He turned his back upon America, heading back to Russia, his natural support. When the US put the Andijan incident behind her, he returned, seeking America. And recently the US lifted the sanctions against the Karimov regime in Uzbekistan.

* Observing tensions between Uzbekistan and Russia, the US did not miss the opportunity and sought to develop its relations with Uzbekistan. She signed an agreement with Uzbekistan to transport North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) freight from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan. [Source: National Center for Strategic Studies, 04/04/2009]. However, the relations between Uzbekistan and the US administration did not stop there, rather the US administration issued a congratulatory message to Uzbekistan on the occasion of 18th anniversary of its independence. Then Karimov accepted the visit of the US Ambassador in Uzbekistan, Richard Norland. Before that on 18 August, Karimov accepted the visit of the US CENTCOM Chief, General Hal David Petraeus, and they signed a cooperation agreement between the two countries including military programs, training and vocational education.

Thus, Karimov’s is temperamental in this respect and his current reality is distancing himself from Russia and drawing closer to America.

3 - Tajikistan: the political situation in Tajikistan is similar to the political situation in Kyrgyzstan and President Rakhmanov’s loyalty is to Russia and he appreciates the protection of his throne. However, he secures American interests so that they do not stir up trouble against him. Americans have many agents in Tajikistan but until now they can not remove Russian influence. Therefore, America is satisfied with achieving her interests ... at least for the foreseeable future.

The stability of the current President, Rakhmonov, in Tajikistan was achieved with the intervention of Russian troops after a civil war, from 1992 until 1997. He was able to arrive at an agreement to hold elections for a five year presidential term and then hold free elections with the movements which were fighting against him, such as the Popular Movement and the Islamic Renaissance Party. But then Rakhmonov increased his first term to seven years. He then held a referendum on amending the constitution to remain in power until the 2020. When unrest broke out in 2001 in reaction to this amendment, Russia helped him to quell the unrest and secured his throne.

Russia under Putin has strengthened its relations with Rakhmonov. Russia managed to establish a second military base in Tajikistan in August 2008, twenty kilometers from the capital Dushanbe, noting that Russia already has a large military base in Tajikistan established in 1943 called Base No. 201. The Russians have also another station "Ooknu" in Tajikistan to monitor the satellites and the ballistic missiles, which Tajikistan approved in June 2008 to grant to Russia for 49 years. Tajikistan is very important for Russia in strategic terms. Therefore, Russia is holding on to the country and trying to maintain its presence there. So, she supports Rakhmonov regime publicly because he secures all these possibilities for Russia in Tajikistan. Russia is trying to tie Tajikistan economically for control and influence. And Rakhmonov appreciates the Russian assistance that secures and strengthens his rule. Rakhmanov engaged his country in the Collective Security Treaty, tabled by Russia, and agreed to participate in the Rapid Reaction Force led by Russia. Many people in Tajikistan are dependent on remittances from their sons who are working in Russia. In fact these are half a million workers within a total population of seven million. And Tajikistan is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which is convened by Russia with Chinese assistance. Recently Russia and China carried military exercises in Tajikistan on 18/4/2009 under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

However, like Bakiyev, Rakhmanov tries not to provoke the United States with the consent of Russia. He secures some of their interests, so that the US does not move against him. Whilst allowing Russian companies to undertake projects up to a value of $2.5 billion, he has also allowed American, European, as well as Chinese, companies to carry out projects and business in Tajikistan. Rakhmonov has offered America the use of airports in the country ... And recently, on 20.2.2009, he has also allowed the passage of the American supplies through Tajik territory to Afghanistan, using Tajik Railways. That was announced by the Deputy Commander of United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek, during his visit to Tajikistan, when he said, “We intend to transport between fifty to two hundred containers a week from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan and then onto Afghanistan. Tajikistan is very important because it is the closest to our bases.” (Al-Jazeera 20/2/2009). And all of this is because Rakhmonov aware that America has political forces in Tajikistan that could affect his rule. If he did not bow to American interests in his country, America can move her followers against him intensively and effectively.

It is worth mentioning that there is a somewhat popular political movement in Tajikistan calling for disengagement with Russia and there are forces in the army and in the government calling for the same thing. Rakhmonov is aware of this, therefore he secures United States interests in exchange for her silence. He also is placating the popular sentiment against Russia. This is why he made some public gestures which appear as if he is distancing himself from Russia. He publically called the commander of Tajik Border Guards for the withdrawal of Russian troops from his country. He stopped the broadcast of Russian language channels in Tajikistan and made the Tajik language the official language instead of Russian, even though this action has irked Russia. Yet Rakhmonov is still closer to Russia, as explained previously.

Tajikistan is strategically important due to its neighboring Afghanistan. Its mountains in the southern eastern part are continuous with the mountains of Afghanistan. The length of its shared border with Afghanistan is about 1206 km, whilst it shares a border with China of around 414 kilometers. In this regard by being close to China, it is as important as Kyrgyzstan. Therefore, America will not overlook Tajikistan and is expected to gain her at any available opportunity.

4 - Turkmenistan: under the former President Saparmurat Niyazov, it was loyal to Russia and most of her policies were directed by Russia. However, the current President, Gurbanguly Berdi Muhamedow, who came to power after Niyazov in December 2006, has implemented a policy which is more open to the West and involves drawing closer to the West in general and America in particular. In November 2007, he hosted a summit between US and European officials over the energy sector, with the directors of BP and Chevron, alongside Russian companies. He wanted to make clear to them that he wants to deal with everyone. This is also what emerged from a number of agreements made with different parties:

* In May 2007, Russia signed an agreement with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to build a new pipeline that keeps the gas of Central Asia under the control of her company Gazprom, by monopolizing the export of most of the gas from Turkmenistan. Putin considered this as a victory for Russia, declaring, “This agreement represents a victory for Russia. It allows Russia to buy gas from Turkmenistan at a price less than the market price.” (BBC 17/5/2007). The former Turkmen president Niyazov remained president for two decades. He ensured exclusive Russian monopoly over the gas of the country and prevented access to other parties. Therefore, as an outcome of previous agreements, Russia currently purchases 90% of Turkmen gas, equivalent to about 50 billion cubic meters annually. She buys at a rate of $100 per 1000 cubic meters of gas and sells it to Europe for up to $250 and more than that during winter, up to $345. Whilst at the time of Niyazov, Russia used to buy at $35, until prices were raised to $70 and then to $100, allowing Russia to gain huge profits from the gas of the Muslims in Turkmenistan. Although prices have been increased, Russia still make huge profits on these gas resources.

* In contrast, Muhamedow agreed in principle to the build of a gas pipeline in the Caspian Sea, according to a project supported by the United States which is intended to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas supplies. An agreement was recently signed by the Americans and Europeans in Turkey regarding the Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar) gas pipeline. So, gas will be piped from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and then into the Nabucco pipeline, through Turkey and onto Europe. An unnamed US official was quoted by Reuters on 24/4/2009 US official as saying, “Turkmenistan is the other big potential supplier to the Nabucco project which is supported by the European Union. But Turkmenistan needs to make tangible advances regarding implementation.”

* And China is active in this region. Chinese President, Hu Jintao, visited Turkmenistan in April 2006 under former President Niyazov, who had a strong relationship and alliance with Russia and China. The Chinese president then promised during the visit to buy 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Turkmenistan. China has extended a gas pipeline from the Amu Darya River in the east of Turkmenistan to reach China. It has been recently announced, on 30/8/2009, that China will undertake a $3 billion development of a gas field in Turkmenistan using the PetroChina company. China has loaned Turkmenistan hundreds of millions of dollars to assist her in the development of its industrial ambitions because of Turkmenistan’s great wealth. The size of Turkmenistan's gas production in 2006 was 62. 2 billion cubic meters annually. It will rise to 120 billion cubic meters per annum by 2010.

* The America and European incentive to Turkmenistan is that it would sell its own gas directly to Europe at current prices through the Nabucco pipeline, which will be ready for use in 2014. So, the profit will be hers and not Russia’s. This is what inclines Turkmenistan to shift to America and the West. Being a small nation, Turkmenistan will not be able to blackmail or cajole Europe as Russia does. Instead, Turkmenistan will be at the mercy of America and Europe after the implementation of the Caspian gas pipeline. Although the Nabucco pipeline will bring gas from several countries, America will have the upper hand when it controls the sources of gas. Turkmenistan has large gas reserves of up to 100 trillion cubic meters and she is the most important and largest gas producer, not just regionally but globally. In addition, Turkmenistan has significant oil reserves, estimated to be as much as 80 billion barrels. Presently, although the oil is currently not extracted in large quantities, its production not exceeding 200,000 barrels a day, they are planning to reach 2 million barrels a day in the future.

Part of the oil supply for America’s military equipment in Afghanistan comes from Turkmenistan. Besides the “Trans-Afghanistan” gas pipeline transfers 1,1 billion cubic meters a year from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan. So, Turkmenistan also became important for America in this regard, asides from America’s ambition to control all the oil and gas reserves, not just of Turkmenistan, but the entire world, in order to maintain her dominance and control so as to retain her position as the sole global superpower, as well as to reduce or eliminate the impact of other major powers, such as Russia, and achieve huge profits in the energy sector. For this purpose, America has focused on Turkmenistan, which possesses huge oil and gas reserves upon which Russia depends, in order to take it entirely from Russia or control the lion's share of it. So, she will tightly control Turkmenistan through its imports and exports. Consequently, she will supply gas to Europe instead of Russia, thereby keeping Europe at her mercy and under her hegemony, whilst both weakening Russia’s standing and her alliance with Europe. The current allure of Turkmenistan lies in the struggle over her gas wealth, though in the future her oil will play the major role in the struggle.

Despite all of this, Turkmenistan still has great economic ties with Russia that she has not been able to remove as yet. The United States hovers over her to seize her and take her out of this sphere of Russian influence. Russia is aware of this and so when Turkmenistan called for a raise in gas prices to Russia, Russia responded immediately out of fear that Turkmenistan may move in a direction other than dealing with her, turning to American and Western assistance against Russia. The Nabucco project will distance Russia from Turkmenistan’s gas supply to Europe, taking Turkmenistan out of the sphere of Russian influence. It should be noted that Turkmenistan is neither a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization nor the Rapid Reaction Force nor the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and there is no Russian military base in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is a subject of attention for Russia, America and the West, and to some extent by China, primarily from an economic aspect, due to her vast oil and gas wealth

5 - Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan is the largest Central Asian Republic with an area of 2. 7 million square km, although the population is low considering the area, estimated at 15 to 17 million. It was important for Russia in that nuclear tests were conducted there. In fact, Russia has conducted around five hundred nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk Test Site, Kazakhstan. On 29/9/2009, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed for closure of the test site. Kazakhstan agreed to a ban on nuclear testing in 24/9/2009. America has worked to strengthen its relationship due to Kazakhstan’s geo-strategic importance and oil and gas wealth. The oil wealth is estimated at 100 billion barrels. Currently, she produces more than one million barrels a day and production is expected to rise in 2015 to 2.5 million barrels per day. The gas reserves total approximately 150 trillion cubic meters, which makes the Western colonial powers led by America drool over this wealth and compels them to extend their influence within this large, wealthy Islamic country. Therefore, Kazakhstan’s link to America became strong and the Kazakh president granted US companies rights to invest in oil, gas and other sectors such that American companies became the main investors in the country’s oil and gas. Dick Cheney, who later was to become US Vice-President, worked in the mid-nineties of the last century in the advisory board for Kazakhstan oil and struck deals for American companies, including a deal in favor of Chevron, in which Condoleezza Rice was working in management at the time. The relationship culminated with the June 2006 visit by Kazakh President Nazarbayev to America to meet President George W. Bush. It was stated in the joint statement they issued, “The partnership between the two countries in the energy field will help American companies to explore the large reserves of oil and gas in Kazakhstan and the Caspian region.” (BBC. 30/6/2006). Kazakhstan approved in February 2009 permission for America to transport equipment and supplies by road, through the Kazakh territory to the US military and NATO forces that are fighting Muslims in Afghanistan. The Russian Chief of Staff, Nicolas Makarov, at the end of last year revealed, “schemes of Washington for the establishment of US military bases in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.” (“Middle East” 18/12/2009). She has shares a long border with Russia of 6846 km, and it shares a border of 1533 km with China. It has the longest coast on the Caspian Sea, with a length of 1894 km. As such it has strategic and economic importance for America. It has been engaged in a Peace Partnership with NATO. It is considered the United States’ biggest ally in Central Asia.

In addition, it is one of the states bordering the Caspian Sea. It is rich in fish, particularly sturgeon fish (caviar fish) of which it produces $400 million worth annually for Russia. It contains huge oil reserves of 200 billion barrels and gas reserves of 600 trillion cubic meters, over which the Western states and America drool. This closed sea is a strategic basin with oil and gas economic riches.

However, Russia has centers of influence in Kazakhstan and has a Russian space launch site there. Therefore Russia has strong ties with it. Russia has re-settled so many Russians there that it has the highest percentage of Russians in any Central Asian Republic, where the percentage has risen from 30% to 40%. The impact is that their nationalist and Orthodox religious ties remain with their native Russia, though the highest percentage is of Muslims at more than 60%.

Recently, Kazakhstan has shown a rapprochement with Russia, a matter to which Russia attaches a high priority as well. Russia made Kazakhstan alongside China as one of the founders of SCO. Kazakhstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization led by Russia and the Eurasia economic grouping which was established in 2000 ... She signed to participate in the Rapid Reaction Force whose inception was announced by Russia. China is also working to strengthen ties and has extended terms for a 1240km oil pipeline from Kazakhstan to provide for China’s growing oil needs.

Thus, Nazarbayev wants to keep his relationship with Russia and China strong. He expressed his policy once by saying, “If we talked about projects to circumvent the East or the West I answer that we and Turkmenistan have a pragmatic approach” (Russian Interfax 17/5/2007). This means that he sets his policy according to the dictates of reality and immediate interest. Therefore, despite his alliance with America which amounts to close ties and despite what has been leaked recently that the US has plans to establish military bases as well as granting of the Americans the lion's share in oil and gas reserve investment ... in spite of all that, Nazarbayev does not want to disrupt strong relations with Russia so that his regime is not threatened.

In summary, Russia is trying to maintain and strengthen its influence in the Central Asian Republics using various ways and means, whether through regional treaties such as the Commonwealth of Independent States which was established by Russia after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the Collective Security Treaty, the Rapid Reaction Force or through bilateral treaties and agreements with each state separately and establishing military bases in each and every one of them, so as to strengthen its influence in these countries and to prevent them from slipping out of her hands. She is also leaning on China regionally and internationally through what is known as the Shanghai Treaty Organization, as well as engaging China in the Central Asian Republics. This is all asides from treaties and economic projects ... and the other centers of influence that were set up by the former Soviet Union...

Also, America uses financial aid as a temptation for the Central Asian Republics, in addition to drawing the attention of these states to her strong followers which can stir up unrest within them ... as such she is using the carrot and the stick. She is also working on belittling Russia before the eyes of the Central Asian Republics and other countries in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, so that none shall fear her and she even encourages them to revolt and escape from her control. US Vice President, Joe Biden, said after his tour in Georgia and Ukraine, “Russia is nothing more than a junior partner of the United States after the loss of her past strategic role.” And he said, “The weakness of the Russian economy will compel Moscow to make concessions to the West, in particular the abandonment of attempts to dominate the former Soviet states, and to agree to reduce its nuclear capabilities.” (Wall Street Journal 26/7/2009) and this explains the stance of the Central Asian regimes in Central Asia. They recognize the Russian weakness before the Americans, and so not only try to please the Americans, they try to draw close to America.

And the result of this is a volatile conflict in Central Asia, the political reality of which can be described briefly as follows:

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are the principal states that are loyal to Russia, whilst assuring American interests so as not to provoke America by standing in her way, in order to preserve the stability of the political situation in the two countries, which can be disturbed if America moved its followers in both countries strongly and actively.

Uzbekistan is currently leaning in favor of America, taking into account the volatile mood of Karimov.

As in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, they are the arena of a contest, politically and economically with America and Russia and to some extent with China economically.

But what is really painful is that all the conflicting parties and competitors, as well as the local rulers, are fighting Islam and its workers and they all abuse the wealth of the Muslims of Central Asia. So the enemies of Islam become rich from Central Asia, whilst the general masses in Central Asia live a miserable existence.

Central Asia has an important location and its enormous wealth will return to the Muslims, inshAllah, when their Khilafah will be established at the hands of the workers for Islam, and that day is not far away from us, inshAllah. And then the believers will rejoice in Allah's victory.

29 Ramadan 1430 H
19.9.2009