As anti-government protests sweep the Muslim world and tyrants begin to fall the question of who will replace them is now on the minds of the ummah.
If we look back to the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his struggle to establish the first Islamic State, we see he صلى الله عليه وسلم approached many tribes seeking the support (nussrah) for establishing the authority of Islam. He صلى الله عليه وسلم suffered persecution and difficulty in seeking the nussrah most notably in Ta'if where they hurled insults and stones at him until the whole of his body including his feet bled.
Whilst the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and sahaba were struggling in the dawah in Makkah, Allah سبحانه وتعالى was preparing two tribes with the honour of becoming the future Ansar who supported the establishment of the first Islamic State in Medina.
These two tribes were Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj and five years before the hijra a severe battle took place between them called the Battle of Bu'ath, which led them on the path to becoming Muslim and giving the final nussrah.
'Aisha (ra) narrates about this point: The day of Bu'ath was a day (i.e. battle) which Allah caused to take place just before the mission of His Messenger so that when Allah's Messenger came to Medina, they (the tribes) had divided (into hostile groups) and their nobles had been killed; and all of that facilitated their conversion to Islam. [Bukhari]
The Battle of Bu'ath was a defining moment in the history of Islam and the anti-government demonstrations today may also turn out to be such a turning point.
Today, the ummah is feeling the shocks of the regimes collapsing and martyrs falling in the streets and this will generate an intellectual process which seeks answers for a way forward.
This is mentioned by Taquideen an-Nabhani in the book Attakattul el-Hizbi (Structuring of a Party):
Vitality usually streams into the Ummah when severe shocks occur in the society and produce a common feeling. This collective feeling leads to an intellectual process, which in turn produces a host of propositions and ideas as a result of discussions about the causes and effects of the shock, as well as the direct and indirect means to save the Ummah.
The problems people face in life will naturally provoke thinking in the person as they search for a solution. Similarly, the severe problems and shocks faced by the ummah during the fall of the tyrants have provoked many elements of the society to question and debate the next steps. The scholars, politicians, media, political parties, army, Islamic groups and western governments are all involved in this debate to varying degrees of influence. Even if after the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and beyond a Khilafah does not emerge, this should not be a source of despair for the ummah and the dawah carriers in particular. Rather these demonstrations have achieved many positive outcomes for the Islamic revival and are a step closer to the victory of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the establishment of the Khilafah.
1. For any idea to become a concept that shapes people's behaviour it must have a reality that people can perceive and relate to. During the 1950's and 60's in the Arab world there was widespread support for the rulers even though they were dictators ruling by non-Islam who upheld the interests of their colonial masters. At this time Hizb ut-Tahrir exposed the rulers, their oppression and their subservience to the west but this was viewed as "strange" by many in the ummah. However, actions speak louder than words, and over time through decades of oppression the ummah has realised who their rulers truly are. The hatred of the tyrants, the destruction of their portraits and hounding them out the country shows the ummahs true feelings towards them.
2. The ummah were in fear of the rulers who tortured, abused and imprisoned them. Those few dawah carriers who stood up were dealt with brutally to the point where thousands languished in the dungeons of the tyrants. But these demonstrations removed the fear from the ummah who faced the tanks and live ammunition with their bare chests chanting Allahu Akbar!
3. The hypocrisy of western leaders who supported and armed these tyrants is now plain for the ummah to see, such as when the police use anti-riot weapons with "made in Britain" on them or when the British PM tours the Middle East with arms companies in tow.
4. The Hizb adopted a clear and precise method for establishing the Islamic State from the sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, which stressed the importance of building a public opinion for revival and gaining the physical support (nussrah) from those who prop up the rulers (primarily the armies). Many Islamic groups rejected this method in favour of compromise, gradualism and power sharing with the governments. Yet the millions protesting in Tunis and Cairo proved beyond a shadow of a doubt the power of public opinion in generating change.
5. Some Islamic movements condemned the Muslim armies as corrupt and began developing their own nussrah by creating armed groups to fight the governments directly, or ignored the armies completely in their dawah believing public opinion was enough. However, the pivotal role the armies played in propping up the regimes became clear when the armies removed their support for Ben Ali and then Mubarak. The army in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya refused to fire on demonstrators and many held their own demonstrations and joined the protestors. The days spent mingling with the armies has helped break down the barriers imposed by the tyrants and will lead to greater dialogue and trust in the future between the armies and the wider society.
6. Another positive outcome is an awakening of the scholars who may now begin to distance themselves from the corrupt regimes and take their place as leading figures in the Islamic revival.
A statement issued by 90 preachers and religious scholars from all over the Muslim world praised the revolutions that ousted the dictatorships of Tunisia and Egypt for defeating oppression and ushering in a new era of justice and freedom.
The statement, however, criticized the revolution's call for the installation of full democracies. Democracy, Muslim clerics argued, allows the people have the final say in their countries' affairs, which leads to the prevalence of several un-Islamic practices.
"In democracies, people might vote for things that are prohibited in Islam like establishing brothels, allowing homosexuality, drinking alcohol, and usury, and prohibiting the call for prayers or the veil."
Calling itself the Network of Free Ulema of Libya, the group of over 50 Muslim scholars said the government and its supporters "have demonstrated total arrogant impunity and continued, and even intensified, their bloody crimes against humanity."
"They have thereby demonstrated total infidelity to the guidance of God and his beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم," said the undated statement obtained by Reuters on Monday.
"This renders them undeserving of any obedience or support, and makes rebelling against them by all means possible a divinely ordained duty," said the scholars, who asked not to be named for security reasons.
7. In Tunisia Islam was suppressed for decades. The post "independence" leader Bourguiba called the hijab an "odious rag", seized properties held by Islamic trusts, closed their courts and enshrined secular family codes. He even went so far as arguing that fasting during Ramadan should not be observed for it reduces productivity! He then appeared on television with his cabinet, eating and drinking during Ramadan! His successor Ben Ali was no different. Women who wore hijab were denied access to education and jobs. Many say police used to stop them in the streets, strip them of their headscarves and force them to sign papers renouncing the hijab. Men with long beards were similarly treated.
A similar suppression occurred in Central Asia under the Soviets where they closed down mosques and drove Islam underground. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union Central Asia saw Muslims re-opening their mosques, women wearing hijab and people starting to learn their religion. Central Asia today has millions of supporters for Khilafah. Tunisia may go in a similar direction. The mosques are beginning to fill up, women openly wearing hijab and public protests calling for Islam.
The Muslims living in the future Khilafah may very well study these protests in their history books and see the part they played in reviving the ummah and establishing the Khilafah, just as the Battle of Bu'ath did in establishing the first Islamic State.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى tests the Muslim ummah out of love so they become purified and return to the straight path - sirat ul-mustaqim. These tests bring us closer to the victory of establishing the Khilafah and prepare the ummah for being the future rulers of the world.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "A man will continue to be tested until he walks upon the face of the earth with no sin on him." [Ahmed]
The dawah carriers now face a test to answer the ummah's questions that have arisen as a result of these shocks and explain the correct Islamic concepts and Islamic method for moving the Muslim world forward. Even if these protests bring no immediate change we shouldn't be disheartened or become defeated that we can never establish the Khilafah. Rather it means we need to work harder to gain Allah's سبحانه وتعالى pleasure and work righteous deeds so we are worthy of victory.
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
"Allah has promised those of you who have iman and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their deen with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. ‘They worship Me, not associating anything with Me.' Any who are kafir after that, such people are deviators." [An-Nur, 24:55]