Sunday, September 30, 2012

Riba and Currency Exchange (Sarf)

Unfortunately in this secular age often Muslims do not seek to learn the Shariah rules properly before engaging in actions thus fall into sin for not learning the rule before acting and secondly run the risk of falling into the kaba'ir sins like riba. The following chapter from the excellent work, 'The Economic System in Islam' by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani elaborates the Islamic rules of currency exchange.

Riba and Currency Exchange (Sarf)

riba (interest/usury) is the practice of taking property (or anything that serves as a medium of exchange) for another property of the same type unequally. The money exchange (Sarf) is the practice of taking a property for another property from gold and silver of the same type equally, or of two different types equally or unequally. The exchange can only take place in trade, as for usury, it can only happen in a trade (bay’u) transaction, in a loan (qardh) or in a Salam (advance sale or forward buying). Trading (al-Bay'u) is the practice of exchanging property for property resulting in an exchange of property; this is permitted for Allah (SWT) says: "And Allah has made trading lawful" [TMQ 2:275]. And because Bukhari reported on the authority of Hakeem Ibn Hizaam that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "The two trading parties possess the right of withdrawal unless they separate." As for the Salam, this means handing over a commodity immediately for a defined commodity which is to be handed over at a specific time in the future (ajal). Salam also known as Salaf (credit). It is one type of trading and it is contracted in the same way as the trading, but with the wording of Al-Salam. This is permitted for Allah (SWT) says: "When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down" [TMQ 2:282]. Ibn Abbas said: I bear witness that the guaranteed Salaf (borrowing), to a fixed future date, has been made lawful and allowed by Allah "Azza Wa Jall", then he recited the verse: "When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down" [TMQ 2:282]. Also because the two Sheikhs (i.e. Bukhari & Muslim) reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas who said: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) arrived in Madinah while people were lending and borrowing dates over two or three years, so he (SAW) said: ‘If any of you lends anything, let it be in a known measure or a known weight and for a known period of tim’." As for the Qardh (loan), it is a type of Salaf, which is to give property to someone in order to restore it from him later and this is lawful. Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Rafi'i “that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) borrowed a young camel from a man, then he received Sadaqah in the form of camels. So he (SAW) ordered Abu Rafi'i to give the man his young camel; Abu Rafi'i came back to him and said: I only found a four year old camel. Upon this he (SAW) said: Give it to him, for the best people are those who pay back their debt in the best manner.” Ibn Hibban reported on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “No Muslim would give another Muslim a loan twice, except that one would be written for him as charity.” Also because it has been established that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to borrow.

Riba (Interest/Usury)

Usury does not take place in the Bay’a (trade) and the Salam (advance sale) except in six items only, and they are: Dates, wheat, barley, salt, gold and silver. As for the Qardh (loan), usury can take place in all its types i.e. in everything; it is forbidden for a person to lend something to another, and to expect more or less for it, or to receive something different in return. The settlement of the loan or anything borrowed should be by the same amount and the same type of goods borrowed. The difference between the trading and the Salam on the one hand, and the Qardh on the other hand, is that the former can be exchanged for a different type or for the same type, whereas the Qardh can only be for the same type and nothing else. As for the evidence that usury can only take place in the six mentioned items, this is derived from the general consensus of the Sahabah and because Muslim reported on the authority of Ubada bin as-Samit that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “The gold for gold, the silver for silver, the wheat for wheat, the barley for barley, the dates for dates and the salt for salt; like for like, measure for measure and hand for hand (i.e. immediately) and if they differed sell as you wish as hand to hand.” The general consensus of the Sahabah and the hadith have mentioned that specific things are subject to riba, thus it cannot occur except within these things. The Shari'ah principle stating that: "All things are origin ally permitted unless there is evidence about the prohibition" applies to the things in which riba occurs. Evidence has not been established in any other things but these six that are mentioned, therefore riba only occurs in them; things which are from the same origin and things which their description fit the six mentioned are included and they follow the same rule, but nothing else. As for the reason (illah) behind prohibiting these things, there is no Shari'ah text to that effect, therefore no reason must be deduced in this instance, simply because the reason must be a Shari'ah one and not rational; and if the reason cannot be deduced from a text, it cannot be recognised.

As for the analogy of the reason, this also cannot be deduced in this instance, for the condition of making analogy on the reason itself must be the presence of a clear and understood description in order to be able to make a sound analogy; if there were no clear description to be found, there can be no reason behind the rule of prohibition; and things like a primary noun (not derived from a verb form) and a vague description cannot be regarded as divine reason, and analogy cannot be made from it. For instance, when the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, as reported by Ibn Majah on the authority of Abu Bakra: "A judge must not pass judgement between two disputing parties when in a State of anger." Anger was considered as the reason for preventing the passing of judgement; this is so because it is clearly understood that anger is the preventive factor, thus it was an "illa" (reason); the reason itself was deduced from the understanding of the text, which is that the prevention was because of it. This understanding entails that the mind is confused; therefore analogy can be made with anger on anything that has made anger the reason i.e. that has caused the mind to be in a State of confusion, such as severe hunger for instance. In such cases, it would be right to make analogy with the anger on anything else, for the expression of "anger" is a description to something that prevents the passing of judgement. This is unlike Allah (SWT)'s saying: "Carrion meat has been made unlawful to you" [TMQ 5:3]. Carrion is not an expression that entails an understanding of prohibition, therefore, it cannot be used as analogy and the prohibition would in this case be restricted to the carrion meat. Also if usury has been prohibited in the wheat, it cannot be used as analogy for anything else, for wheat is a primary noun, and not an expression that carries an understanding. It would be wrong to say that usury has been forbidden in the wheat because it is food, for it is not an expression that carries an understanding, thus it cannot be considered as a reason for the prohibition and it cannot be used as an analogy on other things.

As for the Messenger of Allah (SAW)'s hadith reported by Muslim on the authority of Mu’mar bin Abdullah: "The food for food, in equal quantities", and the hadith reported by Ahmed on the authority of Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri “that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) divided among them different types of food, some of which was better than the other, so he said: ‘We started bidding amongst ourselves so the Messenger of Allah (SAW) prohibited us from doing so and ordered us not to trade in it except by measure for measure with no increase whatsoever’”, as well as the hadith reported by An-Nisai on the authority of JAbur that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "A heap of food must not be traded for another heap of food, nor the heap of food for the fixed measure of food"; all these Ahadith do not indicate that the reason of prohibition is the food. Rather they merely indicate that usury does occur in the foodstuffs, therefore it includes all types of foodstuffs which makes it a general rule; then came the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) to specify the types of food in which usury occurs; this is so because there are many other types of foodstuffs where usury, if it occurred, would not be forbidden e.g. aubergines, courgettes, carrots, the sweet, peppers, garlic and grapes are foodstuffs. Usury does not occur in them according to Ijma of the Sahabah, despite the fact that the expression of food does apply to them, for they are edible things; and because Muslim reported on the authority of Ayisha (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "No prayer when food is ready" i.e. one should preferably eat before praying if the food is ready to eat. Therefore, if usury occurred in every type of food, the above mentioned foods would have been the subject of usury; this indicates that the hadith of food is general and usury occurs in the types specified by the Messenger of Allah (SAW) in his saying : "The wheat for wheat, the barley for barley, the date for dates...". And just as the Qur’an can be specified by the hadith, so can the hadith be specified by another hadith. Therefore, usury in the trading and the Salam occurs only in the six types mentioned.

Furthermore, it would be wrong to claim that usury has been forbidden in gold and silver because they are estimated in weight, making the reason of prohibition the fact that they are weighed items. And it would be wrong to say that usury in wheat, barley, dates and salt is forbidden because such items are estimated in volumetric measure, thus making the reason of prohibition the fact that such types of foodstuffs are estimated in volumetric measure; this is wrong because the weight and measure were mentioned in the hadith as a description to those types of foodstuffs and not as a reason. An-Nisai reported on the authority of Ubada Ibn as--Samit that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Gold for gold, ore and coins alike, weight for weight, and silver for silver, ore and coins alike, weight for weight, and salt for salt, dates for dates, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, equally and similarly; so he who were to increase or take an increase, he would fall into usury.” The hadith has explained the situation in which prohibition applies, which is the difference of weight in gold and silver, and the difference of volumetric measure in wheat, barley, salt and dates; this is a determination of what type of things the exchange i.e. the trading takes place, not a reason for the prohibition. Therefore, usury does not occur in every measured or weighed item, but only in the six types mentioned, in weight for gold and silver, and in measure for the others.

As for lending and borrowing (qardh), this is permitted in the six types mentioned and in other types and in any other thing that can be subject to ownership and whose ownership is lawfully transferable. Usury in this case can only occur if a demand for a higher return or a lower return is made, or if a condition is laid for less than what has been loaned i.e. a lower quality.

Currency Exchange (Sarf)

If we were investigate all the varying types of trade contract of a financial nature, existent in world markets, we would find that purchase and sales transactions occur in six types:

1- The exchange of a currency with the same type of currency, such as the exchange of old Iraqi dinar notes for new notes.
2- The exchange of one currency for another currency, such as the exchange of the Egyptian pounds for dollars.
3- The purchase of certain goods with a certain currency and the purchase of that currency with another currency, such as the purchase of aircraft with dollars and the exchange of those dollars for Iraqi dinars in one single deal.
4- The sale of certain goods in sterling and then exchanging them for dollars.
5- The sale of certain bonds in a certain currency.
6- The sale of stocks in a certain company, in a certain currency.

These six transactions are trade contracts of a financial nature. As for the purchase and the sale of bonds and shares, this is categorically forbidden under the Shari'ah rules, for the bonds have a determined rate of interest thus usury occurs in them; it is even in itself, a usurious transaction. A stock represents a part ownership in a company that is unlawful in the first instance, thus trading in stock is forbidden, and it is also forbidden to deal in the stock of all the public companies, whether these were companies that deal in lawful trade, such as the industrial and commercial public companies, or companies that deal in unlawful trade such as the banks' stocks. As for the purchase of goods with a certain currency, the exchange of that currency for another, or the sale of certain goods for certain currency and then exchanging that currency for another currency; these represent two transactions, a transaction of purchase and sale and a transaction of exchange; therefore they follow the rules of trading and exchange, and they should be subject to the separation of the deal.

The sale of one currency for another is a transaction of exchange, and it is permitted; this is so because exchange is the swapping of money for money, from gold and silver, either equally by its own type, or differently and equally by other than its type. The exchange takes place in the money as it takes place in gold and silver, for the description of gold and silver applies to it in its quality as a currency, money is not analogous to gold and silver but is one of its forms, for it is based on either of them in their monetary valuation. So if a person were to purchase gold for silver, coin for coin, by saying for instance: I sold to you this golden dinar for these silver dirhams, by nominating them while present at the time of sale, or if he were to purchase gold for silver, for other than its coins, as when signing a contract on a described monetary item while not being present, and he says: I sold to you this Egyptian pounds for ten Hijazi dirhams, these examples are permitted, for the monies are determined in the contracts, thus the ownership of the assets is established. Therefore, trading gold for silver is permitted, whether this was pounds for dirhams, silver jewellery or for Niqar (i.e. silver dust). The Niqar is the silver equivalent of Tibr (i.e. gold dust). It is also permitted to trade silver for gold, whether jewellery, bullion or gold dust. However, all such trade must be conducted hand to hand and described, either equally or unequally, weight for weight, or known quantity (Jizaf) for known quantity, or weight for known quantity in all the mentioned types, provided the exchange is in two different types, for if they were from the same type, this can only be equal and should not be unequal. Gold could be traded for gold, whether this were dinars, jewellery, bullion or ore, weight for weight, substance for substance, hand to hand, and in principle, quantitative disparity is not permitted. Silver could also be traded for silver, be it dirhams, jewellery or Niqar, weight for weight, for description, hand to hand, and quantitative disparity is also not allowed in principle. Therefore, the exchange between the same type of currency is permitted, provided that it is equal, hand to hand and description for description. The exchange between two different currencies is also permitted and in this case, the condition of equality and disparity does not apply, but this must be exchanged hand to hand, and description for description. Evidence for the permissibility of exchange is derived from the hadith reported by At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Ubada bin As-Samit who said that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “You may trade gold for silver as you wish, hand to hand.” Muslim also reported on the authority of Ubada bin as-Samit who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) forbid the trading of gold for gold, silver for silver, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, dates for dates, salt for salt, unless this was in equal quantities and description for description. He who increases or takes an increase would fall into usury (riba).” Muslim also reported on the authority of Abu Bakra who said: “He (SAW) has ordered us to buy gold for silver as we wished, and to buy silver for gold as we wished. A man asked him (SAW) so he said: Hand to hand. He added: That is how I heard it.” At-Tirmidhi reported on the authority of Malik Ibn Aws Al-Hadathan who said: “I came asking who would exchange some dirhams, whereupon Talha Ibn Ubaydullah as he was sitting with Umar bin al-Khattab, said: Show us your gold, and then come to us at a later time, when our servant would come we would give you your silver (dirhams). Upon this Umar said: No by Allah, you shall give him his silver coins or return his gold to him, for the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘Exchange of silver for gold has an element of riba in it unless it is exchanged hand to hand, wheat for wheat is riba unless it is hand to hand, barley for barley is also riba unless it is exchanged hand to hand and dates for dates is also riba unless it is hand to hand.’” It is therefore forbidden to trade gold for silver except hand to hand, for if the two trading parties parted company before they exchanged hand to hand, the exchange would be unlawful. Bukhari and Abu Dawud reported on the authority of Umar that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Exchanging gold for silver is riba except hand to hand.”

It is conditional that the two contracting parties cash in at the place of negotiation, for once they separate prior to the cashing in, the sale would not lawfully be considered to have taken place; this is so because the exchange is the inter-trading of prices, and to cash in at the place of negotiation is a prime condition for the exchange to be valid. Bukhari reported on the authority of Malik Ibn Aws who said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Trading gold for silver is riba unless it is hand to hand.” At-Tirmidhi also reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Trade gold for silver as you wish, as long as it is hand to hand.”

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has prohibited the trading of gold for silver in credit, and has also prohibited the trading of an absent substance for a present one. Therefore, the exchange must take place at the place of negotiation, for if the contracting parties separated before cashing in, the exchange would be invalid due to the non-fulfilment of one of its main conditions. If however, part of the deal was exchanged at the place of negotiation, the deal would then be partly valid to the extent of the exchanged amount and its equivalent on the opposite part of the deal, and it would be invalid for the remainder of the deal and its opposite part of the deal. This is so because it is permitted to divide the deal into parts. For instance, if a person exchanged one dinar for ten dirhams with a person who has only five dirhams, it would be invalid for them to separate before the full ten dirhams are cashed in. If the five dirhams were cashed in and they separated, the exchange would be invalid for half the dinars and valid in the other half, equivalent to the five dirhams which have been cashed in, this is because it is permitted to divide the deal of sale. If the person with the five dirhams borrowed the remainder of the money from the other person or a third party, to complete the deal, the exchange would be valid, as long as the borrowed sum does not constitute a condition in the deal, for if it was a condition in the deal, it would be invalid.

Exchange Transactions

No matter how numerous and varied the transactions of exchange are, they would always be confined to the trading of one currency for another of the same type, or the trading of one currency for another of a different type. The transaction only occurs either between ready cash for other ready cash, or between a "dhimma" (credit or security) for another credit. The exchange cannot take place between cash and a credit. When the exchange transaction takes place, it becomes effective once the contracts and the cashing in have taken place, and neither of the two contracting parties can go back on his word, unless it became established that there has been a case of serious fraud or defect, in which case it is permitted for one of the contracting parties to withdraw from the deal. If, for instance one of the contracting parties found a defect in that which he had purchased, for example he found that the silver he had bought contained copper, or that the silver turned black, he has the option to return the goods he had bought or to accept them based on the agreed price at the time of the transaction. This means that the returning of goods is allowed as long as it is at the same rate as the time of the deal. If one of the contracting parties accepted the goods, the transaction would be valid, and if he decided to return them, the deal would be cancelled. If, for instance one bought 24 carat gold for 24 carat gold, only to find that the gold purchased is only 18 carats, this would be considered fraud, and in this case he would have the choice of either accepting the deal at the agreed price of exchange at the time of the transaction or rejecting it. So, if the person who exchanged the gold for gold decided to accept the gold with its defect at a discount, this would not be allowed because there would be a higher value placed on one of the two commodities, and there is an absence of equivalence which is a condition of a deal of the "same type".

Another example would be if an indebted person said to his debtor: "Reduce some of my debt and I will hurry in repaying the remainder of the debt." This is also not allowed because it would be the trading of a ready sale for a future sale without equivalence i.e. it is as if the indebted person sold his debt "promptly" to his debtor for less than the original transaction, thus creating a disparity which is "riba". Likewise, if the debtor said to the indebted: "I would give you ten dirhams if you accelerated the repayment of the 100 you owe me", this is not allowed because there would be a disparity in the value which is riba. Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Said Al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "Trade gold for gold, silver for silver, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, dates for dates and salt for salt, like for like, and hand to hand, for whoever increases or takes an increase will fall into riba, for the taker and the giver alike."

Another example would be if one person owed another gold and the latter owed the former silver, and they exchanged what each owed the other i.e. if the former settled what he owed in gold with what he is owed in silver, this type of exchange would be lawful, for the immediate payment of debt is like the immediate payment of goods. Also, if a person bought goods in gold, and the seller cashed the value of the goods in silver, this type of transaction would be permitted, for it would be permitted to settle one of the currencies by another currency, and this (deal) would be an exchange with an asset and debt (credit), this is so because Abu Dawud and Al-Athram reported in their "Sunan" on the authority of Ibn Umar who said: “I used to trade in camels in the Baqee’, so I would sell in dinars and get paid in dirhams, or sell in dirhams and get paid in dinars. I would take this from that and give this from that, so I went to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) at Hafsa’s house, and I said: O Messenger of Allah will you please listen, I want to ask you. I sell camels in the Baqee’, I sell in dinars and get paid in dirhams or I sell them in dirhams and get paid in dinars. I take this from that and give this from that. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) answered: ‘There is no harm in this as long as you trade according to the market value of the day and as long as you do not part company from the other party with something still outstanding between the two of you.’"

Also, if a person bought from another a genuine dinar for two fake dinars, this would not be allowed. However, if he bought a genuine dinar for silver dirhams, then bought with the dirhams two fake dinars, this would be allowed whether he bought them from the same person or from another. This is so because Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Said who said: “Bilal came to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) with some Barni (fine quality) dates, so the Messenger of Allah (SAW) enquired: Where did this come from? Bilal replied: These are dates of inferior quality we had for some time, and I exchanged two sa’as of inferior quality for one sa’a of fine quality as food for the Messenger of Allah (SAW). Upon this the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: Woe this is real riba so do not do that. If you wish to buy dates of superior quality, you could sell the dates of inferior quality in a separate bargain and then buy the superior quality.” Also, Abu Said and Abu Hurairah reported in an "agreed upon" hadith “that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) appointed a man as a tax collector over Khaybar, so he came to him one day with some fine quality dates called Janeeb. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘Are all the dates of Khaybar like this?” He said: No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah! We buy the one Sa’a of these fine quality dates for two Sa’as of inferior dates and the two Sa’as of it for three Sa’as. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘Do not do this; rather sell the inferior quality of dates you have for dirhams and then buy the Janeeb dates with the help of dirhams.’” Here, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) did not order the man to sell his dates to a person other than the one he would buy them from, and if the selling of dates to the same person he buys from was haram then the Messenger of Allah (SAW) would have explained this to his tax collector. It was therefore permitted because he sold one type of good (dates) for another type (dirhams) without any preconditions, secret agreement or connivance, as if he had sold to another person. Likewise, it would be permitted to sell gold for silver, and then buy silver. However, if this were subject to a prior arrangement and secret deals, it would not be allowed, and it would be regarded as a prohibited ploy. This is because any type of trickery is prohibited and unlawful in Islam i.e. any attempt to portray a contract as legitimate/allowed with the intent to commit a forbidden act using deception. This includes soliciting an action that Allah (SWT) has forbidden, neglecting an action that Allah (SWT) has commanded, suppressing a right etc. This is so because whatever leads to haram is itself haram, and because Ahmed reported on the authority of Ubada Ibn As-Samit that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “A section (taifa) from my Ummah will one day consider "khamr" (intoxicants) lawful after they give it a different name.” Ahmed also reported on the authority of Abu Malik Al-Ashja'i who said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “People from my Ummah will drink alcohol (Khamr) while giving it a different name.”

Therefore, exchange is one of the lawful transactions in Islam according to specific rules explained by the Shar'a. It can be conducted in local transactions as well as foreign. Like the exchange of gold for silver and silver for gold of the same currency of the country, this can also be performed in a foreign currency, whether at home or abroad, and whether the exchanges were monetary or commercial as well as where the exchange of a currency for another is involved. In order to elaborate on the foreign exchange between various currencies, we need to study in depth the nature of money.

Charlie Hebdo and French Government Islamophobia

By Dr. Reza Pankhurst

September 27, 2012

After the reaction to the anti-Islam film “The Innocence of Muslims”, it was only a matter of time before the next deliberate provocation added fuel to the fire. The French magazine Charlie Hebdo duly obliged, last week publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad on September 19 in what was considered by many Muslims worldwide as a further gratuitous affront to Islam. The magazine has previously engaged in incitement, when last year it printed offensive cartoons ridiculing Islam while then announcing that its edition would be guest-edited by the Prophet Mohammad, leading to its office being firebombed in November 2011.
In this instance, the French government responded quickly, understanding that in the context of protests against foreign embassies across the World French interests abroad could be threatened. A number of French embassies across the Middle East were duly closed over the last weekend, and the French Prime Minister also expressed his “disapproval of any excess”, while stating that “the freedom of speech makes up one of the fundamental principles of [the French] republic”. This response echoed the position of American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she expressed her personal disapproval of the anti-Islam film that has caused the initial wave of protests, while confirming the right for it to be made, published and promoted in the United States.
These events cannot be taken out of the political context of the last ten years, where Muslims across the World have been subjected to the so-called “war on terror”, the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan  where the killing of innocent civilians by NATO troops is still a regular occurrence,  the illegal imprisonment and torture of thousands in facilities such as Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo Bay, and the extra-judicial killings carried out in several Muslim countries by CIA Predator drones. At the same time Western governments like the United States, France, and Britain gave political support and sometimes collaborated in illegal rendition and torture with an assortment of dictators across the Middle-East  and beyond, such as Moammar al-Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak while they were in place, a factconveniently forgotten by Western politicians and certain media outlets in their collective amnesia when addressing the new Middle East. People in the region feel vulnerable, and along with being the victims of political violence they have also witnessed news of Quran burnings whether by the American military or right wing pastors, the denigration of the Quran at Guantanamo bay, along with a growing amount of media production in terms of films and cartoons deliberating insulting the sanctified elements of their religion.
In France specifically, baiting Islam and Muslims is something of a national pastime for politicians, with their banning of the Niqab (face-covering) the most prominent example of the restriction of their proclaimed freedoms when it applies to Islam. This came after the banning of the wearing of Islamic head-coverings in French schools, forcing Muslim students in France to either compromise their education or Islamic principles.
It is far-fetched for French media like Charlie Hebdo to claim it is a bastion of absolute free speech when it previously condemned one of its own cartoonists, Maurice Sinet, for writing a biting article about Nicholas Sarkozy’s son which appeared to denigrate him for marrying a Jewish heiress for money.  Sinet was subsequently sacked for refusing to apologize. So much for principles when domestic political sensitivities are involved – and yet showing sensitivity to a billion or so Muslims around the World is apparently an affront to their secularism.
It is the French government that has the most to answer for in creating this climate of hypocrisy and hatred, where Islam and Muslims appear to be regularly targeted under the banner of an illusionary “freedom”, and Muslims are then banned from protesting in response.  When the French Prime Minister states that the magazine’s cartoons are “expressed within the confines of the law and under the control of the courts”, it can be pointed out that the French senate passed a bill earlier this year which bans denial of genocide recognised by French law, a clear indication of the willingness to restrict expression for political reasons. Ironically, the political target in this case is the Turkish government, and the event referred to is the killing of Armenians in 1915-16 during the final few years of the Ottoman State, the last formal representation of the Islamic political model of the Caliphate.
French interaction with the Ottoman State and the freedom to insult Islamic sensibilities has its own peculiar history. Towards the end of the 19th century, the French government banned the dramatization of a play entitled “Mahomet” in deference to the representations made by the Ambassador of the Ottoman Caliphate. Fearful of pushing the Ottoman Caliphate further into the arms of the German empire, France’s continental neighbor and competitor, principles quickly gave way to realpolitik. And in this event, one of the reasons behind the frustrations of Muslims who have taken to the streets can be understood. If today there was such a political entity which represented the Islamic viewpoint regarding these issues, Muslims worldwide could look to it to take firm stances in their interests, and it can be dealt with at a state level as history attests. In the absence of such a government, people take to the streets to express their anger, a sight that is likely to become more visible in the new Middle East without the same Western backed dictators such as Hosni Mubarak around anymore to keep them in check.
Dr. Reza Pankhurst is a political scientist and historian, specializing in the Middle East and Islamic movements. He received his doctorate from the London School of Economics. He was a political prisoner of the previous Mubarak regime in Egypt, spending almost 4 years in jail between 2002 and 2006. His forthcoming book is entitled “The Inevitable Caliphate?” (Hurst/ Columbia University Press 2012) and is available at Amazon and other retailers.

Freedom of Speech: An Islamic Perspective

Umm Ibtihal

No Muslim can ever bear the insult of the beloved Prophet of Islam (saw). It is therefore hardly surprising that the recent film attacking the honour of the Prophet (saw) has drawn escalating outrage from Muslims all over the world.  To add fuel to the fire, a French magazine has now published some extremely derogatory caricatures of the Prophet (saw). Those defending such actions claim they are upholding freedom of speech; and freedom of speech can never be curbed regardless of the consequences.

The grossly hypocritical nature of this elusive concept is however quite apparent for all to see.  Europe, for instance, imposes legal and social limits on freedom of expression; publication of anti-Semitic cartoons would almost everywhere be liable to legal prosecution. In some of the European countries it is against the law to say that Hitler did not murder millions of Jews. But, it appears that it is quite acceptable to ridicule Islam and the Messenger of Allah (saw).
Nevertheless, many Muslims today find this slogan of freedom of speech appealing primarily because of the oppressive, decadent environment in which they find themselves in the Muslim world. Therefore, this concept is taken at face value to be a universal concept.
The reality is that there can never be complete freedom of speech. Laws will always be required that would limit freedom of speech in order to preserve society at large. A clear example of this is the preservation of national security. The Official Secrets Act exists in the United Kingdom for the protection of official information, mainly related to national security. People working with secret information are commonly required to sign a statement to the effect that they agree to abide by the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act. In the US, the clash between the conflicting aims of national security and freedom of expression came to a head in 1971 in the ‘Pentagon Papers’ case. ‘The New York Times’ had ignored the government’s demand to halt publication of a document dealing with the US military involvement in Vietnam. As a result, it was enjoined from continuing to publish portions of the document. Although the Court’s decision went in the favor of freedom of speech and the press, it did implicitly acknowledge a national security exception to the First Amendment’s ban on prior restraint.  In subsequent years, the Court has upheld the government’s national security claims in several cases that involved former CIA agents who had written memoirs.
Even the philosophers of liberalism had to admit that there exist inherent discrepancies within the concept of freedom and its application at state level.  One strand of liberal thought argues that freedom of speech should not be limited because once this happens, the society would inevitably move towards tyranny and censorship. The other line of argument states with equal force that a government’s involvement with the action of individuals should never be removed because this would eventually lead to anarchy and a life that Hobbes described in Leviathan as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. Moreover, some feel that the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent ‘harm’ to others. But there has always been a problem in defining ‘harm’. Does prostitution, for instance, fall under this domain? Most liberals would also include ‘offense’ as a major factor that should legitimize the exercise of power over the actions of the individuals living in a society.  Again the issue arises as to which actions are to be considered ‘offensive’. Should pornography, for example, come under this category? Some have argued that pornography is not only offensive but is also harmful. Such contradictions lead to a never ending debate as to what does/ does not constitute ‘harm’ or ‘offense’.  Thus what we find is that the slogan of freedom of speech is one of the most used slogans in the world, and yet no one is quite sure what it entails or where the boundaries (should) lie.
But for the Muslims, the issue should be quite clear: Islam does not allow the adoption and propagation of ‘Freedom of Speech’ as propagated by the west since this would include the promotion of such ideas that clearly contradict Islam, such as usury, obscenity under the guise of entertainment and separation of Islam from life’s affairs.
This is not to say that Islam does not allow the Muslims to express their opinions freely. It is allowed for a Muslim to express his opinion about anything or any issue, but this opinion must be derived from Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Numerous examples can be cited from the Islamic history where freedom to express one’s opinion not only existed but was also encouraged. The companions of the Prophets (saw) openly disagreed with each other on various aspects of Islamic rules. The Khaleefah Harun al-Rashid provided financial incentives for anyone who would teach, learn, propagate or debate issues of the deen.  Islam has given the Muslims the right to express their opinions, even if they contradict the opinions of the ruler or that of the majority of the Muslims. It has made it obligatory upon the Muslims to express their opinions and criticize the ruler if he abuses his authority by ordering something that displeases Allah (swt).  The Messenger of Allah said, “The master of martyrs is Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib and a man who stood up to an oppressive ruler, ordered him (to do good) and forbade him (from doing evil) and was killed by him.”
Looking at the glorious history of Islam, we find that the Muslims excelled in every sphere of life: science flourished under the Islamic rule. The Muslims were the most advanced in the world in various fields such as mathematics, geometry, medicine, natural sciences, etc.  In terms of economics, they were the most prosperous ; Khaleefah Umar bin Abdul Aziz at one stage of his rule could not find a single poor person to give zakat to during his rule in 7th Century C.E.  The Muslims also excelled in agriculture; in the 8th and 9th century, Iraq under Islam had a population of 30 million80% of whom were farmers with modern irrigation systems from the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.  The ration of yield of seed for wheat in the Muslim world was 10:1 compared to 2.5:1 in Europe. With regard to showing tolerance towards the Non-Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (saw) had said “Whoever hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of an Islamic state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah (swt).” (Bukhâri). With this kind of mentality towards Non-Muslims, it is hardly surprising that the Christians of Ash-sham fought alongside the Muslims against the Christian Crusaders who had attacked the Islamic State.
The question that needs to be asked is, ‘What was it in the Muslim world that had fostered such tolerance, authenticity, creativity, and human flourishing?’ It certainly was not the current notion of freedom that is prevailing in today’s world but rather it was the result of the implementation of Islam on society. Unlike man-made systems, Islam is in total harmony with the reality of human nature since it is revealed by the One (swt) who created human beings. Therefore, the aims of Islam conform to the reality of human society.  Islam has designated certain aims for society which include protection of mind, belief, private property, security and state. Only when such aims exist in a society can human beings progress in every sphere of life. To safeguard these aims, an Islamic society will restrict freedom of expression as espoused by the west since it acknowledges the fact that society is not just made up of individuals and what an individual does will have an impact on society at large. Islam makes no apology for doing this. In actual fact, liberal societies, despite their claims of being free and tolerant, are also forced to take certain steps to safeguard society.  Hence they have laws restricting the ‘amount of freedom’ that can exist in society.  In addition tothis, their laws continually twist and change to suit their interests and are often interpreted in a manner that clearly reflects their prejudice and enmity towards Islam as shown in this recent example. The concept of freedom of speech is therefore laden with ambiguity.
A society, by its very nature, demands the existence of certain rules and regulations as to what is and what is not acceptable in speech as well as in other spheres of life. But the fundamental question is where these limitations should be set. We either base our society on philosophical principles that tend to rotate in a vicious circle, or alternatively, as those who believe in Allah (swt)’s supremacy, we turn to the Guidance sent by Him (swt).  For us the choice has already been made: We have set you on a plain way of commandment so follow it, and not the desires of those who have no knowledge (45:18).
Basing our opinions on this premise, we Muslims throughout the world, need to discuss and debate on the issue of what is the way forward for us.

Umm Ibtihal teaches applied linguistics/TEFL and have worked in various institutions in the UK and Pakistan.  She is currently working at a university in the Middle East where among other courses, she teaches comparative cultural studies. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Q&A: On Price Fixing by Sheikh Ata' Abu Rashta

The following is the translation of an Arabic Q&A from the website of Sheikh Ata' Abu Rashta.  

Question: We know that it is forbidden for the ruler to fix the price of commodities for the people because the Prophet (saw) said: "Indeed Allah is the Creator, the Restrainer, the Reliever, the Provider and the One Who fixes the prices, I wish to meet Allah in such a state that nobody claims that I have done any wrong to him either in his blood or his money" as narrated by Ahmad. He (saw) also said: "Whoever strives to increase the cost (of products) for Muslims, Allah, the Exalted, will seat him in the center of the Fire on the Day of Resurrection." narrated by Ahmad.

Hence the question is: if some traders in any region fix the price of any commodity, for instance the rice traders assembled and agreed among themselves upon selling the rice to the people (other) traders on a fixed price; so in such a case, fixing the price of this commodity with the traders' mutual consensus shall be considered Haram (forbidden), or the forbidden is to fix the price by the State only and not the mutual agreement of traders to fix the price of a commodity?

Answer: The reason is clear from the second hadith and if the reason exists, the rule will be applied… So, if the traders' agreement is aimed at increasing the price, they will be included in the prohibition. However, if their agreement is for the sake of preventing speculations, and organizing the system of trade in such a way that no vendor is able to conceal his goods, for example, to sell it on a higher price and leave the rest of the traders to sell, without exhibiting his own products i.e. he monopolizes it and then sells it at the time of deficiency. So, in such a state, the traders are not prohibited to organize the system of trade. However, the meeting and mutual agreement of merchants on a certain price is most likely to increase the price, particularly if they are wholesale dealers of such products, which are not sold by other than them. Therefore, their agreement in this case, even if it does not result in increasing the price of the commodity but there is all probability that it may happen, comes under "means to Haram is Haram". Hence, their participation in fixing the price of commodity leading to its increment, even if it does not happen categorically but it is most likely to do so. And the high possibility is enough here and therefore I believe that the traders' agreement on fixing the price of a commodity is not permissible. Rather, this matter should be left to the market rate, leading to fixation of the prices by every trader according to his conditions. In such a scenario, the things will be easy for the people and market will be away from the high price.

In this matter, I admire what was mentioned in the book of Legal System by Ibn Qayyim Al-Jauziyah under the chapter "chapter concerning the dealers who deal in the real estate etc on rent" as it was stated:

"And for this reason: many scholars such as Abu Hanifa and his companions forbid the dealers who deal in the real estate etc on rent: from entering into partnership with each other, for the reason that if they enter into partnership – and people are in need of them – they increase the charges on them.

I said: the price control administrative official should also forbid those who wash the deceased and carry them from participation for the reason of increasing the charges on them besides forbidding the partaking of any group whose benefit may be needed by the people…" (Concluded)

28th Dhu'l-Hijjah, 1432 AH. 
24th November, 2011 CE. 

The flags and banners of the Khilafah

Today we find a multitude of flags in the Muslim world. These have been carefully designed with colours and symbols to represent characteristics of the nation state. In Islam, we have not been given a choice concerning what type of flag we use even down to the colour. The shariah has specified the type of official flag the Khilafah will use and therefore we cannot deviate from this. Furthermore, we cannot wave flags that represent concepts which are against Islam such as nationalism and division of Muslim lands. The article below is taken from the book "Institutions of State in the Khilafah" by Hizb ut-Tahrir.
The State has flags (Alwiyah) and banners (Rayat) as deduced from the flags and banners of the first Islamic State, which the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم established in al-Medina al-Munawwarah. These will be as follows:
Definition of the Flag and Banner
The flag and banner, are linguistically called alam. Al-Qamus al-Muhit mentions under the root (r/w/y) that al-raya is 'al-alam, plural being rayaat. It mentions under the root (l/w/y) that al-liwa' is al-'alam, plural alwiyah.
The shariah designated each one of these terms a shar'i meaning as follows:
The flag (liwaa')
The flag (liwaa') is white, on which it is written 'la ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul Allah' with black script. It is tied to the amir of the army or the leader of the army. It is used as a sign of his location, and it goes along with this location. The evidence to tying the flag to the amir of the army is that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم entered Makkah on the day of its conquest while raising a white flag. This was narrated by Ibn Majah through Jabir. An-Nasa'i also narrated through Anas that when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم appointed Usama ibn Zayd as amir to the army for invading the Romans, he tied his flag with his own hands.
The banner (rayah)
The banner (rayah) is black, on which it is written 'la ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul Allah' with white script. It is carried by the leaders of the army divisions, regiments, detachments, and other army units. The evidence is that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم , while being the leader of the army in Khaybar, he said: "I will give the Raya tomorrow to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, and Allah and His messenger love him; and he gave it to 'Ali". This hadith is agreed upon. Ali (ra) was considered the leader of a division or a regiment in the army.
Al-Harith b. Hassan b. Al-Bakri also said in the hadith, "We came to Medina and we saw the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم on the Mimbar, with Bilal standing in front of him wearing his sword. There were black banners in front of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. I asked 'what are these banners?' They said: 'it is Amr b. al-'As who has just arrived from an expedition'".
"And there were black banners (rayaat)" this means there were many banners carried by the army though its amir was one, which was Amru ibn Al-Ass. This indicates there is one flag (liwaa') in the same army, but the banners (rayaat) are many in each army.
Thus, the flag (liwaa') is a sign ('alam) to the amir of the army only, while the banners (rayaat) are signs (a'lam) carried by the soldiers.
The flag (liwaa') is tied to the amir of the army
The flag (liwaa') is tied to the amir of the army, and it is a sign indicating the headquarters of the amir of the army. However, in the battle field, the leader of the battle, whether he is the amir of the army or appointed by him, is given the banner (rayah) to carry during the fight in the battle field. Therefore, the banner is called the mother of the war because it is carried by the battle leader in the battle field.
Therefore, at the time of actual war there will be one banner with every leader of a battle, a matter that was familiar at that time. Keeping the banner flying up was evidence to the might of the leader of the battle. This is an administrative order that is followed in accordance with the traditions of fighting in the armies.
The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said announcing to the people the death of Zayd, Ja'far and Ibn Ruwahah before the soldiers brought the news: "Zayd took the banner (raya) but he was hit; and then Ja'far took it and he was hit; and then Ibn Ruwahah took it and he was hit" [Bukhari, Sahih, #3757].
At the time of actual war, if the leader of the army in the battle field was the Khalifah, both the flag (liwaa') and the banner (raya) can be lifted. It was reported in the seerah of Ibn Hisham during the talk about the ghazwah of great Badr that the flag and banner were present in the battle.
However, at time of peace or after the end of the battle the banners are usually spread amongst the army and lifted by its divisions, regiments, units and battalions, as narrated in the hadith of Al-Harith ibn Hassan Al-Bakri that talked about the army of Amru ibn Al-'As.
The Khalifah is the leader of the army in Islam
The Khalifah is the leader of the army in Islam. Therefore the flag is legally lifted on top of his headquarters, i.e. on top of the Khalifah's house. This is because the flag is tied to the amir of the army. The banner is allowed to be lifted on top of the Khalifah's house from an administrative point of view, taking into account the fact that the Khalifah is the head of the organisations of the State. In regards to the remaining organisations, departments and establishments of the State, the banner alone is lifted on top of them, because the flag is specific to the leader of the army as a mark to his location.
How the flag is tied
The flag is tied at the end of the spear and twisted around it. It is given to the leader of the army in accordance to the number of armies. Thus it is tied to the leader of the first army, the second army, or the leader of Al-Sham army, and Iraq army, or the leader of Aleppo army, or the leader of Beirut army, and so on.
In origin it is twisted at the end of the spear and not spread out except at the time of need. It is for example spread out on top of the Khalifah's house because of its importance. This applies also to the sites of the leaders of the armies at time of peace so that the Ummah can see the greatness of the flags of their armies. However, if this need conflicts with security issues, such as the enemy recognising the sites of the leaders of the armies, then the flag will be treated as in origin, i.e. it is not spread out but rather remains twisted/rounded.
In regards to the banner it is left for the wind to flap it, like the flags in use today. Therefore it is placed on top of the departments of the State.
Firstly: Regarding the army:
1. In case of actual war, the flag remains attached to the site of the leader of the army. In origin it must not be spread out, rather kept rounded/twisted around the spear. It can be spread out after studying the security issue. There will be a banner carried by the leader of the battle in the battle field. In case the Khalifah was in the battle field the flag is also allowed to be carried.
2. In case of peace the flag is tied to the leaders of the armies, and it is rounded at the spear; but it can be spread out on top of the sites of the leaders of the armies. Banners are usually spread out amongst the army carried by its divisions, units, regiments and battalions. It is possible for each division, a regiment, or a battalion to have a specific banner that distinguishes it administratively and which is lifted with the banner.
Secondly: Regarding the security organisations, departments, and establishments of the State, only the banner is lifted on top of each of them except the house of the Khilafah, where the flag is lifted on top of it as the Khalifah is the leader of the army. The banner is allowed to be lifted administratively together with it, because the house of the Khilafah is the head of the organisations of the State. The private establishments and ordinary people can also carry and lift the banner on top of their establishments, offices and houses, particularly on the occasions of eid, victories and the like.

Reproducing Western Popular Culture in the Native Tongue of Muslim Lands

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Reproducing Western Popular Culture in the Native Tongue of Muslim Lands:
The Latest Style of Importing Corrosive Capitalist Liberal Ideas to the Region

The influx of Liberal Secular Culture in the Muslim Lands from popular movies and dramas series that are ‘dubbed' into the local languages is a well-established style of infiltrating Muslim societies with values and ideals that undermine Islamic morals. The availability of contracts and licences to reproduce well known formats such as ‘American Idol', ‘Big Brother' and ‘Britains got Talent' (known as ‘Arab Idol' ‘The Boss or Al-Ra'is' and ‘Arabs got Talent in the Middle East) is nothing new. However the failure of certain formats in the Muslim world, such as ‘Big Brother', have highlighted the need for greater cultural adaption of some of these shows in order to ensure longevity and secure the personal allegiance of the viewers in any given country. Whilst many of these shows are already firmly embedded into the viewing schedules of our nations, a number of formats have had problems establishing themselves and have prompted public protest from the Muslim populations in certain areas of the world. One such format was Big Brother, a show that has now been cancelled in the Middle East.

Kwintessential, a UK company specialising in business management across cultures commented on the failure of the Big Brother format to succeed in the Muslim World in the following quote:
"Targeting an audience comprising of mainly Muslims, Al-Ra'is (The Boss) failed to read the cross cultural signs. The close quarter interaction between men and women was culturally unacceptable to the majority of viewers. "It is normal for males and females to mix, but not to put them together in the same house for a long time," said 21-year-old student Maryam al-Sayrafi, who summed up most Muslims feelings on the show.

The failure of Al-Ra'is (The Boss) points to two things:
1) The adverse consequences of a failure to incorporate cross cultural analysis into a business strategy; in this case a TV show.
2) The importance of cross cultural understanding in transferring ideas and concepts across cultures." (Kwintessential 7th September 2012)

From this analysis it is clear that western companies understand that in order to succeed in implanting specific concepts and ideas in a society and in order to mould mentalities and personalities on a massive scale, there needs to be a clear awareness of the culture that you are operating in. This cultural ‘sensitivity' is in no way a benign expression of a corporation's willingness to elevate the nation and promote the best that is traditionally available in any given region. On the contrary, this deep awareness of the society is needed and valued in a business model in order to comprehensively subvert any independent ideas and values that may be an obstacle in a personality so that they conform to the actions that serve the interests of the business. In the case of our Muslims governments and the Capitalist companies operating in our lands, television advertising revenues can only be profitable as long as Muslim audience rating remain as high as possible. There is a direct relationship between how much more domestic viewers can identify with the media material presented to them and how sustainable audience rating become in any given region.

Whilst dubbing movies and dramas serves its purpose in the literal translation of popular western culture and is not likely to ever end as it allows for high viewing rates and advertising profits, there is currently an unexploited and growing market in the sales of popular western drama series such as "Desperate Housewives" that are being bought by countries such as Turkey, to be adapted using local actors and even local political issues so that viewers feel more drawn into the storyline and are more likely to invest and advertise the program to friends and family. The Licences issued by the original program owners even allow for adjustments in the title of the program, for example in Turkey ‘Desperate Housewives' is called ‘Desperate Women'. However, regardless of the fact that these media licences permits the reproduction of these shows in light of local languages and cultures, it does not eliminate the circulation of the dangerous cultural ideas that contradicts Islam. Muslim governments allow internal media corporations to pay millions of dollars to import philosophies that directly undermine the Islamic Social system with the aim of corrupting the minds of Muslims, in particular the women and the youth. It is well known that shows such as ‘Desperate Housewives' have very consistent and clear themes in every episode such as:

1) Promoting feminism
2) Advocating secularism
3) Encouraging individualism
4) Undermining the role of wife and mother
5) The glorification of fornication and adultery under the guise of pursuing ‘romance' and personal happiness
6) Endorsing free mixing of males and females
7) Promoting unrealistic expectations of what a man and women should be like including distorted body images aspirations.
8) Encouraging unceasing dissatisfaction with the life one has regardless of how much you have in terms of relationships and material wealth.
Of course this is not a comprehensive assessment of the conceptual attack that is being unleashed upon the Muslim Housewife, they are to name but a few. One thing is certain and that is with the use of local actors, languages, dress styles (even the incorporation of the Hijab and Jilbab) there is no possibility of eliminating these themes or compromising on the conveyance of a very ridged set of alternative viewpoints to the Islamic Way of life.

Yoni Cohen, senior vice president for development and sales at 20th Century Fox commented on ‘Glee', one of the top-rated shows in the U.S which, like ‘Big Brother', could prove problematic in some markets as the show has openly gay actors and discusses pregnancy in unmarried teenagers, he says. "We try very hard not to let other cultures dictate.....and we'd rather not do a show in the end if it steps beyond an adaptation and into a reinvention."

The moral lines have been clearly drawn by the original programme owners. There is absolutely no willingness to remove the western cultural perspective in order to secure any Islamic value system, one has to now wonder why our own Muslim leaders do not share this great determination to secure the Quran and Sunnah as a measure for life and progress for our men, women and youth. The answer is simple; our own governments have a lot of financial and political interests in allowing this cultural invasion to spread further into our lands. They themselves exist to serve and obey their Western masters and are employed by them as tools for indirect colonialism. With new and evermore subtle and sophisticated styles available, Muslims are more likely to be duped into watching and allowing their families to watch programming that is not so obviously different to their own lifestyles and in doing so, they would have fallen into the media trap that is being so carefully tailor made for them. After all, if a housewife is too busy being ‘Desperate' for an unattainable life based on false principles that have no basis in reality and has her energy directed into destroying the happiness of herself and her fellow citizens, then where would she get the time for political activism against the very regime that is the real source of her oppression and misery.

In the absence of a sincere leadership that rules from Islam and that serves the interests of the Muslims, our Islamic Lands are wide open for this cultural attack. Indeed they are being invited into the lands and are being welcomed in the warmest of manners by the very leaderships that should be protecting us from their harmful influence. The Islamic State (Khilafah) existed in the past and served as the correct guardian for the Muslims not accepting any form of colonialism (direct or indirect) as it acted independently and purely for the protection and promotion of the Islamic thoughts and systems. In its draft constitution of a future Islamic Sate the political party Hizb ut Tahrir, who's objective is to re-establish this Khilafah , has outlined a number of constitutional points that give some indication as to how these news styles should be dealt with:

Article 161
The use of foreign capital and its investment within the State is forbidden. It is also prohibited to grant franchises to foreigners.

Article 165
The Islamic creed constitutes the basis upon which the education policy is built. The syllabi and methods of teaching are designed to prevent a departure from this basis.

Article 166
The purpose of education is to form the Islamic personality in thought and behaviour. Therefore, all subjects in the curriculum must be chosen on this basis.

Article 167
The goal of education is to produce the Islamic personality and to provide people with the knowledge connected with life's affairs. Teaching methods are established to achieve this goal; any method that leads to other than this goal is prevented.

With regards the superiority of the Islamic thought over the non-Islamic thought, there is no room for cultural relativism as Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Quran
{بَلْ نَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِّ عَلَى الْبَاطِلِ فَيَدْمَغُهُ فَإِذَا هُوَ زَاهِقٌ ۚ وَلَكُمُ الْوَيْلُ مِمَّا تَصِفُونَ}
"Rather We hurl the truth against falsehood and it cuts right through it and it vanishes clean away!" [Surah Anbiya, 21:18]

And when dealing with those that are the enemies of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the fact that our leaders give them control over the media in our lands, we should bear in mind that Allaah سبحانه وتعالى warns us.
{وَدُّوا لَوْ تَكْفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُوا فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَاءً}
"They would like you to be kafir as they are kafir so that you will all be the same." [Surah Nisa, 4:89]

In light of these principles the laws relating to how the media supports or works against these constitutional points and evidences would be regulated by an Islamic State and it is the absence of this comprehensive Islamic System that leaves the minds and indeed homes of the ummah exposed to all manner of sick and depraved viewpoints that work against the progress of Muslims, both socially and at a personal level. The solution to counteracting this new media style is to account our leaders for permitting that which is impermissible and harms our interests as well as working to resume the Islamic way of life in calling for no other system except the Khilafah, as prescribed by Allah (SWT) and His (SWT) Messenger (SAW).

Messenger (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) said;
''The one who removes his hand from obedience he will meet Allah without a proof for himself' and Whosoever dies without a bay'ah (pledge of allegiance to a Khalif-iIslamic Ruler)on his neck dies the death of Jahiliyyah.''

Imrana Mohammed
Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir

11 Dhu al-Qi'dah 1433