Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Woolwich & the Method to Establish the Islamic State

The following is the transcript of a talk recently delivered on this subject. Please note some of the script is in the form of bullet points.

كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
“You are the best of the nation raised up for mankind because you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 110]

In the light of this verse I want to begin my subject today with the topic that has been on the lips of every Muslim in this country over the last week and the topic that has dominated the media – the dramatic killing of a British soldier on a street in Woolwich, London.

As usual the media has gone into overdrive in demonising Islam and Muslims with its usual characterisation of Islam as backward and violent. All sorts arguments have been made trying to link violence and the political aspects of Islam so they are trying to polarise the debate so either:
·     We are of those Muslims who we have seen on the media who are the apologists, who have come out apologising as if Islam is to blame for the state terror caused by Britain, America and the Western powers the world over.
·     Or on the other hand we are of those who want to engage in acts of violence, in bombings like 7/7 or to kill people on the streets.

We should not fall into their agenda and reject the categories and these labels they put on our heads of moderates, extremists, fundamentalists etc.

We as Muslims should never take the defensive position, a position of weakness and apologising – this contradicts the ethos of Islam. Allah (swt) says:

بَلْ نَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِّ عَلَى الْبَاطِلِ فَيَدْمَغُهُ فَإِذَا هُوَ زَاهِقٌ ۚ وَلَكُمُ الْوَيْلُ مِمَّا تَصِفُونَ

“Nay, We hurl the Truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold, falsehood doth perish!"  [Surah Anbiya, 21:18]

We should take the offensive approach in this argument.

The real problem facing the world is western violence: violence perpetrated by states using full military force. Violence that destroys entire nations and ruins the lives of entire peoples.

They emotionally portray the death of one of their soldiers yet they want to ignore the massacres their troops their forces have committed around the world:

·       This is the violence that has led to the killing over 1 million Muslims in Iraq since the invasion of the Western powers
·       140,000 people killed in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by dropping of atomic bombs by America
·       This is the violence that we continue to see the world over where they continue to launch drone attacks of our mothers and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen
·       This is the violence we see by Bashar al-Assad who was supported by the West and despite their nominal condemnation has been allowed to continue his slaughter in Syria

The violence of the western states, in comparison to which, any violence committed by individuals, Muslim or otherwise, is like a drop in the ocean. This is where our focus should be if we are indeed sincere about dealing with the problem of violence.

To scapegoat disempowered individuals whilst ignoring the far worse violence of powerful institutions is disingenuous and hypocritical.

State terrorism is what causes what they call individual acts of terrorism. They want to ignore the role of their own foreign policy when discussing the cause of this killing in Woolwich – we should ask?

·        What led the Irish Republican Army (the IRA) – the political wing, Sinn Fein ironically they now sit with – what led them to commit countless attacks against British soldiers in this country in the past? Was it the Quran and Sunnah? Or the occupation of Northern Ireland by the British and the violence of the English against them?

Methodology for Change

Now turning to the issue of the correct way to channel the anger we feel when we see the atrocities against the Muslims and the munkarat, the evil around us.

As Shuhada alan-naas (witnesses over mankind) we as Muslims need to work for a true solution to the problems that we face. Therefore we need to look to the Quran and Sunnah.

The Prophet (saw) instructed us in the famous hadith:

مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَ
سْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمَانِ
“Whoever from amongst you sees an evil should change it by his hand, if he is unable to do so then he should change it by his tongue and if he is unable to do so then he should reject it in his heart - and this is the weakest (manifestation) of Iman” [Muslim]

So what is the meaning of changing by the hand? Depends on capability and legal responsibility.

Individually we can stop munkar within our own sphere of responsibility, e.g. making are children wear Islamic dress, stopping them from evil, or our wife, etc.

However how can we change the Munkar in society like the abandonment of the Shariah rules and the shedding Muslim blood in Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Syria etc?

The people of power in those lands like the army commanders and leaders are directly liable to stop the munkar by their hands.

We will not achieve the removal of western forces from our lands by attacks against individuals here and there. In fact we need an army to defeat an army, the armies of the Muslims instead of sitting in the barracks polishing their guns or instead of being used against Muslims like in Syria must be mobilised to protect the Muslims, to liberate Palestine and the other Islamic lands.

We as individuals cannot not change the situation by attacking individuals on the streets here and there whether in the Muslim or non-Muslim world – that would not remove the munkar and liberate our lands.

Allah (swt) says in Surah at-Tawba:

 “And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively.” [TMQ 9:36]

The question then arises – that the armies and leaders of the Muslims are not doing anything to solve our problems which is true. In fact the greatest munkar today is implementation of kufr in our lands instead of the justice of Islam. So what should we do?

Firstly, we must realise the establishment and maintenance of the Ma’roof and the Munkar can only be practically carried out through the Islamic State which was destroyed on 28 Rajab 1924 as the first speaker discussed. It is impossible to do otherwise. Allah (swt) says:

الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ
“Those who when we establish them (in authority) in the earth they establish the Salah, collect the Zakah, enjoin all that is Ma.roof and forbid all that is Munkar, and to Allah belongs the return of all matters..” [TMQ al-Hajj: 41]

Imam Qurtubi in his Tafseer has pointed out that only the Sultan has the ability of executing the Ma.roof and removing the Munkar by establishing the Hudood and through the framework of authority. [Imam Qurtubi Jami.u Ahkam ul vol. 4 page 47]

A state has the power to physically establish the rules of Allah.

E.g. cutting hand of thief, stoning adulterer, punishing those who don’t pray salah, wage Jihad to retake Islamic land and protect Muslims, etc

The Prophet (saw) said: The Imaam is a Shepherd and (only) he is responsible for the citizens.” [Agreed upon].

Going back to the hadith about changing the munkar. It first starts with changing by the hand and then says if you are incapable to change it by the tongue. This is something we all have the capability of doing.

However like with all issues in Islam like Salah, Fasting, Hajj etc we need to know the details of methodology of how to achieve it. The same applies to this issue.

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow” [TMQ Al-Ahzab 33:21]

So just like we look to the example of the Prophet (saw) in the details of how to pray, fast, get married, perform hajj etc.

It is well known, that if the Prophet (saw) was undertaking a Fard in repeatedly the same way – then this indicates to us that it is the method to fulfill that fard, e.g. the tarteeb (ordering of salah). So we have to look to what specific things did the Prophet (saw) repeatedly do in order to establish the Islamic state.

As we have discussed the need to have power and authority in order to remove the munkar and establish the rule of Islam. I am going to go through the methodology extracted by scholars in the last century from the Quran and Sunnah in reverse order to help us understand it and perceive it more clearly:

1.    The Prophet (saw) gained power and established the first Islamic state after the hijra in Madina. So let us start with how did he gain this power and how was he appointed as the ruler of Madina?
·        He (saw) did not become the ruler by chance. He (saw) made a lot of effort to win over the people of power. At that time power lay in the tribes and if he was able to gain the support of powerful tribes he could establish Islam. It has been reported by the different books of Seerah that the Prophet (saw) went to seek what is known as the Nussrah (physical support) to establish Islam to many tribes, some say 13 like in Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’ad, others say around 40. The Prophet (saw) asked them to embrace Islam and to establish the Deen practically. He (saw) used to take Abu Bakr (ra) or Ali (ra) with him as they were experts in the lineage and warfare. Most of them rejected or put conditions. The people of Ta’if, Banu Thaqif – threw the Prophet (saw) out and treated him in a very bad manner by stoning, etc. Still the Prophet (saw) persisted. Some tribes put conditions like Banu Amr bin Sa’sa’ah who were willing to support the Prophet on condition that they would have the rule after him. The Prophet rejected this and said, “Allah gives the ruling to whomever he wills”. Others said they had treaties with the Persians and therefore couldn't go against them.

·        The migration (Hijra) of the Prophet marked the establishment of the Islamic state, it was the first day of joy for the Muslims. We should think we do we date our calendar from the Hijra? Why no from the beginning of Prophethood? It was the most significant event in the history of Islam.

·        How was he elected as the ruler? Who put him in power? Due to the nature of the society in Makkah it was not very responsive to the Da’wah of the Prophet (saw). Whereas the society in Madina was different, the two prominent tribes of Madina Banu Aus and Khazraj had been fighting for many years and were looking for a way out. When some of them embraced Islam and requested for the Prophet (saw) to send someone to teach Islam there, the Prophet (saw) sent Mus’ab ibn Umair and in one year Mus’ab was able to affect the public opinion there such that it was said ‘Islam has entered every household’, meaning the call of Islam has spread. Eventually some of the key leaders of the 2 tribes gave the Prophet (saw) the Nussrah and pledged support to him in what is known as the second pledge of Aqaba or Bayatul Harb (pledge of war) or Bayatul Dam (pledge of blood).

·        The people of power are those who uphold the authority in a nation, in the tribal societies of the past it was the tribal chiefs. However today power lies in different places depending on different societies. In some it still lies in the tribes like in Yemen, in others it lies in the influential families and in many it lies in the military. Sometimes the power structures maybe more fragmented such as in Syria currently where power is held by different factions including the Mujahideen groups who rose to defend the Muslims against the regime. Therefore the workers for Khilafah today seek the power in the same way the Prophet did so, if they manage to win some of the people of power - this would aid in the establishment of the state.

2.    To establish a stable rule you cannot just have people of power supporting you. You have to have the support of the public. The Prophet (saw) and the Sahaba did not just try to win the people of power. He worked hard to establish a public opinion for Islam.

To achieve change in any society you need to affect 2 pillars of society: a) Public opinion, b) People of power. This is what the Prophet (saw) targeted and what the workers for Khilafah today target in the Muslim world.
The call for change cannot remain confined to a group of people just talking about Islam in their homes and in private – to have an impact it must go public. The Prophet (saw) engaged in an intellectual and political struggle against the status quo – not a violent one.  Allah (swt) said to him:

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ “So proclaim what you have been commanded and turn away from the Mushrikeen (Polythiests).” [TMQ Hijr: 94]

After this Ayah was revealed, the Muslims went out in 2 rows one led by Umar bin al Khattab and another led by Hamza Assadullah, they went around the Ka’ba.  This marked the beginning of the interaction stage, the time when the Prophet (saw) openly engaged the Quraysh with intellectual and political struggle.

·        In order to affect public opinion you have to expose the evil practices of society and its corruption, so that people desire a change – you have to challenge the politics, economics, social practices and rulers.  The Prophet (saw) would recite to the people of Makkah the following verse:

تَبَّتْ يَدَآ أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ
"Perish the hands of Abu Lahab." [Al-Masad: 1]

·        Today this work for Khilafah is not new. The movement for Khilafah worldwide under the leadership of the noble scholar, the Mujtahid, the Faqih, the Sheikh of the Shuyookh – one of the greatest living scholars of our age, Sheikh Ata' ibn Khalil Abu ar-Rashta – the movement is working to build a massive public opinion for Khilafah throughout the Muslim world.

·        E.g. In Jakarta, Indonesia today there was a massive conference with over 125 thousand Muslims filling the 10th largest stadium in the world at the international Khilafah Conference. Throughout this month of rajab there has been a big campaign and multiple events throughout the Muslim world on the issue of Khilafah from Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Pakistan etc.

·    The Prophet (saw) and Sahabah stood up against the kufr of the Quraysh in all its forms and for this they faced persecution, harassment, torture and killing for their non-violent call. The Prophet (saw) continued upon this path despite this – which is a strong evidence that this work is a fard and not just optional.

·        Today the Da’wah carriers all over the Muslim world are doing the same, and facing the persecution, torture and killing just as the Sahabah in the past. In fact our Ameer, Sheikh Ata Abu Rashta who I mentioned earlier in his years of non-violent struggle with the tongue to establish the word of truth – has been imprisoned in the prisons of the Muslim world including in Libya, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The Prophet (saw) told us: “The highest Jihad is the word of truth against the tyrant ruler”.

·        Today the opinion for Khilafah has gained momentum to the extent that the majority of the mujahideen groups in Syria have given public pledges declaring openly that they are working to replace the corrupt government of Assad with Khilafah.

·        No compromise with the kufr system - Some suggest today that we can change the political systems from within by entering the democratic systems and trying to change them. This not only contradicts clear texts of Islam and the method of the Prophet, it contradicts the nature of radical change. No system in history has been radically changed from within. As the system always protects itself, lets remember what happened in Algeria when the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won in the elections and they wanted to rule by Islam, they were removed by the military who were backed by the French.

3.    Finally, in order to establish anything you cannot do it alone – all revolutions and radical political changes in history were achieved by groups. The Prophet (saw) did not work alone, he had the Sahabah whom he cultured to have a strong Iman and to be da’wah carriers. For the first 3 years of His (saw) mission he worked to nurture the Sahabah and transformed their personalities. Allah (swt) ordered us to have a group or groups:

وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
“Let there arise from amongst you a group(s) calling to the Khair (good) enjoining the Ma’ruf (good) and forbidding the evil, they are the ones who are successful” [TMQ 3:104]

Therefore it is our duty in order to change the munkar by our tongues to work with an Islamic group who is working to re-establish the Khilafah upon the correct method for change.

We must realize that the return of it is inevitable, it will happen it has been mentioned in many of the ahadith of the Prophet (saw) such as the famous hadith in the Musnad of Ahmad where the Prophet (saw) said: “Again the Khilafah will come on the path of the Prophethood”.

On the authority of Sahl Ibn Saad Al-Sa'idi (ra), the messenger (saw) said,

بدأ الإسلام غريباً وسيعود غريباً فطوبى للغرباء

"Islam began strange, and it shall return strange as it began, so "Tooba" to the strangers. They said: O messenger of Allah "who are the strangers?". He (saw) said: "They are the ones who correct the society when the people become corrupt". "Tooba" in the donya is the great khair from Allah by giving those ones the yaqeen and by giving them guidance, and in the akhira "tooba" is a tree in the paradise in which it takes the rider to cut its shadow one hundred years.” [Tabarani]


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