The Muslim Community in the West and the Call for Khilafah
Muslims in the West face a number of challenges. Some of these are real, others are perceived to be real. Bringing up children and maintaining our identities is a real challenge. Holding onto Islamic values in an ideological society that works to undermine these values is another. Recently, Muslim communities have faced an onslaught, undermining Islamic beliefs and practices. Some have responded by standing firm like Abdullah ibn Masud (ra), who stood firm against the violence inflicted by Quraysh, whilst others have buckled under pressure, seeking solutions contrary to the Ahkaam Shari’ah, to save themselves and their communities.
In my previous article I argued that the raft of government anti-terror laws is one such ‘perceived challenge’. In that although governments in the West were unveiling laws after laws, this was less about security and more about preparing their populations and instilling fear amongst Muslims. I argued that the carriers of da’wah in the West and activists should be careful choosing when and how to address these laws so as not to fall into a trap set by these governments. The more they are spoken of, the more we become agents of fear and bearers of bad news. Indeed, these laws illustrate the opposite. They demonstrate the desperation of these governments and their realisation that the return of the Rightly Guided Khilafah is now a reality that cannot be reversed.
It is noticeable that a number of hitherto staunch callers of da’wah have been distracted by the sheer number of challenges we face in the West, real or perceived. These challenges have overburdened them in terms of work. Some have argued Khilafah is no longer relevant. Others argue Khilafah is one of many aspects of da’wah whilst others argue it no longer remains an active call of Muslims in the West, instead we should address the multiplicity of problems the communities face. The matter has come to a point where in many Muslim communities the call for Khilafah has become secondary, yet paradoxically it is at its height internationally reaching the thrones of the dictators that litter the Muslim world.
In reality, the challenges Muslims face in the West are not unique. They are challenges Muslims face equally around the world. In all societies, Muslim or other, the Ummah faces a number of impediments that obstruct them from living an Islamic way of life. Furthermore, a host of un-Islamic thoughts and emotions present challenges for all righteous Muslims, wherever they reside. A Muslim father in Amman faces the challenge of bringing up his son or daughter in an Islamic way, like a father in New York and London. The school curriculum in Karachi faces the same pressures of ‘westernisation’ and interference faced by schools in Birmingham. Muslims in Alexandria have faced draconian anti-terror laws for decades just as Muslims in Brussels experience them today. Indeed to show signs of ‘piety’ in Cairo, places you automatically under suspicion, as do sisters wearing hijab on the Paris Metro. The media in Tunis defames Islam like the media in all European capitals. To claim there is a unique reality in the West that demands a different da’wah stands clearly against the reality of the world today.
The demands facing Muslims around the world are the same and stem from a singular problem; namely, the absence of the implementation of Islam and the Islamic way of life in thought and method. This is why the duty to re-establish the Khilafah state is the highest collective obligation (fard-Kifaya) and the primary duty of all Islamic groups. The absence of this work is a sin upon all Muslims, whether they live in London or Lagos, Texas or Tehran. This has been proven by the overwhelming evidence from Qur’an and Sunnah and is the highest obligation of all Islamic groups, east or west. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says,
“And let there arise out of you a group inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar. And it is they who are successful.”
Allah here obliged the Muslims, as a collective duty, to have at least one group whose work will be the call to the khayr (Islam) and enjoining the ma’rouf (good) and forbidding the munkar (evil).
What is ordered is not any group but a group from amongst the Muslims, whose work has been described in the noble ayah as being the da’wah to the khayr (Islam) and enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar. This description includes the ruler because he, in terms of the reality, represents the head of every ma’roof and the head of every munkar. When the ruler implements a ma’roof, we all feel its greatness and likewise when he applies a munkar we all suffer from it. It is from this perspective that the group takes the description of being political, because its work relates to the rulers. If these Islamic rulers are absent then reestablishing them becomes an imperative, or forcing them to the truth and confining them to it if they had existed and then deviated from the truth.
The Messenger ﷺ clarified the link between this fard and the ruler, and its importance in many ahadeeth. For instance he ﷺ said,
“By the One in Whose hands my soul rests, you have to enjoin the ma’roof and forbid the munkar, otherwise Allah will be about to send upon you a punishment from Him, then you would pray to Him but He would not answer you.”[Reported by Ahmad and Tirmidhi]
“The master of martyrs is Hamza, and a man who stood up to a tyrant ruler to enjoin (the good) and forbid (the evil) and was killed.” [Reported by al-Haakim]
The priority of work for Muslims in the West
As for the priority of work of this group, that is which maroof to call people to and which munkar to forbid, it is clear from observing the entire world that the absence of Khilafah and a Khalifah who implements Islam is the highest order of obligations. Because the symptoms, that is the absence of the many rules of Islam and the plague of Kufr and haram that inflicts us, stems from this absence of Islam and its rules from the state and societal level. Whether you are in the west or east, this fundamental reality remains the same.
As for the import ‘calling to the khair’, this is the da’wah to non-Muslims. In the Islamic world the reality of life is the majority are Muslims. In the non-Islamic world, the carrying of da’wah to non-Muslims becomes a natural part of the work and should occupy some of the priority of the da’wah carriers who wish to fulfill the obligation of this ayah.
How do you work for Khilafah practically in the West?
Some reach the stage of accepting the obligation of Khilafah yet fail to realise its work practically. Calling for Khilafah is not by merely reiterating the word every so often or by aspiring to or yearning for its return, like the Greeks yearn for a lost civilization. Rather, working for Khilafah requires actual work not merely the occasional speech or the occasional dua. This is because it is a vital issue, a matter of immense gravity.
Essentially the work for Khilafah is a da’wah. It is to call the Muslims to two matters.
Firstly it is to address the rules of the Islamic fikrah and tariqah (thought and method) with the Muslims so as to convince the Muslims of the applicability of Islam as a system. A carrier of the da’wah addresses Islam as a series of societal solutions, demonstrating the rules of Islam sufficient to building a conviction that only Islam solves problems. This requires knowledge, acquired by studying Islam in deep halaqaat (circles) so as to explain Islam as a live ideological alternative to the Muslims. In the West, such an alternative would be even more appealing, as Muslims sense and feel the injustice of the liberal capitalist system.
Secondly this work requires revealing the political plans against the Muslims. This duty requires an intimate knowledge of international politics, such that the da’wah carrier is able to explain how the great powers work against this Ummah and how only a true Islamic state can rebalance the world order. A da’wah carrier, east or west, needs to pursue intensely the news and show with clarity what is happening to this Ummah so as to reveal the reality of the world in the absence of Allah’s Deen.
In the West, Muslims live in fact in diverse societies, where Muslims come from all over the world as students, workers and residents allowing for the continuous flow of ideas. Furthermore, resident Muslim communities have regular contacts and indeed influence with people from their countries of origin. In London alone, an average Muslim can meet with ease Muslims from the political and economic elites of the Islamic world, sometimes with more ease than Muslims in those very countries can. Furthermore, the ‘flat world’ in which we live allows communications between peoples, enabling Muslims in the West to contribute to disseminating this global idea. A Muslim community in the West that practically works for Khilafah, would mark an important ingredient to this work, echoing with one voice the demands of all Muslims.
The danger of calling for partial solutions or reform
Some, who have detached themselves from the Shari’ah methodology, have sought to claim Muslims in the West should concentrate on the partial solutions. Thus building mosques or setting up charity work becomes the focus of their attention. Working on education projects or addressing the media assault on Islam demands their attention above and beyond the calling practically for Khilafah. In reality some of these are individual obligations, for Muslims living east or west and a Muslim would be sinful if he or she failed to pray, fast, look after their children, bury their dead or provide a mosque in their community. All of these duties require attention, but they should not detract one from the work of reestablishing the Khilafah State.
Likewise, it is believed that the Muslims in the West suffer from a lack of Islamicadab (ethics) or general Islamic knowledge and so many preachers have setup classes, courses and schools to remedy this in order to reform the Islamic character. It is true that the lack of knowledge is a problem, but this is not limited to the west. Indeed the lack of knowledge is more pronounced in many Islamic countries where governments have worked to erase Islam from the lives of ordinary people, such as in Uzbekistan. The reform of the Islamic character on a societal level can truly be realised only in an ideological society. And such a society can only be realised with the construction of a formidable Islamic Khilafah State. This is what the Shar’iah demands. The methodology of Islam does not change due to the time and place.
The daw’ah today must be carried like the da’wah of the Messenger ﷺ in its general and specific details without any deviation. It is this da’wah that shook the pillars of Quraish, that shook the thrones of the Romans and the Persians and it is this same da’wah that we must carry today, east or west. Our singular conviction, in reestablishing the rightly guided Khilafah hinges upon a commitment that only by living according to the priority Allah سبحانه وتعالى has set that we truly can worship him over our desires and biases. Disobedience to Allah سبحانه وتعالى in the general and specific requirements of carrying da’wah will not only hinder our progress in this life, but provide a barrier between ourselves and Allah سبحانه وتعالى on that day where we shall all account for our deeds.
“Say, [O Muhammad], “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.””