Farah Abdul Khaliq
The Khilafah is the political system of the Islamic State and its origin lays in the Qu’ran and Sunnah. The implication of its reestablishment would be nothing short of full and actual liberation of Muslim lands from neo-colonial occupation and the tyranny of secular regimes, along with the abolishing of regressive social norms, Islamically illegitimate political systems and strategically placed artificial borders which prevent our unity as an Ummah and only serve to guarantee our disunity.
If we seek to understand the importance of the Khilafah it would suffice to ask the massacred Syrian children, or the violated Kashmiri daughters, or the babies of Faluja, or the widowed Palestinian women and all the oppressed and they will tell us what the Khilafah is to them; that the Khilafah is the difference between dignity, life, and death. But if there remains a doubt in our minds about the importance of the Khilafah then let us consider ten reasons, from amongst millions of reasons, why we Muslims should exert our efforts towards the re-establishment of Allah ‘azza wa Jal’s deen and live by it so as to leave jahaliya behind and embrace Islam wholeheartedly and holistically.
1) A Tawhidic State
History testifies that our Tawhid is not similar to the platonic and abstract philosophies of the West and nor is it similar to the dogmatic theology of Christianity. Our Tawhid is a Tawhid of action – its fruits and sweetness are not tasted or experienced until those to whom Tawhid was entrusted manifest it in all domains of life and until it is manifested into a liberating movement clashing with false-idols which subordinate man to the worship of man.
The above understanding goes against the modernist theoretical understanding of Tawhid, whereby only idol worshipping is shirk. However, this way of understanding the concept of Tawhid is in fact the comprehensive understanding that the Messenger of Allah ‘azza wa Jal took from Tawhid, and it is indeed the same understanding that his blessed companions (r.a) took and with it they carried forward the legacy of Islam. We have many examples to substantiate our claims; how the Messenger of Allah ‘azza wa Jal attacked not only the idea of idol worshiping, but also the common jahili thoughts of the Qurayshi society, the marrying of numerous women, lack of women’s rights, the burying of daughters, the jahili methods of divorce, the economic system of the Quraysh, the social system and the treatment of minorities and so forth. So when we examine the post-wahi actions of the Messenger of Allah ‘azza wa Jal we understand that shirk is something far greater than only associating partners with Allah ‘azza wa Jal in what we understand as worship; rather, if the purpose of life is to worship the Creator, then the Creator must encompass everything in life as worship is not limited to just the five pillars of Islam. Thus the Creator’s laws must dominate our society, and His regulations must be the set standards and norms. With this in mind, what greater idol exists today than the nation state apparatus which has transgressed against the authority of the Creator in legislation and has transgressed against the dignity of man?
2) Our Existential Role as an Ummah
The Muslim Ummah has been given the title of the best nation providing she fulfils the obligation of enjoining of good and the forbidding of evil. What greater evil (munkar) exists than the transgressive and domineering artificial political states claiming to represent Muslims and protect to Islam – a political system which, in reality, has absolute power vested in the hands of a few and the masses are rendered servile to the will of the corrupt. Liberation entails the revival of a political system in which sovereignty belongs not to man; not to the secular and native elite nor to the United States or regional political powers but rather to Allah ‘azza wa Jal and in which authority belongs to the people. Similarly, what greater ma’ruf exists today than the absence of this liberating and humane political system and the resultant subordination of masses to false-gods? What is required is the re-establishment of a system which will at long last protect the oppressed and be a force potent enough, politically and economically, to stand in the face of the oppressor.
3) Islam is a Deen, not a Religion.
The most successful Orientalists myth that Muslim minds have been subjected to is the claim that Islam is a religion. Had Islam been a ‘religion’ in the Western sense – a classification which is defined by a set of metaphysical abstractions, doctrines and a set of rituals – then the absence of a Khilafah would not be a problem. However, Islam is a Deen; a way of life. Allah ‘azza wa Jal proudly tells us that there is no deen according to Him ‘azza wa Jal except the deen of Islam. As such the Shariah, which embodies the command of Allah, and which is derived from revelation, penetrates all facets and domains of life; the individual, social, political and economic. Contrary to secular philosophies or secular political theory, the will of the Creator cannot be marginalized to being an insignificant component of life. This is easily understood when one discovers that seventy percent of the Islamic legislation, rulings and jurisprudence which Muslims are obligated to live by cannot be practiced without a political system. This applies not only to the punishment system, but appropriate distribution of wealth, the legal and political spheres, social interactions and all other aspects of individual and collective human existence.
4) A Liberating Consciousness and a Global Community
The colonized in the Muslim world were taught that their identities were defined by artificial borders; borders which were nowhere to be seen before the demise of the Islamic Caliphate. They were taught that their allegiance belonged to historically constructed symbols and thus our scope of allegiance and power was neutralized and debilitated. Our collective consciousness shifted from a trans-historical and universal affiliation to an Ummah to that of identification with an artificial state, i.e nationalism. Each of these newly constructed states had their own “national or internal interests” and “foreign policies”. An abolishment of the colonially constructed [territorial] nation-state and the establishment of the [non-territorial] Khilafah State represents a shift from a servile ‘national’ consciousness towards a liberated ‘Ummatic’ consciousness. This is the identity intended for the Muslim by Allah ‘azza wa Jal, as He says of the Ummah in the Qur’an that “you are the best nation raised from mankind”.
5) Re-creating the bond of brotherhood;
It is a known fact that the Muslim Ummah is unique in its understanding of brotherhood; even today, in this period of the absence of the Khilafah, we still yearn for the safety and security of our brothers and sisters all over the world. This is a natural consequence of the concept of al-wara wal-bara – a concept that was so deeply embedded in the sahabah that they gave superiority to the bond of Iman over the bond of blood. Musab ibn ‘Umayr was amongst these sahabah, and his brother, Abu Aziz narrated
“I was among a group of Ansar… Whenever they had lunch or dinner they would give me bread and dates to eat in obedience to the Prophet’s instructions to them to treat us well.
“My brother, Musab ibn Umayr, passed by me and said to the man from the Ansar who was holding me prisoner:
‘Tie him firmly… His mother is a woman of great wealth and maybe she would ransom him for you.'”
Abu Aziz could not believe his ears. Astonished, he turned to Musab and asked:
“My brother, is this your instruction concerning me?”
“He is my brother, not you.”
Thus Islam gives importance to no bond other than the bond of Iman. Unfortunately, in the absence of this binding force Muslims have been divided into colonies to suit the interests of the West. To add injury to insult, Muslims are often used as pawns to fight the illegal wars of the West against their own brothers and sisters, or to attack and carry out character assassinations against their own brothers and sisters in Iman. This is only possible because the importance of the bond of brotherhood, which is inherently tied to the ruling system, has been lost.
We have faced 88 years of nationalism and other Islamically illegitimate bonds. To understand the gravity of the issue, let us consider a narration of the Prophet Muhammad (saw):
“A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here – and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour.”
We also face physical deterrents in re-creating the unity that we require. A strong sense of unity comes from an entity which reinforces the correct Islamic concepts; that entity is the Khilafah, which we are deprived of in our current day and age. Unity does not simply emerge through fasting on the same day, or performing hajj on the same day or indeed celebrating Eid on the same day all over the world – these matters are relatively minor in comparison to the greater issues and are best addressed with the state entity that we require. The Khilafah would be the state entity that practically beings about unity based on Islam and the Islamic principles of ruling and living life in general.
6) Liberation from Capitalist Hegemony
Let us take Egypt as an example. A critical analysis of Egypt’s socio-economic and political infrastructure makes it quite apparent that the real problems underlying Egypt’s economic crisis are not minor, but rather are due to systematic structural issues on both the internal and external level. Internally, the system is based on the perpetually poverty generating mechanisms of capitalism, in which SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) is deeply entrenched. Externally, Egypt is part of a global capitalist system and largely dependent on international capitalist institutions like the IMF and World Bank, justified through the process of ‘economic liberalization’. Interestingly enough, those who dismiss calls for structural change as being radical seemingly ignore the fact that structural transformations are an intrinsic part of the liberalization trajectory forced upon Egypt by the capitalist core and the structural changes emerging from globalization. It follows that real change cannot come about from gradual change within the capitalist system but rather can only occur through completely abolishing the capitalist dependency in Egypt itself. One can simply point to the historical experience of social democracy – basically a socialist program which had abandoned the “revolutionary” method of Leninism and sought to change capitalism from within – to understand the fallacy of this approach. More than a decade later, they have done little to change the capitalist system anywhere in the world. At best, short-term periods of economic growth can be brought about – something even Mubarak achieved and for which Erdogan receives much unwarranted praise. But long-term projects fail to address the root of the problem for they do not recognize that the problem is with the system itself. President Morsi’s inevitable failure to bring about substantial economic change will only backfire on the Islamic awakening as many now expect radical change.
7) Harmony Between Man and the Universe
Everything in our temporal and relative world submits to Allah (swt) by its very nature, except man. For man was given free will and intellect by which he can discern the truth from falsehood. While the universe submits to the ‘natural laws’, man is obliged to submit to the revealed laws, the Shariah. An implementation of Shariah represents the manifestation of the Absolute will of Allah ‘azza wa Jal in our worldly life and the integration of the multiplicity of this world into the unity of Tawhid. It is nonsensical to claim that one can implement Islamic law within a non-Islamic institutional framework. What would be said of one who claimed to implement liberal legislation within a one-party socialist framework or socialist economic policies within a capitalist framework? The Khilafah state provides the Ummah with the institutional and procedural framework through which the Shariah is implemented effectively and efficiently. Anything else leads to its misapplication; we needn’t look further than Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Egypt for failed models of “Islamic” governance.
8) Revising the Sunnah, the greatest Sunnah
By consensus in Islam what leads to a fard becomes fard. As living under the laws of Islam is fard for Muslims, the work for the Khilafah also becomes a fard. What greater sunnah is there to revive than to reestablish a state for Muslim that will implement Islam, allowing Muslims and non Muslims to see the true justice and peace of Islam?
A secularization of Islam and the Muslim consciousness has reduced the Sunnah – the methodology of the Prophet (saw), to a set of physical appearances and rituals. Few, however, pay heed to the Sunnah of liberation – the liberation of people from transgressive power-structures and the establishment of a state based on the sovereignty of Allah ‘azza wa Jal.
9) An entity of justice
There is much said about Islam being peace and justice, but we see neither peace nor justice in our lands. This means that for Islam to prevail with its justice it needs to be implemented and theoretical Islam will not suffice.
Islam is free of Buddhist-like characteristics in that the focus is shifted from individuals to the Ummah, so even if the individuals were pious in their personal lives they would not be forgiven for not trying to influence wider society. We have the example of the monk who was the first recipient of the punishment of Allah ‘azza wa Jal although he was a great individual worshiper. He was delivered such a punishment because he abandoned society around him and left it in fitnah and fassad. Following this we have examples of non Muslims asking for Islam to rule them with its justice. When the Muslims faced a temporary retreat in Homs at the hands of the Byzantines, they sought to return the jiziya that the dhimmi’s had paid in order to be protect, as they could no longer provide protection. Upon this, the people of Homs chanted the following statement:
“May Allah bring you back to us, and may Allah curse the Byzantines who used to rule over us. By Allah, they would not have returned anything to us, rather they would have confiscated it and taken whatever they could of our wealth. Your rule and justice are dearer to us than the oppression that we used to suffer.”
We are living in a world which lacks the balance of good and evil and so the evil prevails and is normalized while good remains only in theory. The Khilafah has, and will, serve the role of prevailing over evil in order to protect Muslims and non-Muslims, those who are subjugated and those who are oppressed and it will actively remove evil wherever, and to whomever, it falls.
10) Political-Liberation from Sykes-Picot
It is a historic fact that the division of Muslim lands was only achievable after the destruction of the Khilafah. When Sultan Abdul Hamid II rahimuhullah was asked to relinquish Palestine to the Zionists in return for a large sum of money, his response was:
“Please advise Dr Hertzel not to make any serious move in this mater. I cannot give up even one small patch of land in Palestine. It is not something that I own as a part of my personal estate. Palestine in fact belongs to the Muslim Nation as a whole. My people have fought with their blood and sweat to protect this land, let the Jews keep their millions and if the Khilafah is torn apart one day, then they can take Palestine without a price. To have the scalpel cut my body is less painful than to witness Palestine being detached from the Khilafah state and this is not going to happen …”
Furthermore British Minister of Colonies, Gladstone, famously proclaimed in the Parliament House with a Quran in his hand, “We cannot rule over the Muslim as long as this Quran remains in their hands; we must do everything possible to remove the Quran away from Muslims, or alienate them against the Quran.”
The final Caliph’s words sadly became true as did the evil plot of Gladstone, and with the destruction of the Khilafah came not only the division of Palestine but the division of the body which was once the Ummah. The Khilafah was tragically replaced by colonial agendas which manifested themselves in Sykes-Picot. Today we witness not only the land of the Muslims being sold, but the value of the life of a Muslim has also been sold by so called “Muslim leaders”. Yet the Ummah still feels the plight of the global body, and with every arrow that pierces the lands of Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, the entire body feels the pain but feels helpless when it comes to alleviate that pain through real and radical change. The simple truth, however, is that it was the plotting and the eventual destruction of the Khilafah which gave rise to the oppression that Muslims face today and it is only with the establishment of that uniting shield that the oppression of Muslims worldwide will be eased and overcome.