Tuesday, 28 February 2017

False Principles of Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) Concerning the Caliphate

One of the controversies of our time is the issue of Khilâfah and the call of certain sects, groups and parties among the Muslims for a single, unified caliphate over the entire world. I intend to prove here that this notion is fanciful and lacks any basis from the divine Revelation of the Book and Sunna. A certain “Islamic” party, namely, Hizb-ut-Tahrîr (lit. “Party of Liberation”) is infamous for pushing the cause of a single, new caliphate over the entire world of Islam. Founded by Taqiuddin al-Nabahani (1909 – 1977), the Hizb-ut-Tahrir is dedicated to a top-down approach of radical reconstruction of Muslim societies. It aims to remove all current governments, states and regimes ruling over the Muslim world and replace them with a single, unitary caliphate. Hizb-ut-Tahrir is banned in the vast majority of Muslim countries because of this objective, which it hopes to practically achieve by recruiting military officers in places of influence so that the Hizb would be in a position to launch coups throughout the world in order to bring about its desired caliphate. According to the so-called Draft Constitution published by Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) on one of their official websites:
“The ruling system of the State is that of a unitary ruling system and not a federation” (Article 16)
However, as we shall see, HT’s idea that the ideal Islamic state should be a “unitary ruling system” is not at all obligated by the teachings of Islam. On the contrary, I shall prove that the Prophet Muhammad himself did not create a “unitary ruling system” nor did he ever command such a system. According to Article 19 of HT’s “draft constitution”, a slave is not permitted to take charge of ruling. Although at present this is a purely theoretical issue, nevertheless I raise it because the Prophet explicitly stated:
اسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَإِنِ اسْتُعْمِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَبْدٌ حَبَشِيٌّ كَأَنَّ رَأْسَهُ زَبِيبَةٌ
“You should listen to and obey your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian slave whose head (has become deformed) like a raisin” (Bukhari)
Hypothetically speaking, if the Ummah were to be enslaved by a foreign nation, like how Bani Israel were enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt, it would still be necessary for there to be someone from among the enslaved Muslims to lead and represent the community.
Now moving on to Article 21 of HT’s “draft constitution”:
“Muslims are entitled to establish political parties to question the rulers and to access the positions of ruling through the Ummah”
This is in fact a direct contravention of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, which expressly forbid Muslims from dividing into factions and political parties:
“And indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so fear Me.” But the people divided their religion among them into sects - each faction [HIZB], in what it has, rejoicing. So leave them in their confusion for a time.” (Sura 23: 52 – 54)
Do not be of those who associate others with Allah [or] of those who have divided their religion and become sects, every faction [HIZB] rejoicing in what it has. (Sura 30: 31 – 32)
The Holy Qur’an commands unity and forbids Muslims from dividing among themselves into sects, parties and factions:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided (Sura 3: 103)
Indeed, HT itself is a Hizb (political party) whose very existence is a contravention of the principle teachings of Islam. According to Article 22: “The appointment of one Khaleefah into office is an obligation upon all Muslims.” I will, In Sha Allah, dispel this false notion of HT.
According to Article 26: “Every mature male and female Muslim, who is sane, has the right to participate in the election of the Khaleefah”
This article has no precedence from the Book or Sunna. According to the teachings of Islam, women do not play any role in public, political affairs of the Ummah. Women’s role is not to participate in electing a Khalifa, as is evident from the early history of Islam, such as the history of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. In light of this, Article 111 is also incorrect: “A woman can participate in elections and giving of the bai’ah to the Khaleefah, and elect, and be amember of the Majlis al-Ummah, and can be appointed as an official of the State in a non-ruling position.” There is no precedence in early Islamic history or in the time of the rightly-guided Caliphs that a women ever participated in the election of a Khalifa, or was ever a member of a consultative body.
Now let us deconstruct some of major flaws in HT’s political theory and its so-called “draft constitutions” from the angle of Islam. The first thing to recognize is that Islam does not require the entire Muslim Ummah to be under the authority of a single government or ruler. Though it can be argued that a single government for the entire Muslim Ummah is ideal; I argue that it is neither mandated by Islam nor even practical considering the vastness of the Ummah both numerically and geographically. A contemporary Islamic preacher, Imran N. Hosein, has proven from a Verse in the Qur’an the legitimacy of the multiplicity of rulers in Islam:
“It is of crucial importance to note that the verse of the Qur’an: Oh you who believe, obey Allah, and obey the Messenger (of Allah), and obey those in (lawfully constituted) authority from amongst you. (Qur’an, al-Nisa, 4:59) did not command obedience of ‘he’ (i.e., a single person) who was in authority. It rather required obedience of ‘those’ in authority. The Qur’an thus explicitly recognized the possibility of a (temporary) plurality of leadership in the Ummah so long as there was no Dar al-Islam.” (The Caliphate, the Hejaz, and the Saudi-Wahhabi Nation State; p. 44, Imran N. Hosein)
The Prophet sent letters to the various kings and rulers of the world inviting them to embrace Islam and accept him as God’s Messenger. For example, he wrote to the Roman (Byzantine) emperor Heraclius:
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ مِنْ مُحَمَّدٍ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، إِلَى هِرَقْلَ عَظِيمِ الرُّومِ، سَلاَمٌ عَلَى مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَى، أَمَّا بَعْدُ فَإِنِّي أَدْعُوكَ بِدِعَايَةِ الإِسْلاَمِ، أَسْلِمْ تَسْلَمْ، وَأَسْلِمْ يُؤْتِكَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَكَ مَرَّتَيْنِ، فَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ فَعَلَيْكَ إِثْمُ الأَرِيسِيِّينَ
“In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful (This letter is) from Muhammad, the slave of Allah, and His Apostle, to Heraculius, the Ruler of the Byzantine. Peace be upon the followers of guidance. Now then, I invite you to Islam (i.e. surrender to Allah), embrace Islam and you will be safe; embrace Islam and Allah will bestow on you a double reward. But if you reject this invitation of Islam, you shall be responsible for misguiding the peasants (i.e. your nation) (Bukhari)
What this letter demonstrates is that the Prophet only invited the Roman emperor to convert to Islam, not to abdicate his throne. If the Roman emperor had responded positively to the Prophet’s invitation and become a Muslim, he would not be expected to abdicate his throne, but would continue as the ruler of his domain despite the presence of a separate Islamic state in the Arabian peninsula led by the Prophet and then his Rightly-Guided Successors. Take for example the case of the Negus, the Christian king of Ethiopia. He converted to Islam, and the Prophet even read his funeral prayers in absentia. Incidentally, during the lifetime of this Negus, the Prophet never required him to abdicate his throne and make Hijra (emigrate) to Medina, although all other Muslims were required to do this if they were physically able to. The Negus himself said:
أَشْهَدُ أَنَّهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَنَّهُ الَّذِي بَشَّرَ بِهِ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَلَوْلاَ مَا أَنَا فِيهِ مِنَ الْمُلْكِ لأَتَيْتُهُ حَتَّى أَحْمِلَ نَعْلَيْهِ
“I bear witness that he is the Messenger of Allah (), and it is he about whom Jesus son of Mary gave good news. Were it not for the position of kingship that I am in, I would come to him and carry his shoes.” (Abi Dawud)
Here we see that Negus ruled over his own domain in Ethiopia, a parallel state to the Prophetic state in Medina. The Prophet never commanded the integration of Ethiopia into his own rule in Medina or the Arabian Peninsula. On the contrary, he stated:
دَعُوا الْحَبَشَةَ مَا وَدَعُوكُمْ وَاتْرُكُوا التُّرْكَ مَا تَرَكُوكُمْ
“Leave the Abyssinians (Ethiopians) alone as long as they let you alone; and leave the Turks alone as long as they leave you alone.” (Abi Dawud)
Incidentally, this Hadith proves that the Islamic state is not meant to be expansive, nor is its objective to “conquer the entire world” through “offensive” Jihad. In yet another Hadith it is stated:
غَزَوْنَا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم تَبُوكَ، وَأَهْدَى مَلِكُ أَيْلَةَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَغْلَةً بَيْضَاءَ، وَكَسَاهُ بُرْدًا، وَكَتَبَ لَهُ بِبَحْرِهِمْ
We accompanied the Prophet () in the Ghazwa of Tabuk and the king of Aila presented a white mule and a cloak as a gift to the Prophet. And the Prophet () wrote to him a peace treaty allowing him to keep authority over his country. (Bukhari)

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