Rational necessity coupled with the undisputable evidences in the Islamic texts makes the existence of the Caliphate obligatory for all
Only the Islamic Liberation Party (Hizb-ut-Tahrir) has made the claim that it has extracted the divine method from the Islamic texts through the process of Ijthad (scholarly exertion). The method, meaning that one must undertake the steps as part of an obligation to re-establish the Caliphate. This article disputes this, the points listed below elaborates upon this.
a) The method has been built entirely upon the evidences related to how the first Islamic State was established by the Prophet (SAW) and His companions. Naturally, the pool of evidence extends from how the Prophet (SAW) and His companions took the various steps from the beginning of the divine revelation in Mecca to the migration (Hijra) to Medina. First point to note is there is no evidence in the Hadiths or the Quran that explicitly or implicitly states how the Islamic State should be re-established.
The method is primarily built on extracting the evidences that led to the changing of the non-Islamic system to the Islamic System that manifested in the Islamic State in Medina. Those acts are applied to our current situation to re-establish the Islamic state by changing the non-Islamic system prevailing over
Since the two scenarios are so different, one would argue the differences outweigh the similarities thus the evidences extracted from the Seerah (Life of the Prophet) is not even applicable, let alone binding. Hence, one can argue that the establishment of the first Islamic State cannot be a reference point as we are re-establishing the state amongst
There is a further significant problem in that the non-Islamic system of Medina was changed and not Mecca, thus the focus should be on those acts related to Medina and this is elaborated in the next point.
b) It is also fact that the Prophet (SAW) brought the entire religion of Islam, which included the establishment of the Islamic State in Medina. Deciphering which acts contributed towards the establishment of the Islamic State in Medina is very much subjective; and difficult given that the state was established in Medina which was transformed largely by Musab Bin Umayr (RA) who had minimal contact with the Prophet (SAW) and functioned almost autonomously.
Thus, with respect to the method, one can legitimately question the value in citing all the actions of the Prophet (SAW) in Mecca, which was geared towards changing the Meccan society, and it is fact that Mecca did not change; in fact it rejected the Prophet (SAW) until the end when it was opened up by force.
The evidences should be taken primarily from the actions of those who made Medina the first Islamic state. Reason dictates that if one is seeking evidences in relation to changing the society then clearly most of the episodes in Mecca should be ignored as it did not change through the actions of the Prophet (SAW) prior to migration to Medina. Rather Mecca remained hostile.
On a side point, those who are incessantly arguing for re-establishing the Islamic State in the Arab lands should note the Arabs in Mecca were amongst the best in Arabic, understood the miraculous nature of Quran very well and related to the Prophet (SAW), yet they rejected the message of Islam. So much for the Arabic language being the factor as the example from Mecca shows otherwise!
c) The claim that a given set of actions stated in the method should be applicable for all time to change different societies is false; - ironically the example of the Seerah proves this as Mecca did not change but Medina did. Therefore, the actions of the Prophet (SAW) showed that they were an attempt to change the society, which may work in some cases and not others, hence cannot be binding for all cases.
Furthermore, there is no corroborative evidence to make those steps obligatory especially given that we are referring to a situation (Seerah) that is fundamentally different to our situation of re-establishing the Islamic State. At most, one can make the case that one is permitted to emulate the steps taken by the Prophet (SAW) in establishing the first Islamic State, but they are not obligatory.
The only action that we can argue as applicable is the interaction with the society that we are attempting to change, and this was carried out by the Prophet (SAW) and His companions. In any case this is self-evident and dictated by rational necessity; and this is so general, thus to claim it is part of the method is meaningless. If we observe history, we see many examples where such changes took place through interaction. In terms of the details as to how one should interact with the society depends on the situation, as stated earlier, the actions failed in Mecca but not Medina. Thus, one is not obliged to follow those actions of the prophet (SAW) and His companions in trying to change the society.
As for the claim that seeking of Nusrah (help from those with ability to change the system) is also, part of the method is elaborated in the next point.
d) Once again the seeking of Nusrah is also dictated by ration as part of the actions that can be undertaken to change the society, however to claim that this is binding for all times as it is considered part of the method is false.
First there is no corroborative evidence for this, and secondly this contradicts the reality as in some cases seeking Nusrah may not be possible. For example, a dictatorial hostile regime would ensure that the persons holding the reigns of power are loyal thus getting Nusrah from them is impossible or unlikely. This is the case in many parts of the Islamic world further corroborated by the failure of HT to attain Nusrah over the last 50 years.
Furthermore, even if someone in a position of Nusrah became convinced of the method that the person(s) would feel obligated to resign from the position as the clear-cut verse that states one cannot be part of a hostile regime ruling by non-Islamic laws. This would nullify the ability to attain Nusrah. Hence, the claim that Nusrah is part of the method is false and it is only permitted to seek it in cases where it is suitable.
The party has also misconstrued the relationship between Nusrah and the use of force, which is discussed in the next point.
e) The constant claim made by the party (Hizb-ut-Tahrir) that it is a non-violent party that is seeking a peaceful change like that which occurred in Medina is false. If we look into the details, the tribes were ready for battle and willing to take on anyone who challenged the authority of the Prophet (SAW) as He entered Medina, and the second pledge given to the Prophet (SAW) by the 12 from Medina included the pledge to fight. Thus, violence was intrinsically linked to the Nusrah of Medina even though it did not occur, but that is incidental. Any change of system in the current times would involve fighting, unless the authority gave up the reigns of power willingly, but that is something one cannot determine or enforce.
In terms of precise evidence for changing the non-Islamic System to an Islamic one, the closest evidence is the Hadiths, which makes explicit references to changing a ruler by the sword if he deviates from the Caliphate. This is used by the Jihad orientated groups. The obvious implication is to use force to restore the caliphate and all the current secular states are in a deviated state. But again, this rule has to be applied with caution as it could lead to substantial loss of life, and this is not decisive either to argue that this is the only method to re-establish the Caliphate.
f) Some dubious arguments have been brought forward by some of the members of the Liberation Party claiming that there is a principle that every obligation (fardh or wajib) must have detailed explanation of how that should be achieved. The implication is that re-establishing the state is an obligation thus there must also be a detailed explanation how that can be achieved. The principle is not from the books of Islamic Jurisprudence, in any case it is irrational as the principle makes little sense in many cases the how (or the method) of an obligation is part and parcel of the definition. For example, the subject of prayer (Salah), the how or the method of the prayer does not exist as the definition of prayer contains how. This is composed of the various acts like the reciting Fathia (a chapter from the Quran), Ruku (bowing) Sujood (prostration) etc. Likewise for fasting, the notion is self-contained, fast by definition means abstaining from food, water and sex for certain duration.
In some cases the method to perform a specific obligation is separate from the obligation itself but there is no rule to say this has to be defined. Note these examples to clarify the point even further –
· It is obliged to fight the enemy in the battlefield but the method to fight the enemy is not defined. It is left to the people to use the appropriate means available to them.
· It is obligatory to cut the hand of the thief but the method is not defined. One can use a sword, and axe or some other sharp object.
· Likewise, it is obliged to re-establish the state but the method has not been defined but left to the people.
· This final example actually proves the point even further. It is obligatory to call the people to pray. The method was not defined initially and the companions with the Prophet (SAW)did not say we have to wait for the revelation to clarify the matter as there is a principle that every obligation must have a method - instead they began to consider the various methods to call people to prayer, until the revelation came to specify the Adhan.
Hence there is no such principle that states that the explanation of the obligation showing how it should be carried out must exist, in some cases the how of an obligation does not, in other cases it does and defined by the text or left for us to decide.
This then brings up the question, what is the correct method to re-establish the Caliphate. The short answer is there is none. There is no explicit text that states you must undertake these sets of actions to re-establish the state.
Therefore, we can use any permissible act to achieve the re-establishment of the state based on the principle of Ibaha, which states that all acts in origin are permissible until the text has forbidden it. So one can use charitable work or missionary type of work, but not acts like adultery to re-establish of the caliphate. This also confirms to the reality as the nature of society has changed significantly since the time of Mecca and different circumstances will require different sets of actions. As stated earlier that Mecca did not respond but Medina did even though bulk of the evidence and effort was focused in Mecca.
One can argue the core elements of society have remained the same like the presence of individuals, political authority and a system governing the various relationships; however, this would be an oversimplification of the problem and naive.
In a tribal society, the power resides with the few tribal leaders, whereas a nation state is far more complex with various facets. Therefore, to bring about a change to a nation state will require a different approach. As stated earlier it may be impossible to gain those (Nusrah) who have the position to alter the society.
In the context of the current times, it is almost a pre-requisite for mass support, thus one may have to resort to agitating the masses to create a mass revolution or uprising, which may eventually turn out to be bloody as we cannot always control how these things will turn out. But where is the evidence from the Seerah that we can agitate the masses to revolt and over turn the society, if Nusrah is the only way to bring about change? Medina did not involve mass agitation; rather it was the product of the people in key position being convinced of the call of Islam and finding it as a convenient solution to their endless feuds. The public opinion played little role in a tribal society.
Copyright © Yamin Zakaria 2007