Archive for August, 2008

Comment: Musharraf Resigns, Pakistan back to square one

August 23, 2008

Pakistan Now?After days of defiant talk emanating from his office, President Pervaz Musharraf has thrown in the proverbial towel and announced his resignation through an address to the nation. Talk is cheap in politics. Actions, circumstances, power networks and prospects speak louder than words. In reality the President had little choice in the end as most of his allies slowly but surely pulled the plug that had allowed him to maintain his position whilst surrounded by fierce domestic opposition in the last couple of years.

Two things are particularly worthy of note from this latest twist in Pakistani politics:

1. The United States has once again shown its true colours in living up to the Western tradition in politics, well-expressed by former British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston when he said, “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” The US brought Musharraf to power in 1999, used him to further their strategic interests in the region throughout his 8 year reign, and have now thrown him out like a used towel. In this there is a lesson for all the Muslim rulers regarding their slavish relationship to the Western powers. Not only will such a relationship lead to great misery and torment in the hereafter, but will lead to the ultimate failure and disgrace in this world too. No man of nobility and honour should accept such a relationship. True honour is with Allah, His Messenger (saw) and the Believers.

2. With great sorrow, we must highlight that Pakistan is now back to square one, with those corrupt politicians who led to the country to a dismissal position through their rule in the 90s are now back in power, this time as a coalition. The PPP and the Muslim League had alternate turns back then leading the nation to failure in all aspects. The stark irony is in the fact that those whom Musharraf deposed to supposedly save Pakistan from, and now back in power supposedly saving Pakistan from Musharraf. This is the sort of irrational mess we can expect from the secular rule of those who ruling in the service of the foreign powers, who are the enemies of Allah and of the Believers.

The only way forward for Pakistan is the implementation of Shari’ah and the rejection of the master-slave relationship with the US.

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Re-establishing the Khilafah is the most important obligation

August 23, 2008

Re-establishing the Khilafah is the most important obligation
upon the Islamic Ummah

Islam is the deen revealed by Allah (SWT) to His Messenger Muhammad (SAW) in order to regulate the life of all human beings on earth – Muslims and non-Muslims – in the correct manner. The thoughts and rules brought by Islam to guide the spiritual, social, economic and political affairs of man is the Islamic shari’ah.

It is clear that the ruling system (i.e. the state) plays the most important role in implementing the rules and the way of life of any ideology. Without a state the rules are never implemented in life’s affairs.  herefore we find that Muhammad (SAW) and his sahaba (ra) struggled thirteen years in Mecca and then made the hijra to Medina to establish the first Islamic state. After the establishment of the state in Medina the Islamic thoughts and rules started to be implemented in life’s affairs. As a result, at first the divided tribes in Medina and later those in entire Arabia became united as one single Ummah i.e. the Islamic Ummah. Muhammad (SAW) himself was the first head of state of the Islamic state and after his death Abu Bakr (ra) was appointed by the Muslims as the Khaleefah. Since then the Islamic state became known as the Khilafah state.

The Khilafah state is the leadership over the Muslims through which the Islamic shari’ah is implemented in society and the Islamic daw’ah is carried to mankind. In the Khilafah state the Muslims appoint a Khaleefah and give him the bay’ah upon the condition that he will rule them by the Book of Allah (SWT) and the Sunnah of the Messenger (SAW). The responsibility of the Khaleefah is to implement the Islamic shari’ah and carry the Islam daw’ah to the world. The Khilafah ruling system is unique and distinguished from all the ruling systems in the world. It is not a theocratic state; rather it is a state based upon an ideology which is obligated to provide security and ensure the basic needs for all of its citizens regardless of race or religion.

Throughout its existence the Khilafah state was the flower of the globe, the rising sun amongst nations and beacon of hope for oppressed peoples of the world. Mankind progressed under its leadership and found peace, security and true prosperity under its shade. It is an undisputed historical fact that for more than 1300 years the Khilafah state led the world politically, militarily economically, spiritually and intellectually. No nation on earth could compete with the Islamic Ummah as long as she was under the leadership of the Khilafah. The Khilafah state existed in the world from the time of Muhammad (SAW) until its abolition on 28th Rajab 1342 AH (3rd March 1924 CE) at the hands of colonialist Britain and her agent Mustafah Kamal, may Allah (swt) curse him.

As a result of the abolition of the Khilafah, the Muslims today are divided over 50 states and have lost the shield to protect their lives, honour and property. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The Imam is the shield behind whom you fight and protect yourselves.” (Muslim)

With the abolition of the Khilafah, we have lost our caretaker who will take care of our affairs and solve our problems. We are now living under kufr states who implement kufr ideologies over us. Moreover the disbelieving imperialist powers have imposed their agents to rule over us such as Musharraf, Karimov, Bashar, Mubarak, Karzai, Abbas and Fakhruddin. Our enemies perceive us to be weak and leaderless and launch attacks upon us like predators. Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan,
and Iraq – the list is endless. Today all guns are targeted at a Muslim. The Muslims today are divided and weak to the point that when America and her allies are launching their aggression upon one Muslim country after another in the name of ‘the war against terror’, there does not exist one single ruler in the Muslim world to bravely stand up for Islam and the Muslims. At the same time the capitalist ideology with its slogans of freedom and democracy, which is implemented upon the Muslims toady, has failed to
bring any good for the Ummah. In fact this colonial ideology has brought the entire humanity to the verge of destruction.

O Muslims!

The Khilafah state is the most important obligation from your Lord. It is the source of your glory; it will defeat your enemy and liberate your lands. It will be the beacon of goodness and justice throughout the world.

On the occasion of the destruction of the Khilafah, Hizb ut-Tahrir in Bangladesh calls upon you to engage in the work for re-establishing the Khilafah with utmost effort and speed so as to abolish the rule by kufr and resume the rule by what Allah (SWT) has revealed. As long as we continue to live by the man made kufr systems and neglect our duty to establish the Islamic ruling, we will be accumulating the sin on our necks. After embracing the aqeed’ah of Islam, working for establishing the rule by what Allah (SWT)
has revealed is one of the most important obligations upon the neck of a Muslim.

Furthermore fulfilling this obligation is not the responsibility of any specific party or group only; rather it is a fardh from Allah (SWT) upon the entire Ummah. Allah (SWT) says,

‘So judge among them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain
desires, diverging away from the Truth that has come to you.’
(Surah Al-Ma’idah:48)

Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Hazim, who said: “I accompanied Abu Hurayrah for five years and heard him talking of the saying of the Prophet (SAW): The Prophets ruled over the children of Israel, whenever one Prophet died another succeeded him, but there will be no Prophet after me. There will be Khulafaa’ and they will number many. They asked: What then do you order us? He (SAW) said: Fulfill the bay’ah to them one after the other and give them their due. Verily Allah will ask them about what He
entrusted them with.”

Democracy in Decline

August 23, 2008

The broad, sneering European-elite response to the plucky Irish vote to oppose the further centralization of governmental power in the European Union and the emerging opinion in China suggest that from Brussels to Shanghai, democracy may be losing its appeal.
Democracy, broadly understood as government by the people being governed, has been the upward aspiration of Western civilization for about 1,000 years — and of the rest of the world for about 100 years. Certainly since the Magna Carta in 1215; arguably going back another millennium to when the Germanic tribes selected their chiefs through a more-or-less popular rather than hereditary method. The pace quickened in our Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789, advanced further with Woodrow Wilson’s call for the self-determination of nations after World War I. The democratic urge gained further rhetorical support in the post-World War II United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 21:

“(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

“(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

“(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

Arguably, the aspiration for and expectation of democracy reached its zenith with the fall of the Soviet Union and the prediction that the end of history had been reached in the form of liberal democratic capitalism as practiced in the last decade of the 20th century.

But events and experiences I have had in the past week reinforce a growing sense I have had for a few years that the ideal and practice of robust democracy may be seen in history as a quirk of the 18th-20th centuries. I can imagine students 500 years from now studying democracy the way we study medieval history: its rise, its high period, causes of its decline.

Admittedly, the rise and aspiration for democracy has not been a line steadily upward. In the 1930s, many in the West thought that both Mussolini’s and Hitler’s fascisms seemed to work better than Depression-era democracy. For others at the time, the Russian effort at communism seemed the better alternative.

But for those of us born in the middle of last century, in the afterglow of democracy’s WWII triumph (with, admittedly, a huge assist from Soviet Russia’s overwhelming military sacrifices and triumphs on the eastern front), democracy seemed the objective of the entire world. Even the Soviet-controlled nations put the phrase “democratic republic” in their names. And post-colonial governments in Africa all at least talked in terms of democracy.

It first hit me with force that democracy may not be a universal goal when I was in Russia in 2005 to discuss my book on radical Islam. Almost everyone I met — from leading academics, to my driver, to radio talk show hosts, to all sorts of people I met in bars — loved Putin and were contemptuous of democracy and capitalism. Every Russian I met wanted a strong government, thought democracy is inherently corrupt and useless, and that capitalism is another word for theft.

Last week, I was in China and had an opportunity to talk with several Chinese businesspeople — some top executives, some shopkeepers and, once again, several middle-class people in bars (a small sample out of 1.3 billion Chinese). Each was perfectly content to let the unelected Communist Party run the government, as long as economic growth continued. A point made by several of them (admittedly, all the people I talked with are doing well economically) and also made by a local academic expert is that the rest of Asia is noticing that the Chinese Communist Party-managed economic method is working better than the American democratic capitalism method.

I find it melancholy to consider that perhaps people aspire to self-government not because it is the natural and dignified condition of man to be free and self-governing, but merely only if it is likely to turn a quick economic profit.

Which brings me to the Irish vote. After a similar vote was lost in 2005 in France and in the Netherlands, the decision of the European elite was to redecide the matter by going around the people and deciding through parliaments (where the fix was in) rather than by plebiscite. Only the Irish insisted on a vote of the people before turning over sovereign power to Brussels bureaucrats. And they voted it down 53-47 percent — against the loud voices of all the political parties and national leaders. God bless the Irish people.

Almost the entire business, political and cultural elite of Europe argue for centralizing EU power in Brussels because it will be good for business (and give Europe a more coherent voice and action in the world). The price for that is to reduce the role of democratically elected government officials and to give more power to unelected governing forces.

Is that why partisans risked their lives sniping at Nazi soldiers and throwing homemade bombs at German panzer tanks a mere half-century ago? Is the world getting ready to give up its birthright to self-govern for a mess of pottage?

The resurgence of Russia and its implications

August 15, 2008

The resurgence of Russia and its implications

There is a lesson to be learnt by Muslims and their quest to re-establish the Khilafah State in the reappearance of Russia on the political map of the world. Russia at the beginning of the 1990’s was a defeated nation. The Soviet Union, which made Russia a superpower, collapsed and left behind it a nation, which for the next decade was ruined, by corruption and the unleashing of Capitalist forces. It lost vast amounts of territory, its economy was in ruins and its military was severely weakened. Much of Russia’s natural wealth, including oil and gas, were sold off to private and foreign companies for a pitiful amount of money. Yet today, under Vladimir Putin, Russia is now pursuing an aggressive nationalism and foreign policy and is once again beginning to fulfil its interests. This new foreign policy has brought Russia in to political conflict with the West, and has brought with it the possibility of a new cold war.

The latest deterioration in the relationship began with an increase in bitterness between Russia and Britain. In January 2006, Russia accused [1] Britain of colluding with Russian NGO’s and spying in Russia. Though Britain denied this, this was interpreted by analysts as the start of the Russian program of reducing foreign influence in Russia and a more assertive posture by the Russian government, regardless if this case was true or not. In September 2006, Russia began to move [2] against the part British owned Shell Company and its oil and gas interests in Siberia, which were worth $20 billion. In what could be seen as a response to Russian pressure against British oil and gas interests, the murder case of Alexander Litvinenko began with the poisoning [3] of the former KGB spy in November 2006. This incident was used by Britain to increase international pressure on Russia, and to inform Russia of Britain’s political power in the world. On this issue Russia denied any responsibility, though separately it responded to this latest development by again attacking [4] British energy interests. As Alexander Litvinenko died and Britain increased media pressure on Russia, Russia by December 2006 had succeeded [5] in forcing Shell to hand over the controlling stake in the Sakhalin-2 scheme to Gazprom, the Russian energy company.

As insults and accusations continued to be traded between these two nations over the Litvinenko murder, another rivalry was reignited. In January 2007, Vladimir Putin declared [6] open opposition to the plans of America to install parts of a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though Russia has done this in the past, its newfound sense of power and confidence was openly displayed at a security summit held in Munich in February 2007. Putin openly and harshly [7] attacked America for its colonialism in the world and declared it as not only a threat to Russia but also to global security. By undertaking these actions Russia re-established itself as a player in the world. It began to engage with America on the issue of Kosovo’s independence [8], as it sought to defend Serbia with whom it has religious and ethnic ties. By striving to block Kosovo’s independence, Russia is seeking to preserve Serbia and hence its own influence in the region. When these Russian links to the Balkans are recognised, it becomes clear that the reason America and its NATO allies attacked Serbia in 1999 was to break Russia’s grip on the region by weakening her ally, and not to protect the Muslims of Kosovo as was claimed. These actions of America are a part of its ongoing plan to contain and eventually break Russia in to pieces so that it may vanquish its enemy forever and take its immense resources for itself.

However Russia is using various styles to reassert its power. In May 2007, Russia for the first time in many years, flew [9] long-range bombers almost in to British airspace. This was a practice common in the Cold War, when Russia would test the defences of its opponents. Following this, in the next two months Russia managed to force the British oil firm BP to sell [10] its controlling stake in the giant Kovykta gas field to the Russian State-owned Gazprom, thus further increasing its grip on its own natural resources. Also in June 2007, Russia revealed the true nature of the American missile defence shield by offering [11] to help the America build and maintain the system. America was silent on this joint proposal by Russia, thus showing that the missile defence shield is indeed aimed also at Russia. The led Russia to announce [12] in July 2007 that it would end its participation in a key European weapons treaty. In early August there was a spate of tit for tat diplomat expulsions [13] between Russia and Britain as their relationship continued to worsen.

All of this has resulted in Russia moving to expand its military might. In August 2007, Russia conducted [14] large-scale war games with China and the Central Asian states under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). These games were widely interpreted as a warning sent by both Russia and China to America and as a show of strength against the Americans. Putin also ordered the resumption [15] by Russian long-range bombers of patrols around the world, with the bombers being armed with nuclear missiles. These bombers will now resume the Soviet practice of flying in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. As a reminder of the Cold War, the Russian bombers also flew close to the US military base of Guam in the Pacific. The latest development is that Russia has announced [16] an increased defence budget of $200 billion to modernise its military forces.

It is clear to see that Russia is once again in conflict with the West on a range of political and economic fronts. Upon analysis of the events up to date, it is apparent that this is not a new fight. Rather this is an old struggle with a new reality, with each nation having its actions dictated by its own interests. After the collapse of the Soviet Union Russia became weak because it lost a political system to guide it. For the next 16 years Russia was in turmoil until Vladimir Putin succeeded in restoring stability to Russia’s political landscape. Russia growing power and influence is directly related to the fact that under Putin, the power and authority of the central government has been increasing as decision-making has becoming more centralised. It has been further consolidated by a worldwide boom in oil and gas prices, which have helped to stabilise Russia’s economy and provide it with funds to modernise. Russia knows that to be heard politically in the world you need to have a strong military, and it is due to this it has been upgrading its armed forces.

It is clear from even a brief study of the reality today that the hearts of the world nations are divided. Each follows their own interests, and uses the political tools, influence and natural resources at its disposal to achieve its objectives. As Russia was driving out British oil companies, it was inviting [17] the French oil company Total to work with it. Russia is using its natural resources to divide Western nations and to break their unity and resolve against it.

The re-emergence of Russia as a world power is good news for the re-establishment of the imminent Khilafah. Though Russia is also a tyrant nation, which has shed much blood of innocent Muslims in Chechnya and other places, its rise will serve to break America’s grip on the world. Adding to this the rise of China, the world is moving away from a situation where America was reigning supreme to a multi-polar world where many powers serve to balance and limit each other. Previously the nations of the world could be directed by America in a certain direction, now they will be spilt between the various camps, with their interests also being split. This would mean that not only would any future Khilafah State be in a better position to negotiate, form alliances/treaties and play these states against each other but also that these states would have to divert their attention and resources away from the Khilafah and to each other.

This is the reality of the world, where only interests dictate the actions of States. There is no such thing as permanent friends or enemies for a State. It is a myth that any future Khilafah State would be attacked by all the nations of the world as soon as it is re-established, by Allah (swt) leave. The nations of the world will be forced to recognise it as a legitimate State, if for nothing else but for the western nations to continue their business and trade, as well as exploring new opportunities in the Khilafah. Just as today Russia is projecting its profile via its immense resources to raise its political position in the world despite nations like America detesting it, so too will the Khilafah perform similar political manoeuvres to achieve its objectives.
Originally Published Oct 2007
[1]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4638136.stm
[2]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5315850.stm
[3]. http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,1966009,00.html
[4]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6132116.stm
[5]. http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,1970064,00.html
[6]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6286289.stm
[7]. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/10/news/web.0210.security.php?page=1
[8]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6659705.stm
[9]. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1769420.ece
[10]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6230556.stm
[11]. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/5cf1212e-151f-11dc-b48a-000b5df10621.html
[12]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6898897.stm
[13]. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/26/ap3955795.html
[14]. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/17/europe/EU-GEN-Russia-China-Maneuvers.php
[15]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6950986.stm
[16]. http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/russia-in-250bn-plan-to-restore-its-military-might/2007/08/19/1187462082096.html
[17]. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/07/12/business/gazprom.php

The Crisis between Russia and Georgia

August 15, 2008

The Crisis between Russia and Georgia

Many of us are still digesting the news of the conflict in the Caucasus. Ossetia and Abkhazia sound like names taken out of a James Bond script, but they are very real places, and we better take heed of the history and politics of this region – because the stakes could not be higher. Is this the sign that Russian bear is increasingly developing its position in the world as a lgreat power? Where is it re-asserting its sphere of influence?  What will America’s response be,  especially since Georgia is an American ally and would not have begun its exercise without tacit approval from Washington. How will the CIS states respond? How pivotal is the BTC line to all this? Will this mean something for the Middle East? Here are a few articles already noticed about the conflict:

Analysis: energy pipeline that supplies West threatened by war Georgia conflict

Georgia has no significant oil or gas reserves of its own but it is a key transit point for oil from the Caspian and central Asia destined for Europe and the US.

Crucially, it is the only practical route from this increasingly important producer region that avoids both Russia and Iran.

The 1,770km (1,100 miles) Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which entered service only last year, pumps up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from Baku in Azerbaijan to Yumurtalik, Turkey, where it is loaded on to supertankers for delivery to Europe and the US. Around 249km of the route passes through Georgia, with parts running only 55km from South Ossetia.

East-West struggle drives conflict

The West, in particular America, has stoked the regional fire. At the NATO summit in Bucharest this year it pressed for Georgia and Ukraine’s membership of the alliance. The move was blocked by the Europeans but NATO did give a commitment to offer the two countries membership later. That move was seen in Moscow as a challenge to its dominance in what it calls the “near abroad,” the former Soviet republics.

Since then Russia has made clear in word and deed that it will do anything to prevent NATO’s expansion on its western and southern flanks.

Georgian conflict puts U.S. in middle

“The conflict has potentially serious implications for Russian-U.S. relations, and Russian-Western relations,” said Dmitri Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Center in Moscow. “The Russians are watching intently what the U.S. will do, as an indication of how the U.S. will pursue its relationship with Russia going forward.”

U.S. voices its concerns as Georgia-Russia conflict spreads to Abhazia

Russian warplanes on Saturday bombed two villages in the Georgia-controlled part of the Kodori gorge, cutting deep into Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, prompting the United States to voice its concerns over the “dangerous escalation” of the crisis. Georgia approved state of war for 15 days and called for an “immediate ceasefire.”

Georgia says new air attacks hit near capital and key oil pipeline

Overnight, Russian warplanes bombed the Vaziani military base on the outskirts of the Georgian capital and near the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. He also said two other military bases were hit, and that warplanes bombed the Black Sea port city of Poti, which has a sizable oil shipment facility.

The people are speaking: democratic Islam is no contradiction

August 15, 2008
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Egypt held municipal elections last week, won handsomely across the country by the ruling National Democratic Party. To be honest, I’ve merely assumed the outcome: a safe assumption given there was effectively no opposition. The most powerful opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, fielded only 20 candidates in 52,000 seats. Inconsequential doesn’t begin to describe their electoral presence.

It is not for a lack of trying. The Brotherhood is outlawed under Egypt’s constitution, which bans religion-based political parties. It dodges this legal obstacle by fielding its candidates as independents and won 20 per cent of parliamentary seats in Egypt’s 2005 elections. This time, it simply ran out of candidates. In a Government crackdown in the weeks before the election, up to 800 of its members were arrested, some in pre-dawn raids, which prevented them registering as candidates. The Brotherhood called for a boycott and it seems the public listened. Some independent observers estimate a turnout as astonishingly low as 3 per cent.

It’s becoming a sadly familiar scene in the Muslim world. About a month ago, Iran’s elections were – according to one professor of Iranian studies in Britain – “rigged on quite a monumental scale”. The Guardian Council had banned huge numbers of reformist opposition candidates for being insufficiently loyal to the Iranian revolution and held the poll during New Year celebrations.

Election rigging seems to be in global fashion, as recent developments in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Kenya, Georgia and Russia demonstrate. But the breadth of this democratic deficit does little to dilute the perception that the Muslim world in particular is a series of democratic wastelands, from Central Asia through to Africa.

There are hopeful exceptions. The fact that last month’s Malaysian election delivered a spectacular rebuke to the ruling party suggests an improving democratic environment there. Turkey, despite an authoritarian streak, has a reasonably well-functioning democracy that has delivered a change of government in recent years. And Indonesia has made astonishing progress in the decade since emerging from the Soeharto dictatorship.

It is not as if these democratic developments have accompanied a decline in religiosity. All indications are that Islamic consciousness is alive and well in these nations, especially in South-East Asia, but so too is a democratic spirit. Clearly, the people of these nations see no reason why their religiosity should compromise their democratic aspirations, or vice versa. For them, these two dimensions seem broadly reconciled. There are signs that whatever prevents the great majority of the Muslim world from realising democracy, Islam is not that barrier.

Even – perhaps especially – in the least democratic Muslim countries, strong majorities repeatedly express a democratic orientation. A Pew Global Attitudes Poll in 2006 found some 74 per cent of Jordanians and 65 per cent of Egyptians believed democracy could work well in their countries. The following year, a Gallup poll of Muslims in 10 countries similarly found pro-democracy majorities, a finding reiterated this year with a more comprehensive poll of 50,000 Muslims across 35 countries. Perhaps most interesting was a 2003 US study that found levels of support for democratic ideals in Muslim countries were almost identical to those in the West. Gallup’s polling seems to have confirmed this, finding majority Muslim support for “freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion” and an “admiration of liberty and freedom of expression in the West”.

Of course, these populations tend to think about democracy in slightly different ways to the West. It is clear from Gallup’s polling, for instance, that Muslim majorities would prefer their democracy to be inspired by Islamic principles. This does not, however, imply a theocracy: huge majorities from Indonesia and Pakistan to Iran believe religious leaders should not draft legislation. It seems they seek a democracy that reflects the Islamic values of their societies, but does not place power in the hands of clerics.

Perhaps one day, these hopes will be manifest. Until then, the least we can do is welcome the fact that most Muslims feel comfortable being both democratic and devout. Let the status quo not fool us: a huge gulf exists between the authoritarian regimes of the Muslim world and the democratic aspirations of its people.

Waleed Aly is the author of People Like Us: How Arrogance Is Dividing Islam And The West (Picador). He will participate in the IQ2Oz debate “Islam Is Incompatible With Democracy” at the City Recital Hall tonight.

Taqiuddin al-Nabhani

August 10, 2008

Taqiuddin al-Nabhani (Full transliterated name: Sheikh Muhammad Taqiuddin bin Ibrahim bin Mustafah bin Ismail bin Yusuf al-Nabhani; Arabic: تقي الدين النبهاني; born in 1909 in Ijzim, Haifa, British Mandate of Palestine and died in 1977) was a Sunni Shafi’i Islamic jurist, theologian, and founder of the Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir organization. His maternal grandfather was the well known Ottoman era Sufi Shafi’i Islamic Scholar Sheikh Yusuf an-Nabhani, was a colleague of Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam.

Taqiuddin Al Nabhani, founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Taqiuddin Al Nabhani, founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Contents

The Intellection/The way of Thinking

Philosophy and theology

Nabhani in his books ‘The Intellection/[The way of]Thinking’ and ‘System of Islam’ [1] placed heavy emphasis on discussing modes and models of the psychology behind human thought, and concepts. He defined the thought process, and how it reaches the status of conviction or concepts. He discussed the internal working of thoughts, convictions, and concepts in shaping the Nafs or emotions and sentiments. Delving into the internal workings of how people reach conclusions & the psychology behind the process derives itself from Taqiuddin al-Nabhani’s roots in non-Ascetic legalistic Sufism from his first teacher and maternal grandfather Yusuf al-Nabhani. After many philosophical discussions on the nature of thoughts and emotions, Nabhani concludes that the only way to bring about change is via discussion, refutation, and revival of the relevant thoughts and emotions. It is from this philosophical basis that he argued that force does not work to change peoples’ ideas. He also argued that a decline in the Muslims’ thought, emotions and concepts led to their decline & the eventual destruction of the Khilafah. He believed the first major step towards decline in the Muslims was confusion about, and dealing with new foreign ideas, mainly Greek, Persian & eastern philosophy. He argued the Islamic World didn’t know how to tackle & contextualise these ideas because they became insular, and complacent of preserving & keeping relevant their own Islamic thoughts or philosophy to a world in flux. The heavy emphasis on pinpointing, defining and changing peoples thoughts, convictions, or emotions, via stronger thoughts, diagnosis, and refutation of the process an individual uses to reach their particular ‘incorrect’ view, is the method of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s argumentation on almost every issue. Al-Nabhani’s definitions of thought have been used in the study of Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and information processing research discussed in the Addison-Wesley published book Conceptual Structures: Information Processing in Mind and Machine (Systems Programming Series) (ISBN 0-201-14472-7) and used in London South Bank University‘s[2] information systems department.

Faith versus rational belief

Nabhani claimed Islam is fully supported by its foundations in the rational sciences i.e. the philosophy of religion, therby founded on a rational belief not blind faith,to (i), proof that God Exists, a theist argument, also advocated by William Lane Craig [3]</ref>, thereafter that Muslims can proof, rationally that The Qur’an is the word of God [4]</ref> , which is consistent with human nature and provides inherent tranquility. Thus Muslims thereafter accept the Quran [5]</ref> , textually, being first rationlly proved. Nabhani’s epistemology comprises a fusion of the traditional rationalism, empiricism and mysticism themes. Ghazali‘s epsitemology, in his book “The incoherrance of the philosophers” was accepting of the use of reason and empirical sense perception, however he believed that when he studies the rationale sciences i.e. proof of the Existance of God that this was what provided certainty of knowledge (Watt 2004:9-13). Nabhani however brings all three aspects together in a manner that reconciles empiricist and rational thought (like Kant before him) and requires consistency with man’s innate nature (Nabhani 2002:6). Although both Nabhani and Ghazali argued that after belief (Aqeeda) is established rationally; divine laws in the Quran are beyond doubt and therefore question due to the certainty of this being Allah (SWT) word and being beyond human comprehension. Nabhani, in his book Shakhsiyya Islamiyya, was critical of many of the Philosophers, like the Asharite theologians before him, who argued to the contrary in their works on ethics. Nabhani outlined arguments, in his works Nidham al-Islam and Shaksiyyah Islamiyya, to prove that one unlimited creator of the universe, god (Allah in Arabic) can be proven by rational deduction. He believed that the only answer to the question of our existant was that a force or power must have created us, because of no other rationally explanation being possible, this is also the cosmological argument advocated by William Lane Craig. In addition there is the telelogical or design argument; it draws the general conclusion that the existence of life-permitting circumstances can be best explained by reference to an ultimate designer. Such that if one reads The Qur’an, one will find evidance of the Scientific Miracles of The Qur’an [6]</ref>

Politics

The political activities of Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani started very early. Before establishing Hizb ut-Tahrir he had no organised political activity, save for the period in his teens and twenties he had spent with the mujahid Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, whom he helped lay down plans for the revolutionary upheavals against British colonial rule, and against plans to set up the state of Israel. He also mixed with the Muslim Brotherhood, and exchanged views with Sayyid Qutb. Many of his early al-Azhar colleagues later bore witness to his activity in attending political and Islamic study circles. They also praised his contribution to numerous political discussions during which he criticised the internal circumstances, which he believed had led to the political and intellectual downfall of both the Muslims and the Islamic Caliphate. In addition, he used to urge the Ulema at al-Azhar to give up the adopted lassitude vis-à-vis the Ummah and her affairs and appealed to them to seek the best way for revival. On his return to Palestine, he became more and more critical of what he perceived as the Westernisation of the Islamic Ummah by colonial powers such as Britain and France. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War together with the failure of a coup attempt by Abdullah al-Tall in Jordan to which al-Nabhani had been party convinced him that only a structured and deep intellectual work could bring the Islamic state back to its glory and strength. Consequently he began preparations relating to the Party structure, literature and the like, in 1949 while he was still a judge at al-Quds. In his first written work, which appeared in January 1950 under the title Inqadh Filastin (Saving Palestine), he considered that Islam had been deeply rooted in Palestine since the seventh century. He also analysed the main cause for the set backs which had befallen the Arabs which, as he said, were due to the fact that the Ummah had resigned and submitted itself to the greedy colonial powers. In August 1950 he sent a long letter, published later as a book entitled Risalat al-Arab “The Message of the Arabs”, to the members of the Culture Summit of the Arab League in Alexandria, Egypt. In his exposition of the matter, he stressed the point that the true message of the Arabs is Islam, on whose basis alone the intellectual and political revival of the Ummah could be achieved. As the Summit members did not react to this letter , Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani was now convinced that establishing a political party was essential.

Hizb ut-Tahrir

While employed at the Ibrahimiyya School al-Nabhani contacted numerous individuals and personalities such as his colleagues As’ad and Rajab Bayyud Tamimi and Abdul Qadeem Zallum and other about the formation of a political party. By the end of 1952, and early 1953, the whole matter was put into practice and Hizb ut-Tahrir was established in al-Quds Jerusalem. Taqiuddin an-Nabhani together with Dawud Hamdan, Ghanim Abduh, Munir Shuqayr and Dr. Adil al-Nablusi in accordance with the until then practiced Ottoman Law of Societies, sent a notice to the governor of Jerusalem and the Jordanian government, informing the authorities about the establishment of the Party. The Jordanian government however, reacted instantly, and issued a decree banning the Party, and declaring its activities illegal. Hizb ut-Tahrir, nevertheless, ignored this action and continued with its work in al-Quds, al-Khalil, Nablus and other towns and villages. Harsh reactions were to follow by the government against the Party members, and these continue until this day. Consequently the “Preaching and Guiding Law” was issued in 1954, with the objective of banning Party members from giving talks in mosques. Despite harsh repression, the Party has been able to grow immensely, stretching its work throughout the Muslim world, and even reaching remote parts of the globe like Aceh. After al-Nabhani left Jordan for a short trip to Damascus and Beirut sometime in 1955 the Jordanian government passed an edict effectively barring al-Nabhani ever returning to the kingdom. Consequently al-Nabhani re-located to Damascus and later Beirut from where he led the party. During 1973 whilst on a trip to Iraq, al-Nabhani was imprisoned by Iraqi security services and severely tortured. He was spared only due to the Iraqi security services misidentifying him as a scribe of the party and not its leader. His release was secured soon after however, upon the intervention of a prominent Lebanese personality to whom al-Nabhani was related by marriage.

Death

Due to the continuous harassment and persecution by the Jordanian government al-Nabhani was forced into giving up his role in public life. He was not seen again in public until his death due to fear of assassination. Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani died in Beirut on 20 December 1977, and was buried at the al-Auza’i cemetery.

Books

  • Saving Palestine – 1950
  • The Message of the Arabs – 1950
  • The System for Society – 1950
  • The Ruling System in Islam – 1953
  • The Economic System in Islam – 1953
  • The Social System in Islam -1953
  • The Party Structure -1953
  • The Concepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir – 1953
  • The Islamic State – 1953
  • The Islamic Personality (in three volumes) – 1960
  • Political Concepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir – 1969
  • Political View of Hizb ut-Tahrir – 1972
  • Introduction to the Constitution or the Reasons That Make it Obligatory – 1963
  • The Khilafah – 1967
  • Presence of Mind – 1976
  • A Burning Call to the Muslims from Hizb ut-Tahrir – 1965
  • Thinking – 1973
  • The Jurisprudence of Prayer

Although the names of others appear as the author, it is widely thought al-Nabhani is also the author of the following:

  • The Rules of Evidence – 1963
  • The Penal Code – 1965
  • The Ideal Economic Policy – 1963
  • Refutation of Marxist Socialism – 1963
  • Islamic Thought – 1958

References

  • Al-Waie magazine, issues 234-235, August/September 2006 (Arabic) [8]
  • Biography [9]
  • Watt, Montgomery (2004). The Faith and Practice of Al-Ghazali (Translation of al-Munqid min al-Dalal). Oxford: OneWorld Publications
  • Nabhani, Taqi al-Din (2002). The System of Islam Nidham al-Islam. London: al-Khilafah Publications
  • Nabhani, Taqi al-Din (2004). Thought al-Tafkeer. London: al-Khilafah Publications
  • Nabhani, Taqi al-Din (2005). Islamic Personality al-Shaksiyyah al-Islamiyyah. London: al-Khilafah Publications

The economic chaos in the Muslim world can only be solved by establishing the Khilafah State

August 6, 2008

The whole world is feeling the impact of the global financial crisis. In Britain it was first felt by the shareholders of Northern Rock, the bank that heavily, greedily and (ultimately) foolishly invested in US sub prime mortgage markets.

Now its impacts are being felt by the average motorist at the petrol pump who on average is paying almost £1-20 per litre (with 70% of this being oppressive government taxes).

In the Muslim world (and other developing countries) the impact of this crisis is unfolding into something truly horrific. Inhabitants of the world’s poorest countries are feeling the pain much more, with places as varied as Egypt and Haiti witnessing riots. The price of basic foodstuffs such as rice and flour has soared and in Pakistan, people have killed themselves in hunger and desperation. Fuel prices continue to escalate, whilst governments in Bangladesh, (and soon Pakistan) are discussing ending subsidies on petrol and diesel.

The paradox is that people are suffering despite the fact that 70% of the world’s oil lies in the Muslim world. Allah (swt) has blessed this Ummah with so many resources. People may wonder that if oil prices are at a record high the profits flowing into the Bait al-Maal (Treasury) of the Muslim world should also be at a record high. But the fact is that everyone, except the elite, live in worsening hardship; and this is evidence of the betrayal and neglect by the corrupt regimes, who have usurped authority to serve their western masters and their own greedy interests.

On top of this neglect, these selfish and incompetent rulers have allowed themselves – and by default the whole Muslim oil producing world – to be blamed by western politicians for the current rise in oil prices, in as far as they do not pump enough oil to keep the market price down. The Saudi tyrant Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and other rulers have agreed to this cosmetic request, even though the cause of the high price of crude oil is not low levels of production. They have also done more to bail out western banks in crisis than to feed the starving and dying in the Muslim world. It is no more than stealing from the poor to give to the super rich.

The truth is that oil and food prices have risen because the US has been printing an increased amount of paper money, thereby dramatically devaluing the dollar over a short period of time (over 40% against a broad index over 5 years). This has been their solution to their decades old fiscal deficit, but since the sub prime mortgage crisis they have escalated their printing of dollars, to save the greedy corporates who created the problem. The result is poor countries suffer intolerably whilst others are even painfully starving to death – especially countries whose governments have linked their currency to the dollar.

Brothers and Sisters!

Our lands are blessed with oil wealth, human resources, and rich agricultural lands. There is the potential for our countries to take the lead in the fight against poverty in the world. But there is no political will or leadership in the regimes of the Muslim world to protect or help the ordinary people, never mind lead such a global struggle. The rulers allow our economies – like everything else – to become subservient to the interests of colonial powers. People are starving because these rulers have tied us to the global capitalist system. They make the ordinary people pay this cruel price so that they can fatten themselves and multinational banks and oil companies. They allow state utilities such as power and water providers to be sold into private hands. At worst they use the wealth purely for themselves and at best they squander the Ummah’s wealth on short term projects building luxury hotels in the Gulf. They have done nothing to increase the ability of our countries to refine the oil we produce. We produce 43% of the world’s oil yet refine a mere 11%, meaning that we continue to depend on importing petroleum products refined outside our lands at an inflated price.

This cycle of tragedy will continue and people will continue to starve and suffer as long as the economies and politics of the Muslim world are chained to the West’s capitalist system that serves only a tiny number of corrupt people. Now, more than ever, it is a vital issue for us to free ourselves from this grip by removing these rulers, ending this dependency, subjugation and establishing our own political and economic system through the Islamic Khilafah governance.

Neglecting to rule and run our economies by what Allah (swt) has revealed has led us to this situation and it is only by returning to the Islamic obligations that we can end this calamity.  When we understand how Islam prevents and treats such problems, we can see the truly comprehensive nature of the system Allah (swt) has given.

1. The Khilafah State is the manifestation of political unity in this Ummah, so the resources of the Ummah can be harnessed in a united way. The Gulf States have oil, financial wealth but few people. Countries like Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh have huge human resource, manpower and skills but are poor. Under one sincere leadership the strengths in one area can provide solutions to the deficiencies in other areas.

2. The Prophet (SAW) said in a hadith narrated by Abu Dawud “The people are partners in three things: water, green pastures and fire (energy)”. Oil belongs to the people. It is forbidden by Islam that these three public property commodities (and any other assets that are essential for the collective good) remain in the hands of a few sheikhs, businessmen or “princes”. Hence, the Khilafah State will ensure oil revenues are invested into developing our countries rather than benefiting individual families.

3. It is an Islamic obligation that the currency be fully underpinned by assets of gold and silver. Our currency would be freed from being tied to the dollar and stop the US and her agencies from playing havoc with our economies.

4. The Khilafah State will immediately redistribute the wealth in the society according to Islamic principles such that basic levels of food, clothing and shelter are available for all citizens.

Let no one say that the Muslim Ummah lacks wealth. Allah (SWT) has blessed the Ummah with hard working, resilient people and abundant energy resources and rich agricultural lands. Yet people in our countries die on the streets due to starvation. This is due to rabid corruption of the rulers in our countries and the utter incompetence in managing our affairs. Thus the way to restructure our economies and alleviate the economic crisis is to remove these ruling classes and establish a political system based on Islam i.e. the Khilafah system. Only when we see this Khilafah system applied to deal with our problems can we liberate ourselves from the cycle of oppression, exploitation and emerge as a just and leading Ummah.

“Thus, have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves” (Translated meaning Quran 2:143)

Torture and abuse will be the West’s defining legacy for Iraq

August 6, 2008
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iraq_abuse1.jpgIt has often been said “a picture speaks a thousand words.” So when it comes to the US and UK’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, the picture that history will remember and which will define humanity’s view towards this event, will be those of the detainees of Abu Ghraib.
The mere mention of the word Abu Ghraib to anyone conjures up images of the hooded man standing on top of a black box with electrodes attached to his head and hands, of naked bodies piled up in sexually compromising positions and of naked men cowing from the attacks of guard dogs.

No surprise that even after 5 years of occupation, reports of abuse still appear regularly in the media. A recent publication of a report from the Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights concluded, after a two-day clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees who had been held at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and in Afghanistan, that they had been tortured by the US military despite never being charged with crimes.

In a 121-page report, the doctors’ group said that it uncovered medical evidence of torture, including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, sodomy and scores of other abuses. Retired U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the Army’s investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2003 said “There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.”

But it was not only the Americans who engaged in the torture of prisoners. Just a week after the MoD payed out £3 million in compensation to the family of Baha Moussa who was murdered by British soldiers, the Daily Mail reported on Monday that eleven Iraqi civilians are now suing the MoD for being tortured and abused by British soldiers, including the sexual humiliation of a teenage boy.

“They ordered us to take off our clothes by gesturing to us to do so,” 19-year-old Hassan said, recalling his horrific experience of being abused by British soldiers at Camp Breadbasket in the southern city of Basra. “When we refused they continued beating us, so we had to follow their orders.” Hassan, who was 14 at the time of the abuses in May 2003, said British soldiers had forced him to carry out sexual acts on a male friend. “They made us sit on each other’s laps. They were enjoying humiliating and abusing us. I wished I was dead at this moment.”

In a further 10 cases, it was claimed that Iraqis suffered severe beatings including being kicked in the face, beatings with a military car aerial, being forced to run while carrying various heavy objects including an iron cage with other Iraqis inside it and being strung up by a fork lift truck.

Despite this bad press, Western politicians from both current administrations and potential future ones continue to talk the politics of war, invasion and occupation under the guise of national security. Gordon Brown’s government continue to support the policy of a continuing British occupation of Iraq and has increased troop deployment in Afghanistan. Barack Obama, who has campaigned for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, has recently re-iterated his view that US forces should be redeployed to Afghanistan and Pakistan, highlighting that although Obama speaks of domestic political change, US foreign policy under his potential leadership looks set to remain upon its current colonial occupation of the Muslim world. So much for Barack Obama’s so called Muslim heritage!

The issue at hand is that the West is devoid of a way to govern the world with justice and equity and uses its current ascendancy to dominate and subjugate others in order to secure resources for its citizens. This is in contrast to the period of Islamic ascendancy under the Khilafah, where the expansion of the Islamic state was not accompanied by subjugation and exploitation of other peoples but rather characterised by justice, equity and the distribution of resources to guarantee high living standards for all.

Consequently, many different peoples embraced the Islamic faith and their descendants today are spread throughout the globe. In contrast, the West and its way of life has been categorically rejected by the Iraqis, Afghanis and the vast majority of the Muslims living in the Muslim world and the West alike.

It is not Islam or extremism that is a threat to society but rather Western values!

August 6, 2008

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AsianFootbalFans.jpgThe Daily Mirror reported a story on Sunday 27th July of two drunken British women who attempted to open the emergency exit of a jet airliner at an altitude of 30,000ft while on a flight from Manchester to the Greek island of Kos.

Terrified passengers screamed as flight attendants fought with the two crazed women who started brawling with staff after being caught smoking in the toilets and when refused more drink.

A passenger on the flight described the mayhem. “One was lashing out with a vodka bottle after they were refused more booze. One of them went to the emergency exit. It was one hell of a scene. “She screamed, ‘I want some fresh air!’ It was a nightmare. The crew were brilliant, wrestling them to the ground and slapping plastic cuffs on them. We all thought we had had our chips.”

Such stories appear regularly in the media and are now part and parcel of British life. The media recently reported that hospitals treated an astounding 800,000 patients last year on alcohol-related medical problems. Clearly, alcohol-fuelled violence, public disorder and health concerns are at extremely worrying levels and show no signs of abating. The decision by the Pub Association to withdraw from its voluntary code of practise against aggressive advertising shows that the industry seeks to promote further alcohol consumption!

Yet, the media will not embark on a campaign against the booze culture of Britain with the same ferocity with which it has embarked upon a campaign to attack Islam in recent years. If one were to believe the media, it is Islam and the Muslim community that are the greatest danger to society, whereas in reality, it is the values of freedom, materialism and hedonism which underpin Western society that are agencies causing society to break apart. Ultimately, the freedom to produce, sell, and consume alcohol underlies the current destructive drink culture in Britain and other Western countries. Indeed, when Muslim groups raise these issues, they are attacked in the media for raising a propaganda war against Western values!

Islam was sent by Allah (swt) through his Messenger, Muhammed (saw) as a guidance and mercy for humanity. Increasingly, Muslims and non-Muslims are turning to Islam as they see through the shallow and erroneous values that characterise Western society. Islam restricted the activities of people in public life in order to protect and preserve the character and quality of life in the society it envisages. Islam, therefore, prohibited alcohol consumption and production as Allah (swt) said,

“O ye who believe ! wine and the game of chance and idols and divining arrows are only the abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So shun each one of them that you may prosper.” TMQ Al Maidah, :90

It is of great importance that Islam be established politically in the Muslim world through the re-establishment of Khilafah so that a truly Islamic society can show humanity by example the way forward once again as it did in the past.