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Posted on Nov 29, 2016

Inspiring Memoirs: in Prison with Shaykh ‘Ata Abu al-Rashtah

Inspiring Memoirs: in Prison with Shaykh ‘Ata Abu al-Rashtah

 

Scholars who challenge the status quo and remain firm upon their course are a frequent target of the regimes of the Muslim world today. Historically too, many of Islam’s greatest scholars spent time locked away in jail – often penning their best works there – for their opposition to oppressive or corrupt rule. This article looks at the remarkable memoirs of brother Salim Al Amr and his recollections of time he spent in jail with Shaykh Ata Abu al-Rashtah, the current ameer of Hizb ut-Tahrir, recounting his piety, sacrifices and knowledge. The recounts are inspiring and well worth the read.

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Posted on Nov 17, 2016

Profile of Shaykh Abu Iyas Uwaydah – Scholar, Author and Activist

Profile of Shaykh Abu Iyas Uwaydah – Scholar, Author and Activist

 

This article profiles and documents one of the prominent du’aat and mashayekh working with Hizb ut-Tahrir in Jordan, Shaykh Mahmood bin Abdul Latif Mahmood Uwaydah, or Abu Iyas as he is also known. He is a prominent da’ee who embodies those elements that are crucial for people of knowledge in this day and age, and is an example of persistence and dedication in both knowledge and activism in work for Khilafah and Islamic revival generally.

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Posted on Feb 13, 2016

FAQs about Hizb ut-Tahrir

FAQs about Hizb ut-Tahrir

Click on the drop down arrow to the right of questions to read answers.

What is Hizb ut-Tahrir?

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Islamic political party established in 1953 by a group of scholars led by the Shaykh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani (rahimahullah). In the Muslim world, we work at all levels of society to bring the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life under the shade of the Khilafah, which implements the Shariah of Allah.

“Tahrir” means liberation and the name is indicative of our work, which entails liberating the Muslim world, intellectually first then politically, economically and in all other respects, from the subjugation of kufr and its people.

In the West, Hizb ut-Tahrir works to cultivate a Muslim community that lives by Islam in thought and deed, preserving a strong Islamic identity and remaining connected to the global struggle of the Muslim Ummah as one Ummah. Whilst we do not work in the West to change the system of government, we do carry Islam intellectually as the only way of life mandated by the Creator, Allah (swt), and in turn as the solution to the malaise of secular liberalism which has led humanity for three centuries now and failed her miserably.

For more see About Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Why does Hizb ut-Tahrir describe itself as a “political party”?

Unlike the secular tradition there is no dichotomy between religion and politics in Islam. In Islam, politics [siyasah] is to manage the societal affairs of people by the rules and principles revealed by Allah (swt), by proposing the Islamic solutions and working to implement them. Thus the objectives and actions of Hizb ut-Tahrir are political actions in this sense, and thus it is a political party.

It should be understood here that whilst politics is a very unscrupulous practice in the west and around the world, this is because it is not based on Islam. Politics from an Islamic perspective is a noble work far removed from this. The noble Prophet (saw) describes it as the work of prophets in a hadith for essentially it is to manage the affairs of people according to the Deen.

What is Hizb ut-Tahrir’s method to re-establish the Khilafah?

Hizb ut-Tahrir takes its methodology from the Seerah of the noble Prophet (peace be upon him). By studying the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Makkah until he (saw) established Islamic rule in Madinah, it is evident that he (peace be upon him) went through clearly defined stages, in each of which he used to perform specific clear actions. These stages are broadly three:

  1. Forming a body: calling close individuals to Islam and culturing them in its fundamentals;
  2. Going out to society: taking the call of Islam openly and clearly to society; presenting Islam and critiquing kufr as well as its political leaders. Additionally, seeking material support (nusrah) from those with it.
  3. Assuming authority and implementing Islam radically and comprehensively.

The noble Prophet (peace be upon him) limited his struggle in Makkah to the intellectual and political domains. He worked to mobilise public opinion in favour of Islam through calling individuals and society as a whole to Islam and endeavoured to sway the political and intellectual leaders of the time. He put forth the Islamic ideas and principles, calling on everyone to adopt them, and worked tirelessly to have them manifested in society through the implementation of Islam.

We adhere closely to this method because it is obligatory to follow.

Thus, we are proactive in disseminating the Islamic thoughts widely – through discussion with the masses, study circles, lectures, seminars, conferences, distribution, publishing books and magazines – in Muslim societies so as to challenge the existing status quo. We endeavour to present Islam correctly as a comprehensive way of life capable of managing the affairs of state and society.

We also present analyses on political events from an Islamic perspective with the aim of adopting the interests of the Muslims and guiding them in difficult times, with a view also to centring Islam as the reference point in all our affairs. And we critique kufr thoughts and openly challenge those political leaders who rule by kufr and stand as obstacles in the way of Islam.

Our methodology is explained in further detail and with evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah in the book “The Methodology of Hizb ut-Tahrir for Change” and “The Method To Re-establish Khilafah” (click on these links to download or read).

A top-down approach won’t work, will it?

Our methodology may seem top-down because it focuses on correcting the ‘top’ (i.e. the State) but in reality the method to correct the ‘top’ begins on the ground (the ‘bottom’). There can be no Islamic State without the deep Islamic culturing of individuals and with the public opinion of the masses being for Islam. Achieving these two things requires extensive work on the ground and this occupies the majority of our time and efforts.

If indeed we adopted a top-down approach then sixty years is not a short amount of time to select an individual and declare him as Khalifah. Rather, Hizb ut-Tahrir has been working for the last sixty years in culturing the Ummah and preparing it toward the establishment of the Khilafah.

Why operate in the West if your aim is to establish Khilafah in the Muslim World?

The age-old struggle between Iman and kufr is a global struggle. It is not limited by borders or geography. Further, the Muslim Ummah is one ummah and her core struggle is one, wherever she resides. Hence, work in the West is important by mere virtue of the fact that Muslims live here and increasingly in large numbers.

There are many things that Muslims living in the West can do to aid the work for Khilafah in the Muslim World. We live in a global world where the flow of everything across borders, including (importantly) information, ideas, opinion and people, occurs at unprecedented levels and speed. Affecting public opinion is at the core of any political work. Any work done in the West inevitably has influence in the Muslim World.

This is over and above the fact that the major obstacle in the Muslim lands to the establishment of Islam is the rulers of those lands who guard the systems of kufr which they implement. Yet the true masters of these agents rulers have their offices in Washington and London. Thus it is Western governments who seek to maintain the appalling status quo in the Muslim world because they benefit from it the most.

Why doesn’t Hizb ut Tahrir build institutions or engage in Jihad to establish the Khilafah?

The short answer to this question is that the noble Prophet (peace be upon him) did not do so. That is, he (peace be upon him) did not use fighting or building institutions in Makkah as a means of establishing the Deen. This is indisputably clear from the Seerah. Rather, he engaged in a clear and open intellectual struggle (against the false ideas, concepts and practices of the time) and political struggle (against those implementing and propping up the prevailing system).

The longer answer is that the Prophetic methodology is based on the formation of a critical public consciousness which negates from all worldly entities (people, systems, ideas, customs) their falsely acquired properties attained through corrupt kufr ideas and derivative practices. This negation is followed, concurrently, with the affirmation of the haqq. This negation and affirmation is clear in the shahada of Islam: la ilaha illa Allahu.

The key point here is that both the negation and affirmation is, in origin, of ideas and concepts and their derivative practices. Idol-formation is an intellectual process and idol-deconstruction requires a counter-intellectual process. Bullets cannot deconstruct an idea – only ideas can subvert other ideas.

Methodologies which reduce action to that of armed insurrections and institution-building are inadequate in that they do not recognise the necessity of intellectual liberation and concomitant institutional transformation (as opposed to institutional-building, which is not anti-systemic), which itself must be preceded by a sustained critique of the dominant “mainstream” narratives which legitimize the kufri institutions.

What has Hizb ut-Tahrir achieved in the 60 years of its existence since its inception in 1953?

In the 1950s the Muslim Ummah found itself in the intellectual and political wilderness. There was no collective consciousness of Islam and Khilafah as an obligation and solution or of the reality of the Muslim rulers as colonial agents. Rather, calls and movements for nationalism, socialism and liberalism (albeit crudely ‘Islamified’ or couched in language palatable to Muslims) were mainstream and the relationship with many rulers – Nasser of Egypt being the most prominent case – was one of admiration.

By the 1990s, all of this had dramatically changed. Islam and Khilafah were firmly in the public consciousness of the Muslim world and most other ideologies were abandoned. Politically, there was a clear wedge between rulers and ruled, with the rulers being known and hated as corrupt agents. None of this was mere coincidence. It was the result of years of hard work in consistently presenting Islam and critiquing kufr in an organised and sustained manner. The work of multiple Islamic movements, not exclusively of Hizb ut-Tahrir, though the Hizb has a strong distinction when it comes clarity of its thoughts and specifically the concept of Khilafah (as opposed to general, vague calls to Islam).

In the following two decades, the above-mentioned changes have only become more pronounced. The opinion for the Khilafah in the Muslim world is widespread and the Hizb has managed, by grace of Allah (swt), to produce a vast network of hundreds of thousands across of the world dedicated to working for the establishment of Islam.

The Ummah seems to be in a complete mess and no closer to Khilafah than 50 years ago, yet you claim otherwise?

Societal change is not like building a house (as many people conceive it) where you see the foundations, then walls, etc. and eventually a ceiling. The core of the work prior to assuming power is of intangible results because it is related to ideas and public opinion. Hence, it is difficult for most people to appreciate the progress and anticipate the final change. They look to the tangible state of society and see only problems and despair.

Consider the fact that even a mere few months before the noble Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Hijra to Madinah (where he assumed power) the situation of the Muslims in Makkah was, on the face of it, as dire as ever! His (peace be upon him) wife and uncle had passed away, the Muslims – who numbered no more than a few hundred – had been subject to a severe boycott, and many were being tortured and persecuted. Some were martyred. On the face of it, they were a small and weak group up against a mighty power. Yet a few months later they were leading a new state in Madinah. This is counter-intuitive, unless one appreciates the nature of radical societal change as discussed in above answers.

Why is Hizb ut-Tahrir banned in many countries?

Hizb ut-Tahrir is at the forefront of political activism in the Muslim world. It challenges and calls to account the tyrannical rulers of the Muslim world. The response of these regimes to our work has been to imprison, torture and murder our members – the same response received by all prophets and their followers when they sought to propagate and implement the Deen of Allah.

While our challenge to these regimes has been at an intellectual and political level, these regimes have resorted to banning and silencing the party, as they have no intellectual thought of their own with which to counter, as with all oppressive forces.

Despite the banning of the party and the intimidation of its members, the thoughts of the party have nevertheless successfully permeated throughout society, by the unbounded grace of Allah first and then by the great sacrifices of countless Muslim men and women, old and young, scholar and lay person alike.

Who and where is the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir?

The current global leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir is the erudite scholar, author and activist Shaykh ‘Ata ibn Khalil Abu Rashta, may Allah preserve him. He resides in and works from the Muslim world. His profile can be read here: Profile of Ameer. Due to security reasons and the extreme persecution faced by our members in the Muslim world, we do not aid the oppressive regimes by revealing the precise whereabouts of the party leadership.


Do you have a question about Hizb ut-Tahrir you would like answered? Send it to info@hizb-australia.org.

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Posted on Feb 12, 2016

FAQs about the Khilafah

FAQs about the Khilafah

Click on the drop down arrow to the right of questions to read answers.

What is the Khilafah?

The Khilafah (Caliphate) is the political leadership of the Muslim Ummah, led by a Khalifah (Caliph) whose role it is to succeed the Prophet (saw) in his role of implementing the Deen of Allah and carrying it to the world. The word ‘khilafah’ literally means ‘succession’ and it was the Prophet (saw) himself who used it to refer to the leadership of the Ummah that was to come after him in multiple ahadith.

In modern parlance, the Khilafah can be thought of as a state based on Islam (hence ‘Islamic State’), though there are fundamental differences between it and the modern western nation state. The ruling system of the Khilafah bears no resemblance to any of the governments in the Muslim world today, all of which – whether monarchies, dictatorships or democracies – are the rotten fruits of a colonial legacy.

Its responsibility is to equitably manage the affairs of all citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, through the implementation of the laws of Islam (Shari’ah) in their capacity as divine laws which, given their divine origin, are the most suitable laws for humanity. The Khilafah implements the Shari’ah, which is a comprehensive system that legislates on political, social, economic, foreign policy and judicial matters.

Economic progress, elimination of poverty and enhancing people’s standard of living are all goals the Khilafah aims to achieve. Historically the Khilafah was an immensely wealthy state with a flourishing economy, high standard of living and a world leader in industry and scientific research. Unlike like other states, however, its objectives are not purely material. Rather, spiritual objectives are foremost and life in the Khilafah is a life centred around Allah (swt), not man.

What is the Khalifah?

The Khalifah is the head of the Khilafah. In fact, he is the Khilafah since the role of succeeding the noble Prophet (saw) in implementing the Deen is vested in his person. However, there exist in the Khilafah other institutions (consultative bodies, governors, judiciary, army, etc.) formed through delegation of his authority and hence the distinction between the two is relevant.

The Khalifah is not a king with divine right or a dictator. He is an elected leader whose authority to rule must be given willingly through a particular voluntary contract of ruling [bay’ah]. He is not like the Pope; he is not a spiritual head, nor is he infallible. It is the Ummah that appoints him and she has the right, nay the obligation, to account him.

How Khilafah is different from the prevalent ‘nation state’ concept?

There are multiple fundamental distinctions between the Khilafah and the Westphalian nation state, which is the modern form of political organisation globally. One, the former is not sovereign like the latter; absolute sovereignty is for Allah. Two, it is not secular; there is no arbitrary distinction between religion and politics and no separation of religion from public life. Three, it does not have permanently fixed borders; it is an expansive state with temporary borders at any given point in time. Four, these borders are not based on ethnic or racial lines, but serve only the role of distinguishing the lands which falls under the authority of the Khilafah from those that do not. These are but some of the fundamental distinctions.

How is a Khilafah even possible given the numerous different sects in Islam such as Salafis and Sufis, Deobandis and Beralwis, Ash’ari and Atharis, and Hanafis and Shafi’is?

The differences among the Muslims on these grounds are in details of fiqh or the details of aqidah. They are not differences in the fundamentals of Islam or on the understanding of the Khilafah, its role, its primacy, etc. Muslims, whether those named in this question or various other elements with the Ummah, agree on the basic obligations, the foundational creedal [aqidah] matters and agree on the primacy of the Khilafah and its importance.

As to how Muslims from such viewpoints will co-operate, then Islamic history is an evidence that when it comes to the implementation of Islam, the propagation of it under the Khilafah and other such priorities, Muslims have been able to unite, and not just unite, but also flourish. It should be borne in mind that such different madhabs and sects are not a new phenomenon. They have existed in various forms from the very beginning.

Further, the Khalifah is not to adopt and enforce an opinion in the details of creed or personal fiqh. The Muslims are left to adopt and practice whatever valid positions they choose.

What must Muslims living in the west do to support the re-establishment of the Khilafah in the Muslim World?

Muslims in the west can do many things. They can raise the awareness and the general call for the Khilafah. They can join the organised work with groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir. They can contact their families and friends living in the Muslim world and encourage them to join the work for the Khilafah in their countries or to, at the least, adopt the call for Khilafah. They can speak the truth in regards to matters affecting the Muslim Ummah, speaking out against the oppressive foreign policies of western governments. They can resist the local plans on the part of western governments to create a diluted, secular Islam which seeks, in part, to disconnect Muslims living in the West from their global Ummah by impressing on them localised nationalist identities (‘Australian Muslim’, ‘American Muslim’).

Won’t Imam Mahdi be the one to re-establish the Khilafah? Can it be established without him?

No! There is no definitive evidence in the Qur’an or the Sunnah for such an understanding. In fact there are authentic ahadith which indicate that Imam Mahdi will descend at a time when people are arguing about the succession of a Khalifah, which implies that there already exists a Khilafah.

All of this aside, the commands by Allah (swt) to rule by Islam are decisive and the obligation of the Khilafah is established upon the Ummah by consensus of the Ulama. Thus this work to re-establish Islam cannot be left to be done by someone else.

How will the Khilafah solve the major problems facing the world under Liberal Capitalism?

Fundamentally, the Khilafah is the best system for humanity because it is the system revealed by the Creator of humanity and the world, Allah (swt). The rules and systems of Islam are best suited to the reality and natural disposition [fitra] of human beings because they are based on perfect divine knowledge and wisdom. In contrast, all man-made ideologies and systems are based on the human intellect which is extremely limited and subject to contradictions, disparity and influence by environment.

We can appreciate the superiority of the Islamic position in comparison to the prevailing Liberal Capitalist system in some areas, for instance:

1. The Liberal Humanist worldview elevates the individual as the most important unit of society, while affirming that one’s purpose of life is maximise pleasure and privileging the material over the spiritual. This naturally leads to the fragmented, individualistic, dog-race world we see around us where everyone runs after ‘happiness’ through material acquisition, only to find stress, anxiety and depression instead. In contrast, Islam affirms the critical importance of family and community while not negating the individual. It takes the material with the spiritual and directs one’s purpose in life toward the Creator and the service of humanity.

2. Secular liberal premises effectively render morality and indeed all meaning subjective. Nothing remains objective or grounded in any objective reality. No moral limits are ever fixed. Something immoral today could be celebrated tomorrow. Everything is relative and subjective. In contrast, Islam grounds morality and meaning in the objective reality of the Creator, with fixed moral principles and limits.

3. Under Capitalism, capital is the source of wealth and influence. The economic elite are the most influential people, influencing and corrupting politics, governance, media, institutions, etc. Everything is commercialised and becomes an economic equation, including education. Research and development too becomes subject to commercial considerations. In Islam, the divine rules are sacrosanct and are the criteria of action, judgement and measure. They place everything in its proper place preventing human greed from corrupting society.

4. Some more specific examples:

– Clearly harmful substances like alcohol – 5000 people die annually due to alcohol-related illness in Australia! – are permitted only to fulfil the vain desires of some and the fill to pockets of others. Islam prohibits such harmful substances.

– The Islamic economic system focuses of distribution of wealth, seeking to ensure that each and every individual has, at minimum, their basic needs (food, water, shelter) met and then to facilitate luxuries as much as possible. Modern neo-classical economics focuses on production, celebrating increases in GDP even if millions are homeless on the street.

– Islam’s system of taxation is wealth based, not income based, and hence more equitable. The surplus wealth of people is taxed, not their incomes, ensuring that truly fair distribution from wealthy to poor is achieved without overburdening the wealthy.

– Islam enforces harsh penalties (with strict burdens of proof) on crimes that destroy society such as theft, rape, adultery, and murder. This acts as a strong deterrent to crime. In contrast, the western model has only led to ever-increasing jail populations with little to no control on crime.

These are but a few examples.

The early Khilafah saw assassinations, bloody civil wars resulting in the deaths of thousands and the like. Why, then, do you present the Khilafah as some utopian panacea to all problems?

The Khilafah is neither a utopia nor a panacea to all problems. There are no utopias on Earth. Our life here is a test which is meant to entail tribulations and difficulties. The Khilafah is a human effort and hence fallible and subject to human abuse. What makes it different, however, is that a human effort to implement a divinely revealed system. All other ideologies are human efforts to implement human-derived systems.

It should be clear to us as Muslims that we work for the Khilafah not because it will establish some dream utopia but because it is an obligation and duty from Allah (swt). The ensuing material benefits are a bonus from the mercy of Allah (swt). They are real and important but not the motivating factor.

How will the Khilafah fit in the prevailing international order of nation states and international organisations, such as the UN, and regional organisations such as the Arab League?

In short, it won’t.

The edifice of modern international law and organisations is built on an un-Islamic basis. The system and superstructure of modern international organisations, epitomised by the United Nations, was a result of the victorious powers emerging from the Second World War – Britain, America, Russia, China, France. They established the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, and established treaties on a range of issues such as “human rights” and international humanitarian law which were imposed on the rest of the world.

All of this is but a means of exploitation by stronger nations of weaker ones. Indeed, it is a source of the continued subjection of the Muslim world. We are all too familiar will the real ugly face of the “international community” and its organisations as revealed time and again on the issue of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and more recently places like Myanmar, CAR and Syria.

The Khilafah will not afford legitimacy to or participate in any of this. Rather, it will seek to establish a better and more just international framework. The current framework is at the heart of the continued misery of billions of people around the world who live in abject poverty.

How will the Khalifah be selected?

The method for selecting the one Khalifah on the death of another is derived from the ahadith of the noble Prophet (saw) and the example of the selection of the four noble Khulafa al-Rashideen. There is no one fixed method although there are fixed principles that must be met, such as the principle that the authority to choose the Khalifah rest with the Ummah as a whole and should be an expression of what the majority of the Ummah wants, manifest through the majority of its people of influence [ahl al-halli wa al-‘aqd].

Hizb ut-Tahrir adopts a detailed method of selection whereby nominees are short-listed by the highest body of the judiciary [mahkamat al-madhalim] to filter for the requisite conditions and to preference on merit first to six and then two, selecting one of whom is put to general election. A detailed articulation of this, with the evidences, can be read here: The Method to appoint a Khalifah.

The above is all for the case of when the Khilafah is established and the seat of Khalifah is vacated by his death. In the present case, however, where there is no Khilafah at all, there is no elaborate selection process. Rather, the matter will be decided by those who establish it along with those who give them the nusrah. As long as the declared Khilafah and proposed Khalifah meet their respective shar’i conditions, the Khilafah will be contracted, and obedience will be obligatory on all Muslims.

Do you have a question about the Khilafah you would like answered? Send it to info@hizb-australia.org.

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