In a time where the world has been overcome with the rule of man-made systems, systems that have seen growing unrest in all its corners because of the dysfunctionality nurtured by an inherently biased and limited rule, the desire for change amongst humanity can simultaneously be a great opportunity as well as a dangerous force. A great opportunity, because those that have taken divine guidance as their basis for thought and action can project their message upon a population searching for a better way. A dangerous force, because during tough times compromise with either those in authority or with those seeking change may seem an attractive and shortened path. The danger can be averted though, by those assured of their way understanding what they want and the way that change needs to be achieved.
Islam in its most foundational basis is believing in the existence of the Creator of the universe and that His (SWT) final message to humanity, The Quran, was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). It will naturally follow that Allah’s (SWT) judgment on any matter is the best and only outcome worthy of implementation, otherwise believing that Allah (SWT) is our creator becomes meaningless.
Verse 49 in Surat al-Ma’idah is one verse amongst many emphasising that ruling or judgement must be referred to what Allah (SWT) has revealed. The verse however, also issues a warning to beware of people tempting the Prophet (ﷺ), and by extension his (ﷺ) followers, away from His (SWT) ruling.
Allah (SWT) says:
وَأَنِ احْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَن يَفْتِنُوكَ عَن بَعْضِ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَن يُصِيبَهُم بِبَعْضِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ لَفَاسِقُونَ
And judge, [O Muhammad], between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations and beware of them, lest they tempt you away from some of what Allah has revealed to you. And if they turn away – then know that Allah only intends to afflict them with some of their [own] sins. And indeed, many among the people are defiantly disobedient. [Surat al-Ma`idah:49]
The books of tafseer narrate that this verse was revealed when Ka`b bin Asad, Ibn Saluba, `Abdullah bin Surya and Shas bin Qays said to each other, `Let us go to Muhammad to try and misguide him from his religion.’ So they went to the Prophet and said, `O Muhammad! You know that we are the scholars, noblemen and chiefs of the Jews. If we follow you, the Jews will follow suit and will not contradict us. But, there is enmity between us and some of our people, so we will refer to you for judgement in this matter, and you should rule in our favour against them and we will believe in you.’ The Messenger of Allah refused the offer and Allah sent down these Ayat about them.
Although this verse was revealed after this particular incident, the verse is applicable to all times and situations within this subject of ruling according to the famous principle that “the meaning is in the generality of the words and not upon the specifics of the cause (of revelation)”.
The following verse continues:
أَفَحُكْمَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ يَبْغُونَ ۚ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حُكْمًا لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ
Then is it the judgement of [the time of] ignorance they desire? But who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who are certain [in faith]. [Surat al-Ma`idah:50]
Ibn Katheer in his tafseer, comments on this, saying:
“Allah criticizes those who ignore Allah’s commandments, which include every type of righteous good thing and prohibit every type of evil, but they refer instead to opinions, desires and customs that people themselves invented, all of which have no basis in Allah’s religion. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to abide by the misguidance and ignorance that they invented by sheer opinion and lusts. The Tatar (Mongols) abided by the law that they inherited from their king Genghis Khan who wrote Al-Yasiq, for them. This book contains some rulings that were derived from various religions, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Many of these rulings were derived from his own opinion and desires. Later on, these rulings became the followed law among his children, preferring them to the Law of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger…… Who is more just in decision than Allah for those who comprehend Allah’s Law, believe in Him, who are certain that Allah is the best among those who give decisions and that He is more merciful with His creation than the mother with her own child Allah has perfect knowledge of everything, is able to do all things, and He is just in all matters.”
Ibn Katheer here relates the verse to different ages, from the time prior and during Muhammad’s (SAW) Prophethood and also using the example from the time of the rule of the Mongols.
Sayid Qutb, in his ‘In the Shade of the Quran’ comments on these verses highlighting the connection between implementing Allah’s (SWT) rules and Iman (belief):
“God (limitless is He in His glory) says that this whole issue is one of faith or unfaith, Islam or non-Islam, Divine law or human prejudice. No compromise or reconciliation can be worked out between these two sets of values. Those who judge on the basis of the law God has revealed, enforcing all parts of it and substituting nothing else for it, are the believers. By contrast, those who do not make the law God has revealed the basis of their judgement are unbelievers, wrongdoers and transgressors. Rulers can either implement God’s law in total and, thus, they remain within the area of faith, or they may enforce some other law. In this latter case, all three descriptions of unbelief, wrongdoing and transgression apply to them. If people accept God’s rule and judgement, administered by rulers and judges, then they are believers. Otherwise, they are not. There is no middle way between the two, nor can any justification or claim of serving legitimate interests be admitted. God, the Lord of mankind, knows what serves people’s interests and He has enacted His laws for that very purpose. No law or system of government is superior to His. No servant of God may reject God’s law or claim to have better knowledge than God with regard to what serves people’s interests. If he makes such a claim, by word or deed, then he pronounces himself an unbeliever………..The other consideration in this whole issue is the fact that God’s law is inevitably and absolutely better for mankind than any manmade law. It is to this fact that the final verse in this passage refers: “But for those who are firm in their faith, who can be a better law giver than God?” (Verse 50)”
The verse is an incredible source of contemplation and direction during these times. As the movement and desire for change increases in momentum, Muslims must resist any temptation or excuse to abandon or hide the call for the Implementation of Allah’s (SWT) deen. No justification can hold given the clear instruction given by Allah (SWT) in this verse. Whether it be for the excuse of “uniting” people, gaining support and sympathy from the International community, or for fear that the world powers gather against the Ummah, nothing can justify going against Allah’s (SWT) ahkam in word or deed.
Sayid Qutb further comments:
“It is a false notion to try to unite people at the expense of God’s law. Moreover, the attempt is bound to fail. The price asked is too high, since any modification of God’s law will lead to corruption on earth, injustice and the subservience of some people to others. This is, indeed, a great evil. If no compromise of God’s law is admissible for pursuing the noble purpose of uniting people, how can it be justified for something which is more petty. Some of those who claim to be Muslims argue that God’s law should not be implemented so that we do not lose the tourist trade!
It is either God’s law or man-made law, based on inadequate knowledge and vain desire. There can be no meeting ground between the two. “Do they desire to be ruled by the law of pagan ignorance? But for those who are firm in their faith, who can be a better law giver than God?” (Verse 50) This statement defines the meaning of jāhiliyyah, rendered here as “pagan ignorance”, as the term is used in the Qur’ān. Jāhiliyyah means that people are ruled by people, because this signifies that they submit to one another. They refuse to submit to God alone and reject His Godhead, acknowledging instead that some human beings have qualities of Godhead and hence they submit to their authority. As such, the term pagan ignorance, or jāhiliyyah, does not refer to a particular period of time, but to a certain situation which may come into existence at any time. Whenever it exists, it must be described as jāhiliyyah which is in contrast to Islam.
What can anyone say in justification of setting God’s law aside and substituting for it a law of jāhiliyyah, placing in the process his own desires, or those of a particular community or generation, above God’s law? What can he say if, in spite of this, he still claims to be a Muslim? What is his justification: circumstances, events, people’s unwillingness, or fear of the enemy? Were all these not known to God when He commanded Muslims to implement His law and follow His way of life and never be tempted away from any part of His revelations? Or does he justify his attitude by claiming that God’s law does not cater for new needs and new situations? Were these needs and situations not known to God when He made this very stern warning?”
The opportunity that presents itself to the ummah today as the world order falters must be seized upon through the instruction of these noble verses. If we are to shy away, for one reason or another, from calling for and working towards the return of Islamic rule, then we would have lost both our akhirah and the justice and harmony in this world that would naturally result from implementing our Creator’s system of governance. The Prophet (ﷺ) is indeed our greatest example in staying steadfast upon the divine course despite the offers presented to him by the power brokers, despite the criticism by family members and the wider society, and despite the intimidation and persecution meted out by his enemies. Indeed, nothing concerned him (ﷺ) save the preservation of the pure divine message which would ultimately elevate humanity.
Occupied East Turkistan (Xinjang- west China) has been going through an intensification of repression by the Chinese regime. All things Islam are being criminalised, from Hijab, the beard, to prayer. Muslims are being rounded up in mass concentration camps, Muslim women are forced to marry Chinese men, organs forcefully harvested, and historic mosques totally destroyed. Such is the situation of the Ummah when we are left without the shield of the Khilafah, as described by Rassulallah (ﷺ). When the shield was present, we recall the fear the Muslims instilled into the Chinese rulers. The History of al-Tabari narrates the time the Muslims went to China.
The Muslim commander Qutaybah bin Muslim Al-Bahilee opened Turkestan – the West of Central Asia and opened its two major cities, Samarkand and Bukhara, in 94 AH, and then he turned towards the east until he reached Kashgar, which in those times was the capital of East Turkestan, which China now calls Xinjiang, and he completed its opening in the year 95 AH. He then stopped at the gates of China. This is where we pickup from in ‘The History of al-Tabari’
“Qutaybah penetrated far, until he drew near to China. The king of China wrote to Qutaybah, ‘send to us one of the nobles who are with you, that he may tell us about you and we may ask him about your religion.’ Qutaybah chose twelve from his army from assorted tribes, good-looking, beefy men, eloquent, hirsute, and brave, this being after he had asked about them and found them to be the best of those from among them in wisdom.” Al-tabari continues to describe how Qutayba then “ordered that they be well equipped with weapons, fine silk, embroidered garments, soft delicate white clothing, sandals, and perfume.” Qutaybah then mounted them on fine horses.
One of the delegates, Hubayrah al-Kilabi, was asked by Qutayba, “O Hubayrah, how are you going to conduct this?” Hubayrah replied that he would do as Qutaybah wished. Qutaybah then instructed “Go with God’s blessing; through God comes success. Do not remove your turbans until you reach the King’s country. When you enter into his presence, inform him that I have sworn that I shall not depart until I tread on their land, seal (take captives) the necks of their kings, and collect their tax.”
“When they arrived, the king sent to them, summoning them. They bathed and emerged wearing white clothes with tunics underneath, they applied perfume, put on sandals and fine outer garments and entered into the king’s presence; with him were high ranking officials of his kingdom. They sat down, and neither the king nor any of those with him spoke to them, the Muslims then stood and left. The king said to those who were present with him, ‘what do you make of these people?’ They said, ‘we think they are people who are nothing but women…’
“On the next day the king sent for them, and they wore embodied garments, fine turbans, and matarif and went to him in the morning. When they entered into his presence, they were told, ‘return.’ The king then asked his officials, ‘what do you think of this attire?’ They said, ‘this attire is more like the attire of men than the first one was. They are indeed men.’
“On the third day the king sent for them, and they strapped on their weapons, wore their head mail and helmets, girded themselves with their swords, took up their spears, shouldered their bows, mounted their horses, and went to him in the morning. The king of China looked at them, and he saw what resembled mountains advancing. When they drew to him, they fixed their spears into the ground. Then they advanced towards the king and his officials, tucking up their garments. Before they could enter, they were told to return because of the fear that had entered the hearts of the king and his officials.
“They departed; they mounted their horses, pulled up their spears, and urged on their horses, as if pursuing one another with them. The king said to his officials, ‘what do you think of them?’ They said, ‘We have never seen the like of these.’ In the evening the king sent a message to them: ‘send me your leader, the worthiest of you as a man.’ They sent Hubayrah to him. When Hubayrah reached the king, the king said to him, ‘you have seen the might of my dominion and that no one can protect you from me while you are in my country. You are in the position of an egg in the palm of my hand. I am going to ask you about something, and , if you do not tell me the truth, I shall kill you,’ Hubayrah said, ‘Ask!’ The king then said, ‘why did you do what you did with your dress on the first, second and third days?’ Hubayrah then replied, ‘ as for the first day, that is what we wear among our families, as for the second day, that is what we wear when we go to our amirs. As for the third day, that is our dress for our enemies, when we are provoked, we dress thus.’ ”
The dress turned out to be a symbol of the three options given to the inhabitants of the land whom the Muslims wish to conquer, namely: 1. Accept Islam and be part of our family, 2. Pay the jizyah and accept to be ruled by Islam (political dress), 3. War.
The king then asked Hubayrah to ” ‘depart to your master and tell him to depart, for I know his greed/excessive desire and the small number of his companions; otherwise I shall send against you someone who will destroy both you and him.’ Hubayrah then said, ‘ How can one whose front cavalry are in your land, while the last of them are in places where the olive trees grow, be said to have a small number of companions? How can one who has left the world behind him, under his control, and has campaigned against you, be charged with greed/excessive desire? As for your attempt to scare us with being killed. We have allotted life spans; when their ends come about, the noblest of them involves being killed. We do not dislike that, nor do we fear it.’ The king then asked ‘what then will satisfy your master(Qutaybah)?’ Hubayrah answered, ‘He has sworn an oath that he will not depart until he trends on your land, seals(take captives) your kings, and is given tax.’
“The King then offered, ‘we shall extricate/release him from his oath. We shall send some soil from the soil of our land, so that he may tread on it; we shall send him some of our sons so that he can seal their necks; and we shall send him some tax, so that he may be pleased with it.’ the narrator then said that he called for some dishes of gold with soil in them, and he sent silk and gold and four young men from amongst his sons of their kings, he gave them leave to depart and presented them with gifts, and they went off and reached Qutaybah with what the king had sent. Qutaybah accepted the tax, sealed the necks of the king’s sons and returned them, and trod on the soil.”
Today, the Chinese regime knows that the commander of the 2nd righteous Khilafah will not accept such an offer, especially given that they have waged a war of genocide against the Muslims of East Turkestan.
In a time where the use of reason without bounds is sacrosanct amongst the dominating global cultural order, the following verses accompanied with their commentary in Tafsir ibn Katheer is an apt reminder of the rightful place and limits that reason or logic has in Islam. (more…)
Below is a Question that was sent through to the Ameer of Hizb ut-Tahrir, our eminent scholar Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah
Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem
My Honourable Respected Brother, Ameer of Hizb ut Tahrir, May Allah protect you. (more…)
The Day of al-Isra wal Mi`raj and the Recapture of al-Quds
After the success of capturing Ascalon (southern Palestine) and the areas around al-Quds, Salahudeen al-Ayubi proceeded to finally take al-Quds itself. Beha ad-Deen recounts that Salahuddeen followed the advice of the Prophet (saw) when he said: “He to whom the door of success has been opened must take his opportunity and enter in, for he knows not when the door may close on him.”
The 1967 “six-day-war” is often considered to have demonstrated the Jewish entity’s (“Israel”) military strength over Arab forces. “Israel” single-handedly and decisively defeated three neighbouring Arab powers – Egypt, Syria and Jordan – within a span of just six days. However, a closer look at the events that occurred before and during the war demonstrates that “Israel” did not necessarily win the war due to military superiority. As shown in the table below, the “Israelis” were not even close to matching the military strength of the Muslims.
Table 1: Comparison of “Israeli” and Arab military strength in 1967
Ahron Bregman provides the above comparison in his book Israel’s Wars and says, “the Arab armies had clear superiority both in human and material resources.” Therefore, we need to look at what went wrong on the Arab side that led to their defeat – in six short days – despite having clear military advantage.
Nasser’s false show of strength
In the build-up to the war a lot of anti-“Israeli” rhetoric came out of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s tongue. However, it was all mere political posturing devoid of any real intention to fight the Jewish entity. According to the then-Chief of Staff, General Fawzi, “Abdel Nasser did not want a war with Israel. Abdel Nasser was thinking of his image in the Arab world. So he put on a show of strength using the armed forces…”
The following points testify to the veracity of General Fawzi’s words:
- Although Nasser made it seem like an Egyptian strike on the Jewish entity was imminent, all his troops near the Sinai border were positioned in a defensive manner.
- His order to the UN troops that were deployed along the Egyptian border after the Suez crisis to withdraw from their posts was only partial. He did not order the withdrawal of the UN troops from either Gaza or Sharm el Sheikh, the harbour that controls passage through the Straits of Tiran, which is of vital national interest to “Israel”. However all the UN troops had to leave because the UN Secretary General at the time, U Thant, wanted that either all the troops should stay or they should leave all together.
- Although Nasser announced the closure of the Straits of Tiran soon after the UN troops left, which served as “Israel’s” casus belli for attacking Egypt, the Straits were never really physically blocked, before or during the war. Ahron Bregman states regarding Nasser’s blockade of the Straits, “It is a puzzling but little-known fact that Egyptian troops never blocked the Straits, which remained open before and throughout the crisis.”
- Nasser did not want to attack “Israel” first but rather wanted to wait for them to attack first despite knowing very well that it would be fatal for Egyptian forces and would give “Israel” a clear advantage. On hearing Nasser’s decision to wait for an “Israeli” first strike the commander of the Egyptian air force, General Sudki Mahmoud, protested that it “will be crippling…It will cripple the armed forces.”
- On 5 June 1967 the Jewish entity launched a successful air strike against the Egyptian air force in the Sinai. The Egyptian pilots were caught off guard and the attack destroyed 298 planes, most of which were on the ground. However, the ease with which “Israel” crushed the Egyptian air force in its very first strike was only possible because the radar system in Egypt was shut down when the attack took place. Right at the time when the “Israeli” air strike began, co-incidentally or otherwise, Marshal Amer and the War Minister Shams el-Din Badran, accompanied by the entire command of the Egyptian armed forces, were also in an aeroplane on their way to the Sinai to inspect the Egyptian units and the radar system had to be shut down to prevent their plane being shot down by mistake. This reckless act by the Egyptian authorities was more than mere incompetence because they were very well aware that an “Israeli” attack was imminent and were expecting the “Israeli’s” to attack first any moment, as mentioned earlier.
- With the air force crippled, the Egyptian forces in the Sinai eventually had to retreat. However, the Egyptian authorities made their troops retreat in a very haphazard and disorganised manner which further added to their loss. Ahron Bregman says about the manner of the Egyptian retreat, “A skilfully conducted step-by-step withdrawal could have saved lives, or at least proved less costly, but in the event the retreat was very disorderly…The end result was disastrous – for while 2,000 Egyptian troops were killed fighting the Israelis, 10,000 perished in the retreat.”
Jordan & Syria
Regarding Jordan, we must remember that the ruling dynasty was put in place by the British after the First World War. Jordan did not put up any serious fight against “Israel” in the 1948 war, as it seems they could not move against “Israel” without the approval of Britain. This was demonstrated in the 1948 war when King Abdullah’s intention was to capture the West Bank only. Upon hearing this, the British Foreign Minister Bevin told the King’s Prime Minister, “It seems the obvious thing to do. But don’t go and invade the areas allotted to the Jews.”
King Hussein was no different to his grandfather King Abdullah and the liberation of Palestine was never on his agenda. Rather, the real cause that led him to join the war against “Israel” in 1967 can be described by the words of Walt Rostow, the Special Assistant to the then-US President Lyndon Johnson. Rostow writes in a memorandum to President Johnson on 15 Nov 1966 complaining against an “Israeli” attack on Jordan:
“They’ve wrecked a good system of tacit cooperation between Hussein and the Israelis. We had his tacit agreement to keep his armor off the west bank of the Jordan, and he had made an honest effort to round up terrorists in Jordan. Continuing this kind of cooperation will be all but impossible now…They’ve undercut Hussein. We’ve spent $500 million to shore him up as a stabilizing factor on Israel’s longest border and vis-a-vis Syria and Iraq. Israel’s attack increases the pressure on him to counter attack not only from the more radical Arab governments and from the Palestinians in Jordan but also from the Army, which is his main source of support and may now press for a chance to recoup its Sunday losses.”
As for the Syrians, they declared defeat even before the combat started. An article published in Time magazine on 1 September 1967 reports:
“… just as Israel gathered its armor to scale the Golan Heights, Syria prudently announced that it had agreed to the U.N. ceasefire.”
The same article mentions further:
“Ironically, the Syrians themselves hastened the Israeli victory. In an effort to pressure the United Nations into enforcing a ceasefire, Damascus Radio undercut its own army by broadcasting the fall of the city of El Quneitra three hours before it actually capitulated. That premature report of the surrender of their headquarters destroyed the morale of the Syrian troops left in the Golan area. Within only 27 hours, at a cost of 115 killed and 322 wounded, v. 1,000 Syrian dead, countless wounded and 600 captured, the Israelis were masters of Golan Heights.”
How 1967 shaped debates about Palestine
“Israeli” minister Yigal Allon wrote on the eve of the 1967 attack: “In … a new war, we must avoid the historic mistake of the War of Independence  … and must not cease fighting until we achieve total victory, the territorial fulfillment of the Land of Israel” (emphasis added).
By the end of the war, “Israeli” troops were less than 50 km from Amman, 60 km from Damascus and 110 km from Cairo. “Israel” had seized the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula, which provided “Israeli” cities with a buffer zone against attacks from neighbouring countries.
Since then, subsequent engagements between “Israel” and the Muslim world – whether in the military form, such as the 1973 war, or in the form of “peace talks” – have been around how much of the land seized by “Israel” during the war should it give up. For example, Muslim leaders now openly call for the two-state solution creating a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders. Such debates only serve to normalise and make invisible the initial wrong of planting “Israel” in the heart of the Muslim world through violence and mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes.
A history of betrayals
Palestine was betrayed not just in the 1967-war, but also in the prior 1958-war, ostensibly fought to liberate Palestine, and the 1973 Yom Kippur war, which only paved the way for then Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat to make peace with “Israel”. Therefore, ignoring the rhetoric and judging by actions, liberation of Palestine does not seem to have been on the agenda of Muslim rulers.
Likewise, today we cannot be complacent about the empty rhetoric of Muslim leaders as they react to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as “Israel’s” capital. There is hardly anything of substance that these Muslim rulers have done for Palestine. In fact, in the recent OIC summit in Turkey held in response to Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as “Israel’s” capital, OIC members have renewed their support for the establishment of a Palestinian state “on the borders of 4 June 1967” and reaffirmed their “attachment to the just and comprehensive-peace based on the two-state solution”.
Quite clearly, then, the OIC continues to legitimise the existence of “Israel” as an occupying force in the heart of the Muslim world. Therefore, any “action” the OIC takes can only be superficial that does not properly address the root cause of the suffering of the Palestinians.
Recently a Saudi TV presenter, Nadine Albudair, posted a controversial tweet in which she called for women to lead prayers and stand side by side with men. She wrote, “It’s from religious progression to stand in prayer with men, or in front of them, not behind them in the back rows. Islam is a religion of equality.”
This piece seeks to explore how the human mind works when it comes to the perception of wealth and luxuries.
Many people exert much effort and spend much time dreaming of a bigger house, or a nicer car, or a newer phone, or a faster computer and so on. But the problem is that for the human mind it doesn’t matter what you get, because in the end your brain will grow accustomed to it and it will be as plain in your eyes as any wrinkly old shirt in your closet.
As Burmese military and paramilitary forces unleash the barbaric acts of violence on the Rohingya Muslims, it once again begs the question of why states and international organisations usually seem so utterly incapable (or perhaps reluctant) to help people who are oppressed in the most brutal of ways. Despite their relative inaction, these states and organisations still seem to maintain a self-image of moral propriety. Perhaps this tenuous image is partially sustained by a discourse of “human rights”. However, despite being imagined as a driving force of global good, a “human rights” discourse often paradoxically acts as a cover for political incompetency and/or ideological agendas.
Civilians, including children, are reported to have been killed in Iraq in separate airstrikes involving the Australian Defence Force. (more…)