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Is there a Divine ‘Method’ to Re-Establish the Caliphate (Khilafah)? – Part II

The final aspect of the method is the issue of Nusrah (help from those with ability to change the system), which is self-evident given the correct circumstances. However, to claim that Nusrah is part of the method in that binding for all situations is false; firstly because there is no corroborative evidence, secondly under certain situation seeking Nusrah may be virtually impossible. For example, a dictatorial hostile regime would place its loyal family members in key positions, and the regime may have a zero tolerance for dissidents. This is the case in many parts of the Islamic world, thus naturally the failure of Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) to attain Nusrah over the last 60 years.

Furthermore, even someone in a position of Nusrah became convinced of the HT method, that individual would feel obligated to resign, as according to HT, one cannot be part of a hostile regime ruling by non-Islamic laws. Alternatively, if the person remained in the key position, he would be committing grievous sin, thus would not be trustworthy for giving Nusrah. This nullifies the ability to attain Nusrah and it seems HT has created a no-win situation on this issue.

Non-violent Change

The Liberation Party facing pressure in the post 9/11 climate has deliberately misconstrued the relationship between Nusrah and the use of force, with the constant claim that it is a non-violent party seeking peaceful change; political upheavals are never peaceful and to use the example of the first Islamic State is misleading. If one looks into the details, the tribes in Medina were ready for battle and willing to take on anyone who challenged the authority of the Prophet (SAW) as He entered Medina, and the second pledge given to the Prophet (SAW) by the 12 from Medina included the pledge to fight. Thus, violence was intrinsically linked to the Nusrah of Medina even though it did not occur, but that is incidental. Any change of system in the current times would involve fighting, unless the authority gave up power willingly, but that is something one cannot determine or enforce.

In terms of precise evidence for changing the non-Islamic System to an Islamic one, the closest evidence is found in the Hadiths, which makes explicit references to changing a ruler by the sword if he deviates from the Caliphate. This is used by the Jihad orientated groups. The obvious implication is to use force to restore the caliphate and all the current secular states are in a deviated state. Note, the wording suggests the use of force is a way of bringing change, but not so decisive that this is the only method to re-establish the Caliphate.

Obligation and Method

It is unfortunate that HT has used dubious logic to reinforce the notion that a binding method exists for all obligations. They argue prayer is an obligation and there is a method to pray, accordingly there must be a method to fulfil the obligation of re-establishing the Islamic state. In reality, the so-called method is part of the definition of the obligation; hence taking the example of prayer, it is defined as consisting of a set of specific actions. Likewise for fasting, the method to fast is part of its definition, it means abstaining from food, water and sex for certain duration.

In some cases the method to perform a specific obligation is separate from the obligation itself, but there is no rule to say this has to be defined. The principle of the method is not from the books of Islamic Jurisprudence. Note these examples to clarify the point even further –

  • It is obliged to fight the enemy in the battlefield but the method to fight the enemy is not defined. It is left to the people to use the appropriate means available to them.

  • It is obligatory to cut the hand of the thief but the method is not defined. One can use a sword, and axe or some other sharp object.

  • Likewise, it is obliged to re-establish the state but the method has not been defined and nobody re-established the state during the time of the Prophet, hence it has been left to the people.

  • This final example actually proves the point even further. It is obligatory to call the people to pray. The method was not defined initially and the companions with the Prophet (SAW)did not say we have to wait for the revelation to clarify the matter as there is a principle that every obligation must have a method - instead they began to consider the various methods to call people to prayer, until the revelation came to specify the Adhan.

Hence, in some cases the method or the physical acts required to fulfill an obligation is elaborated within the definition of the obligation, in other cases it is left for us to decide.

What is the right method then?

The short answer is there is none, this has been left for us to determine depending on the situation. There is no explicit text that states you must undertake these sets of actions to re-establish the state, and there is no historical precedence for this, it is really uncharted territories. This is further reinforced the principle of Ibaha, which states that all acts in origin are permissible until the text has forbidden it. So one can use charitable work or missionary type of work, but not acts like adultery to re-establish of the caliphate.

In Islamic law, things that change with the lapse of time are defined in more general term, hence the verse permits trade but does not specify what you are permitted to trade in, as this will change with time and place. Similarly, nature of society has changed significantly since the time of Mecca and different circumstances will require different sets of actions. As stated earlier that Mecca did not respond but Medina did even though bulk of the evidence and effort was focused in Mecca. Thus, leaving the method to re-establish the Caliphate undefined conforms to Islamic principles and the reality of the issue.

The Liberation Party activists argue that the core elements of society have remained the same, the presence of individuals, political authority and a system governing the various relationships; however, this is an oversimplification of the problem and naive. In a tribal society, the power resides with the tribal leaders, whereas in a modern nation state it is far more complex with various facets. Therefore, to bring about a change to a nation state will require a radically different approach. For example, in the context of the current times, it is almost a pre-requisite for mass support, thus one may have to resort to agitating the masses to create a mass revolution, which may eventually turn out to be bloody as one cannot control how these things will turn out. But where is the evidence that we can agitate the masses to revolt and overturn the system, if Nusrah is the only way to bring about change? Medina did not involve mass agitation; rather it was the product of the people in key position being convinced of the call of Islam and finding it as a good solution to their endless feuds.

We are often confronted with enthusiastic members of Liberation Party (Hizb-ut-Tahrir) bordering on being a zealot, laying claim to the method as being sacred and proven. The reality testifies otherwise.

Yamin Zakaria (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
London, UK

Last modified on Monday, 06 May 2013 09:51

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