Nothing in life is of greater importance to the Mu’min (believer) than to seek the pleasure of the Creator (swt). It is He that created man from nothing and He that commands the utmost respect and worship in all our actions. As Allah (swt) commanded:
“I have not made the man or jinn except as a worship unto Me” [TMQ 51:56]
Allah (swt) not only created man, but also made within us the capacity to think and respond to our instincts. We have the choice of doing right or wrong, of following the Supreme’s guidance or descending into falsehood, the criterion solely defined by Allah (swt):
“Follow what is revealed to you from your Lord. And Allah is aware of all things you do” [TMQ 33:2] and
“Then we set you upon a way (Shari’ah) by which your purpose will be fulfilled: so follow this way and not the whims of those who have no knowledge” [TMQ 45:18]
The following and full implementation of this Shari’ah is the greatest challenge facing the Muslims of today, indeed without this application of Islam to life’s affairs, we cannot say we are living by Islam. The sham of corruption characterised by the systems of disbelief which are implemented throughout the Muslim world must come to an end for us to achieve this noble goal. But as long as the Muslim Ummah stays silent the tyrants will continue to steal the authority to rule that Allah (swt) granted to the Ummah. And as long as the sincere or active Muslims waste their time in side issues defining acts of charity, or welfare, education, healthcare provision or even the individual military struggle as the solution to our political problems then we will delay the achievement of our key political goal – the re-establishment of the Khilafah.
Signs of Revival
No one can deny that there is a great upsurgence in interest in Islam. East and West alike are clamouring to understand the Islamic law and see how it will affect them. Islam is talked about in the corridors of power in Washington, London and Paris as much as Muslims are seeking guidance and knowledge in the Deen and wondering how Islam will solve their day to day problems in Damascus, Istanbul or Lahore. People point to the number of Muslim women in the streets wearing Hijab as a sign of revival, or the number of men clamouring to pray the obligatory Friday prayers as another sign of Islamic resurgence. Whilst these obligations must be fulfilled by the Muslims and the signs that ever increasing numbers are practising Islam individually is encouraging, it is not the full picture or sole objective. Islam must dominate not only the personal lives of Muslims but also the public society at large.
In this way the growing uneasiness with the systems of kufr dominating Muslims lands, the outpouring of feeling and movement for Islamic issues such as in Algeria, Egypt, Bosnia, Kashmir and Palestine are signs that the Muslims are looking only to Islamic solutions. The non-Muslims of course are seeking to divert such sentiment and action towards weak nationalist or secular solutions which will lead to further misery and are haram (forbidden) in any event.
Perhaps the greatest single sign of Islamic revival is the increasing attention paid to the Islamic movement in the world and in the Muslim world in particular. The threat to the western ideology is coming from those struggling to implement Islam radically, that work tirelessly for a full implementation of the Islamic system and not those propping up the ailing secular regimes who legitimise their rule by joining them in government, or work to solve the social and economic failings of the governments through social and charitable works without even the mandate or authority of the people. Increasing attention is being brought to bear to divide the Ummah along imaginary fundamentalist and moderate lines where those that adhere strictly to the commands and prohibitions of Allah are labelled fundamentalist or extremist and those prepared to compromise with western systems (laws) and ways are moderate.
What is sure is the promise of Allah (swt) to all that adhere to the word of Allah and struggle in His cause:
“Allah has promised to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that of a certainty He will cause them to accede to power on earth, as He granted it to those before them, that He will establish in authority their Deen which He has chosen for them, and that He will change (their state) after the fear in which they lived, to one of security and peace: They will worship Me (alone) and not ascribe powers to any beside Me” [TMQ 24:55]
The Basis for Revival
Islam is based upon one main fixed idea, the comprehension of one Creator (Allah (swt)) and complete submission to Allah. This submission means that all reference for life’s affairs must be directed to Allah (swt) for judgement, whether our prayers, fasting, relations with our families or non-muslims and political, or economic matters. The central pillars of faith (belief in Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, His books, the Day of judgement and Divine fate and destiny) form the basis of all our actions. Therefore we refer only to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw) as revelation (Wahy) and the sources derived from these, Ijma (consensus) of the Sahaba and Qiyas (divine analogy) for guidance. Whilst no Muslim enters the Deen without full rational conviction in the articles of belief (Aqeeda) the adoption of laws and the adherence to them are compulsory regardless of whether the believer fully understands them or not.
“And they say: We hear and we obey” [TMQ 2:285]
Indeed the Shari’ah is applied to all (Muslims and non-muslims) regardless of belief.
Islam uniquely bridges the confusion between belief and action or doctrine and systems. The human must determine the correct basis (creed or doctrine) and then base the system or his actions upon that provided by the law. The law provided by Wahy (revelation) is that which governs all actions whether personal or societal, whether ritual worships or international politics and of course even the issue of revival itself. The following of text is an intellectual process which leads to revival, provided the Islamic methodology is used. By Islamic methodology we mean the process of Ijtihad where the scholar applies the Islamic text to the situation after a rigorous process of verification of the problem (Tahkeek al Manat) and then applying the appropriate Shari’ah evidence, and solution to the problem. This is completely different from the west where they derive the solution from the problem, so for example a law is brought to curb drink driving without examining the nature of the problem or whether drinking itself is not the real problem. In the Muslim world today we suffer from corrupt scholars that bring a solution to satisfy the West and then text is sought to justify the answer, as we saw when Ibn Baz sought to justify the invasion of the US forces into the Hijaz during the Gulf war, or potentially even worse where the correct process of Ijtihad is not followed and so called scholars bring daleel (evidence) without following classical Ijtihad. More damaging because the true revival based upon the clear cut evidences is inevitably delayed.
It is also worth stressing that true revival is not based upon economic or moral progress. Whilst many Muslim countries enjoy great wealth – Brunei, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait – they remain declined because they do not adopt an ideology which is intellectually based and implement it. Similarly even though many cities of the west portray worst morals than say Medina, they are further ahead because their people have adopted a belief and implement the system derived from it.
The Prophet’s (saw) Method of Establishing Islam
Our methodology for revival follows the Prophet (saw) no other example exists for the establishment of the Islamic state, and furthermore this is of the Fard (compulsory) actions as Allah (swt) commands:
“So judge between them by whatever Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, diverting you from the truth that has come to you” [TMQ 5:52]
The command to rule or judge by Islam is repeated many times in the Qur’an and is indicated to be compulsory through the practice of RasoolAllah (saw). This is not a preferable (Mandoub) matter but an issue of life and death for the Ummah as can be seen by the disastrous consequences we live in – without the Khilafah (Islamic state).
In summary the Prophet (saw) undertook several key steps to establish the first Islamic state:
1. He (saw) formed a political group (the companions)
2. His movement were well cultured and developed a strong Islamic personality
3. They interacted forcibly with the society, not militarily but intellectually and politically to bring down the existing corrupt system through building a strong public opinion for Islam
4. He (saw) approached the tribes and influential people in order that they support him (saw) and his group and to actually transfer power from the existing system.
Any serious attempts at revival must be based upon this methodology, it is from the Sunnah and not from man’s mind or imagination.
The Need for Political Movements
Allah (swt) commands in Surah al-Imran:
“There should be from among you an ummah (band(s) of people) inviting to the good (Khayr), commanding what is right (ma’ruf) and forbidding what is wrong (munkar). Those are they who are the successful” [TMQ 3:104]
The word ummah in this Ayah does not refer to the global body of Muslims most commonly used but a political movement. Imam Qurtubi in his book, Tafsir Ahkam al-Qur’an defined the word ummah in this verse as a group or band or party, as the verse states ‘min kum’ (among you) and the group is from amongst the total Ummah. The requirement is a Fard of sufficiency as there should always be such a group, or groups as the verse states ‘Those are they who are successful’ and does not refer to the group in the singular. The functioning of the group must be for the same purpose as Muhammad’s companions with the same intention and with the same approach, i.e. to invite to Islam (call to Khayr) and aiming to look after the affairs of the people, which is the meaning of politics. Imam Fairuz al-Abadi said that looking after the affairs of the citizens means ordering and forbidding them (commanding ma’ruf and forbidding munkar). Therefore the group(s) must be political in nature.
Changing a Corrupt Society to Islam
To change a people requires an intellectual elevation, people act based upon the beliefs they carry. To change a society requires a change in their beliefs, relations and the system governing them. The Prophet (saw) and his companions targeted this specifically, but to achieve the victory would require a supreme effort against great difficulty. The loss of many early Muslims through torture and oppression bears testimony to the difficulties they faced. To prepare themselves for the struggle the Prophet (saw) cultured his companions deeply, this formed what was known as the cultural or first stage. They used to study late into the night not only the belief but also a unique way of learning and thinking – to refer solely to Islam for all matters and to develop a deep creative political mentality. That the Prophet (saw) could develop so many great companions with such strong statesmanlike qualities was a great tribute to their commitment and approach to Islam. Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr was just one example of those that were so developed and had such a startling affect in Madina in only one short year, prior to the establishing of the state there. After a period in which the culture was well ingrained within the Muslims of the group and the personality was
totally Islamic the command came to approach the da‘wah in a most public and challenging manner, this was critical in order to confront the corrupt systems and thoughts dominating the society of the time – the same kufr thoughts dominating the world today.
“Therefore, proclaim that which you are commanded, and turn away from the polytheist. Verily, we are sufficient unto you against those that scoff” [TMQ 15:94-95]
Interaction with Society
The open challenge to the Kufr system that was initiated by the Prophet (saw) was waged for nearly 10 years until an Islamic state was established in Medina. The location of the state wasn’t known to the Prophet, nor was the time of it’s establishment, there was only a complete submission towards this goal and a clear cut method which was followed to achieve the victory that Allah (swt) had promised. The famous du’a that RasoolAllah (saw) made when returning from Taif summarised his attitude and commitment to the call:
“O Allah! To you I proclaim my weakness, little resource, and lowliness before man. O Most Merciful! You are the Lord of the weak, and you are my Lord. To whom would you confide me? To one afar who will misuse me? If you are not angry with me I care not. Your favour is wider for me. I take refuge in the light of your countenance by which the darkness is illuminated, and the things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest your anger descend upon me or your wrath light upon me. It is for you to be satisfied until you are well pleased. There is no power and no might save in you.”
The Prophet (saw) had travelled alone to Taif to invite them to Islam and to ask for support in establishing the Islamic state, he was rejected outright and even children were sent to stone him until the blood ran to his feet. He (saw) did not mind, his sole concern was to adhere to the methodology set out for him and his group (companions) to establish Islam. “If you are not angry with me I care not” – meaning no matter what the kuffar felt or how they responded of necessity the Prophet (saw) was solely concerned to follow the Islamic way he was guided to by Allah (swt). And yet some Muslims today at even the slightest problem retreat to their homes and refuse to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet in going to the people on mass to invite them to the deen and to establish Allah’s law.
The open stage was characterised by certain key points:
1. The Muslims took every opportunity to propagate Islam publicly – the call to Quraysh at Mount Safa was one example, the demonstration of the Prophet’s group in encircling the Ka’aba which came after Allah’s command to “go and proclaim openly” another. Quraysh were shocked, Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated that they had never before seen such a demonstration. The call had to reach as many as possible, indeed as it must today.
2. The call was controversial and challenging. The nature of change in society requires that opposition thoughts must be broken down and thoroughly discredited in order that the way be cleared for the Islamic thought and way of life to come forward. The nature of the Qur’anic Ayah that were revealed during the Makkan period pointed the way and challenged the shallow unthinking minds of Quraish to wake up and consider what it was they worshipped, or followed as leaders, or how they bought, or married. In short the whole way of life was pointedly attacked, and furthermore the Muslims of today are mistaken if they think that change will come unless there is a rigorous intellectual attack upon capitalism, communism, or any other false ideology.
Their belief was attacked: “You and the idols you worship will be the fuel of jahannam” [TMQ ]
Their political system and leaders were attacked: “May the hands of Abu Lahab perish: Doomed he is. His wealth and his gains shall not avail him. He shall be plunged in a flaming fire…” [TMQ 111: 1-5]
Their economic system was attacked: “Hell to the Mutaffifeen, who take in full what they buy, and who reduce the weight when they sell” [TMQ 83:1-2]
Even their social customs were attacked: “You shall not kill your children for fear of want. We will provide for them and for you” [TMQ 17:31]
Always the challenge linked the people back to the aqeeda, imploring them to adopt Islam and reject the corruption around them.
These Ayah and the vigorous passing of the Islamic call created great controversy and hardship but ultimately raised the profile of the Muslims in the whole of the Arab peninsula. The false gods, systems and creeds of today must also be exposed and the message of Islam must be prominently brought forward.
The Muslims didn’t lose any opportunity to pass culture to the people and invite them to Islam. This open call forms the main pillar of the approach for the Islamic movement today.
Seeking Support to Establish the State
The Prophet (saw) did not only call to Islam and attack the corrupt systems and beliefs around him, he (saw) actively worked to establish the state by approaching those with the authority to rule, those in positions of authority or who could hand him authority – this is known as nussrah (support) and is a critical issue for the Islamic movement today. If one used an analogy of a pregnant women giving birth to a child as the birth of the Islamic state then it is easier to picture how the Prophet (saw) established the state in Medina. Just like the growth of the baby in the womb symbolises or shows the growth of interest and demand for Islam to be applied, the actual birth is the hardest stage. That birth could come through natural childbirth or it could require assistance like a caesarean section where the doctor intervenes to ensure the passage of the baby. While the Prophet was preparing society with his open call, there remained obstacles to the attainment of authority for Islam and ultimately a coup d’état was necessary. Many fail to recognise that the triumphant Hijra came at the end of a long struggle, one that will be necessary if we are to taste the same victory.
“Do they think they will be left to say: We believe without being tested? Surely We had tested those who came before them. Surely Allah will know who are faithful and who make a lie” [TMQ …]
Whilst the message of Islam was reaching wider and wider audiences the actual land or Dar which the Prophet (saw) needed to launch the system and from which he could carry it to mankind through invitation and jihad eluded him. He (saw) spent time approaching directly the heads of tribes and those in power around the Arab peninsula, asking directly for the support to rule by Islam. Islam could never be limited to a belief system and a few individual religious rituals, those that believed in it had to rule by it.
“If anyone rules by other than what Allah has revealed, they are disbelievers” [TMQ 5:44]
Many tribes were approached by the Prophet (saw) who was often accompanied by Abu Bakr (ra) who was an expert on the various tribes and Arab genealogy. One example suffices to prove this point. The Bani Amir bin Sa’ssah were approached and after many discussions ranging over Islam to their military strength it was determined that this tribe was sufficiently strong to be a launching point for the new state, and they were prepared to give the support to the Prophet (saw), however they put one condition in querying whether they would have the authority (rule from their tribe) after the Prophet (saw). The Prophet responded “that Allah gives the authority where he wills” and could not accept any compromise in the deen even when the Prophet and his companions were facing great hardship.
When the unequivocal support did come from the tribes of Aus and Khazraj from Yathrib (Medina) the Prophet showed clearly the importance of the planned coup in delivering the state. At the second pledge of Aqaba, late into the night He (saw) asked for 12 Naqeeb (leaders) from the tribes to come forward as it was they that were going to ensure the handing of power to him secretly and with full conviction in him and his message. When the Prophet (saw) did complete the Hijra to Medina, and was given the full authority, the forces of the previous tribal leaders were seen out in force the very next morning to defend their new leader and the new totally Islamic state. Even Abdullah ibn Ubaid al Salool later labelled as the head of the hypocrites of Madina recognised that power had been taken by military coup when he jealously said: “This has been planned in the night”.
The Prophet proved that there could be no state without authority and there could be no authority without building the support from those that could deliver power. It would be nice to think that in today’s world the ummah would come out on mass in the streets demanding the implementation of Islam and that the corrupt regimes will lay down and pass the power on, but in the absence of such a natural birth it is likely that the state will need the assistance of a sincere following from those of influence like the army.
The Practical Involvement Necessary Today
The above steps taken by the Prophet were not actions restricted only to himself. They were for his companions and are for the sincere Muslims of today to emulate. During history a number of scholars have tackled the problem of how we should respond were we not to have the Khilafah and have no Amir/Khaleefah. Imam Baghawi (circa 600ah) said that if there was no Khaleefah then the Muslims must follow the method of Muhammad (saw) in establishing the state in order to bring it back. Imam Juwainy (4th century AH) also mentioned this methodology. Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani the founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir is the only scholar since the decline of the Khilafah (post 1924) period to elaborate upon this methodology, furthermore in the party’s book “The Ruling System” he states:
“… the establishment of one Khaleefah is an obligation on all Muslims, this has been confirmed in the Hadith; reported by Imam Muslim on the authority of Nafi’ that the Messenger (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
”The one who removes his hand from obedience he will meet Allah without a proof for himself’ and Whosoever dies without a bay’ah on his neck dies the death of Jahiliyyah.” (Sahih Muslum)
To avoid being sinful for living without the authority of Islam in our midst it is vital that all Muslims work to establish the state, to at least cover themselves on the Day of Judgement.
The Islamic group(s) so necessary to follow the way established by the Prophet (saw) 1400 years ago is not a violent movement bent on terrorist tactics, or a charity that props up the corrupt system never touching the thoughts of the people or the system ruled over them. The sharp Islamic party of today must emulate the deep culturing process, the open challenge to all kufr thoughts and laws, and work to build support for such a call not only amongst the masses but with that small band of key people of support like the military that have the reigns of power and ultimate political revival within their grasp.
Note: This is an article I dug out which is from the 90s or early 2000s, which is relevant to Muslims today.