Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Hizb means party, (in this case) and Tahrir means liberation or freedom. These give us an idea that this is the party that will set us free, free from what?

This group are one of the most active groups in the country and are about to be banned for their views. They are in essence a political party focused upon one major issue and this is the only issue for the group. They desire to restore the Caliphate system that was abolished in 1924 at the end of the Ottoman Empire.

They say that the Muslim Umma is missing the caliphate and its in dire need of this at the moment. Establishing the Caliphate will solve all our problems and restore what’s been lost due to foreign ideologies that have entered Muslim countries.

Yet at their core of the activism of this group is politics not the religion, Islam is not a political party, its a religion and neither is it a an ideology.

They claim that Islam is an ideology, the dictionary definition is as follows, "Ideology: ideas at basis of economic or political theory or system." Can Islam fit into this definition, it cannot, as Islam is a religion and a way of life and it cannot be limited into one part and say this is Islam. So it cannot be and ideology and the word has a root to the word idea, ideas are for limited beings, Humans. Islam is not an idea it is a religion that cannot be separated into once section, at the same time we have Islamic instructions for trade in our Fiqh books.
Yet, this defintion fits the group perfectly, political theory, seen as this is all they seem to be concerned with.

Islam is not a political system, the first political party of the Muslims where the Shias and they are following in their footsteps. Slipping from the main body of Muslims forming a new group with radical ideas.

Personally, I have several questions that remain unanswered.

1. Who funds this group? They have several books and a magazine that are widely circulated, yet month after month the magazine is not sold. Many copies remain unsold can any business remain productive if their products are not being sold? Someone must be funding this group. They have lectures and other things that they give away free of charge, where is this money coming from? They have currently one person on a Masjid committee, this cannot be enough, can it?

2.They are mostly active in public Universities up and down the country, why just there? Have they been thrown out of their communities? This is the place that they have been attained success, from recruiting new members to propagating their ideas. Why would universities allow so-called radicals to be part of the fabric of the university, when they own the premises, in most cases, if not all.

3. Why do they encourage young speakers who have little or no background in Islamic education, to speak in lectures? This deserves some thought as it is counter-productive to say the least.

4. Recently they have hidden their lectures in anti-racist literature or events, this is why I no longer take any leaflets given to me outside any Masjid. Their name might not be displayed clearly but if you read the small print, you will find it.

5. Why is it the group place emphasis on the caliphate? When we are in dire need of Muslim citizens, we don’t jump to the top of the ladder, we start at the first step, lets start at the first step.

6. Islam has never been revived from politics, it can only be revived religiously not politically.

7. Everything that is un-Islamic to them is unbelief therefore unacceptable. As the last example explains the group has a Marxist influence, if we get our state, we'll be okay. This is of course rubbish we had the Ottoman caliphate in place when the French occupied Algeria and Tunisia, the British: Iraq and Egypt, during the 19th century, did it stop the invasion? It didn’t did it.

8. In the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) the focus was on establishing the religion not the state. So why has this changed now? When the religion was established then the caliphate came as a blessing and then later it was taken.

9. After the end of the Ottoman caliphate, we have seen Islam spread to countries that it never could before. 234% increase in the number of Muslim from 1924 - 1984.

10.Which caliphate do they accept? In one period of time there was three caliphs, all claiming that theirs was the correct claim. In the 10th century we had the Abbasid caliphate, the Shia Fatimid caliphate and the Spanish Umayyad Caliphate, which one do they follow? After the Abbasid caliphate was abolished by the Mongols it there was a gap until the next Sunni caliphate, that of the Ottomans was established. So in this time do they accept the Spanish caliphate which by now was ruled nominally and had broken into several parts.

Have they added to the debate? Well it is a reminder that the caliphate needs to re-established but we cannot do this through western ideologies, by giving them a Islamic covering, this will never work. We need to come to Islam first then establish that and if the caliphate comes it is a blessing. If we spend all our time trying to create awareness of the caliphate and have left some of our religion, what is the point? We have to start with the citizens and build from their the more we neglect this the worse our condition becomes. Hizb ut-Tahrir make a bad situation worse, our condition cannot be changed by a coup, it can only be changed if we practice. Only then can we move forward, otherwise we will keep bickering and that will get us nowhere.

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