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Friday, 10 April 2015

Elections 2015 – Message to the UK Muslim Community

Elections 2015 – Message to the Muslim Community: Neither Assimilate nor Isolate, Rather Interact with the Society According to Islamic Values



The 2015 UK elections are upon us. For Muslims, the climate in 2015 is very different to previous elections. Throughout 2014, the British press and political parties aggressively targeted Islamic beliefs and values on a host of issues, from halal meat to Islamic schools. 2015 started with the CTS Act becoming law, enforcing the ‘Prevent’ programme that aims to secularise Muslims in the name of ‘de-radicalisation’. Now, a new ‘counter extremism’ policy is on its way that will grant the state even greater powers to target Muslims.

These events have prompted Muslims to ask searching questions: why are the government and media so aggressive? What is the future for my children? Where is this all going? Even Muslims who once felt Britain had happily accommodated Islam are now questioning this view.

This election is therefore being fought at a time when Muslims are asking fundamental questions about their future. Whilst some still eagerly peddle the need to ‘vote’, their arguments have been debased by the hostility Muslims now suffer at the hands of the policies of all political parties and the failed track record of Muslim MPs.

It was only a matter of time before the Muslim community woke up to the disastrous state of politics in the UK. Political parties have created distrust, apathy, unhappiness and deep disappointment in the wider society. Trust in the political system is at a historic low, and people are deserting the system in their droves.

For the Muslim community – with its distinct beliefs and values – the political system continues to lose even greater credibility, as does the question of participation. There are now more pressing concerns facing Muslims about upholding Islam in this toxic climate and their future. In light of this, we raise four distinct points:

1. Our Priority: Upholding Islamic Values

Muslims in the UK must continue to ‘uphold Islam and become its ambassadors': to understand Islam, practice it, teach it, raise our children on it and – importantly – share it with the wider society. This includes supporting our Ummah and the solution to the devastation in the Muslim lands –Khilafah on the Prophetic method. Whilst this appears difficult in the current climate, it invites the pleasure of Allah (swt) for standing by His message.

Allah (swt) says: “And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” [Translated Meaning Quran Surah Fussilat: 33]

Our path is not to adopt or ‘assimilate’ into the UK’s secular liberal values and beliefs. If Muslims did this, they would go the way of other secularised religious communities and divorce themselves from a part of Islam itself – from its political, societal and economic aspects – eventually becoming no different from the west and suffering the same consequences: youth problems, family breakdown, sexual and social chaos. This is not an option for Muslims – as it means reneging on Islam and turning against the way of life prescribed by Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says: “And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” [Translated Meaning Quran Surah Ta-Ha: 124]

‘Upholding Islam’ however cannot be done through isolating ourselves – we must interact with others in the wider society, to present and clarify the Islamic message. So whilst Muslims reject ‘assimilation’, we must also reject ‘isolation’. We embrace ‘interaction’ with others on the Islamic basis, both within and outside our community.

Political participation however will not deliver this vision. In fact it will systematically move Muslims away from this vision into adopting liberal secular values that are at odds with Islam.

2. This Political Process Secularises the Community

The aim of encouraging Muslims to participate in the secular politics of Westminster is to see Muslims endorse and adopt this non-Islamic secular political system, its values and policies.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Problem with gradualism: Egypts military coup highlights the problem with this methodology

Until the overthrow of President Morsi in Egypt this week, many supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB)  approach would point at the great successes of the Muslim Brotherhood since its inception.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s method of returning to a wholly Islamic system and establishing Khilafah has been termed gradualism.

 “Gradualism here refers to preparing people ideologically, psychologically, morally, and socially to accept and adopt the application of the Shariah in all aspects of life, and to finding lawful alternatives for the forbidden principles upon which many associations have been founded for so long.” (Yusuf al Qardawi, OnIslam.com).

This argument is predicated on the principle that Islam was not revealed to Prophet Muhammed (saw) in its entirety at the advent of Islam, therefore any aspect can be used as evidence for this methodology. In particular examples of prayer, fasting and the prohibition of alcohol are used. So Allah (swt) gave people the Shariah step by step and likewise if it is to be reintroduced, that is how it should be done. Human beings then decide how and when the Shariah is to be implemented.

The institutions of Egypt did not fall when Hosni Mubarak fell, and Morsi faced opposition from the country’s judiciary, media and police. He was not able to reform these institutions.    The country faced an unprecedented economic crisis which he was ill equipped to tackle. His secular political opponents were dismissive of his democratic credentials and his quasi-Islamic political opponents were dismissive of his Islamic credentials. Progress would have challenged the most experienced and talented political leader with the institutions of state on his side. His failure was predictable.

So what of the “gradual” approach? There are conceptual and Islamic legislative flaws.

1.  The Misunderstanding of the purpose of politics in Islam.

The purpose of politics is to tend to the affairs of people. Islam sets forth political and economic principles and detailed rules to address societal problems.
Egypt faces a critical economic crisis as well as problems with security, political corruption and sectarianism. By looking towards capitalist economic solutions (such as an IMF loan and structural reform) to address Egypt’s economic turmoil, the government ingrained the view that capitalism has the correct ideas to turn the Egyptian economy around. If Islam will not work in a crisis, when will it work?

The idea that problems can be solved with non-Islamic solutions in order for Islam to be eventually implemented is flawed. Confidence is built in Islamic solutions by seeing that they work, not that they can be abandoned in times of crisis. Any problem that is solved by referring to something other than Islam simply enforces the view that Islam is not really required, practical or desirable.

2. Gradualism enforces the belief that Islam is devoid of solutions.

Rather than this ideological view that Islam can solve the nations problems, the “Islamic” policy ideas were often counterintuitive and made problems worse.
The Egyptian government were seen to provide cheap electricity to Gaza while Cairo suffered power cuts; liberalisation of the Rafah border crossing was blamed for worsening security in Sinai and northern Egypt and the murder of Shia in their homes was widely reported and met with silence from the government. As the year went on, there were shortages of bread, petrol, electricity, water and unemployment rose while security deteriorated. The Egyptian government did not implement a single economic solution based on Islamic thought, yet they managed to give the impression that Islam had caused economic collapse. The Egyptian government did not implement a single policy to strengthen the unity of the country and the acceptance of minorities based on Islamic thought, yet they managed to allow the impression that Islam had caused sectarianism.

If their view of the gradual political implementation of Islam is a decision on when during your gradualism to ban alcohol and flog fornicators, they should not have taken power.

The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “The son of Adam has no better right than that he would have a house wherein he may live, a piece of clothe whereby he may hide his nakedness and a piece of bread and some water.” (Tirmidhi)

The Egyptian government failed to achieve these basic rights for the people of Egypt. When were they planning to get to this with their gradual methodology?

3. Being locked into a “fait accompli”.

After the fall of Mubarak, Egyptian society was divided regarding what system should govern the country. Rather than settling this question, Morsi carried on within the existing paradigm and constraints. So in reality, an American controlled secular system remained largely intact. Muslims came to power but Islam did not come to power. Subsequently, we saw ongoing political crisis as a divided society become even more polarised. This was a natural consequence of not settling that fundamental question.

As a result, Morsi was locked into a “lose-lose” reality, where all problems and challenges are blamed on Morsi and his “Islamisation”, whilst he has no power or ability to really bring about Islamic solutions outside of the current system and its failures.

In reality, his inability to rule by Islam from the first instance, has created a fait accompli – which unravelled last week, leading to his removal military coup and the subsequent claim that Islam is unfit for governance. A better case against Islam could not have been made by liberals and anti-islamic forces in Egypt!

4. Gradualism creates a trust deficit.

It was well known in Egypt that many supporters of the MB were hoping for the establishment of Khilafah with the knowledge that the current regime were not trying to achieve that.

The knowledge that your ultimate political objectives are very different from your current political policies ensures that you always operate under an air of suspicion. This characterised the last year of MB rule in Egypt as they were constantly accused of covert “Islamisation,” even when their policies were overtly secular.
So gradualism in government implies deception.

5.   The Qur’an specifically warns about the partial implementation of Allah’s (swt) systems.

وَالَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَفْرَحُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمِنَ الأَحْزَابِ مَن يُنكِرُ بَعْضَهُ قُلْ إِنَّمَا أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ اللّهَ وَلا أُشْرِكَ بِهِ إِلَيْهِ أَدْعُو وَإِلَيْهِ مَآبِ

Those to whom We have given the Book rejoice at what has been revealed to you: but there are among the clans those who reject a part thereof. Say: “I am commanded to worship Allah, and not to join partners with Him. Unto Him do I call, and unto Him is my return. (Surah Ar-Rad 13:36)
This ayah is in response to some of the tribes around Madinah at the time of the Prophet (saw) who had not accepted Islam. It advises the Prophet (saw) to confirm to them that He (saw) believes in all that has been revealed to him and to worship Allah (swt) therefore in all things. The surah goes on:

وَكَذَلِكَ أَنزَلْنَاهُ حُكْمًا عَرَبِيًّا وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءهُم بَعْدَ مَا جَاءكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ وَاقٍ

Thus have We revealed it (the Qur’an), a code of judgement in the Arabic tongue. If you should follow their desires after all the knowledge you have been given, you shall have none to protect or shield you from God. (Surah Ar-Rad 13:37)

Often Allah (swt) makes an example for the Muslims of previous nations so that we can learn from the mistakes in the past. An Islamic political party should call in the current era for the comprehensive implementation of Islamic systems and the solutions that emanate from them. The implementation requires the general support of the people and those with power in any state (eg the army). There should be no deception that if placed in power, the constitution will be an Islamic one and the solutions will all be from Islam. If that is not to the liking of the people or the military without many compromises, then it is not the correct time to take power.

وَإِذْأَخَذْنَامِيثَاقَكُمْ لاَ تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَاءكُمْ وَلاَ تُخْرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ ثُمَّ أَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ

ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاء تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقاً مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَارِهِمْ تَظَاهَرُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِالإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَإِن يَأتُوكُمْ أُسَارَى تُفَادُوهُمْ وَهُوَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِخْرَاجُهُمْ أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ فَمَا جَزَاء مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلاَّ خِزْيٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى أَشَدِّ الْعَذَابِ وَمَا اللّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

We made this covenant with the Children of Israel: “Worship none but God; show kindness to parents and kinsfolk and to the orphans and the poor; speak kindly to all people; attend regularly to your prayers and pay the obligatory charity.” But, except for a few, you turned away and paid no heed. We made a covenant with you that you shall not shed your own blood or drive yourselves out of your own homeland. You acknowledged all that and bore witness to it. Yet there you are slaying yourselves, and driving some of your own people out of their homes, collaborating against them in sin and injustice. Had they come to you as captives you would have ransomed them. Their expulsion is indeed forbidden to you. Do you, then, believe in some parts of the Scriptures and deny others? Those of you who do this will have nothing for their reward other than ignominy in this life and, on the Day of Resurrection they shall be committed to a most grevious penalty. For Allah is not unmindful of what you do (Surah al Baqarah 2:84-85) (Ends/)

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Friday, 17 August 2012

The Islamic Perspective on the Olympics

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3/The Islamic Perspective on the Olympics
The closing ceremonies for the London Olympics were performed on August 12th for over ten thousand athletes from 204 nations. It was estimated that 8 million people attended the games in person and close to 4 billion people watched the games from around the world. This year’s Olympics were considered unique for many due to the fact that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei had sent women participants for the very first time in their history. This move by the 3 Muslim countries was seen as a milestone for the advancement of Muslim women around the worlds. 
Origins of the Olympics
The Ancient Olympic Games – which began as early as 776 BCE were a series of competitions (i.e. running events, a pentathlon, boxing, etc) held between representatives of several city-states and kingdoms within Greece. Similar to the origins of the Christmas celebration, the Olympics had religious significance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices for the idols whom they worshipped. Furthermore, the winners of the events were admired and immortalized in poems and statues. Today, the Olympic Games have become a tradition that extends itself across the world. Nations send their teams to compete in a host country while the citizens at home keep track of the events to see how well their country does.
As members of their community, Muslims may feel the pressure to watch the Olympic Games in order to “fit in”. However, prior to doing this, we need to first ask ourselves how the Prophet (saw) viewed prevailing customs and traditions? We must follow his example because Allah (swt) revealed:
“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” [TMQ 59:7]
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example (to follow) for him who hopes in (the meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” [TMQ 33:21]
When it comes to any situation, we must refer to the commandments of Allah (swt) as revealed to the Prophet (saw) who was chosen by Allah (swt) to be the role model for humanity. During his life, one situation occurred after the Prophet (saw) had migrated to Madina al-Munawarah. Anas (ra) narrated,
“When the Prophet (saw) migrated from Makkah to Madina, the people of Madina used to have two festivals. On those two days, they had carnivals and festivity. The Prophet (saw) said, 'Instead of those two days, Allah has appointed for you two other days, which are better, the days of ‘Eid ul-Fitr and ‘Eid ul-Adha.'” [An-Nasaa’i]
Despite the fact that there were prevailing customs and traditions, the Prophet (saw) did not in any way compromise by involving himself or the Sahabah (ra). Rather, he acted upon what was revealed. We should view the Olympics in a similar manner; as it does not emanate from the Islamic culture and therefore we should not partake in its events.
Nurturing Nationalism
From its inception, the main idea behind the Olympic Games has been to determine through competition, which team will succeed at winning the most medals. While in Ancient Greece, the teams were based on city-states and kingdoms, today we have nation states competing against one another. Consequently, the competitions incite feelings of nationalism, patriotism and tribalism within the participants as well as the attendees. For the Muslim Ummah, this presents another dilemma as we are united by the Aqeedah of Islam, yet we are encouraged in the Olympic Games to rally behind a specific country defined by other than Islam. RasulAllah (saw) clearly forbade ‘asabiyyah (nationalism) when he said the following:
“He is not one of us who calls of ‘asabiyyah or who fights for ‘asabiyyah or who dies for ‘asabiyyah.”
[Abu Dawood]
“He who calls for ‘asabiyyah is as if he bit his father’s genitals.” [Mishkat al-Masabih]
As a result, it is haram for athletes to represent a specific country and it would be haram for attendees to support any of these countries as the artificial boundaries that divide the Muslim Ummah were put in place by the Colonial powers through treaties such as the Sykes-Picot agreement, which were meant to keep the Muslims divided and weak.
Spreading Liberal Capitalist Values
Despite the fact that only traces of paganism continue to be seen at the Olympic Games, it is quite obvious that the games are being used as a mechanism to spread the Liberal Capitalist values of freedom which run counter to the sublime values set up by Allah (swt). The games encourage and promote concepts such as the exposure of awrah among men and women and the free-mixing of genders which are all liberal concepts alien to Islam. As mentioned earlier, the 2012 Olympic Games have received extra attention as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei have sent women to participate in the competitions for the very first time. To claim that these Muslim countries have taken a historical step towards the advancement of Muslim women around the world is a sham, as Islam prohibits the participation of women in sports activities in the presence of a male audience, even if they wore full Islamic dress as this would be a display of their tabarruj (charms). Allah (swt) revealed:
"And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin on them, if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their charms." [TMQ 24:60]
In this ayah, Allah (swt) has forbidden women past child-bearing age from displaying their charms (tabarruj), allowing the discarding of the jilbab (outer garment), without displaying their charms (tabarruj). Implicit in this, is the prohibition of tabarruj. Since women past the age of childbirth have been prohibited from displaying their charms (tabarruj), then by greater reason, women who have not reached such an age should also not display their tabarruj. Allah (swt) revealed:
"…And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their charms…" [TMQ 24:31]
Furthermore, the participation of Muslim women in the Olympics compromises their Islamic dress code which includes the khimar (headscarf) and jilbab. It also undermines the concept of hayah (modesty) in women to which Islam attaches great importance and worth.
An Organized Distraction (Law)
The secular Aqeedah is built on the separation of deen (religion) from life. Consequently, human beings are left to pursue their desires in an unrestricted manner as there is no perceived repercussion to worry about in the afterlife. The secular doctrine is a belief centered on recreation and entertainment, distracting human beings from achieving their true goal in life, which is to attain the pleasure of Allah (swt). Instead, human beings are given the goal of achieving sensual satisfaction as the ultimate purpose. So human beings strive hard to entertain themselves and to seek their pleasures in life, not worrying about the consequences of their actions in the afterlife. As a result, it is natural for secular societies to hold organized distractions on such a grand scale, where a significant amount of time and capital is invested. Within these organized distractions athletes play professionally on a national or international level. In addition, staff and security is appointed to oversee the activities of these athletes. Billions of dollars are spent on infrastructure such as stadiums and arenas to accommodate for the athletes to compete in and for the fans to attend. Television programs and radio broadcasts are scheduled to inform the masses about the progress of the games, until they become the talk of the town, city, region or even the world.
There are some kinds of lahw, which are halal and mubah (permissible), such as target shooting, swimming, racing, and wrestling. However, these lahw are halal is done in accordance with the hukm sharai (i.e. there is no free-mixing or display of awrah) and as long as it does not cause one to be unmindful of his/her obligations. Imam Al-Shaatibi (rh) says, “Lahw, entertainment and vacancy from any work is Mubah (permissible), if it does not involve a forbidden matter, or occupy one from an obligated matter.” And he adds, “But he is blameworthy, and the scholars did not agree with it (i.e. they did not like it), rather they would hate to see a man, who was not busy with either improving his livelihood or improving his Hereafter; for he had wasted a period of time which was not used to gain any good for this world, nor for the afterlife.”
The attention that the media has given to the Olympic Games poses the danger of distracting Muslims away from maintaining focus on the akhirah and seeking the pleasure of Allah (swt) by abiding by the hukm sharai’ to wasting time watching competitions that amount to nothing other than the pride an ego of one nation over another. The Olympic Games are an even greater danger to non-Muslims who are busy entertaining themselves rather than seeking the purpose of their existence and destination after this life.
How should we view the Olympics?
Muslims should reject and disassociate themselves from the Olympics due to the following reasons:
  • It doesn’t emanate from the Islamic Aqeedah but from the traditions of Ancient Greece,
  • It nurtures sentiments of tribalism, nationalism and patriotism – concepts that are alien to Islam and a poison to the unity and brotherhood of the Muslim Ummah
  • It is being used as a tool by Liberal Democratic countries to pressure Muslim lands to conform to their values, and
  • It distracts Muslims away from engaging in actions that will increase their standing before Allah (swt) and for the non-Muslims in seeking the purpose in life.
The 2012 Olympic Games took place during the month of Ramadhan – a time when RasulAllah (saw) encouraged us to engage in more good deeds as their rewards would be multiplied. While the nation states were competing against each other in London, our brothers and sisters have been struggling against the tyranny of the regimes imposed in our lands – such as in Syria or Burma. Muslims must strive, like the Sahabah (ra), with seriousness and thought, to return to ruling by that which Allah (swt) has revealed and to re-establish the authority of Islam. We should shun the frivolous pursuits, the organized distractions, the computer games, spectator sports, and the like. Instead, we must turn our attention to the return of this Ummah to its position of might, and above all, yearn for the meeting with Allah (swt). Such a goal requires seriousness, perseverance and patience. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
“The two feet of the son of Adam will not move from near his Lord on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about five matters: about his life, how he spent it; about his youth, how he took care of it; about his wealth, how he earned it and how he spent it; and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge that he acquired.” [Tirmidhi]
We ask Allah (swt) to make us among those who are aware of the importance of time and are serious about the pursuit of the Hereafter. We also ask Him to help this Ummah to rise to her greatest duty of being a witness on mankind.
“So as for he who transgressed. And preferred the life of the world, Then indeed, Hellfire will be [his] refuge. But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.” [TMQ 79:37-41] (PAM)

4/Should the Khilafah Top the Olympics Medals Table?

The London Olympics Motto is to “inspire a generation.” With the governments spending cuts keeping the young out of higher education; jobless whether they have degrees or not; lumbered with debt and unable to buy property the £8 billion spent on the games might also have the motto “in-spite of a generation.

(and) that He may admit the men and women who believe to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever, and remove their bad deeds;- and that is, in the sight of Allah, the highest achievement (for man)

There are many achievements in the life of this world which people aspire to and worldly ambitions are a normal part of life. However the “greatest achievement” is one that is accessible to all people regardless of their status, wealth, family, connections or nationality. Our role models with regards to this start with the Messengers, the Sahaba and their righteous followers to the present day. Their achievements in this life may be impressive, but it is their dedication to the truth that raises their rank among people.

Success in Islam highlights many personal attributes such as honesty, patience, the commanding of good and forbidding evil. This being the highest attainment impacts the mentality of individuals, the community and the state. This being the objective of the individual, the state itself strives to be a vehicle for its citizens to achieve success on Qiyama. The most basic success for a future Khilafah would be for it to stand for the Word of Allah (swt) in all matters and support its citizens to worship Allah (swt) in both their spiritual and “temporal lives” comprehensively such that they might attain success in the next life. Failure in this would be a basic failure of the state.

The Olympics has long been used by nations to demonstrate their superiority over other nations and build prestige in the international community. Before the fall of the iron curtain, it was the USSR versus the USA that was the top billing with victories for either national team impacting the entire nations psyche and the pride in their nation. Further, it was seen as a demonstration to other countries of the superiority of the ideology of that nation over the other, and a symbol of its greatness.

The Chinese topped the medals table in Beijing, and this, at least to the populations of concerned nations, demonstrated a broader success being enjoyed in wider society and bolstered national pride. Sport does not necessarily form an integral part of successful nations or their ideologies, but it is something extra and can be used to excite nationalism and impress foreigners.

There is a genuine ideological difference in the approach towards sports and athletics between China and the United States. Chinese achievement in sports is centrally funded and organised. American achievement is through educational institutions and a massive privately funded infrastructure of training facilities. The commercialisation of sports in the US has allowed the private sector to profit from sporting achievement and therefore American sporting success sits primarily upon private investment rather than the state. There is no bigger sporting stage worldwide than the Olympics and success points back to the infrastructure and ideals that led to that success.

Al-Tabarani narrated that the Messenger (saw) said “You should (practice target) shooting, for it is the best of your entertainment (Lahwikum).” Allah SWT warned people of Lahw and  La’ib (amusement and play) frequently in the Qur’an. Imam Al-Shaatabi explained how we should understand such actions when he said “Lahw, entertatinment and vacancy from any work is Mubah (permissible), if it does not involve a forbidden matter, or occupy one from an obligated matter. But he is blameworthy, and the scholars did not agree with it (they did not like it), rather they would hate to see a man who was not busy with either improving his livelihood or improving his Hereafter; for he had wasted a period of time which was not used to gain any good for this world, nor for the afterlife.” In origin participation in sports is permissible with the conditions mentioned. With todays sedentary lifestyles the health benefits may raise its personal importance. However it has never been considered to be a methodology for Dawah.

Wouldn’t it be better to build that prestige by establishing a state that worships none but Allah; treats with kindness the elderly, children, orphans and those in need; speaks fairly in  domestic and international affairs; upholds prayer and practices charity supporting the poor and destitute in this world.
 
And (remember) when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none save Allah (only), and be good to parents and to kndred and to orphans and the needy, and speak kindly to mankind; and be constant in prayer and spend in charity. Yet, except a few you turned away. (TMQ 2:83)

The inspiration for the population of the state is their imaan in the next life. The satisfaction they have in their state would be for its pursuing the elevated ideals that Islam obliges and succeeding in them, regardless of the land on which they were born which is an arbitrary irrelevancy.

That the powerful states of this world use such events to “inspire,” display national pride and prestige is testament to the lack of inspiration inherent to their thoughts over and above money and an emotional attachment to the land of their birth. As Muslims, we should try to raise the level of thought and the values that would lead to are values that benefit the individual and society as a whole. (Ends)

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Friday, 10 August 2012

Uprisings 2011; Khilafah Conference held in Sydney, Australia on 3 July 2011

1/The road to Khilafah | Trailer: Khilafah/Caliphate Conference Australia 3/7/2011

 
2/Muslim world in 20th Century: Totalitarian Western Oppression; By; Muhammad Malkawi/Abu Talha


3/An ummah of resistance and revival (history of the Muslim world leading up to the Uprisings); By; Fautmeh Ardati


4/Uprisings in 2011: hope or mirage?; By; Bilal Merhi


5/Western efforts to frustrate the Islamic revival; Wassim Doureihi



6/All roads lead to the Caliphate/Khilafah: The need of the time;Shafiul Haq



Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Education System in Islam

Earlier this year, the Québec government proposed that they would raise university tuition from $2,168 to $3,793 over the next 5 years. The 75% increase incited a negative reaction from the students at which point the government proposed higher bursaries and subsidizing university payments outside of tuition. Various student organizations refused the terms and proposed cost-neutral activities, which the government turned down. On February 13th, social science students at Université Laval began to protest the raise in tuition. Soon after, others from the Université du Québec à Montreal joined the daily protests. On March 22nd, 166,068 students boycotted their classes and prevented others from attending. A rally took place that day which had approximately 300,000 people in attendance – termed by some as the “largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.”
The protests in Québec have been dismissed by some as an isolated event – something that only happens in Québec due to its culture of social activism. Others see the demonstrations as an illegitimate response by privileged students who have benefited from the lowest tuition rates in Canada for years. Despite such superficial reactions, the increase in tuition brings to light many problems that have existed across the country for many years – particularly student debt and its impact on new graduates. According to the Canadian Federation of Students, the current Canada Student Debt Load is $14.6 billion with the average student graduating with approximately $27,000 in debt. According to a 2010 report issued by Statistics Canada, the average time taken to repay the loans, including accrued interest, is 7 years with 18% taking more than 10 years. This problem is magnified by the challenges in finding employment after graduation due to the narrowing job market and the expected legislated rise of the legal retirement age from 65 to 67. For those who cannot find employment, their only option is to sink further into debt and eventually declare bankruptcy. Another problem is related to the types of jobs that new graduates seek. Students loaded with debt are often compelled to look for any available job (usually in large corporations) to pay the outstanding student loan rather than search for employment in something that will make a productive contribution to society.

Education:  A privilege solely for the rich?
According to a 2005 Statistics Canada study, "The rate of university attendance is about two times greater for youths from high-income families (over $100,000) compared to youths from the lowest income families (less than $25,000) throughout 1993 and 2001". (http://publications.gc.ca/Collection/Statcan/11F0019MIE/ 11F0019MIE2005243.pdf) In other words, only the wealthier sectors have real access to post-secondary education. This underlines the failure of the Capitalist system to provide a sustainable vision for society – education is seen as a commodity rather than a service for all, irrespective of one’s financial standing. The primary focus of such a system is to prioritize and ensure that the rich are free to pursue profitable enterprise. Everything else, including the education of the youth, do not matter. 

The Education System in Islam
Islam offers a unique alternative which solves many of the problems students are facing in Canada and other Capitalist nations. The education system in the Khilafah is composed of Shariah rules which emanate from the Islamic Aqeedah. As a result, the rights of students that Allah (swt) has provided can never be taken away nor marginalized as it would be a violation of the Shariah – an action which the Khaleefah would be accountable for on the Day of Judgment and could legitimize his removal from his position as head of state.
The education system of Islam is based on the following objectives and principles:
Establishing and Maintaining the Islamic Personality: The Islamic Aqeedah constitutes the basis upon which the education policy is built. As a result, the Khilafah will establish Islam as the foundation for the beliefs, values, concepts and inclinations being taught to the Muslim students. The curriculum and teaching methods would be designed to prevent any departure from this basis. All schools (public or private) would have to adhere to curriculum expectations. Therefore, all subjects taught in school would be established on this basis. Allah (swt) revealed:
“Oh you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families from the fire, whose fuel is people and stones.” [TMQ 66:6]
The goal of education is to produce the Islamic personality and to provide people with the knowledge related to life’s affairs. Education is the method to preserve the Ummah’s culture in the hearts of its children. It moulds the individual’s intellect and his/her criteria for judgment, just as it moulds his/her inclinations, thereby influencing his/her mentality, disposition (nafsiyya) and behavior (sulook).
Enabling the means to livelihood: Once the Prophet (saw) passed by a man who was begging. Zubair bin Awwam (ra) reported that RasulAllah (saw) said,
"It is far better for you to take your rope, go to the mountain, (cut some firewood) carry it on your back, and sell it and thereby save your face than begging from people whether they give you or refuse." [Bukhari]
Just as the Prophet (saw) – the head of the Islamic State –directed a man with the means to gain access to work in order to satisfy his basic needs, the Khaleefah would have the same responsibility. One way to accomplish this is by providing free education to all citizens so that they are equipped with the necessary skills that will enable them to find work, irrespective of the household’s social status, standard of living and education level. The Khilafah should also, to the best of its ability, provide the opportunity for everyone to continue higher education free of charge.
Since it is the responsibility of the Khilafah to ensure that the basic needs of all citizens is met, this will allow children to have full access to education without their parents facing the dilemma of having to choose between their kids being educated or leaving school so that they can help their household meet the basic needs as we see happening throughout the world today.
Encouragement to Learn and Contribute to Society: As it is our responsibility before Allah (swt) to implement Islam, spread it to others and to protect the Ummah from Kufr thoughts and plots by the enemies of Islam, it is necessary that the education system encourage citizens to learn and contribute to the progress of society. Allah (swt) revealed:
“Allah does not allow the believers to put disbelievers in authority over themselves.” [TMQ 4:141]
Therefore, the state should provide the means of acquiring knowledge for all citizens by establishing public libraries and laboratories, in addition to schools and universities. The Khilafah will ensure that its citizens become experts in every sphere of life. The knowledge will be of two branches- Islamic disciplines and empirical sciences. By facilitating the means for the general public to have access to knowledge, this would assist in creating an abundance of mujtahideen, outstanding scientists and inventors as we saw in the past, such as Imam Abu Hanifah and Al-Khawarizmi.

Implementing the Islamic Solution
The education of the youth cannot be guaranteed to be entirely Islamic while the systems that govern life do not emanate from the Islamic Aqeedah. The education of the youth is not a problem that is specific to the Muslim community in Canada, but is an issue facing the entire Ummah, even for Muslims who live in the Muslim lands. The problem being global, the Ummah must co-operate to find the correct solution. Only by establishing the Khilafah state in the Muslim lands will Muslims offer the best environment for the next generations to be born, raised and nurtured in a pure Islamic environment so that Islamic personalities of the same caliber as the first generations of Muslims return to humanity.
While we work diligently to resume the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the Khilafah Rashidah in the Muslim lands, we need to ensure that we do not put ourselves or our children in a situation that would incur the wrath of Allah (swt). Within the current education system, we must exert our utmost effort at instilling and preserving the Islamic personality. This could be accomplished by home schooling our children when they are young or putting them in Islamic schools if home schooling is not feasible. When our children attend college or university, we should remind them about their purpose of life (i.e. to seek the pleasure of Allah (swt)) and help them confront the Kufr concepts they face with the correct Islamic concepts and understandings.

Partial Solutions in the Meantime
While we realize that in the current educational system, the required skills needed for employment are not provided by the state free of charge, we should not put ourselves in a situation where we borrow funds from sources (i.e. OSAP) that will eventually charge interest. Paying even 1 cent of interest is haram and is a declaration of war against Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saw):
“Oh you who believe! Be afraid of Allah and give up what remains (due to you) from Riba (from now onward), if you are (really) believers. And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allah and His Messenger …” [TMQ 2:278-279]
We should look to borrow funds from family to avoid incurring any interest. The Muslim community should also facilitate the means of helping our youth attain higher education through halal means. For those students who have already taken OSAP loans and are at risk of paying interest, the Muslim community should direct some of its Zakat funds to be used to pay off their debt as such students would fall into one of the 8 categories mentioned in the Quran (i.e. those in debt) who can receive Zakat funds. The Muslim community should also collectively start a voluntary fund to provide interest-free loans, scholarships and bursaries to students, motivating the perspective donors with the statement of RasulAllah (saw), narrated by Abdullah bin Umar (ra):
“…Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection…” [Bukhari]
If none of these options are available we should work and save enough money to fund our own education. This route might be more challenging, however, we would have the tranquility knowing that our actions are pleasing to Allah (swt) and insha-Allah He will put barakah in our education for truly He is Ar-Razzaq.
May Allah (swt) give us the strength to work diligently to resume the Islamic way of life through the re-establishment of the Khilafah Rashidah in the Muslim lands according the method of RasulAllah (saw) and make us steadfast and patient in the trials and challenges we face in the absence of the ahkam shariah being implemented. Ameen.
“By Al-'Asr (the time). Verily! Man is
in loss, Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience.” [TMQ 103] (PAM)

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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A Course on 'Islamic Philosophy' in London


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Objectives;
An intensive introductory course delivered by one of the world’s leading experts on the subject. The course will look at the following:
  • Philosophy (Falsafa) and Rational Theology (Kalam)
  • Major Muslim philosophers and their arguements in various periods: Classical, Post-Classical & Modern
  • Islamic & modern Western philosophy – Clash, Challenges & the future
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Presenter; 

Professor Peter Adamson [University of London]

Peter Adamson is Professor of Ancient & Medieval Philosophy at the King’s College London. His areas of interest include late ancient philosophy, especially Neoplatonism and Arabic and Medieval philosophy. He has published many papers on a wide range of figures in Greek and Arabic philosophy, including Aristotle, Plotinus, al-Farabi and other members of the Baghdad School, Avicenna and Averroes. However he has concentrated especially on the output of the translation circle of al-Kindi, who is usually credited with being the first philosopher in the Islamic tradition. This research includes a book, “The Arabic Plotinus: a Philosophical Study of the “Theology of Aristotle” (London: Duckworth, 2002) and a volume entitled “Great Medieval Thinkers: al-Kindi” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). He is also a co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, co-edited with Richard Taylor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), and Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic and Latin Commentaries (London: Institute for Classical Studies in 2004). He has edited three books for the Warburg Institute, the most recent of which (“In the Age of Averroes”) will appear soon. Professor Adamson is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 4′s ‘In Our Time’ with Melvin Bragg, and other radio broadcasts. Professor Adamson is currently at work on a monograph on the 10th century CE doctor and philosopher al-Razi. He also runs a three-year project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, on Natural Philosophy in the Islamic World.

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Booking Details;


The courses are open to all but spaces are limited. Entry is through prior registration only. Prayer facilities available and coffee/tea provided during break sessions.

Costs:

Within the Deadline dates pre-registration – Online payment
  • Students / Unemployed – £20
  • Employed – £25
After Deadline dates or on the door entry £30 – CASH / ONLINE
Unless the course is cancelled, there are no refunds for non-attendance

DEADLINE: MONDAY 11TH JUNE 2012 after which prices increase


Date: Saturday 30th of June 2012
Time: 9am - 5 pm
Venue: Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX (IC)

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Monday, 28 May 2012

The Fiqh of Minorities: Muslims living in the west. Identity, Tradition, Rules and exceptions

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* Does our situation require NEW RULES specifically for our situation?
* Does our situation require a NEW INTERPRETATION of Islam?
* Does it mean we can mould a NEW IDENTITY based on these changed rules and situations?
* Or should we stick to past norms and traditions established centuries ago?
* What happens when our Islamic tradition and practice CONFLICT with modern western identity, its economy and legal systems?

Muslims living in the west today often find themselves in a difficult position. As an ummah, we have never before experienced the existence we find ourselves in today. It is a situation which

* SPEAKER: Br. Rian Wiramihardja.

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Sunday, 1 April 2012

GHANNUSHI’S POLITICAL PARADOXES: ISLAM? OR SECULAR?

In early March 2012, Rashid al-Ghannushi—the well-known thinker and leader of Ennahda, the political party that fared best in Tunisia’s recent elections—addressed a small audience from Tunisia’s elite at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy. The speech was covered widely in the Arab media.

Ghannushi’s party is commonly considered an Islamic party, and many of its members sacrificed for Islamic views during the harsh tyrannical years. But, since the popular uprising that led to the removal of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Ennahda’s leaders have made statements distancing themselves from their Islamic heritage. They have made several statements that are out of step with the fervent Islamic feeling unleashed by the uprising, sending out ‘reassuring’ messages to the West that they want a ‘civil’ state. Ghannushi himself even rebutted comments by Hamadi al Jebali who tried to win the hearts of supporter by talking about this historic period of change as ‘a divine moment in a new state, and hopefully a 6th Caliphate’.

In his speech, Ghannushi decided to address what he called the ‘problematic’ issue of ‘Islam’s relationship to secularism’ and ‘contentious matters’ of ‘Islam’s relationship to governance, the relation between Islam and Law’.

The speech, full of contradictions and paradoxes, often mixes false premises with real issues, also taking some legitimate ideas well beyond their context and relevance.

His speech, like other statements from Ennahda’s leadership in Tunisia, as well as respected figures from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, tries hard to straddle the demands of the West (and Tunisia’s military authorities which it supports) and the population, which has deep Islamic sentiments.

But, the danger for Ghannushi is that, in attempting to marry secularism and Islam to pacify the ruling military authority, the tiny secular elite, and western observers, he will alienate the majority population, not least his own support base. Indeed, he may well find he loses respect amongst the Tunisian masses and still will not be trusted by the secular elite within Tunisia who accuse him, and others, of ‘double-speak’.

Moreover, it might seem strange to many that he would be such a strong advocate for secular ideas given that even many people in the West are increasingly questioning the fruits of secularism in economic, social, and ethical areas.

However, the speech is worth dissecting to show how he confuses and conflates various issues to produce a paradoxical political philosophy that is simply unsustainable.

The first lesson to understand from his speech is the error of giving things new definitions or selecting examples in a way that suits one’s conclusions, rather than defining things as they actually are and building conclusions from a comprehensive examination of evidences.

The most obvious example of this is Ghannushi’s (almost unique) definition of secularism or ‘secularisms’ as he argues. He says that secularism ‘appeared, evolved, and crystallized in the West as procedural solutions, and not as a philosophy or theory of existence, to problems that had been posed in the European context.’ It would be hard to find an advocate of secularism who restricted its definition to its procedural aspects alone!

Indeed, to discuss processes about elections and implementing the rule of law, side-stepping the controversial the philosophical ideas that underpin secularism, is not simply to define it in an inaccurate way; it is disingenuous.

Every variety of secularism, whether in Britain, France, or the United States, shares at least one fundamental principle—that is, the supremacy of laws made by men over any religiously inspired law. This is the universal idea that is central in any secular state, even though the ways and the extent to which different Western secular states try to enforce this idea do vary ( as do the procedural aspects).

This is unquestionably the central principle in any written or unwritten constitution: Whether in France—where the state enforces this fundamental secular principle with rigour (which Ghannushi disapproves of)—or in Britain, who has traditionally tried to distance the State from legislating in such a way that enforces this principle (which he welcomes).

But, debates in Britain over the past few year clearly illustrate the supremacy of this principle in their state, most notably the debates over Catholic adoption agencies having to recognize homosexual parenting and the on-going recent debate about same-sex ‘marriage’.

Even though Ghannushi rightly says, ‘The Queen combines the temporal and the religious powers’, he is not telling an accurate story. The British monarch of UK is supreme head of the Church of England precisely because King Henry VIII, the current Queen’s predecessor some 500 years ago, broke with the Catholic church since he wanted his temporal authority to supersede the Pope’s and from the desire of power to change religious rulings to suit his opinions. Hence, he established a church whose fundamental belief includes the secular creed that political supremacy belongs to temporal authority and not to the church, a church whose doctrines and teachings changed with the prevalent trends of the time.

Similarly, in the United States—a society that, Ghannushi rightly says, sees religious beliefs expressed more openly which in turn inform public policy—it is the institutions of political power that ultimately determine legislation. The fact that religious lobbies might be powerful does not make the state any less secular and does not mean that, ultimately, the right to define right and wrong lies with people and not religion. For example, the religious lobby may decry abortion, but the US Supreme Court in the famous case of ‘Roe versus Wade’ [1973] effectively legalized abortion, flying in the face of this religious lobby.

So to restrict secularism to its procedures alone and to mischaracterise secular states in this way is not intellectually honest, and is a false premise upon which to build an argument. Hence, this is first contradiction in his political paradox.

The second lesson to learn from the speech is to set one’s ideal models of governance according to the dominant norms of the world today: i.e. the secular, capitalist, nation state model, instead of looking to the Islamic beliefs, traditions and history of the people in the region for a vision for the future.

The existing dominant model has only become dominant by virtue of force.

Nation states were a European construct after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 CE, something peculiar to European history. However, they were imposed on the Middle East and North Africa after World War I, in the Sykes-Picot Agreement (so dividing and weakening the region), and on everyone else after World War II by the formation of the United Nations (so subjugating the world to the whims of the permanent members of the Security Council).

Secular systems were also established in the Muslim world by force following World War I. The Treaty of Lausanne in July 1923 recognized the republic of Turkey following the formal abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate in November 1922 and preceded the abolition of the Caliphate in March 1924 taking extreme measures introduced by Mustafa Kemal to abolish Islam from the public sphere and promote European clothing, lettering, and political systems. The regions that were cut off from Ottoman state were weaker and vassal states of the victorious powers.

It might be argued that Capitalism dominates in part because it out-competed Communism in a battle of ideas. But it also dominates because capitalist states were colonial and imperial states that financial systems on these countries they subjugated.

When Ghannushi acknowledged some of the flaws of the Western system in his speech, he linked them with the problem he called the ‘total stripping of the state from religion’ which he argued ‘would turn the state into a mafia, and the world economic system into an exercise in plundering, and politics into deception and hypocrisy’. He went on to say that ‘this is exactly what happened in the Western experience, despite there being some positive aspects’. He even recognized that ‘International politics became the preserve of a few financial brokers owning the biggest share of capital and by extension the media, through which they ultimately control politicians’.

He recognised these problems, but somehow seemed to think what the West has is a flawed version of secularism, or the result of misapplication by the practitioners rather than the inevitable consequence of it. And his own seeming endorsement of the British and American models (because they are less abolitionist on religion than is France) would suggest that he is in denial about the fact that all ‘secularisms’ inevitably lead to these problems.

For, anyone who looks back to understand the emergence of secular ideas at the time of the enlightenment would see that the idea that individuals are sovereign would ultimately mean that religious ideas would be pushed out of the public domain. They would know that when the theoretical ideas about individual freedoms, which the enlightenment philosophers debated and defined, were put into practice, the freedom to own capital would inevitably dominate to the extent it does today.

His neglect of this issue whilst recognising the problems in the West suggest he is in denial; and such a denial would strongly suggest he is smitten by the system, even in the face of the problems that he and everyone else sees, and cannot find it in himself to look outside this paradigm, even though large sections of his population might be begging him to do so.

At a time when people across the world are questioning the capitalist system, the role of the United Nations, the ethical and spiritual vacuum that secularism has left within Britain and Europe, Ghannushi does not confront these issues in his speech, but excuses it as an aberration of secularism. It is all the more extraordinary because Islam has clear views on all these things—on how to solve the real human and economic problems facing society.

Either Tunisia is truly in a historic period of change, whereby such vital issues should be addressed, or it is merely making superficial changes to its governance and claims to remain content with being a satellite of distant states, and continue to revolve around the interests of those states.

The third lesson to be found in this speech is about the manipulation of Islamic ideas, either through omission or extension beyond their context in order to fit with these dominant secular capitalist norms.

Ghannushi makes some absolutely valid points about Islam from religious text and Islamic history, but then seems to manipulate them to conform to his preferred model.

He rightly mentions that Islam ‘since its inception, has always combined religion with politics, religion and state’, that ‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the founder of the religion as well as the state’, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was an imam who led prayers whilst at same time ‘a political imam that arbitrated people’s disputes, lead armies, and signed various accords and treaties’, that the state founded in Al-Madina was a civilisational transformation and not simply founded on a transfer of power, that great scholars of Islam resisted the political leaders imposing one opinion upon people in all areas of religious practice or in relation to beliefs, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) established a constitution which recognized distinct communities based on religion, but then bound them together as citizens, that Islam sets a very high standard by justice and realizing peoples’ interests, that ijtihad can lead to a multitude of varying opinions, that Islam does not allow compulsion in religious belief; and the list goes on.

But with many of these points, he somewhat misrepresents the Islamic position to fit his own theory of governance which accord with Western norms.

So, when he discusses that in Islam there is a ‘distinction between the religious and the political’ and that Islamic scholars/jurists ‘distinguished between the system of transactions/dealings (Mu’amalat) and that of worship (‘Ibadat)’, he has omitted to clarify that Islam and the Shariah address both areas, but that the State’s jurisdiction is to adopt Shariah laws predominantly in the Mu’amalat, and issues such as the adoption of the sighting of the moon for Ramadhan, details about Zakat, and organization of the Hajj are all areas of ‘Ibadat that the State can have a role in.

When he discusses the constitution of Al-Madina, he omits the fact that all these citizens were united under Islamic rule as the law of the State even though they were not obliged to believe in it as divinely revealed. And, strangely, he equates the obedience to the law of the land—if that law is adopted from Islam—with hypocrisy since it forces one to adhere to something when it goes against one’s reason—an argument we never heard from him when he lived in the UK where he would have presumably held that obedience to the law of the land was ordained by Islam, even if one didn’t agree with it and provided it did not contradict Islamic law.

When he says that great scholars of Islam opposed political leaders imposing one opinion upon people in all areas of religious practice or in relation to beliefs, he omits the fact that one opinion needs to be adopted in any area where the law needs to be an arbiter in society, though not in matters of personal worship, private life or branches of religious knowledge. And when he tries to distinguish between what was ‘Wahy’ [revelation] and what is politics, he draws the line in such a way that ignores many aspects of the Prophet (peace be upon him)’s rule and those of the first four Caliphs (as witnessed by all the Companions of the Prophet)—both of which are indication of the Wahy.

When he discusses the issue of Justice and looking after peoples’ interests, it is as if this aim is divorced from the Shariah rules that have come to achieve this aim, and a mere intension of a majority parliamentary decision to meet these aims would be sufficient to make it in accordance with Islamic values or the ‘spirit’ of Islam.

He does not say what to do if this ‘spirit’ of Islam contradicts the rules of Islam! He is keen to have a truly democratic system—in the full Western sense—where the people vote for halal things, but omits what to do if the majority vote to allow an oppressive interest to run economy, or the freedom to insult Prophets of God. These omissions are necessary to discuss frankly.

All of these examples—and many others—reinforce the impression that the agenda is to conform to Western secular norms—either because he is smitten by their ideology, or because he fears the pressure from the West and the military leadership in Tunisia.

Whichever it is, the arguments delivered in this speech are a plethora of contradictions and confusion. And while this project unravels over the short to medium term (if it ever really gains ground within the society in the first place), Western governments and those hostile to Islam will undoubtedly welcome his deferential statements about secularism, freedom and democracy, seeing them as a victory for their ideas over Islam’s. Yet, they might still argue that because his party is an ‘Islamic’ party, any future political failures are a failure of political Islam. But they are more than likely to celebrate any successes as a triumph for a third way in Middle East politic—a middle road between Islam and Secularism which, it seems clear, would be little more than a secular state that is easy for external powers to manipulate politically and economically. (Dr. Abdul Wahid)

Dr. Abdul Wahid is a regular contributor to New Civilisation. He is currently the Chairman of the UK-Executive Committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain. He has been published in The Times Higher Educational Supplement and on the websites of Foreign Affairs, Open Democracy and Prospect magazine. He can be followed on Twitter @abdulwahidht or emailed at abdulwahid@newcivilisation.com