Recent events in Iraq have brought the subject of the Khilafah to the world’s attention. Media outlets, academics and commentators are falling over each other to claim expertise. This has only added to the confusion, as distorted depictions denigrating this venerable Islamic obligation have been actively promoted.
Media and global commentators have used this opportunity to once again brand the Khilafah an extremist belief, and pressurise Muslims to oppose the idea of Islamic rule itself. Muslims must be clear that one can disagree with the empty declaration in Iraq and the caricature we are presented in the global media, without disagreeing with the concept of a Khilafah. Indeed the Khilafah is central to Islam, whose rejection is a red line that Muslims will not cross; a fact evident from the Shar’i sources and unanimously agreed upon through the ages.
Ever since the Khilafah’s destruction at the hands of Mustafa Kemal Attaturk in 1924, various people have stepped forward to claim its title, realising the spiritual and political resonance it has across the Muslim world; from King Farouk of Egypt, Sharif Hussein of Makkah, to the fake Islamic states of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran amongst others. Many such declarations played on weaknesses in understanding about what the Khilafah represents, and thus duped Muslims into thinking that a new era for the Muslim world had finally arrived.
This has all played into the hands of those ready to demonise the Khilafah, by allowing it to be associated with the weaknesses and political agendas of those who claimed to have implemented something that goes by the same name, but which does not in reality compare with the Khilafah. To avoid this confusion and prevent Muslims from being misled once again, the Muslim community in the UK is reminded of the following:
1. The Khilafah is central to Islam and Muslims must reject pressures to call it an extremist belief. We have seen many attempts to label the Khilafah as a fringe or extremist ideology. However, the Khilafah is the executive body that Islam has defined as the method through which the deen is implemented in society and carried to the world. Without it Islam would be a host of spiritual rites and morals, with its rules related to economic, political and social life being rendered redundant. So, Islam considers one of the main tasks of the Khaleefah is to look after the peoples’ affairs, - both Muslims and non-Muslims who reside under its authority.
Allah (swt) said,
((وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ))
“And whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed, they are the disbelievers” [Al-Maaida: 44]
The centrality of the Khilafah is the orthodox Islamic position on ruling and governance, established in definitive Islamic sources, and implemented historically - it is without dispute amongst the classical scholars through the ages. Muslims must therefore reject calls to denigrate the Khilafah as an extremist belief and treat the rejection of this idea as a red line which Muslims will not cross.
2. Muslims must reject calls for disunity along ethnic and sectarian lines. The history of the Muslims shows that, despite their differences, the serious sectarian violence we are now seeing is almost without precedent. The scale and nature of this conflict is recent - a fact not only evident to Muslims. The academic Professor Fred Haliday observed that “actual and direct conflict between Sunni and Shiah (as distinct from suspicion and communal difference) has until recently been remarkable by its absence”.
The Khilafah is non-sectarian and does not belong to any particular madhab or legal position, but to all Muslims. There is now a deliberate attempt by commentators and politicians to frame a sectarian conflict, but the picture is more mixed than the often dichotomous portrayal. Shortly after the US invasion, Iraq saw joint action by the various factions in Iraq, from joint Jummah, conferences and calls for co-operation, and rallies chanting “No Shia, No Sunni!”
Furthermore, Islam has proven to be the only force capable of unifying Arabs, Kurds, Turkomens and others. This is natural as Allah (swt) prohibits division amongst Muslims, when He states,
((وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُواۚ))
“Hold on Fast to the rope of Allah and do not be divided!” [Aal-i-Imraan: 103]
3. Muslims must be a voice against the disastrous Western policies that are destroying the world, and raise the plight of suffering Muslims. The US and British foreign policies in the Muslim world have led to everything from direct invasion of Muslims countries, drone attacks on innocents, the enflaming of ethnic and sectarian tensions, the installation and support of brutal tyrants who wreak misery over Muslims, arming despots in wars against other Muslims, to talk of the further ethnic and sectarian break-up of Iraq itself into three new states: one for each of the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiah. One should be reminded that it was only after the US invasion of Iraq that the most recent destructive trends were set on fire in the Middle East, even though the Tony Blairs’ and NeoCons of this world wish to deny it.
The intervention of these western powers have brought nothing but oppression and suffering to the Muslim world. Muslims must not remain silent at the havoc that is being wreaked overseas, but rather speak-up using the best example of speech and behavior to expose the destructive nature of the West’s policy towards the Muslim world and support the plight of the Muslim Ummah through their words, deeds and money, for Allah says,
((وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ))
“The men and women of the mu’minun [believers] are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong” [At-Tawba: 71]
4. Muslims must be advocates for the Khilafah - it will bring stability not chaos to the Muslim world and will be a beacon for the rest of mankind. Contrary to the prophecies of doom presented by media commentators and the images emerging from Iraq of escalating chaos, the Khilafah will be a stabilising force for the Muslim world. This is because it is consistent with - not alien to - the values of the people in the Muslim world. It has deep roots and the ability to work in partnership with its population, because it engages them on a common point of reference.
The loss of the Khilafah brought with it an unprecedented loss of authority and leadership on Islamic issues. The resulting vacuum allowed unworthy individuals to become global figureheads for merely speaking the rhetoric of anti-colonialism and standing-up to aggression. The Khilafah is the only institution Islam has sanctioned to provide leadership on Islamic issues globally.
The Khilafah will be a beacon for the whole world in a state of political, economic and social chaos. It is established on divine law, not the human mind, so is immune from forever-changing norms. It is a state that enshrines the rule of law, presided by a Khaleefah chosen by the people, beside accountability through its judicial system, and the principle of consultation. It is a non-sectarian state built upon a concept of citizenship, opposing the oppression of any religious or ethnic groupings that reside under its authority.
5. Muslims must support the work for the establishment of the Khilafah in the Muslim world, an obligation of the highest order conferred on them by the Prophet (saw) who said,
«إنّه لا نبيَّ بعدي، ولكن ستكون خلفاء فتكثر». قالوا ما تأمرنا يا رسول الله؟ قال: «فوا ببيعة الأول فالأول، وآتوهم حقهم»
“There will be no Prophet after me. There will soon be Khulafa’a and they will number many.” They asked, ‘What then do you order us?’ He said, “Fulfill the bay’ah to them, one after the other and give them their dues”, and he (saw) also said,
«مَنْ مَاتَ وَلَيْسَ فِي عُنُقِهِ بَيْعَةٌ مَاتَ مَيْتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً»
“Whosoever dies whilst there was no bay’ah on his neck (to a Khaleefah), he dies the death of Jahiliyyah”, which signifies a great sin for the one who does not work to establish the Khaleefah to give bay’ah to, if he does not exist.
Muslims must challenge the false depictions of the Khilafah with an understanding of exactly what it would represent. Replacing the brutal regimes in the Muslim world with a political system based on Islam that is accountable, presided by a Khaleefah chosen by the people, and draws on strong ideological commonalities with its people can only be a stabilising force for the region. The Khilafah represents an alternative political vision for the Muslim world that is gathering support amongst Muslims across the globe, despite attempts at demonisation spearheaded by media commentators and politicians. Muslims must continue to support the work for Khilafah, a state that would undoubtedly usher in a new era for the Muslim world.
((إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَشْتَرُونَ بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۙ أُولَـٰئِكَ مَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ إِلَّا النَّارَ))
“Verily, those who conceal what Allah has sent down of the Book, and purchase a small gain therewith (of worldly things), they eat into their bellies nothing but fire.” [Al-Baqarah 2:174]