Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Shiraz Maher Q & A

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Mar 21st, 2004, 09:30 AM
#5
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Assalam u Alaikum,
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1. If HT is a political party hoping to establish a khilafa for muslims, then what is the reason their main leadership is based in London, instead of some muslim country? Wouldn't it make sense for those who so passionately believe in an Islamic khilafa to first move to a muslim land (of their choice) and carry out their campaign from there? Surely they can't expect UK to be the center of khilafa? Why live here when they disagree with everything these "kuffar" do?
This is a misnoma that the global leadership of the Hizb is based in the UK. It is largely something that has been spread as a misconception through an incorrect sensation of the reality. The Hizb has a global leadership which resides in the Muslim world. Every country then has a regional leadership. It was this regional leadership in the UK for which we recently announced elections. The vast majority of our members reside in the Muslim world and you may have read reports in the press that when the Hizb launched itself in Pakistan they were shocked to find so many people speaking with thick cockney (London) accents. This is because to initiate the da'wah in those lands a number of UK based brothers packed their bags and moved to Pakistan in order to help the da'wah. Alhamdulillah, their efforts have worked with a large body now being built within Pakistan. My only reason for mentioning this is to illustrate that the scope of our work is in the Muslim world and that a number of our members from the west do return their in order to pursue the da'wah. However, Muslims are allowed to live in the non-Muslm lands and have a very crucial role to play there too. Muslims in the west must debate with those around them and present Islam as a viable alternative lifestyle to capitalism. We must show how Islam resolve problems which people face everday like the break down of the family unit, drugs, crime, truancy, teenage pregnancies and so on. Also, in the west we are able to raise our voices in a way which we could not do in the Muslim world (although that situation is now changing, just look at Germany) and so we need to use our platform here to help and aid change in the Muslim world. The party does not work to establish Khilafah in the UK and does not engage in any kind of political struggle there. But like I have said, the leadership as well as the majority of members do reside in the Muslim world. In addition, many move from the west back to the Muslim world.
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2. HT has been in existence for the last 50+ years. If their message is so right, what are their successes in the last five decades? How many people support HT... any statistics?
I think when we attempt to measure the success or support of any movement we need to forget about 'statistics' or number or other shallow indicators of the like. The patry has always maintained that we are trying to disseminate particular thoughts and emotions amongst the society. Years ago people in the UK hadn't even heard of the Khilafah and then the Hizb put that discussion on the table. Then people debate whether or not it was fard. Today the vasty majority of Muslims agree that it is and now the discussion is - what is the method? The nature of the debate has moved on alhamdulillah. I am not trying to accredit all the success here to the Hizb, but certainly in the UK, it was the Hizb that was the first party to put this discussion of Khilafah on the lips of everyone and made everyone address it in some way or another. If you look to the Arab world, in the 1950's people used to call for solutions like Arab nationalism or the UN to solve their problems. Today they are increasingly turning to Islam. Could you have imagined people protesting on the streets of Jordan, Egypt and Syria a decade ago to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Afghanistan? The Muslim world is increasingly looking to Islam for an answer and is doing away with some of the old nationalist ideas which they used to carry. This is the best measure to use.
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3. HT criticizes all muslim governments around the world. Why isn't HT part of the political process in those countries to provide people a choice so they can vote for HT?
The reality shows that working within the system does not work. Those parties that have worked within it have consistently had to compromise their agenda such as the so called Islamic parties in Turkey and Pakistan. When an Islamic patry won democratic elections in Algeria, what happened? We all known how the French prevented them from taking power through the military. Did the UK or America condemn this as anti-democratic? Similarly, it is haram, from the method of Mohammed (saw) to engage in a system which is kufr as a party. The details of this must be examined from the seerah and we could discuss this in greater depth if you wish.
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4. If there is one khilafah amongst muslims, what will happen to the present day states?
All the rulers of the Muslim world are illegitimate as they have never taken a bay'ah to rule. When a Khailf is appointed he will be a ruler for all Muslims everywhere, regardless of their location. The other Muslim countries should, over time, be annexed by the Khilafah and incorporated into it.
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5. What will be the rights of non-muslims in the HT-vision of khilafa? If HT claims that it does not descriminate between muslims and non-muslims in their rights to participate in the political process, then how does HT explain that it does not allow any non-muslim to be a member of HT? (that was kinda like a slam dunk )
Non-Muslims are afforded full rights of citizenship and protection under the Khilafah state. The Hizb isone of the few parties in the Muslim world which has actually been at pains to meet with non-Muslims and to articulate our vision for them under a Khilafah state. Indeed, the current level of persecution many non-Muslims face living in the Muslim world is yet another example of the tyranny of current Muslim rulers. Under the Khilafah we would be obliged to defend non-Muslims as we would a Muslim. Rasool Allah (saw) said "Who so ever hurt a dhimmi (non-Muslim of the state) it would be as if he hurt me." The Khalif is obliged to defend his life, honour and property the same way as he would be a Muslims. As for working with the party itself - the party is not the state. There are certain conditions for working with the party - such as the belief in Allah (swt). In fact a non-Muslim could theoretically even study in one of the party's study circles until a prescribed point after which he would be required to accept Islam or to leave the study. The reason is simple - you need to differentiate between a state and a party. The two have different roles, objectives and obligations.I will answer your last question - but have some food waiting for me on the table which is getting cold! I will return after that, inshallah.Was Salaam Faisal,Shiraz.
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Mar 28th, 2004, 06:36 PM
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Salaams Faisal, Jazak Allah Khair for your patience. As you know I've been busy, hence the delay in responding.I'll start with question 6, which I never got back to and then the new series of questions which you raised.
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6. Since HT so vigorously wants to follow the political movement of 1400 years ago, doesn't it give an impression that HT is still stuck with the ideals of an era gone by, and is not coignizant of the issues facing the ummah right now?
We need to clarify what we mean by the term 'following the political movement of 1400 years ago.' This is vital for us to proceed further on this question. There are a number of issues which arise from this question and I will attempt to tackle them in turn.The first is to understand that when ever we face a problem or situation our first and immediate reference point must be Islam. So before we, for example, use IVF treatment, we need to know what the Islamic rule on this matter is. Clearly the Quran and hadith do not explicitly talk about IVF treatment as the technology did not exist at the time. In this case the mujtahid (the one capable of performing Ijtihad) must revert to the Islamic texts and use Qiyas (analogy) to derive a Shariah ruling. What is important to appreciate here is that we go to Islam first in order to arrive out our conclusion - whether the action is halal or haram. We should not arrive at a conclusion first and then go to Islam in order to find evidences to support what we think is right.To discuss the method of re-establishing the Khilafah is a process which requires ijtihad. Hence, here we need to reflect on and study the life of the Messenger (saw) with explicit reference to the political dimensions of the Seerah. So, for example, Rasool Allah (saw) did not use violence in order to establish the Islamic State in Madinah, and this is why we have rejected it as being part of the method which we use today. This is one example of deriving a rule for the method - there are many more. However we need to distinguish between Hukms (rules) and styles and means. So Allah (swt) revealed the ayat which cursed those who burried their daughters alive. This is a hukm which does not change, although realities do. So today people do not bury their daughters alive but they have abortions. Usury was forbidden back then, as it is today although we have new institutions to challenge such as the IMF and World Bank. When we consider styles then this is totally different. So, Rasool Allah (saw) would address people sitting on a mountain or through big feasts. This does not mean we have to do the same. In the realm of styles and means there is no shariah directive so we can use mediums such as the internet to make da'wah.Hence, Hizb ut Tahrir strives to utilise all the best styles and means available in order to propogate our call. However when deriving a hukm for a situation, then it is an obligation that we revert to the Islamic texts.
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Is there a global leadership of HT at all? If there is, where is it based? I know that you have regional presence. but the most vocal of them seems to be in UK (Dr Waheed, you and all the pamphlets you post here are routinely from UK), and it begs the question, why not in some muslim land, and instead in UK?
The global leadership of the party resides in the Muslim world. The party is more prominent in the west mainly because of the relative freedom. In the Middle East the media are told not to give coverage to groups like ours and our members are routinely tortured, imprisoned and killed. Because of this the shabab naturally maintain a lower profile in those states. Party leaflets from around the world can be found on www.khilafah.com and on www.hizb-ut-tahrir.org which include leaflets from places like Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Kuwait, Dubai, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey - all Muslim countires,
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Today the vasty majority of Muslims agree that it is When you make blanket statements like that, is there a way to verify their truthfulness. How can you say that a vast majority of Muslims agree on something, when you have little to back it up with. Or even if you do, you show disdain for it by calling it a "shallow indicator"?
I have already indicated how I am measuring this in my previous post. I have cut and pasted the answer below just to re-iterate my point. In the UK the whole discussion has moved on from "is Khilafah fard?" Today you only need to talk with imams, community leaders and Muslims who frequent the mosques in order to ascertain that there is a general agreement that it is an obligation/necessity. The debate today is about what the method should be and where this work needs to start. This is my own tangible experience from discussion on the ground. However, if you look to the Arab world, in the 1950's people used to call for solutions like Arab nationalism or the UN to solve their problems. Today they are increasingly turning to Islam. Could you have imagined people protesting on the streets of Jordan, Egypt and Syria a decade ago to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Afghanistan? The Muslim world is increasingly looking to Islam for an answer and is doing away with some of the old nationalist ideas which they used to carry. This is the best measure to use.
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I think the basic problem is, we just don't know what kinda support you guys have. We can hypothise, ofcourse, but it can be quite off-mark. You may say "a vast majority", someone else may say "less than a few hundred" actually accept your message. In the absence of any verifiable data, we don't know who is right and who is not. For example, I may disagree that khilafah should be the single-point agenda for our lives, as I may think there are other haqooq-Allah and haqooq-al-Ibaad that we also need to worry about, whereas you may think, no without khilafat we are all doomed. The question is whether majority of muslims around the world accept my opinion or yours?
This is very similar to your last question. In order to measure this we need only evaluate the level of debate in the Muslim world. True there are a number of people who would agree with your view and a number who would oppose it. Again, all I can say is that it is clear to see that the general political consciousness of the Ummah is rising and that increasing numbers of people are refering to Islam as a solution. forget about Hizb ut Tahrir - this is irrelevant to what we are discussing here. The issue is - do people want Islam or not and are people increasingly turning to Islam or not?
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When a Khailf is appointed he will be a ruler for all Muslims everywhere, regardless of their location. I am not sure I fully understand how this Khalif will be "appointed". I have asked this repeatedly, here on GS, but never got a straight answer. I have been told that election is a kuffar system, so I guess, this Khalif will not be voted in, and instead will be imposed upon the ummah by a select few. I am not sure I am thrilled about the idea. And there are a lot of people, who I think, are skeptical about your organization, because there is simply no visibility how the actual aim will be achieved and what are the practical realities of getting to that point. May be you can explain it better, bcz frankly, those before you, did not do a great job, IMO.
The issue of appointing the Khalifa is quite simple in reality. The Khalif is appointed and the Ummah has the right to elect him. Therefore, in the Khilafah every Muslim - man and woman - has the right to vote when it comes to appointing the ruler. Therefore the ruler will not be 'imposed' as you say but elected. Similarly, anyone who fulfills the criteria of being Khalif may stand in the elections and put themselves forward. This criteria is that they are: Male, Muslim, Sane, Just, Free (ie not a slave) and Mature. Elections are not haram and are not kufr. What we have said is that voting in a kufr system is haram. Hence it is haram to elect an MP in Britain to go to parliament because the system is kufr. Your representative (the MP) does not go to parliament to rule by Islam nor does he go there to implement the Quran and Sunnah. Therefore, by voting for him you are giving him a mandate to rule by kufr on your behalf. This is haram.I hope this answers some of your questions.Was Salaam,Shiraz
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