On behalf of the team at Khilafah Magazine I would like to wish you all a warm Ramadhan mubarak.
US vs UN - The Iraq dilemma for Bush
Ramadhan/Shawaal 1424 - November 2003 Cover Issue 11 Volume 16
Once again the great month is upon us, the month in which the Qur'an was revealed and the month in which there is a night better than a thousand months. Once again, we rejoice in the countless blessings which Allah () has bestowed upon us. And we rejoice upon His favour upon us that He will reward the performance of obligations (fara'id) seventy times more...
On 16 October 2003, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1511. The approval of the American sponsored resolution setting out Iraq's political future was welcomed by all the major powers. The US ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte said, "Today's vote is a vote for the future of Iraq...
CULTURAL IDEOLOGICAL VIEWPOINT
12 A picture gallery of the months events
1. Mahathir Drops a Diversion 2. TV Documentary reveals yet more racism in the police force 3. Nobel Prize- another opportunity for Western agenda? 4. Violence erupts in Ayodhya 5. US Aid to Iraq is nothing more than a loan 6. Rapist Premiership Footballers 7. NATO's rapid reaction force
The Ramadhan Opportunity The great month of Ramadhan is upon us; the month, during which the gates of mercy are wide open, the gates of hell are shut and the shayateen are chained up. It is a month chosen by Allah as a month of fasting; an act of ibadat that Allah made special to Him. He favoured this month over all other months by making it the month of mercy and reverence for all the believers.
Swearing -More than just a bad word Words and language are not what they used to be. Slang, lingo and shortened words are now widespread in the vocabulary, whilst other common words are customised to meet current tastes. Phrases such as 'bad', 'fit' and 'gay' are not what they used to mean. Swearing as a means of communication has also become all too prevalent in society.
14 Honour Killings In October, a Muslim man, Abdullah Yones was convicted for the murder of his own daughter. The Old Bailey heard how he had repeatedly stabbed his teenage daughter and then cut her throat. Media reports said he killed his daughter to prevent her from running away with a Christian man she was involved with.
Labour falls at Brent East over Iraq A case for political participation? In September 2003, Sarah Teather a Liberal Party candidate became Britain's youngest MP after she won the Brent East poll by more than 1,100 votes, overturning a 13,047 majority and marking the Labour Party's first loss of a Commons seat in a by-election for fifteen years.
During the blessed month of Ramadan, many of us will be using it as the month to pay the zakah. Unfortunately many of the Islamic rules have been influenced by capitalist thoughts, which have tainted the way we carry out such actions, including that of zakah.
Student Loans As the academic year commences across universities in Britain and the debate over student "top-up" fees rages, the issue of student hardship is raised once again. Students were once lamented as the scourge of society due to their idleness and laissez faire attitude.
Capitalism is bad for your health
How the West aims to disarm the Muslim world
Tony Collins from Swindon holds the world record for the longest wait on a hospital trolley in a casualty department. He waited an astonishing seventy-seven hours and thirty minutes, at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon, before finally being allocated a bed on a ward. This situation would be funny if it was not so tragic.
Reacting to the events of 11 September, Bush personally took charge of a congressional committee to assess America's security needs. Their findings made it clear that "our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build up...
'The Silent Takeover' The uneasiness and guilt is bound to remain with such people. As to believe on one hand that we have been created by our Lord, Allah and that our clear purpose in life is to worship Him and on the other hand to completely disregard this belief in the rest of life would naturally leave an individual at unease.
38 Ramadhan for the Children Ramadhan is a time when Muslims throughout the world enhance their Ibadaat and remembrance of Allah. The feeling of brotherhood between Muslims is warmed and strengthened and this is felt most strongly at home within the family relationships. The spiritual activities of Ramadhan such as waking early for Suhur, breaking the fast, going to the mosque and even preparing for Eid
November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
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AHMAD JASSAT East London email: firstname.lastname@example.org Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu On behalf of the team at Khilafah Magazine I would like to wish you all a warm Ramadhan mubarak. Once again the great month is upon us, the month in which the Qur'an was revealed and the month in which there is a night better than a thousand months. Once again, we rejoice in the countless blessings which Allah has bestowed upon us. And we rejoice upon His favour upon us that He will reward the performance of obligations (fara'id) seventy times more than in any other month and that He will reward the performance of a mandub deed as if we performed an obligation. We dedicate ourselves to bear the fasting by day and standing for prayer by night with patience reminding each other that the reward for patience is Jannah. Once again, we search out for any opportunity to offer food to the fasting person to break his fast, or to give sadaqa to those in need, praying that for these actions Allah will shower his endless mercy upon us and save us from the Fire. Our rivalry for worldly gain turns into rivalry in seeking the bounties of the life to come since we know that in Ramadhan Allah looks at our competition in good deeds, and boasts about us to His angels. Oh how unfortunate is the one who is deprived in this month of the mercy of Allah , the Mighty, the Exalted. As we enter upon the first ten days of mercy we begin to realise that following the commands and prohibitions of Allah is not an impossible dream that cannot be followed in the remaining eleven months. As we swiftly pass through the middle ten days, the fasting and standing for prayer begin to take their toll and in our weakness, we realise the need to seek forgiveness, for these are the days of forgiveness. In the last ten days, we make the final extra effort to accumulate as much reward as possible, for the last ten days are the days of emancipation from the Fire.
For me, Ramadhan is a time which brings mixed feelings, it makes me feel very happy in some respects and at the same time sad in others. The reason it makes me happy is obvious and I have mentioned some of it above. The reason it makes me sad is that the Muslims all over the world are living under oppression and tyranny without unity and sincere leadership, and as a result of this the Qur'an, which is so celebrated in this month, is nowhere to be seen in complete implementation. Sadness at the fact that today we witness our occupation and humiliation when in the past we witnessed great victories in Ramadhan; the battle of Badr (2 A.H.), the liberation of Makkah (8 A.H.) and Spain (92 A.H.), the liberation of Masjid al-Aqsa from the Crusaders (584 A.H.), the battle of Ayn Jaloot (658 A.H.) and the defeat of the French in Egypt (684 A.H.) amongst many others. Then I have to listen to the speeches or messages by the US and British heads of state (and this year both of these are in charge of occupied Muslim lands). We hear the usual patronising rhetoric about how they wish the Muslims a very happy Ramadhan and how they respect Islam. And at the same time they work hard to murder and oppress Muslims all over the world, especially the bruised and battered people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, as if this was not bad enough, I have the misfortune to listen to some leaders of Muslim countries thanking their colonial masters, Bush or Blair for their 'gracious' comments. How sad that there is no ruler from the sons of Khalid bin Walid and Salahudin Ayubi, to tell the occupier that he is a colonialist. But also in this month when I see the Muslims in the UK striving hard to live by Islam, it fills me with joy and convinces me that Muslim communities in the UK can practise Islam consistently and completely all year round. Ramadhan therefore presents an opportunity like none other where we can all focus and dedicate to establish a stronger Iman within ourselves. And where we can contemplate about our duties to Allah and prepare ourselves to adhere to the Islamic rules all year round.
Editor Asif Dawood
News Editor Dr Samiul Muquit
Editorial Board Ahmad Jassat Zubair Hussaini
Production and Publishing Zubair Asghar Kosser Mohammed
Khilafah Magazine is a monthly magazine published in London with a wide distribution across the Muslim and non-Muslim world. The magazine is dedicated to articulating the case for Islam as an ideology that deals with all the human problems, whether individual or societal. Islam must be understood ideologically and has a defined political and ruling system - the Khilafah System. We maintain that the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ is not only inevitable but imperative. As the Capitalist ideology dominates the world today, the only challenge to it must come from Islam. We write to inform, inspire and create a movement for true intellectual revival.
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Translation of the Qur’an It should be perfectly clear that the Qur’an is only authentic in its original language, Arabic. Since perfect translation of the Qur’an is impossible, the term ‘Translation of the Meaning of the Qur’an (TMQ) has been used, as the result is only a crude meaning of the Arabic text.
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The race to find the California ‘governer‘ was terminated by Arnold Schwarzenegger when he became ‘governer’ of California early last month
Relatives mourn over the body of a 12 year old Muslim boy Bahaa Zbeidi who was shot dead by an Israeli tank whilst he was throwing stones
Iraqi children walk through the remains of the office of the International Red Cross after it was hit by a car bomb on Tuesday October 28th
Iraqi currency bearing Saddam’s face is put to the flame
A Palestinian man is stopped and searched at an Israeli check point
The site of the Israeli bombardment on a Syrian target
Protesters in Indonesia hold anti US placards
Cars scramble to exit as wild fires head towards the I-15 freeway in southern California. What is now being labeled as 'black night' South Californian wild fires have claimed over 18 lives and destroyed thousands of homes
Opposition leader Iain Duncan Smith ousted as party leader
A Palestinian man hurls a rock at an Israeli tank
An Iraqi man is surrounded by American tanks as he walks to the mosque
Turkish students chant anti-American slogans as they march during a protest in front of the Istanbul University in Turkey on October 8th
The hotel where 7 football stars were accused of raping a young teenage girl
A man in Iraq is searched for weapons by an occupying American soldier
November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
NEWS Mahathir Drops a Diversion Speaking at perhaps his last OIC address, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad chose a classic tactic in accountability avoidance, the political diversion. His words attacking the Jews were relayed around the world in a matter of minutes producing scornful condemnation by Western states. In an apparent effort to fire up Muslim sentiments, Mahathir said that Jews "rule the world by proxy" and urged rulers of Muslim lands that 1.3 billion Muslims could not be "defeated by a few million Jews". He added, "This tiny [Jewish] community has become a world power. We cannot fight them through brawn alone. We must use our brains as well." Mahathir did not address the illegitimacy of the nation-state based creed of the OIC, neither did he relinquish his support for following international law via the UN, nor did he account the assembled heads of Muslim states on their failure to protect the Ummah against the onslaught of the Americans in Iraq. His entire focus was to prevent attention being drawn to the incompetence of 57 so-called 'Islamic states' in living up to even the name of Islam, hence the need for a scapegoat. Muslims realise that the Prophet had many confrontations with Jewish tribes as a ruler of the Ummah in Medina. Indeed the acts of treason committed by Banu Quraida and the military threat of Khayber are well known. However, this did not mean that every problem the Muslims faced was linked to Jews; rather the Muslims recognised that only by the adherence to the Shara' in matters of ruling, war, and treaties could they create stability for their Islamic State. This insight seems to be absent from the rulers of today who are like the wolf who 'cries ewe' as he continues in his pillage. Hassan Mujtaba
TV Documentary reveals yet more racism in the police force On Tuesday 21st October the BBC aired a documentary in which Mark Daly, an undercover reporter, secretly filmed several trainee police constables making abusive and racist 6
comments. Mark Daly filmed PC Pulling (Greater Manchester Police) admitting to being a racist, voting for the British National Party and saying Hitler had the "right ideas". He also secretly filmed PC Tony Lewin (GMP), PC Andy Turley (GMP), PC Steve Salkeld (Cheshire) and four other officers expressing similar views. Mr Daly, 28, joined Greater Manchester Police as a trainee officer and secretly filmed recruits at Bruche National Training Centre in Warrington, Cheshire. Three officers were suspended and six resigned with more to follow as a result of this report.
tackle a natural product of this, such as racism? The documentary furthers the government's agenda for the integration of Muslims into British society as calls were made for the joining into mainstream Western politics. Also, the recruiting of Muslim men and women into the police force by offering attractive salaries is one of the styles used to tarnish our Islamic identity. Kosser Mohammed
clearly the intention of the West, which stands for values alien to Islam, and it will take any opportunity to propagate its own creed. It also shows what great lengths Western powers are now going to, to try and convince the Muslim world to adopt the values of the West. This weak stunt to try and present a 'progressive' Muslim who carries Western values as a role model for other Muslims is in fact an insight into how deeply the West realise that Muslims have rejected Western values. Wakil Ahmed
Nobel Prize- another opportunity for Western agenda? Violence erupts in Ayodhya
This documentary came as an embarrassment to the police force. Deputy Chief Constable Alan Green of Greater Manchester Police said he had been "shocked, ashamed and very saddened" by what he had seen, and promised a full investigation. This echoed previous promises by the London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon, after an investigation into the racially motivated murder of black teenager Steven Lawrence revealed racism within the force. The fact is that racism within the police force can never be eradicated as the Deputy Chief Constable Alan Green himself said, "Racism has a deeper root, its roots are widespread in the society." Racism is in fact totally legal in British society due to freedom of speech. The British National Party, whose objective is to rid Britain of all ethnicities except the white race, is a fully legal and an operational political party. So how can racism be rooted out of the police force when it remains legal in all levels of society, and furthermore emanates from the very creed of freedom, which is a belief of this society? So clearly, when freedom of speech and nationalism are the core ingredients of British life, how would it then be possible to
Khilafah Magazine November 2003
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2003 to Shirin Ebadi, a 56-year-old lawyer, judge, lecturer, writer and activist "for her efforts for democracy and human rights". Ms Ebadi is the eleventh woman and the third Muslim to win the prize. Upon achieving the prize she commented: "I'm a Muslim, so you can be a Muslim and support democracy". The Nobel Committee's decision surprised many throughout the West, yet it was carefully planned. The reason behind choosing a Muslim woman at a time when concerted efforts are being carried out by Western governments to secularise and liberalise the Islamic world, was summed up by the committee's chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes: "This is a message to the Iranian people, to the Muslim world … that human value, the fight for freedom, the fight for rights of women and children should be at the centre." In simple terms, this is an invitation to Western values with sugar-coated words aimed at Muslims in Iran and the rest of the world. Many still view Iran as an Islamic State, when it is nothing but another Western republic with corrupt politicians and a few Islamic laws. With its pseudo-Islamic status, it is shown to be a failure, and thus the proponents of freedom and democracy capitalise on this supposed failure of Islam. However, a deeper examination of Islam shows that it was revealed by Allah as a comprehensive way of life that has its own notion of politics and ruling. Hence, is it any wonder that trying to accommodate Islam in Western model would lead to failure? Shirin Ebadi's award depicts all too
The fascist rallies and eruption of violence has become a common scene of events in India. The recent wave of events bear testimony to this fact when on Friday 24th October, Hindu hardliners came together to protest the claim to the Ayodhya site. Indian police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at stone-throwing Hindu activists trying to stage a rally. The activists had defied an official ban by trying to march in support of demands for the building of a temple on the site in Ayodhya that is claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. At the climax of the confrontation, police arrested up to 1,000 activists including the Hindu leader Ashok Singhal, taking them away in buses. This comes as no surprise as in December 1992 crowds of Hindus demolished a 16th century mosque at Ayodhya, triggering a year of violence that killed 2,000 people across India. Thousands have been killed in HinduMuslim riots across the country since then and thousands more Muslims have been mutilated and burnt to death with hatred and malice by the VHP. The response of the BJP has been conflicting; on one hand State chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has said he will uphold a court order banning any religious activity in or near the site in an attempt to avoid renewed violence. However, both Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his deputy LK Advani had urged Mr Yadav to allow the VHP supporters to offer prayers at the site, saying they would be peaceful. This kind of hypocrisy is a common-
NEWS ality amongst the BJP, since they have close ties with fascism and fascist groups such as the VHP. Though the BJP claim to be a secular government, their actions speak otherwise. They have supported the VHP by their lack of action when thousands of Muslims are killed and raped by the Hindu mobs in Gujarat, and by providing financial support and their sympathy towards their cause. Such arrests should not be viewed as unbiased actions but rather a theatrical show to the international audience to cover up their true motives and actions on the ground. Ruksana Rahman
US aid to Iraq is nothing more than a loan to keep Iraq in chains
linked to contracts for US firms, many of which are linked to developing Iraq's huge oil reserves. Iraq currently has debts of over $130 billion and this recent conference has simply worsened the situation. The reality is that the entire world, including the Muslim Ummah can clearly see that this is the latest in a series of stunts designed to further cripple Iraq. Western powers in fact use these same tactics to cripple many other Muslim countries. Rather than rebuilding Iraq, the West is simply interested in securing its own agenda and ensuring that the wealth of the Ummah makes it straight into its pockets. It is unfortunate to see however, that their henchmen in Baghdad are making sure this happens as smoothly as possible, as the head of Iraq's governing council, Ayad Allawi, said "the balance between grants, loans and potential oil revenue was almost right." How can he be blinded to the fact that they kill our people and destroy our infrastructure and then ask us to pay for it? Shamim Ghani
The Iraq Donor's Conference, which ended in Madrid on Friday 24th October, raised $33 billion. However, two-thirds of this money has to be repaid by the Iraqis. The US estimates that there needs to be a total of $56 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at the recent conference the US hoped that it would be able to get the $36 billion needed to make up the total, as the US herself has pledged $20 billion. However, what has surprised the international community is the fact that this sum is nothing more than a loan, tied like a noose around the neck of the Iraqi people. Not only has the US secured all the lucrative contracts for itself, it has now secured another avenue by which it can bleed dry the resources of the Ummah through hefty interest payments, cheap oil and trade restrictions. The second largest donor, Japan, will provide a total of $5bn but of this $3.5bn will take the form of loans. Half of the $20bn pledged by the US comes in the form of bilateral aid
Premiership footballers accused of rape A 29 year-old man has become the first to be arrested in connection with the gang-rape allegations involving Premiership footballers. The unnamed man went voluntarily to a Central London police station where he was formally arrested and questioned by detectives leading the investigation. A Scotland Yard spokesman said, "He was arrested in connection with allegations of rape and sexual assault by a 17 year old woman. He remains in custodyâ€Ś" The teenager admits she agreed to have sex with one man but says she was then gang-raped and assaulted by a group of up to 7 others, including several professional footballers. She claimed that up to 8 players were present during the attack in room 316 at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London, on September 27th. Meanwhile, detectives continued to question a Leeds United footballer in connection with an alleged assault on a 20 year-old woman. The player was
arrested earlier this month and held overnight by police. The police and forensic experts conducted a search of a lay-by on the A58 Leeds to Wetherby road. Rumours about the identities of the footballers involved have flooded the internet and circulated amongst the fans, but the media has so far not been allowed to publish their names. Premiership footballers have become icons and placed on a pedestal as 'role' models in Western societies. One can only question the 'role' these models have paved for their fans and followers to pursue. Consider the Beckham 'back-flick' at the World Cup, or Eric Cantona's brawl with a supporter, or Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate's racist attack outside a Leeds nightclub. These characters demonstrate what is valued in Western society. What is possessed of fame, wealth and relative power is coveted by the people and this illusion of success elevates some to become role models. Acts of immorality which involve sexual deviancy, alcohol and drug abuse and violent behaviour are becoming all too common amongst sporting icons. And when a complaint is made and legal proceedings are undertaken then this news becomes the nation's most important debate. Many are disgusted at the immoral behaviour demonstrated by those who are revered by many of the nation's youngsters. However, why should people be surprised at their lack of morality? Surely these players are just normal young men taken off the streets of Britain and they will therefore do what many other young men in Britain do. They are simply adhering to the same values of freedom and selfishness that have caused these types of action to become so common in the wider society. Nasar Hanif
NATO's rapid reaction force NATO has launched its elite rapid reaction force this month with the aim of producing a unit that can be deployed in any part of the world at short notice. Currently consisting of 9000 troops the aim is to eventually double this number and incorporate
ground, naval and air forces. How should one view this launch? Does the West really need to activate this dead alliance; more importantly, what is the motivation to create this force? If one looks beyond the joint declarations and reads between the lines, what becomes clear is that there is not a united agreement in creating this force. NATO is really a defunct organisation since it was created as a European defence against the former Soviet Union. After the fall of Communism, NATO became sidelined, since its need became questionable. However, America after suffering delays and setbacks in its aim to invade Iraq via the UN realised that it will need another route, if it is to show some semblance of international legitimacy. This is America's motivation in reviving NATO. US Marine Corps Gen. James Jones the top NATO commander commented, ``The [force] will give the alliance the military capability to do what it could not do before - insert military forces into a deteriorating situation earlier in a crisis, with more speed, at greater ranges, with more sustainability than ever before.'' In fact, he also said that nations which were not politically ready to deploy troops quickly could be excluded from the new force. NATO officials are particularly concerned by legislation in Germany, Hungary, Netherlands and Turkey, which demand parliamentary approval for sending troops into action. Thus America wants to use NATO to bypass the European nations if they go against American interests. This institution provides little reassurance considering the actions of organisations such as the UN. What has become clear is that every political institution is a tool for powerful nations, who seek to use them against weaker nations. The only surety one has is that this rapid reaction force will not only extend the reach of colonialists but will also allow them to grasp opportunities more quickly, allowing them to take whatever resources they will, whenever they will. Jilani Gulam
November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
THE RAMADHAN OPPORTUNITY
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the shelf, the clubbing, partying, tribal squabbles, and promiscuity restarts.
he great month of Ramadhan is upon us; the month, during which the gates of mercy are wide open, the gates of hell are shut and the shayateen are chained up. It is a month chosen by Allah as a month of fasting; an act of ibadat that Allah made special to Him. He favoured this month over all other months by making it the month of mercy and reverence for all the believers. This month is the most superior of months in which Allah revealed the Qur'an. Also, in this month were revealed the scriptures of Ibrahim (as) and Musa (as), as well as the Zabuur and the Injeel.
It is natural within this month for the Muslims to increase their good deeds in order to gain the vast reward of Ramadhan and get closer to Allah .This is something that has occurred throughout history and is a positive sign that the flame of Islam still burns brightly in the hearts of Muslims worldwide. All mature Muslims are obligated to fast within this month from dawn to sunset abstaining from food and drink. The hunger and thirst that is felt during the day is automatically connected in our minds to the reason as to why we are fasting, as a worship of Allah . Unfortunately, for some amongst us, instead of being a month of increasing ones good deeds on top of the obligations we consistently perform, we find today that for many it is a month of only temporary change. Unheard of in the early days of Islam, today we have the phenomenon of the 'Ramadhan Muslim' - one who is Muslim in name but only Muslim in action for one month in the year. 8
Khilafah Magazine November 2003
The examples of such individuals are numerous, to the extent that it has become a norm amongst Muslims in the West to find a contingent of 'Ramadhan Muslims' within them. These are Muslims who usually practise little of Islam but suddenly transform in this holy month into actively practising Muslims. They begin to perform their Salah, are careful of their speech, control their tempers, lower their gaze and increase their remembrance of Allah . On top of the obligatory actions, people even compete in the recommended ones such as tarawih salah and recitation of the Qur’an, such that the mosques are full at many times during the day. Haram (prohibited) actions are also avoided by many during Ramadhan, the talk of which also suddenly becomes taboo. Young Muslim friends would even shun talking to each other about 'clubbing', 'spliffing' or chasing after the opposite sex even though these are popular pastimes for the same people throughout the rest of the year. Examples of the 'Ramadhan Muslim' can be seen amongst both the youth and the elders alike. Some of the elders put away their lottery cards, refrain from backbiting, and are much more controlled with their temper towards their children or spouses during Ramadhan. And when Ramadhan ends on the day of Eid, it is unfortunately all too common to see all the good that was witnessed in the holy month to be rapidly reversed. The headscarves come off the women, the 'rizla' and the 'weed' comes out for many youngsters, the tempers flare, the mosques are again empty, the Qur’an is left on
This demonstrates clearly that Ramadhan has not truly been understood by many Muslims. It is sad to see Ramadhan treated as people of other religions treat their religious occasions, in a manner which only temporarily alters their actions. WHY? It is no mystery as to why many Muslims have become like this. This part-time attitude to religion is enshrined in the society in which we live. In the view of the West religion is meant to be a personal matter that is limited to a set of rituals and morals that should not play a part in the rest of our lives. Many Muslims would openly declare their belief in Islam yet at the same time have adopted this corrupt notion that relegates Allah and the Qur’an to one month in the year or only to personal worship. A Muslim who treats Ramadhan and Islam in this manner resembles the Christian who acts as he pleases and attends the church on Sunday or during Lent expecting to be forgiven. People who hold this notion will often feel very emotional during Ramadhan and will spend hours during prayer and supplication. Some even cover up the television seeing it as an evil. They often feel guilty for actions throughout the year such as their illicit relationships or interaction with the opposite sex, their backbiting, mortgage on their house, missing of salah, interest based loans, foul language or neglect of their parents or children. Going into a mode of submission during Ramadhan is an attempt to exonerate themselves and is a way to boost themselves with some 'spiritual energy'. The effect is temporary and after Ramadhan the
actions and together with them the guilt returns. The uneasiness and guilt is bound to remain with such people. As to believe on one hand that we have been created by our Lord, Allah and that our clear purpose in life is to worship Him and on the other hand to completely disregard this belief in the rest of life would naturally leave an individual at unease. This is the true dilemma of the 'Ramadhan Muslim', a mixed, confused personality torn between Islam and the secular Western values. It is a personality lacking distinctiveness and direction. We need to be true to ourselves and ask the following serious questions: Do we believe the Qur’an that was revealed in this month by the Creator of the universe is a book of guidance only for this month or partial aspects of our lives? Do we think that fasting in this month and then returning to the neglect of the Islamic duties will grant us forgiveness? Is this the basis by which we convince ourselves that it is fine to be distant from Islam for the rest of the year? THE TRUE MEANING OF RAMADHAN Allah says:
"Ramadhan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and as a criterion (al-Furqan)" [TMQ Al Baqarah: 185] We should realise that the deen has come to regulate the dunya. Allah revealed the Qur’an within this blessed month so that it acts as al-Furqan, the criterion between right and wrong for all of our actions throughout the twelve months of the year. Islam is different to Christianity, Judaism and all the other religions, for it is the true Deen, a complete way of life with detailed shari'ah rules and solutions to all of life's problems. Allah has revealed to us not only how to fast, He has also given us details for how to trade in a halal way avoiding riba (interest) and all haram contracts, how to live in the West without becoming integrated into the society and adopting its corrupt values, how to bring up and educate our children and guard them from the kufr culture that the society bombards them
with, how the houses of Allah - the mosques should be a centre for Islam that are open to the young and old rather than being places that turn people away. Allah has revealed to us detailed rules for all issues just as He revealed to us how to fast and perform the recommended acts during the month of Ramadhan. Ramadhan should be a month for us to increase our remembrance of Allah rather than a month of temporary obedience to His orders. Allah says,
"Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many gain Taqwa" [TMQ Al Baqarah:183] Taqwa comes from the word 'waqiya', which means to protect. It is protection from the anger of Allah and His punishment. This is why taqwa is used to describe the performing of actions, which pleases Allah and abstaining from all actions that displeases Him . Taqwa in essence means God consciousness, being conscious of Allah in all our actions and affairs. Fasting should aid us in gaining taqwa, as it puts us in an atmosphere of obedience to Allah , every time we feel hunger during the fast or fatigue, we know that we are doing it for the obedience of Allah . It makes us realise our relationship with Allah . Umar ibn al Khattab (ra) once looked at those praying and said, "The great number of times any of you raises and lowers his head does not deceive me. The [real] deen is being cautious and meticulous in the deen of Allah, and refraining from what Allah has forbidden, and acting according to what Allah permits and forbids." The son of 'Ali (ra), Al-Hasan (ra) once said, "The people who have taqwa (al-muttaqoon) are the people who avoided whatever Allah has prohibited and have done whatever Allah has ordained." 'Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (ra) once said, "Taqwa is not by fasting the day and not by praying the night. And it is not by mixing between the two of them.But taqwa is leaving what Allah has made haram and by doing what Allah has made fard. After one has done this, Allah will provide good things for that person."
Ibn Juzayy said in his dictionary of terms from the introduction to his tafsir: "Taqwa's meaning is fear, clinging to obedience to Allah and abandoning disobedience to Him. It is the sum of all good." To achieve taqwa and avoid the label of the 'Ramadhan Muslim' we must have a solid foundation. We must base our belief on conviction, clearly comprehending the fact that Allah is the Creator of the universe and linking that realisation to our actions. Our belief is unlike the belief of the Christians and other faiths which have no proof for them. The existence of Allah and the definitiveness of the Qur’an are facts to us just as we believe that fire burns. To achieve this belief we must apply the mind that Allah has given us rather than just imitating others blindly without any comprehension. Ibn Abbas (ra) said, "The light of Iman is thinking". Contemplating upon the dates which we break our fasts with and the hunger which we feel during our fast is enough to lead us to conclude that we are needy and dependent upon a creator. The entire universe and whatever it contains is proof enough for the existence of Allah and smashes the myths of the theory of evolution or the 'big bang'. The Qur’an which we recite during this month is not a book like any other, written by men. It is a miracle proving beyond any doubt the truthfulness of Islam. Allah challenges all humanity to produce even one chapter like it which mankind has failed to achieve. Even America with the billions of dollars it spends in fighting Islam, all it has to do is to produce one chapter (Surah) similar to the Qur’an for all the 1.5 billion Muslims to apostatise and leave Islam. It has failed, as will all those who attempt the impossible. For the challenge of the Qur’an has been set by Allah . Possessing an unshakeable belief allows the Muslim to accept his position as the slave of Allah and enables him to submit completely to all the commands and prohibitions, thus attaining taqwa. It is linking the realisation of Allah's existence to our actions that shapes the Islamic personality. The Muslim does not consider his own benefit or pleasure as factors in deciding right or wrong, so he will fast the long day, wake up early in the morning for fajr salah, share his food with others, avoid temptations and November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
witness again the month of Ramadhan that we may benefit from it by drawing closer to Allah , by making sincere repentance, and seeking His mercy and forgiveness. For those of us who are 'Ramadhan Muslims' we must let this Ramadhan be a time of true change where we completely mould our personalities according to Islam so that we will remain steadfast for the whole of our lives. For those of us who are already practising Islam let it be a time where we redouble our efforts, attain the reward and strengthen our relationship with Allah . Indeed the one who fails to benefit from the month of Ramadhan is one of the losers, and deserves to be distanced from Allah . The Prophet said,
"Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the fire." [Ahmad] indecency, avoid Haram and tirelessly engage in the da'wah to resume the Islamic way of life. This selflessness is what completely defies the West who are obsessed with following their lusts and personal desires. Islam should flow in our veins such that we think and feel according to it. This is what allowed the Muslims to stand firm in the battle of Badr in the second year after the Hijra. On a Friday, morning the 17th of Ramadhan the Prophet led the Muslims outnumbered 3 to 1, 305 believers defeated an army of over 900 kuffar. The Quraysh were humiliated and the Muslims were victorious. It was this conviction that shaped the personalities of Muslims throughout the ages such that our history is full of examples of strength, courage, determination and enlightenment. It is this belief and understanding that allowed the Muslims under the leadership of Tariq ibn Ziyad to liberate Spain during Ramadhan, Ninety-two years after the Hijrah. It was also in this month of sacrifice in 1187 (CE) that Salahaddin Ayyubi defeated the Crusaders. On this day the Muslims virtually routed all the local Crusader forces capable of defending the Crusaders establishment in the Near East. With a 12,000 strong cavalry they defeated the Crusaders and re-took al-Quds back into its rightful hands. BENEFITING FROM RAMADHAN Allah has allowed each and everyone of us to 10
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Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet , climbed upon the minbar and said: "Ameen, ameen, ameen". So it was said, "O Messenger of Allah , you climbed upon the minbar and said, "Ameen, ameen, ameen"? So he said "Jibreel came to me and said, 'Whoever reaches the month of Ramadhan and does not have his sins forgiven and so enters the fire, then may Allah distance him, say ameen" So I said "Ameen" [Ibn Khuzaimah, Ahmad & al-Baihaqi].
The Messenger of Allah said, "Ramadhan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the mighty, the exalted." [Tabarani]
The Prophet said: "He who is amongst those who pray will be called from the gate of the prayer (in paradise) and he who is from the people of jihad will be called from the gate of jihad, and he who is from those' who give in charity (i.e. zakat) will be called from the gate of charity, and he who is amongst those who observe fast will be called from the gate of fasting, the gate of raiyan." Abu Bakr said, "He who is called from all those gates will need nothing," He added, "Will anyone be called from all those gates, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Yes, and I hope you will be among those, O Abu Bakr." [Bukhari]
Abu Said al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face." [This is related by "the group," except for Abu Dawud]
Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah, , said: "The fast and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." [Ahmad]
Abu Umamah reported: "I came to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.' He
said: 'Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.' Then I came to him again and he said: 'Stick to fasting."' [Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and al-Hakim] Let us ensure that we take heed from the words of our master, Muhammad who said,
any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the fire of hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all." [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah]
"If it is Ramadhan, make umrah for indeed it is equivalent to Hajj" [Nisaa'i] Praying with full devotion upon the night of alqadr is of great reward, for it is a night that is better than a thousand months. Allah said,
"Whosoever does not stop saying and acting upon falsehood, Allah is in no need for them to abandon their food." [Bukhari] This narration from our beloved Prophet should serve as a stark warning to all those who stick to Islam during Ramadhan and then abandon it after the day of Eid ul Fitr.
There are particular actions that have been encouraged within this month like suhur, tarawih salah, performing umrah, qiyam and feeding the fasting people. There is much reward to be had by the one who partakes in the suhur, the pre-dawn meal, and the one who invites others to break fast with him.
"Verily! We have sent it down in the night of Alqadr. And what will make you know what the night of Al-qadr is. The night of Al-qadr is better than a thousand months" [TMQ: AlQadr: 1-3]
The Prophet said, For the one who has taqwa sticking to the minimum of performing the obligations and refraining from the prohibitions does not seem enough as he continuously wants to develop his personality in order to gain the pleasure of Allah . The month of Ramadhan is full of opportunities to gain the extra reward by undertaking the acts that please Allah .
MAINTAINING CONSISTENCY "Take suhur as there is a blessing in it." He also said,
"Whoever will invite a person who is fasting to break the fast with him will get the same reward as the one who was fasting and there will be no reduction in his reward either". In the nights of this month there is much opportunity for repentance and supplication, both collectively in the tarawih prayers and also individually in the other prayers such as salat al-tahajjud and by remembering Allah by performing dhikr, and by praising and glorifying Allah with the heart and the tongue. Abu Hurairah said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say, The Messenger of Allah addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban, saying, "Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at
'the one who does qiyam (staying up the night in remembrance of Allah) in Ramadhan with faith and sincerity, all his sins will be forgiven.'" Ramadhan is the month in which the umrah is equivalent to a single Hajj (in reward). The Messenger of Allah said to a woman from the Ansar,
Remaining consistent post Ramadhan is the true test. As observing the Islamic rules is much easier when the environment is Islamic, when most people in your family and many of your friends are doing similar. However post Ramadhan, when things go back to normal, the atmosphere is likely to change. If one has truly based their belief on conviction and understood the significance and meaning of Ramadhan, he or she will remain steadfast and committed to Islam. If we feel that life will go back to normal after Ramdhan and that the effect will wear off then we need to ponder deeply as to the reasons why this may happen. By doing so we will realise that we may have fundamental flaws in our thinking such as not being clear upon the proof of the definitiveness of Islam itself, our decision making process may revolve around personal selfish interests instead of the shari'ah and the lack of linking Allah and the afterlife to our everyday actions. If this is the case we need to spend time in resolving these weaknesses by contemplation, thought and asking help from those more knowledgeable than ourselves. This soul searching process is a must for a Muslim who should be a consistent Islamic personality as tomorrow may never come and who knows if we will live to next Ramadhan. So let us work against the tide, remain strong, embody Islam and be a light to guide others to the truth.
November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Ideological Viewpoint SWEARING: MORE THAN JUST BAD WORDS
Imaad Al Islam
High Wycombe email: email@example.com
"I SWEAR BECAUSE I WANT TO SWEAR"
ords and language are not what they used to be. Slang, lingo and shortened words are now widespread in the vocabulary, whilst other common words are customised to meet current tastes. Phrases such as 'bad', 'fit' and 'gay' are not what they used to mean. Swearing as a means of communication has also become all too prevalent in society. Many public personalities are at the forefront of this, football players, Hollywood stars and rap artists all contribute their share of swear words for society to absorb. Swearing has become a standard in life that is common in most places and situations, whether one is walking in a high street, studying in a classroom or simply watching television. The level of etiquette in society has declined to such an extent that swearing is rife even amongst young children, insulting each other to the point of fighting. Despite efforts from teachers and parents alike to guide the youth towards a more civil way of expressing themselves the existing social norms continue to produce individuals who swear.
Swearing, however, isn't specific to Western societies. On the contrary, even in many Asian and 'Muslim' societies, swearing is common amongst all generations and stratum of society. Swear words are used to insult others and degrade their families and friends, and in many cases, even other people's sisters, parents and
Khilafah Magazine November 2003
family. Indeed, it is extremely tragic that from the very youngest to the oldest both feel comfortable to use words and phrases of an insulting and derogatory nature. VERBAL ABUSE IS OUT OF CONTROL Earlier this year, broadcasters and film producers were accused of helping to normalise swearing in society. In a report published by Mediawatch-UK, it stated how the broadcasters and film-producers were creating a 'grunt culture'. In other words, swearing was replacing the normal use of words and phrases in conversation and dialogue. A few months later another study from a monitoring group found that television swearing in the US, on the six major networks, had risen sharply. In a survey by the British Medical Association 95 per cent of GPs and hospital doctors reported that they had been verbally abused, a quarter of whom had been abused more than five times within the last year. Within institutions such as the City of London, swearing on the trading floor or in team meetings is common. Equally, the factory floor is rife with swear words and profanities. Clearly, swearing has reached a peak in society where no child, student or employee can live without hearing it.
For many amongst the youth swearing is part of the process of 'chilling' and hanging out with friends. It seems that every sentence is littered with expletives and swear words. It has become normal, in such discussions, to talk about life and work in a way pleasing to others of the same mentality. Many swear words are used to describe cars, mobile phones and inanimate objects. It seems like the trendy thing to do if one is to have a social life. In fact, many would go as far as saying that their social life wouldn't be as fun without swearing or saying what one wants, in whichever tone he or she chooses. "EMINEM DOES IT. LUDACRIS DOES IT. JA RULE DOES IT. WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM WITH SWEARING?" The youth of today grow up in an environment where the role models offered to them have the lowest standards of behaviour and speech. Many of the music industry role models of today prefer to talk about their cars and possessions in the foulest language imaginable. Unfortunately, these are the same role models who have risen to the heights of popularity as their albums, clothes and even their way of walking is mimicked. Popular icons such as rappers, sportsmen and 'gangsters' get away with continuously swearing in front of the cameras and recording it in their music. Essentially, these role models are allowed to use expletives and words that denigrate others by the music industry and record producers. It appears there is an unwritten competition as to which rapper or artist can swear the most on each new album.
MORE THAN JUST BAD WORDS If one were to ask a person on the street not to swear the reply would be a quick 'No' followed by a stream of expletives. People defend their right to swear as if they were protecting their freedom. They feel it as an attack on their character and a restriction of their liberty. Being told what to say and what not to say these days by another person seems unthinkable to many. This is because capitalism believes freedom of speech and freedom of expression are two of the sublime values that all human societies should aspire to. It means that humans should be able to express themselves in whatever way they feel necessary as long as their viewpoint or position is made.
If these words become normalised in their everyday use, surely this means that the immoral act that they signify has also become tolerated, otherwise these words would be treated with disgust. No Muslim can tolerate words used to slander Islam because they can't tolerate what those words signify, so why can a Muslim then tolerate other words which signify other obscenities. And worse than this, amongst youth, use of these words can build a certain respect in acknowledgement or even approval of such acts. So clearly, swearing is something that is natural to any capitalist society which is continually pushing back the boundaries of what is immoral, and learning to accept these as norms. Muslims should never accept the immoral practices of a capitalist society as normal but should always view them as immoral practices which Islam will always consider unacceptable. So the Muslim community should not tolerate, let alone participate in the use of such words as they represent the practices of a foreign civilisation to Islam. ISLAM REGULATES YOUR THOUGHTS, SPEECH AND ACTIONS
Therefore, for the capitalists expressing oneself without limits is the optimum level of society and any restriction to this ability to express is met with resistance and opposition. Capitalists will defend the right of anyone to insult, belittle or abuse on the basis of free speech and expression. Of course, the results of such an idea can be clearly seen around us with verbal abuse, lies, gossip, rumours and swear words common in people's everyday language and behaviour. If one were to think deeper about what swear words signify then it would provide a disturbing insight into the civilisation that has produced these norms. Swear words are used to describe a plethora of things; they describe immoral sexual acts, abuse of mothers, fathers, sisters, arrogance through making others look stupid, getting drunk, or high and so on. The use of such words in the context of swearing actually admits that they signify something immoral or obscene. Swear words are swear words because they describe something that people know is morally wrong, so swear words are used to describe getting drunk, or high, or abusing the appearance of people (particularly women), or performing some other vulgar act.
The Islamic system does not encourage the thoughts of individualism and arrogance. It does not believe humans have the 'freedom' to express themselves in any manner they wish. Islam is an ideology that is built upon submission to Allah through rational thinking and recognising no authority other than He . As a result, His words and the words of the final messenger, Muhammad becomes sacrosanct for Muslims. Islam condemns in the severest form the type of speech associated with Western societies. Rather, it seeks to build an environment that is free from vulgar language but is characterised by etiquette, tolerance and brotherhood amongst its people.
"Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones (i.e. his mouth and tongue) and what is between his two legs (i.e. his private parts), I guarantee paradise for him." [Sahih Al-Bukhari] Narrated Abu Huraira (ra): The Prophet said,
"A slave (of Allah) may utter a word, which pleases Allah, without giving it much importance, and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward): a slave (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-fire" [Sahih AlBukhari] Narrated Abu Huraira (ra): Allah's Apostle said,
"Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. (i.e. abstain from all kinds of evil and dirty talk)." [Sahih Al-Bukhari] Abu'd-Darda (ra) reported that Allah's Messenger said,
The Prophet has outlined this in the following evidences:
"Obscene words and foul language belong to the devil. These two draw close to the fire and away from the paradise." [Tabarani]
"On the Day of Resurrection, nothing will weigh better in the scales for any of Allah's servants than good character. Truly Allah detests the wicked and foul-tongued." [Related by Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]
Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd (ra): Allah's Messenger November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
East London email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HONOUR KILLINGS n October, a Muslim man, Abdullah Yones was convicted for the murder of his own daughter. The Old Bailey heard how he had repeatedly stabbed his teenage daughter and then cut her throat. Media reports said he killed his daughter to prevent her from running away with a Christian man she was involved with. Tragically he killed her to save the family honour. This was not a one off incident. Another Muslim man, Mustaq Ahmed, from East London was convicted on 7 October 2003 for having killed the man who was having a relationship with his daughter. It is these types of killings that are labelled by the Western press as, 'honour killings'.
'Honour killings' are usually committed against a woman, or a man she is involved with. The perpetrators are most often than not male members of the victim's family. The murder is committed if the family feel the women has tainted the family's honour by her behaviour. Accusations levelled at women typically involve adultery or fornication. It has even been known that victims of these killings have included women who have been raped or those seeking divorce. The examples of the two convicted men show us that they were willing to kill to protect their honour. They were not prepared to standby and allow their family name to be dragged through the mud because of the actions of their daughters which they regarded as dishonourable. HONOUR OR STATUS? Sadly, honour has taken on a new meaning devoid of Islam. Honour now means to most people, their status in the eyes of their community. 'What will people say' defines honour. It was said in the case of one of the men that he didn't want his daughter to marry an 'Albanian asylum seeker'. It was reported that this was the underlying reason for his crime. Perhaps he felt it would be shameful for him that his daughter would be with someone of a lower societal ranking and therefore he felt he had to take action to salvage his family reputation. 14
Khilafah Magazine November 2003
In most eastern cultures, whether Arab, African or from the Sub-Continent there is a cultural idea of what is honourable. In these cultures, it is something that emanates essentially from the emotions of pride and status seeking in their community. In some east African cultures for example, if someone of a particular status is killed by someone from another tribe, the only way the honour of the victim's tribe will be restored is if they kill someone of equal status from the killer's tribe. In most cases, the person targeted has nothing to do with the initial murder and is killed simply for their status in order to settle the score. This goes to show that cultural interpretation of honour and dishonour can be something emotional and irrational and would be dangerous to adopt. This way of defining honour results in many problems and contradictions. For instance, what is unacceptable for a girl in the family is acceptable in some cases for the boy in the same family. When parents talk about the difficulties they face raising children they usually comment by saying 'it is especially hard for a girl'. By this, they usually mean that if she becomes pregnant it is obvious and draws undesirable attention and dishonour to the family. If a son commits fornication, he is not going to bear the physical signs and it is easier to hide and therefore avert dishonour and shame. It is clear that this view of honour is an emotional issue as opposed to an intellectual one. If it had an intellectual basis then surely parents would have had no difficulty in explaining it to their kids and passing it down. However there is no intellectual basis - it is more of a traditional inheritance. In the 'honour killings' we have discussed how the agitated people felt that the only way to vent the anger stirred by their child's actions was to resort to murder. However, in the community this emotional reaction can take various other forms. Most common is the cutting of ties with family on the spur of the moment i.e. disowning their child. This often leads to splits in families where due to pride anyone who shows support
for the excommunicated member of the family is also excommunicated. This breaking of ties is commonly known to have lasted for decades, passing from generation to generation. The common factor for such extreme measures such as murder or cutting blood ties is that of status. If a scandal is uncovered almost worse than the pain of discovering the act itself is the pain of being the talk of the community. It is because of this reason that honour killings are almost always due to the acts of the daughter and not the son. This is because the community perceptions are that if a boy does it then he's a boy, and this is what boys sometimes do. But if a girl does it, then the community views her as undignified and a disgrace. In essence both committed the same act but in the case of the girl, the community perceived it as a scandal and therefore the family reacted to absolve themselves from this scandal and to repair their battered status in the community.
HONOUR IN ISLAM "It is only because of Islam that we gained 'izzah' (honour, dignity, and pride), and if we seek 'izzah' outside of Islam, Allah will humiliate us." Umar ibn al Khattab (ra). It is clear from these words that honour is not what one's family sees as honourable or shameful. Honour is not the dictation of custom, or a mere reaction to an event. Honour is far greater than what it has been reduced to. Honour is a beautiful virtue that Allah has specified to be gained from the application of our glorious deen. From the very basis of our belief when we take the shahadah, we are in effect taking a pledge of submission to Allah . We are bearing witness that there is none (no God, no deity, no way of life, no custom, no tradition) worthy of worshipping, following or revering other than Allah . The honour comes from adhering to the commands and avoiding the prohibitions that Allah revealed to His Messenger . The dishonourable actions are therefore anything that goes against Allah's commands. The dishonourable man is one who violates the pledge of submission to Allah by referring to other than Allah . Anything that violates the shari'ah is what Islam classes as shameful deeds. So fornication is a shameful deed as stipulated
by Allah :
"And come not near to the zina Verily, it is a Fahishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him)." [TMQ Surah al-Isra: 32] Allah also says,
"Oh Prophet Tell your wives, your daughters and the believers to draw their jalabeeb (cloaks) all over their bodies" [TMQ Surah Ahzab: 59] In the view of Islam all the haram actions should be avoided and all the obligations fulfilled, so in essence there is no distinction between fornication and not wearing the khimar and jilbab in public. There is no distinction between a son who takes drugs and one who does not pray Jum'ah. All these actions dishonour the family since they violate a commandment of Allah . All breaches of Allah's law are sins and therefore dishonourable actions when viewed from Islam. It is true that to have an illicit relationship is dishonourable, whether that was a man or a woman, young or old and whether that was with a Muslim or non-Muslim or with someone from ones own tribe or not. However, it must also be highlighted that every step along the way is also dishonourable. So encouraging free mixing between non-relatives, wearing of make-up and tight fitting clothing in public, allowing khulwah (seclusion) between non-mahram men and women, all of these are also shameful. The Prophet said about the women who do not cover in accordance with Allah's commands:
"…And women who wear (clothes) but (are) half-naked…these women will not enter the Paradise…" Likewise, most aspects of Western and eastern cultures generate an environment that facilitates the forming of illicit relationships. For example; giving young people immoral role models such as Hollywood or Bollywood actors and thinking this to be a harmless part of growing up. The community needs to realise that the way of life
in the West is bound to lead to the formation of illicit relationships. For instance, young people are made to prioritise their career and education above everything else. In order to achieve this young people are not allowed to think about getting married before being qualified and having a career. At the same time, they are exposed to a culture in which the procreation instinct is relentlessly agitated but they have no way to calm this agitation in a way that is acceptable to their community. The result is that young people end up living secret lives. Our Prophet Muhammad is a perfect example of the most honourable man - he was uswatun hasanah, the 'best example' for mankind. In his time there was a woman among the nobility of Quraish who committed theft. The people at the time thought it was not right to cut her hand because of her societal status and they approached Rasulallah as head of state and the judiciary. It was narrated by 'Aisha (ra) "The Quraish people became very worried about the Makhzumiya lady who had committed theft. They said, 'Nobody can speak (in favour of the lady) to Allah's Apostle and nobody dares do that except Usama who is the favourite of Allah's Apostle.' When Usama spoke to Allah's Apostle about that matter, Allah's Apostle said,
'Do you intercede (with me) to violate one of the legal punishment of Allah?' Then he got up and addressed the people, saying, 'O people! The nations before you went astray because if a noble person committed theft, they used to leave him, but if a weak person among them committed theft, they used to inflict the legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad committed theft, Muhammad will cut off her hand!'" [Sahih Bukhari- Vol 8, Book 81 Number 780] The Prophet Muhammad is our guide to how we should live our lives if we wish to be honourable and successful in this life and in the Hereafter. A true depiction of this is in the example of Umar ibn al Khattab (ra). Whilst he was at the time the Khalifah, one of Umar's (ra) sons was found guilty of fornication, a crime punishable by hudud. Those carrying out the
punishment of lashing carried it out in seclusion in order to spare Umar (ra) embarrassment. However, the hudud punishments should be carried out in public. When Umar (ra) heard about this, he ordered that his son be publicly lashed. His son died during the punishment (although that was not intended by the punishment). Umar (ra) commented at the time that he was more concerned that his son would not be punished by Allah for not having taken his punishment in accordance with the shar'a (when he was lashed in private) than he was with any potential embarrassment. It is clear from this example that honour emanates from the Qur'an and the Sunnah and not from our own whims, traditions or customs. CONCLUSION Regarding the 'honour killings' that recently took place it was wrong of the families to carry out the punishment according to their own judgement or traditions. Similarly it was wrong for the daughters to commit actions that were outside the laws of Allah . There is a definitive way to do everything and Islam has its own judicial system that undertakes the role of accounting and judging between the people. Sadly we as a Muslim Ummah live in the absence of the Khilafah and therefore lack the protection of such a judicial and social guardianship that Allah has detailed for us. In the meantime, we do not apply our own whims over our situation no matter how embarrassing that situation may be. Rather the onus is on every parent to make sure that they proactively culture their children in the deen of Islam and fully equip their children with the correct Islamic concepts. If we leave our youth without culturing them with Islam in an intellectual way, then they will adopt a Western, kufr viewpoint to life. By following Islam we will be in the ranks of the honourable ones who fear Allah in their actions and strive for His reward. If we followed the Sunnah and the Qur'an to judge between us in all our matters; if we reign in our emotions with His rulings; and lead our minds with His commands; If we abstained from whatever He prohibited and enjoin all that He obliged, then by Allah we will be of the successful honourable believers. If we ignore Allah and His deen only then will be dishonourable and shameful, may Allah protect us from that path of arrogance and disgrace. Ameen.
November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Dr. Shazia Mariam and Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
CAPITALISM IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH ony Collins from Swindon holds the world record for the longest wait on a hospital trolley in a casualty department. He waited an astonishing seventy-seven hours and thirty minutes, at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon, before finally being allocated a bed on a ward. This situation would be funny if it was not so tragic. Healthcare and its adequate provision to the citizens of a nation is a serious issue that can be a matter of life and death matter. Take the example of Steve Ingle, father of two. Earlier this year he was taken by ambulance to Worcester Royal Hospital and then was left on a casualty trolley unmonitored for fourteen hours. His condition deteriorated during the long wait. It later transpired that he had contracted meningitis and died three days after. This was due to the insufficient number of doctors and nurses to provide the appropriate care at the time at the hospital.
Healthcare is a basic need of every human being and an issue that is close to the heart of every one of us. We all recognise the worry and anxiety that we experience when a relative, child, or friend is ill. Such worry is multiplied when we are faced with the prospect of a healthcare system that may not provide adequate care, and treatment to our loved ones. We realise that what happened to Steve Ingle could so easily happen to our own loved ones. Across the world, the British NHS system is viewed as a first class healthcare system. It is admired globally for representing a public service that provides its citizens with high quality medical care and treatment that is free of charge. The ethos of the NHS itself, upon establishment, was to provide healthcare to all regardless of background or class and according to clinical need rather than ability to pay. This has created an impression across the world, including the Muslim world that the Western secular states really care for their people. This is unlike the regimes in their own countries, where the provision of healthcare is 16
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massively insufficient for the people's needs or a big business that financially cripples those who seek treatment. The consequent view that has therefore developed amongst many Muslims both in the Muslim world and the West, is that it is the Western secular and democratic way of life and system that is the successful one. That it is this system that should be adopted in Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike because it alone can provide the people with their basic needs. What we wish to address in this article, is that the NHS system is far from being a first class system. We will also illustrate that rather than caring for the welfare of its citizens, the Western politicians, governments and political parties view the provision of healthcare as nothing but a political game and the NHS as nothing but a political football to woo and dupe the electorate in their vying for power. This should bring into question whether the capitalist West can really take care of the needs of mankind.
WHAT IS THE TRUE REALITY OF THE NHS? Currently in the U.K., there are over one million people on the NHS waiting list, waiting for operations or outpatient appointments with specialist consultants. For some, it can be a waiting time in excess of eighteen months, for most it is between six months and a year. There are elderly patients awaiting hip and knee replacements, suffering with crippling pain. There are patients with progressive visual problems such as cataract who are faced with an increasingly difficult struggle to perform their daily routines at home. There are patients with unstable angina and heart disease that may have to wait months for a bypass with the constant worry of whether they may suffer from a heart attack during the wait. According to a Department of Health funded survey performed by the University of Birmingham in
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2000, there are even some cancer patients that have to wait ten months between the diagnosis and treatment, such as those with prostate cancer. In fact, the survey found that the average wait for 90 per cent of patients with prostate cancer was 292 days, 123 days with urgent cases of cervical cancer, and 124 days with urgent cases of bladder cancer. There are long waiting times for those patients seeking emergency treatment in Accident and Emergency departments across the country. In a Department of Health survey performed earlier this year, it found that one in twenty patients had to wait in casualty for twelve hours or more on a trolley or chair before they could get a ward bed and almost one in ten had to wait between eight and twelve hours. Such a reality can have serious consequences, like the example of eleven month year old Ben Lander who in December 2002 attended the Diana Princess of Wales Children's Hospital, Birmingham after contracting chicken pox. He waited four hours to see a doctor by which time he had developed pneumonia and then another twelve hours before he was finally transferred to a ward. The hospital explained that the hospital had been full over the weekend and there were no isolated paediatric cubicles elsewhere in the city. There is a massive lack of doctors and nurses. According to one study, in the city of Liverpool alone there are fifty fewer GP's to take care of the needs of its population. The result being that those GP's working in the system are greatly overworked, some having a seventy hour working week or alternatively, some patients having to travel miles to register with a doctor. Some doctors are forced to work over twenty-four hours without sleep to compensate for the deficiency of medical staff, putting patient safety at risk. With regards to nursing, an Evening Standard newspaper survey of hospitals in London, described an average nurse vacancy level of 15 per cent, with some trusts running with 20 per cent of their nursing posts vacant. The lack of
skilled nurses has resulted in many student nurses having been left at times with the sole responsibility for managing the hospital wards - some 35 per cent of student nurses according to one Mori Poll. A lack of paramedics and ambulances has resulted in disastrous consequences. In one incident this autumn, a man who was on holiday in Spain heard that his mother was ill. He was able to return to England quicker than it took for an ambulance to take his sick, elderly mother to the local hospital, a few miles away. The ambulance arrived 8 hours after being initially called by which time, the man had returned home. In fact, he reached Derby City Hospital forty-five minutes before his mother arrived. She had a stroke the following day and died a little later. On a general level, there is massive inequality of the NHS services across the country, with poorest services in the poorest areas that ultimately have the poorest treatment results. Many of the buildings used by the NHS are old and crumbling, with one-third being built before the NHS was ever created. Patients are exposed to a post-code lottery with respect to treatment such that the quality of treatment they receive depends upon the part of the country that they live. There is rationing of drugs with many doctors not being able to prescribe the best drug for an ailment due to the cost restraint...and the problems go on!
cally beneficial it will be for the state rather than upon human need. So for example, more investment will be made in those areas affecting the young rather than the old, for the young are economically productive while the elderly are no longer economically "useful" for the society. The old are seen as a strain on the economy and the NHS. On deciding how many doctors and nurses are required for the system, the criteria used will not be what is required to efficiently relieve the suffering of its people. Rather the standard will be, what is cost-effective for the economy, regardless of the strain that it causes upon the doctors and nurses in being overworked and regardless of the time that patients may have to go through in severe pain. In summary, patients are seen as a burden to the system rather than human beings who require adequate care and treatment when they become ill. They are viewed as a drain on the economy rather than those that the government has the responsibility of providing for and taking care of as a guardian. The provision of healthcare is viewed as a business is viewed, as a constant process of "balancing the books", cutting costs, rationing of treatment and cutting corners to make it economically viable. There does not seem to be an understanding that healthcare deals with real people with real lives, real pain, and real suffering, not business products.
THE CAPITALIST VIEW OF HEALTHCARE The capitalist way of life is driven by the concept of personal benefit or profit. Therefore every problem within society, whether it be the tackling of crime, the provision of education or healthcare is viewed from an economic angle rather than from a human aspect. So in providing free healthcare to its people, the driving force is not concern over the welfare of its people from a humanitarian point of view but rather to produce a healthy workforce that can contribute to a healthy national economy. The understanding held is that illness or early death results in "unworked days" that subsequently causes a loss in revenue for the country. Hence in deciding the form of its health policy: public or private, the amount of money invested in the healthcare system, and where more money should be spent, the secular capitalist states will always judge the matter upon cost effectiveness - how economi-
health services, to win over the electorate and get into government or to stay in power. The NHS is therefore seen by political parties as a cause they should embrace as a stepping-stone to political power. So money is generally invested on NHS initiatives with a view of election time, to keep the people happy rather than provide a good quality of healthcare for all. For example, in 1997, the Labour party's election campaign contained the slogan; "24 hours to save the NHS" which was a promise to swiftly get rid of the hospital waiting lists if they were elected into power, that had accumulated under the Conservative leadership. After six years of government, at the current rate of reduction, it would take sixty-two years and three months to deal with the backlog of NHS surgery (according to the Governments own figures). Last year, the average waiting time for an operation increased not decreased. In the March 2000 budget, one year before the 2001 general elections, the Labour party announced that the NHS would grow by 5o per cent in cash terms and 33 per cent in real term over five years. They promised more money to fund the extra investment in NHS facilities: 7000 extra beds in hospitals and intermediate care; over 100 new hospitals by 2010; over 300 GP premises modernised. There were promises to increase staff: 7500 more consultants 2000 more GP's and 20,000 extra nurses. Later that year, they produced their ten year NHS plan containing various targets to reduce waiting times for outpatient appointments and operations: the maximum time for all patients for the first outpatient appointment of six months by March 2004 and three months by 2005; the maximum waiting time for an operation of nine months by 2004, six months by 2005, and three months by 2008; a maximum waiting time for all patients in Accident and Emergency of four hours with an average of seventy-five minutes; that every person would be able to see their GP within forty-eight hours.
THE NHS: A POLITICAL FOOTBALL Capitalism, under the guise of pluralism allows various political parties to exist within the society that vie for power and government. Driven by nothing but personal glory, authority and wealth, such parties use the concept of healthcare as a political football. They provide the people with empty promises of what they will bring to the NHS in terms of investment in more medical staff, hospitals, technology,
Three and a half years on, the reality is very different. In March of this year, the government claimed that 85 per cent of A&E units were treating 90 per cent of patients within four hours while the Audit commission that surveyed every trust in England stated that only 30 per cent of A&E units were on course to achieve this. According to the government, 81 per cent of people are able to see their GP within forty-eight hours. However, according November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
to "Which?" Magazine, 1 in 3 emergency patients had to wait at least two days before they could be seen by their G.P., so what of the non-emergency cases? With respect to outpatient waiting times and operations, the Welsh Assembly figures for this year, state that there has been an 11.5 per cent increase in the total number of patients waiting more than eighteen months for in-patient treatment in the last three months alone. The number of beds in English hospitals has fallen by 10,000 since 1997. With respect to reducing staff workload, the BMA states that 60 per cent of doctors in the U.K. still work illegal hours (over fifty-six hours per week). The Labour party does not have a monopoly on such empty promises but it is also the case for the Conservatives, as is evident during their reign of power. Their policies may differ but their ideology and thinking is the same which is that healthcare and the NHS is nothing but a stepping-stone to achieve government.
PUTTING POLITICAL GOALS OVER PEOPLE'S NEEDS Once these health targets have been set, the government needs to ensure that they are met in order to be seen that they are serving the people with the objective of being re-elected. If the statistics improve then they can claim the health service has improved regardless of the affects upon the health service as a whole and the actual quality of patient care. The result is that doctors and hospitals are forced to treat the people according to the political goals and priorities set by the government rather than according to their clinical judgement and the clinical priorities of their patients. So for example, Carlos Perez-Avila, of the Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine, commenting upon the 1998/9 Christmas and New Year crisis said, "This deplorable state of affairs in accident and emergency departments throughout the United Kingdom is partly as a result of the government pressures on complying to waiting list initiatives." "Which?" Magazine in an article on healthcare stated, "This summer an ambulance paramedic told us: 'I think the public would be shocked rigid if they knew about a lot of things that are happening in the ambulance service.' He is not alone. We've spoken to independent experts who also have big concerns. And we've talked to a string of other staff at all levels of the English 18
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ambulance service. They've decided they must speak out about managers they believe are letting the public down by failing to adopt lifesaving practices. Instead of improving patient care, they say the drive to be seen to be meeting government targets is camouflaging performance failures, with some suggesting that hundreds, maybe thousands more lives could be saved."
Such a reality of putting political goals over people's needs can have disastrous consequences. The A&E target that 90 per cent of patients need to be assessed, treated and discharged or admitted within four hours without a proportionate increase in staff and facilities is damaging patient care. In a survey published by BMA news, it claimed that 66 per cent of hospital A&E departments resorted to quick fix measures to meet government waiting time targets. Patients with minor complaints in casualty are prioritised over patients who are more seriously ill and take longer to assess and treat. Hospitals are even refusing to see new patients referred by GP's if it means that they will go outside of the government target waiting times for outpatient or operation appointments. One of the most tragic incidents that resulted from using healthcare as a "political tool" occurred at the Bristol Eye Hospital. Twenty five patients were reported to have lost their sight permanently and unnecessarily because consultants that they were to see for their follow-up appointments for their glaucoma or diabetes were instructed to see new patients instead. This was because there is a government target to reduce waiting times for new patients but not follow-up patients. Richard Harrard, the clinical director of Bristol Eye hospital admitted to having cancelled and delayed follow-up appointments for the sake of making appointments available for new patients. 1000 appointments per month were cancelled and some patients had to wait twenty months for their follow-up appointment. One of these patients was an elderly deaf woman
who became totally blind while her follow-up appointment for her glaucoma was delayed several times. FIDDLING THE FIGURES For the government to gain or maintain the support of the electorate, it needs to illustrate that targets are being met and that steps are being taken to improve the quality of the service. However, since the investment into the NHS is not sufficient to achieve such optimistic targets, the government and those working within the NHS often fiddle the figures in order to appear to be meeting the set targets. In March 2000, the BMA accused the Department of Health of confusing the public and medical profession by making repeat announcements of their investments in the NHS and achievements to give the impression that they were new. They also alleged the use of "creative accounting" in the amounts that were claimed to have been invested in healthcare. They exposed the fact that the: extra £21 billion announced under the Comprehensive Spending Review was in reality only £10.3 billion; the extra £30 million pledged to modernise A&E was announced four times; the £20million boost for an instant patient booking system to reduce waiting lists was announced four times; the £320 million to cut waiting lists has been announced in two consecutive years running; the claims of an additional 7000 doctors actually indicated the number who would come out of medical school anyway. Romola Christopherson, head of communications at the Department of Health until January 1999, commented that press announcements are carefully worded, "There is a sort of lexicon of words and ways you can describe something to accommodate the reality. If it really is new, then you'll use 'new'. 'Extra', 'boost', 'cash for' doesn't necessarily mean it's the first time it's been announced and that this is 'new, never been thought of before' money". Those working within the NHS fiddle the figures due to the fear of being removed from their posts if they do not meet the targets. There are many techniques that are used in order to appear to be meeting the targets. For example, in some hospitals, ambulances are instructed to not offload their patients to the hospital until they can be seen by a doctor. This is because; if the A&E Departments do not actually admit the patients then it doesn't count towards their four hour waiting targets. So the
patients wait in the ambulances until a doctor is ready to see them, such that these same ambulances are not available to transport other sick patients to the hospital. Sometimes patients will be booked in for an operation when consultants are on holiday such that they will be discharged quickly, not having had the operation but having contributed to the hospital's short "Admission to Discharge time". Sometimes, patients are offered appointments at short notice in the hope that they will not be able to make it. When they decline the appointment, their old waiting time is erased and a new waiting time begins from the time that they refused the appointment. This creates the impression that patients are not waiting for long periods. When all fails, there is always the direct fiddling of the figures to fall back on. In March of this year, three hospital trusts studied by the Audit Commission were found to have deliberately manipulated and changed waiting list times. In one of these trusts: South Manchester University Hospitals, it was found that over 250 patients who had waited too long for an appointment were simply taken off the list such that the trust would not reflect bad waiting time figures. THE ISLAMIC VIEW ON PROVISION OF HEALTHCARE
Islam views healthcare as a basic need of every human being: Muslim or non-Muslim. The Islamic way of life is not driven by profit but rather the worship of the Creator of the universe, Allah and the obedience to His commands. Hence, the Islamic System, views the provision of healthcare to its citizens from a human perspective and not an economic aspect. This means that the leader of the Islamic State looks to provide adequate and good quality healthcare to the people, not for the sake of having a healthy workforce that can contribute to the economy but for the sake of fulfilling his duty of looking after the needs of the people and in obedience to Allah . He is obliged to spend whatever is required from the wealth of the central treasury (Baitul-mal) of the Khilafah to provide an efficient public healthcare system that is sufficient for the needs of the people no matter what the cost. He must ensure that he does not cause hardship or suffering to the people such as long waiting times, poor quality service, or having to battle through mountains of bureaucracy and red tape. He will understand deeply the words of the Prophet ,
"Oh Allah! Whoever is given a responsibility of leadership to my Ummah and inflicts hardship upon them, inflict hardship upon him. And whoever treats them kindly be kind with him." (narrated by Aisha(ra)). Any failure to build sufficient hospitals or provide adequate medical care to the people would result in harm to the people. Harm must be removed by the State, due to the hadith,
"It is not allowed to do harm nor to allow being harmed." Private hospitals are allowed to exist but these do not in any way affect the burden upon the Khalifah to provide an excellent public and free service available to all. In addition, healthcare is not used as a political tool since the Khilafah system does not have a leadership election every four to five years. The position of Khalifah becomes vacant only upon his resignation, his death, if he is found to be physically or mentally incompetent to be able to fulfil the role or if he were to implement other than Islam. The role of the Islamic political parties is not to compete for power but to simply account the Khalifah when he does not implement Islam and to ensure that he fulfils his responsibility of taking care of the affairs of the people in the best possible manner. THE PROVISION OF HEALTHCARE UNDER THE ISLAMIC KHILAFAH SYSTEM OF THE PAST Observing the status of the healthcare system in our Muslim countries, it may be difficult to appreciate that it was once the Muslim world that heralded a first class public healthcare system admired globally. The Khilafah was blessed with so many first class hospitals and doctors in so many of its cities: Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Cordova, Samarqand and many more. One non-Muslim writer, Dr. Leff states that every Muslim city had its own hospital. Baghdad alone had sixty hospitals with inpatient and outpatient departments and over 1000 physicians. Public hospitals like the Bimaristan al-Mansuri Hospital, established at Cairo in 1283, it had accommodation for 8000 patients. It was scientifically planned with different wards for each type of ailment, each headed by a
specialist in the field. There were teaching facilities for students and a mosque. The walls of the spacious wards were decorated with green and gold tiles, the windows filled with jewelled glass; the floors were made of marble or enamelled bricks. There were two attendants for each patient who did everything for his comfort and convenience and every patient had his own bed, bedding and vessel for eating. It treated inpatients and outpatients giving them free food and medicine. One report states that it treats more than 4000 cases daily. The fever wards were cooled by fountains and externally there were gardens with fountains and orange blossoms. At the time of discharge the management of the hospital gave the poor patients fresh clothes and five pieces of gold to support them during their recovery. Indeed, such was the quality of the hospitals under the Khilafah that sometimes healthy individuals would pretend to be ill to enjoy their cuisine and comforts. There were mobile dispensaries and clinics for the proper medical care of the disabled and those living in the villages. The Khalifah, alMuqtadir Millah ordered that every mobile unit should visit each village and remain there for some days before moving to the next. With regards to investment in producing the best physicians, we observe the many excellent public medical colleges built under the Khilafah. For example, the Mustansiriyah University founded in 1234 in Baghdad. The Khilafah regulated strictly, the quality of physicians, pharmacists, and the quality of drugs. Indeed it was in 931 after the Khalifah Al-Muqtadir learnt that a patient had died because of a physician's error that he ordered the chief physician to examine all those who practised medicine. In the first year of the decree, more than 860 were examined in Baghdad alone. From then on, licensing examinations were introduced and later licensing boards to inspect the quality of the doctors. The state also strictly regulated the quality of drugs through licensed pharmacists. In conclusion, the health care service in Islam will not suffer from cutting corners or playing the statistics in order to meet economic restraints. This is because of the fundamental philosophical difference between Islam and capitalism. Islam views the health service as a compulsory provision that the state needs to provide its citizens, mandatory cost cutting will never compromise the execution of this duty. November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
LABOUR FALLS AT BRENT EAST OVER IRAQ: A CASE FOR POLITICAL PARTICIPATION? n September 2003, Sarah Teather a Liberal Party candidate became Britain's youngest MP after she won the Brent East poll by more than 1,100 votes, overturning a 13,047 majority and marking the Labour Party's first loss of a Commons seat in a by-election for fifteen years.
London MEP Robert Evans received 7,040 votes compared with Ms Teather's 8,158, while the Conservative candidate Uma Fernandez was beaten into third place with 3,368 votes. The 29 per cent swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats is the largest for almost a decade, and is being described by commentators as one of the most stunning turnarounds in British electoral history. However, with a turnout of 36.4 per cent senior Labour figures say many of the party's supporters simply did not vote. Liberal Democrats leader Charles Kennedy said the result was "a big boost" for the party ahead of its annual conference in Brighton. He said "In Britain's most diverse community, we have shown that we can speak for every section of society and the Liberal Democrat message is one they want to hear and support." Some people also thought that this election result was a big boost for the Muslim community since it may have been possible that Muslims could have contributed to the election turnaround due to the opposition to Labour's stance on the war in Iraq. This event has been used to promote the call of political participation in the Muslim community. In this article we examine whether or not Muslims should be celebrating such a result. Furthermore we also examine the truth of the claim that Muslims should participate in the democratic process in order to further the 20
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interests of Islam and Muslims. Muslims in Britain are being urged to get involved in the democratic political process. This call for political participation involves pushing Muslims to: 1. Join mainstream political parties 2. Stand in local and regional elections under the banner of the mainstream parties to become councillors and MPs 3. Lobby Parliament and MPs 4. Support apparently pro-Muslim MPs and councillors in their elections and campaigns. It is being argued that by doing this Muslims in Britain will be able to achieve the following 1. Influence the foreign policy of the regime in favour of Muslims 2. Influence the domestic policy in favour of helping the Muslim community 3. Propagate Islam to the wider society. The argument is as follows: Once you become a party member you will join tens of thousands of others at the 'grassroots level'. The intention is that the grassroots opinion snowballs its way up to the top e.g. those forming policy on the Executive Committees. Furthermore, by standing for and winning local and regional elections and lobbying MPs it is assumed that Muslims will be able to enhance their ability to influence party policies and eventually government policies. Thus the call for political participation seeks to agitate the Muslim community about various international and domestic problems and channel the anger of Muslims towards getting involved in the political process by joining the mainstream parties which costs about ten pounds. Usually this call is very emotive and
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often Muslims are spoken down to because they are mostly not interested in getting involved with the kufr politics. Muslims are made to feel that it is necessary for them to join a mainstream political party as this is either the only or most effective way we can have our voice heard. There is no specific party that is favoured, rather it is enough to join any of them whether Labour, Conservative or even Liberal Democrats. Often members of the same group of friends will be members of different mainstream parties. In order to further justify the effectiveness of this call, its advocates give the argument of how the Zionists have been so successful in influencing party and government policies by using the same means. It is claimed that this is despite the fact that the Zionists number only a fraction of what Muslims number. Also examples of the gun lobby in America, the homosexual lobby in Europe and the Indian (Hindu / pro BJP) lobby in Britain are cited. Although the push for political participation has had a renewed emphasis, as a result of the Brent by-election, the actual practice of political participation has been going on for a long time. For decades, many mosques in the UK have pushed the idea of supporting nonMuslim MPs from mainstream parties in elections in order to benefit the Muslim community, i.e. in order to try to get benefit for the community, such as help with immigration, halal meat in schools and planning permission for Mosques. There are differences between the elder generations push for political participation and the new integrationist fringe. The following incident demonstrates this. Recently a local Labour councillor, Suresh Kumar, a member of the fanatical World Hindu Council (VHP) was invited to a local Mosque to help him canvass for the votes of the Muslims at Jum'ah prayer. The reason for supporting him was that he was sympathetic to the Muslims request for parking restrictions around the mosque to be lifted
during Jum'ah. Others opposed this by saying "Why was the Jum'ah Khutbah not used to promote Lesley Hilton [the Labour candidate] - a woman who has been regularly sympathetic to Muslims and our causes, or even to promote politics amongst their own congregation so that a Muslim candidate could be in the running!" Farcically the VHP candidate won the election by nine votes. Before elaborating on the shari'ah ruling regarding political participation let us examine whether it can achieve the objectives of influencing policies in favour of Islam and Muslims.
day for their citizens all the raw evidence suggests otherwise. Corporations and politicians have a symbiotic relationship. Corporations 'donate' money to political parties so they can finance their election campaigns and run their party. In return the politicians work diligently to get tax breaks and award them lucrative government contracts when they gain office. Consequently is it any wonder that lies were told to justify the real reason for the war, not to liberate Iraq but to liberate the profit and loss accounts of Western companies, the entities with the real power within capitalist societies and who demand long term stability in key markets to further their corporate agendas.
ality and granting of adoption and inheritance rights to gays and lesbians which has recently been legislated, does not contradict the capitalist thought in any way. The reason that it needed a lobby was to chip away at the values Western society inherited from its Christian tradition.
THE POLITICAL PROCESS
IMPRACTICAL To date, Muslim participation in the nonIslamic political system has not achieved the desired results; rather it has achieved the complete opposite. This has been amply demonstrated by Muslim MPs voting in favour of the war in Afghanistan, or abstaining from opposing the recent war in Iraq; indeed some Muslim peers praised the British troops who were fighting and killing Muslims. In America it is said that many Muslims voted for George W Bush instead of Al Gore believing him to be more Muslim friendly! Despite this, people may argue that we need patience with the system and we must slowly work for a Muslim majority or to influence the policies of the kufr parties. Purely from a practical point of view, to get a majority of MPs to represent Muslims is impossible. There are currently 659 seats in Parliament, all of which have the right to vote for and against laws that Muslims may have concerns with. However, to have any influence on decision making, Muslims would need a minimum of 330 MPs. This is the minimum number that is required to get laws passed or overturned. At present there are only two Muslim MPs. NAĂ?VE Attempting to influence the policies of the political parties and the regime seems to some to be an achievable aim. It is argued that the Zionist, gay and Hindu lobby achieved this. It is true that such groups seem to have achieved some benefits from lobbying. However this simplistic understanding of the capitalist society is naĂŻve to say the least and at worst it demonstrates blind faith in democracy. Though MPs boast that they work night and
Consider the fact that 7.1 million people are members of Trade Unions in this country. Whereas the Confederation of British Industry, which protects the interests of corporate business has a membership of 15,000 but is arguably more influential than the trade unions, even though the trade unions have 473 times more members than the CBI. This is because they provide more benefit than the trade unions in terms of direct economic activity and taxes. Ironically every anti-war lobby group both Muslim and non-Muslim will testify to this reality after the failure of the anti-war movement which for the first time achieved overwhelming public support throughout Europe. In reality gains made by any lobby such as the Zionists or Hindus were simply because at that moment in time the agenda of the capitalists was in line with their demands and not the other way round. Zionism is the illegitimate child of Britain and has now been adopted by the Americans only to further their colonial interests in the Muslim world. It is not a major achievement that Zionists hold sway with British politicians since Zionism is completely consistent with the British political ambitions. This clearly explains why when it comes to Islam it is inconceivable that any change can be achieved. This is because Islam is a unique ideology which intrinsically contradicts the capitalist ideology. Islam stands for total obedience to the Creator while capitalism abhors this in favour of freedom from religion. Islam stands for the distribution of wealth, while capitalism is fundamentally motivated by production of wealth for the capitalists. Thus the call for the legalisation of homosexu-
For those who are adamant that political participation is a practical and realistic means of influencing government policy in favour of Islam then let us consider the process that is involved. First Muslims would have to join the local branch of a political party. They would have to win the favour of the activists at this level. Then the constituency branch, then the local and regional policy forums, then the National Policy Forum, then the policy commissions, then the National Executive Committee, then the Annual conference then the electorate in the general election. All of this while working together with the Zionists, gays and racists who have joined the same party, trying to increase their influence in it. The eventual conclusion to this means a compromise is reached, what determines who has to compromise the most is dependent upon the side with the weakest level of influence, and this can come from the ability to mobilise large numbers of people and the financial backing to lead a strong public relations campaign or better still if you have access to key ministers and civil servants. Whatever the influence, no one gets all that they want and this means everyone has to compromise.
COMPROMISE Ironically even the leadership of the church has been won over by the gay lobby. This gives us an interesting insight into the consequences of November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
advocating political participation in a kufr system. The thought of the ideology contradicts with the thought of Christianity so Christianity needed to be changed. The only way to achieve benefit for our own community is to compromise on the fundamental values of our ideology. By understanding the issues in this way it will become clear to all that political participation does not actually fulfil any of the objectives which are intended. Rather than influencing the regimes foreign policy in favour of Islam and Muslims it has the effect of using Muslims to further the colonialist foreign policy. Rather than influencing domestic policy in favour of Islam and Muslims, it has had the effect of using Muslims to further the aims of the domestic policy which is dictated by Capitalism. Worst of all, rather than giving Muslims a platform for being the voice of Islam within the wider society, which desperately needs Islam. Political participation has actually given the kufr political parties a platform to propagate their corrupt and immoral thoughts within the Muslim community, something which they have desperately wanted for years. Due to the blind faith put into political participation we may have respected members of the Muslim community advocating the policies of the mainstream political parties which advocate concepts and values utterly abhorrent to Islam. For example, the Liberal party has sought to capitalise on the Muslim communities' disaffection with Labour since the war on Iraq. It is a party that advocates the legalisation of gay marriages, prostitution and marijuana. Prostitution they argue can become a respectable profession with standards and codes of practice like any other profession "we would establish a system to regulate the activities of privately operated brothels." (Liberal Democrats, Policy Briefing 20, April 2001). The integrationists would quickly respond by claiming that this is even more reason for us to join such a party so that we could influence it towards Islam. However, if they succeed in their quest to legalise prostitution, would not the Muslims who campaigned for their election and those Muslims who voted for them have to account for that on the Day of Judgement. The Labour and Conservative parties advocate equally distasteful ideas and values. For those who doubt that this will ever happen, please take a step back and ask 22
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yourself did you ever imagine that there could be an openly gay bishop? These abominations are completely consistent with the capitalist ideology. ISLAM FORBIDS POLITICAL PARTICIPATION BUT OBLIGES POLITICAL ACTIVISM The above scenario demonstrates explicitly what could happen if we deviate from our most fundamental thoughts about life in favour of the capitalist thoughts about life. That is we choose freedom and democracy above our Iman in Allah in all his Glorious Names and Attributes. The One who is al-Khaliq (The Creator), al-Amr (The Commander), al-Mulk (The Sovereign), al-Malik (The King), al-Alim (The All Knowing), al-Adl (The Just). All of this compels us to submit wholeheartedly to the guidance that was revealed even if it differed with our confidently held but naïve and blind trust in the capitalist political process. It fills our hearts with compete trust that the ahkam (rules) of al-Mujib (the Answerer) will solve each and every one of our problems in life. Allah said:
"You are the best Ummah to be raised from among mankind, because you enjoin what is right (ma'ruf) and forbid what is evil (munkar) and you believe in Allah" [TMQ Ali-Imran: 110] In this verse there are many commands and prohibitions. There is a command to enjoin the ma'ruf and forbid munkar. There is also a prohibition to forbid what is ma'ruf and enjoin what is munkar. Joining a kufr political party or voting for it, by definition forces the member/ voter to enjoin munkar and forbid ma'ruf. Every party has a declared manifesto to which it calls others and wishes to implement in life, state and society. The fact that every party's manifesto is based on secularism means that by definition it enjoins the biggest munkar of man made law and forbids the biggest ma'ruf of the ruling by what Allah revealed in society Of course the integrationist will argue that his intentions are for the sake of helping the community (maslaha) which is an important objective in Islam.
Imam Shatibi (ra) in his Al-Muwafaqat fi Usul al-Ahkam, gave a beautiful refutation of this, "The objective behind the Shari'ah is to liberate the individual from his desires in order to be a true slave of Allah and that is the legitimate maslaha(benefit)…Violating the Shari'ah under the pretext of following the basic objectives or values (maqasid) of the Shari'ah is like the one who cares about the spirit without the body, and since the body without the spirit is useless, therefore the spirit without the body is useless too." [Page 25] Allah says,
"Do they then seek the judgement of Jaahiliyyah (ignorance)? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have a firm belief." [TMQ Al-Ma'idah: 49-50]. As a community, surely the way to execute this command to enjoin the good and forbid the evil is to stand outside the political process but interact with the people of the society, not to get their vote, but to win their hearts and minds to the pure, uncompromised ideas of al-Islam. To make them realise that the source of their problems is capitalism and the solution is the complete implementation of Islam as an ideology. SEEKING THE INTERESTS With regards to seeking our interests, the Labour or Conservative member may ask 'so then should we do nothing and wait until Khilafah is established?' and they may even add the famous BNP slogan 'go back to you own country then!' Islam obliges us to us look after the affairs of our family and our community even while living outside the shade of the Khilafah. This can never be at the expense of compromising our identity, values and vision. Rather this should be done by thinking creatively within the parameters of the Shari'ah. In conclusion, it is clear that Muslims should not celebrate the election of Sarah Teather as MP for Brent East and neither should they advocate joining kufr political parties in order to further the interests of Islam and Muslims.
STUDENT LOANS DANGERS FOR THE MUSLIM STUDENT
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"You may feel fundamentally, ethically or religiously, opposed to the idea of student loans, but they are now an unavoidable element of higher education funding."
s the academic year commences across universities in Britain and the debate over student "top-up" fees rages, the issue of student hardship is raised once again. Students were once lamented as the scourge of society due to their idleness and laissez faire attitude. However, the withdrawal of Government grants and the introduction of tuition fees have drastically transformed the reality of student life. This has resulted in the average student having to scrape and save every penny where possible; reusing tea bags, walking ridiculous distances to save on train fares, sleeping on friends sofas and living the classic "baked-beans" lifestyle.
In fact, financial hardship is the major concern for UK undergraduates: a point that is confirmed by the National Union of Students (NUS). The NUS states that 57 per cent of students who work do so to cover the cost of basic essentials and 11 per cent are working to cover tuition fees. Since the elimination of grants, student debt has increased by 544 per cent and now totals over £5 billion. The introduction of student loans has contributed to the widening divide between students from well off backgrounds and those from poorer neighbourhoods. Those students with wealthy parents get supported through university and can concentrate on fulfilling their academic potential. By contrast, three quarters of students from poorer backgrounds cited the lack of money and fear of debt as the main reason for not pursuing higher education. Moreover, the proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds has fallen by 3 per cent in less than two years. The current method of payment of tuition fees involves an analysis of the income of the student by the Local Education Authority (LEA) and scrutiny of their parents' salaries. What ensues is the production of a figure, often as high as £1,050 per term to be paid by the student to the university. Once this figure is multiplied by three for each of the academic terms, add the cost of
textbooks, rent, food and travel it is not unreasonable to put the cost of one academic year at university is between £5,000 to £7,000 depending on location. Figures show that a typical three-year degree may end up costing the student in excess of £17,561. Many students are forced to seek part-time employment. A report published by the Institute of Economic and Social Research in October revealed that six out of ten students are forced to take term-time jobs to support their studies. The report also pointed to the "Safeway factor" whereby students choose universities based on the availability of local jobs in supermarkets rather than the academic reputation of the institute. The impact of students taking on part-time jobs, often with long hours, to fund their education has led to many students too tired to focus on lectures or assignments. Others have ended up missing them altogether. It has also been known for students to turn to prostitution to finance their studies and many students are forced to live at home with their parents.
The loan is to be paid back upon qualification and once the graduate is earning above £10,000 per annum. The reality of the loan is that the interest rate is linked to the rate of inflation. Hence, interest accrues from the day you receive the first instalment of your loan. Therefore, students will not only leave university with a degree certificate but also with the burden of a large debt of thousands of pounds. THE DILEMMA FOR THE MUSLIM STUDENT - BENEFIT OR ISLAM For the Muslim student, the current state of affairs in higher education funding creates one major conundrum. For all the stipulation that the loan is paid back incrementally at the rate of inflation it is undeniable that the student loan involves the paying of interest. When faced with the prospect of paying interest, many Muslim students and their families begin to attempt to justify the loan. Some Muslims observe that Islam encourages the seeking of knowledge and go on to hypothesise that Muslims require professionals such as doctors and IT consultants to aid the revival of the Ummah. They will point to evidences such as the noble hadith of Muhammad in which he states
THE SAVIOUR - THE STUDENT LOAN? "Indeed actions are by intentions". Not content with creating the problem of student hardship, Western states have endeavoured to introduce the ultimate patchwork solution in the form of the student loan. Ultimately, the loan involves the government-owned Student Loan Company providing the student with the "quick fix" to their financial problems. For many students the prospect of serious financial hardship is an unwelcome burden during their studies and so the student loan is perceived as an attractive option. Most students in the UK take out a student loan, which helps to ease some of the economic strains during the short term. The University of Bath website articulates the case for the student loan:
The argument concludes that once these Muslim students qualify they will use their influence in a way to benefit the Ummah, hence outweighing the haram aspect of the loan. Other Muslims are more blatant in their approach to the issue of the student loan and point to the competitiveness of the job market and re-emphasise the importance of a good degree to grant them a head start in life. Often the pressure to take a student loan is increased by Muslim parents who carry similar ideas on the issue of housing and mortgages and hence see no major problem with their son or daughter taking the student loan. Regrettably, the idea of benefit or a 'whatever will November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
help me' mentality is the major concept dictating the behaviour of these Muslim students and their families. This idea originates from the Capitalist ideology that places materialism and the perusal of wealth as the ultimate aim of the human being. Whilst travelling on the London Underground, one can perceive the extent of the emphasis placed on wealth. An advertising campaign by a high street bank, which claims to be "fluent in finance," quoted Oscar Wilde. "When I was young I thought money was the most important thing in life, now I'm old I know it is." For the non-Muslim student, the concept of benefit allows them to take on student loans even though they disagree with the idea of student loans and students having to fund their education. Unfortunately, this mentality has begun to affect the Muslims whereby the Islamic concepts are sacrificed in the haste for material wealth. The textual arguments that attempt to gloss over the issue of the loan and twist the text to justify the student loan are a slander upon Islam. The hadith does indeed state "actions are by intentions," However; does Islam permit a haram action to achieve a halal objective? Is it permitted to steal an orphan's wealth to build a hospital while arguing for the greater good? Clearly not. As for the argument that the student will help the Ummah upon qualification, this argument often gives way to pragmatism once the individual enters society. The nine to five lifestyle and 2.4 children with a mortgaged semi detached house in suburbia symbolises their "struggle" and becomes their life. The Ummah does not need more graduates to achieve revival. The Ummah requires politicians and daw'ah carriers as the Muslim world is blessed with intellectuals and experts but lacks a political system to harness their talent. Fundamentally, those who try to justify student loans and the interest accrued on them misunderstand an important principle of Islam - that your rizq (provisions) being fixed by Allah . Allah says
Muhajireen had given up their wealth and status to make the hijrah (migration) to Medina. One particularly striking example is that of Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf (ra), who left behind great riches in Makkah. When he arrived in Medina, the Messenger of Allah (saaw) established brotherhood between him and S'ad ibn Al-Ansari. S'ad (ra) said to him. "Oh my brother!" I am a wealthy person of Medina. Look! It is half of my wealth, take it. I have two wives. I am going to divorce one of them whom you like more so that you may marry her." Abdur Rahman (ra) replied, "May Allah prosper your family and wealth. You just tell me the way to the market." It is narrated that Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf (ra), after making such sacrifices in Makkah, went on to regain his wealth in Medina due to his expertise in trade. He was one of the wealthiest companions and Imam Ahmed narrates in Al bidayah that Abdur Rahman (ra) said. "If I picked up even a stone, I hoped that I will get gold or silver out of it in trade."
touch, drives him to madness. That is because they say: Trade is just like riba, whereas Allah permitted trade and forbade riba. The one to whom an admonition from his lord comes and he refrains (in obedience thereto), he shall keep (the profits of) that which is past, and his affair (henceforth) is with Allah. As for him who returns (to usury), such are rightful owners of the fire. They will abide therein eternally." [TMQ Surah Al Baqarah: 275] Indeed in the hadith of the Prophet , he highlighted the gravity of taking or paying interest. Abdullah bin Mas`ud (ra) reported:
The Messenger of Allah cursed the one who accepts Ar-Riba (the usury) and the one who pays it. [Muslim]. The Prophet also said.
Hence the example of Abdur Rahman (ra) demonstrates how making sacrifices for Islam does not necessarily diminish the Muslims wealth and that the sustenance is indeed fixed. The Muslim student should be comfortable in the knowledge that Allah has already apportioned his rizq and it cannot be increased or decreased. The question now arises, how does he achieve this rizq? Will the Muslim student take the halal route or the haram one? Indeed, it is narrated that Abu Hanifah (ra) questioned the thief with "Why do you steal your rizq?" The money the thief stole would be earned in a haram manner similar to the rizq earned via a riba-fuelled degree. It is unacceptable that the Muslim student despairs of the rizq of Allah . The criteria for action for the Muslim must be the halal and the haram. The Muslim pays no credence to the concept of benefit, as this criterion is un-Islamic. Muslims must understand that adherence to the shariah is of the utmost importance and the reality of the student loan is that it involves the paying of interest (riba). The texts concerning riba in Islam are not open to interpretation; rather they are definite in meaning.
''On the night I was transported (i.e. the night of Isra and Mi`raj), I was brought to a people whose stomachs were [large] like houses, with snakes inside them which were visible from outside their bellies. I said, 'Who are these, O Jibreel?' He said, 'Consumers of riba.' '' [Ibn Abi Hatim, Ahmad] There are practical steps that Muslim students can take in order to finance their degrees. For example, during the gap year money can be raised for university by working or borrowing money from halal sources. Living in the West provides the Muslims with numerous challenges. From student loans to mortgages, the path to one's rizq is littered with temptation and pitfalls. However it is in these times that adherence to Islam will bring us reward from Allah . The Prophet said:
Allah says, "Who is the one who is going to give you rizq (provisions) if Allah withholds it from you" [TMQ Surah Mulk: 21] The lives of the Sahabah are a practical example of how Muslims should view their rizq. It is narrated that the Prophet created a brotherhood between the Muhajireen (immigrants) from Makkah and the Ansar in Medina. The 24
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"Those who devour (take) interest (riba) cannot stand except as the one whom Satan, by (his)
"After you there are going to be days of patience. The patience during that time is like the one clutching on to a hot coal. The one who works and does good deeds during that time will receive the reward of fifty men who do deeds similar to him". (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
HOW THE WEST AIMS TO DISARM THE MUSLIM WORLD
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several differing styles by which to achieve the objectives of her grand strategy. It is worth considering the measures which have been taken against Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Iran. IRAQ The London based, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has shown that the US went to war in Iraq not just to rid Saddam of WMD but also to prevent the proliferation of such weapons across the entire region. Washington believed that "If Iraq's nuclear weapons development programme is not blocked, then it will be all the more difficult to constrain Iranian nuclear ambitions and if these are unchecked then at some point Saudi Arabia and possibly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will acquire nuclear capability from a third country," warns the IISS strategic survey for 2002. eacting to the events of 11 September, Bush personally took charge of a congressional committee to assess America's security needs. Their findings made it clear that "our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build up in hopes of surpassing, or equalling the power of the United States." In his speech at West Point, Bush put it more bluntly saying, "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge." His global vision is clearly typified by this core objective of maintaining America's military superiority. Her hegemony relies heavily on the maintenance of an overwhelming arsenal. Allowing other nations to achieve parity in this field would therefore prove to be disastrous for US interests.
and the Western media, over the last decade, renegade Russian army officers have sold weapons to every criminal and terrorist organization in the world - from the IRA to ETA and to every failed state, from Liberia to Libya. Quite often high-level functionaries of government are involved in one way or another. Proceeds are laundered through Russian oil multinationals, Cypriot, Balkan, and Lebanese banks, and Asian, Swiss, Austrian, and British trading conglomerates - all obscurely owned and managed. Whilst the former Soviet States have failed to make any kind of positive transition away from their communist legacy, organised crime has become entrenched. It now permeates most economic spheres and organs of the state in Eastern Europe.
However, the collapse of the Soviet Union did much to aid the proliferation of arms and consequently caused great alarm in Washington. As the USSR's central administration withered away her vast arsenals lay exposed to the illicit trade of smugglers. According to the Centre for Public Integrity
This availability of arms has not failed to grab the White House's attention as an increasing number of Muslim countries strive to acquire and develop weapons of mass destruction. As a result US administrators have developed and worked hard to implement a comprehensive strategy for disarming the Muslim world. In an attempt to thwart their efforts she has adopted
Although relations between Riyadh and Tehran have warmed slightly over previous years, the UAE is embittered by Iranian occupation of three potentially oil and gas rich Gulf islands. The IISS notes, "There is no guarantee that a nuclear Persian Gulf will be stable in a crisis. Stopping Persian Gulf nuclear proliferation by preventing Iraq from gaining weapons of mass destruction and especially a nuclear capability, therefore, is a strategic imperative for the United States." PAKISTAN For now, America seems to be content with applying discreet pressure on Pakistan's military installations. Since 11 September 2001 several Pakistani nuclear scientists have been interrogated by US officials whilst a number of others are said to be 'missing.' US sources have suggested that Pakistan may have provided nuclear weapons technology to North Korea in exchange for missiles. The self professed mission plan of the American embassy in Islamabad includes a
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strategy to prevent Pakistan from becoming a 'source for nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, missiles or related technology.' This involves helping 'Pakistan develop and strengthen its national export control systems' whilst urging 'Pakistani officials to clamp down on possible rogue actors and entities to ensure they don't pass on sensitive information and equipment.' Washington has already stated that she is encouraging 'Pakistan to exercise restraint in further missile development, and to neither mate nor deploy nuclear weapons or missiles.' Islamabad's compliance to these conditions is now linked to future aid packages.
(IAEA) which pointed out certain 'discrepancies'. They claimed that "Tehran has failed to report certain nuclear material and activities." The CIA has also confirmed that Iran is developing medium range missiles which could reach Israel. These findings by the CIA and IAEA have fuelled the rhetoric coming from the White House.
block of regimes from Israel to Afghanistan.
While Bush welcomed student protests in Tehran earlier this year his counter part, Paul Wolfowitz commented on Iran's nuclear facilities, saying 'the threat is real.' Michael Leeden at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank close to the White House, went further saying "Iraq's support of terrorism was minuscule compared to Tehran's activities. If we are serious about winning the war against the terror masters, the Tehran regime must fall."
THE PLAN TO DISARM THE MUSLIM WORLD
SYRIA While the fires on the streets of Baghdad were still burning Bush and Rumsfield had already turned their attention to Syria. Shortly after the war in Iraq was over, Bashar al-Assad was accused of harbouring remnants of the Iraqi regime, of sending fighters over the border, of aiding terrorists and of concealing weapons of mass destruction.
IRAN US policy towards Iran has traditionally been that of 'dual containment'. Martin Indyk, a Zionist, is credited with designing and implementing the policy when he served as Bill Clinton's national security advisor. However, with the advent of the neo-conservatives to the White House, Indyk and his policies have come in for stinging criticisms through the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Bush is now surrounded by those who advocate a far more confrontational approach. Iran was subjected to a detailed investigation by the International Atomic Energy Authority 26
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The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) has been urging Bush to get tough with Damascus. Jay Garner, America's new viceroy in Iraq, was formerly associated with them. Before the war with Iraq they argued, "True, there is no immediate threat to the U.S. from Syria, and other more dangerous regimes (such as Iraq) must be dealt with," however they continued, "Ignoring Syria, though, would be a mistake. The United States must put real pressure on Syria [by] making it clear to Damascus just what the economic, political, and military fallout will be for continued Syrian sponsorship of terror." The Project for the New American Century, a group founded by Bush's inner circle, has warned that Syria is a nation of 'deep hostility" to the United States which is developing ballistic missiles that could "threaten U.S. allies and forces abroad." Occupying the region from Syria through to Iran will give the US a geo-political position unseen in contemporary history. She will wield influence and power over a region spanning from the Mediterranean sea to the Western edge of China controlling, on aggregate, a
It would seem that America is busy assessing her options over how best to achieve her objective in both Syria and Iran. Clearly she is preparing herself for the potential of military action as a necessary pre-requisite to achieve those goals.
Hence it is clear that the US is using a number of different styles to disarm the Muslim countries. Whilst she has attacked Iraq it seems that she is content to apply diplomatic pressure on Islamabad. With Musharraf's acquiescence the US has already established forty-four FBI agents throughout the country and a military base in Jacobabad. CIA and National Security Agency operatives roam the country freely, giving Washington a unique ability to 'monitor' Pakistan's nuclear facilities. Although it seems diplomacy may succeed in Islamabad, the prospects for Syria and Iran look ominous. The Bush administration has singled out both regimes for particularly stinging criticism whilst Israeli attacks on Syria earlier this year put her firmly in the spotlight. The west is now linking Damascus to terrorism at every opportunity. WHY AMERICA HAD TO SHIFT THE EMPHASIS OF HER MILITARY DOCTRINE The strategy of containment found a warm reception throughout the American foreign policy establishment. There was fundamental agreement on the purpose of containment and on its projected end point. The plan was to persuade the Soviet Union to alter its view of the world in a way that would benefit the west without appeasement on the one hand and war on the other. Hence, the emphasis was encouraging organic and incremental change. This provided a centre of gravity around which America's Cold War Strategy orbited, and meant that successive governments, be they Republican or Democrats, applied the same linear pressure on the Kremlin. Herein lies the principle reason why the strategy of containment is no longer applicable today and why America had to adapt her military doctrine. Since the demise of communism there has been no consensus in US policy on either the basic purpose or grand strategy of how best to respond to the current
international situation. Different administrations have adopted differing approaches, although common themes can be found running through them all. The collapse of communism raised two problems for Washington. The first is that there was no longer any effective means by which arms control could be enforced over the new Eastern European states. Many are happy to supply missiles and weaponry in return for patronage. With communism eradicated, the international situation was redefined. Hence the previous strategy of containment was no longer applicable and a new one was needed - one which would sustain America's hegemony in the twenty first century. THE STRATEGY OF PRE-EMPTION Strategists in Washington radicalised US defence policy in the wake of 11 September. In a thirty-one page document entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" they outlined America's new security ambitions for the twentieth century. Policy makers in the White House argued that American power must no longer be reactive but must instead, destroy threats 'before they reach our borders' acting unilaterally if required. These goals can only be achieved, they argued, if she maintained her 'unprecedented and unequalled strength and influence in the world.' The events of 11 September radicalised America's military doctrine which now revolves around, a self professed desire for creating a 'distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests.' Clearly then, the hawks in the Bush administration favoured redefining the international system, into one which is based on their terms and reflects their values. In the document, Bush identified three strategic priorities. These are 1. "To lead the world against terrorists and aggressive regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction." 2. "To foster good relations among the world's great powers." 3. "To extend the benefits of liberty and prosperity through the spread of American values and tangible rewards for good governance." The first objective is particularly telling. Washington is increasingly keen to make terrorism synonymous with so called 'aggres-
sive regimes' - although her definition of such a term is highly subjective. This attempt to make one synonymous with the other is a powerful tool, allowing her to invoke provocative memories of 11 September and subsequently lay a premise for attacking other sovereign states. It is also significant because it states that America will unilaterally employ military means to stop another state from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. This is clearly linked to her objective on maintaining military supremacy. When Pentagon officials were questioned about this by reporters from the Washington Post they replied, "The United States wants to dissuade military competition." However, the officials stressed that they would encourage their European partners to continue developing their own defence capabilities saying, "it's not a statement that says the United States wants to alone be a military power." Although when they were asked about extending this encouragement beyond European states they replied "we will not allow an adversarial military power to rise." William Kristol is one of the founders of The Project for the New American Century and, recently co-authored 'The War over Iraq' with Lawrence F. Kaplan. They are amongst the first from Bush's inner circle to provide a detailed account of exactly what America's new found doctrine of pre-emption means. They detail clearly how US policy in the Middle East is shaped by alliance with Israel who represents a 'bulwark of American power.' Outlining Washington's agenda they highlight that they want to become 'a dominant Middle Eastern power.' They warn that "American preeminence cannot be maintained from a distance" instead insisting that America must "act as if threats to the interests of our allies are threats to us, which indeed they are." This insight into the mind of influential policy makers shows that much of America's foreign policy for the twentieth century is now being forged in the crucible of their attack on Iraq. Whilst it hastened the end of Saddam Hussein it also heralded the dawn of a new era in American foreign policy - one which represents a highly potent threat to the Muslim world. PRE-EMPTION RESERVED FOR MUSLIM STATES ONLY The coded sentiments expressed in the National Security Strategy reveal a great deal
about the intentions of those in the Whitehouse. It is clear that they consider the best way of dealing with Europe is through a policy of engagement. Hence, as part of her bid to join NATO Bulgaria pledged to the United States that she would dismantle her arsenal of Soviet made missiles. Among those destroyed were the surface to surface SS-23, Scud and Frog missiles. America, the decisive voice in NATO, agreed to help Bulgaria destroy these missiles and even covered the costs of the exercise. NATO's ambitious programme of enlargement will incorporate Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia by May 2004. All seven countries were invited to join the Alliance at the NATO Summit in Prague in November 2002. From December 2002 to March 2003, a series of meetings were held between NATO and the invitees to discuss and formally confirm their interest. As part of their commitment the invitees had to demonstrate an ability to meet the political and military obligations of NATO membership. Hence the American administration is keen to integrate former Soviet and Balkan states into her sphere on influence through their inclusion in NATO. By doing so she will retain the ability to influence much of their military strategy given that NATO is essentially a military organisation. By engaging these countries militarily, politically and economically the US hopes to prevent them from proliferating arms and to extend the reach of her power. This is radically different to the approach she has taken towards the Muslim world. There is a clear distinction to be made between the policy she takes towards Europe and the policy that she takes towards the Muslim world. Engaging with European states through NATO means that they may 'maintain and develop their capacity to resist armed attack' [NATO, Article 3]. However, no such policy is extended to the Muslim world, where it would seem that she is keen to rid them of all but the most primitive of weapons. To ensure this, she is retaining the right to make pre-emptive strikes as she did during the conflict in Iraq. Exploiting the sentiments of 11 September she has therefore radicalised the American military mantra to develop a new found 'pre-emptive strike' doctrine. However, it would seem as though this is reserved almost exclusively for the Muslim world, and is designed to hinder the rise of political Islam.
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THE KHILAFAH'S MILITARY DOCTRINE The foreign policy of the Khilafah would revolve around propagating the Islamic ideology through da'wah and jihad. According to Imam Al-Qastalani (Shaafi), Imam Mawardi (Shaafi) and Imam Jirjani (Hanafi), "the condition to fight the kuffar is to give victory to Islam as an aim and the intention must be to make Allah 's name the highest."
It is recorded in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Sa'aed Al Kudri that the Sahabah (ra) asked the Messenger "What is jihad?" And that He replied "To fight to make Allah's deen the highest."
To achieve this objective, the Islamic state will require a powerful arsenal. At present, America is keen to breed a dependency culture in which the Muslim world relies exclusively on US power and is subservient to it. The Khilafah would have to challenge this in order to be independent and achieve her objectives. Allah obliged this when He said,
"Make ready for them all you can of (armed) force and of horses tethered, to cast terror into the hearts of your enemy and the enemy of Allah and besides those whom you do not know but Allah knows." [TMQ Al-Anfal: 60]. This verse contains a Shar’i illah (divine reason), with reference to the rule of preparing tethered horses. The reason for preparing the horses is to 'cast terror into the hearts of your enemy.' The obligation of the ayat revolves around achieving the illah. Hence the Khilafah would achieve the obligation of striking fear into the hearts of the enemy by developing a formidable arsenal of weaponry. Allah's Messenger made this a priority once the state was established in Madinah and he even undertook specific military manoeuvres designed to generate fear amongst his enemies. He displayed the might of the Islamic state by marching the army around Madinah. This was done before proceeding to Tabuk where the Muslims would face the Roman Empire, the superpower of its day. This manoeuvre illustrated the capability of the army and demonstrated the Prophet's willingness to use them. Then he said
"I was given the victory through the fear in the enemy, of a month's marching distance." [Bukhari] "Allah will never allow the Kafireen to have authority (sabeel) over the believers" [AnNisa: 141]. The military doctrine of the Khilafah therefore has a clear objective. Allah has instructed the Muslims on how this can be best achieved.
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Hence the military doctrine of the Khilafah is guided by Allah and His Messenger . By its nature, the army of the Islamic state must be fearsome and her arsenal must be one which inspires awe. Naturally then, the state must attempt to achieve and maintain military superiority.
Although America aims to prevent the proliferation of WMD by enacting strategies of deterrence and pre-emption, the Khilafah would not impede the sale of arms, provided of course that such actions did not pose a threat to the state or undermine her security.
CONCLUSION The core objective of US foreign policy is to extend her sphere of influence and control. In doing so she is driven by her ideological desire to usurp the world’s resources. Hence, to achieve this she has placed an emphasis on maintaining military strength beyond challenge and has developed a military doctrine based on preventing the proliferation of arms. In doing so she hopes to protect her vital interests. By reserving the right to make pre-emptive strikes she is declaring that she is no longer prepared to be a reactive power. Rather than respond to developments in the international arena her interests are now best served by pre-empting them. This is the obvious choice given the new world order. Whilst she jostled with the Soviet Union for supremacy its demise resulted in the global balance of power swinging decisively in America's favour. Now that she has the initiative, she is keen not to lose it.
US vs UN - THE IRAQ DILEMMA FOR BUSH
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Affairs ("Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy," July-August 1996). Now that the "evil empire" is vanquished, they write, the US must aspire to exercise a "benevolent American hegemony". For never has the US had such a golden opportunity to promote democracy and free markets abroad, while Americans themselves "have never had it so good". Hence, the "appropriate" goal of the United States should be "to preserve that hegemony as far into the future as possible". The authors dismiss those pessimists who warn of imperial overstretch or the danger of conjuring enemies, and call instead for a sharply increased US defence budget "to preserve America's role as global hegemon"; measures to enthuse the American people, perhaps through some form of military conscription; and a blunt moral foreign policy that aims at "actively promoting American principles of governance abroad". n 16 October 2003, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1511. The approval of the American sponsored resolution setting out Iraq's political future was welcomed by all the major powers. The US ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte said, "Today's vote is a vote for the future of Iraq â€ŚOur consistent aim has been to support the Iraqi people â€Ś.If there ever was a time to help Iraq, it is now". The UK Ambassador to the UN, Emyr Jones Parry said, "The resolution puts the people of Iraq into the driving seat through the interim administration. It reaffirms Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the temporary nature of the coalition's powers". Russia's UN ambassador, Sergei Lavrov, told the Security Council after the vote that the resolution is a compromise but "there are more pluses than minuses". France's UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said France wanted to make unity in the council "a priority". However the passing of the resolution and the statements made by the aforementioned officials offer little in the way of providing answers to some very basic questions like: Why did the France,
Germany and Russia drop their opposition to the resolution? Why did America resort to the UN given that only seven months ago America waged an illegal war against Iraq without UN approval? What does this mean for America, the UN and people of the world? Who gains most from this situation? To answer these questions it is important for us to understand the behaviour of the US administration and the motives behind French German and Russian attitudes towards the US. THE NEO-CONSERVATIVE INFLUENCE The key to unlocking Bush administration's foreign policy is to study the ideas which underpin foreign policy matters. It is no secret that the US government is dominated by neoconservatives who subscribe to the idea of a hegemonic America. The neo-conservatives believe that America must dominate the world free from the constraints of international law. Neo-conservatives, William Kristol and Robert Kagan first sounded this trumpet in Foreign
The hegemonic theory does not allow for the existence of a multilateral world. Rather it asserts that a powerful state which possesses unrivalled authority should reshape the world according to its interests. Thus through the enforcement of rules the hegemonic power is able preserve its dominant position in the world. This idea is a departure from previous administrations who passionately believed in America's right to take unilateral action while espousing the virtues of international law as a stabilising force in the world. Certainly, in the 1990s America was regarded by many as a harbinger of international law. But Bush's ascension to office radically shifted American foreign policy away from this course. Within a short period of time President Bush succeeded in tearing up several international treaties spanning from security agreements to environmental ones. September 11, provided the Bush administration with a golden opportunity to break free from the 'gravitational pull of international law' and embark upon a grand plan to reshape the world in the image of hegemonic America. In his new book, Winning Modern Wars, retired General November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Wesley Clark, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, offered a rare window into the Bush administration's war plans. In his book, he claims that serious planning for the Iraq war had already begun only two months after the 11 September, attack, and adds: "As I went back to the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan. . . . I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."
Afghanistan marked the beginning of this campaign and once again, the world witnessed America trounce on several international treaties such as the Geneva Convention. Buoyed by a quick military victory in Afghanistan, the Bush administration chose to launch an unjust war against the people of Iraq without a UN mandate. The war left America and her allies bitterly divided with recriminations abound on both sides. A few days before the war, on the 13 March 2003 the US government publicly castigated the French for threatening to veto the UN resolution authorising the use of force against Iraq. A spokesman for the US State Department, Richard Boucher, said President Jacques Chirac's veto threats sent the "wrong signal to Baghdad, precisely the wrong signal for those who want peaceful disarmament". On the eve of the war President Chirac of France said, "The United States has just given Iraq an ultimatum. Whether it is a question - I repeat - of the necessary disarming of Iraq or the desirable change of regime in that country, there is no justification here for a unilateral decision to resort to war. It is also a decision which compromises - for the future the methods for peacefully resolving crises linked to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction". Speaking alongside President Chirac German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said, "My question has been and remains: does 30
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the scale of the threat from the Iraqi dictator justify the launch of a war that will certainly bring death to thousands of innocent men, women and children? My answer in this case has been and remains: No." RELUCTANT RETURN TO THE UN The spectacular collapse of the Baath regime spurred President Bush to prematurely declare the war over on 1 May. At the same time, various administration officials took turns at lining up Iran and Syria as America's next target for regime change. But the swift defeat of the Iraqi army was to turn quickly sour for America. Mounting causalities and spiralling costs of the Iraq war forced President Bush to make a humiliating U-turn by seeking out a fresh UN mandate concerning Iraq's political future. On 7 September 2003 in a televised speech to the American nation, Bush said, "I recognise that not all of our friends agreed with our decision to enforce the Security Council resolutions and remove Saddam Hussein from powerâ€Ś" Yet we cannot let past differences interfere with present duties. Terrorists in Iraq have attacked representatives of the civilised world, and opposing them must be the cause of the civilised world. Members of the United Nations now have an opportunity, and the responsibility, to assume a broader role in assuring that Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation." He also told the audience that he will ask Congress for $87 billion in military and reconstruction spending for next year. So in a desperate bid to shrug off domestic criticism of his handling of the war, President Bush went back to the UN Security Council and extended his hand of multilateralism to America's estranged allies. But if countries like France, Germany and Russia were expecting an apology over the Iraq war or at the very least a remorseful America they were in for a surprise. On 23 September at the UN, President Bush was adamant that his decision to attack Iraq was the right one and arrogantly claimed that by attacking Iraq, America was defending the UN. He said, "Because a coalition of nations acted to defend the peace, and the credibility of the United Nations, Iraq is free, and today we are joined by representatives of a liberated country." Bush also poured scorn over France's attempt to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqi people under the auspices of the UN. Bush said, "The process must unfold according to the needs of Iraqis, neither hurried, nor delayed by the wishes of other parties". Bush's speech
attracted strong condemnation from the defenders of multilateralism and international law. In a rare verbal assault on US policy, UN Secretary General Koki Annan, said "unilateralism" was an assault on the "collective action" envisioned by the late president Franklin D. Roosevelt and the other UN founders. "This logic represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last fifty-eight years. My concern is that, if it were to be adopted, it could set precedents that resulted in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force, with or without justification". French President Jacques Chirac, speaking shortly after Bush, called the war "one of the gravest trials" in UN history and said it "undermined the multilateral system". In an extended critique of Bush's policy of preemptively attacking emerging threats, Chirac said, "In an open world, no one can live in isolation, no one can act alone in the name of all, and no one can accept the anarchy of a society without rules. There is no alternative to the United Nations". FRANCE GERMANY AND RUSSIA FALL IN LINE At this point many observers were expecting America's estranged allies to take a firm stand against American attempts to undermine the credibility of the UN as they had done earlier in March. But nothing was forthcoming from the trio (France, Germany and Russia). The reason for the lack of action on part of the trio was due to the fact that America had successfully weakened the alliance between them. In an article published by the New York Times it was revealed that the Bush administration was planning to isolate France, repair its relationship with Germany and bribe Russia. It appears that the strategy paid off, when on September the 1st, President Putin softened his stance on the UN running post war Iraq. He said that he saw "nothing wrong in having an international force in Iraq under American command". He also added that Russia would support a new UN resolution, if it meant the UN having a greater role in the reconstruction and organisation of Iraq. Similar overtures were made by Germany. Speaking after the UN general assembly meeting Chancellor Schroeder told German public television that he shared France's view that sovereignty should be transferred to Iraqis "as soon as possible". But he said President Bush had spoken "very positively about the role of the United Nations" in his speech, adding that he
was "ready" to put the two countries' differences behind them. "It should be possible to work out a degree of common ground in the next few weeks that makes it possible to achieve a common resolution", he said. In the later part of September France also chose to climb down against vetoing the new Iraqi resolution and made several gestures that she would not oppose America on the resolution. America also tried to split the trio by offering economic inducements. On the 21 September, in Dubai the American backed Iraqi administration announced sweeping economic reforms which included the sale of all state assets. Finance Minister Kamal al-Kilan said liberalisation of foreign investment, the banking sector, taxes and tariffs would "significantly advance efforts to build a free and open market economy in Iraq". Commenting on the Iraqi reforms, former US President Bill Clinton, urged moderation from American firms. He said, "We should play a role and spend a lot of money there, but we shouldn't dominate". On the 22 September, in an interview with the BBC during the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Dubai, Mr. Allawi the trade minister said that that foreign ownership of some Iraqi oil assets is a possibility. But the foreign involvement could also be through technical co-operation or through sharing the revenue of oil remaining under Iraqi ownership. On a trip to Paris in early October, Alan Larson, the undersecretary of state for economic affairs, told a business conference that the United States is quite willing to have French firms work in Iraq. "The door is open for French companies to participate in infrastructure contracts in Iraq" he said, according to AFP. "We're open to companies from all over the world regarding the rebuilding of Iraq". Thus lack of political will amongst the trio and the lure of lucrative contracts in Iraq cleared the way for America to pass the UN resolution without any obstacles and devoid of any firm commitments to cede authority to the UN. Accordingly, America's occupation of Iraq was legalised. IRAQI QUAGMIRE Despite the success at the UN, America is not out of the Iraqi quagmire. She is almost alone in carrying the financial and military burden of the occupying Iraq. Apart from Britain, none of the European countries have contributed troops or money in any significant way. France,
Germany and Russia have ruled out troop deployment in Iraq. At best, Germany offered to train Iraqi policemen. Turkey is the only country outside Europe that has pledged significant number of troops. Even then there is no guarantee that Turkey will relieve the pressure from the US military. Turkey is more interested in squashing the Kurdish separatist movements then worrying about reducing American causalities. On the 2 October it was reported by the BBC that the US and Turkey had a secret pact to hit the PKK bases inside Iraq. It is this reason rather than the $8.5 billion in loan guarantees from America which have encouraged Turkey's generals to send their troops into Iraq. So it is unlikely that this action is going to stabilise Iraq. On the contrary it will further aggravate the situation for the Americans. America's own hand picked puppets are forecasting turmoil in the event of Turkish troop deployment on Iraqi soil. Nabeil al-Moussawi of the Iraqi National Congress said, "The Governing Council's stand is against the presence of troops from neighbouring countries without exception, and Turkey is one of these countries". Then there is America's loyal servant - Musharraf who by his own admission has indicated that he cannot vouch for the safety of the Americans if Pakistani troops are deployed in Iraq. In a letter to State Department Musharraf said that Pakistani troops could get out of control in Iraq, leak operational information, and even join in the jihad with the Iraqisâ€Ś In terms of money, Britain and Spain were the only European countries to make significant pledges at the Madrid conference. Nevertheless their combined contribution is a paltry sum when compared to the billions promised by America. The stark reality facing America was clearly expressed by Colin Powell when he said that he hoped the new resolution would lead to more foreign troops and money being offered to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq, although he indicated he did not expect any major financial contribution from France, Germany and Russia. So far the money raised by the donor conference in Madrid falls way short of the billions required to put Iraq on its feet. Furthermore, with Iraqi resistance intensifying during the month of Ramadan there is no sign of the much needed foreign troops. In conclusion the following points can be made about the present situation in Iraq 1.
tives over President Bush and his government has made the matter of winning over allies extremely difficult. Their doggedness in making sure that America does not compromise its authority in Iraq to the UN or allow any of America's allies to partake in the spoils of Iraq has distanced countries like France, Germany and Russia away from her. In addition, American attempts at undermining international law and making a mockery of the UN has alienated many countries across the world that otherwise would have helped. 2. Although it can be argued from one perspective that by referring to the UN America's efforts to break free from international law may be in jeopardy. But from another perspective it can be argued that America has not surrendered any control to the UN and is only taking a brief respite. Certainly it appears that the Bush administration's recent involvement with the UN over Iraq is out of domestic concerns and is not related to the international outrage over American actions in Iraq. The foremost worry for the Bush administration is winning the forthcoming election. Therefore it is important for the administration to convey to the American public that the world is helping to stabilise Iraq. 3. The alliance which once existed between France, Germany and Russia is now frail. These countries are pleased that on paper at least that America has committed herself to the UN. But they lack the political will to challenge America's wilful neglect of international law. It is evident from the actions of these states that they are keen in securing money-spinning contracts and at the same time mindful of committing themselves in bailing out America from Iraq. The trio prefers to play a waiting game. If America offers them a share in the spoils of Iraq then most likely the wafer thin alliance between the three will evaporate. Otherwise, the alliance between the three will grow stronger and they will create more obstacles for America with the explicit aim of protecting international law and embarrassing her in front of the world. No matter what the outcome France, Germany and Russia long for America to fail in Iraq. 4. The people to gain most from the Iraqi situation are not the Americans or the Europeans but the Muslim ummah. Iraq has managed to bring the sons of the Muslim ummah together and strengthen the bonds of Islamic unity between them. But most important of all, Iraq has awoken the Muslim ummah into thinking about an exit strategy from her colonisation and humiliation.
The influence of the neo-conservaNovember 2003 Khilafah Magazine
ZAKAH - PURIFYING THE BELIEVER uring this blessed month many Muslims will be taking the opportunity to gain the extra reward of Ramadhan by paying their zakah in this month. But unfortunately today we find that many of the Islamic rules have been discoloured by capitalist thoughts, this influence has even tainted the very motivations for why Muslims carry out their Islamic duties, such as the duty of paying zakah. Some may pay and give zakah as a means to achieve certain tax breaks, others may give zakah to be seen as generous amongst the people, or many may do it as a means to satisfy their humanitarian urge of wanting to support other people in need. In essence it can become an individualistic thing, submitting to the personal desires to dictate how, when and who to give zakah to. All of the above examples illustrate the important need for us to understand the rules of zakah according to how the shari'ah has set it, and to achieve the values that Islam has obliged.
It is one of the worships ('Ibadat) and a basic element (Rukn) of Islam, like prayer, fasting and Hajj. It is only obliged upon Muslims, and is not taken from the non-Muslims.
As mentioned, Allah has made giving zakah one of the pillars of Islam, placing it next to Salah. The obligation of zakah is established from many evidences in the Quran and the Sunnah.
Zakah is defined in the Shariah as a determined right due from certain types of wealth. 32
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However the neglect of giving the zakah, and hoarding the wealth from the people, has been condemned in many hadith. For example AlAhnaf bin Qais narrated that Abu Dhar (ra) reported that Rasoolallah said,
Allah says: "Observe the Prayer and Give zakah" [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 43]. This type of command, linking both together, has been mentioned at least twenty-two times in the Quran. Allah also mentions that those who give the zakah, will be greatly rewarded by Him .
"Truly, those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and perform As-Salat, and give zakah, they will have their reward with their Lord" [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 277].
"Take sadaqah (sadaqah) from their property in order to purify and sanctify (zakihim) them" [TMQ At-Taubah: 103] That is why this kind of sadaqah is called zakah, for by paying it one is aspiring to attain blessing, purification and the cultivation of good deeds. Also giving zakah is a cause of blessing for wealth and not a loss of wealth as some may imagine, and the Prophet has explained this.
testify that there is no true God but Allah, and that I am the Messenger of Allah. … tell them that Allah has made zakah obligatory for them to be collected from their rich and distributed among their poor'."
AN OBLIGATION SET BY ALLAH .
SIGNIFICANCE OF ZAKAH - PURIFIES THE BELIEVER The word zakah is derived from its Arabic verbal root, meaning to increase, to purify, and to bless. The origin of the Islamic rule is in the Qur'an where Allah commands:
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"Inform those who hoard wealth, that a stone will be heated in the hell-fire and will be put on the nipples of their breasts till it comes out from the bones of their shoulders and then put on the bones of their shoulders till it comes through the nipples of their breasts the stone will be moving and hitting." [Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 24, Number 489] These ayah and honourable hadith indicate the importance of paying zakah, it is something which must not be taken lightly is but something which we must be aware of and give great importance to. This is especially important as we live in a capitalist society where making money, hoarding it and spending it on oneself is encouraged. The duty of paying zakah reminds us that the wealth we have is a trust, and a responsibility for which we will all be accounted and tested. THE INTENTION (AN-NIYAH)
Also it is mentioned in many hadith the obligation of paying the zakah, that it was one of the basic things which was instructed to the new Muslims as Ibn Abbas narrated that Mu'adh said "The Messenger of Allah sent me (as a governor of Yemen) and instructed me: 'You will be going to Christian and Jewish communities. Invite them first to
Intention is a condition for zakah, this means that the person must propose in his heart the intention to pay zakah. This is what differentiates this spiritual action from any material action. Without the intention for paying zakah as a duty to Allah the action will have no value in Islam. Without the niyah payment of
zakah has no reward. This is because the Prophet said,
"Indeed, the a'maal are by the niyah (intention)..." (Agreed) If the believer has this in his mind while paying the zakah he would distance himself from the arrogance and pride that may come when giving it. As with all Ibadaat actions zakah needs to be done with pure devotion, not affected with any personal considerations or desires. This is, for example, like the throwing of the pebbles at the three Jamrahs during Hajj. No benefit is derived from the Jamrah or from the throwing of pebbles. In this case the main purpose of the Hukm is the trial of man through the action. This is in order that he may show his servitude and bondage to Allah by doing these actions which have no rational meanings or benefits. Therefore real servitude to Allah is revealed through the complete obedience to His commandments and not through obedience for some other reason. Thus, when one is giving the zakah he should be doing it for no other reason than this. He should not be seeking worldly benefit for paying the zakah. He should not have the mentality that he expects something in return from the zakah he has paid. The Prophet ordered that man proves his bondage to Allah through blind obedience to His commandments regardless of whether or not they are agreeable to him and irrespective of his desire and inclination to obey them.
should not leave it to be eaten by sadaqah'." This proves that zakah is due on the orphan's money and hence should be invested so that paying zakah on it does not erode the original amount. This shows clearly that unlike the capitalist viewpoint, which has so many legal loopholes where the rich and wealthy become exempt from giving money away, the shari'ah has obliged the payment of zakah for the sake of Allah on those who have wealth for a whole hijri year, and have maintained the minimum nisab level for that time. The Nisab is equal to twenty gold miskals, which translates to eighty-five grams of gold. At the time of writing 13 October 2003 the approximate price of gold is £7.96 per gram. This would mean that the nisab value at this point in time for gold would be £676.77 (85 x £7.96) If an individual possesses more than the nisab value then the zakah is payable on the whole amount including the nisab amount. The total amount should be in excess of any debts the individual has for duration of one Hijra year. So if an individual has £10,000 and debts of £4,000, then the zakah is payable on £6,000. On the other hand if the debts amount to £9,500 then no zakah is payable as the remaining money of £500 is below the nisab value. The amount of zakah payable is a quarter tithe 2.5 per cent. Ali bin Abi Talib (ra) was reported to have said: "One-half dinar in every twenty dinars, and one dinar (is due) in every forty dinars."
WHO RECEIVES THE ZAKAH? Allah has restricted the recipients of zakah to eight categories. This is something which the mind cannot rationalise, and we cannot use our desires to determine who gets the zakah we pay. As our intention is to worship Allah , we do so as He has ordered us to. Zakah therefore cannot be paid to any other group other than the eight mentioned in the Quran.
"Verily the Sadaqat are (only) for the poor, needy, those employed on it, those whose hearts are to be reconciled, slaves, debtors, those in the way of Allah and the wayfarers" [TMQ At-Taubah: 60]. 1) The Poor (Al-Fuqaraa): These are those who don't receive enough money to suffice them to fulfil their basic needs, which are food, clothing and shelter. Whoever receives less than what he needs to fulfil his basic needs is considered poor, so sadaqah is halal for him. He may take from it and he can be given enough sadaqah to the amount that removes his need and poverty. 2) The Paupers (Al-Masakeen): A person who does not own any thing or whose hands are tied down and can not provide for himself or his family. They are those who are lesser than the poor. The Messenger of Allah said
Therefore if someone had £10,000 after debts the zakah would amount to £250 (10000 x 0.025).
AN OBLIGATION UPON WHOM? Zakah is obliged upon the Muslim man, woman, child and insane person due to the general form of the hadith that oblige zakah without restriction. It is paid whether the Khilafah State exists or not. Amru bin Shu'aib narrated "The Prophet preached to the people and said:
'Verily, whoever has charge over an orphan with wealth then let him invest it. He
zakah is not only payable on gold, silver and currency but also on: - Livestock such as camels, cows and sheep, - Crops and fruits - Trading goods and merchandise - For example, fast food restaurants, clothes shops, car dealerships, grocery stores, which many from our community own. - Also revenue earned from property which is owned, like the rent from second homes or any land they may own.
"The pauper is not the one who goes about the people, content with a morsel or two or a date or two. The pauper is not the one who doesn't find any wealth to suffice him nor do people notice him so that they give him sadaqah. Nor does he stand to beg people." In the UK, these two categories would include those Muslims who come to the UK, seeking asylum and they have no means whatsoever.
November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
3) Those employed over collecting it (AlAmileen 'alayha): Those people that are the sadaqah collectors or distributors. The Khaleefah alone appoints them. Ata'a b. Yassar said the Messenger of Allah said:
"Sadaqah is not allowed for the rich except for five: The one employed to collect it, a man who buys it with his wealth, a man who was given a sadaqah and he donated it to his neighbour, the fighter or the debtor." 4) Those whose hearts are to be reconciled (Al-muallafatu qulubuhum): These are types of leaders, chiefs, influential people or heroes whose beliefs are not yet settled, where the Khilafah or his governors see it fit to give them from the zakah as reconciliation for their hearts, settling their beliefs, utilising them for the benefit of Islam and Muslims or to influence their communities. 5) Slaves (Ar-riqah): There are no slaves today. 6) Debtors (Al-Gharimeen): Payments of these debts may include money paid to resolve disputes between people or blood monies. The debt should however be of halal nature. This precludes debts such as mortgages or anything which is linked to interest. However those people who are owed the debt, they will need to pay the zakah on the wealth, when it is returned to them, including the years they missed paying zakah on it. So for example if they were owed £10,000 and they received it after five Hijri years, they would owe zakah on the amount for the five years they did not have it. 7) In the way of Allah (Fi Sabeelillah): This means spending to facilitate and enhance jihad. Whenever 'Fi Sabeelillah' is mentioned in the Quran, it means nothing other than jihad. 8) The Wayfarer (Ibn us-Sabeel): The traveller whose journey has been disrupted by the lack of money, which does not enable him to reach his destination.
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It is important to note, that the schools of thought have said it is recommended to pay the zakah locally, before giving it further away. It has become a custom for zakah money to be paid abroad to countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh but we must remember that within the Muslim community in the UK there are people who are poor. There are many Muslims who are eligible to receive zakah and it is an obligation upon the Muslim community to fulfil the needs of those already amongst us. The Khaleefah is the one who is responsible for the distribution and collection of zakah. Without the Khilafah state, the rules of zakah cannot be implemented completely. The Khilafah State is a cornerstone to the rules of zakah as it is the way which will guarantee that zakah reaches those who are eligible, and that the correct amount is collected. Also it will guarantee that the correct produce, such as sheep, are collected and distributed. Also the spending of zakah is done in the interests of the Muslims as a whole. By contrast, within capitalism the government avoids this responsibility and leaves the giving of charity to the individual's choice. Islam has made the State the centre piece in the collection, distribution, and enforcement of zakah. It will punish those who refuse to pay, and will forcibly collect it from them. It recognises that the individual can only do so much. Who for example will make sure that the poor, and paupers are housed, fed, and clothed, who can ensure, that the debts are paid off, or that service stations are built for the travellers, etc. Only a state, led by the Khaleefah can ensure this. ZAKAH AL FITR This should not be confused with zakah. Zakah al-fitr is often referred to as sadaqah alfitr. The word fitr means the same as iftaar, breaking a fast and it comes from the same root word as Futoor which means breakfast. Thus zakah al-fitr is the name given to sadaqah which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan and given to the poor before the Eid salah. This is based on the hadith "Ignahum anil masalah fee mith lee hadal yawm"
"Don't allow them to ask for anything on this day"
The following can be found from this hadith, 1. Anything can be given, including money, food stuff, as it is Mutluq al amm 2. It is given to the Muslims only; this is from the 'hadal yawm' "this day" which only has significance for Muslims 3. It is before salah al Eid as they should not ask for anything on this day. 4 It is given to the poor only. Sadaqah al-fitr is a duty which is wajib on every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so.
The proof that this form of sadaqah is compulsory can be found in the Sunnah whereby Ibn Umar (ra) reported that the Prophet made zakah al-fitr compulsory on every slave, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Saa` of dried dates or one Saa` of barely. [Collected by Bukhari - Arabic/English, vol. 2, p. 339, no. 579]
The head of the household may pay the required amount for the other members. Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree said, "On behalf of our young and old, free men and slaves; we used to take out during Allah's Messenger's lifetime one Saa` of grain, cheese or raisins". [Collected by Muslim - English transl. vol. 2, p. 469, no. 2155] The significant role played by zakah in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also performed by the sadaqah alfitr. However, in the case of sadaqah al-fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much sadaqah is due from himself and his dependents and go into the community in order to find those who deserve such sadaqah. Thus, sadaqah al-fitr plays a very important role in the development of the bonds in our community in the UK. The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor. This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have to be
generous to those who do not have. Zakah al-fitr is only wajib for a particular period of time. If one misses the time period without a good reason, he has sinned and can not make it up. This form of sadaqah becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of Salah al-'Eid' (i.e. shortly after sunrise on the following day). However, it can be paid prior to the above mentioned period, as many of the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet ) used to pay sadaqah al-fitr a couple days before the `Eid. And Ibn `Abbaas reported that the Prophet said,
"Whoever gives it before the Salah will have it accepted as zakah, while he who gives it after the Salah (will not, for it will only be considered as) ordinary sadaqah" Therefore, one who forgets to pay this zakah al-fitr on time should do so as soon as possible even though it will not be counted as zakah al-fitr. The amount of zakah is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one Saa` (2.176 kg) of food, grain or dried fruit for each member of the family. So the price for 2.176 kg of barley from the local market at current prices is £1.85. Of course, this is the bare minimum and it is better to give more than this price.
Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree said, "In the Prophet's time, we used to give it (zakah alfitr) as a Saa` of food, dried dates, barley, raisins or dried cheese". [Collected by alBukhari - Arabic/English vol. 2, p. 340, no. 582]
ZAKAH HAS COME TO ELIMINATE GREED AND MISERLY BEHAVIOUR Allah orders that the believers lose the characteristic of greed, which is so frequently pursued in the west. In one hadith the Prophet described those who hoard up wealth and not pay the zakah,
is something which Western society thrives on; doing and giving the least or minimum amount to achieve the maximum gain with as little effort as possible. Muslims pay zakah regardless of any apparent benefit. Whereas Allah mentions that; "Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the zakah of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, 'I am your wealth, I am your treasure.' " Then the Prophet recited the ayat: "And let not those who greedily withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (Wealth) think that it is good for them (and so they do not pay the obligatory zakah). Nay, it will be worse for them; the things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is Well Acquainted with all that you do." [TMQ Ali-Imran:180) [Hadith Vol 2:#486]
‘Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise.’ [TMQ Taubah: 111] This is done by means of struggle and toil for Allah , by giving up oneself to His service because of ones longing to meet Him . There are some who do not pay zakah, not due to stingy behaviour, but they spend there lives and wealth in complete devotion and dedication in the path of Allah. For this reason Abu Bakr gave away all his possessions and Umar gave away half of his. Thereupon Rasoolallah asked
"And whoso is saved from his own greed, such are the successful." [TMQ Tagabun: 16] The stigma of greed and miserly behaviour is removed by the practice of giving away money. Since the love of a thing is overcome by compelling oneself to stay away from it until the abstention becomes something habitual. According to this meaning, zakah is purity because it purifies the person who fulfils it from the destructive impurities of greed and stinginess. The extent to which the person is purified from the stigma of greed is proportional to the amount he gives and the degree of his pleasure he feels in giving and in his delight in spending in the cause of Allah .
"And what have you left for your family?" Umar (ra) replied "as much as I have given away" and then asked Abu Bakr (ra), "And what have you left for your family?" whose reply was "Allah and His Messenger", Rasoolallah replied "The difference between you both is the same as the difference between your replies. Verily al-Siddiq has fulfilled his covenant completely, withholding nothing unto himself except Allah and his Messenger." (Al Tirmidhi)
SEEKING NO RETURN FROM ZAKAH
THE PREFERENCE TO PAY IT SECRETLY UNLESS IT IS AN INCENTIVE TO OTHERS.
As mentioned earlier, zakah is paid for the sake of Allah alone. So when giving zakah, one needs to remove from the mind the mentality of giving away the minimum. This
Paying zakah should be done in a manner where one has no pride in doing such an action. It should not be done in manner that achieves fame and recognition. November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
The Prophet said,
"Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His. ….a person who practices charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity) a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes get flooded with tears." (Volume 2, Book 24, Number 504: Narrated Abu Hurairah). However, if the action of paying zakah serves as an incentive for others to pay. Imam Ghazali explaining the ayah
"If you display your almsgiving, then well is it.." [TMQ Al-Baqarah : 273] says that this "refers to such occasions where display is needed either for the sake of setting an example for giving or because someone has begged in the presence of a great crowd, in which case giving should not be deferred or neglected out of fear of being seen." (Iyah ulum ad Deen)
earned by the Halal ways. Therefore we will certainly not give money that is gained by interest bearing transactions, or by cashing in on insurance policies. Allah reminds us of this;
‘O ye who believe! Give of the good things which ye have (honourably) earned, and of the fruits of the earth which We have produced for you, and do not even aim at getting anything which is bad, in order that out of it ye may give away something, when ye yourselves would not receive it except with closed eyes. And know that Allah is Free of all wants, and worthy of all praise.’ [TMQ AlBaqarah: 267]
One should not belittle any gift received, because if a person should make too much of it they would be led to feel well pleased with it, and vanity is one of the destructive matters of life and renders all good works useless. Allah said;
‘And on the day of Hunayn when you were well pleased with your numbers but it availed to nothing.’ [TMQ At-Taubah: 25]
OUR BEST WEALTH NEEDS TO GO TO ZAKAH
We should realise that 2.5% or even 10 % is but a little portion of a great amount. Many people have been content not to go beyond the lowest degree of giving zakah, or sadaqah. We need to reflect and be embarrassed of this little portion rather than be proud of it. If on the other hand one gives much of his wealth for the sake of Allah let him also reflect. For all his wealth belongs to Allah to whom he is under obligation since Allah has given him all and has aided him in spending it. Therefore what has he got to be proud off?
If we realise that we are giving the wealth for the sake of Allah , it would mean that we would choose those things that are the best and most valuable things from our wealth. Whether it is the finest camel or sheep. We would not give the weakest or most diseased sheep for zakah. The best wealth is which is
If as Muslims we understand the Hikmah (wisdom) behind the payment of zakah, we will see it is completely opposite to the prevalent views of the capitalist societies. However the payment of zakah will help ensure that our identity as Muslims remains secure as we will earn our wealth by the
Zakah must be paid promptly otherwise the condemnation of Allah is upon him, as he has neglected the command of Allah . The Muslim needs to set himself a date, a notable date like the beginning of Ramadan, or Muharram, and wait for the next year to come, before paying the zakah.
Khilafah Magazine November 2003
means that the Shariah has allowed and not by any means available. It will ensure that the zakah is paid without any dubious intentions but purely for the sake of Allah seeking nothing in return and curtailing inclinations of greed and stinginess.
Book Review 'The Silent Takeover' The Silent Takover Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy by Noreena Hertz he author of this book, Noreena H e r t z , i s associate director of the Centre for International Businessand Management at the University of Cambridge (England). Hertz began her career as an expert on Russian economics and worked for the World Bank advising the Russian government on its economic reforms. She has expressed her views at different levels ranging from picket lines to international conferences, including speaking at the World Economic Forum. A regular commentator on both television and radio, Hertz has been a featured guest on CNN, BBC and CNBC programmes. The author is recognized as one of the world's leading experts on economic globalization and has been named "the new face of the anti-globalization movement."
Her best selling book has created debate on both sides of the Atlantic over the benefits and dangers of a 'freer' private sector. Some of the issues discussed are: who really governs us, can we trust the safety of what we consume, and is it worth voting for political parties due to the great influence corporations have on politicians. These are just some of the deeply important questions raised by the author. This book is divided into three key areas. The first part describes the powerlessness into which the role of the state has (by its own doing) sunk in the face of Globalization. The second section of the book proves the initial assertion by bringing vivid and chilling examples of how governments have submitted to corporate interests, exposing the public to corporate greed. And finally it suggests a course of action that citizens can take to redress the balance of power back in favour of ordinary people. Hertz argues that the loss of government control arose from the new leash of life given to the private sector during the terms in office of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan, who between them created an axis that set the pace for the rest of the world to follow. In this axis, provisions were made to withdraw the state from interfering in what was felt to be the power of the unregulated free market in raising the standard of living and generating wealth for all. The rationale for reducing trade union power, lowering taxes and bringing down
government spending, was so that business would grow and deliver in a way that the state could never achieve, by way of wealth creation and prosperity for all. However, what this has led to is the converse. Rather than a more inclusive world of opportunity, the author shows that governments have failed in acting as watchmen, placing checks and balances over the economy. Instead of this, they have become its victims, being reduced to mere spectators of the huge multinational corporations, of which many have grown to be larger than some nation states. For example, she quotes that the turnover of General Motors and Ford exceeds the GDP of Sub-Sahara Africa. Finally the author likens the increase in direct public action, such as the recent spate of anti-capitalist demonstrations, as evidence of the growing bewilderment felt by ordinary people towards the political process, hence her reference to the death of Democracy in the title of the book. She argues that all hope is not lost and that people need to focus back on rejuvenating democratic institutions in the belief that this will help curb unscrupulous business practices and force the State back into its former role - to look after the interests of all sections of society and not just the interests of the big businesses. The depiction of reality in the initial part of the book is very strong and vivid, establishing clear ground between her work and the approach which is usually found in the writings of conspiracy theorists. However, where Hertz goes wrong is in her understanding of the cause of the problem she describes. Throughout the book she implies that it is policies that have gone wrong and that these could always be corrected. What she fails to realize is that the problem originates from the very principles of Capitalism itself and not merely from failed policy such as the interpretation of free markets held by Regan and Thatcher. Capitalism is built on the view that man is motivated in life by acquiring the goods and services that lead to the fulfillment of his ever increasing needs. This is argued as the basis of the economic problem. The outcome of this viewpoint is the relentless seeking of self gain, be this in the form of politicians appeasing their corporate backers, or business leaders ignoring the interests of consumers when producing their products and services. Consumers
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ultimately also have this view but are unable to exercise it, and are therefore exposed to potential exploitation. Writers such as Hertz falsely accept that this trait is part of the intrinsic makeup of all human beings, the way the need for food and oxygen is intrinsic. Therefore their solutions are justified on the basis that a system of checks and balances is the only way to curb excessive utilitarianism that harms the freedom of others. Such a viewpoint is fundamentally flawed and so consequently are the solutions that are built upon it. These tendencies of greed and individualism are not part of human makeup; rather they are the result of the nurturing of innate human drives with Capitalistic ideas. In an Islamic society for example, the environment coupled with such basic innate human drives, leads to a different set of emotions where exists the idea that money and power are not the sole goals in life. Such ideas produce a different set of business ethics that are a far cry from the excesses seen in today's world which is shaped by the capitalist thinking. This failure of the capitalist thinkers to understand the human being with regard to that which is from nature and that which is nurtured has had huge follow-on effects, as the modern world illustrates. Therefore, Hertz's book on the face of it brings the debate to the fore and seems a spark of light in an otherwise dark world. But the solution does more harm then good as it reinforces the underlying ideas that have caused the problem, by not linking the cause to the capitalist viewpoint itself. Unless this is done, then all we will see is a temporary lull in the ruthlessness exhibited by corporations who will always try to get away with as much as possible by using creative means and styles to conceal the extent of their underhand practices. Therefore the author's work further entrenches the problem and is no different to those who seek guidance and reform from world institutions such as the IMF or World Bank. The demands of people who prescribe to this view go no further than seeking peripheral reform of such institutions. Until the core issues are addressed, then we will no doubt see many more books which skirt the perimeter of the real debate and lull us into a false sense of security towards the capitalist ideology. Meanwhile, further damage is wreaked on the lives of all its victims, be they Muslim or otherwise. November 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Interview RAMADHAN FOR THE CHILDREN Ramadhan is a time when Muslims throughout the world enhance their Ibadaat and remembrance of Allah. The feeling of brotherhood between Muslims is warmed and strengthened and this is felt most strongly at home within the family relationships. The spiritual activities of Ramadhan such as waking early for Suhur, breaking the fast, going to the mosque and even preparing for Eid are activities which are done collectively within the family unit and are done with great importance and sincerity. However, Muslims living in the West face many potential dangers which can discolour or confuse the Islamic environment at home during Ramadhan. Non-Muslim festivals such as Diwali, and Christmas come at similar times, and often Muslim families can become involved in sharing celebrations with members of other faiths, thereby potentially confusing the significance of Ramadhan as being more than merely a festival. In this light, Dr. Samiul Muquit, the News Editor of Khilafah Magazine, has conducted an interview with Tahir Malik who is a local businessman, and lives in East London with his wife and three children. The focus of the interview is to ask for Mr Malik's views on how he feels an Islamic environment at home can be maintained during Ramadhan. Dr Samiul Muquit: How old are your children? Tahir Malik: My eldest son is eight years old. My second son will be seven next month. And my daughter will be four in December. SM: How much do they know about Ramadhan? TM: The first two know quite a lot about Ramadhan and they look forward to it especially fasting. My eldest one fasts. The younger son thinks
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he is fasting, but we know otherwise. He gets upset if we don't wake him in the morning. When we do wake him he moans and groans and goes back to bed. SM: How have you explained Ramadhan to them? TM: The way Christmas was told to us at school was initially how my children saw Ramadhan. They still see it as a major festival, a very important festival. They understand why we fast and they look forward to fasting. They look forward to beginning the fast and ending the fast and they especially look forward to Eid at the end of it. SM: Why do they think we fast? TM: The children understand that we fast because Allah orders us to fast and they understand that the obligation of fasting is the same as that of prayer. They know that if you don't fast Allah will punish you and if you do fast Allah will reward you. They know that every Muslim must fast or Allah will punish him. SM: How do you involve them in all of the events in Ramadhan? TM: The biggest occasion is Iftar time when all the food is cooked and people come around or we go to the mosque. Last year when we took the kids to the mosque they really enjoyed it because it makes them feel part of the community. When they are there and other people see little children fasting they get treated with extra friendliness and they receive sweets and presents. They are too young to attend Qiyams but they have been going to Iftar parties with my wife and they look forward to that. SM: What do they learn about Ramadhan at school?
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TM: They go to an Islamic school, Alhamdullilah. Their topic today was on Ramadhan. They had halaqa on Ramadhan, the meaning of Ramadhan and how important it is to keep the fast. Because they go to an Islamic school, last year they had the whole of Ramadhan off. This year they will have two weeks at school and will be with us for the remaining time. SM: How do you try to maintain an Islamic environment in the house? TM: What they learn at school is solidified at home. At night when they go to bed we read them stories of the Sahabah. They learn about
the Islamic calendar and the significance of the events. It easy to maintain an Islamic environment because what they learn at school does not contradict what they learn at home. SM: Do they ask about other religions. Do they compare with lent and Christmas? TM: No. They see Christmas as a holiday period it's just Father Christmas and gifts for others. At home and at school it has been made very clear to them that Christmas and Diwali are celebrations for people of other faiths. They know that Ramadhan is for Muslims and is not just a festival, but it is a time to earn extra reward from Allah and complete the obligation of fasting.
SM: How do you teach your children the fiqh (Islamic rules) of Ramadhan? TM: They learn from us. They see how we do things. That's the easiest way. We are not eating. We are doing extra nafilah actions. They see us live, in action, and that's how they learn. SM: Do you take your children to Tarawih prayers? TM: No because they have to be in bed by that time. But when they are not at school I take them to the mosque, especially for Jummah. SM: What is Eid like for your children? TM: We take the children to the mosque and let them enjoy the atmosphere. Then they come home and meet the family. We do our tour of all the local families and the children like that because they meet people and they get presents and money. The family comes to visit. My in-laws come to visit. Alhamdullilah it is a busy day. SM: What have you learnt from your experiences? What would you advise other parents? TM: Ramadhan is a learning process for them whether they are old enough to fast or not. For children to understand Ramadhan properly they need to be educated about Ramadhan and not only that, but they need to see all aspects of it in practice. More than just learning the rules of fasting they need to be in an environment where they can relate these rules to Islam.
Khilafah Magazine November 2003