As Christmas approaches so does the usual hectic frenzy of preparations for the winter holiday season. And as these preparations begin to gather momentum in every community across the country, one can't help but notice that what was once a Christian religious festival has now become a festival for a very different type of worship.
The coming of Imam Mahdi, Sayidina Isa, and ad-Dajaal
Shawaal/Dhul Qa’dah 1424 - December 2003 Cover Issue 12 Volume 16
Humanity has seen many problems and experienced many crises and calamities throughout its history, from the time of Aadam (as) to the current age. Today, the current generation is witnessing an extreme form of corruption and brutality which is spreading misery over the whole world. The capitalist ideology has made the world a playground for the powerful and rich to pillage and plunder the land, lives and wealth of the masses.
5 INTERNATIONAL VIEWPOINT
A picture gallery of the months events
1. The "British way" or "No way" 2. Funding the American crusade 3. Blunkett asks UN to send Iraqis home 4. Regime change in Georgia 5. If You Can't Beat Them, Ban Them 6. Wacko Jacko Justice 7. Bush visit
Christmas Time - Will you be going to the party?
Don't just stop Bush stop colonial politics
The school term is coming to a close. The atmosphere lifts as the daily drudgery of school life gives way to the festive season. The jingle of bells and colourful decoration transform the usual drab school corridors. The sound of feet on hard wooden floors gives way to joyous laughter and the humming of Christmas carols.
"Our mission in Iraq is noble and it is necessary. No act of thugs or killers will change our resolve or alter their fate. A free Iraq will be free for them. We will finish the job we have begun." (President George Bush 20 November 2003)
What did you do on Eid?
Picture the scenario on a cold misty November night. The last of the tarawih prayers are offered across the mosques in the country. All eyes and ears are upon the Imam as he takes to the minbar; he awaits confirmation, which is provided by a whisper in his ear. Smiles of jubilation erupt across the congregation as the Imam praises Allah ...
The word globalisation has become a buzzword since its inception at the beginning of the 1990s. A cottage industry on globalisation has emerged from which academics and intellectuals make a living by writing articles and travelling the world debating with others.
The debt trap
A warning was issued a few days ago by the Bank of England about rising consumer debt. This is in line with the fact that Britons are expected to massively increase their spending on credit and debit cards in the run up to Christmas.
Soham trial: Don't expect justice - Western Judiciary in crisis
On the 4 August 2002 a chain of events took place that brought the small Cambridgeshire village of Soham into the media spotlight and the attention of the world. The innocent images of two ten year old schoolgirls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, appeared in every newspaper and on every news channel.
On 8 Saturday November the normally quiet and inert streets of Saudi Arabia were rocked by a powerful car bomb. Detonated inside a residential compound, seventeen people were killed and over 120 injured. It represents the second serious bomb inside the kingdom this year.
On the basis of last year's figures, on average £7,600 per second was spent on credit and debit cards during the Christmas period.
What will come of the crisis in Saudi Arabia?
December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
36 "Dude where’s my country" Michael Moore, an IrishAmerican born into a Catholic family, has over the past few years shot to fame with his best-selling book 'Stupid white men' and the award winning film 'Bowling for Columbine'. His latest book, 'Dude, where's my country', carries his message from his previous work as he attacks the actions of the Bush administration post 9/11 and the "war on terror". Moore's highly critical stance on the current Bush administration, despite a strong display of allegiance to American values, has gained the favour of an increasing number of Americans...
37 Presenting Islam Interview with Dr. Imran Waheed As the months and years pass since September 11th 2001, the initially veiled motives of the 'war on terror' are beginning to become increasingly visible displaying the real agenda of the West and the true venom of their plans. Motives that were previously hidden behind a military agenda, are now open as the primary agenda. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are now openly presenting an ideological confrontation between the Western civilisation and Islam as the true objective behind the 'war on terror'.
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Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu As Christmas approaches so does the usual hectic frenzy of preparations for the winter holiday season. And as these preparations begin to gather momentum in every community across the country, one can't help but notice that what was once a Christian religious festival has now become a festival for a very different type of worship. High streets are packed with shoppers and churches are lying empty, retail stores are preaching consumerism to the masses, and the clergy continue to remain completely out of touch and out of favour with the population. However, the creed of enjoying one's self to the maximum and relentlessly engaging in a materialistic pursuit has lead to little tranquillity for the worshippers at the capitalist altar. In fact below the sparkling wrapping of Christmas being a time for getting merry, enjoying oneself and freeing oneself from the strains and stresses of life, the modern day demands and expectations of consumerist Christmas actually make it a very stressful and problematic experience for many. If you combine together a capitalist society driven by materialism, a financial market which hands out credit cards and personal loans like sweets, and advertising from every media and communication channel that mesmerises in its enticement, then what you have is an open trap, 'the debt trap' and few can escape its clutches if they choose to drink from this poisonous chalice.
Christmas has therefore become a celebration for the capitalists who lure their victims into financing shopping marathons by selling themselves to an unforgiving industry of lenders. So, as is discussed in the theme article of this month's edition of Khilafah Magazine, what is sold to society as being a merry time followed by a happy new year is very often a time of struggling to meet the strenuous demands of a celebration of consumerism. And what follows is in fact a miserable new year, where the sentences are passed by the financial creditors and a huge number of households have to experience long passages of extreme hardships to meet their debt payments. As Muslims we should be quick to dissect this issue in Western society and explain its ideological causes in order to strengthen the case against the Western way of life. It is our duty to be confident and clear in articulating the case for Islam so we can guide the world to the superior ideology of Islam. Whether the case is a failing judiciary, the ill effects of consumerism or the true devastation caused by the global economy, the fact is that the capitalist way of life is bringing immeasurable misery to the human race in every dimension of society. With Allah's will, the strong ideological challenge that Muslims continue to present and argue, will soon convince the masses, that in the face of the malfunctioning Western way of life, it is Islam which is the only safeguard for the future of the human race.
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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Khilafah Magazine December 2003
A crane lifts the wreckage of an American Black Hawk Helicopter in Iraq after it was shot down. Four American helicopters were downed last month in Iraq.
With cuffed hands extended behind him, Michael Jackson is escorted into Santa Barbara County Jail to be arraigned on child molestation charges.
An anti Bush protester stuggles with police The HSBC Bank building is seen after an explosion in central London during the Bush visit. in Istanbul, Turkey, Thursday Nov. 20, 2003. Explosions hit the Turkish headquarters of the London-based HSBC bank and the British consulate.
Relatives of 11 year-old Iraqi boy Akil Husseim Naim carry his coffin out of the morgue in Baghdad, Tuesday, Nov 18, 2003. Akil was killed when a U.S. patrol opened fire late Monday on a group of people in Baghdad's gun market, killing three Iraqis.
Anti Bush Protesters in Londons Trafalgar Square gather around an Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, right, surveys the effigy of US president George W Bush before it is brought down in scene of devastation outside the British Consulate in Istanbul, a similar fashion to that of Saddam Hussainâ€™s statue in Iraq. Turkey.
An American flag being burnt by anti war protesters in Central London during the Bush visit.
A scene of devastation in Turkey after a car bomb went off outside the entrance of a synagogue.
Iraqi youths spend their Eid al-Fitr holiday playing on a destroyed Iraqi tank in an abandoned park in the Southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah.
Georgian opposition supporters celebrate outside the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi. President Eduard Shevardnadze declared a state of emergency in Georgia late last month after opposition activists seized control of parliament.
Pakistani rangers, left, give fruits and sweet to Indian Border Security Force soldiers at Suchategarh. India and Pakistan border savoured the sound of silenced guns Wednesday as ceasefire between the two armies went into effect, the first such accord in 14 years.
Muslims gather for Eid ul fitr prayers.
December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
NEWS The "British way" or "No way" Denis MacShane, the British Minister for Europe arrogantly stated the need for Muslims to make a choice between "the British Way" or the values of terrorism in a speech to local Labour Party supporters in Rotherham. MacShane said that it was time for British Muslim leaders to use clearer and stronger language against terrorism. His comments provoked a furious reaction from Muslims. According to Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality; "On the face of it, it is a little un-diplomatic for a foreign office minister to suggest that the British have a monopoly on rational and civilised behaviour. Anybody who hails from a colony could adduce several centuries of evidence to the contrary." The 'British way' has been portrayed as the pinnacle of civilised behaviour. It is ironic for a British foreign office minister to make such a statement for if one was to even take a brief glance at the British heritage, in the way Britain treated its foreign colonies in Africa, India and the Middle East, then it would be clear that the 'British Way' is far from being a noble one. And if one was to interpret that terrorism meant to cast terror on the innocent masses to achieve political ends then surely this is the founding philosophy upon which the British way was imposed upon the whole colonial empire. MacShane's comments underline a stance taken by Western politicians, particularly since September 11th to coerce Muslims by the stick to adopt Western values. They maintain that Muslims in the West need to integrate into their host nations core political values, accept their foreign policy and be loyal to the national flag. A policy that was so eloquently announced by President Bush, "You are either with us or against us." It is not surprising that Muslims are not naturally integrating into the culture of Western civilisation. This is because the identity of the Muslims fundamentally contradicts that of the West. Forcing this question upon the Muslims is a sign of the intellectual defeat that Western politicians face in attempting to win Muslims to adopt their values.
Funding the American crusade
As George W. Bush said, "We will do whatever it takes to keep our nation strong, to keep the peace and to keep the American people secure."
The United States has passed a massive $400 billion defence budget for the coming year - the first time it has topped $400 billion since the cold war. The budget includes an average 4.15% pay rise for US troops, as well as controversial funding for research into new types of nuclear weapons. In addition, the bill includes $9bn for ballistic missile defence and money to develop so-called "bunker-busting" nuclear weapons - low-yield weapons that could attack underground bunkers or weapons of mass destruction. The money also includes $12bn for the purchase of Navy and Air Force fighters, as well as further development of a Joint Strike Fighter programme. This increase in budget only supports the aims of the US government in increasing its dominance over the world whilst it continues to demand that its perceived rivals such as China and North Korea compromise their defence. In addition, the occupied territories of the Muslim world such as Iraq and Afghanistan have been forced to disarm, and others such as Iran, Syria and Pakistan are being pressurised and intimidated in order to curb and control their weapons programs. The increase in the defence budget serves the American Foreign Policy in achieving the extreme neo-conservative ideals held by many senior members of the Bush administration. For example, the budget enables the US to continue to have an upper hand in pursuing a run of military campaigns as it adopts the view that political domination can only be maintained and strengthened by exertion of
Zara Rehman 6
military might. In order to achieve this the US is determined through various military campaigns to physically enforce American principles of governance and values in non-Western countries.
Khilafah Magazine December 2003
The pursuit of American ideals is sold as the benchmark for every nation whilst the Islamic ideas it challenges are portrayed as terrorism. The heavy investment in defence is actually an investment in attacking all those who do not fall into line with the secular Western political system. Fawzi Jeeachee
Blunkett asks UN to send Iraqis home In recent months at a meeting in Geneva, France & Germany asked the UN to speed the return home of hundreds and thousands of Iraqi asylum seekers in Europe by offering them cash and other incentives. UK Home Secretary David Blunkett stated that if voluntary measures did not work then 'compulsion' could be used. He also said that the Iraqi asylum seekers should be made to return home now that the Kurdish-run area in the north of the country is "generally overwhelmingly safe". This contradicts America's official statements that the country remains unsafe. David Blunkett maintained that refugees who fled to Britain should go back to help with the country's reconstruction, as a similar scenario was issued for the Afghan asylum seekers who fled at the beginning of the attack on Afghanistan in 2001. The Muslims from countries like Afghanistan and Iraq have sought refuge within European states from the oppression and grief they were facing under their governments and
from the war that Britain and America forced upon them. Iraq and Afghanistan today have no stability or security with an ongoing rampage of shootings, kidnappings and lootings. But then why is the British Home Secretary persuading the innocent civilians who have faced much hardship and oppression to return to Iraq? The reasons for the Iraqis' return will be based on British interests. As a capitalist country whose viewpoint is based on benefit, Britain's acceptance of asylum seekers imposes an undue political or economic burden. This is the same view carried by Germany and other European states. The German Interior Minister said: "If you give protection to refugees, it is temporary protection, not more." This is a contrast to what Bernard Lewis stated about the Sultan Bayazid II during the Ottoman period, that when the Jews were facing persecution, "The Jews were not just permitted to settle in Ottoman land, but were encouraged, assisted and sometimes even compelled." Amina Variava
Regime change in Georgia
The ousting of former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in a bloodless coup exemplifies very well the true nature of society and the manner of its change. Shevardnadze was a corrupt dictator and after more than ten years in power people lost faith in his empty promises. Every new scandal was followed by continuous promises; all of this eventually eroded people's belief in what this government stood for. Because people's basic needs were not met, and because Shevardnadze again and again violated the basic principles which his
NEWS people sanctified, such as the electoral fraud he committed at the end of October the anger and frustration of the masses eventually reached boiling point. There was such a rise in popular anger and demand for change that it affected every strata of society and even included the police and secret services. In fact, what convinced Shevardnadze to finally throw in the towel was the fact that he lost the support of the secret services and much of the army. Rulers like Islam Karimov and Pervez Musharraf must be constantly looking over their shoulder as they are in a position not too dissimilar to that of Eduard Shevardnadze. They should realise that the people have lost faith in their governments as they selfishly surrender their people's interests to colonial powers and they violate the fundamental values that the people sanctify, such as Islam and Shari'ah. It's just a matter of time until the people's anger leads to widespread unrest and the demand for change sweeps through society, even the influential elements. Although we should not be na誰ve to think that Russia or America did not have a hand in this change, especially since America has in recent years invested vast sums of money and resources in Georgia, and Russia simply will not let the Americans take over the region, it still does not take away the basic point - the house of the tyrant is in reality very weak, and when the tyrant oppresses the people then his change is inevitable.
state based upon Islamic credentials, it has descended to the level of welcoming colonialist American occupiers while preventing discourse on the Islamic political alternative, the Khilafah ruling system. It is well known that Hizb ut-Tahrir adheres to a non-violent intellectual and political method in its aim to achieve change in society as well as shunning sectarianism. Musharraf is clearly blind to this reality but then again he is the one who considers the American military machine, intelligence apparatus and colonialist state a harbinger of 'peace'.
Jackson handed himself over to the Sheriff of Santa Barbara on 21 November 2003.
A deeper analysis of this action by the government reveals a more insidious motive. Musharraf is currently poised to embark upon a concerted drive to settle the Kashmir issue. The government's announcement of an Eid ceasefire alongside calls promising to prevent internal dissent against its Kashmir policies demonstrates the threat that Musharraf faces. Hizb utTahrir is the only movement that is providing a comprehensive alternative to the ruling system currently in Pakistan as well as urging the Muslims to focus on the necessity of adopting a policy of unification with Kashmir under the banner of the Khilafah. This is the discourse that is actually being targeted. It is interesting that the government has not banned Islamic political parties with whom it is in alliance at a parliamentary level. Of course, these will be groomed to legitimise the government's eventual abandoning of the Kashmir cause.
Trial by media is justice served Capitalism style. Constant haranguing for the big story to win the massive audience figures from a great 'Wacko Jacko' scandal, and who cares if a lady called justice gets trampled in the process.
These steps are the final tremors of a dying system. It is not Islamic groups which need to be banned but the Capitalist system which has produced nothing but disgrace and failure.
If You Can't Beat Them, Ban Them
The Pakistani Government on the 20th November issued a notification banning the Islamic political party, Hizb ut-Tahrir. This was undertaken alongside the banning of three other groups. There was no clear reason provided for the banning of Hizb utTahrir other than veiled assertions that it was linked to militant and sectarian activities. It is clear that the Pakistani Government is increasingly desperate to stem the tide of Islamic revival that is spreading in the region. For an administration claiming to represent a
Wacko Jacko Justice
Rewind nine years and we heard allegations of abuse before, so is this another case of smoke without fire? The collective entertainment media rabble has gathered together and began a kangaroo court to judge such matters. Gangs of talk show pundits have already offered their opinion and entertainment journalists are issuing their verdicts.
Capitalism hails itself to be a torch bearer of international justice, but the Jackson case illustrates that it is a matter of who can hire the best PR men and lawyers before going to trial because in practice the truth never comes out. Jackson, 45, settled the last allegation for an estimated $20m. Now his fans, realizing that a trial by media is taking place are forced to defend. One lifelong fan Maria Carreo stood holding a placard of support outside the Sheriff's department. It read: "My kids love you." Islam has a real form of justice where both parties are asked to present themselves before a judge and the accuser is obliged to present evidence for his allegation. Only after a fair and balanced understanding of allegation, evidence and defence can a Muslim judge make a judgement. Yet although Jackson's judicial trial may not begin for another year, in reality the media will have tried, judged and executed him several times before the judicial process starts. Dilpazier Aslam Bush visit
He told us he was bad. Yes, a collective oops! But Michael Jackson is alleged to have done it again. Charged with abusing a 12 year old child,
November saw the much talked about visit of George W. Bush on his state visit to the UK. The significance of the visit was that it was organised by Buckingham Palace in conjunction with Downing Street and the Foreign
Office, and was ceremonial in its structure. Although the Queen has met with every elected president during her time as Monarch the last President to attend a state visit was Woodrow Wilson in 1918. When President Bush accepted the invitation around the time of the beginning of the recent Iraq war he would probably have seen it as an opportunity to boast about the successful conclusion to operations in Iraq. However, the President could not have imagined being so wrong on his predictions. The visit saw one of the largest security operations take place in London, with five thousand police officers tasked to protect the President, who had also brought his own security force as part of his seven hundred strong entourage. This was all necessary as the war on Iraq did not go as envisaged and public opinion towards Bush and Blair has, as a result, deteriorated severely with both statesmen working to save their political careers. This feeling was exemplified by the thousands of people, including many Muslims, who poured out onto the streets of London to protest at the so called, "special relationship" between the two countries. What many people have failed to understand is that by protesting against Bush alone they actually miss the true cause of the war which is the capitalist system, for it is this system which breeds the likes of Bush and Blair and only by its removal will the world be rid of the poverty and suffering that it has caused. Mohammed Ashifuddin
December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
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THE DEBT TRAP A
warning was issued a few days ago by the Bank of England about rising consumer debt. This is in line with the fact that Britons are expected to massively increase their spending on credit and debit cards in the run up to Christmas. On the basis of last year's figures, on average ÂŁ7,600 per second was spent on credit and debit cards during the Christmas period. Retailers are again set to be the big winners this Christmas, with high street card spending set to grow by 14.2 per cent yearon-year. After the spending and associated borrowing spree which usually accompanies such frenzied and compulsive spending has subsided, usually early in the New Year after the sales, households all over the country begin to feel the effects of being drawn into financial difficulties. Huge numbers of ordinary people can be sucked into what can become a very difficult and unpleasant cycle. 8
Khilafah Magazine December 2003
This cycle begins by causing many families extreme difficulties in paying off their newly increased debts, and they end up borrowing more money just to make ends meet. Consumer debt problems handled by National Association Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB) have increased by 46 per cent over the last five years. In the last year NACAB advisers have taken on more than a million new debt cases. NACAB director David Harker told BBC News Online "It is difficult to resist the conclusion that the recent growth in consumer borrowing will lead to problems for a record number of people, who will face far larger debt problems than ever before." The problems that are associated with the debt trap are not just financial but can often spark off other problems in life such as depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence and marital break-ups to name but a few.
WHY DO CONSUMERS BEYOND THEIR MEANS?
As the dangers of engaging in more and more debt are obvious to all, the question would naturally arise as to why so many people would let themselves slip into this situation. There are obvious and less obvious causes. If we start by looking at the more obvious ones, we find that the combination of easily available credit coupled with the lure of glossy and enticing advertising would be the two major contributors to tempting so many people into the debt trap. EASILY AVAILABLE CREDIT The surge in debt has largely been on the back of aggressive marketing tactics by lenders. Today there are 1,500 different credit cards now available in the UK. The total amount of credit card lending has doubled in the past four years. It is not just high street lenders that are
responsible for freely availing credit to customers. Even people with suspect credit ratings can get finance without too much effort. Lenders specialise in giving credit to people that the reputable high street lenders won't touch because they either have a history of missing payments or their income is too low. It is often these debtors that are more prone to fall victim to the debt trap due to their having missed payments in the past or being less responsible with their finances as evident by their having CCJs [county court judgements] against their names. In this climate, the loans for this type of consumer can be easy to obtain, but the rates on their borrowing are much higher then normal exposing them to even more risk of being unable to make payments. Some borrowers juggle their finances by taking out several credit cards and borrowing right up to the limit on each of them. Then they struggle to make even the minimum monthly repayments. Others try to have their debt consolidated into a single loan but the total amount repayable increases as the debt is rescheduled over a longer period of time. This is not to mention the hidden fees that are charged - for example commercial fees might include the equivalent of one month's repayment upfront and then 15 per cent of each payment after that, plus VAT. HIGH EXPENDITURE ON ADVERTISING As already mentioned, the ease of financing spending is one element of the conditions enticing so many to become submerged into too much debt. The second fundamental reason is the creative and extremely high investment retailers have placed upon advertising their products. People feel they need to spend on new goods and services because of the constant bombardment they are faced with from the visual media, festive expectations and public opinion. This creates an environment which almost demands people to be seen with the latest gadget and fashion accessory, even if they don't actually need them. In many cases more money is spent on advertising than is spent on the labour used
to make the products. Take for example the recent ÂŁ100 million deal offered to David Beckham by Adidas compared with the pittance paid to the Indonesian sweat shop workers to sew the very same trainers that he markets. It is not uncommon for new products to be introduced only for the demand to be subsequently created for them by intense marketing. For example a new football team kit can generate a huge demand even though the majority of the customers don't actually need new sports gear - such is the power of advertising; little more needs be said. THE CONSUMER DEBT HANGOVER When the insatiable cycle of borrowing a n d spending subsides, and the debts that have been incurred have to be repaid, the debt hangover starts. To give an insight into the fallout of the debt trap, consider the following statistics. Evidence from the 'The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy' suggests that at least 10 per cent of students who sought counselling are suicidal or had attempted to kill themselves over debt problems After the Christmas spending period when people are at an all time low from their excessive debts and mindless spending, domestic violence against women surges. To tap into this phenomenon the Tory party are actually using the festive season to flag up the issue of domestic violence. Tory activists are distributing 10,000 posters around the country with the words 'Another Boxing Day' running across an image of a woman cowering beneath a clenched fist. 'Christmas is a particularly difficult time in some families', says the Tory spokeswoman for women, 'and such problems get worse at Christmas when levels of stress, alcohol and
debt increase, and domestic violence reaches a peak'. If wives aren't being beaten by their husbands, then marriages are falling apart as divorce rates rocket during and in the aftermath of the festive season. Suicide is another by-product with the number of suicides increasing immediately after New Year according to The Samaritans. IT'S NOT JUST ADVERTISING AND EASY CREDIT THAT MAKES PEOPLE SPEND The aforementioned analysis does little to go beyond the surface and explore questions which are more fundamental in nature, such as why do people want to have the latest mobile phone or buy the latest car even though they cannot afford it? Why do people brave the clenches of the poverty cycle knowing full well the slippery slope it offers? To answer these questions, we need to have a brief look at the values and goals defined in the western society which takes its spirit from the secular capitalist viewpoint of life. The oft quoted clichĂŠ 'eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die' is an apt place to start exploring the mindset fashioned by the western society. Self gratification is the goal, and consumerism is one of the clearest shapes that this goal takes. Part of consumerism is the overwhelming desire people have to express themselves through material means such as the desire to have the latest gadget or to wear the latest fashions that have hit the high streets. Additionally, as a result of the capitalist identity, individualism flourishes and people want to express their individualism by being different in the way they dress, the way they look and the music and fashions they listen to and wear. This desire to appear in a certain way due to how the society judges people as successful or unsuccessful and this is what fuels the demand to obtain the latest high street releases. So one cannot blame marketing on its own for developing the spending craze that has possessed so many consumers. The positioning and targeting of the marketing is almost always to tap into these distinct motivations that already drive society. For example, car adverts play more on the appeal December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
with its incessant stream of commercials, have more materialistic values. It is only now that psychologists are acknowledging that materialistic values are associated with increased depression, anxiety, substance abuse, interpersonal problems and antisocial behaviour.
aged people to spend from their disposable wealth and condemned those who are miserly. For it is spending that offers the opportunity for suppliers to meet consumer demand which in itself creates jobs and the circulation of wealth via the production and consumption of goods and services.
The American Psychological Association published a statement in 2000 stating, "studies on 'materialism' show that individuals highly focused on materialistic values also report less satisfaction with life...worse interpersonal relationships, more drug and alcohol abuse, and less contribution to community... [and this process contributes] to the formation of a shallow 'consumer identity' that is obsessed with instant gratification and material wealth."
Evidence of Islam's promotion of consumption and spending can be seen in the hadith narrated by At-Tirmidhi from Abdullah ibn Amr who said:
Western psychologists are finally recognising what Islam explained fourteen centuries ago. Rasool Allah said,
HOW ISLAM PREVENTS ONE FALLING INTO THE DEBT TRAP
"The Prophet said, "Allah likes to see the signs of His favour (bounties) on His servant."
The debt trap and the downward spiral of the debt trap should never entrap the Muslim for a number of reasons. Some of these are as follows:
"If the son of Adam had two valleys of money, he would wish for a third, for nothing can fill the belly of Adam's son except dust, and Allah forgives him who repents to him" [Bukhari]. the car has to the eyes of others (namely women) then it does on the functionality of the car itself. In fact all posters and images that can be seen in high street shops to entice consumers are actually enticing them by conveying the message that this item will enhance their identity. DOES CONSUMERISM LEAD TO HAPPINESS AND TRANQUILLITY? Perhaps the biggest irony of the debt trap is that the aims sought by those who risk everything for a life in pursuit of material gratification do not in fact reach their goals as the goals are not in themselves real and compatible with the natural character of man. In fact there is a strong and growing body of psychological evidence that indicates that people who watch a great deal of television, 10
Khilafah Magazine December 2003
Firstly, the goal in life of a Muslim is completely different to that held by those entrenched with the secular goal of materialism. Allah says in the Glorious Qur'an:
THE ISLAMIC VIEW Consumerism as manifested in Western society is the obsession to buy things even if it means living beyond one's means. It is also the buying of things impulsively without there being a clear need but in order to impress others who judge people on the basis of their possessions and appearance rather than their actions and ideas. From the Islamic viewpoint, if individuals have the financial means, then spending is encouraged however the motivations and intentions are quite different from the western motives. Also, from a societal perspective, consumer spending is vital for economic growth for the state as a whole. In fact Islam has encour-
"Say: 'My life, my death and acts of worship are all for the Rabbil Alameen.'" [TMQ AlAn'am: 162] With this elevated goal, the Muslim knows that he buys what he needs rather than to impress others, therefore spending a significant premium for a branded product would not have the same appeal in the Islamic society in the way it does in the West. Secondly, and equally significantly, the Muslim does not take the issue of borrowing money lightly. Debt is a heavy burden in Islam and people only take it a last resort with specific conditions. The mentality that the Muslims should have towards debt can be explained by accounts from the life of the
to Allah . The Prophet said:
"This wealth is (like) green and sweet (fruit), and whoever takes it without greed, Allah will bless it for him, but whoever takes it with greed, Allah will not bless it for him, and he will be like the one who eats but is never satisfied. And the upper (giving) hand is better than the lower (taking) hand" [Bukhari] CONCLUSION The capitalist ideas of materialism and individualism are ideas that push people to seek happiness through the acquisition of material things. The images portrayed in the media are so overwhelming that many feel compelled to have the objects that they think will make them happy even if it means becoming indebted in the process. The misery is not felt until the euphoria wears off after the New Year where the reality of their debt burden begins to impose on their lives.
Prophet such as that narrated by Abu Dawud from Jabir who said: "Allah has permitted trade but forbidden usury" [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 275]
"The Prophet would not pray over any person who died while indebted. A dead man was bought. He said: 'Is he indebted? ' They said: 'Yes, two dinars.' He said: 'Pray for your companion' meaning that the Prophet was not prepared to pray for him while he was in debt. It was not until Abu Qatadah al Ansari said: 'O Messenger of Allah, they are upon me.' that then the Prophet prayed for the deceased man. Thirdly, the wide availability of credit would not be such a reality in the Islamic economy as it is in the capitalist system where people have made a business of lending money via the interest based banking system. In Islam, interest is condemned in financial transactions as per the various evidences such as:
Fourthly, the excesses allowed by the western states to private sector corporations to sell and market goods through exploitative and luring means would not be afforded in an Islamic society. Examples such as subliminal advertising where subconscious visual frames are introduced into viewing sequences to create demand and compulsive behaviour would be barred as exploitative practices. The use of women in seductive poses and people achieving status and respect as a result of purchasing the item would not be permitted. Finally, Islam puts the pursuit of wealth and luxurious things in a completely different context. It acknowledges man's desire for ownership and wealth unlike the socialists who deny that anything exists within the human nature wanting wealth. However it does not make the pursuit of wealth as a goal; instead it is an opportunity to show discipline and utilisation in the way pleasing
Spending is not disliked in Islam but the condition is that the financial means should exist for spending to occur. Spending is encouraged in the Islamic texts and miserliness is condemned. Many misconceptions have been created about Islam and spending which have falsely distanced many from the supremacy of Islam to man made solutions. The debt trap is an open pit which many in western societies cannot escape from. Muslims should be wary of the pitfalls from western culture and capitalist financing that can lead to them becoming victims of this. Muslims should also be aware that the Islamic ideology is a complete way of life providing a moral and intellectual framework to build an Islamic society as well as a comprehensive economic, ruling and social system to govern the people's affairs.
December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Ideological Viewpoint CHRISTMAS TIME WILL YOU BE GOING TO THE PARTY?
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feeling of being the odd one out in explaining their absence from Christmas parties. Every year there is pressure on Muslims to take part in the festive action. Children at school are expected to attend the Christmas party, take part in the nativity play and sing in the school carol service. For those who remain outside of this atmosphere they may well become ostracised; branded as boring or a killjoy. Worse still, accusations may be levelled that Muslims are not showing respect to the indigenous culture and adopting an intolerant attitude. SHOWING RESPECT AND TOLERANCE TO OTHERS
he school term is coming to a close. The atmosphere lifts as the daily drudgery of school life gives way to the festive season. The jingle of bells and colourful decoration transform the usual drab school corridors. The sound of feet on hard wooden floors gives way to joyous laughter and the humming of Christmas carols. The festive season supposedly heralds a period of goodwill and an end to hostilities and conflict. However it is not so joyous for all, especially for the Muslim pupil. Like all the other kids he has received plentiful cards from his friends wishing him a 'Merry Christmas', which he promptly files away in the bin. As in previous years he is also invited to the annual school Christmas party. Last year he couldn't go because he had an urgent appointment at the dentist, or so he told his friends. So what does he do this year? He can't use the dentist excuse again. Does he grab his heart and fake a heart attack? Does he grit his teeth and just go to keep the peace?
Khilafah Magazine December 2003
This is a dilemma faced by Muslims in all walks of life, from the student at school, to the person in the office. As the season of goodwill arrives so too do the anxiety levels for some Muslims. Emails and greetings received can cause confusion in not knowing how to reply without sounding disrespectful. The invitation 'Hey Ahmad, are you coming to the party' causes discomfort. The Muslim acknowledges the invite with an uncomfortable smile and a mumbled excuse that the questioner cannot make out and assumes he said 'yes'â€Śin Punjabi. Calls on the mobiles from nonMuslim friends are conveniently diverted to voicemail. So what does the poor beleaguered Muslim do?
Those who refrain from taking part in the seasonal festivities are considered as extreme, intolerant or just plain unsociable. Fellow pupils cannot understand why going to a Christmas party is such an issue with Muslims. Surely going to a social gathering, which in truth has little to do with the Christian religion, does not mean that you throw away your Islamic beliefs and practices. After all, the schools do not just celebrate Christmas. Many of the schools in Britain have a demographic mix of various cultures, races and religions. Many schools in the larger cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester celebrate all festivals and occasions. They will acknowledge and commemorate Christmas as well as Diwali and Eid.
Many of us can relate to this to some degree. At best, Christmas is a time of discomfort with the thought of going through the annual chore of explaining why you will not be attending the school nativity play or in explaining to Tracey from the accounts department that you will definitely not be seeing her at the staff party! At the other extreme many Muslims succumb to the Christmas spirit and cannot deal with the
School children of other faith backgrounds take part in organised activities to engender a greater understanding of cultures alien to theirs. If other children take part in Islamic celebrations, should we not allow our children to take part in theirs? Many schools permit Muslim children to take leave on the day of Eid. Surely if they make gestures to accommo-
date Islam, should we not take part in their celebrations like Christmas, Diwali and whatever else the school children celebrate? These are amongst the questions that circulate in the Muslim mindset, causing them a dilemma. Essentially, does the Muslim adhere strictly to his faith and reject the calls to join in the Christmas celebrations or does he partake in the merriment on the basis that not joining in would be rude and disrespectful? The pressure to join in with festivities is heavily encouraged within the workplace and the school environment. Employees realise that attending the Christmas party is a good place to network and socialise with colleagues. It is oft quoted how promotion opportunities are initiated in the pub or at the office party. The run up to the office party will be a big topic of discussion amongst the employees, as is the post office party analysis, which merely adds to the pressure to fit in and not be seen as a party pooper. Similarly, schools propagate an agenda of fostering tolerance and respect for other faiths and religions. Religious education classes will teach children that all religions are the same and that they provide similar if not the same values. Hence, everyone must participate in each other's festivities, religious or otherwise, so as to experience this common ground and togetherness. The pressure to accept this idea is no more apparent than at Christmas time in schools and offices. RESPECT AND TOLERANCE ONLY GOES SO FAR The idea of showing tolerance and respect to other's beliefs and values, even if you disagree with them, emanates from the western capitalist ideology. In particular, the concept of pluralism states that all groups and sections within society should have their views and beliefs protected. The manifestation of this can be seen in the idea of showing respect and tolerance to all religions and faiths. The problem with accepting other people's faiths and values merely on the basis of respect and tolerance is that genuine debate and discussion as to what is right and wrong is abandoned. In fact, questioning and debating religion is one of the last taboos within the West. On the basis of not offending another person's religion, greater questioning or scrutiny about one's beliefs never occurs. For
example, the lack of any serious debate around the whole festive period masks the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that Isa (as) was born on 25 December or that Christianity has anything to do with Christmas at all. Moreover, the reality of pluralism within the West and its manifestation in tolerating and respecting all religions hides a more sinister side. Western society only actually tolerates other beliefs and religions to the point that they do not contradict the underlying values and norms of society. In short, tolerance and respect only goes so far. For example, western states may allow Muslims to practice Islamic festivals and worships on the basis of showing tolerance and respect. However, if Muslims were to advocate the Islamic solutions with regard to economics or politics they would be quickly stopped in their tracks. Equally, there would be no respect and tolerance from the West for Muslims marrying four wives or implementing the Islamic punishments. Recently, George W Bush announced in a series of speeches that he would actively work to bring democracy to the Middle East. Clearly, this is a case of the West trying to impose its beliefs and values upon others thus contradicting their own concepts of pluralism and showing respect to others. Why do the western governments not apply the principle of pluralism here and let other nations around the world live according to their own value systems. The duplicity of the West can be seen in their insistence on all other peoples adhering to capitalist ideas, values and systems.
The essence of the western call for showing respect and tolerance to other ideas is not that they accept that other people have a right to live in any way they wish. Rather, it means that other beliefs and values will only be tolerated within a framework of western secular laws and viewpoints. Equally, societies that call for western values of freedom and democracy are praised. If this is maintained, then the West is happy to show respect and tolerance. However, the moment anyone crosses the western worldview by advocating an alternative to secularism, such as Muslims and the Islamic world, then the West is quick to abandon its ideals of respect and tolerance. Jack Straw clearly highlighted the limits of western tolerance when he said "Democrats can never accept that religious injunctions take precedence over temporal laws." (Prospect Magazine, October 2002). Furthermore, religion in the eyes of the West is merely for the individual and should have no part to play in societal affairs. So, capitalist society is quite content in encouraging people to celebrate each other's religious festivals such as Christmas or Eid provided that their views do not enter the political arena. The moment that such views impact on the wider society, all semblances of respect and tolerance will disappear as the relentless attack on the Church for its insistence on banning homosexuals from office has shown over the years. So tolerance in the West is underpinned by the belief that secularism is sacred. If any religious value or behaviour is incompatible with secularism it is rejected. December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
ISLAM HAS ITS OWN VIEW OF RESPECT AND TOLERANCE The concept of showing tolerance and respect to others and their beliefs is underpinned by the fact that Islam is the truth. This is the starting premise that the discussion is built around. The Islamic aqeedah is built on a rational foundation, which appeals to the intellect of man. Thus the proving or disproving of a creed is determined through rational discussion. If people want to believe in other creeds then that is a matter for them, but as Muslims we would see it as a duty to explain the falsity of their creed from a rational basis and the correctness of Islam. The myth of pluralism and the mirage of showing respect and tolerance should not prevent us from doing that. Muslims cannot accept the creed of freedom, the belief in the 'trinity' or the worship of animals as on a par with the beliefs of Islam. Neither would we shy away from explaining the consequences of believing in falsehood in the Hereafter. ETIQUETTES OF DISCUSSION Even though we believe in the correctness of Islam and the falsehood of all other creeds, Islam has laid down rules on how to discuss and debate with people of other faiths. The purpose of such discussion is to arrive at the truth, not to humiliate or ridicule others. Within the Khilafah minority groups are protected on the basis of the saying of the Prophet ,
"He, who harms a dhimmi, harms me". Neither is a Muslim permitted to force a person to accept Islam. Allah says in the Qur'an:
"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects Taghut and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things." [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 256]
Khilafah Magazine December 2003
"You will indeed follow the ways of those before you, hand span by hand span, and cubit by cubit even if they were to enter into a lizards hole, you will follow them." We asked 'is it the Jews and the Christians?' He replied, "Who else!" "Say, 'This is my way: I call to Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me. And Glorified and Exalted is Allah. And I am not of the Mushrikeen" [TMQ Yusuf: 108] A Muslim needs to refute false beliefs with evidence and prove the correctness of Islam through convincing argument and the power for intellect. For example, at the time of the Prophet the Quraysh held a firm conviction in the idea that having a daughter was a bad omen. The Prophet refuted this argument by illustrating the contradictions within their own actions. He argued, why was it that they were above having daughters yet they created idols with their own hands and described them as the daughters of Allah . The Prophet asked if the Quraysh thought they were better than the God they worshipped. In this way, the incorrectness of the Qurayshi belief was highlighted without resorting to abuse or ridicule. THE WAY TO RESPOND TO CHRISTMAS A Muslim should not be held ransom to participating in Christmas festivals on the basis of showing respect and tolerance. The mentality of the Muslims should be to politely explain to his colleagues or fellow pupils that Islam has its own festivals and celebrations and that a Muslim is not allowed to partake in any others. Ultimately, the discussion should proceed to explaining that this is due to the belief in Allah and it is He that has decided the limits for the Muslim. Of course, the Muslim should be available to explain at any time the reasons as to why he believes in a Creator and in the Prophethood of Muhammad . Imitating the disbelievers in any of their religious affairs or in any gesture that distinguishes them as groups is forbidden. AlBukhari narrated in his Sahih that Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (ra) reported that Allah's Messenger said,
This ahadith condemns imitating them. It is a proof for the prohibition of imitating the Jews and the Christians in their occasions, symbols, or any matter related to their belief. Hence, it is not allowed for a Muslim to give Christmas cards, wish anyone a Merry Christmas, buy a Christmas tree or celebrate Christmas in any way. As a Muslim, the Prophet brought guidance to us with regards to celebrating the festivals of other people. Islam defined for us which festivals the Muslims are allowed to celebrate. It is reported that Anas bin Malik (ra) said:
When the Prophet came to Medina, the people had two holidays from the days of Jahiliyyah. He said, "When I came to you, you had two holidays, which you used to celebrate in Jahiliyyah. Allah has replaced them for you with better days, the days of slaughter (Adha) and the day of Fitr."
Also, Uqbah bin Amer (ra) reported that the Prophet said, "The day of Arafat and the day of slaughter and the days of Tashriq are our holidays, the people of Islam." [Imam Ahmad] Thus we have not been given a licence to add to the two celebrations Islam gave us. The Prophet said,
"Whoever brings something that is not from our affair, it is rejected." [Bukhari]
WHAT DID YOU DO ON EID?
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Limousines and sports cars hired for the day cruise up and down the road whilst others conduct street races. Bhangra music is blasted from tinted windows and Pakistan flags are displayed. The girls are extravagantly dressed and parade themselves in a manner not befitting a Muslim sister. The boys blast their horns in approval in some sort of animalistic mating ritual. Many hold "Eid Mela parties," where often the Hindu and Sikh youth are also invited. The "Eid Mela" is no more than a glorified nightclub with alcohol and flirting commonplace. It is not unusual for fighting to erupt amongst the Muslim youth on this night usually involving disputes over girlfriends. The stench of weed has replaced that of Asian sweets and the latest 'R&B' rhythms have displaced the Eid takbeer.
icture the scenario on a cold misty November night. The last of the tarawih prayers are offered across the mosques in the country. All eyes and ears are upon the Imam as he takes to the minbar; he awaits confirmation, which is provided by a whisper in his ear. Smiles of jubilation erupt across the congregation as the Imam praises Allah making supplication that the good deeds of Ramadhan are accepted and announces that the new crescent moon has indeed been sighted and the blessed day of Eid ul Fitr has arrived. On the day of Eid the Muslims arrive in their droves, dressed in their best garments and glorifying Allah as the Eid Takbeers reverberate around the Masjid. The sweet smell of musk wafts across the prayer area. The congregation stands shoulder to shoulder for the salah and warmly embrace each other at the end of the Eid Khutbah. People return home to delicious food and their families. Phone calls are conducted overseas and sweets and gifts are exchanged. Relatives pay visits to one another and the families greet
each other with warmth and compassion. This is a typical example of the Eid day, which is probably familiar to many of us. IT'S EID, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT… However, there is a more sinister side to the Eid celebrations of the Muslim youth. Having participated in the more "traditional" aspect of Eid during the day with family, the Muslim youth have a second celebration in the evenings. Only this time, family is not invited and the events of the night are not for the fainthearted. From Wilmslow Road to Edgware Road, Southall Broadway to Green Street, the activity of the Muslim youth is all too familiar. The more "traditional" dress of the day is exchanged for the latest gear. The sweet smell of musk and namaz topis are replaced by aftershave, gel and lipstick. Hours are spent in preparation but alas this effort is not for the pleasure of Allah .
Festivities continue late into the night, with youth travelling from one hot spot to another. Ramadhan seems a distant memory as does the Tarawih prayers, which many of these youth clamoured to attend. Instead, worship is conducted at the altar of sensual pleasure. The atmosphere surrounding the day of Eid is one of relaxing and "chilling". For some of the youth it is a time to "blaze up" and enjoy themselves. For many the day of Eid is viewed as the time to unwind after the rigours of Ramadhan and 'let their hair down' and reacquaint themselves with their favourite past times. Hence we see this translating into actions such as cruising down the Broadway, checking out the "talent" and generally living it up. WHAT HAPPENED TO EID? For many Muslims, the very notion of the alternative Eid causes them to shudder with disgust. However it is an undeniable fact that more and more Muslim youth are being drawn to the occasion. Parents scratch their heads in amazement and some react by locking up their December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
children to prevent them from such activity. However, the youth are victims of western society and in particular one ugly aspect of society; namely secularism. In the West, religions and festivals are deemed to be a momentary distraction from day to day life. Hence we can see this with the way some Christians treat Lent, as a time for temporary abstinence from worldly pleasures but then they happily return to their lifestyle of old once Lent is over. This is because Christianity does not offer them anything apart from these meaningless festivals and many of them have been transformed into an excuse to get drunk and party. For example, every year St Patrick's Day is celebrated with copious amount of Guinness, to the extent that this day has become synonymous with the beverage. This same idea of secularism is responsible for the way Ramadhan and Eid have begun to be viewed by many of the Muslim youth. Hence the Muslim youth are affected by this idea and consequently they just view Ramadhan as a religious festival and as a time to abstain from "worldly" desires and sins. The natural repercussion of viewing Ramadhan as a month of "restriction" is that its end is something to be celebrated. Hence we can see this idea in the behaviour of the youth on Eid. The day of Eid is now viewed as a time to cut loose, after all the Muslims have fasted and abstained from their desires for one whole lunar month. The idea of secularism dictates that it is time to now return to normal proceedings and abandon religion until the return of the next Ramadhan. Hence the Muslim youth are willing to fast and pray as much as they can during Ramadhan. They will attend the Jumu'a prayers with zeal and many break off contact with the opposite sex. They are willing to do all of this because they know in their minds that Ramadhan will indeed come to an end. And then restrictions are lifted until the following year. Therefore Eid is viewed as the time to celebrate the end of the restriction and this manifests itself in the festivities of the night. And the vicious cycle continues year after year. THE TRUE EID It is an undeniable fact that the day of Eid ul Fitr is special in Islam and should be celebrated, as the Prophet said:
Khilafah Magazine December 2003
"When I came to you, you had two days which you used to celebrate in jahiliyah. Allah has replaced them for you with better days, the days of slaughter (adhaa) and the day of Fitr." [Al Baihaqi in his Sunan]
Notwithstanding all of this, the day of Eid is to be celebrated in accordance with the Islamic injunctions. It is narrated by Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim and Imam Ahmad that Aaisha (ra), the mother of the believers, said,
However the way the Muslims view Ramadhan and the day of Eid should be in accordance with Islam and consistent with the Hukm Shara [divine rules]. Eid should not be viewed through secular eyes. If we look to the examples of the Sahabah we can see how they would treat the arrival of Eid. The Sahabah would literally stay up praying and crying all night, for they would feel a genuine loss that the month of Ramadhan was over and that the shayateen would be let free from their chains. It has been narrated that when the Prophet's companions met each other on the Eid day, they would say to each other:
"People from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) used to fence with swords in the masjid on the day of Eid. I used to watch them while I was standing behind the Prophet's shoulders. I kept watching, until I was satisfied and then left." The celebration of this blessed day must be in accordance with Islam and must not violate any of the commands of Allah . CONCLUSION
"May Allah accept from us and from you". [Related by Ahmad] Hence we can see that the attitude of the Sahabah was not that the restrictions had been lifted - rather they would lament the loss of the month of Ramadhan and greet each other with humility. The way the Muslims should view Ramadhan is that it is not a time to just "give things up"; rather it is a time to gain reward and forgiveness and this change should be carried throughout the year.
As Muslims living in the West it has become apparent that not even the days of Eid ul Fitr are safe from the ill effects of secularism. The Muslims must be weary of any attempt to redefine Islam and bracket it with Christianity and other religions. The Muslim youth must realise that our identity as Muslims is in jeopardy residing in the West. Indeed, the way we view Eid ul Fitr and Ramadhan is not as festivals or empty rituals. The days of Eid should be viewed as an opportunity to gain the pleasure of Allah , to spend time with family and to mark the occasion in a halal manner. The "alternative" Eid has no place in Islam and would earn the individual the wrath of Allah .
SOHAM TRIAL: DON'T EXPECT JUSTICE WESTERN JUDICIARY IN CRISIS
n the 4 August 2002 a chain of events took place that brought the small Cambridgeshire village of Soham into the media spotlight and the attention of the world. The innocent images of two ten year old schoolgirls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, appeared in every newspaper and on every news channel. Thirteen days later came the terrible announcement that the whole world had feared the girls had been found dead, their bodies abandoned in a ditch near Lakenheath, Suffolk. One year on and Soham is now at the centre of attention once again, as the media scrutinises the long awaited trial of the man accused of murdering the schoolgirls. However, in the light of such a horrendous crime as this what needs to be asked is whether the establishment of justice can really be expected from the western judicial system, which aims to administer it. This article analyses examples from recent judgements and events in western judiciary, and demonstrates the shortcomings of the western judicial process. It shows how legislation and punishment defined by human beings, who are influenced by their emotions, prejudices and differences in opinion, can never deliver a correct system of justice. Instead, it will demonstrate the integrity and superiority of the Islamic judicial system. LENIENT SENTENCING The past few years have witnessed vigorous debates between politicians and the judiciary on the sentencing of criminal defendants. Many public groups have emerged to campaign against the sentences handed down by judges that were deemed to be far too lenient with respect to the crimes committed.
possessing indecent images of children. A judge sentenced him to five years in prison, stating that it was clear from his shame and remorse that there was a low risk of him offending again. A spokeswoman from the charity 'Children 1st' said they had expected him to get a life sentence. She added, "This is a shocking and sickening case. To inflict this suffering upon a child who depends on adults to keep her safe is a hideous crime." In December 1995, eighteen year old Louise Smith was raped and then murdered, but owing to the remorse the killer had expressed in court he was given a life sentence set at a minimum of fourteen years. The mother of the murder victim told the BBC "He will be thirty-six when he comes out, fourteen years to me is a short time..." Additionally, many crimes committed in the West do not even warrant a custodial sentence. Around 130,000 people in England and Wales are sentenced to community service for crimes such as assault and possession of drugs each year. By contrast, in November 2000 four men who attempted to pull off a ÂŁ200 million diamond heist at the Millennium Dome were found guilty of conspiring to commit a robbery for which they received prison sentences of between fifteen and eighteen years. It would appear that in the eyes of the judiciary the value of life and honour of the above mentioned victims seems to be less than that of a diamond. It is clear from the above examples that there is a great disparity in the types of sentences meted out for crimes. ARBITRARY NATURE OF SENTENCING
Recently, controversy raged when a forty-three year old man appeared for sentencing before the High Court in Dunfermline after pleading guilty to raping a thirteen month old baby girl, indecency towards a six year old girl and
In October 2003, Jeffrey Carney, a former headmaster who had pleaded guilty to charges of indecent assault on two boys had his sentence overturned. He had initially received a three year
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community rehabilitation order by a judge at Reading Crown Court for his crimes but the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith asked for the Court of Appeal to reconsider the case as he felt that the offender deserved a harsher penalty. The case was reviewed by Lord Justice Kay who resentenced the offender to concurrent sentences for 15 months for each assault on the first victim and one of six months for the assault on the second victim. Here is a case that exemplifies the inconsistency in outlook between different judges; one judge felt community rehabilitation was an appropriate punishment while another chose a prison sentence. Within the British judicial system judges remain independent individuals who have the power to use their own discretion and personal opinions according to their views on a case. Factors that judges consider when coming to a decision about a sentence include the nature of the crime, the intention of the offender, the level of remorse, previous good character, a guilty plea and legal precedent. Clearly, some of these factors are extremely subjective, and may even be impossible to objectively ascertain. In effect, it has become the function of the judge to construct an equation between the value of a human life, or a rape, for example, and a period of months or years in custody. Because of the wide disparity in opinions, prejudices and personal feeling of people, it is only natural to see inconsistencies between different courts. BARGAINING THE SENTENCE In a perverse system of bartering for justice the western judicial system has incorporated the notion of plea bargaining, which allows a criminal to have his sentence reduced in exchange for admitting his guilt. In fact, a criminal could even haggle down his sentence in exchange for information about other offenders. For example, a criminal could expect lighter sentencing for informing on others, or even for pronouncing a guilty plea from the outset. However, it is clear that this could create a tendency to pervert the course of justice; a criminal may falsely testify against others to save himself, or an innocent person may confess to a crime they did not commit for fear of harsher consequences. December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
An infamous example of this was seen in 2001 when the hunt for America's most prolific serial killer came to an end. Gary Ridgeway, otherwise known as the 'Green River Killer', murdered dozens of women between 1982 and 1988. After killing the women he dumped their mutilated bodies in the Green River or remote areas used as illegal rubbish tips. He agreed to a plea bargain that meant he would escape the death penalty in exchange for pleading guilty to murdering forty-eight women. THE ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS OF SENTENCING The economic environment and the need to reduce costs is an overriding factor in sentencing policies within the West. To combat the overcrowding in prisons, electronic tagging was introduced to create more space and reduce the prison population. Sending someone to prison for a year costs a minimum of £24,000 whilst tagging an offender costs £2,000. The implication of sentencing based on reducing costs rather than an appropriate punishment to fit the crime is that thousands of criminals are prematurely released from jail to serve the remainder of their sentence within society. Of course, many within the criminal fraternity see this as a 'soft option', and inevitably return to a life of crime. Therefore, sentencing based on factors other than a sense of justice only exacerbates the problem of crime and makes the judiciary appear a laughing stock. The result of lenient, contradictory sentencing based on economic considerations has greatly reduced the gravity of crime in the minds of the general public. With increasing levels of crime and ever more bizarre methods of sentencing, a sense of apathy has descended upon the populace. Murder, rape and robbery are now so commonplace that people barely register an interest when these crimes are committed. GUARDIANS OF JUSTICE? The effect of ridiculous and disparate sentencing is far more than just making the judicial process appear farcical. The public perception of judges as old men detached from society is widespread. Upon scrutiny it can be revealed that the individuals who preside over sentencing are invariably from one sector of society. Judges are white, middle-class men from privileged backgrounds who attended private school and Oxbridge. It would be impossible for them to relate to the myriad of circumstances and realities brought before them in court and they would not be able to identify with the people or the issues they are pronouncing judgement on. 18
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This was best illustrated when a judge once asked 'Who is Gazza?' highlighting his detachment from the personalities that millions of people follow and adore. Even these so called 'guardians of justice' are not exempt from the criminality that pervades western society - in August 2003, the BBC reported that the incoming Director of Public Prosecutions had a conviction for possession of cannabis and a predecessor in the post was arrested when found 'kerb-crawling' for prostitutes in the red-light district of London. MAN AS THE LEGISLATOR The failure of the western judicial system is clearly apparent from the wealth of disparity and contradictions that exist from case to case. Its ineffectiveness is also clear from the constantly increasing crime levels seen in almost all parts of the country. The current crisis in western judiciary is inevitable due to placing human beings at the centre of lawmaking and sentencing. By their very nature, humans are weak and limited beings that lack a comprehensive knowledge of things, are subject to the influence of their environment, emotions and prejudices and who are prone to disagreement and error. It is unrealistic to expect a mother to sentence objectively in the case of a murdered child or a racist judge to arbitrate fairly upon someone of a different race. Equally, it is to be expected that the current political climate will impinge upon sentencing e.g. the severity of sentencing inflicted upon asylum seekers due to the perception of them being scroungers and parasites or the harshness meted out to Muslims in light of the West's 'war on terror'. When man pronounces judgement, all his influences, experiences and prejudices will be reflected in the final verdict. ISLAMIC JUDICIARY The only sound system to follow in law making and sentencing is the law of Allah . He is the one who created humans beings and He is the one that defined the perfect system that coordinates the entire universe. The only way for stability and justice in the affairs of man is to implement His system on the earth, thereby freeing the sources of legislation from the whims, desires and inconsistencies of man. In the Islamic system of justice man is not the originator or maker of the laws. Rather, his function is to understand the laws given to him by Allah and then implement them. Furthermore, Islam gives comprehensive guidelines as to how the law should be implemented
and what should be the characteristics of the people who should be chosen to carry out this weighty task. By doing so, it minimises the possibilities of error and excess that are otherwise inevitable when man involves himself in any task. The judicial system in Islam provides both clarity and consistency and does not change with time or place. It emanates from none other than the Qur'an and Sunnah - a comprehensive guidance for all affairs of man. It is not the right of human beings to change the legislation or the punishments if they were deemed impractical or distasteful to the people. As the source of law is divine, justice is absolute and free from the whims and fancies of the political rulers, the judges or of anybody. Allah says,
"So judge between them by whatever Allah has revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which has come to you" [TMQ AlMa'idah: 51].
Mu'adh ibn Jabal (ra), a judge designate of Yemen paid a visit to the Messenger before departing to take up his office. The following conversation took place between them. The Messenger asked him "On what basis shall you judge?" Mu'adh said, "According to the provisions in the book of Allah (the Qur'an)!" The Messenger said, "And if you do not find the provisions there?" Mu'adh replied, "Then according to the conduct of the Messenger of God!" The Messenger said "And if you do not find a provision even there?" Mu'adh said, "Well, then, I shall make an effort with my own opinion!" [i.e. ijtihad] The Messenger was so delighted with Mu'adh ibn Jabal's reply that he exclaimed, "Praise be to God Who has guided the envoy of His envoy to what pleases the envoy of God!" ISLAM PROVIDES A COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM OF JUDICIARY The judicial system in Islam is highly developed. Clear guidance is laid out in Qur'an and Sunnah for the types of judges, their roles
and remit. The libraries of Baghdad and Kufah contained collections of tens of thousands of books and articles covering all aspects of legislation and judiciary. There are three types of judge in Islam. Firstly, the department of the qadi aam deals with general disputes between the people. Secondly, the department of the qadi hisba deals with violations of the public right. Thirdly, the department of the qadi madhalim deals with disputes between the people and the ruling authority. In all cases, legislation and punishment is guided by the Islamic Shari'ah. Numerous Islamic evidences indicate that the judge has to be well educated and informed about the Shari'ah rulings and principles of lawful and unlawful in Islam. He should also have the ability to differentiate between the lawful and unlawful matters and should have the ability to deduce, access and offer verdicts in both worldly and religious spheres. He must possess a high moral character and display upright conduct so that his judgements are well accepted. His sense and burden of accountability before his Creator Allah will push him to remove the influences of his own whims and desires when assessing cases and passing judgement through ijtihad.
The Prophet said “Do not judge between two when you are angry” Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, an-Nisai and ibn Majah
reported that Buraida said, the Messenger of Allah said, "The judges are three, two of them will go to the Hellfire and one will go to the Paradise. One knows the truth and he judges with it - he is in the Paradise, one knows the truth and does not judge by it, he will go to the Hellfire, the other does not know the truth and judges between the people with ignorance, he will go to the Hellfire." Islam also has a clearly developed and comprehensive system of punishment. The aims of the punishment in Islam are threefold: to punish the guilty, be a means of retribution for the victim, and to act as a deterrent from crime for the whole society.
Punishments under the Islamic judicial system fall into four categories. Hudud [limits] cases relate to offences for which definite punishment is prescribed by the divine law such as theft, adultery, and drinking alcohol. The words 'hadd' and 'hudud', by the meaning of punishments of the sins, are not designated except upon the sins wherein there is the right of Allah . It is not designated for other than these. Pardoning the punishment is not allowed in them, neither from the ruler nor from the one aggressed against. This is because it is the right of Allah , so nobody is allowed to waive it by any means. Cases of jinayaat [crimes] involve crimes against the rights of an individual such as bodily harm or killing, where the victim or his relatives have the right to demand punishment or to forgive the perpetrator and demand blood money. Ta'zeer [discretionary] is the punishment for sins that do not have definite punishments prescribed by the divine law. In these cases the judge is left to sentence the accused as he deems fit under the circumstances of each case. However, unlike the judiciary in the West that sees the judges influenced by external factors the Shari'ah requires the judgment to be a conclusion arrived at solely through the process of ijtihad (i.e. comprehension of the divine texts). In this way, crimes and their sentences are intrinsically linked to the divine guidance and not left free for human beings to choose as they please. Mukhaalafaat [violations] are the punishments inflicted by the ruler upon the one who violated the commands of the ruler (sultan). The mukhaalafah was ordained as a punishment among the punishments commanded by the Legislator because violating the ruler's command is a sin since Allah has commanded obedience to those in authority (ulu al-amr) by the Qur'an explicitly. However the Khaleefah does not allow something Haram or forbid something Halal; so it is not allowed for him to oblige (make fard) the mandoub or mubah nor forbid (make Haram) the makruh. If he does that, his obedience is not obligatory nor is the violation of his commands a sin. In the punishment system, there is no leniency, plea bargaining, or consideration of remorse of the offender in the same way as is seen in the West. A murderer does not save his life by promising to 'grass up' his mates. A thief does not save himself by telling police where he has 'stashed the stolen goods'. If a criminal is found to be decisively guilty of theft, and fulfils the
conditions laid down in the hudood, he will have his hand cut off. If a man or woman are proven to have committed adultery, they will be stoned to death. If a criminal kills a child he will be executed unless the family of the victim decide to give him pardon. Such sentences in Islam are thus not up for bartering and haggling. Moreover, sentencing is not left to the whims or desires of a judge to lessen or increase a sentence as he sees fit. Rather, the judge is restricted to the guidance given by Allah at all times. Firm principles of sentencing as these act as a true deterrent. From the Islamic perspective, the imposition and execution of sentence is considered a kaffara for the crime; a means of forgiveness. In Islam, the punishment in this life alleviates the punishment of the Hereafter, which is far more severe. This is why during Islamic history there are many cases of people bringing themselves forward for punishment for crimes they committed. In this way, true remorse for a criminal means bearing the punishment and is not a way of reducing the sentence. CONCLUSION The western judicial system will continue in a state of flux and decline whilst it places the human mind as the basis of sentencing. Islam removes the responsibility of legislation from man. Humans are restricted to understanding and implementing the divine laws within a comprehensive system as revealed by Allah . Islam gives a comprehensive system of judiciary and punishment, solely based on the guidance of the Creator, which is free from the whims and contradictions of human beings. Only when this system is implemented, which is legitimately administered through a true Islamic Khilafah, can justice hope to prevail on this earth.
"It is no fitting for a believing man or believing women, when Allah and his Messenger have decided an affair (for them) that they should (after that ) claim any say in their affair. And who so disobeys Allah and his Messenger, he verily goes astray in error manifest" [TMQ AlAhzab: 36]
December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
West London email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DON'T JUST STOP BUSH - STOP COLONIAL POLITICS "Our mission in Iraq is noble and it is necessary. No act of thugs or killers will change our resolve or alter their fate. A free Iraq will be free for them. We will finish the job we have begun." (President George Bush 20 November 2003) "Their case is that we are in Iraq to suppress Muslims, steal their oil, to spoil their country. Now we know you know that all those things are lies." (Prime Minister Tony Blair 20 November 2003) The US President's visit to Britain attracted considerable attention, criticism and debate. The first state visit by a US President since Woodrow Wilson in 1918 attracted tens of thousands to the streets, significant column inches in newspapers and passionate views on both sides. The supporters of the US President believe he is a great leader, someone who has shown leadership and resolve in fighting the controversial battles. The critics believe he is a warmonger, an inarticulate wild west cowboy and someone who shoots first and thinks later. According to opinion polls both in the Muslim world and even in Europe, most believe Bush falls in the second category, even to the extent that most consider him to be the most dangerous man on the planet including the current Mayor of London. However in the whole hullabaloo surrounding
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the visit and the accompanying circus, a number of important points have been missed. BUSH IS A PRODUCT OF WHAT THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM DEMANDS Firstly, love him or loathe him, President Bush despite the election rigging in Florida and the judicial rigging in the US Supreme Court (instances which led even President Mugabe to blush and make an offer to send election observers), is considered legally and constitutionally the legitimate political leader of the United States of America. Consequently if people have legitimate criticisms about Bush (and they should have many), they should question the fundamental political system they support which produced President Bush in the first place. Western political systems have often produced fanatical leaders like Bush, who have executed foreign policies which have led to the murders of tens and even hundreds of thousands of people. President Truman dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945 when it was on the verge of surrender. Presidents Johnson and Nixon used chemical weapons (agent orange) on innocent people living in villages in Vietnam, Winston Churchill (the 'greatest Briton' of the twentieth century and George Bush's hero) proposed the use of mustard gas to 'create a lively terror' on the Kurds of Iraq in the 1920s and British Prime Minister Anthony Eden sought to invade
Egypt in 1956 with the French for Suez Canal revenues. Even Bush's predecessor, considered by many as an acceptable liberal internationalist, dropped more bombs in Iraq in 1998 than had been dropped in the 1991 war. The problem is therefore not with western leaders per se, but with the political system controlled by multinational corporations which produces leaders such as Bush in the first place. And yet the biggest critics of President Bush are the biggest supporters of the current political system that bring leaders like Bush and Blair in the first place. As Winston Churchill once said hinting at the real power within the western political system, "The main argument against democracy is to spend five minutes with the average voter". Some may argue that the main argument against democracy today, would be for President Bush to spend five minutes with an average voter (if his thousands of security men allow him that luxury), but this misses the point. It is the condescending attitude by the elites and the politicians that serve them towards ordinary people that really sums up the western political psyche and colours its militant foreign policy. BUSH AND THE NEO-CONSERVATIVES HAVE WIDER MORE SINISTER OBJECTIVES Bush and his neo-conservative cabal are not in the President's words simply interested in
"promoting peace and freedom". The new US neo-conservative doctrine is to impose western values throughout the world, especially in the Middle East and the Islamic world, by might if necessary. This is because they believe it is not just a 'regime change' that is required in the Muslim world but a comprehensive 'ideological change', which will imitate benign states like Turkey which adopt western values and pro-western policies. Having lost the intellectual battle of ideas and having destroyed hearts and minds through their support of the corrupt dictators in the Muslim world, Bush and his advisers believe that only a long military occupation and an ideological struggle can prevent the resurgence of political Islam in the region. The ideological change they want is to reform Islam itself and advocate states like Turkey as role models. Here they argue like Jack Straw did on the Today programme on 21 November 2003 that the current government in Turkey which had emerged recently was Islamic but modern, it was a Muslim party but it supported western values of tolerance and secularism. However anyone who has studied the Turkish system and its history or the fact that Islam cannot be separated from politics (i.e. the complete antithesis to a secular system) will realise that this is no role model for the Muslim world. The founder of the current 'modern' Turkish republic was Mustafa Kamal, a person who helped destroy the Islamic Khilafah (with the assistance of his British friends) and who hated every aspect of Islam even to the extent of banning the reciting of the call to prayer in Arabic, preferring it to be recited in Turkish instead. AMERICA CARES NOTHING FOR THE WELFARE OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE It is a complete and utter myth that America has spent over $150 billion to date and another $4 billion a month for the sake of altruism or empathy for the long suffering Iraqi people. Both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair both argue now that the Iraqi people are better off than under Saddam's brutal regime. The numbers of people in mass graves being found by coalition troops seems to be in stark contrast to the chronic failure to find WMDs, the so called pretext and 'legal' justification for the war. Some who support the war argue that the motives have become irrelevant as the end result is a 'better' life for the people of Iraq. But motives are important, as it helps us to judge the nature and objectives surrounding the occupation and the occupiers. Bush and Blair would have us believe that their motives were
noble and benign and that they have no strategic or economic interests other than to create a strong Iraq - is this really believable? If the US and the UK don't do mass graves and torture chambers now (despite the tacit approval of Saddam Hussein's brutality in the 1980s), why does the US and President Bush give the leader of Uzbekistan $500m to boil his political opponents alive, or as the State Department did, support hereditary rule through rigged elections in Azerbaijan. Yet both Bush and Blair still manage to keep a straight face when they say they are committed to ending tyranny all across the world. Bush in his speech on the 6 November on democracy in the Arab world, claimed that he would no longer put stability over democracy. The use of the mass graves argument by western politicians would also carry more credibility if they hadn't through the use of UN approved sanctions in the 1990s killed over 500,000 Iraqis or if the previous US Secretary of State had not said publicly that the sanctions related deaths were 'a price worth paying'. Though Saddam killed plenty, many of the people in the mass graves will inevitably have been caused by the savage sanctions regime of the 1990s. Some on the left argue that the West therefore has double standards, however the
stronger point to make is that it is a single but pernicious standard of achieving one's interests at the expense of everything else. So the war on Iraq was not to rescue the Iraqi people from despotism, but was about achieving US strategic interests (draining the swamp of radicalism, preventing an Islamic Khilafah, energy security, reconstruction/military contracts for their corporate donors etc) in the region. The support of dictators in Central Asia should also therefore be seen in the prism of strategic interests (war in Afghanistan, military bases, energy security, preventing Islamic resurgence, US/Russian rivalry etc). Therefore the fact that the Uzbekistan leader has tens of thousands of political prisoners, torturing them regularly and boiling them is neither here nor there. Democracy and Freedom offer no Future for Iraq It is also wrong of the left to suggest that the solution to Iraq is one of liberal values and democracy. Political systems in the West have been increasingly exposed as deeply flawed, controlled by large corporations and largely indifferent to the needs of ordinary western citizens. It is no wonder that voter turnouts in the West are at an all time low and people are obliged to go out to the streets in their
December 2003 Khilafah Magazine 21
checkpoints, the Russian President carries on his unprecedented butchery in Chechnya. The French who opposed the war, not only oppress Muslim women for wearing the headscarf, but their colonialism and the use of repression in North Africa still lives fresh in recent memory. All the permanent members of the Security Council share the same philosophy to foreign policy that the US and the UK have - the achievement of their national interests and those of their respective corporations. The UN is no honest broker; its credibility is in tatters following the Iraq war, and its sanctions in the 1990s killed more than half a million Iraqis, most of them young children. There are certainly no white knights on the UN Security Council! THE ARGUMENT THAT US & UK MUST REMAIN IN IRAQ TO ACHIEVE STABILITY IS FALSE
hundreds of thousands to express their frustrations. Western societies are increasingly shaped by materialism, greed, social breakdown and chronic individualism. Though individuals currently have some 'freedom' to criticise and change their politicians in the West, the reality is that whatever politicians come in (a pre-selected menu), they are of the economic elite and they rule on behalf of the economic elite - an incestuous system indeed. This system is hardly a role model for Iraq where if the formula in the West is followed, we will have a new economic elite created (Chalabi et al) who will run the country in their interests, in the interests of western multinationals and in the interests of the colonialist western states. And of course, Algeria teaches us those elections in 'democracies' are annulled, by the western governments and their agents, when the results indicate that political Islam wins the votes of the electorate. THE UN IS JUST AS OPPRESSIVE TO MUSLIMS AS THE US AND UK It is also flawed, as some of the left have argued, that we need a greater role for the UN in Iraq. In addition to the US and the UK, the other veto carrying members of the Security Council all have chequered histories when it comes to dealing with the Islamic world. At the same time that the US and the UK lose hearts, minds and other body parts through the use of F16s, laser guided missiles and oppressive 22
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Both left and right also maintain that irregardless of their attitudes to the war, that the continued presence of US and British troops is essential in maintaining stability with respect to law and order. This crazy logic smacks of the US doctrine in Vietnam which claimed you had to "destroy a village to save it" or the US/UK viewpoint that Saddam acquired weapons of mass destruction to protect his rule but somehow lost the will to use them at the most critical point of his survival. These arguments invert rationality and promote the cultural imperialism that the West always knows best. The only reason there is a resistance as is the case in Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya is because there is an illegal and oppressive occupation - remove the occupation and you remove the cause for the resistance. Maybe the same argument should have applied to George Washington et al who should have stopped their struggle against British occupation on the basis that they were creating a breach of the peace. THE ISLAMIC ANSWER - THE ONLY ANSWER It is clear that the people of Iraq like the people throughout the Islamic world demand the restoration of the Islamic Khilafah. It is only the Khilafah that can restore security and economic prosperity for the people of Iraq. As we can see from history, it was only the Khilafah that unified the Kurds, the Shia and the Sunni and melted them into one state. It was the Khilafah that maintained security and honour for non-Muslims such as Christians
and Jews who were then equal citizens of the Khilafah state, and who still form large minorities in the Islamic world. Contrary to popular myth, the Khilafah state is not a throwback to a seventh century theocracy and nor is it technologically backward. The Khilafah state is not theocratic, nor a dictatorship, nor democratic, but it does advocate people choosing their rulers through real elections (not the corporate dominated shams we see in the West) and it does believe in proper accountability of the ruler, an independent judiciary and a strong economy based on a proper industrial base and self-sufficiency. The Islamic Khilafah would use the significant oil reserves to better the lives of its citizens, not the balance sheets of western multinationals like Halliburton. The Khilafah is not a backward state - it historically excelled in technology and formulated many of the current scientific concepts in algebra, trigonometry and medicine as was recognised by the Chief Executive of Hewlett Packard in a recent speech in Detroit. The Khilafah therefore is a practical alternative to the continued US and UK occupation of Iraq, who like their colonial ancestors before them (the crusaders, the British Empire) claim that they are merely benign liberators. It is clear that there must be an alternative to western foreign policy, Capitalism and liberal values. They simply cannot be reformed, cannot be sanitised and cannot be altered through changing the face of a particular leader from time to time. Mankind must search for a distinct and new powerful alternative to address the phenomenal challenges she faces today whether they relate to poverty, hunger, crime, third world debt or state terrorism. Being tough on Bush is not enough; we have to be tough on the system, values and philosophy which produce leaders of the nature of George Bush. Allah ď ‰ says,
"And let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety and fear Allah, for Allah is acquainted with all you do" [TMQ AlMa'idah: 8]
GLOBALISATION Bradford email: email@example.com
he word globalisation has become a buzzword since its inception at the beginning of the 1990s. A cottage industry on globalisation has emerged from which academics and intellectuals make a living by writing articles and travelling the world debating with others. The financial and business sections of broadsheet newspapers are continuously littered with issues concerning globalisation and meetings are frequently held by the superpowers to discuss the state of the global economy, such as the meetings in Doha in Qatar, Cancun in Mexico and the IMF summit in Dubai. As a result of globalisation being a mainstay in the political realm and rhetoric, it is imperative that an understanding of globalisation is made in order to grasp the reality and acknowledge how the Khilafah state would survive in these new economic conditions that beset us in the twenty first century. Before proceeding, it is important to mention that there are Muslims within the Ummah who do not doubt the fact that the Khilafah is the only destiny for the Muslims but at the same time find it difficult to envisage how the Khilafah can fit into the contemporary
world which boosts a complex global economy. On the surface this is a sincere concern on behalf of sincere Muslims who see Islam as the solution but are apprehensive of the Khilafah's ability to survive in an era of globalisation. It is therefore important to gain an understanding of globalisation so we as Muslims realise that not only is the Khilafah the solution for the Ummah today but in fact will be able to survive and withstand the new economic environment she will stand in. WHAT IS GLOBALISATION? Globalisation, as mentioned, has taken off over the last decade and is widely used and flaunted by academics and politicians. Despite this constant usage of the word, very little has emerged in relation to developing a homogenous intellectual framework under which one could place globalisation. For example, in the year 2002, an estimated 1000 journals, articles and books were published discussing globalisation and its various impacts but there was no consensus among any of the pieces of work as to what globalisation actually is. This in fact
indicates the diffused and flexible nature of globalisation, meaning that it can be defined to suit anyone's agenda and interests. We see liberal economists, socialists and even environmentalists all defining globalisation to suit their own political and academic agendas and criteria. We could quite easily fill these pages with various definitions of globalisation by individuals such as Joseph Stiglitz, Anthony Giddens, Paul Krugman and Gordon Brown but this would defeat the objective of this article as it would make the article another piece of academic regurgitation rather than dealing with the reality that faces the world today in an era of vulgar capital and finance moving around the world at the press of a button in New York or London. Rather, we will try to define it so that everyone is able to grasp it and understand it based on the reality that encompasses us today. Fundamentally, globalisation is about what is happening to the world today in the economic, political and cultural spheres. It is beyond the scope of this article to delve into all the spheres encompassing globalisation, therefore the focus will be on the economic aspect of globalisation often referred to as 'economic globalisation'. This is associated with the flow of goods, commodities, finance and capital from one corner of the world to another. Basically, this means that national economies have developed economic relations that have transcended the nation state and occur at a supranational level, giving rise to the world economy. As a result of economic globalisation, advocates propose that it no longer suffices to refer to goods as being American, December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
British or Chinese and no longer appropriate to refer to economies as being German or Canadian but more appropriate to refer to a global economy, in which interdependent and interrelated economic relationships have developed, spearheaded by improvements in transport and telecommunications. It is this very understanding of globalisation that we read about and hear about. This understanding of globalisation fits into the set of literature referred to as the 'first wave' and is associated with US truimphalists and business schools theorists. More importantly, it reciprocates the understanding of globalisation by the international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB), which are seen as the agents of globalisation and have exported globalisation to all regions of the world through economic reform programs, known as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP). From the above not only an understanding of globalisation should have materialised but also the forces that underpin, shape and direct globalisation should have become apparent. Globalisation will continue to be prevalent, making it imperative that the true nature of this phenomenon is understood.
THE REALITY AND THE TRUE FACE OF GLOBALISATION Globalisation has spread like wild fire around the world since the 1990s and despite the so called benefits of globalisation that are mentioned by the advocates and promoters of globalisation, it is quite apparent that in reality globalisation is not working for everyone. Rather than being a saviour it has like a fire caused devastation to whatever far off region it has reached or touched. Globalisation has come to be associated with the 'Washington Consensus' which in turn is comprised of a series of economic policies that a nation has to adopt if it is going to successfully fit into the new world paradigm. Policies include the removal of subsidies, increased levels of taxation, reduction in public expenditure, deregulation/liberalisation of economies, privatisation of the public sector and devaluation of 24
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currency. These policies were promoted as seeds of globalisation leading ultimately to development and economic growth, however over twenty years of experience have indicated otherwise. Globalisation has not led to economic prosperity for a vast proportion of the world population but instead backwardness and decline has occurred. It is hardly surprising that vast proportions of the world are engulfed in economic degeneration considering the implications and the nature of the above policies mentioned. The flaws in the policies can be seen from the discussion below. OPPRESSIVE BARRIERS
Developing countries have been told to remove barriers to trade so that they can benefit from Ricardo's law of comparative advantage. According to this theory it makes sense for a country to specialise in the production of those goods and services that they can produce most efficiently, while importing goods that they cannot produce as efficiently, even if this means buying goods from other countries that it could produce more efficiently itself. According to this view, it makes little sense for America to produce textiles at home when they can be produced at a lower cost in Honduras or China (which unlike Honduras is a major source of American textile imports). Importing textile would benefit America as well as China. Firstly, it would lead to lower prices for clothes in America, which would enable consumers to spend more of their money on other items. Secondly, the increased income generated in China from textile exports would increase income levels in that country, helping the Chinese to purchase more products produced in the American market (i.e. Cellular phones, Microsoft software etc). Therefore, according to the law of comparative advantage free trade benefits all countries that adhere to this regime. This proposition sounds good in theory but in reality what we see is hypocrisy from the western nations. Free trade only works in a world of perfect conditions, meaning that all countries follow suit and remove barriers to trade but in fact western nations have gradually increased their barriers preventing the access of goods into their markets. This provides protection to domestic producers from cheap imports and acts as an impediment to development in the developing world as exporters from the developing world have to pay more to get into western markets. Multiple barriers in the world
trading system have dragged down export growth of developing nations. Industrial countries charge on average 1 per cent on their sales to other industrial countries while exporters from South Asia pay 8 per cent. Moreover, rich countries spend hundreds of billions a year subsidising their farmers, making it almost impossible for poor nations to compete. For example, Japan gives rice farmers seven times what it costs them to produce rice, which allows the farmers to sell the rice for very little, shutting out cheap rice produced in Thailand and other developing countries. By blocking access to the market, rich nations end up depriving poor nations of an opportunity to improve their living standards. One of the biggest culprits is the US. Last year the Bush administration announced it would give American farmers an extra $175 billion during the next decades. The yearly subsidy the US gives just to American cotton farmers is three times its total aid to Africa. From 2001 to 2002, the US granted its cotton farmers $3 billion in subsidies, more than the entire economic output of Burkina Faso, just one poor African nation. From the above, the distorted nature of the trading system is clearly apparent - it is a system that favours the rich and not the poor, impeding growth and development in the developing world. FORCING STATES TO REDUCE INVESTMENT IN BASIC PROVISION Non-western states have been told to reduce intervention in their economy, as this would allow the emergence of a free market economy and in addition release funds that would allow the servicing of debt. In response to this 'withdrawal of the state' there have been dramatic cutbacks in state expenditure. Vital expenditure on essentials such as education, health and sanitation has been reduced drastically in many countries around the world. A massive proportion of annual budgets are spent on debt reservicing leaving hardly anything for social expenditure. Subsidies on basic commodities such as bread and water have been removed, resulting in price increases, depriving access and causing poverty. A consequence has been civil unrest in countries such as Mexico, Jordan, Venezuela, Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria. For example, Jordan was hit by bread riots in 1996. People demonstrated on the streets to denounce an increase in the price of bread, which rose from around twelve cents to
twenty-three cents. The increase in price of the staple food of Jordan's 4.2 million people followed government reductions to wheat subsidies which were part of a forced agreement with the IMF. The response from the Jordanian regime was to hit with an iron fist any person who challenged the state. Army units were sent to the worst hit areas. Over three hundred residents were arrested, a curfew was installed and huge areas were sealed off. PRIVATISATION A key aspect of globalisation has been the transfer of public sector companies in to private hands, known as privatisation. In many of the world's poorest countries, privatisation of essential public services has already taken place as a result of SAPs imposed by the IMF and WB. The effects of such privatisation programmes have been disastrous. The introduction of school fees where there was previously free education has driven many poor families to withdraw their children from school, while hospital fees have put basic health care beyond the reach of millions. Despite the acknowledgment of the harm which privatisation has brought to the poor countries, the IMF and WB continue to prescribe it as an economic model. Water privatisation is just one example. The WB notes that the water in Haiti's capital costs up to ten times as much from the private sector as it does from the public sector and families in Mauritania have to spend a fifth of their income on water. Yet the IMF and WB continue to force water privatisation and during 2000 alone, the IMF made water privatisation a condition of loan agreements to twelve African countries. In addition to the above harms of privatisation, it has also increased the economic strength of multinational corporations (MNCs) in the developing world. In countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Zambia where everything was privatised, free competition has been blocked. MNCs have grown in power and more often than not are larger than the host
country in which they invest. Of the largest 100 largest economies in the world, fifty-one are corporations and only forty-nine are countries. Sales and net profit figures for some multinationals are higher than GNPs of developing countries - for example the annual sales of Shell are roughly ÂŁ68 billion, which is two and half times the income of Nigeria's 110 million people. In 1989, more than eighteen per cent of all share trading was in the shares of the major multinationals. In 1993 the combined assets of the top 300 MNCs would make up roughly a quarter of the worlds $20 trillion productive assets and there was an accusation by Jack Behrman that several American companies could "buy out" some European countries. Therefore not only has privatisation brought severe social impacts but simultaneously has increased corporate power. TRUE FACE OF GLOBALISATION The above is the true face of globalisation and one only need to go to Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia or Latin America to witness the disaster of globalisation. A few months back a programme was televised in which a westerner toured Latin America to see the impacts of globalisation and he spoke with ordinary people who were sick of the process of globalisation as it led to misery and suffering in direct contrast to what had been told to them by politicians or the investors who overtook public companies. This is the real side of globalisation that is dismissed by policy makers in Washington who make policies across the Atlantic behind closed doors without any understanding of what happens at the local level. There is no doubt that the adverse impacts of their economic policies are relayed back to them but they continue with their 'one size fits all approach'. This persistence on behalf of policy makers is indicative of a desire to juxtapose an economic model upon the rest of the world that fits into the capitalist paradigm that has taken off since the collapse of communism. Therefore it is indicative that policy makers in the US often referred to as the 'Washington-Wall Street complex' due to their close association with the capitalists on Wall Street are applying economic reform as a mechanism to promote their capitalist ideology to the rest of the world CAN A NATION SURVIVE WITHOUT GLOBALISATION? The question posed as outlined in the introduction is how can the Khilafah compete in this
new context of globalisation? This question is posed by those who believe that the Khilafah will return but cannot quite appreciate how it can function in the modern world when it is based on Islamic texts revealed 1400 years ago. This question can be answered by giving an example that will seriously dent the claims that a nation cannot survive without globalisation The Asian continent in 1997, witnessed the financial crisis that had repercussions around the world, known as the 'Asian flu'. We saw economic and financial meltdown across the globe. As a result of the globalisation ethos of extensive liberalisation of the financial sector, foreign capital poured into the region during the 1990s, peaking at a net inflow of $93 billion in 1996. As turmoil hit the markets, foreign capital departed as quickly as it had come leaving disaster in its wake. The crisis hit Indonesia the hardest, which saw $40 billion of foreign capital sucked out of its economy in the six months between November 1997 and April 1998 alone. An estimated forty million people - a fifth of the entire population fell into poverty and the economy shrank by thirteen per cent. Many theories have been put forward to explain the crisis but many in the Asian continent believed and continue to believe that the Asian crisis was in fact deliberately initiated by the western nations in order to punish the East Asian states for not adhering to the western free market capitalist system and that the IMF was more concerned with bailing out speculators and investors than saving nations from economic ruin. From the discussion above, it is clearly evident that globalisation has in fact bought economic ruin and devastation. A response that can be posed to those who argue that one cannot survive without globalisation is that the evidence so far points to the fact that globalisation rather than bringing survival has in fact bought illness and death to many nations. The Mexico peso crisis (1995), the Rouble crisis (1998), the Asian crises (1997) and Argentinean crisis (2001/2002) are just a few of the products of globalisation. Globalisation has put entire nations at the whims of speculators such as George Soros who make mega dollars by speculating upon changing values of stocks, bonds and currency. By moving into local currency and moving out into foreign currency speculators can cause massive devaluations of national currency, such as the Thai Bhat which dropped in value by 25 per cent on 7 July 1997. Therefore, the question that begs December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
and investment, with many important trade routes resulting in traders from all around the globe passing through the Khilafah. The Uthmani Khilafah favoured international trade and the Muslims allowed European traders access to its ports, as long as custom duties were paid. Substantial economic activity was witnessed under the Khilafah as the Khilafah was at the crossroads to Africa, Asia and Europe. Places such as Indonesia and Central Asia were opened up to Islam as a result of Da'wah given by traders whilst on journeys and whilst engaged in trade. Therefore the Khilafah was never isolated but was central to economic developments as traders had to come to the Khilafah and the Khilafah was able to protect the resources and wealth of the Ummah in contrast to today where the wealth of the Ummah is stolen from below her feet.
asking is, do we, as Muslims, want to be part of this process of globalisation? Do we want to be like Ethiopia, Congo, Chile, Brazil etc? Do we want to be subservient to globalisation? Well, the reality is that today we are like the other countries mentioned and are subservient to globalisation as a direct result of engaging in neo-liberal policies associated with globalisation. Therefore not being part of globalisation is in fact a blessing rather than a loss as the policies driving and motoring globalisation have clearly been shaped to benefit a certain sector of society (i.e. capitalists) and not the ordinary man or woman. Globalisation essentially refers to trade and investment between states and economic activity of this type is in fact welcomed by states but what people have a problem with is the sinister nature of globalisation and the neo-liberal direction of this process as is apparent today. Rejecting globalisation does not mean an aversion to trade and investment but a rejection of economic policies that have caused devastation and misery. THE KHILAFAH AND GLOBALISATION The Khilafah existed for 1400 years and during this longevity it was dominant politically, economically and militarily. Even during the end of the Uthmani Khilafah, people still enjoyed economic prosperity in direct contrast to what the Muslims face today. For this period of time, the Khilafah was at the centre of trade 26
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Through the implementation of Islamic economics, the Khilafah will protect the Ummah from the disasters of globalisation. The Khilafah will protect the Ummah from free trade policies that have resulted in economies in the world being flooded with cheap goods. The Khilafah would organise all aspects of trade between nations and directly monitor it. She would have control centres at the frontiers so that all trade can be controlled. Under the Khilafah, international trade is assessed on the basis of the citizenship of the trader and not the origin of the goods. Merchants from countries in a state of war with the state are prevented from trading in the state, unless given a special permission for the merchant or the goods. Merchants from countries that have treaties with the state are treated according to the terms of the treaty. Merchants who are subjects of the state are prevented from exporting strategic and needed materials. As a result the Khilafah will protect the economy from western dumping practices apparent today and trade only with those nations that benefit the state. Therefore, she would maintain independence from the global trading system but at the same time will not remain isolated. The Khilafah will prevent the privatisation of the Ummah's resources as we see today in the Muslim world but in fact will look after such resources and pour the wealth back into looking after the affairs of the Ummah. The Khilafah will put an end to the manipulation of her currency by a reversion back to gold and silver as a result creating stability internally in contrast to the ever-changing value of currency today. The Khilafah will provide health and
educational services in contrast to the 'minimal state' promoted under globalisation. The Khilafah will remove patents - an obvious obstacle to invention and innovation. As a result, the Khilafah will be strong as from reality the Ummah has the resources, wealth, capability and correct thoughts to become dominant on the international stage. For example, Pakistan today is in an economic crisis internally but this is strange given that she has vast minerals, oil resources, human capital and important seaports. We see Egypt dependent upon food imports from abroad, which is strange considering Egypt has some of the most fertile land in the world. We see Muslim investors pouring funds out of the Ummah as a result of insecurity and lack of investment opportunities that in fact have been taken up by MNCs. Africa is blessed with a multitude of resources but today can hardly muster a few dollars to feed the starving millions it inhabits. Globalisation has led to economic ruin for the Ummah, as the rulers today in the Muslim world have stood by and allowed institutions like the IMF and WB implement corrupt economic policies under the name of globalisation. In order to reverse this trend what is required is a sincere leader who will utilise the resources of the Ummah for the Muslims. With the return of the Khilafah we will see the likes of America and Britain that have acted as parasites sucking the wealth from the Ummah under the name of globalisation dealt with as the access to their life line will be blocked which will bring economic meltdown to the West. It is only because of globalisation that we see the West economically dominant as it depends on others to keep it alive and well, in contrast to the Khilafah which will not need to depend or be dependent but will be independent and be able to expose globalisation's true face. CONCLUSION The Ummah has the ability to survive without globalisation as it has bought misery upon misery to the Ummah. The resources in the Ummah are crying to be utilised for the sake of the Muslims but we continue to see them being plundered for the benefit of the IMF, WB and capitalist elite. The Khilafah will be able to reassert the Ummah back to its mantle as the best of mankind and lead the world away from the shackles of globalisation. The Khilafah will direct economic activity, as it is she who possesses all the riches and will not be isolated but will look to expand and to propagate Islam to the rest of mankind.
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WHAT WILL COME OF THE CRISIS IN SAUDI ARABIA?
n 8 Saturday November the normally quiet and inert streets of Saudi Arabia were rocked by a powerful car bomb. Detonated inside a residential compound, seventeen people were killed and over 120 injured. It represents the second serious bomb inside the kingdom this year. In May 2003, a residential compound housing mainly western expatriates, the Al-Hamra complex, was the scene of a similar attack. Condemnation of the latest attack was swift with King Fahd vowing to strike any dissenters with an 'iron fist.' In a statement he said that the kingdom would, "strike with an iron fist whoever tries to violate the security of the country or its stability and the safety of its citizens and residents." Within hours of the bombing US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, had arrived in Saudi to offer his support. He went on to suggest that the bombs were in fact aimed at removing the Saudi regime from power, saying "It's quite clear to me that al-Qaeda wants to take down the royal family and the Government of Saudi Arabia." World leaders joined Armitage in expressing their support for the Saudi authori-
ties with Jack Straw, Vladimir Putin and Chirac all offering their condolences. Yet this is not the first time that the desert kingdom has experienced such attacks. In November 1995, a bomb exploded outside a building leased by the US army in Riyadh killing six people. Similarly, in June 1996 a bomb exploded at a US military complex near Dhahran killing nineteen and wounding over 300. Both events were only given superficial treatment by the western media and by the Saudi authorities at the time. With this being the case, the question should be asked what makes the recent spate of bombings more significant, and why has the Saudi regime responded now with such draconian measures? THE POLARISATION OF THE SAUDI MASSES The events of 11 September 2001 and the rise of the heroic Palestinian intifada have gone a long way towards polarising the opinion of the Saudi proletariat. Mai Yamani, director of
Saudi Arabia research at the Royal Institute of Strategic Affairs, said "At the moment, there is a lot of questioning [by Saudi youth] of their own identity, of their relation with their rulers…People feel emboldened that other young people are taking the lead on the Palestinian street." The problem is particularly acute amongst the Saudi youth. The last two to three decades have witnessed a massive shift in the demographic structure of Saudi society. Almost 75 per cent of the population is under the age of thirty, and with unemployment rates as high as 25 per cent many are sitting idle. As Israeli excesses continue unchecked and America continues to storm across the globe like a bull in a china shop many Saudis have begun to question the complicity of their rulers. Enraged at what they see as acquiescence before America's foreign policy many have grown restless. Yamani concluded her recent book 'Changed Identities: The Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia' saying, "This is the beginning of a very difficult, turbulent time in Saudi Arabia. The December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
gap between the ruled and the rulers has widened. And there is a lot of anxiety, agitation, among people, and even anger." The results are clear. The last few months have seen a series of unprecedented street protests across the country. In a move which would have been previously unthinkable, around 500 Saudis gathered in the heart of Riyadh to call for political reform. Since then, other cities like Jeddah and Dammam have also seen similar shows of discontent. The protests represent a clear sign of dissent in a country where no form of opposition to the Al-Saud's totalitarian rule is allowed. DRIFT AND CONFUSION However it's not just international events which have provoked this kind of hostility. The internal structure of the country has also caused many to be aggrieved. The kingdom seems to be in a state of perpetual drift and confusion. Economically the kingdom has lost much of her former strength. Twenty years ago the Saudi gross domestic product per capita equalled that of America, at almost ÂŁ20,000. That figure climbed to ÂŁ26,000 for the US in 2000, while for the Saudis it sunk to a pitiful ÂŁ5,000. The Saudi state is also becoming impotent regionally as commentators predict that Israel's GDP will overtake Saudi's next year.
and daughter of the late King Faisal) sent cheques for tens of thousands of dollars to the wife of a man named Usama Basnan. Newsweek then claims that he forwarded this money to two of the men alleged to have crashed a plane into the Pentagon. Although the denial by the royals has been vociferous there is some utility in the claim. A scrutiny of the reality clearly shows that Saudi deserves its title of being 'the most closed society in the world'. Within the kingdom no one - not even Saudi nationals - are permitted to travel between cities without prior permission from the police. The requirement to carry compulsory identity cards also makes free movements across the country extremely difficult. Yet the degree of sophistication required to carry out both of the bombings seen in Riyadh this year is high. In addition the Saudi authorities claim to have seized thousands of rocket propelled grenades along with a powerful cache of arms. This would suggest that a vast and complex terrorist infrastructure exists within the country, making it more than probable that there are collaborating elites involved. Without such collaboration the existence of such an infrastructure would be near impossible.
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THE AMERICAN VIEW TOWARDS SAUDI Americans began to question their alliance with the Saudis after 11 September like never before. A number of academics, thinkers and policy makers sought to distance the relationship between Saudi and themselves. The Republican senator Richard Shellby said "We have, at best, not a great relationship with the Saudis," he said. "It's transactional and we should keep that in mind." His colleague went further in alleging, "The Saudis have been engaged in a Faustian bargain with the radical Islamic fundamentalists for many, many years in order to stay on the throne." Joseph Lieberman was far blunter saying "I think it's time for the president to blow the whistle and remember what he said after 11 Septemberyou're either with us or you're with the terrorists." This essentially represents the view of the neoconservatives - that Saudi is an enemy of America. Although Bush has publicly distanced himself from such calls, it is clear that he quietly endorses this view. The influential conservative think tank, the Rand Consultancy, was specifically hired by Bush last year to investigate Saudi Arabia and the options available to the US. They branded Saudi Arabia 'the kernel of evil', adding that "Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader."
Politically there is a crisis brewing too. The succession from Fahd has always proved to be a highly divisive factor for the House of AlSaud. The 'Sudairi six' who are full brothers of Fahd are only half brothers of Abdullah and bitterly oppose his ascension to the throne. Despite this Abdullah has acted as de facto king since 1995 when Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke. Facing the prospect of an indignant and fratricidal power struggle, he has made an uneasy peace with the wider family. Yet the aging dynasty of Al-Saud remains stagnant politically. Hence whilst Abdullah promises one thing, Prince Sultan does another. The political and economic paralysis caused by Saudi's ineffective administration has further alienated the Saudi masses. Furthermore, evidence is now emerging which suggests that there is collaboration in Saudi between 'terrorists' and those in power. The Saudis are being implicated at the very highest levels. Republican officials have alleged that Princess al-Faisal (wife of Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan,
national climate has produced an atmosphere in which no government can remain ambivalent to extra parliamentary pressures. The Saudis are also keen to be seen as active participants in the 'war on terror' and are striving to pacify American public opinion, which turned sharply against them following 9/11.
The coming together of these factors has caused great alarm in Riyadh, making the recent spate of bombings far more significant than those in the mid 1990s. The current inter-
The reason why the US administration has not already severed links with Saudi is because this would not be conducive to her interests. Before making any decision in the region she must consider her strategic energy and security concerns. At present, Saudi represents a primary source of US oil reserves and she would struggle to meet her domestic energy demands without their compliance. As the Saudi regime becomes increasingly unstable America is becoming concerned that the present regime led by Abdullah may become hostile to her interests and cut off the supply of oil. In seeking to protect her interests and reduce the level of dependency on Saudi oil,
the Bush administration has pursued a number of different styles and means. These include: 1. 2. 3.
Building Iraq as a regional alterna tive to Saudi. Encouraging Russian oil production and supply. Pushing Saudi towards constitution change.
BUILDING IRAQ AS A REGIONAL ALTERNATIVE During the inter-war period the UN imposed a brutal sanctions campaign against the Iraqis. This prevented her from trading freely on international markets and denied the West access to her lucrative and plentiful reserves of oil. Based on current estimates, Iraq's oil reserves stand at about 115 billion barrels, equivalent to the total oil reserves of the US, Canada, Mexico, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China and the whole of Asia. Wishing to reduce her dependence on the Saudis, America could no longer sustain a policy whereby she denied herself access to Iraq's oil. Quite simply, her reserves were just too large to ignore. Hence this must be seen as one of the many objectives behind the recent military action in Iraq. The US seems to prefer Iraq as her central base to conduct military operations to safeguard her interests throughout the Middle East. Since the toppling of the Ba'ath regime in Iraq, America has reduced her presence in Saudi Arabia. The advantages of such a policy are many. Geographically Iraq is a far more strategic base than Saudi. Bordering six countries, she serves as a watchtower over the entire region allowing easy access to Syria and Iran amongst others. With a loyal regime about to assume control in Baghdad, America hopes that she will soon be producing around 2.5 million barrels of oil a day. This will go a long way towards reducing America's dependency on the kingdom and allowing them to take a harder line with the Al-Saud dynasty. It will also help America to reshape OPEC. These plans are not new. At least two neo-con think tanks closely affiliated to the current Bush administration - Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) - have called for such moves since the late 1990s. They urged Clinton to implement this strategy following the twin bombing of US embassies in east Africa and again after the bombing of the USS
Cole. On both occasions he refused. With Bush's ascension to the White House, 11 September provided the perfect pretext for carrying out these long stated plans. Without this it is unlikely that the present administration would have found a necessary prerequisite for attacking Iraq. Although the plans to exploit Iraqi oil reserves are not new, what 9/11 did was to shock America into rethinking the nature of her alliance with Saudi. It made her aware of just how unstable the kingdom may be getting and added a sense of urgency to her otherwise longstanding and long-term ambitions in the region. ENCOURAGING RUSSIA TO PRODUCE AND SUPPLY OIL The Middle East is particularly volatile and unstable making it extremely difficult for strategists to cast accurate long term plans for the region. When drawing up a new energy strategy the news source RIAN reported "President Bush said that America imported a lot of energy, but many of the exporting countries had no great love for the States." This has made Washington encourage Russia to explore her oil reserves too. By developing Russia the US can hope to guarantee a stable supply of oil, housed beyond the turbulent sphere of Middle Eastern politics. The fact that Russia is also not a member of OPEC makes her particularly attractive. Free to undercut the cartel, US policy makers hope that she will precipitate a price war and undermine the organisation as a whole. Russia is also able to boast the world's largest reserves of natural gas, 32 per cent of all known supplies. Over recent months high level meetings have taken place between Russian gas and oil exporters and the US. In September, the US energy secretary, Spencer Abraham, met with delegates from the Russian firm, Gazprom. The company's management team conducted meetings in Washington and Houston before Abraham commented saying "The US welcomes the possible appearance of Gazprom on the American natural gas market." In October, representatives of Exxon Mobil and Chevron Texaco met with Russia's biggest oil company, Yukos-Sibneft, to discuss a potential takeover. President Putin has confirmed to the Houston Chronicle that the talks were taking place and that he would be giving them his full blessing. Concluding their article, the Houston Chronicle, observes "This is a sign of the
growing ties between Russia and the United States as America strives to reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil after the 2001 terrorist attacks." This adds a very powerful dimension to the US strategy by allowing them to forge strong links outside the scope of the Middle East conundrum. It forms part of her multi-faceted approach towards safeguarding the integrity of her energy markets and forms a significant part of Washington's foreign policy objectives. Cordial relations have been strengthened between Moscow and Washington as a result of September 11. Putin was quick to offer his support for Bush's war on terror. Clearly, Russia has much to gain from such an alliance. She has been alarmed by the rise of political Islam in the Central Asian states along with the conflict in Chechnya. By joining Bush's crusade, Russia has gone a long way towards silencing the West's condemnation of her heavy handed tactics in dealing with the Chechens. Since joining the 'war on terror' the Russians have signed a number of commercial and trading treaties with America highlighting a new era in cooperation between these two former ideological foes. PUSH SAUDI TOWARDS CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE America is planning to reconstitute the Saudi regime into a republic. Bush outlined this strategy in a recent speech delivered at the National Endowment for Democracy. He said, "In many nations of the Middle East countries of great strategic importance democracy has not yet taken rootâ€ŚSixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe -- because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export. And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo. Therefore, the United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before." December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
nature of this relationship the Saudi elite views Britain as a respected but not crucial ally. Most notable is Abdullah's affection towards Britain. This makes Britain less willing to apply the kind of pressure on Riyadh as the Americans have done. Saudi authorities have repeatedly threatened the British that they will cancel contracts like the Al-Yamamah deal during diplomatic spats. Not wishing to compromise these deals the British have subsequently backed down. The nature of Britain's commercial engagement in Saudi should not be underestimated when 42 per cent of all her trade in the Gulf is with Saudi. David Lloyd, director of the Middle East Association, a trade body that represents British companies said "Trade with Saudi Arabia is very important. It is a huge market. There are enormous opportunities for British companies. They have a colossal birth rate, and there are problems with power, water and education that present challenges and a huge field on which British companies can play." The first stages of this strategy can be seen taking root in Saudi already. Since Colin Powell's visit in May the Saudi kingdom has announced a series of unprecedented political reforms. In early October Riyadh played host to the kingdom's first ever conference on human rights. The conference opened on the back of announcements that the country would hold its first ever elections. The elections will form fourteen new municipalities of which seven members will be elected and the other seven appointed. In a statement the government said that it wished to "widen the participation of citizens in running local affairs through electionsâ€Ś [This decision comes] to implement King Fahd's speech about widening popular participation and confirming the country's progress towards political and administrative reform." It is clear that the US will be looking to take the Saudi regime down a path of incremental and organic constitutional reform. The ultimate endgame must be to change the regime from a secular autocracy into a secular republic, thereby allowing people a legitimate forum on which to voice dissent. Without appropriate channels to vent their frustrations American policymakers fear the kingdom may become a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. THE BRITISH VIEW TOWARDS SAUDI The nature of the Saudi relationship with Britain is dramatically different to the one she 30
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shares with America. Whilst the AmericanSaudi relationship is forged over a broad range of issues, the basis of Anglo-Saudi relations are confined almost exclusively to trade with some influence in political circles. Britain secured lucrative defence contracts with the Saudis in the mid-1990s which she is keen to maintain. The most significant of these contracts is the notorious Al-Yamamah deal which is believed to be worth around ÂŁ1.5 billion a year. Rosemary Hollis, Middle East expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, says the Al Yamamah deal - which gave rise to allegations against BAE Systems of bribery, running slush funds and procuring prostitutes - should be a cause for concern: "There is an extraordinary relationship between the UK and Saudi Arabia. The Al Yamamah deal in particular has been conducted in utmost secrecy." She points out that when the National Audit Office wanted to examine the implications for UK taxpayers of the largest-ever foreign defence contract including orders for 96 Tornados, more than 100 Hawks, plus long-term support and technical services - it found it extremely difficult to do so and was prevented from publishing any findings. British influence in the kingdom is diminishing and what remains relies on her colonial legacy when close relationships were forged with the British Aircraft Corporation and English Electric who secured orders in the 1960s for Strike Master and Lightning jets. Due to the
Hence overtime the British will look to win new contracts and expand both her economic and political influence in the kingdom. But at present, she has little choice but to watch America remould the Saudi political system to her liking. CONCLUSION The Saudi kingdom is wavering. There is mass dissent amongst the youth and the Saudi regime is subject to extreme internal and external pressures. Internally, the monarchy must contend with the dynastic rivalries of Abdullah and Sultan whilst the Saudi youth are becoming increasingly disenchanted. The awakening of their political consciousness has led them to question the legitimacy of the ruling elite. Externally, the government must undertake reforms to please the West, especially America, the regime's biggest supporter. American efforts to turn the Saudi regime into a republic may be proceeding slowly right now. But after the next presidential elections the pace of change will be accelerated and America is expecting a new republic to emerge. The only thing standing in America's way is the Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula. America knows all too well that the people want Islam and not a secular republic and there is little she can do to halt this Islamic tide.
THE COMING OF IMAM MAHDI, SAYIDINA ISA, AND AD-DAJAAL
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meaning (qati dalalah) that Allah provides the rizq.
umanity has seen many problems and experienced many crises and calamities throughout its history, from the time of Aadam (as) to the current age. Today, the current generation is witnessing an extreme form of corruption and brutality which is spreading misery over the whole world. The capitalist ideology has made the world a playground for the powerful and rich to pillage and plunder the land, lives and wealth of the masses.
have begun to justify their view by interpreting the Islamic texts in a way which has led to inactivity and fatalism. The effect of this interpretation has led many Muslims to do nothing to remove the causes that have led to the predicament of the Islamic Ummah. Rather, they spend much of their time justifying inactivity by looking for the signs of Dajaal and waiting for the Al-Mahdi and the return of Isa (as) to rescue the Ummah from the clutches of the West.
As a result of these circumstances and this onslaught many people can start to feel overwhelmed and feel that they themselves are completely unable to change their situation. The Christians and the Jews were the first who when facing hardships instead of increasing their resolve to tackle them began to talk about the end of the world and the second coming. They justified their fatalistic behaviour and inaction to tackle the problems they faced by stating that they would be saved by the second coming. Today when Muslims face tremendous difficulties and challenges it is saddening to see that so many of them have also begun to adopt this mentality.
It is important to understand the mentality we need to have when looking to the divine texts and how they should regulate our behaviour and attitudes.
Some Muslims who have fallen into this trap
It is clear that the attitude of fatalism that affects some Muslims is something which is not applied in all aspects of life. We see many who have a fatalistic attitude towards the political situation, but do not have it when it comes to seeking the rizq (provisions) which Allah , Ar-Raziq provides. Many Muslims work extremely hard, sacrificing time, effort and even emigrating, leaving behind families and loved ones in order to find work. This is despite the fact that it is proven through definitive text (qati thaboot) that is definitive in
It is also evidently clear that many Muslims who have a fatalistic attitude when it comes to their own life, will protect it. They will not stay in front of the bus, when it is racing towards them. When an illness comes to them, they will seek treatment from their doctor and if he is unable to help, they strive hard to seek the best possible treatment. They will refrain from going to dangerous places to protect their own lives and will also protect others whom they love. This is despite the fact that Allah has stated in many definitive texts (qati thaboot) that are definitive in meaning (qati dalalah) that Allah is the cause of death and the expiration of the ajal (life span). When we look to the divine texts, some of them come to us dealing with matters of Iman. These texts have a bearing on our Iman (decisive belief) and must be based on text which is definite, and the meaning must be definite too. There are many ayat of the Qur'an which determine elements to do with Iman such as the ayah:
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pick. He struck again and another spark flashed. He struck a third time and a third spark flashed. I said to him: My father and mother (be ransomed) for you, O Messenger of Allah! What is that I saw flashing under the pick as you were striking? He said: Did you see this, O Salman? I said: Yes! He said: The first time, Allah opened Yemen [in the South] for me; the second time, He opened the North (al-Sham) and the west (al-Maghrib) for me; and the third time, he opened the East (al-Mashriq)." (Ibn Hisham relates it in his Seerah (Beirut, dar al-wifaq ed. 3-4: 219) After this news spread amongst the Sahabah, they did not sit back, and wait for it to occur. On the contrary, they strived hard, expending their utmost effort to achieve the obligation of opening up new lands for the sake of Allah . It is very important to keep the correct viewpoint when reading such informative hadith about events that are to occur in the future. In summary there are 5 key points to keep in mind.
"O you who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger and the scripture which He has sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denies Allah , His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day Of Judgement, has gone far, far astray" [TMQ An-Nisa: 136]. The Sunnah which is definite in text [thaboot] and meaning [dalalah] is the Mutawatir. The Mutawatir report is divided into two categories. Firstly, verbal (lafzun) Mutawatir like the hadith:
confirm them as the reality plays out. The honourable Sahabah (ra) knew many hadith of prophecies but they only understood them as the situations actually played out in front of their eyes. Also more importantly they did not use these hadith as a means to sit back and do nothing, waiting for the event to happen, but they worked hard to carry out the obligation which was set by Allah . So for example Ibn Hisham relates it in his Seerah through Ibn Ishaq that:
"Whosoever intentionally lies about me let him reserve his place in the Hellfire." Secondly, the Mutawatir by meaning (manawi), such as when the transmitters concur on a matter occurring in different incidents such as the Sunnah of the morning prayer being two rakats. As far as hadith of prophecies, they discuss about things that are not in the reality and are therefore beyond the limits of our minds. Hence we cannot make a judgement on these matters. We can only fully understand and 32
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1) The first thing to look for in these hadith whether they instruct Muslims to perform actions in advance of the event occurring The Prophet is reported to have told the Sahabah (ra) to seek protection from the tribulations of ad-Dajaal with the following dua; Abu Hurairah (ra) reported: The Messenger of
Allah said: When anyone of you utters Tashahhud (in the Prayer) he must seek refuge with Allah from four (trials) and should thus say: O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the torment of Hell, from the torment of the grave, from the trial of life and death and from the evil of the trial of Meshih AlDajaal. 2) The next thing to look for is whether they offer any course of action for Muslims when the event happens.
Salman al-Farsi said: "(During the battle of Khandaq) I was digging in one corner of the trench at which time one rock gave me difficulty. Allah's Messenger came near me and saw my difficulty as I was digging. He came down and took the pick from my hands. Then he struck and a great spark flashed under the
An-Nawwas ibn Sam' an reported that the Sahabah asked Allah's Apostle, how long will he (Ad-Dajaal) stay on earth?' He said, 'For forty days, one day like a year, one day like a month, one day like a week, and the rest of the days will be like your days'. We said, 'Allah's Apostle, will one day's prayer suffice for the day equal to a year?' Thereupon he said, 'No, but you must make an estimate of the time (and then observe prayer). [Sahih Muslim] In this hadith Muslims are instructed to calculate the times of prayer, as opposed to missing them, at the time when we experience the 'one day like a year' which corresponds with the coming of Ad-Dajaal. 3) Encouragement for those striving on the path towards the re-establishment, protection, and conveyance of the deen of Allah
In a hadith from Abu Umamah, the Prophet said: "A group of my Community will remain constant to the truth, conquering their enemy until the command of Allah comes to them while they are still in that condition." He was asked, "Messenger of Allah, where are they?" He replied: "In Jerusalem." [Ahmad and Tabarani] 4) Another important matter is not discussing in the detailed matter related to the unseen. Discussion in the metaphysics and what is beyond the sensed reality, debating it and claiming that one's opinion is better than the others is a debate which takes up precious time, and takes the attention away from the vital work that is required from the Muslims. Allah mentions this regarding debating with the people of the book the number of men who sought refuge in a cave from their corrupt community.
"So the people will now say, "They are three, their dog is the fourth"; and some will say, "They are five, their dog is the sixth" - just blind guesses; and some will say, "They are seven, and their dog is the eighth"; proclaim "My Lord well knows their number - no one knows them except a few"; therefore do not debate concerning them except what has occurred, and do not ask any of the People of the Book(s) anything concerning them’. [TMQ Al-Kahf: 22] 5) These hadith must never be used as a basis of inactivity, hopelessness and laziness These hadith are not a means to ignore the obligations set by Allah , such as the work for the Islamic revival, just because they inform us that the revival will one day occur. An even more dangerous and incorrect view than this is the mentality that working for these obligations, such as the work to resume the Khilafah Rashida, is something impossible to achieve by our own work because Allah will establish this for us at a time of His choosing. THE COMING OF IMAM MAHDI If we look to some of the hadith regarding Imam Mahdi such as the one below
Abu Dawud also published from Umm Salamah by way of Salih Abu'l-Khaleel from a companion of his from Umm Sal amah, that he said, "There will be disagreement at the death of a Khilafah, so a man from Madinah will come out fleeing to Makkah, and the people of Makkah will come to him and bring him out (as a claimant for the Khilafah) against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner (of the Ka'bah in which the black stone is) and the station (of Ibrahim). An expeditionary force will be sent against him from Sham (Syria) and the earth will swallow them up in the waterless desert between Makkah and Madinah. When people see that, the Abdal of the people of Sham will come to him and the companies of the people of Iraq and they will swear allegiance to him. Then a man of Quraysh will arise (in rebellion) whose maternal uncles are (the tribe of) Kalb, and an expeditionary force will be sent against them and they will conquer them, and that is the expeditionary force of Kalb, and there is disappointment for whoever does not attend (the division of) the spoils of Kalb. So he will divide up the wealth, and he will act among people according to their Prophet's Sunnah and he will throw Islam by its neck on the earth. He will remain seven years then die and the Muslims will pray over him" [Abu Dawud Book 36, Number 427] The hadith on Imam Mahdi show us a number of things. He will be one of the Muslims from this Ummah, with some hadith indicating he will be a descendent of Muhammad . He will not carry out any miracles or receive any revelation but will rule with justice which will bring prosperity for the Khilafah state. He will not know that he is the Mahdi, as the hadith indicates that he will be reluctant to take the allegiance (bay'ah), and he will need to be convinced to take it.
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By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the son of Maryam (`Isa) will shortly descend among you as a just ruler, and will break the cross, kill the pig and abolish the Jizyah. Then there will be an abundance of wealth and nobody will accept charitable gifts any more. At that time, one prostration will be better for them than this life and all that is in it. The Hadith explicitly states that he will follow the death of a Khaleefah, and there will be a dispute about the next one. The Ummah will be debating who to give bay'ah to, and they will give it to him. All this indicates that the Ummah will have a Khilafah state, and that they will know how to appoint a Khaleefah. These points also indicate that the Mahdi will learn Islam from around them, as he will receive no revelation. The hadith states what he will act among the people according to the Sunnah which again indicates that it is the Ummah which will have to be ready to teach and groom the Mahdi to take up the tasks of Khaleefah.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurairah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
How will you be when Al-Masih, son of Maryam (`Isa) descends among you while your Imam is from among yourselves In another long hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim by Abu Hurairah it mentions the fitna of Dajaal and the power of the illusions that he will have to confuse the Muslims, it also mentions the descent of Isa (as).
Therefore there is no indication for some Muslims to remain inactive and do nothing; certain event must pass before his arrival such as the re-establishment of Khilafah state, and the preparation of the Ummah to resume the Islamic way of life. This obligation still lies upon the Muslims and not upon Imam Mahdi.
THE DESCENT OF ISA (AS) AND THE DESTRUCTION OF DAJAAL And (remember) when Allah said:
"O `Isa! I will take you and raise you to Myself.'' [TMQ Al-Imran: 55] The meaning here is that Isa (as) was raised up by Allah and his mission had ended. There are many hadith regarding his return,
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out your treasures', and its treasures will follow him just like swarms of bees. He will summon a man full of youth and will strike him with the sword once and will cut him into two pieces (and will separate between them like) the distance (between the hunter and) the game. He will call the dead man and he will come, and his face will radiant with pleasure and laughter.
Like the storm when driven by the wind. He will come to a people and will call them (to his worship), and they will believe in him and accept his call. He will order the sky and it will rain, the land and it will grow (vegetation). Their cattle will return to them with their hair the longest, their udders the fullest (with milk) and their stomachs the fattest. He will come to a different people and will call them (to his worship), and they will reject his call. He will then leave them. They will wake up in the morning destitute, missing all of their possessions. He will pass by a deserted land and will say to it, `Bring
Afterwards (while all this is happening with Ad-Dajaal), Allah will send Al-Masih (`Isa), son of Maryam down. He will descend close to the white minaret to the east of Damascus. He will be wearing garments lightly coloured with saffron and his hands will be placed on the wings of two angels. Whenever he lowers his head droplets fall. Whenever he raises his head, precious stones that look like pearls fall. No disbeliever can survive `Isa's breath, which reaches the distance of his sight. He will pursue Ad-Dajaal and will follow him to the doors of (the Palestinian city of) Ludd where he will kill him. A group of people, who, by Allah's help, resisted and survived Ad-Dajaal, will pass by `Isa and he will anoint their faces and inform them about their grades in Paradise.
Shortly afterwards, while this is happening with `Isa, Allah will reveal to him, `I raised a people of my creation that no one can fight. Therefore, gather my servants to AtTur (the mountain of Musa in Sinai).' Then, Allah will raise Gog and Magog and they will swiftly swarm from every mound. Their front forces will reach Lake Tabariah (Sea of Galilee) and will drink all its water. The last of their forces will say as they pass by the lake, `This lake once had water!'
fruits and regain your blessing.' Then, the group will eat from a pomegranate and will take shelter under the shade of its skin. Milk will be blessed, so much so that the milkproducing camel will yield large amounts that suffice for a large group of people. Meanwhile, Allah will send a pure wind that will overcome Muslims from under their arms and will take the soul of every believer and Muslim. Only the evildoers among people will remain. They will indulge in shameless public sex like that of donkeys. On them, the Hour will begin.
Meanwhile, `Isa, Allah's Prophet, will be cornered along with his companions until the head of a bull will be more precious to them than a hundred Dinars to you today. `Isa, Allah's Prophet, and his companions will invoke Allah for help and Allah will send An-Naghaf (a worm) into the necks of Gog and Magog! The morning will come, and they will all be dead as if it was the death of one soul. Afterwards, `Isa, the Prophet of Allah, will come down with his companions to the low grounds (from Mount At-Tur). They will find that no space of a hand-span on the earth was free of their fat and rot (rotten corpses). `Isa, the Prophet of Allah, and his companions will seek Allah in supplication. Allah will send birds as large as the necks of camels. They will carry them (the corpses of Gog and Magog) and will throw them wherever Allah wills. Afterwards, Allah will send rain that no house made of mud or animal hair will be saved from, and it will cleanse the earth until it is as clean as a mirror. The earth will be commanded (by Allah), `Produce your
For anyone who contemplates on this hadith it is clear that Isa (as) will return, he will be a ruler, and follow the Shariah of Muhammad . Many hadith will indicate that he will have a discussion with the Khaleefah of the Muslims i.e. there will already be a Khaleefah/Imam of the Muslims and Isa will be a citizen of the Islamic state. This again indicates, that the situation for the return of Isa (as) will be when the Khilafah state exists, which again is motivation for us to work to re-establish it, as Isa (as) will not return until it is established. Also the hadith explicitly links the fact that the Khilafah state will be the shield from the fitnah of ad-Dajaal. This is one of the reasons why Muhammad said;
fear of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, and dispenses justice, there will be a (great) reward for him; and if he enjoins otherwise, it redounds on him. So going through the hadith on this subject there is no basis found why anyone should be inactive and rely upon these honourable hadith as a means to do nothing and sit idle waiting for the return of Imam Mahdi and Isa (as). Many Muslims use these Ahadith to justify their inactivity in working to change the political situation and to bring back the Khilafah State. They incorrectly believe that this earth will be filled with injustice until Imam Mahdi appears and revives the Muslim Ummah. There is in fact no indication from these, or other Ahadith, that we are relieved from fulfilling our obligation of comprehensively establishing Islam if the Islamic State is absent, and working in all situations to make the deen of Allah dominant.
The Prophet of Allah said: A Imam (Khaleefah) is a shield for them. They fight behind him and they are protected by (him from tyrants and aggressors). If he enjoins
December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Book Review "Dude whereâ€™s my country" Michael moore
ichael Moore, an Irish-American born into a Catholic family, has over the past few years shot to fame with his best-selling book 'Stupid white men' and the award winning film 'Bowling for Columbine'. His latest book, 'Dude, where's my country', carries his message from his previous work as he attacks the actions of the Bush administration post 9/11 and the "war on terror". Moore's highly critical stance on the current Bush administration, despite a strong display of allegiance to American values, has gained the favour of an increasing number of Americans who despite having strong patriotic sentiments are waking up to the deficiencies and the double standards of their government. Michael Moore has in essence chosen himself to be champion to the cynic and those who desire sweeping government policy reforms. Coming from what one might call "the average American family"; Moore's activism began at school where he developed an interest in student politics, fighting for causes such as saving the environment from polluting corporations. Moore's views moved further and further to the left with age, and he eventually resorted to writing and film making to express his political views. Moore is now known as the author of a number of bestsellers, as well as being famous for the TV show 'TV Nation' and the documentary 'Roger and me'. In 'Roger and Me', Michael Moore displayed his leftist views as he attacked the chairman of General Motors for closing a factory in Moore's home town of Flint, Michigan, and causing thousands of job losses. Strangely enough Moore claimed that this was the "American dream gone wrong" and therefore implicitly identified capitalist values as being the root cause. One should consider Moore's previous work and political views when reading his latest book, 'Dude, where's my country?' The book was published recently in an atmosphere where growing numbers of people have come to realise the true nature of US policy towards the rest of the world and the use of propaganda and blatant lies in order to achieve its ulterior motives. Moore intends this to be a follow-up to 'Stupid white men', but whereas the earlier book focused heavily on the activities of the new Bush administration in its internal policies and the failing US economy, Moore now broadens his sights to address US foreign policy and aims to expose 'the war on terror'. His left wing views remain staunch and his 36
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viewpoint remains consistent with his previous work. The book is written in Moore's usual witty style, keeping the reader entertained as he tries to expose the US government. His use of humour aids him in discussing issues which the average person would otherwise find too dry to digest. One must remember that this book is aimed primarily at the US public, the majority of which has, after years of being blinkered to world events and brainwashed with political propaganda, become more interested in affairs overseas and government foreign policy. His style of writing quickly gains the favour of the reader as he ridicules the Bush administration and exposes its lies with well-researched and clear examples. Moore excels in exposing the contradictions of the US government in its actions, speeches and government statements. In the first chapter Moore throws 7 questions to GW Bush, writing as though he was addressing him directly. This chapter is well presented in exposing Bush's business ties and economic transactions, including those with the Bin Laden family and the Saudi Royal family. Unlike the rest of the book which has its references placed in an appendix, there are so many quotes and facts in this chapter that Moore has chosen to place them as footnotes on each page. This chapter provides the strongest attack on Bush in the book and is laden with facts and statements including the now well known events concerning the oil pipeline deal with the Taliban. The second chapter titled 'Home of the whopper' is also well written with Moore trying to decipher the complex set of lies used by the Bush administration in justifying the "war on terror". The propaganda campaign is carefully dissected exposing the fictitious link between Saddam and Al-Qaeeda and the statements made in the run up to war and also the use of clear lies to cover up lies post-war. The rest of the book simply continues the attack on Bush and his cronies. Throughout the book Moore accuses Bush of using the 'war on terror' to cause death and destruction for economic and political ends, a far cry from delivering the oft claim 'freedom and justice'. Moore's motives are clear from the start as he advocates political activism and in his final chapter he gives a call to his readership in the USA and advises them on what they should do to remove GW Bush. He seems to have a clear plan on how to oust the current administration and tries hard to motivate the laziest of readers to take steps to aid this. In fact this seems to be Moore's biggest if not only goal. Even the book's cover calls for help in order to "bring about the
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only regime change that can save us now". What is note-worthy is that this book comes with a seal of approval from the US State Department of Homeland Security, which means that it has been checked pre-publication and does not flout the "Patriot Act". In fact, if one reads carefully what is written Moore attacks the Bush administration for its mismanagement but doesn't attack American values. On the contrary he argues that it is his love for the USA, Democracy, freedom, and Capitalism that is the cause for his hate towards Bush. In his view, Bush is destroying the country by betraying these core principles. Through the intense propaganda campaign since September 11th, GW Bush has forced the issue of patriotism to the fore. If someone in the current climate was to speak of a change in the American system or to question the tenets of the capitalist ideology it would immediately raise a barrage of accusations of treason from all sides of the spectrum. In this atmosphere the right and the left have actually come closer together, united by a focus on their ideological viewpoint (mainly freedom and democracy). Being restricted by the right, the leftist has no recourse except to criticize the government for being un-American. In his analysis of the American problem and the formulation of his criticism Moore performs brilliantly but in his conclusion he is flawed in that he advocates the very core capitalist values that are driving the Bush administration that he so criticises. It is in fact a true reflection of the left in general, without any alternative values to challenge what capitalism is built upon, they in fact are true capitalists themselves in that they call for the same fundamental system built on democracy, freedom, pluralism etc. etc. Blinded by his love for the American way of life Moore falls short of understanding that it is truly these base values which drive the government to act the way it does. By being in a relentless and ruthless search of economic benefit the US is remaining true to its ideology. Therefore in his search for change Moore is short-sighted and shallow in failing to understand the motivating factors behind the Bush administration. 'Dude, where's my country' is an entertaining read and provides strong criticism of the current Bush administration, but like so much other factually strong material being produced in the current age, it is shallow in that there is no understanding in the true essence of where change needs to begin.
PRESENTING ISLAM INTERVIEW WITH DR. IMRAN WAHEED
s the months and years pass since September 11th 2001, the initially veiled motives of the 'war on terror' are beginning to become increasingly visible displaying the real agenda of the West and the true venom of their plans. Motives that were previously hidden behind a military agenda, are now open as the primary agenda. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are now openly presenting an ideological confrontation between the Western civilisation and Islam as the true objective behind the 'war on terror'. Tony Blair - 20th November 2003 "This terrorism is the 21st century threat. It is a war that strikes at the heart of all that we hold dear, and there is only one response that is possible or rational: to meet their will to inflict terror with a greater will to defeat it; to confront their philosophy of hate with our own of tolerance and freedom". George Bush - 6th November 2003 "It should be clear to all that Islam, the faith of one-fifth of humanity, is consistent with democratic ruleâ€Ś." "Other men, and groups of men, have gained influence in the Middle East and beyond through an ideology of theocratic terror." This challenge is not only being carried by Western leaders, but also quite vociferously by the media. In this light, Asif Dawood, the Editor of Khilafah Magazine, has conducted an interview with Imran Waheed who is the UK representative of the Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir. Imran recently appeared on the internationally renowned BBC Hardtalk interview programme and has also previously appeared on BBC's Newsnight programme. Asif Dawood: Imran, why do you think that in the UK, where the media claims to be free to present an unbiased view there is such an intensive attack on core Islamic values and on those who want to live by them? Imran Waheed: There are two issues here.
Firstly, the media in the UK, and throughout the Western world, is not free. The Western media is owned by a few Capitalists who in turn have links with the government. Rupert Murdoch's The News Corporation owns 132 newspapers, 22 US television stations and the Harper Collins publishing company. This includes Sky and Fox TV. In Britain, News Corporation has a 31.7 per cent share of the print media, the Mirror group has 27.1 per cent, United News has 16.2 per cent and Associated News has 12.7 per cent. The point to note is that only four companies own 87.7 per cent of the whole print industry in Britain. The broadcast industry is much the same. It does not take a great leap of faith to therefore foresee how the media can be affected by the government who has the capability of giving such companies benefits and legislation to either let them expand or put them out of business. On top of this is a whole host of legislation that ensures that the media is kept in check by the government. Secondly, the Western media, alongside Western politicians and governments, has been instrumental in ensuring that the image of Muslims in the Western mind has become connected with terrorism and killing to the extent that every single Muslim has become an object of doubt and suspicion. This media attack upon Islam and Muslims is not something new. This is not the first time that the Western media has spewed out such antiIslamic propaganda and neither is it the first time that Islam and Muslims have been in the dock. We should all remember the malicious attacks on Islam at the time of the Salman Rushdie affair, the Oklahoma bombing and more recently following the events of September 11th. The motive of the media onslaught on the Islamic values and Muslims who work for Islam is clearly explained by Allah ď ‰:
"They wish to extinguish Allah's Light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow but that His Light is perfected even though the Kuffar may detest it." [TMQ At-Taubah: 32]
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AD: Do you think that the media is averse to all Islamic practices, such as individual worships and morals, or is it selective in its attacks on certain Islamic values. If so which values do they find hard to tolerate? IW: Western governments are keen to reduce Islam to a mere religion amongst religions. This requires Islam to be stripped of its political, social and economic dimensions. Western governments, like the governments in the Muslim world, are keen to promote their own version of Islam which is characterised only by individual acts of worship and a personal moral code, akin to other religions. There is a concerted effort to ensure that Muslims do not view Islam as a complete system of life, an ideology and a radically different way of organising society to Western Capitalism. Since 9/11 we have seen a concerted effort by Western governments and media to denigrate Political Islam by labelling those who work for the return of Islam to state and society as terrorists, fanatics or fundamentalists. Indeed, the 'war on terror' is no more than a war waged on several fronts to prevent any semblance of the resurgence of Political Islam and the return of the Islamic Khilafah. AD : Do you think that the Muslims should respond to this media challenge, some would argue that we are a minority and weak in this country and therefore we have no chance to present the Islamic view in face of such an onslaught. And if we were to attempt this then we could endanger our peaceful and prosperous residence in the UK, how would you respond to this? IW: Islam obliges us to respond to these challenges, irrespective of whether we perceive that we are weak or strong. Responding to falsehood and lies is an obligation on all Muslims who can never remain silent in the face of such media propaganda. Muslims in the West should not despair - the vicious media December 2003 Khilafah Magazine
onslaught is a glad tiding for the Muslims as it represents an intellectual defeat in challenging Islam. If they wanted to truly challenge Islam, why don't they challenge it intellectually instead of their slander, propaganda and lies why don't they try and refute the miracle of the Qur'an? They are like the Quraish who could not refute it and therefore resorted to their propaganda and slander against the Prophet and Islam. Muslims are slaves to Allah and therefore do not worry about superficial concerns such as the endangering of "our peaceful and prosperous residence in the UK". The Messenger of Allah said
"Let not the fear from people prevent one of you speaking the truth…Verily speaking the truth neither brings death closer nor distances sustenance away (rizq)". Don't we have a responsibility to be ambassadors of Islam and to convey Islam in the best manner? AD : In what manner do you think we should present the case for Islam when Islamic practices such as judicial and social laws are ridiculed as backward and barbaric. IW: There is an unfortunate tendency amongst some Muslims in the West to water down Islam, in order to make it more 'palatable' to Western tastes. They say that the wearing of the khimaar and jilbaab is down to personal choice and freedom, that Jihad is merely an inner struggle, that a two state solution in the Middle East is acceptable to Muslims and that
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capital punishment for apostasy only applies when the apostate is also guilty of treason. Many of the Muslims who do this are sincere in their intentions, and hope that by presenting Islam in this manner, they will be able to win non-Muslims to Islam and improve the image of Islam. However, it is not allowed for the Muslims to present Islam in a manner contrary to its true reality in the hope of winning the pleasure of the disbelievers. Islam is a trust (amanah) on the necks of the Muslims and Allah will account them for this trust on the Day of Judgement. Likewise, it is not right for the Muslims to abandon any part of Islam in order to save themselves from the pressure being placed upon them. This is because abandonment of a part is abandonment of the whole. If the Muslims hold onto their Deen then Allah guarantees to increase their value and raise high their status, even in the sight of the disbelievers. Muslims must present all of the Islamic rules and laws in the pure and pristine manner that they were conveyed by the Messenger of Allah . We should not hesitate to present them as part of Allah's Deen, which is based on a completely different fundamental philosophy to Capitalism - while the laws in the West emanate from the mind of mankind and are constantly in a state of flux, the laws of Islam are from Allah and are constant and unchanging. In addition to presenting the Islamic rules, we should also highlight the inconsistencies in the Western system and the injustice that mankind faces under the yoke of secularism. We need to turn the tables and put Capitalism, not Islam, in the dock. AD : Do you think the non-Muslims would take note of the Islamic message if we present it as you suggest. IW: It is heartening that despite the media onslaught and the portrayal of Muslims as terrorists, non-Muslims continue to be attracted to Islam and many begin their lives anew by embracing it as a complete system of life. Many non-Muslims in the West, including intellectuals and thinkers, are disillusioned with Capitalism and have seen its destructive effects the world over. Many are now looking for an alternative to Western foreign policy, Capitalism and liberal values. Many are beginning to realise that they simply cannot be reformed, sanitised or altered through changing the face of a particular leader from time to time.
By presenting Islam as a complete order for state and society, rather than a mere individualistic belief, Muslims in the West will be at the forefront of the international struggle between Islam and Capitalism. We need to ensure that the people of the West see Islam as a distinct and new powerful alternative to address the phenomenal challenges mankind faces today whether they relate to poverty, hunger, crime, third world debt or state terrorism. AD : Your recent appearance on BBC's Hardtalk was an impressive example in being firm in presenting the Islamic view amidst the media onslaught. What advice would you give to Muslims living in Britain on how to respond to this onslaught, whether they come across it in the workplace, day to day interaction, or even in the media? IW: Whether in the workplace, in the media or in our day to day interaction with the people around us, we must view things from the perspective of the divine obligation to carry the Message of Islam and convey the Da'wah. This is because the whole world is in need of the Light and Justice of Islam. The West is not less needy of Islam than others. We can see with our own eyes how horrible the domination of Capitalism over the world is and how criminal its tools are which label us as terrorists and label Islam as backwards. Therefore, the carrying of the Da'wah and spreading Islam has become more necessary today than ever before. Muslims in the West must realise that the Islamic Ummah is facing an international struggle that is oblivious to national borders. We must take the offensive in the discussion and put the West, its values and actions of its states in the dock. We must engage in this discussion at all levels including the media. This requires us to discuss Islam with bravery, frankness, courage, strength and thought. It is our duty to present Islam intellectually to the world, possessing vision not defeatism. My final advice is from the Glorious Qur'an:
"So be patient. Verily, the Promise of Allah is true; and let not those who have no certainty in faith discourage you from conveying Allah's Message" [TMQ Ar-Rum: 60]
Khilafah Magazine December 2003