The reason why i oppose Hizb-ut-Tahrir

Ahmad al-Safawi

http://abuskander.wordpress.com/

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

The above sentence (Alhamdulillahi rabb el3alameen), expressed daily by muslims, is in my opinion one of the essences of Islam. We should praise and thank Allah for everything - for everything we have, knowing that Allah (tt) is capable of everything, even taking away from us what we have. Not only by uttering these words, but by feeling a deep, sincere thankfulness in our hearts towards Allah, tabaraka wa ta3ala.

I thank Allah (tt) that i now have the oppoturnity to express why i oppose Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Introduction

First, i’ll say that many of my fellow danish citizens really overestimate the danger of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. The danish politicians will not even engage in dialogue with this movement, saying that it is “anti-democratic” and “extremist”. In the head of the average danes, this paints a picture of a violent, extremist organization with terrorist potentials. While i agree that we should all oppose this movement, i would also ask all fellow danes to engage in dialogue with Hizb-ut-Tahrir - and i promise, after you have done that, you will not see them as such a huge threat. I am very active in the polemics between orthodox muslims and the HT’s, and besides for some stupid expressions in the TV here and there (some of them actually threatening), i have no reason to believe that the HT is seeking to perform violent acts in Denmark or to overthrow the danish democracy. The main focus of HT lies in the muslim world. So fellow danes, chill - not only is HT not worth the concern, but your concern only increase their strength.

Second, while i severely disagree with HT on many political issues, i mainly oppose them in religious matters. The fact is that HT is not an extreme interpretation of Mainstream Islam, it is actually a movement who deviates from mainstream Islam. It is very important that Non-Muslims keep this in mind, because if you keep portraying the HT as a interpretation of Mainstream Islam, you actually pass this view on to young muslims in Denmark who do not have a great deal of knowledge about what is orthodox islam is all about.

 So my main focus here is the theological matters that divides HT and Orthodox Islam.

The Caliphate according to the HT

Re-establishing The Caliphate (arabic: Khilâfah) is the main propose of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. They portray the Caliphate as something that started after the death of the Holy Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and ended in 1924, where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk replaced it with the modern Turkish republic. This proves that the Hizb-ut-Tahrir focus on the Caliphate as an institution rather than if the caliphate is good or bad, because in the Hizb-ut-Tahrir version, the caliphate appearantly cannot be bad. Their use and interpretation of ahadith proves this. Like this one:

The Prophet (saw) said;
The Prophethood will last as long as Allah wills, then it will be replaced with the righteous caliphate as long as Allah wills, then it will be replaced with monarchy as long as Allah wills, then there will be oppressive dictatorship as long as Allah wills, then there will be a righteous caliphate on the method of the Prophethood. (Musnad Ahmad)

According to the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the first righteous caliphate mentioned here is the one who started with Abu Bakr’s (ra) successorship to the Prophet (saw) and ended with Mustafa Kemal’s creation of the modern Turkish republic. According to the HT, this is the same caliphate that shall return after the world has seen monarchy and dictatorship - the Caliphate which return the HT is working towards.

This proves that the Caliphate from 632 to 1924 was righteous according to the HT, and it is this caliphate that the Hizb-ut-Tahrir is working for.

Their method for achieving this Goal

What struck me at first was not this goal of the HT’s. It was their methods to achieve this goal. They severely twist verses of the Quran in order to achieve this. Here, i will produce an example of such twist. Dear readers, know that this is only a drop in the ocean:

They base their ideology about 100% legal shari’a (no room for any reform or any new interpretation) along with declaring rulers who do not adhere to this disbelievers, on the following Quranic verse:

“Those who do not govern with ALL of Allah’s revelation, is verily disbelievers”.
(OQM. Al-Ma’idah:44 ).

Does this prove that our rulers are actually all disbelievers, because they do not rule with ALL of the Sharia? Yes, according to the HT! But this is not true, this is a twist of Allah’s words! Let me prove this:

- First, the passage does not say ALL of what Allah has relevated. It says: “Man lam yu7kam bima anzala Allah..”, he who does not rule by what Allah has relevated. Adding the word “ALL” is HT tampering of Allah’s words, as it creates a whole different meaning of the passage. I hope all readers will agree with me on this.

And while the word ”hukm” can indeed mean “rule”, in this context it means “judge” - and this is what all the recognized Quran translations say.

Lets have a look at the whole context of this verse, as it appears in Picthall’s translation:

O Messenger! Let not them grieve thee who vie one with another in the race to disbelief, of such as say with their mouths: “We believe,” but their hearts believe not, and of the Jews: listeners for the sake of falsehood, listeners on behalf of other folk who come not unto thee, changing words from their context and saying: If this be given unto you, receive it, but if this be not given unto you, then beware! He whom Allah doometh unto sin, thou (by thine efforts) wilt avail him naught against Allah. Those are they for whom the Will of Allah is that He cleanse not their hearts. Theirs in the world will be ignominy, and in the Hereafter an awful doom;
Listeners for the sake of falsehood! Greedy for illicit gain! If then they have recourse unto thee (Muhammad) judge between them or disclaim jurisdiction. If thou disclaimest jurisdiction, then they cannot harm thee at all. But if thou judgest, judge between them with equity. Lo! Allah loveth the equitable.
How come they unto thee for judgment when they have the Torah, wherein Allah hath delivered judgment (for them)? Yet even after that they turn away. Such (folk) are not believers.
Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered (unto Allah) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah’s Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers.
And We prescribed for them therein: The life for the life, and the eye for the eye, and the nose for the nose, and the ear for the ear, and the tooth for the tooth, and for wounds retaliation. But whoso forgoeth it (in the way of charity) it shall be expiation for him. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers.
And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah - a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil).

Is there any doubt that this refers to Ahl al-Kitab and not muslims? How do the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, who accuses others of being disbelievers, dare to tamper the words of Allah!

To close this subject once and for all, let me provide the interpretation of this verse by the greatest traditional muslim mufassireen:

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti and Jalal al-Din al-Mahally (May Allah have mercy on them both) is among the greatest of muslim scholars of all times, and they wrote in their Tafsir known as “Al-Jalalain” the following interpretation of this verse (Al-Ma’idah, 44):

Surely We revealed the Torah, wherein is guidance, from error, and light, that is, an exposition of the rulings, by which the prophets, from the Children of Israel, who had submitted, [who] had been compliant before God, judged for those of Jewry, as did the rabbis, the scholars among them, and the priests, the jurists, according to, because of, that which they were bidden to observe, [that which] was entrusted to them, that is to say, [that which] God bid them to observe, of God’s Scripture, lest they change it, and were witnesses to, its truth. So do not fear men, O Jews, in disclosing what you have pertaining to the descriptions of Muhammad (s), the ‘stoning’ verse and otherwise; but fear Me, when you conceal it; and do not sell, do not exchange, My signs for a small price, of this world, which you take in return for concealing them. Whoever does not judge according to what God has revealed — such are the disbelievers, in it.

No doubt remains. The HT twist the words of God in order to achieve their goals. What a shame that they attract our youth to such filth.
As i said, that they use tampering of God’s words to reach their goals was the first thing that struck me, and should i keep on finding examples of this, i will never finish.

Instead, now when i have proven the nature of their methodology, i will move on to comment of the Caliphate, which is what they work for.

Refutation of the HT idea of the Caliphate

I have earlier provided the reader with the HT idea on the caliphate. Now, i will discuss why i oppose what they seek to achieve.

Like i said, what the HT want is the Caliphate as an institution. If we muslims get the caliphate, everything shall be good. This caliphate should defend islamic jurisprudence and islamic theology.

But one of these rulers, who once held the office as Caliph of the Muslims, actually deviated from this! The Caliph Al-Ma’mun from the Abbasids left orthodox sunnism and became a Mu’tazili, and made this the state school of thought. He even imprisoned Imam Ahmad ibn al-Hanbal, who is among the sources of the law that the HT is so eager to implement!

If this does not prove that the caliphate as an institution (those who claimed the title, that is) was not always like the Rashidin (The 4 rightly guided caliphs, i.e. Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali may Allah be pleased with them), then what about the event of Yazid ibn Mu’awiya, the second ruler of the Umayyad dynasty?

Yazid was born in the time of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan’s (ra) caliphate, the son of one of the Companions of the Prophet, Mu’awiya ibn Abi Sufyan (May Allah be pleased with him). While the scholars of history disagree whether or not Yazid was responsible for the murder of Al-Hussain ibn Ali (ra), there is agreement that he indeed was a sinner, that he drank wine and that many of the famous sahaba on his time - among them Al-Hussain (ra) grandson of the Prophet saw and Ibn Umar (ra) son of Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) - refused to pledge allegiance to him. Some scholars even permitted cursing Yazid, among them was the great Hanbali jurist Ibn al-Jawzi.

Sources for the above:

  • Siyar A’laam al-Nubalaa’, by Shams al-Din al-Dhahabi, volume 4, p. 38, in which he describes the peoples attitude towards Yazid, saying that he was actually responsible of the Martyrdom of Al-Hussain (ra).
     
  • Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, 11:270

So we have here two rulers who held the office of caliphate, who deviated from the orthodox islamic path, the former who rejected it and the latter who was an opressor.

Many other tyrants have held the office of the Caliphate, and frankly i will rather live in this “filthy danish democracy” than i will get imprisoned for my orthodox sunni stance under the rule of Al-Ma’mun!

Morever, i wonder how the Hizb-ut-Tahrir distinguish caliphate from monarchy. They seem ignorant that the caliphate as an institution was practiced in very different ways.

For example, the Umayyads seized power after Mu’awiyya ibn Abi Sufyan (ra)’s peace agreement with Hadrat al-Hassan (ra) which gave him the power. When he died, he nominated his son Yazid at his successor. As i wrote, the people did not like Yazid and seeked another ruler, but Yazid crushed the many revolts against him and seized power. After this, the office of caliphate was inherited from father to son, just as a monarchy, and this way was continued by the Abbasids and the Ottomans. Lets assume that all of the latter was righteous, how do one distinguish this from a monarchy?

As for the hadith that the HT uses:
The Prophethood will last as long as Allah wills, then it will be replaced with the righteous caliphate as long as Allah wills, then it will be replaced with monarchy as long as Allah wills, then there will be oppressive dictatorship as long as Allah wills, then there will be a righteous caliphate on the method of the Prophethood.

My response is:

After the Ottoman dynasty came to an end, what was it replaced with? Monarchy? No. A republic. This absolutely negates that the period of the caliphate lasted until Mustafa Kemal’s reforms.

When did this change happended then?

Looking at the electional pattern is the answer. And it is here we find our answer.

Abu Bakr (ra), ‘Umar (ra) and ‘Uthman (ra) was all elected by Shura (council). After the murder of ‘Uthman (ra), the people sought Ali (ra) as their leader. After the death of Ali (ra), al-Hassan (ra) and Muawiya (ra) were in conflict over the leadership, but Al-Hassan (ra) gave it up to Mu’awiya (ra). After this, as i just said, the succession pattern changed, and the throne was inherited from father to son. Like a monarchy.

This happended 30 years after the death of the Prophet (saw). Lets look at another version of the hadith in question:
???? ???? ???? ? ???? ???? ???? ???? ? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ???? ? ??? ???? ? ??? ????
The Prophet said: The Caliphate of the Prophethood will last for thirty years, then Allah will give the kingdom to whom he wills.

Source: Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitab al-Sunnah, hadith no. #4029

This is not an attack on the brilliant sahabi Mu’awiya (ra). Our Aqida (creed) is that all the sahaba were upright and we do not mention them except in a good way. But it was Allah’s (swt) will that this method of caliphate (which means successorship) should end after 30 years, and then it would be replaced with a different successorship: the monarchy. It is this period that continued until 1924.

A monarchy have just rulers and unjust rulers. The best of all these were Mu’awiya (ra). Other upright leaders was Umar bin Abdulaziz and Mehmed al-Fatih.

This means that the caliphate that shall return will be on the method of the Rashidin, and this is what we should work for, because the caliphate is more than just an institution.

In the absence of a Caliphate

What should we do in an absence of a Caliphate? Complete isolation seems to be Hizb-ut-Tahrirs answer. They forbid their members from voting in elections, because Allah did not order democracy, he ordered caliphate. So what we should do, according to the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, is to work for a caliphate. Nothing more, appearently.

This is in complete disagreement with what the scholars of Islam says. There is no doubt that holding the belief that democracy in its western sense is the ultimatative solution and the ultimative method of ruling is Kufr (disbelief) because that means that the Sahaba (ra) erred in their rulings, the scholars of Islam has permitted the muslims to participate in democracy.

Shaykh Gibril F. Haddad, a eminent scholar, was asked:

where do we stand with regards to voting in a government which is responsible for the bombing of Islamic nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan and others. Does voting in itself constitute shirk or kufr for we are voting in a man-made system and kufr laws?

His answer was:
Voting in a man-made system and kufr laws no more constitutes shirk or kufr than obeying man-made traffic laws in the same system. More than that, if voting empowers one to promote the lesser of two evils than it is an obligatory act according to the Shari`a.

This is the opinion shared by the majority of Islamic scholars.

We shall not just sit on our buttoms and complain how the society treats us. Democracy here in Denmark actually gives us an oppoturnity to change things. Use it, brothers and sisters.

The position of Hizb-ut-Tahrir in Denmarks muslim community

Here in Denmark, Hizb-ut-Tahrir remains a movement who is attracts the youth. One should also keep in mind that even though many people participates in their demonstrations, it does not mean that they are all members or have sympathy towards their agenda. Few years ago, the HT lacked opponents - only few argued against them, and on some level, their theology was accepted as the correct one. But this is changing - the biggest danish online muslim community, IslamiC.dk, dedicates a lot of its time arguing against the Hizb-ut-Tahrir. It contains many young muslims who were formerly members of the HT movement. During the last election, they even created a new section on their forum, advising people to participate in the society and vote, refuting Hizb-ut-Tahrir and their ideas. 

The way i see it, Hizb-ut-Tahrir is on the retreat. Last year, after the Eid el-Adha prayer in Aarhus, Jutland (where the Hizb is traditionally weak), they showed up and gave the people CD’s, papers and other propaganda material. The local muslims, however, told them to go away and spread their fitna elsewhere, and the teenages were making fun of them. I witnessed this myself.

What draws young muslims away from the Hizb-ut-Tahrir is orthodox islamic theology rather than secularism. Young men becomes religious, joins the party, study Islam and then leave it because of the difference between Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s disagreement with traditional islamic theology.

Conclusion

The way i see it, this movement has many illnesses. But the worst thing is the way they free the muslim world from responsibility. According to them, the Muslim world is in its poor state because of the West and their agents. It is because the West that the muslim countries are ruled by corrupt leaders. It began with Mustafa Kemal, who according to them was a western agent, and it remains today, where even Ahmadinejad is a western agent! Yep. Everything else than admitting that we are the ones who have responsibility for our condition.

This mentality is what prevents us from moving on.








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