Archive for Caliphate

Ironies of History: Contradictions of The Khilafat Movement

Posted in International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2009 by Umer

by Hamza Alavi

The ‘Khilafat’ Movement of 1919-24, is probably quite unique inasmuch as it has been glorified with one voice by Islamic ideologists, Indian nationalists and communists alike and along with them by Western scholars, as an anti-colonial movement of Muslims of India, premised on the hostility of the British to the Turkish Sultan, their venerated Caliph.1 Little attempt has been made to examine the premises on which the movement was founded, the rhetoric of its leaders being taken at face value. On closer examination we find extra-ordinary paradoxes and contradictions behind that rhetoric.

As for the ‘achievements’ of that Movement, its lasting legacy is the legitimised place that it gave the Muslim clergy at the centre of the modern political arena, armed with a political organisation in the form of the Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Hind (and its successors after the Partition) which the clergy have used to intervene actively in both the political as well as the ideological sphere. Never before in Indian Muslim history was the clergy ever accorded such a place in political life.

The Khilafat Movement also introduced the religious idiom in the politics of Indian Muslims. Contrary to some misconceptions (and misrepresentations) it was not the Muslim League, the bearer of Muslim Nationalism in India, that introduced religious ideology in the politics of Indian Muslims. Muslim Nationalism was a movement of Muslims and not a movement of Islam. It was an ethnic movement of disaffected Muslim professionals and the government-job-seeking educated Indian Muslim middle class, mainly those of UP and Bihar and urban Punjab. Their objectives were modest, for they demanded not much more than fair quotas in jobs for Muslims and certain safeguards for their interests. Muslim Nationalism in India was a secular rather than a religious movement. Nor was it, in its origins, a Hindu hating movement as is sometimes made out. To the contrary, by virtue of the Lucknow Pact of 1916 it had already moved decisively towards a common platform with the broader Indian National Movement and unity with the Congress Party. The Khilafat Movement intervened in that context in a way that decisively killed the politics of the Lucknow Pact. The intervention of the Khilafat Movement in Indian Muslim politics has had a considerable retrogressive ideological influence on the modern Indian Muslim mind that reverberates still in Muslim thinking and their politics in present day India and Pakistan. For that alone, it deserves to be reviewed and re-evaluated.

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The Problem with Hizb-ut-Tahrir

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 20, 2009 by Umer

by Taimur Rahman

Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) claims to be a pan-Islamist sunni organization. It proposes that the enforcement of Khilafah over the world is a solution to the miseries that afflict mankind.

Let us examine the political and economic views of Hizb ul Tehreer. If the politics of the HT is to be put a nutshell, they are reactionaries that want to take Muslim societies back a couple of hundred years. Here are their reactionary views:

Democracy

Much like the Taliban, the Hizb ut-Tahrir rejects democracy as a western system and unislamic despite aspects of it such as elections existing in the Islamic political system. Hizb ut-Tahrir argues democracy as a system is:

the rule of people, for the people, by the people. The basis of the democratic system is that people possess the right of sovereignty, choice and implementation. … it is a Kufr system because it is laid down by man and it is not from the Shari’ah Laws.

In place of rule of by and for the people, they want to introduce the rule of by and for the mullahs. They call this the establishment of a Khilafah.

In this Khilafah non-Muslims will be prohibited from serving in any of the ruling offices, such as the position of the Caliph, nor vote for these officials, as these positions require those who fulfil them to believe in the system. Only Muslims have “the right to participate in the election of the Khaleefah [head of state] and in giving him the pledge (ba’iah). Non-Muslims have no right in this regard.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir believe Islam forbids women from ruling positions such as caliph, Chief Justice, provincial governor, or mayor citing Prophetic traditions. Article 109 of the party’s draft constitution prescribes segregation of the sexes in public activities such as school, sporting activities, etc. Article 114 of the constitution specifies that women should not be allowed to be in private with men other than their husband or members of their immediate family (father, brother, son). Article 116 stipulates that once married a woman is obliged to obey her husband.

HT says that Muslims who “have by themselves renounced Islam … are guilty of apostasy (murtad) from Islam [and] are to be executed.” That is the main pillar reserved for socialists, communists and others who may try to organize workers and peasants for a classless society.

Economy

The idiocy and reactionary nature of the HT can be guaged by their economic policy. Their ideal economic system is one in which modern economies are taken all the way back to a form of barter trade.

… it is the duty of the Khilafah State to make its currency in gold and silver and to work on the basis of gold and silver as it was during the time of the Messenger of Allah and his Khulafa’a after him

Anyone who does not have the common sense to understand that the substitution of the money economy by trade in gold and silver cannot be accomplished without utterly destroying the productive forces of modern society. To even suggest this as a serious proposition in the modern world is absolutely insane.

There is no point in going any further into their economic views since it should be blatantly obvious from this one quotation that it would be an utter waste of time.

These simple facts prove very clearly that the HT is a fundamentalist organization full of nutter, idiots, reactionary misogynist, and reactionary idiots.

Many on the Left may admonish me for using such words. They think that I must be kind courteous and polite to such organizations. They write long tracts about how the Left is isolated and unconnected to the people and that these right-wing organizations have come to represent the “aspirations of the people”. This is an utterly incorrect argument.

Mao said “We counted the mighty no more than muck.” And this is exactly what I think of these fundamentalist organizations that are reactionary to the core.

The post has been edited for clarity.