الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي حفِظ دينَه بالخلفاء والأمراء والسلاطين، وجعل مبايعتَهم وطاعتَهم الطريق إلى وحدة الأمة والنصر المبين، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدٌى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
At a recent meeting, men for whom I otherwise have great respect were speaking boastfully of what a great honour and blessing it is that we live in a democracy. And it got me thinking how much we have all been conditioned to believe the version of reality that is presented to us on a daily basis from all our sources of news and information. It seems that no matter how agile our brains or expansive our knowledge, certain aspects of modern-day society, certain so-called truths are accepted without thought and without meaningful analysis. Democracy is the ultimate form of government, democracy guarantees our freedoms, democracy enables us to practice our deen in relative comfort. We are lucky to have democracy. In this country, the comparison that people are making when they view democracy in this way is with the previous regime which was built upon oppression and segregation. In all too many people’s minds it is either this or that, the one or the other, a binary choice. And it is that that has made them disinclined to challenge or question what they have or truly examine it with open eyes.
This is what the proponents of this system do so cleverly throughout the world – they invite people to draw a comparison between democracy and some worse state of affairs, as if to say that all other potential forms of government are a worse state of affairs. Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” But are they really worse? On what basis is such a claim made? It is always anecdotal, but the negative aspects of other forms of government are cherrypicked while the positive ones are ignored. Similarly, with democracy, all its negative aspects are overlooked because it has been considered tantamount to blasphemy to question it. So, no one ever truly gives it an honest appraisal. Now that is changing. People are waking up. They are beginning to question a system that gave rise to Blair and Bush, took them to wars that none of them ever wanted, took away their financial security and that of their children and grand-children and gave their hard-earned money to the criminally reckless banks, and now brought about political situations that hardly any of them actually want, Brexit and Trump.
How is such a system acting in our interest? Whom does it actually serve? How did we end up here? These are the questions that are starting to be asked. There is a lot of soul-searching going on? How did our foolproof system lead us here? Where and when did it start to go wrong? The truth is that it has not gone wrong, it has always been wrong, it has always been fundamentally flawed. Democracy, even in its purest form, the rule of the the people by the people, is inimicable to the well-being of the human being. Such a system can never act in our wider interests. For each and every person always places his own interests first, and those interests clash more often than they coincide. What will make me and my family wealthy will all too often make some other group of people poor. For that is the reality of a corporate system, everything becomes about economics. That is the primary consideration for any decision – will it materially enrich or will it impoverish. All other considerations become secondary: environmental, spiritual, communal. If it raises the financial clout of the group then it must be done whatever the consequences. For the group takes on its own identity and the individual components, us, the people, are totally subsumed and considered only in so much as we are component parts. Our individual needs and beliefs only matter when they conform with the needs and beliefs of the majority.
But the problem is that the majority do not know what is best for themselves – most people are blinkered and short-sighted. In another famous quote of his, Churchill said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Left to their own devices, people go wrong, people go astray and their societies inevitably crumble and collapse. History teaches us this. So any system that makes them the basis for its decisions is never going to succeed, any society whose laws are passed on the basis of what is acceptable to them is doomed to failure. The human being, divorced from his connection to the divine, is dhalum jahul, deeply ignorant and unfair and unjust, so unjust in fact that he ends up harming himself and his own interests as well as everyone elses. Placing your future in the hands of the masses is a surefire way of guaranteeing that you and your society loses its way. Allah says,
وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ
the translation of which is, “If you obeyed most of those on earth, they would misguide you from Allah’s Way. They follow nothing but conjecture. They are only guessing.” Allah’s Way, the way that is referred to here, is the way that human beings are meant to live, the way that is most in tune with their natures, the way that best preserves their well-being and gives them the greatest levels of contentment, happiness and satisfaction. In other words, bowing to the will of the majority takes us away from our basic humanity and disconnects more and more from ourselves and the world around us, and brings about a horrific state of affairs. One of the great commentators of American democracy, John Fenimore Cooper, wrote in the early 1800s that, “The rule of the majority must tend towards a witness and malignant tyranny, anti-social in its motives and evil almost beyond endurance to its effects.” And the senator, John Calhoun, said in 1850 that the government created by this majority was, “As despotic in its tendency as any government that ever existed.”
Majority rule cannot work, and even if you take the modern system whereby a small group of people make the decisions on behalf of the rest, still there is no way it can work, for those chosen to make those decisions are not chosen on the basis of their fitness to the task, but on the basis of their ability to mobilise the mob and get them to move in a particular direction, on their control of the media and astute usage of spin. A mass hypnosis takes affect and people go along with the crowd, even when they have great reservations about the candidate for whom they are voting. It is much like the case when a fire breaks out in a move theatre and a crowd of people start moving in the direction they assume is the exit. You may be 80% sure the exit is in the opposite direction, but follow them because you assume there are so many of them, they must know better. The reality is that mass elections give rise to mediocre candidates, because they are the only ones with whom the majority can relate. But the problem is that they are little more qualified than the man on the street and will inevitably make the same mistakes. They are just as short-sighted as they are and will inevitably make a mess of things. Governance is as important a part of any society as healthcare or farming and we would not leave such tasks in the hands of rank amateurs, so why accept it there? Any potential leader must be educated and groomed in leadership, and that is almost never the case in democracy. Allah says,
هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
the translation of which is, “Are those who know and those who do not equal!” This is a statement in the form of a question. In other words, they are not equal. The knowledgeable are superior in every walk of life. Hence, when it comes to running a society, the only ones who should be approached are those with knowledge of how to do that. When Umar ibn al-Khattab died, he appointed a shura of six of the most knowledge of the Companions, and did not leave the matter to just anyone.
Where is the guidance on how to run a society found? Like everything else, it is found in the Book wherein all knowledge resides and the main commentary on that Book. It is found in the Qur’an and Sunna. The laws, the structure, the people. It starts with the understanding of sovereignty. Allah says,
إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ للهِ
the translation of which is, “Jurisdiction belongs to Allah alone.” He is the only Lawgiver. It is on the basis of Divine guidance, not human right. When Allah rules on something, no man has a right to replace that law with one he has come up with. Allah says,
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْراً أَن تَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ
the translation of which is, “When Allah and His Messenger have decided something it is not for any believing man or woman to have a choice about it.” And the reality is that there is no stone that has been left unturned, no set of circumstances for which guidance has not been provided. Nothing is completely new, it is all variations upon things that have gone before. And there is the vehicle of qiyas/analogy to give us the way through. Ibn Jarir said,
“The laws of this sharia have come to bring organisation to our lives at a social, political and economic and any other level.”
True justice only resides with Allah, not with people, no matter how much they claim to represent you and your interests. Democratic governments don’t represent you, they abuse you. They borrow money in your name and saddle you with unpayable debt, dooming you to a life of austerity and servitude as in the recent case of Greece, they launch wars in your name, making people hate you who never even knew you, and they prop up and support institutions that leach off you and rob you blind. And not only that, but at the same time as claiming to champion free speech and other similar concepts, they ruthlessly quash any form of what they term dissent. For example, a man in France was recently convicted for naming his wifi network Isil.
It is time to say no to abuse, it is time to resist. Not in the way the university students are resisting by burning their books and libraries, and hurting their own future, but by waking up and recognising the truth. By remembering who we are and reconnecting with our true nature as human beings and slaves of Allah. By re-examining our world in the light of the Commands of Allah and accepting what fits and rejecting what does not. And surrounding ourselves with people of like mind in the company of whom we can make a positive change in the way we go about our lives, people of dhikrullah and salawaat ar-rasul. The truth will prevail and our way will be exalted and established. Allah says,
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ
the translation of which is, “It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the Deen of Truth to exalt it over every other deen, even though the idolaters detest it.”
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.
We have established that democracy begets corruption, and cannot give our societies the justice and well-being that they need? But what is the alternative, I hear you say. It is all very well talking about the Book and Sunna, but how does that translate to a practical and lived reality. Is it not just some utopian ideal? We live in the real world, not in the realm of fantasy. Democracy has its flaws, but how do we govern ourselves, organise ourselves, in a manner that restores our sense of self-worth and breaks the seemingly neverending cycle of violence and bloodshed that has been our lot in recent years. All the attempts at so-called Islamic states seem to have failed or created governments that are even worse and more unjust. I will not go into too much detail to discuss why those attempts so spectacularly failed, but will simply say that it is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the deen and a puritanism that has no connection to it. Trying to take an unyielding structure and force it on a society from above, trying to make the laws which protect the edges and limits of a society the central basis for a society and force a uniform conformity that denies all culture and difference. That is not Islam and that is not the teachings of our Prophet, who was a mercy to all mankind.
The best example of a lived Islam was in al-Madinat al-Munawarra, the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah and his Companions. If we want to know how human beings should organise themselves then that is where we must look.
How was the society set up? Firstly, the people were an umma, a group of people united in common purpose, belief in Allah and obedience to Him and His Messenger. Allah says,
كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
the translation of which is, “You are the best community ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and have belief in Allah.”
They were an umma, not simply a group of disparate individuals, all pursuing their selfish individual life’s dreams, unlike today’s society where greed and the pursuit of an idealised level of material possession has become the overwhelming motivation for many. And we remain an umma, all we must do is wake up and remember who we are. That connection still exists among us – we are still brothers. But, we must once again become a jamaat. And a jamaat is only possible when it has a leader/ an amir. Umar ibn al-Khattab said, as is transmitted by Ibn Abd al-Barr,
لا إسلام بلا جماعة، ولا جماعة بلا أمير، ولا أمير بلا طاعة
“There can be no Islam without jama’a, no jama’a without an amir, and no amir without obedience to him.” The leader is the glue that binds the group together and gives it direction, it is the head that the body requires to live and move forward. And that is why, it is one of the primary obligations of the deen. Ibn Taymiyya said,
“It must be understood that leadership of the people is one of the greatest obligations of the deen – indeed the deen could not stand without it, for the best interests of the human race can only be served by them coming together to fulfil each other’s needs, and every gathering must have a head.” This is true at every level – even the smallest of groupings of Muslims must have leadership if their well-being is to be preserved. The Prophet said, as narrated by Abu Saeed al-Khudri,
إذا خرج ثلاثة في سفر فليؤمروا أحدهم
“When three people go out on a journey, they must appoint one of their number as their amir.” Such leadership arises very organically, sometimes as a result of force of personality but often as a result of what is called ‘asabiyya, the feeling and allegiance of the people. When you put a group of people together and require them to complete a specific task, they inevitably coalesce around a leader. It is part of our fitra. And even if this leader proves to be a tyrant, still it is better for the people than having no one at all. There is a famous statement of the Arabs,
ستون سنة من إمام جائر أصلح من ليلة بلا سلطان
“Sixty years under the rule of a tyrannical leader is better than a single night without a sultan,” Our experiences in the past century have proved that. Ever since the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate, the Muslims have been weak. Even at the end of the Ottoman Caliphate, despite how far it had sunk and how corrupt it had become, still the Muslims were far more united and in a far better state than today.
The means for bringing this leadership back are clearly delineated in the Shari’a, but it cannot be this quest for some impossible ideal leader that the Hizb at-Tahrir have made it. It is not something imposed from above, from outside. It starts with the community, the Muslims must let the natural ‘asabiyya and brotherhood amongst them do its work and allow leaders to emerge from among themselves, calling to the deen of Allah and restoring the Madinan model. These leaders can then become the ahlu-l-halli wa-l-aqd from among whom a wider leader may be chosen. When such leaders arise, we must be prepared to back them and accept them. Then we can hope to have success.
We ask Allah to place us at the forefront of this call and protect and strengthen our own communities by placing right-acting amirs over them. In the words of the great Moroccan Shaykh, Shaykh Nasir, yaa rabbi wa-ftah fathaka-l-mubina liman tawallaa wa a‘azza-d-deena, wa-nsurhu ya dha-t-tawli wa-nsur hizbahu wa-mla’ bi-maa yurdika ‘anhu qalbahu, ya rabbi wa-nsur deenana-l-Muhammadi wa-j‘al khitama ‘izzihi kamaa budi – We ask you, O Lord, to grant Your clear victory to the one who takes charge and empowers the deen and help him and his party. And fill his heart with what will make him pleasing to You. We ask You to help our Muhammadan deen, and make its end mighty just like its beginning.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.