Britain's former Education Secretary Michael Gove recently reared his ugly head again on BBC Questiontime to say that Islam was a beautiful and spiritual faith and yet to consider it in its entirity as a way of life was 'Twisted'. He was clearly threatened by the true meaning of Islam and attempted to portray it as something unhealthy and dangerous, but those who examine the point that Gove raises about the Caliphate and Islam as an entire way of life using facts and plain logic will see that he is one confused man. Adam Walker lately wrote a piece that has been picked up by the Huffington Post, a medium that is possibly more influential and certainly more balanced than the BBC. In it, he looks at what has historically happened when the Caliphate has come into fruition. Perhaps Gove spreads his lies as he fears the loss of his secular power at the hands of Muslims who voted him in. No matter what his reasoning might have been, facts ultimately speak for themselves. Please Like, Tweet and share this article to promote awareness of the reality behind Gove's statements - Yamin Zakaria and the Team @ Radical Views
Over the past weeks and months, the world has been witness to the tragic destruction of historical sites across Iraq - both secular and religious. The most recent attacks on humankind's shared civilisation saw ISIS destroy the ancient cities of Nimrod and Hatra.
As illustrated in a recent article by Gerard Russell, there appears to be a growing feeling that ISIS is only fulfilling its ''Islamic'' obligation through its destructive rampage. The justification for this view is often found in the edicts of ultra-conservative Islamist scholars who go so far as to call for all ''non-Islamic'' symbols to be destroyed.
However, how true is this extreme position to Islam's history and teachings?
Islam, the world's second largest religion, was established in 610 CE. Over the 1,400 years that followed, the Muslim community was ruled over by dozens of dynasties and rulers, some good, some despotic and most indifferent. However, Muslims consider the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad and his first four successors (the Rashidun caliphs) to have excelled in justice and piety - symbols of the most pristine representation of the teachings of Islam.
For example, following two decades of heavy persecution, 10,000 Muslims are said to have been led by the Prophet Muhammad into Mecca, in what has come to be known as the 'bloodless victory'. With very few exceptions, the hundreds, if not thousands of Meccans who had persecuted, often viciously, the Prophet and his community were met with compassion and no revenge. The Orientalist Stanley Lane-Poole describedthe scene as follows:
"The day of Muhammad's greatest triumph over his enemies was also the day of his grandest victory over himself. He freely forgave the Quraysh all the years of sorrow and cruel scorn to which they had inflicted him, and gave an amnesty to the whole population of Mecca."
Critics often point to reports that the Prophet, shortly after the victory of Mecca, entered the Ka'ba, the large black object situated in Mecca to which all Muslims direct their prayers, and had the idols therein destroyed. And this much is true.
According to Muslim belief, the Ka'ba was considered a monotheistic symbol that had emerged from the Judaic tradition. It was felt that the Meccans had taken charge of the Ka'ba and abused its monotheistic provenance. Now that Mecca was again under monotheistic rule, the removal of the idols was to restore the Ka'ba to its original, Abrahamic purpose.
However, critics often ignore what the Prophet Muhammad did not do; for example, he did not enter people's homes and destroy their idols or prohibit them from pagan practice and belief; neither did not have his followers scour Arabia in order to remove all remnants of paganism or idol worship. A far cry from the recent scenes of destruction and intolerance in Iraq.
The second caliph and successor to the Prophet Muhammad was 'Umar b. al-Khattab, known for being a devout Muslim and firm in upholding the Islamic teachings. As anyone who has ventured down to Cairo's Giza suburb will have seen, when Egypt came under Muslim rule, during Umar's reign, the Muslims did not tie ropes around the Sphinx and pull it down or destroy Coptic monasteries.
When Iraq soon followed in Cairo's footsteps, Muslim rulers made use of its ancient cities as cultural centers rather than to destroy them. And when Jerusalem came under Muslim rule, Umar had the Temple Mount restored as it had become, under Byzantine rule, a site of ruins and a rubbish dump. Had the teachings of the Qur'an and practice of the Prophet Muhammad demanded the destruction of such sites, then they would have been destroyed, without exception.
So while our attention is rightly focused on the recent indefensible destruction of the ancient cities of Hatra and Nimrod by ISIS, it should not be lost on us that what ISIS destroyed in hours stood intact for almost 1,400 years under Muslim rule.
Moreover, it is important not to fall into the trap of thinking that ISIS' attacks have been limited to non-Muslim sites and artifacts - or, as it were, to the symbols of the 'kuffar' (unbelievers). This is simply not the reality. Last month ISIS also destroyed a prominent sunni Ottoman Mosque in Mosul; a city that has also seen the destruction of sufi shrines, shi'a mosques, and a seventh century church that dates back to the very beginnings of Islam.
Likewise, Muslim leaders are far from silent on this matter. For example, the gap between ISIS and mainstream Islam was illustrated at London's much lauded annual international 'Peace Symposium', held last month in western Europe's largest Mosque. Speaking about desecration and destruction of ancient heritage sites, the Caliph and worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, said:
"For more than 1400 years these cities were preserved and protected by successive Muslim rulers and governments and yet now the extremists claim to have destroyed them in Islam's name. This can only be branded as an extreme cruelty and a transgression of Islam's teachings. No true Muslim could ever comprehend acting in this way."
To take ISIS and the destruction it inflicts as representative of Muslims and Islam is a betrayal of history and feeds into a divisive narrative of 'us and them'. In reality, when contrasted with Islam's wider teachings and history, ISIS' destructive rampage clearly demonstrates just how far the apple has fallen from the tree.
This article was originally published at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/adam-h-walker/islam-has-a-history-of-protecting-civilisation_b_6993580.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-islam
Forget fabled Caliph Harun al-Rashid of Baghdad. He of Thousand and One Nights fame. A real Khalifa is back – under the name of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a.k.a. Caliph Ibrahim. But is this resurrected Caliphate in the Arab heartland only a ‘desert mirage’, as The Times claimed? Or the harbinger of awesome things to come? Time will tell. Three critical concepts interest the priest: violence, heresy and utopia. Do they cast a shadow over the nascent Caliphate?
First, heresy. Tricky to determine, as Islam has no Pope-like figure or an ecumenical council to judge. Yet, words like bida’, unwarranted innovation; ghuluvv, exaggeration or excess; zandaqa, dualist or Manichean; ilhad, atheism, materialism; and finally kufr, unbelief – all historically denote forms of Islamic heresy, in some cases with dire penal outcomes.
Is the Caliphate bida’, wrong innovation? No way, as it goes back the four men who successively ruled the Islamic state directly after the Prophet’s death. There was an Ottoman Khalifa indeed right up to 1924.
As the events continue to unfold in Iraq, a full scale sectarian conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiites looks imminent. No surprise that Obama will not commit ground troops, and why should he. The US interest will be served by funding both sides behind the scenes, whilst politically it will appear to oppose ISIS and play out the role of a peacemaker, and nominal air strikes driven by political expediency will not change the underlying policy.
The flags, the banners, and the message of ISIS clearly convey they want to impose Sharia laws, and bring about the Caliphate, like it or not. It has sent out alarm bells, the Caliphate will pose challenge to western hegemony in the region, and the existing regimes will feel the heat and it may destabilise the entire region. This is an overreaction and largely contributed by the self-created Islamophobic climate in the west.
Who is afraid of a rising Middle East Khilafa, the Arabic word for Caliphate? Lots. Muslims like Shia, Kurds, most Sufis, Alawis, sundry Arab secularists. And Arab Christians of course. All fearing their lives, women, sacred buildings and properties being treated as war loot. Western leaders too are shaking in their boots: good!
A nemesis is unfolding. A sort of retributive justice, maybe of divine origins. A paying back for the 2003 illegal, unjustified aggression on Iraq. Engineered by the two scoundrels, Bush and Blair. But the roots of evil reach far back. To WWI, the catastrophic, suicidal, mad all-European conflict so many fools are enthusiastically celebrating in Britain.
ISIS is the murderous Jihadist organisation that fights for a Caliphate in ‘the Levant’ – actually Sham, a term covering Iraq, Syria and other swathes of Arab land. The last Caliph, the Ottoman Sultan, ruled over them till 1917. The victorious Allies artificially invented the current Middle East borders – Iraq being at the time three different Ottoman provinces or vilayet. France and Britain arbitrarily created the countries they carved out from their conquests. (The Kurds later were ferociously bombed into submission by the British – chief artificer Bomber Harries, eventually of Dresden reputation.) Britain especially responsible for Israel, the ‘Jewish home’ in Palestine of Balfour Declaration infamy. The Allies shared the booty. Now ISIS and other Islamists are hitting back – a resurgent Khilafa in the making. Do you dig the nemesis?
Retribution, yes. It may well take the form of martyred Iraq breaking up into three parts, as my friend Dr Tim Furnish suggests. A Kurdish, US-friendly North, a Sunni Caliphate in the middle and a Shia state in the South. Well, they were originally three vilayet, weren’t they?
‘The Caliphate is a valid Islamic concept’, a Mufti of Bosnia once declared. Historically, he was right. Politically too, perhaps. Nonetheless there were at times two or three khalifa reigning in different areas of the Muslim world. True, many Caliphs were incompetent or worse but that cannot invalidate the idea, any more than Caligula or Nero could negate the Roman Empire. And if it is OK for former, pseudo-Christian nations to unite in something like the EU, why should be wrong for Muslim nations to combine in a Caliphate? What is sauce for the goose…
‘The EU was established consensually, while ISIS wants to force the Caliphate violently on unwilling folks’. Alas, Europe too after WWII was violently taken over by the apostles of democracy and human rights. Call it ‘liberation’ but it was by force of arms and national borders were adjusted accordingly. No one ever took a poll in Germany, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and other countries asking the people whether they wanted to be ‘liberated’. The Axis had plenty of supporters. So the Jihadi guys, I suppose, could claim that they represent the true will, the soul of the Arab Umma, the community of believers. If only they weren’t so fond of slaughtering their prisoners…groan.
Yet, those most truly terrified of ISIS are the poor West and its degenerate representatives. Wholly natural. Their a priori dogmas demand a strict or effective emasculation of religion. Its real exclusion from public life, the economy, the market, the law & all the things that matter. With the Christian churches they have succeeded pretty well. Sunday morning religion or ‘thought for the day’ threaten no one. Islam is the harder nut to crack. That religion also has its happy, well-remunerated quislings, eager to pick up the crumbs of parliamentary power and ministerial posts, jobs in the media and the like. It is crusty chaps like the Jihadis who refuse to play the democratic, establishment game. They frighten to death Cameron, Hollande, Merkel, Obumble, all that depressing gang. Indeed, they should.
An extraordinary, anonymous piece posted on Facebook illustrates the gap between Zeitgeist thinking and at least some Islamists. The writer lists a number of putative Sharia legal notions, like jihad, polygamy, child marriages, hudud punishments and so on. He then points out how a Muslim who was to engage in such practices is ipso facto made a criminal in the West. And he is right. Jihad, often considered like the fifth pillar of Islam, is a duty for a pious believer. But now PM Cameron is prepared to pursue the British Jihadis who are heading back home from the Levant. Hhmmm… Pity they did not fight for a US approved and dollar-powered jihad. Bin Laden and his ilk were kosher, sorry, halal heroes when they combated the evil Soviets in Afghanistan. Hypocrisy? Yes, as well as old, cynical realpolitik.
Polygamy and child marriages are definitely Western untouchables. To many, as inconceivable and as loathsome as slavery. To be fair, there are Muslim jurists who hold diverse opinions on them. The anonymous fellow claims that amongst the Prophet’s companions polygamy was the rule, rather than the exception. True or not, the Qur’an has only one or at most two verses in which plural marriage is mentioned and it is more by way of permission than anything else. But Sharia law is more than the Qur’an and Salafis prioritise various Sunna hadiths and customs as normative. Still, important not to tar all Muslims over with the same brush. There is a range of scholarly opinions amongst the ulama. The Caliphate boys are only one strand.
Horror of the rising Khilafa engenders odd bedfellows. Iran, formerly part of an ‘axis of evil’, appears now, wonder of all wonders, as a potential ally in stopping ISIS & Co. Of course, that will only embitter and inflame the sectarian strife running through the Middle East and the vast world of Islam: part of a plan? Will the Caliphate be reborn from its ashes, like the phoenix?
The final aspect of the method is the issue of Nusrah (help from those with ability to change the system), which is self-evident given the correct circumstances. However, to claim that Nusrah is part of the method in that binding for all situations is false; firstly because there is no corroborative evidence, secondly under certain situation seeking Nusrah may be virtually impossible. For example, a dictatorial hostile regime would place its loyal family members in key positions, and the regime may have a zero tolerance for dissidents. This is the case in many parts of the Islamic world, thus naturally the failure of Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) to attain Nusrah over the last 60 years.
The argument for re-establishing the Caliphate is compelling; the divine evidences commands the believers to give their oath of allegiance to a Caliph, in addition one can say the need for the institution is self-evident, because any society needs some form of political institution to function, otherwise anarchy prevails. There could not be any dispute over the initial establishment of the state headed by the Prophet (saw), as it formed part of the divine revelation. The Prophets by definition are leaders (Imams) in the spiritual and political sphere; their primary task is to deliver the divine message and guide society through the application of the divine message. Anyone disputing the authority of the Prophet would commit an act of treason (apostasy), unless the individual was a non-believer in the first place.
After the demise of the Prophet, and in the absence of clear instructions regarding the nature of the state and succession of the political leadership, differences naturally arose, hence the variation in the appointment of the first four Caliphs. With the passage of time, disputes and rivalry became more pronounced, civil wars broke out and the state started to disintegrate from the time of the fourth Caliph, only 30 years after the demise of the Prophet, this is an undisputable fact.
On this day, the 600 year old Ottoman Caliphate was formally abolished. The date should resonate in the Islamic world, invoking a sad loss, representing a significant turning point in Islamic history, but it does not, around the Islamic world it’s a normal day like any other. But why is that? Given that Muslims in general are still committed to Islam, it is unlikely that they have lost interest in their history, essential part of a nation’s identity. The only other explanation that comes to mind is that the event was not significant, the destruction on the 3rd of March was merely symbolic; the palace was closed, the Caliph with his family members were expelled quietly, as if some employees in a private firm were made redundant. Hence, the nation continued with the new secular government of Mustafa Kemal, it was business as usual. If the event represented a change of system that would have caused shocks in society, which implies, the Ottoman State as a fully functional Caliphate was already dead and buried, what remained was merely a historic relic.