As I came out of jumuah salah in a Mosque in Tottenham , north London, I met a brother I have known over the years. A lot of the news that week was about the Assad regime’s killing of protestors in Syria so our conversation inevitably turned to that. His position could be summed up as ”Bashar is bad but”, and ”should we rebel against a ruler if worse (ftna) will come after him?”. A few days later I met another Muslim professional I have known for several years. He is a very nice brother but his position on the uprising in Syria struck me as odd. He reminded me that he is sunni and does not blindly support the Iranian regime. His main arguments are: 1) Bashar is bad and ideally should be removed immediately 2) what may come after Bashar may better serve the interests of the Zionist entity 3)Islamic rule and Khilafah is the answer to the situation in Syria, but that is in the long term 4) no to sectarianism 5) Muslims must not forget the bigger picture which is that the west, Turkey and Saudi Arabia’s moves against Syria are actually targeted at Iran. His last point – about targeting Iran – then prevents him from wholeheartedly supporting the uprising against the tyrant Bashar.
Where do you start with these arguments? Why does he see things this way?
Is this a widespread view in the UK? I believe it is not. Most Muslims I have met are supportive of the uprising of our brothers and sisters in Syria. Some have been very agitated by the support the Iranian regime has given to Bashar and that has heightened sectarian sentiments in some. Of course it is wrong to say that all shia are represented by the Iranian regime or are supportive of its support for the butcher in Damascus. Never the less, some have seen this through a sunni – shia prism and that is wrong
On my facebook page, I raised the issues raised by the brother and asked how others would address them. This generated a lot of responses which can be summarised as follows:
Things might get worse?
No one can be worse than the brutal dictators like Assad, Gaddafi, Hussein and others. Are things not bad enough, knowing that our mothers, sisters, brothers and children s are being brutally killed? Should we wait till he wipes out everyone? If Muslims are standing up against dhulm (oppression) today why do we think they will accept oppression tomorrow? The Muslim world shall never be the same again, people will no longer accept rulers who oppress them, and we are now an ummah that is willing to give its very life for the truth. We must not underestimate the huge change in the popular psychology of the Muslim ummah when it comes to the essence of the Arab uprisings so far: that the ummah awoke from her long sleeo and now believes that no criminal dictator shall ever again silence her aspiration for a bright and just future. Overcoming that ‘wall of fear’ is a right step toward re-establishing the khilafah.
We are commanded to stand against the unjust ruler
The Prophet (saw) said: “The master of martyrs (sayyid al-shuhada) is Hamza, and a man who stands up to a tyrant ruler and gives him nasiha (advice). And so the ruler kills him” [Hakim]. So Allah (swt) ordered us to stand against oppression – and that is what people are bravely doing in Syria – and He (swt) praised those who do. We cannot do a cost benefit analysis, hence decide that Muslims should not rise up because what may come after may be worse! Allah (swt) knows what tomorrow will bring, our job is to work to remove today’s tyrants and replace them with Islamic rule, the Khilafah. The solution for stopping fitna and preventing sectarianism after the tyrant is toppled is the Islamic Khilafah system which accords people their rights regardless of sect or religion.
Allah’s victory could come at anytime, just keep striving
We have the belief that Allah (swt) alone grants victory hence He (swt) can deliver us from this situation at anytime. We just need to remain steadfast in the struggle against Bashar and his gang, keep calling for the Islamic Khilafah system as the way forward and keep depending on Him (swt). The fact that the victory has not yet come does not justify disobeying Allah (swt) by defending Bashar or Iran’s actions? Nor does it mean we resort to un-Islamic actions like calling for the interference of Western colonial powers or the UN which have their own agenda, nor do we stop believing that Allah (swt) will deliver the victory and change the regime at anytime.
An Islamic prism, not a nation state prism
I realised that the overwhelming issue shading the views of my brother was the desire to avert an attack on Iran which he sees as an attack against another Muslim country following the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan. Islam decides who we support, in this case, the oppressed people of Syria who are bravely rising up against a tyrant who does not rule by the sharia of Allah (swt). This is the Islamic stance Iran should have taken instead of a nationalistic stance supposedly looking out for its ‘national interests’. So how can we support the Iranian regime’s backing for Assad? If we stop viewing political events from our own unique Islamic angle, we fall into all sorts of contradictory positions such as these.
Moreover, it is wrong to say that we must support Bashar “because Syria is part of some axis against the Zionist entity”. Despite the Zionist entity’s repeated bombing of Syria or the occupation of the Golan heights, what has Assad ever done to directly threaten the Zionist entity? He is able to send tanks to Homs and Hama, isn’t he able to send them to the Golan?
The believers are rising up, showing Allah (swt) their actions, raising His name and calling upon Him. It is upon other Muslims to support this blessed uprising, believing and relying on Allah (swt) to aid us in re-establishing the Islamic Khilafah system that ensures justice for all the people in these lands, however long it takes and whatever the plans of the western powers and their agents.
Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain
6 Riabi II, 1433
28 Februaury 2012