With the abolition of the Uthmani Khilafah on the 3rd of March 1924, the colonial European powers created artificial nations that would, over time make Islamic governance fade into obscurity. But today, the Muslim world remains a glaring anomaly to this colonial project.
From East to West and from North to South, countries are characterised by several norms. They are nation-states, whose political system are liberal and democratic and their economic systems are generally capitalist with a variety of state-sponsored social welfare programmes.
The exception to this rule is the Muslim world, where despite the imposition of secular capitalist and democratic systems of governance, there appears to be an increasing yearning for the return of Islamic governance.
Despite the semblance of stability, the hold of these secular regimes is, in reality, tenuous and depends upon the brutality of the militarily and other security apparatus.
This is a perplexing issue to Western governments and thinkers, to whom the obvious superiority of secular liberal systems of governance belie the continued attachment of the Islamic world to Islam and the Shari’ah. To those familiar with the beliefs and practices of Islam and in fact most practising Muslims, the continued existence of the Shariah and Islamic governance in the hearts and minds of Muslims is easily understood.
Unlike other belief systems, where there is a requirement to simply believe and accept a doctrine without question or proof, Islam boasts a rational and provable doctrine, which has not withered under the glare of scientific enquiry and investigation.
Rather to most Muslims, Islamic beliefs are wholly consistent with observed phenomena and constitute an irrefutable explanation for the existence of man and the universe. On the other hand, secular beliefs concerning the separation of religion from life and politics does not adequately explain the relationship between man and God. Rather this paradoxical belief system in which God, despite bringing forth the universe and man from non-existence into existence, still does not have the right to legislate for man, seems at best contradictory and at worst insane.
Furthermore, unlike other belief systems where there is a notable absence of any laws beyond general advice, Islam actually has a system of governance that provides a detailed structure for governance and a body of constitutions, cannons and laws, to form a complete governance system and whose acceptance is intimately entwined with its world view.
Hence apart from those besotted with Western society, Muslims due to the contradiction of secularism with their fundamental beliefs, have never adopted the ideological framework required to firmly establish secular systems of governance in their lands.
Western scholars are also mistaken when they use the West’s experience with Christianity to postulate the inevitable victory for secular thought and democratic institutions over Islam. This is because there is a fundamental difference between the experience that the West had with Christianity and that of the Muslims with Islam. The period that Christian thought and the clergy-dominated Europe coincided with Europe’s Dark Ages: tyrannical governance, religiously motivated wars, massacres, and inquisitions. Whilst Muslims experience of Islam was different.
The rule of Islam coincided with the Golden Age of Muslims in which the Islamic lands were characterised by a flowering of intellectual sciences, progressive and meritocratic governance, rule of law and security for its citizens.
So unlike Europe where the involvement of religion in the politics of a state is seen to be destructive and oppressive, the Islamic world has no such reservations about the involvement of Islam in politics.
Inversely, rather than a negative experience with Islam, the Islamic worlds experience of secular forms of governments has been an unpleasant one. From their very inception these regimes have been inept and despotic and despite the presence of a stupendous amount of mineral wealth, the Islamic world remains desperately poor and has failed to develop modern manufacturing economies or even the precursors to this.
Even when we consider, popular leaders such as Nasser of Egypt, Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi of Libya, their reigns ended in abject failure. In fact, the most successful of all leaders in the Islamic lands Gamal Abdel Nasser actually lost most of the wars he engaged in, established a military autocracy that stifled his nation economically and politically with his only notable success being his funeral.
Secular regimes in the Muslim world are generally corrupt, nepotistic, unrepresentative and more often than not, serve the interests of a foreign power even though these interests directly oppose those of its citizens.
Their rule is maintained by the brutality of the security services and not the consent of the people and in every sense of the world, they are failed states.
So it is no surprise that the Islamic world aspires to re-establish the Khilafah and governance based on Islam, as the failure of secularism both from its creed and its political system is manifest, so much so that the best that secularism has to offer the Islamic world is Bashar al-Assad and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The resounding success that Islam was for 1400 years is still visible despite the revisionism of the West and its agents in the Islamic world.