The Muslim Ummah today is going through unspeakable trials and tribulations. All across the Muslim world there is suffering – from the vicious war in Syria, to the chaos in Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and Bangladesh – the Muslim Ummah is going through one of its worst periods in its 1400 year history. All of us feel the pain and anguish in our hearts seeing our brothers and sisters suffering across the world. Sometimes this pain leads to frustration – how will this situation change? When will the victory of Islam come? When will the Muslim Ummah be united and become strong and face her enemies?
No doubt the Muslim Ummah has been through many trials and tribulations before and has managed to overcome those and become the leading nation amongst nations. What pain and anguish we suffer today is little compared to that suffered by Muslims who lived through the fitnah that engulfed the Ummah after the Khulafah Rashida or the occupation of Palestine by the Crusaders prior to the emergence of Salahuddin Ayubi. A time will surely come when this Ummah will have overcome her problems and once again reassert her true role as a leading light for mankind.
In the midst of these trials and tribulations, we know that Muslims in their millions across the Ummah are realising that the only solution to her problems lies in re-establishing Islam as a complete Deen. Millions are leaving nationalism, secularism and capitalism and embracing the call for the Khilafah. Across the Middle East, in Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Yemen more and more are calling for Islam post the Arab Uprisings. In Central Asia, the former Soviet Republics, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, millions are rallying behind the call for Islamic change. These are no doubt signs that real change is taking place in the Ummah and it shows the inevitable Islamic change that is coming to the Muslim world. Whatever measures the rulers and their patrons take in our countries in terms of arrests, torture and murder of the dawah carriers, these do nothing more than fuel the passion for the call for Khilafah.
This inevitable change is now a global phenomenon that is happening by the Will of Allah (SWT). The Western powers are plotting and planning how to stem this tide. One of the major arms of their policy to combat this call is to create a negative propaganda against political Islam. By demonising Islam globally they acquire the political capital to keep rulerslike Bashar Assad and King Abdullah in power. This demonising agenda is all too familiar for
Muslims living in the West. Terrorism, Islamism, radicalism etc are all terms to vilify political Islam or in other words the call for re- establishing the Islamic Khilafah. Unfortunately, some Muslims in their extreme naivety have undertaken violent actions that are haram in Islam, killing innocent civilians. This has played very well for Western governments who have used these events to justify their intense propaganda and oppressive anti-terror laws to curb the work for Islam.
The world we live in today is a globalised world. Events taking place in Bangladesh, in Syria, Egypt are talked about all over the global news media. As the intensity of the work for Khilafah increases there, so does the Western government’s policies and propaganda against Islam here in the West. Muslims living in the West cannot be detached from the events taking place in the Muslim world. The propaganda against Islam is and will no doubt continue to affect the Muslims in the West. It is therefore important for Muslims here to think, in the light of these global events, how we should live here and what we should be doing. This issue has become a vital issue for Muslim communities living in the West.
What the Western governments are trying to do here is to create a global narrative against political Islam and hence Khilafah. They want to create a public opinion against Islam so that the movement for Islamic change in the Muslim world is stemmed. They intend by creating fear and negativity about political Islam that people will be turned away from Islam as a real alternative to the ongoing political crises in the Muslim world. Ideas such as Khilafah, Shariah, hudood, Islamic views on women and marriage are constantly vilified so that people do not look towards Islam for change.
The Muslim populations in the West are seen as the front line in the propaganda war against Islam. Several think tanks and policy makers talk about how the Muslim communities in the West need to be integrated into the secular way of life. If the Muslim populations in their own countries cannot be won over, what chances do they have of winning Muslims in the Muslim world? Western governments need prominent Muslim personalities in the West to drive the change for secularism in the Muslim world. In this way the Muslim communities in the West become key targets in the battle for Islam globally.
Over the last few years, we are therefore seeing increasing pressure on Muslim communities to conform to Western values and standards. What we are seeing in the West is an increasing attack not just on the political aspects of Islam but on the whole Deen of Islam. Attacks on the personality of the Prophet (SAW), attacks on the Qur’an, hudood, niqab and hijab, segregation etc etc. These attacks reveal the nature of the attack. Western governments see Islam from its Aqeeda to its systems of life as something alien to Western secular values and systems. Western secularism is built upon man’s freedom to do as he pleases in both his individual life and political life. Political life is organised through the system of democracy where man legislates for himself what he considers right and wrong at any given time. This determines their philosophy about life.
They see Islam in conflict with their philosophy of life and hence the need to attack and undermine it. Islam considers that the truth is that there is one Creator Allah (SWT). Islam considers Muhammad (SAW) as the final Messenger and the Qur’an as the final Guidance. Islam forbids extra marital relationships, free mixing and homosexuality. Islam considers Allah (SWT) the Legislator and man the implementer of Allah’s laws. Islam considers Allah (SWT) Sovereign whereas democracy considers man as sovereign. In every aspect, Islam presents a way of life different and independent to that adopted by the West. As a result, the West, in the name of the war on terror, has launched a battle to undermine these Islamic concepts and values, to weaken them and to pressure Muslims to reshape their Deen in the light of secular concepts and values.
Western governments also need to justify their policies of occupation and interference in the Muslim lands to their own populations. To do this they need to constantly feed their populations negative stereotypes of Islam and maintain fear of Islam returning as a state in the Muslim world.
What we see from the above is that the Muslim communities living in the West are at the centre of this battle today. As a result, Muslims living in the West play a vital role in this struggle to re-establish Islam in the world today. If Muslim communities are weak in the West and start to shape Islam in the light of secular Western values, this will aid the West in their struggle against Islam. On the other hand, if the Muslim communities are strong, and rather than being integrated, proactively carry the correct ideas of Islam to the people of the West, this will do a great deal to undermine the West’s plans against Islam. This is the critical juncture Muslims find themselves in the West today. We can continue living as passive ghettoised communities or we can raise our heads high and carry the Dawah for Islam to the people of the West, undermining the narrative against Islam.
What Muslims must realise is that this battle between Islam and the West is an ideological battle. This means that the West has a problem with every idea of Islam from the Islamic Aqeeda, Islamic values, criteria’s, laws and systems of life. All of Islam stands in contradiction to Western secularism. Hence the battle is not simply that Muslims want an Islamic government for the Muslim world and the West another. The entire ideology that underpins the Islamic State needs to be undermined and weakened so that Muslims do not look towards an Islamic Khilafah state for the Muslim world. This is the reason why over the last few years, creedal ideas of Islam and Islam’s social values have been attacked as extremist and a precursor for terror. Muslims need to be open minded so that attacking and ridiculing the personality of the Prophet (SAW) needs to be seen as freedom of speech. Segregation between the sexes is considered oppressive to women. Homosexuality needs to be accepted on the basis of freedom of the individual. Islam Shariah Laws are barbaric and medieval that need to be reformed.
Democracy needs to be embraced to allow secular parties to co-exist with Islamic parties. These ideas are constantly being discussed from policy makers to popular TV and radio shows in the West. Many Muslims are confused how to answer these questions. Muslims don’t want to be constantly attacked and vilified – in their naivety they sometimes answer these questions conforming to Western concepts and values.
We can see what is happening in the world today is not too different from the events at the time of the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW) launched his dawah in Makkah. The leaders of Quraysh launched a vicious propaganda campaign against the Prophet (SAW) and his (SAW) message. They ridiculed him (SAW), described him (SAW) as a soothsayer, madman, magician etc to prevent people to perceive the true meaning of Islam. In response the Prophet (SAW) with the help of Allah (SWT) and armed with the miracle of the Qur’an engaged in an intellectual struggle against the thoughts, values and system of
Quraysh. He (SAW) was insulted and lied about but he (SAW) responded with intellectual argument, kindness and compassion as Allah (SWT) instructed:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” (TMQ Sura An Nahl 16-125)
Furthermore he (SAW) also did not confine his dawah in Makkah – he (SAW) sent his esteemed Companions (RA) to far lands such as Abyssinia and Madinah. This created a wide discussion and public opinion in the entire Arabian Peninsula although he (SAW) continued his struggle in Makkah. Similarly, whilst Muslims are struggling in the Muslim world to re-establish the Deen, Muslims all over the world have a duty to raise the correct discussion and build the correct opinion regarding Islam as a complete ideology. In this way the work in the Muslim world and the West is not disconnected but part of one work to re-establish Islam.
What is therefore needed is preparing the Muslim community to engage in this ideological struggle in the correct way. Following the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW), we need to take the discussion of Islam, boldly and confidently to the wider non-Muslim society who are talking about Islam. Whilst interacting with the society with the Islamic akhlaq and adhab, we must not shy away from presenting the unique intellectual basis of Islam. Islam is different to Western secularism. Islam has a different viewpoint towards life –it has a different social, political and economic system. It came to shape the world in a different way. Islam is the alternative to the global political, economic, environmental disaster that capitalism has caused.
The Muslim community in the West, therefore needs to be cultured with Islam in a way she is confident and can correctly explain and counter the negativity against Islam. People in the West are looking for an alternative as they see the world engulfed in a myriad of wars and crises. We have a duty as community living amongst these people to positively present Islam as an alternative for humanity.
This positive agenda for Muslims in the West will aid the global effort for re-establishing the Khilafah. The future Khialfah is not simply a state for Muslims. It will represent a new beginning for humanity, a new of life, a new way of conducting humanity’s social, economic, political and international life. It will be a beacon of light in the darkness the world is in today. As Muslims, we have a duty to prepare the ground wherever we are for the world to embrace this new way of life. The more this preparation is done, the more value it will have once the Khilafah is established. Surely this will help and aid the future Khilafah.
“O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm” (TMQ Sura Muhammad 47:7)