By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
2 November 2019
The head of terrorist organisation ISIS and the self-proclaimed Caliphate of Muslims Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi has been finally eliminated. Baghdadi was forced to blow up his suicide vest by the US special forces after five years of bloodshed and destruction caused in the name of establishing Caliphate on the lines of Khilafat-e-Rashida established by the four rightly guided caliphs in the first century of Islamic rule. The ISIS headed by Al Baghdadi killed thousands of innocent people, both Muslims and non-Muslims in the most savage manner. It captured Yazidi and Christian women to make them slave girls. Women were raped and sold. Yet, many young girls and even mature women fled from homes to join the organisation which allowed adultery among the fighters. Tombs of Sahaba, prophets and Sufis were destroyed to wipe out relics of Islamic history from the earth. Numberless pictures of atrocities and blood and gore are preserved in human memory that keep people reminding of the inhuman face of the ISIS.
A section of Muslims had been deceived by the proclamation of Caliphate by the ISIS as the sanctity of Caliphate as the only divine form of government for Muslim nations has been deeply drilled into the collective Muslim psyche. Many Muslims believe that if a Caliphate is established, it will solve all their problems. Therefore, terrorist organisations like Taliban have been exploiting Muslims in the name of establishing Caliphate. Since the word Khalifa also occurs in the Quran at least in two verses, the supporters of the idea of Khilafat cite the verses to prove that the Quran envisages Khilafat as the form of government for Muslims. But a close analysis of the verses makes it clear that by khalifa the Quran either means every individual who upholds the tenets of God's Deen on Earth or a ruler who upholds Tauheed, justice piety and peace on Earth is God's Khalifa on Earth. The verse runs thus:
"And when your Lord said to the angels, 'Indeed I will make upon the earth a successive authority (Khalifa). (Al Baqarah: 2: 30).
Here, the word Khalifa is not used to denote the head of a particular form of government but a pious and righteous individual. In another verse, the word Khalifa is used to mean a ruler.
"O David, indeed We have made you a successor (khalifa) upon the earth."(Saad:38: 26)
Prophet Solomon was also granted kingdom by God.
"He (Solomon) said, My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom (mulk) such as will not belong to anyone else after me."(Saad: 38: 35).
Therefore, anyone who rules his subjects on the basis of religious principles and is pious and just and treats all his subjects equally is a Caliph irrespective of the form of his government. Prophets David and Solomon were khalifa in that sense though during that time, the Civic principles had not developed.
Still the Khilafat as a form of government became an ideal form of government and Muslims craved for a return of Caliphate as a remedy for all their ills. And subsequent Islamic scholars only strengthened this belief.
Terrorist organisations like Taliban, Al Qaida and the ISIS exploited this belief to spread their influence among Muslims. The disillusionment of Muslims with their national governments and rulers also strengthened their belief in the efficacy of Khilafat.
Now Muslims have witnessed that so called Khilafat by extremist organisations have not only caused death and destruction to them but have also tarnished the image of Islam and Muslims in the world. Muslims should at least now realize that the institution of Khilafat is used by terrorist organisations only to gain their support for their extremist ideology. Form of government has nothing to do with the quality of governance. A democratic government with a tyrant head of state may be a bad and oppressive government but even an autocratic government headed by a just ruler can be a truly Islamic government.
Presently, there are organisations which operate on negative ideology. Al Qaida operates on anti-US rhetoric; Boko Haram operates on opposition of modern education and Taliban and ISIS operate on opposition of democratic forms of government. All the three organisations are based on a faulty and erroneous world outlook. This is an age of nation states with well defended boundaries and big armies, in some cases equipped with nuclear weapons. Small bands of Marauders and suicide bombers can only harm unarmed civilians. They cannot bring political changes.
Muslims should come to terms with the realities of the modern world and should reconstruct their religious thought on the basis of modern requirements and compulsions. Muslims should reject all the extremist organisations and extremist ideologies and chalk out long term peaceful programmes for economic and scientific development. Terrorists like Osama bin Laden, Abu Bakr Baghdadi and Ayman Al Zawahiri should not find space in any Muslim religious and political discourse.
S. Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com
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