New Age Islam
Mon Sep 26 2022, 12:14 AM

Islamic Society ( 28 Jul 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

The Mischief of Calling Khilafat A Necessary Condition for Life Even As a Muslim Minority: There Is Nothing In Quran Or Sunnah To Suggest This

By Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef, New Age Islam

29 July 2022

The Ideologies of Islamism, Such As Maulana Maududi and Syed Qutub Et Al, Preached and Propagated the False Idea That All the Islamic Injunctions Are Equal and Every Muslim Is Bound To Their Enactment

Main Points:

1.    Islamic commandments are not equal and absolute.

2.    Establishing or reviving Khilafat is not a compulsory duty for a Muslim.

3.    Misleading concepts should be addressed on theological grounds.

4.    Iqbal’s dream of reconstruction of Islamic thought is yet to be realized.


The parliament was in session, and deliberations were going on as routine procedures. Suddenly an uproar was heard in the precinct of the Parliament house. Then some gunmen with covered faces darted in. Rattling guns in their hands and sloganeering with “Allahu Akbar,” they tried to capture the Parliament building along with the national TV and Radio station. Leaders of this armed gang announced that the country now had become an Islamic state and would be ruled according to Sharia law.

 Some besieged parliamentarians somehow managed to secretly pass the information of armed revolt to army headquarters. The army soon came into action. And in the wake of this seizure of the parliament, within six days, the army was able to recapture the Parliament from the Islamic fanatics. Peace returned, and the rule of law was restored.

 This is the story of Trinidad and Tobago, a tiny country among tiny Iceland of the West Indies, whose cricket team is world famous. It occurred on Friday 27 July 1990. Jamaat ul Muslimeen, a radical Salafi extremist group that attempted to overthrow the government, held the parliament hostage, including the Prime Minister A.N.R. Trinidad was a Christian majority country with a sizable Muslim presence estimated to be 15% of the total population.

Before this failed coup, Muslims were in an excellent position there. Many Muslims had critical roles in running the country. Even the president of the country, chief justice, and speaker of the parliament happened to be Muslims, and they were financially strong too. Yet, in the eighties, some Salafi literalist zealots preached that when Muslims reach some, say, the number 313 (inferring from the battle of Badr ), then it is incumbent on them to announce the place to be a Muslim realm. Being deceived by their unnecessary enthusiasm and uncontrolled religious zeal, a misled group of Muslims went on a rampage, sloganeering and setting the properties of non-Muslims on fire and creating mayhem on the streets of Trinidad. Yet, in the army counterattack, all the freedoms and all the privileges they had been enjoying before were snatched from them, and they ended up being a dubious community whose patriotism became suspect.

I studied for my master's degree at the University of Lucknow nearly 20 years ago, while I was there. A campaign to resurrect the Khilafat among Muslims was launched across India by the Students Islamic Movement. This Muslim student organization was originally a branch of Jamaat-e- Islami Hind but has since been outlawed, forcing the Jamat to distance itself from it. Anyway, many conferences and seminars on a national level were held on that occasion. I too participated in one event held in Lucknow. Books, pamphlets, leaflets, booklets, and handbills were distributed in Mosques, madrasas, and conclaves. Why this was so?  Because of this false notion that Khilafat is something that every Muslim is bound to re-establish as this is a “sacred” Godly system!

The roots of this mischievous idea can be found in the Muslim intellectual legacy of the past, though not in the plain texts of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. However, in the present era, the movements of political Islam have played the most prominent role in spreading this suicidal idea among Muslims. I completely disagree with this idea and consider it absolutely wrong because all the commandments of Islam are not absolute. Rather, there is a difference between them. Some are absolute, and some are desired relative to the situation.

Furthering the discussion, an elaboration of pertinent points is in order here.

Islamic injunctions come under two major categories. One category may be named universal individual obligations. This includes basic creeds, prayers, marriage and divorce, related issues, societal affairs, moral ethics, etc. The current term for that kind of order is Personal Law.

 This is a necessary part of the religion. The second major category consists of Shariah commandments: state affairs, the law of war and peace, Hudud (prescribed punishment) and Tazir (unprescribed punishment), judiciary, etc. The main difference between the two is that you do not need a governmental authority to enact personal law. Individuals can act upon it in their individual capacity. And in today’s world, you are free to act upon them without any hindrance or restraint except in some Communist states.

For another category, you need a free territory and state apparatus. Therefore, not having these necessary requirements, Muslim minorities in non-Muslim majority countries are not bound by Shariah to enact this kind of shariah instructions. It doesn’t mean that these orders stand suspended. No, I only mean that being this category conditional, in the absence of the required conditions, we are not bound to enact this kind of Shariah commandments. Islamic Shariah is so practical that even in personal laws, it maintains this conditionality of providing suitable provisions and a conducive environment.

 For example, Zakat is so essential that it is mentioned in 700 places in the holy Quran alongside the prayer. Yet, all jurists unanimously say that Zakat would be Wajib (due), if a person has a particular sum of money or other possessions. Otherwise, he won't be required to do it at all. And no jurist says that one should make an effort to be as rich as will be affording to pay his Zakat. Likewise, Haj is an obligation, yet it is due only to one who is capable of doing Hajj physically and can afford its expenses too, or else it will not be due to him. No jurist says that one must earn riches that enable him to perform Hajj. On this matter, there is a consensus among the jurists and Ulama. Yet Islamism in the twentieth century came with an alternative view that will be briefed in the following:

 The ideologies of Islamism, such as Maulana Maududi and Syed Qutub et al, preached and propagated the false idea that all the Islamic injunctions are equal and every Muslim is bound to their enactment. Many Ulama were very wary of this new approach toward Islamic injunctions. Yet, in the face of the literary avalanche of Islamists in both Arabic and Urdu, they could not express their counterview except Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. By the way, both the leading ideologues of Islamism, Maududi, and Qutub, were great authors and prolific writers. That is why traditional Ulama gave in, and many even adopted Islamist terminology and their ways of treating Quranic verses and Ahadees of the prophet (PBUH).

Re-establishing the caliphate as a religious obligation or not is a debatable issue. And it is maybe justified If it is done in the context of Muslim majority countries. However, there is no 0 justification in Sharia for this issue in Muslim minority countries, nor is there a rationale for this slogan in Muslim-majority nations in today’s world.

 Furthermore, it should be noted that Muslim minorities in today’s world comprise 40% of the total Muslim world population. According to political analysts, a minority that comprises 5% of any society will have 50% or more influence if it is educated and organized. Jews are a living illustration of that in both Europe and America. Because of their enormous abilities, efforts, and networking skills, they have a significant impact on the world, leading some to assert that they are ruling it indirectly. Armenian Christians in Turkey and Bahais in Iran, notably during the Shah era, were once immensely influential, despite being small minorities.

Muslims in today’s India are a minority, yet if they may rid of their illogical stereotypes and irrational ways of thinking, they can also make a difference in this country. In our environment, we see many Muslim zealots live with a strange mind-set. They consider themselves citizens of Darul Harb and thereby allowed to do anything they like. For example, they regard themselves as allowed to not file income tax, steal electricity, or take interest from non-Muslims. Some even go so far as to claim that our entire national system is the enemy. We should abstain from forming this system, so they won't participate in the voting process. Because to the majority view of Islamists, voting in a secular democracy is as directly adhering to the corrupt system of Taghoot (the Satan). The mental isolation of Muslims in nations like India is being exacerbated by these preconceptions and reservations.

Nearly a century ago, Dr. Allama Iqbal felt a pressing need to rethink Islam and its societal system, to be more specific. He dared to express his ideas on the reconstruction of Islamic thought when he delivered his famous six lectures in Madras, later published in book form and translated into Urdu. Traditional Ulama, who otherwise were full of praise for him, were in peril due to his daring, and many of them harshly criticized him. But Iqbal never relinquished his position on the matter. In his letter to Sufi Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum written approximately in 1925, he emphasized that Muslims nowadays are facing a very critical time in their whole history. Islam is being judged and examined on the testing of times. Then in his many letters, speeches and lectures, he reiterated and expressed the need to rethink Islamic Fiqh. In his eyes, a true reformer and revivalist (Mujaddid) would be someone who dared to carry out this crucial work. This task still has to be done.


A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef is a Research Associate with the Centre for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India, AMU Aligarh.



New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism