As an introduction to Yahya Nisbet’s new role, here is a short interview giving an insight into various aspects of Hizb ut Tahrir’s work here in Britain.
1) How do you feel about your appointment as media representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Britain?
It is an honour to represent Islam in the West, and a great responsibility. As Muslims we know that Allah (swt) sent His final Messenger to all of mankind, to guide them out of the darkness to the light of His complete and perfect way of life. Here in Britain, most people only ever hear a warped distortion of what Islam is; while our community comes under pressure to submit to a watered downed secularised version of Islam. In this atmosphere, there is much work to be done to ensure people understand Islam as it should be understood.
2) Do you think that the return of the Khilafah (Caliphate) upon the method of Prophethood is any closer to becoming a reality?
Attainment of the victory is from Allah Almighty, however we can see day by day that Allah’s plan is coming to fruition. This blessed Ummah is showing increasing resistance to the agents of the colonial powers, rejecting Western interference in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and allowing the deep rooted Islamic sentiments to influence the way we view the world and its affairs.
It is worth noting, however, that Allah (swt) obliged us to live according to the Islamic way of life, irrespective of the circumstances, and to work to resume it if it is absent; not only as a reaction to the oppression, but because it is only natural for believers to live according to Allah’s guidance, and to show the rest of the world the beauty of His Deen.
3) What challenges and opportunities are there for dawah in the West?
Life is filled with challenges, which when looked at another way, are actually opportunities for dawah carriers. Islam didn’t come just for the Asians, Africans or the Arabs and not only for the Muslims either; rather it is a way of life, an ideology, that came to organise man’s life, while treating the problems as human problems, irrespective of creed, ethnicity and colour. The ordinary people in Britain, Muslim or not, are treated like a political football, without any genuine concern for how their affairs are managed. Brexit is an example of this. Whilst we see great debate on divorce bills and timelines, the common man is suffering due to the uncertainty; and the nationalistic sentiments that were aroused during the referendum have lead us to see hate crimes on the increase. Such a sorry state of affairs is a window of opportunity for Islam to be presented as a distinct way of life; very much relevant for all people today.
4) Are you saying that you are trying to establish the Khilafah in Britain?
No, we view that the Islamic lands are the right place for the Khilafah to return to, so all of the party’s work in this regard is focused in those lands. This is clear from the party’s published literature, as well as the obvious fact of our actual work there. However, living outside of the Islamic lands does not exempt us from the obligation to be part of the work to resume the Islamic way of life.
5) What does your work in Britain involve?
We work here to assist the work of the party in the Islamic lands, so naturally we encourage all conscientious people to get involved in this honourable work.
Hizb ut Tahrir’s work in Britain is an intellectual work predominantly explaining to Muslims and non-Muslims the true reality of Islam, so that everyone can make an informed choice about how to live their lives. We present the Islamic way of life, which includes the Khilafah as its political authority, as a viable and just alternative to the secular capitalist hegemony which the whole world currently suffers from. Western governments, mainstream media and those with vested interests in the current capitalist world order strive to portray the Khilafah as something to fear, such as ISIS or a theological state. But, let us be clear that the coming Khilafah state which is established upon the method of Prophethood is not like either of these, but is a distinct state that carries a positive message of salvation to the world.
We aim to lead people in an intellectual struggle against secularism and its oppression to prepare the Muslim community to be ambassadors of Islam to all humanity. Therefore you will see that our work is overwhelmingly characterised by explaining the reality of Islam and the Khilafah and what it can do for the ordinary people of this world, such that it becomes a state that all people yearn for. We call upon people to view Islam as a genuine alternative way of life, and to choose it for themselves.
Whenever a sincere academic or professor wants to engage with the Muslims on the subject of the Khilafah, he risks vilification and being maligned as someone who shares a platform with extremism. Therefore, our work here involves refuting those who slander the Islamic way of life, and leading the Muslims to be active in intellectually challenging those who do so.
6) Do you see the influence of Islam and Muslims growing in the Western world?
Unquestionably. The number of Muslims in the Western world has dramatically increased, and with this growth the awareness of what Islam is has also increased. What else can we expect when the current dominant belief, secularism, causes such oppression, destruction, misery, economic uncertainty, and far more. Capitalism has destroyed the happiness of life for mankind. Such a poor record is a damning indictment of the suitability of it for solving man’s problems; leaving us all crying out for solutions.
Islam is a message for all mankind, offering solutions for how we should live our lives, built upon a solid belief foundation, unlike the secular belief, which is founded on nothing more than selfish interests and devious compromises. But we are not like the colonialists, who seek to coerce and forcibly convert people to our beliefs. Rather we call people to an idea. If they like that idea, then they should live their lives according to it, naturally.
We believe that most of mankind are ultimately interested in the truth, and hold onto such common values of justice and rejecting oppression. However there will always be a small minority that are keen to exploit others at any cost for their own material gain. It is only this small group who fears that the people should ever be given a fair chance to understand and witness the beauty of the Islamic way of life, as given to mankind by their Creator, lest the power of this elite group be diminished, as the rest of the people leave the darkness of oppression and come into the light.
When such an elite group of people are actively distorting the image of Islam and deceiving the people about the reality of secularism, then we believe it is our job to expose them and their deception, so that people really do have a free choice about which belief to accept and which way of life to follow.
History has shown again and again, that when people are truly given a chance to witness the undistorted justice of Islam in practice, they are drawn to it, embracing it for themselves and for the generations that come after.
7) What is your message to the common man in the UK and for the Muslim community?
It is the same message, as we are all victims today of a system that has sucked us dry, denying us any real choice. Grenfell, Brexit, NHS, Education, Taxation, overseas policies, and so on are all examples that expose the cruelness and inhumanity of the capitalist way of life, and for which Islam has an alternative vision and detailed solutions that elevate the lives of mankind.
We wish for all people to hear about and understand what Islam has to offer the world.
For the Muslim community here, we have an additional message:
Your holding onto the truth of Islam, in spite of the constant and increasing pressure to make you bend and accept the secular values, is something to be proud of, and we commend you for it. Witnessing the oppression of your brothers and sisters overseas in Myanmar, Iraq, Pakistan, Kashmir, Palestine, Yemen, and Syria, who have been targeted by the colonialists for no other reason than their belief in Islam as you do, is not an easy thing to remain patient over, yet you have and will continue to do so, with Allah’s help, we have every confidence in that.
It is time for us all to recognise that we hold the keys to the salvation of mankind from the darkest of oppression that is the secular capitalist system, and that key is the pure Islamic way of life, when it is presented as an ideology to mankind. You are ambassadors to the British people for the Islamic way of life, so now is the time to carry this dawah as an intellectual struggle, until all the world can see the truth against falsehood, as plain as day against night.
Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Britain
Monday, 26th Muharram 1439 AH
Ref. 1439 AH / 01