This blessed month of Rajab marks the Hijri centenary of the destruction of the protection of Islam – it’s political system – the Khilafah (Caliphate). Since 3rd March 1924 CE corresponding to 28th Rajab 1342 AH, we have seen a century of destruction, war and bloodshed unequalled in human history. The decline was not incidental or the result of an innocent misstep. It was premeditated and executed in repeated yet careful attack formations until the Khilafah was destroyed.
Less than 100 years after Prophet Muhammad (saw) walked the earth, Islam arrived in Spain. It arrived not through individuals with a set of rituals but by a political state when Tariq Bin Ziyad landed on the rock of Gibraltar that bears his name. This expansion of Islam continued further, turning the Byzantine city of Constantinople into Istanbul in the 13th century CE and strove forward until in the 16th century CE when Islam besieged the city of Vienna. The European empires recognised the defeat of the Uthmani Khilafah could only be realised through a multipronged attack upon Islam and its roots. These methods eventually bore the vile rancid and decrepit fruits that we see all over the Muslim political world today.
The attempts at weakening the Khilafah took place over centuries, starting with the poisoning of Islam’s cultural and political foundations. The populist idea of national pride was ignited to incite rebellion where harmony and tolerance had once stood as its pillars. The Muslim lands flourished in relative peace with different races living and trading across its vast swathes to such an extent that travel on the ground was unencumbered. Where Islam had come to eradicate the racial and tribal injustices of the past, these issues were once again reconstituted through cultural efforts of local populist groups.
When Muslim thinking was strong and focused on the call of Islam, no entity could assuage the progress of Islam. Europe and the colonialists were initially powerless to counter the threat of Islam. However, once the decline in thinking amongst the Muslims began, the Khilafah’s stronghold started to weaken. Although battles were still being won, the creative problem-solving skills that Islam endowed upon us showed signs of fragility. These areas were identified and then ruthlessly exploited. Damage discord and division became evident as institutions like the American University of Beirut and Christian missionaries sowed seeds of doubt in Islam from its basis and inculcated this into the thoughts of our youth.
The British and French saw a golden opportunity to colonize the rich Muslim lands and competed for colonial power. Over time this led to systematically slicing parts off the Uthmani state and controlling the economic benefit. During these periods they used the decline in military power of the Muslims to further weaken its defences. Furthermore, imported values of liberalism and capitalism to the Muslim world produced the biggest harvest of corrupt leaders ever seen. Dictators or democrats in equal measure have looted and exported to the west our wealth just like the colonialist before them.
Movements were established and nurtured by the British to the point where the intellectual thinkers amongst the Ummah sought to reform Islam instead of clarifying it. The Young Turks in Turkey were so infatuated by Europe that they were unable to see the value of Islam in bringing solutions. Nationalistic ideas to unify took root. These ideas were mirrored in the Arab world and further afield as well. So-called Islamic reformer Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan from India wrote a commentary on the Bible called Tabyin ul Kalam with the objective of nullifying the differences between Islam and Christianity in order to secure British rule in India by secularising the Muslims.
The last 100 years has seen a ceaseless number of political failures despite the sincere efforts of ordinary Muslims all over to revive Islam. The promised solutions are simply that, promised but never delivered. Uprising upon uprising have served no change. An unending mendacious tissue of lies that is not even able to soak up the shed blood of those it has killed. No Muslim country on the earth exists where this has not been felt from Palestine to Iraq, Syria to Afghanistan. Nothing has proved enough when we have chosen other than Islam.
The unjust wars will not stop just from our accepted prayers or fasting. The plans of the enemies have not relented and continue in the modern world. They continue to infect and take us away from thinking, reflection and activism. Has Britain not given us the Prevent program? Has France not told us Allah is not above the Republic?
We must find our voice in activism and take back our Islam from the secular and liberal thinkers. Not through anger and emotion but through deep study and diligent work in solving our problems through Islam which liberated us before and is promised to do so again.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by