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Tunisia: Coverage of Global Conference “Which Constitution Do We Want?”

The conference was  held under the supervision of the International Islamic Union of Lawyers Participating in the Constitution Conference Demand an “Islamic Constitution for an Islamic State”

In light of the controversy taking place between the various political parties in the country, about the nature of the political system in Tunisia and the constitution regulating it, especially after the course of July 25, the International Islamic Union of Lawyers organized an international conference in Tunisia under the title: Which constitution do we want?

During which the conference showed an original vision stemming from the belief of the Tunisian people and expressing their civilized identity. A group of intellectuals and opinion leaders from lawyers, experts and scholars from different countries participated, on Saturday March 19, 2022  at the Al-Mashtal Inn in Tunis. The conference was well-received as the conference hall was filled with the audience from Tunisians that was followed  live on the conference’s activities in more than one Tunisian city, and it was broadcast live on Al-Waqiyah TV Channel and on the International Islamic Union of Lawyers’ Facebook page and other sites.

Here is a brief summary of the conference program.

Speakers included:

ِAdvocate Fathi bin Mustapha Khamiri

Representative of the Tunis branch of the International Islamic Union of Lawyers, lawyer in Tunisia,  welcomed the conferees and attendees, then outlined the conference in its political framework where he denounced the inclusion of the Tunisian people in an abhorrent bilateralism that stems from the litigation of the regimes. Man-made constitutionalism, and trapping it in a formal struggle between two systems: either a return to the parliamentary system and the 2014 constitution as demanded by parliament supporters, or a return to the pre-revolutionary system, i.e. to a presidential system and a constitution similar to the 1959 constitution as President Qais Saeed wants to impose its legitimacy. Constitutions require examining the compelling reasons and the intellectual base on which the philosophy of the constitution is based and the controls that lead to the adoption of its articles and taking the opinions of Sharia scholars and experts in this in a way that expresses the Islamic identity of the Tunisian people, announcing the start of the work of the conference.

Advocate Shiraz Al-Harabi
Ms. Shiraz Al-Harabi, spoke in her speech entitled: “The Concept of the Constitution, the Customary Constitution, the Written Constitution.” It was an introductory intervention in which the most important terms around which the forum’s work revolved, knew the constitution from being a document or book that includes a number of the basic provisions and rules that define the form of the state and its system of governance and indicate the limits and jurisdiction of each authority and its relationship to individuals, as well as the mutual rights and duties between the two parties. In using the term constitution or law as foreign terms and then differentiating between the Islamic constitution and other constitutions. Her talk showed that the Islamic constitution contains Islamic constitutional laws whose source is the Qur’an and the Sunnah and nothing else. As for non-Islamic constitutions, they contain man-made provisions enacted by a constituent assembly whose source is customs and traditions, court rulings, or instructions of local or foreign influencers.

Lecturer Muhammad Sjaiful from Indonesia:
Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Jakarta, Indonesia, whose talk was entitled “The Importance of the Constitutional Mechanism in Controlling Political Life”, via video in English with simultaneous translation where he said that despite the fact that the constitutions of several countries in Islamic countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia Syria and Tunisia stipulate that Islam is the religion of the state or that the Qur’an is the source of legislation, but in reality this clause is just a political celebration for the ruling elites of the country’s founding fathers. Then he asked: Does the existence of such a constitution guarantee that rulers will not tyrannize their people? This is what I will try to present through this intervention, in addition to presenting an alternative constitution that can ensure that restrictions are imposed on rulers so that they do not act in an authoritarian manner towards their people.

Advocate Qais ElBaradei:
Then Qais El-Baradei, lawyer in Sfax, gave a speech entitled “Was the constitution of April 26, 1861 a real constitution?” He explained that the constitution of April 26, 1861 does not live up to the specifications of the legal concept of the constitution because it was issued by an authority that does not enjoy the conditions of independence and sovereignty from the central authority and therefore can be considered an extension of the Pledge of Security issued since September 10, 1857, when the bey was forced by the colonial countries, especially France and Italy, to issue a constitution with the aim of stripping Tunisia from the central authority in Istanbul and preparing to deal with it as an independent state not affiliated with the Ottoman Caliphate, and that constitution was a prelude to passing the Convention on the erection of a French protectorate on May 12, 1881, by claiming to deal with Tunisia as a sovereign state that could conclude international treaties harmful to the central state interest.

Sheikh of the Great Mosque, Sheikh Hussein Al-Obaidi:
Then the Sheikh of the Greatest Mosque, Al-Zaytoonah Mosque, Sheikh Hussein Al-Obaidi, gave an interesting talk entitled “Attitudes of Al-Zaytoonah Scholars from the 1959 Constitution,” where Sheikh Al-Obaidi began his speech by thanking Allah for the blessing of Islam and the guidance of the Qur’an, and by explaining the purpose of people’s creation to be the successors to Allah on earth, a mandate not an honor to worship Him (swt). Sheikh Hussein Al-Obaidi praised the Ummah’s good sincere scholars who clung to the Ummah’s legislative treasure, including the scholar Sheikh Taqi Al-Din Al-Nabhani, may Allah have mercy on him.

Furthermore, Sheikh Al-Obaidi spoke of the French cunningness and the reasons for the establishment of Western legislation and the separation of religion from the state. He explained that the reality in which Tunisia is living today is a complete dependence on the countries of the West and Europe financially and economically, which is the same that enabled France to colonize Tunisia in the name of protection after the country was drowned in debts, and his aim was The basis is the separation of religion from the Tunisian countries and the termination of the recourse to the Sharia courts.

Ustaadh Khabib Karbaka:
Khabib Karbaka’s talk was entitled, “The January 2014 Constitution in the Balance” in which he denounced the complicity of the political class in Tunisia in transgressing and challenging the exclusion of Islam from the system of governance and legislation in the constitution and other laws, as if the revolution was against Islam and its provisions, while everyone realizes that the absence of Islam from the reality Life is a great disaster that brought ruin and evil. He denounced the colonizer’s interference in drafting and supervising the constitution directly or through so-called civil society organizations with suspected Western funds.

Deputy Sheikh Saeed Al-Jaziri
The representative and owner of the Noble Qur’an Radio station, Sheikh Saeed Al-Jaziri, talk entitled “Al-Madina Document: The First Constitutional Document in Islam,” during which he spoke about the Al-Madina Constitution which defined relations, rights and duties, organized the relationship of Muslims with others, and specified the reference for all of this to the Book and the Sunnah, and how the Prophet (saw) was able to contain the polytheists and the Jews in that Constitution where he guaranteed the Jews their rights to practice their religion, and that whatever they differed about with the Muslims, it was attributed to Allah and His Messenger, and Sheikh Al-Jaziri explained how the constitution of the Prophet (saw) was able to build a nation. He also clarified the reality of the positive constitutions that they are protected by the colonial powers so that these countries can protect their interests, and in this context he touched upon the looting of wealth and how the representatives could not enter the south of Tunisia, which is still subject to colonialism.

Advocate Jandal Salah from Palestine:
The lawyer, Mr. Jandal Salah, spoke under the title “Repealing the man-made constitutions applied in Islamic countries,” where he emphasized that Muslims are humanity’s masters of law. Constitutionalism, although historians try to refer to the legislation of the Greeks, the Greeks, Hammurabi and others; but all of what was mentioned and others are nothing more than primitive penal regulations and Caesarean firmas that do not rise to the level of legal designation in their formalities and subjects. Then he made it clear that the duty of the nation, before contemplating the drafting of its constitution, is to determine who is the suitable group to carry out this task, and to exclude from it all who are defeated, deceived, and have agendas, just as Talut did when he separated the cowards and the hypocrites before confronting Goliath.

ِAdvocate Osama Al Barhoumi:
Then the lawyer, Professor Osama Al-Barhoumi, spoke under speech entitled: “The Phenomenon of Overturning the Constitutions in the Arab Countries,” where he explained that the man-made constitutions that shape the political systems in the Arab countries are constitutions stemming in terms of form and content from the identity of the Islamic Ummah, which facilitated the process of overturning these constitutions. Because it does not enjoy popular support, as well as being based on consensus, concessions and understandings between all the local parties on the one hand and their masters from the major powers from overseas on the other.

He clarified that the philosophy of the constitution in the Islamic system is based on the Islamic faith. Therefore, the ruler and the ruled are subject to the legal rulings, and there is no transgression by the ruler or rebellion by the nation. Authority in Islam is not possessed in principle except by the one whom the Ummah chooses with its free will, and it has the right to advise him, hold him accountable, and dismiss him.

ِAdvocate Fakir Haj from Sudan
The lawyer, Mr. Faqir Haj from Khartoum, gave a talk entitled “The Obstacles of the Islamic Constitution”, in which he listed ten obstacles that prevent the implementation and implementation of the Islamic Constitution, the most prominent of which are:

The prevalence of the idea that sovereignty is for the people among the intellectuals and politicians in Muslim countries, and what it resulted from is that the basis of the constitution is the will of the people and has nothing to do with religion, taken from the doctrine of separating religion from life. Muslims should know that the basis of their constitution is this great revelation; The Book and the Sunnah.

….While democracy, which fascinated many Muslims, is not just a way to choose the ruler, and it is not a template that can be filled with the provisions of Islam. Rather, it is a system of government that contradicts its foundation and the way it legislates the rulings with the Khilafah (Caliphate) system. The basis of democracy is the doctrine of secularism; i.e, the separation of religion from life, including the state, and it is a method of legislating the rulings.

Professor Mohamed Ali Bouazizi
Legal professor Muhammad Ali Al-Bouazizi also had an intervention entitled “The Merit of Islamic Sharia to be the only source of the constitution”, where he talked about the eligibility of Islamic Sharia and its ability to be the only source of the provisions of the constitution without others, given the comprehensiveness of Islam and its ability to take care of all human affairs and life needs in all respects, be it social, economic or political.

ِAdvocate Hadi Khader
The lawyer from the city of Sfax, Mr. Hadi Khader, also gave a talk entitled “The Adoption Mechanism: The Practical Methodology in the Subject of Legislation,” where he explained that the adoption mechanism is the practical way to transform legal and jurisprudential opinions and jurisprudence based on the strength of evidence from the theoretical level to the practical level, so that those opinions and jurisprudence are transformed to valid legal texts.

And he indicated the field in which the adoption by the state takes place: everything that is related to the affairs of governance and authority is included in the original work of taking care of affairs and it must be carried out according to one specific rule, which is required by the unity of the state. And he indicated that the consensus of the Companions was held that adoption with regard to the state is for the caliph, and he reviewed the legal rules in that as the rule “The Sultan has the right to occur from the districts as many problems occur,” and “The Imam’s order removes the dispute,” and the rule “The Imam’s order is enforceable, both outwardly and inwardly.”

Advocate Hanan Khamiri
The lawyer, commenting in Tunisia, Ms. Hanan Khamiri, the Official Spokeswoman for the Women’s Section of Hizb ut Tahrir in Wilayah Tunisia, gave a talk on “Illuminations from a Draft Constitution Ready for Implementation”, a draft constitution taken from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Noble Prophet, where she demonstrated how the positive constitution imposed on Tunisia on the part of foreign powers, how do they fight the identity of the Tunisian people. She mentioned vivid examples in this, where she said: But they made human constitutions for us that serve the interests of their writers and their colonial guardians, to imprison us on charges of blasphemy when we recited the verses of Allah.

Then she highlighted the most important rules of governance in Islam: Sovereignty is for the Sharia and the authority for the Ummah, and showed that the condition of Tunisia can only be established by an Islamic constitution for an Islamic state that achieves sovereignty and leadership. She answered the conference’s central question: Which constitution do we want?

Ustaadh Khabib Karbaka
The closing speech was given by Ustaadh Khabib Karbaka, Head of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in the Wilayah of Tunisia, where he presented the second part of “Illuminations from a Draft Constitution Ready for Implementation”, a draft constitution taken from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Noble Prophet, based on the established faith of Islam with definitive and certain evidence (and not ideas to satisfy this or that of the people), a belief whose truth has been confirmed by the evidence that agrees with human instinct, convinces the mind and fills the heart with true tranquility. The first guarantee of adherence to the constitution and the laws adopted as legal rulings from Allah Almighty, so full adherence to the laws results from doctrinal intellectual compliance, not with iron and fire.

Delegate to the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Wilayah Tunisia

Full Recording of Conference