Muslims have a desire to return to Islam and to live under the Islamic system. More Muslims are beginning to realize that the Islamic State is a vital issue because the Islamic State is the mechanism which defends Islam and Muslims, applies the Islamic system, and propagates Islam to the world.
The experiences that many Muslims have encountered with the regimes in the Muslim World have led many to believe that the Islamic State would resemble a police state in which the rules of Islam would be applied in an iron-fisted manner. In order to clarify this misconception, one must comprehend understand the nature of societies and the nature of Islam itself. It is a common notion among some individuals that the mere application of Islam amounts to iron-fisted rule. However, this is a false notion because of two reasons. First, the nature of any society is that they are governed by systems, and any system must be imposed upon the people. In other world, the people in any society are required by compulsion to obey the law; if they choose to disobey the law, then they are reprimanded and must be held accountable before the law. In this regard, the Islamic State would be no different than any other state. Like in any country, the Islamic State has rules and regulations that the citizens are expected to abide by once they are sworn as citizens of the state.
Similarly, the Islamic State is a state that is based upon a system of thoughts that emanate from a unique foundation, and this foundation must be protected. In the West, the regimes pay special attention to maintaining the integrity of their Capitalist foundation and the system of thoughts that shape their respective societies. Therefore, it would be expected for the Islamic State to have restrictions and to take measures in order to guard its foundation and the integrity of its system of thoughts. This aspect is characteristic of any state, particularly when it comes to the vital issues, which every nation has. The nation resembles the body, and like the body, there are parts which, if affected or damaged, will not result in the death of the body, such as losing a finger or even a hand. However, organs such as the heart and the brain, if affected, will result in the death of the body, which means that the body must ensure that these vital organs remain functioning. The protection of such organs is no longer a matter of convenience, but a matter of life and death. Similarly, every nation is faced with issues, some of which, if unresolved, will result in the death of that nation. The abortion issue is not considered by the United States to be a vital issue; therefore, the debate over abortion can rage on endlessly without taking a drastic toll on the nation. However, one issue that is considered a vital issue is the unity of the Federation. When this unity was threatened and some states seceded from the union, the rest of the country was willing to fight an entire civil war in order to bring the renegade states back into the union. Had the United States not fought the Civil War, the US today may have resembled Africa. While an outside observer may consider this a harsh measure on the part of the US government - to launch a civil war that consumed over a million lives - to any American, it was a necessary action taken to preserve the integrity of the country.
Likewise, the Islamic State has certain issues that are deemed a matter of life and death. The only difference between the Islamic State and other states is that, in other states, the vital issues are determined by the prevailing interests of the society and are therefore subject to change. For example, the Middle East was not considered a vital issue for the United States, until the Eisenhower Doctrine made it into a vital issue. However, in Islam, the vital issues are determined by the Islamic ideology and are fixed. In light of this, it should come to no surprise that the murtad (the one who openly renounces Islam and reverts to disbelief) is executed in Islam because somebody who renounces Islam is in fact rebelling against the Islamic State and is a cancerous threat that must be eradicated immediately. To an outside observer, this may seem like a harsh measure that only a police state would undertake; however, it is known to any Muslim that those who have renounced Islam and have become murtads have always been the greatest threat to the Islamic State and to the Muslim Ummah. It was the murtads who brought the Islamic State on the verge of collapse during the time of Abu Bakr, and it was a murtad, by the name of Mustafa Kemal, who collaborated with the British to destroy the Khilafah and worked to ensure that the Islamic State would never arise again.
When the Prophet (saaw) migrated to Medina and established the first Islamic State, he began the Islamic State's first constitution with the following statement:
''This Ummah is one Ummah, distinguished from all others.''
This statement set the tone for the structure of the Islamic State to come by declaring, first, that the Islamic State is a unique state and, secondly, that the Muslim Ummah is one Ummah. Islam does not recognize any borders between the Muslims on the basis of race, nationality, ethnicity.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an:
''Hold fast to the Rope of Allah, and do not be divided.'' [Al-Imran: 103]
''And those who disbelieve are allies to one another. And if you (Muslims) do not do so (become united), there will be Fitnah and oppression on earth, and a great mischief and corruption.'' [Al-Anfal: 73]
The second ayah is a clear warning to the Muslims of the consequences of allowing any division to emerge among themselves. From the onset of the Daw'ah, the Prophet (saaw) made it clear that Islam is a universal message that was not restricted by nationality. He incorporated into his group Shuaib, who was of Roman descent; Salman, who was of Persian descent; Bilal, a Black man from Abyssina; and Arabs from both the poor and elite sectors of society. This is a clear indication that Islam recognizes no nationality or ethnic divisions. The universality of Islam was also illustrated in the actions and policies of the Islamic State during both the time of the Prophet (saaw) and throughout its history. In choosing the location of the Islamic State, the concept of ''national homeland'' was not a factor. He chose to establish the Islamic State in Madinah, which was a different region altogether, and those who migrated with him were called Muhajiroon, or ''immigrants.'' After he established the Islamic State, the Prophet (saaw) worked to consolidate his position among the Arabs by undermining Quraysh. Had his vision been formulated along nationalistic tendencies, he would have relocated his capital to Mecca.
He maintained the capital of the Islamic State in Madinah. Furthermore, the Prophet (saaw) would have ceased his efforts once he consolidated himself among the Arabs. However, towards the latter part of his life, the reason for him consolidating his position among the Arabs became clear. It was not to become the leader of the Arabs, but to establish the Islamic State as a strong enough power to confront the superpowers of the world and to carry Islam to the far regions of the world.
In light of this, he sent delegations to the Romans, the Persians, and the Egyptians. And before he passed away, he initiated the Army of Usama in order to fight the Romans, which he did during the Khilafah of Abu Bakr. By the time of Umar, the Islamic State expanded to include many non-Arab countries, such as Egypt, Persia, and the territories of the Romans, and even some parts of central Asia. The people who lived in these newly liberated territories no longer associated themselves with their national or ethnic background but became Muslims united under one flag, one constitution, one central authority, and one capital.
Throughout its history, the Islamic State manifested the capacity of Islam to dissolve all types of borders. Today, people who reside in areas that were once non-Arab and were distinct from one another, such as the Berbers of North Africa, the Blacks of central and southern Africa, and the Turks of Central Asia, all embrace the same way of life and adhere to the same culture. These areas all adopted the Arabic language, which is the language of Islam, as their language, and many of the great scholars of Arabic were non-Arabs. This bond, which Islam produced, was so powerful that it took centuries of concentrated effort by the West to inject concepts such as Nationalism and Patriotism, which resulted in the artificial divisions that exist today. Even the capital city of the Islamic State moved at least four times throughout its history. From Madinah, the capital moved to Al-Kufa during the time of Ali, and then to Damascus during the Umayyad Era, which was a conquered territory inhabited by non-Arabs. From Damascus, the Abbasids moved the capital to Baghdad in present-day Iraq, and later the Uthmanis, who were Turks, moved the capital to Istanbul. Those who were conquered by the Islamic State, such as the Abbasids and the Uthmanis, became the rulers of all the Muslims worldwide.
The Islamic State is not a national state that is confined to a certain territory. The Islamic State is a global state for all human beings. The Islamic State's jurisdiction is not based upon nationalism but is rather based upon who is a citizen of the state. And the citizenship of the Islamic State is not determined by the person's nationality or ethnicity, but is determined by his willingness to live under the rules of Islam and to accept the duties and responsibilities that this entails.
The idea of a global Islamic State sounds somewhat far-fetched because the concept of nationalism was injected into the Muslims, to the extent that many Muslims are unable to fathom the idea of removing the borders that exist between them. As a result, the notion of establishing an Islamic state within each Muslim country sounds more appealing and plausible to some. However, this scenario will strengthen the existing status quo because it will pacify the Muslims. The end result will be a strengthening of the existing nationalism that is keeping the Muslims in a state of perpetual weakness. The correct solution is for the Islamic State to open its borders and call the Muslims to annex themselves to its body. If the Prophet (saaw) was able to annex the territories around him which were inhabited by Kuffar at such a rapid rate, then the Islamic State would be able to easily unify the Muslims because the people around the Islamic State would already have Islam in their minds and hearts.
Did the Islamic State have a ''Bloody'' History?
After the West colonized the Muslim world, it utilized many means and styles to distance the Muslims away from the Islamic State in order to prevent its reemergence as a global power. Chief among these styles was to incorporate cultural and educational curricula into the Muslim lands, which had the net effect of creating personalities loyal to the Western culture and outlook among the Muslims, particularly among the educated class and elite. One of the most potent features of these curricula was the manner in which it presented the Islamic history. The Islamic State was depicted as being characterized by turmoil, bloody wars and internal strife, where the Khalifah was a ruthless tyrant who indulged in womanizing, drinking, and all sorts of vices. This type of history has been passed down through the generations and is now firmly entrenched, to the point that many Muslims ardently believe that the Islamic history is indeed a bloody history that should be put behind them and forgotten. When the Muslims do refer to their history, they do so with an eye of shame and regret, as something that should never be repeated or relived. And since the Islamic State was a part of this history, then the Islamic State, according to many Muslims, is a relic of history which the people can gloss over as historians but should be disregarded as a practical solution to the problems that Muslims face.
One extremely vital issue that Muslims cannot overlook is that history is simply an account of the actions of people. Therefore, history cannot be used as a standard to determine the correctness of the Islamic ideology or system, nor can it be used as a source for determining the obligations that Islam mandated upon the Muslims. Today, one witnesses that there is a gap between Islam and the behaviour of Muslims; however, the fact remains that the behavior of Muslims cannot be used to determine the correctness of Islam. Similarly, the behaviour of Muslims of the past -- which is what history essentially is -- cannot be used to determine whether or not Islam is correct. The correctness of the Islamic Aqeedah proves the correctness of Islam, in addition to everything that is built upon Islam, and this includes the political system that is designated with the task of implementing the system and conveying the message to the world. Therefore, the Islamic system, because it emanates from this correct Aqeedah, is the correct system for humanity. If there exists a gap between Islam and its application, then the fault lay in the mistakes that were made by those who applied Islam and not in the ideology itself.
Then the question remains: What kind of history does characterize the Islamic State? If history is the account of human beings, then the history of the Islamic State is an account of human beings who implemented Islam. Therefore, the Islamic State's history is not a ''bloody history'' but a human history, with all the characteristic features that a historical record of human beings would have.
One tactic that the Western-style educational curricula relied upon was to portray the application of Islam as a ruthless, bloody application that created civil unrest and problems. At the same time, they glorified the individual Muslim to such an extreme that many Muslims believed that the ideal Muslim individual should be almost angelic in character. What the Muslims did not realize was that this hypothetical angelic character - which was flawless and, therefore, unattainable by any human being - was incompatible with a system that was designed for human beings, because any system that is applied by human being will invariably result in mistakes being committed and, as a result, the emergence of problems of various sorts. As a result, this had the effect of keeping the Muslims attached to Islam as an individualistic religion while simultaneously distancing the Muslims away from the implementation of Islam as a system.
It is incumbent for the Muslims to realize that the Islamic State will be applied by human beings and not by angels. The Islamic society will be a human society and not a hypothetical utopian society. Similarly, the Islamic State will be a state administered by human beings where the Khalifah is just another man who will implement the Shariah in a human manner and not in a godly manner. The mere fact that the Islamic system has a penal code to punish those who transgress the law and a judicial system to settle disputes is indicative that Allah (swt) created the Islamic system to accommodate the imperfect nature of human beings. If human beings were sinless, and the Islamic State were a utopian society, then there would be no crime and no disputes, and hence no need for a penal code and a court system.
In conclusion, one should not expect for the history of the Islamic State to be a perfect history without problems. Otherwise, if this were the case, then one would question: If the Islamic State's history were problem-free, then is the Islamic State truly compatible with the imperfect nature of human beings and human societies? The fact that problems did occur during the Islamic State's history indicates that the Islamic State was a human history and is very much compatible with the nature of human beings. At the same time, the Islamic State's problems were not as epidemic and widespread as depicted in the history that is administered to Muslims. The amount of faulty information and exaggerated accounts which surround the Islamic history is so tremendous that an extensive amount of filtering must take place in order to reach the truth. The Muslims should be intelligent enough to realize this and should approach their history in a careful manner in order to avoid being misled. Therefore, the Muslims should have in place some framework by which to study history. The details of this framework are beyond the scope of this article, but certain points should be mentioned.
First, history should not be taken from the Orientalist because these people, who have devoted themselves to writing about Islam and Islamic history, have demonstrated that they harbour hatred towards Islam. It would not be expected for Capitalists to view the history of Western civilization from the accounts of Communists. Therefore, it should not be expected for Muslims to depend upon non-Muslims for their history.
Secondly, even when examining history written my Muslims, the quality and accuracy of the information must be scrutinized. It is a common misconception that by questioning the information transmitted by Muslims, one is doubting their sincerity or good intentions. However, the clear distinction between sincerity and accuracy must be maintained. The qualities of sincerity are different than the qualities which make an individual accurate. A person can be the most sincere Muslim and have the purest of intentions; however, this does not guarantee that he is accurate. A person who has the fear of Allah and the willingness to obey the rules of Allah makes that individual a sincere Muslim. Yet if this same individual is unable to sort information clearly, or he is not careful in verifying the information that he receives from others, or he has a tendency to forget easily, then this will affect his accuracy.
Lastly, when analyzing history, Common sense can at times be a very powerful tool in filtering the historical information. An example which illustrates this is the description of many of the Khulafah, in particular those who existed during the Umayyad Era. The Ummayyad rulers are often depicted as the most ruthless, bloodthirsty, and tyrannical collection of rulers that ever presided over the Muslim world. And the society that is described is one of constant turmoil, strife, and chaos. However, at the same time, it is also known that most of the expansion of Islam occurred during the Ummayyad Era. It is also known that the Islamic State at the time of the Ummayyad Era was the superpower of the world, and it was leading the other nations in all aspects of life. People in general would not be attracted to ruthless, bloodthirsty tyrants. If the Ummayyad rulers were so tyrannical, then why did so many nations willingly embrace Islam and accept for themselves to be part of the Islamic State? Furthermore, how could the leading state of the world at the time maintain such a status and be plagued with internal strife and turmoil of such epidemic proportions? Therefore, common sense and some knowledge of certain basic realities is sufficient to rule out such stories as gross exaggerations of both the rulers and the society which existed at the time.
The Khilafah Was Practically Dead During its Final Stages.
What Difference would It Have made not to have one state ?
While the Islamic State, or the Khilafah, was in its prime, it was the guiding light of civilization and the superpower of the world. However, towards its final stages, which began after Napolean's invasion of Egypt, the Khilafah's status underwent a precipitous decline. During the latter part of the 19th century until World War I, the Khilafah was but a mere skeleton. Thus, while the official death certificate was issued when Mustafa Kemal abolished the Khilafah in 1924, the real death of the Islamic State happened, according to many historians, during the mid-19th century when the Muslims began to refer to sources other than Islam for rules and regulations. This declined status would naturally lead one to ask the following question: If the Khilafah was weakened to such a degree during its final stages and its international status was so ineffective towards its end, did abolishing the Khilafah truly make a difference?
Even in spite of the Khilafah's weakened status, abolishing the Khilafah made a tremendous impact upon the Muslim Ummah for two important reasons.
First, it is the nature of any state to have periods of decline. Sometimes, a state or a nation may be in such a declined status that it approaches death. This happened even to the United States, when a large region of the nation split away from the central government and formed a renegade state. As a result of this, the United States was engulfed in a civil war which could have collapsed the entire nation had the events shifted the war in a different direction. The impact of the Civil War was so tremendous that, for the next several decades, the US was recuperating from its effects. However, eventually, with time the nation revitalized itself and emerged in the next century as the unparalleled superpower of the world.
Thus, as long as the system remains, be it in a declined or weakened state, the state has a chance to revive itself. There was a time when the Khilafah was in a tremendous state of decline. During this time, large regions of the State were controlled by renegade groups who were threatening to destroy the State. And the Ismailis, who later became the Fatimids and were not even Muslim, established a renegade Khilafah in Egypt that later assisted the Crusades in their invasion. When the Crusade Wars and the occupation of Jerusalem was added later on, the accumulation of these factors threatened to collapse the entire Islamic Ummah. However, the Muslims eventually dismantled the rebellious groups, repelled the renegade Khilafah established by the Fatimids, and emerged again as the superpower of the world. While the Uthmanis were never able to revive the Muslim Ummah to their previous glory, they did manage to maintain the title of superpower for several centuries, to the point that they were able to spread their influence into vast territories in Europe.
Secondly, and most importantly, Muslims must be aware of one fact of life: It is far more difficult to build a new system than to repair an existing system. Had Muslims been aware of this fact, they would not have allowed the destruction of the Khilafah to happen. The reason for this has to do with a fundamental reality of Allah's creation - there exists no vacuum. While the Islamic State remained, as weak as it was, it occupied a space. When the Islamic State was removed, a vacuum was created, and this vacuum was immediately filled by the Kufr systems imposed upon the Muslims by the West. Therefore, re-establishing the Islamic System now must come at the expense of removing these existing systems, and removing a system is a Herculean task. It is so difficult of a task that, when discussing the idea of changing the system, most people dismiss such an idea as impossible. It is no surprise that the Prophet (saaw) himself spent most of his time as a Messenger of Allah preoccupied with this task. By repairing the existing Khilafah, the Muslims would have saved themselves the agony of struggling with the Kufr systems and their apparatus that Muslims must now undergo in order to re-establish the Islamic State once more.
Muslims must realize that the Islamic State is their state and is not something that is imposed upon them. The relationship of the Muslims to the Islamic State is like the relationship of the house to its inhabitants. Even if the structure of the house is damaged by a fire, repairing the house is far easier than having to demolish another house and rebuild the house and its foundation. The Islamic State is supposed to protect the Muslims in the same manner that the house is supposed to shelter its inhabitants and provide them with a place to live. And if the house is threatened or damaged, or it is suffering from a defect, then this puts greater responsibility upon its inhabitants to remedy the problem. Ignoring the problem and losing hope will only cause matters to deteriorate further. Similarly, if the Islamic State is in a state of decline or is not performing its duties, then the responsibility of the Muslims is to work to repair the Islamic State. The situation of Muslims with a weakened Khilafah as opposed to having no Khilafah can be likened to living in a shoddy house as opposed to living in the street. The one who owns a house still has property that he can call his own.
How Would the New Islamic State Survive?
Given the status of the current world order, which is further entrenched by the hegemonic grip of the United States in the international arena, including the Muslim world, a question may arise: How can a newly-formed Islamic state survive its initial stages in such an environment. Many Muslims have a tendency to magnify the obstacles standing before them and the Islamic State, or they become so overwhelmed by the obstacles that they resign themselves to accepting the Islamic State as something that will never materialize. Others continue to reminisce over previous and current attempts at establishing an Islamic entity - all of which have failed - and come to the conclusion that creating a global Islamic State for the Muslims is a mission impossible.
Such a position is incorrect because the creation of a new state, while difficult, is not impossible. Throughout time, even during the last century, history has witnessed on several occasions the birth of a new state. The most striking recent examples were the Soviet Union and the State of Israel, both of which emerged in the 20th century. The most important elements in the creation of a new state are a favourable climate and an independent political movement that possesses the motivation and a certain level of awareness of its surroundings. The Islamic movement has a source of motivation that no other ideology has, which is Islam itself. The mere fact that Islam is the correct ideology, and that the Promise and Support of Allah is behind the Believers, are sufficient to abolish any doubt that Muslims may harbour regarding the inevitable success of this Deen.
What the Muslims require are a clear understanding of their objectives and the method to achieve these objectives, as well as a sharp political mentality to equip them with the necessary awareness that the new Islamic entity would depend upon to guide it through the task of establishing itself in a hostile environment. Whether the international climate is favourable or not for the creation of a new state, such an issue is subject to debate and is beyond the scope of this article. However, two points should be kept clear.
First, the Islamic State not going to be a camel-riding state governed by simple-minded people who will have to depend upon others to sustain themselves. The Islamic State will be a state that is governed by sincere Muslims who possess a crystallized understanding of their Deen and a sharp political mentality which will enable them to carry out their responsibilities to the world.
Secondly, the international climate is not a static climate that is fixed and perpetual but is a dynamic environment which is always subject to continuous change. It is a matter of finding the right combination of favourable elements in order to time the birth of the Islamic State to occur at the right moment.
No one is claiming that establishing the Islamic State is an easy task, and maintaining its existence, especially during the initial stages, will be even more difficult. However, like any other project, with serious planning, dedication, and preparation, the Islamic State will become a reality.
The Islamic State is as much a part of Islam as prayer and fasting. It is a very important and essential part for the simple reason that the State is the mechanism that protects and safeguards the ideology, implements the ideology as a practical system of life, and conveys the ideology to the world. Without the Islamic State, Islam will only exist in the minds and hearts of the Muslims and in the text of the Qur'an and the hadith, but will remain absent as a living system and a solution to the problems of humanity. It is for this reason that the West laboured for centuries to facilitate the collapse of the Islamic State and, after its demise, dedicated tremendous effort towards preventing its re-emergence.
Today, the Islamic State and the Islamic System are theoretical ideas that are taught more for academic consumption than for purposes of application. The Muslims must break from this spiral of looking towards the Islamic State as just another relic of history to be glossed over or a theoretical idea to be studied in the university halls. The issue of the Islamic State should be discussed as a practical solution to the problems that human beings face. Whenever the Muslims discuss Islamic rules - whether they are related to individual aspects such as prayer and zakat, or rules related to the life affairs such as jihad or the economic and social systems - they should begin to develop the habit of connecting these issues to the practical method of applying these rules, which is the Islamic State. This will instil within the Muslims the need for the Islamic State's existence, which will translate into a stronger and stronger momentum that will push the Muslims to work for the Islamic State's reestablishment.
Lastly, the Muslims must work to re-establish their confidence in the Islamic State and the Islamic System. There are many misconceptions and faulty information surrounding the issue of the Islamic State, and the existence of such misconceptions distance the Muslims away from Islam as a complete system of life. Allah (swt) has ordered the Muslims to implement the Islamic system in its totality and to convey this system to humanity. Such a task can only be achieved with the Islamic State;In order for the Muslim Ummah to fulfil its duties and responsibilities, they must make an effort to dispel any misconceptions that they may harbour towards any aspect of their deen, and this includes their perception of the Islamic State.