When examining the current events taking place in the world Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria have come to the forefront due to recent events taking place within those regions.
Afghanistan: Quran Burning
On February 21st, protests erupted throughout Afghanistan, after Afghan workers at Bagram Air Field witnessed soldiers burning Qurans and other Islamic books. The US was quick to issue empty apologies in an attempt to pacify the Muslims. The Muslims seeing through the empty rhetoric were motivated to protest the continued presence of the 130,000 American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Since the beginning of the demonstrations, there have been 26 protestors killed by NATO soldiers and Afghan police.
With the war in Afghanistan now a decade old, the desecration of the Quran is just another event in a series of atrocities committed against our brothers and sisters by the American occupying forces and her allies. Numerous atrocities were committed against the Muslims including the recent airstrike by NATO forces in which 8 Afghan youth were killed and the airstrike by US forces in 2009 where 140 people were killed, both of which were followed by more empty apologies. In the past 10 years, there have been countless airstrikes and death squads targeting civilians in their homes, on the street or at wedding parties. As of October 2010, the death toll of Muslims in Afghanistan by the American led occupation is estimated at approximately 75,000 with approximately 500,000 people displaced.
Daily living conditions for the Muslims in Afghanistan are unimaginable. Most people lack access to safe drinking water and sanitary facilities which has led to many health problems. Disease, malnutrition and poverty are widespread and millions of people are dependent on food aid. Average life expectancy in Afghanistan is 44 years and 1 in 4 children will not survive beyond their 5th birthday. Safety and security in Afghanistan is also an issue. Refugees International states that the Afghan security forces, “…are extorting money from people, demanding taxes, using their power to abuse civilians. They’ve also been implicated in allegations of murder and torture in these communities.” Corruption is not only at the lower levels of government but flows all the way to the top. USAID, Afghanistan’s biggest donor, allocates close to half of its funds to five large US contractors in the country. Excessive amounts of aid are siphoned off in terms of either corporate profits or exorbitant wages/expenses paid to sub-contractors. According to the former NATO Special Civilian Representative, 40% of aid to Afghanistan does not reach Afghans – but flows out of the country. As for the aid that does reach the Afghans, a significant portion of it flows to corrupt Afghan officials.
Somalia: Gradual Occupation
Last week, the UN Security Council voted to increase the number of African Union (AU) troops in Somalia from 12,000 to almost 18,000. A day later, an international conference on Somalia with representatives from over 40 countries had taken place in Britain to discuss many issues including security, political stability and piracy. Like the conferences that have preceded it, they have been used by the colonial powers to interfere in the internal affairs of Muslim lands.
Since 1991, it has been estimated that between 350,000 and 1,000,000 Muslims in Somalia have died due to years of fighting between rival warlords, foreign invasions and an inability to deal with famine and disease. This number is further magnified by the amount of Muslims who have been injured and displaced due to the ongoing conflict. Across the country, more than 1,400,000 Muslims have been displaced with more than 900,000 refugees living in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia.
Daily life is a struggle and challenge for the Muslims in Somalia. In 2011, this struggle worsened as the Horn of Africa experienced its worst drought in 60 years. The drought has left tens of thousands dead with the majority of them being children.
Stability had temporarily entered Somalia in 2006 when the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) took control of Mogadishu and other parts of the south after defeating clan warlords. The UIC worked to bring some law and order based on the implementation of the Shariah of Allah (swt). Not content with an independent leadership in Somalia, America provided support to Ethiopian and African Union troops in 2007 so that they could enter Somalia and dismantle the UIC. Today, the country remains in conflict between Al-Shabab and the Transitional Federal Government supported by Ethiopian, Kenyan and African Union troops. Since June of last year, there has also been a series of drone attacks in Somalia by the US with the most recent taking place on February 24th, a day after the London conference.
Syria: The Slaughter of Muslims Continues
For more than a year, the Muslims across Syria have on a daily basis been peacefully protesting the tyrannical rule of the Assad regime. In a desperate bid to maintain control over the country, the Syrian regime has relied on ruthless measures to break the will of the Muslims.
The Syrian army fires live ammunition on those who protest. Anyone (men, women and children) who is not killed but caught by the regime are subject to horrific methods of torture including rape, castration, electrocution and hitting detainees with the intent of causing severe damage and failure of internal organs. Protestors avoid state hospitals and clinics even if severely injured as there have been accounts of security forces arresting wounded patients, torturing and killing them. Doctors who treat the wounded have also been tortured and killed by the regime. Snipers have been posted throughout the cities, assassinating any Muslim who tries to get food from the corner store or bakery. The Mukhabbarat (secret police) have also planted themselves within the protests so that after the protests end for the evening, the Syrian regime can terrorize the Muslims in their own homes. For example, the Daily Mail reported in January of this year, the Syrian army visited the home of a suspected protestor. Frustrated that he was not home, one of the officers grabbed a 7-month old baby from the living room and in front of his mother decapitated the boy and hung his head on the front door and threatened to kill more children if the protestor did not show up. Across the country, the roads are strewn with checkpoints operated by the Mukhabbarat. According to a resident living in Syria, the intelligence officers stop each and every car and they arbitrarily arrest, torture and kill whomever they please.
On February 3rd of this year, government forces began to heavily bombard the city of Homs using tanks, helicopters, artillery, rockets and mortars. The regime has also cut off water and electricity from the city and they are not allowing any food or medical supplies in. From this bombardment alone, the death toll stands at 700 and continues to rise. Those who survive the bombardment are left cold and hungry in their homes waiting for the end of the assault. Since the beginning of the uprising, there have been an estimated 100,000 in detention, 15,000 injured and close to 9,000 killed.
Absence of the Khilafah: Root Cause of the Problems
When examining the abuse and suffering of our brothers and sisters, it can be quickly realized that the main factor behind the continued and open attacks is due to the Muslims having no one to represent them. When the mothers of this Ummah watch in horror as their children die a slow agonizing death, who is there to help them? The agent rulers in the Muslim lands cannot help us as they do not represent us nor do they represent Islam. Foreign organizations such as the UN cannot help us as they are tools designed to help colonialist nations protect their interests in the Muslim lands. It is only the Khaleefah who can answer the cry of the Muslims as it is the Khaleefah’s responsibility before Allah (swt) to be the guardian for the Muslim Ummah. The Prophet (saw) said:
“Each of you is a guardian and each of you is questioned over his subjects, the Imam who is responsible over the people and he is questioned over his responsibility…” [Bukhari & Muslim]
In the past, the presence of the Khilafah meant that other nations were much more cautious about infringing the sanctity of Muslim blood. In our history, we had the Khaleefah Mo’tasim who sent a huge Muslim army to the Byzantine borders in order to protect the honour of one Muslimah held prisoner, after she had shouted, “Oh Mo’tasim!” to aid her in her plight.
With the absence of the Khilafah, it is of utmost importance that we realize the fardiyyah (obligation) of working to re-establish the Khilafah Rashidah. Abdullah bin Umar (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said:
“… whoever dies without the pledge of allegiance (to the ruler) upon his neck dies a death of jahiliyya.” [Muslim]
This part of the hadith indicates to us that in order to have the pledge of allegiance on our neck, there must be a Khaleefah present – the absence of which carries a severe penalty. If we truly understand the implications of what this hadith means, we should be very concerned as the Ummah has been without a Khaleefah for almost 91 years! As a result, we must work for the re-establishment of the Khilafah Rashidah in the Muslim lands according to the method of RasulAllah (saw) so that we can be rewarded for having fulfilled this fard when standing before Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgment. Bilal ibn Harith al-Muzani narrated that the Prophet (saw) said:
“He who revived a Sunnah out of my Sunan, which has died after me, for him is the reward like the reward of those who acted upon it without any decrease in that reward…” [Tirmidhi]
Pondering on this hadith in relation to the work to re-establish the Khilafah Rashidah, it is quite evident that the Islamic solutions to the social, political and economic problems have been absent from being implemented in the Muslim lands. Consequently, if our efforts were accepted by Allah (swt) as being a contribution to the re-establishment of the Khilafah, then insha-Allah our rewards will be continuous.
While the task seems immense and daunting, Allah (swt) has given us the glad-tidings of victory. RasulAllah (saw) describes our time as a time when the rulers will be oppressive. However, after the oppressive rulers RasulAllah (saw) says:
“…and then there will be Khilafah upon the Prophetic method.” [Ahmad]
Now is the time for the Khilafah as the Ummah is longing for its return. The awareness about the Khilafah Rashidah has spread across the globe and there are many sincere Muslims working as part of Islamic groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir to make the vision a reality.
May Allah (swt) remove the agent rulers in the Muslim world and the man-made systems they uphold and replace them with a leadership that fears Allah (swt) alone and implements the Ahkam through the implementation of the Khilafah State. Ameen.
“Allah has promised such of you who believe and do good deeds that He will surely make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those before them to succeed (others); and He will surely establish for them their religion which He has approved for them, and will give in exchange safety after their fear.” [TMQ 24:55]