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in category Khulafah Rashida

What is Akram Nadawi's understanding of the Caliphate like?

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Sheikh Akram believes the current state of the ummah is such that a khilafah could not be established. Before discussing and calling for shari'a we need to call for iman and Islam (submission to God) and then people would be willing to live by the shari'a implemented by the state.

What is Akram Nadawis understanding of the Caliphate like?

Sh. Akram also mentioned two historical events of note.

- Firstly the sahaba ruled over a majority non-muslim population in biladusham.

-Secondly the majority of inhabitants in Jerusalem were in fact Christian and this only changed after the liberation of Palestine by Salahudeen Ayyubi. The Christians converted as they saw the mercy and justice of Islam in comparison to Christrian rule resulting in mass conversions to Islam.

It begs the question, what level of iman and Islam is needed for a state and secondly what proportion of the population needs to be practising.

It is no doubt important to culture and educate Muslims and certainly those who run the state must be practising Islam but examples of biladusham and Palestine indicate the necessity of the majority being practising muslims isn't necessarily a condition before you can apply the rule. In fact through observing the pious imam and implementing the mercy and justice of Islam majority of people converted.

After the death of the prophet (saw) the majority of Arabian peninsula reneged from Abu Bakr's (ra) leadership. In fact only Mecca, Medina and Taif were under his rule at the beginning. Yet his approach wasn't just to educate the people but utilise the state to implement solutions through the shari'a.

This is an important question because we see very little understanding when it comes to what level the ummah is needed to be at in order to establish the Khilafah. The assumption being that when the ummah is practising the khilafah will be established. Yet history demonstrates the opposite. Thirteen years of dawah in Mecca saw a small group of muslims but the subsequent ten years of the Islamic state resulted in rapid expansion. Even in Medina the first Islamic state, many of the Muslims had entered into Islam in that first year due to their tribal leaders becoming Muslims. Secondly the rapid change in society of Yathrib took less than a year, apart from the leaders the masses hadn't met the prophet (saw).

However that doesn't mean education of individuals and masses isn't required. You still need to develop the individual muslims as those who run the Islamic state must be practising knowledgable Muslims.

You also have to ensure the ummah is prepared to live under Islamic rule. But preparation and culturing is sometimes confused with getting the majority to practise Islam.

Indeed we want to achieve the majority practising Islam, however that will come post-state when the full manifestation of Islam is seen and a society that promotes and facilitates piety is established through the shari'a. The preparation of the society therefore is about preparing their willingness to live under such a system. When the environment changes so will their behaviour because their opinion is inline with Islam.

Here the important point is to ensure an opinion for Islam and its application in state exists. If a person prays 5 times a day but doesn't believe prayer should be established in society, he is a greater obstacle to establishing the law of the state than a person who may pray occasionally but believes salah should be established by the government.

This latter person doesn't oppose the implementation of the law even though it doesn't necessarily conform to his behaviour.

So educating people means building a group of individuals with strong iman and Islam who can run the khilafah and it means culturing the society such that the correct public opinion and thoughts exists for Islam and khilafah. The majority of people don't need to be perfect but an opinion for Islam needs to be generated.

In this final part I cover the final of the three questions I asked to the sheikh.

I stated that I believed the sheikh had decoupled the individual problems people face from the necessity of the state. Therefore when there's a failing of individuals normally societies look to see what systems they can put in place in order to mitigate these problems in the future.

Eg during the MP expense scandal in the UK. The solution was to create an independent audit committee that would investigate and oversee expense claims made by mps rather than simply leaving it to themselves. The corruption was dealt with not simply by claiming mps should fix themselves. Or that individuals should solve their own individual problem and this will magically fix the mps. Rather a system was put in place that provided transparency and accountability of mps.

Similarly when we look to problems in the muslim world we can't just expect people to sort themselves out. Leave the rectification to the individual as this would be a hit or miss approach. Secondly what we find in the muslim world are systemic problems that actual promote corruption in society. Thus good ppl are forced to do bad things in order to get by.

Eg I said the police in Pakistan are paid low wages which are not sufficient to provide sustenance of their basic needs. They supplement their income through bribery as the only means to provide for their family. Secondly you have mass poverty that results in many people living well below the poverty line. Thirdly you have a breakdown in the rule of law, such that people have little to no confidence that they'll receive their rights through due process. Fourthly corrupt leaders who actively usurp the rights and squander the wealth of the masses. Effectively if the rulers are corrupt this will trickle down to ordinary citizens who would again lose trust in the system and thus in a corrupt environment with limited resources and mass poverty good ppl will do bad things.

Therefore you can't expect the solution to this problem to be just tell ppl to work on themselves. That's not a solution. Rather you need a sufficient number of individuals to be practising they will apply the system of law. Secondly you need to have checks and accountability of those in authority. Islam has systems like qadi madhaalim that looks into the usurpation of rights and oppression committed by those in authority.

Finally through application of these systems can ppl be lifted out of poverty, officials be given a decent wage, laws that befit the value set of the society and a leadership that remains accountable to the ppl.

Thus the individual problem of corruption is part of the societal problem and a lack of proper system implemented in that society.

The sheikh simply mentioned that a state doesn't make people islamic. To which I said but if the problem is endemically related to the system then you will have a situation that good ppl will do bad things.

Earlier in fact the sheikh mentioned how insurance is haram but because it's a law in the UK we are obliged by necessity to take it out if we want to drive. Although I didn't repeat this example to him it does show my point, how a system impacts on the behaviour of individuals.


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