November 11, 2005

the long history of violence behind Hizb ut-Tahrir

Via Harry's Place an article in The New Statesman on His Butt Tahir

The religious scholars of early Islam saw the caliphate as a work of naked power and they tried to keep themselves at arm's length from it. Indeed, religion throughout Muslim history has operated as an alternative, in tension with the caliphate: it was a repository of ideals of justice and equity, and its purpose was to speak the truth to the vainglory of institutions of power.

Perhaps the most cogent reason why the religious scholars who first developed Islam's legal reasoning rejected an all-powerful unitary caliphate was that they accepted diversity. They knew that different circumstances and environments would lead to different ways of fulfilling the moral and ethical principles laid down by the Koran. In this context, they saw the sharia not as a divine utterance of immutable law, but as the earnest attempts of Muslims in history to put into action their understanding of the Koran. These founders of Islamic thought produced and acknowledged different schools of sharia because they accepted diversity as part of the inherent design of Islam.
Unfortunantly His Butt Tahir doesn't follow this tradition, it prefers the Wahabi way of looking at things where there is 'The Truth' (which consists exclusively of the teachings of their sect) and there is everything else. With everything, and everybody, else being labeled 'target'
Their ideology argues that there is only one way Muslims can or should be ruled, that those who form this caliphate have the right to rule, that all others must submit unconditionally and that only this political interpretation of Islam is valid and legitimate. In other words, the caliphate of Hizb ut-Tahrir's vision can be established only by doing violence to all other interpretations of Islam and all Muslims who do not agree with it - not to mention the violence it must do to the rest of the world, which also must eventually succumb.


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