Saturday, April 30, 2011

Foreign Intervention in Muslim Lands

In mid March, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1973 which sanctioned a no-fly zone and the use of “all means necessary” to protect the civilians in Libya. On March 19th, America, France and Britain launched aerial attacks in Libyan territory. The move by the Western nations to intervene in Libya was based on claims that Muslims in Libya who opposed Gaddafi were calling for foreign intervention and assistance.

Intervention by Western colonial powers, such as America, Britain and France, is not a new phenomenon in the Muslim world. In the recent past we have seen these nations meddle in the affairs of Muslims under the pretext of freedom, democracy and human rights. However, time and time again we have come to realize that these excuses mask their true intentions of colonialism. These Capitalist nations seek to dominate the Muslim lands in order to subjugate the Ummah and exploit her resources:

  • Afghanistan – Under the pretext of the 9/11 attacks, America and Britain invaded Afghanistan in order to remove the Taliban and create a democratic state. Today, American Forces are still in the country (30,000 more troops were added last year) and the installed government is headed by the corrupt U.S. puppet Hamid Karzai. The country is relatively lawless and violent and the economic conditions are worse now than they were when the country was ruled by the Taliban.
  • Iraq – Under the pretext that the country was producing weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and that a democratic state needed to be established, America and Britain invaded Iraq in 2003. Throughout the occupation, the world witnessed the brutality of the occupiers through their heavy-handed tactics in dealing with the civilian population including the horrors in Abu Ghraib. Although America has officially ended the occupation in August 2010, American forces and bases still remain. Furthermore, Iraq is now economically worse off than it was prior to the invasion and over 1.4 million people have been killed.

The Real Reason for Assistance

While the Western colonial powers enter into Muslim lands under the pretext of bringing help, support and assistance to the civilian population, it is obvious that they have other interests at heart. Western colonial powers, such as America, are founded on the secular Aqeedah, which dictates that man determines what is good and what is evil. Therefore, these nations always act to fulfill only their own interests. It is inconceivable for these nations to act out of pure altruistic motives. These nations are not going to spend their wealth, and risk the lives of their citizens without expecting anything in return. And more often than not, they expect no less than subservience, especially when such subservience prevents the emergence of an alternative to the secular way of life, such as Islam.

America, for decades, sought to set a permanent foothold in the Central Asian region that included Afghanistan. In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security advisor of US President Jimmy Carter, highlighted in his book, “The Grand Chessboard”, the need to acquire the “potential economic prize” within the Central Asian region. He described that an “enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold”.

The invasion of Iraq is another example of the Western colonial powers’ pursuit of their own interests. In 2004, US General Jay Garner who was in charge of managing occupied Iraq said, "look back on the Philippines around the turn of the 20th century: they were a coaling station for the navy, and that allowed us to keep a great presence in the Pacific. That's what Iraq is for the next few decades: our coaling station that gives us great presence in the Middle East."

Today Libya, with its large oil reserves, is in the same situation. It is guaranteed that following this intervention the Western colonial powers will expect an enormous return.

The Hukm Sharai’ of Seeking Assistance

As mentioned earlier, there have been claims that the Muslims in Libya who oppose Gaddafi requested foreign assistance. Allah (swt) has clearly forbidden Muslims from seeking military assistance or support from non-Muslims:

“Oh you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliya’), then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun.” [TMQ 5:51]

“Oh you who believe! Take not as Auliya' those who take your religion as a mockery and fun from among those who received the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before you, nor from among the disbelievers; and fear Allah if you indeed are true believers.” [TMQ 5:57]

Furthermore we see in the life of RasulAllah (saw) that he refused non-Muslims to participate in the battles against the Quraysh. Ahmad and Nasa’ee recorded that prior to the battle of Uhud, they saw a good looking battalion. The Prophet (saw) inquired about it and was told that it is a battalion of Jews who were willing to help the Muslims in their battle. The Prophet's (saw) reply was:
“We don't seek help from kuffar."
Interpreting this hadith, Imam Sarakhsi said, “its interpretation [the hadith above] is that they were forming an independent battalion and were not fighting under the flag of Muslims. For us we can only accept their help if they fight under the flag of Muslims (i.e. receiving commands from the Muslim general). If, however, they wanted to fight independently then we don't accept their help. This is the interpretation of the hadith "do not be enlightened by the fire of Mushrikeen" and the hadith "I am not responsible of any Muslim who has fought with a mushrik.

Allah (swt) has also forbidden non-Muslims to have authority over the Muslims:

“Allah will not allow the disbelievers to have an authority (sultan) over the believers.” [TMQ 4:141]

It is not allowed for the disbelievers to have authority over the believers, because giving them authority not only means that the security of Muslims is in the hands of Kufr, and not in the hands of Islam, but also that implementing the rules of Islam will not be possible. The examples of Afghanistan and Iraq clearly illustrate this case.

What Should the Ummah Do?

If the above ayat and ahadith indicate that we cannot seek military help from the non-Muslims then naturally we need to first and foremost have tawakul in Allah (swt) and then ask our fellow Muslims for help. In the case of Libya, when the forces loyal to Gaddafi fled Benghazi, the Muslims in the area should have invited the Egyptian and Algerian armies for protection.

It may be argued that it is useless to ask them as Egypt or Algeria will not respond; they will remain inactive as they did when the Muslims in their own area protested. In answer to this we should be reminded that the victory lies with Allah (swt):

“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust.”
[TMQ 3:160]

The ultimate and true success and achievement is attaining the pleasure of Allah (swt) and Jannah as Allah (swt) revealed:

“Oh You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment. That you believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know! (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of 'Adn - Eternity ['Adn (Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success.”
[TMQ 61:11-13]

As a result, our perspective on any trial or issue facing us should be to implement the hukm sharai’ regardless of the consequences. We should view this world as a series of tests and passing the test means abiding by the ahkam shariah and Insha-Allah attaining the pleasure of Allah (swt). This mindset should be deeply-rooted in us so that when we are confronted with the immense trials we will continue following only what Allah (swt) has commanded. Allah (swt) has revealed to us many examples that show this behavior amongst the believers, including:

  • Those who were forced into the ditch: In Surah Al-Buruj Allah (swt) reveals the story of the believers who were given the option of either apostatizing or being thrown in a ditch of fire. As the believers refused to denounce their belief in Allah (swt) they were thrown in the fire. While it might appear that there was no success in refusing to disbelieve and be burned to death, they were indeed successful because they stuck to the truth and did not sway from the hukm sharai’.
  • Talut: In Surah Al-Baqarah Allah (swt) reveals to us the story of Talut and the army who went to fight Jalut. After testing the army by commanding them not to drink from a river only a small number of soldiers remained. They did not abandon their original objective, but rather put their trust in Allah (swt) and continued to meet Jalut and his army and they were victorious.
  • The Archers who remained: In the Seerah we learn about the details of the battle of Uhud. We are familiar with, the Prophet (saw) positioning 50 archers and commanded them to remain in that position no matter what happens (i.e. whether they see the Muslim army winning or losing). When the battle ensued it appeared that the Muslims were winning and many of the archers left their position in order to secure some of the spoils of war. However, the remaining 10 archers stood their ground as they were commanded to, fought the Quraysh army - led by Khalid ibn Walid who was known to never lose a battle - and died. Irrespective of whose Seerah we examine, it is clear that those archers who disobeyed RasulAllah (saw) were wrong to leave their post whereas those who stood their ground, abided by the hukm sharai’ and were in the right even though it meant their death.

May Allah (swt) allow us to be steadfast and patient in times of adversity and also at times of ease. May Allah (swt) allow us to abide by His commandments irrespective of the situation and the pressures facing us. Ameen.

“Verily, your Wali (Protector or Helper) is none other than Allah, His Messenger, and the believers, - those who perform As-Salat, and give Zakat, and they are Rakiun (those who bow down or submit themselves with obedience to Allah in prayer). And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger, and those who have believed, as Protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious.” [TMQ 5:55-56]

Usul: The Order (amr) and the form of Imperative

The following is the translation of a chapter from the Arabic book 'Al-Fikr al-Islami' (The Islamic Thought) by Sheikh Mohammad Mohammad Ismael Abduh, an Assistant Professor at the Egyptian University (now known as Cairo University) in the past.

Muslims are obliged, in this life, to proceed in accordance with the orders and prohibitions of Allah. His (swt) orders and prohibitions came at the tongue of Rasool ul-Allah Muhammad (saw) in the Book and the Sunnah. From these two sources we derive the ahkam and what can be evidences with them, for the ahkam, which are ijmaa’ us-Sahabah and the qiyas (analogy).

These ahkam are erived from the orders and prohibitions that came in the Book and the Sunnah. The orders and prohibitions that came in the Book and Sunnah are not confined to the form of the imperative (seeghat fi’lul amr).

They rather came in many forms. Therefore, it is wrong to think that the meaning of the order of Allah (swt) that He orders of a thing by the form do (if’al). He might rather order with the imperative form (do) as well as with other forms.

When Allah (swt) says:
“Fasting has been prescribed upon you.” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 183], He orders with fasting.

And when He (swt) says:
“It is duty upon (Muslim) people to make pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House.” [TMQ Ali-‘Imran: 97], He orders with Hajj. He (swt) also orders with the form of imperative (seeghat ul-amr) as in His (swt) saying:

“Establish the prayer.” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 43], and

“When you contract a debt for a fixed time, record it in writing.” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 282]

So the order from Allah (swt) is the request from us to do the matter, whether He (swt) ordered of it in the imperative form or information form.

It is incorrect to say this matter is not obligatory (wajib), because there is not a text that orders us of it, for there is no imperative form and it came in the informative form. Nor it is correct to say this matter is obligatory (wajib) because it came in the imperative form. This is because the matter might be obligatory and it came in other than the imperative form; and it might be not obligatory and it came in the imperative form. Since what is meant by the order (amr) is the request of (doing) the matter regardless of the form in which the request came; for there is no specific form for the order.

As regards to the form of do (if’al), it is not specific to the order alone. It is rather common (mushtarak) for the order (amr) and others. It might be for warning (tahdeed) direction (irshad) and allowance (ibahah); and all of these are not orders. The common (mushtarak) word, in the language, that has many meanings, is suitable for all the meanings it indicates in the language if it came detached for qaraa’in (connections). It is not assigned to a specific meaning unless there is a qareenah (connection) that indicates that.

As an example, the word ‘al-‘ayn’ is a word common (mushtarak) between many meanings. It is called upon ‘al-‘ayn’ (the eye), ‘al-jasoos’ (spy), ‘al-‘ayn al-jariyah’ (fountain), and ‘an-naqd’ (currency). There is no preference of any of these meanings over the others with a qareenah (connection), for it represents the true (haqeeqi) in some of them and metaphoric (majazi) in others.

Likewise the form (seeghah) of do (if’al) is a common (mushtarak) between many meanings. It is called to mean the order (amr), to mean giving choice (takhyeer), to mean threatening (tahdeed) and to mean gratitude (imtinan). Not any one of these meanings is preferred to the others without a qareenah (linkage). This is because it represents the true meaning of each one of them; and it is not true (haqeeqi) in some of them and metaphoric (majazi) in the others. The Qur’an has come with these meanings (for the amr) in many explicit ayah that are not subject for interpretation (ta’weel).

It appears for examining the ayah that came with the imperative form (seeghatul amr) that the Qur’an called it in different accounts and did not specify it with the order. It came to mean obligation (wujoob) as in His (swt) saying:

“Establish the prayer.” [TMQ Al-Israa’: 78]

It also means preference (nadb) as in His (swt) saying:

“… Write for them…” [TMQ An-Nur: 33]

It means direction (irshad) as in His saying:

“… So seek witness…” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 282]

Which means if you wanted to conclude a transaction, it is more convenient that you have witnesses on it so that your right is not lost. It is for allowance (ibahah), such as His (swt) saying:

“…But when you have left the sacred territory, then go hunting (if you will)…” [TMQ Al-Maidah: 2]

And His (swt) saying:

“And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land…” [TMQ Al-Jumu’a: 10]

It is also for gratitude (imtinan) as His (swt) saying:

“Eat of what Allah provided to you.” [TMQ Al-An’am: 42]

It is for honouring (ikram) as His (swt) saying:

“Enter them (the gardens) in peace, secure.” [TMQ Al-Hijr: 46]

It is for threatening (tahdeed) as His (swt) saying:

“Do what you like.” [TMQ Fussilat: 40]

“Take your ease (enjoy yourselves) a while.” [TMQ Az-Zariyat: 43]

It is for mockery (tashkeer) as His (swt) saying:

“Be you apes, despised and hated!” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 65]

It is for incapacitation (ta’jeez) as His (swt) saying:

“Be you stones or iron. Or some created thing that is yet greater in your thoughts!” [TMQ Al-Israa’: 50-51]

It is for humiliation (ihanah) as His (swt) saying:

“Taste! Lo! You are might, full of honour.” [TMQ Ad-Dukhan: 49]

It is as well for equalization (taswiyah) as His (swt) saying:

“Be patient or don’t be…” [TMQ At-Tur: 16]

Thus the imperative form (seeghatul amr) carries many meanings. If it came free of the qaraa’in (connections), then it is necessary to seek for the qareenah (linkage) in the text it came in or in other texts that came in the same subject or case, in order to assign what is meant of the command in that text. In other words, this is to determine the intended meaning of the imperative form in the text.

In this manner, it becomes possible to understand the divine text (an-nuss ash-shar’i), and to derive the hukm of Allah (swt) meant from that text. Thus man would follow the halal as it came and not as what the person wishes. He avoids the haram that came and not what the person himself views. In such a way man would have followed the halal and avoided the haram in the manner that Allah (swt) wanted.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yahya ibn Ma’in - an example of using youth productively

Al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi said in Siyar al-Alam al-Nubala about the scholar of Hadith, Yahya ibn Ma’in: “He is the great Imam and scholar, the master of the Huffaz [memorisers of hadith], the king of the Huffaz, the shaykh of the scholars of hadith, Abu Zakariyya, Yahya ibn Ma’in ibn Awn ibn Ziyad ibn Bistam. He was not from the Arabs but became allied with some of the Bani Murr, and came to be known as al-Murri, and al-Baghdadi by birth, one of the most of the prominent scholars of hadith. He was born in Baghdad in 158 AH and grew up there. He started writing hadith at the age of ten. His father Ma’in was one of the noble scribes under Abdullah ibn Malik in charge of the water tax, and left 1,000,000 Dirhams, all of which he spent on acquiring knowledge of hadith until he did not even have sandals to wear!

He heard hadith from Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, Hushaim ibn Bashir, Ism’il ibn Ayyash, Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, Abdur-Razzaq al Sana’ani from Yemen, Waki ibn al-Jarh, Yahya ibn Sa’id al-Qattan, Abdur-Rahman ibn Mahdi, and many others, in Iraq, Sham, the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and al-Hijaz. On his authority, Imams Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Abbad al-Duri, al-Baghdadi – then narrator of his teachings – Abu Zar’ah al-Razi, Uthman ibn Sa’id al-Darimi, Abu Ya’la al-Mawsili and many others.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Imam Abu Yusuf discussing fiqh on his deathbed

The Prophet (saw) said:

"إن العلماء ورثة الأنبياء، إن الأنبياء لم يورثوا ديناراً ولا درهماً، إنما ورثوا العلم، فمن أخذ به فقد أخذ بحظ وافر"
“The Ulema are the inheritors of the prophets, the prophets did not bequeath dinars or dirhams, but they bequeathed knowledge, so he who takes it will take an abundant chance”

Let us look at the example of the great scholar, Imam Abu Yusuf. 

Imam Abu Yusuf (Ya’qub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari al-Kufi, later al-Baghdadi), born 113 AH, died 182 AH the companion of Abu Hanifah, who spread his knowledge and madhab, the judge of three ‘Abbasid rulers: al-Mahdi, al-Hadi and al-Rashid, the first to be called al-Qadi al-Qudat (the Supreme judge) we see him on his death bed, during the last moments of his life discussing a matter of fiqh with some of his visitors in order to benefit and teach. 

His student al-Qadi Ibrahim ibn al-Jarrah al-Kufi, later al-Misri said: “Abu Yusuf became ill, so I went to visit him, and found him unconscious. When he regained consciousness he said to me: “O Ibrahim, what is your opinion on this matter?” I said to him: “While you are in this state?” He said: “That is fine, let us discuss it, perhaps one may be saved by it.” Then he said: “O Ibrahim, which is better in the casting of stones [during pilgrimage], to do so while walking or while mounted?” I said: “Mounted.” He said: Wrong.” I said: “Walking.” He said: “Wrong.” I said: “Say your opinion, may Allah be pleased with you.” He said: “As for the case where one stops where one should make supplication, then it is better to do so while walking, but if it is elsewhere then it is better while mounted.” Then I left him, as soon as I reached the door of his house, I heard crying, and he died, may Allah have mercy on him. 

[Reported in Fada’il Abi Hanifah wa Ashahbih (The merits of Abu Hanifah and his companions) by Abu’l Abbas ibn Abu’l-Awwam, p.730; also in Manaqib Abu Hanifah by al-Muwaffaq al-Makki, 1:481; Manaqib Abu Hanifah by Hafiz al-Din al-Kardaki, 2:405; and in al-Jawahir al-Mudiyyah by al-Hafiz al-Qarshi, 1:76]

Q&A: Where does the power lie and how can we obtain it?

The following is the translation of an Arabic Q&A published in 1970.

The question which is being constantly asked is were does the power lie and how can we obtain it?
As for the first question, it cannot be answered categorically. The answer lies from state to state. In a state like the US, power lies in the hand of the people and the capitalists who control them. In Iraq, it lies in the hands of the army, not the prime minister alone. In Saudia, it is in the hands of the family of Saud and King Faisal. In Turkey, it is within the ruling party, the president and the prime minister. In Kuwait, it lies in the hands of the chieftains and the ruler. So each case is different, however, the power resides on some sort of real support for its existence. If that support erodes, those who have the power will lose it.

Originally, power in any nation should rely on the people or the influential section of them. Consequently, taking power should be through winning the public or the stronger segment of it. As this would be a natural process. Although, in many countries, power resides outside the public, like countries under foreign colonialism. In such countries, power is not in the hands of the people. In these cases, power can be achieved either by winning the people who have the power. It can also be achieved through another force stronger than the first one or through the influence of a foreign force. However, if the power is taken without winning the public or the stronger segment of it, that is through a foreign force, the power taken will not be free but it will be more like assuming a job or a position. Whereas, if power is taken through winning the public or the stronger segment of it, then the power is free and we should try immediately to sever any influence which is foreign, until the power becomes independent. So, free power should not be taken except through the people or its stronger segment. It should not be considered power unless it is free, other wise it is nothing but a job or a position.

As for the second question, it becomes clear if we understand the first: what is power, where it lies and who supports it naturally or unnaturally. If that is clear realistically and not by imagination, rather through realistic thinking and not theoretically or through assumptions, then that point should be targeted intentionally to win the support of the people. The public should be the tool in such an attack so that it will become the medium to pass the power over. The public should not be the target of the attack. Weakening the areas where power resides, should also be targeted. This applies to taking power naturally if it resides with natural or unnatural support. However, if it relies on unnatural support, that is if it relies on foreign influence, then this should be targeted. The struggle then becomes between the people and the ruling power, or the people and those who hold the power. If such a struggle continues, people should be able to attain the power and pass it to those they believe in, regardless of the strength of the ruling elite.

One should realize that it is impossible to achieve power to reconstruct the society, unless the effort is a group effort aimed at changing the mentalities and the feelings of the Ummah. This requires from those working to reconstruct the society to rid themselves of any individualistic spirit and aspirations. Their spirit and aspirations should be directed towards the collective effort. Individual struggle may achieve power but will never be able to reconstruct a society, for this requires a group effort not individualism at all. The work has to be aimed at changing the relations existing among people by uplifting their thinking and emotions. Therefore, the method to take power to reconstruct the society is much more difficult than taking it to reform it or just to rule. That is why it needs more efforts and more time.

Published 1970.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Q&A: Rules of Hijra from the land of the disbelievers

We received the following question from one of our readers:

Question: Please can you inform me of the rules of making hijra from the lands of the disbelievers such as the European countries where living according to the rules of Islam is becoming increasingly difficult. Is making Hijra to a Muslim country obligatory upon us?

Answer: The following Q&A explains this matter in some detail please read through it: 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stealing revolutions with phantom solutions

Revolution is in the air across the world. Despite extensive media coverage, a confusing picture is presented as to what ‘transition’ might meet the demands of these revolutions. The domino effect promises more revolutions in the Middle East in particular, with similar causes and effects. It is thus pertinent to assess the real causes of these revolutions and whether they achieve their ‘real’ demands.The Egyptian revolution, which claims to have passed a critical milestone of ousting the ruler, serves as a good case in point.

Opinions on the revolution were primarily driven by broadcasts that showed little more than events in Tahrir Square. The popular uprising was so truly grassroots’ driven that it lacked clear identity and leadership, which allowed astroturfers to attach more articulate words tothe emotional protestor. Invariably the revolution is portrayed as demanding freedom, democracy and economic opportunities. This was designed to give the implicit notion that given it taken for granted in the western world; the demands would be largely fulfilled by a similar system taking root in Egypt.Whilst unusually frank critique of Mubarak and the US is seen as an essential source of credibility while discussing the situation, the rest of the analysis seemingly suffices with scratching the surface of the crisis.The reality underpinning the revolution could be explored in brief space by considering two key issues in tandem: firstly, the origins of imperial support for the Nasser/Sadat/Mubarak regime and secondly, nature of the demands of the revolution.

By the beginning of the 20th century Egypt and the Middle East had significantly departed from their Islamic roots, its prominent position in the world affairs and their prosperous past. This came as a result of centuries of internal decline in ideological consistency and the colonial machination. The post colonial era across the newly fragmented middle east differed in their respective alliances and regimes but were united in one single goal – that of combating political islam.

Why – what would Islamic politics threaten?

The colonial powers had established a foothold in a region by destroying not only physical armies but also a system that applied a coherent ideology and assumed a naturally influential role in the world. Defeating the armies and leaving the same system in place would only resurrect its power manifold.In fact the strength of the muslim world was solely driven by their ideology and nothing else – the proof of which is, in its absence, they possess no strength despite its weapons and standing armies. This obvious binary issue was the basis on which the independence of Turkey was negotiated via the Lausanne Treaty by demanding the abolishing Ottoman Caliphate in 1924. The independence was secured despite big opposition in Europe and Britain in particular, and Caliphate issue risked inflaming muslim unrest in India, Britain’s largest colony. It is the same condition on which support for political parties and regimes is provided today.

Islamic politics meant unity of the muslims on basis of a coherent vision, continual improvement of their affairs and projecting a powerful and contrasting position in the world in relation to colonial powers. This cannot be achieved by a clannish or cliquish regime, rather by a proven system maintained by a sophisticated political medium. Not surprisingly, dictatorial regimes were invariably foist edover all of the muslim world, each lasting decades on end. Every protest and every crisis was easily quelled with the unabashed support of the imperial powers. One such protest managed to get out of control into a mass movement this year under the spotlight of global media.

The problems in Egypt derive from this context, as development is thwarted by a policy that is meant to undermine its strength vis-à-vis the interests of the powers. These problems include poverty, food riots, failing infrastructure, corruption, unemployment, poor human development (ranked around 100 in lowest tertile), debt (public debt – 80% of GDP, external debt $29bn less than half of Mubarak’s assets), extra-judicial activities, torture, indefinite emergency law, ignoring the plight of Palestinians and peace with Israel. While Egypt was promoted as a prime tourist destination with rising GDP, Gallup's global wellbeing metrics make clear that lives of Egyptians did not improve (shown the plot below) . This is not due to lack of interest or ingenuity among the population - young people in the Arab League were found to be nearly four times as likely as those in North America or Europe to plan to start businesses in the next year.

The demands of the revolution in February 2011 included the resignation of Mubarak, cancelling emergency law and curfew, dismantling state secret service and university police, Omar Suleiman not to run next presidential election, dissolving parliament and shura council, releasing prisoners since January 25, investigating officials and thugs responsible violence against the peaceful protesters since January 25, sacking Anas el Fiqi and halt media attack on protesters in government owned media, reimbursing shop owners for their losses during the curfew and announcing these demands on government television and radio. For the transitional period they demanded drafting a new constitution,the right to set up media without a prior permission and real autonomy for national media,raising minimum wage to 1,200 Egyptian Pounds, the right to set up political parties, associations and unions by notification, cancelling the national service in the police force and ending the security clampdown on telecommunications and the internet. Protests continue demanding putting Mubarak and allies to trial, confiscating their assets and transfer of power from military to civilians.

These demands appear seemingly pragmatic and devoid of ideological or fundamental shifts. To appreciate the multi-dimensional character of these demands, one has to overlay this on top of public opinions, which may have received less coverage during the few unprecedented months in the region. From various surveys the overwhelming message suggests far more important undercurrents in Egyptian society.

US is the most important ally of the Egyptian government, which provides the second largest foreign aid ($1.5-2bn a year) and constitutes about 10% of imports.
Views on the US include:
85%have unfavourable attitude towards the US,
87% had no confidence in the US,
92% named the U.S. as one of two nations that are the greatest threat to them,
only 4% said if they had to live in another country they would choose the U.S.and
52% have an unfavorable opinion of the American people .

Demand for islam is taken for granted in Egypt:nearly unanimous (95%) support for a large role for Islam in politics , 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion. Majorities of those who favor sharia as a source of law associate it with many positive attributes. 97% of Egyptians, 76% of Iranians, and 69% of Turks in this group associate it with justice for women. Strong majorities in Iran (80%), Egypt (96%), and Turkey (63%) also think of sharia as promoting a fair justice system .

Therefore considering historical context, demands and opinions, it is safe to conclude that the revolution seeks a fundamental break from a century of unislamic, dependent and indifferent politics. Any change other than implementing an Islamic system would be insufficient to address the demands.

Mere democratic freedom and access to economic opportunities would make developing Egypt untenable. Within such a democratic framework, the proponents have already given assurances of honouring past international security and economic agreements. The revolution has been hijacked in a manner that the existing constraints would be largely untouched. Promoting democracy in the region has been in the interest of the US for the past decade, so that any new developments could still be manipulatable preserving its interests. According to leaked Wikileaks cable dated December 2007, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) planned to dedicate 66.5 million dollars in 2008 and 75 million in 2009 to Egyptian programmes promoting democracy and good governance. A 2008 cable also outlines how the State Department helped an Egyptian pro-democracy activist to attend a youth movement summit in New York and how the unnamed activist presented an "unwritten plan for democratic transition in 2011."He claimed that opposition groups, "including the Wafd, Nasserite, Karama and Tagammu parties, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Kifaya, and Revolutionary Socialist movements" all supported the unwritten plan.

The term “civil society” has featured prominently in the discussions of democracy in the Middle East, including the comments of the resigned Al-Azhar spokesperson. Civil society refers to uncoerced collective action around shared interests and values and are often populated by organizations such as charities, NGOs, community/faith/professional/social groups, trade unions, and advocacy groups.As in the case of Egypt and other developing countries, ambiguous and ad hoc liberalisation measures can allow such spheres of activity operate on the margins of law. Such pursuits for civil society have resulted mainly in individuals and enterprises often at the mercy of informal and corrupt administrative application.

Speaking of economic opportunities within the current framework, we saw that the past Egyptian government had threatened to reduce food subsidies, and the prospect of improving this is questionable noting existing trends. A graph of Egyptian oil imports, exports, and consumption (plot from Energy Export Databrowser) shows Egypt’s oil use rising rapidly, while amount extracted is declining.

Egypt was already significantly overspending in 2009 (revenues of $46.82bn and expenditures of $64.19bn). With oil production down, associated industries like refining and chemical products would likely take a hit, which would make raising revenues related to these sources difficult.With lower world oil production, revenues from Suez Canal may also stall, exacerbating unemployment problems already about 9.7% in 2010. This year might also change Egypt from an oil exporting to oil importing nation,adding to the imbalance - Egypt imported 40% of its food, and 60% of its wheat (adverse competition from meat industry and biofuels).Estimated the inflation rate for 2010 stands at 12.8%, and since wages are not expected to match inflation rates, inflationary pressures will pressure government to increase subsidies; at a time it cannot really afford to do so.

The solution lies in a fundamental overhaul of the system in order to put Egypt on a path of development without the constraints currently placed on it. Realigning priorities would have to include land reform, education, reclaim misappropriated assets, nationalizing public resources, rightly devoting the talent of the ummah in addressing her problems, influence muslim world to cooperate and cross-subsidise respective shortcomings, use its unique geopolitical and resource endowments to maximum advantage. This should not done in an indiscriminate manner to become an obsessively self-centered and materialistic product of capitalism. The policies of the state are driven purely by technical optimizations, rather by an overarching perspective of man, life of universe. It is because islam provides the correct solutions to big questions of mankind that it deserves to be the source of future policy making.

Allah(swt) sent islam as a guidance and a path of elevation on this life and the hereafter. Evidently in the establishment of islam is the method prescription for societal change. Rasoolullah’s (saw) steps towards forming the islamic system involved culturing and organizing the agents of change, generating public opinion and emotion and seeking the support particularly of the powerful and influential. The lotus revolution showed clear signs of the efficacy of this method, albeit at the hand of unislamic actors. Protests succeeded this time, due to the organizers addressing a large section of the population – mobilizing and snowballing the masses from outside the city en route to the city centre. The role of the influential people and instruments of public opinion in steering the society was used to best effect by the US and co- colonialists. While masses agitated without leadership, the influential were easily able to steal the revolution promote a narrow agenda for change, which amounted little more than face change. It is clear whose interests are being protected – which section of the revolution wanted the torturer and right hand of Mubarak Omar Suleiman to be replacement?

Did the 1500 killed and the 10,000 injured in this revolution risk their lives to maintain the system by merely giving some powers of the chairman to its chief executive officer? Did they want to overlook the crimes of the past, ignore the plight of their brothers in Palestine and colonial domination? Certainly not and the grassroots revolution continues unabated with further sacrifices. The role of army has been critical in the nature of change that ensued - whoever has the army on their side, gets to implements their system. The army was obviously not on the side of the people evident from the April crackdown – whose side is it on?

Learning valuable lessons, the opposition groups need to anchor themselves to the broader Islamic underpinnings of the revolution and the Islamic method of change elaborated by the seerah.

The progress of the initial phases of the revolution showed entire energy is short-sightedly channelled into the ostensive goal of removing Mubarak. As the prospect of his resignation was delayed, the protest compromised more to achieve what is now a narrow goal, stripped off its initial multi-dimensional character. A transition similar to the Indonesian protests leading to ousting of Suharto in 1997 is being sought. This has been the case of most revolutions in recent history - Albert Camus’ observes that “All modern revolutions have ended in the reinforcement of the state.” As the protest continues amidst increased awareness, we hope that Allah(swt) guides the ummah to demand the ‘real’ solution – the Islamic system.

"O you who believe! Obey Allah and the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life" [Anfal, 8:24]

Jon Clifton and Lymari Morales, (February 2011), Egyptians', Tunisians' Wellbeing Plummets Despite GDP Gains: Traditional economic indicators paint an incomplete picture of life in these countries. Gallup. Gallup classifies respondents worldwide as "thriving," "suffering," or "struggling" based on how they rate their current and future lives.

The Silatech Index, (2010), Voices of Young Arabs. Also in Mohamed Younis, (November 2010), More Than One in Seven Young Arabs Plan to Start a Business, Gallup.

Zogby International, (July 2010), Poll conducted for the University of Maryland.

Pew Global Attitudes Project, (December 2010), Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah: Most Embrace a Role for Islam in Politics.

Gallup, (2007), Egypt, Iran and Turkey poll on shariah as the source and role of legislation.

Abu Nazeeha