Further to the successful International Khilafah Conference 2007, organised by Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia on August 12th 2007 the following is a translation from an article that appeared in the newspaper, Kompas Daily on 25th August:
Khilafah is not romanticism
Fear of some parties that the International Khilafah Conference would be utilized as a mean to declare the establishment of Khilafah was unfounded since the conference was not planned for that. The conference was carried out simply as a medium to reinforce the commitment to the implementation of Shari’ah and Khilafah.
Nevertheless, the judgment of a muslim scholar, Azyumardi Azra, (in Kompas daily, dated August 18th ) who says that Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia grieves over the fall of the last Uthmani Khilafah is incorrect.
As a spokesman of Hizb ut Tahrir Indonesia, I clarified time after time that this event was not meant to mourn and extend the sorrow of the fall of the Uthmani Khilafah since it was inappropriate to always mourn such a thing. Besides, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia has never said that the Khilafah to be established should be like the last Uthmani Khilafah. Rather, it aims to be similar to Khilafah ‘ala minhaji an nubuwah (Khilafah on the path of Prophethood) to take the example of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and which was then continued by the Khulafaah Rashideen (rightly-guided Khulafaah) who were the Prophet’s prominent companions.
One important point to ponder is that the obligation to establish Khilafah is not based on the historical realities or empirical facts, but it is based on an obligation, which is ordered, by Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (saw) as a way to apply Shari’ah and to embody brotherhood.
However, it does not mean that the historical facts are not important. We can take some lessons from history in that any deviations under the Khilafah from the guidance of the Al-Quran and the sunnah would, without doubt, create troubles. For that reason, the Khilafah we seek to establish is one that is run upon the ideal Islamic norms consistently.
We admit that there were some divergence committed by some of the Khulafaah, but it did not mean that it was the Khilafah system which was wrong. It is incorrect to blame an entire system by simply judging from the faults of some of its rulers.
Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia has also never stated that all periods of the Khilafah were without blemish. There were also some Khulafaah that turned away from the ideal Islamic norms. However, the disappointment at the bad attitudes of some of the Khulafaah should not conceal the historical facts about the golden era of Khilafah. This obviously would not be a fair appraisal.
A number of historians have objectively documented the golden age of the Khilafah. For example, Will Durant in his book, The Story of Civilization, wrote that the Khulafaah had made great efforts to give security to the life of human beings. For centuries, they had allowed all opportunities to be given to anyone who needed it and ensured prosperity for all people in vast areas, a phenomena which had never been noted until later on.
Dr. Ali Muhammad in al-Salabi in his book al-daulah al-Utsmaniyah, ‘Awanul al-Nuhud wa Asbabu al-Suqut obviously describes the roles of the Uthmani Khilafah to resume the light of Islamic civilization which had been built by the previous Khulafaah. So it is not an exaggeration if Paul Kennedy in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 wrote about the Uthmani Khilafah as follows: “Ottoman Empire was more than just a military machine. It had become an elite conqueror which was able to develop a unified faiths, cultures and languages in greater areas than that of Roman Empire and of greater population.”
In several centuries before 1500 AD, the muslim world had surpassed Europe in the fields of culture and technology. It’s cities were great, its people were educated, its waters were excellent. Some cities had superb universities and complete libraries as well as fine-looking mosques. In the fields of mathematics, cartography, medicine, and other aspects of science and industries, the Muslims were always in the front line.
Islam in Indonesia
In the history of the spread of Islam in Indonesia, the role of the Uthmani Khulafaah was remarkable. A lot of Islamic preachers [ulema] including those of who were called as Walis were sent by the Khaleefah. At that time the Uthmani Khilafah took part in helping the Sultan of Aceh to fight against the Portuguese. In a book, Bustanus Salatin, written by Nurudin Ar Raniri, it was mentioned that the Sultan of Aceh received military assistance in the form of weaponry as well as the instructors from the Khilafah.
It is the right of Azyumardi Azra to say that the appropriateness and viability of the ideas of Khilafah are questionable. However, his use of the interpretation of Surah Al Baqarah, verse 30 to reject the system of Khilafah is also questionable.
Which prominent ulema use this verse as an excuse to reject the system of Khilafah? Imam Al-Qurtubi in his book of Tafseer al-Jami al-Ahkam al-Qur’an al-Azhim (Juz 1/264) explained the verse. He wrote, “There is no debate about the obligation (to elect a Khaleefah) among the muslim Ummah and the imams of the four schools of thought…”
To unite the muslim Ummah is a huge task, but it is not an utopian dream. The problem lies in the awareness. If there is awareness to correspond the vision and mission of statehood among the muslim Ummah under the banner of Khilafah, such efforts to unite them is not something impossible. This unification is made possible due to the character of Islamic propagation, which is aimed, at all humanity (kaffatan li an-nash) and to give good virtues to the universe (rahmatan lil alamin).
In the context of Indonesia, the idea of Khilafah is a path to bring Indonesia into a better condition. Shari’ah will substitute secularism, which is proven to have buried this country. The idea of Khilafah is also a form of resistance against the multi-facets of colonialism, which grabs this country firmly in many aspects.
Only with a global power can the current colonialism be matched. Therefore, this conference should be perceived as a full attention of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia as well as the muslim Ummah to the future of Indonesia and as an effort to maintain the real independence against all forms of existing colonialism.
Muhammad Ismail Yusanto
The Spokesman of Hizbut Tahrir, Indonesia