an article from 1924.org
Frequently Asked Questions About Hizb ut-Tahrir
What is Hizb ut-Tahrir?
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Islamic political organisation that was established in 1953 under the leadership of its founder - the honourable scholar, thinker, able politician, and judge in the Court of Appeals in al-Quds (Jerusalem), Taqiuddin an-Nabhani.
In the Muslim world, Hizb ut-Tahrir works at all levels of society to bring the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life under the shade of the Khilafah (Caliphate) State.
In the Western world, Hizb ut-Tahrir works to cultivate a Muslim community that lives by Islam in thought and deed, adhering to the rules of Islam and preserving a strong Islamic identity. Hizb ut-Tahrir also works with the Muslim community in the West to remind her to take up the call for the return of the Khilafah and the unification of the global Muslim Ummah. The party also works to project a positive image of Islam to Western society and engages in dialogue with Western thinkers, policymakers and academics.
Why does Hizb ut-Tahrir describe itself as an "Islamic political party"?
Unlike in the secular tradition, in Islam there is no dichotomy between religion and politics.
The actions which Hizb ut-Tahrir carries out are political actions, because the party seeks to look after the affairs of the people through these actions and according to the divine rules and solutions; Islam views politics as caring for the affairs of people by the rules and solutions of Islam.
What is Hizb ut-Tahrir’s methodology?
Hizb ut-Tahrir takes its methodology from that employed by the Prophet Muhammad to establish the first Islamic State in Madinah. The Prophet Muhammad limited his struggle for the establishment of the Islamic State to the intellectual and political domains. He established this Islamic state without resorting to violence. He worked to mobilise public opinion in favour of Islam and endeavoured to sway the political and intellectual elites of the time. Despite the persecution and boycott of the Prophet Muhammad and the early Muslims, they never resorted to violence.
We adhere closely to this intellectual and political struggle because we believe this is the correct and effective way of re-establishing the Islamic Khilafah. The party is therefore proactive in disseminating the Islamic thoughts, both intellectual and political, widely in Muslim societies so as to challenge the existing status quo.
The party presents Islam as a comprehensive way of life that is capable of managing the affairs of state and society. The party also expresses its views on political events and analyses them from an Islamic perspective.
The party disseminates its thoughts through discussion with the masses, study circles, lectures, seminars, leaflet distribution, publishing books and magazines and via the Internet.
The party's methodology is explained in further detail in the book "The Methodology of Hizb ut-Tahrir for Change".
Where does Hizb ut-Tahrir work?
The party is active throughout Europe, Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Australasia and the Americas.
Does Hizb ut-Tahrir advocate violence and is it a “conveyor belt for terrorists”?
Hizb-ut-Tahrir is convinced that the change we seek must start in the minds of people and we do not accept for people or societies to be forced to change by violence and terror. Consequently, Hizb ut-Tahrir does not advocate or engage in violence. The party strictly adheres to Islamic law in all aspects of its work. It is an Islamic intellectual and political entity that seeks to change people’s thoughts through intelligent discussion and debate. We consider that Islamic law forbids violence or armed struggle against the regime as a method to re-establish the Islamic State.
Numerous articles produced by a variety of media outlets including Reuters, Itar-Tass, Pravda, AFP, Al-Hayat, AP and RFERL to name just a few, have clearly pointed out that Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent organisation that has ruled out armed struggle or violence as part of its methodology.
Is Hizb ut-Tahrir extremist?
Extremist groups exploit people’s fears and present disingenuous arguments that are based upon weak and erroneous thoughts. We do not hide behind polemics and slogans – we believe the strength of our thoughts is evident in our literature. Our members have discussed and debated with some of the best thinkers in the world such as Noam Chomsky, Daniel Dennett and Flemming Larsen from the IMF because we believe the only way forward for humankind is to engage in global debate and discussion. We believe it is time to do away with the old labels of ‘extremist’ and ‘moderate’ and believe it is possible for people who hold dissimilar and disparate views to engage in rational dialogue.
If you would like one of our members to participate in a debate or panel discussion that you are organising please contact us.
Is Hizb ut-Tahrir linked with any other groups?
Hizb ut-Tahrir has no association with any other Islamic or non-Islamic movement, party or organisation by name or deed.
Why is Hizb ut-Tahrir banned in many countries?
Hizb ut-Tahrir is at the forefront of political activism in the Muslim world. The party has challenged and called to account the tyrannical rulers of the Muslim world. The response of these regimes to our work has been to imprison, torture and murder our members. While our challenge to these regimes has been at an intellectual and political level, by encouraging debate and discussion, these regimes have resorted to banning and silencing the party, as they have no intellectual thought of their own. As these regimes tolerate no opposition whatsoever, other opposition parties are also banned. Despite the banning of the party and the intimidation of its members, the thoughts of the party have nevertheless successfully permeated throughout society.
Who finances Hizb ut-Tahrir?
The organisation is entirely financed by its activists and we do not accept any financial assistance whatsoever from any government authority. Since Hizb ut-Tahrir’s work relies upon the dissemination of thoughts, the costs of operating are minimal, as thoughts cost nothing.
Who and where is the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir?
The global leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ata Abu Rushta, is in the Muslim world. He is the author of numerous Islamic political and legislative books and previously served as the party’s official spokesman. During his tenure as party spokesman in Jordan he was detained for several years as a prisoner of conscience. Since assuming the leadership of the party he has addressed conferences in Yemen and Pakistan. He regularly speaks on the official website of Hizb ut-Tahrir's Media Office, www.hizb-ut-tahrir.info
Due to the extreme persecution faced by our members in the Muslim world, we do not aid the tyrannical rulers by revealing the precise whereabouts of the party’s leadership.
Can I attend a Hizb ut-Tahrir meeting?
All of our meetings are conducted openly and whoever is interested, regardless of their political and intellectual outlook, has the right to participate. We give every attendant the right to participate in discussing the contents of the meeting, regardless of his personal stance towards Islam or the subject matter of the meeting.
To find out details of a meeting near to you please contact us.
How does one join Hizb ut-Tahrir?
Membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir is open to Muslim men and women regardless of their nationality, race and schools of thought, as the party looks to all of them according to the viewpoint of Islam.
An individual becomes a party member after detailed study and contemplation of the party’s thoughts and opinions. Affiliation with the party is based solely on an individual achieving maturity in the party culture and adopting the party’s thoughts and opinions.
Are women involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir?
Women in Hizb ut-Tahrir play an active role within the party to achieve its objective. They undertake intellectual and political work including calling the rulers of the Muslim world to account and struggling against oppression and injustice. Many female members of Hizb ut-Tahrir have faced imprisonment as prisoners of conscience by a number of the regimes of the Muslim world. In accordance with the Islamic etiquettes, women’s activities are separate from men’s activities.
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Views
What is Hizb ut-Tahrir’s view on the events of 9/11 or 7/7 and the killing of civilian non-combatants?
The rules of Islam forbid any aggression against civilian non-combatants. They forbid killing of children, the elderly and non-combatant women even in the battlefield. They forbid the hijacking of civilian aeroplanes carrying innocent civilians and forbid the destruction of homes and offices that contain innocent civilians. All of these actions are types of aggression that Islam forbids.
Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation accuses Hizb ut-Tahrir of “breeding violent anti-American attitudes”? Is this true?
The absurd attempt by some US think tanks to discredit all Muslims who reject western political models as being ‘terrorists’ is an increasing sign of ideological desperation. While Hizb ut-Tahrir is opposed to American colonial interests and espouses an alternative ideology, it would be trivial to be content with stirring up anti-American feeling because there is no shortage of such feeling already in the world today.
While Ariel Cohen is trying to mould himself as an expert on Hizb ut-Tahrir, his ‘research’ into the party is plagued by one inaccuracy after another. He has not even met a single member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, so how is he so well versed in the party’s ideology?
If you work for a think tank and are interested in the work of Hizb ut-Tahrir please contact us for further information - we can provide expert speakers for seminars, roundtables, workshops and conferences.
Ahmed Rashid, in his book entitled “Jihad – the rise of militant Islam in Central Asia” suggests that Hizb ut-Tahrir may become militant in future. Is this likely?
We disagree with Ahmed Rashid’s assessment and have issued a refutation of many of the claims he makes in his book. His book contains many factual inaccuracies regarding Hizb ut-Tahrir and it is apparent that he did not undertake the necessary research to write upon such a topic. Even though the party has clearly outlined its views in its official literature and even though the party has spokesmen throughout the world, Ahmed Rashid instead chose to rely upon "anonymous" sources whose credibility we have serious concerns about.
The argument that we will be provoked into militancy by the oppression of our members is in contradiction with the party’s history. Since the party’s establishment in 1953, its members have undergone torture, persecution and murder by various regimes in the Islamic world including Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Despite intense provocation and after decades of repression at the hands of the rulers of the Muslim world, the party has not erred from its non-violent methodology in the slightest.
Is Hizb ut-Tahrir anti-Semitic?
We reject decisively the charge of anti-Semitism because Islam is a message directed to all humankind. However, at the same time we decisively reject Zionism represented in the form of Israel and Hizb ut-Tahrir, like the majority of other Muslim organisations, is opposed to the continued occupation of Palestine by the Israeli State.
The state of Israel is founded upon a land that it took by force, after it drove out its people, both Muslim and Christian. This is injustice, which we will never accept from an Islamic perspective, regardless of the race of the perpetrators. In Palestine, Islam is in conflict with Israelis – not in their capacity as Jews who historically had lived alongside Muslims in peace and security for centuries – but in their capacity as occupiers and aggressors.
History is testament to the fact that many Jews used to live with Muslims under the banner of Islam for almost thirteen centuries. Throughout those periods Jews used to have the same high standard of living as the Muslims did. They enjoyed equal rights, prosperity, happiness, tranquillity and security.
What is your view on democracy?
The Islamic ruling system, the Khilafah, allows and encourages the accounting of the ruler and has provision for elections and consultation. Islam does not accept for state policies to be influenced or directed by corporate elites or big business. Islam obliges citizens in the Khilafah to be involved in politics and accounting the state.
Democracy in capitalist states is undoubtedly a ruling system that is distinct from the Islamic ruling system. This is because Islam and Capitalism are built on entirely different fundamental philosophies. While the capitalist system advocates sovereignty in legislation for humankind, the Islamic system advocates sovereignty in legislation for the Creator. For this reason, democracy is not consistent with the Islamic system.
Democracy is increasingly seen to be deeply flawed, controlled by large corporations and largely indifferent to the needs of ordinary citizens. Voter turnouts in the West are at an all time low and people are obliged to go out to the streets in their hundreds of thousands to express their frustrations. Though individuals currently have some 'freedom' to criticise and change their politicians in the West, the reality is that whichever politicians are elected, they are of the economic elite and they rule on behalf of the economic elite.
Why does Hizb ut-Tahrir not participate in Parliament?
The regimes ruling in the Muslim world nowadays are all un-Islamic. They are regimes which are not ruling by Islam because their systems are not derived from Islam (except for some portions of them). It is forbidden for a Muslim, who believes in Islam, to help, participate in or be a part of these regimes. Rather, Hizb ut-Tahrir urges Muslims to work with utmost diligence and speed to dismantle them and establish the system of Islam in their place.
We do not intend to prolong the life of corrupt and tyrannical systems of government by our participation in them.
What is the Khilafah?
The Khilafah constitutes the ruling system in Islam that is ordained in the Islamic texts. It is responsible for implementing the Islamic system in its entirety. It applies the rules of the Islamic legal code concerning judiciary, ruling, economy, social system, education and foreign policy. The Khilafah is responsible for conveying and propagating Islam to the world through its foreign policy. The Khilafah is completely distinguished from any other ruling style such as democracy, theocracy or monarchy.
The Khilafah will undertake the task of bringing reconciliation between all Muslims and it will banish all notions of tribalism and nationalism. The state is not for a faction, a group or a people. Its view towards its citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim, will be one. It will apply Islam according to the strongest evidences from the Islamic texts. It is not the state of any ethnicity or colour. Arab and non-Arab, white and black, will be equal before the state. Although the Khilafah is the Islamic State it does not just look after the Muslims but also all those who carry the citizenship of the Islamic State, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. When looking after the affairs of non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic State it has a duty of care to them based on their citizenship and does not view them as an "ethnic minority".
Where is the Khilafah today?
The Khilafah does not exist today in any shape or form throughout the entire world. It was destroyed following World War 1 at the hands of Mustafa Kemal of Turkey.
Commenting on its destruction, Lord Curzon, the British foreign secretary, told the House of Commons on 24th July 1924 “...Turkey (the seat of the Khilafah) is dead and will never rise again because we have destroyed its moral strength, the Khilafah and Islam.”
What about Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Sudan?
For a land to be considered an Islamic State, every single article of the country’s constitution, every rule and law, must emanate from the Islamic legal code. In every case of the above-mentioned countries however, these criteria are far from being met. In these places, Islamic law exists only by name as the source of the country’s legislation, with all types of secular legislation and customs playing alongside it, while the constitutions give much more weight to democracy, socialism, capitalism and the like. But these are all concepts that have their roots in other than Islam and are based on a different fundamental philosophy. Thus it can, in no way, be claimed that any of the current Muslim countries are representative of Islam and the Islamic system of government, which is the Islamic Khilafah.
Who will be the ruler in the Caliphate and will he be accountable?
The Khalifah (Caliph) rules the State according to the commands of Allah as laid down in the Qur’an and in the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The people choose and appoint the Khalifah. As a citizen of the Islamic State, whether male of female, Muslim or non-Muslim, you can approach the Khalifah. This may be done for any reason - be it to encourage him to fear Allah or to ask him for your rights. People are obliged to remove the Khalifah if he implements other than Islam.
How would non-Muslims be treated in the Khilafah?
An Islamic classical scholar, Imam Qarafi, says, "It is the responsibility of the Muslims to the People of the Dhimma [non-Muslim citizens] to take care of their weak, fulfil the needs of the poor, feed the hungry, provide clothes, address them politely and even tolerate their harm even if it was from a neighbour, even though the Muslim would have an upper hand. The Muslims must also advise them sincerely on their affairs and protect them against anyone who tries to hurt them or their family, steal their wealth or anyone who violates their rights,"
Many non-Muslims used to live with Muslims under the banner of Islam for almost thirteen centuries. Throughout those periods non-Muslims used to have the same high standard of living as the Muslims did. They enjoyed equal rights, prosperity, happiness, tranquillity and security.
What would be the position of women in the Khilafah?
Women would play an active role under the Khilafah to build a state that not only has an elevated moral character, but is also economically prosperous and technologically advanced. The Khilafah would be obliged to provide free education to boys and girls alike at primary and secondary level as well as fund free education at higher level in key areas such as medicine and the sciences. This would enable women to enter professions such as medicine, engineering, science, architecture, academia and the like. The woman would be permitted to trade, invest her wealth, own property, run a business and be an employer or an employee. She could, for example, take an administrative post within the state or be appointed as a judge, lease property and undertake various other societal transactions. In addition, she would fulfil the vital role of being a wife and mother, creating a tranquil family life, caring for her children and family and nurturing the thinking and development of future generations. She would have an active political role and a powerful political voice in accounting the ruler for any injustice, being vigilant over any societal corruption and taking care of the needs of her community.
How will men and women interact in the Khilafah?
Men and women would interact in order to fulfil the needs of their public life but within the remit of the Islamic social system that regulates the relationship between men and women. This creates an environment that facilitates the cooperation of the genders and enables them to fulfil their public rights and duties without affecting the moral climate of the State. It ensures that the honour and chastity of all are protected and that the sexual aspect of the relationship between a man and woman is restricted to marriage. For example, Islam has defined a particular public dress for the Muslim woman as well as obliged her to conceal her beauty in the presence of a man to whom marriage is permitted and has forbidden her to be in isolation with him. Islam has forbidden free socialising between non-related men and women or any action that may lead to fornication or adultery. The woman would be viewed as an honour under the Khilafah and therefore no action would be permitted that would compromise this.
Why can't a woman be the ruler in the Khilafah?
This is established from Islamic evidences that forbid a woman from holding a position of ruling. Those who have failed to study the Islamic texts deeply have claimed that this is because Islam believes the woman is not physically able to perform this action and have therefore labelled Islam as being discriminatory towards women. Islam has given no such reason but has simply prohibited this action for the woman.
Ruling in Islam is not a position of prestige but a position of responsibility. Status in Islam is not measured by the one who holds a position of responsibility but by how resolutely an individual fulfils any duty obliged upon him. A ruler by default does not hold superiority over a mother. Both have their duties to fulfil to ensure the society prospers.
Within the Khilafah, women would be permitted to elect the ruler. In fact women were present within the first delegation that gave a pledge of allegiance to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), accepting him as the first leader of the Islamic State. Women would be permitted to be within the consultative body of the Khilafah State that advises the ruler on various matters. They would be obliged to be engaged in the political life of the Islamic society and to account the rulers if they observed any corruption or injustice within the State. They can also be appointed as an official of the State in a non-ruling position.
Will the Khilafah accept scientific and technological innovation?
When Islam came for the first time as a way of life, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sent Muslims on a special mission to ash-Sham (modern day Syria, Jordan and Palestine). At that time ash-Sham was not ruled by Islam and was dominated by a superpower of that time, the Romans, who were Christians. These Romans were very skilled in military technology and had developed two special catapults. Also, the Muslims acquired trench technology from the second superpower of the time, the Persians, via Salman al-Farsi and it was put to good use in the Battle of the Trench. This is allowed in Islam because the Muslims did not go to take their way of life from the Persians and Romans. They did not take on their beliefs, values and systems of life. They took only the technology from them, which in fact did not come from a particular belief and is for all human beings to find, by the grace of Allah. Muhammad (peace be upon him) by his example showed us that technology in its origin is permitted in Islam, but it must only be used in a manner that is permissible under Islamic law. So a surgeon’s scalpel can be used to heal, but not abort an innocent baby. Television, internet and DVDs can all be used to propagate the truth or for educational purposes but not to exploit women as material objects.
Is the Khilafah a Monarchical System?
The monarchical system is not an Islamic system and Islam does not approve of it whether the monarch is a figurehead who does not rule, as is the case in Britain and Spain, because the Khalifah (Caliph) is not a figurehead, rather he is the ruler and an executor of the laws of Allah on behalf of the Islamic Ummah; or if the monarch is the head and the actual ruler, as is the case in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. This is because the Khalifah does not acquire his position like the kings do; rather, he is selected and given a pledge of allegiance. The hereditary system is not allowed in Islam; the Khalifah does not have more privileges than any other citizen and he is not above the law like the kings who cannot be tried, rather he is subservient to the laws of Allah and is liable to be accounted for every action he commits.
Is the Khilafah an Imperial System?
The regions ruled by Islam - though they are of various races and linked to one central place - are not ruled by an imperial system but by a system contradictory to the imperial system. The imperial system does not treat races equally in the various regions of the empire; rather it gives privileges in the ruling, finance and economy to the centre of the empire.
The Islamic way of ruling establishes equality between the subjects in all the regions of the state. Islam grants non-Muslims who hold citizenship, the full rights and duties that Muslims have. They enjoy the same fairness as Muslims and are subject to the same accountability like them. Furthermore, every single citizen, regardless of his or her creed, enjoys rights that even a Muslim living abroad who holds no citizenship does not enjoy. With this equality, the Islamic system differs completely from the imperial one. It does not make the regions under its ruling into colonies, areas of exploitation, nor a source of wealth funnelled back into the central region for its own benefit, no matter how far apart they were, and no matter how different their races were. It considers every single region as a part of the state and its citizens enjoy the same rights as those in the central region. It also makes the ruling authority, its system and its legislation the same in all the regions.
wa alykum aslaam