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If one was asked to describe the Muslim world, dictatorship, tyranny and torture would pretty much sum up life in many Muslim countries today. Hopes of accountability (muhasabah), rule of law and justice seem a distant dream. In some countries, the level of cruelty inflicted upon the people easily rivals if not surpasses some of the worst oppression in history. Uzbekistan in Central Asia, while at the extreme end of the spectrum, is a sombre example of political life for many Muslims. In the 2000 elections the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov gained 91.9% of the vote. The sole opposition candidate Abdulhasiz Jalalov admitted he only entered the race to make it seem democratic and that even he voted for Karimov!1 Members of the Islamic political opposition have literally been boiled alive and thousands of Islamic activists continue to be imprisoned suffering unspeakable tortures.
Decades of simmering resentment boiled over in December 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in Tunisia set off a series of protests across North Africa and the Middle East. Brutal life-long dictators – Ben Ali in Tunisia, Gadhafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt – who had clung to power for years, began falling one by one. The Arab spring as it became known raised the hopes of many that finally more accountable governments would emerge who would be answerable to their people.
Sadly, what has emerged post Arab-spring has in some cases such as Egypt been worse than before. After a brief respite, Egyptian President Sisi ordered hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood opposition activists to be imprisoned and sentenced to death. Classical Islamic text books have been purged from mosque libraries2 and 27,000 places of worship closed down.3
America has made no secret of its plans for the Muslim world. The invasion of Iraq back in 2003 was meant to usher in the start of a ‘New Middle East’ as Condoleezza Rice coined it. America promised to make Iraq so attractive a democratic model that it would set an example to the entire Middle East.4 The plan spectacularly failed. ‘Democratic Iraq’ was, and still is a total failure that no one wants to emulate. Oppressive sectarian policies enacted by the Maliki government allowed the emergence of ISIS and an ensuing brutal civil war between Kurds, Sunnis and Shia who had lived in peace under the Caliphate for over a millennium.
America and the west in general have failed to convince the Muslim world that western secular democracy is the only way to bring about accountable government.
In Pew’s 2013 survey, ‘The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society’ it states:
The percentage of Muslims who say they want shari’a to be “the official law of the land” varies widely around the world, from fewer than one-in-ten in Azerbaijan (8%) to near unanimity in Afghanistan (99%). But solid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favor the establishment of shari’a, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories. 5
In the absence of any credible alternatives, Muslims will naturally look to their history and Islamic culture for a solution to their problems. The Islamic State of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and those that followed his example namely the Rightly Guided Caliphs provide unparalleled levels of justice and accountability enshrined within shari’a law and implemented by an Islamic government or Caliphate. It’s no wonder then that the majority of the Muslim world support shari’a law despite the relentless campaign to malign shari’a as barbaric and maliciously paint ISIS as a ‘Caliphate’. Muslims continue to yearn for a true rightly guided Caliphate that would finish what the Arab spring began.
John Casey sums up this point:
For the Caliphate had existed as long as Islam itself. That Muslims throughout the world form a single community – an Umma – is not the conviction of a few cranks. It is inherent in all Muslim traditions… very many Muslims – perhaps the majority throughout the world – respond to it instinctively as an ideal.6
This book will explain how government accountability is achieved through implementing shari’a law in a Caliphate. It will elaborate on the various institutionalised mechanisms in place to prevent dictatorship and tyranny from emerging. The vital role of political parties and the state’s citizens in holding the government to account will also be addressed.
A K Newell
Ramadan 1438, June 2017