The causes of failure of Hizb ut-Tahrir and how to take lessons (from it) – Dr Tawfeeq Mustafa

The following is a draft translation from an article from Dr Tawfeeq Mustafa, the companion of Shaykh Taqiuddin an Nabhani and former Masool (responsible) of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the Western World as well as the author of the Hizb’s adopted book ‘The Methodology of Hizb ut-Tahrir for change’ (Minhaj Hizb ut-Tahrir fi-Tagheer). This article was originally published in October 1999, we are publishing its translation as many of the points are still relevant today twenty years later.

The Hizb has been present for more than 50 years and it has not accomplished the aim that it had set for itself and it has not even got close to that. As such, it is necessary to become aware of the reasons or causes which have brought the Hizb to this dead end.
The Hizb has placed for the Shabab and the Ummah a wide and comprehensive culture covering all aspects of life and which is established upon the basis of Islaam in a detailed form. It explained the systems of Islaam in a detailed form, as deduced from the Kitaab of Allah Ta’Aalaa and the Sunnah of His Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم, and it clarified the Islamic Aqeedah and the meaning of it being established upon the mind and its agreement to the Fitrah (nature) of the Insaan (human). It then explained the manner of how to carry the Islamic Da’wah and the obligation of the Muslims to live in one single state. Just as it also made clear the meaning of the Siyaadah (sovereignty) being for the Shar’ and the Sultaan (authority) belonging to the Ummah. However, the Hizb, in spite of that and having passed through half a century and despite the sacrifices, it has (nevertheless) failed in respect to accomplishing the aim that it had set a period that did not exceed three decades to accomplish. What then are the reasons or causes that have made the Hizb reached this dead end? Concerning this, I view the following to be representative of them:

First: The building of the Shabaab was not a correct (or sound) building which produces from them political and leader personalities which can reach the hearts and minds of the people and through that, be able to lead them.

Second: The way of addressing the Ummah was not suitable or appropriate which made the Ummah avert from it instead of proceeding along with it.

Third: Preoccupation of the Hizb in peripheral or side issues whilst neglecting an important matter, which is adopting the interests of the Ummah and undertaking actions of politicians.

Fourth: The Hizb turning itself into a Mufti and so it passed verdicts on issues which agitated the people against it, making the people be averted from it and providing its opposition with a weapon to be used to attack it.

Fifth: Not dealing (or interacting) well with the Islamic groups within the Muslim lands and outside of them.

Sixth: Not undertaking a study of the reality of the Islamic Ummah from time to time, not to mention not undertaking a study of the reality of the Hizb itself.

Seventh: The non-existence of a correct measure for it and its departments to measure the extent of the impact upon the people of the thoughts and opinions which the Hizb was presenting, let alone the non-existence of a correct measure to measure the extent of the interaction of the Daariseen and even the members in addition to the extent of their commitment to the Ahkaam of Islaam and the extent of their being bound to the Qur’’aan.

Eighth: Being hasty in respect to the procession and passing the phases and stages, in addition to the error of the Hizb moving from stage to stage throughout the whole Majaal without differentiation, in addition to considering lands outside of the Majaal as being Majaal. That is like what has happened in more recent times, in addition to making the Shabaab within them undertake political struggle amongst other actions of the Majaal.
Ninth: The appearance or manifestation of Tabaqiyah (classism) amongst the Hizb and its Shabaab and nothing is more indicative of that than the writing of the book “Carrying the Da’wah” and then its adoption by the leadership by way of coercion and threat of punishment, in spite of the opposition of a wide section of the Shabaab in respect to what came in the book in relation to contraventions to the adoption.

Tenth: The error in respect to understanding the fact of the leadership being singular so as to make the Hizb an individual manifested in the personage of the Ameer.
Eleventh: Expansion of the Majaal to include the world, or in the least, many parts of the world, which leads to the weakening of the ability to focus.

Twelfth: The focus in the Nuqtat ul-Irtikaaz (support point) upon the actions of the Nusrah and taking the rule by way of the caesarean section and not via the leaders of the Ummah and the influential parties or groupings within her. In addition, sitting back from undertaking the smelting or melting process whilst arguing that we have done all that is necessary and within our capability to undertake, whilst there is nothing for us except to wait for the victory of Allah.

Thirteenth: The selection of persons to undertake tasks or responsibilities was dependent, on most occasions, upon nepotism, favouritism and personal relationships, and not upon the competency and capability to undertake the task.

Fourteenth: The non-existence of effective accounting or accountability.

And now we come to the details (of each of these 14 reasons):

First: The Hizb had put down or set a specific intellectual (or thought-based) culture to culture its Shabaab as a concentrated culture and for it to be provided to the Ummah as a collective culture. It placed a time for the Shaab who studies in the Halqah until he becomes a Hizbiy (i.e. member) upon the basis that it does not exceed three years. The style of providing it (the Halqah) differs from Mushrif to Mushrif and consequently it was not capable of refining the Nafsiyaat of the Shabaab in a good manner and it did not generate amongst them a sufficient connection with the Qur’aan Al-Kareem. The Hizb only sufficed itself with urging or encouraging the Shabaab to improve their Nafsiyaat and that was done via the issuing of internal circulars which encouraged the Shabaab to increase the reading of the Qur’aan Al-Kareem, the Seerah and the lives of the Sahaabah, may Allah be pleased with them, in addition to studying the Islamic culture, without concerning itself with undertaking that practically. That would be by setting a practical programme which would commit the Shabaab to studying the Qur’aan and its sciences, the Seerah, the lives of the Sahaabah and other than that from the Islamic culture, alongside the Halaqaat Al-Fikriyah (intellectual circles). Due to that, the Hizb did not practically generate the atmosphere of Imaan amongst the Shabaab and sufficed itself in reminding them with that and encouraging them to undertake that. As such, some would undertake that by their own accord whilst the majority of the Shabaab did not care for or pay attention to these circulars because they did not come in the description or form of a command but was only advice or recommendations.

In addition, an understanding existed amongst a wide section of the Shabaab, when discussion took place about the recitation of the Qur’aan, praying the night prayer and increasing the Nawaafil, that this represented a kind of Darwishah, whilst we are a political party and our work is political and not culture and Darwashah, amongst other such statements. That is whilst the one who examines the Seerah of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم sees that he صلى الله عليه وسلم, during the stage of building undertaken with his Sahaabah, the pleasure of Allah be upon them, use to continuously read the Qur’aan to them in Daar ul-Arqam Bin Abi l-Arqam and was deeply and fully concerned about their memorisation of the Suwar and their Aayaat and would pray with them and stand at night with them in prayer. Describing their reality or condition, Allah Ta’Aalaa said:

Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day (Al-Muzammil: 20).

And He Subhaanahu said describing the Sahaabah:

They arise from [their] beds (As-Sajdah: 16).

And He Ta’Aalaa said:

They used to sleep but little of the night. And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness (Adh-Dhaariyaat: 17-18).

This is what the situation or condition of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and his honourable Sahaabah, may Allah be pleased with them, was. The Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم had taken Daar ul-Arqam Bin Abi l-Arqam as the centre in which he would meet with his companions and teach them the Qur’aan and stand with them during the night (in prayer). And this is a matter of the utmost importance which strengthens the determinations, sharpens or hones the intent (and will) and it strengthens the connection with Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’Aalaa. It represents the spiritual nutrition or feeding and the wepon through which the Da’wah carrier is strengthened in his confrontation with the disbelief, misguidance, oppression and animosity or hostility against Islaam.

This therefore represents an important matter which the Hizb did not practically undertake whilst it found it sufficient to just encourage and urge alone. It had been obligatory upon the Hizb to specify some Halaqaat for the study of the Qur’aan and its sciences, the Islamic culture in general, and models or blueprints from the lives of the Sahaabah, may Allah’s pleasure be upon them. It should have practically paid great attention to generate the atmosphere of Imaan amongst or within the Shabaab. That would be by the Mas’ool (person responsible) meeting with his Shabaab, for example, for congregational prayer, to stand together in night prayer (i.e. Qiyaam ul-Layl/Tahajjud), to recite the Qur’aan Al-Kareem, the Seerah of the Honourable Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Seerah of his Sahaabah, may Allah be pleased with them. That could be in the local Masjid or the house of one of the Shabaab, until the Shabaab become bound to the Qur’aan Al-Kareem in respect to its recitation, memorisation and in terms of action. That is because it represents their spiritual (Roohiy) food or nutrition and this is sufficient to refine or polish their Aqliyahs and their Nafsiyahs, so that such a Shaab would become characterised by the Ahklaaq of the Qur’aan and would then be gentle and kind with his brother Muslims and would be viewed with kindness and affection by them.

The error which the the Hizb and the Shabaab fall into comes from an incorrect understanding of the Hizb not being a Madrasah (school). That is because the Hizb is not a Madrasah (school) and it is not permitted for it to become like that. Rather, it is only a political party and a greater school for the Islamic Ummah as a whole, culturing her with the Islamic culture and working to smelt her in the melting pot of Islaam, albeit with a practical style which differs from the monotonous style of the school. However, (despite that), it is possible for the Hizb to encourage the Ummah or better and more appropriate, those who are capable from the sons of the Ummah, whether from its capable Shabaab or from the general people, to set up Islamic schools, institutions and universities, and to then assist them in the planning and setting of programmes (or curriculums etc).

Also, from the host of matters which the Hizb failed in, in respect to the building of the Shabaab, was its lack of concern (or attention) to the styles utilised by the Shabaab in respect to the carrying of the Da’wah. In origin, the Da’wah carrier should visit the people in their sittings (or places of gathering) and to live with them and amongst them in a natural manner. He must therefore understand the style, or better said, he must understand the correct styles which draws him near or close to them and which keep him distanced from that which causes their aversion to him. That is so that he can carry the thoughts and opinions to them in a manner that makes them not only convinced of them, but rather it would make them adopt them and make them their own thoughts and opinions i.e. in a manner that leads to the success in the smelting process. Or said better, that he perfects the process of presentation, which requires a number of matters, including:

First: For him (i.e. the Shaab) to not only be completely familiar or acquainted with the thoughts of the Hizb alone but rather also to possess a good level of reading up on the Islamic culture and what revolves around it in terms of cultures. As such it was necessary to pay great care and attention to providing the Shabaab with a broad Islamic culture, in addition to its Hizbiy culture, so that they would be capable of making the Muslims understand Islaam and to enable them to make contact with the Islamic groups which call to Islaam according to an understanding contrary to the understanding of the Hizb. This would not happen unless a reading of the Islamic culture and other cultures took place.

Second: His style must be one that is likeable to the people and draws them to him instead of averting them away. That is by not imposing himself intrusively upon them in their gatherings or by attempting to take them away from the subjects they are discussing i.e. it is necessary to live with the people and amongst them in a natural manner of living i.e. to be one from amongst them and not like what has happened amongst many of the Shabaab in the case where the people do not see him except at the time of special occasions or when he wants to distribute a leaflet to them, the result of which, on most occasions, is that it is thrown in the trash or an argument arises between them, because he wants to distribute leaflets to them regardless of if they want it and because they don’t know the Shaab and are incapable of sharing an understanding with him, because he is speaking a language other than their language, just like is a Turkish Shaab had gone out to distribute an arabic leaflet to Berber youths who are not proficient either in Arabic or Turkish. Or if he was to impose himself intrusively upon them and disturb their meeting or their lesson or any programme that they had gathered for, whilst they attempt to make them listen to him.

It is necessary for the Shaab to realise and be fully aware when he should speak and when his silence is better. He must also be endowed with the manners, openness of his chest, respect of the other person and to not make the speech end at a blocked path or dead end.

These matters require a high level of care from the Hizb and those in positions of responsibility. That is by placing new styles, treating the traditional or imitational styles of the Shabaab, teaching the Shabaab these styles and making them accustomed to utilising them within the general or private gatherings, or within the Halaqaat or by any other means, so that the Shabaab learn in them, the styles of how to address the people, choose the occasions well and place the matters in their correct or appropriate place. Giving the thoughts by themselves is not sufficient in itself to change the behaviour or conduct of the person. Rather, it is necessary to give care to generating the atmosphere of Imaan which he lives and to train him upon it. Due to the lack of care and attention to refining and polishing the Nafsiyaat of the Shabaab by the Hizb, many of the Shabaab have arisen to become theorists.

In addition, the Hizb was hasty in respect to building the Shabaab and did not provide those in positions of responsibility with a correct measure or measures (criteria) to measure, according to them, the extent of the interaction of the Shaab with the thoughts. Rather, it just set a time period for the study in that it does not exceed three years, whilst leaving the matter to the Mas’ool to make the Daaris (student) a member after the passing of the three years. In more recent times, the thought of increasing the numbers at the expense of the kind or quality became dominant over the Hizb. The result of not having a measure and as a result of the incorrect understanding of the Hizb not being a school, the person in responsibility was not capable of enquiring into the Shaab and testing what he possessed, what he had gained awareness in, in terms of thoughts and what he was committed to in terms of Ahkaam, whilst we found it enough that the Shaab was undertaking the obligations (Furood). For this reason, the study of the three books is not sufficient to act as a measure or criteria for the suitability of the Shaab.

Then, in addition, the neglect of the Hizb in respect to adopting the interests of the Ummah, not making the Shabaab aware of the daily problems of the people which have an impact upon their life, and the Shabaab not assisting the people in respect to solving their problems, all increased the isolation of the Shabaab. In the eyes of the people, they came to represent Shabaab who make political analysis but are not politicians. This matter made a distance between the Hizb and the society and so it was unable to enter it. The Hizb became alert to this matter in the year 1976 and then it issued two publications. In one of them, which was under the title of a monthly address (Kalimah Shahriyah), the following was stated: “For that reason the Shabaab remained external to the society and external to the people”. And in the other, dated 15/11/1976, it was stated: “And when Hizb ut Tahrir was founded, its initial Shabaab used to understand about themselves that they themselves are the politicians, however they came to be distant from the people. The Hizb saw that the state would come into being and then the politicians would come into being from its Shabaab and others, according to its understanding of politics. However, the Hizb took its time to attain the state and proceeded upon that for more than a decade whilst its is occupied. It therefore became necessary to be concerned and pay care and attention to its Shabaab for them to be politicians and to not wait until the state is established …”
And up until this time the Hizb has not undertaken serious and practical actions, which by their nature, would bring those politicians into existence and whom the Ummah recognises practically to be politicians. The Hizb found it sufficient to issue publications, which were like political analysis, the level of which fell gradually year after year until they came to be of the level of what is written in the newspapers, whilst the Shabaab found it sufficient to distribute these leaflets ….

For that reason, the Hizb became an intellectual and theorising school within the society and was not able to become a party of the masses present within the Ummah. That is because it is in a valley and the Ummah is in another valley, and the person does not find any positive response and acceptance in respect to what the Hizh presents to the people in terms of thoughts, rulings and Ahkaam, whether these are Fiqhiy opinions or political ones. That is because the meaning of the Hizb having a presence within the Ummah, is that the Ummah takes the concepts of the Ummah, its criteria and convictions so that they become their concepts, criteria and convictions, and that has not happened up until now in any land from the lands in which it has members and students. As such, the Hizb has not formed a popular base which can make it reach the position of the rule.
It is true that an emotional wave has encompassed the Islamic Ummah, which has been called the “Islamic Awakening”, which the Hizb had an impact in forming, in the case where it was the first to present the thought of the Khilafah in a detailed manner, however, the Hizb wasn’t creative or did not innovate practical styles to deliver this thought to the people, in the case where the Ummah comprehended or perceived that the Hizb and its Shabaab were capable of leading it. In addition, the Hizb wasn’t the only one working in the arena of Islamic work but rather it was joined in that arena by many of the Islamic movements which came about following it.
Second (i.e. the second cause of failure):

The Hizb did not present its thoughts to the Ummah in the correct manner, to make the Ummah turn towards the Hizb and embrace it, and make its concepts, criteria and convictions her concepts, criteria and convictions, so that it would be able to build the base which will enable it to build the state, through the resumption of the Islamic life. That is because the Hizb wanted to build a state and did not want to take the rule, as there is a vast difference between the two.

That is because the meaning of building the state is building the Ummah in an intellectual manner upon the basis of Islaam, just as like what happened in Al-Madeenah Al-Munawwarah, so that the taking of the rule at such a time would represent a natural taking.

And the thoughts of the Hizb have been formulated in a manner which is difficult for them to be understood by the Ummah as they were set in order to be studied in circles in a concentrated manner. In the case where the Mushrifeen (i.e. those responsible for giving the circles) were disparate in respect to their absorption of the thoughts for a variety of reasons, it led to many of the Shabaab not digesting the thoughts. Added to the styles which cause aversion, this led to the Ummah not turning towards the Hizb and to not adopt the opinions of the Hizb. Indeed, the Ummah came to distance themselves away from the Shabaab of the Hizb in most occasions.

The books of the Hizb were formulated in a manner that made it hard for the Ummah to understand them and in addition the Shabaab were not able to encompass the thoughts found within them and that is because the Hizb had exceeded the limits in respect to the adoption.

In addition, the Hizb had neglected an important matter and that was the adoption of the interests of the Ummah and (instead) occupied itself and the Shabaab with political analysis. The Ummah then came to perceive or conceive that it was the Hizb (party) of leaflets and for that reason the Hizb and its Shabaab remained outside of the society. Even though the Hizb realised and comprehended that since 1976 and wanted to treat and solve the matter, nothing positive in this regard happened until this day. Consequently, the Hizb was unable to undertake the melting (or smelting) process and as such, did not bring the popular base into existence, which the Hizb had been dreaming about. The great amount of adoption which the Hizb fell into, despite mentioning, at the beginning of its work, that it would never adopt except the bare minimum of thoughts and rulings which enable it to undertake the carrying of the Da’wah, where it came to adopt a huge amount of thoughts and rulings which turned it into an intellectual school instead of being a political party that fosters and takes care of the affairs of the Ummah via the Ahkaam of Islaam. The great amount of adoption, specifically in the branches and partial issues made the Shabaab fall into difficulty or hardship. Instead of being Da’wah carriers for the application of the Ahkaam (rulings) of Islaam, they became those engrossed in Fiqh defending branch Ahkaam and Ijtihaadaat in partialities. This became an obstacle and barrier between them and the Ummah and from addressing the Ummah with the noble matters or issues. In addition, the current Hizb culture deals with thoughts for which there is no longer any need whilst it requires thoughts for which an urgent need exists now.

This all related to the Hizb culture itself. As for the manner of taking it, then what is observed in respect to many of the Shabaab is that they take the thoughts from the Hizbiy culture like tools for the intellectual struggle with different currents (i.e. groups and movements) and not because they are in themselves correct concepts which have been taken in order to form the Aqliyah in a particular manner of formation. As such, many of the Shabaab are good at criticising or critiquing but are not good at building and consolidating. That is for no other reason except because he studied Nizhaam ul-Islaam, Mafaaheem and Takattul to become aware of the what the society contains in terms of negatives related to the types of bonds and incorrect movements and concepts existing within the society. This is not an error in itself alone, however the error and danger is the transformation of the Shabaab to being merely those who attack the situations and thoughts and are not able except to fish for errors from others , instead of being capable of presenting the thoughts and placing them in their correct placing and applying them upon the reality correctly. The work then came to be based upon increasing the numbers of those affiliated to the Hizb and those who followed it. Despite the passing of more than half a century the Hizb did not concern itself with the study of the causes which led the Hizb to a dead end or path that had become blocked. Those who were responsible for the affair of the Hizb stood in the face, in opposition, to every attempt to study the reality of the Hizb, and no serious attempt was made apart from the one in 1984 which was called “I’aadat un-Nazhar” (re-examination or revision). However, it was deficient, as the examination or study focused upon the thought and the method and it did not examine the matter of the persons and the styles. Examining the matter of the persons was a matter that was not permitted and in spite of the many protests from the Shabaab against some of those in positions of responsibility, the manifestation of their incompetency and their violations, the Hizb nevertheless held onto them, and preferred the occurrence of a split or division in the Hizb than them being removed or distanced from their positions. And then when the problems manifested in the Hizb, some of the Shabaab suggested or proposed that a committee be formed to study the causes of what happened (i.e. the split) but this was only met by rejection and removing or distancing anyone who requested that the matter be looked into. The situation remained like that without change. Indeed, the matter increased in badness. That is because the reaction of those in responsibility and to give the appearance that they are running the matters well, the Hizb began the style of accumulation i.e. to increase the numbers of its members at the expense of the quality, which led to the distance from the Ummah being increased.
It is not permitted to be negligent in respect to adopting the affairs of the Ummah because it represents the practical evidence to prove the leadership capability of the Hizb and of the Shabaab as well, and to prove the Hizb’s credibility in respect to defending the interests of the Ummah. Adopting the interests represents the most important aspect of the political struggle. Just as adopting the interests should not be restricted to the major interests, whilst the rest of them, which some believe to be minor, are neglected. That is because perhaps some of the immediate interests could be more effective in respect to drawing the Ummah close to the Hizb, because of the ease of adopting them and the need of the people for them. As such, the issue of medical treatment or free education in universities, or treating the problem of unemployment, or the housing crisis, are from the important interests and which touch the lives of the people directly. The realisation or accomplishment of some of the interests by some of the Shabaab increases the Ummah’s attachment to the Hizb, because it manifests the human face of the Shabab of the Da’wah. As an example, how great would the effect be if a doctor specified one day in the week to treat the poor for free.

Third (reason for failure):
The Hizb did not work to establish good relations with the sincere Islamic movements which work within the Ummah just as it did not make the Ummah participate with her in the carrying of the Da’wah. The Hizb mentioned in At-Takattul that it was necessary to study the collective movements and understand them and it stated that understanding the movements facilitates us to measure or weigh every collective movement by its equal scale. For that reason, it was necessary to study these movements, make contact with them, make them participate in the carrying of the Da’wah and to generate the public opinion for the fundamental Islamic thoughts within the Ummah. However, it did not do that as a result of its perception that it is it alone that can and must lead the Islamic Ummah without anyone else participating with it. Indeed, it would attack these movements which would drive them away from the Hizb and then attack the Hizb and drive the people away from it. That is even though the original position is for the relations between all the Islamic movements to be good and that it is not possible for one Islamic movement to lead the Islamic Ummah, let alone establish the Khilafah by itself without the participation of other Islamic groups.

As such, it was obligatory to contact the sincere Islamic movements, establish relations with them and attempt to convince them with some of the fundamental concepts, like the call to the Khilafah, the unity of the Islamic Ummah, the rejection of regionalism and democracy amongst other thoughts.

Similarly, it was obligatory to make contact with the prominent, influential and sincere personalities within the society, in all directions, like the university professors, the Khutabaa’ (pl. of Khateeb) of the Masaajid, the ‘Ulamaa’ of Ash-Sharee’ah, business men and those of the media in addition to other important personalities who have an influence, and then attempt to convince them of the thoughts of the Da’wah, so that they can fulfil their role and by themselves naturally, without it being a condition for that to be undertaken in coordination or planning with the Hizb. This would be by presenting these thoughts across the media means, the Masaajid, the universities, by writing in the newspapers and magazines or writing books, without seeking to make these personalities join the Hizb, unless they themselves requested that.

Similarly, it was necessary to have made contact with the civil organisations like the trade unions, students associations. Indeed, it was necessary to enter with them and attempt to convince them by inviting them to the thoughts of the Hizb without calling them to become members of the Hizb i.e. it was obligatory to work to make the Ummah and the Islamic groups participate in the carrying of the Da’wah and that would occur by establishing good relations with them.

The relationship with the Islamic movements and groups had been built, since the beginning, upon the basis that they represent an obstacle in the way of the Da’wah which must be by-passed and a knot (or problem) that must be unravelled. For that reason, the relationship was established upon struggle and difference and not upon cooperation upon that which accomplishes or realises the aim, and that is the work to make the Ummah resume her Islamic life.

Fourth (reason for failure):
The Hizb did not concern itself with the matter of studying the reality of the Ummah from time to time, just as it did not study its own reality from time to time. When, on some occasions a study did occur, it found it sufficient to just study the thought and the method and would then come to the conclusion that everything is fine as long as the thought is correct and similarly the method. The Hizb forgot that the thought by itself or the method or both of them together does not lead to the realisation of success without the suitable persons and without the styles which are necessary for the Hizb to utilise. For that reason, the Hizb remained upon its state or condition and remained upon the same styles since the fifties, whilst its work on most occasions was restricted to the distribution of leaflets.

And before the crisis (i.e. of 97) happened and before the occurrence of the split, it was proposed to the Hizb for a committee to be formed from some of the distinguished Shabab to study the reality of the Hizb and the reasons or causes for the occurrence of the crisis and to them propose solutions to exit from the critical situation. The position of the Hizb in respect to that was complete rejection based upon the argument that the Hizb does not accept adjudication between it and its opposition. It reached the point with one of the members of the office of the Ameer that he said that the formation of such a committee means that we say “see you later” to the Ameer, That is even though the political parties upon this earth, regardless of the differences in their methodologies or directions, study their situations from time to time and act to change those in positions of responsibility or leadership if their suitability, competence or abilities to undertake their tasks fully were not manifested. As for the Hizb, then it remained upon its situation and condition and did not concern itself with studying the path it was proceeding upon or its structure, whilst it retained some in positions of responsibility despite the appearance of their lack of competence in addition to their violation of the intrinsic values of the Kutlah (party bloc) and in spite of the complaints against them and objections which had been made in respect to their conducts and performances. The Hizb insisted (stubbornly) upon its position and risked the splitting of the Hizb for the sake of retaining some individuals in positions of leadership. It was as if the presence of a person in the position of responsibility was a Qat’iy (definite) and permanent Hukm Shar’iy which it was not allowed to change. The problem then turned into personal clashes and the Hizb entered into a cycle or continuous atmosphere of exchange of words and accusations, the thought was forgotten, the knot of the Shabaab was unfastened, the bonds of the Islamic brotherhood were undone and it came to appear that the Hizbiy bond came before the true bond that binds the Muslim with his brother Muslim, boycotting came to pass instead of bringing together, and a brother came to curse his brother, and obedience to the Ameer to boycott (or cut off) his Muslim brother came before obedience to Allah Subhaanahu and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم to bring Muslims together and that it is not permissible for the Muslim to separate or disassociate from his brother for three nights. And due to the fear of those in positions of responsibility of the truth coming out and manifesting and because they did not want to bear the responsibility of the mistakes which happened, the Hizb rejected the thought of undertaking an examination and study of the reality. Even after the occurrence of the split no study was undertaken to study the real causes but rather instead diverted from that by just stating that what happened was a conspiracy from the Jordanian intelligence agencies via one of the members of the leadership who had been working with the intelligence for three years, with the intended purpose of taking control over the leadership of the Hizb. As such, the Hizb viewed that the solution of the problem was the expulsion of this leader and those whom he had deceived, according to the claim (or pretence) of the party. In that way (it declared) that the problem had been resolved, the matter had come to an end and the Hizb had returned to an even stronger position and state that it had been before. Then when objections to this arose from other Shabab who called for a study of the reality and to work to solve the problem and attempt to restore the flesh (of the party), the response of the leadership was to impose punishments and remove those Shabab from the arena or domain of the work and described them with the most hideous of descriptions like being insincere or parrots amongst other descriptions.

The Hizb then proceeded like it had previously in the same manner taking the reports which pleased it from the Mas’ools who wanted to remain in their positions and who feared the whip of punishment. As such they came to perceive the reality upon other than its true reality and even through lies whilst the Hizb forgot or was made to forget the statement of the Arabs: “Your friend is the one who is truthful to you and not the one who affirms for you what you want to believe” whilst it is possible for the one advising to attempt to deceive. The Hizb didn’t even concern itself to investigate the accusation of lying which was directed against some of the Mas’ools of those who had been sent as delegates of the party.

The Hizb still continues to stagger in its procession and it does not known how to get out of this crisis which it doesn’t even admit exists.

The Hizb also did not study the reality of the Islamic Ummah according to a correct study which made it proceed in all the lands with the same styles without giving consideration to the reality of the different lands in which it is working. This made it violate what it had previously adopted which is that the Hizb undertakes political struggle in the Majaal whilst in the non-Majaal it does not undertake other than the intellectual struggle. It came to work in the whole Dunyaa upon the same level and in doing so exposed the Shabaab in Uzbekistan for example to being killed and torture for the sake of a publication or leaflet challenging the ruler there. Similarly, it exposed the Shabab to prison and torture in Syria, Egypt and Turkey for the sake of distributing something that does not have any impact. You also find it, for example, challenging, the German interior minister and undertaking popular addresses (i.e. open amongst the masses) within it. So, does the Hizb engage in political struggle in a place like Germany then? This is because the Hizb came to be influenced or affected by the reality and made the reality the source of its behaviours or conducts and that represents a gross error. The Hizb wanted to make itself appear to the Shabab with a powerful appearance and that in spite of the split and the removal of the old Shabab who accounted it and requested reform and correction, it still remains strong and has not been affected by what took place. Here it is working in the entire world, struggling against the rulers and its Shabab are getting arrested. All of this represents reactions and is not the result of correct thinking in respect to the reality and in relation to what the correct work must be upon.

Many of those in positions did not adopt our well-known principle which states that the thought leads to action and that the thought and action must be for the sake of an objective. They came to undertake the work for the sake of work without perceiving the objective and due to that most of the actions came to be improvised which were undertaken for the sake of action and for no other reason. That was to prove that they were undertaking work and nothing is more indicative of that, than what took place in Germany.

Fifth (reason for failure):
And from among the major errors which the Hizb fell into and is till suffering from is that related to the progression through the phases and stages. So, for instance, it did not remain in the stage of building (Binaa) for more than two years, which is a very short period of time. It appears that this was an error in respect to the understanding the Seerah. That is because the Hizb took the time that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم remained concealed in as a basis although there is a wide difference between the two matters and the reality must be understood in order to understand the Ahkaam Ash-Shar’iyah and apply them. That is because Makkah Al-Mukarramah at that time was similar to a large village today and the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was present with his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, throughout the time, whilst their number was small. As such, the building process did not require more than this amount of time. As for now, in the case where the regions have become vast and it is no longer possible for the leader to remain amongst the Shabab and with them in a continuous manner. Therefore, the timing of two years for the building was very short and led to a major deficiency in respect to the building of the Shabab. The result was clear as it was not long after the Hizb had entered the second stage and began the struggle with the ruling factions that more than half or two-thirds of its Shabab who had proceeded with it in the first stage had fallen to the sides. Built upon this haste the Hizb entered into other lands other than Jordan, like Egypt, Iraq and Syria, making them a Majaal (field) for its work whilst it was in the interaction stage. As such, it undertook the actions of the interaction stage in these lands, which made the authorities alert to it before it was even able to build Shabab for itself from the people of those lands. That is because it did not observe the reality of those lands. That is because the reality which the Islamic world is upon is that it has been segmented and every region or area has a state which considers itself to be an entity independent from the rest of the Muslim lands. Anyone who comes from outside is considered to be a foreigner who can be removed at any time. Therefore, when the Shabab, who were mainly from Palestinian origins, entered those lands, there affair was discovered or revealed and they were deported before they were able to build Shabab from those lands, in a manner which was sufficient for the work to proceed within them. As such, the Hizb was not able to establish its roots in other than Jordan, which did not possess the necessary elements or constituents of a state.

Sixth (reason for failure):
The Hizb made itself a Mufti even though it had stated about itself that it is not a Mufti. However, despite that it passed verdicts in respect to matters that were not related to the carrying of the Da’wah, which would instigate the people against it and provide the opponent with a weapon to attack it, which would then preoccupy and divert the Shabaab from the carrying of the Da’wah.

Seventh (reason for failure):
The party adopted much more than it required in order to carry the Da’wah, even though, at the time of its establishment, it mentioned that it will never adopt except a small number of Ahkaam, opinions and thoughts which would enable it and commit it to the carrying of the Da’wah. However, despite that, the Hizb took to adopting in many matters which are not related to the (requirements of) carrying of the Da’wah. So, for example, what is the necessity to adopt in the area of the leasing of land, or the subject of mixing in universities, amongst other Masaa’il (issues) which have no relationship to the carrying of the Da’wah, and are only matters where difference of opinion exists, concerning which the Imaam adopts an opinion that removes the difference. However, the Hizb has no relationship to this matter because it is not a Mujtahid, Muftiy or Madh’hab.

The danger from adopting a lot and particularly in the branches and partialities is that it makes the Shabab fall into difficulty during their carrying of the Da’wah and instead of making them carriers of the Da’wah of Islaam, it turns them into those engrossed in Fiqh who defend branch rulings. This therefore makes that an obstacle and barrier between them and the Ummah and their addressing the Ummah in the lofty significant matters, whilst it transforms their work from carrying a Da’wah to being involved in Fiqhiy discussions.

And because many of the Shabab are not well read in the books of Fiqh this leads them to defend the opinions of the Hizb with the consideration that they represent the opinion of Islaam. In this way the Hizb transforms into nothing other than an intellectual school and becomes distanced from the Ummah whilst the Shabab and the Hizb (missing text) … It is therefore necessary to decrease amount of the adoption and review that which the Hizb has adopted removing all that which is not necessary for the carrying of the Da’wah.

It is also necessary to draw attention to the obligation of the Hizbiy culture to be mere broad guidelines and general thoughts and not just Ahkaam and opinions related to partialities and details which cannot be taken aboard except like information in schools is. For that reason, the Hizb must keep clear of over adoption and particularly in respect to the Ahkaam Ash-Shar’iyah and the branch opinions. It must not adopt from them except that which is related to its procession or to its adoption of the Ummah’s interests. It would therefore adopt particular or specific Ahkaam built upon specific realities for which it would adopt a specific Hukm (ruling), which usually, would be connected to a general issue which concerns a wide sector of the sons of the Ummah.

Eighth (reason or cause of failure):
The Hizb did not possess a correct measure or criteria for measuring the extent of how much the people have been affected by the thoughts and opinions of the Hizb, let alone, there being a correct measure or criteria through which the extent of the interaction of the Shabaab with the thoughts and their adherence to the Ahkaam of Islaam are measured.

For us to pass judgment that the people had interacted with the Hizb and that the Ummah had embraced it, it is necessary for that to appear or manifest upon the statements of the people and their practical conducts, establishing that they have made the thoughts of the Hizb and its convictions and criteria, their own thoughts, criteria and convictions i.e. that they make the Hizb their leader. That is whilst this is not the reality occurring today and it has not happened at any time whatsoever (i.e. in the past). Just as the Hizb does not possess a method to test the extent of the comprehension of the Shaab of the thoughts of the Hizb, his reading up and familiarity with the Islamic culture and the extent of his adherence to the Shar’a.

Ninth (reason or cause of failure):
The appearance of Tabaqiyah (classism) amongst the Hizb and its Shabab. This led to the arrogance that drives (others) away and which appeared in the behaviour or conduct of many of the Shabaab, in the way that they dealt with the people without distinguishing between the one who is knowledgeable and the one isn’t. And it led to the manifestation of the appearance that the Shabab, after their mere studying of some Halaqaat, came to be more knowledgeable than the most knowledgeable ‘Ulamaa, outside of the Hizb. Nothing is more indicative of this classism, which the Hizb fell into, than its writing and its adoption of the book “Carrying the Da’wah – Its characteristics and obligations”, when it attempted to stretch the Shar’iyah
evidences to establish that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم brought a text stating that those intended by the “prevailing or triumphant party” (Al-Fi’ah Azh-Zhaahirah) was the Hizb. So what kind of arrogance and classism can be greater than that?
Similarly, the Tabaqiyah (classism) is found within the Hizb itself, in the case where the leadership was surrounded by an air of sanctity, reverence and infallibility where their opinions are taken without discussion or revision, indeed in a form of submission. The Shabaab then came to feel that the leadership was distant from them and that the Hizb administrative set-up was no longer, in terms of leadership of the Hizb, in the place of the heart of the body or the engine of the vehicle. Indeed, the administrative Hizb set-up came to represent a hierarchy (or based on grades, classes and status) and the leadership came to occupy the position of the chief of his tribe or the manager of his school. The relationship between the leadership with the Shabab came to be reflected in the issuing of commands, administrative decisions, directives and punishments. Many of the Shabab came to feel that the leadership viewed itself as being the Hizb itself and that they, i.e. the Shabab, were nothing but tools for the implementation of its will or commands. And so they were not consulted in respect to the adoption and not in the taking of decisions. Then, if an objection or criticism came from a Shaab, then a notice or punishment was the answer to his objection. As a result of surrounding the leadership with this air of sanctity or reverence, loud voices came to be raised in respect to the obligation of absolute unrestricted obedience to it and even if this obedience was blind. The leadership encouraged this type of thinking and the publication “Obedience to the Ameer” which was issued by the leadership is the best evidence for that. It gave the perception that this obedience was absolute and unrestricted with the exception of the case of being commanded with a Ma’siyah (sinful act of disobedience to Allah). Unfortunately, however, the obedience to the leadership even occurred in respect to the Ma’siyah and that was when the leadership commanded the Shabab to boycott their brothers. The perception was given to the Shabab that opposing the Ameer was exactly the same as the treachery and rebellion of opposing the Khalifah. Indeed, it was mentioned that the oath sworn by the Shaab was actually an oath to the Ameer and all of this reinforced the notion of the sanctity of the leadership and that merely accounting it or bringing up a matter with it to be revised, could perhaps make the Shaab fall into sin and problems. The leadership was also silent over a Fatwaa issued from one of the old Shabab (i.e. form the early or first generations) in which he stated that whom he called the Naakitheen should be killed based upon the proof that they went out against the Ameer, in the case where it was envisioned that the Hizb was like or equal to the Jamaa’ah of the Muslims, and the Ameer was like or equal to the Ameer ul-Mu’mineen!

Tenth (reason or cause for failure):
The error in understanding the meaning that the leadership is singular led to making the Hizb an individual represented in the person of the Ameer and it made redundant the collective work within the Hizb. It then became necessary that everything be issued from the Ameer and even the Fiqhiy questions or other questions which became deemed to be necessary for the Ameer to answer them himself. As a result, he became preoccupied on many days in answering questions which had no relationship o the procession of the Hizb and were matters which it was possible for any Mas’ool to undertake, or it was possible in respect to them to bring the attention of the Shabaab to research and look into these questions themselves so that they become used to relying upon themselves and become used t undertaking study and research, or the questioning
Shaab could be asked to bring his question to an ‘Aalim from among the ‘Ulamaa of the Muslims.

In addition, it is not permitted for the Ameer to waste his time, efforts and thinking in anything other than the actions related to the procession of the Hizb and looking into or studying the thought and the styles which push the Da’wah forward. This reality made of the Ameer a Mujtahid and for the Shabaab to be followers of him (Muqallideen).
It is essential to remove the spirit of over dependence amongst the Shabab which has become clearly sensed amongst many off them, in that it is the leadership alone which holds the magic wand and instead to focus within the Shabab both concepts of the collective work together with singular leadership.

The discussion in the Hizb and amongst the Shabab has come to revolve around the Ameer and the obedience to the Ameer and even is that was blind obedience, whilst analogy was made between the Ameer and the Ameer ul-Mu’mineen. The discussion came to revolve around that the Qasm (oath) was to the Ameer and that any violation in their view, represents breaking of the covenant or oath to the Ameer. It came to be as if the Hizb was the Ameer whilst the collective work ceased or came to become absent within the Hizb.

Eleventh (reason or cause of failure):
The Hizb expanded the Majaal (field) of its work to many regions of the world which led to the stumbling of its efforts in respect to the work and weakened the focus of the work to a limited defined Majaal. It was like or represented something equal to the fleeing of the Hizb after the stagnancy or freezing of its work became apparent, indeed its failure in respect to having an impact or effect within the Majaal of its work, which is had specified to undertake the actions of the Da’wah in, in order to accomplish the objective, it had been established for. It is not possible for any Hizb to lead the Islamic world by itself. Instead of looking to break the stagnancy which it had fallen into and that would have been by undertaking an aware study in respect to its causes, in order to generate wholistic and beneficial solutions to exit from the stagnancy … instead of that it went on to open new fields for the work to work within them without undertaking a correct study of these new fields of work. In this way the effort was scattered or dispersed and the work came to be nothing except that which is like propaganda or promotion work for the Hizb. At that time, it had been more correct for it to have undertaken an aware study and to make contact with the Islamic parties and groups in the Islamic regions, in an attempt to agree with them upon broad guidelines for the carrying of the Da’wah and to generate a public opinion for the thoughts of Islaam, within all of the Islamic lands.
(Translators note: This was written in 1999 and in both of these points the party has become even more extreme in its deviation as can be seen by the Ameer of this group having a dedicated q and a page under the title of the Aalim Al-Jaleel (the eminent or great scholar) and secondly because of the way the party states and even boasts that it is a global movement working in over 40 countries which is a clear deviation from the concept of Majaal and what was stated in Takattul. That is not to mention how it has established its party as a political party in these lands where they are projected as such and have even been given specific objectives other than the objectives of the Hizb for the work they undertake. It has also even engaged in actions of political struggle in lands which are not officially Majaal with some devastating consequences).
Twelfth (reason or cause for failure):

The feelings that have reigned over the Hizb and its Shabab, in that the Hizb has passed all of its phases and stages and that it is now currently in the Nuqtat ul-Irtikaaz (support point), and that its affair is reliant and tied to Al-Qadar (destiny or fate), only represent feelings which have been built upon an incorrect understanding in respect to the nature of the procession of the Hizb and its move from one stage to another. Due to that, the Shabaab, including the Qiyaadah (leadership) came to repeat that we have done everything (required) and we are (now) in need of some of the officers to undertake a caesarean section operation. The discussion and talk then came to be established or focused upon the Talab un-Nusrah after the Hizb had passed its stages with success and completed its phases and then became stuck at a particular point which it could not traverse (as was stated).

As has been stated, this feeling was built upon a false or incorrect understanding, in the case where it is not permissible to look to the procession of the Hizb as if it is a historical time-based procession. Rather, it should be seen as a intellectual and practical procession. As such the culturing is not a time-based stage which was passed and completed but rather it is a continuous process and is required always and constantly for the smelting process, without which the revival does not take place within the Ummah. The same applies in respect to the interaction stage. As for the Talab un-Nusrah, then it is not a stage but only represents a specific action that the Hizb undertakes based upon its evaluation of the reality of the Ummah and its readiness for the application of Islaam and protect its State, and also built or based upon the local and international reality. Due to that, the Nusrah is sought from all of its mediums which are capable to provide it and this returns us to the view that there needs to be innovative and creative thinking in respect to the styles and particularly those related to reaching the masses of the Ummah and not just a few individuals, in addition to an attempt to make the Ummah join and participate, with all of its sectors, in the carrying of the Da’wah and generating a public opinion based upon general awareness upon the thoughts of Islaam.

Thirteenth (reason or cause of failure):
The choosing of persons to undertake tasks or positions of responsibility was on most occasions based on preference, nepotism and personally relationship and not based upon competence and the ability to undertake the task. And if such a person was from those who were pleasing to them, he would not be questioned and would be safe from punishment even if he deserved it. Similarly, in respect to the making of contacts (i.e. special contacts as a task), the suitable person would not be selected but rather the choice would be based upon nepotism.

Fourteenth (reason or cause of failure):
The absence of effective accounting had a negative impact in respect to those who were not upright or suitable over the Shabaab whilst distancing those who were upright (Saaliheen), based upon nepotism. The Hadeeth of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم came to be applicable upon us when he said: The people before you were only destroyed as when a poor person from among them committed theft, they would amputate him and if as noble person stole, he would be left be.

Concluding paragraph:

These are some of the matters which led to the failure and there are also matters related to organisational aspects and intellectual matters which require discussion. Some of the Shabaab did attempt to discuss these matters with the leadership which refused and rejected the undertaking of any study using the argument that there does not exist any problem and that everything is just fine and alright. As such it is not possible to look into, research and study a matter that did not even exist (in origin). As such, in respect to this, the Hizb came to resemble the ostrich when it puts its head into the ground, so that it cannot see anyone and believes that none can see it.

Dr. Tawfeeq Mustafa
October 1999


One thought on “The causes of failure of Hizb ut-Tahrir and how to take lessons (from it) – Dr Tawfeeq Mustafa

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