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HIZB AL-TAHRIR AL-ISLAMI. Established in Jerusalem in 1953 by Tagi al-Din al-Nabhani (1909-1977), an al-Azhar graduate and religious school teacher and judge from Ijzim in northern Palestine, and a group of colleagues who had separated from the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islam! (the Islamic Liberation Party) declared itself to be a political party with Islam as its ideology and the revival of the Islamic nation-purged of the vestiges of colonialism and restored to an Islamic way of life-as its goal. The party sought to achieve this goal by creating a single Islamic state, erected on the ruins of existing regimes, which would implement Islam and export it throughout the world. Although the party never obtained official sanction, it enjoyed modest successes in Jordan and the West Bank until the suppression of the opposition in 1957. It indoctrinated recruits; disseminated its ideas through leaflets, lectures, and sermons; and contested parliamentary elections. The party early established branches in Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Iraq. Although the ascendancy of Nasserism hindered its effort to gain popular support the early 196os witnessed its growing confidence, which culminated in two attempts at a coup d’etat in Amman in 1968 and 1969, each coordinated with simultaneous arrangements in Damascus and Baghdad. Other such plots emerged in Baghdad (1972), Cairo (1974), and Damascus (1976).

In recent years the party has construed the Islamic resurgence as evidence of society’s reception of its ideas. Since the Gulf Crisis of 1990-1991 its optimism has grown, based on the beliefs that the insincerity of political movements and regimes in the region has been exposed and public opinion now appreciates the correctness of the party’s understanding of Islam and its radical approach to change. Rigid adherence to its ideology makes it unwilling to cooperate with other Islamic groups, and its confrontational approach has brought it universal proscription. In spite of the isolation and marginalization consequent upon this, its members are currently active in Jordan, Syria, the Occupied Territories, Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa (especially Tunisia), Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Sudan, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and parts of Europe, including Britain, France, Germany, Romania, and Yugoslavia. In the Muslim world it enjoys greater freedom in countries that it does not deem to possess the necessary economic, military, and human resources to support a viable new Islamic state, and therefore does not target directly, like Jordan and Kuwait.

Activities are coordinated and prioritized throughout the Arab-Islamic region, reflecting the party’s wellorganized, highly-disciplined, and overwhelmingly centralized structure. Membership is typical of modern mass parties, but the Hizb al-Tahrir exhibits totalitarian features, including a preoccupation with maintaining ideological homogeneity: to this end the leadership “adopts” ideological material, which becomes binding on members. Secondary school and university students and recent graduates constitute a significant proportion of new members. Conceptions of authority and leadership within the party derive from the Islamic tradition: executive power and authority are vested in a specific individual at each level of organization, but consultation (shurd) also operates. In addition, the influence of quasifascist ideas is discernible.

Alongside its avowedly political nature, the party is distinguished by a consistent system of thought and a coherent political program. Central to the former is an attempt to construe Islam as an ideology superior to socialism and capitalism. This ideology comprises two parts: a rational doctrine that shapes Muslim thought and conduct and a system for ordering all aspects of Muslim life. The latter, which issues from the doctrine, is the shari`ah. The party urges Muslims to practice ijtihad in its ongoing elaboration. It excludes all forms of consensus (ijma’), except that of the Prophet’s companions, as a source of jurisprudence and rejects the rational effective cause (`illah) as a basis for analogical deduction. It also rejects the principles of general interest (al-maslahah al-mursalah), applying discretion in deriving legal rules (al-istihsan) and in acquiring good and repelling evil (jalb al-masalih; dar` al-mafasid). This stance effectively minimizes the role of reason in juridic elaboration and suspends mechanisms designed to serve the community’s immediate interests and to take account of its changing circumstances.

The party considers the implementation of the shad `ah as the lynchpin in the restoration of an Islamic way of life and the state as a sine qua non for achieving this aim. It upholds the classical model of the caliphate as the only authentic form of Islamic government, which it seeks to restore with its traditional accompanying institutions. To this end it has drafted a constitution detailing the political, economic, and social systems of the proposed state. This document vests executive and legislative powers in an elected caliph, in whom most functions of state are centralized. Citizens are encouraged to exercise their right to call the state to account through a political opposition based on the Islamic ideology and expressed through a system of party plurality. Although involvement in politics is construed as a collective religious duty (fard al-kifdyah), shurd is not held to be a pillar of Islamic government. The party emphasizes the distinction between shurd and democracy and holds that democracy is not compatible with Islam. It also denounces nationalism as a creation of unbelief.

The party’s program evidences an attempt to employ the constructs of traditional Islamic discourse to legitimize adopting modes of political organization and mobilization characteristic of the emergent modern, secular political parties contemporary with it in the Arab East. The heart of this program is the endeavor to replace erroneous concepts, prevalent in Muslim societies due to both their decline and the legacies of colonialism, with the party ideology. The objective is to create an extensive fifth column that will support the revolutionary state, which is to be established through a coup d’e-tat executed by the party and selected power groups that have been won over to its cause. It also aims to politicize the Islamic ummah, and to expose conspiracies hatched against it by the West. Its perceived role is confined to political and intellectual spheres: it expressly refuses to involve itself in social, religious, or educational projects.

The party’s major publications include Al-takattul alhizbi (The Party Formation), Al-shakhsiyah al-Islamiyah (The Islamic Way of Life), Nizam al Islam (The Islamic Order), Mafdhim hizb al-tahrir (Concepts of the Islamic Liberation Party), Nizam al-hukm fi al-Islam (The System of Government in Islam), Nazarat siyasiyah li-H, izb al-Tah rir (Political Reflections of the Islamic Liberation Party), and Kayfa hudimat al-khildfah (How the Caliphate was Destroyed).

[See also Jordan.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Works on Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islami

Amin, Sadiq. Al-da’wah al-Islamiyah: Faridah Shar’iyah wa Darurah Bashariyah. N.p., 1982. Crude Muslim Brotherhood polemics against the party’s platform and program. See pages 75-102.

Cohen, Amnon. Political Parties in the West Bank under the jordanian Regime, 1949-x967. Rev. ed. Ithaca, N.Y., and London, 1982. Overview of the party in the West Bank, with greater emphasis on the period 1952-1957, based predominantly on reports of the Jordanian Security Service Archive (pp. 209-229). Provides little comment or analysis, and discussion of the party’s ideology is limited. See, as well, Cohen’s “Political Parties in the West Bank under the Hashemite Regime,” in Palestinian Arab Politics, edited by Ma’oz Moshe, pp. 21-49 (Jerusalem, 1975).

Khairallah, Shereen. “The Islamic Liberation Party: Search for a Lost Ideal.” In Vision and Revision in Arab Society, pp. 87-95. CEMAM Reports, vol. 2. Beirut, 1975. Incisive review, with citations, of Nazarat siyasiyah li-Hizb al-Tahrir (n.p., 1972).

Samarah, Ihsan `Abd al-Mun’im. Mafhum al-`adalah al-ijtima’iyah fi, al-fikr al-Islami al-mu’asir. Jerusalem, 1987. Apologetic treatment, including a biography of Tag! al-Din al-Nabhani and a thorough discussion of aspects of the party’s thought, concentrating on its rejection of the concept of social justice. See pages 140-163, 223238.

Tawbah, Ghazi al-. Al-fikr al-Islami al-mu’asir: Dirdsah wa-taqwim. Beirut, 1969. Relatively sophisticated polemics against the party’s ideology, with citations from a range of its publications. Misrepresentations of its concepts are not uncommon. See pages 285311.

Works by Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islami

Hizb al-Tahrir. N.p., 1985. Comprehensive introduction to the party: includes a statement of its objectives and methods and a survey of concepts fundamental to its thought.

Mafahim siyasiyah li-Hizb al-Tahrir. N.p., 1969. Detailed statement of the party’s analysis of international politics.

Nabhani, Tag! al-Din al-. Nizam al-hukm ft al-Islam. Jerusalem, 1953. Detailed exposition of the caliphal system of government proposed by the party.

Nabhani, Tag-1 al-Din al-. Nizdm al Islam. Jerusalem, 1953. Contains the party’s draft constitution for an islamic state (revised 1979).

Nabhani, Taqi al-Din al-. Al-shakhsiyah al-Islamiyah. Jerusalem, 1953. Volume 3 of this three-part work is an elaborate exposition of the party’s views concerning the sources and mechanisms of jurisprudence.

Nabhani, Tag! al-Din al-. Al-takattul al-hizbi. Jerusalem, 1953. Inspired discussion of the party’s conception of revival and the method for engineering it. Includes a critique of the attempts of earlier and contemporary political movements in the Arab East.

SUHA TAI!-FAROUKI

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/hizb-al-tahrir-al-islami/
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