Iqbāl is wrong in his view that the modern republican State can replace the Caliphate
Iqbāl agreed with the bogus and fraudulent Turkish Ijtihād (it was he who used the term Ijtihād) to the effect that the Imāmate or Caliphate (which was abolished by Mustafa Kamal’s Turkish Grand National Assembly in 1924) can be vested in a body of persons or an elected Assembly. Provided that the Parliament of a modern State was freely constituted of good Muslims rather than paid illiterate political serfs of vested interests, Iqbāl was prepared to accept it as a valid substitute for the Caliphate. In promoting a brand new so-called modern Islamic republican democracy that was supposed to replace medieval dictatorship in the lands of Islam, Iqbal actually contributed to the acceptance, seemingly once and for all, of a post-Caliphate Islam. The predictable result was that Muslims were eventually either swallowed up in the system of modern (secular) States which they accepted as an abiding reality of the modern world of Islam, or they were transported on a futile journey of creating something quite novel which they were wont to describe as an Islamic State. In doing so they unwittingly dug a grave in which to bury the sacred institution of the Caliphate (Khilāfah).
“Let us now see how the (Turkish) Grand National Assembly has exercised this power of Ijtihad in regard to the institution of Khilafat (Caliphate). According to Sunni Law, the appointment of an Imām or Khalifah is absolutely indispensable. The first question that arises in this connection is this – Should the Caliphate be vested in a single person? Turkey’s Ijtih«d is that according to the spirit of Islam the Caliphate or Imamate can be vested in a body of persons, or an elected Assembly. The religious doctors of Islam in Egypt and India, as far as I know, have not yet expressed themselves on this point. Personally, I believe the Turkish view is perfectly sound. It is hardly necessary to argue this point. The republican form of government is not only thoroughly consistent with the spirit of Islam, but has also become a necessity in view of the new forces that are set free in the world of Islam.” (Italics inserted by this writer)
(Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, ‘The Principle of Movement in the Structure of Islam’)
Iqbal supported the Turkish view to the extent of declaring: It is hardly necessary to argue this point. Yet Iqbāl’s view expressed above was false. Regardless of what Iqbal may have expressed elsewhere in his voluminous works, the view expressed above was not only monumentally wrong and misguided, but also misguided others. The Turkish view that the Caliphate can be vested in an elected Assembly of a modern republican State is false. The Turkish view that the Caliphate can be replaced by western civilization’s constitutional democracy and secular model of a State is false.
Modern political democracy originated in modern secular western civilization, and required the adoption of political secularism as the basis for the establishment of polity and State. Political secularism, however, like all other applications of secularism, denied religion any significant role in the public order. This, in turn, facilitated the decline of religion and of absolute moral values, and around the world, has led to the emergence of ever-changing secular values and eventually to an essentially godless way of life.
Let us recall that when the British colonized countries such as India they found Muslims with a political culture which, though corrupted, was derived structurally from Islam. British colonial rule imposed European political secularism at the point of the sword as the alternative to Islamic political culture. Both Hindus and Muslims eventually challenged the new European ‘political secularism’, and sought to restore and to preserve their own indigenous political culture. This led eventually, and alarmingly so for the British, to an ominous political alliance of Muslims and Hindus in what was called the Khilafat Movement – a struggle to preserve the institution of the Islamic Caliphate located at the very heart of Muslim political culture. Gandhi himself forged the alliance with the Muslim Khilafat Movement since he wanted to restore (for Hindus) indigenous Hindu political culture and a Hindu model of a State.
The Khilafat Movement threatened to topple the entire system of European political secularism and constitutional democracy that the colonial West was forcing upon the colonized non-European world. A British strategy was devised, in collaboration with Mustafa Kamal’s newly emergent secular Republic of Turkey, to abolish the Ottoman Turkish Caliphate, and in so doing to sabotage and to bring about the collapse of the Indian Khilafat Movement with its alarming Hindu-Muslim alliance. The strategy succeeded. The Caliphate was abolished in Turkey in March 1924. By the end of that same year the old Indian Muslim leadership, comprised of men who knew and lived Islam, went into irreversible decline. They were replaced at the helm of affairs by the secularly inclined ‘All India Muslim League’, largely led by men with western education and westernized thought. They presided over the cleverly disguised passage from Islam as the basis of political culture, to a new European-inspired political culture and conception of a modern state. It was deceptively spirited in by way of religious nationalism, and emerged as a curious creature named ‘Muslim nationalism’. The passage from the one to the other was so cleverly disguised that it is still not discernible to many Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The turbulent history of secular European constitutional democracy in the Muslim world cannot be understood without recognition of that effort at fundamental change in political culture from Islam to the European model of political secularism. Indeed the passage from the one to the other has not as yet been accomplished in any final way even in Pakistan or Turkey. Time and again the religious beliefs of the Muslim peoples in Africa, the Arab world, South and South-East Asia, etc., have impacted on politics in such wise that the West has been forced to continuously resort to devious means, including brute force and barbarism in present-day Iraq, Afghanistan and North-West Pakistan, to thwart the effort to restore Islam’s model of State and of an international order (i.e., the Khilāfah and Dār al-Islām) as the basis of polity.
It would surely surprise some of our readers to learn that Islam has never claimed to be a new religion. Rather it has consistently proclaimed that it is the original religion of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon them all). It was therefore natural that Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) should have preserved in the Islamic State of Madina the essential model of a polity and State that was established by the Prophet-Kings, David and Solomon (‘alaihim al-Salām) in the Holy State of Israel. What was that model?
Firstly, political culture in Holy Israel tolerated no secular separation of politics from religion. In both David and Solomon (‘alaihim al-Salām) the religious/spiritual head of the community (i.e., the Prophet), was also himself, King or Head of State.
Secondly, the polity and State recognized the One God as Sovereign (al-Malik), and to Him belonged the Kingdom (al-Mulk), and hence Israel was the Kingdom of the One God on earth.
Thirdly, the One God’s authority and law were both supreme in this model of a State.
In the secular European model on the other hand, sovereignty was taken away from the One God and vested in the polity and republican state (even when it formally remained a monarchy). That was blasphemy (Shirk). The One God was further stripped of supreme authority and law and these also were vested in the people and the republican state, and were institutionalized in secular government (administration, judiciary and legislature). That, also, was blasphemy (Shirk). The people not only assumed supreme authority and installed their own man-made law as supreme law, they even went on, and recklessly so, to make legally permissible that which the One God had Himself prohibited. Such was the case, for example, with the Divine prohibition of ‘lending money on interest’, gambling and lottery, etc. The Qur’ān has described all these efforts to ‘play God’ as blasphemy (Shirk), which is the one sin that Allah Most High has warned that He would never forgive. I guess that someone would respond by accusing the One God of being fundamentalist.
When a people turn away from the One God, as they most certainly do in political secularism and the secular republican state, the Qur’ān has warned that they would eventually forget Him and would pay the price of forgetting themselves (i.e., forget their human status or forget what it means to be a Muslim). Their conduct would eventually become worse than that of wild beasts. Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prophesied that they would eventually engage in sexual intercourse in public like donkeys. There is an abundance of evidence that mainstream society in this so-called progressive modern age is heading down that road and is already approaching the fulfillment of the prophecy of roadside sex.
The Islamic Khilāfah differs in no way whatsoever from the model of the Holy State of Israel except that Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet/Head of State, was recognized as Servant of Allah rather than King! Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has prophesied that the Islamic Khilāfah would be restored at that time when Jesus (‘alaihi al-Salām) returns.
“How will you be (at that time) when the Son of Mary descends amongst you and your Imām would be from within your ownselves.”
I believe that historic moment is now so close that children now at school will live to see the return of the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah).
It will surely come as quite a surprise to our readers to learn that the same Iqbāl who provided the theoretical foundations for the emergence of the modern republican Pakistan after the model of Mustafa Kamal’s modern secular Turkey, is also the hero of those Pakistani Muslims who fervently long for the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah) and Dar al-Islam that the modern secular republican state was specifically designed to supersede and permanently replace. Iqbāl, in verse, urged the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah), and sought (eloquently and passionately) that mobilization of the Islamic spirit that would make it possible:
“Taa Khilafat kee bina dunyah main ho phir ustawaar,
Laa kahein say dhoond kar aslaaf ka qalb-o-jigar.”
“In order to strengthen or vitalize the cause of the restoration of the Caliphate in this world
it is imperative that we locate and rebuild the heart and liver,
i.e., the courage, faith and mettle of the first Muslims.”