The Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “Prophethood will be amongst you as long as God wills, then He will remove it when He wills to do so. Then there will be a Caliphate that runs according to the Prophet’s Model and it will last as long as God wills, then He will remove it when He wills to do so. Then there will be Hereditary Kinship [al-Mulk al-‘Ād] and it will last as long as God wills, then He will remove it when He wills to do so. Then there will be Dictatorial Rule [al-Mulk al-Jabri] and it will last as long as God wills, then He will remove it when He wills to do so. Then there will be a Caliphate that runs according to the Prophet’s Model. Then he kept silent.”
The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, has given us the good news of a second Caliphate – of a unified Muslim state that runs according to the model practice of the Prophet himself and that of his Rightly-Guided Caliphs after centuries of hereditary dynasties and oppressive dictatorships. The era of strong-fisted dynasties that began with the Umayyads ended with the beginning of European colonialism. Colonialism has also ended, but it left in its wake oppressive dictators; many of whom have all but banished Islam from their states and worked actively against anyone who seeks a place for Islam in public life. Although this is a dark and difficult period, it is only appropriate that we look into the future with happiness, hope and certitude that the ummah, and the whole world, is moving towards the promise of the Messenger of God – the promise of a second Caliphate that will be a light and a mercy for all mankind. It is with this hope and this certitude that the School of Imam Yassine has taken the Hadith mentioned above as its guiding light and its historical mission to build a better future for mankind – a better future whose light has already begun to show on the horizon.
The goal of the establishment of the second Caliphate is by no means separate from the goal of seeking nearness to God. When describing the program of his School, Imam Yassine has often been known to say, “Spiritual training, then spiritual training, then spiritual training (At-Tarbiya, thumma at-tarbiya, thumma at-tarbiya).” This is because God’s promise of victory to this ummah will only come about when the ummah comprises large numbers of righteous people, devoted absolutely to God and His Messenger. Likewise, only those who love God and His Messenger and strive for God’s cause more than anything else will be able to carry out the tasks necessary for building the ummah and restoring the Caliphate. In this sense, achieving iḥsān on the individual level is a prerequisite condition for achieving al‘adl on a global, communal level. God –Exalted be He- says: “God has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will certainly grant them authority in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and He will establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them. And He will replace their fear with security and peace. They worship Me alone and associate none with Me…”
In the exact same manner that iḥsān is a necessary condition for achieving al‘adl, so is al‘adl a necessary condition for achieving iḥsān. The highest stations of nearness to God can never be attained without engaging in jihad in its comprehensive sense. The jihad against the nafs and its desires is indispensable in growing close to God, but the jihad to establish the dīn of God in the earth is also a Prophetic sunna and it was the constant occupation of the best generation to walk the earth – Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace, and his Companions, God be pleased with them.
Worship in isolation has its role in bringing one closer to God, but we grow closer to God in accordance with how closely we follow His Messenger; still we cannot follow him completely without engaging in the same jihad that he engaged in, in a manner that is appropriate for our own time and place.
The Prophetic jihad that we refer to here is by no means limited to the battles that he, God bless him and grant him peace, engaged in. The Prophet’s entire life after receiving revelation was striving in the way of God, yet for thirteen years out of the twenty-three-year period of his Prophethood he did not engage in any military campaigns. Imam Yassine discusses the difference between combating [military jihad] and the jihad of calling to God and patiently persevering in building a large mass of righteous believers in the face of all obstacles and opposition, stating that the latter is greater and more difficult than the former. At a time when Islam has become strange in its own lands and its true followers have become strangers, the jihad of calling to God is one of the greatest and most important obligations upon every Muslim, especially those who are seeking the highest stations of nearness to God. Imam Yassine writes: “…the manner of withdrawal [from society], the spiritual training of being silent and carrying out spiritual exercises in isolation – all of this amounts to a retreat from responsibility when Jerusalem is occupied, the ummah is like spoils being divided among conquerors, the moral fabric that unites it is threatened, and its mission and message is rejected in its own heartlands.”
In his book “The Prophetic Method”, and more elaborately in his voluminous “Justice: Islamists and Governance”, Imam Yassine discusses how Islamic movements in Muslim countries can work to free these countries from the oppressive dictatorships under which they currently suffer and the artificial borders imposed on them in the wake of colonialism. Anyone familiar with the history of moderate Islamic movements in the Muslim world knows that this process is among the great jihads of our time, and the Hadith of the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, is sufficient for us: “The greatest jihad is to speak the truth in the presence of an unjust ruler.” After the liberation of individual countries from dictatorships that have little or no concern for Islam, the reunification of the ummah will become a practical possibility. It cannot be stressed enough that the School of Imam Yassine, since its inception, has been completely non-violent and does not see violence as a legitimate or lawful means towards the liberation of Muslim countries. Imam Yassine adopted the principle of non-violence over 30 years ago and his movement in Morocco, and worldwide, has abided by this principle entirely. Imam Yassine discusses the difference between al-Qawma (literally, “standing up”) and al-thawra (rebellion), the former being a patient, balanced, principled opposition to dictatorial oppression and the latter being an angry, vengeful outburst aimed at overthrowing the government. In its effort to free the ummah from oppressive dictatorships the School of Imam Yassine has chosen the way of al-Qawma and unequivocally rejects the way of al-thawra.
It is appropriate here to acknowledge and address a question that is likely to have arisen in the minds of many readers living in Western countries, “What does opposition to oppressive governments in the Muslim world and the establishment of a second Caliphate have to do with me?” The answer to this question is complicated, and only time will tell what the ultimate role of Muslims in the West will be, but we will attempt to share some brief thoughts on the question in the following points:
1. A famous piece of wisdom says, “Make yourself at home wherever God has placed you.” The first obligation of a follower of the School of Imam Yassine is to do what is necessary for ‘adl and iḥsān to flourish in his own locality. There is a difference between the Justice and Spirituality School and the Justice and Spirituality Movement, the former being a set of broad principles that may be applied anywhere and the latter being the practical, context-based application of those principles in Morocco. The priorities and responsibilities of a follower of the School will differ from place to place, and to a large extent it is up to the followers of the School in each locality to determine exactly what those priorities and responsibilities are. Muslims who live in majority Muslim countries have a responsibility to work to ensure that their society and government run according to the principles and laws of Islam and they have a responsibility to oppose the oppressive governments that pose one of the greatest obstacles to achieving that goal. Muslims in the West on the other hand are generally small minorities, and their responsibilities concerning political involvement will be quite different from those of Muslims in Muslim lands. The political participation of Muslims in the West may even vary significantly from country to country, depending on the circumstances prevailing in each place and the costs and benefits of that participation, which are to be determined by the people living there. Establishing justice is also not limited to direct political participation and in many cases other activities, such as establishing organizations for social services or other types of civic involvement may be a more effective means towards that goal. In addition, Muslims in the West should work in coalition with non-Muslims towards shared goals of justice within their countries and communities.
2. The Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “Whoever reaches the morning and his concern is something other than God is not of God, and whoever reaches the morning and is not concerned with the affairs of the Muslims is not of them.” The Qur’ānic verses and Hadiths of the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, that stress the unity and brotherhood shared by all Muslims are too many to be counted, and the day that someone finds that he does not share the joys, pains and concerns of his brothers and sisters across the globe, wherever they may be, is the day that he should question the strength of his imān. This does not mean that every Muslim must have a direct role in all the causes and struggles that Muslims across the globe are engaged in, as that would be impossible for one individual, but it does mean that one is responsible to be concerned with the state of his brothers and sisters across the globe and to do all that he can support them in his own context, even if that is no more than the spiritual support of Du’ā’ -and what a support Du’ā’ is!.
3. Not all of the causes facing the ummah are of equal importance and thus not all of them deserve an equal amount of attention. The School of Imam Yassine believes that resisting the suffocating oppression that Muslims across the globe suffer under is one of the greatest priorities for the ummah today. The current situation – in which Islam is not allowed to flourish in its own heartlands, corruption and mismanagement are rampant at the political level, the masses of Muslims live in abject poverty and under severe oppression, institutions of learning are sorely neglected or deliberately plotted against and scholars and callers to God’s path are kept under tight restrictions – is entirely intolerable. Muslims in the West should do what is in their power to help their brothers and sisters across the globe throw off the yoke of oppression and establish just societies that respect human rights and truly run according to democratic principles. We have stated that Muslims in the West are not expected to participate actively in every cause facing the global community, but establishing conditions that allow Islam to flourish in its own heartlands should be a priority for all.