The following is an excerpt from an interview conducted in 1989 by Ustadh Mounir Regragui and Ustadh Abdelkarim Alami with Imam Abdessalam Yassine, translated from Arabic by Hassan Elannani. It is about the Signs of Renewal of Islam.
Question by Ustadh Mounir Regragui and Ustadh Abdelkarim Alami:
Since the term Sufism is not mentioned in the book “The Prophetic Method,” another term, renewal, is mentioned in various forms. What is your interpretation of renewal, and how to know the “one who” renews the religion?
Answer by Imam Abdessalam Yassine:
I say, “The one who is asked knows no more than the one who asks.” If we compare this great hadith “God will send one who will renew the religion for this ummah” with the hadith of khilafa (caliphate) “…and then there will be khilafa upon the Prophetic method,” we find that the renewal of what is worn out (of faith) cannot be achieved without the renewal of what is untied in the knots of Islam (e.g., system of governance) and vice versa. The hadith of khilafa informs us that there will be a khilafa according to the Prophetic method after many generations of hereditary and oppressive rule, and that is a renewal of the system of governance.
In Islamic history, the renewal of the system of governance happened at different levels and ways. For example, there were pious kings such as Omar Ibn Abdelaziz, Salaheddine Al-Ayubi, Yusuf Ibn Tashfine, Muhammad Al-Fatih of the Ottomans in Turkey, and others who tried to regenerate the system of governance but the renewal of khilafa based on the Prophetic Method is unlike any past efforts; it is a drastic process that seeks primarily to eliminate the roots of oppression and dictatorial rule. This new approach requires from the leaders of renewal to attain the highest levels of faith (ihsan) as were modeled by the Prophet’s companions, especially the Rightly Guided Califs: Abu Bakr, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, Othman ibn Affan, and Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may God be pleased with them.
In an authentic hadith, the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) said: “I wish we see my brothers.” The Companions said, “O Messenger of God! Are not we your brothers?” He said, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.”
The hadiths promising the future coming of “the brothers” are many. The main questions are how to renew the faith of these end-of-time brothers so that they can attain the state of ihsan and be worthy of the title “friends” of God? How to develop themselves to deserve khilafa upon the Prophetic Method? Khilafa is bestowed by God only and cannot be claimed in vain. Contemporary authors write often about Muslims as God’s viceroys on earth. The real viceroys on earth were the Prophets of God: Adam, David, Moses, Abraham, Noah, and Muhammad, God bless them and grant them peace. This is the true meaning of comprehensive khilafa.
You asked me “how to know that end-of-time brothers have achieved ihsan to merit khilafa as experienced by the Rightly Guided Califs?” I can say that we need to make the effort and God is Sovereign in His rule. The results of our efforts may be visible after several decades or centuries. The history of the ummah is replete with such successes; and after 14 centuries, we are able to see early signs of the rightly guided khilafa in this blessed Islamic awakening throughout the world.
God is the only One able to make this happen. Just think about the series of extraordinary events that occurred at the beginning of the 15th century, especially the end of communism, which was declared dead officially by the proponents of socialism and Marxism. Death of communism and the revival of Islam are two precursors that have heralded the khilafa that we hope it will be established on the Prophetic Method. How to establish it, when, and by whom? Only God knows the future.