بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Founder of Hizb ut Tahrir
Sheikh Scholar Taqiuddin an-Nabahani
Taqiuddin bin Ibrahim bin Mustafa bin Ismail bin Yusuf an-Nabahani (founder of Hizb ut Tahrir) belonged to Bani Nabahan and he came from a village by the name of Ajzam in Haifa in Northern Palestine. Sheikh an-Nabahani was born in the village of Ajzam in 1332 Hijri or 1914 CE. His family was known for knowledge, practice of Deen and Taqwa. His father, Sheikh Ibrahim, was a jurist and a scholar of ‘Uloom e Sharai in the Ministry of Ma'arif (Knowledge and Arts). His mother was also an expert in ‘Uloom e Sharai,' which she obtained from her father Sheikh Yusuf an-Nabahani.
Different narrations mention his maternal grandfather Sheikh Yusuf Nabahani in these words: Yusuf bin Ismail bin Yusuf bin Hassan bin Mohammad Al Nabahani Al Shafii' - his kunya (nickname) was ‘Abu al Mahasin' and he was a poet, Sufi and a literary person. He was considered amongst one of the best judges of his time. He served as a judge in the area of Jenin affiliated with Nablus. Afterwards, he transferred to Istanbul where he served as a judge in the area of Kavi Sanjaq in Mosul. Then he was appointed as the head of the royal court in Al-Azqya and Al-Quds. And then he took charge of the Court of Rights of Beirut. He has authored forty-eight books.
Sheikh Taqiuddin's Islamic personality is to a great extent an outcome of his family background. Therefore, he memorized Holy Qur'an at the age of 13 years. He was greatly inspired by his maternal grandfather's knowledge and awareness and he acquired from this ocean of knowledge, as much as he could. From the very beginning, he acquired political awareness especially from those political movements which his grandfather initiated in favor of the Ottoman Caliphate. The Sheikh benefited greatly from the jurisprudence related arguments that were organized by his grandfather Sheikh Yusuf. It was during these conventions that he caught the attention of his grandfather. Therefore, Sheikh Yusuf convinced Sheikh Taqi's father to send him to Al Azhar University to attain knowledge of ‘Uloom e Sharaii'.
Attainment of Knowledge:
Sheikh Taqi received admission in the eighth grade in Al Azhar University in 1928 and cleared the exam with distinction in the same year. He was awarded with the certificate of ‘Shuhada Al Ghurba'. After this he received admission in the science college which was affiliated with Al Azhar University at that time. He used to keep attending the knowledge conventions of those scholars about whom his grandfather guided him e.g. Sheikh Mohammad Al Khizar Hussain (rahimahu Allah). In the old method of teaching, it was allowed for the students to attend such circles. Sheikh an-Nabahani always remained a prominent student even though he undertook the tasks of studying in Science College and attending knowledge conventions simultaneously. His contemporaries and teachers used to envy him because of his deep thought, learned opinions and his convincing arguments, which he presented in the debates held in Cairo and other Islamic lands.
Sheikh obtained theses degrees: Intermediate from Al Azhar University, Shahada tal Ghurba from Al Azhar, graduation in Arabic language and literature from Cairo, Dar al' Uloom, degree of judgeship from Ma'had al ‘Aala - an institute of sharai' courts affiliated with Al Azhar and Shahada tal ‘Alamiah in sharia' from Al Azhar (masters degree) in 1932 CE.
Offices held by Sheikh:
Sheikh served in the Sharai' education department of the Ministry of Al-Ma'arif until 1938 CE. Then he was promoted and was transferred to the Sharai' Court and was selected as attorney in the Central Court of Haifa. After that he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Judge. Then he served as the judge of the Court of Ramallah until 1948 CE. After the occupation of Palestine by the Jews, he migrated to Syria but then returned to Palestine in the same year and was appointed the judge of Sharai' court of Al-Quds. Then he served as the judge of Sharia' of High Court till 1950 CE. Afterwards, he resigned from the post of judge and became a teacher at ‘Uloom e Islamia College in Oman. The Sheikh (rahimahu Allah) was an ocean of knowledge; he was a master in every branch of knowledge. He was a great Mujtahid and Muhadith.
Books by Sheikh Taqi:
i. Systems of Islam
ii. Structuring of a Party
iii. Concepts of Hizb ut Tahrir
iv. The Economic System in Islam
v. The Social System in Islam
vi. The Ruling System in Islam
vii. The Constitution ( The Khilafah "Caliphate" State)
viii. Introduction to the Constitution (the Preamble)
ix. The Islamic State
x. Islamic Personality (Three Volumes)
xi. Political Concepts of Hizb ut Tahrir
xii. Political Thoughts
xiii. A Warm Call
xiv. Khilafah (Caliphate)
xvi. Presence of Mind
xvii. Departure Point
xviii. Entering Society
xix. Lislah e Misr
xx. Al Ittefaqiyat as Saniya al Mastiya al Surya wal Yamnia
xxi. Hal Qadeeh Falasteen ‘ala Tareeqa tal Amreekya wal Engleezia
xxii. Nazrya al Faragh al Syasi Hol Mashroo' Eezan Hawar
And there are hundreds of other intellectual, political and economic articles as well.
When the publication of his books and articles were banned; consequently, he published some books under the name of other members of Hizb ut Tahrir such as:
i. Exemplary Economic Policy
ii. Refutation of Marxist Communism
iii. How the Khilafah "Caliphate" was Destroyed
iv. The Rules of Evidences in Islam
v. The Punishment System of Islam
vi. Rules of Salah
vii. Islamic Thought
Before founding Hizb ut Tahrir, he wrote two books: Anqaz Falasteen (The Rescue of Palestine) and Risla tal ‘Arab (Letter to the Arabs).
His Character and Qualities
Zuhair Kahala, a teacher who was also head of the administration at Islamic Science College, was an employee of the college during the period in which Sheikh Taqiuddin started working in college. He narrates, "The Sheikh was an intelligent, noble and pure hearted man. He had a sincere, dignified and powerful personality. The presence of a Jewish entity in the heart of Muslim ummah saddened as well infuriated him."
He was of medium-height, stocky in build, brilliantly active, dynamic man and an articulate debater. He was exemplary in presenting his arguments. He never compromised on what he believed to be Haq. His beard was medium in length with graying hair in it. His personality reflected awe and his conversation influenced others. His arguments used to make others dumbfounded. He strongly disliked aimless struggle, personal attacks and deviation from the interests of Ummah. He despised the fact that people get lost in their personal lives. He was always worried about the Ummah's well being. He was the epitome of this saying of Prophet (saw) the meaning of which is: »من لم يهتم بأمر المسلمين فليس منهم« "Whosoever does not concern himself in taking care of the matters of Muslims is not one of them." He used to repeat this hadith again and again and presented it as evidence. He would express his sorrow on the fact that Imam Ghazali (ra), author of the book Ahya al Uloom, kept himself busy in writing books during the time of crusaders' attacks.
Establishment of Hizb ut Tahrir and its Journey:
Sheikh Taqiuddin analyzed the parties, movements and organizations that came into being after 4th Hijri deeply and with great effort. He keenly observed their styles, thoughts, penetration and the causes of failure. As the Sheikh considered the existence of a Hizb to be imperative for the re-establishment of Khilafah "Caliphate", he, thus, studied these parties with this motive. After the abolition of the Khilafah "Caliphate" at the hands of the criminal Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, Muslims could not re-establish Khilafah "Caliphate", even in the presence of so many Islamic movements. The occupation by "Israel" in 1948 of Palestinian land and the helplessness of Arabs in front of the Jewish entity with the aid of British sponsored governments of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, proved to be catalysts for the emotions of Sheikh Taqiuddin. Thus, he started analyzing the causes that would eventually result in the revival of Muslims. At first, Sheikh resorted to revive Ummah and wrote two books: Anqaz Falasteen (The Rescue of Palestine) and Risla tal ‘Arab (Letter to the Arabs). Both of these books were published in 1950; these books dealt with only thought, ‘Aqeeda and the real message of Ummah i.e. message of Islam stating that it is only Islam based upon which Arabs should seek revival. The message of Arab nationalists differed greatly from the Sheikh's message. The message that Arab nationalists propagated actually widened the distance between Ummah and real message of Islam, whilst engaging it in various western concepts which were opposed to its ‘Aqeeda and values. Then the Sheikh scrutinized those concepts, which were the driving force for the Arab nationalists and analyzed all the suggestions that were presented to him in this regard. But he was not satisfied with any of the suggestions.
Before reaching any decision, he contacted all of the scholars that he knew and those he met in Egypt. He presented all these scholars with the idea of creating a political party in order to revive the Muslim Ummah and restore its past glory. For this purpose, he traveled across the land of Palestine and presented the renowned scholars and intellectuals with this thought that had captivated his mind and heart. He arranged seminars for this purpose and summoned scholars from the length and breadth of Palestine. In these seminars, he debated with scholars on the correct methodology for revival and would convey to participants that they were headed the wrong way and their efforts would bear no fruit. The participants of these seminars mostly used to be the office bearers of various Islamic, political and nationalist parties. Also, he undertook detailed conversations on various political issues in the mosques of Al Aqsa, Al Khalil and other areas upon different occasions. He used to explain the reality of the Arab League during these addresses stating clearly that it is a product of western colonialism and this is one of many tools of the West, with its help of which they have kept Islamic lands under their control. The Sheikh would expose the political conspiracies of the West and would tear down the facade from the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim plans of the West. He would arouse the sense of responsibility among Muslims and invite them to create a party purely based upon Islam.
Sheikh Taqiuddin stood as a candidate in the election of House of Representatives; which was an advisory committee only. But due to his strict opinion, political activity, serious struggle towards the establishment of a party based on Islam and strict adherence to Islam, the government caused the results of the elections to be unfavourable for the Sheikh.
But it did neither deter the Sheikh from his political activity nor could it weaken his resolve rather he continued with his activities of contacts and debates. His activities resulted in the successful convincing of renowned scholars, judges and political thinkers for the establishment of a political party. Then he presented these high profile people with the framework and thoughts that became the cultural heritage of the Hizb. Some scholars and thinkers accepted his thoughts and provided their consent, thus, his political activities for the establishment of Hizb reached their pinnacle.
The blessed city of Al Quds was the place where foundations for the Hizb were laid; where he was serving in the Supreme Court. At that time, he contacted many important personalities like Sheikh Ahmad Da'oor of Qalqeela, Sayyadan Nimr of Egypt, Daud Hamdan of Ramallah, Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum of Al Khalil (Hebron), Adil al Nabulsi, Ghanim Abdu, Munir Shaqeer, Sheikh As'ad Bewiz Tamimi, etc.
In the beginning, the meetings, held among the founders, were unorganized and were held on a need basis. Mostly, these meetings were held in Al Quds or Al Khalil where the topic of inviting new people to join the Hizb was debated. The center of debates used to be the important Islamic topics necessary for the glory of Ummah. This trend continued till the end of 1952, when these people vowed to establish a political party.
On November 17, 1952, five founding members of Hizb requested the Interior Ministry of Jordan for a formal no-objection certificate in order to establish a political party.
These members were:
1. Taqiuddin an-Nabahani: President
2. Daud Hamdan: Vice-President and Secretary
3. Ghanim Abdu: Treasurer
4. Adil Al Nabulsi: Member
5. Munir Shaqeer: Member
Afterwards, Hizb completed all the legal formalities that were required in the Ottoman law regarding the formation of parties. The Hizb headquarters was located in Al Quds and all the steps taken by this party were correct according to the Ottoman law.
In the publication of ‘Basic Ruling System and the Administration Conditions" from Hizb in Issue No. 176 of Al Sareeh Newspaper dated March 14, 1953; Hizb ut Tahrir became a legal party on the said date, corresponding to Jamad ul Awal 28, 1372 Hijri. Thus, on this day, the Hizb was instated with the right to undertake party activities that were according to the Ottoman law of the time.
However, the government asked for all the five founding members and interrogated them and arrested four of them. On Rajab 7, 1372 Hijri corresponding to March 23, 1953, through a statement, the government banned the party and ordered its founders to stop any activities that they are undertaking. On April 1, the banners and posters pasted at its office in Al Quds were removed as part of an implementation of government orders.
However, Sheikh Taqi did not give any significance to this ban and continued his work. He kept propagating the message for which the Hizb was founded. Daud Hamdan and Nimr Misri separated themselves from the leadership role in 1956 and they were replaced by Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum and Sheikh Ahmad Da'oor. These exalted scholars then became the leaders of Hizb and fulfilled their responsibility towards this blessed call.
The Hizb started collective culturing of people in the congregational areas of Al Aqsa mosque in order to revive the Islamic way of life. Due to their amazing activities, the government of time resorted to cheap tactics, so that Hizb might not be able to form themselves into a party and a strong organization. In wake of these circumstances, Sheikh Taqi, left this area near the end of 1953 and twice was not allowed to return.
Sheikh Taqi left for Syria in November 1953, where he was arrested by the Syrian government and was exiled to Lebanon, whilst the Lebanese government did not allow him to enter their land. However, when he asked for permission from the officer in charge at the police station in the valley of Al Hareer to call his friend, the officer permitted him. Sheikh Nabahani called his friend Mufti Sheikh Hassan Al ‘Ala and told him of the situation. Sheikh Al ‘Ala immediately took action and threatened the Lebanese officers that if they did not let Sheikh Taqi enter the country, he will spread the news that the so called democratic government was not allowing an exalted scholar to enter their land. The Lebanese authorities yielded to this threat and allowed Sheikh Taqi entrance.
Sheikh Taqi indulged himself in the propagation of his thoughts after coming to Lebanon and did not face any notable obstacles in his work till 1958. When the Lebanese government sensed the danger his thoughts posed, they started to tighten their grip on the Sheikh, therefore, Sheikh secretly moved to Tripoli, Lebanon, from Beirut. One of his trusted friends has told us that the Sheikh used to dedicate most of his time to the activities of reading and writing. He used to stay in touch with the world news through radio and issue brilliant political statements. He was pious just as his name meant - Taqi: Pious. He always kept his tongue under control and his gaze low. He was never heard as being abusive towards any Muslim, he was never heard of humiliating anyone, especially those Dai' of Islam who differed with him in Ijtihad.
In Iraq, the Sheikh focused special attention to attain Nussrah. For this purpose, Sheikh himself traveled to Iraq many times with Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum, who was there due to some critical contacts including people like Abdul Salam Arif etc. Amongst these travels included that last journey in which he was arrested in Iraq and was severely persecuted; physically and mentally. But his interrogator failed to obtain their desired information from the Sheikh. He just kept on repeating these words, that he was an old man whose sole purpose to visit Iraq was for treatment. Indeed, Sheikh went there for the treatment of the ailing Ummah i.e. Khilafah "Caliphate". When the Iraqi authorities could not extract any information, out of desperation, they broke his arm and deported him out of their country, whilst he was covered with blood as a result of severe torture. And just when he was deported, Jordanian Intelligence in formed Iraqi Intelligence that this prisoner was actually Sheikh Taqi who was greatly required by the Iraqi Intelligence. But, Alhamdulillah, time was not on their side anymore and Sheikh had gone quite a distance from that place by then.
Sheikh Taqi was absolutely steadfast in his commitment for the establishment of Hizb and was about to reach his desired destination, when he was called for the eternal world.
This great Ummah bid farewell to Sheikh Taqi on Saturday, at Fajar dated 01 Muharram 1398 AH or 11 December 1977 CE. He was indeed a great leader, an ocean of knowledge, undoubtedly the greatest jurist of modern times, revivalist of Islamic thought, the greatest intellectual of 20th century, a true Mujtahid and an exemplary scholar. The Sheikh was buried in Al Ozaayi' cemetery in Beirut. The Sheikh himself could not enjoy the fruit of the efforts that he started and dedicated his life to it. He could not see the Khilafah "Caliphate" State for which the Hizb was founded. But he entrusted this responsibility to his successor, a companion, exemplary scholar Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum and met his Creator. Although, the Sheikh could not witness the re-establishment of the state with his own eyes, but his efforts bore fruit and Hizb spread in different parts of the world and his thoughts received acceptance from people all around the globe. Tens of millions people adopted his thoughts and those who had been mentored by him reached every nook and corner of the world. Even today, the dungeons of oppressors of the world are filled with people who carry and call the thoughts propagated by the Sheikh.