بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Leave it! Indeed it is Rotten
Allah (swt) said:
[لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولا مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِنْ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلالٍ مُبِينٍ]
“Indeed, Allah has done the believers a ˹great˺ favor by raising a messenger from among them—reciting to them His revelations, purifying them, and teaching them the Book and wisdom. For indeed they had previously been clearly astray.” [Aal-i Imran:164].
Allah (swt) said in the above ayah that the Messenger (saw) purified the society (وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ) from the trace of Jahiliyah.
It is necessary to understand the meaning and reality of the term “Jahiliyah” in order to understand current society in which we live. So, the need for the reestablishment of the Khilafah shall have its utmost priority in the lives of the Muslims. When we look into the reality of the Makkan society in specific and Arabs in general, we observe that there were some nomadic tribes and there were tribal establishments like Thaqif, Quraish, Shaiban and others. Quraish especially enjoyed the overall leadership among entire Arab tribes due to the Custodianship of the house of Allah. They would discuss the policies in Dar An-Nadwa where leaders of Quraysh make decisions for Makkah. This was apparently exhibited when they engaged in war and treaties with the Messenger of Allah (saw).
When it comes to economy, Quraish had strong business connect with the north and the south i.e., they would travel to Yemen in winter and Sham in summer. Allah expressed this in Surah Quraysh as,
[إِۦلَـٰفِهِمْ رِحْلَةَ ٱلشِّتَآءِ وَٱلصَّيْفِ]
“secure in their trading caravan ˹to Yemen˺ in the winter and ˹Syria˺ in the summer” [Quraysh: 2].
In seasons of Hajj, they managed the protocols for hajj and established monopoly over the Ihram cloth; this indicates that the Quraish was well known for trading in and around the Arab Peninsula and had control over Kaaba and its economy. It cannot be said that Arabs and Quraish are not aware of politics and economy of their time and their society.
However, when we look into the linguistic meaning for the word Jahiliyah, it refers to the people who have no knowledge to read and write but Quraish and Arabs were well versed in their language; they are famous for their eloquence and poetry. In fact, the Arabic language is filled with the world’s richest eloquence even before the advent of the final Messenger in the city of Makkah. Poets used to compete themselves in markets and the best poems were hanged inside the Ka’ba.
The factors like politics, economy and language manifest that Allah and His Messenger were not addressing the Quraish as people of Jahiliyah linguistically. It would technically refer to the ‘state of humanity’ where society believed that Allah is the lord of heavens but not for the earth.
Our Beloved Prophet used this term in above said manner in many places. Few of them are listed below:
1. Once a Companion in anger said to a person"يا ابن السوداء" (Oh! Son of black woman) for which the Prophet (saw) condemned the Companion by saying
»إنك امرؤ فيك جاهلية «“You are a person who has remnants of the Days of Jahiliyah in you.”
2. When a group of Ansar and Muhajireen were about to fight each other, the Prophet interfered them and said ""مَا بَالُ دَعْوَى الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ؟ دَعُوهَا فَإِنَّهَا مُنْتِنَةٌ»« "What are these proclamations of the Days of Ignorance? Leave it, it is rotten.”
In Jahiliyah society, people were discriminated against based on color, race and tribe. In Jahiliyah society, people used to support their tribesmen even if they were wrong.
Though these two incidents happened in Madina after the advent of the Islamic state, the Messenger (saw) continued to use the word Jahiliyah. In these incidents Jahiliyah refers to the state of humanity, not their ignorance. This state of humanity is not restricted to the people of Quraish or Makkah, rather it would be referred to any other society and time period if the reality of those society is matched.
The term "Jahiliyah" was used by Allah (swt) in the following circumstances:
1. Incorrect thought about the Creator (ظن الجاهلية)
2. The governance in Jahiliyah (حكم الجاهلية)
3. The beautification in Jahiliyah (تبرج الجاهلية)
4. The false pride (حمية الجاهلية)
Incorrect thought about the Creator (ظن الجاهلية)
Ever since the humankind is created, humankind had been receiving guidance from the Creator through prophets and messengers so that people would sanctify and obey the creator as they are commanded. However, the predominant segment of humankind was erred in sanctifying the Creator due to the rejection of divine guidance.
Christianity believes that angels are Children of Allah. Pagans believe that angels are also worshiped as gods.
[وَمَا لَهُم بِهِۦ مِنْ عِلْمٍ ۖ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ ۖ وَإِنَّ ٱلظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِى مِنَ ٱلْحَقِّ شَيْـًۭٔا]
“although they have no knowledge ˹in support˺ of this. They follow nothing but ˹inherited˺ assumptions. And surely assumptions can in no way replace the truth.” [Al-Najm: 28]
Pagans used to attribute Allah that He (swt) having daughters
[أَلَكُمُ ٱلذَّكَرُ وَلَهُ ٱلْأُنثَىٰ]
“Do you ˹prefer to˺ have sons while ˹you attribute˺ to Him daughters?” [Al-Najm: 21]
All these false allegations and attributions towards Allah will be questioned on the Day of Judgement.
[وَمَا ظَنُّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلْكَذِبَ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ]
“What do those who fabricate lies against Allah expect on Judgment Day? Surely Allah is ever Bountiful to humanity, but most of them are ungrateful” [Yunus: 60]
In recent centuries, we saw the arrival of Communism and Capitalism wherein Communism denies the existence of the Creator itself and Capitalism believes that the Creator has no role in societal affairs, as Communism had a wrong premise of thinking and Capitalism has addressed the man’s greatest question in a compromised manner.
Capitalism had impacted the minds of Muslims where benefit has become the prime factor even in matters concerning to sanctifying the Creator rather achieving the spiritual value by sanctifying the Creator.
[وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ حَرْفٍ ۖ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ ۖ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ فِتْنَةٌ انقَلَبَ عَلَىٰ وَجْهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ]
“And among people are those who worship Allah on the [very] fringe, if good fortune befalls him, he is content with it, but if an ordeal befalls him, he turns his face about, losing this world and the Hereafter. That is the manifest loss.” [Al-Haj:11]
The reason for all these misconception towards the Creator is by following the thoughts of Jahiliyah. In other words, these are the “pre-Islamic˺ ignorance” and following forefathers blindly without pondering the Will of the Creator.
[وَطَآئِفَةٌۭ قَدْ أَهَمَّتْهُمْ أَنفُسُهُمْ يَظُنُّونَ بِٱللَّهِ غَيْرَ ٱلْحَقِّ ظَنَّ ٱلْجَـٰهِلِيَّةِ]
“others were disturbed by evil thoughts about Allah—the thoughts of ˹pre-Islamic˺ ignorance.” [Aal-i Imran:154]
The Governance of Jahiliyah (حكم الجاهلية)
The political system which Allah had sent down to His final Messenger is the Khilafah (Caliphate) system wherein Allah has kept Himself the sovereignty and the Ummah shall perform ijtihad to extract the law from the Divine sources, and it has the authority to appoint the single ruler i.e., Khalifah is handed to the Ummah.
As Allah (swt) says,
[إِنِ ٱلْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ]
“The command is for none but Allah” [Yusuf:40]
[وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ]
“And those who do not judge by what Allah has revealed are ˹truly˺ the wrongdoers.” [Al-Ma’ida:44].
During the lifetime of the final Messenger of Allah (saw), tribal leadership were running the affairs of the tribes in Arabia where tribal glory, subjugation of weak, female infanticide, adultery were accepted norms of that society; there existed several other civilizations like Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Persian, with huge population governed by whims and desires of elites. It was during this period that the Messenger of Allah (saw) established a state in Madina as obliged by the Creator. He conveyed the message of Islam to all tribes of Arabia and brought them under Islamic governance. In the sixth year of hijra, he (saw) sent letters to the kings of empires conveying them to come under the fold of the Islamic governance and these empires were brought under the Islamic governance during the time of the rightly guided caliphs (Khulafaa’ Rashideen).
For more than one millennium, Islam was in implementation as a political system that had spread over Asia, Africa and Europe which were once stuck under the clutches of Jahiliyah. In the 18th century, there arose modern political ideologies, namely Capitalism and Communism, from which came political ideas like, Democracy/Republic (For the people, By the people, Of the People), Secularism (Separation of the Creator from political affairs) and Politburo Communist state model.
Although these terms may look novel, but are Jahiliyah in modern form as they govern the people from the man-made ideas rejecting the Sovereignty of the Creator over the creations.
Democracy and Communist state model had been driving the society with the core idea of rejecting the Sovereignty of the Creator, sanctifying scientific thinking as the basis for society yet there was a clash between Capitalism and Communism that existed in the 20th century until the dissolution of USSR which marked the end of Communism. From then on the world is dominated by only ideology called Capitalism whose thinkers have been in forefront in advocating the creed of secularism and the system of democracy as a viable solution for the whole world. Unfortunately, some of the Muslims, due to the weak Islamic foundation, were unable to showcase the fallacy of the Western thought instead influenced by the very same thought and became victim for it; thus, some of the Muslim thinkers are advocating the Westernized way of projecting Islam like promoting ‘Islamic Democracy’, ‘Islamic Republic’, and Islamic pluralism in politics.
Allah (swt) condemned these acts by saying,
[أَفَحُكْمَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ يَبْغُونَ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللّهِ حُكْماً لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ]
“Is it the judgment of the Jahiliya they seek? Who could be a better judge than Allah for people of sure faith?” [Al-Ma’ida:50].
The beautification in Jahiliyah (تبرج الجاهلية)
The idea of the beautification of women is not new one. Women have the right to venture out for her need, and in Makkah before the advent of final Messenger of Allah, women used to beautify themselves and venture out. Allah (swt) had addressed this issue and specified the Hukum for women regarding the beautification outside their private place.
Allah (swt) says,
[وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ ٱلْجَـٰهِلِيَّةِ ٱلْأُولَىٰ]
“do not display yourselves as women did in the days of Jahiliya.” [Al-Ahzab:33].
Propaganda, such as “Hijab oppressing the Muslim women”, idea of feminism carried out by the Western Ideology has an impact in the Muslim World. The rise of feminism leads to the notions like ‘women are superior to men’, ‘my body is my right’, and ‘choosing gender (even at the age of 11!)’ collapsed the family structure and creates more challenges for women and forcefully involved them in workforce.
The Western idea has been promoting the ideas of individual freedom, had legalized fulfilment of species instinct beyond the marital relationship as it was in the Jahiliyah of Makkah as mother of believes Aisha (ra) said النِّكَاحَ كَانَ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ عَلَى أَرْبَعَةِ أَنْحَاءٍ فَنِكَاحٌ مِنْهَا نِكَاحُ النَّاسِ الْيَوْمَ يَخْطُبُ الرَّجُلُ إِلَى الرَّجُلِ وَلِيَّتَهُ فَيُصْدِقُهَا ثُمَّ يَنْكِحُهَا وَنِكَاحٌ آخَرُ كَانَ الرَّجُلُ يَقُولُ لاِمْرَأَتِهِ إِذَا طَهُرَتْ مِنْ طَمْثِهَا أَرْسِلِي إِلَى فُلاَنٍ فَاسْتَبْضِعِي مِنْهُ وَيَعْتَزِلُهَا زَوْجُهَا وَلاَ يَمَسُّهَا أَبَدًا حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ حَمْلُهَا مِنْ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلِ الَّذِي تَسْتَبْضِعُ مِنْهُ فَإِذَا تَبَيَّنَ حَمْلُهَا أَصَابَهَا زَوْجُهَا إِنْ أَحَبَّ وَإِنَّمَا يَفْعَلُ ذَلِكَ رَغْبَةً فِي نَجَابَةِ الْوَلَدِ فَكَانَ هَذَا النِّكَاحُ يُسَمَّى نِكَاحَ الاِسْتِبْضَاعِ وَنِكَاحٌ آخَرُ يَجْتَمِعُ الرَّهْطُ دُونَ الْعَشَرَةِ فَيَدْخُلُونَ عَلَى الْمَرْأَةِ كُلُّهُمْ يُصِيبُهَا فَإِذَا حَمَلَتْ وَوَضَعَتْ وَمَرَّ لَيَالٍ بَعْدَ أَنْ تَضَعَ حَمْلَهَا أَرْسَلَتْ إِلَيْهِمْ فَلَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ رَجُلٌ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يَمْتَنِعَ حَتَّى يَجْتَمِعُوا عِنْدَهَا فَتَقُولُ لَهُمْ قَدْ عَرَفْتُمُ الَّذِي كَانَ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ وَقَدْ وَلَدْتُ وَهُوَ ابْنُكَ يَا فُلاَنُ فَتُسَمِّي مَنْ أَحَبَّتْ مِنْهُمْ بِاسْمِهِ فَيُلْحَقُ بِهِ وَلَدُهَا وَنِكَاحٌ رَابِعٌ يَجْتَمِعُ النَّاسُ الْكَثِيرُ فَيَدْخُلُونَ عَلَى الْمَرْأَةِ لاَ تَمْتَنِعُ مِمَّنْ جَاءَهَا وَهُنَّ الْبَغَايَا كُنَّ يَنْصِبْنَ عَلَى أَبْوَابِهِنَّ رَايَاتٍ يَكُنَّ عَلَمًا لِمَنْ أَرَادَهُنَّ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهِنَّ فَإِذَا حَمَلَتْ فَوَضَعَتْ حَمْلَهَا جُمِعُوا لَهَا وَدَعَوْا لَهُمُ الْقَافَةَ ثُمَّ أَلْحَقُوا وَلَدَهَا بِالَّذِي يَرَوْنَ فَالْتَاطَهُ وَدُعِيَ ابْنَهُ لاَ يَمْتَنِعُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَلَمَّا بَعَثَ اللَّهُ مُحَمَّدًا صلى الله عليه وسلم هَدَمَ نِكَاحَ أَهْلِ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ كُلَّهُ إِلاَّ نِكَاحَ أَهْلِ الإِسْلاَمِ الْيَوْمَ.“Marriage in Jahiliya was of four kinds: One of them was the marriage contracted by the people today. A man asked another man to marry his relative (sister or daughter) to him. He fixed the dower and married her to him. Another kind of marriage was that a man asked his wife when she became pure from menstruation to send forth so and so and have sexual intercourse with him. Her husband kept himself aloof and did not have intercourse with her till it became apparent that she was pregnant from the man who had intercourse with. When it was manifest that she was pregnant, her husband approached her if he liked. This marriage was called istibda’(to utilize man for intercourse for a noble birth). A third kind of marriage was that of a group of people, less than ten in number, entered upon a woman and had intercourse with her. When she conceived and gave birth to a child, and a number of days passed after her delivery, she sent for them. No one of them could refuse to attend and they gathered before her. She said to them “You have realized your affair. I have now given birth to a child. And this is your son. O so and so. She called the name of anyone of them she liked and the child was attributed to him. A fourth kind of marriage was that many people gathered together and entered upon a woman who did not prevent anyone who came to her. They were prostitutes. They hoisted flags at their doors which served as a sign for the one who intended to enter upon them. When she became pregnant and delivered the child, they got together before her and called for the experts of tracing relationship from physical features. They attributed the child to whom they considered and it was given to him. The child was called his son and he could not deny. When Allah sent Muhammad (saw) as a Prophet, he abolished all kinds of marriages prevalent among the people of the pre-Islamic times except of the Muslims practiced today. (Sunan Abi Dawud 2272)
Western thought prioritizes desire and benefit over morality and permits all kind of immorality that destroys the family and social conduct. Europe and America have been reviving the immoral practices between men and women in the name of freedom. These practices were eradicated by Islam a millennium ago by the guidance of the Creator brought by the Messenger of Allah (saw).
False Pride (حمية الجاهلية)
People boasting and feeling pride on their race, language and nation is referred as nationalism; this idea of nation state was promoted by the West in post-World War era to maintain its hegemony over this newly formed weak state. This is how the idea of patriotism and nationalism gets stronger though it is a weak call, whereas Islam is a universal ideology that unified people of different race, colour and language as its creed is based on comprehensive thought about man, life and universe. The Messenger of Allah (saw) had set a great example of the humankind that would have an impact even in other society.
[يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍۢ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَـٰكُمْ شُعُوبًۭا وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتْقَىٰكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌۭ]
“O humanity! Indeed, we created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Al-Hujurat :13].
Furthermore, brotherhood among believers withstand the artificial national borders of Sykes-Picot and Durand line. As Islam says, loyalty and disavowal are for the sake of Allah and His Messenger and for the Shariah. And in nationalism, it shifts the loyalty away from the loyalty to Allah that He obliged on the believers by saying:
[إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ]
“Your ally is none but Allah and [therefore] His Messenger and those who have believed” [Al-Ma’ida:55]. And His saying:
[إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ]
“The believers but are brothers” [Al-Hujurat:10]. As Allah (saw) says,
[إِذْ جَعَلَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ فِى قُلُوبِهِمُ ٱلْحَمِيَّةَ حَمِيَّةَ ٱلْجَـٰهِلِيَّةِ فَأَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُۥ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِۦ وَعَلَى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ ٱلتَّقْوَىٰ وَكَانُوٓا۟ أَحَقَّ بِهَا وَأَهْلَهَا ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمًۭا]
“˹Remember˺ when the disbelievers had filled their hearts with pride—the pride of Jahiliyah then Allah sent down His serenity upon His Messenger and the believers, inspiring them to uphold the declaration of faith, for they were better entitled and more worthy of it. And Allah has ˹perfect˺ knowledge of all things.” [Mohammad: 26].
These are different dimensions of Jahiliyah society that have been indicated in the divine sources whose traces were eradicated by the implementation of system of Islam and the same has been revived by the disbelievers, and they were able to do so by destroying the Khilafah in 1342 AH. For Muslims to revive the Islamic way of life, it is important to get clarified about the modern day Jahiliyah and its impact in the lives of mankind. Thus, Jahiliyah as referred by Allah and His Messenger shall be understood as the “State of Humanity” that neglects the guidance of the Creator. عُوهَا فَإِنَّهَا مُنْتِنَةٌ»«د “Leave it (State of Jahiliyah). Verily It is rotten!”
The reestablishment of Khilafah shall bring back the Islamic way of life into practice and shuns the practices of Jahiliyah that are prohibited by Allah and His Messenger (saw). Indeed, that Khilafah state shall propagate Islam to the whole world through dawah and Jihad.
The Messenger (saw) says, «أَلَا كُلُّ شَيْءٍ مِنْ أَمْرِ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ تَحْتَ قَدَمَيَّ مَوْضُوعٌ»“Everything pertaining to the pre-Islamic state has been put under my feet.”
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Abdur Rahman bin Hamid