The Importance of Pakistan
The establishment of “The” Khilaafa and the establishment of an Islamic State are not necessarily one and the same. Muslim states were justice reigned, and that were able to defend themselves against non-Muslim powers have existed before. Perhaps famously for instance, during Salahdin's reign. It is not contingent upon even believing in the Mahdi prophecies to want to work towards an Islamic state. What is best here is convergence, rather than divergence; There are Muslims who do not consider the Mahdi prophecies as even valid. They may still agree in the importance of having an Islamic state.
For those of us who believe in the Mahdi prophecies, there is a wide spectrum of opinion as to:
1)What hadith can be considered relevant
2)How they can be interpreted
These range from the fantastic to the cautious. From those that attempt to find supporting evidence to ones that would have you rely on the theorist's reputation.
Amongst the many theories and interpretations, some for instance, believe that the Mahdi will be part of an army that will come from the direction of Khurasan, that will retake Iraq and march all the way to Palestine. That there would be great turmoil in Arabia and calls for a Khalifa. At a point, were the Mahdi (still undeclared) would be on pilgrimage to the Kaaba, a group of people will attempt to convince him that he, in fact, is the prophesied Mahdi. That he will not be convinced of it but will eventually be convinced.
The internet has a million places with a million interpretations. The relevant hadith are also readily available for a person to judge by themselves.
It is my contention that, whatever the different theories are, the army that will march from the direction of Khurasan to Iraq and Palestine, and from which the Khalifa will emerge, has some connection to Pakistan. This is because any student of military affairs will tell you that a military force that has to take and hold territory, in other words, fight conventionally as opposed to hit and run, and one that has to do so against a modern (Western) force, would need to have, at the bare minimum, the basic wherewithal of doing so. Those who understand today's warfare, who have studied warfare as a science in-depth, will tell you that wars are fought today as much because of logistics, military production and technology as strategy and tactics.
The Uthman Empire lost World War I not because of a lack of men and will, but because of a lack in these aforementioned elements. When Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur War, the Americans did not send their greatest generals, or foot soldiers, they sent exactly these – massive airlift of military supplies of the finest quality available. That on the other hand, the Arabs were dependent on the Soviets, who were controlled to a great extent by the Ashkenazim, and were unable to find the quality or quantity of weaponry to defeat Israel.
All the arsenals that are there today in the Arab world is largely from foreign, non-Muslim sources. As long as we do not have the industrial capacity, the technology, and the invested effort to build our own military industrial capability, militarily, zero plus zero, will continue to equal zero.
That for the first time since the collapse of the Uthman Empire are we at a point where this is remotely possible. Consider the question: When did Islam start falling behind the West militarily? Amongst other things, with the advent of industrialization that enabled weapons in scale and quality that could not be built previously. Technologies coupled with production enmass that enabled Western armies to overwhelm Muslim ones.
The last "Muslim" power that could match the West conventionally was the Uthman Empire. After this ended, no Muslim country has been able to build or produce weapons that can qualitatively and quantitatively match Western weapons. The arsenals today, whether you look at Saudi Arabia, Eqypt or Syria or any other country are largely from non-Muslim sources. Iran today is somewhat of an exception, as they received massive technologies during the Shah's era but thereafter have been able to merely stay at that technological standard. That is, there weapons are built on (broadly) 1960s-1970s technology and outdated by 21st Century standards.
So, unless we can find a Muslim country that has the industrial capability to withstand the West, even if we somehow, with all our effort and toil, create a Muslim state, it will either be overwhelmed and destroyed based on one pretext or other, or like Cuba, become an island of isolation with little impact on the world.
Coming back to the point at hand, there has been no country worldwide where Muslims are the majority where weapons such as tanks, aircraft, ships, etc have been built that could even approximately rival Western weapons. Industrialization has been minimal or virtually non-existent. Or is there such a country? Is there in fact, such a country?
Two countries in the Muslim world have emerged, which have built a viable military-industrial complex – Turkey and Pakistan. Turkey has forsaken Islam since Ataturk, and is unlikely to return to our fold, from a broad politically pragmatic point of view as well as from the prophecy of Istanbul being liberated by the Mahdi's men.
One Muslim country, without oil and petro-dollars, without a clear plan or even political stability, has somehow, almost miraculously achieved this feat: Pakistan. Today, Pakistan can build everything from nuclear warheads to combat aircraft to tanks to cruise missiles and a whole host of other items some of which has not yet been revealed. These are not crude weapons that are "monkey versions" of other weapons, as is sometimes the case with Iran. Pakistani nuclear weapons are significantly sophisticated and built on research and investment in-country. Pakistan's Heavy Industries Taxila, can build tanks that incorporate local technologies derived originally from France, Ukraine and China. Pakistan has recently opened a production facility for combat aircraft that rival US F-16s. Pakistan is one of 5 powers in the world that produces its own cruise missiles. It is in the process of launching communication satellites that would enable true netcentric warfare. It has ballistic missiles that has a CEP of less than 50m, that, in simpler words are extremely accurate.
Beyond weapons, tactics and training play a key role. Pakistan has one of the world's best trained air forces. While Arab air forces where devastated by Israel, small numbers of Pakistani pilots have held a 4-0 score against Israel on deputation to Jordan, Iraq and Syria . That is, Pakistani pilots shot down four Israeli aircraft without losing a single pilot to date to Israel. This is in the backdrop of Arab pilots being resoundingly thrashed by their Israeli counterparts. Here is an excerpt of how the US values Pakistani pilots (US Commander during Gulf War I):
On one or two occasions, I had the opportunity to talk with Pakistani instructor pilots, who had served in Iraq. These discussions, didn’t give me great cause to worry. The Russian domination of training prevented the Pakistanis from having any real influence on the Iraqi aircrew training program.
Still, there had to be a few Iraqi pilots, who had observed and listened to their mentors from France and Pakistan and not the useless guidance of their inept leaders. It was those few, I was concerned about - the ones with great situational awareness and good eyesight, who had figured out how to effectively use their aircraft and its weapons to defend their nation.”
(General Chuck Horner (retd) and Tom Clancey. General Chuck commanded the US and allied air assets during Desert shield and desert storm, and was responsible for the design and execution of one of the most devastating air campaigns in history. He also served as Commander 9th Air Force, Commander US Central Command Air Forces, and Commander in chief, SpaceCom. Book: Every Man A Tiger).
In fact, when on training in the United States, PAF pilots have been assessed to be a shade better than Israeli Air Force pilots they trained with by their USAF IPs (instructor pilots). And Israeli pilots are widely considered "the best in the world". Pakistani armed forces, along with the military-industrial complex and, the incredibly well trained air force today, unlike Arab armies of today or yester-years, can actually match Western military might conventionally. The significance of this can be understood in the context that this has not happened since Uthman times. How this has come about is truly miraculous. Anyone with insight of Pakistan's political history will know that the country has had little long-term planning and resource allocation. Further, Pakistan is an impoverished country that has far less resources than many other Muslim countries. Yet, incredibly, it has come to be.
Thus coincidentally, the only plausible Muslim state with the military-industrial capacity that could have the remotest chance against the West, has somehow come to sprout-up in the neighborhood of, what can broadly be described as Khurasan.
We already see Allah's blessing upon Pakistan, at least until her 2001 u-turn. A country that has had the same level of corrupt rulers as the rest of the Muslim world, today somehow appears to have nuclear weapons, the finest air force in the Muslim world, and one of the best trained Muslim armies. The most innovative and competent military-industrial complex in the Muslim world that can churn out tanks, cruise missiles, combat aircraft, all of which are globally competitive. Surely there is a miracle in this; A country that is perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy, has not in recent history had consistent long-term plans has managed to do what far more resource-rich Muslim countries have failed at. Clearly there is the hand of Allah here in this. And in this is perhaps a sign, but Allah knows best.
For now, it suffices that we arrive at the conclusion that we need to establish an Islamic Movement / State, and that the best location for this is Pakistan, or inclusive of Pakistan. Yet, now we encounter a minefield of problems:
1. That, by and large, the people who rule Pakistan pay lip service to Islam while serving Western interests
2. Nobody can agree on what an Islamic state should be
3. The average Pakistani Muslim's faith is weak and understanding of Islam is second-hand, dependent on what other people tell them it is.
People who rule Pakistan pay lip service to Islam:
While in their hearts they doubt in putting their well being in the hands of Allah. Instead, they profess a policy where they are actively supporting the United States, acting as the key logistics line, intelligence support and conducting joint military operations. If ever the blessing of Allah is lifted from them, it may be because of this transgression. In essence, putting their faith in the United States over and against what is clearly written in the Quran and Commanded by Allah. In public they will raise the slogan of Islam, to satisfy the masses. However, this is far from their position. Islam is a tool for them to energize the masses when needed (as against India), or a sedative as to show that there are no other options. Hypocrites and disbelievers, no better than any of the governments in the Middle East. So much potential lost in the tragedy they represent.
That We Cannot Agree on What an Islamic State Should be:
This represents our intellectual weakness. A mental handicap. To even begin to discuss an Islamic state, we need men of learning, not only of the affairs of today's world, but a deep understanding of Islam. This author certainly is well short of the type of men we need. The difficulty is in finding such men and creating a consensus. However, we can perhaps find a way around this. Perhaps we can define how we can get to a consensus of what an Islamic state should be. We can find true Muslims who meet a high standard of learning and ability, create a council from amongst them, and have them define what an Islamic state should look like. Here is my list of what such Momins would need to meet:
1. Extensive knowledge of Islam, the Quran and Sunnah at the deepest levels.
2. Strong and real Imaan - faith in Allah and not just scholarly knowledge of Islam.
3. Extensive understanding of modern worldly knowledge in areas of Economics, Industry and Technology
4. Active life experience of living and struggling with life
All five points are vital. For each decision maker has to have a internal balance of judgment. One may wonder at the fourth point. It is because we need the common sense that is only instilled when a man faces the real struggle of living.
Rather than men living in ivory towers, we need men who have this well grounded common sense. We can only remember with embarrassment too often how our religious scholars lose touch with reality. One case being how the Egyptian Ulema dealt with Marmaduke Pickthall. This is clearly a tall order for anyone, for we need momins who has mastered all of these five aspects. Nevertheless, amongst the 1.5 billion Muslims, we could Insha'Allah find such excellent examples of men.
Perhaps one place to look would be amongst Western converts to Islam. These are people who had the strength of mind, the faith, and the blessing of Allah to find Islam amongst all the misinformation and propaganda against Islam. Most such men and women go on to study Islam in such great depth that they make many of us born into the faith embarrassed as to the lack of our knowledge. Their Imaan show in their faces; the noor in their faces is testament to their belief and of their tassawuf. Many such men often have prior experience and expertise in modern worldly knowledge.
If we can create such a council of men then we can reach out to the many political questions that vex us. Whether there would be elections. What aspects of Islam will be enforced by the state and what aspects left to the individual to choose to enforce. Whether Ijtehad should be opened since it was closed when Islam was fighting the Mongol hordes. The million other questions that vex us can be raised. Just as the founders of the United States, a group of the greatest men amongst them established a superior state, we can look to such men to create excellence, in their example of an Islamic state.
Yet, before we can build any councils, we must understand that Pakistan has to be won over. We cannot strut into Pakistan tomorrow and inform them that we are creating an Islamic state. It has to be an initiative originating from Pakistan and Pakistanis, the most we can do is attempt to convince them. This has to be not only from the Pakistani public, but more vitally, from within the Pakistani ruling elite. As such, we would need to hope that one of the people that this author here has so liberally labeled as hypocrites agrees with us. Ideally, such a group of renegades and reverts would need to be from the Pakistani military as that is the institution that truly runs Pakistan. Only the Pakistan army can effect such a change, peacefully and without destroying the state.
The Pakistan Army, the organization that actually runs the show even now, can broadly be seen to be split between two groups of people. People who are inclined to stop cooperating with the Americans and go towards an Islamic state, and people who are secular in their outlook and, essentially, weak in their faith. That is, Islam is more of a cultural aspect to them, and their belief in Islam is highly hypocritical. Secularism and pro-Western views are dominant in the Pakistan army, in my view, because of the weakness of faith amongst its officers. They gaze at the might of America and their eyes are stoned with awe. On the other hand, they look at the Al-Qaeda and Taliban and are revolted at the twisted interpretations of our faith. Being stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, they feel there is no way for them but to accept servitude.
Yet, if in some way, these officers were to have a stronger belief in Allah, that they could see the glory of Islam. If they could see that they need not fear anyone but Him. And the weakness in their hearts was strengthened. Then, we'd be in business. The entire political landscape of Pakistan could change. In one move, we could out-maneuver both the United States and the external enemies of Islam on the one hand, and Al-Qaeda, and all other internal enemies of Islam on the other; exploit the political and ideological gap between the two perfectly through the middle.
But if Allah's Will is to happen, if Palestine and Kashmir will in fact be liberated, if we can someday in fact stand up to the United States and Israel conventionally, then the fight begins in Pakistan. Not a fight to overthrow Pakistan, but to win the hearts and minds of the military establishment there. That appears to be the only realistic way to reach our goals without spilling Muslim blood and weakening the only Islamic country that can fight and win conventional wars against modern Western armies. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) too engaged in strategic dawah, exemplified most effectively in Yathrib.
Such a Pakistan, with an influx of highly educated and skilled Muslims from around the globe, will be a far stronger Pakistan than the emaciated shadow that Pakistan represents today. If it took 3,000 dedicated Jewish Bolsheviks to establish the Soviet Union, and if we could inject 3,000 true Muslims into Pakistan, the possibilities for dramatic and cascading changes are endless.
Benefits for Pakistan
The TTP and other parasites will have lost their argument, and as such would become ineffective against such a state. The extremists and misguided Muslims will see the straight path that Pakistan would offer and hopefully see the light. That Muslim politics would move from that which represents a Mekkan era to one that represents the era of Medina - a position of strength rather than oppression.
Economically, Pakistan would benefit as well. Pakistan would not face bankruptcy as it does today, as skilled Muslim immigrants from around the world would provide that vital link that the Pakistani economy lacks - link to foreign markets and technology. Wholesale looting of Pakistan's wealth would also be brought to an end, as the old elites will be eliminated.
Clearly, there would be many benefits to Pakistan. But the biggest benefit would be to live in obedience of Allah, and to fear Him and Him alone, for He is our Maker, our Sustainer and there is nobody that can compare with Him. That as long as we fear the United States more, or even pursue a policy of Pakistan First, we are moving away from this fundamental principal of Islam and going towards kufr and shirk. There is nothing more important than to obey Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. And if you have faith, there is no one else you need fear.
146 How many of the prophets fought (in Allah's way), and with them (fought) Large bands of godly men? but they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allah's way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allah Loves those who are firm and steadfast.
147 All that they said was: "Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and anything We may have done that transgressed our duty: Establish our feet firmly, and help us against those that resist Faith."
148 And Allah gave them a reward in this world, and the excellent reward of the Hereafter. For Allah Loveth those who do good.
149 O ye who believe! If ye obey the Unbelievers, they will drive you back on your heels, and ye will turn back (from Faith) to your own loss.
150 Nay, Allah is your Protector, and He is the best of helpers.
AL Quran, The Family of Imran, versus 146-150
So we see in the broader picture, a first Muslim state from which a veritable "stand" can be made, possibly since the end of the Uthman Empire. We see a seemingly resource-less country achieve technological feats far beyond what the massive spending by Arab countries have failed to achieve. We see a military that is trained beyond the pale of a Third World army. I do see a miracle in this.
Allah has promised us victory if we strive in His Way. The Mahdi prophecy says that an army is to come from the direction of Khurasan. It would seem, world events are matching Iraq and Afghanistan closely to what has been prophesied, and even if one takes them with a bit of salt, clearly, the possibility exists that this is a critical juncture, and as Muslims we should strive for that possibility. Even if these prophecies are false, their mere existence means that we need to guard against the possibility of them being true.
And what if we lose Pakistan to a balkanized group of states? If we lose Pakistan, we Muslims, throughout the world, for generations to come, will be condemned to live in persecution, injustice and as the lowest class of people in the global village. If Pakistan is destroyed, we may not get another opportunity for at least another 100 years.
There is an immense movement for an Islamic state going on as you read. Today, there is a huge political momentum building up for this, around what can be considered as the "Zaid Hamid Consensus" in Pakistan. A broad spectrum of people converging upon some basic premise of what is needed. My book attempts to galvanize and internationalize these ideas, for much of what is going on in Pakistan is not in the English language or viewable in the international media. Muslims globally need to reinforce these efforts, for their future is at stake as much as Pakistan's.