We have many worthy scholars writing about the coming of the Mahdi and an army from Khurasan, and that that time may be near. I will not dwell much on this aspect, not because I dismiss this thesis but there is little more I can add to what has already been said. I want to instead add another dimension to the discussion; one based more on rational argument.
The establishment of “The” Khilafah, as in the return of the Mahdi and the black flags, and the establishment of “a khilafah” are not necessarily one and the same. Perhaps we are focused on the first too much and we can do better with a two pronged assault rather than a single stroke. Muslim states were justice reigned, and that were capable of defending 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 rebuilding a Medinian political entity. This argument is particularly valid for those who dismiss or discount the validity of the Mahdi prophecies and their interpretation; they may still agree on the importance of founding an Islamic state. What is important is that there is convergence, rather than divergence. Can we bring everybody together?
For those of us who believe in the Mahdi prophecies, there is a wide spectrum of views but it is perhaps best summed up by Sheikh Imran Hosein whose videos, books and lectures in various forms and formats are widely available. Furthermore, the relevant hadith are there for anyone to read and interpret. A quick internet search will bring up a myriad of them.
Now, let me state my position clearly. It is my contention that, whatever the different theories are, if there is an army that will march from the direction of Khurasan to Iraq and Palestine (and from which army the Mahdi will emerge) has some connection to Pakistan. This is because any student of military affairs knows that a military force that has to take and hold territory, in other words, fight conventionally, as opposed to by hit-and-run forays, 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. Wars are fought today as much by logistics, military production and technology as strategy and tactics.
Yes sure, the Taliban, a worthy force can fight hit-and-run forays all across their homeland. Al-Qaeda or similar junk may be able to blow up a plane or, despite tightening security perhaps a ship or a building. But marching from Khurasan to Palestine is not possible with such forces. Not possible by a long shot. Marching to Palestine would require an ability to hold territory and project military force at great distances. It would mean supply and logistics. It would mean concentration of large number of forces along predictable routes. This by itself would require credible air defense. All of this would require a solid military-industrial complex, investment in technology….
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, Americans aided Israel by sending not their greatest generals, or foot soldiers, but a massive airlift of military supplies of the finest quality available. The Arabs on the other hand, were dependent on the Soviets, who were controlled to a great extent by the Ashkenazim, and were unable to secure sufficient quality or quantity of weaponry to defeat Israel. This is not to even mention training and professionalism or the lack thereof.
Today, the Arab world’s military arsenal mostly comes 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.
For the first time since the collapse of the Uthman Empire we are at a point where this is remotely possible. Let us consider the following: When did Islam start falling behind the West militarily? Amongst other things, this started with the advent of industrialization, which enabled production of weapons at a dramatically greater scale and quality than was previously possible. As a result, technologies coupled with en masse production enabled Western armies to overwhelm Muslim ones.
The last "Muslim" power that could match the West conventionally was the Uthman Empire. After it fell, no Muslim country has been able to build or produce weapons that can match Western armaments. Iran today is somewhat of an exception, as they received massive technologies during the Shah's era, but has not been able to progress substantively further since. That is, their weapons are built on technology dating (broadly) to the 1960s-1970s and does not hold up to 21st century standards.
So, unless we can find a Muslim country that has the industrial capability to withstand the West and the technological prowess to look ahead, our position in the world will remain undermined. Even if we succeed in creating our beloved Medina, it will be overwhelmed and destroyed based on one pretext or another, or like Cuba, become an isolated island with little impact on the world.
To reiterate, there so far appears to have been no Muslim country that is able to produce its own weapons such as tanks, aircraft, ships, etc to remotely rival Western weapons. Industrialization in Muslim countries has been sub-par across the board. Meanwhile, as we noted in the chapter on defense policy, the West and Israel are moving on to a new wave that may prove as significant as the industrial revolution.
Two countries in the Muslim world have emerged that have built a viable military-industrial complex – Turkey and Pakistan. Turkey, however, has forsaken Islam since Ataturk, and is unlikely to return to our fold in a broad political and pragmatic sense, despite the AK Party and Erdogan, who must only be praised. There is also the prophecy of Istanbul being liberated by the Mahdi's men, what appears essentially without a fight. Pakistan thus is the state of prime concern, and I say this despite being from Bangladesh and despite the fact that my father fought against Pakistan, was captured and tortured by them. We must forgive and look beyond otherwise none of us will survive to complain about the other.
Remarkably, Pakistan, without the benefits of long-term political stability, oil and petro-dollars or a clear plan to speak of, has somehow, almost miraculously achieved this feat of building a viable military-industrial complex. Today, it can build everything from nuclear warheads to combat aircraft to tanks to cruise missiles, as well as a whole host of other items. 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. The country'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 manufacturing combat aircraft that rival US F-16s. The country is one of five powers in the world that produces its own cruise missiles. It is in the process of launching communication satellites that would enable true net-centric warfare. It has ballistic missiles with a CEP (Circular Error Probability) of less than 50m.
Beyond weapons, tactics and training play a key role. Pakistan has one of the world's best trained air forces. While Arab air forces were devastated by Israel, small numbers of Pakistani pilots have held a 4-0 score against Israel on deputation to Jordan, Iraq and Syria; Pakistani pilots shot down four Israeli aircraft without losing a single pilot to date to Israel. This is against the backdrop of Arab pilots being resoundingly thrashed by their Israeli counterparts, in one case 100-0. Here is an excerpt of how a senior USAF commander valued Pakistani pilots (from a 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.”
(Former US Air Force General, Chuck Horner, who commanded the US and Allied air assets during Desert shield and desert storm. He also served as Commander 9th Air Force, Commander US Central Command Air Forces, and Commander-in-Chief of SpaceCom. Book: Every Man A Tiger).
In fact, when on training in the United States, PAF pilots have been assessed to be a notch above their Israeli counterparts by their USAF IPs (instructor pilots) while on training in the United States. Israeli pilots are popularly considered "the best in the world". This author believes that, unlike Arab armies, Pakistani armed forces, along with the military-industrial complex and the incredibly well-trained air force are not far from being able to match Western military might conventionally.
The significance of this can be better appreciated if we consider that this has not happened since Uthman times. This progression is truly miraculous. Anyone with insight into Pakistan's political history will know that the country has had little long-term planning and resource allocation. Furthermore, Pakistan is an impoverished country, which has far fewer resources than many other Muslim countries. Yet, incredibly enough, it has come to be.
Thus, coincidentally, the only plausible Islamic state capable of viable opposition to the West has risen in the neighborhood of what can broadly be described as Khurasan. Now, if Pakistan and the Taliban join hands, there is little that can stop them from creating what I shall describe as Islamistan. Broadly, Pakistan-Afghanistan and any other Central Asian state that comes along. Combined with the infiltration and guerilla war fighting capabilities of the Taliban and the Hizb-e-Islami, Pakistan military forces would be unstoppable in the region.
This is because the kind of tactics used by Rommel in Mount Matajur, where his soldiers used a form of maneuver warfare through infiltration and guerilla-like tactics, can best be utilized by forces similar to the Taliban’s, as long as they are backed up by proper conventional forces and a solid supply chain = Pakistan Army.
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.
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."
And Allah gave them a reward in this world, and the excellent reward of the Hereafter. For Allah Loveth those who do good.
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.
Nay, Allah is your Protector, and He is the best of helpers.
(AL Quran, The Family of Imran, versus 146-150)
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, Muslims, throughout the world, for generations to come, may 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.
And in the nick of time, the Pakistani nation has risen up under the leadership of Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehrike Insaf…
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