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3 - Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Environment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 October 2023

Emmanuel Karagiannis
Affiliation:
King's College London
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Summary

Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (the Islamic Party of Liberation) has thousands of members in more than thirty-five countries across five continents. It was established by Taqiuddin an-Nabhani, a Palestinian Islamic scholar, in East Jerusalem in 1953. In the early 1950s, he developed his political vision claiming that the restoration of the Caliphate was the only solution for the revival of the Muslim world. An-Nabhani proposed three stages of action: recruitment of members and establishment of cells, spreading the group’s propaganda to Islamise society, and the takeover of a Muslim-majority country to serve as the nucleus of the Caliphate. From the beginning, the group declared its intention to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad, who did not use violence before establishing the first Islamic state in Medina.

An-Nabhani’s political vision was based on well-established principles of Islamic governance, such as al-amr bi-l-maʿruf wa l-nahy ʿan il-munkar (enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong), shura (consultation) and al-muhasaba (calling rulers to account). He envisioned an omnipotent caliph who would rule with wisdom and benevolence. The Palestinian scholar implicitly embraced a Sunni-oriented understanding of the future Islamic state. The Sunni orientation of Hizb ut-Tahrir became more obvious in the 1970s, when Ayatollah Khomeini proposed the system of vilayat-i faqih (the guardianship of the jurist), based on ‘the most sacred canonical sources of Shiʿi Islam’. Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the group approached Khomeini and asked him to become caliph of all Muslims. He rejected the offer because Hizb ut-Tahrir’s political programme did not resonate with Shiʿa beliefs.

An-Nabhani had failed to register Hizb ut-Tahrir as a legal party in Jordan. The official excuse was that the group rejected the institution of monarchy and promoted pan-Islamism. Consequently, the Jordanian authorities issued a decree banning the party and arrested its leadership in March 1953. Despite its clandestine status, Hizb ut-Tahrir managed to propagate its ideology in Jordan and expand to neighbouring countries. Its members endured arrests and torture by hostile authorities without resorting to political violence, although the group was implicated in army coups in Jordan and Iraq. From the 1950s through to the 1970s, it remained active in certain Middle Eastern countries (for example, Lebanon and Syria).

Type
Chapter
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Why Islamists Go Green
Politics, Religion and the Environment
, pp. 73 - 99
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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