Some Muslims believe that the problem with the Muslim world is a lack of understanding of Tawheed, and consequently before advocating for the re-establishment of the Caliphate (Khilafah), they believe that the Muslim people must be called to tawheed first.
Furthermore, to back-up their argument, they point to the fact that the Prophet Muhammed (saaw) spent 13 years calling to tawheed before the first Islamic state was established.
When these Muslims say that there is a problem with the lack of understanding of tawheed – they are exactly right – but not in the way they believe. For when they call to Tawheed, they do not call to the comprehensive Tawheed of Allah (swt) being the highest and only direction of belief, human action, morality and law in all life’s affairs. Instead they only call to Allah being the only God to be worshiped by spiritual rituals and personal habits, leaving brazenly neglected, the vast majority of the worship of God that occurs in all life’s affairs.
In effect, these Muslims have secularised ‘Tawheed’, rendering the worship of Allah restricted only to ritualised spiritual actions (ibaadah), and they neglect the worship of Allah through establishing his hukm (laws) in life’s affairs and activities (mu’amalaat) which covers the social to the political. Thus they are the best example of the problem with the Ummah that they claim to campaign against. It is in reality, their ignorance of the true depth and breadth of Tawheed, that is the fundamental problem with the intellectual understanding of Islam amongst the Ummah.
So indeed they are right.
Secondly, these Muslims only possess a shallow understanding of the method of the Prophet (saaw). The Prophet (saaw) called to Tawheed in the spiritual actions and beliefs of the Pagan Arabs, because they were Polytheists. I think it is safe to say that the Arabs have stopped worshipping Hubaal, Allat, Manat and Al Uzza. If these spiritual-only ‘tawheed’ advocates were consistent with following the method of the Prophet (saaw), then as well as abstaining for calling to the laws of God, they should also abstain from calling people to the 5 daily Salah, since the command for the Salah was 12 years into the Prophet’s mission. But of course, that would be absurd – but so is neglecting to call the people to the laws of God too. As the Quran says about the people of the previous revelations who deferred ruling by the law of God – there is a part of the book they accept, and a part they reject – by not calling to comprehensively.
And what these Muslims additionally fail to realise is the Prophet (saaw) spoke out against female infanticide in Mekkah. Isn’t that a critical of a society’s culture and social norms? Didn’t he critique the lack of charity by the rich in that society, and attack its corrupt politicians (Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, Abu Sufyan -all members of the ‘mala’, the Quraysh parliament of nobles)? All these things that the Prophet did in Mekkah during his first 13 years – are, yes you guessed it, POLITICAL. But Spiritual-only Tawheedists seem to overlook those particular Political criticisms by the Prophet (saaw), despite them being during the first 13 years of his mission!
However, due to the absence of guidance in the political sphere (thanks to colonialism), many Muslims have filled in these areas by worshipping the Secular gods of Nationalism (e.g. Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Saudi Arabia etc) by taking glory and pride in their ‘nations’ (which two european colonialist politicians, Skyes and Picot carved out for them in the Sykes-Picot treaty).
Muhammed (saaw) wasn’t wrong when he compared people, in a hadith, who believed in nationalism to being in the same condition of the Pagan Arabs before Islam came (i.e. Jahil/Ignorant). In fact, the more you think about it, the more nationalism really does resemble a religion. The nation is viewed as a higher power invisible power which provides sustenance for the people, and created them upon its land (who should be ‘grateful’ to it). The nation has rituals, symbols and a flag for its ‘believers’ (i.e citizens) which must be saluted like it somehow appreciates these salutes as supplications. If someone dies for their country, they are considered martyrs for a ‘noble cause’. Nationalism also has a clergy – the politicians of that state, which act as khulafah (successors) to the founding ‘prophet’ of that nation (which usually is some national hero or founder), whose pronouncements and actions become the Sunnah (tradition) of the state. The politicians are tasked to rule according to the will of their deity, the ‘national will’. And if that isn’t enough of a similarity with religion, consider that as religion defines morality based upon the will of God, so nationalism defines morality by the ‘national interest’. Thus following the interest of the nation becomes the halal, and going against the interest of the nation, becomes the haram.
We therefore see these Muslims, who declare their belief in One God, and make supplication and prayer to Him alone, yet ignorantly neglect, and even reject every hukm (law) that Allah (swt) has ordained for society and state. They do not intend to be negligent, but because the only thing they know of Islam, is ‘who to pray to’, they must seek for everything else, to ‘follow the national will’. And if a spiritual-only ‘Tawheed’ advocate approaches them, they respond ‘you do not need to instruct me, I know who I worship’, prompting the advocate to find some small obscure issue merely to find an excuse to continue their mostly irrelevant campaign.
If you truly contemplate the nature of the Jahil Muslim, and the Muslim who calls only to the Tawheed of the spiritual actions, they are both exactly the same in their outward activities. Both neglect the political aspect of Islam, and both may indulge in the spiritual aspects of it, with no problem.
In fact, I would dare say the Jahil Muslim is better than the Muslim who calls to the ‘tawheed’ of only the spiritual actions, for while the Jahil Muslim is only concerned with their own affairs, the Spiritual-only ‘Tawheed’ caller, actively goes out of their way to block Dawah Carriers from their work, and acts as an obstacle to them until they make the dawah carrier abandon the call to a holistic Islam.
It is no surprise then to find, that Secularists, and certain corrupt Muslim countries (backed by the USA) and financed by natural resources, love the Spiritual-only ‘Tawheed’ caller, and support him, for he is their first line of defence against the return of Islam, and the holistic Tawheed, they so fear and loathe.
And in calling to only a part of the comprehensive and all-embracing worship of God, they have secularised Tawheed, and are more part of the problem with the Ummah, then part of the solution.