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Taqiuddin al-Nabhani (Full transliterated name: Sheikh Muhammad Taqiuddin bin Ibrahim bin Mustafah bin Ismail bin Yusuf al-Nabhani; Arabic: تقي الدين النبهاني‎; born in 1909 in Ijzim, Haifa and died December 20, 1977 in Beirut) was a Sunni Shafi'i Islamic jurist, and theologian. He is the founder of the Islamist political party Hizb ut-Tahrir. He died aged 68 in 1977.

Taqiuddin Al Nabhani, founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Contents

Background

Sheikh Muhammad Taqiuddin bin (son of) Ibrahim, bin (son of) Mustafah, bin (son of) Ismail, bin (son of) Yusuf al-Nabhani. He belonged to the ancient Arab tribe of Bani Nabhan, from North Palestine. He was born in the village of Ijzim, within the district of Haifa, in 1909. While his father was also a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence, and accordingly worked as a lecturer in Islamic Law or Shari’ah, his mother mastered the Islamic sciences and was also an Islamic scholar. She had been taught by her father, the famous Ottoman poet, Islamic scholar, and Islamic judge Sheikh Yusuf an-Nabhani, who was appointed as judge at different Shariah courts in Jenin, Constantinople, Mosul, Latakia, Jerusalem and Beirut.

The Islamic surroundings in which Taqiuddin grew up in, contributed to the consolidation of his personality, so he was able to memorise wholly & rehearse the entire Qur'an by heart at 12 years of age. Through his grandfather, he was introduced into the then relatively sound world of politics of the Ottoman Khilafah. His grandfather (father of his mother) Sheikh Yusuf an-Nabhani was known to have strong ties with high-ranking state personalities in Istanbul, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. His grandfather was Yusuf bin Ismail bin Yusuf bin Hasan bin Mohammed An-Nabhani Al-Shafii (Abu Al-Mahasin). He was a prominent judge in the Ottoman state and was in charge of judicial affairs in the Jenin area that belongs to the Nablus district in Palestine.

Education

The sagacity and intelligence he was able to show during Islamic study circles held by his grandfather, convinced the latter, that the exposed capacity should be promoted by all means. Instead of accomplishing his secondary Shari’ah legal education in Haifa, al-Nabhani headed for Cairo, where in 1928 he boldly enrolled at both the al-Azhar University and the Dar-ul-Ulum college of Cairo at the same time. He graduated from both, according to the traditional education curriculum, in 1932, obtaining the Universal Shari’ah Diploma, with excellent academic achievement. At al-Azhar he attended different extra-curricula circles, held by famous scholars such as Sheikh al-Akhdar Hussein, where he showed capacity during debates and discussions.

Career

On his return to Palestine he worked as a teacher from 1932 to 1938, but because he abhorred the corruption in this field at that time, he shifted to the judiciary. In his eyes, education and all the hereto-related curricula were laid down by Western colonialist nations, and were therefore prone to corruption. Judiciary, he felt was a safer haven, as it rested in its entirety on Islamic jurisprudence and the Ottoman Islamic laws were still applied. He applied to the high court in Palestine, which consequently appointed him in different judicial areas in Bisan, Tiberias and later Haifa.

He also held the position of a legal Assessor from 1940 to 1945. From this date until Palestine was occupied in 1948 he held a very high position at the court of Haifa. The exodus from Palestine that followed, took him to Syria, nevertheless, a short while later he was summoned back to Jerusalem which at the time wasnot occupied by Israel, where he was appointed as Shari’ah judge or Qadi in the Court of Appeal, where he remained until 1951. He stepped down in 1951 and went to Amman, where he held numerous lecturer posts at the faculty of Islamic Sciences.

Thought

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Philosophy and Theology

Nabhani in his books 'Thought' and 'System of Islam' placed heavy emphasis on discussing modes and models of the psychology behind human thought, and concepts. He defined the thought process, and how it reaches the status of conviction or concepts. He discussed the internal working of thoughts, convictions, and concepts in shaping the Nafs or emotions and sentiments. Delving into the internal workings of how people reach conclusions & the psychology behind the process derives itself from Taqiuddin al-Nabhani's roots in non-Ascetic legalistic Sufism from his first teacher and maternal grandfather Yusuf al-Nabhani.

Al-Nabhani's definitions of thought have been used in the study of Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and information processing research discussed in the Addison-Wesley published book "Conceptual Structures: Information Processing in Mind and Machine (Systems Programming Series)" and used in London South Bank University's information systems department.

After many philosophical discussions on the nature of thoughts and emotions, Nabhani concludes that the only way to bring about change is via discussion, refutation, and revival of the relevant thoughts and emotions. It is from this philosophical basis that he argued that force does not work to change peoples' ideas. He also argued that a decline in the Muslims' thought, emotions and concepts led to their decline & the eventual destruction of the Khilafah. He believed the first major step towards decline in the Muslims was confusion about, and dealing with new foreign ideas, mainly Greek, Persian & eastern philosophy.

He argued the Islamic World didn't know how to tackle & contextualise these ideas because they became insular, and complacent of preserving & keeping relevant their own Islamic thoughts or philosophy to a world in flux. The heavy emphasis on pinpointing, defining and changing peoples thoughts, convictions, or emotions, via stronger thoughts, diagnosis, and refutation of the process an individual uses to reach their particular 'incorrect' view, is the method of Hizb ut-Tahrir's argumentation on almost every issue.

Faith vs. rational belief

Nabhani claimed Islam is founded on rational belief and not blind faith, being very similar to Ghazali's Kalam Argument. However, both Nabhani and Ghazali argued that after belief (Aqeeda) is established, divine laws in the Quran are beyond question due to the 'mind' of God being beyond human comprehension. Nabhani loosely affirmed rationalism (not that of the mutazilah) but argued that it can establish belief in a God just like Ghazali and Ghazali's teacher al-Juwayni in his book [4], contrary to the common western notion of rationalism. He tried to outline materialist arguments and axioms to prove that one unlimited creator of the universe, God (Allah in Arabic) can be proven by rational deduction. He believed that the dependency of, and limited physical nature of every tangible thing within human perception point ultimately to an unlimited creator that is beyond need and dependency, an Absolute Infinite.

Politics

The political activities of Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani started very early. Before establishing Hizb ut-Tahrir he had no organised political activity, save for the period in his teens and twenties he had spent with the famous mujahid Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, whom he helped lay down plans for the well known revolutionary upheavals against British colonial rule, and against plans to set up the state of Israel by the Zionist movement. He also had extensive contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, and exchanged views with Sayyid Qutb. He also maintained ties with the Palestinian leader Amin al-Husayni during the Palestine mandate. During the period of Jordanian rule in the West Bank, however, Nabhani grew critical of the Brotherhood's close links with the Jordanian regime because of its pro-Western leanings.

In November 1952, Nabhani established the Liberation Party in Jerusalem. Nabhani left Palestine for Syria in 1953 and moved to Lebanon in 1959. Many of his early al-Azhar colleagues later bore witness to his tireless activity in attending political and Islamic study circles. They also praised his contribution to numerous political discussions during which he did not abstain from criticising the internal circumstances, which he believed had led to the political and intellectual downfall of both the Muslims and the Islamic Caliphate. In addition, he used to urge the Ulema at al-Azhar to give up the adopted lassitude vis-à-vis the Ummah and her affairs and appealed to them to seek the best way for revival. On his return to Palestine, he became more and more aware of the Westernisation of the Islamic Ummah by colonial powers such as Britain and France.

The loss of Palestine in 1948 together with the failure of a coup attempt by Abdullah al-Tall in Jordan to which al-Nabhani had been party convinced him that only a structured and deep intellectual work could bring the nation back to its glory and strength. Consequently he began preparations relating to the Party structure, literature and the like, as early as 1949 while he was still a judge at al-Quds. In his first written work, which appeared in January 1950 under the title Inqadh Filastin (Saving Palestine), he showed how deeply rooted Islam had been in Palestine since the seventh century. He also analysed the main cause for the set backs which had befallen the Arabs which, as he said, was due to nothing but the fact that the Ummah had resigned and submitted itself to the greedy colonial powers.

In August 1950 he sent a long letter, published later as a book entitled Risalat al-Arab "The Message of the Arabs", to the members of the Culture Summit of the Arab League in Alexandria, Egypt. In his exposition of the matter, he stressed upon the point that the true and real message of the Arabs is Islam, on whose basis alone the intellectual, and hence, political revival of the Ummah could be achieved. As no reaction was forthcoming by the Summit members to this letter, Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani was now convinced, more than at any time before, that establishing a political party was essential.

Hizb ut-Tahrir

While employed at the Ibrahimiyya School al-Nabhani contacted numerous individuals and personalities such as his colleagues As'ad and Rajab Bayyud Tamimi and Abdul Qadeem Zallum and other about the formation of a political party.

By the end of 1952, and early 1953, the whole matter was put into practice and Hizb ut-Tahrir (http://www.hizb-ut-tahrir.org/) was established in al-Quds Jerusalem. Taqiuddin an-Nabhani together with Dawud Hamdan, Ghanim Abduh, Munir Shuqayr and Dr. Adil al-Nablusi in accordance with the until then practiced Ottoman Law of Societies, sent a notice to the governor of Jerusalem and the Jordanian government, informing the authorities about the establishment of the Party. The Jordanian government however, reacted instantly, and issued a decree banning the Party, and declaring its activities illegal. Hizb ut-Tahrir, nevertheless, ignored this action and continued with its work in al-Quds, al-Khalil, Nablus and other towns and villages. Harsh reactions were to follow by the government against the Party members, and these continue until this day.

Consequently the "Preaching and Guiding Law" was issued in 1954, with the objective of banning Party members from giving talks in mosques. Despite harsh repression, the Party has been able to grow immensely, stretching its work throughout the Muslim world, and even reaching remote parts of the globe like Aceh. After al-Nabhani left Jordan for a short trip to Damascus and Beirut sometime in 1955 the Jordanian government passed an edict effectively barring al-Nabhani ever returning to the kingdom. Consequently al-Nabhani re-located to Damascus and later Beirut from where he led the party.

During 1973 whilst on a trip to Iraq, al-Nabhani was imprisoned by Iraqi security services and severely tortured. He was spared only due to the Iraqi security services misidentifying him as a scribe of the party and not its leader. His release was secured soon after however, upon the intervention of a prominent Lebanese personality to whom al-Nabhani was related by marriage.

Death

Due to the continuous harassment and persecution by the Jordanian government al-Nabhani was forced into giving up his role in public life. He was not seen again in public until his death due to fear of assassination. Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani died in Beirut on 20 December 1977, and was buried at the al-Auza'i cemetery.

Books

  • Saving Palestine - 1950
  • The Message of the Arabs - 1950
  • The System for Society - 1950
  • The Ruling System in Islam - 1953
  • The Economic System in Islam - 1953
  • The Social System in Islam -1953
  • The Party Structure -1953
  • The Concepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir - 1953
  • The Islamic State - 1953
  • The Islamic Personality (in three volumes) - 1960
  • Political Concepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir - 1969
  • Political View of Hizb ut-Tahrir - 1972
  • Introduction to the Constitution or the Reasons That Make it Obligatory - 1963
  • The Khilafah - 1967
  • Presence of Mind - 1976
  • A Burning Call to the Muslims from Hizb ut-Tahrir - 1965
  • Thinking - 1973
  • The Jurisprudence of Prayer

References

  • Al-Waie magazine, issues 234-235, August/September 2006 (Arabic) [1]
  • Biography [2]
  • Watt, Montgomery (2004). The Faith and Practice of Al-Ghazali (Translation of al-Munqid min al-Dalal). Oxford: OneWorld Publications
  • Nabhani, Taqi al-Din (2002). The System of Islam Nidham al-Islam. London: al-Khilafah Publications
  • Nabhani, Taqi al-Din (2004). Thought al-Tafkeer. London: al-Khilafah Publications
  • Nabhani, Taqi al-Din (2005). Islamic Personality al-Shaksiyyah al-Islamiyyah. London: al-Khilafah Publications

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