It is a day whose impact on the Muslim ummah has been like few others, yet it is a day that most Muslims will enquire about with no idea as to its significance. We explore the history behind this, the day Islam was wiped off the world map completely for the first time since it came to the world...
Valentine's day - 14th February
Christmas Day - 25th December
Boxing Day - 26th December
3rd of March - ?
"What the heck is the 3rd of March? 3/3 - funky ring to it, is that what you are pointing out to me?"
"Nope. It's the day Islam was wiped off the face of the earth completely "
"Oh. Yeah. I knew that dude...."
No you didnt. And nor do many other Muslims, unfortunately. It is, as certain people would say, a "reality that cannot be ignored", and that is exactly why we cannot ignore it.
On the 3rd of March 1924 dear brothers and sisters, the Islamic State was, after many hundreds year of decline, finally destroyed. It was a day which barely registered on the heartbeat monitor of the Muslim Ummah at the time, metaphorically and figuratively speaking. However, it was a day whose importance cannot be ignored in terms of where the wider body of Muslims is today, and how far it had moved from its deen for that action to even occur in the first place.
It is now a matter of considerable awareness in the Muslim Ummah that the Khilafah is the name given to the state that implements Islam - ie: the practical result of Islam's application on a societal level. Despite this, the understanding of the Khilafah and what it stands for remains cursory and not in depth, a situation that can only be changed by raising awareness through such mediums as this and discussion in society in general.
One of the most important steps to increasing the level of knowledge of the Ummah at large is to endow it with information about how the Khilafah ended and what the effects of its non-existence have been. Key to this is actually knowing a bit about its last days, including the date when its ailing body was finally laid to rest.
The conception that the Khilafah was a model of Islam till its last days, while not a popular one fortunately, is wrong if indeed held by anyone delusional enough to believe. Yet it is also my belief that the contrasting conception, that the Khilafah in its last 200 years or so wasnt a Khilafah at all but a completely non Islamic entity is also incorrect. The Khilafah was indeed corrupted, ailing and in general disorder, but it nonetheless used Islam as the primary source of legislation. And that is not to say that it did so in the way Saudi Arabia today, for instance, does (paying lip service to the Shariah while attributing ultimate sovereignty in rulership to non-Islamic western forces and influences). Most importantly, even if the implementation of certain edicts was incorrect (as it was), the state seeked to convey Islam to the world and undertook actions to defend it. This is always important in judging whether the carriers of an ideology have stuck to it or are merely doing it lip-service or any other type of disservice.
It is said by many that an ideology is as strong as those who carry it. This is not completely true,as, given the universal and inherently correct nature of the Islamic ideology (as we Muslims take it as being), we Muslims believe that any lapse on the part of the believers is only temporary and reversable. Hence Islam can never be "wiped off the face of the Earth", but adherence to it can wane given the influence of contra-Islamic forces such as the Shaytaan and Kufr at large. Thus, while the Ummah lost its direct touch with its Islam in terms of its implementation, clearly its love for Islam was not lost. Even if we are to take the aforementioned yardstick in judging the Islamic ideology, then even at the time of the Khilafah's downfall, some administrators thereof were fighting for its continuation and existance. Yes, it was rotten in many aspects, but not UnIslamic completely, a charge some Muslims level against it.
Several articles over the years have used elaborate metaphors to describe the "end times" of the Islamic state. I shall stick to the one which treats it as a body. The state had been poisoned by several factors in the lead up to its death: the Muslims' decline in tawheed (and thus decline in attribution of complete sovereignty to Allah and his law - the Shariah), external forces (the infamous missionaries and schools being set up) and the introduction of new ways of thinking which hadnt existed before.
As if one was needed, the death sentence was pronounced on the aforementioned date - 3/3/1924. The Khaleef of the last state, the 101st Khaleef - Abdul Mejid 2 - was exiled from Turkey on this day with a single suitcase. Mustafa Kemal, "father of turkey" and the hangman of Islam's final remaining "vestige", became a hero. But history is testament to the fact that where material advancement was promised through a system superior to the Islamic one, there has been nothing but trepidation and identity-based limbo. Turkey today is rejected by Europe as it is rejected as a nation by the Muslim Ummah, the butt of heavy criticism of "modern Islam" as our Ummah returns once more to its roots slowly but surely.
Where other nations too promised advancement on the basis of nationalism and capitalism, backwardness, poverty and corruption are all that has resulted. In nations such as Pakistan, materialistic advancements, sporradic and often temporary in nature, are overshadowed completely in the eyes of the Ummah by the betrayal of rulers such as Pervez Musharraf. Be it materialistically, or from a religious perspective, the move away from Islam has only led to negatives for Muslims worldwide.
This week is the 83rd anniversary of the fall of the Islamic Khilafah. As each year goes by, the ramifications of its absence are clearer, and its need even more so.
A famous Islamic rap group once dealt extensively with this topic. They also saw the onus as being on the Muslim youth to carry the call for Islam once again, something with which it is hard to disagree. The burden is surely on us, and in their own words, its up to the youth today - "either we make history, or we become history".