(Note: This piece contains numerous hyperlinks which need to be explored to substantiate the points)
Kim Jong-Il the long ruling dictator of North Korea has died. Over the years he was given a divine like status by the state propaganda machine. According to state propaganda his birth was prophesized by a swallow and heralded by a double rainbow and his life was, apparently, not any less eventful with many miraculous events being attributed to him, such as having the ability to even control the weather. In describing his death, the state media declared it caused the heavens and earth to shake and magical writing appeared on the side of a mountain. All this religious fervour, bizarrely, comes from an atheistic communist party.
News channels around the world have been showing some remarkable images of North Koreans mourning the death. Many people found the whole spectacle somewhat baffling, given what this man has done to his people over the years. Kim Jong-Il and his party have made North Korea into one of the most closed and isolated countries in the world. The citizens are denied freedom, access to the most basic of amenities is forbidden such as imported food, mobile phones, movies, internet, and the state apparatus monitors the words and movement of everyone. Yet these draconian rules don’t apply to everyone, all that is forbidden to North Koreans lay people is readily enjoyed by the ruling elite and in particular the dictator or ‘dear leader’ as everyone is taught to call him. In the 1990’s as many as 3.5 million North Koreans died of starvation, while the dictator and his cronies wallowed in luxuries. While children died of lack of food, the ‘dear leader’ was eating imported lobster and drinking champagne, whilst watching his collection of 20,000 Hollywood movies.
Yet Kim Jong-Il’s behaviour and hypocrisy is not unique to him, everywhere across the world where ever we find dictators, we find this pattern of behaviour. Dictatorship can be defined as totalitarian rule by one or a few group of people. The power of rule is often obtained through force or inheritance and is maintained through a propaganda instilling a combination of fear and idolization of the dictator. Most dictatorships transform into hereditary dictatorships, where power is held and transferred through a single family.
The Muslim world has more than its fair share of hereditary dictators, what then does Islam have to say on the matter? Well a very interesting hadith tackles the subject very nicely, in which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prophesizes the political leadership of the Muslim Ummah as follows:
From Hudhayfah that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:
“The Prophethood will remain amongst you for as long as Allah wills it to be. Then Allah will raise it when He wills to raise it. Then there will be the khilafah upon the Prophetic methodology. And it will last for as long as Allah wills it to last. Then Allah will raise it when He wills to raise it. Then there will be biting kingship, and it will remain for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then Allah will raise it when He wills to raise it. Then there will be tyrannical (forceful) kingship and it will remain for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then He will raise it when He wills to raise it. Then there will be a khilafah upon the Prophetic methodology. Then he (the Prophet) صلى الله عليه و سلم was silent.”
[Reported by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.]
Let us list the stages outlined the hadith
- Prophethood of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)
- Rightly guided Caliphate (Just and righteous rule)
- Hereditary rule (Kingship)
- Oppressive hereditary rule (Dictatorship)
- Rightly guided Caliphate (Just and righteous rule restored)
Looking at the history of the Muslim Ummah, we can see this prophecy has unfolded step by step. The rightly guided period of the Khulafa Rashidun upon the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و سلم) Sunnah, is characterised by the following:
- The rule was not hereditary, i.e. it was not held and transferred by a single family.
- There was ‘rule of law’ where the Khalifa could be held to account by a judge or even a layperson.
- The Khalifa’s role was one of serving the people and not for personal benefit.
- The Khulafa shunned an opulent and luxurious life, despite the huge wealth coming into the possession of the state. For example after Muslims liberated Jerusalem, Sayidina Umar entered the city on foot (while his servant was riding a on a camel) wearing clothes with patches on them and refused to wear luxurious clothing.
Some scholars have commented that the Muslim Ummah is now in the 4th stage of the prophecy, namely oppressive hereditary rule. But given the recent events unfolding in what has been labelled the ‘Arab Spring,’ which has seen the end of hereditary rule we may well be moving towards the 5th stage of a just and righteous rule. (see this link for a very interesting lecture by Imam Suhaib Webb on this) The central point I wish to take make is that the 4th period is referring to oppressive hereditary dictatorship and it is a stark contrast from the rightly guided period of Khulafa Rashidun.
Now let us turn our attention to Ahmadiyya in light of what we have discussed so far. Ahmadiyya leaders claim that they have entered the 5th period of a Khilafah based on prophetic rule. They claim that the so-called Khalifas of Ahmadiyya are a fulfilment of the prophecy in this hadith.
But when we examine the claim of the leaders of Ahmadiyya, we see that it not only falls short of prophetic standard, it outright contradicts it. The first thing we note about the Ahmadiyya nizaam is that it has never been political rule, which goes against the entire theme of the hadith, which refers to political rule.
Ahmadis have tried to argue that since ‘Isa ibn Maryam will end the jizya it indicates the rule will not be political. This argument clearly makes no sense; a person who is not in office cannot pass, amend or repeal legislation.
The next thing to consider is the question of accountability, Is the Ahmadiyya khalifa and the ruling elite, accountable to anyone? The answer is a resounding no. There is no system of accountability available to average Ahmadis to question whether Islamic law is being adhered to.
The other striking thing about the Ahmadiyya nizaam is that it has not ended a hereditary system (which contradicts the method of the way of the Khulafa Rashidun), but instead enshrined a hereditary dictatorship. After the demise of the first Khalifa, every single so called Khalifa of Ahmadiyya has been from the same ruling family.
Then we come to lifestyle, can we say that the so called Khalifas of Ahmadiyya are living a life of simplicity, like the Khulafa Rashidun who gave away their wealth shunning opulence and luxuries? It is clear that Ahmadi Khalifas have in fact been doing the opposite, amassing huge wealth. After all, how many people do you know that can afford to pay more than £40,000 to someone for looking after their horses? This is all happening while average Ahmadis and their families are forced to make personal sacrifices and live a frugal life, the leadership brazenly wallow in luxury in their own VIP areas. Does this all sound familiar?
A neutral observer will note that the Ahmadiyya nizaam has more in common with the hereditary dictatorship of Kim Jong-Il of North Korea than the rightly guided Khulafa Rashidun.
In fact the similarities between Ahmadiyya and the dictatorship of Kim Jong-Il are very striking. Similarities include creating a closed and insular community controlled by fear and propaganda, veneration of hereditary leadership based around the ‘cult of personality,’ the iconological use of the dictator’s portrait in homes and public spaces (see this), restriction and control of interactions with outside world (in particular with Muslims), banning the use of social networks such as Facebook, preventing women from having equal participation, monitoring the movements and behaviour of individuals, banning visiting cinema. Even the food distribution in the annual Jalsa is like North Korea, an unequal two tier system, where the elite eat meat and the masses eat beans.
It is just like George Orwell’s book ‘Animal Farm’, where the ruling pigs announce “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” (A book everyone should read, especially Ahmadis)
External observers find the emotional attachment of the oppressed to their oppressor puzzling, how is it that they cannot see what is being done to them? The Ahmadiyya hereditary dictatorship, like that of the dictatorship of Kim Jong-Il, maintains its control on its followers by appealing to their superstitions and also through a system of indoctrination from an early age; compare the Waqf-e-Nau with THIS.
Every year thousands of North Koreans wake up from their nightmare and escape. With their new found freedom they are amazed by how they were so taken in by the state propaganda and not surprisingly former Ahmadis say exactly the same thing.
In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon describes Sayidina Umar (the liberator of Jerusalem and Persia) in the following terms:
“Yet the abstinence and humility of Umar were not inferior to the virtues of Abu Bakr: his food consisted of barley bread or dates; his drink was water; he preached in a gown that was torn or tattered in twelve places; and a Persian satrap, who paid his homage as to the conqueror, found him asleep among the beggars on the steps of the mosque of Muslims”
That gives us some indication of what standards we are speaking of when we speak about the rightly guided Caliphate based on the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و سلم) Sunnah, which is clearly distinct from oppressive hereditary dictatorships.
We prayer Allah frees humanity from all forms of oppressive dictatorships.
The following article was submitted by Br. Muhammed Khan