Imran Khan and the state of medina

By Saeed Qureshi

Imran Khan’s aim and manifesto to turn Pakistan into a later day state of Medina ignores the huge cultural, educational, social, economic technological, scientific and political differences and size populations between a modern state and a primitive state notwithstanding the aspect of faith or religion. First of all, the Medina State was established and guided by the Prophet Muhammad blessed with divine guidance fashioned the first Islamic State in Medina.

The holy Prophet was law unto himself. Yet the establishment and running of the new state was not an easy task even for the Prophet. In the city of Mecca, he had to face persistent opposition from the people who worshiped idols. The declaration of Prophet Muhammad to be a Prophet appointed by God almighty was intensely and venomously resisted by the Meccans that there was a threat to his life as well.

Despite earlier success and a sizeable number of citizens turning Muslims, he had to secretly migrate to city of Medina (200 miles from Mecca) along with his close associate Abu Bakr: his father in law and later the first caliph of the Islamic caliphate. That journey was perilous and hazardous. There was persistent fear of the infidels chasing them.

On the way they hid in a cave named “Saur” near Mecca city for three days. They started their journey on September 12, 623 AD and reached Medina after 12 days. The people in Medina received the Prophet with great affection and respect.

The main outcome of migration to Medina was the attainment of safe haven where the Prophet could continue his divine message of calling the non-Muslims to Islam and having belief in one God. With his stay in Medina quite safe and comfortable, the Prophet was keen to spread his divine message far and wide and particularly in Mecca where he was born and received divine blessing of being the Prophet. There were four battles fought between the infidels of Mecca and the Muslims of Medina. These were Battel of Badar, Uhad, the Khandaq (Trenches) and finally the conquest of Mecca by the Islamic army under the command of the prophet.

The contours of Islamic governance and state were established and continued during the stay of the Prophet in Medina until his demise in June 632 AD. As stated, earlier Medina was a safe city for the Prophet and his Muslim believers to pray and preach Islam. However, their entry into the city of Mecca. Mecca was the holiest city for being the abode of House of God (Khana Kaaba) and the city of pilgrimage.

After the demise of the holy Prophet three of his pious companions succeeded him as the caliph. However, after the assassination of Hazrat Usman the third caliph, the cousin brother of Prophet Muhammad as well as his son in Law Hazrat Ali was proclaimed as the fourth caliph. His appointment was contested by the governor of Kufa Amir Muawiyya, a prominent leader of the Ummayad tribe. From there onward that tussle for power continued between the Ummayad clan and the Banu Hashim tribe.

That ideological (political?) tussle continues to this day between Sunnis and Shias. The Shias believe that the right of caliphate for the family of Prophet was usurped by the Umayyad leaders. It should also be seen that the Islamic caliphate or state had two governments or regimes at the same time. This situation nullified not only the unity and peace within Islamic nation but turned into bloody conflicts entailing countless Muslims dying on both the sides.

This bizarre situation not only manifested the division of the Islamic caliphate politically but in the believers as well. This gory situation is manifested from the fighting between the Banu Umayyad tribe and Banu Hashim including the fourth caliph Hazrat Ali and his two sons Hasan and Hussain against Amir Muawiyya and his son Yazid and their progeny. As a result Bannu Umayyads established their rule and caliphate in Iraq, Iran and most of the Middle East.

Later the Banu Abbas revolted against the Umayyads and killed their top brass family members. Umayyad last ruler Abdur Rehman fled to Spain where he established an Umayyad Islamic dynasty (lasted 600 years). Thus, the Islamic state was divided into hostile caliphates killing and attacking each other. As such which Islamic unity are, we talking in history. As such the state of Medina was only for such time as the Prophet was alive. Thereafter, it led to power grabbing and fighting between the tribes and sects particularly Sunnis and Shias. It is a perennial religious animosity that continues to this day.

The expansion of Islam and the Islamic state by preaching and in overcoming the opponents was still continued and remained in vogues during the successive followers or caliphs after the demise of the Prophet.  During the lifetime of the prophet, Medina city was attacked by the Meccan army led by Abu Sufyan with an army of 10,000 fighters. It is called the “Battle of Trenches” (February 627).

If Muslims had lost this war and infidels won, it would have led to colossal disaster and annihilation of the new Muslims both migrants and local inhabitants. It would have even resulted in halting or end of the preaching of Islam. Also, if the local hostile tribes in Medina would have succeeded, preaching of Islam could have been adversely affected and might have come to an end.

However, the State of Medina was not an abode of peace and cohesion. The simmering animosity between the non-Muslims and the Muslims as well as permanent residents and the immigrants remained alive. The lands of the non/Muslim residents of Madina were taken over by the Muslims. It should also be noted that out of four succeeding caliphs of Prophet Muhammad, three were killed by the hostile assassins.

It shows that the State of Medina was exposed to many serious dangers to the survival of both the new religion and its later day adherents and even caliphs. Prophet Muhammad and later the caliphs had not only to wage crusades against their adversaries in Mecca but also subdued the local dissidents, mostly the desert tribes and the Jewish tribes particularly settled in the city of Khyber.

After the demise of the Prophet, the caliphate of four caliphs remained engaged conquering the territories beyond Medina including the most famous place Khyber fort and city belonging to the Jews.

This conquest for territories and Islamization continued during the three pious caliphs. These were followed by Umayyad and Abbasid family dynasties which were established in the entire Middle East including Iraq, Syria, Palestine. However later the Abbasid and Umayyads snatched the caliphate from the Banu Hashim as evidenced by the fighting between Caliph Hazrat Ali and Amir Muawiyya the Omayyad governor of Kufa.

As such the pristine state of Medina lost its cohesion and luster and it fell prey to power grabbing between the rival tribes. Hazrat Ali belonged to Banu Hashim clan or Prophet’s tribe while the three caliphs were from other tribes or clans. It led to the beginning of the tussle for the attainment of power between the tribes of Hashemite and Omayyad tribes. 

After the martyrdom of Ali, his two sons Hasan and Hussain carried on the fighting against Muawiyya and his successor son Yazid. In a battle Hasan withdrew from fighting and returned to Madina at the behest of Muawiyya with promise of a handsome regular remuneration which he was receiving until his death. The cause of his death at a young age is said to be poison given to him by one of his wives at the behest of Muawiyya.

After Hasan, his younger brother Hussain resumed crusade against Muawiya’s son Yazid. In that conflict he lost his life along with his scant number of fighters in the field of Kerbala. Kerbala, is a city in central Iraq, located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad. The female family members were disgraced and returned to Madina.

Each year the Shias observe the martyrdom of Imam Hussain during the Islamic month of Muharram for ten days. During that period, they display grief and condemn and debase Muawiyah and his son Yazid and other Ummayad stalwarts. This part of Islamic history raises a question as to why the Muslim Umma was disunited and preaching and practice of one code of Islam remained unfulfilled.

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