Demise of the Saudi Monarch: Time for Khilafah or Democracy?

There are rumours [1] that King Fahd is already dead. Politically speaking he has been dead since 1995; serving only as a titular leader, after suffering a stroke. The king is already in his 80’s with his health deteriorating, making his death and/or his abdication imminent. His step brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, has been the effective ruler of the nation since 1995, and is regarded as the successor to the throne.

Given the internal circumstances of Saudi Arabia coupled with the enthusiastic declaration by the US to spread democracy throughout the region, one would have expected the US to demand free and fair elections, thus establishing the first milestone towards building a democratic society in Saudi Arabia. Instead, the US has remained a passive spectator, by silence approving Prince Abdullah inheriting the throne, as a consequence acquiescing to a continuation of the dictatorial monarchy.

The entire thing sounds bizarre, when you consider that the US has lost thousands of soldiers and spent huge amounts of money in waging a war, supposedly, to build a democratic model in Iraq. Let us assume this claim is true, even though the initial justification for the war was disarming Iraq of its alleged WMDs. So, why is the US overlooking a much easier opportunity to push for democracy in its client states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uzbekistan? The puppet Saudi regime has no leverage over the US while the US exerts almost total control over the regime with the power to remove the regime covertly or overtly.

Furthermore, unlike Iraq, Saudi Arabia is a far better candidate for becoming a beacon of democracy in the region for the following three reasons:

(a).The Saudi society is more or less monolithic, does not suffer from sectarian conflicts and secessionist movements. Hence, unlikely to suffer from instability after the removal of the dictatorial monarchy.

(b).It is the birth place of Islam, having the two sacred cities of Mecca and Medina by default is viewed as the centre of the Islamic world. It would be a far more prominent example of democracy and would likely make a much bigger impact in the Arab/Islamic world.

(c).The country is endowed with the largest oil reserves in the world, thus providing the economic muscles to support the political institutions at the early phase of building democracy.

The truth is; – the US is clearly not interested in genuine popular democracy, as the masses do not share its values and interests. A popular election would not lead to a western style democracy but rather it is more likely to lead to a genuine Islamic government. Fahd, Abdullah or Karimov are all docile agents, who serve the needs of the US. For this reason the US also turned a blind eye to the recent mass uprisings in Uzbekistan.

So, the silence of the US is explicable, as the US is driven not by the values of democracy but its corporate interests. However, what is clearly inexplicable is the silence of the Scholars and the Islamic movements in the region. Unfortunately, some of these scholars and Islamic movements have become permanent pillars for perpetuating this decadent hereditary monarchy. Dictatorial monarchy is clearly contrary to Islam. Islam demands that Muslims should govern themselves with the Sharia laws (Islamic Jurisprudence), manifested in the political institution of the Khilafah. Saudi Arabia is land populated with Muslims and therefore, the Khilafah system is the natural choice as it is representative of the masses.

The demise of the monarch provides a perfect opportunity, the recent Iraq war, the presence of US military bases and the ongoing conflict in Palestine; all of these provide the impetus to raise the voices and banners, demanding the restoration of the Khilafah in the heartland of Islam. It is the Khilafah that would serve as a natural beacon unifying the Muslims while the indigestible foreign implant of democracy would maintain the divisions, causing aches and pain.

We hear so much about the need to follow the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet) from the Scholars and the various Islamic movements from that part of the world (Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states), but mysteriously, Khilafah is a major Sunnah that does not seem to come very high on their list, assuming it is on the list in the first place! Likewise, we hear so much about avoiding innovation, but the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not only a major innovation but upholding it constitutes an act of apostasy. Because ruling by Islam is a clear obligation that is explicitly mentioned in the Quran: “Whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed is an unbeliever” (5:44) and deliberately failing to do so is an act of apostasy. There are other corroborative evidences also reaffirming the obligation to rule by Islam.

The constitution of Saudi Arabia clearly contradicts Islam; the misapplication and selective application of some of the Islamic laws is not only un-Islamic (Kufr) but many aspects are overtly racists and probably one of the worst examples of transgression against Islam and Muslims (largely non-Saudi Muslims) in the name of Islam. However, many Muslims and non-Muslims regard Saudi Arabia as the model of an Islamic state; the truth is it was built upon the destruction of the last Islamic State, the Uthmania Khilafah (Ottoman State).

The Saudi clan with the other major Arab tribes committed an act of treachery by colluding with the imperial forces of Britain against the Islamic state and were complicit in the destruction of it in 1924. Subsequently, they were in turn betrayed by Britain and France as they made a secret pact (Sykes-Picot) to divide up the conquered lands which contributed towards handing over Palestine to the Zionists. Thus, the Saudis were complicit in the creation of the state of Israel.

Similar acts of treachery are now being replicated by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and the collaborating Kurds and Shi’ites in Iraq. When will the Muslims learn that the price of victory is unity and no benefit can be attained by treacherously siding with the foreign powers as they are pursuing their own interests?