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The Signs of a Taghut

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

As we explore the journey of mankind from the time of Ādam to our current times, we find a constant struggle between Satan and his allies against the bearers of Haqq. Throughout this conflict, the Haqq may triumph over falsehood, whilst at other times, falsehood may overshadow the Haqq. Over the arduous course of this journey, Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla), through His Might and Mercy did not leave the seekers of Haqq in darkness. He sent to the believers clear guiding verses in order for them to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and to repel the forces of oppression - The Tāghūt. The Tāghūt exists in a myriad of forms, including the kings, rulers and oppressive governments of our current times.

Indeed, Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) says in the Qur’ān:

“And indeed We have put forth every kind of example in this Qur'ān, for mankind...” (al-Kahf 18:54)

Amongst the most vital and relevant lessons we learn from the Qur’ān, and that is applicable to us today, is the concept of oppression and the characteristics of an oppressor. Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) describes in a multiple number of ayāt, the characteristics of the oppressors, and the methods they use to oppress the masses. One of the main stories mentioned in the Qur’an in over 27 chapters, and in over 70 different places is the story of Mūsa and Fir’awn.

We need to understand that the wisdom behind this is not to simply learn about the personality of Fir’awn from a historical perspective. Rather, this story describes in detail the characteristics of the oppressors, so we may take heed and use this as a criterion for how we analyse the world we live in today.

The Qur’ān teaches us that oppression is not a trait that only confines itself to one person or to a certain era in the history of mankind. It is a mistake to single out Fir’awn as the ultimate oppressor, so after him there is no Fir’awn, and no one can reach his level of oppression and injustice. Indeed, the Ummah of Muhammad (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) also had its own Fir’awn. The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said about Abu Jahl that he was the Fir’awn of this nation. Therefore, in every era throughout the history of mankind, there will be a Fir’awn, and there will be someone who will embody the characteristics of Fir’awn.

Currently, we are witnessing astonishing events unfold as Muslims across the Muslim lands are rising against the oppression. However, we need to understand that this by itself does not stop oppression. Just like an action is futile with no knowledge. How many times in history an oppressor was dethroned, only to be replaced by another oppressor and the people were deceived into believing that they had conquered oppression. However, soon after, it would be clear to them that the cycle of oppression has not ended. The tyrants ripped the lands and resources from the Muslims, generation after generation, until the Muslim lands have become the poorest and most corrupted nations on Earth.

Therefore, it is extremely important that every Muslim obtains sufficient knowledge to be able to recognise an oppressor when they see one, in order to break out of this vicious cycle of societal and intellectual decay of the Muslim lands. A Muslim does not give his allegiance to a tyrant even if he is oppressed and subjected to his rule. Rather Muslim should disbelieve in and absolutely reject such an oppressor. This is an important part of our shahādah as Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) mentions:

“Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût and believes in Allâh, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break.” (al-Baqarah 2:256)

My dear Muslims, may Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) have mercy upon you and grant you all that is good, this is why Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) revealed many different ayāt in the Qur’an to make apparent to us who are the Taghūt and so we may disbelieve in them.

Some notable characteristics of the modern Fir’awn living in our times are as follows:

1) They rule by other than the rule of Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) and declare that methods other than their own will lead to deviancy

This is the fundamental characteristic of any oppressor. He oppresses himself and his people by ruling by other than the rule of Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla). Such a tyrant often embarks on fear campaigns and announces to the people that if anyone brings a new method of rule and a way of life apart from theirs, then such a person is going to cause corruption amongst the people by changing their ways. Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) said about Fir’awn

Fir'awn (Pharaoh) said: "Leave me to kill Mūsa (Moses), and let him call his Lord (to stop me from killing him)! I fear that he may change your religion, or that he may cause mischief to appear in the land!" (Ghāfir 40:26)

You will notice these oppressors cursing and waging war against all opposition, especially the small groups of people who speak the truth. They go to extremes to coerce the masses into believing that these groups are going to cause corruption and mischief on the land.

Fir'awn and his likes said about the believers:

"Verily! These indeed are but a small band." (ash- shu’arā: 54)

However, they fail to recognise that stealing billions of dollars, torturing and killing the Muslims is in fact oppression.

When an oppressor rules by other than the rule of Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) he requires total obedience and subservience from his people. This is a very dangerous concept because we need to understand that the worship of Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) requires ultimate obedience to Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) alone. Many mistakenly think that worship is only restricted to praying five times a day, fasting the month Ramadhān, paying the Zakāt and performing hajj. There is no doubt these are great deeds, but these actions are portion of a greater concept that falls under the umbrella of obedience. That’s why Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) praised the believers by saying:

“They say, ‘We hear, and we obey’.” (al-Baqarah 2:285)

Obedience is the pinnacle of worship, and everything else is an outcome of obedience. The oppressors do not want the people to submit to or obey anyone except for them and they impose their way of life upon their people. This arrogance of the modern oppressor manifests itself in the story of Mūsa and Fir’awn when Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) tells us in the Qur’an:

Fir’awn said: “O Chiefs! No god do I know for you but myself...” (al-Qasās 28:38)

Let us reflect on this verse carefully. The Fir’awn in this verse illustrates the height of his arrogance. He is essentially saying to the people that there is ‘no might or power except for myself;’ you are either with me or against me’.

The debate between Mūsa and Fir’awn reaches the point when Fir’awn refuses want to listen anymore. Like many oppressors before and after him, Fir’awn is driven by his arrogance to believe he is on the correct path, and the gauge of what he thinks is correct is not from proofs and signs, rather from his own intellect and desires. These types of oppressors whether individuals or institutions speak from their own self and consider themselves the highest un-challenged authority on earth. They are deluded into thinking their ideology and their speech is the truth as was the behaviour of the Fir’awn when he said:

“I will not show you except what I see and I do not guide you except to the truth” (Ghāfir 40:29)

2) Intoxication with wealth and power and its use as a measurement for truth

Another characteristic of the oppressor is that he is obsessed with wealth and power. He loves the power that wealth can bring him, and measures everything by how much wealth and power one can obtain.

If an individual, organisation or country possesses wealth and power, the tyrant will obey and respect them. We clearly see this behaviour in the previous oppressor of Egypt – Mubārak. He used to sell the gas of Egypt to Israel providing them with 40% of the petrol used in the tanks and cannons killing our own brothers and sisters. Where do we think the estimated wealth of $70 billion amassed by his family came from? Instead of spending on his people, he kept it for himself. This sad situation may have resulted in forming one of the most famous black market transactions in Egypt - selling your body parts while you are still alive.

This obsession with wealth at the expense of the deterioration of society is the same mentality Fir’awn proposed when he tried to deceive his people and said to them concerning Mūsa:

"Why then are not golden bracelets bestowed on him, or angels sent along with him?"
(Az Zukhruf 43:53)

The reasoning Fir’awn uses to rebuke Mūsa was wealth. This was his criterion for the truth. You can’t be poor and on the truth. This is the unfortunate psychology of many people today. They don’t want those who are humble but rather only those who have money, wealth and power. This ideology was exactly what Fir’awn was spreading amongst his people. In order to prove he is on the truth, he also said to his people:

And Fir'aun (Pharaoh) proclaimed among his people, (saying:) "O my people! Is not mine the dominion of Egypt, and these rivers flowing underneath me. See you not then? (Az Zukhruf 43:51)

As part of the unrelenting pursuit for accumulation of wealth and power, an oppressor will often collect and surround himself with obedient ministers to bow to his whims and desires. He intoxicates them with wealth until his advisors fall under the spell of wealth, resulting in an unprecedented level of arrogance, and the negligence of the people they are supposed to serve. Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) said about Fira’wn:

And he and his hosts were arrogant in the land, without right, and they thought that they would never return to Us.
(al-Qasās 28:39)

Their arrogance knows no bounds. Without right they kill, without right they rape, without right they take and without right they destroy. Their armies like the obedient poodle wishing to please its master also succumbs to the vacuum of arrogance that power brings along with it, and willingly or unwillingly become part of the destructive arsenal that demolishes, and pillages everything in its path. Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) says:

“Verily, Fir'aun (Pharaoh), Hâmân and their hosts were sinners.” (al-Qasās 28: 8)

This whole system becomes an unspiritual mechanical lifeless machine that is blinded by power. Wealth and power become an addiction for those people. They find elation in supremacy and control which knows no borders no morals and no rules.

3) Fear of people believing in the unseen

Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) tells us about one of the major fears the tyrants have. They fear those who believe in the unseen. This is because the unseen makes a person fear nothing else except the Creator and he quickly realises the Owner of life and Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla). Thus, nothing can defeat a Muslim holding firmly unto this belief. That’s why the tyrants go to extremes in trying to prove to a Muslim the ludicrousness of their beliefs, and have encouraged the Muslim lands to separate religion from state. Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) said regarding the Prophet Ibrahim (alayhis salām) when he debated a tyrant:

When Ibrâhim (Abraham) said (to him): "My Lord (Allâh) is He Who gives life and causes death." He said, "I give life and cause death." (Al Baqarah 2:258)

The tyrants always desire to control the hearts of the masses to gain their submission and obedience through the fear of life and death, Fir’awn also said:

O Hâmân, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and set up for me a Sarh (a lofty tower, or palace) in order that I may look at (or look for) the Ilâh (God) of Mûsa (Moses); and verily, I think that he [Mûsa (Moses)] is one of the liars." (al-Qasās 28:38)

We should ask ourselves, why is he saying this? Fir’awn knows if there is a creator of the heavens and earth he can’t reach him from a simple loft. But rather his intention is to show the people that Mūsa is wrong and he will pursue any means necessary to prove Mūsa wrong, he is stubborn and arrogant.

Similarly in today, many oppressors attempt to the utmost of their abilities to portray Islam and the people of truth in a negative light. They show Islam as oppressive, by equating the hijāb as a symbol of oppression to women. They show you that Islam is about stoning a poor pregnant lady. They show you Islam is about male domination and about twisted men who beat up their wives, and they want to reduce Jihād to merely an action of the heart. They want to humiliate your beliefs so you are already mentally defeated before you even say a word.

4) Imprisonment and killing of their own citizens and general people.

Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) commanded Mūsa and Harūn to speak to Fir’awn mildly:

"And speak to him mildly" (Tāha 20:44)

Through mild speech, Mūsa and Harūn showed him the signs of Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla), how a stick can change into a snake eating the tricks of the magicians. Mūsa showed the miracle of putting his hand into his pocket and pulling it out white; a miracle after miracle. But what was the response from Fir’awn?

“O Mūsa, if you take an Ilāh (deity) other than me, I will imprison you...” (ash-Shu’ara 26:29)

Note the word Ilāh is something you obey and worship. It is not just a stone you bow and prostrate to. Ilāh is someone or something that is being obeyed. So Fir’awn said if you take something other than me to be obeyed I will imprison you. Such is the sad reality of the modern times, when many scholars and people of truth have been placed in the myriad of torturous prisons across the globe, ready to devour Muslim souls for a cheap price.

It is part of the characteristics of an oppressor to punish, mutilate and kill their own people for speaking the truth. This is exactly what the Fir’awn did when the magicians submitted to Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla):

So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of date-palms (Tāha 20:71)

After the oppressor realizes his inability to stop the people of truth, he orders the indiscriminate termination of civilians. Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) says

When he brought them the Truth from Us they said “Kill the sons of those who believe with him and let their women live” (Ghāfir 40:25)

So when an oppressor loses control over his people, he turns to indiscriminate slaughtering of innocent lives. It can be argued that today, these oppressing forces are even worse because Fir’awn spared the lives of women. Now even the women are not spared and so a man along with his wife and children are all destroyed together in one bomb blast.

Look at the tyrant of Libya today, using planes and helicopters to kill innocent harmless people. Our brothers and sisters are simply saying they had enough after 42 years. His reply is I will never leave, I’d rather die than leave, and I am going to destroy and kill you all before I leave.

5) Casting spells on the masses

The Fir’awn employed magicians to bewitch the eyes of the people in old Egypt and today we have the modern media. To remain in control of the masses these tyrants and oppressive regimes gather their ministers to help them spread their propaganda. Each tyrant across the globe have their state run media, whether directly or indirectly influenced by them, they sing the praises of these oppressors day and night as if they are their Lord, Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) has said :

So the sorcerers were assembled at a fixed time on a day appointed. [39] And it was said to the people: "Are you (too) going to assemble? [40] "That we may follow the sorcerers (who were on Fir'aun's (Pharaoh) religion of disbelief) if they are the winners."(ash-Shu’arā 38-40)

Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) suggests here that the masses are usually ignorant of the true state of affairs. They say we will follow the magicians if they are the successful ones. They are essentially saying we will look at who holds more power on that day. Who can blow up more houses and throw the biggest bombs, we will follow him. That’s how Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) has showed us the intellect of the masses. This analogy says: follow the strong and turn away from the weak even if he is on the truth.

Therefore be careful of what the modern day magicians say and don’t be bewitched by their false news.

What we see in the Middle East now, is perhaps not yet an Islamic revolution nor is it led by the scholars (although the scholars will be responsible for not leading these sort of revolutions). But the people by their nature and Fitrah (natural tendency) cannot accept tyranny even if there is no Islam. Oppression whether in Islamic lands or not will be removed by Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) because this is the universal way that Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) has decreed. We find this clear in the statement from Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allāh bestow mercy upon his soul):

A nation based on justice, even if it is a disbelieving nation, it will remain and will prosper. And a nation even if it is based on Islam but it is an oppressive nation it will be destroyed. [Volume 28 page 63 (majmu’al fatawy “Al hissbah”)]

Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) created the dunyah to be like this. But the role of the scholars is to move these revolutions to an Islamic one. To inspire the masses by making them comprehend that nothing will save the people from oppression except with the light of Islam. Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) does not accept oppression, so Allāh (subhānahu wata’āla) drowned Fir’awn and all those who followed him, whether they agreed with Fir’awn or not, whether they were forced to fight with him or not, He drowned and destroyed them all in the sea. Such is the miserable end for any oppressor and those that associate with them.

Therefore it is a paramount duty upon a Muslim in order to protect his Aqīdah and Tawhīd to be able to identify the Taghūt through the clear signs in the Qur’ān, and then to disbelieve in the Taghūt wherever they may be.

Imām Muhammad bin Abdul Wahāb said: “O’ by Allāh my brothers’ hold on to the fundamentals of your religion. Know that it’s beginning to its end; its bottom to its top is the testimony of La ilāha illa-llāh.

Know its meaning; love it; love the ones who adhere to it; make them your brothers, even if they are physically far away from you. Disbelieve in the tawaghīt; have enmity towards them; hate whomsoever loves them or debates on their behalf or defends them, or the one who does not announce them as kuffar, or says: "They are not my concern" or says, " Allāh never obligated me with anything towards them (in other words He is not going to ask me about them on the day of Judgment). Whoever says this has lied about Allāh and fabricated. Allāh indeed has obligated him with their issue, made it obligatory to announce their kufr, to free and absolve himself from them, even if they are his own brothers and children.” (Ad-durar as- Saniyyah volume 2 , pg. 119-120)

All praise is to Allāh of the worlds and Allāh knows best.

Abu Adnan Mohamad

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