The founder of Hizb ut Tahrir, Taqi ud Din bin Ibrahim bin Mustafa bin Ismail bin Yusuf Al- Nabahani belonged to Bani Nabahan and he came from a village by the name of Ajzam in Haifa in Northern Palestine. Sheikh Al Nabahani was born in the village of Ajzam in 1332 (Hijri) or 1914 (C.E). His family was known for knowledge, practice of Deen and Taqwa. His father, Sheikh Ibrahim, was a jurist and a scholar of ‘Uloom e Sharai in the ministry of Ma’arif (Knowledge and Arts). His mother was also an expert in ‘Uloom e Sharai,’ which she obtained from her father Sheikh Yusuf Al Nabahani.
Different narrations mention his maternal grandfather Sheikh Yusuf Nabahani in these words: Yusuf bin Ismail bin Yusuf bin Hassan bin Mohammad Al Nabahani Al Shafii’ – his kunya was ‘Abu al Mahasin’ and he was a poet, sufi and a literary person. He was considered amongst one of the best judges of his time. He served as a judge in the area of Jenin in Nablus. Afterwards, he shifted to Istanbul where he served as a judge in the area of Kavi Sanjaq in Mosul. Then he was appointed as the head of the royal court in Al-azqya and Al-Quds. And then he took charge of the Court of Rights of Beirut. He has authored forty-eight books.
Sheikh Taqi ud Din’s Islamic personality is to a great extent an outcome of his family background. Therefore, he memorized Holy Qura’n at the age of 13 years. He was greatly inspired by his maternal grandfather’s knowledge and awareness and he acquired from this ocean of knowledge, as much as he could. From the very beginning, he got political awareness especially from those political movements which his grandfather initiated in favor of the Uthmani Khilafah. Sheikh benefited greatly from the jurisprudence related arguments that were organized by his grandfather Sheikh Yusuf. It was during these conventions that he caught the attention of his grandfather. Therefore, Sheikh Yusuf convinced Sheikh Taqi’s father to send him to Al Azhar University to attain knowledge of ‘Uloom e Sharaii’.
Attainment of Knowledge:
Sheikh Taqi got admission in the eighth grade in Al Azhar University in 1928 and cleared the exam with distinction in the same year. He was awarded with the certificate of ‘Shuhada Al Ghurba’. After this he got admission in the science college which was affiliated with Al Azhar University at that time. He used to keep attending the knowledge conventions of those scholars about whom his grandfather guided him e.g. Sheikh Mohammad Al Khizar Hussain (ra). In the old method of teaching, it was allowed for the students to attend such circles. Sheikh Al Nabahani always remained a prominent student even though he undertook the tasks of studying in science college and attending knowledge conventions simultaneously. His contemporaries and teachers used to envy him because of his deep thought, learned opinions and his convincing arguments, which he presented in the debates held in Cairo and other Islamic lands.
Sheikh obtained theses degrees: Intermediate from Al Azhar University, Shahada tal Ghurba from Al Azhar, graduation in Arabic language and literature from Cairo, Dar al’ Uloom, degree of a judge from Ma’had al ‘Aala – an institute of sharai’ courts affiliated with Al Azhar and Shahada tal ‘Alamiah in sharia’ from Al Azhar (masters degree) in 1932.
Offices held by Sheikh:
Sheikh served in the Sharai’ education department of the Ministry of Al-Ma’arif till 1938. Then he got promoted and was transferred to the Sharai’ Court and was selected as attorney in the Central Court of Haifa. After that he got promoted to the rank of Assistant Judge. Then he served as the judge of Court of Ramallah till 1948. After the occupation of Palestine by the Jews, he migrated to Syria but then returned to Palestine in the same year and was appointed the judge of sharai’ court of Al-Quds. Then he served as the judge of Sharia’ of High Court till 1950. After that he resigned from the post of judge and became a teacher at ‘Uloom e Islamia College in Oman. Sheikh (ra) was an ocean of knowledge; he was a master in every branch of knowledge. He was a great Mujtahid and Muhadith.
Books by Sheikh Taqi:
- Systems of Islam
- Party Structuring
- Concepts of Hizb ut Tahrir
- The Economic System of Islam
- The Social System of Islam
- The Ruling System of Islam
- The Constitution ( The Khilafah State)
- Introduction to the Constitution (the Preamble)
- The Islamic State
- Islamic Personality ( Three volumes)
- Political Concepts of Hizb ut Tahrir
- Political Thoughts
- A Warm Call
- Presence of Mind
- Departure Point
- Entering society
- Lislah e Misr
- Al Ittefaqiyat as Saniya al Mastiya al Surya wal Yamnia
- Hal Qadeeh Falasteen ‘ala Tareeqa tal Amreekya wal Engleezia
- Nazrya al Faragh al Syasi Hol Mashroo’ Eezan Hawar
And there are hundreds of other intellectual, political and economic articles as well.
When the publication of his books and articles got banned then he published some books by the name of other members of Hizb such as:
- Exemplary Economic Policy
- Refutation of Marxist Communism
- How the Khilafah was destroyed
- The rules of evidences in Islam
- The Punishment System of Islam
- Rules of Salah
- Islamic Thought
Before founding Hizb, he wrote two books: Anqaz Falasteen and Risla tal ‘Arab.
His Character and Qualities
Zuhair Kahala, a teacher who was also in charge of the administration at Islamic Science College, was an employee of the college during the period in which Sheikh Taqi ud Din started working in college. He narrates “Sheikh was an intelligent, noble and a pure hearted man. He had a sincere, dignified and powerful personality. The presence of a Jewish entity in the heart of Muslim ummah saddened as well infuriated him.
He was of medium-height, stocky in build, brilliantly active, dynamic man and an articulate debater. He was exemplary in presenting his arguments. He never compromised on what he believed to be Haq. His beard was medium in length with graying hair in it. His personality reflected awe and his conversation influenced others. His arguments used to make others dumbfounded. He strongly disliked aimless struggle, personal attacks and deviation from the interests of Ummah. He despised the fact that people get lost in their personal lives. He was always worried about the Ummah’s well being. He was the epitome of this saying of Prophet (saw) the meaning of which is: “Whosoever does not concern himself in taking care of the matters of Muslims is not one of them.” He used to repeat this hadith again and again and presented it as an evidence. He would express his sorrow on the fact that Imam Ghazali (ra), author of the book Ahya al Uloom, kept himself busy in writing books during the time of crusaders’ attacks.
Establishment of Hizb ut Tahrir and its journey:
Sheikh Taqi ud Din analyzed the parties, movements and organizations that came into being after 4th Hijri deeply and with great effort. He keenly observed their styles, thoughts, penetration and the causes of failure. As Sheikh considered the existence of a Hizb to be imperative for the re-establishment of Khilafah, he, thus, studied these parties with this motive. After the abolition of the Khilafah at the hands of the criminal Mustafa Kamal “Ata Turk”, Muslims could not re-establish Khilafah, even in the presence of so many Islamic movements. The occupation by “Israel” in 1948 of Palestinian land and the helplessness of Arabs in front of the Jewish entity with the aid of British sponsored governments of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, proved to be catalysts for the emotions of Sheikh Taqi ud Din. Thus, he started analyzing the causes that would eventually result in the revival of Muslims. At first, Sheikh resorted to revive Ummah and wrote two books: 1. Mesage of the Arab and 2. Anqaz Falasteen. Both of these books were published in 1950; these books dealt with only thought, ‘Aqeeda and the real message of Ummah i.e. message of Islam and they stated that it is only Islam based upon which Arabs should seek revival. The message of Arab nationalists differed greatly from the message of Sheikh. The message that Arab nationalists propagated actually widened the distance between Ummah and real message of Islam, whilst engaging her in various western concepts which were opposed to her ‘Aqeeda and values. Then the Sheikh went through those concepts, which were the driving force for the Arab nationalists and analyzed all the suggestions that were presented to him in this regard. But he was not satisfied with any of the suggestions.
Before reaching any decision, he contacted all those scholars that he knew and that he met in Egypt. He presented all these scholars with the idea of creating a political party in order to revive the Muslim Ummah and restore her past glory. For this purpose, he traveled across the land of Palestine and presented the renowned scholars and intellectuals with this thought that had captivated his mind and heart. He arranged seminars for this purpose and got together scholars from the length and breadth of Palestine. In these seminars, he used to debate with the scholars on the correct methodology for revival and would tell participants that they were headed the wrong way and their efforts would bear no fruit. The participants of these seminars mostly used to be the office bearers of various Islamic, political and nationalist parties. Also, he undertook detailed conversations on various political issues in the mosques of Al Aqsa, Al Khalil and other areas upon different occasions. He used to explain the reality of the Arab League in these addresses stating clearly that it is a product of western colonialism and this is one of many tools of the West, with the help of which they have kept Islamic lands under their control. Sheikh would expose the political conspiracies of the West and would tear apart the cover from the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim plans of the West. He would arouse the sense of responsibility among Muslims and invite them to create a party purely based upon Islam.
Sheikh Taqi ud Din stood as a candidate in the election of House of Representatives; which was an advisory committee only. But due to his strict opinion, political activity, serious struggle towards the establishment of a party based on Islam and strict adherence to Islam, the government caused the results of the elections to be unfavourable for Sheikh.
But it did neither deter the Sheikh from his political activity nor could it weaken his resolve rather he continued with his activities of contact making and debates. His activities resulted in the successful convincing of renowned scholars, judges and political thinkers for the establishment of a political party. Then he presented these high profile people with the framework and thoughts that became the cultural heritage of the Hizb. Some scholars and thinkers accepted his thoughts and provided their consent, thus, his political activities for the establishment of Hizb reached their pinnacle.
The blessed city of Al Quds was the place where foundations for the Hizb were laid; where he was serving in the Supreme Court. At that time, he contacted many important personalities like Sheikh Ahmad Da’oor of Qalqeela, Sayyadan Nimr of Egypt, Daud Hamdan of Ramallah, Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum of Al Khalil, Adil al Nabulsi, Ghanim Abdu, Munir Shaqeer, Sheikh As’ad Bewiz Tamimi etc.
In the beginning, the meetings, held among the founders, were unorganized and were held on a need basis. Mostly, these meetings were held in Al Quds or Al Khalil where the topic of inviting new people to join the Hizb was debated. The center of debates used to be the important Islamic topics necessary for the glory of Ummah. This trend continued till the end of 1952, when these people vowed to establish a political party.
On November 17, 1952, five founding members of Hizb requested the Interior Ministry of Jordan for a formal no-objection certifcate in order to establish a political party. These members were: 1. Taqi ud Din – the Leader 2. Daud Hamdan – Vice Leader and Secretary 3. Ghanim Abda – In charge of Monetary matters 4. Adil Al Nabulsi - member 5. Munir Shaqeer – member. Afterwards, Hizb completed all the legal formalities that were required in the Ottoman law regarding the formation of parties. The headquarters of the Hizb were in Al Quds and all the steps taken by this party were correct according to the Ottoman law.
On the publication of ‘Basic Ruling System and the Conditions for running it’ from Hizb in issue no. 176 of Al Sareeh newspaper dated March 14, 1953, Hizb ut Tahrir became a legal party on the said date, corresponding to Jamad ul Awal 28, 1372 Hijri. Thus, on this day, Hizb got the right to undertake the party activities that were according to the Ottoman law of the time.
However, the government asked for all the five founding members and interrogated them and arrested four of them. On Rajab 7, 1372 Hijri or March 23, 1953, through a statement, the government banned the party and ordered its founders to stop any activities that they are undertaking. On April 1, the banners and posters pasted at its office in Al Quds were removed as part of an implementation of government orders.
However, Sheikh Taqi did not give any importance to this ban and continued his work. He kept on propagating the message for which the Hizb was founded. Daud Hamdan and Nimr Misri separated themselves from the leadership role in 1956 and they were replaced by Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum and Sheikh Ahmad Da’ur. These exalted scholars then became the leaders of Hizb and fulfilled their responsibility towards this blessed call.
The Hizb started collective culturing of people in the congregational areas of Al Aqsa mosque in order to revive the Islamic way of life. Due to their amazing activities, the government of time resorted to cheap tactics, so that Hizb might not be able to form themselves into a party and a strong organization. In wake of these circumstances, Sheikh Taqi, left this area near the end of 1953 and twice was not allowed to return.
Sheikh Taqi left for Syria in November 1953, where he was arrested by the Syrian government and was exiled to Lebanon, whilst the Lebanese government did not allow him to enter their land. However, when he asked for permission from the officer in charge at police station in the valley of AL Hareer to call his friend, the officer let him do it. Sheikh Nabahani called his friend Mufti Sheikh Hassan Al ‘Ala and told him the situation. Sheikh Al ‘Ala immediately took action and threatened the Lebanese officers that if they did not let Sheikh Taqi enter the country, he will spread the news that the so called democratic government was not allowing an exalted scholar to enter their land. The Lebanese authorities gave in to this threat and allowed Sheikh Taqi to enter.
Sheikh Taqi indulged himself in the propagation of his thoughts after coming to Lebanon and did not face any notable obstacles in his work till 1958. When the Lebanese government sensed the danger his thoughts posed, they started to tighten their grip on the Sheikh, therefore, Sheikh secretly moved to Tripoli, Lebanon, from Beirut. One of his trusted friends has told us that Sheikh used to dedicate most of his time to the activities of reading and writing. He used to stay in touch with the world news through radio and issue brilliant political statements. He was pious just as his name meant – Taqi: Pious. He always kept his tougue under control and his gaze low. He was never heard as being abusive towards any Muslim, he was never heard to be humiliating anyone, especially those Dai’ of Islam who differed with him in Ijtihad.
In Iraq, the Sheikh gave special attention to attain Nussrah. For this purpose, Sheikh himself traveled to Iraq many times with Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum, who was there due to some critical contacts including people like Abdul Salam Arif etc. Amongst these travels included that last journey in which he was arrested in Iraq and was severely persecuted; physically and mentally. But his interrogator failed to obtain their desired information from Sheikh. He just kept on repeating these words, that he was an old man whose sole purpose to visit Iraq was for treatment. Indeed, Sheikh went there for the treatment of ailing Ummah i.e. Khilafah. When the Iraqi authorities could not get any information, out of desperation, they broke his arm and deported him out of their country, whilst he was covered with blood as a result of severe torture. And just when he was deported, Jordanian Intelligence in formed Iraqi Intelligence that this prisoner was actually Sheikh Taqi who was dearly required by the Iraqi Intelligence. But, Alhamdulillah, time was not on their side anymore and Sheikh had gone quite a distance from that place by then.
Sheikh Taqi was absolutely steadfast in his commitment for the establishment of Hizb and was about to reach his desired destination, when he was called for the eternal world.
This great Ummah bid farewell to Sheikh Taqi on a Saturday, at Fajar dated Moharram 1, 1398 or December 11, 1977. He was indeed a great leader, an ocean of knowledge, undoubtedly the greatest jurist of modern times, revivalist of Islamic thought, the greatest intellectual of 20th century, a true Mujtahid and an exemplary scholar. The Sheikh was buried in Al Ozaayi’ cemetery in Beirut. The Sheikh himself could not enjoy the fruit of the efforts that he started and dedicated his life to. He could not see the Khilafah State for which the Hizb was founded. But he entrusted this responsibility to his successor, a companion, exemplary scholar Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum and met his Creator. Although, Sheikh could not see the re-establishment of the state with his own eyes, but his efforts bore fruit and Hizb spread in different parts of the world and his thoughts got acceptance from people all round the globe. Tens of millions people adopted his thoughts and those who had been trained by him reached every nook and corner of the world. Even today, dungeons of oppressors of the world are full of people who carry and call the thoughts propagated by the Sheikh.