chapter  2
20 Pages

Origins, ideology, and structure of Hizb ut-Tahrir

Hizb ut-Tahrir was founded in 1953 by Taqiuddin an-Nabhani, an Islamic scholar of Palestinian origin. An-Nabhani was born in the village of Ijzim, within the Palestinian district of Haifa, in 1909. The founder of Hizb utTahrir belonged to the old Arab tribe of Bani Nabhan from northern Palestine. He was raised in a religious family; his father and maternal grandfather were Islamic scholars. At the age of 19, An-Nabhani went to Cairo to study at the al-Azhar University, the oldest and most prestigious university in the Muslim world, and the Dar-ul-Ulum College. As a student in Cairo, anNabhani interacted with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but it is not clear if he ever became a member. He graduated from both institutions in 1932 and then he returned to British-mandated Palestine to work as a high school teacher of the Islamic legal sciences. His career underwent a major shift in 1938 when he joined the Islamic court system, initially as a legal assistant. In 1945, the Supreme Muslim Council appointed him judge in the Islamic court of Ramleh.1 The 1948 Arab-Israeli war forced him to leave Palestine and to find refuge in Syria. He shortly left for Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem to take up the position of sharia judge in the Court of Appeal, where he remained until 1951. He then moved to Amman, Jordan’s capital, where he held numerous lecturer posts at the faculty of Islamic Sciences. In the late 1940s to early 1950s, an-Nabhani came to the conclusion that

the revival of the Arab world would have been possible only through the establishment of a vanguard party which would prepare the ground for the radical transformation of the Arab societies. Two events apparently had great influence on his thinking: the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent failed coup d’etat by his close associate Colonel Abdullah al-Tall against the Jordanian king, who was accused of collaboration with the Israelis.2