– Militants and Perverted Fantasies.

(© Zubair Qamar 2013)

“Muslim” militants and Islamophobes portray terrorists as loyal to their supposed cause: To fight in the cause of Islam, in the cause of Allah, and to suffer with honor any consequences. However, examining the lives of well known militants unveils a different reality.

For example, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad’s (KSM) behavior is far from what the Qur’an and Sunnah teach. Of KSM, The Guardian notes:

“Although Mohammed insists that he is a believer, he is not a strict Muslim, and while the September hijackers lived in cheap lodgings, he stayed in plush hotels. In contrast to the spartan lifestyle of Osama bin Laden and his followers, he was flamboyant, spent lavishly, and is known to joke with colleagues to ease the pressure on him and on them”[1]

KSM’s lack of humility and simplicity is not the only issue. He is quite impure from an Islamic standpoint.

“In the Philippines he was a frequent visitor to Manila’s red light district, including its karaoke bars and mirrored go-go clubs, where he introduced himself to women as a wealthy businessman from Qatar. Mohammed’s womanizing included phoning a dentist and telling her: “Look out of the window and look up.”’

What she saw was Mohammed and his nephew and protege Ramzi Ahmed Yousef waving from a helicopter hovering above her clinic and displaying a banner saying

“I love you.”[2]

Terrorist escapades with women and lying about being a wealthy businessman. Neither reflects Islamic behavior. Richard Miniter sheds more light on KSM and Rami Yousef’s playboy lives “at odds with Islamic Law”:

“While planning a series of bombings designed to create an Islamic superstate, KSM and Ramzi Yousef enjoyed a playboy life in the Philippines, at odds with Islamic law. They hung out nearly every night at strip clubs, where Arminda Costudio, a waitress, remembers KSM’s ‘chubby’ fingers and fat wads of cash….Another favorite haunt was an alcohol-serving karaoke bar on A. Mabini Street in Manila. They enjoyed music and alcohol while watching the overhead television screen. Bin Laden would not have approved. KSM didn’t care. He had his own financing and made his own rules.”[3]

Women, and now alcohol, and all the things that come with it at strip clubs and karaoke bars. A twisted love of lust while desiring to make a bomb to kill innocent civilians to make a so-called Islamic state? It is probable that their making the bomb was an escape for these terrorists  to soothe their guilty conscience for all the perverted and un-Islamic things they did.

KSM and Ramzi Yousef are not the only warriors of worldly lust. Anwar al-Awlaki is reported to have solicited prostitutes in his life [4], and The Telegraph reports that Muhammad Atta, the:

 “leader of the September 11 terrorists and four other hijackers made several trips to Las Vegas over the summer to hold meetings, gamble and be entertained by topless dancers.”[5]

It is worth examining this matter at length to give us a better understanding about what these militants are really like, especially when they claim to be the best representatives of Islam:

“According to the FBI, Mohamed Atta, the pilot of the first hijacked aircraft that crashed into the World Trade Centre, and his accomplices spent some of their time in Las Vegas at the Olympic Bar, a downtown strip club.

Lotfi Riassi, a pilot arrested in London on suspicion of teaching four hijackers how to fly, also stayed in the gambling city in Nevada. Investigators believe the September 11 plot was developed there.

But the Muslim fundamentalists, who supposedly believed that their terrorism would earn them the pleasures of eager virgins in heaven, also sampled some of the forbidden pleasures of America’s capital of decadence.”[6]

Reporter Harnden then tells us about a stripper named Samantha who did a lap dance for one of the terrorists:

“Samantha, a 29-year-old stripper, told the San Francisco Chronicle, that she had been paid to lap dance for Marwan al-Shehhi, the pilot of the second aircraft to hit the World Trade Centre.”

Breathtaking. And it is not over yet. Samantha had something to say:

“Some big-man terrorist, huh?”,

she said as she took a break at the Olympic Garden Topless Cabaret.

“He spent about $20 for a quick dance and didn’t tip more.”

She remembered the terrorist staring blankly at her as she swung her hips inches from his face. “I’m glad he’s dead with the rest of them, and I don’t like feeling something like that,” she said. “But he wasn’t just a bad tipper – he killed people.”

“Some of the girls here remember a couple of those guys coming in here in August, too. For me, what I remembered most was the guy with the beard. You don’t forget a face in this business.”

What was going on in Marwan al-Shehhi’s mind when Samantha

 “swung her hips inches from his face.”

How is al-Shehhi supposed to reconcile dying in the name of Allah with having American hips swinging inches from his face?

This brotherly absorption in materialism by terrorists was shared by others of their kind:

“The FBI has told business owners that in addition to Atta and al-Shehhi, Nawaq Alhamzi, Ziad Jarrahi, and Hani Hanjour all stayed in Las Vegas off and on between May and August. The group included a hijacker from each of the four flights.”

And the pattern makes itself evident when examining other terrorists. Pornography was reportedly found in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abottabad.

Apparently Nidal Malik Hassan had a humble lap-dance at a strip joint just six days before the Fort Hood massacre.[7]

Imam Samudra, “overall commander of the Bali bombings,” also contributed to unIslamic behavior:

“When investigators seized his laptop computer, they found a wealth of evidence showing connections to Al Qaeda as well as hours of pornographic images of Barbie-doll-like women downloaded from Western Web sites.”

Naked women, and from the “West”? The same “West” that they condemn as filthy, immoral, and decadent? The same “West” they are waging a supposed “holy” struggle against? Where is the “holiness” in their struggle?

Pornography was even found by security forces in Taliban hideouts in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Daily Times reported that

“Security forces…seized porn films from the hideouts of the Taliban during various search operations” according to Pakistan’s Interior Minister at the time, Rehman Malik.[8]

Militants were also guilty of “embedding coded material” in child porn:

“Scotland Yard fear the Islamic fundamentalists are embedding coded material in depraved pictures of children and using paedophile websites as a secure way of exchanging information. The Sun continued, “The sick link came to light after child pornography was found in anti-terror swoops on addresses across the UK – and during major investigations in Italy and Spain.”[9]

It all really makes one wonder what the “Dirty Bomber” really means. And then we hear about the “Underwear Bomber.” It certainly does not sound like Islam but sick urges with sexual undertones. Militants are not looking forward to virgins in heaven. They want them here and now. Apparently even non-virgins will do.  Pornography-prone mujahideen among the noble salaf-us-salih never existed, so who are these terrorists emulating?

72 Virgins and “Martyrdom”

Speaking of heavenly virgins, it is a good time to settle the issue. Why all the obsession from militants and martyr wannabees for 72 virgins?  Shaykh Faraz Khan says the 72 virgins issue is from an authentic hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad  in the Sunnah of Tirmidhi. The Prophet says:

“The martyr has six unique traits: he is forgiven immediately; he sees his seat in Paradise and he is saved from the punishment of the grave; he is granted safety from the great terror [of the Day of Judgment]; a crown of honor is placed upon his head, a ruby of which is better than this life and all it contains; he is married to 72 maidens of Paradise; and he is allowed to intercede for 70 relatives.”

Shaykh Faraz Khan, an orthodox Sunni scholar, explains:

“Notice that there is no particular emphasis in the hadith on the 72 maidens – it is one of several types of reward given to the martyr. Likewise, Muslims do not go about their day-to-day lives thinking of the maidens of Paradise; they are not obsessed with it the way they are often made out to be.”[10]

But it is the militants who seem to be the most obsessed about it. It is interesting that of the many rewards in Paradise, militants so frequently single out heavenly virgins at the exclusion of other rewards mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah just before they kill themselves in the name of “martyrdom.” Their intentions and efforts show a frustrated lust for women than having a genuine desire to experience the many rewards in Paradise as a real believer would.

Even more bizarre, their desire for heavenly virgins occurs just before they commit the haraam act of suicide – as if suicide, in what they wrongly understand as “martyrdom,” will give them any reward, much less the reward of heavenly virgins.  These lunatics play with Allah’s Words in the Qur’an and are experts at making a mockery of Islam’s Holy Book and Sunni tradition. They do not respect or fear Allah when they make the haraam (forbidden) halaal (permitted) by making the haraam act of suicide synonymous with the act of martyrdom. Shaykh Faraz Khan explains:

“Also, it is worth mentioning that what is meant by “martyr” in the Islamic tradition is not what is commonly portrayed in Western media, namely, one who dies committing an act of terrorism – that is merely propaganda, and it is a lie. Terrorism has no place in Islam, and Islamic scholars have unequivocally condemned it in the harshest manner, time and time again.

The concept of martyrdom when understood properly is something valued by all religions and societies as noble and chivalrous, as it represents the ultimate sacrifice one can make to serve his Creator and his fellow man. In American history, for example, figures such as Patrick Henry are praised as courageous and honorable for statements such as, “Give me liberty or give me death.”[11]

It is worth pausing for a moment to understand – and the militants should pay heed – that because one  thinks one is doing “martyrdom” does not necessarily make it so. This should make anyone think twice before attempting martyrdom because it requires the purest of intentions in the correct Islamically approved circumstances.

An example of a person who thought he was a martyr, but was not, is clearly illustrated in a hadith. The fact that this mistake can occur with the mistaken “martyr” being dragged to hellfire instead of heaven should make every terrorist pause and reflect: “What if I am hell-bound?”

[3] Richard Miniter. Mastermind. Pg.88.

– The Sin of “Takfir” in Islam.

(© Zubair Qamar 2013)

Takfir, or to declare someone a disbeliever, is a heinous sin in Islam, reminiscent of the Kharijites in early Islam who declared the Companions of Prophet Muhamamd to be disbelievers, and misinterpreted Qur’anic verses to justify their fanaticism.

Shaykh Faraz Khan, a contemporary Sunni scholar, says:

“One of the greatest tribulations (fitan) of our times is the prevalence of some Muslims deeming other Muslims as disbelievers (takfir). This is a catastrophe, whose harm is most clearly manifested in the senseless killing of innocent Muslims by extremists.”[1]

It is, in fact, easy to become a Muslim. If there is certainty that one believes in Islam, but doubt as to whether such a person renounced Islam or not, the former takes precedence over the latter since in Islam a state of certainty takes precedence over a state of uncertainty. For the same reason, when a Muslim, for example, purifies him- or herself and is unsure of whether he or she nullified the purification, then he or she is considered to be in a state of purity. To accuse someone of being out of Islam’s ambit requires concrete proof – not hunches and conjecture. As explained, that is why Muslim scholars in Sunni tradition were reluctant to excommunicate others.

Can any Muslim declare another Muslim of being outside the pale of Islam? No. This is the prerogative of a qualified Muslim Judge. Shaykh Nuh Keller explains:

“In Muslim society, such a judgment [of belief versus unbelief of someone] is the business of the qadi or Islamic judge alone, and only because he has to. In cases where he must distinguish between the kufr or iman of a nominally Muslim individual, he does so because of earthly rights and penalties entailed by such a judgement, such as that an apostate’s marriage to a Muslim woman is null and void, the meat he slaughters is not lawful to eat, and his property belongs to the Muslim common fund (bayt al-mal), and so forth.”

Shaykh Nuh Keller continues – and this is very important:

“Moreover, these are the responsibility of the Islamic government to implement, and in the absence of such a government, ordinary Muslims may neither judge nor carry out the worldly consequences of such legal rulings because they have no authority to do so, for Islam does not permit vigilante or mob “justice.” Ordinary Muslims other than the qadi are not required to judge the faith in the heart of anyone who has spoken the Shahada or Testification of Faith, with the possible exception of someone married to a spouse who may have left Islam.”

So, if a judge has the prerogative to excommunicate someone from Islam – and only when the evidence is conclusive – this stresses the abomination and unlawfulness of Muslim laypeople to play excommunicator.

How does an Islamic judge determine the belief or disbelief of a person in Islam? Imam Hamza Yusuf, a contemporary Sunni scholar, says:

“Six conditions have to be fulfilled in order for a judge to rule concerning a person’s faith: Intention; Absence of Coercion; Level of Knowledge; Absence of Esoteric Interpretation; Mental Ability to Reason; and, Proof of Faith.”

Sunni scholars say that if the apparently kufr statements of someone can be interpreted to be other than kufr, then this should be done. The famous Hanafi scholar, Ibn Abideen, as quoted by contemporary Sunni scholar Shaykh Gibril F Haddad, said:

“The Fatwa of Kufr is not given to a Muslim when his words have the possibility of being interpreted in better (Hasan) manner (not amounting to Kufr)”.[2]

Moreover, if someone utters actual kufr, instead of such a person being declared a disbeliever, he or she should be taught the correct understanding of Islam and be corrected politely.

Today what we commonly find instead is so-called Muslims not only not giving the benefit of the doubt in terms of an alternative interpretation to what sounds like kufr, but to declare such people apostates on the spot, with some even brutally killing them without considering any leeway and leniency that Islam provides.

Verbal “corrections” that happen to be provided by some so-called Muslims are harsh and domineering, without wisdom (`aql) or etiquette (adaab), in strict violation of the example of Prophet Muhammad. A lot of times, these “corrections” result in more harm than good, and have little to no effect on the person listening. Also, no Muslim knows whether a living person will go to Heaven or Hell because belief can undergo drastic change in one’s lifetime.

The upshot/point is that a person who has heard the call to Islam and rejected it does not necessarily mean that the person will necessarily go to Hell. Abu Sufyan, for example, opposed Prophet Muhammad and “fought” him “for almost twenty years, yet never did the Prophet despair of the possibility that Abu Sufyan would accept faith.”[3] How different is this from the understanding of extremists and other militants who have already judged the outcome of the salvation of living human beings when they do not even possess such knowledge. Imam Hamza Yusuf said:

“The majority of scholars have prohibited damning an individual, whether Muslim or not, because only God knows a person’s ultimate status.”[4]

King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan issued the Amman Message on November 9th, 2004 for unity and tolerance among Muslims and was supported by 200 Muslim scholars from over 50 countries. This statement, perhaps the biggest demonstration of unity and tolerance among Muslims of diverse sects, stated that it was impermissible for Muslims to declare other Muslims “apostate”:

“Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (Mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi,Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali), the two Shi‘i schools ofIslamic jurisprudence (Ja‘fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Islamic jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible. Verily his (or her) blood, honour, and property are inviolable. Moreover, in accordance with the Shaykh Al-Azhar’s fatwa, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ash‘ari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate. Likewise, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate.”

“Equally, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in God and the pillars of faith, who acknowledges the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.”[5]

[2] Takfir – Anathematizing. Gabriel F. Haddad quotes Ibn Abideen “Radd al-Muhtar” (English translation?). Qibla for the Islamic Sciencies: http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=216&CATE=13

[3] Imam Hamza Yusuf article on Who are the Desbelievers?. Pg. 42. http://www.mujahideenryder.net/pdf/WhoAretheDisbelievers.pdf

[4] Imam Hamza Yusuf article on Who are the Desbelievers?. Pg. 42. http://www.mujahideenryder.net/pdf/WhoAretheDisbelievers.pdf

[5] TheAmman Message (cite properly). I have the book.

– Osama bin Laden’s Islamic Education and His “Fatawa”.

(© Zubair Qamar 2013)

Osama bin Laden was not a trained theologian. He was never known as a “great thinker” in the Islamic world. And what his followers saw as his “fatawa” (religious edicts) is what the elusive Mullah Omar saw as a violation of Islam. Mullah Omar, another confused and extremist mullah, said, “Only muftis can issue fatwas.”[1] He then said that Osama bin Laden “is not a mufti and therefore any fatwas he may have issued are illegal and null and void.”[2] Mullah Omar was adamant about this: “Bin Laden is not entitled to issue fatwas as he did not complete the mandatory 12 years of Koranic studies to qualify for the position of mufti.”[3]

The “12 years of Koranic studies” requirement is not necessarily true from a Sunni standpoint. The general point, however, is correct. It takes a long time of serious hard work and persistence from a learned scholar to reach the level of proclaiming religious edicts. Religious edicts in Islam are not a free-for-all for any person to say.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, a contemporary orthodox Sunni scholar, says that:

“a lay person is not allowed to give…a fatwa based on a hunch or some floating set of understandings they have developed. This would be sinful, even if they are right. Rather, it would be their duty to go back to scholars, either directly, or from a clear, reliable text that explicitly mentions the answer.”[4]

Sunni Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera, another contemporary Sunni scholar, explains who a “mufti” is and a mufti’s competencies:

“A mufti could normally be defined as someone well-grounded in Islamic law who has acquired the ability from qualified teachers to issue formal legal rulings on matters concerning Islamic law.”

“Reaching this status normally requires that one study the principle books of fiqh, usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence), books of fatawa (legal verdicts), and other related subjects, and then sit with muftis and practice researching issues of fiqh and providing answers to them with reference to the source books. Studies in other Islamic sciences are also very important: for instance aqida, tafsir, and hadith, since many fiqhi questions involve these subjects and a mufti is oftentimes required to have deep understanding of these sciences too.”[5]

Osama bin Laden certainly did not fulfill the general qualifications of being a Mufti, and was therefore unqualified to issue fatawa of any kind and on any issue.

Osama’s education was mainly in the worldly domain – not the Sunni spiritual domain – in spite of his intermittent, informal Islamic education with individuals holding dubious, Wahhabi-Salafi credentials. Even if had studied Islam formally and had become an Islamic scholar of some sort, he would have been indoctrinated in some manifestation of Wahhabism-Salafism which is rejected by the masses of Sunnis.

Osama was enrolled as a student at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah in 1976 as an “economics and management” student. And he didn’t even complete that education. Jean Sasson said:

“Najwa says that, despite reports claiming otherwise, Osama never graduated from the King Abdul Aziz University, but left three or four years after enrolling, only a few terms before graduation” (p.29).

And so Osama could not even complete a worldly education. Najwa is one of Osama’s wives and she arguably knows Osama well. After all, Osama was her husband and the father of some of her children. She definitely knew more than Osama’s deceived followers did who were and still are digesting Osama’s gibberish as sound fatawa, and who will find no correct Islamic justification for Osama’s “fatawa”. And I’m not talking about what his “fatawa” state, which are also wrong from an Islamic standpoint. I am talking about his issuing pseudo-fatawa while playing Mufti which is a serious violation of Islam, the religion he dubiously claimed to love.

[1] UPI Exclusive: “Osama bin Laden – ‘Null and Void’”. by Arnaud de Borchgrave. United Press International. June 14, 2001

[2] Ibid. UPI.

[3] Ibid. UPI.

– Combating with Wrong Intentions is Sinful.

(© Zubair Qamar 2013)

Militants should be warned. Their fight is not an “Islamic” one because they violate conditions of a valid jihad in Islam. Even if conditions were valid (though they are not) their anger, spite, and arrogance that they prioritize over Islam in their words and actions is opposed by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the man they claim to emulate. A hadith says:

A man came to the Prophet and asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What kind of fighting is in Allah’s cause? (I ask this), for some of us fight because of being enraged and angry and some for the sake of his pride and haughtiness.” The Prophet raised his head (as the questioner was standing) and said, “He who fights so that Allah’s Word (Islam) should be superior, then he fights in Allah’s cause.”

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 125)

Another hadith states:

A man came to the Prophet and asked, “A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them fights in Allah’s Cause?” The Prophet said, “He who fights that Allah’s Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights in Allah’s Cause.”

(Sahih al-Bukahri, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 65)

And what of those who die not for Islam or Allah, but for the pleasure of virgins in Paradise? Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that:

“a person whose intent is glory, booty (spoils), or females has no ties to God, and only God knows who strives for his sake”[“strives” refers here to the process of jihad]

(al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, No. 430)

– Al-Qa’eda and Wahhabism.

(© Zubair Qamar 2013)

The claim that Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with Wahhabism is disingenuous and misleading. This is not to say that Osama correctly represents Wahhabism, but to illustrate the connection between two individuals who were outcasts in the orthodox Sunni communities of their times. Osama bin Laden quotes the founder of the Wahhabi movement, Muhammad ibn Abdal-Wahhab, in his speeches.  In his “Open Letter to King Fahd” in 1995,  Osama bin Laden says the following in reference to a hadith:

“Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abd-al-Wahab, may God rest his soul in peace, classifying the abovementioned tale of ‘Uday bin Hatam, “He who obeys the scholars and the princes in disallowing what God has permitted and allowing what He has rendered impermissible, has made them unto lords. (From a footnote to the Book of Monotheism, p.146).”[i]

It is to be noted that OBL first quotes Ibn Taymiyah’s explanation of a particular hadith, and then subsequently uses “Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdl-Wahhab” to support his point.  Never mind the hadith he discussed, and whether it was even the correct understanding or not to justify his perspective. The point here is that he used the founder of the Wahhabi movement to support his perspectives because he deems him to be a good Islamic scholar. This is a view that contradicts the views of orthodox Sunni scholars.

In the same Open Letter to King Fahd, Osama bin Laden says:

“There is neither a doubt nor any controversy among the scholars that having infidels as allies and supporting them against Muslims is definitely inconsistent to the teachings of Islam. It was mentioned by the Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abd-al-Wahab as one of ten contradictions of Islam.”[ii]

Furthermore, OBL mentions Shaykh Abd al-Rehamn bin Hasan Al Shaykh. This same scholar was stated later as an author/scholar of a book recommended in a recent audio recording presumably by OBL that was released on March 14, 2009.   Among the “beneficial books” the first one on OBL’s list is:

“‘Achievement of the Glorious’ by Shaykh Abd al-Rahman bin Hasan Al Shaykh, which is a very important book which talks about Tawheed and warns against Shirk [polytheism], including the Shirk of graves and the Shirk of palaces.”[iii]

According to the Quilliam Foundation, which describes the book as “Victory of the Glorious” instead of “Achievement of the Glorious,” the book is a “commentary on [Muhammad] Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s Kitab al-Tawhid, the founding textbook of Wahhabism”[iv] and Shaykh Abd al-Rahman bin Hasan Al Shaykh, the author, is the “grandson” of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab.[v]

OBL’s friend, Khalid, who had “long arguments and discussions” with OBL about political issues said:

“Mr Osama said that Abdul Aziz ibn Saud was not a religious leader at all but just a tribal chieftain. He used to say that Wahhabism was exploited and used as a cover so the House of al-Saud could fight against the Ottomans and win land and wealth.”[vi]

It is clear from above that while OBL sees Muhammad ibn Abdl-Wahhab as a reliable scholar, he sees al-Sa’ud as pseudo-Wahhabis who use Wahhabism as a mask to attain material benefit.

Osama bin Laden mentions Muhammad Hamid al- Fiqqi:

“In his comments on the Book of Monotheism, Shaykh Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqqi, May God rest his soul in peace, says in regards to legislator of the positive laws the he is doubtlessly a renegade infidel if he insists on them and does not refer to what God has revealed. Whatever name he calls himself is with no avail nor will any good deed such as prayer, fasting, the Hajj, and such help him.” [From the Glorious Conquest, the interpretation of the Book of Monotheism. 3/396]”

Al-Fiqqi is a Wahhabi scholar, who, along with Muhammad Al-Amin al-Shanqiti – another Wahhabi scholar stated by OBL to support his perspectives – were teachers of the Salafi, Hammad al-Ansari. Gabriel Fouad Haddad quotes Shaykh Yusuf al-Rifa’i (both of the latter being orthodox Sunni scholars) about al-Ansari as being “the defunct Shaykh of the anthropomorphists in Madina and a venal mercenary from Mali.” Of Al-Faqqi, Shaykh Haddad says he “contributed Wahhabi annotations” to well-known Hanbali works. [vii] Moreover, as is typical of Wahhabis and other Salafis, Al-Fiqqi incidentally goes against Ibn Taymiyah in the matter of commemorating Mawlid, or the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, an orthodox Sunni scholar, says, “Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqqi objects apoplectically to Ibn Taymiyya in his edition of the latter’s Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim in the section entitled “Innovated festivities of time and place.” He criticizes Ibn Taymiyya for saying that “some people innovate a celebration out of love for the Prophet and to exalt him, and Allah may reward them for this love and striving.” Al-Fiqqi writes a two-page footnote exclaiming, “How can they possibly obtain a reward for this?! What striving is in this?!”[viii]

The late Abu Yahya al-Libi, an al-Qa’eda member, also uses the Wahhabi founder to support his point in his “Guidance on the Ruling of the Muslim Spy”. He says:

“Imam Muhammad Bin-Abd-al-Wahhab, may God have mercy on him, said: ‘The eighth violator is the backing of polytheists and supporting them against Muslims. The proof of this saying is the Almighty’s words: ‘O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust’ [Koranic verse, Al-Ma’idah, 5:51].[ix]

It is interesting to note that Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qa’eda’s second in command after OBL, wrote the introduction and praised the book. One assumes then that al-Zawahiri also sees Muhammad ibn Abdl-Wahhab as a reliable scholar. This becomes clear when he mentions the Wahhabi founder’s name himself in his book entitled Exoneration:

 “–Allamah Shaykh Muhammad Khalil Hiras, may he rest in peace. I petitioned him at his home in Tanta around the year 1974. I do not remember the exact date. He ruled that the Egyptian regime was apostate and should be overthrown by anyone able to do so. I discussed with him other issues including Shari’ah judgment on fighting the Jews in the Egyptian army for those who are coerced to do so. I presented him with the clues I had found in the writings of Imam al-Shafi’i, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn-Taymiyyah, and Shaykh Muhammad Abd-al-Wahhab, may they rest in peace. He endorsed my findings and expressed pleasure that young men like myself were able to find these clues and read those references.”[x]

Like OBL and al-Zawahiri, Abu Abdallah Al-Sa’di also mentions the Wahhabi founder in al-Qa’eda’s Voice of Jihad magazine. He says:

“The state of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab [Sa’udi Arabia] arose only by jihad. The state of the Taliban in Afghanistan arose only by jihad. The Islamic state in Chechnya arose only by jihad. It is true that these attempts were not perfect and did not fill the full role required, but incremental progress is a known universal principle. Yesterday, we did not dream of a state; today we established states and they fall. Tomorrow, Allah willing, a state will arise and will not fall[…].”[xi]

Those who claim that OBL and al-Qa’eda are radical Salafis who had/have nothing to do with Wahhabism are promoting a myth. But was OBL a true Wahhabi? Osama was a hybrid Wahhabi-Salafi who was nevertheless described as a “Wahhabi” by his son, Omer. While OBL cannot be said to represent Wahhabism, he was definitely molded and inculcated by it in his Saudi surroundings and by his father’s Wahhabi guidance.

[i] The full transcript of Osama bin Laden’s Open Letter to King Fahd can be found at: www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/nefaublletterkindfahd.pdf

and a partial transcript which includes this quote can be found at the Jihad Unspun website: www.jihadunspun.com/articles/05272002-Open.Letter.To.King.Fahd/index2.html

[iv] “Muhammad” enclosed in square brackets added by the author.

[v] The Quilliam Foundation. Quilliam Alert – Osama bin Laden’s recommended reading: Implications for UK counter-terrorism policy. March 18, 2009: www.quilliamfoundation.org/index.php/component/content/article/481

[vi] Jason Burke. 2004. Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam. Pg. 57.

[vii] GH Haddad. 2007. Hammad al-Ansari. www.livingislam.org/k/hans_e.html

[viii] 200 Years of New Kharijism: The Ongoing Revision of Islam. Footnote XXI. Available:  www.islamicsupremecouncil.org/bin/site/wrappers/isca_inside_extremism_newkhawarij.html

[xi] Memri Special Dispatch 650, 27 January 2004, as quoted in Richard Bonney (2004) “Jihad: From Qur’an to bin Laden”. New York, NY, Palgrave Macmillan. p.154.

– Protecting non-Muslim Places of Worship.

(© Zubair Qamar 2013)

Contrary to actions of militants today, Muslims did not go on a mad rampage of massacres against non-Muslims. Not only were they allowed to join Muslim armies, but their places of worship were left intact and unharmed. Dadake quotes Baladhuri regarding a letter sent by Muslims to Najran, a Christian community in southern Arabia:

“Najran and their followers are entitled to the protection of Allah and to the security of Muhammad the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah, which security shall involve their persons, religion, lands, and possessions, including those of them who are absent as well as those who are present, their camels, messengers, and images [amthila, a reference to crosses and icons]. The state they previously held shall not be changed, nor shall any of their religious services or images be changed. No attempt shall be made to turn a bishop, a monk from his office as a monk, nor the sexton of a church from his office.”[1]

Dadake says, “Indeed, such examples are to be found on every major front of the Islamic conquests from Perisa to Egypt and all areas in between.”[2]  He then says,

“Within the region of Syria, we have the example of the companion of the Prophet and commander of Muslims forces Abu `Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, who concluded an agreement with the Christian population of Aleppo granting them safety for ‘their lives, their possessions, city wall, churches, homes, and the fort.’ Abu `Ubaydah is said to have concluded similar treaties at Antioch[3], Ma’arrat Masrin[4], Hims[5], Qinnasrin[6], and Ba’labakk.”[7]

[1] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.17. Dadake cites: Baladhuri, Origins, vol.1, p.100.

[2] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.17.

[3] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.17. Dadake cites: Baladhuri, vol. 1, p.227.

[4] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.17. Dadake cites: Baladhuri, vol. 1, p.229.

[5] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.17. Dadake cites: Baladhuri, vol. 1, p.187.

[6] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.17. Dadake cites: Baladhuri, vol. 1, p. 223.

[7] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.17. Dadake cites: Baladhuri, vol. 1, p. 198-199.

– Muslims Fought Alongside non-Muslims in Battle.

(© Zubair Qamar 2013)

There is usually a simplistic and incorrect understanding that “Muslim” armies consisted only of Muslims who waged war against non-Muslims. Even worse, ignoramuses claim that it is the aim of Islam and Muslims to annihilate all non-Muslim. The Constitution of Medina accepted Jews alongside Muslims and both were considered as part of the same army.  Christians also participated alongside Muslims in jihad. Dadake says that:

…traditional Islamic histories give accounts of Christians taking part in some of the early battles alongside the Muslim armies. This is discussed by Fred Donner in his book The Early Islamic Conquests. He notes that, according to Muslim historical sources, in the very early period of jihad, Christian Arabs from tribes such as the Banu Tayyi of Najd, the Banu al-Namir ibn Qasit of the upper Euphrates river valley, and the Banu Lakhm participated in the jihad with the Muslim armies.[1]

Other examples include, “a treaty signed during the reign of the caliph `Umar by Suraqah ibn `Amr in 22 A.H./642 C.E.” Dadke asserts that “Suraqah was a commander of Muslim forces in Armenia, which was predominantly Christian” and that Christians had joined the Muslim army as an alternative to paying the poll tax.[2] This example contradicts Islamophobes and others who claim that refusal by Christians and Jews to accept Islam and pay the poll tax would result in wholesale war against them. Rather, the Christians in this example were not targeted, but rather fought alongside the Muslim army, and this is not the only example.

Dakake gives more examples of Christians joining the Muslim jihad. “Such is the case of Jarajimah, a Christian people from the town of Jurjumah.[3] This town had been under the control of the patrician and governor of Antioch but surrendered to the Muslim armies, commanded by Habib ibn Maslamah al-Fihri, when they attacked the town.” Dadake quotes Baladhuri:

“Terms were made providing that al-Jarajimah would act as helpers to the Moslems, and as spies and frontier garrison in Mount al-Lukam. On the other hand it was stipulated that they pay no tax, and that they keep for themselves the booty they take from the enemy in case they fight with the Moslems.”[4]

A similar agreement with Al-Jarajimah was made in the reign of the Ummayad Caliph al-Walid ibn `Abd al-Malik (86-96 A.H. / 705-715 C.E.).[5]

The above illustrates that early Muslims did not hesitate to have non-Muslims join their armies. It was not necessarily and exclusively a Muslim versus non-Muslim affair. As stated, non-Muslims would also help Muslims as “spies” and “frontier garrison”!  Moreover, non-Muslims were given alternative options other than to convert and pay the poll-tax. They kept their religion, their houses of worship, and were still permitted to join the Muslim army. Al-Qa’eda and other militants would never think for a second to imitate the way of the early Muslims in battle. Rather, they would take all Christians and Jews hostage, use them as bargaining chips, and often behead them.

[1] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.22. Dakake cites: Fred M. Donner, The Early Islamic Conquests (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p.200.

[2] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.22.

[3] Dakake states that “Jurjumah was located in the border region between modern-day Syria and Turkey.” (footnote #80, Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded), pg. 37.

[4] Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition (Revised and Expanded). Page.23. Dadake cities: Baladhuri, Origins, vol.1, p.246.

– Defending Sunni Tradition From Today's Kharijites and Other Extremists –