Chapter 18 – What Future for Muslims?

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed here.


I started this book intending to look into the roots of the current crisis in Islam. I believe that I have outlined the main causes that gave rise to the intense current crisis, bearing in mind that it is not a new crisis but has been heightened by several factors including especially the horrendous attacks of Western Imperialism of the last century against three generations of aspiring Muslims lost in the myriad years of their history.

It is inconceivable that I can conclude my project without shedding some light on what I think awaits Muslims this century, and what they and others may do about it. Following on from my analysis, it becomes obvious that two parties need to consider what to do in order to break the vicious cycle of terror tearing the Muslim world apart and spilling over to other non-Muslim countries. Both Muslim religious and political leaders and Imperialist planners ought to heed this call.

It is not enough for religious or political leaders to appear day in day out simply stating that what the Salafis are doing today is not part of real Islam, like I have already argued throughout this book. Most of those politicians and all the clerics know that they are in a dilemma. On the one hand, they are eager to dismiss the murderous image of Islam which these Salafi movements are presenting to the world. But on the other hand they cannot refute the Salafi argument that they are adhering to the path of the ‘righteous predecessors’, which the clerics themselves consider as untouchable.

Muslim leaders need to set up a Commission, whether under auspices of The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or another forum, whose task would be to reread; reconsider and possibly reinterpret Islamic history and the theological legacy. Naturally, this call applies to other religions. Islam is not simply being singled out but Islam is in urgent need of this review because the religion itself is being used as an excuse for terror. No other religion is currently implicated in heralding such a campaign. This Commission should consider among other things the following issues.

Real Islam is exclusively embodied in what the Prophet delivered in the text of the Qur’an and what can be asserted within the Qur’anic principles as having been said or done by the Prophet: “And what Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns – it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and orphans and the [stranded] traveler – so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you. And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.”(Al-Hashr 59:7) Any other action or principle added later by Companions or fuqahā should not form part of Islam, as has been accepted by Muslins generally in adding such political constructs as consensus of the fuqahā, or by some analogous construct. It is an insult to Allah to claim that when He delivered His message He left a few things out for others to complete. It should be obvious that He only left things out because these matters were not integral to His message.

  1. Since there is no reference in Qur’an or the life of the Prophet to indicate otherwise, then Islam should be accepted as a religion deciding the relationship between man and his creator and between man and man. It is not intended by Allah to be a political economic system for His Kingdom on Earth as has been propagated for centuries.
  2. In asserting that Islam is a religion, there is no denial of the fact that moral obligations are imposed by Allah on His creatures to be good; do good deeds and refrain from harming life or nature. Muslims as part of this creation, who had the message delivered by the Prophet Muhammad at that particular juncture in human history, should be guided by the Hadith attributed to him when asked what is Halal and Haram, He replied that ‘Halal [admissible] is clear and Haram [forbidden] is clear’ indicating that instinctively we were created knowing the path.
  3. While religious principles are static, state matters are dynamic: “Whoever is within the Heavens and Earth asks Him; every day He is bringing about a matter.” (Ar-Rahmaan 55:29). Thus while matters like prayers, their times and paying alms are unchanging, means of contracts and marriage ceremonies for example should change with time as part of the changing nature of the state.
  4. Since the Qur’an does not specify the nature of the political or economic systems under which Muslims should live, then it is not axiomatic to argue that an Islamic State can be established. It is possible to argue that a political system may borrow some noble principles from Islam relating to man’s obligations to his fellow citizens, but that does not mean that Allah has made that a Divine Law simply because some fuqahā had said so.
  5. Allah has purposely left essential matters intended for the running of a state out of his message because it is His Eternal Will that religion and state should be separate, contrary to what people in the ‘West’ have been led to believe. One such example is that of the lack of a coherent philosophy of punishment, which every state requires in order to establish peace and security. Allah’s wisdom determines that such matters are dynamic and should be adjusted according to time and place and not eternal principles.
  6. The fact that the principle of a Caliphate did not exist in Qur’an or Prophet’s life indicates that the later assertions of the fuqahā that, at the heart of Islam was the setting up of the Caliphate, has no basis. The Prophet himself, despite living more than twelve years in Medina, did not set up a state in the political and economic sense or create a state apparatus as required by a state nor declared himself a Caliph. He ruled a community of the faithful just like Jesus did. It would be bizarre to suggest that as soon as the Prophet departed it was discovered that Islam needed a state apparatus, which the Prophet had overlooked.
  7. The Islamic State created by Abu Bakr, and practised since, was an innovation imposed by necessity to legitimize authority and not according to Allah’s Will.
  8. Islam was meant for the Arabs, as the Qur’an determines that every people should have a message in their own tongue before they are punished for disobeying. “And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Ibrahim 14:4), “Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.” (Al-Israa 17:15)
  9. Spreading Islam by the sword is and would always be contrary to Allah’s will. “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” (Al-Baqara 2:190)
  10. Islamic invasion of states outside the land of the Arabs is a heinous crime as determined in the Qur’an.
  11. Killing a soul contrary to the principles set out in Qur’an in three stated occasions is as unforgivable a crime as that of killing all humankind.
  12. The Killing, pillage, capture of slaves and so on are totally alien to Islam and repugnant barbaric acts carried out by the pre-Islam Arabs which Islam came to put an end to ”Then is it the judgement of [the time of] ignorance they desire? But who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who are certain [in faith]” (Al-Maaida 5:50)
  13. No principle not specified in Qur’an or clearly proven to have been decreed by the Prophet should be automatically assumed to be Islamic because one of the Prophet’s companions had decreed it. Infallibility should be restricted to the Qur’an and the Prophet. “Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination.” (An-Najm 53:3)

These are but some of the essential matters which leaders of Islam need to discuss and come to a consensus upon. Once such a task is accomplished, then history should be rewritten for the new generations in the objective light of the above considerations and they should not be restricted by the fear of criticising the ‘predecessors’. The only restrictions Muslims should impose on their rereading of their history are the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet.

In considering the Sunnah of the Prophet, Muslim leaders ought to carefully consider all the Hadiths and practices which have been attributed to the Prophet in the light of the Qur’anic principles, common sense and basic moral values, before attributing them to the Prophet. The most simple argument to refute a Hadith or practice attributed to the Prophet is that since there are no means of verifying events or reporting, then errors are possible especially since matters are being reported from times when even writing was scarce and language was going through a major transformation even in its writing as the alphabets did not have dots or diacritic, being a sign placed above or below a or letter to indicate that it has a different phonetic value, is stressed, or what vowel is associated with it.

Having looked at what the Muslims need to do in order to understand where they stand in human history, it is time to shed some light on what the Imperialist ought to do, not out of generosity or good heart of the Imperialist, but out of necessity dictated by the facts of Globalization, which some Imperialists thought that human history had ended up with. Imperialism thrives on the principle of the open market which marks its channels of exploitation. Thus any process that would hinder such freedom of movement of capital or goods or investments ought to be resisted because it effectively hinders the principles of a free market on which Imperialism thrives. It is imperative for the Imperialists to come to terms with the current state faced by Muslims. It is not enough for them to rely on the old policies of buying some leaders, threatening some and intimidating others.

But in order for the Imperialist planners to understand the current state of affairs they need to appreciate the core roots of their rejection of Islam as a formidable force. Although I said earlier in the book that the West has found Islam a formidable obstacle to Capitalism on which Imperialism pins its objectives, the rejection has even deeper philosophical reasons, which I shall try to present.

There is a serious element in the new wave of Salafi terror. It is not comprised of illiterate peasants who can be bought or appeased. Most of those enlisting are highly educated with specific engineering, medical and scientific skills. When some of those are born in the West it becomes a serious domestic matter to deal with and cannot be dismissed as a problem across the seas, or as one of mind-altering indoctrination.

The West has held a sense of superiority above the rest of humanity during the last five centuries brought about by its ability to subjugate the rest of humanity and produce the long and durable technological advances and improvements in the general standard of life. However, the West has been consciously or subconsciously suffering from an inferiority complex in its need to borrow its religions.  Despite all the material and intellectual achievement, Europe had had to borrow its religions from the Semites. All the West religious beliefs come from the Semites; the Prophets are Semites; the Holy Books are in Semitic languages, and the codes of behaviour are Semitic. This reality has created a deep resentment as to why these superior people have to borrow the beliefs of the lesser Semitic people.

Such resentment has been displayed in different forms with some being so violent and bloody as happened in the treatment of Jews by the German Nazis which found great favour among many Europeans at its time. Christianity has been easier to accept through the clever mechanism of having presented Jesus as partly European through Paul, Rome and the Holy Roman Empire as if Jesus was slowly Europeanized. This may also explain why sects have arisen in the West among Christians, like the Pentecostalists, the Laestadians or the Mormons, all claiming to be Western home-grown churches.

But so for Islam which still seems alien, so much so that many European cities refuse to allow mosques with minarets to be built, not because of the architecture which some of them exhibit, because the rejection is not based on architectural or urban considerations. The rejection of Islam and what it represents, as a formidable intellectual barrier to the arrogant Western ideologies, baffles the mind. The more resistance the Muslims put up the more vicious the European reaction becomes. The invasion and destruction of Iraq is one of the most evident and recent examples of this conflict. It really had nothing to do with a fictitious threat, which Iraq allegedly posed to Europe, but was more as a lesson to a disobedient Muslim state refusing to accept to submit to European domination. Maybe in six centuries from now when Islam will be as old as Christianity is today, attitudes will change but six centuries is a long way to go.

Western Imperialism has to understand and accept this realization and deal with it not because of love for Muslims or kind consideration for humanity but out of self-interest. Imperialism depends on Capitalism as its arm of control and domination. Capitalism needs free movement of people, goods and money. Instability preventing such a safe movement would be detrimental to Imperialism. In the past Imperialism dealt with disobedience by threat of force. This will not work with young men and women who are chasing death. How can you intimidate a teenager who drives a car loaded with explosives straight at you?

With millions of young men and women, some of whom have been born and raised in the West, willing to die and take people and property with them, Imperialism has to rethink its ideas and practices in earnest. It is time the West stopped denigrating Islam and humiliating Muslims as it has been doing for two centuries. It is time the West stopped sending its armies to invade Muslim land, providing the Muslim fundamentalists with the fuel needed to mould young people’s minds about the Western conquest. More importantly, the West has to stop believing that it has a divine right to impose its will on others and tell them how they should live. Europe should reconsider the use of such ludicrous phrases as ‘Judeo-Christian values’ to distinguish itself from others in general and Islam in particular. There are no such values in reality. There are no common values uniting a Siri Lankan Catholic to a Norwegian Protestant to a Falasha from Ethiopia in order for such a phrase to have any meaning other than being a euphemism for Imperialism.

There is a serious element in the new wave of Salafi terror. It is not comprised of illiterate peasants who can be bought or appeased. Most of those enlisting are highly educated with specific engineering, medical and scientific skills. When some of those are born in the West it becomes a serious domestic matter to deal with and cannot be dismissed as a problem across the seas, or as one of mind-altering indoctrination.

Both Muslim leaders and Imperialists planners must consider taking notice of the above suggestion as one way of tackling the crisis in Islam. Failing to do so would only mean looking into the abyss where more violence against Muslims will feed more terror and more suicide bombers all over the world – a dark prospect indeed- although not for the oligarchs who thrive on the ensuing chaos to use force to grab resources and impose their restrictive laws.

Chapter 17 – The Imperialist Role

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed here.


I shall try in this chapter to show how the role of Imperialism in the crisis in Islam, whether in setting up political movements, supporting others, or subjugating Muslims, has been a major element in the crisis and how it has benefited Imperialism in pursuing its objectives.

The year 1492 is a significant year in the modern history of humankind. It signals the beginning of the last 500 years of modern Western Imperialism that has gone uninterrupted in one form or another. In that year, two major events took place. In one, Christopher Columbus landed on the East coast of the Americas, which landing led to the most ‘disgraceful’ ethnic cleansing of the land, part of which was documented by the American writer Helen Jackson as having led to the killing of millions of ethnic Americans in one century in the USA alone. 1 Two consequences of that landing are worthy of note. Firstly, it set the precedent that Europeans have a natural right to settle any land even if that meant the extermination of its original inhabitants. This has gone on since 1492 and manifested itself in such places as Australia and Palestine with this conviction becoming part of the European psyche. Secondly, it exposes the sense of superiority at the heart of European intellect, which has manifested itself when we read of Columbus having ‘Discovered’ America. It seems that the Europeans believe they have a natural right to decide when history starts in having decided that the Americas and their inhabitants did not exist until the Europeans came, just as much as they have the right to decide the ‘End of History’ 2.

The second significant event of 1492, which is related to the cleansing of the Americas, is the fall of the last Muslim kingdom in Spain 3. The clearly striking Imperialist feature about the end of Muslim rule in Spain is that, to my knowledge, this is the only incident in history in which an invasion led to the total eradication of a religion in one state. Islam, which prevailed in Spain for some eight centuries, did not exist after 1492.

Since 1492, European Imperialism has consisted of a chain of roles by different European states. From the Portuguese Colonialism to the Zionist Imperialism they all share the common features of being based on Judeo-Christian values, intending to subjugate, exploit, and dominate.

In the last few decades, a lot was said and written about the so-called ‘Clash or Dialogue Among Civilizations’ 4, in an attempt to refer to a conflict between Christianity and Islam. I believe that the use of the term ‘civilization’ in characterizing the conflict is unfortunate.  In order to talk about a conflict between Civilizations, we need to identify these Civilizations, which are supposed to be in conflict.  However, I submit that there are no such Civilizations today. There is neither an Islamic Civilization nor a Christian Civilization in existence to have a dialogue. Without entering into a philosophical discussion about the definition of civilization, it suffices to say that if we assume that they existed in the past, such as under the Holy Roman Empire or the Abbasid Empire, they do not exist today.  What could unite a Norwegian and a Namibian to form a Christian Civilization or an Iraqi and an Indonesian to form an Islamic Civilization?

There is no conflict between Civilizations today. The Conflict is between European Imperialism (which includes all offshoots of Europe such as the EU, US, Australia, Canada and Israel) and the ideology of Islam.

European Imperialism discovered as early as the Crusades that Islamic ideology was a formidable challenge to its design to dominate the world. It should be made clear that Imperialism does not have an issue with the political Islamic order but it does oppose Islamic ideology. Islamic ideology, which Imperialism confronts, consists of the principles, which Muslims consciously or subconsciously assimilate from the Qur’an and the Prophet’s conduct. Principles like refusing to submit but to Allah and refusing the Capitalist system of exploitation and accumulation of wealth are only a small sample of how Islam is anathema to Imperialism. It is Islamic ideology, which Zionist Imperialism today finds the true opponent. Thus, it has no problem with some fifty so-called Muslim states but considers Hizbullah a serious threat to its objectives in the Arab World.

The theatrical display of the Imperialist in the so-called coalition fighting ISIL does not convince anyone. Fighting ISIL needs no display of air power. If the Imperialists are genuine about fighting ISIL, the method is clear and had already been tested by them before in Iraq.

The European Imperialists played two major roles in the formation and evolution of the current crisis in Islam. It did not escape the notice of the numerous Orientalists, some of whom have studied Islamic history more deeply than modern Muslim scholars, the nature of the political schism in Islam that dates back to the beginning of the mission. It is not so hard to realize that the Caliphate system of Government was a political system with some religious connotations. It was the decision of clans of Quraysh to assume political power using the Prophet’s legacy as legitimization. In doing so, the clans of Quraysh, which I have already identified in previous chapters, ensured that their rejection of the House of Muhammad, which later became the ‘House of ‘Ali’ as the Prophet had no descendants except through Fatima and ‘Ali, was maintained.

In order to achieve that, the elders of these clans of Quraysh created their hierarchy of Companions of the Prophet upon whom they bestowed titles and praise all alleged to have been made by the Prophet. The practices and policies of those Companions later became an extension of the Prophet’s Sunna and thus an integral part of Islamic Shari’a and Islam in general. Any attempt to question the assumption that the Companion’s practices were not Sunna amounted to near apostasy: a label that most Muslims wanted to avoid. This political establishment, which I referred to in this book as the ‘House of ‘Aisha’, was set up on the day the Prophet passed away by ‘Aisha’s father, Abu Bakr. Most of the Arabs outside Quraysh were indifferent to the political struggle inside Quraysh and thus had no problem with the new political set up so long as it provided them with stability and prosperity with money pouring in from invaded land outside Arabia. The non-Arabs who converted to Islam had no option but to accept Islam as offered by the Quraysh political establishment, who to them logically appeared as having been a true representation of the Prophet’s having been his Companions.

The small percentage of Arabs and non-Arabs who chose to identify themselves, in varying degrees and for different reasons, with the ‘House of ‘Ali’ came to be considered by the Sunni fuqahā as outside mainstream Islam.  Those followers of the ‘House of ‘Ali’  who came to be known as Shi’a of ‘Ali or simply Shi’a, despite being a small twenty percent of Muslims, have played a role much greater than their size because of geography. If we exclude those in the Indian subcontinent, the Shi’a live in the vital area on both sides of the Gulf through Iraq, across southern Turkey, down through eastern Syria to south Lebanon in the area, which the Wahhābis call ‘the Shi’a Crescent’. This enclave in the Muslim world is not just significant in geopolitical terms as it bridges Europe and Asia, but is also significant in being rich in gas and oil reserves.

It would be difficult for any Imperialist power considering action to dominate the world, to overlook this reality and consider ways of exploiting it to its advantage. The British Imperialists, having realized that eradicating Islamic ideology was impossible, decided that the only way was to contain Muslims. Containing them was easiest through controlling Arabia because the Bedouin by nature are the weakest in belief leading to the possibility of easy control and manipulation. More significant is the fact that controlling Mecca means controlling Muslims especially outside the Arab world. Thus, Wahhābism was invented as outlined earlier.

The creation of Wahhābism sowed the seeds of today’s destructive campaign. Wahhābism is a revival of Salafi ideology as expanded by Ibn Taymiyyah. That Salafism asserts that Shi’a in general and the esoteric among them specifically are apostates and infidels who must be eliminated. It is obvious even for the novice in politics to appreciate the potential of such a weapon when required to set Muslims against each other in the location and time required. Setting Wahhābis against Shi’a is the best weapon the Zionist Imperialists have discovered.  One quick look at the scene in the Arab world today suffices. Fifty years ago, everyone talked about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Today everyone talks about the Sunni-Shi’a conflict. This is Zionism’s golden age!

The Imperialists went on, as outlined earlier in this book, to back and support other Islamic fundamentalist movements in the Arab world to oppose both Communist and Arab Nationalist movements. Although the Imperialists understood the formidability of Islamic ideology, they also believed that the fundamentalist Islamic movements represented aspirations to power and not the implementation of ideology and thus constituted no danger to the Imperialist objective.

Massive reserves of oil were discovered in the 20th century in the Arabian Peninsula, which dramatically changed the scene and opportunities. The Imperialists started pumping oil like water from wells to run their machinery and support their economy. But part of that massive revenue was given back to the Bedouin in return for guarding its fields and ensuring no locals agitate or question that exploitation. The Bedouin were advised by their Imperialist masters, once they satisfied their lustful desires, to put some of that money to good use in promoting their image in the Muslim world. Large sums of money were spent on extending and improving the holy shrine in Mecca, which ensured them merits with the massive naïve and gullible Muslims, who have never read the verse: “Have you made the providing of water for the pilgrim and the maintenance of al-Masjid al-Haram equal to [the deeds of] one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and strives in the cause of Allah? They are not equal in the sight of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” [At-Tawba 9:19] They also embarked on a massive campaign of building mosques all over the Muslim world and providing them with Wahhābi preachers. That in my mind was their greatest political success, as no other political system has ever had such an opportunity like that which the Mosque in Islam grants in the form of a political platform camouflaged as religious.

Equally significant in the Imperialist role of assisting the Salafi Wahhābi movement has been the design and implementation of a strategy to control the media, which has become, with the advent of digital communication, the most powerful tool in manipulating public opinion and consequently affecting political decisions. The setting up of satellite TV channels like Al-Jazeera, which initially portrayed independent impartial reporting to acquire the confidence of its viewers, could be cited as one example. Once the trust of the public was acquired, it was easy to use it as the powerful tool to manipulate public opinion as has been demonstrated clearly in reporting the civil war in Syria. The number of TV channels spanning the waves of satellites in the service of Salafi ideas and in every language, are too many to count. The Wahhābis bought most publishing houses ensuring no books exposing their history and politics are available to read. 5 I believe that there are only a few Arab dailies which are neither fully owned by one Wahhābi or another nor have a pro-Saudi editor or reporters in its staff.

It is not difficult to appreciate the scale of the Imperialist success in having enabled the Wahhābis to dominate the media in the Muslim world in general.

By the 1980s, the Soviet Union had stagnated to the extent that enabled the testing of its will. Afghanistan was a good place to do so. The Wahhābis were called upon to do their part in serving their masters the Imperialists. They recruited men from all over the Arab world; had them trained by the CIA; paid for the whole operation and sent them to fight the Soviet army which was supporting the communist government of Afghanistan.  The outcome of this operation is more serious than has been yet acknowledged. Firstly, it showed the weak resolve of the Soviet Union, which gave rise to activities that led a few years later to its early disintegration.  Secondly, it signaled the new political role of Salafi Islam. Thirdly, it created the new CIA mercenaries in the Arab world who came to be known as the Arab ‘Mujahedeen’, so much so that the word has entered the English dictionary. It was from among those Mujahedeen that Al-Qaeda was born with the Wahhābi money and the Imperialist training and equipment. Those Mujahedeen went back to their respective countries to recruit more members for Al-Qaeda and await the next move. It is not inconceivable that Osama bin Laden and his colleagues had already had or developed later their own ambition of separating themselves from the Imperialists and setting up their own Islamic state. But that does not change the fact that all those Mujahedeen and their whereabouts were known to the Zionist Imperialists. It is ludicrous to suggest, as some seem to imply today, that the CIA did not know those men who came later to be leaders of Al-Qaeda and its offshoots in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere. Intelligence services are not charities.

The beginning of the 21st century and following the mystery of 9/11 witnessed the ascension of Zionism to the highest state of Imperialism, which gave birth to the Zionist Imperialism I use in this book. Zionist Imperialism indicated that its plans for the century are going to do away with the UN Charter that was drafted and agreed upon by the World States post WWII, and to breach most principles of International Law that have been agreed upon over the last two centuries. The manifestation of this policy came in the invasion, occupation and dismantling of Iraq, a founding member of the UN. Once this was achieved, the revival and activation of sectarian strife was initiated. The details of these policies as implemented by the US ruler of Iraq Paul Bremer are documented in other books. 6 Firstly, Bremer armed the Shi’a militia on the grounds that they fought Saddam Hussein. Once they completed the dirty work, which the US could not carry out, the US moved to arm the Sunni awakening (Sahwa) militia on the grounds that they needed to defend themselves against the Shi’a militia excesses. Between 2005 and 2007 and under US watch, some horrendous sectarian crimes were committed in Iraq by both sides. Following that short sectarian war, Al-Qaeda became an attractive recruiting network for dissatisfied Sunnis who either lost power, members of families or wealth or their homes. The sectarian appeal prevailed and Al-Qaeda, to the delight of the Imperialists and with their backing, continued to build their cells. When the time came, they defeated the not-so-professional Iraqi army, which was built by the US after having dismantled the professional Iraqi army in 2003, and succeeded in extending their control from the small enclave in Syria to include the Governorates of Mousil, Salāhuddeen, Diyāla and Anbar in Iraq.

Syria was the next country to be dismantled after Iraq as part of the Zionist plan to rewrite the borders of the Arab world, having scrapped the failed nation-state system created by the Sykes-Picot agreement. In the case of Iraq, it was possible to invade after having blockaded it for more than twelve years, depleting its military and destroying its economy and instilling desperation in its people. However, no such situation existed in Syria, which still maintained a relatively strong army with a serious arsenal of chemical weapons and a missile capability to deliver them to Israel, whose superiority in the Middle East remains the main objective of Zionist Imperialism.  Following the invasion of Iraq, the US offered President Assad of Syria a proposal, which ensured that the regime would be safe so long as it recognized the hegemony of Israel and dissociated itself from Iran. 7 When Assad rejected the Imperialist offer, the signal went out to the Salafi movement in Syria to go into action. This was timed with the preparation in Northern Africa for regime changes, which the Imperialists refer to as the ‘Arab Spring’, although it has been anything but a Spring. Libya, which had been a stable and prosperous state for some forty years, ceased to exist as a state and degenerated into gangs of killers and looters on tribal and town bases. Tunisia is in serious turmoil looking into the dark tunnel of fundamentalist threat. But Syria, because of a multitude of reasons, needed a more elaborate scheme than those implemented in Libya and Tunisia. The Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and some disgruntled other groups were all activated by different outside handlers. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar put all their resources to that effect. The result has been more than four years of massive destruction, suicide bombing and killings the like of which would have been assumed fantasies a few years earlier. Parts of Syria have since been outside the Government’s control where the Salafis run their own model of the dark ages which they call an Islamic State. But the important outcome so far has been the destruction of the Syrian economy beyond repair, the weakening of its army and the removal of chemical weapons, all for the benefit of Israel.

Fighting terrorism must assume top priority and other matters of dispute relegated to second order. The truth of the matter, which has exposed Zionist Imperialist objectives, is that it is not interested in fighting terrorism. It is only interested in eradicating Arab Nationalism and protecting the Zionist enclave.

The expansion of an Al-Qaeda offshoot, which called itself IS, then ISIS or ISIL as more commonly known, from Syria to Iraq, may not have been precisely what the Zionist Imperialists wanted when they supported it to destroy Syria. But it should be accepted that such fundamentalist movements might develop their own agendas despite the resistance of their masters and sponsors. The Imperialists planned the destruction of Syria to end the last Arab Nationalist stronghold in the Arab world. They did not intend the Salafi control to reach Iraq where the regime and Government were installed by the US as a reliable ally after the eradication of the Ba’ath Nationalist there. But the Salafi found an opportunity to expand into Iraq where corruption has become the norm and people were dissatisfied with phony democracy brought by the US. The Salafi had their own independent reason for expanding into Iraq. Iraq was being run by Shi’a Muslims for the first time since the rule of ‘Ali bin Abi Tālib between 656 and 661 AD. There is no bigger enemy for the Salafi than Shi’ism and thus once they established their rule on the Euphrates in Syria, it was a golden opportunity to link that with Iraq and set up a Salafi Caliphate to the exclusion of Shi’a, ‘Alawites and Sunni alike.

I am not going into an argument about who created Al-Qaeda and consequently the ISIL as it will not serve the purpose of this analysis. The creation of a political movement is relevant to its functions and objectives. But failing to do so does not diminish the possibility of deciding the objectives of that movement by deciding who benefits from those objectives. All that those Salafi movements have done so far has been destruction, killing and creating instability in the countries in which they have been active. Their call for the setting up of a Salafi Islamic State means the elimination of all others; something which has been demonstrated in the destruction of all religious sites, enslaving war-captive women and killing people on evidence of belonging to a sect that is not affiliated to Salafism as they define it. The natural outcome of such ideology and practices means the disintegration of these states, like Iraq, Syria and Libya today, into splinter statelets based on sectarian or ethno-sectarian bases. That is precisely the Zionist objective in the area so that Israel can lawfully be called a Jewish state as one of the many religious and sectarian entities and the most powerful and dominating among them. It also fits the Oded Yinon Plan to cause internal friction within neighboring Islamic states, thereby neutralizing their consolidated objection to the atrocities of the Zionist entity. 8

The theatrical display of the Imperialist in the so-called coalition fighting ISIL does not convince anyone. Fighting ISIL needs no display of air power. If the Imperialists are genuine about fighting ISIL, the method is clear and had already been tested by them before in Iraq. For the sake of brevity I shall summarize is as follows.

  1. Three main clients of the Zionist Imperialists in the Middle East, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been supporting ISIL according to US Vice-President, Joe Biden. 9 Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be ordered and not requested, to desist and they will both comply just as fast as Hamad bin Jāsim, former PM and Foreign Minister of Qatar, packed and left without a single comment once ordered by the US to do so. 10 Once money and media support for the Salafi cease, the movement could hardly afford to recruit new fighters from among the impoverished brainwashed Muslim masses.
  2. Turkey, which may not be easy to order, has to function within the rules of NATO and not is allowed to get the latter entangled in a conflict in which it has no interest. NATO could advise Turkey that it would not be in its best interest to have a fundamentalist Islamic state on its borders and that Turkey should close its borders to ISIL. It would be difficult for Turkey to refuse despite its aspiration for a revival of the Ottoman rule of the Middle East, which may not particularly be an objective of NATO.
  3. Closing the Turkish borders against ISIL will end the insurrection in Iraq and Syria in a few months. ISIL needs the Turkish borders because all its supplies of equipment and men come through it. ISIL has no factories in its small enclave in Syria or Iraq to manufacture tanks, armored carriers and the thousands of four-wheel drive cars, which have to pour in from across the Turkish borders with approval and support of the Turkish authorities. As there are no indigenous Chechens, Uzbek, Tajik or their like in Iraq or Syria, then closing the Turkish borders would dry up the supply of men to ISIL.
  4. The Zionist Imperialists who control the world banking system can stop the flow of money into the hands of ISIL and its affiliates. Every transaction in dollars in the world has to pass through New York. It is inconceivable that money paid by Qataris or Saudis going through that system could not be followed and verified. In the banking system of today, when the transfer of any large sum is investigated for money laundering, it would be very hard to see how the tens of millions allegedly paid by the Qatari Government to free hostages in the hands of terrorists in Turkey could not have been followed and frozen later. Stopping the flow of money to terrorist stops terrorism!
  5. In the slim likelihood of the above suggestions failing, the Imperialists could resort to the Iraqi model, which worked better than their wildest dreams. The UN Security Council should be summoned within hours as happened in the case of Iraq and a solid Resolution, like (661/1990) passed, imposing total blockade against the ISIL enclave in Syria and Iraq. It worked in Iraq for twelve years and led to the easy collapse of the Iraqi state. In the case of ISIL it should work in one year. We need not talk about the war against the ISIL taking years as President Obama has been telling us.

The above clear and lawful means do not escape the attention of any observer of the situation.  So why is it that none of it has been even attempted? The answer is simple: the Imperialists are not serious about fighting the Salafi movements in the Arab world, because the objective of Salafi movements serves the Imperialist objective. So long as the Salafi movements function within these limits serving the Imperialist objective then they would be supported. Once they become a threat to Imperialism, they will be taken out with a ‘shock and awe’ attack beyond anything they have ever imagined before.

Earlier I alluded to the possibility of deviation in objectives between the Salafis and the Imperialists. One such deviation happened when ISIL expanded into Iraq encroaching on an Imperialist client state. The help given to the Salafis was for dismantling Syria. Iraq has been a staunch ally of the Zionist objective since 2003 and its puppet regime has had several treaties with the Zionists for its protection, in return for its compliance with the Zionist policies in the new Middle East. This uncalculated outcome created a dilemma for the Imperialists. On the one hand, their main objective of eliminating the last Arab Nationalist base in the Middle East is being achieved at the hands of ISIL and all other Salafi movements. While on the other hand one of these Salafi movements has encroached on the Zionist ally in Iraq. The Imperialists had to come to save their Iraqi client regime, which they left without a professional army after they occupied it in 2003. The dilemma now is that they want to protect the regime in Baghdad and in order to do so they must weaken ISIL. But weakening ISIL will be enabling Damascus to defeat the ISIL and its affiliates, which means the victory of Damascus and the failure of the plan to dismantle Arab Nationalism. This explains the half-hearted campaign by the imperialists against ISIL. I believe that if the choice is between saving the Iraqi regime leading to saving the regime in Damascus and losing the Iraqi regime and toppling the Ba’ath in Damascus, the Imperialists will opt for the latter.

Any party seriously interested in combating terrorism should support and cooperate with the only government in the World, which has been fighting terrorism for the last four years plus. Any power that does not support Damascus in its fight against terrorism is in fact an ally of the terrorist irrespective of what it does or says. Fighting terrorism must assume top priority and other matters of dispute relegated to second order. The truth of the matter, which has exposed Zionist Imperialist objectives, is that it is not interested in fighting terrorism. It is only interested in eradicating Arab Nationalism and protecting the Zionist enclave.

So far I have attended to one role of the Imperialists in the crisis in Islam, namely that of setting up or supporting fundamentalist Islamic movements. However, there is another no less serious role which the Imperialists played which has been contributing to fueling the recruitments to these movements.

The incursions of the European Imperialists ceased following the end of the Crusaders enclave in greater Syria in the thirteenth century. One reason was that going through its transformation in separating the State from the Church, which kept them busy with their own internal affairs. The other reason was that the Arab World was generally under Ottoman domination in one way or another. Europe was not ready yet to take on the Ottomans. The situation started to change at the beginning of the 19th century when France invaded and occupied Algeria declaring it part of France until a bloody struggle costing some one million lives ended that occupation in 1962. The slow advance of other Europeans together with France led to all of Arab North Africa becoming occupied or under direct control of European Imperialists.

Similar encroachments were taking place in the Arabian Peninsula. Following the setting up of Wahhābism as explained earlier, the British Imperialists occupied South Yemen (Aden) in 1839 and stayed there until 1963. With the control of the Sultan of Muscat being nominal on the Omani coast, the whole southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula was under British control. On the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, the East India Company, the arm of the British Imperialists, started setting up its base on the west side of the Gulf. The 19th century was cleverly used by the British in creating alliances between different small Bedouin clans and encouraging them to settle along the western side of the Gulf. Although officially the area extending from the Basrah coast down to the borders of Oman was under the political and military control of the Governor of the Wilayet (Governorate) of Basrah, the Ottoman rule’s weakness and corruption was so prevalent that it was not so difficult for the British Imperialist to assume a de facto control of that side of the Gulf.

On the eve of the WWI British Imperialism was not only in control of the whole Arabian Peninsula and Gulf but it had already strangled the future state of Iraq by having severed from it the district of Kuwait and its exit to the deep waters in the Gulf.

The end of WWI, which witnessed the end of the Ottomans and consequently the end of the Muslim Caliphate for the first time since 632, led to further control of the Arab World when the Sykes-Picot Agreement made between Britain and France in 1916 was implemented. In short, the whole Arab world post WWI was under control of European Imperialism either directly as in Iraq or by proxy as in Arabia.

The two decades between the major European wars of the 20th century witnessed questioning the right of the European to be in control of the Arab World, indeed just as much as it was in other parts of the world. Communists, Arab Nationalists and Islamists all took part in the struggle seeking an end to occupation and domination. The Islamists had the easiest task among the Arab masses. The appeal was very simple and effective. Muslims had lived under Muslim Caliphate and Islamic Shari’a for twelve centuries being masters of themselves and at time prosperously.  Now they were being enslaved by the infidel Europeans. The way to salvation would be to go back to Islam. It is not difficult to see how effective such a simple call has been. The Hashemite ruling family in Jordan has never been able to rid itself of the charge that it had failed in its religious duty when it sided with British infidels against the Muslim Ottoman Caliph in WWI.

The more brutal the occupation and its oppressive measures became, the easier it was for the different Islamic movements to recruit. Equally significant was that the Islamic movements capitalized on the failure of the Arab Nationalist regimes to deliver on their promises.

The two major scenes of crimes committed by Zionist Imperialism in the Arab world stand out as the main trigger for the success of Islamic fundamentalism – Palestine and Iraq. The creation of the state of Israel and the massive cleansing of Palestine of its ethnic Arab inhabitants has been at the heart at Arab and Muslim disillusionment with Imperialism. No one, who does not attempt to understand what the Arabs call the ‘Nakba’ catastrophe of Palestine, will be able to understand the Muslim psyche today. I am not going to elaborate on the rejection by the Arabs of the expulsion of Palestinians or the failure of the Europeans to understand the refusal of the Arabs to accept ethnic cleansing as happened in Australia and the Americas. These are matters outside the scope of this book. But it suffices to say that nothing has served the cause of the Muslim fundamentalists as much as the catastrophe of Palestine has.

The genocidal blockade of Iraq between 1990 and 2003 directly and indirectly killed a percentage of Iraqis greater than any conventional war has done to a single country in the 20th century. It was then followed by a brutal invasion and occupation which dismantled the Iraqi states; dissolved its military apparatus; killed hundreds of thousands and opened the gates to sectarian wars that killed hundreds of thousands more. This triggered so much hate among Muslims that led to recruitments for Al-Qaeda in droves from all over the Muslim world. The explanation used by Al-Qaeda has been simple: the Islamic State of Iraq was beginning to cause some irritation to the Zionist hegemony in the Middle East. The Zionist Imperialists have yet to refute that argument!

I believe that I have shown in the above presentation how the Imperialists have played two roles in fermenting the current crisis in Islam. On the one hand, the Zionist Imperialists occupied the Arab World; humiliated its people and dictated terms of surrender leading many people to find only refuge in returning to the promise which Islam gives in salvation. On the other hand, the Imperialists themselves assisted in setting up movements or in supporting existing or rising new movements calling for a return to Salafi Islam.  The two roles are not mutually exclusive so long as the rising new Islamic movement does not represent a threat to the State of Israel. There are no such indications as the Salafi movements have asserted that their objective is to build a purely Salafi state on Muslim land. That would mean cleansing that land of whoever opposes the Salafi ideals but that would not be adverse to the interest of Israel. Indeed, it may be a blessing in having such a backward state on the border of the technically advanced European enclave in the center of the Middle East.

 

Chapter 16 – Political Shi’ism in Lebanon

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed here.


 

I have concluded that one of the most important outcomes of the birth of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ in Iran for the Arab world has been the birth of Hizbullah, because of the role this Party has played in the national and regional battles, exceeding its real size and exceeding military and political axioms that prevailed in the region for decades. The political and historical observer must stop to enquire about the reason for the success of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ in attracting the Shi’a public in Lebanon while failing in Iraq. This is what I will try to attend to here.

Shi’ism is not a new phenomenon in Lebanon. Jabal ‘Āmel, which is the mountainous region of Southern Lebanon, and whose geographical borders are differently defined in every age, has known Shi’ism from the fourth century AH. 1  Some would even go so far as to say that Shi’ism in Jabal ‘Āmel was born at the hands of the Companion Abu Dhar Al-Ghifāri. He used to get out of Syria to tour and talk with people in areas such as Jabal ‘Āmel before he was sent under arrest by the governor Mu’awiya Ibn Abi Sufyān to Caliph ‘Uthmān who exiled him to Ar-Rabdah 2  where he died alone, asserting the words of our Prophet: “God have mercy on Abi Dhar. He walks alone and he will die alone and he (will be) raised alone”. 3

Continue reading “Chapter 16 – Political Shi’ism in Lebanon”

Chapter 15 – Wilāyet Al-Faqih

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed here.


The concept of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’, which has become common on everyone’s lips during the past thirty years, is not a recent phenomenon in Islamic thought in general or political Islam in particular. It finds its roots in Islamic jurisprudence where Muslim scholars wrote centuries ago that Islam is not merely a religion but it is a way of life, and that it brought the solution for peoples’ affairs in this world and the hereafter. As a result of this, the faqih has become more able than others to guide people in all private and public matters. This disdain for the people found different grades of response among the doctrines of Islamic political thought, manifested clearly in the theories of ‘Governance of God’ of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ of Khomeini’s contemporary followers. It can be summarized as: The people follow a man who takes the place of the Prophet or Imam in all worldly and religious matters, so his opinion is not subject to appeal or objection; he is above the law and above any otherworldly authority. This is quite similar to the ‘Pope’ concept in the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages, albeit that the authority of the latter has become even tangentially religious.

As the Muslim Brotherhood failed, in 2012-2013, in their first attempt to rule Egypt, we are not able to evaluate the application of their theory. However, it is different to ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’, which has been applied in Iran for over thirty years. But there is another difference that is no less important between the ‘Governance of God’ and ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’.

The Muslim Brotherhood movement was born in the aftermath of the fall of the Sunni Ottoman Empire, while ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ was born under Taqiyya and the Shi’a Marji’iya. The former was, and still lives, on the ruins of a centuries-old fatigued experience, which has lost any impetus, while the second is a relatively new theory in Shi’a jurisprudence, that has no precedent to feed upon, or a vision as to where it will end up.

‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ was born within the Shi’a Taqleed practice, which as I have shown previously was itself new. But ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ differed from the traditional Marji’iya in that it declared the end of Taqiyya and the public declaration of Shi’ism, and to announce that the faqih was not only the guardian in matters of religion, but in worldly matters as well. In other words, the faqih became the overall Guardian. There might be some simplification in this, because the real difference between the traditional Marji’iya and ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ is that the former was suffering from a kind of hypocrisy, while the latter had the courage to come out of that. Traditional Marji’iya, though it claimed shunning worldly and political affairs, was in reality interfering in politics, albeit in a covert way. If it found the political situation in its favour, it would direct the Muqallads (the followed clerics) to submit to the regime. If it found the political situation contrary to what it wanted, it was able to secretly agitate its loyal public.

‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’, which was first discussed by Ahmed An-Naraqi who died in 1829 AD, 1 was born as a practical experience at the hands of Rouhullāh Khomeini, the faqih who was exiled by the Shah of Iran to Iraq, where he lived in Najaf between 1963 and 1979 when Iraq asked him to leave in response to a request from the Shah.2 This was a stupid step, which relied on a failure of the Baghdad Government in reading the Iranian political scene, because Khomeini returned from Paris after months to displace the Shah and establish the first ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ state in history.

As the ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ requires that the faqih has the final say in matters of this world and religion, politics has climbed to the top of his authority and powers. But the Ja’fari jurisprudence has no rules, which define where the faqih should stand in matters of contemporary political affairs. If it was clear for the Shi’a fuqahā to decide where they stand from the Umayyad state policy, then it could be understood in light of the political conflict, founded by Quraysh between the ‘House of ‘Ali’ and the ‘House of ‘Aisha’ from the first century of Islam. But it is different in our time because it is not clear where the two parties in this political conflict should stand within the global political conflict. Wahhābi clerics in the Arabian Peninsula have found that the best interest of the doctrine was to stand with the Imperialist Zionist political programs, and that has been their position for over a hundred years. Most of the Shi’a Marji’is in Najaf and Qum have found that the interest of the Shi’a was to take the stand of support or appeasement of Imperialism, and so it was.

However, Rouhullāh Khomeini differed from the prevailing situation in the Shi’a Marji’iya in opposing the Zionist plan for the world. I do not want to engage in what I think is the reason for that stand of Khomeini, since it has no significant impact on this theme. But it is important to understand that Khomeini remained a lifelong enemy of the Zionist project, and he rose against the Shah, and defied the Shi’a Marji’iya in Najaf, Qum and Lebanon on their appeasement of the Zionist regimes. When he lived in exile in Iraq, he was not in accord with the Marji’iya represented by Abul-Qāsim al-Kho’ei. 3 Thus Khomeini and ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’, which was enlivened by him, were opposed by most of the Shi’a clerics in the twentieth century. He was opposed in Iran by Hussein Ali Montazeri, Mar’ashi Najafi and Shari’atmadari, and in Iraq by Abul-Qāsim al-Kho’ei, ‘Ali As-Sistāni, Ishāq Fayyādh and Bashir An-Najafi. In Lebanon he was opposed by Moussa As-Sadr and Mohammed Jawād Mughniyeh. These are only examples as the tendency was unanimously against him.

Islam is the religion of the Arabs just as Judaism is the religion of the Hebrews and Christianity is the religion of the Arameans. This is not my invention or imagination, but a Divine Reality, and whoever wants to object to it may refer it to Allah and ask Him why, even though the reason is evident to “whoever has a heart or who listens while he is present”(Qaaf 50:37). This fact leads to another conclusion, that any movement or leadership for the Muslims must take place at the hands of the Arabs in their land.

But Khomeini had a distinct political sense of realities in the seventies of the last century. He sensed that the objective circumstances for the revolution in Iran had matured. A new generation of Persians arose who were born after the Second World War and witnessed the experience of the failure of Mosaddeq’s attempt at nationalising Iran’s oil; 4 persons who aspired for true liberation from Imperialist Zionism, which had its hold on them as it had its hold on all other Muslims since the First World War. How could there be anything better than the injustice that had befallen the House of the Prophet, causing suffering to Hussein and his family and companions, as a fire lighting their path to achieve this freedom? Thus, the Khomeini revolution came as a surprise to Zionism. We should not underestimate what happened in Islamic thought in 1979 or its impact. Perhaps not everything that has happened in the Muslim World was necessarily a natural outcome of Khomeini’s revolution, but much of what happened was influenced one way or another by the changes brought by Khomeini. Khomeini rekindled hope in Political Islam generally, giving a boost to existing movements and giving birth to others. Thus some Marxist Arabs, who were looking for a political line that would transfer them from their intellectual loss, supported the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan or moved to Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets. But the most important outcome of Khomeini’s revolution in relation to Arab Nationalism and the conflict with Zionism and in a real dialectic way, was the birth of Hizbullah in Lebanon, which I will deal with later in a broader context.

I have first to pause to deal with an issue that I find of major importance because it has neither been understood by the Arabs nor by non-Arab Muslims, and which has been exposed publicly by Khomeini’s revolution and which I have repeated throughout this book, namely that Islam is the religion of the Arabs just as Judaism is the religion of the Hebrews and Christianity is the religion of the Arameans. This is not my invention or imagination, but a Divine Reality, and whoever wants to object to it may refer it to Allah and ask Him why, even though the reason is evident to “whoever has a heart or who listens while he is present”(Qaaf 50:37). This fact leads to another conclusion, that any movement or leadership for the Muslims must take place at the hands of the Arabs in their land. It would not do any good for Hizb-ut-Tahrir to demand the return of the Ottoman Empire to achieve the dream of an Islamic state. 5 If Hizb-ut-Tahrir really wanted an Islamic state, it should demand the return of Baghdad and the Abbasid State, or something like that. The Ottoman Empire failed because it knew nothing of Islam but its name, and used it to achieve its plan for the domination by the Turks of the world around them. They corrupted, vandalized and when they departed, they did not leave any mark for the world to refer to as an honoured glory. Maybe Hizb-ut-Tahrir should address the question that any researcher in Islam would ask: if the Ottomans really represented Islam, why is it that none of the fifty or so of their Caliphs made the holy pilgrimage to Mecca considered by Muslims to be on the pillars of religion?

Through this understanding, the defects of Khomeini’s revolution seem obvious. Khomeini, as all his contemporaries knew, hated Arabs in general. He was in fact prejudiced against them to the extent that he refused to talk in Arabic, even when he lived in Najaf, in spite of his knowledge of it. I do not mean that he had to speak Arabic, because it was his right to be proud of being Persian, as does every human being belonging to any ethnicity. But he was speaking in Farsi in matters of Islam and Hadith to an Arab congregation, which could not be correct, because the Qur’an was not revealed in the language of the Persians even if Khomeini wished it. “And even if We had revealed it to one among the foreigners [non-Arabs], And he had recited it to them [perfectly], they would [still] not have been believers in it” (Ash-Shu’araa 26:198-199).  The reason for his hatred of Arabs may be that he blames them for the killing of Hussein and his family, and this sense of criminalization prevails among a group of non-Arab Muslims. Khomeini and his ilk had a growing feeling that the Arabs were not eligible for the leadership of Islam, and they as non-Arab Muslims are more capable of doing that. Thus, Khomeini thought he was capable of leading the Muslims to safety. And that is how the concept of ‘exporting the Iranian revolution’ outside Iran was born, which has become a ‘scarecrow’ used by the Zionists to scare others in the Arab world. I am not saying that because I believe in the correctness of the project to export Iranian Shi’a-identity revolution to the Arab world, but I say this in an attempt to deal with history objectively. This is because I have not heard from those who wrote or spoke about the dangers of exporting the Iranian revolution to the Arab world speaking about the danger of exporting Turkish New Turanism 6 to the Arab world! Is it so that the Arabs, who were ruled by the Turks with an injustice that ended in stultification and ‘Turkization’ to the limit that Arabic was almost forgotten in the land of Islam, are not really afraid of the return of that darkness, and fear only the dangers of the Persian tide? Or do those who are keen on ‘Zionized’ Arabism have a different understanding of history?

It would not escape anybody’s mind that the Khomeini revolution in Iran has not fully succeeded. The proof is that the presidential elections brought two presidents opposed to the theory of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’, although they hypocritically claimed otherwise. President Rouhani had made several statements asking the Revolutionary Guard (the arm of Khamenei) to refrain from interfering in politics. Both Khatami and Rouhani represent Rafsanjani’s opinion.7 While the latter is not a scholar, he nevertheless represents the opinion of Iranian clerics who oppose the theory. There is a line of clerics in Iran who oppose the theory of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ today just as much as they did before Khomeini became victorious. It seems also that the majority of the Iranian people support them in that.

It should also be clear that Khomeini’s revolution failed to achieve any distinct attraction in Iraq, where he had desired to have a large base among the oppressed, as he liked to call them. During the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq’s Shi’a fought with honour in defence of their country without the consideration of sectarian affiliation, and national loyalty won over denominational loyalty. Let no one say that they fought for fear of the regime’s injustice, because no one can frighten a soldier in the battlefield who does not see in front of him anything but death!

As for the political movement of Iraqi Shi’a, the failure of Khomeini’s revolution was no less evident. Both the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Da’wa Party found themselves, in the midst of Khomeini’s victory, forced to ride the wave. SCIRI adopted the theory of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ and the Da’wa party swore allegiance to Khomeini. But both were hypocritical, because SCIRI was linked to Zionism due to the historical links of the Al-Hakim family to it. The Da’wa party was a product of the Shah, and how can a Party produced by the Shah be non-Zionist? Noble principles can only be carried by noble people. And so it was that, when the Zionists invaded Iraq in 2003, SCIRI and Da’wa Party returned to share power with the other Zionist traitors. In case someone claims that I am being partial, I refer them to what the commander of the Islamic Republic ‘Ali Khamenei said of those in Iraq and their supporting clerics. He is quoted as saying: “They say that ‘Ali is their Imam, but they refrain from saying one word against the US.”8

So if Khamenei was not talking about the Shi’a Marji’iya in Iraq and Iraq’s Shi’a parties, whom was he talking about?

As non-Arabs cannot lead Islam, even if they are Arabized, then the theory of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ cannot continue without having an Arab breeding ground. The case of Hizbullah may be an indicator of the success of the theory in having an Arab breeding ground, which I will discuss later. But the great hope since the era of Khomeini was pinned on Iraq. Yet the theory failed to gain any ground in Iraq and is on the verge of failing in Iran.

In Iraq, despite all the talk and rumours about Iranian hegemony, it still has a political sectarian dominance, which has succeeded through sectarian coherence between the intelligence apparatus of the Iranian state and the Shi’a Parties in Iraq, and not because of any adherence of Iraq’s Shi’a Parties to the theory of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’. This complexity of relationships is perhaps the reason for the difficulty in understanding this relationship, and of the Iranian influence in Iraq among some. In addition, this complexity gives others, who understand it for what it is, the ability to simplify matters and try to portray this complex relationship as a US-Iranian agreement on sharing Iraq in a comprehensive plan written in ancient times.  But those biased people know that it is not so! The religious influence of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ in Iraq was non-existent.

In Iran, the theory is in decline. This does not mean that it is going to die soon, because it still holds many powers. The Revolutionary Guards, which represent its military arm, is still a powerful force capable of defending the revolution as understood by the guards against any internal or external threat. These guards consider themselves entrusted with the revolution, and have a view beyond the elected institutions by the people, even though it is backed up by the majority opinion, because the concept of revolution in the eye of the Revolutionary Guards is the opinion of the elite and the minority in all stages of history. This is a sound historical theory. No revolution has erupted without being led by a devoted elite, and there is no people’s revolution, because what is called people’s revolution is mobilizing the mob to move in the direction decided by the elite. Unless the mob is properly led, it would frustrate the endeavour. Imam ‘Ali described this historical truth in saying: “The mob when they assemble together, they cause harm, and when they disperse they cannot be recognized.” 9 It does not escape the notice of an observer of the scene in Iran to see this growing conflict. But whoever understands the movement of history understands the reason for the split in Iran today, which did not exist on the same level twenty years ago.

The Iranians who came out against the Shah of Iran, and fell in the street, rose against the unjust rule and for a cause they considered legitimate. But they are no longer present, and their children’s generation did not witness nor lived the injustice of the Shah’s rule and do not know the experience endured by their parents in order to be part of it. This new generation has a different ambition because the experience is different and the global environment is different.  They are not able to understand the cause of war between the Islamic Republic and the United States, especially when the environment around them from the media, film and television portray the latter as a civilized nation and ‘democratic.’ Most of them are not concerned with the question of Palestine and Jerusalem, which they see, though a great injustice, as far from their reality and immediate needs. The revolution, any revolution, would die if it does not create for each generation a new challenge, put in front of it and force it to confront. The generation of Iranians born after the Iran-Iraq war faces no challenge worthy of such confrontation.  And so the State of ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ finds itself unable to persuade most of the young Iranian people that they have to bear the hardship for steadfastness and confronting America, because they do not  honestly believe that America should be faced with these options. If ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’ wants to draw the Iranian people towards the revolution, it needs to create a real heated confrontation after which the people will rally around it as they did in 1980 when the Iraqi army entered its territory and Iran was on the brink of the abyss. A revolution, any revolution, needs to renew itself in order for it to continue, and it can not continue to talk about deep dangers in a complex political analysis no matter how objective it may be. The Bolshevik Revolution failed, despite being one of the biggest active revolutions in contemporary history, because it could not renew itself. Why should, ‘Wilāyet Al-Faqih’, then succeed?

 

Chapter 14 – Shi’a Political Islam

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed here.


It should be evident for whoever read the previous chapters that I was talking about Sunni political Islam, and by this I mean Islamic political movements that were born in the doctrine of those who call themselves ‘ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah’, or literally ‘people of the tradition and the consensus of the Umma.’ This reality is born out of the political conflict in Islam which emerged since the beginning of Islam, which I have already explained as a political conflict between ‘the house of ‘Ali’ and “‘the house of ‘Aisha,’ where Muslims split in the political partisanship to one of the two houses. Later on, those who were called scholars detailed differences to confirm that divide. But the conflict was and continues to be, in essence, a political conflict between the two houses for power.

I can not dwell on the political Sunni Islam alone, despite its importance, because the entry of Shi’a political Islam into the political stage in an effective way, after centuries of Taqiyya (Religious dissimulation), became part of the complexity of the image and a partner in the crisis of political Islam in the present day, which is nothing but an extension of its inception too. When I talk about Shi’a political Islam, I mean Twelver Shi’a Ja’afari. This means avoiding talking about politics in other Shi’a groups such as the Isma’ilis, Zaidis and ‘Alawites for example, because these have political heritage as well but outside the influence of the Ja’afari. 1

Before dealing with the present political Shi’ism, we need to stop at two important phenomena in Shi’ism because of their relation with its development, namely ‘Taqiyya (Religious dissimulation) ‘ and ‘Taqleed (to follow a cleric) ‘. Taqiyya is an old policy which found its roots in the Umayyad rule when ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib was being cursed from the minarets of Muslim mosques. The Shi’a of ‘Ali found life difficult if they declared their affiliation. In addition, since the essence of life is to protect it and not lose it, Shi’a Imams who were descendants of Hussein, ordered their followers not to show their Shi’ism publicly and went further by allowing them to show hostility to Shi’ism if in that lay the conservation of the soul, property and honour.  A saying of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Tālib had been narrated which states that a Shi’a is allowed to insult people of the House of the Prophet, descendants of ‘Ali, if he must do that but he must not disassociate himself from them, because the Shi’a must not disown the Imams of the House of Muhammad, as disassociation is from the idolaters only as stipulated by the Allah in Surat “at-Tawba (Chapter 9)”, which was originally known as (Bara’a) ‘Disassociation’. The Shi’a expanded on that and narrated a saying from the sixth Shi’a Imam, Ja’far As-Sadiq, that ‘Taqiyya is the religion of my fathers and grandfathers. He who has no taqiyya has no faith’ 2, and other sayings in the same direction. Thus, Shi’a followed Taqiyya for centuries. The need for Taqiyya was increased by the fact that the Shi’a were a small minority during the Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman rule. Had it not been for the success of the Turkic Safawids (and they were not Persians as propagandists say today) in making Iran Shi’a, today the Shi’a would be a negligible minority confined to those in Iraq, Pakistan and Lebanon! The adoption of the majority of the Shi’a of Taqiyya as described, led to a kind of submission, rather acceptance of caving and humiliation for centuries, bringing upon them denigration from some Sunnis and accusations of hypocrisy in showing other than what they conceal in their hearts.

The political reality is that Iraq, Syria and Egypt were, are and will continue to represent the intellectual and historical weight of the Arab nation, and all that happens outside them in the rest of the Arab World is the result of what happens inside them. Whoever wants to dominate the Arab Nation can do so by dominating these countries and their geographies or weaken them to the extent that they lose their role in the event.

 

‘Taqleed’ means that every Shi’a chooses a cleric as a reference to him for advice and guidance and as a model to be imitated in matters of religious and worldly affairs. This is not an old tradition in Ja’afari Shi’ism, albeit old for others like the Ismai’ilis, Zaidis and Alawites, and for non-Shi’as like the Ibadhis, for example. Taqleed for Ja’afari Shi’ia was born relatively late, but quickly turned to the largest force in political Islam generally. Taqleed also produced the ‘Marji’iya’, which represents the position of the followed or imitated cleric who has the authority to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law for followers. The number of Marji’s (followed cleric) varies as people choose to follow the cleric they trust in guidance and answering their queries. But the truth is that throughout time, there has always been one cleric followed more than others, which gave him power and recognition over his colleagues. This way he represented the Marji’iya in its religious and political meaning. This power was strengthened by imposing the Khums (literally one fifth of gain) to be paid by every Shi’a to the Muqallad (the followed cleric) in the Marji’iya, by giving one fifth of his money to that Cleric thus exonerating himself in front of Allah as paying his Zakat (alms) for that year.  It is a fact that the one who has the money has the power, and there is no difference between the dealer in politics and the cleric. Thus, Shi’a Marji’iya became an active force in the community sometimes exceeding its real size.

It must be evident how serious the power of the Marji’iya is, because all that is required in order to influence or control millions of Shi’a is to infiltrate the Marji’iya either through that Marji’ himself, one of his sons or his immediate circle. The history of the Marji’iya during the past century is full of such examples that I do not want to mention or list, but it is enough here to understand the seriousness of the power of the Marji’iya. One example from the beginning of this century will suffice to show that power. The powerful Marji’ ‘Ali As-Sistani decreed in 2005 to his followers that the legal duty obliged them to vote on Iraq’s new constitution which was laid out by the US occupation, in order to establish a new political system in Iraq, based not only on accepting the occupation but also on accepting that all the laws enacted by the occupiers, including those that absolved them from all the crimes and responsibility for the blood of Iraqis that was unjustly shed. Needless to say, the majority of Iraqi Shi’a, including the highly educated among them, voted for the constitution without knowing what they were voting for.3  That is probably what ‘democracy’ is all about!

The political reality is that Iraq, Syria and Egypt were, are and will continue to represent the intellectual and historical weight of the Arab nation, and all that happens outside them in the rest of the Arab World is the result of what happens inside them. Whoever wants to dominate the Arab Nation can do so by dominating these countries and their geographies or weaken them to the extent that they lose their role in the event. A reader of the history of the region from the First World War until today will find this fact facing him. This fact is evident not only in major projects but evident even in the details. Hizbullah in Lebanon is part of a part of a part; it is part of Lebanon, which is part of Greater Syria, which is part of the Arab world. However, this party, despite its youth and the geographical limits of its activities, has an influence that surpasses its size exponentially, because it plays a major role in the heart of the event whose centre of gravity is represented by Greater Syria. In addition to that, the Shi’a political project in Iraq, despite its political backwardness having failed to provide any program for what it wants to achieve, has played a role disproportional to its capacity, not only in governance since the Zionist Imperialist invasion of 2003, but in the preparation and setup of the invasion of Iraq by the Imperialists. The presentation of these cases is of significance to what I am saying because it was born out of Taqiyya and Marji’iya cited above. The role of political Shi’ism in both Iraq and Lebanon makes it necessary to look at each of them, despite a difference in roots and attitude.

The credibility of the narrated event is not important, but what is important is that people believe it really happened because people act according to those accumulated convictions. The best proof of this is the belief of the Shi’as in Iraq in general of injustice that they have suffered. I will not indulge here into whether this belief and feeling has its reasons or justifications, because this will not change the important fact that most of Iraq’s Shi’as believe that injustice has occurred, and point to the discrimination that befell them during the centuries of Ottoman rule. Since Allah has blessed me and spared me witnessing the injustice of the Ottomans to the occupied peoples of Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Serbs and others, I am not able to estimate the size of the injustice done to the Shi’as of Iraq.

But it may be worth reminding the reader of another important fact, namely that sectarian fanaticism among Arab Muslims is generally weaker than among non-Arab Muslims. The Persian Shi’a, for example, is more biased to his Shi’ism than the Lebanese Shi’a, and the Sunni Chechen is more biased to his Sunnism than the Egyptian Sunni. The reason I think is that the Arab considers Islam part of his identity, and not all of his identity, because he does not need to confirm it on every occasion. But for the non-Arab Muslim, Islam became his identity, and thus a Turk had no identity before Islam, and if he had it was long since lost; and the Pakistani has no identity other than Islam, without which he is Indian, and so is it to the Chechen, and to a lesser extent to the Persian.

The conviction of Iraqi Shi’as of this injustice reflected negatively on the political reality of Iraq after the collapse of the Ottoman rule at the beginning of the 20th century. Iraq’s Shi’as generally withdrew from active participation in the new Iraq, which was born at the hands of the British occupiers, with Taqiyya and the Marji’iya playing a major role in it. There was a prevailing belief that that new state was nothing more than an extension of the fanatic Ottoman regime, requiring caution in dealing with it, and to prevent subjecting oneself to harm. Thus being dormant was the safest way to protect oneself from professing and participation. Furthermore, the Marji’iya also played a greater role when its majority ruled that the regime, which was contrary to Islam, as it saw it and as it was installed by the occupier, should be boycotted.

Thus, the monarchy in Iraq began relying, in the majority of the administration, on Sunni officers from the remainder of the Ottoman army and on managers originally trained at the hands of the Ottomans. In other words, it was somehow an extension of Ottoman rule in colour although not necessarily in its sectarianism. This fact has led the military establishment to be transformed into an institution led by Sunni officers. As the military controlled the new Iraq for a long time, for even Nuri As-Sa’eed 4  was an extension of military rule, it necessarily meant the dominance of the Sunnis of the Iraqi political scene throughout the twentieth century.

But a change occurred in the Iraqi political scene between the two World Wars. Iraq’s Shi’as began to participate more effectively in public and political life, though not intentionally from a sectarian perspective, rather a natural result of their children’s learning and the birth of political movements in Iraq that exceeded denominational and sectarian lines. A new generation of college graduate professionals arose who played an important role in Iraq after World War II. Iraqi Shi’as entered the political arena, which was confined to the Sunnis who had outdistanced them. When the Revolution of July 14th 1958 ended the monarchy installed by the British occupier, Shi’as led three of Iraq’s largest political parties. The Secretary General of the Iraqi Communist Party was ‘Salām ‘Ādil’, the Secretary General of the national leadership of the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party was ‘Fouād Ar-Rikābi’, and the leader of the Independence Party was ‘Muhammad Mahdi Kubba’ – all three Iraqi Shi’as. This reflects the amount of political change that took place in Iraq during the thirty plus years between the founding of the modern Iraqi state and the July Revolution. Iraq’s Shi’as have become part of the active political reality in Iraq, as required by the reality of their proportion in the community and their natural right to participate in the country and not as a matter of religious affiliation.

Parallel to the impact of Taqiyya, a new generation of learners was born who were no longer content to sit on the side-lines of the events. They were born and brought up, as is the case with the Shi’as all over the world, on the theory of the great injustice that was incurred in Islam on the ‘People of the House of Muhammad’ in the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson, Hussein Ibn ‘Ali. This theory necessarily means that injustice not only befell the People of the House, but it was inflicted on all their followers and loyalists throughout all ages, which means Iraq’s Shi’as in the twentieth century. Whoever is unable to comprehend the depth of this theory and its originality in understanding the structure of the Shi’a personality, cannot begin to understand the history of Iraq specifically and the history of the Shi’as in general. This is because the Shi’a is breastfed the story of the martyrdom of Hussein in the tragic way it is told, and learns that the Sunni Muslims either participated in the crime or abetted it. Even though the Sunni would reply that this is not true because most of the Sunnis condemn the killing of Hussein and consider him a martyr, the Shi’a counter question about the reason for the Sunni glorification of the Umayyad state will not produce a clear answer from the Sunni! A Shi’a generation rose in Iraq after World War II, which aspired, consciously or unconsciously, to confirm its Shi’a identity. If he were neither a communist to follow Salām ‘Ādil in the Iraqi Communist Party nor a nationalist to follow Fouād Ar-Rikābi in the Ba’ath Party, he was more likely to have been embraced by the Shah of Iran who was keen on reviving the glory of Persia which he expressed more than once. Perhaps the most prominent expression was in the luxurious and extravagant celebration in 1971 celebrating 2,500 years of the founding of the Persian Empire. 5 This way he contributed to the birth of a new Shi’a political movement, which had no political principle but Shi’ism. Because even if that movement talked about injustice in Iraq in general and the injustice imposed by the Ba’athists in particular, it did not provide a political program for the state it aspired to build. Thus what was born out of this political movement, which later turned to the Da’wa Party, is still a party without a political program.

The religious Marji’iya in Najaf supported this move and blessed it, for several reasons. First, the Marji’iya in Najaf was and still is of Imperialist tendencies, even if it claims that it does not interfere in politics. This fact was summarized in the fatwa of Mohammad Muhsin Al-Hakim in 1959 prohibiting dealing with the Communists.6  The Marji’iya found in its support for the emerging Shi’a political movement an enhancement of its position and a force it can use to bargain any political system, as did Abul-Qāsim Al-Khoe’i in 1991 7. The Marji’iya was for the most part, except for a few, either loyal to the Shah or content with him.

The Da’wa Party remained loyal to the Shah of Iran during the rule of the Ba’ath in Iraq. But when the Shah was deposed, the Da’wa Party found that its loyalty to Shi’ism is the only issue, and there was no objection to following in the footsteps of the rising Khomeini. And so it was, although it was not really a believer in the theory of Wilāyet Al-Faqih (Governance of the Jurist) nor in anti-Zionism whose ally it was until the fall of the Shah, and which alliance it went back to after Khomeini’s death, publicly showing that such alliance existed before and after the invasion of Iraq, when Zionism handed to it the rule of Iraq as its proxy.

Although the Shi’a political movement in Iraq goes beyond the Da’wa Party, that does not make a big difference in the outcome. This is because the Shi’a political movement, which erupted in Iraq after the Imperialist invasion in 2003, mostly shares certain characteristics, namely:

  1. They all came with the Zionist invasion either as an ally and employee, or with the Zionist consent and blessing. It would be insulting to human intelligence for someone to say, as it has indeed been said, that he participated in the government after the occupation against the occupier’s will!
  2. They do not have any political program for Iraq.
  3. They do not have any economic theory. Talking of Islamic economy based on the views of Mr. Muhammed Bāqir As-Sadr is nonsense, because the man did not draft an Islamic economic theory at all. 8
  4. They do not have any national project related to the Arab identity of Iraq and Arab unity. In fact most are hostile to any Arab unity because if that were achieved, it would mean the loss of the Shi’a identity in a sea of Sunnism!
  5. Their full support of the Zionist project in the Middle East is based on the new ‘municipality states’ or ‘petty kingdoms’. This was clearly reflected in the Iraqi government’s position on the aggression on Syria, where Baghdad asserted that it stands at equal distances from the Damascus government and the terrorist that it claimed to be fighting in Iraq! On more than one occasion, Iraq’s Foreign Minister stated that Iraq stands neutral regarding the conflict in Syria equating the Damascus Government with the terrorists who later invaded Iraq 9.
  6. Their contribution to the creation of administrative and financial corruption in Iraq during their years of rule; something Iraq had not seen in its darkest times, putting Iraq near the bottom of the list of corruption in the world, according to the classification of their American and European agencies. 10

We can continue in this characterization, but all of it will lead to one fact: That the objective of all Shi’a political movements in Iraq today is one; which is the possession of the rule to acquire as much as possible of Iraq’s wealth. Otherwise, how can the differences between these movements be explained if all were without any political or economic program and all want to build a Shi’a rule in Iraq? In other words, if the objective is one, why do they not agree on the sharing of power and relent and relax?

And where it is possible to talk about political Shi’ism in the Arab world separate from the theory of Wilāyet Al-Faqih and its role in the Arab political Shi’ism, I must reiterate what I said previously; that I believe that Islam is the religion of the Arabs and for them alone. I must bring this up again because I think that the role played by the Persians and Ottomans, and that played by the Albanian, Chechen, Indian, Pakistani and Pashtun newcomers is not true to Islam because it did not exist at the time of the original creation of Islam! But this does not change the fact that this intruder played and plays a major role in political Islam, Sunni and Shi’a alike. Part of that is the impact of Wilāyet Al-Faqih theory on the Arab political Shi’ism in Iraq and Lebanon.

 

 

 

Chapter 13 – The Confusion in Understanding Political Sunni Islam

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed here.


The problem with most writings on the conflict in the Muslim world today revolves around two facts. Firstly, it is almost impossible to find Muslim writers who have enough objectivity to present faithfully what is happening to enable readers to draw their own conclusions. Secondly, and invariably, the best of the Orientalists lack a true understanding of political Islam. It is not surprising, in view of the above two facts, that people in the world find it difficult to follow and understand what is happening in the Muslim/Arab world today.

I do not intend to take the reader through the development of political Islam as no such matter could be covered in one chapter or even one book. However, I would like to clarify a few matters for the independent minded, to enable them to better understand what is happening.

The use by most writers of the word ‘jihad’ and its other conjugations, is defamation against Islam and Arabic language and plays into the hands of the Salafi terrorists, who try to hijack the beauty of Arabic and the decency from the Qur’an and use it for their evil pursuit.

 

  1. The schism in Islam is not theological. It is political and dates back to the first century AH. The oldest books on the history of Islam starting with Sirat Ibn Hisham (on the Prophet’s life) make this so clear that it needs little elaboration.

 

  1. Islam has not gone through a stage of enlightenment. This meant that no independent analysis of Islamic history has ever been attempted by Muslim scholars who have all been writing from their narrow sectarian points of view.

 

  1. All research centres or academic institutes in the Muslim world have been dominated by dogmatic disciplines adhering to one sect or another; so much so that it took a thousand years and a secular political regime before Shi’a theology was recognized as a sect of Islam and taught at Al-Azhar University in Egypt along with the main four Sunni schools of thought.

 

  1. Today’s Shi’a Islam is politically dominated by Wilāyet Al-Faqih movement (which represents the political stage for the coming of the Mahdi) while Sunni Islam is dominated by the Salafi movement, which aspires to restore the rule of the Islamic Empires.

 

  1. This observation does not result just from the fact that either of the above two political movements necessarily represents the majority of Shi’a or Sunni Muslims respectively. They are powerful and dominant for other reasons than the number of followers.

 

  1. Shi’a Muslims, being a minority, have been alienated in most Muslim countries for centuries excluding Iran of the last few centuries. But even in the latter, they never felt they secured a Shi’a state until the coming of Khomeini and the Wilāyet Al-Faqih, which raised hopes and expectations among Shi’a masses of a new era of the freedom to practice their beliefs. The more the Shi’a outside Iran come under attack, the more they are moved to follow the Wilāyet Al-Faqih. The popularity of Hizbullah in Lebanon following the Israeli aggression is a good proof of this fact.

 

  1. The Salafi movement basically calls for the return to the ‘Golden’ days of the Islamic Empire which has a nostalgic resonance with most Sunni Muslims who deplore the level to which the Muslim states have descended. The Salafi movement, which may not have a single ideology beyond the call to restore the past, is powerful because it is supported by both the Muslim populace and the Governments of the rich GCC.

 

  1. The emergence of non-Salafi Sunni Muslim movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, has failed, being unable to de-establish the supremacy and power of the Salafi. The Muslim Brotherhood today is on the way out as has been demonstrated in Egypt, Syria and Libya.

 

  1. There is a myth about having peaceful or moderate Salafi and violent Salafi. There is no such division. All Salafis believe in their God-given right to impose the Shari’a of the predecessors on the rest of the world. The variations are in the degree of violence only. The ascension and assumption of power by Wahhabism in Arabia in the 19th and 20th centuries was no less bloody and brutal than that of the Islamic State today.

 

  1. The battle of the Salafis is first and foremost against other Muslims whom they accuse of having become apostate. This includes all sects of Islam outside Sunni Islam and some even among the Sunnis.

 

  1. This belief among the Salafis has been what Imperialism latched onto since the end of the 18th century when they set up the modern Salafi movement under the name of Wahhabism in Arabia.

 

  1. There is no real conflict inside the Salafi movement as it is purposely and confusingly made to appear. There is no conflict between Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State as they are all in unison on what to achieve. They may differ on leadership or the pace of action but the ultimate objective is the same.

 

  1. The bogus claim about the threat, which the Islamic State poses to Arabia or the other Gulf states, is so transparent that it baffles the mind that some writers even try to assert it. There is no conflict or difference between IS, Al-Qaeda, An-Nusra or Wahhā They are all a produce of the Sunni Salafi movement; derive their ideology from Ibn Taymiyyah and aspire to achieve one objective. The rules imposed by the Islamic State in Mosul and Raqqa are identical to those in Riyadh!

 

  1. None of the Salafi movements has ever declared any of the states in Arabia or the Gulf to be non-Islamic or apostate that needs to be replaced. The differences are easily settled by changing faces, as happened more than once during the last fifty years, when different people from the ruling families of the same despotic regimes assumed power.

 

  1. The use by most writers of the word ‘jihad’ and its other conjugations, is defamation against Islam and Arabic language and plays into the hands of the Salafi terrorists, who try to hijack the beauty of Arabic and the decency from the Qur’an and use it for their evil pursuit. Any decent and objective writer should refrain from using this word and instead call the Salafis by their real name: ‘terrorists’, lest the true ‘jihad’ of the soul depicted in the Qur’an becomes so confusing that the whole of Islam veers towards terrorism as a means of salvation. Objective writing does not mean one should play to the tune of the transgressor.

 

It is within the above indicators that developments in the Arab world should be seen. Those writers who cannot see these facts will only be adding more confusion in people’s minds.

 

After this short view of the crisis of the political project of the Sunni Islamic movements, I must deal with the Shi’a political movements and their roles during the last century and the present in the formulation of the Islamic and Arab political stage.

Chapter 12 – The Rise of other Sunni Islamic Movements

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed here:


As soon as Zionist Imperialism gained control of the Arabian Peninsula after enabling the Wahhābis of Mecca, it scrambled to contain the rest of the Arab world through Islam. The Orientalists and researchers in the Zionist institutes in Europe and America were not oblivious to the fact that the rest of the Arab world was not generally like the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf in backwardness. This meant that it would not have been easy to export Wahhābi ideology to the rest of the Arab world, especially if they took into account that the aspirations of the new educated population in Egypt, Syria and Iraq were toward freedom more than to return their thoughts to previous centuries about which these people had no knowledge save perhaps an idyllic vision that had no deep roots.

It does not matter that Zionist Imperialists had contributed to the rise of Islamic movements in the Arab East or that it embraced these movements after their rise. What is important is that the religious movements that have arisen in the Arab East were mostly acting in accordance with the Zionist interests in the Arab world.

Eastern Arabs of the northern parts of the Arabian Peninsula would not have been satisfied with a simple call, such as that by Abdul-Wahhāb, which was no more than a superficial look at the meaning of monotheism, which he himself had not understood at all. These Arabs, by virtue of their intellectual antecedence over the Bedouin of the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, were looking to link the state and religion in a new world, where relations are governed by new principles, such as the nation-state, international relations and the so-called ‘international law’, as well as treaties and alliances mostly created outside the scope of Islam without consultation with the Muslims. In other words, the nascent generation of Muslims of the East (which maybe is a loose term) wanted a political theory that may not be separated from Islam but able to deal realistically with the world where Muslims live after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which had for centuries been a distorted face of Islam. Wahhābi naïve ideology was not able to satisfy this aspiration, or even deal with the realities that surrounded the Muslim World.

Continue reading “Chapter 12 – The Rise of other Sunni Islamic Movements”

Chapter 11 – Wahhābism in the Service of Imperialism

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Crisis-Islam-Dr-Abdul-Haq-Al-Ani-Author/0993572006/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486203904&sr=1-1&keywords=The+crisis+in+Islam

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I explained in the previous chapter how Wahhābism was created as a nucleus for the Imperialist project that preceded all political activity in the Arab world and survived after most projects undertaken a century or two later had failed. But I also stated that the British, during Britain’s golden age, were realistic in that they did not expect, and for several reasons, that the Wahhābi movement was going to swallow the Muslim world in the blink of an eye. One of these reasons, and perhaps not the least serious, was that the Ottoman Empire was still a force to be reckoned with and one must be wary of tampering with its areas of influence. Bringing a new doctrine, although it claimed to be renewing the Hanbali sect, would not be easy to accept in a world built centuries ago on prohibiting ‘Ijtihad’ (independent reasoning) and the suspension of thinking in Islam!

In addition, when the Wahhābi movement was born, the Arabian Peninsula was poor and created a burden on the British Imperialists. But all that changed in the light of two important developments. Firstly, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire opened the door to Imperialism to come and act freely in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf without much opposition. Secondly, the discovery of the unimaginable oil reserves in the region, turning it from an economic burden to a financial source of which the Imperialists had not even dreamt!

The creation of Wahhābism formed the first stage of the plan to subject political Islam to the will of Zionism. I hope to follow examining the role of Wahhābism in the first stage by dealing with creation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the second stage, and conclude with the third stage on the wide Imperialist plan, that of the creation of Al-Qaeda. Perhaps sometime in the future there will be created another stage whose nature we do not know yet. But Imperialism has taught us that it’s creativity has no limits, and it may bring something new as long as we live in repose, making the sleep of ‘the People of the Cave’ seem modest! 1

Before proceeding further, I need to clarify that when I talk about Zionist Imperialism, which leads to effective ‘Zionification’ of Wahhābism, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda, I do not mean that all of those who joined, endorsed, or supported these movements are Zionists in the sense of their belonging and believing. This is because the majority of those involved in these movements were naïve Muslims who are of the third category, as described by ‘Ali Ibn Abi Tālib in saying: “People are three categories: A Rabbāni who devotes his knowledge to serving Allah, a learner who learns for the sake of saving himself, and the hooligan type of rabbles that follow anyone who cries out, turning whichever way the wind blows, not illuminated by the light of knowledge and not fallen back upon support that offers safety, strength and security” 2. These are excused for having followed a project of whose true nature they know nothing. They honestly believe that they are serving Islam in whose absolute belief they were raised, and faith is blind!

Anyone, who has read something about Islam, could not overlook the fact that the Prophet Muhammad did not enter Mecca with an army, and did not take it by force. He entered it in peace and pardoned the hardened idolaters of Quraysh, to show the people an example that this land must remain peaceful and safe and Islam was a religion of love and forgiveness. His act in Mecca would fit perfectly with the Message of his brother Jesus in turning the other cheek. However, this Muhammadian desire, which embodied the Divine Sign of making it a ‘safe sanctuary’ 3, was not preserved at the hands of Muslims in later times. Muslims after the Prophet did not all the time heed Allah’s will or the Prophet’s wish to keep Mecca a safe haven. It was attacked and burnt repeatedly, not just by heretics, but by armies ordered by Muslim Caliphs. A few examples from the past to illustrate this are cited here. Umayyad Caliphate Yezid Ibn Mu’awiya sent his army to ransack Medina and fight Abullah Ibn Az-Zubair in Mecca, and Al-Hajjāj Ibn Yusuf was sent by Abdul-Malik Ibn Marwān to attack Mecca in the year 73 AH (692 AD), burning even the cloak of the Ka’ba.4  Its destruction did not satisfy the Qarmatians, who even stole the black stone in the year 317 AH (929 AD). 5

After centuries of relative calm in the Arabian Peninsula, the Wahhābis brought back violence, destruction and killing to Mecca when Abdul Aziz Ibn Sa’ud entered it in 1342 AH (1929 AD) by force with British support and put its people to the sword in the name of Islam. 6 With the fall of Mecca in the hands of Wahhābis and their other Bedouin allies, the first dream of Imperialist Zionism was realized by overtaking the most significant base of Islam. Everything that happened after that was a natural consequence of that victory.

When the Imperialists managed to put their hands on Mecca, they held the key to controlling the Muslim and Arab worlds, because the majority of Muslims sincerely believe that Allah could not deliver His House but to honest believers, and this means that anyone who controls Mecca must be virtuous and obeyed. Had they read the Qur’an carefully and understood Allah empowering the devil to cause havoc in the land, they would not have arrived at this conviction, but they are far from having the ability to understand this. This is what the Imperialists have thought of for centuries and aspired to achieve, and they did.

Anyone who objectively reads the history of the area in the twentieth century away from sectarianism and partisanship, if possible, will discover that there is no event or political stage in which the Zionist Wahhābis were not involved using their religious weight at the beginning and adding their oil wealth later. This is the reason why I use the term Zionist Wahhābis, because political affiliation is not a slogan raised by the political or religious movement, but the sum of its practices and its actions. In addition, whoever has followed what the Wahhābi movement had done in the twentieth century, will find that it was indeed riding on the coattails of Imperialist Zionism in every stage of the political development in the Arab lands during the past nine decades.

– They supported the Sykes-Picot agreement and drawing of borders by Percy Cox determining the borders between Iraq and Arabia. The pleading of Sa’ud with Percy Cox is well documented.7

– they did not dispatch a single soldier to support the Palestinian people who were displaced in 1948.

– they supported the tripartite aggression against Egypt in 1956 over the Suez Canal, standing with the Zionists, the British and the French.8

– they opposed and plotted against every project that sought to unite Arab lands, and were against the unity of Egypt and Syria in 1958 and against the unification of Iraq and Jordan in the same year.9

– they intervened directly in Yemen when the republic was established after Al-Sellal’s overthrow of the Imamate (1962), and contributed to and supported the bitter and bloody fighting, which depleted Yemen and the Egyptian army that came to support the Republic.10

– they contributed financially to the throwback that took place in Syria in 1961 and led to the collapse of the first Arab unity.11

– In 1967, they incited the West and Israel to attack Egypt, strike it and eliminate the rule of Jamal Abdul Nasser after having pinned down a large contingent of the Egyptian army in Yemen.

– they sought and succeeded in lifting the oil embargo, which they were forced to impose on Europe in the wake of the 1967 war, in September of the same year. This gave the Zionists what they needed to humiliate the Arabs in war and take their oil voluntarily. The argument that they needed money to support the Arab military effort was nothing but a fig leaf that did not cover their nakedness, because the money they had was enough for them to live for years if not decades, while Europe could not have afforded an oil embargo for one year.

– in spite of their disagreement and their hostility to the ruler of Jordan, King Hussein Ibn Talāl, they supported him in September 1970 in attacking and killing the Palestinians at the time when those were fighting the Zionists, heralding a possible revolution. The events came to be known as the ‘Black September’ in which it was claimed that some 25000 Palestinians were killed and the PLO was thrown out of Jordan. Syria was on the side of the PLO while it is commonly believed that the US, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia helped Jordan.

– Although the oil embargo had caused significant damage to the Zionist capitalist economy, they were quick to lift it and ease the effects. Had they kept it up, something else might have changed!12 They stood against the war in 1973 and made every effort to ease the burden on Imperialist Zionism, which would have made it possible for the Arab nation to put pressure on the Zionists to give back the land they had occupied in 1967.

– they founded the Gulf Cooperation Council to include the last authoritarian political regimes in the world in order to ensure the continuation of the Zionist plan in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf by securing that none of those states, some of which are fictitious, would deviate from the objectives of the plan.13

– they gave Imperialism bases and airports for the rapid deployment force established by President Jimmy Carter. During the invasion of Iraq, a US commander commented that he had not seen facilities as ready and suitable anywhere else, not even in the United States.14

– they succeeded in penetrating the nationalist movement in Iraq’s and Syria’s Ba’ath at a time when the Ba’ath Party in the two countries was involved in an unethical, irrational and incomprehensible internal conflict. They worked to push each of the two sides apart and conspired with one against the other, and that is how it went.

– they spent huge amounts of money to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, despite the lack of any Arab interest in it, because the only benefit was for the Imperialist projects in the fight against the Socialist system.15

– they secured full support for the Imperialist economic system by pumping quantities of oil exceeding ten times the need of the Arabian Peninsula, in order to maintain the level of prices of energy required by the Capitalist market without any consideration for Arab national security in maintaining the wealth of the Arabs for future generations.16

– in 1991, they called on ‘infidel’ Zionist Imperialism to bring its armies to the land of ‘Muhammad’ in order for it to destroy Arab-Muslim Iraq.17

– they supported Imperialism in its crimes in parts of the world outside the land of Arabs and Muslims in many secret wars that most people have not heard about. They were exposed when their support for the terrorists called ‘the Contras’ in Nicaragua, who were fighting the leftist government in a war that had nothing to do with Islam and Muslims, came to light, which confirms that the Wahhābi movement was employed to serve Imperialism anywhere in the world!18

– they put the Arabian Peninsula; its land, its air and its water, in the service of Zionist Imperialism to impose the unjust embargo on Iraq for 12 years, participating in killing millions of Muslims while claiming to be the trustees of Allah’s religion!19

– they imposed on the rest of the defeated Arabs the ‘Arab Initiative’ whose aim was to resolve the Palestinian issue without the Palestinians having a say in the project. They offered this project to the world knowing fully that Zionism will reject it because they want more which would mean that the Arabs would need to give still more.20

– they participated in the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 by providing access to US bases and way-leaves across the border.21

– they recruited treacherous Muslims, provided them with money and weapons, and sent them to destroy Syria and blow up its facilities and kill its children, claiming the reason to be the desire to change the regime for its injustices and its strong hold on power, even though they, and their Wahhābi rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, are the last people on Earth who have the competency to demand that!22

Zionist Imperialism has succeeded in achieving all this at the hands of the Wahhābis for two reasons. The first is the availability of money that started pouring in with the flow of oil in the twentieth century. The second, and most important, is the nature of Islamic culture that has made religion a tool for politics, and helped them claim that they are establishing the law of Allah, although Zionism is not related to Allah!

What has Zionist Wahhābism done?

Wahhābism has had what is not available to any political movement or party in the world. It employed its fortunes in the construction of mosques across the globe and in sending half-educated Bedouin and its followers to manage them and preach to the simple Muslims anything written or decreed by their Zionists masters, and which can be veiled by religion. One would often find an invented Hadith from some period of falsified Islam. Our era is not the only era when Muslim rulers needed to find excuses and justifications for their behaviour and their policies. This was done by those who claimed indulgence in jurisprudence centuries ago.

Wahhābis regularly and progressively instilled the Takfiri thought (accusations of apostasy) which is based on considering anyone who disagrees with them to be suspect in his belief. The non-Muslim is an infidel, albeit the tone of the campaign was mild for known reasons. The rest of the Muslims were divided between the infidel and the confused. The ‘Alawi, Isma’ili and Shi’a for example are infidels and apostates, while the rest of the Sunnis live in semi-aberrance and their elders in need of criticism and reform.

They then laid the foundation for a scary and strange culture, where they decreed, based on the teachings of Ibn Taymiyyah, that the soul, money and honour of the infidel is permitted for them, thus allowing the murder, theft and rape on the grounds that this is the religion of Allah. However, Allah and His Messenger have nothing to do with any of it. They hinted at their intent to demolish the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, but the advice of their masters was to postpone that work until the Muslim reaction is tested first in the inevitable occupation and destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In the early nineteenth century, the Wahhābis attacked the graves of members of the Household of the Prophet when they ransacked Karbala, one of the most holy cities for the Shi’a Muslims, killing, looting and destroying.23 This culture gradually permeated two generations of Muslims in the twentieth century, giving birth to Al-Qaeda’s destructive movement, as we shall see later.

Thus, by exploiting Islam, Wahhābism had at its disposal what no other political or ideological movement in the world had. Mosques are open in the entire Muslim world five times a day for prayers, and between prayers for Hadith and preaching sessions. Millions of Muslims come to the mosque every day voluntarily. On the other hand, if a political movement or party would want to hold a conference for its members, it would endeavour and strain to get a small group to the meeting. Wahhābism gets people without effort five times a day all over the world, and all it has to do is corrupt their minds through controlled preaching, as it has succeeded in exploiting Islam to realize the centuries-old Zionist plan to control Muslim minds.

Wahhābism benefited from another fact related to the backwardness and poverty in the Arab world in particular. These two factors had led to the migration of tens of thousands of Arabs from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan and Palestine to work in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf States, where they were embraced by the Wahhābi environment, with its ideology and mosques, and which fed them the thoughts it wanted to spread. A whole new generation of Arabs was born in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf who have not heard of Ammār Ibn Yāsir but know Ibn Taymiyyah! This is not surprising since most of these were simple people, and simple minds need no more than simple ideas. Flat thinking easily accepts the theory that the Earth is flat!

When they returned to their home countries, many of these were saturated with Wahhābi ideologies and believed that it was the true religion, and that following the edicts of Wahhābi sheikhs is the right thing. Out of these came suicide bombers, killers, eaters of hearts, and belly-rippers, all in the name of religion. The behaviour could be understood because they have not heard anything else and in any case, it may be too late to change that indoctrination.

Arab political regimes outside the Peninsula in countries like Iraq, Syria and Egypt did not understand the scale of the plot and thus were not able to deal with it. They disregarded the mosques and what was going on inside them, thinking that they did not pose a threat to them. The Wahhābi movement took advantage of that vacuum and filled mosque with its followers. These evil preachers began brainwashing people, taking advantage of the failure of the Arab political system to reform the status of people in those countries, disregarding the fact that Wahhābism itself had failed to reform the status of people in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf.

When the Arab political system realized the danger of the plot, it was too late. The tide had intensified in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Some of the steps taken to avoid damage backfired. When Saddam Hussein comprehended the size of the catastrophe in Iraq, he wanted to alert people to it, but he committed a great folly when he launched the ‘faith campaign’ which gave the Wahhābis more than one opening to agitate people against the nationalist project and enticed them on sectarian grounds whose effects are still with us today.24

I will deal with the project of the Muslim Brotherhood, how it was integral and parallel to the Wahhābi movement before arriving at the conclusion of the plot in the birth of Al- Qaeda, which was the outcome of what preceded it.

 

Chapter 10 – Inventing Wahhabism

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Crisis-Islam-Dr-Abdul-Haq-Al-Ani-Author/0993572006/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486203904&sr=1-1&keywords=The+crisis+in+Islam

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The objective of my writing on this subject is the attempt to figure out the origin of the culture of killing in Islam: how it started and how it eventually controlled the minds of Muslims so much so that it has become accepted for the mosque preacher to stand and tell people about the glory of killing for Allah. Comprehending these facts may lead us to reconsider our inherited culture in order to correct our understanding of history. Otherwise we would not have a foothold in the world and, while others move forward, we will stay stuck in the same state of being, if not slide into decline, which is the essence of backwardness!

I wrote in the previous chapter on the emergence of a class of those called ‘scholars’ (fuqahā) who wrote on worldly matters more than on matters of spirituality and religion, but were able to dominate the minds of the people and terrorised them. They did this to the extent that no Muslim dared ask about any subjects not approved by those fuqahā for fear of being accused of heresy or blasphemy. This explains the reason for the failure of the Islamic mind to produce good independent thought. Continue reading “Chapter 10 – Inventing Wahhabism”

Chapter 9 – Intellectual Terrorism of Shari’a

This is a serialization of the book titled ‘Crisis in Islam’. The full book and its Endnotes may be accessed at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Crisis-Islam-Dr-Abdul-Haq-Al-Ani-Author/0993572006/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486203904&sr=1-1&keywords=The+crisis+in+Islam

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Nowhere in the Holy Qur’an does the word ‘jurisprudence’ (fiqh) or any of its derivations appear except once in the verse: “And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion [fiqh] and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious” (At-Tawba 9:122). In spite of this, generations of scholars worked and wrote in the centuries that followed the revelation of the Qur’an, not on the deep study of jurisprudence as Allah instructed, but in reality, on the study of Earthly matters and got involved in the affairs of state, as the latter and the ruler needed new rules. No books or dissertations have reached us which deal with Allah’s saying in the verse: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (Adh-Dhariyaat 51:56), in order for us to understand the reason for creation. We have not received any studies that show an understanding of the verse: “And reflect on the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire” (Aal-Imran 3:191). Nor have we seen any reflection on His saying: “It is Allah who has created seven Heavens and of the Earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge” (At-Talaaq 65:12), so that we may know the reason for His creation of seven Heavens and seven Earths and where they are.

We have not seen studies in jurisprudence that deal with the reason for the Devil’s sin, or with where the devil learnt deductive analogy from, on his own when the rest of the angels said: “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise” (Al-Baqara 2:32). Nor did we receive jurisprudential studies dealing with the Almighty’s prohibitions on asking about the Spirit “And they ask you about the Spirit. Say, The Spirit is of the affair of my Lord. And you [mankind] have not been given of knowledge but a little” (Al-Israa 17:85). No scholar is known to have written about the difference between the soul and the spirit that I may even wonder if any knew the difference between them! But we have dissertations in the ‘rituals’ of worship and marriage and sales, which are all Earthly matters. There is no waste in having rules governing the lives of the people, but they remain only that: guidelines that regulate Earthly not religious affairs. If it is so, why were those people called fuqahā when Allah decreed that fuqahā should reflect on religion while they concentrated on this materialistic world?

One may argue, as we are used to hearing and reading that Islam differs from other religions in that it is both temporal and spiritual. This is in fact contrary to the reality of things as Allah intended them to be. Religion is static and the world is dynamic, and Islam cannot combine the static and the dynamic. Prayer times are fixed and don’t change with the change in the world, but a contract of sale has changed between the time of Abu Hanifa 1 and today. The conditions that were imposed then have disappeared and it has become accepted today that the transaction takes place through the Internet or e-mail. Worldly rules have changed but rules for religious affairs have not. The Almighty said: “Every day He is bringing about a matter” (Ar-Rahmaan 55:29). That no doubt relates to our worldly affairs and not His affairs, for He was and still is; has neither changed nor ceased nor moved from one state to another!

In order for those jurists to set up a framework for the rules of politics, they borrowed another Qur’anic term to give their ideas a semblance of religious and Divine order. They therefore called their rules ‘Shari’a’, adding to it the word ‘Islam’ to make it ‘Islamic Shari’a’ which means that it has become a Divine Code, which Islam brought. Some of those rules may be in line with Islam, but it is difficult to say that everything the scholars wrote and was pursued by the Caliphates is the Code of Allah as He wanted. Had this been the case, Muslims would be today as Allah described: “And if only they upheld [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed [provision] from above them and from beneath their feet. Among them are a moderate community, but many of them – evil is that which they do” (Al-Maaida 5:66). Although, the verse referred to Jews and Christians it would equally apply to Muslims had they followed their Book.

Where did the scholars come up with the word ‘shari’a’ that came to mean Allah’s Rule in the land? If we go back to the Qur’an, which is the first and decisive source of Islam, we find the verb ‘shara’a’ and what was derived from it as follows:

“To each of you We prescribed a Divine Law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ” (Al-Maaida 5:48).

“He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]” (Ash-Shura 42:13).

“Or have they other deities who have ordained for them a religion to which Allah has not consented?” (Ash-Shura 42:21)

“Then We put you, [O Muhammad], on an ordained way concerning the matter [of religion]; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know” (Al-Jaathiya 45:18).

Which reader of these verses can say that Allah was referring in any of them to worldly things in the ‘shari’a’? Are not all of them linking ‘shari’a’ to matters of religion and religion alone? Isn’t the scholars’ use of the term ‘Islamic Law’ in worldly matters the wrong adaptation of a Qur’anic term in order to portray their policies as being Allah’s law, when Allah has nothing to do with what they decided or did not decide in worldly matters?
There is no doubt that the establishment of the new Islamic state required the development of policies to govern it. It is not difficult to understand the need to subjugate the people to it, nor is it difficult to understand the easy way to do it, namely to claim that everything determined by the Caliph and supported by scholars is Allah’s Law. Thus were born the rules of intellectual terrorism in Islam! Each policy named ‘shari’a’ became binding and every opposition to it became an act of apostasy. It is not difficult, however, to evaluate the strength of this weapon in the hands of the ruler, any ruler! This intellectual terrorism continues unabated among Muslims even though it has taken different forms.

The possibility of contesting these policies must have been clear to the ruler and the scholars who supported him, and there was therefore a need to find justifications for them. But scholars found the Qur’an too tight on this matter, even restricting them in some cases, and they reverted to relying on the Hadith. Thus was born the profession of collecting the Hadith undertaken originally by ‘Arabized’ Muslims.

Someone may ask: what is wrong with that?

The answer is that the ignorance of those Arabized Muslims of Arabic resulted in problems in the narrations of some Hadiths, which burdened Arabic books, as none of the Arab grammarians dared challenge those Hadiths for fear of being accused of opposition of the community. Searching for explanations tired them, while courage would have required them to simply state that the Hadith was invented and was not uttered by the Prophet Muhammad. Whoever narrated that Hadith was either ignorant or the Hadith was collected by an Arabized person who did not have a good command of Arabic. The proof to that is that Arabic language grammarians, such as Abu ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Alā’, Al-Khalil, and Sibawayh of the Basrah grammarians, and Alkesai’i, Al-Farrā’, ‘Ali Ibn Mubarak Al-Ahmar and Hishām the Blind of the Kufah grammarians, did not cite much narrated Hadith of the Prophet because they knew they were taken from Arabized Muslims, and that the narration is not accurate because in the majority of cases it was hearsay of hearsay. The top linguists based their grammar on the Qur’an and the poetry of Arabs. It is not accepted to answer, as some have done, that the non-Arab origin of the person is not a disadvantage, arguing that the great, Sibawayh, was Persian in origin.

The problem is that the Muslim from non-Arab origin found it difficult to sense the tongue of the Arabs and understand similitudes. One of the latter writers wrote: ‘Early grammarians had a peculiar attitude towards avoiding references to the Prophet’s Hadith. They did not even trouble themselves to debate the issue or declare acceptance or rejection. We rather see that the Hadiths they have referred to were either used timidly and minimally, without any proclamation, or verification in some cases. Al-Shātibi says about this: ‘…. in none of their grammar books can we infer a Hadith reported from the Prophet (S), but only in a way which I later on will indicate, God-willing. This while they quote the speech of the insolent and uncivil men among the Arabs, and their poems which include obscene words and abomination. …..This is the tafsir [interpretation] of the backward Bedouins (who urinate on their heels)!! … Therefore we see so many differences in the traditions as for the same Hadith on one event we find the expressions differ greatly between what is agreeing with what was commonly known of speech of Arabs and what was unknown. Hadn’t the case been another way, it was unjustifiable for the narrators to report Hadith on basis of meaning, in contravention to the case with transmitting poetry and utterances of Arabs, as the intention in quoting them being the words not the meaning, as indicated by tongue rules. Hence the grammarians cared much for inference from the speech of Arabs reported from trustworthy men, leaving the traditions reported due to possibility of the narrator’s perverting the wording of the Hadith from the Arabic criterion (standard), the fact leading to base it on other than the origin, and that was one of the things they prohibited for safeguarding the tongue rules. If we make a glance at their ijtihad in taking from the Arabs we would be astonished, as it was not abominable in their view to refrain from inferring the Prophetic traditions and deducing from them. ‘ 2

If it had only stopped at a fabricated word or Hadith with the wrong word, the matter would have been easy. But it went beyond that. When it became slowly acceptable to contradict the Prophet, Hadiths that contradicted the Qur’an and its rules were invented in order to justify policies opposed to the Qur’anic text.  I am not able to see how the ‘scholars’ allowed themselves this while knowing that the Prophet would have never fabricated lies against his Lord. Let us take an example on the subject of adultery and stoning of adulteresses.

The Qur’an specifies the punishment for adultery in two verses:

“Adulterer and the adulteress, lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment” (An-Noor 24:2).

“Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women – bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [a] way” (An-Nisaa 4:15).

Allah did not add anything else to these two punishments. Had He wanted, He would have done so. The punishment for adultery is either one hundred lashes or confinement to the house until death or divorce. Scholars have said that the first punishment is for the unmarried woman while the second is for the married woman. If we, for the sake of the argument, were to accept this interpretation, we will still see that the harshest punishment in the case is one hundred lashes, while it is the confinement to the house for the married woman.

But we know that the era of ignorance had not been eradicated from the hearts of Arabs even after accepting Islam. As soon as the Prophet departed, people wanted to return to the era of ignorance out of which the Prophet pulled them. They were as Allah describes them: “A faction worried about themselves, thinking of Allah other than the truth – the thought of ignorance, saying, ‘Is there anything for us [to have done] in this matter? ‘ Say, ‘Indeed, the matter belongs completely to Allah'” (Aal-Imran 3:154). They decided to return to the era of ignorance, although the Almighty forbade the judgement of ignorance, saying: “Then is it the judgement of [the time of] ignorance they desire? But who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who are certain [in faith]” (Al-Maaida 5:50).

One of the earliest manifestations of this return to Jahiliya (Ignorance) was that of treating women. It should be emphasised that some of the converts to Islam, including some who later became known as the Prophet’s Companion, used to bury girls born to them alive. This is how Qur’an describes the practice:

“And when one of them receives tidings of the birth of a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.”(An-Nahl 16:58-59) Allah has treated this as such a great sin against Him and against humanity that he reminds us that on the day of judgment one of the question put to us would be:

“And when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked. For what sin she was killed?” (At-Takwir 81:8-9)

It is not difficult to understand that some of those who converted to Islam may not have been able to completely shun such practices when it came to treating women in general. It might have been difficult to bury girls alive after Islam, but the treatment of women manifested itself in killing them when they committed adultery, which was a practice inherited from Jahiliya too.

Mahmoud Shukri Al-‘Ālusi told us about the history of the Arabs before Islam as follows:
‘Among their punishments was killing the adulteress – adultery to them was one of the greatest evils and the most terrible and infamous sin. For that reason they made it punishable by the loss of life and killing, which is the greatest punishment. Evidence of that can be seen when Nu’man Ibn Al-Mundhir killed his wife Al-Mutajarrida and wanted to kill the poet An-Nābigha Ath-Thubiāny for his description of her in his famous poem.’  3
So the people went back to the age of ignorance and decided to kill the woman if she committed adultery, even though Allah had decreed a different rule for adultery. How do they find a way out, knowing that they are contradicting the Qur’an? The second Caliph, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattāb, is reported to have said that he had read a verse in Chapter 9, ‘Surat At-Tawba’ that orders the stoning of the adulteress. But no such verse exists in ‘Surat At-Tawba’ nor anywhere else in the Qur’an. 4 So when it was impossible to insert such a verse in the Qur’an, they fell back on the safe solution by claiming that the Prophet ordered the stoning, complementing Allah’s rule, justifying that by the verse: “And whatever the Messenger has given you – take” (Al-Hashr 59:7).

But in the midst of such ignorance, they overlooked two important matters: Firstly, that the Prophet would have never fabricated lies against his Lord. Secondly, that the revelation according to them, was continuing until the Prophet’s death. Why did the Almighty not supplant the lashing and confinement with stoning before calling His Prophet to Himself? I have already shown that killing an innocent soul is a major sin, so much so that He made killing one soul without just cause like killing all mankind. Is it conceivable that He who made killing that serious a crime, would have overlooked the need to decree in the text the application to cases other than for a soul or for corruption in the land?

I do not understand these people: “Will they not ponder the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (Muhammad 47:24). How did they miss Allah’s words in which He determined the degrees of sin and warned the female believers when they came pledging loyalty to the Prophet: “O Prophet, when the believing women come to you pledging to you that they will not associate anything with Allah, nor will they steal, nor will they commit unlawful sexual intercourse, nor will they kill their children, nor will they bring forth a slander they have invented between their arms and legs, nor will they disobey you in what is right – then accept their pledge and ask forgiveness for them of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (Al-Mumtahana 60:12).
Allah thus made association with Him the gravest of sins to be followed by theft with adultery coming third, giving theft precedence over adultery. Had adultery been a worse sin than theft, He would have given it precedence, and made its punishment decapitation like He made the punishment of theft the cutting off of hands. But Allah did not do that because theft is more serious than adultery. The reason, as I have argued before, is that theft inflicts general harm in society requiring severe punishment, while adultery’s harm is personal making its punishment milder.

There are several other verses in Qur’an that make the mere suggestion of the existence of the punishment of stoning of an adulteress impossible. The first such verse I take from chapter 4 (The Women), which reads:

“… But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women. This [allowance] is for him among you who fears sin, but to be patient is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (An-Nisaa 4:25)

But if stoning was indeed what Allah had ordained for an adulteress, then how could it be halved as this verse determined it to be? Is it not only possible if the punishment was some other infliction less than death, which seems to be in line with the one hundred lashes stated earlier?

The second verse I take from Chapter 33 (Al-Ahzaab) which reads:

“O wives of the Prophet, whoever of you should commit a clear immorality – for her the punishment would be doubled two fold, and ever is that, for Allah, easy.“ (Al-Ahzaab 33:30)

If death by stoning is the punishment ordained by Allah, then how could any of the Prophet’s wives, who committed adultery, be punished twice? Would it make sense to stone her after death?

The scholars and collectors of Hadith did not stop at slandering the Prophet, but came up with a tale similar to the ‘Thousand and One Nights’ tales, claiming it was part of the Prophet’s biography. They told of a woman who came to the Prophet Muhammad admitting that she had committed adultery and that she got pregnant from that act. The Prophet is reported to have told her to go and give birth first. When she gave birth and came to Him, He told her to go and breastfeed her baby until weaning. In short, the adulteress waited three years before the Prophet ordered her to be stoned, as they claim. How did the scholars and narrators, throughout all these centuries, not notice the banality and impossibility of this story happening? One can only wonder. Who was the narrator who was sitting next to the Messenger of Allah each day during these three years and happens to be present every time that alleged woman came, in order for him to convey to us this falsity?  5
I must, before I finish the story of the stoning and its invention contrary to Allah’s order, mention one of the scandals of the Hadith. The scholars found a Hadith attributed to the Prophet, which reads: “the child is for the bed and for the fornicator is the stone”  6, and made it their further proof that the Prophet ordered the killing of the fornicator by stoning her, supporting their claim that he added stoning as a punishment because his Lord had overlooked it. If the scholars had pondered the Hadith, they would have found two faults: First, that it was never reported that the Prophet had ever used a word so crude as ‘stone’. Second, and more important, is that had they contemplated the Hadith and referred it to the Qur’anic text, they would have found that the original Hadith was: “the child is the bed’s and for the fornicator is confinement”, as the original word was hajrwhich means ‘to confine’ and not ‘hajar which is ‘stone’.  This is what was stipulated by the Almighty in the book as saying: “..confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them..”. Thus it is clear that what the Prophet said is not different from what was ordered by his Lord. The reason for the confusion between the ‘confinement’ and ‘stone’ is not difficult to understand if the Hadith was written down in the period when diacritical marks were not yet known, and narrated by an Arabized Muslim with no command of Arabic, who confused the two words and missed the truth. It may be understood that collectors or narrators may have their excuses, but what is the argument of scholars and where do they stand on Allah’s order on reflection, before rushing to issue diktats to kill people?
Abul- ‘Alā’ Al-Ma’arri was right when he said:
I am astonished at Khosrow and his followers * and washing faces with cow urine

And the Jews saying God loves the spray of blood * and smell of grilled meat!

And the Christians saying God treated unfairly * persecuted alive and doesn’t victor

The people who came from far lands * to throw pebbles and kiss the stone

I am amazed by their treatises * Are all human beings blind to the truth! 7