Update: Comments from Shaykh Tawfique Chowdhury and lecture by Shaykh Waleed appended below.

The following article was originally posted on IslamToday.com by Shaykh Salman al-Oudah (also spelled al-Awdah). The article is reproduced below, and then followed up with comments from MuslimMatters Shuyukh Yasir Qadhi and Yaser Birjas.

Standing United against Terrorism & al-Qaeda | Sheikh Salman al-Oadah|
This article contains some harsh words for those who choose to follow the path of violence. However, I find it necessary to use a harsh tone – which departs from my normal writing style – in order to confront those people who take up arms with the purpose of bringing death to numerous people and reducing societies to ruin.
When I wrote about al-Qaeda, some of my dear friends took exception to my doing so, warning me that I would be the brunt of libel and attacks upon my honor, or worse. However, I replied that the situation required that we speak clearly and frankly, and it does not matter what people will say.
I have persistently called upon our sincere scholars and preachers – and continue to call upon them – to describe things by their proper names, and to disassociate the word “jihād” (a word rich in meaning which is found in our sacred texts) form the activities of those killing organizations which murder innocent people and undermine security in societies around the world – regardless of whether those societies are Muslim or non-Muslim – since carrying out atrocities and targeting civilians is categorically forbidden in Islam.
Today, I must stress how important it is for us to condemn the abominable and criminal acts being perpetrated around the world in Islam's name and which are being misrepresented as “jihād”. We must expose those acts and the people who carry them out by calling them what they really are, whether their perpetrators refer to themselves as al-Qaeda, or a jihad organization, or a militant organization or an “Islamic state”. It is not enough to give vague indications and make ambiguous general statements.
At the same time, I must stress that it is the right of every country in the world to defend itself against external aggression and to carry out resistance against an invader or occupying power. This is an international right acknowledged by all nations. Nevertheless, carrying out such legitimate resistance neither justifies nor excuses the targeting of civilians and innocents, regardless of where they are.
It is not enough that we speak up. Things have gone farther than that. A crisis has rent the intellectual and cultural fabric of our society. Therefore, I appeal to myself and to my fellow preachers to condemn this great evil in the clearest and most unambiguous terms, an evil which is causing bloodshed, destroying society, and blackening Islam's good name. It is also hampering our development, bringing ruin to our countries, inciting transgression against human life, while violating both the tenets of Islam and the dictates of basic human values.
Therefore, we must take care not to confuse our message by discussing other wrongdoings at the same time we discuss this matter, tying them in with each other. Some ignorant people might claim that we are justifying those atrocities or seeking an excuse for them. Indeed, we should not bring up the question of terrorist attacks when we discussing social and political issues, or the media, and say: “This is the cause of that. Avoid these mistakes so as not to give cause for extremism…” This is not a good way to address the matter. It could make some of those people feel, when they see things they dislike, that they have an excuse to perpetrate acts of violence. We need to make a clear distinction between issues, and take care how we speak, so as not to unwittingly have a negative impact upon such people.
We should be wary of how we use the words “but” and “however”, words which can lead some young people to fall into misunderstandings, as if what we are saying has many angles to it which can be interpreted in various ways.
The problem we are addressing is one of blind civil strife, where “every time it seems to come to an end, it just goes on” as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said in an authentic tradition describing the tribulations of the Last Days. The onus of quelling this strife and exposing how it violates Islamic teachings falls upon the sincere scholars and preachers of Islam who do not fear the censure of others and who feel no hesitation in calling a crime a crime, regardless of the consequences.
I do not care if some people who dislike what I say are going to accuse me of working for this or that interest group, or of being a “government stooge”. I call Allah to witness for what I say. My condemnation of terror stems from my religious faith and my firm convictions. No one has any sway over my beliefs. I am neither for nor against the governments. Regardless of the consequences, I am against deviance, destructive behavior, and acts of atrocity in general, and especially when those acts are perpetrated in the name of religion. I make my position plain.
I do not care if my opponents insist on making false accusations against me. I say what I mean, loudly and clearly. These are my religious beliefs, which I have not changed and which have not been any different in the past. However, there is a more pressing need today than at any previous time to reiterate those beliefs and announce them all the more forcefully. Indeed, ever since the outbreak of these violent acts, speaking out against them has become a religious, educational and moral imperative for anyone who cares about the future of Islam, our country, the generations to come, and preserving what little stability is left in the Muslim world.
That which is happening in Somalia and elsewhere is a heartbreaking tragedy. Everything is being laid to waste and people are killing each other over the ruins – all in Islam's name. People have being killed by the droves, without pause, even in the month of Ramadan.
I declare that Allah does not make right the deeds of those who perpetrate atrocities. Nor does He bring the plots of the deceivers to right guidance. Those who, in the name of Islam, kill innocents – and very often they happen to be Muslims – or who claim that by doing so they are upholding Islamic teachings, they will not succeed and they will not set things right. Rather, they will face Allah's punishment and become a warning to others unless they repent beforehand.
Al-Qaeda is not what it was before September 11. It has turned into a media phenomenon with many people claiming the name merely for its symbolic value, mobilizing the youth under its umbrella. In this way, the strategy has changed, the evil has shaken loose from its reins and become like shrapnel all over the place, possessing a regional character but making a global noise. Al-Qaeda has become like a trademark that anyone can get hold of and carry out their activities in its name. It is no longer a cohesive organization with strong ties between its leaders and followers.
I call upon those who still make excuses and hesitate when they speak to think about the judgment they will face when they will stand before Allah. They should not let the oppressive acts of governments or their policies – like what took place in Algeria – or the embargoes that governments impose upon them, cause them to be unjust. The heavens and the Earth are only set aright by justice.
The merciful thing to do is to tell those young people who have been deceived, and those who are set to join their ranks tomorrow, that: “This path you are taking is not going to bring you to your goal. It will not save you from Hell or earn you Paradise. Whoever wants success in this life, salvation in the next, and Allah's pleasure should adhere to the true teachings of Islam and keep far away from bloodshed and strife. Do not attempt to reinterpret the faith so as to justify acts that are clearly and patently evil. In the boldness with which you commit such mortal sins, you engage in crimes far worse in Allah's estimation than those whom you purport to condemn.”
This should be the message that parents give to their families, that mothers teach their children, that teachers impart to their students, and that preachers address to their congregations. The condemnation of terror should not be connected with any official campaign, media drive, or salaried work. Rather, it should come from an inner sense of religious duty, from our obligation to raise the next generation correctly and to call people to what is right. It should be carried out with the intention of fostering reconciliation in society and building bridges between ourselves and those who disagree with us, which can be achieved on the basis of our shared concern to safeguard our faith and our worldly lives. In our thinking, we need to get beyond defending our individual interests and look to the general good and to the future. Our concern should be for society: its common folk and its leaders, its rich and its poor, those who are righteous and those who are sinners. All of these people are part of our society, and we must share a sense of loyalty with them all.
When we talk about this issue, which is of the utmost seriousness, we must not mix it up with talk about other things. Those other matters might very well be equally important, or more important, or less. In any case, those issues can be addressed on other occasions.
In all earnest, I call upon our young people to discuss this matter both in person and on the Internet, to uncover the reasons why some people have sympathies for such activities and organizations and how to remedy the causes for those sympathies. I call upon them to hold fast to the clear and explicit teachings of Islam, as set forth in the Qur'an and Sunnah, which warn against sowing dissention, killing, and murder. Indeed, this was one of the last exhortations that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made to his followers at the end of his life, on the occasion of his final pilgrimage.
Some sick-minded people have started talking about assassinations as if they were a tradition established by the Prophet. This is more than a misunderstanding – it is delusional. Did the Prophet permit the execution of the leaders of Quraysh in Mecca when they sought to stamp out the Muslims in their midst? No. Or the leaders of the traitorous hypocrites in Madinah when the sought to undermine the nascent Muslim community? No. Did he call for executing the leaders of the Jews when there was a covenant between them? No. Did he ever grant anyone the right to pass personal judgment over others and their faith and carry out punishments? No. Never did he permit such things. What chaos would have been worse than that? But this is what these people today want to reduce us to.
I assert, on the basis of certain conviction, that the people who follow that extreme path, if they ever come into power, will bring destruction and ruin to everything. Society, from its civil cohesion, to its family integrity, to its agriculture, would waste away. Those people would foster civil strife and suffer for it in turn. This is because they have deviated from the straight path. They have no understanding of Islamic teachings and the wisdom behind those teachings. They are ignorant of the natural laws that Allah has placed in His creation. Therefore, they will never be successful and never find divine support. That is for certain, as anyone who has understanding can see. Nevertheless, those people are quite successful in spreading chaos and confusion. They are good at misleading the simple-minded and causing discord, and they are given support in this whenever we are silent, mince our words, or withhold judgment.
May the peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, who brought the clear message and established the clear proof. And praise be to Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds.

Standing United against Terrorism & al-Qaeda | Sheikh Salman al-Oadah|

hotel-bombing-pic-getty-382956606This article contains some harsh words for those who choose to follow the path of violence. However, I find it necessary to use a harsh tone – which departs from my normal writing style – in order to confront those people who take up arms with the purpose of bringing death to numerous people and reducing societies to ruin.

When I wrote about al-Qaeda, some of my dear friends took exception to my doing so, warning me that I would be the brunt of libel and attacks upon my honor, or worse. However, I replied that the situation required that we speak clearly and frankly, and it does not matter what people will say.

I have persistently called upon our sincere scholars and preachers – and continue to call upon them – to describe things by their proper names, and to disassociate the word “jihād” (a word rich in meaning which is found in our sacred texts) form the activities of those killing organizations which murder innocent people and undermine security in societies around the world – regardless of whether those societies are Muslim or non-Muslim – since carrying out atrocities and targeting civilians is categorically forbidden in Islam.

Today, I must stress how important it is for us to condemn the abominable and criminal acts being perpetrated around the world in Islam's name and which are being misrepresented as “jihād”. We must expose those acts and the people who carry them out by calling them what they really are, whether their perpetrators refer to themselves as al-Qaeda, or a jihad organization, or a militant organization or an “Islamic state”. It is not enough to give vague indications and make ambiguous general statements.

At the same time, I must stress that it is the right of every country in the world to defend itself against external aggression and to carry out resistance against an invader or occupying power. This is an international right acknowledged by all nations. Nevertheless, carrying out such legitimate resistance neither justifies nor excuses the targeting of civilians and innocents, regardless of where they are.

It is not enough that we speak up. Things have gone farther than that. A crisis has rent the intellectual and cultural fabric of our society. Therefore, I appeal to myself and to my fellow preachers to condemn this great evil in the clearest and most unambiguous terms, an evil which is causing bloodshed, destroying society, and blackening Islam's good name. It is also hampering our development, bringing ruin to our countries, inciting transgression against human life, while violating both the tenets of Islam and the dictates of basic human values.

Therefore, we must take care not to confuse our message by discussing other wrongdoings at the same time we discuss this matter, tying them in with each other. Some ignorant people might claim that we are justifying those atrocities or seeking an excuse for them. Indeed, we should not bring up the question of terrorist attacks when we are discussing social and political issues, or the media, and say: “This is the cause of that. Avoid these mistakes so as not to give cause for extremism…” This is not a good way to address the matter. It could make some of those people feel, when they see things they dislike, that they have an excuse to perpetrate acts of violence. We need to make a clear distinction between issues, and take care how we speak, so as not to unwittingly have a negative impact upon such people.

We should be wary of how we use the words “but” and “however”, words which can lead some young people to fall into misunderstandings, as if what we are saying has many angles to it which can be interpreted in various ways.

The problem we are addressing is one of blind civil strife, where “every time it seems to come to an end, it just goes on” as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said in an authentic tradition describing the tribulations of the Last Days. The onus of quelling this strife and exposing how it violates Islamic teachings falls upon the sincere scholars and preachers of Islam who do not fear the censure of others and who feel no hesitation in calling a crime a crime, regardless of the consequences.

I do not care if some people who dislike what I say are going to accuse me of working for this or that interest group, or of being a “government stooge”. I call Allah to witness for what I say. My condemnation of terror stems from my religious faith and my firm convictions. No one has any sway over my beliefs. I am neither for nor against the governments. Regardless of the consequences, I am against deviance, destructive behavior, and acts of atrocity in general, and especially when those acts are perpetrated in the name of religion. I make my position plain.

I do not care if my opponents insist on making false accusations against me. I say what I mean, loudly and clearly. These are my religious beliefs, which I have not changed and which have not been any different in the past. However, there is a more pressing need today than at any previous time to reiterate those beliefs and announce them all the more forcefully. Indeed, ever since the outbreak of these violent acts, speaking out against them has become a religious, educational and moral imperative for anyone who cares about the future of Islam, our country, the generations to come, and preserving what little stability is left in the Muslim world.

That which is happening in Somalia and elsewhere is a heartbreaking tragedy. Everything is being laid to waste and people are killing each other over the ruins – all in Islam's name. People are being killed by the droves, without pause, even in the month of Ramadan.

I declare that Allah does not make right the deeds of those who perpetrate atrocities. Nor does He bring the plots of the deceivers to right guidance. Those who, in the name of Islam, kill innocents – and very often they happen to be Muslims – or who claim that by doing so they are upholding Islamic teachings, they will not succeed and they will not set things right. Rather, they will face Allah's punishment and become a warning to others unless they repent beforehand.

Al-Qaeda is not what it was before September 11. It has turned into a media phenomenon with many people claiming the name merely for its symbolic value, mobilizing the youth under its umbrella. In this way, the strategy has changed, the evil has shaken loose from its reins and become like shrapnel all over the place, possessing a regional character but making a global noise. Al-Qaeda has become like a trademark that anyone can get hold of and carry out their activities in its name. It is no longer a cohesive organization with strong ties between its leaders and followers.

I call upon those who still make excuses and hesitate when they speak to think about the judgment they will face when they will stand before Allah. They should not let the oppressive acts of governments or their policies – like what took place in Algeria – or the embargoes that governments impose upon them, cause them to be unjust. The heavens and the earth are only set aright by justice.

The merciful thing to do is to tell those young people who have been deceived, and those who are set to join their ranks tomorrow, that: “This path you are taking is not going to bring you to your goal. It will not save you from Hell or earn you Paradise. Whoever wants success in this life, salvation in the next, and Allah's pleasure should adhere to the true teachings of Islam and keep far away from bloodshed and strife. Do not attempt to reinterpret the faith so as to justify acts that are clearly and patently evil. In the boldness with which you commit such mortal sins, you engage in crimes far worse in Allah's estimation than those whom you purport to condemn.”

This should be the message that parents give to their families, that mothers teach their children, that teachers impart to their students, and that preachers address to their congregations. The condemnation of terror should not be connected with any official campaign, media drive, or salaried work. Rather, it should come from an inner sense of religious duty, from our obligation to raise the next generation correctly and to call people to what is right. It should be carried out with the intention of fostering reconciliation in society and building bridges between ourselves and those who disagree with us, which can be achieved on the basis of our shared concern to safeguard our faith and our worldly lives. In our thinking, we need to get beyond defending our individual interests and look to the general good and to the future. Our concern should be for society: its common folk and its leaders, its rich and its poor, those who are righteous and those who are sinners. All of these people are part of our society, and we must share a sense of loyalty with them all.

When we talk about this issue, which is of the utmost seriousness, we must not mix it up with talk about other things. Those other matters might very well be equally important, or more important, or less. In any case, those issues can be addressed on other occasions.

In all earnest, I call upon our young people to discuss this matter both in person and on the Internet, to uncover the reasons why some people have sympathies for such activities and organizations and how to remedy the causes for those sympathies. I call upon them to hold fast to the clear and explicit teachings of Islam, as set forth in the Qur'an and Sunnah, which warn against sowing dissention, killing, and murder. Indeed, this was one of the last exhortations that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made to his followers at the end of his life, on the occasion of his final pilgrimage.

Some sick-minded people have started talking about assassinations as if they were a tradition established by the Prophet. This is more than a misunderstanding – it is delusional. Did the Prophet permit the execution of the leaders of Quraysh in Mecca when they sought to stamp out the Muslims in their midst? No. Or the leaders of the traitorous hypocrites in Madinah when the sought to undermine the nascent Muslim community? No. Did he call for executing the leaders of the Jews when there was a covenant between them? No. Did he ever grant anyone the right to pass personal judgment over others and their faith and carry out punishments? No. Never did he permit such things. What chaos would have been worse than that? But this is what these people today want to reduce us to.

I assert, on the basis of certain conviction, that the people who follow that extreme path, if they ever come into power, will bring destruction and ruin to everything. Society, from its civil cohesion, to its family integrity, to its agriculture, would waste away. Those people would foster civil strife and suffer for it in turn. This is because they have deviated from the straight path. They have no understanding of Islamic teachings and the wisdom behind those teachings. They are ignorant of the natural laws that Allah has placed in His creation. Therefore, they will never be successful and never find divine support. That is for certain, as anyone who has understanding can see. Nevertheless, those people are quite successful in spreading chaos and confusion. They are good at misleading the simple-minded and causing discord, and they are given support in this whenever we are silent, mince our words, or withhold judgment.

May the peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, who brought the clear message and established the clear proof. And praise be to Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds.

Comments by Shaykh Yaser Birjas

Sheikh Salaman al-Awdah has boldly spoken the truth. His words in his recent article “Standing Together Against Terrorism and al-Qa'eda” truly profess a scholarly assessment, a brotherly advice and putting things, facts and people in their rightful position.

Speaking from a personal experience during my four year stay in Bosnia, I can confidently confirm the great misconception young Muslims have had and still have about a noble religious principle in its broader meaning such as Jihad and the mix up between it and the acts of violence done in the name of Jihad and Islam.

There is no doubt, calling for justice is a form of Jihad in itself, even if it entails the use of proportional force by those who are in authoritative position and can perform in that capacity. Acts of violence, such as indiscriminate killing, on the other hand can never be attributed to Jihad or Islam simply because the perpetrators chose to give it that name.

The message delivered in the article was a strong statement from the sheikh hafidhahullah, and definitely was much needed for our time. I personally support it and believe in it.

May Allah give the Sheikh and us all the strength to remain steadfast against all acts of evil and injustice and use us all in the best way in serving his message, al-Islam.

Comments by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

In the early 90's, a new movement appeared that claimed to follow the teachings of the earliest generations yet were far removed from it in ideology, methodology and manners. They assumed that they and they alone were rightly guided. They deemed all those who opposed them to be deviants and heretics. They made it their religion to go around concentrating on the supposed faults of other people, without actually offering anything of substance to their communities. This group gave such a negative stereotype to anyone who wished to preach an orthodox understanding of Islam that to this day we are battling the negativity they created.

I had plenty of run-ins with them, and they caused many of us much personal grief and problems. I must admit, though, that while the swiftness of their demise did come as a surprise, I knew all along that their fame would be short-lived, and their popularity temporary. I knew this not because I was privy to some unseen knowledge, but because Allah says in the Qur'an, “So as for the chaff, it leaves in all direction, and as for that which benefits mankind, it stays on earth” [al-Ra`ad, 17]. These people were bankrupt in knowledge, bankrupt in manners, and bankrupt in being of any benefit to society. Their only contribution appeared to be in belittling the contribution of others and mocking their efforts.

While that group is now, for all practical purposes, wiped off the face of the earth, a more sinister group has taken their place. Their tactics are the same, but their mannerisms and accusations are worse. Rather than accuse others of being 'deviant' or 'off the manhaj', this new group, following directly in the footsteps of the Khawarij, accuse other Muslims of being hypocrites and disbelievers, government sell-outs and stooges. While they themselves cannot show an iota of positive contribution to the Ummah, they revel in heaping more and more accusations upon those who are actually striving to make a difference. Armchair critics against those activists who live in the same lands as they do, they act as cheerleaders for those in other lands who terrorize others in the name of the religion, all the while not seeing the irony of their pathetic situation. Whenever I converse with one of them, a strong sense of deja vu overtakes me. I have spoken to their ilk before, and advised their methodological descendants.

Far from awakening true Islamic spirit, all these groups can do is unleash the worst of manners and the most condescending of attitudes and the most arrogant of tones against people who are genuinely striving to make Muslims better Muslims. My advice to them, as it was to those before them, remains the same:

  • Even if you believe you are 'more rightly guided' than others, do not make your entire religion a negation of 'the other'. No ideology can flourish merely by critiquing others. Do something productive for the community instead of spending all your time criticizing those who are actually doing something productive.
  • Realize that those whom you oppose might be sincere people, and if you have wronged them, you will be accountable on the Day of Judgment for those wrongs.
  • Err on the side of caution; accusing someone of being a hypocrite is a grave sin, if you have nothing good to say, be silent, that is better for you.
  • Realize that none of the senior activists of the West are supportive of your ideologies, even if you wish to claim one as your own. There are people who are more intimately familiar with those who cannot speak for themselves, and know first-hand that such people are supportive of the mainstream activists, and wish to dissociate from extremists and from supporters of groups that cause much evil and bloodshed on earth.

There is much more to be said, but suffice to conclude by stating that the statement of Sh. Salman al-Oudah is a statement that I support 110 %. Sh. Salman is someone whom I know personally, and consider a mentor.

While I realize, having experienced the attitudes of the groups before them, that such statements rarely have any impact on the followers of such extremist ideologies (for their zealousness blinds them to anything outside of their limited understandings), I also realize that we have a responsibility to others, Muslims and non-Muslims, to publicly repudiate such extremist ideologies. It is for this reason that we at MuslimMatters proudly endorse this statement and publicly acknowledge this to be our stance as well.

NEW! Comments by Shaykh Tawfique Chowdhury

Those who have followed the events of recent decades will have noticed the rise of two distinct groups that are fighting for our hearts and minds – vastly different in their positions to the undiscerning eye, but extremely similar in their essence to the intelligent investigator. Like the Murjiah and Khawarij – differing against each other on their positions on iman but being similar in the fallacy that led to their differing positions – that of believing that iman is a whole that does not subdivide nor can it increase or decrease. Today we have the modern version of these two groups that are struggling for our hearts and minds – the modernists calling for total assimilation, reinterpretation, reinvention, rediscovery and liberation from the purity of Islam to the freedom of ignorance vs the takfeeri jihadi cult of Al-Qaeda and those upon their beliefs calling for indiscriminate death and destruction. Though both are diametrically opposed in their positions – they are in fact nothing but two sides of the same coin! That coin being – perversion of the religion from its roots, ideals and traditional scholastic methodology of understanding the Qur'an and Sunnah. Both of them understand Islam through the same prism of perverted pseudo-scholarship and come to two very distinct conclusions. This is not scholarship. It is perversion, ignorance and distortion of the pristine traditional methodology of the scholars of Islam. The advice of every true scholar of our time and before has always been to be wary of following the paths of the two. Allah says: “And likewise, we made you a nation on the middle path…”

There is no doubt to anyone that our Prophet was a Prophet of mercy. He was a Prophet that forbade in mutawatir ahadith to kill women and children. The Prophetic path of rectification is not to channel our anger at women and children, but at the actual perpetrator. There is no place for vigilantism in our religion. To consider this Jihad is not only a perversion but a clear fallacy. Even those scholars considered to be the sheikhs of the Mujahideen of today such as Abdullah Azzam rahimahullah as considered by some – were opposed to such acts of terrorism and vigilantism. So I advise those brothers and sisters who are persuaded by these thoughts or by these people – to reconsider and avoid a path that has no benefit.

I myself have seen numerous examples of mashaikh that have spent their time building the takfeeri jihadi tarbiyyah in their students. Never has this ever led to any good by Allah. These same mashaikh have had to become informants to security agencies to preserve their freedom, their students have been imprisoned after turning on their own mashaikh with takfeer and tafseeq, some of them have lost their lives and many now languish in prisons and their families cry night and day thinking about what went wrong. Others less serious in their levels of misguidance in this matter are plagued with extreme levels of negativity and have varying levels of antisocial personality disorder from the Muslim ummah in general and the greater society as a whole. They do little good and are responsible for little good that sustains the da'wah movement today. They stand ready to meet every Islamic endeavour with scepticism and to perform verbal and literary jihad upon every attempt at revival and sustaining the momentum of our da'wah. This is the path of deception and destruction.

On the contrary, I urge everyone to be the likes of our esteemed mashaikh of the past and encourage everyone to hear the message of our Sheikh Salman Al-Oudah for he speaks with knowledge, wisdom and deep experience in dealing with such people and such mentalities. The path of true success is that of orthodox traditional Islam upon the pure understanding of our great ulema, may Allah preserve them.

And our last call is that all praise is for Allah the Lord of Mankind.

Talk Delivered by Shaykh Waleed at IlmFest 2009

In front of an audience of an estimated thousand Muslims in Baltimore at Ilmfest, Dr. Waleed Basyouni delivered a lecture titled “Reclaiming Islam from the Jihadists”.

The speech was featured in the Baltimore Sun newspaper,

Hundreds of Muslims went to the Baltimore Convention Center on Saturday to hear Basyouni and others promote what organizers described as a moderate, modern interpretation of Islam for the United States and the West. It was the opening day of Ilm Fest, an annual education conference previously staged in New York, Chicago and Toronto.

To download this lecture, click here

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

185 Responses

  1. bebe

    I approve this message. MasyaAllah, may Allah reward both of you for setting things straight. Terrorism is not the way of the Prophet (P.b.u.h) and killing innocent people is wrong.

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    Reply
  2. naeem

    AA-

    Very nice article and follow-up comments. I like how its been made unequivocally clear what Jihad IS NOT. However, I’m convinced that we must simultaneously make clear what Jihad IS.

    Otherwise, confusion will persist.

    This article, while condemning the ill-advised actions and beliefs of many disenfranchised youth, does not allay their worries and concerns. The frustrations are still there and are VERY REAL.

    Should we cease to be concerned about the oppressions facing the Muslim Ummah? If not, what avenues do we have open to us? If (combative) Jihad is one of them,then what type of Jihad-oriented activities and efforts should we be supporting? In what manner?

    It is incumbent upon our scholars to not only teach us what is deplorable, but also what is commendable, particularly in this very gray area of 21st century Jihad.

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    • Yaser Birjas

      Absolutely valid concern and I believe it is the right of every Muslim, especially those who live in the west, to know what is the right and valid way of Jihad, away from any zealous spirit or apologetic approach. I hope we can fulfill this request in future posts and articles insha’Allah.

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      • mystrugglewithin

        Naeem’s comment, and your feedback summarize everything that most of us here are concerned with.

        Jazakallah Khayrum, asalamalaikum.

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      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        Ya shaykhana, many many of us are REALLY looking forward to these posts inshaAllah :) . wa jazakumullahu khayran.

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      • Dawud Israel

        Jazaka Allahu khayran shaykh!

        I really hope you do! We are all looking forward to that discussion. I honestly know little to nothing about this area- all I know is controlling the nafs is a more important jihad for me and that dawah and spreading Islam by the word, is more important when living in the west, than having concerns about someone else’s jihad.

        Key questions I will mention, only because they will be mentioned by the zealots and seem to remain unanswered:
        -the killing of the one woman who used to mock the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam, even though he did not sanction it, he did not discourage it after he discovered it had been done…is this a true story and if so, what does it mean?
        -whether or not jihad can be announced by an independent party, if the Muslim governments aren’t willing to defend the rights of the Muslims, what should we do?
        -how does jihad today figure in comparison with the different jihads in Islamic history, ex: Sh. Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahabb’s “jihad” against the Ottomans…
        -what the position of the scholars is on Muslims in the US Army or any other non-Muslim army…this is a big discussion on some Muslim forums

        Jazaka Allahu khayran again for having the courage to speak about this and I wish you all the best! :)

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      • Yus from the Nati

        New AlMag class? Fiqh of Jihad? Maqasid of Jihad?

        Heard Sh. Qaradawi coming out with book on Fiqh of Jihad. Will be interesting.

        I agree with “naeem”. Always saying what we are not…but not what we are in many aspects of our religion.

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      • Bismillah

        Asalamu Alaykum,

        In his IlmFest 2009 talk, Shaykh Waleed Basyouni went through various proofs and evidences and statements and understandings from scholars on where the extremist trend went wrong – and what the proper understanding is.

        Being born and raised in the West and having been informed about world events through the media, by far Shaykh Waleed’s talk was the most beneficial I have witnessed thus far, not simply becuase of his knowledge, because he was speaking to the Muslims and was using proof and trying to correct understandings. I hope that the information he shared in his lecture could be shared, reproduced, or expounded upon even more, if not some even takes to consulting him in this.

        Jazak’Allah khayr for acknowledging naeem’s concern Shaykh Yaser, may Allah guide you aright in all that you do and give you ever increasing fiqh of deen, and guide all our shuyookh and those brothers and sisters trying to establish justice and peace around the world, and rectify the affiars of this ummah, ameen.

        Asalamu Alaykum

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  3. Asim K

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Jazakallah for the post from Sh Awdah and commentary.

    An interesting note that came to mind: John Espisito makes the case that these extremists and oppressive governments across the Muslim world are mutually working against democracy and justice; they are both mutually important to one another. The extremists trumpet the evil and injustice of the government to launch their ‘jihad’, and the thug governments use these people as excuses to tighten authoritarian measures and to cut back on basic freedoms. Funny how that works huh?

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  4. Shoeb K

    Good article.

    The tension and murders will be there as long a s state and religion are comingled. This bloodshed is a part of undeclared reformation; but in the absence of a formal reformation, which will happen if many other Imams speak out like Sh Awad, this bloodshed and killing of innocents will go on. We Muslims will ebcome a despised group because of the acts of the few.

    Naem talks about the impact on Umma. I believe “Umma” is one of the real problems. Muslims are killing Muslims in Pakistan because of the situation in Chechnya or killing people in Uk because of Uighars in China. We just have to stop these; time to learn and operate within nation states. We just cannot go on like this.

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    • Nafees

      Having a sense of brotherhood with Muslims around the world is not a problem, nor is supporting their efforts to fight oppression – in fact it is our obligation to support them.

      Confining oneself, selfishly, to the problems of nation states is a naive world-view as no one nation state can act totally independently of another – their problems will become our problems even if you take way the sacred concept of Ummah .

      What matters more than the opinion of the non-Muslims of Muslims is the opinion of Allah of the Muslims.

      And it is this where Sheikh. Salman al-Oudah has hit the nail on the head.

      The concept of revenge is alien to Islam, instead we call for justice. Muslims have been to fooled by Shaytan into killing as they have been killed – they have forgotten the higher ideal that we are better than the Kuffar as we have been given the divine truth.

      And the truth is that Islam is a religion of Mercy, and Allah is the most Merciful, and the Prophet (PBUH) was the most merciful and kindest man to have ever lived and the Sahaba merciful generation to have ever lived.

      We have swapped the ideal of Islam for realpolitik. May Allah forgive us.

      Resistance to oppression in the form of armed Jihad is one of the best deeds a Muslim can undertake but we cannot deviate the very ideals we are fight for in the process as we will be deviating from the command of Allah.

      “…do not transgress limits; Allah does not love the transgressors.” 2:190.

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      • Shoeb K

        That is utter nonsense. We are not fooled by any Shaytan. We are fooled by our illiterate mullahs.
        “We are better than Kuffar as we have been given the divine truth” — simply amazing! Attitudes like these are the same ones propmpting our brrothers kill other brothers and in your language non-brothers (kuiffar).

        Let us be realistic. World now views us in two groups. Muslim terrorists and non-terrorist Muslims. That is where we are.

        And we brought this fate to ourselves. Look at Pakistan, my native country. Just in the last four days, almost 200 people have been killed. Is there any OIC country that is peaceful, that is a beacon of progress and opportunity? We all migrate to USA and Europe and then say these are our oppressors. Shame on us!

        We are our own oppressors! Look at the mirror. We ar saddled by outmoded interpretations and ideas. We have been stopped to question since 1100 when ijithad was shut. And questioning and exploring are the foundations of knowledge and progress.
        We reap what we saw.

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      • Dawud Israel


        Is there any OIC country that is peaceful, that is a beacon of progress and opportunity?

        Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and to some degree Iran. There are flaws, just as their are flaws with the West- but these are countries which are no doubt beacons of hope.

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  5. AnonHouse

    salam,

    I am sorry but I was born yesterday. Can anyone give names of the personalities the author speaks of ?. Who exactly are the scholars of extremism. ? I know about al qaeda, the group, who are these other folks. I have good reason to believe that what Sh. Oudah speaks is fairly different to what Sh. Awlakhi has postulated in the past. How does one reconcile what seems like quite opposing views?

    The sense I get from Sh. Oudah is that one cannot be unjust against those who are themselves unjust. I agree, ends don’t justify the means. But is he referring to groups in Iraq, or Afghanistan. ?

    Is the framining correct in describing legit struggle against US military occupation ?

    A sh. recently claims one can only protect himself/herself if oppressor tries to violate/ threatens his family, property or life i.e tries to enter his immediate personal space or home. And so people under oppression by foreign occupation must stay in their homes and not resort to taking up arms without consent of their leader. But today muslims in Iraq, and there are a plethora of reports out there to give evidence, point out that muslims in Iraq are suffering from cancer simply because of Uranium deposits left behind from an unjust American occupation. They don’t have to go out to be attacked and be killed!!!

    I am told by a few of my friends that we should first correct ourselves before correcting others. This framing is simply illogical and begs more thought; we know it’s not a matter of turning on a single switch to have a desired outcome. We must consider to address all possible options including correcting ourselves, and killing those that create mischief and violate the rights of our brothers and sisters.

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    • Amad

      Sh. Oudah speaks is fairly different to what Sh. Awlakhi has postulated in the past. How does one reconcile what seems like quite opposing views?

      I would say the two not only speak differently, but likely mean differently as well. I am not sure if there is necessarily any reconciliation needed or required between the two views. Neither does Shaykh Oudah speak for al-Awlaki nor vice-versa. Also keep in mind Shaykh Oudah is a scholar relative to the other authors here and relative to al-Awlaki as well, who would all fall in the category of students of knowledge.

      Also, your comments are falling within the same “ifs” and “buts” that Sh. Oudah addresses in the speech. Injustice can never be corrected by more injustice. Two wrongs never make a right.

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    • Ibn Masood

      The framing is illogical? Bro I think this begs the question then, do you consider it to be so because of what you perceive to be correct due to your own intellect? Or do you consider it to be so out of a firm foothold of Islamic Knowledge?

      I am also a fan of Sh. Awlaki, but I think it is important that such matters be viewed in the framework of the usul and principles of fiqh in our religion, as it is through them that matters of the dunya are able to viewed as matters of the deen. This approach is more important than taking a course of action due to emotion and rushed thinking, which often leads to action not based on firm Islamic knowledge.

      Sh. Salman Oadah is one of those very rare Faqih’s who genuinely understand the situation of Muslims in the world, and takes that understanding into a perspective built on the knowledge of the religion.

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  6. Ibn Masood

    Assalamualaikum

    MashaAllah I enjoyed the comments by the two Shuyukh (I had read Sheikh Salman’s article earlier). Just wondering who the first group was that Sheikh YQ was talking about, as that was back when I was wee little ‘un (It’s quite clear who the the second is)

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      • Abu Yunus

        Many who left Salafiyyah were merely Salafi by association (Salafiyyah was misconstrued to be a clique) not because of the veracity of Salafiyyah. Salafiyyah is a manhaj (methodology of understanding Islam) not some cult that it was portrayed to be. I would rephrase that article as follows: “The Rise and Fall of Claimaints to Salafiyyah.” That is because Salafiyyah is a “constant” that does not fall – it is divine manhaj. People who claim to be salafi are “variables” who may fall depending on their level of iman and their sincerity. In fact, many of those who left Salafiyyah were Salafi due to wrong intentions as I mentioned above, not because of the truthfulness and validity of the manhaj. In fact many people behave as chameleons, changing depending on where they are. Let it be known that the religion does not change as time elapses or due to environment change. As such, that article has some observations – it discusses historical realities but in no way, shape or form, portrays an accurate picture of Salafiyyah.

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  7. Sarah

    MashaAllah great post… really clears up some of the misconceptions…. JazakAllahu-Khairun Shuyookh!!!

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  8. Abu Abdaen

    Salam Alaykum,

    As much as I like the content of this article, I think it leaves much unanswered. Our scholars need to come out with clear guiding prnciples on what our views & roles should be in this global war against the muslims.

    I clearly disagree with Imam Alawlaki preaching of bloodshed and takfeer. Unfortunately, our scholars are not rising up to the task of educating the muslim masses on the proper approach they should follow. Merely condemning the actions without providing clear and detailed evidences as well as what actions to follow will not achieve any purpose.

    Although, I have to say this is an obvious improvement from the state of denial and silence that have been in the past. However, we need to take it further by refuting the shaky evidences and reasons these scholars of bloodshed & their people bring to support their carnage and destructions. Also, we need to address each scenario as it deems fit as I’m sure the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, etc differ in one aspect or the other and so cannot be addressed by sweeping generalisations. Allah knows best.

    All in all, I’m so happy that we are having scholars taking these issues headhorn however much still need to be done. May Allah alleviate the sufferings of the muslims all over the world and grant us a sound understanding of His deen.

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  9. Abu Abdaen

    Also, I wish to add that the great majority of the muslims are confused sympathisers of these people of carnage & destruction and a timely and well thought out explanations by the scholars will serve to assauge their feelings and give them a sense of direction.

    May Allah elevate Islam & the believers and may He debase disbelief and the oppressors of the muslims aamin.

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  10. Mohammed Khan

    Salaam All,

    I don’t know if Shaykh Salman al-Ouda is a “mentor” to follow, even though Shaykh Yasir looks up to him very highly.

    Shaykh al-Ouda went against the Saudi government for the right reasons, and was jailed along with other “Awakening Shuyukh”.

    But then Shaykh al-Ouda changed his perspectives and now supports everything the Saudi government does and wants. He seems to have converted from a truthful Shaykh to a devoted government scholar (much like Tantawi is) after his release from jail.

    Even when Osama bin Laden supported him, Shaykh al-Ouda didn’t rebuke and condemn Osama for the terrorism he was doing. Why was he silent about it? It was only after his release from jail when he became a mouthpiece of the Saudi government and went more openly against Osama bin Laden, all in line with the Saudi government’s domestic and foreign policy.

    Terrorism is a problem but fanfare of Shaykh al-Ouda isn’t the way to go. Shaykh Yasir, I suggest you to please retract your support of this Shaykh because this will make the Muslim case against terrorism weak.

    JazakAllahu Khyr wassalaam,
    Mohammed

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    • Siraaj Muhammad

      So, in your opinion, is Shaykh Salman lying when he says the following in the article above:

      I do not care if some people who dislike what I say are going to accuse me of working for this or that interest group, or of being a “government stooge”. I call Allah to witness for what I say. My condemnation of terror stems from my religious faith and my firm convictions. No one has any sway over my beliefs. I am neither for nor against the governments. Regardless of the consequences, I am against deviance, destructive behavior, and acts of atrocity in general, and especially when those acts are perpetrated in the name of religion. I make my position plain.

      I do not care if my opponents insist on making false accusations against me. I say what I mean, loudly and clearly. These are my religious beliefs, which I have not changed and which have not been any different in the past.

      Siraaj

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      • Mohammed Khan

        Salaam Siraaj,

        The fact is that Shaykh al-Ouda is funded and protected by the Saudi government — the same government that arrested him and kept him in jail for several years.

        Al-Ouda also supports the US “War on Terror” which is clearly the Saudi government’s position on the matter:

        “When it comes to trying to engage in dialogue with the West, al-Awda, as evidenced by his website, has been an important player. In 2002, he collaborated on a response to an Institute for American Values (a right-wing “think tank”) statement entitled “What We’re Fighting For,” which laid out a moral basis for the United States’ “war on terror” as necessary to defend “universal human morality” against “organized killers with global reach.”

        Apparently al-Ouda also supported ‘suicide bombing’ against civilians:

        A transcript of a New York Times interview in 2001 with Douglas Jehl posted on al-Awda’s Web site quotes the shaykh responding to a question about a suicide attack in Jerusalem. “Regardless of whether the attacks were against civilians,” he says, “the fact [is] that they were within the realm of resisting occupation. Is there any international law that denies the people the right to resist with any means they can?”

        (Read more: http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/5548/Awda-Salman-al–1955.html#ixzz0Tkhp13UZ)

        Apparently he is also against women driving, unless he has changed his position on the matter. This is not related to terrorism but it still makes Muslims look ridiculous when using a scholar like this as a ‘mentor’ for obvious reasons.

        It is clear that supporting Shaykh al-Ouda and calling him a “mentor” weakens the Islamic position against terrorism in view of his statements above. Sure, those statements must have a context, but legitimizing suicide bombing using any context is not going to win us any support.

        Shaykh Yasir should therefore retract his support of him, at least in the matter of explaining what terrorism is and isn’t, as this will make it more difficult for us to defend our position.

        Mohammed

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      • Siraaj Muhammad

        So again, is he a liar in your view or not? Btw, not sure about your view on him supporting the War on Terror – the link you provided states the following:

        While al-Awda is firm on repudiating violence as a means of solving problems in Saudi Arabia, he sees violence as a legitimate method of response in other places. In fact he encourages what he sees as defensive attacks wherever oppressed people have no other option. In 2004, for example, in the wake of United States military action in Falluja, Iraq, al-Awda joined twenty-five other shaykhs in signing a fatwa urging Iraqis to carry out “defensive jihad” against American “warriors of aggression” occupying their country. At the same time, despite his repeated calls for Muslim unity and a common defense, al-Awda discourages foreigners, particularly Saudis, from taking part in the Iraq fighting on tactical grounds, as they might sow confusion.

        As for this views on women driving, you can see what’s on his site:

        http://islamtoday.com/show_detail_section.cfm?q_id=633&main_cat_id=35

        Question: Please provide me with the Islamic ruling and strong evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah regarding a woman driving a car. Is it permissible? If so, why are women in Saudi Arabia not allowed to have drivers licenses?

        Answered by the Fatwa Department Research Committee Рchaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahh̢b al-Turayr̨

        There is nothing in Islamic Law that prohibits a woman from driving an automobile.

        With respect to what is going on in Saudi Arabia, there is a principle in Islamic Law called sadd al-dharâ’i` (preventing the means to evil or harm). It is up to the leadership of the Muslim state to enact laws that prevent the spread of injury, injustice, and vice. It is then the religious duty of the people living in that state to obey such laws.

        If the state considers it to be in the best interests of the people to enact laws restricting driving for certain sectors of the population, then it falls within the state’s jurisdiction to do so. The law in Saudi Arabia that prevents women from driving is considered one of these laws.

        If the state makes an exception for certain cases or areas, then this is within their jurisdiction as well. This is all a question of public policy and not one of sacred law.

        And Allah knows best.

        Siraaj

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      • Mohammed Khan

        Let’s get the context right and not see matters in isolation.

        Sh. al-Ouda’s fatwa with colleagues in favor of Iraqi resistance against US troops in Iraq was an aberration from his post-jail perspectives and fatawa. Therefore, this fatwa should not be seen as the ‘norm’ of his views, as you seem to portray, but as an anomaly from the norm. The norm was that he became entirely in line with what the Saudi government wanted to support and justify in their domestic and foreign policies, so my point remains.

        The more important question is: Why the anomaly? Likely because his constant pro-government positions after his jail experience were making him look like a sell-out, and for good reason. He was losing credibility as a scholar so he had to change this public perception of himself. He did this by supporting the Iraqi resistance against the US occupation of Iraq which was not the official Saudi government line on the matter.

        However, it is likely that the Saudi government let him continue with his aberration so the government could continue to use Sh. al-Ouda to justify their political aims while sustaining an image to the public that he was still an authentic /genuine /credible scholar to be relied on as he was in his pre-jail period.

        In fact, one can argue that had the government not allowed this aberration to happen, then the government would eventually have lost a very influential Shaykh to justify their policies. Only a Shaykh credible to the public is politically advantageous. The Saudi government knows this well.

        So, Sh. al-Ouda seems to be striking a fine balance between pleasing the monarchy (to avoid being jailed again) and pleasing the public (so as to not lose credibility as a scholar) — a not-so-easy feat that he may feel obligated to perform under the circumstances, no doubt.

        The fine balancing act is seen even in the aberration. He only allowed Iraqis to resist (in line with public opinion) while forbidding Saudis from participating in the resistance (in line with Saudi government policy).

        The balancing act is yet again seen in the women driving issue. While saying that Islamic Law does not forbid women from driving, he nevertheless supports the Saudi government’s decision to uphold the ban. But while leaving the matter in political realms, he contradicted Shaykh Ibn Baz and Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen whose fatawa against women driving was based on fiqhi/Islamic justification with no mention of leaving the matter in political realms.

        Lastly, does Sh. al-Ouda still support suicide bombings in Jerusalem against civilians? If he does, this not only contradicts the true Sunni position that forbids the killing of civilians, but also lends support to terrorism which suicide bombing against civilians is an integral part of. Maybe you can find info on this ?

        Salaam,
        Mohammed

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      • Siraaj

        Salaam alaykum Mohammed,

        You’ve still not answered – are you calling him a liar, and now also alleging that he makes up opinions to please the Saudi gov’t rather than Allah? Please state it clearly, if this is the case.

        Siraaj

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      • Px

        Assalamu ‘alaikum,

        Mohammed Khan, you clearly aren’t aware of who or what Shaykh Salman is. And, if you do you’re coming to wrong conclusions about many things. Shaykh Salman was an active member of what is known as the “Sahwa” Movement. It basically arose from the fall out of Ikhwan when they were being persecuted by many arab govts. and many of their leaders exiled, with an element of intellectual revival, in a post-colonial world, and in the face of modernism. It’s theorists included the likes of Muhammad Qutb. And many of the scholars who have been associated with it’s intellectual/educational branch include the likes of Qaradhawi, and even al-Albani. Safar al-Hawali and Salman al-‘awdah were two of its prominent activists. (Please the knowledgeable individuals correct me if I’m wrong in my understanding of as-sahwa movement.)

        Salman al-‘awdah was NEVER for any kind of armed struggle against Saudi govt., but he believed strongly in political activism and still does. He always stresses the hadith the best ‘jihad’ is speaking a word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler. He has been over the years trying to formulate a comprehensive understanding approach to various social,political problems and dilemmas. It has evolved somewhat overtime, and yes he may have ‘lost’ some balance in some aspects, but he still sticks to his original message. Has he mellowed down in his criticisms of the govt., but it hasn’t as much to do with ‘selling out’, as it has to do with PRIORITIZING what he deems as more important issues. He’s very active on a social front, and is trying to bring about a positive change, and we should all commend his efforts.

        Alhamdulilah this article/statement of his against the extremists is amazing, please read it CAREFULLY, it’s not denying any islamic duties. But do read it in context, by that I mean read some of his older articles on english site, also don’t forget to view the ARABIC site, which should actually clear up a lot of confusion. And, please don’t jump to conclusions.

        Also, to gain an idea of the understanding Shaykh Salman is trying to evolve and promote please see his booklet, “Walking the Straight Path”. You can read it here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/19461444/Walking-the-Straight-Path (Or, d/l it from IslamToday.com).

        Salam.

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      • Mohammed Khan

        Wassalam Siraj,

        It’s best to know the facts and context of a situation as best as possible, make your best judgement based on that, and then leave the rest to Allah by saying “Allah Knows Best.” While we, as Muslims, should have the best opinion of other Muslims, it should not be a blind defense of them either. If we opt to have such an approach towards Tantawi, I don’t see why it should be any different for Sh. al-Ouda or any other Muslim.

        Mohammed

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      • Siraaj

        Salaam alaykum Mohammed,

        So what you have said so far is that he is part-government puppet, part-public appeaser, and full-on liar. And you’ve now appended to that, “And Allah knows best.” Is there anything else you’d like to add about Shaykh Salman, based on the context of the situation?

        Siraaj

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      • Px

        Salam,

        If I may add.

        First of all we find in Islamic History:

        a) Scholars who took a strong stance against a tyrant.

        b) Scholars who gave witty/dubious answers to avoid being persecuted.

        c) Scholars who went into hiding due to fear of being persecuted.

        d) Scholars toning down in their criticism of the ruler, and even accepting govt. positions, albeit tentatively. And here I’m not talking about ‘palace scholars’, I’m talking about great names like Qadhi Shurayk.

        I think it’s a balancing act, really. A person cannot carry out a movement on all levels possible. Even if we accept that Shaykh Salman is influenced by the govt. somewhat, the question is SO? I don’t think he’s in a position where if he were to start ranting about how oppressive the govt. was and then expect them to let him carry out the EXCELLENT job he’s doing trying to bring about a SOCIAL reform. It’s a give and take situation, he has given up his political aspiration in exchange for being allowed to operate freely so he can work more closely at a ‘people’ level. In fact, he’s one of the very few scholars to actually mention the discrimination/racism prevalent in Saudi society. Again it’s a matter of prioritizing, but I do agree he may have lost his potency and balance in some aspects.

        Another point to be noted: Shaykh Salman has the patronage of a very vocal and very very conservative scholar Shaykh ‘Abdul-rahman al-Barrak- who routinely criticizes the govt. on many issues. If Shaykh Salman really was influenced by the govt. to the extent of being ‘sold out’, one of the very first things they would’ve demanded of him, was to ditch Shaykh al-Barrak. (One can also view a plethora of answers/fataawa by al-Barrak on the arabic site).

        Again, making bold statements such as accusing scholars of being sold out are very dangerous and are often made by those who also accuse the likes of Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Ibn Jibreen etc all of them being sell outs. And it’s like a chain of ‘sell outs’, and in the end all you get is one or two obscure individuals who aren’t yet ‘sold out’. This is very unhealthy, not to say stupid.

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      • Mohammed Khan

        Wassalam Siraaj,

        Though the facts speak for themselves, even if you don’t agree, let’s ignore all that for a minute.

        Let’s discuss what you’ve conveniently ignored in my previous messages:
        Sh. al-Ouda’s support of suicide bombings against civilians in Jerusalem.

        This explicit fact alone justifies my point beyond any shadow of a doubt: for obvious reasons, calling a Shaykh a “mentor” and using him as a reliable anti-terrorism scholar when he supports suicide bombings against civilians is ludicrous. That’s why I said it’s best to not use Sh. al-Ouda as support in this matter, though you and Sh. Qadhi somehow don’t understand this.

        Maybe you can explain how to use a man who supports killing civilians and simultaneously use him as an anti-terrorism scholar?

        Mohammed

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      • Mohammed Khan

        Salaam Px,

        Your point that Sh. al-Ouda is doing a balancing act is well taken. That was my point and hopefully Siraaj will understand this too one day.

        Regarding the “sell out” image, fact remains that many think he is a sell out. Reason is because most of his views post-jail match the Saudi monarchy’s views. This view especially becomes plausible to many when comparing this view with his pre-jail perspectives. I don’t find this surprising at all because there’s no reason to be.

        However, I don’t agree with Sh. al-Ouda’s views on allowing suicide bombings against civilians in Jerusalem. Suicide is haraam and so is killing civilians.

        In view of the above, the initial point I was making was that using Sh. al-Ouda as an anti-terrorism scholar while he supports suicide bombings against civilians in Jerusalem obviously weakens the Islamic stand against terrorism. The reason is so obvious it need not be mentioned, even though some of us are reluctant to understand this.

        That’s why I suggested that Sh. Qadhi retract his support of Sh. al-Ouda in the issue of terrorism. It is better that a Muslim (me) says this rather than a non-Muslim who uses this to tarnish the image of Muslims and makes a mockery of
        us.

        Let’s try to think rationally here to strengthen what we set out to prove: Islam’s stance against terrorism. Unfortunately using Sh. al-Ouda was the wrong first step towards this noble aim, no matter how many other good things he has done.

        Mohammed

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      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        @Mohammed Khan,

        I really doubt Sh. Salman justified the targeting of civilians. His statements (and I haven’t read them in context) about combat in Palestine were probably simply justifying the resistance of the Palestinians (with it being a given that any civilian casualties were unintentional).

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      • Mohammed Khan

        @Ahmad al Farsi

        Here is the evidence I found (that Siraaj pretended not to see earlier):

        “A transcript of a New York Times interview in 2001 with Douglas Jehl posted on al-Awda’s Web site quotes the shaykh responding to a question about a suicide attack in Jerusalem. “Regardless of whether the attacks were against civilians,” he says, “the fact [is] that they were within the realm of resisting occupation. Is there any international law that denies the people the right to resist with any means they can?”

        (Read more: http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/5548/Awda-Salman-al–1955.html#ixzz0Tkhp13UZ)

        I know this is an unpleasant matter to discuss, but we shouldn’t forget our objective here: Islam’s stand against terrorism. If Sh. al-Ouda did indeed say those words above, he should never be used as an example of someone against terror for obvious reasons — even if he is Sh. Qadhi’s or anyone else’s “mentor”.

        Mohammed

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      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        Again, you really need to check the context of those statements. Sh. Salman has made his stance against targeting civilians crystal clear, time and again.

        To reconcile that out-of-context quote with his numerous clear statements, it seems he was probably referring to unintentional civilian casualties (i.e. collateral damage), as opposed to intentional targeting of civilians.

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      • Mohammed Khan

        Salaams,

        I found the NY Times interview of Sh. al-Ouda on his own website as per the initial evidence I presented which was correct. It can be read at:

        http://www.islamtoday.com/showme2.cfm?cat_id=29&sub_cat_id=448

        Apparently Sh. al-Ouda does not consider people in Jerusalem ‘civilians’ and he nevertheless says it’s permissible to conduct suicide attacks in war, as long as it doesn’t kill “civilians”. Strangely, he knows that this has not been part of the classical Islamic heritage, but nevertheless still allows it based on the context he sees in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His definition of civilians is also questionable.

        In true Sunni Islam, one is not allowed to blow up a bus or restaurant full of innocent civilians, and this stands true for the Palestine-Israel region too.

        My point remains: such a person, no matter how many good things he has done, can definitely NOT be used as a good example of an anti-terrorism scholar. Non-Muslims, as well as Muslims, will ridicule us with impunity, and for good reason.

        Sh. al-Qadhi and others, please retract your support of him in the matter of terrorism. JazakAllahu-khayr.

        Mohammed.

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      • Amad

        Mohammed, you are being entirely disingenuous. I am not sure what your goal is for going after Shaykh Oudah, but I can guarantee you that we at MM stand behind him in his current approach.

        First of all, this interview was from 2001, 8 years ago. People change over time, views change over time. So, other than dirty politics, old statements that are proceeded by new ones are not relevant.

        Secondly, your quotes from his 8-year old interview are out of context, and you have taken great pains to take the worst meaning out of them (any chance of husne dhan?). Here is the total quote. It is unclear whether he was answering the question or questioning the veracity of the journalist’s claim:

        [question: but can you comment specifically, for example, on the most recent Jerusalem attack, in which 18 civilians were killed, none of them soldiers, because people will define innocents and civilians in different ways?]

        “There are too many things that are unknown dealing with the cause. Are these people who were killed, were they occupiers? And we have to look at solutions. Unless the situation can be removed, and the despair can be removed, we’re not going to solve the problem. A fatwa is not going to solve the problem.’’

        “If all the ulemaa got together and condemned this activity, [suicide bombing in Israel] the people who are there will say these people don’t understand what’s going on, and we’re not going to pay attention to them.’’

        “I wouldn’t say that a Muslim can’t stand against the tide, but all he can do is advise. He can’t stop these actions, so the only effect he can have is if people listen to him.’’

        But on suicide attacks against civilians, he was clear, and one should the clear statements over the ambiguous ones:

        “These suicide attacks are not part of the Islamic approach to killing, and they are not part of Islamic history. The Arabs and Muslims never before relied on this method in war. And for this reason we don’t find in the classical works of Islam that the issue has been addressed in this way.’’

        “If we accept the principle that war has been established and is going on, and the war is justified under Islamic law, and we happen to be in it at this time, in this case if a person gets involved in a suicide attack, then this is part of war, under the condition that innocents and civilians are not killed.’’

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      • Mohammed Khan

        @Amad

        So you didn’t allow my last post to be on. Very unfortunate that you resort to such tactics in the middle of a serious and mature discussion/debate.

        Mohammed

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      • Mohammed Khan

        @ Amad: This is a previous post you deleted. I am posting it again for healthy discussion/debate.

        Assalam-u-alaykum Amad,

        Sorry, I am not being “disingenuous” as you claim and I have no “goal” other than to discuss the facts. I am being as objective as I possibly can and have gone to great lengths to prove my point.

        First, the NY Times interview of Shaykh al-Ouda is on his own website, which is under the Shaykh’s “general supervision”, as clearly stated in his website. Therefore, there is reason to believe that he still holds those views.

        There is no reason to believe that Shaykh al-Ouda has changed his views, as you said, unless something to the contrary illustrates that. I can find no evidence to the contrary and it seems like nobody else can either. Just because the interview was from 8 years ago does not automatically translate to him no longer holding those views, as you suggest — again, unless evidence to indicate this change is demonstrated. I don’t understand what you mean by “dirty politics”. We are discussing the facts extracted directly from his interview.

        Second, when you quoted Shaykh al-Ouda, you missed a very important quote of his in the interview. It was the first one, as follows:

        “Regardless of whether the attacks were against civilians, the fact [is] that they were within the realm of resisting occupation, is there any international law that denies the people the right to resist with any means they can?’’

        Shaykh al-Ouda then differentiates the Sept. 11 attacks from the suicide bombings of civilians in Jerusalem by saying that the former was unacceptable whereas the latter (the Jerusalem suicide attacks) was a resistance against occupation. The understanding thus far is that he is not against the suicide attacks against ‘civilians’ in Jerusalem because he considers them occupiers.

        Later in the interview, when the journalist presses Shaykh al-Ouda to discuss the 18 civilians (non-military) killed in the Jerusalem suicide attack, Shaykh al-Ouda says:

        “There are too many things that are unknown dealing with the cause. Are these people who were killed, were they occupiers? And we have to look at solutions. Unless the situation can be removed, and the despair can be removed, we’re not going to solve the problem. A fatwa is not going to solve the problem.’’

        Note that Shaykh al-Ouda is explicit about not condemning the victims because he deems them occupiers. When he is pressed by the journalist to answer, Shayk al-Ouda goes back to questioning the journalist: “Are these people who were killed, were they occupiers?” He is asking the journalist a question which he has already given his answer to, and wishes for the journalist to put himself in his shoes to answer the question himself.

        Shaykh al-Ouda then makes it clear that it would be odd to explicitly condemn suicide attacks in Palestine/Israel:

        “If all the ulemaa got together and condemned this activity, [suicide bombing in Israel] the people who are there will say these people don’t understand what’s going on, and we’re not going to pay attention to them.’’

        This is in agreement with his earlier statements in which he says the attack is against occupiers (even if they are ‘civilians’).

        Regarding suicide, he did indeed say that classical Islam never supported it. But you failed to notice what he said in his second statement that you quoted. Here it is again:

        “If we accept the principle that war has been established and is going on, and the war is justified under Islamic law, and we happen to be in it at this time, in this case if a person gets involved in a suicide attack, then this is part of war, under the condition that innocents and civilians are not killed.’’

        He said that “if a person gets involved in a suicide attack, then this is part of war, under the condition that innocents and civilians are not killed.” This means that while condemning the killing of civilians and innocents — not applicable to ‘civilian’ occupiers to Shaykh al-Ouda, as stated earlier — then this is a legitimate part of war.

        From the aforementioned, we conclude the following:

        (1) He supports suicide attacks against who he sees as “occupiers”. To him, they are not civilians, so it is okay to target them. But what if they are sitting and enjoying lunch or dinner at a restaurant, or if they are in a bus going somewhere? If it is okay to Shaykh al-Ouda to kill them, then he supports terrorism. Sorry.

        (2) He supports suicide attacks in war.

        I hope I’ve laid out the context clearly by the many quotes.

        Let’s not love a scholar on this matter for the sake of loving him, even though he has done and said many good things for Islam.

        Again, back to my original point: If we are writing against terrorism, is it sensible to use Shaykh al-Ouda in view of his statements above? I really don’t think so. Any sensible person would agree.

        And Allah Knows Best.

        Salaams,
        Mohammed.

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    • Yaser Birjas

      I was with sh. Salman al-Awdah in his house when he gave his, to become, last speech before he was jailed. I witnessed the effects of the “cheerleading” environment, when the sh. spoke something to raise the adrenaline level in the blood, he used to be hailed, applauded and people around him got excited. By the time you finish school and learn form other shuyookh such as sh. al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah you would realize the difference between knowledge and enthusiastic preaching.
      I personally expected that positive change from sh. Salman, because I hope being away from the cheerleading environment makes you see facts objectively. Scholars should NOT be preaching what people want to hear, even if it has all the legitimacy at the time, scholars should be teaching and educating the masses to take the right course even if it means to take a much longer route than the many shortcuts these loud voices are calling for.
      And Allah knows best.

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      • Ibn Masood

        Awesome… JazakAllah khair Sheikh, Now if only we could find a way to bring you to Toronto or I could inshaAllah find a way to come to IlmSummit next year :D

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      • Dawud Israel

        MASHA ALLAH!!!

        Shaykh, your comment made me reflect on the value of REAL Islamic education vs. cheer leading type of preaching. I hope the difference is made clearer to everyone between preaching-style, cheer-leading, indoctrination and actual Islamic education.

        I remember hearing a talk that mentioned how Imam Ghazali lived in occupied Jerusalem (by the Crusaders) and yet he did not advocate jihad at his time. He knew the people did not know enough about their religion and that any jihad would deteriorate into massacres, so he focused on his teaching. And eventually, it was his works that would give rise to the generation that produced Salahuddin. I guess thats the real value of ilm. :)

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      • Px

        This is a valuable comment from Yasir Birjas. I think scholars should avoid firebrand rhetoric in testing times, and should actually guide people to think more rationally about issues. They’re supposed to be part of the ulil amr, especially today. However, we must also remember that since scholars are ‘supposed’ to be our leaders, so ‘knowledge’ that they impart necessarily shouldn’t be ‘removed’ from practice.

        Scholars should NOT be preaching what people want to hear, even if it has all the legitimacy at the time, scholars should be teaching and educating the masses to take the right course even if it means to take a much longer route than the many shortcuts these loud voices are calling for.

        I think the shaykh needs to qualify or further explain this comment. As it is, I don’t agree with it, because scholars should represent the rightful wishes of the masses. What they shouldn’t do is take an irrational course. What they shouldn’t also do is to remain quiet and think that their hadith duroos will save the day.

        Some prominent examples of scholars who were also vocal and very ‘political’ include none other than The great Imam Abu Hanifah Nu’man ibn Thabith. In fact, this aspect of his life was mentioned disapprovingly by many of his detractors, including the muhaditheen who didn’t agree with him. I would encourage everyone to read a book called “Imam Abu Hanifah Ki Siyasi Zindagi” (Urdu) trans. “The Political Aspect of Imam Abu Hanifah’s Life”. It was written by a great scholar of past century from sub-continent Maulana Syed Manazir Ahsan Gilani (ra). I don’t think the book is available in either english or arabic, however there’s a general opinion among the scholars of sub-continent that this is one of the best works written on Imam Abu Hanifah’s life. The author of the book was a muhaqqiq known for a solid understanding of Islamic history. I’d recommend anyone who can to read it. It has many valuable lessons that can be learned.

        Another example Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (ra), when he mobilized people against the Tatar. He could’ve chosen a ‘more’ objective approach by peacefully surrendering to them or suggesting mass Hijrah? So, I think we should be careful about making sweeping statements about ‘roles’ of scholars.

        As a general rule, I’m not a fan of scholars getting involved in politics, rather I believe in political ‘activism’. But, in today’s world if scholar’s are to guide us, even more ‘objectively’ they should be well aware of what and how politics work, what and how economics works, what and how I.R. works. If they don’t know this, then they should generally refrain from making comments of political and social significance. This is an area which needs much work. Rather than having failed islamists and ex-islamists (fall out of ikhwan, sahwa, etc…) re-inventing themselves every now and then, a serious effort needs to be put into this area.

        WAllahu a’lam.

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      • Yaser Birjas

        Agreed. No argue with the fact that scholars should take the lead in this area too, what I’m referring to is when the masses take one direction and then the scholars feel compelled to ride the wave and join the crowd. This happened specifically during the fitna of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. I witnessed it on the ground and I heard some khutaba on the minbar of Friday salat saying: “If Saddam loses the war, we will then have doubt in Allah words.”!!! Many fell for the fitna just because there was great pressure coming from the street.
        And Allah knows the best.

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      • Px

        I think I now get what you were trying to convey, Jzak Allahu khairan. :)

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      • Mehdi Sheikh

        I think it suffices to say that a good sholar, one who is endowed with not just knowledge but wisdom too, knows when to apply what form of action. Px, mentioned Ibn Taimiyyah’s fight against the Tatars, but there was also another instance, when Ibn taimiyyah was walking with a companion and going past a group of drunken Tatars (who claimed to be on Islaam) and his companion asked why he did not rebuke them for being drunk, ibn Taimiyyah replied, that while they should be rebuked they were the type of people who if they are sober do nothing but cause harm to the Muslims.

        Similarly, Imaam Ahmad declared that one who said that the Qur’aan was created and not the Speech of Allaah was a kaafir, but yet he endured long years of physical and mental persecution but never once declared rebellion against the rulers.

        The key word is simply, wisdom, and there is often a severe lack of that among us.

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      • Mehdi Sheikh

        Indeed, in my opinion Shaikh Uthaymeen was the best of his generation. May Allaah forgive his sins, excuse his mistakes and raise him with the best of the people on the Day of Judgment and keep him with the best companions in Jannah

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  11. Farhan

    I’ve sat and thought about this for a while. What does a group of people do when they are EXTREMELY oppressed? How do they handle that situation? Obviously resorting to terrorism isn’t the answer, not only because it does not work, but because its evil and wrong. How did Bani Isra’eel during the time of Musa (AS) handle it?

    The only thing I came up with is to purify yourself. But, to me, CLEARLY diplomacy isn’t the answer, because the Zionists are liars. So, what does one do?

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    • Maverick

      As has been mentioned via the example of Imam Ghazali at the time of the Crusaders, you educate the masses so that their next generation will produce solid leaders who can solve the problem.

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  12. Suhail

    I really do not understand the article and what it wants to do. Al-Qaeda and its bashing as been done for a while by the scholars of Islam and everybody in the west knows that. As Sh Salman addresses mostly western muslims through his website IslamToday.com we know his stance quite well. He is many times addressed Osama and Al-Qaeda.

    What i do not get from all these articles is “Where is the solution”? Two muslims country occupied by western regimes, Palestine still being opressed and more so now as we witnessed, Uighur muslims being persecuted in China, Ethopia invading Somalia. What i want from these esteemed shaikhs is to provide a solution for the muslims need to do for muslims which i have mentioned.

    I have seen enough Al-Qaeda bashing and we all know there extremism. But now it is getting really tiring and indeed feel like thats the only thing that is there. I have not seen any solution to any of the problems muslims are facing from these estemeed shaikhs. I would rather hear that instead of more evils about Al-Qaeda.

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    • Ibn Masood

      Solution?

      Knowledge :).

      The more people are taught what is correct and what is not, the less of our brothers will fall susceptible to these ideological fitnahs.

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      • Suhail

        My dear brother,

        There is always a time for everything. When the muslims are being massacared left and right around the globe ideological fitnah’s take a back seat.

        Secondly until the scholars rise to a level where they spearhead the campaign to help the Ummah in this disastarous time nobody will listen to them. Do you think that an average Palestinian living in Gaza going to listen to Sh Salman terrorism speech and say well that is what i was waiting for while his home is being bombed by Israel. The audience that he is addressing this topic to has already been bamboozled with all these things for almost 9 years. Whats the point I mean?

        I mean people would rather listen to George Galloway because at least he does some work which involves some real actions and what is the response of the scholars of this Ummah right now? They just sit and write articles bashing Al-Qaeda for 100th time ( i mean no disrespect for Sh Salman but really this is getting too tiring). I mean we got the idea that Al-Qaeda is a totally evil entity etc etc. Where is the real actions from scholar to help allieviate the sufferings of the muslims or we should rely on people like George Galloway to do that. I mean you can bash Al-Qaeda as much as you want but what are you providing as an alternative. Let me say what are they providing as an alternative “NOTHING”.

        I mean when was the last time Sh Salman wrote an articles about the problems of the muslims and how to address it. When he writes to an audience which is west than I do not think Al-Qaeda is there immediate problem really. There are more serious problems for muslims then Al-Qaeda and i have never seen any of the estemeed shaikh address it in any of there topic or lecture. I am sorry for being blunt but that is what i see.

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      • Ibn Masood

        Akhi, nice comment jazakAllah khair, but my question is, why dump all the responsibility onto the scholars? As long as us laypeople have the advice and guidance of the scholars why can we not come up with solutions too?

        I see this trend time and time again, us Muslims are simply lack the individual strength to carry out on ideas and projects that we have in mind. We know what needs to be done aka starting corporations, da’wah projects, outreach projects, community efforts, but we just don’t do it out of weakness because that job or career is more appealing to support our families. The dunya has deceived us!!! Because of this, we start getting frustrated by our own weakness and then put the blame or responsibility on the shuyukh, leaders and politicians and their inability to act.

        And because of the frustration we feel, we either take one of three routes (personal observation): One group will get involved in this fitnah of terorrism, one group will go marching in the streets/gatherings with only their voices to lose, one group will log onto forums and bark left right and center at everyone they can find. These are all distractions from bigger and better solutions, and Sheikh Tawfique who just posted in this thread is a fine example of a Shaykh who doesn’t just talk, he walks the talk mashaAllah (look up Mercy Mission).

        Why should we wait for the shuyukh, like Sheikh Tawfique, to present us with practical solutions? Their job is to learn the knowledge and pass it on to us! Does every Sheikh know the ins and outs of global business management, entrepeneurship, political science and policy creation? No.. that is our job, we get off our behinds and go do it, but under the tutelage and guidance of the scholars.

        For example, Sheikh Oadah here, he has done his duty. He has explained to us why this approach to the religion is wrong. Our job is to take that and convert it into action, take the practical steps to solving our ummah’s problems. But again, it all started with knowledge, it took a Shaykh to explain to us why this approach is wrong and why we should avoid it. We have to take that and find the solutions. This is what I meant by knowledge being the key.

        An individual who understands the usul of this deen in its proper way and has that true respect for Islamic knowledge and scholarship is the one who can utilize his skills and abilities to help the ummah in the right way.

        Imagine if students of knowledge started opening multinational corporations, got into high levels of government around the world and launched organizations that united Muslims around the world. The prestige and honor of Muslims amongst themselves, and of Non-Muslims for Muslims would rise dramatically.

        Let’s stop blaming the shuyukh for inaction or error, the only people to point at are ourselves.

        And btw, the Muslims being killed left right and center? I ask you: What is stopping Muslims from getting together and helping them out? Taqwa and Eman. And knowledge is the BEST solution to repair that at this moment in our time. A Muslim who does not even know how to do wudu, salah and zakat properly, and avoid riba, all that fiqh he is lacking! A muslim who does not understand Tawhid or the names of Allah swt (Who Allah is!), how is he going to know who he is fighting for? How is he going to build the Taqwa then for jihad and unite his brothers??? Without that base it is preposterous to think that individual will benefit the ummah in any way.

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      • Suhail

        Jazakallah Khairun Brother,

        I agree with you one some points that us laypeople are also to blame for what is going on. Our lack of salaah, Akhlaaq and even participating in things that can help the ummah is really lackluster. You will see right now on this very forums posters asking muslims to renounce there religion and become outright secularists.

        Let me explain to you what i meant by scholars taking the lead. Scholars are the holders of knowledge and thus have more responsibility then an average muslim. Why if you ask me then Allah(SWT) said that a person who has knowledge and does not act on it then it is blameworthy on him and Allah will try him on the Day of judgement for that knowledge.

        Now my point is that conveying knowledge to people is not enough because Allah commanded us to stop evil and call people to good. Secondly a life of a muslim is sacred and thus it is a duty of a muslim to help out his brother in need in any shape or form.

        A scholar has a more vantage point compared to a lay person. Reason is that they are seen as the leader of the community and thus bear more responsibility. We already have read about how Ibn Taymiyyah, Abdus-Salam and many eminent scholars who are in the memories of the muslims fought among the army and spearheaded the campaign against the enemy. They just did not sit back. They gave fatawa to back up muslims, they fought for the just cause and also fought against things on Theological levels. In this era itself we have towering scholars like Ibn Baz, Abdullah Azzam, Ahmed Yasin who helped muslims in there cause not just by giving fatawas out but by real action which impacted the daily lives of muslims who were affected.

        Point being when the scholars do not sit and breathe with the opressed, when they do not fight, live and help with those who are opressed then really talking about all this is moot because there is a vaccum that somebody else have filled where the scholars should have been.

        You cannot blame the person who is filling the vaccum i.e. Al-Qaeda etc when the scholars who are criticizing them are not even involved in any of the places where these problems are happening. How many student of knowledge do you know have visited Afghanistan or Iraq or Palestine or Somalia and helped those people? I do not know anyone. Then why are we so naive that the opressed muslims there will listen to any of them. Why would a person in afghanistan or iraq would listen to Sh Salman when he does not know who he is.

        Regarding the western muslims then they have different problems altogether. Civil rights erosion, muslims being imprisoned for nothing, discrimination etc etc are much more of a problem then Al-Qaeda sitting in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

        May be i am wrong but thats how i see it. Scholars and student of knowledge in west always say well the scholars in the east do not know our problems because they are not living here. Then how come they think that they know the problems in places like Afghanistan etc when they have not even put a foot in that place.

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  13. mystrugglewithin

    I wish I could get Shaykh Anwar Awlaki comment on this article. I am not taking sides (if I am not wrong) but in my fairytale, inshallah, I desire to see an agreement on ideas and suggestions by Shuyookh like these.

    ~asalamalaikum

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  14. Tuwaylib

    1.. Salman has changed too much and thus shuyukh like Safar al Hawali are more trustworthy.
    2. Can Yasir, Tawfique and Waleed clarify exactly who they are referring to as extreme?
    3. Your assimilation da’wah is going to bite you in the back one day.
    4. How different you are from the likes of Ali and Idrees.
    5. You claim indirectly to have benefitted the ummah when you are simply blinding your American audience
    6. I guess we truly havn’t benefitted from the likes of sh. ibn baz, ibn uthaymeen and recently departed ibn jibreen (who would have a totally different view)

    To Amad: yes sh. salman is a scholar but there are bigger scholars than him in the kingdom

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  15. MO

    Articles like this cause more confusion and don’t help the situation. As Muslims we shouldn’t be blind-followers of any ideology, sect, scholar, etc. It is clear that there are two sides to this debate. In the West one side provides massive evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah while the opposing side simply condemns it. The solution to this problem doesn’t lie in articles filled with rhetoric and condemnation, rather a detailed study of why one position is right and the other is wrong. I have been searching for this and unfortunately I have not come across any audio series or articles clearly explaining (WITH EVIDENCE) the position of the Salafs.

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  16. confused

    Assalam o alaykum, JazakAllah khair for the article.

    Jazakumullah u khairan to the Shyuookh for their valuable advice.

    Ignorance of this tenant(jihad/qital) of Islam has caused the problem we see nowadays.

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to educate people about this by having a double weekend seminar on this topic by Al-Maghrib. Since we cover so many subjects why not this subject? This is just my opinion. Personally, I am very confused after hearing arguments from both sides of the aisle. What is right? It is very hard to decipher the right and the wrong when both sides of the aisle are quoting Ibn Taymiyyah(rahimahullah u ta3ala) to justify their respective positions. I don’t know. I admit it and want to have interactive sessions to learn this subject out of all honesty and sincerity to the Deen of Allah.

    Isn’t it time to learn this subject because we are quizzed left and right about this by non-Muslims and we stand clueless about the subject to start with because we posses no knowledge to explain our deen.

    (Please dont take secondary meanings out of my comment as has become common in the comment section of his forum).

    wa jazakAllah khair
    wasalam o alaykum

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    • Ibn Masood

      x2

      A Fiqh of Jihad class taught by scholars who are renowned Faqihs, not just ordinary muhaddithoon and students of knowledge, and who understand the global + western political landscape is very important. I think Sheikh YQ mentioned in a class in Toronto that such a class was immensely vital and he wanted to do a seminar on the topic.

      The only problem is that because of security reasons, its going to be difficult to promote and difficult to teach.

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      • confused

        jazakAllah khair akhi for informing me about this.

        Security reasons? That’s the part I dont understand. And how would it be difficult to promote akhi? Doesn’t everyone want to learn about this issue?

        Shaykh what does Ibn Masud mean?

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      • Ibn Masood

        Lol I thought security reasons would be quite self-explanatory. Start a class on the fiqh of Jihad in NA with the amount of marketing that is available at our institutes and see how many government agency agents come visiting you before, during and after class. It’s not fun for the Sheikh, and it can be risky for the institute. If the institute is held accountable, the Muslims suffer because they lose out on a source of knowledge. We have to be careful when making such decisions.

        And Ibn Masood? It means son of Masood… and I’m no Shaykh lol…

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      • mohammed

        lol…just imagine 80% of the students turns out to be intelligence guys in that fiqh of jihad class….

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      • Br.

        If it is too hard to even arrange a class of Jihad, which is quite a confused area for the Muslims living in the west, then what is the point in simply writing such an article which even doesn’t discuss any material evidence on the table to refute.

        Without discussing the evidences from both sides and taking them into consideration, will not suffice the cause and handle the gap that is here.

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      • Uthman

        Hmmm……If its the truth then why be afraid of the consequences, Ibn Masud? Perhaps it would be best for us to not live at a place where we cannot talk about our deen openly? What is it? Which one is it? So much confusion! How is it to be cleared up? Perhaps a class….

        Please correct me if I am wrong!

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  17. Abu Abdillah

    Bismillah was salaatu wa salamu ‘ala rasulillah,

    Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    The shaykh (hafidhahullah) made some very nice points, however I agree with the other brothers who have mentioned that such statements have made made time and time again at as this point have become overkill. what we require as muslims (those in the east and west) are two things;

    1) a clear refutation with evidences to refute the doubts and ideas these extremists use to confuse and distort the youth. some of whom are well-known speakers (english and arabic) who hint at takfeer and condemning the scholars as sell-outs and government agents. all the while looking at islam in a very narrow perspective focusing on the jihad/war aspect without any of the balance formed through true studying and scholarship. so they are ignorant of the wisdom and reasons behind why many ‘ulama remain silent on some issues, and why they focus on others.

    2) a clear definition of historical jihad (how/why it was done) as well a proper application for our current age, what its conditions are, how it is to be applied, its rulings, how to react to the oppression and occupation of muslim lands, etc.

    I commend shaykh yasir birjas and yasir qadhi for their praise of the article and its author and can agree with the “cheerleader” analogy that was given. I believe many youth who being seeking knowledge at first have a tendency towards those callers who are uplifting and create a energetic atmosphere, however there is truly a world of difference between a preacher who can convince and get the crowd going and the well-verse scholar who can properly explain issues from a broad perspective with their rulings, conditions, etc.

    I think it is a great exaggeration and injustice to compare the likes of shaykh salman to one such as shaykh al-azhar who has not only differed from ‘ijma in some issues but has also ignored the very usool for giving rulings and verdicts (not to mention contradict his earlier works), whereas shaykh salman, other colleges of his level, and those greater in knowledge have spoken with evidences, wisdom, and true manners. it is not that simply because you lack their understanding that you are free to judge their intentions and objectives.

    So my advice to those who would continue to attack the shaykh and belittle him is that they should fear Allah and know that their words will brought back to them on the day in which a man will flee from his brother, mother, father, his wife and his children.

    wallahu ‘ala wa ‘alam

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  18. justice (just us?)

    It is a sad truth that so many of us tend to harbor softer feelings for these people because they are our brothers/sisters in Islam, but perhaps we be the ones fervent in bringing these people to justice because of the heinous lies they spread about our Rabb…

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  19. Hamada

    I commend of course Shk Salaman, Shk Yasir B. and Shk Yasir Q. for their comments and ask Allah to continue guiding them and all of the ummah to the righteous path. I greatly welcome the mashaiekh taking a leading role in addressing the masses ignorance on this issue. Our ummah’s road is long and the delay in getting to this point from the early 90s to 2009 has seen a generation honestly basing walaa and baraa understanding frankly on much of this misguidance in the meantime. I would also add that this generation is frankly also coming after another generation that grew up in the wake of oppression at the hands of the state for their simple Islamic advocacy. That generation’s experiences produced a good number of the ‘end justify the means’ thinking the ummah suffers from today also. That’s two consecutive generations of misguidance next to all the other developmental delays as compared to other global regions the ummah has to rebuild from. Though the ummah’s road is long and many fear it hasn’t bottomed out yet in its ignorance, inshallah I remain hopeful we’ll get there.

    Br. Suhail raised a good point about solutions and that’s our challenge moving forward, to close the book on public condemnations (mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned) and outline the road map steps for the masses to move the ball forward on resolving Muslim ummah challenges both at home in the West and beyond.

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  20. Faraz Omar

    While the main topic’s been commented upon, I did want to say something on what Sh. Yasir Qadhi wrote.

    In the early 90’s, a new movement appeared that claimed to follow the teachings of the earliest generations yet were far removed from it in ideology, methodology and manners.
    [...]While that group is now, for all practical purposes, wiped off the face of the earth…

    Masha Allah, a very good and clear write-up about those brothers who need no introduction. May I say his few words have described the entire fitnah in the most complete manner?

    This group gave such a negative stereotype to anyone who wished to preach an Orthodox understanding of Islam that to this day we are battling the negativity they created.

    I recently happened to meet a brother under such influence. Good brother masha Allah. baarak Allah feeh. But the only thing that came into discussion in the title of “Islamic knowledge” was who was right and who wasn’t. I was embarrassed when his relative, a Muslim who associates with a deviant group, questioned me (assuming that “we” are all the same), “So Dr. so-and-so is also out of your group. Why is he no more correct?”

    All other relatives, common Muslims, turn to look at me to see what my response is! I was so ashamed and then I realized they are used to such nonsense, when there are so many good things that can be talked about Islam – tafseer, sunnah, ahadeeth, incidents, seerah…

    Subhan Allah. All that some brothers require to “check” if a person is “correct” is to see who he criticizes and who he praises. Who he thinks is right. That’s enough to say, alhamdulillah, this person’s OK. While that may not be the case. There may be and there are so many issues. Issues in Aqeedah, understanding of Islamic law etc. So many Muslims because of the kind of education they receive, have such wrong beliefs about Allah, His Shariah, about secularism, to mention a few.

    But I believe the trend is changing Insha Allah. Alhamdulillah. We should have a +ve opinion and hope for good insha Allah. Let’s hope they return to the path of baseerah, instead of hoping that they are wiped off. And even in them, not everyone’s like that. My guess is there are those who seek knowledge and they become more understanding insha Allah. Leave aside those who have become irrelevant in their nonsensical talk, the others, those who are students of knowledge, must not be left out. Like I know that every year an American group/organization comes to Saudia on an Umrah trip. They also learn from scholars.
    I always wonder why, when MM makes such strides to reach out to Muslims of other aqaa’id too for common good, why doesn’t it reach out to them, while they are on the same aqeedah, insha Allah? There’s hardly any mention about them at all. In my little knowledge about da’wah in the west, they are not the, let’s say, the extreme right. They appear to be focused on seeking knowledge. We’ve done a couple of stories in the Saudi Gazette about the student experiences etc.

    I’m not just writing this to you. In my past email correspondences with them, I’ve asked them why they don’t advertise their programs/Umra trips on MM. I haven’t received a response. Let’s see if I get one here.

    To be v clear, I have no knowledge about the situation and the da’wa in the west. I just hope and pray Muslims unite upon Tawheed and Sunnah. aameen.

    Al-Muhim. I really want to know how all this attitude began. As you, Sh. Yasir, mention that it began in the early 90s. I’m sure if you sometime write on that, it’ll be very helpful.

    may Allah guide us all to the straight path. aameen.

    Off-topic, I know. But I have a Salaf ;)

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  21. Asim Qureshi

    Assalaamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

    Inshallah I pray this message finds all the brothers and sister in the best of health and eemaan.

    Not one to usually post in such forums but a brother suggested I put something up in light of some dicussions we had.

    Mashallah I very much appreciate the article in the spirit it was written. From some experiences that I have had working in the field of counter-terrorism and its detention policies – there are some points that I think need to be made.

    Some of the posts have already touched on the issue that of course further clarification is required in terms of what the term terrorism itself means. Everyone seems to be very quick to identify Al Qaeda as being a symbolic face of terrorism, however much further than that not much else is easily identifiable. One of the issues that many of the brothers I come across face is that line between Al Qaeda, and support for those who carry out insurgent missions in Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and so forth. The world has become assymetric in its warfare and thus an assymetric response is sometimes required when facing modern day colonial/occupation forces – something inherently recognised within the second additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions.

    The issue of the insurgent in itself is so difficult, even from an international law perspective that very few can actually claim to legitimately know the line between. Of course the US government has a very fixed view on terrorism. Suspected support for Lashkar-e-Taiba for which our beloved Shaykh Ali Tamimi was partially sentenced is considered terrorism – and yet this is an organisation which has only ever concerned itself with the self-determination of Kashmir. One would indeed say then, from a western perspective, that their actions are not only in conformity with international law, but rather upholding the rule of law itself by their efforts to remove such an alien force. Once again, from an international law perspective this right has been entrenched in the first additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions, Article 1(4) preserves the right for people to fight for self-determination in,

    “armed conflicts in which people are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right to self-determination…”

    Stating that terrorism is haraam/unlawful although important as a pronouncement, does not go anywhere near touching on the reality of this subject matter or indeed give advice to the millions of Muslims who are concerned with such a subject. The fact is that many of those who would benefit from the Shaykh’s advice have already been disaffected due to the lack of avenues they find in discussing the matters of conflict around the world. The Al Qaeda model of violence is miniscule when compared to the other forms of violence/self defence that is taking place around the world. It is thus important for our scholars to speak more openly about what is taking place, putting everything into its correct context.

    One of the issues that I did take with the Shaykh’s piece was his reference to Somalia. He referenced it as an example where Muslims were killing one another in ‘Islam’s way’. Having worked on the ground in the Horn of Africa directly in the aftermath of the Ethiopian/Somali conflict in early 2007 – I am shocked that the Shaykh could give such an analysis to the situation. Where was the condemnation from our learned brothers when the American troops based in Djibouti trained, equipped and supported the Ethiopian forces in removing the Union of Islamic Courts – who had brought actual and real peace to Somalia after decades of instability. Now a puppet regime has been installed and the ‘Shabbab’ are presented as a nouveau-African face of Al Qaeda. The links are untenable and the situation on the ground does not warrant such links to be made.

    The problem is that brothers, and indeed sisters, who care about the welfare of Muslims in countries such as Somalia etc, are not finding the same voice of condemnation when it comes to state sponsored terrorism. Those who are disaffected from our scholars or students of knowledge do not want to hear that terrorism is haraam – for they are already marginalised. What they want to hear is someone who has the courage to actually speak against the injustices that are taking place against the Muslims and inshallah as a result would lend them to be far more amenable to actually listening to what the correct stance on such matters should be.

    The statements made, as those by the Shaykh, are very important, however they must be put in context within the reality of the world. Those of our brothers and sister who feel marginalised must find a voice within these same brothers, otherwise they will always find a way to have those sentiments expressed elsewhere.

    My apologies for writing many more paragraphs than I had intended, these are just some thoughts I wanted to share with you all inshallah.

    Jazakamullahkhayr, wasalaamualaykum

    Asim

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    • L Mirza

      asim, you are very disingenuous. Shayikh did not say we should not look into complaints and reasons. What he said was we should unequivocally condemn terrorism, and do not use “but”, “however” etrc. He said terrorism should eb condemned; and the reaosn or potential reasons sepaartely.

      You seem to justify terrorism is Ok as long a sthere are perceived reasons.

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      • Umer Siddique

        Assalamu ‘alaikum,

        L. Mirza, I think it’s unfair to suggest Asim is justifying terrorism (especially since the term remains undefined). However, your statement does illustrate the point: ‘perceived reasons.’ Many lay Muslims remain confused with respect to legitimacy (or not) of those reasons.

        I think, if I understand Asim correctly, that the point being made here is that the article is supposed to serve a purpose. If that purpose is to stem the tide of extremists in our midst, then there is a whole context that must be understood before we are to convince others of our point. The Shaikh himself mentioned how general statements are not enough. I think it is quite common to find young brothers in the West who wish to sincerely worship Allah upon the evidences, and find al-Qa’idah and certain groups providing detailed evidences for making specific locations in specific countries in specific situations their targets, and hence, if they are not convinced, they harbour doubts, which may potentially lead to something else given the right circumstances. It is all well for us to carry on bringing very general statements on why murder is wrong, but they fail to address the specific points.

        At the end of the day we can continue to sing our own praises but we know realistically that convincing people – those who are already inclined to such an ideology or those on the fence – is the outcome we want to achieve. When a person of knowledge puts forward particular points without addressing the crucial questions, for whatever reason, those we want to get the message to will remain, as Asim mentioned, marginalised and no further in the midst of their confusion.

        Wassalam

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    • Abu Noor

      Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for sharing your comments, which I belive are truly important.

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    • midatlantic

      Thank you for commenting brother Asim. A very valuable addition to the discourse.

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    • Suhail

      Brother you are spot on. I have nothing else to say but May Allah bless you for speaking the truth. All these pieces making things more confusing and does not do any good.

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    • abu Rumay-s.a.

      if you are familiar with Shaikh Salman’s writing, you will know that he does not half hazardly address his position, they are well thought out and rooted firmly in the noble principles of this deen and a deep understanding of current affairs. Therefore, I believe the article deserves several reads and a bit further contemplation about that the Shaikh is really trying to convey, some of which (I believe) are:

      – To unequivocally reject terrorism in all its forms and educate the 5-7% of the 1.56 billion muslims that may still be sympathetic to this criminal ideology. It is a way of defending Islam from deviant ideologies such as the Khawarij, etc. The sahaba (ra) were very strict in this regards (i.e. Ali and Ibn Abbass (raa)) and did not give up on it until it was obliterated.

      – Think about it, this small number of terrorists have hijacked the voice of Islam, so in the media, unfortunately the correlation is still there. More the voices of rejecting these ideas have to flourish in order to change that.

      – Think about what the actions of these terrorists have done to the life of the average muslim around the world (from east to west). Our civil liberties are at stake, the dawa/charity activities are hampered, our economies continue to suffer, opportunists are taking advantage, some of our teachers and leaders are incarcerated, etc.. we are subjected to these injustices due to the actions of a few criminals…and may Allah protect it from getting worse..ameen..

      – Making this point clear and reiterating it does not in any way undermine the concerns for the welfare of suffering muslims seeking their freedom and rights elsewhere in the world, that is a given, and if you have read the shaikh’s writings, you will know that very well and I believe the Shaikh intentionally did not open up that subject in this article for an important reason ….

      – those of us who feel marginalized need to hold on to this deen and the rope of Allah with all sincerity and persistence and continue to educate themselves about this noble deen and listen to the calls of the sincere and knowledgeable scholars of this ummah such as Shaikh Salman (h). There are no shortcuts in getting out of our problems, change takes dedication, persistence, sincerity, and a lot of patience and time.

      please reread and reconsider your thoughts in a more broad perspective, I believe the shaikh sums it nicely as follows:

      The merciful thing to do is to tell those young people who have been deceived, and those who are set to join their ranks tomorrow, that: “This path you are taking is not going to bring you to your goal. It will not save you from Hell or earn you Paradise. Whoever wants success in this life, salvation in the next, and Allah’s pleasure should adhere to the true teachings of Islam and keep far away from bloodshed and strife. Do not attempt to reinterpret the faith so as to justify acts that are clearly and patently evil. In the boldness with which you commit such mortal sins, you engage in crimes far worse in Allah’s estimation than those whom you purport to condemn.”/blockquote>

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      • Suhail

        I think you need to read the history once again. The sahabah did not choose to fight the Khawarij in the starting. Even Ibn Abbas (RA) went and pleaded with them to leave the course.

        Secondly Ali(RA) left them alone and said if you do not harm us we will leave u alone and he did. Only when they killed the son of the Sahabi and his wife who was pregnant he declared war on them.

        By the way if the terrorist as you say are Khawarij then who is Ali(RA) today (Al-Saud)

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  22. Ghulam

    Shayk is asking us to be good citizens and not indulge in violence. I sense this refreshing. high time!
    Otherwise, pretty soon we will eb classified into two – Muslim terrorists, and non-terrorist Muslims!

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  23. Abu Dajanaa

    Assalamu alaikum,

    I hope they condemned the terrorist USA, Britain as well together with Al Qaeda. USA, Britain have killed more people than Al Qaeda and they are the biggest terrrorist, bigger than Al Qaeda’

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    • Imran

      I agree. I think the criticism should be balanced. All I hear are such strong statements against AlQaida and other terrorist groups but not a word against the unjust policies of the USA, UK, and other so-called allies who frankly have more blood on their hands than all the terrorist groups combined. I don’t hear an ounce of criticism against these unjust policies of the US and UK but all focus seems to be on condemning Muslim “jihadists”. The only exception to this seems to be Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki and that’s why his words and statements resonate with so many Muslims.

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      • Ghulam

        Imramn
        Shayk is asking to segregate.. Violent terrorism is bad whatever may be the reason; and should be denounced;; no “but” or “however”.

        Our problem has been justifying nihilistic murderous terrorism done on behalf of Musilims.

        And you know, we have to seriously think about why an Arab should go and fight on chechnuya. It is an issue between chechnya and Russia, a Saudi Arbian mulsim should not go and particpate in that. And no Tajik murderer in Pakistan.

        As somebody told me–theer are only two types of Muslims now – tMuslim terrorists and non-terrorist Muslims..
        And let us stop blaming US and UK; let us look into ourselves. We always have somebody to blame -colonialism, western culture, meddling blah blah..

        So, why did Pakistan screw up while India developed in spite of multitudes of languages, religions, and languages

        Time to focus on our people’s development and growth. Enough blood has been shed.

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      • Mohammed Khan

        Non-Muslims killing Muslims: no surprise.

        Muslims killing Muslims: this is serious. Start by understanding what’s happening in Pakistan.

        Look at Iraq: so many Muslim sectarian groups killing each other.

        Let’s try pointing the finger at Muslims first as this is where the real problem is, no matter how unpleasant this feels.

        Salaam,
        Mohammed

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      • Suhail

        The problem in pakistan also started with the west meddling in its affairs by first promoting Musharraf and second by Drone attacks on civilians.

        Regarding Iraq then what do you expect from the Shia death squads? Will the greet sunnis with flowers.

        Even if we include muslims killing muslims it wont surpass even 1% of what the kuffar have done to the muslims. So no the big problem is not with muslims fighting each other but rather kuffar killing the muslims.

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      • Mohammed Khan

        @ Suhail:

        I agree that the US did meddle in the region. This was especially in the 1980s in the Cold War. Pakistan was being supplied with ammo by the US to aid the mujahideen in their battle against the Soviets.

        This meant:

        -an increase in weapons in the area
        -an increase in drugs to finance more of the war
        -an increase in violence and crime, in general

        Ok, then the US splits. What do the Afghan warlords do? Exactly what Islam tells them not to do: fight each other and shed Muslim blood.

        Point is: even if the US and others initiated this entire mess, the Muslims continued it after they left. This is inexcusable from an Islamic standpoint.

        Regarding Musharraf, he had no choice. Richard Armitage said he would bomb Pakistan back to the stone age if he didn’t support the US. This should be taken into context.

        Our problem is that we always blame others. We should try a different strategy in line with the Qur’an and wonder what our own hands have earned us.

        Salaam,
        Mohammed.

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      • Suhail

        By the way when the warlords after the soviet fought among each other Taliban came into power by removing them. They controlled 95% of the country and provided security. What happened next? They were bombed out of the afghanistan and now the same warlords who Taliban overthrew are back with the blessing of the west.

        How much muslim blood had been shed by the west when it came to Iraq? Documented facts establish that the sanctions on Iraq caused around 1 million babies to lose there lives because of inadequate medical supplies and food. Who is responsible for the deaths of those innocents.

        Hundreds of civilian deaths have occurred in Pakistan’s NWFP from those drone attacks and what is the response of the government there who have sworn to protect its citizens. Nothing Nadda. Rather they helped US in those bombings.

        And don’t tell me the a nuclear armed nation like Pakistan was told by US that they will blow them out of this world. So Musharraf got afraid because US would bomb them. I mean come on brother. They are still fighting Taliban after 9 years. Musharraf saw dollars coming to his coffers and that is the reason that he changed his stance even though overwhelming majority of Pakistanis were against that decision but didn’t gave any thought about his people. Rather he sided with the kuffar in the bombing of Afghanistan. I hope you are not that naive believing that idiotic story of US bombing Pakistan.

        Yes we have a role to play in all of this. We have to start obeying Allah and his shariah in all matters of this life and we also have to stand by the side of our opressed brothers and sisters.

        Remember what the Prophet(SAW) told us that the Ummah is one body and if one parts get hurt the others feel it. If we do not help those who are hurt then when Allah places a test upon us than nobody will come to our rescue.

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      • Mohammed Khan

        @Suhail.

        Salaam Suhail,

        Sorry for the delayed response. I address your response below:

        1/ Be careful when you defend the Taliban. Yes, warlords fought after the US left, and Taliban stepped in to ramp up security. Initially the Afghanis supported them because of the law and order they saw in their actions. However, the Afghanis realized that Taliban was imposing their brand of Islam on the masses against their will. That’s when they opposed the Taliban. To me, there is no difference between Afghan warlords fighting post-war, and the rise of the Taliban. Taliban was continuing oppression on the masses in their own ways just as the warlords were.

        2/ Regarding the Taliban being “bombed out of the afghanistan”, it is because of the Taliban’s dumb decision to protect Osama bin Laden that led to the bombing. After 9/11 happened, the Taliban should have handed bin Laden over to avoid the massacre of so many civilians. They didn’t. Choosing the lesser of two evils, Taliban should definitely have handed him over. It was a dumb decision that led to more misery for Muslims — thanks to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

        3/ Regarding Iraq, there is no doubt the US is responsible for the murder of hundreds and thousands of Iraqis. I never said otherwise. But this does not change my point that now many Muslim Iraqis are fighting amongst themselves and shedding blood: Sunnis, Shi’ah, Salafis, Iraqi nationalists, etc. This is pathetic, Islamically speaking.

        4/ Regarding drone attacks, take a good guess why this is happening.
        Terrorists hide in the tribal regions and are causing havoc. Pakistan is suffering as we speak from a spate of attacks across the country by these bloodthirsty militants. They want to overthrow the government, impose their narrow version of Islamic Law, and kill fellow Muslims. What to do? Invade the tribal regions with a full army and create a bigger problem? Leave it as is so extremism can flourish and be a continued nuisance to Pakistan and its neighbors? Let the Pak government do what they can, including support of drone attacks? What do you propose to resolve or minimize problems in that troubled region?

        5/ Musharraf said Richard Armitage forced Pakistan to comply with their opposition to the Taliban and other militants. After a strong alliance with the extremists for much of Pakistan’s existence, why would the Pak government want to suddenly abandon them for the some “money”? If Musharraf really wanted money, he could’ve gotten it through other ways, and not put himself and his country at so much risk by opposing the militants he and previous governments had supported for decades. The US was hit on 9/11 and they were serious about attacking. Musharraf made the right decision, in my opinion, otherwise the country would’ve been in worse shape. And even if this story is weak, as you say, it was long overdue to subdue the militants and cut the government’s alliance with them. Pak politicians were playing with fire for a long time. Better late than never to clamp down on these militant ego-maniacs. Hats off to him in this regard, though he still counts as a tyrant in my books.

        6/ Americans have done lots of damage, no doubt. But I really believe our suffering would be far less if Muslims were more sincere to Islam and true in brotherood to their fellow Muslims. Unfortunately they are not. This is likely why Muslims are suffering so much. Though others have caused much damage to Muslims, I believe the ultimate solution is to rectify ourselves, purify our souls, deflate our egos, and be true to Allah.

        Salaam,
        Mohammed

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  24. Nadim

    Great article and advice form our shuyookhs. As others have pointed out, it’s about time that scholars and student of knowledge living in the West start discussing what is Jihad and how to understand it in our times. This topic represents a major theme in the Qur’an and in the Seerah, so this should taught as it is, and we should make it part of our curriculum, as we learn the other branches of knowledge.

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  25. abd

    Assalamu alaykum,

    May Allah bless all of the people who spoke with knowledge and experience. A problem that I see is that we release general statements that are extremely one sided, either left or right. While as muslims we condemn any form of intentional acts of violence against innocent people, we also condone acts of courage that support our religion (as does americans with their belief in democracy). We cannot just release statements for the sake of receiving support from governments and popularity from the common people. We have to attack the issue head on with knowledge and education of what is permissible and what is not.

    For example, the 7/7 bombings was a breach of covenant between the individuals and the government, if they had entered the country as foreigners. If they were born there than that would be a different scenario which I have no knowledge about. Also it was a suicide bombing (martyrdom operation), which I do not agree with, but neither do I condemn the muslims to hell. I think Sheikh albani’s opinion should be followed if any at all. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have muslims around the world trying to defend themselves from occupations. Are sheikhs willing to classify these people as terrorists and khawarij and deny them their rights as our brothers and sisters?

    There are groups in Somalia who want to end the violence and establish law and order by means of the sharia. The groups have joined under one islamic umbrella organization and yet we see (western) scholars raising their voices against them because they use guns and RPGs. If history shows us anything, even in our own, is that it takes blood, sweat and tears to accomplish goals. Or would our sheikhs ask us to not support our brothers in Palestine, Iraq, etc.?

    I have listened and read statements of these organizations and the only people I have hear them make takfeer of are the “muslim” governments for allying with the kuffar and ruling by british common law, napoleonic code, or some cultural laws. They have never made takfeer of the common muslims or the shooyokh, except for a few ignorant jihadis on the internet. Which is quite ironic, I think, because while muslims and shooyokh call them khawarij(who are the dogs of fire and kafirs) these muslims themselves support the kuffar and love the kuffar for the sake of dawah and show enmity towards these organizations fighting occupational armies.

    Instead of complaining, condemning, criticizing, shiekhs should give us realistic solutions to our problems and guide us. Instead of abandoning the mujahideen, share their burdens and teach them the correct path.

    If my comment is not deleted as it usually is, then asslalmu alaykum wa rahmatullah to the truthfully sincere And even if it is, ameen.

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    • Maverick

      Abd,

      To me it was pretty clear that they were speaking out against such violence that is intentionally aimed at non-combatants.

      Fighting against armed occupiers is another matter altogether and that’s not the point of discussion here.

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  26. Muslim1111

    As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
    I have a question for the mashayikh,
    No muslim can deny the fact that Jihad is a part of our religion. So if what the mujahideen are doing is wrong, why don’t you guys bother to teach us the correct way? Why don’t we see you guys (speaking generally to all those who refute the mujahideen) teach us the correct way to do jihad? We have fiqh of food and clothing, we have fiqh of love, we have biographies of scholars, yet we never see fiqh of jihad or the meaning of al-wala’ wal bara’, and the biographies of scholars never talk about their jihad life. If I’m mistaken and there are pieces written by those who refute the mujahideen then please present them so that maybe we can work out our differences and work towards our true mission, that being raising the flag of Islam to govern the world.

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    • Siraaj

      Actually, aqeedah 4 which will be covered by both Shaykh WB and YQ will cover al wara’ w’al bara’

      Siraaj

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  27. Abdul-rahman III

    Why don’t we hear such shiekhs say this aloud on the media, on Islam channel, on Eid days, or Friday Khutbahs or throughout Muslim world. The shiekhs and students of knowledge have failed to do so, thereby allowing these radical groups a free passage into the Muslim Ummah and now were stuck in this situation where they cannot be stopped. They are relishing from the fitna they have caused and have yet to cause and are gaining sympathetic support from the young men and disenfranchised. These radical groups have done soo much damage to the name and image of Islam yet the scholars and Imams will rather talk about other softer topic, the damage has been done.
    ‘Too little, too late!’

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    • Ahmad AlFarsi

      What are you talking about? Can’t speak for the UK, but in the US, terrorism (i.e. indiscriminate killing) is condemned by almost every last Imam I’ve ever seen in every other talk they give…

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    • Maverick

      Ditto to what Ahmad said –

      With all due respect bro I don’t know what plant you’re living on but here on Earth, countless imams and shyoukh have warned publicly and privately about the dangers and pitfalls of extremism.

      Your post sounds like it was copied verbatim off of some right-wing anti-Muslim rant.

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  28. AbuHasan

    Assalamu alaykum

    Inshallah I hope and pray this message finds all the brothers and sister in the best of health and eemaan.

    I would like to make a fews points concerning the article, if i may.

    The Article made many good points. However the tone from the Shuyuokhs. I really fealt, oh no looks like a another muslim bashing. (again).
    Yes we have many problems, too many to be counted. But why are the shuyukoh, allways blaming the problems on the muslims. As if Shataan does not exit, or the plotting of the plotters(non-muslims Governments)
    How much money do the Kufaar governments spend on the War, which they call the battle of hearts and minds. Misleading our muslims countries. Nobody denies this, so why, allways “just” blame the muslim.

    Yes the issues of Jehad does exit? nobody denys it except a blind man. So where are the scholars and the students of knowledge teaching the correct concept of Jehad!!!
    So If anyone is to be blamed it is the scholars, for not teaching the general masses the right, meaning of Jehad
    So if a muslims make a mistake, we jump down their necks, not making any excuse what so ever.
    Where are the classes of jehad(correct understanding) now a days? who is teaching this? no one !!

    Why not call the article “Standing United Against injustice ” Justice for all muslim and non-muslim.
    The Muslims countries have been colonised and devastated, we must feel this pain and suffering,
    Not until the scholar and students of knowledge, Feel for the Muslim umma, stand up for the muslims rightll will they be listened to. I believe!
    show more courage and backbone Oh Scholars and students of knowledge. Fear Allaah!

    Living in the west, i feel we really don’t know what the ground realities are in places, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, to name a few. So why comment on there troubles in the negative? we are told in classes if you want a fatwa, about anything go to the scholars of the land! Where are the scholars of Iraq?
    where the scholars of AFghanistan and Pakistan? where are the scholars Somaila? etc etc
    why we not following are own Usool?
    I am sure that if the west attacked Saudi, the shaikh would call all of the muslim of the world for Jehad. As the saudies did in the Afghan – Russia war.

    I feel, the Muslim freedom fighters, in there lands our fighting occupation, the problem with us in the west, it is affecting our easy lifstyle, we start blaming them.

    Allah the great will protect this Deen.

    was salaam

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  29. muhajjirah

    asalaam alaikum warahmat ALLAH,

    if we haven’t learned anything from this thread, there is ONE thing we ALL need to do. start off with sincere duaa’ing for the sake of ALLAH because without that, our Ummah will remain in the mess its already in.

    we are a replica of Bani’Israel..and instead of pointing fingers, we seriously need to nurture or individual connections with ALLAH and kickstart the Sunnah in our own lives. inshaAllah with that, a chain reaction will result.

    1. duaa
    2. rectify self
    3. dispel the myths
    4. spread the CORRECT teachings of Islam
    5. fear no one but ALLAH

    Allah Knows Best.

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  30. abdullah

    Al-Oudah should listen to his past speeches. They were closer to the truth than the pacifist path he wants to follow now.

    He should understand the basic laws of nature cause and effect. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

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    • Maverick

      Be careful with your words dude.

      You’re implying that pacifism is falsehood, or close to it. If you were familiar with Islam’s principles and the meaning of pacifism itself, then I doubt you would make such a statement.

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      • Abd

        Assalamu alayk,

        He wasn’t implying that pacifism was falsehood. He was saying his old stance of fighting was the stronger opinion. The prophet’s life was filled with struggling for the sake of God by means of fighting. In Sahih Muslim Jabir states ” The Messenger of Allah fought in 21 battles,” while Ibn Ishaq mentions 29 battles and this was within 10 years. Also the Prophet (SAW) sent out 55 detachments, so pacifism is far from being attributed to the prophet (SAW), except for the opening of Mecca, in which 5/6 people were still sentenced to death.

        Wa salam

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      • Maverick

        He was clearly saying his old path was closer to the “truth” [as if he has a better understanding of the "truth" than Shk. Salman does] than he new current path of pacifism. This isn’t the philosophical equivalent of rocket science. I’m not teasing out certain implications that don’t exist, or misconstruing his words.

        Counting up all of nabeyuna Muhammad’s battles, expeditions, ghazwaat, etc is an old tactic used by armchair generals to try and overload an argument by weight of meaningless numbers.

        What is conveniently forgotten is that even the section in hadith about Jannah being under the shades of swords is PRECEDED by the order / reminder of Prophet Muhammad [saws] to *** AVOID *** seeking the enemy in battle and instead to make dua for safety and peace. There was the order to offer terms of peace when two armies were fact to face with each other, to avoid the commencement of hostilities as much as possible. There are clear examples from the sunnah of the Khulafaa where the sought to avoid war and hostilities – case in point being Umar’s wish that there be a “mountain of fire” between the Muslims and the Persians, so that there wouldn’t be any fighting, even though Muslims were repeatedly wiping the floor with Persian ass.

        The problem with many of the fanatical, neo-Khwaarij is that they have no respect for human life, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. For them, the pursuit of revenge and chaos is paramount. The ends justify the means. When you tell them to stop killing civillians and non-combatants, their response is to distort the ayah from the Qur’an where it states “and hurt them in a similar way as they have hurt you.” The problem with many of these starry-eyed, naive cheerleaders sitting back at home is that they have good intentions – they want to support the [real] mujahideen with their dua and moral resolve, but in their haste to do so they end up mistaking criminal elements, who are intent on causing lawlessness, for the same.

        As much as some people would love to close their eyes and accuse Shk. Salman al-Oudah of all sorts of things, the fact is he is NOT arguing against Jihad bil-sayf, and he is not criticizing those who are carrying out legitimate and controlled armed resistance against foreign militiaries and armed forces that have violated the national sovereignty of various Muslim lands. He is clearly arguing against extremism and senseless violence which is causing massive amounts of collateral damage, much of it innocent people, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

        If you actually bother looking up the definition of pacifism, you’ll find plenty of examples from the Seerah that coincide with just that. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pacifism, rather it is commendable and without an iota of doubt, its the right course of action for Muslims. As always, war and violence must be the absolute last option.

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      • Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

        Eloquent, eloquent, eloquent and Truth, MashaAllah! May Allah increase you in goodness, Aameen

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  31. Islam

    It seems more like the Holy Book the author is following is the United Nations charter more than the words of Allah (swt). All these right that each nation has, etc are all from the United Nation since in the Quran Allah (swt) refers to Muslims as a whole – as a nation. Not borders, etc. These borders were again created by Western invaders, so where in Islam does it ask us to follow post-invasion rules and guidelines or add them to our holy scriptures. It is said that those that seeks the help of the non-believers in this life will be asked to do the same in the hereafter as God would not help those that went to others for help and feared others more than Him (who is the knower of all).

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    • Ghulam

      Most of you are carzy. Rome is burning and you are playing the fiddle. One man is trying to show the right way.

      Our problem is that we have too much religion and not enough religiousity or reasoning; too much blame, but not enough introspection; too much God but no godliness…

      We have to reconcile between Umma and nation state. As a citizen of USA, our first responsibility is to USA. While I sympathize with the genuine issues (such as Palestine), i do not ahve any sympathy to what is happening in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc. I do not care how Chechnya or Uighers turn out. It is their problem to be settled between them and countries like Rusiia, china.

      We are making peoples lives difficult by mixing religion, nationhood etc.. If we wanted that, we would not have left our countries and opted for US or Europe. We take new oaths when we become citizens.
      Either we become full citizens or renounce and go back to PAkistan, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria..

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      • Umer Siddique

        SubhanAllah I do not know how a Muslim could say they have no sympathy for any other Muslim. And to compare the ‘plight’ of Muslims in the West to people in Chechnya, etc.

        That is very strange indeed.

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      • Farhan

        as-salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmat Allahi wa baraktahu

        I don’t agree with you at all. First off, I was born and raised in the US, Texas and DC, respectively. So, the idea of “go back” doesn’t apply to me.

        Second, being an American (for example) and having natural sympathies with our people does not conflict with being a America. America has no concept of “agree with us or get out”. That’s quite an un-American view, because descent is something that is (used to be?) not only respected, it was patriotic. But even as an American, a lot of the international problems that the US is plagued with stem from its poor foreign policy towards the Muslim countries. The two are interconnected.

        Finally, lets say at one point the two conflicted and you had to be one or the other, couldn’t be both. Eventually you’re going to die. Doesn’t that affect your loyalties and worldview?

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  32. Uthman

    Assalam o alaykum, one of the many disturbing things that I have observed, is that people talk about the scholars like talking about some common person. The circle of adab(respect) must never be left when talking to or about the scholars. I found this khutbah which talks about backbiting in general and backbiting about the scholars of Islam in specific. Click here.

    Please brothers and sisters becareful when you speak about someone especially about scholars because backbiting them will be even more problematic for you. It is possible in your ignorance you may backbite and it could be a means for Hell! Wether it is Shaykh Salman Al Oudah or Shaykh Anwar Awlaki. Please becareful! You are talking about someone who may perhaps be more knowledgeable then you and he may get rewarded because of his ijtihad and you may get punished because you backbit without knowledge.

    I was taking a class with Shaykh Jamal and he said that many deeply religious people came once and apologized to him, crying with tears because they said some stuff about him that they had just heard or were out of context. He said, backbiting causes you to be in a situation in which you MUST seek sincere forgiveness from the individual that you backbit.

    The Golden advice from the Prophet(SAW), On the authority of Abu Hurairah, the Prophet(SAW) said, “whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good things or keep silent….” recorded by Bukhari and Muslim. Either say something good or be silent. How hard is that?

    Becareful before passing judgement before you are called to account. Wallah u musta3an…….
    wa jazakAllah khair

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  33. AbuSulaiman

    I don’t think thats a particularly good refutation, but i hear your point. You have to give coverage to both sides (as long as respect is maintained) otherwise you’ll just drive the discussion elsewhere.

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  34. Ameera

    Sh Tawfique Chowdhury has put the whole topic into perspective – do read the “update” to this post if you haven’t already. I highly recommend it!

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  35. Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

    Now if the Mashayakh can come out and just as clearly condemn the intellectual terrorism of Spubs et al, that would be nice too…

    I’m talking name and shame here.

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  36. Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

    You are mixing up issues.

    Time and place.

    Figure that out.

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  37. Amad

    As for comments that suggest that we only talk about injustice conducted by Muslims and not by non-Muslims, those comments are as disingenuous, as well as not being not factual. The following is a list of posts that talk about injustice against Muslims:

    The entire campaign for Dr. Aafia, which is not a very popular thing to do in America, and not toeing the “official line”.
    Several posts around Dr. Ali Timimi and Ismail Royer
    The posts in support of other prisoners in the USA including Ahmed Ali

    The posts about injustice in:
    *China & China-2
    *India
    *Iraq-1, 2
    *Somali pirates
    Burma
    Uzbekistan
    Pakistan Lal Masjid 1, 2
    *Sudan
    *Countless post on Palestine & Gaza

    The posts against the US campaigns:
    Obama 1, 2, 3, 4
    War on terror general 1

    These are just the ones I could quickly pick out in 15 minutes. I am sure I missed half of them.

    If the above don’t suffice to provide sufficient proof about our “even-handedness” and calling it like it is (wherever and by whoever it is), then to be honest, nothing will suffice. Because then it is an issue of the agenda of those who don’t like what we are doing because it hurts their campaigns of keyboard jihad. And there is no better benefit of MM than to save disaffected Muslims from the hands of those who have hijacked this religion with sick murderous mentalities.

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    • Asghar

      Amad,
      How many of those were written by our shuyookh? Where are the statements of condemnation by our shuyookh on the injustices and atrocities committed by the Western world? Why aren’t they as vocal against the US or UK as they are against the Muslim extremist groups for the crimes they have committed against so many Muslims around the world? Where is this “even-handedness” that you speak so passionately about?

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      • MM Associates

        Asghar,

        Didn’t Amad just show you the various articles we have which are critical of the West? Is that not enough for you? Amad is right when he concludes “to be honest, nothing will suffice” for you.

        As for you demanding that our Shuyookh write them personally, then just know that (1) they oftentimes ask us to write articles on certain topics, including those critical of foreign policy. (2) They could have axed the articles Amad linked to, and (3) you will find that in many of those articles Amad linked to the Shuyookh post fairly lengthy comments in them which express their views.

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      • Ibn Masood

        Why oh why do we need to write about the injustices of others? I never, ever understood this.

        WeKNOW that the kuffar will always try to silence Islam and kill Muslims. This is evident in the Qur’an SO MANY times.

        But what will give the Muslims victory?? Is it pointing fingers at the ones who have no play in our destiny anyway?

        Rather let us take the example of the Battle of Uhud. The battle was lost because some Muslims fell prey to their nafs. It was the Muslims at fault that resulted in the loss of the battle!!! And it always has been! We as an ummah control our own destiny through how adherent we are to Islam…

        The moment Muslims look at their own faults, realize where they are going wrong, and in the process come closer to Allah swt.. THAT is when we will have our victory.

        There is absolutely nothing constructive to be gained by looking at the injustices of the kuffar. We know they are there and have always been there, and always will be there in the future. Ignore it and work on ourselves. That is how to progress forwards.

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    • Hudhaifa

      Slmz Akhi

      I have alot of respect for these scholars and i have learnt alot from them, Alhamdulilah!

      How many of those articles that you linked above were written by Salman al-Oudah, Yasir Qadhi , Yaser Birjas or Tawfique Chowdhury?

      When was the last time that any of these scholars spoke out publicly against the invasion of Afghanistan?

      Wasalaam

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  38. seeking truth

    As salaamu alaykum:

    I appreciate the various shuyookh talking about this subject, but I feel that they still are not at all really addressing point for point, and very specifically what the various “extremist” shuyookh and their followers are saying, and have been saying for a very long time. The shuyookh really, really insha’Allah need to break it down in terms of what various Qur’anic Ayat mean (or don’t mean!) for instance, because the beliefs of what they mean, wallahi, REALLY make ALL the difference in the world, and are literally like the difference between night and day, up and down, black and white, and so forth. I will give you one example from only one ayah, of what the various “extremist” shuyookh and their followers use in terms of what in essence, for most Muslims (the “non-extremist” types), would be the sanctioning of mass murder, genocide, massacres, etc., of non-combatants including women and children, and also the sanctioning of punishing people not AT ALL related to an actual crime against Muslims or guilty of any crimes, but are still as they say, to pay the price for the sins of what others had done. The “extremist” Muslims say that with this ayah, virtually all non-Muslim non-combatants in the West can be intentionally killed, as they say that this ayah does NOT only refer to the actual perpetrator of the crime (the actual one who’s guilty) but also his family, his tribe, his country, his ethnic group, his nationality, etc. And please remember, of course the late Shaykh al-Uthaymeen’s (rahimahullah) fatwa ALSO in essence saying that women and children noncombatant non-Muslims CAN be intentionally targeted (killed) because of what he believed to be the meaning of this ayah, and of course he was no extremist, terrorist, or terrorist sympathizer, etc. Anyway, can some of the shuyookh please refute what the “extremists” say that this means, and break it down, and insha’Allah, give their opinion as to why there are different interpretations (VERY different!) of the meaning of this ayah, and if this is an issue in which the Hanbalees, and/or the Salafiyoon have a different opinion from the other Fiqhi schools, etc. JazakAllahu khair.

    Here is the Ayah:

    And if you punish (your enemy, O you believers in the Oneness of Allah), then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted. – 16:126

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  39. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    As salamu alaykum. What I like most about this article and the comments from the shuyukh is that — instead of cow-towing or protesting the innocence of Islam to non-Muslims — they all addressed primarily those Muslims who get taken in by the moral umbrage of groups like Al Qaeda. Groups that trumpet loudly that they will “restore dignity to Islam” by perpetrating acts of barbarity or by tearing down other Muslims, such groups pretend to be on the moral high ground.

    “Birr” — moral righteousness and rectitude is not as groups like Al Qaeda would have you believe. Birr is as Allah proclaimed, His Messenger (sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam) exemplified, and as the ulema — the scholars, the people of reflection, including our learned shuyukh in this article — remind us to uphold and strive for.

    This was a good article, jazak Allah khayr.

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  40. Abu Sabaya

    …and the dead horse is beaten once again.

    It would be nice to for once see an article from you guys urging us to stand united against the terrorism of America and her allies (and I know this is a stretch, but maybe to also stand behind those trying to repel it) – if not for reasons of wala’ and bara’, then at least for the reason that it is the terrorism that is statistically most frequent, widespread, and has claimed the most innocent lives.

    One can only dream.

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    • anon

      @Abu Sabaya:

      How about these articles that Amad mentioned above?

      The entire campaign for Dr. Aafia, which is not a very popular thing to do in America, and not toeing the “official line”.
      Several posts around Dr. Ali Timimi and Ismail Royer
      The posts in support of other prisoners in the USA including Ahmed Ali

      The posts about injustice in:
      *China & China-2
      *India
      *Iraq-1, 2
      *Somali pirates
      Burma
      Uzbekistan
      Pakistan Lal Masjid 1, 2
      *Sudan
      *Countless post on Palestine & Gaza

      The posts against the US campaigns:
      Obama 1, 2, 3, 4
      War on terror general 1

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    • Amad

      Actually, Abu Sabaya, one article or many articles won’t suffice for you (I pointed out several in my other comment). Your dream is something else, and you aren’t going to get it here.

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      • Suhail

        Problem brother Amad is why are the shaikhs not speaking on these topics. All i see them speaking against is terrorism most of the time. Yes we get one or two articles like the one from Shaikh Yasir regarding Tantawi but other than that it is total silence. Even Shaikh Waleed called the mujahideen in Afghanistan during Soviet occupation as losers in one of his talk and i was shocked none the less.

        When the knowledgable of the Ummah choose to remain silent about the sufferings of the Ummah where do you think people are going to turn to. Did Ibn Taymiyyah chose to sit silent when the tatars where killing the muslims? Did Abdis Salam sit silent when Tatars where massacring the muslims? What about Ibn Baz and Abdullah Azzam in this age. Did they remain silent about the massacre of the muslims. No they didn’t rather they wrote and helped.

        Regarding the number of articles that you are telling us about than can you tell me how many of those are written by the Shyoukh. I do not care what you write because your opinion and my opinion does not matter as we are simple layman and thus nobody gives a damn about that.

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      • Amad

        So now, if I am reading you right, MM, in general, is even-handed, but the Shayookh aren’t (whose posts represent under 10% of all posts). So, let’s get the latter straightened out too.

        In addition to the Tantawi post, more from Yasir Qadhi:
        Gaza University Destroyed, Professor Rayyan & Family Murdered: Are Some Freedoms More Sacred Than Others?
        Dr. Ali al-Timimi’s Hearing: October 23rd, 2008

        Now, please put the “all I see them speaking against is terrorism most of the time” in links. Enough of these emotional outbursts.

        Show us the evidence of how many posts that Shaykh Yasir or Shaykh Yaser wrote that equals “speaking against is terrorism most of the time”.

        The answer is of course that you won’t find ‘em… the Shayookh write little. They are not obsessed day and night about what they may not have the ability to affect. They are carrying the dawah and spending their days and nights teaching Islam. They are not sitting on their computers, bemoaning world affairs.

        Instead of worrying about what Sh. Waleed or Sh. Yaser, or Sh. Yasir write about the injustices against Muslims, let me ask YOU (and I don’t mean you in particular, but all those who share your views) what you have done for them? If you are so worried about it all, why are you not out in the oppressed lands and helping the oppressed? Because you don’t have the courage. You can only sit and criticize. You can only sit and be depressed about world affairs. Rather, the wise Muslim is the one who concerns himself with what he can affect. He focuses on the change he can make, the little spark of deen he can light. He worries about himself first, then about his family, then about those around him. Those he can directly impact.

        And finally, the opinions of all writers matter, and people do “give a damn” about them. Maybe not you, but if this blog depended on the shayookh, then you wouldn’t be on here, because this blog wouldn’t matter enough to worry about (similar to the other forums out there that focus on criticism, rather than beneficial knowledge). And speaking the truth is everyone’s responsibility. It is beautiful how you dismiss everyone else, because it doesn’t quite suit your story.

        P.S. I know that this comment will shoot past you and your friends, just like other beneficial information. So, I will not bother myself to get into a circle of never-ending arguments. I have more beneficial stuff to focus on. I suggest you make yourself useful too.

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      • Suhail

        You again went on a emotional rampage. How do you know that i have not been to any of the affected places? or you just making a grand assumption.

        I have to say brother that your attitude really stinks. Before you tell me about manners learn some because in my posts i have not insulted you or said anything demeaning but you instead of giving a proper response insulted me. May Allah be the judge between us on the day of Qiyamah for this.

        By the way on the matters of fiqh and deen yes your opinion does not carry any weight and as is mine because we are simple layman. If you do not consider yourself as a layman than that is your choice not mine. What islamic knowledge have you acquired to spell out what the ummah needs to do and not in this testing time? Or you consider yourself a mufti?

        These topics are highly sensitive and thus warrant somebody with proper knowledge to speak. It is a matter of muslims honor and life and i dont find you as a person who should be speaking on this matter.

        May Allah help us in our affairs and help us to understand our worth.

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      • Siraaj

        Even Shaikh Waleed called the mujahideen in Afghanistan during Soviet occupation as losers in one of his talk and i was shocked none the less.

        Cut to about min 37 – 38 in the new lecture posted on MM, shaykh waleed clarified that “loser” comment about the afghan mujahideen.

        Siraaj

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      • Abu Sabaya

        Your dream is something else, and you aren’t going to get it here.

        You’re right, although that’s not exactly something to brag about.

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      • Amad

        We don’t brag about anything… all praise is only for Allah. All good comes from him, and all evil from the Shaytan.

        May Allah keep this site a place for beneficial knowledge and not a place for back-biting, slandering and self-comforting whining about world events.

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      • Abu Sabaya

        …and not a place for back-biting, slandering and self-comforting whining about world events.

        It has become all of the above, unfortunately.

        In terms of slander, there is no slander worse than to refer to entire Mujahidin groups as terrorists, even if they commit errors during the course of Jihad. If someone makes an error during Jihad, that doesn’t nullify his Jihad or the fact that his underlying struggle is a valid one, and the struggle to evict invaders from our lands is certainly a valid one. It was hoped that those partaking in this struggle that you label as terrorists would be afforded at least the same respectful treatment that a true international terrorist like Tony Blair received from one of your staff not too long ago.

        In terms of “self-comforting whining about world events,” I can think of no better way to describe the frequent regurgitation of ‘terrorism this, terrorism that’ that has become a hallmark here. As some have pointed out on this thread, people are getting tired of it and many are starting to question the motives behind it.

        Please understand that even if it isn’t the intention behind posting these articles here, this will contribute to having a generation of Muslims in the West who, because of the stigma that is created due to Jihad only being mentioned in the context of condemnation, will have the concepts of wala’ & bara’ and Jihad abrogated from their mind. And whether you like it or not, these are fundamental aspects of our religion.

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      • Amad

        I am sure the shayookh understand jihad, wala wal bara, and its implication much better than the keyboard jihadists. The stigma is created by those who have misused the concept and who have terrorized in the name of Islam and jihad. Those are the people that need to be educated. Focus on them first.

        Generations are not praying 5 times, and you are worried about the stigma of jihad… perhaps it is a question of getting our priorities straight and giving each each in Islam its due, rather than letting one overshadow everything else.

        wallahualam

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      • MuslimMatters

        In response to those who are saying that the errors (i.e. terrorism) of alQaeda et al. should be over-looked, since they are (supposedly) “fighting Jihad,” we say that these “errors” are grievous acts which result in the death of countless innocent civilians. It is not something that can simply be excused or overlooked, but rather such atrocities must be condemned with the strongest words.

        The response is in this post: Closing the Chapter on “Benefit of Doubt” to Terrorists (al-Qaeda et al.)

        On that note, the comments will be closed, as the discussion has run its course.

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      • Amad

        I am sure the shayookh understand jihad, wala wal bara, and its implication much better than the keyboard jihadists. The stigma is created by those who have misused the concept and who have terrorized in the name of Islam and jihad. Those are the people that need to be educated. Focus on them first.

        Generations are not praying 5 times, and you are worried about the stigma of jihad… perhaps it is a question of getting our priorities straight and giving each each in Islam its due, rather than letting one overshadow everything else.

        wallahualam

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      • Searching For Truth

        @Abu Sabaya.

        BarakAllahu feek akhi. But let me explain the difference, in the regular everyday Muslim’s mind, between affording Husn AdhDhann to “someone who makes an error during Jihad” and any Muslim who makes an error in a realm outside of violent combat.

        The difference is, akhi, that the “error” of the claimant to jihad usually ends up killing countless Muslim civilians, women, and children (and also non-Muslim civilians as well). The errors of others who are not engaged in violent combat don’t have nearly the same repercussions. That is really the reason why many Muslims do not feel comfortable supporting many of the modern claimants to jihad… because they are reaping so much destruction and chaos (among Muslims), that it is really hard to see how they are doing jihad at all. And it is not just one error here and there, according to (Muslim) media outlets in Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, these (deadly) errors seem to be happening on almost a daily basis! When the errors become so habitual, they are no longer seen by the common person as some anomaly, but, unfortunately, they are seen as the modus operandi of that group. No amount of words can change that perception, only a drastic change in action, such that we no longer see acts of indiscriminate violence being committed by these aforementioned claimants to jihad.

        As far as Tony Blair, Obama, Bush, and co. are concerned… of course we don’t support them in the least, and we (and all Muslims) hope with all our hearts that their occupation of all Muslim lands comes to an utter halt, and until they stop killing our people, we will be against them, and they will be our enemies until their aggression ends.

        And yes, we would like to support those who are repelling the invaders and occupiers, but again, when we see those same people causing the deaths of so many Muslims, on what seems to be a daily basis, we cannot help but to think “this isn’t the way to do it.” Yes, we all support jihad as it is part of our deen, but we have major problems with many of the modern day claimants to this noble concept. That is why we can see so many other comments in this post asking “OK, so what IS the proper way to engage in Jihad then? Tell us what we should do and what we SHOULD support.”

        I hope my words are clear, brother. Please don’t read any insults in my comment, for surely, there are none intended. Looking forward to your thoughts on what I said, inshaAllah.

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      • Abu Sabaya

        I am sure the shayookh understand jihad, wala wal bara, and its implication much better than the keyboard jihadists.

        That’s what many of us used to think…until the words (and photo opportunities) of the shuyukh proved us wrong.

        Generations are not praying 5 times, and you are worried about the stigma of jihad

        Well, look who’s talking.

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      • Abu Sabaya

        @ Searching for Truth:

        I appreciate your words, brother. Some thoughts on your thoughts:

        And it is not just one error here and there, according to (Muslim) media outlets in Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere

        Try getting access to what the Mujahidin themselves say about all this. That way, you’ll have a more informed and balanced view and won’t violate the 6th verse of Surat al-Hujurat.

        Yes, we all support jihad as it is part of our deen, but we have major problems with many of the modern day claimants to this noble concept.

        It’s not as “many” as it is being made to seem. Innocents are killed in any war (even those led by the Prophet himself). Much of this is exxagerated in the media as a logical effort to usurp the Ummah’s support for the Mujahidin (the ‘battle for hearts and minds,’ as the White House calls it).

        There have been numerous incidents that the media blames on al-Qa’idah, Taliban, etc. that they afterewards insist they had nothing to do with. This is a reality that is often ignored.

        That is why we can see so many other comments in this post asking “OK, so what IS the proper way to engage in Jihad then? Tell us what we should do and what we SHOULD support.”

        That is a very good point, and one that I’ve stressed as well. All we see is bashing (from the same people who complain that all they see is bashing!), without indicating which Mujahidin they think should be supported. The days of Muhammad ash-Shareef’s ‘The World’s Bravest People’ are gone.

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      • Amad

        There have been numerous incidents that the media blames on al-Qa’idah, Taliban, etc. that they afterewards insist they had nothing to do with. This is a reality that is often ignored.

        Wait just a sec. So, until now, I had moved into the mode of operating under the assumption, based on the many comments here, that we were beating a “dead horse”. Didn’t you say that too? That basically everyone AGREES that Al-Qaeda is “bad” (to put it mildly), and let’s move past that. Are you really defending the terrorist thugs, Al-Qaeda here? Do you really think that Sh. Oudah, sitting in Saudi, has bought the “media” (whatever that is) narrative, and that he is utterly clueless about the angelic Qaeda guardians who never kill civilians by choice?

        Don’t tell me that perhaps Sh. Oudah has some target audience on these pages too?

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      • Abu Sabaya

        Didn’t you say that too? That basically everyone AGREES that Al-Qaeda is “bad” (to put it mildly)

        No, I never said that. The dead horse = we’re against intentionally killing innocents.

        Are you really defending the terrorist thugs

        Calm down, Mr. Bush.

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  41. Maverick

    It seems like you’re comparing apples and oranges. America and her allies do not use officially recognized institutional religion such as Christianity or Judaism to justify their crimes. Yeah if you like, you can use GWB2’s gaffe’s about “Crusades” and “God sent me” if you like, but its absolutely nothing like the nonstop torrent of (pseudo) Islamic justification used by many criminals who have been spreading chaos and bloodshed in the Muslim countries.

    So let Muslims handle their own bad apples, and non-Muslims handle theirs. Plenty of non-Muslim groups and organizations protest against the Western wars of aggression. If you like, you can request that these shyoukh add their names to those groups so as to participate in the active voices of opposition against Western acts of aggression.

    Aside from the blatant and obvious status of attacks which kill innocents and non-combatants, the other problem of such events is that they derail the global conversation between Muslims and non-Muslims. They detract from those pursuits which are beneficial to both Muslims and non-Muslims, and they further serve

    Its like me standing at a busy downtown intersection in Toronto, handing out dawah pamphlets. A few young people interested in Islam come to talk to me, and then in the background my blood brother comes along and starts wailing on the homeless bum sitting on the sidewalk, making a big mess. Of course I’m gonna be like, what the heck are you doing, stop. But on top of that if he keeps engaging in these unlawful actions, I end up wasting my time in continuously trying to stop him. Then what time am I going to have left to give actual face-to-face dawah? Or any other beneficial activities I was intending on pursuing?

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    • Siraaj Muhammad

      It seems like you’re comparing apples and oranges. America and her allies do not use officially recognized institutional religion such as Christianity or Judaism to justify their crimes. Yeah if you like, you can use GWB2’s gaffe’s about “Crusades” and “God sent me” if you like, but its absolutely nothing like the nonstop torrent of (pseudo) Islamic justification used by many criminals who have been spreading chaos and bloodshed in the Muslim countries.

      Spreading secular democracy “by the sword” is the spreading of a religion. It’s an ideology and way of life, the same as any other religion, it’s simply a matter of acknowledging it.

      Siraaj

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      • Maverick

        Siraaj, I’m aware that democracy itself is a Deen just the way Islam or any other officially recognized religion is. I think you missed my point – which was about Muslims really focusing on fixing themselves first instead of trying to reach some happy equilibrium where we’re denouncing everyone in equal measure just for the sake of doing it.

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      • Siraaj

        I agree in principle with the idea that changes starts with oneself before anyone else. The problem is when our underlying motivation for self-condemnation stems not from a driving call from within the soul, but a yanking leash from a perceived western authority.

        Worse still is when one’s drive is the former, and everyone ascribes to you the latter without knowing your heart.

        “Did you tear open his heart to see what was in it?”

        Siraaj

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  42. another muslimah

    I respect the overall message of the statements (condemning indiscriminate, targeted violence against civilians and vigilantism).

    Nevetheless, the statements contained a lot of blanket statements, “all or nothing” / “with us or against us” rhetoric, condemnations, insinuations, innuendo about vast unnamed groups of people and mashayikh mysteriously referred to.

    After reading, I felt a queasy dread in my stomach. even more suspicious and insecure of every scholar, group, organization, muslim. :(

    It went from clear and unequivocal to wholesale condemnation.

    “Therefore, they will never be successful and never find divine support.”

    Never?

    That is quite a statement for anyone to make.

    Thrown into the whole discussion is a guilt-by-association warning against people who criticize or speak up by anyone with regard to organizations in the West. Not every one who is critical of activists’ and/or organizational agendas, politics, and/or methods is an Al Qaeda sympathizer. :(

    (I hope the above criticisms/feedback is taken in the non-terroristic manner it was intended.)

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  43. BrotherMuslim

    Recently i was with one of shaykh ibn Jibrin’s students and someone asked him what the shaykh (ibn Jibrin) said about Osama bin Laden.

    He said that the shaykh always spoke highly of him!?! even after 9/11

    This is what the earlier posts are refering to. Some ulama are supportive and others (like this article) have a different twist.

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    • Amad

      There couldn’t be anything more false than this.

      In fact, I was witness to a signed fax from Shaykh Ibn Jibreen himself, in the run up to Texas Dawah 2003, when we got embroiled in a similar disinformation campaign by the islamophobes against Ibn Jibreen (that he supports Osama, etc.). The fax was clear in his condemnation of these terrorists, after which he spoke via live videoconference to a large audience (including FOX news) in Houston.

      So, one should be very careful with these “I heard from someone who heard, etc.” on such important matters. Sometimes people want to hear what they want to hear.

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      • Abu Sabaya

        There couldn’t be anything more false than this.

        Seems to be confirmed here.

        Sometimes people want to hear what they want to hear.

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      • Amad

        I think there’s a difference between hearing and seeing. I saw evidence first-hand, of the statement that I made. I saw written statements from the Shaykh, signed by him and faxed to us in response to these allegations. Had this clear refutation not been provided by the Shaykh, he would not be speaking to us in the US via videolink

        As for the youtube video, when this clip was recorded, who recorded it, whether it was ibn Jibreen or not (don’t put it past terrorists to lie either), there are tons of unknowns.

        Finally, what’s your point Abu Sabaya? Do you agree with the praise or do you agree that there are people still praising him? I thought we were beating a dead horse about al-Qaeda, or were we?

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    • anon

      Narrated from BrotherMuslim narrated from an unnamed student of ibn Jibreen who said that “the shaykh (ibn Jibreen) always spoke highly of him (osama bin laden).”

      Analysis of the isnad:
      BrotherMuslim – unknown narrator.
      unnamed student of ibn Jibreen – unknown narrator.
      Sh. Ibn Jibreen – Thiqah (reliable) (or Thiqatun Thiqah, your pick).

      Verdict on the hadeeth: da’eef jiddan (very weak) at best…

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  44. mystrugglewithin

    Again, I think after all of this indecisive commentary of muslims versus muslims on the *most popular muslim blog* .. things can calm down if the brothers at MM can request Shaykh Anwar Awlaki (or his likes) to UPDATE the actual article (and not merely comment on it). I hope this isn’t against any MM policy.

    Because perhaps, everyone who *strongly* disagrees with the opinions suggested in the article, fundamentally agree with Shaykh AA. And when he’ll comment, there won’t be a need to add anything and the conflicts might get suppressed. We would also learn how scholars debate on such matters with respect hopefully.

    p.s. I won’t be replying to any heated, ego-centric rants.

    Jazakallah Khayr
    Asalamalaikum

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    • Amad

      Dear sister, while I appreciate your desire for reconciliation, I think you are failing to see the issue. As far as I can tell, the positions are different… it is difficult to honestly reconcile such varying positions.

      And as I mentioned earlier, al-Awlaki or Yasir Q. or Yaser B. are no match, in terms of scholarship and seniority, to Sh. Oudah. By the way, I am quite positive that al-Awlaki knows about this post, if he is still online. Things don’t stay stagnant on the net for too long.

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      • mystrugglewithin

        [still angry]

        But reconciliation should be one of the primary goals of MM, and not these long debates, where I can easily pick sohail versus amad, abd vs bcd, maverick vs xyz .. and so on. Think from a non-muslim pov.. correct me if I am wrong please.

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      • Amad

        I think, I hope I am right, that most people here are saying that we don’t like Qaeda, but at the same time, let’s not talk about our dirty laundry, because there is so much of the other’s side to air. So, the Qaeda position seems to be mostly reconciled, if you are really looking for a clear silver lining :)

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  45. Mohsin

    To MM Admin:

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

    Apologies, but I’m posting this here as I don’t know how else to contact you.

    I think there is a typo in Sh. Tawfique’s comments. In the 2nd paragraph it says, “[...]He was a Prophet that forbade in mutawatir ahadeeth to not kill women and children[...]”

    I don’t think this reads correctly – either the word “not” needs to be taken out or the word “forbade” changed to “ordered” or something similar.

    Jazak-Allah khairun

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    • mystrugglewithin

      Please try to change your ‘DiscoMaulvi’ tag.
      Back in Pakistan, in our ‘enlightened moderation’ oriented social circles, there is nothing more defamatory than such nicknames being given to every third beard man who merely feels comfortable wearing a jeans, and using an mp3 player to listen to Quran.

      Such small things undermine the respect of a very important Sunnah and it’s very discouraging for a youth that already is constantly being bombarded with super liberal ideas.

      No offense :)

      -asalamalaikum.

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