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Interview with a “Taliban-trained” Suicide Bomber

Abu Reem

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Below is a chilling video of an interview with a young man, who has no qualms about killing innocent men, women and children. This is because he believes that everyone who isn’t participating in Waziristan or other “jihad” can be considered justified collateral. His “ameer” told him so.

The man wouldn’t even blink twice even if his own family were in the crowd. This isn’t a RAW agent, this isn’t a Blackwater mercenary… foreign agents are not that devoted to kill themselves! But when one is brainwashed sufficiently to believing that rich rewards are waiting after a murderous spree, then you get walking time-bombs like this man.

Doesn’t it seem, listening to the man, and in the light of the following authentic narrations from the Prophet (S), that there couldn’t be more evidence of khawarij mentality than what this man is displaying?

A person among the people then sought permission (from the Holy Prophet) for his murder. According to some, it was Khalid b. Walid who sought the permission. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam), said: From this very person’s posterity there would arise people who would recite the Qur’an, but it would not go beyond their throat; they would kill the followers of Islam and would spare the idol-worshippers. They would glance through the teachings of Islam so hurriedly just as the arrow passes through the pray. If I were to ever find them I would kill them like ‘Ad. [Sahih Muslim: Book 005, Number 2318]

‘Ali said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) as saying: There would arise at the end of the age a people who would be young in age and immature in thought, but they would talk (in such a manner) as if their words are the best among the creatures. They would recite the Qur’an, but it would not go beyond their throats, and they would pass through the Deen as an arrow goes through the prey. So when you meet them, kill them, for in their killing you would get a reward with Allah on the Day of Judgment. [Sahih Muslim: Book 005, Number 2328]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVgHnUk0J0k[/youtube]

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

135 Comments

135 Comments

  1. Avatar

    ironie101

    December 15, 2009 at 3:02 AM

    Subhanallah! That was truly chilling. It makes me feel like its not surprising that Allah swt has not yet granted victory to the muslims.

    However I do feel sorry for the guy who has been brainwashed into truly believing all that he talked about. He believes it so fervently he’s actually willing to sacrifice everything for his belief. I don’t blame these guys. I blame the ‘ameer’ who trained him, the nameless ‘scholar’ he supposedly got his fatwa from. If these leaders are so persuasive and so effective in their skewed message, imagine if they used these powers of persuasion for the sake of good, for bringing muslims back to islam, for giving dawah, to better their communities! Imagine the kind of societies we would have..

    Even a person on the street with minimal knowledge of deen can see the difference between these ‘mujahideen’ and the real mujahideen of yore.

    Imagine the quality of eman that must have penetrated into the heart of someone like Salahuddin al-Ayyubi(rha). When Walter Scott, the Scottish historical novelist, writes of Salahudeen, he says – “modern [19th Century] liberal European gentlemen, beside whom medieval Westerners would always have made a poor showing.” This was a man who fought the West, stood against everything the Christians believed in, fought wars and won against them, and yet western academics (who are normally known for a marked Islamophobia) talk about him in such exalted terms! He actually granted amnesty to the entire Catholic population and even allowed the army conditional passage.Compare it with the Christian carnage a few decades ago when they captured Jerusalem and left the streets running with knee-deep muslim blood. If that is not jihad, if that is not the best dawah, I don’t know what is!

    We need to touch the hearts of people, we need to build bridges, be the most exemplary in character – that is what will grant victory to the muslims; not senseless propaganda and mindless violence!

  2. Avatar

    Abs

    December 15, 2009 at 3:33 AM

    While it was very frightening indeed, I wondered why he’s named a Suicide Bomber. I mean, shouldn’t he blow himself up before getting that title?

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 15, 2009 at 4:38 AM

      I think it’s meant to be “trained suicide bomber”, i.e. trained for that purpose.

  3. Avatar

    Amatullah

    December 15, 2009 at 4:26 AM

    Psychologically troubled individual!

  4. Avatar

    ummfatima

    December 15, 2009 at 4:57 AM

    Assalamualykum,

    It`s very chilling ,very disturbing video.I really wish and pray that we all open up the quraan and read word by word , ponder upon it`s meaning .Let`s make a vigerous effort so that Allah guide us all to the straight path.

    This guy is not even thinking twice to kill young children or his own family members.He is not even ready to listen to anyone..very very depressing ..May Allah guide him to the true deen.

    salaam.

  5. Avatar

    Ash

    December 15, 2009 at 5:49 AM

    May Allah protect our Deen from corruption ! May he guide us all..

    btw, the video links to an ahmadia channel where is slanders Mainstream islam (this video was supposed to be slander mainstream islam!!) i think the video should be re-uploaded to a proper channel and re-embed

  6. Avatar

    Yus from the Nati

    December 15, 2009 at 6:09 AM

    People are crazy.

  7. Umm Reem

    Umm Reem

    December 15, 2009 at 6:44 AM

    A’oodhobillah!

    This video reminds me of the era of Uthman and Ali (radiAllahuma)…the disastrous time of Khawarij continues…

    Sh. Waleed mentioned in his “History of Sects in Islam” that khawarij always fight against Muslims and they spare non-Muslims, and this is exactly what the interviewer mentioned that in the past at least those Afghans were fighting the Russians but you guys are killing Muslims, that suicide-bomber gave that typical answer that anyone who is quite and is not fighting in Waziristan is actually supporting the action of the govt. and that makes his blood allowed to be spilled…a’oodhobillah…
    same excuse that was givnen by the khawarijeen in our history…

    Also, the age group signifies that the fitnah-causers always target the younger generation with their corrupted idealogy… just like it was done during the fitnah of Uthman (ra)!

    I remember reading Jalal Abualrub’s book “Holy Wars, Crusades Jihad” a few years back and I couldn’t understand why he had to dedicate first few chapters on the ideology and actions of Khawarji, and he explained to me that it was important for readers to know who they were in order to understand the correct concept of Jihad…Now I couldn’t agree with him more…

    May Allah azzawajal purify our Ummah, and guide all of us to siraat ul mustaqeem.

    • Avatar

      Nahyan

      December 16, 2009 at 7:24 AM

      Excellent points sister.

  8. Avatar

    UmmKhawla

    December 15, 2009 at 7:15 AM

    Asalamulaiakum wa rahmatuallah

    Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an: “Oh you who believe! If a faasiq (sinner, liar or evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done.” (EMQ al-hujurat, 49:6)

    InshAllah jthose who believed this straight away will take on this advice from Allah az wajjal !

    Like some on mentioned in the comments that this channel hates mainstream Islam.

    Are you all really sure about your claims ? lest you become regreful on YAwmul Qiyamah when this is used against you ! ITAQALLAH!

    • Avatar

      Ash

      December 15, 2009 at 7:25 AM

      I was the one who said that, and i said it after analyzing the channel and the uploader’s comment.
      and yes, the true uploader (the youtube user who uploaded the video, NOT the person who posted the topic here) was slandering main stream islam to present Qadianism as the true islam.

      I dont wanna divert the topic and Iam not in here for a debate.

      • Amad

        Amad

        December 15, 2009 at 8:47 AM

        Ash, thanks for pointing that out, and your point is well-noted. I have found another youtube source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVgHnUk0J0k

        As we all know, just because someone posts a video doesn’t mean they produced it. And in this case, the video isn’t produced by the guy who posted it. It is done by GEO. Regardless, like you, I prefer using the another person’s channel.

        We are having some problems with editing posts, that is why I have been unable to change the reference.

        Note: the video is also on Geo’s official channel, however without the english subtext (which is accurate as I went through the video before posting it). So, this is AUTHENTIC. Of course conspiracy theorists will continue to be conspiracy theorists.

        • Avatar

          Ash

          December 15, 2009 at 9:08 AM

          Alhamdulillah, Glad it came to your attention, I really hope you get to edit the post sooner or later and fix the reference (it aint that hard actually, if you do have access to the db atleast)

          Jazkalah Khair.

          • Avatar

            Amatullah

            December 15, 2009 at 9:44 AM

            Video has been updated/changed.

  9. Avatar

    Abd- Allah

    December 15, 2009 at 7:41 AM

    This post should have been titled: Interview with a “dog from Hell”, because that is what the khawarij are, the “dogs of the people of Hell.”

  10. Avatar

    UmmKhawla

    December 15, 2009 at 7:58 AM

    im not asking for a debate , alot of ppl read this site isnt it better not to spread information which hasnt been verified ? dnt your readers deserve that ?

    • Avatar

      Abd- Allah

      December 15, 2009 at 8:05 AM

      Of coarse the information should be verified. However, by being posted here, we assume that the one who posted it (brother Amad) has already verified the information before posting it here. Right Amad?

      • Amad

        Amad

        December 15, 2009 at 8:50 AM

        Just google the video, and you will get a million references pointing back to the original producer, GEO.

        Obviously, the person who is asking the questions could have done this. Just another way to change the topic and divert attention.

        UmmKhawla, please read the featured article on MM… it touches upon conspiracies and even the ayah you quoted.

  11. Avatar

    Holly Garza

    December 15, 2009 at 8:09 AM

    Asalaamu alaikum Wa Ramayulahi Wa Barakatu

    Not everything said by those who say Islam is evil, is true; correct. If I wasn’t Muslim, I would believe Islam was a terrible ailment as well! It’s not!

    The more we as Muslims follow the Deen and speak out against this injustice to our Religion, to ourselves; to Our way of life the less these brain washed terrorists can call themselves Muslims!

    They are destroying what The Last and final Messenger of Allah said with these actions, what he taught! What he was sent to teach us about Allah’s love and mercy. There is so much in the Qu’ran and hadith to teach us the straight path.

    ” what is the best type of Jihad [struggle].’ He S.A.W.S.answered: ‘Speaking truth before a tyrannical ruler.’ ” Riyadh us-Saleheen Volume 1:195

    More examples of what He The Messenger Muhhamad SAWS taught:

    “Oh my servants I have made oppression unlawful for me and unlawful for you, so do not commit oppression against one another” Nawai Hadith

    “Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day (of Judgment) should not harm his neighbor. Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously. And anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should say what is good or keep quiet.” Sahih Al-Bukhari

    Isn’t the poor Muslims being killed over seas oppressed by clinging to their homes in fear? Scared to go to the Masajid even? Muslims are killing Muslim in the name of God!!! This is wrong and NOT what Allah sent us the Messengers to teach.

    I mean I don’t get it!? What type of Blasphemy is it to think that Almighty God, that Allah needs our “help” anyhow?!
    Who thinks that they by blowing up some “infidels” can assist the One and Only creator of the Heavens of Earth! He whom has destroyed and punished plenty of astray people! How dare anyone teach that Allah needs our help?! Woe to them. I’m sure 100 % that this is wrong. I mean, If Something dies; dare we say let me help Allah and his cause and bring it to life?!?! No, only Allah can bring life and Death Only He can Forgive and Only He can punish. How dare some think it is okay to Murder?!

    I’m sure there is something in Allah’s guidance that is clear on this I just can’t remember off the top of my head……let me look.

    ah Yes Nawawi hadith
    “O my servants even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of jinns becomes as pious as the most pious heart of any one amongst you, it will NOT add anything to my power or Kingdom.”

    “O my servants even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of jinns becomes as wicked as the most wicked heart of anyone against you it will NOT decrease anything from My Power or Kingdom”

    Here we see that no matter what people say about our way of living , Our Creator, Allah nothing can stop him. However, we also see we can Not aid Allah by being evil or erroneous. May Allah guide us all to the straight path and May He keep our Brothers and sisters overseas safe from those who claim to be Muslim as well.

    • Avatar

      Abu Rumaisa

      December 15, 2009 at 8:59 AM

      Jazak’Allah for the good post.

  12. Avatar

    Abu Rumaisa

    December 15, 2009 at 8:54 AM

    Individuals like him are killing both Muslims & non-muslims, they are killing whomever they can. Truly, a sign of desperation by these individuals.

    While the Pakistani Taliban have such insane individuals amongst them, they also have those who don’t violate these rules. Pakistani Taliban is not as monolithic group, it’s comprised of various groups some good & some bad.

    Pakistan Taliban airs video denial
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/11/20091116145058336650.html

    Taliban denies Peshawar blast role
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/10/2009102995252334582.html

    The Taliban and al-Qaeda have distanced themselves from Wednesday’s deadly market blast in Peshawar that claimed 105 lives, saying “their main targets are the security forces, and not innocent civilians”.

    Are we just going to believe that news that paints them as evil & ignore that shows them as innocent?

    I think in your title, you should have mentioned Pakistani Taliban as they are not the same group as the Afghan one. They goals are different or so are the tactics.

    While individuals like are clearly extremist, they are not the only ones who are extremists. Muslim countries are being ruled by other than what Allah has revealed & one who does so is committing major kufr. While individuals don’t have the right to make takfeer, sadly our ulema are silent about it too. Our countries are being attacked & those who resist occupations are being labelled as terrorists. Moderation is needed, they can’t go about killing innocents at whim & neither can they just sit & watch while their countries are occupied.

    I see terrorism as a direct result of occupations & incompetence of Muslim leaders & armies. When Muslims countries are attacked, Muslim leaders & armies instead of helping Muslims, are aiding the occupiers. How is that not extremism? If Muslim leaders & armies stood up to fight these occupations, then random Muslims would not need to pick up arms to fight these occupiers. Till Muslim armies choose to sit at the sidelines while Muslims are attacked, individuals & groups will rise to fight these occupiers & even Muslims armies as they are seen as traitors. To believe otherwise, is not living in reality.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 15, 2009 at 11:45 AM

      I agree that the “Taliban” are not monolithic. I also understand that the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban are not the same, or that they agree on everything.

      By the way, the leader of TTP claimed responsibility to what I would consider one of the most disgusting attacks in Pakistan, at the Rawalpindi masjid.

      Tehrik-e-Taliban owns Rawalpindi mosque attack

      • Avatar

        Dan

        December 15, 2009 at 3:05 PM

        Amad, why do you continue to insist that the Afghan Taliban is not the same as their Pakistani counterpart?

        Here’s what they have in common: both hate Shi’as (the Afghan Taliban did butcher tens of thousands of Shi’as under their rule, a fact that many on this site refuse to acknowledge), they both harbor support for extremists, both want to impose their austere version of Islam that naive Western Muslims aspire because they claim to uphold the message of the Almighty, both think it is their right to impose their rule upon others, they want to spread their fanaticism to neighboring countries, and both have no shame in oppressing women.

        Now tell me, why do you continue to defend the Afghan Taliban when it was them that allowed sanctuary for the ones who continue to blow up targets around the world?

        This is my beef with people who claim the Pak Taliban and the Afghan Taliban are different, when they are not. Why don’t you go ask non-Pashtuns (especially the Hazaras of Bamiyan) if they want the Taliban back? I feel that ‘conservative’ Muslims tend to look the other way when their own commit atrocities on the scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and say nothing as long as their ‘Shariah’ is established.

        • Avatar

          PakistaniMD

          December 15, 2009 at 6:05 PM

          I most agree with Dan’s Assertions. He is right in that the Taliban killed thousands of Shias. The very fact that most on this site and many others continue to deny it is troubling (it does not matter that a person believes a shia is not Muslim… even if they are not, does that still justify their deaths?). Dan is also right in that the OVERALL goals of Afghan and Pak. Taliban are the same: a supposedly theocratic state (modeled seemingly after Saudi Arabia’s, w/o the latters’ protections for Women) and complete slaughter of anyone who impose them (Harzas, Non-Phustans, Tajiks, Shias).

          • Amad

            Amad

            December 16, 2009 at 12:17 AM

            Thanks for cheer-leading, but your argument is non sequitur.

            No one denied or affirmed the killing of shias, just like no one denied or affirmed the killing of sunnis by Northern Alliance. If we ever discuss that topic, feel free to chime in.

            I have already answered the other assertions.

          • Avatar

            Shibli Zaman

            December 16, 2009 at 7:25 AM

            Some people have been reading the Kite Runner too much. Outside of Kabul, the Hazaras in places like Ghazni and Wardark actually have lived far, far better under the Taliban than they would under the Northern Alliance. This is a fact. Why were they not massacred like they were in places like Mazar and Yakawlang? That’s because the “massacres” there were the result of fighting. The Hazaas did the same thing to the Pashtuns when they overran them with the US of A’s help:

            http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2002/03/05/anti-pashtun-violence-northern-afghanistan

            That’s usually what happens in battle. One side loses and often gets killed in the process. I think that’s been going on for 1,000,000 years. Anyone from Afghanistan (outside of Kabul) who is objective knows that in rural Afghanistan there is far less ethnic strife than there is in the urban centers. This is because the urban centers are where politicians reside and they are the areas that hit the news.

            Also, anyone who refers to “Harzas, Non-Phustans” (sic) need not comment on the affairs of Afghanistan.

          • Avatar

            Dan

            December 16, 2009 at 2:07 PM

            “Some people have been reading the Kite Runner too much. Outside of Kabul, the Hazaras in places like Ghazni and Wardark actually have lived far, far better under the Taliban than they would under the Northern Alliance. This is a fact. Why were they not massacred like they were in places like Mazar and Yakawlang? That’s because the “massacres” there were the result of fighting. The Hazaas did the same thing to the Pashtuns when they overran them with the US of A’s help:”

            HAHA not true. I found Kite Runner to be boring, to be honest. You don’t provide any proof of Hazaras living better under the Taliban. You’re a liar, plain and simple. Plenty of Hazaras fled the Taliban in dilapidated ships to Australia because of your precious Taliban. Why don’t you point out that Mullah Manon Niazi stated that it was acceptable to kill Hazaras because they are kuffar, after they took over Mazar-i-Sharif? He also said,“Wherever you go we will catch you,” he said. “If you go up, we will pull you down by your feet; if you hide below we will pull you up by your hair.” What about Maulawi Mohammed Hanif’s insistence that the policy of the Taliban is to wipe them out? Pashtun subjugation of Hazaras is nothing new, but dates back to the 1890s when a Sunni Pashtun by the name of Abdur Rahman Khan invaded and annexed Hazarajat and forcibly tried to convert Hazaras to Sunnism. Those who fled ended up in either Mashad or Quetta. Hazaras lashed out at Pashtuns due to being subjugated for over a century by your beloved Pashtuns, it’s bound to happen. Not justifying it, but it is understandable given the amount of anger they have. Not only that, Hazaras are perhaps the most progressive of all ethnic groups in Afghanistan. They make a concerted effort to promote education to rise up from their status.

            If you were to tell a Hazara that life for them was better under the Taliban, they would not hesitate to smack you. That’s like saying other than Auschwitz, Jews lived very well under Nazi Germany. Give me a break you Taliban apologist. There’s a reason why Iran was fed up with the Taliban, especially after they murdered Iranian diplomats for no reason.

          • Avatar

            Anon-1

            December 17, 2009 at 12:33 PM

            Wow. Dan’s really mad LOL!

          • Avatar

            Shibli Zaman

            December 17, 2009 at 12:35 PM

            If you talk like that to people whose opinions you don’t agree with then you must not have too many friends. At any right, my condolences. Now without going into a Google induced tirade as you have done, I want to ask you one simple question.

            – Wardak is 60% Pashtun and nearly 25% Hazara.
            – Wardak had one of the highest election turnouts in the entirety of Afghanistan. Almost half the voters were women.
            3 out of 5 elected representatives to the Wolesi Jirga, thats the majority, are HAZARA.

            In your simpleton contrived scenario of a nationwide Pashtun policy of Hazara genocide how is it possible that a district like Wardak with a sizable Pashtun majority elected mostly HAZARAS to represent them?

            I took 3 paragraphs. Please contain yourself, behave like an adult, and give a short and direct answer.

            Thank you.

        • Avatar

          amad

          December 16, 2009 at 12:07 AM

          Amad, why do you continue to insist that the Afghan Taliban is not the same as their Pakistani counterpart?

          Because they are. Common ethnic background: mostly baseless now; just view the video where many punjabis are allegedly now part of the Pak taliban.

          Even if one were to assume that they have common background, their goals are very different. Even if one were to assume two groups have similar background and similar goals, their strategies in achieving that goal may be very different. Even the islamophobe newspaper, Washington Times highlights the difference between the two Talibans.

          Your entire premise and many of your comments keep spinning around the shia factor. They both hate shias, so they must be same, and must be bad.

          What is entirely amazing is that these terrorists are not differentiating between shias and sunnis… in fact, they are killing more sunnis in these masjid (sunni) and market (mostly sunni probably) attacks than shias. By pulling out tangents, it doesn’t help your cause nor does it help those who are against these terrorists, shia-hatred or no shia-hatred. None of the Pakistanis I talked to support them because they are sunni or don’t support them because they don’t like shias.

          We are not going down this sectarian argument anymore, and further comments on that tangent have a good chance of being moderated. The last thing we want is to inject sectarian battles in the battle of hearts and minds against extremists of all molds.

          Now tell me, why do you continue to defend the Afghan Taliban when it was them that allowed sanctuary for the ones who continue to blow up targets around the world?

          This marks the end of our conversation, because not only are you tunnel-visioned, you are disingenuous. Where did I defend the Afghan Taliban? Of course, you won’t find that because it isn’t there. It is only a figment of your imagination, which is running on a single track.

          • Avatar

            Dan

            December 16, 2009 at 1:36 AM

            Amad, go look at what is going on in Parachinar. These fanatics were killing Shi’a truck drivers through disgusting methods. I bet you were unaware of the fact that the Taliban were kidnapping Shi’as and not only beheading them, but dismembering their limbs as well. Not only that, they also continue to block major roads to prevent supplies from coming in. This sounds no different from what the Israelis did, yet it doesn’t elicit outrage from the Pakistani public or from the Muslim world in general. You might want to read this article from the New York Times to give you an idea on the severity of the situation over there, in addition to the Iranian government warning Pakistan on allowing its own Gaza massacre to occur unabated. Facts are facts Amad, minorities continue to suffer in Pakistan. And again, you didn’t point out that Christians are also solely targeted by these groups, and yet the Pakistani public does not bother to express horror over this. I was also surprised that you have not taken the time to make a post documenting the treatment of non-Muslims in Pakistan or other countries, yet you are quick to point out how Muslims in China or Myanmar are suffering.

            I’m not Shi’a FYI, but Shi’as have historically suffered under Sunni extremist groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. One only needs to look at how the life of a Shi’a was during the 90’s when Sipah-e-Sahaba fanatics were ruthlessly targeting anyone that was Shi’a. There’s a reason why Shi’as in Pakistan or Afghanistan do not want to live under Sunni rule, and history is a major factor in this. Pakistani Shi’as prefer to live under a secular government than an Islamic government run by Sunnis who will no doubt oppress them (as was the case under Zia).

            As for the Washington Times, I’m sorry but it is difficult for me to take a publication that is owned by a Korean evangelical nutjob seriously. I’m not going to pick and choose that suits my slant by citing these hostile publications, and I’m surprised that you would.

          • Avatar

            Abu Rumaisa

            December 16, 2009 at 8:53 AM

            Good repsonse Amad, far better than the one I wrote.

            (which didn’t get posted :P )

        • Avatar

          Zeeshan

          December 18, 2009 at 7:55 AM

          The video indeed is chilling. There is no doubt that people like these are definitely from the Khawarij. Yes, they are not Blackwater mercenaries, they are fellow Pakistanis and on the face of it, they are apparently Muslims too. But they have resorted to the ways of Khawarij killing innocent men, women and children.

          However, the role of Americans in creating this mess cannot be neglected. If this man is not a Blackwater mercenary, this does not mean that such mercenaries have no role to play. Americans, whenever they interfere in a foreign country, never come to the front themselves. They heavily fund men, train men, provide them with logistics and literature, but never go and blow themselves up. I am not saying this out of emotional rhetoric, or because I find it satisfactory for my conscience to lay the blame on evil non Muslims. Rather I say this because a long history of American activities in so many countries has shown consistently this trend.

          When the Americans interfered in Nicaragua, they didnt come to the front themselves. They trained the Contra rebels and did everything to counter the nationalist and patriotic Sandinistas government because they would not let the Americans take over Nicaragua’s canal. A simple google on this topic can reveal loads of cruel American activities. During all of these activities, the CIA mercenaries never came on the front, but rather trained the Contra rebels, just like they train the Taliban rebels now.

          CIA mercenaries did the same in almost all of Latin American countries. All of these operations were tied with American interests in mineral resources, canals, or weapons industry of that country. In all these countries, the Americans created the rebels, installed a puppet government, and then asked the puppet government to wage a war against the guerrillas, thus creating a civil war. El Selvador, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Columbia, Chile, Cambodia, and now Afghanistan and Pakistan, they all have the same story. You read about these countries’ story for a few months, and everything in the present time in Pakistan seems to fit into place. It is all so predictable.

          I reassert that I do not blame the Americans to satisfy my Muslim self by blaming others. I do this based on a long history of American interventions. When I read every other day the news that some American diplomats breached a security checkpoint in Islamabad and tried to run away, you cannot blame me for suspecting their hand behind the destabilization of my country. Just last month, 4 Americans dressed in Shalwar Qameez and turban and speaking Pushto were caught by capital city police. These men had unlicensed weapons which are banned in Pakistan. Later on, the pro-American interior ministry intervened and pressurised the police to release them.
          Just two days after the Rawalpindi blast, 4 Blackwater security guards were caught trying to enter Rawalpindi Cantonment. They are still in detention. Would we still deem American hand in this as a conspiracy theory had a blast at Pindi Cantt occured a day after that too? Last month, a PIA flight PK786 was seen carrying 200+ American passengers speaking Pushto. These men had boarded from Heathrow airport and before their arrival in Islamabad, Interior Ministry’s pressure forced Civil Aviation Authority on ISB airport to pass these men without immigration stamp or any record.

          These are just a few reports. Ever since this influx of Blackwater, Dyn Corp, and Inter Risk mercenaries has started, my country has seen the likes of savagery it had never seen before. Far sighted men had been predicting such a situation ever since first reports of BW agents surfaced, and it happened exactly the way.

          The need of the hour is, to wage a war against these Taliban, kill them as Khawarij, and at the same time deport all American private security companies and their employs no matter how much the US govt pressurizes us. Doing anyone one of these activities and leaving the other will bring us back to square one, and this slaughter will keep going on.

          About the Afghan Taliban, I would just say this. Lets not forget that women like Yvonne Ridley embraced Islam after being released from their captivity voluntarily. That speaks a lot amidst the stereotypes

          Links:

          1) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/11/blackwater-in-cia-pakistan-base

          2) http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/south-asia/200-urdu-speaking-blackwater-officials-cleared-at-islamabad-airport-sans-security-checks_100269911.html

          3) http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/04-Nov-2009/202-Blackwater-personnel-arrive

          4) http://pakistankakhudahafiz.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/nabbed-with-illegal-arms-again/

          • Avatar

            Dan

            December 18, 2009 at 2:16 PM

            About the Afghan Taliban, I would just say this. Lets not forget that women like Yvonne Ridley embraced Islam after being released from their captivity voluntarily. That speaks a lot amidst the stereotypes

            Who cares about Yvonne Ridley? She has proven to be an apologist for extremists, and is inconsistent with her views. The only reason some Muslims love her is because she’s held up as a ‘trophy convert’. She used to be a hack for a right-wing tabloid, and after her conversion she became an apologist for terrorists who take children hostage in schools (she praised Shamil Basayev as a shahid!) and bomb hotels (she stated that she would rather call Zarqawi her ‘brother’ over the Jordanian royal family). She claims to speak out against oppression, yet gleefully endorses oppression when so-called Islamic movements do so. Her soft spot for extremists in the UK (namely al-Muhajiroun) makes me skeptical of her, sorry.

    • Avatar

      Abu Ikrimah

      December 17, 2009 at 7:13 AM

      May Alah bless and reward u 4 this post its the best i have read in a long while in muslimmaters site

  13. Avatar

    Jamal

    December 15, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    Unfortunately this represents an extreme end product of the type of thinking that has infected Muslim discourse over the past 20 years or so. I remember arguing with people that so called “suicide attacks” against Israeli civilians is murder and against Islam. They told me “Akhi” we are opressed and this is a justifialbe option. I stated that this is Murder!!! They thought otherwise.

    I said that one day they will kill Israelis, then eventually other Muslims who don’t look right, have “deviant” beliefs etc. The chickens have come home to roost.

  14. Avatar

    hUddi

    December 15, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    shows you the importance of gaining/spreading authentic knowledge of this perfect way of life vs taqleed.

  15. Avatar

    Joyhamza

    December 15, 2009 at 1:32 PM

    Those who understand Urdu I guess have understood how horrific is the state of this man. Though he tries to talk in a very assured tone you can understand there is a big turmoil going through his mind. When he stubbornly kept repeating that the kids are even mujrim, it was clear he was just being desperate. It gives you a good example how dangerous a blind Taqleed is. The zealous salafis (not the manhaj) have raped the phrase “blind taqleed” otherwise it really is a dangerous trap to fall in.

  16. Avatar

    Abuzaid1

    December 15, 2009 at 2:23 PM

    There is a war against Islam people. We are bombarded with propaganda by the western media whose purpose is to make you hate and slander those who are trying to DEFEND Islam and Muslims. Please stop believing every article that comes from the AP or whatever other western or puppet govt media source. Give the muslims the benefit of the doubt unless you can personally VERIFY they were wrong. Even then u should cover their mistakes and not publicize them.

    And for all these supposed “Shayukh” like Qadhi……if the mujahideen are so misguided then why dont you go assist and teach them instead of just throwing them under the bus. I think you are just looking for reasons to demonize them so you will be excused from your scholarly duties.

    • Avatar

      Dan

      December 15, 2009 at 3:06 PM

      Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, eh?

    • Avatar

      Joyhamza

      December 15, 2009 at 4:21 PM

      you are so eager to give EVERY muslim a benefit of doubt and then forget give it to the shuyukh. Have u personally verified with the shuyukh?

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 16, 2009 at 12:20 AM

      Thank Abuzaid for typifying what I discussed in the other article about conspiracy theorists.

      No one is throwing the “mujahideen” (I hate giving them this holy label) under the bus. They are doing a good job of it by their own actions.

  17. Avatar

    atheistdebater

    December 16, 2009 at 1:28 AM

    I have to be careful what I say here, because our honorable moderator, Amad, who seems like a nice guy, has warned me that I am not allowed to try to convert anyone to atheism. Don’t worry, Amad, I will try to keep my comments on topic, and avoid preaching.

    Having said that, the person being interviewed is obviously a brainwashed nut. He cannot even give any better support for his horrid inhumanity than that his commander ordered him to do so. He cannot even cite to religious authority for his intended actions, just saying some Arab scholar wrote it somewhere. What an idiot. I am glad that moron is in prison, and not out cavalierly killing innocents. Too bad there are plenty of other brain-donors on the loose.

    It heartens me to hear devout Muslims criticize this terrorist. Your religion has been slightly redeemed in my eyes. It is still, however, a religion.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      December 16, 2009 at 1:45 AM

      muslims have always been criticizing acts of terror.. but that is not something which the media is interested on, so you prolly wont see them much in the western media.. but nowadays they are trying hard to get the media notice them though.

    • Avatar

      Abd- Allah

      December 16, 2009 at 6:52 AM

      I have a feeling that atheistdebater will one day accept islam, inshAllah!

    • Avatar

      Man

      December 16, 2009 at 8:01 AM

      It isn’t a religion. It is THE religion.
      If you study different faiths and worldviews – including atheism, you’ll see Islam presents the most cogent case. I say this from experience.
      peace

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      December 16, 2009 at 9:30 AM

      Hi Atheist debater =) Nice to see you amongst our midst again.

      Say, when are you going to stop fighting the urge to become Muslim?

      Just give in to it, I did =) I feel tons better!

      I hope and pray you will, not for any ulterior motive just because Islam is the absolute BEST gift we can give ourselves! hands down. Okay going off topic sorry…

    • Avatar

      mystrugglewithin

      December 16, 2009 at 12:24 PM

      I have to be careful what I say here, because our honorable moderator, Amad, who seems like a nice guy, has warned me that I am not allowed to try to convert anyone to atheism. Don’t worry, Amad, I will try to keep my comments on topic, and avoid preaching.

      He is a nice guy and moderating this forum demands such things. It isn’t easy and he cannot let every John Doe bashing around on this forum.

      • Amad

        Amad

        December 16, 2009 at 12:37 PM

        thanks mystrugglewithin

        i guess i missed the compliment from my atheist friend, but rest assured, I am not worried about him converting anyone… subhanAllah, people have spend millions upon millions to send missionaries to Muslim lands and they come back with a handful of converts who were bribed into it for food and money. On the other hand, you have people turning Muslim everyday under the most difficult circumstances (islamophobia) and with little or no “missionary work”.

        the point is, mr. atheist, that Muslims are quite sick of being bombarded all over the place. So, we look to have our own little corner where we can discuss Muslim things without being bothered about topics that really 99.999% muslims don’t care about, starting with La illaha… because we have ill-Allah sorted out for us.

  18. Avatar

    Me

    December 16, 2009 at 4:02 AM

    Why dont you post the video in which the leaders say that they do not target civilians and that they do matter to them? Or is a fasiq TV station more trustworthy to you than Muslims? Or would it go against your policies of defaming those who have anything to do with the “J Word”? Inshallah there will come a time when you will stand before Allah on the Day of Judgement, and every single Mujahid who you have accused of bing Khawarij, takfeeri and everything else will line up. Those from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Chechnya, etc etc etc, and each and every one will take their right from you for your bacbiting and spreading lies., I ask Allah that none of them forgive you. Ameen

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 16, 2009 at 6:57 AM

      Why don’t I post a video of hollow words?

      Actions speak louder than words. Look at the destruction that the terrorists have caused in Pakistan and how many innocent lives have they taken? Innocent collateral? If not, who are these people? Now please don’t tell me that the suicide attackers at the Masjid in Pindi and the market in Lahore were mercenaries?

      “Fasiq TV”: I have already dealt with this obsession with conspiracies in the other post. I live in the real world, not the make-believe world of j-internet.

      Btw, we are only talking about the terrorists in Pakistan in this video, so your extension of this video to other war-zones is only YOUR assumption, not my words.

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      December 16, 2009 at 9:27 AM

      @ ME Actually Allah does NOT listen to prayers of ill wishes remember. We can only ask for something if it benefits us, the Ummah, or if it is beneficial.

  19. Avatar

    Anon-1

    December 16, 2009 at 7:12 AM

    Dude, this guy is INDIAN. Did anyone bother to pay attention to the guy’s accent in Urdu? He’s not Pakistani and certainly not a Pashtun. He says “kud-kush” instead of “khud-kush” (suicide). He says “JULAM” instead of “Zulm” (oppression)! No Pakistani talks like this unless they come from a family that migrated from Indian very recently.

    On what grounds is this guy with his face blackened out called a “Taliban-trained” suicide bomber? This is completely unverifiable and, at face value, its clearly not authentic. Any Pakistani journalist with too much ambition can grab anyone, give him a script and a few rupees, turn out the lights and make him sing the star spangled banner and claim its Obama.

    I’m not saying that there are not stupid people who do stupid stuff in the name of Islam in Pakistan. Lord knows, there are plenty. My concern is that you’re using this very quesitonable video to dismiss the very legitimate suspicions against Blackwater’s involvement in the recent string of suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism in Pakistan. I think it is unwise and baseless.

    Allah knows best.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 16, 2009 at 7:35 AM

      That’s quite funny Anon-1… I mean if they really had to fake it, couldn’t they just find an uneducated Pakistani and train him to say these things? Why look for a poor Indian??!

      I am from Lahore, and the uneducated sound very much like this. I just came from Pakistan, and the accent didn’t give anything away. I am sorry but journalists aren’t that stupid either. Video or not, do you really believe such guys don’t exist?

      By the way, what evidence is there for Blackwater’s direct involvement in the suicide bombings? BW is involved in covert operations with CIA against the militants… that is the story, not that they are now involved in creating terrorism. There is no evidence for this.

      Finally, I am not saying that this one guy is proof for everything… he is just one part of the puzzle, and just a horrible indication of our problem. I am way past blaming all our problems on conspiracies.. so really, I don’t have the stomach to keep arguing that the khawarij exist today, and they are very much part of the equation. I have mentioned this issue in my other post, and in the end, one believes what is most believable to him or her. To each his own.

      • Avatar

        Anon1

        December 16, 2009 at 8:02 AM

        Amad, that’s because many of these “Taliban terrorists” end up being neither Pakistani, nor Afghan, but Indian and Bangladeshi Tablighi drop-outs who went off the deep end.

        Let’s say for the sake of argument that people in Lahore say “Julam” for “Zulm” and can’t pronounce a “kh” (Seriously. I have been to Lahore countless times and never heard anyone speaking like a Bollywood extra), how can you authenticate that this guy is not, to put it colloquially, “full of it”? You can’t. This isn’t a piece of the puzzle. Its a spectator sport. Its typical Pakistani media sensationalism with completely unverifiable content. I find it amusing that you say Pakistani journalists “aren’t that stupid either”. We’re not talking about Anderson Cooper here.

        I readily acknowledge, as I already mentioned previously, that the Khawarij do exist in Pakistan and throughout the Muslim world. I make it a point to condemn them and speak out against them whenever I can. Its important that we do. However, this guy’s statements are just too insipid to be authentic or to be any kind of evidence to dismiss a foreign hand in Pakistan’s recent string of terrorism. For lack of time (and no lack of netiquette), I can’t write a blog within a blog and list all the evidences that point to Zardari’s laughable rise to power, Obama’s emphasis on “Af-Pak” and Blackwater’s sudden appearance there are directly related to the recent spat of terrorist bombings that have occurred simultaneous to the aforementioned events.

        This issue is far more complex than your making it and I feel that the conclusions you derive from this very suspect video are overly simplistic.

        Ultimately, Allah knows best. Thanks for engaging me with your follow-ups. was-salam

      • Avatar

        Abu Rumaisa

        December 16, 2009 at 9:11 AM

        Amad,

        I agree with u here. The problem is Muslims are being attacked by non-muslims from all sides and then we are also being attacked by Muslims. I think it’s just too much of a sad act for many to accept, these mujahideen were the only once defending them but now they r no different than the non-muslims now, hence the denial.

      • Avatar

        Hassan

        December 16, 2009 at 2:29 PM

        I never heard any Pakistani ever say julm, no matter how un-educated they are, its not their accent, they pronounce many thing wrong, and have accent for sure, but honestly, never heard julm, or kud kash, do not want to argue about rest of arguments.

        • Avatar

          Anon-1

          December 16, 2009 at 2:51 PM

          If you saw the interrogation video of the infamous Mumbai terrorists, they were also using words like “julam” (zulm), “jarurat” (zarurat), etc.

          Seriously, step outside of the debate for a moment. Even the most uneducated Pakistanis know the letter “zay” and “kha”. No Pakistani would say “julam” for “zulm”, or “kud-kushi” for “khud-kushi”. I wanted to give Amad the benefit of the doubt, so I even asked a co-worker who is straight outta Lahore whether anyone in Punjab or anywhere else in Pakistan talks like this. I didn’t even tell him why I was asking and he immediately said it was distinctly Indian and that it was patently absurd to even suggest that Pakistanis talk like that.

          Now, we have to ask why these alleged Pakistani terrorists all speak with distinctly Indian accents. Conspiracy theories are, indeed, poisonous, but lets not go to the other extreme where we stick our heads in the sand either.

  20. Avatar

    abu zayd

    December 16, 2009 at 7:50 AM

    “This isn’t a RAW agent, this isn’t a Blackwater mercenary…”

    In this complex and confusingn climate, I would NOT totally rule out these assumptions.

  21. Avatar

    Alhamdulillah

    December 16, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    I am a silent frequenter of this site, yet this article here has made me speak out. I don’t want to get in a debate here, but this this article really hurt with its inability to mention any of the root causes behind the creation of fanatics like the young man, and solutions towards eliminating them.

    The video was presented without any context. This is how the gates of misinterpretation and misguidance are opened. Always. For all sides.

    What was the point of this article? Give more gold nuggets for Islamophobes? Whip up more support for US operations? Bashing conspiracy theorists may seem like a fun past time, but it certainly isn’t very useful.

    It was sheer ignorance to present this video without mentioning why people like him are created. Really, what gave this man his justification for his convoluted ideology? Did such people exist prior to 2001? What’s driving him to hold his beliefs? How was his amir able to establish his authority? All of this certainly didn’t happen in a vacuum.

    Think about it. If the US drones stopped attacking Pakistan, if Pakistan could return to its previous, peaceful state, would young men like him have reason to kill innocent people?

    I am not justifying his beliefs, I am trying to understand where they are coming from.

    Once we’ve identified why people like him arose in the first place, we can work towards a solution. Will it be more useful to lambaste these brainwashed people, or perhaps work to remove the causes of their existence?

    • Avatar

      Baasel

      December 17, 2009 at 12:06 PM

      As-salamu alaykum brother,

      I’m sorry but unfortunately you’re asking too many questions. You’re being rational, logical, and you’re asking “why?”

      Why can’t you just blindly accept what people tell you? Don’t you see the names of credible Shayukh and MM bloggers? They are infallible and can never err.

      Again, I think you’re actually “thinking.” Don’t “think,” just accept whatever MM posts. When they tell you to support Dr. Aafia Sadique once, do it, so you feel part of the community. When they tell you to condemn Fort Hood a billion times and pledge loyalty to Obama, just do it bro.
      What’s with all this “thinking?” Don’t question MM, they’re the infallible voice of the Ummah!!!

      • Avatar

        Alhamdulillah

        December 17, 2009 at 3:02 PM

        I’m sure nobody here sees MM as the “infallible voice of the ummah.”

        Not even MM itself.

        MM certainly has very well written articles, and I’ve enjoyed and benefited from them immensely. They deserve to be supported for the good work they do, but at the same time, nobody is above reproach.

        I know you’re being sarcastic, but such sarcasm hardly brings any good. More often than not, it discredits all the good work they may be doing.

  22. Avatar

    Nadia

    December 16, 2009 at 3:38 PM

    This is despicable. I thought he would at least hesitate when he was asked about the innocence of young children being killed, but even then he showed no qualms about committing such a horrific act. It is clear in every reply he gave that he has been brainwashed towards having a mindset where any crime is justifiable, and then he can’t even cite religious justification for it! Subhanallah people who don’t think for themselves or follow what the Quran and Sunnah teaches and instead blindly follow ‘religious leaders’ have become a poison amongst our ummah.

  23. Avatar

    Abd- Allah

    December 16, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    Assalam Alaikum

    For everyone who is wondering what is the cause of this issue, then I say that the root cause of this issue and of all our other problems as an Ummah is IGNORANCE of our deen and being away from understanding and practicing Islam like the prophet and his companions. Yes, it is that simple!

    The problem is when people take their knowledge about Islam from random ignorant shuyukh. If we simply stick to the great scholars of our past and to the current trustworthy scholars of today and take our knowledge from them and ask them for advice concerning the issues that we currently face, then we will be much better off.

    Ignorance is indeed one of the worst enemies that anyone can have.

    May Allah show us the truth and guide us to follow it.

  24. Avatar

    waleed

    December 16, 2009 at 9:19 PM

    Seriously, what was the point of posting this?

    • Avatar

      Abd- Allah

      December 16, 2009 at 9:58 PM

      good question.

    • Avatar

      Regular Baba

      December 17, 2009 at 12:18 PM

      Salam

      So we should just keep our heads buried in the sand? I wonder, when the Khawarij were around, whether the true muslims had conspiracy theories about them?

  25. Avatar

    ubaida

    December 17, 2009 at 8:40 AM

    alhamdullillah rabil’alamin that this misguided person is apprehended. Anyone who knows people like these must be reported to the authorities! this misguided person his leader became a taghut for him

  26. Avatar

    Anon-2

    December 17, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    i believe this is a hoax and have to agree with anon-1
    i think MR AMAD here should open his brain for once

    • Avatar

      david

      December 17, 2009 at 3:05 PM

      Salam

      I don’t know about you, but I have met nutcases here in America with these kinds of sentiments. I guess those kind of people are really CIA spies trying to trap me, right? How long will we keep denying that people like these exist? Until our own family members are targetted maybe?

  27. Avatar

    MR

    December 17, 2009 at 10:30 PM

    This is unbelievable. Seriously, I don’t believe it. The guy doesn’t want to get married because he thinks he’s going to get his hoor-al-ayn? There is no guarantee for that. This guy is talking like he can guarantee jannah. How can any believer guarantee jannah for themselves?

    It’s unbelievable. I can’t believe this.

  28. Avatar

    jenan

    December 18, 2009 at 2:03 PM

    Those people are let me refrain from being hostile (yah right) are psychos who probably never opened the quran or sunnah. This guy honestly believes that blowing up mosques with children inside is okay! That there are no such thing as innocent people. Excuse my words, but the Taliban is messed up. They are psychotic barbarians who have no place in Islam. They are defiling the name of Islam and May Allah rid them of the Muslim community. Where are the leaders of Khalib ibn walid, Salahudeen Ayoubi, Omar Ibn Al Khatab…this video was very disturbing. They have no knowledge and just think that they are born to murder in the name of Islam. PRophet Muhammad would spit at that…They have been running Afghanistan since 1996 and what did they accomplish! They tortured their women, cut them off from going to school, and made the whole damn country even more backwards…than it already is. THe best part is “I know there is an arab scholar but i dont know his name?” Are you kidding me? They have no evidence for their justification and they know it….these people give islam a bad name! No wonder we are in the situation we are in……

  29. Amad

    Amad

    December 18, 2009 at 3:10 PM

    Our outstanding Blackwater forces, so devoted that they are willing to kill themselves (dedicated mercenaries), have attacked yet another Masjid. Yet, another “black-water suicide bomber” *snark* attack at a Masjid in Pakistan

    • Avatar

      Anonymous

      December 18, 2009 at 4:26 PM

      Amad, bro, with all due respect, why do you continue to tear down strawman arguments that no one ever posited and then beat your chest?

      No one here is saying that Larry the Cable Guy is roaming the streets of Pakistan dressed as a Waziri ready to blow himself up. What is happening is that non-state operating militias such as Blackwater and both state affiliated and non-state operating intelligence agencies are creating scenarios wherein stupid Jihadi idiots are blowing themselves up. NONE of these guys would have acquired the level of weapons and explosives that are being used had they not been HANDED to them.

      Why is this so hard for you to digest? There are countless PROVEN examples of this occurring throughout history.

      • Amad

        Amad

        December 19, 2009 at 1:56 AM

        I fully digest and accept the presence of exterior actors. I believe though that they are busy as quasi-American agents, providing intelligence.

        I cannot accept that the entire militant/terrorist movement in Pakistan is manufactured by them. We are giving them far too much credit and in the process glazing over our own problems. Until we remain hooked to conspiracies, we will not move ahead and work towards a solution. In my other article, one of my main premises is that most Pakistanis are moving beyond conspiracies, and that is a healthy sign. But those furthest from the ground, the internet critics, seem to be more prone to this blinding and pervasive viewpoint that they cannot see jihadi idiots blowing themselves up at the urging of their leaders who represent the khawarij of our time. And NOT exterior actors. It’s time to spread the credit.

        P.S. You still haven’t answered my question as to why GEO would have to take so much trouble finding an Indian actor for the suicide bomber-to-be instead of hiring just an average Pakistani from the street? It’s completely illogical and stupid for them to do so. Also, this tape was played in front of the entire Pakistan… do you think that the Pakistanis who LIVE in Pakistan couldn’t figure out the difference between Indian and Pakistani lingo, but somehow we did??

  30. Avatar

    Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

    December 18, 2009 at 5:46 PM

    Anwar Awlaki is also treading down this path, becoming a somewhat figurehead for the Takfeeris/Khawaarij.

    I have lived amongst the Takfeeris in London for three years of my life. You don’t have to believe a word I say as apart from Amad I am unknown to all of you. But mark my words; these people are real.

    The dogs of hell is what Rasool Allah called them.

  31. Avatar

    Siraaj Muhammad

    December 19, 2009 at 1:08 AM

    Would it be fair to say that IF the person in the video was represented correctly, we all agree that this is reprehensible and condemnable, irrespective of whether the West “covers it” or not, irrespective of surrounding contextual factors, and irrespective of one’s perspective on contemporary jihad?

    Siraaj

  32. Amad

    Amad

    December 19, 2009 at 1:44 AM

    Moulvis and halwas… but this time it isn’t that funny… IF indeed this was a deliberate act of poisoning (shouldn’t be a surprise as there is widespread precedent), it only provides more evidence of the utter disregard for human life, and even religious knowledge that the dogs who tried to poison them have:

    ‘Poisonous halwa’ lands ulema in hospital

  33. Avatar

    anwar jalal

    December 19, 2009 at 4:36 AM

    The supposed arrested bomber speaks so fluent urdu( that means that he is not illitrate ) and he is also not of too younger age so one wonder that . how such person can be indoctrinated by some fanatic Mullha ?

  34. Avatar

    Nadeer

    December 19, 2009 at 6:08 AM

    Amad,

    I’m greatly disturbed by the fact that my previous comment was not published . I consider myself to be a muslim and you have dishonored me. I didn’t express any extreme view- even by your standards.I just posed some questions . Remember that Ahlussunnah used to narrate hadith from the Khawarij, because they didn’t tell lies(since according to khawarij sin would be kufr ) . You don’t give me even the respect for khawarij?

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 19, 2009 at 7:52 AM

      Nadeer, to be honest, I don’t remember seeing a previous comment from you. Furthermore, there are about 10 people who moderate on this site. And finally, sometimes comments (esp. with any links) can get stuck in spam and if there is too much spam, they can be missed and removed.

    • Avatar

      Associates (Senior)

      December 19, 2009 at 5:31 PM

      I’m greatly disturbed by the fact that my previous comment was not published .I consider myself to be a muslim and you have dishonored me.

      So not publishing your comment causes you and your family dishonor?

      -J.Hashmi

  35. Avatar

    A critque

    December 19, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    By the way how a person arrested with charge of sucide bombing can answer with such confident and relex style ? , Such accused are supposed to be subjected to severe kind of torture when arrested so can not remain balanced for long long time but this supposed sucide bomber seems to be totally normal
    He answers the questions put by the anchor with much ease and with out any delay. It seems if he knows the questions before hand
    question also come to mind that as such persons are considered as highly dangerous criminals therefore are kept in high care but here we see that he is being interviewd in the comfortable room of a TV chennal
    Many such other questions also prop up into the mind while watching the clip of the interview . Would some body comment upon the above points for enlighteing ?

    • Avatar

      Aftab

      December 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM

      The questions are important, and need to be viewed from that angle too Hope some wise one will comment upon it

  36. Avatar

    Halifaxia

    December 19, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    Salaams, Its really upsetting to see videos like this. May Allah (swt) guide the brother and all who are astray. I think there has been many good discussion points on this, but most of the people who are leaving posts dont know or cant even put themselves in a place like tribal areas of Afghan, scholars of islam often talk about ’cause and effect’ – We should really be discussing the cause, there should be tv interviews with the people that cause this – but then again its not that easy becuase thats when we the muslims stay quite! Thats when we are seen to be supporting Terrorism!

    • Avatar

      Associates (Senior)

      December 19, 2009 at 5:35 PM

      It does not matter what situation a person is placed in. It does not justify him to become a feral animal who kills innocents.

      -J.Hashmi

      • Avatar

        Halifaxia

        December 20, 2009 at 5:24 AM

        I completely agree, but there are many people you can bring to the camera to talk about things which they do that are unislamic not just murder, but my point which you misunderstood was to look at the cause rather than just having ago at each every individual case you come across… you dont seem to be asking the question why? who? its just my God I cant believe this guy actually thinks like this… we sat in our nice warm homes, sipping our tea and having worries about shall I wear my black thobe or white one today, cant really understand why these people want to do such things? becuase we dont ask the question or theres no articles about why? No sheikhs doing khtubas regarding why?…

  37. Avatar

    Abdus Salam

    December 19, 2009 at 6:11 PM

    I think a Jihad against such people would be highly meritorious. Maybe the time has come for us to uproot this evil with our own hands.

  38. Avatar

    Baasel

    December 20, 2009 at 4:29 AM

    As salamu alaykum all.

    I apologize for my previous sarcastic comment, please remove it if you can. I respect all the MM shayukh and da’ees.

    Back to the topic, the fact that you posted the video is fine. But I’ve been feeling a lack of “balance,” on MM lately. (I believe) we have a responsibility as Muslims, to persistently attempt to alleviate any and all oppression that Muslims face. The children that lose their limbs as a result of U.S. cluster bombs are our children. As a Muslim, my cute little niece should be as important as the cute little girl in Afghanistan. I know MM has posted material on Dr. Aafia Sadique, but the reality out there is there may be many more Aaafia Sadique’s. It’s the stories that don’t make headlines that we should be disseminating and if you need resources, I’d be more than willing to help. Please go to YouTube and type “Deformed babies in Fallujah Iraq” as a result of the U.S. Invasion. Can MM post that please, or Stephen Walt’s recent article “How many Muslims has the U.S. killed in the past 30 years?” He takes the most conservative numbers and discusses the many Muslims lives lost as a result of U.S. foreign policy surprisingly BEFORE and AFTER 9/11.

    I haven’t heard much on MM about the 30,000 roops being sent over there. Yes, we can ADVISE/critisize ourselves. But we should be careful to demonize an entire group, whose right it is to withdraw a foreign military from their lands.

    Lastly, when FOX News gets one of those ex-Jihaadist on their show, do we believe what they say? Most of realize that they magnify and exaggerate a mistake of the Muslims, whereas the thousands the U.S. and Israel kills is not even spoken of. We (should) realize there’s a propaganda effort on the part of FOX News, the same way we should realize that there’s s nationalistic (enlightened moderation) agenda for this Pakistani news channel. The comments are disturbing, but we need to look at the bigger picture and ask why the U.S. is using Pakistani air space to bomb Afghanistan, our Muslim brothers.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 20, 2009 at 4:58 AM

      Baasel, the issue is that you choose to ignore the fact that there is FAR more material on this site critical of West and its allies, than critical of the victims-turned-aggressors.

      The problem is that certain people (and I am talking in generalities, not about you) only come to MM when their beloved “mujahideen” (perversion of term) are under attack… so they miss all the counter-balancing stuff. And then they cry about our acquiescence to the West. And the flip-side occurs as well. Recently a commentator blamed us for being too “soft” on terrorism! You can never make everyone happy— that’s a lesson we learn everyday here.

      I posted the following on another post and it is repeated below:

      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.

      • Avatar

        Hassan

        December 20, 2009 at 9:36 AM

        Yes there are lot of articles critical of west, (criticism is easy, as many liberals and few conservatives in US also criticize US and west, defending muslim individuals may be less popular, but still acceptable in society)

        And there are lot of legitimate and needed articles on criticism of terrorists who hijack the name of islam.

        But something is missing, and perhaps for a valid reason, I do not know the reason, I trust scholars to decide that. Which is encouraging “something” that would not be acceptable to west, and but is integral part of islam.

      • Avatar

        Dan

        December 20, 2009 at 4:34 PM

        But no posts about injustices by Muslims against Iraqi Christians, Coptic Christians, Pakistani Christians, Orakzai Sikhs, Indonesian Christians, etc.? Explain that Amad.

        Amad, you remember this incident in Pakistan back in August? Why did you not bother to make a post condemning this gruesome crime? Still under the assumption that Muslim countries, especially those who claim to uphold Shari’a, do not oppress non-Muslims (when they clearly do)?

        • Avatar

          Danisfullofbs

          December 20, 2009 at 8:06 PM

          Dan – how about you start a blog criticizing the hundreds of thousands Iraqis, Muslim, Christian, Chaldean, and every other ethnicity and religion murdered by US bombs over the last few decades? Follow that up with apologizing for mass murder and oppression funded and supported by fundamentalist Christians and Jews against the Palestinian people.

          Amad does a damn good job exposing hypocrisy by fundamentalist movements in the Muslim world – people of your ilk would like to paint all Muslims with the same broad brush.

  39. Avatar

    IbnAbdullah

    December 22, 2009 at 3:34 PM

    Anwar Awlaki supports terrorism.

    • Avatar

      Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

      December 23, 2009 at 5:36 PM

      True. May Allah save us from him and people like him. Aameen

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      December 23, 2009 at 9:41 PM

      Hmm, should not this comment be deleted?

      • Avatar

        Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

        December 24, 2009 at 4:28 AM

        I would say the same about anyone who is upon blatant misguidance in terms of Aqeedah and Manhaj.

        Sometimes SPUBS and TROID et al have a point when they warn against individuals like Al Awlaki. Unfortunately and ironically, in their extremism they throw the baby out with the bath-water.

        Say what you will but Alhumdulillah, MuslimMatters is a Salafi-centric blog and even though a wide spectrum of ideologies may gather here, the official line is always one that is rooted in knowledge, evidences and a proper understanding of Aqeedah and Manhaj. And as history has demonstrated the ”Salafi” perspective will never be popular.

        The philosophy of kill, kill, kill is popular amongst foolish youth and reactionary pseudo-Islamic political activists. How many times have these fools humiliated themselves and other Muslims and tarnished Islam’s image with their hasty pronouncements and declarations of war with the infidel? These people don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. Enough is enough. Muslims should stop apologising and defending these nut jobs. If you’re really feeling pious, then expose these pretenders what they really are.

        None of our Ulema, NOT A SINGLE ONE has called for suicide-bombings or mass demonstrations in the streets, or taking up vigilantism. So people who jump the gun by engaging in the afore-mentioned activities are implying that the Ulema are less informed than they are or have less concern for the Ummah than they have.

        May Allah guide us all to the correct understanding of the Deen, the understanding of our Salaf and through it to restore to the Muslims their honour and dignity. Aameen

        • Avatar

          Hassan

          December 24, 2009 at 7:11 AM

          Right, I would prefer a scholarly refutation or condemnation, rather than a one liner by some unknown individual. But jazak-Allah khyran.

        • Avatar

          Hassan

          December 24, 2009 at 8:05 AM

          And also he may be dead now, so lets be careful and take islamic approach on refuting him:

          http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BN0S220091224

          • Avatar

            IbnAbdullah

            December 24, 2009 at 2:32 PM

            Brother Awlaki wrote a post on his blog entitled, “Fighting Government Armies in the Muslim World.” In this post, he justifies and incites rebellion in general against Muslim countries. His fault is that these countries are protected under the Organization of the Islamic Conference and every book of fiqh mentions the need to fulfill all covenants. Awlaki justifies rebellion with the rhetoric and arguments of Ayman Zawahiri.

            There were numerous examples of Awlaki’s aggressiveness on his blog until it was taken down. Brother Awlaki translated “Constants on the path of Jihad” which had been taken from Yusuf al-Uyayree, the Al-Qaeda khobar bomber. In it, he supports leaderless jihad. The fault in this is that leaderless jihad leads to vigilantism which leads to the chaotic bombings we are seeing.

            Brother Awlaki uses the arguments of Al-Qaeda and our scholars have already refuted Al-Qaeda. So it is sufficient as a correction of Awlaki’s mistakes for one to read the fatwa and arguments against al-Qaeda posted on this blog and on Shaykh Salman al-Ouda’s website, islamtoday.com.

            We all need to pray for each other, ask Allah to guide us to the correct path. I hope brother Awlaki is not dead because I think he needs to talk to the Ulema in Saudi Arabia and to see the Sakina program.

          • Avatar

            Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

            December 24, 2009 at 5:50 PM

            If the report is true then, I pray to Allah to forgive our brother Anwar Al Awlaki his sins and to grant him Jannah, Aameen.

            And if he is alive, I ask Allah to keep him safe and guide him away from the path he is currently upon and towards the Sirat Al Mustaqeem, the correct understand of the Aqeedah and Manhaj. Aameen

        • Avatar

          Abd- Allah

          December 31, 2009 at 4:38 PM

          Assalam Alaikum

          Brother Abu Ayesha Al Emarati.

          I like the way how you discredited “SPUBS and TROID et al” that they are an extreme and then turn around to compliment and say that “MuslimMatters is a Salafi-centric blog”

          To some (salafis), MM (and the shuyukh behind it) are the opposite extreme of SPUBS and TROID (on the salafi spectrum).

          While some salafis have gone as far as refuting other salafi shuyukh because of minor disagreements, you see other salafis going as far as accepting some of the deviant sects and uniting with the misguided shuyukh instead of refuting them.

          Perhaps the Truth and the correct path is somewhere in between those two extremes, and salafis should all go back and unite upon that moderate path again.

          Allah knows best.

  40. Avatar

    atheistdebater

    December 23, 2009 at 11:46 PM

    All killing of humans is wrong. It does not matter whether the humans being killed are Muslims, Christians or whatever.

    The United States of America is a democracy. If you disagree with its foreign policy, you may engage in the democratic process to change things. Vote. Write your Congressman or Senator. Stage a protest. Contribute to a candidate of your choice. If you are an American, and you disagree with American foreign policy, you have a responsibility to make your voice heard.

    Merry Christmas.

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      December 24, 2009 at 12:30 AM

      Very true point. By the way, thanks for the wishes but Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas.

  41. Avatar

    atheistdebater

    December 24, 2009 at 1:07 AM

    Us atheists do not have any holidays we can claim as our own, so we have to enjoy the holidays of our religious countrymen. What do I care, as long as I get a day off, so I can enjoy some time with my family. I would wish you a happy Ramadan, but I know that has already passed. When is Darwin’s birthday? I will wish you a happy Darwin day.

    • Avatar

      ubaida

      December 27, 2009 at 7:28 AM

      o Atheistdebater know that if you dont accept Alllah as your true God and muhammad sallahu alahi wassalam as your messenger then know for sure that you will end up in hell-fire!. Im just telling you up front some people might go around it but im telling you the consequences of your actions. This life is not a game wake up before its too late

      May Allah save us from hell fire and let us die in the state of islam, ameen

      • Avatar

        Dan

        December 27, 2009 at 9:54 PM

        There’s a reason why people dislike religious zealots/fake wannabe mullahs such as yourself.

  42. Avatar

    Imran

    December 27, 2009 at 9:41 AM

    Do you guys really believe this video is real!!

    Before making any comments on such a big and complex issue please verify the authenticity of these classic Jewo I mean Geo interviews:)

    Surat Al-Ĥujurāt – 49:6

    O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 27, 2009 at 12:49 PM

      Of course not Imran… the Jous made the entire thing up. Just like all the routine suicide bombings and bombers-wannabe. All the bad stuff is all the Joos responsibility… Muslims are just innocent victims everytime.

      • Avatar

        Imran

        December 27, 2009 at 3:31 PM

        Don’t get emotional Amad,

        Bring me some evidence regarding this video, I will not make a judgment or even have an opinion on a certain issue based on that video.

        It’s funny how some reporters get a chance to meet the actual fighters and never pose these questions to them. The video is such a set up it’s not even funny. Like the ones you get on Youtube with fake conversions from Islam to Christianity, or the one where Brelvis pretend to be Whabis in mock debates like you see on some channels like Noor TV you know the ones I’m talking about:)

        All I got to say is take most things you here from the media with a pinch of salt, and before you run your mouth off remember how dangerous the tongue is.

        • Avatar

          IbnAbdullah

          December 30, 2009 at 11:44 AM

          It is strange and sad that so many Muslims give the benefit of the doubt to terrorists. These terrorist criminals use the ayah in Surat al-Hujurat to exploit the Muslims.

          Muslims need to get their heads out of the sand and to purge these terrorists.

  43. Avatar

    Justacomment

    December 27, 2009 at 6:15 PM

    Imran is another Revolution Muslim brainwashed Taliban cheerleader…any media source that exposes the Taliban as barbarians and hypocrites is a jewish conspiracy…but when the Taliban release their own beheading videos the cheerleaders watch them eating popcorn. The only question to ask is whether they would support the message of the alleged “jew” in the video if it was proven to be a Muslim. Imran here probably agrees with everything stated in the video, so you don’t even have to get to the authenticity question.

  44. Avatar

    Imran

    December 28, 2009 at 7:40 AM

    Call me what you like mate, still no one has provided any evidence on the authenticity of this video.

  45. Avatar

    Abu Rumaisa

    December 28, 2009 at 1:42 PM

    Amad,

    There’s no doubt that MM has regularly posted articles in support of Muslims who are being oppressed & also against the evil actions of the west. But I think I think you have misunderstood the criticism against MM.

    MM has posted many articles criticizing many “Mujahideen” who are fighting against occupiers & oppressors in Muslim lands. Many times, the criticism was very much needed as no one is perfect and everyone needs to reminded of what’s right & what’s wrong and I applaud MM for doing so. This very article is an example of that. But MM fails to publish articles where these very same “Mujahideen” send letters & videos claiming innocence from what they are being charged with!

    Criticism is great but where’s the support for those who are fighting against the occupiers to free their lands without targeting innocent civilians. It’s great to tell them of the mistakes they are making in warfare but where is advice on how best to fight these occupiers (physically not just spiritually as the occupation is very much real). I am not sure if MM realizes it or not but the articles & comments sound as if Jihad against occupiers is not allowed in Islam!

    • Avatar

      Dan

      December 28, 2009 at 2:12 PM

      Sure, they are fighting against oppression…yet when they rule there is plenty of oppression committed by the forces you seem to admire. The Taliban’s rule in Swat was full of oppression, as well as their rule in Afghanistan, so where was your outrage then?

      You’re not fooling anyone. They only fight for the freedom to oppress others. Just ask the Sikhs in Orakzai how they felt when your beloved “mujahideen” torched their homes because they were unable to pay jizya. Is that jihad to you?

  46. Avatar

    angry guy

    December 28, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    Good thing that the early muslims didn’t treat the Khawarij of their day with the same pathetic arguments we are hearing here.

  47. Avatar

    angry guy

    December 28, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    Salam

    This was in October.

    Pakistan braced for more militant attacks ahead of an anticipated offensive against a Taliban stronghold, as the insurgents said they bombed a U.N. relief agency because international aid work was not in “the interest of Muslims.”

    The suicide bombing Monday at the World Food Program headquarters in Islamabad killed five people, prompting the U.N. to temporarily shut all its offices across the country.

    Anybody want to justify this? Killing muslims (some of the the people who died were Pakistani) who were feeding the poor? The so called ‘Taliban’ claimed responsibility for this one. Maybe the fact that these muslims were working for the UN made their blood halal? Or maybe it was a Jewish suicide bomber? Or maybe it was a CIA agent pretending to claim responsibility? Ironic that while some people do this in the name of Islam, here in America we have muslims in the name of Islam feeding poor Americans.

    • Avatar

      angry guy

      December 29, 2009 at 12:15 PM

      I hear the silence… again, anyone want to justify why murdering muslims who were involved in feeding poor muslims is valid because “it is not in the interest of muslims”?

      • Avatar

        Abu Rumaisa

        December 29, 2009 at 2:11 PM

        why will anyone want to justify that? if u didn’t read the comments till now, no one including those support jihad against occupiers approve of attacks that intentionally target innocent civilians regardless of who carries out these attacks!

  48. Avatar

    Muslim by Allah's Grace

    December 29, 2009 at 3:43 PM

    Asslamau Alaikum,

    The video is truly shocking if it indeed true. For a Muslim to be sacrificing his life for a cause that he doesn’t even know the shariah daleel for..what kind of Islam is this? The “suicide bomber” refers to a book written by some unknown and unnamed Arab scholar and that’s his daleel for what he is doing!!! If his “ameer” had ordered him to prostrate to an idol, would he have done that as well due to blind following?

    Secondly, the blood of Muslims is precious and inviolable. Indeed, there is a hadeeth that the unlawful shedding of a Muslim’s blood is more serious in front of Allah than the destruction of the Kaaba itself. Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) used to tell those who killed unjustly to drink cold water in this life since they would not taste it in the next (their abode being hell…ma’adh Allah). This confused young man is claiming that even the Muslim babies are not innocent for not going out to the battlefield. Does he even know what he is saying or just regurgitating mindless and dangerous nonsense?

    However, despite all this we need to know that the Pakistani government is not innocent in this saga. This fitnah all started after the army operations in the tribal areas and the Lal Masjid massacre. Pakistan continues to be a major frontline ally in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (its rulers admitting to their collaboration proudly), and many scholars (including Sh. Bin Baaz and Ibn Uthaymeen) have ruled this form of allying with kuffar to fight against Muslims to be MAJOR KUFR.

    I believe the solution to this crisis is two-fold: the Pakistani rulers need to do tawbah and disassociate themselves from the American Crusade on Afghanistan. Next, they need to immediately bring to a halt all army operations in the tribal areas and carry out peace talks with the rebels under the auspices of well-known Ulama like Mufti Taqi Usmani for instance. Only by doing this can the specter of civil war be avoided and Muslive lives saved.

    May Allah guide us all to As-Sirat Al-Mustaqeem and have mercy on this Ummah…Ameen!

    • Avatar

      Dan

      December 30, 2009 at 12:25 AM

      Why don’t you distance yourself from the Taliban and your Islamist fantasies of imposing your Taliban-style Shariah on the entire region, and then talk.

      I pray to Allah swt that both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are wiped out from the face of this planet, along with the corrupt secular officials that plunder and loot Pakistan.

      You’re not doing yourself any favors when you come out to defend miscreants like the Lal Masjid fanatics. You have a soft spot for them just because they aspire to impose their draconian version of Shariah, the same one you and most people on this board blindly endorse.

      BTW, the invasion of Afghanistan would not have occurred if 19 Arab Muslim men didn’t choose to fly planes into buildings full of innocent civilians. Instead of blaming the West, why don’t you have the courage to condemn the Taliban for allowing refuge for extremists from the world over? Contrary to popular belief, no one wants the Taliban back (save for delusional fantasists who would love to see minorities subjugated, which is common with Taliban apologists).

      • Amad

        Amad

        December 30, 2009 at 3:26 AM

        Dan, I know its probably like talking to a wall, but we don’t see the world in black and white, like Bush. Regardless of how “fanatic” the Lal Masjid students were (the extent is really up to debate), there was no excuse for the massacre and possibly use of chemical weapons by govt forces. This was a human tragedy, a murderous spree committed by Musharraf, and I firmly believe that this was the nail in his coffin that led to his eventual demise… and Allah knows what he is in store in his akhira for the injustice he meted out.

        You just seem like the flipside of the extremists… they want all your ilk dead and you want all their ilk dead, regardless of the shades of gray, even among who we may consider “extremists”. Until you mellow your rhetoric, no one will pay attention to what you are saying and it will be just a screaming match between two sides who don’t hear other out.

        As for who wants Taliban back, from a purely strategic perspective, even the West is starting to consider the possibility that a partnership with elements from it may be best for Afghanistan’s interest and stability. The Taliban made tons of mistakes, many fatal, including harboring terrorists, but you’d have to have your sand buried in the head to think that “no wants the Taliban back”. And this isn’t me or the “extremists” telling you. It’s the mainstream media. Here’s one example for you:

        We want the Taliban back, say ordinary Afghans

        • Avatar

          Dan

          December 30, 2009 at 11:10 AM

          “Dan, I know its probably like talking to a wall, but we don’t see the world in black and white, like Bush. Regardless of how “fanatic” the Lal Masjid students were (the extent is really up to debate), there was no excuse for the massacre and possibly use of chemical weapons by govt forces. This was a human tragedy, a murderous spree committed by Musharraf, and I firmly believe that this was the nail in his coffin that led to his eventual demise… and Allah knows what he is in store in his akhira for the injustice he meted out.”

          No excuse? They built a makeshift mosque on land that was STOLEN. They threatened suicide attacks on parliament. They harassed women who dared not to wear the burkha. They also kidnapped women and accused them of running brothels without any evidence, and even accused them of being Shi’a. You are so quick to condemn Musharraf, yet you are unable to criticize their actions. Why is that? Is it because you share their views of an oppressive state that suits your beliefs? Those Lal Masjid students deserved what they got, I have no sympathy for these people whatsoever. Just because they claim to uphold the message of the Almighty doesn’t stray them from criticism nor does it mean I should be automatically sympathetic to them.

          “You just seem like the flipside of the extremists… they want all your ilk dead and you want all their ilk dead, regardless of the shades of gray, even among who we may consider “extremists”. Until you mellow your rhetoric, no one will pay attention to what you are saying and it will be just a screaming match between two sides who don’t hear other out.”

          There is no shades of grey with Wahabi extremists. They want to impose their draconian dictatorship on others, just like they did in Afghanistan.

          “As for who wants Taliban back, from a purely strategic perspective, even the West is starting to consider the possibility that a partnership with elements from it may be best for Afghanistan’s interest and stability. The Taliban made tons of mistakes, many fatal, including harboring terrorists, but you’d have to have your sand buried in the head to think that “no wants the Taliban back”. And this isn’t me or the “extremists” telling you. It’s the mainstream media. Here’s one example for you:”

          Tell you what Amad, why don’t you go to Bamyan, Takhar, and Baghlan provinces and see if they want the Taliban back. They made enough mistakes to where they should not rule the country again. For someone that complains about oppression, you sure don’t have a problem with the Taliban dictatorship to rule again. Hazaras suffered a lot under their rule, which is comparable to what the Israelis did to Gaza, yet you choose not to believe them. You disregard their grievances and still insist that Afghans want the Taliban back. Newsflash Amad: Afghanistan isn’t 100% Sunni. No Shi’a wants the Taliban back, period. As for that article, 1) it is more than 2 years old and 2) it consists of sentiment in southern Afghanistan, not the entire country.

          • Avatar

            IbnAbdullah

            December 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM

            I like Dan. A voice of reason around here.

          • Avatar

            Shibli Zaman

            December 30, 2009 at 12:54 PM

            Dan, for the record, I do not want the Taliban to rule Afghanistan ever again (unless they make some very serious changes), but I do believe they should be allowed to represent their party in governmental elections. I believe this is going to happen eventually. Unfortunately, what is in the way of this is that a good portion of the country does want the Taliban back simply because they see them as the only force resisting occupation. Afghans would prefer an indigenous tyrant over a foreign liberator.

            Yet, you keep spewing a lot of fallacious rhetoric and I wonder what perspective you’re coming from.

            “Tell you what Amad, why don’t you go to Bamyan, Takhar, and Baghlan provinces and see if they want the Taliban back.”

            Have you? I spoke to Uzbeks from Baghlan in 2001 and they stated that they felt more secure under the Taliban and they are the smallest minority in Baghlan along with the Hazaras.

            “Hazaras suffered a lot under their rule, which is comparable to what the Israelis did to Gaza, yet you choose not to believe them.”

            You keep repeating this like a mantra, but you still never replied as to how the Pashtuns of Wardak, as just one of many examples, elected HAZARAS to represent them in the Wolesi Jirga. Wardak is 60% Pashtun, yet 3 or their 5 elected representatives are Hazaras. Please explain that.

            It is true that Hazaras’ social status in Afghanistan is similar to that of the Blacks of America. Yet, while we all acknowledge that the Blacks have suffered greatly, the Hazaras haven’t been through anything even remotely close. So to portray that the Hazaras were victims of genocide and slavery in Afghanistan is just absurd. Also, the prejudice against them is NOT reserved to Pashtuns, but to almost everyone in Afghanistan, primarily Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Pashtuns. They all treat Hazaras similarly to how Blacks are treated in the USA. Some parts of the USA treat Blacks well where they are in high concentrations and some parts of the USA treat Blacks poorly where they are tiny minorities. The same goes for Hazaras in Afghanistan. There’s no slavery and there’s no genocide. There’s a social stigma against them that goes back 1000 years to the Mongol invasions. Also, any Afghan (or anyone even familiar with Afghan society) knows that both Pashtuns and Tajiks alike refer to any Mongoloid featured Afghan as “Azaara”. Uzbeks, Mongoloid looking Tajiks such as are common in Badakhshan, Turkomen, etc are all called “Azaara” by the Tajiks and Pashtuns alike. It is not a prejudice against the Hazara race as much as it is a resentment to the Mongol invasions and decimation that is residual to this day. Hazaras just happen to be the most Mongoloid looking of all ethnicities in Afghanistan.

            You also seem to completely gloss over the heinous crimes committed by the Hazaras under the banners of Hizb-e-Wahdat. Also, Dostum is half Hazara so Jumbish had a large Hazara following. Why are you silent about significant Hazara war crimes? Are they justified in your eyes?

            “Newsflash Amad: Afghanistan isn’t 100% Sunni.”

            Newsflash Dan: Hazaras aren’t 100% Shi`ah. The Taymani and Aymaqs are Sunni in spite of aggressive Iranian sponsored Shi`ite missionary activity amongst them. Most Hazaras in Ghor and Badghis are Sunni. Many Hazaras are Ismaili and outcasted by both the Shi`as and the Sunnis.

            Frankly speaking, and with all due respect, I just don’t think you are as familiar with the demographics you are screaming about as you’d like everyone to think.

          • Amad

            Amad

            December 30, 2009 at 1:35 PM

            Jak Shibli… I also don’t know that much about Afghanistan, and I find your knowledgeable comments on this suffering nation’s people quite enlightening.

            From my vantage, it almost comes down to lesser of the two evils when it comes to dictatorship/authoritarian rule vs. anarchy and “false democracy”… Most common people share a comon theme with all of us, regardless of their ethnicity or religion. They prefer to give up a lot of liberty for order. Taliban provided that in addition to getting rid of drugs, even if it came with a lot of unfortunate baggage. You even see this in America where people will be willing to give up all sorts of rights if it comes to their individual security. Similarly, one has to think really hard if Iraq was better off with Saddam… and I think most people, even in the West, and even on the ground, probably prefer a ruthless (and SECULAR by the way) ruler like Saddam than the puppet show and insecurity in Iraq right now.

            Eventually, the Taliban will be brought into the government somehow (as you also suggest), and hopefully with checks and balances, what was good of them can be part (not all) of a brighter future for all of Afghanistan’s people, including all the ethnic minorities and sects.

          • Avatar

            Dan

            December 30, 2009 at 1:34 PM

            “Dan, for the record, I do not want the Taliban to rule Afghanistan ever again (unless they make some very serious changes), but I do believe they should be allowed to represent their party in governmental elections. I believe this is going to happen eventually.”

            I don’t mind their representation either, but if they lose out, then they better not resort to bomb attacks as the Taliban in NWFP have been doing since the MMA lost out to the ANP last year.

            “Unfortunately, what is in the way of this is that a good portion of the country does want the Taliban back simply because they see them as the only force resisting occupation. Afghans would prefer an indigenous tyrant over a foreign liberator.”

            The only Afghans would want are Pashtuns. Again, Hazaras welcomed the US invasion since they received more rights than in any time in their history.

            “Have you? I spoke to Uzbeks from Baghlan in 2001 and they stated that they felt more secure under the Taliban and they are the smallest minority in Baghlan along with the Hazaras.”

            I’ll admit that the Taliban were able to provide security…at a price of course.

            “You keep repeating this like a mantra, but you still never replied as to how the Pashtuns of Wardak, as just one of many examples, elected HAZARAS to represent them in the Wolesi Jirga. Wardak is 60% Pashtun, yet 3 or their 5 elected representatives are Hazaras. Please explain that.”

            You keep parroting Wardak, which is most likely an anomaly. Still doesn’t change the fact that Hazaras were historically discriminated and hated against. And again, I did not get this from the Kite Runner, but from speaking to Hazaras who fled the Taliban’s rule in Melbourne, AU.

            “It is true that Hazaras’ social status in Afghanistan is similar to that of the Blacks of America. Yet, while we all acknowledge that the Blacks have suffered greatly, the Hazaras haven’t been through anything even remotely close. So to portray that the Hazaras were victims of genocide and slavery in Afghanistan is just absurd.”

            That is amusing. You downplay the sufferings of Hazaras while you fail to note that genocide and slavery DID occur. Abdur Rahman Khan invaded Hazarajat in the 1890s and tried to forcibly convert the Hazaras to Sunni Islam. Why else would there be large Hazara diaspora communities in Mashad, Iran, and Quetta, Pakistan? They were clearly victims of genocide not just by the Taliban but by Abdur Rahman Khan.

            Here’s some food for thought:

            By sending Sunni clerics to every village in Hazarajat Abd -al Rahman forced the Shiite Hazaras to attend Sunni mosques and abandon Shiism. He imposed tougher regulations on Hazaras by forcing them to pay heavy taxes. For instance, from 500 families in Ajristan each well-to-do family was forced to pay 40 Sir (6.7 Kg) wheat while the poor ones paid three Afs, each. In Daya Fulad, Zawuli and Sepai districts the state collected Afs. 80,000 and forced the Hazara girls into marriage. In the Shikhali district an estimated 7,000 head of cattle were taken away from Hazaras and 350 men and women of the Jaghori district had been sold at Kabul markets each at the price of 20-21 As. Abd al- Rahman’s brutal suppression compelled a large number of Hazaras to seek refuge in Iran. Pakistan and Russia, Abd al-Rehman could only succeed in subjugating Hazaras and conquering their land when he effectively utilized internal differences within the Hazara community, co-opting sold-out Hazara chiefs into his bureaucratic sales of the enslaved Hazara men, women and children in 1897, the Hazaras remained de facto slaves until King Amanullah declared Afghanistan’s independence in 1919.

            “Also, the prejudice against them is NOT reserved to Pashtuns, but to almost everyone in Afghanistan, primarily Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Pashtuns. They all treat Hazaras similarly to how Blacks are treated in the USA. Some parts of the USA treat Blacks well where they are in high concentrations and some parts of the USA treat Blacks poorly where they are tiny minorities. The same goes for Hazaras in Afghanistan. There’s no slavery and there’s no genocide.”

            Again, read the excerpt above if you’re still in denial.

            “There’s a social stigma against them that goes back 1000 years to the Mongol invasions. Also, any Afghan (or anyone even familiar with Afghan society) knows that both Pashtuns and Tajiks alike refer to any Mongoloid featured Afghan as “Azaara”. Uzbeks, Mongoloid looking Tajiks such as are common in Badakhshan, Turkomen, etc are all called “Azaara” by the Tajiks and Pashtuns alike. It is not a prejudice against the Hazara race as much as it is a resentment to the Mongol invasions and decimation that is residual to this day. Hazaras just happen to be the most Mongoloid looking of all ethnicities in Afghanistan.”

            So why is it that every Pashtun wants all Hazaras sent back to Mongolia? Like it or not, it is a sentiment espoused by a lot of Pashtuns. Pashtuns hate Hazaras simply because Hazaras are hard-working people who are not opposed to females being educated.

            “You also seem to completely gloss over the heinous crimes committed by the Hazaras under the banners of Hizb-e-Wahdat. Also, Dostum is half Hazara so Jumbish had a large Hazara following. Why are you silent about significant Hazara war crimes? Are they justified in your eyes?”

            Can you cite me a Hazara war crime that comes close to Mazar-i-Sharif, Yakaolang, and Robotok?

            Your arguments are similar to how Serbs use when they try to bring up Muslim crimes in Bosnia, ignoring the fact that they committed the bulk of the heinous crimes. It’s quite hypocritical for Muslims to adopt such an absurd position to place blame on the victim.

            “Newsflash Dan: Hazaras aren’t 100% Shi`ah. The Taymani and Aymaqs are Sunni in spite of aggressive Iranian sponsored Shi`ite missionary activity amongst them. Most Hazaras in Ghor and Badghis are Sunni. Many Hazaras are Ismaili and outcasted by both the Shi`as and the Sunnis.”

            The Aymaqs don’t even consider themselves to be Hazara for crying out loud.

            “Frankly speaking, and with all due respect, I just don’t think you are as familiar with the demographics you are screaming about as you’d like everyone to think.”

            With all due respect, I think you are in denial about the extent of the crimes that Pashtun Sunnis have committed against the Hazara. There is plenty of evidence to showcase that which is not derived simply from The Kite Runner.

            Salaam

          • Amad

            Amad

            December 30, 2009 at 1:39 PM

            I’ll admit that the Taliban were able to provide security…at a price of course.

            Thanks for admitting this. The price was not cheap either, I think most agree. But what would one prefer: burqa due to government sanction (but safety) or burqa due to fear of rape? That’s just one example of a choice that everyday Afghanis are indeed making, and I think many preferred the former.

      • Avatar

        Hassan

        December 30, 2009 at 8:07 AM

        America was founded on Sept 10th, 2001, and was attacked on Sept 11th, 2001. Why did Taliban harbor terrorists that would attack an innocent new born country!!

  49. Avatar

    naveed

    February 5, 2010 at 5:53 AM

    well brothers n sisters
    salam to u all

    Islam is peace(salamti) for every living being unless someone claims to be treated in a punitive manner. I could nt c this video but i had seen many like em n unfortunately i met a number of guys like the one mentioned in here. i almost read all the comments n views n responses n a few quarrels also in which people want us to get involved.
    Look The Islam never came in particular for any Shia or Sunni this has come for the whole humanity the whole universe(Aalimeen) n Hazoor e Akram SAW very clearly stated that ” amongst u the muslim is with whose hands or tongue none other muslim gets hurt” to me thats the defination of a Muslim n now if we look arround we can very clearly c how many muslims v are or who all r the muslims around us. instead v waste our energies on claiming to b shias or sunnis or blaming each other we must understand n unite n identify who is the one or wat is it that is making us kill each other or making such suicide bombers get born n kill so many innocents.
    As for as the talibans r concerned, not all of them are bad or ruthless. the one who posted it was rite in saying so that he is not a black water mercenary or an outsider but b sure that the ones who trained him are the ones who r either being paid by the external forces or are the top agents of such agencies like CIA< Black water, RAW, Mossad. we must know that these agencies dun do nuthin in haste they prepared agents who can speak local languages with all the local rituals n customs n traditions n then floated them in with gud amount of money. most of there training centers are formed at such distant n remote places in the name of madrissahs that a commoner can not think of going there n their agents move around in the garb of hard core muslims to hunt for the talent n then they bring em there n train em in a way that the results we can all c. an hour earlier a blast took place in a bus at Shahrah e Faisal Karachi which was carrying the mourners for juloos.
    well wat we need to do now is to identify the enemy n use our energies to get united aginst the identified enemy. for killers it matters nuthin weather a sunni has died or a shia embraced the death n tell u one thing that after the blasts the pieces of flesh dun claim to b a shia or suni they give the same look so please please come out of it n use ur energies to find out the killers.
    Another thing, Try to be a gud human n u ll automatically become a gud muslim.

    Love u all n Allah May Bless u all with His Kindest Blessings n the needs u all have (Ameen)

  50. Avatar

    slaveofAllah4lyf

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 AM

    SubhanAllah!! this guy is nuts….how can he even have those views? did he forgot about shedding bloods on muslims being more heavy in the sight of Allah than the destruction of the Ka’abah?? this is extremism…actually…even extremism will be left behind this guy…
    May Allah guide him n us…ameen!

  51. Avatar

    Mohammad Waqas Shaikh

    February 5, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    We ought to do something about this takfiri ideology among Muslims. Kuffars are buying such so called mullahs who training and brain washing our youth.
    JazakAllah kher for sharing.

  52. Avatar

    Dave

    July 24, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    We should just warn civilians that whoever puts himself near a terrorist puts himself in danger.
    Can’t keep fighting like we do.. they figured it out and now they take advantage of our morality.

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#Current Affairs

The Duplicity of American Muslim Influencers And The ‘So-called Muslim Ban’

Dr Joseph Kaminski

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As we approach the beginning of another painful year of the full enforcement of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (a.k.a. ‘the Muslim ban’) that effectively bars citizens of several Muslim majority countries from entering into the United States, the silence remains deafening. As I expected, most of the world has conveniently forgotten about this policy, which thus far has separated over 3,000 American families from their spouses and other immediate relatives. In June 2019, the Brennan Center of Justice notes that: The ban has also kept at least 1,545 children from their American parents and 3,460 parents from their American sons and daughters. While silence and apathy from the general public on this matter is to be expected— after all, it is not their families who are impacted— what is particularly troubling is the response that is beginning to emerge from some corners of the American Muslim social landscape.

While most Muslims and Muslim groups have been vocal in their condemnation of Presidential Proclamation 9645, other prominent voices have not. Shadi Hamid sought to rationalize the executive order on technical grounds arguing that it was a legally plausible interpretation. Perhaps this is true, but some of the other points made by Hamid are quite questionable. For example, he curiously contends that:

The decision does not turn American Muslims like myself into “second-class citizens,” and to insist that it does will make it impossible for us to claim that we have actually become second-class citizens, if such a thing ever happens.

I don’t know— being forced to choose exile in order to remain with one’s family certainly does sound like being turned into a ‘second-class citizen’ to me. Perhaps the executive order does not turn Muslims like himself, as he notes, into second-class citizens, but it definitely does others, unless it is possible in Hamid’s mind to remain a first-class citizen barred from living with his own spouse and children for completely arbitrary reasons, like me. To be fair to Hamid, in the same article he does comment that the executive order is a morally questionable decision, noting that he is “still deeply uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s ruling” and that “It contributes to the legitimization and mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry.”

On the other hand, more recently others have shown open disdain for those who are angered about the ‘so-called Muslim ban.’ On June 6th, 2019, Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a Senior Faculty Member at Zaytuna College, Islamic scholar and the founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative, rationalized the ban on spurious security grounds. He commented that,

The so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his potential. But, to be fair, a real Muslim ban would mean that no Muslim from any country should be allowed in the US. There are about 50 Muslim majority countries. Trump singled out only 7 of them, most of which are war torn and problem countries. So, it is unfair to claim that he was only motivated by a hatred for Islam and Muslims.

First, despite how redundant and unnecessary this point is to make again, one ought to be reminded that between 1975 and 2015, zero foreigners from the seven nations initially placed on the banned list (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) killed any Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and zero Libyans or Syrians have ever even been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that same time period. I do not think these numbers have changed over the last 4 years either. If policy decisions are supposed to be made on sound empirical evidence and data, then there is even less justification for the ban.

Second, Bin Hamid Ali comments that ‘the so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his [Trump’s] potential.’ Whoa… hold on; on edge about his potential? For the millions of people banned from entering the United States and the thousands of Muslim families connected to these millions of people, this ‘potential’ has been more than realized. To reduce the ‘so-called Muslim ban’ to just targeting ‘war torn and problem countries’ is to reduce our family members—our husbands, wives, and children—to (inaccurate) statistics and gross stereotypes. Are spouses from Syria or Yemen seeking to reunite with their legally recognized spouses or children any less deserving to be with their immediate family members because they hail from ‘problem countries’? How can one be concerned with stereotypes while saying something like this? Is this not the exact thing that Abdullah bin Hamid Ali seeks to avoid? Surely the Professor would not invoke such stereotypes to justify the racial profiling of black American citizens. What makes black non-Americans, Arabs, and Iranians any different when it comes to draconian immigration profiling? From a purely Islamic perspective, the answer is absolutely nothing.

More recently, Sherman Jackson, a leading Islamic intellectual figure at the University of Southern California, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, also waded into this discussion. In his essay, he reframed the Muslim ban as a question of identity politics rather than basic human right, pitting Muslim immigrants against what he calls ‘blackamericans’ drawing some incredibly questionable, nativist, and bigoted conclusions. Jackson in a recent blog responding to critiques by Ali al-Arian about his own questionable affiliations with authoritarian Arab regimes comments:

Al-Arian mentions that,

“the Muslim American community seemed united at least in its opposition to the Trump administration.”  He and those who make up this alleged consensus are apparently offended by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.  But a Blackamerican sister in Chicago once asked me rhetorically why she should support having Muslims come to this country who are only going to treat her like crap.

These are baffling comments to make about ‘Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.’ Jackson creates a strawman by bringing up an anecdotal story that offers a gross generalization that clearly has prejudiced undertones of certain Muslim immigrants. Most interesting, however is how self-defeating Jackson’s invocation of identity politics is considering the fact that a large number of the ‘blackamerican’ Muslims that he is concerned about themselves have relatives from Somalia and other countries impacted by the travel ban. As of 2017, there were just over 52,000 Americans with Somali ancestry in the state of Minnesota alone. Are Somali-Americans only worth our sympathy so long as they do not have Somali spouses? What Jackson and Bin Hamid Ali do not seem to understand is that these Muslim immigrants they speak disparagingly of, by in large, are coming on family unification related visas.

Other people with large online followings have praised the comments offered by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali and Sherman Jackson. The controversial administrator of the popular The Muslim Skeptic website, Daniel Haqiqatjou, in defense of Jackson’s comments, stated:

This is the first time I have seen a prominent figure downplay the issue. And I think Jackson’s assessment is exactly right: The average American Muslim doesn’t really care about this. There is no evidence to indicate that this policy has had a significant impact on the community as a whole. Travel to the US from those four countries affected by the ban was already extremely difficult in the Obama era.

What Haqiqatjou seems to not realize is that while travel from these countries was difficult, it was not as ‘extremely difficult’ as he erroneously claims it was. The US issued 7,727 visas to Iranian passport holders in 2016 prior to the ban. After the ban in 2018, that number dropped to 1,449. My own wife was issued a B1/B2 Tourist visa to meet my family in 2016 after approximately 40 days of administrative processing which is standard for US visa seekers who hold Iranian passports. On the other hand, she was rejected for the same B1/B2 Tourist visa in 2018 after a grueling 60+ day wait due to Presidential Proclamation 9645. At the behest of the Counselor Officer where we currently live, she was told to just finish the immigration process since this would put her in a better position to receive one of these nearly impossible to get waivers. She had her interview on November 19, 2018, and we are still awaiting the results of whatever these epic, non-transparent ‘extreme vetting’ procedures yield. Somehow despite my wife being perfectly fine to enter in 2016, three years later, we are entering the 10th month of waiting for one of these elusive waivers with no end time in sight, nor any guarantee that things will work out. Tell me how this is pretty much the same as things have always been?

What these commentators seem to not realize is that the United States immigration system is incredibly rigid. One cannot hop on a plane and say they want to immigrate with an empty wallet to start of Kebab shop in Queens. It seems as if many of these people that take umbrage at the prospects of legal immigration believe that the immigration rules of 2019 are the same as they were in 1819. In the end, it is important to once again reiterate that the Muslim immigrants Jackson, Bin Hamid Ali and others are disparaging are those who most likely are the family members of American Muslim citizens; by belittling the spouses and children of American Muslims, these people are belittling American Muslims themselves.

Neo-nationalism, tribalism, and identity politics of this sort are wholly antithetical to the Islamic enterprise. We have now reached the point where people who are considered authority figures within the American Islamic community are promoting nativism and identity politics at the expense of American Muslim families. Instead of trying to rationalize the ‘so-called Muslim Ban’ via appeals to nativist and nationalist rhetoric, influential Muslim leaders and internet influencers need to demonstrate empathy and compassion for the thousands of US Muslim families being torn apart by this indefinite Muslim ban that we all know will never end so long as Donald Trump remains president. In reality, they should be willing to fight tooth-and-nail for American Muslim families. These are the same people who regularly critique the decline of the family unit and the rise of single-parent households. Do they not see the hypocrisy in their positions of not defending those Muslim families that seek to stay together?

If these people are not willing to advocate on behalf of those of us suffering— some of us living in self-imposed exile in third party countries to remain with our spouses and children— the least they can do is to not downplay our suffering or even worse, turn it into a political football (Social Justice Warrior politics vs. traditional ‘real’ Islam). It seems clear that if liberal Muslim activists were not as outspoken on this matter, these more conservative voices would take a different perspective. With the exception of Shadi Hamid, the other aforementioned names have made efforts to constrain themselves firmly to the ‘traditional’ Muslim camp. There is no reason that this issue, which obviously transcends petty partisan Muslim politics, ought to symbolize one’s allegiance to any particular social movement or camp within contemporary Islamic civil society.

If these people want a ‘traditional’ justification for why Muslim families should not be separated, they ought to be reminded that one of al-Ghazali’s 5 essential principles of the Shari’a was related to the protection of lineage/family and honor (ḥifẓ al-nasl). Our spouses are not cannon fodder for such childish partisan politics. We will continue to protect our families and their honor regardless of how hostile the environment may become for us and regardless of who we have to name and shame in the process.

When I got married over a year prior to Donald Trump being elected President, I vowed that only Allah would separate me from my spouse. I intend on keeping that vow regardless of what consequences that decision may have.

Photo courtesy: Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch

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Obituary of (Mawlana) Yusuf Sulayman Motala (1366/1946 – 1441/2019)

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier.

Dr. Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

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Dar Al Uloom Bury, Yusuf Sulayman Motala

A master of hadith and Qur’an. A sufi, spiritual guide and teacher to thousands. A pioneer in the establishment of a religious education system. His death reverberated through hearts and across oceans. We are all mourning the loss of a luminary who guided us through increasingly difficult times.

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier. (May the Almighty envelope him in His mercy)

His journey in this world had begun more than 70 years ago in the small village of Nani Naroli in Gujarat, India, where he was born on November 25, 1946 (1 Muharram 1366) into a family known for their piety.

His early studies were largely completed at Jami’a Husayniyya, one of the early seminaries of Gujarat, after which he travelled to Mazahir Ulum, the second oldest seminary of the Indian Sub-Continent, in Saharanpur, India, to complete his ‘alimiyya studies. What drew him to this seminary was the presence of one of the most influential and well-known contemporary spiritual guides, Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (d. 1402/1982), better known as “Hazrat Shaykh.” He had seen Mawlana Zakariyya only briefly at a train stop, but it was enough for him to understand the magnitude of his presence.

Mawlana Yusuf remained in Saharanpur for two years. Despite being younger than many of the other students of Shaykh Zakariya, the shaykh took a great liking to him. Shaykh Zakariya showered him with great attention and even deferred his retirement from teaching Sahih al-Bukhari so that Mawlana Yusuf could study it under his instruction. While in Saharanpur, Mawlana Yusuf also studied under a number of other great scholars, such as Mawlana Muhammad ‘Aqil (author of Al-Durr al-Mandud, an Urdu commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud and current head lecturer of Hadith at the same seminary), Shaykh Yunus Jownpuri (d. 1438/2017) the previous head lecturer of Hadith there), Mawlana As‘adullah Rampuri (d. 1399/1979) and Mufti Muzaffar Husayn (d. 1424/2003).

Upon completion of his studies, Mawlana Yusuf’s marriage was arranged to marry a young woman from the Limbada family that had migrated to the United Kingdom from Gujarat. In 1968, he relocated to the UK and accepted the position of imam at Masjid Zakariya, in Bolton. Although he longed to be in the company of his shaykh, he had explicit instructions to remain in the UK and focus his efforts on establishing a seminary for memorization of Qur’an and teaching of the ‘alimiyya program. The vision being set in motion was to train a generation of Muslims scholars that would educate and guide the growing Muslim community.

Establishing the first Muslim seminary, in the absence of any precedent, was a daunting task. The lack of support from the Muslim community, the lack of integration into the wider British community, and the lack of funds made it seem an impossible endeavour. And yet, Mawlana Yusuf never wavered in his commitment and diligently worked to make the dream of his teacher a reality. In 1973 he purchased the derelict Aitken Sanatorium in the village of Holcombe, near Bury, Lancashire. What had once been a hospice for people suffering from tuberculosis, would become one of the first fully-fledged higher-education Islamic institutes outside of the Indian-Subcontinent teaching the adapted-Nizami syllabus.

The years of struggle by Maulana Yusuf to fulfil this vision paid off handsomely. Today, after four decades, Darul Uloom Al Arabiyya Al Islamiyya, along with its several sister institutes, also founded by Mawlana Yusuf, such as the Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya seminary in Bradford for girls, have produced well over 2,000 British born (and other international students) male and female ‘alimiyya graduates – many of whom are working as scholars and serving communities across the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, the US, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Saudi Arabia, India and New Zealand. Besides these graduates, a countless number of individuals have memorized the Qur’an at these institutes. Moreover, many of the graduates of the Darul Uloom and its sister institutes have set up their own institutes, such as Jamiatul Ilm Wal Huda in Blackburn, Islamic Dawah Academy in Leicester, Jami’ah al-Kawthar in Lancaster, UK, and Darul Uloom Palmela in Portugal, to just mention a few of the larger ones. Within his lifetime, Mawlana Yusuf saw first-hand the fruit of his labours – witnessing his grand students (graduates from his students’ institutes) providing religious instruction and services to communities around the world in their local languages. What started as a relationship of love between a student and teacher, manifested into the transmission of knowledge across continents. In some countries, such as the UK and Portugal, one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who had not directly or indirectly benefited from him.

Mawlana Yusuf was a man with deep insights into the needs of Western contemporary society, one that was very different from the one he had grown up and trained in. With a view to contributing to mainstream society, Mawlana Yusuf encouraged his graduates to enter into further education both in post-graduate Islamic courses and western academia, and to diversify their fields of learning through courses at mainstream UK universities. As a result, many ‘alimiyya graduates of his institutes are trained in law, mainstream medicine, natural medicine and homeopathy, mental health, child protection, finance, IT, education, chaplaincy, psychology, philosophy, pharmacy, physics, journalism, engineering, architecture, calligraphy, typography, graphic design, optometry, social services, public health, even British Sign Language. His students also include several who have completed PhDs and lecture at universities. His vision was to train British-born (or other) Muslim scholars who would be well versed in contemporary thought and discipline along with their advanced Islamic learning, equipping them to better contribute to society.

Despite his commitment to the establishment of a public good, the shaykh was an immensely private person and avoided seeking accolade or attention. For many decades he refused invitations to attend conferences or talks around the country, choosing to focus on his students and his family, teaching the academic syllabus and infusing the hearts of many aspirants with the love of Allah through regular gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) and spiritual retreats (i’tikaf) in the way of his shaykh’s Chishti Sufi order.

During my entire stay with him at Darul Uloom (1985–1997), I can say with honesty that I did not come across a single student who spoke ill of him. He commanded such awe and respect that people would find it difficult to speak with him casually. And yet, for those who had the opportunity to converse with him, knew that he was the most compassionate, humble, and loving individual.

He was full of affection for his students and colleagues and had immense concern for the Muslim Ummah, especially in the West. He possessed unparalleled forbearance and self-composure. When he taught or gave a talk, he spoke in a subdued and measured tone, as though he was weighing every word, knowing the import it carried. He would sit, barely moving and without shifting his posture. Even after a surgical procedure for piles, he sat gracefully teaching us Sahih al-Bukhari. Despite the obvious pain, he never made an unpleasant expression or winced from the pain.

Anyone who has listened to his talks or read his books can bear testimony to two things: his immense love for the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his love for Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). It is probably hard to find a talk in which he did not speak of the two. His shaykh was no doubt his link to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in both his hadith and spiritual transmissions.

Over the last decade, he had retired from most of his teaching commitments (except Sahih al-Bukhari) and had reduced meeting with people other than his weekly dhikr gatherings. His time was spent with his family and young children and writing books. His written legacy comprises over 20 titles, mostly in Urdu but also a partial tafsir of the Qur’an in classical Arabic.

After the news of his heart attack on Sunday, August 25, and the subsequent effects to his brain, his well-wishers around the world completed hundreds of recitals of the Qur’an, several readings of the entire Sahih al-Bukhari, thousands of litanies and wirds of the formula of faith (kalima tayyiba), and gave charity in his name. However, Allah Most High willed otherwise and intended for him to depart this lowly abode to begin his journey to the next. He passed away two weeks later and reports state that approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral. Had his funeral been in the UK, the number of attendees would have multiplied several folds. But he had always shied away from large crowds and gatherings and maybe this was Allah Most High’s gift to him after his death. He was 75 (in Hijra years, and 72 in Gregorian) at the time of his death and leaves behind eight children and several grandchildren.

Mawlana Yusuf educated, inspired and nourished the minds and hearts of countless across the UK and beyond. May Allah Almighty bless him with the loftiest of abodes in the Gardens of Firdaws in the company of Allah’s beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and grant all his family, students, and cherishers around the world beautiful patience.

Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera
Whitethread Institute, London
(A fortunate graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, 1996–97)

*a learned Muslim scholar especially in India often used as a form of address
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#Islam

Reflections on Muslim Approaches to the Abortion Debate: The Problem of Narrow Conceptualization

American Muslims must go beyond simplistic and emotionally-charged approaches to the abortion question.

Shaykh Salman Younas

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Abortion

“Islam is the golden mean between all ethical extremes’ is what certain Muslims would assert… This moral assumption isn’t far from the truth.”

Shaykh Abdullah Hamid Ali in A Word on Muslim Attitudes Toward Abortion

“The golden mean is kind of a summit, and it is a struggle to get there. The ego does not want balance because you have to think and make sacrifices.”

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad in Paradigms of Leadership (6)

A few months ago, Governor Kay Ivey signed into law House Bill 134, or the Human Life Protection Act, which prohibited all abortion in the state of Alabama except in cases where it was deemed necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the mother. The bill additionally criminalized abortion or any attempt to carry it out in situations deemed non-necessary. A motion to exempt rape and incest victims from this law was defeated in the Alabama state senate, which give the state the (dubious) distinction of possessing one of the most restrictive abortion laws in America. This move by Alabama to place extreme restrictions on abortion followed a spate of similar legislative moves by other states, such as Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

This escalation in anti-abortion legislation occasioned intense debate within the Muslim community.[1] Muslims who self-identify as progressives chanted the familiar mantra of “my body, my choice” to affirm a notion of personal rights and bodily autonomy in defending a woman’s right to choose. The ideological underpinnings of this view are extremely problematic from a theological perspective, and the practical policies arising from it that sanction even late-term abortions contravene the near-consensus position of classical jurists and is rightly seen as an assault on inviolable human life. For this reason, this essay will not pay any particular attention to this view.

Several people pushed back against this permissive attitude by arguing that abortion is essentially prohibited in Islam in all but the direst of situations, such as when the life of the mother is at genuine risk. This opinion has a sound precedent in the legal tradition and is the mainstream view of some of the legal schools, but it has often been presented in a manner that fails to acknowledge the normative pluralism that exists on the matter in the shariah and rather perniciously presents these alternative opinions as ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’. Similarly, those who favour the more lenient view found in other legal schools are often seen characterizing the stricter opinion as ‘right-wing’ or reflective of the Christianization of Islamic law. Despite having legal precedent on their side, both groups engaged the abortion question in a manner that was rather superficial and fundamentally problematic.

Abortion

Did Jurists Only Permit Abortion in ‘Dire’ Circumstances?

I will begin this essay by offering a corrective to the mistaken notion that classical jurists only permitted abortions in cases of necessity, an assertion that has become very common in current Muslim discourse on abortion in America. One need not look much further than the Ḥanafī school to realize that this claim is incorrect. Though there are opinions within the school that only permit abortion before 120 days with the existence of a valid excuse, the view of several early leading authorities was that abortion was unconditionally permissible (mubāḥ) before this period and/or prior to the physical form and features of a fetus becoming clearly discernible.[2] In his encyclopaedic work al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī, Burhān al-Dīn ibn Māza (d. 616/1219) presents two main opinions on abortion in the school:

(i) It is permitted “as long as some physical human features are not clearly discernible because if these features are not discernible, the fetus is not a child (walad)” as per Fatāwā Ahl al-Samarqand. Some scholars asserted that this occurs at 120 days,[3] while others stated that this assertion, though incorrect, indicated that by discernibility jurists intended ensoulment.[4]

(ii) It is disliked because once conception occurs, the natural prognostication is life and so the fetus is granted this ruling at the moment of conception itself. This was the view of ʿAlī ibn Mūsā al-Qummī (d. 305/917-18).[5]

The first opinion of unconditional permissibility was not a solitary one in the school. It was forwarded by many of the foremost Ḥanafī authorities, such as Ḥussām al-Dīn ibn Māza (d. 536/1141),[6] Raḍī al-Dīn al-Sarakhsī (d. 575/1175),[7] Jamāl al-Dīn al-Ghaznawī (d. 593/1196),[8] Zayn al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 666/1267),[9] ʿAbd Allāh ibn Maḥmūd al-Mawṣilī (d. 683/1284),[10] Fakhr al-Dīn al-Zaylaʿī (d. 743/1343),[11] Qiwām al-Dīn al-Kākī (749/1348),[12] Jalāl al-Dīn al-Khawārizmī (d. 767/1365),[13] Kamāl ibn al-Humām (d. 861/1457),[14] Muḥyī al-Dīn Jawīzāda (d. 954/1547),[15] Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī al-Ḥaṣkafī (d. 1088/1677),[16] and several others.[17] The reasoning underlying this view was that prior to a specific period (whether defined by days or by fetal development), a fetus is not a ‘child’ or ‘person’.[18] Therefore, no ruling is attached to it at this stage.[19]

Another opinion in the school, and one that has gained wide acceptance amongst contemporary Ḥanafī jurists, argued that abortion prior to 120 days was disliked and sinful unless carried out with a valid excuse. This view was most famously expressed by Fakhr al-Dīn Qāḍīkhān (d. 592/1196) in his Fatāwā and subsequently supported by the likes of Ibn Wahbān (d. 768/1367),[20] Ibn Nujaym (d. 970/1563),[21] and Ibn ʿĀbidīn (d. 1252/1836).[22] These sources, however, do not define or fully flesh out what constitutes an excuse, sufficing mainly with a single example as illustrative of a case where abortion would be permitted, namely when a woman ceases to produce milk on account of pregnancy and her husband is unable to provide an alternative source of sustenance for their child and fears his or her perishing. Cases of rape, incest, adultery, and other possible excuses are not discussed by most of these authors, and it is not clear whether they would have deemed these valid excuses or not.[23]

The Ḥanafī school, therefore, had three main opinions on the issue: unconditionally permissible prior to a specific time period; unconditionally disliked; and conditionally permissible prior to a specific time period. Of the three, the first view seems to have been the dominant one in the school and held by multiple authorities in virtually every century. The view of conditional permissibility was also a strong one and notably adopted by several later jurists. It is also the view that has gained currency among modern Ḥanafī scholars who are generally not seen forwarding the view of unconditional permissibility.

Some Contemporary Views on Abortion

A wide range of opinions is also found in the discourse of contemporary jurists. Shaykh Muṣṭafā Zarqā (d. 1999) presented a gradated scheme where abortion prior to 40 days was permitted without a “severe excuse”, which included “undertaking necessary travel where pregnancy and giving birth would prove a hindrance, such as for education or for work that requires a couple to move.”[24] He also considered financial strain arising from a child as a valid excuse during this limited time period. According to him, the threshold for a valid excuse would become higher as the pregnancy proceeded beyond 40 days.

Muftī Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī (d. 1996), one of the foremost scholars of the Deobandī school, permitted abortions when conception occurred out of wedlock (zinā).[25]

Muftī Salmān Manṣurpūrī states emphatically that the basis is that abortion is impermissible unless there is a valid excuse before 120 days, such as the life of the mother being at risk, serious consequences to her general health, an actual inability to bear pregnancy, clear harm or danger to one’s current children, and adultery, but not fear of economic difficulty nor the decision not to have children.[26]

In Fatāwā Dār al-ʿUlūm Zakariyya, Muftī Raḍā’ al-Ḥaqq states that a fetus diagnosed by medical professionals with an incurable and serious disorder that will prove to be an extreme burden on the child and its family is permitted to abort prior to 120 days as per the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Mecca.[27] Elsewhere, he divides pregnancy into three stages. The first stage is when the general form and facial features of the fetus take shape but prior to the formation of its limbs. At this stage, it is permitted to carry out on abortion with a valid and established excuse, such as the fetus suffering from a “dangerous hereditary disease”, “physical abnormality/deformity”, the life of the mother being at risk, or reasonably-established fear of the mother’s “physical and mental health” being impacted. The second stage is when the limbs of the fetus are clearly formed and discernible, and the third stage is after 120 days. In both these stages, the respected Muftī rules that abortion is not permitted except in cases of necessity, such as saving the life of the mother.[28] The permission to abort the fetus is also extended to cases of rape.[29]

Mawlānā Zubayr Aḥmad Qāsmī (d. 2019), a founding member of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, India, argued that the permission to carry out an abortion before ensoulment (even after discernibility) is not simply restricted to cases of necessity (ḍarūra) but includes cases of need (ḥāja), which broadly includes “any situation that entails bodily or psychological harm for the parents or the child and is a cause for continual distress.”[30] Examples of valid excuses include “danger to the general health, mental health, or life of the mother”, pregnancy resulting from rape or fornication (so long as it is not someone who has engaged in the latter habitually), the strong possibility that the child will be born with serious physical abnormalities or defects as determined by a medical professional, and the genuine inability of the parents to raise and maintain/sustain more than one child without it negatively impacting their current children.[31]

Mawlānā Khālid Sayf Allāh Raḥmānī states, “Essentially, abortion is impermissible in Islam, and there is no time period in which it is acceptable to abort a fetus. However, this impermissibly has degrees. In the first scenario (i.e. post-ensoulment) it is a grievous sin and categorically prohibited; in the second scenario (i.e. pre-ensoulment but post-discernment of limbs) it is lesser than this; in the third scenario (i.e. before features/limbs become discernible) it is relatively less severe than the previous two.” He then goes on to rule that abortion is not permitted for the following reasons: not desiring more children; conception out of wedlock; or being physically or mentally unable to care for a child, since others may be able to do so. Excuses that permit abortion before ensoulment include a doctor concluding with reasonable-surety that the child will suffer from a dangerous hereditary disease, physical abnormalities, and deformities, and the life of the mother is at serious risk.[32]

There are stricter views than some of those mentioned above, especially from non-Ḥanafī scholars. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, taking the Mālikī school as his basis,[33] has argued that abortion before 40 days is prohibited “with rare exception.”[34] This view of impermissibility is also held by Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī although he allows for a dispensation to be given to victims of rape.[35]

Shaykh ʿAbd Allāh ibn Bayya also deems abortion at all stages of pregnancy to be sinful to varying degrees except in situations where the life of the mother is at risk.[36]

Shaykh Wahba al-Zuhaylī (d. 2015) ruled that abortion was impermissible from the moment of conception “except in cases of necessity” such as being afflicted with cancer or an incurable disease.[37]

Framing the Problem: Basic Levels of Engaging the Law

The discussion so far makes one point quite evident: there are an array of opinions on the issue of abortion ranging from the extremely restrictive to the more permissive. Though ‘difference of opinion’ (ikhtilāf) has generally been viewed as one of the outstanding and unique features of Islamic legal discourse, it is precisely the range of views that exist in the tradition on abortion that partly plays a role in the problematic approaches to the issue seen amongst certain Muslims. It is not so much the differences themselves that are the issue, but the manner in which particular opinions are selected by individuals who subsequently propagate them to the community as binding doctrine.

To better understand this, one can broadly identify four basic levels of engagement with religious law applicable to Muslim leaders and scholars in the West in the context of the abortion issue,[38] which often overlap with one another: (a) personal, (b) academic, (c) fatwā, public preaching, and irshād, and (d) political.

(a) The Personal

The ‘personal’ level concerns an individual’s own practice where he or she can follow the legal school (or trusted scholar) of their choosing or decide on the rulings that govern their lives when possessing the ability to do so. This level does not directly concern anyone but the individual himself.

(b) The Academic

The ‘academic’ level in the current context refers primarily to a process of study, reflection and deduction, and research to arrive at a personal conclusion regarding some aspect of the law that is undertaken in conversation with a guild of peers and not the general population. Such academic activity is often theoretical, abstract, and conceptual, and even when it addresses more practical concerns, it constitutes a general articulation of an opinion, not an individualized responsa, that others engage with as members of a scholarly class. This scholarly class includes the ʿulamā’ and others whose input is relevant to a particular issue.

(c) Fatwā, Irshād, and Public Preaching

The realm of fatwā is exclusively for a qualified scholar. Here, the scholar enters most directly into the practical implementation of a legal ruling. Fatwā does involve an academic process, and it is often conveyed by a jurist as a universal ruling in accordance with his academic conclusions. However, the practice of fatwā is commonly understood as an answer directed by a qualified jurisconsult (muftī) to an individual (mustaftī) who requires guidance on a particular religious matter. The jurisconsult providing said individual with an answer is now tasked with translating the abstract, theoretical, and academic into a practical solution, which requires taking into account the circumstances of the questioner.[39]

The delicateness of this matter has led some scholars to compare the relationship of a jurisconsult with the questioner to that of a doctor and his patient.[40] Indeed, the answer that a scholar provides a questioner may not be fully in accordance with the theoretical and abstract conclusions the former has reached in an academic setting, it may disregard an opinion that the jurisconsult otherwise deems a valid legal interpretation because its application is not appropriate in the specific case at hand, it may be strict or lenient, in accordance with the legal school of the scholar or a dispensation from another, and it may be inapplicable to anyone but the questioner. Further, a fatwā is non-binding (unlike a judicial court ruling) and does not negate other valid opinions or peoples’ choice to follow them. This is important to note in contexts where a fatwā is issued to communicate a universal rule.

In many cases, the answer that is provided to a person is not presented as a fatwā but merely a form of religious advice or irshād. Though there is presumably a difference between these two concepts, they are sometimes indistinguishable in a Western context. Irshād has a seemingly less formal quality to it, and it can be offered by a non-scholar though the prerequisite of sound knowledge still remains. Like fatwā, the proffering of religious advice and guidance can assume a more public form and have an academic flavour to it. The articles written by non-scholars on the blogosphere, lectures and speeches delivered by speakers, and religious counsel extended to others falls within this general category of irshād. For those in leadership roles, the public nature of their work means that high standards are required even here when it comes to addressing and conveying religious issues of a complex or delicate nature.

(d) The Political

If the issuance of a fatwā and providing religious advice is a delicate matter, the process of forming, advocating for, and/or enacting laws on the political level is far greater in this regard. Such laws are made in the context of human societies and affect large swaths of people who objectively vary in their circumstances – individual, social, religious/ideological, and economic. Unlike a fatwā or irshād, once a law has been settled upon by the state, it becomes binding upon an entire population and any reasonable alternative ceases to hold validity in practice at least until the law is reviewed and amended. Exemptions are only tolerated when affirmed by the law itself. Further, law interacts with and influences society in complex ways. This is true for all forms of law, not just ones that are state-enacted.

A core question in legal philosophy is what the law ought to be or what makes a law good. The ‘good’ is a moral concept and might be described as one that is essentially contested in so far as people differ over its conception and the criteria for its application. Some emphasize the consequences of a rule (consequentialism), while others favour a deontological moral ethic or one that is virtue-centred. Each of these families of theories subsume within them further particular theories that differ with one another. There are also considerations of fairness, equity, distributive justice, enforceability, practicality, and/or efficiency that those evaluating the law might assign significant value to. These notions of morality and the good influence policy-making and legal systems.

How do Muslims approach this issue? Islam is viewed by Muslims as a comprehensive moral and philosophical system where the moral value of an act is determined by the divine will. It is the commands and prohibitions of God that render an action good or evil, and under this divine command theory, revelation is the primary source for moral knowledge.[41] However, this legal notion of moral value is not as straightforward as it sounds since a significant number of legal rulings are probabilistic in nature and differed upon. Consequently, the moral value attached to these rulings lack a decisive character, which engenders a plurality of moral outlooks. This pluralism is an indelible feature of the tradition itself creating a paradox whereby Muslims can affirm that good and evil are known through revelation, while recognizing that differences concerning moral judgments are part of the moral vision of revelation itself.

This raises important questions regarding the political approach a minority Muslim population in the West might take regarding the abortion issue. Should Muslims seek to accommodate a pluralism justified by tradition and avoid commandeering the state to coercively impose laws that negate the right of people to follow an acceptable and mainstream Islamic legal opinion?

Should Muslims simply support restrictions on abortion practices that contravene the consensus position of Islam? Or should Muslims seek to promote an opinion, or some combination of opinions, among those found in the legal schools on the basis of a reasonably defined criteria that assesses the issue holistically from the perspective of the theological, legal, ethical, and the public good?

Indeed, there are many classical opinions whose validity scholars did not accept, others that were prima facie valid but not put into practice, and classical jurists themselves erected systems to keep a check on legal chaos resulting from people being allowed to arbitrarily follow any opinion with a basis in precedent. Yet, Muslim societies always tolerated differences of opinion, and for most of its history, people living in these societies had recourse to various scholars from multiple legal schools. Unlike the centralizing and homogenizing tendencies of the modern nation-state, Islamic law was centrifugal and operated on a grass-roots level to produce self-governing societies. In many periods, this diversity was even found in judicial settings where courts were established for each of the legal schools. This was extended to non-Muslim populations living under Islamic governments as well who were accorded a high degree of autonomy. While this might strike some as a thing of the past, a nostalgic yearning for a bygone era, there are many lessons the community can draw from the attitudes and approaches of past societies.

In a political context, the notion of the ‘public good’ (maṣlaha) is particularly relevant given the scope and consequences of legislative actions, but it is a notoriously complicated one to pin down and, like the ‘good’, might be described as essentially contested. Even the basic question “who will this law or opinion impact, and in what manner” takes one into a complex maze of considerations and perspectives that demand careful attention and thought. It is hard to imagine any informed answer to this question without the input of a variety of experts. While Muslims are not quite in a position to craft legislation, influential religious activists and scholars who advocate for specific legislation and/or discourse on it to the wider community should keep the above points in made for any advocacy that proceeds in the name of religion is one that must be approached with care and seriousness.

Abortion

Identifying the Problem: Beyond Personal Preferences, Emotions, and Selective Madhhab Picking

With this framework in mind, it is now possible to identify a major problem in current American Muslim discourse on abortion, which is that it does not meaningfully engage any of the levels described above save the personal. The distinction between these various engagement contexts is hardly recognized. Most public discourse on abortion promotes one traditional opinion over another based not on a rigorous standard that is grounded in revelation, theology, legal theory, ethics, the public good, and a keen awareness of human nature, the individual, political, social, and ideological currents and factors, historical trends, and the challenges of the contemporary world, but seemingly on personal opinions based on little more than a reaction to a perceived ideological threat, individual proclivities, or pure taqlīd. The mainstream opinions of the legal school simply act as tools of legitimation for one’s personal view.

The Problem of Imposition

On a personal level, this is not a problem per se, and people have their reasons to select certain views as opposed to others and even vociferously promote them in some limited capacity to friends, colleagues, or family over a session of tea or a short-lived social media feud with random individuals. However, for those in positions of leadership and influence, this cannot be the basis for a fatwā, general communal irshād, or public advocacy impacting millions of people. The imposition of the personal onto these areas in this manner is both ill-advised and potentially harmful. Even the conclusions reached by a scholar on the basis of sound academic research may be put aside in these contexts, i.e. fatwā and political activism/legislation, when the scholar feels that competing considerations and interests demand so. Thus, a scholar may believe in a reading of revelation that is extremely restrictive on abortion but recognizing the probabilistic nature of his interpretation and the variety of individual circumstances, the ethical norms of ease and warding off hardship, profound societal and economic changes, complex and strained community and family structures, the advice of other experts, and the general public good chooses not to advocate for this view as a matter of policy to be implemented as law or provided to a specific individual as a legal edict.

The Sunna Imperative for Leniency, The Lack of Depth of the Lenient

It is often forgotten that a peculiar response by some classical jurists to the degenerated state of society was not in toughening up legal prescriptions but relaxing them: “Our time is not one of avoiding the doubtful (shubuhāt), meaning if a person only avoids the impermissible, it is sufficient.”[42] This was an ethical consideration influencing the judgment of the jurist who saw it not as compromising religion nor a dereliction of his duty but part of the guidance of the sunna itself where facilitating the affairs of people was deemed important.[43] As Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad states commenting on the instruction of al-Birgivī (d. 981/1573) not to give the laity the more difficult opinion on an issue validly differed upon:

This, of course, is a Prophetic counsel. The ego doesn’t always like giving people easy options because we assume it is because of our laziness or some kind of liberal Islam. For al-Birgivī it is taqwā to give the ordinary Muslims the easier interpretations… but nowadays, we tend to assume that the narrower you are, the less compromises you make, the more the West will be angry and, therefore, the better the Muslim you must be.[44]

The Prophetic counsel that Shaykh Abdal Hakim refers to is known to many: “Make things easy and do not make them difficult.” This attitude of facilitating matters for people, granting them leniency, and not repulsing them with harshness and difficulty is a part of Islam. As Imām al-Shāṭibī stated, the removal of hardship (rafʿ al-ḥaraj) is a decisively established foundational principle in the shariah.[45] From this foundational principle arises some of the most important legal and ethical principles in the Islamic tradition, such as hardship necessitates ease, there is no harm nor reciprocating harm, harm is lifted, the lesser of two evils, taking into account the consequences of an act, custom as a source of law, and more. In fact, some jurists opined that when the evidence for an issue was contradictory or conflicting, the more lenient opinion was to be given preference due to the generality of revelatory texts affirming ease in the shariah.[46]

But there is a problem. Many of those who promote and relay the lenient Ḥanafī opinion of unconditional permissibility approach it in a manner that lacks substance. On the academic plane, even basic questions regarding this position are not addressed or understood, much less entertained. Take, for example, the difference between the statement of Ḥanafī jurists that abortion is impermissible after the physical features of the fetus become discernible and the statement of others in the school that this impermissibility comes into effect after a 120-day period. Are these the same? Who in the madhhab held these positions? Is there a clear preference for one or the other? How was discernibility understood? What features needed to be discernible? Did discernibility refer to what is normally observable by humans or to what is discernible by modern embryogenesis? How have contemporary jurists addressed this issue? Then there is the matter that one is hard-pressed to find a single contemporary Ḥanafī jurist who favours the view of unconditional permissibility. What does this reveal about this opinion and the possibility of critically evaluating past opinions that fall within the scope of differences of opinion?[47]

These questions largely fall within the parameters of an intra-school discussion and do not even begin to address the broader social and political considerations mentioned earlier.

Here, the sheer fact that there were over six-hundred thousand abortions reported in America in 2015, the latest year for which statistics exist from the CDC, should be alarming to people and cannot be callously dismissed.

Though the overwhelming majority of these occurred well within a 120-day period (≤13 weeks’ gestation, which is measured from the first day of the woman’s last menstruation and not from the day of conception), most of those who obtained these abortions were unmarried women who did so in non-dire circumstances.[48] The culture of sexual freedom out of which the abortion movement emerged and its ideological grounding in notions of bodily autonomy and personal choice cannot be ignored in this discussion.[49] Nor can the devaluing of family and motherhood,[50] the practice of female foeticide, the increasingly materialistic outlook of society, and its mechanistic view of human beings.

Additionally, some Muslims seem largely oblivious to the fact that abortion politics link to many other issues that have little do with abortion itself, such as assisted suicide or end-of-life care. In a famous district court case on assisted suicide, Compassion in Dying vs. Washington, it was Planned Parenthood vs. Casey that was cited as an important precedent to rule that a ban on physician-aided suicide was unconstitutional.[51] Clearly, it is not sufficient to make simplistic appeals to leniency to justify promulgating an opinion that leads to such wider consequences. Abortion, in other words, cannot be treated as a ‘stand-alone’ issue with little or no relation to a broader philosophical outlook that downplays a sanctity of life ethic.[52]

Thou Shalt Make No Exceptions, But Should We?

Many of the issues highlighted in the previous paragraph raise serious theological and ethical concerns for Muslims and should push them to reflect on the type of society they wish to create and sustain in America. Is the abortion movement today in line with the moral vision envisioned for society by God and His Prophet (blessings upon him)? Clearly not. But while the seriousness of this crisis cannot be understated, a core question, at least in the context of this debate, is often missed: if it is misplaced and dangerous to forward the most lenient opinion in this context, in what way does the strictest possible position on abortion where exemptions are not even extended to victims of rape and incest ameliorate the current situation? Or to put it differently, how do these social and ideological problems make the strictest possible opinion on abortion the most appropriate one to adopt for the individual and society?

The answer to this question is not usually satisfactorily provided. Generally, such a view returns to a genuine moral belief one holds regarding a fetus being an inviolable living person. This moral belief may be grounded in a preferred reading of revelation, simple adherence to a specific legal school, a reaction to a perceived ideological battle framed in the language of pro-life vs. pro-choice, personal inclinations, or, as is usually the case, some combination of these factors. But the no-exception view is at least initially a personal view one holds, which is then forwarded as a broad religious and political solution. One may wonder why this is an issue. After all, why shouldn’t a person forward what he or she personally believes to be the Islamic ruling on an issue?

Certainly, this is expected especially when it concerns human life, but as stated earlier, it is problematic when that personal view, which it should be noted in this case lacks a decisive legal/moral character from a religious perspective, moves into the realm of fatwā and public advocacy without taking into account the many considerations required to make an informed decision in these areas. This is in addition to the fact that those who hold this view feel perfectly within their rights to tell others to set aside their personal moral views permitting abortions precisely in view to a broader context.

Here, it is worth sharing the response given by Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī when he was asked about abortions for Bosnian Muslim women who were raped during war. After mentioning that his basic view is that abortions are impermissible “from the moment of conception” and “this is what we give preference to”, he states:

However, in cases of need, there is no harm in taking one of the two alternative views (i.e. permissibility before 40 or 120 days), and whenever the excuse is more severe, the dispensation will be more established and manifest, and whenever it is before the first 40 days, it is closer to dispensation.

We know that there are jurists who are very strict on this matter and do not permit abortion even a day after conception… but what is most preferable is a middle path between those who are expansive in granting permission and those who are excessively strict in prohibition.[53]

This is, of course, how knowledge and fiqh operate. They do not merely float around in the world of the abstract but address a complex world of real people, which in the context of fatwā, irshād, and politics often requires setting aside individual feelings and personal adherences to particular legal opinions: “Know that this ikhtilāf [between scholars] may be a reason to provide facilitation and ease, which is one of the higher aims of the shariah affirmed by the unequivocal text of the Qur’an and sunna.”[54]

Too often, many of those who vociferously promote the strictest view on abortion address the issue on the level of the abstract and then transfer it to the practical realm with little further thought. Take, for example, the argument that Muslims should oppose the legalization of abortion because a majority of abortions are due to economic anxiety or a feeling of unreadiness, which in turn return to the increasingly materialistic outlook of society and crumbling family structures.

This materialistic outlook and erosion of the family must be remedied. However, no justification is ever furnished as to why a no-exception abortion stance is the best method to address this social problem, and there is almost no focus on the individual. It never crosses the mind of the proponents of this view that it is the very fact that society is materialistic to its core and the family lay in ruins that causes economic anxiety and feelings of unreadiness to be felt much more palpably and intensely by young, unmarried, pregnant women.

Web MD

By largely confining their analysis and presentation of the issue to ‘materialism’, ‘decay of family’, ‘feminism’, etc., proponents of the restrictive view (inadvertently) divert attention away from the lived realities of people. This leads to neglecting the more concrete conditions and circumstances people are subject to, such as poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, poor health, psychological issues, sexual abuse, incarceration, social inequality and stratification, and the varying abilities of people to cope with life pressures and struggles. This focus away from the individual produces an unsympathetic, even antagonistic attitude, where the solution favoured is uncompromising and rigid. The ethical is erroneously conflated with strictness even though it might entail leniency in recognition of individual and social conditions.

To take one example where these broader considerations come into play, take the issue of pregnancy resulting from rape. Though statistics regarding rape are inconsistent because the crime is so underreported, it is safe to say that hundreds of thousands of women are victims of rape every year with tens of thousands of these rapes resulting in pregnancy (approximately five percent).[55] A significantly high number of rape victims are under eighteen with many actually being under the age of twelve.[56] Victims of rape spend many weeks simply recovering from physical injuries and managing mental health symptoms, which can remain with them for years. Beyond the physical and psychological symptoms common after rape, if a rape victim decides to carry her child to term, she is forced to go through a lengthy and exhausting process to prosecute her rapist in a criminal court and contest custody in a family or dependency court.

The political and legislative context makes matters even more difficult. Not every state has legislation in place allowing for parental rights to be terminated for a rapist. Most states that do have such legislation in place require a criminal conviction of rape beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of evidence possible, with several also requiring a civil court conviction by clear and convincing evidence that conception resulted from rape.

Some states require the rape to be of the first-degree, which is varyingly defined.[57] Generally, the chances of obtaining a conviction of first-degree rape are slim. Not only do rape crimes go unreported in a majority of cases,[58] there are numerous hurdles in the criminal justice system that disadvantage rape victims at every stage of the process, such as ‘rape myths’ that influence police, investigative officers, jurors, and judges.[59]

In most cases, a rapist will plead guilty to lesser crimes in order to avoid prolonged jail time, which would potentially allow him to gain parental rights in states requiring first or second-degree rape convictions for such rights to be terminated.[60] In view of this, one can state that the suggestion by some Muslims that abortion should not be permitted even in such contexts because a woman can simply put her child up for adoption is seriously misinformed and potentially harmful.[61] Is the correct solution in this context to support the most restrictive view on abortion?

Conclusion: Refining our Conceptualization & The Bigger Picture

American Muslims must go beyond simplistic and emotionally-charged approaches to the abortion question. This issue, like many others, cannot be properly addressed through a narrowly defined law, politics, or clash of ideologies narrative, especially at the level of individual fatwā, communal irshād, or political activism, advocacy, and legislation.

Nor can the wider community be shown direction on this issue, or have a course charted for them, merely on the basis of narrowly-informed personal opinions and proclivities neatly presented in the classical opinions of our choosing. Our approach must address the issue through real fiqh, namely deep understanding, where the question of abortion is tackled with an academic rigor that is cognizant of lived realities and is grounded in the ethics and guidance of revelation.

Today in America, a crisis we face is of an activism not based in, or guided by, real scholarship, and a scholarship that is wanting, uninspiring, and disconnected from those it seeks to guide. The first step scholars must take on this issue is to gain a proper and thorough conceptualization of the issue. No sound and effective conclusion can arise without such a conceptualization. This is true for any issue we find ourselves dealing with.

On the level of addressing the broader community, this is not an issue to be decided by an individual but a collectivity of minds coming together to exchange ideas and opinions. The laity should understand that American Muslims will not reach an agreement on this matter, and nor should we demand that they do. People will continue to forward different opinions and solutions. The progression of time will likely result in a plurality of acceptable views emerging within our context. This should not be met with confusion.

Muslims once lived in an age of ambiguity where opinions were confidently held but differences embraced. Today, we live in an age of anxiety, people with confused identities, threatened by modernity and various ideologies, so much so that “the only form of Islam [we] can regard as legitimate is a totalitarian, monolithic one” as Shaykh Abdal Hakim once remarked. Let us avoid this, allow for different perspectives, but demand higher standards from those who seek to guide us and speak on our behalf especially when the matter veers into a space that impacts people and communities in a very real way.

Finally, and most importantly, Muslims must break out of the mindset that social problems can simply be legislated away or solved through polemical battles waged on the internet against pernicious ideologies. The political and social are intimately intertwined, but it is all too common to see many Muslims neglecting the latter while imagining that the activities they are engaged in to address the political are actually meaningful and impactful. In fact, it is often detached from the real world, a mouthing of clichés and idle moralizing on social media platforms that elicits rage and fails to yield actual solutions on the ground. If television altered the meaning of being informed as Neil Postmann asserted, social media has undoubtedly taken things a step further by altering the meaning of ‘taking action’.

The erosion of family, the decay of morality, the rise of materialistic outlooks, the loss of higher purpose and meaning, and the devaluing of life must be addressed more directly through education, the creation of a real community, the nurturing and training of leaders who embody knowledge and wisdom, and the erection of structures that support peoples’ faith and anchor them in times of crisis. It should not be forgotten that these non-legal institutions play an important role in shaping behaviours and promoting social mores.

Muslims should learn from the many conservative Christian activists who, contrary to popular stereotypes, demonstrate an acute awareness of the struggles and anguish that many women contemplating abortion experience. As the prominent pro-life activist Frederica Mathewes-Green states:

This issue gets presented as if it’s a tug of war between the woman and the baby. We see them as mortal enemies, locked in a fight to the death. But that’s a strange idea, isn’t it? It must be the first time in history when mothers and their own children have been assumed to be at war. We’re supposed to picture the child attacking her, trying to destroy her hopes and plans, and picture the woman grateful for the abortion, since it rescued her from the clutches of her child.

If you were in charge of a nature preserve and you noticed that the pregnant female mammals were trying to miscarry their pregnancies, eating poisonous plants or injuring themselves, what would you do? Would you think of it as a battle between the pregnant female and her unborn and find ways to help those pregnant animals miscarry? No, of course not. You would immediately think, “Something must be really wrong in this environment.” Something is creating intolerable stress, so much so that animals would rather destroy their own offspring than bring them into the world. You would strive to identify and correct whatever factors were causing this stress in the animals.[62]

It is this realization, which arises from a perspective that looks beyond abortion as simply an ideological battle between ‘the feminist’ or ‘the liberal’, that generates a sense of empathy within many conservative Christian activists who are then motivated to assist women in concrete ways.

Take the example of Embrace Grace, a Texas-based non-profit organization, which describes its purpose as “providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for single, young women and their families who find themselves in an unintended pregnancy” and to “empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last place they are welcomed because of shame and guilt.” Christians have set up hundreds of pregnancy care centers across the United States, which, despite issues of concern, provide resources and services to pregnant women. Various churches have set up support groups for single mothers and mothers-to-be, while the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) has set out to confront systemic injustices in society that lead women to seek out abortions, such as poverty.[63]

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad said reaching the golden mean requires that we think and make sacrifices. It is time for leaders, thinkers, and scholars in our community to begin thinking more deeply and contemplatively about the issue of abortion in its various contexts, and it is time for our community to sacrifice their time, wealth, and energies in providing concrete solutions and remedies that demonstrate a true concern for both the unborn and the women who carry them.

God alone is our sufficiency.

[1] References to Muslims in this article should be primarily understood as referring to people in positions of leadership and influence. In this article, I discuss some of the technical aspects surrounding the legal debate over abortion, but my intent is to simply provide a brief overview of this aspect of the debate in order for a general audience to appreciate some of the complexities of the topic.

[2] Though the term fetus technically refers to the unborn after 8 weeks of gestation, many use it to refer to the unborn throughout the period of pregnancy. I will be using the latter convention for the sake of simplicity.

[3] al-Ḥasan ibn Manṣūr al-Farghānī, Fatāwā Qāḍīkhān, on the margins of Fatāwā Hindiyya (Bulāq: al-Maṭbaʿa al-Amīriyya, 1310 A.H.), 3:410.

[4] Ibn Māza himself framed the ruling in terms of ensoulment. He stated that jurists differed on the permissibility of abortion pre-ensoulment with some permitting it. He then cited the text of Fatāwā Ahl al-Samarqand, which only speaks of discernibility. Qāḍīkhān mentioned how the discernibility of physical features and limbs was “determined” by some as occurring at 120 days. Kamāl ibn al-Humām and others correctly pointed out that observation proves otherwise but proceed to state that the connection made between discernibility and ensoulment shows that scholars intended the latter when expressing the former. Ibn ʿĀbidīn, however, questioned this. I agree for several reasons: firstly, many jurists make no reference to 120 days or ensoulment when presenting this ruling; secondly, discernibility and ensoulment are clearly different stages during the pregnancy, a fact that was known to classical scholars who sometimes applied different terms to these two stages, such as taṣwīr/ṣūra and takhlīq/khalq; and, thirdly, most Ḥanafī rulings premised on determining personhood rely on the discernibility criterion. Given this, there are two possible views in the Ḥanafī school regarding the period before which abortion is permissible: before some of the physical features of the fetus become discernible or prior to ensoulment at 120 days. Additionally, there was discussion in the Ḥanafī school on the features that were to be given consideration when assessing whether a fetus was a ‘person’. These discussions are highly significant in modern debates for if the criterion for personhood is discerning a particular physical form on the basis of observation, this potentially broadens the scope for modern Ḥanafī understandings of the concept of personhood and how/when it is established. I hope to address these issues in a separate paper. See Maḥmūd ibn Aḥmad ibn Māza, al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī fī al-fiqh al-Nuʿmānī, ed. Nuʿaym Ashraf Nūr Aḥmad (Karachi: Idārat al-Qur’ān wa’l-ʿUlūm al-Islāmiyya, 2004), 8:83-84; al-Farghānī, Fatāwā Qāḍīkhān, 3:410; Muḥammad Amīn ibn ʿĀbidīn, Radd al-Muḥtār (Būlāq: al-Maṭbaʿa al-Kubrā al-Amīriyya, 1323 A.H.), 1:201.

[5] Ibn Māza, al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī, 8:83-84. It is worth noting that al-Qummī did not say fetus is a life at conception but that it has begun a process that concludes with life.

[6] Ḥussām al-Dīn ʿUmar ibn Māza, al-Fatāwā al-Kubrā (Istanbul: Rāghib Bāshā #619), ff. 96b.

[7] Raḍī al-Dīn al-Sarakhsī, al-Wajīz (Istanbul: Koprulu #684), ff. 116a.

[8] Jamāl al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad, al-Ḥāwī al-Qudsī, ed. Ṣāliḥ al-ʿAlī (Lebanon: Dār al-Nawādir, 2011), 2:326.

[9] Zayn al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr al-Rāzī, Tuḥfat al-Mulūk, ed. Ṣalāḥ Abū al-Ḥajj (Amman: Dār al-Fārūq, 2006), 290.

[10] ʿAbd Allāh ibn Maḥmūd al-Mawṣilī, al-Ikthiyār, ed. Shuʿayb Arna’ūṭ (Damascus: Dār al-Risāla 2009), 4:153.

[11] ʿUthmān ibn ʿAlī al-Zaylaʿī, Tabyīn al-Ḥaqā’iq Sharḥ Kanz al-Daqā’iq (Multan: Maktaba Imdādiyya, n.d.), 2:166.

[12] Amīr Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Kākī, Miʿrāj al-Dirāya (Istanbul: Koprulu #619), ff. 395b.

[13] Jalāl al-Dīn ibn Shams al-Dīn al-Khawārizmī, al-Kifāya Sharḥ al-Hidāya, on the margins of Fatḥ al-Qadīr (Cairo: Maṭbaʻat al-Maymaniyya, 1901; reprint Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, n.d.), 3:373.

[14] Kamāl ibn al-Humām, Fatḥ al-Qadīr (Cairo: Maṭbaʻat al-Maymaniyya, 1901; reprint Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, n.d.), 3:372-73.

[15] Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn Ilyās Jawīzāda, al-Īthār li-Ḥall al-Mukhtār, ed. Ilyās Qablān (Istanbul: Maktabat al-Irshād, 2016), 4:98.

[16] Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī al-Ḥaṣkafī, al-Durr al-Mukhtār (Lebanon: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, 2002) 197.

[17] I am usually disinclined to list names of jurists in this manner when relating who held a specific legal opinion. One reason for this is that it creates the mistaken illusion that every one of these jurists came to this conclusion on the basis of their individual ijtihād when it may in fact simply be an exercise in taqlīd. Thus, one finds that most of these authors merely relate verbatim those who preceded them without any additional comments. However, it still indicates that these jurists accepted the ruling in question as the position of the school without qualms.

[18] When does a fetus qualify as a ‘person’ or a ‘human’? What are the necessary and sufficient features for personhood? Does personhood correspond to the beginning of life? If not, when does life begin? How is this connected to ensoulment? When does ensoulment occur? When does a fetus have moral standing? What is the nature of this moral standing over the course of a pregnancy? These are central questions in classical and modern debates on abortion. Sometimes, one finds that ‘person’, ‘human’, ‘life’, and related terms, are not properly defined, which is a problem given that conclusions regarding abortion are often premised on their proper conceptualization. Further, when attempts at proper definition are undertaken, people naturally come to different conclusions. For example, some modern pro-life philosophers argue that ‘persons’ are individuals of a rational nature and a fetus has no capacity for sentience, at least not until mid-gestation. Conception, therefore, cannot mark the beginning of a person. Yet even here, some scholars note that the fetus is a potential person. Therefore, it has some moral value and standing, but others counter with a “person-affecting restriction” that argues that merely potential people possess no moral claims. Some people work under material assumptions regarding the nature of the mind and opine that a moral person must be a ‘self’ and a necessary condition for something to be a self is some form of electrical brain activity. The bioethicist, Baruch Brody (d. 2018), also relied on this criterion of brain waves in his conception of personhood. Jane English presents a range of features or ‘factors’ that she views as being found in typical conceptions of a person: biological, psychological, rationality, social, and legal. There are religious conservative thinkers who define being human on the basis of genetics. John T. Noonan stated, “The positive argument for conception as the decisive moment of humanization is that at conception the new being receives the genetic code. It is this genetic information which determines his characteristics, which is the biological carrier of the possibility of human wisdom, which makes him a self-evolving being. A being with a human genetic code is man.” Many religious conservatives also maintain that there is no moment during pregnancy that can be identified as conferring moral significance on the unborn, i.e. it possesses moral standing before birth and after. Thus, brain waves, sentience, quickening, viability, physical human form, etc., are given no consideration as points at which moral standing is affirmed for the fetus and prior to which it is denied. For important early works on this topic see John T. Noonan, The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical Perspectives (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970); Jane English, “Abortion and the Concept of a Person,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 5, no. 2 (1975): 233-43; Baruch Brody, Abortion and the Sanctity of Life (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1975); Stephen Buckle, “Arguing From Potential,” Bioethics 2, no. 3 (1988): 226–253; Mary Anne Warren, Moral Status: Obligations to Persons and Other Living Things (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Michael Tooley, Abortion and Infanticide (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983); Richard Warner, “Abortion: The Ontological and Moral Status of the Unborn,” Social Theory and Practice 3 (1974). The literature on this is vast.

Classical jurists of Islam were guided fundamentally by revelation in their answers to these questions, but they still had substantial disagreements. Some identified a fetus as a person from the moment of conception, others as potentially so, yet others as a person only when its physical features became discernible, while some seemingly assigned no status to it at any fetal stage prior to ensoulment. When it came to ensoulment, the majority said this occurred at 120 days, while others said 40 days. Some equated ensoulment with personhood, while others distinguished between them. There were other conceptual frames utilized in discussions concerning the fetus as well, such as dhimma and ḥuqūq, being ‘animate’ or ‘inanimate’, a constituent part (juz’) of the mother or a separate self (nafs), and so forth. This occasioned a degree of ambiguity regarding the moral standing of the fetus at various stages of pregnancy. For example, Imām al-Ghazālī prohibited abortion at all stages of pregnancy but stated that the sin of doing so is less severe in earlier stages than later ones. Some jurists deemed it permissible to undergo an abortion due to a minor excuse in the first 40 days, requiring a more serious excuse from that point up until 120 days, and impermissible in all but the direst of situations following ensoulment. The fetus, therefore, seems to have a diminished moral standing at the beginning of the pregnancy and full moral standing post-ensoulment even in the eyes of jurists who affirmed personhood from conception. This is also reflected in rulings concerning financial compensation (ghurra) and expiation (kaffāra) owed by someone who causes a woman to miscarry. Meanwhile, many Ḥanafīs seemed to have assigned no moral status to the fetus before it had a discernible human form. The moral standing of the fetus was also influenced by the manner of conception with some jurists suggesting that a fetus conceived out of wedlock was not similar to a fetus that was conceived through a religiously sanctioned relationship. Besides revelation, observation played an important role in these determinations, as did the specific legal traditions jurists operated within. Today, science and embryology have guided the conclusions of many scholars, which has raised questions regarding the epistemological and interpretive value of the former. There is arguably a need to go beyond limited legal conceptions of personhood and life and engage in deeper theological and philosophical discussions on this matter.

[19] This ruling was consistent with several others in the school regarding whether a miscarried fetus is named, shrouded, and washed, whether a miscarriage concludes the waiting-period of a pregnant woman, and even whether a fetus is resurrected in the next-life. These rulings, among others, returned to whether the miscarried or stillborn fetus was actually considered a child/person, which in turn related to the formation and discernibility of its physical features. I believe this strengthens the view that discernibility of physical features was the main criterion for personhood in the Ḥanafī school. For some of these rulings see Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī, al-Aṣl, ed. Mehmet Boynūkālin (Beirut: Dār Ibn Ḥazm, 2012), 1:296, 4:415, 481, 5:144. This interconnectedness of legal doctrine, or its organic unity, is expressed in a famous aphorism, “The law is a seamless web.” These discussions are also present in the other three legal schools.

[20] Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Wahhāb ibn Wahbān, ʿIqd al-Qalā’id wa-Qayd al-Sharā’id, ed. ʿAbd al-Jalīl al-ʿAṭā (Damascus: Maktabat al-Fajr, 2000), 195.

[21] Zayn al-Dīn ibn Nujaym, al-Baḥr al-Rā’iq (Cairo: al-Maṭbaʿa al-ʿIlmiyya, 1893; reprint by H.M. Saeed, n.d.), 3:215.

[22] Muḥammad Amīn ibn ʿĀbidīn, Radd al-Muḥtār (Būlāq: al-Maṭbaʿa al-Kubrā al-Amīriyya, 1323 A.H.), 2:388-89.

[23] The Hidāya mentions that a child conceived out of wedlock is still muḥtaram and so cannot be aborted. Imām ʿAbd al-Ḥayy al-Lakhnawī mentions that this only applies to a fetus that has reached the stage of post-discernibility. He then goes onto state that the fatwā position in his time is that it would be permissible pre-discernibility and post-discernibility. See Burhān al-Dīn al-Marghinānī, al-Hidāya Sharḥ Bidāyat al-Mubtadī maʿa Sharḥ al-ʿAllāma ʿAbd al-Ḥayy al-Lakhnawī, ed. Naʿīm Ashraf Nūr Aḥmad (Karachi: Idārat al-Qur’ān wa’l-ʿUlūm al-Islāmiyya, 1417 A.H.), 3:25.

[24] Muṣṭafā Zarqā, Fatāwā (Damascus: Dār al-Qalam, 2010), 285.

[25] Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohī, Fatāwā Maḥmūdiyya (Karachi: Idārat al-Fārūq, 2009), 18:321.

[26] Sayyid Muḥammad Salmān Manṣurpūrī, Kitāb al-Nawāzil (Muradabad: al-Markaz al-ʿIlmī lil-Nashr wa’l-Taḥqīq, 2016), 16:248-81.

[27] Muftī Raḍā’ al-Ḥaqq, Fatāwā Dār al-ʿUlūm Zakariyya (Karachi: Zam Zam Publishers, 2015), 6:756.

[28] Ibid., 6:755.

[29] Ibid., 6:763.

[30] Zubayr Aḥmad Qāsmī, “Khāndānī Manṣūbabandī,” in Jadīd Fiqhī Mabāḥith (Karachi: Idārat al-Qur’ān, 2009), 1:332.

[31] Ibid., 1:331-32.

[32] Khālid Sayf Allāh Raḥmānī, Kitāb al-Fatāwā (Karachi: Zam Zam Publishers, 2008), 6:218-226

[33] The relied-upon position in the Mālikī school prohibits abortions almost entirely even if done prior to ensoulment, which Mālikī jurists opine as occurring at 40 days.

[34] https://renovatio.zaytuna.edu/article/when-does-a-human-fetus-become-human

[35] Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī, Fatāwa al-Muʿaṣara (Cairo: Dār al-Qalam, 2005), 2:541-50.

[36] ʿAbd Allāh ibn Bayya, Ṣināʿ at al-Fatwā wa-Fiqh al-Aqaliyyāt (UAE: Masār lil-Tibāʿa wa’l-Nashr, 2018), 577-78.

[37] Wahba al-Zuhaylī, al-Fiqh al-Islāmī wa-Adillatuhu (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 1985), 3:557.

[38] The delineation and explanation I have presented here should not be seen as a comprehensive exposition of the concepts being discussed. Rather, it should be seen as a basic explanatory framework to understand the problem I wish to highlight in the next section. I have intentionally left out many details surrounding fatwā, siyāsa, taqlīd, etc., for the sake of the average reader.

[39] Muḥammad Kamāl al-Dīn al-Rāshidī, al-Miṣbāḥ fī Rasm al-Muftī wa-Manāhij al-Iftā’ (Deoband: Ittiḥād Book Depot, n.d.), 61-62 in the Takmila; Ibn Bayya, Ṣināʿ at al-Fatwā, 28-29, 230.

[40] al-Rāshidī, al-Miṣbāḥ, 28.

[41] ʿ Abd al-Malik ibn Yūsuf al-Juwaynī, Kitāb al-Irshād ilā Qawāṭiʿ al-Adilla fī Uṣūl al-Iʿtiqād, ed. Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Raḥīm (Cairo: Maktabat al-Thaqāfa al-Dīniyya, 2009), 210-11. This is admittedly a simplification of a very complex debate on the role of reason, its meaning and limitations, its relationship to revelation, deontological vs teleological theories of Islamic normative ethics, and more. These were issues of fundamental debate between the great theological schools, namely the Ashʿarīs, Māturīdis, and the Muʿtazila.

[42] Ibrāhīm ibn Ḥusayn Bīrīzāda, ʿUmdat Dhawī al-Baṣā’ir li-Ḥall Muhimmāt al-Ashbāh wa’l-Naẓā’ir, ed. Ilyās Qablān & Ṣafwat Kawsa (Istanbul: Maktabat al-Rushd, 2016), 2:415.

[43] This is also seen in the tradition of rukhas, or dispensations, and ḥiyal, or legal stratagems/loopholes.

[44] From his Paradigms of Leadership (6) lecture series.

[45] Ibrāhīm ibn Mūsā al-Shāṭibī, al-Muwāfaqāt, ed. Mashhūr Ḥasan (Cairo: Dār Ibn ʿ Affān, 1997), 1:520.

[46] For reference to this see Ibn Bayya, Ṣināʿ at al-Fatwā, 273-75.

[47] One might state that these people are simply engaging in a form of taqlid. This is fair, but there is still a level of diligence and rigor expected from anyone who wishes to publicly opine on a matter of such nature.

[48] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6713a1.htm

[49] Take the following statements made by Judith Thomson in her well-known defence of abortion, which continues to be loudly echoed by the pro-choice movement: “My own view is that if a human being has any just, prior claim to anything at all, he has a just, prior claim to his own body” and “No doubt the mother has a right to decide what shall happen in and to her body.” The violinist analogy she forwards, among others, expresses this point quite clearly. See Judith Jarvis Thomson, “A Defense of Abortion,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 1, no. 1 (1971): 48, 54.

[50] The sociologist Kristen Luker noted over three decades ago that pro-life and pro-choice activists were mainly divided due to their differing views on the meaning of sexuality, motherhood, and the role of women. See Kristin Luker, Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood. Berkeley (California: University of California Press, 1984), especially Ch 7.

[51] Compassion in Dying v. Washington, 850 F. Supp. 1454 (WD Wash. 1994). This was unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court in 1997.

[52] The phrase ‘sanctity-of-life’ has featured prominently in theological, political, and biomedical ethical discussions related to abortion and end-of-life questions. Some members of congress, for example, have tried repeatedly to introduce a ‘Sanctity-of-Life Act’ to protect the unborn. However, the origins, meaning, and application of the phrase remain unclear and heavily debated. For a basic overview see the edited volume Sanctity of Life and Human Dignity (Boston: Springer Dordrecht, 1996).

[53] al-Qaraḍāwī, Fatāwa al-Muʿaṣara, 2:609-13.

[54] Ibn Bayya, Ṣināʿ at al-Fatwā, 273.

[55] The Federal House Bill 1257 that passed in 2015 as the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act cites between 25,000 and 32,000 pregnancies from rape annually but this is almost certainly an underestimate.

[56] For details on these and other related statistics see https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/2015data-brief508.pdf.

[57] For detailed information regarding state statutes and provisions on the termination of pregnancy in contexts of children born as a result of sexual assault see http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/parental-rights-and-sexual-assault.aspx

[58] For statistics on this see the Department of Justice Criminal Victimization analysis (revised, 2018) at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv16.pdf. There are several reasons why women choose not to report such crimes, which include fear of retaliation, shame and guilt, and a belief that police will not be able to help them.

[59] For a brief discussion on existing research around rape myths see Olivia Smith & Tina Skinner, “How Rape Myths Are Used and Challenged in Rape and Sexual Assault Trials,” Social & Legal Studies 26, no. 4 (2017): 442-45.

[60] Rachael Kessler, “Due Process and Legislation Designed to Restrict the Rights of Rapist Fathers,” Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy, no. 10, vol 1 (2015): 199-229.

[61] There is a sensitive discussion surrounding the definition of rape in Islamic law specifically as it relates to intimate married partners. I have ignored this issue because it would distract from the main purpose of this article.

[62] https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/01/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life/

[63] There have been initiatives in the Muslim community directed at addressing these pressing issues, such as the work of Dr. Aasim Padela of the University of Chicago and his Initiative on Islam and Medicine, Dr. Rafaqat Rashid and the work of al-Balagh Academy, Dr. Mansur Ali of Cardiff University and his research on bioethics, and several others. This is not to mention the many individuals who have tried to create practical spaces to assist people who may find themselves in difficult life circumstances. While there is much more to do, the efforts of these people should not go unnoticed.

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