Connect with us

#Current Affairs

Reflections on Terrorism | Dr Hatem al-Haj

Dr. Hatem El Haj M.D Ph.D

Published

on

BisMillah

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

I am sure most of you have reflected on the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris recently. I am also confident that you have very variant thoughts, not necessarily because of your varying convictions, but mainly because of the different angles from which you approached the events. In addition to what you have thought of and read, I am hoping that you may find something worthy of your time in my own reflections. However, I must first be honest with you and admit that, aside from the Islamic legal (fiqhi) contribution in this article, I am approaching the discussion from a layperson’s perspective. I am not involved in politics, and I am not privy to any special information about those attacks or the immediate circumstances that resulted in them. This article is merely my own attempt at analyzing their root causes and suggesting some measures to help curb their spread and flare-up.

Having read many op-eds, posts, and comments from people around the globe, including the Middle East, it is obvious that the vast majority of Muslims are shocked and disgusted by the despicable injustice committed against the innocent victims of those attacks. Those who approve of them are (in my estimation) much less than 1%. However, those who condemn them in the strongest language differ over their root causes and the best way to avoid them in the future.

Many commentators claim if Western countries stopped their military interventions in Muslim countries, their meddling in those countries’ affairs, and their support of tyrannical regimes that serve Western interests, terrorism will stop. Some add that the West also needs to stop their discriminatory domestic policies and Islamophobic rhetoric and work to end the inequality their own Muslim citizens suffer. Did I forget something? Of course, any conversation on the relationship between the West and Muslims always has an elephant in the room – the plight of the Palestinian people. World-wide, Muslims consider the West to be the major backer of Israeli injustices against Palestine.

Now, if you are a Muslim who aims to be fair and objective, you should not exercise these good qualities with non-Muslims only. If you deny your Muslim brethren any basis for their frustrations and fail to validate their feelings, you will be dismissed before the discussion even begins. This is because, obviously, there is much truth to these statements. To admit this does not mean, in any way, that you are justifying terrorism.

However, we Muslims easily point out what the Western regimes need to do yet we often say nothing about what we, Muslims, need to do. Are we not indirectly responsible for any part of this madness? Are we, the 99% of the ummah, just victims who got caught in the middle between the hegemony of the West and the madness of the fanatics? Are the Muslims in the Muslim-majority countries not responsible in any way for the unbearable environment they have collectively created, which has pushed many otherwise benign youth into extremism? Are we, the Muslims of the West, doing our best to have functional, inclusive and supportive communities? I think not.

If we want to contribute positively to suffocating the phenomenon of terrorism, we must begin by trying to understand its roots. As Muslims living in the West, here is a common stereotype of someone who may partake in mass-scale terrorism in the name of our religion: a disenfranchised Muslim youth, who may or may not be religious, but certainly is misinformed, and who embarks on “defending the religion and avenging the ummah.” Now, to help stop him, we need to end his disenfranchisement, his misinformation, and either end the plights of the ummah or show him how to defend it in a more productive and, yes, sharia-compliant way. You think it is a lost cause! It will only be if we continue to think it is. We must start somewhere.

Countering the Misinformation

A complete rebuttal of the ideologies of those groups is beyond the scope of this article. Here, I will only attempt to share points that could assist you in helping someone out of their confusion. In one recent virtual discussion, I expressed my extreme disapproval of the attacks in Paris. Sure enough, I got this question from someone: “But didn’t Allah say: ‘and fight against the polytheists collectively as they fight against you collectively‘ [at-Tawbah: 36] and ‘…when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them‘ [at-Tawbah: 5]”

While the vast majority of Muslims do not think that we should be fighting perpetually against the rest of humanity, it appears that some of us have a different opinion. They cite the text of revelation and the opinions of scholars, making a simple Islam-is-all-about-peace answer unsatisfying to them. Here is what we should be sharing with them:

It is true that the verses cited are the words of Allah, Most High. He also said,

9_29

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth [i.e., Islam] from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah (poll tax) willingly while they are humbled.” [at-Tawbah: 29]

And He said:

2-193

“Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] religion [i.e., worship] is [acknowledged to be] for Allah.” [al-Baqarah: 193]

and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“I was commanded to fight the people until they testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah, and [until] they believe in me and what I came with. If they do that, then they have protected their blood and wealth from me, except according to it (Islam), and their judgment is upon Allah.” [Agreed upon, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah]

Additionally, in the previous scriptures, namely the Bible, much more than this is attributed to God, including the killing of  infants and children, as in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua. Certainly, we do not believe that the statements about killing children and infants are from God, because it will be too hard to provide an explanatory context for those. However, in Islam, there is an explanatory context for all of the above verses.

First, it is important to note that Allah also said,

8-61

“And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah. Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.” [al-Anfâl: 61]

and:

4-90

“So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them.” [an-Nisâ’: 90]

and His Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“O people, do not wish to meet the enemy, and ask Allah for pardon. But if you meet them, then be patient and know that Paradise is under the shade of the swords.” [Agreed Upon, on the authority of ‘Abdullâh ibn Abi Awfâ].

Who should be connecting the dots and reconciling these seemingly conflicting reports? The scholars well-grounded in the tradition. One of them, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, wrote a treatise on Qitâl al-Kuffâr wa Muhâdanatuhum [War and Peace (treaties) with the Disbelievers] in which he conclusively emphasized that the effective cause (‘illah) for fighting the disbelievers is their aggression, not their disbelief. He pointed out that texts implying an open fight against them can never be used as proof for fighting the people at large. This is because they appear to contradict the other evidences (some of which are mentioned above), and even the consensus. Likewise, they contradict the life of the Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Next page

1 of 3

Dr. Hatem Al-Haj has a PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University. He is a pediatrician, former Dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Mishkah University, and a member of the permanent Fatwa Committee of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John Howard

    November 30, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    No where in this commentary is there stated if the author is loyal to his country which I am assuming is the United States of America. He talks in the third person when referring to western powers including the USA. The fact it is a given that for muslims an attack on any muslim where ever he resides is an attack on all of them even those of no ethnic relation as was seen in the UK when those two Nigerian murderers killed the British soldier Lee Rigby. The claim that he and the rest of the British Army along with all the western armies were murdering and raping “their sisters” in Afghanistan was given as the excuse to commit their gutless act. Simarly in the US when the 4 marines and the sailor were murdered at the recruiting stations by another member of the ummah. Just where is the loyalty of muslims is it as we suspect/realise/know that it is first and last to the religion over the country they have come to live in and take the benefits that those countries offer namely as we see every day here in the west.
    Finally let us look at Palestine shall we? The Islamic nations are all hypocrites all 50+ muslim countries. Where has there been the financial support for the Palestinians in the muslim world. It has been very little and what has been promise more often than not undelivered. I would put it to you that the plight of the Palestinians is of little or no consequence to the muslim world because it represent the ideal stick to use against Israel and the rest of the west. No uslim country takes in Palestinians and gives them citizenship but funnily enough the west does.
    Stop crying victim and look at your own standards

    • Avatar

      M.Mahmud

      December 1, 2015 at 10:39 AM

      We are sinking in the number of munafiqeen we have and that is why we suffer. Most Muslims are unable to help their brethren. The hypocrites sabotage us and are capable of doing so due to our sins.

      Muslims are for Muslims as Jews are for Jews-it has been clear to most people that whatever loyalty to their home nation Jews are foremost loyal to their tribe/religion. This is to be expected from a group with thousands of years of history as a tribe and having lived in various parts of the world split off from one another, tied in tribe and religion and shared history and split off by place.

      Likewise, whatever personal feelings and attachment I have to California, and my desire for it to grow and prosper, my loyalty first and foremost is to my nation since it is the only nation that can enter Paradise.

      Yes people have done very wrong things out of loyalty to the Ummah. However British nationalists have committed uncountable slaughter around the world in the name of loyalty to their nation. The difference between us and you is we have a command from God to reject ALL injustice while you are not even a member of the right religion to begin with.

      • Avatar

        Hatem al-Haj

        December 5, 2015 at 12:47 PM

        I have a different take on this issue than the two comments in this thread. It is hard for a person who belongs to the religious majority in his country to understand the intricacies of the relationship between religious loyalty and national affiliation. However, I invite Mr. Howard, who is likely from the UK to examine the issue of Northern Ireland because it is one of the manifestations of these intricacies. This is happening after centuries of attempts in Europe to trivialize religious differences in the interest of the civic good.
        As long as one’s ultimate allegiance is to the truth and cause of justice for all, Muslim minorities in the West should not have a conflict between their religious and national loyalties. Loving one’s co-religionists and having allegiance for the nation of believers (in one’s own religion) does not negate what kinship, social relationships, national affiliation and other forms of human interaction cause to arise of love and natural affection – so long as this does not include supporting them in falsehood or taking part in injustice.

        • Avatar

          john Howard

          December 14, 2015 at 7:27 PM

          To follow up finally (2 attempts have failed to go on) I would like to answer your comments
          Firstly the comment regarding the
          “These verses mean that those of us who are citizens of the West should not betray the trust of the covenant of citizenship.”
          We have a certain gentleman in the UK who uses that line frequently namely Anjem Choudhary. For me it stinks of what we crudely call in the UK Arse covering – In other words we agree not to attack the local citizenry because we have to live among them and if we want to keep all the benefits that gives us (especially here in the UK and the rest of Europe) but lets not rile the locals too much or we might lose them and get deported. It does not mean that we can’t support the killing off shore of those citizens either in the armed forces or as tourists. It does not in any way give loyalty to the nation they are in .
          Your third person style of narrative I can accept as your style and am happy to accept your argument. and that is not meant in a patronising manner on my behalf.
          Palestine a very perplexing argument! Your reasoning for not giving citizenship to the Palestinians by other Muslim countries is one I don’t accept because they also deny them the right to benefits or jobs and forces them to live in ghastly camps. In other words it gives the Muslim nations a good excuse to keep the Palestinians under control. The sectarian violence among Muslims is legendary witness Lebanon, Iraq, Syria etc, The fact that many Palestinians have taken citizenship asks the question why again is i only the west who has to carry the burden when so many if not the great majority do not?
          As for the military support for Israel well considering that the majority of Muslim countries are very happy to destroy the only truly democratic nation in the region I will support them too over the rubbish that the Muslim nations have thrown up as governments. The fact that Israeli Arabs have a far higher standard of living and freedom than any other Arab in the region speaks volumes for Israel. It is also notable that to date over 2000 so called freedom fighters have been treated by the Israelis with care they could never have gotten from their own kind. Yes Europe helped the Jews migrate to Palestine after World War 2 and for a number of reasons primarily because of guilt over the genocide. The British tried to protect the Palestinians from this influx I know this because one of my family was killed there by the Irgun while he was serving in the British Army in Palestine. My fatjer was alos there and he saw many atrocities committed by both sides and to the day he died he had little sympathy for either party. But let us not forget that Palestine was a Jewish nation long before Islam came on the scene The Temple Mount was Jewish long before it became a symbol for Islam
          Israel for all its faults is a far more tolerant society to live especially if you are a minority such as a Muslim, gay or Christian.

          Ireland. Look into the history of Ireland and what happened after the Republic was formed. Rightly or wrongly the 6 northern counties chose to stay with the UK because of the sectarian fears that they would be destroyed by the Catholics in the south. Looking back at the social standards of the north versus the republic one can understand why. The power that religion had in controlling the lives of the Irish was almost absolute (I wonder where you can see that today ????) and it is only in the last few years as the Irish have seen what their religious masters were doing in the name of God that they have woken up to them and now fortunately faith in any religion has dropped there probably at a greater rate than any other country. Amazing what education can do to people’s minds.
          Finally Sir i would ask this question of you as a Muslim. One of the many things that your fellow followers of your religion like to throw at us in the west is how you give stewardship and altruism for all the unfortunate and less well off. Why is it that so many of the educated such as yourself have immigrated to the west in your tens of if not hundreds of thousands and as such have benefitted greatly from our living standards instead of staying to help your fellow citizens whose need is far greater than ours in the services especially in medicine of having you there? How does that sit with your faith when you are just as greedy for western societies life style as we decadent westerners/non Muslims?

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      December 1, 2015 at 1:43 PM

      Thank you, Mr. Howard, for the comment. Here are some explanations:
      As for the question of loyalty, I hope that a second reading of the article may ease your valid concerns about this issue. You do need, however, to do that while keeping in mind the intent of the article and the intended audience, as well as the capacity in which I am writing as a Muslim theologian. In case you do not have time to go through the article once again, let me share with you some statements from it.
      1- “These verses mean that those of us who are citizens of the West should not betray the trust of the covenant of citizenship.”
      This statement should ease your Trojan Horse concerns. The use of covenant (Mithâq) means a lot to the audience, because it is a Quranic term.
      2- “It can involve our youth and give them the sense (and hope) that they can gradually make a positive difference, and yes, change their unfair world, along with fair-minded individuals from other religious affiliations, to make it more just and peaceful.”
      This shows that the author is not about isolation and sequestration of the Muslim minorities in their respective countries.
      As for the third person, this is a style of speech that may be warranted, at times, if you are making an impartial assessment of the behavior of two groups, such as your own family and your aunt’s. You are right; I am from the USA. Many of my fellow Americans, from the far right to the far left, refer to the regime, government, or the “establishment” in the third person. This may also be a style of speech that certain individuals use more frequently than others. I find myself, in certain discussions, referring to myself in the third person. I invite you to reflect on this question. Had my name been a little more familiar than ‘Hatem al-Haj’, would you have felt the same way? In conclusion of this point, I thank you for alerting me to how it comes across to some people, regardless of how I feel or what I intended.
      As for the Palestinians, I will not defend the regimes in the Muslim countries, because I do not think of them more favorably than you do. Many of them only give lip service to the Palestinian cause. However, I would like to point out to you that most of the displaced Palestinians live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and the Gulf, not the West. As for giving them citizenships, that is exactly what Israel wishes. This is like suggesting to the Germans to accommodate the French people displaced by a Chinese invasion of their country so that they may leave France to them. Additionally, I am sure you do not mean that the Western regimes are not even partially responsible for the plight of the Palestinians. Not even because they were responsible for the relocation of the Jews of Europe to Palestine during the colonial era and forcing them on the local population, or because of the Balfour Declaration? What about the ongoing immense financial backing of Israel, the declared commitment to keep it militarily superior, by far, to all of its neighbors, the multitudes of vetoes used at the UN by my own government to block resolutions condemning Israeli aggression or requesting Israel to abide by any of the UN resolutions or international laws? It seems that you do acknowledge the plight of the Palestinians, but I would believe that learning more about it from independent sources will make you even more sympathetic. May I suggest Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine Peace not Apartheid. You may also visit the UN’s page about Palestine (https://unispal.un.org/pdfs/DPI2499.pdf) or http://www.ampalestine.org. Finally, the article was not about crying victim; after all, crying does not help. Therefore, I would second your advice, but only if does not entail a denial of our justifiable grievances.
      Sorry for the long reply. Thanks again for writing and have a good day/ night!

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      December 1, 2015 at 3:26 PM

      Thank you, Mr. Howard, for the comment. Here are some explanations:
      As for the question of loyalty, I hope that a second reading of the article may ease your valid concerns about this issue. You do need, however, to do that while keeping in mind the intent of the article and the intended audience, as well as the capacity in which I am writing as a Muslim theologian. In case you do not have time to go through the article once again, let me share with you some statements from it and their implications.
      “These verses mean that those of us who are citizens of the West should not betray the trust of the covenant of citizenship.”
      The use of covenant (Mithâq) means a lot to the audience, because it is a Quranic term.
      “It can involve our youth and give them the sense (and hope) that they can gradually make a positive difference, and yes, change their unfair world, along with fair-minded individuals from other religious affiliations, to make it more just and peaceful.”
      This shows that the author is not about isolation and sequestration of the Muslim minorities in their respective countries.
      As for the third person, this is a style of speech that may be warranted, at times, if you are making an impartial assessment of the behavior of two groups, such as your own family and your aunt’s. I am talking about the West as an entity, and more specifically the Western regimens. You are right; I am from the USA. Many of my fellow Americans, from the far right to the far left, refer to the regime, government, or the “establishment” in the third person. This may also be a style of speech that certain individuals use more frequently than others. I find myself, in certain discussions, referring to myself in the third person. I invite you to reflect on this question. Had my name been a little more familiar than ‘Hatem al-Haj’, would you have felt the same way? In conclusion of this point, I thank you for alerting me to how it comes across to some people, regardless of how I feel or what I intended.
      As for the Palestinians, I will not defend the regimes in the Muslim countries, because I do not think of them more favorably than you do. Manu of them only give lip service to the Palestinian cause. However, I would like to point out to you that most of the displaced Palestinians live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and the Gulf, not the West. As for giving them citizenships, that is exactly what Israel wishes. This is like suggesting to the Germans to accommodate the French people displaced by a Chinese invasion of their country so that they may leave France to them. Additionally, I am sure you do not mean that the Western regimes are not even partially responsible for the plight of the Palestinians. Not even because they were responsible for the relocation of the Jews of Europe to Palestine during the colonial era and forcing them on the local population, or because of the Balfour Declaration? What about the ongoing financial backing of Israel, the declared commitment to keep it militarily superior to all of its neighbors, the multitudes of vetoes used at the UN by my own government to block resolutions to condemn Israeli aggression or force Israel to abide by any of the UN resolutions or international laws? It seems that you do acknowledge the plight of the Palestinians, but I would believe that learning more about it from independent sources will make you even more sympathetic. May I suggest Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine Peace no Apartheid. You may also visit the UN’s page about Palestine or http://www.ampalestine.org. Finally, the article was not about crying victim; after all, crying does not help. Therefore, I would second your advice, but only if does not entail a denial of our justifiable grievances.
      Sorry for the long reply. Have a good day/ night!

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      December 18, 2015 at 4:27 PM

      Here are my answers to your answers, Mr. Howard.
      First, thank you for accepting my explanation regarding the use of the third person in my speech.
      As for the issue of Northern Ireland, I was not taking sides, but only pointing out the internal conflict that may arise at a time when a certain group of people have to reconcile between their religious and national affiliations. I hope that, regardless of the details of that example, it was still capable to illustrate my point. If it wasn’t, then may be a hypothetical one could. Imagine if the USA had, for some reason or another, to go to war with Israel. Will the American Jews have some discomfort dealing with this scenario?
      As for my talk about the covenant of citizenship, I am disappointed in the way you understood my treatment of this issue. I was pointing out the high moral standard Islam holds us to concerning the honoring of all covenants. The framework of my discussion was moral, not pragmatic. I was citing verses from the Quran (revealed a long time before we came to enjoy Western prosperity). I was telling my fellow Muslims that even if your countrymen were to commit atrocities against your coreligionists, you should still not betray the covenant. This means that you are not only prohibited from attacking your fellow civilians who may never be targeted in any scenario, but you are also not allowed to attack the combatants on their way to drop bombs on your coreligionists. This high moral standard was stated in the verses I mentioned in the article and others and practiced by the Prophet who ordered one of his companions by the name of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamân to not partake in the battle of Badr because he promised the Meccans that he was not going to fight them. The covenant applies, without a shred of doubt, to the tourists. As for members of the armed forces from our fellow countrymen, as I stated before, the covenant of citizenship bars us from attacking them regardless of where their mission belongs on the scale of good and evil. As for sympathizing with them, I hope that you agree with me that it must depend on the mission of the expedition they will embark on. If they were on the wrong side, one may still humanitarianly sympathize with the ordeal their families go through or that many of them may be deceived (and brainwashed) by those who sent them. Having said that, if you want me to sympathize with the soldiers who tortured the Iraqi prisoners in Abu Gharib and other concentration camps, after they invaded their lands on the basis of the lie of WMD, and wiped out hundreds of thousands of civilians (remaining from Gulf War I and the merciless embargo, which was called barbaric by the previous pope) I will proudly and determinedly refuse to do so. Many decent humans, Muslim and non-Muslim and American and non-American, share my feelings.
      As for greed being the motive of our immigration to the West, I would like to remind you first that more than half of the Muslims in the USA are not immigrants. They are mainly African Americans, with some from all other ethnic groups, including Americans of European descent and natives. There are also the children of the immigrants, who did not make the choice to emigrate and know of no other homeland, so your last comment doesn’t pertain to all of those. It does, however, pertain to me because I am an immigrant. I agree with you that most of us, immigrants, came to the West for economic opportunities. This was to a great extent for the mutual benefit of the Western countries, which needed laborers to contribute to their economic growth, and the immigrants, who certainly enjoy a much higher living standard in their host/adopted countries than their original ones. I don’t see a problem in that, and the “decadent Westerners” stereotypical language is not part of my dictionary. Some of us, however, came to the West to run away from tyrannical regimes, believed by many Muslims to be installed by the West in the post-colonial era to serve its interests. I usually don’t subscribe to the extremes of the conspiracy theory, but I would second George W Bush’s assertion that those regimes have been at least supported and propped up by the West for too long. There are others who may see themselves more productive and capable of serving the cause of justice-for-all by being in the West and engaging the Western audience since they have the leverage to change the conditions of the World and make it fairer and more conducive to peace. There are those who may have to come to the West to call Westerners to Islam, just as many Christian missionaries go to all corners of the World to call mankind to their religion. This may be done by some people out of zeal and religious nationalism, but for many, it is a manifestation of devotion to God and compassion for humanity.
      As for the Palestinian issue, my answer will follow shortly!

  2. Avatar

    Hamid

    November 30, 2015 at 11:52 PM

    beautifully written piece that explores the core issue through the legislative lens and supports the points with opinions of scholars.

  3. Avatar

    Adeeb

    December 2, 2015 at 1:11 AM

    Superb article clearing all misconceptions. I have one question, I had read a fatwa islamqa.Com that stated that verse of no compulsion has been abrogated by verse of sword. Hence people can be forced.
    Please explain

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      December 3, 2015 at 8:54 PM

      I invite you to go back and take another look at that fatwa. It is impossible that anyone would say that Islams approves of forceful conversions, because you would be basically producing hypocrites. I do not recall the name of any scholar in the past or present who said that.

      • Avatar

        Abu Muhammad

        December 6, 2015 at 3:07 AM

        Sheikh Hatem, the fatwa the brother is quoting can be found here >>> http://islamqa.info/en/34770 . According to the article Sheikh bin Baz (rA) is quoted as saying,

        وقال آخرون من أهل العلم : إنها كانت في أول الأمر ثم نسخت بأمر الله سبحانه بالقتال والجهاد ، فمن أبى الدخول في الإسلام وجب جهاده مع القدرة حتى يدخل في الإسلام أو يؤدي الجزية إن كان من أهلها ، فالواجب إلزام الكفار بالإسلام إذا كانوا لا تؤخذ منهم الجزية ؛ لأن إسلامهم فيه سعادتهم ونجاتهم في الدنيا والآخرة ، فإلزام الإنسان بالحق الذي فيه الهدى والسعادة خير له من الباطل ، كما يلزم الإنسان بالحق الذي عليه لبني آدم ولو بالسجن أو بالضرب ، فإلزام الكفار بتوحيد الله والدخول في دين الإسلام أولى وأوجب ؛ لأن فيه سعادتهم في العاجل والآجـل إلا إذا كانوا من أهل الكتاب كاليهود والنصارى أو المجوس ، فهذه الطوائف الثلاث جاء الشرع بأنهم يخيرون . فإما أن يدخلوا في الإسلام وإما أن يبذلوا الجزية عن يد وهم صاغرون .

        “Other scholars said that this applied in the beginning, but was subsequently abrogated by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad. So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought when the Muslims are able to fight, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah. The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam if they are not people from whom the jizyah may be taken, because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Obliging a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood. Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. This applies unless they are People of the Book, i.e., Jews and Christians, or Magians, because Islam says that these three groups may be given the choice: they may enter Islam or they may pay the jizyah and feel themselves subdued.” [Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat li’l-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/219]

      • Avatar

        adeeb taqui

        June 13, 2016 at 7:37 AM

        >>> islamqa.info/en/34770 . According to the article Sheikh bin Baz (rA) is quoted as saying,

        وقال آخرون من أهل العلم : إنها كانت في أول الأمر ثم نسخت بأمر الله سبحانه بالقتال والجهاد ، فمن أبى الدخول في الإسلام وجب جهاده مع القدرة حتى يدخل في الإسلام أو يؤدي الجزية إن كان من أهلها ، فالواجب إلزام الكفار بالإسلام إذا كانوا لا تؤخذ منهم الجزية ؛ لأن إسلامهم فيه سعادتهم ونجاتهم في الدنيا والآخرة ، فإلزام الإنسان بالحق الذي فيه الهدى والسعادة خير له من الباطل ، كما يلزم الإنسان بالحق الذي عليه لبني آدم ولو بالسجن أو بالضرب ، فإلزام الكفار بتوحيد الله والدخول في دين الإسلام أولى وأوجب ؛ لأن فيه سعادتهم في العاجل والآجـل إلا إذا كانوا من أهل الكتاب كاليهود والنصارى أو المجوس ، فهذه الطوائف الثلاث جاء الشرع بأنهم يخيرون . فإما أن يدخلوا في الإسلام وإما أن يبذلوا الجزية عن يد وهم صاغرون .

        “Other scholars said that this applied in the beginning, but was subsequently abrogated by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad. So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought when the Muslims are able to fight, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah. The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam if they are not people from whom the jizyah may be taken, because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Obliging a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood. Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. This applies unless they are People of the Book, i.e., Jews and Christians, or Magians, because Islam says that these three groups may be given the choice: they may enter Islam or they may pay the jizyah and feel themselves subdued.” [Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat li’l-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/219]

  4. Avatar

    Elisabeth Jefferson

    December 14, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    That is so sad why would someone do that to thousands of people that is the worst thing i would never think about doing that to someone the terrorists are the worst am i write or not

    P.S-u can write your answer on fuzzy.org to get on my face book a count ;) or nolllllllllllllllll!

  5. Avatar

    sparky

    December 30, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    Ok if there are so many good muslims why are they not turning in the ones the know are up to no good. Supposedly your faith has
    been hijacked but you do not do anything about it. I hear muslims are afraid to turn in radical muslims. If no one stands up for
    good evil will reign. Your so called religion calls for killing the infidels (your own terms). If you try to kill us we will retaliate sucker.

    • Avatar

      Shakir M.

      March 23, 2016 at 6:29 PM

      Entire Muslim Nations and their military and police forces are arrested and fighting those that are up to not good, for the people in those countries and internationally. Do not wait on the corporate media to talk about Muslims who are doing good, operating charities, feeding the needy, or working with law enforcement. In my area there Muslims who walked off the job due to work standards and rules they felt were not welcoming to them as Muslims. The national media contacted a local rep asking to talk to a Muslim person who was angry. Your comments were based on hearsay or simply you feel that you are not informed about something happening that it is not happening at all. Below is a compilation of crimes and evil doers that were turned in by Muslims/Mosques to the authorities. Call your nearest metropolitan FBI office and ask them if Muslims in the region have been helpful and cooperative to their efforts. Hear it from the horses mouth.

      October 2008: Neo-Nazis Daniel Cowart and Paul Schesselman are arrested by local police, who received a tip from a concerned friend of the two suspects, before seeking to go on a shooting spree against African-Americans.

      July 2009: Mosque leaders in Raleigh, North Carolina contact law enforcement to notify them of “violent, threatening action… considered to be dangerous” leading to the arrest of Daniel Boyd and 6 other individuals.

      September 2009: Queens Imam Ahmad Afazali, a community liaison to the NYPD, helps local police and the FBI in the investigation and arrest of suspect Najibullah Zazi. Though Zazi is initially accused of tipping off Zazi to police surveillance, information in the court complaint and corroborating reporting from mainstream media sources found this notion to be false. (Afzali was, however, deported on charges of lying to FBI agents, but subsequent media reporting also strengthens Afzali’s claims that he was scapegoat for getting caught up in a turf battle between NYPD and FBI officials.)

      November 2009: Five Virginia Muslim youth are arrested in Pakistan, allegedly seeking to join a terrorist group, after family members told American federal authorities they went missing.

      March 2010: Michigan Militia member and Muslim convert Matt Savino refuses aid to a fugitive member of the Hutaree Militia and instead helps law enforcement authorities track him down.

      April 2010: Senegalese Muslim Alioune Niass first spots the suspicious vehicle used as a bomb to attack Times Square in New York City. Clues from the vehicle and defused explosive immediately led to the suspect, Faisal Shahzad’s, arrest.

      June 2010: Suspects Mohammed Mahmoud Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte are arrested, after the FBI first receives an anonymous report in 2006 from one of the suspects’ family members. News reports indicate one of Alessa’s family members provided the tip.

      October 2010: Former Hawaii resident Abdel Hamid Shehadeh is arrested for attempting to join the Taliban. Local media noted that the Muslim Association of Hawaii “assisted law enforcement agencies in the case” and that it has “in the past reported suspicious activities.”

      October 2010: Farooque Ahmed is arrested on charges of allegedly attempting to bomb the Washington, DC metro railway system. The FBI first learns of Ahmed’s intentions from a community tip-off.

      October 2010: An attempt by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to bomb Western targets using air cargo transportation is prevented by US and European authorities. Intelligence that prevented the plot came from ex-militant Jabr al-Faifi, who voluntarily handed himself into Saudi authorities.

      November 2010: Mohamed Osman Mohamud is arrested for attempting to bomb a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. The New York Times notes, “In the Oregon [Mohamud] case, the FBI received a tip from a Portland Muslim.”

      December 2010: Antonio Martinez is arrested for attempting to bomb a military recruiting center in Maryland. Statements from Justice Department officials indicate a Muslim community member reported Martinez to the FBI during its ongoing investigation.

      June 2011: Two Al-Qaeda inspired violent criminals planning to attack a military installation in Seattle are arrested by law enforcement. FBI officials first become aware of the planned attack after a fellow Muslim who was trying to be recruited into the conspiracy went to Seattle Police and informed them of the plot.

      January 2012: Violent Al-Qaeda sympathizer Sami Osmakac is arrested for planning to attack several sites in Tampa, Florida using guns and explosives. The U.S. Attorney for Central Florida noted, “This investigation was also predicated, in part, by assistance from the Muslim community.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Current Affairs

Zahra Billoo Responds To The Women’s March Inc. Voting Her Off The New Board

Zahra Billoo

Published

on

Women's March Board

Earlier tonight, I was voted off the Women’s March, Inc. national board. This followed an Islamophobic smear campaign led by the usual antagonists, who have long targeted me, my colleagues, and anyone else who dares speak out in support of Palestinian human rights and the right to self-determination.

The past 48 hours have been a spiral of bad news and smear efforts. Part of the smear campaign is motivated by opponents of the Women’s March, because the organization has traditionally challenged the status quo of power and white supremacy in our country. However, much of the campaign is driven by people who oppose me and my work challenging the occupation of Palestine, our country’s perpetuation of unjust and endless wars, and law enforcement operations targeting the American Muslim community.

The Women’s March, Inc. is an organization I once held dear. I spoke at the first march, spoke at regional marches every year after, spoke at the convention, participated in national actions including the original Kavanaugh protests, and worked to mobilize Muslim women for their efforts.

During the past few years right-wingers, from the President’s son to the Anti-Defamation League and troll armies, have targeted the Women’s March, Inc. For so long, I’ve admired their resilience in speaking truth to power, in working together, and in never cowering. Over and over again, the co-founders of Women’s March, Inc. put their lives on the line, winning power for all women in all of our diversity. The Women’s March, Inc. that voted me off its board tonight is one that no longer demonstrates the strength that inspired millions of women across the country.

To see and experience its new leaders caving to right-wing pressure, and casting aside a woman of color, a Muslim woman, a long-time advocate within the organization, without the willingness to make any efforts to learn and grow, breaks my heart. This isn’t about a lost seat, there will be many seats. The Women’s March, Inc. has drawn a line in the sand, one that will exclude many with my lived experiences and critiques. It has effectively said, we will work on some women’s rights at the expense of others.

To be clear, anti-semitism is indeed a growing and dangerous problem in our country, as is anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamophobia, ableism, sexism, and so much more. I condemn any form of bigotry unequivocally, but I also refuse to be silent as allegations of bigotry are weaponized against the most marginalized people, those who find sanctuary and hope in the articulation of truth.

In looking at the tweets in question, I acknowledge that I wrote passionately. While I may have phrased some of my content differently today, I stand by my words. I told the truth as my community and I have lived it, through the FBI’s targeting of my community, as I supported families who have lost loved ones because of US military actions, and as I learned from the horrific experiences of Palestinian life.

In attempting to heal and build in an expedited manner within Women’s March, Inc., I offered to meet with stakeholders to address their concerns and to work with my sisters on the new board to learn, heal, and build together. These efforts were rejected. And in rejecting these efforts, the new Women’s March, Inc. demonstrated that they lack the courage to exhibit allyship in the face of fire.

I came to Women’s March, Inc. to work. My body of work has included leading a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization for over a decade, growing it now more than six-fold. In my tenure, I have led the team that forced Abercrombie to change its discriminatory employment policies, have been arrested advocating for DACA, partnered with Jewish organizations including Bend the Arc and Jewish Voice for Peace to fight to protect our communities, and was one of the first lawyers to sue the President.

It is not my first time being the target of a smear campaign. The Women’s March, Inc., more than any place, is where I would have expected us to be able to have courageous conversations and dive deep into relationship-building work.

I am happy to have as many conversations as it takes to listen and learn and heal, but I will no longer be able to do that through Women’s March, Inc. This action today demonstrates that this organization’s new leadership is unable to be an ally during challenging times.

My beliefs drive my work, and I am not seeking accolades or positions of power. These past few days have been the greatest test of that. My integrity, my truth, and my strength comes from God and a place of deep conviction. I will continue my work as a civil rights lawyer and a faith-based activist, speaking out against the occupation of Palestine and settler-colonialism everywhere, challenging Islamophobia and all forms of racism and bigotry in the United States, and building with my community and our allies in our quest to be our most authentic and liberated selves.

Onward, God willing.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

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

Dr Joseph Kaminski

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

#Society

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

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Trending