Comments by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi
Standing United Against Terrorism & Al-Qaeda by Sheikh Salman al-Oudah | (Yasir Qadhi, Yaser Birjas and Tawfique Chowdhury)Part 2
Part 1 Consist of originial article by Sheikh Salman Al-Oudah and a following comment by Yaser Birjas.
In the early 90’s, a new movement appeared that claimed to follow the teachings of the earliest generations yet were far removed from it in ideology, methodology and manners. They assumed that they and they alone were rightly guided. They deemed all those who opposed them to be deviants and heretics. They made it their religion to go around concentrating on the supposed faults of other people, without actually offering anything of substance to their communities. This group gave such a negative stereotype to anyone who wished to preach an Orthodox understanding of Islam that to this day we are battling the negativity they created.
I had plenty of run-ins with them, and they caused many of us much personal grief and problems. I must admit, though, that while the swiftness of their demise did come as a surprise, I knew all along that their fame would be short-lived, and their popularity temporary. I knew this not because I was privy to some unseen knowledge, but because Allah says in the Quran, “So as for the chaff, it leaves in all direction, and as for that which benefits mankind, it stays on earth” [al-Ra`ad, 17]. These people were bankrupt in knowledge, bankrupt in manners, and bankrupt in being of any benefit to society. Their only contribution appeared to be in belittling the contribution of others and mocking their efforts.
While that group is now, for all practical purposes, wiped off the face of the earth, a more sinister group has taken their place. Their tactics are the same, but their mannerisms and accusations are worse. Rather than accuse others of being ‘deviant’ or ‘off the manhaj’, this new group, following directly in the footsteps of the Khawarij, accuse other Muslims of being hypocrites and disbelievers, government sell-outs and stooges. While they themselves cannot show an iota of positive contribution to the Ummah, they revel in heaping more and more accusations upon those who are actually striving to make a difference. Arm-chair critics against those activists who live in the same lands as they do, they act as cheerleaders for those in other lands who terrorize others in the name of the religion, all the while not seeing the irony of their pathetic situation. Whenever I converse with one of them, a strong sense of deja vu overtakes me. I have spoken to their ilk before, and advised their methodological descendants.
Far from awakening true Islamic spirit, all these groups can do is unleash the worst of manners and the most condescending of attitudes and the most arrogant of tones against people who are genuinely striving to make Muslims better Muslims. My advice to them, as it was to those before them, remains the same:
■ Even if you believe you are ‘more rightly guided’ than others, do not make your entire religion a negation of ‘the other’. No ideology can flourish merely by critiquing others. Do something productive for the community instead of spending all your time criticizing those who are actually doing something productive.
■ Realize that those whom you oppose might be sincere people, and if you have wronged them, you will be accountable on the Day of Judgment for those wrongs.
■ Err on the side of caution; accusing someone of being a hypocrite is a grave sin, if you have nothing good to say, be silent, that is better for you.
■ Realize that none of the senior activists of the West are supportive of your ideologies, even if you wish to claim one as your own. There are people who are more intimately familiar with those who cannot speak for themselves, and know first-hand that such people are supportive of the mainstream activists, and wish to dissociate from extremists and from supporters of groups that cause much evil and bloodshed on Earth.
There is much more to be said, but suffice to conclude by stating that the statement of Sh. Salman al-Oudah is a statement that I support 110 %. Sh. Salman is someone whom I know personally, and consider a mentor.
While I realize, having experienced the attitudes of the groups before them, that such statements rarely have any impact on the followers of such extremist ideologies (for their zealousness blinds them to anything outside of their limited understandings), I also realize that we have a responsibility to others, Muslims and non-Muslims, to publicly repudiate such extremist ideologies. It is for this reason that we at MuslimMatters proudly endorse this statement and publicly acknowledge this to be our stance as well.
NEW! Comments by Shaykh Tawfique Chowdhury
Those who have followed the events of recent decades will have noticed the rise of two distinct groups that are fighting for our hearts and minds – vastly different in their positions to the undiscerning eye, but extremely similar in their essence to the intelligent investigator. Like the Murjiah and Khawarij – differing against each other on their positions on Emaan but being similar in the fallacy that led to their differing positions – that of believing that emaan is a whole that does not subdivide nor can it increase or decrease. Today we have the modern version of these two groups that are struggling for our hearts and minds – the modernists calling for total assimilation, reinterpretation, reinvention, rediscovery and liberation from the purity of Islam to the freedom of ignorance vs the takfeeri jihadi cult of Al-Qaeda and those upon their beliefs calling for indiscriminate death and destruction. Though both are diametrically opposed in their positions – they are in fact nothing but two sides of the same coin! That coin being – perversion of the religion from its roots, ideals and traditional scholastic methodology of understanding the Quran and Sunnah. Both of them understand Islam through the same prism of perverted pseudo-scholarship and come to two very distinct conclusions. This is not scholarship. It is perversion, ignorance and distortion of the pristine traditional methodology of the scholars of Islam. The advice of every true scholar of our time and before has always been to be wary of following the paths of the two. And Allah says: “And likewise, we made you a nation on the middle path…”
There is no doubt to anyone that our Prophet was a Prophet of mercy. He was a Prophet that forbade in mutawatir ahadeeth to not kill women and children. The Prophetic path of rectification is not to channel our anger at women and children, but at the actual perpetrator. There is no place for vigilantism in our religion. To consider this Jihad is not only a perversion but a clear fallacy. Even those scholars considered to be the sheikhs of the Mujahideen of today such as Abdullah Azzam rahimahullah as considered by some – were opposed to such acts of terrorism and vigilantism. So I advise those brothers and sisters who are persuaded by these thoughts or by these people – to reconsider and avoid a path that has no benefit.
I myself have seen numerous examples of mashaikh that have spent their time building the takfeeri jihadi tarbiyyah in their students. Never has this ever led to any good by Allah. These same mashaikh have had to become informants to security agencies to preserve their freedom, their students have been imprisoned after turning on their own mashaikh with takfeer and tafseeq, some of them have lost their lives and many now languish in prisons and their families cry night and day thinking about what went wrong. Others less serious in their levels of misguidance in this matter are plagued with extreme levels of negativity and have varying levels of antisocial personality disorder from the Muslim ummah in general and the greater society as a whole. They do little good and are responsible for little good that sustains the dawah movement today. They stand ready to meet every Islamic endeavour with scepticism and to perform verbal and literary jihad upon every attempt at revival and sustaining the momentum of our dawah. This is the path of deception and destruction.
On the contrary, I urge everyone to be the likes of our esteemed mashaikh of the past and encourage everyone to hear the message of our Sheikh Salman Al-Oudah for he speaks with knowledge, wisdom and deep experience in dealing with such people and such mentalities. The path of true success is that of orthodox traditional Islam upon the pure understanding of our great ulema may Allah preserve them.
And our last call is that all praise is for Allah the Lord of Mankind.