This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2619
December 21, 2006
In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, and may his peace and blessings be upon Muhammad and upon his household and companions, and all those who follow him.
The Muslim world today is faced with tyranny and injustice. Indeed oppression and hardship is not just limited to the Muslim world, rather many non-Muslim states are subject to oppression at the hands of the world's leading military and economic powers. Anyone who cares can only be saddened and hurt by the pain and suffering that accompanies so many faces. Islam has allowed jihad as a means to prevent oppression, yet the Muslims have forgotten this for too long.
Though jihad may be a part of the answer to the problems of the ummah, it is an extremely important part. Jihad is to offer ourselves to Allah for His Cause. Indeed, every person should according to Islam prepare himself/herself for jihad and every person should eagerly and patiently wait for the day when Allah will call them to show their willingness to sacrifice their lives. We should all ask ourselves if there is a quicker way to heaven? It is with this in mind that this booklet is being published.
It may be asked of ourselves and others here as to why we remain in this country while there is so much opportunity for reward. It is our understanding that today's problems does not require the one solution whether this be jihad, working for the khilafah, purifying ourselves etc. but rather our situation today requires action on all fronts. Everybody has a role to play in today's great jigsaw, those who are attempting to establish the Islamic state have to continue doing so focusing their minds onto such a project, those who are faced with tyranny at the hands of neighbouring armies have to defend themselves with their lives and those that have the opportunity of giving Islam to the world should do so..
This is an important booklet for three reasons: firstly, it deals with an important issue - that of jihad. Secondly, it is important because it has been written by one of the most prominent Mujahideen of this century - Imam Hasan al-Banna, and thirdly it is important because it deals with an issue that the ummah seems to have misunderstood or forgotten.
Imam Hasan al-Banna is the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the pioneers of today's Islamic revival. It is a shame that so many people are unaware of this man and his contribution towards what we see today. It is the right of the contemporary Muslim generation that they should have access to the writings of this great reformer; especially on this important topic.
The Imam, may Allah bless him, shows us that ultimately, and insha'Allah (God-willing) time will be a witness to this, only Islam can save mankind from itself. And jihad on the individual and international scale will be a necessary part of this process of change.
The Imam himself was assassinated in 1949, aged 43 years. It is a testimony to his character that Allah answered his duaa' that he made at the end of this work. May Allah accept our efforts and may Allah similarly accept and answer our duaa'.
Dr A. M. A. Fahmy
International Islamic Forum
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Universe. May Allah bestow peace and blessings upon our Leader Muhammad, Leader of those who strive in Allah's way and Imam of the pious. May He also bestow peace and blessings upon his family and his companions, and all those who strive for the Sharee'ah until the Day of Judgement.
All Muslims Must Make Jihad
Jihad is an obligation from Allah on every Muslim and cannot be ignored nor evaded. Allah has ascribed great importance to jihad and has made the reward of the martyrs and the fighters in His way a splendid one. Only those who have acted similarly and who have modelled themselves upon the martyrs in their performance of jihad can join them in this reward. Furthermore, Allah has specifically honoured the Mujahideen with certain exceptional qualities, both spiritual and practical, to benefit them in this world and the next. Their pure blood is a symbol of victory in this world and the mark of success and felicity in the world to come.
Those who can only find excuses, however, have been warned of extremely dreadful punishments and Allah has described them with the most unfortunate of names. He has reprimanded them for their cowardice and lack of spirit, and castigated them for their weakness and truancy. In this world, they will be surrounded by dishonour and in the next they will be surrounded by the fire from which they shall not escape though they may possess much wealth. The weaknesses of abstention and evasion of jihad are regarded by Allah as one of the major sins, and one of the seven sins that guarantee failure.
Islam is concerned with the question of jihad and the drafting and the mobilisation of the entire Umma into one body to defend the right cause with all its strength than any other ancient or modern system of living, whether religious or civil. The verses of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Muhammad (PBUH) are overflowing with all these noble ideals and they summon people in general (with the most eloquent expression and the clearest exposition) to jihad, to warfare, to the armed forces, and all means of land and sea fighting.
We shall not go into exhaustive detail but rather will offer you some Qur'anic verses and Ahaadeeth below as examples since we only wish to show a glimpse of the Islamic message on jihad. Furthermore, we will not delve into the explanation of the Qur'anic verses or Ahaadeeth. You will recognise by the purity of language, the clarity of exposition, the lucidity of ideas and the force of spirituality that explanations and clarifications are not required.
The Qur'an on Jihad
‘Jihad is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike something which is good for you and that you like something which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.'
(Surat-al-Baqarah (2), ayah 216)
‘O you who believe! Be not like those who disbelieve (hypocrites) and who say to their brethren when they travel through the earth or go out to fight: 'If they had stayed with us, they would not have died or been killed,' so that Allah may make it a cause of regret in their hearts. It is Allah that gives life and causes death. And Allah is All-Seer of what you do. And if you are killed or die in the Way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all that they amass (of worldly wealth etc.). And whether you die, or are killed, verily, unto Allah you shall be gathered.'
(Surat-aal-Imran (3), ayah 156-158)
Notice how "forgiveness" and "mercy" are associated with slaying and death in Allah's way in the first verse, and how the second verse is does not refer to this because it is devoid of the idea of jihad. In this verse, there is an indication of the fact that cowardice is one of the characteristics of unbelievers, but not of believers. And notice how today the unbelievers seem to be brave and the believers seem to be the cowards.
‘Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His Bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve.'
(Surat-aal-Imran (3), ayah 169-170). Refer up to verse 175 for further information.
‘Let those (believers) who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter fight in the cause of Allah., and whosoever fights in the Cause of Allah, and is killed or is victorious, We shall bestow on him a great reward.'
(Surat-an-Nisaa' (4), ayah 74)
Refer to the verses (4: 71-78) in the Noble Book to understand how Allah urges the Muslims to remain alert and to acquire experience in warfare, in armies and troops, or as individuals, as circumstances may dictate. Allah also reprimands those who are slack, cowards or opportunists, and He arouses our zeal to protect the weak and prevent oppression. Notice how Allah associates warfare with prayer and fasting, establishing it as one of the pillars of Islam. And how He refutes the false arguments of the waverers, and encourages those who are scared to the utmost degree to plunge into battle and to face death unflinchingly and bravely, showing them that they will welcome death, and that if they die in jihad, they will receive the most magnificent recompense for their lives, and that they will not lose any of their contribution or sacrifice however small.
Surat-al-Anfaal is in its entirety an exhortation to jihad and a command to remain steadfast [while engaged] in it, as well as a clear presentation of many of its rules. It is for this reason that the first Muslims (may Allah's grace be upon them) adopted it as a war chant which they would chant whenever their apprehensions mounted and the battle grew grim. Suffice it to quote what Allah (SWT) says:
‘Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies.'
(Surat-al-Anfaal (8), ayah 60)
up to His words (SWT):
‘O Prophet! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast amongst you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there are be a hundred steadfast they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (they disbelievers) are people who do not understand'
(Surat-al-Anfaal (8), ayah 65)
Surat-at-Tawbah too is in its entirety an exhortation to combat and a clear presentation of its rules. It is sufficient to quote what Allah (SWT) says concerning warfare against the treacherous polytheists:
‘Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and return calmness in the hearts of the believing people thus relieving their anxiety. Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.'
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 14-15)
And His words (SWT) concerning fighting with People of the Book:
‘Fight against those who believe not in Allah nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the Religion of Truth (i.e. Islam), from among the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.'
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 29)
The proclamations of the general call in the following verses, end with His words (SWT):
‘March forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allah! This is better for you, if you but knew.'
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 41)
Allah then rebukes those who are cowardly for their attitude and their continuous attempts to escape from jihad, in His words (SWT):
‘Those who stayed away (from Tabuk expedition) rejoiced in their staying behind the Messenger of Allah; they hated to strive and fight with their wealth and their lives in the Cause of Allah, and they said, 'March not forth in the heat.' Say: 'The fire of Hell is more intense in heat,' if only they could understand!' So let them laugh a little (and they will) cry much as a recompense of what they used to earn (by committing sins). If Allah brings you back to a party of them, and they ask your permission to go out (to fight), say: 'Never shall you go out with me, nor fight an enemy with me: you agreed to sit inactive on the first occasion: then you sit (now) with those who lag behind.'
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 81-83)
Then Allah praises those who engage in jihad by declaring jihad as Prophet Muhammad's mission and the way of his Companions, as He, the Almighty, says:
‘But the Messenger, and those who believed with him, strove hard and fought with their wealth and their lives (in Allah's cause). The good things are for these people, and it is they who will be successful. For them Allah has got ready the Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.'
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 88-89)
Then follows an oath of allegiance, comprehensive and protective leaving no excuses, in His words (SWT):
‘Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their wealth; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.'
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 111)
Surat-al-Qital (commonly known as Surat Muhammad) mentions two key factors that form the foundation of the military spirit: obedience and discipline. Allah has summarised these two factors in the following two verses in His Book. Obedience appears in this Surah where He, the Almighty, says:
‘Those who believe say: "Why is a Surah not sent down (for us)?" But when a decisive Surah (explaining and ordering things) is sent down, and fighting is mentioned (i.e. ordained) therein, you will see those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) looking at you with a look of one fainting to death. But it was better for them (hypocrites, to listen to Allah and obey Him). Obedience (to Allah) and good words (were better for them). And when the matter (preparation for Jihad) is resolved on, then if they had been true to Allah, it would have been better for them.'
(Surat-Muhammad (47), ayah 20-21)
As for discipline, it appears in Surat-as-Saff, where He, the Almighty, says:
‘Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in rows (ranks), as if they were a solid structure.'
(Surat-as-Saff (61), ayah 4)
Surat-al-Fath is also dedicated in its entirety to one of the military campaigns of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and was a special occasion of jihad, which took place under the shadow of a tree where an oath of allegiance unto steadfastness and death was taken, and this bore the fruit of tranquillity and victory. This is what He (SWT), says:
‘Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave their bay'ah (pledge) to you (O Muhammad) under the Tree, He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down As-Sakeenah (calmness and tranquillity) upon them; and He rewarded them with a close Victory; And abundant spoils that they will capture. And Allah is Ever All-Mighty, All-Wise.'
(Surat-al-Fath (48), ayah 18-19)
These, brother, are some examples of the Qur'anic references on jihad. Its virtues are made clear, and those who do jihad are given the good news of the magnificent reward that will be waiting for them. The Book of Allah is filled with examples like these, and anyone who reads the Qur'an and pays attention to its meaning will be astounded at the negligence of the Muslims who have failed to take advantage of this reward.
The Ahaadeeth on Jihad
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: ‘I heard the Prophet (PBUH) say:
‘By the One in whose Hands is my soul, had it not been for the limitation of resources which caused some of the companions to remain behind (much to their displeasure), I would not have prevented any group from striving in Allah's way. And by the One in whose hand is my Soul, I wish I could be killed in the Way of Allah, then live again so that I may be killed again, then live again so that again I may be killed, then live again so that again I may be killed.' (Transmitted by Al Bukhari and Muslim)
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘By the One in whose Hand is my Soul, no one is wounded in Allah's way, and Allah knows best who is wounded in His way, except that the colour of his wound appears on the day of judgement as the colour of blood and his scent appears as the scent of musk.'
On the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: ‘My paternal uncle Anas bin al Nadir was absent from the battle of Badr, and he said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I was absent from the first battle in which you fought the polytheists but if Allah provides me with a second opportunity to participate in a battle with the polytheists, then Allah will witness my actions!' And when the Day of Uhud arrived and the Muslims retreated, he said: ‘O Allah, I ask you to forgive my brothers for their actions and I excuse myself from the actions of the polytheists!' Then he rushed forward and met Sa'd bin Mu'aadh and said: ‘O Sa'd bin Mu'aadh, by Allah I smell its scent from below Uhud!'. Sa'd said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I could not do what he did.' Anas said: ‘We found him with some eighty wounds either from swords, spears or arrows. We found him murdered and mutilated by the polytheists. No one recognised him except his sister, and even she recognised him by his fingers.' Anas said: ‘We used to think, or suppose, that this verse came down concerning him and people like him: ‘Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah..' up to the end of the verse (Surat al-Ahzaab (33), ayah 23).'. (Transmitted by Al Bukhari)
On the authority of Umm Haritha bint Suraaqah; she went to the Prophet (PBUH), and said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, can you tell me about Haritha (a stray arrow had struck him before the day of Badrý)? For if he is in Paradise, I will bear his loss patiently. But if he is not there, I shall weep for him'. He said:
‘O mother of Haritha, there are many gardens in Paradise and your son is in Firdaws (the highest level)...' (reported by Al Bukhari)
Brother, see how Paradise made these companions forget their cares and misfortunes, and enabled them to persevere even through adversities.
On the authority of 'Abdullah bin Abi Awfa, may Allah be pleased with him,: ‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘Let it be known that Paradise lies in the shadows of the swords.' (reported by the Al Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud)
On the authority of Zayd bin Khalid al Juhani, may Allah be pleased with him: ‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘He who provides for a mujahid in the Way of Allah the Almighty, it is as if he himself has made jihad; and he who has supported the family of a mujahid with an act of goodness, it is as if he himself has made jihad.' (Transmitted by Al Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi) (that is to say he obtains the reward for it)
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘He who out of faith in Allah and a firm belief in His promise prepares a horse while waiting for jihad then its feeding and drinking and its dung are all in his favour on the day of Resurrection.' (Transmitted by Al Bukhari)
This is, of course, true for all types of wealth (like the horse) given in the way of Allah:
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, it was said:
‘O Messenger of Allah, what is equal in reward to jihad in Allah's Way.' He said: ‘You cannot do it.' But they brought up the same thing before him two or three times more, and he said: ‘You cannot do it.' Then he said: ‘The equal of the mujahid in Allah's way is he who fasts and stands in worship throughout the night reciting Allah's verses without becoming tired until the mujahid in Allah's way returns.' (Transmitted by Al Bukhari, Muslim, An-Nisaa'i , Ibn Majah, and At Tirmidhi)
On the authority of Abu Sa'eed al Khudari, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘Shall I tell you who is the best of men and who is the worst? Among the best of men is he who is active in Allah's way on the back of his horse or camel, or on foot, until death comes to him. And among the worst of men is he who reads the Book of Allah Almighty, and remains unenlightened (he does not check himself, nor does he admonish and reprove himself).' (Transmitted by An-Nisaa'i)
On the authority of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say:
‘There are two eyes which the Fire shall not touch: the eye which wept for fear of Allah, and the eye which passed the night on guard in the way of Allah Almighty.' (From At Tirmidhi)
On the authority of Abu ‘Umayra, May Allah be pleased with him who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘It is dearer to me that I die in the Way of Allah than that if the entire wealth of the world were to become mine.' (Transmitted by An Nisaa'i)
On the authority of Rashid ibn Sa'd, May Allah be pleased with him, on the authority of one of the companions, that a man said:
‘O Messenger of Allah, how is it that the believers will be put to the test in their graves, but the martyr is free?' The Messenger said: ‘The glittering of swords over his head is a sufficient test for him!' (Transmitted by An Nisaa'i)
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, May Allah be pleased with him: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘The martyr feels nothing more from the pain of slaughter than any one of you feels from the sting of a gnat.' (Transmitted by At Tirmidhi, An Nisaa'i and Al Darmi. At Tirmidhi designates this as Hasan Gharib)
On the authority of Ibn Mas'ud, May Allah be pleased with him, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘Our Lord (SWT) is pleased with a man campaigning in Allah 's way, who, when his companions are driven back, and knowing that the odds are against him, nevertheless returns to the battlefield until he is killed. Then Allah says to the angels: "See how My servant returned to the battle field out of his desire for the reward that I provide and out of his fear from my punishments until he was killed. I call on you to witness that I have forgiven him.'
On the authority of ‘Abd al Khayr bin Thabit, on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather, who said: "A woman came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) named Umm Khalid, wearing a veil, in order to ask him about a son of hers who had been slain in the way of Allah Almighty....The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said to her:
‘Your son has the reward of two martyrs.' She asked: ‘Why?" He said: ‘Because he was killed by People of the Book.' (Transmitted by Abu Dawud)
On the authority of Sahl bin Hunayf (May Allah be pleased with him): "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘He who asks Allah Almighty for martyrdom with sincerity, will be brought by Allah to the mansions of the martyrs, though he may die on his bed.' (transmitted by Muslim, An Nisaa'i, Ibn Majah, and At Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)
On the authority of Khuraym ibn Fatik, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘He who spends a sum in the way of Allah Almighty will have it accredited to his account seven hundred fold.' (Transmitted by At-Tirmidhi, who classed it as hasan and also by An Nisaa'i).
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: "One of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) passed by a ravine in which there was a small fount of fresh water. He was greatly pleased by this, and said to himself: ‘What if I were to withdraw from mankind and live in this ravine?' He mentioned this to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), who said:
‘Don't do it! When one of you takes his place in Allah's way, it is more excellent than if he prayed in his house for seventy years. Do you not wish for Allah to forgive you and bring you into Paradise? Campaign in Allah's way: he who fights in Allah's way mounted on a camel must necessarily enter Paradise.' (Transmitted by At Tirmidhi.)
On the authority of Al-Miqdam ibn Ma'ad ibn Yakrib, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘The martyr possesses six distinctions with respect to Allah: he is forgiven, amongst the first to be forgiven; he is shown his place in Paradise; he is not punished in the Grave; he is secure from the supreme terror of the day of judgement; the crown of dignity is placed on his head, a single ruby of which is more precious than the entire world and all it contains; he is wedded to seventy-two of the women of heaven; and he may intercede for seventy of his relatives.' (Transmitted by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah Almighty be pleased with him, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘He who meets Allah with no trace of jihad on him will meet Allah with a flaw in him.' (Transmitted by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
On the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘He who seeks martyrdom sincerely will be granted it, though it may never touch him.' (Transmitted by Muslim)
On the authority of Uthman ibn Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, on the authority of the Prophet (PBUH), who said:
‘He who keeps guard for one night in the way of Allah (SWT) will be credited with a thousand nights of fasting and standing in prayer.' (Transmitted by Ibn Majah)
On the authority of Abul-Dardaa', may Allah be pleased with him, "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘A campaign by sea is the equivalent of ten campaigns by land: he who is tossed about at sea is like one who wallows in his blood in the way of Allah (SWT).' (Transmitted by Ibn Majah)
This tradition honours the sea campaign, and the ummah must proceed from this to protect its coastline and strengthen its fleet. This applies by analogy to the air as well, and Allah will increase the reward of those who campaign by air in His way many times over.
On the authority of Jabir ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: "When Abd Allah bin ‘Amr bin Haram was slain on the Day of Uhud, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘O Jabir, shall I tell you what Allah (SWT) said to your father? I said: ‘Yes indeed!' He said: ‘Allah speaks to no-one save from behind a veil, but He spoke to your father face-to-face, saying: "O My servant, ask of Me what thou wilt, and it shall be granted." He said: "O Lord, grant me life, that I may be slain for Thee for a second time!" He said: "But I have already decreed that they shall not return unto it." He said: "O Lord, let them know who are [left] behind me." So Allah (SWT) sent down these verses "Think not of those who are killed in the way of Allah as dead..." (Surat-aal-Imran (3), ayah 169) And so on up to the end of the verse. (Transmitted by Ibn Majah)
On the authority of Anas, on the authority of his father (may Allah be pleased with them), on the authority of the Prophet (PBUH), who said:
‘It is more pleasing to me to accompany a fighter in Allah's way and to help him on his journey, departing or returning, than this world and what it contains.' (Transmitted by Ibn Majah)
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘Allah's guests are three: the mujahid, the haji, and the one who intends to perform umra.' (Transmitted by Muslim)
On the authority of Abul-Dardaa', who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘The martyr will intercede on behalf of seventy of his family.' (Transmitted by Abu Dawud)
On the authority of Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘When you deal in hidden Riba, and are fully occupied in your own life and give up jihad; Then Allah shall cover you with such disgrace, as would not be removed, until you would return to your religion again.' (Transmitted by Ahmad and Abu Dawud, and attested as to its authenticity by Al-Hakim)
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:
"The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and his Companions set out in a hurry so that they reached Badr ahead of the polytheists. The polytheists arrived, and the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘Rise to the Paradise, whose width embraces the heavens and the earth!" Umayr bin al Humam said: ‘Hurrah!' The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘What impels you to say "Hurrah! hurrah!" He said: ‘Nothing, O Messenger of Allah, except the hope that I may be one of its people.' He said: ‘You are indeed one of its people.'"
He (Abu Hurayrah) said:
"And he [Umayr] took out some dates from his quiver and began eating them. Then he said: ‘If I live long enough to eat all my dates, my life will indeed be a long one!' So he flung away the remaining dates, and fought until he was slain." Transmitted by Muslim.
On the authority of Abu Imran, who said:
"We were at the city of Rum, and they sent out a mighty regiment of Byzantinian soldiers against us. A like number of Muslims, and even more, came out against them. ‘Uqbah ibn Amir was at the head of the Egyptians, and Fadaala bin Ubayd was the head of the entire force. One of the Muslims rushed and attacked the Byzantinian regiment until he passed through it. The Muslims shouted and said: ‘Glory be to Allah! He has cast himself into annihilation!' But Abu Ayyub al Ansari rose and said: ‘Men, you interpret this verse in this manner, but it was sent down concerning only us, the band of the Ansar. When Allah made Islam powerful and its defenders grew numerous, some of us said to others in secrecy, but not to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): "We lost our wealth at the earlier periods, and then later Allah Almighty made Islam powerful and its defenders became many. What if we were to settle down to regain our lost wealth?" So God Almighty sent down an answer, rebutting what we had said, to His Prophet: ‘and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction.' (Surat al-Baqarah (2), ayah 195). The destruction referred to our settling down with our wealth, while working to increase it, and abandoning jihad. And Abu Ayyub continued in God's way until he was buried in the land of Rum." (Transmitted by Tirmidhi)
Notice, brother, that Abu Ayyub said this in his old age, he had passed the evening of life and entered into the night of life yet his spirit remained young while his faith yearned for the return of the might and the grandeur of Islam.
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, on the authority of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), that he said:
‘He who dies without having gone on campaign, and without having exhorted himself to do so, dies in a state of hypocrisy.' (Transmitted by Muslim, Abu Dawud, and there are many reportings of the same meaning)
There are many precious Ahaadeeth on this subject which contain guidance or commandments regarding jihad. They are so numerous though that even a large book would not suffice to cover them. But otherwise "Al-'Ibrata Feema Warada ‘Anillahi wa Rasulihi fi al Ghazwu wal Jihad wal Hijra" (The Wisdom in What Was Transmitted in the Qur'an and Sunnah about Fighting, Jihad and Hijrah), by Hasan Sidiq Khan, who is specialised in this research, and "Mashari' alAshwaq ila Masari' al-'Ashaq wa Matheer al-Gharam ila Dar as-Salam" and what has come in the books of Ahaadeeth, in the sections on jihad, you will see a lot of good.
The Scholars on Jihad
I have just presented to you some verses from the Qur'an and the Noble Ahadith concerning the importance of jihad. Now I would like to present to you some of the opinions from jurisprudence of the Islamic Schools of Thought including some latter day authorities regarding the rules of jihad and the necessity for preparedness. From this we will come to realise how far the ummah has deviated in its practice of Islam as can be seen from the consensus of its scholars on the question of jihad.
The author of the "Majma' al-Anhar fi Sharh Multaqal-Abhar", in describing the rules of jihad according to the Hanafi School, said: "Jihad linguistically means to exert one's utmost effort in word and action; in the Sharee'ah it is the fighting of the unbelievers, and involves all possible efforts that are necessary to dismantle the power of the enemies of Islam including beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their places of worship and smashing their idols. This means that jihad is to strive to the utmost to ensure the strength of Islam by such means as fighting those who fight you and the dhimmies (if they violate any of the terms of the treaty) and the apostates (who are the worst of unbelievers, for they disbelieved after they have affirmed their belief).
It is fard (obligatory) on us to fight with the enemies. The Imam must send a military expedition to the Dar-al-Harb every year at least once or twice, and the people must support him in this. If some of the people fulfil the obligation, the remainder are released from the obligation. If this fard kifayah (communal obligation) cannot be fulfilled by that group, then the responsibility lies with the closest adjacent group, and then the closest after that etc., and if the fard kifayah cannot be fulfilled except by all the people, it then becomes a fard ‘ayn (individual obligation), like prayer on everyone of the people. This obligation is by virtue of what He, the Almighty, said:
‘Then fight the polytheists...!'
(Surat at-Tawbah (9), ayah 5)
and by what the Prophet (PBUH) said:
‘Jihad is in effect until the Day of Judgement'
If the whole body [of believers] abandons it, they are in a state of sin' (up to where the author of the book says: ‘If the enemy conquers any territory of Islam, or any regions of it, it becomes a fard ‘ayn, and the woman and the slave shall go forth without the permission of husband or master. In the same way, the child shall go forth without the permission of his parents, and the debtor without the permission of his creditor.'
And in the Kitab al Bahr:
‘Should a Muslim woman be captured in the East, it is incumbent on the people of the West to rescue her unless she is taken to the stronghold cities of the enemies, and it becomes impossible to free her.'
The author of the "Bulghat al-Salik li Aqrab al-Masalik fi Madhhab al-Imam Malik" said:
‘Jihad in Allah's way for the purpose of exalting Allah Almighty's Word every year is a fard kifayah. If some fulfil it, the remainder are absolved of it. It becomes specifically designated (i.e., it becomes a fard ‘ayn like prayer and fasting), when the Imam announces it and the enemy attacks the population of a specific region, whereupon it becomes obligatory on them and if this in sufficient then it becomes obligatory on those in their vicinity. In this case it becomes obligatory on the females and the slaves even though they may not have the permission of their husbands or their masters. It is also obligatory on the debtor even though the lender may not agree to it. It also becomes fard 'ayn on that individual who vows to engage in jihad. Parents have the right to forbid their child from taking part in it only under conditions of fard kifayah. And if a Muslim is held as a prisoner of war by enemies and he does not have enough money to pay to free himself, then it is obligatory on the others to secure his release, even if this requires all of the Muslims' wealth.'
And in Al-Minhaj of Imam Nawawi of the Shafi'i school:
‘Jihad during the time of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was a fard kifayah, though it is also alleged that it was a fard ‘ayn. Since then, there are two conditions relative to the unbelievers:
If they remain in their own territories, then jihad is not an obligation on all Muslims. As long as a sufficient number of Muslims undertake it, the remainder are released from this duty.
If they invade one of our territories, its population are obliged to repel them with all their force. If fighting is possible then fighting becomes an obligation. Every slave, poor person, son and debtor must prepare for war, even though they may not have permission.."
And in Al-Mughni of Ibn Qudama of the Hanbali school, who said:
‘Jihad is a fard kifayah. If a group of people engage in it, the remainder are released. It becomes a fard ‘ayn under three conditions:
If two armies meet and two lines of soldiers confront one another, those present are forbidden to leave the battlefield, and it becomes a fard ‘ayn on each one to remain at his station.
If the unbelievers attack a territory, it is a fard ‘ayn on its population to fight and repel them.
If the Imam calls a group of people to arms, then they must join his military forces. And he should at least announce Jihad once every year.'
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said:
‘I know of nothing after the divine commandments more excellent than jihad, and campaigning by sea is more excellent than campaigning on land.'
Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him! said:
‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was asleep. Then he awoke laughing, and Umm Haram said: "What makes you laugh, O Messenger of Allah?" He said: "People of my ummah embarked on a military campaign in Allah's way, riding on the surface of this sea as kings on their thrones,"
and at the end of the Tradition, Umm Haram asked the Prophet (PBUH) to beseech Allah on her behalf that she might be one of them. So he prayed for her, and she lived long enough to ride upon the sea in the Muslim fleet which conquered the island of Cyprus. She died and was buried there, may Allah be pleased with her.
And it says in Al-Muhalla of Ibn Hazm:
‘Jihad is obligatory on the Muslims, but if the borders of the Muslims can be protected, the enemy can be repelled and fought within his own territory then the remainder of the people are released from it. And if not, then the obligation remains. God Almighty said:
‘Go ye forth, (whether equipped) light or heavily, and strive and struggle, with your goods and your persons, in the Cause of Allah!'
(Surat at-Tawbah (9), ayah 41)
It is not permissible to participate in jihad without the permission of the parent. But if Muslim land is invaded, then it is obligatory on those who can help even if their parents do not grant them permission. However, it is not lawful for him to abandon his parents if his parents would suffer in his absence.
And Al-Shawkani said in Al-Sayl al-Jarrar:
‘The arguments regarding the jihad being a religious obligation, both in the Qur'an and in the Sunnah, are too numerous to be set down here. Nevertheless, it is a fard kifayah as long as some people are fulfilling this fard kifayah then the rest are absolved from the duty. Otherwise, it is an fard ‘ayn incumbent on every adult by law until the duty is fulfilled. Similarly, it is a fard ‘ayn also on those people who are ordered to jihad by the Imam.'
The scholarly people are of one opinion on this matter as should be evident and this is irrespective of whether these scholars were Mujtahideen or Muqalideen and it is irrespective of whether these scholars were salaf (early) or khalaf (late). They all agreed unanimously that jihad is a fard kifayah imposed upon the Islamic ummah in order to spread the Da'wah of Islam, and that jihad is a fard ‘ayn if an enemy attacks Muslim lands. Today, my brother, the Muslims as you know are forced to be subservient before others and are ruled by disbelievers. Our lands have been besieged, and our hurruma'at (personal possessions, respect, honour, dignity and privacy) violated. Our enemies are overlooking our affairs, and the rites of our din are under their jurisdiction. Yet still the Muslims fail to fulfil the responsibility of Da'wah that is on their shoulders. Hence in this situation it becomes the duty of each and every Muslim to make jihad. He should prepare himself mentally and physically such that when comes the decision of Allah, he will be ready.
I should not finish this discussion without mentioning to you that the Muslims, throughout every period of their history (before the present period of oppression in which their dignity has been lost) have never abandoned jihad nor did they ever become negligent in its performance, not even their religious authorities, mystics, craftsmen, etc. They were all always ready and prepared. For example, Abdullah ibn al Mubarak, a very learned and pious man, was a volunteer in jihad for most of his life, and 'Abdulwahid bin Zayd, a sufi and a devout man, was the same. And in his time, Shaqiq al Balkhi, the shaykh of the sufis encouraged his pupils towards jihad.
And Al Badr al Ayni, the commentator on Al Bukhari (scholar and muhaddith), would take part in jihad one year, study for one year and go on pilgrimage one year, while the judge Asad ibn al Furat of the Maliki School was an admiral in his day and Imam Shafi'i would shoot ten arrows and not miss once.
Such was the example set by the early generations of Muslims, may Allah's grace be upon them! My brother, how do we compare with them?
Why Do the Muslims Fight?
Islam allows jihad and permits war until the following Qur'anic verse is fulfilled:
‘We will we show them Our signs in the universe, and in their ownselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur'an) is the truth.'
(Surat al-Fussilat (41), ayah 53)
People have for some time now ridiculed this but today these same people acknowledge that preparation for war is the surest way to peace! Allah did not ordain jihad for the Muslims so that it may be used as a tool of oppression or tyranny or so that it may be used by some to further their personal gains. Rather jihad is used to safeguard the mission of spreading Islam. This would guarantee peace and the means of implementing the Supreme Message. This is a responsibility which the Muslims bear, this Message guiding mankind to truth and justice. For Islam, even as it ordains jihad, it extols peace: the Blessed and Almighty said:
‘But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allah.'
(Surat al-Anfal (8), ayah 61)
The Muslims in war had only one concern and this was to make the name of Allah Supreme, there was no room at all for any other objective. The wish for glory and reputation were forbidden to the Muslims. The love of wealth, the misappropriation of the benefits of war and striving to conquer through unjust methods are all made forbidden to the Muslim. Only one intention was possible and that was the offering of sacrifice and the taking of pains for the guidance of mankind.
On the authority of Al-Harith bin Muslim, on the authority of his father, who said:
‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) sent us on a military expedition. When we reached the area to be raided, I urged on my horse and got ahead of my companions. The people of that area met me with cries of lamentation, and I said to them: "If you say: ‘There is no god but Allah' you are safe." So they said it. My companions reproached me and said: "You have prevented us from taking any spoils!" When we came back to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), they told him what I had done. He called me over and found what I had done praiseworthy. Then he said to me: "Allah Almighty has indeed decreed for you so much and so much reward for every human being." And he said: "I myself shall write something for you in the way of a bequest after my death." He did so, sealed it, and handed it over to me.' (Transmitted by Abu Dawud.)
And on the authority of Shaddad bin al Hadi (may Allah be pleased with him):
‘A man of the [nomad] Arabs came and believed in the Prophet (PBUH). Then he said: "I shall emigrate with you." And the Prophet (PBUH) put him into the charge of some of his Companions. In a campaign the Prophet (PBUH) took some booty and this was divided up, and he gave him his share. And he [i.e., the Arab] said: "What is this?" He said: "I have apportioned it to you." He said: "It was not for this that I followed you; rather I followed you that I might be pierced here (and he motioned with his hand to his neck) with an arrow, and that I might die and enter Paradise." He said: "If you are truthful in what you have just said, then Allah will fulfil your desire." So they remained there for a space; then they rose to do battle with the enemy. He was carried over to the Prophet, having been struck with an arrow exactly where he had pointed. The Prophet (PBUH) said: "Is it he?" They said: "Yes." He said: "He was truthful in what he said, so Allah answered him." Then he was shrouded in the garment of the Prophet (PBUH), and he [i.e., the Prophet] walked before him and prayed over him. This is part of what he said in his prayer: "O Allah, this is your servant who went forth as an Emigrant in your way and was slain a martyr. And I am a witness unto it." (Transmitted by An-Nisaa'i)
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him:
‘A man said: "O Apostle of Allah, what of a man who wants to engage in jihad in Allah's way, but desires the goods of this world?" He said: "There is no reward for him." And he [i.e., the man] repeated this question to him three times, but he said: "There is no reward for him."' (Transmitted by Abu Dawud)
On the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:
‘The Apostle of Allah (PBUH) was asked about a man who fights courageously, one who fights zealously, and one who fights hypocritically. Which of these was in the way of Allah? He said: "He who fights so that Allah's Word is the most exalted is in Allah's way."' (Transmitted in Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, An-Nisaa'i and Ibn Majah)
The companions' (may Allah's grace be with them) behaviour in the battles and in the territories they conquered indicates the extent to which they abstained from indulging in their personal desires and cravings, and the extent of their dedication to their fundamental and original goal: the guidance of mankind to the truth until Allah's Word is the most exalted. The charge of some people who accuse the companions of being covetous of power and authority, desirous of grabbing countries and ascendancy or that a passion for earning a living was driving their activities is ludicrous.
Mercy in the Islamic Jihad
The Islamic jihad is the noblest of endeavours and its method of realisation is the most sublime and exalted. For Allah has forbidden aggression. He, the Almighty, has said:
‘But transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.'
(Surat al-Baqarah (2), ayah 190)
and He commanded that justice be observed, even towards the enemy and the adversary. He, the Almighty, has said:
‘And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety.'
(Surat al-Maa'idah (5), ayah 8)
Allah instructs the Muslims to act with the utmost mercy. For when they fight, they do not instigate hostilities, nor do they steal nor plunder property, nor do they violate someone's honour, nor do they indulge in wanton destruction. In their warfare they are the best of fighters, just as in peace they are the most excellent of peacemakers.
On the authority of Burayda, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:
‘Whenever the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) appointed a commander over an army or a band of raiders, he told him to remain conscious of Allah Almighty in his inward self and to remain concerned for the care of the Muslims who were with him. Then he [i.e., the Prophet] said: "Strive in the name of Allah in Allah's way! Fight those who disbelieve in Allah: campaign, but do not indulge in excesses, do not act treacherously, do not mutilate, and do not slay children."' (Transmitted by Muslim.)
On the authority of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:
‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "When one of you fights, let him avoid [striking] the face."' (Transmitted by Bukhari and Muslim)
On the authority of Ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
‘The most self-restrained from amongst mankind even at the time of killing are the people of iman.' (Transmitted by Abu Dawud)
On the authority of Abdullah bin Yazid al Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:
‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) forbade plundering and mutilation.' (Transmitted by Al Bukhaari)
It is forbidden to slay women, children, and old people, to kill the wounded, or to disturb monks, hermits, and the peaceful who offer no resistance. Contrast this mercy with the murderous warfare of the ‘civilised' people and their terrible atrocities! Compare their international law alongside this all-embracing, divinely ordained justice!
O Allah , bless the Muslims with a correct understanding of the deen, and save the world from these injustices with the enlightenment of Islam!
Associated Matters Concerning Jihad
Many Muslims today mistakenly believe that fighting the enemy is jihad asghar (a lesser jihad) and that fighting one's ego is jihad akbar (a greater jihad). The following narration [athar] is quoted as proof: "We have returned from the lesser jihad to embark on the greater jihad." They said: "What is the greater jihad?" He said: "The jihad of the heart, or the jihad against one's ego."
This narration is used by some to lessen the importance of fighting, to discourage any preparation for combat, and to deter any offering of jihad in Allah's way. This narration is not a saheeh (sound) tradition: The prominent muhaddith Al Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said in the Tasdid al-Qaws:
‘It is well known and often repeated, and was a saying of Ibrahim ibn 'Abla.'
Al Hafiz Al Iraqi said in the Takhrij Ahadith al-Ahya':
‘Al Bayhaqi transmitted it with a weak chain of narrators on the authority of Jabir, and Al Khatib transmitted it in his history on the authority of Jabir.'
Nevertheless, even if it were a sound tradition, it would never warrant abandoning jihad or preparing for it in order to rescue the territories of the Muslims and repel the attacks of the disbelievers. Let it be known that this narration simply emphasises the importance of struggling against one's ego so that Allah will be the sole purpose of everyone of our actions.
Other associated matters concerning jihad include commanding the good and forbidding the evil. It is said in the Hadeeth: "One of the greatest forms of jihad is to utter a word of truth in the presence of a tyrannical ruler." But nothing compares to the honour of shahadah kubra (the supreme martyrdom) or the reward that is waiting for the Mujahideen.
My brothers! The ummah that knows how to die a noble and honourable death is granted an exalted life in this world and eternal felicity in the next. Degradation and dishonour are the results of the love of this world and the fear of death. Therefore prepare for jihad and be the lovers of death. Life itself shall come searching after you.
My brother, you should know that one day you will face death and this ominous event can only occur once. If you suffer on this occasion in the way of Allah, it will be to your benefit in this world and your reward in the next. And remember brother that nothing can happen without the Will of Allah: ponder well what Allah, the Blessed, the Almighty, has said:
‘Then after the distress, He sent down security for you. Slumber overtook a party of you, while another party was thinking about themselves (as to how to save themselves, ignoring the others and the Prophet) and thought wrongly of Allah - the thought of ignorance. They said, "Have we any part in the affair?" Say you (O Muhammad): "Indeed the affair belongs wholly to Allah." They hide within themselves what they dare not reveal to you, saying: "If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would have been killed here." Say: "Even if you had remained in your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death: but that Allah might test what is in your hearts; and to purify that which was in your hearts (sins), and Allah is All-Knower of what is in (your) hearts."'
(Surat al-Imran (3), ayah 154)
You should yearn for an honourable death and you will gain perfect happiness. May Allah grant myself and yours the honour of martyrdom in His way!
IMAM SHAHEED HASAN AL-BANNA
MIM: The new face of the Muslim Brotherhood -The Muslim American Society
By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe and Laurie Cohen
Tribune staff reporters
September 19, 2004
Over the last 40 years, small groups of devout Muslim men have gathered in homes in U.S. cities to pray, memorize the Koran and discuss events of the day.
But they also addressed their ultimate goal, one so controversial that it is a key reason they have operated in secrecy: to create Muslim states overseas and, they hope, someday in America as well.
These men are part of an underground U.S. chapter of the international Muslim Brotherhood, the world's most influential Islamic fundamentalist group and an organization with a violent past in the Middle East. But fearing persecution, they rarely identify themselves as Brotherhood members and have operated largely behind the scenes, unbeknown even to many Muslims.
Still, the U.S. Brotherhood has had a significant and ongoing impact on Islam in America, helping establish mosques, Islamic schools, summer youth camps and prominent Muslim organizations. It is a major factor, Islamic scholars say, in why many Muslim institutions in the nation have become more conservative in recent decades.
Leading the U.S. Brotherhood during much of this period was Ahmed Elkadi, an Egyptian-born surgeon and a former personal physician to Saudi Arabia's King Faisal. He headed the group from 1984 to 1994 but abruptly lost his leadership position. Now he is discussing his life and the U.S. Brotherhood for the first time.
His story, combined with details from documents and interviews, offers an unprecedented look at the Brotherhood in America: how the group recruited members, how it cloaked itself in secrecy and how it alienated many moderate Muslims.
Indeed, because of its hard-line beliefs, the U.S. Brotherhood has been an increasingly divisive force within Islam in America, fueling the often bitter struggle between moderate and conservative Muslims.
Many Muslims believe that the Brotherhood is a noble international movement that supports the true teachings of Islam and unwaveringly defends Muslims who have come under attack around the world, from Chechens to Palestinians to Iraqis. But others view it as an extreme organization that breeds intolerance and militancy.
"They have this idea that Muslims come first, not that humans come first," says Mustafa Saied, 32, a Floridian who left the U.S. Brotherhood in 1998.
While separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of American democracy, the international Brotherhood preaches that religion and politics cannot be separated and that governments eventually should be Islamic. The group also champions martyrdom and jihad, or holy war, as a means of self-defense and has provided the philosophical underpinnings for Muslim militants worldwide.
Many moderate Muslims in America are uncomfortable with the views preached at mosques influenced by the Brotherhood, scholars say. Those experts point to a 2001 study sponsored by four Muslim advocacy and religious groups that found that only a third of U.S. Muslims attend mosques.
In suburban Bridgeview, Ill., some moderates say they quit attending the Mosque Foundation because the leadership became too conservative and dominated by Brotherhood members.
Documents obtained by the Tribune and translated from Arabic show that the U.S. Brotherhood has been careful to obscure its beliefs from outsiders. One document tells leaders to be cautious when screening potential recruits. If the recruit asks whether the leader is a Brotherhood member, the leader should respond, "You may deduce the answer to that with your own intelligence."
Islamic state a long-term goal
Brotherhood members emphasize that they follow the laws of the nations in which they operate. They stress that they do not believe in overthrowing the U.S. government, but rather that they want as many people as possible to convert to Islam so that one day--perhaps generations from now--a majority of Americans will support a society governed by Islamic law. Muslims make up less than 3 percent of the U.S. population, but estimates of their number vary widely from 2 million to 7 million.
Federal authorities say they have scrutinized the U.S. Brotherhood for years. Agents currently are investigating whether people with ties to the group have raised and laundered money to finance terrorism abroad. No terrorism-related charges have been filed.
Former leader Elkadi, who has been questioned at length by federal authorities about the inner workings of the Brotherhood, says the group has served Muslims in the United States well. He personally helped establish an Islamic community in the Florida Panhandle, with a mosque, school and health clinic. And though he eventually lost it all--even his medical license--some Muslims still view him as a great Islamic leader.
"Islam is for everyone," he says. "It's good for America, good for Muslims too. . . . It's good knowledge, and good knowledge should be available to everyone."
Mohammed Mahdi Akef, head of the international Muslim Brotherhood, based in Egypt, lauds Elkadi and the activities of the U.S. Brotherhood.
"They have succeeded in saving the younger generations from melting into the American lifestyle without faith," he says. "They have saved their children."
Once one of America's most influential Muslims, Elkadi now spends most of his days in front of the TV in his two-bedroom condominium in Sterling, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington.
Earlier this year he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that affects motor skills, speech and memory. He often has difficulty expressing himself and seldom speaks more than two sentences at a time. Sometimes, he says, he smiles for no reason other than to try to remain cheerful.
But on many days his memory is clear, and his statements about the major events of the U.S. Brotherhood have been confirmed by others associated with the group.
Elkadi, a 64-year-old with a closely trimmed white beard, says he is willing to speak about the Brotherhood because he believes he has nothing to hide. Both he and his wife, Iman, 60, say they have devoted much of their lives to the Brotherhood, and Elkadi says the reason for that is simple: "It's genetic."
Both of their fathers were early Brotherhood leaders in Egypt, where the group began in 1928 as an opposition movement to the British-backed Egyptian monarchy. Its founder and leader was schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, who advocated a return to fundamental Islam as a way to reform Muslim societies and expel Western troops.
The Brotherhood slogan became "Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our model; the Koran is our constitution; jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our aspiration."
When Egypt imprisoned and executed some Muslim Brothers in the 1950s, many members fled the country and helped spread the philosophy throughout the Arab world. The group's ideological voice became philosopher Sayyid Qutb, who abhorred Western values and believed the Koran justified violence to overthrow un-Islamic governments.
Over time, the Brotherhood gained notoriety for repeatedly attempting to overthrow the Egyptian and Syrian governments and for spawning violent groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian group Hamas.
Today the Brotherhood remains based in Egypt, where it officially is banned but is tolerated. The group has renounced violence and now largely organizes political protests, runs professional unions and operates charities, providing social services that the government does not. Brotherhood supporters hold 15 of the 445 seats in the Egyptian parliament.
And while Brotherhood activities vary from country to country, and chapters are officially independent, international leaders in Egypt say that all chapters are united in their beliefs and that the Egyptian office gives them advice.
In recent months Akef, the international Brotherhood leader, repeatedly has praised Palestinian and Iraqi suicide bombers, called for the destruction of Israel and asserted that the United States has no proof that Al Qaeda was to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks.
Iman Elkadi's father, Mahmoud Abu Saud, was particularly involved in the Brotherhood's beginnings in Egypt and remains well-known in the Arab world. An accomplished economist, he is widely regarded as a pioneer in Islamic banking, which requires that interest not be charged for loans.
He also was jailed repeatedly for his Brotherhood activities.
"My grandfather would tell me that if my dad didn't come home for dinner, he would send someone to check the jails," Iman Elkadi recalls.
The Elkadi and Abu Saud families were linked in marriage in 1963 after Ahmed Elkadi, then a 22-year-old preparing to go into the Egyptian military, ran into his future father-in-law at a mutual friend's office. When the young Elkadi learned that Abu Saud had an unmarried daughter, he inquired about her. The father, familiar with the young man's family and its devotion to the Brotherhood, invited him to their home.
Soon after, the families arranged for Ahmed and Iman to marry. The wedding was held in Cairo, in a grandparent's garden. Only relatives were invited, though others were keenly interested: Soon afterward, Egyptian intelligence officials called the couple in for questioning.
Iman Elkadi says, "They asked my husband, `Couldn't you find anybody else to marry except Mahmoud Abu Saud's daughter?'"
A mission in U.S.
The Elkadis arrived in the United States in 1967, settling in the small Louisiana city of Monroe, where Ahmed Elkadi continued his medical training at a local hospital. By then the Muslim Brotherhood already was operating in the United States, though secretly.
A U.S. chapter of the Brotherhood, documents and interviews show, was formed in the early 1960s after hundreds of young Muslims came to the U.S. to study, particularly at large Midwestern universities, such as Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Some belonged to the Brotherhood in their homelands and wanted to spread its ideology here.
But to protect themselves and their relatives back home from possible persecution, they publicly called themselves the Cultural Society and not the Brotherhood.
Many young Muslim professionals joined, including Elkadi. One of his daughters, Mona, recalls that when she was a teen, she often fielded phone calls from women who did not know that their husbands were in the Brotherhood and wondered where they were on a given night.
She says the husbands "put the fear of God in me about keeping this a secret. I'd get lectures from some of the men about how I was going to expose them."
Not anyone could join the Brotherhood. The group had a carefully detailed strategy on how to find and evaluate potential members, according to a Brotherhood instructional booklet for recruiters.
Leaders would scout mosques, Islamic classes and Muslim organizations for those with orthodox religious beliefs consistent with Brotherhood views, the booklet says. The leaders then would invite them to join a small prayer group, or usra, Arabic for "family." The prayer groups were a defining feature of the Brotherhood and one created by al-Banna in Egypt.
But leaders initially would not reveal the purpose of the prayer groups, and recruits were asked not to tell anyone about the meetings. If recruits asked about a particular meeting to which they were not invited, they should respond, "Make it a habit not to meddle in that which does not concern you."
Leaders were told that during prayer meetings they should focus on fundamentals, including "the primary goal of the Brotherhood: setting up the rule of God upon the Earth."
After assessing the recruits' "commitment, loyalty and obedience" to Brotherhood ideals, the leaders would invite suitable candidates to join. New members, according to the booklet, would be told that they now were part of the worldwide Brotherhood and that membership "is not a personal honor but a charge to sacrifice all that one has for the sake of raising the banner of Islam."
Mustafa Saied, the Floridian who left the Brotherhood six years ago, recalls how he was recruited in 1994 while a junior at the University of Tennessee. After Saied attended numerous prayer sessions, a fellow Muslim student took him to a quiet corner of a campus cafeteria and asked him to join.
"It was a dream, because that's what you're conditioned to do--to really love the Ikhwan," Saied says, using the Arabic term for Brothers or Brotherhood.
After he joined, he learned the names of other local members.
"I was shocked," he says. "These people had really hid the fact that they were Brotherhood."
He says he found out that the U.S. Brotherhood had a plan for achieving Islamic rule in America: It would convert Americans to Islam and elect like-minded Muslims to political office.
"They're very smart. Everyone else is gullible," Saied says. "If the Brotherhood puts up somebody for an election, Muslims would vote for him not knowing he was with the Brotherhood."
Saied says he left the group after several years because he disliked its anti-American sentiments and its support for violence in the Middle East.
"With the extreme element," he says, "you never know when that ticking time bomb will go off."
By the 1970s, Elkadi had moved to Missouri and, he says, become treasurer of the U.S. Brotherhood, collecting money from members from across the country. His wife was the unofficial bookkeeper, tracking who was behind on dues.
Members were required to pay 3 percent of their income per year, with the money going to travel, books and annual conferences, the Elkadis say. The conferences were held under the Cultural Society name, usually in large hotels and always on Memorial Day weekend. They were invitation-only, with word spread through the prayer groups. Some years, up to 1,000 people attended; every other year, elections were held.
While the U.S. Brotherhood was influential from its beginning--in 1963 it helped establish the Muslim Students Association, one of the first national Islamic groups in the U.S.--Elkadi thought the group could expand its reach.
And when he was elected president in 1984, he vowed to do just that.
Executing his strategy
Elkadi had a strategy to make America more Islamic that reflected a long-standing Brotherhood belief: First you change the person, then the family, then the community, then the nation.
By 1990, U.S. Brotherhood members had made headway on that plan by helping establish many mosques and Islamic organizations. Some of those efforts were backed financially by the ultraconservative Saudi Arabian government, which shared some of the Brotherhood's fundamentalist goals.
Elkadi himself helped create several noted Islamic organizations, including the Muslim Youth of North America, which attempted to draw thousands of high school students to Islam by sponsoring soccer teams, providing scholarships and offering a line of clothing. He served as president of the North American Islamic Trust, a group that helped build and preserve mosques.
Some of those organizations eventually would distance themselves from the Brotherhood. The Islamic Society of North America, the umbrella group for the Muslim Youth of North America and the Muslim Students Association, says Brotherhood members helped form those groups but that their overall influence has been limited.
Groups that the Brotherhood helped form printed Islamic books, many of which were distributed at mosques and on college campuses. They included Sayyid Qutb's "In the Shade of the Koran" and "Milestones," which urge jihad, martyrdom and the creation of Islamic states. Scholars came to view his writings as manifestos for Islamic militants.
"These books had questionable paradigms, especially a dichotomous division between `us' and `them,'" says Umar Faruq Abdallah, a noted Islamic scholar who heads a Muslim educational group in suburban Chicago. "It was very harmful. It helped to create a countercultural attitude in our community."
Inamul Haq, professor of religion at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., says the U.S. Brotherhood pushed Islam in a conservative direction. "They were in a position to define American Islam. Since they were well-connected in the Middle East, they were able to bring money to build various institutions."
Without the Brotherhood, he says, "We would have seen a more American Islamic culture rather than a foreign community living in the United States."
In his own community, Elkadi practiced what he preached. After moving to Panama City, Fla., in 1979, he borrowed $2.4 million from a Luxembourg bank managed by his father-in-law, Abu Saud, the early Brotherhood leader, and built a large Islamic medical center just outside of town, real estate records show.
Called the Akbar Clinic, the two-story brick building had a surgery center, an emergency room and dental, psychiatry, nutrition and acupuncture services.
Inside the clinic, Elkadi set up a small mosque and an Islamic school. The school occupied several rooms on the second floor until the students became too loud and classes had to be moved to a trailer on clinic grounds.
In many eyes, Elkadi was a true Muslim leader.
"Everyone flocked to him whenever there was a problem," says Aly Shaaban, a Muslim leader in Panama City. "He was a father figure. He had this magnetism. You see his face and you just want to kiss his face."
A life's work in ruins
But things were beginning to unravel for Elkadi. By 1995 he had lost virtually everything he had worked for: his clinic, the school, his medical license and the presidency of the U.S. Brotherhood.
First to go was the clinic. Elkadi had fallen behind on the bills, and by 1988 creditors had won thousands of dollars in judgments against him. To prevent a sheriff's sale, the Islamic bank in Luxembourg took over the property, and eventually it was sold to a drug rehabilitation clinic.
But Elkadi faced an even more serious professional problem: Florida regulators started disciplinary action against him for performing unnecessary surgeries at a Panama City hospital and for doing major operations, including a mastectomy, at his clinic without proper precautions, such as an adequate blood supply.
Regulators determined that Elkadi had performed unneeded stomach surgery on nine patients. The Florida Board of Medicine concluded that Elkadi "exhibited a total lack of judgment" and was "not a competent physician." The board revoked his license in 1992.
At the time, Elkadi adamantly denied the allegations and accused Florida regulators of being "grossly unfair," according to filings with the state.
By the mid-1990s, his problems deepened. Not only was he forced to close his now-overcrowded and dilapidated school because of financial difficulties, he learned that Brotherhood leaders wanted him out as president.
It remains unclear why he lost his position. Current and former Brotherhood members say they do not know or that Elkadi simply was voted out of office. Elkadi and his wife say he was removed because he was not conservative enough. They say he had been pushing for women and other Islamic groups to be more involved in the Brotherhood, and some members did not like that.
"For some members, it's a very ingrown type of mentality," Iman Elkadi says. "You work only among Muslims, don't contact non-Muslims, so that your work is limited to a small circle." She says the Elkadis believed that "the message of Islam is for everybody."
Elkadi's daughter says he took this and other rejections hard. Elkadi now says he is not angry about his ouster and still loves the organization and its members. "They are good people because they follow Islam," he says.
A change of face
In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.
Some wanted the Brotherhood to remain underground, while others thought a more public face would make the group more influential. Members from across the country drove to regional meeting sites to discuss the issue.
Former member Mustafa Saied recalls how he gathered with 40 others at a Days Inn on the Alabama-Tennessee border. Many members, he says, preferred secrecy, particularly in case U.S. authorities cracked down on Hamas supporters, including many Brotherhood members.
"They were looking at doomsday scenarios," he says.
When the leaders voted, it was decided that Brotherhood members would call themselves the Muslim American Society, or MAS, according to documents and interviews.
They agreed not to refer to themselves as the Brotherhood but to be more publicly active. They eventually created a Web site and for the first time invited the public to some conferences, which also were used to raise money. The incorporation papers would list Elkadi--just months away from his ouster--as a director.
Elkadi and Mohammed Mahdi Akef, a Brotherhood leader in Egypt and now the international head, had pushed for more openness. In fact, Akef says he helped found MAS by lobbying for the change during trips to the U.S.
"We have a religion, message, morals and principals that we want to carry to the people as God ordered us," he says. "So why should we work in secrecy?"
But U.S. members would remain guarded about their identity and beliefs.
An undated internal memo instructed MAS leaders on how to deal with inquiries about the new organization. If asked, "Are you the Muslim Brothers?" leaders should respond that they are an independent group called the Muslim American Society. "It is a self-explanatory name that does not need further explanation."
And if the topic of terrorism were raised, leaders were told to say that they were against terrorism but that jihad was among a Muslim's "divine legal rights" to be used to defend himself and his people and to spread Islam.
But MAS leaders say those documents and others obtained by the Tribune are either outdated or do not accurately reflect the views of the group's leaders.
MAS describes itself as a "charitable, religious, social, cultural and educational not-for-profit organization." It has headquarters in Alexandria, Va., and 53 chapters nationwide, including one in Bridgeview, across the street from the mosque there.
Shaker Elsayed, a top MAS official, says the organization was founded by Brotherhood members but has evolved to include Muslims from various backgrounds and ideologies.
"Ikhwan [Brotherhood] members founded MAS, but MAS went way beyond that point of conception," he says.
Now, he says, his group has no connection with the Brotherhood and disagrees with the international organization on many issues.
But he says that MAS, like the Brotherhood, believes in the teachings of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, which are "the closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life."
"I understand that some of our members may say, `Yes, we are Ikhwan,'" Elsayed says. But, he says, MAS is not administered from Egypt. He adds, "We are not your typical Ikhwan."
MAS says it has about 10,000 members and that any Muslim can join by paying $10 a month in dues.
But to be an "active" member--the highest membership class--one must complete five years of Muslim community service and education, which includes studying writings by Brotherhood ideologues al-Banna and Qutb.
There are about 1,500 active members, including many women. Elsayed says about 45 percent of those members belong to the Brotherhood.
MAS' precise connection to the Brotherhood is a sensitive issue, says Mohamed Habib, a high-ranking Brotherhood official in Cairo.
"I don't want to say MAS is an Ikhwan entity," he says. "This causes some security inconveniences for them in a post-Sept. 11 world."
Preserving Muslim identity
Elsayed says MAS does not believe in creating an Islamic state in America but supports the establishment of Islamic governments in Muslim lands. The group's goal in the United States, he says, "is to serve and develop the Muslim community and help Muslims to be the best citizens they can be of this country." That includes preserving the Muslim identity, particularly among youths.
MAS collected $2.8 million in dues and donations in 2003--more than 10 times the amount in 1997, according to Internal Revenue Service filings.
Spending often is aimed at schools, teachers and children, the filings show. The group has conducted teacher training programs, issued curriculum guides and established youth centers. It also set up Islamic American University, largely a correspondence school with an office in suburban Detroit, to train teachers and preachers.
Until 18 months ago, the university's chairman was Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent cleric in Qatar and a spiritual figure of the Brotherhood who has angered many in the West by praising suicide bombers in Israel and Iraq. The U.S. government has barred him from entering the country since late 1999. He says that action was taken after he praised Palestinian militants.
In the Chicago area, MAS has sponsored summer camps for teenagers. Shahzeen Karim, 19, says a camp in Bridgeview inspired her to resume covering her hair in the Islamic tradition.
"We were praying five times a day," Karim says. "It was like a proper Islamic environment. It brought me back to Islam."
At a summer camp last year in Wisconsin run by the Chicago chapter of MAS, teens received a 2-inch-thick packet of material that included a discussion of the Brotherhood's philosophy and detailed instructions on how to win converts.
Part of the Chicago chapter's Web site is devoted to teens. It includes reading materials that say Muslims have a duty to help form Islamic governments worldwide and should be prepared to take up arms to do so.
One passage states that "until the nations of the world have functionally Islamic governments, every individual who is careless or lazy in working for Islam is sinful." Another one says that Western secularism and materialism are evil and that Muslims should "pursue this evil force to its own lands" and "invade its Western heartland."
In suburban Rosemont, Ill., several thousand people attended MAS' annual conference in 2002 at the village's convention center. One speaker said, "We may all feel emotionally attached to the goal of an Islamic state" in America, but it would have to wait because of the modest Muslim population. "We mustn't cross hurdles we can't jump yet."
Federal authorities say they are scrutinizing the Brotherhood but acknowledge that they have been slow to understand the group.
In 2002, customs agents stopped Elkadi at Washington Dulles International Airport and questioned him for four hours. They wanted to know who was in the Brotherhood, where it gets its money and how the Elkadis invested their money. A month later, agents came to Elkadi's home with similar questions. He recalls that he answered every one.
Elkadi remains highly regarded in some Muslim circles. An article in 2000 in the MAS magazine praised him as a great Muslim in the ranks of al-Banna and Qutb.
He and his wife say they hope the Brotherhood succeeds. After all, they say, everyone in the Brotherhood agrees on the main issue.
"Everyone's goal is the same--to educate everyone about Islam and to follow the teachings of Islam with the hope of establishing an Islamic state," Iman Elkadi says. "Who knows whether it will happen or not, but we still have to strive for it."
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Brotherhood has grown in influence
The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt more than seven decades ago, is among the most powerful political forces in the Islamic world today.
1928: The Muslim Brotherhood is formed in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna to promote a return to fundamental Islamic beliefs and practices and to fight Western colonialism in the Islamic world.
Late 1930s: The Brotherhood starts forming affiliated chapters in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria.
1948: The Brotherhood is implicated in the assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Nuqrashi, who had banned the group. Al-Banna denies involvement.
1949: The Egyptian government retaliates for Nuqrashi's assassination by killing al-Banna.
1954: A Brotherhood member tries to assassinate Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and fails. Nasser executes several of the group's leaders and incarcerates thousands of its followers.
1962: The Cultural Society is created as the first Brotherhood organization in the United States. Society members help establish numerous Islamic organizations, mosques and schools.
1966: Sayyid Qutb, a Brotherhood ideologue who urged Muslims to take up arms against non-Islamic governments, is executed by Nasser's regime.
1982: In Hamah, Syria, at least 10,000 people are killed by government troops suppressing an uprising by the Brotherhood.
1993: The Muslim American Society, initially based in Illinois and now in Virginia, is created to be a more public face of the Brotherhood in the U.S.
2001: The U.S. names Brotherhood member Youssef Nada and his Swissbased investment network, allegedly established with backing from the Brotherhood, as terrorist financiers. Nada denies any terrorist links.
2002: Tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters fill the streets of Cairo during a funeral for group leader Mustafa Mashhour on Nov. 15.
2003: U.S. authorities investigating alleged terrorism funding describe Virginia businessman Soliman Biheiri as the Brotherhood's "financial toehold" in the U.S. Biheiri denies any terrorist links.
2004: The Egyptian government rounds up dozens of Brotherhood supporters, freezes members' assets and ousts one of its backers from parliament.
Tribune foreign correspondent Evan Osnos, staff reporter Stephen Franklin and Hossam el-Hamalawy contributed to this report.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2619