Home      |      Weblog      |      Articles      |      Satire      |      Links      |      About      |      Contact

Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Bush administration and State Department to legitimise Muslim Brotherhood based on Robert Leiken's analysis?

Bush administration and State Department to legitimise Muslim Brotherhood based on Robert Leiken's analysis?

June 22, 2007

Bush Administration Moves To Legitimize The Muslim Brotherhood?

By William Mayer and Beila Rabinowitz

June 22, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope"

This is the mission statement of The Muslim Brotherhood and the Bush administration [led by the State Department] is reportedly on the verge of developing a formal relationship with it, "engagement" in diplo-speak. As the June 20 edition of the New York Sun reported, "Today the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research will host a meeting with other representatives of the intelligence community to discuss opening more formal channels to the brothers." [source, http://www.nysun.com/article/56899, "Bush Weighs Reaching Out To 'Brothers'," Eli Lake, New York Sun, June 20, 2007]

Center stage at the meeting was Robert Leiken, Director of the Immigration and National Security Program at The Nixon Center.

Leiken was commissioned by the State Department to produce a history of the Muslim Brotherhood and make a presentation based upon his findings.

Mr. Leiken along with Nixon Center researcher Steven Brooke authored an article in the April/May edition of Foreign Affairs Magazine titled "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood." It seems reasonable to assume that Leiken's presentation at State would not materially differ from his very recent treatment of the subject in Foreign Affairs.

In that piece Leiken made the unsettling declaration [after having "met with dozens of Brotherhood leaders and activists from Egypt, France, Jordan, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and the United Kingdom"] that "all reject global jihad while embracing elections and other features of democracy." [source, The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Robert Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs, April/May 2007]

The authors assert that the Brotherhood's ideology had been determined by "an outsider, the respected judge Hasan al-Hudaybi," chosen to replace the group's original leader Hassan al-Banna, who had been assassinated in 1948.

Leiken thus dismisses the pivotal role that Sayyid Qutb played in the organization. There is a reason for that; Qutb is singularly responsible for establishing the modern religious justification for global Islamic holy war.

He is the seminal figure in that theology, as Dr. John Cook, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University wrote:

"Although Mawdudi [Abu Al-‘Ala Al-Mawdudi] was an important intellectual influence on radical Islam, Sayyid Qutb (executed 1969) could be said to have founded the actual movement." [source "Understanding Jihad," David Cook, p 102]

Regardless of Leiken's failure to acknowledge his role, Qutb was for all practical purposes the Brotherhood, its key force throughout the 50s and 60s - often writing from within an Egyptian jail cell - until his execution in 1969.

Not only did Qutb dominate the Brotherhood intellectually but he was an integral part of the organization's superstructure. He was a member of the Working Council and Guidance Committee, ran the Brotherhood's propaganda machine and was editor of the Brotherhood's newspaper, "Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen." [source, "The Quest for Modernity, Legitimacy, and the Islamic State," Ahmad S. Moussalli]

"During the following years," [post his visit to America] "he joined the Muslim Brotherhood…and quickly became its dominant intellectual figure...For most radical Muslims, especially Egyptians, Sayyid Qutb was a martyr who spoke the truth and was killed for it. His works have been cited by radical Muslims from the 1960s until the present, and his influence upon the movement is significant." [source "Understanding Jihad" David Cook, p 103]

Qutb on the nature of jihad:

"It is the right of Islam to move first, because Islam is not the belief of a [single] group, nor the system of a state, but the way of life of God and a system for the world. Thus it has the right to move to destroy impediments, whether systems or circumstances, that rob the person of the freedom to choose. It does not attack individuals in order to compel them to embrace its creed, but it attacks systems and circumstances in order to liberate individuals from false influences that corrupt the innate nature [of man]." [source Sayyid Qutb, cited by Cook, Understanding Jihad p 105]

The Brotherhood's founders included Abdullah Azzam, bin-Laden's mentor and the godfather of al-Qaeda. Sheik Yusuf Al Qaradawi the founder of the website "Islamonline," was also an early and influential member, having turned down offers to lead the group several times. Qaradawi is probably best known for his fatwa sanctioning female suicide bombers.

The Brotherhood has two websites, one of the hard-core traditional jihadist variety whose logo is Quran above two crossed swords, the other similar to Qaradawi's "Islamonline" propaganda site.

"Soon after the biggest calamity happened in 1924 with the collapse of the "Khilafa", and the declaration of war against all shapes of Islam in most of the Muslim countries, the Islamic "revival" entered into the movement phase in the middle east by establishing "Al-Ikhwan Al-Moslemoon" (Muslim Brotherhood) in Egypt, 1928 [1]. Soon after that date, it began to have several branches outside Egypt [2]. Al-Ikhwan, since that date, began to spread the principal Islamic idea: That Islam is "Creed and state, book and sword, and a way of life." [3]. [source http://www.ummah.net/ikhwan]

The Muslim Brotherhood were certainly not working through democratic channels "winning hearts through gradual and peaceful Islamization" as Leiken claims, when it conspired with renegade members of the Egyptian military including Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat to launch a coup against the monarchy in June 1952.

Members of the Brotherhood felt they had been intentionally deceived by Nasser and Sadat who had promised a return to Shari'a if the group helped them come to power. As a result, the Brotherhood sought repeatedly to assassinate Nasser in the early 1950s leading to mass arrests.

Four members of the group finally succeeded in wresting some measure of vengeance by assassinating Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin-Laden's chief aid and al-Qaeda's primary theorist was a member of the Brotherhood. He was arrested by the Egyptian government in the wake of the assassination of Sadat but never convicted, though he did serve time for the possession of illegal weapons.

Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the "Blind" Sheik, who was convicted and sentenced to life for masterminding the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was a disciple of Sayyid Qutb, the early Muslim Brotherhood's leading ideologue.

In the words of the 9/11 report, "In speeches and writings, the sightless Rahman, often called the "Blind Sheikh," preached the message of Sayyid Qutb's Milestones, characterizing the United States as the oppressor of Muslims worldwide and asserting that it was their religious duty to fight against God's enemies."

"The call of the Muslim Brotherhood was based on two key pillars…The introduction of the Islamic Shari`ah as the basis controlling the affairs of state and society…Work to achieve unification among the Islamic countries and states, mainly among the Arab states, and liberating them from foreign imperialism." [source "Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood," the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] website http://www.ikhwanweb.com/Home.asp?zPage=Systems&System=PressR&Press=Show&Lang=E&ID=4584]

Though Leiken states that the Brotherhood is "the world's oldest, largest, and most influential Islamist organization" the question arises as to what Islamist means within that context.

Apparently, since he characterizes the group as being moderate [clever enough to embrace at least the catch phrases of democracy], Leiken accepts as legitimate the incremental model of Islamism, whereby Shari'a is instituted in bits and pieces, as circumstances allow.

This places Leiken within an extremely small minority, whose devotion to a secular, constitutional based, limited government founded upon Judeo-Christian principles, turns completely on the state of public opinion at any one moment.

Indeed, the author seems to be of that mindset, arguing that "the Brotherhood differs from those admonitory precedents: its road to power is not revolutionary; it depends on winning hearts through gradual and peaceful Islamization." [source, The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, pg 111]

This raises the question, is this acceptable doctrine at the Department of State? Is it appropriate to engage in diplomacy with groups whose goal is to overthrow the framework of American constitutional government, albeit in a "non-violent" manner?

Leiken has displayed revisionism within his own recent writings on the Brotherhood. In the current piece he states:

"In fact, when the Islamists emerged, it was to try to calm the autumn rioters, who often greeted these missionaries with hails of stones. The Brotherhood-linked organization Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (uoif) repudiated the riots in a fatwa. That fatwa was the culmination of a uoif strategy, forged 15 years earlier, to be perceived as a reliable partner of the French government." [ p 118]

However he had a very different take on the Brotherhood only two years ago, as the summary in his 2005 Foreign Affairs article notes:

"Radical Islam is spreading across Europe among descendants of Muslim immigrants. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the failure of integration, some European Muslims have taken up jihad against the West. They are dangerous and committed -- and can enter the United States without a visa."

Later in the article we read.

"that a radical leader of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, a group associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, curses his new homeland: "Oh sweet France! Are you astonished that so many of your children commune in a stinging naal bou la France [fuck France], and damn your Fathers?" [source, http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20050701faessay84409-p40/robert-s-leiken/europe-s-angry-muslims.html, Europe's Angry Muslims, Robert S. Leiken, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005]

Leiken's scholarship has been questionable in the past and his judgment in matters of state has been naïve at best:

As pointed out by the American Thinker, Leiken suggested in a June 26, 1983 New York Times piece [Yes, Talk with Salvador Guerillas] that the United States should negotiate with Nicaragua's Marxist Sandinistas. In that article he morally equates Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas with George Washington and the American Revolutionary Army.

"Although assisted by Moscow, the guerrillas are not aligned with it…At most, only two of the five groups could be considered Soviet-oriented today...While condemning United States actions against Nicaragua, some Salvadoran guerrilla leaders also criticized the conspicuous Sovietbloc presence there…The Administration opposes unconditional negotiations with the guerrillas because they would "shoot their way into power." Yet Washington applauds rebels in Afghanistan and Cambodia (not to mention those at arms in Nicaragua). George Washington shot his way into power. Denying the right to resistance denies our own history."

A few years later Leiken recanted, claiming he had made a mistake in evaluating the Sandinistas, that in effect he had been duped.

Leiken glosses over the Muslim Brotherhood's relationship with Hamas. The feds are not so abstemious, establishing in their legal brief for the Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding prosecution, that the link between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood is incontestable. It's therefore imprecise to state that the Muslim Brotherhood created Hamas, the two organizations are one and the same:

"At the outbreak of the First Intifada, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, an Islamic cleric from Gaza, was the leader of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is an international Islamic fundamentalist movement, originally organized in Egypt in 1928, under the following of Islamic leader Sheik Hassan Al Banna. Sheik Yassin and his followers, fueled by their resentment of Israel's existence and an Islamist ideology, were instrumental in the First Intifada. While many Palestinians were satisfied to have a "two state solution" to the conflict, where Israel and Palestine exist side by side, each recognizing the others right to exist, this was not an acceptable compromise for Sheik Yassin and his followers. They advocated the destruction of the State of Israel and the taking back of what they believed belonged to the Palestinians...In December 1987, Sheik Yassin, among others, founded Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Ilamiyya, Arabic for the "Islamic Resistance Movement" (known by its acronym, Hamas), to accomplish its mission of destroying Israel." [source http://www.pipelinenews.org/images/2007-05-29-US%20v%20HLF-Gov'tTrialBrief%20-%20co-conspirators.pdf, Government's Trial Brief , Holy Land Foundation, pg 7-8]

The Brotherhood is a secretive organization, international in scope with over 70 branches and a clandestine financial network. Yet several of their organizations operate openly under the guise of civil rights groups, the most prominent being the Muslim American Society, the acknowledged American wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. Its goal is the institution of Shari'a.

MAS aims to destroy the United States by undermining the system from within by encouraging Muslim political participation and da'wa. At a Muslim youth rally during the 1990s, Yusuf Qaradawi told the crowd that America will not be conquered by the sword, but by da'wa.

In 2004 the Chicago Tribune demonstrated how even main stream media sources fully understood the nature of the Brotherhood.

"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." [source Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe and Laurie Cohen, "A Rare Look at the Secretive Brotherhood in America," Chicago Tribune September 19, 2004 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/chi-0409190261sep19,1,3910166.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true]

Calculating that open warfare with more powerful Western powers is unproductive, the Muslim Brotherhood has used its considerable influence, working beneath the radar to carry on cultural jihad with the intent of eventually replacing secular governments with Shari'a.

"the Muslim Brotherhood and their Saudi financiers have worked to cement Islamist influence over Germany's Muslim community, they have not limited their infiltration to Germany. Thanks to generous foreign funding, meticulous organization, and the naïveté of European elites, Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations have gained prominent positions throughout Europe… The Muslim Brotherhood's ample funds and organization have contributed to their success in Europe. But their acceptance into mainstream society and their unchallenged rise to power would not have been possible had European elites been more vigilant, valued substance over rhetoric, and understood the motivations of those financing and building these Islamist organizations… What most European politicians fail to understand is that by meeting with radical organizations, they empower them and grant the Muslim Brotherhood legitimacy. There is an implied endorsement to any meeting, especially when the same politicians ignore moderate voices that do not have access to generous Saudi funding. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle of radicalization because the greater the political legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood, the more opportunity it and its proxy groups will have to influence and radicalize various European Muslim communities" [source Lorenzo Vidino, "The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe," Middle East Quarterly Winter 2005, http://www.meforum.org/article/687]

The Brotherhood is fully supportive of Hamas governing Palestine, giving it a closer base with which to attempt to destroy Israel.

As the Middle East Media Research Institute [MEMRI] reports:

[The] "Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt General Guide Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef has said that the [Hamas] government of Palestinian Prime Minister Isma'il Haniya is one of the best Palestinian governments…'Akef called on the Palestinians to act to liberate the homeland from the Zionists, and said that the Muslim Brotherhood was standing alongside the entire Palestinian people." [source http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/1937.htm]

The above analysis though not exhaustive, amply demonstrates the dangerous nature of the Muslim Brotherhood and its centrality within Islamic terrorism. It is also more than enough to provide grounds upon which to call into question the Bush administration's inexplicable decision to move to consider working with the Muslim Brotherhood at any level, at any time.

The State Department's selection of Leiken, a known quantity, was not happenstance. Considering the intrigue which routinely goes on at State it seems reasonable to suppose that this move was already well known by Leiken before he published his study in Foreign Affairs. It stretches credulity that he would have gone to the time and effort to conduct global interviews simply as the basis for writing a puff piece about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Things do not generally happen that way in Washington.

Leiken's study is one of distortion and disinformation masked by simplistic scholarship, which may well serve to subvert national security.

The fact that the Bush administration is even giving this proposal consideration is an indication that something has gone very wrong indeed. By portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as a group of benign reformers the true nature of its totalitarian ideology and goal of subjugating the West is disguised.

Instead of engaging the theoreticians of Muslim terror, the group should be added to the Designated Foreign Terrorist List, per executive order 13224, right next to Hamas.

The prospect of the State Department legitimizing this enemy [which almost single-handedly gave us Islamic terrorism] awards the Muslim Brotherhood a clear victory. It's no wonder then that the Sun's piece, "Washington Considers Talking to the 'Brothers'" is first up on the official Ikhwan website.

Asked to comment about this development at Foggy Bottom, Dr. Daniel Pipes said, "State needs to realize that the enemy is defined not by his methods (e.g., terrorism) but by its goals (imposing the Shari`a), and that the Muslim Brethren is, by the latter definition, clearly an enemy of the United States."

Leiken places great weight on the assurances made by the Brotherhood's leadership that it has forsaken global jihad. Does he really expect that members of an organization committed to establishing a global Caliphate - the Quran and the sword - will tell the truth to a couple of gullible American researchers?

Only in the multicultural wasteland of Washington, DC would it seem reasonable to take at face value statements claiming moderation by those whose creed is, "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

Leiken's un-academic analysis, allowing him to recommend that the United States engage a "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood has a political precedent - Chamberlain's consultations with Hitler.

Leiken misrepresents and dangerously underestimates the threat of totalitarian Islamism and his conclusions should be dismissed as being factually unsound.

Engaging the Brotherhood on any level grants them undeserved legitimacy and emboldens them. The process of rewarding them increases the appeal of radicalism, not lessens it. Such ill-considered policies diminish Western efforts to combat the terror network, within which the Brotherhood is a significant presence.



MIM: Below some examples of the "moderate" jihadist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman (mentioned in the article above) threatens the Supreme Court of Egypt with retribution by Allah for jailing himself and prosecuting members of the the Muslim Brotherhood. Rahman refers to the murder of Sadat in what he says came to be known as "The case of the assassination of Sadat and Jihad". The articles below are from the Al Qaeda website "Al Bayan" run by ummah.org whose webmaster is Iqbal Asaria a UK based Islamist who ran the websites of CDLR and MIRA for Sa'ad Al Fagih. The Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia and the Committe for the Defense of Legimate Rights were closed down by the US Treasury in 2005 because of links to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Shaikh Omar Abdel-Rahman

And do not incline to those who do wrong, or the fire will touch you...(Surah Hud, ayah 113)

"O stranger of truthfulness, amidst the cry to falsehood, the deserted
ones who are few, when they are many. Many are those who have accepted
falsehood, who are pleased with humiliation, who are happy with a peaceful
life; for such there is nothing except positions in the dunya (world) and
praise of the ruler. As for those who have refused submission, except to
Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, coming out openly with the word of truth, being
punished for it with every oppression, making their lives expendible as a
result of it, how few are they? How few are they who have sold their souls to
Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, sacrificing the delights of this world and its
false comfort.

The submissive ones from the people of Egypt bade farewell to the tyrant
Jamal ŒAbdul Naasir, left to the garbage can of history; overflowing with
sadness for him. Everything was clothed in black - the houses, the pillars,
and the streets - sad with the death of the one who had perished. Amidst all
these cries, the fatwa (legal verdict) of Sheikh Omar Abd ur-Rahman was
reverberating - ŒAs-Salah (Prayer) is not valid for ŒAbdul Naasir because he
is a kafir¹. Just as this fatwa was echoing due to its strength, it was
similarly a powerful blow to the regime. The Sheikh was arrested and put in
Al-Qal¹ah prison, and thus began a series of confrontations with the people
of oppression and custodians of the government of Egypt; he confronted Sadat
and firmly announced that there can be no peace with the Jews. When Sadat was
killed, the Sheikh was arrested again and tortured; even though the Sheikh is
blind, he was beaten and electrocuted. He was forbidden medical treatment and
food needed for his diseases, since he is diabetic and suffers from high
blood pressure. The Sheikh was then tried in what came to be known as the
ŒCase of the Assassination of Sadat and Jihad¹. The Sheikh stood like a lion
and remained unconcerned about the noose dangling around his neck. His words
confronted the judge, as he said:

In light of my 'aqeedah (creed) and my conscience, I am called upon to repel
oppression, to refute the misconceptions and errors, to uncover the
deviations and digressions, and to expose the oppressors in front of the
people even if that costs me my life and my possessions...

I am a Muslim; I live for my deen and I die in its path. And the situation
does not permit me to keep silent whilst Islam is being fought in every
place, nor may I stay calm whilst the waves of shirk (associating partners
with Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala) and misguidance are striking and surging in
every direction: 'Or as darkness on an ocean. He is covered by a wave,
above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness.
When he holds his hand out he can hardly see it. And he for whom Allah has
not appointed light, for him there is no light.'

How can I be gentle whilst the tyrants increase in arrogance and

'They desire for you to compromise so they could compromise.'

No, and never shall we be pleased with the rule of tyrants, we shall never
live with the rule of men - those who are high-handed with the people,
humiliate them, and make them serve others besides Allah, subhanahu wa

This deen does not and will never die, and if it were to die, it would have
died the day it was confined and pursued in Makkah, and its time was like
that of a newborn or a small seedling, but it survived and grew to be

This deen does not and will never die, and if it were to die, it would have
died the day its Messenger was expelled alone and isolated; none was with him
but his Lord and his companions, yet he migrated, gathered the Muhajireen
(Emigrants from Makkah to Madinah) and Ansaar (Helpers and residents of
Madinah) around him, formed the Islamic state, and strengthened its might.

This deen does not and will never die, and if it were to die, it would have
died the day Madinah was beseiged in the Battle of the Trench, when there
came upon them from above and below, when eyes grew wild and hearts reached
to the throats, and they imagined various thoughts concerning Allah,
subhanahu wa ta'ala, but it endured, raised high its flag, and reached
wherever the night and day reach...

O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court , the proof has been established and
the truth has become visible, as clear as daylight for the one who has eyes;
it is your duty to rule with the Sharee¹ah of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, and
to implement the laws of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala; if you do not do so,
then you are a kafir (disbeliever), Dhaalim (oppressor), and fasiq
(evil-doer) for the words of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, will have proven
true concerning you: 'Whoso does not judge by that which Allah has
revealed: such are disbelievers.' 'Whoso does not judge by that which Allah
has revealed: such are oppressors.' 'Whoso does not judge by that which
Allah has revealed: such are evil-doers.'

And the rule is not limited to this court-room, or in this world, but the
rule has its command in the aakhirah (hereafter), where Allah, subhanahu wa
ta'ala, will judge with justice: 'One day the earth will be changed to a
different earth, and so will be the heavens, and they will be marshalled
forth, before Allah, the One, the Irresistible.'

And we do not fear prison, nor execution, nor are we frightened by torture or
injury, but we say what the magicians said to Fir¹awn (Pharoah): 'We will
never choose you above the clear proofs that have come unto us, and above Him
Who created us. So decree what you will decree, for you can only decree
(touching) the life of this world.'

And O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, know that Allah, subhanahu wa
ta'ala, sent down hudood (punishments) to deter from vice, so what if those
who are supposed to prevent it (evil and vice), become involved in it

And know that Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, sent down qisas (retribution) as
life for his slaves, so if they are murdered, who will retribute for them?

And O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, remember death and what happens
after it, when your attendants and helpers will be few, so prepare for it and
its aftermath with great fear.

O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, know that you have a station other
than the station at which you are now, during which your period of stay will
be long, you will be separated from your beloved ones, and you will be
delivered to your abode, lonely and isolated, so prepare for that which will
accompany you: 'A day when man will flee from his brother, from his mother
and his father, and from his wife and his child.'

And remember when the contents of the graves are poured forth, and that which
is (locked up) in (human) breasts is made known, then the secrets will
emerge, and the Book does not leave out anything, small or big, except that
it has recorded it. As for now, you are in ease before your time expires, and
your hopes are cut off. Do not judge between the slaves of Allah, subhanahu
wa ta'ala, with the laws of the ignorant, nor make them follow the path of
the oppressors, , nor impose the arrogant over the weak, else you will bear
your burdens and burdens in addition to your burdens.

Do not look to your power today, but look to your power tomorrow when you
will be enthralled in the web of death, and you will stand in front of Allah,
subhanahu wa ta'ala, in an assembly of angels, Prophets, and Messengers, and
faces will humble themselves before Al-Hayy (the Living), Al-Qayyum (the
Eternal), and he who bears wrongdoing will indeed be a failure.


O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court fear Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, for
indeed the messenger from the Lord of the Worlds is about to come to you, who
will remove you from your chair, and take you out from the expanse of your
palace to the narrowness of your grave. Then you will leave your authority
and your dunya behind your back, be brought to your Lord, and then fall back
upon your actions...

O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, death is a pursuer which does not
grow weary of its pursuit, it does not make a mistake, nor fail in its
appointment, the staunch one cannot weaken it, the fugitive cannot escape
from it, and remembrance of the convulsions during death is enough to make
the limbs tremble. Death is that which brings the giant to the ground with
the same ease with which it brings the dwarf down; the people of authority
are overcome by it just as the people of subjugation are overcome. It is like
a mill-stone which revolves around the creation; a cup of it passed around
them - every one with a soul must drink of it and experience its taste. It is
the demolisher of enjoyment, the spoiler of lusts; death is that which splits
the loved ones, and it continues in its path, it does not stop and it does
not care; it does not respond to the cries of the overwhelmed and worried, to
the sorrow of the separated ones, to the wishes of the one who wishes, nor to
the fear of the frightened. Death is no delight for men, and yet they do not
reflect on the strength of this subduer which keeps on.

What then will be of you, O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, when the
humiliator of kings, defeater of oppressors, and breaker of tyrants reaches
you and throws you to the ground between your beloved ones and bystanders,
cleaving your household and your fellow men, who will have no power to
benefit or defend you.

O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, forbids
you from the government, and the government cannot forbid you from Allah,
subhanahu wa ta'ala, and the order of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, is above
every order, for there is no obedience in disobedience to Allah, subhanahu wa
ta'ala, so I warn you of His force, that which is not held back from the
people of wrongdoings.

O Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the account is right behind you,
whiplash for whiplash, anger for anger, and Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, is on
the look-out."


The Religious and Moral Doctrine On Jihad
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (RA)

From "al-Siyaasa al-shar`iyya fee islaah al-raa`ee wa al-raa`iyya"
(Governance according to God's Law in reforming both the ruler and his flock)

The penalties that the Sharee`ah has introduced for those who disobey God and His Messengers are of two kinds: the punishment of those who are under the sway [of the imam], both individuals and collectivities, as has been mentioned before [in the chapter on criminal law], and, secondly, the punishment of recalcitrant groups, such as those that can only be brought under the sway of the Imam by a decisive fight. That then is the jihad against the unbelievers (kuffaar), the enemies of God and His Messenger. For whoever has heard the summons of the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, and has not responded to it, must be fought, "until there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely." [K., 2:193, 8:39]

When God sent His Prophet and ordered him to summon the people to His religion, He did not permit him to kill or fight anyone for that reason before the Prophet emigrated to Medina.

Thereafter He gave him and the Muslims permission with the words:

"Leave is given to those who are fought because they were wronged - surely God is able to help them - who were expelled from their habitations without right, except that they say ‘Our Lord is God.' Had God not driven back the people, some by the means of others, there had been destroyed cloisters and churches, oratories and mosques, wherein God's name is much mentioned. Assuredly God will help him who helps Him - surely God is all-strong, all-mighty - who, if We establish them in the land, perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and bid to honour, and forbid dishonour; and unto God belongs the issue of all affairs." [K., 22:39-41]

Then, after that, He imposed fighting to them with the following words:

"Prescribed for you is fighting, though it be hateful to you. Yet it may happen that you will hate a thing which is better for you; and it may happen that you love a thing which is worse for you. God knows and you know not." [K., 2:216]

He has emphasized this command and glorified jihad in many of the Medinese suras. He has criticized those who fail to participate in it and called them hypocrites and sick in their hearts. God has said:

"Say: ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your clan, your possessions that you have gained, commerce you fear may slacken, dwellings you love - if these are dearer to you than God and His Messenger, and to struggle in His way, then wait till God brings His command; God guides not the people of the ungodly.'" [K., 9:24]


"The believers are those who believe in God and His Messenger, then have not doubted, and have struggled with their possessions and their selves in the way of God; those - they are the truthful ones." [K., 49:15]


"Then, when a clear sura is sent down, and therein fighting is mentioned, thou seest those in whose heart is sickness looking at thee as one who swoons of death; but better for them would be obedience and words honourable. Then when the matter is resolved, if they were true to God, it would be better for them." [K., 47:20-21]

There are numerous similar verses in the Koran and equally frequent is the glorification of jihad and those who participate in it, [for instance] in Surat the Ranks (al-saff):

"O believers, shall I direct you to a commerce that shall deliver you from a painful chastisement? You shall believe in God and His Messenger, and struggle in the way of God with your possessions and your selves. That is better for you, did you but know. He will forgive you your sins and admit you into gardens underneath which rivers flow, and to dwelling places goodly in Gardens of Eden; that is the mighty triumph; and other things you love, help from God an a nigh victory. Give thou good tidings to the believers." [K., 61:10-13]

And [elsewhere] He has said:

"Do you reckon the giving of water to pilgrims and the inhabiting of the Holy Mosque as the same as one who believes in God and the Last Day and struggles in the way of God? Not equal are they in God's sight; and God guides not the people of the evildoers. Those who believe, and have emigrated, and have struggled in the way of God with their possessions and their selves are mightier in rank with God; and those - they are the triumphant; their Lord gives them good tidings of mercy from Him and good pleasure; for them await gardens wherein is lasting bliss, therein to dwell forever and ever; surely with God is a mighty wage." [K., 9:19-21]


"O believers, whosoever of you turns from his religion, God will assuredly bring a people He loves, and who love Him, humble towards the believers, disdainful towards the unbelievers, men who struggle in the path of God, not fearing the reproach of any reproacher. That is God's bounty; He gives it unto whom He will." [K., 5:54]

And He has said:

"That is because they are smitten neither by thirst, nor fatigue, nor emptiness in the way of God, neither tread they any tread enraging the unbelievers, nor gain any gain from any enemy, but a righteous deed is thereby written to their account; God leaves not to waste the wage of the good-doers. Nor do they expend any sum, small or great, nor do they traverse any valley, but it is written to their account, that God may recompense them the best of what they were doing." [K., 9:120-121]

Thus He has mentioned [the reward] resulting from their deeds and the deeds they must practice.

The command to participate in jihad and the mention of its merits occur innumerable times in the Koran and the Sunna. Therefore it is the best voluntary [religious] act that man can perform. All scholars agree that it is better than the hajj (greater pilgrimage) and the `umra (lesser pilgrimage), than voluntary salaat and voluntary fasting, as the Koran and the Sunna indicate. The Prophet, Peace be upon him, has said: "The head of the affair is Islam, its central pillar is the salaat and the summit is the jihad." And he has said: "In Paradise there are a hundred grades with intervals as wide as the distance between the sky and the earth. All these God has prepared for those who take part in jihad." There is unanimity about the authenticity of this Tradition. Al-Bukhaari has transmitted that he has said: "Him whose feet have become dusty in the way of God [i.e. jihad] will God save from hellfire." And, as related by Muslim, he has said:

"A day and a night spent in ribaat [remaining at the frontiers of Islam with the intention of defending Islamic territory against the enemies] are better than one month spent in fasting and vigils. If he dies [in the fulfillment of this task], he will receive the recompense of his deeds and subsistence, and he will be protected from the Angel of the Grave."

It is related in the Sunan that "a day spent in ribaat in the way of God is better than thousand days spent elsewhere." He has said, "Two eyes will not be touched by the fire: the eye that has wept out of fear for God and the eye that has spent the night on the watch in the way of God." Al-Tirmidhi has said about this tradition that it is good (hasan). In the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal we find: "A night spent on the watch in the way of God is better than a thousand nights and days spent in nightly vigils and fasting." In the Saheeh of al-Bukhaari as well as the Saheeh of Muslim we find:

"A man said: ‘O Messenger of God, tell me of an act that equals jihad in the way of God.' He answered: ‘You will not be capable of it.' The man said: ‘Tell me anyway.' The Messenger of God said: ‘Can you, when a jihad warrior has gone out on expedition, fast without interruption and spend the night in continuous prayer?' The man said: ‘No.' Then the Messenger of God said: ‘This then is what equals jihad.'

In the Sunan we find that Mohammed has said: "Every community has its devotional journeys and the devotional journey of my community is jihad in the way of God."

This is a vast subject, unequalled by other subjects as far as the reward and merit of human deeds is concerned. This is evident upon closer examination. The [first] reason is that the benefit of jihad is general, extending not only to the person who participates in it but also to others, both in a religious and a temporal sense. [Secondly,] jihad implies all kinds of worship, both in its inner and outer forms. More than any other act it implies love and devotion for God, Who is exalted, trust in Him, the surrender of one's life and property to Him, patience, asceticism, remembrance of God and all kinds of other acts [of worship]. And individual or community that participates in it, finds itself between two blissful outcomes: either victory and triumph or martyrdom and Paradise. [Thirdly,] all creatures must live and die. Now, it is in jihad that one can live and die in ultimate happiness, both in this world and in the Hereafter. Abandoning it means losing entirely or partially both kinds of happiness. There are people who want to perform religious and temporal deeds full of hardship in spite of their lack of benefit, whereas actually jihad is religiously and temporally more beneficial than any other deed full of hardship. Other people [participate in it] out of a desire to make things easy for themselves when death meets them, for the death of a martyr is easier than any other form of death. On fact, it is the best of all manners of dying.

Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God's entirely [2:189, 8:39] and God's word is uppermost [9:40], therefore, according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed, unless they actually fight with words [e.g. by propaganda] and acts [e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare]. Some [jurists] are of the opinion that all of them may be killed, on the mere ground that they are unbelievers, but they make an exception for women and children since the constitute property for Muslims. However, the first opinion is the correct one, because we may only fight those who fight us when we want to make God's religious victorious. God, Who is exalted, has said in this respect: "And fight in the way of God those who fight you, but transgress not: God loves not the transgressors." [The Qur'aan, 2:190]. In the Sunan it is reported from the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him:

"That he once passed by a woman who had been slain. The Messenger of God halted and said: ‘She was not one who would have fought.' Then he said to one of [his companions]: ‘Catch up with Khaalid ibn al-Waleed and tell him not to kill women, children and serfs.'"

It is also reported in the Sunan that he used to say: "Do not kill very old men, nor small children or women." The reason is that God has [only] permitted to shed blood if that is necessary for the welfare of the creation. He has said: "Persecution is more grievous than slaying." [The Qur'aan, 2:191]. This means that, although there is evil and abomination in killing, there is greater evil and abomination in the persecution of the unbelievers. Now, the unbelief of those who do not hinder the Muslims from establishing God's religion, is only prejudicial to themselves. In the same vein, the jurists have said that he one who propagates innovations (bid`a) that are contrary to the Koran and the Sunna must be punished much more severely than the person [who holds such beliefs but] remains silent. "A mistake that is kept secret," says a Tradition, "only harms the person who has committed it, but if it becomes public and is not denounced, it harms the community."

The Sharee`a enjoins fighting the unbelievers, but not the killing of those who have been captured. If a male unbeliever is taken captive during warfare or otherwise, e.g. as a result of a shipwreck, or because he lost his way, or as a result of a ruse, then the head of state (imaam) may do whatever he deems appropriate: killing him, enslaving him, releasing him or setting him free for a ransom consisting in either property or people. This is the view of most jurists and it is supported by the Koran and the Sunna. There are, however, some jurists who hold that the options of releasing them or setting them free for a ransom have been abrogated. As for the People of the Book and the Zoroastrians (Majoos), they are to be fought until they become Muslims or pay the tribute (jizya) out of hand and have been humbled. With regard to the others, the jurists differ as to the lawfulness of taking tribute from them. Most of them regard it as unlawful of taking tribute from them. Most of them regard it as unlawful to accept it from [heathen] Arabs.

If a rebellious group, although belonging to Islam, refuses to comply with clear and universally accepted commands, all Muslims agree that jihad must be waged against them, in order that the religion will be God's entirely. Thus Aboo Bakr al-Siddeeq and other Companions, may God be pleased with them, have fought those who refused to pay zakaat. Initially some of the Companions hesitated in fighting them, but eventually they all agreed. ` Umar ibn al-Khattaab said to Aboo Bakr, may God be pleased with them,: "How can you fight these people? Has the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, not said: ‘I have been ordered to fight people until they profess that there is no God and that Mohammad is God's Messenger. If they say that, their lives and properties will be inviolable for me, unless there is a rule of law that allows taking them. [For their actions] they must render account to God."" Aboo Bakr then said: "The [obligation to pay] zakaat is such a rule. By God, if they refuse to give me one she-kid which they used to give to the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, I shall fight them for this refusal." `Umar said: "Then I realized immediately that God had opened his heart for fighting and I knew that that was right."

There are various authentic Traditions according to which the Prophet, Peace be upon him, has ordered to fight the Kharijites. In the Saheeh of al-Bukhaari as well as the Saheeh of Muslim it is reported on the authority of `Alee ibn Abee Taalib, may God be pleased with him, that he said:

"I have heard the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, saying: ‘Towards the end of time a group will emerge, young of age and simple of minds, who will speak the most beautiful words, but whose faith does not go deeper than their throats. They will abandon the religion just like an arrow pierces and then abandons a game animal. Wherever you will find them you must kill them since those who kill them will be rewarded on the Day of Resurrection.'"

Muslim has reported that `Alee, may God be pleased with him, said:

`"I have heard the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, saying: ‘A group of people will emerge from amongst my community, who will recite the Koran [very well]. Your recitation is nothing compared to theirs. Likewise your way of performing salaat and your way of fasting are nothing compared with theirs. They will recite the Koran believing that it[s text] supports them, whereas [in reality] it condemns them. Their recitation does not go deeper than their collarbones. They will abandon the religion just like an arrow pierces and then abandons a game animal. If the army that reaches them would know how much [reward] the Prophet has promised them, they would rely on this deed [alone and not worry about other good deeds]."

In another version of this Tradition, transmitted on the authority of Abu Sa`eed from the Prophet, Peace be upon him, we find the following words: "They will fight the people of faith and leave the idolaters. If I live long enough to meet them, I shall kill them in the manner the tribe of `Aad was killed. There is unanimity about the authenticity of this tradition.

In another Tradition reported by Muslim it is said: "My community will fall apart into two parties. From amongst them there will emerge heretics (maariqa). The party that is closest to truth will be in charge of killing them." These were the people that were killed by the Commander of the Faithful `Alee, when the breach between the people of Iraq and the people of Syria took place. They were called hurooriyya. The Prophet, Peace be upon him, has made it clear that both parties into which the community had fallen apart, belonged to his community and that the partisans of `Alee were closer to the truth. He incited to fight only those heretics that had abandoned Islam and had left the community and that had permitted the taking of the lives and properties of the other Muslims. It has been established on the authority of the Koran, the Sunna, and the Consensus of the Community, that those who depart from the law of Islam must be fought, even if they pronounce the two professions of faith.

The jurists disagree about the permissibility to fight rebellious groups that abandon an established supererogatory act of worship (sunna raatiba), such as the two [extra] rak`as of dawn prayer. There is, however, unanimity that it is allowed to fight people for [not observing] unambiguous and generally recognized obligations and prohibitions, until they undertake to perform the explicitly prescribed prayers, to pay zakaat, to fast during the month of Ramadaan, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and to avoid what is prohibited, such a marrying women in spite of legal impediments, eating impure things, acting unlawfully against the lives and properties of Muslims and the like. It is obligatory to take the initiative in fighting those people, as soon as the Prophet's summons with the reasons for which they are fought has reached them. But if they first attack the Muslims, then fighting them is even more urgent, as we have mentioned when dealing with the fighting against rebellious and aggressive bandits.

The most serious type of obligatory jihad is the one against the unbelievers and against those who refuse to abide by certain prescription of the Sharee`ah, like those who refuse to pay zakaat, the Kharijites and the like. This jihad is obligatory if it is carried out on our initiative and also if it is waged as defence. If we take the initiative, it is a collective duty, [which means that] if it is fulfilled by a sufficient number [of Muslims], the obligation lapses for all others and the merit goes to those who have fulfilled it, just as God, He is exalted, has said:

"Such believers as sit at home - unless they have an injury - are not equals [of those who struggle in the path of God with their possessions and their selves. God has preferred in rank those who struggle in the path of God with their possessions and their selves over the ones who sit at home; yet to each God has promised the reward most fair; and God has preferred those who struggle over the ones who sit at home for the bounty of a mighty wage, in ranks standing before Him, forgiveness and mercy." [K., 4:95-96]

But if the enemy wants to attack the Muslims, then repelling him becomes a duty for all those under attack and for the others to help them. God, He is exalted, has said: "Yet if they ask you for help, for religion's sake, it is your duty to help them." [K., 8:72] In the same vein the Prophet has ordered Muslims to help fellow Muslims. The assistance, which is obligatory both for the regular professional army and for others, must be given, according to everybody's possibilities, either in person, by fighting on foot or on horseback, or through financial contributions, be they small or large. When the Muslim were attacked by the enemy in the year of the Trench, God did not permit anybody to abandon jihad, although He did allow them not to take part in jihad [after the siege was lifted[ in order to pursue the enemy. At that occasion He divided them into two categories, those who sat at home and those who marched out, and He criticized those who were asking the Prophet for leave [not to take part in jihad]: "[And a part of them were asking leave of the Prophet,] saying, ‘Our houses are exposed'; yet they were not exposed; they desired only to flee." [K., 33:13]

So the latter [form of jihad] consists in defense of the religion, of things that are inviolable, and of lives. Therefore it is fighting out of necessity. The former [type of jihad], however, is voluntary fighting in order to propagate the religion, to make it triumph and to intimidate the enemy, such as was the case with the expedition to Tabook and the like. Now, this form of punishment [i.e. jihad] must be administered to rebellious people. As for inhabitants of the territory of Islam who are not rebellious ]but refuse to carry out religious duties], they must be forced to carry out their obligations such as the five fundamental duties of Islam and others like the delivering of trusts to their owners and the preserving of covenants in social relations.

Printer-friendly version   Email this item to a friend