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ISSUE 01 / JULY 2006


Amir Khan and Chico deal a
knockout punch to extremism
Contents. JULY 2006

What on earth is the PM talking
Freedom of Religious Beliefs
Salaam, and welcome to the very first edition of SPIRITthemag
– The Voice of the silent majority.
08 What is Sufism?
The Prime Minister and others are suggesting that the
10 Resurgence of Sufism in Saudi Arabia
government and authorities cannot solve the problems of
12 Tazkiyyat an-Nafs (Purifying the Self) ever increasing radicalisation within the Muslim Community
14 Statement by SMC on their own and that Muslims need to do more.
18 Islam: Suspended in Centuries past?
20 Islamic declaration of Peace The recent polls are showing that over 13% of Muslims are
justifying the criminal acts of 7th July 2005, and over 50% of
22 Celebrating Spirituality
Muslims believe that the Government is not doing enough.
24 Failure is part of Learning So what on earth is going on? Does anyone have a handle on
25 Usama bin Laden: a Legend gone the real issues? What is it that makes someone want to blow
wrong (part 1) themselves up? Why is it that the more radical minority seems
28 Democratic election of Leaders to have “taken over the microphone”, and is ever increasingly
becoming viewed by many as the mainstream version of
30 The destruction of Holy Sites in
Mecca and Medina
33 Essence of abstinence The main aim of is to help answer some of
34 Escape from Srebrenica these questions and to counteract the people and ideologies
38 Coming to Islam despite muslims that are aiming for the destruction of the very way of life
that Muslims hold dear and focus on giving a voice to the
40 A historic meeting between two Sufi
“Silent majority” that is being drowned out by the very vocal
Masters Minority.
42 A wise young Muslim Boy
43 Amr bil munkar - ordering what’s bad In this issue we have articles and submissions from around
(comic strip) the world that present classical, scholarly, Islamic perspectives
on global issues. Whilst at the same time, try to discourage
46 Acknowledgements
and disrupt the promulgation of extremist ideology within
47 We want to here from you the Muslim community both nationally and abroad through
exposing and differentiating the purveyors from everyday

This will be the first of many issues (God Willing), that will help
to educate UK Muslims, policymakers, agencies, academia
and media outlets on the distinct, irreconcilable differences
between classical Islam and the radical tenets of contemporary
extremist groups.

It is time for the middle ground to stand up and be

counted before it is too late.

However Muslims cannot do it alone. There is a clear need for

greater more focussed dialogue, which delves into the root
causes of the problem, and together we need to challenge
those that are the vehicles for this ideology. The Muslim
Communities also need re-assurances from government
that Ministers are actually running the agenda and not civil
servants that will only engage with the very same people that
have not so far delivered.

It is also time for the Government to stand up and be

counted before it is too late.

“The extremism may have started
through religious doctrine and thought.
But soon, in offshoots of the Muslim
Brotherhood, supported by Wahabi
extremists and taught in some of the
Madrassas of the Middle East and Asia, on the two terms that are mentioned above (If you
an ideology was born and exported read further issues, you will see more info as to who
around the world” these guys are in the UK).
-Tony Blair 2006
“...Its roots are not superficial, but deep,
in the madrassas of Pakistan, in the ex- The Wahabi sect was founded by Muhammad ibn
treme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Abdul Wahab ibn Suleiman al-Najdi (1703 – 1792
Arabia” AD).
- Tony Blair 2005
In 1735, Muhammad ibn (son of ) Abdul Wahab
I remember talking to a Minister in July 2005 just after called upon the people of Najd (in Arabia) to follow
a television programme discussing the aftermath a new doctrine that he had devised. However, his
of the bombings in London. Upon mentioning father and religious teachers vehemently opposed
the Prime Minister’s remarks at the Labour party him and publicly refuted his ideas. Consequently, his
conference and the support that he could muster mission remained unpopular until his father’s death
up around the community; I was met with a very coy ten years later. He was thus, forced to flee to another
smile. “You do know who a Wahabi is, don’t you?” town, Uyayna, where he won the favour of its ruler
I questioned, upon which I received an even more by marrying his sister. He remained there preaching
bashful shake of the head. his new doctrines until the indignant population
drove him out. In al-Daria in eastern Najid he finally
It was at this moment that a quotation from a film found permanent refuge. It was there that his ideas
came to my mind – “the greatest trick that the devil fell on fertile ground and its ruler, Muhammad ibn
ever pulled, was convincing people that he does not (son of ) Saud, and most of its inhabitants converted
exist”. to the new doctrine. At that time Ibn Abdul Wahab
behaved as if he had absolute monopoly over
So for all of you Ministers or anyone else that may ijtihad, i.e. the ability to arrive at logical deductions
be interested, here is some background information on religious questions.
There was great disbelief at his rulings and his brother,
Suleiman, authored a book refuting his brother’s like the KKK teaching Christianity.”
invocation and demonstrating its falsehood. His
book includes the following passage regarding the Wahabism is today regarded as a “catch-all” phrase
new doctrine - Wahabia and its founder. and has spawned many groups such as Al Qaeeda,and
Since the 1950s, the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan
One of the consequences of this new doctrine was al-Muslimeen), an organization founded in Egypt in
that it enabled the followers in the Middle East to 1929, has been the main instrument for propagating
fight against the Ottoman rulers as any Muslims Wahabi influence internationally.
that were not of the same doctrine as “Wahabia,”
was pronounced as non Muslims or apostates thus
justifying Holy War against them, and ah le kitab The Muslim Brotherhood
(people of the book – Jewish and Christian) were
pronounced as “non-believers” – kafir. This was the “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The
start of a relationship that would eventually yield Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way
the independent state of Saudi Arabia. of Allah is our highest hope.”
The Muslims’ lands in the Middle East were under
Ottoman rule and after the defeat of Germany (and The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in
its allies – Ottomans), their governor was driven out 1928 by Hassan al-Banna (1906-1949, grandfather
of Makkah, and the area around Makkah was known of Tariq Ramadan (advisor to the Home Office
as Hijaz (1920). on Preventing Extremism and Radicalisation). Al-
Banna was very critical of western civilisations, and
The House of Saud (now fully indoctrinated with commented that “It is a civilization which carries in
“Wahabia”) was now leading the tribe of Najd, and its own body the viruses of its own destruction”
they were now constantly at war with Hijaz to gain
control of the holiest site for Muslims (the Kabah) Emerging from the Wahabi/Salafi movement,
in Makkah. In 1926, the House of Saud gained the it was the first of the plethora of radical Islamic
upper hand and in 1932, the region was renamed as organizations which exist today, those which are
Saudi Arabia. often called “fundamentalist” or – as their followers
prefer – “Islamist”.
In 1933, Oil was discovered in the Kingdom, and now
everyone was interested in the area, and through the Al-Banna aimed to seize political power by a gradual
1950s, the Saudi government built its infrastructure process which began with education, recruitment
around the oil industry, and the wealth of the region and training.
grew exponentially. Today, Wahabism is strong
in Saudi Arabia, and is regarded by many as the The main ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood was
forefathers of the modern Islamist threat that the Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) whose writings became
world is currently facing, as indicated by Dr Zeyno an important reference for many radical Islamic
Baran, Director of International Security and Energy movements, especially with regard to how to assess
Programmes – The Hudson Institute, in her recent the Islamic credentials of societies and governments.
statement to Congress. Qutb promoted the Khariji doctrine of takfir- the
process of judging Muslims (individuals, regimes,
“It is now widely known that, since the oil boom of societies and states) to be apostates and infidels
the 1970s, one middle eastern country has spent (non Muslim) if they did not wholly conform to
over $80 billion to promote Wahabism—money their version of shari‘a. This condemnation justifies
that has been spent on funding leading terrorist combatitive jihad against them.
and other extremist organizations that disseminate
hatred in “educational centers,” charities, mosques, He also took the term hijra (emigration) and
and even prisons. Although Wahabism’s place developed its meaning from a simple description
in Islam is sometimes considered similar to that of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) migration to an
of American Protestantism within Christianity, in ideological goal in the staged process of developing
reality it is only a minority radical religious cult,
fueled by petrodollars. As historian Bernard Lewis
more correctly contends,“Wahabis teaching Islam is
true Islamic societies. He held that all Muslim frontline). Azzam claimed that this obligation of
societies had reverted to pre-Islamic paganism jihad has been forgotten, and its neglect is the cause
(jahiliyya), so that true Muslims were living in a of contemporary Muslim humiliation.
context similar to that of Muhammad (PBUH) in his
early career i.e. surrounded by idolatry. Most violent Islamist groups today were born out
of the Muslim Brotherhood as reinterpreted by
Qutb saw three definite stages in the hijra process: Qutb. The Brotherhood itself has become a global
Proclamation (da‘wa) of the message to jahili (the institution and is very influential in Europe including
state of pagan ignorance and immorality in pre- the UK.
Islamic Arabian) society.

Separation (mufassala) from unbelievers and all

jahili society. This stage Qutb conceived of not as
total physical separation, but as a spiritual separation
while remaining in society to proclaim, recruit and

Finally the fight (jihad) to implement God’s new

society on earth, similar to Muhammad’s (PBUH)
victorious return to Makkah. Jihad is aimed first
at Islamizing Muslim societies, toppling apostate
Muslim rulers and establishing Islamic states under
Shari‘a; these Islamic states are then able to extend
jihad to the whole world.

In its early years the Brotherhood worked for

evolutionary change through institutional renewal.
During the 1930s, however, it developed an ideology
of belligerent jihad directed against colonialism,
cultural modernity and the Jewish presence in

By the 1940s the Brotherhood had established a

special secret paramilitary branch, al Tanzim al Khas,
which initiated a campaign of terror against the pro-
Western Egyptian government and assassinated
a number of political personalities, including two
prime ministers.

Abdullah Azzam (1941-1989), Osama bin Laden’s

mentor during the Afghan jihad, was a member of the
Muslim Brotherhood. Azzam was active in recruiting
Arab mujahidin for the jihad in Afghanistan and he
was the main promoter of the internationalisation
of Jihad which led to the creation of al-Qaeda and
to the Salafi-Jihadi movement.

Abdullah Azzam saw jihad as the greatest religious

obligation after faith (Iman), an act of communal
worship, God’s ordained method for establishing
Islam in the world. Azzam claimed that jihad is
the apex of a staged process that includes hijra,
preparation, and ribat (defensive living on the
Freedom of
Religious Belief
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) freely propagated the message of Islam, yet gave all people the freedom
to choose any other religion. Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians were contractual members of the Muslim
community. The Quran states, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” Accordingly, Muslim jurists have
concluded that while Islam is the preferred belief and way of life, it cannot be imposed on anyone. In
fifteen centuries of Islamic rule throughout the globe, there are no incidents in which Islam was imposed
by force according to Islamic law. When non-Muslims became members of a Muslim nation, they were free
to practice their beliefs. Furthermore, special consideration was given to believers in heavenly revealed
religions: the Jews, Christians (known as “People of the Book”) Zoroastrians, and later, other faiths. They
were afforded not only freedom of religious belief, but were allowed to maintain their own religious law
and practices, even when these conflicted with the teachings of Islam.

Islamic civilization is firmly founded on the concept of ‘rule of law.’ For that reason, the law is published
and known, and citizens and courts are expected to uphold it. In addition, Muslim citizens must adhere to
Islamic law. If a Muslim citizen commits a religious violation, he is judged according to Islamic law. A non-
Muslim citizen is judged in religious issues by the laws of his own faith.

Further, it was deemed unlawful in Islam to desecrate or destroy non-Muslim houses of worship. At first
restricted to certain faiths, this category was later extended to include the Hindus of India and other beliefs.
A traveler in Muslim lands should not be surprised to see in them churches, synagogues and temples of
other faiths, often erected in places of prominence.

Shaykh Ahmad al-Jurjawi writes: -

“From the beginning of the history of Islam until today, you cannot see that the Muslims come against the
Jews or the Christians living among them. ...during the Crusades, we saw that Salahuddin al-Ayyubi would
even have his physicians treat Christian soldiers and later send them home to England safely.”

Salim Afifi

What is Sufism?
Non-Muslims (and some Muslims) often mistake Sufism • Second is Iman or belief in the unseen including
as a sect of Islam. Sufism is more accurately described as all Prophets, angels, the holy books and the Day of
an aspect or dimension of Islam. Sufi Tariqas can be found Judgment.
in Sunni, Shi’a and other Islamic groups Ibn Khaldun the
14th Century Arab historian described Sufism as: • Third is the state of Ihsan or perfection where the
“... dedication to worship, total dedication to Allah most believer must worship his Lord as if he sees Him and
High, disregard for the finery and ornament of the world, knowing that he cannot see his Lord, he must know
abstinence from the pleasure, wealth, and prestige that his Lord is always seeing him. This third stage has
sought by most men, and retiring from others to worship developed its own set of rules and practices that have
alone.” been known throughout Islamic history as “taskiyyat
Islamic asceticism flourished in the first century since the nafs” or purification of the self.
advent of Islam and developed into schools of The teachers of this discipline of purification
thought, firmly rooted in the traditions of the organized their students into what is now
Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and the Shari’a known as Sufi Orders and are named
or Islamic law. Its scholars became after the Shaykh who had the most
known as the Sufis because of influence on their theology and
their loyalty, sincerity, and development.
purity of heart. So the most important
One of the meanings thing to understand
of the word “sufa” in from this history of
Arabic is purity. Sufism is not only is
There are two other it an integral part of
meanings including Islam itself but it has
Ahl Suffa translated existed since the early
as “the people of the time of the Prophet
bench” for which a (PBUH). The Muslim
verse in the Quran who chooses to follow
was revealed to the the third level of Islam
Prophet (PBUH) must first accept the
advising him not to first two levels and
ignore the people cannot be considered
who sat outside his a Sufi without having
home remembering first understood the rules
their Lord and showing of shari’a and of faith.
great sincerity towards Him Some practices commonly
and His message. associated with people who observe
The third interpretation of the word Sufism:
Sufi refers to a wool fabric worn by these
ascethetics. • Taking initiation with a Shaykh or guide: the early
Some of the most famous early Sufi scholars include teachings of the great scholars of Islam required that any
the great leaders of the Sunni four schools of thought believer who wanted to learn how to be someone who
known as Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, Shafi’I and is “God conscious” at all times, they must seek a teacher
Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal – These are also known as the who has succeeded in this journey already and who
four great Imams of Ijtihad and from whom we have the displays the qualities of the Prophet Mohammed(PBUH)
four schools of Fiqh (Law). who Muslims believe to be of Perfect character. As a
Doctrinally, the practice of Sufism is the pursuit of moral result of their devotion, their followers and community
excellence. It is founded in the tradition of the Prophet members often consider them holy and enlightened.
(PBUH) where Angel Gabriel asked him what is Islam? For this same reason, Islamists are able to scare believers
The Prophet (PBUH) explained that Islam must be into avoiding a guide by accusing them of making shirk
understood in three stages:- or “ascribing partners to God”.

• First is Islam or the physical rules of the religion, which Sufism is an apprenticeship just like many other
includes the Sunni four schools of thought, and the disciplines such as Buddhism or the martial arts, and
Shiites. the teacher or Shaykh as he or she is known, is a central
source of the knowledge for the students. Since early to open arms even to what is considered the most evil
times, it was important to find a living Shaykh who could one. The Sufi conception of divine love is not restricted
trace his lineage of knowledge all the way back to the to what the term “love of God” implies; it also includes
time of the Prophet (PBUH) ensuring that they were still human love with a perspective that views everything a
connected to the Divine inspirations. manifestation of God.
The old educational structure- there were no modern The central doctrine of Sufism,sometimes calledWahdat or
degrees, students would gather around the boarding Unity, is the Sufi understanding of Tawhid. Put very simply
schools and learn Islam then go back to their own Tawhid states that all phenomena are manifestations of
communities to teach Islam. a single reality, or Wujud (being), this is indeed al-Haq
(Truth, God). The essence of being/Truth/God is devoid
• How to achieve God consciousness: The student or of every form and quality, and hence unmanifest, yet it
seeker as he/she is known goes about their daily life is inseparable from every form and phenomenon either
and rituals in what outwardly appears to be like any material or spiritual. It is often understood to imply that
other person, however internally they struggle to display every phenomenon is an aspect of Truth and at the same
character traits associated with Divine Attributes. time attribution of existence to it is false. The chief aim
It is a dual practice of controlling bad desires or of all Sufis then is to let go of all notions of duality
negative traits of the ego such as oppression, (and therefore of the individual self also), and
anger, greediness, or cruelty on the one realize the divine unity which is considered
hand, and showing the greater qualities to be the truth.
of an aware and compassionate Historically, the practice of Sufism
ego on the other. and this focus inward led
Ultimately the goal of to great tolerance and
Sufi master is that if flexibility in the practices
all his students focus of Muslims around the
their energy inward world. It led to great
so they become of achievements in art,
perfect character poetry and literature
and embody qualities since the Sufis spent
such as compassion, so much time in
mercy, justice and contemplation of
tolerance. The natural love for their Creator
consequence of that and spirituality (for
would be a society example Rumi, Omar
as a whole that is at Khayyám and Al-
peace and will also be Ghazali’s influence
blessed by God for its extended beyond
piety and sincerity. Muslim lands to be
quoted by Western
• It is basically the science philosophers, writers and
of destroying the aggression or theologians).
animal qualities of all human beings by However, the 20th century brought
concentrating inward rather than outward. a new wave of thought in the Muslim
That is why the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) world as it sought to unify the Muslims into a
after returning to Makkah told his companion we political force against Europe and the US. This new
have left the lesser jihad [or the jihad of combat] for the ideology commonly referred as Wahabism or Salafism
great jihad, which was the struggle against the self. was described to believers as an attempt to purify the
practices of Muslims around the world from the practices
The central concept in Sufism is love. Dervishes / of Sufism and traditional Islam. Because its success
Mureeds —the names given to initiates of Sufi orders— depended on its attempt to create a homogenous force
believe that love is a projection of the essence of God to it was essential for them to obliterate the practices that
the universe.They believe that God desires to recognize were the source of the tolerance and pluralism around
beauty, and as if one looks at a mirror to see oneself, the Muslim world.
God looks at himself within the dynamics of nature. This
is substantiated using the famous Hadith Qudsi (extra-
Qur’anic utterance of God): “I was a hidden treasure,
and I wanted to be known, so I created Creation.” Since
they believe that everything is a reflection of God, Sufis
try to see the beauty inside the apparently ugly, and
Resurgence of Sufism in Saudi Arabia.

In a sign of Tolerance, Salman al-Odah, left, the country’s most popular puritanical
cleric, accepted an invitation from Sufi cleric Abdallah Fadaaq, right, to attend a Sufi
celebration. (Izzat Zeiny - Photo By Izzat Zeiny)

A hush came over the crowd as the young man sitting “This is one of the side effects of September 11. It
cross-legged on the floor picked up the microphone put the brakes on the [Wahabi] practice of takfir ,
and sang, a cappella, a poem about Islam’s Prophet excommunicating everyone who didn’t exactly follow
Muhammad (PBUH). His eyes shut tight, his head covered their creed,” said Sayed Habib Adnan, a 33-year-old Sufi
by an orange-and-white turban, he crooned with barely teacher. The government “realized that maybe enforcing
contained ardour of how the world rejoiced and lights one religious belief over all others was not such a good
filled the skies the day the Prophet (PBUH) was born. idea.”
The men attending the mawlid -- a celebration of the
birth and life of Muhammad (PBUH)-- sat on colourful When Adnan moved to Saudi Arabia from his native
rugs, rocking gently back and forth, while the women, on Yemen four years ago, Sufi gatherings were often
the upper floor watching via a large projection screen, clandestine, sometimes held in orchards outside the city,
passed around boxes of tissues and wiped tears from or in basements and without microphones, for fear of
their eyes. drawing attention.“I couldn’t wear this,” he said, pointing
to his turban.“Or this,” he said, pulling at his white cotton
The centuries-old mawlid, a mainstay of the more spiritual overcoat. “Or I would be branded a Sufi. You couldn’t
and often mystic Sufi Islam, was until recently viewed as even say the word ‘Sufi.’ It was something underground,
heretical and banned by Saudi Arabia’s official religious dangerous, like talking about drugs.”
establishment, the ultraconservative Wahabis. But a Sufis here say they are not a separate sect or followers of
new atmosphere of increased religious tolerance has a separate religion, but adherents to a way of life based
spurred a resurgence of Sufism and brought the once- on the Muslim concept of ihsan . Muhammad (PBUH)
underground Sufis and their rituals out in the open. explained ihsan to the angel Gabriel as “worshiping God
After 9/11, when it was discovered that 15 of the 19 as if you see Him. Because if you don’t see Him, He sees
hijackers were Saudi, the kingdom’s strict Wahabi you.”
doctrine -- which had banned all other sects and schools
of thought -- came under intense scrutiny from inside Sufism had previously been predominant in Hejaz,
and outside the country. the western region of Saudi Arabia, which includes
Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthplace, Mecca; Medina, where private residence. Sufi books, cassettes and DVDs were
he is buried; and the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. selling out in one corner of the large garden where the
event was held. Adnan, the Sufi teacher, was one of four
In days gone by, Mawlids were public affairs with entire speakers who addressed the crowd. He asked: Why are
cities decked out in lights, and parades and festivities we Sufis always on the defensive? “Nobody asks [soccer]
commemorating the Prophet’s (PBUH) birthday and his fans for religious proof that sanctifies their gatherings at
ascension to Jerusalem. the stadium because of their devotion to their team,” he
said. “How come we are always asked for an explanation
When the al-Saud family that would later come to rule of our devotion to our beloved Prophet?”
Saudi Arabia took over Hejaz in the 1920s, the Wahabis
banned mawlids as a form of heresy and destroyed the Muhammad Jastaniya, a 20-year-old economics major
historic shrines of Khadija, Fatima and the Prophet’s and part of a new wave of young Saudis who have
(PBUH) companions, fearing they would lead to idolatry embraced Sufism, said what drew him was the focus on
and polytheism. God.
Wahabis, crucial allies in the Saud conquest of the On a recent moonlit evening, Jastaniya sipped sugary
disparate regions that became Saudi Arabia in 1932, mint tea with his friends on rugs spread on the rooftop
were awarded control of religious affairs. of a Zawiya, or lodge where Sufis go to meditate, chant or
sit in on lessons. The words ‘God’ and ‘Muhammad’ were
Discrimination against Sufis, among others, intensified written in green neon lights, and Islam’s 99 names for
after armed Wahabi extremists took over Mecca’s Grand God were stencilled in black paint around the wall. “To
Mosque in 1979, demanding that a more puritanical be a Sufi is to clear your heart of everything but God,” he
form of Islam be applied in the country. Though the explained. “The Islam we were taught here is like a body
government quelled the uprising and executed its without a soul. Sufism is the soul. It’s not an alternative
leaders, authorities were shaken by the incident, and religion -- it can contain all Muslims.”
lest other Wahhabis defy them, they allowed them more
rein. That thought seems to be taking hold, even in faraway
Soon after, extremist clerics issued a religious edict, Salman al-Odah, the country’s most popular puritanical
or fatwa, declaring Sufi’s spiritual leader, Muhammad cleric, who was jailed in the 1990s for opposing the
Alawi Malki, a nonbeliever. He was removed from his presence of U.S. troops in the kingdom, accepted an
teaching position, banned from giving lessons at the invitation to visit Sufi cleric Abdallah Fadaaq’s mawlid
Grand Mosque, where both his father and grandfather and lesson last week. The scene at Fadaaq’s house was
had taught, and interrogated by the religious police an obvious sign of conciliation.
and the Interior Ministry. After Malki was later attacked Al-Odah sat with his hands neatly folded in his lap,
by a throng of radicals incensed at his presence in the wearing a red-and-white checkered headdress and clear
mosque, he could pray there only under armed guard. wraparound glasses and sporting the short scraggly
Meanwhile, thousands of cassettes and booklets beard that indicates a conservative. Fadaaq, wore the
circulated calling Sufis “grave-lovers” and dangerous white turban, the white overcoat and shawl typical of
infidels who had to be stopped before they made a Sufis, wooden prayer beads resting on his lap.
comeback. Their salons were raided, and those caught
with Sufi literature were often arrested or jailed. “It’s true that there are differences between the way
people practice their faith in this country, and this is an
The tide finally turned in 2003, with the new atmosphere indication that people are using their minds and thinking,
that took hold following the Sept. 11 attacks, when the which is a good thing,” Fadaaq said. “But what we should
future King Abdullah, then the crown prince, held a series concentrate on are the expanses that bring us together,
of meetings to acknowledge the country’s diverse sects like the Prophet (PBUH). We must take advantage of what
and schools of thought. One of the guests was Sufi leader we have in common.”
Malki. When he died the following year, Abdullah and
the powerful defence and interior ministers attended An Extract from the Washington Post by Faiza
his funeral. The rehabilitation of his legacy was almost Saleh Ambah

“We were then upgraded from infidels, to people who

are ignorant and practicing their religion wrong,” said
Wasif Kabli, a 59-year-old businessman.

This year,on the occasion of the Prophet’s (PBUH) birthday,

a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered to celebrate at a
Tazkiyyat an-Nafs
(Purifying the Self)
A Driving Sufi Principle
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
[Excerpted from Classical Islam and the
Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition]

The Sufi teachers of old spread Islam across the Indian Subcontinent, [1] Tasawwuf here means the
throughout Central and Southeast Asia, in Africa and even some parts of Islamic Science of Purification
Russia—just as contemporary Sufi teachers are spreading the faith through of the Self and adapting the
Europe and America today. But where did the Sufis originate? When did they perfected character of the
first appear? And what was the position of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence Messenger of God, Sayyidina
and the scholars of the Community regarding Sufism, or tasawwuf?[1] Muhammad(s).
Today, Islam is taught only with words by people who do not care to practice [2] Reported on the authority
it purely nor to purify themselves in practice. This unfortunate devolution was of `Umar, `Ali, Ibn `Abbas, and
foreseen in many ahadith that state, for example, “They will order people and others. These were collected
not heed their own warning, and they are the worst of people.”[2] Similarly, by Abu Talib al-Makki in the
the Prophet (s) said, “I do not fear for you only the anti-Christ.” They asked, chapter entitled “The Differ-
“Then who else are you afraid of?” He said, “The misguided scholars.”[3] The ence between the scholars
Prophet (s) also said, “What I fear most for my nation is a hypocrite who has a of the world and those of the
scholarly tongue.”[4] Such was not the way of the Companions including the hereafter” in his Qut al-qulub
People of the Bench(Ahl as-Suffa), concerning whom the following verse was fi mu`amalat al-mahbub
revealed: (Cairo: Matbaat al-maymuni-
yya, 1310/1893) pp. 1:140-141.
And restrain thyself with those who call upon their Lord at morning and [3] Ahmad narrated it in his
evening, desiring His countenance, and let not thine eyes turn away from Musnad.
them, desiring the adornment of the present life; and obey not him whose [4] Ahmad narrated it in his
heart We have made neglectful of Our remembrance so that he follows his Musnad with a good chain.
own lust, and his affair has become all excess. (18:28) [5] Related by Ahmad with a
Nor was this the way of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r), about whom the Prophet (s) sound chain in Kitab fada’il
said, “Abu Bakr does not precede you for praying much or fasting much, but al-Sahaba, ed. Wasi Allah ibn
because of a secret that has taken root in his heart.”[5] Nor was this the way of Muhammad Abbas (Makkah:
the Successors (tabi`een) such as Hasan al-Basri, Sufyan al-Thawri, and others Muassasat al-risala, 1983)
of the later generations of Sufis who looked back to them for models. Al- 1:141 (#118).
Qushayri relates that al-Junaydsaid, “Tasawwuf is not the profusion of prayer [6] al-Qushayri, Risalat kitab
and fasting, but wholeness of the breast and selflessness.”[6] al-sama in al-Rasail al-qush-
Nor was this the way of the Four Imams who emphasized doing-without (zuhd) ayriyya (Sidon and Beirut: al-
and true God-fear (wara), above the mere satisfaction of obligations. Imam maktaba al-asriyya, 1970) p. 60.
Ahmad ibn Hanbal composed two books with those two qualities as their [7] Ahmad, Kitab al-wara (Bei-
respective titles. He placed the knowledge of saints above the knowledge rut: Dar al-kitab al-arabi, 1409/
of scholars, as is shown by the following report by his student, Abu Bakr al- 1988) p. 10.

I heard Fath ibn Abi al-Fath saying to Abu Abd Allah (Imam Ahmad) during his
last illness, “Invoke God for us that He will give us a good successor to succeed
you.” He continued, “Who shall we ask for knowledge after you?” Ahmad
replied, “Ask Abd al-Wahhab.” Someone who was present there related to me
that he said,“But he does not have much learning.” Abu Abd Allah replied,“He
is a saintly man, and such as he is granted success in speaking the truth.”[7]
In a celebrated fatwa (legal ruling), the Shafii scholar al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam
gives the same priority to the gnostics, or Knowers of God (`arifin), over the
jurists. Imam Malik places the same emphasis on inner perfection in his
Left: Sufi master Shaykh Hisham Kabbani with Shaykh Nazim Haqqani.

saying, “Religion does not consist in the knowledge of many narrations, but [8] Dhahabi, as cited in
in a light which God places in the breast.” Ibn `Ata Allah quotedIbn `Arabi as Sakhawi, al-Jawahir wa al-du-
saying, “Certainty does not derive from the evidences of the mind but pours rar fi tarjamat shaykh al-Islam
out from the depths of the heart.” Ibn Hajar (al-Asqalani), ed. Ha-
mid `Abd al-Majid and Taha al-
This is why many of the imams of religion cautioned against the mere thirst Zaini (Cairo: wizarat al-awqaf,
for knowledge at the expense of the training of the ego. Imam Ghazali left al-majlis al-ala li al-shuun al-
the halls of learning in the midst of a prestigious career in order to devote islamiyya, lajnah ihya al-turath
himself to self-purification. At its outset, he wrote his magisterial Revival of al-islami, 1986) p. 21-22.
the Religious Sciences (Ihya `ulum al-din), which begins with a warning to [9] When asked about the
those who consider religion to consist merely of fiqh, or jurisprudence. Prophet’s (s) character, Aisha
One of the early Sufis and the greatest of the huffaz, or hadith masters, of his (r) said, “His character was the
time, Sufyan al-Thawri, sounded the same warning. He addressed those who Quran.”
use the narration of hadith for religion, when he said, “If hadith was good it [10] See Ibn Sa`ad, Tabaqat
would have vanished just as goodness has vanished. Pursuing the study of (ed. Sachau) 7(2):83; al-Arusi,
hadith is not part of the preparation for death, but a disease that preoccupies Nata’ij al-afkar al-qudsiyya
people.” (Bulaq, 1920/1873); and `Abd
al-Wahhab al-Sh`arawi, al-
Dhahabi comments: Tabaqat al-kubra 1:57.
By God he has spoken the truth. Today, in our time, the quest for knowledge
and hadith no longer means for the hadith scholar the obligation of living up
to it, which is the goal of hadith. He is right in what he said because pursuing
the study of hadith is other than the hadith itself.[8]
It is for “the hadith itself,” for the purpose of living up to the Sunnah of
the Prophet (s) (PBUH) and the Holy Quran, that the great masters of self-
purification forsook the pursuit of science as a worldly allurement, and placed
above it the acquisition of ihsan, or perfect character. This is in accordance
with the well-known hadith of Aisha (r) concerning the disposition of the
Prophet(s) [9] An example is Abu Nasr Bishr al-Hafi, who considered the
study of hadith a conjectural science in comparison to the certitude in belief
imparted by visitingFudayl ibn al-Iyad.[10] Both ihsan and the process that
leads to it are known as tasawwuf.

This is the first of a series of articles introduced by the Sufi Muslim Council and is
designed to inform British Citizens that Muslims are peaceful people who condemn
terrorism with all its elements and affiliations.

Muslims comprise the second largest religion in UK and live as any other citizens, looking after their families
and attending to their work. The majority of Muslims have nothing to do with and vigorously condemn
extremism and fringe organisations that incite unrest around the world for their own ideological purposes.
It is also hoped that through this published series, Muslims in the UK will understand that they have not
been fully informed regarding the ideology, agenda and activities of many Muslim organisations and
groups which they have faithfully supported for years.

Extremism In All Religions

Condemned by SMC

While every religion rejects acts of tyranny, injustice and oppression, extremism is found in every religion.
As Muslims we are supporters of love, peace, justice, respect and tolerance. Thus, we see it as our duty to
continue to shed light on current events while doing our best to see that the wave of militant radicalism
sweeping Muslim nations does not strike again in the UK, where we live.

Therefore the SMC, with all its members and directors, condemns all forms of terrorism and the oppression
of human rights around the world, whether committed by Muslims, Christians, Jews or members of other
faiths. We see that among members of every religion there are those who commit terrorist acts, but they
must not be used to label a whole community.

As Muslims in the UK, we declare that

we do not support any extremists.

The Nazis--oppressors of many nations and of the Jews - stand condemned. Christian-Irish extremists
engaged in fratricide stand condemned. Christian-Serbian extremists, oppressors of innocent Muslims in
Bosnia and Kosova, stand condemned. Extremist Jews attacking innocents, stand condemned. Similarly,
Muslim extremists, like bin Laden and his affiliates -must be condemned. Therefore, we stand up as Muslims
in the UK, declaring that we are not supporting any of these extremists, nor do we have anything to do with

UK Muslim Leaders Waver between Split Interests

Unfortunately, many UK Muslim organisations lack the courage to stand up and speak forthrightly about this
matter. Too often we see leaders of the community, equivocating between implicit support for extremists
and general condemnations of terrorism. Broad-brush, vague condemnations are nothing but a show to
prove one’s moderation when Muslims sit around the interfaith table with Jews and Christians. This has the
community spinning around in confused circles, for the people can’t help reflecting the actions and words
of their leaders.

Equivocation on clear moral issues can only lead to perplexity among the common worshippers and loss
of confidence in the upright principles of Islam. The cause of these conflicting messages is that on the one
hand leaders fear they might divide the community (which in reality is already divided into many factions),
and on the other hand they fear for their own positions, due to their connections with extremists around
the world through their UK offices.

Many extremist organisations operate under assumed identities as non-profit making organisations or
corporate businesses, hiding their origins and affiliations. These same disguised organisations hold massive
fundraisers in London, Paris, New York, Washington DC, and elsewhere, and often feature ambassadors and
politicians. Ironically, the organisations they secretly support are avowed enemies of the nations whose
ambassadors they invite. However, whenever someone criticizes the extremists and militant movements,
they issue press releases castigating the media as well as moderate Muslim organisations that have the
courage to speak out.

Some Muslims might ask: Why bring up this subject now as it might cause more problems and difficulties
for Muslims?
Many contempory western Constitutions have been taken from Islam, including in the USA, the Bill of
Rights and its guarantees of freedom of speech, press, and religion. In the time that Muslims have resided
in the UK, we have not seen their arbitrary detainment until the advent of extremist organisations, striking
here and there. These organisations have now established offices here and in Europe.

Our intention is to prevent the majority of Muslims from suffering by being detained or being viewed
with suspicion because of the misguided actions of others.

Struggle for Political and Financial Benefit: a False “ Jihad”

Thus we see the likes of bin Laden, with their network of militants, working to destroy the governments
around the world including Saudi Arabia. This contradicts the explicit teaching of Prophet Muhammad
(saws) not to oppose a ruler as long as he does not prevent the performance of prayer--even if he commits
injustice. Thus extremists use Islam when it suits them and likewise contravene it at their convenience.
The same applies to other organisations in other nations. Small militant movements arise, and then come
against their government and the common people, stirring conflict. This happened previously in Egypt,
Syria and Lebanon, and is currently happening in other Muslim nations as well as places such as the former
Soviet Union. When different movements discover they share something in common--in terms of ideology,
methodology or a common enemy--they begin to work together. However, once one of them begins to
surpass another, conflict ensues and they fight among themselves.

This took place within the Palestinian movement in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Initiated as a movement to
liberate the land,when it began to grow and acquire power,divergent interests within the broader movement
began to clash. When the conflicts ultimately ignited, seventy different Palestinian organisations could be
found fighting each other in their own camps using heavy artillery and surface-to-surface rockets.
Too often we see Muslim leaders equivocating between implicit
support for extremists and general condemnations of terrorism.

Eventually, they ended up as two main parties, Hamas and the PLO.

The same problem arose in Afghanistan. To fight the common enemy, the USSR, many different groups
and tribes joined together. After their successful Jihad and the USSR had fled, the once-aligned groups
turned on each other, resulting in bloodshed and mayhem from which not one inch of Afghan soil was left
untainted. In fact after the war, Muslim-generated bloodshed rivalled horrors inflicted by the Soviets. So
we see despite an appearance, what is taking place in many of these countries is not and has not been an
Islamic Jihad but is purely a struggle for political authority and monetary benefit.

Western Groups Finance Foreign Terror

Government and other agencies have documented that some U.S (and other) -based Islamic organisations
are quietly funnelling money collected to support terrorist groups around the world. In fact, this is so well
known that the Muslim community cannot escape its fallout unscathed. We say, leaders of the Muslim
community who “ launder” money for extremist organisations abroad must bear the burden of their

Some of these organisations claim, “ We are helping schools, refugees and those ravaged by war,” to which
we reply:“ OK, but also condemn the extremists, so that all Muslims here are safe. As Muslims, we don’t want
to be held accountable for your actions while you grow rich off of our community.”
Consider that every innocent child, woman or elder who is maimed, orphaned or killed will testify on the
Day of Judgment against those who financially supported such organisations--whose money was used to
buy arms and munitions, rocket launchers and bombs to inflict harm upon the innocent. It is no longer an
option to keep quiet about this situation.

It is not too much to call all organisations to honestly account for every penny they collect. Legitimate
organisations keep books and they must report their income. They can easily and swiftly be called to
account. Muslims have a right to know where their “ sadaqa,” “ zakat,” “ charity” and “ relief donations” are
going. Legitimate organisations will thus be absolved.

What such inquiries will do, however, is make the dubious organisations close their doors. It suffices to
point out that the leaders of such organisations are the same ones who have given fatwas permitting the
cultivation, harvesting and processing of opium, sale of opiates and other kinds of drugs; even killing other
Muslims to steal their opium, all in the name of supporting a hallucinatory “ Jihad” against the West.
Through various sects, the extremist elements have indoctrinated countless Muslim youth: condemning
all who differ to unbelief and apostasy from Islam. Thus they justify the wholesale killing of Muslims, and
attacking Muslim governments--even their own nations--for they consider whoever does not support
them as the worst of enemies, among those who left the fold of Islam.

We appeal to UK based Muslim organisations to openly disclose their ties to foreign groups and

Muslims Must Not Tolerate

Those organisations in the UK that are affiliated with the global militant movements are obligated to
take responsibility for their actions instead of throwing this burden onto the whole Muslim community.
Since there is no single leader who represents all of the UK’s Muslims, we must not allow the actions of an
individual or group to fall on the heads of the majority of peaceful Muslims in this country.

We therefore appeal to Muslim organisations to take a courageous stand regarding all that is going on and
openly disclose their ties to foreign groups and movements, as well as the nature of these associations. This
act in itself will distinguish who bears responsibility for the senseless acts of a few.
SMC feels a heavy responsibility in presenting these articles for the thoughtful consideration of our Muslim
brothers and sisters. Some disruptive elements in our community will cry that we are “Western agents,” but
we are not bothered by false accusations. We are not the sole or even the first voice raising these issues that
are openly discussed in the Arab media.

SMC is not affiliated with any government, and recognizes that it has a duty to stand
up and speak the truth. The unacceptable alternative is to let extremist organisations
who now operate on our own soil continue to flourish with donations from unwitting
British Muslims, destroying our community from within.

Sufi Muslim Council

Dr. Zeyno Baran

Emmet Tuohy

Suspended in
centuries past?

9/11 New York

7/7 London
Danish cartoon

In more than four years since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks - a period that has seen many more such horrendous
acts conducted “in the name of Islam”- many Americans wonder whether Islam itself is at the root of the
problem. Similar concerns were expressed by the Danish cartoonists, whose drawings caused a worldwide
uproar that led to fatal rioting. The recent case of Abdul Rahman, a convert to Christianity who narrowly
escaped a death sentence on charges of apostasy, led many to conclude that Islam is fundamentally
incompatible with modernity.

The relative silence of moderate Muslims in the resulting discussion has only made matters worse. Certainly,
there have been some hopeful signs: From the spread of democracy in Lebanon to the reforms undertaken
in Indonesia, Malaysia and India, some adherents of the Islamic faith are seeking to disprove the blanket
assertion that Islam is a violent religion incompatible with modern democracy.
None of these attempts will succeed unless Islam’s We need to separate Islam as a religion - where
essence is understood -- above all, by Muslims. In its the moral and ethical principles of the religion are
essence, Islam is as compatible with modernity as is compatible with democratic values and principles
Christianity or Judaism. The problem is not with - from Islam as a culture or a political ideology.
Islam itself; rather, the fault lies with certain
Muslims who wish to hide the essential truths For example, the Quran explicitly states, “there is no
of the religion in the nonessential traditions compulsion in religion” and “let him who pleases
of early Arab societies. believe, and let him who pleases disbelieve.” While
these verses emphasize the private nature of
From its beginnings, Islam has been a“living religion,” religion, in Islamic literature, apostasy is said to be
one not bound by the practices of a particular time punishable by death.
and culture. The truths of the Muslim faith are in its
primary source: the Quran. The hadiths (words) and In addressing the question of Islam’s compatibility
sunnas (deeds) of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) with the modern, democratic world, the West must
are only secondary, used in cases where there is avoid the simplistic solution of condemning Islam
uncertainty. in its entirety.

There is no doubt that, as the first Muslim, the While it is ultimately up to Muslims to
Prophet lived an exemplary life. While justly demonstrate that the teachings of Islam are
emulating the Prophet, however, modern Muslims applicable to modern life, the West must
must take care not to place undue emphasis on the help them reclaim their religion from the
cultural practices of his time. extremists who profane its name.
To look at the political, social and economic
conditions of the Muslim countries and then to
conclude that Islam is not compatible with modernity
is to confuse cause and effect. Unfortunately, there
are those who preach and practice a form of Islam
that is not compatible with modernity -- but the
problem began much later, with the spread of
extremist ideology.

This ideology has been promoted most of all by Saudi

Arabia, where the ruling family owes its existence
to its two-century alliance with the fundamentalist
Wahabi sect. It has used that position to destroy
historic mosques, shrines and other physical
reminders of the pluralistic Islamic heritage. And,
with its significant petrodollar reserves, the country
has also used that position to export its intolerant
brand of Islam. In similar nations, Islamic law often
is used as a pretext to squelch dissent and eliminate
popular opposition, while distracting the public
from the failure of each regime to provide good

Islam today is the only major world religion

in which fundamentalism has become
Dr. Zeyno Baran
identified as mainstream. However, this
fundamentalism is not representative of
mainstream Islam - a tolerant, peaceful
religion that thrives from Southeast Asia to
South America.
Islamic Declaration of
Selections from the Holy Qur’an

O mankind, truly We have created you male and female, and have made you
nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Truly the most noble of you, in
the sight of God, is the most God-conscious. 49: 13 For every community (of faith)
We have appointed ways of worship, which they aught to observe. Hence, do not
let those (who follow other ways) draw you into dispute on this score, but summon
them to their Sustainer: for you are on the right way. And if they argue with you,
say: God knows best what you are doing.
Truly those who believe, and the Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans -
whoever believes in God and the Last Day and performs virtuous deeds - surely
their reward is with their Sustainer, and no fear shall come upon them, neither shall
they grieve.
It was We who revealed the Torah; therein was guidance and light. By its standard
the Jewish people have been judged by the Prophets who surrendered to God’s will,
as well as by the Rabbis and the doctors of Law, for to them the protection of God’s
book was entrusted: If any do fail to judge by what God has revealed (including the
Torah), they are (no better than) unbelievers. 5:44 We ordained for the Children of
Israel that if anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief
in the land, it would be as if he slew all of humanity: and if anyone saved a life it
would be as if he saved the life of all of humanity. 5:32 We ordained therein for
them: “A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a
tooth for a tooth and equivalence in harm done.” But if anyone by way of charity
foregoes that retaliation, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to
judge by what God has revealed, they are wrongdoers.

And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary confirming the law that had
come before him: We sent him the Gospel: and therein was guidance and light and
confirmation of the law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition
to those who are conscious of God. 5:45-46 To Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear
signs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit.
O you who keep the faith! When you go abroad in the way of God, be clear and
circumspect and say not to anyone who offers you a greeting of peace: “You are
not a believer!” 4:94 To each community among you We have prescribed a Law
and a way of life. If God had so willed He would have made you a single people, but
His plan is to test you in what He has given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues.
The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in
which you differ.
And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelations except in the most gentle
manner. 29:46 Goodness and Evil cannot be equal. Repel Evil with something
better: then the one who hated you will become your friend and intimate! And
no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-
restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune. And when the Evil One
incites discord, seek refuge in God. He is the One Who hears and knows all things.
41:34 And the servants of the Infinitely Compassionate are those who walk on the
earth in humility and when the ignorant accost them, they only reply “Peace!”
Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from error;
whoever rejects evil and has faith in God has grasped the most trustworthy,
unfailing handhold. And God hears and knows all things. God is the Protector of
those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into
light. 2:256-257

Selected and arranged by Kabir Helminski, translations by Muhammad Asad, Yusuf Ali, and Kabir

The Roadshow that Builds
Bridges between Communities.
Stars and ordinary folk alike turnout to attend various events that saw approximately 25,000 people turn-
out over six functions to enjoy the beauty of Spirituality, irrespective of colour, race or faith.

It was an opportunity for people of all faiths to put aside their differences and celerbrate the aspects of
humanity that bring us all together.


People at the Central Mosque in Leicester are enlightened about interfaith dialogue in heaven.

Pir Maroof and Shaykh Kabbani discuss how to Shaykh Kabbani and Pir Naseerudin Naseer discuss
prevent children becoming extremists. - Bradford the future of Mosques in the UK. - Nelson

Shaykh Kabbanni and Rev. Marcus Beybrook (co- An interfaith gathering listening to the
founder of the 3 Faiths Forum) enjoying a moment pearls of wisdom - Oxford
of reflection in Oxford

Shaykh Kabbani and Bishop Gilliett discussing how Dr. Mirahmadi and guests showing that interfaith
Sufiism is the antithesis of extremism - Bury can be fun - Lancashire

Amir Khan and Chico with organisers of the tour, One of the organizers taking a blessing from
Crescent Network CEO Haras Rafiq - Manchester Shaykh Kabbani - Birmingham

Shaykh Kabbani and Shaykh Tahir al Qadri meet to Rabbi Warren, Rev. Keith Trivasse and Veronica
discuss SMC and form new links - London Voiles enjoying the concert - Wythenshawe
Failure is part of Learning

As I was passing the elephants, I suddenly stopped, confused
by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by
only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages.
It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break
away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
I saw a trainer near by and asked why these beautiful,
magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt
to get away.
“Well,” he said,“when they are very young and much smaller
we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s
enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned
to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope
can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
I was amazed. These animals could at any time break free
from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t,
they were stuck right where they were.
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging

onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because
we failed at it once before?



financing the mujahideen and outfitting them for the fight. He
then began to assemble his own fighters, known as the Afghan
Arabs, for which he recruited thousands of men—mainly
from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf. He even paid for their
passage to Afghanistan and set up the main guerrilla camp

where they received military training—bin Laden style. Bin
Laden often visited Peshawar, a Pushto-speaking city carved
roughly into the Himalayan foothills which, for centuries, has
been home to Pathans of the Northwest Frontier Province
(NWFP) of Pakistan, a grassroots, hilly outpost which supports
its own culture, tradition and language. Peshawar was a pivotal
point for the Afghan freedom fighters through which the
majority of money, weapons, and medicines were funneled
from the outside world—and from all over the world—from
Part One... clandestine government concerns as well as private efforts
that endeavored to crush the Russian onslaught.

Researched and Compiled by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham

Kabbani and Mateen Siddiqui From Philanthropy to Active Combat.
Published In The Muslim Magazine, Vol. 1 No. 4 And so it was that bin Laden became a familiar sight in
Peshawar, where he received reports of how his money had
By virtue of his unwavering support for the Afghan mujahideen been spent, in addition to meeting regularly with his Arab
during their protracted, devastating war against the Soviet legions. But these meetings inspired in him less desire to
Union, for more than a decade Usama bin Laden was an merely fund the charitable and military operations and more
ally of the United States. It was during those years his own desire to actually direct the fight. It was then bin Laden began
countrymen, and Arabs in general, thought of bin Laden as a to concentrate everything he had—his resources, his mind,
philanthropist and noble hero of the fight against the atheist his heart—into the actual combat operations in Afghanistan.
communists. It was a decision that reshaped him and which, perhaps,
was the greatest passage on his journey into the Usama bin
Laden persona we know today. Time magazine’s Scott Mcleod,
who visited bin Laden in 1996, says of his early days in actual
combat, He designed and constructed defensive tunnels and
ditches along the Pakistani border, driving a bulldozer and
exposing himself to strafing from Soviet helicopter gunships.
Before long, he had taken up a Kalashnikov and was going into
battle. In 1986 he and a few dozen Arab defenders fought off a
Soviet onslaught in a town called Jaji, not far from the Pakistani
border. A year later, bin Laden led an offensive against Soviet
troops in the battle of Sha`ban. Vicious hand-to-hand fighting
claimed heavy mujahideen casualties, but his men succeeded
More recently, in the aftermath of two terrorist incidents in pushing the Soviets out of the area.
in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam, governments across four
continents—specifically: the US, England, India, Egypt, Saudi The report quotes Hamza Mohammed, a Palestinian volunteer
Arabia, Kuwait and several former Soviet republics—have gone fighter, He was a hero to us because he was always on the front
public with their concern that bin Laden is the most dangerous line, always moving ahead of everybody else. He continues,
person in the world. Some terrorism experts recognize that he He not only gave his money, but he also gave himself. He
has stolen the spotlight from Carlos, the Venezuelan terrorist came down from his palace to live with the Afghan peasants
of global repute who eluded capture for more than 20 years, so and Arab fighters. He cooked with them, ate with them, dug
cunning in fact that many world-class agencies which tracked trenches with them. That was bin Laden’s way.
him did not know his face. Milton Beardon, an American official
who for six years directed support operations for the Afghans
from inside in the late 80’s, says of bin Laden: “It all started
when Usama bin Laden began to spend more time in Pakistan
than in Saudi Arabia, going between the homeless refugees
and the fighters. At that time he built refugee camps for the
widows and children of the Afghan mujahideen.

His Initiation in the Afghan War

In a 1996 interview with Robert Fisk for British tabloid
The Independent, bin Laden stated: When the invasion
of Afghanistan started, I was enraged and went there
immediately—I arrived within days of the outbreak, before the
end of 1979. In fact, Laden went quickly from building refugee
camps, clinics and schools for the children of the camps, to
Flight to Sudan
When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989,
bin Laden returned to work in the family’s Jeddah-based
construction business, to discovere that he’d become a

celebrity. But his star appeal swiftly faded when he began
denouncing the Saudi regime. When he continued to affiliate
with and support the militant Islamic groups he’d known in
Afghanistan, less than five years after his return the Saudi
government seized his passport. Bin Laden then fled to Sudan,
embraced by Hassan al-Turabi, Sudan’s president. It is alleged
that he thereafter financed as many as three terrorist training
Bin Laden became popular after the famous Ali Khal operation, camps in Sudan over the course of his three-year stay. In his
reports Paris-based Al-Watan al-`Arabi, a popular Arabic- words, he voluntarily left for Pakistan in May 1996, afraid his
language monthly news magazine. Bin Laden and his Afghan presence was harming Sudan’s image in international circles.
Arabs, with only light weapons, no artillery and minimal Some sources, however, say bin Laden was expelled.
military training, were far outgunned by a huge Soviet army
contingent supported by massive airpower. Bin Laden and his
ragtag troops defeated the Soviets and took back the area.
About this battle, bin Laden is quoted as saying, [Ali Khal]
destroyed the myth that a superpower cannot be defeated.
It was after this operation that bin Laden’s fame spread far
and wide, through a myriad of channels. Mercennaries and
volunteers alike began to flow in from Arab states to join
him. He paid them generously, supported their training and
supplied them with arms. In a matter of months the ranks of
his fighters had swelled to 10,000. His personal experiences on Having tasted success in his support of the Afghans against the
the battlefield were the stuff of legends. When interviewed by Soviets, bin Laden turned his military focus towards defeating
British reporter Robert Fisk, bin Laden said, I was never afraid the last remaining superpower the US. His tactic: kill as many
of death. As Muslims, we believe that when we die, we go to Americans as possible, wherever they are in the world.
heaven. Before a battle, God sends us sakina—tranquillity. “You [Americans] will leave when the youth send you wooden
Once I was only thirty meters from the Russians and they boxes and coffins, and you will carry in them the bodies of
were trying to capture me. I was under bombardment, but I American troops and civilians, vowed bin Laden in an exclusive
was so peaceful in my heart that I fell asleep...I saw a 120mm interview with ABC News correspondent John Miller in June
mortar shell land in front of me, but it did not blow up. Four of this year. Allah ordered us in this religion to purify Muslim
more bombs were dropped from a Russian plane on our land of all non-believers, and especially the Arabian Peninsula
headquarters but they did not explode. where the Ka’aba is, which he went on to proclaim can only be
cleansed through jihad.”
Armed by the US
The CIA reportedly began to funnel weapons to bin Laden as h t t p : / / w w w. o u t p o s t - o f - f r e e d o m . c o m /
an ally against the Soviets, reports MSNBC—a report bin Laden OPF980830.htm”
strongly denies. Issam Daraz, who interviewed bin Laden in [Usama bin Ladenʼs formal declaration of
1989 in the last months of the war, brought back photos and war]
videos of bin Laden and his Afghan Arabs, armed with Stinger
missiles supplied by the Reagan Administration.
Proposed Formation of Terrorist Network
Four months ago, bin Laden announced the formation of an
Family Background umbrella organization to support extremist groups which
Usama bin Laden is one of 57 children of construction
have sprung up around the world, many of which share a
magnate Muhammad Awad bin Laden, a Saudi national of
rigid adherence to a literal understanding of Islam—one
Yemeni origin. Reportedly the only child from his father’s
which rejects mainstream Muslim beliefs and invokes on
marriage to a Palestinian woman, one of ten wives, He has
them judgements of heresy, apostasy and unbelief. All these
no full brothers or sisters, which is rare in the bin Laden clan,
groups share the teaching that existing moderate Islamic
a senior US intelligence official said. He was not held in high
governments are outside Islam and must be toppled by force.
standing in the family even before the allegations of terrorism
In the same ABC News interview, bin Laden eerily addressed
arose. Even today the bin Laden family—whose businesses
his own government. We predict that the Riyadh leader and
thrive throughout the Muslim world, particularly in Saudi
those with him that stood with the Jews and Christians and
Arabia and throughout the Middle East, Europe and America—
forfeited Al-Haramayn—the two holy shrines—to Jews and
has many children studying in the US. Usama labored in his
Christians with American identities or others, will disintegrate.
family’s construction business until shortly after the January
They have left the Muslim nation. We predict [their] destruction
1979 invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops. Of his first trip
and dispersal. These groups concur that America is the Great
to Afghanistan as a 20-year-old, bin Laden only knew it was
Satan responsible for the failure of Muslims. They see American
a Muslim country and that ‘it had great horses,’ says Issam
hands behind every misfortune that afflicts the Muslim world.
In line with this, bin Laden and his troops have their sights
squarely set on the US and its global interests. In the same Originating within the cauldron of Egypt’s many movements,
ABC News interview, bin Laden implied that the fight would this methodology contends that militant work must precede
soon come to American soil. “The continuation of the tyranny propagation (da`wah) work. Al-Zawahiri’s thinking reflects this.
will bring the fighting to America, like [through] Ramzi Yousef Edicts such as the Islamic Group’s The Decisive Word, argue
and others. This is my message to the American people”. [Ramsi that Muslims must stand and fight existing governments

Yousef is the convicted World Trade Center bomber sentenced and overthrow them. Through clever twisting of source
in absentia and captured last year in Pakistan.] texts interspersed with snippets from juristic rulings of later
scholars, they build an apparently convincing justification
Several months before the US Embassy blasts last August, for the Islamic nature of their cause. Enthusiastic Arab youth,
Usama bin Laden held a press conference announcing the uneducated and often unemployed, entirely disillusioned
formation of an umbrella organization, The International Front with the state of the Muslim community, easily fall for such
against Jews and Crusaders. Al-Wasat al-`Arabi reports that at adrenalin-soaked solutions, perhaps motivated by the sheer
his side was the leader of Egypt’s notorious Jihad Movement, militancy of it all. Al-Wasat’s sources state that bin Laden drank
Dr. Ayman Rabi’a al-Zawahari. Al-Wasat reports that bin Laden’s deeply from the fount of ideology and information provided
network has in effect aligned an array of rebel groups from by al-Zawahiri, absorbing his anti-government, anti-America
different nations who joined the Afghan fighters, including doctrine. In fact, bin Laden’s statement to ABC News echoes
Egyptians (primarily comprised of members of the Muslim his total indoctrination by Al-Zawahiri. We don’t differentiate
Brotherhood, the Islamic Group and the Jihad Movement) between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians. They
Saudis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Algerians, Gulf Arabs, are all targets in this fatwa. Despite Islam’s clear injunctions
Pakistanis, Afghans, Sudanese, Somalians, and a scattering from against harming civilians in war, particularly women and
other nations. Even American-Muslim converts are reported children, the Jihad Movement explicitly condones the use of
among them. His trained killers work zealously in Afghanistan, terrorism, citing the Shari`ah’s allowance for collateral killing
Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia and in Europe, where of hostages if an attack is directed at a group of combatants.
their headquarters are located in Holland. While bin Laden We must use such punishment to keep your evil away from
did not appear publicly after the American retaliatory attacks Muslims, Muslim children and women, said bin Laden. To justify
on Sudan and Afghanistan, the Jihad Movement’s leader, Dr. such violence in the name of Islam he cites American history.
al-Zawahari, telephoned international media sources from Americans, he retorted, does not distinguish between civilians
Afghanistan, voicing threats to America and declaring war and military, and not even women and children. They are the
against its interests, wherever they are. He told journalists, “bin ones who used the bombs against Nagasaki.
Laden is alive and well, sitting right beside me”. Anonymous
American officials have revealed that al-Zawahiri was with bin
Laden when the American attacks took place - miraculously
they were both unharmed.

Another influence on Usama was Al-Zawahiri’s friend Ali

Rashidi, a former Egyptian police officer, expelled from the
force after being accused of establishing the Jihad Movement
According to al-Wasat, the story of the friendship between to topple the government, reports that facilitated his migration
these two men goes back to their first meeting in the summer to Afghanistan. While al-Zawahiri swayed bin Laden’s mind, Al-
of 1989 during one of bin Laden’s visits to Peshawar. Sources Wasat says, al-Rashidi captured his heart; a potent combination
say they have never separated since. Of the same generation, that resulted in bin Laden becoming more extreme than the
bin Laden now 40 years old and al-Zawahiri 47, an al-Wasat extremists. Other friends from Egypt included Muhammad
source says the pair were satisfied with the role the other Shawki al-Islambouli, brother of Anwar Sadat’s assassin, and
played: the affluent Saudi using his millions stashed in the Muhammad Hamza, accused of attempting to assassinate
US and Switzerland to support the jihad in Afghanistan; and President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa. Both were initial
the Egyptian ideologue, the guiding intellect behind the organizers of the Jihad Movement.
strategems of war.

Al-Wasat states that al-Zawahiri is the one who indoctrinated

Usama bin Laden into following a rigid ideology: applying
To be continued in the next issue.
a restrictive reading of Shari`ah (Islamic Law), condemning
mainstream Muslim governments, and implementing jihad
against them. Furthermore, he persuaded Usama to move
from charitable to militant work.

Usama, who began to spend more and more time with Al-
Zawahiri, came to accept his simplistic Egyptian Jihad Model.

Election of

From the beginning, Islam has mandated democracy through a shura (elected council of leaders), a process
through which people sit together, consult with one another, and select one person to represent them.
This process was recently employed in Afghanistan where, according to a fifteen-century old tradition, the
people chose representatives who then gathered to choose not only a leader, but a cabinet and national
assembly. The recent loya jirga that confirmed Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan, demonstrated
once again that Islamic rule is based on democratic choice.
A clear example of democracy’s role in Islam is manifest in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) passing
without appointing a successor to rule the Muslim state. He intentionally left it to the Muslims to come
together to make this crucial decision based on what he had taught them.

The Azhar scholar Dr. Abu Zahra said:

“The Prophet (PBUH) never gave a single word or sign indicating who his successor would be... and in the
meeting which took place to elect the calipha, the Companions were in utter disagreement as to who
should succeed the Prophet, but in the end were able to choose Abu Bakr as-Siddiq by the consensus of
the majority.” [1]

[1] Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt is the oldest Islamic university in the world, dating back many centuries, and is
considered one of the highest Islamic authorities by intellectuals and scholars.
Essentially, there were three groups who differed in who should succeed the Prophet:

•The Ansar, the Prophet’s (PBUH) supporters in Madinah, who felt the
leadership should fall to one among them as they supported the Prophet
(PBUH) when he immigrated from Mecca.

•Another group, led by Abu Bakr and Umar, believed that the immigrants
(Muhajiroon) who came with the Prophet (PBUH) to Madinah should lead,
because they were the first to enter Islam.

•The third group called on Ali to lead, due to his familial relationship with
the Prophet .

The disagreement did not last long, as through shura the three groups quickly reached the consensus that
Abu Bakr had the highest credentials to take the reins of leadership. The majority voted for him, and the
Islamic precedent for peaceful transition between rulers was introduced. Once the majority had decided,
the individual citizens ratified the selection by pledging their allegiance one-by-one to the new head of
In electing a candidate from among the three parties vying for succession, the first, most exemplary Muslims
imprinted their stamp of religious authenticity on the electoral system. The fact that the Companions
(Sahaba) did not establish a monarchy or a dictatorship irrevocably demonstrates that leadership in Islam
is the choice of the people.

Once a selection is made by the shura council, each individual Muslim has the option to accept their choice
or not. This is known as taking a pledge of allegiance (baya’). If a group feels the choice was made unjustly,
they may refuse to accept it and form an opposition party. In the end however, a judge accepted by both
sides must make a final arbitration and choose between the two parties based on the validity of their
The executive aspect of governance is also conducted through consultation. The ruler, chosen by the shura
and confirmed by the citizen’s individual pledge of allegiance, is obliged to consult on executive decisions.
He therefore consults with a council, parliament or advisory group whose specific role is to advise.

Whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) had to make a decision that would affect the Muslim nation
in whole or part, he gathered his followers to conduct a shura. In one instance, before the onset of a battle,
one of the companions asked the Prophet (PBUH) if the location of the Muslim camp should be chosen
through Divine inspiration or consultation. The Prophet (PBUH) answered that it should be the product
of consultation, and proceeded to follow the group’s recommendation to settle beside the nearest water
Umar, the second caliph, said,“Whoever is chosen by the people after me will be the
caliph, and you people must listen to him and obey him.”[2] Upon Umar’s passing,
the shura chose Uthman, and after Uthman’s assassination, they chose Ali.
With the election of Ali there arose a dispute, and Muawiya took over the caliphate.
Later the rule went to his son, and the system thereby changed from democracy
to a monarchy. Thereafter, the selection of the ruler was dynastic and remained so
through the time of the Ottoman caliphs.

Muawiya separated the political and religious systems. However he regularly

consulted with Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar, who possessed vastly greater knowledge.
The system thus changed into a political leadership advised by religious leaders.

[2] Sahih Bukhari.

Irfan Ahmed
The Arabian Peninsula, the cradle of Islam, is being demolished
by hardliners. In countries such as Saudi Arabia almost all of
the Islamic historical sites are gone, but this is not the first time
they have been destroyed.

In 1802, and army led by the sons of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd

al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahabism) and Muhammad ibn
Saud occupied Taif and began a bloody massacre. A year later,
the forces occupied the holy city of Mecca. They executed a
campaign of destruction in many sacred places and leveled all
the existing domes, even those built over the well of Zamzam.
However, after the army left, Sharif Ghalib breached the truce,
inciting the Wahabis to reoccupy Mecca in 1805.

In 1806, the Wahabi army occupied Medina. They did not

leave any religious building, including mosques, without
demolishing it, whether inside or outside the Baqi’ (graveyard). The picture above shows how the Grand Mosque at Mecca
They intended to demolish the grave of the Prophet (left) is becoming overshadowed by rising skyscrapers,
Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, including the Zam Zam tower, being constructed by the
many times, but would repeatedly change their minds. At this bin Laden family.
time, non-Wahabi Muslims were prevented from performing
the Hajj (pilgrimage). In 1805, Iraqi and Iranian Muslims were viceroy in Egypt, was sent. When the forces arrived in the Hijaz,
refused permission to perform Hajj, as were the Syrians in a number of tribes marched in support of the army, which
1806 and Egyptians the following year. The Saudi leader at the regained control over Medina and then Mecca.
time wanted the pilgrims to embrace his Wahabi beliefs and
accept his Wahabi mission. If they refused, he denied them In 1818, the Wahabis were defeated and they withdrew from
permission to perform the Hajj and considered them heretics the holy places. The Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque, the Baqi’ and
and infidels—ignoring the word of God in Sura al-Baqara: the monuments at Uhud were rebuilt during the reigns of the
Ottoman sultans ‘Abd al-Majid I, ‘Abd al-Hamid II and Mahmud
And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for II. From 1848 to 1860, the buildings were renovated and the
the worship of God, His name should be celebrated? Whose Ottomans built the domes and mosques in splendid aesthetic
zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such style. They also rebuilt the Baqi’ with a large dome over the
should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there graves of the Prophet’s (PBUH) daughter Fatima al-Zahra, Imam
is nothing but disgrace in this world, and the world to come, Zainul ‘Abidin (‘Ali bin al-Hussain), Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali
an exceeding torment. (Qur’an 2:114) al-Baqir and Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq. The graves of others related
to the Prophet found at the Baqi’ include those belonging to
The Wahabi army’s destruction campaign targeted the graves Ibrahim (son), ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (Companion and son-in-law),
of the martyrs of Uhud, the mosque at the grave of Sayyid al- Saffia bint Abdul Muttalib (aunt), Atika bint ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Shuhada’ Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib and the mosques outside (aunt), Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (uncle), Fatima bint Assad
the Baqi’: the Mosque of Fatima al-Zahra, the Mosque of al- (Imam Ali’s mother), ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja‘far bin Abi Talib (cousin)
Manaratain, and Qubbat’ al-Thanaya (the burial site of the and Aqil ibn Abi Talib (The Prophet’s cousin).
Prophet’s (PBUH) incisor that was broken in the battle of Uhud).
The structures in the Baqi’ were also leveled to the ground and The grave of the Prophet’s (PBUH) father ‘Abd Allah was in Dar
not a single dome was left standing. This great place that was al-Nabigha of the Bani Najjar, the house of where the Prophet
visited by millions of Muslims over many centuries became a learned to swim. However, his father’s grave was exhumed 17
garbage dump, such that it was not possible to recognize any years ago and transferred to the Baqi’. The area of the house
grave or know whom it embraced. today lies under the marble covering the plaza surrounding
the mosque.
The occupation of the holy places by the army and their A number of the Prophet’s (PBUH) wives (the Mothers of the
preventing Muslims from performing Hajj led thousands Faithful) were buried in the Baqi’: ‘A’isha, Hafsa, Juwayriya,
of people to flee Mecca and Medina to escape religious Saffia, Sawda, Zaynab bint Khuzaima, Zaynab bint Jahsh,
persecution. The Muslims started to complain and express Umm Habiba and Umm Salama. The tomb of Khadija, the
their concerns, and public opinion put pressure on the Prophet’s first wife, is in Mecca because she died before the
Ottoman Caliph to liberate and rebuild the two holy places Hijra (migration of Muslims to Medina). Her grave is in the
and once again permit the Muslims to perform the pilgrimage. Hajun cemetery, known as Maqbarat’al-Ma’la. The tomb of
Accordingly, an army led by Muhammad Ali Pasha, the Caliph’s Maimouna, another wife, is also in Mecca in an area known as
Above is the scene of destruction when the mutawi or The picture above shows all that remains of the grave of
“religious police”, visible in red headgear, supervised the Muhammad’s (PBUH) wife in the graveyard of Al-Baqi.
demolition of the ancient Mosque of abu-Qubais. This Destroyed 50 years ago, the mutawi guard the site to pre-
mosque, built 1,200 years ago, stood on the site where vent pilgrims placing flowers or praying by the ruins.
Ali-Oraid, grandson of Mohammed, had lived. Now it is
covered by the King’s palace.

Sarif, which lies on the side of the Hijra Road, nearly 13 miles Sheikh Hammad al-Ansari. In this paper, the student demands
(20 kilometers) outside Mecca. that the noble grave be brought out of the Mosque. He says
the presence of the holy grave and noble dome are major
On April 21,1925, the domes in the Baqi’ were demolished innovations and that they both need to be destroyed! His thesis
once more along with the tombs of the holy personalities in received very high marks. Last year, the city planning board of
Maqbarat’al-Ma‘la in Mecca, where the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) Medina painted the famous green dome of the Prophet’s Holy
mother, wife Khadija, grandfather and other ancestors are Mosque silver. After intense protests by the citizens of Medina,
buried. Destruction of the sacred sites in the Hijaz continues the board restored the dome to its original color.
till this day. Wahabis say they are trying to rescue Islam from
what they consider innovations, deviances and idolatries. In the Ottoman part of the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque, at the
Among the practices they believe are contrary to Islam are center of the three sections raised a bit from the ground level
constructing elaborate monuments over graves and making are three circles. The first, toward the west, corresponds to the
supplications there. grave of the Prophet (PBUH). The next two toward the east
correspond to the graves of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and ‘Umar ibn
The Mashrubat Umm Ibrahim - which was built to mark the al-Khattab. Above the circles are invocations including“Ya Allah”
location of the house where the Prophet’s son, Ibrahim, was and “Ya Muhammad.” The latter was removed and replaced it
born to Mariah, his Egyptian wife - also contained the grave with “Ya Majid” by adding the dot under the ‘ha of Muhammad
of Hamida al-Barbariyya, the mother of Imam Musa al-Kazim. (PBUH) to make it jim and two dots under the second mim of
These sites were destroyed over the past few years. Muhammad (PBUH) to make it ‘ya. There are qasidas written by
rulers of the Muslim world, such as Sultan ‘Abd al- Hamid. Many
I recently met with one of the leading political leaders of verses of the famous Burda of al-Busayri had also been painted
Medina and took the opportunity to speak to him about the over. On the Qibla side, the brass partition that is divided into
destruction of these holy sites. He told me that the sites were three sections between two columns, the authorities have also
not being demolished, but that torrential rain in Medina was tried to cover the famous two verses inscribed in the east from
washing away the old buildings! I told him the mosque and the story of al-‘Utbi as mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir.
tomb of Sayyid Imam al-Uraidhi ibn Ja‘far al-Sadiq, four miles “O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,
from the Prophet’s Mosque, was destroyed by dynamite and and from whose fragrance the depth and height have become
flattened on August 13, 2002. Imam al-Uraidhi is ninth in line sweet! May I be the ransom for a grave in which you dwell,
from the Prophet. I also asked him about the plan to demolish where purity, bounty and munificence.”
the last remnant of the historical vestiges of the Messenger of
God, namely his noble birthplace, which has been converted If one raises his head a bit, he will see on the first section of this
into a library, “Maktabat Makka al-Mukarrama.” There was no partition a green banner, on which the words of the Almighty
answer. are framed in yellow:
Within the last 10 years, Muqbil ibn Hadi al-Wadi’i, a student
at the University of Medina, wrote a thesis titled “About the O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of
Dome Built over the Grave of the Messenger,” sponsored by the Prophet (PBUH), may blessings and peace be upon him and
his family, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as you speak aloud
to one another, lest your deeds be rendered fruitless while you
perceive not. (Qur’an 49:2)

The Sacred Chamber has four exterior doors: on the south,

Bab al-Tawba (The Door of Repentance), on the north, Bab al-
Tahajjud (The Door of Night Prayer), on the east, Bab Fatima
(the Door of Fatima), and on the west, Bab al-Nabi (The Door
of the Prophet)—also known as Bab al- Wufud (The Door of
Delegations). These gates have been present since the year
668 AH except for the Gate of the Night Prayer, which was
installed in 729 AH. Inside there are two gates, one on either
side of the triangular part of the interior compartment. All of
these doors are covered by brass shelves holding Qur’ans, an
attempt to prevent the public from looking inside the Sacred
The Wahabi religious authorities are, unfortunately, on a fast
track. In 1998 the grave of Amina bint Wahb, the Prophet’s The mountain pictured is the al-Nour or “Mountain of
(PBUH) mother, was bulldozed in Abwa and gasoline was Light”. A cave is situated on this mountain, which was
poured on it. Even though thousands of petitions throughout where Mohammed (PBUH) received his first “communi-
cations” which became the first verses of the Koran. The
the Muslim world were sent to Saudi Arabia, nothing stopped Independent states: “Hardline clerics want it destroyed to
this action. One of my late teachers, Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad stop pilgrims visiting”.
ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki, a Meccan who was a great historian on the
holy sites and inherited his knowledge from his father and
forefathers who were all teachers of the holy Haram, showed
me pictures of the grave of Sayyida Amina marked with a
In Medina, of the seven mosques at the site of the Battle of the
pile of stones after the destruction. The House of Khadija was
Trench (Jabal al-Khandaq), where Sura al-Ahzab was revealed,
excavated during the Haram extensions, then hurriedly covered
only two remain. The others have been demolished and a
over so as to obliterate any trace of it. This was the house where
Saudi bank’s cashpoint machine has been built in the area.
the Prophet (PBUH) received some of his first revelations and
The remaining mosques will be demolished as soon as the
it is also where his children Umm Kulthum, Ruqqaya, Zaynab,
new mosque being constructed is ready. One of the mosques
Fatima, and Qasim were born. Dar al-Arqam, the first school in
slated for destruction is Masjid Fath, the mosque and rock of
Islam where the Prophet taught has also been demolished. It
victory, where the Prophet (PBUH) stood during the battle of
was in the area of Shi’b ‘Ali near the Bab ‘Ali door opposite the
the trench praying for victory. On the rock is where he received
king’s palace. It is now part of the extension of the Haram.
God’s promises of victory and of the conquest of Mecca.
The authorities plan to demolish the house of Mawlid, where
the Prophet(PBUH) was born. About 60 years ago, this house,
which used to have a dome over it, was turned into a cattle
market. Some people then worked together to transform it
into a library, which it is today. It is lined with shelves of books
about Mecca, most of them written by Meccans. But the library
is under threat again because of the new Jabal ‘Umar project,
one of the largest real estate development projects near the
Grand Mosque.The birthplace of the Prophet (PBUH) is to make
way for a car park and hotels. About 99% of real estate owners
in the Jabal ‘Umar area are shareholders in this company. The
owners have been provided with financial incentives, including
what they used to receive as rents, combining five-star
facilities under the luxurious Le Meridien banner. The Meridien
Towers will allow several thousand housing units in Mecca to
be available during specified periods of time, for a one-off,
fixed fee, giving the towers 25 years of shared ownership in
Mecca. This scheme allow outsiders, whether Muslim or not, to
invest in the city; they will be allowed to buy from a range of
properties that can be used, sublet, resold or given as a gift.

For the holy month of Ramadan in Mecca, authorities built a

wall enclosure in the Haram for women to pray there so men
will not be able to see them. However, this has also blocked
women’s visibility of the Ka‘ba while they perform their prayers.
The tawaf (circumambulation) for women has also been
restricted to certain times. We don’t know if these changes are
permanent or just for Ramadan.
Essence of Abstinence
You who are kept in pawn to food,
you can be free if you suffer yourself to be weaned,
Truly in hunger there is abundant nourishment:
search after it diligently and cherish the hope of finding it.
Feed on the Light, be like the eye,
be in harmony with the angels,
O best of humankind.
Like the Angel,
make glorification of God your sustenance.
See how the hand is invisible while the pen is writing;
the horse careening, yet the rider is unseen;
the arrow flying, but the bow out of sight;
individual souls existing,
while the Soul of the souls is hidden.
Don’t strive so much to complete your worldly affairs;
don’t strive in any affair that’s not sacred.
Otherwise at the end. you’ll leave incomplete,
your spiritual affairs damaged and your bread unbaked.
The beautifying of your grave isn’t done
by means of wood and stone and plaster;
no, but by digging your grave in spiritual purity
and burying your own selfhood in His (mission),
and by becoming His dust, buried in love of Him,
so that from His breath, yours may be replenished.
The smell of pride and greed and lust
will betray you when you speak
as much as the onions you have eaten.
Many prayers are rejected because of their smell;
the corrupt heart reveals itself in the tongue.
But if your meaning is pure,
God (may) accept even your clumsy expression.

Ahmad Sam’ani [Rawh al-arwah, p.312]


We are sitting, four of us, in the office of the Imam and neighbors - in a country where the protective
of the Islamic Cultural Center of Chicago. It is a fabric of civilization had been ripped away to expose
peaceful, familiar place for this writer, filled with the ugliness that lurks within the dark confines of
memories going back some twenty years. The I.C.C. the human soul.
was built from the ground-up by Muslim immigrants
from Bosnia-Herzegovina; first the school, then “I was born in a small village near Srebrenica,” Mihret
the red brick mosque with the
silver dome and soaring minaret,
proudly displaying the Islamic
star and crescent to astonished
in a country where the protective fabric of
eyes in this predominantly Jewish
neighborhood of suburban civilization had been ripped away to expose
Chicago. the ugliness that lurks within the dark confines
of the human soul.
Yes, twenty years’ full of
recollections of special times
spent with these solid and patient
people, who continue to this day to worship in the began, “ and before the war, I worked in Belgrade as
traditional Ottoman style. Scenes of Ramadans a heavy equipment operator.”
past run through my mind; taraweeh prayers, Eid
prayers, weddings, funerals, banquets and, of course, Our interpreter, a young Bosnian refugee named
endless speeches. Amidst large groups and small, Eldar, focused himself and relayed what his
this mosque has resounded to the beautiful and countryman was saying.
haunting sounds of zikru’Llah and Mawlid’un’Nabi
performed in the classic way, unchanged from “I had just returned to Srebrenica to live when the
generation to generation. With its every brick set Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina seceded from
in place for the love of Allah Almighty, this beautiful Yugoslavia,” Mihret went on, “and for the first month
building has stood as an old and trusted friend, after independence was declared, Serb and Muslim
harboring countless private moments of worship police patrolled together. That was in March or April
and reflection to be treasured along a lifetime. of ‘93. Then, arguments began, and they separated.
The Serbs invited us (Muslims) to join them, and
Yet it is not a happy event that occupies us on this promised that we would be safe. They (the Serbs)
grey afternoon. The interminable Chicago winter had occupied all the important strategic points, and
echoes the sadness of the tale we have come to held the high ground around the city, but there was
hear. Mihret, a thirty-six year-old native of the no fighting yet.
ruined Bosnian city of Srebrenica, has come this day
to recall his ordeal at the hands of people gone mad “In May, some Serbs from Skelani, which is a village
with hatred - people who had once been his friends near us, next to the Adrina River, came and told us
that they would be holding some military exercises, and civilians alike - had retreated into the city to
only for practice, and that Muslims should stay inside join the inhabitants there. All told, there were over
their houses for their own safety.” forty-three-thousand people now cut-off inside
Mihret looked away into the distance as the memory
took hold of his mind; “But it was not for practice. We asked Mihret about the arrival of UNPRO (United
When the Muslims were effectively isolated in their Nations) forces on the scene.
homes, the Serbs began killing them. In Skelani, they
massacred forty-five people, including kids and the “First came the Canadians”, he replied. “They took
elderly. Only fifteen escaped, and made their way to up positions between us and the Serbs, who had by
the area controlled by the Bosnian (Muslim) police. now connected their chain of forty strong-points
into an unbroken, encircling ring.”
“When the people heard what was going on, they
came together to form a militia. Nasr Oric was Taking my notebook,Mihret drew a diagram showing
our first commander, and a ‘fight line’ was hastily three concentric, irregularly-shaped rings. The outer
established against the Serbs. Remember, from the one, which was by far the largest, consisted of a series
beginning they had us completely encircled. All the of dots connected with a line. This he labeled ‘Serbs’.
roads were cut off. Inside the large circle, he drew a smaller series of
dots, also connected with a line. “These are the five
At first we had some success against them. We U.N. checkpoints”, the interpreter told us. Finally, in
set up ambushes, and captured some weapons to the center, was a small oval area representing the
defend ourselves, including two tanks. Bosnians.

But in August and September, the Bosnian Serbs got “The Canadians asked us to surrender our weapons
support from the regular Yugoslav army. Suddenly, so that they could protect us”, the survivor said
there were four full corps - over eighty-thousand matter-of-factly, “and we complied.
men - against perhaps ten-thousand of us. Though
we had dug trenches and fortified our position, it For the rest of the year, ‘92, and into January of ‘93,
was hopeless. We couldn’t any longer resist them, there was no food. The situation was very difficult.
and, beginning in July of ‘93, our line collapsed. By An airlift was conducted by the U.N. during January
October, over twenty-thousand people - soldiers and February, but it was not enough. Starving
people ran out onto the field where the parachutes of NATO airstrikes against the Serbs.
were supposed to come, and were killed by the
heavy crates’ falling on them.” “Then, on July 12, 1995, the Serbs made their final
attack. The U.N. soldiers had moved into their own
“The airlift lasted until April or May, and then relief compound in the city center, and took no part in the
supplies were brought in by U.N. trucks. Much of fighting. There was panic everywhere, people were
this was stolen by the Serbs, who controlled the crying. The women and children went to the U.N.
checkpoints that the trucks had to pass through camp, asking to be taken inside for protection, while
on the way in to Srebrenica. There was a serious fifteen-thousand of our men who were militarily
shortage of salt - our bones ached - and food was capable formed a fight line to try to effect a break-
limited to four kilos of flour per person for two weeks. out to reach Tuzla. Remember, we had turned in
People were weak, exhausted, and sick. Many died most of our arms to the Canadians. The situation
of starvation. This situation lasted until the end of was desperate.
“Inside the U.N. camp, the slaughter had begun.
“Then, at the beginning of ‘94, our condition Wearing stolen U.N. uniforms, the Serbs had gotten
improved a little. In small groups, we were managing in and began rounding up the terrified Muslims.
to escape, undetected by our enemies, to the town Young girls and women were raped and then
of Zepa, where we were able to get some food to brutally executed, some right away, and some later.
bring back to Srebrenica. Makeshift markets were The elderly were mostly killed. The knife was the
even set up. With money, you could buy. But, no Serbs’ weapon of choice, before bullets.
money, . . .
“Most of us are deeply ‘curious’ about how the
“By the end of ‘94, the Canadians were replaced by Serbs were able to get in. As we said, the Serb and
maybe two or three-hundred Dutch troops, who Dutch soldiers were seen drinking and fraternizing
took over the U.N. checkpoints. We were uneasy together. I personally saw Serbs stopping U.N.
trucks at their checkpoints and leaving
the scene wearing the UNPRO uniforms.
Most of our people believe that the
hijackings were staged, that there was
some kind of agreement ‘under the table’.
People were weak, exhausted, and sick. Many Perhaps one day it will come out.
died of starvation. This situation lasted until
the end of ‘93. “There were some survivors, fortunately.
They were taken by truck to the border of
Muslim-controlled territory, near Kladanj,
and let off.

about them. Their commander was seen on T.V. “As to the fate of the men . . .”, as Mihrab went on,
drinking with the Serbian commander, and the his manner had slowly changed. He had begun in a
soldiers were also drinking together. business-like way, as if he were appearing for a job
interview, or giving directions to a lost traveler in an
“Suddenly, at the beginning of July, 1995, the Serbs area where he had grown up. But now, as the memory
launched attacks against two U.N. checkpoints, and of the awful events gripped him, he became tense.
one Dutch soldier was wounded. They (the Dutch) Unexpected and unwelcome emotions played over
immediately withdrew towards the town, to protect his face as he continued. “ . . . as I said, we tried to
themselves, and we formed a fight line with whatever reach Tuzla. We were promised ‘safe passage’ by the
we had left. We were suspicious of the Dutch Serbs, and we supposed that the U.N. was going to
withdrawal. Many people thought they had made guarantee our evacuation, but it was another trick.
a deal with the Serbs, though we couldn’t prove Every hundred meters was a trap. There were so
anything. Then, the Dutch asked us to abandon our many dead on the road that you could walk over
defensive positions and move closer to the center bodies without touching the ground.
of town, so that we would be protected in the event
“Then the Serbs began to put chemicals in the river,
where they knew we would have to drink as we “As for myself”, Mihret finished his recollection, “I
made our way towards freedom. I don’t know what stayed one night at Kladanj, then I went to find out
kind of poisons or nerve agents they used, but our what had happened to my family. We had been
people began to suffer from hallucinations. They separated for two months by this time, and I was
got wild. Mass paranoia took hold of us. Brother asking everywhere if there were any survivors from
was trying to escape from brother, each thinking the women and children of Srebrenica. Finally, I
that the other was his enemy. The Serbs sprayed us reached the Bosnian military camp at Tuzla, where
from the air with different chemicals, causing more I was overjoyed to find my wife and son among the
insanity. We began to split up.

“In the horse field at Konjevic

Polj, many of our soldiers tried to
surrender. But they were massacred.
Perhaps two or three-thousand
were cut down at that place. I was
They spotted us and fired at our group with
wounded in the leg by that time. It bullets and grenades. But Allah Almighty sent a
took me three days to reach Zepa. terrible storm.

“After three weeks, Zepa also fell. Our

commander, Rasim Delic, advised
those who wanted to surrender to
try to reach Serbia proper to turn themselves in, refugees there. We were the most happy people in
not to give themselves up to the Bosnian Serbs. the world that time, when we first saw each other.
This was for their own safety. He hoped that the
attention of the foreign press and U.N. observers “I am so grateful to Allah Almighty that He saved us,
inside Yugoslavia would make things easier on his and protected us with His mercy.”
men. Some U.N. trucks did, in fact, come to take to
safety whomever had remained behind from the
women and children.

“I didn’t want to surrender, so I stayed to fight on. I

passed seventeen days in the hills outside Kladanj,
sleeping in caves and eating the wild mushrooms
that grew there. There were many of us scattered
throughout those caves, unknown to each other.
We prayed for Allah Almighty to send rain to make
the mushrooms grow. He saved us in those hidden
places with His endless mercy.

“Finally, our president, Ali Izzetbegovich himself, sent

five guides to bring us in. There were one-hundred- By Abdul Haqq Sazonoff
eighty-two of us up there, in small groups and alone.
We had to pass through Serb territory on the way in.
They spotted us and fired at our group with bullets
and grenades. But Allah Almighty sent a terrible
storm. For seven days and nights it rained without
stop, hiding us from the enemy.

“Of the twenty-thousand men who left Srebrenica,

at least half - over ten-thousand - died on the road to
free territory. No one knows how many are missing.
Finally, we stopped the Serbs at Tuzla.
Coming to Islam Milan Sulc
Despite Muslims
I spent the first twenty-two years of my life in communist Czechoslovakia, truly convinced that God did not
exist, my basis being the irrational nature of Christianity’s concept of God as Trinity.

I still vividly remember my grandmother’s stories about God and my questioning her with a child’s logic. Well,
Grandma, if God is One, how can He be three at the same time? And if Mary was His mother, who was God
before He was born? I remember how mercilessly I teased my poor grandma, who could never provide me a
satisfactory answer.

How amused I was--in my mid-twenties and a graduate student at the University of Minnesota--when I
discovered that one of my colleagues believed in God and prayed regularly. How incredulous that anyone
intelligent enough to study for an MBA could be dumb enough to believe in God and the Hereafter!

Many years later and through my interest in science all-of-a-sudden it dawned on me that even a brick wall
cannot happen by accident. I realized if all of the natural laws in the universe fit together with such amazing
precision they cannot be a product of chance, but must be created by God, and God must be only ONE.

In what seems like an instant, without any period of uncertainty in-between, I went from certainty that there
isn’t--and cannot be God--to certainty that there must be God. And I was sure that all religions had it wrong. I
already knew this about Christianity, and my impression of Judaism was that it’s teachings did not reflect an
All-Knowing God, and that He is only for Jews. From what little I knew about Islam, and even that was from
the media, I assumed it had little in common with faith in God and submission to His will. My negative first
impressions were only reinforced when I encountered my first Muslims.

These were Lebanese and Syrian traders in Ivory Coast and Liberia, whom I met in the course of my business
trips to West Africa. They were not very honest, they drank alcohol, they did not pray and they treated the
Africans as slaves. When I suggested that all of this was inconsistent with God’s commandments, they agreed
but weren’t worried as, “In Islam, one can have a good time and sin as much as one pleases. When you’re too
old for sin, you only need to make Hajj to Mecca and all of your sins will be washed away.” I thought, “What a
bunch of baloney, and the further from this religion, the better!”

So, for a while, I was convinced that I had my own exclusive religion--just me, my faith in God and submission
to His will--until I got into a discussion of mutual religious beliefs with a Lebanese student visiting Ivory
Coast. He was surprised that I had not read the Qur`an, and suggested I should. When I asked him about some
of the other “Muslims,” he told me not to judge Islam through their conduct because they were obviously

Quite impressed, I soon bought an English translation of the Qur`an, which I admit sat unopened on my
bookshelf for about 3 years. My reluctance to read it stemmed from several earlier, unsuccessful attempts
to read the Bible cover-to-cover, when I found too many contradictions and much of the material too dry. I
assumed the Qur`an would be the same. But out of curiosity I did start reading it one day and by the time I
had completed one-third, I was very impressed; it was all so very logical, with no contradictions. I commented
to my wife how smart Muhammad (saw) must have been.

After that, I suddenly came across some scientific facts which took my breath away, for I knew these were only
discovered during the 20th century, yet mentioned in the 1400-year-old text of the Qur`an. It was instantly
clear to me that the Qur`an could only come from God. With conviction that I was on the straight path, I never
looked back.

My family and friends could not believe at first that I was serious about Islam, and for years they took issue
with me being Muslim. They thought my conversion was a practical joke. They still can’t understand why I
chose Islam. I still get asked, “Can’t you see Muslims are terrorists who kill innocent people? Can’t you see
how badly they treat women? How they would like the whole world to return to the Middle Ages?” I’ve even
been told point blank that if I wish to believe in God, OK, but why do I have to believe in “their Allah”--why
not believe in “our God” instead?

To my children, ages 23, 14, 12, and 10, Islam comes naturally. However, my wife of 27 years--who believes
in one God, rejects the concept of Trinity and the divinity of Christ--nevertheless forcefully disagrees if
I mention her beliefs are Islamic. She cannot distinguish the Islam defined by God in the Qur`an from the
“Islam” practiced by the majority of Muslims. She has met many of my Muslim friends and considers them
nice people, but nevertheless exceptions to the rule. The sad example set by many of Muslims today is that
they fear people instead of Allah, and will readily compromise His commandments.

I left Czechoslovakia for the West in 1968, just after the Russian occupation crushed the “Prague Spring.”
By bribing a passport official with a valuable stamp collection, I was able to get my parents and brother
to Switzerland about three months later, just a short while before the Czech government cancelled all
permissions for private travel to the West. In 1969 I was granted financial assistance by the University of
Minnesota and studied for five years in the US.

My father died in Switzerland in 1972, and I don’t know if he ever found his way to God or not. He was
previously a convinced atheist, but in his last years he apparently started wondering about whether God
exists or not. According to my mother’s recollection, he did find his way. My brother, who was 17 when my
father died, is unsure. He says that during my father’s last days, a Christian priest visited him in the hospital
and they discussed religion a lot, but my father, being a logical person, could not accept the concept of the

My brother nearly laughed his head off when I declared my belief in God and he saw me reading the Qur`an
for the first time. Now he and his wife, both former atheists, proclaim their belief in God. However, they still
look at Islam askance, turned off by what they see of “Muslims”--many as hypocrites who do not respect
God’s commandments and who are opposed to any intellectual discussion. My mother found her way to God
some years back but has yet to read the Qur`an, for similar reasons as my brother and his wife. I continue to
pray for them, asking God to guide them to His straight path.

A historic meeting
between two Sufi Masters
20,000 People gather to celebrate the Prophet’s(s) birthday

To quote one of the current teachers of the Way...

“We have now wherever we go seen a new ‘phenomena’ erupting, if one can call it
that, what I am elucidating towards is cultural barriers restricting our progression.
Therefore, we see a Pakistani Masjid, a Greek Masjid, an American Masjid, an Indian
Masjid and all are saying our Deen is calling towards the Oneness of Allah the
Exalted. How can this be when we amongst ourselves are not one!”

To those who were fortunate to hear this, it did not

strike them as an amusing remark, but the teacher
had illustrated the extent of the problem, which, it
has to be conceded, is self-inflicted.

I want to draw the attention of the reader towards a

historic event, which occurred, on Sunday 3rd Rabi
al-Awwal 1427AH, 2nd April 2006CE as two masters
of the most Distinguished Naqshbandi Sufi Way
met on the occasion of the celebration of advent of
the noble Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and
give him peace) in Blackburn. It is indeed a rarity to
see religious personalities meet on one platform
but there is a difference in the meeting of spiritual
monarchs and those supposedly charged with The two Sufi Masters praying after lunch
disseminating the faith. The reality of the matter is
far more delicate than meets the eye but for some it the pertinent question is “How big is my Turban,
is a bitter pill to sallow. is my Jubba more extravagant then my opposite
number, is my walking stick sufficiently engraved
The meeting was of our noble masters Mawlana ... let me check do I have more students then my
Sayyidi Shaykh Hisham Kabbani an-Naqshbandi opposite number.” It is pleasing to learn Allah has
and Khawajah Riaz Ahmad as-Sufi an-Naqshbandi enabled us to gain access to the rightful inheritors
al-Aslami, Allah bless them with a long life and of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). On this point
enable us to benefit from their knowledge and Shaykh Abd al-Khaliq ash-Shabrawi highlighted
secrets. Those who witnessed this meeting were in his Maraatib ul-Nafs (The Degrees of the Soul)
amazed as the masters raced to kiss the hand of the the illness of coveting prestige and leadership. This
other, meeting with their hands bowed in humility blameworthy trait obstructs the road to leading the
and through the immense love raising each other Real, Majestic is He. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH)
up by the arms and embracing. said: “It is sufficient evil for a son of Adam - except
There was no ostentatious display of superiority, those whom Allah the Exalted protects - to have
a plague which has hit those who have been people pointing their fingers at him, whether for
charged with disseminating the faith. We find now, religious or worldly reasons.”
unfortunately, to our personal detriment a great
pre-occupation with ones exterior appearance as In addition, Sayyidunaa Ali (r) said: “Seek modesty,
not fame; raise not yourself, guard secrets and
maintain silence. You will then be safe, gladdening
the righteous, and spiting the corrupt.” Allah the
Exalted expanded the breasts of students through
the action of the wise masters to comprehend his
prophetic edict. Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
highlighted to those present the secrets inherited
by Khawajah Riaz Ahmad, imploring Allah the
Exalted to increase him further.

Continuing the narration, the young master

hosted his guests personally serving the food and
accompanying the elder master to perform the
wudu. Those who accompanied Mawlana Shaykh
Hisham Kabbani looked on in amazement as they Some of the people gathering after the parade
became privy to the Prophetic command “Let him to hear the speeches in Hall No. 1
who believes in Allah, Majestic is He, and the Last Day
honour his guest.” Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabanni attended by over 20,000 people from all over the
served the food and bread to all the students who United Kingdom.
were present. After the food, the two masters sat and
exchanged views about the problems facing the Those who attended the celebrations felt Allah
nation of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and what the Exalted had favoured them in allowing them
steps should be taken to alleviate. Both spoke with to sit in the company of two Naqshbandi Masters
great insight and a sense of purpose. The students and remember Him by reciting the Khatam ul-
were further astounded at the level of agreement Khawajaghan an-Naqshbandiyya, to invoke
and how their respective comments complimented blessings on the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless
one another. We are told the Awliya meet in a him and give him peace); to hear and receive their
regular spiritual congregation in the presence of supplications. Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and this meeting is enlightened the hearts of all in the seekers of the
testament as the students present felt the masters Truth, Exalted is He by reminding them of His Mercy
had known each other well before their time. and His Habib (Allah bless him and give him peace).

The level of love between the spiritual monarchs is Without boring the reader, it is appropriate to
hard to expand upon in words but it should suffice conclude this narration by highlighting to all, least
to learn that the Almighty clothes His saints with of all our fellow brethren, why the Muslims hold such
the traits of the Prophets (Allah be well pleased celebrations and the significance of obtaining a link
with them all). Of these traits, the predominant is to a Sufi Master. We are told there were more angels
‘love’ (muhabbah), this is not love as understood by present in the celebrations then people, enveloping
the layman but love of the Divine and love of His all who attended in the Divine Mercy with which
beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him they were charged with to disseminate. Why is this
peace). one may be pondering, we are told Allah the Exalted
looks upon the Earth and upon encountering the
The meeting of the Mawlana Shaykh Hisham and heart of His saints averts calamities, sending down
Khawajah Riaz Ahmad, masters of the Wisdom, has His Bounties onto man. Know and be certain to reach
set the precedent in the modern era that the Sufi the Divine Presence one must obtain the company
masters are united and through them the artificial of a Rightful Inheritor and profess gratitude in being
barriers, which we have elected to erect, along exposed to the mentioned masters whose every
lines of ethnicity and so on will be broken. The two deed mirror the noble Sunnah of the Messenger of
masters were escorted to the beginning point of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
the Mawlid parade (a parade commemorating the
advent of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him Shaqeel Hanif
and give him peace) and professing undying love
for him) to launch the celebrations which were
A Wise Young Muslim Boy
[Adapted into English from “Manâqib Abî Hanîfah” written by Imâm Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad
al-Makki (d. 568 Hijri). Dar al - Kitâb al-’Arabiy, Beirut, 1981/1401H.]

Many years ago, during the time of the Tâbi’în (the “But the flame is just light- it spreads in each of the four
generation of Muslims after the Sahâbah), Baghdâd was directions; North, South, East and West. It does not face
a great city of Islam. In fact, it was the capital of the Islamic any one direction only,” said the man in wonderment.
Empire and, because of the great number of scholars
who lived there; it was the centre of Islamic knowledge. The boy cried, “Then if this physical light spreads in all
four directions such that you cannot tell me which way it
One day, the ruler of Rome at the time sent an envoy to faces, then what do you expect of the Nûr-us-Samâwâti-
Baghdad with three challenges for the Muslims. When wal-’Ard: Allâh - the Light of the Heavens and the Earth!?
the messenger reached the city, he informed the King Light upon Light, Allâh faces all directions at all times.”
that he had three questions which he challenged the
Muslims to answer. The Roman was stupified and astounded that here was a
The King gathered together all the scholars of the city young child answering his challenges in such a way that
and the Roman messenger climbed upon a high platform he could not argue against the proofs. So, he desperately
and said,“I have come with three questions. If you answer wanted to try his final question. But before doing so, the
them, then I will leave with you a great amount of wealth boy said,
which I have brought from the king of Rome.” As for the “Wait! You are the one who is asking the questions and I
questions, they were: “What was there before Allâh?” “In am the one who is giving the answer to these challenges.
which direction does Allâh face?”“What is Allâh engaged It is only fair that you should come down to where I am
in at this moment?” standing and that I should go up where you are right
now, in order that the answers may be heard as clearly
The great assembly of people were silent. (Can you think as the questions.”
of answers to these questions?) In the midst of these
brilliant scholars and students was a man looking on This seemed reasonable to the Roman, so he came down
with his young son. “O my dear father! I will answer him from where he was standing and the boy ascended the
and silence him!” said the youth. So the boy sought the platform. Then the man repeated his final challenge,“Tell
permission of the King to give the answers and he was me, what is Allâh doing at this moment?”
given the permission to do so.
The Roman addressed the young boy and repeated his The boy proudly answered, “At this moment, when Allâh
first question, “What was there before Allâh?” found upon this high platform a liar and mocker of Islam,
The boy asked, “Do you know how to count?” He caused him to descend and brought him low. And
“Yes,” said the man. as for the one who believed in the Oneness of Allâh, He
“Then count down from ten!” So the Roman counted raised him up and established the Truth. Every day He
down, “ten, nine, eight, ...” until he reached “one” and he exercises (universal) power (Surah 55 ar-Rahmân, Verse
stopped counting 29).”
“But what comes before ‘one’?” asked the boy.
“There is nothing before one- that is it!” said the man. The Roman had nothing to say except to leave and return
“Well then, if there obviously is nothing before the back to his country, defeated. Meanwhile, this young boy
arithmetic ‘one’, then how do you expect that there should grew up to become one of the most famous scholars of
be anything before the ‘One’ who is Absolute Truth, All- Islam. Allâh, the Exalted, blessed him with special wisdom
Eternal, Everlasting the First, the Last, the Manifest, the and knowledge of the deen. His name was Abu Hanîfah
Hidden?” (rahmatullâh ‘alayhi- Allâh have mercy on him) and he
Now the man was surprised by this direct answer which is known today as Imâm-e-A’dham, the Great Imâm and
he could not dispute. So he asked,“Then tell me, in which scholar of Islam.
direction is Allâh facing?”
“Bring a candle and light it,” said the boy, “and tell me in
which direction the flame is facing.”
Amr bil munkar

As Sunnah Foundation USA






“He who is not thankful to people is not thankful to
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