Muslim extremism; some insights on its root causes.
Once again to reiterate here that this is not an attack on the great Sunni Sect of Islam but to truly understand the problem of extremism which have devastated the beautiful teachings of Sunni Islam, and it is absolutely not intended to attack the integrity of the great companions of the prophet (radiya Allah u ‘anhum), whom I deeply honor, love and adhere to.
In my previous posts I have repeatedly alluded to the problem of Muslim extremism and its being pandemic within the Sunni Branch of Islam. Throughout these posts I abstained from citing Sunni religious sources in respect to the inherited negative Sunni doctrinal teachings and to go and pick some dirty laundry from their history books and spread them out and I will continue with my stand of abstinence in citing any source as such by my own attempt, to avoid being complicit in instigating hate against my Sunni brothers and sisters. However, in order for me to substantiate such claims and perhaps some may take it as accusations initiated by me against the teachings of the Sunni school, then I will bring your attention to, in defense of the great Sunni teachings, such dirty laundry which have already been spread out in the public for all to read by a Sunni website called “Seeking ‘ilm” which literally means “seeking knowledge” but unfortunately this Sunni website has been spreading a philosophy of hate against many Muslims who unify God every day. They seem to be very proud of such knowledge of hate and frankly I as a Muslim is ashamed from these teachings which are smearing the beautiful image of the great Sunni early scholars and the image of our beloved companions of the prophet.
They have been publishing religious “declarations of infidelity-takfeer fatwas” in the name of many early great Sunni scholars, issued by some later time Sunni Scholars against those who differ with them in religious opinions. The details of these opinions are discussed in the following letter and comments which were generated between me and the writer of this hateful article; in addition there were many other valuable comments and replies worth reading by other Muslim brothers.
I must say however that this website has the potential of spreading the beautiful Sunni teachings which I personally learned from and I am truly indebted to. The individuals of this website could play a positive role to present the beautiful image of Islam to the world and be a crucial element of change within the Muslim community who are in dire need for different direction and vision towards life.
I am certain, and Allah knows best, that the administrators of this site are sincere in their efforts to spread the message of Islam in accordance to what they have been taught. But I believe they have been victimized by these terrible negative Muslim teachings, as I have been in the past for some years. These Muslim web writers are caught in the deviated oppressive religious teachings which have devastating psychological effects on the Muslim mind. And I take this opportunity to plea to them to change course and adopt a different direction to help our Muslim brothers and sisters in coping with the ever changing challenges in the world today.
In this post, in order to expose these negative teaching preached by some Sunni scholars, and to hear from the horses mouth as they say, then you shall see the ingrained seeds of extremism views within the doctrinal Sunni teachings, which are contrary to the teachings of the great companions of the prophet, Abu Bakr, Umer,….(rathiya Allahu anhum) You can read the entire article (link is at the bottom of this post) for your self and see the hateful teachings which have been promoted by these Sunni scholars which have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam and the honorable companions of the holy prophet. I will only publish below (in blue color) my open letter to the writer in which I have pleaded to him to stop these kind of teachings which will do nothing but create further divisions and bloodshed among Muslims.
Here is my letter with some editing and along with the writer response and comments:
Assalamu alaikum Br Abul Layth
I am writing to you these few words for the sake of the Muslim unity. For the love of the Prophet Muhammad, and for the love of our great companions, Abu Bakr, Umer, and the others, and for the love of our great scholars such as Abi Hanifa, Ibn Hanbal and others, but not for the love of this Sheik whom you quoted “Ibn Kamal’, who has issued written treatise of hate. Please do not be offended for my sincere and honest opinion. I must say that you have come a long way in your search for the truth. Your spiritual journey began form Christianity and to being a Muslim through adopting the Wahabi-Salafi branch of Islam, and then you left Wahabism to become traditionalist as you describe. Perhaps you should continue in your journey to advocate peace, tolerance and new dimension of Islam which is compatible to our world today. First, I would like to mention to you, for the sake of the argument, that I do not subscribe to any Muslim sect nor do I find myself obliged to subscribe to any Muslim sect. Perhaps this would make me kafir in your view based on what you have presented, and this is OK with me because I know that God is not obliged to abide by Man’s judgments.
Please know that none of these honourable companions have advocated the notion that suggests that rejecting the companions as spiritual leaders would take a Muslim out of the fold of Islam. Rather they taught that what constitute a Muslim is the declaration of Shahada; “no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”; no mention, in this Shahada, of the Sahaba, Hanafi, Hanbali, or Shafi’i. It is clear from our history that none of the Sahaba have ruled to declare anyone who utters the “shahada” to be a kafir. But it seems such rulings have been issued by people other than the Shabah themselves. It makes you wonder why is it that the people whom are related directly to the dispute do not declare a Muslim to be kafir nor propose such declaration similar to that of “Ibn Kamal the Turkish”
In fact history tell us that the beloved Abu Bakr have said upon his nomination as the first khalifa;
“”O people, I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right.”
This is what Muslims need today; we are in desperate need for Abu Bakr’s teachings of freedom of expression; “if I do wrong, set me right.” and not intimidation and suppression of the human intellect. We are in desperate need for the teaching of Ali when he dealt with those who raged war against him; through this event he taught us how to be tolerant with those who oppose us and he also taught us to be very careful in shedding the blood of anyone who unify God when he stated, to his followers in respect to the khawarij who have rejected his judgment and leadership, and raged war against him, that he said: “do not kill the khawarij after me, because know that the one who seeks the truth but fails to achieve it is not the same as someone who seeks falsehood but succeeds in achieving it” It is worth noting here that the Sahabi Ali bin abi Talib did not shed the blood of those who rejected and fought against him. This kind of teaching we need today and not of “Ibn Kamal, the Turkish” I also would particularly commend the comments given by Br Irshaad which seems to be very reasonable and informative. Know that all of the takfeer fatwas which are deducted by our past respected scholars are subjective and not necessarily to be taken as obligatory divine laws for all Muslims to adopt. I believe that no one have the authority to nullify any Muslim’s faith except the Prophet of Islam and the person himself. If a Muslim renounces his faith then he is declared kafir no dispute about it.
Having said this, after reading some of your writings I sensed some level of sincerity on your part but I find you have gotten caught in the terrible negative teachings of our Muslim doctrine. You have been able to free yourself from the grip of the Wahabi sect. And I would expect to see you sooner or later to move on to a more moderate vision of Islam. Never stop searching for more possibilities and opinions. Muslims today are so disunited among themselves. In fact I find your former people, the Christians, are more united than the Muslims and have moved away from the takfeery philosophy, which have caused the loss of lives of many Christians in the name of Jesus. Our Muslim history is filled with wars, divisions, killings, takfeers of each others. Do not take these Muslim scholars as sacred people but they are subject to error. Even the great companion Abu Bakr had confirmed this notion when he said “if I do wrong, set me right.”” He did not want people to take him as infallible rather he gave them the authority to question his judgment. You seem to take “ibn Kamal” as sacred and his judgment cannot be challenged in the 21 Century. Ibn Kamal verdict is not binding to all Muslims or the fatwas of any other Muslim scholar.
“ijma’” or “consensus”
You seem to put too much weight to the notion of “ijma’” or “consensus” but know that this notion have become very relative in light of the many Muslim sects, such as, Wahabis, Salafis, Shafi’s, Hanbalis, Malikies, Shi’a, and much more Muslim sects. This follows that there is no more real meaning to the notion of “ijm’a” because every Muslim sect or group would use this argument then we end up with a real problem and that is many “ijm’a” and who are those “ijma’”. Perhaps, the bin Ladin group refer to the “ijma’ but we know the majority of Muslims are not in agreement to his vision and fatawas. And the same logic goes with the rest. Hence “ijma’” no longer have the real value of what it implies and that is the majority or consensus. No more majority in the Muslim community in the real sense rather our Muslim community today consist of multitudes of minorities. Hence ‘ijm’a” is impossible to achieve in these given circumstances.
Allow me to comment on some of your points; You said; “6) It is also interesting to note that this Ottoman Shaykh states, “And it is obligatory for the Sultan to declare Jihad against these disbelievers as Allah says,
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِير
“O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed.” [9:73]”
Comment: “This verse is addressed to the messenger of Allah and not to the Sultan of the ottomans, as it is clearly states; “O Prophet!”9:73 It seems that the Sultan of the Ottomans found it very convenient to manipulate this verse to subdue and destroy those who threatened his kingdom. Just like the recent Muslim criminal elements, who have been committing crimes against those who oppose them in opinions, in the name of Islam.
You said; “The application of this Hanafi Ottomanic fatwa in our times would rid the Muslim community of several different neo-Islamic sects, the names of such we will leave to the readers to decide.”
Comment; “Although you tried to distance yourself from this fatwa in the beginning of your post, when you stated; “Again, this fatwa must be taken in context and must be understood in the political sphere of 900 A.H.” but unfortunately, at the end of this post, you seem to have fallen in the trap of these kinds of deviated Muslim teachings. Hence, you seem to advocate this kind of thinking which inevitably implicate you in the terrible consequences that these instigative teachings could cause, should your wish for the implementation of this fatwa comes true. Accordingly, the implementation of such fatwa would lead to sectarian wars and the loss of lives of many “unifiers” who share the same Qibla, Quran and the love of the same prophet”
You said; “2) The kufr of those who revile the companions or reject the khilafah of the two Shaykhs.”
Comment; What about the other two Khulafa, namely Uthman and Ali. How come they are not included in the ruling of the status of kufr. Why is it only that rejecting the two “Shaikhs”, the first and the second “khalifa” namely Abu Bakr and Umar, would merit an apostate status, and not so in respect to Uthman and Ali. In other words such ruling does not consider the rejection of Utham and Ali as an act which merit the status of kufr.
You said: “Risalah fi takfir ar-rawafid” or ‘Treatise (or letter) regarding the declaration of disbelief upon those who revile the Sahabah”;
Comment: if we were to honor such teachings and take them as sacred laws and abide by them then we are definitely getting ourselves into a big dilemma. In other words this treatise seems to suggest that anyone who revile the Sahaba earns the status of disbelief or kufr, then this follows that this treatise would pose a serious challenge to the integrity of the honorable lady ‘aisha, the Prophet’s wife, and many honorable companions of the prophet. Because, according to history and all of the Sihah that the honorable lady ‘aisha, the honorable companions ‘Talha, alzuybyr and many others, have indeed rejected and reviled the forth khalifa Ali bin abi talib; and their rejection was not only limited to verbal rejection rather it escalated to military conflict. Now does the writer of this treatise consider Ali from among the Sahaba, if he does then this would seriously attack the integrity of these great Muslim personalities, such as alsayyida ‘aisha, tal’ah and alzubyr and others. What is really interesting here is that the forth khalifa himself, Ali, did not declare those who went against him and rejected him as leader, such as ‘aisha, talha and alzybyr as kafirs and history tells otherwise. So when the person who is relevant in this issue, Ali, did not issue a takfeer fatwa against those who rejected him then I believe it is not within anyone’s jurisdiction to put their nose in such affairs. Can anyone suggest that the writer of this takfeery treatise “Ibn Kamaal” is more knowledgeable than the honorable companion Ali bin abi talib. Well it seems that, according to the followers of this Sheikh and this kind of teachings, this Sheikh “Ibn Kamaal” has more knowledge than Ali. In addition, what about Mu’awiya bin abi Sufyan, he had rejected the Sahabi Ali bin abi talib, then according to this logic of “Ibn Kamal’, that he should earn the status of kufr or what status should he earn.
May God bless you
—-End of letter—-
Here is the reply of the writer of the takfeeri article Br Abul Layth:
Wa’alaykum Salam Katib,
I will not be responding to your post as it is to long to deal with, and quite frankly loaded with batil I don’t feel like addressing.
Here is a positive reaction to my letter and I hope more Muslims are like this brother “Ibn Ahmad” and may Allah SW bless him where ever he is and increase in knowledge:
On Oct 30,2008, Ibn Ahmad said:
May Allah bless you Sayyid Katib. You raised some very beneficial points to ponder upon. Also, I felt nothing but kindness in your words.
Your Brother Ibn Ahmad
I also urge my readers to read the comments left by Br. Irshaad which were extremely important and informative, and they were many for me to publish them here but you will see them in the link below.
Here is the link for the entire article and you judge for yourself; Takfeer fatwa of Rafida