Archive for September 11th, 2010

Imam Sayyid Qutb

By Ahmed El-Kadi, MD


Sayyid Qutb, the doyen of the Ikhwan al-Muslimun, had a very profound impact on the Muslim Arab youth coming of age since late 60s. Western writers in recent years have focused on him as one of the two most influencial Muslim thinkers of this century, the other being Sayyid Maududi. Qutb’s writings prior to 1951 are more of a ‘moralist’. It was after he was introduced to Maududi’s ideas, especially his emphasis on Islam being a complete way of life, and establishment of Allah’s order on earth as every Muslim’s primary responsibility that Qutb changed into a revolutionary. His two years sojourn (1948-1950) in the US opened his eyes to the malise of the western culture and non-Islamic ideologies.

After his return to Egypt he resigned his job in the Education directorate and devoted himself to the idea of bringing a total change in the political system. Ikhwan gained ideological vitality when Sayyid Qutb in his jail cell wrote a book in which he revised Hassan al-Banna Shahid’s dream of establishing an Islamic state in Egypt after the nation was thoroughly Islamized. Sayyid Qutb recommended that a revlutionary vanguard should first establish an Islamic state and then, from above impose Islamization on Egyptian society that had deviated to Arab nationalistic ideologies.

His subsequent 11 years behind prison walls gave him an opportunity to confirm what Maududi’s writing made him aware, and that is what convinced the secular Nasserites to condemn him to death on false accusations.

Other than Prophet Muhammad (s), the contemporary men who had great influence on me were my father, Imam Hassan al-Banna, and Shaheed Sayyid Qutb. The first two Islamic books that I studied as teenager were “Dirasat Islamiyya” (Studies in Islam, or Lessons in Islam) and Aladalah Alijtima’eyyah Fil-Islam (Social Justice in Islam) both by Sayyid Qutb. Although I have never met or seen Sayyid Qutb, I knew him (as most other Muslims involved with Islamic work) through his many books, like the two mentioned above, his great commentary on the Qur’an, Fithilal-el-Qur’an (in the Shades of the Qur’an), and other books.

Sayyid Qutb was born on 8 October 1906, in a village called “Musha” in the township of Qaha in the province of Assyout in Egypt. He entered the elementary and primary school of Musha in 1912 and finished his primary education in 1918. He dropped out of school for two years because of the revolution of 1919. His father was Haj Qutb, son of Ibrahi, and a well-known religious person in his village, and his mother was also a religious lady from a well-known family who cared about him and his two younger sisters, Hamida and Amina, and a younger brother, Muhammad. After completing his primary education in Musha, Sayyid Qutb moved to Cairo for further education where he lived with his uncle, Ahmad Hussain Osman. This was in 1920, when he was 14 years old. It should be noted that he memorized the Qur’an when he was about 10 years old in his village. He lost his father while he was in Cairo, so he convinced his mother to move with him to Cairo, where she died in 1940. After the death of his mother, he expressed his loneliness in several articles (Ummah, My Mother) published in the book, “Atatiaf Alarbaa” (The Four Lights), which his sisters, brother and he wrote.

In Cairo, he completed his high school education and enrolled in the teachers’ college, Darul Oloom, in 1929. In 1939 he qualified as an Arabic-Language teacher and received a Bachelor of Arts degree then joined the ministry of education. Very soon (about six years), he left his ministry job as a teacher and devoted his time to freelance writing. A factor leading to his resignation from the teaching job was his disagreement with the ministry of education and many colleagues regarding his philosophy of education and his attitude towards the literary arts.

From 1939 to 1951, an obvious switch in his writing towards the Islamic ideology was noted. He wrote several articles on the artistic expression of the Qur’an, as well as two books titled “Expression of the Qur’an” and “Scenes from the Day of Judgement.” In 1948, his book “Social Justice in Islam” was published. In it he made it clear that true social justice can only be realized in Islam. In November 1948, he went to the United States to study educational curricula. He spent two and one half years moving between Washington DC., and California, where he realized the materialistic attitude of the literary arts and its lack of spirituality. He interrupted his stay in the United States and returned to Egypt in August 1950. Sayyid Qutb resumed his job as a teacher and inspector in the ministry of education before he resigned in October 1952 (again because of his repeated philosophical disagreements with the minister of education and many of his colleagues).

The period from 1951 to 1965 included his joining the Ikhwan (The Muslim Brotherhood). His ideas were quite clear about the fallacy of many of the prevailing social and political/economic injustices and the need for Islamic reform, and he became the chief editor of the newspaper of Ikhwan. During his period, several of his books appeared on Islamic ideology and Islam as a complete way of life. He was arrested when the Ikhwan was accused of attempting to overthrow the government in 1954 and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labor. He remained in Jarah prison near Cairo for about 10 years after which due to his health condition, he was released when the Iraqi President, Abdul Salam Arif, intervened.

In 1965 he published his famous book, Mallem Fittareek (Milestones), which led to his re-arrest with the accusation of conspiracy against the Egyptian President, Abdul Nasser. He was tried and rapidly sentenced to death based upon many excerpts of his book, Milestones. There was quite an international uproar and protest in various Muslim countries with appeals to President Abdul Nasser to pardon Sayyid Qutb. In spite of several demonstrations and many objections in various Muslim countries, Sayyid Qutb was executed by hanging on August 29, 1966. He left behind a total of 24 books, including several novels, several books on literary arts’ critique, on the education of adults and children, and several religious books, including the 30 volume Commentary of the Qur’an.

Sayyid Qutb will always be remembered for his legacy of clearly defining the basic ideas of the Oneness and sovereignty of Allah, the clear distinction between pure faith and the association of partners with Allah (Shirk) overt and hidden, and the only hope for salvation of humanity. Sayyid Qutb was smiling when he was executed, showing his conviction of the beautiful life to come in paradise – a life he definitely and rightfully deserved.

Ibn Asakir narrated from Zayd bin Aslam from his father that the messenger (pbuh) said :

Paving the Way

by Sayyid Qutb
Courtesy Of: http://www.islam.org.au

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Before a Muslim steps into the battlefield, he has already fought a great battle within himself against Satan- against his own desires and ambitions, his personal interests and inclinations, the interests of his own family and of his nation; against anything which is not from Islam; against every obstacle which comes into the way of worshipping Allah and the implementation of the Divine authority on earth, returning this authority to Allah and taking it away from the rebellious usurpers.

Those who say that Islamic Jihad was merely for the defense of the ‘home land of Islam’ diminish the greatness of the Islamic way of life and consider it less important than their ‘homeland’. This is not the Islamic point of view, and their view is a creation of modern age and is completely alien to Islamic consciousness. What is acceptable to Islamic consciousness is its belief, the way of life which this belief prescribes, and the society which lives according to this way of life. The soil of the homeland has, in itself, no value or weight. From the Islamic point of view, the only value which the soil can achieve is because on that soil Allah’s authority is established and Allah’s guidance is followed; and thus it becomes a fortress for the belief, a place for its way of life to be entitled the ‘homeland of Islam’, a centre for the movement for the total freedom of man.

Of course, in that case the defense of the ‘homeland of Islam’ is the defense of the Islamic beliefs, the Islamic way of life, and the Islamic community. However, it’s defense is not the ultimate objective of the Islamic movement of Jihad but it is a mean of establishing the Divine authority within it so that it becomes the headquarters for the movement of Islam, which is then to be carried throughout the earth to the whole of mankind, as the object of this religion is all humanity and its sphere of action is the whole earth.

As we have described earlier, there are many practical obstacles in the establishing Allah’s rule on earth, such as the power of state, the social system and traditions and, in general, the whole human environment. Islam uses force only to remove these obstacles so that there may not remain any wall between Islam and individual human beings, and so that it may address their hearts and minds after releasing them from these material obstacles, and then leave them free to choose to accept or reject it.

We ought not to be deceived or embarrassed by the attacks of the orientalists on the origin of Jihad, nor lose self-confidence under the pressure of present conditions and the weight of the great powers of the world to such an extent that we try to find reasons for Islamic Jihad outside the nature of this religion, and try to show that it was a defensive measure under temporary conditions. The need for Jihad remains, and will continue to remain, whether these conditions exist or not!


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Imam Hasan Al-Banna

Hasan al-Banna was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood or Society of the Muslim Brothers, the largest and most influential Sunni revivalist organization in the 20th century. Created in Egypt in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood became the first mass-based, overtly political movement to oppose the ascendancy of secular and Western ideas in the Middle East. The brotherhood saw in these ideas the root of the decay of Islamic societies in the modern world, and advocated a return to Islam as a solution to the ills that had befallen Muslim societies. Al-Banna’s leadership was critical to the spectacular growth of the brotherhood during the 1930s and 1940s. By the early 1950s, branches had been established in Syria, Sudan, and Jordan. Soon, the movement’s influence would be felt in places as far away as the Gulf and non-Arab countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Driving this expansion was the appeal of the organizational model embodied in the original, Egypt-based section of the brotherhood, and the success of al-Banna’s writings. Translated into several languages, these writings have shaped two generations of Sunni religious activists across the Islamic world.

Like many of the Islamic leaders who followed in his footsteps, Al-Banna enjoyed the benefits of a modern education, but had been raised in a traditional Islamic environment. He was born in 1906 in Mahmudiyya, a small town in the Nile Delta. His father, a watch repairman who also served as prayer leader and Qur’anic teacher in the local mosque, had been educated at Al-Azhar. Author of a few works on Islamic jurisprudence, he instilled strong religious values into Al-Banna. Even as a primary school student, Al-Banna joined several religious societies dedicated to the promotion of Islamic standards of moral behavior. It was also at that young age that he became a member of the Hasafiyya Brothers’ Sufi order. His early participation in dhikr circles and avid reading of Sufi literature help explain why he always saw the moral reform of the individual as a precondition to the Islamization of society.

In 1923, at the age of 16, Al-Banna moved to Cairo to enter the famous Dar al-‘Ulum college. The four years that Al-Banna spent in Cairo exposed him to the political ferment of the Egyptian capital in the early 1920s, and enhanced his awareness of the extent to which secular and Western ways had penetrated the very fabric of society. It was then that Al-Banna became particularly preoccupied with what he saw as the young generation’s drift away from Islam. He believed that the battle for the hearts and minds of the youth would prove critical to the survival of a religion besieged by a Western onslaught. While studying in Cairo, he immersed himself in the writings of the founders of Islamic reformism (the Salafiyya movement), including the Egyptian Muhammad ‘Abduh (1849-1905), under whom his father had studied while at Al-Azhar. But it was ‘Abduh’s disciple, the Syrian Rashid Rida (1865-1935), who most influenced Al-Banna. Al-Banna was a dedicated reader of Al-Manar, the magazine that Rida published in Cairo from 1898 until his death in 1935. He shared Rida’s central concern with the decline of Islamic civilization relative to the West. He too believed that this trend could be reversed only by returning to an unadulterated form of Islam, free from all the accretions that had diluted the strength of its original message. Like Rida at the end of his life — but unlike ‘Abduh and other Islamic modernists — Al-Banna felt that the main danger to Islam’s survival in the modern age stemmed less from the conservatism of Al-Azhar and the ulama (which he nevertheless criticized) than from the ascendancy of Western secular ideas.

Al-Banna urged the rejection of all Western notions, emphasizing instead the need to return to the foundations and original purity of Islam. Indeed, through the organizational skills he would soon demonstrate, Al-Banna did more than any other thinker during that time to contribute to the eclipse of Islamic refornism and modernism by Islamic fundamentalism. Upon graduating from Dar al-‘Ulum in 1927, at the age of 21, Al-Banna was appointed as a teacher of Arabic in a primary school in Isma’iliyya. At the time, Isma’iliyya served as the capital of the British-occupied Canal Zone and hosted the headquarters of the Suez Canal Company (SCC). British military camps and the homes of the SCC’s foreign employees were as much a part of this rapidly expanding new town as the wretched conditions in which the majority of the SCC’s Egyptian workers lived. Al-Banna’s first assignment thus heightened his resentment of what he saw as Egypt’s military occupation, economic exploitation, cultural domination, and loss of dignity. It strengthened his determination to rid Egypt of British and, more generally, Western influences.

From the moment he arrived in Isma’iliyya, Al-Banna involved himself actively in the life of the community. He made an effort to become acquainted with the town’s notables while reaching out to the broadest possible public. He conducted night classes for his students’ parents and led informal discussions in the mosque, coffeehouses, clubs, and private homes. His basic message was that Egypt had lost its soul; it had become politically sub-servient and economically dependent because it had strayed from the path that had been laid down by God. The only remedy to the decadence of state and society was to reassert Islamic values and ways of life.

It was to spread this message that Al-Banna launched the Society of the Muslim Brothers in March 1928. At first, the society was only one of the numerous small Islamic associations that existed at the time. Similar to those that Al-Banna himself had joined since he was 12, these associations aimed to promote personal piety and engaged in charitable activities. By the late 1930s, it had established branches in every Egyptian province. A decade later, it had 500,000 active members and as many sympathizers in Egypt alone, while its appeal was now felt in several other countries as well. The society’s growth was particularly pronounced after Al-Banna relocated its headquarters to Cairo in 1932. The single most important factor that made this dramatic expansion possible was the organizational and ideological leadership provided by Al-Banna.

He endeavored to bring about the changes he hoped for through institution-building, relentless activism at the grassroots level, and a reliance on mass communication. He proceeded to build a complex mass movement that featured sophisticated governance structures; sections in charge of furthering the society’s values among peasants, workers, and professionals; units entrusted with key functions, including propagation of the message, liaison with the Islamic world, and press and translation; and specialized committees for finances and legal affairs.

In anchoring this organization into Egyptian society, Al-Banna skillfully relied on pre-existing social networks, in particular those built around mosques, Islamic welfare associations, and neighborhood groups. This weaving of traditional ties into a distinctively modern structure was at the root of his success. Directly attached to the brotherhood, and feeding its expansion, were numerous businesses, clinics, and schools. In addition, members were affiliated to the movement through a series of cells, revealingly called usar (families). The material, social and psychological support thus provided were instrumental to the movement’s ability to generate enormous loyalty among its members and to attract new recruits. The services and organizational structure around which the society was built were intended to enable individuals to reintegrate into a distinctly Islamic setting, shaped by the society’s own principles.

Rooted in Islam, Al-Banna’s message tackled issues including colonialism, public health, educational policy, natural resources management, Marxism, social inequalities, Arab nationalism, the weakness of the Islamic world on the international scene, and the growing conflict in Palestine. By emphasizing concerns that appealed to a variety of constituencies, Al-Banna was able to recruit from among a cross-section of Egyptian society — though modern-educated civil servants, office employees, and professionals remained dominant among the organization’s activists and decisionmakers.

As the society expanded during the 1930s, it quickly changed from a movement for spiritual and moral reform into an organization directly active on the Egyptian political scene. Concurrent with that transformation, radical tendencies asserted themselves within the organization. A “secret apparatus” (al-jihaz al-sirri) was formed that engineered a series of assassinations of enemies of the brotherhood.

Between 1948 and 1949, shortly after the society sent volunteers to fight in the war in Palestine, the conflict between the monarchy and the society reached its climax. Concerned with the increasing assertiveness and popularity of the brotherhood, as well as with rumors that it was plotting a coup, Prime Minister Nuqrashi Pasha disbanded it in December 1948. The organization’s assets were impounded and scores of its members sent to jail. Less than three weeks later, the prime minister was assassinated by a member of the brotherhood. This in turn prompted the murder of Al-Banna, presumably by a government agent, in February 1949, when Al-Banna was still only 43 and at the height of his career.

Though the society never fully recovered from the loss of its charismatic founder, it survived. Since then, the brotherhood has remained a significant force in the politics of several Arab countries, either directly or through the movements it inspired. It appeals most to cultural conservatives who want their government and society to reflect and defend certain basic Islamic values and principles, and who favor a pragmatic and incremental approach to achieve these goals. The legacy of Al-Banna is thus still present, and will continue to shape the destiny of Arab societies in the new millennium.

Guilain Denoelcx

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Lofty Men in The Times of Ignominy: Yūsuf al-`Iyairī

A sorrowful tear for the parting of a martyr

1/4/1394 H – 30/3/1424 H

Corresponding with:

24/04/74 – 1/06/03[*]

Penned by the martyred shaykh:

`Īsā Bin Sa`d Āl `Awshan

May Allāh have mercy upon you O Yūsuf al-`Iyairī! You sought martyrdom in Afghanistan and you sought it in Somalia then it came to meet you in the land of the Arabian Peninsula.

When I heard, on Saturday night 30/03/1424 H, the news of the killing of my brother; the mujāhid shaykh Yūsuf Bin Sālih Bin Fahd al-`Iyairī. I could not contain myself and broke into tears due to the sadness of his parting in these critical days when the wave of the savage apostasy rages and sweeps across the Arabian Peninsula seeking to strike, kill and imprison every muslim fighting the Crusaders and defending the muslimīn.

I resolved, at that moment, upon writing the biography of this mujāhid shaykh whom our brothers as well as myself endlessly pressed to write under his actual name in order that his name appears among the people, that he becomes well-known to them, since there would be a far-reaching effect upon them with the emergence of the knowledge of a mujāhid scholar; so that he becomes an example for them in that.

Shaykh Yūsuf al-`Iyarī used to strongly reject that and say that he was not in need of that for reasons of security connected to the mujāhidīn.

Shaykh Yūsuf al-`Iyairī completed primary and intermediate studies, however, I am not sure whether he completed secondary studies or not.

[*]That would make him 29 years of age the day he returned to his Lord.

After that, he went out to Afghanistan as a steadfast youth not exceeding 18 years of age. Since that time, his heart has been infused with jihād and it is there that he gained mastery over his wings.

He, may Allāh have mercy upon him, was endowed with a judicious mind and a preponderant thought as well as a strong capacity for memorisation, qualifying him as a trainer in al-Fārūq Military Camp in the days of the first afghan jihād against the Soviets.

He spent a number of years as a trainer, distinguishing himself in both determination and earnestness. He, may Allāh be merciful to him, set up a course in al-Fārūq Military Camp concerning which he told the brothers, “I have (designed) a course whom none but those of firm resolve can undertake and see through till the end.” He said to the brothers, “I shall start it with the heavy weapons and complete it with the light weapons.” I think he started with tanks and completed it 4 months later with pistols. (And as he correctly stated earlier) none but a small number of youth were able to persevere with him till the end.

The brothers have mentioned amazing things regarding his ability to commit to memory the weapons along with the fine details relating to them. Equivalent (in amazement) was his patience in adversities and difficulties during the encounters in the battlefields which Allāh honoured him with dusting his feet therein.

When the conflicts between the Afghan groups and parties emerged, shaykh Yūsuf al-`Iyairī used to be shaykh Usāmah Bin Lādin’s (may Allāh preserve him) personal body guard. When shaykh Usāmah made up his mind upon leaving for Sudan, a plane slipped him away; this included a few important personalities from al-Qā`idah as well as the company of shaykh Yūsuf, may Allāh be merciful to him. He stayed there 4 months throughout which he acted as the personal body guard of shaykh Usāmah, may Allāh preserve him.

During this period, shaykh Usāmah discovered what shaykh Yūsuf possessed of abilities and ingenuity of thought, so he used to acquaint him with some of his issues. Indeed, I remember shaykh Yūsuf while narrating to me accounts of shaykh Usāmah in Sudan and his life there and the many charitable donations a man would be dazzled by at the hearing of. I used to listen to him and see in his eyes a longing for shaykh Usāmah and those days past.

I recall shaykh Yūsuf informing me of the genius of Abū Hafs al-Misrī, may Allāh be merciful to him, and the military operations that he used to discuss there, whether in regards to Somalia or his plans for farnaq (southern Christians) to strike them according to the military plans of shaykh Usāmah and Abū Hafs.

Shaykh Yūsuf participated in the battles that raged in Somalia against the American forces, and he had a part in the honour of its expulsion and its defeat at a time when the youth of the ummah were oblivious to the state and affairs of their ummah.

Shaykh Yūsuf al-`Iyairī returned after that to the Arabian Peninsula and met the well-known scholars of that time, in particular, he met shaykh Salmān al-`Awdah and mentioned to him what the shaykh had of works and projects. Shaykh Salmān said to shaykh Yūsuf, “I would be honoured to be one of the soldiers of Abū `Abd Allāh (Usāmah Bin Lādin).” By Allāh, this is how I heard it twice from shaykh Yūsuf in two occasions separated by a year and a half.

When the events of Bosnia occurred, shaykh Yūsuf had a prominent presence among the brothers in Dammām, and also during the Kosovo (war) where he was involved in arranging contributions for them and benefiting them with whatever he can. The shaykh put in place a program of two week duration for anyone wishing to go to Bosnia (going through) physical endurance and beside it from the things one needs before arriving in the land of Bosnia.

Then came the events of Khubar and the explosions that took place. So shaykh Yūsuf was arrested and tortured severely in the prison of the National Inspection in Dammām. It was alleged that he was one of the people that carried it out. The brothers who were with him said about him, “We used to see him being carried out on a stretcher after each brutal torture he was exposed to, where he was violently lashed with a whip and cane, and his pure beard was torn out and beside that from the types of torture until it coerced shaykh Yūsuf to confess, in front of the dogs of Āl Salūl’s Inspection, that he was the one who carried out the explosions.

Shaykh Yūsuf, may Allāh be merciful to him, said to me, “After spending days going through interviews and severe torture in prison, I requested from the officer that I meet the Director of the prison as I wished to make a statement containing important confessions. Indeed, he granted my request, so I was called from my cell and they took me to a room where i sat upon a luxurious sofa, after which they transferred me to the Director’s splendid office where he was surrounded by officers, each with pen and notepad at hand, wishing to write what I say to them of confessions. So when they sat me down – I was fettered in chains at the time – the Director of the prison said to me, “What have you? Go ahead, present your confessions.”

The shaykh said, “I said to them coldly, ‘I am aware of the difficult situation you are going through due to your lack of information concerning those who carried out the explosions, I however will be willing to undertake an admission of being behind the explosions, and I am willing to surrender my neck as a cost of that (admission).”

When I asked the shaykh for the reason behind that, he said, “By Allāh, we were no longer able to bear the torture, we were almost tested in our dīn, so death would have been more merciful to us than this torture.”

Shaykh Yūsuf said, “I had not yet finished my statement when the Director of the prison threw the glass cigarette holder at my face and said, ‘take him out and punish him!!’”

The sequence of torture continued, which our shaykh, may Allāh be merciful to him, did not describe to me, until Allāh permitted the actual perpetrator of the explosions to be discovered – according to the Inspector – Shaykh Yūsuf said to me, “I was taken once to an officer, who said to me secretly, ‘I give you good news; we know the actual perpetrator, and he is not from you lot. Rather, he is from the Rāfidhah, but don’t tell anyone! Then they returned me to my cell.”

From that day, the torture of the Jihād youth ceased regarding the affair of the explosions. The officers were gathered around the Director of the prison who said to them, “Dress each one who was previously alleged to have a part in the explosions with any other allegation so that he maybe judged upon it! And indeed, they did dress each one of the brothers with the allegation of takfīr or what is similar to that. Following that, they were judged by the judgement of the Salūlī Laws.”

After that, the shaykh remained in prison for a period of time, a part of which he spent with the Rāfidhah among whom were āyah (Rāfidhi cleric) or Sayd (a claimant to being a descendent of the Prophets family). Shaykh Yūsuf used to discuss and debate with them until their Āyah warned the rest of the Rāfidhah about him and from sitting with him. Shaykh Yūsuf said, “I used to feign sleep, and so their Āyah begins to speak and deliver his lessons to them, so I would listen to him until I come across a suitable opportunity in which case I would rise and refute him.” They were seriously annoyed by him as he was someone possessing strong proof and eloquence.

Then after that, shaykh Yūsuf was transferred to a general prison with Ahl as-Sunnah. After spending some time in this state, the shaykh undertook a hunger strike with the aim of attaining a solitary cell so that he may make greater use of his time and be alone with his Lord. His request was complied with and he remained in the solitary cell for a year and a half or more after which he was released.

Shaykh Yūsuf said to me to the letter, after I asked him about solitary confinement and whether he was afflicted by boredom, “By Allāh, I never used to find any time to the extent that I did not wash except after entering a state of janābah, and I did not sleep except for a short time and I used to race time.”

His time in the solitary cell was spent in memorising and reading the books of knowledge, so he memorised the Qur’ān and became meticulous in it. He also memorised the Sahīhān, and he devoted himself to the books of the people of knowledge. One day, a prison guard said to him, “By Allāh, I feel pity for you in your state and what you are going through!” So shaykh Yūsuf responded to him saying, “By Allāh, It is I who feels pity for you in your state, and so that you may know, if it was said to me that there will be 28 hours in the day then that would suit me as I am in need of more time O poor soul!”

The guard was perplexed by the state of the shaykh regarding his reading and studying as he did not go out to catch some sunlight or anything like that except for what was absolutely necessary out of concern for (attaining) the greatest benefit out of his time. He, may Allāh be merciful to him, used to tell me, “By Allāh, I used to live imān-filled moments and tasted in prison what Allāh alone knows. When the guard came to me delivering the news of my release from prison I yelled at him with no emotions, ‘Allāh is not giving you a glad tiding of something good!!’ that was not done out of my accord, but instead due to the extent of the blessing I found in prison and the great benefit in seeking knowledge which I gained there.”

When shaykh Yūsuf came out of prison, he continued his close relation with the jihād and the mujāhidīn, in particular, the shaykh of the mujāhidīn, Usāmah Bin Lādin, may Allāh preserve him.

And then came the affair of Chechnya and shortly before that, the events of Dagestan, so Shaykh Yūsuf made a true stance alongside them. He used to write Shar’ī lessons for ‘the voice of Qūqāz’ where he wrote for them; ‘Guiding The Perplexed on The Ruling of The Prisoners’ and ‘Martyrdom Operations: Suicide or Martyrdom?’ as well as writings on politics, the last of which was the subject, ‘The Moscow theatre Operation And What The Mujāhidīn Have Benefited From It.’

Shaykh Yūsuf also used to have contact with Commander Khattāb and correspondence regarding military issues where the shaykh offered his amazing experience-based military knowledge which did not fail to mesmerise anyone who sat and discussed with him or read it up, From this was that he sent a letter to commander Khattāb following the end of the conventional warf and the commencement of the guerilla war in which the state of the mujāhidīn became unrelenting, so shaykh Yūsuf wrote to commander Khattāb a contingent plan; listing 18 eventualities of the war, and what they should do in each eventuality. Commander Khattāb benefited much from it and thanked him for it.

Shaykh Yūsuf took part in collecting contributions for the mujāhidīn in Chechnya gathering enormous funds. There occurred between him and some scholars unfortunate scenes where they completely forsook him. He mentioned from it an incident he had with shaykh Salmān al-`Awdah. Commander Khattāb said to the brothers when he was in Dagestan, ‘get us 1 million dollars and we will stay for the winter and defy Russia.’ So shaykh Yūsuf went to one of the wealthy people and so he agreed to give a sum of 8 million Saudi Riyāls but only on condition that shaykh Salmān consents to it in writing or gets in touch with him regarding it. So shaykh Yūsuf went to Salmān al-`Awdah, but to no avail as the shaykh took his time then said to him what amounts to him not being at all convinced with the affair of Chechnya.

And so, shaykh Yūsuf continued his jihādi march with sacrifices and tireless works whom none but a few men are able to bear.

The connection of the shaykh with the Chechen affair continued, except that it diminished relative to the affair of Afghanistan and the Tālibān State, where he spent the bulk of his time studying the state of this movement and its ways.

Then came the blessed days in which the statues of Buddha in Afghanistan were destroyed. Shaykh Yūsuf busied himself with projects to provide food during the days of ramadhān and distribute sacrificed animals to those in Afghanistan. Then he contacted the Commander of the Believers and the Tālibān Ministers and attempted to establish a connection between them and shaykh Hamūd al-`Uqlā, may Allāh be merciful to him. On the Hajj of the year 1421 H, shaykh Yūsuf met with a few of the ministers of the Tālibān who came to perform the Hajj. He arranged with them a telephone connection between the Commander of the Believers and shaykh Hamūd al-`Uqlā, may Allāh bestow mercy upon him, and that took place in the Ayām at-Tashrīq (the three days following 10th of Dhul Hijja) at 9 in the evening.

Shaykh Yūsuf said to me, “We went out of Makkah and were running out of time. We had no option other than to continue on our course as shaykh Hamūd was in al-Qasīm .” He said, “We were exhausted, so I decided with my companion that he takes charge while I rest and sleep, after which I shall take charge while he rests.” He said, “So we travelled by night and I succumbed to my eyes and did not wake up except upon the overturning of the car as a result of an impact with a stray camel, and so we were denied the meeting.”

A strange story took place with the shaykh and the Inspector during that time, however, he with the success from Allāh, went out before september 11th by nearly a month for a matter willed by Allāh.

When the shaykh came out of prison, he exerted great effort in writing about jihād: establishing its issues, defending it and disproving the misconceptions of the deserters and the hypocrites. He used to participate in some of the Paltalk rooms under the username ‘Azzam’.

The shaykh, may Allāh be merciful to him, used to be preoccupied with mobilizing the youth and inciting them to go to Afghanistan to participate in the military training camp there. He produced 4 audio tapes urging upon jihād and preparation, among which is a tape dealing with fiqh recorded in his own voice, may Allāh preserve him.

Then occurred the great event in the history of Afghanistan; the assassination of the wicked Ahmed Shāh Mas’ūd. The happiness of the shaykh was indescribable. I remember going past him at that time saying to him, ‘what’s the news?’ So he said to me, ‘Shaykh Usāmah said to the brothers, ‘Who may rid me of Ahmed Mas’ūd for he has wronged Allāh and His Messenger?’ so some of the brothers presented themselves readily in order to assassinate him, considering their reward and recompense with Allāh, The Generous, and there took place what you have heard of the pleasing news.”

Then after that, there took place the blessed events in America – the bastion of heresy – The shaykh could have taken to flight out of joy. I got in touch with the shaykh and he said that he was in a meeting with the scholars of al-Qasīm where there took place what took place of the opposition by some of the scholars to the operations that occurred in America. He related to me what took place in the debates and meetings with them; there was a positive effect in their support of the jihād and the mujāhidīn.

After that, the shaykh started writing his most valuable book, ‘The Reality of The Crusader War’ in which he lays the foundation for martyrdom operations and refutes all of the misconceptions that have stirred up around it and, in it, he urges the ummah to awake from the slumber it is living in. It is a priceless book in its field which the shaykh wrote during a period of 9 to 10 days. So much so, that when it reached shaykh Usāmah, he said to his brothers, “It appears that the book was authored before the operation, since it is not possible for it to be written this quickly.”

And Allāh be my witness, that shaykh Yūsuf did not author it except after the incident, devoting himself entirely to it until he came out with this principled, fiqhi study which no one has been able to refute.

And so, the book of shaykh Yūsuf had a tremendous effect in increasing the multitute of scholars supporting the operations of September 11th since in it is firmly laid a scholarly foundation in a composed manner as well as a collection of proofs from the Book and the Sunnah.

When shaykh Yūsuf completed this book he started on his final amendments to his book, ‘The Scales of the Taliban Movement’ he then completed that and published it.

And so did his writing emerge as an overflowing radiant flood, advancing wave after wave with the light of the Book and the Sunnah, from it were: ‘The Role of The Women in Fighting The Enemies’ which was published unofficially as a book titled, ‘`Abd Allāh az-Zaid’: ‘Constants on The Path of Jihād’, where he wrote it as one book composed of various parts, and beside that from participations which were spread in Markaz ad-Dirāsāt and the general forums on the internet.

From the matters that pained shaykh Yūsuf was the desertion of the scholars. I remember speaking to him about the desertion of the scholars from jihād, he spoke to me in a touching manner then he cried, and due to this, he produced numerous essays and refutations, the principle aim of which was to defend the honour of our mujāhidīn brothers in the front line.

He also contributed writings for ‘The Series On The Crusader War Against Iraq’, which was put on ad-Dirāsāt website in which he had by far the greatest contribution representing almost 80% of the entire series.

Allāh had endowed him with the manners of eloquence, and unshakable steadfastness which led him to continue with his books on sharī’ah and political analysis, may Allāh grant him an expansive mercy.

Shaykh Yūsuf was known to many of the scholars by these qualities, as they used to acknowledge him with merit and precedence in that. Shaykh Yūsuf used to be steadfast and patient in calamities and adversity. how many losses had he suffered of loved ones and friends in the land of jihād be it from martyrdom, injury or capture, however, he would be satisfied with the decree of Allāh in all that, submitting himself to what his Lord decreed for him.

Shaykh Yūsuf, may Allāh grant him mercy, had a soft heart, was sensitive and quick to tears, especially if mention is made of the mujāhidīd and their sacrifices in the path of Allāh. I can not forget the day he spoke of Abū Hājir al-`Irāqī who is imprisoned by America (In Guantanemo Bay), he mentioned his life story and his sacrifices then he broke into tears. And he used to cry and enter a religious state of humility when he would give a reminder, especially when it related to Allāh, the Last Abode, jihād and the martyrs in the path of Allāh.

Likewise, he used to stress on the connection between jihād and its sentiments with the sound creed and knowledge of sharī’ah. He used to say, “We are obliged to show the people that jihād is not but a realisation of tawhīd and implementation of the requirements of ‘Lā Ilāh Illa Allāh’ and that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allāh, and tie the people to this matter in order that they may know the importance of jihād on one hand, and that they become firmly grounded in it on the other.”

He used to mention to me, with regards to this, the saying of `Abd Allāh `Azzām, may Allāh bestow mercy upon him, “the image you come with to the jihād will be replaced with another image.” What he meant was that some people leave for jihād effected only sentimentally as a result of pictures they had seen of a muslim being tortured or muslim woman being violated. This is a well-disposed sentiment, but what is superior is for the origin of the departure of the mujāhid to the lands of jihād to be from: a deep conviction regarding the obligation of this path which reaches and attaches itself to the creed of tawhīd; and bear the preoccupation with it (i.e. Tawhīd) so that it is spread among the people and a state is establish through which tawhīd is implemented.

Gathered in front of the shaykh was the dunya in its entirety, he however divorced it three times and chose to revive the life of dignity until he achieves its most desired goal. His farther was a merchant for whom Allāh granted success, Yūsuf however was unlike his farther with regards to this world. He found in his farther assistance and contentedness with what he was upon of work and jihād. Not to mention his mother who often would assist him and increase him in steadfastness. Rather, she would even advise him to not give himself up. And her achievement is due to Allāh, what a generous mother, bearing a courageous hero, not afraid of death.

Shaykh Yūsuf used to be extremely humble so much so that he did not consider anything of himself leaving you the impression, while sitting with him, that he considers you to be more knowledge than him. He refused to be first to speak especially in the presence of a scholar or a student of knowledge. He was a sign in humility; he would neither simulate it nor force it out of him. Rather, it was a natural disposition, a characteristic and a favour of Allāh upon him.

He, may Allāh grant him mercy, was an encyclopedia in every topic. If he spoke regarding the sciences of sharī`ah, one would think him a scholar of Islamic Law, and if he spoke regarding politics one would think him a skilled politician. Alongside all that, he paid much attention to the computer and programming, added to that was familiarity with military sciences; fimiliarity sufficient for a smart military commander. Further to this is his familiarity with topography, technology and electronics.

Allāh conferred upon him acceptance by the people. No one would meet him except that they become drawn to him. I am not aware of anyone who held anything against him or criticized his manners or character. Rather he was accepted by the people as he possessed beautiful character and clearness of conscience. We consider him as such and do not praise anyone above Allāh.

He, may Allāh bestow him with mercy, used to call the youth and the mujāhidīn to abandoning opulence and comfort, and call them to lead an ascetic and rugged life in order to condition the self upon patience and prepare it to bear the difficulties found in the lands of jihād. He would spend days not eating but a little amount of food, despite it being in times of ease. This he did wishing to habituate himself upon hardship.

He used to be open-handed in his generosity, never regarding what he gives and offers the brothers as too much. In spite of that, he was trustworthy and guarded well the wealth of the mujāhidīd which reached him, in which case he would deliver it to those who are deserving of it and to those who it was intended for.

Āl Salūl pursued him due to a request from America. They asked him to give himself up for over a year. But he refused to give himself up to them or to please the dunya with his dīn, and praise be to Allāh in him doing that, for how much had he presented to the dīn and the ummah of splendid works throughout that year which he would not have been able to produce in 5 years.

I do not mention this as an exaggeration, no by Allāh, but from sure knowledge and in relating what I saw. Rather (only) a portion of what I saw. Long hours used to pass by him with neither rest nor sleep. Rather, days may pass by without him sleeping. And when he did sleep, it was not according to a daily schedule, except for a negligible amount sufficing what he required to straighten his back, may Allāh be merciful to him.

He lived throughout this year as a hunted fugitive, watching his enemy day and night, his weapon never leaving his side, always taking his precautions. He used to say to me, “O brother! We are not more noble then the companions of Allāh’s Messenger, those who lived in madīnah in fear and anxiety until they expelled the Jews from it.” And he related to me a saying belonging to one of the companions, “There is nothing in us O Messenger of Allāh’ except fear while the sword of each of us rests upon our shoulders” And so, he would find comfort in (recalling) the state of the companions, may Allāh be pleased with them.

Shaykh Yūsuf, may Allāh grant him mercy, would seldom see his family – i.e his farther and mother – until the last period when the search for him become more intense where he was cut off completely from them. Rather, he was cut off from his three young daughters – the oldest of whom is Maryam – in the last remaining days. He wrote to them the touching poem which was published in his letter before his martyrdom, may Allāh grant him mercy. He remained being chased through his last days until he was killed as a martyr, may Allāh bestow upon him mercy, after having defended himself with what he could. He chose to die in the path of Allāh rather then be a captive to the tawāghīt of the Arabian Peninsula, may Allāh hasten their punishment and departure. His example was that of the magnificent companion who, when his turn came, said, “As for me, then i will not go down under custody of a disbeliever” and the tongue of his state saying:

I do not care when I am killed as a muslim ***** Upon which side I find my death on the path of Allāh

All that for the sake of Allāh and if he so wills ***** He will bless my dismembered parts.

Abū Mohammad has departed not known by many of the people. But does this harm him in the least while Allāh knows of him? The monumental effort which he presented in order to support this dīn and which benefited the mujāhidīn will stand witness and attest to him being the best of the men belonging to the ummah today.

And so, a life of a youth and a shaykh from the youth of the ummah came to an end. He contained many virtues from knowledge, propagation, jihād and worship upon the best and most excellent state -Allāh willing – and he actualised what every young man who knows the path of guidance aspires to.

So felicitations to you O Abū Mohammad…By Allāh, anyone who has lived with you will find it difficult to be ignorant of the influence you have had on his life…We have witnessed you working to support the jihād that which is not done by institutional organisations and centralised efforts…You have been a unique example, an unparalleled kind. All your time was devoted to jihād and the mujāhidīn..

May Allāh bestow mercy upon you o Abū Mohammad… May Allāh bestow mercy upon you o Abū Mohammad… May Allāh bestow mercy upon you o Abū Mohammad…

Sawt al-Jihād Magazine / Issue 1 and 2 /Sha`bān 1425 H

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“…and hold on to the Rope of Allaah” – Part 2

By: Shaykh Alee Raazi At-Tuwayjaree حفظه الله
Delivered on: Saturday, August 21, 2004

And Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله as he said in Minhaj As-Sunnah “The Rope of Allaah is Al-Islaam and obedience, and submission, and sincerity, and holding fast and being firm and being with the Jama’ah”

And this is true. The Qur’aan has ordered with Islaam, and obedience, and submission, and sincerity, and holding fast, and the Jama’ah. And the truth of all this goes back to al-Ikhlaas: having complete sincerity to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and this is taken from the Sahaaba, and the Tabi’een, and those who followed them in righteousness (as-Salaf-us-Saalih).

And it is narrated from Ibn Jareer in his Tafsir from Qataadah رحمه الله that he said about this Aayah:

{…and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allâh’s Favour on you…} [Aal-‘Imraan 3:103]
“He warned against splitting and prohibited it. And He ordered with listening and obeying and love between each other and holding fast to the Jama’ah and being upright.
And there is no power or might except with Allaah.”

The Shaykh حفظه الله mentioned that we will be talking about the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم on certain points using evidences from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah (related to the affair of holding fast to the Rope of Allaah).

The points to be focused upon on are as follows:

Firstly: Holding fast to the Qur’aan using proofs from Qur’aan

Secondly: Holding fast to Qur’aan by using proofs from Sunnah

Thirdly: Holding fast to the Sunnah by using the Aayaat from the Qur’aan

Fourthly: Holding fast to the Sunnah using the Ahadeeth as proof then bringing the Aayaat in warning against contradicting the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

So we will be using Ahadeeth and Aayaat to prove the danger of contradicting the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.

Proofs from the Qur’aan

And from the proofs from the Qur’aan for holding on to the Qur’aan:

{(This is) a Book (the Qur’aan) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses,
and that men of understanding may remember.}
[Saad 38:29]

And Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says:

{And this is a blessed Book (the Qur’aan) which We have sent down, so follow it and fear Allaah (i.e. do not disobey His Orders),
that you may receive mercy (i.e. saved from the torment of Hell).}
[al-An’aam 6:155]
{Verily, this Qur’aan guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the believers (in the Oneness of Allaah and His Messenger Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a great reward (Paradise). } [al-Israa 17:9]
{Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance he shall neither go astray nor shall be distressed.} [TaaHaa 20:123]
{But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’aan nor acts on its teachings), verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.} [TaaHaa 20:124]
{Say: “I but follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. This (the Qur’aan) is nothing but evidences from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe.” ~ So, when the Qur’aan is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy [i.e. during the compulsory congregational prayers when the Imaam (of a mosque) is leading the prayer (except Surah Al-Faatihah), and also when he is delivering the Friday-prayer Khutbah]. } [al-A’raaf 7:203-204]

And these are the meanings of what is in the Qur’aan.

Proofs from the Sunnah

The Shaykh حفظه الله went on to say: “As for the proofs from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah, صلى الله عليه و على آله و سلم is what is narrated in Saheeh Muslim:

“…I have left among you the Book of Allaah, and if you hold fast to it, you would never go astray…” [7]

And he said:

“I have left two things, the Book of Allah, it is guidance and light so take from it and hold fast to it and it is the Rope of Allah, whoever sticks to it will be guided, whoever leaves it will be misguided and go towards destruction.” [8]

And Tabaraanee narrated in his Kabeer in Saheeh at-Targheeb from `Alee ibn Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم came out to us one day and he was frightened, and he said:

“Be obedient to me as long as I am with you, and upon you is holding onto to Book of Allaah to make halaal what it has made halaal
and to make haraam what it has made haraam.”

In Imam Malik’s Muwatta , and also found in al-Haakim and declared Hassan by al-Albaanee رحمه الله that he صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“I have left behind amongst you two things, the Book of Allaah and my Sunnah, and they will not be separated from each other until you meet me at the Pond (al-Hawd) [the river that the Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه و سام will be given on the Day of Judgement].” [10]

Tabaraanee narrated from Abee Shurayh al-Khuzaa’ee that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سام said:

This Qur’aan is like a rope, one side is with Allaahسبحانه و تعالى and the other side is with you, so hold on fast to it so that you may be guided.
So if you hold to it you will never go astray and you will not be destroyed.

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