New Age Islam
Sun Nov 29 2020, 06:17 AM

From the Desk of Editor ( 16 Apr 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Why Identify Islamist Terrorists With Wahhabi Ideology, Ask New Age Islam Readers: Is This Not Promoting Sectarianism In Islam?



By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam


Dear Mr. Sadaf, You are spot on: “New Age Islam takes the name of Wahhabis, only to push the silent and peaceful Wahhabis to take a stand and oppose these people ... being violent.” I wish some other intellectuals on the site also had the sense to understand this. I am quoting you from another thread. Your comment is being quoted in full below along with some other comments to provide a perspective.


Wahhabism has been spread aggressively since the 1744 pact between Muhammad bin Saud and Muhammad ibn ʿAbdul Wahhab which marked the emergence of the first Saudi state. But even before that Mohammad Abdul Wahhab had started implementing his perverted ideas of stoning women to death and destroying Islamic heritage buildings with the help of Uthman ibn Mu'ammar, the ruler of his native village Uyayna in Najd. He had personally organised the stoning of a woman accused of committing adultery a la Taliban and Boko Haram in our times. Even before meeting Ibn-e-Saud he had destroyed the grave of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, a companion of Prophet Muhammad (saw), whose shrine was revered by the local population. After the pact with Ibn-e-Saud, of course, a wave of killings and destruction of Islamic heritage sites started.


So aggressive Wahhabi preaching and practice of forcible conversion to Wahhabism (which was considered synonymous with Islam, as Wahhabis do not consider non-Wahhabis Muslim), killing of those who did not convert, and destruction of Islamic heritage has been going on for almost 300 years. Wahhabis consider themselves non-sectarian, as they want only their sect to remain. Once all Muslims are forced to convert to Wahhabism or killed, sectarianism will vanish. Mohammad Ibn-e-Abdul Wahhab’s mentor Ibn-e-Taimiyya was violently opposed to the idea of different people interpreting Quran in their own way. He just wanted his own interpretation to prevail.


However, petrodollar has given the spread of Wahhabism an immense impetus. It has been there for quite some time (discovery of oil in 1938 and large-scale exploitation after World War II), but the volume of petrodollar quadrupled all of a sudden at the end of 1973 following the Arab-Israeli war of October 1973. And since then the crude oil prices have been spiralling much to the detriment of peaceful, inclusive Islam.


So you are not wrong in linking the declaration of Ahmediyas as non-Muslim in Pakistan in 1974 to the profusion of petrodollars which started flowing madly in several places including Pakistan from early months of the same year. The Arabs just did not know then what to do with so much money all of a sudden. Henry Kissinger went into overdrive, teaching them how to give back the money to the West, implementing his policy called “recycling of petrodollars”. In Kissinger’s recycling Arab Bedouins technically possessed all the money but had to spend it in buying enormous amounts of weapons, (that they didn’t need and which Americans continue to use), and in losing millions overnight in the casinos of the West, to which Wahhabi grand muftis do not object as this is part of their 1744 pact.


However, the West did not object to Saudis massively increasing the volume of money they spend on indoctrination of Muslims around the world into Wahhabi ideology and forcing them to adopt seventh century Arab cultural norms and practices like stoning women to death if they dared to show the slightest amount of independence. All that happens in Saudi Arabia in terms of treatment of women or happened in Afghanistan under Taliban (and probably will happen again) was a manifestation of Wahhabi ideology in action. The West did not object because Wahhabism had helped them defeat the last Muslim Khilafat, Turkish Khilafat-e-Osmania, and would (they apparently hope) help them destroy Islam finally, something crusaders had failed to do in the absence of Wahhabism. Have you noticed the reverence with which Wahhabism is treated in the Western media: they call it a puritan sect. This leniency towards Wahhabism continues even after 9/11 in which 16 out of 19 terrorists were Saudi Wahhabis and the rest Egyptians schooled in Wahhabi ideology.


According to this ideology, Muslims should never befriend non-Muslims including those Muslims who are not yet Wahhabi. There is a reason why the West is helping Saudi Wahhabism’s latest project: to install Al-Qaeda dictatorship in all erstwhile secular Muslim dictatorships. Have you not noticed the Wahhabi demand in largest-circulated Pakistani newspapers: “Kafirs (Shias) convert to Islam (Wahhabism), or pay jizya, or leave the country, or be responsible for being killed, your women being made concubines of your Wahhabi killers, and children being enslaved by them.”  This is not just a demand: it is being implemented.


If this is also the ideology of people who go in the name of Bareilvism, or Sufism, I have no hesitation whatsoever condemning them. I have no information of Sufi/Bareilvis emulating Wahhabis in the practice of intolerance, exclusivism, supremacism as a group. Wahhabised individuals from these sects too maybe doing things which, of course, we will always condemn. I see no occasion, AT THE MOMENT, to go after Sufi/Bareilwis. Even if some of them are worshipping graves, that is a manifestation of their personal belief system. But as long as they are not forcing others to worship graves, I have no reason to condemn them. If I don’t like that I will speak and write about that, even address them personally as long as they are willing to listen, but not force them to listen to me and do as I do.


In their bid to prove that not just its Wahhabi interpretation, but Islam itself is an intolerant, violent, supremacist religion, Messrs. Naseer Ahmed and Mohd Yunus (Rational) are hunting for quotations from Sufis and Bareilwis. I am glad they are doing that. This will increase our knowledge. It will correct some of our perspectives. It has at least, sown doubts in my mind about the personality of Mujaddid Alf-e-Saani and told me that he was not a Sufi buzurg as he did not believe in wahdat al wajood. I already know about the takfiri ideas of Ahmed Reza Bareilwi and condemn them. I have called for all kafir-manufacturing factories to be closed, not just Deobandi, and reiterate that position. But there is a gulf of difference between present-day Wahhabis and others in terms of their practices. If my house is on fire, I will first fight the fire and those who continue to light it. Once I have extinguished the fire and survived, I will think of other issues. These other issues maybe far more important, but I cannot focus on them until I am under attack.


Qabr parasti is vastly exaggerated issue. Very very few Muslims are jahil enough to consider any saint God; they just request them to do sifarish with God, so they are not actually worshipping those saints. However, some of their practices do create the impression that they are worshipping: they go too far beyond showing legitimate reverence. But should they be killed for this and the shrine itself destroyed?


Anyone who simply wants to stay away from qabr parasti can do that without identifying oneself with Wahhabism. It’s not Wahhabis alone who abhor such jahilaana practices. Wahhabis alone, however, kill and destroy and force people to follow them. This is why they have to be opposed. As you said, Dear Mr. Sadaf: “New Age Islam takes the name of Wahhabis, only to push the silent and peaceful Wahhabis to take a stand and oppose these people.” If I may add a word, New Age Islam is not happy to do that. We do that with a very heavy heart. Only because it has to be done. At least we feel so. We may be wrong. But we feel that the time for pussyfooting is long past. Pakistan is a gone case. But Indian Muslims may perhaps be brought back from the brink. The total Indian Muslim silence over West Bengal Muslims demonstrating in support of Bangladeshi war criminals has shaken me up. Until today I haven’t heard a single voice of dissent, except, of course, a few on New Age Islam. I hope there is still time for us Indian Muslims.



Earlier Comment By sadaf - 4/17/2013 12:06:29 PM


What is the difference between 1974 and 1979? Declaring Ahmediya sect as Non-Muslim in 1974 was the result of growing wahhabisation which had its root even much earlier.

In any case can a fixed date be given that petro-dollar thing started in 1979? We can better still push the date to few more years earlier. I in my assessment blame petro-dollar to 1980’s, but perhaps that’s the time around which I notice all gadbad jhala started to happen. May be Wahhabism was the starting point sometime earlier and which got fuelled by petrol by that time.

As for Ahmad Raza Barelvi, he is of course not the top boss one need to refer to. I damn care who he was. In fact, the first person to put me off was Muhammad Qutub, brother of Syed Qutub, because Syed Qutub’s writing that I had read prior to reading his brother’s did not seem much wrong to me but I found his brother unnecessarily aggressive and playing blame game with the West.

Of course, when someone is identified as opponent, then the opponent is always demonized. I felt extremely bad when I read a book blaming Syed Qutub authored by an author from the ‘West’. I am not naming the book just as Dr. Zakir Nayak doesn’t name New Age Islam, saying some wrong kind of websites will get advertised if he named so and restricts himself by giving hints that some Muslim named fellows Sultan, Babar, Akbar write there. But if he is ser, I am sawa ser. And please do not ask me to go and argue with him in his darbaar. Better ask him to come to my darbaar on New Age Islam to argue if at all he is such an argumentative fellow. Now if at this you say that every dog acts lion in its street, then the same applies to Dr. Zakir Nayak, as he cannot argue his case on any channel other than his. Anyway.

So my point is that portraying Syed Qutub as villain just the way the ‘western’ author did is not the objective of portraying his damaging influence. At least I or we do not blame his sexuality for what he thought and wrote as the western author suggested. The west cannot think anything beyond that. We are talking about his ideology.

About Maududi; his writing did not come up to the standard that I expected. I had heard his name well before from elders, but lo! Much to my surprise, his standard was much poor than I expected.  Yet if he was a hero to masses, then you have already heard before that masses are asses.

About mentioning who Bhutto was is just your tactics to divert attention. I am beyond that. Be it Shia, be it Sunni, be it Deobandi, be it Barelvi, be it Wahhabi, all act the ‘Wahhabi’ way if they do such and such things which they are not entitled by Allah to do. If you have objection to the name ‘Wahhabi’ that I give to them, then I wonder why do you object and then if you agree that I call them ‘Shitti-Shit’ instead of Wahhabi then I will wonder even further that how come saving ‘Wahhabi’ is helping you. And then won’t I infer that the germ of ‘Wahhabi’ inside you is trying to save itself.

The 1953 act may not be the petro-dollar thing, but that is the reason why blame Wahhabism more than the petro-dollar for all acts done before petro-dollar became the pre-dominant reason. They day they will run out of gas, things will change, but by then lot damage would already have happened.

About country’s partition; it has got nothing to do with all this as it was purely, political issue because of egoistic Jinnah and anti-national Jansanghis. Communals had lots of fun those days. Please do not mix up issues and ask mischievous question ‘where were the petro-dollar then?’

One has to be blind not to see that the present day extremism/terrorism starts with training 300,000 civilians to fight the war in Afghanistan in which volunteers from 35 countries took part, who then spread this culture of violence to the rest of the World were all sponsored by Jihadi mindset whom I name ‘Wahhabi’ or ‘Shitti-Shit’. While all were the poor nations, only Saudis were the rich one who could afford to play the war game all for its sectarianism against Shia Iran. Don’t tell me Shia Iran was also volunteer and even if it was then don’t they too have radicals and whom I love to say ‘Wahhabi or Shitti-Shit’.

But all this was happening in the war zones and was not reflected on everybody’s face in India. It all started when earliest of expats returned. I don’t know what did the Arabs made them smell there with. May be camel’s dung. They may not be violent, but such changed and brainwashed they returned, that they started stopping people from every kind of activity saying ‘haram’, biddah’, etc etc. that it was bound to create divisions.

Tell me whatever they call haram or biddah is it really haram or biddah? If the answer is ‘yes’, then you are also brain washed. If you say ‘no’, or even say ‘God knows’, then you are not. But these weak minded unfit-for-stiff-competition-in-Indian-jobs-fellow were easily brainwashed and they could not realize that what Saudi’s were doing was itself Biddah and Haram if rules are applied fairly. The Saudi’s were not the Arabs of earliest of Muslims. They were the Arabs of ‘rumble mein mangal’ doing type, totally corrupt with institutionalized corruption, where the King would be the dacoit number 1 and everything belonged to him, while rest were institutionalized kameena with them not even needing to force their women to wear hijab, even the naked women of the west visiting there were made to wear it.  They complained against non-Muslims eating publically during fasting time of Muslims, and they coerced every non-Muslim to become Muslim and there is a long list of complain against them. Either they take corrective measures or they be known as ‘Wahhabi’, that is the situation they brought with the strange and nayi nayi baat kind of Islam.

The fools who returned back on high dosage of learning did not realize that when they had gone to Saudi, were they not Muslim? But perhaps they were not. So were they made to believe. That they were inferior. And that their beliefs and practice of Islam was deficient. They were not having that murderous zeal against non-Muslims. These fools did not realize that such murderous zeal of Arabs and intolerance of Arabs was their deficiency because they had not interacted with the world as their direct ancestors were either lazy or incapable to go anywhere beyond their desert periphery and they know nothing how Islam is applied in real life everywhere in the world. The bhondus returned with lots of ill-learning and unlearnt what they had learnt through generations of experiences of their adventurer fore-fathers who dared to travel beyond their backyard or their converted fore-fathers who realized the beauty of Islam.

So far these guys haven’t become as much violent as their masters are in Saudi are and those from 35 nations all under influence of Saudis, but with people like Dr. Zakir Nayak- the stooge of Saudi; spewing venom against non-Muslims; soon they all will become violent. And that is the last thing we should be having before we all are destroyed.

 Coming to your post about if anywhere it is proved that Sufis/Barelvis are neither inclusive nor syncretic but continue to harbour animosity towards other religions and other sects of Islam, then I call such Sufis and Barelvis Shitti-Shit or Wahhabi. You will ask why I do not let them be called Barelvi instead?. My answer is: what wrong it is to call them Wahhabi instead? Why are you so concerned about Wahhabi? Why are you defending Wahhabi? For me, all Wahhabi, all Barelvi, all of them who harbour animosity towards other religions and other sects of Islam are Shitti-Shit and whether I call them Wahhabi or Barelvi how does it matter, when I know who is going to be hit hard.

May I ask you why you insist it is the Barelvis in Pakistan who are in the forefront of persecuting minorities using the blasphemy laws and it is Sufis who are actively engaged in forcibly converting Hindu girls? Your divisive stand makes me take this divisive stand that all criminals be called Wahhabis. I was not at all into this Wahhabi, Barelvi issue, but I see you are a sectarian and derailing the agenda of New Age Islam by giving it your sectarian angle. New Age Islam speaks what I speak but only much politely than me. New Age Islam is against those “who are in the forefront of persecuting minorities using the blasphemy laws and those who are actively engaged in forcibly converting Hindu girls”. New Age Islam takes the name of Wahhabi, only to push the silent and peaceful Wahhabis to take a stand and oppose these people and say that Wahhabism is either not what these people are doing or they are leaving Wahhabism and going to join New Age Islam or Barelvism if such people do not stop being violent.

 Sufis/Barelvis being peaceful or inclusive is only there conceptually, but if they too are violent and also insistent, then they are Sufi/Barelvi just in name and actually they are Wahhabi or someone with both the ills in them.

About charging any sect of partition or riots of India is only your tactics to come on front foot. There is no such history. The issue was between Muslims of Congress and Muslims of League and post partition, Muslims how much divided they were and they still are, they all are united vote bank and act almost as one community, politically.

I agree that moderate Muslims must dissociate from all sects and disown all their Pirs and ideologues including their Arab masters and their crooked minded servants from the subcontinent.


Earlier Comment from:

Some more Earlier comments to provide a perspective


 I have recently gone through the three latest comments by Mr. Naseer Ahmed, Mr. Sadaf and Mr. Ghulam Ghaus Sahiban in this thread discussing about the possible or token practice of Qbar-parasti. Mr. Naseer insists upon the point making it clear again, “My fight is not against Barelvis but it is against Barelvi sectarianism on this website and against the unfair targeting of other sects”, I would like to advise him he should ponder upon his opinion again and consider the clear-cut policy and agenda of New Age Islam so that he may get close to the very straightforward motive of this site. As far as my understanding is considered, I have come to know through various clarifications given by Mr. Sultan Shahin that this site is not against any particular sect or practice rather it tries to expose any threat, danger or terror posed towards humanity, it is against any un-Islamic practice that is unlawful, inhuman which may be a danger for the entire humanity in general and against the Muslims’ peaceful existence in particular.
Exceptions are everywhere and in everything, we can’t deny it, for this reason it is clear that the un-Islamic practitioners are to be found in every sects; the only thing to be noticed is that; in some sects there are various wrong practices, and in some sects, there may be few, but there are some people, of course, who are deviated and doing some sorts of wrong practices which are harming us and bringing shame and criticism for the sect and Islam as well.


Mr. Sadaf too is quite straight-forward and exact when he says, Even if I am Wahhabi, I am not condemning myself, but those who insist of waging Jihad and killing Non-Muslims and declaring even Muslims as Non-Muslims and then talking about killing them or without talking but silently killing them. I am talking about those guys.” It is clear he is also not against any particular sect in general, but he is against those few criminals who are deviated from the path of Islamic teaching and have become a threat to the Islamic world and humanity.


Mr. Ghaus says, ‘Let alone Qabrprasti even Taazimi sajda is strictly prohibited and Haram as is mentioned in the fatawa Razvia written by Imam Ahmad Raza” According to him, it is clear that Qabar-parasti is not an ideological problem of the Bareilvis, but it is being practiced by some people at certain places in the form of taazimi sajda or for showing reverence to the dead person. In some cases, the illiterate people are being misguided by the greedy misinterpreters of Islam for the sake of their earning from “Fatiha and “Chadhawa”. Of course, it is to be condemned as no sect of Islam approves it in any form.

Then, the question arises, where lies the problem? I think the problem lies in lack of basic learning of Islam, the true and exact knowledge of Qur’an, and to a great extent our failure in imparting the significant codes of belief of Islam to our offspring. Thanks to everybody for the worthy discussion.


By Raihan Nezami - 4/17/2013 12:05:01 PM


There is no compulsion in the religion (Al-Baqara 256) 

غلام غوث - 4/17/2013 11:34:36 AM


MMuslims must boycott those so called mullas who in the name of Islam are forcing the human beings (non-Muslims) to convert to Islam. There is compulsion in Islam as clearly mentioned in the holy Quran, so why they are forcing Punjab Christian family. The government should punish such fanatics

غلام غوث - 4/17/2013 9:55:23 AM


<   Mr Harsh you are right Islam denounces sects but Wahhabis often compel us to talk about sects. They have appeared during 12th century hijri to divide ummah and since then they are stuck to make deep rooted conspiracy against Muslim ummah. These people have started sects and misguided poor common Muslims.


BY GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 4/17/2013 9:54:26 AM


     What would be the case of blindness more than that even mr Naseer sahab increasingly appears to be claiming or charging not Barelvism but Ahlesunnah wal jamat (sawade azam) with Qabrparasti. If there had been Qabrprasti among Sunni Barelvis, there would be written account of this Qabrparasti in the books of sunni barelvis. On the contrary to that, there is no such Qabrparasti, both theoretically and practically, Qabrprasti is shirk (polytheism) in the documents of Sunni Barelvis.

Let alone Qabrprasti even Taazimi sajda is strictly prohibited and Haram as is mentioned in the fatawa Razvia written by Imam Ahmad Raza.  Sunni Barelvis follow Imam Ahamad raza.

According to Imam Ahmad Raza ra, it is by far the best for a visitor of a holy shrine to stand about two yards away from the shrine while reciting the Fatiha.


Despite that, some people like Wahabis accuse Sunni Barelvis of Qabrprasti. Has this accusation not been a kind of violence against sunni barelvis? Under the pretext of this false accusation, lots of the holy shrines of Aulias and the Prophets have been demolished so far. This is sheer terrorism and nothing else.

History proves that such false accusation has begun since Abdul Wahab Najdi appeared, whereas before his era many Auliyas of Allah visited the holy shrines. The prophet Muhammad pbuh visited the shrines and he never ordered his holy companions to demolish the prophets’ shrines already found prior to his own era.


What a sheer ignorance! Likewise Wahabis have divided Muslim Ummah into different parts.

I have come to know that in the last century Wahabis have attacked the dignity of prophets and Auliyas, divided Muslim Ummah and now are committing acts of violence.


Mr Naseer sahib I want you to be positive regarding Sunni Barelvis who have considered Qabrprasti polytheism (shirk). Sunni Barelvis are loving people of Auliyas and not the ones what you believe or blame.


By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث - 4/17/2013 9:50:29 AM



Dear Sadaf,

You have got me entirely wrong. I have said this before that I offer my Friday Prayers in a mosque lead by a Barelvi imam although there are two other Deobandi mosques which are closer. My Grandfather had Quadri as part of his name which my father discontinued as he did not like such exhibition of one's lineage. My GF was the Janashin and Sajjada of a historically famous Khanqa of a famous sufi. My wife is a Barelvi, my son-in-law is a Barelvi etc etc. I visit Dargahs frequently since my father, grandfather etc are buried in those Dargahs.

 My fight is not against Barelvis but it is against Barelvi sectarianism on this website and against the unfair targeting of other sects. I know that when I attack any sect, I am attacking Islam itself and it pains me. But  it has become necessary to make others realize what they are doing. 

 In my opinion, a person who calls himself a Barelvi or Deobandi or Wahabi is an inferior Muslim. A Muslim is just a Muslim. Every Muslim follows the Quran and the Prophet's Sunnat and can describe himself as Ahle-Hadith or Ahle-Sunnat. A Salafi is one who says that he follows the Islam of the earliest Muslims. So can a Muslim deny that he is a Salafi as well as Ahle-Hadith as well as Ahle Sunnat? There is also a great deal of variation between one Ahle-Sunnat and another. So to me none of these labels mean much. I therefore condemn none.

 By Naseer Ahmed - 4/17/2013 5:45:06 AM


Neither a belief in wahdatul wajood nor being a Sufi is necessary for being inclusive. Truly good precepts should not be attached to any sect, not even to Islam, but to being human.

By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 4/17/2013 12:34:27 AM


      Naseer Sb and Mohd Yunus Saheb (Rational), From the Sufi link you provided it appears Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi did not believe in oneness of existence (wahdatul wajood) which is the source of Sufi inclusiveness. If you believe all existence is one and actually internalize its import you cannot possibly discriminate between any creations of God, will not consider yourself superior to others for any reason whatsoever, after all you are in them and they are in you. Belief in wahdatul wojood is the reason Sufis love all of God’s creation and all humanity loves them.

Can one be a Sufi without believing in wahdatul wojood?  

Of course, I have seen all the trappings of a Sufi shrine at Sheikh Sirhindi’s grave, though hardly any local visitor, only a few visitors from Turkey for whom comfortable stay is organized at the Shrine hostel.  If a running shrine is the criteria, then of course, he may be called a Sufi. But then so was called ibn-e-Taimiya, the real founder of Wahhabism, though this term naturally came into existence when Mohammad ibn-e Abdul Wahhab adopted his interpretation and guidance several centuries later.


I think there is no point in calling these exclusivists Sufi and thus defaming Sufism, although like most other Muslims they too may have come from Sufi traditions. Not believing in Wahdatul Wajood it was natural even for a pious man like Sheikh Sirhindi to overreact to Emperor Akbar’s seemingly anti-Islamic injunctions, specially his prohibition of congregational prayers at one point, though that did not last very long.


Naseer Saheb himself comes from a Sufi tradition and so do I imagine you Rational Saheb. Indeed so do all the Wahhabis of the Indian sub-continent, barring a very few whose ancestors turned to Wahhabism a hundred years ago. [These Wahhabis too were inclusivist, peaceful people, not aware of the details of Wahhabi ideology and merely opposed qabr parasti and fateha khwani and said aaameeen loudly at the end of Surah Fateha in nimaz. That was as far as their Wahhabism went.] But both of you are now busy hunting for so-called Sufis, including those who did not believe in the unity of existence, the bedrock of Sufism, and their sayings that can prove that Islam itself is prone to violence and not only some Wahhabis but all Muslims would have become terrorists if only America and Saudi Arabia had given them guns and other arms.


Please also try and find some hateful, exclusivist sayings of the Sufis most people of the sub-continent revere, saints like Khwaja Ghareeb Nawaz, Data Ganj Baksh, Hazrat Nizamuddin, etc. I am not throwing a challenge. It’s possible they too over-reacted to some event in their life. After all they were all human beings like our Prophet (saw).


However, I am not aware of followers of any Sufis including Sheikh Sirhindi, going out to kill Wahhabis, despite so many murderous Wahhabi attacks on Sufi shrines in the recent past. Now there is no guarantee they will not start forming militias to protect themselves and maybe even become aggressive. There is no dearth of guns anywhere in the subcontinent. Then there are always people who would love Muslims killing each other. Iran-Iraq war went on for eight years in which the same forces supported both sides, exulting in the slaughter of millions of Muslims. I hope Sufi/Bareilwis will not overreact and merely try to reason with the aggressive Wahhabis and only take defensive action to protect themselves from harm.


I would have hoped intellectuals like you would help pacify the situation by telling Wahhabis that Islam does not stand for violence and that the interpretations of Ibn-e-Taimiya, Ibn Abdul Wahhab, Maulana Maudoodi, Syed Qutub, etc. are flawed, not truly based on Islam. I would have expected people like you to tell militants not to allow themselves to be brainwashed into becoming suicide bombs, that the road they are taking is the road to hell, not heaven. But, of course, you seem to have taken it upon yourself to further egg them on, tell them this is true Islam, this is what even Sufis have said, that other Muslims are not taking your route only because America-Saudi Arabia axis did not provide them with guns.


By Sultan Shahin - 4/17/2013 12:10:34 AM


< Yunus Sb talks about petro dollars, radicalization and declaration of Ahmediya sect as non Muslim in 1974 by Pakistan as proof that petro dollars were radicalizing people even before 1979.

The two modern day ideologues whose teachings are mainly held responsible for militant political Islam are:

1. Maududi and 2 Syed Qutub who is also inspired by Maududi. One is from India/Pakistan and the other from Egypt. Both have lived and died  before oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia. Ahmad Raza Barelvi had declared Ahmediyas and other sects apostate in the 19th century. In Pakistan, the Barelvis,  Deobandis and also the Shias were party to declaring the Ahmediyas non Muslim and this was done under Bhutto who himself was Shia. 

 Earlier, in 1953, a massive movement was launched  to persecute and to finish the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Government of Pakistan put down the movement. Ahrar was banned in it.

 Before that, the country was partitioned on the basis of religion which was accompanied by one of the worst communal riots of the 20th century.

 Where were the petro dollars then?

 One has to be blind not to see that the present day extremism/terrorism starts with training 300000 civilians to fight the war in Afghanistan in which volunteers from 35 countries took part, who then spread this culture of violence to the rest of the World.

 Only the demented or the barelvi sectarians connect the influence of Salafi Islam on expats returning from Saudi Arabia with extremism. They my sport a beard, their women may wear hijab, they may shun Qabar parasti,  but in no way do they show any streak of violence. 

 By Naseer Ahmed - 4/16/2013 8:01:21 PM


     Repeating an earlier comment - Ghaus Sb,

The following Sufi site carries the incendiary statement attributed to Sheikh Sithindi

The fact that I have provided reference of an authentic Sufi site is not disputed by you.


The moot point then is why is a Sufi site prominently showing the incendiary statement attributed to the "Sufi Saint"? Whether the statement is true or not would have mattered if the site was an Islamophobic site. When the site is a sufi site, then even if the statement is falsely attributed to the "Sufi saint", it still proves that the Sufis/Barelvis would like to believe it as true and follow it. Does it not prove that Sufis/Barelvis are neither inclusive nor syncretic but continue to harbour animosity towards other religions and other sects of Islam? Should not those who follow this sect also dissociate themselves from the sect and their religious leaders who were/are divisive? 


 The fact of the matter Ghaus Sb is that the Barelvis in Pakistan are in the forefront of persecuting minorities using the blasphemy laws and Sufis are actively engaged in forcibly converting Hindu girls with one such Pir proudly claiming that he has converted 200 in a year and saying that he has no regrets because he saved them from hell fire. The Barelvis supported the partition whereas the Deobandis opposed it. The Barelvis and Sufis therefore indulged in communal riots which made partition necessary. So all this talk of Sufis/Barelvis being either peaceful or inclusive is crap. Most communal issues in India are on account of the Barelvis.


A moderate Muslim must therefore dissociate from all sects and disown all their Pirs and ideologues. I do not identify with any sect or any ideologue. Also, more than any sect, the state of Pakistan must own up all responsibility for exporting terrorism. Pakistan has lost the right to remain a sovereign country having failed to take credible steps to contain the menace and must be placed brought under strict supervision by the UN.

By Naseer Ahmed - 4/16/2013 6:58:48 PM


   There is a big difference between ex-Muslim atheists (many of whom are my friends) and ex-Muslims who are waging a hate war against Islam.

 By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 4/16/2013 1:58:36 PM


      Dear Mohd Yunus Saheb (Rational). I do not tolerate you. I accept you as a Muslim. Don't we look upon Meer Taqi Meer as a Muslim despite his Qashqa kheencha Dair mein baitha kab ka tark Islam kiya? Don't we think of Ghalib as a Muslim who said hamko maaloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin; dil ke bahlkane ko Ghalib yeh khayal achcha hai.

The difference between you and them is that they were not determined campaigners against Islam, but I see that they also did not live in the petrodollar Wahhabism era. God knows how they would have reacted to this tide of Wahhabism? They lived in a more tolerant age. So I understand your reactions (or over-reactions) living as you do in a sea of Wahhabis, many of them still visiting Sufi shrines too and considering themselves non-Wahhabi.

Now, let Naseer Saheb say, what he likes, I have never said something as absurd as all Wahhabis are terrorists. How can that be? No communities turn terrorists or even normal fighters. All communities or nations or I suppose sects would have armies or armed groups doing their fighting for them. You see, in dealings with humans we cannot apply mathematical formulas. See, Sadaf considers himself a Wahhabi. Why? Because he is against qabr parasti. Now I am also against qabr parasti. So by that criterion I am also a Wahhabi. 

However, what I have said and what I would like Naseer Saheb and you to consider is that all Islamist terrorists do come from a Wahhabi background. There may be some dishonourable exceptions to this rule. But these exceptions only underline the rule. You and Naseer Saheb say that Sufi/Bareilwis are not peaceful people. Naseer Saheb reaches this conclusion by speculating that if Bareilwis are given weapons they would also turn into terrorists as if there is any dearth of weapons in the sub-continents. Weapons are made inside houses in the home state of Naseer Saheb. I know because it is my home state too.


Your argument concerns what Sheikh Sirhindi wrote in his maktoobat a few hundred years ago.  Sheikh Sirhindi is indeed considered a Sufi by some but so is Ibn-e-Taimiya on whose works Wahhabism is largely based. You must understand that Islam that spread around the world was Sufi Islam and then came aberrations, partly because of demands of time to which some people over-reacted. Mongol invasion in the case of Ibn-e-Taimiya and Mughal (Mongol) Emperor Akbar’s intolerance of congregational practices of Islam in the case of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi. But we are not calling Jihadis terrorists simply because of what Ibn-e-Taimiya and Abdul Wahhab or Syed Qutub or Maulana Maudoodi wrote before but because of what they are actually doing today. Are Sufi/Deobandis engaged in any suicide operations today? Ahmed Reza Khan maybe takfiri and if so I condemn him, but are his followers engaged in killing those whom they consider kafir?  There is a difference between calling some people kafir and going out and killing them.

Both you and Naseer Saheb are agreed that all Muslims are terrorists because the religion of Islam itself is a religion of terrorism. Now, of course, Naseer Saheb will not say this in so many words, but this is precisely what he means by calling Sufi/Bareilwi Muslims terrorists who just need a gun. In his view the overwhelming majority of Muslims, the Sufi-Bareilwis, are peaceful because America and Saudi Arabia did not provide them with guns as they did to the Wahhabis. Wahhabis turned terrorists simply because America provided them with guns. They are abducting and forcibly converting Hindu girls, killing Shias, Ahmedis, and their own girl children seeking education, women, if one of their toes is seen in public, because America and Saudi Arabia have provided them with guns. Naseer Saheb’s thesis is that if Sufis/Bareilwis were given guns they would also start doing all this.

This is a proposition I do not agree with. The 1.6 billion Muslims in the world would not abide by the tenets of Islam if they considered it a religion of violence and intolerance. Most Muslims live peacefully everywhere in the world. Yes, with the onslaught of Wahhabism and the massive propaganda unleashed by the US-protected Saudi regime, the situation is changing, has already changed quite a bit. Many people who still consider themselves Sufi/Bareilwi have also turned intolerant and are accepting force and coercion and violence as an ideology. They are becoming Wahhabi in their mindset, though many are not even aware of it.

To take a concrete example to understand the difference better, Mr. Sadaf is not a Wahhabi because he is opposed to Qabr Parasti [as I myself am] and yet does not call for Qabr parasts being killed, as Wahhabis do. But he is a Wahhabi (though he calls himself a super-Wahhabi, whatever that means) because he calls for all Mullahs being shot and killed. Now I am opposed to Mullahism too and see its dangers every day, but I would not advocate violence against them. I would call for a dialogue within the Muslim community where we sort out our issues through a frank dialogue. [Unfortunately we are not prepared for that yet.] And this is what saves me from being a Wahhabi.


By Sultan Shahin - 4/16/2013 1:26:23 PM


Dear Chaturvediji, if you want to understand the true import of Saudi Wahhabism, please read Ziauddin Sardar on this link:


By Sultan Shahin - 4/16/2013 6:48:55 AM


     Naseer Saheb, this site is more yours than mine. I find very little time to contribute. You do more. Posting comments is free for all. Please bring on the site as many Wahhabis, Bareilwis, you like. I told you the conscious effort I made to have even an ahl-e-hadeesi on the editorial team. But I could not allow him to start a riot, so I let him go, making him an offer to work from his home. I don't know any Bareilwis. I started my journalistic career in 1972 with Jamaat-e-Islami's news organ Radiance Viewsweekly. I still have some friends in the Jamaat, though many have passed away. Nice people, men of integrity, very hospitable, but possess a poisonous ideology. In my family and around nearly all have become Wahhabis, though many do not realise that and still consider themselves Bareilwis.

You do not seem to realise what massive Wahhabi propaganda has done to our community. Can you imagine 25 years ago, even Wahhabi Muslims of West Bengal, Jamaat-e-Islami people, going out in procession, demonstrating their support for killers of Bangladesh Muslims on behalf of Pakistan?


But, of course, you have no interest in these issues. You question the motives of people who raise these issues. Nothing could show better your total bankruptcy. You don't have any answers to the questions being raised on this platform. You can't bring any Wahhabi supporters to the site, even though New Age Islam gives you complete freedom. The problem is what these people will say. How will they justify indiscriminate violence against Muslims, men, women, children?


All that you can do is lit diversionary fires: if Bareilwism does not work, if non-sectarianism doesn't work, then motives of people who question violence against innocent Muslims and non-Muslims in the name of Islam.


You really need your head examined if you think America wants Wahhabi Muslims to stop killing non-Wahhabis, that America would finance a website that is campaigning to present Islam as a religion of peace and love as propagated by Sufi saints. Don’t forget America financed both Saddam Husain and Khomeini for eight years as long as they were killing Muslims in Iran and Iraq. America turned against Saddam Hussein only when he realised this and stopped the war. America is destroying selectively all moderate, secular Muslim governments and installing radical Shias and Wahhabi militants. Its present obsession is installing al-Qaeda in Syria, now that it has been brought to power in Libya.


America is the biggest protector of Wahhabi Islam even after 9/11 in which all the terrorists involved were Wahhabi, 16 out of 19 Saudi and three Egyptians. It has not stopped Saudi Arabia from spending tens of billions of petrodollars exporting Wahhabi Islam. Scores of chartered planes fly from Jeddah practically every day carrying Tableeghis to all corners of the world, seeking to impose seventh-century Arab cultural norms on Muslims.

 Indian Muslims are inheritors of a 5,000-year-old civilisation. Our civilisation was the best in the world in every possible way. But we must now supplant our culture with the desert Bedouin culture of 7th century Arabia. We should all become illiterate 7th century baddus, if we want to remain Muslim. We should start raiding rival sect’s colonies, kill the men, possess their women as concubines, and enslave their children, as is already happening in Pakistan.


Read history. Wahhabi Islam would not have been able to install itself in what was then Hejaz (now the only country in the world to be named after a king and called Saudi Arabia) and destroy over 300 Islamic monuments from the earliest period of Islam without British help. It would not be able to destroy the remaining Islamic sites today without American help. There is a reason why all forces opposed to Islam call Wahhabi Islam as true Islam, never question their ideology, do everything possible to propagate Wahhabism as true Islam.

By Sultan Shahin - 4/16/2013 1:39:45 AM


     Shahin Sb,

Give the Barelvis or for that matter any community  arms and then see what they do with it. It is then that their ideology becomes relevant in choosing victims. However, with or without ideology, there will be victims with armed people around.

 Shahin Sb, you can keep on cursing the Wahabis/Salafis/Deobandis but that is not an answer to my question of how many have you been able to bring to a common non-sectarian platform. As a matter of fact there aren't many Barelvis that you have been able to attract either. Nor, as far as I know, have you made a conscious effort. 

 If even the Tablighis are shooed away because they sport a beard and their women wear a Niqab, and if the fact that they are otherwise peace loving with a very long  record of remaining out of every controversy is irrelevant to you, then you are  extremely exclusivist and prejudiced.  Your target audience is clearly not Muslims but whoever your masters are. For those in the US, they may be trying to impress their neighbours and those in India their Indian friends. It is more of a projection of self and what you would like others to think of you rather than an attempt to bring about change.

By Naseer Ahmed - 4/16/2013 12:11:04 AM


  Dear Mr. Sadaf, Opposing qabr parasti doesn't make you a Wahhabi. It's simple common sense. A manifestation of our belief in tauheed. However, destroying Sufi shrines, raising to the ground all historical monuments associated with the earliest period of Islam, killing people who visit Sufi shrines, including some jahil qabr parasts, does make one a follower of the Wahhabi ideology as propagated by Syed Qutub and Maulana Maudoodi in the last century and Ibn-e-Taimiya in the 13th-14th century and Mohammad ibn-e-Abdul Wahhab in the 18th century. Even maintaining silence over the spiraling violence does make one a Wahhabi or at least a tacit supporter of Wahhabi violence.

[Incidentally most people who visit Sufi shrines are not qabr parasts. They go there to show their reverence to and learn about people who spent a lifetime in the worship of God, lived a pious life, preached love of God and humanity, and who introduced our ancestors to Islam and were and are loved by all communities, thus making the occasion a multicultural event promoting integration.]

By Sultan Shahin - 4/16/2013 12:06:47 AM


     Naseer Saheb, New Age Islam has succeeded in creating not only a non-sectarian but even a non-communal, non-racial platform. If your friends in the Wahhabi movement have nothing to say in their defence, what can New Age Islam do about it? They are most welcome to participate. You keep participating on their behalf any way. But what do you do: create diversions, indeed create diversionary fires. Diverting attention from the subject at hand is one of the ploys of people who do not have an answer to questions raised. Your friends use other methods like not allowing people to speak even in universities, threatening to kill them, declaring them Kafir and Wajibul Qatl, etc.


As a matter of fact they are not only threatening but actually going into mosques and shrines and blowing themselves up, having been convinced by their ideologues that they will go to Heaven. Easiest route to Heaven is push the button on your suicide belt in a mosque or a Sufi shrine or destroy a Muslim girls' school. Participating in New Age Islam discussions with Quran exegetes of the caliber of Muhammad Yunus Saheb would require knowledge of Quran. They probably know that they will not be able to justify indiscriminate killing of innocents of any community, much less Muslims of any sect, on the basis of Quran. That would be well nigh impossible. Quran very clearly stands for peace and compassion for all.


You mention Ahmed Reza Khan Bareilwi’s takfiri ideology. Write an article giving evidence and denouncing it. I will publish that. This is the fourth time I am making this offer. I am against all takfirism. But, to the best of my knowledge Bareilwis have never practiced killing those whom they may have called Kafir. (Do correct me if I am wrong.) [Some Wahhabised Bareilwis may start doing that now. But that is another issue.] Calling any Muslim (or for that matter anyone from ahl-e-kitab, the followers or any of the 124,000 prophets who came before Prophet Mohammad) a kafir, is, of course, wrong and unjustifiable in Islam, but it is not the same thing as going out and killing them in cold blood, thinking that you are going to Heaven by virtue of that.


By Sultan Shahin - 4/15/2013 11:33:58 PM


     Let us bite the bullet and call spade a spade!

As mentioned in one of my articles [1] “today’s Mullas, popular TV preachers and orthodoxy are bent on defying or rather killing the pluralistic vision, the noble social, moral and ethical imperatives and the liberating spirit of Islam and reducing it to a cult of five pillars with an Arab God and world’s greatest man Muhammad (pbuh) as its Prophet – a cult that is rooted in the medieval theological discourses and bears all its cruel, vicious and atavistic hallmarks.”  

Sultan Shahin Sahab has conveyed exactly the same message in simple language with practical example of the Muslims of the subcontinent in his outburst on the preaching of the Wahabi Islam that “Muslim (men) in India or Bangladesh, Pakistan should all grow beards and wear Arab dishdashas, the women should remain veiled in cloths that used to protect Arabic women from sandstorms, and above all should not use bindis or sarees, etc as these are against Islam.   

  In short they should not integrate in the multicultural society they live in. The world is divided between Kafirs and Muslims and Muslims should not mix with Kafirs, a term that includes, apart from people belonging to other religions, the majority of Muslims who want to live like normal individuals, not like some characters from a science fiction movie who have time-travelled into our century.” 

So, as far as my considered opinion and researched conclusion goes, I remain in 100% agreement with Sultan Shahin Sahab’s concern against the rising tide of Wahabi Islam.  

I believe any attempt to give a sectarian perspective to the debate such as Barelvi versus Deobandi is nothing short obfuscating the issue into an academic debate that can derail any discussion on how to fully expose and create an all round awareness in the mainstream Muslim community against its potential dangers.  

 Connecting the rise of Wahabi Islam with recent political events such as America’s support to Talibans for ousting the Russians or its invasion of Muslim lands will only be myopic as the petrodollars started flowing from early 70’s with Pakistan declaring the Ahmadis non-Muslims (1974) and embracing an ultra-orthodox form of Islam under Ziaul Huq and Saudi funds financing numerous madrasas across the Muslim world – all these developments predating the recent political events involving America and Russia. Likewise, giving a sectarian colour to the issue such as ideological conflict between Barelvis and Deobandis will be restricting the global impact of Wahabi Islam to the context of the Indian subcontinent.  

In a word, I admire Sultan Shahin Shab to post exhaustive comments, having posted a series of long comments on exactly the same theme a couple of months ago without any result. We seem to be back at square one having exchanged over a hundred comments under a different thread but relating to the same theme.  

1. Why are the Muslims converting to Christianity - a soul searching exercise?,-rethinking-islam/by-muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/why-are-the-muslims-converting-to-christianity---a-soul-searching-exercise?/d/8134

By muhammad yunus - 4/15/2013 9:43:05 PM


  • Dear Raihan Nezami, Please do not consider Naseer sahib an enemy. He has and I hope will continue to make valuable contribution to the discourse at New Age Islam. You have yourself liked some of his posts. He has even initiated useful debates through his articles on subjects I had not thought of.

Try to understand him. He is not the only Muslim intellectual who takes refuge in victimhood, will not like to look within, blame every problem on something The Other may have done, starting from Mongols, to Christians in Spain, Western colonialism and Zionism, not to speak of Janasanghis. Now it is not my point that Muslims have not had enemies, Islam has not faced opposition. Of course, there has been a lot of opposition right from the beginning. The thing is how  you react to aggression. Victimhood can also be a weapon. Zionists, for instance, use victimhood as a weapon of empowerment for their community. We Muslims are using victimhood as a weapon to commit suicide. That is the difference.


So Naseer Saheb, actually represents the majority of our intelligentsia in promoting victimhood. Read Urdu Press articles. You will find as if the entire Indian Muslim community is at war with the Indian state, as if we are all living here in a Nazi ghetto. Am I saying that we have no problems here as a community, that we do not face discrimination at any level. No I am not saying that. Read the Press Release of Citizens for Justice and Peace related to Gujarat Riots 2002 that I have just posted. And there are so many other reports on New Age Islam that document discriminations, even though that is not our main focus. But the question I ask is: are we doing any good to ourselves by practically declaring war against India, by never showing the slightest gratitude for the equality of opportunity we have here in all spheres, at least technically and legally,  unlike the way minorities are treated in Muslim lands.


So Naseer Saheb is not alone in fostering victimhood. Similarly he is not alone in wanting that the ideology of Wahhabism is not blamed for terrorism even if that means that Islam is blamed and considered a terrorist religion. Don't you see the support this proposition gets from ex-Muslims and people on the website whom you call Jansanghis. Recall the amount of energy Mohd Yunus Saheb (Rational) has spent on the website trying to prove that Wahhabism is true Islam. You go to Islamophobic websites. You will not see a word against the ideology of Taliban, Jihadis, Wahhabis or Wahhabism, for that matter. Wahhabi propositions are considered true Islamic propositions. Their reasoning is very clear. It would be very easy to destroy Jihadi, Talibani Islam. So if Jihadi Islam is considered Islam, then Islam can be destroyed very easily, something that has not been possible all these hundreds of years.


Now coming to the issue that has made you feel that Naseer Saheb is an enemy of New Age Islam. It would appear so from his insistence on convincing our readers that the website is a dud. In my view what seems to have happened is this. Naseer Saheb checked some SEO company for our stats. No company whose tracking cookies we have not installed on every page of our website can have those figures. But in his naiveté he believed that and as a well-wisher he felt concerned. Don't forget that you don't contribute an enormous amount of your precious time to a website towards which you are inimical. He even contributes well-researched articles without expecting to be paid an honorarium. Anyway, when he saw these very very low figures, he saw an opportunity to try and convince me to make peace with Wahhabism and bring Wahhabis to the website and improve our performance.


He is not alone in this. Another well-wisher too, whose intentions I can never doubt, has suggested something similar to me in the hope that this will bring me Saudi funding and help boost the website as well as help me implement  several ideas I have that I cannot go on with for want of funds. However, this friend had the sense to write to me all this in a personal letter. [I am not disclosing his name, so rest assured I am not engaging in any gheebat.]


I was amazed at Naseer Saheb's naiveté. Particularly as he is an IT consultant. I was myself taken in by these figures five years ago. I am not a technical person. But I researched and asked around. Now I use three ways of cross-checking my figures. The most reliable, though not most elaborate, is the software I have got written by my own engineer. But I use Google tracking as well for more elaborate stats.


Anyway, I wrote to him and gave him my reasons why we should not trust these people and my own figures.


But Naseer Saheb insisted and tried to prove himself right from another stupid angle. A mature IT consultant and social psychologist should know better. This is what gave rise to the suspicion that he is really being inimical and not friendly. But I think his problem can be understood at least by parents like me who have dealt with children. Children can never go wrong. If they ask for chocolates, no arguments will work. They will give you arguments from so many angles that you will have no option but to acquiesce. However, harmful as chocolates are, they are not anywhere as dangerous as swords or revolvers. So no matter how many and from how many angles your kids give you arguments why they should have a revolver or a sword, you don't surrender and if comes to that even admonish them harshly or do whatever is required. This is the position I was in and felt I had to speak harshly from which he concluded that I want him to go away from the site.


However, when I braved the possibility of several confirmed and long-time friends leaving the site if I continued to allow Rational to have his say, there is no reason at all why I would want him to leave. However, when I see someone appearing to be determined to damage the website, I have no option but to take action. Nevertheless, let me reiterate that I do not see Naseer Saheb as an enemy of the website; it's just that once he has made a point, he will even die fighting to prove that he was right even if he apparently realizes that he was wrong.

By Sultan Shahin - 4/15/2013 2:58:52 PM



  • Instead of waging wars on sects or jamaats, let us fight hate, intolerance, coercion, violence, obscurantism, exclusivism and supremacist attitudes. While we may have to mention the name of a sect or a jamaat, we should not be seen as targetting anyone selectively.
  • By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 4/15/2013 12:25:21 PM
  • ---

  • I agree that we should be better integrated in the community we live in and we should be proud of our Indian heritage.
  • By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 4/15/2013 12:12:08 PM
  • ---
  • Janab Naseer Ahmed Sahib is a hidden enemy of New Age Islam in the disguise of a friend. Janab Sultan Shahin Saheb, If you have such friends who do more harm to the website than the good, there is no need of any other enemy. I think, he has some grudges hidden in his heart since previous long-lasting debate on the topic of Deobandi-Brailavi terrorism.
  • By Raihan Nezami - 4/15/2013 9:23:38 AM


  • Sultan Shain sahib is obviously justified in his clear statement to Naseer sahib: "Naseer sahib, you routinely accuse me of being partial to Bareilwis. I have offered you twice before, this is the third time I am asking you, please send me a write-up detailing Bareilwi teachings of violence, exclusivism, supremacism, for which I blame Wahhabis, ahl-e-Hadeesis, etc. and if I don’t publish that then repeat your accusation. Otherwise it is not proper to keep repeating this accusation."

As a regular reader and frequent contributor, I have never come across a single editorial statement on New Age Islam that can reflect its association with any particular sect of Muslims. I found it denouncing even a Wahhabi-influnced Barelvi who killed  Salman Taseer in Pakistan. Since one of its stated goals is to try to uproot extremist, exclusivist, radical and militant ideologies of Islamism, NAI cannot help but curb Wahhabism as it forms the bedrock of Islamist fundamentalism and extremism. But this despite this self-evident fact, if a sagacious man like Naseer sahib accuses the editor of being partial to Barelvis just because he is exposing Wahabis, then one must marvel at his naiveté!

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi - 4/15/2013 8:06:01 AM



  • I have to say, Mr Shahin's comment is of the highest class. He is precise and to the point. He, I guess, thinks like a postmodernist. It says never mind you criticise me, I will still respect your opinion, because it is your opinion. I don't know why many Muslims need someone to blame. If America, Israel are not present then they create a 'conspiracy theory'. Shame on us.
  • By Aiman Reyaz - 4/15/2013 6:14:52 AM
  • ---

Dear Naseer Ahmed Saheb, ... In any case, most of my readers are Wahhabi Muslims who have no answers to the questions raised. They don’t move away from the site. They have nothing to post. All they can do is either abuse, threaten, behead, and destroy. We published answers to the points they had raised in their magazine justifying killing of innocents. Did they counter anything we had written? How could they? They have nothing to say.

Your analysis of the editorial policy of the website, as you say, is as skewed as your statistics. One reason, of course, is that it starts from wrong premises. But the main reason is your Wahhabi, Talibani mindset, at a sub-conscious level. (I know, I have not forgotten, that you claim and probably believe to be non-sectarian like me.)


The fact is there is nothing I can do if all the Islamist terrorists come from Wahhabi-Deobandi madrasas or Saudi funded Pakistani schooling system. It is possible that a few terrorists – like the dastardly killer of Governor Salman Taseer – come from apparently Bareilwi, but again Wahhabised – madrasas or schools. But exceptions merely underline the rule which in this case is that all Islamist terrorists all over the world come from Wahhabi-Deobandi Saudi- funded or at least Petrodollar-funded madrasas or schools. If readers won’t come to our site because I cannot ignore this fact, so be it. I cannot help that.


Now for Tablighi Jamaat being apolitical. Yes, they don’t engage in electoral politics. Don’t even go to politicians for funding or for acquiring political positions, etc. In their classrooms – held in mosques – too they do not talk politics, in the sense who should you vote for, etc. But in my view they are playing the worst kind of politics. Hate politics. Yes, yes, I know, they spend a lot of time talking about love and non-violence. In fact I heard a full lecture in their headquarters at Nizamuddin a few years ago talk about why Muslims should not knowingly kill even an ant. Their Quran – both volumes of Fazail-e-Aimal – is full of pious anecdotes from Hadees books, giving very good advice, care for the parents, orphans, etc.


But the inspiration behind Tableeghi Jamaat’s formation was and its main, overarching message is that Muslims should have their own exclusivist identity in terms of dress and looks and should not follow their indigenous culture, should not look like others in their country. As you must know Tableeghi Jamaat was originally formed to convert Mewati Muslims to Wahhabi Islam. Instead of following their culture and living like one should in the present day and age, like you and me, Muslims should look like some funny characters from the seventh century desert of Arabia. Arabs wear western suits today as in their air-conditioned homes and cars they no longer require protection from sandstorms. But Muslims in India or Bangladesh, Pakistan should all grow beards and wear Arab dishdashas, the women should remain veiled in cloths that used to protect Arabic women from sandstorms, and above all should not use bindis or sarees, etc as these are “against Islam.”  In short they should not integrate in the multicultural society they live in. The world is divided between kafirs and Muslims and Muslims should not mix with Kafirs, a term that includes, apart from people belonging to other religions, the majority of Muslims who want to live like normal individuals, not like some characters from a science fiction movie who have time-travelled into our century.


Now if some people do not like to visit our website because I oppose the poison of exclusivism and Islam-supremacism that Tableeghis and Wahhabis are spreading in our society, then so be it.


However, I can assure you that that the fact of the matter is entirely different. No Wahhabi can afford to not visit our website. Every Jamaati who goes online or can ask someone to provide a print out reads articles from New Age Islam. One old friend in Jamaat-e-Islami told me a couple of years ago, on being asked if his fellow travellers visited our website: “Shahin Bhai, everyone in Jamaat reads your articles. They sometimes cry, sometimes laugh, sometimes get hysterical and bang their heads against the nearest wall and sometimes call me and ask, …. Saheb, what is your fiend writing in New Age Islam. Have you seen this article?” ( the … before Saheb is his name but I don’t want to give his name, it will not be proper, though Mr. Raihan Nezami may still admonish me for practicing gheebat, backbiting.)


Now I am told – this is not official yet – that Indian Deobandis are thinking of publicly disassociating themselves from Wahhabism. They are welcome to do so, but merely a statement from Deoband will not be enough. They should change their behaviour and their curriculum and above all their mindset. Not to speak of Deobandis, even many Bareilwis who still hate being called Wahhabi, have adopted the Wahhabi mindset. Millions of Zakir Naik fans would consider themselves Bareilwis, may still visit Sufi shrines, but have for all intents and purposes become Wahhabis.


Naseer sahib, you routinely accuse me of being partial to Bareilwis. I have offered you twice before, this is the third time I am asking you, please send me a write-up detailing Bareilwi teachings of violence, exclusivism, supremacism, for which I blame Wahhabis, ahl-e-Hadeesis, etc. and if I don’t publish that then repeat your accusation. Otherwise it is not proper to keep repeating this accusation.


 If you know of any Bareilwi madrasa training people in violence, motivating them for turning into suicide bombs against “kafirs,” that is, other Muslims like Shias, Ahmedis, please let me know. I will be the first to expose them. If Bareilwis are going around killing Muslims and non-Muslims, destroying girls schools, killing girl children who want to go to school, please let me know. It is on New Age Islam that you read of a few guards of a Sufi shrine in Pakistan forcibly converting Hindu girls to Islam. What can I do, however, if to the best of my knowledge, Bareilwis are not engaged in terrorism, if Bareilwi ideology is inclusivist, if they have no problem visiting shrines along with their Hindu and Sikh and Christian brothers and thus promote national integration?


The website is passing through tough times and requires some heavy funding. I am most distressed at not being able to send our newsletter to the 1.26 million subscribers to what I had promised would be a free and daily newsletter. My present server does not allow more than 1,000 and on further request, and if they approve of the content, up to 5,000 newsletters a day. Other mail servers are horrendously expensive. How unbelievably expensive, you can check through your favourite search engine, or you may already know. But if you know some inexpensive way of sending mail, please let me know. I will not only thank you profusely but can treat this as a consultancy I will be willing to pay for.


I know I can raise some money from advertising. But the only possibility is Google advertising and this would mean advertising Saudi-funded Wahhabi websites, the only Islamic websites that have funds to spend on massive Google advertising. I don’t want to do that. But if you can find some non-Wahhabism advertisers for me, (I won’t mind advertising a business run by a Wahhabi; I have no problem with peaceful Wahhabis, some of them are very nice people, I will only avoid advertising his creed), I will be most grateful, will even reimburse any expenses incurred and pay the usual commission, if that is acceptable. I am not writing this just for you but for any reader who may want to help.


I will soon be creating a system for seeking donations. New Age Islam Foundation’s application for grant of FCRA Registration is being processed. I am told it takes two to three months. That is essential for me to have before I can seek donations from a global readership. On their own several readers with Indian bank accounts send their donations. I am most grateful for receiving support from working journalists. I know they are donating a whole month’s salary. Even if they do that only once a year, that is quite creditable. We have already got 80-G and 12-A status which means that if you donate from an Indian bank account you get some tax benefit too.


I have absolutely no desire to stop you from contributing. I value your contributions, both in the comments section and articles, and thank you for participation. I want you to contribute more. I genuinely want you to write about Bareilwis. We have to puncture the walls of silence. We must first know the state of affairs in our community. Honest reporting of events and ideas, whatever they are. Have I stopped any Wahhabi from writing, defending their positions? You ask Manzoorul Haq Saheb. He considers himself a fundamentalist, though with a modern outlook on some issues. He once said in a public meeting in Patna that his views are diametrically opposed to mine. He was sitting next to me while saying this. Did he ever face any difficulty in posting his articles or comments? He sent to me, on my request, to work for New Age Islam editorial, a fellow who turned out to be an ahl-e-Hadeesi. He virtually abused me in my face for half an hour. Did I turn him out? No, I just asked him to write what he was saying. I corrected his English and posted that. He worked for us. It was only when he started his campaign to convert the non-Muslim staff here and in the worst possible way - by abusing Hindu practices - that I had to ask him to leave.


I asked him why he was doing that; will it not lead to conflict? Elaborating his ahl-e-Hadeesi ideology, he said: “Conflict is necessary. Had Prophet Mohammad (saw) flinched from conflict, would Islam have flourished?”  At this point, I decided I could not afford to have him on my staff. I sent him to my friends in Jamaat-e-Islami, requesting them to find him some job. When they couldn’t help him, I offered him to continue to write from his home in Patna and be paid for his articles, etc.


The point I am making is that while I do have a certain standpoint and I do not hide that, I am only a very infrequent contributor. I spend most of my time in management work. Finding funds to run this operation is itself not a mean task.


You are free to defend Wahhabism, ahl-e-Hadeesism, Deobandism, if you like. I am a trained journalist. My training tells me I should be precise; I should name names. The word extremist, radical, means nothing. It does not tell us about the ideological roots of extremism.


You, of course, don’t believe any ideology is involved in extremism. You think Mohammad Ibn-e-Abdul Wahhab and the original ibn-Saud and later his son Aziz went around destroying heritage buildings of Islam that established Islam’s historicity, in 19th century Hejaz, not because of the Wahhabi ideology that was based on Ibn-e-Taimiya’s 13th-century misinterpretation of Islam, but because America attacked Afghanistan and Iraq at the beginning of the 21st century. You think Shias and Ahmedis are being killed, Hindu girls are being forcibly converted, because America has attacked Afghanistan. You think girls’ schools are being destroyed, women killed in so-called honour-killing because America has attacked Afghanistan. I may laugh or cry, become hysterical, bang my head against the nearest wall, but have I stopped you from writing any nonsense. This, to me, is valuable nonsense. This shows why we are as a community where we are. In their frenzy of victimhood, our intellectuals refuse to see even the most obvious. You provide me a great mirror in which I see myself, my community, the state of my religion.


Brainstorming is my goal. But we can brainstorm only when we are prepared to listen. When we come out of the point-scoring mindset. When we realise the urgency of our situation. At the moment we are not. But let us at least not avoid knowing the facts. Let not Islam be blamed for Wahhabism. Let not the entire community be blamed for what a small sect of Wahhabis are doing. While still a small sect, in the sense nobody wants to be called Wahhabi, its influence is spreading rapidly, mostly because our intellectuals will not call spade a spade, will not call Wahhabi a Wahhabi. I know this is not done only out of fear, but also out of a generosity of spirit. Let us not divide our community; let us not become sectarian ourselves by naming sects and ideologies. And so on. But that means you are allowing the religion of Islam and the entire Muslim community being blamed for the misdeeds of a few and a misguided interpretation of Islam made under very different and arguably very difficult conditions, that do not apply today.


By Sultan Shahin - 4/15/2013 4:19:18 AM


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