By Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam
20 February, 2014
"Attack your own country, if you live in the West," says Talibani Jihadist English magazine Azaan. "It is your religious duty. Martyrdom operations (Jihadi pseudonym for suicide bombing) will surely take you to Heaven where 72 houris are waiting to embrace you."
This is the fourth issue of Azaan. It started publication in March 2013. The magazine claims to be published by a media group based in Khurasan, reflecting the Taliban dream of capturing Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, eastern parts of Iran, parts of Pakistan like Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan, apart from Afghanistan. Khurasan is a historical name for this larger region.
Like the previous issues, the whole magazine is replete with ideas presented in the name of Islam that are actually nothing more than virulently anti-Islamic propaganda. Like other Jihadi magazine, this too constitutes the biggest defamation of Islam perpetrated by the state of Pakistan which allows its publication. Though NewAgeIslam.com has been banned in Pakistan for refuting the ideas propagated in these magazines, they continue to flourish. No wonder the editor of this web-magazine Mr. Sultan Shahin had asked the UN Human Rights Council in its last session in September 2013 to not entertain any defamation of Islam resolution until Islam is protected from defamation by Jihadi literature in the Islamic world first.
Let me explain the damage magazines like this are doing to Islam and the Muslim community, particularly the youth, taking this issue of Azaan as an example. The write-ups in this magazine would make the impressionable Muslim youth feel as if they were born either to kill or be killed and that there is no better purpose to their life, if they are true Muslims. Thus it is detrimental to their faith as it gives legitimacy to killing all the infidels including non-combatant civilians. It is important to remember that the Jihadi-Wahhabi definition of infidel includes even non-Wahhabi Muslims whose able-bodied men have to be killed, old men and children enslaved and women turned into concubines to the Jihadis.
The most appalling section of the magazine provides the potential Jihadists an encryption-based key to join their self-proclaimed jihad, assuring them of all the essential resources to carry out attacks in the West.
In its cover story titled “To the Jihadis in the West” written by a Western Jihadi ideologue who calls himself Abu Salamah Al-Muhajir, the magazine seeks to instils its foul intentions in the impressionable young minds of its readers. The article provokes the Western Muslims to attack their homelands and continue doing so until their countries' foreign policies towards the Islamic world change for the better. The most repeated rhetoric for radicalizing them is that the Western countries (including non-Wahhabi Muslims) are at war with Islam.
The Western Jihadi ideologue Mr. Abu Salamah Al-Muhajir lays an array of arguments. It quotes the Quran and Hadith out of context, justifying the rationale behind calling Muslim youth to set up lone-wolf Jihadist battlefields across the world. Motivating the youth with radical interpretations of Islam, it reviews a range of conditions for Muslims to leave their parents, children, wife, homes and even their colleges to launch jihadist activities and attain martyrdom.
The following extracts from the article will suffice to show that Talibani Jihadis are by far the worst enemy of Islam and its peaceful teachings. Even the Taliban apologists among Muslim intellectuals will probably not be able to help breaking their silence over these anti-Islamic pernicious ideologies.
The “biggest contribution”, the article says, jihadists can make to their cause is “to perpetrate an attack in the West”. It continues: “The damage that it causes to the Kuffar is far greater when an attack is carried out against them on their own soil, in comparison to when their troops abroad are attacked. Amongst our aims are making them feel unsafe in their own lands, damaging their economies, sinking their morale and deterring their aggression against the Ummah of Islam.”
The Western Jihadi ideologue goes on: “Whenever an attack is carried out in a western city, it disrupts their economy greatly. Immediately after an attack, the city is locked down, causing great losses to all businesses. Compensation has to be paid to the families of the dead and to all of those who were injured. There will be an instant manhunt for the Mujahid, even if it’s a martyrdom operation; they will be on the lookout for subsequent attacks. They will have to increase their security measures permanently, not only causing them an abundant financial cost, but significantly disrupting the lives of their citizens.”
Islam respects protection of life, honour, dignity and freedom of belief of all human beings. So, targeting Western cities and aiming at causing great losses to businesses and lives in a western city is detrimental to the global peace environment and clearly a gross distortion of Islam itself.
The Western Jihadi ideologue goes on to explain the aggressive and offensive techniques through which Jihadis propose to force Western governments to succumb to their pressure:
“Every attack that is carried out is remembered year after year with ceremonies and minutes of silence. Imagine if every crusader nation had to remember a past attack every month; it would surely get their citizens to pressurise their governments into changing their foreign policies vis-à-vis their aggressions against the Muslims."
It is not difficult to see how much fear of Islam, insecurity and disaffection towards Muslims, the propagation of such exhortation is going to create in the minds of the non-Muslim neighbours of Muslims living in the West or in other non-Muslim majority countries. Is this any wonder that many in the world are coming to fear Islam. If we Muslims do not oppose such vile assertions ostensibly on the basis of Islamic theology, do we have any ground to complain of growing Islamophobia?
The Western Jihadi ideologue adds further fuel to the fire: “There are also practical issues for you to consider. You might not have a guide to take you to the frontlines of Jihad and it may take you a long time for you to find one. In that time you could be planning and preparing yourself for an attack”.
The Western Jihadi ideologue suggests there should be an attack every month to change the Western foreign policy towards the Islamic world. Muslims from Western countries are best suited to launch such attacks inflicting maximum damage and humiliation to the infidels because they “can work there without arousing suspicion”. It is worth mentioning that inflicting damage to the infidels means carrying out suicide bombings on non-Wahhabi Muslims, Shias, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus and all those who do not subscribe to the Talibani-Wahhabi version of Islam. As it also offers Western Muslims exhortations of priority for attacks and provides how-to instructions:
“Every Mujahid should work according to his own situation. The Pushtun tribesman can never dream of entering the heartland of the Kuffar to do an operation; but he has handled weapons since childhood and can walk up and down the mountains all day long. Whereas you know the country you were brought up in thoroughly, you can work there without arousing suspicion. And if you go to the frontlines you cannot compete with the Ansar in their stamina and local knowledge. So work with the blessings Allah has given you and hit the Kuffar where it hurts them most”.
The Western Jihadi ideologue adds: “Having said that, there are some brothers who may already be under constant surveillance by the intelligence services. For these brothers, doing an attack in the West is extremely difficult, but if you fall under this category it doesn’t relinquish you from the duty of Hijrah (migration) to the lands of Jihad. It is always possible to slip out of the country and travel. So whether you can carry out an attack in the West, or you can only make Hijrah, you need to start preparing from today.”
To support the above contention from Islamic sources and provide theological justification for what he is saying, the Taliban ideologue Mr. Abu Salamah Al-Muhajir cites two Qur'anic verses out of total context:
“Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in rows (ranks) as if they were a solid structure. [61:4]”
“O, you who believe! What is the matter with you that when you are asked to march forward in the cause of Allah you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the hereafter.” (9:38)
Quoting these verses to prove his argument, the author has violated the Quran itself and its injunctions leading to justice, tolerance, patience, communal harmony, peace and tranquillity. The truth is these two verses appeared only during the war that the prophet had to fight to defend his small community of followers. These verses were basically meant for the early period of Islam when no other option was left for the then believers except to defend or lose their lives and the human right to freely practice the religion of their choice. Moderate mainstream Islamic Ulema, Jurists and Qur’anic exegetes apply these verses today only in defensive situations. Therefore, using these verses to justify killings of innocents is completely unacceptable to any Muslim. These verses do not allow Muslims today to engage in any indiscriminate acts of violence.
The Western Jihadi ideologue, if he is a Muslim, should not turn a blind eye to the verse (2:190) where God Almighty asks Muslims to fight only those who fight them and forbids them any aggression. Quran says “Allah does not like aggressors”. This was when the pagans denied the Muslims human rights to freely practice their religion, drove them out of their homeland, Mecca, and attacked them even in their new refuge, the Medina. Earlier the prophet and his holy companions were not allowed even to defend their lives. They suffered persecutions for over a decade. When it exceeded every limit and no other option was left for even mere survival, God the Almighty allowed only defensive wars with the then pagans. That is why we find in the verse “fight those who fight you” and “do not transgress the limits”. Had this verse been prescribed for all the coming ages, God the Almighty would not have limited it to the then pagans in terms of defensive wars.
What we see is that the idea of the Western Jihadi ideologue Mr. Abu Salamah Al-Muhajir is completely on the contrary to the facts of the situation. We realize that non-Muslim majority countries like India, America or European states, for that matter, allow Muslims far more religious rights and protection of their culture than even the country considered the hub of Islam, Saudi Arabia, does to the majority of Muslims living in its territory. For example, a Muslim in India enjoys complete and unfettered freedom to practice Islamic rituals and celebrate the birthdays of the prophets of God Almighty with all fanfare, something they would not be allowed in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Muslims have no need to think of creating Islamic states, as they have every right and facility to practice religion in non-Muslim majority countries, something they can’t even imagine in Muslim countries.
God Almighty has repeatedly commanded his believers to be moderate, secular and maintain peace in the land, whether of the west or east. As the verses (28:56), (3:20), (5:99), (2: 256), (109:7), (10:99), (32:13), (11:118), (64:2), and (9:6) mentioned above give Muslims the concept of tolerance in non-Muslim majority states.
Additionally, there are many more verses in the Quran that prohibit every kind of injustice, violence, oppression, aggression, brutality, atrocity towards humanity without any discrimination among generations. Here I am representing three verses and an authentic Hadith refuting the author’s calling Muslim youth in the west to do an attack:
“Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land, it is as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely” (5:32)
“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly towards them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (60:8)
"But if the enemies incline towards peace, you too should incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: Surely, He is the All-hearing and the All- knowing. (8:61)
It is narrated by Abu Shuraih: The Prophet said:
"By God he is not a believer, he is not a believer, he is not a believer,” It was said, "Who is that, O Allah's Apostle?” the one who could not provide peace and security to his neighbours." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Number 45)
The Hadith applies to all neighbours whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims; a Muslim is one who provides peace and security to all neighbours regardless of their creed or colour. This Hadith obviously refutes the Western Jihadi ideologue’s call “to perpetrate an attack in the West” and puts forth the unprecedented example for promoting inter-faith harmony.
To sum it up, such magazines speak of the terrorists’ intentions and clearly defame Islam. Their killings and ways of interpreting the Quran bring out their foul intentions, condemnable ideas and beliefs. Their heinous actions do not stem from pious beliefs. It should, therefore, be noted that whatever false justifications these criminals, rebels, evil-mongers may apply to justify their atrocities and mindless violence as act of Jihad, they have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam even remotely. As for the publication of such magazines and articles being circulated via the internet, it should be banned just for the sake of peace in the land. What a travesty that instead of banning such Islam-defamatory publications, Muslim countries like Pakistan ban publications like New Age Islam that regularly refute such ideas and interpretations of Islam.
A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M.A in Arabic from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.