By Prof. Maulana Syed Aleem Ashraf Jaisi
14 February 20`17
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Desk)
The thrust of the extremist Islamist narrative has always been, in short, to declare the killing of ‘disbelievers’ permissible.
The killing of Hazrat Abdullah bin Khabbab (r.a) at the hands of the Khawarij clearly reflects their ideology. The authorities of Banu Umayyah initially sponsored the Khawarij. This was like what we call today “the state-sponsored terrorism”. But later on, the initial group of Khawarij was destroyed by the Umayyads, making the latter’s administration so weak that it couldn't even sustain for a century from its foundation.
After the Khawarij, the movement of Ali bin Muhammad emerged from the same deserts of Najd. His movement, along with the slaves of Zanj, indulged in wanton killing, looting and vandalism. It came to be known in the Islamic history as “Zanj Rebellion”. Between 255 to 270 Hijri, the Zanj killed hundreds of thousands of people. In 259 Hijri, they completely destroyed the city of Ublah and occupied the Iraqi city of Basra through an agreement.
They slaughtered all the men residing in this city and took their women as captives and sex slaves. Many noble women of elite classes were sold out. They were distributed among the men of Zanj for two Dirhams each. Several Islamic scholars and historians like Tabari and Mas’udi have mentioned in their books how the destruction was caused by the Zanj movement in Najd.
After Khawarij and Zanj, the Qaramatian movement originated again from the very land of disorder—Najd. This movement crossed all the limits of terrorism when they attacked even the Holy Ka’ba. Since its inception, this movement went on destroying dozens of cities in Syria and Iraq which include Hama, Maratun Noman, Baalbek, Salmiya.
Almost all inhabitants were killed in these cities. According to Al-Tabari, the Qaramatians adopted such methods of terrorizing which were not common earlier. One of the Qaramatian leaders owned a slave who used to slaughter and kill only Muslims. When the Qaramatians invaded the holy city of Mecca, they not only caused damage to the structure of Ka’ba and the walls of Masjid Al-Haraam, but also killed uncountable Hajj pilgrims. Their corpses were dumped in the well of Zamzam. After vowing to grant security in Salmiya, they broke the treaty and butchered countless people in it.
The culture of burning cities and ranches was initiated by the Qaramatians. They were the mentors and predecessors to the Mughals and the Tatars in this strategy. Qaramatians and the Batinis were the first to use suicide bombers as a part of war strategy. Al-Nuwayri writes in his book Nihayatul Arab (the ultimate ambition of the Arabs) that the Qaramatians used to train the youth particularly through suicide attacks. This is the same strategy which is now being used by Al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS and the ilk to put their terror plans into practice.
The Qaramatian movement, although, used to boast of its Shia beliefs, as the Fatimids were ruling in Iraq, Yemen and Egypt. But it originated in Bahrain and Najd. Majority of the Najdi tribes were followers and supporters of the Qaramatian movement. The present Saudi Arabian regions of Qatif and Ahsa were the Qaramatian stronghold. When the Qaramatians invaded Mecca, they took the Hajr e Aswad from the Meccan sanctuary to Qatif which was, for some time, kept in the city. By the end of the 4th century Hijri, the Qamaratian movement started to collapse and eventually ended. But its evil inheritance continued in its place of origin— Najd. Its strategies were adopted by another afflicting extremist group which began centuries later.
Ibn Abdul Wahhab Najdi (1703 - 1792) laid the foundations of a new extremist movement in the 18th century whose fundamental roots were linked to the ideology of the Khawarij. In addition to that, the opinions of some violent Hanbali jurists and scholars and the extremist rulings (Fatwas) of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 - 1328) also influenced this movement. The vast majority of the Najd region liked this movement very much, because they found religious justification to turn their inherent extremist views into actions. Ibn Abdul Wahab, with the support of the ruler of Diriyah, Muhammad bin Saud, promoted the Salafi ideology. Thus, the most extremist religious movement in the Islamic history was formed. All Muslims were declared as disbelievers. Takfiri wars were waged against the rest of the people. They deemed all the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula as pagans and idolaters, in accordance with the Wahhabi literature wherein, they named their political and imperialist wars against the Muslims as "Ghazwah" (holy war in Islam). Thus, they tried to expand their territory and looted the properties as "Maal e Ghaneemat" (war booty).
Usman bin Bashar, the historian of the Wahhabi movement, calls the Wahhabi army’s attacks on the Arab tribes as ‘holy wars’. This explicitly means that they considered the whole of the world except themselves ‘disbelievers’ and ‘idolaters’. In fact, they suspected Muslims so much that they considered the era between Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Abdul Wahhab as ‘the age of darkness’. When this belief of exclusivity got synchronized with the hardcore Najdi nature, there emerged a sculpture of terrorism. The first Wahhabi government was formed in 1745 and ended in 1818. During these 73 years, the Wahhabi terrorists outperformed even the Khawarij and Batini movements in their atrocities. Besides the book written by Shaykh Zaini Dahlan Makki (d. 1892), “Al-Balad Al-Haram”, one can also read this in the books of the Wahhabi historians associated with the the Kingdom of Najd. One reference—for instance— is what Usman bin Bashar Al-Najdi writes in the first part of his book “Unwan Al-Majd Fi Tareekh Al-Najd” about the incidents which occurred in the year 1801 (1214 Hijri):
وفیہا رسار رسعود بالجبوش المنصورہ والخیل العتاق المشہورہ اومن جمیع حاضر نجد وبادیہا و قصد ارض کربلء و ذلک فی ذی ھ ھ ھ قعدہ فحشد ارعلیہا المسلمون و تسوروا جذرانہا ودخلو ا ارعنوہ وقتلوا غالب ا لہا فی الرسواق و البیوت و داوموا القبہ الموضوارعہ ھ بزارعم اومن اارعتقد فیہا قبرالحسین واخذوا اومافی القبہ واوما حولہا واخذوا النصبہ التی و ضعو ا ارعلی القبر وکانت اومرةصوفہ بالز مرد والیاقوت والجوا ر واخذ وا جمیع اوما وجد وا فی الدار اومن انواع الاوموال والسلح واللباس والفرش ’’والذ والفضہ والمصاحف الثمینہ وغیرہ ذلک اومایعجز ارعنہ الحصرہ
Translation: "that year, Saud bin Abdul Aziz departed with his victorious army on highbred Arabic horses to Karbala. It was the month of Dul Q’adah (as in the Islamic calendar). Muslims (Saud's army) attacked Karbala, jumped over its fences and entered into the city with force. They killed bulk of the people who were in the markets and in their houses. They destroyed the dome which was constructed above the grave of Imam Husain (Prophet’s grandson) and took over the land and all the valuables. The Imam's gravestone was engraved with emerald, rubies and other previous stones which were taken by Saud. They also captured wealth and weapons, cloths, gold, silver and other precious items found in the city.
Critiquing the Muslims’ accusation against the Wahhabis, the same historian writes:
“As for your comment that we have attacked Karbala and have killed and captured its inhabitants, we praise Allah and we don’t apologize for this. Rather, we say: "And for the disbelievers are something comparable (to those who were ended before them)" (Quran - 47:1) (Translated from the original texts in Arabic).
(This article was first published and circulated in Urdu on the occasion of the World Sufi Forum recently held in March, 2016 in New Delhi).