Advice to Shaykh Tawfique by Shaykh Abu Abdissalaam

2. No doubt, Islam is against extremism but what counts as extremism in Islam is certainly not equivalent to the definition of extremism used in the West. Indeed, parts of what they define as extremism is Islam! Therefore, in many respects, the war against extremism is a war against Islam. Moreover, our ‘war’ is not just against extremism; it is just as much against negligence, ungodliness, impiety and oppression.

3. Anybody who works with the Muslim communities knows that these same anti-terrorism personnel that you addressed are abusing our religion and brutalising our youth. Look how they assaulted people like Babar Ahmad, the Forest Gate brothers, among others. Therefore, the perception is that this is not a war against terrorism but a war against Islam itself. We can never work with people who are at war with Islam.

4. The ‘West’ IS *using* some ’scholars’ who are credible in the eyes of Muslims to achieve their goals. The problem is that, inadvertently, many are aiding the very agenda that the West wants in order to dilute Islam (and in particular political Islam). Tony Blair himself said that he wanted to widen the definition of what he called ‘Reactionary Islam’ - i.e. that ‘version’ of Islam that he is at war with! When you see the attributes of this Reactionary Islam, you find that it includes beliefs such as the stoning to death of the adulterer, cutting the hand of the thief, obligation of hijab, and so on. This is the definition of extremism in the West and this is precisely what their war is against! It is absurd to suggest that we can be allies with them in this!

5. Much more should have been emphasised regarding the fact that US / UK foreign policies are largely to blame for frustration among those who resort to killing civilians. It is important that we correctly understand the problem before trying to give an incorrect solution to it. This ‘terrorism’ did not just stem from nothing. It came as a reaction to the despicable actions of the very people waging this war on terror! David Milliband and Lord West have admitted that this is the case; surely we can do so too! We should be much more vocal against the tyrannies of the Western governments, instead of telling them that we are with them, even if it is for a common purpose.

6. They will never be pleased with you until you follow their way. Allah has told us this in His Book and we should not think otherwise. We need to stop trying to be accepted by them just so that our lives become easier. I believe that your intention was very noble: your goal was to ask them to stop harassing Muslim preachers as they are the ones imparting the correct Islamic teachings which are against extremism. However, this in itself is also untrue because the very definitions of extremism are completely different as mentioned above. We are NOT against the same ‘extremism’ that they are against.

7. As many others have pointed out, we should remember that the very essence of the ‘War on Terror’ is that it is an unjust and bloody war where many innocent Muslims have been killed. Thousands of lives have been unjustly taken by the perpetrators of these crimes. There is no sane way that we can even remotely ally ourselves with these people. How can we ally ourselves with Pharaoh himself?

8. Please take these comments in the best possible light. I wholeheartedly believe that you really did wish well. “The Religion is advice” and the truth is more beloved to us than any individual, no matter how dear he is to us. Furthermore, I feel that inshaAllah you will be the first person, upon reflection, to realise and acknowledge the above points. May Allah increase you in goodness.

Was-salamu ‘alaykum
Your brother,
Abu ‘Abdissalam -

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As-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah, (February 11th, 2009 at 4:13 pm)

Some thoughts akhi:

Yes I agree our definition of terrorism is not necessarily the definition of terrorism of the west - but our definition of terrorism is a subset of their definition which is wider and in many matters indiscriminate. Meaning: Everything Muslim scholars deem to be extremism, so do the terrorism prevention board also consider it to be extremism - but not everything they consider extremism, do Muslim scholars consider extremism.

Not at all! We consider THEM to be extreme. We consider them to be the real extremists. They are extreme in their hatred against Islam and the Muslims and in their injustice. Let’s take an example: if Islamic Law deemed that a murderer is to be executed by the state, and a particular (non-Muslim) state ruled that the murderer is to be killed along with her (innocent) child, would we support or ally ourselves with that state in order to carry out the part-’justice’? Certainly not! We could never agree with them or ally with them in their ruling since their ruling includes the execution (murder) of the innocent child because of what her mother had done. So what about siding with them in the war on terror where many innocents have been declared guilty and their families brutalised?

To add to this, your beliefs are also deemed to be extreme in the eyes of these same people! You would be, in essence, aiding them against your own self. Without doubt, it would be like the classic white bull scenario. Moreover, when they arrest people, it is often not for blowing up innocents but on other grounds. I am sure you would not want to ally yourself to them based on those reasons!

It is precisely this reason why they have been harming us. My argument has been that - this is precisely the reason why they should NOT be harming us, since it is irrelevant that our definitions of extremism is not exactly the same. What is important is that everything we deem extremism - they do as well and so we should not be harmed when our preaching inoculates people against that extremism which is wrong to us both. That is basically my point about alliance.

As I said, this is untrue. In fact, because they see us as extremists they wish to harm us. It really is as simple as that. They want to make it difficult upon the Muslims. Ask the lawyers who are defending the ‘extremists’; ask the human rights activists. In fact, a white, blonde haired and blue eyed non-Muslim lawyer said to me personally, “Right now, it is not a good time to be a Muslim in the UK. This terrorism law has changed everything. They can do whatever they like and they are doing it.” We simply do not have a common goal and the war on terror is a clear indication of this.

Remember the keyword: independant, independant, independant - a bitter pill to swallow for the government as you would agree since we refuse to be controlled or funded. I am sure you agree that this means that they would never openly support you because that would be too risky for them - which is perfect for us since that maintains our credibility. The ones that they support openly have lost credibility since how many of them were true scholars in the first place enjoying the respect of the people? Very few of them if any.

If we are independent then we are not allies of these governments in their war on terror. We may agree on an issue such as innocents should not be murdered, for example [but to be precise, they don't even agree with that and hence they murder many Muslim innocents all over the world!] However, it is perfectly legitimate to speak out against killing innocents without allying oneself to the West; indeed many non-Muslims are doing this. It is absurd (not to mention unacceptable) to ally oneself with those who would not only define you and most average Muslims as extremists but would also arrest, assault and harm these innocent Muslims along with their innocent families. This is precisely the reason why so many people got so upset with the initial article. It is understandable in that context.

With that said, it is good that you mentioned that one should ‘refuse to be controlled or funded’.

No doubt they will not be happy with us, until we become them - but we too will not be happy with them until they become us, correct? But that doesn’t stop us from agreeing on an outcome that is best for us all. To harm the scholars is harmful to their anti terrorism efforts and to our dawah efforts alike. To allow the scholars in their work is beneficial to their anti terrorism efforts and to our dawah efforts. Can’t you see my point?

I must admit that I cannot see your point. Most people would say that it is in fact the complete opposite. They have defined extremism as Islam and therefore they harm the preachers of this true Islam. Again, I would refer you to the many cases that are going on in the US and the UK which illustrate this point. I know you don’t believe that Sh. Ali Timimi was an extremist. They do and that is why they harmed him. There are countless cases like this and aiding them and allying with them in this war on terror is aiding them againt more and more Ali Timimis. Like it or not, this is fact. And try telling his family that we should ally with the West in their war on terror.

One additional point here, akhi, is that I can see people incorrectly using the article as justification for spying and informing on other (innocent) Muslims based on mere ’suspicion’. Needless to say, this is not what you intended that people do, but without doubt there are some who are doing this. I truly believe that upon further analysis you will change your mind about the article as a whole and, in particular, the concept of aiding the governments in their war on terror. I also know full well that you are one who will take this criticism positively inshaAllah. It is by no means meant as an attack. It is very important that we are able to give and take nasihah from each other in the proper way. This is the basis of Islamic brotherhood.

Was-salamu ‘alaykum,
Your brother,
Abu ‘Abdissalam

 

(Shaykh Abu Abdissalaam is an instructor at Al Kauthar)

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After the production of the movie insulting Rasulullah (saw) Muslims should

seek an apology, forgive the makers and move on - 3.6%
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