Friday, November 28, 2008

Connecting the Dots: Pakistan, Jihadists, and Deobandi Shariah Authorities like Mufti Usmani

Update No. 1: Thanks to Roger Simon of Pajamas Media for posting an update link to this article.

From the India Daily:

Terrorist Ajmal Amir Kamal, a resident of Faridkot, Multan in Pakistan, a Pakistani elite commando, caught in Taj, got his orders from shadow ISI and Osama Bin laden

Kiran Mathur

Nov. 27, 2008

The man is in custody. He is an educated youth, a college student, educated in Pakistan's Islamic school where Osama Bin Laden is respected as God's Prime Agent. He got his direct orders from shadow ISI, Pakistan's clandestine intelligence militia founded by Saudi oil money and American billions of dollars paid to Pakistan to fight terror. He was caught by the Indian NSG in Taj. He was brain washed by the Islamic ideology that drives hundreds of thousands of young Muslims to the dark alleys of Waziristan where American money for Pakistan's war against terror and Saudi oil money get funneled into Al-Queda terror training ground. They want to take Afghanistan over. They want to take control Pakistani nukes. They want to slave India into submission. Terrorist Ajmal says that will happen one day, it is just a question of time.

Indian security forces have him. Some say he is just a SIMI fellow from Indian college and lying about his identity. The real culprits are gone leaving him there to make up a story.

He was brought to Indian shores by a large mother cargo ship. He boarded with forty others to rubber rafts silently to India Gate. The bribed Mumbai police was ready to give them the necessary cars, infrastructure to start spreading out all over Mumbai with most sophisticated ammunition and ammo dumps all over the city planned beforehand.

Now, from where does the obligation and menacing drive to engage in Jihad derive? The answer is traditional, authoritative, pedigreed Shariah--or Islamic law. Thus, from the most authoritative Deobandi (the dominant Muslim group in Pakistan and India) Shariah authority in the world, Mufti Taqi M. Usmani, we learn that Muslims living in the West and given total freedom of religion must still engage in violent Jihad against the infidels among whom they live.

Now you might ask, so what? So what the leading Shariah Sunni authority in the world, and certainly the most authoritative Deobandi authority, says Jihad against the infidel is mandatory irrespective of the West's Middle East policies, irrespective of the respect the West bestows upon Muslims?!? So what he maintaines the absolute obligation to establish Shariah-Islam the world over as the dominant theo-political order overrides all considerations?!? So what? Muslims can just ignore him!

But this is only true of Muslims who reject Shariah. For the hundreds of millions of Shariah faithful, following the legal pronouncements of the leading Shariah authorities is part and parcel of their very being. As we learn from two Havard professors Vogel and Hayes, both big proponents of Shariah-compliant finance and both paid quite well by the Wahhabi-oil soaked money from the Gulf through the endowment of the Harvard Islamic Law Project:

Islamic legal rules encompass both ethics and law, this world and the next, church and state. The law does not separate rules enforced by individual conscience from rules enforced by a judge or by the state. Since scholars alone are capable of knowing the law directly from revelation, laypeople are expected to seek an opinion (fatwa) from a qualified scholar on any point in doubt; if they follow that opinion sincerely, they are blameless even if the opinion is in error.

And, from an important text authored by a Bahrain Treasury official and an Australian economics professor who specializes in Shariah-economics, we learn that there is no room for Western notions of a nation-state:

Since Islamic law reflects the will of [Allah] rather than the will of a human lawmaker, it covers all areas of life and not simply those which are of interest to a secular state or society. It is not limited to questions of belief and religious practice, but also deals with criminal and constitution [sic] matters, as well as many other fields which in other societies would be regarded as the concern of the secular authorities. In an Islamic context there is no such thing as a separate secular authority and secular law, since religion and state are one. Essentially, the Islamic state as conceived by orthodox Muslims is a religious entity established under divine law.

For Usmani's fatwa for Jihad against the West, read below . . .

Mufti M. Taqi Usmani, born in Deoband, India, was a judge on the Shariah Court in Pakistan and on the Shariah Appellate Bench of the Pakistan Supreme Court, a position he occupied for more than 20 years. He currently sits on numerous Shariah authority boards and chairs the Shariah board for the most authoritative of the standards boards for the SCF industry, the AAOIFI.[i] He also was a founding member of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Shariah Advisory Board and was forced to resign only after SANE's David Yerushalmi, together with Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, put pressure on Dow Jones through editorials published in New York business papers.

Usmani is hardly an unknown entity. He has published and spoken prolifically on the evils of the West, America, and the obligation for offensive Jihad. Much of this literature has been summarized by Alex Alexiev, vice president for research for the Center for Security Policy[ii], in his short dossier on Usmani. Drawing on open source research, Alexiev exposes Usmani as a Shariah authority fully committed to the Law of Jihad.[iii]

The most telling of Usmani’s legal rulings on Jihad is found in the last chapter of his book, Islam and Modernism, published in 1999 in English and later republished in 2006 and available on Amazon.[iv] In that chapter, Usmani responds to a Syed Badrus Salam of Jedda, Saudi Arabia, who has submitted an inquiry for a legal ruling to Usmani. In his query, Salam seeks to interpret the various authoritative Shariah scholars who ruled in favor of violent Jihad against non-Muslims in a historical context. He attempts to suggest to Usmani that aggressive Jihad against non-hostile, non-Muslims was no longer required as a practical matter. Arguing that while violent Jihad was effective in the days of Mohammed and the Caliphates as the most effective way to convert the world to Islam, he opines that today this was no longer the case. When Muslims are without military power and live in Western societies which allow freedom of religion and grant Muslims the opportunity to convert non-Muslims peacefully, Salam maintains that the best approach to spreading the “Message of Allah” is through “[c]ompromising relations and amicable treatment”.

In his written response, Usmani rejects any such suggestion. His response is provided below in full for three reasons: (1) it sets out in clear terms the standard, traditional Shariah doctrine on the Law of Jihad; (2) the response is a private response that Usmani purposefully made public by including in a book which was originally published in Urdu and which he subsequently had published in English; and (3) providing only a partial quote and allowing the reader to access the original at some other time would lessen the stark and startling impact of the legal ruling by one of the world’s most authoritative Shariah scholars and one of the most important Shariah authorities in the SCF world. His response was as follows:[v]

I am in receipt of your esteemed letter. Whatever you have written about Jehad can be summarized as this “If a non-Muslim state allows for preaching Islam in its country, Jehad against it does not remain lawful.” If this is what you mean, my humble self does not agree with it. Obstruction in the way of preaching Islam does not mean only a legal obstacle, but greater power or domination of a non-Muslim state against Muslims is by itself a great obstacle in the propagation of Islam. There are no legal restrictions in most of the countries today on preaching Islam, but since their grandeur and authority is established in the world, it has led to developing a universal feeling which forms a greater obstacle than the greatest legal binding in the way of free propagation of Islam.

For this reason the most important purpose of Jehad is to break this grandeur so that the resulting psychological subordination should come to an end and the way of accepting the Truth become smooth. As long as this grandeur and domination persists the hearts of people will remain subdued and will not be fully inclined to accept the religion of Truth. Hence Jehad will continue. The Qur'an said in Sura Tauba:

Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.[vi]

Here, killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay Jizyah[vii] after they are humbled or overpowered. If the purpose of killing was only to acquire permission and freedom of preaching Islam, it would have been said “until they allow for preaching Islam.” But the obligation of Jizyah and along with it the mention of their subordination is a clear proof that the purpose is to smash their grandeur, so that the veils of their domination should be raised and people get a free chance to think over the blessings of Islam. Imam Razi has written the following commentary on this verse:

The purpose of “Jizyah” is not to let the unbelievers stay in their contumacy against Islam but sparing their lives to give them a chance for a time during which they may hopefully get convinced of the truth of Islam and embrace it. So when an unbeliever is given time wherein he would be observing the respect and honour of Islam, and hearing the arguments of its validity, and also observing the baselesness of disbelief, these things would convince him to turn towards Islam. This, in fact, is the real purpose of legalizing Jizyah.

The other question worthy of notice is: Do we find an example that the Prophet (PBUH)[viii] and his companions ever sent any missionary groups in other countries before Jehad and waited for their reaction to allow or disallow the missionary work? Did they go for Jehad only when they were refused to carry out the missionary work for Islam? Was any mission sent to Rome before attacking them? Was any attempt made to avoid Jehad against Iran and did they contend on seeking a permission for preaching Islam for that purpose? Obviously it was not so. Thus there can be no other conclusion that only a permit for missionary activities was not the aim. If that would have been the only aim many of the bloody combats could be stopped only on one condition that no obstacle would be placed in the way of the mission of Islam. But at least in my humble knowledge there has not been a single incident in the entire history of Islam where Muslims had shown their willingness to stop Jehad just for one condition that they will be allowed to preach Islam freely. On the contrary the aim of Muslims as declared by them in the battle of Qadsia was, “To take out people from the rule of people and put them under the rule of Allah”. Similarly, the Our'an said:

And (you O Believers) fight them until persecution is no more and the Din is all for Allah.

In the exegesis of this verse my reverend father Mufti Muhammad Shafi has written:

The meaning of religion is “Authority and domination”. Thus the meaning of this verse would be that Muslims should continue until the Muslims are safeguarded against their contumacy, and the religion of Islam becomes a dominating power so that it offers protection to Muslims from the atrocities and mischiefs of others.

He further said:

The nutshell of this explanation is that Jehad against the enemies of Islam is obligatory on Muslims until the danger of their mischief or evil-doings is over, and the domination of Islam is established over all other religions. Since this will occur only near the end of the world, the command of Jehad remains till the last day. (Ma’arif-ul-Qur’an vol 4, p. 233)

In short, my humble self is of the view that the purpose of Jehad is not just to get the right of missionary activities in any country, but it aims at breaking the grandeur of unbelievers and establish that of Muslims. As a result no one will dare to show any evil designs against Muslims on one side and on the other side, people subdued from the grandeur of Islam will have an open mind to think over the blessings of Islam. Factually, this aims at safeguarding Islam. It is for this reason that the scholars who have called Jehad “A Protection” must be looked in the above context. But the basic element of this “protection” is to break the grandeur of unbelievers and establish the authority of Islam. Hence this basic element cannot be excluded from it. I think that all Ulema (Religious scholars) have established the same concept about the purpose of Jehad. Moulana Idrees Kandhalvi stated:

By commanding Jehad Allah does not mean that all the unbelievers be killed outright, but the aim is that the religion of Allah should dominate the world, and Muslims live with honour and dignity, and obey and worship Allah in peace and tranquillity and there be no danger from unbelievers to interfere in the religion of Islam. Islam is not in enmity with the personal existence of its enemies. It resists such a grandeur and power that may become a threat for Islam and Muslims. (Seerat-ul-Mustafa vol: 2, p. 388)

At another place he writes:

The implication of this verse is an obligation imposed on Muslims to fight against the unbelievers till the disorder and mischief cease to exist and the religion of Allah become supreme. By 'mischief in this verse is meant the mischief anticipated from the grandeur and power of disbelief. And “The religion is all for Allah” means the exhibition and domination of religion, while in another verse it is stated,

[Arabic verse in the original inserted here.]

that is, the religion of Islam should gain so much domination and power that it may not be subdued by the power of infidelity and the religion of Islam becomes fully secure from the mischief and danger of disbelief (Ibid vol. 2, p.386)

If the need for Jehad was abandoned just on getting the permission of Tableegh (Missionary activities), then we see that Muslims already have this permission in most of the non -Muslim countries of the world (It is a pity that this permission is not given in some Muslim countries) which implies that Muslims should never have to lift the sword. As a result disbelievers may establish and hoist flags of grandeur all over the world and their awfulness and supremacy on the people would stay dominating. The policies will be theirs, the commandments will be theirs, ideologies will be theirs, views will be theirs and the strategies will be theirs, yet the Muslims would have to be conten[t]ed with the permission for their missionaries to enter those countries. The question arises how many people would be prepared to listen to the Muslims or give a serious thought to their speeches and writings in an atmosphere where disbelief had established its grandeur and awe throughout. How can the efforts of Muslim missionaries be effective in an atmosphere where anti-Islamic doctrines being spread on the strength of political power with full vigour, and their propagation carried out with means not possessed by Muslims?

If, however, Islam and Muslims attain such a power and grandeur against which the power and grandeur of disbelievers be subdued or at least it may be unable to create sedition and mischief mentioned above, then, of course, mutual compromise through peace treaties with non-Muslim countries is not against injunctions of Jehad. Likewise as long as the required capabilities for breaking the grandeur of disbelief are not possessed by Muslims, peace agreements with other countries, along with all efforts to accumulate the sources of power, are indeed lawful. In other words, there can be two types of agreement with non-Muslims.

1) Mutual compromise and peace agreements can be made with countries that have no power which could threaten the grandeur and domination of Muslims. This will be enforced as long as they do not become a threat to the Muslims again.

2) If Muslims do not possess the capability of “Jehad with power” agreement may be made till the power is attained.

My article published in March, 1971 as referred to by you pertains to these particular types of agreements. The excerpts of article published in June, 1981 pertain to the state where the grandeur of unbelievers dominates over the Muslims. Hence your expression that, “Aggressive Jehad is obligatory against hostile, and non-compromising non-Muslim states subject to capability, so that their power breaks and they do not form obstacles in the way of Muslim Missionary works. Jehad is not advisable against non-hostile and compromising non-Muslim states who allow freedom of missionary activities” ..... It is correct if it means what I explained above.

But if it means that just by permitting missionary activities a non-Muslim state becomes “non-hostile and compromising” and Jehad against them does not remain lawful or desirable, then in my view this is not correct. Arguments in favour of my view have already been advanced.

As for your deliberation that “... Particularly these days when territorial expansion is generally condemned contrary to the times when conquering the land was common which was regarded as a credit to the attribute of the kings and rulers. The Aggressive Jehads forming the major parts of Islamic history all belong to the same era.” ........ With all the respects for you I strongly condemn it, because, if this is taken to be correct it would mean that Islam does not have a measure to determine a thing as good or bad. If a bad thing is counted as an “essential attribute” at the particular time Islam would begin to march on the footsteps of this practice and when people begin to condemn it at another time Islam would also follow the suit. The question is whether Aggressive battle is by itself commendable or not? If it is, why the Muslims should stop simply because territorial expansion in these days is regarded as bad? And if it is not commendable but deplorable why Islam did not stop it in the past. Did it continue to practice because this was regarded as a creditable attribute of the kings”?

In my humble opinion this interpretation of the Aggressive Jehad of Islamic history is extremely incorrect and far away from the facts. Even in those days when this thing was considered to be a creditable “Attribute of the kings” Aggressive Jehads were waged not because it was customary for that period of time but because it was truly commendable for establishing the grandeur of religion of Allah. There were other “Attributes of the kings” that in the excitement of victory they never made any distinction between women, children and old people when persecuting them. But Islam did not encourage it just because it was customary. On the contrary Islam not only framed such military rules and regulations but also practically enforced them as could not even be imagined by the “kings”. These were a matter of great surprise and rather unbelievable for the people who had not only become used to the barbarism of those kings but also became their admirers.

Aggressive Jehad is lawful even today for the purpose it was lawful in those days. Its justification cannot be veiled only because the peace-loving inventors of Atom Bombs and Hydrogen Bombs label it as “Expansionism” and resent those who have put the chains of slavery around the necks of the people of Asia and Africa. They are still bleeding under these heavy chains.

With due apologies, I may point out that it seems to me the result of the grandeur of the paganism that people have fixed their standard of good and bad on the basis of the propaganda which produces a lie as truth and truth as lie and then causes it to work into the minds of people to the extent that, to say nothing of non-Muslims, the Muslims themselves are overawed and inclined to adopt an apologetic attitude. If breaking such a grandeur of falsehood and evil comes under the definition of “Expansionism” we should venerate the blame of this expansionism with complete self-confidence, rather than stand humble before them as though saying, “when you thought that Aggressive Jehad was good we practised it, but since you have started condemning it in your books..... and only in books.....we have also forbidden it on ourselves.”

My humble self can never agree with this way of thinking.

Humbly yours.,

Muhammad Taqi Usmani.

[i] See AAOIFI Sharia Board, (last visited Feb. 1, 2008) (providing short biography of Usmani); see also Alex Alexiev, Usmani Dossier (on file with the author) [hereinafter Usmani Dossier] (providing information on Usmani based upon open sources).

[ii] The Center for Security Policy is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit policy think tank. See Center for Security Policy,

[iii] Usmani Dossier, supra note 340.

[iv] Mufti M. Taqi Usmani, Islam and Modernism 123-39 (2006).

[v] This work is an English translation and contains some grammatical, spelling, diction, and punctuation errors. Most of these errors have been left as they appear in the original. Only some quotation marks used in indented quotes have been removed.

[vi] In the original, this verse was in Arabic. It is the infamous “Sword Verse” found at Qur’an, 9:5

[vii] Jizyah is a special tax imposed on non-Muslims to establish their subjugation to their Muslim rulers. See generally Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam (1985).

[viii] PBUH is an acronym for “peace be unto him” typically said following Mohammed’s name by Shari’ah adherent Muslims.

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