Salafi jihadism

Salafi jihadism or jihadist-Salafism is a transnational, hybrid religious-political ideology based on the Sunni sect of Islamism, seeking to establish a global caliphate, characterized by the advocacy for "physical" (military) jihadist and Salafist concepts of returning to what adherents believe to be the "true Islam".[1][2][3][4][5] The ideological foundation of the movement was laid out by a series of prison-writings of the Egyptian Sunni Islamist theoretician Sayyid Qutb during the 1960s.[1][6][7]

The interchangeable terms "Salafi jihadism" and "jihadist-Salafism" were coined by the French political scientist Gilles Kepel in 2002[8][9][10][11] to describe "a hybrid Islamist ideology" developed by international Islamist volunteers in the Soviet-Afghan War who had become isolated from their national and social class origins.[8] The concept was described by the American-Israeli scholar Martin Kramer as an academic term that "will inevitably be [simplified to] jihadism or the jihadist movement in popular usage."[11] Qutbism has been identified as a close relative Islamist ideology,[1][12][13][14] or a variety of Salafi jihadism.[1][13]

Practitioners are referred to as "Salafi-jihadi", "Salafist jihadis", or "Salafi jihadists".[1][2][3][15] They are sometimes described as a variety of Salafis,[1][15][16] and sometimes as separate from "good Salafis",[10] whose movement eschews any political involvement and organizational allegiances as potentially divisive for the whole Muslim community and a distraction from the study of the Islamic religion.[17] Traditional Salafi scholarship mostly denounce Salafi jihadism as a hybrid ideology far-removed from Salafi orthodoxy.[18] Contemporary Salafi scholars such as Albani, Ibn Uthaymeen, Ibn Baz, Saleh Al-Fawzan, and Muqbil ibn Hadi condemned rebellion against the rulers as "the most corrupt of innovations", and forbade Muslims "to take it upon himself to execute a ruling" which is under the jurisdiction of the rulers.[19][20][21][22][23][Note 1] Salafi jihadists contend that they are not dividing the Muslim community because, in their view, the rulers of Muslim-majority countries and other self-proclaimed Muslims they attack have deviated from Islam and are actually apostates or false Muslims.[1][3][26]

In the 1990s, extremist jihadists of the al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya were active in the terrorist attacks on police, government officials, and tourists in Egypt, and the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria was a principal extremist group in the Algerian Civil War.[8] The most infamous jihadist-Salafist terrorist action is considered to be the September 11 attacks against the United States perpetrated by al-Qaeda in 2001.[27] While Salafism had next-to-no presence in Europe in the 1980s, Salafi jihadists had by the mid-2000s acquired "a burgeoning presence in Europe, having attempted more than 30 terrorist attacks among E.U. countries since 2001."[10] While many see the influence and activities of Salafi jihadists as in decline after 2000 (at least in the United States),[28][29] others see the movement as growing in the wake of the Arab Spring, the breakdown of state control in Libya and Syria in 2014,[30] and the U.S. retreat from Afghanistan in 2021.[31]

DefinitionsEdit

In the words of Madawi al Rasheed, Salafi jihadism is

a hybrid construction deeply rooted in the last three decades of the twentieth century that is desperate to anchor itself in an authentic Islamic tradition, yet reflecting serious borrowing from the discourse of Western modernity[32]

According to Madawi Al Rasheed, ideology of Jihadi-Salafism is a post-modern hybridity whose sources can be found in the past and present, in both Muslim world and Western world. Thus, it is the outcome of cross-fertilisation of sources that are both transnational and local, resulting in a devastating ideology that re-invents the past to induce a "cataclysmic war between two binary oppositions." Thus contemporary Salafi-Jihadis are primarily products of modernity, rather than an extension of traditional Muslim societies. Thus, Jihadis seek to create a mimicry of the West of which they want to be part of, but reject the other leading to violence. However, more than the ideology itself, it is the circumstances that explain the appeal of Jihadis which is the real cause of violence. The traditional Mujahideen of the previous eras, such as ‘Omar al-Mukhtar, ‘Abd al-Qadir, al-Jaza’iri and ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam were a different category of people, products of different social circumstances who sought to liberate occupied lands from foreign imperialist and colonial penetrations. Although they gained solidarity across the Islamic World, they were not transnational actors. Salafi-Jihadis on the other hand, die for an imagined globalised faith, shares Western modernity (despite its critique), and advocate a neo-liberal free-market rationale, in their quest for a global World Order. Thus Jihadi-Salafism has as much to do with the West as with Salafism or religion in general.[33]

Another definition of Salafi jihadism, offered by Mohammed M. Hafez, is an "extreme form of Sunni Islamism that rejects democracy and Shia rule". Hafez distinguished them from apolitical and conservative Salafi scholars (such as Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, Wasiullah Abbas, Zubair Ali Zai and Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh), but also from the sahwa movement associated with Salman al-Ouda or Safar Al-Hawali.[34]

According to Michael Horowitz, Salafi jihad is an ideology that identifies the "alleged source of the Muslims' conundrum" in the "persistent attacks and humiliation of Muslims on the part of an anti-Islamic alliance of what it terms 'Crusaders', 'Zionists', and 'apostates'."[35]

TenetsEdit

According to political scientist Gilles Kepel, Salafist jihadism combined "respect for the sacred texts in their most literal form, ... with an absolute commitment to jihad, whose number-one target had to be America, perceived as the greatest enemy of the faith."[36]

According to Mohammed M. Hafez, contemporary jihadi Salafism is characterized by "five features":

  • immense emphasis on the concept of tawhid (unity of God);
  • God's sovereignty (hakimiyyat Allah), which defines right and wrong, good and evil, and which supersedes human reasoning is applicable in all places on earth and at all times, and makes unnecessary and un-Islamic other ideologies such as liberalism or humanism;
  • the rejection of all innovation (bid‘ah) in Islam;
  • the permissibility and necessity of takfir (the declaring of a Muslim to be outside the creed, so that they may face execution);
  • and on the centrality of jihad against infidel regimes.[34]

Another researcher, Thomas Hegghammer, has outlined five objectives shared by jihadis:[37]

  • Changing the social and political organisation of the state (an example, being the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the former Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) which fought to overthrow the Algerian state and replace it with an Islamic state).[37]
  • Establishing sovereignty on a territory perceived as occupied or dominated by non-Muslims (an example being the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (Soldiers of the Pure) in Indian-administered Kashmir and the Caucasus Emirate in the Russian Federation).[37]
  • Defending the Muslim community (ummah) from external non-Muslim perceived threats, either the "near enemy" (al-adou al-qarib, this includes jihadists Arabs who travelled to Bosnia and Chechnya to defend local Muslims against non-Muslim armies) or the "far enemy" (al-adou al-baid, often affiliates of Al-Qaeda attacking the West).[37]
  • Correcting other Muslims' moral behaviour. (In Indonesia, vigilantes first used sticks and stones to attack those they considered "deviant" in behavior before moving on to guns and bombs.)[37]
  • Intimidating and marginalising other Muslim sects (an example being Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which has carried out violent attacks on Pakistani Shia for decades, and killings in Iraq).[37])

Robin Wright notes the importance in Salafi jihadist groups of

  • the formal process of taking an oath of allegiance (Bay'ah) to a leader.[38] (This can be by individuals to an emir or by a local group to a transglobal group.)
  • "marbling", i.e. pretending to cut ties to a less-than-popular global movement when "strategically or financially convenient". (An example is the cutting of ties to al-Qaeda by the Syrian group Al-Nusra Front with al-Qaeda's approval.[38])

Al Jazeera journalist Jamal Al Sharif describes Salafi jihadism as combining "the doctrinal content and approach of Salafism and organisational models from Muslim Brotherhood organisations. Their motto emerged as 'Salafism in doctrine, modernity in confrontation'".[39]

Differences from Traditional SalafismEdit

Although Salafi-Jihadists profess to follow Salafism, they borrow heavily from Sayyid Qutb’s concept of Jahiliyya (pre-Islamic ignorance), Hakimiyya (Sovereignty of God) and Takfir (excommunication). Prominent contemporary ideologues of Salafi Jihadism, such as Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and Abu Qatada al Filistini, drew heavily from the works of Sayyid Qutb and adopted concepts of Al-Wala wal Bara from his writings. Maqdisi’s interpretation of Al-Wala wal Bara marked a distinct shift from traditional Salafi theology by introducing Takfiri principles to it. Adopting a binary world-view, Maqdisi condemned contemporary Muslim governments as apostates and takfired the Muslims who supported them. Salafi Jihadist doctrines advocating violent overthrow of the existing political order, is seen as heretical by traditional Salafis. Salafi Jihadists also reject democracy as it contradicts their interpretation of Hakimiyya. Mainstream Salafis, on the other hand, participate in democratic systems across the world.[40]

Salafi jihadists distinguish themselves from traditional salafis whom they label "sheikist", so named because – the jihadists believe – that the "sheikists" had forsaken adoration of God for adoration of "the oil sheiks of the Arabian peninsula, with the Al Saud family at their head". Principal among the sheikist scholars was Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz – "the archetypal court ulema [ulama al-balat]". These allegedly "false" salafi "had to be striven against and eliminated", but even more infuriating was the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the Salafi jihadists considered excessively moderate and lacking in a stricter literalist interpretation of holy texts.[36]

Quietist Salafis criticize Al-Qaeda and Daish as Qutbists. According to them, these organizations are directly opposed to Salafiyya and its manhaj(methodology). Major doctrines of the Salafi Jihadist movement have its roots in early heterodox sects such as the Kharijites. As a result, heavy creedal disparities exist between traditional Salafis and Salafi Jihadists. Mainstream Salafism, which consists of both quietist and political Salafis, reject the violence of Jihadists. Major Salafi scholars condemn many Salafi-Jihadist organisations as Kharijites.[41]

HistoryEdit

OriginsEdit

The Egyptian Islamist movements of 1950s are generally considered to be the precursors of contemporary Salafi-Jihadist movements.[42] The theological doctrines of the Syrian-Egyptian Islamic scholar Sayyid Rashid Rida (1865 - 1935 C.E) greatly influenced these movements. Amongst his notable ideas included reviving the traditions of the early Muslim generations (Salaf) as well ridding the Islamic World of Western influences and Jahiliyya by specifically looking up to the model of Khulafa Rashidun. Rida's ideas would set the foundations of future Salafi-Jihadist movements and greatly influence Islamists like Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, and other Islamic fundamentalist figures.[43][44][45][46]

Fore-runners of Salafi jihadism principally includes Egyptian militant Islamist scholar and theoretician Sayyid Qutb, who developed "the intellectual underpinnings", in the 1950s, for what would later become the doctrine of most Jihadist organizations around the world, including Al-Qaeda and ISIS.[47][48][49][50] Sayyid Qutb's brother, Muhammad Qutb was one of Osama bin Laden’s teachers at university. Sayyid Qutb has been described as ‘Al-Qaeda’s Philosopher’. Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian who was second in command and co-founder of Al-Qaeda, called Qutb, "the most prominent theoretician of the fundamentalist movements".[51][52]

In his writings, both before and after joining the Muslim Brotherhood Qutb argued that the Muslim world had reached a crisis point and that the Islamic world has been replaced by pagan ignorance of Jahiliyyah, (which directly translates to "ignorance", a term used by Muslims to describe the "dark" ages of pre-Islamic Arabia). When Qutb went abroad for a two-year scholarship to the United States, it is said he came back with extremist radical beliefs. He used what's been often described by scholars as his "genuine literary excellence" to spread these views of western criticism to form the main intellectual doctrine for the Muslim Brotherhood, which later be adopted by most terrorist organizations worldwide.[53][54]

Qutbism doctrine of Islam interpretation emphasizes how the secular, infidel Muslim leaders and populations have fallen to imitating the western way of life, and that before any prosperity would occur, the Muslim world must revert to the Caliphate-age Shari'ah Law instead of "Man-made laws". He issued ideological & religious debates stating that the violent means are justifiable under Islamic Law for an end as great as returning the Islamic State "days of glory", and these means are often leading a victorious violent holy war (Jihad) against the West.[55]

A part of his writings which have influenced Islamists and terrorist organizations on the nature of The West, can be found in his book "The America that I Have Seen", which he wrote immediately after returning to Egypt from the United States. In it he complained of Western materialism, individual freedoms, economic system, racism, brutal boxing matches, "poor" haircuts,[56] superficiality in conversations and friendships,[57] restrictions on divorce, enthusiasm for sports, lack of artistic feeling,[57] "animal-like" mixing of the sexes (which "went on even in churches"),[58] and strong support for the new Israeli state.[59]

He was appalled by what he perceived as loose sexual openness of American men and women. Qutb noted with disapproval the openly displayed sexuality of American women stating in the same influential book The America that I Have Seen:

the American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs – and she shows all this and does not hide it.[56]

On 29 August 1966, Sayyid Qutb was executed by hanging by Egyptian president's Gamal Abdel-Nasser's regime for his alleged role in the president's assassination plot.[60][61][62][63] This would later paint him as an Islamic martyr or shahid (he is often called "Shahid Sayyid Qutb" or Sayyid Qutb al-Shahid by admirers) among supporters & Islamist circles, particularly as the trial was alleged to be a show trial.[64] Qutb wrote his major Islamist works (a commentary of the Qur'an, Fi Zilal al-Qur'an (In the Shade of the Qur'an), and a manifesto of political Islam called Ma'alim fi-l-Tariq (Milestones), while incarcerated and allegedly tortured. This, alongside his allegedly extrajudicial execution, elevated the value of these two major writings, giving his radical, violent Islamist doctrine in his writings a stronger influence over future terrorist organizations.[65][66]

Evolution of Salafi-Jihadism after QutbEdit

The crushing defeat of various Arab states in the 1967 Six-Day War war led to the de-legitimization of socialist and nationalist ideologies across the Arab world. Their demise provided a fertile ground for the Salafiyya movement, which spread across the Arab world as well as the wider Islamic world. The rise of oil industry in Gulf states also brought in a large-workforce. The workforce embraced Salafi doctrines and founded Salafi organisations as they returned to their home-countries.[67]

Beginning from 1970s, various Islamist and Jihadist factions attempted to idealize traditional Salafiyya, recasting it as a totalizing political system based on the doctrines of Sayyid Qutb. Majority of Salafis traditionally viewed Salafiyya as a scholarly movement that revived the religious faith of Muslims through teaching and devout adherence to Islamic decrees. Additionally, they advocated Salafism to remain uncontaminated from politics. However, a minority sought the establishment of an Islamic system through violent means, based on Sayyid Qutb's concepts of Hakimiyya (Sovereignty of God). They advocated a global Jihad, with clear political overtones, to fight for Muslim liberation across national boundaries. This movement came to be known as Salafi-Jihadism.[68] Groups like Takfir wal-Hijra, who kidnapped and murdered an Egyptian ex-government minister in 1978, also inspired some of "the tactics and methods" used by Al Qaeda.[10]

ExpansionEdit

Gilles Kepel writes that the Salafis whom he encountered in Europe in the 1980s, were "totally apolitical".[8][10] However, by the mid-1990s, he met some who felt jihad in the form of "violence and terrorism" was "justified to realize their political objectives". The mingling of many Salafists who were alienated from mainstream European society with violent jihadists created "a volatile mixture".[10] "When you're in the state of such alienation you become easy prey to the jihadi guys who will feed you more savory propaganda than the old propaganda of the Salafists who tell you to pray, fast and who are not taking action".[10]

In Afghanistan, the Taliban were of the Deobandi, not Salafi, school of Islam but "cross-fertilized" with bin Laden and other Salafist jihadis.[8]

Seth Jones of the Rand Corporation finds in his research that Salafi-jihadist numbers and activity have increased from 2007 to 2013. According to his research:

  • the number of Salafi-jihadist groups increased by over 50% from 2010 to 2013, using Libya and parts of Syria as sanctuary.
  • the number of Salafi jihadist fighters "more than doubled from 2010 to 2013" using both low and high estimates. The war in Syria was the single most important attraction for Salafi-jihadist fighters.
  • attacks by al-Qaeda–affiliated groups (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, al Shabaab, Jabhat al-Nusrah, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula)
  • despite al-Qaeda's traditional focus on the "far enemy" (US and Europe), approximately 99% of the attacks by al-Qaeda and its affiliates in 2013 were against "near enemy" targets (in North Africa, the Middle East, and other regions outside of the West).[30]

Leaders, groups and activitiesEdit

LeadersEdit

"Theoreticians" of Salafist jihadism included Afghan jihad veterans such as the Palestinian Abu Qatada, the Syrian Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, the Egyptian Mustapha Kamel, known as Abu Hamza al-Masri.[69] Osama bin Laden was its most well-known leader. The dissident Saudi preachers Salman al-Ouda and Safar Al-Hawali, were held in high esteem by this school. Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri would praise Sayyid Qutb, stating that Qutb's call formed the ideological inspiration for the contemporary Salafi-Jihadist movement.[70] Other leading figures in the movement include Anwar al-Awlaki, former leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP);[71] Abu Bakar Bashir, leader of the banned Indonesian militant group (Jema'ah Islamiyah); Nasir al-Fahd, Saudi Arabian Salafi-Jihadist scholar who opposes the Saudi state, and reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS;[72] Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of the Nigerian Boko Haram;[73] Omar Bakri Muhammad,[74] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Levant;[75][76] etc.

DevelopmentEdit

Murad al-Shishani of The Jamestown Foundation states there have been three generations of Salafi-jihadists: those waging jihad in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq. As of the mid-2000s, Arab fighters in Iraq were "the latest and most important development of the global Salafi-jihadi movement".[77] These fighters were usually not Iraqis, but volunteers who had come to Iraq from other countries, mainly Saudi Arabia. Unlike in earlier Salafi jihadi actions, Egyptians "are no longer the chief ethnic group".[77] According to Bruce Livesey Salafist jihadists are currently a "burgeoning presence in Europe, having attempted more than 30 terrorist attacks among EU countries" from September 2001 to the beginning of 2005".[10]

According to Mohammed M. Hafez, in Iraq jihadi salafi are pursuing a "system-collapse strategy" whose goal is to install an "Islamic emirate based on Salafi dominance, similar to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan." In addition to occupation/coalition personnel they target mainly Iraqi security forces and Shia civilians, but also "foreign journalists, translators and transport drivers and the economic and physical infrastructure of Iraq."[34]

GroupsEdit

Salafist jihadist groups include Al Qaeda,[16] the now defunct Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA),[36] and the Egyptian group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya which still exists.

In the Algerian Civil War 1992–1998, the GIA was one of the two major Islamist armed groups (the other being the Armee Islamique du Salut or AIS) fighting the Algerian army and security forces. The GIA included veterans of the Afghanistan jihad and unlike the more moderate AIS, fought to destabilize the Algerian government with terror attacks designed to "create an atmosphere of general insecurity".[78] It considered jihad in Algeria fard ayn or an obligation for all (sane adult male) Muslims,[78] and sought to "purge" Algeria of "the ungodly" and create an Islamic state. It pursued what Gilles Kepel called "wholesale massacres of civilians", targeting French-speaking intellectuals, foreigners,[78] and Islamists deemed too moderate, and took its campaign of bombing to France, which supported the Algerian government against the Islamists. Although over 150,000 were killed in the civil war,[79] the GIA eventually lost popular support and was crushed by the security forces.[80] Remnants of the GIA continued on as "Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat", which as of 2015 calls itself al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.[81]

Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, (the Islamic Group) another Salafist-jihadi movement[82] fought an insurgency against the Egyptian government from 1992 to 1998 during which at least 800 Egyptian policemen and soldiers, jihadists, and civilians were killed. Outside of Egypt it is best known for a November 1997 attack at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor where fifty-eight foreign tourists trapped inside the temple were hunted down and hacked and shot to death. The group declared a ceasefire in March 1999,[83] although as of 2012 it is still active in jihad against the Bashar al-Assad regime Syria.[82]

 
Flag of al-Qaeda

Perhaps the most famous and effective Salafist jihadist group was Al-Qaeda.[84] Al-Qaeda evolved from the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), or the "Services Office", a Muslim organization founded in 1984 to raise and channel funds and recruit foreign mujahideen for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was established in Peshawar, Pakistan, by Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. As it became apparent that the jihad had compelled the Soviet military to abandon its mission in Afghanistan, some mujahideen called for the expansion of their operations to include Islamist struggles in other parts of the world, and Al Qaeda was formed by bin Laden on August 11, 1988.[85][86] Members were to making a pledge (bayat) to follow one's superiors.[87] Al-Qaeda emphasized jihad against the "far enemy", by which it meant the United States. In 1996, it announced its jihad to expel foreign troops and interests from what they considered Islamic lands, and in 1998, it issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to kill Americans and their allies whenever and wherever they could. Among its most notable acts of violence were the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi that killed over 200 people;[88] and the 9/11 attacks of 2001 that killed almost 3000 people and caused many billions of dollars in damage.

According to Mohammed M. Hafez, "as of 2006 the two major groups within the jihadi Salafi camp" in Iraq were the Mujahidin Shura Council and the Ansar al Sunna Group.[34] There are also a number of small jihadist Salafist groups in Azerbaijan.[89]

The group leading the Islamist insurgency in Southern Thailand in 2006 by carrying out most of the attacks and cross-border operations,[90] BRN-Koordinasi, favours Salafi ideology. It works in a loosely organized strictly clandestine cell system dependent on hard-line religious leaders for direction.[91][92]

Jund Ansar Allah is, or was, an armed Salafist jihadist organization in the Gaza Strip. On August 14, 2009, the group's spiritual leader, Sheikh Abdel Latif Moussa, announced during Friday sermon the establishment of an Islamic emirate in the Palestinian territories attacking the ruling authority, the Islamist group Hamas, for failing to enforce Sharia law. Hamas forces responded to his sermon by surrounding his Ibn Taymiyyah mosque complex and attacking it. In the fighting that ensued, 24 people (including Sheikh Abdel Latif Moussa himself), were killed and over 130 were wounded.[93]

In 2011, Salafist jihadists were actively involved with protests against King Abdullah II of Jordan,[94] and the kidnapping and killing of Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.[95][96]

In the North Caucasus region of Russia, the Caucasus Emirate replaced the nationalism of Muslim Chechnya and Dagestan with a hard-line Salafist-takfiri jihadist ideology. They are immensely focused on upholding the concept of tawhid (purist monotheism), and fiercely reject any practice of shirk, taqlid, ijtihad and bid‘ah. They also believe in the complete separation between the Muslim and the non-Muslim, by propagating Al Wala' Wal Bara' and declaring takfir against any Muslim who (they believe) is a mushrik (polytheist) and does not return to the observance of tawhid and the strict literal interpretation of the Quran and the Sunnah as followed by Muhammad and his companions (Sahaba).[97]

 
Flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

In Syria and Iraq both Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS[98] have been described as Salafist-jihadist. Jabhat al-Nusra has been described as possessing "a hard-line Salafi-Jihadist ideology" and being one of "the most effective" groups fighting the regime.[99] Writing after ISIS victories in Iraq, Hassan Hassan believes ISIS is a reflection of "ideological shakeup of Sunni Islam's traditional Salafism" since the Arab Spring, where salafism, "traditionally inward-looking and loyal to the political establishment", has "steadily, if slowly", been eroded by Salafism-jihadism.[98]

Boko Haram in Nigeria is a Salafi jihadism group[100] that has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 2.3 million from their homes,[101]

Activities in EuropeEdit

FranceEdit

In France, in 2015 police say that salafism is represented in 90 out of 2500 investigated religious communities, which was double the number compared to five years earlier.[102] In November and December 2016, authorities closed four salafist mosque in Ecquevilly, the El Islah mosque in Villiers-sur-Marne and two in Seine-Saint-Denis (Clichy-sous-Bois and Stains).[103]

In December 2017, a salafi-Jihadist mosque in Marseille was closed by authorities for preaching about violent jihad.[104] In August 2018, after the European Court of Human Rights approved the decision, French authorities deported the salafi-Jihadist preacher Elhadi Doudi to his home country Algeria because of his radical messages he spread in Marseille.[105]

GermanyEdit

According to Deutsche Welle, Salafism is a growing movement in Germany whose aim of a Caliphate is incompatible with a Western democracy.[106] According to the German Federal Agency for Civic Education, nearly all Islamist terrorists are Salafists, but not all Salafists are terrorists. Therefore, the agency evaluated the Salafist movement beyond the actions by Salafists and analysed the ideological framework of Salafism which is in conflict with the minimal foundations of a democratic and open society. Salafists calling for the death penalty for apostasy is in conflict with freedom of religion. The dualistic view on "true believers" and "false believers" in practice means people being treated unequally on religious grounds. The call for a religious state in the form of a caliphate means that Salafists reject the rule of law and the sovereignty of the people's rule. The Salafist view on gender and society leads to discrimination and the subjugation of women.[107]

Estimates by German interior intelligence service show that it grew from 3,800 members in 2011 to 7,500 members in 2015.[108] In Germany, most of the recruitment to the movement is done on the Internet and also on the streets,[108] a propaganda drive which mostly attracts youth.[108] There are two ideological camps, one advocates Salafi-Activism and directs its recruitment efforts towards non-Muslims and non-Salafist Muslims to gain influence in society.[108] The other and minority movement, the jihadist Salafism, advocates gaining influence by the use of violence and nearly all identified terrorist cells in Germany came from Salafist circles.[108]

In 2015, Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, spoke out, saying "We need Saudi Arabia to solve the regional conflicts, but we must at the same time make clear that the time to look away is past. Wahhabi mosques are financed all over the world by Saudi Arabia. In Germany, many dangerous Islamists come from these communities."[109] In November 2016, nationwide raids were conducted on the Salafi-Islamist True Religion organization.[110][111][112]

According to the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Cologne, the number of Salafists in Germany grew from 9,700 in December 2016 to 10,800 in December 2017. In addition to the rise, the Salafist movement in Germany was increasingly fractured which made them harder to monitor by authorities.[106] According to the office, street distributions of Quran took place less frequently which was described as a success for the authorities.[106] Radicalisation changed character, from taking place in mosques and interregional Salafist organisations to more often happening in small circles, which increasingly formed on the internet. A further development was a rise in participation of women.[106] According to the FFGI at Goethe University Frankfurt, wahhabist ideology is spread in Germany as in other European country mostly by an array of informal, personal and organisational networks, where organisations closely associated with the government of Saudi Arabia such as the Muslim World League (WML) and the World Association of Muslim Youth are actively participating.[113]

In February 2017, the German Salafist mosque organisation Berliner Fussilet-Moscheeverein was banned by authorities. Anis Amri, the perpetrator of the 2016 Berlin truck attack, was said to be among its visitors. In March 2017, the German Muslim community organisation Deutschsprachige Islamkreis Hildesheim was also banned after investigators found that its members were preparing to travel to the conflict zone in Syria to fight for the Islamic State. According to the Federal Agency for Civic Education, these examples show that certain Salafist mosques not only concern themselves with religious matters, but also prepare serious crimes and terrorist activities.[114]

Bosnia and HerzegovinaEdit

Many Islamic religious buildings were damaged or destroyed in the Bosnian War during the 90s, estimates say up to 80%,[115] and some are rebuilt with the aid of funds from Saudi Arabia in exchange for Saudi control[citation needed] which became the starting point of the Wahhabi influence in Bosnia. According to a study from 2005,[by whom?] over 3% of the mainstream Sunni Muslim population (around 60,000 people) of Bosnia and Herzegovina identified themselves as wahhabist.[citation needed] Despite this, all-covering veils such as niqab and burqa are still a rare sight.[116]

SwedenEdit

Representatives from the mosque in Gävle are promoting this variant of Islam, which is considered extreme in Sweden. According to researcher Aje Carlbom at Malmö University the organisation which is behind the missionary work is the Swedish United Dawah Center, abbreviated SUDC.[117] SUDC is characterised as a salafist group by a researcher of religious history at Stockholm University and it has many links to the British Muslim Abdur Raheem Green.[117] According to professor Mohammed Fazlhashemi, salafi-Jihadists oppose rational theology and they hate shia Muslims most of all.[117] Three Muslim community organisations in Malmö reportedly invited antisemitic and homophobic salafist lecturers such as Salman al-Ouda. One of the organisations, Alhambra is a student society at Malmö University.[118][undue weight? ]

In Hässleholm the Ljusets moské (translated: "mosque of the light") is spreading salafi ideology and portray shia Muslims as apostates and traitors in social media while the atrocities of the Islamic state are never mentioned.[119] In 2009 the imam Abu al-Hareth at the mosque was sentenced to six years in jail for the attempted murder of a local shia Muslim from Iraq and another member set fire to a shia mosque in Malmö.[119] In 2017, Swedish Security Police reported that the number of jihadists in Sweden had risen to thousands from about 200 in 2010.[120] Based on social media analysis, an increase was noted in 2013.[121] According to police in Sweden, salafist-Jihadists affect the communities where they are active.[122]

According to Swedish researcher Magnus Ranstorp, salafi-Jihadism is antidemocratic, homophobic and aims to subjugate women and is therefore opposed to a societal order founded on democracy.[122] According to Anas Khalifa [sv], the salafi movement is present at nearly every major mosque in Sweden "in some form".[123]

United KingdomEdit

A 2017 report found the number of Wahhabi and Salafi-Jihadist mosques in Britain had increased from 68 in 2007 to 110 in 2014.[124] The report found that Middle Eastern nations are providing financial support to mosques and Islamic educational institutions, which have been linked to the spread of Salafi-Jihadist materials which expoused "an illiberal, bigoted" ideology.[125][126]

List of groupsEdit

According to Seth G. Jones at the Rand Corporation, as of 2014, there were around 50 Salafist-jihadist groups in existence or recently in existence ("present" in the list indicates a group's continued existence as of 2014). (Jones defines Salafi-jihadist groups as those groups which emphasize the importance of returning to a "pure" form of Islam, the form of Islam which was practiced by the Salaf, the pious ancestors; and those groups which believe that violent jihad is fard ‘ayn (a personal religious duty)).[4]

Salafist-jihadist groups as of 2014[84]
Name of Group Base of Operations Years
Abdullah Azzam Brigades
(Yusuf al-Uyayri Battalions)
Saudi Arabia 2009–present
Abdullah Azzam Brigades
(Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions)
Lebanon 2009–present
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) Philippines 1991–present
Aden-Abyan Islamic Army (AAIA) Yemen 1994–present
Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI) Somalia, Ethiopia 1994–2002
Al-Qaeda (core) Pakistan 1988–present
Al-Qaeda in Aceh
(a.k.a. Tanzim al Qa’ida Indonesia
for Serambi Makkah)
Indonesia 2009–2011
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia) Saudi Arabia 2002–2008
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen) Yemen 2008–present
al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
(AQIM, formerly the Salafist Group for
Preaching and Combat, GSPC)
Algeria 1998–present
Al Takfir wal al-Hijrah Egypt (Sinai Peninsula) 2011–present
Al-Mulathamun (Mokhtar Belmokhtar) Mali, Libya, Algeria 2012–2013
Al-Murabitun (Mokhtar Belmokhtar) Mali, Libya, Algeria 2013–2017
Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia-
Union of Islamic Courts (ARS/UIC)
Somalia, Eritrea 2006–2009
Ansar al-Islam Iraq 2001–present
Ansar al-Sharia (Egypt) Egypt 2012–present
Ansar al-Sharia (Libya) Libya 2012–2017
Ansar al-Sharia (Mali) Mali 2012–present
Ansar al-Sharia (Tunisia) Tunisia 2011–present
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis
(a.k.a. Ansar Jerusalem)
Gaza Strip, Egypt (Sinai Peninsula) 2012–present
Ansaru Nigeria 2012–present
Osbat al-Ansar (AAA) Lebanon 1985–present
Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
(BIFF, a.k.a. BIFM)
Philippines 2010–present
Boko Haram Nigeria 2003–present
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
(Basayev faction)
Russia (Chechnya) 1994–2007
East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM,
a.k.a. Turkestan Islamic Party)
China (Xinjang) 1989–present
Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) Egypt 1978–2001
Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen Somalia 2002–present
Harakat al-Shuada’a al Islamiyah
(a.k.a. Islamic Martyr's Movement, IMM)
Libya 1996–2007
Harakat Ansar al-Din Mali 2011–2017
Hizbul al Islam Somalia 2009–2010
Imarat Kavkaz (IK, or Caucasus Emirate) Russia (Chechnya) 2007–present
Indian Mujahedeen India 2005–present
Islamic Jihad Union
(a.k.a. Islamic Jihad Group)
Uzbekistan 2002–present
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan 1997–present
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Iraq, Syria 2004–present
Jabhat al-Nusrah Syria 2011–present
Jaish ul-Adl Iran 2013–present
Jaish al-Islam
(a.k.a. Tawhid and Jihad Brigades)
Gaza Strip, Egypt (Sinai Peninsula) 2005–present
Jaish al-Ummah (JaU) Gaza Strip 2007–present
Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis Egypt (Sinai Peninsula) 2011–present
Jamaat Ansarullah (JA) Tajikistan 2010–present
Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) Indonesia 2008–present
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Indonesia, Malaysia,
Philippines, Singapore
1993–present
Jondullah Pakistan 2003–present
Jund al-Sham Lebanon, Syria, Gaza Strip,
Qatar, Afghanistan
1999–2008
Khalifa Islamiyah Mindanao (KIM) Philippines 2013–present
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT, a.k.a. Mansoorian) Pakistan (Kashmir) 1990–present
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Libya 1990–present
Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) Morocco, Western Europe 1998–present
Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa
(MUJAO)
Mali 2011–2013
Muhammad Jamal Network (MJN) Egypt 2011–present
Mujahideen Shura Council Gaza Strip, Egypt (Sinai Peninsula) 2011–present
Salafia Jihadia (As-Sirat al Moustaquim) Morocco 1995–present
Tawhid wal Jihad Iraq 1999–2004
Tunisian Combat Group (TCG) Tunisia, Western Europe 2000–2011

Ruling strategyEdit

In several places and times, jihadis have taken control of an area and they have ruled it as an Islamic state, such as ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

Among jihadists, establishing an uncompromising form of sharia law is a core value and goal, but strategies differ over how quickly this should be done. Observers such as the journalist Robert Worth have described jihadis as being torn between wanting to build a truly Islamic order gradually from the bottom up in order to avoid alienating non-jihadi Muslims (the desire of Osama bin Laden), and not wanting to wait for the creation of an Islamic state.[127]

In Zinjibar, Yemen, AQAP established an "emirate" which lasted from May 2011 until the summer of 2012. It emphasized (and publicized with a media campaign) "uncharacteristically gentle" good governance over its conquered territory rather than strict enforcement of sharia law—rebuilding infrastructure, quashing banditry, and resolving legal disputes.[128] One jihadi veteran of Yemen described its approach towards the local population:

You have to take a gradual approach with them when it comes to religious practices. You can't beat people for drinking alcohol when they don't even know the basics of how to pray. We have to first stop the great sins, and then move gradually to the lesser and lesser ones ... Try to avoid enforcing Islamic punishments as much as possible unless you are forced to do so.[128]

However AQAP's "clemency drained away under the pressure of war",[128] and the area was taken back by the government. The failure of this model (according to New York Times correspondent Robert Worth), may have "taught" jihadis a lesson on the need to instill fear.[128]

ISIS is believed to have used a manifesto which is titled "The Management of Savagery" as its model. The manifesto emphasizes the need to create areas of "savagery", i.e. lawlessness, in enemy territory. Once the enemy was too exhausted and weakened from the lawlessness (particularly terrorism) to continue to try to govern its territory, the nucleus of a new caliphate could be established in its place.[129] The author of "The Management of Savagery", did not place a lot of emphasis on winning the sympathy of local Muslims, instead, he placed a lot of emphasis on the use of extreme violence, writing that: "One who previously engaged in jihad knows that it is naught but violence, crudeness, terrorism, frightening [others] and massacring – I am talking about jihad and fighting, not about Islam and one should not confuse them."[129] (Social-media posts from ISIS territory "suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions occur every few weeks", according to journalist Graeme Wood.[130])

Views on violenceEdit

In recent years, the Salafi methodology has come to be associated with the jihad of extremist groups that advocate the killing of innocent civilians. The European Parliament, in a report commissioned in 2013, claimed that Wahhabi and Salafi-Jihadi groups are involved, mainly via Saudi charities, in the support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world.[131] Some Salafi scholars appear to support violent extremism. The Egyptian Salafi-Jihadist cleric Mahmoud Shaaban "appeared on a religious television channel calling for the deaths of main opposition figures Mohammed ElBaradei – a Nobel Peace Prize laureate – and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi".[132][133] Some other Islamic groups, particularly amongst Sufis, have also complained about extremism among some Salafi.

According to the British Researcher Anabel Inge:

"While aspects of their purist creed are shared by Jihadi groups, most—probably the vast majority of—Salafis in Europe are explicitly against terrorism... In Britain, the ‘Salafi’ label has been associated with non-violent, often quietist groups.. One preacher, for instance, encouraged his online followers to ‘mass distribute’ an anti-ISIS leaflet he had written, in which he urged anyone with information about terrorist plots to ‘inform the authorities’. That same preacher reported receiving death threats from ISIS sympathizers... I found no evidence of so-called brainwashing. On the contrary, I found that the Salafi conversion process was largely intellectual, rather than based on social or other pressures."

[134]

Traditional Salafis have rejected the use of violence by Salafi-Jihadists. The Saudi scholar Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen considered suicide bombing to be unlawful[135][136] and the scholar Abdul Muhsin al-Abbad wrote a treatise entitled: According to which intellect and Religion is Suicide bombings and destruction considered Jihad?.[135] Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani stated that "History repeats itself. Everybody claims that the Prophet is their role model. Our Prophet spent the first half of his message making dawah, and he did not start it with jihad".[137] The vast majority of Salafis reject violence, viewing most Salafi-Jihadist groups as deviants, and are amongst their most vehement critics.[138] It has been noted that the Western association of Salafism with violence stems from writings "through the prism of security studies" that were published in the late 20th century and that continue to persist.[139]

Condemnations by Muslims and challengesEdit

Thousands of Muslim leaders and scholars and dozens of Islamic councils have denounced Salafi jihadism. The Salafi-Jihadist strand of Islam is considered by majority of orthodox Islamic scholars as deviant and many Islamic scholars, both Salafi and non-Salafi, have written treatises comparing Salafi Jihadists with Kharijites.[140] Some scholars, policy institutes, and political scientists have noted a growing concern that Salafi-Jihadism can be a gateway to terrorism and violent extremism.[141][142][143][144][145][146][147][148][149][150][151] Notable challenges in countering Salafi jihadism are funding from oil-rich Gulf nations and private donations which are difficult to track,[152][153][154] Saudi efforts to propagate Salafiyya movement throughout the Muslim world,[155] resentment for Western hegemony, authoritarian Arab regimes, feeling defenseless against foreign aggression and that "Muslim blood is cheap,"[156] weak governance, extremist Salafi preaching that counters moderate voices, and other challenges.[157]

Terrorism studies scholar Alex P. Schmid notes:

"Salafist Jihadism (al-Salafiyya al-Jihadiyya) has managed to establish itself as the dominant ideology of rebellion in the early 21st century, just as Fascism and Communism had been the most violent ideologies of the twentieth century. For a brief moment in 2011, the Arab Spring with its non-violent mass demonstrations, seemed to offer an alternative model of rebellion in the absence of democratic regimes but when these mass uprisings were crushed in all countries except Tunisia, jihadism as a non-mass based method of fighting repression and foreign intervention gained the upper hand in the minds of many militant youths."[158][159]


NotesEdit

Explanatory notesEdit

  1. ^ "Defining Salafism and Its Importance:- Foundational to understanding the threat is knowing the meaning behind key terms associated with the global Salafi-Jihadist ideology. Salafism is often conflated or misinterpreted in texts and publications. Literally, the word Salafis means 'pious forefathers,' which is most often understood to mean 'the first three generations of Muslims.' The foundation for this statement can be found in Sahih al-Bukhari's compilation, which quotes the Prophet Muhammad as saying, 'The best of my community [i.e. Muslims] are my generation, then those who come after them and then whose who follow them.' Proximity to the Prophet Muhammad in the temporal sense matters in that the saying and actions of the early companions of Muhammad carry greater relevance and authority. Of course, the hadiths (a written collection of traditions based on the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and principally the compilations of al-Bukhari and Muslim are held in highest regard.[6] And how these hadiths were understood by the early community of Muslims and acted upon matters greatly. This is essential to understand because Muslims, including Salafis, do not derive their religious beliefs and practices exclusively from the Quran, but also from the hadith, making its contents just as important for Islamic theology and law. The hadiths are also the locus from which Salafi-Jihadists derive many of the violent scriptural references which they use as justification for their methodology and behavior.[24][25]

CitationsEdit

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  2. ^ a b French, Nathan S. (2020). "A Jihadi-Salafi Legal Tradition? Debating Authority and Martyrdom". And God Knows the Martyrs: Martyrdom and Violence in Jihadi-Salafism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 36–69. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190092153.003.0002. ISBN 9780190092153. LCCN 2019042378.
  3. ^ a b c Baele, Stephane J. (October 2019). Giles, Howard (ed.). "Conspiratorial Narratives in Violent Political Actors' Language" (PDF). Journal of Language and Social Psychology. SAGE Publications. 38 (5–6): 706–734. doi:10.1177/0261927X19868494. hdl:10871/37355. ISSN 1552-6526. S2CID 195448888. Retrieved 3 January 2022.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b Jones, Seth G. (2014). A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al Qa'ida and Other Salafi Jihadists (PDF). Rand Corporation. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 April 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
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  8. ^ a b c d e "Jihadist-Salafism" is introduced by Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2002)
  9. ^ Deneoux, Guilain (June 2002). "The Forgotten Swamp: Navigating Political Islam". Middle East Policy. pp. 69–71."
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  11. ^ a b Kramer, Martin (Spring 2003). "Coming to Terms: Fundamentalists or Islamists?". Middle East Quarterly. X (2): 65–77. Archived from the original on 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2015-01-01. French academics have put the term into academic circulation as 'jihadist-Salafism.' The qualifier of Salafism – an historical reference to the precursor of these movements – will inevitably be stripped away in popular usage.
  12. ^ Manne, Robert (2017). The Mind of the Islamic State. NY: Prometheist Books. pp. 17–22. ISBN 9781633883710. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
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  14. ^ Shultz, Richard H. (April 2008). "A Global Salafi Jihad Insurgency: Myth or Reality?". Global Insurgency Strategy and the Salafi Jihad Movement. INSS Occasional Paper. Vol. 66. Colorado Springs, Colorado: USAF Institute for National Security Studies at the USAF Academy. pp. 42–86.
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  18. ^ Farid Shapoo, Sajid (19 July 2017). "Salafi Jihadism - An Ideological Misnomer". ResearchGate. Archived from the original on 19 Aug 2021. Another interesting aspect of Salafi Jihadism is that the traditional Salafi scholars debunk it as a Salafi hybrid and that it is far removed from the traditional Salafism.
  19. ^ Nasiruddin Al Albani, Muhammad (27 August 2014). "You Can't Take the Law into Your Own Hands". Albaani Site. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017.
  20. ^ "The Speech of Shaykh Muqbil about revolutions and uprisings". Dawatus Salafiyyah Leicester UK. As for uprisings and revolutions against the rulers who are in the Islamic lands, then this is not the way of rectification. And the way of rectification is teaching the Muslims the Book of their Lord and the Sunnah of their Prophet and teaching them the biography of the Prophet (صلى اللهُ عليه وسَلَّم) and the biography of his companions and how they had patience with the poverty, not having (enough) clothes, leaving their homelands and the infectious diseases which befell them in al-Madeenah after they emigrated. Therefore, it is imperative that we nurture the people in being close (to the way) of the companions, and I do not think that we are able to do that (in its entirety) but at least (it should be) close to the way of the companions.
  21. ^ Al-Fawzan, Saalih (May 2004). "Is Rebelling Against a Ruler an Issue of Ijtihād?" (PDF). AbdurRahman.org. It is impermissible to oppose and rebel against the leader of Muslim affairs. Rather, it is an obligation to obey him and forbidden to oppose him due to what that entails of bloodshed, disunity, and the ruining and alienation of a nation. And you all witness now those lands in which people revolted against their leaders. You see the results such as fighting and killing, bloodshed, and the loss of safety and security when some of these leaderships are not Muslim governments. But when people rebel against their leaders, the same thing occurs – that which occurred in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and every other place. What if the ruler is Muslim? It is not allowed to oppose him due to what that will result in of bloodshed, the loss of security, the opportunity for non-Muslims to gain control over Muslims, and dissension and division among Muslims.
  22. ^ Abdul Wahid, Abu Khadeeja (19 December 2013). "The Tyranny Of The Rulers, A Reason For Rebellion?". The noble scholar Shaikh al-Albānī (rahimahullaah, died 1420H) was asked, 'Is that which is known nowadays as a military coup against the ruler mentioned in the Religion or is it an innovation?' So the Shaikh answered: 'There is no basis for these acts in Islām. And it is in opposition to the Islamic manhaj (methodology) with respect to the daʿwah (Islamic call) and creating the right atmosphere for it. Rather it is an innovation introduced by the innovators which has affected some Muslims. This is what I have stated and explained in my notes to al-Aqeedah at-Tahāwiyyah' The great scholar Ibn Bāz (died 1420AH) was asked, 'Is it from the methodology of the Salaf [to]criticize the rulers from the pulpits? And what is the methodology of the Salaf in advising the rulers?' So he answered: 'It is not from the methodology of the Salaf to criticize the rulers from the pulpits, because that would incite chaos, and it would involve not listening and obeying in that which is good. And this would mean becoming engrossed in that which harms and does not benefit. However, the way of advising that the Salaf followed was to write to the ruler, or to convey the advice to the Scholars who would then convey it to him, until he has been directed towards good. So opposing the evil can be done without mentioning the doer. So adultery, intoxicants and interest can be opposed without mentioning the one who is involved in them. And it is enough of an opposition to sins that they be warned against without mentioning that so and so is involved in them, whether it is the ruler, or other than the ruler.' Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān was asked: 'Respected Shaikh, yourself and your brothers who are scholars in this country are Salafīs – and all praise is due to Allāh – and your method in advising the rulers is that of the Sharīʿah and as the Prophet has explained, yet there are those who find fault with you due to your neglect in openly rejecting the various oppositions [to the Sharīʿah] that have occurred. And yet others make excuses for you by saying that you are under the control and pressure of the state. So do you have any words of direction or clarification to these people?' So Shaikh al-Fawzān answered with clear and unambiguous words: 'There is no doubt that the rulers, just like people besides them, are not infallible. Advising them is an obligation. However, attacking them in the gatherings and upon the pulpits is considered to be the forbidden form of backbiting. And this evil is greater than that which occurred from the ruler since it is backbiting and because of what results from backbiting such as the sowing of the seeds of discord, causing disunity and affecting the progression of daʿwah (the call to Islām). Hence what is obligatory is to make sure advice reaches the rulers by sound and trustworthy avenues, not by publicizing and causing commotion. And as for reviling the Scholars of this country, that they do not give advice [to the rulers], or that they are being controlled in their affairs, this is a method by which separation between the Scholars, the youth and the society is desired, until it becomes possible for the mischief-maker to sow the seeds of his evil. This is because when evil suspicions are harbored about the Scholars, trust is no longer placed in them and then the chance is available for the biased partisans to spread their poison. And I believe that this thought is actually a schemed plot that has come into this country, and those who are behind it are foreign to this country. It is obligatory upon the Muslims to be cautious of it.'
  23. ^ Iyaad, Abu (16 May 2019). "Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn: Revolting Against the Rulers is the Most Corrupt, Vile Innovation". Kharijites.com. Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn said: And rebelling against the ruler, there is no doubt it is from the most corrupt of innovations, the most vile of them and the most evil of them. The ummah was not torn to pieces except due to rebelling against its rulers.
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