Sunday, 8 January 2017

How the Jihadist Movements Thrived Ideologically Despite Their Militarily Defeat: Examples from Arab History

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

02 January 2017

As the New Year 2017 arrives, one of the most sought-after questions is: will the Islamic State—the chief jihadist cult in the current history— end in the near future?

The self-imposed caliphate of Abu Bakr Baghdadi has reportedly been cleared from its two major strongholds—Mosul and Raqqah. Syria is believed to have defeated the ISIS monsters after a bloody civil war. But one wonders how could it be considered an end to the ISIS sympathizers and scores of other violent jihadist cults over the world?

Even Barak Obama had to acknowledge that merely destroying the ISIS strongholds may not reduce the danger in the near future. While the ISIS fighters have been physically fought in Syria on a large scale, their ideological supporters and sympathizers are playing havoc across much of the world today.

2016 ended with the jihadists striking various peaceful parts of the world. Their attacks in Ankara, Zürich and Berlin were the most recent. In Ankara, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a radical Islamist off-duty policeman assassinated Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador as he approached the podium to make a few words. In Zürich, a burst into a downtown Muslim gunman prayer center popular with Somali migrants and opened fire, shooting three worshippers. In Berlin, the pre-Christmas festivities were shattered by a semi-truck plowing into crowds gathered at the Christmas market in the heart of downtown. In most cases, the terrorists belonged to a normal background, but were later transformed into the jihadists or ISIS sympathisers. Researchers and analysts have identified various reasons and stimulus that catapult Muslims from being sane citizens to the mindless perpetrators of violence. But not many tend to go through the Islamic history to explore the deeper ideological underpinnings of the violent jihadism. The fact is that from Ankara to Zürich to Berlin, there is a significant role of ideological stimulus behind the nefarious spade of violent extremism.

A historical reading evidences that an intolerant jihadist narrative underpinned by the political Islamist ideologues has been at play in every age, not only today. The Kharijite movement—the first bloodthirsty incarnation of jihadsim— appeared in the early era of Islam in what is known today as Saudi Arabia. There is an endless list of the Prophet’s companions who were killed at the hands of the Kharijites who propounded the takfirist ideology. The Umayyad dynasty, the then Arabian government, sponsored the Kharijites. This was exactly what we call today as “state-sponsored terrorism”. But later, the Umayyads themselves destroyed the terror faction as it turned into a rebellious movement challenging the government. Much in the same way, the Saudi kingdom is fighting today the terror monsters of the ISIS who drive their ideological inspiration from Wahhabism, the state religion of the Saudi Arabia. Alastair Crooke, the author of “Resistance: The Essence of Islamic Revolution”, has candidly covered it in his article titled, “You can’t understand ISIS if you don’t know the history of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia”. (Source:

After the Kharijites, the movement of Ali bin Muhammad emerged from the same deserts of Arabia—Najd. The militants of his movement, allied with the slaves of Zanj, indulged in wanton killing, looting and vandalism. This movement is known in the Islamic history as “Zanj Rebellion”. Between 255 to 270 Hijri, they killed hundreds of thousands of people and destructed the city of Ublah and Basra in Iraq. Having slaughtered all men in these cities, they took their women as ‘sex slaves’. Many women of the elite classes were sold out and distributed among the men of the Zanj for 2 dirhams each. Noted Islamic historians like Tabari and Mas’udi have detailed in their books the grave devastation caused by the Zanj movement in the Arabia.

After the Kharijites and Zanj, the Qaramatian movement originated in the Arabian Peninsula. The followers of this movement started razing down the historical heritage and went to the extent of attacking the Ka’ba—the holiest Islamic site in Mecca. They destroyed several cities in Syria and Iraq, particularly Hama, Maratun Noman, Baalbek and Salmiya. Almost all inhabitants were brutally annihilated in these cities. According to Tabari, the Qaramatians resorted to the gruesome terror tools which were not introduced earlier. One of the Qaramatian leaders owned a slave who would slaughter only ‘deviant’ Muslims. The present Saudi Arabian regions of Qatif and Ahsa were the Qaramatian strongholds. Majority of the Najdi tribes in Arabia were followers and supporters of the Qaramatian movement. The terror culture of burning cities and razing historical sites was initiated by the Qaramatians. They were mentors of the Mughals and the Tatars in this violent strategy. According to many authoritative historians, Qaramatians were among the first to use suicide bombers as war tactic. Al-Nuwayri, noted Arabic scholar writes in his book, Nihayatul Arab (the ultimate ambition of the Arabs) that the Qaramatians were first to lure and train the youth for suicide attacks. Today, suicide bombing is the most common tactic of the ISIS, Boko Haram, Taliban and all other jihadist outfits.

In 18th century, the world's biggest radical jihadist movement sprang out of the Najdi tribe settled in the central region of Saudi Arabia.  Ibn Abdul Wahhab formed the bedrock of this global jihadist movement which later came to be known as “Wahhabism”. With its deep roots in the Kharijite ideology, Wahhabism was influenced by the extremist fatwas of Shaikh Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328). Ibn Abdul Wahhab, with the support of the Saudi Arabian ruler, Muhammad bin Saud, established the Wahhabi ideology as the state religion of the kingdom. This turned out to be the most extremist religious movement in the Islamic history. All Muslims who did not adhere to it were declared kuffar (disbelievers). Takfiri wars were waged against them. Other tribes of the Arabian Peninsula were fought as pagans and idolaters. Their lands were looted and women and properties were distributed as "maal e ghaneemat" (war booty), as the Arab historian Usman bin Bashar Najdi recounts in his book on the history of Wahabi movement “unwan al-majd fi tareekh al-najd”.

From 1745 to 1818, the Wahhabi movement waged the global jihad going berserk more than even the Kharijites in their atrocities, as the 18th century Arab scholar Shaykh Zaini Dahlan Makki, writes in his Arabic book “Al-Balad Al-Haram” (the sacred city). The aggression of the Wahhabi jihadists spread rapidly throughout the Muslim world, causing great distress among the common people. Given this, the governor of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha sent his army to Saudi Arabia on the behest of the Ottoman Caliphate. After a long battle, the Egyptian forces defeated the Najdis and completely destroyed the capital of the first Saudi dynasty, Diriyah where the Wahhabi movement spearheaded. Thus, the Wahhabi jihadsim was militarily defeated to an extent, but it remained active on an ideological level to this day and age.

This glimpse from history clearly shows that the war on jihadism cannot be fought in a battlefield. It requires an entirely ideological onslaught. Just as the Wahhabism is flourishing today over the world despite its physical defeat several times, the ISIS will continue to lure many in the global Muslim societies, no matter it is cleared from Iraq and Syria. In order to defeat the ISIS, extremist religious thoughts need to be rebutted and hardcore philosophies have to be defeated. But this is too gigantic a task to achieve. It was neither done by the governor of Egypt nor by the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, soon after the return of the Egyptian forces which existed from 1821 to 1889, the second Saudi-Wahhabi nation state emerged with an ideology that resulted in the rise of many global jihadist movements including the ISIS.

It is interesting to note that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now claims to have “confirmed evidence” to prove that the US-led coalition supports ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria. (Source: However, the U.S. has rebuffed Erdogan’s allegation stating that it did not create or support ISIS. “Assertions the US government is supporting Daesh are not true," the US Embassy in Ankara wrote, using the Arabic-language acronym for ISIS. (Source:

Whether Daesh or ISIS was created and supported by the US or Saudi Arabia is not difficult to see. While both the U.S. and Saudi governments have always castigated the Daesh as a terror outfit, researchers find that ISIS is running on the American weaponry and Saudi-Wahhabi ideology. Does the Turkish Islamist President have courage of conviction to expose the complete truth? Regrettably, all political Islamists like Erdogan propagate the half truth. But what they try to hide from the world is now an open secret. Karen Armstrong, author of the seminar work “Religion and the History of Violence” clearly points it out: “It [ISIS] is neither typical nor mired in the distant past, because its roots are in Wahhabism, a form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia that developed only in the 18th century”.

Therefore, Armstrong aptly suggests that only Saudi Arabia which has already thwarted IS attempts to launch a series of attacks in the kingdom, may be the regional power capable of crushing the ISIS.

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a scholar of Comparative Religion, Classical Arabic and Islamic sciences, cultural analyst and researcher in Media and Communication Studies.

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Islam and the Environment: an Indian Muslim’s Perspective

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi
Recently, an international inter-faith movement on climate change has launched “the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change”. In this respect, a declaration signed and endorsed by eminent scholars and representatives of different faith traditions was released in August, 2015. The basic premise of this declaration will gladden the hearts of moderate, peace-loving, productive and eco-friendly Muslims, particularly in India. It beautifully states:
"We support the People's Pilgrimage in India and globally, and encourage everyone to take part in it. We support the call for 100% clean energy and this is in line with the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change (August 2015) that called on the people of all nations and their leaders to phase out greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible in order to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, and to commit themselves to 100 % renewable energy and/or a zero emissions strategy as early as possible”..... “Human beings are created to serve the Lord of all beings, to work the greatest good we can for all the species, individuals, and generations of God’s creatures.....”
Every religion has its own purpose or plan of creation. However, each faith tradition affirms that this universe has been created by God for all beings to live together in full harmony and in a spiritual symbiosis. All religions exhort us to be grateful towards the bounties of nature that nourish and sustain us. However, modern science and technology seek to conquer and control them. In this terrible situation, people of all faith traditions should wake up to the call for the preservation of the environment that has been clearly given in their respective scriptures.
The holy Qur’an offers a completely integrated view of the Universe where human soul and the environment, mind and matter are all part of one living, conscious whole. Therefore, it exhorts man to live a balanced, moderate and an eco-friendly life without causing any harm to the Nature or Earth. It says it in so many words. For instance, "And do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption." (Qur'an, 2:60) and again, “And do not desire corruption in the land. Indeed, God does not like corruptors." (Qur'an 28:77).
From the Qur’anic perspective, corruption on the earth is not confined to only political crimes such as frauds, theft, rape, illegal banking or other prevalent malpractices. Deforestation, toxic waste, pesticides, and cutting so many trees on the earth are also grave corruption and hence brazen violation of the true Islamic universal values. This corruption is rampant at all levels of public and social life in this age of consumerism and covetousness. It is indeed a matter of grave concern for the entire human kind.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II, once elaborated on how Islam and the environment are in full harmony. Addressing an enlightened gathering of the Oxford University, he beautifully said, "From what I know of the Qu’ran, again and again it describes the natural world as the handiwork of a unitary benevolent power. It very explicitly describes Nature as possessing an “intelligibility” and that there is no separation between Man and Nature....”
Clearly, there is an inseparable relation between the environment and our soul. It will be great if Muslims in particular and the wider world learn from the Holy Scriptures like the Qur'an to try to wage an eco-friendly jihad (noble effort). This will be the true jihad to please God and ensure easy entry to heaven, in the existing world, not to speak of the hereafter. Thus, we can taste the bliss of heaven on this planet before we chance upon the eternal paradise. 
Prophet Muhmmad (pbuh) left great traditions and glaring examples of being eco-friendly and going green in his life. He spent his entire life in an eco-friendly jihad, saving the humankind, caring for other creations, preserving the earth, planting trees and protecting the environment. Right from his young age, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was inclined towards the preservation of trees. When he was just 12, he travelled to Syria with his uncle and took shelter under a tree. Today, after more than 14 hundred years, the same tree is alive in the northern deserts of Jordan. This tree, which sheltered the Prophet, is the only living tree in hundreds of square miles of emptiness. It speaks so well of the Prophet’s utmost care for the preservation of the trees. He was keen on planting trees and exhorted his Companions too to keep it up. Therefore, he promised ample rewards and heavenly bliss for those who contribute to it. He said, “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded” (Musnad).
Thus, planting a tree is a Sadaqah Jariyah (continued charity) in Islam for the poor and the rich alike. Whenever a human being or even an animal shelters under the shade of a tree or relishes a fruit that it produces, the planter will be earning optimal rewards, even after his/her death. The above prophetic saying (Hadith), although there are many likes this, is sufficient to apprise us of the eco-friendly nature of Islam.
I would love to share more such beautiful prophetic traditions (Ahadith) that serve as gentle reminders for us to reflect on Islam as an environment-friendly faith. Theses traditions provide us with a complete code of life that exhorts to care for all the creations, protect the environment, conserve water, preserve the nature and safeguard the rights of all living beings, including the animals.
•        “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (Sadaqah) for him.”  (Bukhari)
•        One day Prophet (saw) passed by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas (r.a) while he was performing Wudu’. The Prophet (saw) asked Sa`d: “What is this wastage?” Sa`d replied: “Is there wastage in Wudu also?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.”(Ibn Majah)
•        Likening a believer with a growing tree, the Prophet (saw) said: "The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant; from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind quietens down, the plant becomes straight again..." (Bukhari)
•        Considering tree-planting a renewable source of reward, he said: "If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (Sadaqah) for him." (Bukhari)
•        Reminding Muslims of how important it is to keep the environment sanitary to maintain the community, the Prophet stated: "Beware of the three acts that cause you to be cursed: First, relieving yourselves in shaded places (that people utilise), in a walkway or in a watering place……" – (Narrated by Mu`adh, Hasan)
•        Similarly, the Prophet (saw) gave paramount importance to street clean-ups, when he said: "Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity (Sadaqah)." (Narrated by Abu Dharr Al-Ghafari, Riyadh As Saliheen)
However, some Muslims seem unconcerned with the preservation of the Earth planet, assuming that this Dunya (world) is a temporary world that will be fated to doom and destruction at the end.  A Hadith (Prophetic saying) is often quoted to support this notion. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “I am in this world like a rider who halts in the shade of a tree for a short time, and after taking some rest, resumes his journey leaving the tree behind." [Ahmad, Tirmidhi]. The question is: does this Hadith tell us that this world is irrelevant, useless or worthless? If the world is like a tree in the desert under which we shelter for a period of time and then move on, then surely, we cannot intend to live under it forever. However, a tree is a resting place, offering shade to the travellers. Shade is one of the many benefits trees offer. Shade itself is referred to in another Hadith. Prophet (saw) described seven types of people who earn the most needed shade on the Day of Judgment. For the Prophet of Islam (pbuh), tree was not only a resting place, but also an infinite mercy of God that one should leave behind for others.  Shade is an actual expression of the mercy of Allah the Almighty. Hence, the parable of the Dunya (world) as a tree under which we stop to rest for a while does not imply that it is worthless.
Besides, Prophet (pbuh) and his companions also practically taught us how to protect the animals’ rights. They took special care of crippled animals, rescued strays and guarded birds’ nests of eggs. One of the Companions was named ‘Abu Huraira’ (father of kittens) because he was very fond of kittens. Prophet (pbuh) accorded great value to the animals in his bid to protect the ecological welfare system. Driven by his care and compassion for the animals, the Prophet himself narrated a story to his companions so they could drive inspiration from it:
"A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way; there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, "This dog is suffering from thirst as I did." So, he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water, held it with his mouth and watered the dog. Allah appreciated him for that deed and forgave him." The Companions said, "O Allah's Messenger! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?" He replied: "There is a reward for serving any living being." (Bukhari)
 There is a pressing need to take a fresh look at all the related Qur’anic verses and the Prophetic traditions in an effort to find solutions to the increasing degradation of environment on this planet earth.  It is also of vital importance to revisit other references to explore the wisdom of our faith traditions finding ways to live in full harmony with the environment. After all, it is the moral responsibility of the adherents of all faith traditions to protect this earth and its climate in accordance with the teachings of our faith traditions. And if we don’t take serious steps today towards the preservation of the ecological balance, tomorrow our children will inherit an earth with depleted natural resources.

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a classical Islamic scholar and English-Arabic-Urdu writer. He has graduated from a leading Islamic seminary of India, acquired Diploma in Qur'anic sciences and Certificate in Uloom ul Hadith from Al-Azhar Institute of Islamic Studies. After graduation in Arabic (Hons.), he has done his M. A. in Comparative Religions & Civilisations and a double M.A. in Islamic Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Presently, he is pursuing his PhD in India Arab Culture Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The blessed family of Prophet Muhammad is flourishing as implied in Surah Al-Kauthar: The shortest of Surahs is replete with An Array of Mystical Allusions

The blessed family of Prophet Muhammad is flourishing as implied in Surah Al-Kauthar: The shortest of Surahs is replete with An Array of Mystical Allusions

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi
2 Jan 2015

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem
Inna a 'taina ka-l-Kawthar
Fa salli li-Rabbi-ka wa-nhar
Inna shani' a-ka huwa-l-abtar

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
Lo! We have granted you Al-Kauthar (abundance, a river in Paradise);; So pray unto thy Lord, and sacrifice. Lo! It is thy insulter (and not thou) who is without posterity.
Reason for revelation (Shan-e-Nuzul)
One of the chief pagans in Mecca, Aas Bin Wail met the Prophet (pbuh) on his return from the Ka’aba. After he had a brief conversation with the Prophet (pbuh), he went straight to the chieftains of Quraish tribe who were present around the Ka’aba.  When Aas bin Wail met them, they posed a question to him: To whom you were talking? He replied: “to the man who is abtar”. Arabs would call the person who had no son “abtar”. It actually refers to the person who leaves no heir behind him. The pagans began to use this word for the prophet (pbuh) after the demise of his son. Influenced by the pre-Islamic Jahiliyah (ignorance), the Arabs were accustomed to give greater preference to a son than a daughter.  It was believed that only a son could carry on with the mission of the father after his death. Therefore, after the demise of the Prophet’s son, the Quraish thought that the cause of the Prophet (pbuh) would come to an end. It is noteworthy that the Prophet (pbuh) had two sons by the names: Qasim and Tahir. They were born to his first wife Hazrat Khadija (r.a), but both of them died at an early age while the Prophet was still in Mecca.
On this occasion, Surah Kauthar was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to console his soul giving him a glad tiding. He is told in the first verse of this Surah that an abundance of infinite bounty, unconditional love, unlimited bliss, wisdom, spiritual intellect and all goodness have been bestowed upon the Prophet (pbuh).  The name of this Surah (Al-Kauthar) has been taken from the first verse of it, which reads: “(O Muhammad pbuh) Verily, We have granted you Al-Kauthar” (108:1).
An Important Point to be Taken
Before one proceeds to fathom the different meanings of this verse, one thing is crystal clear. Besides abundance and growth in all degrees of goodness, one of the glad tidings in this verse is related to the progeny that has been bestowed upon the Prophet (pbuh) with his daughter Hazrat Fatima (r.a). Surprisingly enough, it was first time in the history of Arabia that the descendants of a leader were attributed to his daughter rather than his son. This was indeed a revolution in the patriarchal and misogynist Arab society where only the sons could deserve to be legitimate heirs of their father. Daughters were wholly deprived of this basic human right.
Discussing the divergent commentaries on the Surah Kauthar, the authoritative Sunni exegete and theologian Imam Fakhruddin al-Razi, also known as Shaikh al-Mushakkikin (the guide of the skeptics) writes: “this Surah was revealed to cast away those who were criticising the Prophet (pbuh) for not having a male child. According to the meaning of this Surah, the Merciful God is consoling the Prophet (pbuh) that his progeny will remain till the period of history. In the light of this verse, Muslims have to take cognizance of the fact that the family members of the holy Prophet (pbuh) have been killed or martyred throughout the history. But still, as the verse announces, the blessed family of the Prophet (pbuh) is flourishing the world over” (al-Tafseer al-Kabeer lil Imam al-Razi).
Thus, there is a deep rationale behind this “abundance” (Kauthar) that can be understood in its proper historical and social context. But it was no wonder that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) revolutionized the male-chauvinist society with his female progeny, because God had already announced to his Prophet (pbuh): “And soon your Lord will give you, and you will be satisfied” (93:5).
An Array of Commentaries on al-Kauthar
Surah al-Kauthar has been discussed and explained in both the mainstream Sunni and Shia tafsir and more especially in Sufi mystical exegesis of the Qur’an. The Qur’an exegetes of all the different schools of thought in Islam have produced myriad commentaries regarding the true essence of the term ‘Kauthar’ mentioned in this verse. However, they unanimously agree that the abstract connotation of the word ‘Kauthar’ is abundance in progeny and posterity.  Although there is a wide array of opinions on the real implication of the term, all exegesis of this Qur’anic verse conclude that it essentially refers to the “endless abundance of goodness” (108:1).
Speaking from the mystical interpretation of the Qur’an, the most notable Sufi interpreters of this verse were the 18th-century Moroccan saint of Sufi Sunni Islamic lineage, Ahmad ibn 'Ajiba (1747–1809), well-known Persian Islamic scholar and author of Tafseer al-Baidawi Allama Abdallah ibn Umar (1226-1260) and the authoritative medieval Shiite exegete of the Qur’an Mahmud ibn Umar Al-Zamakhshari(1074-1144), who subscribed to the Muʿtazilite theological doctrine. They came up with certain spiritual allusions to the ‘abundant goodness’ (Kauthar ) of the Prophet (pbuh) and expanded the verse using Sufi doctrines and precepts, uniting the scriptural words seamlessly with mystical language and experience.
A number of Sufism-inspired and spiritually inclined commentators of this Qur’anic verse maintain that the above verse has endless meanings and connotations. One of them is that Allah bestowed upon the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) generosity of spirit, richness of soul and goodness at heart. Therefore, in his lofty prophetic vision, gold was worthless like a small potsherd. Whosoever is blessed with the special attention of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he/she becomes wealthy and genersous at heart. It is also mentioned in the Ahadith (prophet’s sayings) that Allah made him wealthy for a special reason: “When we found you a family man, we gave you wealth so that you would be able to take care of your family”. It is stated in a Hadith reported by Imam Bukhari that Allah said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Take care of your family”. The Arabic word “Ayaal” in this hadith means ‘family’. It is derived from the root word in Arabic ‘Aaul’ and not from ‘Eilah’.  Thus, it implies that the entire creation is the family of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He was sent to take care of the entire creation, not just his own family, relatives and friends.       
In this context, it is worth mentioning that nearly all the prophets were born poor except the four of them namely, Hazrat Ibrahim (Abraham), Hazrat Sulayman (Solomon), Hazrat Dawood (David) and Hazrat Yusuf (Joseph) (peace be upon them all). But, remarkably, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was both poor as well as wealthy. He was sent as an epitome of the collective qualities and traits of all the earlier prophets. For his mission was the reaffirmation and reinvigoration of the earlier prophets’ messages. Since the Prophet (pbuh) was himself an orphan, he was virtually aware of the inflictions and hardships experienced by the orphans. In the era of ignorance, the pagans of Arabia would oppress the orphans by depriving them of their wealth and property. The Prophet (pbuh) not only stopped the unlawful devouring of the orphans’ wealth, but also strongly forbade every act of scolding or chiding to them. Earlier, the Arabs would beat them up in a brutal manner for their nefarious gains. Much in the same way, today in Indian Muslim community, the minor children are deprived of their lawful inheritance from their ancestral property. However, the Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) commands that if the deceased leaves behind minor children, it is haram (completely forbidden) to spend from their wealth on even the Kafan (shroud of the deceased), let alone other things.
It is noteworthy that Allah the Almighty did not send the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in an aristocratic or financially sound family. Rather, he was born at a time when his family was in a state of poverty. It was so because no one could falsify that the advent and spread of Islam were funded by his wealth or supported by the government at that time. In fact, Allah helped and made him generous through the wealth of his beloved wife, Ummul Mu’mineen Khadija, his closest friend Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique and the third Caliph Hazrat Usman Ghani (May Allah be pleased with them) who were impressed by his noble character and hence became the first ambassadors of Islam. From this, we get to learn that Hazrat Khadija (r.a) and Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (r.a) were fortunate enough to have been chosen by Allah for the moral and financial support of the Prophet (pbuh). These people were truly fortunate and greatly blessed in rendering paramount services to Islam.
In addition, the verse also means that Allah the Almighty made the Prophet (pbuh) abundantly rich and affluent by assigning to him all the keys of the treasures both in the earth and heaven. In fact, Allah made His prophet the spiritual master of His earth and heaven, as He says: “O Beloved! Verily, We have bestowed upon you an abundance of good” (Surah al-Kauthar 108: 01). In this regard, the holy Qur’an further says: “Allah and His Messenger enriched them out of His Grace (Surah 9: Verse 74). Similarly, the Prophet pbuh says: “I have been given the keys of the treasures of the earth”. On another occasion, he is reported to have said: “If I so desire, the mountains of Gold will walk with me”. 
In fact, there has not been and will never be any person wealthier than the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the true sense of the word. In a nutshell, there is no limit to his God-gifted wealth. On the other hand, Allah says to all other kings of the world: “You are poor and needy” (Surah 47: Verse 38).
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a classical Islamic scholar, English-Arabic-Urdu writer, and a Doctoral Research Scholar, Centre for Culture, Media & Governance (JMI Central University).  After graduation in Arabic (Hons.), he has done his M. A. in Comparative Religions & Civilizations and a double M.A. in Islamic Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.  He can be contacted at

Global Terrorism Stems From Takfirism: How Ulema Can Curb It By Just Issuing Fatwas Of Kufr Against The Terrorists?

Global Terrorism Stems From Takfirism: How Ulema Can Curb It By Just Issuing Fatwas Of Kufr Against The Terrorists?

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi
24 August 2016
Recently, a considerable number of Zakir Naik’s fans on social media, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, have declared all those Muslims who are against Zakir Naik as Kafir (infidel) and Munafiq (hypocrite).  “Those who oppose Zakir Naik are Kafir (one who hides the truth)”, writes a follower of Dr Naik namely Saeed Ibn George on his Twitter account.
Personally, I have also received such an insolent accusation, apart from many gruesome threats from the diehard supporters of Mr. Naik. Of late, an enthusiast female adherent of Zakir Naik seemingly from the UK has posed these questions to me:  
“I don’t know if there is any word worse than Kaffir that I would have used for you. People like you are destroying Islam. ….. Most of the Dehlvi women I know from Delhi are married to idol worshippers. Why don’t you guide them first???” [you are] criticizing Zakir Naik who has helped thousands of people to revert. I personally have 2000 revert friends in UK and each one of them has been influenced by Mr. Naik. What have you done in helping people revert?”
Without any knee-jerk reactions to the lady, I simply expressed my amazement at her naivety. I wondered how many new-age young Muslims like her are consciously or unconsciously being indoctrinated into a dangerous radical doctrine called Takfirism (declaring each other Kafir). At the moment, I was reminded of the Prophet’s hadith (tradition) delivered in his last sermon of the pilgrimage (Hujjatul Wida) in which he warned Muslims:  “Do not revert to takfir (declaring each other kaafir) after me by striking (cutting) the necks of one another” is a part of long discourse delivered by the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) on the occasion of Hujjatul Wida.
As a matter of fact, takfirism is specific to a particular stream of thought in Islam and is not common to all Muslims. This ideological extremism has blatantly abolished all the essential principles of tolerance and plurality enshrined in Islam. While the holy Qur'an repeatedly exhorts that “there should be no compulsion in religion” and that “all people are free to practice any religion they like”, the hardcore takfirist are hell-bent on imposing their beliefs upon everyone, Muslims and non-Muslims alike and declaring those who don’t follow them Kafir (infidel) or at least Munafiq (hypocrite). In their crazy bid to accord it an Islamic justification, they selectively apply verses of the Holy Qur'an and, thus, further their nefarious ends.
Now the question arises: should this takfirist understanding of Islam continue to spread unchecked? Obviously, it threatens not only the individuals but the entire social stability at the local, national, and regional levels creating serious geopolitical dangers to the world at large.
But the most regrettable is the world governments’ inability or unwillingness to stem the tide of growing Takfirism. Particularly, the Western leaders are still oblivious of Takfirism, which originated in the state religion of Saudi Arabia—Wahhabism— which has also given rise to the Takfiri terrorists of ISIS. Similarly, the Muslim governments have not yet curbed Takfirism even after the Takfirists’ attack on Madina, the holiest site of Islam. The USA, France, Germany, Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have already been reeling from a series of brutal Takfirist terror attacks, but they are not yet calling spade a spade.
The national and international media outlets often portray the radical Islamist extremists or terrorists as Jihadists. Of course, Jihadism is not Islam. But the term ‘jihadists’ makes the matter further complicated for the common Muslims unable to differentiate between Mujahid (inner-struggler) and Jihadist (Islamist fighter). Thus, they develop a wrong impression about the media portrayal of the global terrorists who falsely claim to be fighting for the sake of Islam or Muslims.
It can be recalled that the term ‘Takfirism’ or ‘Takfirist’ first appeared in the Western media when the BBC investigative journalist Peter Taylor television produced his series The New Al Qaeda in 2005. But it is still not common in the vast majority of media outlets. However, some sagacious Islamic scholars have referred to all the Islamist terrorists as Takfirists. They identified the fighters and supporters of the Daesh or ISIS as Takfirists, as they emerged in June 2014 claiming to be the members of an “Islamic” State of Iraq and Syria.
The first Islamic scholar who contextualised the religious extremism of ISIS as Takfirism is Shaikh Habib Ali al-Jifri one of the progressive Islamic scholars in the UAE, who also runs Tabah Foundation to confront the extremist ideologies in the region.
In his interview with Sky News Arabia in July 2016, he explains how he seeks to confront the extremist discourse of the ISIS using the references from the Quran and Hadith. Al-Jifri says:
“In order to diagnose and describe the ISIS properly, one part of the problem is that it relies on [referencing] scriptural texts and sources. Some of these texts are inviolable. Some are based on independent legal reasoning (ijtihad) that is open to reconsideration. And some are based on legal judgments that are wrong and were not recognised [by legal authorities]. This part of the problem is related to religious discourse and it is our (religious leadership’s) responsibility to confront ISIS and pay the price of that even if it be with our lives. But we also have to confront those followers and students [of these religious leaders] who do not like to talk about ‘religious renewal’ (tajdid fil deen) which they think leads to ‘dilution of the religion’.”
Habib Ali al-Jifri also expounds in his sermons, very popular among the liberal Arab Muslims, that, “the root-cause of the Islamist extremism is the lack of love and connection with the Prophet Muhammad (pubh)”. (Source: Given the recent terror strike on Madina, where the Prophet himself is buried, al-Jifri’s argument makes sense. Those who cannot harbour love and veneration for their own Prophet can go to any extent in their religious hate, xenophobia and takfirist terrorism. This is precisely what the latest fatwa issued by the Indian Islamic seminary Jamia Manzar-e-Islam has also pointed out.    
Perhaps, Mufti Mohammed Salim Noori, the spokesperson of the seminary has referred to the same hateful ideology in his anti-terrorism fatwa, saying that the terrorists like “Hafiz Saeed promotes people who have written disparaging remarks against the Prophet Mohammed”.
Undeniably, the Takfirists are antagonistic to all the Muslims who love and venerate the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and other holy saints of Islam calling them idol-worshippers and hence Kafir. They show equal abhorrence to the pluralistic Muslims who befriend people of other faiths. This results from the hardcore belief in the Takfirist doctrine of “al-Wala wal-Bara” (loyalty with Muslims and disavowal to the non-Muslims). The 18th century Takfirist ideologue Ibn Abdul Wahhab Najdi wrote in his book “Majm’u al-Fatawa al-Aamma”: “One cannot be a perfect believer (Muslim) until he/she shows hatred in his/her words and actions against the non-Muslims”.
The Indian Express has quoted Mufti Saleem Noori to have said in his fatwa that, “followers of Islam have been asked not to listen to such people or follow them”. This  'fatwa' was issued in a reply to a jurisprudential query (called Istifta) posed by one Mohd Moinuddin of Jaipur who had mentioned that Hafiz Saeed believed in those writings against Prophet Mohammad (pubh).
In his fatwa, Mufti Saleem Noori replied that “having any type of connection with persons working against the dignity of Allah and the Prophet was “haraam (forbidden in Islam)”. “Therefore, it is compulsory for every Muslim not to follow him and keep away from his ideology,” it stated. The fatwa also declared Hafiz Saeed “a man with terrorist ideology”, and the one “whose acts have brought infamy to Islam and Muslims across the world”. Besides, Mufti Saleem Noori hinted at the un-Islamic ideology and points of view that provoked people to create terror. It is also worth mentioning that Jamia Razvia Manzar-e-Islam has launched a course on de-radicalisation titled “Islam and Terrorism”. According to the madrasa rector, it is aimed to teach students a tolerant Islam to curb radicalism and extremism in their respective localities.
But regrettably, the Takfirist writings and thoughts that actually mobilise the potential terrorists are not being rebutted in any so-called anti-terrorism Islamic curriculum.  They are promoted in India today as freely as in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. This rhetoric is the easiest tool for the ISIS and the ilk to catch the imagination of the gullible Muslim youths. The self-proclaimed Khalifa Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has long said: "a generation of Muslim youths has been trained based on the forgotten doctrine of al-Wala wal Bara (loyalty with Muslims and disavowal to the non-Muslims)".
Of course, Mufti Saleem Noori is well-intentioned in his fatwa against Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and his "terrorist ideology" that has "brought defamation to Islam". But the caution is warranted on giving the 'fatwa al-takfir’ (the religious edict declaring anyone kafir). 
True, the terrorists cannot be considered Muslim in the true sense, as the Prophet clearly defined Muslim as “the one from whose hand and tongue people are safe”.  But the Islamic jurists (muftis) must take cognizance of their approach towards countering terrorism. By declaring the terrorists “kafirs” (infidels), they are also, unintentionally, going their way. The Kharjites of ISIS also declare all those who don’t believe in their vile ideology as kafir and mushrik (infidel and polytheist) and hence slaughter them.
The fatwa against radicalisation and extremism is certainly a welcome move. However, the anti-extremism Ulema cannot stem the tide of the global Kharijite terrorism— which stems from Takfirism— by just issuing fatwas of Kufr against the terrorists.
The Barelwi fatwa against Hafiz Saeed and his cult of violent extremism and jihadism is certainly a welcome move. However, the anti-extremism muftis cannot stem the tide of the global Kharijite terrorism— which stems from Takfirism— by just issuing fatwas of Takfir against the terrorists. They must engage in a brainstorming on how they can genuinely counter the extremist jihadist narratives. And it is only possible with a well-considered approach to the refutation and rebuttals of the takfirst theological underpinnings which, unchallenged by the ulema, are impacting on the Muslim religious zealots. To begin with it, Indian ulema will have to evolve a robust and progressive interpretation of the Islamic scriptures and a well-reasoned and rational understanding of the Islamic doctrines such as jihad, hakimiyah (God’s rule over the earth), khilafah (Islamic caliphate) and ishtishhad (seeking martyrdom) and al-wala wal-bara (love and hatred for the sake of God). These are some of the theological terminologies and references from the Quran and hadith that the violent Jihadists misconstrue to justify their atrocities.
Indian Muftis need to articulate a complete and coherent Islam-based refutation of the takfirist theology itself, rather than resorting to the takfirism against the terrorists. Only then they can help to rescue the new-age gullible Muslim youths from the creeping extremist indoctrination.
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a scholar of Comparative Religion, Classical Arabic and Islamic sciences, cultural analyst and researcher in Media and Communication Studies.
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Erdoğan’s Vow To ‘Cleanse ISIS’: Can Turkey Fight War On Terror, while Erdoğan Backs the Political Islamists and Persecutes Moderates Like Fathullah Gulen?

Erdoğan’s Vow To ‘Cleanse ISIS’: Can Turkey Fight War On Terror, while Erdoğan Backs the Political Islamists and Persecutes Moderates Like Fathullah Gulen?

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi
31 August 2016
On March 31, 2016, Newsweek published a piece entitled, “It’s Impossible to Beat ISIS with Erdoğan in Power”. The author, MICHAEL RUBIN, a Middle East expert, made the point that Erdoğan’s refusal to recognize those who justify violence through religion both increases Turkey’s own vulnerability to attacks and also cheapens its broader counterterrorism effort.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the 12th President of Turkey continued to live in denial of the radical Islamism’s onslaught on the world. He did not accept it even when the “Islamic State” jihadists took hostage 49 Turkish diplomats and truck drivers in Mosul, Iraq and rather bent over backward to avoid calling them terrorists.
But, after the Turkish wedding attack perpetrated by an IS-linked minor suicide bomber killing 54 people, including 39 children, the Turkish President has vowed to ‘completely eliminate the Islamic State militants from its border region’. At a news conference in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said using an Arabic name for the ISIS: "Daesh should be completely cleansed from our borders and we are ready to do what it takes for that".
Though ISIS did not claim the responsibility for the wedding attack, it had previously claimed to have “covert units” in Turkey. Given this, the Turkish government’s pledge to strike the Islamic State and its terrorism is solicited in the country.
But the Turkish President needs to ponder how he can counter the ISIS and its violent jihadist ideology when he himself displays an Islamist-caliphate mindset and even supports outfits with the political Islamist ideology.   No counter-terror strategy can stem the tide of the global terrorism— championed by the self-imposed Islamic caliphate— by just vowing to eliminate the terrorists and ranting against them.
In fact, the ideology of all the radical Islamist movements across the region is the same. It is distressing to note that the Turkish President endorses the political Islamist movements like the Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood) and Rabita al-Alam al-Islami (The Muslim World League) – a pan-Islamist movement massively funded by the Saudi government to expand the Salafi-Wahhabi network. More to the point, Erdoğan even soured its relations with the new Egyptian government which launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and banned the books of Sayyid Qutb, Hasan al-Banna, Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi and all other ideologues of the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing them of fomenting ideological extremism among the Muslim youths. Notably, the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments has removed Muslim Brotherhood’s literature from mosques, madrasas and libraries across the country.
But, instead of emulating the Egyptian government’s committal and uncompromising stance on the radical Islamism, Erdoğan lends support to the Muslim Brotherhood and its extremist ideologue and Qatar-based Salafist televangelist Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. No wonder then, since Erdoğan’s victory in the last presidential elections in Turkey, al-Qaradawi has been singing praises for him declaring Istanbul as the “capital of the Islamic caliphate”.
Recently, al-Qaradawi wrote a letter of allegiance to the Turkish President Recent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as president of the World Federation of Muslim Scholars. In the wake the failed coup in Turkey, he tweeted in Arabic:
الله معك، وكل الأحرار في العالم معك، ونحن علماء الأمة الإسلامية معك..والملائكة بعد ذلك ظهير
 (“Allah is with you [O Erdoğan], and the righteous believers in the world are with you. We all Islamic scholars support you, while the all angels are your backers”).
Clearly, this is a politically motivated use of the religion to earn Erdoğan support of the global Muslim community. It inspired many of the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters in the region to elevate the Turkish President to the highly revered position of “the promised Imam Mahdi”, or the awaited messiah who is believed to emerge in the end time as saviour of mankind from the clutches of evil.  “Turkey is the ‘mother of the world’ and Erdoğan is the ‘awaited Mahdi'”, tweeted an avowed supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Dr Jasim Khalfan who tweets at @Dr Jasim Khalfan.
 As a matter of fact, Erdoğan emerged as the regional supporter and promoter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s international network since the 30th June revolution in Egypt. He hosted several planning meetings held by the MB against the new Egyptian government. In an article published by Al-Arabiya Institute for Studies, Mohammad Abdel Kader notes that, “Turkey’s defence of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the tears of RecepTayyip Erdoğan when the Egyptian security forces attempted to storm the sit-in of Rabaa al-Adawiya, proved Erdoğan’s ties with the Muslim Brotherhood’s international organization and their mutual interest in restoring “the era of Islamic rule,” seen by the Brotherhood as the basis for protecting “the Islamic nation.”
If Turkey is truly serious about its pledge to combat the ISIS, it should first disassociate itself with the radical Islamist movements. Instead, Turkish government is battling the Hizmet movement, an educational, humanitarian and dialogue-oriented NGO which advocates a pluralistic, dialogic and progressive Islam. Thus, the Turkish President is hell-bent on curtailing a sane and moderate Muslim voice which is abysmally minimal in the Islamic world today. On the other hand, Turkey is welcoming the political Islamist hardliners with open arms. A strong case in point is Yusuf al-Qardawi’s staunch support for the Turkish President Erdoğan glorifying him as “ameer-ul-mominin” (the chief of the believers) and “an Islamic leader gaining support from heaven, angels and Allah”.
Notably, Qaradawi is also the contemporary ideologue of the Egyptian-origin political Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which was conceptualised and championed by Hassan al-Banna in 1949 and Sayyid Qutb in 1966.
Furthermore, al-Qaradawiis the first contemporary Islamic scholar who sought to justify the jihadists’ suicide-bombing in his worldwide exposure via Al-Jazeera television, through his weekly program “Sharia and Life” (al-Shari’awal-Hayat). He also reaffirmed his statement in 2004 in his interview with BBC television:
“Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do.”
 In his talk with Al-Jazeera, Al-Qardawi went to the extent of saying that “he was not alone in believing suicide bombings in Palestinian territories as legitimate form of self-defence for people who have no aircraft or tanks”. “Hundreds of other Islamic scholars are of the same opinion”, he said.
But it was the Turkish moderate scholar Fathullah Gulen who debunked this virulent viewpoint. He came up with a hard-hitting refutation of the radical Islamists’ theological justification of suicide bombings underpinned by the present-day political Islamist ideologue Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who fervently supports Erdoğan. Rebutting al-Qardawi’s justification of suicide bombings, Gulen wrote: 
“Apparently, Qaradawi has said that this (suicide bombing) is legitimate in Islam since they (Palestinians) have no other weapons to use. I was deeply saddened when I heard this statement by Yusuf al-Qardawi (b.1926) because he, like Ratib al-Nabulsi (b.1938), Saeed Ramadan al- Buti (d.2013) and Hassan al-Turabi (b.1932) is well-known in the Muslim world. These are not average people; they are well-known. When they speak, it is as if they speak on behalf of Islam and, as a result, Islam is negatively impacted by this statement. How can he legitimise such an act? On what Islamic rule or principle does he base this opinion? That does not mean I am suggesting that we remain indifferent to what is happening there – I die with every person I see dying in those lands. But this form of action is not in accordance with the “pleasure of God” or with reason.’ 
Such thoughts of Fathullah Gulen are practical examples of genuine counter-extremism. It shows that Gulen is a moderate Turkish Islamic scholar battling takfirism, political Islamism and violent jihadism living in self-exile. But the religious justification of suicidal violence underpinned by Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the political Islamist ideologue fervently supporting Erdoğan is alarming.
Erdoğan cannot fight a war on ISIS with his binary approach towards violent extremism. He first needs to tackle the ideological sympathizers of political Islamism— Yusuf al-Qaradawi and his ilk who influence the extremist religious goons in the Muslim world. At the same time, he must stop his crackdown on the moderate and progressive scholars and free thinkers in the country. By backing the political Islamists and persecuting the moderates, it cannot rescue the country from the creeping extremism.
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a scholar of Comparative Religion, Classical Arabic and Islamic sciences, cultural analyst and researcher in Media and Communication Studies.
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Monday, 9 May 2016

Go Green: Wage An Eco-Friendly Jihad


Prince Charles, son of Queen Elizabeth II, was addressing an enlightened gathering at Oxford University. He said, "From what I know of the Quran, again and again it describes the natural world as the handiwork of a unitary benevolent power. It very explicitly describes Nature as possessing an “intelligibility” and that there is no separation between Man and Nature, precisely because there is no separation between the natural world and God.”

Clearly, there is an inseparable relation between the environment and our soul. To wage an eco-friendly jihad will be a noble effort, to please God and ensure that we experience heavenly bliss in the here and now before we chance upon eternal paradise.  

The holy Quran offers a completely integrated view of the Universe where human souls and the environment are all part of one living, conscious whole. Therefore, it exhorts us to live a balanced, moderate and eco-friendly life without causing any harm to Earth. It says, "And do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption." (2:60) and “And do not desire corruption in the land. Indeed, God does not like corruptors." (28:77).

In the Quranic view, corruption on earth is not confined to only political crimes such as frauds, theft, rape, illegal banking or other prevalent malpractices. Deforestation, toxic waste, pesticides, and cutting trees are also part of grave corruption and hence brazen violation of true Islamic universal values. Prophet Muhmmad spent all his life in an eco-friendly jihad, saving humankind, caring for other creations, preserving the earth, planting trees and protecting the environment at large.

When the Prophet was just 12, he travelled to Syria with his uncle and took shelter under a tree. Today, after more than 1400 years, the same tree is alive in the northern deserts of Jordan. This tree, which sheltered the Prophet, is the only living tree in hundreds of square miles of emptiness. It speaks volumes about the Prophet’s utmost care for the preservation of trees. He left behind a living inspiration for all humankind to go green, for his holy shrine is known as “the Green Tomb”. Greatly venerated by Muslims the world over, it is one of the most visited Islamic heritage sites.

Just as the Prophet was keen on planting trees, his companions also keen and they carried on with this virtuous act. The Prophet promised ample rewards and heavenly bliss for those who engage in it in any way: “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded” (Musnad).

Like the above hadith, scores of prophetic sayings emphasise the need to go green, preserve the earth and become environment-friendly, reminding us of our humane duty to plant trees. For the Prophet, a tree was not only a resting place, but also an infinite mercy of God that one should take care of.  Ultimately, planting a tree is a Sadaqah Jariya or an ever-lasting charity in Islam. Whenever a human being or even an animal shelters under the shade of a tree or relishes a fruit that it produces, the planter earns infinite rewards, even after his death. For the poor and rich alike, planting a tree is the easiest and surest way to earn Sadaqah Jariya. So, let us all try and plant away. (The author is a classical Islamic scholar).

Mystic Mantra: The ummah of Hussain


The martyrdom of Imam Hussain was meant to rescue faith from the clutches of evil.

Muharram-ul-Haram, is one of the most remarkable months in the Islamic calendar. The 10th Muharram, when the holy grandson of the Prophet Muhammad was martyred for the cause of truthfulness and justice, reminds us of a turning point in the history of Islam. The martyrdom of Imam Hussain was meant to rescue faith from the clutches of evil.
Historically speaking, the Karbala revolution was an ideological battle between two characters — one spiritual and the other political. On one hand, Imam Hussain was an epitome of love, peace, wisdom, spirituality and humanitarianism. After the demise of his elder brother Imam Hasan, he became the legitimate spiritual guide of Muslims as an upright heir of the Prophet’s legacy. He respected the agreement of peace signed between his elder brother Hasan and Yazid’s father, Muawiya. Serving the community as a pacifist spiritual leader and a social activist, the Imam left no stone unturned to ensure peace and equilibrium in the society.
Yazid, a corrupt, drunkard, warmonger and a mischief-maker, rose to political power. In his bid to seek mundane pleasures, he wantonly killed innocent civilians, raped and maimed women. Adhering to righteousness and challenging Yazid’s atrocities, Imam Hussain refused to pay allegiance to him. When he received the letter from Yazid, he boldly responded to his ambassador, “A person like me would not take the oath of allegiance to a person like Yazid.” Hussain was aware of the fact that he would be martyred in the battle of Karbala, because he had a tiny group of friends and relatives to fight Yazid’s huge army. But he had the courage and conviction to uphold the truth. His martyrdom came as a serious setback to every truth-seeker. Hussain’s martyrdom serves as a reminder to us to take cognisance of the real objective of jihad.

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and a Delhi-based writer. He can be contacted at: