Hamas’ legitimacy challenged not by Palestinians, but by takfiri “scholars”

Developing Just Leadership

Yusuf Dhia-Allah

Dhu al-Qa'dah 24, 1431 2010-06-01


by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (Background, Crescent International Vol. 39, No. 4, Dhu al-Qa'dah, 1431)

The US, UK, Fatah and the secular tribal dictatorships in the Arabian world cannot use Islam to discredit Hamas because the Muslim masses judge individuals, organizations and states based on Islamic principles.

After failing to undermine Hamas using economic embargos, military aggression and international organizations, the global hegemonic powers have devised a new scheme to achieve their nefarious designs: supporting pseudo-Islamic organizations. Since Hamas’s victory in the January 2006 elections in Palestine, it has faced numerous internal and external challenges. Apart from Zionist occupation, at the domestic level Hamas faces the Israeli and Western-backed Fatah. At the international level, the global hegemons led by the US and Britain have applied intense economic and political pressure and through their proxy regimes in the Arabian world to bring Hamas to its knees. None of these forces has any credibility among the masses in the Muslim world. Unlike Hamas they do not derive their legitimacy from Islam. That is why their elitist pressure on Hamas does not carry popular weight and achieves only limited results.

The US, UK, Fatah and the secular tribal dictatorships in the Arabian world cannot use Islam to discredit Hamas because the Muslim masses judge individuals, organizations and states based on Islamic principles. Anti-Hamas forces are so detached from Islamic ideals and principles that any attempt on their part to use Islam is immediately viewed with suspicion. They have, therefore, opted for a more sophisticated approach to discredit Hamas: through groups and organizations that are emotionally attached to Islam but have a superficial understanding of it. These groups and individuals base their animosity toward Hamas on minor issues, related mainly to administrative affairs. Based on such trivial concerns these groups are quick to label Hamas as murtad or a munafiq group. Apart from committing great transgression through their khawarij and takfiri practices, these groups have turned into powerful instruments in the hands of the US and its allies in advancing their agenda. In order to see how they serve the strategic agenda of anti-Islamic forces, incompatibility of their thought with the Qur’an and Sunnah must first be exposed.

The pseudo-Islamic challenge

One reason why pseudo-scholars like the Palestinian-Jordanian Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, the Kuwaiti Hamed al-Ali, the Saudis Abdulaziz Bin Baz, Sheikh Uthaymeen, Sheikh Jebreen and at one point even Osama bin Laden were or are given sanctuary and platform by the regimes highly dependent on the US for their survival, is to bog the Islamic movement down in endless polemical debates. The goal here is not to dissect their every ruling and perspective and thus serve the US agenda, but to identify their flawed perspective in order to see how pseudo-scholars like al-Maqdisi are unconsciously used to advance the strategic agenda of the US.

Since Hamas’s electoral victory in 2006 to lead the liberation struggle against the Zionist occupiers and since checkmating a coup plot by Fatah in Gaza a year later, it began facing takfiri accusations launched by al-Maqdisi and others accusing it of “abandoning God’s law for a man-made law.” Putting aside the dogmatic rhetoric that in any case is used out of context, the core argument of these scholars against Hamas is that it rebelled against Allah (swt) by participating in elections and that Hamas is not keen on enforcing the laws of Allah (swt). The accusers of Hamas are the very people that proclaim Bin Baz and Jebreen as “great scholars.” It was Bin Baz that provided Islamic cover for the US forces to occupy theArabian Peninsula in complete violation of a clear hadith of the noble Messenger (r). Sheikh Jebreen has the dubious distinction of proclaiming Hizbullah “a party of Satan” at a time when the Islamic resistance group was engaged in a defensive war against the Zionist State of Israel in 2006. They are also silent about the Muslim World League. This Saudi-funded organization transported 350 of its scholars in September of 1990 from Jeddah to Makkah and Madinah in order for them to confirm that the US forces were not present in the holy sites. After this “observation” they immediately passed a fatwah in favor of the US military presence in the Arabian Peninsula.

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, in his public letter to Shaikh Yunis Al-Astal, a senior Hamas religious figure, launched a tirade against the movement for participating in elections. Elections per se are not forbidden; nor are they a rebellion against Allah (swt). They are simply a means to consult the people on the process of administering their affairs in a Muslim society or the Islamic state. In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) while listing the qualities of those committed to Him also include mutual consultation as one of them to order their affairs (42:38). The same aspect of consultation is enjoined upon the noble Messenger (r) in conducting the affairs of the people (2:59).

Thus, elections as a method of administering the affairs of Muslims are within the Islamic principles of public administration. At the time of the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet (r), and a number of companions were of the opinion that they should defend Madinah from the enemy onslaught by remaining within the city. The majority wanted to go out of the city to face the enemy; the Prophet (r) consented to majority opinion. Later they realized they were wrong in pressing their opinion and that they should have deferred to the Prophet’s (r) suggestion. Thus, even the Prophet (r) used consultation as a method of administrating the affairs of the Muslim society within the bounds of Islamic law.

Another accusation levelled against Hamas by the pro-Saudi and Jordanian scholars is that Hamas does not implement certain regulations of the Shari‘ah. These “regulations” often mean outlawing modernity. In his letter to al-Astal, al-Maqdisi lashed out at Hamas for the execution of Abu Nur al-Maqdisi in Gaza who was responsible for bomb attacks on internet cafes and other civilian targets.

Setting aside the fact that Hamas operates in an environment of total blockade and in a state of constant military conflict, the pseudo-scholars are more concerned with internet cafes and mixed weddings than with the occupation of Muslim lands and people. It would be interesting to know what Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who is sheltered by the Jordanian regime, would tell the second khalifah of the Muslims, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab when he suspended the hadd for theft during the Year of the Famine? Would he also say that the second khalifah “abandoned the laws of Allah (swt)” because he tried to ease the condition of Muslims living under exceptional circumstances? During extreme hardship even Allah (swt) allows the suspension of certain regulations, such as the consumption of non-halal meat. Only an ignorant person would fail to see the position of Hamas in such extreme hardship.

Taking all of the above into consideration it must be remembered that the primary goal of Hamas is to eliminate the Zionist occupation of Palestine and then establish an Islamic state. During the state of occupation, talk of Islamic dress code and Islamic cinematography and so on becomes secondary. Nevertheless, the Charter of Hamas which it is constantly pressured to abandon remains intact and is the guideline of its resistance and the post-liberation order in Palestine. The Charter of Hamas to which it remains committed and refuses to alter even under severe military and political pressure clearly states that an Islamic state is the ultimate goal of Hamas. An Islamic state cannot be fully implemented under a brutal foreign occupation.

Pseudo-mujahids as instruments

It requires no deep analysis that policies implemented by al-Qaeda minded groups and pseudo-scholars like Muhammad al-Maqdisi and his student Abu Musab al-Zarqawi cause great harm to Muslims and serve as a useful tool for the colonial powers to discredit Islam. The US-styled collateral terrorist attacks of al-Qaeda minded groups provided the US and its allies with the pretext to occupy two Muslim countries. Zarqawi’s atrocities against Muslims in Iraq created divisions within the Muslim Ummah and provided the US an opportunity to implement its divide and rule policy. All these advantages delivered to the US through Islamically flawed methods are greatly appreciated and used by Washington and its allies in their war of terror against Muslims.

The benefit given by al-Qaeda minded groups to the US and its allies is even admitted by Zionist pundits. An annual Zionist conference under the title The Herzeliya Conference 2010, (February 2010), painted a grim picture of US presence in the Middle East. Analysis by the Israeli think-tank, Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), highlighted the harsh realities facing US imperialism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran. Much blame regarding the unfavorable US position in the region was put on Barack Obama’s “lack of activism in the region.”

IPS analysis stated that “another successful attack of al-Qaeda along the lines of 9/11…the Obama administration’s policy shift towards activism, following possible attacks against American interests, may change the equation back and strengthen the deterrent image of the US.” If this analysis by a Zionist think-tank is not thought provoking enough on who benefits from 9/11 style attacks, then the two statements by the UN coordinator on al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, Richard Barret, is definitely worth considering.

During a series of lectures at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) by high ranking military and law enforcement officials analyzing the US war of terror against Muslims, Barrett made some interesting statements. He underlined the fact that al-Qaeda still had capabilities to pursue its agenda and gather resources. However, the surprising fact about Barret’s assessment of al-Qaeda was that a close US ally in the Middle East was involved in assisting al-Qaeda. According to Barret “the UAE is a good example of that, because in the Emirates, there seems to be a clear message to Taliban/al-Qaeda that okay, you may come here, you may have your meetings here, you may raise money here, but we draw a very, very firm line. And if you overstep that line, we’re going to hit you very hard.”

Another revealing comment by Barret related to al-Qaeda’s penetration into Palestine. Barret said: “until Hamas looks more moderate or looks as though it’s failing to local Palestinians, al-Qaeda will find it hard to make inroads there.”

The fact that a high ranking UN official and a former British secret service agent openly admits that a close US ally is allowing al-Qaeda to collect funds on its territory raises serious questions about an indirect US and al-Qaeda alliance. It must also be noted that since Hamas was elected in 2006, the US and its allies have exerted pressure on it to become “moderate.” According to Barret’s own assessment, this would benefit al-Qaeda. It can therefore be concluded that the US is interested in facilitating al-Qaeda entry into Palestine in order to discredit Hamas through al-Qaeda’s flawed methods.

The fact that al-Qaeda’s activities benefit US interests does not mean that al-Qaeda is on the US payroll or that it is under direct US supervision. It simply shows that the US is able to use al-Qaeda’s flawed tactics for its own benefit and will use them as long as it can. That is precisely why the US facilitates a political environment for al-Qaeda to exist because their tactical damage to the US is converted into a strategic advantage by providing an opportunity to discredit Islam.

Using takfiri ideas manufactured under the guidance of the Saudi regime, the US instigates conflicts within Muslim societies. That is why American officials refer to the Saudi regime as a strategic US ally in the Muslim world. Through takfiri centers based in Saudi Arabia or financed by them and politically backed by Western powers, the US mastered the ability to give its agenda an Islamic appearance like it did during the first Gulf War in 1990. This is an invaluable tool for the US because it divides Muslims using superficial, but emotionally appealing methods.

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