by Tahir Mahmoud (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 3, Rajab, 1435)
The anti-Islamic nature of pseudo-Salafis is evident from their behavior in Syria—killing not only civilians but also members of rival groups—but it is the pseudo scholars in the service of empire that must be exposed.
The blessing in disguise of the ongoing proxy-war in Syria is the exposure of the pseudo-Salafi movement as grossly incompetent and far from the Islamic legal and doctrinal framework. The “salafi” project has been a complete failure in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Waziristan and now in Syria. It is natural that “salafi” groups would end up where they are today as their intellectual and fiqhi sources of emulation are in one way or another linked to the imperialist backed autocratic and illegitimate regimes in the Muslim world. The “‘ulama” they follow receive political, social and financial support from illegitimate regimes that are in power only because they have pledged allegiance to imperialism and Zionism.
Pseudo-Salafis worldwide have great regard for “scholars” like ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz and Shaykh Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad ibn al-‘Uthaymeen. Ibn Baz provided his fatwa services for US forces to occupy the Arabian Peninsula in the early-1990s. Al-Qaeda and its Syrian branches revere Shaykh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen, whose close ties to the Saudi regime are well known. Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen’s fatwas are regularly used by al-Qaeda-minded groups worldwide to legitimize their attacks against civilians.
Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen used to deliver speeches in al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah for more than 35 years. Let us ask a simple question: if Ibn al-‘Uthay-meen’s speeches were not beneficial for the US-backed Saudi regime, would he have been permitted to speak a word in public in Saudi Arabia? Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen used to teach at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University. This institution was founded by royal decree in 1974. Would the royal family establish a truly independent Islamic institution? It is absolutely mindboggling how some Muslims take “scholars” like Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen seriously. He has been a paid servant of a regime that is publically allied with the US and has unofficial, but well-known relations with the Zionist regime in Occupied Palestine.
Pseudo-Salafi leadership is also silent about the Muslim World League, the Saudi-funded organization that 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 cities. After this “observation,” they immediately issued a fatwa in favor of US military presence in the Arabian Peninsula.
It would not be an exaggeration to state that the proxy-war against Islamic Iran and its allies being fought in Syria is one of the most documented armed conflicts in the history of humanity. Not a day passes by without some group involved in the conflict presenting a vast amount of raw and edited footage of the war in Syria through social and conventional media outlets to global audiences. One of the most horrific and saddening aspects of the media front of the war in Syria is how hundreds of unruly militias are using Islamic titles and vocabulary to whitewash their crimes.
It has now become routine to come across videos of one “Islamic” group executing members of another “Islamic” group and each stating that they have executed a murtad, kafir or fasiq. There also appears to be competition among takfiri groups in Syria to declare those that do not agree with them as kafirs. One of the challenges facing an uninformed observer of the events in Syria is to figure out who is really a kafir or more kafir than the other!
The ongoing firefights between Jabhat al-Nusrah (JN), the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and other smaller pseudo-Islamic groups, is a clear sign that this trend is a failure. These groups cannot even agree among themselves on basic matters, let alone adopting the Prophetic model of an inclusive multi-ethnic and multicultural Islamic state. As highlighted by the leader of the Islamic movement in Lebanon, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, JN and ISIS follow the same school of thought and both claim to follow the same “amir,” yet they slaughter each other by the thousands. How can these bloodthirsty groups establish any sort of a state, much less one claiming to be Islamic?
Another aspect that Muslims need to ponder over is the influx of “mujahidin” into Syria. Over the past 50 years, these groups never went to Palestine, but now they are being allowed to travel to Syria from all corners of the globe. Would Turkey, a NATO member, allow these people to use its territory for logistical purposes if their “jihad” were not in line with NATO interests?
As the US-Israeli-Zionist project against Syria begins to bite dust, hopefully Muslims worldwide that have been lured by Saudi “scholarship” through “scholars” for hire and publishing houses like Dar-us-Salam (financed by the Saudis) will begin seriously revising their understanding of Islam and their worldview. In order for this process to reach an effective conclusion, an institutionalized and planned work needs to be carried out by ‘ulama representing different schools of thought. Particularly, there must be a specific and coordinated action plan among Sunni ‘ulama to rid themselves of all Saudi influence.
With the financial backing of Aal Saud, the pseudo-Salafis have managed to hijack the Sunni school of Islamic jurisprudence. The prominent Sunni ‘ulama, who have courageously confronted the fifth columnists, therefore need to come together in order to form a united and well planned front against the pseudo-Sunnis.