by Zafar Bangash (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 2, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1436)
The only game the Najdi Bedouins know is to spread sectarian fitnah. Would they succeed in Yemen where not only the Shia Houthis but also several Sunni groups are also opposed to the Najdis’ favourite tyrant.
The Muslim East (aka the Middle East), is in turmoil. While external manipulation is always present, we cannot deny internally generated fitnah either, to advance the narrow interests of illegitimate rulers. The Muslim East comprises artificial nation-states that were created as part of the colonial agenda of Britain and France at the beginning of the last century. Ottoman Turkey was defeated and dismembered by instigating Arabian nationalism against Muslim Turkey. True, the Ottomans were not model Islamic rulers but the dirty role played by Britain and France to instigate bedouin tribes to subvert them is well-documented. “Saudi” Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq (in its current borders), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all owe their existence to colonial intrigue. And they have continued to serve colonial interests ever since.
As if unleashing the takfiri terrorists in Syria and Iraq, the brutes in uniform against innocent civilians in Egypt and the trigger-happy Zionist marauders in Occupied Palestine were not enough, the bedouins from Najd — Bani Saud — have launched a new war, this one against Yemen, the poorest of Arabian countries. Its 28 million people lead a precarious existence. Bani Saud have never done anything to help the poor even in the Arabian Peninsula so it would be too much to expect these greedy royals to do anything for the people of Yemen or beyond. What we are witnessing today is reconfirmation of a prophetic hadith; let us remind ourselves of what the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said about Najd. There are many hadiths that predict the eruption of a great fitnah (sedition) from there. One hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (ra) says,
The Prophet (pbuh) mentioned [the following], “O Allah! Bless for us our Shaam [geographical Syria/Levant]; O Allah! Bless for us our Yemen.” They [Muslims in attendance] asked, “And our Najd?” He (pbuh) said, “O Allah bless for us our Shaam; O Allah! Bless for us our Yemen.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah! And our Najd?” And as if the third time around he (pbuh) said, “There [in Najd] will occur tremors, sedition, and with it shall rise the generation of Satan.”
The expression used in the hadith is qarn al-shaytan (literally meaning, the horn of Satan) but scholars have interpreted this to mean the generation of Satan. Muslims not blinded by Bani Saud’s propaganda would readily understand based on the prophetic hadith that these people have been at the root of much of the fitnah in the Muslim world. They have used (or abused) their vast wealth from oil sales — as much as $100 billion since 1975 — to buy many Muslims’ loyalty but Allah (swt) commands us to speak the truth even if it be against ourselves or our kith and kin (4:135).
And what is the Bani Saud’s excuse for attacking Yemen? They claim to be supporting the “legitimate government” of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The so-called “legitimate” president had resigned in January 2015 and fled the country on March 26 before the bedouins from the north launched their air strikes that have caused massive civilian casualties in Yemen. And who supports them in this criminal enterprise? They are joined by such great defenders of human rights and democracy as the brutes in uniform in Egypt, the treacherous Jordanians and Moroccans and the ever-obliging potentates occupying the western shores of the Persian Gulf. The one thing they have in common is they are all agents of imperialism and Zionism. Even Turkey under its new Pasha, Recep Tayip Erdogan, has bared his fangs. He is huffing and puffing against Islamic Iran as if Tehran is responsible for the Houthis’ anger and uprising in Yemen. The Houthis have legitimate grievances that have been ignored for decades.
The Houthis’ uprising is not sectarian despite Bani Saud and their partners in crime framing it that way. True, the Houthis are Zaydi Shi‘is but if their campaign were sectarian-based they would not have had the support of such people as the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was considered a protégé of Bani Saud until he was forced to resign in February 2012, and happens to be a Sunni. He has joined the Houthis against Hadi’s US-Saudi-backed regime.
In walking the political tightrope, Bani Saud may have made the fatal slip. Gripped by growing internal discontent borne of mass unemployment and poverty, an uncertain transition to the next generation and growing realization among Muslims worldwide of its true nature — as agents of imperialism and Zionism — they may have signed their death warrant by attacking Yemen. If it drags on, the Yemeni crisis together with the liver-eating takfiris rampaging in the north will have serious repercussions for the Najdis’ hold on power in the Arabian Peninsula itself.
Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought