by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 10, Safar, 1436)
The takfiris have not erupted in a vacuum. Their emergence is part of a carefully laid out plan to destroy Muslim societies, turn Muslims away from Islam and to protect the Zionist entity.
Nothing emerges in a vacuum even if people are unaware of developments that suddenly erupt in some locale. The takfiris’ eruption is one such phenomenon. The primary reason for people’s lack of awareness is that the forces behind such groups and their media outlets deliberately keep people in the dark.
It would not serve the agenda of these powers/forces to reveal their real intentions. The most criminal enterprises are couched in language intended to lull people into complacency: “humanitarian intervention,” the “right to protect,” and “getting rid of a dictator to bring democracy” to a target society are some of the ruses used to advance their evil agenda.
The concept of takfir is not new; it has existed among fringe Muslim groups for centuries. Its roots can be traced all the way back to the Khawarij who emerged soon after the Battle of Siffin (37ah/657ce), which was fought following Mu‘awiyah’s rebellion against the legitimate authority of Imam ‘Ali (ra) as the khalifah. The Khawarij caused immense damage in early Islamic history including the assassination of Imam ‘Ali (ra) by one of their members. Thereafter they went into eclipse.
The takfiris, a contemporary incarnation of the Khawarij, made their debut with great force with the emergence of the House of Saud, which was later enabled and coached by British colonialists in the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudi hordes first attempted to grab power in 1774 and indulged in wholesale destruction in 1805 of Islamic sites in Makkah and Madinah as well as killing a large number of Muslims. The Ottoman governor of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, finally defeated the Saudi-Wahhabi hordes in 1819 in their stronghold of Dir‘iyah after he had driven them out from the two holy cities.
In less than 100 years (1902), they erupted again. The wily British by now on the march to colonize Asia and Africa, found in them a useful tool they could exploit to advance their own agenda. The Britons’ primary goal in the Arabian Peninsula was the control of Makkah and Madinah because of their significance to Muslims. The holy cities were to be handed over to the nominal care of a trusted “Muslim” British agent. The British had no particular preference between Sharif Hussain, at the time the Ottoman governor of Makkah whom they had promised the kingship of the entire Arabian Peninsula, and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud, the brigand from Najd. The latter proved far more ruthless and cunning and Sharif Hussain was driven out. Makkah and Madinah fell under the control of the Saudi hordes. It took them seven years (1925–1932) to gain total control before the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” was declared despite eschewing any plans to do so earlier.
Throughout their outward march, especially westward toward Makkah and Madinah, the Saudis perpetrated horrible crimes. They spared neither men nor women or even the tomb of the noble Messenger (pbuh). They would have destroyed it but for the fact that it was reinforced with stone and steel, thanks to the foresight of the Mamluk Sultan Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qaitbey who in 1481 undertook extensive repair and renovation work. The Saudi hordes were unable to destroy the dome over the Prophet’s (pbuh) Rawdhah al-Mutahharah despite trying.
Far more serious was their toxic ideology. Using the label of ‘tawhid’ — the Oneness of Allah (swt); who can argue with that — the Saudi-Wahhabis branded any Muslim who did not agree with their narrow interpretation of Islam a kafir and, therefore, legitimate target for killing. That there is absolutely no sanction for such conduct in the merciful Qur’an did not bother them. The noble Book expressly forbids the killing of innocent people.
Saudi savagery, however, has not remained confined to the Arabian Peninsula as we witness in the behavior of the takfiris in Iraq and Syria today. There are other players as well: the US, Israel, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey. Each has contributed to the rise, support and brutal conduct of the takfiris. The Americans have nurtured and financed them since 2005. Initially, funding was provided for political activity and propaganda purposes against the regime of Bashar al-Asad. Satellite channels were financed in Britain to beam anti-regime propaganda.
When Islamic uprisings began in December 2010 (in Tunisia and quickly followed by Egypt), the takfiri groups gained greater importance. The constant in US-Zionist-Saudi policy since 1979 has been the undermining of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Emergence of Islam in its natural dominant role threatens these regimes. When internal sabotage — the 8-year-long imposed war launched through Iraq — and even sanctions failed to bring Islamic Iran to its knees, another tactic was adopted: the takfiris claiming to speak in the name of Islam were unleashed. Having seen the failure of all other ideologies whether nationalism, Ba‘thism, socialism, tribalism or any other -ism, “Sunni” Muslims were now demanding Islamic solutions to problems in their societies. This added urgency to the imperialist-Zionist plan.
The takfiris were unleashed in Syria in hopes of overthrowing al-Asad’s government. Three years of bloodletting, cannibalism and other barbaric atrocities failed to achieve the desired result. No major defections from the Syrian army or government occurred despite tantalizing offers from the Saudis and Qataris. Instead, the Syrian people faced with a difficult choice between al-Asad and the takfiris opted for the former. The US-Zionist plan received a further setback with the June 3 Syrian presidential elections.
Advance polling on May 28 among Syrian refugees in Lebanon dealt a severe blow to Western propaganda that had projected al-Asad as unpopular, branding him a dictator. Despite pathetic excuses peddled by the Western corporate media, the Syrian refugees’ enthusiastic support for al-Asad exposed the fraud. He was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of Syrians both at home and abroad.
Once it became clear that al-Asad could not be overthrown by using armed mercenaries, the takfiris were unleashed in Iraq. The timing (June 10, 2014) of their emergence in Mosul, complete with brand new Toyota pick-up trucks and American Humvees is important. More crucially, the takfiris immediately declared a “khilafah” and rebranded themselves as the “Islamic State” from the more laborious title, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Declaration of the khilafah and the emergence of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the “khalifah” are not without significance. It is part of a carefully laid out plan based on deep knowledge of Islamic history and understanding of how the Muslim mind works.
The re-establishment of the khilafah is a long-cherished goal of the Muslims. By creating and promoting the most monstrous group using the name of Islam, calling itself the khilafah and hoisting black flags with the kalimah inscribed on them, Muslims worldwide were told that if you want Islam, this is what you would get. While the takfiris led by al-Baghdadi attracted some disgruntled and alienated Muslim youth from the West and mercenaries from around the Muslim world in search of a cause, the overwhelming majority of Muslims have been horrified by their barbaric practices.
Most Muslims aware of history consider the present borders of the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) as completely artificial. In fact, they are a reminder of the humiliating legacy of colonialism. A number of countries are also the product of Western, primarily British but also French, colonial intrigue. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), etc. did not exist until British-French meddling in the region. Committed Muslims would rather see the establishment of the Ummah, the Qur’anic concept under which all Muslims are considered equal and belong to a single socio-economic and political dispensation rather than the imposed nation-state structure.
The takfiris’ disruption of the colonial imposed borders — they occupy large swathes of Syrian and Iraqi territory — has appealed to some emotional but misguided Muslims. There is nothing wrong with abolishing these borders but who should do it and how, are important questions. Not everyone with a gun is entitled to declare a khilafah, desirable as this concept is in Islam. The khilafah cannot be imposed by beheadings or indulging in other barbaric acts.
Mercifully, most scholars from all schools of thought in Islam have rejected the self-declared khilafah. They have also declared the self-appointed “Khalifah” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as an impostor. True, some of these ‘ulama are tainted with official patronage but there is no prohibition on articulating the right position regardless of one’s personal status. As Imam ‘Ali (ra) said, “…pay heed to what is being said, not who is saying it.” The articulation of the correct principle is important.
We must, however, properly understand the agenda of the takfiris’ sponsors. The chief troublemakers are imperial America and Zionist Israel. They have the backing of others, primarily the regime in Saudi Arabia. Jordan and the UAE will do whatever the US demands; Qatar is trying to punch above its weight in international affairs to try and raise its stature while Turkey dreams of resurrecting its Ottoman-era prestige.
Keeping the region in turmoil serves a long-established US imperial agenda and it also serves the Zionist regime in Occupied Palestine. Since the end of the Cold War, the US has subjected the region to endless wars. Islamic Iran was its first target even before the Cold War ended because it posed — and continues to do so today — a challenge to US hegemony. It also offers an alternative model for governance free from the shackles of imperial domination. Other Muslim countries that have been at the receiving end of US-Zionist violence include Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen.
Direct military interventions whether in Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Lebanon or Libya have not produced the desired results. Instead, the US and Zionist Israel have faced great humiliations. The Americans had to flee Somalia within two months of invading the country. While the country has been reduced to ruins and is now considered a “failed state,” the US and its allies dare not send their soldiers in there again. The US also fled Iraq although it is trying to re-occupy the country using the takfiris as pretext. American troops are also on their way out of Afghanistan having been taught a lesson by the intrepid Afghans. The Alexander wannabes want out. The Zionists failed in Lebanon in 2006 and while they have repeatedly assaulted the tiny besieged enclave of Gaza (25km long and 5km wide), the Zionists have failed to achieve their objective: to eliminate the resistance groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
What they have achieved, however, is virtually the total destruction of these societies. Afghanistan and Iraq have been bombed back into the Stone Age. Syria has similarly been destroyed with the loss of at least $100 billion worth of infrastructure damage. It will take decades to recover. Lebanon too, after the July–August 2006 Zionist onslaught suffered nearly $11 billion of damage. Thanks to the generous help and support of the Islamic Republic, most of the destroyed buildings have been repaired. Tiny Gaza Strip that has suffered repeated assaults will require at least 20 years to rebuild. The vicious Zionist siege is still in place.
Thus, while the US and Israel have failed to cow down Muslims, they have inflicted massive physical damage. The Saudis are accomplices in this criminal enterprise. They want a pliant regime in Damascus, a wish that is unlikely to be realized given the resilience of the Syrian army and the unflinching support of Syria’s friends Russia and Iran.
To summarize, what the US-Zionist duopoly and their Arabian surrogates are doing is to cause maximum damage to societies they consider a challenge to their hegemony so that Israel’s tortuous existence could be prolonged. Further, by supporting and promoting the takfiris, an attempt is being made to turn Muslims away from the noble concept of the khilafah. This is not a project that has been cooked up in a hurry; the forces behind this plot have studied Islamic history carefully and drawn appropriate lessons from it. Are Muslims prepared to learn the right lessons from their own history?