Historical Roots of ISIS

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Rabi' al-Thani 23, 1436 2015-02-13

This issue of kufr and takfir is probably on many minds and we have been trying to trace it and to explain it and to expose it. Everyone who’s someone is commenting on the atrocities and the bloodshed and the acts of savagery that have been committed in the name of Islam against Muslims and non Muslims alike. This khutbah shall be another contribution for our heightened consciousness of Allah’s authoritative power presence in our affairs, in other words, to reinforce the taqwa in us. We want to mention to you that the word kufr and its derivatives is to be found or mentioned in about 525 or 535 times (in the Qur’an). One source says 525 (and) another source says 535. Whatever the case is, the word kufr is mentioned more than 500 times in the Qur’an. This is a very important word obviously. These individuals and these pop up groups who came out of nowhere- they have no Islamic roots neither in the contemporary Islamic movement nor in the contribution to Islamic thought nor anywhere- which places a question mark around their very existence and their origins! Nevertheless, when Allah has the word kufr and its derivatives appearing over 500 times in the guiding Qur’an that means that this is an important word for us to begin to understand. Its about time, we mean (that after) all of these years and all of these centuries it’s about time someone has a firm understanding of what the word is. Obviously this is a long and extended discourse if we were to go into the different ayaat or the different contexts with the different occasions (and) with different subtleties that this word carries throughout the ayaat of the Qur’an but for the purposes of today the shortest surahs are in the last juz’ (or) volume of the 30 volumes of the Qur’an. Those are the shortest surahs in the Qur’an. The shortest of the shortest surahs- let’s say beginning with Surah Ad Duha’ and Surah Alam Nashrah all the way to the muawwidatayn- these are the shortest of the shortest surahs in the Qur’an; which means, probably, that these surahs are memorized by more Muslims than any other of the surahs or any of the parts of the Qur’an. It’s something that many Muslims may repeat in their prayers (or) in their salah very frequently, (i.e.). these short surahs. Out of these short surahs, (the shortest or the shortest), the word kufr appears in two surahs only, (viz.) Surah Al Bayyinah and the word kufr also appears in the same surah once again.

لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ مُنفَكِّينَ حَتَّىٰ تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ رَسُولٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ يَتْلُو صُحُفًا مُّطَهَّرَةً

Those who are involved in the action of kufr from people who say “they are Ahl Al Kitab” as well as the Mushriks will not (or) are not going to break from their kufr until evidence comes to them. A Messenger from Allah who is sequencing unpolluted pages of Wisdom. (Surah Al Bayyinah verse 1-2)

In the same surah.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ شَرُّ الْبَرِيَّةِ

The Kafirs from Ahl Al Kitab as well as the Mushriks will dwell in the fire- the are the worst creatures. (Surah Al Bayyinah verse 6)

The other time the word kufr or its derivative is mentioned is in Surah Al Kafirun, a surah in the Qur’an that has the name Al Kafirun.

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ

O You who reject Allah and His signs, and His messengers, and His Power; I conform not to that which you conform to; Nor will you conform to that which I conform to; And I shall not conform to that to which you conform to; Nor will you conform to that which I conform to; To you be your way and to me be mine. (Surah Al Kafirun 1-6)

Now, (there’s) something to think about here and that is, is it perchance that Allah has mentioned the word kufr or its derivatives in only in two surahs in the shortest surahs of the Qur’an which most of the Muslims memorize? Could this be a subtle message that the Muslims are apt to misunderstand or misinterpret or misapply the meanings of this word? Could it be? This is just a question that merits our reflection (and) it merits our thinking. Why? In the shortest surahs of the Qur’an which probably most of the Muslims have memorized the word Kafirun or kafaru is only mentioned in two surahs? Now, in this short surah, Surah Al Kafirun, (this short surah that we just quoted, that we think most, if not all, Muslims are either familiar with or have memorized in this surah), to understand the word al Kafirun you need two keys to understand what it means. You have to understand two other words to understand what al Kafirun here means. The two words are abada.

لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ

I conform not to that which you conform to. (Surah Al Kafirun 2)

You have to understand this to understand what Kafir means. The other word is the word deen. The word deen has to be understood to understand what the word Kafir means because at the end the last ayah says

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ

Unto your deen and to me is my deen. (Surah Al Kafirun 6)

So without understanding these two words a’budu or ta’budun which is one word which is ibadah and the other word deen (it is difficult to understand the word Kafir.) The problem is: in the average Muslim public mind these two words are misunderstood, mistranslated and therefore how are we going to understand who al Kafirun is. If we don’t understand the words that divulge it’s meanings how are we going to understand what it is? The problem we have with the translations is ibadah here is called worship and obviously if we understand the word abada to mean worship or to worship then we’re going to not understand what the word Kafirun means. Then the word deen is translated as the word religion. If we understand the word religion to be deen (or) to mean deen then we are also contributing to our ignorance of the word al Kafirun. So here we are, we’re stuck! The average Muslim person is stuck because there is an imposed idiom, an imposed definition (and) an imposed nomenclature upon him or her that has nothing to do with the unadulterated meanings of the words of the Qur’an. This is why, (i.e.) because we don’t have a practical and a pure meaning of the word kafara and yakfuru and abada and a’budun and deenukum and deen. We don’t have the uninterrupted understanding of these words then they come along and they say “the Kafir is someone who is a blasphemer. A Kafir is someone who is heathen. A Kafir is someone who is an infidel. A Kafir is an unbeliever.” Where did this come from?! All of this is wrong! We have no such terminology in our Islamic book and in our Islamic sources- none!

So imagine- when you come across anyone who is speaking about ISIS or speaking about the takfiris and what they are doing and they use all of these terminology… They draw you into their sphere of thinking and analysis and because you don’t have the metal immunity you get drawn into it! You begin to think the way they are thinking and you begin to conclude with the conclusions they want you to conclude and that’s part of the mental fog that we are dealing with today. All the world is seeing and watching what this ISIS contrivance (and) fabrication are doing. Ugly! What they are doing is inhuman. It has nothing to do with Islam. What is the major impression that you have when the word ISIS is mentioned? The major impression is they have a knife (or) someone has a knife in his hand and then he’s slitting the throat of a fellow human being- that’s the first image; because it’s been repeated so many times that’s the first thing that comes to your mind. Now is this something new? This is the first time something like this has happened as far as our Islamic past and history is concerned?! Here’s where we also fail our test because, (as mentioned previously), some of us can look at history and understand it but we can’t bring the dynamics of that history to today’s world. We can’t make that connection! On the other hand some of us understand what’s happening in today’s world- we’re up to date on the development and the news and all of this but we cannot connect it with what happened in the past. This is our problem! We can’t see history in our own time and we cannot see our own time in history. It’s a problem. So because of this we’ve left a very wide gap for those who can look at the issues with thinking minds- their strategy may be destructive but nevertheless they can think through these areas that we refuse to think through. So when we see this savage, this atrocious (and) this blood curdling image of ISIS with the knife and the decapitated head we ask ourselves- and any Muslim who is vital should ask him or herself- “where did all of this come from?” Let’s go back to history and we’re not going to fall here into sectarianism. When some people want to open up historical chapters and pages they get misdirected into some sectarian issue. We’re speaking about powers, we’re speaking about regimes, we’re speaking here about individuals whether they are in power or whether they are in opposition and we’re speaking about issues of equality and justice.

There is a Sahabi by the name of… (We know it’s cold and we know we should make this a short khutbah- it’s probably the coldest jum’ah of the year but we will try to be short to impress on you what is happening today and what you see and what is being broadcast all around the world didn’t come from nowhere). There’s a type of background to it. The Sahabi, Hujr ibn Adi (radi Allahu anhu), who these takfiris by the way just about a year or so ago went to his grave in Syria, dug it up and then demolished it. Who is Hujr ibn Adi? He is a person that the regimes at the time said he is a Kafir. (You) see- just like what is happening today. It’s easy for the powers that be to identify people, Muslims, who disagree with the powers that be as Kafirs. If they want to get rid of them the first thing they do is “oh he’s a Kafir.” So they labeled him as a Kafir to justify killing him but what was the real reason that they killed him? Why was Hujr ibn Adi killed by the regime at that time? Because he refused- he’s a prominent Sahabi- to condemn Al Imam Ali (radi Allahu anhu). The government at the time wanted him to publically stand up and say bad words concerning Ali (and) he refused to do that. So they can’t kill him for refusing to say certain words so how do they contrive an excuse to kill him? They say he is Kafir.

Another opposition figure his name is Ghailan Ad Dimashqi. (Now, with the social media available to everyone you go in your own time and Google and be careful with the information that is being presented to you. We grant that you have a mature Islamic mental filter not to accept everything that is said to you). Anyways Ghailan Ad Dimashqi was killed. His tongue was cut off. His arms were cut off. What did the regime at the time say? Why did they do such a thing? Because they said he’s a Kafir but on further investigation what he really did was… He was told by Umar ibn Abd Al Aziz (radi Allahu anhu), one of the rulers during that Umawi period- the most balanced of the Umawi rulers, who assigned Ghailan the responsibility of looking into the wealth of Bani Umayah. Umar ibn Abdul Aziz himself was from Bani Umayah and he told Ghailan check on the wealth that this clan, his own clan, has. So he found out that these people have amassed so much wealth; so he went after this wealth. He had enough authority to do such a thing and then he began to channel this wealth back to the people but then the clan itself, Banu Umayah, caught up with him. He was the one who said I relieve myself (or) I am innocent from saying that these rulers are the leaders of guidance. A’immah al huda is what the leaders of that time (were titled), just like today’s leaders. In Arabia, where this accusation of kufr and takfir is financed and it is taught into schools and universities- same thing. We have to see today in history and we have to see history in today. If we can’t do that, as much as we try to grasp some issues and some facts they will corner us into sectarianism. It has nothing to do with sectarianism. So after Hisham ibn Abdul Malik, one of the Umawi tyrants, came to power they set up kangaroo court just like the kingdoms and the dictatorships of today have a kangaroo court and they asked him three questions concerning Allah, concerning, (what is called), the similarity of Allah and predestination. They asked him these three questions. His answer was I don’t know. He didn’t give them an answer. He didn’t give anyone an answer to indicate “oh your answer indicates you are a Kafir” but still even when he said I don’t know they said you are a Kafir and they used that to justify that horrible execution, (i.e.) killing him, cutting off his tongue and cutting off his arms or his hands.

Now these are not popular names: Al Juhm ibn Safwan- another person who was an opposition figure during one of these dynastic eras, the Umawi era. Once again they kill someone who disagrees with them. They kill him and they justify it by saying he’s a Kafir but the real reason is he participated in a revolt led by Al Harith ibn Surayj in the area of Khurasan against the Umawi regime. What was that revolt about? It was about governance and decision making being placed in the context of al Kitab and As Sunnah and ash shura. This was his real crime. His real crime wasn’t that he is a Kafir as the regime says then and it says today.

Another person- remember, these because the regimes write history- who is an opposition figure, he’s name is Al Jaad ibn Dirham. Just like today, you see them slaughtering; (they) take a sharp knife and decapitate the person- well if you saw it in ISIS nowadays you could have seen it in Bani Umayah during those days! This Jaad ibn Dirham was butchered on the day of Eid Al Adha. Of course, as usual, the regime, the government (or) the administration at the time said oh he’s guilty of kufr but what was the real reason? The real reason was he was an ally of an opposition figure called Yazid ibn Al Muhallab and Khalid Al Qasri, (which we mentioned in the previous khutbah), one of the ruthless (and) bloody governors was the one who passed the death degree against him without, in this case, any kangaroo court, without any procedure, without due course- nothing!

Another person by the name of Kambar who was a mawla of Ali- Al Hajaj, another one of these dictators and blood thirsty decision makers, also slaughtered Kambar. It’s like you see the ISIS people doing nowadays. This had a mirror image 1,300 plus years ago. What was the reason for this dhabh? His close relationship with Ali- that’s all it took to justify butchering and slaughtering an innocent human being. No crime, no offence, no felony- nothing!

Another person who the 1,300 year old ISIS slaughtered is Rashid Al Hijri This was very close to Ali and one of those who basically considered Ali his mentor obtained much of his knowledge (from him) and that was his crime. His crime was he had obtained knowledge and was influenced and was a very devout student of Ali. That was his crime! He did nothing wrong but what did they do to him? They brought the knife and they butchered him like you would butcher an animal.

A Sahabi who probably no one has even heard of! This is what official history does- it buries the names of the heroes so that we don’t know much about them. Rashid Al Hijri (radi Allahu anhu), a Sahabi who attended the battle of Uhud. What did this Ziyad, one of the rulers there do? He cut him into pieces! Some people ask “where did this Da’ish come from? Where did this ISIS come from?” We tell you it did not come from a vacuum. It’s not like they don’t have any roots. Then a blind spot in our minds- whether we are Sunnis or Shi’is, we should be Muslims first and these should be peripheral descriptions; but one of the blind spots we have is that we can’t see that when these things are happening- whether they are happening know, thank Allah there’s some Muslims who have awoken to the fact that there’s a combination of governments and militaries and intelligence services, etc. who are working to make this ISIS do what it is doing; but what we can’t see is the same thing was happening in history. The defeated empires that lost their influence and their territories and the occupation of other people’s land now were inside the Islamic dynasties taking revenge against those who were still in the line of the Prophet.

There’s a person by the name of Abu Rafi’. He was lashed 500 times. Why? The ruling regime said you have to change your mind as to what it means to be loyal to the Prophet, in other words they wanted him to be loyal to them even though in his mind and in his heart that would mean disloyalty to the Prophet. He wouldn’t do that so they whipped him 500 strikes. Remember he is known as Abu Rafi’, which probably only scholars in Islam have heard of him. The average person hasn’t heard of him; but who hasn’t heard of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal? He was lashed much less than that but everyone hears about him and no one hears about a person who receives 500 lashes?! (It’s) just like today, in the Arabian Peninsula there’s between 30,000 and 40,000 political prisoners- prisoners of conscience just like these individuals we are speaking about. They refuse to tow the official line. They want to speak their Islamic mind and conscience about the issues. Do you hear about any of the 30,000 or 40,000 that are behind bars in Saudi Arabia? Do you know anything about them? But there’s one liberal activist in the social media (and) there are demonstrations all over the place about him because the regime in Arabia’s judge- whatever passes for a judge- “condemned him to 1,000 lashes giving him these 1,000 lashes in installments. Every week he will be lashed 50 lashes.” All of the world has heard about him. Here, in Washington DC, in front of the Saudi embassy last week or two weeks ago there was a demonstration in support of him- not that the demonstration is wrong, not that this person has been mistreated and is being the subject of the pressures and the powers of the regime to which he is born. This person is a Saudi- that’s his citizenship; but the citation here is: why do we hear about a certain person and we don’t hear about another person?

Another person… These are the names that officialdom wants to erase from the public mind and by and large officialdom has been successful in erasing these names from the public minds. Have you heard of them? Are these household names? Haytham At Tam’maar. Anyone heard of Haytham At Tam’maar? This person was crucified. His tongue was also severed because he identified himself with Ali just like Kambar and Kumayl ibn Ziyad and Rashid Al Hijri- just like them. No crimes! Didn’t murder anyone! Didn’t commit any of the kaba’ir- nothing! No misdemeanor against them. It’s just their thoughts and their conscience disagreed with the ruling class and that’s what happened to them because of that.

Am’r ibn Al Hanq Al Khaza’i (radi Allahu anhu)- this is a Sahabi and a Muhajir Sahabi. Not many people have heard this name. Why? Because he ran afoul of the regime that undermined the Khilafah and turned Islamic rule into a monarchy. They also decapitated him. Just like the ISIS people are doing today that’s what they did to him by a direct order from king Muawiyah and then they threw his body to his wife who was incarcerated. His wife was in prison (and) they brought her husband’s headless body. They said this is your husband. They threw the body and they threw the head, here take him. Those who are pro-authorities, pro-regimes (and) pro-dynasties felt this is an accomplishment; so much so that we still have these pro-regimes (and) these underlings of officialdom in our Masajid, in our conferences, in our schools. Everywhere we will encounter them when they still have not conjured the courage to speak truth to power.

Then, finally, a woman by the name of Ath Thabja’- another one of these names that have gone down the historical memory hole. Have you heard of her? We’ll repeat her name, Ath Thabja’. No? (It) doesn’t ring a bell? No? Even to an above average enlightened and versed Muslim the name doesn’t ring a bell- that’s how awesome and ominous the powers that be are. Their influence has extended from 1,300 years and more all the way up to this day. Who was she? She was a virtuous woman who was killed by ibn Ziyad during the reign of Muawiyah. How was she killed? You think ISIS is doing new stuff? She was crucified upside down while she was naked. The silence is deafening from 1,300 to 1,400 years our mental silence has been deafening! Then all of sudden the same personalities the same mindset pops up today in the form of these takfiris and ISIS and we see all of this happening. The indication that we have been absent-minded is that we can’t see what is happening today as a reflection of what happened then and we can’t see what happened then as a mirror image of what is happening now. Who do you blame? Do you blame the Zionists and Imperialists? Do you expect them to educate us? You want the Zionists and Imperialists to bring out these facts so that we can correct our thoughts and defeat our weaknesses? No, they’re not going to bring us this information. The sectarians among us are incapable of brushing off the dust and the dirty of centuries of generations. To the contrary they perpetuate this polarization and bloody status quo. So, once again, as was mentioned at the beginning of the khutbah because of our self generated and self maintained ignorance this word kufr and Kafir has been picked up by those who studied us very well. They are our enemies and you can’t blame an enemy for doing his work. They picked up on our ignorance and they financed and they support these types who are giving us a bad name and a bad image and a bad reputation among ourselves and all over the world.

Dear conscientious brothers and sisters…

What we see happening in today’s world, (all of us have our sources of information- we go to different newspapers, different social media, different individuals but more or less the information that is coming out), wants to give Islam a black eye. You have probably heard in the past two or three days three Muslim students in one of the universities in North Carolina were killed. (They were) shot at close range, point blank in the head- execution style and there seems to be something like a media silence about this issue. It’s not playing out now. We wanted to just reverse this for a moment and say that some person who’s against religion went to a certain campus and did exactly the same thing to three observant Jewish students. You can rest assured that this news item would be bouncing from one station to the other, commented upon by multiple pundits from the political left to the political right and it would not die down for at least a couple of weeks. When it comes to Muslims, when it comes to African Americans, when it comes to minorities (and) when it comes to people who don’t have power and wealth- you see, (it’s) just like when we read our history- these don’t figure in. “Don’t pay attention to them and if we wanted to deal with it we will explain it away.” They will not explain it to expose it, they will explain it away. They’re smart about this. They will come with apologies. They will come with some nice words, “it was some type of loner or some type of crazy, deranged, etc.” Almost everything that happens against Muslims come from deranged people- from the burning of Al Masjid Al Aqsa back in 1968 or 1969 (when) that person tried to burn Al Masjid Al Aqsa- that’s where all of this news description began. They called him a deranged person. From there on, everything that is done is done by deranged persons. From here, (and we don’t know), this may be the beginning of some type of- may Allah forbid- popular harassment (and) intimidation to the degree of killing and expelling Muslims. Some of these governments, (they call themselves governments), these are dynastic rulers in our Islamic East, have already done it and some of them are going to do it- they are going to take away the citizenship of those who don’t politically agree with them. To be more specific with you- Al Ikhwan Al Muslimin. The Egyptian government is saying “we are going to think right now of taking away your citizenship.” That is condemning them to slow death or in another sense it is forcing them to go further underground and it’s forcing some of them to breakaway from their mother organization and then to resort to the use of force that of course is processed as violence and terror and all of this other stuff. Have you noticed that with all of this, these loud speakers all over the place, (and we’re sure you go probably to one or two of these either TV programs or radio programs or internet programs), no one is shedding the light on the Saudi Arabian regime that is responsible for the curriculum that is taught beginning with the elementary first grade students all the way to the university. So they begin to do these things. When you control people’s minds that’s what they do. You’ve heard- a few weeks ago some individuals in Iraq were watching a soccer game and then these ISIS people saw them and said “you are guilty of…” whatever it is (or) however way they worded it and then executed them. Thirteen young individuals were executed for watching a soccer game! Crazy! Then these same ISIS figures- remember, they’re financed and supported by the loonies in Arabia- impose the Afghani way of dressing on certain employees in a certain part of their control in Syria and Iraq. What is this? If they don’t wear the Afghani dress- is this anything to do with the Qur’an and the Sunnah?- then they are liable for the ISIS type of punishment . Then they find, just a couple of weeks ago, another Syrian young lady and they accuse her of adultery. This is something that baffles the mind. How do they find an adulteress and not find the adulterer when the Qur’an requires four witnesses of the act. When the act of adultery is committed it has to be seen by four individuals who are trust worthy, who are sane, who are mature, who are and who are… So how come they find an adulteress (or) how come they see the adulteress but can’t see the adulterer?! How come they accuse the female and there is no male in the act? They get away with all of this and no one- who is anyone- is pointing their finger at the Saudi regime who is behind all of this. If they wanted to uproot ISIS then get rid off Saudi Arabia but if you want ISIS to continue then continue supporting the Saudis.

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