SALAFIYA: The ROOTS and the EVILS

آحمد صبحي منصور في الثلاثاء 19 ابريل 2011


(SALAFIYA is derived from the venerable forefathers.)

 

INTRODUCTION:

With the ousting of Hosni Mubarak and collapse of the State security Apparatus, the physical Salafi presence became obvious to observers, threatening the Egyptian peaceful social fabric and its future.

Beforehand, it was the Muslim Brotherhood that dominated the scene in terms of source of threat, now it is the Salafis that occupied the whole spectrum instead.

In the past, our website Ahl Alquran published numerous articles and religious opinions about the Muslim Brotherhood, always being careful to differentiate between the Brotherhood as an organization, and the Brotherhood as a cultural phenomenon, and by that, I meant the culture of Wahhabism or Salafiya.

We pause here to shed some light on this Salafiya, its historical roots up to nowadays.

FIRST

1-In a glance, we will broach the subject of (sect, creed, faith) of prophet Ibrahim, or true orthodox Islam., which he, peace be upon him, brought along, and through him, a number of prophets came afterwards, starting with Isaac, then his son Jacob or Israel, then Joseph and the rest of prophets of the children of Israel.. Then, the Seal of all prophets came through the Ishmaelite branch. Ishmael is the father of (arabized) Arabs of the north. Ibrahim and Ishmael collaborated in rebuilding the sacred mosque after Allah, Glory Be to Him, guided Ibrahim to its location and original foundation.

2-Tribes, descendents of Ishmael son of Ibrahim, multiplied and grew in numbers. The most powerful amongst them all was Qureish, being the dwellers of Mecca and the custodians of the Sacred Places and overseers of pilgrimage. During those times, there were some disturbances and difficulties that affected the (Silk Road) connecting trade routes between China-India and Europe through central Asia. A substitute road, a maritime- land route, through Yemen, Arabian Peninsula, Syria ending in the Byzantine State, replaced the old one, known as the journeys of summer and winter, whereby Yemenite traders would bring Indian products by sea over the Indian ocean and the Arabian sea, sell it to Qureish traders, who in turn carry it to Syria and trade with the Byzantines, Rulers of the region. On the rebound trip, they would buy European goods for resale to the Yemenites, who in turn would trade it with the Southeast Asians. Hence, and through this international commerce, Qureish used to garner steep profits. The concord, the harmony, the coalition, the state of entente among the Arab tribes, emphasizes the success of this trade. For those Bedouin tribes living north of and south of Mecca between Syria and Yemen, they mastered the profession of raiding and marauding trade caravans, yet through the condition of entente, they became the guardians of those Qureishite caravans, and by allowing them to place their idols inside the Sacred Places, thereby acquiring a semblance of sanctity of the shrine, and to visit during pilgrimage season. Under this entente condition, Qureish thrived peacefully, whilst the rest of the Arab tribes suffered from inter-fighting, scarcity of resources and plenty of hardships. By doing so, Qureish had violated the faith and creed of Ibrahim in exchange for own trade benefits. That was the main reason why Allah, Glory be to Him, sent the Seal of all prophets, Mohammad, peace be upon him, to purify the creed of Ibrahim, calling for religion to be (in principle and in practice), for the sake of Allah alone, Glory be to Him. Naturally, Qureish stood fast against Islam in defense of its interests, though they believed the Quran to be a true guidance, as mentioned in chapter 28:57, hence they opted to deny and refute the Quran to preserve their livelihood. 56:82.

3-Inspite of Qureishite oppression of Muslims and wars waged against them, even after their migration to Medina, the Quranic exhortations to submit hearts to the will of Allah, elevated the intellect of Arabian tribes, causing them to realize the absurdity and silliness of worshipping deities made out of stones. It dawned on them how Qureish exploited and controlled them through venerating graves, false deities, mortals and idols. Upon accepting Islam, they restarted attacking Qureishite caravans; the latter realized the importance of protecting their interests, so they joined the new movement ISLAM .This took place a short while before the parting of the prophet, peace be upon him. Not long after that, the tribes found out that Qureish resorted to old ways of dominance, prompting to revolt under what it came to be known (The war of apostasy). After violently quelling that revolt, and to forestall any revenge on their part, Qureish conceived the idea of redirecting the tribes’ military capabilities to the outside, thereby leading them to foreign expansion. By doing so, an Arab empire was established under the leadership of Qureish, who ruled most of the known world from the time of the rightly guided caliphs until the end of the Abbasid dynasty, again under the banner of ISLAM. That led to many consequences, most notably were:

A- The return of old Qureishite form of religiosity which neutralized the religion of Ibrahim. Additionally, they perverted and corrupted the concept of Islamic Jihad which was centered on defensive jihad, and turned it into aggressive offensive warfare against others leading to occupation. This Qureishite perversion was formulated under what later came to be known as Sunnah, which represents the highest form of Qureishite hegemony. Along side this Sunnite religion, the rival Shiite religion popped out on the scene representing the Farsi (Persian) culture. Then the Sufi religion came along claiming to represent all man-made religions.

B-The known world was split into two camps, an Islamic camp, and a Christian camp in Europe, with the Muslims controlling the trade routes between India and Europe.

C- Due to Europe’s dire need for the Eastern trade, its dream was to find a route to India far off the control of its Muslim enemy, another dream was to ally itself with Christian Abyssinia (Ethiopia) to pose a threat to Mecca and Medina. The European undertaking to regain lost lands started in Spain with the fall of Andalusia, followed by an attempt to reach India, where Christopher Columbus stumbled upon the New World thinking that he arrived in India. With those geographic explorations and discoveries, the Christian Western camp not only dominated the New World, it also colonized the Muslim camp too.

Second

  • As the Ottoman state was fading away, the Islamic Arabic revival movement was heading into two directions, the direction of returning to the past (Essalaf) led by the Wahhabi call or mission which established the first Saudi state (1745-1818). The other direction opposed to the first one, spearheaded by Egypt under Mohammad Ali, calling for modernization after Europe.
  • The two approaches collided, and Mohammad Ali succeeded in destroying the Saudi state in 1818. Then the second Saudi state rose and fell due to inter-family strife. Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud was successful in re-establishing the current Saudi state (1902-1932). To protect his state against falling, Abdul Aziz took it upon his self to promote and spread his Wahhabi faith throughout Egypt which professed a mixture of Sufi Sunni doctrine, meaning the Sufi creed in venerating saints, and the Sunni in daily life affairs. His opportune chance came about when he took over Hejaz and Mecca, controlling the sacred places and Hajj rituals in 1924-1925. He tried to promote Wahhabism by contacting Muslim leaders, paying more attention to Egypt and India. The (Shari ‘a Association) was the most widespread religious association or organization in Egypt that held a Sufi doctrine. Resheed Redha, a senior Saudi agent, succeeded in penetrating the organization, and with time managed to turn it into an austere Wahhabi one. Later on, other agents for Abdul Aziz Al Saud (Hamid El Feqqi), formed (Ansaar Sunnah) organization to promote and advocate (Salafiya), instead of Wahhabism which was detested in Egypt. After that, the Saudis formed (The Muslim Youth Organization). A year later, Resheed Redha chose a bright young man from (the Muslim Youth) Hasan El Banna, to head another organization (The Muslim Brotherhood) dedicated to political activities, whereas the (Ansaar Sunnah) were relegated the missionary work and the task of spreading Wahhabism under the guise of Sunnah and Salafiya.
  • Within twenty years (1928-1949), Hasan El Banna succeeded in establishing fifty thousand branches for the Brotherhood throughout Egypt. He also formed the International Order of Muslim Brotherhood, the special military unit, and was successful in igniting the (Covenant Revolt) in Yemen. The Muslim Brotherhood also participated in the 1952 coup led by Abdu Nassir, yet a schism developed between the two, and after the incident of (El Mensheyya) in 1954, Nassir stormed them out of Egypt, forcing most of them to flee to their (ideological motherland), Saudi Arabia, during the rein of Saud Ibn Abdul Aziz. Beforehand Abdul Aziz prohibited the Muslim Brotherhood from having a branch in his Emirate and later on in his kingdom, but events forced his children to give them protection and safe refuge in the kingdom.
  • The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, with their Egyptian background, could not stomach the primitive absolute rule of the Saudis. Wide was the difference between Liberal Egypt that they have lived and witnessed (1921-1952) and Saudi backwardness. Wide was the difference between Saudi absolute rule and constitutional rule of Mohammad Ali’s dynasty. Wide was the difference between freedom of thought in Egypt and slavery and oppression which were the essence of Saudi rule, and not the mere sequestering of thought and opinion in Saudi Arabia. Wide was the difference between Egypt that enjoyed political activity, and that kingdom (Saudi Arabia) that was owned by a family who monopolized wealth and power. The Muslim Brotherhood inside Saudi Arabia realized or thought (wrongly) that Al Saud family relied on Wahhabi doctrine in fortifying their rule, and being the scholars of Wahhabism and of the decision making caliber( literally, Those who tie and untie) , they saw fit that they should be included in government. This understanding on their part contradicted the Saudi understanding which considered the sword as the foundation of their rule and authority, by which they established their first Saudi state, including the current one. The Muslim Brotherhood started secretly to call for and to propagate their understandings of how things should be implemented, thereby precipitating a schism that evolved in the formation of a home grown Saudi opposition after the Gulf war. This opposition movement was led by Mohammad El-Mes’ry and Sa’d El-Faqeeh outside the kingdom, and internally was headed by Safrr El-Hawaaly and Salmaan El-Awda, and eventually produced Usama Bin Laden. Due to this political schism, the Saudis concentrated on supporting (The Ansaar Essunah), a Salafi oriented group with no political ambitions.
  • It is well known that Sadat allied himself with the Salafi trends, with its so many different branches, the political and missionary ones. During his reign, different organizations and sub organizations emerged, like the Jihadists and Al-jamaa’a Al-islaameyya, others flourished too of lesser presence. During Mubarak’s period, the politically inclined ones were subjected to persecution,(The Muslim Brotherhood, Al-jamaa’a Al-islaameyya, the Jihadists), whereas the major part of the Wahhabi movement, the Salafis, fell under the influence of the state security apparatus. With the Saudi monetary aid and the Egyptian government illicit support, the non political Salafi missionary trend expanded and its organizations spread out, its mosques multiplied by the thousands. It infiltrated Al Azher, the educational system, the media, different clubs and places of assembly. Due to their influence, the Hijab and the Veil became widespread. The Quranists suffered the most, simply because they confronted Wahhabism from within Islam. Moreover, the Salafi trend engaged in chasing secular thinkers with an Islamic style inquisition (Al-Hisba) and pursuing Copts. The state security exploited them to stir strife within to prolong the emergency state laws.
  • With the infiltration of the main Salafi body by the state security, they succeeded in organizing many groups of them in the service of the state security. They even managed to strike a deal with the imprisoned leaders of the Jihadists and Al-jamaa’a Al-islaameyya, in what came to be known as (intellectual revision), to abandon (violence), political activism and the methods of (The Brotherhood), to return to square one, that is missionary work, to non-political (Ansaar Essunnah) or (Essalafeyya), to be one of the many secret Salafi organizations working for and in cahoots with state security, carrying out some of the dirty deeds, like the bombing of the church of the Two Saints in Alexandria, and the explosions of Sherm Sheikh in Sinai.

Thirdly:

         1- Then Mubarak was toppled, and along with him, the State Security system fell down. They left the Salafi Presence with no authority to return to, with lots of resources to expand and spread more and more, with satellite channels at its disposal, with influence at Al Azher, at the Ministry of religious affairs, within the educational system and within the media. More importantly, they had millions of followers and supporters throughout the land, in villages, in hamlets, and in inner cities. They manifested and exercised their influence at the last referendum, by their transgression against fellow citizens, by their leaders’ declarations hinting at political ambitions exploiting the current conditions of symptoms of freedom, and their recent emancipation from the grip of State Security, by taking advantage of Egypt’s fluid conditions, of the setting of a police state and the outward appearance of chaos, numerous daily demonstrations, factional demands, a military junta incapable of running a civilian administration, the leftovers of a State Security system, and an old regime busy working in the dark trying to hold on and to salvage whatever remnants of influence it once had, by engulfing Egypt in more turmoil, hoping to elude and maybe escape punishment, the way to accomplish that is by cooperating with hoodlums and  extreme Salafis, by creating a state of havoc through church burning and desecrating graves.

It is obvious that the Salafis’ ascension to power is connected to creating a state of Chaos, and in this aspect, the Salafis are in agreement with Mubarak’s regime remnants and his state security organization, especially since the current Salafi leadership is the product of this security apparatus, and had the opportunity for thirty years to be trained and goaded by it.

       2-The biggest losers as a result of the Salafi prominence are the Muslim Brotherhood and the Copts.

      A/2---The Muslim Brotherhood itself is experiencing a division among its ranks, some of their ambitious leadership are splitting off, like Dr. Abdul Mun’m Abul Futooh, and Mohammad Habeeb. Also the state of (schizophrenia) that exist between the leadership at Secretariats General and the younger Muslim Brotherhood, who want to participate in the leadership and not mere indoctrination and obedience. All this, in addition to the biggest obstacle; their deficiency in modernization and inability to formulate progressive enlightened thought as exhibited by the Quranists, meaning the Islamic Thought at the roots of a Civilian Secular state, human rights, democracy and total and absolute freedom of religion. The Brotherhood could not accomplish these objectives because they are Wahhabis believing in (Hadiths) that have nothing to do with GOD.

        B/2—The Salafis represent a more severe crisis in Egypt; in a most critical situation. During these fluid times, as Egypt tries to ease its way through the bottle neck of impending chaos, a police force that is absent, negligent, indifferent, conspiring or simply petrified, and on the other hand, opposing power centers, crouching in the dark, ready to leap, other groups that became professionals at cooperating with the state security carrying out dirty deeds for them, it would be very difficult to distinguish between what is (hatchery) and what is (coddled hatchery),that is the Salafis. As Mubarak used to victimize the Copts by letting his Salafi agents loose against them, the same method is still prevalent between the remnants of Mubarak and their Salafi servants. The gravity of the situation is not restricted to the current conditions; it transcends it to the nature of the Salafi movement. They do not posses the cautiousness and political expertise of the Muslim Brotherhood. On the contrary, the Salafis have never engaged in politics, they have never experienced dealing with political, intellectual or ideological adversaries except through sequestering, accusations of blasphemy, aggression and even murder. They were overwhelmed when they found the political arena wide open for them with no prior preparedness or plans. So they entered it with what they have learned and mastered, the culture of accusations of blasphemy, degradation, insults, transgression and instigation with fowl language. Before, they used to (talk) only; now in these exceptional times, they have the opportunity to (do), to put their word to practice, or some of it. The stage is set for them, thanks to Mubarak, who divided Egypt into two warring camps, Muslims and Copts, and between them both, freedom of conscience was lost. It became prohibited for a Copt to accept Islam, and r a Muslim to revert and become a Christian. It becomes more sensitive and ignitable if it was a female that wants to exercise that right. The Salafis were the leaders of the (Muslim Camp). Before, all they could do was agitate, now they can enforce their words and impose it on their first and major enemy: The Copts.

No doubt, the Salafis have their eyes set on Copt women to convert them to their Salafi religion. As the Copts are spread throughout Egypt, in its villages, hamlets, towns and inner cities, so do the Salafis, meaning the confrontation is going to be throughout populous Egypt.                  

        3-In addition, there are other potential victims for the Salafis, namely the Quranists, the Sufis, the Shiite, the Secularists and unveiled women. The Salafis already are threatening the demolition of venerated graves and tombs of Sufis and Shiites, like El-Hussein’s and Zeineb’s, in Cairo. The Sufis in turn are threatening huge demonstration to defend their tombs. The Quranists do not have any venerated graves or tombs; they do not believe in its sanctification, they think it is deviation away from true pure trust and belief in Allah, yet they do not condone its physical demolition, since this act is not found in Islam, rather what is needed is to demolish the deviant belief in its sanctity through education and exchange of ideas and relying on the Quran as a guide for us all, to render it no more than a collection of stones and ornamented building material.

          4- It is imperative upon the actual and potential victims of this Salafi Monster to band and cooperate together peacefully, culturally, educationally and politically to teach, instruct, guide, correct, polish, refine and tame him before it destroys itself and others.

In conclusion…The solution lies in the headline that I used to start my articles with in Al-Akhbar and other periodicals in 1989. The headline was (The Quran is the solution)…and it still is….                     

                    

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