( 12 ) : part2
CHAPTER II: The Development of the Sunnite Fundamentalist Opposition Movement in the Reign of King F

CHAPTER II: The Development of the Sunnite Fundamentalist Opposition Movement in the Reign of King Feisal and King Khaled: Juhayman Al-Otaybi and the Invasion of the Kaaba Mosque



Introduction: between Nasser Al-Saeed and Juhayman Al-Otaybi:


  Despite the huge difference between Al-Saeed and Al-Otaybi in terms of culture, the Sunnite fundamentalist trend, and the type of opposition movement, both men harbored a personal grudge against the KSA and a desire to wreak revenge on Abdul-Aziz. Al-Saeed sought to avenge his people who fought against Abdul-Aziz and resisted his invasion until they were defeated and Hael was conquered. He was born after the conquest of Hael and brought up amidst a milieu of a family bitterly hating Abdul-Aziz and seeking revenge. Grown up, Al-Saeed formed his own special peaceful opposition movement. Unlike Al-Saeed, Al-Otaybi was born within the tribe of Otaybah, whose tribesmen revolted against Abdul-Aziz, and his grandfather was among those rebels who died during the battle of Sabilla. Like Al-Saeed, Al-Otaybi lived within revenge-seeking people that made such environment of resentment reflected on his life and culture; Al-Otaybi imbued such hatred that colored his stance against the KSA, until he ended up invading the Kaaba Mosque in Mecca, calling for an awaited Mahdi named Al-Qahtany. There is another factor linking Al-Saeed and Al-Otaybi; the opposition movement of the former led to a climate that was the exact opposite of the one dominated during the reign of King Saud; i.e., the Salafist trend dominated the KSA under the auspices and supervision of King Feisal when he allied himself to Sadat against the secular, Leftist, and communist trends. When the Salafist ideology spread in both Egypt and the KSA, the resulting climate suited the emergence of the opposition movement of Al-Otaybi that began clandestinely and eventually led him to invade the Kaaba Mosque.

  In this chapter about Al-Otaybi, we do the following.    

A- We perform an analysis of policies adopted by King Feisal that were the direct result of the huge oil revenues and the increase in the KSA income after the 1973 War, as this was linked to international and regional changes in the cultural and political climate that led to the rise of the Salafist trend in the KSA and the Middle East.

B- We give a brief historical account on Al-Otaybi and his operation of invading the Kaaba Mosque and the repercussions and meanings of this invasion. 

C- We analyze finally the ideology of Al-Otaybi within his letters and the main topics and issued discussed by him in his writings to discern his main ideas and his intellectual methodology in his call. We conclude that the main idea that Al-Otaybi revolved around was ''the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice'', and through it, he formed his stance vis-à-vis the KSA, Shiites, foreigners residing in the KSA, and Wahabi scholars inside the KSA, especially Ibn Baz. Al-Otaybi used a certain Salafist school of thought or doctrine that has a special approach or view of the so-called hadiths, views of ancient Salafist Sunnite scholars (like Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Abdul-Wahab), and their interpretations in order to convince, refute, or embarrass his opponents and intellectual foes. His writings show his bias for the Najd Brothers, especially in their rebellion against King Abdul-Aziz, as well as his bias against King Abdul-Aziz.     


Firstly: the climate in which Al-Otaybi and his movement emerged. Oil and the policies of King Feisal (1964:1975) and the rise of the Salafist trend:


A- Oil:

  Oil was the main factor controlling everything during the reign of King Saud, influencing his policies, the international and regional conditions and circumstances, and the Saudi opposition movement that tended toward the Leftist trend. The opposition movement of Al-Saeed was colored with socialist tendency despite its religious roots. When King Feisal reached the throne, the Middle East region entered a new era; Nasserism dwindled in the Arab world since the 1967 War, and when Abdel-Nasser died, Sadat took over as president of Egypt and allied himself to King Feisal and fought against socialism and Leftist activists. This went on simultaneously with soaring oil prices after the 1973 War. King Feisal made use of the breakthrough in the income of the KSA to support and reinforce his internal and external policies resulting in the rise of the Salafist trend and authority to face the secular, Leftist opposition movement inside the KSA. The Wahabi Salafist trend churned later on the opposition movement of Al-Otaybi. The huge oil revenues aided King Feisal, and after his death, oil revenues directed the opposition movement of Al-Otaybi to be Salafist; hence, oil had the greatest influence on the opposition movements during the reign of King Saud, King Feisal, and King Khaled.    


B-The influence of the Salafist trend on the policies of King Feisal:


  King Feisal (106:1975) was a distinguished, outstanding personality among the sons of King Abdul-Aziz; he participated in his father's successful endeavors to found the KSA, ruled Hejaz once conquered as its governor, worked as a foreign minister, Prime Minister, Head of the Consultation Council, and was the de facto ruler of the KSA when King Saud faltered as a king and failed to rule properly. The main feature of the personality of King Feisal was that he combined the Salafist Sunnite fundamentalism and experience in international politics, which made him base his relation with the West on mutual interests. Within the last years of the reign of King Saud, there was a conflict between the Salafist elite and the secular one in governmental bodies. Previously, most of the Saudi opposition movements were secular and socialist, but once King Feisal was enthroned, he gathered all power and authority in his hands and declared his reformist program that was influenced by demands of Nasser Al-Saeed. No political reforms were applied during his reign; instead, social, economic, and educational reforms were adopted. As for the educational policies and reforms, King Feisal focused on religious education based only on Salafism / Wahabism, and he built many universities such as King Abdul-Aziz University, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University in Riyadh, and King Feisal University in Al-Dammam and Al-Hufuf cities. Such universities give certificates in Islamic sharia studies and the same goes for the main Islamic University in Yathreb. During the reign of King Feisal, many Salafist Wahabi organizations and foundations emerged, chief among them the department of religious studies and researches and call, guidance, and fatwas centers as independent bodies subservient to Feisal as a Prime Minister, specializing in the spread of Wahabi ideology and distribution of Wahabi books for free all over the Islamic world. The king used to appoint 15 scholars, including one of Al-Sheikh family members, in the fatwas council as per royal decree No. 1/173 issued in 1971, to provide views tailored to the royal desires and wishes as per sharia laws in all political and religious topics and to guide the subjects in acts of worship, creed notions and concepts, and other religious issues. It is noteworthy that many Al-Sheikh family members held ministerial posts in the ministries of education, justice, agriculture, irrigation, etc. as well as religious posts, and this fact reflects the rise of the Salafist trend that has soared high during the reign of King Feisal in all fields and bodies, in contrast to the secular elite members that used to occupy such positions. King Feisal was much attentive to the Islamic world countries and all Muslim communities in the West; he contacted all such people via the International Society of the Muslim Youths, under the banner and motto of ''Islamic solidarity'', with Riyadh as the main headquarter of such body established in 1972. When representatives of that body convened in Riyadh under the auspices of the Saudi minster of education, it transpired that the aim of this body was to make the KSA the sole leader of the Islamic countries and to propagate Wahabism among all Muslim youths all over the world. It is noteworthy that those persons managing this body were Saudi youths who received secular education in the West, whereas the books distributed for free by this body were on jihad, Wahabi Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Taymiyya jurisprudence and theology. Among the books distributed for free were those authored by the terrorist MB members and thinkers: Sayed Qutb, from Egypt, and Al-Mawdody from India. Reforms of King Feisal led to the increase in the number of ministries as they became 23 ones in 1975, and this was accompanies by an expansion in the number of independent committees and bureaus that employed many ambitious experts and skilled employees in high posts, on the condition of spreading the Salafist trend and never to criticize it. This put an end to the conflict between the secular elite members and the Salafist elite members in the KSA. Sadly, the secular elite members, who graduated from Egyptian and West universities, competed with one another to prove their approval of the Salafist trend and Wahabi values that dominated the KSA at the time. They vied to assert that there is no contradiction between Salafism and modernization in the 1970s. Among such people were as follows. Dr. Hassan Abdullah Al-Sheikh, Minister of Education, who headed the supreme council of research in the King Abdul-Aziz University, and Dr. Suleiman Abdul-Aziz, the Minister of Trade, who graduated from Cairo University and got his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the USA. He asserted in his thesis that the Salafist Wahabi sharia laws cope with contemporary world but there is a gap between Wahabi scholars and the cultured elite and economists, as secular persons do not care about contributions of scholars. Dr. M. Abdou Yamani who got his Ph.D. degree in geology from the West authored many books on Salafist thought and ideology and was rewarded by being appointed as the head of King Abdul-Aziz University in 1974 and the deputy of the Minister of Education, and later on became the Information Minister in 1975. In the same vein, Dr. Hisham Al-Nazer, Minister of Urban Planning, declared in his writings that Islam (i.e., Wahabism in his view) does not contradict modern life and that economic development serves the Islamic nation. Dr. Ahmad Zaki Yamani, Minister of Oil and Mining, who got his degrees from Harvard University, declared that progress could be achieved via Wahabi sharia alone as it is based on happiness of the individual and the Islamic nation, and his writings are based on the books authored by Ibn Al-Qayyim (1). Hence, the Salafist tendency was reflected on the policies as well as the social, economic, and educational reforms applied and adopted by King Feisal and it was shown in the thinking of the secular elite among those men working under him. As for those Leftist secular cultured men who went on in their opposition against the Saudi authorities, they suffered persecution.   



C- Arrest of Leftist opposition figures and the increase in oil production:


  After the defeat of Gamal Abdel-Nasser in the 1967 War, he held a conference in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, and both Abdel-Nasser and King Feisal made peace and reconciled with each other, and Nasser Al-Saeed paid a heavy price for it along with the socialist, Nasserist, and communist opposition figures inside and outside the KSA. King Feisal contained the Leftist opposition movements by his program of reforms that led to more prosperity in the KSA, using increased oil revenues to keep the citizens busy and employed and urging them to consume imported products while serving the KSA to modernize it. Some of the opposition figures joined people serving King Feisal in his projects and sang his praises, and some refused to stop criticizing him, and King Feisal dealt with them violently and harshly. Saudi security apparatuses kept discovering and crushing all secret Leftist organizations from 1969 to 1971 in all governmental bodies, the army, and social strata and classes, imprisoning more than 1000 persons. Tens of opposition figures fled the KSA. Publications distributed secretly inside the KSA denounced the torture of incarcerated persons inside prison cells within the arrest wave of 1969:1971, which was the worst one in comparison to arrest waves of 1953, 1956, 1964, and 1967 in terms of torture and the number of quelled bodies and imprisoned persons. Of course, the Leftist opposition movements were crushed as a result, and many of its figures fled the KSA to expose and scandalize King Feisal and the KSA worldwide. Increase of oil revenues led to an unprecedented degree of prosperity and consumerism that diverted citizens away from opposition and protest. Hence, Aramco got the approval of the Saudi authorities to increase oil production more than 6 times between 1969 and 1980; from less than 3 million barrels a day in 1969 to more than 8 million barrels a day in 1973. Hence, governmental revenues tripled and Aramco had to enlist the aid of 6 new companies and this led to more Saudis being employed and got too busy working and making money to oppose and protest anything. The Saudi royal family members invested money in the West and in some Arab countries as per their interests and relations with the outside world, and this led to more restrictions imposed on the opposition figures outside the KSA and enabled the Saudis to spread Wahabism easily all over the globe (2).


The increase of oil revenues after the 1973 War and its influence on the new opposition movements:


   The 1973 War, when the Egyptians and the Syrians sacrificed all for victory, led to the increase of Saudi oil revenues that tripled and quadrupled: from 1.2 billion $ in 1970, 4.2 billion $ in 1973, 37 billion $ in 1979, 70 billion $ in 1979, to 90 billion $ in 1980 after the Iranian revolt of 1978 (3). Huge increases in oil revenues led to more support and momentums of the reforms and policies of King Feisal that wen on after his assassination, especially spreading Wahabism/Salafism all over the Islamic world. Hence, the new opposition movement was naturally a Wahabi non-secular one because of many political, economic, and social factors in the KSA. Capitalists increased in number and formed a new social class, while tribal leaders no longer enjoyed any power or influence as their role was done by the policemen and the security guards. Thus, many Bedouins and peasants immigrated to cities to get jobs, especially as security guards and policemen (4). They were trained to quell and persecute those who oppose the KSA; hence, Bedouins and tribesmen were trained to be sort of Brothers but in a lesser degree within different conditions. The Bedouins and tribesmen were also influenced by the new circumstances and social changes and were not isolated from people as was the case in the Najd Brothers who were isolated in colonies. Thus, Bedouins and tribesmen trained as policemen were more flexible and their tribalism waned eventually as desert areas lost their economic power of grazing animals and agriculture. In cities, ambition for riches dominated and was linked to the social power and influential persons. Moreover, awareness was raised when oil revenues led to more foreigners working inside the KSA and made Saudis mingle with other cultures and modern inventions of audiovisual media; even ordinary learned citizens could watch and listen to west media and to other viewpoints and send their sons to learn abroad and in Egypt to get to know the outside world better. Such awareness brought about the need for more political reforms that will heal the negative items of affluence and stinginess; no political reforms were executed by King Feisal as he promised. The Iranian revolt of Khomeini came as a surprise to all Saudis in 1978, and it encouraged the Wahabi fundamentalist opposition figures to become more vociferous, especially the opposition movement of one Bedouin man who liked and admired the Najd brothers: Juhayman Al-Otaybi who embraced the Shiite notion of the awaited Mahdi (i.e., savior) to fight and resist the Saudi State with it.


Secondly: a brief historical account on Al-Otaybi and his invasion of the Kaaba Mosque (20th of Nov., 1979 A.D. / 1st of Muharram 1400 A.H.)

Who Juhayman Al-Otaybi was:


   Al-Otaybi was brought up, amidst a Bedouin, religious environment, by his father who was called Hakeem, and his paternal grandfather was killed in the battle of Sabilla. Al-Otaybi worked for about 18 years within national security guards, and he tendered his resignation 6 years before invading the Kaaba Mosque in Mecca. He joined the Islamic University in Yathreb, thus combining military training with Wahabi culture and the ancestral belonging to the Najd Brothers. He desired to revenge those who killed his grandfather; he suddenly left the university and his job to devote his time to his call – which mainly consisted of verbal opposition against the KSA royal family – and he was aided by his friend Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al-Qahtany, the second man in the invasion operation, presented by Al-Otaybi as the awaited Mahdi. Al-Qahtany was a student learning Wahabi theology by his tutor sheikh Ibn Baz, and before that, he worked in a hospital in Riyadh and was fired when accused of theft and was imprisoned for a while, and once released, he joined the Islamic University and met with and befriended Al-Otaybi in 1979. Al-Otaybi, who was married already, got married to the sister of Al-Qahtany. Al-Otaybi got noticed by the Saudi authorities that arrested him many times but released him every time for lack of evidence to prove his involvement in any action or movement and because of the mediation of some scholars and sheikhs who knew him (5), until everyone was much surprised when Al-Otaybi invaded the Kaaba Mosque with his men in the first day of the 15th century A.H.


Before the invasion of the Kaaba Mosque: the reason behind choosing the Kaaba Mosque for the operation:


   Purportedly the main reason was to embarrass the KSA and to draw the attention of the international media; even the Lebanese newspaper Al-Safeer wondered about the reason behind choosing the Kaaba Mosque as a location, especially that the invaders intended to stay for a long time, as they brought tons of food items, especially dated, along with arms and weapons as they brought their wives and children along. 

1-    Sources of arms: it was easy to procure arms inside the KSA as the invaders attacked barracks of the national security guards in Jeddah as well as some small factories of arms to steal some weapons. It was easy to buy some arms and weapons from tribesmen, as owning weapons was easy and without any type of restrictions as far as trading in them was concerned. Many arms were smuggled inside the KSA from Syria, Iraq, Jordan, the USSR, and Czechoslovakia. At the time, the Saudi authorities arrested about 500 smugglers of arms.   

2-    Preparations before the invasion of the Kaaba Mosque: Al-Otaybi and his men managed to procure maps of the Kaaba Mosque to study them to get to know the strategic point in it to set plans o invasion, while procuring masks to resist tear gas. Groups of his men reached the Kaaba Mosque weeks before the intended date of the invasion, preparing all storehouses of victuals and ammunition smuggled by all means such as coffins and cars, until they were smuggled inside the Kaaba Mosque.

3-    Was this invasion a part of a bigger terrorist operation?: some of the newspapers asserted that such invasion was part of an unsuccessful coup, as many incidents occurred in several areas inside the KSA, but the Saudi authorities took severe measures and closed the airports and telecommunications, arrested hundreds of suspects in several cities (Mecca, Yathreb, Tabuk, Jeddah, Riyadh, Ta'if, etc.), and imposed a curfew. Policemen discovered several secret arms storehouses, and the Saudi government asserted that the Yathreb Mosque (i.e., the one containing the mausoleum presumably pertaining to Prophet Muhammad) was about to be invaded if it had not been for the security guards.  

4-    General remarks: it is noteworthy that most of the invaders were Arabian (i.e., from the Arabian Peninsula) but some of them were coming from Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, and Turkey. Debates grew fierce about the second man in the invasion, Al-Qahtany, as some asserted he was an Egyptian man, as his father asserted in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Safeer. Some women participated in the invasion, and some newspapers estimated the total number of invaders as 400 persons and some as between 600 and 4000 persons. The movement was financed via collecting donations from pious ones who aided the pious poor men of Al-Otaybi and via selling religious books.    


Events of the invasion of the Kaaba Mosque:


   Shortly before dawn, a big number of cars stopped in the street outside the Kaaba Mosque, and out of it hundreds of men, women, and children moved into the Kaaba Mosque, chanting ''Allahu Akbar!'' (i.e., God is the Greatest!). As they entered the Kaaba Mosque, which was filled with pilgrims, they controlled and manned the gates, and closed them, as well as loudspeakers of the radio of the Kaaba Mosque. The Dawn Prayers ended by this time, led by the imam sheikh Muhammad Ibn Shebl, and Al-Otaybi delivered a sermon in the microphones and speakers, declaring his rejection of the rule of the Saudi royal family as they violated sharia laws, vehemently attacking them one by one of the princes; he explained the targets and ideas of his men and why they wanted to end the Saudi rule. The sermon revolved around three axes: 1) revolting against the Saudi state, 2) cutting all links with the West and all countries of the Christian infidels, and 3) putting an end to all corruption and deviance in society and applying sharia laws strictly. By the end of the sermon delivered by Al-Otaybi, he presented Al-Qahtany as the awaited Mahdi the imam of all true Muslims, and how all features of Mahdi applied to him, urging people present to come to know him and swear fealty to him along with his men. Arms and weapons were distributed once they were moved from the vault of the Kaaba Mosque, and all men of Al-Otaybi took their positions in strategic points to get prepared for the reaction of the Saudi authorities that got news of the invasion three hours after it occurred.



The stance of the Saudi authorities:


   The Saudi authorities took quick precautionary measures like hiding all ammunitions from all army men and policemen, heavily guarding all ministries and governmental bodies, mobilizing all army men and policemen to get ready when needed, while giving the process of body-guarding the royal family members to a special national guards group loyal to the royal family members. The Saudi authorities imposed a curfew in Mecca, Yathreb, Ta'if, and the eastern region of Al-Ahsa, as its people revolted once they got news of the invasion. Saudi media covered all events, while supervision was strict on newspapers and postal services. The Saudi authorities closed all borders and airports and stopped people coming to the KSA or getting out of the KSA. When airports were opened later on, strict inspections were applied to all comers, and many foreigners from Iran and Pakistan were deported out of the KSA in 26 planes. The school year was suspended in all faculties and universities in Mecca and Yathreb, as some of the students participated in the invasion. Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul-Aziz, the head of the national guards at the time, stopped his vacation in Morocco and hastily returned to the KSA, while the crown Prince Fahd remained in Tunisia in his vacation, while following up the events in the media. The Saudi authorities undertook an arrest wave of all suspects in Yathreb, Mecca, Jeddah, Al-Ahsa, Tabuk, and Sager, the birthplace of Al-Otaybi.


The decision of fighting the invaders:


   The Saudi Interior Minister at the time, Nayef Ibn Abdul-Aziz, took the decision to fight the invaders in the morning of the next day after the invasion, and the Saudi authorities asserted in the media that they took all measures of care to contain the situation and to save pilgrims taken hostages inside the Kaaba Mosque, based on fatwa issued by Wahabi scholars, as invaders refused adamantly to surrender. Military actions began against the invaders before the fatwas issued by Wahabi scholars would be formulated and written.


The fatwa of Wahabi scholars:


  The fatwa of the Wahabi scholars was issued in the fifth day after the invasion and published in the sixth day after it in all the Saudi newspapers. It was formulated and signed by 30 scholars in Riyadh after they met with King Khaled once the invasion occurred, and the king delivered the facts of the incident to them. Once the fatwa was issued, the scholars put the date of it as the invasion first day's date so as not to embarrass the Saudi State that began the military measures indeed before the issuing of the fatwa.

 Here is the text of this fatwa:

  (In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate: Praised be Our God and His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his blessed family and companions. On Tuesday, the very first day of Muharram, 1400 A.H., those signed below were convened under the orders of H.R.H King Khaled Ibn Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud in his office to tell us that at the dawn of this day, after the Dawn Prayers, some armed groups of men and women have invaded the Kaaba Mosque and closed all of its gates, with armed guards on every gate, who have declared their swearing fealty to a man whom they called the awaited Mahdi, and they have taken pilgrims inside the Kaaba Mosque as hostages, and have shot those who tried to resist them inside and outside the Kaaba Mosque. H.R.H King Khaled asked our view about such armed groups and we told him that they must be called to Islam and to peace by surrendering their arms, and if they accept, they would be arrested until tried using sharia laws, and if they refuse, all measures must be taken to arrest and fight them and to kill them if necessary: Almighty God says in the Quran: "…But do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight you there. If they fight you, then kill them. Such is the retribution of the disbelievers." (2:191). Prophet Muhammad urged us to kill those who aim to divide the Muslim nation and its unity, in the hadith of Bokhary and Moslem. Other Quranic verses and hadiths of the same meaning are so many, and we beseech Almighty God to make His religion victorious and His Word reign supreme and to vanquish enemies of Muslims and Islam, and we implore Almighty God to accept our prayers; God is the Answerer of Supplications. Praised be Our God and His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his blessed family and companions.)


A commentary on the fatwa of Wahabi scholars:


1- This fatwa was signed by 30 scholars and not all scholars of the KSA as mentioned in the statement issued by the Ministry of Interior. Tens of scholars never signed this fatwas because either they opposed Al-Saud royal family or they opposed the text and phrasing of the fatwa. Of course, many scholars were not invited to sign in the first place! We note that the 30 scholars who signed the fatwa worked in governmental bodies under the control of the Saudi State, though some of them were sympathetic with Al-Otaybi and his men, as noted by Fahd and his brother Nayef. 


2- This fatwa was issued based on information provided only by King Khaled and his brothers, who were foes to Al-Otaybi, and such information was never authenticated and verified. It is noteworthy that some citizens notified the signed scholars that such information provided by Al-Saud was partially untrue.


3- The phrasing and text of the fatwa show two things 1) governmental pressure was applied to the signed scholars, and 2) the fatwa did not satisfy Al-Saud royal family members wholly; as the fatwa ascribed all information to the king and his royal family, while the royal princes wanted a fatwa fully supporting military actions taken against the invaders, thus showing the information provided by the king as condemnation of the invaders without asking scholars to provide any opinion to solve the problem.


4- This fatwa did not allow or permit Al-Saud to re-invade the Kaaba mosque, despite the fact that King Khaled said to them that the invaders fought and shot others and refused to surrender for the sake of the holiness of the Sacred Mosque. Kuwaiti newspapers asserted at the time that scholars offered – two days before issuing the fatwa – to be mediators between King Khaled and the invaders to stop any further possible bloodshed inside the Sacred Mosque, but he adamantly refused.


5- Apparently, Al-Saud royal family members pressurized scholars to mention in the fatwa that invaders were renegades and apostates who forsook Islam by committing such horrid action and because they defied the king/ruler/imam. The scholars had to submit to the royal wishes; yet, they refused to call invaders as renegades (or Al-Khawarij) and had to mention a hadith ascribed to Muhammad instead.  


6- This fatwa showed that all invaders must be tried as per sharia laws in case they give up, despite the fact that scholars knew that all courts in the KSA at the time use man-made laws. This shows slight sympathizing with the invaders under their leader Al-Otaybi, though they would never approve their invasion of the Sacred Mosque as a way to force reform. This alluded to the fact that the scholars wanted the Minister of Interior to leave them to judge the invaders and not to try them in Saudi courts that would certainly hang them for raising arms against the Saudi State. 




Events of fighting the invaders:


   When military operations began to liberate the Sacred Mosque, the Saudi authorities at first underestimated the power of the invaders, as they killed off the first Saudi military group of security men. This led to the realization that invaders were in great numbers with excellent fighting experience. Helicopters and tanks were sent for at not, on Wednesday 21st of Nov, 1979 to participate in the military operation to liberate the Kaaba Mosque. It is noteworthy that some Saudi soldiers refused to fight and shoot invaders inside the Kaaba Mosque, and some of them were shot in the battlefield as a punishment for disobedience. When hesitation spread among Saudi soldiers, Prince Sultan had delivered a speech to them in vain. Meccan preachers had preached them in vain. Saudi soldiers insisted on a fatwa by Ibn Baz, which did not happen. Prince Sultan delivered a speech to them and praised their courage to liberate the Kaaba Mosque from Al-Khawarij (rebels or renegades). Some high-rank soldiers supported the view of the prince, and it was apparent that those who refused to fight will be either killed or imprisoned. Yet, about 1000 soldiers refused adamantly to fight inside the Kaaba Mosque and joined the men of Al-Otaybi. Fighting and battles went on until the Saudi authorities managed to liberate the Kaaba Mosque, to kill some of the invaders, and to arrest some of the, as pronounced by the Saudi Minister of Interior on 15th of Muharram, 1400 A.H. / 4th of Dec., 1979. About 63 of arrested invaders were put to death in prison on 9th of Jan., 1980, and others later on were put to death, as per Al-Nahar newspaper (6).


Results of the invasion and its political significance:


1- The KSA adopted a double-faced policy to please and appease both Saudi Wahabi coreligionists and civil, secular citizens: to focus within the formal religious discourse of the State on the fact that Islam is the creed of moderation in everything and that rebellion against Al-Saud was impossible as their application of sharia laws prevented this. On the margin of such discourse, fanaticism and extremism were criticized; meanwhile, the Saudi State imposed many restrictions on women and foreigners working in the KSA so as to force them to maintain traditions of society. Video tapes rental shops were closed down, and to appease secular citizens, the KSA promised to formulate the Constitution and to establish the Consultation Council. King Khaled ordered on 18th of March, 1980, the formation of a committee headed by Prince Nayef, the Interior Minister, to formulate the project of the Constitution and to establish the Consultation Council, allowing newspapers to tackle this subject as Islamic heritage. Although King Feisal mentioned such Consultation and the Consultation Council in his reform program, he had not the time to apply such program as he was assassinated (7).


2- On the other hand, despite the fact that Al-Otaybi hated Shiites of Al-Ahsa region, they revolted in the Eastern region simultaneously at the time they heard of Al-Otaybi and his invasion of the Kaaba Mosque. 400 thousand Shiites participated in this revolt, after a long time of non-revolt. 20 Shiite men fell dead in such events, and hundreds of them were arrested. The revolt began during the Shiite feast of Ashura on 27th of Nov., and it was easy to turn congregations into demonstrators who express political protest. 20 thousand Saudi soldiers tried to disperse the Shiite protesters but the demonstrations went on non-stop and daily for two consecutive months (8).


3- The political significance of this tragedy was manifested in the dilemma of the Salafist Wahabism that allows more room for opposition figures to declare themselves as more fit to rule in terms of political and religious aspects; any foe of the KSA would use Wahabi notions to allow themselves to speak in the name of sharia to urge opposing and resisting the Wahabi ruler. It was apparent that the KSA needed religious innovative thing outside the Wahabi circle or scope by making good use of the higher values of Islam within the Quran; or else, the KSA and its citizens will go on suffering as victims of their own Wahabis. Yet, sticking to Wahabism and punishing those who dare to criticize it, as the KSA regards it the only 'true' image of Islam, allow more chances to rebel against the KSA using the Wahabi ideology itself, as occurred before during the reign of King Abdul-Aziz.     


Thirdly: a reading of the Wahabi ideology of Al-Otaybi in his writings:

  It is noteworthy in the topic of comparing Al-Saeed and Al-Otaybi that Al-Saeed was not welcome by the Saudi public opinion, unlike Al-Otaybi, despite the fact that Al-Saeed was peaceful in his call. Of course, Al-Saeed used bad language and verbal abuse in his writings when criticizing Al-Saud royal family, but he never called for any armed revolt or rebellion against them though coups used to occur in the Arab world at the time. As for Al-Otaybi, his call led to the crime of committing violence in the Kaaba Mosque, the holiest place in Islam and to all Muslims, made a sanctuary and safe place by God to all people. Most Saudi citizens rejected Al-Saeed because his opposition movement was based on new religious thought that contradicts Wahabism, and he never made a secret of his hatred and despising of all Wahabi notions and scholars. On the other hand, Al-Otaybi emerged from Wahabism itself, trying to achieve what the Najd Brothers failed to do during the reign of King Abdul-Aziz. Hence, it was easy to condemn Al-Saeed and to doubt his being a Muslim as he lived outside the KSA and chased by it, whereas Al-Otaybi was not doubted in terms of faith despite his invasion of the Sacred Mosque, as he based his writings on the books authored by Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Abdul-Wahab, and he quoted Salafist hadiths ascribed to Prophet Muhammad along with Wahabi interpretations of the Quran and hadiths that form the pillars of Wahabism. Thus, Al-Otaybi stuck faithfully to pure Wahabism and was eager to apply it as per the principle of ''promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice''. Like any extremist preacher or scholar, Al-Otaybi thought of himself as representing the 'absolute' truth and his foes as infidels, even if his opponents were his own Wahabi scholars who taught him. Let us discuss below the complicated relations between Al-Otaybi and Wahabi scholars of his time.           


The stance of Wahabi scholars regarding Al-Otaybi:


  We note that Wahabi scholars were reluctant in supporting the Saudi authorities against the movement of Al-Otaybi despite its enormity and the desire of the KSA to mobilize Wahabi scholars to face such catastrophe that embarrassed it on the national and international levels. The fatwa of Wahabi scholars did not satisfy the royal family members, and Prince Fahd and Prince Nayef had to admit that there are people and Wahabi scholars who sympathized with Al-Otaybi. The fatwa of the 30 Wahabi scholars exposed indirectly such sympathy with Al-Otaybi as their fate was seen as internal affair decided by sheikhs and not Saudi military courts. Of course, if Wahabi scholars were to judges Al-Otaybi, he would not have been declared an apostate and put to death, as he used books authored by Ibn Abdul-Wahab and Ibn Taymiyya to protest against the Saudi rulers and to condemn scholars subservient to them who never apply Wahabi sharia laws to the letter. Even if Saudi authorities pressurized Wahabi scholars, other incidents in history assert that when Wahabi scholars tried others, they would acquit them on the pretext that the defendants were mad if they sympathized with them. Al-Saud royal family feared that if Wahabi scholars tried Al-Otaybi, the trial would turn into a condemnation session of the Saudi authority itself, and the KSA naturally wanted to avoid this at any cost; hence, the trial and hanging of Al-Otaybi and his men were done hastily without any interference from Wahabi scholars, and interrogations with them were linked to torture and verbal abuse of the arrested men as per media coverage on Saudi TV channels and as per many Arab and Western newspapers. Once interrogations ended, the Saudi authorities put to death 180 persons secretly as per direct orders of King Khaled to the Interior Minister on 9th of Jan, 1980, as mentioned in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Dostour in the words of the Saudi Minister of Defense who asserted that their heads will be cut off as per the 'Islamic' punishments regardless of their nationalities. This made him a judge and a hangman at the same time, asserting the fact that such hanging was done without trial. King Khaled issued a royal decree to put them to death on 9th of Jan, 1980: (… We perused all interrogations and confessions of such criminals who invaded the Sacred Mosque … terrorizing all peaceful Muslims inside and taking  them as hostages… such criminals must be put to death to please God and to punish them for their horrendous crime against Islam … scholars of the Kingdom approve of such punishment as per the Quran: 5:33). King Khaled ordered his Interior Minister to put to death all names of those men involved in that horrible crime of killing people inside the Kaaba Mosque, while those who helped the terrorists by guarding gates  to be imprisoned. Women involved who served the criminals and cooked for them were sentenced to be imprisoned for two years, while children under puberty who helped the criminals were sent to a penitentiary for children to make them good citizens in the Islamic nation. It is noteworthy that the fatwa signed by the 30 Wahabi scholars was issued on the sixth day of the invasion, and thus, it could not be used as a reason to justify capital punishments, and it never urged putting criminals to death, however the enormity of their crime was. King Khaled lied when he said he received a death-fatwa orally from scholars of the KSA, and scholars were surprised to know that Al-Otaybi and his men were put to death without taking the opinion of Wahabi scholars. Of course, some princes knew that some Wahabi scholars sympathized with Al-Otaybi and his men, and the Minister of Defense used to lose his patience with some Wahabi scholars who urged and nagged him to set free some of Wahabi opposition figures. Minister of Defense once said within a conference held with students of Riyadh University (i.e., now King Saud University): (…Those criminals were known to the security apparatuses and were arrested before and then released, but the problem lied in the fact that they hided behind religion to deceive people, and they assumed they guided them … As responsible men, we had to stop them … Their secret movements were carefully watched in Najd by security men for five years … Some of the invaders sued to be imprisoned, but relapsed shortly before the invasion via the mediation of some scholars and sheikhs … This applies to Al-Otaybi as well as he was released many times before via their mediation …). This shows that Al-Saud resented the fact that some scholars and sheikhs used to defend the men of Al-Otaybi and that Al-Otaybi was watched over for five years in the Islamic University and he sued to contact Ibn Baz, the blind scholar and the most famous clergymen and religious judge in the KSA at the time   (9). Hence, the sympathy of some Wahabi scholars with Al-Otaybi and his men before and after their invasion was more than just the joined ground of Wahabi ideology; as such sympathy was simply letting down the Saudi authorities and jeopardizing the Saudi role in protecting the Kaaba Sacred Mosque. Such sympathy must be understood within two contradictory factors: 1) the rise of a strong Salafist trend since the 1970s in the KSA, and 2) this trend is devoid of any innovative, creative thinking to cope with the modern age. Such two factors together explain the crisis of the KSA regime with its Wahabi ideology. The Salafist trend rose by the policies of King Feisal as we have mentioned before, and it went on via the policies of King Khaled; thus, the KSA modernized its technology without modernizing Wahabism and religious thought inside the kingdom, despite the plethora of religious institutions using high-tech, state-of-the-art apparatuses (unlike the case during the reign of King Abdul-Aziz the founder of the KSA). Thus, no creative mind appeared all these decades, and Wahabi sheikhs imitated all previous centuries-old traditions in religious thought and practices, thus creating a gap between the State, as the Saudi authorities could not do without modernization on all levels especially to cope with complications of international politics, and traditional Salafist trend that enjoyed power in the Saudi society and repeats words and notions of centuries-old traditions. Hence, Wahabi scholars resented many things and policies inside the KSA but could not dare to oppose it in public as they received high salaries from the State and the royal family. Thus, they sympathized with Al-Otaybi and his men as they applied Wahabi ideology to the letter and were more courageous than State scholars and voiced their views outspokenly. On the other hand, when religious views are used politically, the most extremist ones are usually more outspoken, vociferous, and daring, thus winning the support of those who would not dare to voice their resentment. Hence, extremism and fanaticism drew admiration when used by opposition figures in an age devoid of true, original religious innovative, creative thinking. This was how Wahabi scholars saw Al-Otaybi. Let us tackle below how he had seen them.          


Views of Al-Otaybi regarding Wahabi scholars in the KSA:


    Despite the fact that Wahabi scholars never approved the invasion of the Sacred Mosque by Al-Otaybi and his men, the gap between those scholars and the Saudi authorities widened as many scholars refused to sign on the fatwa and most scholars denounced the fact that Al-Otaybi and his men were put to death without trial. Ibn Baz stood with and his call before his invasion of the Kaaba Mosque, and he interfered many times to urge the Saudi authorities to release men of Al-Otaybi out of prison cells and to stop torturing them and urging the royal family to stop chasing them (10). Yet, Al-Otaybi in the letters and writings he authored before the invasion showed his utter hatred of all scholars, as we tackle below.


1- Al-Otaybi attacked scholars, warned against them, and urged disobeying them:

  In his vehement attack on Wahabi scholars subservient to the KSA, Al-Otaybi asserts in his letters that the Anti-Christ is less dangerous than misguided and misguiding imams who sell their creed and faith for the sake of money by flattering rulers (11). Al-Otaybi writes that such hypocritical scholars are described in the Quran as follows: "And relate to them the story of him to whom We delivered Our signs, but he detached himself from them, so Satan went after him, and he became one of the perverts.  Had We willed, We could have elevated him through them; but he clung to the ground, and followed his desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: if you chase it, it pants; and if you leave it alone, it pants. Such is the metaphor of the people who deny Our signs. So tell the tale, so that they may ponder." (7:175-176). Thus, Al-Otaybi asserts that seeing words and deeds of such hypocritical scholars, they were divided into two types by him: some who judge others by their appearance and flatter the rich and despise and drive out the poor, and some others who forgot their Islamic University degree and engaged in trade and money-making activities, forsaking their jihad for their faith and creed, competing with rulers and tradesmen in collecting wealth and clinging to the ground (12). Al-Otaybi refutes in his writings the accusation leveled at him by some scholars that he was like Al-Khawarij by asserting that such scholars were akin to the ancient Jewish clergymen who gained ill-gotten money and misguided others away from the righteous path of God (13). Al-Otaybi asserts that such scholars are precursors of the Anti-Christ who would appear one day, as they refuse to apply Sunna of Prophet Muhammad (14), and thus he warns against such corrupt hypocritical scholars who seek to distort Islam to the masses for the sake of affluent tyrannical rulers (15) and thus, they are worse than the danger of the Anti-Christ (16). Al-Otaybi quotes Ibn Abdul-Wahab and Ibn Taymiyya in types of polytheism, which include blind obedience of corrupt scholars without thinking, thus deifying them as gods along with Allah, as such views apply to most Saudi scholars of his age (17).


2- Al-Otaybi exempted Ibn Baz from his attack:

   Al-Otaybi never attacked Ibn Baz, but he slightly criticized some of his stances and approved of some others. Al-Otaybi asserts in his writings that Ibn Baz fluctuated between his loyalty to traditional Wahabi ideology and his loyalty to the KSA regime and his post under it. Thus, Ibn Baz endorsed Salafist Wahabi notions of Al-Otaybi, but he did not approve his invasion and attacking the KSA using the Wahabi ideology. Al-Otaybi cared very much about the views of Ibn Baz about him in terms of religious knowledge and political stances, but Al-Otaybi insisted on attacking the KSA as the sole responsible State for everything bad in Arabia, even when he writes about Ibn Baz, he would strongly attack the Saudi rulers: (…When we give pieces of advice to these rulers, they would ask us to refer to Ibn Baz and other Wahabi scholars … such sheikhs are like governmental employees who sing the praises of the State and flatter the rulers and princes … to maintain their salaries … we know the high stature of Ibn Baz … but they have chosen him as a blind sheikh trusted and loved by people so as not to see the sins and vices of the rulers … This devilish ways are used to misguide Muslims…). Al-Otaybi blames the Saudi rulers for such degeneration: (…These rulers never care for pieces of advice given to them by others … Even When Ibn Baz would advise them to avoid sinning, they would deny being sinners and go on sinning … Even Ibn Baz, the erudite man of the Sunna, would not condemn those who contradict this Sunna, among the Saudi rulers … Ibn Baz would aid and help the rulers and pray for Al-Saud family – May God forgive him … he must condemn them instead so as not to deceive Muslims …) (18). Despite his virulent attack on Wahabi scholars subservient to the Saudi State, Al-Otaybi would praise Ibn Baz and deplore his relation with the State. Ibn Baz did not like the attack of Al-Otaybi on the KSA using Salafist and Wahabi ideology. Al-Otaybi saw that Wahabi scholars loyal to the KSA would not be trusted as they did not perform their duty of ''promoting virtue and preventing vice''.


3- Al-Otaybi hated scholars because they blindly obeyed the KSA:


 Al-Otaybi based his opposition movement against the KSA on one main issue: the Najd Brothers' military opposition and revolt against King Abdul-Aziz. Al-Otaybi never forgot the Wahabi scholars who aided King Abdul-Aziz against the Najd Brothers, by calling them ''Al-Khawarij'', especially that the scholars called Al-Otaybi and his men by the same epithet. Al-Otaybi writes the following about the Saudi rulers: (…When one opposes these rulers, they soon call one ''Al-Khawarij'' to make other Muslims shun us as if we were enemies of Islam …), and then he reminds readers about the Najd Brothers' revolt against King Abdul-Aziz as he never allowed them to fight Shiites of Iraq  (19). Hence, Al-Otaybi hated Saudi rulers past and present and harbored deep-seated animosity toward Wahabi scholars supporting Al-Saud family: (…Al-Saud family seems bent on destroying Islam … May God curse them! We hate very much scholars subservient to Al-Saud family as they cause evil to remain to both rulers and subjects, as they deceive people and flatter sinners of the rulers … Anyone who would advise rulers to avoid sinning and apply sharia, they would tell him that he was not more knowledgeable than scholars who support Al-Saud family … duplicity remains the main order of our life in this State …) (20).  Al-Otaybi saw that when scholars work under the State, they would be inclined to be lax in performing their duty of ''promoting virtue and preventing vice'', as Satan makes them care only for their salaries and thus be eager to please and flatter rulers and to misguide people (21). Al-Otaybi had authored some verses in vernacular Arabic about this type of obsequious scholars:


They are akin to infidels in all regions

They made clergymen like cattle or sheep

That sees rejecting posts as a disgrace

While never have qualms in keeping silence

Regarding sins committed daily around them

They see religion as a means to gather ripe fruit

And to perform foreplay with girl-slaves (22)


 It is clear that Al-Otaybi resented the fact that Wahabi Salafist scholars deserted their duty of ''promoting virtue and preventing vice'' because they were eager to keep their posts and high salaries. Hence, the mentality of Al-Otaybi kept the two factors intertwined: 1) he hated the State for not performing the duty of ''promoting virtue and preventing vice'' and the insurmountable gap between texts and applications, and 2) he hated the Wahabi scholars working under the Saudi State who were reluctant to perform their religious duties. The letters of Al-Otaybi give more details about his resenting the scholars and hating their reluctance to perform the duty of ''promoting virtue and preventing vice''.


4- Al-Otaybi hated scholars because of their reluctance in performing the duty of the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice:


   Al-Otaybi resented the weakness of scholars and their reluctance to condemn sinning and non-application of Wahabi sharia, as a direct result of their relation with the Saudi State that influenced their relation with the Saudi authorities and the people. Let us tackle the resentment of Al-Otaybi against scholars who were reluctant to perform their duty and who deceive people and flatter the ruling royal family. Al-Otaybi divided scholars into two types which he saw as the main reason of destroying Islam: Sufi scholars and sultan's scholars (i.e., those who flatter and please rulers), and Al-Otaybi annexed to them those religious policemen of ''the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice'' who were lax in their duties, as per the views of Al-Otaybi: (…Obsequious, hypocritical scholars flatter sinning rulers and religious policemen care for observing people performing acts of worship while overlooking sins committed by the ruling family to retain their salaries … even sheikhs and judges of courts are blindly obedient to rulers …) (23). This means that Al-Otaybi resented all sheikhs of all types as long as they serve the KSA and promote virtue among people and not among rulers, caring to expose sins of people and not those of rulers: (… Scholars care only about an article or an event considered by them as sin committed by sinful people, while overlooking sins committed by governmental officials and the ruling family members … they disregard corruption of government and of the State that imposes its regime and rule by force … the devils confiscated their minds … they never care to stop sins and they do not know their faith quite well; they fill their houses with pictures and statues … such scholars would justify anything for themselves, while claiming they follow Sunna … they do not practice what they preach …) (24). Al-Otaybi writes that the Abrahamic religion of Islam is based on two roots: devotion of worship to God alone and to reject and disown polytheism and polytheists who should be enemies of true Muslims. Al-Otaybi saw that scholars of his time as some who are Sufis and worship tombs, some who are doctrinal fanatics and want to omit hadiths, some who care to refute communism and Marxism and seek to prove God's existence, and some who seek to control rule inside the KSA. Yet, he saw that all of them are ignoramuses and obsequious to the Saudi authorities as they (…overlook sins committed by ruling princes that seek to destroy Islam …) and they are like those who apply corporeal punishments on the weak and not on the strong among sinners: (…Hypocritical scholars condemn easily those outside power and overlook sins of those who give them their high salaries and try to excuse them and justify them by any means, while declaring themselves as weak who could not change anything at all …) (25). Al-Otaybi asserts that the reluctance of such scholars to say the word of truth was because of their eagerness to please rulers who pay their salaries and thus they forsook Sunna: (… They swore fealty to them so as to overlook their mistakes and sins and to gain their money gifts and to control mosques and to gain power over people … they had to flatter and get lax and remain silent regarding sins, to the extent that evil reigns supreme in the lands … Do such scholars imitate Prophet Muhammad in declaring good people as good and bad ones as bad?! Di they perform their duty in exposing sins and corruption of kings, rulers, ministers, princes, and heads and presidents in governmental offices? Did they dare to utter the word of truth when acts done contradict sharia laws? … If they really do their duties to the utmost degree, they should prosecute and condemn all princes living in palaces and affluence!) (26). (…Scholars remain silent regarding polytheism and innovative disbelieving notions and acts … They might deplore them in mild words using all possible hedges, as they had done for tens of years, and nothing changes for the better … as if their job was to preach the Friday sermons, and not to change evil and sins by force … as long as their salaries go on, they are readily overlook sins committed by the affluent …) (27). Al-Otaybi refuses the logic of those who condemn and denounce in their hearts and never voice their views in public, as this was not enough (28). Al-Otaybi criticizes the disgraceful status of teachers/sheikhs of religion in universities and institutes who taught nothing but ignorance, except for Ibn Baz and another sheikh as per views of Al-Otaybi, and he asserts that a graduate student told him about it: (… A graduate student of Islamic studies told us that he never benefited from his studies and that he learned one thing only: all scholars seek to get high salaries from the authorities and they study for this purpose alone …) (29). We notice that Al-Otaybi made many mistakes in Arabic writing, and yet, he mocked the ignorance of scholars. Al-Otaybi saw that if the purposes of scholars graduated from Islamic studies were to earn as much money as they could, they were ignoramuses who would by obsequious and hypocritical to rulers and people in power and would never serve Islam and misguide people by their erroneous stances regarding creed and faith: ( … Religious policemen lower their heads and overlook sins and terrible mistakes of rulers and those in power, not lowering their heads in piety, but out of fear and obsequiousness, thus mocking our creed and faith, as we see the same attitude in all religious ministries and institutions, leading people to think very ill of clergymen … power should be in the hands of scholars to apply sharia laws properly …) (30). On the other hand, people imitated religious policemen in their laxity and leniency, within views of Al-Otaybi, and feared the royal family as much as clergymen feared it, and Al-Otaybi blamed bitterly the KSA for such state of affairs: (…Little faith or lack of it cause the fear of scholars and subsequently to all people in Arabia … they ought to fear God alone not any mortals, but scholars justify their silence by their being weak, as they fear rulers and men in power instead of God … In fact, people would never cease to use Sunna and hadiths and Quranic verses to justify sins and sinners, and also would justify them by saying that scholars allowed and sanctioned them …) (31). Al-Otaybi unintentionally gave us some historical and social features of the Saudi social life of his age, supported only with his own point of view which analyzed deeply the state of affairs. We have thus demonstrated his deep-seated hatred of the Wahabi scholars, what about his hatred of the KSA itself?  


The stance of Al-Otaybi against the KSA:

Al-Otaybi between Abdul-Aziz and the Najd Brothers:


   We have previously explained his stance against the KSA regarding the Salafist principle of the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice. We now tackle his other political views regarding this principle which was the basis of Wahabism (which in turn was the basis of establishing the KSA itself) as per the Salafist notion of changing vice/sins by force. Hence, Al-Otaybi was an extension of the thought of the Wahabi Najd Brothers who revolted and were killed off during the reign of King Abdul-Aziz. Within the environment in which Al-Otaybi lived, he desired eagerly to revive the Najd Brothers, as his grandfather was one of them and got killed like them, who founded the kingdom of King Abdul-Aziz on the basis of the Salafist principle of the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice. when they insisted on going on with jihad outside the KSA borders, King Abdul-Aziz fought them and had them killed off to confiscate wealth, power, and authority. This idea compels itself on the minds of readers of letters of Al-Otaybi, as he tries in them to use the Salafist ideology to oppose the KSA and gain supporters who would apply Wahabi sharia laws by force in Arabia. Al-Otaybi prepared himself for this idea within the religious, political and military aspects; he joined the Islamic University to study Wahabism and the national guards to get trained in using arms and weapons. The KSA, during the reign of Feisal, linked itself to the USA and the West, especially when the KSA drew nearer to Egypt and when the USSR grew weaker. Such state of affairs vexed Al-Otaybi very much; as allying oneself to ''infidels'' was a calamity for him, and thus, he made sure his lines would reflect his defense of the stance of the Najd Brothers and his attack on King Abdul-Aziz: ( … Abdul-Aziz, the founder of their kingdom, was a tyrant, and sheikhs and scholars under his power and authority flattered and pleased him and some remained silent … Abdul-Aziz employed the Najd Brothers to learn sharia and to immigrate into colonies to swear fealty to him based on Sunna and Quran … He made them conquer lands for his sake, and he confiscated all spoils leaving them very little … but when Abdul-Aziz achieved his purpose and became king, he stopped the military jihad for God's sake outside Arabia and befriended the Christian infidels … when the Najd Brothers fought Shiite polytheists in Iraq who worship Ali, his wife, and his progeny as gods beside Allah, Abdul-Aziz stopped them to please the UK, calling them ''Al-Khawarij'' or renegades because they disobeyed his orders not to attack Iraq … Abdul-Aziz forgot that Prophet Muhammad said that no mortals should obey mortals in disobedience of God … we seek firstly to defend the late Najd Brothers – May God have mercy upon their souls – who fought for the sake of God and were betrayed and deceived by Abdul-Aziz, while they were faithful to God, but the KSA declared them as Al-Khawarij rebels and declared them as apostates who betrayed Islam … the KSA ruling princes tarnished the reputation of the Najd Brothers … yet, some of the Najd Brothers who remained alive would tell us the whole truth about them … No doubt that the royal family verbally abused the Najd Brothers as they want to retain their authority without having to face any groups to emerge similar to the Najd Brothers, and this is not strange, what is really weird is when those royal family members who seek riches and affluence of this transient world seek to abuse the really ascetic fighters of God, and Abdul-Aziz, their grandfather, had once said to descendants of Al-Sharif Hussein that he would help them against the Najd Brothers, as he sought to stop their jihad in Iraq by allying himself to Christian infidels of the UK … evil gates opened ever since in the KSA until now … ignoramuses of sheikhs and scholars of today repeat the same falsehoods about the Najd Brothers, calling them as "Al-Khawarij'' or renegades to deceive people and the masses and to please the Al-Saud family, saying that whoever would dare to imitate the Najd Brothers would be killed… and so would be the fate of those calling to apply Sunna and sharia and Quran …) (32). We have quoted this long passage because Al-Otaybi expresses in it clearly his stance regarding the KSA since the times of its founder and how he favored the Najd Brothers and hated the KSA and the Wahabi scholars for their sake, and he wonders how the Najd Brothers be called Al-Khawarij while this epithet fitted those who allied themselves to Christians of the West and left Shiites in the KSA alone without converting them to Wahabism by force. Hence, such notions led Al-Otaybi to apply what the Najd Brothers failed to do: he delved deep into studies of Wahabi sharia and Salafist culture to attack the KSA from within its ideology using notions of Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Abdul-Wahab in order to attack the KSA on the religious and political levels, casting doubts on the legitimacy of the Saudi regime and rulers and those working under them, as we tackle this topic in details below.   


Al-Otaybi and his description of the perfect caliph:


  Al-Otaybi saw that a caliph must have two features: he must rule people using justice and right and he must not follow his own whims and caprices: (… Those rulers who forsake Sunna and Quran and followed their own whims and caprices, instead of God's sharia, have gone astray, away from the path of God …) (33). Al-Otaybi said that a caliph must come from the Qorayish tribe and a devoted, pious Muslim man, in order to embarrass Al-Saud and to undermine the legitimacy of their rule: (…And no one should swear fealty to any man who did not fit into such conditions and stipulations…) (34). Al-Otaybi asserts that no two caliphs are to exist; it must be one man, and the other must be put to death according to some hadiths he quoted (35). We note here that within most of the history of Muslims, there were many caliphs and rulers that simultaneously existed and declaring themselves as the right caliph ordained by God; this occurred throughout the Abbasid era, the Fatimid era, and Arab ruling Andalusia. As for the Quran, we find the flowing verse: "If two groups of believers fight each other, reconcile between them. But if one group aggresses against the other, fight the aggressing group until it complies with God's command. Once it has complied, reconcile between them with justice, and be equitable. God loves the equitable." (49:9), and we understand from it that in such cases, there would be two leaders of two groups and third group would try to reconcile them to avoid bloodshed; hence, Islamic countries might have disputes and different leaderships in one location, not just one ruler/caliph for all countries as Al-Otaybi tried to convince his readers using Salafist notions. Al-Otaybi was wrong to quote such notions, as the KSA rulers received fealty by the majority of Saudi people, and the other 'caliph' put to death was Al-Qahtany, his awaited Mahdi. Thus, Al-Otaybi saw that rulers who did not apply sharia as infidels, and he compared legitimate sharia-based caliphate to hereditary monarchies imposed by tyrants as we will tackle below.


Between caliphate and imposed monarchy:

     Al-Otaybi saw that caliphate was a good system when based on Prophet Muhammad's deeds and acts and sayings, but such caliphate was wasted when imposed monarchical regimes began by the Umayyads. He asserts in his writings that Salafist hadiths predicted and brought glad tidings of the return of good caliphate based on Prophet Muhammad's deeds and acts and sayings, when fealty would be based on the truth of God's religion and jihad to spread 'Islam' and impose God's creed: (… This entails to kill the infidels and to immigrate away from evil masses and to stick to one's sword …). This quote shows clearly that he admired the Najd Brothers and wanted to repeat their days of 'glory', (… As for our days, we live within imposed monarchy of tyrants, and Muslims did not choose their caliph or ruler; rather, kings imposed themselves on them and force people to swear featly to them, and such kings never apply sharia and never imitate justice of Prophet Muhammad to support Islam, and even their laws and legislations contain no traces of sharia unless items that would support the caprices and whims of kings and rulers …). In sum, Al-Otaybi saw that the KSA is a tyrannical and imposed monarchy that rejects true Wahabism; caliphate must be restored based on the divine truth of the Quran and on Sunna and jihad that entailed on-going, incessant wars to convert the whole world to Wahabism. He shows that people must be the source of legitimacy and authority on their own accord in rightful religious caliphate system, unlike imposed monarchy that imposed fealty by the sword: (… Hence, we assert that the Saudi king does not follow the methods and traditions of Prophet Muhammad, and based on sharia laws, fealty to him must be annulled and people must not obey him …) (36).


Fealty and obedience between religious caliphate and imposed monarchy:


    After he mentioned conditions and features of legitimate rightful religious caliphate, Al-Otaybi asserts that a caliph must be from the Qorayish tribe among religious devoted pious men (37). In another part, he divides ruling regimes into two types: those ruling using the Quran and Sunna and deserve to be obeyed, and those ruling without them and deserve to be disobeyed, and the former is the religious caliphate to come and the latter is the current imposed Saudi monarchy that deserve to be disobeyed even if it applies Islam, because of its imposition by the sword (38). We give more details of this now. ( … Imposed rule is not based on free fealty out of people's accord, and it contradicts God's sharia: Saudi rulers are not from the Qorayish tribe and destroy Islam and fight Muslims instead of supporting Islam and applying sharia laws. Another point is that fealty is forced by the sword to the Saudis, which makes fealty null and void, and we urge people not to obey the Saudi rulers …). Thus, Al-Otaybi urged that no one should obey Saudi authorities and rulers and they should be avoided and shunned: (… Muslims in Arabia suffer under imposed rulers, who do not apply sharia and creed, and they should disobey such rulers who shun the Quran and apply laws imported from the West, and thus, fealty to such rulers is annulled, and sharia laws urge us to shun and avoid them as they destroy religion and Sunna … Even Prophet Muhammad in a hadith urged us to avoid and shun rulers who will not come from the Qorayish tribe …) (39).


Al-Otaybi and his religious notion of avoidance:


   Al-Otaybi writes the following to allude to the KSA: (… rulers of Muslims in our age prefer persons who agree with them and remain silent, and thus draw them nearer and use them to rule people falsely in the name of Islam, persons who remain silent and avoid everything, and thus they would avoid such persons, and persons who oppose rulers vociferously and show the truth, and rulers would act violently against them, as Qorayish fought Prophet Muhammad and the early believers, using their scholars who impose faulty notions on Muslims … tyrant rulers base their power on three ways of how to deal with religious scholars: if they agree to rulers, they manipulate such scholars and lavish gifts on them to use them against opposition figures, if such scholars remain silent, the rulers would either ignore them or send them gifts to keep them silent, and finally, if scholars would oppose rulers vociferously and show the truth in their pieces of advice, rulers would accuse them of being from Al-Khawarij and have them killed.   We could not stand being near rulers and could not oppose them openly so as not to give them a chance to kill us, and the third choice was the only one left for us: avoidance and shunning …) (40). (… Hence, to keep oneself safe from such tyrant rulers who act blindly and utter nonsense, one is to shun and avoid them, but one is to utter the truth when asked about anything related to religion, and not to help tyrants in their evil ways … When one mingles with people, one is to avoid vices and sins and denounce them verbally, not to remain silent, as this silence is a grave sin in itself, and after denouncing sins, one is to avoid sinners …). Thus, Al-Otaybi chose to shun and avoid rulers at first, and he urged readers of his letters to stop working with the KSA, and he quoted the following Quranic verse: "While the angels are removing the souls of those who have wronged themselves, they will say, "What was the matter with you?" They will say, "We were oppressed in the land." They will say, "Was God's earth not vast enough for you to emigrate in it?" These-their refuge is Hell. What a wretched retreat!" (4:97), and he quoted a hadith asserting a prediction of an age when people would avoid money and persecution and flee to preserve their creed. (…We assert that having jobs inside the Saudi State is forbidden and one should leave one's job as long as the State does not apply sharia laws and calls brethren like ourselves as Al-Khawarij, renegades, urging to kill or imprison  us…) (41). In fact, Al-Otaybi knew that his view about jobs incurred the wrath of Saudi authorities and some scholars issued fatwas to arrest and kill him, as he called to stop having salaries, within governmental jobs, from the KSA ruled by 'infidels' and apostates. Thus, he used Salafist thought to oppose and undermine the legitimacy of the KSA: (… Corrupt scholars assert that they assumed such jobs to serve Islam and guide Muslims; this is a falsehood … and they blame those who forsook their studies and jobs as if they were forsaking Islam; this shows how corrupt scholars are mere ignoramuses who lacked insight … real Islam has dwindled and it lacks supporters …)(42). Al-Otaybi prohibits his readers to join or work in the police stations and supports his views using hadiths: (… We conclude from such hadiths that they apply to Saudi authorities now, and the best stance is to avoid them, as no obedience is due to those disobeying God, and one must resign from any governmental posts … We see that the quoted hadith here applies to most princes who talk falsely and act sinfully, but no one dares to advise them out of fear and awe … their fearful fate is in eternal Hell, indeed …) (43). We conclude from such a stance of Al-Otaybi that he incited citizens to stop being loyal to the KSA, even to leave their influential posts. Hence, avoidance call of Al-Otaybi had its political aspect, using words to declare one's avoidance and not just to deny sins of others, especially rulers, in one's heart. 





From avoidance to condemnation:


    Al-Otaybi asserted that obedience must be for rulers who apply Islam and pray regularly in public, even if they live in sins and debauchery, but subjects must declare their disowning of the sins of rulers in their hearts, using words of their mouths, and by changing sins by their hands if they possibly can. What was important for Al-Otaybi was to apply sharia laws, but he pinpointed the fact that Muslim rulers of today are not imams to be followed: (… We have provided evidence to prove that Muslim rulers of today are not imams to be followed, as they are not from Qorayish tribe and they never apply religion and sharia laws, and they took fealty by sheer force and not willingly by people, and we implore the Almighty to help us get rid of such rulers …) (44). Hence, according to Al-Otaybi, all regimes in Muslim lands are infidel, sinful, and a vice that must be changed by force as per hadiths. Did Al-Otaybi declare rulers as apostates?


From avoidance and condemnation to declaring others as apostates:


  Al-Otaybi admits that declaring others as apostates is a dangerous notion: (… One is to take very careful thought before pronouncing, judging, or declaring others as apostates, and one is to leave it to erudite sharia learners and scholars, but we notice that the ignoramuses declare rulers as following footsteps of Moses' Pharaoh or the Anti-Christ, while supporters of such same rulers exaggerate and liken them to pre-Umayyad caliphs …). Hence, Al-Otaybi deplores in his writings those who easily declare others as apostates as per their whims and changeable stances and fickleness. Did Al-Otaybi fall into the same trap? His writings show that he was among those who change their stances as per changing conditions and circumstances; his early letters show he felt that it was abhorrent to declare others as apostates, even rulers, but he did that in his late letters, especially when his conflict with the KSA deepened: (… We do assert that Muslims rulers of today must be avoided and disobeyed and their fealty annulled, but we are not to declare them as apostates, as some of them perform prayers indeed … they are to be declared as infidels if there would be sufficient proofs of sins and misconduct that shoe they forsook Islam, and such declaration of their being infidels must be made in public so as to make one avoids being among the hypocrites who will suffer in the inner-most depths of Hell …) (45). But he soon contradicts himself when talking about some princes: (… The quoted hadiths here apply to most Saudi princes who utter falsehoods and deny sharia and no one dares to advise them out of fear and awe … May God smite them all in Hell as a well-deserved punishment …) (46). We see here that Al-Otaybi implies that the Saudi rulers are infidels, but his late letters show this clearly without implying, as he used fatwas of Wahabi imams, especially Ibn Abdul-Wahab, about things that make their doers forsake Islam, seeing that such things apply to the Saudi rulers: (… One is an n infidel if he did not declare polytheists as apostates or if he tried to correct their faulty doctrines instead of converting them by force to Islam …). Of course, he meant Wahabism. (… One asks here why Saudi rulers did not declare worshippers of Ali and his wife and children as infidels and apostates … why Saudi rulers did not apply this verse: "O you who believe! The polytheists are polluted, so let them not approach the Sacred Mosque…" (9:28)?  We see that Shiite polytheists fill cities of Mecca and Yathreb, and the Saudi king is very lenient with Shiites of the south and of Al-Ahsa, and takes zakat alms from them to the poor, as though they were true Muslim …). Hence, Al-Otaybi resented the fact that the Saudi king allowed Shiites to perform pilgrimage and accepted their zakat and deal with them leniently as his faithful subjects, whereas Ibn Abdul-Wahab, Ibn Baz, and other scholars considered the Shiites, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, the late Egyptian president, and Habeeb Bourguiba, the late Tunisian president,  to be infidels: (… We remind Saudi rulers that they greet Bourguiba within Islamic feasts as if he were Muslim, despite the fatwa of Ibn Baz that he was an enemy of Islam who criticized the Quran … Why King Feisal prayed for the soul of Abdel-Nasser after his death, despite the fatwa of Ibn Baz that he was an enemy of Islam, and the sheikh never revoked his fatwas … We beseech Ibn Baz to decide and declare his final stance regarding such important and vital issue to all Muslims bearing in mind the following verse: "And do not argue on behalf of those who deceive themselves. God does not love the deceitful sinner. " (4:107)…) (47). This means that Al-Otaybi used Ibn Abdul-Wahab and Ibn Baz to declare Saudi rulers, and all Arab rulers, as apostates, thus falling into the same trap he warned against in his early letters. He followed his whims in declaring Shiites as infidels, and he adopted Salafist notion of declaring others as infidels, as if Salafists were deputized by God to judge people before the Day of Judgment.


From declaring others as apostates to military rebellion and the invasion of the Kaaba Mosque:


   Within the Salafist culture of Al-Otaybi, declaring others as infidels entails fighting them and killing them off if they refuse to convert to Wahabism, as Wahabi jihad entails force to change and remove vice. Al-Otaybi saw that the KSA regime was a vice to be removed by sheer force within legitimate jihad following Wahabi sharia laws. Of course, he could not face the Saudi army with his men, and thus, he choose to invade and occupy the Kaaba Mosque to declare his men and his Mahdi to the whole world; he knew quite well that his military movement will not stand and will not succeed, and he might be killed, but he insisted to send his Salafist message, ignored by the Saudi State, to the whole world to gain moral victory in terms of culture and intellect instead. He knew he was on a suicide mission that will end in his death sooner or later. He felt the urge to do this; the Najd Brothers failed and were betrayed by Abdul-Aziz, which was because they knew little about faith and jurisprudence unlike scholars of Abdul-Aziz. Al-Otaybi insisted on avenging the death of the Najd Brothers and achieving moral victory over Saudi rulers and scholars based on his knowledge of Wahabi creed, even if this meant his certain death. Of course, Al-Otaybi believed in avoidance and condemnation but he wanted to perform his suicide mission to prove his point before he died; he knew in advance that his invasion of the Kaaba Sacred Mosque would not last for long. This indicated that he changed his mind and decided to collide with the Saudi authorities; he felt disappointed with Ibn Baz and other scholars who flatter rulers and did not wish to declare the Wahabi truth in public, as we read in his final letters and the harsh style he adopted in it: (… Applying sharia and creed would not be by flattery and silence, but by declaring the truth outspokenly and vociferously to all people, while being ready to bear the consequences of being tortured, persecuted, imprisoned, or put to death … Those who try but would not succeed in this life will attain Paradise in the Hereafter, and they are not to run away from hardships and persecution … They are not to ally themselves to unjust rulers and flatter them like hypocrites for the sake of money …) (48). We see here that Al-Otaybi felt weary of those reluctant to join his movement and military action, and that he knew he could not defeat the KSA militarily but must achieve moral victory by drawing the attention of the whole world. He writes the following to those men of his group who left him to join the side of the Saudi State to attack it later on (… Saudi rulers care only for people's obedience, and not for the fact if they follow Islam rightly or not, and they tolerate people of other doctrines and creeds … they deceive Muslims to establish their Saudi State firmly and not an Islamic caliphate … Prophet Muhammad managed to establish his state in Yathreb by shunning and avoiding polytheists, killing and holding captive very few persons, whereas Al-Saud family deceived thousands of Muslims and killed off thousands of them in acts of betrayal and treachery …)(49). This shows that some of the men in the group of Al-Otaybi deserted him by trying to join the KSA to attack it from within in the nearest chance possible later on, or so they told him. Al-Otaybi was sieged by those who deserted him and the Saudi intelligence and security men chasing him; he had to hasten his pace and invade the Kaaba Mosque, as he would not die unless after he would hammer his message home to the Islamic world. He added his imprint in the last chapter of the struggle between the Najd Brothers and Al-Saud royal family. To what extent his ideas were similar to those of the Najd Brothers?


Between the condemnation done by Al-Otaybi and that done by the Najd Brothers in the reign of Abdul-Aziz:


  Circumstances and conditions differed between the era of Abdul-Aziz and his Najd Brothers in compassion to the era of Al-Otaybi; modernization was an issue taken for granted and all Salafist scholars use modern inventions and consume products of the West, no longer thought to be diabolical or devilish as the Najd Brothers used to think. Despite the Salafist thought of Al-Otaybi, he never condemned importation of modern products from the West, but he was annoyed by the term ''modernizing Wahabism'' to make it cope with modern civilization and help in keeping good relations with other non-Muslim nations in tolerance, as allying oneself to the West was deemed by him as an affront and unforgivable crime an sin in Wahabi ideology. Hence, Al-Otaybi agreed to the thought of the Najd Brothers in that respect: (… There is no such as thing as modernizing Islam in dealing with other countries … We know but one Islam that came to us via Prophet Muhammad: we are to stop dealing and interacting with polytheists and infidels and we are to show enmity toward them … to show to them they are wrong … the notion of the East mingling with the West by the work of infidels has nothing to do with Islam … let apostates and rejecters of faith live in the West as they please …) (50). Al-Otaybi asserts in his letter that the Abrahamic creed of Islam is based on devoting one's life and acts of worship to God alone and that includes disowning polytheists and deeming them as enemies. Hence, despite changed conditions and eras between the time of Al-Otaybi and that of Abdul-Aziz, as Al-Otaybi lived in the era when Saudis consume West products and use modern inventions, there are no differences whatsoever between the stance and notions of Al-Otaybi and those of the Najd Brothers in terms of rejecting the Saudi alliance with the West. Al-Otaybi repeated the condemnation of the Najd Brothers of Abdul-Aziz because of his good relations with Shiites inside the KSA and with the Christian 'infidels' of the West. This shows that Al-Otaybi followed the footsteps of the Najd Brothers and their Salafist notions based on predictions hadiths like the Anti-Christ and the Signs of the Hour etc. especially hadiths about those forsaking Sunna and allying themselves to Europeans, as two features applying to Al-Saud family, especially Abdul-Aziz, in views of Al-Otaybi: (… People of monotheism (i.e., the Najd Brothers) were killed by Abdul-Aziz because they insisted on following sharia by going on with their jihad for God's sake …) (51). Al-Otaybi addresses here scholars who live off money gifts lavished on them by princes and rulers: (… When one asks a sheikh about the source of his money, he would not tell you that this money is gotten from conquests and fighting infidels in Arabia, but would tell you that he received it from the rulers for issuing a fatwa to allow embassies of infidels to be built in the KSA … and allowing room for Shiites to live inside the KSA instead of converting them to Islam …) (52). Al-Otaybi accuses all Arab rulers of being hypocrites: (… All such rulers are hypocrites who ostentatiously pose as Muslims while they ally themselves to the infidels and polytheists like Christians, Jews, communists, and Shiites, who are all enemies of Islam … all rulers unite in this and in fighting real preachers who call for Islam and application of sharia laws  …) (53). Al-Otaybi hides not his deep-seated hatred toward Saudi Shiites, and he resented the fact that the KSA did not force them to convert to Wahabism, and he saw that Shiites are like any infidels and polytheists of the West; he mocks the KSA here: (… Our country and our scholars have deceived the citizens when they assert that the KSA is a state of monotheism, despite the existence of Shiites and allying the West infidels and their fighting the true Muslims killed by the UK and Abdul-Aziz (i.e., the Najd Brothers) while being lenient with those who worship Ali, his wife, and his sons …) (54). Al-Otaybi declared Saudi rulers as apostates for merely allowing Shiites to perform pilgrimage (55). He imitates the Najd Brothers, when they rejected modern clothes and inventions, in rejecting and condemning TV and media and photography as diabolical items and Signs of the Hour: (… People of the wrong delude us with a deluge of sins like radios that began with reciting the Quran and news, and ended in airing female voices … TVs began to show unveiled women on screens, along with airing of lewd songs…) (56), He condemned as well pictures on coins and banknotes as well as banks in general as a an invention of usury coming from West, as Signs of the Hour and the nearness of Judgment Day: (… The Saudi rulers claim that they rule with Quran and Sunna and yet they allow banks of usury and put photos on coins and banknotes … this is indeed one of the Signs of the Hour entering every house …) (57). We see here Al-Otaybi hated the photo of Abdul-Aziz on Saudi coins and banknotes and resented the fact that even Salafist scholars keep statues, pictures, and photos in their homes without distorting them (58). Al-Otaybi had reminded his readers in his last letters that bad corrupt scholars trim their beards and wear refined short clothes, unlike commands of Sunna (59). This reminds us of Feisal Al-Daweesh claiming he cut off a piece of the long gown of Abdul-Aziz using scissors. Al-Otaybi revived the notions of the Najd Brothers in opposing the Saudi rulers, even after 50 years of their being killed by the UK. He repeats the same items of their opposition and condemnation of Al-Saud family using traditional Wahabi thought. The only difference was the fact that the Najd Brothers knew little of Wahabism, unlike Al-Otaybi who delved deep into it. That was why Al-Otaybi managed to embarrass the KSA and all his foes, and scholars could not openly refute his views inside his letters.  


The methodology of Al-Otaybi in his writings:


  Al-Otaybi wrote his letters within different conditions and circumstances; contradictions fill his writings regarding relations with the Saudi authorities, but the main feature in all his letters is his being influenced by Salafist books of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Al-Qayyim, among other scholars of the extremist Ibn Hanbal doctrine, as well as writings of Ibn Abdul-Wahab whom he tried to imitate in terms of style of writing. Al-Otaybi even summarized views of Ibn Abdul-Wahab and other ancient scholars, and both their styles and his merged and overlapped sometimes, unless he would wrote that he quotes so and so. Al-Otaybi used views of imams that support his points of view, and Ibn Baz told him many times not to use such views regarding his foes in the Saudi State; yet, Al-Otaybi and his notions coped with traditional Salafist notions of hating Shiites as well as Jews and Christians and declaring them as infidels and disbelievers whom are not to be allies or friends to Muslims (i.e., Wahabis), as asserted by Wahabism and ancient scholars. The only dangerous problem in Al-Otaybi and his writings was that he wanted to apply his notions by committing a grave sin: he invaded and occupied the Sacred Mosque and terrorized people in it; he justified his crime using hadiths of predictions and Signs of the Hour. He used such hadiths to prepare his men to invade the Sacred Mosque and to declare Saudis as infidels. In his early letters, Al-Otaybi does not focus much on hadiths of predictions and Signs of the Hour, but he did the exact opposite in his last letters to condemn all Saudis and princes and to prepare others for his call about the so-called Mahdi. Such writings lead us to think that he prepared his invasion and planned for it for years in his mind in terms of intellectual and practical levels. He used to quote heavily hadiths of predictions and Signs of the Hour, especially about episodes of turmoil, the so-called Anti-Christ, and the so-called Mahdi and called all Muslims for a general revolt or revolution against all Arab regimes to create caliphate later on with big endeavors (60). In other letters, Al-Otaybi explains how such hadiths predict Al-Saud and West powers interfering in Arabia; he had to hasten the emergence of the so-called Mahdi in Mecca to start his desired revolution and to make room for fighting European infidels as per predictions hadiths of Salafism   (61). Al-Otaybi asserts in his last letter that since the Saudis allied themselves to European Christians, sooner or later, predictions hadiths will be fulfilled as the Christian 'infidels' will fight Muslims and betray them (62). This shows that Al-Otaybi prepared his readers and his followers for his military action in Mecca, as he links past and present and appeal to the emotional/religious side of his readers in his discourse (63).


 A commentary on the methodology of Al-Otaybi in his writings:


  Using the Salafist methodology itself, one can easily refute ideas of Al-Otaybi in his usage of hadiths of predictions and Signs of the Hour: Ibn Al-Qayyim himself (1292:1350 A.D.), whom Al-Otaybi quoted heavily and imitated his style in many books, refuted in his writings all hadiths of predictions and Signs of the Hour (64). To prove his point, Ibn Al-Qayyim quoted these Quranic verses: "They ask you about the Hour, "When will it come?" Say, "Knowledge of it rests with my Lord. None can reveal its coming except He…" (7:187). "With God rests the knowledge of the Hour…" (31:34). "Say, "I do not say to you that I possess the treasuries of God, nor do I know the future, nor do I say to you that I am an angel…" (6:50). "Say, "I have no control over any benefit or harm to myself, except as God wills. Had I known the future, I would have acquired much good, and no harm would have touched me..." (7:188). And Ibn Al-Qayyim quoted other hadiths to support his view of refuting and casting doubts on all hadiths of predictions and Signs of the Hour. But Al-Otaybi overlooked intentionally these views of Ibn Al-Qayyim. By the way, Ibn Al-Qayyim contradicted himself in his other books when he asserted the authenticity of the hadiths about the so-called anti-Christ, Mahdi, the second coming of Christ (65). This shows that Ibn Al-Qayyim started a good step of resorting to the Quran alone to refute hadiths, but he retreated son enough and did not go on with this intellectual route. This led to the fact that all Muslims paid a heavy price between the deaths of Ibn Al-Qayyim in 1292 A.D. and of Al-Otaybi in 1979. Even the KSA paid a heavy price for preserving Wahabi and Salafist ideology without correcting, rectifying, or updating it using the Quran and modern age values of democracy and human rights. Thus, the problem still persists and the veritable danger or threat still exists, and likes of Al-Otaybi and Al-Masaary will emerge as long as creative, innovative thinking is forbidden as far as Salafism and Wahabism are concerned.




1- Al-Yaseeni, "Religion and State in the KSA", pages 101:102, 108:112, 131, 147:151, and 165:170.

2- Al-Jazeera Al-Arabia newspaper: the editorial titled "New Features of the Saudi Foreign Policy", pages 2:9, and an article titled ''Images from the Saudi Terrorism", pages 14:22. 

3- Al-Yaseeni, ditto, page 173.

4- Al-Jazeera Al-Arabia newspaper: a study on the political and social status in the KSA, pages 26:31.

5- Ahmed (Rifaat Sayed), "The Desert Saint", pages 65.

Ahmed (Rifaat Sayed), introduction to the book titled ''''Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi", pages 11:13.

Al-Yaseeni, ditto, page 195.

6- Details within the following issues of newspapers and magazines in order of events:

The Lebanese Al-Safeer newspaper, 6th Feb., 22nd, 24th, and 29th Nov., and 2nd, 12th, and 21st Dec. 1979, 9th, 10th, and 20th Jan., 1980, and 1st Feb., 1980

The Cairo-based governmental daily Al-Ahram Newspaper: 22nd, 24th, 25th, and 30th of Nov., 1979

The Lebanese Al-Anwar Newspaper: 16th Jan., 1980, 24th Nov., 1979, and 22nd Nov., 1979

The Kuwait-based Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 28th Nov., 1979 and 9th Dec., 1979

The Kuwait-based Al-Qabas newspaper, 18th Dec., 1979, and 21st Nov., 1979

The Lebanese newspaper Al-Dostour, 24th and 30th Nov., 1979

The Lebanese Al-Hawadeth newspaper, 7th Dec., 1979 and 18th Jan., 1980

Newsweek, 7th Dec., 1979

Le Monde, 22nd Nov., 24th Nov., and 3rd Dec., 1979

The Saudi Al-Riyadh newspaper: 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 26th, 28th, and 29th Nov., 1979 and 1st and 4th Dec., 1979

The Lebanese Al-Nahar newspaper, 21st, 22nd, 25th, 24th and 30th Nov., 1979 and 10th Jan, 1980

The Saudi newspaper Al-Jazeera, 22nd Nov., 27th Nov., 25th Nov., 10 Dec., and 11th Dec., 1979

The Saudi Al-Madina newspaper, 26th Nov., 2nd, 6th, and 11th Dec., 1979

The Saudi newspaper Al-Bilad, 24th Nov., 8th Dec., and 11th Dec. 1979

Al-Osboue Al-Arabi newspaper, No. 1058, 21st Jan., 1980

The Cairo-based governmental Al-Gomhouriyya Newspaper, 24th, 26th, and 27th Nov., 1979

Der Spiegel, 23rd Dec., 1979

The governmental Cairo-Based daily Al-Akhbar Newspaper, 24th Nov., 1979

The Economist, 15th Dec., 1980

The Kuwait-based Al-Watan newspaper, 22nd Nov., 1979

The Kuwait-based Al-Anbaa Newspaper: 22nd, 24th, and 25th of Nov., 1979

The Lebanese Al-Louaa newspaper, 22nd Nov., 1979

The Kuwait-based Al-Siyasa Al-Kuwaitiyya newspaper, 25th Nov., 1979

The Saudi Middle East newspaper, 27th Nov., 1979

Al-Watan Al-Arabi newspaper, No. 147

The Guardian, 4th Feb., 1980

Le Point, 28th Jan., 1980  

7- Al-Yaseeni, ditto, pages 201:104.

8- Hiro, "Iran under the Ayatollahs", 1985, London, pages 335 and 336.

Ahmed (Rifaat Sayed), introduction to the book titled ''''Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi", pages 43:45.

9- The Lebanese Al-Safeer newspaper, 9th of Jan., 1980 and The Lebanese Al-Hawadeth newspaper, 18th of Jan., 1980.

10- "Islamic Intifada Files: the 7th Memory of the Invasion of the Kaaba Mosque", Al-Thawra Islamiyya Editions, page 70.

11- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 80.

12- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 6, Part 2, page 364.

13- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 61.

14- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 78:79.

15- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 5, Part 2, page 342.

16- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 80.

17- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 2, Part 2, pages 249:252.

18- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 82:93.

Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 4, Part 1, page 176.

Islamic Intifada Files, pages 69 and 70.

19- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 89:91.

20- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 88.

21- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 82.

22- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 4, Part 1, page 195.

23- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 61 and 62.

24- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 84:96.

25- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 7, Part 2, pages 452:455.

26- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 80:81.

27- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 5, Part 2, page 330.

28- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 6, Part 2, page 346.

29- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 4, Part 1, page 176.

30- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 60:62 and 93.

31- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 83.

32- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 89:91

33- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 57.

34- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 69.

35- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 71.

36- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 67 and 68.

37- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 69 and 70.

38- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 58 and 59.

39- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 70 and 71.

40- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 89:91.

Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 4, Part 1, page 190.

41- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 93:94.

42- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 96.

43- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 80, 81, and 84.

44- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 4, Part 1, page 159.

Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 99.

45- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 95.

46- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 71, 84, 86, and 88.

47- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 8, Part 2, pages 254:256.

48- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 7, Part 2, page 457.

49- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 7, Part 2, page 457.

50- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 4, Part 1, page 189. Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 7, Part 2, pages 451 and 452.

51- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 79 and 80.

52- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 61.

53- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 71.

54- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 88.

55- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 2, Part 2, page 255.

56- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 2, page 216.

57- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 4, Part 1, page 160.

Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 2, page 214.

58- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, page 96.

59- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 2, Part 1, page 135.

60- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 1, pages 74, 79, and 88:99.

61- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 3, Part 1, page 155.

62- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 4, Part 1, page 194.

63- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 1, Part 2, pages 202:218.

64- Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 2, Part 2, page 261. Letters of Juhayman Al-Otaybi, Letter 5, Part 2, page 322.

65- Al-Jawziyya (Ibn Al-Qayyim), "Al-Manar Al-Manif Fe Al-Sahih Wa Al-Daweef", edited by Dr. Abdul-Ra'uf Saad, edition of 1952, Cairo, pages 240:245 and 192:208.

The Wahabi Opposition Movements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Twentieth Century
The Wahabi Opposition Movements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Twentieth Century

Authored by: Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour
26th of June, 2001
Cairo, Egypt
Translated by: Ahmed Fathy


We publish here the complete book titled "The Wahabi Opposition Movements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Twentieth Century", after writing it previously in a series of successive articles before on our website. We authored this book in 2001, and it is published here online after omitting an introductory chapter about Wahabism and its origins and roots; we have omitted this chapter because it repeats what we have written in hundreds of articles about Wahabism, Salafism, and the Sunnite Ibn Hanbal doctrine. We have decided to confine this book to the rest of this research, whose details are summarized in the new introduction, and we consider this research or book as adopting a neutral historical viewpoint of events. Parts of this book have been published before separate

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