THIS WEBSITE IS DEDICATED TO REFUTE THE ENEMIES OF HUMANITY WHO PROPAGATE THAT ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF TERRORISM. IT ALSO AIMS TO REFUTE TERRORIST KHARIZI TAKFIRI MOVEMENT WHO ARE HELL-BENT ON MISLEADING MUSLIM YOUTHS ACROSS THE GLOBE.IT IS DIRECTED TO HIGHLIGHT THE THREE DIMENSIONS OF ISLAM NAMELY, ISLAM, IMAN & IHSAN BY PROMOTING LOVE FOR ALLAH(SWT), RASULULLAH(PBUH), SAHABA E KERAM< AHLE BAIT & AWLIYA-ALLAHS AS WAYS OF PURIFYING ONE'S HEART FROM OTHER THAN ALLAH.
Prominent novelist and journalist Khuswant Singh (February 2, 1915- (1915-02-02)age 96) is well-known critic of Islaam. He openly writes that Islaam Needs One More Kemal Pasha and that Hijab is an outdated life style. However, this bitter critic of Islaam also admits the greatness of our beloved Prophet Rasulullah ( PBUH). He wrote in The Telegraph (February 16, 2008) an article titled "A messiah for our time". In this article, Khuswant Singh wrote:
" Prejudice is like poison. Unless purged out of one's mind in early stages, it can spread like cancer and make one incapable of differentiating between right and wrong. Of the many kinds of prejudice, the worst is to believe that one's own religion is superior to all others, which may be tolerated but never taken seriously or accepted as equally valid as one's own. The most misunderstood of the major religions today is Islam, which, after Christianity, is the second most widely practised religion in the world. It also gains more converts than any of the other religions. Prejudice against Islam was spread in Christendom from the time Muslims gained dominance in the Middle East, North Africa and Spain. Christian crusaders failed in their missions to crush Islam in its homeland but continued to vilify its founder, Mohammed. The emergence of militant Islamic groups like al-Qaida and taliban gave them reasons to do so. The attack on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington on September 11, 2001 provided fresh ammunition to vilifiers of Islam. Since then Islamophobia has been deliberately spread throughout the non-Muslim world. The two principle contentions of the anti-Islamists are that Islam was spread by the sword and that its founder-prophet was not the paragon of virtue that Muslims make him out to be. It can be proved by historical evidence that Islam was not forced upon the people; it was readily accepted by millions because it offered them new values, principally equality of mankind and rights to women that were unheard of in those times. In countries like Indonesia and Malayasia, Islam was not forced on the population by Muslim invaders but by Muslim missionaries."
Khuswant Singh further writes:
"Muslims are extremely sensitive to criticism of their Prophet. A popular adage in Persian is: ba khuda diwaana basho, ba Mohammed hoshiar! - "say what you like about God, but beware of what you say about Mohammed." They regard him as the most perfect man who ever trod upon the earth, a successor of Adam, Moses, Noah, Abraham and Christ. He was the last of the prophets. If you honestly want to know how Muslims see him, you ought to take a good look at his life and teachings, which he claimed had been revealed to him by God. It would be as wrong to judge him by the doings of al-Qaida and taliban or by the fatwas periodically pronounced by Ayatollahs and half-baked mullahs. You do not judge Hinduism of the Vedas and Upanishads by the doings of Hindus who, in the name of Hindutva, destroy mosques, murder missionaries and nuns, vandalize libraries and works of art. You do not judge the teachings of the Sikh gurus by the utterances of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and by the murder of innocents by his hooligans. Likewise, judge Mohammed by what he taught and stood for and not by what his so-called followers do in his name.
Mohammed was born in Mecca in 570 AD. He lost both his parents while still a child and was brought up by his grandfather and uncle. He managed the business of a widow, whom he later married. She bore him six children. He took no other wife until she died. He was 40 years old when he started having revelations while in trance. They proclaimed Mohammed as the new messiah. Such revelation kept coming at random, sometimes dealing with problems at hand, at other times with matters spiritual. They were memorized or written down by his admirers and became the Quran, which means recitation. It should be kept in mind that Mohammed was not preaching ideas of his own but only reiterating most of what was already in the Judaic creed. Allah was the Arabic name for God before him. Similarly, Islam was 'surrender' and salam was 'peace'. Mecca was the main market city of the Bedouin tribes. They gathered at the Kaaba, the huge courtyard with the black meteorite embedded in it during two pilgrimages - the bigger Haj and the lesser Umrah. Mohammed accepted Judaic traditions regarding food which is halaal (lawful) or haraam (forbidden, such as pig meat), names of the five daily prayers and circumcision of male children. Mohammed only asserted the oneness of God that did not accept of any equal such as the stone goddesses worshiped by different tribes. Mohammed never forced people to accept his faith and indeed quoted Allah's message of freedom of faith. "There must be no coercion in matters of faith - la ikra f'il deen." Further: "And if God had so willed, He would have made you all one single command; but He willed otherwise in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto you. Vie, then with one another in doing good works!"
As might have been expected, Mohammed's mission roused fierce hostility. Many attempts were made to assassinate him but he had miraculously escaped. Ultimately, in 622 AD he was advised to flee from Mecca to Medina. This is know as the Hijra (emigration) and recognized as the beginning of the Muslim calendar. Meccans made a few attempts to capture Medina but were ousted. Muslim armies led by Mohammed triumphed and returned to Mecca as conquerors. By the time Mohammed died in Medina in 632 AD, the Arabian peninsula was united as a confederacy of different tribes under the banner of Islam.
Most of the ill-founded criticism against Mohammed is directed towards the number of women he married after the death of his first wife, Khadijah. This has to be seen in the perspective of Arabian society of the time. Tribes lived by warring against each other and looting caravans. There were heavy casualties of men, creating serious gender imbalance. Widows and orphans of men killed had to be provided with homes and sustenance. Otherwise they took to prostitution or begging. So they were given protection by being taken in marriages. Also, matrimonial alliances were a good way of creating bonds between different tribes. Mohammed did nothing not acceptable to his people. He went further: he was the first teacher to proclaim that the best union was a monogamous marriage and fixed the maximum limit to four, provided a man could keep all of his wives equally happy - which was most unlikely. The pertinent verse in the Quran reads: "And if you have reason to fear you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among other women who are lawful to you, even two or three or four; but if you have reason to fear you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then only one." Bear in mind that at that time polygamy was the norm in patriarchal societies all over the world."
Khuswant singh also advises others to read the biography of Rasulullah (PBUH) written by Karen Armstrong. He writes :
"To make a beginning in clearing your mind of anti-Muslim prejudices, I suggest you read Karen Armstrong's Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time. Armstrong is the leading writer on comparative religions today. She is not Muslim."
la ilaha ill-allahu waḥdahu lā Sharīka lahu la-hul-mulku wa lahu'l-ḥamdu yuh-yi wa yumītu wa hu-wa ḥayyu-llā yamūtu abadan abada, zū-l-jalāli wa-l-ikrām, biyadihi-l-khayr, wa huwa ʿalā kulli shayʾin qadīr.
(There is) none worthy of worship except Allah. He is only One. (There are) no partners for Him. For Him is the Kingdom. And for Him is the Praise. He gives life and causes death. And He is Alive. He is Eternal. Possessor of Majesty and Reverence. In His hand is the good. And He is on everything powerful.
Astaġfiru-llāha rabbī min kulli ḏanbin aḏnabtuhu ʿamadan aw khaṭāʾan sirran aw ʿalāniyyatan wa atūbu ilayhi mina-ḏḏanbi-llaḏī aʿlamu wa mina-ḏḏanbi-llaḏī lā aʿlamu innaka anta ʿallāmu-l-ġuyūbi wa sattāru-l-ʿuyūbi wa ġaffāru-ḏḏunūbi wa lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā bi-llāhi-l-ʿaliyyi-l-ʿaẓīm.
"I seek forgiveness from Allah, my Lord, from every sin I committed knowingly or unknowingly, secretly or openly, and I turn towards Him from the sin that I know and from the sin that I do not know. Certainly You, You (are) the knower of the hidden things and the Concealer (of) the mistakes and the Forgiver (of) the sins. And (there is) no power and no strength except from Allah, the Most High, the Most Great".
6. Kalimah Radd Kufr
Also known as the words of rejecting DISBELIEF or kalima-e-rud-e-kuffer
Allāhumma innī aʿūḏu bika min an ushrika bika shayʾaw-wwa-anā aʿlamu bihi wa-staġfiruka limā lā aʿlamu bihi tubtu ʿanhu wa tabarra'tu mina-l-kufri wa-šh-šhirki wa-l-kiḏhbi wa-l-ġībati wa-l-bidʿati wa-nnamīmati wa-l-fawāḥiši wa-l-buhtāni wa-l-maʿāṣī kullihā wa aslamtu wa aqūlu lā ilāha illā-llāhu Muḥammad ur-rasūl Allāh.
" O Allah! I seek protection in You from that I should not join any partner with You and I have knowledge of it. I seek Your forgiveness from that which I do not know. I repent from it (ignorance) and I reject disbelief (kufr) and joining partners with You (shirk) and of falsehood and slandering (gheebat) and innovation in religion (bid'at) and tell-tales (nameemat) and bad, evil deeds (fawahish) and the blame and the disobedience, all of them. I submit to Your will and I believe and I declare: There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger."
During the reign of Sultan Salim III (1204-1222 AH) many tribulations took place. One was the tribulation of the Wahhabiyyah which started in the area of al-Hijaz(1) where they captured al-Haramayn(2), and prevented Muslims coming from ash-Sham(3) and Egypt from reaching their destination to perform Pilgrimage (Hajj). Another tribulation is that of the French who controlled Egypt from 1213 A.H. until 1216 A.H. Let us here speak briefly about the two adversities(4), because each was mentioned in detail in the books of history and in separate treatises.
Background On The Tribulations Of The Wahhabis
The fighting started between the Wahhabis and the Prince of Mecca, Mawlana Sharif Ghalib Ibn Bu Sa'id, who had been appointed by the honored Muslim Sultan as his ruling representative over the areas of al-Hijaz. This was in 1205 AH during the time of Sultan Salim III, the son of Sultan Mustafa III, the son of Ahmad. Previous to the outbreak of fighting, the Wahhabis began to build power and gain followers in their areas. As their territories expanded, their evil and harm increased They killed countless numbers of Muslims, legitimated confiscating their money and possessions, and captured their women. The founder of their wicked doctrine was Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab, who originated from eastern Arabia, from the tribe of Banu Tamim. He lived a long life, about one-hundred years. He was born in 1111 AH and died in 1200 AH. His history was narrated as follows:
Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab started as a student of knowledge in the city of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam: Medina al-Munawwarah. Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab's father was a good, pious man among the people of knowledge as was his brother, Shaykh Sulayman. His father, his brother, and his shaykhs (teachers of religion) had the foresight Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab would innovate a great deal of deviation and misguidance, because of their observance of his sayings, actions, and inclinations concerning many issues. They used to reprimand him and warn people against him.
Some Of The Beliefs Of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab
What Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab's father, brother, and shaykhs speculated about him came true--by the Will of Allah, ta'ala. Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab innovated deviant and misleading ways and beliefs and managed to allure some ignorant people to follow him. His deviant and misleading ways and beliefs disagreed with the sayings of the scholars of the Religion. His deviant beliefs led him to label the believers as blasphemers! He falsely claimed visiting the grave of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and performing the tawassul (5) by him as shirk(6). Additionally, he falsely claimed visiting the graves of other prophets and righteous Muslims (awliya') and performing tawassul by them was shirk as well. He added to this by saying, "To call upon the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, when performing tawassul by the Prophet is shirk." He passed the same judgment of shirk on the ones who call upon other prophets and righteous Muslims (awliya') in performing tawassul by them.
In an effort to give credibility to his innovations Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab embellished his sayings by quotations which he selected from Islamic sources, i.e., quotations which are used as proofs for many issues but not the issues which Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab was attempting to support. He brought false statements and tried to beautify them for the laymen until they followed him. He wrote treatises for them until they believed that most of the People of Tawhid(7) were blasphemers.
Alliance With The Su'udiyy Family
Moreover, Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab called upon the princes of eastern Arabia and the people of ad-Dar'iyyah(8) to support him. They carried his doctrine and made this endeavor a means to strengthen and expand their kingdom. They worked together to suppress the Bedouins of the deserts until they overcame them and those Bedouins followed them and became foot-soldiers for them without pay. After that, these masses started to believe that whoever does not believe in what Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab said is a blasphemer, and it is Islamically lawful (halal) to shed his blood and plunder his money.
The matter of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab started to evidence itself in 1143 A.H. and began spreading after 1150 A.H. Subsequently, the scholars--even his brother, Shaykh Sulayman and the rest of his shaykhs-- authored many treatises to refute him. But Muhammad Ibn Su'ud, the Prince of ad-Dar'iyyah in eastern Arabia, supported him and worked to spread his ideology. Ibn Su'ud was from Banu Hanifah, the people of Musaylimah al-Kadhdhab(9). When Muhammad Ibn Su'ud died, his son 'Abdul-'Aziz Ibn Muhammad Ibn Su'ud took over the responsibility of fulfilling the vile task of spreading the Wahhabi beliefs.
Many of the shaykhs of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab in Medina used to say, "He will be misguided, and he will misguide those for whom Allah willed the misguidance." Things took place as per the speculation of the scholars. Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab claimed his intention behind the madhhab he invented was "to purify the tawhid" and "repudiate the shirk." He also claimed people had been following the shirk for six-hundred years and he revived their Religion for them!!
The Methodology Of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab
Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab took the verses revealed to speak about the blasphemers and applied them to the Muslims. The following examples from the Qur'an illustrate this point. Allah, ta'ala, said in Surat al-Ahqaf, Ayah 5:
This verse means: [Who is more astray than the one who performs supplication (du'a') to [worship] other than Allah; the one other than Allah he supplicates to will not answer his du'a'.]
Allah, ta'ala said in Surat Yunus, Ayah 106 :
This verse means: [Do not perform supplication (du'a') to [worship] other than Allah; the one other than Allah you supplicate to will not benefit you and will not harm you.]
The verses in the Qur'an similar to these ones are numerous. Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab gravely misinterpreted the previously cited verses and said: "The Muslim who asks help from the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, other prophets, or the righteous people (salihun), or who calls or asks any of them for intercession is like those blasphemers mentioned in the Qur'an." According to the false claim of Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab, the Muslims who do these things are blasphemers.
He also considered visiting the grave of Prophet Muhammad and the graves of other prophets and righteous Muslims for blessings as blasphemy. Allah revealed Ayah 3 of Surat az-Zumar in reference to the mushrikun:
This verse means: [Those who worship the idols said: "We do not worship them except to achieve a higher status from Allah."]
Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab falsely stated: "Those who perform tawassul (asking Allah by the prophets, for example) are similar to those blasphemers mentioned in Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 3, who claim they do not worship the idols except to achieve a higher status from Allah." He said: "The blasphemers did not believe the idols create anything; they believed Allah is the Creator." He gave his version of proof from the Qur'an by citing Surat Luqman, Ayah 25 and Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 38, in which Allah said:
These verses mean: [If you ask them, `Who created the heavens and earth?' They will say, `Allah'.]
In Surat az-Zukhruf, Ayah 87, Allah said:
Which means: [If you ask them, `Who created them?' They will say, `Allah'.] Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab falsely concluded from these verses that the Muslims who perform tawassul are similar to those blasphemers.
The Scholars Refute Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab
In their writings to refute Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab's sayings, the scholars said his deduction was false. The believers did not consider the prophets or the awliya' as gods and they did not deem them partners to Allah. Instead, they correctly believe the prophets and awliya' are good slaves and creations of Allah, and they do not deserve to be worshipped.
The blasphemers intended in these verses believed their idols deserved Godhood. They exalted them as one would exalt his Creator, even though they believed the idols did not create the heavens and the earth. The believers, on the other hand, do not believe the prophets or righteous Muslims (awliya') deserve to be worshipped, nor do they deserve to be attributed with Godhood, nor do they exalt them as one would exalt God. They believe these people are good slaves of Allah, His beloved ones whom He chose, and by their blessings (barakah) Allah grants His mercy to His creation. Hence, when the slaves of Allah seek the blessings (barakah) of the prophets and righteous Muslims (awliya') they are seeking these blessings as a mercy from Allah.
There are many proofs and examples from the Qur'an and Sunnah about this basic belief of the Muslims. Muslims believe Allah is the Creator, the One Who grants benefit and inflicts harm, and the only One Who deserves to be worshipped. Muslims believe that no one other than Allah has the power to affect the creation. The prophets and righteous people do not create anything. They do not possess the power to bestow benefit or inflict harm on others, but Allah is the One Who bestows the mercy upon the slaves by the righteous Muslims' blessings.
Hence, the belief of the blasphemers, i.e., the belief their idols deserve to be worshipped and have Godhood, is what makes them fall into blasphemy. This saying of the blasphemers, as previously cited in Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 3, was said in an effort to justify their belief when they were disproved and shown idols do not deserve to be worshipped.
How can Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab and those who follow him find it permissible to equate the believers, who believed in tawhid, to those blasphemers, who believed in the Godhood of the idols? All the previously cited verses and the verses which are similar to them are specific to the blasphemers who associate partners with Allah--none of the believers are included.
Al-Bukhariyy narrated by the route of Ibn 'Umar, may Allah raise their ranks, that the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, described the Khawarij as those who took the verses revealed about the blasphemers and attributed them to the believers! In the narration by the route of Ibn 'Umar the Prophet said:
which means: "What I fear most for my nation is a man who mis-explains the Qur'an and takes it out of context." This hadith and the previous one apply very well to the Wahhabis.
Proofs For Tawassul
The Permissibility of Asking Allah for Things by Some of His Creation
If performing tawassul had been blasphemy, then the believers, i.e., the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, his Companions, and the Salaf and Khalaf of this nation would not have done it. Yet it is mentioned in the sahih hadith of the Prophet that the Prophet used to ask Allah by saying:
which means: "O Allah, I ask You by the status of those who ask You.(10) " Without doubt, this is tawassul. The Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, used to teach this supplication (du'a') to his Companions and order them to say it. This issue was expounded upon in different books and treatises refuting Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab.
There is a hadith related by al-Hakim that mentions after Adam ate from the tree, he performed tawassul by our Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. He did that, because he saw the name of the Prophet written on the 'Arsh, Adam said: "O Allah, by the dignity of this son [Muhammad], forgive this father [Adam]."
It was also related by Ibn Hibban, that upon the death of Fatimah Bint Asad, may Allah raise her rank, the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, with his own honorable hands, put her in her grave and said: "O Allah, forgive my mother(11), Fatimah Bint Asad, and widen her place by the status of Your Prophet and the prophets who came before me. You are the most Merciful."
There is a hadith classified as sahih(12), that a blind man asked the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, to make a supplication (du'a') to Allah to return his sight. The Prophet ordered him to make ablution (wudu') and pray two rak'ahs and then say:
"O Allah, I ask You and direct myself to You by Your Prophet, Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad, I ask Allah by you to fulfill my need. O Allah, enable him to intercede for me."
The blind man did what the Prophet taught him to do(13) and Allah brought his sight back. Moreover, as related by at-Tabaraniyy, the tawassul made by the blind man was used by the Companions and Salaf after the death of the Prophet.
'Umar Ibn al-Khattab performed the tawassul by al-'Abbas (the uncle of the Prophet), may Allah reward their deeds, when he prayed the Salah of 'Istisqa'(14) with the people. There are other proofs mentioned in the books of the Islamic scholars but we will not recount them at length here.
The one who pursues the saying of the Companions and their followers will find a great deal of proof about the validity of calling the prophet by saying "O Muhammad" in his presence as well as in his absence and in his life as well as after his death. In fact, many texts include the phrase which means, "O Muhammad". Calling the name of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, is permissible. An example is the saying of the Companion, Bilal Ibn al-Harith, may Allah reward his deeds, when he went to the grave of the Prophet. He said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah to send rain to your Nation." His saying contains this format(15).
Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Kurdiyy(16) was among the authors who wrote refuting Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab. He was Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab's own shaykh. Among what he said is as follows:
O Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab, I advise you, for the sake of Allah, ta'ala, to hold your tongue regarding the Muslims. If you hear from anyone who asks for help from other than Allah that one has the power to effect things without the Will of Allah, then teach him the right thing about this issue, and show him the proofs which state no one other than Allah brings things from non-existence into existence. The one who rejects that is blasphemous. You have no right to label the majority of the Muslims as blasphemers(17) while you are deviant from the majority of the Muslims. In fact, it is more reasonable to consider the one who deviates from the majority of the Muslims as a blasphemer then to consider the Muslims as a nation as blasphemers--because the deviant one has followed a path other than the path of the believers. In Surat an-Nisa', Ayah 15, Allah said:
This ayah means: [Whomever contends with the Messenger after the right path was exposed to him and follows other than the way of the believers, Allah will leave him to whatever he followed and put him in Hell (Jahannam)].
The Permissibility Of Visiting The Grave Of The Prophet
Visiting the grave of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, was performed by the Companions and the Salaf and Khalaf who came after them. Many hadiths cite the benefit of this deed and the scholars of Islam have written books about this matter(18).
Calling On Someone Other Than Allah
Among of what was mentioned concerning calling on someone other than Allah, whether that one is present, absent, dead or alive, is the saying of the Prophet:
which means: "If the animal of anyone of you went out of control in the wilderness, then call: `O slaves of Allah, help me'", since there are slaves of Allah [i.e. the angels] who will respond to him.
There is another hadith related by al-Bazzar in which the Prophet said:
which means: " If one of you lost something or needs help while in an open land, then let him say: "O slaves of Allah, help me."" Another narration says:
which means "Rescue me, because Allah has created slaves whom you do not see."
When traveling at nightfall the Prophet, sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam, used to say:
which means: " O earth, my Lord and your Lord is Allah."
When the Prophet visited the grave of Muslims, he used to say:
which means: " O people of the graves, peace be upon you."
In the Tashahhud in as-Salah the Muslim says:
which means: " "O Prophet of Allah, may Allah protect you from infirmities, and have mercy and blessings on you.""
There is no harm in calling on and performing tawassul by someone unless one believes that someone other than Allah actually creates things. Hence, as long as one believes that only Allah creates them, there is no harm in performing tawassul. Likewise, attributing a certain doing to other than Allah does not harm unless one believes this doer actually creates. So once it is established the person does not believe the creating is for other than Allah then attributing a doing to other than Allah is understood in its proper context. When one says: "This medicine benefited me," or "This particular righteous Muslim benefited me," he is merely exposing the created reason of the benefit. These statements are also similar to when one says: "This food satisfied my hunger," or "This water quenched my thirst," or "This medicine cured me." When Muslims say such statements, they understand them in their proper context, i.e., food, water, and medicine are only reasons, and Allah is the Creator of their benefit.
The general proofs mentioned in this summary are enough to refute Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab. The scholars of Islam have expounded on this issue in several treatises.
The History Of The Fighting With The Wahhabiyyah
At the time Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab and his assistants initiated their treacherous ideology by which they called the Muslims blasphemers, they were gaining control of eastern Arabia one tribe after another. This expansion eventually encompassed al-Yaman, Makkah, al-Madinah, and the tribes of al-Hijaz all the way to ash-Sham.
Debating With The Scholars Of Makkah
Initially, the Wahhabis sent a group to Makkah and al-Madinah thinking they would be able to spoil the belief of the scholars of these two holy cities and tamper with their belief through lies and fabrications. When they reached there and declared their beliefs, the scholars of Makkah and al-Madinah refuted them and established the Islamic evidences against them--which they could not refute. The scholars were certain about the Wahhabis’ ignorance and misguidance and found them absurd and thoughtless.
After evaluating their beliefs and finding them full of many types of blasphemy, the Wahhabis fled like frightened zebras fleeing from a lion. Hence, after establishing the proofs, the scholars wrote an attestation against the Wahhabiyyah to the Head Judge of Makkah confirming the Wahhabis as blasphemous because of their beliefs. The aim of the scholars was to disclose the misguidance of the Wahhabis and make it known to the Muslims near and far. This action took place during the rulership of Sharif Mas'ud Ibn Sa'id Ibn Sa'd Ibn Zayn, the ruler of Hijaz who ordered the imprisonment of those unjust Wahhabis. Sharif Mas'ud Ibn Sa'id Ibn Sa'd Ibn Zayn died in 1165 A.H.
Some Wahhabis managed to escape their imprisonment. They went to ad-Dar'iyyah and spoke about what they encountered in Makkah. This made the Wahhabis more devilishly haughty, and they started attacking the tribes which were loyal to the prince of Makkah.
Outbreak Of Hostilities:
Fighting In At-Ta’if, Makkah, And Juddah
The fighting between the Wahhabis and the prince of Makkah, Mawlana Sharif Ghalib Ibn Mus'id Ibn Sa'id Ibn Sa'd Ibn Zayd, broke out after 1205 A.H. Many battles took place between the prince and the Wahhabis. Although many people were killed, the Wahhabis’ strength kept intensifying. Their innovations kept propagating until most of the Bedouin tribes paid allegiance to them--even the Bedouins who were under the rulership of the prince of Makkah.
In 1217 A.H., they marched with big armies to the area of at-Ta’if. In Dhul-Qa'dah (19) of the same year, they lay siege to the area the Muslims were, subdued them, and killed the people: men, women, and children. They also looted the Muslims’ belongings and possessions. Only a few people escaped their barbarism.
After at-Ta’if came under their control, the Wahhabis planned to march towards Makkah, but this was during the time the Muslims were performing Pilgrimage, and many of the Muslims from ash-Sham and Egypt were in Makkah. The Wahhabis knew if they attacked Makkah at that time all the people performing Pilgrimage would join in fighting them. They stayed in at-Ta’if until Hajj was over, and the people had returned to their countries. Then the Wahhabis and their armies set out to attack Makkah. Sharif Ghalib did not have enough power to face these armies, so he went to Juddah. The people of Makkah were afraid the Wahhabis would treat them in the same manner the people of at-Ta’if were treated, so they negotiated and surrendered to them. The Wahhabis granted the people of Makkah security and entered Makkah on the eighth of Muharram, 1218 A.H. They occupied themselves there for fourteen days ordering the Muslims to repent and embrace Islam--since the Wahhabis falsely claimed them as blasphemers. The people were prohibited from doing what the Wahhabis incorrectly believed to be blasphemy, like performing tawassul and visiting the graves.
Having gained control of at-Ta’if and Makkah, the Wahhabis turned their armies towards Juddah to fight Sharif Ghalib. When they surrounded Juddah, Sharif Ghalib bombarded them with cannons and projectiles. He killed many Wahhabis and prevented the conquering of Juddah. After eight days, the Wahhabis departed Juddah to return to their own territories. The Wahhabis left some of their army in Makkah and appointed 'Abdul-Mu'in, the brother of Sharif Ghalib, as prince. 'Abdul-Mu'in only accepted this position to protect the people of Makkah and shelter them from the evil mistreatment of the harmful Wahhabis.
In the month of Rabi'-ul-’Awwal of the same year, Prince Ghalib left Juddah accompanied by Sharif Basha--the governor of Juddah and the representative of the Supreme 'Uthmaniyy (20) Sultan. They arrived in Makkah with their army and overpowered the Wahhabis. They expelled the Wahhabi army and this brought Makkah back under the authority of Sharif Ghalib.
The Capture Of Makkah
The Wahhabis left Makkah and became involved with fighting many of the tribes. They captured at-Ta’if and appointed 'Uthman al-Madayiqiyy as the governor. This governor joined forces with some of the Wahhabis’ soldiers and started fighting the tribes next to the borders of Makkah and al-Madinah until they pledged allegiance to them. They eventually subdued all the tribes and captured all the lands originally under the authority of the Governor of Makkah. After this, 'Uthman al-Madayiqiyy mobilized his army in an attempt to capture Makkah. In 1220 A.H. they lay siege to Makkah and then surrounded it from all directions to tighten this siege. They blocked the routes to the city and prevented supplies from reaching there. It was a great hardship on the people of Makkah. Food became exorbitantly expensive and then unavailable. They resorted to eating dogs.
Sharif Ghalib was compelled to ask for reconciliation with the Wahhabis. He accepted for some people to arbitrate between them. He signed an agreement with conditions stipulating the rulership of Makkah would be kept for him, and the people of Makkah would be treated leniently. The Wahhabis accepted these conditions. They entered Makkah by the end of Dhul-Qa'dah in 1220 A.H. They also gained control of al-Madinah. They plundered what was in the room of the Nabi, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, took all the money that was there, and did some disgraceful acts. They appointed a man among them, Mubarak Ibn Madyan, as the governor of al-Madinah.
The Wahhabis ruled Makkah and al-Madinah for seven years. During these years, they prevented the people of ash-Sham and Egypt from entering Makkah carrying the cloak (21) of the Ka'bah when they came to perform pilgrimage. The Wahhabis started to make the cloak for the Ka'bah from black material. They prevented the people from smoking tobacco. When they found someone smoking they punished him fiercely. During this time, the Wahhabis destroyed the domes built on the graves of the righteous Muslims.
The 'Uthmaniyy State Starts To React
Throughout these years, the 'Uthmaniyy State was in great confusion and chaos. The 'Uthmaniyys were engaged in fierce fighting with the Christians and they were trying to cope with disunity among the ruling power. One sultan would be appointed, then thrown out or possibly killed, until 1226 AH when the Sultan issued an order to the ruler of Egypt, Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha, to prepare to fight the Wahhabis.
The Army From Egypt
Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha organized a big army and by a mandate from the Sultan, appointed his son, Tusun Basha, as its commanding officer. Those troops left Egypt in Ramadan of the same year and journeyed by land and by sea until they reached Yanbu' and regained it form the Wahhabis. In Dhul-Hijjah 1226 AH, the army reached an area between as-Safra’ and al-Hadidah. A fierce fight broke out with the Bedouins who were in al-Harbiyyah. These tribes were loyal to the Wahhabis, and many other tribes also joined them. As a result, the Egyptian army was badly defeated, many of the soldiers were massacred, and all the belongings of the army were looted. A small number of this army made their way back to Egypt.
The Second Egyptian Campaign
In 1227 A.H., Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha was determined to lead the army to al-Hijaz himself, so he mobilized more troops. In the month of Sha'ban some ranks of the army were sent before him--at the peak of their strength and preparedness. Among their artillery were eighteen canons. In Ramadan, the army captured what the Wahhabis formerly controlled and regained the area of as-Safra’, al-Hadidah, and other places without a fight, i.e., by attracting the shaykhs of the Bedouin tribes to their side. Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha gave money to the leaders of these tribes and salaries were arranged for them. These arrangements were made under the management of Sharif Ghalib, the Sharif of Makkah, who fooled the Wahhabis into believing he was on their side. The first time the Egyptians were defeated, they had not consulted with Sharif Ghalib--so he was unaware of their need for a similar arrangement.
Around the end of Dhul-Qa'dah, the army entered al-Madinah. When the news about the victory of the Muslim army reached Egypt, the Muslims celebrated the event for three days. They decorated the city, displayed fireworks, and fired their guns in celebration. They conveyed this good news to all the Christian kings.
The army traveling by sea captured Juddah at the beginning of Muharram, 1228 A.H., and then headed towards Makkah to regain control. The army did not engage in any battles with the Wahhabis as a result of the secret arrangements the Sharif managed to achieve. When the army reached Juddah, the Wahhabiyy army and princes fled Makkah. Al-Madayiqiyy, the Wahhabi princes of at-Ta’if, and their army fled at-Ta’if when they got word the Muslim army regained control of Juddah and Makkah.
The prince of the Wahhabis, Prince Su'ud, went to Hajj in 1227 A.H., before these events took place. After Hajj he went to at-Ta’if and then back to ad-Dar'iyyah. It was some time before he learned about the defeat in al-Madinah the Wahhabis suffered at the hands of the Sultan’s army. When he arrived in ad-Dar'iyyah he got word of the capture of Makkah and at-Ta’if.
The Good News Reaches The Sultan
In Rabi'-ul-’Awwal, 1228 A.H., Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha sent delegates to the capital of the state (Istanbul) carrying good new and keys. A written correspondence explained the keys were from Makkah, al-Madinah, Juddah and at-Ta’if. They entered the palace of the Sultan in a dignified and royal parade, followed by drummers announcing the great victory as songs were chanted joyfully. Fireworks were lit and cannons were fired; the delegates who brought the keys were honored. The Sultan promoted the rank of Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha, decorated him with many medallions, and granted him other medallions with an authorization to decorate the officers of his choice.
In Shawwal, 1228 A.H., before Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha left Egypt for al-Hijaz, Sharif Ghalib caught 'Uthman al-Madayiqiyy, the Wahhabi governor of at-Ta’if, who was one of their greatest agents and rulers. He was placed in iron chains and sent to Egypt. He arrived in Egypt in Dhul-Qa'dah--after Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha left for al-Hijaz. From Egypt, 'Uthman al-Madayiqiyy was sent to the capital of the state--where later he was killed.
Punishing Some Wahhabis And Replacing Sharif Ghalib
Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha reached Makkah in Dhul-Qa'dah, arrested Sharif Ghalib Ibn Mus'id and sent him to the capital of the state. Sharif Yahya Ibn Surur Ibn Musa'id, Sharif Ghalib’s nephew, was appointed as the Sharif (Governor) of Makkah.
In Muharram, 1229 A.H., Mubarak Ibn Madyan, the Wahhabi governor of al-Madinah was sent to the capital. He was carried around Constantinople in a disgraceful manner for the people to see. He was killed after this, and his head was hung on the gate of the government building. The same thing was done to 'Uthman al-Madayiqiyy as a punishment for all the crimes they committed during their rulership.
Sharif Ghalib was sent to Salonika (22), held in high regard, and treated well until he died in 1231 A.H. He was buried there, and a dome was constructed over his grave--and to this day, the people still visit his grave. Sharif Ghalib’s rulership over Makkah lasted for twenty-six years.
Uprooting The Wahhabis
Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha continued to fight the Wahhabis, and he sent a large number of troops to Saudi Arabia in the areas of Turabah, Bishah, Ghamid, Dhahran, and 'Asir. His aim was to eradicate the Wahhabis, so he personally led the army in pursuit of them. In Sha'ban, 1229 A.H., he located them, killed and captured many, and demolished their strongholds. Prince Su'ud, the head of the Wahhabis, died in Jumadal-Ula, and his son, 'Abdullah, took over the leadership.
Shortly before the time of Pilgrimage, Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha left these areas and departed for Makkah. He performed Hajj and stayed in Makkah until Rajab, 1230 A.H. Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha left Hasan Basha (23) in Makkah and returned to Egypt in the middle of Rajab, 1230 A.H. He had spent one year and seven months residing in al-Hijaz, because he would not go back to Egypt until he had arranged the affairs of al-Hijaz and destroyed the Wahhabi factions spread throughout the Bedouin tribes of al-Hijaz and Eastern Arabia.
The Third Egyptian Campaign
The Wahhabi prince, 'Abdullah Ibn Su'ud, was still in ad-Dar'iyyah when Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha made preparations for an army to fight him. The troops were sent under the leadership of his son, Ibrahim Basha. Prior to this, 'Abdullah Ibn Su'ud corresponded with Tusun Basha Ibn Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha; Tusun Basha was in al-Madinah, to make a peace accord with 'Abdullah Ibn Su'ud. In this proposed accord, he agreed to pay his loyalty to Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha on the condition he was left as the governor of that area. Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha did not approve this arrangement. The army was mobilized under Ibrahim’s command at the end of 1231 A.H. Ibrahim Basha and his army reached ad-Dar'iyyah in 1232 A.H. where they battled 'Abdullah Ibn Su'ud. In Dhul-Qa'dah, 1233 A.H., they conquered the Wahhabis.
When Egypt received news of the victory, the people were extremely triumphant and rejoiced for seven days. They set off fireworks and fired 1,000 canons in celebration of this great event.
Some Of The War Expenses
Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha had a tremendous concern for fighting the Wahhabis by sea. He spent great amounts of money to attain his goal. Some of those who used to serve him said on one occasion 45,000 riyals (24) were paid to transport ammunition (25). This costly payment was one of many times such things occurred. Another time, one transport in particular was made for ammunition carried from Yanbu' to al-Madinah. Each camel cost six riyals, half of which was paid by the governor of Yanbu' and the other half by the governor of al-Madinah. Upon the arrival of the shipment from al-Madinah to ad-Dar'iyyah, the fee for the transport of ammunition alone was 140,000 riyals.
The Capture Of The Wahhabis’ Leader
Ibrahim Basha caught 'Abdullah Ibn Su'ud and sent him and many of the Wahhabi princes to Egypt. They arrived on the seventeenth of Muharram, 1234 A.H., where people gathered to see the Wahhabi leader paraded around the capital riding on a camel. After this, 'Abdullah Ibn Su'ud was brought to see Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha. Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha stood up for 'Abdullah Ibn Su'ud, was gentle with him, and smiled as he let Abdullah sit beside him. Muhammad 'Aliyy Basha talked to him.
Al-Basha: Why do you keep rebelling?
Ibn Su'ud: The war goes on; you lose sometimes and you win other times.
Al-Basha: How did you find my son, Ibrahim Basha?
Ibn Su'ud: He was not reckless but he put forth effort and so did we until what Allah had willed happened.
Al-Basha: I will petition our master, the Sultan, on your behalf.
Ibn Su'ud: What Allah willed to be shall be.
Al-Basha ordered a robe (26) to be put on Ibn Su'ud before he left to the house of Isma'il Basha in Bulaq (27). Abdullah Ibn Su'ud had a small metal box with him.
Al-Basha: What is this?
Ibn Su'ud: This was taken by my father from the room of the Nabi. I am taking it with me to the Sultan.
Al-Basha ordered the box to be opened. They found three Mushafs in it--the like of which no one had ever seen--and with them were 300 large pearls, one large emerald, and a golden ribbon.
Al-Basha: You have taken much more than that.
Ibn Su'ud: This is what I found kept by my father. He did not take all what was in the room for himself. The Bedouin tribesmen, the people of al-Madinah, the Aghas of al-Haram, and the Sharif of Makkah also removed things from the Nabi’s room.
Al-Basha: That is true. We found some of these things with the Sharif.
Then 'Abdullah Ibn Su'ud was sent to the place of the Sultan. In Muharram, 1235 A.H., Ibrahim Basha returned to Egypt from al-Hijaz after he destroyed ad-Dar'iyyah such that it was abandoned by its inhabitants. When Ibn Su'ud reached the headquarters of the Sultanate in Rabi'-ul-’Awwal, he was paraded around the city for all the people to see. He was then put to death at the Door of Hamayun (as a punishment for his crimes). The chiefs of his followers were executed in different places.
This is a very brief summary of the story of Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab. To talk at length on each of these details would be very lengthy. The tribulations inflicted by the Wahhabis were a calamity for the Muslims. The Wahhabis shed a great deal of blood and robbed a great deal of money; their harm was prevalent and their evil spread.
Many of the hadiths of the Nabi, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, spoke explicitly about this tribulation. One narration said:
which means: <<There will be people who come from the eastern side of Arabia who will recite Qur’an, but their recitation will not pass beyond their collarbones (28). They will go out of Islam as swiftly as the arrow goes through the prey. Their sign is shaving their heads.>> This hadith was mentioned in many narrations, including Sahih-ul-Bukhariyy and other books of hadith. There is no need to expound on listing these narrations or their narrators because they are well-known and of the sahih (29) classification.
The Nabi said: "Their sign is shaving their heads." This is an explicit reference to the Wahhabi sect. They used to order all those who follow them to shave their heads. None of the previous sects, i.e., those who came before the Wahhabis, like the Khawarij or other innovators, had this sign.
As-Sayyid 'Abdur-Rahman al-Ahdal, the Mufti of Zabid, used to say: "There is no need for writing against the Wahhabis. For, in refuting them, it is sufficient to mention the hadith of the Nabi, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam: <<Their sign is shaving their heads>> since no other innovators had ever done it."
It happened once that a women made her point against Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab when they compelled her to follow them and she did. He ordered her to shave her head. She told him: "Since you order the woman to shave her head, you have to order the man to shave his beard. The hair of the women is her decoration and the decoration of the man is his beard." Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab could not answer her.
Among of what the Wahhabis used to do was to prevent the people from asking the Nabi, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, for his intercession--although the hadiths about the Nabi’s intercession are numerous and are of the mutawatir (30) classification. Most of his intercession is for the Muslims of his nation who committed major sins. The Wahhabis also prohibited Muslims from reading Dala’il-ul-Khayrat--which includes saying as-Salat on the Nabi and mentioning many of the Nabi’s complete descriptions. They said this is blasphemy. They also prevented Muslims from saying as-Salat on the Nabi on the minarets after the Adhan. Once a righteous blind Muslim was calling Adhan and said as-Salat on the Nabi after the Adhan (31). The Wahhabis brought him to Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab who ordered his execution.
If I [the author] was to pursue the mischievous things the Wahhabis did, I would fill notebooks and lots of papers. However, what has been mentioned thus far is enough.
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, the renowned American journalist and author is Specialist on wahabism. He has made extensive research-works on the fitnah of Wahabi movement. Political commentators and religious experts have highly appreciated his research-works. Ali Al-Ahmed, Saudi Institute for Development and Studies writes about his The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism : ""After September 11, author and journalist Stephen Schwartz began a long-overdue public discussion of the dangers of Wahhabism for the world. The result is this groundbreaking book, the best book on the topic yet published. Stephen Schwartz has dissected Wahhabism from the roots up and has traced its growth like no previous writer. This book will be the outstanding reference work on Wahhabism for years to come. Stephen Schwartz's work will completely change how the world views Islam."
IN AN INTERVIEW Stephen Schwartz SHEDS LIGHT ON WAHABISM & ITS DANGERS IN THESE WORDS : Kathryn Jean Lopez: What is Wahhabism? Stephen Schwartz: Wahhabism is an extremist, puritanical, and violent movement that emerged, with the pretension of "reforming" Islam, in the central area of Arabia in the 18th century. It was founded by Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who formed an alliance with the house of Saud, in which religious authority is maintained by the descendants of al-Wahhab and political power is held by the descendants of al-Saud: This is the Wahhabi-Saudi axis, which continues to rule today. From its beginning, Wahhabism declared the entirety of existing Islam to be unbelief, and traditional Muslims to be unbelievers subject to robbery, murder, and sexual violation. Wahhabism has always viewed Shia Muslims genocidally, as non-Muslims worthy of annihilation. Wahhabism has always attacked the traditional, spiritual Islam or Sufism that dominates Islam in the Balkans, Turkey, Central Asia, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Wahhabism and neo-Wahhabism (the latter being the doctrines of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Pakistani Islamists) are the main source of Islamic extremist violence in the world today. Wahhabism represents a distinct, ultraradical form of Islamism. Wahhabism is completely subsidized by the Saudi regime, using oil income. Wahhabism has always maintained a two-faced policy regarding the West. It has always depended on the armed forces of the Christian nations — Britain, the U.S., and France — to secure its domination in the Arabian peninsula, while it violently attacks Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists, as well as traditional Sunnis, Sufis, and Shias, throughout the rest of the world. Thus, the presence of U.S. troops guarding the Saudis did not begin with the Gulf War in 1991. From 1946 to 1962 the U.S. maintained an airbase in Saudi Arabia, and before that the British assisted the Wahhabi-Saudi alliance against the Ottomans. When the Saudis needed to clear the Grand Mosque in Mecca of protestors in 1979, they employed French paratroops to kill Muslims within the walls of the mosque. Lopez: How widespread is it? Schwartz: Wahhabism is official in Saudi Arabia. It is influential in Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. It has a substantial following in Yemen, which also has many Shia Muslims. It is unpopular in Bahrain and irrelevant in Oman. Outside the Peninsula, Wahhabism is generally unpopular. But where trouble is found, Wahhabism may thrive. Hamas in Israel represents pure Wahhabism. Forms of neo-Wahhabi or Wahhabized ideology have been powerful in Egypt (the Muslim Brotherhood) and in Pakistan — in both countries neo-Wahhabis lead attacks on other Muslims and other faiths. But in both countries mainstream Muslim scholars continue to struggle against Wahhabism. Wahhabi aggression was defeated in Algeria and Tajikistan.
Wahhabi infiltration continues in Chechnya, to the detriment of the just struggle of the Chechens against Russian imperialism, and in Kashmir, where it is an obstacle to resolution of the conflict. Wahhabi extremism and terrorism continue to plague Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, although its real supporters in these countries are few in number. But Wahhabi infiltration failed in Bosnia-Hercegovina and suffered a smashing repudiation in Kosovo. Albanian Muslims in Macedonia and Albania dislike Wahhabism, more intensely in the former than in the latter. Wahhabism and its surrogate, the Deobandi ideology of the Taliban, has been defeated in Afghanistan. Wahhabism has no real following in among the Muslim masses in Francophone West Africa, Morocco, Libya, the rest of Central Asia, India, or Malaysia. As to other Middle Eastern regions and states: Saddam Hussein has used Wahhabism to give his regime an Islamic cover, but Wahhabism is deeply unpopular in Iraq. Kurdistan is mainly Sufi in its Islam and aside from a handful of mercenary extremists, Kurds reject Wahhabism. Syria, although a radical Arab state, is Islamically pluralist and rejects Wahhabism completely. Jordan is ruled by Hashemites, who are traditional enemies of Wahhabism. Turkish Muslims loathe Wahhabism because of its role in subverting the Ottoman caliphate. Iran loathes Wahhabism as much or more, because of its massacres of Shias and wholesale destruction of Islamic holy sites, among other issues. And other trouble spots: Sudan is a case unto itself, although Wahhabi influence has been present in the Khartoum regime. Wahhabi infiltration is a serious problem in East Africa. In the Western European immigrant Muslim communities, Wahhabism has a presence in France but has been weakened by the atrocities in Algeria. Britain has a loud Wahhabi, neo-Wahhabi, and Wahhabi-wannabe element but little real support for it among local Muslims. Wahhabism and Islamic extremism in general are weak in Germany, where most Muslims are Turkish and Kurdish. Lopez: How much of a threat is it within our borders? Schwartz: Unfortunately, the U.S. is the only country outside Saudi Arabia where the Islamic establishment is under Wahhabi control. Eighty percent of American mosques are Wahhabi-influenced, although this does not mean that 80 percent of the people who attend them are Wahhabis. Mosque attendance is different from church or synagogue membership in that prayer in the mosque does not imply acceptance of the particular dispensation in the mosque. However, Wahhabi agents have sought to impose their ideology on all attendees in mosques they control. The entire gamut of "official" Islamic organizations in the U.S., particularly the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) are Wahhabi fronts. In other such groups, like the American Muslim Council (AMC) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) Wahhabism is in crisis, because of the devastating effect of 9/11. In addition, the Wahhabis are deeply compromised by the exposure of individuals like John Walker Lindh, Richard Reid, José Padilla, and John Muhammad. Lopez: Why were 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists from Saudi Arabia? Schwartz: For three reasons. First, although no more than 40 percent of Saudi subjects, at the most, consider themselves Wahhabis, the Wahhabi clergy has controlled education in the kingdom, so that all subjects have been raised in an atmosphere of violent hatred for other Islamic traditions and for the other faiths. Second, the Saudi regime is undergoing a deep social crisis and movements of protest have been diverted by the ultra-Wahhabi faction of the royal family, toward support of Bin Laden and his gangsters. Third, the main object of protest in the kingdom is the flagrant hypocrisy between Wahhabi Puritanism and Saudi royal decadence. Although the majority of young people want to be free of Wahhabism altogether, there remains a section of the populace that reacts — as it always has — to Saudi hypocrisy by a flight into ultraradicalism. The involvement of 15 Saudis out of 19 hijackers reflects an inevitable outcome of Wahhabi ideology, not a special tactic by Osama bin Laden. Lopez: Why does Saudi Arabia seem to not have to answer for its citizens' roles in the 9/11 attack. Why is it not subject to closer scrutiny? Schwartz: Cheap gas, a.k.a. "big oil." Lopez: If Wahhabism is not Islam, why aren't more Muslims vocally renouncing the Wahhabists? Schwartz: Nobody can say that Wahhabism or any other form of Muslim religious radicalism, is "not Islam," anymore than one can say that one or another extreme element in Judaism or Christianity do not belong to those faiths. Islam includes many strains. Over 1,000 years, pluralism within the faith was the norm, and traditional Muslims shied away from arguing that what they disliked was "not Islam," or that Muslims they opposed were "unbelievers." But with the rise of Wahhabism and, particularly, the benefits of petrodollars, the Wahhabi-Saudis have arrogated to themselves a position of leadership in the world Islamic community or umma. Their claim of preeminence is not Islamically sound, in the opinion of many scholars. Leading Muslims outside the U.S. denounce Wahhabism, and many denounced the atrocity of 9/11. Unfortunately, however, most of U.S. media is completely incompetent in finding, listening to, or understanding these voices. U.S. media does not interview anti-Wahhabi sheikhs or imams or muftis in the Islamic world. U.S. media paid no attention when the head of Bosnian Islamic scholars, Mustafa efendija Ceric, preached eloquently against terrorism. U.S. media did not notice when an Albanian daily — in a country with a Muslim majority — hailed the U.S. action in Afghanistan last year with the headline "Nobody Veils the Statue of Liberty's Face." Nobody in the U.S. media has followed up on reports by myself and others showing that Kosovar Albanian Muslims would like to fight for the West in Iraq. Worse, U.S. media has reported very little of the mobilization of 70 million Indonesian Muslims against extremism in the aftermath of the Bali horror. U.S. media listens to the so-called "Arab street," which is essentially irrelevant, filled as it is with yelling loiterers, or engages in polling exercises asking loaded questions. This, of course, reinforces the view of Muslims as unanimous haters of the West and America. To understand the struggle of the world's traditional Muslims against Wahhabism, you have to get away from the "Arab street" and meaningless people wandering around. You have to sit down with serious Islamic clerics and thinkers and dialogue with them in a way they understand and respect. I did this in the Balkans. This is one of several reasons I never tire of pointing out that, just as Orwell went to Spain, not Russia, to understand Stalinism, I went to Sarajevo, not Riyadh, to learn about Wahhabism. I have never seen a single serious interview with an Islamic religious figure on Western television. This is in itself a shocking fact. Of course, first an interviewer would have to know who to interview and what questions to ask. But if you don't know who or what to ask you have no business proclaiming how much of the Islamic world hates us and supports terror. Proper media coverage of Islam, meaning the views of serious clerics and intellectuals, seems unlikely to happen in a media industry where Barbara Walters remains transfixed by Saudi princes handing out charity and Bill O'Reilly preens himself by referring to Islam as "the enemy's religion." In the wars with Japan and Vietnam, Buddhism was the religion of much of the enemy, but we never saw wholesale smears against Buddhists in the U.S. public square. Of course, for much of the media, the primitive and simplistic image of Muslims as uniformly extremist and terrorist is easier to report, more popular, and "better TV" than that of a complex conflict inside a world religion. It also supports the left-wing claim that it's all our fault, or Israel's. It's so much easier to say they all hate us because of our hegemony and Zionism than to say, as I do, that they don't all hate us, and that the real issue is the battle for the soul of Islam. As for the situation in the U.S., condemnation of Wahhabism and even of terrorism have been sparse for the following reasons: Wahhabis (CAIR, etc.) are granted status by U.S. media as the main Islamic spokespeople. They issue ameliorative statements intended to end discussion of the problem, and they closely watch the community and prevent traditional Muslims from expressing themselves openly about Wahhabism and its involvement with terrorism. The U.S. media let them get away with this. Most immigrant Muslims in the U.S. came to this country to get away from extremism and are horrified to see that their faith is in extremist hands here. They believed, before coming here, that the U.S. government would never permit such a thing to happen. However, their children are often indoctrinated and radicalized by extremists operating through Muslim schools, Islamic Sunday schools, and radical campus groups. That the U.S. government turned a blind idea to the Wahhabization of American Islam is deeply shocking and disturbing for them. They feel intimidated and defeated. The fact that the U.S. political and media elite have done almost nothing to enable traditional Muslims in this country to oppose Wahhabism makes the situation that much worse. Traditional Islam rejected involvement in politics, especially radical politics. For this reason also, traditional Muslims in this country have been slow to rally against Wahhabi influence. Finally, traditional Muslims in this country and around the world were devastated by 9/11. Their reaction was one of shock, horror, and deep depression. Even many of those who tried to deny Muslim involvement in 9/11 did so because the alternative, admitting the role of terrorism in Islam today, was almost inconceivable. This is not because of agreement with the terrorists, but because of revulsion from them. Islam may not appear as "the religion of peace" to others, but most ordinary Muslims believe it is such. The evidence of 9/11 was so overwhelmingly negative many of them can best be described as profoundly demoralized. Lopez: How would you like to see the U.S. deal with Saudi Arabia? Schwartz: First, we have to demand, and obtain, from the Saudi authorities, a thorough and transparent accounting of Wahhabi-Saudi involvement in 9/11 — the ideological background, funding, recruitment — everything. This is indispensable for our own moral health. Second, we have to demand that the Saudi state cut off all support for the international export of Wahhabi extremism. Third, we have to support traditional Muslims in their efforts to oppose Wahhabi influence and restore theological pluralism within Islam. Lopez: How can the U.S. deal with the Wahhabism within its borders? Schwartz: First, the Saudi embassy must be informed that all support for Wahhabi extremist activity, including mosques and schools, in the U.S. must end. Wahhabi hatemongering institutions like the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America (IIASA), in Fairfax, Va. and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in Alexandria, Va., as well as the U.S. office of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), should be shut down completely. Their assets should be seized and their facilities padlocked. Second, the U.S. government has no alternative but to monitor extremist discourse among Muslims in this country, including in mosques and in prison missions. Nobody would object, on grounds of protection for religious advocacy, to federal investigation of terrorist incitement among Christian antiabortion activists or ultraextremist Jews. No such exemption can be granted Muslims. Third, U.S. non-Muslims of good will must assist and support traditional Muslims in creating an Islamic establishment in this country that is loyal to our government and to our traditions of interreligious respect. There is no obstacle to this in traditional Islam. But this also requires opposition to Islamophobia — the incitement of hatred against Islam as a faith — among non-Muslims. Lopez: You are identified with Sufism. What attracted you to Islam? When and why did you make the plunge? Schwartz: This is a personal matter and a long, involved story, but I will say this: I am a Sufi, and a disciple of the great 13th century Spanish Muslim mystic Ibn Arabi. I believe with him in the unity of the monotheistic faiths. Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship one God — the same God — Creator of the universe. We should therefore see one another as, ultimately, members of a single religion, not three distinct and hostile faiths. As I have put it: from the Jews, we receive the Sacred Law; from the Christians, the message of love and solidarity in the world; from the Muslims, intensity of belief. I was attracted to Islam because of my origins in California. California is a place with immense Spanish influence. Spanish culture is a blend of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions. I had a long and close relationship with Catholics, and Spanish Catholic thought shows a deep Islamic impress. As I traveled and wrote in California, Latin America, and Spain, I became increasingly interested in Islamic civilization. I was also interested in the considerable connections between Islamic spirituality and the Jewish tradition of mysticism, or Kabbalah. Further, I was intrigued, beginning 35 years ago, by the connection between Islamic spirituality and such non-Islamic traditions as Central Asian shamanism and Buddhism. Long ago and far away, I once thought seriously of becoming an academic in this area. But my real knowledge of Sufism and of Islam emerged from my literary, historical, journalistic, and humanitarian engagement with the Bosnian Muslims and Albanian Catholics and Muslims, during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. My authentic education in these issues came during many years of work with the Daniel Dajani, S.J., Albanian Catholic Institute, in San Francisco. Albanian Catholics are remarkable in that although they resisted Turkish rule, and defended their faith at great risk, they never developed an Islamophobic mentality. They viewed the Turks as oppressors but the Muslims as believers. While working with the Albanian Catholics I also began to study Albanian Sufism, which is the only example of a really vigorous indigenous Sufism present in Europe today. I later studied the Sufi influence in Bosnian Islam, as well. I went to live and work in Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Albanian lands, and the rest fell into place. But that story must wait for another time, and much more elaboration, except to note the essential lesson: no Muslims in the world have suffered more than the Bosnians in recent times. Yet neither the Bosnians nor the Albanian Muslims ever turned to Wahhabism or Islamic extremism. They remain Europeans, and their Islam is European. Indeed, I believe Balkan Islam represents a powerful Islamic force for interfaith reconciliation in the West and the world '.
[ Schwartz published a book on the subject called The Two Faces of Islam. The book blamed Islamic terrorism on the religious establishment fostered by the Saudi government, and also criticized Bush administration officials for their associations with Saudi Arabia. Shortly before it came out, Schwartz was dismissed from his position as a news writer for Voice of America]