A follow up with Al-Maqalaat – By Tore Hamming
The concluding subject: Managing designed savagery
“We know the fitna is of a complex nature and that differences in strategic priorities play an important role. However, to what extent would you say that ideological differences matter? It has been mentioned by scholars that al-Qaida finds its main justification in the works of theorists like Abu Musab al-Suri, while IS is more influenced by Abu Bakr Naji. Do you agree and how does it come out in practice? And do you think that there is something missing from the narrative? Something that is not given enough attention?”
“I do not completely agree. The work of Abu Bakr Naji is misunderstood and misinterpreted by many, including ISIS. When the Islamist party of Ennahda won the elections in Tunisia we saw for example how ISIS assassinated the political opposition leaders Mohamed Brahmi and Chokri Belaid because they wanted to create “chaos” in Tunisia. The famous military and strategic book Idarat At-Tawahush (The Management of Savagery) however talks about managing the coming stage of savagery, and not creating this stage of savagery. The writer Abu Bakr Naji merely calculates this stage. When, not if, the corrupt (world) powers fall, Islam will replace it gradually. We have seen this many times before in history. Abu Bakr Naji advises the readers on how to prepare for this transition. If this transition was possible without a stage of savagery, chaos, and without a period of lawlessness, then why would we oppose that? However reality is not built on our human wishes, it is built on certain Devine laws of nature.
The assassination of Mohamed Brahmi and Chokri Belaid in Tunisia were not claimed immediately by ISIS, they were claimed after more than two years in the eight issue of their magazine Dabiq. The assassinations created a political crisis in Tunisia, it created a lot of confusion, chaos and suspicion. So yes, ISIS indeed caused chaos in Tunisia, just like they wanted. But for whose benefit? The Islamist party of Ennahda was blamed by the secularist opposition, secularist rallies were held as Ennahda became the victim of a political witch hunt. This placed a lot of pressure on them, to the extent that they were driven out of government in 2014, only to make way for the secularist opposition. Abu Bakr Naji indeed talks about polarizing the Muslim society, but what did the Muslims benefit from the polarizing chaos created in Tunisia? Nothing. The chaos they created only empowered the secularist parties. They did not establish any province (Wilaya) in Tunisia, they did not implement any Sharia, they simply empowered the secularists and left.
The strangest thing about this example is that ISIS actually bragged about empowering the secularist parties in Tunisia in the eight issue of Dabiq. The reason for this indifference lies in the fact that they do not see any difference between the Islamist- and the secularist parties; everyone participating in democratic elections is the same for them. They do not see any difference between Morsi and Sisi in Egypt for example, because they do not know the difference between better and worse, they do not know how to outweigh benefits versus harms. Extremism does not know any balance, as ISIS does not see any difference between someone who merely uses democracy as a means to establish an Islamic State and reach the implementation of the Sharia, even if this view is incorrect, and a tyrant secularist who believes that religion has no place in politics whatsoever. How can Morsi who openly called for Sharia, and declared Jihaad in Syria against the regime, and endorsed the Egyptians to travel to Syria for Jihaad, be seen as evil as Sisi?
The well grounded and truthful scholars and Mujahid leaders do not throw everyone participating in democratic elections on one and the same pile. The scholars have excused and refrain from Takfir on Hamas and Morsi for example. Because they openly state that they will implement the Sharia once they reach sufficient authority. The Muslim Brotherhood rejects the doctrine of secularism. So we must consider their rejection of secularism and excuse their deficient understanding and misinterpretation of democracy.
We must differentiate between secularism and democracy, secularism is a doctrine independent from democracy, as it is also adopted in communism, monarchies and other political systems. Islamist parties who engage in democracy do not necessarily accept secularism. The high ranking Mujahid leader from Al-Qaedah Atiyatullah Al-Libi therefore rejected the Takfir on Hamas for example. However ISIS has gone to such an extreme that they do not only make Takfir on all members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties, they even make individual Takfir on hundreds of millions of Muslims. This has been stated by their jurist Abu Maysarah Al-Shaami and the ISIS media outlet Al-Hayat literally called for the death of countless of Muslims in an article titled “The Murtad Vote”. It states “The Muslim voter is a Murtadd Taghut, whose blood is obligatory to spill unless he repents.” Hundreds of millions of Muslims make the mistake of voting throughout the Muslim- and Western world, and ISIS openly calls for their death.
Some could say that the Islamist parties are deceiving the Muslims as they do not really want to implement Sharia, so this is merely an empty claim. This could be true but we judge on the outwardly, and not on the hidden intention. If the revelation did not show us that Negus accepted Islam before his death we would have judged him to be a disbeliever, and if the revelation did not show us that the hypocrites were disbelievers we would have judged them to be believers. Because we judge on the outwardly appearance, not the hidden intention. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) thought that the hypocrites were Muslims, because he judged on the outwardly appearance, until Allah showed him that they were disbelievers. But the revelation has ended so we can only judge over someone on the basis of his actions and his sayings, not based on his intentions.
Some could say that the Islamist parties did reach authority through democratic elections but they did not implement the Sharia. This is a simplification of the issue because we know that the one who reaches authority in a democracy does not necessarily have the power to implement the Sharia. If you do not have the power to proclaim the Shahadah and testify your faith in Allah and His Messenger openly, then you are excused, so if you simply do not have the power to implement the Sharia then you are likewise excused.
The practical example in Tunisia showed that creating chaos is not the goal. It is also not a means. Rather it is a period of time caused by a power vacuum, with which we will have to deal sensibly when the tyrannical powers fall. The world powers and the tyrant governments will not fall without a fight, they will not leave their authority peacefully. Even if they lost the bulk of their control –this is clearly visible in Syria. If we had the choice to liberate Syria without the chaos we are witnessing right now, we would not doubt about it for a split second. But this period of savagery, chaos and lawlessness is preordained, so we have to deal with this period before reaching Islamic authority. We even saw this period when the Soviet-Union changed from communism to democracy.
However Abu Naji also explains that we could skip the stage of savagery in some countries. And this is indeed predicted by the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) as he predicted that Turkey (Constantinople) will be liberated automatically when Shaam is liberated, without any armed struggle, and thus without any bloodshed and without any savagery or chaos. It is predicted that Turkey will be liberated through peaceful means.
Abu Bakr Naji did not say that we should create chaos. He said “The goal is to dislodge the regions from the control of the apostate regimes. It is the goal we are publicly proclaiming and which we are determined to carry out, not the outbreak of chaos.”
The extremists of ISIS make the exact same deviant mistake as the Shia Rawafid in this regard. Because we believe that Al-Mahdi will come when the world is filled with injustice, it is predicted that the Muslims will not be able flee from this injustice. Does this then mean that we must spread injustice on the world so that Al-Mahdi will appear? This is exactly what the clerics of the Shia Rawafid say. They do not oppose spreading injustice and corruption on the world, rather they encourage it, because this will hasten the coming of Al-Mahdi in their twisted and deviant logic. ISIS uses the exact same logic when they want to spread savagery and chaos on the world based on the calculations of Abu Bakr Naji. We could even say that they are more deviant than the Shia Rawafid in this regard, because at least the Shia Rawafid base their twisted logic on the predictions of the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam), while ISIS bases it on the calculations of a mere theorist. His foresights are not to be taken as Revelations, they are mere theories.
It is well known that ISIS misuses theological texts to deceive the youth, they even misused the words of the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) to deceive their followers, so it is not surprising that they misused the words of Abu Bakr Naji to justify their deviances. How many times did they misuse the Prophetic predictions about the great battle of Dabiq for example, and how many youths did they deceive with these Ahadeeth. They recruited and mobilized many youths. But we saw how quickly they eventually retreated from Dabiq without any fight worth mentioning. They also insisted on inviting a Western coalition in Syria before dealing with the regime, as they used their aforementioned twisted logic to ignite the prophesied great battle against the Romans.
Abu Bakr Naji would also disagree on the declaration of a state in this current stage, let alone a Caliphate. He explains the order of stages as; the stage of agitation and exhaustion, then the stage of administrating savagery, then the stage of establishing a state. Looking at the current situation in many territories we are still in the stage of agitating and exhausting the enemies. ISIS did not even reach the stage of savagery, as the enemy still has a firm grasp on controlling many territories, let alone reaching the stage of establishing a state. But even if we did reach the stage of savagery in some territories, this is not the stage of establishing a state. Abu Bakr Naji rejects the exclusivism and extremism of ISIS the same way he rejected this ignorance from the GIA in the nineties.
He said “A group of ignorant and inexperienced people took control of the leadership of the armed Islamic group in Algeria (GIA) after the death of some leaders and the death of those who have a good amount of discipline. The new leadership authorized an unjust rule, based on dubious proofs, which is set forth in the principle “Everyone who is not with us is against us”. They classify uncooperative people as oppressors and innovators.”
Abu Bakr Naji would certainly not agree with the infighting caused by ISIS and the waste of efforts which result from it. He stresses the importance of uniting our goals and uniting our ranks and efforts instead of dispersing them, and the importance of conveying our message to the Ummah through effective propaganda in an understandable language which unites us; so that we can reach sufficient power to confront the enemies of the Ummah. He rejects the groups who only consider the benefit of their own adherents. He stresses the importance of Sharia politics and shuns the groups who only rely upon violence and military activities while they neglect and abandon Sharia politics. In conclusion, many reports that talk about the work of Abu Bakr Naji make it seem as if his book was only talking about the use of violence. But this is certainly not true.
Abu Bakr Naji indeed does call for violence and harshness to scare off the enemies. Shaykh Usama bin Laden however prohibited the Mujahideen from showing beheadings in their media propaganda because this would be unfair to the (Muslim) parents and relatives of the victim, what is their sin for watching their son get beheaded? It also pushes the Muslim masses away from Jihaad the Mujahideen because of their softhearted nature. Again, Abu Bakr Naji stresses the importance of mobilizing the Muslim Ummah with a sensible media campaign to win their hearts and minds, he also agrees that the Muslim masses have become softhearted as they shy away from violence. So even he would disagree with the excessive violence in the media propaganda of ISIS which scares of the softhearted Muslim Ummah. Abu Bakr Naji also states that violence should not transgress the limits of the Sharia, he stresses the importance of outweighing the benefits versus harms resulting from the violence we use, he also stresses that we should balance between harshness and softness depending on the animosity of the enemy. ISIS ignored all of these advises.
Abu Bakr Naji said: “One should note that violence and harshness must not transgress the limits of the Sharia and one must pay heed to the benefit and harms that results from it, which the Sharia considers to be, in the rules of Jihaad, as one of the most important subjects for the guidance of creation, if not the most important subject. Pertaining to this, whenever there are reasonable people among the enemy who recognize the truth which every rational mind must agree to, we can lighten the severity of the violence against them. As for the haughty enemy and his troops and his supporters, that is another matter.”
Shaykh Ayman Zawahiri and many other Mujahid leaders and scholars from Al-Qaedah advised ISIS numerous times to refrain from attacks on public gathering of Shia civilians in Iraq for example, like markets, shrines and other places of worship which are also visited by numerous elders, women and children. As these attacks only harm the Muslims and our cause. However ISIS insisted on targeting these public gathering, and did not consider any of the harms which results from this reckless violence. They did not only refuse to stop with these attacks in Iraq, rather they even launched new attacks against Shia public gatherings in Yemen, Saudi-Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Mujahideen of the Taliban in Afghanistan are busy mobilizing and fighting a war against the US led coalition and the tyrant puppet regime it installed. So what benefit will it serve to attack Shia public gathering in Afghanistan, which will only ignite a sectarian war of attrition that will distract the war away from the US led coalition and its installed puppet regime? A sectarian war of attrition will not only scatter and weaken the efforts of the Mujahideen, rather such a tiring internal conflict will also discourage instead of mobilize the Ummah. Again, Abu Bak Naji clearly stresses the importance of mobilizing the Ummah in a popular Jihad. Focusing on the US led coalitions and their tyrant puppet regimes mobilize the Ummah, while embroiling the Muslims in sectarian wars of attrition discourage the Ummah. Furthermore, the Ummah will not only be discouraged on one side, but the attacks on Shia public gathering will also mobilize an angry Shia mob on the other side. So this impulsive strategy is doomed to backfire. This is very evident in Iraq for example. Shaykh Usama bin Laden was able to mobilize the Ummah against the US invasion and their installed tyrant puppet regime in Iraq, but the sectarian war of attrition ignited by ISIS has discouraged the Ummah, while it mobilized an angry Shia mob.
This is something even ISIS indistinctively admitted. After embroiling the Muslims in a tiring sectarian war of attrition which discouraged the Muslim Ummmah in Iraq, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi made a shameless attempt to escape from his responsibility of mobilizing and defending the Muslims in Iraq. As he lengthily complained about the Sunnis in Iraq, in his latest audio message titled “This is What Allah and His Messenger Promised Us”, because, according to Al-Baghdadi, they were unwilling and lacked enthusiasm in mobilizing their efforts against the Rawafid. Saying “Oh Sunnis in Iraq, why is it that every single time you show no sense? You tasted humiliation and disgrace to the extent that you grazed on it, and you strayed just as the children of Israel strayed before you. Do you not see the Rawafid afflict you with the worst of torment every day?”
Not only did Al-Baghdadi invite all the enemies of the world against the Sunnis in Iraq. Not only did he drag them into senseless secondary battles and sectarian wars. Not only did Al-Baghdadi fight and ban all other Mujahid factions in Iraq, and strip the tribes of their weapons, as he forced them to wage Jihaad exclusively under his command. Not only did he make Takfir on a large portion of the Iraqi Muslims. No, after all of that, he even blamed them for losing the war against the Rawafid. Well, they did not declare a Caliphate. It was Al-Baghdadi himself who declared it, so he is responsible for defending the Muslims in Iraq. Rather not only did he blame them for his failed strategy, he even insists on repeating his failing strategy! After admitting that the Jihaad in Iraq went downhill, he called for pressing attacks in neighboring Turkey, in the very same speech.
Furthermore, he even claimed that it has become a priority to attack it, at a time when thousands of militiamen are marching inside of Mosul –the most important stronghold of their Caliphate. Saying “Turkey today has become a target for your operations and a priority for your Jihaad, so seek Allah’s assistance and attack it. Turn their security into panic and their prosperity into dread, and add it to the scorching zones of your combat.”
It would have made much more sense if he called for attacks against the US which is leading the coalition against ISIS, and the Ummah would be much easier to mobilize against the US. Rather he did not even incite against Iran which is a central enemy in Iraq and Shaam. No, unfortunately Al-Baghdadi kept focusing on Turkey and especially the Muslim Brotherhood. In contrast to Shaykh Khubayb As-Sudani for example, one of the leaders of Al-Qaedah in Yemen, who explained the true nature of this war, in a speech not long after the senseless audio message of Al-Baghdadi, titled “Fifteen Years Since the Launch of the Current Crusader Campaign”. In which he explained that the US is our prioritized enemy, clearly following the methodology of Shaykh Usaman bin Laden.
How will a war against Turkey benefit the Muslim Ummah, especially in Shaam? Isn’t Turkey treating thousands of wounded and injured Syrian civilians in their hospitals? Isn’t Turkey sheltering millions of Syrian refugees in their country? Isn’t Turkey sending billions of aid to the oppressed Syrian civilians? ISIS does not look at these benefits, because again, extremism does not know any balance; for them Morsi and Sisi are the same. That’s why nearly the whole Ummah was happy when the coup was foiled in Turkey, except the extremists of ISIS. Even the scholars who make Takfir on Erdogan were happy that the coup was foiled, because we reject injustice no matter who commits it. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) advised the Muslims in Mekkah to migrate to Abyssinia because Negus ruled with justice even though he was Christian, and the Muslims were also happy when Negus foiled a coup against him. We should likewise benefit from the friendly policies of neutral countries. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) also said “Leave the Abyssinians alone as long as they leave you alone, and leave the Turks alone as long as they leave you alone.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
However the book of Abu Bakr Naji should be taken in its historical context, because our situation of today is not like the situation of 2004. His book was written before the Arab Spring and the Jihaad that followed in Shaam. This means, theoretically, that refraining from attacks on Turkey today does not necessarily mean that we should have refrained from attacking Turkey in the historical context of 2004, and visa versa. Political positions and governments can change and the situation of the Ummah can also change. The same goes for other countries like Iran and Pakistan for example; if we were to look at their governments and policies in retro perspective combined with the historical situation of the Ummah. Abu Bakr Naji explains that we should refer to the Mujahid leaders and commanders and the scholars who are firmly rooted in knowledge and authorized to decide whether an action against a certain target is permissible or not. And he talks about prioritizing a limited number of enemy targets, unlike ISIS which focuses on numerous enemy targets simultaneously, although he does not specify which enemy targets. According to him this matter is flexible and can change according to developments and circumstances.
When the government of a neutral country offers fertile ground for Dawah, in which the Mujahideen can move with ease, build educational centers, media offices and spread awareness, recruit, fund raise, etc. Then they should benefit from this political opportunity to build their organization and spread their movement. Especially if neutral Islamist parties gained authority through democratic elections. Al-Qaedah similarly made use of this opportunity when neutral Islamist governments gained power after the Arab Spring, by establishing Ansar Sharia branches in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. ISIS does not understand that Jihaad should be waged in combination with Dawah and Sharia politics, they do not have the basic wisdom to benefit from such obvious opportunities.
Shaykh Ayman Zawahiri said in his General Guidelines for Jihaad “Avoid entering into an armed clash with the local regimes, except if forced to do so, for example when the local regime is a part of the American forces, as in Afghanistan; or where it wages war against the Mujahideen on behalf of the Americans, as in Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula; or where it does not tolerate the mere presence of Mujahideen, as in the Islamic Maghreb, Syria, and Iraq. However, entering into an armed conflict against them must be avoided whenever it is possible. If we are forced to fight, then we must make it clear that our struggle against them is a part of our resistance against the Crusader onslaught against Muslims. Further, wherever we are afforded the possibility to pacify the conflict with the local rulers so as to avail the opportunity for propagation, expressing our viewpoint, inciting the believers, recruitment, fund raising and gaining supporters, we must make the most of this opportunity; for our struggle is a long one, and Jihad is in need of safe bases and consistent support in terms of men, finances, and expertise.”
It is not our wish to fight against the whole world and confront all our enemies. However certain wars are forced upon us. The people in Syria went out on the streets in peaceful demonstrations to demand their Islamic rights and the fall of the tyrannical regime. This went on for months as tens of thousands of civilians were brutally massacred, until the peaceful protests turned into an armed resistance. If we can reach our Islamic freedom and the fall of these tyrannical regimes without any armed resistance we would have done so. Abu Firas As-Suri explained this very well in his interview with the media activist Bilal Abdulkareem. Allah has preordained fighting even though we dislike it (Quran 2:216). He affirms that we as peaceful people dislike fighting, and He does not ask us to like or love it. On the contrary, we fight because we want to reach our Islamic peace and freedom.
Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa narrated from the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam): “Do not wish to meet your enemies, and ask Allah for safety. But if you do meet them, then be patient and know that Paradise is under the shadow of the swords.” (Saheeh Bukhari)
What is missing in the narrative is the aspect of using peaceful means like Dawah, combined with Jihaad. What is missing in the narrative is the actual reason for the fall of the world powers. Scholars of Al-Qaedah like Shaykh Atiyatullah Libi have advised the Mujahideen in Iraq to strengthen their Jihaad with a proper Dawah and a strong message. Yes the fall of the world powers will create a period of lawlessness, Abu Bakr Naji predicts this fall as well as the power vacuum that they will leave behind, as he gives advices on how to benefit from- and fill this gap. But how will these powers fall?
Will these powers fall only due to our military operations, by draining and exhausting them military and economically? No certainly not. The corruption of the world powers, their tyranny and injustice, is the principal cause for their inevitable fall, like it was the principal cause for the fall of all nations before them. Allah explains in the Quran that they were destroyed because of their injustice. The scholars have therefore stated an important principle centuries ago, as they said “Allah upholds the just government even if it is a disbelieving one, and Allah topples the unjust government even if it is a believing one.” So we saw how the West was trying to uphold its corrupt tyrannical world power by holding on to some human-right values, this gave their system essential fundaments on which it could and did survive. There is also an old Arabic saying which states “Societies are only worth as much as their values, if their values disappear then so will they.”
We witnessed how the human-right values of the West rapidly disintegrated with the legalized tortures and unreasonable imprisonments in Abu Ghrayb and Guantanamo Bay, in addition to their heinous war crimes and massacres in Iraq and Afghanistan. This decadence was soon followed by a devastating global financial crisis throughout the West. The West is still stumbling economically and socially since then as their values continue to evaporate. They have completely lost their moral compass. They keep supporting murderous terrorist militias gone mad in Iraq, while backstabbing the innocent Syrian civilians who are slaughtered by the tyrannical Assad regime and Russia.
The election of Donald Trump and the massive rise of rightwing parties in the West affirm that the West is losing their moral struggle, as the internal divisions keep increasing in their societies. We saw how the rightwing Brexit vote and the rightwing Trump election created a deep division in the West. Extremism always creates division no matter in which society; we already saw how the extremism of ISIS created a devastating division in the Mujahid ranks. The rise of extremism in the West will do the same thing. Except they will not have any wise leaders and scholars like the Muslim Ummah; who know how to minimize the disastrous effects of this division. Extremism in our ranks benefits the enemy while extremism in the ranks of the enemy benefits us. The Muslims were therefore the real winners of World War II, as the rise of Nazism and Fascism, and the consequent world war brought an end to the colonial rule in our Muslim countries.
Abu Bakr Naji said “The overwhelming power of the US is assisted by the cohesion of its society in the central country and the cohesion of its institutions and sectors. The overwhelming military power (weapons, technology, soldiers) has no value without the cohesion of its society and the cohesion its institutions and sectors. But this overwhelming military power may become a curse to this great superpower if the cohesion of its society collapses. Several elements cause the collapse of this entity, elements of cultural and civilizational annihilation, such as the corruption of religion, moral collapse, social iniquities, lavishness, selfishness, giving priority to worldly pleasures, the love for the world over all values, etc. Whenever a large mixture of these elements are combined within the superpower and those elements mix in such a way that they energize each other, that superpower’s speed of collapse increases. Whether these elements are actively present or latent, they need an assisting element to activate them and cause the downfall of that superpower and its power, no matter how much military power it possesses.”
Shaykh Abu Yahya Al-Libi talked about the moral bankruptcy of the West in his very last message “The American Military and the Ethics of War”. Shaykh Usama bin Laden also talked about this in a message to the American people in October 2003. Many Mujahid leaders and scholars focused their ideological strikes on this obvious weakness prevalent in the West. The capitalist system of the West showed the world how it lacks human values and how it oppresses nations and spreads corruptions on the world. We however should show the world how Islam has dignified human ethics, principles and morals. Because this is not only a military war, it is a media war; a war of ideologies; a war of morals and values. The West lost this war like Mullah Muhammad Umar explained in his Eedul Fitr message in August 2012. The US committed heinous war crimes under the administration of Bush Jr. as it showed the world that the West does not stick to any human values, while the Mujahideen showed the world how Islam has noble conducts, even during wartimes. Until the frantic soldiers of ISIS did the opposite of what the Mujahid leaders and scholars were doing, as they portrayed the exact same image of Islam as the West was trying to show the world (deceitfully) for decades. This heavily overshadowed the heinous war crimes committed by the previous US administration; which even the slick damage control of Obama was not able to cover up. The collective memory of the US has been successfully distracted with the jolting miss-representation of ISIS, to the extent that they even voted for someone who is far worse than Bush Jr.
The Muslims must focus on showing the crimes and corruption of the US, not only when it concerns the Muslim Ummah but also the crimes they commit against others like their own Afro American civilians. Shaykh Usama bin Laden even dedicated an audio message to global warming. He explained that the US shares the largest portion in polluting the world and explains how they were the only country which rejected to sign the Kyoto Protocol because they were unwilling to reduce emissions. We must know that all humans share this world and its habitats, not only the Muslims. We will all suffer from the consequences if the capitalist West continues to destroy and corrupt the world. That is why Shaykh Usama bin Laden called upon everyone, not only Muslims, to take this shared responsibility.
The Mujahid leaders and scholars of Al-Qaedah were known for exposing the ugly crimes of the West to a very broad audience. This focus made their media propaganda very effective and successful, and the following Arab Spring and the anti-globalization movements, including the occupy movement, were a clear confirmation that Al-Qaedah won the ideological propaganda war against the capitalist West and their tyrant puppet regimes. However, ISIS does not focus its media propaganda on highlighting the moral bankruptcy of the US. Rather they try to outdo them by torturing their own war prisoners in the most shocking methods. Torturing war prisoners in orange overalls is something the Bush administration used to do; we should expose these war crimes in front of world instead of copying them. While the media propaganda of Al-Qaedah used to mobilize the Ummah, we are witnessing stagnation in this mobilization with the backfiring propaganda of ISIS. However it is expected that this stagnation will not last for long under the Trump administration, his policies will re-boost the anti-western and anti-capitalist resentments in the Middle-East and the rest of the world –even the West.
It is up to the scholars, preachers and media activists to focus on the corruption and crimes of the US. Especially those who are not active on the field of Jihaad, for whichever reason they may have, they can at least support the armed struggle of the Mujahideen through Dawah activities against the enemies of the Ummah. We have seen how The Cold War was won by mere propaganda, so we must not underestimate the importance of media propaganda in this war. Abu Bakr Naji also emphasizes this issue in his book.
Those who can not perform Jihaad for which ever reason can use peaceful means. Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani accused Al-Qaedah in the past for using peaceful means, because the extremists of ISIS do not understand anything except the language of violence. While Shaykh Usama bin Laden also used peaceful means, after the Afghan-Soviet war, in the early nineties in Sudan. He started large construction- and cultivation projects under the Islamist government of Omar Al-Bashiri and Hassan Al-Turabi, instead of attacking the ruling government in Sudan at that time and declaring war against it. If the US did not force the Sudanese government to expel him, then maybe he would not have returned to Afghanistan and maybe the events of 9-11 and the following world events after that would never have happened. We must all learn from this history. The enemies must know that even a small act of oppression could have major consequences. While Muslims must know that Allah could have a much greater plan for us then we might think. We must not despair when we are faced with afflictions and obstacles, they could be guiding us to an imperative destiny. Expelling Shaykh Usama bin Laden from Sudan was a true blessing.
Shaykh Atiyatullah Libi wrote an article titled “The Arab Revolutions and the Season to Harvest” in which he said “Al-Qaedah and the Mujahideen do not prevent from peaceful means all together, you will not find anyone say this in their Dawah. Rather they call for resistance against disbelief and tyranny and oppression and the regimes which commit it, with all legal means depending on the capability, and most importantly and essentially with Jihaad. That which the Mujahideen reject is changing to the methodology of peaceful means completely instead of the methodology of Jihaad; which is preparation for war to fight on the Path of Allah with weapons, with strikes, with killing and bombings. But if peaceful means are available and they can achieve the requested goals or some of it in stages, and its method does not trespass the limits of the Shariah, then the Mujahideen do not prevent from this. They rather endorse it and call people towards it. How many times did the leadership of Al-Qaedah incite the people to mobilize and demonstrate.”
Shaykh Ayman Zawahiri said something similar concerning the use of peaceful means in Egypt in his fifth interview with As-Sahab media. This interview in 2008 was actually an important prelude for the Arab Spring in Egypt. We must realize that some countries are not suitable for guerilla warfare. Shaykh Ayman Zawahiri explained in his book “The Prophet Under the Nights Banner” that the unsuitable geographical nature of Egypt made guerilla warfare impossible. This was the most important reason why he left Egypt and traveled to Peshawar in Pakistan to help with the medical treatment of Afghan refugees.
ISIS however ignores the factors of Abu Bakr Naji we should consider when selecting a country for Jihadi operations. They rigidly stick to their misinterpreted strategy of creating savagery and chaos in every country, without looking at the geographical nature of the country, the weakness or strength of the ruling regime, the nature of the people in this region, etc. They do not care if these countries are neutral, or if they have friendly policies which benefit the Muslim Ummah a great deal. Furthermore, they even attack other Mujahid factions and groups who wage Jihaad against the exact same enemies of the Ummah! Even if Abu Bakr Naji would disagree with the strategy of Al-Qaedah over certain countries, then surely he agrees with the strategy of Al-Qaedah over the Mujahid groups and factions.
If ISIS followed the strategy of Abu Bakr Naji they would have joined the other groups in Shaam, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan in a shared war against the prioritized enemies of the Ummah; even if these groups would have some theological mistakes and deviances. The ISIS media outlet Al-Naba published an info-graphic in November 2016 in which they bragged about killing 87 Mujahideen from the Taliban in Afghanistan last year in 2015, while they did not kill even one US soldier in that same year. In contrast to the magazine Al-Somood published by the media department of the Taliban in which they reported the killing of 31 US soldiers in the month of September 2015 alone. So why does ISIS fight against the Taliban instead of uniting their efforts against the US led coalition and its tyrannical puppet regime? Does Abu Bakr Naji not call for this?
Abu Bakr Naji said “We consider our Jihaad in this stage to be the Jihaad of an Ummah. They are a part of the Mujahid movement, even if they differ over the correct method in intellectual and operational matters. There are several examples of this throughout history. Shaykh Al-Islam attacked the Asharis in his books and exposed the corruption of their school; this was in an instance where he was speaking of their heretical doctrines and actions. Yet even though these people were heretical, they aided Islam and its people. It is clear that even though the rulers in Egypt and Syria used to favor the Ashari scholars, they devoted themselves to aiding Islam and engaging in Jihaad in the path of Allah against the Tartars. Thus, in another instance concerning loyalty, sheltering and assistance, Shaykh Al-Islam said that they were the Victorious Party in Syria and Egypt.
He also praised Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi for aiding Islam against the crusaders and aiding the Sunnah against the Batiniyyah, even though the school of the Asharis was the school of Salah al-Din’s state. Therefore, we must respect those among the sects or among the general public who desire Jihaad and give their loyalty to us. We accept them, help them, and assist them, without ascribing any error to them and try to correct it according to the circumstances, need, and opportunity, as long as it does not cause Fitnah and harm which might afflict the Jihaad, especially since the benefit of tolerating their errors will usually be greater than the harm (caused by our rejection of their errors). When rejection causes greater Fitnah or harm, then the rejection must be abandoned.”