Religious And Intellectual Corruption Of Al-Qaeda, ISIL And TTP Leaders
By Iftikhar Hussain Jazib
Al-Qaeda’s assassinated chief Osama Bin Laden (OBL) and its current Amir Dr Ayman Al-Zawahiri were not known as religious personalities before Afghan jihad. Both had received their formal education at secular institutions. OBL had studied Economics, Business Administration and civil engineering while Dr Zawahiri had studied Medicine to become an eye surgeon. This lack of religious education coupled with the schizophrenic impacts of Afghan jihad was responsible for radical interpretation of jihad and subsequent creation of Al-Qaeda. Unfortunately, the careless media coverage of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Al-Qaeda, created a religious perception of OBL and Dr Zawahiri wrongly for many aggrieved Muslims. Thus, Al-Qaeda became a big challenge for Muslim States/ societies and various extremist groups joined it.
When Al-Qaeda high jacked planes brought down the twin towers of World Trade Centre, the international media was simultaneously showing celebrations on this attack in Palestine. The grievances of Palestinians are a cause of pain for Muslims globally, many groups and leaders had exploited it for their political interests. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain created hype on same conflict and attacked Kuwait in 1990. All Arab States and their rulers turned against Saddam on this aggression but interestingly, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was carried away by Saddam’s rhetoric. Arafat’s posture alienated him in Arab world and many troubles were created for Palestinians. In the same situation, OBL offered services of his fighters to Saudi King against Saddam Hussain and he expressed strong opposition to deployment of US Forces in Saudi Arabia. However, KSA did not accept his offer and US Forces were deployed to defend Saudi Arabia despite his opposition.
In this background, OBL, who was trying to stay relevant after the end of Afghan war, geared up to win the hearts of Arab masses. He launched a severe propaganda against Arab monarchs and western civilization. First he based his campaign in Sudan and then he moved to Taliban ruled Afghanistan where many former Arab fighters and extremist groups joined him but no renowned Muslim scholar became his follower. When Al-Qaeda’s ideology materialized in the form of 9/11 attacks, Grand Muftis, Imams and Ulemas became vocal against Al-Qaeda, OBL and Dr Zawahiri. Many fatwas were issued against terrorism and suicide bombing but Al-Qaeda rejected them adamantly. It’s leadership did not pay heed to such learned scholars, who had devoted their lives in learning and teaching Islam and Al-Qaeda continued with its war hysteria and narrow minded interpretations of jihad.
As it is already mentioned that OBL and Dr Zawahiri received secular education, their role and achievements in jihad did not qualify them as Islamic scholars. Therefore, their insistence on their own jihadi edicts was wrong and they must have obeyed to those Islamic scholars who oppose them on bases of Quran and Hadith. To clarify this point, it is pertinent to mention the golden example set by Khalid bin Walid (RA), who was a great warrior and general of first Muslim Army. Khalid Bin Walid (RA) known as ‘Sword of Allah’, was dismissed from service by Caliph Omer (RA) in the midst of a war. He, obeyed his ruler and accepted this decision without protest. Terrorist leaders are always quoting Khalid Bin Walid (RA) in their sermons but unfortunately they had learned nothing from him. Afghan jihad was waged under Muslim states, after its end, the rebellions against these states were religiously wrong but OBL misguided and exploited Arab fighters for his terrorist activities.
Wrongly conceived and organized by OBL and Al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda had proved disastrous for Muslim Countries. The Muslim Countries of North Africa and Middle East are currently in chaos and Al-Qaeda’s deadly strategy is solely responsible for woes of their masses. This organization not only provoked the wrath of Western Countries against Muslim States by perpetrating the attacks of 9/11 but also incited sectarian violence and political rebellions within them. As a result, Mauritania, Somalia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and Syria are in political and social ruins. This state of affair only marginalized Muslim countries in the international politics further and Muslims have become weaker in terms of military power and capability. This group brought only evil to Islam and Muslims but unfortunately, some Muslim scholars have become victim of its apparent deception. Such sympathizers must open their eyes and realize that Dr Zawahiri and his associates are not religious personalities and Al-Qaeda, its franchises and affiliates are not an option to address grievances of Muslims.
To further clarify this point and strengthen argument on the non-religious nature of terrorist movements, some facts are presented about TTP, which is an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Pakistan. The term ‘Talib’, plural ‘Taliban’, meaning student was coined to indicate the incomplete education of these terrorists. Therefore, TTP hardly had such persons in its ranks who had completed Dars-e-Nizami, the basic religious course taught at Deoband Madressahs. Its intellectual hollowness can be simply gauged from this fact that TTP’s founder Baitullah Mehsud and his successor Hakimullah Mehsud did not use a religious title at all. TTP Chief Mullah Fazlullah is a matriculate and he was working as lift operator in Swat before becoming a militant. He is using the title ‘Mullah’ wrongly as he did not finish his madressah education. TTPJA Chief Omer Khorasani is also a matriculate and he had worked as a blacksmith. He had not used a religious title so far which speaks about his lack of Islamic education itself. Mangal Bagh, the commander of Lashkar-e-Islam had no Islamic education and he had worked as a bus conductor formerly.
This lack of religious education and corruption had made TTP a syndicate of criminals, robbers and drugs peddlers. It is involved in crimes like robbery, kidnapping for ransom, smuggling of weapons / ammunition and other commodities, narcotics trafficking, extortions from business community and financial frauds. The group is even not sparing Madressahs and it is collecting extortion from them, rendering them cash strapped. All of these activities are plain crimes but ironically TTP leaders justify them in the name of jihad and Islam.
TTP is not alone in this corruption and criminality, Al-Qaeda’s other splinters, affiliates and offshoots are also involved in crimes. ISIL in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria are showing same criminal character. In the light of these facts and arguments, we must realize that Al-Qaeda, ISIL and TTP leaders are not religious personalities and scholars of Islam and their edicts about terrorism and suicide bombings are religiously wrong. Every Muslim should reject them without any hesitation and we should only follow mainstream Muftis, Ulema and Islamic Scholars, who oppose terrorist movements and project real teachings of Islam.
The writer tweets at (radiant_j_007)