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OBL ... How do the scholars view his ideology?

Compilation: Sajid A Kayum | Translation of Arabic Fatawa/notes: Shawana A Aziz | Published: Monday, 09 May 2011

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem

 Aims of the Compilation

  1. To see the events from the perspective of the scholars, and not ideas of political activists and conspiracy theorists.
  2. To advice those active in dawah, not to fall for false propaganda – and focus their efforts towards reformation and education.


Many brothers requested more clarification on the statement, "OBL was someone who was not upon the right path, and he had his share in bringing harm to the Muslims", and thus follows an elaboration based on the words of the scholars and some well-known historical facts.

The Judgment of the Scholars about OBL and his Way

 OBL - his history is known, his ideology in known, his mentors are known and some of his actions are known – and this is enough for the scholars to know him, and refute his ideas. The scholars have pointed out to the falseness of his call, when he incites the people towards rebellion, and does actions that brings ill-consequences to Muslims.

In a fatwa signed by the grand mufti Abdul-Azeez Aal-Shaikh, Shaikh Saaleh al-Fawzaan, Shaikh Abdul-Kareem al-Khudair, and others, the scholars said:

"The deviation of maslak (way) of the misguided Usamah ibn Laden and the organization al-Qaeeda, and the atrocities of their crime are established with the scholars - and that they have not brought upon Islam and the Muslims except evil consequences and destruction by their sayings and actions.

And every intelligent person - not only the knowledgeable - knows the deviation of this way, and it is not permissible for a Muslim to affiliate with the organization al-Qaeeda, or be pleased with its actions—" [Link to the complete fatwa]

Similarly, when Shaikh al-Fawzaan was asked if OBL can be described as from the Khawarij, given that he urges the youth to cause corruption, and helps in bombings in Saudi and elsewhere. The Shaikh (hafidhahullah) replied:

"Everyone with a thinking like this, who call to this, and urges this is one of the Khawaarij. No matter what he calls himself or where he's at. This is a principle, the one who calls to this thinking, that is to rebel against the ruler and make takfir upon the Muslims – declaring their lives lawful to take, he belongs to the Khawaarij."   

 Allamah Ibn Baaz (rahimahullah) said in a lecture delivered in 1996, while clarifying the rights of the rulers, and the necessity of obeying them in that which does not involve disobedience to Allah,

 "As for what is observed now by some people like Muhammad Al-Mas`ary, Sa`d Al-Faqih and others amongst those who spread corrupt calls, this is undoubtedly a great evil and corruption. Therefore, we should beware of their calls, eliminate them and should not cooperate with them (people) in anything which leads to corruption, evil, falsehood and Fitnah, for Allah has ordained us to help one another in virtuousness and Taqwa rather than evil, transgression, spreading lies and false claims which cause disunity and disorder.

Publications such as those issued by Al-Faqih, Al-Mas`ary or others of those who call to falsehood, evil and disunity should be eliminated, destroyed and disregarded. Those people should be advised, guided to Al-Haqq and warned against this falsehood, it is also impermissible for anyone to cooperate with them in this evil, for they should recover their senses and abandon such false claims. My advice for Al-Mas`ary, Al-Faqih, Ibn Ladin and whoever follows their path is to abandon this noxious way, fear Allah and beware of His Wrath and Punishment. Not only should they do this, but also repent to Allah of their past deeds, and surely He will accept their Tawbah (repentance)." [end quote]


So, you can see how the various fatawas of the scholars resemble each other - and this is because the way of al-Qaidah and those like them is clear and manifest evil - to the extent that in the view of the scholars, "— every intelligent person - not only the knowledgeable - knows the deviation of this way."

 You should note that Shaikh Ibn Baaz (rahimahullah) issued his fatwa in 1996, prior to 9/11 that happened in 2001. So whether OBL is responsible for 9/11 or not, this has no bearing absolutely on the fact that OBL and those with him were on a destructive and deviated path.

As for those who link judgment on OBL based on his involvement in 9/11 and other actions attributed to him by the media, mostly do so because of the replies that Dr. Zakir Naik has given on the subject.

Dr. Zakir Naik rightly says that one should not base judgment on unverified information and that the media cannot be trusted, which is why he cannot give a definite opinion on OBL based on media reports.

 But what about the fatawa / judgments of the scholars who know OBL, and his call, and his verified actions? They cannot be ignored because the scholars are our reference point especially in contemporary matters of disagreements. If we do not consult with scholars on contemporary issues, then we have no use for them - because issues of salaah and siyaam can also be found in the books of past scholars.

 As for Dr. Zakir, then he either deliberately disregards the view of the scholars when replying on this matter or he is guilty of blameworthy ignorance on a subject that is most-discussed in these times of ours.

 In any case, we realize the importance of connecting with the scholars, and not depending solely upon others, especially in crucial matters related to public affairs.


Some Essential Historical Background that will give us a better idea of the affair, and clarify a few myths.

 In 1978, the communist Soviet Union helped its cronies seize power in Afghanistan, which lead to a series of rebellions. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the same year to help their puppet government, and henceforth began the effort of spreading communist ideas amongst the Afghan population.

 Many nations got involved in supporting the anti-Soviet resistance, each for its self- interests. Pakistan provided the supplies and training, the US provided weapons and diplomatic support, and the Saudis along with other Muslim nations provided money for the resistance and the refugees.

 Because of these favorable circumstances and the fact that the communists were a threat to the people's deen; major scholars like Ibn Baaz (rahimahullah) declared the fighting as a Jihaad, and urged all Muslims to help in whatever way they could.

A huge world-wide support network came into existence, and youth from all over the Arab world joined the war effort.

 Have a look at this beautiful nasheed by Ahmed bin Ali Al-Ajmy that sums up the euphoria, hope and aspirations of the Islamic world at that time. 


The Dark-Side of the Conflict

 The various Afghan 'Mujahideen' groups fighting the Soviets could not overcome their tribal infightings, petty interest, or even something of least priority at war-time, like fiqhi-differences.

Shaikh Ibn Baaz (rahimahullah) actually had to send a message to the Afghan Hanafi scholars asking that the Arab fighters be tolerated as Hanbalis, and not let fiqhi differences aid the enemies of Allah. 

One of the commanders of the 'Mujahideen', Shaikh Jameel ur-Rehmaan, an Afghan scholar upon the way of the Salaf, managed to establish an Islamic emirate in the Kunar province, where the sharee'ah was established and the huge problem of drug cultivation was taken care of - But the sheikh was assassinated, and his emirate destroyed and massacred by another 'mujahideen' commander.

After the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989, the various 'mujahideen' groups continued to fight, and finally defeated the puppet communist government.

But they then began to fight each other for years - until most of Kabul was destroyed by rocket fire, and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians killed. Millions of refugees remained displaced in Pakistan and Iran, while the 'muhajideen' commanders continued to slaughter any good outcome from the decade long struggle against the Soviets. Here is an appeal by Shaikh Ibn Baaz to the Afghan Mujahid leaders to end infighting post soviet withdrawal. 

 Pakistan gained two calamities from the Afghan war, Gun-culture and Drug-abuse – and it continues to suffer from its evil until now.

 Out of the blue, emerged the Talibaan, an armed group strong enough to eventually subdue the various warlords, and control most of Afghanistan by 1998.

 Pakistan and Saudi Arabia recognized the Talibaan as the legitimate government. Yet, despite decades of Saudi support to the Afghan people, in their war with the Soviets and aid to the millions of refugees, the Talibaan supported and sheltered OBL, the one who was actively inciting rebellion and chaos in Saudi Arabia.

 The Talibaan's reign was short-lived, and their sheltering OBL got Afghanistan into another war - this time with the west.

 So, instead of witnessing the rebuilding of Afghanistan, the establishing of the Sharee'ah in terms of Islamic economics, social-structure and justice – what we witnessed is more destruction and misery! The Talibaan were removed from power by the West and replaced by the most corrupt individuals, the brutal warlords and the drug barons.

 From what has preceded, once can clearly see

 1. The reality of the conflict in Afghanistan, and how it dramatically changed in its later stage, being over-shadowed by tribalism, infighting, mass bloodshed and misery – the ill-effects of which reached far and wide.This is a far contrast from the rosy-picture painted by the various groups of "khilafah-callers" and "revolution-callers", who basically use the Afghanistan Fairy-Tale to forward their own agendas.

 2. The role of the scholars in supporting a legitimate Jihaad, when there is a possibility of a good outcome.

 3. In contrast, the role of the leaders of armed militias, and how they put the interest of their group above the general well-being of the people. This also highlights the dangers of the scenario when multi armed militias fight without a central leadership, and how easily they turn on each other.

 4. One can see what is wrong with the "post-Soviet Afghanistan model", and the foolishness of those who glorify it as if it is an ideal situation for the Muslim Ummah. They like to glorify the exploits of a small armed group, and portray handful of enemy casualties as a great victory, while completely disregarding the colossal cost at which this was achieved;

 Firstly their actions gave foreign powers an excuse to occupy Muslim land, and the ensuing conflict led to tens of millions of refugees displaced internally and externally. And it is known that refugees are deprived of even basic dignity and hope for better future. The economy is ruined, civilians are killed randomly in cross-fire, and a general state of hopelessness prevails.

 Where in all of this chaos is any opportunity or chance for the Islamic reformation of the society, spread of Islamic awakening, the subduing of vices and evils, etc.

  In contrast, you have a stable country like Saudi Arabia, which despite its deficiencies, provides its people with stability, honorable livelihood, Islamic education, Islamic justice system, a huge world-wide dawah effort, etc.

 Would anyone in his right mind want to replace this with that?  .Well, this is the call of OBL. His idea is that the people in Saudi Arabia should rebel against their ruler and make it another Afghanistan!

 5. The Talibaan's treachery towards the favors it received from Saudi Arabia and its people.

 6. As for OBL, he went to Afghanistan to help fight the Soviets, and eventually changed his focus towards fighting Muslim governments. A lot about him and his group is shrouded by mystery and uncertainty, but we have clear direction from our scholars – who strongly condemned his KNOWN ideas and path, and they declared it deviant and destructive. 

   Our scholars are also well-aware of OBL's associates, and their wasteful misadventures in Egypt, Syria, Algeria; and that all groups of this orientation have taken their understanding from thinker, poets and writer, and not from the scholars. [details next] 


Allamah Al-Albaani (rahimahullah) on what took place in Egypt, Syria and Algeria

 After refuting the Khawarij, Allamah al-Albanee (rahimahullah) writes in Silsilah as-Saheehah (vol.7, part two, p. 1240-1243) commenting upon the Hadeeth, "We took bayah (the pledge) with Allah's Messenger to listen and obey—"

 "— meaning, they (the Khawaarij) invented an evil Sunnah in Islam, and made Khurooj (revolting) against the rulers as Deen, over the passage of time.

 Today, despite warnings of Allah's Messenger (salallahu alaihe wasallam) in numerous Ahaadeeth, including his saying, "Khawaarij are the dogs of Hell.", and despite them not seeing Kufr BawwaH (clear manifest Kufr) from (the rulers), rather they only see that which is other than (clear manest Kufr), like Dhulm (injustice), Fujoor and Fusooq (sin).

 Today - as they say - the history is repeating itself – there has come up a faction of Muslim youth who have very little understanding of the Deen, and they thought that the rulers are not ruling with what Allah has revealed except a little and thus, they considered rebellion against the rulers (as correct) without consulting with the people of knowledge, understanding and wisdom amongst them – rather they became stubborn (and acted recklessly) and they caused heavy Fitnah (tribulation) and spilling of blood in Egypt, Syria, Algeria – and before that (they caused) Fitna of the Haram in Makkah – and they have acted against this authentic Hadeeth, which has been (rightly) acted upon by the Muslims, both the Salaf and the Khalaf – except the Khawaarij."


Shaikh Al-Fawzaan: The callers to rebellion took their ideas from thinker, poets and writer and not from the scholars

 Allamah Salleh al-Fawzan (hafidhahullah) said concerning the Khawaarij,

 "in our times, — you see them criticizing their rulers, and popularizing their faults from atop  the minaar (pulpits), and in their gatherings, while the Prophet (salallahu alaihe wasallam) said, "Whosoever wishes to advice the ruler about an issue, then he should not do it publicly, rather he should take him by hand, and (advice him) privately. So, if he accepts it from him, then that is it otherwise, he has fulfilled what was required from him." [Reported by Ahmad (3/404) from the narration of Iyadh ibn Ghanam and it is also reported by ibn Abi Aasim in as-Sunnah (2/522)]

 Or if the ruler forbids one of them from speaking in the public gatherings, they gather up in demonstrations thinking – in their ignorance – that forbidding one of them (from speaking in public) or imprisoning him, justifies Khurooj (rebellion).

 Have they not heard the saying of Allah's Messenger in the narration of Auf b. Malik al-Ashja'i (radiallahu anhu) in Sahih Muslim (Book 20, no. 4574), "No, as long as they establish prayer among you."

 And in the Hadeeth of Ubadah ibn Saamith (radhiallahu anhu) in the two Saheehs, "—and not to fight against him unless we noticed him having open Kufr (disbelief) for which we would have a proof with us from Allah." [Al-Bukhari, Book 88, no.178]

 And this (reply of the Prophet) was upon the Sahabah's questioning, and asking permission for fighting the oppressive rulers. Do these people not know how long Imam Ahmad was kept imprisoned, and where Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah died?!

 Wasn't Imam Ahmad imprisoned for years and flogged for (opposing) the statement of Khalq al-Qur'aan. So, why did he not order the people to make Khurooj against the Khalifah? Do they not know that Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah was kept in prison for about two years and he died therein – why did he not order the people to make khurooj against the ruler – although they both possessed immense knowledge and merit – so how about those who are other than them??

 Verily, these ideas and actions did not come to us except after the youth took their knowledge from so-and-so contemporary thinker, so-and-so poet, so-and-so Islamic writer and they left the people of knowledge and (put the) books of their Salaf behind their backs – La Hawla wa La Quwwata illa billah."

 [excerpt from a lecture of Shaikh Fawzan given on Monday – 3/3/1415H in the mosque Malik Fahad in at-Taif al-Madinah]


Pawns in the hands of the enemies of Islam

 Shaikh Abdul-Azeez Aal-Shaikh was asked, "Is it allowed to say that Bin Ladin is misled, and if it is allowed for the common people who have less knowledge, to listen to his talk on the internet"

 The Shaikh answered:

Brothers, these people are the reason for the evil and fasaad (mischief). There is no doubt that they are misled, because the basis is, (and refuge is sought from Allah) that they were raised by the enemies of Islam and I believe that they (i.e. al-Qaeda) are still being fostered by the enemies of Islam. Islam's enemies brought them up.

 They live in the shadows of the enemies of Islam. Even if they show this and that, and they co-operate with the enemies of Islam; and that they (claim to) hate this and that – (but this) is all misleading propaganda. The one who studies their history and beginnings, knows which evilness and which goodness it contains"


The truthfulness of the words of Shaikh Abdul-Azeez Aal-Shaikh can be witnessed by anyone who follows events. One can see the media hype and attention around certain individuals. One can see how al-Qaidah ideologues were given asylum and a platform to speak by countries that they are seemingly at war against.

There was a report in the media stating security sources, that there are around 35,000 websites on the Internet that disseminate such propaganda and video clips; but all of these websites source their content from just six websites. So why aren't these six websites stopped from spreading their supposedly 'terrorist recruitment material'? [ YouTube becomes 'National security Issue' ]

Why is Anjum Choudhry's crazy talk given attention and airtime in the media, for him to say that which antagonizes public opinion against Muslim minorities?

Knowingly or unknowingly, these groups have become pawns being used to make matters difficult for Muslims, and the Islamic Dawah. We can witness how legitimate Islamic educational activities and charities are being stifled. How Muslims are being cornered into more apologetic positions, to the extent that a 'new age-islam' is being actively supported and promoted.

 If anything, the Afghanistan-model, makes one appreciate the delicate role of the leaders and scholars in maintaining peace and stability in the Muslim nations. One can appreciate the great blessings in stability, and why there are so many Hadeeth of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wasallam) on obeying the legitimate ruler, and forbidding rebellion.

  Double-Standards of some OBL Admirers

 If the kind of activity that OBL inspires in Saudi, happen in the UK or in India, you will not find OBL's admirers there praising or glorifying it, rather you will see them condemning it, and calling for Islam to be distanced from it.

 So let us elaborate on this further, as a preemptive strike on the childish arguments of OBL's admirers.

The Muslims in India have our grievances (as do every other religious, linguistic, ethnic group). Engineered-riots, provocations, denied justices, etc. are not hidden from anyone. And at the same time, not all is hopeless, and not all is perfect.

 Sensible people and well-wishers of the Ummah will always think of ways to make the best of the situation; and look towards alleviating the troubles of the Muslims by means of —

  • Education and jobs
  • Strengthening the social-security net
  • Dawah and building understanding with other communities
  • Using the law to protect individual rights
  • Using elections to favor those who affirm pluralism and harmony
  • and Above everything else; cleansing the Ummah from Shirk, bidah and superstitions that bring about the Wrath of Allah; while we are great need of His Mercy and Blessing.

 And while all of these activities may not show immediate effect, or directly address a particular grievance; this is the best we can do under the circumstances, and as Allah has commanded us — "O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). Truly! Allah is with As-Sabirun (the patient)." [Soorah Al-Baqara 2:153]

 To put it bluntly; If someone asks us, will building schools and teaching the correct manner of wudoo, lead to re-building of the 'masjid'? Our answer is, Allah Knows best. We do what we can, and leave the rest to Allah, for "Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope" [2:286]

 Now, if an impatient imprudent person pop-up, and thinks that random killing of some people is the best solution to alleviate our grievances.

 He doesn‘t consult us or the wise amongst us; but speaks in our name. His actions lead to our loss, in terms of life and property. He argues his action with the Qur'aan, so his actions put Islamic activities and dawah under government scrutiny. Crucial and essential Islamic services that are the means of guidance for the people are disrupted.

 He does not have the ability to help us face the repercussions. He does not have the ability to help us deal with the consequences of his action, but he none the less does what he thinks is best for us. 

 So what do we say about this person?

 Anyone who has knowledge about the deen will say that this person is a misguided deviated person from many angles—

 1. He speaks in matters of public benefit and welfare, when this is the right of the scholars, or the elders. [see. The right to speak on affairs of public benefit and welfare

 2. He misinterprets Qur'aan, to suit his ideology and desires.

 3. His actions show lack of insight on the situation of the Muslims, a lack of foresight in judging consequences; and disregard for the important matter of weighing the affairs. Or in other words, ignorance not knowledge guides his actions.

 So, why then should someone have a different position, if such a person does his fitnah in another Muslim country?

 "O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins." [Soorah Al-Ahzab (33):70-71]


- Sajid A Kayum