Qatari professor Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari appeared on Saudi Arabia’s Rotana Khalijiya TV on 3 June 2016 as an advocate for the more modern form of jihad that many Muslims today are embracing. I found it particularly interesting as he is saying the same thing I have been regarding the way some Muslims respond to adversity – that is with a violence that they justify by turning to the Qur’an. Professor Al-Ansari says children must be brought up not to hate the West as many are, and that these days personal jihad can and should be directed to other areas in support of Islam. He himself says his own life is an educational jihad and others need to choose their own path. He points out that there are mow many Muslim countries with their own standing armies and military jihad should be left to them – that it is no longer a requirement for everyone to engage in military jihad.
Professor Al-Ansari is referring to the Qur’an verse 4:95 (Sahih International):
Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] – other than the disabled – and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward –
Added to this is the hadith from the most respected collection in Sunni Islam – that of Sahih Bukhari (who the leader of DAESH has renamed himself for) – verse 52:73:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abi Aufa:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords.”
This is usually interpreted as meaning that paradise is guaranteed for those who physically fight for Islam.
Two Arabic words that the professor used in the video below are not given English translations. They are:
takfir: an accusation by a Sunni Muslim that another Muslim’s belief is impure. It is the accusation DAESH and other Islamists makes of those Muslims that they murder in terrorist attacks. It is also commonly leveled against those Muslims who are trying to reform Islam from within.
da’wa: proselytizing or preaching of Islam. A person who practices da’wa is the Muslim equivalent of a Christian missionary.
Not sure what to make of this. Good to see it being said by anyone, but odd coming from Saudi tv. When economic deprivation is cited as a cause of terrorism, it is usually directly linked to the results of Western or Israeli actions, i.e. politics again. Yet they almost entirely ignore any such link here, which isn’t surprising given criticism of the US would be involved. We know that the Saudi royal family rule autocratically and fear being overthrown; indeed bin Laden’s real goal with 9/11 was to destabilise Saudi and other gulf states he considered corrupt. So the purpose could be merely one of self preservation. On the other hand, the Saudis are the largest funders of the teaching of radical Islamic doctrine which embraces military jihad, but it wouldn’t be the first time a country had a foreign policy diametrically opposed to its domestic policy. Finally, a call to be open to other cultures? Saudi is one of the most closed in the world.
My understanding: The Saudis appear to be Wahhabis but are likely not. They are simply pragmatists when it comes to government and are interested in preserving their privileged position. The Saudi family made a pact with the Wahhabi imams long ago to lock in the status quo. The deal was, the Wahhabis would not oppose the Saudi leadership as long as the Saudis gave the Wahhabis free reign over the social life of the country. Both sides have been happy with the arrangement and have kept their promises. The arrangement does cause some strain however. Wahhabism generates jihadists who engage in terrorism within the country(as well as exporting it). The Saudis have to keep an eye on the threat of destabilization from the extremists.
Yes, that’s my understanding too. Saudi tv is very controlled and it’s odd that they would allow the promotion of any sort of reformist talk.
It’s good it’s being said, though I think it’s significant the professor is from Qatar – I often see more progressive views from the university there.
There used to be a clash between the royal family and the the religious leaders there – the king, though very conservative by our standards was trying to get progressive policies introduced, especially relating to women, and they were consistently blocked by the sharia judges. The new king seems much more open to economic progress/diversification but he’s a vicious bastard – executions have rocketed. I don’t think he’s that well though, and apparently the next in line is a bit more progressive (again, by Saudi standards), so perhaps this is a look to the future?
I gather though Faisal Saeed Al Mutar and various news sources that I can’t place right at the moment but Ive definitely read in last 2 years that Qatar emphatically supports the Muslim Brotherhood. It appears moderate at home but supported the Brotherhood (unsuccessfully) in Tunisian elections and in Egypt and elsewhere and supports the al Qaeda allied Al Nusra front in Syria. Its seeking its own Muslim foreign influence distinct from Saudi and according to Faisal the influence of the Muslim brotherhood are as much of a worry in the US as the Saudis. of course the Swiss now i think French residing Tariq Ramadan (so influential on Rowan Williams) is a nephew of one of the founders of the Brotherhood and they are very influential in Europe too
Interesting. I don’t know that much about Qatar, but it makes sense that they’re trying to separate themselves from Saudi. There are all sorts of reasons why that would be a sound move politically, especially as Saudi are starting to attract more and more negative attention from the West now that the US produces so much of their own oil and the West takes so little from them. They don’t need them so much anymore so they’re not getting cover for their regressive policies regarding women, atheists, LGBT people etc. Qatar isn’t great either or course, but they’re better than Saudi so they’ll be looking for another powerful friend and the MB is very strong.