Thursday, July 16, 2015

Eid Mubarak - As Ramadan comes to a close... the Situation in Sham must Remain the Focus of us All!

For Eid 2012, I penned the following article from a Federal Correctional Institute in the United States. It addressed the conditions then in Syria and Sham generally and implied that the situation in Sham was a direct representation of the condition of the ummah globally. That message remains true unto today and so rather than post a new article I’m posting it again, three years later, in order to serve as a reminder, for an issue that once galvanized the ummah has now worn on. Today, with many reflecting during Ramadan on the difficulties facing Muslims and Islam in the contemporary age, it is important to remember that most of our difficulties are miniscule in comparison to the people of this blessed land. And we ask Allah (swt) to allow us to remember them!

Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands have been killed in Sham, the fitnah continues. Whether we realize it or not, Sham is a test for this ummah, with all the indications suggesting a progression that will continue until that neoliberal beast and global order beckons the maseeh ad-dajjal (antichrist) and the victorious sect struggles against it. Of course, one of the signs of that era is that the people will no longer mention the one-eyed antichrist and that people of all religious persuasion will follow his misguidance. However, Allah’s Sunnah is to cleanse the ummah with tests and so Sham continues to be a test in the heart of the Muslim world that tests us all. Please remember your brothers and sisters in Sham this Eid and for the remainder of the year.

The Prophet (saws) said that the ummah is like one body, if a piece of it hurts the whole of it suffers. And he also stated that there is a piece of flesh in the body, if it is pure than the body is pure, and it is the heart. Sham lies in the heart of the Muslim world and so its condition impacts the limbs of the ummah, wherever they reside from the West to the East. We are living in times of great confusion, an increased Islamic identity, but an identity that has been tainted, an era of no unified jamaa and, for most, no imam.   The prophet (saws) said that fitnah in Sham will continue, fitnah that, “will not leave anyone of this ummah without giving him a slap; when it is said to him that it is over, it will be extended, and a man will arise a believer in the morning and come upon the evening a disbeliever, until its people are split into two camps, the camp of iman in which there will be no hypcrasy and the camp of hypocrisy in which there will be no iman. When that occurs, expect the Dajjal on that day or next (Sunan Abi Daood).”

So Muslims, as we celebrate the conclusion of the blessed month of Ramadan, let us remember the severe circumstances of our brothers and sisters less fortunate than us across the globe. May Allah (swt) grant us all a blessed Eid, guide us to concern for the Muslims across the globe, protect us from a false dawa that seeks to appease, and make us from amongst the pure camp of iman!  The article follows…   
A Ramadan Reflection: From the Chest to Sham, Taqwa is the Heart of All Affairs
All praise is due to Allah who commanded the Muslims to fast during Ramadan. He (Ta’ala) said,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُون
O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as was prescribed for those before you that you became al-muttaqun (2:183)
And may the peace and mercy and Allah’s blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) who received the Quran in the holy month and warned the Muslim community when he said:
اقرؤا القرآن و عملوا بهو لا تأكلوا به
“Recite the Quran and act upon it ..and don’t eat or profit from it”
As another Ramadan has passed us by, Al-hamdollillah, it is important for us to reflect upon whether we have recognized its purpose and improved our Taqwa by becoming people that embody the Quranic message in our actions; or whether we have merely abstained from food and drink while devouring the Quranic essence, and thereby its true objective.
Taqwa is a difficult word to define. It is usually translated as ‘God-fearing’ or ‘pious,’ but perhaps the best definition was given by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiya Allahu anhu), who was asked to define it and responded with a question: “When you walk down a forest path covered in thorns, what do you do?” he asked his questioner. “You lift up your clothes, move very slow and take your steps carefully“, he [the questioner] responded, and Umar (radiya Allahu anhu) simply stated,”That, my friend, is Taqwa.
And it is unfortunate that in this age Ramadan has largely lost its connection to the purpose of instilling Taqwa. Instead, in many ways, Ramadan has been turned into an occasion for festivity and entertainment, not unlike the way Christians have distorted their celebration of Christmas so that it is commercialized and void of spiritual purpose. Neglecting the purposes of acts of worship in Islam is a primary reason for the Muslim Ummah’s present degradation, and this Ramadan was significant in that several events in the heart of the Muslim world should have allowed us to recognize that our material and physical circumstances are largely a direct reflection of the state of the heart inside our chests.
The most prominent events are those occurring in Syria, an area destined to play a crucial role in any Islamic revival for its import is included in many ahaadith and isolated in many books of Fiqh as the home of the Taifa Mansoora, the Fustaat (flag) at the end of times where the Abdaal (righteous) gather, help to make Bay’aah to the Mahdi and eventually aid Issa Ibn Maryam (alaihissalaam) in fighting the antichrist. For example, the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,
Syria will be conquered, and when you are given a choice of places to settle, go to a city called Damascus for it will be the Fustaat (Fustaat here means city) of the Muslims during the wars of Fitnah and the place of assembly.
Thus, its condition resembles the condition of the entire Ummah, and this is as Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,
You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind among themselves resembling one body. So, if a part of the body is ill then the whole body suffers from sleeplessness and fever.
And a proper conception of Islam helps us to understand that our personal conditions are connected to the condition of the global Muslim community altogether and that the condition of any given Muslim community is, at the same time, a direct reflection of the condition of Islam and Muslims across the world. It is for this reason that the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) admonished the companions saying,
He who is not concerned with the general affairs of the Muslims is not one of us.
Unfortunately, it is a lack of adhering to the path of Islam and [a lack of] trekking in a manner of caution andTaqwa that has caused the body of Muslims to suffer from sleeplessness and fever. And today we exist just as the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) described when he said:
The nations will call other nations to stand against you as the eaters call each other to eat from the food in front of them on a large wooden plate.
A person asked the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam),”Will that be because we will be few in number?”
The Prophet replied, “No, You will be great in number, but you will be rubbish like the rubbish of the flood water. And certainly Allah will remove from the hearts of your enemies fear of you and will throw Wahan in your hearts.”
A person asked, “What is ‘Wahan,’ O Messenger of Allah?”
The Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) replied, “Wahan is to love the world and hate death.
And Syria is a perfect sample of the Ummah’s general existence. Despite having a dominant Sunni population, a deviant Alawite minority has ruled the post colonialist nation through a dictatorship managed mostly by a single family. That authoritarian dictatorship has maintained for over four decades, largely due to the rubbish associated with a preponderant Arab racism and post-sykes-picot nationalism united against all manifestations of Islam as a complete socio-political, economic order.
It is a common circumstance all over the Muslim world, but where critics attribute blame to the external coalition of nations conspiring to feast on the Muslim world’s natural resources and civilization, the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) placed blame on the internal condition of the Muslims themselves. The tremors shaking the heart of the Arab world are proportionate to an Islamic Awakening over a generation, and perhaps the most evident lesson about “Taqwa” to take from this Ramadan, is the connection between the state of our spiritual selves and the general physical reality of Muslims everywhere.
The prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) stated,
“Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body, if it becomes reformed, the whole body becomes reformed, but if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted and that [piece] is the heart.”
Today both the hearts of the individual believer and the identity in the heart of the Muslim world face all sorts of dialectical rupturing and everywhere glimpses exist of an ascendant Islamic identity which is also in accord with what the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said, As you are so are the rulers above you. That being said, it becomes apparent that the solution to our contemporary situation is, first and foremost, a spiritual one and Ramadan serves as a continuous annual reminder of the connection between the spiritual and material realms.
This has always been the case. When the Tatars were pushed from Damascus by successful battle duringRamadan in 702 A.H, physical victory was a result of Ibn Taymia’s cleansing the beliefs of the Muslims with texts like his Aqeedahtu Hamawiyaa, written for the people of Hama, a town besieged by the Assad regime today.
Similarly, At-Tabari recorded in his classic work An History that when the Muslims first conquered Syria under Umar Ibn Al Khattab, Heraclius, the Roman emperor asked a Byzantine who had been a prisoner of the Muslims about their condition. The man replied,
“I shall tell you, and it will be as if you are looking at them. They are horseman during the day and monks at night. In the areas they rule, they do not eat except that they pay for it, and they do not enter a house except with a greeting of peace. They stand up to those who fight them until they destroy them.”
Heraclius could only reply, “If you have spoken the truth, they will indeed inherit the land on which I stand.” Surely, their foundation was Taqwa and we remain, as Imam Malik once suggested, “Verily the only thing that will rectify the ends of this Ummah, is what rectified its beginning.
As we push forward after Ramadan, let us remember that Taqwa is the foundation of all we do. That it is manifested in the heart and that our physical condition is dependent on the state of our spiritual selves.
It was for this reason that the noble Shaykh Nassarudeen Al-Albani adopted the Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen’s statement: “Establish the Islamic state in your hearts, and Allah will make it a reality,” even though he disagreed with them. Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) constantly emphasized such principles. He said, “Straighten your rows (three times) and Allaah will bring together your ranks or Allaah will put differences into your hearts,” and he (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) informed us that, “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different part enforce each other.
Today, we Muslims are being tested severely, and our current circumstances tell of potential revival, but it is evident the hearts are tainted by foreign desires. Allah has told us that “Allah has not made for man two hearts inside his body” (33.4). Taqwa is the spiritual garb of the heart that beats for Islam and Muslims, so let us cultivate it wherever we are and recognize that such efforts can only help to bring victory to the Muslims at large.
As individuals and collectives, Allah is testing our hearts. It is as the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wassallam) said,
“Trials and tribulations will be presented to the hearts, as a reed mat is interwoven stick by stick. Any heart which absorbs these trials will have a black mark put in it. However, any heart that rejects them will have a white mark put in it. The result is that hearts will be of two kinds: one white like a white stone, which will not be harmed by trials as long as the heavens and earth endure; and the other dark and rusty, like an over-turned vessel; not able to recognize the good, nor reject evil, but rather being absorbed with its desires.”
As an Ummah we are increasingly passing these tests and have witnessed some purification. As a result, a new middle east is formulating in the heart of the Muslim world and circumstances, like those unfolding in Syria, present numerous opportunities to connect the degree of material success to adherence upon the path of Taqwa as outlined by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, for Taqwa fixates the hearts upon the Quran and sunnah and other superficial displays of Islam absent such a foundation only lead to further sleeplessness and disorder.
Brothers and sisters should use the affairs unfolding in Syria to connect to the global Ummah and to call to adherence to these principles.
The great scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah stated that:
“There are four matters, that when their limits are transgressed harden the heart: food, sleep, speech and sexual intercourse. A body afflicted by disease does not derive nourishment from admonishment or exhortation. Whoever desires to purify his heart then let him give preference to Allah over his base desires.”
Ramadan forces the Muslim to restrain all four of these base desires but only those able to connect refraining from them during the holy month to the cultivation of Taqwa thereafter will cleanse their condition and benefit from the trial. In the same way, the historic trials unfolding in the communities of Muslims across the globe will only produce benefit where they stand upon a foundation of Taqwa that manifests action upon the Quranic path. It is a failure to recognize the purpose behind acts of worship in Islam that makes us those that eat and sell the divine message just like the nations before us. May Allah make us al-Muttaqun.

Eid Mubarek.

Younes Abdullah Muhammad



Jesse Curtis Morton #79274-083
FCI Schuylkill

Sunday, July 5, 2015

7 Principles of Imprisonment - Verily there can be no Islam without Justice

This is the first discussion of a 7 lecture series entitled, "The 7 Principles of Imprisonment." The topic of this sesssion was "Verily, there can be no Islam without Justice." It covers some experiences in prison, the present state of prison in America and in the light of the shariah.  Please join us on Monday's at 11pm NYC time for the other 6 topics in'sha'Allah.

Friday, June 5, 2015

On Crafting Islamic Policy

This document outlines the methodology for political/social science investigation at IslamPolicy.com. I am posting it so that those interested in the manhaj, aqeedah and direction of the site, those that might want to assist or contribute can review the processes.It is also an interesting and unique document that can assist those interested in political Islam generally.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Effectively Promoting Moderation in an Age of Extremism

By Younus Abdullah Muhammad

Almost 14 years after the attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent declaration of a global war on terror, violent Islamic extremism, previously known simply as terrorism, continues to dominate the headlines. Public reaction to the latest wave of Islamic terrorism has been vehement across the globe. Everyone recognizes an enhanced extremism in jihadist groups but few acknowledge that most effort to counter terrorism with force, typically a similar but unreported state-sponsored terrorism, only exacerbates matters. This is particularly true in the West, where punditry of both primary political parties portrays a war between good and evil; a violent Islamic extremism threatens to destroy Western culture and to occupy Western nations.

Current discourse tends to divide Muslims into the good and the bad. Unconsciously many equate the “good” with those supportive of what are haphazardly called “western values,” more properly classified as passive acceptance of western dominance. An extension of this overly simplistic dichotomy then surreptitiously defines “bad” Muslims as any that remain critical of the repressive aspects of “western” policy and practice. While Muslims must condemn dissolute and excessive violence, such passive acceptance of this Manichean perspective cements an almost complete inability to address the root causes of the ongoing conflicts. 

There have been four waves of terror in the modern era, all of them driven primarily by extremist ideologies. The anarchist wave ran from 1880-1920; the Anti-colonialist from the 1920’s to 60’s; the New Leftist from late 60’s to the early 90’s, and the current Religious Fundamentalist wave began in 1979 and continues unto the present. Modern terror is also a product of advancements in communication and evolving revolutionary doctrine. The expositions of bin Laden are not unlike the anarchists Kropotkin and Bakunin.

Terrorist tactics tend to invoke extraordinary, obtrusive and destructive reactions. Surveillance, military and law enforcement measures are typically enhanced and broad and oftentimes illegal application of law blankets suspect populations. In the same way McCarthyism eventually birthed COINTEL in the age of communism, domestic and foreign policy and practice today, particularly in the United States, challenges cherished notions of civil liberties. As George Washington put it, “He who would sacrifice civil liberties for security deserves neither.” Today, individualized IP-addresses and I-phone tracking mechanisms make the national security state less obtrusive, but they also create the prospect of virtual internment camps, enforcing unwritten but punitive laws against dissidence. This helps forego the necessity of more extreme measures and intimidates those that might advocate publically against a system that oppresses the masses. It must be stressed that these current maneuvers overwhelmingly target Muslim populations.

Due to this enhanced scrutiny and discrimination, terrorist movements typically spark the most animosity amongst the populations they claim to be defending. But the overreaction of those they target sustains conflict and simultaneously induces what social movement theorists call ‘radical flank effects,’ where less violent radicals are emboldened on the principle they represent a ‘lesser evil.’ Thus terrorism can be seen as a pragmatic strategy, effective for moving towards a target.

Additionally, law enforcement practice and policy has enhanced a growing Islamophobia. The NYPD, for example, was forced to shut down its ‘demographics unit,’ a special-ops unit contrived by a former CIA official. It was criticized by activists, not only for overstepping rights but for its chilling effect on free expression. The overstepping associated with today’s counterterrorist narrative may prove more extraneous than previous eras. Where other waves of modern terror had 40-year life cycles, the West is already 35 years into a wave of sacred terror which seems, at this moment, to be interminable. Perhaps that is by design but it all suggests that both terror and counterterror tactics only enhance the phenomenon, a never-ending cycle.

Another effect of the Manichean perspective lies in an insolent alter-extremism. The assassination of the French cartoonists epitomized this fundamentally, but mostly unrecognized, issue. Extreme fundamentalist interpretations stem from the faulty analogy of texts, called ‘qiyas’ in Islamic jurisprudence. Extremist interpretations are based on oversimplifications and generalizations that do not consider the specific nuances of events that occurred during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. They also do not account for social change or historical progressions. In the case of assassinating those that defame or depict Muhammad today, a primary fallacy lie in not considering that those residing in the West are not bound by Islamic law, are not living under shariah, and are under no covenant like those that were assassinated for defamation (and actually treason) during the Prophet’s 10 years as a statesman.

Nevertheless, there is a responsibility that comes with power, especially when dealing with the weak. Attacks like those against the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, or the even more nonsensical attempt in Texas more recently by ISIS followers, are ultimately political reactions to antagonistic portrayals, deliberately seeking incitement and publicity. One of the Charlie Hebdo covers posted lewd caricatures of the Prophet of Islam just days after the September 11, 2012 murder of the American ambassador in Libya. Pamela Geller, a primary target in the “Draw Muhammad’, Texas attack has consistently provoked and prodded Muslims at large, expanding the idea that every Muslim in the mosque secretly wants to implement shariah in America and other ignorant conceptions. Provocations like these certainly don’t justify such wanton and senseless violence, but the ultimate reactions are interesting.

Charlie Hebdo was a marginalized publication before the incident, which induced 3 million citizens, many of them Muslims, onto the streets in support of democracy and free expression. Pamela Geller never had so much publicity in her life and her contest will likely become a popular annual event. Nevertheless, a deeper irony is always missing. The Charlie Hebdo attackers were of Algerian descent, a nation the French brutally colonized from 1830 unto the non-colonial era. In fact, the French alongside the British, created the modern Middle East and its authoritarian structures through the Sykes-Picot agreement, a betrayed promise for a united pan-Arab or caliphate-like order. Since that time, western powers have done their utmost to prevent free expression and independent democracy throughout the Middle East. Many true academics point out that Islamic political violence is largely a result of having no other alternative avenue of contestation. The U.S. hegemon has largely assumed the same role. The Obama administration just reestablished full-fledged military ties to the dictatorship in Egypt, amongst other examples. Muslims are not ignorant of these salient realities and their connection to violence. They are simply afraid to speak about it out loud.

To be sure, the recent wave of religious terror is not confined to Muslims. The era includes Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist terrorism as well. It is also uncomfortable for the West and its allies to discuss state and state-sponsored terrorism. Yet, to deny that the overwhelming amount of religious terror stems from those claiming to act in the name of Islam is also deceitful. Unfortunately, many Muslims fail to acknowledge the mere existence of “Islamic extremism.” For example, when an ISIS-inspired decapitation occurred in Texas late last year, many sought to brand it “workplace violence.” This was true of Nidal Hassan’s Fort Hood attack as well.

For years, self-righteous community leaders left extremism largely unchallenged, pretending it didn’t exist or acting as if those adopting the terrorist’s ideology were simply not significant enough to warrant their prestigious attention. Such an attitude subliminally adopts the same excommunication (takfiri) tactic of those they claim to oppose. It is as if to say they are not Muslim at all. Only now, with funding for initiatives that counter violent extremism are leaders coming to the fore. Unfortunately, they have no influence in at-risk populations. In the process, they are being exposed as simple charlatans and their efforts will prove counterproductive as well.

Truth be told, Islamic thought is indeed in desperate need of a reformation and renaissance. In the 11th century, a debate between al-Ghazzali and Ibn Rushd – known as Averroes in European circles- initiated a divide, the consequences of which continue to plague much of Islamic thought unto today. Al-Ghazzali attacked Ibn Rushd’s reliance on ‘scientific knowledge.’ His critique was skeptical that we could really know anything at all about reality, its principles of causality, for ultimately all was determined solely by God. Interestingly, Ibn Rushd’s work was highly influential in Christian and Jewish circles. It helped inspire the Renaissance in Europe On the other hand, al-Ghazzali’s thoughts were misconstrued and led to the adaptation of a detrimental mysticism that still covers Islamic peoples. This fatalism has proven largely responsible for the gradual backwardation of the Muslim world. It is an uncomfortable truth, but it was indeed an anti-intellectual decline that preceded Western colonization.

Today a rigid and anti-rational mindset lie at the root of fundamentalist ideology. Such conceptions lack any appreciation for the application of Islamic principles, while simultaneously accepting positivist advancements in social, political and economic arenas, most of which are in full agreement with the Islamic tradition. Rule following over substance and rote memorization over abstract and critical thought prevails. This despite the fact that all the prophets included in the Quran were serious dissidents within their respective societies. There can be no doubt that outmoded and archaic authoritarian structures have long prevented a progressive political Islam from inducing such a reformation. As the remaining authoritarian governments suppress calls for reform, freedom and electoral political structures, elite networks of privilege supported by western powers, continue to benefit while the masses remain in chains.

However, by monopolizing force in the hands of the repressive state and ignoring populist pushes in the name of protecting ‘interests,’ western nations betray the very principles the supporters of Charlie Hebdo claimed to be defending. This hypocrisy has proven so pervasive and long-lasting that to mention it leads to immediate dismissal and in some cases consequential repression. Such is the core denial that underlies all pride, prestige and privilege. Nevertheless, when terrorism “experts” call for diverse measures that seek to eradicate evil or “degrade and destroy” terrorist movements, they fail even to acknowledge the root causes. In the sophistic rhetoric of politicians we find allusions to such but the policies never include an actual concern for human rights or democratic norms, only blatant hypocrisy and more weapons sales for the military-industrial complex.

The typical sentiment is as Alan Dershowitz explained in his Why Terrorism Works (2002), “The current mantra of those opposed to a military response to terrorism is a plea to understand and eliminate the root causes of terrorism. There are several reasons why this is exactly the wrong approach… The reason terrorism works – and will persist unless there are significant changes in the responses to it – is precisely because its perpetrators believe that by murdering innocent civilians they will succeed in attracting the attention of the world to their perceived grievances and their demand that the world “understand them” and “eliminate their root causes… We must take precisely the opposite approach to terrorism. We must commit ourselves never to ty to understand or eliminate its alleged root causes, but rather to place it beyond the pale of dialogue and negotiation.”

This perspective has sustained and continues to drive much of counterterrorism theory and practice. The paradigm portrayed by politicians and the corporate media has rejuvenated grandiose notions of a global war on Islamic extremism. In the same way colonialism and imperialism have always sought to recruit members of oppressed peoples, this paradigm generates derivative effects that allow simplistic and Manichean distinctions between good and bad Muslims to reign. The consciousness it creates affectively marginalizes all critics and intellectuals that acknowledge the root cause, thus pushing a continuation of the Age of Extremism and sustaining the national security or counterterrorism state, a major boom for the corporations and institutions that benefit most from perpetual conflict.

The primary means of an alternative intervention would be, first, for both sides of this false, but effective dichotomization of the Oriental Islamic and Occidental West, to practice the principles they preach. The Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessing be upon him, stressed that, “the religion is easy, so whoever makes it difficult, it will overtake him.” He also said that “extremists are ruined” and repeat it thrice. The Quran authorizes the Muslim to defend themselves against those that attack them but not to transgress limits. And in explaining warfare the Prophet would advise, “Not to long for encountering the enemy and to turn first to God to request security.” The objective of jihad in Islam, prompting visions of global conquest in the West, has always been to open up an ability for the propagation of Islam, something most possible today, perplexingly, in non-Islamic and democratic societies.

It most also be stressed that it is not merely “bad Muslims” that misconstrue principles embedded in their civilization. America’s founding fathers were enemies to British imperialism, the terrorists of their era. Its founding documents are replete with vehement rejection of tyranny and the inalienable rights of all humans. For example, Benjamin Franklin once remarked to Thomas Paine, the intellectual architect of the American system, that “where liberty is, there is my country.” “Where liberty is not, there is my country!” Paine quipped in reply.  It gets no more anti-imperialist than in these sentiments. It is disheartening to see their message mutated into fascism under right-wing parties currently.

Today “experts” frequently explain, usually indirectly, that Arabs and Muslims generally are not ready for democracy and the rights that accompany it. Instead they are in need of strongmen that can create the type of stability that alleviates the West and its allies’ fears. Consequentially, anti-American protests and protesters are displayed as representatives of an erratic and unpredictable Arab rage. Meanwhile, autocrats and dictators are armed to the teeth as oppressive governments become allies in proxy wars for regional domination.     

To be clear, we are not in Manichean war. As Lisa Stampnitzky highlighted in her important 2013 work Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented Terrorism, “Although evil and irrationality have been central tropes in the discourse of terrorism since the 1970’s, there have always been significant factions of experts who have contested the assumption that terrorists are irrational and the conclusion that terrorism can be attributed to ‘evil.’ Such experts have not been in a position to overturn the politics of anti-knowledge however.”

We all must challenge these faulty presumptions. The clash of civilizations is fueled by extremists on both sides, and extremisms that are only enhancing. Promoting true moderation alongside liberation in an ‘Age of Extremism’ will require diligence and effort that seeks to alter popular consciousness. Criticism of the other cannot be blind to the hypocrisies that drive resentment. Advocating narratives that promote moderation, justice and freedom cannot be sincere unless they are willing to expand cherished rights and privilege to all. It is convenient to hold that human nature is violent and competitive, but in the end we may learn that before one can effectively condemn the extremism of another, they must first undergo an inconvenient self-critique that makes certain they do not have similar faults within themselves. That conception leads to the realization that we do not live in a ‘black’ and ‘white’ world at all and might lead to an effective promotion of moderation and the end of extremism.


Younus Abdullah Muhammad holds a Master’s of International Affairs and is the founder of IslamPolicy.com. He was recently released from incarceration in the United States and resided in the D.C. Metro area. He can be contacted at islampolicy@gmail.com. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Brother Younus - Short Statement on Release



Younus Abdullah Muhammad (Jesse Morton) Announces Release from Imprisonment


Bismillah Al-Rahman Ar-Raheem
 
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, Seal of the Prophets, upon his family and companions and whomsoever follows him until that inevitable day; to what proceeds:

It gives me great pleasure to be able to announce that after over four years of incarceration, I, Younus Abdullah Muhammad, founder of IslamPolicy.com, have been RELEASED from imprisonment in the United States, wal-hamdulilllah.

This ‘makhrajan’ comes after a reduction in sentence that could have only have come from Allah (swt) and I attribute it to Him solely, the One in whose hand lies my soul. Allah, aza wa jaal, has said in the Quran that, “When harm touches man, he calls to Me for help, then when I have changed (that harm) into a favor from Me, he says, ‘It’s Only because of knowledge that I possess that I obtained it.’ Nay, it is only a trial, but most of men know not.’ (39:40).

While I am no doubt bewildered by the prospects of facing the currents of American society, labeled American Al-Qaeda, I do want to remain cognizant that this opportunity to be a freeman, a husband, a father, and citizen comes from Allah alone. I also want to remind and remember the statement of Abu Dharr that “every blessing that does not bring you closer to Allah is actually a misfortune.” So, I pray that my release is a benefit for me, in this world and the next, and an opportunity to cleanse myself, draw closer to my Lord, improve my pathetic condition and make amends. I’ve left many behind better than myself.

Surely our lives, our provisions and our dispositions are only from Allah, the All-Knowing. And it is to Him that we owe every station of our existence, from birth unto death. He ta ala does not put us through tests we cannot bear, even though stress and anxiety sometimes make us think we are not going to pass through them. The Messenger of Allah (saws) narrated in hadith Qudsi that Allah, subhanahu wa taala, said, “I am as my slave expects Me to be, so let him think of Me as he chooses.” Imam Nawawi raheemahu Allah said about this hadith in his Explanation of Saheeh Muslim that, “The scholars say that expecting the best of Allah is to expect that He will have Mercy on him and relieve him of hardship.”

I remember being flown home in a private government jet after five months of incarceration in Morocco and finding out I was facing life imprisonment in the United States. At that moment, when one’s freedom seems to be lost forever, simply for speaking their mind, the soul has nothing left to do but turn to Allah, aza wa jaal. Today I can guarantee that a relief from hardship comes in ways that are mostly unexpected. The reflective one realizes that Allah relieves hardship in ways that oftentimes connect to pathways of deeper, spiritual healing the. Therefore, we must always pay attention to the experiences Allah puts us through, and try to remember that there are lessons to be learned from each and every passing wind.   

The test of this world is as Ibn al-Qayyim rahmatuAllah alaih elaborated in his own explanation of the aforementioned hadith about the way a servant thinks of his or her Lord that, “Most people – in fact, all of them except those protected by Allah – assume other than the truth, and assume the worst. Most people believe that they are deprived of their rights, have bad luck, deserve more than what Allah gave them, and it is as if they are saying: ‘My Lord has wronged me and deprived me of what I deserve,’ and his soul bears witness to this while his tongue denies it and refuses to openly state this. And whoever digs into his soul and comes to know its ins and outs will see this in it like fire in a triggered explosion…”

I believe that this statement, from this great scholar, largely defines the journey to Allah and the primary test of this difficult world. Lord knows I’ve failed this test as much as I ‘ve passed it, but now I am working to reunite my family, iron out personal complications, remain free and maintain basic sustenance.

The world has shifted a substantial amount since my initial incarceration, and I hope to reestablish ties that might allow me to comment occasionally on topics that remain very dear to me. My primary interests presently include a concentration on the role of hadith interpretation and its influence on contemporary Islamic movements, on U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world, the state of Islam and Muslims in America, the actual principles embodied in an American system that has been erased from contemporary conceptions (no not the false patriotic fascism promoted by FoxNews), and Islamic politics, economics and society generally.

Additionally, incarceration granted me the opportunity of interaction with and critical contemplation on the counterterrorism community generally. I have been particularly intrigued by what has been classified as countering violent extremism (CVE). While this has led me to contemplate ways of preventing others from throwing their lives away, I remain staunchly opposed to the national security or counterterrorism state and its connection to the elite, neoliberal order, or what Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to as far back as 1961 as the ‘military-industrial complex.’ I believe that today’s counterterrorist, or national security state isn’t merely dangerous to Islam and Muslims, but to humanity and civilization generally.

I must also emphatically state that I absolutely reject the conception that terrorism is justified in any which way and by anybody. I ask Allah to accept repentance for my not having made that absolutely clear in the past. It seems to me definite that we are suffering from an era the prophet (saws) foretold; one marked by ignorant youth who recite the best of speech but do not embody it. If we are to truly stand for the ummah’s liberation, we will have to locate a balanced position between the day’s extremes.

Of course, the next period is going to be the most difficult phase of my reintegration. In America, 70 percent of former inmates return to prison within three years. The barriers to employment, housing and social assistance are significant and the stigma severe. One can only imagine the additional stigma associated with my specific situation. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of those that courageously supported me through this. I humbly ask anyone that can assist us (myself, wife and two children) during my present predicament to do so. If you know of any opportunity for freelance journalism or other employment prospects that would enable me to better provide for my family, I would be incredibly grateful.

A beautiful peace in our religion is the wide definition of ‘sadaqah’ (charity). When the ahul suffah wondered whether the rich would be favored by Allah because they had the means to give monetary charity, Allah’s Messenger informed them to make dhikr, tasbeeh and the like. Indeed even a smile in our religion, or words of encouragement, are acts of worship. It is truly an amazing deen for those that practice it and we thank Allah for making us from the Muslimeen!

I look forward to hearing more from some of you soon. You can communicate with me at islampolicy@gmail.com for now or by joining me on my new Facebook (LINK). Please share the attached video with friends and post online, having social support will be crucial to my effective reintegration. I hope that you might also share this message on forums, social media and across the web and that you may contact me with words of support and encouragement. May Allah, ta ala, forgive our sins, guide us to a path that is pleasing to Him and keep us firm upon the sunnah - wal hamdulilahi rabeel al-ameen!  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Some of Ibn al-Jawzi's Advice to his Errant Son

Ibn al-Jawzi said in his Naseeha Al-Walid', "Never has a man been tried with anything greater than his high ambitions (idealisms). This is because a person who has high ambitions will choose the highest goals and it may be that he doesn't have enough time to achieve them or his instruments are too weak so he remains in constant suffering. I have been given this ambition in some regards and suffer because of it. I am not saying that I wish it would not have been given to me, for the sweeter the life the less the intellect, and an intelligent man does not purchase additional pleasure for deficient intellect."
The USG has released a list of bin Laden’s reading material from the Abbottabad raid. In an apparent attempt to silence those accepting Sy Hersch’s revelation that the USG’s version of events was more Hollywood than reality (and what a great movie it made), the list includes Western academics like Noam Chomsky and Paul Kennedy. Probably looks a lot like the library of many living in Western societies and it is likely only a matter of time before downloading a copy of the Quran and Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival might get you in some trouble for “material” or “intellectual” support or something.

No doubt such critical reading is already sufficient for an assessment that you are trending toward violent extremism and for a “good brother” to appear and pretend he is recruiting for ISIS. This Brave New World I’ve been set free in really is a strange place indeed!!!
In 2007, a coalition of congressmen attempted to pass the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. This was the first piece of legislation to address “ideologically inspired violence,” but it drew criticism for essentially conflating radical environmentalists and anti-globalization leftists with Al-Qaeda and was defeated. No doubt, the most recent scares will reinitiate such efforts. Soon dissent in general will garner one the label of a radical ‘one step away from violence,’ and thus in need of all sorts of surveillance.
Yuriduna an yutfiu nur Allahi bi afwahihim – “They wish to extinguish the Light of Allah with their mouths”… but they don’t understand that manipulation, deception and extremism only increase support and they march forward in ignorance. Unfortunately, if the current order starts to fracture again, as it did in 2007, those with power would rather unleash global war than watch it crumble. With the Federal Reserve exhausting all remedies and the economy in the tank, the only solution would be to cut USG spending and curtail the military. This is what bin Laden was reading in Paul Kennedy’s academic research on the fall of empires, and it is part of Al-Qaeda’s long-term plan, as delivered to Abdel Bari-Atwan in 2007.
An idiot op-ed on foreignpolicy.com suggested that bin Laden’s reading list was somewhat immature for a self-proclaimed shaykh (link). I guess that author missed all the speeches he gave earlier in life in front of hundreds of the most complicated and studious books of Islamic history. Such nonsense attempts at defamation (such as the claim they found ‘mounds of pornography’ in the Abbottabad compound) are what make all western efforts at countering violent extremism fall short and when the exposure of USG lies and deception only leads to more lies and deception in an efforts to cover-up those already exposed.

As a result, more and more people today question the world we are living in. I was mesmerized recently when CSPAN documented a USG center for the study of asymmetrical warfare somewhere in Virginia. They interviewed a sargent and were showing a makeshift town that would be utilized for training. However, the town did not look like some third world terrorist hideout in the Middle East or Africa. Instead, it resembled a small town in any American state, with Main Street, Church, bar and shopping plaza. Caller after caller phoned into to wonder why the training spot looked so Americana and none of them were buying the Sargent’s backtracking. It was pretty hilarious.
Apparently, even bin Laden was a bit shocked at the way 9-11 turned out. The Guardian article reads, “There is a notable interest, too, in conspiratorial theories of world power, with several volumes which claim to expose the secret societies and cabals that run the world and the evils of financial capitalism. Bizarrely, the library includes one book – New Pearl Harbor – which argues that the government of George W Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks.” I oftentimes wonder if factions of power knew 9-11 was coming, allowed it to happen and perhaps even enhanced the effects, but there is no doubt that one of Al-Qaeda’s intended effects from 9-11 was to create a dissonance between the USG and its people and an awareness of the distinction between USG rhetoric and action.
I think that rather than rely on violence, Muslims with proper minhaj and aqeedah should come up with mechanisms for addressing the reality that people in power profit domestically from goading little kids into elaborate plots and that the military industrial complex profits immensely from war and chaos in the Muslim world.
One thing I realize about some of my previous work at Revolution Muslim was the way it allowed authorities to fulfill their own agenda. It was a lesson that all those seeking authentic Islam could benefit from. May Allah aza wa jaal liberate this ummah from its ignorance and give us insight to see through a massive propaganda war. We should be at the forefront of providing holistic socio-pschological-political-economic alternatives based in the shariah. Unfortunately, too many of us are bent over backwards and forwards trying to get plugged into the system that encourages self-seeking deceit and manipulation.
Reading material included militant works – but it also contained surprises like books suggesting the US deliberately allowed 9/11 attacks to succeed
THEGUARDIAN.COM|BY JASON BURKE

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Confrontation of Jeb Bush by Student only Documents General American Insolence

by Younus Abdullah Muhammad
 
Jeb Bush garnered much publicity this week when a student challenged his assertion that ISIS was a result of Obama’s feckless foreign policy. The controversy occurred at an open town hall in Nevada. The student, whom the mainstream press made sure to identify as a Democrat, criticized the presidential hopeful saying, “You stated that ISIS was created because we don't have enough presence and we've been pulling out of the Middle East. However, the threat of ISIS was created by the Iraqi coalition authority, which ousted the entire government of Iraq. It was when 30,000 individuals who are part of the Iraqi military were forced out. They had no employment, they had no income, yet they were left with access to all the same arms and weapons. Your brother created ISIS!”

Those are certain to be the dividing lines of a heated foreign policy debate in the coming 2016 presidential election. That election will likely pit Jeb Bush against democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But both assertions are essentially incorrect and are rather emblematic of the insolent hubris that underpins the ‘pax-Americana’ perspective that drives each dominant political party. This perspective sustains America’s present existence as an imperialist power, as distinguished from the exemplary republic the anti-imperialists that founded America envisioned. 

Truth be told, ISIS is not a function of some mere blunder made by the Provisional Governing Authority of Iraq in 2003. It is true that the decision to bar former Baathists from participation in the new Iraqi government fed the insurgency. However, resistance to occupation would have looked similar regardless. Sunnis clearly understood that “democracy” would give Shiites majority power and that they would use that power to persecute them. The perspective held by Jeb Bush’s accusator, and most Americans unfortunately, assumes the faulty presumption that the Bush administration actually intended to craft a functioning democracy in Iraq.  In reality, Iraq had been subject to American aggression much earlier than 2003 and U.S. policy in the Middle East has never had a bit to do with democracy. For that, Iraq offers perhaps the greatest evidence.   

Those fighting on the ground for ISIS can be separated into two camps: indigenous fighters from Iraq and Syria and foreign jihadists that have traveled from countries all over. These foreign fighters are driven by a quest to reestablish an Islamic caliphate. They view Middle Eastern governments as American proxies and see warfare as necessary in countering both of them. Iraq and Syria today are simply the most accessible and fitting arenas for foreign jihadists. Nevertheless, in actuality foreign fighters represent a minority of ISIS fighters and leadership.  

The majority of ISIS fighters are indigenous and Jeb Bush is certainly wrong to suggest that they were formulated in some void left by President Obama’s departure from Iraq in 2011. They are typically young, in their late teens thru mid-twenties. That places their very existence coincident to a massive genocide in Iraq that started with America’s reaction to Sadaam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. That genocide remains unspoken of and unacknowledged.

The student may have been right to assert that ISIS is a product of the Bush administration. But the assertion would have been more accurate had he understood that it was actually the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush that created the initial impetus for the processes we see unfolding presently. Iraq was the first victim of George Bush I’s ‘new world order’, as it was subject to massive and unnecessary aerial bombardment during the First Gulf War.

The Gulf War was waged absent restraint. Former attorney general Ramsey Clark has claimed that all sorts of illegal weapons were utilized, some in experimentation. Civilian infrastructure was targeted and it was during this phase that the term ‘collatoral damage’ entered mainstream jargon. During the 1990’s Iraq was blown back, from the most developed Arab country by nearly all indicators, to the Stone Age. The effects were catastrophic, mostly for the Iraqi citizenry and not the regime, but what most today remain heedless of is that the sanctions that followed the first war in Iraq were even more deplorable.  

At the conclusion of the Gulf War, the Bush I administration chose to keep Sadaam Hussein in power. Democrats argued for his replacement, but as the Democratic Party’s chief ideologue Thomas Friedman made clear, the new ruler should be “an iron fisted Iraqi junta without Sadaam Hussein.” By the time Bill Clinton was elected president, the notion that Iraq still presented a problem for the region dominated. During his tenure Iraqis were subject to severe and sustained bombardment, under the guise that Iraq otherwise represented a ‘rogue state’ capable of external aggression. For the rest of the 1990’s, Iraq was subject to the most intense and comprehensive economic sanctions ever implemented. Of course this proxy war was waged under the guise of humanitarianism.  

The effects were sickening. In fact, the United Nations own statistics documented that the effect of American-led sanctions on the Iraqi population was deplorable. For example, a comprehensive evaluation of all statistical studies on death caused by the sanctions led professor Richard Garfield to call it, “the only instance of a sustained, large increase in mortality in a stable population of more than 2 million in the last 200 years.” Coincidentally, Osama bin Laden attempted to justify Al-Qaeda’s targeting of American civilians by citing the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that were killed by the sanctions.  

All statistical analysis confirmed that anywhere from 250,000 to 2.5 million children were killed. Despite this, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madelline Allbright replied to questioning about the deaths on the 60 Minutes new program and said, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.” It would be much more accurate to recognize that the children fighting for ISIS today were born or passed through childhood during the era of sanctions and bombing. Unfortunately, the American ethos fails to consider that people abroad have history as well and are shaped by it and not simply some policy blunder of the world’s dominant power.

The invasion and occupation Iraq in 2003 only worsened matters. It was the direct result of the adoption of neoconservativism, a doctrine that differs from both traditional Republican realism and Democratic liberalism. It is likely Bush II would have invaded Iraq with or without 9-11. In their justification for the Iraq War, two neoconservative ideologues, Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol, explained Bush II’s foreign policy as “a distinctly American internationalism.” They claimed that both liberalism and realism represented a minimalist approach that was due to the fact, “the very concept of self-interest provokes discomfort, and the other because it defines the national interest far too narrowly.” Neoconservative doctrine was one of “full-spectrum dominance” and was not a doctrine that cared at all about ‘democracy’ for others.

Before Bush II was elected, the Neocons writing under the Project for a New American Century argued that Bill Clinton should have removed Sadaam Hussein by force when he threatened the dollar’s role as sole global reserve currency. Sadaam refused payment for his oil in dollars. That induced a sharp rise in the Euro against the dollar and threatened to collapse the petrodollar recycling system. Therefore 9/11 simply represented the Pearl Harbor Neocons were already looking for. Today we know that in the halls of the Bush administration everything after 9-11 was framed so that it would justify Iraq’s invasion. What we don’t typically appreciate is that such sentiment was shared by both political parties at the time and that Iraq had, by then, already been subject to aggression for over a decade.

Jeb Bush’s statement marks a resurrection for the neoconservative views that now dominate the popular Fox News inspired perspective of Republicans everywhere. His likely national security team resembles a remodeled neoconservatism.  Neocons feel that Bush II’s foreign policy has somehow been vindicated by the current chaos in the Middle East. People have already forgotten how miserable life was everywhere due to Bush II’s Iraqi occupation. A return of the neocons to power in 2016 would likely initiate World War III, a result they may very well be intending.

When Jeb rolled out his foreign policy plan in February 2015, 19 of the 21 people that worked on it were employees of either his father or brother’s administrations. For example, Paul Wolfowitz was a follower of the insane political scientist Lauri Mylorie. Her theorizing provided the framework for Bush II’s justification of the Iraqi war and was followed in the hallways of the administration after 9/11 despite it not being based on a shred of empirical evidence. There are many more scary examples of individuals with proven track records as warmongers.

Jeb also told a private group of Manhattan financiers that his primary advisor on U.S.-Israeli relations was his brother. Jeb’s connections to big oil, big business and Wall Street are embedded in the neoconservative approach. This is something that goes back even farther in the Bush family legacy. Prescott Walker Bush, Jeb’s great-grandfather was a Wall Street financier and prominent backer of Hitler. In the event Jeb Bush is elected, it is likely we would see a foreign policy that mostly resembles full-fledged fascism under the guise of American exceptionalism; neocon doctrine and Nazi ideology are remarkably similar. 

 In response to the student’s accusations, Jeb simply replied, “look, we can rewrite history all you want, but the simple fact is that we're in a much more unstable place because America pulled back.” This resurrected neoconservative platform is sure to play a major role in the upcoming presidential election. By highlighting that the student was indeed a Democrat, the mainstream press gave Jeb much needed publicity. Popularizing the story will also help a mainstream media that seeks to reduce the world to the perspectives of America’s two dominant political parties. Yet, because both parties serve the interests only of the elite, they should be disregarded almost entirely.  For the next year and a half Democratic and Republican positions will be pitted, one against the other, as if they are the only options and as if they are dissimilar in practice. Actually, foreign policy hardly differs between them, but one thing is certain: the crimes and genocide committed in Iraq, even before the 2003 occupation, will be written out of analysis and thereby history altogether. 

It is convenient for Americans to forget the Iraqi war, all of it. That is a convenience, however, that Iraqis cannot enjoy. In fact, the Iraqi people have been subject to American aggression since 1991 and ultimately they may never allow us to simply forget it. Our air campaign against ISIS has only turned their attention to our shores and our intervention continues to create much more terrorism than it prevents. Both political parties are embarking on paths that will only sustain conflict. This conflict is only good for the military-industrial complex that truly runs the country. The election of Jeb Bush, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, would only enhance the likelihood of global war while guaranteeing policy implementation that proves catastrophic for non-elites everywhere.

All conscientious people should oppose such an outcome and work against it. That will require an educated and informed citizenry. America needs a truly progressive platform that rejects the corporatist notions that drive American politics (and Hillary Clinton). In order to establish an alternative outcome, we must acknowledge our blunders and enter a new direction entirely. We must see through lies and deception and look back at the roots of the American republic, at its birth as an anti-imperialist experiment. We cannot right the wrongs of the past, but by acknowledging them we might initiate the processes that eventually prevent us from sustaining them.

Younus Abdullah Muhammad holds a Master’s of International Affairs and is the founder of IslamPolicy.com. He was recently released from incarceration in the United States and resides in the D.C. Metro area. He can be contacted at islampolicy@gmail.com.