Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Al Qaeda Resurrected | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Al Qaeda and the Taliban are mobilizing and continuing their progress through the Swat valley in Pakistan, according to the news that indicates the strong momentum that radical Islamic ideology is experiencing [around the world]. Al Qaeda and the Taliban movement are interconnected to and successors of a number of other movements that have a variety of names and ultimately all follow the same [ideological] trend.

Who can distinguish between the aforementioned two movements and the Takfir wal-Hijra movement, the Jihadist movement, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Fatah al-Islam, [radical] Sunni groups, el-Gama’a al-Islamiyah and others?

Their operational tools are one and the same, as is their takfiri ideology and their rebellion against those in power in order to execute this ideology by death and force of arms no mater what the cost. The above are all elements that these radical groups have in common, and this indicates that this issue is far too deeply-rooted to be tackled superficially. These groups have built their ideology and doctrines upon specific ideas, opinions and beliefs [that support] a culture of violence and militancy. Until the heart of this radical doctrine is probed, and its underlying causes are treated, this cancer will continue to spread and its symptoms will continue to be exhibited until the [Islamic] body weakens and perishes.

The crux of the matter is that these radical groups are continuing to derive legitimacy and foster their ideas of a religious legacy [to power] by feeding this trend with their own ready-made views and opinions. This is the site of the last great battle [against extremist] that as of yet none of those who have fought against these radical groups – whether by military confrontation or the battle for reform – have dared to take part in.

This fear of confrontation is due to the belief that objecting to the views and opinions of these scholars is not permissible. Of course this alone is enough to stop any efforts for reform to evaluate these negative ideas and opinions that have influenced generation after generation as this would open the door to difficult questions such as;

Who are these scholars, and are all scholars equal?

More importantly; are these scholars infallible?

The human intellectual tradition in general and the Islamic intellectual tradition in particular are both full of cases in which the opinions of certain scholars were seriously reviewed by the scholars themselves. Therefore the retraction of an opinion or viewpoint is possible based upon the interests of the Islamic Shariaa, and what is contrary or conflicts with the common interest should therefore not be taken into account. Imam Malik ibn Anas gave a ruling which has become an accepted principle on the pivotal issue of the issuance of fatwas. Pointing at the grave of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] Imam Malik said “You can accept or reject whatever [ruling] is issued, except those [issued by] the person in this grave”

The next stage for confronting the radical and violent trends in the Islamic world requires practical treatment, in other words the revision of many opinions, viewpoints, and fatwas in circulation that explicitly incite against non-Muslims, as well as the ruler and the State. This is not to mention the fatwas that support the principle of takfir being used against society, and fatwas that put forward strange explanations on the concept of allegiance, the position of women, and other issues that only result in an unstable and troubled society. Such a society is continually in a state of suspicion, fear, anxiety, and panic against everything that is unknown to it and therefore ignorant of, and this ultimately results n severe and violent reactions. The coming confrontation is necessary, and will result in a great leap forward in dealing with extremist ideology.