Before we study the incident and it’s aftermath, we should cover a little background information on Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki (especially for those of us who don’t quite know him yet).
Who is Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki?
Al-Awlaki served as Imam of the Denver Islāmic Society from 1994–96. He, then, served as Imam of the Masjid Ar-Ribat al-Islami mosque in San Diego, California, from 1996–2000.
To those who know him well, he is famous for informative audio lectures on several topics covering the History of Islam and the Seerah of the Prophet . He has also released several audio lectures on the topic of Jihad based on the Qur’an and Sunnah of our Prophet .
Since some people question his Islamic education and background, note that he has studied under several scholars of Islam and has received Ijazas (Scholarly Permission) to speak about Quran, Sciences of Quran, Hadith, Sciences of Hadith, Tafsir (Interpretation of Qur’an) , Fiqh (Jurisprudence), Usool Fiqh and Arabic from:
Shaykh Hassan Maqbooli al Ahdal
Shaykh Hussein bin Mahfoodh
Shaykh AbdulRahman Shumailah al Ahdal
Shaykh Hamud Shumailah al Ahdal
His knowledge, therefore, is very thorough and he does not speak without ample evidences derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Criticisms of the Imam
Before we review the media’s interpretation of Imam Anwar’s status, let’s see what Allah said:
O Prophet! Fear Allah, and hearken not to the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites: verily Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom. (33:1)We should avoid trusting the Hypocrites and the Unbelievers.
The Imam is usually criticized in the public media for his strict adherence to the fundamentals of Islam. The media calls him a ‘Fundamentalist’ for that reason. He is also criticized for speaking publicly against apostasy in the Muslim world. In simple words, they hate him because he does not accept any sources of knowledge except the ones ordained by Allah .
He is also criticized a lot for his ideological support of Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter. This issue is discussed in detail below. To those hypocrites who hate Imam Anwar because of what United States media has said, it should be cleared that Allah said:
And obey not (the behests) of the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and heed not their annoyances, but put thy Trust in Allah. For enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (33:48)We need not worry about the annoyances of the hypocrites and the Unbelievers because there is no substance in their claims. Allah warns us clearly about the intentions of the hypocrites, and we should take Allah’s word for it. The good thing is, these people aren’t hard to find:
When it is said to them: “Come to what Allah hath revealed, and to the Messenger.: Thou seest the Hypocrites avert their faces from thee in disgust. (4:61)When we say that we should adhere to Allah’s commandments and those of His Prophet , they call us ‘Fundamentalists’ and ‘Extremists’ and shy away from the truth.
These are some of the signs of Hypocrites described in the Holy Qur’an. In this light, we should distance ourselves from the news transmitted through Hypocrites or the Non-Muslims. I should explain here that by Hypocrites I mean everyone who claims to be a Muslim but believes in principles that are against the Qur’an or the Sunnah of our Prophet .
The Fort Hood Incident
To keep this post brief, I will not go into the detail history of Major Nidal Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 US soldiers in an army base at Fort Hood, Texas. We will just cover the specifics of the incident and analyze it in the light of Qur’an and the Sunnah. What Major Nidal Hasan did when he was 12 years old is not of relevance when judging whether the incident is legal or illegal according to Islam. To those Muslims who claim that Major Nidal Hasan was a Kaafir for joining the US Army and hence whatever he did is against Islam, I should remind them: Umar , one of the greatest leaders of our Ummah, was actually planning on assassinating our Prophet before he converted to Islam. This is to show that a persons past actions can not be used to judge him or her. Some one might have spent their entire life in sin, but if Allah , decides in His infinite mercy to guide this person, he might end up guided aright a few minutes before death approaches. On the other hand, just because someone has been a good Muslim all his life, does not mean that all his actions would always be right. That is why we should refer all our judgments to Allah’s words and those of His Prophet .
The place where the incident took place, Fort Hood, is the largest (in population) US military base in the world. This is the location where soldiers are shipped to Afghanistan and Iraq from. While some Muslims might not know about the details of America’s “War on Terror”, it is obvious to everyone that the US and it’s allies are killing Muslims around the world. The people dying in Afghanistan and Iraq on a daily basis at the hands of the Americans (and their allies) are not criminals, they are Muslim men, women and children. The evil committed by the US at secret prisons such as Abu Ghraib is also no secret today. Their raping of Muslim women in Iraq, and their insolent destruction of Muslim lands isn’t hidden either. It suffices to say that Muslims are under attack. Some people might tell you that ‘they are after oil’ or that ‘it’s not a religious conflict’, but facts are clear to anyone who cares to check that it is a religious conflict. In fact Allah says:
Never will the jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: “The Guidance of Allah,-that is the (only) Guidance.” Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against Allah. (2:120)This ayah does not speak about some specific groups of Jews or Christians. It simply tells us that they will never be satisfied with us until we follow their form of religion. No matter how many peace treaties we seem to have with them, their efforts would always be to take us away from the path of Allah . If you are still not convinced that this is a religious war consider the evidence in this video:
All the evidence presented in the video above can be obtained online and checked. Once that is considered, it should be clear to every Muslim that whether his or her country is involved directly in the war or not, he or she is a part of it. Islam does not recognize nationalism and love of countries and labels. We are all Muslims and a war on the Muslims in one country is a war on the Muslims of the world. The think tanks and policy makers in the United States admit that their war is with the Islamic ideology of adhering to Allah’s rule. This alone makes it obligatory on every Muslim to stand against the West and it’s allies. Once it is established that we are at war, it should be clear that the rulings that apply to us are the rulings that Prophet passed when the Muslims of his day were under attack. How did the Prophet deal with similar situations ? Did he stand in public forums and speak against his government or did he migrate and fight ? Did he stick to preaching while abandoning his obligation to defend Islam ? Did he not violently oppose the government of Makah (his government) ? Did he not fight against the leaders of Quraysh when they transgressed the limits imposed by Allah ? Did he not fight against allies of Quraysh ? We need to consider war-time strategies of Prophet to learn about what is allowed and not allowed in Islam.
Some Muslims say that US has signed peace treaties with Muslim nations and that Allah has not allowed us to fight against those whom we have peace covenants with. Do these Muslims know what Allah commands us to do when someone breaks a treaty ?
But if they (mushrikiin) violate their oaths after their covenant, and taunt you for your Faith,- fight ye the chiefs of Unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them: that thus they may be restrained. (9:12)If we are to draw all our conclusions from the life of the Prophet , it would be clear to us that we have been ordered to fight against injustice, oppression and all other enemies of Islam. There is no verse in the Qur’an that allows us to only defend our own countries and localities and ignore the plight of Muslims in the rest of the world. Would you be able to answer on the last day when asked: where were you when your brothers and sisters needed help ?
And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!” (4:75)Will we have an answer to this question on the last day ?
Having said that, let’s consider the Fort Hood incident:
- United States and it’s allies are openly against Islam and are fighting with wealth and military might against Muslims around the world.
- Fort Hood is the largest US military base in the world.
- The soldiers killed in Fort Hood were destined to be shipped to Iraq/Afghanistan sooner or later.
And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. (2:191)If you think that verse is only directed to the Quraysh at the time of Prophet , you need to look closely at the last part of this verse. “Such is the reward of ‘those’ who suppress faith”. Since we’ve established that the US is actively involved in not only suppressing faith, but eliminating it completely, it should be pretty clear that Islam allows you to kill their soldiers wherever you find them.
There is no logical way someone can use the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet to prove that what Major Nidal Hasan did was against Islam. Not only does Islam allow what he did, Islam ordains it as a duty on us to stand against evil and injustice.
While Islam is a religion of peace, it is also very strict against enemies of peace. How can you love peace and not hate it’s destroyers ? To the Muslims who continue to condemn the acts of Major Nidal Hasan and continue to apologize on behalf of those that the US calls ‘terrorists’:
Yea, to those who take for friends unbelievers rather than believers: is it honour they seek among them? Nay,- all honour is with Allah. (4:139)
But they say Imam Anwar supports terrorism…
Don’t they call all Muslim fundamentalists ‘terrorists’ ? Doesn’t history show that any one who is not willing to give up his or her faith in Allah and His Messengers is called a ‘terrorist’. The pharaoh called Musa and his followers terrorists. Muhammad himself was labeled as a terrorist. The enemies of Islam used to say that ‘Muhammad is splitting up families and bringing suffering to our land’. We know from the Ahadith and the ayahs of the Qur’an that the believers have always been and always will be ridiculed by the enemies of faith.
As far as ‘violence’ is concerned, Allah says in the Qur’an:
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly. (8:60)We’re asked to prepare ourselves and be strong and steadfast to strike terror into the hearts of our enemies. In other words, terrorize the enemies of Islam. Just because the Western Media has established a negative connotation to the word ‘terrorist’ as being someone who kills innocent people, doesn’t mean we should abandon commandments of Allah .
I should say here that killing innocent people is not allowed in Islam, regardless of whether or not we are war. That being said, the definition of ‘innocent’ should be taken from Islāmic literature and not Western Media. The soldiers of the US armed forces might be innocent to the US, but they are not innocent in the light of Islam. The so-called Muslim armies who are helping the United States in their war against Islam might be innocent in the eyes of our enemies, but they are not innocent when judged by Shariah. Just naming someone innocent under your own volition doesn’t affect the commands of Allah . If that was the case, then when the Prophet ordered the beheading of around 500 hypocrites, one of the companions should have said ‘but some of them are innocent’. Allah says:
To establish a firm place for them in the land, and to show pharaoh, haman, and their soldiers, at their hands, the very things against which they were taking precautions. (28:6)This tells us that the soldiers were included in the punishment that befell Pharaoh.
If you read the biography of our Prophet you would soon realize that a majority of his life was spent in War. Allah made it this way for a good reason. Since our Ummah would be faced with war on all sides through its history, Allah showed us through his Messenger how to deal with such situations. There are two verses in the Qur’an about fasting and yet everyone knows about it, there are literally 100s about fighting in Allah’s path but very few Muslims are familiar with Allah’s commandments about fighting. Allah says:
fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. (2:216)We might hate the idea of violence and we might love it if everything could be solved by just talking things out and not having to go to War with any one, but we should know that Allah knows best what is good and what is bad.
Imam Anwar supports fighting against the enemies of Islam and he believes in a revival of the true version of Islam. Is that in any way against the principles of Islam ? I implore you to study the Qur’an and the Ahadith and find a logical argument against Imam Anwar’s views.
“But I want to stay away from this mess…”There are some Muslims who, while agreeing that fighting against enemies of Islam is obligatory, choose to stay away from the conflict and take a ‘sit and wait’ approach. They think that ‘if we’re not involved in either side, we would be safe from being judged’. They also believe that due to the negative connotations in the Western world for any one who supports Jihad, they should just stay away from this completely.
These Muslims should consider the story of the people of Thamud from the Qur’an. Prophet Saleh was sent to them and they rejected him. And do note that it wasn’t the entire population of the city that rejected the Prophet openly, it was their leaders.
The leaders of the arrogant party among his people said to those who were reckoned powerless – those among them who believed: “know ye indeed that Salih is a messenger from his Lord?” They said: “We do indeed believe in the revelation which hath been sent through him.” The Arrogant party said: “For our part, we reject what ye believe in.” (Surat al-Araf: 75-76)After a lot of convincing their Prophet asked them what sign they wanted so that they would believe in Allah . In jest, they said ‘Make a camel come out of that rock’. When Allah had caused that miracle to happen, they turned into disobedience again. Allah had ordered them not to kill the camel, but they choose to kill it. We know from the Tafsir of the Qur’an that it was a small group of their leaders who planned on slaying the Camel. The public knew about this plot, but chose to stay silent about it.
Then they ham-strung the she-camel, and insolently defied the order of their Lord, saying: “O Salih! bring about thy threats, if thou art a messenger (of Allah)!” (Surat al-Araf: 77)As a result of this Allah tells us that:
The (mighty) Blast overtook the wrong-doers, and they lay prostrate in their homes before the morning – As if they had never dwelt and flourished there. Ah! Behold! For the Thamud rejected their Lord and Cherisher! Ah! Behold! removed (from sight) were the Thamud! (Surah Hud: 67-68)The entire city was devastated and only those who had followed Prophet Saleh were saved. An important lesson to draw from this is that Allah held the entire city to account for the sin of a handful of their leaders. Why ? Because these were a people who chose not to stand up for justice and pick a side. They were punished because they waited too long to choose whether they wanted to oppose their leaders and follow their Prophet, or go against the Prophet of Allah .
We should not think that we would not be held accountable for the sins of our leaders if we choose to not stand up for justice. Allah says:
O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that ye do. (4:135)It is clear that ‘waiting it out’ will not relieve us of our duty to Allah . If we consider ourselves among the Muslims (those who submit to Allah’s will) then it’s about time we stop questioning Allah’s orders and start following them right down to the letter. Even if the enemies call it terrorism. If we chose not to do that, then Allah reminds us that:
O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him,- humble with the believers, mighty against the rejecters, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth. And Allah encompasseth all, and He knoweth all things. (5:54)We will be replaced by a people who are better than us. A people who are not afraid of ‘blames of the blamers’. A people who are mighty against the enemies of faith and fighting in the way of Allah . So before that happens, let’s adopt the qualities of the people Allah has said He loves. Let’s stop being humble to the non-believers and critical of the believers.
Next time you hear in the news about some Imam or scholar of Islam who is being blamed for terrorism or hateful preaching, ask yourself ‘Why am I taking the enemy’s word for it?’.
And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the kafirun (disbelievers) (5:44)I am not saying that Imam Anwar always was and always will be on the right path, only Allah knows that. I am however proving here that as long as Imam Anwar is correct in the light of the Qur’an and the Ahadith, I have no reason to condemn him or speak against him. In fact, I have an obligation to stand up for him and defend him. Also do note that it is not an individual that I’m defending, it is an ideology. The ideology that asks us to keep Islam on it’s true form. The ideology that forbids alterations to the command of Allah . Imam Anwar is just one of the many examples of scholars being targeted by the Media just because they chose to speak the truth. As far as the allegation that he preaches hatred towards the West is concerned. Consider this Hadith:
Prophet said: “The most dependable handhold on faith is: love for the sake of Allah and hatred for the sake of Allah.” (Sahih Bukhari)It is clear that we don’t only have to love the good doers but also hate those that Allah hates. Hating the enemies of Islam, for the sake of Allah , is a sign of having a strong handhold on faith.
- Imam Anwar’s lectures are backed by Qur’an and Ahadith of the Prophet .
- The only reason he is called a terrorist by the US is because he does not shy away from speaking openly about the commandments of Allah in regards to Jihad. He does not take references from opinions of people, his references are Qur’an and Ahadith literature.
- The actions of Nidal Hasan are supported by Qur’an. Any one who says otherwise is not using the Qur’an and Sunnah to judge. Islam, under no circumstances, preaches for us to be peaceful to those who are direct enemies of Allah’s path, unless they desist their crusade against Islam. Nidal Hasan did not kill innocent people. He killed soldiers of an army that is currently engaged in fighting Muslims.
- We are at war whether we like to admit it or not. If you can not do research on that matter, ask those who are pure and righteous for guidance. If you can not find them either, then at least pray sincerely to Allah for guidance.
- Staying silent about the issue does not excuse us from being questioned about our allegiance on judgment day. We have to pick a side and stand firm on it. You can either be on the right side or the wrong, there is no ‘50% right’ side.
- Due to the times we live in today, it is hard to find time to study Islamic history in detail. Imam Anwar’s lectures offer an effective way to gain all that knowledge with little effort (that is why the enemy hates him so much). I request my Muslim brothers and sisters who are interested in obtaining these lectures to go to www.ayyaz.com.pk for direct download.