Letter to a shaykh

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Figure 1A; While possessing the outward cloak of righteousness, the shaykh also represents the very worse of moral degradation.

I have watched your cowardice and platitudes towards those who mean harm towards us and our children for some twenty years. When Allah guided me back to my faith and made me serious about Islam again in 1990, I was exultant.

Islam’s nobility shined forward for me and a large number of Bedu people that came off the street wars in the ‘80s and ‘90s that between the years 1988-1992 had led to the deaths of 20,000 young people in gang violence.

It was time for change and Allah had brought it about. However I also noticed you in the background. I had never seen you in the streets speaking to the youth in the paramilitary groups, visiting death row inmates, writing letters to those in prison from the paramilitaries, defending the common people with force of arms against incursions of the police and special forces in the West Coast.

No, we had only seen a few Imams in Oakland, Compton and one visiting from Detroit, Allah bless him. You were nowhere to be seen. Yet you were the shaykh. No one had and has seen you in the streets, your most important constituency, where children that have fled your masjids after being molested by your people reside.

But you’re the shaykh. We looked towards the heady events of the early ‘90s. The defeat of the Soviet Union and its’ collapse, the routing of the US police, national guard and paramilitary forces in the LA Uprisings of 1992 that actual brought together the world’s two largest gangs in the gang capital of the world, the defeat of Russian forces by our brave brothers and sisters in Chechnya, the Cham expressing greater autonomy in Southeast Asia gave us hope.

But you were the shaykh. No one had ever seen you. During this time you had been busy, hiding behind the unbelievers, entering their military and pretending to be progressive and pragmatic. You missed the drives of the early ‘90s to actually do something about incursions into the Muslim world by the unbelievers.

As the shaykh, you were conspicuously absent from Afghanistan, Chechnya, south Argentina (where some of our brothers were murdered), Granada, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar), Algeria, Egypt, Bosnia, Kosovo, Yemen, all places where I feel proud to have known veterans who fought in these campaigns.

They are not soldiers of fortune but from our Muslim armed forces that fought and fight for free. I feel pride at the fact that I held the stumpy sections where their appendages were once located, helped them wash themselves after their toilet duties and fed them with my own hands when they could not feed themselves.

I saw them walk with their crutches and could see the pride they had when they walked. “If I had another set of hands, I would have given those too,” an Algerian once told me. My dear brother Abul Hasan, also an Algerian, made me so proud to be Muslim.

He had fought so many armies and Allah had made him victorious. Then Allah caused me to meet `Ali al-Arnauti, an Albanian who had fought in Bosnia and Kosovo the whole of the 1990s. His nobility made me feel small as he had been so young.

`Ali al-Arnauti had little knowledge of English so I showed him around London and worked with other refugees after my arrival. These were some of the men of Allah who feared no one but their Lord. But you were the shaykh.

Perhaps you had just left from the table or the gates of the unbelievers and were now reclining back in your studio, thinking that there must be a way for you to get on the scene. Then you came on the scene.

The star of one coward and appeaser began to fade and yours started to rise. You were rubber stamped. You were the shaykh. Your greatest claim to fame was that you never spilled blood or even lost spittle in some of the greatest unrest in the turbulent years of my youth.

It must have been difficult for your wife and you to figure out who should have been wearing the scarf with both of you hiding back away from harm’s way and remaining at home in relative safety. As Oakland burned and many Imams cowered behind their ways, they called in people who years before they had castigated as criminals.

Yes, these criminals had a past. Some of them had committed murders, robbed banks or other felonies. When they entered Islam, there was some coward on the other side trying to close the door on them. So they left the masjid.

They organised their own jama`aat. Aryan Brotherhood and East Side White Pride ran a strip of area from Portland, Oregon all the way to Oakland, California. There wasn’t a shaykh alive sitting at home under his wife’s dress or on some city council taking money that had the heart to fight them.

It was only some brothers who were reformed felons who broke their grip on areas within Oregon and California. But you continued being the shaykh. Hiding and slinking your way through the crowd, you eventually found your way to a microphone and began to speak.

The first target was to attack the time honoured and well known principle of jihad, defensive or otherwise. Pragmatism (read cowardice) and progressive concerns (read capitulation) were the order of the day and your used all of the skills in your shaykh – hood to try to remove the principle from the heart of Muslims.

“The big jihad right now is education,” you fumbled in your weasel eyed speech. We shook our heads and turned off the lecture, removed it from the tape deck and calmly put it in the garbage can.

We knew, like so many others that left your ranks in the fall out of the 11 Sept 2001 attacks, that you were a shaykh. You had previously been contained but now began to venture out of your cubby hole into other environs.

I often envisioned your speech about education. “Burglar, halt! I come bearing a degree from UCLA.” Miffed, the criminal would raise his hands in contrition. “I’m sorry, man. I thought this was the house where they only had a G.E.D. I must have the wrong house. I had my rope, knife and everything ready for some knifings and other mayhem.”

“No, that’s next door. I think they only just finished high school. I’m so glad knowledge is power.” Skulking into the night, he would head next door and visit his terror upon others that were academically challenged.

Or perhaps this could come into play in other countries. At a burial site, one of the Imams of the funeral service could wisely comment, “Subhanallah, look at the knowledge of this man. He benefited from the time he got his degree all the way until his death.”

“How so?” One of the students of the Imam might ask. “Look at the quality of the burial shroud. He was the first one to get caught by snipers,” the Imam might reply. Yes, you are indeed the shaykh.

You have no earthly good for anyone except for ideas and speeches. Activism is nice but being active is better. In your attacks on Muslim Orthodoxy’s methods and military history you pathetically mouthed to me, “Do you think Allah loves war.”

A brother beat me to the answer and replied,

Indeed Allah loves those who fight in His Cause as if they were one solid block. Surat us-Saff (61), ayah 4

Verses like these I always love because it takes away all ammunition from the coward. The shaykh does not like a Lord that commands conquest and resistance to wickedness. In their own philosophical world, there should not be any war.

Really? Looks like someone forgot to inform the prophets Ibrahim, Musa, Yushu`ah bin Nun, Dawud, Sulaiman,  Zakariyyah, Yahya, `Isa (who will actually bring a full scale military conquest) and Muhammad, peace be upon them all.

Someone forgot to inform these people, “Hey, fellas. There’s too many. You gotta go back. Try medical school instead.” And what should we tell the great kings and rulers in history?

Talut, the Israelite Kings (the righteous ones, obviously), the four rightly guided khalifahs, the righteous among the Ummayads, Abbasids, Ottomans, Salah ud-Din, Baibars, Qutuz and even Imam Mahdi (hey, what’s he doing leading an army against forces that are numerically superior without proper backing from the UN and support from local NGOs?) also belong to this category.

What we don’t realise is that the shaykh has to teach us Commandments in Cowardice. I saw you standing in the Hindu temple and wondered if you had come to speak on interfaith or were shopping a new faith.

Unfortunately, you  will still find military battles in Hinduism. The story of Krishna and Arjuna is particularly significant.

Krishna tells a hesitant Arjuna to move forward and resist. So you see…you can’t even be a good Hindu without a little bit of black powder in your rifle. Weakling that you are, we saw you strangely supporting recent events in Tunisia and Egypt and the ongoing situation in Libya.

This seemed strange as it involved a force of arms to some limited extent. However if it is done with secularism this would appear fine but with Islam it is time to hang up the gloves. The very idea of me telling brothers so close to me that it is time to head back to college, forget resistance makes me only shake my head ruefully.

You claim that the CIA was behind the events of the battles in Afghanistan, Chechnya and such. Aren’t they also behind you (nay, even on top of you I would say), flying you around the world with the help of the MI5, State Department?

You know that as a shaykh you have no other vocation that would afford you such ubiquitous appearances around the world so it is quite clear that honey is being put on the plate. We have written on this numerous times so we will spare you the repeat. One may merely refer to past Our Failure is Our Loss articles for further information.

Shaykhs can’t stand the possibility of getting their chubby hands wet. They would rather pinch their chubby little flanks while congregants of theirs molest young boys and girls in the masjid and then cover it up when people try to expose them.

Shaykh, did you know that in one of these incidents in London, part of the forensic evidence brought forward by the officers were traces of ejaculate on the inside pages of a mushaf? I know. I must talk about things like this. Don’t air the dirty laundry in public.

But you are that dirty laundry. It is people like you that make these types of things possible. While the shaykhs style and profile, Shaikhs like Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan al-Bouti, Isma`il ibn Badran and others are seen to be relegated. They don’t know English, you enthuse. Maybe their influence can be lessened, you reason while rubbing your hands together.

Your problem is they have students and supporters who do speak English. So the battle continues. When two masjids in Oakland were on fire, you didn’t call the city council. You actually called (I’m sorry, it was your wife that called) the brothers that were supposedly criminals or extremists (read brothers that had fought in campaigns across the world) to stand against Daryl Gates and other people.

Brothers like yourself and the people calling us to a weekend in the “cause of Allah” could not be found. Besides, their bellies would have gotten in the way. We remember you in the ‘90s telling brothers in Bosnia that they did not have to fight if they did not want to. So the brothers in Bosnia fired on you.

Fortunately or unfortunately, you lived to reproduce. Now there are a whole new wave of clones and cowards who hang on your very miserable words. The fact of the matter is that the martyrs and people of struggle are still firmly in the hearts of the Muslims.

Remember that in Nazi Germany, the first killed were the most assimilated. The overtly religious were some of the last slaughtered. You have no life skills. Do you remember when we were out hunting in southeast Oregon and on another occasion in Idaho?

You gazed dumbly at the rifle and could not even kill a bull from among the moose. What? I can’t believe what I’m seeing. A big strapping man that can’t kill his own food. So is there a difference between you and your wife? Perhaps you need to choose a scarf. Go for the light coloured ones, you know something progressive. PC as well.

What about the time in London when brothers were camping and abseiling. Some of you were saying that they, “wanted to go home to our mothers.” Now you are community organiser extraordinaire.

Just a point of advice:

If you are at this level without stress being applied to you, imagine how you will be under interrogation. The only way to get Shaitan out of your blood stream is to bow down and supplicate him in the personal space of your own home. Return to your manhood. It’s not too late for you. You’re not dead…yet.

Your brother,
Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali

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