Visiting Madinah-17 Dhul Hijjah

Figure 1A: The first view that I saw of the Rawdah when I turned the corner in Al-Masjid un-Nabawi.

Figure 1A: The first view that I saw of the Rawdah when I turned the corner in Al-Masjid un-Nabawi.

After the fajr prayer, I was again awake and waiting. When the Slaves of Allah decided to take a three hour nap, I made my move. I had washed and cleaned myself. I was now up and shuffling around, the mahogany door whacking me on the behind as I tried to stop it from slamming on the way out.

Down the steps, out of the hotel and onto the walkway, I was well on my way. The left turn in took less time to reach the Rawdah but I decided to take the long way around to build my resolve so I turned right instead.

Ah, yes. I was now on the tile floors, wearing my boots with socks rolled over, coloured jalabiyyah, black `imamah over black tarboosh with dark brown rida’ over my person. What a curious picture I must have cut for some onlookers. Now at the door of the gate, I removed my jack boots and put them in a bag and moved on with them.

Once inside, I started the same walk I had begun not much more than an eye blink before and lost the nerve. Every step I took, my breathe became shallow and I looked around for others also heading that way. This was reminiscent of the holy air that I felt in Makkah. This was another Masjid that Allah had set aside but it was greater in rank than all but Al-Masjid ul-Haram.

This location was greater than Al-Masjid ul-Aqsa and Qubbat us-Sakhrah, Quba’ and others. Five minutes later, I arrived in the line winding its’ way around the pillars and on the way. I had brought the seven line du`aa with me that Imam Mansur ibn Yunus al-Buhuti, may Allah be pleased with him, had quoted with chain of transmission from the Bedouin.

Here I was, a Bedouin, immigrant, homeless three times, a drop out from high school that had to get his G.E.D. and only then go to university, a reformed criminal, a thief, someone guilty of grand larceny and so many other negative adjectives that it was strange that the wearer of all these titles still insisted that he was a Muslim at the time.

I stood in line and felt happy that it moved slowly around the corner, snaking its’ way around the pillars. I saw another opposite to this holy atmosphere. The red and white checkered keffiyyeh, which had disgusted me for two decades, was now on display.

I remember when I first ran across this cult in the early 1990s when two brothers that I knew, Mustafa (who later took the sobriquet as-Salafi) and brother Khaled (who we had told not to rush off to Yemen but wait while we found a good place…but in his haste he ran of to Dammaj), had dived head long into it.

Being referred to as deviants and people of bid`ah and having salam withheld by brothers that we had originally held in high regard and vice versa was one of the most painful points in my life. The filth of Salafiyyah was spread from the old armoury gone masjid, Masjid Ahl us-Sunnah, in East Orange, New Jersey. These were heady times.

Names such as Abu Muslimah, Dawud Adeeb, Abu Usaamah, Usaamah al-Qoosi, Abul Hasan al-Halabi, Saleem al-Hilaalee as-Salafi and others were new names but we were equally despicable in our eyes. Masjid ur-Rahmah in New Jersey would later be used as a further launch pad for Salafiyyah.

On the West Coast, we saw the intrusion of the cult as spiritual paedophilia, targeting the young and vulnerable and then forcing them into positions. Indeed with each new convert, they would take pictures and then post them where other culprits (and even victims) could view the vile outpourings on “embracing the way of the salaf.”

In the beginning of my research into the cult, I merely thought that the problem was the Saudi State, Bin Baz, Uthaimin, Al-Albani, Hamoud at-Tuwaijiree, King Fahd and the monarchy and so forth. The information that I had found in Arabic books in the beginning had put across the assertion that Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab had been a reformer and his teachings were twisted.

Indeed some people of Orthodoxy at that time and today even said these words. I kept reading and stumbled across the writings and discussions of Muhammad `Abduh, Muhammad Rashid Rida’ and Sayyid Qutb and scholars denouncing it. Salafiyyah was an enemy to us and we fought it, both verbally and sometimes hand to hand when they came to our masjids.

We knew it when it appeared. Salafiyyah members appeared, women would be married, utilised and upon pregnancy receive a divorce. Those that did not would be used. The wicked of these diseases was what happened in 1997, when a lecture came fresh from East Orange, New Jersey, claiming as evidence a ruling from Ibn Hazm that if a man pronounced a divorce on his wife and then subsequently had sexual intercourse with her, this did not count as reconciliation.

Salafi members eager to implement this went to work straight away and cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Stockton and Portland felt their sexual prowess and wrath along with a string of broken women, homes and broken hearted children who had to be told that their father would never return.

When I came to the United Kingdom, the same dirt was in London and gaining momentum in Leicester. Brixton, Bakersfield and other locations were inundated with the “Salafi da`awah.”

As I continued my studies that had begun years ago (and included ancillary study of the other cults, Ahmadiyyah, Shi`ah and Bahai alongside Salafiyyah), I was now finding a situation more disturbing. Originally, I had adopted the position that the problem with Salafiyyah was today and the people that twisted it.

All of these people today had gone away from the teachings and knew nothing of the true message of the man. All that needed to happen was to have a larger book to draw the points together.

However two things changed this thinking of mine altogether and permanently. `Abdur-Razzaq ash-Shayiji’s book, Al-Khutut ul-`Aridah Li Ad`iya’ is-Salafiyyat il-Jadidah and also reaching the literature of Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab and the response texts.

I knew three brothers that had a large amount of literature and allowed me to gain access to the most important works on belief by Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab, his sons and grandsons. There was also a shaikh I knew that had ad-Durar as-Sanniyyah by Imam Ahmad Zayni ad-Dahlan, the large multi volume Salafi response under the same title and numerous underlying texts.

The shaikh said to me that the Saudis were liars and criminals but that Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab had been a fool to allow himself to be tricked by them and put himself under their authority as almost autocratic emperors. It took me twenty weeks to wade through some 22 books written by Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab.

After this, I read Fath ul-Majeed (commentary on Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab’s Kitab ut-Tawhid), by `Abdur-Rahman ibn Hasan and Sulaiman ibn `Abdullah, both grandsons of the founder of the current incarnation of the Khawarij. This is when I began to see the picture emerge.

I felt lightheaded and sat quietly for a number of hours between `Asr and Maghrib in a London masjid where my brother, Ashraf al-Hindi, died on the same day I went through this literature and then reflected. The people in Brixton and other places, Bin Baz, `Uthaimin, Al-Albani, King Fahd and the others were not at all twisting the beliefs of Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab.

They were faithfully living by these teachings and acting them out to the letter and were completely devout in presenting these views. So then I was wrong about there being some disconnect. His books were all extant and the people who were his devotees had changed nothing of them. Unvarnished and pure in their original presentation of Muwahhidun thought, these books were really nothing more than kufr.

Suddenly, all of what I had witnessed of the group made sense and the pieces fell in place carefully. This cult had put such a hold over these people’s lives they felt that the only way to live faithfully was to gather together all those faithful to the teachings (jama`ah) denounce their detractors (takfir) and then flee to their own gatherings (hijrah).

I told the shaikh about it and he said to me, “Listen. Just wait. If you do this…when you do this, they are going to come for you. You better be ready.” He gave me a careful nod in the masjid office and I understood. I was placing my life in danger but also putting myself in public where they would try to destroy my individual person. They had learned this well from their master, Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab.

When I married, I still continued in the mission against all these groups but a brother pulled me to the side in 2000. “Akhi, I think you need to be careful. You’r e in a lot of trouble.” He stared at me and shook his head.

“What?” I was incredulous. I thought if maybe I owed him money or perhaps I had not given him salam one day. The brother was very particular about these matters and it had me thinking. “I had a dream about you.”

“If you start mentioning steamy scenes brother…I told you, get married, brother.” I tried to break the ice but he stared at me with an icy look. “I’m serious,” he raised his voice. We both sat and he narrated a dream to me.

He was inside of a tavern (read pub for the United Kingdom), but there were Muslims present there also. Large beards, some with jalabiyyah, some dressed like unbelievers but you could tell by the big beards that these people were Muslims. I walked in and the tavern transformed into a masjid and I began killing everyone in sight that came forward except the brother.

“I could just see heads getting cut, bodies stacking up on the floor. You just would not stop and they were having the heads cut clean off. Your clothes were only a little dirty. Besides that, you just continued. That’s what I remember.” He narrated a few other details. I was terrified and so was the brother.

We narrated the story to shaikh who listened and then he looked at me. “You are going to go to war with the people of bid`ah, a large war. Most of it will be Salafis but it will be all people of bid`ah. You be careful…be very careful.” I stood motionless,  not knowing fully what to say. “How?”

“Listen. Just do what you are going to do; but do not hesitate and always ask Allah for His help. The following years are going to be hard for you.” I only nodded and continued on my way. I was going to have to wait for this to all unfold.

In the blink of an eye, by 2004 the website was up and running, I had completed 41 lectures by 2005, taught in masjids, completed seminary work, by 2007, A Word of Advice was released and then hot on its’ heels was Divine Texts. The death threats that came to my PO Box, mail box at my house and e-mails and guest book on the website gave me pause for thought.

A loud but jovial argument with the webmaster by telephone led to the close of the guest book. “Brother Abu Ja`far, I don’t care what you say! What they said in that guest book was horrible. I’m taking it down. Sikhs threatening to rape you?  Salafis saying that you show your…you know what to your congregation every Friday before dhikr?!What is this?” I sought to console the brother.

“People need to see what these people do when they are questioned and the type of religion people really follow. These cults and false religions should be allowed to have their words put in front of the…”

“I can’t hear you right now. All I can hear is the guestbook going away…” the webmaster laughed. After 378 answered questions, the forum was closed down. All this happened before the books.

The books were the natural outgrowth of the fire that had started and what we were saying to the people. Stay Sunnis! Don’t join Salafiyyah! They are calling you away from where you are! Repent from your sin but don’t join their cult!

I came around the corner and stood almost face to face now with the cult that had the government and sections of the military with it. I still had the home court advantage, even under Saudi Salafi domination. I had the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him as my guide.

Walking briskly past him, I took to a spot over near where the pillars to a musalla were located. I was right in front of the Rawdah and I gave my salam to the greatest human being that ever lived. I conveyed salam and well wishes from all the slaves I knew in Nottingham, London, Leicester, the domiciles of the West Coast in the United States and anyone else who had asked me to convey salam.

Salam was conveyed by myself to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, `Umar al-Faruq, may Allah be pleased with them and was able to read the seven line du`aa with the chain of transmission from Imam Mansur ibn Yunus al-Buhuti, may Allah be pleased with him.

I could hear the satanic rustlings of the Salafi religious police in Arabic, English and Urdu, castigating the people there. One of the guards blatantly lied when he said, “There’s people that even come here and prostrate towards the grave.”

Firstly, there isn’t even enough room to prostrate towards the graves and the crowding would have crushed such a person. Secondly, where is the photographic evidence?

“People even sometimes make tawaf…” another one whispered into the air. How? There is no way to make a complete circle. What is more, how would you know if they are or not?

In spite of this, the moment could not be spoiled. I stood among so many people more worthy than me but I was glad to be in their company. A brief look over the grills into the darkness to satisfy curiosity made me turn back quickly. Would I want someone doing this to me while I was in my intimate moments with my Lord?  Just give the greeting and don’t make it a carnival.

Some Slaves of Allah were taking photos, posing and also filming using their phones as camcorders. I felt such happiness with what Allah had done with me. I again repeated me greeting and said the greetings from the others, not long after saying that I was trying to remain faithful to the people he left in charge of the Ummah and resist the people who truly hated him.

I felt like just explaining everything but I knew that soon I would be moved. I lastly just asked that he make du`aa for me and give me the courage, strength and health to continue and that he bless the Sunni people in Nottingham and give them help against falsehood.

My feet found their way out of the masjid and I was now outside looking in from the tile at the door. This was no time for male machismo. I was generally overwhelmed by it all and was glad Allah gave me the wherewithal to make it. Now it was time to head for the hotel and prepare for Jumu`ah.

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