Letter to a Would be Mujahid

Assalamu ‘Alaikum,

Please find below excerpt from Imam Zaid Shakir’s ‘Letter to a Would be Mujahid’.

“Along those lines, please allow me to remind you of something else. Your misguided attempts to kill and maim innocent Americans only make it easier for the American military to kill more Muslims with greater impunity. Your actions help to create a political climate that removes any moral restraint from the actions of the American military, the IDF and soon the forces of India’s increasingly Hindu nationalist armed forces. You see, fear is a very potent emotion and when it is carefully manipulated it can lead to very irrational politics. That most extreme form of those politics is called genocide.”

[Imam Zaid Shakir – Letter to a Would be Mujahid]

( http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/notes/letter_to_a_would-be_mujahid )

I found it to be an eye opener, especially the parts about how the FBI and CIA are encouraging/creating these Mujahideen in order to be able to justify their presence in the Muslim Lands and to vilify Islam and the Muslims.

Please have a read and forward to others.

Was Salam


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2 thoughts on “Letter to a Would be Mujahid”

  1. A Would-be-Mujahid’s answer to Imam Zaid’s Letter

    Dear Imam Zaid Shakir

    I read your letter addressed to me very carefully. You have tried to incite my emotions with reason and intellectual arguments so that I may not pick up some ammunition and go on a killing spree. I am surprised that you did not touch the real reasons behind my actions and attacked a few men of straw here and there.

    You may make arguments that you think are convincing but to me, “reason”, “intellect” and “arguments” are of secondary importance behind my rationale of going after the non-believers. When you and I accepted Quran as the final, uncorrupted and literal word of God, we made a huge leap of faith. Our trust in Quran was not proportional to the evidence available and the quality of it. We both trusted the word of Muhammad (SAW) when he said that it was God talking to him through an angel. Reason, intellect, evidence and other corruptions were left far behind in the labyrinth of this world. Imam Ali (RA) puts it beautifully when he says that if there was a place for “reason” in religion, we would have done masah on the bottom of our feet while making wudu. I think you would make more sense if you stick to the sacred texts. After all, how much of your daily routine, from prayer (both dua and salah) to innumerable rituals, is based on reason and intellect? I am sure that you base most of your life on sacred texts instead of reason and intellect but you expect me to do otherwise. The real difference between you and me is that you believe that eating frozen yogurt makes a man invisible while I believe that eating frozen yogurt OR frozen milk makes a man invisible.

    I have also met your kind at seminars, mosques and Youtube. Please allow me to call you a “moderate” as I am sure you will find “apologist” too distasteful a term. After all, you called my ideology “bloody” and “anarchistic” so perhaps you should be happy in accepting this label.

    I would like to comment on your “moderation” here before moving on. Moderation in Islam (and in any other faith) is nothing but an attempt to loosely interpret or simply ignoring much of the holy texts in the interest of living in the modern world. The first thing to note is that your retreat from scriptural literalism is not due to a new light that you have suddenly discovered from the Islamic texts one fine morning but it is the result of blows coming from the demonic achievements of modernity that have put certain tenants of your faith to doubt. Scientific advancements, concern for human rights, fruits of liberal-democratic politics, an end to cultural/geographic isolation and the emergence of a general tendency to value a proposition in proportion to the evidence for it, led you to your religious moderation. The door did not open from inside, it was rather a result of these ideas steam-rolling in with a force. You are just unhappy at the personal and social cost a full embrace of Quran imposes on you. I call verse 65:4 as my evidence and your test to my statements here. This verse is universally interpreted by ALL theologians (minus some “moderates” in the last 50 or so years) down the centuries as sanctifying marriage (and subsequent consummation of it) to a pre-pubescent girl but you will disagree due to one of the above reasons although I have no doubt that your disagreement will be carefully layered in between sacred sayings.

    It seems to me that you see actions of my mujahid brethren as a result of some strategic misjudgement. I assure your that strategy also plays a second fiddle in the equation and the real inspiration comes from what Islam ordains ALL Muslims to do. Your voice of moderation can never make any sense to me when I hear Muhammad (SAW) himself saying that “a day and a night fighting on the frontier is better than a month of fasting and prayer” and that “he who dies without having taken part in a campaign dies in a kind of unbelief.” My resolve to lay down my life and take as many others as possible further strengthens when I hear the Hadith that A single endeavour (of fighting) in Allah’s Cause in the forenoon or in the afternoon is better than the world and whatever is in it. Tell me why I should not stick to what the Prophet of Islam (SAW) tells me and listen to you instead?

    You mention an established Islamic principle of guaranteeing the protection of innocent life including the infidels. This principle does not look so established to me when I see Muhammad’s (SAW) God is himself in the process of “mocking,” “cursing,” “shaming,” “punishing,” “scourging,” “judging,” “burning,” “annihilating,” “not forgiving,” and “not reprieving” throughout the Quran. The Verse of the Sword also gives further sanctity to my tolerance of collateral plus intentional damage of innocent infidels. “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful (9:5)”. I call Ibn-Kathir (I can name many other authentic names here), THE most quoted, esteemed, authoritative and authentic name in Quranic tafsir who weaves together Hadith, Seerah and other reports to conclude that The Verse of the Sword abrogates other more tolerant and peaceful verses of Quran. My trust in this established principle of yours further weakens when I hear Syyed Qutb, the most influential modern thinker in Islamic world, say “The Koran points to another contemptible characteristic of the Jews: their craven desire to live, no matter at what price and regardless of quality, honour, and dignity.” Please note that I am quoting some of the most trustworthy names in Quranic sciences here not some obscure, one-man-bands. I hope you have found the names of the commanders here in reply to your question when you amaze at my eagerness to “join a battle I do not even know who the commander is”.

    I know that you will reply to all these verses and saying of the Prophet (SAW) by invoking the standard excuse of “reading Quran in context”. No doubt you will also repeat some peaceful verses you are so fond of. You will quote me the verse “whoever kills a soul …. it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely (5:32)” but you will conveniently miss the next couple of lines. As a reminder, let me quote 5:33 here. “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment”.

    Please remember “corruption or fisaad” is a qualification that is ambiguous at best and I have yet to hear of a sane person, let alone a Muslim, who does not think that USA and its other cronies are not spreading corruption on the earth.

    Also, why should I not interpret all the peaceful teachings of the scriptures in the light of the ones I mentioned earlier? Why not take “my” verses as standard-bearers and use these as a lens to understand the other more laid back ones? Your “context” could be my fiction because it is the result of a faulty human intellect altering the apparent meanings of Allah’s eternal and infallible words. Once again, I see it nothing but an attempt to forego the social and personal cost of a literal reading of Quran. I hope you keep in mind what Quran claims for itself when you try to alter, nudge or dilute the apparent message it contains specially when this message has been understood by all throughout the Islamic history in a specific way. Quran claims that it “makes things clear and manifest”, is” easy to understand”, it is in a language that is “pure and clear”, the “God thus clarifies the revelations” and that it is a book that “provide(s) explanations for everything” and “there is no doubt in it” Now you tell me that suddenly, Quran is not so clear and pure and context should be added before its application in my various projects.

    You invoke the smile of my friendly neighbour John Smith to beg for mercy on his soul (I take a sigh of relief that at least you did not mention Jenny Smith here). I am afraid Our Lord sees him in a different light. Allah orders me that “Let the believers not make friends with infidels in preference to the faithful—he that does this has nothing to hope for from God—except in self-defense” (3:28). Also, “Believers, do not make friends with any but your own people. They will spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their hatred is evident from what they utter with their mouths, but greater is the hatred which their breasts conceal” (3:118). Further, “Believers, do not seek the friendship of the infidels and those who were given the Book before you, who have made of your religion a jest and a pastime” (5:57). No doubt Allah’s final instructions to mankind for all times are pure and clear just like He promised in the Quran.

    At the end, you have tried to install fear in me of the dungeons of Abu Ghuraib and Guantanamo Bay. My Lord has already promised me that “Those that suffered persecution for My sake and fought and were slain: I shall forgive them their sins and admit them to gardens watered by running streams, as a reward from God; God holds the richest recompense. Do not be deceived by the fortunes of the unbelievers in the land. Their prosperity is brief. Hell shall be their home, a dismal resting place” (3:195-96).

    I end here with a note that I seriously and sincerely hope that you can see the desperation and ineffectiveness of your moderation compared to my “bloody” and “anarchistic” ideology. You may have the best of intentions but moderation, reason, intellect have an eternal, damned dilemma to contemplate with. Once you cross a certain bridge without using these very tools, you can not invoke them later on to save yourself. You just cannot base most of your life on vague beliefs and expect more fervent adherents to dispose off what you do not like by reasoning.

    To see what I mean, here is a link for a Letter from a Mujahid to his wife.


    A Would-Be-Mujahid

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