Libyan Jihad Revisions

Posted: 8th September 2009 by Thomas Hegghammer in Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, propaganda, Retractions

There is a very significant development taking place in the so-called war of ideas. Senior leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), who recently laid down their arms, are publishing a Dr. Fadl-like treatise revising their previous understanding of jihad. The text, entitled “the Book of Correctional Studies” (kitab al-dirasat al-tashihiyya), is being published as a nine-part series on the website www.oealibya.com. You can find the first three chapters here, here and here. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to look at it in detail, but Jarret Brachman will be covering the story. He already has some interesting background info and analysis.

The text in itself is probably not a landmark work of Islamic jurisprudence, but it is important because it adds to what may now be called a corpus of treatises by former militants challenging al-Qaida on theological grounds. The trend started with al-Gamaa al-Islamiya in Egypt, continued with Dr Fadl and now it’s the LIFG’s turn. Credible MB figures like Yusuf al-Qaradawi have also chipped in. Of course, no one text is going to change the world, but put together, these treatises will constrain al-Qaida’s recruitment pool somewhat. The Libyan text has yet to make a big splash on the forums, though it is talked about. It will be very interesting to see if and how the AQ leadership will respond to the latest salvo.

  1. Charles Cameron says:

    Hi Thomas:

    Perhaps you should include Muhammad Haniff Hassan’s “Unlicensed to Kill: Countering Imam Samudra’s Justification for the Bali Bombing”, Singapore, Peace Matters, 2006 ISBN 981-05-6270-5 on your list — or if your list only nincludes refutations and retractions by ex-jihadists, maybe start another list that includes other kinds of theological refutation…

    Ihsanic intelligence’s “The Hijacked Caravan” would be anther entry of note.

    And I still wish I could beg borrow or steal a copy of the English translation of Fadl’s Revisions that Laura Mansfield published…

  2. You are absolutely right. The omission sadly reflects my Arabocentric academic background. And yes there are several other works that belong to this corpus of theological refutations.

  3. Ibn Siqilli says:

    What do you make of Salman al-’Awdah’s continuing “moderation” ?

    Salman al-’Awdah Urges Prayer Reform

  4. There is a lot to say about Salman al-Awda, but the thing to remember is that he never was as radical as the Western press made him out to be. Yes he criticised the Saudi regime and made some populist statements about Bosnia in the early 1990s but he has never been involved in militancy in the Kingdom and never endorsed al-Qaida. He is essentially a Muslim Brother with a Wahhabi twist. He was coopted by the regime while in prison in the late 90s, and has not dared confront the government since his release in 1999. In recent years he has made statements that border on the progressive, and I think they reflect his genuine convictions.

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  6. [...] rights group says 320 minors died in Gaza war (AFP) | Israel's "War on Kids". ✪ Libyan Jihad Revisions — jihadica | Yet another jihadi revisionist book. 0 Comments Published by arabist September 10th, 2009 [...]

  7. william says:

    If I can beg to differ.

    Libya has never been a central player in deteriming what or what doesn’t constitute “jurisprudentially correct” jihad.

    Until a major ijtihad effort redefining jihad comes out of al-Azar University nothing will change.

    They Libyans have no skins in this game, they aren’t even bit players.

  8. william says:

    typo…[The] Libyans

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