Sayyid Imam wraps up his new book today. Much of his final criticism is aimed at Bin Laden, whom he describes as incurious and incapable of holding himself accountable for his errors. Regarding the latter, Imam compares Bin Laden negatively to Hassan Nasrallah, who apologized and offered compensation to the Lebanese civilians whose homes had been destroyed by Israeli bombing in the 2006 war (paging Andrew Exum).
Sayyid Imam ends by explaining why his attacks on Zawahiri and Bin Laden have become more personal: he felt obliged to do it after Zawahiri accused him of being an Egyptian tool before Imam’s first book had even been released. Zawahiri’s more pointed personal attacks in the Exoneration prompted an even more personal response.
The Denudation is divided into four sections:
- Exposing the lies of Zawahiri
- Exposing his jurisprudential errors
- Exposing the ways he misleads the reader
- Exposing his search for fame
In this, the conclusion, I wish to say: If there are Muslims who have been led astray by bin Laden, Zawahiri, and their like, how are they going to remain firm during the fitna of the Anti-Christ, which the prophet says will be the greatest fitna?
In like manner, people have been led astray by Ataturk for 90 years. They praised him for expelling the allies from Turkey in World War I and called him “al-Ghazi” (pious frontier warrior), but that didn’t stop him from abolishing the caliphate and attacking Islam.
People should not fall under the spell of those who talk about religion and jihad before they know what these people stand for and what they know of the Sharia.
The Prophet has said that, “God helps this religion with a debauched man.” The man he is talking about fought alongside the prophet at Khaybar, mightily vexed the infidels, and did not harm a single Muslim. He only harmed himself by committing suicide on account of his wounds. Compare him with those who bring great harm to Muslims. What has been the benefit of destroying two buildings in America, destruction which led to the downfall the Taliban state, the only Islamic state in the world? Bin Laden left Afghanistan to pay the price for his stupidity. He cries for the children of Palestine but forgets the children of Afghanistan. And behind him stands Zawahiri, justifying all of it.
Now Bin Laden is using his organization for his own personal security, leaving many of its members to be killed or captured. Bin Laden even abandoned his most sincere supporter, Abu Hafs al-Masri, who had built al-Qaeda for him. He, along with others, were killed in the American bombings in 2001 because they didn’t have the protection that Bin Laden had. The captain is usually the last one to abandon the ship, but not Bin Laden or Zawahiri; they are the first.
Bin Laden talks of jihad, yet he withdrew from every battle he and his companions fought without the support of the Afghans against the communists. Bin Laden was even captured during one of the battles. The Arabs had no effective military role in the Afghan jihad against Russia. To say otherwise is a lie. [On this, see Wright’s Looming Tower.]
What of Bin Laden’s religious knowledge? In 1994 in Sudan, there was a subject that he was interested in. I suggested he read a certain book about it. He said to me, “I am unable to read a whole book.” As for his speeches, his followers write them for him.
Is one who destroyed two buildings, and thus destroyed the Taliban state, knowledgeable in Sharia or military matters? Does someone who sends hundreds of his brothers to their graves or to jail for the sake of “the idea” and “the flame” of jihad (Exoneration p. 193) have Sharia or military skills?
These people are mischief makers. And why not, as long as there is someone to pay for their mischief. They can flee and accumulate popularity and money (Exoneration, p. 79, 199).
What are the consequences of their knowledge? The operation succeeded (9/11), the patient died (Taliban state), and the doctor fled (Bin Laden and Zawahiri).
When Gamal Abdel Nasser lost the 1967 war, he presented his resignation from the presidency three days later. Hassan Nasrallah apologized to the Lebanese people only one month after the July 2006 war with Israel and promised to pay compensation to those who had been harmed. This was despite the fact that Lebanon was not occupied. It was partially destroyed, which Nasrallah could have prevented if he’d had good anti-aircraft weapons. Compare this to Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and their followers. They make no apologies to anyone.
Every follower of Bin Laden and those that approve their actions will be gathered together under the same banner on the Day of Judgment if they do not repent [ie they’re hell bound].
I had not intended to write a single word about Bin Laden, Zawahiri, or anyone else. It did not occur to me to do so when I wrote the Document in December 2006 and when I revised it in March 2007. I have witnesses who can attest to this. But then I showed the Document to the brothers in prison in April 2007. Afterwards, there was a lot of talk in the press about the Document, so I released a statement to stop speculation, which was published in May 6, 2007 in al-Hayat and al-Sharq al-Awsat. I said it was a call to the Islamic groups to put Jihadi operations on the right path. I said it deals with jurisprudential matters and not with a specific group. Nevertheless, Zawahiri issued a statement in June 2007 criticizing the Document before it had been published and before he had a chance to read it.
Why did Zawahiri launch this preemptive strike? He knew my opinion about the mistakes of the Islamic groups, such as prohibiting visa holders from operations in the Abode of War and other things that he cut from my book, The Compendium, in 1994. Zawahiri and his colleagues in Europe continued to badmouth me, so I added material which was not in the Document I had initially shared with the brothers in April 2007 so I could respond to Zawahiri’s and his colleagues’ stupidity and reveal to the people what they stand for, but I wasn’t too specific. I spoke more specifically about them in my interview with al-Hayat.
An important lesson: the matter of the masses relying on religious scholars
The religious scholars are the sources of religious guidance. Al-Juwayni has said that when there is no caliphate, the religious scholars are the heads of the Muslims.
I’ve seen a lot of ignorant people like Bin Laden and Zawahiri presenting themselves as religious scholars for Muslims. They are not, as I have shown in part two of this note. I want to caution you against them here. Warning against such people was the main reason I wrote The Compendium in 1993.
Document (Arabic): 12-2-08-al-masri-al-youm-denudation-part-13
One huge difference between groups like Hizballah and Hamas and groups such as al-Qaeda is that the former have natural constituencies for whom they are often responsible. The core of Hizballah’s strength today is rooted in the group’s position as the dominant political representative of Lebanon’s Shia. That also means, though, that for them to keep that support, they have to either a) continue to provide the kind of essential services they have provided since the 1980s or b) use their political leverage in Beirut to provide the resources of the state. When Hizballah marched down the path of war in July 2006, they had little option but to care and provide for the group’s hard-hit constituency. The state is not strong enough to respond to such a crisis, and Hizballah is. This followed a pattern established since Operation Accountability in 1993. After the war, Nasrallah kinda apologized — what he said was, more or less, “if we had known Israel was going to react with such ferocity, we wouldn’t have carried out the 12 July operation.” So he didn’t apologize as much as he took responsibility and admitted that the costs of the war had been higher than expected.
By contrast, al-Qaeda has no real constituency. So to whom does bin Laden apologize? Whose houses does he rebuild? Hizballah has a social services network it has built up over 25+ years. al-Qaeda has nothing of the sort. They don’t have a Jihad al-Bina to go into Baghdad and start rebuilding houses, right?
This is why it’s important to draw a distinction between groups like Hizballah/Hamas and al-Qaeda. For the latter, terror attacks are more or less the raison d’etre. And while armed resistance is central to the self-stated missions of Hizballah and Hamas, they are unable to conduct such missions with complete freedom. Their constituents — and the effects of their actions upon them — play into the decision-making process.
I suspect this is nothing new or terribly enlightening for the readership of this blog.