The Counter Crusade

Saturday, February 25, 2006

For the Sake of the Women: The Beginnings of the Iraqi Jihad Movement

I was reading a very interesting article on the rising Jihadi movements in the Middle East, and something very interesting became clear: the reason the resistance movement began in Iraq was women. And the reason many Jordanians today are trying to go fight in Iraq is for the very same reason: to protect the honor of Iraqi women! Of course this is not the only reason, and it might not be the main reason anymore, but it is a reason- and a reason that should not be ignored.

Now the article is very very long, and contains a lot of information about many different jihadist movements. The women thing was never pointed out in the article, but when you see how it pops up more than once by different people, you begin to realize its importance.


"Few people are in a better position to understand how the jihadist aspect of the Iraqi insurgency took shape than Huthaifa Azzam, because he, a Jordanian, helped start it. He is the son of Abdullah Azzam, who was born near Jenin, Palestine, in 1941, left for Jordan following the 1967 Six-Day War and became something like the father of jihad in Jordan.

[you should read the article for the details here about Huthaifa Azzam's life up till he went to start the movement in Iraq]

Three days after America’s invasion of Iraq began, Azzam and other followers of his late father crossed over from Jordan into Iraq and established a base for themselves in Falluja. The only source for this is Azzam himself, but his telling the story at all involved some risk to him, and his command of the detail and of the personalities involved lent him credibility; it also matched up well with information I had gathered on earlier reporting trips to Falluja and Baghdad. “We were trying to convince Muslim scholars to begin the resistance,” he said. “They had no plan. They were sleeping. For one month they did not agree. They said, ‘Go back to your country.”’

For Azzam, leaving Iraq alone to work out its own fate was not an option. He said he believed that resistance would start, and he wanted to shape the process as well as hurry it. “We were more than 30 or 40 Arabs, without weapons,” he said. “We went from mosque to mosque, from school to school. People said, ‘The U.S. brought us democracy!’ They believed the lies of Bush that he will bring democracy and freedom.”

Everything changed, he said, on April 28, 2003, when American soldiers killed 15 demonstrators in Falluja, then killed 2 more in a subsequent demonstration. (Iraqis said that the first demonstration had been to protest the Americans’ using an elementary school as a military base.) After that, rumors spread of four American soldiers raping a 17-year-old girl, with pictures distributed on the Internet. (Those pictures may well have been fabricated.) “This story was the main cause of starting the resistance in Falluja,” Azzam said. It “made them reconsider, but there was still no action. I was watching from afar — with a smile. In the beginning they had said, ‘Go make jihad in your own country.’ After the rape story, they said, ‘O.K., we want to start now, or tomorrow we will find our mothers or daughters or sisters raped.’ This story exploded the resistance in Falluja. They called us for a meeting and said, ‘You were right.’ We had told them from the first day that the Iraqi Army abandoned weapons that they should take, but they said this is stealing, haram, looting. You could buy an R.P.G. for three U.S. dollars in those days.”

Azzam says he spent four months in Iraq imparting his knowledge of guerrilla warfare to the indigenous resistance. His background, he told me, gave him immediate currency. “I am the son of Abdullah Azzam,” he said, “so everybody wanted to listen. And I have experience in three or four jihads in different countries, and a lot of the Iraqi resistance had no plan. We gave them our experience so they could start from where we stopped, so they don’t start from zero. Jihad is an obligation as a Muslim. If you can’t support jihad with fighting, you can support with ideas or teaching. So we tried, and we still do. Followers of Abdullah Azzam helped plan the resistance in all of Iraq, and we had hoped for a united resistance with Shias. We were aiming to bring unity between Sunnis and Shias with resistance on both sides, but the Shia leadership was against us, and Zarqawi spoiled it, making it fail.” "


Now the author of the article moves on to a different group: 10 Jordanians during a trial in a military court in Jordan, being charged for crossing to Syria with automatic weapons and meeting with members of jihad groups there, for the sake of fighting in Iraq.

As the judge was reading out the charges, the prisoners erupted in protest. “I am not guilty — you are guilty!” shouted one prisoner.

“Jihad is not guilt,” shouted another. “... We are protecting the honor of our sisters in Iraq. Is that guilt?"

You may think I'm making too much out of these two quotes. I don't know. Like I said above, this is only one reason, but an important one, I think, nevertheless.

Iraq's Jordanian Jihadis

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Like No Other

"My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels."


"If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls....his forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was two-fold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with the words."

"Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all the standards by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask, Is there any man greater than he?"

(Lamartine, HISTOIRE DE LA TURQUIE, Paris, 1854, Vol. II, pp 276-277)

"The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes! There is Muhammad, the Prophet. There is Muhammad, the Warrior; Muhammad, the Businessman; Muhammad, the Statesman; Muhammad, the Orator; Muhammad, the Reformer; Muhammad, the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad, the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad, the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad, the Judge; Muhammad, the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero."

- Prof. Ramakrishna Rao

Saturday, February 18, 2006



Saturday, February 11, 2006

How would the Prophet have responded to such insults?

Well, it's kinda hard to know how he would have responded to such insults. But I will offer an example from the Prophet's life, peace be upon him.

The word "Muhammad" means "the praised one." When preaching to the Quraysh in Mecca, the nobles of Quraysh decided not to call him by his name "Muhammad", because then they would be calling him "the praised one". Instead, they chose to refer to him as "Muthammam", which means "the reviled one". Thus whenever the wanted to attack him or curse him, they would say "Cursed be Muthammam" instead of Muhammad. Amused, the Prophet said to his companions, "Do you not marvel at how Allah has even deflected their curses from me? They curse Muthammam and I am Muhammad". [1]

In the same way, these images are not really those of our blessed Prophet. They portray a false image that they have of him, an image of a terrorist, not of the "mercy to the worlds." Whatever false conception of our Prophet that they attack, they do not attack our Prophet. Far away is he from all that they attribute to him. None of them would attack him had they read an authentic biography of his life, or known more about him and his message. But most of what they know are lies and deceptions. So they are not really cursing the Prophet Muhammad, they are cursing a lie, a non-existent personality that they think called for terrorism. Just as the Quraysh were not cursing Muhammad the Prophet, the most praised, but were cursing Muthammam, a poet who said some crazy things unheard of before, like saying that "all people are equal like the teeth of a comb", thus equating the Abyssinian slave Bilal to Abu Sufyan, the master of Quraysh.

There is also a story told about the Prophet Isa son of Maryam[2], peace be upon him, that is told among the Muslims, but is not found in the Christian traditions as far as I know. People were throwing stones at him, and he said to his followers, "They do not throw stones at me, they throw stones at the false conception that they have of me".

Compare these responses to the Bible, where God sent two bears that ripped 42 kids apart for calling Elisha a "baldhead".[3]

"You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” - Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, his family, and his companions [4]

1. The Life of Muhammad
2. More commonly known by the false name "Jesus". Speaking of false conceptions, why are Christians worshipping a white, blond, blue-eyed, long-haired, and sometimes beardless man called "Jesus"? And if they see a "Jesus" of that description in their dreams and visions, then who are they really seeing? p.s. does anyone have any good seitan recipes? I'm kinda hungry right now.
3. See previous post,

4. Sahih Bukhari

The Example of the Prophet

*This post keeps mysteriously disappearing after I post it. I guess someone finds it threatening or something.*

It seems European islamophobia is ablaze again, with Europeans insisting on publishing images of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his turban or horns coming out of his head. But do they really attack Islam and its blessed Prophet because there is anything to attack, or because they happen to hate Muslims out of ignorance and/or political reasons? Let's compare an episode from the Prophet's life and the way he responded to it, with a similar incident that happened to a Prophet in the Bible.

1. The Worst Day of the Prophet Muhammad's Life:

The Prophet's wife Aisha once asked him if he had ever encountered any experience more trying than the Battle of Uhud. The Prophet told her that the hardest treatment he ever experienced was the day he was chased out of Ta'if.[1]

"After the death of [the Prophet's wife] Hadrat Khadijah and [his protecting uncle] Abu Talib, the disbelievers of Makkah became even bolder against the Holy Prophet. They started treating him even more harshly. So much so that it became difficult for him to step out of his house. Of these days Ibn Hisham has related the incident that a Quraish scoundrel one day threw dust at him openly in the street.

At last, the Holy Prophet left for Ta'if with the intention that he should invite the Bani Thaqif to Islam, for even if they did not accept Islam, they might at least be persuaded to allow him to work for his mission peacefully. He did not have the facility of any conveyance at that time, and traveled all the way to Ta'if on foot... He stayed at Ta'if for a few days, and approached each of the chiefs and nobles of the Bani Thaqif and talked to him about his mission. But not only they refused to listen to him, but plainly gave him the notice that he should leave their city, for they feared that his preaching might "spoil" their younger generation. Thus, he was compelled to leave Ta'if. When he was leaving the city, the chiefs of Thaqif set their slaves and scoundrels behind him, who went on crying at him, abusing him and pelting him with stones for a long way from either side of the road till he became broken down with wounds and his shoes were filled with blood. Wearied and exhausted he took shelter in the shade of the wall of a garden outside Ta'if, and prayed:

"O God, to Thee I complain of my weakness, little resource, and lowliness before men. O Most Merciful, Thou art the Lord of the weak, and Thou art my Lord. To whom wilt Thou entrust me? To one afar who will ill-treat me? Or to an enemy to whom Thou hast given power over me? If Thou art not angry with me I care not. Thy favor is more wide for me. I take refuge in the light of Thy countenance by which the darkness is illumined, and the things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest Thy anger descend upon me or Thy wrath light upon me. It is for Thee to be satisfied until Thou art well pleased. There is no power and no might save in Thee."[2]

Grieved and heart broken when he returned and reached near Qarn al-Manazil, he felt as though the sky was overcast by clouds. He looked up and saw Gabriel in front of him, who called out:"Allah has heard the way your people have responded. He has, therefore, sent this angel incharge of the mountains. You may command him as you please." Then the angel of the mountains greeted him and submitted :"If you like I would overturn the mountains from either side upon these people." The Holy Prophet replied : "No, but I expect that Allah will create from their seed those who will worship none but Allah, the One."[3]

The Prophet was not sent "but as a mercy to the worlds. (Qur'an 21: 107)

2. A similar but far milder experience happened to the Prophet Elisha, according to the Bible. Let's see how his response was, compared to that of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria. (2 Kings 2:23-25 NIV)

According to Young's Literal Translation, the bears mauled and killed 42 "little youths", for making fun of Elisha; and according to the King James Version, they were "little children"!

Now Elisha, peace be upon him, is also considered a Prophet in Islam. However the Qur'an does not mention such a horrifying story as that in the Bible, a story that is not accepted by Muslims. Here's all that the Qur'an says about him:

"And Isma'il and Elisha, and Jonas, and Lot: and to all We gave favour above the nations...and We chose them and guided them into the right way." (Qur'an 6: 86-87)

"And make mention of Ishmael and Elisha and Dhu'l-Kifl. All are of the chosen." (Qur'an 38: 48)

1. Sahih Bukhari
2. Ibn Hisham: A. Guillaume's Translation, p. 193. I substituted some words for the words used in Wustenfeld's translation which are sometimes clearer, as quoted in Martin Lings' "Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources."
3. (Bukhari, Dhikr al Mala'ikah; Muslim: Kitab al-Maghazi; Nasa'i :Al-Bauth).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Day of Ashura is near...

...and Shiites have already started crying and weeping over the martyrdom of al-Husayn (r.a).

"Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance, in the presence of their Lord" (Qur'an 3: 169)

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Nobody who enters Paradise will ever like to return to this world even if he were offered everything, except the martyr who will desire to return to this world and be killed 10 times for the sake of the great honour that has been bestowed upon him" (Sahih Muslim)

Shams Tabrizi said:

Someone was weeping: "The Tatars killed my brother. He was a man of knowledge."

I said, "If you have knowledge, you know that with the strike of the sword the Tatar gave him endless life. But what do the dead, or dead preachers, know about that life? They come up to the pulpit, and they begin a lamentation. I mean, the Prophet said, This world is the prison of the believer . Someone escapes from prison. Then you weep for him? "What a pity that he escaped from this prison!" The Tatars, or some other cause, made a hole in the prison. He escaped. He was transferred from one abode to another abode. Then you weep. "What a pity that they struck the wall of the prison with that arrow! Why did they strike that stone? Didn't they regret that fine marble?"

Or, there were chains on his legs. They cut them off, and he escaped. You shout out and strike your head and weep: "What a pity that they cut off the chains!" Or, they broke a cage, and you weep in anguish- 'Why did they break the cage! Why did they let the bird go!"...

Shams-i Khujandi was weeping for the Household of the Prophet. I was weeping for him: "Why do you weep for the Household? Someone joins with God, and you weep for him, and you don't weep for yourself! If you were aware of your own state, you would weep for yourself. Rather, you would gather all your people together, all your relatives, and you would lament in anguish for yourself!" ...

Khujandi says, "I'm observing the tragedy of the Household." He's forgotten his own tragedy!
- Me & Rumi , pg 21-22

"...and give good news to the patient who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return": (Qur'an 2: 155-156)