Brief History of the Development of the Arabic Language

Source: LearnArabicOnline.com

Arabs have always prided themselves on their language and, in particular, their poetry.
Poetry was the primary medium of ancient times through which tribes were praised, enemies were lampooned, messages were sent, and much more. At the fairs of cUkāz, poets would read and listen to poetry as well as critique it as an inter-tribal custom.

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But with the arrival of God’s Messenger (peace be upon him), the language took on a whole new importance.
It was a prerequisite to scholarship and knowledge of it became a matter of the utmost seriousness:

“Learn Arabic as you learn the [Islamic] obligations and practices.” [Ali b. Abi Tālib]

And erring in it was a matter of shame and even misguidance; the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said the following after hearing a man make a grammatical mistake:

“Guide your brother, for surely he has erred” [Prophet PBUH]

To illustrate the nature of grammatical mistakes: A man once said “O ye who is seen but cannot see” referring to God and trying to say “O ye who sees but cannot be seen.” So a blind man answered him, “Here you go; that’s me.”

As Islam unified the Hejaz – and later the known world – it became the dominant ideology and scholarship in it was the highest honour. Therefore, scholarship of the language flourished and proficiency in it was vital in order to avoid misquoting the Qur’an, the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH), and secondary books of scholarship.
Many authorities went as far as to say that even something as simple as responding to God’s query (ألست بربكم) “Am I not your lord?” with (نعم) “Yes” as opposed to (بلى) “Indeed!” was an act of apostasy!

The Early Development of the Language

However systematic codification of Arabic didn’t begin for quite some time. The Caliph Ali (r.a., d. 661) is popularly cited as the common ancestor to the study. It was then his student Abu Aswad Ad-Duwali who began to delve into grammar and Mucāz b. Musallam Al-Harrā, a student of Abu Aswad, who began to delve into morphology. Mucāz then trained the caliph Abdul Malik b. Marwān (d. 705). And Abu Aswad also had many disciples to his name.

A few decades down the road, these disciples yielded Khalīl b. Ahmad (d. ca. 776) whose works in prosody and grammar are famous. He is a huge figure in the study of the language. One of his students was the father of classical Arabic, the Persian, Sibawayh (d. ca. 796) whose book, know only as Al-Kitāb, is the most well-known of them all. A four volume treatment of the language, it is the primary basis for all future works on the language and is a framework for the methodology in the study. Sibawayh’s book constitutes the Big Bang of scholarship on the Arabic language.

Following Sibawayh were other important figures such as Al-Kasā’i. It is after this initial codification that grammarians slowly began to divide into the two camps of Basra and Kufa. By the end of the Arab golden age at around the 10th century, these groups became well established and were actually rivals. There was so much animosity between them, in fact, that one would give a ruling only to oppose the other. But despite these fierce conflicts, the Basran camp came out dominant by the 10th century. By this time, most of the language had been systematically codified and methodologies were now in place thanks to seeds sewn by Sibawayh and the dint of pious men and women who followed him. Further medieval work on grammar was expansion on these Basran frameworks.
Further Medieval Development and Important Figures

One of the students of Sibawayh was the famous Al-Akhfash Al-Awsat (d. ca. 830), a grammarian of Basran inclination like Sibawayh himself. Among the students of Al-Kasā’i was the famous Al-Farrā (d. 822) who was of Kufan inclination.

Following these were many grammarians, including Mubarrad (d. 898). He authored the famous Al-Muqtadab. Al-Zajjāj, roughly contemporary to Mubarrad, was followed by Abu Ali Al-Fārsi (d. 987), As-Sarrāj (d. 929), Al-Zajjāzi (d. 950), and Abdul Qāhir Al-Jurjāni.

Further down the chain – after the the Basran frameworks had been set – is Zamakhshari (12th century) who authored the profusely cited Al-Mufassal, Ibn Al-Hājib (13th century) who authored the much commented on Al-Kāfiya, and Ibn Mālik (13th century) who authored the infamous Al-Khulāsa, more popularly known as Alfiyya. And contemporary to these figures was Ibn Hishām who authored many famous books including the often cited Qatr An-Nada and Mughni Al-Labīb. By the 13th century great scholars had come and gone, leaving masterpieces of grammatical theory in their wake.
It is an unfortunate reality and indication of the stupor of the Muslim world, that a large portion cannot comprehend the Qur’an & classical works of the great Scholars of the past.
By learning this chosen language of Allah (swt), once again can the Ummah rise to its heights and delve into the beauty of the religion and vast volumes of knowledge.

أبو المعالي عبد القاهر القصاب الريرعطاني. “رسالة في مدح النحو.” سبيل الهدى على شرح قطر الندى وبل الصدى (الطبعة الأولى). جمال الدين أبو محمد عبد الله بن يوسف الأنصاري المعروف بابن هشام. دمشق: مكتبة دار الفجر، ٢٠٠١. ١٠-٢٣.

Sellheim, R. “al- Khalīl b. Ahmad b. camr b. tamīm al-farāhīdī al-azdī al-yahmadī al-basrī abū cabd al-rahmān”. Encyclopaedia of Islam. Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill.

Carter, M.G. “Sībwayhi”. Encyclopaedia of Islam. Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill.

Brockelmann, C. “Al-Akhfash”. Encyclopaedia of Islam. Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill.

Sellheim, R. “al-Mubarrad , Abu ‘l-cAbbās Muhammad b. Yazīd b. cAbd al-Akbar al-Thumālī al-Azdī.” Encyclopaedia of Islam. Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill.

Pellat, Ch.; Longrigg, S.H. “al-Basra.” Encyclopaedia of Islam. Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill.

Djaït, Hichem. “al-Kūfa.” Encyclopaedia of Islam. Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill.

Causes for the Sudden Decrease in Oil Prices by Sheikh ‘Ata Bin Khalil Abu Rashta

Q&A answered by Sheikh ‘Ata Bin Khalil Abu Rashta

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Source

Question:
Media outlets have published this Wednesday, 07/01/2015 CE that Brent Crude Oil prices hit $49.66 per barrel, as too did the American crude oil, falling to around $47 per barrel, given that oil prices in 2014 have reached $115 a barrel at the beginning of summer in June in 2014. Then returned to gradually decrease until it reached at the beginning of winter, (at the end of December 2014) to $60 a barrel, and even lower than that, when the prices of West Texas crude oil reached $58.53, and here in the first week of January 2015, it reached to about $50, i.e. more than 50% decrease within five months! What are the causes for this sudden fall in oil prices? And what is expected for oil prices in the future?

Answer:
The drop in oil prices encompasses different causes, most notably is the economic factor isolated from the political objectives … including the political factor that triggers the economic factor towards the advantage of the political factor beneficiary.

The economic factor isolated from the political objectives: (increasing the supply of oil, or lack of demand …), (Tensions, especially military escalations in the oil producing areas and around …), (speculation in the oil market and tampering with the data of weakness of the economies of the influential countries in exporting or importing of oil.)

The political factor to trigger the economic factor towards the interests of the state carrying out the political action, such as (increasing the production, or supplying large amounts of oil reserves, but not for an economic need), but it is (to reduce the price in order to influence the policy of the competing states, especially those who depend in the budget on oil prices), or (to limit the production of oil shale to reduce natural oil price to the level that will bring down the cost of oil shale so that its extraction becomes irrelevant).

We will outline these issues and summarize the possible causes for the notable drop in oil prices:

First: the isolated economic factor from the political objectives

1. Supply and demand:

Oil, like any other commodity, its price is determined through supply and demand, when the oil market witnesses a surplus in supply, its price will be reduced. This is found in the economic crises of the importing countries which decreases the demand because the country in crises’ ability to import oil in high price is less, this is why the demand decreases which leads to the drop… Similarly when there is a great oil demand and it exceeds the supply, the price rises.

2. Tensions and Military Escalation:

There is also another factor that affects the price of oil, that is “suspense”, i.e., the oil market expectation, like the occurrence of a problem that disrupts the supply as a result of wars or tensions in the oil producing areas … Therefore, the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East where oil areas could be the cause of the rise in oil price. Although there is no change in the amount of oil supply or demand, the oil market can push towards a rise in oil prices if there are fears of a possible supply disruption.
When tensions calm, there is a reduction in the price of oil back to the previous value or the real price. For example, the war-speech between the Jewish state, the United States and Iran in February 2012 CE, led to the rise in oil prices, and Forbes Magazine reported, “With the rise in oil prices reaching the highest reported levels for several years, much of it is caused by geopolitical concerns, by putting Iran on the military conflict table. Attacking Iran will push the United States into a recession,” [Forbes, February 2012].

3. Speculation and Exploitation of Economic Data:

The poor economic data of some countries that influence the oil, exporting or importing, such as the United States and China can lead to a fall in oil prices, regardless of the change in supply or demand for it. And in this case, the market fears a slowdown in economic output, and interpret it as an inevitable decline in oil consumption, and therefore the price will drop. Speculators prey on the market expectations to raise oil prices or reduce it to earn profits, and as a result, the price of oil is affected by supply and demand.

Economic data and speculation depend on a number of key players, from oil-producing countries (such as Russia, Canada, and Saudi Arabia … and others), and oil-importing countries (such as China, Japan … and others), and multi-national oil companies (such as Exxon Mobil, BP and others), and the oil cartel (such as OPEC, and oil traders known as speculators). Each group of them have the ability to influence oil prices, either through influence on the supply or demand, or by anticipating variation in oil prices through speculation. Economic Data and speculation as a result of economic crises in relevant countries strongly affect the prices.

Second: The political factor to trigger the economic factor for the interest of political factor beneficiary:

1. The issue of oil shale:

America surpassed both Saudi Arabia and Russia as the largest oil exporter in the world, because of extracting oil through jackhammers underground. The Bank of America stated in the summer of 2014:
“The United States will remain the largest oil producer in the world this year, having surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia in the extraction of energy from oil shale, which would revive the economy in the country. The US production of crude oil, along with the liquid, separated from the natural gas, has surpassed other countries this year, with a daily production of more than 11 million barrels in the first quarter of this year …” “The United States is perceived as the largest oil producer, after it bypassed Saudi Arabia.” [Bloomberg, July 4, 2014]

The oil and gas shale revolution in the United States has resulted in an increase in oil production of 5.5 million barrels per day in 2011 to what is now more than 10 million barrels per day, making it meet most of its needs, dropping its imported oil from Saudi Arabia to less than half, to about 878 thousand barrels a day after it was 1.32 million barrels per day.

However the problem with oil shale is that it has a high cost of up to $75 a barrel while the cost of natural oil does not exceed $7 a barrel; hence signifying that the oil-producing countries of rock – headed by the United States – will be harshly hit if the price of oil dropped from the cost.

2. The subject of the reduction in price not for an economic need, but as part of the penalty for the competing states:

There are two international issues of influence and interest in the world:

The subject of Iran’s nuclear negotiations and the issue of the occupation of Russia to the Crimea, and these two countries depend in a large part of their budgets on oil exports; hence the sudden drop in the oil price to half will undoubtedly affect their policies towards the two issues cited. The Russian budget contributes to the oil and gas, i.e. energy, within the limits 50%, but that is raised in some estimates, Russia needs oil prices at $105 a barrel to reach parity in the economy.

Oil contributes more than that in Iran’s budget. It reaches more than 80% of the budget, and believes that the price of oil should go up more than $130 a barrel to cover the internal projects and its assistance to its followers in the region. Therefore, the drop in the price of oil to this level strongly affects its budget.

Third: By reviewing of the above-mentioned reasons, it shows the following:

1. The isolated economic factor from the political objectives:

a. Supply and demand has virtually remained unchanged in recent years, and when it does, it only changes slightly and does not lead to this sudden drop. Even last summer, the global price of oil remained relatively stable at around $ 106 per barrel of WTI, for nearly four years, but a significant drop in the prices of oil cannot be explained entirely economically. Oil production has been above 80 million barrels per day over the past decade since 2004.
At the end of 2013 the global oil market produced 86.6 million barrels a day, then production increased thereafter and increased demand at the end of 2013 through the third quarter of 2014, bringing the supply and demand closer together.
According to the figures provided by the International Energy Agency in the third quarter of 2014, the average supply reached 93.74 million barrels, and the average demand was 93.08 million barrels [Source: International Energy Agency site].
The slight increase over four years may have been affected by the gradual drop of a few dollars a barrel, but it cannot fall in five months to half, unless the economic factor is not the main reason.

b. Tensions and military escalation, is not new but are almost constant over the last four years … the crises in the region did not intensify sharply to cause a sudden drop in oil prices, escalation and tensions in the region since 2011 until now continue in a pace hardly surprising and unexpected.

This is with the knowledge that in origin during political crises in a region and in the world there would be a rise in oil prices as what took place in several incidents since 1973. And now that the crisis in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, and Libya, has intensified, the price per barrel is expected to increase to $120, and even to $150, according to some speculation. The drop in prices in this manner is unusual if the factors are purely economic because crises and wars affect the supply routes, and there will be a shortage in the supply resulting in an increase in the oil price and not a drop, therefore there are reasons other than the sole economic factor.

c. Speculation and Exploitation of economic data: since 2008 at the height of the economic crisis things are at a standstill, they didn’t deteriorate but there was some improvement. Therefore it can be said that the sole isolated economic factor is not the main reason for the drop in oil prices to this low rate, which exceeded the 50% decline than it was five months ago.

2. Second: the political factor to trigger the economic factor for the interest of political factor beneficiary:

a. The issue of oil shale:

The cost of oil shale extraction is between $70 to $80 per barrel, and the use of advanced modern technologies in the extraction can lower this cost to reach $50-60 a barrel, the IHS company (a research company) believes that the cost of producing an oil barrel from shale oil has fallen from $70 a barrel to $57 in the last year, due to the oil men learning to dig wells faster and extract more oil,
[“The Senate versus shale oil,” The Economist 6/12/2014].
Therefore, the reduction of the oil price to about $50 or $40 a barrel makes oil shale extraction futile, even if it was cut to $60-70 a barrel it would be not viable, because to be economically viable it requires an appropriate difference between the cost and the selling price.

Hence OPEC’s lack of reduction in oil production or rather the lack of reduction in the oil production of Saudi Arabia could be one of the reasons … It is well known that America exploited oil shale production due to the increase in oil prices of natural oil to above $100 per barrel, therefore reducing the natural oil prices makes the production of oil shale futile.

The natural oil prices can withstand reduction and remain viable because the cost does not exceed $7 per barrel while the shale oil costs up to ten times that as we mentioned earlier.
Accordingly, whatever the reduction of price in the natural oil, it will remain viable, and as Saudi Oil Minister, Ali al-Nu’aimi, said, “OPEC will not reduce its production even if the price of crude oil fell in international markets to $20 a barrel” (Al Jazeera, 24/12/2014) and he explained that “the OPEC quota, as well as that of Saudi Arabia has not changed for several years, it is in the limit of thirty million barrels per day, of which about 6.9 million barrels is of Saudi production, while the production of other non-OPEC countries is increasing constantly.”

As it is well known, the Saudi monarchy currently under King Abdullah has strong ties with the British, and therefore we can say that the interest of Saudi Arabia not to reduce production and pressurize OPEC for this is within the British policy agreed with Saudi Arabia to influence America’s production of shale oil.

b. When America learned this is OPEC’s direction which is influenced by Saudi Arabia, who has the greatest share in OPEC, and especially after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had met at its headquarters in Vienna, on 27/11/2014, and the members of the organization did not agree to cut production to support prices.
This is because Saudi Arabia has refused to reduce production, and they stated that they can live with lower prices in the short term: when America learned that, Kerry, the US Secretary of State, visited Saudi Arabia on 09/11/2014. He met King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at his summer residence in an unplanned visit. Although the media reported reasons other than oil for the visit, the evidence indicates that the purpose of the visit was the oil prices … After this particular visit, Saudi Arabia begun to increase oil production by more than 100,000 barrels per day during the remainder of September and in the first week of November. Saudi Arabia has reduced the price of oil (Arab Light) by 45 cents a barrel, pushing oil prices to the rapid drop from $80 a barrel. A senior official in the U.S. Department of State that global oil supplies were discussed during the meeting.

When Kerry could not persuade Saudi Arabia to reduce production, he discussed the topic from another angle; he expressed approval of the reduction because it will affect Russia which occupied the Crimea as well as it will impact Iran in terms of nuclear talks, and that he sees that these reasons will find the approval from Saudi Arabia; but he wanted the reduction in the range of (80). It seems that Saudi Arabia had agreed to it or showed approval. The British newspaper, The Times, on 16/10/2014 stated that “Saudi Arabia has taken a carefully calculated position to support lower oil prices around $80 to make oil shale extraction economically non-viable, which pushes America back to import oil from Saudi Arabia and to take shale gas out of the market.” This is as a result of Britain standing behind Saudi Arabia in the face of America in its support, which is working to revitalize its economy to get rid of the repercussions of the financial crisis, even at the expense of others and striking them. It is well known that the current regime of Abdullah Al-Saud is loyal to Britain.

America showed that it has satisfied Saudi Arabia, in terms of the approval of the reduction, as well as showing Europe that its accusation of America that it is not placing pressure on Russia for the occupation of the Crimea, and its lack of pressure on Iran in the nuclear energy file, is not true and the evidence is its agreement to reduce the price of oil which impacts the budgets of the two states … Then it also pleased some Russian opposition; in early March, the billionaire, George Soros, suggested to the US administration a means to punish Russia for the annexation of the Crimea by slashing off the oil prices … So Kerry tried to show his approval of the reduction but to a certain extent and then deceived Europe and the Russian opposition that he is serious in supporting Ukraine against the Russians, which is contrary to the reality.

But for the first time America finds itself unsuccessful, the wind came with what the ships detest, oil prices continued to fall to around $60 a barrel in few months, and Saudi Arabia insisted not to cut but increased production; all of that resulted in a backlash in the oil market as it is known that the morale factor can influence market prices.

Fourth: Current Expectations:

1. It is difficult to reinstate the original prices.

2. However, the continued reduction affects both parties:

a. In Saudi Arabia, backed by Europe, particularly Britain, because this year’s budget is hit by a deficit of 145 billion Saudi riyals out of 860 billion riyals, reserved for the expenses i.e. a deficit of about $ 40 billion, due to the drop in the oil price.
And this affects its interior projects, more importantly, what occurs to Britain’s exports to Saudi Arabia, and in particular the arms due to Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit, which hit …
Where Britain’s exports to Saudi Arabia amounted in 2012 to 7.5 billion sterling pounds in addition to the investments of the British companies that amount to 200 companies with investments of about $11.5 billion sterling pounds per year, all of which will be affected by Saudi Arabia’s lower financial ability due to low oil prices, and particularly that the Saudi government’s budget receives 89% of its revenue from oil exports. Therefore the continuation in the reduction will affect it in this regard.

b. On the other hand, the continued reduction affects America’s production of oil shale, because it is due to rising prices of oil in recent years it decided to invest billions of dollars in oil shale extraction in America, and it seemed so profitable, so it added over 4 million barrels of oil per day since 2008 and this proportion was effective in world oil production.

Although the drop in the price of oil stimulates the economy in America, the loss of its oil shale trade is much higher, and it is not easy for it to let Europe, Saudi Arabia, and OPEC destroy its investments.

3. Accordingly either America works on modern technology methods to reduce the cost of shale oil production so that it becomes viable with the current low oil prices – but this is not easy, especially if the price of oil continues to drop, and it seems that this drop has not yet stopped.
On 7/1/2015 it was published that it dropped below $50 a barrel … and either America heads directly to Saudi Arabia and creates some crisis to Saudi Arabia and make its budget deficit grows and force it to reduce production and thus increase the price of oil … or either to alleviate its crisis with Britain in Yemen and Libya in return for Britain putting pressure on Saudi Arabia to reduce production followed by OPEC reducing its production pushing the oil price to rise … Since these three need scheming and extended plotting, in the meantime, the low oil price crisis will remain and its drop or rise will be according to the result of the power struggle or according to compromising transactions; i.e. the capitalist way.

Fifth: the international politics is turbulent and is stumbling, as soon as a crisis ends another one starts, all of this is due to the corruption of the capitalist system that is dominating the world, which carries within it the international crisis, and then leaves people suffering in a miserable existence, and the international system in general … All this corruption, manipulation, misery, and suffering will continue as long as the capitalist system is in control. These crisis will not end until the return of the Divine System that Allah سبحانه وتعالى has obliged on His slaves, which is the guided Khilafah system carries justice and reassurance for all.

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هُوَ قُلْ عَسَى أَنْ يَكُونَ قَرِيبًا

“”When is that?” Say, “Perhaps it will be soon”
(Al-Isra: 51)

16 Rabi’ I 1436 AH

7/1/2015 CE

Sheikh ‘Ata Bin Khalil Abu Rashta is an Islamic jurist, Scholar and writer. He is the current Amir (global leader) of the Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir.
His official facebook page can be found at http://www.fb.com/Ata.abualrashtah

Commentary on Charlie Hebdo and the Physical Law of Compression

By Ismail Alwahwah

Scientists and specialists in all fields cry with joy when they reach a scientific finding or a natural law, given the great benefit that humankind will accrue from its applications, and due to the amount of effort, energy, money and time exhausted by the researchers.

There is a widely recognized natural law which states that compression on any material (inducing change in the positions of its atoms and molecules) leads to deformation and in extreme cases explosion. Scientists and specialists found that this natural law can also be applied to humans and societal conditions.

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Sociologists and psychologists studied this law deeply and took advantage of it in in treatment, addressing those individuals who, due to the pressure to which they are subjected, commit suicide, face depression, hopelessness or harm others. Likewise it was beneficial in the treatment of the deformities that families suffer from, which result in family breakdown and many domestic issues, or for the treatment of deformation in the communities as a whole and what results from it such as chaos and bloodshed.

Because the specialists in the West acknowledge this natural law of pressure generating an explosion, and that it – the pressure – is responsible for triggering the explosion, the cure has always focused on eliminating pressure or reducing it. As a result, it is assumed necessary in all cases to ensure that the pressure does not exceed the red lines, which will then ultimately lead to irreversible problems.

What baffles the mind is that when it comes to Muslims, be they individuals, groups or communities, we find that most of the specialists (in particular the politicians) in the West believe that practically this law concerning compression and explosiveness, never applies. This, as if to suggest that another law has been discovered in its place, namely that any deformation that affects Muslims is due to a defect in their understanding, mindset and religion. When it comes to Muslims, one is not allowed, under any circumstances, to point the finger at the compression and the application of pressure irrespective of its magnitude. Accordingly, seeking to alleviate the pressure or stopping it would not be part of the solution.

Rather, the focus is on treating the nature of the Muslims and how to ensure they remain immune to the compression even if put under pressure by all the demons of mankind and the jinn!
For Muslims, the pressure to force them to submit to the laws of anyone but Allah should not lead to any explosion!

For Muslims, the pressure exerted by the dictatorial corrupt regimes should not lead to any explosion!

For the Muslims, the occupation of their countries and the killing of their sons and daughters should not lead to any explosion.

For the Muslims, the occupation of Al-Aqsa and Palestine, and the forced expelling of its people should not lead to any explosion!

For the Muslims, the exploitation of their resources and the pressure this leaves with them dying out of hunger and poverty should not lead to any explosion!

For the Muslims, the daily humiliation they are subjected to, and the insults to their book and prophet, irrespective of magnitude, should not lead to any explosion!

Woe, time and again, to all those who point the finger at any pressure when it gets a blast from the Muslims, regardless of size…… For the accusation is ready; You justify the explosion, you justify terrorism !!!

The sad reality is that the ordinary Muslims are paying the price of both the compression and the explosion that follows it, but lightening blasts neither listen to, nor consult anyone.

This is how our situation will remain as long we remain orphans at the tables of villains.

[Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves] Quran 13:11

Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut-Tahrir
By Ismail Alwahwah
Arabic Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia

Four Points That Put ISIS in Perspective

By Abdul-Latif Halimi

ISIS aren’t as impressive as its fanboys would have you believe.
Four points.

1. Its territorial scope is vast, but relatively useless, particularly on the Syrian side. Ar-Raqqah to Mosul — the traditional region of al-Jazirah — is impressive on a map, but a region of little economic, historical or geopolitical weight. In fact, it’s the desert heartland of the Khawarij historically and what agricultural potential was there has been decimated by drought and what large population communities were there have withered out to a large degree (eg. at least half a million people left Mosul).
Deir ez-Zor and Ar-Raqqah (despite being Harun ar-Rashid’s capital for a few years), even before they were depopulated, are minor and insignificant cities that had the country’s 7th and 8th largest populations respectively. Bilaad ash-Shaam’s prestige, as relevant to Syria, is in the country’s west; Syria’s historical and economic centres are in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hamah and region of Hawran.
Simple experiment: If you had a week in Syria, either as tourist or businessperson, what would your itinerary look like? Areas now held by ISIS would not come up because they don’t register as significant. They are peripheral.
That tells you something about the lack of ‘weight’ of what they’ve taken as opposed to the other rebels (who have taken half of Aleppo city, Deraa up to rural Damascus, the Eastern Ghouta and some eastern suburbs of Damascus city, Quneitra on the Golan Heights, etc).
ISIS, not that impressive.

2. Mosul and Sunni Iraq, the undoubtedly impressive gain, was a low-hanging fruit. The Iraqi military’s personnel packing up and running away in their underwear isn’t a sign of exceptional military prowess on the part of ISIS — it’s a sign of a corroding, corrupt and fundamentally inept Iraqi military that dissipates at first challenge, led by a corrupt political class that had completely disillusioned Sunnis. The region was ripe for the taking and taking it isn’t as epically impressive as it first appears.
Is that relevant? Of course it is, because it says more about the exceptionally dire condition of the Iraqi military than it says about ISIS capability — you’re not as impressive as you think you are. You can force the rubbish Iraqi military to flee through your sheer presence, but how do you fare if Turkey takes a decision to invade your territory and take you out like it seemed poised to two months ago? How do you fare in the face of a professional, disciplined and emotionally-invested force? Kobane is giving the world a strong idea of ISIS’ true capabilities, and they’re simply not as good as the reputation many would try to sell to you.
So if a few thousand Kurds with US air support (it’s urban area, so air power is significant but not overwhelming factor) can stop ISIS in their tracks and swamp them in a bloody war of attrition, what about those states that stand in the way of ISIS and its fantasies? Turkey, Jordan, Saudi and Iran would each, if directly confronted, skin ISIS alive.

3. ISIS leaders and members are absolutely uncompetitive globally. I don’t mean that as an insult, I mean that as a descriptor. Its principal constituent base is a loose coalition of angry 20 year olds [who need to be reached out to], pseudo-clerics with little credibility and deranged idiots. You’ll get an exception here and there, but nothing to make a substantial difference to the quality and production capability of a ‘state’.
They might have good multimedia people and acoustics engineers, but where are those who can help develop the hard-power capability to match those around them in a region armed to the teeth? There’s only so much one can loot from Assad and the Iraqi military before they realise that while shooting down one jet is easy, bringing down an entire squadron or permanently neutralising an air threat that toys with you from the sky is impossible.

Bottom-line: How do you defend the ‘sovereignty’, dignity and airspace of your state? What, ISIS are going to take over the Middle East with their leaders and fighters holed up in urban areas every-time an American jet flies by? And there’s no way that will change; these folks are incapable of producing anything sophisticated to seriously counter what they face, nor are they a magnet for the people that can.

4. ISIS economics doesn’t work. It’s impossible to survive, let alone flourish, as a state (i.e. Mosul and some minor cities) isolated from the world, unless North Korea is your model. If economic autarky is possible, ISIS are definitely not the ones to achieve it. They don’t have the natural or human resources to sustain a quality of life over the long-term consistency with what the people expect or demand based on their past experience.
Modern trade requires mutual recognition between ‘states’ or some kind of international credibility. So, if ISIS need an MRI machine for a Mosul hospital or chemicals to treat the water, where does it get them from? Where do you get cancer drugs or the infrastructure for air transport in your ‘state’? Those who produce these products cannot and will not sell them to you. Period — you’re North Korea and a huge blow to the ‘Islamic project’ and its credibility.

Conclusion: ISIS, its prospects, its socio-economic architecture are not as impressive as presented by its supporters or propaganda machine. If anything, it is a fleeting, unsustainable and volatile reality.
Conclusion II: Iran, Assad and Maliki are savage enemies, but ISIS is not the answer.

The Greatest Blessing & Reclaiming Our Honour

This was a talk delivered by Sheikh Mohammed Junaid Thorne in an Islamic centre in his early 2014 tour of Brisbane.
The video is below, followed by a summary of the talk.

• Allah created all creation, mankind, believers and disbelievers, and out of his Mercy Allah has given people different blessings and bounties: money, position, reputation, eyesight, hearing…all these are the different bounties of Allah. If one has more than others, it’s a source of pride: if you have a good body, money car etc. you are inclined to boast about it: these are sources of a superiority complex

• Allah has given all these bounties to everyone, both Muslim and kafir

• The most important bounty that can be bestowed upon a person however, is the blessing of Imaan: hence on the Day of Judgement, when those are sent to Jannah and Jahannam, it is THEN when people will realise the blessing of Imaan, they will say “Praise be to Allah who guided us to this Path…”

• So shouldn’t Imaan be the main thing we boast about, and be proud about it?

• The Sahabah were aware of the significance of this blessing, and took it upon themselves to spread it far and wide

• A lot of our brothers and sisters, despite being given the bounty of Islam, are ashamed of this tremendous Ni’mah… how many brothers change the name of Muhammad! Sisters instead of wearing Hijaab, we see all these types of fashions, tight clothes with Hijaab, which totally defeat the purpose of Hijaab, our brothers wearing the clothes of the disbelievers, wearing their slogans

• Most of us don’t recognise the bounty of being Muslim being born Muslim…look at reverts, and their energy and vigour, because they appreciate the Ni’mah, they knew the darkness they were in

• Let’s look at the Sahabah: Abdullah bin Maktum (RA), an old blind man, whom the Rasul (saw) was rebuked due to him in Surah ‘Abasa…after he accepted Islam, he put himself as a tool to spread Islam, he was one of the Muadhins during that time (second after Bilal (RA)). In one of the battles he was the flag bearer of Islam: in those times the fall of the flag was a symbol of defeat and therefore very crucial. So when this battle started, he asked to hold the banner. He was asked “Are you sure you are up for it?” He said, “I don’t deserve to be a holder of the Qur’an if Islam is to be defeated because of me.” This was a man who sought to implement the Qur’an in its fullest most holistic sense. How many of us today, people get the worst image of Islam because of their character? What’s worse, some of these people have Islamic knowledge, memorized Quran, but are full of arrogance

• Julaybib (RA) has a very unique story: he was an outcast, no one knew where he came from: he had no family or wealth…it was like he fell off a tree. One day he entered the Masjid & Rasulullah (saw) asked him “Do you want to get married?” He said “Yes, but who will marry me, I have no money, reputation, property or anything”. Rasulullah (saw) said, “Don’t worry, go to the house of such and such from the Ansaar & tell them Muhammad commands you to marry your daughter to me.” It was a very very noble house of the Ansar, not any house. He said, “O Rasulullah, how will they accept when they are such a high status, and I am no one?” Rasulullah (saw) said, “Don’t worry, just go.”
He knocked the door of the house and said, “I’m Julaybib, a messenger of the Rasul, who said…” The Ansaari asked him to give him a few days to think about it. So Julaybib came after a few days, and this time he could hear the man consult with his wife, who said “Only if it was someone else besides Julaybib; someone that we know, and has some something to vouch for him…” So they were about to turn him down, then the daughter came out “how can you turn down the messenger of the Messenger (saw)? Marry me to him.” And they were married. Someone from a high noble status, to someone that was nothing. This shows the criterion for the world is not the same for the Hereafter

• After one of the battes, I think Uhud, after the Quraysh had departed & the Muslims were in the battlefield looking for the missing and burying the dead, Nabi (saw) asked “do you miss anyone? Is anyone unaccounted for” Everyone mentioned a name, of a friend and loved one… but no one mentioned the name of Julaybib (RA). Because no one knows him. So Nabi (saw) tells them, “But I miss julaybib, go and search for him”. He was found amongst 7 mushrikin. So they brought him to Muhammad (saw), and he started to weep and mentioned “As for him, he is from me and I am from him.”
How did someone with nothing in this dunya reach such a high status with the heart of Rasulullah (saw)?

The criteria of this world is nothing for the success of the Akhira. You may be someone with the best position in this world, biggest bank account house, property, reputation… But does that guarantee you success after death, on the DOJ? No, it is ‘Amal that does. What you contribute to this Deen, guarantees you success in the Hereafter, and hence Nabi (saw) cried due to him, due to his sincerity

• ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA) when he sent his armies to conquer Rome, he sent Abu ‘Ubaidah (RA) to al-Quds, and they managed to conquer it from the Christians alhamdulillah – and we ask Allah to conquer it again today from the Jews – they said we will only give it to you and sign the treaty if your Amir comes. So ‘Umar (RA) rode all the way, offered two Rak’ah in Masjid Al-Aqsa and met Abu ‘Ubaydah, and the army was set up in front of him, it was a huge army. It was a place very difficult to conquer as everyone coveted Al Quds. After this monumental victory, what did Umar say looking at the army? He didn’t get arrogant saying this is the unconquerable/invincible army. He gave gratitude to Allah (swt). He said, “We are a nation that Allah has granted Izzah through Islam.” The number of swords, horses, nuclear bombs was never the criteria… “So whenever we seek this glory through something else other than Islam, Allah (swt) will humiliate us.” If we seek victory through our military & logistical power, brains, technology, Allah will humiliate us… And this is what we see today, every country is boasting about its achievements: the result is the Muslims are being butchered, killed by their hundreds daily…why? Because the main factor is missing, being proud of Islam, practicing Islam properly… then he turned to Abu ‘Ubaydah (RA) – and this was after such an amazing achievement for Islam – and said, “What have we gave to Islam? What have we contributed?”
Abu ‘Ubaydah (RA) said, “Let’s go, and cry”. So they went and hid behind a tree to start crying. Nowadays we give some charity and then sit comfortably in our blankets thinking we’ve done enough.
Shouldn’t we be the ones crying ya Ikhwaan because we haven’t done anything?

• We all know what’s happening…you brothers are from Somalia, you know the situation, the crusaders coming and destroying the nation… yet we watch the TV, then change the channel and watch a movie, having shisha with friends

• We will be accountable… every one of us will be asked alone on the Day of Judgement, and will be asked, “What have you contributed to this Deen? Didn’t I give you wealth, physical power, the ability, the understanding of what was going on. You were aware of the situation… and yet you chose to sit at home doing nothing, or you to slander & backbite those who are putting their lives on the line for the sake of Allah ‘Azza-wajjal, protecting our honour and dignity.” Everyone of us will be asked.

• I ask Allah (AWJ) to make us of those who contribute to this Religion, and contribute to its ‘Izzah, with our lives, wealth and children and I ask Allah to grant us back Bayt al Maqdis and grant us a prayer there before we die, Ameen.

Q&A

Q: How do we memorize Qur’an?
A: It all starts from a small age: they say memorizing at a small age is like writing on stone…whilst memorising during old age is like writing on the sea.

Q: Who was supporting you in your journey of learning Islam?
A: I moved with my family there, my step-father got a job, my family was religious and took me to the Masjid. The Mashaykh sponsored me after staying with them for around 7 years, they saw I had the passion…it’s all tawfique from Allah (AWJ)

Our Youth & Our Glorious Past by Sheikh Mohammed Junaid Thorne

Sheikh Mohammed Junaid recently gave a talk in Sydney about the Muslim youth; their direction & aims & trying to inspire them through recounts of some amazing youth in the history of Islam.

This is a summary of the talk.

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• There is a story of a Christian Emperor who wanted to invade Al-Andalus. So he sent a spy on a reconnaissance mission to check the condition of the Muslims & what occupies them. The spy then came across a young Muslim boy who was crying, and so asked him why? The boy replied: I missed the target (practicing archery) and my enemy will not give me a second chance in war. The spy then related this to the King, and the King said we cannot invade them now. After a few years had passed, the King sent the spy again to the same place where he encountered another young boy crying. He asked him why he was doing so. The boy said, because a girl had not shown up for a date. The spy this time returned to the King rejoicing and telling him now is the time to invade the Muslims.

• Unfortunately this is the situation of our youth now

• Who is going to solve the problems of the Ummah? Is it 50 year-olds entrenched in a certain mentality? Will it be the UN or through peace talks and negotiating around the round table? Or will be the Muslim youth who are the spark and fuel of this Ummah?

• It is the youth who are the fuel of any nation: they are unstoppable… and this is what our enemies realised. Hence there are all these distractions to stop the youth returning back to the Quran and Sunnah. The Muslim youth these days have so much detailed knowledge about celebrities and sports stars… but ask them about Muslim heroes such as Muhammad bin Qasim, Saeed bin Zaid, Handhala Bin Amir, Asad Bin Al Forat, Muhammad Fatih, the best of people, how much do our youth know about these figures ?!

• To solve a problem, we need to first acknowledge that there is a problem, then determine the causes, and then come up with the solutions
• We acknowledge that we face a problem with Muslims being humiliated and degraded everywhere, tortured, imprisoned and killed and sisters being raped. The Muslim youth are not fulfilling their duties.

• It is true that the kuffar utilise all their resources to distract the Muslim youth….but is this excuse acceptable on the Day of Judgement? Everyone will meet Allah alone.

• One of the first questions to be asked on the Day of Judgement will be how we used our youth and spent it.

• In school or university, the biggest nightmare for a student is exams. If we knew all the answers 3 weeks beforehand, would we be stressed?

• So we know that one of the first things is 4 questions on the Day of Judgement *everyone* is asked…so we know those NOW, and can study them now…only a fool would fail the test knowing the questions !

• Let’s look at our shining bright history: Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas (RA) was 17 years old, & was the first one to shed blood for the sake of Islam.

• Arqam Bin Abi Al Arqam (RA) was 16 years old and was the first one to take the decision to host the Muslims, not fearing Quraish (equivalent of ASIO today), not fearing his house be raided, he be imprisoned, what people would say about him, etc. subhaan Allah! Probably younger than every single person in this sitting. He was from the tribe of Banu Makhzum, whose leader was Abu Jahl, yet he did not fear the consequences

• ‘Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) was EIGHT years old when Rasulullah (saw) made du’aa to increase his insight and knowledge. He was the most knowledge in this Ummah in Qur’an…when he was 13 years old ‘Umar (RA) took him as a consultant for the entire Ummah during his Khilafah! Keep in mind the Khilafah covered a *huge* area, spanning multiple continents, and the advice of a 13 year old boy was being sought for its operation

• Many of us reach the age of 18, 20 and feel we can’t sit with big people because we are too shy and feel they are far too knowledgeable, this shouldn’t be the case
• Zaid bin Thabit (RA) was 13 years old when he heard the kuffar were plotting to attack the Muslims. He jumped and grabbed his sword and went out following the ranks of the Muslims… and his sword was longer than him, subhaan Allah!
• He went out for Badr, and the Rasul (saw) denied his participation… he then went all the way to Medina crying, complaining to his Mother. What was his mother’s reaction? Was his mother rebuking him? “Why don’t you spend your time better, wasting your life?” She took him to Rasulullah and gave him to Rasulullah (saw)… Rasulullah (saw) recommended him to study Quran, Hadith & learn different languages. He consequently became the official translator of the Ummah at the age of 13!

• These were youth who learned at the University of Muhammad (saw), and this is the university we need to go back and learn from!

• Who were the two that killed the Fir’aun of this Ummah? Two boys at the age of 14, standing at the right and left of ‘Abdurrahman bin ‘Awf (RA), who made the courageous resolution to kill Abu Jahl. They marched at him like arrows and struck him with their swords and killed him. Who nowadays can have a similar stance to act upon those who curse and insult Rasulullah (saw)? If someone says a tiny thing against Ronaldo or Messi or their favourite team they will lose their head. But how much Gheerah do we possess for Islam & our Rasul (saw) & his Family & Companions?

• Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr (RA), one of the richest youth, whose mother had everything in life… he accepted Islam and he was locked up by his mother. She made an oath to not eat or drink till he renounced Islam. He said “Wallahi if you had 100 souls and died, I would not give up my religion.” She then realised he was a great man, and buckled down & relented. He was the first Ambassador of Islam who was sent to Medina, and he succeeded in his mission.

• These are the real shining role models we need to follow if we want to bring back our ‘Izz, glory and might.

• Let us now go through some of the problems that have led us to our situation:

1) Jahl: lack of Islamic upbringing.

There are three elements to education:
a) Home & parents
b) Masjid
c) School

These are the three places which contribute leading to the development of an individual. Unfortunately these days we don’t have many parents taking care of these…they give birth and throw their kids on the street…the Imaams just come and lead Salah with little concern for the youth, and teachers just care about their salaries, no one cares about raising or upbringing the youth !!
No one to teach our children the proper Aqīdah, about the Akhira, Paradise and Hellfire, preserving the Islamic identity.

2) Media influence: There is only complete rubbish on TV and the movie and music industry: very shallow with little to no substance, yet this is what many of our youth are attracted to. What then can we expect of their outlook & vista of life?

3) No role-models:
There is a saying: you cannot raise someone without a role model!
Do we treat our youth as mature adults and give them importance? We should instil in them a sense of dignity and importance. Why do we see gangs run by youth? Because they couldn’t find anyone that could make them feel part of society and the household.
Imitating the West in everything… even changing Muslim names to Kafir names.
How can we be victorious over our enemies, when we are imitating and following the footsteps of our enemies?
No nation will succeed over its enemies, until it pulls itself from them and distinguishes itself from them.

So what are the solutions?

1) To know the purpose of life, why Allah (swt) created us.

2) To understand and learn the proper and true Aqīdah, should be the first thing we instil in our children. All the ‘Ulema have agreed that the important thing is Aqīdah. When ones Aqīdah is in-tact, all the other factors will be in place. eg. of Abu Talib and how all what he did didn’t benefit him because he didn’t have true belief (Aqeedah).

3) To come back to the religion, and have a connection with the Masjid, where the Rahma, Sakinah is….yet people spend days and months without entering it

4) Choose friends wisely, “every person is on the Deen of his friends”

5) We should know our history, it is history what connects and links us to what was before. Imagine growing up without knowing we were the strongest force in the world… there were times at the Ummah we were in a worse situation, Mongols, Crusades. Victory doesn’t just come by sitting in the Masjid and making Du’aa

6) Always be optimistic… “If you help Allah, Allah will help you”, how do we help Allah? If you support the religion of Allah, then you will be given victory…
“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” … We shouldn’t despair, the only people who despair of the mercy of Allah are the kuffar, and whom He led astray.

7) Be serious in All aspects of life: we need doctors, engineers, surgeons, we need to be successful in all aspects of life; the glorious period of the Muslims, they excelled in the different intellectual spheres. We are the ones that inspired Europe. If we don’t do it, then Allah will replace us with a generation that do, do it. I don’t recommend learning the laws of the kuffar (becoming a lawyer), but we need it, so we can defend the Muslim community.

8) Time management: Extremely important. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

9) Being active, going to the gym, the strong believer is more beloved than the weak one…we can’t expect victory without being like a sack of potatoes, we need Al Quwwah Al imaaniyah and physical strength also

10) We need to be aware of our surroundings: about different nations, technology, worldly astuteness of how the world operates; we can’t be blindfolded

I end by saying there is good in our youth, and every single Muslim…but we lack teaching and direction.
Wallahi if we had the teachers and leaders to guide the Ummah we would not be in the position we find ourselves in.

I see faces that can liberate Al Aqsa here in front of me, and I pray to Allah that he grant us a prayer there before we die… Ameen.

Context & Synopsis of the Situation in CAR & the Way Forward for the Muslims

What is really happening in the Central African Republic, and what can we do to help the Muslims there?

by Musa Cerantonio

Muslims in the CAR are facing indiscriminate mass murder

Muslims in the CAR are facing indiscriminate mass murder

Many of you will have read about the recent massacres being carried out by Christians against Muslims in the Central African Republic. Some of you might have shared the statuses with others, some maybe left a comment, others will have put some time aside to make du’a for the Muslims there. Besides making du’a which is one of the greatest things that a Muslim can do, I dare suggest that almost none would have done anything practical to help the Muslims there. The reason why is not too difficult to explain – It is because almost none of us know anything about what is going on, and even fewer have any idea what needs to be done to help the Muslims there.

Don’t believe me? Then honestly ask yourself the following questions –

Before you read about the events there, did you even know that a country named the Central African Republic existed?

Can you locate it on a map? (despite the fact that the country’s name practically gives away its location, I have found that most still cannot locate it)

What are the major languages of the CAR, and which are the influential tribes? To which tribes do the Muslims belong, and where are they mostly located? What percentage of the country is Muslim?

Who are the Séléka and who is Michel Djotodia?

If you could not answer all or even any of these questions do not feel bad, as most could not answer them simply because most who live outside Sub-Saharan Africa know very little about the area. Don’t be proud of this ignorance however as it is a large reason for why such wars and massacres take place in the region, because most of us simply lack concern for this part of the world, sometimes to the point that we act as if it does not exist. We as Muslims must be concerned for the Muslims of Sub-Saharan Africa and we must be doing our part to support them not just in times of fighting and hardship but also in times of peace. They are are brothers and sisters and they deserve our support just as much as any other Muslim, regardless of where they may be.

So how did this all begin? Why are Muslims being massacred in the CAR?
A complete and comprehensive answer to this would be quite long, so I will try to explain things concisely and as best as I can without going too far back in history.

The Central African Republic is located at a migration crossroads in the centre of Africa. Historically 3 major groups passed through it and settled, they were the Ubangis who came from the West of Africa, the Bantus who came from the South and the Sudanic who came from the Northern areas. Each of these groups formed their own smaller tribes and they settled in and around what is the modern-day CAR. Despite the early growth of Islam in the areas to the North (Chad, Sudan) and North-West (Nigeria, Niger) it was not up until the 1800’s that Islam fully entered into what is now the CAR. Initially Muslims entered as traders, and maintained a peaceful relationship with the locals, many of whom embraced Islam. However shortly afterwards groups from the north, primarily from Sudan and Chad began to raid the eastern part of the CAR and took most of the population as prisoners, many of whom were sold as slaves, quite often ending up on the West African coast to be sold to slave buyers from the USA. These raids had a lasting effect on the eastern part of the country, so much so that up until today the areas are almost entirely depopulated. These areas never recovered from the raids and as such have become land used by nomads from the North.

As the European powers began their scramble for Africa, trying to divide the continent for themselves to rule over and exploit, the ruler of Egypt and Sudan attempted to claim the areas of the CAR as part of his state. Considering that the CAR bordered South-Western Sudan, the claim was a credible one that could be backed up with Egyptian and Sudanese troops, however around this time the French had also laid claim to the area, and this lead to a conflict between the 2 nations. Egypt and Sudan was considerably weakened during the period due to heavy losses during the Mahdi Revolt and were unable to put up a strong fight, which meant that the French easily defeated them and claimed total control over the area. Thus began the history of European and Christian influence over the CAR. Throughout this period, much like the rest of Africa, CAR was exploited by French corporations and the French government. Slavery was kept in place by which workers were forced to work free of charge for the French. For a short period, the Western part of the CAR was ceded to Germany which had its colonial base to the West in Cameroon, however the area soon reverted back to French rule and the French maintained complete hegemony over the area up until 1960. In this time almost all of the Animists (Mushrikeen) were exposed to the French ways and many of them had adopted Christianity as well as the French language. The French however never maintained a strong rule over the North-Eastern areas, and thus the Muslim nomads of the area who spoke Arabic and maintained close ties with Chad and Sudan were able to remain quasi-independent, as well as the Christians and Mushrikeen of the area, many of whom began to spread into Southern Chad.

As the European powers began to withdraw from their colonies in Africa, new countries were being created and independence was being proclaimed. The Central African Republic officially came into existence in 1960 and thus began a new era that was free from direct European influence. The French however were sure to maintain a grip on the leaders of the nation, as they did in all of the countries which they ruled over. Just a week before elections for the CAR’s first government were to take place, the main candidate Barthélémy Boganda was killed in a plane crash, and the French quickly pushed one of his close associates, David Dacko to run for the leadership. His main rival, Abel Goumba was quickly arrested and thus Dacko easily claimed the leadership and established what was essentially a dictatorship within the next two years. He ran in the next election unopposed (since all opposition was officially banned) and he remained in power until January 1st 1966 when his cousin, General Bokassa overthrew him in a military coup. Bokassa proclaimed himself as the ‘Emperor’ and ‘President for Life’. His rule was heavily corrupt and soon enough the French invited his cousin Dacko to France to plan a coup against him. The French supported Dacko in overthrowing Bokassa, and in 1979 the French coup succeeded and Dacko was put back into power. However, two years later in 1981 yet another military-led coup took place, this time by General Kolingba, who managed to maintain close ties with the French, ensuring that he was able to stay in power without the French plotting against him. He banned almost all opposition to his rule and it was not until 1990 that popular opposition to his rule forced him to hold elections which he promptly lost to Ange-Félix Patassé who became the first democratically elected ruler of the CAR.

It was during the rule of Patassé that the foundations for what is taking place today were set. Patassé immediately began removing all of those who belonged to the tribe of the former ruler Kolingba from important posts. Kolingba’s tribe, the Yakoma were being punished for what Patassé saw as the crimes of Kolingba. Many mutinies began to take place among the Armed Forces of the CAR, complaining of tribal discrimination, unpaid wages and other grievances. The French who kept troops in the country for ‘peacekeeping’ were deployed to quell the mutinies, leading to increased tension and demands for Patassé to resign. Many of those opposed to the government began to rebel and take up arms against it, which led to a fear of a possible civil war. In December 1996 Patassé was forced to call upon the presidents of the neighbouring countries of Gabon, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali to help draw up a truce and peace plan between his government and the rebels opposed to it, the is culminated in the 1997 Bangui agreements, named after Bangui which is the capital city of the CAR and the city in which the agreements were signed by all parties. Initially a force of African peacekeepers were deployed in the CAR to ensure peace, however they were soon replaced by peacekeeping forces from the United Nations. The next election was held in 1999 and Patassé managed to remain in power, easily defeating his main rival Kolingba. In this time Patassé had forged close links with Colonel Qaddhafi of Libya, and Libya began to became a sgtrong base of support for the Patassé government. In 2001 a group of the military staged a coup against Patassé and stormed government buildings in Bangui, however the rebels were quickly defeated with the assistance of Libyan soldiers who came to support the Patassé government. After the coup attempt, efforts were made to destroy all rebels opposed to the government, and fighting continued around the country, any group suspected of being linked to the coup was attacked and imprisoned or killed. Patassé began to uncover information that one of his Generals, François Bozizé was planning to lead the rebels against him, and so he tried to arrest him but Bozizé managed to escape into Southern Chad with his troops before they could be caught. It was there that Bozizé waited for the right moment to attack, and it soon came in 2003.

Whilst Patassé was outside of the country attending meetings, Bozizé decided to strike and led his forces into the CAR and up to the capital of Bangui. Despite heavy resistance from the Army as well as the many Libyan troops sent to protect the government, Bozizé’s men were able to take power. His first acts were to incorporate all of the rebel groups into his new givernment, ensuring that he had a wide base of support from the people. In order to authenticate his rule, he had elections held in 2005 however Patassé was banned from running in them, and thus Bozizé easily won them. Bozizé made sure to make peace with the French, and they supported him against the former government supporters, some of whom had taken to fighting in a rebellion against him in what became known as the ‘Bush War’. Many other rebel groups joined in and the country soon began to spiral into yet another civil war. Bozizé asked the French for assistance in quelling the rebels, and they sent in fighter jets that bombed rebel positions. Elections were again held in 2011 which Bozizé won, however there were widespread claims of vote-rigging and corruption.

It is during this time of the Bush War that the Muslim groups begin to play a larger role. Up until that point, the Muslims in the North-East remained largely nomadic and played no rule in the politics of Bangui. However it did not mean that they were not interested in taking power, rather they were simply waiting for the right time to become involved. With the ongoing civil war in Sudan to its North and West, many of the Sudanese militia known as the Janjaweed were able to pass into the CAR and become involved in the rebellions taking place. Naturally they allied themselves with the Arabic speaking Muslims of the North-Eastern CAR, and they in turn allied themselves with the other Muslim groups spread throughout the area. The different rebel groups united under a banner known as the ‘Séléka’ which means coalition or alliance in the Sango language (Sango is the lingua franca of the CAR along with French). There were 5 main rebel groups that formed the Séléka, each of which was predominantly led by Muslims. They were –

The Union of Democratic Forces for Unity – Led by Michel Djotodia and General Damane Zakaria (both Muslims)

The Democratic Front of the Central African People – Led by Abdoulaye Miskine (Muslim)

The Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace – One faction led by Abdoulaye Issène and the other by Hassan Al-Habib (both Muslims)

The Patriotic Convention for Saving the Country – Led by General Mohamed-Moussa Dhaffane (Muslim)

These groups were augmented by the addition of the Chadian group the ‘Popular Front for Recovery’ led by the Chadian General Abdel Kader Baba-Laddé, who supported the Séléka.

The alliance came to be led by Michel Djotodia who like all of the others was from a Muslim from the North-Western area of the CAR. Like most of the other leaders, he was not a practicing Muslim, and he was most definitely not seeking to establish an Islamic State of any sort, rather the scope of his rebellion was one of seeking power and at most strengthening the oft-abandoned Muslim North-Western portion of the country, however the main aim was clearly simply one of seeking power. Djotodia was raised in a Muslim family, however he soon left the CAR to go and live in study in the Soviet Union where he remained for 10 years. Whilst in the Soviet Union he married a Russian woman and became fluent in the Russian language. Upon returning to the CAR he held various government positions in the Muslim dominated North-Eastern region of Vakaga which borders both Sudan and Chad. It was in this area that Djotodia grew up and as such learned the Arabic language due to it being one of the main languages of the area.

Despite being a Muslim and speaking Arabic, it has always been clear that Djotodia, as well as the rest of the Séléka leaders did not have any Islamist agenda at all, rather they sought power for themselves and it only happened that they happened to belong to Muslim tribes. The Imams of the Muslim majority areas quickly disassociated themselves from the Séléka, with one Imam from the Vakaga region claiming outright that Djotodia “Wanted nothing more than to be president.. He really wanted power.” It was because of this lack of an Islamic goal that the Imams and the religious Muslims did not support the Séléka, despite the fact that the Séléka were almost all Muslims by name. This phenomenon of ‘secular Muslims’ forming political alliances against the non- Muslims is not something unfamiliar, it has happened numerous times in the last century. One of the more famous examples of this were the Mǎ Group (马家军/Mǎ Jiājūn), who were a group of Chinese Muslim Generals all from the Mǎ family (Mǎ is the Chinese name for Muhammad) who allied with the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang) in the Chinese Civil War. Their aim was to seek power and were ruthless in doing so, at their peak controlling almost one third of all of China (predominantly the North-Eastern areas which were sparsely populated). The Mǎ group, like the Séléka were all Muslim by name, and in many ways helped to serve the financial interests of the Muslim Chinese, however were led by a want of power and not at all by an Islamic cause. The Mǎ group never ruled by Islam despite having power over large areas of China, they openly committed acts of kufr (such as worshiping the God of the Lake at the Kokonuur Lake Ceremony with the Kuomintang), and actually fought and suppressed the Islamists of China who spoke out against them.

The Séléka, much like the Mǎ Group began first taking over areas within the Muslim majority parts of the country. Djotodia’s group, the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UDFU) began the attack against the government by taking the city of Birao, the capital of the Vakaga region in the North-East. From there the Séléka forces marched towards the capital Bangui, in their path destroying any resistance that they met. Despite the presence of troops from Chad,Gabon, Cameroon, Angola, South Africa and Republic of Congo who were meant to act as a defence against the rebels, the Séléka managed to conquer almost all of the North-East and Central areas, and easily marched upon the capital by the end of March in 2013. Before entering Bangui, the Séléka rebels stopped their political ministers from preceding them into the city, knowing that if they did so then the ministers could quickly proclaim power and begin to cement power for themselves while ignoring their comrades who were doing the fighting. Eventually when the rebels saw that they had enough power to prevent this from happening they marched forth to take the capital. Bozizé did not stick around for long and quickly fled the country, leaving the Séléka to claim power which they immediately did, declaring Djotodia to be the new President of the CAR.

Upon taking power, Djotodia kept Nicolas Tiangaye as the Prime Minister, he had served as the Prime Minister to Bozizé and was widely liked by the CAR’s population. Djotodia had to manage on one hand pleasing the Séléka who had fought to put him in power, but at the same time not alienating the Christian/Animist majority who were suspicious of the new ‘Muslim’ ruler. Djotodia managed to have the leaders of the military and police support him as the new president, and so he set out to form a new government which would please all sides. Initially Djotodia placed only 9 members of the Séléka in the new government, however it was alleged that the 16 posts which were given to civil society activists were in fact all given to Séléka leaders masquerading as civil society activists. A further 8 posts were held by non-Séléka former opposition members, and only 1 post was given to a former ally of Bozizé. This perceived favouritism to Séléka members made the former opposition members protest and they refused to take part in the new government.

In order to please both sides Djotodia proposed to hold new elections after 3 years time, however this was refused by the former opposition as well as a group of African leaders who met in Chad, who demanded that instead elections be held within 18 months whilst the country was led by a transitional council. Djotodia reluctantly agreed to this timeline and arranged for an election to elect the leader of the transitional council, which he ended up being the only candidate for and thus remained as the leader of the CAR’s transitional government, however it was stipulated that he would not be able to run in the election to be held after 18 months, to which he agreed. These developments were beneficial for Djotodia and the Séléka ministers, but were not at all pleasing to the Séléka fighters who had put them into power. They wanted their share of the spoils of war, and so they continued to raid areas around the country and managed to raid and destroy almost 40 villages up until April 2013. Bozizé, the deposed president took advantage of this and declared that with French support he would seek to regain the presidency, in order to clean up the country from the Séléka rebels, suggesting that they were acting upon orders from Djotodia even though by that point it was clear that they were acting alone and in their own interests, not under command from Djotodia or his new government.

Djotodia saw that he faced a crisis if he continued to be linked to the Séléka fighters who continued their raids, and so he publicly proclaimed that the Séléka were to be disbanded, and that they must cease all operations in the country. This proclamation at least made it clear that he was no longer responsible for the Séléka, however what it did not change was the fact that it was him and his allies that had led the Séléka for so many years, and thus the public would continue to blame Djotodia for anything that the Séléka fighters did. As was expected, most of the Séléka fighters refused to accept the order of disbandment and continued their raids. This forced Djotodia to turn the CAR Armed Forces against them, which was seen as an act of great treachery by the Séléka, having their former leader declare war against them, rather than supporting them and paying them what they saw as their dues. Fighting increased drastically and by September almost 500,000 people had been displaced by the ongoing war. The Christian and Animist majority of the CAR held great resentment against the Séléka who were nominally Muslims, and as such they began to carry out reprisal attacks against Muslims, even if they were not part of Séléka. The violence between Muslims and Christians began to increase, and fighting between forces loyal to Bozizé and the Djotodia government also increased. The French government promised to immediately send more troops to stop the fighting (and of course to ensure that Bozizé or another suitable ally would be put into power), and the UN also announced that they would become involved on the ground.

Amidst the chaos that the country was descending into, Djotodia realised that he could not control the situation and agreed to attend a summit in Chad in January 2014 to solve the crisis. Both he and his Prime Minister announced their resignations, hoping that it would help to bring an end to the fighting. Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet was placed as the interim President and elections for a new leader took place almost immediately, with the mayor of Bangui, Catherine Samba-Panza being elected to lead the country. Her election was seen as a compromise as she was neither linked to Djotodia and the Séléka, nor to the opposition or Bozizé, she was essentially a neutral politician who all sides agreed to and approved of, hoping that she could help bring an end to the chaos and fighting. The UN also praised her appointment, and the French seem to accept her, not having voiced any opposition to her. Samba-Panza immediately called on all sides to lay down their weapons, and called for both the Séléka as well as the Christian militias who were known as the ‘anti-Balaka’ to stop the fighting. This call largely fell on deaf ears, and within a few days the Séléka resumed their fighting and reportedly killed 75 in a town in the South-West of the country. A day later anti-Séléka violence broke out, and within days widespread Muslim-Christian violence was occurring all over the West of the country. The anti-Balaka militiamen (Balaka means ‘machete’ in the Sango language, as the Muslim Séléka were known to carry machetes with them often) began to kill Muslims and mutilate their bodies, there were instances of burning Muslim bodies as well as reports of cannibalism. What began as reprisals against the Séléka quickly turned into an anti-Muslim massacre, targetting anybody who is a Muslim, regardless of their association or lack of association to Séléka. This massacre is continuing up until today as I write this piece, mosques are being attacked and there are reports of anti-Balaka groups destroying entire Muslim villages, forcing the Muslims to flee outside of the country.

So what is to happen from here?

One of the first things that we must understand is that although the conflict began as an entirely secular matter, carried out by forces with no religious goals, it has ended up turning into a religious conflict where Muslims are being targeted solely because they believe in Allah and follow the Prophet Muhammad. It may be true that if you ask the anti-Balaka fighters why they are fighting the Muslims, some will say that they want revenge on the Séléka, however their actions and even their statements betray this and show that they are in fact seeking revenge on the Séléka by targeting Muslims who had nothing to do with Séléka or Djotodia and in fact may have even been opposed to them. Right now regardless of what has happened in the past we are facing a disaster in the CAR. It is true that much of it was instigated by secularist Muslims, and we are seeing the whole world over how the follies of secularists end up affecting the Muslims and due to this we can no longer sit back and allow them to continue doing things for their own personal gains which will bring harm to the Muslim Ummah, whether it be in CAR, Bangladesh, Egypt or anywhere else. Therefore we must respond to the situation on different levels, one is how to deal with the defence of the Muslims, another is how to fight those fighting us, another is how to deal with the secularists, and lastly how we can gain the best out of the situation. All of these steps must be taken with a common goal in mind, and they are not independent of each other, because each step is related to the next and to only focus on one while ignoring the others is going to cause problems in the future.

Defence of the Muslims – This is the most urgent step that must be taken, as right now there are hordes of drug-crazed cannibalistic madmen who want to kill every Muslim that they encounter. If we do not defend the Muslims then surely blood will be spilled, honour will be taken away and we as an Ummah must not allow this to take place. The first step would be for the Muslims in the CAR to organise themselves into groups who can organise the safe passage of women and children towards safe areas, whether it be in the North-West or even in Chad. The men should organise themselves into fighting units with what they have to try and protect the Muslim’s lives and properties, so long as it is safe to do so. If not then they too should migrate to safer areas. The Séléka rebels MUST repent for their errors and should turn to Allah and pledge to fight for Islam and to defend the Ummah, they must use the same forces that they used to take the country to defend the Muslims that are suffering because of their mistakes. Regardless of if they do repent and change course or not, it is necessary for the Mujahideen and Islamists of the surrounding countries to come to the aid of the Muslims, this means especially the Muslims of Chad and Sudan should come, and without doubt among the men of Sudan are brave and strong Mujahideen who are experienced on the battlefields. They should plan to come not only to defend, but to remain and teach the people about Tawheed. They must strengthen the communities and cause the people to dedicate themselves to the establishment of an Islamic State. After Chad and Sudan, groups present in the surrounding countries should also send forth men, such as the Mujahideen of Nigeria, Southern Egypt, Niger, Mali and even the men of Al-Qa’idah in the Islamic Maghreb. If they all make a way through, at least the defence of the Muslims will be possible and the enemy may be deterred from harming them.

Responding to the CAR – The location of the CAR is significant as it lies on what is essentially the border of the Ummah. To its north are all Muslim lands, and to its south are all Christian and Animist lands. Whilst the majority of the CAR falls under Christian control, its North-East is a Muslim area and thus must remain a part of the Ummah and not be mixed with the land of kufr. It should be an aim of the Muslims to either try to retake the CAR, and this would involve regrouping and reorganising the Séléka under an Islamic banner, and then preparing for a defence against the surrounding countries. If this is not possible, and even I would suggest that we are not ready for that, then we should focus on at least maintaining that the North-East areas remain as Muslim areas under our own control, and this means that like in Mali, the Islamic groups must unite and form an Army that will defend the areas and ensure that it is recognised as a Muslim land. From there Muslims from Sudan, Chad etc. should be urged to migrate there and to assist in the establishment of an Islamic State, by which a power base may be formed that can in turn be used to attack the apostate regimes of their lands and to unite the Muslims of Central Africa into a single state. The goal of autonomy and independence from the Christians is something possible, but will no doubt lead to fighting with the kuffar and most likely (just like in Mali) a French invasion in order to stop the formation of an Islamic State. The aim of the kuffar would be to stop the Islamist movements and to bring a quick end to all fighting, for they know as well as we do that an unstable area is ripe for the growth of an Islamic State, so they would aim to repress the Muslims and to stop any moves towards this Islamic goal. If however it is decided to simply abandon the options of re-taking the CAR or forming an Islamic State in the North-West, then the risk of going back to the status quo of Muslims remaining a minority will be the worst option, and will leave us open to future attacks. If this option is pursued then in the last we must maintain a strong Army ready to respond to such attacks, and focus on education of the Muslims so at least when the time is right they may seek independence under an Islamic banner.

The Future for the Muslims of CAR – The Muslims have now seen what is a timeless truth, that the disbelievers will never accept them until they follow their religion, as Allah tells us in the Qur’an. They must be aware that neither the disbelievers of the CAR, nor the French, nor the UN are truly concerned for them. Whilst the liberals among them may pretend to want to see an end to the fighting, the reality is that they too will fight us when we raise the banner of Islam. They prefer to see the Muslims as docile, weak and inactive, unable to defend ourselves against their political, cultural and military hegemony. After the era of the Séléka there will be no forgiveness, the Muslims will be held with even more suspicion than in the past, and so we must be prepared to look to the wider Ummah to find the right way ahead. The Mujahideen of the surrounding areas must play a role in this, and so far some of them have stated that they are ready to enter the CAR to offer support to the Muslims, this is no doubt an encouraging thing to see. The Muslims of the CAR have shown that they are strong, indeed strong enough to take power of the country, this means that they are not so weak as to be forced to migrate to Chad where they will face even further problems from a secular regime, but that they should aim to forge an independent Islamic State in the Muslim areas of the country. This will be better for them to fight for as the one who fights for this fights in the Path of Allah, and if he dies he dies as a martyr and Paradise is his destination. To remain as they are at the moment is not an option as it will only lead to more slaughter in the future and more oppression. The Muslims of the CAR can turn this disaster into a great blessing and becom an example for the Ummah, but they will need our help, and the call is made to the Muslims of the surrounding areas, and then to the entire Ummah to contribute to them, to travel to them, to fight along side them, and to work together for the unity of the Muslims and the call for an Islamic State that will protect the Muslims.

I will leave you with the words of one of the anti-Balaka fighters who was speaking about the killing of a Muslim mayor – “It is good that he died, the man was a Muslim. We don’t want any of them to remain in this country… Even if he was a good man, he was a Muslim”

It is clear that there is only one choice for the Muslims, and that is the same choice that was made by the Prophet and the Sahabah, as well as Muslims throughout history – Do not live in the lands of Kufr, establish an Islamic State and then you will live with honour. The kuffar will never accept you, so do not rely on them or even live among them, rather aim for what Allah commands of us, the establishment of our own State which is based upon Tawheed.