An individual who described himself as belonging to a group of Muslims agitating for the implementation of theÂ shari’a in Belgium wrote to the senior salafi jihadi sheikh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi with a request for guidance. Al-Maqdisi, who lives in Jordan, is best known as the mentor of Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi; more recently he has provided guidance to the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus, salafi jihadis in Nigeria, and probably to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb as well. In his reply, Al-Maqdisi told the Belgian Muslims to support the active jihads by providing funding, men, or however else they could, but counseled against carrying out attacks in Belgium as long as they are incapable of mounting a sustained conflict.
The author of the letter signed his name as “Abu Imran” (written in Latin characters). There is in fact an Abu Imran who is known in Belgium as a leader in the group called sharia4belgium which has begun recently to draw some attention. Their website is currently not working, but videos of this Abu Imran can still be seen on the sharia4belgium YouTube channel. British Islamist Anjem Choudary, head of the Islam 4 UK organization, recently recorded a video in support of sharia4belgium. It cannot be definitively confirmed that this Abu Imran is the one who wrote Al-Maqdisi, but it is definitely a possibility worth investigating.
Following is a translation of the appeal from “Abu Imran,” followed by Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi’s response:
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Abu Imran’s Letter to Al-Maqdisi
“A Request to Sheikh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, May Allah Preserve Him, for Advice and Direction, from His Brothers in Belgium:
“In the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate,
“To the honorable Sheikh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, may Allah preserve him, from his brothers the believers in Allah’s unity in Belgium.
“Peace be upon you, and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
“Our dear sheikh, with Allah the Mighty as witness, we love you in Allah a love that only Allah knows. And with Allah the Exalted as witness, we love in Allah all those who participate with you in your blessed proselytizing and in spreading beneficial religious knowledge on this pulpit [minbar; i.e. Al-Maqdisi’s website, Minbar Al-Tawhid Wa’l-Jihad], from which we benefit whenever we visit it. May Allah bring us more people like you, and may Allah grant you the best of rewards for [the benefit you bring to] Islam and the Muslims.
“We are a group of your brothers living in Belgium. Allah willing, we are engaged in the duty of calling people to Allah and spreading words of truth about the unity of Allah. A short time ago, we established, by Allah’s grace, a special organization dedicated to calling for the implementation of and support for Allah’sÂ shari’a and to the refutation of democracy, so that people will know that we, as Muslims, will never accept any religion other than Islam or any law other than Allah’s law.
“As you know better than we, anyone who calls people to the truth finds the enemies of Allah â€“ the hypocrites and the infidels â€“ in his path trying to defame him and disparage him. But by the grace of Allah, this has only added to our steadfastness and has stiffened our spine. We see every day that people’s opinion of us is the opposite of what the media say about us.
“Those who are most hostile to us are those so-called Muslims in the Muslim diaspora [in Belgium] who call for moderation and temperance. They are the people who are farthest from Allah’s religion. Some of them do not pray, and some of them are democrats. Even some of the mosque imams have spoken ill of us from the pulpits and pronounced on the radio and in the newspapers that Islam has nothing to do with [these] extremist fools. But there is no power and strength save in Allah.
“We now ask you, honorable sheikh, to offer us some brief advice and some directions that will be of benefit to us in calling people to Allah, and that will serve us a proof to people [of the correctness of our path], after the Quran and theÂ sunna of Allah’s Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him. [We ask this] because many accuse us of heretical tendencies and say we have strayed from the right path. And we pray to Allah the Exalted that he have those close to Him [i.e. the righteous] support us with good advice and correct our ways…
“Peace be upon you, and Allah’s mercy and blessings,
“Your brothers and sons in Belgium.
“Written by: Abu Imran.”
“Answer from Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi:
“In the name of Allah, praise be to Allah, and prayer and peace be on the Prophet of Allah;
“I ask Allah the Exalted to preserve my brothers who call people to belief in Allah’s unity and who champion hisÂ shari’a everywhere.
“May Allah love you, you who have loved me in Him, and may Allah grant you reward for thinking well of me. As long as you ask for advice, I will advise you, with fear of Allah in my soul and in striving to attain the honor of upholding the affairs of this religion in this time, wherever you may be, to join the caravan of the sect-made-victorious that [as related in thehadith] champions Allah’s commands and upholds them, and continues to do so until Allah’s decree comes to pass.”
Support Your Brothers theÂ Mujahideen By Aiding Their Jihad
“And I advise you to be a support for your brothers theÂ mujahideen in the battlefields of jihad by aiding their jihad to the best of your ability, whether this be in funds, in men, in prayer, or by refuting the spurious doubts of theÂ ‘ulama who have strayed from the right path and the polytheists’Â ‘ulama, whose only concern is to defame the jihad and theÂ mujahideen and to aid their enemies, be they the worst polytheists. This has reached the point that, by the grace of Allah, the ranks have become distinguished, and every impostor who was associated with proselytizing, religious knowledge, and religion while at the same time championing falsehood, forsaking theÂ mujahideen, and refraining from dissociating from the polytheists has been exposed.
“Given this situation, a Muslim should not stand by looking on at this turmoil as though he has no role in aiding the religion, as though it is of no consequence, and without providing anything, neither his life nor his funds, neither spear nor tongue. The enemies have attacked the Islamic nation and itsÂ shari’a from all sides and have banded together to extinguish the light of itsÂ shari’a. They have made common cause to put out the ember of its jihad at every level, and theÂ ‘ulama of evil and the wicked media have supported them in this, thinking that [the enemies] will be victorious.
“But Allah has given his trustworthy promise [Quran 8:36-37]: ‘Those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder people from the path of Allah; they will spend it and then they will suffer regret, and then they will be conquered; and those who disbelieve will be gathered in Hell; that Allah may separate the wicked from the good, and put the wicked one atop another, piling them up and placing them in Hell; these are the losers’.
“There is aÂ hadith from the Prophet related by Imam Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal] in the name of Tamim Al-Dari, who said that he heard the Prophet of Allah, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, say: ‘… Allah will leave no house, whether among city-dwellers or tent-dwellers, without bringing into it this religion, either in glory or in ignominy: glory by which Allah strengthens Islam, and ignominy by which he lays low unbelief’. Tamim Al-Dari would say: ‘I knew this from my own family: those who converted to Islam attained the good, honor, and glory, and those of them who were unbelievers attained ignominy, humiliation, and theÂ jizya‘.
“A while ago I read that ‘the Belgian newspaperÂ Le Soir reported that more than 40,000 Belgian citizens have converted to Islam in the last few years, making of Brussels [i.e. Belgium] the country on the European continent with the highest rate of conversion of its citizens to Islam. The newspaper explained that Belgium has a population of 10 million, among whom are 450,000 Muslims, meaning that the conversion rate of Belgian citizens relative to the total population is the highest in Europe. This has driven the extreme right-wing in Belgium to issue warnings emphasizing the dangers of mixed marriages! A number of citizens ascribed their conversion to Islam to their complete conviction in [the truth of] the IslamicÂ shari’a, saying that it is a religion that has no intermediaries between the servant and his Lord, and that this is what they were searching for. These Muslims criticized the media campaigns directed against the Muslims which distort many of the truths of the true religion, as well as attempting to falsify the justifications for the citizens’ embrace of Islam’.
“This news is without doubt good tidings and a confirmation of Allah’s promise and the saying of the Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him.”
Muslims in Europe Need to Study theÂ Shari’a and to Learn the True Meaning of “There Is No God But Allah”
“Given that things are such, and that there is today no Muslim country to which a Muslim would be obliged to emigrate, and which, if it existed, would make it prohibited to not emigrate and to live in the abode of unbelief; given that this is the case, then Muslims in those countries [in the abode of unbelief] need to work and strive to be on a level of religious learning,Â shari’a knowledge, jurisprudence, and thinking that will make them qualified to lead and direct the Muslims [in those countries], and keep them safe from the abysses of schism [lurking] behind the various types of heterodox preachers at the gates of Hell â€“ the Hararian Ahbash, Rafidite Shi’ites, extremistÂ takfiris, extremist Murji’ites, and other heterodox sects that take advantage of newly-converted Muslims to foist their wicked heterodoxies on them.
“[To reach this level of qualification] requiresÂ shari’a study, guidance of the youth to it, and providing what the youth are lacking in religious knowledge and in their thinking. They need to receive enlightenment as to the most important duties in religion and in the world, things that are necessary for proselytizing and for jihad, and which are considered among the preparations they are required to make for proselytizing and for jihad. Among these, the most important one to start with is to learn [the true meaning of the profession of faith] ‘there is no God but Allah’, and all that depends on it: the foundations of belief in the unity of Allah, learning true creed and knowing those things that contradict Islam and nullify [one’s faith], the conditions for [the efficacy of the statement] ‘there is no God but Allah’ [in granting one status as a Muslim], what it requires, the rights it entails [i.e. what it obliges a Muslim to do], and its most firm bond [i.e. belief in Allah and rejection of idolatry; cf. Quran 2:256].
“Likewise, [this requires] learning what every Muslim needs to know, the most basic keys of religious knowledge, according to one’s ability. These allow him to receive [knowledge] from Allah [i.e. from the Quran] and from His Prophet [i.e. from theÂ hadith], Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him and his family. They protect one from being seduced by schismatic preaching, and make one immune to schism and to being swept into the abysses of laxity or extremism. Likewise, [this requires] keen insight into reality and into the true nature of the global war that is being waged against Islam and the Muslims in our times, and which, in order to be stopped and confronted, requires that all Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder, in all their varying classes, areas of expertise, fields of knowledge, and capabilities. In this war, every individual Muslim mans a front, and it is not permitted to someone who considers himself a Muslim to have no role in stopping [the war against Islam], each one in accordance with the level of correction he is capable of among those mentioned by our noble Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, in theÂ hadith: Whoever of you who sees an evil, let him correct it [with his hand; and if he is not able, then with his tongue; and if he is not able, then with his heart, and that is the weakest form of faith].
“One who is resolute and has done this in his actions or in his words, with his hand or with his tongue, has a substantial portion in aiding the religion in these times of ours before the conquest, and is striving to return the rule of Islam and its laws to the earth. There is no doubt that he will be [considered] among those who perform good deeds, who have given of themselves before the conquest and have engaged in the fight, if he has joined proper action to pure intention. Let one who plays this role train himself to bear the hostility and the harm that will come to him from near and from afar, whether this be from the rulers and their supporters or from the masses and the ignorant â€“ and even from those who consider themselves proselytizers for Islam but have not understood the preaching of the prophets, its foundations, and the most important duties [it requires of one]. This is the way of Allah with the followers of this path…
“Given that this is the case, there is nothing strange in what you mentioned regarding the hostility, harm, slander, and revilement that have been directed at you by some ignorant people, and even by some of those who consider themselves proselytizers, preachers, imams, or religious scholars, but who do not know the true meaning of the prophets’ call and the most important duties of this religion. You need to patiently bear the harm they do you and consider it a sacrifice for which Allah will give reward in the future, and as something that is for the sake of Allah. You should turn away from them and not occupy yourselves with them. Do not let their calumnies and slanders against you give you pause or cause you to let up. [TheÂ hadith] describes the sect-made-victorious that upholds this religion in these words: “Those who oppose them and those who betray them can do them no harm, until Allah’s decree comes to pass.”
“Together with this forbearance and turning away from their harm, there is no reason not to refute their spurious arguments with wisdom, with proofs, and with learned discourse which unmask their spurious arguments and reveal the truth and Allah’s unity to the people and make these known to them. This is of the best and most beneficial kinds of speech, [as Allah said in Quran 41:33:] ‘Who is better in speech than he who calls to Allah, does righteous works, and says ‘I am of those who submit’ (muslimin)?'”
Do Not Get Drawn into Secondary Battles; Focus on Guiding People to Allah
“The greatest good in existence is belief in Allah’s unity, and the greatest evil in existence is polytheism. For this reason, I advise you to not occupy yourselves in your dealings with others â€“ whether Muslim or non-Muslim â€“ with secondary battles that could divert you from truly calling people to belief in Allah’s unity and to dissociation from polytheism in all its forms â€“ new and old â€“ and teaching them the duties this entails. Concentrate on these foundations and duties, which were the call of the prophets. Do not divert [people from] the true field of struggle and do not draw people’s attention away from it, and do not occupy yourselves and others with distractions. Engage, together with them, in the battles that are the building blocks of the path. Derive benefit from the experiences of [Islamist] groups in various countries, and do not repeat their mistakes. Remember the saying of the Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him: ‘By Allah, to have Allah use you to guide one man to the truth is better than to have high-bred she-camels [i.e. something of great value]’.”
Muslim Youth Who Take “Spoils” From the Unbelievers Have Tarnished the Image of Islam
“For these reasons, when it comes to dealing with others when proselytizing, I advise you to not adhere literally to the plain meaning of the traditional jurisprudential division of people intoÂ harbis [unprotected infidels in the abode of war], infidels protected by treaty, anddhimmis, in accordance with the classifications in the jurisprudential literature. [This is not the best approach] in light of the fact that [today] there is no Islamic state, and it is under the aegis of the Islamic state that these classifications operate in their complete and true manner. This [i.e. the application of these classifications] is an issue that has led some of the [Muslim] youth in the West to get involved in the matter of [taking] spoils [from unbelievers], theft, and even the taking of captives and the like, as I have heard occurs, while ignoring proselytizing, championing religion, and working for its sake. In so doing these people have brought detriment and reprehensible things on themselves and on the call to Islam, as is known.
“I even advise you, in light of the absence of an Islamic state, to deal with people in accordance with the political behavior prescribed by theÂ shari’a (al-siyasa al-shar’iyya) and with the prudential interests (maslaha) of Islam, Muslims, and the call to Islam â€“ all according to the guidelines of theÂ shari’a and taking into account the Muslims’ weakness. An unbeliever who does not commit aggression against Muslims and who does not appear to slander their religion â€“ there is nothing wrong with dealing with him kindly and in a manner that makes him take an interest in the religion, and one may call him to Islam. As for an unbeliever who does openly slander Islam, mock its laws, and machinate against the Muslims â€“ if the Muslims in his land are unable to requite him [for his actions] as he deserves, due to their weakness and weak position, then they should turn away from him, dissociate from him and from his actions, and make manifest their dissociation or their hostility in accordance with their ability, and he should be hated and rudely shunned. If he is of the kind that disputes publicly, then he should be disputed publicly, and if he is a merchant then he should be boycotted and shunned, and so forth.
“Likewise, I advise Muslims [in the West] to take into account the mentality of their audience and to speak to them in accordance with [their audience’s] way of thinking, approaching them through issues that will have an effect on them. The means [that are allowed in] Islamic proselytizing are wide, as long as they remain regulated by the guidelines of theshari’a.”
Muslims Should “Not Get Entangled in Beginning the Conflict with the Regimes Too Early, While They Are Still in a State of Weakness and Are Incapable of Concluding the Conflict”
“Likewise, I give you the same advice that I give to Muslims in a state of weakness in general, in every land in which they do not have a plan for [conducting] armed confrontation with the regimes under which they live, due to the weakness of their abilities, the fact that the circumstances are not ripe, or because the place is unfitting for such [a confrontation], or for other reasons that are to be evaluated by those knowledgeable about the reality [of this country], the [Muslims’] abilities, and the stage that has been reached in their proselytizing. [I advise them] to not get entangled in beginning the conflict with the regimes too early, while they are still in a state of weakness and are incapable of concluding this conflict, while they are still lacking in expertise and abilities, and while their strategy at the present time does not allow this.
“I advise them, as long as they are incapable [of armed confrontation], to occupy themselves with calling people to belief in Allah’s unity, as I said earlier, and to be good ambassadors for the Islamic nation. They should demonstrate the morals of Islam in their dealings with people. They should not betray others or act treacherously or dishonestly. They have an excellent role model in the Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him.
“[The Muslims] must avoid the ills of Western societies and their permissiveness, and keep their children away from these ills. They must strive to create Islamic alternatives in which to raise them and educate them. They should live in communities close to one another that are in mutual contact, act in solidarity, and aid one another in obedience to Allah and in reverence and piety, so as to inoculate themselves to the temptations of those countries and so as to hold fast together to the rope of Allah. They should abandon internal quarrels and fortify their communities against the penetration of outsiders, people with wrongheaded notions, and the unorthodox sects, until Allah grants the establishment of the Islamic state that rules by theÂ shari’a and hoists the banner of Allah’s unity. At that time they will be obligated to emigrate to the Islamic state, and it will not be permitted to live in the lands of unbelief under the rule of unbelievers.
“I ask Allah the Exalted to grant me and you obedience to Him, and that He use us all to champion His religion.”