Thursday, June 28, 2007

another u.s. is necessary

So if you are going to be anywhere near Atlanta, Georgia between June 27 and July 1 the place to be is the U.S. Social Forum. This thing is going to be big. Just check out the list of workshops. I wish I was going.

See also: another world is still possible

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

architecture is not justice

They have monuments to liberty
And freedom of opinion, which is well and good.
But I explained to them that
Architecture is not justice.

An excerpt from Sami al Hajj's poem, Humiliated In The Shackles

publish or perish: guantanamo

I just found out about this story by reading the post Why Close Reading Matters I: Guantanamo Bay Poetry over at the Constructivist's blog. Basically, in spite of considerable hurdles and difficulties, a certain amount of poetry written by Guantanamo prisoners has been able to escape (even if the poets have not) and has been collected in a volume to be published in August by the University of Iowa Press. The story is also covered over at Common Dreams in: Inmates’ Words: The Poems of Guantanamo What is probably the most provocative and disturbing aspect of this story is the fact that some of the Guantanamo poems aren't being published due to U.S. national security concerns!

See also: (on Guantanamo)
nommo (politics and Muslim poets)

a rising voice: afro-latin americans

The Miami Herald recently published a five-part series on the situation of Afro-Latinos in various countries (including Nicaragua, Honduras, and Colombia as well as the more typical Brazil, Dominican Republic and Cuba). The series is really good. I was half-tempted to just cut- and- paste the entire thing into here. The pieces paint a much more complex picture than I would have expected in this type of story. In the past, many such articles would stop short at pointing out Africanisms in the local culture and repeating myths of racial democracy. More recently I've seen (and linked to) stories which acknowledge something of the racism in Latin America in a general and abstract way. But the series A Rising Voice: Afro-Latin Americans manages to cover a lot of ground with a surprising amount of richness and depth. I definitely recommend.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"i am both a muslim and christian"

A recent story in the Seattle Times deals with the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding who has been an Episcopal priest for over 20 years and Muslim for the past 15 months... simultaneously. The piece, "I am both Muslim and Christian" reminds me of the pastor of the Presbyterian church near my house who, in a conversation we had a few years ago, not only questioned the divinity of Christ, but blamed the dogma of Christ's divinity for distracting Christians from striving for social justice here on Earth. During the same conversation he also explained how he didn't believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and he expressed a great deal of heartfelt sympathy for a local Muslim activist who was deported in the wake of 9/11.

To be honest, as someone who came to Islam from an evangelical Christian background, I continue to be surprised by the extent to which many self-identified Christians seem to reject what I was raised to think of as basic and fundamental doctrines of Christianity. So I'm more shocked by the fact that Redding would call herself Christian than the fact that she calls herself Muslim. For a long time I've realized that the most liberal ends of the Christian spectrum are tolerant enough to include someone who embraces the shahada. But the amazing thing is how the parameters of Christian orthodoxy seem to have gotten so fuzzy.

But questions of orthodoxy aside, I should say that I respect Rev. Redding's intentions and in the current political climate I definitely appreciate that someone like her is making serious efforts towards peacemaking between Christians and Muslims.

past posts:
robert karimi
islam and christianity blending in africa

Thursday, June 21, 2007

submachine games

I think I will take a momentary break from being serious and will mention some games I've found online. The Submachine series is a collection of trippy, eerie, poetic, odd, surreal, mysterious, intriguing, puzzle-solving point-and-click adventures. You literally only need to use your mouse to interface with the game. I started with Submachine 1 which is relatively short and gives you a flavor of what the logic of the games is like. Submachine 2, 3 and 4 are much "bigger" games with more rooms to search through and more complex puzzles. (Although 3 stands out as having very little narrative. Basically you can move freely through a mostly monotonous "dungeon" and solve a sequence of logical/mathematical puzzles) Submachine 0 is the smallest of the bunch. I would say FLF is more "impressionistic" and less logical. It is bigger than 0 or 1, but not as difficult as 2-4. I would recommend playing the games more or less in the order given, both because of the increasing difficulty and also in order to appreciate the unfolding story.

Submachine 0: Ancient Adventure
Submachine 1
Submachine 2: The Lighthouse
Submachine 3: The Loop
Submachine 4: The Lab
Submachine FLF (Future Loop Foundation)

More "Grenada-esque" games:
darfur is dying
el emigrante
where is the beef?
bunny vs. world

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

paris is america

An interesting nugget from IOZ by way of The Left End of the Dial 2.0:
Paris Hilton is America. Stupid, heedless, rich but not as rich as she beleieves, unhealthier than she likes to admit, casually destructive, immune to remorse, desirous of consequences for those who cross her but unable to contemplate that she should have to face any herself, acquisative, profligate, manipulative, needy, juvenile, boorish, proud, self-righteous, self-pitying, self-absorbed, and self-destructive. Her brief respite from the first real punishment of her life is the pause at the peak of the wave before the ship's keel falls sickeningly toward the trough. She's not a movie, she's a mirror.

dhoruba bin wahad: four points

In an earlier post, I already excerpted from Dhoruba Bin Wahad's "Fatwa on Pan-Arab racism" but I also wanted to highlight and invite comments on Dhoruba Bin Wahad's call for specific actions from the Black/Muslim communities:

Africans are of diverse faiths, varying degrees of spirituality. But for all Muslims there are requirements of faith that exhort them to resist tumult and oppression. To enjoin the good and forbid the wrong is a social and political obligation. Muslims are urged to defend the weak against the tyrant, and oppressors – not participate in rape and oppression. And for fulfilling these obligations we will be attacked, murdered, imprisoned, hunted, and martyred. Muslims have a command from Allah, the Most High, to lead in the struggle for righteousness – not wallow in the wake of unrighteous calamity.

* I am asking for Imam’s and Muslim activists of African ancestry to deliver Fatwas on the issues mention herein. To mobilize the Muslim community to act in opposition to Pan-Arab racism towards Black people.

* I am urging Imam’s in the Diaspora of African ancestry to organize a Majlis to guide the conduct of Pan-African Affairs on behalf of the Ummah, and to deliver a Fatwa on Darfur and Pan-Arab racism in general.

* I am urging activists of African ancestry, both Muslim and non-Muslim to support a campaign to pressure the AU to act forthrightly with the Darfur genocide and to resist U.S. backed (UN) initiatives to deploy UN troops in Somalia in support of an unpopular transitional government.

* I am Asking Muslims in the African Diaspora to establish foundation and convene a forum on the African continent to lay out a strategic vision of the role of Islam in Pan-African unification of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Monday, June 18, 2007

my bonnie lies over the ocean

So it turns out that "the one who got away" will be back in the US for a bit. Actually, her job is not terribly far away from where I might be for the forseeable future (at least the same side of the country). I wonder if we'll have a chance to catch up.

how to recover from the addiction to white supremacy

The original "12 steps" were developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous as a method to address alcoholism, but in time the steps were adapted to deal with other forms of addiction or substance abuse. Some authors have even suggested that the 12-step program can be generalized and followed, even by "non-addicts", as a path to greater wholeness, peace and a more spiritual life. (There are definitely some similarities which could be drawn between some of the 12-steps and certain elements of the sufi path).

More recently, Marvin X, a Muslim activist and writer who has been featured frequently on Planet Grenada (and is also on my blog roll) has adapted the 12 step approach to deal with a different sort of problem in: How To Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy: A Pan African 12 Step Model which, without ignoring or dismissing the economic and political aspects of white supremacy, starts to address some of the deeply embedded psychological factors as well. The link goes to a long excerpt on Marvin X's blog, so if you want the detailed explanation of all the steps I guess you are going to have to buy his book. But the section he chose to share is definitely thought-provoking.

For some previous Grenada posts on the psychological impact of racism on its victims check out:
go back to mexico?
recalling frantz fanon
post traumatic slave syndrome

And for some more Marvin X check out:
more marvin x

Sunday, June 17, 2007

the santerians

Well, it's about time they had a Latino superhero team. But I don't get why they don't call themselves the Santeros or even the Orishas. The Santerians sounds more like bad spanglish.

The Santerians: The Art of Joe Quesada
Marvel Introduces Latino Superhero Team

Grenada's comic past:
the 99
in brightest day, in blackest night
"'x-men' is not a cleverly named documentary about the nation of islam..."
race and dc comics
black comic books

a fatwa on pan-arab racism

A Fatwa on Pan-Arab Racism
by Muslim and former Black Panther, Dhoruba Bin-Wahad

In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful


Peace and Greetings to All.

I bear witness that there is no Illah but Allah, I bear witness that Muahammad ibn Abdullah is the Prophet of Allah.

We Muslims of African ancestry face difficult decisions. We stare the grim consequences of our multifaceted heritage in the face of; consequences of the long nightmare of enslavement by Europeans; preceded by an epoch of mercantile slavery and war at the hands of Arabs. Embedded in the fiber of our folk memory are dim recollections, like historical cultural DNA, of the successive waves of conquests - ancient and not so ancient that swept through North Africa - Hittites of antiquity, the Romans, Greeks, Arabs, and ultimately Northern Germanic clans of Western European origin, each left their legacy and impact upon Africa and our ancestors, and hence upon us.

We are today the sum total of what we were yesterday. That sum represents both failure and success, triumph and defeat, the sacred and the profane. Sometimes it seems as though we “can't win of losing.” Ask yourself, what became of our Moorish glory and hegemony over a third of Europe? Of what significance today are the trade routes and commerce of Songhay, or Dahomey, and the Niger Delta states to the political and moral bankruptcy of today's African nation-states? What have we truly learned? In what relevancy lie the appreciation of “Maroon” culture by declaring it a “national heritage” while depreciating the revolutionary impulse for freedom the burned in the hearts of Africans who became Maroons? Enslaved by a system of dehumanizing trade and commerce against their will, they revolted, organized resistance, and built a self-containing culture to keep their independence. Of what relevance are they today? Yes even our victories are subject to the vicissitudes of Time...“By the token of time [humans] are at lost”. Indeed we often are, but it is our consciousness, our intellect, our God given quality of “insight” or the human gift of abstract thought, that qualify us as Earth's vice-regent and therefore capable of learning from the past, overcoming the present, and plan our own salvation. As Muslims we are never done telling ourselves that we were molded in the best of images, We, Muslims are Guardians, not destroyers of life. Part of Creation – not above it. Nonetheless, we, like all living things are created beings. And as such we were created in different communities, of different colors, not as a basis for hatred, animosity, or war, but to appreciate the infinite variety of human possibility – to love each possibility in its own right.

But the age in which we now find ourselves will forever be shaped and judged by our actions and responses to the legacy history has imposed upon us all. There are events unfolding within western civilization and cultures of the East that are of the utmost importance to our physical survival, and the reemergence of a genuinely liberating Islam and progressive Ummah. These events have not only a history, they also are major struggles in which our freedom and salvation are at stake. These events represent for the benefactors of racism, exploitation, injustice, avarice, and elitism serious challenges as well. And we need be mindful of the monopoly on violence the benefactors of injustice, racism, and exploitation have, and their proven disposition to use legal and extralegal violence to hold on to power and privileges.

click here to read entire "fatwa"
click here for more from/about Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

to be a minority within a minority

I just found the post To be a minority within a minority: dark-skinned Latinos and Muslim Hispanics over at The Latin Americanist blog. The post basically links to two other news articles without much comment, one on Black Latinos, another on Hispanic Muslims.

In terms of intentions, I think the folks at Latin Americanist were just trying to inform readers about non-stereotypical segments of the Latino population. And I've certainly posted links to similar articles before on Planet Grenada.

At the same time, especially after having given myself a chance to think about these issues through this very blog, I would have to say I find this whole "minority within a minority" concept really disempowering. (It reminds me of how Piri Thomas is always saying that no one should be called a minority because "minority" means "less than".) Instead of allowing myself to be marginalized several times over, belonging to multiple communities should be a source of strength. Between Blacks, Latinos and Muslims that adds up to about three billion people I should feel some concrete solidarity and identification with based on language, creed or ancestry. And all those connections should help contribute to "an emerging global anti-hegemonic culture" instead of setting up barriers where people feel unique and isolated. Just a thought.

See also:
a recent interview with suheir hammad
latinas choosing islam over catholicism
do platanos go wit' collard greens?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

because allah ta'ala made me both...

I really like this poem:

Because Allah ta'ala made me both...

Hejab on my head
With a machete dangling from my neck
I'm not a terrorist
Just a bonafide Boricua with coquis on my mind
I love the flares of salsa skirts
With claves and congas singing to my heart's content
While I prostrate on the sands of Rincon
Awaiting the whales to make their presence
Borinquen is my paradise
Allah is my creator
Yes—I can inhabit both spaces
And when bachata comes on the radio
I move three steps lift
Three steps lift
And when the azhan is called
"Allahu Akbar" and "Bismillah" run out of my mouth
Give me some piraguas with a side of dates
A little of sunlight with a dash of breeze
As the scarves surrounding me beckon to worship
I can dance merengue in the privacy of my room
As mis hermanas talk about who is cuter in the group
Because—we are Boricuas loving our land
We are boricuas dancing our traditional beats
We are boricuas wearing our big fluffy skirts
We are boricuas eating our arroz con habichuelas
We don't have to occupy one of your little boxes
Entrenching our identities into something you can label
We don't have to deny our abuelitas and our salsa beats
So I can't eat pernil anymore.
It's okay—pork has never been my thing any ways
But I can still enjoy las playas as I wet my feet on
Caribbean oceans
Because I am more
More than your dichotomies
More than your ideologies
I am not just a Boricua
Or someone who worships Allah
So if you need a label to satisfy your curiosity
I'll give you one now
With Qur'an in hand
Y bandera in the other
I am beyond your words
Because I am a MusliRican

Also, say hello to A Puerto Rican girl's journey to Islam. (which is where I found this poem). Definitely "Grenada-esque".


Say hello to Khadijah Rivera's blog: PIEDAD - Latino Muslims

poeta guerrera

I just found this myspace page for Melinda Gonzalez, a Muslim Nuyorican spoken word artist who goes by Poeta Guerrera (Warrior Poet Woman). She put recordings of several of her pieces on her page and they are worth checking out.

You also might want to look at Poet1Warrior's page on YouTube where Melinda has shares more of her thoughts on Islam. I'm not trying to set her up as some kind of scholar (in one clip she says she's only been Muslim for two months.) But I'm just glad to see more Latino Muslims confidently express themselves... and her excitement for the deen is a bit contagious.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

takin' it to the streets


The poster is actually a bit old. Takin' It to the Streets is only 2 weeks away rather than 3. It will take place Sunday, June 24th at Marquette Park. I was at the first one way back in the day. Now they are on number 6, mashaAllah. Lupe Fiasco will be performing. I'm not sure who else is on the roster, but in the past the event has been able to bring together an amazing collection of Muslim speakers, performers, and community service providers. For more information, check out the IMAN (Inner-City Muslim Action Network) webpage. If you will be in the Chicago area, they are still looking for volunteers to help out.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

islam and existentialism

A topic I've tried to explore a little bit is the connection between Islam and existentialism. Some groups like the Murabitun have taken Nietzsche's concept of the Superman and have used it to point to a "new breed" of Muslim. Other Muslim intellectuals like Shariati were more enamoured by the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre and felt some affinity with his brand of existentialism. Frantz Fanon (a non-Muslim intellectual but nevertheless a strong advocate for the Algerian revolution and an influential figure among Third World political theorists of all stripes) was also influenced by Sartre and provides a kind of model for how Muslims might find some relevance in the ideas of existentialism.

Now, over at his blog, Ali Eteraz has written a post on Islamic Existentialism which points to some more traditionally and authentically "Islamic" examples of existentialist themes in Muslim poetry. Check it out.

Planet Grenada:
ali shariati
recalling frantz fanon
laughing lions

Monday, June 04, 2007

sufi mujahideen

Yet another post in the continuing "muslim art of war" series. Here is an article on Sufi Mujahideen:

More often than not, the term "Sufi" invokes images of twirling Dervishes lost in ecstasy, strange people who engage in exotic practices that seem antithetical to Islamic legal traditions, or apolitical mystics fixated in meditation. In addition to the misconception that Sufism is inherently heterodox, perhaps the greatest misconception is that it is passive and apathetic towards Jihad. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

First and foremost, it is necessary to establish the orthodoxy of Sufism by pointing out the sheer number of eminent scholars who have been Sufi.

Amongst the Hanafi Ulema, we have ‘Ali Qari (d. 1606)1, ‘Abd al-Ghaffar Nabulsi (1641-1733)2, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi (1564-1624), and Shah Waliullah (1702-1763).

From the Malikis, the following Ulema were Sufi: Ibn ‘Ata’ Illah al-Iskandari (d. 1309)3 and Ibn ‘Ajiba (1747-1809)4.

The Hanbalis had ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Jawzi (1114-1201)5, ‘Abd al-Karim Jili (1365-1428) who was the great-grandson of ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani 6, and Ibn Rajab7. Mohiyuddin Ibn Arabi was of the Dhahiri madhab.

The Shafi’i madhab too, had a plethora of Sufis as some of its most prestigious scholars:
Abul Qasim al-Junayd (d. 910)8, Hakim Tirmidhi (d. 320)9, Abu ‘Ali Daqqaq (d. AH 405)10, Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Sulami (936 – 1021)11 , Imam Ghazzali (1058 -1111)12, ‘Abd al-Wahhab Sha’rani (1493- 1565)13, Abul Qasim Qushayri (986 – 1072)14, Imam ‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salam (1181-1262) ( In addition to his outstanding works in Islamic law, he is also known for his harshness with Muslim rulers who did not fight against the Crusaders vigorously)15, Imam Nawawi (1233 – 1277)16, and Imam Suyuti (1445 – 1505)17.

It should also be noted that even Muhammad Haya al-Sindi, the hadith teacher of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab who introduced him to the works of Ibn Taymeeyah*(There is much debate over whether or not Ibn Taymeeyah was a Sufi of the Qadiri order), was from the Naqshbandi tariqa. Interestingly enough, the great Indian scholar and Sufi, Shah Waliullah Dilhavi, was a student of another great Sufi scholar, Ibrahim al-Kurrani, who happened to also be the teacher of Muhammad Haya al-Sindi and Shaykh Yusuf who later lead a jihad against the Dutch in Indonesia.18 Aside from the select few of Sufi scholars that were briefly mentioned above, there are countless others who have not been mentioned. Although it does not give the subject justice, it should be clear that the roots of Sufism have always had its roots firmly entrenched in orthodoxy.

The second greatest misconception that people, including non-Muslims, have of Sufism is that it is flaccid in participating in issues pertaining to social justice and engaging in Jihad. History is a testament that not only is Sufism not opposed to Jihad, but rather, Sufis have been amongst the foremost leaders of Jihad.

Even the early Sufis were known for their fervent desire for engaging Jihad and seeking martyrdom. For example, Ibrahim ibn Adham (d. 778), was an early Sufi ascetic who was born into a life luxury which he abandoned in order to study the Sacred Sciences and later fought in jihad against the Byzantines.19 In fact, the very roots of the Sufi zawiya, a type of lodge, has its roots in the ribat. The ribat is a type of fortress that was often built along the ever expanding Islamic frontier. At these fortresses, Sufi shuyookh adapted their teachings of outward jihad in order to teach their disciples the science of inner jihad.20 2

During the Crusades, Sufis also participated in popular resistance against the Franks. The Battle of Mansura in Egypt included participants of the likes of Sheikh Abu Hassan ash-Shadhili, Sheikh Ibrahim Dessouki, and Sheikh al-Qannawwi. When Sultan Al Kamel of Egypt began negotiating with the Franks during the Fourth Crusade, Mohiyuddin Ibn Arabi scolded him by saying "You have no pride and Islam will not recognize the likes of you. Stand up and fight or we shall fight you as we fight them."

Even Imam Ghazzali castigated the Mameluke Sultans for failing to carry on the fight by giving them a similarly pernicious warning: "Either take up your sword for the sake of Allah and the rescue of your brothers in Islam, or step down from the leadership of Muslims so their rights can be championed by other than you."21 Egyptian resistance during the Seventh Crusade was lead by Sheikh Ahmad al-Badawi of the Rifa’i tariqa.22

Shaykh Najm al-Din Kubra, the founder of the Kubrawiya tariqa, died in the defense of Khwarazm from the Mongol hordes. Even from within the Ottoman Empire, Sufis mobilized the masses in jihad, often lead rebellions against the rulers, assisted in the accession of the Sultan, and some even served as chaplains to the warrior class known as the Janissaries.23

During the era of colonialism, Sufis lead resistance movements across the Ummah against imperialism and its purveyors. In the Caucasus, the Russians faced stiff resistance coming primarily from the Naqshbandi and Qadiri tariqas. Mulla Muhammad al-Ghazi al-Kamrawi fought against the Russians when Russia declared itself the protector for the Christians in Khurjistan and annexed portions of Safavid Persia in 1800.

Mulla Muhammad was the Sheikh of the Naqshbandi tariqa and hundreds of thousands of his murids fought against the Russians until he died. Leadership was then transferred to Al-Amir Hamza al-Khanzaji but within a year, he was martyred as well. The famous Imam Shamil al-Dagestani then became the Amir of the jihad and fought the Russians for twenty-seven consecutive years.24 Interestingly enough, Imam Shamil met Sheikh Abd al- Qadir al-Jaza’iri, another Sufi who was fighting over 3,000 miles away, in 1828 while on Hajj where they exchanged information about guerilla warfare.25 After his surrender, rebellions were carried on by the murids of the Qadiri order. In 1864, the Russians killed over 4,000 Qadiri murids alone along with many other innocent civilians. The Naqshbandis and Qadiris joined forces and rebelled in 1865, 1877, 1878 and all throughout the 1890s. During the Soviet Revolution, the Muslims were lead by Shaykh Uzun Haji. Stalin ultimately dealt with the "Chechen problem" by forcibly relocating the entire population into concentration camps.26

In the Indian subcontinent, Sufis and Sufi orders played a considerable role in active military and intellectual resistance against the British. The Sufis participated in resistance prior to the famous Mutiny of 1857 when the followers of Shah Waliullah, under the leadership of his son Shah ‘Abd al’Aziz (1746-1824) began initiating Jihad. In a fatwa Shah ‘Abd al’Aziz proclaimed India to be Dar al-Harb. He declared jihad, stating "Our country has been enslaved. To struggle for independence and put an end to the slavery is our duty." 27 He was succeeded in his struggles by Sayyid Ahmad Barelwi (1786-1831) who founded the Tariqa-i Muhammadi and was eventually defeated by the Sikhs of Punjab.28 Both Sufi and non-Sufi scholars alike participated actively in the Mutiny of 1857. When the rebellion was finally extinguished, over 50,000 Ulema were dead.29 After the failure of the Mutiny of 1857, resistance to colonialism by the Ulema re-invented itself in the form of the Deoband movement which established a plethora of 3 maddrassehs all across India that taught the sacred sciences derived from the Qur’an, hadith, law, along with logic, kalam, science, and Sufism of the Chisti order.30 The Tableegi Jamaat grew out of the Deobandi movement through Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Khandelwi who was also a member of the Chisti order through the Sabiri branch. The focus of this movement was a return to the correct understanding of Islam based on the Quran and hadith, adhering to the injunctions of the Shariah, with an astute focus on worship.31

Even in Indonesia, the Qadiri order provided leadership in the already widespread resistance to Dutch imperialism in the 1840s and 1850s.32 By far, one of the most act areas of Sufi resistance occurred in Africa. Resistance by Sufis against imperialism began almost as soon as Europeans endeavored at colonizing the Muslim lands.

In Morocco, the Shadhili tariqa was the forefront opponent of the Portuguese in the 15th century, the most notable of the Sufis being al-Jazuli.33 Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio (1754 – 1817) was a Maliki scholar of the Qadiri order who vigorously spoke out against the innovations that had become dominant in his time, particularly the mixing of Islamic and pagan beliefs. He eventually performed hegira, established an Islamic state, and engaged in jihad to unite the region under the Shariah.34
Al-Hajj ‘Umar Tal was a Tijani sheikh from northern Senegal who fought jihad against both the French and pagans of Guinea, Senegal, and Mali. After performing his second pilgrimage, he traveled across various cities in Africa starting in Cairo and eventually coming to Sokoto, Nigeria, where he studied with Muhammad Bello, the son of Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio, in the field of military sciences and administration. Upon his return to his homeland, he fought mainly against the pagans of Karta and Segu. ‘Umar was a staunch advocate of the Shariah and after one victory against the polytheists, he destroyed the idols of the pagans with his own hands using an iron mace.35 Al-Hajj Muhammad al- Ahrash from Morocco, a Darqawi Sufi, organized a group comprised of Tunisians and Moroccans in 1799 to fight against the French during their invasion of Egypt. 36 Sayyid Muhammad ‘Abdullah al-Somali (1864-1920) was a Shafi’i scholar and member of the Salihiyya tariqa, which he utilized effectively as a military force for over twenty years against the British and Italians in Somalia. He once said in a speech "Unbelieving men of religion have assaulted our country from their remote homelands. They wish to corrupt our religion, to force us to accept Christianity, supported by the armed force of their governments, their weapons, their numbers. You have you’re your faith in God, your arms and your determination. Do not be frightened by their soldiers or armies: God is mightier than they . . ." 37 Perhaps one of the most famous Sufi mujahideen was ‘Abd al- Qadir al-Jaza’iri (1807-1883), was elected an Amir at the age of twenty-five and personally lead the mujahideen against the French invasion of Algeria in 1830. He was part of the Qadiri order and authored "al-Mawaqif" [Standpoints], which is a threevolume Sufi manual.38 Ma’ al-‘Aynayn al-Qalqami (1831-1910) of Mauritania was also a Qadiri Sufi who made a personal alliance with the Sharifian dynasty of Morocco to engage in jihad against the French which resulted in the death of several of his sons.39 In Libya, members of the Sanusi tariqa lead a coalition against the French and Italians.40

In the Middle East, with the Ottoman Empire in disarray, several prominent Sufi scholars carried the banner of Jihad against European occupation. ‘Ali al-Daqar (1877 – 1943) was a Shafi’i scholar and sheikh of the Tijani Tariqa who founded al-Jami’iyya al- Ghurra’, an academy of more than eleven separate schools of the sacred sciences. Along with Badr al-Din al-Hasani, he traveled the Syrian countryside during the French 4 occupation and instructed the people of the villages of the obligatory nature of jihad against the imperialists.41 Hashim al-Khatib (1890 – 1958) was a Shafi’i scholar of the Qadiri tariqa also urged the Muslims to wage jihad against the French.42 Muhammad Sa’id Burhani was a Hanafi scholar and Sufi of the Naqshbandi order who fought against the French during their occupation of Syria that began in 1920.43

Sufi resistance has not withered away and is still active in many parts of the Ummah. For example, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Sufi tariqas played a pivotal role in evicting the Communists. Many prominent leaders of the resistance were Sufis such as Sayyid Ahmad Gailani, the head of the Qadiri order. He once held the position of Chief of Justice amongst the mujahideen. Two previous presidents of Afghanistan, Sebghatullah Mojaddedi and Burhanuddin Rabbani, are of the Naqshbandi

The founder and the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, is allegedly a Naqshbandi as well. Even today, in Iraq a resistance group was recently formed in April 2005 known as the "Jihad Sufi Squadrons of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani" in order to fight against the American occupation.45 It should be self evident by now that Sufis are not passive, apolitical mystics but have often formed the core intellectual and military elite in propagating Islamic revivals all across the Ummah. The article should not be misconstrued as being a comprehensive study of the role that Sufis have played in daw’ah, the revival of the sacred sciences, and jihad, but rather, it is intended to be merely a brief introduction to a voluminous study.

May Allah (swt) raise up a leader from amongst us who will fight the fitnah of our day and unite our Ummah. Ameen.

(article with references available here)