Militiant Sufism in Iraq
The USG Open Source Center translates an interview with a spokesman for a militant offshoot of the Naqshabandi order in Iraq that fights the US military presence. Naqshbandis are known as a Sunni Sufi order and have been more “orthodox” and tied to legalism than most other mystic brotherhoods. Many Kurds are Naqshbandis, but they are pro-American. This is an offshoot of an Arab branch of the order. Note that most Naqshbandis and indeed most Sufis are peaceful.
|Naqshabandi Order Spokesman Discusses Group’s Beliefs, Operational Goals|
Jihadist Websites — OSC Summary
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Terrorism: Naqshabandi Order Spokesman Discusses Group’s Beliefs, Operational Goals On 6 June, a jihadist website posted an interview from the Iraqi satellite channel, Al-Zawra, with Dr. Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, the official spokesperson of the Sufi Iraqi insurgent group known as The Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order. He described its formation, beliefs, and operational goals. Dr. Ayyubi claimed the Naqshabandi Order has existed since the beginning of the US occupation of Iraq, and that its operations target “only the unbeliever occupier,” not Iraqi citizens. With regard to uniting with other insurgent groups, Dr. Ayyubi stated that uniting under one leadership would result in a decrease in operations due to lack of freedom. Regarding negotiations with “occupation forces” or the Iraqi Government, he stated that “we are not negotiators,” and that “we want to force out the enemy.” The interview ended with a call from Dr. Ayyubi to force out the “unbelieving enemy” and to abstain from the political process until “the last occupying soldier gets out of our land.”
A translation of the the interview follows:
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
We will fight for the integrity and unity of Iraq, land and people, to maintain its Arab and Islamic identity and we will be prepared for their projects of division.
We did not and will not target any Iraqi … loving the Arab is faith and their hate is blasphemy
(Al-Zawra) Following the occupation of Iraq by the Americans and their allies, and after what had happened of confrontations and resistance in Iraq, Islamic and national resistance factions have emerged over the past four years. Recently, a new resistance faction emerged and announced itself in the name of The Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order. What attracts attention is that this faction announced qualitative operations which go back to the first days of occupation. These operations are also characterized by force and progress, pointing out that that this Army has been present in the arena since the beginning of occupation but it revealed itself after approximately four years of occupation.
In an opportunity made available to the Iraqi Satellite Channel Al-Zawra, we interviewed the spokesperson of The Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order, Dr. Salah al-Din Al-Ayyubi, in the capital Baghdad to give us a clear image of the basic nature, ideology, size, capabilities and objectives of The Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order.
We welcome Dr. Salah al-Din Al-Ayyubi, spokesperson for The Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order. Welcome.
(Al-Ayyubi) Welcome and Greetings from God.
(Al-Zawra) Many of the audience call us and ask about the Naqshabandi Order, will you please give us an idea about what is the Naqshabandi Order, and what does this name mean?
(Al-Ayyubi) In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Praise be to God, Lord of all creation. Peace and prayers be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions and supporters and who followed them by performance of good deeds to the Day of Resurrection, followed their path and struggled with them.
The Naqshabandi Order is to work according to God’s Sharia and to have the ethics of Prophet Muhammad, peace and prayers be upon him, and follow him in his state of affairs, sayings, and deeds, and consequently tasting the sweetness of faith. Following the Koran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, peace and prayers be upon him, will lead Man to the state of benevolence, which is fear of God as set forth in Al-Hadith al-Nabwi al-Sharif, where He says: “Benevolence is to worship God as if you see H im and if you do not see Him, He will see you.”
These orders took their names from the instructor shaykh whom they followed, gathered around and learned from his springs of knowledge. Therefore, the Naqashabandiyah, for example, took its name from a good shaykh called Shaykh Muhammad Baha al-Din, and Al-Qadiriyah took its name from a good shaykh called Shaykh Abd al-Qader al-Kilani and so did the Al-Rifa’yah and Al-Shaziliyah, and all the other orders.
(Al-Zawra) Then, is the difference in names ideological, methodological or something else?
As for the orders attributed to Sufi and which do not follow the Koran and Sunnah, the Sufi is free from them. Sufi is deed, faith and taste according to Koran and Sunnah and does not differ one hair’s breadth from them. This means that what is in agreement with the Koran is the Sufi and nothing else and what differs from them is a type of misled heresy and inducement.
(Al-Zawra) The Naqshabandiyah is distinguished with something called “league,” will you please clarify to us what is the “league” of the Naqshabandiyah, because some people do not understand it and some others defame the Naqshabandiyah because of the “league,” so what is the “league?”
(Al-Ayyubi) Certainly, the “league” in the Naqshabandi Order is that the faithful companion remembers his shaykh and companion from whom he learned. That means he remembers his Muhammadiyah ethics until he is prepared to imitate and follow him. It is a chain of a companion learning from a companion … and so on until the person communicates with God’s Messenger, the owner of great ethics, peace and prayer be upon him. For example, he remembers his shaykh’s bravery in forgiving the wrongdoer and forgives him, remembers his faithfulness and believes him, remembers his sincerity and becomes sincere to him, remembers his determination in the self-struggle in satisfying God and struggles to satisfy God, remembers his shaykh’s determination in fighting against the unbeliever occupier and fights the unbeliever occupier and so on. This is according to God’s saying “If ye do love God, Follow me: God will love you and forgive you your sins” (Koranic verse; Al-Imran 3:31) and God’s Messenger, peace and prayer be upon him, saying “Man is on religion of his companion, see who you accompany”.
Following the path will be implicit and explicit, which means by the explicit ethics such as generosity and good temper with the neighbor and by implicit ethics as quitting jealousy and the selfness diseases, whi ch take man away from his God.
(Al-Zawra) Yes Dr., you mentioned that the student remembers the jihad of his shaykh and then struggles, will you please give us a brief idea about your jihad movement?
(Al-Ayyubi) We set out in our blessed jihadist movement on a legitimate basis, because the jihad is a religious duty set forth in the Koran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. The jihad as mentioned by the nation’s jurists in the juristic books becomes a duty against any country in which a disbelieving enemy prepared its army to invade them and reached to the distance of the palace and was intending to enter that country. On that basis, our scholar and shaykh demanded us for jihad for the sake of God since the disbelieving enemy reached the borders of our country in some of the neighboring countries.
(Al-Zawra) Yes, but how did you organize yourselves after the occupation?
(Al-Ayyubi) After the enemy was able, at the beginning, to occupy Iraq under circumstances known to all and since the first days of occupation, we started organizing the followers of the Order in Baghdad and several provinces more accurately and in a more organized manner in jihadist leagues to wage a war of attrition (means irregular war, war of attack and retreat). That type of war was suitable at that time for confronting a regular enemy possessing the strongest and most sophisticated war machinery. By the end of 2004, numbers of our mujahidin increased until they reached thousands and their fighting effectiveness increased, qualitatively and quantitatively.
These operations are documented and photographed in all their phases, praise be to God. But we have not announced them on time for security and tactical reasons. The field activities were managed in a non-centralized manner by the field princes and leaders in the regions and provinces. But the qualitative and big military operations were planned and managed centrally by the headquarters of the leadership of our jihadist formations. Following the military defeat of the American enemy and after it was inflicted with wounds by the hits of our mujahidin and the mujahidin of other factions and after it started to think of withdrawing, the leadership of our Jihadist formations made a decision to re-arrange the jihadist leagues and formations as a regular army that gathers between the intention, determination and ideology of the faithful mujahidin on one side, and the organization and discipline of a regular army in preparation to wage the decisive battles aiming at liberating Baghdad and every span of the hand of Iraq’s territory, on the other. Thus, we transformed into a regular army in conformity with the surrounding circumstances and adopted the name of The Army of the Men of the Naqashabandi Order.
(Al-Zawra) Yes, so you have been present in the arena since the beginning of occupation, but you have not announced yourselves since the beginning?
(Al-Ayyubi) Yes, certainly we did not announce ourselves then, because jihad has its special and time circumstances and every circumstance has its own particularity. It was necessary not to reveal ourselves at that time (beginning of occupation) and to appear in the second epoch, and the contrary is possible. These are fighting tactics which the specialists know, and the majority of our army is of the former Iraqi army, praise be to God.
(Al-Zawra) What about selection of name … you selected the name The Army of the Men of the Naqashabandi Order, why did you choo se the name The Army of the Men of the Naqashabandi Order? What is the reason?
(Al-Ayyubi) Dear brother, we selected this name (The Army of the Men of the Naqashabandi Order) for many reasons:
First: The men of this Order are well known to all (far and near) and to the enemies of Islam, in particular. They are known for their manly characteristics, their continuous jihad, their bravery, sacrifice for their religion, and for their dignity and support for the oppressed whoever they may be. Consequently, the mujahidun leaders adopted this blessed name for its influence in the hearts of the enemies and to bother them with what they know of the qualities of these men.
Second: The honest and dedicated persons who affiliated to these jihad groups were known to the people by this name before and during the occupation. It was difficult to change from this name to another name. In the old times, the first Muslim and Arab men in their jihad invaded their enemy with their declared names and without any cover and within the sight and hearing of their enemy during the daylight because they were right. We, too, are right and our issue is clearly known by the fair and wise men.
Third: We want to send a message to the oppressive enemy that we are neither intimidated by nor scared of appearing in this name. This is in itself heroism and manliness that bothers the enemy, pleases the friends, and gains the admiration of the fair and wise people.
(Al-Zawra) Regarding the logo of The Army of the Men of the Naqashabandi Order, we noticed that you used the map of the Arab world as a logo for your army instead of the map of Iraq, which is a strange matter, why?
(Al-Ayyubi) We used this logo because our Islamic nation has its own peculiarity of virtues and honored considerations known by all people. This matter annoyed its enemies and made them bear malice against it and made it their enemy everywhere and every time since the beginning of Islam. We believe that they will continue in this approach forever. As a result of their malice against our Islamic nation, they plotted against us in a variety of ways and under glittering names. By these pretexts, they tore the countries of Muslims and dispersed them from their countries.
On this basis, we understand and believe that the Arabs are the essence and spirit of Islam. They are the first bearers of the banner, and they disseminated Islam throughout the world the fact which is admitted by other non-Arab peoples. As a result, love of Arabs was connected with love of Islam, and Arab glory was connected with Islam’s glory, and Arab degradation with Islam’s degradation.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and prayer be upon him, said “love of Arabs is faith and their hatred is blasphemy.” In another narration “and their hatred is hypocrisy.” This understanding is based on “Don’t forget favor among you,” which means that the Arabs have transferred Islam to other nations and so became of preference to other nations and only people of preference know the preference of others.
Muslims with their different languages, colors and national belonging in the East and the West believed in this doctrine and believed their Prophet, peace and prayer be upon him, which created a firm and basic doctrine in every Muslim and every insightful wise person that the glory of Arabs is the glory of Islam and their degradation is degradation of Islam. Our Prophet, peace and prayer be upon him, told us about this concept, by saying “If Arabs are degraded, Islam will be degraded.”
On this basis, our aspiration was to start by glorifying this matter and announce it openly through this logo. Therefore we laid out the map of the Arab homeland and selected it due to its ideological and faith meanings. By that, we are not abandoning the rights of any Muslim in any place, but we started with the more important then with the important.
(Al-Zawra) Yes Dr. Salah al-Din.Your approach is a jihadist approach; could you please clarify this approach?
(Al-Ayyubi) Our jihadist approach is Islamic based on the Koran and Sunnah of His Messenger, peace and prayer be upon him, and founded on pillars. I can sum up now the most important of these pillars:
(Al-Zawra) Only the unbeliever occupier?
(Al-Ayyubi) Yes, only the unbeliever occupier including persons, vehicles, machinery and equipment everywhere on land, water and sky of Iraq, and at any time.
Pillar Two: We did not and will not target any Iraqi, regardless of his/her nationality, religion or doctrine and our hands are not stained with blood of any Iraqi at all, and we will not be like that, God willing.
Pillar Three: We accuse a Muslim (means people of no god but God) of unbelief only according to legitimate constants (if openly practices unbelief), which means announced unbelief. This is a consensus of Muslims. We do not accuse of unbelief by suspicions, desires or controversial matters.
Pillar Five: We are not involved in the political process game, because it is invalid by law and religion under the occupation. Moreover, dealing with the occupier, directly or indirectly, is not possible.
Pillar Six: We will fight for the integrity and unity of Iraq, land and people, to maintain its Arab and Islamic identity. We will be prepared for their projects of division, regardless of these projects’ names. We will not abandon weapons until we liberate the last span of hand of our land. Our jihadist march will continue until God honors us with one of the two (victory or martyrdom). All our Army affiliates are suicide bombers, praise be upon God.
Pillar Eight: If, God forbid, one of our Army’s affiliates is lost or captured, and we fear that a violation might happen, we speedily restructure the formation of which he is a part.
Pillar Nine: We have hundreds of affiliates from our former Iraqi Army, including dozens of high rank and higher education (Doctorate and Masters Degrees) in different specializations.
Pillar Ten: We have hundreds of religious scholars and students of religious sciences, including dozens of high rank and higher education (Doctorate and Masters Degrees).
Pillar Eleven: The state of the faithful mujahidin in the battlefield is described by Hadith Sharif quoted from Prophet Muhammad, peace and prayer be upon him, “The faithful to the faithful is like a structure in which each part strengthens the other.” Since the first days of jihad, many groups followed us in our jihadist approach and benefited from our experience in using we apons and rockets. They assisted us as we assisted them on hitting the unbelieving occupier in different fields. The decision we made to transform our groups into an army many years before this declaration, raised the concern of certain jihadist factions. As a result these factions gathered their ranks, unified their groups and increased their jihadist work in terms of power and organization benefiting from our military experience in organizing and preparation of plans and orientation of fighters, morally and ideologically. We strengthened them and they strengthened us, God’s favor, and we cooperated in strongly hitting the unbelieving occupier and wounded them. Praise be to God.
(Al-Zawra) Every army has a special formation; could you please give us an idea about the formation of your Army?
(Al-Ayyubi) The essence of our Army is jihad and its spinal cord are the followers and lovers of the Order, and these are basically and spiritually well-organized. They were an Islamic ideological and spiritual organization before occupation. When the country was occupied, their work and spiritual and worshipping system transformed into a jihadist military, spiritual, system aimed at supporting religion and liberating the country.
(Al-Zawra) Now, we come to the characteristics of the mujahidin in your Army, what are these characteristics?
(Al-Ayyubi) The strength of this Army is not only in the strength of its formations and completeness of its weapons and equipment and accuracy of its organization, its strength is also in the faith and honesty filling the hearts of its mujahidin. That was manifested in their jihad; they are men honest in what they pledged God to do. Their characteristics are the same characteristics that we put as conditions for anyone who wants to join our army. These characteristics might be summed up in the following:
A. They are faithful and honest persons committed to their jihadist ideology and adhered to the principle of their right to defend their religion and homeland.
B. Their leader holds the spirit of the soldier and the soldier holds the characteristic of the leader in terms of discipline and in a spiritual and military pattern following the example of Sayyidna Abu-Ubaydah and Sayyidna Khalid Bin al-Walid, may God be pleased with them, in Al-Yarmuk Battle.
C. Our men are seeking to please their God to whom be ascribed all perfection and majesty. They are men of asceticism in this immortal world and for that reason they are brave and daring men who are not intimidated by de ath. On the contrary, they are adorers of death and seek it deliberately, asking for martyrdom for the sake of God and in support of Islam and liberation of the country. They are certain that the unbeliever and his killer cannot be in hell together.
D. They are obedient without any hesitation. They obey their leaders and commanders following their Prophet Muhammad, peace and prayers be upon him, saying “who obeyed my prince, obeyed me; and who obeyed me obeyed God.”
E. They are trained and continue to be trained on all kinds of fighting. Some of them are specialized in certain specializations within this Army similar to our former Iraqi Army.
(Al-Zawra) Do you have cooperation or coordination relations with the other resistance factions? Why do you not unite with the remaining resistance factions in the arena?
(Al-Ayyubi) Praise be to God, we have coordination and cooperation relations with most of the Islamic and national jihad factions which have national agendas and do not have external connections or other objectives they want to achieve on the Iraqi territory.
(Al-Zawra) Then Dr. why you do not unite with them?
(Al-Ayyubi) Regarding uniting with the rest of the jihad factions, although people find strength in union, we believe union in these circumstances does not serve jihad for several matters:
Matter One: The enemy now is in a stalemate and wants whoever helps it to exit the stalemate. Whenever it finds a gap or a breach, it will infiltrate through it. The possibilities of breach due to integration with other jihad factions operating on the arena are probable and existing due to the extensiveness of the jihad arena.
Matter Two: The multiplicity of the factions operating in the arena is in itself is reason for dispersing the efforts of the enemy and consequently, does not enable it to focus on one aspect. This in itself weakens the enemy and at the same time strengthens the mujahidin.
Matter Three: The jihad factions operating in the arena are fighting cells and groups not organized under one leadership despite the fact that each faction has its own peculiarity and organized leadership in a manner that fits the current circumstances of our country. Accordingly, operations will increase and will perplex the enemy. Contrary to that, if the factions organized under one leadership, the jihad operations would decrease because the movement of groups, under many leaderships, gives it more freedom to make rapid decisions and rapid response against the enemy.
Matter Four: We are not in need of integrating the factions at present because integration includes much risk which serves the enemy. We are not afraid of the dispersion of our factions here and there as long as the strategic goal is one, not more, represented in forcing out the enemy from our country, defeated and losing.
Matter Five: Unification of the jihad factions is necessary after the occupier is forced out. Then, we will not oppose any idea that unifies the factions’ leadership. On the contrary, we are with that idea and support it, but when the occupier is forced out of our country.
Matter Six: As long as there is coordination and cooperation with the jihad factions, there are no fears over the correct and effective progress of jihad against the enemy. We are considered as one leadership as long as the strategic objective is one, represented in forcing the enemy out of our country.
(Al-Zawra) As you know, every army needs financial and armament support, what are the sources of your financial and armament support?
(Al-Ayyubi) Honorable Brother, you might be surprised if I tell you, while we are in the fifth year of blessed jihad, our basic financial and armament support is from our own sources.
(Al-Zawra) Not from countries!
(Al-Ayyubi) Not from countries, from our own sources and a small part of the financial support is from the contributions of our f aithful and honest brothers and sisters.
The financial and armament requirements for an army including thousands of mujahidin is not easy, For that reason, every mujahid in our Army has dedicated all its properties to maintain the jihad so as not to stretch our hands to suspect financial or arming support sources, which are widespread in the arena, now and before. We directed the major part of support to ensure the requirements of fighting such as weapons, ammunition, apparatuses and equipment and not to ensure personal requirements, because abstention in this mortal world and satisfaction with little things, seeking to obtain what the Respectable and Honorable has, is one of the basics of our Order.
This is in addition to the capabilities of our brave mujahidin in perpetuating, preparing, manufacturing and developing different types of weapons, ammunition, apparatuses, bullets and explosives relying on our many self-experiences, technical skills and available resources.
(Al-Zawra) What if support is offered to you?
(Al-Ayyubi) Surely, any legal and unconditioned financial or armament support provided that the support is legal and unconditional. We are in need of this due to the constant increase in the size of our Army. Praise be to God.
(Al-Zawra) Certain factions – resistance factions – participated in the political process, what is your point of view concerning the political process currently taking place in Iraq?
(Al-Ayyubi) We are an Islamic Jihadist Army that resorts to legal constants, which the nation of Islam unanimously agreed on. We consider the ongoing political process or that which will take place under occupation as invalid both lawfully and legitimately because it was built on a void foundation and took place under the spears of the unbelieving occupier and its apostate tails.
(Al-Zawra) Then on this basis are you prepared to negotiate with the occupation forces or with the present government? What are your conditions?
(Al-Ayyubi) We are not negotiators and we have no ambitions to negotiate with the occupying enemy or its tails while the enemy is still in our country. We want to force out the enemy subservient and humiliated. After the enemy is forced out and if it is useful to negotiate with it, then we will see what we might do.
(Al-Zawra) Some satellite channels and websites posted a statement pointing out that nine resistance factions, including your Army (The Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order) have agreed to establish an office called the “Coordination Office for Iraqi Islamic Resistance” to coordinate and unify points of view? What is your response?
(Al-Ayyubi) We absolutely do not have any connection with this Coordination Office. We do not know about its establishment, it was not attended by any representative on our behalf nor did we authorize anybody to talk in our name or on our behalf. We issued a statement and posted it on several websites, including our website in which we categorically denied that.
I will go back again to a question you asked earlier on unifying the factions. We reject unification, which means integration of the factions and melting them into one army and under one command, because it carries negative implications in the current circumstances, which I mentioned above. But we do not object if unifying the factions means keeping the armies as they are, ie. not merging one army into another, and providing that a joint leadership is formed derived from two armies or more, having the structure of a Shura Council and based on common declared constants of one direction. We have declared constants, which I mentioned to you and that we have mentioned in previous statements. We call on our brothers in all factions to become acquainted with our constants. If any of them wants to work according to these constants and coordinate with us, let them communicate with us; we are willing for that, God willing. We believe that this approach toward u nity is the one that serves under the current circumstances, but only God knows.
(Al-Zawra) Any last remark you want to direct to the Iraqi people?
(Al-Ayyubi) Yes, we are Muslims and will follow the right path of the dear Al-Mustafa (Prophet Muhammad), peace and prayer be upon him, whom God sent as a herald and forerunner. Therefore, we bring good news to our brothers, to the brave mujahidin in all factions, to all the honest and patient Iraqis, and to all the honest people of our Arab and Islamic nation that the happy outcome is imminent and victory is inevitable, and that it will be sooner rather than later, and its signs have just started to appear. I would also say that your brothers the mujahidin of the Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order are thousands, and comprise large armies with sophisticated fighting capabilities at the level of training, armament, preparedness and categorizing, a matter that pleases and relieves every faithful and friend and bothers every enemy, grudWe, too, would like to advise everyone involved in the political process or has the intention to become involved, not to lose his life’s opportunity and abandon the virtue of jihad for God’s sake under this illusive pretext (the political process). This is because the political process will increase the arrogance and vain-glory of the enemy. What is appropriate now is to use the jihadist fighting process and not the political process, because politics with the presence of an occupier on our land is nothing but submission, subjugation and humiliation. Therefore, the political process will waste our legitimate rights. What has been taken by force from us can only be restored by the sword. What a generous man who said: The sword is more truthful than books in separating between solemnity and fun.
The unbeliever occupier considers us weak if it finds us gentle and easy politicians, and will respect, fear and be afraid of us if it finds us serious in fighting and insisting on forcing it out of our country by coercion.
Finally, we call on our Arab and Muslim brothers who show concern for us, and all the honest and fair people of the world not to look at the enemy with respect, but to look at it with scorn, because it lied to its people and our people and all the peoples of the world with its glittering and fake allegations and lies. For this reason, we appeal to all not to believe or trust it.
Tuesday 19 Jamad Al-Awal 1428, corresponding to 5 June 2007