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“After a refugee crisis a man will rise claiming to be from

my family; he is not from me, nor I from him, for my people
are Ahul-Taqwa”

(people of Concsiousness) Prophet Muhammad

Abu Dawood, Kitab al-Malhama







way one likes. In reality, groups like ISIS and Al-Qae-

From the Editor da violate a principle of Islamic scholarship to ‘bring

the evidence and then believe, don’t believe and then
The so-called Caliphate of the Islamic State in Iraq bring the evidence.’ We might ask why salafi jihadists
and Sham has collapsed, but still neo-jihadi extrem- refrain from quoting scripture that goes against their
ists around the world adopt the platform of terrorist preconceived desires. For example, in a hadith re-
groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. To recruit, these corded in the Sunan of Abu Dawood (#4242), the
extremists target their youthful audiences with black- prophet Muhammad explained that a refugee cri-
and-white messaging, painting politics, history and sis would occur where “people would flee and then
Islamic texts in a way that portrays the ummah as un- there would be war,” and that thereafter a massive
der threat from a “West” aiming to destroy Islam. To tribulation would occur, “because of a man from
achieve this, they often quote End of Times prophecy my family, who will claim that he is from me, but
that motivates individuals to do insane things that op- he is not from me, for my protectors and allies
pose religion and basic human nature. (“auliya”) are al-muttaqun (people of Conscious-
ness). Does this not fit as a description of the so-called
For example, ISIS’ English-language magazine was Khalifah, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who claims lineage
initially called Dabiq, a reference to several narra- from the prophet (saws) but blows up innocent civil-
tions from the Prophet (saws) that discuss a war be- ians on streets and in marketplaces around the world?
tween the Romans and Muslims at the End of Times in One might ask why they have never cited or explained
A’maq or Dabiq (in Northern Syria). What they don’t this narration. So, we reference this hadith as part of
understand or tell their audience is that this hadith the reason we call this periodical Ahul-Taqwa, which
was written in a period of Umayyad history full of means ‘people of consciousness.’
politicized and weak narrations, that other hadith
related to Dabiq discuss a preceding truce between Ahul-Taqwa is coordinated by the former salafi jihad-
the Romans and Muslims where they ‘fight togeth- ist that wrote the lead article for the first salafi-jihadi
er against a common enemy,’ and other issues. As a English-magazine in 2009. Ahul-Taqwa takes the tem-
consequence, many have thrown away their lives and plate he helped create back (see following article). In
destroyed the lives of innocent others while believing Islam we call groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda Khawarij
to be acting in the name of God. (those that exit and are extreme). Those that follow the
khawarij have fallen into a trap set for them by those
One should be cautious and refrain from overly polit- that resemble people the Prophet Muhammad spoke
icizing religious scripture that can be explained any of when he said, “In the last days there will appear


young people with foolish thoughts and ideas. They will sound good (quote scripture), but they will go out
of Islam as an arrow goes out of its game, their faith will not exceed their throats. So, wherever you find
them, kill them, for there will be a reward for their killers on the Day of Resurrection (Bukhari #6,577).”

Ahul-Taqwa seeks, not to kill these individuals, but to kill their false ideas and worldview. As the Prophet says
in another narration about them, “They recite the Quran believing it is evidence in support of them, yet it is ac-
tually against them.” Ahul Taqwa will document this reality in an effort to prevent the youth from following this
deviant path, to providing a worldview antithetical to that of the extremists, a vision that allows the addressing
of injustice with means truly in line with the Quran, a book revealed to all of humanity and delivered to them by
the Prophet Muhammad (saws), Rahmatul-lil-Alameen (a mercy to all mankind).



All acts of terrorism are horrendous. However, events like those which occurred throughout Sri Lanka
on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, where hundreds were killed, are particularly appalling. The so-called
Islamic State claimed responsibility, but there can be no doubt that this tragedy is un-Islamic. Never-
theless, because the claim that the attacks were revenge for the murder of 50 Muslims in two mosques
in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, 2019, a few Muslims will believe otherwise. It is important,
therefore, to emphasize that acts in Sri Lanka have absolutely nothing to do with the religion of Mu-
hammed (saws).

ISIS and its followers believe that they are following God, that they are exacting revenge for the equal-
ly barbaric attacks in New Zealand. In response to the tragedy in Christchurch, ISIS’ spokesman Abu
Hassan Al-Muhajir issued an audio recording on March 18, 2019 that suggested Westerns mourning
the 50 victims of the Christchurch mosque killings were shedding “crocodile tears;” rather, “the scenes
of the massacres in the two mosques should wake up those who were fooled, and should incite the
supporters of the caliphate to avenge their religion.” Thereafter, as the so-called caliphate last sliver of
territory was taken in Syria (Al-Sham), the organization called on followers everywhere to exact revenge
for those that were harmed in Al-Sham – despite the fact that hundreds of thousands have been killed
and thousands more wallow in refugee camps as a result of ISIS’ so-called liberating actions.

First and foremost, The Prophet (saws) clearly forbade killing civilians, religious leaders, destroying
crops and houses of worship. Pages upon pages could be written to document this. Ibn Abbas and oth-
er companions (raa) report that the very first verse revealed regarding jihad was,

“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged.
And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory” (22:39).

This verse makes clear that Muslims can only fight those who fight them, not civil-
ians. However, when the entirety of the revelation is considered, it becomes clear
that jihad is not just about defending mosques and Muslims, but rather all houses
of worship. The verse continues,

“[They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right - only
because they say, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ And were it not that Allah checks the peo-
ple, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries,
churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much men-
tioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Pow-
erful and Exalted in Might” (22:40).

Actions like those in Sri Lanka should clearly transgress all bounds of reason. Al-
lah says in the Quran,

“Fight in the cause of God against those who fight against you, but do not trans-
gress limits. Lo! God loves not aggressors...” (2:190).

The devils of ISIS, the extremist khawarij, which Allah’s Messenger (saws) labeled
“the worst of creation” and the “dogs of hellfire”, absolutely transgress the limits of
jihad. The Prophet (saws) was emphatic about refraining from harming the people
of The Book (Jews and Christians). So much so that on his deathbed he warned
against harming those of other religions (dhimmi) living in territory the Muslims

The Prophet (saws) emphasized the duties of Muslims toward dhimmis, threaten-
ing anyone who violates them with the wrath and punishment of Allah. The Proph-
et (saws) is reported to have said, 

“He who hurts a dhimmi hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah”

“Whoever hurts a dhimmi, I am his adversary, and I shall be an adversary to him

on the Day of Resurrection” (Al-Khatib).

“On the Day of Judgment, I will dispute with anyone who oppresses a person from
among the People of the Covenant, or infringes upon his right, or puts a respon-
sibility on him which is beyond his strength, or takes something from him against
his will” (Abu Dawud).

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the false caliph who claims to be of the Prophet (saws) and
to follow the rightly-guided caliphs that succeeded the Prophet (saws) after his
death is far from the truth of the religion. Perhaps, the imposter caliph will recall
the story of the second caliph in Islam, Umar bin al-Khattab, when the Muslims lib-
erated Jerusalem. During this time, the rabbis and priests of Jerusalem knew the
Prophet Muhammed (saws), “like they knew their own sons”, as the Quran claims.
However, they also possessed prophecy that a great follower of Muhammed (saws)
would come to the gates of Jerusalem. When they heard that the Muslim army out-
side their gates was waiting for their leader Umar, the rabbis and priests observed


from a distance as a servant led a camel mounted by a man they assumed was Umar. Yet, the man on
the camel did not fit the description outlined in their prophecy, so they paused and considered resisting
Muslim occupation. “This is not the fulfillment of prophecy they imagined.” So, they approached and
asked to speak with the ‘Leader of the Believers,’ and it was then that they realized that Umar was not
the one riding the camel, he was the one leading it; he was escorting his servant and fit the prophetic
description. The Rabbis and Christians released the keys to the city immediately.

As Umar explored Jerusalem, Christians there, who had been oppressed by the Roman authority, asked
him to pray in the church, now Al-Aqsa, but Umar (raa) rejected the offer. Instead he offered his prayer
outside of the church. He did not want the church torn down by followers that didn’t have a full grasp
of the Islamic religion. He knew he would have to return to Arabia and govern from a distance. Muslim
reign was tolerant in Jerusalem. Jews and Christians were content. Nevertheless, after a few years, the
Romans, who had aggressively taxed the people in Jerusalem, moved to take back the city. To avoid
bloodshed, Umar’s (raa) general, Abu Ubayda (raa) retreated. However, before leaving, he released
every dinar and dihram of taxes levied while the Muslims ruled. The people in Jerusalem requested
his return, and in fact, before Umar bin al-Khattab passed away the Muslims regained control of the
territory. Is this the way of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? Do we really think that Umar would’ve blown up the
innocent worshipers in Sri Lanka?

ISIS fanatics imagine that the attacks in Sri Lanka are justified. While ISIS gloats about the number of
Westerners it murdered in Sri Lanka, thinking it has exacted retribution, the extremism and lust for blood
that runs through their veins, as the Prophet (saws) described it, causes them to neglect the negatives,
the Muslims that have been killed and likely more Muslims that will be killed in the cycle of violence that
perpetuates between jihadist and far-right wing extremists.

The great scholar of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, whom the jihadists adore, described the lunacy of extremism
in his book Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil, where he said:

“Enjoining right and forbidding wrong being one of the greatest obligations or commendable acts in
Islam, it is essential that the benefit therein outweigh its negative consequences. This is the general
spirit of the messages of the prophets and the revealed books, and Allah does not like chaos and cor-
ruption. All that which Allah has enjoined is beneficial, and the epitome of benefit. Allah has praised
“salah” (the opposite of corruption) and the Enjoining Right & Forbidding Wrong - 8 Translated by Salim
Abdallah ibn Morgan “musliheen” (reformers, or those who bring about salah). And He has praised
those who believe and do good works (saalihaat), while condemning corruption (fasaad) and those
who cause it in many places in the Qur’an. Thus whenever the adverse effects (mafsada) of any act
of enjoining or forbidding are greater than its benefit (maslaha), it is no longer part of what Allah has
enjoined upon us, even if it be a case of neglecting obligations or committing the forbidden.”

So we ask you to look at the images of the disgusting acts, both at Christchurch and Sri Lanka, to
pause and consider the need to combat such hatred. We all have a role to play in rejecting the wan-
ton violence that marks this era. For Muslims we must make it clear that ISIS and other neo-jihadis are
un-Islamic. We must educate non-Muslims and embrace those around the world whose tears for inno-
cent Muslims are far from the “crocodile tears” Abu Hassan Al-Muhajir claims. We must recognize that
people of peace live everywhere. Extremists are the minority. However, humanity seems to march on
allowing the dedicated fanatics to bark the loudest. Let us replace news of war with news of antithetical
consciousness. Let us promote radical love, a love that unifies Jews, Christians, Muslims and people
of all faith traditions. Let us truly embody the mission of Muhammad (saws) and all of those that truly
understand and follow his message.



On the first day of Ramadan, June 28, 2014, ISIS’ spokes- In the midst of it all, ISIS fanboys rallied on social me-
man, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, announced that ISIS, dia platforms – Twitter and Facebook were abuzz – the
which had just swept through a large mass of territory caliphate which the “Imperialist West” had destroyed
in Syria and Iraq, had reestablished a global Khilafah– had returned. It was to last forever. The so-called Khila-
“so that you may return as you once were for ages, kings fah could not be defeated. The first issue of Dabiq mag-
of the earth and knights of war.” To realize this empow- azine, which launched on July 5, 2014, boasted: “A new
erment, he continued, Muslims all over should, “Come era has arrived of might and dignity for the Muslims.”
[to the caliphate] so that you may be honored and es- Yet today, only a few years later, that dignity has been
teemed, living as masters with dignity.” replaced with dishonor and disgrace. It is no more. The
experiment is over. The results are in. They were hor-
A few days after Al-Adnani’s proclamation, Abu Bakr rific. The territory the so-called Khilafah controlled is
al-Baghdadi ascended the pulpit for Friday prayers in decimated. Bashar al-Assad remains in power, and the
Mosul’s Al-Nur mosque and proclaimed himself the group ended up killing more Sunni Muslims than any of
Khalifah. “The State is a state for all Muslims. The land its enemies. In the process, many threw their lives away.
is for the Muslims, all the Muslims. O Muslims every- Some now sit in prison.
where, whoever is capable of performing hijrah (emi-
gration) to the Islamic State, then let him do so, because As the so-called Khilafah diminished, their call moved
hijrah to the land of Islam is obligatory,” he explained. from inviting adherents to join them to directing them
Each and every Muslim was to obey his dictate. to attack civilians at home “in any manner or way, how-
Tens of thousands from around the world soon re- ever it may be.” Innocents around the world were sub-
sponded and headed for Iraq and Syria to join them. sequently massacred. The image of Islam and Muslims

was severely damaged. Mothers and sisters now weep at The appointment of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi wasn’t con-
the loss of their sons and husbands. Countless former ducted by anyone with scholarly credentials.
ISIS fighters denounce the group from prisons, describ-
ing the organization’s injustices, torture, and overall in- Their leaders were ignorant. True scholars of all types of
sanity. Nevertheless, the group continues to proclaim ideological variance, including other salafi jihadists, had
that the ‘Islamic State will remain.’ rejected the notion. It made no matter to the immature
and ignorant that dominated the core of ISIS, nor the
The so-called Khilafah has been territorially defeated, uninformed youth that believed themselves capable of
but, a Digital Khilafah now instructs supporters and understanding Islamic jurisprudence and interpreting
recruits to sustain ISIS’ existence by disseminating its the shariah. Even an American that taught himself Ara-
twisted religious interpretation online and inspiring bic in an American prison was credited with convincing
and conducting attacks against civilians in their home Al-Adnani to declare the so-called Khilafah. Accord-
countries. It should, however, be clear that most that ing to fanboy Musa Cerantonio, this novel American
obeyed the Khalifah’s dictates died for a mirage in the convert with little more than a decade in Islam, “had
desert. pressed the leaders of what was then the Islamic State of
Iraq and al-Sham to declare a caliphate.”
The so-called Khilafah’s extremism list is lengthy. First, a
legitimate caliphate under classical Islamic law requires The call to the Khilafah was answered to a degree but
the support of ahul hal-wal-aqd (those that loosen and mostly by the young and ignorant, who found the por-
bind) who are those ACTUALLY qualified to elect or trayal of a promised victory and the return to a pristine
depose a caliph on behalf of the Muslim community. past mesmerizing. A United Nations study found that


those that traveled to join ISIS mainly came from disadvantaged backgrounds, had low levels of education, and
“lacked any basic understanding of the true meaning of jihad or even the Islamic faith. Most saw their religion
in terms of justice and injustice rather than in terms of piety and spirituality.” Yet, during the so-called Khilafah,
these youth with guns acted as scholars. They would implement hudood (punishments) on the spot with no real
religious authority.

These and innumerable alternative examples document a prophecy ISIS’ seems to disregard that, “There will come
towards the end of time youth with reckless and deficient intellects. They will speak with the statements of the best
of creation…Their faith will not even reach beyond their throats. Wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever
kills them will have a reward on the Day of Resurrection.” And that is exactly what was done… by a Coalition
led by Western countries where you can speak openly about Islam all day, that have protected Islamists wanted
by Middle Eastern governments, even at their own expense, and that now have to address an Islamophobia that
wouldn’t exist were jihadists not harming the image of Islam and providing evidence for Islam’s war on democracy
and liberalism.

From an ideological standpoint, the so-called Khilafah was totally void as well. A Khilafah must have the power
to defend the Muslim masses. The political system of Islam rises from necessity when the Muslims in general are
committed to their religion. As the Quran says, “Allah will not alter the condition of a people until they alter the
condition of themselves.” The Prophet (saws) didn’t establish the first Islamic State in Medina by force. The Mus-
lims he taught were so committed to spirituality and religion after thirteen years of oppression in Quraishi society
that when the laws of the shariah were revealed that prohibited alcohol, the streets immediately were running with
emptied wine and liquor. When the order to wear hijab was revealed, the women immediately sought fabric with
which they could cover. Even when the Prophet marched on Mecca in a strength there was hardly any violence.
When asked by those that once fought him, whether he would exact revenge he merely stated, “Do as you wish for
I have forgiven you.”

ISIS’ Khilafah rested on no such cultivation. As such, the so-called Khilafah was a disaster from its inception. In
August 2014, the so-called Khilafah swept through Northern Iraq and came across the Yazidis, a group that had
resided in Iraq for centuries. The soldiers of the Khilafah committed clear genocide, killing thousands, starving
the people on siege, and putting the women into sex slavery. One of those slaves, Nadia Murad Basee Taha, has
explained their “kind” treatment,

“The one who took me asked me to convert, I did not, he then
one day asked me for ‘marriage’…Then he one day forced me
to dress for him and put make up, I did, and in that black
night, he did it. He forced me to serve his militant squad,
he insulted me by forcing me to dress improperly. And I was
unable to bear more rape and torture, I decided to escape, but
I failed and I was captured by the guards. That night, he
beat me up, forced to undress, and put me in a room with six
militants. They continued to commit crimes to my body until
I became unconscious.”

Recovered videos now show crazed Western jihadists ex-

cited with perversions, buying and selling Yazidis as if they
were property, and justifying their actions with a crazed in-
terpretation of scriptural prophecy that suggests that one of
the signs of the End of Times is that, “the slave-girl shall give
birth to her mistress.” Their argument was that the reference
had to mean that before the Khilafah’s global conquest, slav-
ery first had to be reimplemented. In this manner, ISIS saw
its rapes as worship.

The actions against the Yazidis soon gave the West a justi-
fication for entering the conflict. As former U.S. President
Barack Obama organized an international coalition, ISIS re-
sponded by beheading innocent journalists, most of whom
were reporting the civil war in Syria as a justified uprising
against a brutal regime. The Coalition picked the organiza-
tion apart since then by air, avoiding tens of thousands more
deaths than a ground war would have inflicted. Today the
so-called Khilafah is destroyed, but in the process, the terri-
tory, the people, and the religion they claimed to be defend-
ing have been decimated as well.

These days, the so-called Khilafah is no more. But because of

it, a tyrant, Bashar al-Assad, reasserts control in Syria as the
international community was forced to focus on those that
tried to attack the citizenry on their streets. Millions of Syr-
ian refugees linger in camps from the destruction, most of
them praying for entrance into the Western nations jihadists
despise. For years, ISIS raped, mutilated, tortured, and killed
anyone that didn’t pledge allegiance or anyone with whom
they disagreed. They made Islam and Muslims look barbaric
and thereby chased innumerable youth in the Middle East
away from their religion. This is largely due to a reliance on
recruits that knew little about the religion and imagined a
religious tradition as a totalitarian system dedicated, first
and foremost, to global domination. It is as Shaykh ul-Islam


Ibn Taymiyya put it, “Allah will establish the just State In conclusion, we urge the recognition that Islam is
even if it is disbelieving and will not establish the unjust built on patience. Allah’s Messenger has also warned
State though it is believing.” that, “Haste is from the Shaytan.” Yet, how many did we

see rush to join the Khawarij-Khilafah? How many do
Today, the so-called Khilafah is gone, but its remain- we see continue to rush to attack innocent men, wom-
ing followers resort to assassinating ignorant Iraqi sol- en, and children simply because they reside in the West,
diers, civilians in the marketplace, Shiites, mothers, despite clear warning from the Prophet (saws) about
children and the vulnerable, thus proving that a true doing so? Because that message still resonates, we ask
Islamic State cannot be established nor maintained with the reader to contemplate and share a story from Imam
injustice. For certain, ISIS is not the only group that Hassan al Basri, the great scholar from amongst the ta-
makes Islam itself seem solely revealed for the sake of bi’een (first three generations of Muslims).
establishing some totalitarian system they call Khila-
fah; Al-Qaeda, Hizbut Tahrir, the Muslim Brotherhood, A group of Muslims came to him and asked permission
and others’ call to a radicalization of Islam that is more to rebel against Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusef, then the Umayyad
conducive to radical-Leftism and communism than it is Khalifah and oppressor who killed the great companion
to the spiritual path of the Prophet Muhammad (saws). Abdullah ibn Zubair and others. The master of the re-
This leads to confusion. People adopt the egalitarianism ligion explained to them, “If this is a fitnah from Allah,
of the far-Left, and then portray Islam as a social jus- then I see no way out except patience that you should
tice movement based on politics and void of the call to be patient. And if it is a punishment then you cannot
monotheism that propelled the Prophet (saws). It is as remove it with swords.” But the youthful questioners
our beloved (saws) described, were seeking only one answer and left to fight regard-
less. They were soon massacred and Al-Hajjaj used the
“There will be a huge confusion within my Community. revolt to oppress the innocent and expand his power. It
There will not remain one house of the Arabs except is not unlike the way we see the tyrant murderer Bashar
that confusion will enter it. Those who die because of it al-Assad benefiting from ISIS unto this moment. When
(by responding to their false Jihad) are in the fire. The the fate of the youth was relayed to Hassan al-Basri, he
harm of the tongue in it will be greater than that of the elaborated, “If the people had patience then it wouldn’t
sword (disseminating ideas more harmful than lone- have been long before they were granted an escape,
wolf actors).” but they rushed for their swords and so they are left to
their swords. Going to the sword without patience nev-
Additionally, there is clearly no need to adopt a political er brought about any good ever.” Please reflect on and
group at all in these times of confusion. As the Proph- share these words my dear brothers and sisters!
et (saws) explained to Hudhaifah ibn Al-Yaman (raa),
“There will be callers to the doors of the Hellfire…They Finally, in analyzing the so-called Islamic State and its
are from our people and they speak our tongue.’ So true horrific effects, we might recall the prayers of ISIS’
Hudhaifah (raa) asked, ‘And what do you order me to own leadership. Abu Muhammad al-Adnani supplicat-
do if that reaches me?’ He (saws) replied, ‘Adhere to the ed in a 2014 speech, “O Allah, if this is a state of khawar-
Jamaah (majority of Muslim) and to their Imam (lead- ij, then break its back, kill its leaders, make its flag fall,
er). Nut Hudhaifah was intelligent, and so he continued and guide its soldiers to the truth. O Allah, and if it is a
by saying, “And if they have neither Imam nor Jamaah?’ state of Islam that rules by Your book and the tradition
So the Prophet (saws) replied, ‘Withdraw yourself from of Your prophet, and performs jihad against your ene-
all of those groups, even if that means for you to bite on mies, then keep it firm, strengthen it, support it, grant
to the root of a tree until death overcomes you while you it authority in the land, and make it a khilafah upon the
are upon that state.” Clearly to die without allegiance to prophetic methodology.”
a Khilafah in a period of uncertainty is far from forbid-
den. Now, a few years later, we should revisit this prayer
that ISIS will never refer back to in its propaganda. We
should question which of the two has been manifested
by Allah. While many may remain stubborn and bewil-


Finally, in analyzing the so-called Islamic State and its true

horrific effects, we might recall the prayers of ISIS’ own
leadership. Abu Muhammad al-Adnani supplicated in a
2014 speech, “O Allah, if this is a state of khawarij, then
break its back, kill its leaders, make its flag fall, and guide
its soldiers to the truth. O Allah, and if it is a state of Islam
that rules by Your book and the tradition of Your prophet,
and performs jihad against your enemies, then keep it
firm, strengthen it, support it, grant it authority in the
land, and make it a khilafah upon the prophetic methodol-

Now, a few years later, we should revisit this prayer that

ISIS will never refer back to in its propaganda. We should
question which of the two has been manifested by Allah.


dered by recent claims that the ISIS will survive through the work of ‘keyboard warriors’ inciting people to drive
people down in the street or behead Western tourists, this alone should be sufficient. Has the prayer not been
answered? The So-called Khilafah is dead and the answer from Allah apparent. As Ibn Taymiyyah said, “It is said
that Allah allows the just state to remain even if it is led by unbelievers, but Allah will not allow the oppressive state
to remain even if it is led by Muslims. And it is said that the world will endure with justice and unbelief, but it will
not endure with oppression and Islam.”

O Muslims, the so-called Khilafah of ISIS is defeated. Yet all too many Muslims remain adherent to a stagnant form
of shariah. Even moderates uphold that the reestablishment of a pan-Islamic Khilafah is an objective and that this
State must have global conquest as its ultimate mission. What many of the allegedly moderate imams that hold
this belief do not admit is that their reference to texts in literalist form believes in expansionary offensive jihad, a
special tax for Jews and Christians, cutting the hands of the thief, the permissibility of slavery, stoning the adul-
terer, and other things that were social norms when the Quran was revealed. In historical context, Islam’s position
on these matters was progressive.

The Prophet’s message paved the way for further alterations and progress. He offered a paradigmatic shift in con-
sciousness. This shift preceded any notion of organized society, its legal aspects and a literalist and stagnant in-
terpretation of shariah. The Medinan society reflected the hearts of the early Muslims. As the Prophet said, “As
you are, so are the leaders above you.” It is not a top-down process where leadership is the objective. He (saws)
emphasized this when he said, “By Allah, we do not assign the authority of ruling to those who ask for it, nor to
those who are keen to have it”, and “You people will be keen to have the authority of ruling which will be a thing of
regret for you on the Day of Resurrection”

In following articles related to this topic, we will address the general concept of Khilafah and political Islam as un-
derstood these days by many, many Muslims. It is a means of opening up the heart and mind to an interpretation of
Islam that focuses less on fundamentalist rule-following and more on substance and spiritual connectedness. That
is the true purpose of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws). It was never his objective to establish a so-called
Khilafah but to convey the message of monotheism and consciousness of God.


Dialogue oF
CivilizatioN Muslim-Christian-Jewish Spain:
The Real Islamic State and a Future of Harmony

Once upon a time in 750 A.D., a young prince named Abdur Rahman quietly left his home in Damascus, capital
of the Umayyad Caliphate. He was the last Umayyad prince, perhaps in his late teens or early twenties. His fellow
royal heirs had been slaughtered as the Umayyads were losing control over the Caliphate to the Abbasids. When
the Abbasids offered a truce to the Umayyad ruling family, they held a banquet, invited them all, fed them well, and
then had them assassinated, that is except for Abdur Rahman. Instead, the last Umayyad prince stealthily wove his
way for five years westward before eventually settling at the furthest expanse of the Muslim world, in what is now
southern Spain, which a group of North African Berbers and Umayyad-led Arabs had conquered in 711.

The land, which the Muslims called Al-Andalus, was named after the Vandals, the Germanic tribe that had previ-
ously ruled the territory. The last Umayyad prince soon settled in Cordoba, a city originally named after a Roman
who had ruled before the Visigoth conquest. Al-Andalus was the farthest the Muslims had expanded into what
would go on to become Europe. On his father’s side, Abdur Rahman was a descendant of the companions of the
Prophet (saws), yet his mother was Berber. This combination made it easy for him to unite the Berbers and Arabs
and take control of the territory, thus forming one cohesive Al-Andalus in the Iberian Peninsula, with the excep-
tion of some territory Christians retained control over in the North. Unifying the territory was only the beginning
however. Soon, an “Andalusian-Enlightenment” added contributions to society such as libraries, schools, univer-
sities, public bathrooms, literature, poetry, and architecture. This work was developed through the unification of
people and thinkers of all faiths and ethnic origins.

For 300 years, the rule of Abdur Rahman’s descendants in what is now called Spain
would represent a key notch on the historical timeline of human progress, a represen-
tation of reason and religion, of scientific and artistic excellence, of respect, tolerance
and learning that would go on to birth the Renaissance and leave residues that would
eventually contribute to the Enlightenment. Today, many have lost track of this history
and instead adopt a Clash of Civilizations paradigm and global war on terror para-
digm that tends to highlight differences between an Orientalist East and Occidental
West. This paradigm perpetuates conflict and the notion of the “Other”. Yet, a return to
Muslim-Christian-Jewish Spain hearkens to a historical peak representative of a shift
in consciousness and society. This historical peak documents that civilization, in a sin-
gular sense, is not the product of a single region, race, or religion but rather a collective
effort of all of humanity and history.

The Andalusian-Enlightenment
Al-Andalus would flourish. Abdur Rahman would establish the basis for a society that
would last 800 years and that when united rivaled today’s globalism and multicultur-
alism. There was economic prosperity, an increase in population, and unprecedented
cultural exchanges. At the time of Abdur Rahman’s resettlement, less than one percent
of the Christian population in Al-Andalus was Muslim. Yet, within a few generations,
most of the Christians had converted and intermarriage had intermixed people of all
ethnic and cultural origins, from Hispano-Roman, Berber, Arab and others. The off-
spring of Abdur Rahman and his heirs to the throne in Cordoba were almost always
conceived with Christian mothers from the North, for example. Their blue eyes and
pale skin were constant lures of attraction when citizens of the Eastern Islamic Empires
would visit Al-Andalus in subsequent centuries. The intermarriage between different
cultures was key to the development of Al-Andalus and its identity.

Al-Andalus was home to Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and, for the most part, there
was harmony and tolerance. This period, known as La Convivencia (Coexistence), has
been described as one of the “rare periods in history” when the three religions did
not either keep “their distance from one another, or were in conflict.” It was a culture
of spiritual and scientific learning. By the time Abdur Rahman’s great grandson came
to rule, he housed a library of 700,000 volumes while the rest of Europe’s largest li-
brary contained no more than 700. Arabic became the lingua franca and soon Christian
youth aspired to imitate Arabic poetry in the same way people all over the world em-
brace American music or other entertainments currently.

As a Christian thinker, Paul Alvarus, phrased it 100 years after Abdur Rahman made
his home in Cordoba, “The Christians love to read poems and romances of the Arabs;
they study their theologians and philosophers, not to refute them but to form a correct
and elegant Arabic.” It was these Christians that would go on to bring the fascinating
intellectual tradition they were immersed in to Europe and revive Christian intellec-
tualism. The Greek philosophers the Arabs had translated in the East made their way
to Al-Andalus and were translated into Latin. This helped induce the Renaissance and
eventually the Enlightenment.

Al-Andalus was home to public bath houses, running water, aqueducts, and sewage. It’s


cities had paved and well-lit streets. Cordoba hosted thousand of shops, and an innumerable number of mosques.
Architectural advancements were phenomenal. For example, the Great Mosque of Cordoba, which started to be
built in 784 on top of a Christian temple, still stands today. Alhambra, the Red Mosque in Granada, still stands
today. It’s structure, built on a small plot of land, harmonized the space and was constructed on a divine propor-
tion that sought to give the impression of heaven on Earth. “It was a triumph of mathematics as much as it was

Agricultural advancements, imported from the Muslim world, increased trade and diversified products. Rural
areas adopted agricultural techniques, such as irrigation, and imports added new items such as sugar and coffee.
Mediterranean routes of commerce previously used by the Romans were reconfigurated and expanded. Easy
trade between Cordoba, capital of the Andalusian caliphate, and Baghdad allowed for the latest trends from the
eastern metropolis to be introduced in Andalusia.

The initial history of Al-Andalus, therefore, documents that, contrary to what Christian fundamentalists or white
supremacists consider a solely European civilization freeing mankind from a preexistent barbarism, European
civilization is itself largely an outgrowth of Islamic Spain, and Islamic Spain itself a representation of the Asian,
Persian, African, Indian and other cultures that preceded its rise and that were absorbed during the initial period
of Islam’s expansion out of the Arabian desert after the Prophethood of Muhammad (saws) had concluded.

Yet, it is important to recognize that while Muslim control in Al-Andalus lasted 800 years, the 300-year period of
Umayyad rule is where it experienced most of its splendor. The entire 800 year period has been cause of nostalgia
among Muslims. After the attacks in Barcelona on August 17th, 2018, two ISIS supporters released a video calling
for the reconquering of Spain as part of the Muslim Empire: “Allah willing, Al-Andalus will become again what it
was, part of the caliphate. Spanish Christians, don’t forget the Muslim blood spilt during the Spanish inquisition.”
However, moderate imams also hearken to the age of Islamic Spain as if all of the West is indebted to it or as if it
embodies all of what contemporary liberal democracies offer their citizens. That is not exactly the case however.
Any revisiting of Al-Andalus will only assist in improving the modern world if it is understood absent idealisms.

In reality, the era of Andalusian Enlightenment started to fade in 1009, after the death of ruler Abdul Malik
al-Muzaffar and the abolition of Umayyad control over Al-Andalus in 1031. The once unified territory divided
into smaller taifas (city states) that attempted to reproduce the Cordoban Caliphate at a smaller scale. These lo-
calities, organized under different and disagreeing princes, started to initiate civil wars and infighting between
Muslims. Soon, Berbers were opposing Arabs. Fragmentation in the internal state of Al-Andalus altered its status
as a consistent and unified territory and started to create the divisions necessary for the reassertion of Christian
domination. As Muslim historian Sulayman Nyang put it, fragmentation into city states was, “the source of dis-
unity and later the collapse of Muslim power in the Iberian Peninsula.” He elaborates, “These different kingdoms
that were created by the Arabs fighting each other and some of them will align with some Christians against
some Arabs, and some Christians will unite against the Arabs with some other Arabs…Later on when the ideol-
ogy of the Crusades developed these dynastic and personal interests began to be less and less and you began to
see polarization against Christians and Muslims.”

In response to the civil conflicts, two Islamist groups, the Murabitoon and Muwahedeen, Berber soldiers from
the Sahara, arrived to the Iberian Peninsula with the intention of unifying the divided Andalusian territories. Yet,
they brought along a literalist and rigid interpretation of Islam that was largely a reflection of a stagnation in free
thinking in the rest of the Muslim world where traditionalist scholars were rejecting the philosophy and logic from
scholars like Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Abu Sina, authors that would go on to have dramatic influence amongst
future Christian thinkers.

The vivid multiculturalism in Islamic Spain during the first few hundred years represented a paradigm shift in
intellectualism, consciousness, science and political identity. It induced a shift in coexistence and interfaith rela-
tions, but that started to alter with the turn of the millenium. Jews and Christians were originally unrestricted in
social life but tolerance in Al-Andalus gradually depleted. Non-Muslims were persecuted and considered “second
class” citizens. They paid a tax (jizya) which, it must also be said, exempted them from military service. Eventually,
Christians and Jews were forced to work menial jobs Muslims determined themselves unfit for. As stated in a 12th
century ruling: “A Muslim must not massage a Jew or a Christian nor throw away his refuse nor clean his latrines.
The Jew and the Christian are better fitted for such trades, since they are the trades of those who are vile.” At times,
they were even massacred, such as when Jews were collectively slaughtered in Granada in 1066.

While the core of Al-Andalus fragmented, up north, the first Crusade in 1096 sparked a fervor in the Christian
population that was based primarily upon a narrative on the necessity of taking back Jerusalem and the Holy Land
from barbaric and pagan Muslims. The Crusades were themselves a call to a “Clash of Civilizations”. Christians had
not only benefited from the previous advances of Muslim Al-Andalus, but they had achieved a similar sentiment
of ummah (community) and also came to understand the concept of jihad as holy war. They soon reinterpreted it
as such through Christian scripture. The ideology of the Crusades was adopted by the Christians in Northwestern
Spain as they also viewed Islamic Spain as a Christian terrain that needed reconquered, and Muslim civilization as
representative of the barbarism the Church was propagating.

While Al-Andalus’ “rich web of attitudes about culture, and the intellectual opulence that it symbolized” was
largely responsible for the arrival of learning and tolerance on the Iberian peninsula, it was the spread and ulti-
mate clash between the “determinedly crusading forces from Latin Christendom and the equally fanatic Berber
Almohads” that spelled the end for medieval Spain’s culture of tolerance. This turn prepared the Muslim world for
decline. Christians gradually took back territory
in what was termed the Reconquista. Warfare en-
sued until, in 1492, the last stronghold of Islamic
Spain was conquered in Granada. That day, Octo-
ber 12, 1492, has been described by Christian na-
tionalists as “the most distinguished and blessed
day there has ever been in Spain.” With the final


conquest in 1492, Judaism was banned. Anti-Semitism ran rampant. A ‘Holy Inqui-
sition,’ which sought to identify heretics and Muslims and Jews that had converted
insincerely, led to witch hunts. Christianity was often enforced through torture and
imprisonment. Forced conversions, which betrayed the religious freedom granted to
Muslims by the Treaty of Granada signed in 1492, culminated in the eradication of
Muslims from Spain by 1501. Encouraged by the success, Queen Isabella issued an
edict in 1502 which banned Islam for all of Castile. These practices continued. Influ-
enced by the Crusader mentality and based on the threat posed by the Turks, Moriscos
(Muslims who had been forcefully baptized) were completely expelled from Spanish
territory between 1609 and 1613. It was a period driven by principles of intolerance
and not unlike those that extremists on all sides endorse today, principles that perpet-
uate conflict and prevent civilizational tolerance and cooperation.

The New Clash of Civilizations

The story of Al-Andalus is fascinating yet fairly forgotten. In many ways, the story of
the society Abdur Rahman established is particularly relevant today, especially as we
enter into the 18th year of the global war on terror, an international paradigm that re-
sembles much of the complications associated with the decline of Al-Andalus and the
Christian Reconquista. This period tracks well with events that occurred at the end of
the Cold War in the early 1990’s and a theory called the “Clash of Civilizations.”

In 1990, as the U.S.S.R. was crumbling and the bipolar Cold War order was disintegrat-
ing, then U.S. President George Bush announced the birth of a New World Order, “a
new era — freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more
secure in the quest for peace.” He made his statement in the context of the onset of the
first Gulf War which prevented Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, ended in the
swift showing America’s unrivaled force and soon seemed to confirm a commitment to
“an era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can pros-
per and live in harmony.” Soon thereafter, political scientist Francis Fukuyama boldly
pronounced an ‘End of History.’ “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of
the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of
history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the uni-
versalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government,” he
said. However, this perspective had its detractors.

For others, the end of the Cold War was only the beginning of an alteration in the
nature of conflict. Samuel P. Huntington, Fukuyama’s teacher, proposed that we would
rather enter into an era marked by a Clash of Civilizations where “future wars would be
fought not between countries, but between cultures.” Challenger civilizations, such as
the Chinese and Islamic, represented a new threat to the international liberal order. In
the minds of many, the hammer and sickle of Communism would be replaced with fear
of the “bloody borders” of the Muslim-majority world and a “green peril,” a reference
to the green crescent of political Islam. According to Huntington and his supporters,
the West and Islam were destined to engage in a long and violent struggle over control
of the Middle East, including its oil resources.

The Clash of Civilizations hypothesis was seemingly confirmed on September 11, 2001,
with the Al-Qaeda led plane hijackings that brought down the World Trade Center and

hit the Pentagon. Soon thereafter, the Clash of Civilizations mentality was reflected in what became a ‘Global War
on Terror.’ In the aftermath of 9/11, President George Bush III understandably issued a warning. “Every nation,
in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” he said. He
emphasized while mourning the victims of 9/11 that “this crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.”

The global war on terror narrative was soon embraced by leaders around the world including Osama bin Laden.
Sitting on a mountaintop in October 2001, Al-Qaeda’s leader soon endorsed the Clash of Civilizations model. Bin
Laden exploited the situation and explained that for America’s President, “the world has to be divided in two: Bush
and his supporters, and any country that doesn’t get into the global crusade is with the terrorists. What terrorism
is clearer than this?” He craftily drew from the principle that ‘one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’ and
attempted to galvanize Muslim youth explaining with twisted interpretations of Islamic scripture that those who
supported President Bush, “even with one word,” were in fact not Muslim at all, a doctrine of takfir (excommunica-
tion) that has continued to metastasize to the degree that Muslims killing Muslims in the Middle East has become
all too normal and commonplace.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Khatimi, president of Iran from 1997–2005, introduced the theory of “Dialogue Among
Civilizations” as a response to Huntington’s theory. This doctrine ostensibly endorsed dialogue over conflict. How-
ever, embracing the concept of civilizations, in the plural, lends itself to a conception of dialogue that merely means
talking, and in the case of Iran, with an implicit sense that Islamic civilization under Shiite rule is not only superior
to all others but destined to conquer the world in prophecy that drives decision-making. This is embodied in innu-
merable statements of those affiliated with the Iranian regime, such as Khatimi’s successor Ahmed Ahmadinejad’s
statement in 2007 that, “In the world, there are deviations from the right path: Christianity and Judaism. Dollars
have been devoted to the propagation of these deviations. There are also false claims that these [religions] will save
mankind. But Islam is the only religion that [can] save mankind.” That is not an open-minded position.

Eighteen years in and there remains no end in sight to the global war on terror. ISIS’ caliphate has lost all its terrain
and Al-Qaeda and its supporters are on the run, but jihadists are in no way defeated. The Taliban see victory on
the horizon in Afghanistan. Four times as many salafi jihadists as there were on September 11, 2001, remain active
on battlefields in dozens of countries. Almost every day, terrorist attacks continue to harm innocents caught in
the crossfire of the Clash of Civilizations. Online jihadist propaganda continues to motivate attacks all over. The
protracted War on Terror paradigm has enhanced anti-American sentiment in the Muslim-majority world. As the
U.S. and its allies have remained embroiled in conflict, Russia, Iran, China, and other authoritarian regimes have
benefited. Now, Bashar al-Assad remains in control over most of Syria and the creeping authoritarian threat ad-
vances as China,-Russia, and Iran look to rebuild and exert additional influence in the Middle East. All this endan-
gers the future of a liberal world order that in no way is perfect, but that certainly is preferable to totalitarianism
or World War III. Still, most do not notice.

These authoritarian regimes have been exploiting the long wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in ways similar
to how the United States lured Russia into the 10-year long Soviet-Afghan war that preceded the fall of the U.S.S.R.
In the West, support for far-right wing parties and anti-Islamic sentiment create exclusive, anti-immigrant, and
Islamophobic sentiments, while left-wing reactions grow increasingly radical and even extreme. Around the globe,
reactionary and populist politicians tap into the Clash of Civilizations mindset and create internal and external
us-versus-them perspectives that hyperpolarize their societies. Hate and extremism are on the rise everywhere,
but few trace it back to the onset of the War on Terror. It is time for a paradigm shift in the Clash of Civilizations
paradigm, and one of the mechanisms for facilitating such a shift is a return to a proper understanding of the dis-
tinctions that marked the onset of Islamic Spain and its culture of tolerance and consciousness-raising.

Far from a Clash of Civilizations, the 300-year legacy of Abdur Rahman’s Umayyad Muslim Spain represented a
‘Dialogue of Civilization,’ in the singular. Collective mankind was evoked as a single tribe, which the Quran calls


Bani (tribe of) Adam, where coexistence and engagement centered more around spirituality and less around re-
ligious dogma and literalism. To be certain, life in Al-Andalus was far from idealistic. However, it was in Al-An-
dalus that Jews would rediscover and reinvent Hebrew; Christians embraced Arabic language, dress, education,
philosophy, architecture and the like; men like Abelard, Maimonides and Ibn Rush had little problem investigating
science or philosophy and logic with members of other religions. In that same manner, today’s interconnected
world would benefit from cooperation and collaboration with the other and understanding that true dialogue ne-
cessitates the understanding that all of mankind are in this together and that civilization is a product of all cultures,
races, languages and the consciousness of mankind collectively. If we are to rescue ourselves from civilizational
decline akin to the disintegration of Al-Andalus and the consequential Crusade and Reconquista, we must extract
principles of tolerance akin to the formulation of a new Andalusian Enlightenment.

Toward a New Andalusian Enlightenment

The British writer Rudyard Kipling famously wrote that, “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall
meet.” Many critics of western “imperialism” have pointed in part to this line as evidence for Kipling’s racism and
endorsement of an Oriental East in need of liberation by way of force from the Occidental, Western empire. This
would seem to confirm an overwhelming support over the ages for a Clash of Civilizations perspective. Few, how-
ever, quote the stanza in context. In reality, Kipling wrote:

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!”

While it is not at all uncommon for writers and thinkers to be quoted out of context, the distinction between
reading the stanza in isolation and reading it in entirety is representative of the core complications that currently
perpetuate global and local conflicts. Taken together, it is apparent that Kipling was describing that the “Other”
can seem very different when viewed from afar and from the lens of religious dogma and doctrine, but that when
people interact face to face, in real-time with those they differ from, there is more commonality than division. It
is that same sentiment, along with an opposition to the general misquoting that predominates today, that can pre-
serve humankind’s progress and civilizational advancement without regression.

Divisive polarization, hate, and extremisms that perpetuate the Clash of Civilizations perspective today are largely
a consequence of lacking dialogue and real-life engagement. Similar to quoting Kipling out of context, nostalgia
for Islamic Spain today can be liberating or help perpetuate civilizational division. The history of Islamic Spain
can be interpreted through divergent lenses. For Muslims, Islamic Spain was a perfect society based in tolerance.
Jihadists call for the retaking of Al-Andalus while traditionalists in general ignore that Islamic Spain was tolerant
with historical considerations in mind but hardly in comparison to modern norms that respect equal rights under
the law for all citizens. Fundamentalists Christians look at the reconquest of Spain as the onset of emancipation
from ‘creeping sharia.’ They use it to justify Islamophobia and support for anti-Muslim policies on issues such as
immigration. Jews relate the intolerance of Christian Europe and Spain’s reconquest as the onset of an anti-Sem-
itism that culminated in the atrocities of the Nazis, yet many fundamentalist Jews often times perpetrate similar
resentment against Palestinians.

When understood correctly, the tolerance and coexistence induced by Abdur Rahman’s Al-Andalus represent
an avenue to a new Andalusian Enlightenment that might facilitate a shift from the Clash of Civilizations into
a dialogue of civilization paradigm. To effectively induce a new Andalusian Enlightenment, progress resting on
principles antithetical to extremism, bigotry, hate, and extremism must pose alternatives to conflict and violence.

For decades, Islamists have criticized authoritarian regimes, faulted democracy and
blamed Western imperialism for the failure of governance in the Muslim world. For
political Islamists, “Islam is the Solution,” but they have not defined and outlined what
that solution is. They often point to Islamic Spain as evidence of Islam’s tolerance. Nev-
ertheless, they refrain from explaining that they still call for jizya (tax of Christians
and Jews), restrictions on their propagation of the faith and many other discriminatory
positions, like restrictions to serve in government positions. For Islamists, the spirit
of Al-Andalus represents a nostalgic and utopic past, a time when they dominated
over others. It is a past they hearken back to with frequent threats to one day impose
their rigid 7th century literalism by force. For certain, they know little of Al-Andalus’
substance, its art, architecture, creativity and the philosophy they frequently kill their
fellow Muslims for upholding these days. In reality, most extremists of the day would
categorize most of the residents of Al-Andalus as heretics and apostates. Were they
to travel back in time, they would no doubt abhor Al-Andalus’ cultural and creative

Where Islamists or jihadists have come to assume authority, their rule has been marked
by inefficiencies and oppression that turns populaces against them. Prophet Muham-
mad (saws) came with a paradigm shift that elevated the Arabs above tribalism, united
them around a spiritual path, and led to an expansion within 100 years that covered
Al-Andalus in the West to China in the East. Today’s Islamists see a revolutionary plat-
form asserted with force from above, not the kind of bottom-up conceptions that al-
lowed tolerance and coexistence first in Medina with the first so-called Muslim “State,”
and then extensively in Al-Andalus.

Conditions today necessitate a paradigm shift in human consciousness, a society based

not on materialism and self-seeking narcissistic behavior but the reassertion of a con-
ception of culture that taps into a shift in awareness akin to that which developed in
Abdur Rahman’s Spain, a life centered around intellectual pursuit, scientific progress,
and dialogue amongst all citizens of differing backgrounds and creeds.

Unfortunately, the Clash of Civilizations paradigm only assumes that conflict is inev-
itable, that there is something that distinguishes Western, Islamic, and Chinese civili-
zations and that conflict must continue because war has been commonplace in history.
Once conceptions shift so that civilization is understood in the singular, dialogue and
consciousness can shift so that the history of progress and development is gradually
viewed as the product of all humanity.

A new Andalusian Enlightenment would advance the lessons of Islamic Spain and ap-
ply them to the current situation. We currently live in a world blanketed by nation
states but also one where advancements in technology and communication put us in
touch with people around the globe. Today we are all interconnected however,where
we thought things like the internet and social media would democratize our ideolog-
ical influences, we exist polarized on nearly every single issue. We communicate only
in circles and echo chambers on and offline with those with whom we agree and we
demonize rival sides based only on the information of influencers and hardly ever after
dialogue with those on the opposite end of the spectrum.


For certain, the history of Abdur Rahman’s Al-Andalus is not the only society that represents a period where
tolerance and inclusivity led to social and spiritual development. However, in an age of intersecting extremisms,
where jihadists point to right-wing extremists that believe in a concept of civilization that begins in the West, and
where extremists in the West point to jihadists to justify their claim that Muslims residing in Western countries
cannot possibility assimilate and instead hold covert ideas of a creeping shariah, it is important to create a wide-
spread acknowledgement of this period in an effort to shatter such divisions. Albert Einstein once said that, “No
problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Today science is evolving so that we
can see the benefits of spirituality and the similar experiences of those that pray and meditate. People are shifting
in consciousness everywhere, redefining religion and rule-following with spiritual exploration and openness. Un-
fortunately, the global war on terror did indeed attack the problem posed by jihadist terrorism from the same level
of consciousness that created it.

As we rest on the threshold of a period of civilizational decline, there is an ever increasing reassertion of authori-
tarianism akin to the way Islamic Spain fractured into conflict and divide and then paved the way for a bloody and
intolerant period of declination. Going back to the future and organizing a new Andalusian Enlightenment is
a gateway to transformative change, both at individual and collective levels. Future editions of Ahul-Taqwa will
explore the prospects and document the role in detail, revealing how the Dialogue of Civilization is a
paradigmatic shift in consciousness. People of Consciousness everywhere are encouraged to adopt the position
and notion that we all have a duty to address these concerns, to rise above the reductionist paradigm promoted
by the Clash of Civilizations model, and to thereby do something to preserve an international order that could
only benefit and perhaps advance with a new Andalusian-Enlightenment.













an interview with
Carlos Bledsoe
Carlos Bledsoe converted to Islam in 2004. He changed his name to Ab-
dulhakim Mujahid Muhammad and started drifting towards more extreme
views of his newly adopted religion. In 2007, he travelled to Yemen to
teach English. There, he was in contact in Al-Qaeda members. He was ulti-
mately arrested for overstaying his visa but was released in 2009. During
his incarceration, his hatred for America grew. On June 1, 2009 Abdul-
hakim opened fire outside an army recruiting point in Little Rock, Arkansas,
killing Pvt. William Long and wounding Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. However,
the story could have been different. Melvin, Carlos’ father, ran a travel busi-
ness, Blues City Tours, and the intention was for Carlos to take over the
business. Abdulhakim, now sentenced to life in prison, has changed his
views; Melvin now heads an organization dedicated to helping families
and friends concerned about loved ones becoming involved in any form of

Can you give us a bit of background about yourself?
My background is a young convert to Islam, or should I say revert?
I reverted at the age of 19 years old, which was 14 years ago today
exactly, December 27, 2004. I reverted in the city of Memphis at
a masjid called Salam (Peace). Yet, I took a war path in Islam But
the beginnings were peace. A[n] Imam from India a sufi gave me
shahada. The sufis were my first teachers. They taught me peace,
love. Yet, i moved to another city, met salafis and went with them. I
was taught love-hate, love all salafis; hate everyone else, including
other Muslims. This group has a strong following in Yemen, partic-
ularly Damaj, in Sa’ada. It was there that I met other salafis from
around the world. I grew discontent with the non-violent salafis, or
pseudo-salafis, and I met violent salafis who taught that hate is to
be added with violence. I grew to hate whom I saw as aggressors
to Muslims, and the violent salafis, also known as jihadis or terror-
ists, directed my hate to a specific target: the U.S. military. Back in
America I attacked the target, was captured, tried and sentenced
to life without parole.

You were one of the first so-called ‘lone wolf’ attackers. Since
your arrest, lone wolf attacks have become new norm. Many
attacks have been perpetrated in the same manner. Can you
reflect on how you feel now? Are you haunted by what you’ve
I have been called the first of the ‘lone wolf’ attackers. I feel that is
not entirely true. Yes, I may have attacked alone. But I was directed
to a particular target by others; I have lived in prison 24 hours of
every day for the past 9 years and a half years. The haunting of
what I did is reminded to me by my surroundings every day.

You’ve been in isolation for some time now in prison and as a

‘lifer’ have no incentive to deradicalize. So, how did you do it?
As a ‘lifer’ I had no incentive to deradicalize and no intention to
do so. Yet, as the realization of the ultimate jihadi goal was mate-
rialized with ISIS, I started to doubt the violent salafist ideology.
ISIS accomplished what Al Qaeda and the Taliban dreamed of. ow
it operated, things they did and how theyfell was a major contri-
bution to my deradicalization. I said to myself: “If they were in the
right, no force on earth could stop them.” But they were.

Can you describe the difference between yourself now and the
person you were when you proudly proclaimed that you acted
on behalf of Al-Qaeda?
I have remembered the love-peace, spiritual realization aspect of
Islam I was first taught back in 2004. I renounce the salafist ideol-
ogy in totality now. That’s the major difference between now and


How did you come to realize you were wrong for supporting the interpretation of jihadists?
Like I said, things ISIS did. The rapes, the murders, the killings of other jihadists, the bombing of mosques,
the setting prisoners on fire, the beheading of children... It all hit me like a ton of bricks. This can’t be
Islamically justified.

Can you tell others the most important lesson you’ve learned from your experiences?
The most important lesson I learned is that Islam is about peace. Yet when there is a war as jihad, Mus-
lims have certain guidelines from the Prophet (PBUH) to follow. If these guidelines are not followed, then
the cause, the jihad, is not just. I joined an unjust war, and that was a very important lesson I learned while
in prison. It cost me my life, but I learned it before it was too late, meaning death.

How has Allah blessed you to see the light of the Islam you follow now?
By allowing me to see the signs He set for me at the outstart. . The first translation of the mushaf I read
was by a Sufi, Abdullah Yusuf Ali. I’ve come to see the truth of the Sufi path in Islam. Yet, I’m not a sufi. The
only label I accept is Muslim. Butthe spiritual realization the Sufis teach has showed me a new purpose in
life, the goal to overcome my lower self. A jihad al nafs (struggle of self) is the jihad I participate in now.

Can you tell us the most amazing spiritual story of your time in prison? Has something happened that
stands out as a time when despite the difficulty you realize peace and contentment?
After my earlier morning dhikts and meditations, I feel the evolution of my spirit. I feel inner peace, calm
and tranquility, nearness to Allah. Even though I’m in a maximum security prison I feel a force within and
around that I can’t explain.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your experiences, thoughts or feelings now?
I think I’ve said it all. It’s more than politics, more than religion, more than philosophy. It can’t be limited to
one aspect. It’s a complete way of life that Allah has set for the universe, so its destruction is impossible.
Although the powers of darkness try to destroy Islam’s image reputation and adherents, it’s impossible.
The spiritual awakening I’ve experienced in prison makes all the trials and tribulations worth it.

Can brothers and sisters reach out to you for advice, to support you and to benefit from your experi-
ences. If so, how can they contact you?
Yes. Anybody wishing to reach out can write me directly at
Abdullah Hakim Muhammad
P.O. Box 970
Marianna, AR 72360