Tag Archives: Arab Spring

My thoughts on Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim-Brotherhood & a potentially new Egypt:

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The Muslim Brotherhood has recently acquired, via one of their own, the reigns of the Presidency of Egypt. Now, the office of President, in the hands of Mohamed Mursi,  has caused a lot of concern, as well as controversy, within Egypt herself, within the Mideast, among her regional neighbors, as well as on the international political stage, by virtue of the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of being religiously radical, extremist, etc., or, in many cases, falsely accused of being religiously radical, extremist, etc. But, let’s look at the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a proper perspective, to see how the Muslim Brotherhood emerged, evolved, and, why are they such a feared political force in the Muslim/Arab-World, as well as in the eyes of the broader international-community.

The Muslims Brotherhood was actually formed as a result of the want, within Egypt, among its people, to rise against British influence/rule, during the waning years of Egypt’s last monarchy, the Mamlukes. Initially, the Muslim Brotherhood served as a revolutionary movement, to rout the Mamlukes, as well as the British shadow-rulers & kick them out of Egypt, leaving & letting Egyptians to write their own story, on the walls of time-The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood was known as Hassan al-Banna.(The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine)

The Muslim Brotherhood is now, what it has always been: a religious movement, centralized, but, not limited to Egypt or the Muslim/Arab-World, geared towards making Islam the law of the land. Now, in theory, this seems great. However, if/when not applied correctly, actually based upon the Qur’an & Sunnah (Prophetic-Tradition), this objective & fervor, for the establishment of the Shari`ah (Islamic-Law), can/will have very dangerous & disastrous results. And, historically, unfortunately, the Muslim Brotherhood has deviated from its roots, at different times, from simply being a religious-movement, to lowering itself to more like a religious-gang, even to the extent of the Muslim Brotherhood being directly responsible for the assassinations of many prominent figures in Egypt, like Prime Minister  Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, as well as their own founder, Hassan al-Banna himself, in 1949.(BBC News: “Profile: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood”, Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience, Caryle Murphy)

After the expulsion of the Mamlukes & the British, in 1952, Egypt, was finally free to carve out her own political path. However, there were a lot of hurdles for the Muslim Brotherhood, mainly because of the fact that that they had directly supported a military-coup, lead by a secularist, with military strength, by the name of Gamal Abdel Nasser. He was very clear on making Egypt a secular state, which was in complete contradiction to the fundamental founding principles of the Muslim Brotherhood. The establishment of a secular Egypt really rubbed the Muslim Brotherhood the wrong way, to the extent that they, in 1954, began to openly oppose the newly formed constitution of Egypt, taking the stance that it was not in accordance to the Shari`ah.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”)

Also, they openly opposed Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom, ironically, they had once willingly supported, against the Mamlukes & the British. The Muslim Brotherhood was actually blamed for an assassination-attempt, against Gamal Abdel Nasser, in 1954. And, this was definitely something that Nasser used, to his advantage, to marginalize his potential political competition-He immediately made moves, to hunt down, arrest, prosecute, torture, imprison, and, even execute members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the most famous member of the Muslim Brotherhood, even overshadowing its founder, Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, was executed under the Nasser administration, in 1965. Qutb, a Muslim thinker, activist, and, anti-Nasser propagator, was famous, mainly, for issuing his work, Milestones.

At first, Qutb was imprisoned & tortured, after the assassination attempt on Nasser. Being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood made him an easy-target, among many other easy-targets. Then, after being released from prison, he committed himself to the writing of what would be his most famous work, Milestones, in 1964. Milestones laid the groundwork for what Qutb’s vision of how to recreate an Islamic-State should be approached, within the traditional & external Muslim-World, particularly, within the Arab-World. However, this work, in the text itself, is responsible for ideas that have given rise & justification, used by latter peoples, influenced by his works, to pronounce Takfir (Blasphemy) upon other Muslims, for not ruling their respective countries, according to the Shari`ah. Upon this, it seemed as though Qutb, within his work, Milestones was blatantly giving Muslims the green-light to assassinate their own leaders, because of the fact that they were governing over others, with secular/non-religious laws, thereby making it okay to declare them Non-Muslims & thus lawful to kill.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”)

This placed Muslim leaders, within the Arab-World under immense fear, because if the common-people were to buy into this concept, that they were no longer Muslims, not only would they lose their power, but, they would also lose their lives. So, Nasser spared no expense to get rid of Qutb any way that he could, which he did. After the execution of Sayyid Qutb, in 1965, he became a Pan-Islamic/Pan-Arab icon, not only in Egypt, but all across the Muslim-World, as well as the Arab-World.  This act of the execution of Qutb, along with other prominent figures in the Muslim Brotherhood, at the time, charged up this movement to be even more radical against their government, in Egypt, and, their influence, which had been spreading to other parts of the Muslim-World, in other countries, had begun to expand rapidly.

Over the course of the next 4 decades, after the execution of Sayyid Qutb, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood has shaped the revolutionary landscape & mindset of Muslims, in the Muslim-World, that has not reversed since. The Muslim Brotherhood has been credited, most notably, of inspiring the rise of various splinter movements & groups, such as Hamas, in Palestine & Syria, al-Qaeda, globally, Al Eslah Society, in Bahrain, Iraqi Islamic Party, Muslim Brotherhood Society, in Jordan & Palestine, National Islamic Front, in Sudan,  Movement for the Society of Peace, in Algeria, and Hadas, in Kuwait-As far as personalities go, the Muslim Brotherhood has also been credited in shaping the ideologies of people like Ayman al-Zawahri, the mentor of Osama bin-Laden.(BBC: “Power of Nightmares”,  Financial Times, Newsweek journalists Mark Hosenball & Michael Isikoff) Now, with all of this said, what should our conclusion be, and what do we learn from this, and, more specifically, what does this mean for a future Egypt?

My take on this is very simple:
The historical backdrop of the Muslim Brotherhood is very important to know, as to get a very clear sense of why some people may love them, as well as why some people may hate them, as well as knowing how they, as a group, as a movement have, for better or for worse, been a dominant factor in how politics in the Muslim/Arab-World has played out. Also, knowing the past gives us a better insight into how the future may develop. Egypt has a lot of problems, not saying not. However, maybe if given the chance, Mursi, along with his new administration, along with the support of Egyptians, themselves, may be able to pick up Egypt, by her bootstraps, and take her to a better place. I’m of the stance that Mohamed Mursi needs to be given a fair shot, to do the job right, before he is criticized, for causing instability & danger in the Mideast, by Egypt’s neighbors, or nations with particular interests, and/or alterior motives, to dominate the region.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on al-Hajjaj ibn-Yusuf & Bashar al-Assad (The tale of two tyrants):

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These two men have a lot in common: al-Hajjaj lived over a thousand years ago; but, apparently, tyranny in the Muslim-World, unfortunately, didn’t die with him. Bashar has seemed to be the geo-political reincarnation of al-Hajjaj, basically picking up where he left off. And, the irony is that they’ve both been leaders in the same region of  the world. al-Hajjaj was once the Governor of Iraq, during the Umayyi-period, the neighboring country to Syria, which Bashar is now the current President of, more than a millennium later. What makes these two men so distant from one another historically, yet character-wise, so similar, referring to their thirst for absolute-power, bloodshed & ruthless-tactics in the administration of government?
Let’s take a look into each of their respective lives to learn more about what drove them to the madness of their reigns of terror:al-Hajjaj ibn-Yusuf-
Originally named Kulayb, changing his name to al-Hajjaj, he was basically, a soldier his whole life, began his political & military career under the Khilafah (Islamic-Rulership) of `Abd-il-Malik ibn-Marwan, the 5th of the Umayyi-Khulafa’ (Islamic-Rulers of the Umayyi-period). His first official governmental-post was in being part of Ash-Shurtah (the official police force of the Khilafah at this time). He received recognition, by being a stern disciplinarian towards those in his command. During the battle of Maskin, in 72, A.H./691, C.E., in which the forces of the Khalifah were victorious over those who supported a rebel, named Mus`ab ibn-az-Zubayr, he was recommended to be transferred to al-Hijaz (the western coast of the Arabian-Peninsula, which is the home of the cities of al-Makkah, al-Madinah, at-Ta’if, Jiddah, etc.), to crush yet another rebellion there.  His first official crime was massacring the Hujjaj (Pilgrims to Makkah), during Hajj (Pilgrimage), in 73, A.H./692, C.E. Two years after that massacre, he was transferred to Iraq, to take the post of Governor, a position that held from 75, A.H./695, C.E., until his death, in 95, A.H./714, C.E.

He was originally only commissioned to negotiate with the people of Makkah, whom were rebelling against the current Khalifah, under the banner of `Abdillah ibn-iz-Zubayr (May Allah be pleased with him), a companion of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). However, as a result of being banned from making Hajj, al-Hajjaj decided to storm the city of Makkah, which resulted in one of the bloodiest episodes that city ever saw, in which `Abdallah ibn-az-Zubayr was also among those whom were mercilessly & brutally murdered, during al-Hajjaj’s storming of Makkah, two years before he accepted the post of being the Governor of Iraq. Now, you’d think that his taste for bloodshed would’ve at least ended there; but, it did not-It only became more insatiable.

Once he became the Governor of Iraq, all hell broke loose. He is officially documented, by the Muslim historian,  Abu-Mansur `Abd il-Malik ibn-Muhammad ibn-Isma`il ath-Tha`alibi, as being one of four men whom were personally responsible for the deaths of at least 100Thousand people. His killing-spree was notorious, to say the least. He was by far, the most feared Muslim political-figure of his lifetime. He was a shrewd & ruthless politician, a butcher of the righteous, and an all-around derelict. Whatever accomplishments which occurred during his reign as an official would never be able to clean up the blood that he had spilled all in the name of ultimate-control.

Bashar al-Assad-
Since the year 2000, C.E., Bashar Hafizh al-Assad has ruled Syria as President, using his political charm to hide & deceive the world-community, until recently, of his iron-fist dominance of his native Syria. Born into a powerful political family, Bashar was groomed for power, by his father, Hafez al-Assad, after the untimely death of his older brother, Basil, whom was expected to succeed Hafez, as the leader of Syria. For six years, from 1996, until 2000, Bashar was made & cultivated to take a foot-hole into Syrian politics, in preparation to take his father’s place. The main highlights of Syria’s oppression, with Bashar at the helm, had began in 2011.

The Arab-Spring, the revolution-spree, which rocked the Arab-World to its core, had affected every country in the Middle-East, Syria particularly. However, unlike most of the Arab-States Syria is very unique, as Syria has established permanent alliances, via their supporters who are of the `Alawi-Shi`i sect, whom have entrenched their influence within the Syrian political & military hierarchy at the highest levels, to the extent that it is nearly impossible for the ruling Assad’s to separate themselves from the connection which they have with the military-In other words, if one fails the others fail as well. The `Alawi-Shi`i’s & the Assads, as well as the military-machine of Syria must, at all cost, support one another, for the safety and preservation of them all.

So, naturally, when the Arab-Spring started to catch ground in the Arab-World, the Assad-regime decided that this needed to be quelled once it reached Syria, at all costs. This resulted in mass crackdowns of Syrian protests of governmental corruption and the will of Syrian citizens to want political reformation in their country, such as murder, detainment, and beatings by Syrian security forces. In total, in 2011 alone, about 5,000 Syrians are estimated to have been killed by the onslaught of Syrian oppression, with Bashar at the helm. On one end, Bashar had given speeches portraying himself as a progressive leader, who really wants to reform his country; then, on the other hand, when his people want reform to be something tangible, he’s using military-muscle to crush their attempts to be a part of the reforms.

What makes people like al-Hajjaj & Bashar tick?
The major incentive I would say, to keep people suppressed, the way these two individuals have, is to maintain constant control. You can’t dominate someone you can’t control. And,  to people like them, it’s very obvious that absolute-power is their only goal in life. However, there is one thing that people like them always forget, it’s called the Hereafter. We look at al-Hajjaj, whom people actually made prayers against, to his face. Of course, they were dealt with severely by him for it. But, the point is that when you’re oppressing people, eventually the wrath of Allah is going to crash upon you like a ton of bricks. As our Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has said, “The supplication of…an oppressed person are never rejected/always answered (by Allah).”(Tirmidhi)

al-Hajjaj eventually meet his end & he will most definitely have to give an account to Allah for what he did in this world. Assad still has a chance to change his ways, but, unfortunately, that looks doubtful that he ever will. This is why knowing history is oh so important, because it teaches you about the past & how to either repeat the positive of the past, to not repeat the negative of the past, or both. Yet, sadly, most of us do not learn from history, and that’s why when it is time to meet Allah, it will not be pleasant. Meeting Allah as an oppressor will be a very painful experience, as mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) that, “Verily, Allah Most High gives rope to the oppressor so that when He seizes him, he does not get away.”(Bukhari)

The lesson which me must learn:
We must firstly, always, be dutiful to Allah & not be ungrateful. Next, we are to never pursue the acquisition of authority or responsibility in the land. This is because we will be held into strict account for what is within the bounds of our responsibilities or control, as the Messenger of Allah has warned us that, “Everyone of you is a shepherd & everyone of you will be questioned concerning whom he shepherded.”(Agreed upon [by all of the classic authentic collectors & documentors of Prophetic-Statements as being authentic]) He also said, “You will covet leadership, but it will be a source of regret on the Day of Rising.”(Bukhari)

This obviously means that we will regret the very day that we voluntarily agreed to lead people or to be responsible over others. People like al-Hajjaj ibn-Yusuf & Bashar al-Assad are truly sad individuals, because al-Hajjaj has already made his bed, which he’s now sleeping in , in his grave & if Bashar doesn’t turn his life around & turn back to Allah, he will be in the same predicament. We need to seriously learn from their errors & be stern with ourselves to be dutiful to Allah, in all things before our meeting with him, because once we take our last breath, that’s it. Once we’re dead, we will never be here again, and that means that we have to get it right the first (and only) time around.

Gareth Bryant’s Top-Five reasons why there will never be a Palestinian state:

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1. The Palestinian people, the Muslim Palestinians anyway, have not made the issue of Palestine a religious issue-They’ve only made this an ethno-national issue, while forgetting that Palestine is the long-lost sector of the Muslim-World. So, like any & every part of the Muslim-World, it belongs to all of the Muslims, not just some, just like how Makkah, Madinah, and Jerusalem are not at all the properties of the respective countries that hold present jurisdiction over these sacred religious-sites, rather in truth, they are the properties of the Muslim-World. But, very few, if any Muslim-Palestinians, Muslim-Arabs, or Muslims in general, view the issue of Palestine in this way at all. This is based upon a statement from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), when he said, “The Muslims share three things: Water, Fire, Land.”.(Abu-Dawud) This refers to any and all places where the Islamic-State has ruled/formerly ruled, places where there is a modern government which is presently run either mainly or totally, by other Muslims, as well as any & all natural resources available in these respective places, by religious default, all of the above, are the global-properties of the Muslims. But, unfortunately, again, most Muslims just don’t get it.

 2. The Western-World really doesn’t want the Muslim-World to reunite, under any circumstances, which would, by default, tamper with the geo-political/financial dominance & interests of the Western-World, in the Muslim-World, particularly the Arab-World-The main reason why the United Nations even allowed the State of Israel to exist in the first place was to serve as a satellite-nation, to monitor & keep the rest of its Muslim/Arab neighbors under military pressure, which has worked significantly over the past six decades. And, the Western-World is not just going to give up its most prized satellite-nation, Israel, for the sake of giving justice to the Palestinian people.

3. The Muslim leaders in the Muslim-World/Arab-World are too greedy for wealth, power, position, influence on the world’s political stage, etc., to concern themselves with the needs of their fellow Muslims, who have been oppressed for the past six decades, which actually stem from the ancestors of the modern leaders of the Muslim-World/Arab-World revolting & helping to topple the Ottoman Empire, the last official, globally-recognized ruling-body of the Muslim-World to date, which no one wants to really talk about. This is how the Western-World was able to get the Muslim-Arabs to revolt against the Turks in the beginning, via the promise of autonomous self-rule.But, in actuality, they’ve become geo-political boy-toys to the Western-World, so because the Western-World has so much dirt on them, it’s like they can’t really stand up against the tyranny of the State of Israel & the Western-World, without first admitting to the fact that they are, in fact, majorly responsible for the formation of the State of Israel, via rebellion against the Ottoman Empire, which had control over Palestine at the time of World War I-Of course, after their defeat, in World War I, one of the conditions of surrender was that the Ottoman Empire forfeit all former territories, outside of modern-day Turkey, to the Allied Powers, which, of course, included Palestine.

4. If a Palestinian state were in fact established, they would have a lot of bones to pick with a lot of nations, like their Muslim/Arab neighbors, who basically left them hanging for damn near a century, while they’ve been systematically displaced, oppressed, marginalized, and made into the most popular group of refugees in Human history.

5. No one really gives a shit!!!

Gareth Bryant/2012

Some Brief Islamic-History (the dismantlement of the Ottoman Empire):

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It is no accident that the recent revolutions, which have occurred in Tunisia & Egypt, and have swept across the entire Arab-World, to places like Bahrain, Yemen, Syria & Libya, have occurred close to the 100th anniversary of the toppling of the Ottoman Empire, the last officially recognized global ruling body over the Muslim-World. In 2022, it will be 100 years, exactly, since the Arab revolt against the Khilafah (the global Islamic political-system, based upon the Shari`ah [Islamic-Law]), with the help of European imperial powers (namely the United Kingdom & France), became the leading factor in the destruction of the Khilafah. Now, with all the chaos that exists within the Muslim-World today already, coupled with uprisings, as well as potential global insurrection of the current kingdoms & republics of the Arab-World, one has to wonder, “How are all of these happenings in the Arab-World going to play out?!!!”. Well, if you’re a person like me, who’s well-versed in the prophecies of the prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), concerning the trials & signs of the Last-Day & studies History, or just use the basic intellect that Allah has given all of us, you’ll be able to see that something big is about to hit the fan-No one will be able to ignore this reality, nor its everlasting affects upon not only the Muslim-World, but the entire Human race.

Why am I, or should I be even bringing this up, one may ask, and with good reason. I mean, am I a scholar on any religious or secular grounds, no. Am I an expert political-analyst, no. Am I an expert social commentator…..again, no. But, you better believe that I still know what the Hell I’m talking about!!! In light of all of these recent happenings, there has been a mad scramble among Muslim/Arab leaders to pacify their populations, to try their best to keep the thoughts of insurrection out the minds & hearts of the people. Particularly, the oil-rich Gulf-States (Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, The Emirates, Qatar), who have the most to gain out of stability in the region, and the most to lose if true revolution in the Muslim-World goes physically viral. The Gulf-States, in all honesty are on every one’s “shit-list”, for so many reasons.

If Allah wills, I’ll only mention a few:                                                                                 
The ancestors of the current Arab-World monarchs only rebelled against the Ottomans because they were not Arabs (yes, contrary to popular opinion the rebellion of the Arabs against the Turks was exclusively racially-motivated). They felt ways about being ruled over by Non-Arabs, so with the help of the European imperial powers, they succeeded in destroying the global unity of the Muslim-World, which has contributed to about 90% percent of all of the atrocities that have inflicted the Muslim-World for the past two centuries (both the 1900’s & the 2000’s) Two, their ancestors were the main on-the-ground military opposition to the Ottoman Empire, which made it easier for the European powers to flank the forces of the Ottomans, during World War I. Three, the natural resources found in the Arabian Peninsula, which according to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace upon him) is one of the three things shared by all Muslims (I’m referring to the petroleum right now) were divided among the future kingdoms of this region and became tightly controlled by the elites of these kingdoms (mainly the royal families themselves, and those in their financial/political inner-circles).

Now, the rebellions in Tunisia & Egypt are really rubbing the Gulf-States the wrong way, that’s why they tell their government-controlled scholars to propagate “Be patient with the Muslim-Leaders”, and so many other geo-political slogans of pacification-they do not want to be overthrown like their ancestors overthrew the Turks, really simple. But, they really have to watch their backs, especially since the leadership in Egypt is up for grabs.

The Egyptians have not forgotten that Saudi, along with the other Gulf-States lent absolutely no support to the Arab countries fighting the State of Israel, during the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s. And, they have not forgotten how Saudi deals with other Muslim/Arab countries, with total oblivion and disregard. They view themselves as the supreme leaders of not only the Arab-World, but the Muslim-World, only because they have authority in the most important places on earth, Makkah & Madinah. However, the official regal title of “The Custodian of the two Sacred Mosques” is always enough to make any Muslim country think twice before invading Saudi. But, the Saudis may not be able to cash in on those religious chips, if revolution goes physically viral.

Now, let’s go back to the whole point of this article:                                                    
The enemies of Allah have a plan for the Muslim-World, to make it more religiously, socially, and culturally secular. They do what Muslims won’t: they study History, and learn from the mistakes of others. Also, they plan things out thoroughly. Their execution of what they plan is truly remarkable, yet we’re still asleep. My brothers & sisters: WAKE THE HELL UP!!! There are things happening that are not in our control, that only Allah can save us from. But, we have to be ready, and stop living with our heads in the clouds!!!

Gareth Bryant/2012