Historical Origins of the Ideology of ISIS and other Militant Groups Who Commit Terrorism in the Name of Islam - Part 6:
Suicidal bombing as a tactic and it's ideological justifications come from Marxist thinking. Islam protects innocents and non-combatants in no unambiguous terms.
When The Neglected Duty was being disseminated in the early 1980s another new phenomenon was taking place in the Muslim world that it had not seen before: suicide bombing. That suicide and killing of innocents are explicitly forbidden in Islam is not really something in dispute and has been roundly acknowledged.
Ruthven establishes this well. In A Fury for God he offers an excerpt written shortly after 9/11 by atheist thinker Richard Dawkins where he recants a commonly espoused notion of atheist snarks that young men who commit suicide terrorism acts must be acting out on their presumptively Freudian dilemmas of sexual repression castrated upon them by their religion. In response Ruthven says about Dawkins and his theorization:
The flaw in Dawkins article is…his assumption that suicide bombers or hijackers are necessarily naïve or primarily inspired by Islamic teachings about personal immortality.
This is a nice and concise summary by Ruthven and to provide the hard proofs. The Qur’an says:
And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allaah is Most Merciful to you"
The Prophet said:
Indeed, whoever (intentionally) kills himself, then certainly he will be punished in the Fire of Hell, wherein he shall dwell forever" [Bukhaaree (5778) and Muslim (109 and 110)]]
A reprinting of Faraj’s work from the year 2000 has an Appendix that attempts to justify suicide bombing (published by Maktabah Ansar Publications in Birmingham UK, the same special folks who reprinted and disseminate Milestones in the UK). It addresses the issue in an Appendix entitled Martyrdom Operations (ugh) wherein he refers to injunctions from the Prophet that honor the one who “throws himself into battle” (as Faraj puts it) and then honors dying on the battlefield as a martyr. But they drew on one main story that Faraj had recounted with The Neglected Duty to justify this:
It is permissible for a Muslim to plunge himself into the thick of the disbelieving enemy if there is benefit in it for the Muslims. Ibn Taymiyyah says: “…And Muslim narrated in his saheeh that the Prophet ρ reported the story of Ashaab al-Ukhdud (the people of the ditch), in which the boy ordered (himself) to be killed for the benefit of the religion. Consequently, the four Imaams permitted the plunging of the Muslims into the kaafir army even if he is overwhelmed by the idea that they will kill him, if there is a benefit for the Muslims in that. What Ibn Taymiyyah said means that it is permissible for the Muslim to plunge himself into the kaafir army even if that leads to his killing and before he sees the benefit of his plunge with his own eyes.”
It ought to be apparent that none of this has to do with performing an operation where one is guaranteed to die, is directly killed by their own actions (such as setting of a bomb strapped to them vs. being slain by an opponent), and is furthermore not even fighting on the battlefield (and part of the conditions of jihad are that it takes place against armies on a battlefield) but is rather operating as the guidance and deployment system for weaponry itself. It is self evident that the boy in the story is overwhelmed by the feeling that his opponents will kill him, not that he will be killed in the deployment of his own weaponry. Especially if he is deploying his weaponry amongst civilians (whose security is thoroughly protected in Islamic law) how we would he determine that the enemy is going to kill him?
As far as I can ascertain it is unclear the exact point at which Faraj’s writing began being disseminated in Egypt; but likely before Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981. Further I do not as of yet know whether or not his writing made its way to Lebanon at that same time while Lebanon was in the midst of a Civil War. However, in Lebanon in 1981 the first instance of Muslims using suicide bombing occurred by Shia factions who were supported by the revolutionary Iranian government and would later form the group known as Hezbollah. The Iranian Shias of Khomeini were influenced by Marxist revolutionary ideology in its own right (Shiaism, unlike Sunni Islam, has long permitted and encouraged rebellion) and the group Hezbollah was influenced by both them and Sayyid Qutb (even despite the fact that Qutb was nominally Sunni and Hezbollah was a Shia group).
The direct influences at play on Hezbollah and their decision and justification to begin to use suicide bombing as a tactic came from the influence of communism, Marxist groups, and current day Marxist thinkers in the West.
In reference to the early suicide bombers of Palestine who sprang up shortly after the initial acts in Lebanon Ruthven writes:
Increasingly the martyr-bombers were being recruited from nonreligious individuals and parties, including young women and members of the semi-Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the secular Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.”
It is not surprising that Marxist and secularist groups were brining about the strategy of suicide bombing for tactical purposes as the tactic itself owes its origins to Marxist communist groups in Russia in the 19th century.
According to Jeffrey William Lewis with Ohio State University in his article The Human Use of Human Beings: A Brief History of Suicide Bombing
Suicide bombing finds its origins in nineteenth century Russia, and has been employed from Japan to the Middle East to Sri Lanka and elsewhere”
It is also well known that the Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the 1950s (right around the same time as the revolutionary turmoil in Egypt) used suicide bombing and targeting of civilians as a guerrilla warfare tactic to overthrow the Bautista government. So well known in fact that it was portrayed in Hollywood cinema in 1974, seven years before the tactic would ever occur in the Muslim world.
Those initial attacks by Hezbollah were on military targets of the US, Israel, and France. As the world now knows well the tactic would evolve to be employed upon innocent civilians as well.
That killing innocents is forbidden in Islam is well known. As proven by the following evidences:
So how has a justification for the killing of innocents for attacks like 9/11 been worked out by terrorists? For this it is best to go right to the horse’s mouth.
In his 2002 letter to America Osama Bin Laden said:
The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates."
There is no Islamic justification for the idea that the expenditure of American taxes ought to extend fault to the American taxpayers themselves since tax funds are ostensibly used to deploy actions of the military. In Islam one is not responsible for the expenditure, or the earning, of their monies beyond the step with which they have initial contact.
This is has been expounded upon by a pre-eminate Islamic scholar of the 20th century
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: Some of the scholars said that in the case of wealth that is haraam (forbidden) because of the way in which it was acquired, the sin is only on the one who earned it, not on the one who takes it in a permissible way from the one who acquired it. This is unlike wealth that is haraam in and of itself, such as alcohol, wealth seized by force, and so on. This view has a strong basis, because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) bought food from the Jews for his family, and he ate from the lamb that the Jewish women gave him in Khaybar, and he accepted the invitation of a Jew, even though it is well known that most of the Jews consume riba (interest) and haraam wealth. Perhaps this view is further supported by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) concerning the meat that was given in charity to Bareerah: “It is charity for her and a gift from her to us.” Al-Qawl al-Mufeed ‘ala Kitaab al-Tawheed, 3/112.
This demonstrates that financial affairs only bare the burden one step. In Islam you earn money by forbidden means, it is forbidden to use that money. However, if someone else earns money by forbidden means and then uses that money for a financial transaction with you, there is no harm on you concerning that money, because you are a step removed from what was forbidden concerning it. Likewise, if you give money to someone by permissible means, and that person then goes on to do something that is forbidden with it, the error is only on that person who did it. This is a basis of Islamic financial jurisprudence. There is no evidence in Islam to cast blame or guilt upon someone for something does with money for which they are a step removed from. In the case of American taxpayers, if their taxes are collected by the IRS and then given to the department of defense they are at least two degrees removed from the fault of the military action (and if the monies are then used by way of aid to support Israel they are then three degrees removed). This is of course just one in a wide scheme of religious misunderstandings that Bin Laden had. Bin Laden was of course from a wealthy family and (like Sayyid Qutb, Faraj, Zawahiri, and others) he had not studied religious law judiciously, he had a degree in business administration.
It is actually leftist Marxist thinking that seems to be at play here with Bin Laden. It is well known that Osama Bin Laden was a reader of the American academic Noam Chomsky. Chomsky came to fame in the academic world in America for developing a theory of linguistics in the 1950s. In 1960s he arose to even more fame as a political polemic and activities who was part of the anti-war movement from a Marxist disposition. Chomsky is a self described anarcho-syndacilist, which signifies a vision of pure “organic” Marxism more closely in line with what Marx and Engels laid out in the manifesto (and which Sayyid Qutb mimicked in his calling for an “organic” Islamic uprising).
In 1967 Chomsky famously penned an article entitled "The Responsibility of the Intellectuals” he challenged and called upon academics to challenge presumed epistemology of the elites in anti-war advocacy. In response to the article George Sweitzer of New York University asked Chomsky in a letter exchange what else academics should do and what else he had done. Chomsky responded by saying that he had boycotted paying half of his income tax because:
My own feeling is that one should refuse to participate in any activity that implements American aggression — thus tax refusal”
This created an ideological link in the strain of leftist Western thought that taxes were directly linked to war aggression and tax evasion or boycotting was therefore a legitimate means of anti war resistance. This strain of thought owes its origins to the 19th century american thinker and essayist Henry David Thoreau. These letters between Chomsky and Sweitzer were published in the NY Review of Books in 1967 and in early 1968 a long list of academics and journalists who had protested paying their taxes was published in The New York Times (source).
The influence of this leftist thought is clearly at play with Bin Laden in his justification for killing innocent civilians in the west, a justification that he has not garnered from the edicts of Islam but rather Marxist thinkers! In 2010 Bin Laden quoted Chomsky directly in a speech to America and after he was killed Chomsky’s books were found in his book collection in his compound (along with the writings of Sayyid Qutb of course).
Bin Laden had Chomsky's book necessary illusions (1989) in which he emphasizes the notion of Israeli atrocities as products of American taxpayers funding (pg.292) (just as Bin Laden did in his address in 2002):
The horror stories in the Israeli (mainly Hebrew) press barely skim the surface. An official of the Israeli Ministry of Foreing Affairs, returning from reserve service, reported that ‘the overwhelming majority of the severe and violent events in the territories do not reach the public at all.’ He estimated that about one in ten events reached the public during escalation of violence that was becoming ‘real war’ - one largely kept from the eyes of the American taxpayer who funds it, a further contribution of state terror.” (bolds mine)
Bin Laden acknowledged that he reads Chomsky in 2010 when he called out to young people in the west to consider that “Noam Chomsky was correct when he compared the U.S. policies to those of the Mafia,” Al Jazeera quoted Mr. bin Laden as saying. “They are the true terrorists, and therefore we should refrain from dealing in the U.S. dollar and should try to get rid of this currency as early as possible.” (source)
He is explicitly stating here that he says Noam Chomsky as providing justification for terrorism against the US. Not Islam!!! This angle of justification still haunts us today in the attacks on civilians that are committed and condoned by ISIS.