Between slumber and awakening from Al-Sahwa

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

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The slumber which was called the Awakening (Al-Sahwa) for decades and the backwardness which was embellished with religious terminology to hide its violence and fundamentalism and to cover for its dangerous opportunist groups which used religion, its principles and its main concepts for the purpose of attaining political power and which used the Quran in order to be “masters of the world” and to gain “sovereignty of the world” as Hassan al-Banna, the founder of this dangerous approach, put it, have brought evil and disasters to every country where Al-Sahwa activities and branches operated and where its ideology spread.

It emerged from two places in the world; India or Pakistan later with al-Maududi and his disciples and Egypt, with Hassan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood. This Al-Sahwa is glorified by political Islam groups, both the Sunni and Shiite ones. All the models they presented were horrific bloody dictatorial ones. Have we awoken from this ominous Al-Sahwa? Did it end and has its evil ended?

Two models

The scene shows two models. The first one pertains to the spread of Al-Sahwa, its groups, organizations and militias especially in some Arab countries where the Iranian snake has expanded — in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Religious slogans and Al-Sahwa parties become part of the general political scene there and have a presence that imposes itself on people with the power of arms, violence and terrorism.

The second model is countries that have become aware of the dangerous orientation and that have classified the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

Al-Sahwa tried to manipulate religion, its principles and its main concepts for the purpose of attaining political power

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

This has been done by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and other Arab countries. It is a firm action taken against the roots of terrorism and extremism, and not just their offshoots. This model has begun to impose itself as an option that could be inspiring for many Muslim countries as well as other countries of the world. It is a model that’s still advancing and developing and is yet to be completed.

People more important than ideology

One of the basics of this model is that people are more important than ideology, religion is more important than the groups that falsely claim to belong to it and that development of the country and the people is the goal.

Other than Iran, there are two countries in the region that support the fundamentalist and terrorist Al-Sahwa project by all means, which are Qatar and Turkey. This triad has affiliates, institutions and projects, especially in many European and Western countries, including the third generation of Al-Sahwa followers that have been educated in the West and have been raised on Al-Sahwa ideologies and discourse. Their education has enabled them to join official and civilian institutions in the countries from where they acquired their nationalities. The way these people were raised bound them to the ideas, concepts and objectives of Al-Sahwa groups; hence, they seek to serve them as much as they can.

Some hasten to argue that Al-Sahwa battle is over and that the war against Islamist groups has succeeded, thus we must turn the page and move on. This is more of a wishful thinking rather than a realistic assessment, built more on optimism rather than on logical analysis. However, it is also true that we are now in a better position than we were years ago, especially than the tough years of the spring of fundamentalism and terrorism, the spring of the Brotherhood, Sururists and all the terrorist and violent groups.

It is true that we are in a better position, but we are still at the very beginning. We need decades of education to graduate generations whom Al-Sahwa did not tamper with their minds and contaminate them. We need long-term plans to consolidate these gains and develop them and to pursue and besiege the remnants of Al-Sahwa. We need to establish awareness, spread knowledge, build countries on firm national constructs and erase this evil ideology via decisive decisions, insight and patience.

This article is also available in Arabic.


Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.

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