print
memri
June 30, 2016 No.
95

In Numerous Speeches, Indian Islamist Brother Imran Preaches Global Islamism Among Muslims, Teaches Hatred Of Ahmadi Muslims, Counters Indian Nationalism

By: Tufail Ahmad*

Introduction

Islamist preacher Br. Imran inculcates global Islamism among young Muslims, both in India and abroad. He is the president of the Islamic Research and Educational Foundation (IREF), an Islamist institution based in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad - a metropolis known in recent years for large-scale Islamization and recruitment of Muslim youth for the Islamic State (ISIS), for which dozens of local young people have been arrested.[1] Br. Imran, whose name is Mujtaba Hussain Siddiqui, delivers speeches at events across India and also abroad, notably in the U.S.[2]

According to his institute's Facebook page, it appears that on April 24, 2016 Br. Imran delivered a speech at a Holiday Inn in Skokie, IL,[3] where the topic of discussion "Islamic Sharia - Is it a threat?" He has also spoken at other places in the U.S., notably in Naperville, IL.[4] His speeches at events across India are filmed, edited, and posted on YouTube for wider dissemination.[5] A May 2016 blog post accused Br. Imran of inculcating "a wrong image of the Sikh religion among his listeners."[6]

As discussed in the paragraphs below, Br Imran promotes the Islamist notion of a global nationhood, thereby undermining Indian nationhood.

The title Br. - short for Brother - is often formally used in jihadi and Islamist discourse, though it can also be occasionally used by ordinary Muslims. Jihadi videos in recent years also append the title Hifz-oh-Ullah - may Allah protect you - to the end of their name. This title is usually not used by ordinary Muslims, but has been adopted by Br. Imran, perhaps in an attempt to show similarity to and sympathy with jihadis.

Br. Imran's Facebook page introduces him by stating "Born a Muslim and an Indian, he was a student of public administration, political science and history from Nizam College, Hyderabad, India."[7] It does not appear that he has formally studied Islam.

Offensive And Defensive Forms Of Jihad Bis Saif (Jihad By The Sword)

At a March 2016 event, Br. Imran discusses two types of jihad mandated by Allah, the offensive and defensive forms of Jihad bis Saif (jihad by the sword). In a video of the event, he declares: "Some people say that when Islam took up the sword, it was meant for defense. This is the response of the less knowledgeable. When you say this while sitting among your Muslim brothers and sisters, it looks good. When you go to a university in America and say this, a student will stand up and ask: 'If the sword was only raised in defense, then why did your Prophet Muhammad send letters to the king of Rome and the king of Iran, in which it was said you should accept Islam. If you do not accept Islam, then pay the jizya [poll tax]. If you do not pay jizya, then I am sending my military [to fight you].'"[8] In Br. Imran's view, the fact that the Prophet Muhammad sent letters to the kings demanding they convert or pay the jizya, and that he sent his companions to fight, are examples of offensive jihad.

Urging his Muslim audiences "to come out of this inferiority complex that it [jihad] was merely for defense" and realize the "objective of Islam," Br. Imran advances the idea of Muslims as global police. He says that there are two ways in which the power of police is accepted: one, the police forces you to accept its power; two, the influence and awe of police is such that you fear it.[9] "The method of the shari'a of Allah's religion is also the same [as that of the police]. This [shows a copy of the Koran to the audience] is Allah's law and it will be enforced on the Earth. Understand it. If you don't understand, we will force you to accept it. This was the objective of Muhammad being the prophet of Allah," he declares.[10] Br. Imran laments to the audience: "Today, you and I do not accept this [offensive method of jihad]."

In recent years, Islamic scholars have felt that their objective of spreading Islam has been harmed by jihadi groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. Therefore, they have issued fatwas against these groups, but these fatwas do not address or condemn the theological reasons that allow these jihadi organizations flourish - as explained in an article by this author.[11]

After lamenting that Muslims have forgotten the meaning of offensive jihad, Br. Imran now declares ISIS a terrorist organization "which is 100% against the Koran and hadith [traditions of Prophet Muhammad]."[12] He adds: "The kind of jihad Allah's prophet waged by sending letters [to kings] and by sending the Sahaba [companions] to wage jihad is not underway anywhere on Earth."[13]

Br. Imran explains the conditions for offensive jihad: "If such a jihad has to be waged, then the first condition that Islamic shari'a lays down is: There will be only one leader of the entire ummah. And the ummah can follow if such a leader orders it [to wage offensive jihad]."[14] For the second scenario, he gives an example of the Indian legal system, which states that if someone attacked you, you are supposed to defend yourself because the Indian police will ask you why you did not do so. He says: "The Jihad bis Saif, or the jihad by the sword, is of two types: If they attacked and you defended, there is no problem with it. If you want to attack, then for you it is the condition to have a leader first."[15]

Br. Imran also discusses four types of jihad: jihad against the self, jihad against Satan, jihad against the munafiq (hypocrite Muslim) and jihad against the kafir (infidel). For the first two, jihad is a struggle against oneself, while jihad against munafiq and against kafir is Jihad bil Lisan (jihad by the tongue). In Br. Imran's view, Salafis, Deobandis and Barelvis are all different rooms in the single Sunni home. He fails to see how Salafis across the world have led offensive jihad in modern times, noting: "Like five or six brothers living in a home, one brother named his room Barelvi, another wrote Deobandi on the other room, one called it Salafi, the other named it Jamaat-e-Islami, another called it Tablighi Jamaat. However, by Allah, these are the rooms of the single home [of Sunni Muslims]."[16]

He sends a powerful message, aimed at Shi'ites, calling for the unity of Sunni Muslims: "All us Sunni Muslims are one. If some external force, by allying with our enemies, attacks us, then we will all together chop off their hand, Allah willing."[17]

 
Br. Imran in Illinois in April 2016 

Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism) And Indian Nationalism

While the word "Tawheed" is translated as monotheism, in the jihadi and Islamist discourse, Tawheed has only one meaning: Islamic monotheism. This means that even if a Hindu or a Christian believes in one god, it will not count as Tawheed. Br. Imran tells his audience: "Do not be on the back foot when talking about Tawheed. If we die for this Tawheed, there should be no remorse because we were born for this. There is no better death than our sacrifice of our life for Allah. One becomes desh bhakt [patriot] when we die for the nation. Which is greater, the nation or Allah?"[18] Although he says he will defend the nation of India if it is under attack, at the same event he provides a wider Islamist meaning to "nation," which includes the entire world.

Acharya Pramod Krishnam, a Hindu religious scholar, was invited to an event in the northern Indian town of Bareilly where Br. Imran was the main speaker. In order to inculcate Hindu-Muslim cohesion, Acharya Krishnam recited a poem to the audience, which was mainly Muslim: "This nation is also ours, do not downplay it; this is a bitter medicine, but you gulp it and see [that we Muslims are also part of this nation]."[19] The video of Acharya Krishnam is edited and therefore the full context is unclear. However, Br. Imran responded by praying that may Allah bless Acharya Krishnam with the benefit of La ilaha illallah (there is no deity but Allah), meaning that Krishnam should adopt Islam.

However, what is interesting is how Acharya Krishnam's idea of the nation is countered by Br. Imran, who outlines a nation of the global ummah: "There is no need for us to prove our loyalty to the country to some of the [nationalist] goons of this country."[20] Br. Imran also notes that Acharya Krishnam's first stanza was "This nation is also ours" and responds by his own couplet: "This nation is not also ours; this nation is very much ours. This is also your nation; the nation is actually ours. The treasure of Tawheed is in our hearts; it is not easy to erase our name and symbols; China and Arabia are ours; India is ours. We are Muslims; we are of the same nation; the entire world is ours."[21] The last few stanzas were written by Muhammad Iqbal, the Islamist national poet of Pakistan. It is clear that Br. Imran teaches a view of global nationhood among Indian Muslims that undermines the idea of Indian nationalism.

At an event, a non-Muslim youth questions Br. Imran regarding his references to the "hand" and "feet" of Allah and asks if Allah has a gender. Br. Imran first denies he referred to "hand" and "feet" and the youth is taken aback. Br. Imran asks the youth whether some science says that a hand and feet necessarily mean someone must be male or female. The youth says, "It is my question, my opinion" - to which Br. Imran responds: "Your opinion has no value worth a penny."[22]


A January 31, 2016 post on Br. Imran's Facebook page declares the veil compulsory 

Attacking Ahmadis, Sufis, Barelvis, Tablighis

At an event, Br. Imran cites Koran 5:3 to stress that Ahmadi Muslims are kafirs (infidels): "'This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed my favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion...' Why did we call Qadianis [pejorative for Ahmadi Muslims] kafir? Do you know? Because they said Prophet Muhammad is not the last prophet."[23] He cites another Koranic verse, 33:40, to justify his claim that Ahmadi Muslims are infidels: "Muhammad is not the father of (any) one of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, knowing."

It should be noted that Ahmadi Muslims face persecution in many countries and Indian Islamists such as Br. Imran also lead a racist campaign against them. Notwithstanding his message of unity between various doctrinal sects of Sunni Muslims, Br. Imran is also opposed to Barelvi clerics because they celebrate Eid Milad-un-Nabi (the Prophet Muhammad's birthday), which he says is against Islam.[24] Br. Imran also attacks Sufis, stating in a Facebook post dated March 30, 2016: "Sufism is becoming widely spread around the world, Sufis are known for worshipping Allah in ways that Allah has never prescribed nor has the Messenger peace be upon him. The Sufis of the past weren't as evil, but the Sufis of nowadays have gone far astray... Their religious gatherings have turned into breakdancing sessions..."[25]

In another video, Br. Imran is also critical of the Tablighi Jamaat, a revivalist Sunni movement, saying: "As the syllabus of Tablighi Jamaat is considered, insofar as I know, there are many things in it that contradict the Koran and Sunna [traditions of Prophet Muhammad]."[26] In another speech, Br. Imran describes Muslim girls who fall in love with Hindus as "filthy girls."[27] In a post dated January 31, 2016 on his Facebook page (see image above), he cites the Koran to argue that wearing a veil is compulsory: "Hijab (Wearing veil by a Muslim woman) is not your choice but Allah's choice and Allah's order. 'O Prophet (Muhammad), say to your wives, to your daughters and to the Muslim women to cover themselves from top to toe (wear Hijab either in form of burqa, a cloth covering their clothes from top to toe, etc.] so that they are not molested and identified as modest Muslim women... [Koran 33:59]'"[28]  

* Tufail Ahmad is Director of the MEMRI South Asia Studies Project. He is the author of "Jihadist Threat to India: The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslims."

 

Endnotes

[1] NewAgeIslam.com, December 22, 2015.

[2] Sikhiwiki.org, accessed May 2, 2016.

[3] Facebook.com/IREFPEACE/, accessed May 2, 2016.

[4] Facebook.com/IREFPEACE/, accessed May 2, 2016.

[5] Youtube.com/user/irefvideos, accessed May 2, 2016.

[6] Sikhiwiki.org, accessed May 2, 2016.

[7] Facebook.com/BrotherImran, accessed May 3, 2016.

[8] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[9] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[10] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[11] See MEMRI Daily Brief No. 71, MEMRI Scholar Tufail Ahmad: 'My Six-Point Fatwa Against Jihad', December 20, 2015.

[12] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[13] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[14] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[15] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[16] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[17] Youtube.com/watch?v=HqfhZ2L3D_8, accessed May 1, 2016.

[18] Youtube.com/watch?v=I7dUDjghvTM, accessed May 2, 2016.

[19] Youtube.com/watch?v=CdSG96ua30c, accessed May 2, 2016.

[20] Youtube.com/watch?v=CdSG96ua30c, accessed May 2, 2016.

[21] Youtube.com/watch?v=CdSG96ua30c, accessed May 2, 2016.

[22] Youtube.com/watch?v=5SLsiJgMDpw, accessed May 2, 2016.

[23] Youtube.com/watch?v=Dwap2x_OkcQ, accessed May 2, 2016.

[24] Youtube.com/watch?v=Dwap2x_OkcQ, accessed May 2, 2016.

[25] Facebook.com/BrotherImran, accessed May 3, 2016.

[26] Youtube.com/watch?v=bh5Wmrb-h3g, accessed May 1, 2016.

[27] Youtube.com/watch?v=JWli1lLpSNM, accessed May 3, 2016.

[28] Facebook.com/BrotherImran, accessed May 3, 2016.