Abu Muhammad, who is arguably the most influential living jihadi-takfiri scholar alive, interprets current events and the role of Yemen in them by analyzing ahadith (singular: hadith), traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad's sayings and actions.
Question to Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi:
It has been narrated to us from Abdullah that Abi Thana Abd ar-Razaq narrated from al-Munther bin Nu'man al-Aftas that he said: "I heard Wahb narrating that Ibn Abbas said, the Prophet (pbuh) said: 'An army of twelve-thousand will come out of Aden-Abyan. They will give victory to Allah and His messenger; they are the best between myself and them'."
Our honorable Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, may Allah protect him, and our brothers in the forum of at-Tawhid wal Jihad:
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you. As to what follows: News might have reached you about the recent conflicts between the fighters of Tawhid and the armies of darkness and shirk in many different and expanded territories of the Yemeni province in Abyan. We are now witnessing the outcome of these events, feeling its blessings and Allah's help to the call of Tawhid and the emergence of youth from everywhere to support and assist in ways that is not even thought of. My question O Sheikh, is that in addition to what this region is positively known for socially, geographically, historically... a great hadith was stated concerning it which no scholars from amongst the Mujahideen of the Ummah had taken up the responsibility of researching its authenticity and illustrating it ideally. We concluded this after researching that in the variety of tools and means including the Internet, but the effort and time were of no avail. So would our Imam and Sheikh set out to research the authenticity of the hadith, explain it and record the benefits and connect the hadith to the reality of the Muslims today in Aden-Abyan and all of the Muslims lands? Particularly when the brothers in Yemen love the Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and regard him as an Imam to them, rush for his books and his fatawa. And perhaps the Sheikh can address and single out the Mujahideen in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula with his advices and instruction. Lastly: I call upon Allah to witness that I love you for his sake, O our Sheikh Abu Muhammad and I ask Allah that he gathers us in al-Firdaws al-A'la. Abu Abd ar-Rahman al-Yemeni
Answer by Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi::
All praise be to Allah and peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah.
As to what follows:
May Allah love you, the one you loved me for His sake. I ask Him, the Exalted, that He keeps you and us firm.
May He use us in giving victory to His religion and not replace us. This hadith reported by Imam Ahmed in his collection and Tabarani in his Mu'jam al-Kabir and others by way of Ibn Abbas that he said:
The Prophet (pbuh) said: "An army of twelve-thousand will come out of Aden-Abyan. They will give victory to Allah and His messenger. They are the best between myself and them".
About that hadith the honorable Sheikh Sulayman ibn Nasir al-Ulwan - may Allah hasten his release - said that the hadith's chain is good and its narrators are acceptable.
Imam Ahmad narrated it in his collection and Ibn Abi Hatim in al-Jarh wa Ta'dil; and at-Tabarani mentioned it in al-Kabir. All of them by way of Abd ar-Razaq from al-Munthir ibn an-Nu'man al-Aftas that he said:
"I heard Wahb narrating that Ibn Abbas said... and he mentioned the hadith and then said: Abu Ya'ala narrated it in his collection from the hadith of Abd A'la ibn Hamad an-Narsi from Mu'tamar ibn Suleyman from the one who related it".
Ibn Adi narrated it in al-Kamil and Ibn al-Jawzi in al-'Alal al-Mutanahiyya by way of Muhammad bin al-Hasan bin Atsh as-Sana'ani from the one whom related it.
Muhammad bin al-Hasan was disputed about although Abu Zar'a and others have authenticated him. However al-Aqeeli, ad-Darqatni and others have weakened him. He didn't narrate it alone since more than one narrated it from amongst the memorizers from whom related it.
Al-Munthir bin an-Nu'man al-Aftas said Abu Hatim said, "Mu'tamer bin Suleyman and Hisham bin Yusuf and Abd ar-Razaq and Muhammad bin al-Hasan bin Atsh and Mutrif bin Mazin (the judge of Sana'a) and ibn Ma'een said about him that he is a trustworthy (narrator)".
Additionally, al-Bukhari mentioned it in at-Tarikh al-Kabîr and he didn't mention about it any of the Jarh or Ta'dil; nonetheless Ibn Habban mentioned it in his trusted ones.
Al-Haythimi said in Majmu' az-Zawaid that Ibn Ya'la and at-Tabarani narrated it and he said "from Aden, they are coming", and their men (i.e., narrators) are authentic ones.
Other than Munthir al-Aftas - and he is trustworthy (narrator) - his words finished there, may Allah keep him firm. His saying: "They are the best between myself and them". That is an indication to their righteousness, religion and goodness which the Prophet (pbuh) approved of, as being the best between him and them.
Also this could be a reference to the place i.e., they're the best between his place which is Medina and between Aden-Abyan.
Or it could be a reference to time and there is no doubt that this is greater. Meaning, they're the best between his time and the time of their emergence, and Allah knows best what's correct.
This is the blessing of Allah, He gives it to whomever He wills.
Some of those who spoke about this hadith said that in it there is a pleasant indication that the Caliphate could initiate in Aden-Abyan and that Yemen would be the capital of the Caliphate because armies usually move out from the headquarters of the Caliphate.
This is what they said and it is not necessarily the case. It might also mean that the Caliphate will be assisted by Yemen or that its people and fighters will come to the aid of Muslims or that it would recruit fighters and prepare such an army to repel the oppressive enemies in some of the Muslim land or to drive away an occupier or an apostate.
The hadith confirms what is mentioned in other ahadith regarding the description of the people of Yemen that they are the reinforcement for the people of Islam, they are the supporters of the truth and the people of Yemen are continuing to be so.
We have seen their assistance in Afghanistan, Iraq and in each field of the fields of jihad you see their crowds rushing to support the people of Islam.
They're distinguished with a sense of honor, rigidity and with taking upon themselves the initiative of supporting the people of Islam. Today the numbers in their crowds and assistance (towards jihad) have increased with goodness. This is so because they are endowed with insight about the believers path and are aware about the path of the criminals.
And it is also due to their abidance by the banner of Tawhid and not being deluded by anything else.
It is mentioned in another hadith that, "You will fight in the Arabian Peninsula and Allah will open it for you, then you will fight Persia and Allah will open it for you, then you will fight the Romans (i.e., the West) and Allah will open it for you and then you will fight Dajjal and Allah will open it for you". And in another version, "You'll conquer the Arabian Peninsula and Allah will open for you".
We reached a stage where we came back from where we first started. Now the Arabian Peninsula is governed and dominated by the apostates. Security is given to secularists, crusaders, disbelievers and atheists. War is waged against those who believe in the oneness of Allah.
Righteous people are killed and prisons are filled with them as a result of their jihad which was disrupted and fought by its rulers who have taken the Christians and apostates as helpers and protectors...
And what is happening now is that the Arabian Peninsula has become in need of a new opening... And today we are delighted by seeing the pure banner of our brothers in Yemen and they're of those fighting under the banner of Tawhid and keen on doing such things and I ask if it wasn't those men then who is it?
In the collection of Imam Ahmed and Sunnan Abu Dawud, Ibn Hawala said:
"The Prophet (pbuh) said: "The matter will be that you'll be fighters: fighters in Sham and fighters in Yemen and fighters in Iraq". Ibn Hawala said: "Choose for me O Messenger of Allah if I am around to witness that", so he said: "hold on to Sham, verily it is the best of Allah's lands. He selects for it whom are righteous from among His slaves but if you decline then hold to your Yemen and drink from the pools where the rain gathers for verily Allah entrusted for me ash-Sham and its people".
In this hadith it says that a time will come upon the Muslims that they will be equipped fighters in each land, so it isn't for the sincere Muslim except to join the fighters in their country so that they would become from among the equipped Muslim fighters, and in the hadith the fighters of Yemen were mentioned. May Allah keep their fighters firm and give them victory and use them in giving honor to the religion.
Today the enemies of the religion are enraged and frightened of the fighters of Yemen, up to the point that I have heard comments by crusader leaders a few days ago which showed their worries and fears about what they consider to be a danger that is really threatening their interests.
This is especially when they consider the geographic locality of Yemen to be a sensitive position of high importance.
Their press and news agencies reported: "The geographic position of Yemen is considered to be a matter of high importance especially since the United States and the Soviet Union raced and competed to take control over Yemen during the time of the cold war".
And regarding the airstrikes that the Americans directed to some places in Yemen, the press reports: "Yemen stands in a strategic point in relation to navigation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and also in the way leading to Suez cannel and on its side Somalia is located where the situation there is even more complicated".
So it isn't strange that we hear from time to time news about the spread of American airstrikes and the flying of spy planes or the attacks on positions with cruise missiles. That's because all of that proves from one side the extreme fear that Yemen's fighters bring to the crusaders and their allies and it proves from another side that the rulers in these places are just as others nowadays: they're nothing but agents for the Americans, they have no rule or dominion over their own land, sea or air except through directions and coaching from their masters.
It is not a secret anymore that America is concentrating on this area (Yemen), follows its updates closely, sends special forces to train the Yemeni army and backs up the apostate regime there against whom they call terrorists.
And in exchange for this alliance and support between those who disbelieve and whom Allah the Almighty said about:
"And those who disbelieved are allies of one another. If you do not do so [i.e., ally yourselves with other believers], there will be fitnah [i.e., disbelief and oppression] on earth and great corruption".
(The Holy Quran, Surah 8. "Spoils Of War", verse 73)
It is known that in Yemen, its fighters and its people have special virtues which awaken one's desire to ally, support and urge the one to favor them and increase their numbers. To the extent that Imam Muslim categorized in his sahih a chapter on "Competing for superiority amongst the people of iman and the predominance of the people of Yemen in it".
- From their virtues is the hadith of Jubeer bin Mut'am from his father that he said: While we were walking with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in the road of Mecca, he said: "They will come upon you the people of Yemen. They are like the clouds; they are the best of those on earth".
- And from them is the hadith of Abu Hurairah. He said: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "There will come upon you the people of Yemen. They are the most soft-hearted and compassionate. Iman is in Yemen, wisdom is in Yemen and fiqh is in Yemen. And the head of disbelief is before the direction of the East". Al-Baghawi said in Sharh as-Sunnah: "This is praise for the people of Yemen due to their hastening towards iman and their good admittance to it".
- And this previous hadith has an addition which Imam Ahmed mentioned in his collection that a Bedouin came to Abu Hurairah and said: O Abu Hurairah narrate to us from the Prophet (pbuh) so he said: The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Verily, iman is in Yemen, wisdom is in Yemen and I find the relief from your Lord coming from the direction of Yemen".
The addition of: "I find the relief from your Lord coming from the direction of Yemen", was disagreed about in terms of authenticity because of its exclusivity to Shabib Abu Ruh as no one attested to him except Ibn Habban.
From the people of hadith, those who authenticated it and from them who weakened it. On the evaluation of its solidity is the explanation of what Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said:
"...the saying ‘from Yemen' clarifies the meaning of the hadith that Yemen doesn't have any specialty in the attribute of Allah - the Almighty - lest to assume otherwise, but from it (Yemen) came those whom Allah loves and they love Him, those whom Allah said about:
"Whoever of you should revert from his religion - Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him".
(The Holy Quran, Surah 5. "The Table Spread", verse 54)
And it was related that when this verse was revealed, it was asked about those mentioned in the verse. So he (pbuh) referred to them as being the people of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, and the authentic ahadith were mentioned like his (pbuh) saying: "There will come upon you the people of Yemen. They are the most soft-hearted and compassionate. Iman is in Yemen, and wisdom is in Yemen". And those are the ones who fought the people of apostasy and opened the lands. In them the most Merciful relieves the agonies of the believers..."
Al-Qurtubi says in his tafsir: "It was narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Verily, I find the relief from your Lord coming from the direction of Yemen", and in it there are two interpretations: one of them is that it is a relief because of them successively converting in crowds, and the second meaning is that Allah, the Almighty, relieved the sufferings of his Prophet (pbuh) using the people of Yemen and therefore they are the helpers (al-Ansar)".
Ibn al-Atheer said: "He (pbuh) meant by that the helpers (al-Ansar) because Allah relieved in them the sufferings of the believers and they're Yemenis because they're from al-Azd".
- Additionally, there's the hadith of Abu Hurairah where he said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: "Pride and arrogance is found in al-Fadadin (people of loud noise coming out from their cattle and cultivation) - the Camel-herders and tranquility is found in shepherds, and iman is in Yemen and wisdom is in Yemen".
Abu Abdullah said: "It is called Yemen because it is on the right side of the Kaaba".
- And the hadith of Ibn Mas'ood who said: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) pointed with his hand towards Yemen and said: "Iman is over there. Verily harshness and hardheartedness is in al-Fadadin (Camel herders) by the origin of the tails of cows where the horns of shaytan emerge in Rabee'ah and Muder".
- And from them is the hadith of Abdullah ibn Umar that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "O Allah! Bestow Your Blessings on our Sham and our Yemen". They said: "And our Najd". He (pbuh) said: "O Allah! Bestow Your Blessings on our Sham and Yemen". They said: "O Messenger of Allah! Our Najd as well!" Then I think that he (pbuh) said in the third time: "(In Najd) There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there the horn of shaytan will emerge".
- And from them is the hadith of Thawban that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Indeed, I am in the midst of my pool pushing people away for the people of Yemen. I hit with my rod until it flows on them". An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "This is a karamah (high repute) for the people of Yemen in their preceding to drink from it: a repayment for their good actions, their preceding in Islam and the assistance from Yemen. So he (pbuh) pushes the others until they (Yemenis) drink as they pushed in this dunya the enemies and harms away from the Prophet (pbuh)".
- And the hadith of Imran ibn Haseen who said: Banu Tameem came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) so he said: "Glad tidings". They said: "You gave us glad tidings so give us something". So his face changed and then the people of Yemen came, so he said: "O people of Yemen accept the glad tidings as Banu Tameem didn't accept it". So they said: "We came to seek knowledge of the religion and to ask you about this matter".
- And in the hadith of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "Allah turned me towards ash Sham and directed my back towards Yemen and said to me: ‘O Muhammad! I have made for you what is in front of you as spoils and as a means of living, and what is behind your back as a support and yet Islam is still increasing and shirk is reduced and its people until the two women walk as they don't fear anything except injustice'. By whom my soul is in his hands, days and nights won't pass by until this religion reaches the status of the star".
- And the hadith of Anas ibn Malik that he said: the Prophet (pbuh) said: "The people of Yemen have approached and they are more softhearted than you". Anas said: "And they are the first to come with handshaking".
- And in the tafsir of the verses: "When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest, and you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes". (The Holy Quran, Surah 110. "Succour, Divine Support", verses 1-2) that when it was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "There will come upon you the people of Yemen; they are the most soft-hearted. Iman is in Yemen, fiqh is in Yemen, and wisdom is in Yemen".
- And in the Qur'an, Allah, the Exalted, says: "O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion - Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favor of Allah; He bestows it upon whom He wills. AndAllahisall-EncompassingandKnowing".
(The Holy Quran, Surah 5. "The Table Spread", verse 54)
Regarding the reason of this verse's revelation, Ayad al-Ash'ari said: "When this verse was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) pointed at Abu Musa al-Ash'ari using something that was with him and said: ‘They are his people'."
Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in his book:
"And the support of Yemen whom Allah, the Almighty, said about: "Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him" at the time of Abu Bakr and Umar, crowds were coming from Yemen to fight for the sake of Allah.
So greetings are to those crowds, greetings to those supporters, greetings to those who help them and greetings to their grandsons whom we are pleased with of their revival in da'wah, jihad and the emergence of their banner in these days.
I find myself obliged with the news of Yemen's fighters - which are reported to us nowadays as a result of the visibility of their banner - to support them with inspiring (others), calling to help them and working to increase their numbers.
In mention of more virtues (of Yemen's people), the scholar of Yemen ash-Shawkani said:
"If you recognize that this verse is revealed about them in these ahadith, then know that it has contained the virtues of the people of Yemen:
The first of them: The exclusivity of Yemen's people to this great quality that Allah, the Almighty, will bring them forth at the time when others apostate from among the Arab tribes that live in the Peninsula and this is to show their high status as they are the party of Allah at a time when others leave this religion.
The second virtue: Allah's saying: "He will love [them] and they will love Him". There is nothing beyond this high reputation and honor from Allah, the Almighty, because whomever Allah loves, they attain such happiness which no happiness can resemble. They have been honored such an honor that can't be measured by the likes. They have succeeded in such achievements that aren't equivalent to others and they have been given a great repute that can't be matched.
The third virtue: Allah's saying, "And they will love Him". This is a magnificent status and a beautiful attribute. When the inconsiderable slave is loving to his Lord then that is the utmost objective in faith which is the reason behind winning an eternal bliss and it is the reason for being rescued from the painful punishment. From the greatness of loving Allah, the Almighty, and the signs of its authenticity is following the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in his sayings, in his actions and by imitating him and embracing the noble guidance that he came with. The Almighty Allah says: "Say, [O Muhammad], "If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful". (The Holy Quran, Surah 3. "The Family Of 'Imran", verse 31). Thus whoever loves Allah and follows His Messenger (pbuh), then they attain the love from Allah, the Almighty. They have their sins wiped off and their status raised among the believing slaves of Allah.
The fourth virtue: Allah's saying: "[Who are] humble toward the believers". This humbleness towards the people of iman is from the most honorable characteristics and from the greatest attributes of the believers. It is this humbleness that is praised by Allah. It raises its doer in status and in it there is eradication of many of the evil attributes of which are arrogance and egotism.
The fifth virtue: Allah's saying: "Powerful against the disbelievers". It is the result of solidness in the religion, strictness in acting upon it and the hatred for its enemies and harshness on those who go astray.
The sixth virtue: Allah's saying: "They strive in the cause of Allah". Indeed jihad is the head of the Sharia obligations. With it the pillars of the religion are established, its status is raised and the circle of Islam is expanded. The sides of kufr diminishes and its pillars are destroyed.
The seventh virtue: Allah's saying: "And do not fear the blame of a critic". This is the matter of purity and standing alone for Allah and not paying attention to what opposes the truth and differs from the religion. And it came as an indefinite noun in the context of negation (in the Arabic language), so it includes all blames that come from any blamer regardless if they're dignified or miserable, close or far. What proves this attribute is their action of commanding the good and forbidding the evil in a way that even mountains cannot reach their height and it isn't intimidated by terror. When Allah the Almighty gathered for them these honorable attributes in this verse, He reminded them of the greatness of this grant and the kindness of this favor so He said: "That is the favor of Allah; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is all Encompassing and Knowing". In it there are implications that He gathered for them of His blessings which He didn't bestow on other slaves of His. It is as if this is an answer to whoever desires to have these great qualities or compete with them or envy them (in a good way) because of that"
So what other virtues can people challenge you with after this? O grandsons of the helpers of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)! Follow the way of your grandfathers in supporting the religion and lifting the banner of Tawhid in a time when people betrayed the religion and Tawhid.
And what will harm you after this great blessing and magnificent reputation even if all gathered to plan against you and plot?
So hasten and prepare yourself. Perhaps Allah uses you in relieving the sufferings of the Ummah in our time like He used your grandfathers in relieving the sufferings of his Prophet (pbuh). Perhaps the Almighty uses you in giving victory to the religion. Become helpers in the cause of Allah as your grandfathers helped His Messenger (pbuh) and became the helpers in the cause of Allah. Perhaps He uses you in driving away the people of contemporary apostasy and open for you the lands like your grandfathers fought the people of the first apostasy and opened for them the lands.
O Allah, O protector of Islam and its people! Give victory to the monotheistic slaves of Yours in Your Sham and Yemen, in the East and West!
O Allah gather their lines and unite their hearts, direct their shooting and raise their banner and empower them and make them firm. Join us with them, and make us among those whom You love and they love You.
By Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi Kavkaz Center
Publication time: 31 May 2011, 18:23