Shaykh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi – His resignation from leadership
Shaykh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi – His resignation from leadership
Taken from the 15th episode of the biographical interview tittled “Be Faithful Servants.”
“Me leaving the leadership (Imarah) of the group (Jama’ah) in prison was my own choice. During my leadership I tried to prevent the youth from every meaningless and stupid confrontation which could make our situation more difficult, we exploited this stability during the lectures (Duroos) and preaches during Friday, which the youth did not pray before that. The youth started to come to our prayers and our lectures, preaches, they used to spread our writing between each other, books I wrote in prison. I remember I wrote a book. Because of the many discussions and disputes we had with the military guards, I wrote a book explaining the right conduct and manners concerning the engagement in such discussions with the military guards of Shirk and man-made laws. I remember writing about a discussion which happened between us, so that the beginning youth may learn from it. I wrote a small pamphlet about the most important doubts (Shubuhaat) surrounding these discussions, so that the youth may know how to answer to these doubts the guards were spreading, the tittle was “Exposing the doubts of the disputers from among the armies of Shirk and the supporters of man-made laws”. These were small writings published and spread by the brothers inside the prison.
So this was a golden period, a very good period. I was keen to prevent the youth from entering into conflicts. So when I thought about leaving the leadership, many youths were afraid that this stability would vanish, and these lectures, writings, etc. They remembered the leadership of the person who ruled before me, and how he made Takfir on those who greeted the guards by hand, and how he dragged them in to conflicts which were of no benefit. So they were afraid that this period would return again. That’s why I prepared the youth when I noticed these concerns, I told them about how I wanted to leave the leadership and its duties, and they should not dispute me on this. Most of them would show strong dislike to it and they would say that they didn’t want the situation to return as it was before me, etc. I would comfort them and say that they shouldn’t be afraid and sorrow because I would choose a brother who wouldn’t let the situation return to this period before me.
And in my mind I was thinking about choosing Abu Mus’ab Zarqawi, because I saw him as the best amongst those who were present. He had experience in Jihad before that, and my relationship with him in prison was the strongest. I knew that the coordination between us would stay, I knew that the situation would stay as I liked and thought would be; according to what Allah wanted and pleased. So I approached the youth one by one and I would always be confronted with their fear that the previous period would return again when I would leave. That’s why most of them refused the change of leadership, not because of Abu Mus’ab personally, but out of fear that the situation we were in, and which we gained, would change. So I comforted the youth, I gathered them in a room, and I explained to them that I cannot combine between this heavy burden of leadership and seeking knowledge, writing, compiling and teaching. So I wanted to leave this position out of my own choice, no one asked this from me, so I hope you will accept this from me, and that I leave this matter. And InshaAllah I will appoint a person after me who InshaAllah will be better than me. And you will experience ease with his leadership, do not be afraid that the situation will return as it was before me, the situation will be good. And this brother, then I removed the turban from my head and placed it on his head, I appoint him as a leader over you, and now he is your leader. You will listen to him and obey him.
Before that I spoke to Abu Mus’ab of course and I explained to him that I wanted to hand over the leadership to him, he was surprised in the beginning and refused a clear-cut refusal, until I kept convincing him. I told him that I would leave the leadership no matter what, so it is not appropriate to place the wrong brother in this position and let this matter leave our hands. I know you and I trust you, you are inshaAllah on the right methodology and path, and our Aqeedah, so we do not want to appoint a young brother who is new to this Dawah, who deviates and makes mistakes and drags others with him. So I convinced him with this issue. When he refused in the binning he said; I will be the leader in front of the enemies of Allah, but you will be the real leader behind the curtains. But I said no this is not permitted in the Sharia, you are the real leader, and inshaAllah everyone will listen to you and obey. So he took an oath from me that I would advise him, and stand beside him and support him. I promised him this. And in the beginning he would also say that he didn’t want me to ask him for permission in something, because you are my Shaykh and you are older than me, so you can hand over the leadership but you do not ask me permission for anything.
This was his agreement in the beginning. But I refused this, I wanted to be an example for my brothers. So I was with the blessing of Allah the Almighty, during the whole period when there still wasn’t any friction and disputes caused by biased people, or hypocrites like Abu Mus’ab used to call them, before that I was always an example and role model for my brothers in asking permission from the leader. So much so that Abu Mus’ab became embarrassed because I was asking so much permission for things; in order to be an example for my brothers. Every time I wanted to do something I asked him permission for it.
This happened when I handed over the leadership, in the golden period, as they call it, concerning our relationship with him. There are many details we could not explain correctly; but after that many people entered, from those with weak Imaan, and those who were not brought up with this Dawah, those who were still connected to their period of ignorance (Jahiliyah) in their speech and manners, and their suspicions. So in reality they entered some evil harms in our group, we would always confront them, and due to these confrontations with them, these people who showed outwardly that they wanted to challenge the enemies of Allah, feuds could happen because of them and their positions, etc.
These feuds developed further and due to this many things happened during our period of imprisonment, but it did not breakup the ranks with the blessing of Allah. Some disputes about our conduct with the administration and Sharia policy and the like even caused disputed between me and Abu Mus’ab, due to these people about whom Abu Mus’ab himself said that they were hypocrites. They would spread some problems, but despite all of this the ranks did not break. We left the prison of Jaffar in the last days of our imprisonment together, me and Abu Mus’ab and the rest of the brothers who were with us, we left as united brothers in one rank with the blessing of Allah the Almighty. And this is what angered the enemies of Allah. Because the enemies of Allah were always boasting about one thing they would write in their newspapers, they did not only boast about capturing and imprisoning a group or armed organization, they would always write in the news that the intelligence services were successful in breaking up the organization. How did they break it up? The group would leave prison accusing each other, cursing and insulting each other, or they would even make Takfir on each other. And we saw this, we saw many groups and organizations leave and accuse each other that this was an agent, and he was the one who sold him out, etc. But this did not come from any of us with the blessing of Allah..”