Juhayman al-Otaybi

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Juhayman al-Otaybi
Juhayman al-Otaibi.jpg
Born (1936-09-16)16 September 1936
Al-Qassim Province, Saudi Arabia
Died 9 January 1980(1980-01-09) (aged 43)
Criminal status Executed
Children 3

Juhayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sayf al-Otaybi (Arabic: جهيمان بن محمد بن سيف العتيبي‎) (16 September 1936[1][2] – 9 January 1980) was a religious activist and militant who led the takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, to protest against the Saudi monarchy and their ruling, in the last months of 1979.

Biography[edit]

Otaybi was born in al-Sajir, Al-Qassim Province,[3] a settlement established by King Abdulaziz to house Ikhwan bedouin tribesmen who had fought for him. This settlement (known as a hijra) was populated by members of Otaybi's tribe, the 'Utaybah tribe, one of the most pre-eminent tribes of the Najd region.[4] Many of Otaybi's men participated in the Battle of Sabilla during the Ikhwan uprising against King Abdulaziz, including his father and grandfather (who was killed). Otaybi grew up aware of the battle and of how the Saudi monarchs had betrayed the original religious principles of the Saudi state.[5] He finished school without fluent writing ability, but he loved to read religious texts.[6]

He served in the Saudi Arabian National Guard from 1955[7] to 1973.[8] He was thin and stood 6' 1½" (187 cm) according to his friends in the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Then he moved to Medina and studied at Islamic University.[8] It is when he met with Muhammad ibn Abdullah Al Qahtani.[8]

Otaybi, upon moving to Medina, joined the local chapter of a Salafi group called Al-Jamaa Al-Salafiya Al-Muhtasiba (The Salafi Group That Commands Right and Forbids Wrong). The group was headed by the Islamic University's president, Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz.[9] Ibn Baz used his religious stature to arrange fundraising for the group, and Otaybi earned money by buying, repairing, and re-selling automobiles from city auctions.[10]

Otaybi lived in a "makeshift compound" about a half hour's walk to the Prophet's Mosque, and his followers stayed in a nearby dirt-floored hostel called Bayt al-Ikhwan ("House of the Brothers"). Otaybi and his devotees obeyed an austere and simple lifestyle, Searching the Quran and Hadith for scriptural evidence of what was permissible not only for their beliefs but in their day-to-day lives.[11] Otaybi was perturbed by the encroachment of Western beliefs and bid'ah (innovation) in Saudi society to the detriment of (what he believed to be) true Islam. He opposed the integration of women into the workforce, television, the immodest shorts worn by Soccer players during matches, and Saudi currency with an image of the King on it.[12] [13]

By 1977, ibn Baz had departed to Riyadh and Otaybi became the leader of a faction of young recruits that developed their own—sometimes unorthodox—religious doctrines. When older members of the Jamaa traveled to Medina to confront Otaybi about these developments, the two factions split from each other. Otaybi attacked the elder sheikhs as government sellouts and called his new group al-Ikhwan.[14]

In the late 1970s, he moved to Riyadh, where he drew the attention of the Saudi security forces. He and approximately 100 of his followers were arrested in the summer of 1978 for demonstrating against the monarchy, but were released after ibn Baz questioned them and pronounced them harmless.[1]

He married both the daughter of Prince Sajer Al Mohaya[citation needed] and the sister of Muhammad ibn Abdullah Al Qahtani.[8]

His doctrines are said to have included:

  1. The imperative to emulate the Prophet's example—revelation, propagation, and military takeover.
  2. The necessity for the Muslims to overthrow their present corrupt rulers who are forced upon them and lack Islamic attributes since the Quran recognizes no king or dynasty.
  3. The requirements for legitimate rulership are devotion to Islam and its practice, rulership by the Holy Book and not by repression, Qurayshi tribal roots, and election by the Muslim believers.
  4. The duty to base the Islamic faith on the Quran and the sunnah and not on the equivocal interpretations (taqlid) of the ulama and on their "incorrect" teachings in the schools and universities.
  5. The necessity to isolate oneself from the sociopolitical system by refusing to accept any official positions.
  6. The advent of the mahdi from the lineage of the Prophet through Husayn ibn Ali to remove the existing injustices and bring equity and peace to the faithful.
  7. The duty to reject all worshipers of the partners of God (shirk), including worshipers of Ali, Fatimah and Muhammad, the Khawarij, and even music.
  8. The duty to establish a puritanical Islamic community which protects Islam from unbelievers and does not court foreigners.[15]

Grievance for takeover[edit]

Juhayman said that his justification was that the Al Saud had lost its legitimacy through corruption and imitation of the West, an echo of his father's charge in 1921 against Abd al Aziz. Unlike earlier anti-monarchist dissidents in the kingdom, Juhayman attacked the Wahhabi ulama for failing to protest policies that (he believed) betrayed Islam, and accused them of accepting the rule of an infidel state and offering loyalty to corrupt rulers in "exchange for honours and riches." [16]

Takeover of the Grand Mosque[edit]

Main article: Grand Mosque Seizure
Juhayman's Officers

On November 20, 1979—the first day of the Islamic year 1400—the Grand Mosque in Makkah was seized by a well-organized group of 400 to 500 men under al-Otaybi's leadership.[17] The Grand Mosque Seizure lasted more than two weeks before Saudi Special Forces broke into the Mosque.[17] French Special Forces provided CB, a tear gas which prevents aggressiveness and slows down breathing.[17]

Juhayman al-Otaybi was executed during the raid.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Krämer, Gudrun (2000). "Good Counsel to the King: The Islamist Opposition in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco". In Joseph Kostiner. Middle East Monarchies: The Challenge of Modernity. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. p. 262. ISBN 1-55587-862-8. 
  2. ^ Graham, Douglas F.; Peter W. Wilson (1994). Saudi Arabia: The Coming Storm. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. p. 57. ISBN 1-56324-394-6. 
  3. ^ Abir, Mordechai (1988). Saudi Arabia in the Oil Era: Regime and Elites Conflict and Collaboration. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. p. 150. ISBN 0-8133-0643-4. 
  4. ^ Lunn 2003: 945
  5. ^ Lacroix & Holoch 2011: 93
  6. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 16.
  7. ^ Graham, Douglas F.; Peter W. Wilson (1994). Saudi Arabia: The Coming Storm. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. p. 57. ISBN 1-56324-394-6. 
  8. ^ a b c d "The Dream That Became A Nightmare". Al Majalla 1533. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 9.
  10. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 17.
  11. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 8.
  12. ^ Lacey, Robert (2009-10-15). Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia. Penguin Group US. p. 12. ISBN 9781101140734. Everywhere Juhayman looked he could detect bidaa -- dangerous and regrettable innovations. The Salafi Group That Commands Right and Forbids Wrong was originally intended to focus on moral improvement, not on political grievances or reform. But religion is politics and vice versa in a society that chooses to regulate itself by the Koran. ... [other bidaa included] government making it easier for women to work .... immoral of the government to permit soccer matches, because of the very short shorts that the players wore ... use only coins, not banknotes, because of the pictures of the kings .... like television, a dreadful sin ... 
  13. ^ Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. p. 166. As might be expected, a strict puritanical streak runs through Juhayman's writings on satanic innovations. Thus, the expressed outrage that an Islamic university would require a student to produce copies of his photograph in order to enroll even though, to his mind, Islam forbids reproducing the human image. Likewise, he objected to the appearance of the king's likeness on the country's currency. As for the availability of alcohol, the broadcast of shameful images on television and the inclusion of women in the workplace, Juyhayman considered them all instance of Al Saud's indifference to upholding Islamic principles. 
  14. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 13.
  15. ^ Quoted and summarized Dekmejian, R. Hrair (1985). Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab World. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0-8156-2329-1. 
  16. ^ Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. pp. 165–6. 
  17. ^ a b c d Karen Elliott House, On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines--And Future, New York, New York: Alfred P. Knopf, 2012, p. 20

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lacey 1981, p. 481; Ruthven, p. 8; Abir, p. 150
  2. ^ Quandt, p. 94, gives 1972 as the date of his resignation; Graham and Wilson, ibid., say 1973; Dekmejian, p. 141, says "around 1974"
  3. ^ Dekmejian, p. 143; Lacey, p. 483; Krämer, p. 262, p. 282 n. 17
  4. ^ Lacey 1981, p. 483; Graham and Wilson, p. 57

Works cited[edit]