Safar Al-Hawali

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Safar bin Abdul-Rahman al-Hawali (Arabic: سفر بن عبدالرحمن الحوالي‎) (born 1950) is a Saudi Islamic scholar who lives in Mecca. He came to prominence in 1991, as a leader of the "Awakening" (Sahwah) movement which opposed the presence of US troops on the Arabian peninsula.

Biography[edit]

Safar al-Hawali received his doctorate in Islamic theology from Umm al-Qura University, Mecca in 1986. During the 1990s, he was arrested for a period of time by the Saudi authorities for his criticism of the government when he distributed sermons on cassette tapes to incite militants to overthrow the government. Along with another preacher Salman al-Ouda, al-Hawali is said to have led the sahwa or "awakening" movement in Saudi Arabia, a form of salafism.[1]

Safar al-Hawali was one of the leaders of The Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR) that was a Saudi dissident group created in 1993 and was the first ever opposition organization in the Kingdom openly challenging the monarchy, accusing the government and senior ulama of not doing enough to protect the legitimate Islamic rights of the Muslims.[2]

In September 1994, two leaders of the Committee, Salman al-Ouda and Safar al-Hawali were arrested together with a large number of their followers in the city of Burayda, Qasim region. Moreover, Sheikh Abd al-Aziz Ibn Baz issued a fatwa, that unless al-Quda and al-Hawali repented their former conduct, they would be banned from lecturing, meetings and cassette-recording.[2] In 1999, he and other two ulemas arrested with him were released without any charge.[3] Hawali has since parted ways with Salman al-Ouda.

Views[edit]

Like jihadist Osama bin Laden, another "Awakening" preacher Salman al-Ouda, and many Saudis, al-Hawali opposed the presence of US troops on the Arabian peninsula. In 1991, al-Hawali delivered a sermon stating: "What is happening in the [Persian] Gulf is part of a larger Western design to dominate the whole Arab and Muslim world." Bin Laden is said to often cite al-Hawali and al-Oada "to justify his own pronouncements against the United States." [4]

Hawali's fatwas include an endorsement of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[5] A February 13, 2002, fatwa described the 9/11 attacks as an equivalent given in return for President Clinton missile attack on Al-Qaida's training camps (which in turn were in retaliation for al-Qaeda's attack on the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya). The fatwa also condoned the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon describing them as centers for money laundering, devil's nest, spying cell, and a mafia retreat.[6][7]

Hawali was invited to the First Meeting of the Saudi National Meeting For Intellectual Dialogue held in June 2003 but declined to attend in protest against the inclusion of `deviants` at the meeting—namely non-Wahhabi religious leaders of the Shia, Sufi, Ismaili, and Maliki Muslim communities of Saudi Arabia.[8] Al-Hawali did, however, condemned al-Qaeda's May 2003 attacks in Riyadh. [9]

Written works[edit]

Safar Al-Hawali wrote a book on secularism as part of his master thesis at Umm Al-Qura. This research was supervised by Muhammad Qutb, the brother of Sayyid Qutb. Here Al-Hawali traced the history of the separation between the church and state and how the idea was imported to the Muslim world. In his Ph.D. research, Al-Hawali made an analysis of the separation between the claim of faith and deeds of worship.

In the year 2000, he wrote a treatise on the Second Intifada, entitled The Day of Wrath. He argued that the Biblical prophecies used by Christian fundamentalists to support the state of Israel actually predict its destruction. The treatise was subsequently translated into Hebrew by the Anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group.

After September 11, 2001, Al-Hawali wrote an open letter to President Bush.[10]

When 60 American intellectuals issued an article justifying America's war in Iraq, Al-Hawali wrote a counter-article, rebutting their claims and pointing to the history of US foreign policy.[citation needed]

Al-Hawali wrote an article in Al-Bayan magazine on unitarianism among Christians. He traced the history of those who reject the doctrine of the Trinity, and believe in One Supreme God. He claimed that monotheists had been subject to great persecution, by both Catholics and Protestants; and that five among the US presidents had been Unitarians.[11]

Works referring to him[edit]

He is mentioned in Osama bin Laden's fatwa as a sheikh unjustly arrested allegedly "by orders from the USA."[12]

Samuel P. Huntington included Al-Hawali in his famous Clash of Civilizations article.[13] "It is not the world against Iraq," as Safar Al-Hawali, dean of Islamic Studies at the Umm Al-Qura University in Mecca, put it in a widely circulated tape. "It is the West against Islam."[14]

Al-Hawali was named as a "theologian of terror" in an October 2004 petition to the UN signed by 2,500 Muslim intellectuals calling for a treaty to ban the religious incitement to violence.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Suicide Bombers in Iraq By Mohammed M. Hafez
  2. ^ a b Kapiszewski, Andrzej (2006). "Saudi Arabia: Steps Toward Democratization or Reconfiguration of Authoritarianism?". Journal of Asian and African Studies 41 (5-6): 459–482. doi:10.1177/0021909606067407. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Alshamsi, Mansoor Jassem (2011). Islam and Political Reform in Saudi Arabia: The Quest for Political Change and Reform. New York: Routledge. p. 132. 
  4. ^ Holy War, Inc. By Peter L Bergen, Rachel Klayman, C-SPAN
  5. ^ News article about an Arab petition to the UN against terrorist fatwas, Middle East Transparent, 24 October 2004
  6. ^ Fatwa published in February 13, 2002 edition of London-based Al-Hayat newspaper
  7. ^ MEMRI article about that petition, MEMRI, 8 November 2004
  8. ^ Lacey, Robert (2009). Inside the Kingdom : Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia. Viking. p. 271. "... this initial gathering consisted entirely of men who were clerics. But they were not all Wahhabis. Also invited were religious leaders of the Kingdom's Shia, Sufi, Ismaili, and Maliki Muslim communities -- which prompted Safa Al-Hawali, one of the Awakening sheikhs, to decline his invitation. He denounced the inclusion of these `deviants,` to the fervent approval of the conservative websites." 
  9. ^ Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. p. 197. "[al-Hawali and al-Awda] and about 50 other sahwa sheikhs publicly condemned al-Qaeda's May 2003 attacks in Riyadh; in June 2004, they joined six ulama to denounce al-Qaeda violence and efforts to overthrow Al Saud." 
  10. ^ An Open Letter to President Bush (www.sunnahonline.com)
  11. ^ ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hawali, Safar. "The Monotheists Among the Christians". IslamicAwakening.com. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  12. ^ 1996 fatwa from bin Laden, English translation by PBS
  13. ^ Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World O. Simon & Schuster. 
  14. ^ Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Simon & Schuster. p. 249. 
  15. ^ Militant Ideology Atlas, November 2006, p. 344, United States Military Academy

External links[edit]