Saudi Islamic scholars and officials have voiced full support for the statement made by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, urging young Saudi men not to run after the calls for jihad made by foreign groups with vested interests. They also agreed with the mufti that it is the duty of an Islamic ruler to call for jihad and not for any ordinary individual to do so.
In his statement on Monday, Al-Asheikh strongly criticized Saudis for joining the war in Iraq. He said that young men were playing into the hands of suspicious entities that exploited the young in order to realize their vested interests. The mufti also reminded Saudi youth of the meaningless war they are fighting in Iraq as the country endures total confusion without clear objectives. He also warned them against disobeying Islamic scholars and Muslim rulers.
The mufti’s statement follows media reports that a significant number of Saudis have been fighting alongside insurgents against US-led occupation forces in Iraq.
“Our youth have become a commodity, bought and sold by (Middle) Eastern and Western agencies…they have become instruments for carrying out heinous acts,” Al-Asheikh said referring to reports of Saudis taking part as suicide bombers in Iraq.
“I advise those with money to be careful about where it is spent so that it does not damage Muslims. I urge religious scholars and preachers to explain the truth and take young people by the hand so that they see the reality,” the mufti said.
“I decided to make this statement after observing that for several years Saudis have been leaving for jihad. They did this because they are passionate about their religion but they are not wise enough to know right from wrong,” he said.
The mufti also reminded the youth that rejecting Islamic scholars and rulers was a major sin in Islam. “A person who obeys the ruler obeys me and who rejects the ruler rejects me,” the mufti said, quoting a saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
“It is the duty of the ruler, not any other individual, to call for jihad,” said Sami ibn Ahmed Al-Khayyat, director of the department of issues and investigations at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Makkah region. “Youth are not allowed to call for jihad by themselves instigated by religious passion.” Speaking to Arab News, Khayyat also said that youth should not go to Muslim countries facing security problems with the intention of jihad. He emphasized the need for propagating the message of Islam in a wise manner, winning the hearts of people and engaging them in constructive dialogue.
Ahmed ibn Qassim Al-Ghamdi, director of the commission’s office in Makkah, emphasized the important position of jihad in Islam. “But the present calls for jihad are made by groups having vested interests and have resulted in Muslims killing each other,” he explained.
Dr. Khaled Bajahzer, a professor in Islamic studies, highlighted the role of youth in society and urged them to make use of their time and energy in a constructive manner. “Muslim youth should not go for jihad by just hearing some calls or listening to deviant religious edicts,” he said and hoped that Saudis would follow the mufti’s advice.