[Re: Jihad and Revolution in Chechnya]

Abu Nasr abu-nasr at SPAMusa.net
Fri Aug 11 07:18:52 MDT 2000


Sorry but this is simply not true.  Sufism is the mystical aspect of Islam,
not something outside or alien to Islam.  Because Sufis historically seek a
personal subjective "divine experience" some of them  are unobservant of
traditional norms, but most are more observant of Islamic law than others, if
anything.  The Qadiriya order was founded by Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani in
medieval Iraq and he was a very orthodox Muslim, a follower of the Hanbali
legal school, in fact, the one prevalent in Saudi Arabia today.  Sufism has at
times been quietist, pacifist; at times militant.  You simply can't make a
statement that Sufis are unpolitical or oppose violence.  The Turkish
Janissaries were members of a Sufi order (Bektashi), as were many rebellious
movements in 19th century North Africa (although by the 20th century the Sufis
in French controlled territory appear to have been "tamed."  Fundamentalists
often are critical of Sufism, because fundamentalism focuses its attention on
implementation of Islamic law, not on subjective spirituality, and because
Sufism with its personalism often hosts lots of local lore and belief (like
worship of Sufi saints) that fundamentalists regard as alien to pure Islam.
But Sufis in no way "hate Islam," they definitely consider themselves part of
Islam.

Popular Islam virtually everywhere from Morocco to Indonesia has become
infused with Sufi currents over the centuries.  Fundamentalists, virtually
everywhere criticse Sufi ideas and practices that they find unauthentic, but
they don't totally oppose the Sufi legacy.  All the fundamentalists look back
on the Imam Shamil as an Islamic hero.

Anyhow to say that Islam has no history in Chechnya is just totally incorrect.
 I have no idea what percentage of Chechen fighters are locals or foreigners.
My sense is that the Russian government is trying to exaggerate the presence
of Arabs and Afghans and play up the "Islamic terrorism" idea to try to win US
and Israeli sympathy.  But regardless of that, certainly Chechnya is a Muslim
region and there's plenty of local basis for Islamic orientated political
movements growing out of local soil.  That doesn't change the international
circumstances in which the fighting in Chechnya takes place, (such as the
position of Russia as a victim if US pressure and exploitation) but I do think
we must keep our facts straight.

Revolutionary greetigns!

Abu Nasr

"sevag " <sev at cyberia.net.lb> wrote:
Comrades:
    When discussing Islamism and specially militant revolutions, one should
not forget the social dimension, or what Hrair Dekmejian would classsify in
a general topic called the crisis milieux. The history of Islam has seen
such revolutions or struggles, but what has been taking place in Chechnya
has a special factor.
    First of all, the history of Islamism in Chechnya is no history at all.
The anti-tsarist or anti-russian movements were mainly carried out by 3
muslim leaders in Chechnya and Daghestan. These are Sheikh Mansour, Ghazi
Mollah and Imam Shamil. All 3 were Sufis. Actually the Chechens have known
nothing but Sufism as a way of life. Sufism is totally depoliticized, and
Sufis are spiritual and anti-militants. However, the national struggles
against the oppressor made the Sufis break their codes of morality. Keeping
this in mind it will be clear that the Sufis hate Islamism, and this is the
case in every corner of the world. Actually the Sufis in Chechnya which were
from 2 main orders: the Naqshbandiyya and the Qadiriyya hated Islamist
fighters and intruders alot. History tell us so.
    With the collapse of the USSR and its institutions, everything changed
but Sufism. Sufism is not an institutional Islam. Hence u don't need mosques
etc... All those non-Sufis were prosecuted during the KGB years, and even if
they survived the KGB they wouldn't have in their everyday life. In 1994 the
Russian government claimed that there were Wahhabis in Daghestan and
Chechnya.... where did they come from???? specially in Chechnya.
    The revolution in Chechnya is imported...it is not the fight of the
Chechen people...but it is those whom i like to call "ideological
mercenaries" of Afghan Mujahideen who were from different origins...for
example Amir Khattab is one of the leaders of the Chechen revolution and he
is an arab of either Saudi or Jordanain origin (most probably from the
desert b/w these 2 countries). True that there are Chechen leaders, but
these are very few and most of them fought against the Taliban and the Arab
Mujahideen when they were soldiers or commanders in the Red Army!
    What's happening in Chechnya is not a revolution at all...it is the last
home of those leftovers of Islamist homeless fighters and it seems the
Russian government is too corrupt itself to deal with them.


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