Barry Grossman

Wahhabi ethos violates 600 years of Islamic jurisprudence: analyst

The growing tendency among Wahhabis to dismiss others, both individually and en masse, as not being Muslims is almost always counterproductive and certainly lies at the core of the destructive Takfiri ethos which violates almost 600 years of Islamic jurisprudence in favor of spontaneous assessments made by ignorant individuals.

by Barry Grossman* 


Some Thoughts on the Subject of Hajj, the Saudi Regime, Regional Conflict, Sectarian Discord and Iran’s Decision to opt out of this year’s Pilgrimage.

It comes as no surprise, that Iran felt compelled by the Saudi Arabia’s intransigence to opt out of this year’s Hajj.  Indeed, the decision made by Iranian authorities not to facilitate Iranian participation in the Hajj this year is somewhat reminiscent of Prophet Muhammad’s decision in 6 AH (628 CE) to cancel what would otherwise have been the first Pilgrimage of the post-Hijrah era. 

It is difficult to imagine how Iran could have responsibly arrived at any other decision. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s unequivocal statement on the subject is of course timely and beyond reproach, especially if we bear in mind:  


  1. the state of relations between the Saudi regime and the Islamic Republic of Iran;
  2. the Saudi regime’s role in conflicts raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Libya;
  3. the Saudi regime’s symbiotic relationship with the USA and acquiescence in the US funded Israeli occupation of Palestine;
  4. the Saudi regime’s role in oppressing Bahraini people;
  5. last year’s Hajj tragedy in Mina which resulted the death of hundreds of Iranian Pilgrims and many more others;
  6. the Saudi regime’s white wash of that tragedy and its contempt for the families of victims; 
  7. the restrictions imposed by the Saudi regime on Iranian pilgrims; and
  8. the provocative recent assertion by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti that Shias are not Muslims.


Considering that initial reports of last year’s Mina tragedy made it quite clear that the massive death toll was almost certainly caused by high ranking members of the al Saud clan’s inner circle who --  ostensibly for the sole purpose of facilitating their own unhindered, routine travel --  ordered the closure of a road that was pivotal to the unhindered and safe pre-dawn flow of some two million pilgrims walking in the dark along routes with all points of egress barred by barriers as they looked forward to taking part in ramī al-jamarāt (the place where pilgrims hurl stones at the devil).

In considering the Ayatollah Khamenei’s declaration that the death of those who died in the ensuing crush was nothing less than “murder” perpetrated by the Saudi regime, we would do well to remember that queuing theory and the management of large flows of people in confined spaces have become quite advanced sciences and a distinct academic discipline, the accumulated learning of which is very well known to those responsible for Hajj logistics.  That is to say, it is almost inconceivable that anyone who demanded or facilitated the road closure which is believed to have caused the Mina tragedy did not have some degree of prior awareness of the deadly consequences that could ensue. The subsequent cover up carried out by Saudi officials and contempt shown for the families of foreign martyrs only serves to reinforce already strong indications of official criminal culpability.

Every true Muslim would do well to heed the words of Ayatollah Khamenei:  

“Those who have reduced hajj to a religious-tourist trip and have hidden their enmity and malevolence towards the faithful and revolutionary people of Iran under the name of “politicizing hajj”, are themselves small and puny satans who tremble for fear of jeopardizing the interests of the Great Satan, the US.

Saudi rulers, who have obstructed the path of Allah and Masjid ul-Haraam this year and who have blocked the proud and faithful Iranian pilgrims’ path to the Beloved’s House, are disgraced and misguided people who think their survival on the throne of oppression is dependent on defending the arrogant powers of the world, on alliances with Zionism and the US and on fulfilling their demands. And on this path, they do not shy away from any treason.”

The reactionary, “knee jerk” response by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh who asserted for the entire world to hear that Iranians are not Muslims, only serves to reinforce the self-evident truth of Ayatollah Khamenei’s statement. The Grand Mufti's nyat (intention) is at best suspect; his comments are provocative and nothing if not unhelpful. In short, his statement is un-Islamic.


I can appreciate that there are very limited and obvious circumstances which, after satisfying the substantive, evidentiary, and procedural imperatives of Islamic jurisprudence, can justify asserting that some specific individual is not a Muslim; but it seems to me that the growing tendency many self-avowed Muslims have to dismiss others, both individually and en masse,  as not being Muslims is almost always counterproductive and certainly lies at the core of the destructive Takfiri ethos which violates almost 600 years of Islamic jurisprudence in favour of spontaneous assessments made by individuals that, all too often, are very recent reverts who, having been rejected and often humiliated by the Mushrik (infidel) culture of Europe’s night club scene, have travelled to troubled nations and taken up the sword from a position of utter ignorance. Certainly if, as is only proper, the standard to be applied in deciding who is and is not a Muslim is to be derived from the example set by RasoulAllah (Messenger of God), then scarcely anyone would qualify today as a Muslim. So where does that leave us?


As far as I know, even when referring to the worst among us, neither Muhammad (PBUH) nor the language of al Qur'an, resorted to expressly stating that individuals who identify as Muslims are in fact not Muslims. Without in any way implying that either Shia or those who embrace any of the more controversial variations on Sunni tradition are “the worst among us”, clearly this growing tendency many, typically less than devout Muslims have to decide who is and is not a Muslim based entirely on some abstract caricature of the impugned group’s implied beliefs, is counterproductive, divisive and contrary to the spirit of al Qur'an itself.


Ayatollah Khamenei has been outspoken in condemning such tendencies among Shia Muslims but when we look to the descendants of the al Saud’s regime’s partners from the al-Wahhab family for constructive leadership on the issue, we either face a wall of silence or find ourselves assaulted by un-Islamic provocations being spouted by the likes of the KSA’s partisan Grand Mufti which we must assume is fully sanctioned by the KSA’s hereditary rulers.

As for the Saudi clan’s control of Mecca and the Hajj, it is important to understand that when Abdulaziz ibn Muhammad Al Saud opportunistically seized  control of Mecca in 1924,  he was not motivated by any intention to “safeguard” Islam since, apart from rapacious, self serving Europeans and Ibn Saud’s own raiding parties,  the main dangers faced by  Islam and Mecca at the time were of an existential nature, even if the region itself was already then being torn asunder by secular ambitions both from within and from without. 

Yes; it is said that Ibn Saud led his unopposed 1924 attack on Mecca because pilgrims from Nejd had been denied access to the holy places in Hejaz. But those temporary restrictions must be understood in a context defined in no small part by the Ibn Saud led rebellion of Nejd tribesmen against the Hashemite controlled Kingdom of Hejaz which,  with British and US acquiescence and covert material support,  had already been under way for several years. The setting for that rebellion had of course been laid by the wider Arab revolt against Ottoman rule which, taking advantage of WW1, had run for many years before that and the exclusion of  Nejd tribesman from Mecca at the time must be understood in that historical context.

The simple fact is that when Ibn Saud attacked Mecca he considered himself a freedom fighter and King-in-Waiting without a realm. Not satisfied with dominating the Nejd region, he coveted the Kingdom of Hejaz which, following the WW1 defeat of the Ottoman Empire, achieved national independence under Hashemite rule. He saw Mecca’s Hajj related revenues as the jewel in a then still non-existent crown, the geo-political benefits of which were well understood by the Americans, the British and Ibn Saud’s Zionist supporters, all of whom had their own ambitions which saw Ibn al Saud consolidate far more territory under his rule than even he imagined was possible, including those areas in today’s KSA that contain most of its oil reserves and which, bordering on the Persian Gulf, had for many centuries been within Persia’s historical sphere of influence and therefore not surprisingly  populated predominantly, albeit sparsely, by Shia.

While it is easy to identify with the early indigenous cause led by Ibn Saud - much like the shady British spy Captain William Henry Irvine Shakespear did, and after him, Lawrence of Arabia, followed by Harry Philby whose notorious son was a Soviet spy -- any attempt to portray Ibn Saud’s as a protector of Islam or his ambitions as having been motivated by Islamic imperatives, is pure revisionist history. 

Of course no sooner did Ibn Saud’s British financed desert skirmishes and, more importantly, the regional consequences of Europe’s antipathy to the Turks, culminate in international recognition of the world’s only modern nation-state named after a man, than continuing discoveries of vast oil reserves in the nascent Kingdom’s predominantly Shia areas obscured Ibn Saud’s motives for seizing control of Mecca by force. Yet with the Kingdom’s finances in a precarious state almost a century later, the estimated $12 billion a year in state revenues now generated by the Hajj and Ummrah pilgrimages represent the regime’s second largest source of revenue  and  certainly enough for the regime to continue its not so covert funding of organised, military violence throughout the region. 

Hajj is of course one of the pillars of Islam. It is pivotal in maintaining the integrity of Islam itself and, we are told, the righteousness of our submission to Allah. We could be forgiven, however,  for thinking that the hostility faced by many pilgrims doing Hajj has never been more real, in no small part because, unlike the hostility faced by Muslim Pilgrims in 6 AH (628 CE),  the hostility and very real danger faced by many of today’s pilgrims originates,  not from outsiders who openly avow their opposition to Islam,  but rather from privileged elements ostensibly within Islam who, propped up by Americans and the British, have appointed themselves the custodians of Mecca,  imposed their exclusive authority over all aspects of Hajj/Umrah,  and claim all revenues generated by pilgrims,  while also displaying an almost unprecedented hubris in considering themselves to be the rightful protector’s of Islam itself,  despite routinely revelling in the worst excesses offered by Atlantic World culture.

Looking at Mecca as well as the life styles of today’s al Saud clan and their retainers, Muslims could also be forgiven for thinking that the Saudi regime has replaced Mecca’s  stone idols of the pre-Hijrah era with abstract idols that take the form of wealth, power, and privilege. The fact that the process of distributing Hajj visas to aspiring pilgrims globally has become one of the most corrupt recurring enterprises on earth also has done nothing to inspire confidence in the Saudi royal family’s Islamic credentials.

Indeed, no Saudi king has established himself as being anything more than a stooge of Atlantic World powers since King Faisal was assassinated in 1975 by a member of the al Saud family who had just returned from a long stay in a USA which was then still reeling from the Oil Crises and deeply concerned by King Faisal uncompromising denunciation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Against this historical backdrop, the time has come for all Muslims to reconsider whether, for the time being, undertaking Hajj or Umrah amounts to acquiescence in the regional crimes of an illegitimate regime which is closely allied with Atlantic World nations who are fully committed to eradicating Palestine and continuing a wider, permanent war on Islam.  As for this imperfect Muslim, I fully and unapologetically embrace the position expressed by Ayatollah Khamenei on this issue. Islamic principles, logic, ethics, and a basic untainted understanding of history, in my opinion, leave room for no other position.



* Barry K. Grossman received his B.Comm. from the University of Calgary in 1984 and his LLB from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in 1987.  After working as a litigator at a major commercial law firm in Toronto, he moved to Australia to teach at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Law in 1988. He later worked for several years as a litigation consultant to the national Australian firm of Freehill, Hollingdale & Page before taking up a full time lectureship at Monash University’s Faculty of Law. Mr. Grossman has written extensively on various legal subjects and is a frequent commentator on political affairs. He is a Muslim and has resided in Indonesia since 1999. 

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  • 2016-09-18 15:44
    ALHAMDULILLAH! We appreciate and thank Brother Grossman for this expository rich write up. May ALLAH reward and strengthen him. We also reaffirm our allegiance to the Rahbar (DZ).
  • 2016-09-19 03:42
    This article is useful. The only thing I wish to add is, this sort of name calling and violence is much older than 600 years. Of course, we know the violence against Imam Hussain and few disagree it was a catastrophe. However, few know, let alone comprehend the travesty against Abdullah Ibn Zubayr, the man that took over Caliphate after the martyrdom of Iman Hussain. A little-known fact is, he controlled Mecca and Medina for 12 years, putting him in ranks with among the longest running Caliphs. The ruthless army Hazzaz Bin Yusuf killled off each of his supporters and hung his body on Ka'ba, and shouted "Allahu Akbar". It was the same man whose birth was a cause of celebration in Medina as he was the first born after the curse of the Jews broke and everyone shouted "Allahu Akbar" at his birth. Prophet Muhammad chewed up a piece of date and gave to the newborn. Hazzaz then declared three days of pillaging, involving rapes of countless female companions of the prophet and mass killing