Dr. Ammar Ali Hassan, novelist, political and sociological researcher, specializing in Islamic Movements
Like all his other books, Al-Tawsmat, a book by Shukri Mustafa, the founder of what he called Jamaat al-Muslimin (Society of Muslims), commonly known as al-Takfir wa al-Hijra (Excommunication and Migration), differs from all other books that established the violent political extremism which are falsely related to Islam- in that the book was not printed. The reasons for that is Shukri forbade printing.
The book gives us an opportunity to know the profound impact a single manuscript can have on the recruitment of followers, especially when we know that the number of the organization members before its eradication amounted to 5,000 persons whose age is 14-17 years.
The 85-pages manuscript, whose author forbade its photocopying as well as its printing, because in his view they are abomination of Satan’s doing, demonstrates two essentials: First, how the followers can memorize and follow the teachings of their leader and circulate them. Second, how such circulation can add to it, like any oral text, especially since the text was not copied by the number of followers.
Shukri Mustafa, an agronomist and a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, had two other short manuscripts: Al-Khilafa and al-Hujjiyaat. Al-Tawsmat laid the theoretical foundations of his group, which he committed his supporters to follow. The book does not deviate from the path of conservative jihadist-Salafism, which we have known to other subsequent organizations, but represents the most extreme version of them, as it propagates dangerous ideas:
- The prohibition of state funds, and therefore anyone who works in government ministries, bodies, institutions and departments is deemed an infidel.
- All current societies are in a state of ignorance or Jahiliyya (the pre-Islamic period) and infidel.
- Anyone who has not joined the da’wah of the Society of Muslims after being aware of it is an infidel. Takfir extends to anyone who resorts to man-made law or rejects the Islamic jurisprudence.
- Every infidel should be killed, whether individual or group, because his blood, money and honor of the infidel are deemed permissible.
- The “State of Islam” shall be established on the ruins of the “State of Kufir”, which must be destroyed, and its capabilities are to be inherited by the believers, as well as the land, with everything above it.
- Any sin is a grave sin, and thus it is a polytheism, even if a Muslim commits it.
- Refraining from establishing one obligation in Islam nullifies the other obligations, even if the Muslim is keen on them.
- A mosque shall not become a bearer of this attribute unless it meets three conditions: the piety of the one who establishes it, the devotion of the da’wah to God alone, and those who pray in them maintain them are believers in God and the day of Judgment.
- Dropping Friday prayers, because they may not be held for the Society of Muslims unless they control power and establish governance according to the principles of the Society of Muslims.
Shoukry illustrated his opinions during his trial in the abduction and murder of the Minister of Awqaf Sheikh al-Dhahabi, a crime committed by members of his organization. When the court asked him about his opinion on al-Dhahabi, he said, “I believe he was an infidel”, arguing that al-Dhahabi “worked in the Awqaf Authority and was its minister and supervisor of mosques, and in the ministry’s department oath, he swore an oath to rule by other than what Allah has revealed”, i.e. other than the Islamic Shariah.
10) Commitment to hijra, which begins with leaving (which another synonym of the word hijra) what Allah forbids, staying away from the temples of non-Muslims, who are not only people of the Scripture or the followers of other beliefs, as well as those who did not join Shukri Mustafa’s call from the Muslims themselves. Then, the rejection of rituals, customs, traditions, clothes, costumes and signs of those who did not join the banner of his strange call, and leaving all of them and the migration from the “Dar- Al-Kufr” i.e. any country that does not rule by Shariah to another land, and this is an inevitable and inextricable duty.
Belief in this “migration” led Shukri Mustafa’s followers to boycott the Egyptian Muslim community: ban marriage from it, allowing only marriages between the group members. He was the one who conclude marriage contracts with a word from him without legal documentation and prevented the children of his group from going to school, and its youth from joining the military service.
11) Shukri Mustafa forbade education to members of his group, limited it to learning the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohamed, and studying his books AL-Tawsmat and The Caliphate, considering that any others were “unbeneficial sciences”.
12) Shukri Mustafa rejected all manifestations of modern civilization, because in his view “it was impossible to reconcile the exertion of a lifetime in making this magnificent civilization with the vast and ornate world with the worship of Allah”.
As part of their implementation of his teachings mentioned in his book, Shukri Mustafa’s followers attacked cinemas and theaters, then abducted and killed Sheikh al-Dhahabi.
In the aftermath of this tragic crime, security forces cracked down on the group, arresting its founder on July 8, 1977. Then, he was referred along with some of his followers to a military court, in which he defended himself and stuck to his ideas. Shukri and four of his followers were executed, 12 were sentenced to life with hard labor, 14 to temporary hard labor, and 13 others were acquitted.
Shukri Mustafa was under the illusion that he was the “Prince of the End of Time” because, in his view, signs of the day of judgement had happened, including the reconstruction of Jerusalem, the ruin of Yathrib, the conquest of Constantinople, and the appearance of the Antichrist. Therefore, he had a strong confidence during the trial that he would be acquitted and that he would be the conqueror of Egypt. This feeling continued to overwhelm him until he was led to the gallows, believing that Allah would intervene at the last moment to salvage him and let him complete his corrupt da’wah.
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