From: “The Way Forward: An Islamic Mentoring Guide to Building Identity and Resisting Radicalisation“
What is the theological framework that drives the global network of affiliates associated with Al-Qaeda? Which particular authors are characteristic of this movement and its ideologies?
As noted in Part 1, ignorance in traditional Islamic teachings is a critical vulnerability factor leading to extremism amongst at-risk youth. This vulnerability factor is a primary cause for their inability to differentiate between literature that cites Islamic scholars and that which cites unauthentic writers tarred with profanation and historical controversies. It is a huge risk for youth to view Al-Qaeda’s doctrines and theological precepts as authentic Islamic principles. As a protective measure, it is important to caution young people against authors identified by the theology of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
As a result, and in order to measure the frequency of citations made by known extremist ideologues, we examined a report written by the US Military Academy (USMA) which the titled “Militant Ideology Atlas”. The report uses a technique called “citation analysis”, which is frequently employed in the social sciences as an objective way to determine influence among authors (Google uses a similar technique to rank pages for its search engine). Consequently, the report identifies the most frequently cited authors among Al-Qaeda’s ideologues…These authors were divided into two groups: medieval and modern.
According to the report, Ibn Taymiyah (d. 729 AH, 1328 Roman calendar) is the medieval author most influential on the Al-Qaeda movement. The edicts issued by this 13/14th century RC author are the ones cited by far the most frequently in the numerous Al-Qaeda texts analysed.
Ibn Taymiyah has single-handedly drafted the modus operandi and the religious operational framework that Al-Qaeda has adopted since their inception late in the 20th century.
From a historical perspective, back in his time, Ibn Taymiyah clashed with members of the jurisprudence from the Islamic union of the various Islamic schools of thought, who collectively issued an edict against him. They declared his theology and interpretative procedures as contradicting established Islamic standards. Ibn Taymiyah was incarcerated by the courts for his theological heresies, which posed a further military threat in justifying unsanctioned violent clashes. He ultimately died in prison.
The Ibn Taymiyah chapter of history gives evidence to the unholiness of the theological foundations of Al-Qaeda and a strong assurance to the non-Muslim community that the extremism that drives the Al-Qaeda network of affiliates is unsanctioned by Islamic scholarly standards.
Furthermore, the report found that the modern authors most influential on the extremists are generally the followers of the eighteenth-century author Muhammad Ibn `Abd Al-Wahhab (d. 1206 AH, 1791 RC). In fact, Ibn `Abd Al-Wahhab institutionalised the edicts of Ibn Taymiyah four centuries later. This creed came to be known as Wahhabism. From its inception, Wahhabism outrageously attacked many standard Islamic beliefs and values. Prof Khaled Abu El Fadel wrote that “the Wahhabi rebellions of the 19th and 20th centuries were very bloody because they indiscriminately slaughtered and terrorised neighboring Muslims.” It is no coincidence that Wahhabism has theologically given birth to a generation of Al-Qaeda ideologues. The point here, demonstrated by this citation analysis, is that Al-Qaeda has not been inspired by traditional Islamic teachings, rather by the creed that Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn `Abd Al-Wahhab drafted. It was only by primarily quoting this creed that Al-
Qaeda ideologues and mentors have claimed legitimacy to their propaganda and narratives.
This link here explains the difference between the genuine Sunni doctrine and the absurdities of the Wahhabi creed: