The original post is available here.
Thanks to Dave for such a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece.
In the Name of Allah, The All-Merciful, The Giver of Mercy
This is a public appeal to Adam Gadahn, an American citizen who has allied himself with al-Qa'ida.
Assalaamu alaykum Adam. I don't know you personally, so please forgive me for talking out of turn. I don't know what you have gone through in life, and how it informs who you are. I have no idea where you are in the world, or if you will ever see this, but I want you to know that I am wishing you well. Only Allah knows each of our ultimate fates, and I wish for you, me, and all human beings that we meet al-Khaliq with a heavy balance of good deeds.
I hope you know, somewhere deep in your heart, that you have strayed in your attempt to follow the way of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace). Instead, you have followed the path of the Khawarij, and in doing so you have exposed yourself to the wrath of al-Muntaqim. In the hadith collection of Ibn Majah, Abu Umama reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace) say, "[The Khawarij] are the worst people killed under the sky, and the best people killed are those whom they kill. They are the dogs of Hell." This was the case even though the Khawarij looked like pious Muslims and did the actions of pious Muslims. Their fatal sin was being so convinced that they were right and that everyone else was wrong, so much so that others deserved to die because they disagreed with them.
Al-Qa'ida are the leaders of the Khawarij of this era, for they spill the blood of innocent people and falsely claim that they are doing so in obedience to Allah. The writings of numerous erudite 'ulama make this clear. Read the fatwa of Shaykh Tahir-ul-Qadri, read the letters that Shaykh Salman al-Oadah sent to Osama bin Laden, listen to the lectures of Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah - this should be enough to convince you that the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and his family and grant them peace) have no place for al-Qa'ida. All I am hoping for you is that you follow the way of Ahl al-Sunna wa'l-Jama'a.
The Commander of the Believers, Ali ibn Abi Talib (may God be well pleased with him) sent Abdullah ibn Abbas (may God be well pleased with him) to the Khawarij, to call them back to the community. A number of them repented, and left the camp of the Khawarij before the Battle of Nahrawan. The door was still open for them, and the door is still open for you. You can renounce your allegiance to al-Qa'ida, and become a great example for Muslims all over the globe struggling to find the right way. If you should experience trials in the process, al-Ghafur will look in mercy to you, just as you have begun to look in mercy towards those you previously wanted to kill. Even if al-Qa'ida kills you before you can turn yourself in, remember that Allah is Arham al-Rahimin. Remember the hadith about the man who repented for having killed 100 people, and died on his way to a place where he would would be safe from such evil. Al-Rahman forgave him, and He can forgive you too.
I too want the maghfira of the Most Merciful, and that is why I am sending you this message. I do not want any more people to die for the sake of an ideology that has nothing to do with the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace). If you should die in the embrace of al-Qa'ida, I want al-Adl to know that I tried, like my inspiration Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be well pleased with him), to reach out to you. Most importantly, I don't want you or me or anyone else to go to Hell.
Perhaps you have experienced first-hand the destruction that the armies of the world have wrought upon this earth, and it makes you hesitate. But the armies of the world are not our teachers - no wrong that they do justifies intending to kill innocent people and tarnishing the reputation of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace) by attributing such evil to his teachings. He said, "a Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe, and the believer is one in whom people place their trust in regard to their life and their wealth." (Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) I hope that one day soon, me and my wife and my shaykhs and my students and all those I love will be safe from you. I hope that all people might one day see you as one whom they would entrust with their lives and their wealth, for having changed course midstream by means of great courage and spiritual insight. What remarkable inspiration you could give to the whole Ummah!
I am very sorry it took me so long to write this message. It took the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki to make me realize that I had a responsibility to you, just as Abdullah ibn Abbas had a responsibility to the Khawarij. I am nothing compared to Hadrat Ibn Abbas (may Allah be well pleased with him), so please forgive me for my inability to represent the way of the Sunnah the way that he did. All I can do is try, and ask al-Wadud for forgiveness.
I will send this out into the electronic world, in hopes that, by al-Khabeer's permission, it will reach you wherever you are. If it does, and you read this, please pray for me. Please ask Allah to save me from the punishment of Jahannam, and to make me someone who lives his life according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace). In the meantime, I will be following your name in the news. Even though I might never find out what happens with you, I will try.
May al-Mu'izz rescue us all from the fitnas of this world, ameen.
David "Dawood" Coolidge