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{On the Day (of Resurrection) some faces will be brightened, and some faces will be blackened} [Al Imran; 106] He said: Those whose faces will be brightened are Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamaah. As for those whose faces will be blackened, then they are the people of innovation and misguidance (Ahl Al-Bida wa Al-Dhalalah).

Abu Daawood and at-Tirmithee reported on the authority of 'Irbaadh bin Saariyah that Allah's Messenger (salallaahu 'alayhi wassallam) said: "Whoever of you lives (after me) shall see much difference of opinion; so adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs after me; bite on to it with your molar teeth; and beware of innovations, for every innovation is misguidance."

Al Sunna Wal Jamma

Al Sunna Wal Jamma -- Arabic for "followers of Mohammed's teachings" -- is a pretty snappy name for a Muslim militant outfit, which has been used by two apparently underelated outfits in Nigeria and Somalia. The phrase "Ahl al-Sunna wa'al Jamma" is also used generally to describe the orthodox Islamic beliefs that Muslims have been adhering to for over a thousand years, consisting of all the scholars of the 4 madhahib (Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki, and Hanbali). The first time the term was used was during the Rule of the Abbasid kalif, Mansoor.

Al Sunna Wal Jamma - Nigeria

Al Sunna Wal Jamma in Nigeria was an Islamic movement of university students fighting to create a Taliban-style Muslim state in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation. Since 2002 the group campaigned for an Islamic state and publicly criticized officials it saw as lax in implementing Islamic law. The movement enjoyed a following among university students in Maiduguri, the main city in northeastern Nigeria.

The "strangers" first set up camp in the outskirts of the small town near the Niger border in 2003. They would come into town to preach to the people about how to attain Islamic purity. However, the incomers showed a lack of respect for local traditions, especially property rights, and this led to growing friction with the local population. The young militants farmed anywhere and fished in fishponds on the bank of the Yobe River owned by particular families. They dismissed the complaints of local people by saying that "everything belongs to Allah".

Nigerian officials reported on 03 January 2004 that the government had put down an armed uprising after running battles that killed at least eight people. Two police officers and at least six of the militants died in five days of clashes in three towns in predominantly Islamic Yobe state, including the capital, Damaturu. Violence started on 31 December 2003, when roughly 200 militants attacked two police stations in Geidam and Kanamma, killing a policeman. The Al Sunna Wal Jama group attacked the police stations in Kanamma and nearby Geidam, killing two policemen. They stripped the buildings of guns and ammunition and burned them to the ground. The group then retreated to a primary school in Kanamma where they hoisted the flag of Afghanistan, spoiling for more violence.

Following this initial confrontation with the security forces in Kanamma on 31 December 2003, the militants attacked three police stations in the Yobe state capital Damaturu and set fire to a government building there. A further battle with the security forces took place on the outskirts of Maiduguri, 135 km east of Damaturu, the following day.

Nigerian army spokesman Colonel Chukwuemeka Onwuamaegbu, said troops were sent to tackle the militants in when it became clear they were "getting a bit too much for the police to handle". At least 18 people were killed during a fortnight of clashes. Most were Islamic militants, but three policemen and one member of a vigilante group on the Cameroonian border were also shot dead. Many of the estimated 200 members of the sect were in custody and others in are in flight.

The militants are self-professed admirers of the Taliban in Afghanistan. They flew flags bearing the word "Afghanistan" during their brief occupation of Kanamma. The apparently extensive network of cells recruited members from places as varied as Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, Lagos, in the southwest, and neighbouring Niger.

The attacks marked the first time the movement had been known to take up arms. This was the first armed push for an Islamic regime in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north since 12 states in the region - including Yobe - began adopting the Islamic Shariah legal code in 1999. At least 10,000 people fled their homes in northeastern Nigeria over the two weeks following clashes in the region between the security forces and armed Islamic militants.

This outfit seems to have petered out, and has not been heard from lately.

Al Sunna Wal Jamma - Somalia

In Somali history, the causes of armed conflicts among Somalis had always been over land ownership, livestock, farming land, and most of the time over scarce resources such as drinking water and grazing land. Such conflicts have never had a religious dimension. Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama (ASWJ) formed in 1991 to protect Sufi Muslims in Somalia. They chew khat or Qat, which is a certain type of green leaves that is considered to be a stimulant drug.

Ahlu Sunna Waljamaa mainly operates in Galgaduud and Gedo regions and this led many Somalis to assume that this group has clan ambitions. Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa had a close cooperation with a number of Somali warlords who hail from these two regions such as Barre Hiiraale, Goobaale, Seeraar, to name few.

Because of the groups close relationship with Ethiopia, they handed over a number of innocent people to Ethiopia, accusing them to be members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) that are fighting against Addis Ababa regime.

Since the first week of November 2008, Somalias hard line Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, engaged in fierce fighting with a rival armed group, known as Ahlu-Sunna wal-Jama (ASWJ). The ASWJ, a Sufi group, reacted violently after al-Shabab challenged their form of worship and assassinated approximately 40 prominent personalities who had questioned the way they were ruling the region.

Sufism has been in Somalias religious landscape since Islam first came to sub-Saharan Africa centuries ago. Organized Sufi groups in Somalia have rarely been involved in politics, except for the anti-colonial wars of the 19th century where they played a major role. In modern Somalia, Sufi religious organizationssuch as the ASWJhave been most active carrying out religious affairs within their communities.

Only in mid-2008 did the ASWJ begin to constitute as a fighting force. In terms of numbers, ASWJ could call on more armed fighters than al-Shabab, but they were not as disciplined or well-trained. ASWJ cooperates with Somalias Transitional Federal Government (TFG), with which it signed a power-sharing agreement in 2010. On April 27, 2011, together with the TFG, ASWJ launched a surprise attack on Al Shabaab in the village of Tulo Barqaqo. ASWJ seized a large amount of Al Shabaab's weapons, including assault rifles, pistols, and explosive devices. (20 killed, unknown wounded).

After a fierce battle between Alshabab and Ahlu Sunna Waljamaa in Dhusamareb in March 2012, ASWJs fighters dragging many corpses of Alshabab fighters in the dusty streets of Dhusamareb. These corpses were left at the city centre to rot.

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Page last modified: 23-02-2017 17:47:59 ZULU