In the name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
Salafi Da’wah in 1996: A First-Hand Personal Account.
OASIS (Organisation of Associated Salafi Islamic Societies):
Regardless of Jimas (and its increasingly pro-Qutubi stances), the Salafi du’aat and students started working collectively. We visited the one another and got to know each other better. Our friendships became stronger. The most well-known of that time: Amar Bashir (still Salafi, living in Saudi Arabia), Abu Aliyah Surkhil (now an advocate of Sufism), Abdur-Razaaq San’aanee (presently in Saudi Arabia), Abdul-Haqq Baker (now with Ali al-Halabi), Abu Sufyaan McDowell, Abdur-Raheem Green (now with Yusuf Estes, Zakir Naik, Bilal Philips, etc), Abu Iyaad Amjad Rafiq, Abu Hakeem Bilaal Davis, Ilyaas Kirmani (now an elected representative of the Socialist Respect Party, and works closely with Green Lane Mosque Birmingham), Faisal Malik, Abu Talhah Dawood Burbank (rahimahullaah), and a handful of others.
I remember, myself, visiting Abu Aliyah at his invite and staying with him in spring 1996 over a weekend during which he took me to sit with various brothers in East London to explain to them the deviations of the Qutubiyyeen and Abu Muntasir (since he had a hold in East London amongst some the youth). Abu Hakeem and the brothers were doing similar clarifications in Madinah, whilst Abu Iyaad and Abu Talhah were busy translating important material in the Salafi Manhaj. The effect of these two prolific translators cannot be underestimated, so may Allaah reward them both immensely.
By early May 1996 (maybe even earlier), a group of us started contacting the various Salafi du’aat, with the intent of co-ordinating the da’wah “post-Jimas”, “post-Ali Tamimi”. The response was excellent – there was near consensus. By May 1996, OASIS (Organisation of Associated Salafi Islamic Societies), was established in Manchester by myself, Abu Iyaad, Faisal Malik and one or two others. It was supposed to be an organisation aimed at spreading Salafi Da’wah in universities and Islamic centres across the UK – and as an opposition to the Ikhwaanee group FOSIS. Nearly every Salafi speaker had agreed to participate in forwarding its aims and cooperating with it.
We organised the first OASIS conference in August 1996 with all of the du’aat agreeing to deliver a lecture each. The conference was held over a weekend in August 1996 at the Amanah, Mu’ath Trust in Birmingham. A small group of Salafi brothers and sisters in Birmingham worked tirelessly to organise events over the weekend. Salafis from all around the UK were excited about this event. It was billed as a conference where all the du’aat would be united, upon the truth, free from all the other false ideologies and sects. Well over two thousand attended the event.
In an amazing turn of events (by the Decree of Allaah), that summer, Shaikh Muhammad b. Haadee, Shaikh Abdus-Salaam Burjis (rahimahullaah) and Shaikh Muhammad al-Anjaree decided to visit the UK.
I visited them at the house of our noble Salafi brother Amar Bashir in Leyton. Amar Bashir, Abdur-Razzaaq, myself (and others) made arrangements for them to attend the conference. So now the conference turned into a scholarly gathering, wherein these Scholars would come, speak and clarify the Sunnah and the Methodology of the Salaf. I asked Abu Talhah Dawood Burbank (rahimahullaah) to take the lead in translating, he agreed. Abu Usaamah Khalifah ath-Thahabi (later declared an innovator by Shaikh Ahmad an-Najmee) also agreed to translate. Our brother Abu Ishaaq Nadeem Ahsan-Shah joined them. Remember, at that stage, Suhaib Hasan’s affair was still in the balance, so we invited him also, as well as the [now deviant] Adnan Abdul-Qadir who was also in the UK at the time.
But there is no-doubt the main speakers, Shaikh Muhammad b. Haadee, Shaikh Abdus-Salaam and Shaikh Al-Anjaree altered the face of the Salafi da’wah in the UK, for good! After this event there was no turning back. Possibly, the two most memorable lectures were, “Deviants Sects of the Twentieth Century” by Shaikh Muhammad b. Haadee, and “Who Are The Salafis?” by Shaikh Muhammad al-Anjaree.
During the question and answer sessions, question after question came forward about the Manhaj, Salafiyyah, al-Ikhwaanul-Muslimeen, Aqeedah, Tawheed, and so on. Suhaib Hasan was on stage translating for the Shaikhs. He was getting more and more agitated with the questions and started concealing the questions related to the sects. Shaikh Muhammad b. Haadee spotted him and asked Shaikh al-Anjaree to ask Suhaib Hasan what he was doing. Suhaib Hasan responded that these questions are not relevant and will only cause problems. Shaikh Muhammad b. Haadee informed him that either he puts the questions forward or else he will inform the attendees that Suhaib Hasan is concealing the questions! So the questions were put forward.
For Abu Usamah Khalifah ath-Thahabee this was also an uncomfortable time – the position of the Shaikhs towards the Jam’iyyah Ihyaa Turaath al-Islaamee (Kuwait) was becoming clearer – and because of the fact he was employed by them at the time and was travelling around the UK with them.
That was the first and last time we invited Adnan Abdul-Qadir, Suhaib Hasan, or Abu Usamah to a conference. To us the issue was made crystal clear, Salafiyyah does not allow itself to be polluted by sectarian partisanship (hizbiyyah). Ihyaa Turaath was headed by Abdur-Rahmaan Abdul-Khaaliq, a Qutubee, who called to the multiplicity of parties in Islaam; he praised al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimoon, Jama’at ut-Tableegh and even Hizbut-Tahreer, claiming that they all do well, and they all work in their field of expertise; he reviled the Salafi scholars (such as Imaam Muhammad Ameen Shinqeetee and others); he called to Tawheed al-Haakimiyyah as a fourth independent category of Tawheed. Shaikh Muqbil b. Haadee declared him an innovator, whilst Shaikh Rabee’ authored three or four books in refutation of his ideology. On the other opposing wing of Ihyaa Turaath you had Abdullaah as-Sabt who brought his own brand of partisanship and in-fighting into the Jam’iyyah. So the advice of the Scholars of the time, such as Shaikh al-Albaanee, Shaikh Muqbil, Shaikh Rabee’, Shaikh Muhammad b. Haadee, Shaikh Ahmad an-Najmee, (based upon proofs and evidences) was to stay away from them to avoid being misguided. Abu Usamah till this day supports them and works with its heads.
Shaikh Muhammad b. Haadee recalled the conference in a gathering in Jeddah many years later. Abu Zeiad Khalid Baqais stated:
In a gathering that took in my house in Jeddah (in the month of May 2011) with some brothers from Britain, Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Hadi al-Madkhali recalled an incident with Suhaib Hasan that had taken place in Britain years ago at a lecture in Britain that was given by Shaykh Muhammad bin Hadi in the presence of Suhaib Hasan and Shaykh Muhammad al-Anjari.
A number of questions were put forth for Shaykh Muhammad bin Hadi to answer regarding Ahlul-Bidaý and the Ikhwaan al-Muslimoon (The Islamic Brotherhood) Shaykh Anjari observed that Suhaib Hasan placed those questions all aside and did not pass them on to Shaykh Muhammad bin Hadi to answer. Suhaib Hasan was angered by this questioning (against the Ahlul-Bidaý), Shaykh al-Anjari cautioned Suhaib Hasan not to do this and requested that he (Suhaib Hasan) give the questions to him (Shaykh al-Anjari).
Then Muhammad bin Hadi continued to say, that when Shaykh al-Anjari and I left, Suhaib Hasan appointed himself as the leader of the Salafis and said:
“We do not want those two Shaykhs (Muhammad bin Hadi and al-Anjari) to return here they only bring us problems!”
Shaykh Muhammad bin Hadi mentioned to us that he received a phone call from Shaykh Sa’ad Shua’ir from Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Bin Baz concerning Suhaib Hasan, and Shaykh Muhammad bin Hadi told him that Suhaib Hasan is the greatest liar I know in Britain, then Muhammad bin Hadi went on to mention some points about him and warned against him.
Abu Zeiad Khalid Baqais
Miraath al-Anbiyaa website
Dissolving of OASIS and Beginnings of Salafi Publications:
By the Autumn/Winter of 1996, we had realised that it was probably wiser not to have an organisation that attempts to gather the students and callers under one banner, and thus replicate the mistakes of JIMAS. So myself, Abu Iyaad and Abu Talhah (rahimahullaah) dissolved OASIS; and with the aid and help of a handful of brothers, most notably, Abu Hakeem Bilaal Davis (who was still at the Islamic University of Madinah sending regular material and fatwas of the Scholars), we set up a publishing house for the purpose of spreading Da’wah Salafiyyah through writings, articles, leaflets, books and online work – and we decided from that day that all the proceeds would be used to aid the da’wah. The name we chose was Salafi Publications.
Though every Salafi loved the concept, some were unsure of using the term Salafi so overtly as people may be “turned off” by the word. We, however, felt that it was about time that Salafiyyah was openly propagated without a need to feel shy of the title. Many of the individuals who were there at the inception of Salafi Publications in 1996 are still with us, united and continue to support the efforts of the da’wah and I can say (from my opinion), they remained true to Salafiyyah throughout, may Allaah preserve them. These brothers have not ceased aiding the da’wah, and all praise is due to Allaah. To name those brothers and sisters and their immense contribution to the da’wah would make this article very lengthy!
The work of Salafi Publications began in the front room of my home: typing, emailing, copying audio tapes, photocopying articles, etc – the internet/website work was carried forward by Amjad Rafiq; translations by both Abu Iyaad Amjad Rafiq and Abu Talhah Dawood Burbank; connection to the scholars in Madinah through Abu Hakeem Bilaal. Some of us also had regulars circles around the country, spreading the da’wah. Abu Hakeem would spend his Summer vacation period teaching books of Salafiyyah in the UK.
We had no Masjid, no office, no Islamic centre, but we persevered, and all praise is due to Allaah, both brothers and sisters. It was an excellent group of brothers (and sisters), most of whom remain united till this day: Abu Fudayl Abdur-Raqeeb, Abu Junaide Yusuf, Abul-Hasan Amjad, Abu Hammaad, Abu Abdillaah Bilaal, Abu Tayyib, and others, may Allaah preserve and protect our unity upon Salafiyyah.
It is not possible to say that the great strength of Salafiyyah we witness today was due to the efforts of any single individual, rather [after Allaah’s Bounty and Mercy upon us], it must be said that a body of close friends sharing a united Creed, coupled with a desire to spread the Truth came to together at a unique moment in history, as willed by Allaah, and the da’wah flourished, and all praise is due to Allaah.
Salafi Publications was aided by individuals all over the United Kingdom, and beyond. It was fresh, vibrant, dynamic, spreading the truth upon clarity, boldly not fearing the blame of the blamers, overtly Salafi – the scholars supported and aided its efforts.
Return of Shaikh al-Anjaree in December 1996:
In this month Shaikh Muhammad al-Anjaree returned to Birmingham. This, I can say, really solidified what was started months earlier at the OASIS conference. He gave several classes a day in Birmingham that were attended by a group of brothers. The Shaikh travelled to London also to deliver a handful of classes organised by Amar Bashir. Whilst he was there, he sat and advised Abu Aliyah and his companions, but to no avail.
In his classes he spoke of the importance of the Salafi ‘aqeedah and manhaj with a strong emphasis on the writings of Imaam Ahmad b. Hanbal and Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahumallaah). The Salafis in Birmingham took to him immediately and his charismatic style was inspiring to many of us. Shaikh Muhammad al-Anjaree continues to visit Birmingham regularly and has seen it grow from a body of a dozen or so to thousands. May Allaah reward him for lighting that spark of desire for Salafiyyah.