When the Asscoiation of Muslim Scholars in Iraq received news of the passing away of its Secretary General, the Mujahid Shaikh and scholar of theology, Dr. Harith Sulaiman Al – Dhari, the event required us to formulate a statement announcing his death, as members of the Association, and when it became my turn to make my statement, I stood for a few moments incapable of writing anything, not because I was physically incapable or because I was unable to express myself, but because of a sea of outstanding exploits and virtues, a fragrant and munificent life filled with scholarship, religious advocacy and jihad and with fighting injustice, and what struck me at the time was : where do I start, what should I mention, and what should I recount and what could I skip …..
In one of the Arabic newspapers an honourable brother eulogized our venerable Shaikh :” one of the most difficult subjects to write about is to write about a man of great stature, a leader and a commander all at the same time; that you would not be doing him justice, just as one cannot differentiate between love and affection, to admire a personality of a stature such as his, to the extent that the recipient may think that you are favouring “love” at the expense of reality and facts, a few lines cannot do justice to the stature of such as Shaikh Harith Al – Dhari,” and I say to this honourable brother: “You have spoken the truth. I am like you, today; I find myself in the same situation, quite embarrassed because I will not be able to do justice to our late Shaikh in a few moments through a few words on this occasion…..”
God have mercy on our venerable Shaikh who will be justly rewarded for all his achievements, and may he rest in peace in the great heavens, and may God put him in the company of the prophets, martyrs, and the righteous in suitable companionship.
I was very close to him and shared with him a great many crises and grave events, accompanying him on most of his meetings with rulers, presidents and kings, and saw in him such modesty, pride and nobility, toughness of attitude and wisdom, faith in the cause, reliance and trust in God while facing adversity and difficulties, I have never seen in anyone else….
I recall an incident I will never forget, at the time the decision to boycott the first elections was made by AMSI as well as by the anti-occupation forces, movements and parties, and all that followed as a result of the decision of some political parties a few days later making the same decision. People were surprised by the occupation’s project and plans as well as by its government’s policies in targeting a particular component by murder, torture, and exclusion; they became very pessimistic and began blaming the parties that were saying that claimed representation of the people, so these parties could not find an escape from people’s blame and reproach but to hang their failure on and falling back on the boycott decision despite the fact that they also boycotted the elections and presumably they were a partner in that decision and thus responsible; however, they managed to absent the truth from the public with their use of their media outlets and the other means that were available to them and disclaim all responsibility while loading the responsibility for the boycott decision on AMSI, attributing all causes of injustice suffered by our people in the North and the Middle regions at the hands of the occupation government to our institution, alleging that AMSI’s boycott of these elections was the first and last for all this suffering, and that they as political parties are innocent of the responsibility for the bloodshed just as they were innocent of shedding Joseph’s blood, (PBU).
I recall that at the climax of that situation our members suffered great embarrassment when the people’s blame was conveyed to them to the extent that we felt that the world was closing in on us, and this is where the Deceased’s wisdom and toughness came into play, as well as his precise and minute reading of the future, and before and after any of this his trust and confidence in God.
On one of those nights I met him alone and discussed the problem with him and the seriousness of the events we were going through, so he said: Dr. Mohammed, this is intentional misleading by these entities to camouflage their failures, and this policy of murder, detentions, torture and exclusion is programmed and will not decrease and is in no way related to the decision to boycott because it will increase exponentially in the coming days even if everyone including the children were to vote, and people will soon discover that the cause and the trouble is in the political process and not in the boycott; however, the boycott is better than participation in the elections because the boycott will expose the criminal to the whole world without any cover but participation will allow the criminal to commit the crime, kill, detain and ethnically and sectarianly cleanse in the name of the law on the basis that he represents an elected government that represents everybody.
Dr. Mohammed, this is the important fact, however they try to hide it and this is the right that we should never abandon whatever the circumstances ……
Dr. Mohammed, if all the people were to abandon this right and only you and I stood by it on our own, we should never weaken or retreat because right never becomes obsolete and false, and because people will discover this for themselves in the future and will remember that they have lost a great deal when they did not listen to our advice ….. “, but regrettably, he said it - with bitterness – “this will happen after the people would have paid a heavy price”……
And this is what happened; today, Iraqis realize that they were deceived and that they were victims of a project based on targeting them and liquidating them, impoverishing them and plundering their wealth and their money as well as of the destruction of their culture and civilization….
Ironically, many of the participants in the political process met the deceased here or visited him on his sick bed in Istanbul, or participated in paying their condolences here, have told us “all your assessments of the political process that you made public were true and that you never made any mistakes.”
My respected brothers, our revered Shaikh was known amongst the world’s statesmen for his 5 NOs that were: NO to the Occupation of Iraq; NO to the political process and its constitution that is based on sectarian and ethnic quotas; NO to the partition of Iraq; NO to chipping at Iraq’s Arab and Muslim identity; and NO to the usurpation of Iraq’s wealth and riches.
By God, I ask you to review the causes of the injustice that you are living, the bitterness that you are experiencing every day, the blood that you are hemorrhaging everywhere in Iraq, the moneys and wealth that is being plundered from you in broad daylight, isn’t it all because of those who do not fear God and have no mercy for us, who have exchanged these 5 NOs with Yes…. So they have said instead of the Deceased’s NOs: Yes to the occupation; Yes to the political process and its constitution; Yes to the sectarian and ethnic quotas and to the partition of Iraq; Yes to chipping at Iraq’s Arab and Muslim identity; and Yes to usurping Iraq’s wealth and riches ……
The Deceased, through AMSI, proposed the solution at the beginning of the occupation in an inclusive project, in which all the people of Iraq are equal whatever their different constituents and ethnicities, sharing together in Iraq’s wealth and enjoying the shade of its coolness; establishing a state that is a paradise for its nationals in the establishment of justice and a standard of fairness; a model of civil peace and peaceful coexistence; this, not being new to Iraqis for this has been their state and reality for thousands of years, not to say hundreds, for they are the owners of the Mesopotamian civilization.
God have mercy upon him, he also warned of the dangers of departing from the inclusive project and of surrendering to the occupation’s project and its political processes, because this would open hell’s gates for Iraqis, because it would inevitably allow for the emergence of sectarian and ethnic sub-identities, and because Iraqis will find themselves involved in internal divisions and sectarian wars that have those who inflame them whenever they are about to be put out and who pour oil on them whenever they are cooling down…
The Deceased and his companions were not mistaken in their assessment, for look at the state of Iraq now: Iraqis themselves steal and plunder their country and transfer what they have stolen to money deposited in banks in foreign countries hostile to Iraq that plot evil against it while benefitting from this wealth and inflicting further harm to Iraq and its people ….. Iraqis shed each other’s blood while being backed by this nation or the other …. This person says ‘oh for the vengeance of this person or clan’ and the other says ‘oh for the vengeance of this person or clan’ and others say the same for other persons and clans thus continuing in a downward spiral unless we put an end to it, it will continue for tens of years if not more, and will burn the living and the dead and revert with us to the era of ignorance (the First Jahiliya) when the Bassous war and similar wars took place.
My Brothers, if the Man has died, this is God’s Law for his creation, but the project that he had adopted has not, and it is our last choice, let’s make the decision to start with it, and don’t say that the great powers will not allow it; for the will of nations when available is the greater; God promised to champion the oppressed and has never promised to champion the oppressor and trust me, the day we are all united and together, nations will be forced to offer us support, and others will voluntarily join them, particularly Arab and Islamic nations, that want Iraq to come back, but are waiting for the appropriate opportunity, one of which most of you in whose safe shades you live, today, our sister, Jordan.
Allow me to close at this point, by offering my thanks and gratitude to all the sister Arab countries that have joined us in our grief by sending their representatives and their letters of condolence, as well as our gratitude and thanks to Jordan, nation and King, who opened for Iraqis and other Arabs whose countries were suffering; stretched their open arms magnanimously despite the lack of resources and the difficult conditions it is experiencing, the ultimate in generosity; and allow me also to mention Jordan’s noble Arab tribes, whose leaderships and Shaikhs throughout Jordan and from all shades have joined us in our grief and condolence.
The same thanks to the honourable Brothers, Scholars, and Personalities that have come from several Arab nations to join us in our grief, praying that God will return them safely back to their countries and to those who are excused and were prevented from coming who sent us their letters of condolence and sympathy, to them all our thanks and appreciation.
In addition, please allow me to offer our great thanks scented with love and affection to you the sons of our country from the myriad colours and constituents from venerable scholars, men of religion, tribal shaikhs, military commanders, elites, competencies and politicians ….. It has truly pleased us that this place has gathered you all; and what has pleased us more is that you were from all colours and shades, Shia’a and Sunna, Arabs and Kurds, Muslims and Christians and others, you were truly a wonderful and expressive mosaic of the inclusive Iraqi Project.
Dear Brothers and Loved Ones, we will not forget your support on a day such as this, as well as your feelings while presenting your words of consolation with great love and support for us.
Allow me finally to thank all the media outlets and our brothers who supported us who we know, and who we do not know, on all the social networks especially Twitter, including scholars, elites and politicians, in all social strata, including women, men and youth, and even children, our thanks from the depths of our hearts for their condolences and their stance, I ask God to grant them soundness and success.
Finally, in my name and in the name of my brethren in the Association of Muslim Brothers and particularly in the names of the members of the General Secretariat, I would like to assure you that AMSI will remain on the straight route with the same enthusiasm, and God willing, will soon remedy the vacuum that has been caused by the absence of our loss and our teacher, Shaikh Harith Al – Dhari, especially since the man built his work in the organization on the basis of the Shura system, and institutional operation, far from unilateralism in decision making, that will allow us to succeed in the task and continue the path.