Commenting on the defections in the ranks of Hay’at Tahrir Shaam
What’s happening today in Syria of backtracking and surrender is something very natural in a war or a revolution. Not everyone who stood up against the regime was taking an armed struggle into account. Many of them were forced and had no other choice, if given another choice they would have grabbed it. Some fled, others stayed and fought, some died, some surrendered, etc. Not everyone who took up arms was convinced that this was the solution, while others thought it was a temporary phase which would quickly end with an international intervention similar to the intervention in Libya. Several factions want to leave the armed struggle and prefer political solutions and peace agreements with the regime, Russia and Iran after the war has prolonged for seven years. This is why Hassan Sawfan the current leader of Ahraar Shaam and other factions have expressed their intention of attending the sixth Astana meeting with Russia and Iran.
These people long for a peaceful stable live, thinking that this can come about with meetings and agreements with Russia and the regime, who seek nothing less than their complete surrender. Some of them were so desperate that they even joined or returned into the ranks of regime, we saw this on several fronts. They did not learn from the political experiments in Egypt and Algeria while these regimes were not half as vile as the Syrian regime. But again this heedlessness and defeatism should not surprise us. Our hearts and souls, especially during pressing trails and tribulations, are subjected to constant fluctuation. Even ISIS has defections into the ranks of the regime as some of their soldiers became completely disillusioned by the major losses. This is why we should not think that we are immune for deviance after Allah has guided us, rather we should increase our supplications for direction and guidance. The Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) said “Verily the hearts of the children of Adam, all of them, are between the two fingers of the Merciful as one heart. He directs them wherever he wills.” Then the Prophet said “O Allah, the director of the hearts, direct our hearts to your obedience.” (Sahih Muslim)
You can live as a pious believer your whole life but become a disbeliever right before you die. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) predicted that this fluctuation of Imaan will increase in the End Times, you could wake up as a believer and go to sleep as disbeliever or the other way around. So you could also be a righteous Mujahid one day and become a despicable traitor the next. We heard and read this about the Soviet-Afghan war before witnessing it with our own eyes in Syria. People no matter how much they differ, including Muslims, always become united to a greater or lesser extent when they are facing the same fate. This is why Russia and the regime have eased their bombardments on the liberated territories. While seducing the weak hearted with political solutions, as they incite and make room for internal disputes between the opposing blocks within the opposition, consequentially weakening the opposition as a whole. Which gives the regime the advantage of isolating their assaults and reckoning with them one after the other.
The international powers help the regime as they guide the flock of weak hearted factions and its leaders with the stick of terrorist designation, something they oddly seem to fear more than the bombardment and destruction of their land and people. Despite the treacherous backstabbing international community represented by the UN, who betrayed the Syrian revolution, they still seek to please it, even if it entails the sacrifice of their people and revolution. So in their desperate attempt to distance themselves from the contagiousness of terrorist designation, in addition to the reports about an upcoming military campaign against the regime, and the upcoming political negotiations in Astana, this in combination with their desire to give up arms and live a peaceful life. All of these ingredients form a recipe for the fierce defaming campaign they have cooked against Hay’at Tahrir Shaam; effectually causing several defections in their ranks.
However they are not really defections. Meaning the individuals and factions that defected from Hay’at Tahrir Shaam did not defect from the revolution all together. They did not give up the armed struggle, they simple left a group because of internal disagreements, but they will carry on their armed struggle against the regime on the battlefield. So such a defection should not sadden us that much. They will not leave the battle and sit at home nor will they leave the battle and sit at the table in Astana to sell the Syrian revolution. We are still united because we will fight beside each other in the coming battles; the battlefield is what really unites us. Factions and organizations do not unite us, rather what really unites us is our shared struggle. This is why a defensive Jihaad does not even require a banner. Moreover, it is even allowed to fight under a corrupt banner during a defensive Jihaad. This is for example why Shaykh Sulayman Al-Ulwan allowed Muslims to fight in the Baathist army of Saddam Hussein against the US invasion.
They are not the first who left the merger nor will they be the last. This will not harm the revolution provided they will continue the fight against the regime, independently or with another faction. This is why are not saddened that much and this why the hypocrites are not pleased that much, as it is their goal to defect the people from the armed struggle all together. They want to leave the armed struggle and they want to drag the people with them. There is no doubt that they will deceive a number of people who will follow them, but the revolution will continue with or without them. During the battle of Uhud the hypocrites also succeeded in withdrawing one third of the army from the battle. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) likewise predicted that one third will run away during Al-Malhamah, also known as the Battle of Armageddon. So it is no surprise if a number within the opposition defect from the revolution and the armed resistance.
It is not Shaykh Abdullah Al-Muhaysini, Shaykh Muslih Al-Ulyani, Abu Salih Tahan or Jaysh Al-Ahraar who really defected, for they will continue with the armed struggle against the regime. Rather the hypocrites who will attend Astana are the ones who really defected, for they have turned their backs on the revolution and the Syrian people. They abandoned the armed struggle as they seek political solutions and peace agreements with Russia, Iran and the regime. However this is not enough for them, they want to drag the rest of the armed opposition with them. We did not forget the days in which we used to hear about mass defections in the military ranks of the regime at the beginning of the revolution, unfortunately we will soon witness mass defections in the armed opposition as we near the end of the revolution. For they have become tired of warfare and defeatism has crawled deep into their hearts. Like Thomas Edison said “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
As for Hay’at Tahrir Shaam and its mistakes, any diverse merger-group growing exponentially will have an increased rate of committing mistakes. Those who did not take this in to account before the merger lack a great amount of realistic insight. Making mistakes is not what matters, rather what matters is the willingness to denounce and correct any mistakes. As long as this willingness is present we have hope for such an individual or group. Even Satan had the chance to repent, but instead of asking for forgiveness he asked Allah for an extended live on earth filled with injustice and disobedience. Unlike Adam who made a mistake and hastily asked for forgiveness. Allah answered both their prayers, so we are given the freedom to choose between stubbornness or repentance. The brothers from Hay’at Tahrir Shaam chose repentance, unlike the stubborn Khawarij or the hypocrites who defend their mistakes and adopt them as a policy.
Even the army of the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) made mistakes, the general Khalid ibn Walid for example executed the Banu Jadhimah tribe mistakenly and the Prophet distanced himself from this mistake upon hearing the news. The same goes for the army of Abu Bakr who appointed Fujaa’a during the Wars of Apostasy as he went on a rampage killing innocent Muslims until he was caught. No one left- or advised others to leave their armies, let alone defame their armies day and night because of these mistakes. Because these mistakes were not adopted as policy, rather these individual mistakes were denounced and punished by the leadership.
The hypocrites who keep defaming Hay’at Tahrir Shaam however do not have the goal of them correcting these mistakes. Rather they use these mistakes to sabotage and destroy the merger giving them the chance to impose their corruption and defeatism in the liberated territories. They do not seek to advice Hay’at Tahrir Shaam hoping that they will correct their mistakes, if this was the case we would not have any problem with them exposing and showing these mistakes. But unfortunately this is not the case, they seek to destroy the only strong armed Sunni entity which is actually able to protect the liberated territories, all for their own measly benefits. Of course the local foreign secret services are co-operating with these hypocrites as well, but we will not go in to that for now.
These hypocrites did not dare to talk about the hundreds of innocent civilians killed by Turkey in Al-Baab, they waved these collateral victims away as if they were flies. When Jaysh Al-Islam transgressed against Jaysh Al-Fustaat, Faylaq Rahmaan and other factions including Hay’at Tahrir Shaam, causing the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in besieged Al-Ghoutah, we likewise did not hear anything from them. Rather their eyes can only see the limited mistakes of Hay’at Tahrir Shaam and their fantasy weaves together the rest of the baseless accusations they utter.