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Murabitun World Movement

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Murabitun World Movement

The Murabitun World Movement is an Islamic movement founded by its current leader, Abdalqadir as-Sufi (born as Ian Dallas), with communities in countries all over the world. Its heartland is Spain.[1] The number of its followers may amount, according to one estimate, to around 10,000.[2]

The movement's objectives include the restoration of Zakat, Da’wa and the practice of bayat (allegiance) to an amir. It considers itself a tariqa in the Darqawi-Shadhili-Qadiri Tariqa tradition.


The name Murabitun derives from the Almoravid dynasty. The founder of the Murabitun World Movement is Abdalqadir as-Sufi (a convert to Islam born Ian Dallas in Ayr, Scotland, in 1930). He met his first Shaykh, Muhammad ibn al-Habib in Meknes around 1968, and was made a muqaddem and given the title “As-Sufi”. Ibn al-Habib said to him, “You can stay here with me, and something might happen. But go to England and see what will happen,”[3] and so he went to London and gathered a group of new British Muslims, returning to Morocco in 1970. The Murabitun World Movement founded a learning centre in Bristol Gardens, London, in 1972, and another centre in Berkeley, California.

The leader of the movement, Abdalqadir as-Sufi, has travelled in Europe and America, held talks, and published works such as The Way of Muhammad[4] and Islam Journal proposing that Islam could be understood, and entered, as the "completion of the Western intellectual and spiritual tradition".[4] He also initiated translations into English of classical texts on Islamic law and Sufism, including The Muwatta of Imam Malik[5] and the letters of Darqawi, published as The Darqawi Way.

In 1982 Abdalqadir as-Sufi held a series of talks in America which were to become the basis of his work, Root Islamic Education.[6] He held the position that the practice of Sufism led by necessity to a full working commitment to the establishment of the social practices and structures of Islam. This period saw the emergence of communities in Malaysia, South Africa, Denmark, and the growth of its community in Spain.

After periods in Spain and Scotland, Abdalqadir as-Sufi moved to Cape Town, South Africa, in 2002, from where he leads the Murabitun movement.


Position on zakat

The political and social work of the Murabitun centres around the restoration of the “fallen pillar”[7] of zakat, which, it is claimed, has been abandoned on several primary counts.


  1. that it must be taken by an amir[8]
  2. that if it consists of money it must be taken in gold and/or silver[9]
  3. that it must be disbursed immediately.

As their authority for this position the Murabitun cite a wide range of sources, beginning with the Qur'anic injunction to take zakat,[10] the Prophetic practice of zakat-taking, the well-known position of the Khalif Abu Bakr as-Siddiq,[11] and the established practice among the world Muslim community which was until relatively recently the assessment and collection of zakat by the Leader and his collectors.

This they place in contradistinction to the currently prevailing practices of voluntary self-assessment, donation to the zakat charity of one’s choice, and the placement of zakat donations into interim or even long-term investment funds. This, they argue, destroys the political cohesion of the Muslim community, which is based primarily on the circulation of wealth along divinely revealed lines.[12] They also condemn zakat investment funds as un-Islamic.

Shari‘ah currency

They previously connected their position on zakat with promotion of the Islamic gold dinar and silver dirham, which was developed above all by the scholar Umar Ibrahim Vadillo. Paper money, since actually a promise of payment written on paper, can from the point of view of zakat only be considered in terms of its value as paper,[9] since zakat cannot be discharged by passing on a token of debt owed to a third party. Vadillo has written extensively[13] on the origins of paper money and the Islamic position on money.

The Murabitun traced the bi-metallic currency back to the Messenger Muhammad and the first Muslim community; its specific weights and purities were formally recorded by ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab.[14][15] They also cited the dinar’s mention in the Qur'an,[16] its use in the universally accepted fiqh to define the terms of zakat, and its mention as currency throughout the entire body of Islamic fiqh. In February 2014, however, Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi distanced himself from the dinar and dirham movement, saying, "So, I now dis-associate myself from all activity involving the Islamic gold dinar and silver dirham". [17]

Amirate, sultaniyya and caliphate

Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi gathered with the Amirs and members of the Murabitun in South Africa

The Murabitun advocate personal rule as the Islamic and indeed natural form of human governance,[18][19] taking authority for this position from extensive Qur'anic references,[20] the Sunna of the Prophet himself, extensive Hadith, the consensus of the scholars,[21] and the practice of all the subsequent caliphs, sultans and amirs of every significant Muslim society until the cessation of effective Ottoman sultaniyya in 1909.

Muslims from Mexico during the Hajj in 2002
A young man recites the Shahada in the Soweto Mosque

‘Amal Ahl al-Madinah

Abdalqadir as-Sufi became a Muslim in Morocco, and this has been misinterpreted as the reason for his promotion of the school of jurisprudence of Imam Malik. His advocacy of Malik’s school of Madinah is explained at length in his work Root Islamic Education, in which he argues that the record left by Malik – as the inheritor of the lived social reality of the first three generations of Muslims in the city of the Prophet (as opposed to the other schools, which were formulated in other places), and as the first formulator of Islamic law – is necessarily by far the closest to the complete Islamic blueprint required for the revival of Islam. The Murabitun do not, however, in any way dispute the validity of the other legal schools,[22] nor is adherence to or advocacy of the madhhab of Malik a condition of membership of the Murabitun.

Islamic trading and social welfare

The Murabitun advocate a revival of the forms of trading and social welfare practiced during the first generations of Muslims and for most of the history of Islam, proposing that these are the natural modes of human activity and rejecting the dialectical categorisation of “ancient” or “modern”, a set of opposites whose application to Islam they consider irrelevant and misleading.[23]

These models have been formulated in detail and include awqaf[12] for the funding of social welfare institutions, mosques and other public facilities; markets governed by rules such as the prohibition of charging rent for market-space; guilds as the natural form of professional organisation; and caravans, representing the movement of goods from point of purchase to point of sale as opposed to monopoly distribution.

Umar Ibrahim Vadillo has been instrumental in formulating these modules in terms of the modern technological world.

Position against terrorism

Abdalqadir as-Sufi has consistently identified terrorism and suicide tactics as forbidden in and alien to Islam, and indeed as a phenomenon with no precursor in Muslim history. Instead, he states that its original appearance as a tactic and a psychology was among the Isma‘ili sect of Shi‘a Islam, and that it later emerged among the Russian nihilists of the late 19th century.[24] The Murabitun have also consistently separated themselves from the personnel and ideology of terrorism.

Organizational form

The Jumua Mosque of Cape Town, established by Abdalqadir as-Sufi and members of the Murabitun

The Murabitun advocate bayat (allegiance) to amirs and leaders among the Muslims in general, arguing that this is and always has been the mainstay of Islamic political organisation. Accordingly they also organise themselves around amirs. This is distinct from the role of the movement’s founder, Abdalqadir as-Sufi, who, while exercising an undoubted influence, is a spiritual guide rather than a political leader – an arrangement common throughout the history of Islam.[25][26]

There are no formalised rules of membership or affiliation to the Murabitun; rather, the movement consists of individuals and groupings seen as actively working towards the Murabitun’s aims while acknowledging affiliation. As such it is not a political party with official membership or a fixed programme or even ideology.


  1. ^ Ulrika Martensson, Jennifer Bailey, Priscilla Ringrose, Asbjorn Dyrendal, Fundamentalism in the Modern World Vol 2:Fundamentalism and Communication: Culture, Media and the Public Sphere, ed. I.B.Tauris, 2011, p. 113
  2. ^ Oscar Perez Ventura, Movimientos Islamistas en Espana: el Movimiento Munidal Murabitun, conversos al Islam en Al-Andalus, Instituto Espanol de Estudios Estrategos, 2012, p. 8
  3. ^ From “The new Murabitun” by Umar Ibrahim Vadillo, Yildiz Productions, 1999
  4. ^ a b The Way of Muhammad
  5. ^ The Muwatta of Imam Malik
  6. ^ Root Islamic Education
  7. ^ Bewley, Abdalhaqq, Zakat: raising a fallen pillar, Black Stone Press, UK, 2001
  8. ^ For example: "The zakat is fard and one of the fundamental matters of Islam, such that whoever denies that it is obligatory is a kafir." And "It is obligatory to pay zakat to the amir (Imam) if he is just. If he is not just and it is impossible to divert it from him, then one pays it to him and that discharges one's duty, but if it is possible to divert it from him then the person paying it should pay it to those who can validly receive it but it is recommended that one not undertake to pay it directly oneself for fear of praise." Al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyya, Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi
  9. ^ a b For example: Al-Fath al-‘Aliyy al-Malik fi al-Fatawi ‘ala Madhhab Malik, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Illish, Al-Azhar
  10. ^ “Take zakat from their wealth” Surat Tawba 9:103
  11. ^ "Fight them if they retain only a hobbling-rope of what was collected before." Al-Bukhari in his Sahih in the Book of Zakat, in the chapter on the obligatory nature of zakat.
  12. ^ a b Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, Sultaniyya, Madinah Press 2001
  13. ^ A fatwa on banking in Islam by Umar Ibrahim Vadillo is available here, Fatwa on Banking
  14. ^ At-Taratib al-Idariyya, Shaykh al-Kattaani
  15. ^ Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam reported that he heard the Muhammed say: "A time is certainly coming over mankind in which there will be nothing [left] which will be of use save a dinar and a dirham." (The Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal)
  16. ^ “But there are others among them who, if you entrust them with just a single dinar, will not return it to you.” Surat Al‘Imran 3:74
  17. ^ "THE ISLAMIC DINAR – A WAY-STAGE PASSED" Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi [1]
  18. ^ Sultaniyya is a modern statement on leadership in Islam. Abdalqadir surveys Islam under the chapter headings Deen, Dawla (polity), Waqf, Trade, the Sultan — personal rule — and Tasawwuf. (Madinah Press, Cape Town, 2002, OCLC: 50875888)
  19. ^ Sultaniyya
  20. ^ Surat An-Nisa 4:58
  21. ^ Jawharat at-Tawhid, Al-Laqqani, with Commentary by Al-Bayjuri, and Al-Aqida an-Nasafiyya, with Commentary by At-Taftazani
  22. ^ Discourse on the Four Madh'habs by Abdalhaqq Bewley
  23. ^ Ian Dallas, The Time of the Bedouin, Budgate Press 2006
  24. ^ Fatwa on Suicide as a Tactic, Madinah Press 2004.
  25. ^ The Ottoman Empire 1300-1600 by Halil Inalcik, Orion, 2000, ISBN 1-84212-442-0
  26. ^ Abdallah ibn Yasin

Further reading

  • Website of Abdalqadir as-Sufi
  • The Noble Qur'an: a rendering of its meaning in English. Abdalhaqq and Aisha Bewley, (Bookwork, Norwich, UK, ISBN 1-874216-36-3)
  • The Way of Muhammad (Diwan Press, 1975, ASIN: B0000D74TC)
  • The Muwatta of Imam Malik translated by Aisha Bewley and Ya'qub Johnson, (Bookwork, Norwich, UK, 2001, ISBN 0-906512-17-4, ISBN 0-7103-0361-0)
  • The Letters of Shaykh Moulay Muhammad al-Arabi al-Darqawi (published as The Darqawi Way) translated by Aisha Bewley (Diwan Press Norwich, UK, 1980, ISBN 0-906512-06-9)
  • Root Islamic Education, written on the school of the people of Madinah under the leadership of Imam Malik (Madina Press, June 1993, ISBN 1-874216-05-3)

External links

  • Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi's Official Website
  • The Dallas Foundation
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