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 - Taliban Facts

    Afghan Journey: A Personal Account

    Assalamu Aleikum wa rahmat'Allah, brother can you please give us your full name and kunya.
    Bismillah, My name is Ibrahim El-Hindy and my kunya is Ibn El-Sheikh

    Can you tell us something of your background and where you grew up?
    My parents are originally Egyptian, I however was born in England. Most of my childhood was in England but I moved to Canada and spent time there, as well.

    Jazak'Allahu khairun for consenting to this interview for, regarding the situation of women in Afghanistan, as peoples' perception of this issue is normally based upon second hand unsubstantiated accounts, or worse -direct narration's from the disbeliever's and enemies of Islam who have no interest in seeing accurate accounts spread. Firstly, can you please tell us how long you spent in Afghanistan, and when your trip was?
    My trip was approx. a year ago. I spent about 6 months in and around Afghanistan.

    What was the purpose of your trip, and did you accomplish that aim?
    Originally I planned on doing some refugee work, however my trip quickly turned into a fact-finding mission as I explored pretty much everywhere in Afghanistan even the extremely dangerous areas.

    Are your accounts and observation based on just staying in one city or did you visit various areas of Afghanistan? If more than one, can you tell us which one and briefly describe them?
    The cities I visited where many, Alhamdulillah. I visited the Capital Kabul, Jalalabad, Logar, Kanduz, Mazar-I-Sharif, and Qandahar. Most of the cities are mountainous except for Qandahar which is like a desert. Cities like Kabul though are beautiful. If it wasn't for the destruction from war, it would probably be one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

    Which area did you think was the best and why?
    Alhamdulillah, I visited many cities, but the city I really took heart with was Qandahar. There is a feeling of peace and tranquility in this city. People are always willing to greet you with a smile. Complete strangers will invite you into their houses for dinner. It is by far the friendliest city I have ever entered (Alhamdullilah, I have entered many cities).

    Did you see many kuffar in Afghanistan?
    There are some Shee'ah, however they are manly concentrated in the province of Bamiyan. Other than that, no, I didn't see many kuffar.

    What about Muslim women, the kuffar claim the women are not allowed to go anywhere without a guardian? Is this what you saw or is it related just to the Islamic guidelines from the Messenger of Allah [Sall'Allahu aleihi wa salam] about traveling for believing women such as from city to city?
    The Taliban policy on women traveling, is that they cannot travel from city to city without a mahrem. However, the media's claim that women cannot leave their house without a mahrem, is another one the half-truths the media tries to make us believe. When the Taliban began conquering cities, they imposed a law onto women, not allowing them to leave their house without a mahrem. The reason for this, is that before the arrival of the Taliban, rape was very commonly executed by war-lords. This law was made to protect women until the entire city and its surroundings where conquered. Currently, in cities such Kabul for example, which have been conquered, there are many women shopping.

    What about foreign muslimahs from other lands whose families have made hijrah can they move about freely, such as shopping in the city if necessary?
    In cities, which are safe, women may move freely in the city.

    What kind of activities and things are available for these sisters from families who have made hijrah?
    Our sisters who have made hijrah, organize some activities such as halaqas and so on. Alhamdulillah, there is a very large muhajir community which is growing by the minute.

    What about bookstores and libraries are they available there?
    Unfortunately, I didn't visit the city of Khost, where there is a bookstore with many books in different languages. However, there are many libraries with many books, but they are in Arabic.

    What goods are available and not available in the markets within the cities?
    Life in Afghanistan, is very difficult, but as Allah says in the Quran {Those who believe, and emigrate and strive with might and main, in Allah's cause, with their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of Allah: They are the people who will achieve (salvation)} Most goods are available but the cost will be very high.

    In general how much did it cost for those foreign living there in monthly expenses?

    For those who chose to live simply and modestly? Alhamdulillah, expenses in Afghanistan are very cheap. For example the most luxurious, newly built apartments can be rented at $75.00 a month or $0 a month for a cheaper apartment. A brand new 4X4 will cost you about $15,000 but a used car will set you back a couple of hundred dollars.

    [Note: The $0 dollar amount is indeed correct, as the brother clarified that when they are available the Islamic authority distributes free living quarters which were abandoned by there original owners who migrated to other lands during the onset of the war.]

    Did you find animosity from Afghanis towards those Muslims from other lands that have made hijrah? As some claim that anyone who doesn't follow the prevalent madhhab in Afghanistan will have difficulties? Where as many converts in western countries adhere to the methodology of the Salaf as-Salih? From your experience how would they be received?

    In this particular time on earth, ignorance is wide-spread. Alhamdulillah, the Taliban understand differences in madhhabs. Many Shariah institutes teaching madhhabs other than the Hanafi madhhab are supported by the Taliban. However, many Afghan have the perception that the Hanafi madhhab is right and everything else is wrong. A brother once told me a story about how once he and some friends arrived late for maghrib prayer. They then began praying together. Everyone in the mosque began staring at the way they where praying, so the Imam picked up the microphone and, in pushto, told the people in the mosque that our brothers where praying according to a different school of thought and that it was okay.

    Did you see the implementation of the criminal the punishments prescribed in the Book and The authentic Sunnah implemented during your time there?

    Yes. I witnessed hudood applied many times. I saw two executions of murderers, which were both carried out by knife to throat. The family of the victim were allowed to carry out the execution, as prescribed in the sunnah, which they did so.

    The Islamic Government through its primary spokesman Brother Mutawwakil- has stated on more than one occasion that its aim is not to raise the banner of jihad and spread jihad beyond its borders- but to rebuild the country based upon Islamic principles, what have you seen of the rebuilding of the country and the spread of Islamic knowledge?

    Everyone knows that Afghanistan is sanctioned and so there is very little money available for the Taliban to use to re-build the country. Many bridges and building are destroyed and need to be rebuilt. In Kabul I saw many large Shari'ah institutes with teachers from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt and many other countries. The absence of Shari'ah from our countries has caused people to lose knowledge of our religion but Insha'Allah that will soon change.

    Lastly, what advice do you have for our sisters who hear misinformation regarding the Muslim women of Afghanistan, and the kuffar seem to be using this as a weapon again Islam in general, and Muslim women in particular to separate them from their deen?

    My advice is two things: Make hijrah for the sake of Allah and leave these countries of kufr, and always remember that the Kuffar will not rest until you join their religion.

    Jazak'Allahu khairun, Assalamu aleikum wa rahmat'Allahi wa barakatuhu.
    Wa iyak ya Akhi

    [Source] Personal interview regarding recent travels in Afghanistan
    [Interview Subject] Ibrahim El-Hindi
    [interviewer] Abu Sukhailah

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