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Two Swords and a Palm Tree

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Shaykh Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi.

Thirty years ago, I was studying in a co-educational university, where in addition to the male teachers, there were female teachers. A few wore the ordinary veil, not that of worship, and the majority adorned themselves (with makeup). With us on the benches were female students, some veiled and most of them adorning themselves. At that time, I was with a group that did not see a problem in studying in co-educational universities since most of their shaykhs and youth had studied and graduated from these universities. However, at the same time, I had friends in the Salafist groups, such as the Juhayman group, who were serious on these issues. Therefore, they objected to my studying in the co-educational university.

At that time, I was a 20-year-old, unmarried young man. I spent two years in the co-educational university. I was pulled by two trends; one was two years of objections from the Juhayman group to me. This was agreeable with my nature and urged me to try to convince my father to leave the university. On the other hand, I was trying to convince my group about studying in these schools with the known justifications about this, such as the Muslims` need for Muslim physicians, Muslim engineers, Muslim physicists, etc.

After some back and forth with them, I decided to leave the university, but not before having the justifications which the group demanded on the prohibition of co-education. I wrote a study on this subject that was compatible with my level at that time, which I still have. In this study, I showed the prohibition on co-education, which leads to sedition and corruption. I wrote about the dangers to men and I mentioned some proofs from the Quran and the Sunnah. I wrote briefly about the women of the universities and replied to some of the points raised by those who accept these universities and wrote a chapter in which I included the fatwas of scholars who prohibit co-education.

To enrich this chapter and support it, I asked my shaykhs whose writings I had read and from whom I had learned directly when I had the chance. During the vacation, I traveled from Kuwait to Jordan to meet Shaykh Al-Albani, may God have mercy on him, and ask him about this issue and others. The shaykh, may God have mercy on him, did not hesitate to declare his prohibition for such universities. When I asked him about the justification of those who accept co-education, even call for it, based on the Muslims` need for Muslim physicians, engineers, and the like, he wondered, as if he were saying: Do you expect people will leave such universities in droves upon hearing the fatwa of Shaykh Al-Albani on the prohibition of co-education, these professions will be vacant and the universities will close their doors mourning their vacancy, for us to listen to such excuses? You must look after yourself. What is important is not to let your religion be the scapegoat for that.

“I also sent a telegram to Shaykh Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Baz in which I asked him for advice regarding my studying in universities where women teach us and girls study. He answered me with the attached telegram, which I still keep until this day. He said:

“`Dear son Isam Bin Tahir al-Barqawi (SheikhAl-Maqdisi`s Full name), may God help you,

“Peace and God`s mercy and blessings on you.

And now:

I received and understood the contents of your kind letter dated 25 Jumada al-Awwal 1401 hijri, (corresponding to 1 April 1981), and the answer is the following:

“As a protection of your religion and honor, it is not permissible for you to remain in a co-educational university. We are ready to help you in continuing your education in one of the universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we ask God all the good and assistance for you and your family.

Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Abdullah Bin-Baz

“Chairman of the Administration for Scientific (religious) Research, Ifta (fatwas), Call and Guidance.`

This was how things have been until recently. Despite the deviations of the existing governments, which we talked about elsewhere, there was a space for the shaykhs to act, and no one interfered in their fatwas, at least on such subjects. Today however, matters have become as the foreigner said when asked about what he understood from the slogan of the two swords and the palm. He said: This means if you oppose the ruler or deviate from him, he will cut you, meaning the sword will cut you. If you walk as a man bowing your head to the ruler, you will eat dates. This is the truth.

Therefore, when Shaykh Al-Shathri rejected co-education and its other mischief, he did not come up with something new. This is what all scholars will say if asked about the ruling on co-educational universities from before Bin-Baz until Judgment Day. As long as these scholars have knowledge and faith, no one would hesitate to give this opinion.

“Moreover, Shaykh Al-Shathri neither attacked anybody nor hurt or doubted any ruler as we do. On the contrary, he was nice to them and showed he thought well of them, as one can see in his response published in video, audio, and text formats.

He says: `The King Abdullah University is wished all the best. It was opened to benefit this nation and to restore it to its previous pioneering role in all sciences. The goal of this university, the one for which it was established, is a noble one. Every Muslim wants this and wants to be one of the reasons for the rise of this nation and its superiority over other nations. Therefore, King Abdullah is thanked for this blessed initiative which probably will be, God willing, good for this nation and a factor in its rise.

However, there might be also other hidden issues and details not agreed to by the ruler, which were hidden from him. Therefore, it is recommended that there be religious committees in this university to check these sciences and exclude what contradicts religion, since what contradicts religion can neither be true nor right. We are facing several sciences in which strange and odd opinions have been included and studied, such as the theory of evolution and others. Therefore, it is recommended that religious committees be established to look into these sections and studies to determine the extent of their agreement and non-contradiction with religion and its regulations. Thus, great benefits would be realized:

The first benefit is the satisfaction of the mighty and honorable Lord by teaching these sciences that are not contradictory to religion and not allowing those who have no knowledge in the rules of religion to include contradictory theories and opinions that are counter to the truth, the right, and religion.

Second: The achievement of interests results from this. Religion brought interests and warded off evil. Whatever religion has prohibited is evil and preventing this evil is religiously preferred. Whatever religion commanded is in the interest of people and achieves goodness and happiness. Therefore, acting according to religion results in achieving interests and preventing evil.

Third: The presence of some partial contradictions may be one of the reasons people would be repulsed from the good in such great projects. This example is similar to the clean suit. If one mark by a pen is seen on it, people will not buy it and wear it, and this applies also to these good projects. An example of this is what brother (name of asker) said in terms of co-education. If the person thinks about it, he will see a lot of corruption in it. If one sees the conditions of these universities and co-educational schools, they will find great evil in it, which Almighty God warded off when King Abdullah`s government adopted the policy of separate gender education. If we look at the co-educational universities, we see a lot of evil such as sexual harassment. Some low spirits harass women, whether in offices, class rooms, elevators, or corridors. This affects women and moves the university away from its original goal.

Moreover, mixing between sexes leads to more mischief by making men look at women and women look at men in a different way. Hence, their hearts are occupied with this and are distracted from the original goal for which they came and the universities and educational centers were established for, and that is education.

“Moreover, another mischief is the concern in the hearts of the parents and husbands of these students and the wives as well. When their husbands go to such a university, meaning a co-educational university, the woman remains concerned and bewildered, and starts to doubt all her husband`s behavior. After he returns, seeking rest, he notices that her heart is taken up, preventing him from achieving his need. This results in dire consequences such as divorce, family disputes, conflicts, and estrangement.

Another corruption resulting from coeducation is blackmailing and the using of students` needs, both boys and girls. There is now such blackmailing over the phone for matters that are less than this. If one of the two sexes knows something of importance concerning the other gender, he may blackmail them and force them to do things they do not want to do. This happens in some of educational centers that take up coeducation. In addition, this causes the raping of women and forcing them to do what they do not want to, and this occurs in many countries. If the virtuous woman who sits in her house, locks her doors, and does not speak to anyone, is subject to those weak persons who jump on them and rape their honor, then what about those in coeducational institutions? Thus coeducation causes great corruption and a lot of evil. I only speak about this out of the great love I have to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, who occupies a great place in hearts for the great and honorable services he has given to his nation and for which every believer all over the world has thanked him.

I also wanted that these great goals, which his Excellency aimed at, reach the highest levels of realization in a way that nothing harms or has a bad impact on them. Moreover, we want this university to be at the highest level and for it to serve the nation. We want it to reach the great goals which he was seeking by establishing it. Moreover, I brought up this subject, because I want this university to achieve these great goals, and I ask Almighty God to make this university beneficial and to make it a reason for guidance, virtue, and salvation.

In this regard, I urge whoever has the ability to contribute in this university to do so by offering knowledge or technical, administrative, or other services. These will be good deeds because the university was established with a noble goal. Thus, we should seek any contribution to it as much as we can.

Part of this is to try to remove whatever can harm the reputation of the university, as well as any behavior by some university officials, which we think that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, refuses. We heard his statement, may God grant him success, last year, in criticizing newspapers when they published photographs of women. This proves to us that such behavior is not stemming from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques but those of some officials. The ruler seeks the best for this country and its benefit. He seeks what raises the level of the Muslim nation and makes the other nations benefit from it, so that it becomes a source of knowledge, and not just a receiver of it.`

(End of statement by Shaykh Al-Shathri)

So all that the shaykh wants to say is what everybody says when they see a forbidden act in the country: `The king definitely does not know.`

I say what the poet said: `If you do not know, it is a disaster, but if you know, it is a greater disaster.`

“This was the response by the shaykh to a question asked by may God protect him. It was more important for me to excerpt it than to quote the shaykh`s answer, because in such cases, when the asker is safe from being criticized by one of the swords of the Saudi emblem, the role of which was explained by that naive foreigner, there is no doubt that it is shows reality more than the answer. The asker, may God protect him asked: `Shaykh, concerning the university they have opened in the country of the two mosques, the King Abdullah University, as we and many of the scholars know, it is a mixed university where secularism is dominant. I hope, shaykh, for a few words about this university. As for the scholars, and God knows how much they talk about the mujahidin and how much they curse and defame them, I also hope that they raise the points against this ruler.`

Here is the interesting link:

The issue of this university, the details about what is going on in it, the way it was established and the goals for which this was done are very obvious and were transmitted by the media. Thus, I do not know how it can be unknown to anyone.

The media is talking about the spending of more than 10 billion. All of which was spent on only 35 (square) kilometers, not far from the house of God (Mecca). This is in addition to 10 billion US dollars that were paid to try coeducation in this university. Some of the secularists bet that this coeducation and corruption will produce a technological jump in the region, and that this mixed university will become one of the most important centers for research and studies in the world. Thus, its expenses are one billion a year. It is the first mixed university in Saudi Arabia, the administration of which is mostly foreign, and which was described as being the Dubai of Saudi Arabia.

“Its president is an infidel, who is said to be Japanese. It is also said that he is American of Indian origin, named Choon Fong Shih. In a long interview published by the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper on Sunday, 30 August 2009 he says: `The establishment of the university is like a personal dream of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, which he kept for 25 years, according to what the king personally told him when he met him last January.`

This means that he has been planning this step for more than 20 years, even before he became king and not like the shaykh tried to nicely say that he may have missed some things or maybe he does not know, etc. This is something that the king himself did not accept because it is a call to ignore him and make him appear like he is ignorant. He therefore expelled him in front of the entire world from the senior scholars agency so that everyone can know the value of this agency and the truth that it stuck between the terror of two swords (representing justice and strength rooted in faith) of the emblem and the enticement of its dates (representing vitality and growth).

Here is the expulsion decision which, in its original copy, is usually distributed with the two crossed swords for every zealous propagandist or mujahid, and the date palm tree for those who walk with their head down.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Number: A/162

Date: 10/15/1430 hijri (Corresponding to 4 October 2009).

“With the help of God Almighty,

We, Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Sa`ud,

King of the Arab Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,

After reviewing article 58 of the by-laws of rule issued by royal decree number A/90, dated 27 Sha`ban 1412 hijri (corresponding to 2 March 1992),

After reviewing the rules for ministers, deputy ministers, and senior employees issued in royal decree number 10 and dated 3/18/1391 hijri (corresponding to 14 May 1971),

After reviewing royal decree order number A/137 dated 7/8/1391 hijri (corresponding to 29 August 1971), issued to establish and organize the senior scholars` agency,

After reviewing the two royal decrees, number A/4 and A/16 dated 2/19/1430 hijri (corresponding to 14 February 2009),

We have ordered the following:

First: Dr. Shaykh Sa`d Bin-Nasir Bin-Abd-al-Aziz al-Shathri, member of the senior scholars` agency and member at-large of the permanent committee for scholarly research and ifta, which is a branch of the council, is relieved of his duties.

Second: The relevant agencies are to be notified of this to ratify and implement it.

Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz


The corruption of this university is clear and obvious, even if the most blind of secularists and tyrants cannot see it. The mingling (of students of both sexes) in this university is not the same as that in the world`s universities; it is like the mixing of sexes on a beach where male students and professors and female students and professors, and others can swim together in swimsuits.

“Reuters quoted Jamil al-Dandani, deputy chief of King Abdullah University`s external relations, as saying: `the environment of the freedom of movement and the mixing of sexes in the university will be similar to the current situation in the Aramco (Saudi national oil company) complexes, which are like enclaves of US suburbs implanted in the Arabian Peninsula.`

“Behold how this fool can boast this university resembling the current situation in the Aramco complexes, which are like enclaves of US suburbs. These are the cities with the world`s highest levels of incest, not to mention other sins. You can say what you like about the levels of sexual harassment by men against women, rape, and abortion in which most of the female students in their mixed schools, institutes, and universities are involved. It is extremely hard to quantify this accurately.

“Is this the civilization that the supporters of the mixing of sexes in the Arabian Peninsula today are in awe of, speak about, boast of resembling, and seek to import for us from the West through such a university and other similar entities?

“After the inauguration of the university, photos were published showing the sinfulness and corruption of some of the female professors and students who belong to this university.Video clips were also posted to YouTube that show dancing and singing between men and women in make-up in the university to celebrate its inauguration.

“Despite all of this, Al-Sudays, the imam of the Mecca mosque, who is very keen on the dates of the palm tree, comes out with a Friday sermon in which he considers this university a historic achievement.

“I do not know where he stands from these words of God which he recites in the mosque throughout the day: `And remember Allah took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made! (Koranic verse, Al-Imran, 3:187).

“The Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper published an article saying that:` On Friday, the Imam of the Holy Mosque in Mecca, Shaykh Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays, reignited the debate regarding the issue of mixing between sexes in the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). He asked everyone to support this immense project. Meanwhile, a video was posted on the YouTube site showing a male student dancing in front of his fellow male and female students in the university.

The Imam of the Holy Mosque in Mecca called upon scholars and leaders to unanimously bless this `great historical achievement; the inauguration of King Abdullah University.` He also warned against following rumors and discussing in matters that are unclear.`

In the Friday sermon, Shaykh Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays talked about the King Abdullah University and said: `It is everyone`s duty, leaders, scholars, writers, journalists, the media and the youth of this nation who are keen on its benefit, to unanimously bless these good efforts, which are carried out under our Islamic goals and religious limitations and to what achieves the preservation of the nation`s principles and its morals.

“Shaykh Sulayman al-Duwaysh and the preacher Abd-al-Aziz al-Turayfi issued two separate statements regarding the university overseeing the mixing of sexes and that this is one of its primary objectives.

Shaykh Sulayman al-Duwaysh announced his rejection of the university and of all the mingling and corruption occurring in it. He described the faculty members in it as corruptors. Shaykh Al-Turayfi also issued a statement and used Koranic verses and the Sunnah to support his idea.

Shaykh Al-Shathri resigned or he was removed from the Saudi senior scholars` agency after the criticism he received for his objections to the mixing between sexes in King Abdullah University.

A discussion is ongoing on between Saudis about the moral side of the university as Shaykh Sa`d Bin-Nasir al-Shathri was fired after he criticized the university`s program.

(In) the new university, it is not compulsory for a female student to wear the abaya (cloak). She is also allowed to ride in and drive a car, something that is not permissible for the other women in the kingdom.

“The Washington Post published a report about the new university and quoted a female Saudi student as saying that religion should not interfere in higher education.`

(End of excerpts from Al-Quds al-Arabi report)

I think that the social controversy and disagreement created by this university between the religious and intellectual people in the (Arabian) Peninsula is a good thing, God willing. This will divide the people into two groups, and will distinguish, even if after a time, between the bad and the good; between the people of the sword (people of power) and the people of the dates (people of religion). Because of this we have observed a new alliance between the secularists and the shaykhs of the government in the (Arabian) Peninsula. This is a strange coalition against every zealous person who rejects this university. We also observed that many individuals were emboldened and criticized the rulers (of Saudi Arabia) about this issue, something that we rarely see or hear in that country.

We can include here a question that was asked to Dr. Yusuf Bin-Abdullah al-Ahmad and his answer to it. As we said before, the question is not any less important than the answer.

The question: `Our shaykh, may God reward you,

“Saudi society was shocked by the deviations of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology for graduate degrees.

“It does not follow the rules of religion, nor the government`s fundamentals or the higher education policy of our beloved kingdom.

“The manager of the university is not a Muslim. In his official statement he said: `A university that is not restricted by traditional regulations, a university without limits; it is more than a place for education and learning.`

“Many of the university teachers and students are infidels of the Christian religion and others. Saudi teachers and students are few.

“The manager of the school for the students aged three through the end of high school is a non-Muslim. These schools have music halls where there is mixing between sexes. They do not have religious sciences.

“A woman`s education in this university is the same as the education in foreign infidel countries. She mingles with male students and teachers, and she does not have to wear the veil.

“The university has depleted billions of dollars from the treasury of our beloved kingdom. And 20 billion dollars for construction and preliminary costs, and bank deposits in the name of the university amounting to 10 billion dollars with fixed usury interests.

Reuters quoted Jamil al-Dandani, the King Abdullah University`s deputy chief for external affairs as saying that: `The environment of the freedom of movement and the mixing of sexes in the university will be similar to the current situation in the Aramco complexes, which are like enclaves of US suburbs implanted in the Arabian Peninsula.` It also quoted him as saying that: `King Abdullah laid the cornerstone for the university this month, and his support will keep the university free from the restrictions of the religious establishment, which influences other educational places in Saudi Arabia.` He also said: `The king will give a donation that will be managed by trusted people from outside the kingdom to preserve the independence of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.` Reuters quoted Muhammad Samaha, the temporary deputy chief of the University for Research Affairs as saying that: `The University could be headed by a woman.`

The physicist Dr Mustafa al-Sayid, who was awarded the King Faisal award in 1990 and the highest US medal for science in 2008, praised the King Abdullah University on a satellite channel. He also praised the King Abdullah University because women will wear swim suits on the beaches alongside men.`

All these statements confirm that the goal of this university is westernization not education or the benefiting of Muslims. It also brings forward a dangerous accusation against the government that it will oversee this deviation.

The university`s official website showed a photograph of a group of male students with a female student in their midst, as well as a photograph of the honoring of an uncovered woman in the midst of a group of men. There was also a photograph of one of the female teachers without the veil. The (Saudi) Al-Riyadh newspaper also showed similar photographs and others.

“Is the university not violating the rules of Islam? It violates the seventh article of the second chapter of the rules of government (in Saudi Arabia). This (seventh article) states: Article seven: Rule in Saudi Arabia is derived from the book of God Almighty (the Koran) and the Sunnah (teachings) of his prophet; there are the basis for rule in this system and all systems of the state.` There is also the decree by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques numbered 8/759 and dated 5 Shawwal 1421 (corresponding to 1 January 2001). This states: `Employing a woman in jobs that are not suitable for her nature or that result in her mixing with men is wrong and should be avoided. The overseeing agencies should note this and correct it.`

“When the esteemed Dr. Sa`d al-Shathri rejected the mixing of the two sexes in the university in a very polite manner, he was attacked by all the liberals in the press.

“Honorable shaykh, the matter is very critical, and we are waiting for our scholars to perform their duty and to explain the religious obligation regarding this issue.

“(End of question)

“The answer:

“`Thanks be to God, the Lord of all creation. God`s prayers and peace be upon our prophet Muhammad and all his people, and his companions. And now:

“If the global status of the university and its specialization in technical and engineering sciences will serve Islam and Muslims, then it is a very good thing. But the issue of the university not adhering to religious rules is a very dangerous matter. We should not waste public money on any project that does not follow the rules of God Almighty. Muslims deserve this money more for their education.

“The vice is much worse and more dangerous than merely the mingling between men and women, as many people think.

“The religious obligation is to correct the university`s deviation so that it follows the rules of Islam; its director is a Muslim, as well as its school director and its students Muslims from any country. We should not employ any non-believing teacher except if for extreme need. Brotherhood is a brotherhood of faith. Replacing this with brotherhood humanity violates a fundamental belief with the people of Sunnah and the jama`a (salafism), which is the creed of loyalty and disavowal. God Almighty says: `The believers are but a single brotherhood (partial Koranic verse, Al-Hujurat, 49:10).`

“As for the talk about the mixing of the sexes and the uncovered women in the university, this is something that the scholars have warned about many times. It is a sign of psychological defeatism and blind subjugation to the western barn.

“The writers who assaulted the esteemed Shaykh Sa`d al-Shathri, may God protect him, did not affect him in any way other than increasing in his stature. The calamity would have been had they praised and commended him. Good for him that he was criticized by the hypocrites and commended by the pious. This is a good sign for the believer.

“The truth about their assault on the shaykh is not because of personal matters but because of the hatred they have against the religion.

“The writings of the hypocrites against the shaykh have resulted in a lot of good. The people of faith and salvation united together, they cooperated for good deeds and piousness; Islamic, preaching, and media activities were energized and the number of workers in these fields has increased, and the truth about the liberalist project in eliminating religion was realized. This was better than would have been achieved by dozens of intense training courses and media programs. The hypocrites did not realize this fact. God Almighty says: `Think it not to be an evil to you; on the contrary it is good for you: to every man among them (will come the punishment) of the sin that he earned (partial Koranic verse, Al-Nur, 24:11).`

“(End of answer)

“I would like to conclude with what Ibn-al-Qiam, may God rest his soul, wrote in (his book) Al-Turuq al-Hukmiah (Ways of Governance): `There is no doubt that enabling women to mingle with men is the base of every evil thing and is one of the primary reasons for general (divine) punishments. It is also the cause of the corruption of general and private affairs. The mixing between men and women is the cause for the spread of sins and adultery and a reason for general death and the continuous plagues.`

I conclude with a copy of the telegram that I received 30 years ago from Shaykh Bin-Baz.

God`s prayers and peace on our Prophet Muhammad, his people and companions.

Written by Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi

Shawwal 1430 (corresponding to October 2009)

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