- Seeks to recreate “the system of governance known as Khilafah, or the Caliphate, patterned after the leadership exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad”
- Works to “enable Islam to take complete control of our lives, and ultimately, the lives of all human beings on Earth”
- Aims to “direct the society toward Islamic revolution (or evolution).”
- Supporter of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, the terrorist group Hezbollah, and cop-killer Jamil Al-Alim
Founded in the early 1990s at Masjid Al Islam mosque in Philadelphia by Imam Abdul Alim Musa, As-Sabiqun (whose name means “The Vanguard” in Arabic) is a Sunni endeavor that seeks, through “an organized Islamic movement,” to establish Islam “as a complete way of life in America” — “in total, complete, and uncompromised service of Allah.”
On July 4, 1994, As-Sabiqun enumerated its major organizational objectives in a document that stated, most notably:
- “We resolve to work with other communities (movements) … toward the end of harnessing the power of Muslims and their resources for the purpose of reestablishing the system of governance known as Khilafah, or the Caliphate, patterned after the leadership exemplified by Prophet Muhammad.”
- “We resolve to … enable Islam to take complete control of our lives, and ultimately, the lives of all human beings on Earth.”
- “We resolve to shape the ideas, beliefs, and moral viewpoints of the people into an Islamic mold. Toward this end we will … develop the comprehensive educational system that is necessary to inform, inspire, and direct the society toward Islamic revolution (or evolution).”
- “We resolve to make Islam a living force by challenging and breaking the hold of social and political forces seeking to suppress and destroy Islam.”
Believing that “Islam is fully capable of producing a working and just social, political, economic order,” As-Sabiqun “does not advocate participation in the American political process as an ideal method for advancing Islamic issues in the U.S.” Instead, it calls for “a strong and active outreach to the people of the U.S.” — an effort aimed at persuading Americans to embrace Islamic beliefs, customs, and institutions. The movement endorses “cooperation on domestic social issues with like-minded non-Muslim groups,” but only “as long as Islamic ethics and morality are not compromised.”
As-Sabiqun’s major ideological influences include the writings and crusades of Malcolm X, Maulana Mawdudi, Shaikh ‘Uthman dan Fodio, Sayyid Qutb, Kalim Siddiqui, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna.
Though As-Sabiqun is a Sunni entity, it has publicly voiced support for such Shi’a movements and organizations as the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah. According to Abdul Alim Musa, Muslims today ought not engage in the “counter-productive” habit of focusing on the differences between Sunni and Shi’a Islam; rather, they should aim to unite in their struggle against non-Muslims.
As a roadmap for the achievement of its goals, As-Sabiqun has outlined a plan of action that includes the following:
- “Establis[h] a masjid (mosque) as a place to worship Allah in congregation and as a center of spiritual and moral training.”
- “Cal[l] the general society to Islam (da’wah).”
- “Establis[h] a full-time school that raises children with a strong Islamic identity so they can, as future Islamic leaders, effectively meet and deal with the challenges of growing up in the West.” _(_Toward this end, As-Sabiqun has set up a fund for the financing of Islamic schools that will help Muslim children “be the ones to mold society instead of having society mold them.”)
- “Establis[h] businesses which could make the movement financially stable and independent.” (Says As-Sabiqun: “So crucial is the development of an economic base for our community, that we take as a major goal our development as one of the main suppliers of Islamic books, media, fragrances, and other products in the United States.”)
- “Establis[h] geographical integrity by encouraging Muslims of the community to live in close proximity to the masjid.”
- “Establis[h] social welfare institutions to respond to the need for spiritual and material assistance within the community as well as the general society.”
- “Make Islam a living force by challenging and breaking the grasp of social and political forces seeking to suppress and destroy the Deen [Islamic way of life].”
- “Obliterate the hold of jahiliyyah [spiritual ignorance] through moral and spiritual development.”
- “Establish Islamic homes and build model communities where Islam is lived.”
In an As-Sabiqun newsletter article titled “To Do List 2007,” violent jihad was emphasized as a vital pursuit for Muslims worldwide: “Always cherish the intention of jihâd and the desire for martyrdom in the way of Allah and actually prepare yourself for that.”
As-Sabiqun mosques across the U.S. offer daily Islamic studies classes on a variety of topics, including basic Muslim beliefs and practices, the meanings of Koranic verses and their practical significance, principles of Islamic jurisprudence, and analysis of contemporary political events. New members of the group are encouraged not only to attend these classes, but also to familiarize themselves with the works of Islamic thinkers such as Maulana Mawdudi, Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, Kalim Siddiqui, Shaikh ‘Uthman dan Fodio, and others.
One of As-Sabiqun’s major ongoing projects is its effort to win the freedom of Jamil Al-Amin, the former Black Panther Party (BPP) member currently serving a life sentence in prison for the March 16, 2000 murder of a police officer.
In addition to Abdul Alim Musa, another key leader of As-Sabiqun is Amir Abdel Malik Ali.
As-Sabiqun is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has additional branches in Philadelphia (where Abdul Alim Musa first established it), Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento.