SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 4:11 PM BY ROBERT SPENCER
ibrahim-hooper-mahdi-bray-nihad-awad-2009-12-10-10-10-18The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Fiqh Council of North America held a press conference in Washington today at which they declared that they had refuted the religious ideology of the Islamic State. They issued this lengthy “Open Letter” (not, interestingly enough, a fatwa) addressed to the Islamic State’s caliph Ibrahim, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, explaining how he was misunderstanding Islam. Is this an Islamic case against the Islamic State’s jihad terror that will move Islamic State fighters to lay down their arms? Or is it a deceptive piece designed to fool gullible non-Muslim Westerners into thinking that the case for “moderate Islam” has been made, but which will not change a single jihadi’s mind? Unfortunately, it is the latter.
To be sure, Hamas-linked CAIR and the Fiqh Council and all the signers of this Open Letter really do oppose the Islamic State. But they don’t oppose it because it is transgressing against the commands of what they believe to be a Religion of Peace. They oppose it because they want to establish a caliphate under the auspices of or led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Islamic State constitutes competition. This is clear from their sly endorsements in this document of jihad, the Sharia, and the concept of the caliphate.
It begins with an “Executive Summary” which is then filled out in greater detail. I will intersperse commentary below, first in general terms on the Executive Summary, and then taking up the arguments on each point in detail.
1- It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry- pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.
This is a null argument designed to appeal to non-Muslims who don’t know what is in the Qur’an. For unless one quotes the entire Qur’an and Hadith, this argument can be leveled against anyone: anyone can be accused of leaving out important points and ignoring contradictory material. Whether or not one has actually done so, however, is another matter.
2- It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.
Red herring. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the Islamic State, is a native Arabic speaker with a Ph.D in Islamic Studies.
3- It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.
Again, this is an empty charge, as it can be leveled against anyone.
4- It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.
No doubt the caliph would agree with Hamas-linked CAIR and the Fiqh Council on this. He might differ with them on what exactly constitutes “fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.”
5- It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.
This one is quite telling. It suggests that there is a certain accommodation Muslim believers must make to the times and to circumstance, without changing core principles — i.e., the problem with the Islamic State is not its beliefs, but their application, and the time may be right for the application of those beliefs at some other time, but not now.
6- It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.
Indeed, but who is innocent? The Islamic State jihadis don’t believe they are killing the innocent.
7- It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.
None of these are blanket prohibitions; infidels considered to be at war with Islam can be killed and, according to Islamic law, must be killed.
8- Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.
Disingenuous. Islamic law holds that the caliph alone has the authority to wage offensive jihad. The Islamic State considers itself to be the caliphate, and thus considers its caliph to have that privilege and responsibility.
9- It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.
What constitutes an open declaration of disbelief? The Sudanese government executed Mahmoud Mohammed Taha for heresy after he said that the Qur’an’s Meccan suras, which are more peaceful, should supersede the Medinan suras, which are more violent. He wasn’t expressing disbelief in Islam, but was nonetheless executed as someone who had departed from the faith of Islam.
10- It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.
The Qur’an says to fight against and subjugate them (9:29). Once they submit, they should not be harmed or mistreated. But if they are considered to be in rebellion or war against the Muslims, they must be fought.
11- It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.
Here again, in a hadith, Muhammad instructs Muslims to invite the unbelievers to Islam, and subjugate them or go to war with them if they refuse. If the Yazidis refused the invitation to convert, they could lawfully be fought.
12- The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.
This is flatly false. Slavery is still widely practiced in North Africa, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere because it is sanctioned in Islam.
13- It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.
True, but the laws of dhimmitude are designed essentially to make life miserable for non-Muslims until they opt to convert as their only means to a better existence. Thus the boundaries of what constitutes coercion are somewhat blurred.
14- It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.
Indeed. But what are those rights?
15- It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.
Indeed. But what are those rights?
16- It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy.
This one is noteworthy, for by it Hamas-linked CAIR and the Fiqh Council and all these scholars affirm that hudud punishments — stoning for adultery, amputation for theft, death for leaving Islam, etc. — can be enacted as long as one is following the correct procedures.
17- It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.
At Khaybar, Muhammad ordered that a fire be lit upon Kinana’s chest until he told the Muslims where the Jews’ treasury was hidden. So what constitutes “torture” is, like so many things in Islam, subject to interpretation.
18- It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.
“When the prophet ordered that the corpses of the polytheists be dropped in to a well… He stood over the bodies of twenty-four leaders of Quraish, who had been thrown into one of the wells and started call them by name and by the names of their fathers…” (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, The Battle of Badr, p. 271)
19- It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.
Once again, a subjective and empty argument — no doubt the Islamic State would deny doing this.
20- It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.
“Ali ibn Abi Talib said to me: “Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allah sent me? Do not leave any statue without erasing it, and do not leave any raised grave without leveling it.” (Muslim 969).
21- Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.
The Islamic State has stated that the rulers against whom they are fighting have expressed clear disbelief.
22- It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.
This is pure fiction. None of the historic caliphates were established by consensus from all Muslims. Even the first three “Rightly Guided” caliphs were chosen over bitter opposition from the party of Ali, the shiat Ali, which ultimately became the Shi’ites. Also, note that Hamas-linked CAIR, the Fiqh Council and the scholars take for granted that the concept of a caliphate is legitimate; they just don’t like this particular one.
23- Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.
This one is rich in light of Hamas-linked CAIR’s opposition to all counter-terror measures. And you never hear them affirming this when it comes to “Palestinians” living in Israel.
24- After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.
Not required. I.e., permissible.
And now to the fuller document:
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds,
Peace and Blessings be upon the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers
By the declining day, Lo! man is a state of loss, Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. (Al-‘Asr, 103: 1-3)
To Dr. Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri, alias ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’, To the fighters and followers of the self-declared ‘Islamic State’, Peace and the mercy of God be upon you.
During your sermon dated 6th of Ramadan 1435 AH (4th July 2014 CE), you said, paraphrasing Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq: ‘If you find what I say and do to be true, then assist me, and if you find what I say and do to be false, then advise me and set me straight.’ In what follows is a scholarly opinion via the media. The Prophet said: ‘Religion is [rectifying] advice .’ Everything said here below relies completely upon the statements and actions of followers of the ‘Islamic State’ as they themselves have promulgated in social media—or upon Muslim eyewitness accounts—and not upon other media. Every effort has been made to avoid fabrications and misunderstandings. Moreover, everything said here consists of synopses written in a simple style that reflect the opinions of the overwhelming majority of Sunni scholars over the course of Islamic history.
In one of his speeches , Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani said: ‘God bless Prophet Muhammad who was sent with the sword as a mercy to all worlds.’ This statement comprises compounded confusions and a mistaken paradigm. Yet it is often repeated by followers of the ‘Islamic State’. Now God sent the Prophet Muhammad as a mercy to all worlds: ‘We did not send you, except as a mercy to all the worlds.’ (Al-Anbiya’, 22: 107). This is true for all time and place. The Prophet was sent as mercy to people, animals, plants, to the heavens and to subtle beings—no Muslims disagree about this. It is a general and unconditional statement taken from the Qur’an itself. However, the phrase, ‘sent with the sword’ is part of a Hadith that is specific to a certain time and place which have since expired. Thus it is forbidden to mix the Qur’an and Hadith in this way, as it is forbidden to mix the general and specific, and the conditional and unconditional.
Moreover, God has prescribed mercy upon Himself: ‘… Your Lord has prescribed for Himself mercy …’ (Al-An’am, 6:54). God also states that His mercy encompasses all things: ‘… My mercy embraces all things …’ (Al-A’raf, 7:156). In an authentic Hadith, the Prophet said: ‘When God created Creation, He wrote in place above His throne, with Himself “Truly, My mercy is greater than My wrath .”’ Accordingly, it is forbidden to equate ‘the sword’—and thus wrath and severity—with ‘mercy’. Furthermore, it is forbidden to make the idea ‘mercy to all worlds’ subordinate to the phrase ‘sent with the sword’, because this would mean that mercy is dependent upon the sword, which is simply not true. Besides, how could ‘a sword’ affect realms where swords have no effect, such as the heavens, subtle beings and plants? The Prophet Muhammad’s being a mercy to all the worlds cannot possibly be conditional upon his having taken up the sword (at one point in time, for a particular reason and in a particular context). This point is not merely academic. Rather, it reveals the essence of much of what is to follow since it erroneously equates the sword and Divine mercy.
Muhammad is represented as having said, “Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords” (Bukhari 4.52.73). This is in Bukhari, the hadith collection considered most reliable by Muslim scholars. Hamas-linked CAIR, the Fiqh Council and the scholars say that “the phrase, ‘sent with the sword’ is part of a Hadith that is specific to a certain time and place which have since expired” and ask, “How could ‘a sword’ affect realms where swords have no effect, such as the heavens”? So was Paradise once under the shades of swords but is no longer? Or are the authors ignoring this inconvenient hadith because it doesn’t fit their argument? The problem with that is that the Islamic State jihadis read Bukhari.
1. Legal theory (usul al-fiqh) and Qur’anic exegesis: With regards to Qur’anic exegesis, and the understanding of Hadith, and issue in legal theory in general, the methodology set forth by God in the Qur’an and the Prophet in the Hadith is as follows: to consider everything that has been revealed relating to a particular question in its entirety, without depending on only parts of it, and then to judge—if one is qualified—based on all available scriptural sources. God says: ‘… What, do you believe in part of the Book, and disbelieve in part? …’ (Al-Baqarah, 2:85); ‘… they pervert words from their contexts; and they have forgotten a portion of what they were reminded of…’ (Al-Ma’idah, 5:13); ‘… those who have reduced the Recitation, to parts’ (Al-Hijr, 15:91). Once all relevant scriptural passages have been gathered, the ‘general’ has to be distinguished from the ‘specific’, and the ‘conditional’ from the ‘unconditional’. Also, the ‘unequivocal’ passages have to be distinguished from the allegorical ones. Moreover, the reasons and circumstances for revelation (asbab al-nuzul) for all the passages and verses, in addition to all the other hermeneutical conditions that the classical imams have specified, must be understood. Therefore, it is not permissible to quote a verse, or part of a verse, without thoroughly considering and comprehending everything that the Qur’an and Hadith relate about that point. The reason behind this is that everything in the Qur’an is the Truth, and everything in authentic Hadith is Divinely inspired, so it is not permissible to ignore any part of it. Indeed it is imperative to reconcile all texts, as much as possible, or that there be a clear reason why one text should outweigh another. This is what Imam Shafi’i explains in his Al-Risalah, with a universal consensus among all usul scholars. Imam al-Haramayn, Al-Juwayni, says in Al- Burhan fi Usul Al-Fiqh: Regarding the qualities of a mufti and the disciplines that he must master: … it is imperative that the mufti must be a scholar of language, for the Shari’ah is [in] Arabic. … it is imperative that he be a scholar of syntax and parsing … it is imperative that he be a scholar of the Qur’an, for the Qur’an is the basis of all rulings … Knowledge of textual abrogation is indispensable; and the science of the fundamentals of jurisprudence (usul) is the cornerstone of the whole subject … He should also know the various degrees of proofs and arguments … as well as their histories. [He should also know] the science of Hadith so that he can distinguish the authentic from the weak; and the acceptable from the apocryphal … [He should also know] jurisprudence…. Moreover, having ‘legal intuition’ (fiqh al-nafs) is needed: it is the capital of anyone who derives legal rulings … scholars have summarized all this by saying that a mufti is ‘someone who independently knows all the texts and arguments for legal rulings’. ‘Texts’ refers to mastering language, Qura’nic exegesis and Hadith; while ‘arguments’ indicates mastering legal theory, analogical reasoning of the various kinds, as well as ‘legal intuition’ (fiqh al-nafs). Al-Ghazali has said similar things in Al-Mustasfa (Vol. 1, p.342), as did Al-Suyuti in Al- Itqan fi Ulum Al-Qur’an (Vol. 4, p.213).
A null argument unless they make the case that the Islamic State is really disbelieving in part of the book or ignoring inconvenient data. They don’t make this case.
2. Language: As mentioned above, one of the most important pillars of legal theory is the mastery of the Arabic Language. This means mastering Arabic grammar, syntax, morphology, rhetoric, poetry, etymology and Qur’anic exegesis. Without mastery of these disciplines, error will be likely, indeed inevitable. Your declaration of what you have termed ‘the Caliphate’ was under the title ‘This is God’s Promise’. The person who phrased this declaration intended to allude to the verse: ‘God has promised those of you who believe and perform righteous deeds that He will surely make them successors in the earth, just as He made those who were before them successors, and He will surely establish for them their religion which He has approved for them, and that He will give them in exchange after their fear security. “They worship Me, without associating anything with Me”. And whoever is ungrateful after that, those, they are the immoral.’ (Al-Nur, 24: 55). But it is not permissible to invoke a specific verse from the Qur’an as applying to an event that has occurred 1400 years after the verse was revealed. How can Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani say that ‘God’s promise’ is this so-called Caliphate? Even if it were supposed that his claim is correct, he should have said: ‘this is of God’s promise’. Moreover, there is another linguistic error; wherein he has appropriated the word ‘istikhlaf’ (succession) to refer to the so-called caliphate. Proof that this is not the correct usage of the word can be seen in the following verse: ‘He said, “Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors (yastakhlifakum) in the land, that He may observe how you shall act”.’ (Al-A’raf, 7:129). Succession (istikhlaf) means that they have settled on the land in place of another people. It does not mean that they are the rulers of a particular political system. According to Ibn Taymiyyah, there is no tautology in the Qur’an . There is a difference between ‘khilafah’ and ‘istikhlaf’. Al-Tabari says in his exegesis (tafsir) of the Qur’an: ‘make you successors (yastakhlifakum): Meaning He will make you succeed them in their land after their destruction; do not fear them or any other people. ’ This proves that the meaning of ‘istikhlaf’ here is not rulership but, rather, dwelling on their land.
“It is not permissible to invoke a specific verse from the Qur’an as applying to an event that has occurred 1400 years after the verse was revealed.” Doesn’t the Qur’an apply to all times, according to standard Islamic belief? And Islamic apologists see contemporary events in it all the time — scientific discoveries, the Moon landing, etc., and Hamas-linked CAIR never denounces them. And the whole argument about “istikhlaf” is ridiculous, for “khalifah” means “successor.” They bring up Qur’an 7:129, which uses a related word in a different context, as if it refuted the idea of the caliph as the successor of Muhammad. Yet this, too, is standard Islamic belief.
3. Oversimplification: It is not permissible to constantly speak of ‘simplifying matters’, or to cherry-pick an extract from the Qur’an without understanding it within its full context. It is also not permissible to say: ‘Islam is simple, and the Prophet and his noble Companions were simple, why complicate Islam?’ This is precisely what Abu Al-Baraa’ Al-Hindi did in his online video in July 2014. In it he says: ‘Open the Qur’an and read the verses on jihad and everything will become clear … all the scholars tell me: “This is a legal obligation (fard), or that isn’t a legal obligation, and this is not the time for jihad” … forget everyone and read the Qur’an and you will know what jihad is.”’ People need to understand that the Prophet and his noble Companions made do with as little material means as possible, without complicated technology, but they were greater than all of us in understanding, jurisprudence and intellect, and yet only a small number of Companions were qualified to issue fatwas. God says in the Qur’an: ‘… Say: “Are those who know equal with those who do not know?”…’ (Al-Zumar, 39: 9). God also says: ‘… Ask the People of the Remembrance if you do not know.’ (Al-Anbiya’, 21: 7); and: ‘… If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them; those among them who are able to think it out, would have known it from them …’ (Al-Nisa’, 4: 83). Thus, jurisprudence is no simple matter, and not just anyone can speak authoritatively on it or issue fatwas (religious edicts). God says in the Qur’an: ‘… But only people of cores remember.’ (Al-Ra’d, 13:19). And the Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Whoever speaks about the Qur’an without knowledge should await his seat in the Fire .’ It is also high time to stop blithely saying that ‘they are men, and we are men’; those who say this do not have the same understanding and discernment as the noble Companions and the imams of the Pious Forebears (al-Salaf al-Saleh) to whom they are referring.
This is another subjective argument: the Qur’an says that it is a “clear book” (5:15), and that there are parts of it that are clear and parts that are not clear (3:7). The Islamic State spokesmen are asserting that the jihad passages are clear. Telling them that jurisprudence isn’t simple doesn’t exactly refute that.
4. Difference of Opinion: In regards to difference of opinion, there are two kinds: blameworthy and praiseworthy. Regarding blameworthy difference of opinion, God says in the Qur’an: ‘And those who were given the Scripture did not become divided, except after the clear proof had come to them.’ (Al-Bayyinah, 98: 4). As for praiseworthy difference of opinion, God says: ‘… then God guided those who believed to the truth, regarding which they were at variance, by His leave…’ (Al-Baqarah, 2: 213). This is the opinion expressed by Al-Imam Al-Shafi’i in Al-Risalah, the other three imams and all the scholars for over a thousand years. When there is a difference of opinion among eminent scholars, the more merciful, i.e. the best, opinion should be chosen. Severity should be avoided, as should the idea that severity is the measure of piety. God says: ‘And follow the best of what has been revealed to you from your Lord …’ (Al-Zumar, 39: 55); and: ‘Indulge [people] with forgiveness, and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.’ (Al-A’raf, 7: 199). God also says: ‘[Those] who listen to the words [of God] and follow the best [sense] of it. Those, they are the ones whom God has guided; and those, they are the people of pith.’ (Al-Zumar, 39: 18). In an authentic Hadith, it is related that the Lady Aisha said: ‘Whenever faced by more than once choice, the Prophet always chose the easiest one .’
The more severe opinion should not be considered more pious, religious or sincere to God. Indeed, in severity there is exaggeration and extremism; God says in the Qur’an: ‘… God desires ease for you, and desires not hardship for you …’ (Al-Baqarah, 2: 185). Moreover, the Prophet said: ‘Do not be severe with yourselves lest God be severe towards you. A people were severe with themselves and then God was severe towards them .’ There is delusion and vanity in severity, because severe people naturally say to themselves: ‘I am severe. Anyone less severe than me is deficient’; and thus: ‘I am superior to them.’ Herein lies an inherent attribution of ill-intention to God, as if God revealed the Qur’an to make people miserable. God says: ‘Tā hā. We have not revealed the Qur’an to you that you should be miserable’. (Ta Ha, 20: 1-2).
It is worth noting that most of the people who became Muslims throughout history, did so through gentle invitation (the’wah hasanah). God says: ‘Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and dispute with them by way of that which is best. Truly your Lord knows best those who stray from His way and He knows best those who are guided.’ (Al-Nahl, 16: 125). The Prophet said: ‘Be gentle, and beware of violence and foul language .’ And while Islam spread politically from Central Asia (Khurasan) to North Africa due to Islamic conquests, the majority of the inhabitants of these lands remained Christian for hundreds of years until some of them gradually accepted Islam through gentle invitation, and not through severity and coercion. Indeed large countries and entire provinces became Muslim without conquest but through invitation (the’wah), such as: Indonesia; Malaysia; West and East Africa, and others. Hence, severity is neither a measure of piety nor a choice for the spread of Islam.
This again is a subjective argument: who judges what is gentle and what is severe? The Islamic State is applying Islamic law, which they consider to be justice; how could that be too severe? And as for this: “And while Islam spread politically from Central Asia (Khurasan) to North Africa due to Islamic conquests, the majority of the inhabitants of these lands remained Christian for hundreds of years until some of them gradually accepted Islam through gentle invitation, and not through severity and coercion,” it is false. These people were subjected to the deprivations and humiliations of dhimmitude; they converted to Islam to be able to be free of all that and live a decent life.
5. Practical Jurisprudence (fiqh al-waq’i): What is meant by ‘practical jurisprudence’ is the process of applying Shari’ah rulings and dealing with them according to the realities and circumstances that people are living under. This is achieved by having an insight into the realities under which people are living and identifying their problems, struggles, capabilities and what they are subjected to. Practical jurisprudence (fiqh al-waq’i) considers the texts that are applicable to peoples realities at a particular time, and the obligations that can be postponed until they are able to be met or delayed based on their capabilities. Imam Ghazali said: ‘As for practicalities that dictate necessities, it is not far-fetched that independent reasoning (ijtihad) may lead to them [practicalities], even if there is no specific origin for them .’ Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah said: ‘Indeed, [a jurist] must understand people’s propensity for plotting, deception and fraud, in addition to their customs and traditions. Religious edicts (fatwas) change with the change of time, place, customs and circumstances, and all of this is from the religion of God, as already elucidated. ’
Again, the Islamic State clearly doesn’t consider itself to be misapplying Islamic law or straining people beyond their capabilities. This point isn’t going to make any of its adherents think twice.
6. The Killing of Innocents: God says in the Qur’an: ‘And do not slay the soul [whose life] God has made inviolable, except with due cause …’ (Al-Isra’, 17: 33); and ‘Say: “Come, I will recite that which your Lord has made a sacred duty for you: that you associate nothing with Him, that you be dutiful to parents, and that you do not slay your children, because of poverty – We will provide for you and them – and that you do not draw near any acts of lewdness, whether it be manifest or concealed, and that you do not slay the life which God has made sacred, except rightfully. This is what He has charged you with that perhaps you will understand.”’ (Al-An’am, 6: 151). The slaying of a soul—any soul—is haraam (forbidden and inviolable under Islamic Law), it is also one of the most abominable sins (mubiqat). God says in the Qur’an: ‘Because of that, We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever slays a soul for other than a soul, or for corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers have already come to them with clear proofs, but after that many of them still commit excesses in the land.’ (Al-Ma’idah, 5: 32). You have killed many innocents who were neither combatants nor armed, just because they disagree with your opinions .
Outstandingly disingenuous. Qur’an 5:32 is followed by 5:33: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,” The Islamic State is killing those whom it considers to be striving on earth to cause corruption. Telling them that they’re killing innocents, without explaining why its victims are innocent, will not convince them.
7. Killing Emissaries: It is known that all religions forbid the killing of emissaries. What is meant by emissaries here are people who are sent from one group of people to another to perform a noble task such as reconciliation or the delivery of a message. Emissaries have a special inviolability. Ibn Masoud said: ‘The Sunnah continues that emissaries are never killed .’ Journalists—if they are honest and of course are not spies—are emissaries of truth, because their job is to expose the truth to people in general. You have mercilessly killed the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, even after Sotloff’s mother pleaded with you and begged for mercy. Aid workers are also emissaries of mercy and kindness, yet you killed the aid worker David Haines. What you have done is unquestionably forbidden (haraam).
The problem with the verse I quoted regarding the previous point, Qur’an 5:33, is that “striving to cause corruption on the earth” is an extremely vague and elastic charge. It can give an Islamic justification for killing virtually anyone — including emissaries and journalists.
8. Jihad: All Muslims see the great virtue in jihad. God says: ‘O you who believe, what is wrong with you that, when it is said to you, “Go forth in the way of God’, you sink down heavily to the ground”’ (Al-Tawbah, 9: 38); and: ‘And fight in the way of God with those who fight against you, but aggress not; God loves not the aggressors.’ (Al-Baqarah, 2: 190); and many other verses.
These passages refer only to defensive jihad. There is also offensive jihad, which is the prerogative of the caliph to initiate: “The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians…until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High, ‘Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden-who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled’ (Koran 9.29)” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.
. The Islamic State considers itself to be a caliphate, and thus exercises that prerogative.
Imam Shafi’i, the other three imams, and indeed all the scholars see that jihad is a communal obligation (fard kifayah) and not an individual obligation (fard ayn) because God says: ‘yet to each God has promised the goodly reward, and God has preferred those who struggle over the ones who sit at home with a great reward’ (Al-Nisa’, 4: 95).
The inclusion of this sentence seems to be to suggest that the Islamic State is wrong in exhorting everyone to wage jihad. But in Islamic law, while only the caliph can declare offensive jihad, all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that when a non-Muslim force enters a Muslim land, defensive jihad becomes the individual obligation of every Muslim (fard ayn) rather than a collective obligation of the entire umma, and need not be declared by anyone. As the Islamic State is being warred against by the U.S., it considers both offensive and defensive jihad to be in order. Bulghah al-Salik li-Aqrab al-Masalik fi madhhab al-Imam Malik (“The Sufficiency of the Traveller on the Best Path in the School of Imam Malik,”) says this: “Jihad in the Path of Allah, to raise the word of Allah, is fard kifayah [obligatory on the community] once a year, so that if some perform it, the obligation falls from the rest. It becomes fard `ayn [obligatory on every Muslim individually], like salah and fasting, if the legitimate Muslim Imam declares it so, or if there is an attack by the enemy on an area of people.” The Hanafi, Maliki, and Shafi’i schools of Sunni jurisprudence further declare that jihad, once it is fard ‘ayn, is no different from prayer and fasting — in other words, to engage in warfare with non-Muslims in that case is a religious devotion that cannot lawfully be evaded. Hashiyah Ibn `Abidin, an authoritative text of the Hanafi school, says that jihad is “fard ‘ayn if the enemy has attacked part of the Islamic homeland. It thus becomes an obligation like salah [prayer] and fasting which cannot be abandoned.”
The word ‘jihad’ is an Islamic term that cannot be applied to armed conflict against any other Muslim; this much is a firmly established principle.
Indeed, Muslims are forbidden in the Qur’an (4:92) to kill other Muslims. But if they’re apostates or heretics, then they must be killed: “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.” (4:89)
Furthermore, all scholars agree that jihad is conditional upon the consent of one’s parents. The proof for this is that a man came to the Prophet asking him to permit him to perform jihad, upon which the Prophet asked him: ‘Are your parents alive?’ to which he replied: ‘Yes.’ And the Prophet told him: ‘Then perform jihad (struggle) through [serving] them. ’
But if defensive jihad becomes obligatory on every Muslim if an Islamic land is attacked, then parental consent is not needed: “If jihaad becomes fard ‘ayn, then it is not obligatory to seek permission, because in the case of things which are fard ‘ayn, there is no need to seek the permission of anyone.” (Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid)
Moreover, there are two kinds of jihad in Islam: the greater jihad, which is the jihad (struggle) against one’s ego; and the lesser jihad, the jihad (struggle) against the enemy. In regards to the greater jihad, the Prophet said: ‘We have returned from the greater jihad to the lesser jihad .’ If you say that this Hadith is weak or apocryphal,
It doesn’t appear in any of the Sahih Sittah, the six hadith collections that Islamic scholars consider to be most reliable.
the answer is that evidence for this concept is in the Qur’an itself: ‘So do not obey the disbelievers, but struggle against them therewith with a great endeavour [lit. a great jihad].’ (Al-Furqan, 25:52). ‘Therewith’ in this verse refers to the Qur’an, which is ‘a healing for what is in the breasts’ (Yunus, 10: 57). This is clearly understood from the Hadith in which the Prophet said: “‘Shall I tell you about the best of all deeds, the best act of piety in the eyes of your Lord which will elevate your status in the Hereafter and is better for you than spending gold and paper and better than going up in arms against your enemy and striking their necks and their striking your necks?’ They said: “Yes.” The Prophet said: “Remembrance of God. ”’ Thus, the greater jihad is the jihad against the ego and its weapon is remembrance of God and purification of the soul. Furthermore, God has clarified the relationship between the two kinds of jihad in another verse: ‘O you who believe, when you meet a host, then stand firm and remember God much, that you may succeed.’ (Al-Anfal, 8: 45). Thus, standing firm is the lesser jihad and is dependent on the greater jihad which is the jihad against the ego through the remembrance of God and purification of the soul.
Even granting all this, the greater jihad does not preclude or cancel the lesser jihad.
In any case, jihad is a means to peace, safety and security, and not an end in itself. This is clear from God’s words: ‘Fight them till there is no sedition, and the religion is for God; then if they desist, there shall be no enmity, save against evildoers.’ (Al-Baqarah, 2: 193). In your speech of July 4th, 2014, you said: ‘There is no life without jihad’. Perhaps this was based on Al-Qurtubi’s exegesis of the verse: ‘O you who believe, respond to God and the Messenger, when He calls you to that which will give you life …’ (Al-Anfal, 8: 24). True jihad enlivens the heart. However, there can be life without jihad, because Muslims may face circumstances where combat is not called for, or where jihad is not required, and Islamic history is replete with examples of this.
This is quibbling over minutiae. Clearly the Islamic State is waging jihad in order to establish an Islamic state, within which jihad will no longer be waged. Jihad will continue, however, outside its borders. Note also Hamas-linked CAIR, the Fiqh Council and the scholars affirming that “jihad enlivens the heart.”
In truth, it is clear that you and your fighters are fearless and are ready to sacrifice in your intent for jihad. No truthful person following events—friend or foe—can deny this. However, jihad without legitimate cause, legitimate goals, legitimate purpose, legitimate methodology and legitimate intention is not jihad at all, but rather, warmongering and criminality.
a. The Intention Behind Jihad: God says: ‘and that man shall have only what he [himself] strives for’ (Al-Najm, 53: 39). Prophetic Tradition relates that on the authority of Abu Musa Al- Ash’ari, a man came to the Prophet and said: ‘A man may fight out of zeal, out of bravery or out of pride. Which of these is in the path of God?’ The Prophet replied: ‘Whoever fights for the Word of God to be supreme is in the path of God .’ The Prophet also said: ‘The first to be judged on the Day of Resurrection is the man who died as a martyr. He will be brought forth and [God] will make His favours known to him, which he will recognize. He will be asked: “What did you do with them?” to which the man will reply: “I fought for your sake until I was killed.” He [i.e. God] will say: “You have lied. You fought so that it would be said that you are bold, and so it was said.” He will then be ordered to be dragged on his face and flung into the Fire …’.
Another null argument, as the Islamic State clearly considers itself to be fighting for “the Word of God to be supreme.”
b. The Reason behind Jihad: The reason behind jihad for Muslims is to fight those who fight them, not to fight anyone who does not fight them, nor to transgress against anyone who has not transgressed against them. God’s words in permitting jihad are: ‘Permission is granted to those who fight because they have been wronged. And God is truly able to help them; those who were expelled from their homes without right, only because they said: “Our Lord is God”. Were it not for God’s causing some people to drive back others, destruction would have befallen the monasteries, and churches, and synagogues, and mosques in which God’s Name is mentioned greatly. Assuredly God will help those who help Him. God is truly Strong, Mighty.’ (Al-Hajj, 22: 39-40). Thus, jihad is tied to safety, freedom of religion, having been wronged, and eviction from one’s land. These two verses were revealed after the Prophet and his companions suffered torture, murder, and persecution for thirteen years at the hands of the idolaters. Hence, there is no such thing as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions. This is the position of Abu Hanifa, the Imams Malik and Ahmad and all other scholars including Ibn Taymiyyah, with the exception of some scholars of the Shafi’i school .
“Hence, there is no such thing as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions. This is the position of Abu Hanifa, the Imams Malik and Ahmad and all other scholars including Ibn Taymiyyah, with the exception of some scholars of the Shafi’i school.” The key phrase here is “with the exception of some scholars of the Shafi’i school.” If some Shafi’i scholars allow for “offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions,” can it really be said to be un-Islamic? The Shafi’i school is one of the four great schools of Sunni jurisprudence. Is Hamas-linked CAIR pronouncing takfir on the Shafi’i school? Or just deceiving gullible non-Muslims? The answer is clear.
c. The Goal of Jihad: Scholars are in agreement regarding the goal of jihad, because God says: ‘Fight them till there is no sedition, and the religion is for God; then if they desist, there shall be no enmity, save against evildoers.’ (Al-Baqarah, 2: 193). The Prophet further said: ‘I have been ordered to fight people until they say: “There is no god but God”, so whoever says: “There is no god but God” is safe in himself and his wealth except as permitted by law, and his reckoning is with God .’ This is the goal of jihad once war has been waged on Muslims.
Extraordinary that they would quote that, as it is a call for endless warfare against all who do not profess Islam, and a license for them to be plundered.
These texts specify what victory looks like in the case that Muslims are victorious, and that the reason for jihad must not be confused with the goal of jihad; all scholars are in agreement on this matter. The Hadith above refers to an event that has already taken place and is conditional upon God’s words: ‘It is He Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it prevail over all religion. And God suffices as witness.’ (Al-Fath, 48: 28). It took place in the Arabian Peninsula at the time of the Prophet, for God says: ‘… and that you may warn the Mother of Towns [Um al-Qura] and those around it …’ (Al-An’am, 6: 92); and: ‘O you who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you …’ (Al-Tawbah, 9: 123). The Prophet also said: ‘Evict the idolaters from the Arabian Peninsula.’ How could this not have come to pass when God promises the Prophet: ‘It is He Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it prevail over all [other] religions, though the disbelievers be averse.’ (Al-Saff, 61: 9). What is meant here must be the Arabian Peninsula since this is what happened during the life of the Prophet.
Yet Muhammad is the supreme example of behavior for Muslims (cf. Qur’an 33:21). Here the authors make the case that these verses apply to the expulsion of the non-Muslims from Arabia, which they clearly endorse, but do not make the case that they apply only to the expulsion of non-Muslims from Arabia. The Qur’an is supposed to apply to all times and places, and Islamic scholars going back to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad’s first biographer, and including Ibn Qayyam, Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Taymiyya and many others, have that the Qur’anic verses mandating warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers are not just valid for the 7th century, but for all time. The Islamic State jihadis know this.
In any case, if the commanders of jihad see that it is in the best interest of Muslims, it is permissible for them to cease combat, even if this goal has not been achieved, because God says: ‘… then if they desist, there shall be no enmity, save against evildoers.’ (Al-Baqarah, 2: 193). The circumstances and events of Sulh al-Hudaybiyah are proof of this.
“Permissible.” I.e., not required.
d. The Rules of Conduct of Jihad: The rules of conduct of jihad are summarized in the words of the Prophet Muhammad: ‘Wage war but do not be severe, do not be treacherous, do not mutilate or kill children ….’
Mutilate: “‘Abdullah bin Masood found him on the verge of death breathing his las… Ibn Masood then cut off his head and took it to Allah’s Messenger who, on seeing it, began to entertain Allah’s praise: Allahu Akbar.’ (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, 267)
Kill children: “It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.” (Muslim 4321)
“Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: I was among the captives of Banu Qurayza. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair. (Sunan Abu Dawood 38:4390) Pubescent boys were thus killed, whether they had been combatants or not.
The Prophet also said on the day of the Conquest of Mecca: ‘Those retreating are not to be killed, nor are the injured to be harmed, and whoever shuts his door is safe .’ Similarly, when Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq prepared an army and sent it to the Levant, he said: ‘You will find people who have devoted themselves to monasteries, leave them to their devotions. You will also find others whose heads are seats for devils (i.e. armed deacons ), so strike their necks. However, do not kill the old and decrepit, women or children; do not destroy buildings; do not cut down trees or harm livestock without good cause; do not burn or drown palms; do not be treacherous; do not mutilate; do not be cowardly; and do not loot. And truly God will support those who support Him and His Messengers while not seeing Him. Truly, God is Strong, Mighty .’
Again: “It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.” (Muslim 4321)
As for killing prisoners, it is forbidden in Islamic Law. Yet you have killed many prisoners including the 1700 captives at Camp Speicher in Tikrit in June, 2014; the 200 captives at the Sha’er gas field in July, 2014; the 700 captives of the Sha’etat tribe in Deir el-Zor (600 of whom were unarmed civilians); the 250 captives at the Tabqah air base in Al-Raqqah in August, 2014; Kurdish and Lebanese soldiers, and many untold others whom God knows. These are heinous war crimes.
“When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph considers the interests … (of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o9.14)
“As for the captives, the amir has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first, to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale or manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them.” (Al-Ahkam As-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), 4.5)
If you claim that the Prophet killed some captives in some battles, then the answer is that he only ordered that two captives be killed at the Battle of Badr: Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt and Nadr ibn Al-Harith. They were leaders of war and war criminals, and the execution of war criminals is permissible if the ruler orders it. This is also what Saladin did upon conquering Jerusalem, and what the Allies did during the Nuremberg trials after World War II. As for the tens of thousands of captives that fell under the jurisdiction of the Prophet over a span of ten years and 29 battles, he did not execute a single regular soldier; rather, he entrusted that they be treated with kindness . The Divine Decree regarding captives and prisoners of war is in God’s words: ‘…Thereafter either [set them free] by grace or by ransom …’ (Muhammad, 47: 4). God commanded that captives and prisoners of war be treated with dignity and respect: ‘And they give food, despite [their] love of it to the needy, and the orphan, and the prisoner.’ (Al-Insan, 76:
. Indeed, the true Sunnah of the Prophet regarding captives is pardon and amnesty, as was demonstrated during the Conquest of Mecca when the Prophet said: ‘I say as my brother Joseph said: “There shall be no reproach on you this day”. Go, for you are free! ’
As quoted above, Islamic law clearly allows for the killing of captives if the ruler deems it advantageous for the Muslims.
Finally, one of the most important principles when it comes to the manner of jihad is that only combatants may be killed; their families and non-combatants may not be killed intentionally. If you ask about the instance when the Prophet was asked about bystanders and women being killed with idolaters and he said: ‘They are from them ’, this Hadith refers to the killing of innocents by accident and in no way indicates that the intentional killing of innocents—such as in bombings—is permitted. As for God’s words: ‘… and be harsh with them …’ (Al-Tawbah, 9: 73); and: ‘… and let them find harshness in you …’ (Al-Tawbah, 9: 123), this is during war, not after it.
I quoted the “They are from them” hadith twice above. Look at it again. The Open Letter says: “this Hadith refers to the killing of innocents by accident and in no way indicates that the intentional killing of innocents—such as in bombings—is permitted.” But the hadith says that the women and children of the polytheists were being killed during the night raid. They were collateral damage of the raid, just as they today might be collateral damage of a bombing — and Muhammad allows for that. Hamas-linked CAIR, the Fiqh Council and the scholars are here obscuring the plain meaning of the passage.