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)
Dr. Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri, Alias ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’,
The Fighters and Followers of the Self-Declared ‘Islamic State’,
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]
advice1.’ 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 speeches2, Abu Muhammad
Al-Adnani said: ‘God bless Prophet Muhammad who was sent with the sword as a
mercy to all worlds.’3This 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 wrath4.”’ 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.
1. Narrated by Muslim in Kitab al-Iman, no.
2 Published by Sawarim Media on YouTube on
April 3rd, 2014.
3 Ibn Taymiyyah says in Majmua’ Al-Fatawa (Vol.
28, p. 270), ‘The Prophet said, “I was sent with the sword as a sign of the
Final Hour so that none would be worshipped save God, alone, with no partner.
My sustenance has been placed under the shadow of my spear. Lowliness and
humiliation will come to those who disobey my teachings. Whosoever imitates
people is one of them.” Ahmad narrates this Hadith in his Musnad [Vol. 2, p.50]
on the authority of Ibn Umar, and Bukhari cites it.’ However, the Hadith has a
weak chain of narrators.4Narrated by Bukhari in Kitab al-Tawhid, no. 7422, and
by Muslim in Kitab al-Tawbah, no. 2751.
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 Sharia’h 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, Qur’anic 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.
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, and 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’an5. 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.6’ This proves that the meaning of ‘Istikhlaf’ here is not ruler
ship but, rather, dwelling on their land.
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 Fire7.’
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.
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 theones 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 one8.’
5Ibn Taymiyyah says in Majmua’ Al-Fatwa (Vol.
13, p. 341), ‘Tautology in [the Arabic] language is rare and in the Qur’an, it
is even rarer or nonexistent.’ Al-Raghib Al-Asfahani says in Mufradat Al-Qur’an(p.
55), ‘This book is followed ... by a book that informs the use of synonyms and
their subtle differences. By doing so, the uniqueness of every expression is
distinguishable from its synonyms.’
6 Tafsir Al-Tabari(Vol. 9, p. 28).
7 Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi in Tafsir
Al-Qur’an, no. 2950.
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 them9.’
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 (Da’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 language10.’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 (Da’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.
5. Practical Jurisprudence (Fiqh
Al-Waq’i): What is meant by ‘practical jurisprudence’ is the process of
applying Sharia’h 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 people’s 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 them11.’ 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.12’
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 neither were neithercombatant nor armed,
just because they disagree with your opinions13.
by Bukhari in Kitab al-Hudud, no. 6786, and by Muslim in Kitab al-Fada’il, no 2327.
by Abu Dawood in Kitab Al-Adab, no. 4904.
by Al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Adab, no. 6030.
11. Al-Ghazali, Al-Mustasfa fi Usul
Al-Fiqh, (Vol. 1, p. 420).
12 Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah,I’lam
Al-Muqi’een ‘an Rabbil-‘Alamin, (Vol. 4, p. 157).
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 killed14.’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
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. 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 word ‘jihad’ is an Islamic term that cannot be applied to armed conflict
against any other Muslim; this much is a firmly established principle.
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.15’ 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 jihad16.’ If you say that this Hadith is
weak or apocryphal, 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 reat 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.17”’ 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. 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.
13 The Prophet did not kill the hypocrites
who disagreed with him, nor did he permit that they be killed. Indeed the
Prophet said: ‘So that people do not say that Muhammad killed his companions.’
Narrated by Bukhari in Kitab Tafsir al-Qur’an, no. 4907, and by Muslim in Kitab
al-Birr wal-Silah, no. 2584
14. Narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad,
(Vol. 6, p. 306).
15. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Jihad, no. 3004.
16 Narrated by Al-Bayhaqi in Kitab al-Zuhd,
(Vol. 2, p. 165), and by Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi in Tarikh Baghdad, (Vol. 3, p.
17 Narrated by Imam Malik in Al-Muwatta’;
Kitab al-Nida’ Lissalah, no. 490, also narrated by Al-Tirmidhi in Kitab
al-Da’awat, and by Ibn Majah in Kitab al-Adab, no. 3790, and corrected by
Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak (Vol. 1, p. 673).
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: 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 God18.’ 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 ...19’.
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 school20.
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 God21.’This is
the goal of jihad once war has been waged on Muslims. 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.
18. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Tawhid, no. 7458, and by Muslim in Kitab al-Imarah, no. 1904.
19. Narrated by Muslim in Kitab Al-Imarah,
20. Cf. Wahbi Al-Zuhayli’s Ahkam al-Harb
21. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Jihad, no. 2946.
And God suffices as itness.’ (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); nd: ‘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.22 ’ 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. 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
zevildoers.’ (Al-Baqarah, 2: 193). The circumstances and events of Sulh
al-Hudaybiyahare proof of this.
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 ...23.’ 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 safe24.’ 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 deacons25), 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 lives tock 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, Mighty26.’
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’et at 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.
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 kindness27. 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: 8). 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 rep roach on you this day”. Go, for you
are free! 28’
22. Narrated by Bukhari in his Sahih, Kitab
al-Jihad, no. 3053, and by Muslim in
23. Narrated by Muslim in Kitab al-Jihad,
no. 1731, and by Al-Tirmidhi in Kitab al-Diyyat, no. 1408.
24. Narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybain
Al-Musannaf (Vol. 6, p. 498).
25The deacons were armed, combatant
26. Narrated by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan
Al-Kubra, (Vol. 9, p. 90), and by Al-Marwazi in Musnad Abi Bakr, no. 21.
27. Narrated by Ibn Abdullah in Al-Isti’ab
(Vol. 2, p. 812), and by Al-Qurtubi in his
Tafsir (Vol. 19, p. 129): ‘Qatada said:
“God ordered that prisoners be treated well.”’
28. Narrated by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan
Al-Kubra, (Vol. 9, p. 118); Cf Fayd Al-Qadeer Sharh al-Jami’ al-Sagheer, (Vol.
5, p. 171).
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 them29’, this
Hadithrefers 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.
9. Declaring People Non-Muslim (Takfīr):
Some misunderstandings about Takfīr are a result of the exaggeration of some
Salafi scholars in matters of Takfīr(declaring people non-Muslim), and in their
exceeding of what Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim have said in many important aspects.
In brief, Takfīr can be summarised correctly as follows:
a. Quintessentially in Islam, anyone who
says: ‘There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God’ is a Muslim
and cannot be declared a non-Muslim. God says: ‘O you who believe, when you are
going forth in the way of God, be discriminating and do not say to him who
offers you peace: 'You are not a believer, desiring the transient goods of the
life of this world. With God are plenteous spoils. So you were formerly, but
God has been gracious to you. So be discriminating. Surely God is ever Aware of
what you do.’ (Al-Nisa’, 4: 94). The meaning of‘ be discriminating’ in the above
verse is to ask them: ‘Are you Muslims?’ The answer is to be taken at
face-value without questioning or testing their faith. Moreover, the Prophet
Muhammad said: ‘Woe to you! Look! After I die, do no return to being
non-believers, striking each other’s necks30.’The Prophet also said: ‘... so
whoever says: “There is no god but God” saves himself and his wealth except as
permitted by law, and his reckoning is with God.31’ Ibn Omar and the Lady Aisha
also said: ‘Declaring the people of the Qiblah as non-Muslim is not
b. This issue is of the utmost importance
because it is used to justify the spilling of Muslim blood, violating their
sanctity, and usurping their wealth and rights. God says: ‘And whoever slays a
believer deliberately, his requital is Hell, abiding therein, and God is wroth
with him and has cursed him, and has prepared for him a mighty chastisement.’
(Al-Nisa’, 4: 93).Moreover, the Prophet said: ‘Whoever says to his brother “O
disbeliever”, it will certainly be true of one of them33.’ God has warned, in
the strongest terms, against killing anyone who verbally declares his Islam:
‘... And so if they stay away from you and do not fight you, and offer you
peace, then God does not allow you any way against them.’ (Al-Nisa’, 4: 90).
The Prophet warned against accusing people of polytheism and of taking up the
sword against them; he said: ‘The person I fear for you the most is the man who
has read the Qur’an ... cast it off and thrown it behind him, and taken up the
sword against his neighbour and accused him of polytheism34.’ It is not
permissible to kill any Muslim, (nor indeed any human being), who is unarmed
and a non-combatant. Usamah Ibn Zayd narrated that, after he killed a man who
had said: ‘There is no god but God’, ‘the Prophet asked:“He said: ‘There is no
god but God’ and you killed him?!” I replied: “O Messenger of God, he only said
it out of fear of [our] arms.” He said: “Did you see inside his heart to know
whether or not he meant it?35”’Recently, Shaker Wahib—who was affiliated with
what was known at the time as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL)—appeared in a YouTube video where he stopped unarmed civilians who said
they were Muslims. He then proceeded to ask them the number of prostrations (Rak’ahs)
in specific prayers. When they answered incorrectly, he killed them36. This is
absolutely forbidden under Islamic Law and is a heinous crime.
29. Narrated by Muslimin Kitab al-Jihad, no.
30. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Maghazi, no. 4403, and by Muslim in Kitab al-Iman, no. 66.
31. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Jihad, no. 2946.
32. As related in Al-Hafiz
Al-Haythami’sMajma’ Al-Zawa’id, (Vol. 1, p. 106).
33. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Adab, no. 6104.
34Narrated by Ibn Habban in his Sahih,
(Vol. 1, p. 282).
35. Narrated by Muslim in Kitab al-Iman,
no. 96. Another narration reads: ‘“Did you kill him after he said: ‘There is no
god but God”. I said: “He was trying to save himself”. [The Prophet] kept
repeating his words ...’. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Maghazi, no. 4369.
c. Peoples’ deeds are tied to the intent
behind those deeds. The Prophet said: ‘Actions are but by intention, and every
person will have what they intended ...37.’ Furthermore, God says: ‘When the
hypocrites come to you they say: ‘We bear witness that you are indeed the
Messenger of God’. And God knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and God
bears witness that the hypocrites truly are liars.’ (Al-Munafiqun, 63: 1). God
thus describes the words of the hypocrites regarding the Prophet’s message—an
indisputable fact—as lies, because their intention when saying it was to lie
even though it is true in itself. It is a lie because they uttered with their
tongues a truth that God knows their hearts reject. This means that disbelief
requires the intention of disbelief, and not just absentminded words or deeds.
It is not permissible to accuse anyone of disbelief without proof of the
intention of disbelief. Nor is it permissible to accuse anyone of being a
non-Muslim without ascertaining that intention. It is, after all, possible that
the person was coerced, ignorant, and insane or did not mean it. It is also
possible that he misunderstood a particular issue. God says: ‘Whoever
disbelieves in God after [having affirmed] his faith—except for him who is
compelled, while his heart is at rest in faith—but he who opens up his breast
to unbelief, upon such shall be wrath from God, and there is a great
chastisement for them.’ (Al-Nahl, 16: 106).
It is forbidden to interpret the
implications of a person’s deeds; only the person himself or herself may
interpret their own deeds—particularly when there is a difference of opinion
among Muslims regarding that particular deed. It is also forbidden to declare
others non-Muslim (Takfīr) based on any matter in which there is a difference
of opinion among Muslim scholars. It is forbidden to declare an entire group of
people non-Muslim. Disbelief applies only to individuals depending on their
deeds and intentions. God says: ‘No laden soul will bear another’s load.’
(Al-Zumar, 39: 7). Finally, it is forbidden to declare people who do not doubt
the disbelief of others, or refuse to declare them non-Muslim, as non-Muslim.
The reason this point has been discussed in
such detail is because you distributed the books of Muhammad bin Abdel-Wahhab
as soon as you reached Mosul and Aleppo. In any case, scholars—including Ibn
Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah—distinguish between the actions of a
disbeliever (Kafir)and declaring people non-Muslim (Takfīr). Even if a person
performs a deed that has elements of disbelief, this does not necessitate that
that person be judged as a disbeliever for the reasons presented earlier.
Al-hahabi38related that his teacher, Ibn Taymiyyah, used to say near the end of
his life: ‘I do not declare any member of the Ummah non-Muslim ... The Prophet
said: “Anyone who maintains his ablution is a believer”, so whoever observes
the prescribed prayers with ablution is a Muslim.’
This is a crucial point; the Prophet said:
‘Subtle shirk [i.e. associating partners with God] is when a man stands to pray
and embellishes his prayer for an onlooker39.’ He thereby described ostentation
in prayer as ‘subtle shirk’, which is minor shirk. This minor shirk, which some
worshippers fall into, is not considered major shirk and cannot lead to Takfīr
or to being cast out of the fold of Islam. For other than prophets and
messengers, everyone else worships God according to their capacity, and not as
God deserves. God says: ‘They measured not God with His true measure ...’
(Al-An’am, 6: 91); and: And they will question you concerning the Spirit. Say:
“The Spirit is of the command of my Lord. And of knowledge you have not been
given except a little”.’ (Al-Isra’, 17: 85). Nevertheless, God accepts such
worship. And people are not able to conceive of God, because:‘ ...There is
nothing like Him ..’(Al-Shura, 42: 11); and: ‘Vision cannot attain Him, but He
attains [all] vision ...’ (Al-An’am, 6:103). Nothing is known of Him except for
what He has revealed through revelation (al-wahy) or He imparted to the Prophet
Muhammad:‘... He casts the Spirit of His command upon whomever He will of His
servants ...’ (Ghafir, 40: 15). So how can anyone take up a sword against
others just because he or she believes that they do not worship God as He
deserves? No one worships God as He deserves except by His permission. More fundamentally,
the issue of shirk among the Arabs is moot, as the Prophet said: ‘The Devil has
lost hope that those who pray in the Arabian Peninsula will worship him, but
[aims] to sow discord among them40.’
36. YouTube video,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yrVPE_-f9I, June, 2014.
37. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab Bad’ al
Wahy, no. 1; also narrated by Muslim in Kitab al-Imarah, no. 1907
38. Al-Dhahabi’s Siyar A’lam Al-Nubala’,
(Vol. 11, p. 393).
39. Narrated by Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Zuhd,
10. People of the Scripture:
Regarding Arab Christians, you gave them three choices: jizyah (poll tax), the
sword, or conversion to Islam. You painted their homes red, destroyed their
churches, and in some cases, looted their homes and property. You killed some
of them and caused many others to flee their homes with nothing but their lives
and the clothes on their backs. These Christians are not combatants against
Islam or transgressors against it; indeed they are friends, neighbours and
co-citizens. From the legal perspective of Sharia’h they all fall under ancient
agreements that are around 1400 years old, and the rulings of jihad do not
apply to them. Some of their ancestors fought alongside the Prophet’s army
against the Byzantines; and thus have been citizens of the State of Medina
since that time. Others are under agreements that were guaranteed to them by
Omar ibn Al-Khattab, Khalid ibn Al-Walid, the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the
Ottomans and their respective states. In short, they are not strangers to these
lands, but rather, of thenative peoples of these lands from pre-Islamic times;
they are not enemies but friends. For the past 1400 years they have defended
their countries against the Crusaders, colonialists, Israel and other wars,
how, then, can you treat them as enemies? God says in the Qur’an: God does not
forbid you in regard to those who did not wage war against you on account of
religion and did not expel you from your homes that you should treat them
kindly and deal with them justly. Assuredly God loves the just.’
(Al-Mumtahanah, 60: 8).
As for jizyah, there are two types of
jizyah in Sharia’h (Islamic Law). The first type is that which is levied while
the subjects are ‘readily being subdued’. This applies to those who fought
Islam, as is understood from God’s words: ‘Fight those who do not believe in
God, nor in the Last Day, and who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have
forbidden, nor do they practise the religion of truth, from among of those who
have been given the Scripture, until they pay the Jizya tribute, readily being
subdued.’ (Al-Tawbah, 9: 29). As is clarified by a preceding verse in this Surah
(chapter of the Qur’an), those intended by this verse are parties who
pre-emptively attacked Muslims: ‘Will you not fight a people who broke their
oaths and intended to expel the Messenger -initiating against you first? Are
you afraid of them? God is more worthy of your fear if you are believers.’
(Al-Tawbah, 9:13)41 The second type of jizyah is levied on those who do not
wage war against Islam; it is levied on them instead of Zakat (which only
Muslims pay and which is higher in percentage than the jizyah) through a
covenant and without harshness. Omar ibn Al-Khattab agreed to call it ‘charity’
(Sadaqah). The jizyah is then deposited to the state treasury and is
distributed among citizens, including needy Christian citizens as Omar did
during his caliphate42.
11. Yazidis: You fought the Yazidis
under the banner of jihad but they neither fought you nor Muslims. You
considered them Satanists and gave them the choice to either be killed or be
forced into Islam. You killed hundreds of them and buried them in mass graves.
You caused the death and suffering of hundreds of others. Had it not been for
American and Kurdish intervention, tens of thousands of their men, women,
children and elderly would have been killed. These are all abominable crimes.
From the legal perspective of Sharia’h they are Magians, because the Prophet
said: ‘Treat them as you treat People of the Scripture43.’Thus they are People
of the Scripture. God says: ‘Truly those who believe and those of Jewry, and
the Sabaeans, and the Christians, and the Magians and the polytheists -God will
indeed judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Assuredly God, over all
things, is Witness.’ (Al-Hajj, 22: 17) Even if you doubt that they are People
of the Scripture, from the legal perspective of Shari’ah, many scholars of the
Pious Forebears considered them to be commensurate with Magians based on the
40. Narrated by Muslim in Kitab Sifat
al-Qiyamah wal-Jannah wal-Nar, no. 2812.
41. Al-Tabari says in his Tafsir(Vol. 6, p.
157): ‘In God’s words: “Fight those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last
Day ...” there is no negation of the meanings of pardon and amnesty ... If they
agree to being subdued and pay the jizyah after combat, it is permissible to
order that they be pardoned for intended treachery or oaths they planned to
break as long as they do not wage war without paying the jizyah or refuse to
follow laws that apply to them.
42. Jurists permitted the lifting of the
jizyah if some of them joined the Muslim army, as happened in the time of Omar
43. Narrated by Al-Imam Malik in
al-Muwatta’, in Kitab al-Zakat, no.617, and by Al-Shafi’i in his Musnad, no.
The Umayyads even considered Hindus and
Buddhists to be Dhimmis. Al-Qurtubi said: ‘Al-Awza’i said: “Jizyah is levied on
those who worship idols and fire, as well as on unbelievers and agnostics.”
This is also the Maliki position, for Imam Malik’s opinion was that jizyah is
levied on all idol worshippers and unbelievers, be they Arab or non-Arabs ...
except for apostates44.’
12. Slavery: No scholar of Islam
disputes that one of Islam’s aims is to abolish slavery. God says: ‘And what
will show you what the obstacle is?, the freeing of a slave, or to give food on
a day of hunger’ (Al-Balad, 90: 12-14); and: ‘... then [the penalty for them
is] the setting free of a slave before they touch one another ...’
(Al-Mujadilah, 58: 3). The Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah is that he freed all male
and female slaves who were in his possession or whom had been given to him45.
For over a century, Muslims, and indeed the entire world, have been united in
the prohibition and criminalization of slavery, which was a milestone in human
history when it was finally achieved. The Prophet said regarding the
pre-Islamic ‘League of the Virtuous’ (Hilf Al-Fudul) during the time of
Jahiliyyah: ‘Had I been asked to fulfil it in Islam, I would oblige46.’ After a
century of Muslim consensus on the prohibition of slavery, you have violated
this; you have taken women as concubines and thus revived strife and sedition (Fitnah),
and corruption and lewdness on the earth. You have resuscitated something that
the Sharia’h has worked tirelessly to undo and has been considered forbidden by
consensus for over a century. Indeed all the Muslim countries in the world are
signatories of anti-slavery conventions. God says: ‘... And fulfil the
covenant. Indeed the covenant will be enquired into.’ (Al-Isra’, 17: 34) You
bear the responsibility of this great crime and all the reactions which this
may lead to against all Muslims.
13. Coercion and Compulsion: God
says: ‘you are not a taskmaster over them’ (Al-Ghashiyah, 88: 22); and: ‘There
is no compulsion in religion. Rectitude has become clear from error ...’
(Al-Baqarah, 2: 256); and: ‘And if your Lord willed, all who are in the earth
would have believed together. Would you then compel people until they are
believers?’ (Yunus, 10: 99); and: ‘And say, “The truth [that comes] from your
Lord; so whoever will, let him believe, and whoever will, let him disbelieve”.’
(Al-Kahf, 18: 29); and: ‘You have your religion and I have my religion’
(Al-Kafirun, 109: 6).
It is known that the verse: ‘There is no
compulsion in religion’ was revealed after the Conquest of Mecca; hence, no one
can claim that it was abrogated. You have coerced people to convert to Islam
just as you have coerced Muslims to accept your views. You also coerce everyone
living under your control in every matter, great or small, even in matters
which are between the individual and God. In Al-Raqqa, Deir el-Zor and other
areas under your control, armed groups who call themselves ‘al-Hisbah’ make
their rounds, taking people to task as though they were assigned by God to
execute His commandments. Yet, not a single one of the Companions did this.
This is not enjoining the right and honourable and forbidding the wrong;
rather, it is coercion, assault, and constant, random intimidation. If God
wanted this, He would have obliged them over the minutest details of His
religion. God says: ‘... Have they not realised, those who believe, that had
God willed, He could have guided all mankind? ...’ (Al-Ra’d, 13: 31); and: ‘If
We will We will send down to them a sign from the heaven before which their
necks will remain bowed in humility.’ (Al-Shu’ara’, 26: 4).
14. Women: In simple terms, you
treat women like detainees and prisoners; they dress according to your whims;
they are not allowed to leave their homes and they are not allowed to go to
44. Al-Qurtubi’s Tafsir, (Vol. 8, p. 110).
45. Cf Ibn Kathir’s Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah
(Vol. 5, p. 284) in which he says: ‘The Prophet freed male and female slaves
... and after the Prophet died, there were absolutely no slaves of his to be
46Ma’rifatas-Sunan wa Al-Athar, Bayhaqi
(Vol. 11, p. 135); As-Sunan Al-Kubra, Bayhaqi (Vol. 6, p. 596); Sirah Ibn
Hisham(Vol. 1, p. 266).
Despite the fact that the Prophet said:
‘The pursuit of knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim47’, and despite the
fact that the first word revealed of the Qur’an was: ‘Read’. Nor are they neither
allowed to work or earn a living; nor allowed to move about freely and they are
forced to marry your fighters. God says: ‘O people, fear your Lord, Who created
you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them
scattered many men and women; and fear God by whom you claim [your rights] from
one another and kinship ties. Surely God has been watchful over you.’
(Al-Nisa’, 4: 1). And the Prophet said: ‘Treat women well48.’
15. Children: You have made children
engage in war and killing. Some are taking up arms and others are playing with
the severed heads of your victims. Some children have been thrown into the fray
of combat and are killing and being killed. In your schools some children are
tortured and coerced into doing your bidding and others are being executed. These
are crimes against innocents who are so young they are not even morally
accountable. God says: ‘What is wrong with you, that you do not fight in the
way of God, and for the oppressed men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord,
bring us forth from this town whose people are evildoers and appoint for us a
protector from You, and appoint for us from You a helper”.’(Al-Nisa’, 4: 75).
16. Hudud (Punishment): Hudud punishments
are fixed in the Qur’an and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic
Law. However, they are not to be applied without clarification, warning,
exhortation, and meeting the burden of proof; and they are not to be applied in
a cruel manner. For example, the Prophet avoided Hudud in some circumstances,
and as is widely known, Omar ibn Al-Khattab suspended the Hudud during a
famine. In all schools of jurisprudence, Hudud punishments have clear
procedures that need to be implemented with mercy, and their conditions render
it difficult to actually implement them. Moreover, suspicions or doubts avert Hudud;
i.e. if there is any doubt whatsoever, the Hudud punishment cannot be
implemented. The Hudud punishments are also not applied to those who are in
need or deprived or destitute; there are no Hudud for the theft of fruits and
vegetables or for stealing under a certain amount. You have rushed to enact the
hudud while, in reality, conscientious religious fervour makes implementing Hudud
punishments something of the utmost difficulty with the highest burden of
17. Torture: Your captives and some
of those who were under your control have said that you tortured and terrorized
them through beatings; murder and various other forms of torture, including
burying people alive. You have decapitated people with knives, which are one of
the cruellest forms of torture and is forbidden in Islamic Law (Sharia’h). In
the mass killings you have committed—which are forbidden under Islamic Law—your
fighters mock those they are about to kill by telling them that they will be
killed like sheep, bleating and then indeed butchering them like sheep. Your
fighters are not satisfied with mere killing; they add humiliation, debasement
and mockery to it. God says: ‘O you who believe, do not let any people deride
another people: who may be better than they are ...’ (Al-Hujjurat, 49: 11).
18.Mutilation:Not only have you
mutilated corpses, you have stuck the decapitated heads of your victims on
spikes and rods and kicked their severed heads around like balls and broadcast
it to the world during the World Cup—a sport that is permissible in principle
in Islam and which allows people to relieve stress and forget their problems.
You jeered at corpses and severed heads and broadcast these acts from the
military bases you overran in Syria. You have provided ample ammunition for all
those who want to call Islam barbaric with your broadcasting of barbaric acts
which you pretend are for the sake of Islam. You have given the world a stick
with which to beat Islam whereas in reality Islam is completely innocent of
these acts and prohibits them.
19. Attributing Crimes To God In The
Name Of Humility: After tying Syrian soldiers of the 17th Division in
North-eastern Syria to barbed wire, you cut off their heads with knives and
posted a video of this on the internet. In the video you said: ‘We are your
brothers, the soldiers of the Islamic State. God has favoured us with His grace
and victory by conquering the 17th Division; a victory and favour through God.
We seek refuge in God from our might and power. We seek refuge in God from our
weapons and our readiness.’ You thus attributed this heinous crime to God, and
made as if this were an act of humility to God, by saying that He did it and
not you. But God says: ‘And when they commit any indecency they say, “We found
our fathers practising it, and God has enjoined it on us”. Say, “God does not
enjoin indecency. Do you say concerning God that which you do not know?”’
(Al-A’raf, 7: 28).
47. Narrated by Ibn Majah, no. 224, and by
Al-Tabarani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabir(10/195).
48. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Nikah, no. 5186; and by Muslim in Kitab al-Rida’, no. 1468
20. Destruction Of The Graves And Shrines
Of Prophets And Companions. You have blown up and destroyed the graves of
Prophets and Companions. Scholars disagree on the subject of graves. Nevertheless,
it is not permissible to blow up the graves of Prophets and Companions and
disinter their remains, just as it is not permissible to burn grapes under the
pretext that some people use them to make wine. God says: ‘... Those who
prevailed regarding their affair, “We will verily set up over them, a place of
worship”.’ (Al-Kahf, 18:21); and: ‘... Take to yourselves Abraham's station for
a place of prayer ...’ (Al-Baqarah, 2: 125). The Prophet said: ‘I had
previously prohibited you from visiting graves. Permission has been granted for
Muhammad to visit his mother’s grave, so visit them [i.e. graves] for they
remind [one] of death and the Hereafter49.’ Visiting graves reminds people of
death and the Hereafter; God says in the Qur’an: ‘Rivalry [in worldly things]
distracts you until you visit the graves.’ (Al-Takathur, 102: 1-2)
Your former leader, Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi
said: ‘In our opinion, it is obligatory to destroy and remove all
manifestations of shirk(idolatry) and to prohibit all means that lead to it
because of Muslim’s narration in his Sahih: on the authority of Abu Al-Hiyaj
A-Asadi, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said: “Should I not tell you what he [i.e. the
Prophet] sent me to do: not to leave a statue without obliterating it nor a
raised grave without levelling it.”’ However, even if what he said were true,
it does not apply to the graves of Prophets or Companions, as the Companions
were in consensus regarding burying the Prophet and his two Companions, Abu
Bakr and Omar, in a building that was contiguous to the Prophet’s Mosque.
21. Rebelling Against the Leader. It
is impermissible to rebel against the leader who is not guilty of declared and
candid disbelief (al-Kufr al-Bawwah); i.e. disbelief that he himself admits to
openly and where all Muslims are in consensus regarding such a person being a
non-Muslim—or by his prohibiting the establishment of prayers. The evidence of
this is in God’s words’ you who believe, obey God, and obey the Messenger and
those in authority among you ...’ (Al-Nisa’, 4: 59). The Prophet also said:
‘Listen and obey even if an Abyssinian whose head is like a raisin is given
authority over you50.’ The Prophet also said: ‘The best of your rulers are
those whom you love and who love you, who invoke God’s blessings upon you and
you invoke His blessings upon them. And the worst of your rulers are those whom
you hate and who hate you and whom you curse and who curse you. It was asked
(by those present): “Shouldn’t we overthrow them by the sword?” He said: “No,
as long as they establish prayer among you. If you then find anything
detestable in them, you should hate their administration, but do not withdraw
yourselves from their obedience51.”’As for a ruler who is a reprobate or
corrupt, he is to be removed by those qualified to elect or dispose a caliph on
behalf of the Ummah(nation) (Ahl Al-Hall Wal-‘Aqd)—if possible—without sedition
(Fitnah), armed rebellion or bloodshed. However, he is not rebelled against. It
is forbidden to rebel against a leader even if he does not implement the Sharia’h
or a portion of it, for God says: ‘... Whoever does not judge according to what
God has revealed -such are the disbelievers.’ (Al-Ma’idah, 5: 44); and: ‘...
Whoever does not judge according to what God has revealed, those are the
evildoers.’ (Al-Ma’idah, 5: 45); and: ‘... Whoever does not judge according to
what God has revealed -those are the wicked.’ (Al-Ma’idah, 5: 47). So, there
are three levels of those who do not implement the Sharia’h: disbelief (Kufr),
evildoing (Fusuq) and wickedness (Dhulm). Whoever prevents the Sharia’h from
being practiced at all in a Muslim country is a disbeliever, but one who does
not implement part of it or only implements its higher purposes is merely an
evildoer or wicked. In some countries, the implementation of Sharia’h is
restricted due to matters of sovereignty on which national security depends,
and this is permissible. In summary, Ibn Abbas52 says that whoever does not
implement Shari’ah is a wicked evildoer, but he is not a disbeliever and
rebelling against him is forbidden. Ibn Abbas said that ruling by other than
God’s commandments is ‘disbelief short of disbelief.’ He also said: ‘It is not
the disbelief that they mean; it is not a disbelief that casts one from the
fold of religion.’
49. Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih, no.
977, and by Al-Tirmidhi, no. 1054 and by others.
50. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Ktab
al-Adhan, no. 693.
51. Narrated by Muslim in Kitab al-Imarah,
22. The Caliphate: There is
agreement (Ittifaq) among scholars that a caliphate is an obligation upon the
Ummah. The Ummah has lacked a caliphate since 1924 CE. However, a new caliphate
requires consensus from Muslims and not just from those in some small corner of
the world. Omar ibn Al-Khattab said: ‘Whosoever pledges allegiance to a man
without due consultation with Muslims has fooled himself; and neither he nor
the man to whom he pledged allegiance should be followed for he has risked both
their lives53. ’Announcing a caliphate without consensus is sedition (Fitna)
because it renders the majority of Muslims who do not approve it outside of the
caliphate. It will also lead to many rival caliphates emerging, thereby sowing
sedition and discord (Fitna) among Muslims. The beginnings of this discord
reared its head when the Sunni imams of Mosul did not pledge allegiance to you
and you killed them.
In your speech you quoted the Companion Abu
Bakr Al-Siddiq : ‘I have been given authority over you, and I am not the best
of you.’ This begs the question: who gave you authority over the Ummah? Was it
your group? If this is the case, then a group of no more than several thousand
has appointed itself the ruler of over a billion and a half Muslims. This
attitude is based upon a corrupt circular logic that says: ‘Only we are Muslims
and we decide who the caliph is, we have chosen one and so whoever does not
accept our caliph is not a Muslim.’ In this case, a caliph is nothing more than
the leader of a certain group that declares more than 99% of Muslims
non-Muslim. On the other hand, if you recognize the billion and a half people
who consider themselves Muslims, how can you not consult (Shura) them regarding
your so-called caliphate? Thus, you face one of two conclusions: either you
concur that they are Muslims and they did not appoint you caliph over them—in
which case you are not the caliph—or, the other conclusion is that you do not
accept them as Muslims, in which case Muslims are a small group not in need of
a caliph, so why use the word ‘caliph’ at all? In truth, the caliphate must
emerge from a consensus of Muslim countries, organizations of Islamic scholars
and Muslims across the globe.
23. National Affiliations: In one of
your speeches you said: ‘Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for
Iraqis54.’ In the same speech, you called on Muslims from across the globe to
immigrate to lands under the control of the ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and the
Levant. By doing so, you take the rights and resources of these countries and
distribute them among people who are strangers to those lands, even though they
are of the same religion. This is exactly what Israel did when it invited
Jewish settlers abroad to immigrate to Palestine, evict the Palestinians and
usurp their ancestral rights and lands. Where is the justice in this?
Simply, patriotism and loving one’s country
does not contradict Islam’s teachings, rather, loving one’s country stems from
faith, being both instinctual and a Sunnah. The Prophet said, addressing Mecca:
‘How goodly a land you are, and how beloved you are to me. Were it not that my
people forced me to leave, I would not have lived anywhere else55.’ Patriotism
and love for one’s country have many proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah. God
says in the Qur’an: ‘And had we prescribed for them: “Slay yourselves” or
“Leave your habitations”, they would not have done it, save a few of them ...’
(Al-Nisa’, 4: 66). Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi commented: ‘Leaving one’s land is equal
to slaying oneself56.’and on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik, the Prophet
‘would, upon seeing the walls of Medina when returning from travel, hasten the
pace of his she-camel. If he was riding a mount, he would move it out of love
for [Medina]57.’ Ibn Hajar said: ‘This Hadith is proof of the virtue of Medina,
and of the legal validity of loving one’s country and longing for it58.’
52. Narrated by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak
‘ala as-Sahihayn, (Vol. 2, p. 342).
53. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Hudud, no. 6830.
54. BBC news online, 1st July 2014.
55. Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi in Kitab
al-Manaqib, no. 3926; and in Sahih Ibn Hibban
(Vol. 9, p. 23)
56 Mafatih Al-Ghayb, Al-Razi (Vol. 15, p.
515) in the exegesis of Al-Anfal, 8:75.
24. Emigration. You invited Muslims
from across the globe to immigrate to lands under the control of the ‘Islamic
State’ in Iraq and the Levant.59Abu Muslim Al-Canadi, a soldier of the ‘Islamic
State’, said: ‘Come and join us [in Syria] before the doors close60.’ It
suffices to repeat the words of the Prophet Muhammed who said: ‘There is no
emigration after the Conquest [of Mecca], but jihad and [its] intention
[remain]. And when you are called to war, march forward61.’
In conclusion, God has described Himself as
the ‘Most Merciful of the merciful’. He created man from His mercy. God says in
the Qur’an: ‘The Compassionate One has taught the Qur’an. He created an’ (Al-Rahman,
55: 1-3). And God created man for His mercy: ‘Had your Lord willed, He would
have made mankind one community, but they continue to differ, except those on
whom your Lord has mercy; and that is why He created them ...’ (Hud, 11:
118-119). Linguistically, ‘that’ refers back to the closest noun, which is
‘mercy’, not ‘differ’. This is the opinion of Ibn Abbas, who said: ‘He created
them for mercy62.’
The soundest way to attain this mercy is
the worship of God. God says: ‘And I did not create the jinn and mankind except
that they may worship Me.’ (Al-Dhariyat, 51: 56). Worshipping God is not a
favour that one bestows upon God, but rather, sustenance from Him: ‘I do not
desire from them any provision, nor do I desire that they should feed Me.
Indeed it is God Who is the Provider, the Lord of Strength, the Firm.’
(Al-Dhariyat, 51: 57-58). Furthermore, God revealed the Qur’an as a mercy from
Him: ‘And We reveal of the Qur’an that which is a cure, and a mercy for
believers ...’ (Al-Isra’, 17:82). Islam is mercy and its attributes are
merciful. The Prophet, who was sent as a mercy for all the worlds, summarized a
Muslim’s dealings with others by saying: ‘He who shows no mercy, will not be
shown mercy63’; and: ‘Have mercy and you will be shown mercy64.’ But, as can be
seen from everything mentioned, you have misinterpreted Islam into a religion
of harshness, brutality, torture and murder. As elucidated, this is a great
wrong and an offence to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world.
Reconsider all your actions; desist from
them; repent from them; cease harming others and return to the religion of
mercy. God says in the Qur’an: ‘Say [that God declares]: “O My servants who
have been prodigal against their own souls, do not despair of God’s mercy.
Truly God forgives all sins. Truly He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”’
And God knows best.
24th Dhul-Qi’da 1435 AH / 19th September
57. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Hajj,
58. Fath Al-Bari, Ibn Hajar (Vol. 3, p.
59. BBC news online, on 1st July 2014.
60He appeared in a recruitment video
produced by Hayat Media Centre, August, 2014.
61. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab
al-Jihad, no. 2783.
62. Cf Mafatih Al-Ghayb, Al-Razi (Vol. 18,
63. Narrated by Bukhari in Kitab al-Adab,
no. 5997, and by Muslim in Kitab al-Fada’il, no. 2318.
64. Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad (Vol.
2, p. 160).
The Saying of Ali bin Abi Talib(k.)
Nu’aym ibn Hammad narrates in Al-Fitan,
that the 4th Caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib said:
When you see the black flags, remain where
you are and do not move your hands or your feet. Thereafter there shall appear
a feeble insignificant folk. Their hearts will be like fragments of iron. They
will have the state. They will fulfill neither covenant nor agreement. They will
call to the truth, but they will not be people of the truth. Their names will
be parental attributions, and their aliases will be derived from towns. Their
hair will be free-flowing like that of women. This situation will remain until
they differ among themselves. Thereafter, God will bring forth the Truth
through whomever He wills65.
People are asking: does this narration by
Ali bin Abi Talib (k.)—that is related by Al-Bukhari’s teacher (Nu’aym bin
Hamad) over one thousand two hundred years ago in his book Al-Fitan—refer to
the ‘Islamic State’?
Is it possible to understand the narration
‘When you see the black flags’: The flags
of the ‘Islamic State’ are black.
‘Remain where you are’: i.e., stay where
you are, O Muslims, and do not join them.
‘And do not move your hands or your feet’:
i.e. do not help them financially or with equipment.
‘Thereafter there hall appear a feeble
insignificant folk’: i.e. ‘weak’ and ‘insignificant’ in terms of understanding
of religion, morality and religious practice.
‘Their hearts will be like fragments of
iron’: i.e. they will ruthlessly kill prisoners of war and cruelly torture
‘They will have the state ’: For almost a
century, no one has claimed to be an Islamic caliphate other than the current
‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and the Levant.
‘They will fulfill neither covenant nor
agreement’: The ‘Islamic State’ did not fulfil its agreement with the Sha’etat
tribe after the tribe pledged allegiance to them; indeed the ‘Islamic State’
slaughtered them by the hundreds. They also killed journalists.
‘They will call to the truth’: The ‘Islamic
State’ calls to Islam.
‘But they will not be people of the truth’:
The people of the truth are merciful. The Prophet Muhammad said:
‘Have mercy and you will be shown mercy.’
‘Their names will be parental
attributions’: Like: ‘Abu Muthanna’, ‘Abu Muhammad’,
Muslim’ and so on.
‘And their aliases will be derived from
towns’: Like: ‘Al-Baghdadi’,
‘al-Zarqawi’, ‘al-Tunisi’ and so on.
‘Their hair will be free-flowing like that
‘Islamic State’ fighters have hair
precisely like this.
‘Until they differ among themselves’: Like
the differences between the ‘Islamic State’ and its parent, the al-Nusra Front
(al-Qaeda in Syria). The fighting between these two has led to around ten thousand
deaths in a single year.
‘Thereafter, God will bring forth the truth
through whomever He wills ’: through a clear and correct Islamic proclamation
(like this open letter).
The sage Luqman says in the Qur’an:
‘O my son! Even if it should be the weight
of a grain of mustard-seed, and [even if] it be in a rock, or in the heavens,
or in the earth, God will bring it forth. Truly God is Subtle, Aware.’ (Luqman,
65. Narrated by Nu’aym ibn Hammad in Kitab
Al-Fitan, Hadith no 573.
Hats Off says, "he will probably repeat all the same references and come to an opposite conclusion." . . .
It does not mean that those who derive a message of peace and sanity should keep quiet.
Rational says, "cherry picking of verses is the most relished work of all Muslims." . . .
If you are going to eat the cherries, you must cherry-pick. If you want to use the cherries to defame a cherry orchard, you will cherry-pick too, but you will pick the worst cherries.