By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
Oct. 05, 2013
Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009
- This is complementary to his article dated Sept. 30 under the caption: ‘Repudiating Fanaticism after the Westgate Mall Massacre’
Dear Prof. Richard Falk,
My sincere congratulations to you for your erudite essay, captioned, ‘Repudiating fanaticism after Westgate Mall massacre’ that speaks loudly of your scholarship, your clear and unbiased understanding of the dynamics of terror, your wisdom and your deep insight into human nature. As a Muslim and a peace loving global citizen wishing harmonious relation among all communities, and particularly between Islam and the rest of the world, I am deeply indebted to you for bringing across the symbiosis of terror across all faith communities, citing examples from Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, and warning the world about the danger and error in blaming Islam for the present day terror milieu.
As relevant and critically important at this moment in the context of emerging intractable global terror network, I have done a point by point refutation of an 8-part fatwa issued recently by one of Al-Qaida’s leading theologians, Yusuf Al Abeeri. I am tabling below a synopsis of the exercise to give you and the readers an idea of how its think-tank is mixing fact with fiction, applying dialectic methods, quoting apocryphal materials, opinions of scholars and out of context Qur'anic verses and engaging in tautology to bombard the non-technical reader with un-Islamic sadistic notions in a complex and daunting discourse that he can hardly follow except for what constantly meets his eyes . As observed in the concluding remark of Part-1 of the Fatwa : “A deadly spiritual potion is thus being brewed under the cloak of a fatwa which contradicts the Qur'an on many counts, is self contradictory, bizarre and untenable on others, suicidal for Islam and the broader Muslim community and a grave threat to human civilization.”
The Synopsis Of The Refutation Follows
Part-1 The Fatwa begins with the redefinition of 'innocence' in a relative manner to suggest that the civilians killed in 9/11 attacks shared ‘the guilt’, and deserved to be killed. This notion negates the principle of universal justice as enjoined by the Qur'an (VI Terms of Reference). It then abruptly moves on to a very gory and totally unrelated topic: mutilation of the corpse of the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle Hamza in the battlefield of Uhud, giving revolting details. It repeatedly references totally unrelated Qur'anic verses/passages 2:194, 16:126-128, and 42:39-42, which exhort restraint and patience in warfare, conceivably to give an association of the enemy’s barbaric act of mutilation with the Qur’an to its ignorant and unsuspecting readers, unaware that mutilation of corpses was purely a pre-Islamic custom and is neither mentioned in the Qur’an, nor ever practiced by Muslim army. Some of the arguments tabled contradict the Qur'an on many counts, are self contradictory, bizarre and untenable, and others, suicidal for Islam and the broader Muslim community and a grave threat to human civilization.
Part-2 continues to dwell on the gory theme of mutilation of corpses, repeats the unrelated verses 2:194 and 16:126 and adds another unrelated verse, 17:15 and a tradition on the Prophet’s prohibition of this pre-Islamic custom. However, as in Part-1, it adopts a complex discourse structure, that, with tautological impact, creates an association rather than disconnection between the barbaric custom of mutilation and Islamic message. Thus, a casual, fanatic or not too critical reader may appropriate sadism in his religious thoughts and thus get spiritually indoctrinated to committing acts of wanton terror. A casual non-Muslim reader may get a wrong notion.
Part-3 refers to the themes of two other verses, 2:178 and 59:6 (without mentioning their Sura/ serial number) in a superfluous manner to force fit them into the ongoing theme of the Fatwa – inflicting barbaric punishments, like forcing to drown or chopping off body parts or mutilating corpses, stoning to death, pushing from a height, battering to death with wood or confining without food and water until death in like for like retaliation.
Part-4 singularly blames America for all the sufferings and devastation of the Muslims and charges it of “overt and covert interference in the Muslim countries in order to cause bloodshed and kill innocent people.” It also blames America for whatever is happening in Philippines, Indonesia, Kashmir, Macedonia and Bosnia and thus holds it responsible for all the trials and tribulations, the Muslims are going through and concludes: “killing of American women, children and the elderly people and other non-combatants is permissible (by Shariah), rather it is one of the categories of jihad God and his prophet (PBUH) have ordered.”
Part-5 lays down several tiers of arguments, all drawn on mostly apocryphal traditions (none from the authenticated Bukhari or Muslim compilations) and ‘unanimous opinion’ of scholars to establish a Maslah (core principle) allowing for the killing of children, women and the elderly among the pagans only when they are in a place or situation when a distinction between a combatant and non-combatant cannot be made.
Part-6 Like its preceding part (Part-5), this part also draws entirely on Ahadith (traditions) and ‘unanimous opinion’ of scholars. It begins with pronouncing Islam’s prohibition of the killing of women and children, elderly, clergy and non-combatants caught in war,” which is consistent with the Qur’anic message (9:6, not referenced), but in the same breadth justifies their killing when “they put up arms against the Muslims or render such service that comes under co-operation or support in the fight against the Muslims, be it through espionage, providing aid or taking part in similar activities.”
Part-7 As in the last two parts (5 and 6) it draws entirely on the opinion of scholars and a few very sparsely worded self contradictory Ahadith (traditions) and does not cite a single Qur’anic verse in its support. It refers to an alleged burning of date palms of the Jewish tribe Banu Nadir based on Hadith sources (Imam al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Acc. 365, 366, not expressly mentioned in the Fatwa), thus distorting the Qur’anic testimony regarding the cutting down (not burning) of some date palms (59:5). In a macabre twist of argument, it parallels arson with gruesome acts like “leaving snakes, scorpions and other dangerous insects among the defense establishments (domain) of the enemy and, notably the abode of common Americans reflecting the Kharijite ideology that justified “the killing of the children of the infidels, their own parents, and all the non-Muslims of the world.”
Part-8 singularly focuses on brutal and mass killing of the enemy. It begins with the lawfulness of burning the enemy as it debated earlier [Part-7], and symbiotically appropriates “opening the dams of rivers and lakes” to drown the inmates of a fort or besieged town, launching mortar attack and “releasing snakes and scorpions on the enemy even if the women and children are also mixed with the men.”
1. The Fatwa is targeted at Muslims who suffer deep seated frustrations and live in profound agony, having lost all hopes in life - people who have borne the full brunt of the recent allegedly just invasions of Muslim lands (Afghanistan, Iraq), the war on terror by any country - non-Muslim (America, France, Britain) or Muslim (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria), Israel’s occupation of Muslim lands and overwhelmingly disproportionate defensive military operations, India’s counter-terror activities in Kashmir, repressive actions in many Muslim minority countries to crush separatist movements or simply mob violence (communal riots, genocide, ethnic cleansing, ghettoisation/ virtual though unofficial apartheid). This is to cite the major political events that have spelled doom to millions of Muslim civilians who neither hit the media nor get any justice or compensations.
2. Despite the escalating human and material cost of violence - whether of terror or counter-terror nature including just wars, the sceptre of terror continues to haunt the world and threaten its peace and stability. Hence, a peaceful path must be explored to tackle the growing menace of Kharijite brand of Islam as appropriated in the preservationist, puritanical Salafi/Jihadist ideology.
3. If those in power in the democratic and self proclaimed just and civilized world can redefine civilians caught in some military operations as terrorist and remain mute witnesses to the colossal loss of civilian life in modern high tech wars, the terror ideologues, groomed in the atavistic theology of early terror outfits of Islam (the Kharijties) can do likewise by drawing on their theological archives and this refutation on religious ground may fall on deaf ears.
4. This Refutation can have no, or at best a marginal impact in stemming the rising trend of militant jihad unless:
• The profoundly humanitarian crisis of the Palestinians is resolved and injustice and excessive use of violence against Muslim civilians such as in wars and counter-terror measures and mob terrorism (communal violence, genocide) is mitigated.
• The mainstream Muslim population is exempted from any blame for the terror-crime of a lone or handful of sleeping or ideological terrorists, for he/she may be as unconnected with a terror attack as any non-Muslim citizen.
• Malicious stereotyping/ hateful Islamophobic narratives, designs (Qur’an burning for example) and publications must be regarded as hate crimes as they reflexively evoke hatred, conduce to fanaticism, and erupt in terrorism.
Let me wind up this letter with your words, albeit with slight modification: “As humans, we must strike at the root of fanaticism or we are doomed.”
Summing Up: Refutation of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Supporting Wanton Killing of Innocent Civilians under Special Circumstances and Thus Justifying the 9/11 Attacks – Part – 8
Refutation Of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Appearing In English Translation In New Age Islam Website Supporting Wanton Killing Of Innocent Civilians Under Special Circumstances And Thus Justifying The 9/11 Attacks - Part-1
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
An excellent summation eloquently refuting the false argumentation of fanatical jihadists.