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-5.
By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
(Co-author Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
Feb. 07, 2013
The Fatwa opens with a Maslah (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 (i). It corroborates this principle by a Hadith narrated by As Sa’ab, that when asked about the permissibility of nightly raid when women and children of the enemy could be killed, the Prophet gave this cryptic answer ‘they are from among them’ (ii). The Fatwa then repeats the above Maslah with slight textual modification by citing “the view of majority of Ulema,” and quoting from Asqalani (Bari Vol. 6 p 146). It then quotes Imam Nawawi’s clarification on the strength of Imam Malik and Abu Hanifa that the Maslah (ii) was applicable only during attacks when distinction cannot be made between men, women and children. (Volume 7 page 325, Sahih Muslim).
The Fatwa then brings a twist in the interpretation of the Prophet’s cryptic remark (ii above) by quoting Ibn Aseer (Jamiul Usool Vol. 2 p 733) to regarding children and women and their other family members on equal footing in the eye of the Sharia (law), but quotes Ibn-e-Qadamah (Al Mughni, Vol. 10 p 153) forbidding “any target killing of children and women in their homes in nightly attacks.” It then quotes Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal to justify nocturnal raids as “the raids on the Romans had been carried out only at nights.”
The Fatwa also cites Ahmad bin Hanbal quoting the Hadith from As Sa’ab (ii above) furnishing its full isnad to establish the authenticity of the Prophet’s cryptic remark: ‘they are from among them’ and paraphrases the opening Maslah (i) to read: “if any one intends to kill children and women specifically, it will not be permitted.”
The Fatwa also refers to the Prophet’s previously unqualified instruction to Ibn-e-Abil Haqeeq “forbidding the killing of women” and clarifies on the strength of Ahmad bin Hanbal that the Hadith narrated by As Sa’ab (ii above) came after this Hadith and thus established its incontestable validity.
Fatwa’s Deduction of a General Principle Allowing Killing of Women and Children in Attacks
The Fatwa argues that as it is clear that the Prophet did not ask about the compelling circumstances that warranted nightly attack risking the lives of women and children, “the Maslah (i) can be deemed applicable for all tricky situations”, and uses this premise to infer that “it is permissible for the Islamic army to make sudden assault when they find it imperative, mindless of the killing of children, women and the elderly in the process even if there is no urgent need to carry out the raid.” It further argues that since the permission for “the killing of children and women during night attacks was designed to weaken the enemy and break their defensive system, their ‘citadels’ can be destroyed even if non-combatants are killed in the process.
Fatwa’s Final Twist of Argument to Justify the 9/11 Attacks
In its concluding part, the Fatwa parallels the enemy’s ‘citadels’ with strategic centers and thus justifies sudden attack on the strategic centers of the enemy killing its warriors. The Fatwa then takes a wild leap in argument and equates the purely civilian victims of 9/11 with more than twenty thousand warriors and concludes he (the Prophet) who permitted the killing of innocent people because of their inability to be distinguished from the warriors will also permit the killing of those killed as a result of the 9/11 attacks because they also could not be identified and singled out in the strategic centers who were comparatively more important than the combatants.”
Paradoxically, the Prophet’s cryptic remark (ii above) cited to justify killing of women, children and the elderly in nightly raids (i above) can also be interpreted as an instruction to protecting them. Such an interpretation will be consistent with the Qur’anic command to reach civilians from the enemy camp caught in armed encounter to place of safety (9:6) and not to transgress limits (2:190):
“If anyone of the pagans seeks your protection* (O Muhammad), grant him protection, so that he may hear the words of God; and then deliver him to a place, safe for him. That is because they are a people without knowledge” (9:6) *[Lit., ‘seeks to become your neighbor.’]
“Fight in God’s way those who fought against you, but do not exceed limits. Surely God does not love those who exceed limits (2:190).
Refutation of Fatwa
1. It contradicts the Qur’anic ordinance to protecting the non-combatants and reaching them to safe havens (9:6) and not to transgressing limits (2:190) as informed by the pre-Islamic tradition of sparing the non-combatants.
2. It shows the Prophet authorizing the killing of children, women and the elderly which contradicts his Qur’anic title of ‘mercy to all humanity’ – Rehmat al ‘Alamin (21:107) and militates against the Qur’anic evidence made in full light of history that the Prophet was mild to his men even after their lapses in Uhad expedition (3:159) and readily excused others from taking part in Tabuk expedition (9:43).
3. It is essentially built around a very cryptic response of the Prophet translated as ‘they are from among them’- an expression that can be interpreted as an instruction to protecting the non-combatants.
4. In an absurd analogy, it treats the civilian casualties of 9/11 attacks as more important than combatants.
The Fatwa is built entirely around a Hadith that contains a cryptic response of the Prophet regarding the permissibility of launching an attack at night when children, women and the elderly could be killed. Though traditionally regarded as the second source of law after the Qur’an, the jurists including the pioneering compilers of the Hadith have expressed strong reservations about the technical authenticity of the Ahadith they recorded in their compilations  and therefore, any fatwa that rests entirely on the Ahadith and juristic opinions and is not supported by the Qur’an as the Fatwa under review must be viewed with great caution. But a Fatwa that contradicts the Qur’an, or makes a mockery of any of its proclamations (by showing one whom the divine speech describes as mercy to humanity authorizing killing of children, women and the elderly) as this Fatwa (Part-5) purports to do is simply absurd and thus stands incontestably refuted.
The Part-4 of the Fatwa had concluded with cumulative refutation of the first four parts for their failure to draw any legitimacy from the Qur’an, and being antithetic to the Qur’anic message. This part has made no reference whatsoever to the Qur’an and is otherwise decisively refuted as above. Hence the first five parts of the Fatwa remain individually and cumulatively refuted.
Defending the Hadith and its Compilers – the Great Imams who are sometimes misunderstood and even reviled
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-4.https://www.newageislam.com/islamterrorism-and-jihad/muhammad-yunus-new-age-islam/refutation-of-sheikh-yousuf-al-abeeri-s-fatwa-supporting-wanton-killing-of-innocent-civilians-–-part-7/d/10516
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.