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-6.
By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009.
Like its preceding part (Part-5), this part also draws entirely on Ahadith. As mentioned under the Refutation of the latter, though traditionally regarded as the second source of law after the Qur’an, the jurists including the pioneering compilers of Ahadith 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.
The Fatwa discourse (Part-6) has a singular theme: to reverse the Islam’s fundamental principle of ensuring safety for civilians (children, women, elderly, clergy and non-combatants) caught in war  to justifying 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” . The discourse refers to the Islamic principle of non-violence towards the non-combatants among the enemies  four times and quotes the justification for killing them  with slight textual variation eleven times – with corroboration by similar number of ahadith and ‘unanimous opinions’ of scholars. The monotonous reference to the theme of ‘killing of children, women and the elderly’ either in prohibition or justification argument conceivably aims at registering this crude and sadistic notion as religious obligation in the mind of a traumatized and emotionally disoriented and shaken audience, witness to the horrifying consequences and harrowing human tragedies of high-tech and politically justified war upon its own civilians. Thus, by the time the target reader reaches the end part of the Fatwa, he/ she is mentally conditioned to accept as a religious dictate its concluding statement: “the killing of women, children and the old will be permissible when they co-operate with the enemy in any form.” Regardless of its political justification or otherwise, the principle expressly violates the Qur’anic commands to ensuring safety of the civilians from the enemy camp caught in armed encounter (9:6), and prohibition of killing any innocent person except by due process of law (5:32) as noted in Parts 5 and 4 of refutation. As such the Fatwa stands refute.
A Most Perverted Sexual Aspect and Technically Absurd Proposition of the Fatwa
In its eighth repetition of the justification of killing civilians during armed confrontation the Fatwa quotes a Hadith that seems to epitomize the vilest perversion of human imagination and is no less absurd technically. It shows the Prophet’s army laying a siege to Taif beholding a scantily dressed woman standing atop the enemy’s fort, and, on Prophet’s order, shooting at her private part, and argues that under such a situation it should be permissible to take a close look at the private part of a female accomplice of the enemy to train an arrow at her. Sexual perversion apart, it defies the indubitable fact that it is almost impossible for an archer of an army laying siege to a town, from a distance of course, to make out the sex and the outfit of someone standing atop the enemy fort, and simply impossible to take a close look at her private part from long distance with the naked eye as those warriors had no telescopes.
Since the Fatwa does not table a single Qur’anic verse in its support and since its theme of justifying the killing of children, women, the elderly and the non-combatants “when they co-operate with the enemy in any form” stands in contradiction to the Qur’anic message on ensuring safety of the civilians from the enemy camp caught in armed encounter (9:6), and prohibition of killing any innocent person except by due process of law (5:32) as noted in Parts 5 and 4 of refutation, it stands refuted as a religious edict. However, from a purely political and secular perspective, if those in power in the democratic and self proclaimed just and civilized world can redefine civilian caught in some military operations as terrorist (as in the air), those waging terror ideologues and groomed in the atavistic theology of early terror outfits of Islam (the Kharijies) can do likewise by drawing on their theological archives, and this refutation on religious ground may fall on deaf ears.
The term Kharijite means “those who are expelled from the realm of Islam.” The sect was born within decades after the Prophet’s death when an extremist band of the followers of Caliph Ali broke away from the community in protest against his holding negotiation with his rebellious governor of a province (Syria), Mu‘awiyah. Philip K. Hitti refers to the Kharijites as a brutally fanatic puritanical sect who abhorred the veneration of saints, readily killed their opponents and “caused rivers of blood to flow in the first three centuries of Islam” . Abdul Quader Jilani (d. 561/1166) has described the Kharijites as a sect that disowned the community of Muslims, “raised swords against the caliphs and made lawful their blood and their wealth... some of their sects justifying the killing of the children of the infidels, their own parents, and all the non-Muslims of the world” . Hence, this refutation of the their Fatwa or any other far more exhaustive refutation can make little or impact to a sect, that “caused rivers of blood to flow in the first three centuries of Islam” .
Use of force cannot eradicate an ideology. Ideology must be countered with ideology. Secular democratic principles that appropriate wars, sanctions, forced occupation and eviction and turn a blind eye to its colossal fallout on the civilians and collateral damages provoke a volcanic eruption of shock and grief that conduces to promote this ideology among the directly affected group or their kinsmen. Only a saleable anti-terror ideology such as enshrined in the Qur’an when understood in a historical critical and holistic manner can help diffuse the Kharijite ideology that the proponent of the Fatwa is espousing under the name of Salafi Islam. As this ideology of crude retribution is preserved and propagated in ultra-conservative religious universities in many Muslim countries of the world, notably, it’s very heartland and aggressively promoted by the Saudi Government under its global propagation campaign, these agencies must stop the propagation of this anti-Qur’anic ideology while propagating the Islamic message. If they don’t do it voluntarily, they must be made to do it through scholarly/diplomatic persuasion or political leverage and other non-violent means.
Violence is contagious and breeds violence. With the escalating human and material cost of violence - whether of terror or counter-terror origin, the sceptre of terror haunting the West and the peace and stability of the world at stake, a peaceful path must be explored to tackle the growing menace of Kharijite/ Salafi brand of Islam as appropriated in the preservationist, puritanical Wahabi ideology.
1. History of the Arabs, 1937, 10th edition; London 1993, p. 247]
2. Ghunit al-talebin, Urdu translation by Shahir Shams Barelwi, Arshad Brothers, New Delhi p.178-180
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.
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.