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Refutation of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Supporting Wanton Killing of Innocent Civilians – Part 4



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.

By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)

Feb. 05, 2013

1. The fatwa in light of the Qur’an – a cumulative review.

This part quotes two Qur’anic verses one each from Surah al Baqura and al Nahl  (2:194 and 16:126)  already repeatedly quoted in the first three parts (Part-1, Part-2, Part-3) and shown to lend no legitimacy to the Fatwa under the corresponding Refutation discourses already posted as summarily recapitulated below.

1.1 Verse 2:194 quoted once each in Part-1, and Part-2 and four times in Part-3, total 6 times: “[Fighting in] the sacred month is for [aggression committed in] the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him. ‘(2: 194).

Argument tabled under Refutation (Part-1, point 3): “The verse merely authorizes the Prophet's followers to fight back if they are attacked in the four months of truce [Muharram, Rajab, Dhu 'l-Qa'dah and Dhu 'l-Hujjah] that gave the otherwise perennially warring tribes an opportunity to engage in trade and commerce and live in peace. It has no relevance to the fatwa.” 

1.2. Verse 16:126, quoted four times in Part-1, once in Part-2, and six times in Part-3, total ten times: “And if you punish (your enemy, O you believers in the Oneness of Allah), then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted. But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.). (16:126).

Argument under Refutation (Part-2, 2.ii):  “the emphasis on enduring an affliction in patience in 16:126 points to a softer response (even forgiveness) to an oppression, so as not to be excessive in response. It does not support - rather, it purports to negate the theme of the Fatwa.”

2. Summary Refutation of this part (Part-4): This part quotes two previously cited verses (2:194, 16:126) not supportive of the Fatwa (1.1, 1.2 above) and tables arguments in support of applying the principle of Quisas (retributive justice or like for like punishment) to state policies and claims the legitimacy of adopting a policy of terror to respond to state sponsored terror allegedly perpetrated by America and Israel. Having apparently established this principle (maslah), it conceivably recognises its contradiction with the Qur’anic message and concludes that any suggestion to “kill more than 4 million non combatant Americans and render more than ten million Americans homeless” will be a transgression of maslah (core principle of fatwa). Hence, this fourth part of the Fatwa is self defeated.

3. Detailed scrutiny of the Fatwa (Part-4)

For clarity of presentation, the Fatwa (Part-4) is divided into five parts.

3.1. America’s direct role and responsibility in causing colossal loss of life, destruction and havoc to millions and millions of Muslims.

The Fatwa charges America for its invasion of Iraq with lethal and destructive weapons that killed “millions of Iraqi Muslims, created havoc, caused colossal damage and dangerous disease (such as blood cancer) in its aftermath, and for imposing sanctions on the pretext of Saddam and his Ba’ath Party that resulted in human sufferings and indirect casualties.” Given that even an American anti-war website puts the figures of civilian casualties in Iraq at 1,455,500 [1], Fatwa’s details are reminders on the terrifying consequences and human cost and tragedies of this war.

It also refers to “US sanctions on Afghans for sheltering Osama bin Laden  and war against Afghanistan with missiles killing ‘tens of thousands’ of Muslims, its support (to Israel) and continued siege of ‘our Palestinian brethren’ entry into Somalia on supposedly humanitarian grounds and subsequent dumping of ‘its nuclear waste’ in Somalia that caused various fatal diseases ‘to the Muslims there’; its military intervention in Sudan, bombing and destruction of one of its medicine factories and missile attack on Khartoum aimed at killing civilians, justified by a claim that it housed chemical weapons; its support of Christians in the Southern Sudan and fomenting the war causing damage to the Muslims and their economy.” (Paraphrased quotation)

It singularly blames America for all the sufferings and devastations of the Muslims and charges it of “the 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.

Having thus established the US as guilty of killing millions of Muslims in the last fifty years, it invokes the principle of Quisas – retributive justice as it refers to in each of the preceding part of the fatwa – like for like punishment for those “who unleash bloodshed and transgress” and states:

“So if the Muslims carry out maslah against the Americans, it would be justified for them to kill millions of Americans.”


 The maslah (principle) confuses America’s foreign policy with common American people. America’s foreign policy that plunges it into war and dictates sanctions is drawn by its political-cum-military bureaucrats and legislative bodies (Congress and Senate) based on their joint assessment of the political realities and global strategic issues and threats of the times. If anyone in America is to be held accountable for the terrible consequences of sanctions and wars, it must be those persons who were directly involved in policy making at the given historical points that saw sanctions and wars. Common Americans at those or later historical points (such as today) cannot and must not be held responsible. If the above maslah (principle) were accepted as a ground-rule for humanity, Bangladesh will have to take military action against Pakistan for its killing of allegedly three million civilians in the liberation war, Israel will nuke Germany to avenge Hitler’s barbaric and en-masse liquidation of Jews, China will annihilate Japan for its atrocities against Chinese citizens during the world war and all the nations of the world will be caught in a frenzy of retaliatory wars, massacres and genocides as the case may be against their past tormentors. Accordingly, in its concluding phase, the Qur’an espouses collective forgiveness of past enemies (5:2), personalized justice (5:8) and forbids killing of any innocent person except when found guilty of murder or abominable crime (5:32):

“...And let not the hatred of a people who (once) obstructed you from (entering the) Sacred House, lead you to be hostile. Therefore, help each other to virtue (birr)** and piety (Taqwa), and do not collaborate with each other in sin and enmity. Heed God, and (remember,) God is severe in punishment” (5:2).

“You who believe, be upright before God as witnesses to justice (qist), and let not the hatred of any people prompt you to detract from justice (‘adl). Deal justly: this is nearest to heedfulness (Taqwa); and heed God. Surely God is informed of what you do” (5:8).

“For that reason We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever kills any person - unless it be (in punishment for) murder or causing corruption on earth - it shall be, as if he had killed all humanity, and whoso saves a life, it shall be, as if he had saved the life of all humanity…” (5:32).

 The Fatwa also ignores historical relativism - hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed and many times more put to grievous suffering by their own Islamic regimes or neighbouring Muslim invaders such as Bangladesh war of liberation, Iran-Iraq war, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and oppression of Muslims outside of America or American sphere of influence - notably China, Russia, Albanian peninsula, the central Asian states in the erstwhile Soviet Russia. It also ignores America’s historic military role in defending and preserving the Albanian Muslims and thus ensuring the presence and growth of Islam in Europe and by extension, the Western hemisphere let alone its food aid, emergency relief, technological/ infrastructural development role in all Muslim countries, and being home to some five million Muslims – who enjoy greater political and religious freedom and civil rights than in any other Muslim country of the world.

 3.2. The Fatwa declares that “US does not attack from the front but attacks or lays siege remotely” to justify attacking them the same way as they attack Muslims, and argues against the notion advocated by most Muslims that “retaliatory action against the US (citizens) is Haram for them? It argues “Under the rule of retributation (maslah) we will inflict the same destruction on the US as it has done on us.”

Refutation: The Fatwa simply repeats the theme it already tabled and under 3.1 above, which has been duly refuted in the foregoing.

3.3. The Fatwa declares that America’s policy of “punishing the people for the crimes of individuals,” gives lawful ground to evolve a reciprocal policy – a maslah for “punishing the American civilians for the crimes of the American government.”

Refutation: It is a repetition of arguments 3.1and 3.2 above though framed in a subtly false manner by stretching the scope of Quisas (retributive justice) to state policy. It purports to advocate adoption of an evil and abdominal policy in response to a similar policy of the enemy. However expedient and justifiable it may be deemed politically, it is antithetic to the Qur’anic principle of returning evil with good to diffuse enmity (13:22, 23:96, 41:34), and its repeated exhortations to abjure what is Munkar (reprehensible, contrary to reason) and abominable.

 “Those who patiently seek the Countenance of their Lord, keep up prayer and spend out of what We have provided them, secretly or publicly and repel evil with good – such will attain the eternal life” (13:22).

“Repel evil with that which is good. Indeed We are aware of what they are working (in their minds)” (23:96).

“Goodness and evil are not equal. Therefore repel the latter with that which is good, and then the one between whom and you is hatred, will indeed become your friend (41:34).

As the foregoing enunciations of the Qur’an may appear a mere window dressing or conveniently claimed to have been abrogated, there are irrefutable historical records that demonstrate the application of the above noble principle even at times of war. Thus the eminent historian Thomas Arnold quotes a contemporaneous Church record on the compassionate treatment of the survivors of the 2nd crusade who were deceived by their Greek allies (who refused to ship them back home to Europe) and lay at the mercy of the Muslim warriors: “The situation of the survivors would have been utterly hopeless, had not the sight of their misery melted the hearts of the Muhammadans to pity. They tended the sick and relieved the poor and starving with open-handed liberality. Some even bought up the French money which the Greeks had got out of the pilgrims by force or cunning, and lavishly distributed it among the needy. So great was the contrast between the kind treatment the pilgrims received from the unbelievers and the cruelty of their fellow-Christians, the Greeks, who imposed forced labour upon them, beat them and robbed them of what little they had left, that many of them voluntarily embraced the faith of their deliverers. As the old chronicler says: "Avoiding their co-religionists who had been so cruel to them, they went in safety among the infidels who had compassion upon them, and, as we heard, more than three thousand joined themselves to the Turks when they retired. Oh, kindness more cruel than all treachery!”[2]

 3.4. The Fatwa refers to Israel’s military actions and gross human rights violations of Palestinians as acts of terror even by the definition of US policy (on protection of human rights) and thus describes the Jews as terrorists and the US, a supporter of Zionist terrorism in Palestine, and accordingly claims the right to pursue a corresponding course of action and invokes the foregoing principle of reciprocity of policy (3.3 above) to appropriate its politically informed terrorist aspirations into the Shariah of Islam and concludes: “The 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.”

3.5. The Fatwa concludes by citing previously cited verses 2:194 and 16:126 which are not supportive of the Fatwa (1 above) and takes an abrupt about turn in its arguments by declaring that “under no circumstances it is permissible and appropriate for them to kill more than 4 million non combatant Americans and render more than ten million Americans homeless. If they do so they will be among those who transgress in the act of maslah.

Conclusion: This fourth part, and cumulatively, the first four parts of the Fatwa fail to draw any legitimacy from the Qur’an, are antithetic to the Qur’anic message and thus stand refuted. Repetitious quotation of Qur’anic unsupportive verses 2:94, 16:129 reflects an indoctrinating strategy: bombard the simple and innocent Muslims with what is most awe-inspiring and obscure to them – the verses of the Qur’an and capitalizes on their reverential obscurity to the meaning of the Qur’anic verses to sell them their own fatwa, however un-Qur’anic it may really be – as God knows best.


2.       Thomas W. Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, (First publication 1896, 2nd extended edition 1913). Delhi 1990, p. 88.

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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.