The front page of the papers decree that war is declared on the Islamists, the meaning of this for most of us remains quite unknown. Will this be a war of soldiers and planes or will it be a technical war the likes of which we have never seen before?
At times like these it is important we all take the time to understand the impact of religion on the world we live in. Last year, 120 Muslim Scholars joined together to write an open, 18 page letter addressing those who fight and follow Islamic State and denouncing them and their beliefs, using the Quran as evidence. The letter was released back in September 2014 but seems so poignant now given all that happened this weekend.
The letter picks apart the extremist ideology of the militants who have left a wake of brutal death and destruction in their bid to establish a transnational Islamic state in Iraq and Syria and are shifting their attacks to western corners of the world like Paris.
Muslim Leaders said at the time that it was an unprecedented refutation of the Islamic State ideology from a collaboration of religious scholars. The leaders who released the letter in 2014 asked people to stop using the term Islamic State to describe these terrorists, and argued that it plays into the group’s terrifying and misguided logic that it is protecting Muslim lands from non-Muslims and is resurrecting the caliphate — a state governed by a Muslim leader that once controlled vast swaths of the Middle East.
Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations was there on the release of the letter among Muslim Civil Rights Leaders in America last year.
“The letter is written in Arabic. It is using heavy classical religious texts and classical religious scholars that ISIS has used to mobilize young people to join its forces,” said Awad. “This letter is not meant for a liberal audience.”
Awad said, according to the Huffington Post at the time that its aim is to offer a comprehensive Islamic refutation, “point-by-point,” to the philosophy of the Islamic State and the violence it has perpetrated.
The letter was authored by some very well-known Muslim leaders including Sheikh Shawqi Allam, the grand mufti of Egypt, and Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and All Palestine.
Here is the executive summary of the letter. It certainly makes for interesting reading
1. It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry-pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.
2. It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.
3. It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.
4. It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.
5. It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.
6. It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.
7. It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.
8. Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.
9. It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.
10. It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.
11. It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.
12. The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.
13. It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.
14. It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.
15. It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.
16. It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct
procedures that ensure justice and mercy.
17. It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.
18. It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.
19. It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.
20. It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.
21. Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.
22. It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.
23. Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.
24. After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.
Read the full letter here.
Does this help you get a better picture of how the moderate Muslims have tried to denounce the activities of IS?