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Muslims Against ISIS Part 1: Clerics & Scholars

Prominent Muslim clerics, scholars and activists have condemned the establishment of a caliphate by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, now known simply as the Islamic State.

Last updated: March 17, 2015

Prominent Muslim clerics, scholars and activists have condemned the establishment of a caliphate by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, now known simply as the Islamic State. The declaration is a “big mistake” that “damages the reputation of Islam,” according to the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq. Top clerics in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere have warned that the organization is a threat to Muslims. The following are excerpted statements by religious leaders condemning ISIS and its brutality.

Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq

We have known by the received news that the Islamic State gave Iraqi Christians in Mosul a deadline to be driven out of the city at 21 Ramadan 1435 AH, already they left the city and so it been free of them for the first time throughout the long Islamic history, starting from the era of the Message, passing through the Caliphate of the Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman, and other Islamic and non-Islamic regimes that permeated these periods.

The Association considers this act as an affront to the innocent, there is no reason to do it, and out of the right way that recommended by the Prophet of Islam, and the Muslim jurists explained after Him, how to deal with this component, and other people of Scripture.

The Association explains in this regard what is to come:

First, do not legally entitled to any party to take such measures that lack of a recognized State and Sultan represent the nation, and a legit judiciary well known among the people for his integrity and efficiency, and scientists in the fatwa are renowned for their knowledge and piety.

Second: What happened to rob houses, money and collectibles, take place under the provisions of 'taken by force' in Islamic law, and all the scientists of Islamic Fiqh agree that who take money by force they must repay it to the owners, or compensate it.

Third, we believe that the duty of the time in these difficult circumstances is to protect the vulnerable people of the liberated areas and provide a decent living for them especially minorities; to cut the way before the phishers and the enemies of the revolution.

Fourth: Previously, a known parties sought to displace this component from the city of Mosul and other cities in Iraq, and had committed crimes of murder or threat of death against them in order to achieve its own interests, consistent with the targets of the enemies of Islam, the ِAssociation has already in its statements had alerted to and warned of that, and today, this act is offered to the enemies what already they tried to achieve by crime; as a free gift to them on a plate!!.

Fifth: Human marred by mistakes, forgetfulness, weakness and strength, and falls in sin, this is not a defect, but the trouble is going too far in it, but if he knew the right and went back to it thus this is a pride of him, Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The Messenger of Allah, PBUH, said: "Every son of Adam is a mistaker, but the best of mistakers are the repentants" (Narrated by Ibn Majah and al-Darmi).

Finally we call to fix this big mistake, which damages the reputation of Islam and Muslims, and to lift the injustice upon this component and to allow his sons return to their homes; because injustice has devastating consequences in this world and the Hereafter, and Allah Almighty swear, as in the hadith Qudsi narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, attribution true "Almighty swear by Ezzati (His Pride) and Jalali (His Majesty) I will help you even after a while," where the term came in its pan-concept, did not differentiate between the oppressed Muslims or others.
July 20, 2014 in a statement

Grand Imam of Egypt’s al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al Tayeb

"It is painful to see that these inhuman crimes are committed under calls for a caliphate and for regaining the Islamic state. They are done in the name of Islam, which is a merciful religion and peaceful one among all people — whether Arabs or Westerners, believers or atheists, humans or animals, plants or stillness. … It is really saddening to see that these criminals have managed to reflect this ugly and scary image of Islam and Muslims to the world.

"These radical terrorist groups and whoever is behind them, whatever their names, pseudonyms or banners, are just new colonial products serving global Zionism in its new version and its scheme to destroy the East and rip the Arab region apart. The Western-American slackening to deter these terrorist organizations is enough proof of the above."
Sept. 8, 2014 in a speech (translation via Al Monitor)

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al ASheikh

ISIS and al Qaeda are “enemy number one of Islam.”

“Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilization, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims.”
Aug. 19, 2014 in a statement (translation via The Daily Star)

“The misuse of the religion by extremists is greatly damaging the image of Islam."
Feb. 22, 2015, during his weekly talk show

“Given that unemployment leads to delinquency, improper behavior such as smuggling, and the promotion of deviant ideas, more efforts should focus on providing more job opportunities to the youth."
March 10, 2015, according to the press

Abdul Rahman al Sudais, Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca

"Islam is innocent of the brutal acts of Daesh."

"These brutal acts in the name of Islam is why Islam is linked with terrorism in the minds of those who do not know Islam."

"The fiercest enemies of Islam are the ignorant Muslims that distort the true meaning of Islam by their actions, making the world think that's what Islam is."
Feb. 4, 2015, according to the press

Egypt's Grand Mufti Shaqi Allam

“An extremist and bloody group such as this poses a danger to Islam and Muslims, tarnishing its image as well as shedding blood and spreading corruption.”
Aug. 12, 2014 via Reuters

The International Union of Muslim Scholars

The ISIS caliphate declaration is “null and void” and “lacks any realistic or legitimate standards.”

“The mere announcement is not enough to establish a caliphate.”

“All the affairs of the state and religious political practice should be based on Shura (consultation).”

ISIS is “hijacking the Iraqi revolution” and delegitimizing the world’s Islamic movements with the caliphate announcement is “unacceptable.”

“Linking the concept of caliphate to an organization known to be extremist does not serve Islam.”

The caliphate is of “extreme importance” for all Muslims, but it requires “consensus among Muslims worldwide regarding its form and content.”
July 5, 2014 in a statement

Yusuf al Qaradawi (head of The International Union of Muslim Scholars)

The caliphate declaration is “void under Sharia [Islamic law.]”
July 5, 2014 via Al Arabiya

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani 

“What is required from the Iraqi government ... is to offer quick support to the sons of this tribe and other tribes that are fighting Daesh [Islamic State] terrorists. This will offer the opportunity to the other tribes to join the fighters against Daesh.
Oct. 31, 2014 in an address read by an aide after Friday prayers

“They [Islamic State militants] must be fought and expelled from Iraq, [or] everyone will regret it tomorrow, when regret has no meaning.”
June 20, 2014 in an address read by a spokesman during Friday prayers

“It is incumbent on citizens who are able to carry weapons and to fight the terrorists, defending their country, their people and their holy places, to volunteer and to enlist in the security forces so as to achieve this sacred objective.”
June 13, 2014 in an address by Sheikh Abd al Mahdi Karbala’i clarifying Sistani’s views

Imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca Abdul Rahman al Sudais

“Islam is innocent of the brutal acts of Daesh (ISIS).”

“These brutal acts in the name of Islam is why Islam is linked with terrorism in the minds of those who do not know Islam. The fiercest enemy of Islam is an ignorant Muslim that distorts the true meaning of Islam by his actions, making the world think that this is what Islam is.”
–Feb. 4, 2015 according to the press

Imams Online (more than 100 U.K. clerics)

"We are Muslims united against ISIS, against terrorism, against atrocity, against pain and suffering."
July 2014

Six U.K. clerics

Due to recent events in the Middle East and their impact on some people in Britain, we as imams and scholars based in the UK, would like to issue the following clarifications in the form of a fatwa:

1. There is no doubt that President Assad’s regime in Syria is oppressive, unjust and brutal, and has committed numerous atrocities against its own people.

2. The same is true of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) or self-styled “Caliphate,” formerly known as “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”: it is an oppressive and tyrannical group.

3. By murdering prisoners of war, journalists and civilians, including mosque imams who refused to endorse their campaign, and by enslaving the women and children of their opponents, ISIS has violated international agreements such as the Geneva Conventions and conventions on slavery that everyone, including Muslims, have signed up to. God says in the Qur’an, “Believers, fulfill your covenants!” (5:1)

4. The IS persecution and massacres of Shia Muslims, Christians and Yazidis is abhorrent and opposed to Islamic teachings and the Islamic tolerance displayed by great empires such as the Mughals and Ottomans.

5. Based on all of the above: IS is a heretical, extremist organisation and it is religiously prohibited (haram) to support or join it; furthermore, it is an obligation on British Muslims to actively oppose its poisonous ideology, especially when this is promoted within Britain.

6. British and other EU citizens are bound by their duties to their home countries according to Islamic theology and jurisprudence: it is therefore prohibited (haram) to travel to fight with any side in Syria, including non-state actors, since this is forbidden by laws in EU countries.

7. It is a moral obligation upon British Muslims to help the Syrian and Iraqi people without betraying their own societies: “If they ask for your help in religion, you must help, except against a people with whom you have a treaty.” (Qur’an 8:72)

August 2014 in a joint fatwa (via The Sunday Times)

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars

Under Islamic law, “terrorism is a heinous crime.”
Those who issue fatwas or other opinions that “justify terrorism” are not permissible and are “the order of Satan.”
September 2014 in a statement (translation via Reuters)

More than 120 top academics and scholars

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.

In an Open Letter to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi

Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

“Wherever there are followers of the ideology there is ground for [Islamic State], and this exists in Jordan, in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait and the Gulf states.”

“This danger does not recognize Shiites, Sunnis, Muslims, Christians or Druze or Yazidis or Arabs or Kurds. This monster is growing and getting bigger.” 

“[Islamic State] does not have borders. There is a real danger and a real fear among many states and authorities, because one of the advantages of this organization is its capacity to recruit among followers of al Qaeda-Wahhabi thought.”
August 2014 in interviews and a speech

Mohamed Hasan (prominent Salafi preacher from Egypt)

“ISIS is a terrorist organization and the peaceful religion of Islam refuses association with such organizations.”
September 2014 via El Watan News

Mohammed al Arifi (prominent Saudi Arabian preacher)

“Those individuals joining ISIS are not jihadis, and they are on the wrong path.”
July 2014 in a television interview

Ayed al Qarnee (prominent Saudi Arabian preacher)

“80% of Saudi Clerics have not been doing their jobs in regards to educating the population about Islam.

“There are political, religious and economic reasons that push Saudis to find comfort and answers elsewhere, for example joining by ISIS…We cannot, as a nation, keep ignoring the signs until we are faced by their deadly actions.

“ISIS are Kharijities, they have called upon the death of most religious clerics that spoke against them, as the Kharijites ordered the death of Ali ibn Abi Talib [cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohamed] at the time of the first Islamic state when he disagreed with their message.”
Sept. 22, 2014 in an interview with al Arabiya television

Abu Qatada (extremist preacher from Jordan)

“This group does not have the authority to rule all Muslims and their declaration applies to no-one but themselves. Its threats to kill opponents, sidelining of other groups and violent way of fighting opponents constitute a great sin, reflecting the reality of the group.”
July 2014 in a statement

Abdallah bin Ali Basfar (participant in Saudi Arabia’s “awareness” campaign)

“We have a job to warn people against the evil these groups present and how they use concepts in Islam like jihad as a cover for their unjust causes.

“These evil groups prey on our youth through mediums like the Internet and parents must start to know what their children are doing and who they talk to.”
October 2014 via Reuters

Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi (Salafi jihadist writer from Jordan)

“I advise you, for your own good, to repent to God for all the injustice you have done. Injustice darkens the Day of Judgment. Remember that God will not be merciful to those who have no mercy for others.

“Your bloody and aggressive nature distorts the image of Islam and is far from Gods message.”
September 2014 in letter to IS leaders

Suleiman al Ulwan (a Saudi cleric who was arrested for allegedly financing terrorism)

“Abu Baker al Baghdadi was not elected by the devout and the pious, so he is not the caliph of all Muslims.”
February 2014 via

Scholars of al Sham

“The unjust killing and the assault this group has done on the funds and property of all Muslims’ is not Islamic jihad, it is corruption of the Earth.”
Feb. 18, 2014 in a statement

Mohamed al Yacoubi (Syrian exile and Sufi)

ISIS members are “deviators.”
“[The] caliphate state that [ISIS] declared is illegitimate,” and supporting it is “haram (forbidden).”
Early July 2014 via Twitter and al Jazeera

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