A summary of Refuting Isis by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi
January 2016: I’ve just finished reading this powerful piece by Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi, in which he issues a fatwa concerning the entity calling itself Islamic State. This is a summary of what he argues.
Detailed analysis of ISIS’s claims about the Caliphate, Islam and apostasy, and then a total debunking of them. Primarily, and explicitly, aimed at young Muslims in danger of being radicalised, at Western journalists (who often seem not to know much about the subject, and at politicians. Short and persuasive.
Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi is Syrian and from a long and distinguished line of jurists and imams. Having spoken out repeatedly against the Assad regime, he now lives in exile in Rabat, Morocco.
Ch. 1: In the words of ISIS
- Declaration of Caliphate 29 June 2014 shows power struggle between IS and AQ-JN. Zawahiri supported AQ-JN so IS declared C to gain ‘legitimacy’ and become No. 1 Islamist force.
- Refuting al-Baghdadi claims: he says he follows “Prophetic Methodology” but PM prohibits the killing of civilians. Also, he says that ISIS’s spiritual leader is OBL, yet ISIS and AQ-JN have been fighting each other for about 9 years, so his ‘leadership’ hardly makes sense.
- al-B also polarises the world into the camp of Islam and the camp of Disbelief (kufr). Islam stresses right v wrong, not binary us v them. al-B is more like US neocons. Mohammed’s first Islamic State (in Medina) included non-Muslims, and even Jews.
- Also al-B claims that Allah sent Mohammed with the sword, for eternal war. Not true. In 23 years, Mohammed only spent 200 days warring.
- al-B claims that ISIS created chaos in Iraq so that it could step in. Correct, but totally impermissible in Islam. ISIS nothing more than secular movement, aiming to mobilize forces for a purely material and secular end, i.e. gaining power and wealth and exacting revenge on enemies.
- Finally, ISIS say that it is permissible to kill Muslims who do not follow them, esp Shiites, police, Saudis, Houthis, even people who speak up for others (against punishment by ISIS).
Ch. 2: Proving that ISIS are Khawarij
ISIS members are not Muslims. They have left Sunni Islam, as can be seen from their actions and declaraions, esp:
- revolt against Muslim community
- anathematizing the majority of Sunnis
- killing and destroying, thus spreading injustice and corruption.
Note that the Khawarij were very early heretics. ISIS are effectively modern-day Khawarijites. Permissible to kill them.
Ch. 3: ISIS’s atrocities
- Killing & brutality the innocent, foreigners under treaty (e.g. aid workers), exacting revenge on civilians in conquered areas, killing prisoners, burning people, killing scholars and imams, torture and mutilation.
- Belittling sacred law Setting up stupid, inexperienced and immature people to act as pseudo judges.
- Destruction of sites Muslims have never believed that building shrines to holy people deifies them; more, a way of honouring and remembering them. No need to destroy them, or holy places of other religions or historical sites.
- Anathematization Anyone who supports democracy is kufr, say ISIS, but this is incorrect. Calls for democracy are still compatible with Shariah law.
- Enslavement Enslaving non-Muslims goes against Mohammed’s own actions, such as when he entered the League of the Virtuous before Islam was revealed. Raping women and kidnapping children pervert religion. No justification in Islam.
- Harming Islam ISIS’s actions and declarations tend to turn people around the world against Islam and against true Muslims.
“All of thse transgressions bring forth the obligation to fight this group in order to shatter its forces, stop its crimes, and rid mankind of its evil”.
Ch. 4: ISIS’s anathematizing of Muslims
ISIS deem anyone who opposes them a disbeliever, even Salafis and Mujahidun. They select phrases from the Qu’ran out of context and use those to “prove” that their victims and enemies are evil. Their actions are “the furthest possible actions from Sharia rulings, Prophetic morals and the tolerance of Islam”. They use the claim of apostasy to adjudge their Muslim enemies permissible to kill. This is wrong.
Ch. 5: Are the Khawarij Muslims?
Here, there are discussion of arguments on both sides. The shaykh comes to no firm conclusion, though his final word is a quote from Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Ibn Baz that “they are disbelievers”.
Ch. 6: The obligation to advise them before fighting
One cannot fight ISIS without telling them where they have erred and giving them a chance to change. The Shaykh and other Muslim scholars have written to them doing so, but in vain. Thus “fighting them has become an obligation for Muslims.”
Ch. 7: Fighting ISIS is obligatory [FATWA]
Here, the Shaykh issues a fatwa:
“fighting the group known as ISIS is a communal obligation (fard kiffaya) upon Muslims.”
He declares that it is not permissible to neglect fighting ISIS, since that would be a sin. He makes a final call to members of ISIS to repent.
Ch. 8: Invalidity of oath to al-Baghdadi
[I find some difficulty with the arguments here, esp in the first part]
The Caliphate is a public affair linked to the entire Muslim Nation. “Dignitaries who exert authority within the Muslim Nation are the ones who have the sole right to it.” [That latter sounds dangerously close to taking all the power for a nation ONLY into the hands of ‘acceptable’ authorities, but who decides who those are and what is acceptable? Why, those auths themselves. What about calls for democracy throughout Islamic world? Or does this pertain to the Caliphate alone and not to more normal government?]
Al-Baghdadi’s own mentor (al-Mansur, a top man in the Salafi-Jihadi movement) condemned him as villainous, ignorant and deviant, and incapable of mastering a single book on theology or jurisprudence. Hence, ISIS cannot be based on understood Islamic principles. The Shaykh calls on followers of ISIS to defect, as a religious obligation. One cannot obey a religious leader if his commands go contrary to the law of Allah.
Ch. 9: Seeking assistance from non-Muslims
It is permissible to seek such assistance, both in war and in peace (more so), so this nullifies a basic argument that IS have used as grounds for killing Muslims.
IS rely on hadith of Aisha when Mohammed refused assistance from polytheists. But the circumstances here were that Mohammed either didn’t seek help from anyone at that time or he told the man to return in the hope that he would convert to Islam. In fact, Mohammed sought help from Safwan ibn Ummaya before he (bin Ummaya) converted. Seeking assistance from N-Ms can actually benefit Islam so it is a good thing.
Islam is a religion of mercy, wisdom, justice, tolerance and peace. It has always respected covenants and this was one reason why it spread so far and so fast. Seeking assistance is not the same as accepting their religion, but rather an exchange of mutual benefit. In fact, the benefits to Muslims are greater than for non-Muslims, at least in current situation. This is affirmed by Shaykh Abd al-Aziz Ibn Baz, former grand mufti of Saudi and a leading figure in the Salafi movement.
Ch. 10: Legal rulings in the West re Muslims
Muslims entered these countries under contract and covenant, and agreed to be peaceful and law-abiding. Treachery is not permitted, and they cannot go against their contract. There is no war between Muslims and Western Countries today.
War cannot be waged by individuals but only by a legitimate ruler.
Millions of Muslims live in peace and security in Western Countries, often with a degree of religious and political freedom they may not find in Islamic countries. Violence and terrorism are impermissible, even in the face of oppression. They can only use legal and peaceful means to gain their ends and if they cannot change the government’s policies then they should leave that country.
Ch. 11: Legal rulings in Islamic countries re non-Muslims
Any non-Muslim who enters an Islamic country under contract and covenant cannot be harmed.
“Whoever kills a non-Muslim under contract will never smell the scent of paradise” (Al Bukhari, quoting the Prophet).
Even if it is only one Muslim who has made the contract with the non-Muslim, all Muslims must abide by it. ISIS utterly violates Islamic laws by kidnapping and murdering foreigners and broadcasting these acts.
Some jurists argue that even to say to a Jew, Christian or Zoroastrian, “You are an infidel”, is a sin, since it hurts him.
Islam aspires to a life of co-existence based upon respecting others in their faith, feelings and rights.
Ch. 12: Changing the conditions which help extremism grow
- The Iraqi government must stop oppressing Sunnis, as extremists use that to provoke more terror.
- Assad must cede authority to the Syrian people. Lack of assistance by international community has allowed IS to expand.
- The international community must respect the rights of Muslim minorities around the world, esp in countries like Myanmar and the CAR.
- Western Countries must respect Muslim values and sacred figures and reconsider the boundaries of free speech. Offending Mohammed is counter-productive and angers decent Muslims.
Islam disavows IS. The Messenger of Allah disavows IS. The scholars disavow IS.
Author: Jolyon Patten
Created: 2016-01-15 Fri 19:04