Fatwa Against ISIS by the Syrian Islamic Council


[The Syrian Islamic Council]

[UPDATE: This Fatwa against ISIS was by June 2014 the latest of its kind, not the first. Syrian scholars have been speaking out against the group from the onset as it appeared in Syria in April 2013 and have increasingly done so ever since. An article outlining the history of scholarly opposition to ISIS is in the making. For sources, see: http://ulemasuriya.wordpress.com/]

FATWA CONCERNING THE STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA

Translated by Ibn Ahmad

Question: You know what has occurred in Syria since the declaration of the State of Iraq and Syria, known by the acronym DAESH (ISIS); and you know what they have done against the Syrian people in terms of takfir (excommunication of Muslims), killing and bombings. People differ in regards to them. Some say that they are khawarij [a violent and extremist sect] who must be deposed. Others say that they are tyrants. Others say that they are a trial [fitna] and everyone must avoid them and focus their full energy on fighting the criminal regime [of al-Assad]. Finally, there are those who say that this (ISIS) is true state and all must swear allegiance to it and fight under its flag. What is the stance of the Sharia regarding this group (ISIS)? What is our responsibility towards them?

Answer: All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all that exists. Let there be no aggression except against the tyrants; and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger who was sent as a mercy to the world, his family, his companions, and those who follow them until the Day of Judgement.

God Almighty has strengthened the people of Syria through a jihad (struggle) that stands against the criminal and tyrannical regime [of al-Assad]. Despite the pain, sacrifices, the enemy’s ruthlessness and betrayals associated with this jihad, God has supported the people of Syria, and assisted them with His victory, and has ordained therein that his righteous servants obtain conquests from where they least expected.

The greatest thing that has distinguished the jihad in Syria from its very first days is its purity and sincerity towards God Almighty, without any distraction from its goals and the means to obtain those goals, despite its modest military capabilities and financial resources. However, it did not take long before sedition reared its [ugly] head via the emergence of the organization known has the State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS). This organization has imposed upon Syrian society trials, evils, and violations against the Sharia. Based on the conditions and attributes of this group, it was inevitable that the Syrian people uphold their duty to oppose it. This organization (ISIS) has committed gross violations against the Sharia as well clear criminal actions which include the following:

1 – They infringed upon the Syrian people with their declaration of statehood without a respectable Sharia process, a clear vision, nor meaningful consultation be it in accordance with the Sharia or otherwise.

2 – They claim to be on the path of truth, and that those beside them are either disbelievers or misguided innovators. Consequently, based on these assumptions, they issued dangerous rulings.

3 – Extremism in issuing takfir, and subjecting the people to tribulations with regard to this. This has come to the point that accusations of takfir and treachery alongside death threats have no doubt become commonplace among the ranks of ISIS. Furthermore, some members of ISIS have even gone so far as to deem the general condition of Muslims in Syria as either that of disbelief or apostasy. There are even those amongst the organization who have deemed the regime [of al-Assad] and its followers more honourable than the freedom fighters and revolutionaries of Syria.

4 – They slander anyone who opposes them as either being a secret agent, or traitor, or as being a member of the [Anbar] Awakening movement [in Iraq], even if the individual was known to be honest and upright or among those who waged jihad against the Assad regime and its allies.

5 – Their insistence on referring matters of conflict and dispute to those who are subservient to ISIS and conform to its rule and their refusal to refer these matters to competent (and impartial) authorities of the Sharia.

6 – They engaged those mujahid battalions fighting against the tyrannical Assad regime with low-intensity conflicts in order to expand the sphere of their state and secure allegiance to it, while at the same time distracting from the fight against the common enemy. They further strove to obtain control over the joint economic and military gains obtained in the liberated territories after having stolen those assets from the mujahidin.

7 – They have deliberately attempted to confront and clash with various groups of mujahidin in Syria, and have involved themselves in the shedding of innocent blood, and have made light of this very grave matter.

8 – They have arrested mujahidin, and activists, journalists, and advocates [of the Syrian people’s cause], and have impeded relief efforts on the pretext of suspicious manners of acting or charges of betrayal and treason.

9 – They have committed treachery after having first offered security to the mujahidin and battlefield messengers and subsequently betraying many of them through arrests, torture, and killing. The news of the casualties of their treachery has circulated so rapidly that Syrians and non-Syrian both near and far from the conflict have become aware of it.

No doubt, all of the evidence and proof has established that this organization became the cause of aborting the resistance against Assad and his regime in Syria. In addition, they are the source of sectarianism, killing, destruction, and looting of national treasures. The Sharia obligation with regards to this group is to face them head-on in order to eradicate them, and to put an end to their machinations in Syria, and to use all legitimate means in that effort in light of the following:

First: Their failure to comply to the truth, and more so fighting against it. When they were called to settle differences in a Sharia court, they refused and refrained therefrom. The scholars have [unanimously] agreed on the duty to fight (such) renegade groups who either abandon what Islam has enjoined or do not abstain from what it has prohibited. This especially applies to a situation such as that found in Syria.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiya has said in his Majmu` al-Fatawa: “The scholars of the Muslims have agreed that when a renegade party has refused some of the well-known, agreed-upon duties of Islam, then it is an obligation to fight them. This applies to those who have declared the two testimonies [of faith], but refuse to pray, or pay the poor tax, or fast during Ramadan, or make the pilgrimage to Mecca, or refuse to seek rulings from the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), or refuse to prohibit immorality, or the likewise matters of the Islamic Sharia. [The Muslims] must fight them until the entirety of the religion is completely for Allah.

Second: Their violation of those whose blood and wealth is protected under the Sharia of Allah.

The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever dies protecting his wealth is a martyr; whoever dies protecting himself is a martyr; whoever dies protecting his religion is a martyr; whoever dies protecting his family is a martyr.” (Narrated by Abu Dawud & al-Tirmidhi; graded hasan sahih).

Third: Transgression. Since it has been legislated to fight against a group who only displays transgression, then it is all the more reason to fight against a group that encompasses transgression, extremism, and takfir without just cause. Therefore, fighting against this group is necessary and a duty. God Almighty says: {If two groups of believers fight each other, reconcile between them. But if one group transgresses against the other, fight the transgressing group until it complies with God’s command. Once it has complied, reconcile between them with justice, and be equitable. God loves the equitable.} [The Qur’an, Al-Hujarat 49:9]

Al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir has stated: “In this verse lies evidence for the necessity of fighting the transgressing group which has clearly transgressed against the Imam or a single individual amongst the Muslims.”

Fourth: Their similarity to the khawarij that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered us to fight against. Certainly the characteristics of the khawarij have come together in this group (ISIS), in terms of those qualities that decisively link ISIS to the original khawarij.

These include:

-Issuing takfir against their opponents

-The killing of Muslims with perverse obstinance

-Opposition to the truth with a false display of knowledge and with contempt towards the advice of the scholars

-Hatred against the creation (of Allah) in total ignorance of the rulings of the religion

-Severity, ferocity, and audacity against the believers with treachery and betrayal

-Broken promises and betrayal of trust

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) called for fighting on account of these characteristics. He (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Wherever you meet them, kill them, for in their killing is a reward on The Day of Judgement for whoever killed them.”

He (peace and blessings be upon him)  also said: “If I live to see them, I will certainly kill them and wipe them out as the nation of `Ad was wiped out.” (Agreed upon narration). Nay, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) counted those whom they killed as an evil that they incurred, and he counted those Muslims who died at their hands as having experienced the best of deaths. He (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Happy is the one who kills them and they kill him. They call to the book of Allah, but they have nothing to do with it. He who fights against them will be nearer to Allah than them (the rest of the people).”

He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: “They (the khawarij) are the worst of the slain who are killed under heaven, and the best of the slain are those who were killed by them”. (Narrated by Ahmad b. Hanbal).

It is not permissible to abstain from fighting them or to refuse such. Rather, it is required to continue fighting them until they desist from their tyranny and oppression and subdue themselves to an independent Sharia court. They must permanently refrain from their disgusting actions effectively and in reality, not just in words. God Almighty says: {Fight the transgressing group until it complies with God’s command.} [The Qur’an, Al-Hujarat 49:9].

Al-Tabari says in his Tafsir: “If one these two groups refuses to accept judgement from the Book of Allah be it for him or against him, and infringes upon the justice that Allah has ordained for His creation, then the other group must offer a swift response. {Fight the transgressing group.} He (Allah) says: {Fight the transgressing group,} i.e., the one who refused to accept the Judgement of Allah {Until it complies with God’s command.} Meaning, until they return to the Judgement of Allah by which He Judges between his creation in His Book.

Regarding those [members of ISIS] that we take captive, then whoever informs us that he was simply following orders and we see signs of true repentance in him, then we will issue his release upon the condition that he not be able to resume in carrying out those orders or return to his group.

Whoever refrains from fighting them with the reasoning that this results in fitna is putting forth an invalid argument. This is because the prohibited fighting which entails fitna is that which is involved between two groups of Muslims who are both upon misguidance, or fight for worldly comforts, or their situation is obscured in the fighting, or that fighting in which the distinction between right and wrong cannot readily be made.

Entering such a conflict is forbidden. We have been ordered to isolate ourselves and withhold participation therein no matter what the case may be. This was the intent behind the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) saying: “When two Muslims confront each other with their swords, both the slayer and the slain are doomed to Hell-Fire.” (Agreed upon narration). He (peace and blessings be upon him) said regarding this calamity: “So whoever can find a place of protection or refuge from them, should take shelter in it.” (Agreed upon narration).

The Muslim ought to isolate himself from such a calamitous situation, and distance himself from it in order that he remain protected from its evil. His slogan in those times is, “Be a servant of Allah who is killed, rather than a servant of Allah who kills.”

Regarding ISIS in Syria, then they have most certainly manifested their injustice, oppression, and enmity, in addition to their fight against person and property. Furthermore, they are linked with various intelligence services and regimes opposed to the rights of the Syrian people and which seek to terminate the revolution and jihad of the Syrians. Therefore, fighting ISIS is not only regarded as a legitimate endeavor, rather it is considered obligatory in order to eradicate their evil and extinguish their harm.

Al-Tabari has said: “If it was obligatory to flee from every single dispute between two groups of Muslims and required to stay home in such cases, then the truth can never be established and falsehood can never be abolished.” This is conveyed from Al-Tabari by way of Al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir.

Ibn Battal has said in his commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari: “If injustice is manifested in one the two groups [of Muslims], then it is not allowed for a Muslim to refrain from fighting the aggressors because God Almighty has said: {Fight the transgressing group until it complies with God’s command.} If Muslims abstain from fighting those who commit injustice, then this injunction of God Almighty becomes invalidated.”

Ibn Battal further said: “Whoever is perplexed by the matter of the two groups, then it is required for him to isolate himself from the two groups and remain in his home until the truth becomes evident to him, and the rightful party amongst the disputing faction becomes manifest to him, and his doubts are removed. Thereafter, it is required of him to aid the rightful party in accordance with what is required of those with insight.”

Finally: ISIS is an organization composed of extremism, severity, and takfir. They are the highest degree of tyrants. They have torn apart the ranks of the mujahidin and revolutionaries through spreading the khariji ideology. They have been infiltrated by the Assad regime and its allies as well as various intelligence agencies. Because of this fact, we understand why there is a conspicuous lack of danger in areas of their presence and their communities and why they do not face the Assad regime and its allies in battle. Rather, they direct their full energy to fighting the mujahidin who fight the Assad regime and seek to deplete the strength of these mujahidin. Hence, it is required by Islamic Law to fight them and put an end to their machinations until their influence on the Syrians and their country is completely abolished.

And All Praise is Due to Allah, The Lord of All that Exists.

The Syrian Islamic Council
17 Sha`ban 1435 H
15 June 2014 CE

————————————————————-

1. Translated from فتوى بشأن دولة العراق والشام – داعش (http://ulemasuriya.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/).

2. The Syrian Islamic Council is a unifying body of free Syrian scholars that was established in April 2014. The Council is headed by Shaykh Usama al-Rifa`i and consists of 40 members, among them the previous leader of the National Coalition Shaykh Moaz al-Khatib. This Council represent numerous scholarly and religious groups, traditional Sunni as well as Salafi, thereby forming the religious authority for the overwhelming majority of scholars in the Syrian revolution.

The most notable of these groups are Rabita Ulema al-Sham, headed by Shaykh Krayyim Rajeh and whose members also include Shaykh Adnan al-Saqqa, Shaykh Anas Sweed and Shaykh Rateb al-Nabulsi; Rabita Ulema al-Suriyin headed by Shaykh Mamduh Junayd whose own members also include Shaykh Ali al-Sabuni; Jabhat al-Ulema Halab headed by Shaykh Abdullah al-Salqini, the son of the late Mufti of Aleppo Ibrahim al-Salqini whose own members also include Shaykh Ahmad Na`san.

3. As we were preparing this translation for publication, another excellent translation of this Fatwa was published today by Qays Arthur under the title Sunni scholars have called for more than condemnation of ISIS.

4. ISIS has recently captured and beheaded the main religious jurist of Suqour al-Sham, one of the groups in the Islamic Front. ISIS then threatened to behead the members of the Syrian Islamic Council as well for issuing the Fatwa in question. – http://live.aljazeera.com/Event/Syria_Live_Blog/124144173

3 thoughts on “Fatwa Against ISIS by the Syrian Islamic Council

  1. Pingback: 5 Things we don’t know about the Caliphate | band annie's Weblog

  2. Pingback: Muslimische Quellen gegen den Terrorismus / Muslim sources (German/English/Turkish) speaking out against terrorism | Serdargunes' Blog

  3. Pingback: Muslimische Stellungnahmen zu IS und islamistischem Terror | andalusian.de

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