Fatwa outlaws "terrorism and suicide bombings"

[Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images] Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of the global Minhaj-ul-Quran movement.

[Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images] Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of the global Minhaj-ul-Quran movement.

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Muslim thinker Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, who heads Minhaj-ul-Quran International, issued a lengthy 600-page fatwa March 2nd in London condemning "terrorism and suicide bombings."

The stance of this Pakistani-born religious scholar regarding al-Qaeda's actions is nothing new. However, this fatwa set him apart from many other Islamist scholars who in the past would only condemn al-Qaeda's actions without specifying – according to their theological viewpoints – the punishments to be meted out to those who carry out bombings and killings whose victims are innocent civilians, even if the latter were not the primary target of these attacks.

In his lengthy fatwa, Sheikh Qadri argued that those who carry out suicide bombings will be punished with hellfire, refuting the fact that suicide bombers will be rewarded with Paradise and its maidens. He said that Islamic teachings categorically reject attacks that kill innocent people, indicating that Islam forbids killing a single innocent person even if the attack in which that person would be killed would also cause the death of dozens of miscreants.

Qadri included in his fatwa the opinions from many important scholars, both modern and ancient, who reject what al-Qaeda and the Taliban consider lawful, and he called them the "kharijites of our time."

Qadri, born in 1951 in Pakistan's Punjab province, received his Ph.D. from Punjab University. The title of his thesis was ''The Islamic Penal System and its Philosophy.'' He has served as a lecturer in Islamic Sciences since 1974 and practised the legal profession from 1976 to 1978 in Pakistan. He was also a legal advisor in the Federal Shariah Court, the Pakistani High Court and a member of the National Committee for Islamic Curriculum at the Pakistani Ministry of Education.

The Pakistani scholar explained his stance in a lengthy interview in the March 5th issue of al-Sharq al-Awsat, in which he said that even in wars, Islam has proscribed the killing of women, children, the elderly and monks. It even prohibited the killing of animals belonging to the enemy, burning of trees and destroying property, killing farmers or traders and diplomats and ambassadors.

Qadri said, "Look at our deplorable situation today. People are killed inside mosques and on the streets. They are killed while sleeping in their beds. Terrorists bomb marketplaces where women, children and the elderly get killed. There is no justification for this at all. These al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are smearing the image of Islam by randomly killing innocent people in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, New York, London and Madrid."

He accused the leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden and Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, of being the "kharijites of our time".

Undoubtedly, Qadri is aware of the fact that it would be difficult for him to convince all the members of al-Qaeda to change their beliefs, saying that they have been subjected to "brainwashing". However, his main concern is the new generation of Islamist youths who could be attracted to the ideology of al-Qaeda. That is why he wants them to read his fatwa in order to learn about the Qur'anic verses, Prophetic traditions, stories of the Caliphs and the Companions, and the opinions of the scholars in the hope that they would be convinced of the wrongness of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and all the groups that support them.

Quilliam, an organisation whose members are Islamists who were formerly part of extremist groups, and who are today involved in combating extremist ideologies, said that the fatwa of Sheikh Qadri can be read as "the most comprehensive critique of terrorism committed by Islamists so far."

It pointed to the fact that Qadri's organisation, Minhaj-ul-Quran, "has hundreds of thousands of followers throughout South Asia and in the UK", and that his stance "has set a precedent for other scholars to condemn in a similar fashion the ideas that support terrorism."

A Quilliam spokesperson said in a statement at a press conference in London that "this fatwa could represent a major step towards eradicating Islamic terrorism. The fatwas of religious scholars influenced by the Wahhabi ideology and those of Islamic theoreticians have been the progenitors of terrorism against civilians in recent times. Terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda continue to justify their mass killing based on interpretations of scriptural texts that suit their interests. But fatwas that expose the truth behind these innovations in Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) such as the fatwa of Qadri will send Islamic terrorism to the dust bin of history."

Regardless of Qadri's fatwa and Quilliam's remarks, there is a clear trend within Islamic movements to be critical of al-Qaeda and the Taliban and counter their ideologies. Revisions made by many Islamist scholars and leaders of Islamic movements during the past few years have unanimously condemned random killing and bombing of civilians, regardless of whether the primary targets are soldiers which al-Qaeda and the Taliban describe as infidels or apostates.

A prominent example of these revisions is the one made by the former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Dr. Fadl ("A Guidance for Jihad Activity in Egypt and the World") and the revisions of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (titled "Corrective Studies in Understanding Jihad, Accountability and the Judgement of People"). Before these two revisions, the Egyptian Islamic Group's revisions were published, and were the most critical of the actions of hard-line Islamic groups – including its own line of action against the Egyptian government – in their fight against "apostate regimes".

In addition to these revisions, prominent scholars and religious leaders have adopted stances which led to similar conclusions. Among these were statements by a prominent Salafi-Jihadist scholar in Morocco, Mohammed al-Fizazi, in jail since 2003, in which he categorically prohibited Muslims from carrying out terrorist acts in European countries.

PHOTO: [Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images] Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of the global Minhaj-ul-Quran movement.

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    لويزا

    2010-10-7

    Many people may disagree over the meaning of terrorism and its different names, such as terrorism, criminality, bloodshed, killing, destruction, strife, disunity, or even stupidity. However, all these terms are correct and serve the same purpose, namely, describing the terrorists and those who work or cooperate with them in committing their crimes. Nevertheless, I believe that terrorism is a very dangerous conspiracy that aims at dominating some countries and frightening others. These elements were searching and planning while no one in the world expected that we would see a terrorist organization with such massive abilities. In the beginning, this organization cooperated with some countries and organizations and got support. Now that it has become rich, has accounts in many international banks under different names, and has guaranteed and verified all the arrangements, it has started working very quickly, to the extent that the whole world was taken by the surprise. The strength of this organization appeared on the ground after establishing many training camps in several countries to recruit and train the Arab youth, exploiting their lack of awareness of this danger in order to persuade many of them. Then, the organization used the recruited youth to target people everywhere, and it commenced its serious plan to dominate the world and implement its criminal plan. However, the world rose up against this organization, even if this came late, but it was sufficient to deter the organization and paralyze it through the cooperation between all governments and security agencies all over the world. Some countries dedicated special departments to work on eliminating terrorism and the terrorists, and are hunting them everywhere. This was the deathblow that silenced terrorism.

  • عدي

    2010-5-25

    One of the pieces of evidence that Osama bin Laden does not represent the Muslims is that in Afghanistan, there were different practices they did under the title of religious and Islamic practices, while these practices are not related to Islam and are not considered Muslim. For example, the wives were killed by their husbands, and they don’t put the husbands on trial or punish them for their acts, because they think that their wives are their possessions and that they have the right to do whatever they like with them and their children, and since he is the father of the family, then no one has the right to punish him! This is one of the thoughts they had applied; killing their wives without any consequences! They thought they were applying the Muslim law, but they were doing it in their own way.

  • وليد السامرائي

    2010-4-22

    In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the ever Merciful. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet, peace be upon him. It is better for those people to require what is good and forbid what is evil, instead of killing people who are not guilty of anything. In this way, they will be role models even for the non-Muslims, and they will attract them to become Muslims and declare the Two Testimonies of Faith. The enemies and hypocrites fight us in religion by introducing evil beliefs and evil manners. So, beware and give precedence to the commandments of Allah the Exalted and his Prophet, peace be upon him. Fear Allah, O Muslims, because we are fed up with killing and explosions. Our last call is, “Praise be to Allah.”

  • محمد علي

    2010-4-16

    Current issues in Iraq, such as the latest bombings, are carried out by terrorism, not by a specific sect. Iraqis would not commit such acts against their people. You see that some sectarian problem occurred. So, no one benefited from these acts. As Iraqis, all of us are one nation. We pray to Allah to make us live in peace and restore our past relations. When I was still young, 18 years old, all my ambitions and dreams were directed towards the Iraqi people and to each person who has Iraqi citizenship. I hope for success and progress for Iraq. Regards, (Muhammad `Ali).

  • دلال عادل

    2010-4-15

    The qualities enjoyed by good citizens are known worldwide. A good citizen is one who loves his family, his work and his countrymen. These are the main qualities of a good citizen..

  • ابو نضال

    2010-4-15

    Islam does not teach us to commit any terrorist acts and does not instruct us to launch bomb attacks and to kill innocent people in explosions. Neither the Quran nor the Prophetic Tradition orders us to kidnap people and then slaughter them like sheep, ruthlessly and in cold blood. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his kin, never committed such deeds and never instructed Muslims to do them. God the Great and Almighty says to the Prophet: “I sent thee as a guidance and mercy for all creatures.” Islam is a religion of guidance, mercy, love, forgiveness and closeness to God.

  • خالد العراقي

    2010-4-9

    Anyone who gives Fatwas that allow the killing of innocents is not a Muslim. We call upon clergymen to act like scholars who do not approve wrong behaviors.

  • ab.s.hudaf

    2010-3-26

    The previous comment written by our brother is realistic. It is taken for granted that the religious clerics in all parts of the world are responsible completely for issuing legal opinions that criminalize killing and destruction these days in the name of Islam and Jihad in the name of Allah. Jihad in the name of Allah has never been done through beheading people, killing children, women, young and old for no reason, with no mercy and no justification. There is a great responsibility put on the shoulders of religious clerics from all Islamic sects, with regard to protecting societies and uncovering those who are killing and causing destruction and ruining the world and the entire Islamic nation. They are blood-thirsty people. They provide false Islamic excuses that have nothing to do with Islamic religion or the Shariah. They also have nothing to do with the commandments of Prophet Muhammad, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him. The religious clerics, especially Arab ones, are those in charge of raising people's awareness and educating them about the principles of the Islamic Religion, and about the prohibition of terrorist and destructive operations, which target unarmed innocent people in all world countries. This is not considered a sacred Jihad, nor is it for making Allah's Word the highest. It is rather a devilish criminal and destructive work. These acts cause disagreement among people and they cause destruction for governmental and non-governmental properties. Religious Fatwas should be issued to prohibit involvement in any terrorist operations, which falsely refer to the Islamic religion. Thus, the entire world will understand that Islam is a religion of love and giving, Allah's religion that prohibits blood shedding and killing innocent humans and a religion that urges people to live as brothers, who love peace and life.

  • ناظم عيدان

    2010-3-26

    I strongly criticize every cleric who has sold his religion and creed for some money, and has issued Fatwas allowing the killing of innocent children, women and security forces haphazardly, mercilessly, horribly, unethically and in violation of the Islamic teachings. The Wahhabi, criminal and extremist clerics are only interested in killing and destruction. They wear the Islamic turbans, but their heads are full of nonsense that only appeals to ignorant, easily deceived, and insane people who have no religion or morals. Targeting innocent people in their houses, markets, and workplaces under the pretext of Jihad in the name of Allah is a terrorist and criminal act that destroys all the moral values, and has no relationship with Islam or the Quran in any way. This is not considered Jihad at all, except by spiteful and stupid people. The clerics who issue Fatwas allowing the murder of captives and kidnapped people, who are‎ handcuffed and blindfolded, commit an absolutely prohibited act. Such a fatwa is their ticket to Hell. So congratulations, you will be doomed to Hell, so try to enjoy it there. ‎

  • سعيد قادر

    2010-3-26

    Clerics play a key role in enlightening the thoughts of the youth.

  • جاسم القادري

    2010-3-26

    I believe that it is necessary to spread such ideas to correct the major errors that occur today in the Islamic thoughts and beliefs which are adopted by a huge number of extremist Islamists who spread these ‎extremist beliefs. It is necessary to work on spreading moderate religious thoughts that promote peaceful coexistence with the world and the other religions, nationalities and countries. The moderate thoughts will contribute greatly to reduce the hatred that many Muslims who adopt extremist Wahhabi beliefs feel. The spread of moderate ideologies will lessen the pressure in the Muslim street and reduce the current, rampant acts of violence.

  • كامل صالح

    2010-3-26

    Certainly, Arab clerics should protect the Arab and Muslim societies from terrorism and extremism that are widespread today among the Arab Muslim youth. The mission of the clerics does not differ from that of the statesman who works in any department of the government. All clerics should issue Fatwas prohibiting terrorist acts, Wahhabism, and extremist and spiteful beliefs that target the innocents from other societies. This is the responsibility of the Arab clerics, who should explain to the people that these acts are dangerous and absolutely prohibited under Islam. They should also issue a statement condemning all terrorist acts, activities, and thoughts that are widespread today in the Islamic countries. The cleric is the first one responsible for these terrorist insipidity. They have to enlighten people and agree with all other clerics to issue a unanimous fatwa on the prohibition of terrorism.

  • أحمد الزيلعي

    2010-3-24

    I also think that anyone who supports strict thoughts, or anyone who supports terrorist thoughts, is an infidel and a criminal. I do think the same about those devious people who carry out the crimes. They are cursed, both in their life in this world and in the hereafter. They have no religion, belief, faith or creed. Moreover, they are not humans.

  • عناد

    2010-3-22

    As far as my personal opinion goes, the responsibility of religious scholars is not less than the responsibility of Iraqi politicians, with regard to leading the country and the interests of society towards better conditions. Religious scholars have a pivotal and important role in educating the people and society about the importance of unity, and preserving one united Iraq from the north to the south. Some religious scholars have unfortunately participated in aggravating the tragedy of Iraq through their wrong, misguided opinions that have ignited continuous and destructive terrorist operations against the Iraqi people. They issued opinions that allowed the targeting of any Iraqis, as long as they belonged to the Iraqi government. They left no one untargeted, even the Iraqi police and army personnel. Their first targets were the judges. They wanted to terrorize the people who might have been thinking of joining the Iraqi government or the political process. What made things worse was their latest opinion, which allowed the killing and maiming of all Iraqi employees who work in all governmental positions. This led to the deterioration of conditions in some Iraqi areas. It also led to slack security. Consequently, terrorist attacks increased and were aggravated. This was not all. They even intentionally killed and maimed any person who did not give them a helping hand, and any person who had the least idea about their operations. They exceeded the limits under the pretense of defending religion and the homeland. The legal opinions that caused all this mess were issued by well-known religious scholars.

  • عثمان محمد

    2010-3-22

    It is taken for granted that religious scholars in all the countries of the world are fully responsible to issue a legal juristic opinion that prohibits the killing and destruction that are taking place today in the name of the Muslim religion and under the pretext of Jihad in the Way of Allah. Jihad in the way of Allah has never been carried out by beheading the innocents and killing women, children, old and young people for no reason, with no mercy and without any justifications whatsoever. There is a big responsibility on the shoulders of religious scholars of all doctrines, with regard to protecting society and exposing those who are killing and causing destruction to the world and the Islamic nation as a whole. They are bloodthirsty people, who enjoy killing under false religious justifications that have nothing to do with the Islamic religion, the Islamic juristic law or the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Religious scholars, especially Arab ones, are the ones responsible for raising people’s awareness and educating them about the principles of the Islamic religion, and about the prohibition of killing and committing terrorist and destructive operations, which target unarmed, innocent people in all the countries of the world. Their actions are not sacred Jihad and do not serve to make Allah’s Word the Highest. Their operations are devilish, destructive, criminal work that harms the people and both government and non-government property. Religious opinions should be issued to prohibit involvement in any of these terrorist acts, which are falsely attributed to the Islamic religion. Thus, the whole world will understand that the Islamic religion is the religion of love and beneficence, that it is Allah’s religion that prohibits the killing of innocent humans, and that calls for living as peace-loving brothers.

  • احسان عبدعلي

    2010-3-16

    We hope to see all clergymen following the same line, but unfortunately, this step came too late.