Muslim scholars against ISIS

Whenever something hateful is done by a group of Muslims the question arises, “where are the moderate Muslims and how come they did not speak up and condemn such act?”

Most of the time these acts are condemned by Muslims but they do not get the media coverage they deserve. So when ISIS began doing the most heinous acts of killing other Muslims, beheading the innocents and imposing medieval punishments, the majority moderate Muslims, represented by the many Muslim associations and scholars, have condemned ISIS acts for their inhumanity, brutality and for contradicting the teachings of Islam.

In September 120 Muslim scholars, representing over 35 countries, wrote an open letter to the leader of the ISIS group, Abu bakr Al-Baghdadi. The scholars used the Quran and Sunna (Prophet Muhammad words, actions and customs) to question and refute what he and ISIS followers are doing. This article is a summary of their letter.

The scholars began by questioning the simplistic legal ground used by Al-Baghdadi to issue a fatwa (legal opinion) to establish what he called the Islamic State. The letter questioned his scholarly authority to issue such a fatwa reminding him that it is forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Quran or part of a verse to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Quran and Hadith (Prophet Muhammad saying) teach related to that matter. He was also reminded that it is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without the consensus from all Muslims.

The letter unequivocally stated that killing the innocents is prohibited in Islam. The innocents that cannot be harmed include emissaries, aid workers, women, the children, the elderly, journalists and anyone who did not declare war on you. Nowhere in the Quran the words beheading, crucifixion, torturing, disfiguring the dead are mentioned and therefore are considered haram or prohibited. The worst of sin in Islam, the letter stated, is attributing these heinous acts to God.

The letter questioned his claim that what ISIS is doing is Jihad forgetting that Jihad means to struggle against oneself and that Jihad, as in fighting, is only allowed against those who fight you and even then the Muslim cannot be the aggressor. The letter also stated that Jihad is a defensive war and cited many verses from the Quran and the Prophet tradition to refute his claim to Jihad

The letter reminded him that denying the rights to women, children, and people of the scripture (Jews, Christians and Yazidis) is prohibited by Islam. Also forcing people to convert to Islam is forbidden as the Quran says “No compulsion in religion.”

Imposing the Sharia (Islamic law) without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy is forbidden in Islam the letter instructed. Reintroducing slavery, destroying graves and shrines and declaring Muslims as non-believers are also forbidden in Islam.

The letter is comprehensive, refutes all ISIS claims and proves by evidence that all the claims and actions of ISIS followers are against the teachings of Islam. Whether Al-Baghdadi reads the letter and abides by its recommendations is questionable. However it declares to the world that the majority moderate Muslims are opposed to ISIS atrocities and hopefully their voices will stop ISIS drive to recruit the youth and the uniformed.

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