DO WE ALL NEED ONE GLOBAL FATWA ISSUED BY MUSLIM SCHOLARS
TO STOP EXTREMISM?
WHAT ABOUT FATWA GIVEN BY EXTREMISTS AND FOR EXTREMISM?
THE CASE OF ISIS
We all know what is fatwa. However, many of us will automatically link this term with the famous Hollywood dramatic thriller movie from 2006 with Lauren Holly, where she is following the hard core counter terrorism strategy and trying to break the jihadist network in the US and their plans to attack the Minnesota Mall with a dirty bomb. Fatwa became the secret but also a dangerous word, reserved for Islamic religious lunatics and the hidden terrorists who are making the plots against the chosen land. The phrase is a widely manipulated in last 10 years, as anything what is available in media gossip and what is not analyzed and explained to the readers in the right way. I believe that some things have almost mystical meaning until they are not scanned and demystified finally. People have fear of unknown. Whatever is unknown, mysterious and unspoken could be used as a reason to spread fear or to control people by that fear. The same is with fatwa.
So, what is fatwa then?Fatwa comes from Arabic word فتوى and it expresses the legal opinion or deep interpretation given by one responsible religious and intellectual authority in Islam. The highest form of knowledge usually goes with Sheikhul Islam, brilliant thinkers in Islamic sciences. That person could be a qualified jurist or just a mufti and he gives his opinion based on learned and understood Islamic law.Any person or jurist who gives this special opinion grounded on Islamic Law and its rules should be considered and titled as Mufti or an issuer of fatwa. There are slightly differences between fatwa as an opinion then afta – the process of giving that opinion and yastafti – ask for an opinion.
It is interesting that fatwa can be given by any professional in Islamic law, but this is not only their personal opinion but also their KNOW and HOW in Islamic science, so the fatwa has a deeper meaning than any secular professional’s interpretation. In Islam, the science and so called common sense seductively dance with the religion rules which are not breakable.There are 4 sources of consulting before the fatwa is issued. First and the most important is the Qur’an Noble. The second but not less important is Sunnah- the collection of the Prophet Mohammed said, did and thought situation. On the third place is a consensus of the prominent Islamic scientists on some dilemma. The firth source is ijtihad and that is the last standing because the thinkers are trying to give the best answer, according to all the above mentioned levels of analyzing but also personified with their own opinion, some kind of an independent reasoning. This is why they know how to divide people’s question or public curiosity into the 5 categories:
- Obligatory – something what must be done like daily prayers for all Muslims.
- Commendable- additional prayers will be rewarded but it is voluntary act.
- Permissible-driving a car, watching a television,playing a video game.
- Despised – divorce as one of them.
- Not Permitted – drinking alcoholic drinks and everything which is HARAM
That is the main reason why fatwa has more religious meaning than legal and one portal states:”In a religious context, the word ‘fatwa’ carries more meaning. This is because when a Muslim has a question that they need to be answered from an Islamic point of view, they ask an Islamic scholar this question, and the answer is known as a ‘fatwa’. This ‘fatwa’ carries more weight than just the random opinion of any person on the street. Muslim scholars are expected to give their ‘fatwa’ based on religious evidence, not based on their personal opinions. Therefore, their ‘fatwa’ is sometimes regarded as a religious ruling. Here is an example of a fatwa: As you know, Muslims are expected to pray five times every day at specific times during the day. A person who is going to be on a 12 hour flight may not be able to perform their prayers on time. So they might ask a Muslim scholar for a ‘fatwa’ on what is the appropriate thing to do, or they might look up the answer in a book or on the internet. The scholar might advise them to perform the prayer to the best of their ability on the plane, or to delay their prayer until they land, for example. And they would support their opinion with evidence.”
Now when we are familiar with the term fatwa as it is, without being too much mystified but rather scientifically defined, I would like to mention that it is not important what is fatwa about but who issued fatwa. There are many of those who claim they know how to issue one fatwa and then the global media falls down into the hysterical delusion of the world they do not understand or they understand wrongly. The concrete example of lack of knowledge among media carriers is definitely the tabloid, almost sick admiration of everything which come from the ISIS. The cover page in many newspapers in January, 3th 2016 was the shocking title “ISIS Releases Horrifying Fatwa On How To ‘Properly’ Rape Enslaved Women And Girls” First of all, who or what is ISIS so its fatwa should be considered as serious? Second, the followers of ISIS aren’t normal people but also the militants so we cant label all Muslims as the potential supporters of the terrorism propaganda. Above all, there are some rules which must be acquired so the fatwa could be taken and accepted as fatwa in its real meaning.Knowledge. Lets see what does it really mean in practice:”While not as rigorous as those required for independent legal reasoning, the qualifications for a scholar to issue a fatwā based on legal precedent are nonetheless extremely taxing. He must:
- Know the verses of Qur’ān pertaining to the ruling at hand;
- Know the reason behind the verses of Qur’ān related to the ruling – when each was revealed and why;
- Distinguish the supportive and oppositional verses of the Qur’ān;
- Know all the hadith pertaining to the ruling and the soundness of their chain of transmission;
- Be familiar with the legal precedents of the issue before him, including the arguments or consensus reached by earlier scholars; and
- Be well-versed in the syntax, grammar, pronunciation, idioms, special linguistic uses, customs and culture prevalent at the time of the Prophet (s) and succeeding two generations.”
The ISIS fatwa doesn’t match any of criteria. The Islamic terrorists know some suras in Qur’an but they do not know how the system of abrogation works in their own Holy book. They recognize some elements of Hadith but they do interpret the Prophet Mohammed’s life the way they need it. They are not informed about the previous given fatwas and their Arabic language is so far away from good level. Their fatwa regarding the enslavement of kufr women and girls sounds like awaking of ancient Arab nomad dreams and insisting on old Qur’an ideas without even considering the contemporary Islamic law is a typical sui generis madness and attempt to fight your own partisan pathetic battle, hiding yourself as a coward behind one old book which has been revealed itself in the ages of chattel slavery.More about this writes Professor Bernard Freamon, specialized in Islamic Legal History, in his article under the name “ISIS says Islam justifies slavery – what does Islamic law say?”:“Jurists around the world acknowledge that there is now a universal consensus recognizing an irrefutable human right to be free from slavery and slave-trading.This right, like the rights to be free from genocide, torture, racial discrimination and piracy, has become a bedrock principle of human affairs. ISIS seeks to remove Islamic jurisprudence from this universal consensus by citing Quranic verses that recognize the existence of chattel slavery.It is also true, however, that the Quran established an entirely new ethic on the issue of slavery and ISIS’s selective use of certain Quranic texts to justify contemporary chattel slavery ignores this fact.First, consistent with the new ethic, the emphasis in all of the revelations on slavery is on the emancipation of slaves, not on their capture or the continuation of the institution of slavery. (See, for example, verses 2:177, 4:25, 4:92, 5:89, 14:31, 24:33, 58:3, 90:1-12.)There is not one single verse suggesting that the practice should continue. Further, the Quran makes no mention of slave-markets or slave-trading and it repeatedly exhorts believers to free their slaves as an exemplification of their piety and belief in God.There is only one Quranic verse, 47:4, that authorizes capture of prisoners of war and it does not permit slavery, ordering military commanders to either free the prisoners gratis or hold them for ransom.Enslaving a prisoner of war is therefore arguably illegal and certainly enslaving a non-combatant is likewise an Islamic crime.Many forget that, for hundreds of years, Muslim imperialists and slave-traders illegally raided non-combatant villages in Eastern Europe, West Africa, East Africa, India and Southeast Asia, plundering, pillaging and capturing and raping women and children with impunity under pretextual jihads.It seems that the ISIS ideologues want to revive this shameful legacy.”
This is very useful explanation because I share the view that there is no bad religion as there are religious managers or those who interpret the religion as they want or have interest to do.The ISIS behavior is everything but not religious. Their decrees sound more like the last strike of dying psychopaths then opinions which should be taken for serious analyze. How can be taken anything from those who abuse ancient historical happenings, when the world hasn’t been developed in ethic way, to justify their current actions? Their barbaric acts are only barbaric but not religious.
The answer on this kind of “terrorist fatwa” should be counter terrorist fatwa which must come from the recognized real Muslim religious authorities. That was made by group of eminent scholars in Islamic jurisprudence who gathered themselves and built the project under the name “Open Letter to Baghdadi” . The details could be seen on the page http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/ and translations of the letter are available in many languages. That letter explains exactly what I am trying to point. THE ISIS FATWA IS NOT ANY FATWA. IT IS A TERRORIST ANNOUNCEMENT. Terrorist announcement should be despised and ignored and the process of annulling it must be started by all Muslim scholars without any excuse.
I was surprised that the sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, repeated his rejection of declaring IS apostates under the weak excuse that Al-Azhar group of thinkers has never done something like that during the long history of issuing fatwa. Maybe because of the strong Salafist lobby presence in that University, who knows. The good news are coming to us from The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, the prominent Saudi Scholar, issued fatwa against ISIS claiming that ISIS is the enemy of Islam more than it is an enemy of the western world. He said that he doesnt believe it will help over night but it will definitely reduce extremism to grow, especially among the future recruiters who will think twice if that what ISIS stands up for is really Islam they want and believe in. He also emphasizes the importance of united work of all Muslim thinkers and jurist to come up with fatwas and to bring them on the light against terrorism. If they do not react or react weak it will be equal to giving support to the terrorism.
On the another side, the rest of kufr community should stop feeding itself believing in anything what ISIS says or does and claiming it is just Islam.The fake knowledge about something is worse than any ignorance. That is absolutely the global problem. So many of those who knows everything about anything but they can solve or fix nothing.
The fatwa is not any sinister term or encrypted word of Islamic terrorists. It is an opinion of a recognized Islamic authorities and has nothing to do with ISIS clown variations. Matching those two is a sign of lack of information and has to be overcome as soon as possible. First response givers should be the highest in Islamic science who will wake up their own Ummah and stimulate it against the ISIS cancer.
I give my fatwa. Here and now. Against violence.Against Terrorism. Against any kind of extremism no matter from who it comes and for what it goes.Extremism is always the same. Painful for all.