About the author
Darulfatwa is an endeavour of a group of committed and highly educated Muslims who collaborated with diverse community officials to establish what is the final frontier to bridge the gap between the needs of Muslims and their productive co-existence in the wider Australian community. Darulfatwa is a non-partisan and independent institution, lobbying for the right of all Muslims to a better living standard without prejudice and discrimination and defending the civil liberties and privileges of those at risk. It set forth in its endeavor to produce this text to empower the reader with knowledge to discriminate between moderation and extremism and expel the latter.
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: “The extremist fanatics are doomed.” Although extremism is not a new phenomenon, the rebel exacerbations witnessed today requires prompt action and a strong resolve. The global extremist movement driving this form of anarchy is manifested in groups known by a multitude of names hiding behind Islam to roam among the Islamic communities without drawing suspicion. Extremism does exist. Admitting this and recognising it as a dangerous force we can better plan to weed it from society. Islamic practice is a true following of the rules of Islam and extremism is a perverted view that deviates from the meanings of the merciful and moderate Islamic shari`ah. This elucidation is presented along this backdrop.
This elucidation explores the type of extremism and terrorism practiced under the pretext of Islam. It draws on the Quran, the sayings of Prophet Muhammad and the sayings of Muslim scholars to expose the roots of extremism and assert the just position of Islam. It also discloses revealing statements of deviant men/groups to add to the case against them. First the historical place of Islam in society is explored, then how deviations from orthodox Islam occurred and lead to the emergence of extremist ideologies manifesting historically in groups like the khawarij (dissenters) and in modern times in groups including the named al-Jama`ah al-Islamiyyah, the Wahhabis and Hizbut-Tahrir. Their actions and methodology are identified. Today, extremist movements have killed many people in Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Saudi, Iraq and other places. Based on misleading reasoning, they have killed innocents. Daring to masquerade as Muslims, these extremists have attempted to destroy the reputation of Islam and Muslims. To refute them we quote a series of statements from moderate Sunni scholars; clarifying the Sunni stand against terrorism and extremism. Finally, this paper delivers solutions and warnings including, a need for Islamic scholars, Sheikhs and Islamic religious workers to remain at the forefront of the line of defence against extremists and prevent access to the extremist books. It is recognised that this work requires qualified and diligent individuals trained in deflating the calls of the named terrorist groups and activists of today.
The Beginnings of Extremism
Historically, many people embraced Islam freeing their hearts from the odious practices of ignorance and tribalism. Those true Muslims whose hearts pacified to the call of the Prophet were a people of middle ground, fairness and justice.
Others, whose hearts did not pacify with peace of mind, had ulterior motives and emerged to spread envious gossip by attempting to split the line. They constitute the fringe sects of destruction and diseased ideologies who had to conceal themselves with the cloak of Islam to spread their evil, disrupting the harmony of Islam.
The khawarij (dissenters) are among those who appeared in the first century on the Islamic calendar and whom the Prophet peace be upon him warned against in his hadith: “There will be those that come after me who will read the Qur’an but it does not go past their throats. They leave Islam like a spear leaves a prey, and they never return to it. They are the worst of the creations.”
Extremism in Modern Times
The majority of Muslims do not subscribe to extremist ideologies and theological perversions, which is why extremists find themselves constantly challenged, striving in every era to increase their small number and expand on their fringe positioning. Consequently, extremists have always tended to overtly gather to protect and pass their distorted views to the next generation built on youth. Today the khawarij still exist despite appearing under different names. Like their elders, they pass group-blasphemy to all those outside their sects. They continue to assault, to shed blood and to extort the properties of all those who defy them, the same way their elders did with the sons of the companions of the Prophet. Except today their threat is greater especially when they are not being faced with a unified and prompt ideological counter-offensive.
The khawarij of today follow the same concepts of their elders resulting in copycat acts of terror shedding the blood of the rulers; peoples of states; Imams; contractors; journalists; ambassadors; engineers; doctors; farmers; craftsman, and old and young males and females. They call upon peoples to dissent against the leaders by way of revolutionary coup d'états and armed revolts, to hit at the infrastructure of governments and to kill its soldiers and police officers. If people refuse their calls, they apostatize them and shed their blood and extort their properties; leading to the bombing of civilian buses and to planting explosives at airports, trains, public roads. Previously they have even destroyed mosque minarets with the praise of some locals. One of their speakers here in Sydney said on a local radio station about such killing that includes the likes of people in the police force: “It’s as permissible to us as drinking water”. Let us not forget the killing and slaughtering of the kids in East Jordan on the hands of these extremists. Their activist was caught saying: “Do not prevent us from its blessing”, implying he too wanted to contribute to the cowardice slaughtering. Clearly, these and the killing of the innocent are attempts to destroy the reputation of Islam and Muslims.
The extremists have killed many people in Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Saudi, Iraq and other places thinking that their killing of those who oppose them is a means of seeking reward from God. Amongst those they’ve killed are:
• Sheikh Muhammad ash-Shami: the Mufti of a village near Aleppo called `Ifrin,
• Sheikh Dr. Hussayn adh-Dhahabi: the Minister for Islamic Endowments and an academic at an Islamic College in Egypt.
• Sheikh Nizar al-Halabi: the chairman of the Islamic Charity Projects Association in Lebanon.
To plainly discover their deviant ideology and unjust reasoning underpinning their acts of terror, one needs only to observe extremists’ books.
Quotes from extremists’ books:
• In their book fi dhilal al-Qur’an (In the Shades of the Qur’an) [vol. 3/G8/p.1198] they say: “He who obeys a human in a secular law even if it were partial obedience then this person is a mushrik (idolater) and a blasphemer no matter how emphatically he utters the testifications of faith”.
• In the same book [vol. 2/G7/p.1057]: “All humankind in the East and the West inclusive of those who repeat the testifications of faith on the minarets with no indicator or factual happening are deeper in sin and worse in punishment on the Day of Judgment because they have blasphemed for the worship of creations”.
• In the same book [vol 3/p.1449] is written: “It is required upon those who are called the Jama`ah al-Islamiyya or the brotherhood group to snatch the reigns of power from the rulers and to destroy their systems and to revolt against them by way of coups throughout the states”.
However, historic and contemporary Islamic literature abounds with refutations against deviant sects. Islamic scholars fought and debated them including the great Prophetic companion `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas and the fourth Khalif (successor) Master `Aliy Ibn Abi Talib, followed by the four Sunni schools of thought and their orthodox followers. The four Sunni schools of thought are the highest authority for the Sunnis in refuting this global extremist movement and its aligned groups who falsely claim to be part of the Sunni populace.
Quotes from the four Sunni schools:
• The Mufti of the Hanbalis in Mecca Sheikh Muhammad bin `Abdullah bin Hamid (d. 1295 H.) said in his book as-suhub al-wabilah (The Downpouring Clouds) page 276 about the leader of the extremist Wahhabi movement: “If he was contested and refuted and could not overtly kill his contester, he sends a hit man to murder him on his bed or at night in the market place, because he believed in the blasphemy of those who opposed him and the shedding of their blood”.
• The Mufti of the Shafi`is in Mecca Sheikh Ahmad Zayni Dahlan (d. 1304 H.) wrote in his book ad-durar as-sunniyyah (The Sunni Gems) about the leader of the extremist Wahhabi movement that he used to say: “And all that is under the seven skies is a mushrik (idolater) fully, and he who kills a mushrik is rewarded with Paradise”.
• He (Mufti) also relayed about the Wahhabi leader his statement: “He who enters our way shares our rights and obligations, and he who doesn’t is a blasphemer whose blood is shed and wealth is squandered”.
• He also mentioned in his book ‘umara’ al-balad al-haram (The Princes of the Holy Land) that when the Wahhabis entered at-Ta’if they killed the people en mass including the elderly and the children, the honourables, the princes and the layman. They even slaughtered the suckling infants by their mothers’ breasts. They also assaulted the pilgrims to Mecca through extortion and murder.
• The Maliki Sheikh Ahmad as-Sawi (d. 1241 H.) mentioned in his commentary on al-Jalalayn [vol.3 p.307-308] about the khawarij who misinterpret the true meanings of the Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions shedding in that the blood of the Muslims as is witnessed today in their localities. They are a sect in the Hijaz region (East Arabia) who are called the Wahhabis, they think they have a legitimate authority but in deed they are the liars who have been deceived by the devil who has made them forget the remembrance of their Lord. Those are the evil satanic sect; in fact the sect of Satan is defeated.”.
• Dr Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. 1996) and who was a disciple of Sheikh Hasan al-Banna may Allah have mercy on him mentioned in his book min ma`alim al-haqq (From the Characteristics of Truth) [p.264]: “Those underground youth were later on a major threat to the group, as they started turning against each other in assassinations until they became a destructive tool for terror in the hands of those who had no true knowledge of Islam and could not be relied upon for the common interest of society”. Hasan al-Banna also said about them before he died that they were not brothers and they were not Muslims.
Today, the threat of extremists is escalating and reaching new fronts beyond New York, Madrid, Bali, London and Sharm El-sheikh. They kill unjustly on one hand and call themselves ‘the Salafy Group’ on the other hand. But, no two concepts can be more polarised. They hide behind the banner of Jihad and martyrdom and under the veil of Islam. The fact of the matter remains that Islam is against them and against their evil acts. Refuting them is an Islamic obligation and diffusing them should be a way of life for the true Muslim.
Remedies and Solutions
The war against extremism is a systematic war which has to be accompanied with preventative measures which include:
• Satisfying the need for Islamic scholars, Sheikhs and Islamic religious workers who remain at the forefront of the line of defence against them.
• To continue training new religious workers and Sheikhs with the know hows and the rebuttal documents enabling them to expose extremism and its proponents.
• To expose those in the public arena so that they cannot continue to find access to the general public.
• To maintain a media, broadcast and print, that supports rebutting and curtailing extremist acts and undressing their disguise and motives
• To encourage Islamic leaders of today to speak out against the modern version of the khawarij in order to prevent them from teaching their ideology through pulpits, mosques, radio stations, satellite channels, schools, public lectures.
• To protect the Muslim youth from their danger by preventing access to the extremist books
Curtailing extremism should not be limited to security measures, which sometimes defeats the aim. Security measures may sometimes bloat the motives of extremists who act upon a recursive chain of actions and reactions in order to expand their sphere of conflict from one generation to another. Alone it could also attract the attention of some oblivious youth who might grant their sympathy to these extremist groups. Some people have even put a spin on hypocrisy, disguising it as public relation and promotion; thus luring the passive. Such deviant people compete for air time and coverage, while concealing their true identity and motives behind void utterances of peace and moderation. Their private sessions contain the same rants that they distribute in their bookstores claiming to advise the youth towards the right path for salvation. It is also behind doors that they accuse those calling against extremism to be mere agents or informers. It was only recently, when one of them was extolling extremists by saying that if it weren’t for them “Allah would have sunk the Earth from underneath us” and he called those carrying out suicidal attacks “martyrs”. Consequently, continued learning about Islam and application becomes a necessity for differentiation.
The conclusion is framed in what the trustworthy Prophet peace be upon him said: “Allah rewards for gentleness what He does not reward for violence” [related by Muslim and others]. Clearly, the onus is upon all Muslims to resolve this phenomenon, each through his informed area of expertise and with as much capacity as one could bear. Muslims in Australia and abroad following the orthodox teachings of Islam condemn all forms of terrorism, extremism and social destruction. Thus, it is essential to conquer terrorism and its kin, that governments, nations and the media differentiate between Muslims and terrorists and to further promote that there is no relation between Islam, terrorism and extremism. To execute this objective Muslims throughout the world and particularly in Australia should assert their moderate stand loudly, empowered by textual and logical proofs. They must restate that they are not the ones who exchange conviction for positions, and are not those who disregard the true Islamic fatwa for any agenda or program. Counselling against extremists cannot be achieved only by statements and words, but has to be accompanied with a continuous effort in order to eradicate this social dilemma and save nations and its peoples from its danger. This work requires qualified and diligent individuals trained in deflating the calls of the named al-Jama`ah al-Islamiyyah, the Wahhabis and Hizbut-Tahrir.