Darul-Fatwa (Fatwa House) of Australia
Forum: Terrorist Exposé
Theme: Sunnis Against Extremism
Speech delivered by his Eminence Sheikh Salim Alwan Chairman of Darul-Fatwa on Friday the 5th august 2005 in Bankstown.
Islam is Against Extremism and Terrorism
Praise be to Allah and may Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad.
Allah has chosen for the people of Islam their path and their direction. Surat Al-Baqarah in the Qur’an verse 143 means: [And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation]. Islam is a medium (just) religion between excessive exaggerations of practice and abandonment of life. This medium just position is not taken from personal whims and desires, but rather obtained from the religious discourse of Islamic sources. Those devoutly practicing the Religion of Islam based on its true teachings are against deviating away to extreme positions. Extremists have not correctly understood Islam and in that they do not represent Muslims but rather merely represent themselves.
The Islamic shari`ah (system of rules) calls for a moderate just approach and manner against forms of perversion and vice.
Perusing the following excerpts and passages one can understand the basis for the above affirmation:
Surat An-Nahl in the Qur’an verse 90 means: [Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and the giving to the kin, and He forbids immorality, acts of evil and outrage. Allah instructs you in order that you may take heed.]
Imam Ahmad related in his musnad as well as an-Nasa’iy and Ibn Majah in their sunan and al-Hakim in his al-mustadrak from the route of Ibn `Abbas may Allah be pleased with them that the Prophet peace be upon him said: “O people, be warned from excessiveness in matters of the Religion”. Also his saying: “Don’t be an excessive extremist” and this applies to both matters of ideology and practice.
Ibn Mas`ud may Allah be pleased with him narrated from the way of Imam Muslim that the Prophet peace be upon him said: “The extremist fanatics are doomed”.
Although extremism as a concept is not a new phenomenon, what we are witnessing today from anarchist exacerbations requires prompt action and a strong resolve. The global extremist movement driving this form of anarchy is manifested in groups that come under a multitude of names hiding under the cloak of Islam in order to bury itself in the midst of Islamic communities.
In defence of the true teachings of Islam which lead to the right path of moderation, safety and security, and in order to preserve our next generation of youth from being cast into the nets of extremism, we will present to you this study which we hope will enlighten you and inform you.
We have to first though attend to the importance of differentiating between Islamic practice which is a true following of the rules of Islam and extremism which is a perverted view that deviates from the meanings of the merciful shari`ah (system of rules)..
It’s also important to admit to the existence of extremism in order to then plan to weed it out from society.
We will begin the study with a brief historic account of some extremists who falsely claimed followership of Prophet Muhammad, followed by an exposé of their ideology, and then end with remedies and solutions according to the rules of the Islamic shari`ah (system of rules).
The Beginnings of Extremism
Earlier, many people entered into Islam freeing their hearts from the odious practices of ignorance and tribalism. Their hearts were pacified with what the Prophet peace be upon him called them to. They were a people of middle ground, fairness and justice. Those are the true followers of Islam.
Others, however, had ulterior motives and they came out to spread envious gossip by attempting to split the line. It was those whose hearts did not pacify with peace of mind. Those constituted the fringe sects of destruction and diseased ideologies who had to conceal themselves with the cloak of Islam to spread their evil and disrupt the harmony in Islam.
Amongst those are the khawarij (dissenters) who appeared in the first century on the Islamic calendar and whom the Prophet peace be upon him warned against. Abi Dharr may Allah be pleased with him reported from the way of Imam Muslim that the Prophet peace be upon him said: “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.”
Islamic scholars combated against them including the great Prophetic companion `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, who debated them with refutations from the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet. In fact, the fourth Khalif (successor) our Master `Aliy Ibn Abi Talib may Allah be pleased with him also fought them.
Extremism in Modern Times
Extremism is a warped ideology of misinterpretations and deviation away from the mainstream community. The great majority of Muslims do not subscribe to extremist ideologies and theological perversions. As a result, the extremists have always been challenged historically because of their small number and because of their fringe positioning. This fact has meant that extremists have always tended to overtly gather in order to protect and pass their distorted views down the generational line. Today we still witness the presence of the sect known as the khawarij despite their appearance under other names. The same way their elders passed group-blasphemy to all those that were outside their sects, their modern day versions have resorted to the same worrisome mentality. They’ve continued to assault, to shed the blood and to extort the properties of all those who go against 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’re not being faced with a unified and prompt ideological counter-offensive.
The khawarij of today have followed the same concepts of their elders which has resulted in copycat acts of terror by which they shed the blood of the rulers and the peoples of states, the Imams and the contractors, the journalists and ambassadors, the engineers and the doctors, the farmers and the craftsman the old and the young the males and the females. They called upon the 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 then they pass group-blasphemy against them, and they shed their blood and extort their properties. This has led them to bomb civilian buses and to leave explosives at airports, trains, public roads, and in fact they have previously destroyed mosque minarets to the extent that one of their speakers here in Sydney said on a local radio station about the killing of those and their likes in the police force: “It’s as permissible to us as drinking water”. In deed they have destroyed the reputation of Islam and Muslims.
We will now quote for you some passages as taken 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”.
They also say 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 third volume of the same book on page 1449 and what proceeds it the following 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”.
We will now quote for you the sayings of the four Sunni schools of thought as they 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.
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 Faqih (Jurisprudent) of the Hanafis Ibn `Abidin (d. 1252 H.) said in his hashiyat radd al-muhtar `alad-durr al-mukhtar (Commentary on Enlightening the Perplexed on Selective Pearls) [vol.4, p.262]: “The Wahhabis believe that they are the Muslims alone and that those who contradict them in matters of creed are mushriks (idolaters), in that they have shed the blood of the Sunni populace and the blood of its Sunni scholars”.
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. We ask Allah to eradicate their path”.
Their leader has also emerged from a place (Najd) that the Prophet peace be upon him prophesied about by saying “from there the horn of devil emerges” [related by al-Bukhariy].
The Wahhabis today label themselves with many names including: ‘The Salafi Group’.
We should also not forget what took place at their hands from the killing and slaughtering of the kids in East Jordan until one of them was caught saying: “Do not prevent us from its blessing” implying he too wanted to contribute to the cowardice slaughtering.
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”.
Furthermore, 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 is Sheikh Muhammad ash-Shami who was the Mufti of a village near Aleppo called `Ifrin, and they also killed the Sheikh Dr. Hussayn adh-Dhahabi the Minister for Islamic Endowments and an academic at an Islamic College in Egypt. They also killed Sheikh Nizar al-Halabi the chairman of the Islamic Charity Projects Association in Lebanon. Today, their crimes have not ceased as they’ve continued to carry out indiscriminately and against all sections of society their kidnappings and their other acts of terror. Their threat is escalating and reaching new fronts beyond New York, Madrid, Bali, London and Sharm Elsheikh. All this they claim to be under 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.
Those extremists who think they form the army of God and His Prophet are in fact waging war against the path of God and His Prophet. They think they are reformers, but in fact they are spreading sedition and evil in the land.
Remedies and Solutions
Many are asking about the means and methods to solve this phenomenon that is disrupting the good name of Islam by spreading violence, terror and blood. The answer to this stems from the realisation that the extremist falsely hide under the cloak of Islam, and they are proponents of ideologies which have no relation to Islam whatsoever. So the solution starts by undressing them from their deceptive cloaks and masks and by refuting them with blatant evidence that exposes the fallacies of the ways and the perversion of the practices that are taken from a dark philosophy.
The war against extremism is a systematic war which has to be accompanied with preventative measures. It is here that we realise the immense need for Islamic scholars, Sheikhs and Islamic religious workers who remain at the forefront of the line of defence against them. In the absence of those spiritual guides the road for those extremists will be paved and their aims will be easier to achieve. It is of utmost importance to continue training new religious workers and Sheikhs by supporting them with the know hows and the rebuttal documents to be able to expose extremism and its proponents. It’s important to expose those in the public arena so that they cannot continue to find access to the general public.
The same way, the elders of the extremists were debated, rebutted and warned against through broadcasting the word and publishing the texts that bare them from their disguise, the Islamic leaders of today need 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. The Muslim youth need to be protected from their danger. They should never get access to their books.
The solution should not be only restricted to security measures, as such measures on their own in the face of extremism will sometimes result in added motives for the 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.
As a result, the prevention of extremist ideology from spreading and the counter dissemination of the true moderate teachings through qualified people are amongst the necessary duties which will give results, especially if the action taken was proactive and consistent.
We all need to resolve this phenomenon, each through his area of expertise and with as much capacity as they could bear. We need to exhibit good judgment and courage in fighting ignorance with knowledge, extremism with moderation and deviations with the truth.
Darul-Fatwa of Australia in its moderate Islamic path as represented by the traditional Sunni methodology of Imams, Sheikhs, religious workers, organisations, Islamic centres and sections of the Australian Islamic community ask the governments and nations to differentiate between Muslims and terrorists and to further promote that there is no relation between Islam, terrorism and extremism. Darul-Fatwa reaffirms here that Muslims throughout the world and particularly in Australia are against all odious violent attacks that are driven by the one global extremist ideology.
We also reaffirm the need to disassociate Islam from terrorism and Muslims from extremists. Despite this clear disassociation, the extremists continue to push a wedge in the community in order to present themselves as spokesmen and defenders of the faith, aiming in that to keep the trickle of sympathy flowing towards them. This sympathy is the only tool that these extremists seem to want, because it allows them to further their agenda within the community by spreading their ideological and theological misinterpretations and perversions.
Darul-Fatwa of Australia repeats its utter condemnation of terrorism and its perpetrators and reasserts its full support for any counter action against it. Darul-Fatwa calls the international community to take on its responsibilities and to intensify its efforts in fighting this abhorrent phenomenon and to work towards weeding out its poisonous and deviant ideologies. It also calls upon those to take the right and direct approach in exposing their fallacies which are rejected by both the scholars and the populace of Islam. It also calls for an international cooperative effort on a religious front in the region in order to tackle this issue from its roots.
Darul-Fatwa of Australia is on the traditional way of the Prophet (Sunni) and it works according to the traditions of fourteen centuries of Islamic scholarship. We warn against extremism because it misleadingly calls for action in the name of Islam, while it’s not the true creed of the Muslims.
We further assert that it is an Islamic rule to not betray Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is not permissible for Muslims who are dealing with non-Muslims in matters of trade to bias the balance and betray the non-Muslim. It is also not permissible for the Muslim to squander with a trust that a non-Muslim has entrusted him with.
These are words and statements which we have convincingly repeated over and over, because such is our conviction and resolve. We have not uttered words of deception or double talk under pressure or due to any offers made. Such is the shari`ah (system of rules) of Islam and we have said the same thing over and over for more than a decade in this country.
We are part and parcel of the Australian community, citizens of Australia who do not wish to see this country turn into a theatre for these violent extremists and their corrupt ideology under the placards of freedom. It is for this reason that we extend our hands of collaboration to anyone from this Australia society (organisations, individuals and governments) who wish to fight this extremism. We also assure the Australian people that we are working with them to protect this country and its people from the evil of an extremist ideology.
We say to all, that we are not the ones who exchange conviction for positions, and not those who disregard the true Islamic fatwa for any agenda or program. We are witnessing today people who 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 it weren’t for them “Allah would have sunk the Earth from underneath us” and he called those carrying out suicidal attacks “martyrs”.
People be warned from these deceptions and tricks.
In fact 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.
Our Islamic community is against extremism and its proponents.
However, those who were trained at the hands of what is called al-Jama`ah al-Islamiyyah or the Wahhabis or Hizbut-Tahrir cannot be trusted with the youth of our community, nor can they be trusted with the custody of our mosques or our academic institutions and schools. They do not represent the silent majority in our communities. On the contrary, to hide them in our midst and to protect them is in fact a cart Blanche to these individuals to further their ideological agendas and to continue their disrepute against the good name of our Islamic community. Silence over them potentially produces new generations of badly informed youth.
We also refuse to accept for these extremists any labels or organisational names which contain an Islamic label that could potentially continue that trickle of sympathy that the extremists O so love.
It should be noted that these individuals remain in the fringe, and that the scholars of the global Islamic community and its populus remain at odds with their theories of collusion and conspiracy.
In the end, it is very important for the Muslims to return to the true fountains of knowledge, and remain steadfast to the right sources of shari’ah without any distortion. The right Islamic teachings protect you from all forms of extremism.
Trusted is the Prophet peace be upon him who said: “O people learn – for knowledge is obtained through direct teaching and rulings are sought through proper education. He whom Allah Has willed goodness for will be granted this true knowledge” [related by at-Tabaraniy in his mu`jam al-kabir (The Great Almanac) from a reliable route].
The trustworthy Prophet peace be upon him also said: “Allah rewards for gentleness what He does not reward for violence” [related by Muslim and others].
Let’s walk down the true path of the Prophets, the road of those chosen by God, for in such is happiness and in such is peace.
We thank you for accepting our invitation and for taking the time to attend tonight’s forum.
Peace and mercy be upon you.