In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Grantor of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, and may His salutations and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family, companions, and those loyal to him.
AMJA, represented by its Permanent Fatwa Committee, has been closely following the bloody events in the Muslim lands, especially in Syria and Iraq. It has become particularly concerned with the growth of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the influence that this group has had on some of the passionately religious youth, and how some (or more accurately, a few) of them have begun to slip into adopting its ideology. This has made it incumbent upon the assembly to clarify to the people at large, and to the Muslim youth of America and the West, a number of realities and Islamic rulings in order to protect them from being deceived by the affair of this faction, or being influenced by its sensationalized appeal. Of the most important of them is:
- The khilâfah (caliphate) has never taken effect for this person whom ISIS has pledged allegiance to as their caliph, because one of the requirements for effecting the caliphate and its subsequent rulings is the agreement of ahl al-hall wal-‘aqd (the body of people endowed with authority) in the ummah, namely the scholars and politicians, on appointing a particular leader. This has never taken place, and there is no greater proof for this than the vast majority of the scholars rejecting this claimed caliphate, not to mention the political leaders and the Islamic movements that are active in those lands.
- Suspicion surrounds the inception of this group, its ideology, and its behavior. The leaders of this group are either unidentifiable, or at least have no known precedent in knowledge, da‘wah (propagation), and legitimate jihad. For that reason, no significant scholar, juristic assembly, Islamic entity, or leader of an Islamic movement, has ever praised their methodology or their personalities. And the Prophet (saws) has warned us against fighting under every ambiguous banner, which means any banner whose objective or leadership is unknown.
Based on that, so long as the people have not divided into two camps – a believing camp with no disbelief in it, and a disbelieving camp with no belief in it – and so long as the Muslim cannot definitively assert that the believing camp is fighting with legitimacy that isn’t tainted by blemish – in terms of objective and behavior – or that one group is clearly oppressing another, then abstaining from participation is a classical position that has been practiced by the best of creation; the Companions of the Prophet (saws) and those who followed them from the best generations.
- The Islamic State (ISIS) considering those who disagree with them as having apostatized from Islam – not to mention those who fight them – is a deviant innovation that Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamâ‘ah unanimously agreed is incorrect. In fact, this is the methodology of the Kharijites (Rebels) that the Prophet (saws) warned his ummah from.
- Killing Muslim prisoners is unlawful in the Sharia, and the same stands for non-Muslim prisoners when the nations have agreed that prisoners of war will not be killed – regardless of whether the killing is by burning, drowning, or any other mode of execution. Combatants are only killed on the battlefield, so long as he remains a combatant that is unbound and fighting willfully. But once he falls into captivity, dealing with the prisoner has its own code of ethics in the Sharia that differs from the rules of engaging a combatant.
For this reason, AMJA warns the Muslims everywhere from following this deviant group and falling prey to what ISIS has fell into of declaring Muslims to be apostates and justifying their bloodshed, and it calls for the boycott and denunciation of this group.
Alongside asserting the reality of what this group is upon of deviant ideology and corrupt behavior, it is only just to say that confronting this must not be limited to military measures. Rather, this must be accompanied by efforts to remove the causes which triggered it, such as the people being barred from their freedoms and livelihoods. In fact, another factor is not encouraging the scholars and preachers who are upon the upright path to spread the teachings of this religion and its rulings with the wisdom and fair preaching that the Noble Qur’an enjoins.
O Allah, show us the truth as truth and enable us to follow it. And show us falsehood as falsehood and enable us to avoid it. And may Allah send His salutations, peace, and blessings upon the best of His creation, Muhammad, and his entire family and companions.