Hijrah: Issues related to making Hijrah to or residing in non-Muslim Lands

2013 Winter Session (January 14 to March 17 2013)

Class taught by Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo

Required or Recommended Reading:

There is actually a great deal of related literature available on in English that could be classified as “interesting.” One book that I plan on referring to a great deal is: Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus by Andrew March

The following books all contain material that we may wish to benefit from or comment on:

To be a European Muslim by Tariq Ramadan.

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam by Tariq Ramadan.

The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain by Kathleen Moore.

Citizenship and Accountability of Government: An Islamic Perspective by M. Hashim Kamali

Muslim and American? Straddling Islamic Law and U.S. Justice by Mark Hanshaw

Recommended Textbook:

Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus by Andrew March

Basic Outline of the Quarter:

I. Liberal Democracies, Citizenship and Muslim Loyalties

a. Islamic Identity, al-Walaa, Imitation

The following items will be discussed this quarter although some may be left for next quarter:

II. Particular Fiqh Issues

a. Taking Citizenship

b. Participation in Military

c. Participation in Political Process

d. Issues of Marriage, Divorce, Child Custody, etc.

III. From the Theoretical to the Real: Islamophobia

a.Islam in Western Media

2013-01-13 Class Notes

Question we are trying to address is what responsibility is on a Muslim if one is to be full liberal citizen rather than alien citizen. We had been discussing the book by Andrew March for few quarters now. The author is raising questions of how can a Muslim fit into the liberal democracy.

The part of the book (beginning of chapter 6 on page 181) where author is trying to reconcile the Islam and the liberal citizenship. Some questions which have been addressed in this book were not on the minds of the Muslims when they came to Europe and USA.

It is not appropriate that a Muslim do such things without investigating what they are agreeing to.

In the USA, there’s a big difference between the theory of liberal citizenship and the practicalities (e.g. < 50% voter turnout). In practices the USA is basically more like alien citizenship rather than liberal citizenship.

Footnote: France has its own form of secularism, for example, called Laicite. That is why they had a lot more problem with Hijab then other European countries.

March starts this chapter with few verses of the Quran, i.e 16:91; 2:177.

وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدتُّمْ وَلَا تَنقُضُوا الْأَيْمَانَ بَعْدَ تَوْكِيدِهَا وَقَدْ جَعَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفِيلًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Sahih International

And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have taken it, [O believers], and do not break oaths after their confirmation while you have made Allah , over you, a witness. Indeed, Allah knows what you do.

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

Sahih International

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.

Potentially problematic points:

1. A Muslim can not kill another Muslim for the sake of disbelievers.

2. A war for expanding Islam is a type of jihad.

3. Every Muslim, even outside of Islamic lands, should respond to a call for legitimate jihad if called on by a legitimate Imam.

4. A Muslim can not support disbelievers or uphold non-Islamic societies.

5. A Muslim may sacrifice their lives for only a small number of causes, of which defending a non-Muslim nation is not one.

These all evoke questions of loyalty. March then presents 3 propositions which adhering to could create an overlapping consensus (pages 182-183)

L1: Fighting by Muslims (who are not living in liberal democracy) against non-Muslim state are justified only in self defense. He is basically claiming that Jihad can only be in self defense.It cannot for spread of Islam or regime change.

L2: If you are a Muslim in a liberal democracy, then you cannot aid the Muslim State or take violent actions against the liberal democracy (LD).

L3: If the Liberal Democracy is attacked by a non-Muslim state, it is permissible for the Muslims to contribute to the defense of Liberal Democracy.  

The views of Andrew March is majority opinion in the schools of the liberal democracy.

March makes the point that there’s a long history in Islam known in Islamic history of amaan. This commitment to a contract allows even very “orthodox” Islamic scholars support L2. L3 requires “supplementing classical views with new ones, or creatively interpret what they are saying” -- neoclassical scholars like Yusuf Qaradawi. L1, however is a clear case where they will have to deviate from classical interpretations.

In international law the only justification for war is self-defence or humanitarian intervention.

Footnote: One of the leading scholars of just war theory, John Kelsey (Florida State University), said that the Iraq war was justified based on regime change for humanitarian cause -- and hence almost any war can be justified. Billy Graham (Protestant) a famous missionary, every President would go to Billy Graham asking approval for war and he didn’t object to any of them.

He quotes Tariq Ramadan when he says that contracts once agreed to should be respected, and if there is a point that works against Muslim rights, or violates their conscience, then we should discuss it. But he doesn’t consider the possibility that the contract is invalid. Hence Islamic Law order a person to respect the tacit social contract. Hence implementing the shari’ah in Europe is explicitly to respect the constitutional framework in the country of one’s origins.

What March has not addressed is the question whether such a contract is valid Islamically in the first place. The author is assuming the contract of L1 to L3 is Islamic. Muslims cannot enter those contracts which are Batil. If one does then the contract is invalid and the Muslim must get out of it the moment it is found that the contract is Batil.

The point here is that Tariq Ramadan’s argument is almost deliberately false. He also quotes the story of Huthayfah ibn Yamaan -- so they took a covenant that they would not fight on the side of Muhammad in the Battle of Badr.

2013-01-20 Class Notes

We were discussing the three propositions L1, L2 and L3 on pages 182-3 of March’s book.

L1: Fighting by Muslims (who are not living in liberal democracy) against non-Muslim state are justified only in self defense. He is basically claiming that Jihad can only be in self defense.It cannot for spread of Islam or regime change.

L2: If you are a Muslim in a liberal democracy, then you cannot aid the Muslim State or take violent actions against the liberal democracy (LD).

L3: If the Liberal Democracy is attacked by a non-Muslim state, it is permissible for the Muslims to contribute to the defense of Liberal Democracy.

Fulfilling the amaan -- the contract of civil loyalty. There are three people in an Islamic state: the Muslims, the ahlul-thimmah, and temporary visitors -- they are musta’mineen.

Similarly what if a Muslim is visiting a non-Muslim country, he has to abide by the rules in that country. There is ijma’ that contracts with non-Muslims are binding.

Discussion of Treachery

Al-Sarakhshi in his Mabsoot, in the book of Al-Shaibaani, saying: Treachery is strongly disliked in Islam for someone.

Allah (SWT) when he brings people on the Day of Judgment that a flag will be raised for every treacherous person saying this person was treacherous.

Ibn Qudaamah in his Mughni says, Whoever enters a Muslim under an amaan shall not cheat them in transactions. Even if its not contractually obliged, there is an expectation that they will abide by the laws. He quotes from the Prophet (SAWS) that says Muslims are under their conditions. If someone takes a non-Muslim’s property and then returns to a Muslim country then the goods that were taken should be returned.

There is ijma’ on this. The only issue with these opinions is that these refer to travelers, not residents.

Discussion of Andrew March’s proof for obedience to non Muslim states

Andrew March says that Muslim scholars are in agreement that the Muslims have to follow the rules of the lands that they reside in and pay their taxes. He goes on to quote a fatwa that says that the Muslims have to continue paying the taxes even if it is at war with the Muslim nation.

This includes taxes which can be used -- even for military spending. What about this question of taxes? Then he goes on to discuss a very important issue: no obedience to the creation at the expense of disobedience of the Creator.

Ali Mohiuddin Al-Qara-Daghi -- Muslims have an ethical duty not to lie, therefore we must pay Muslims to a non-Muslim state. But the duty to abide by the laws of the country ends when it comes to the laws of God. If there’s such a contradiction, no-one should disobey the laws of God.

Have you heard of Sunni Quietist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quietist)? It is someone who does not wish to create fitnah. That is why the Sunni scholars did not rebel against tyrant rulers because of this principle of pacifism or passiveness among them.

Hence there is a kind of passiveness amongst the Sunnis. Therefore the “Quietist” approach is that we pay our taxes because the fitnah we will be in is greater.

What is disobedience to the Creator? This principle of justice of adhering to contracts even with other religions. Also they are to be obeyed unless they are against the rules of the Creator. The essence of paying taxes, for example, isn’t of itself prohibited.

It is quite clear that for the majority of scholars, abiding by the contracts takes precedence over the notion of an Islamic polity, and you can not support an Islamic state against your country.

Imam An-Nawawi’s opinion: If a non-Muslim country captures you as a Muslim and they free you without condition: then you have a religious obligation to fight. But if they free you under an Amaan arrangement: where they guarantee his security and he guarantees theirs, then he is obligated to abide by it.

Hence in Islamic law, if you enter into this arrangement you have to do your best to abide them. But if they violate the contract, then you have to abide by that.

Ibn Qudaamah says that even if there is a condition that he stay in the country as a condition then he has to abide by it.

Sarakhsi’s view: if a person decides that he no longer wants to abide by a contract, then he has to renounce his amaan. He can’t simply turn around and start doing jihaad. If he renounces his citizenship, then he is making clear to the state that he no longer has this agreement.

This principle is one of the basic principles that shows that honoring contracts does not violate Islam.

According to ECFR (European Council for Fatwa and Research): Amongst the most important things:

1. Consider the lives of non-Muslims to be inviolable.

2. That they respect the laws of these countries that have sheltered them and protected them (since Allah (SWT) says: Is there any reward for good except good)

Faisal Al-Mawlawi says that visa and citizenship are the legal and moral equivalents of Amaan. And then quotes Qaradawi -- two scholars both related to ECFR -- he terms neo-classical. Because they try to find a position within the classical judicial tradition. Whereas TR is a modernist in the sense that he goes beyond the traditional sources.

Quotes Qaradawi: Even when they duty of jihad is obtained, it can be fulfilled in numerous ways. Eg. to support the wronged party; e.g. boycotting, charity etc. Referring to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Mawlawi refers to as aggression and thus it may be a defensive war. Therefore the inhabitants of Iraq have the right to defend themselves. What then, should be the position towards the UK, for example.

Mawlawi says: they are bound by contracts and conventions so they can not fight with the Iraqi people. Quotes Qur’anic verse about if there is a contract, you can not violate it. The Muslims are not even allowed to evade taxes in these country. Not allowed to attack internally within the country.

Important principle of reciprocity: you have the right to fight/strike against an army in a way similar to the way they fight against you. This is limited to what is considered virtuous in Islam. E.g. if they take the honour of Muslim women, Muslims do not reciprocate. Similarly for killing women & children.

Even if a non-Muslim country invades a Muslim country illegally, if they have a pact, it makes it forbidden for them to assist that Muslim country. Sh has some objections to L1 -- because it’s almost theoretical. There’s no Muslim country that’s invasive at the moment, even AQ today isn’t invasive. But compare with say, Israeli citizens who are involved in an offensive war. Besides Sh raises a good question about the state of Israel which attacked USS liberty and has killed US citizens in broad daylight. The state of Israel also is offensively and openly waging war on the Palestinians, however, no one is asking these questions of them.

2013-01-27 Class Notes

Continuing on the question from March on the Loyalty to non-Muslim governments. If these governments are Islamic governments then there should be no problem based on Loyalty towards them. However, if the gov’t is liberal democracy, then can Muslims have loyalty towards them.

So are liberal democracies Daar Al Islam? If so, the problem is solved. So Abdul Aziz Ibn Al-Siddiq (a Moroccan scholar) has come to the opinion that because of the freedoms available (e.g. conversions), then Western liberal democracies are Daar Al Islam. Rachid Ghannouchi said at a French conference that France has become Daar Al-Islaam. This replaced the new view that it was Daar Al Ahd. 1991 COIF similarly, it was resolved that it was Daar Al-Islam.

When the Mongols invaded Baghdad, it was one of the most devastating attacks in the history of the world. The Mongols were ruthless and the Muslims were spineless. Ibn Al Atheer said the Muslims were so scared that the Muslims would run into a Mongol, and he would say “wait here while I get my sword,” then go back and get his sword and kill him and the Muslim would stay there in fear and be killed.

In the early 20th Century, this is when the issue of Muslim lands being ruled by non-Muslims. This was a difficult time: English/French in North Africa, English in India, Dutch in Indonesia.

Many went back to the fatwas of Wanshareesi, while others were accepting assimilation into non-Muslim lands. In the late 19th century and early 20th century some of the people went to Paris to study. The question came up about the permissibility of wearing a French hat, whether they are allowed to wear the French hat. There came the split again between the Muslim scholars, as one group said that it is allowed (Al-Hara’iri) and another which said that is not allowed. One scholar even said that you are a kafir if you wear that hat.

French Nationalization

The great trial came in 1923 and 1927 in Tunisia and Algeria and French authorities introduced what they called French nationalization. Main criteria was to accept French civil law over and above the Islamic law. This had a lot of reaction from scholars and many considered it apostasy (this fatwa came from scholars of al Azhar in Egypt). There were many cases where many people who were declared kuffar and buried in the French section of the graveyard. Others did not consider it to be kufr but still considered it Kabira (a grave sin). This was indeed a great fitna for the Muslims in that area at that time.

Andrew March raises the question of defending the non-Muslim state on page 190.

He starts that since Muslims do not proclaim the general document of pacifism, then for the aggressive non-Muslim entity attacking liberal democracy, Muslims should fight for defense. He quotes Sufyan al Thawri on the opinion of the Muslim prisoners of non-Muslims to fight non-Muslims.    

Neoclassical scholars sometimes assert that there is no moral dilemmas in serving in non-Muslim armies in fighting non-Muslim armies. Best evidence for this is the Muslim community living in Abyssinia. During that period, a rebel group came about to take leadership from Al-Najashi. And the Muslims became sad, so we prayed to God to give Najashi victory over his enemy. Even though it is a well known story. The idea is clear: they made dua, the implication is that they may form deep sympathies with just non-Muslim states.

Contemporary scholars also say that it is permissible and say that there is no evidence to show otherwise. Qaradawi says: Muslims are confronted with the question of mandatory military service; and there is no objection to this unless they do not declare war on a Muslim country.

Qaradawi’s three conditions for declaring a non Muslim state Dar al Islam????

1. Should not go against his belief in religion.

2. Should not transgress against rights of others.

3. One should practise da’wah within his own army and the enemy soldiers.

The Canadian Muslim Shaykh Ahmad Kutty: “Muslims who are citizens are allowed to serve in the army and allowed to  fight wars that are legitimate and ethical. But they are not allowed to fight in wars of aggression, for wars of aggression are against Islam.”

Footnote: The concept of Just War came from catholic thought which seeks to answer two questions to find out if the war is just: 1) Why should we go to a war? 2) How to behave in it? Now the Iraq war was not a Just War by any standards. However, one of the authors Johnson still wanted to argue that it is by arguing that it was to remove the Saddam who was a tyrant. He forgot that US helped him becoming a tyrant in the first place.

1907 Fatwa: Muslim Russians participating in Russo-Japanese War

Rashid Rida did not consider that fighting against Japan to be prohibited; and may in fact be one of the things rewarded by Allah if someone does it with the right intention.

1) The Muslim obedience to the state protects his brothers from oppression of the state. So this is Maslaha based argument.

2) If Muslims do not take part in the army then they will stay weak and if they are weak they will be humiliated.

If you read it as “Muslims should share in the duties of the state” then you can build an overlapping consensus. Rashid Rida gives another rationale: if Muslims don’t join the army then they will not have knowledge of the practice of war, and then they will become weak.

2013-02-03 Class Notes

…. missed some due to transmission problems......

Ibn Hajr al Haythami said that a Muslim living in non-Muslim lands may not get influenced by the wealth and pomp of the non-Muslims in the land and they should not kiss the hands of those in influence. However there is some change in this attitude. There is a person Maulana Hussein Al Madani. When God says that I am Muslim first, Muslim second and Muslim last. If I am in India, I am Indian first, Indian second and Indian last.

First fatwa was a few days after 9/11.

Muslim chaplain wrote a letter requesting a fatwa on whether Muslims can fight against Muslims.

He sent the request for fatwa to Taha Jaabir Al-Alwaani on behalf of the Muslims in the military (~15,000 or so). Estimates vary, but the number of 3,000 and 20,000. There used to be an org called Muslim Military Members (MMM). IIASA was a branch of Imam Saud University. After 9/11 they all got their visas revoked (without prejudice).

Sh would eat with them. Some of them converted to Islam while in the military. Some of them are African American Muslims. So there are a lot of Muslims there. One time there was a discussion where Sh Jaafar Idrees was asked about whether they should be in the military.

This was a difficult situation for them. They didn’t have the idea that they could fight against Muslim countries.

So he goes through the goals of the operation. (See document).

It was sent to Taha Jaabir Al-Alwaani who was at the time of the chair of FCNA

Taha Jaabir Al-Alwaani forwarded the request for fatwa to Yusuf al-Qardawi.

A committee was formed to give this fatwa. An interesting committee, not really made up of well known scholars.

Sh thinks that this is the most blatant and significant fatwa in the topic.

2013-02-10 Class Notes

Faisal Al-Mawlawi said about the first fatwa: “We cannot say that the American Muslim Solider is required to give citizenship over Islamic belonging.” So he says you can’t tell the greater harm: to put Islam above citizenship or vice versa. He suggests the solider should request if at all possible.

The greater harm is that in the Muslim world, so he considers it permissible, but if they must, he requests that they be away from military combat.

Ali Gomaa: should decline to participate.

Mohammed El-Hanooti: The war in Afghanistan is unjust and in his view they canonly fight in the war if the country has been judiciously invited. There’s no evidence about who exactly did it.

Taha Jaabir Al Alwaani -- the original recipient: A Muslim soldier can decline to participate if he believes the war is unjust.

Fahmi Al-Houaydi on October 16 2001: the fatwa was not support for the war and was not a license for them to kill Afghani Muslims. A fatwa must be evaluated on its time and place and the situation has changed since then. We need further discussion on the relationship between religious and national affiliation.

Yusuf Qaradawi on Oct 16 2001: Balance between citizenship and killing other Muslims. The Muslim American soldier should ask for a leave of absence, but if the soldier must participate, then the soldier should join the rear; limited participation. Should not forget their religious identity. Even when participating in a war, one should have an innate feeling of resentment.

The “What’s right with Islam is what’s right with America” book includes this at the end.

Salaah Al-Sawi’s response: It was the worse fatwa in history.

Two big mistakes: One is to write an article when you don’t know what you’re talking about; and the other one is to write when you’re in an emotional state.

2013-02-17 Class Notes

About Salaah Al-Sawi’s fatwa, we are most interested in is the question is the permissibility of Muslims fighting on behalf of the non-Muslims. Shaykh Salaah’s fatwa is about fighting in Afghanistan after Bush Administration blamed the Taliban movement for harboring Al-Qaeda who Bush administration blamed for 9/11 events. Salaah as Sawi’s section on the page 7 trying to call it ‘hiraaba’ is also quite weak.

From a Shari’ah point of view, there are some aspects which are well defined and others that are not well defined. Terrorists vs enemy combatants vs insurgents vs revolutionaries vs freedom fighters. The problem with terrorists is that they are not in a regular army. They even said that Geneva convention does not apply to them since they are not a regular army.

Good papers:

Combatants not bandits: The status of rebels in Islamic Law -- Int’l review of the Red Cross -- Sadia Tabassum

Domestic terrorism from an Islamic legal tradition by Sherman Jackson

That means that the ones that those who did 9/11 are criminals. Which is an interesting aspect of the fatwa, but in general you don’t go to war to capture criminals. The criminals are caught and dealt by criminal justice system. Salaah al Sawi objects to this who designation and according to him they should be called Ahl ul Baghi -- أهل البغي (rebels against the gov’t). In Shariah there is a big difference in hiraba and ahl ul baghi. We get this from the time of Ali (ra) when he had to deal with the Khawarij. Ali (ra) looked at them as our brothers who have rebelled against us (due to political motivations). So Ali (ra) sent ibn Abbas (ra) for debate and ibn Abbas (ra) was able to make half of them leave the Khawarij group. Salah al Sawi confuses this term of Ahl ul Baghi and those who are fighting a legitimate war in his fatwa.

Then he goes to ask the question that suppose that Al Qaeda was behind the 911 attack which is a jihad movement. They were created to fight the Russians and they were successful then. After a little more discussion, Salaah as Sawi finally gives the fatwa on page 12 that: “And in summary: that there is no harm, in sha Allah, upon the Muslim soldiers in participating in the upcoming (expected) battles against those whom their country decides as engaged in terrorist acts against them (America), or the ones who harbor those engaged in terrorism, or the ones who allow them to train and deploy from their countries.” However later he again meanders back to apparently not agreeing to give non-Muslims any military authority over the Muslims as on page 17: “Although, it is well known - as was mentioned previously - that if it is prohibited upon the Muslim to fight his Muslim brother alone or with a group of Muslims, it is more worthy of prohibition to fight him under the leadership of the disbelievers and under the banner of their heavily armed armies! This is because a situation like this is prohibited based on two proofs: - as was mentioned previously - the first of them: the texts that prohibit fighting between Muslims from one perspective. The second: the texts that prohibit assisting the polytheists upon the Muslims from another perspective.”

From the point of view of liberal democracy, one could have said that war on Afghanistan is an act of aggression by US gov’t and this argument would have been fine.

Another fatwa is http://amjaonline.com/00en_f1_details.php?fid=23161 by AMJA.


I told my son that the US Army supports aggression against Muslims in many countries around the world. He asks if it is alright to join the US Army and serve in a non-military role, like a cook, computer specialist, transport, navy, etc.


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,

All praise is due to Allah and may peace and blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah, upon his family, his companions and whoever follows him. To proceed:

The basic rule is that a Muslim should not engage in unjust battles, whether under the umbrella of Muslims or under the umbrella of others. Neither is he allowed to refrain from helping any oppressed person who is seeking his help when he is capable of helping him, whether he be from the Muslims or others. On that basis, if one group of his Ummah rebelled against the others, he is not to be with the rebels, not even to add to their show of strength, even if they are Muslims! Indeed, you saw how the Ummah stood in opposition to Saddam Hussain when he invaded his neighbor, Kuwait. And there is nothing wrong with helping an oppressed person, even if he is not one of the Muslims. The Conquest of Mecca was the result of helping our non-Muslim allies when a battalion from Bani Bakr attacked Khuza`ah, the tribe allied with the Prophet (saws), so Khuza`ah requested the help of Allah's Messenger (saws), and he hurried to help them, sending the army to rescue them; and at that time, they were still non-Muslims! The Messenger (saws) said that day to the envoy of Khuza`ah, "You won, oh `Amr ibn Salim!"

The Permanent Fatwa Committee

Notice that the Fatwa from AMJA does not answer the basic question that was originally asked.

Fatwa from Dr Ma’in Al-Qudaa

“The only thing is to be careful not to fight Muslims or even bother them. Other than that it is a noble endeavour to defend one’s country.”

Fatawa from Outside of the USA

Islam Q&A: On the question of the Muslims serving in non-Muslim armies, they (under leadership of Sh. Salih) sent the question to ibn Uthaymeen. He admitted this is a problematic question which pretty much concluded that it is not allowed to serve in the non-Muslim army. Shaykh Salih allowed jobs related to the preaching etc.

Footnote on the Muslims in other non-Muslim armies

Christian Bleuer wrote an article on this topic. Supposedly there was a mutiny in 1985, after the execution of a Tajik Muslim soviet soldier. All of these lead back to the Afghan Information Center in Peshawar Pakistan, so isn’t really trustworthy.

By the end of the war, approx 10% of the people fighting were probably Muslim. So no real sign of impact. In conclusion, there was no sign of the Muslims who fought against the Muslims.

With respect to the American military. The # of Muslims in the military has grown modestly since 9/11. There were some cases of Muslims accused of treason, in particular James Yee. He then goes on about a web site for Muslims in the military. “if you don’t want to be in the military, then leave.” Lt Cdr Ruthi Ayesha Muhammad -- “US Muslim Patriots”

In Indian military only 2% of military. Obviously lot of distrust. But many Muslims have joined and fought against Pakistan. Brigadier Muhammad Usman. Served in Burma in WW II. Died in 1948 fighting against Pakistani Army. At time of partition, officers were given a choice of joining either army.

Basically, Muslim soldiers have demonstrated that they are just as loyal to non-Muslim militaries, even when fighting other Muslim countries.

Liberal Democracy and the theory versus practice in Liberal Democracy

This is the question we will inshaAllah answer i.e. what to do if liberal democracy is not acting like a liberal democracy.

2013-02-24 Class Notes

At the end of last week session, practically speaking Muslims are willing to fight. Whether or not that is sanctioned Islamically is a different story. The question of a Muslim participating in a non-Muslim army of a liberal democracy, has not been discussed satisfactorily. Some it looks like are trying to avoid the question. It does bother Shaykh Jamaal that questions are discussed and the one answering has not even discussed the details of the question at all. This is unfortunately what we see in the Muslim Ummah a lot.

The purpose of Majma al Fiqhi to require the research before hand even then the quality is many times unsatisfactory.

One of the issues with liberal democracy is that they frequently behave like a liberal democracy nationally, but they don’t behave like a liberal democracy internationally. Many times those principles are abandoned -- it is one of the major critiques of liberal democracy.

Most of our attention will be focused on the situation similar to the situation similar to the one in USA. With respect to key question which were not dealt with in any of those earlier fatwas include:

1. For what reasons do these liberal democracies go to war?

2. On what basis are Muslims allowed to enter into qitaal and fighting and go to war against others?

3. What are the practical limits to being a conscientious objector?

If these 3 questions are not dealt with then it is not possible to answer the question as to whether one can enter the US armed forces. The problem is that there is not a unit which is about the self-defence of the USA. You have the US army and you are either part of it or not.

1. On what basis do the liberal democracy (like the USA) go to war?

What is the attitude towards war these days and what is war all about?

a. Attitude of Pacifism:

According to the institute of American Values, after 9/11 and the war on Afghanistan, they wrote a little work titled: “what are we fighting for”. They outlined different attitudes towards war and they outlined Pacifism as a belief which “believes that all wars intrinsically immoral”.

footnote: the first time the catholic church accepted the doctrine of pacifism was in 1960s.

The Christians are expecting the end of times very soon. One of the quotes from the Bible where Jesus (pbuh) supposed to have spoken from the mount “love thy enemy”. According to the book?? mentioned above the author says that this only means about personal enemies. Another example is “One nation under God” -- “Our saviour and king tells us to love our enemies, but nowhere does he say to love His enemies or to make covenant with them in any way.” There is another book from Evangelical Christians titled “the virtue of war”.

So we’re not talking about pacifism in liberal democracies -- there’s no tradition of pacifism.

b. Crusade (as an attitude towards war)

Crusade is any war instigated and blessed by the church specially undertaken under papal section against infidels and heretics. The Institute for American Values combines crusade and holy war basically which allows the killing of the non-believers. So goal behind it is coercion and killing of non-believers. In Jihad we do not force others to Islam and we do not fight just for the sake of fighting. So this should show that Christians are not Pacifists.

The scholars of the West claims that the Muslims believe that Western countries are in a crusade -- they term this a “Crusader Complex”.

One of the key incidents took place when Christians first recaptured Jerusalem. Once the crusaders broke through the city walls, they killed all women and children, and they set a building containing the Jews alight. And similarly for the Muslims seeking protection in Al-Aqsa were killed. Sometime around 1200 CE Salahuddin al Ayyubi reconquered it.

First Crusade: 1096, Last Crusade was: 1798. Muslims, Orthodox Russians/Greeks, Pagans of Northern Europe, Hussite Heretics, Catholic political opponents of the Pope.  

Crusade is like a divine mission to achieve something (like crusade against the cancer). So it is a common English term now. One quality of the crusade is the dehumanization of the enemy. In the history of the world there are only two textbooks on torture: one was written by the Roman Catholic church and the other one was the CIA.

They had crusades for about 800 years and they had enemies as Muslims, Mongols, Hassites, Catholic political opponents of the pope among many others.

There was an event at the “Winter soldier” hearings in which soldiers gave testimony about their service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Book by Aaron Glantz. One of the things that they mentioned was this military culture of dehumanizing the enemy -- the terms they used to use for the Arabs, and a number of different stories about how they were willing to shoot & kill, because they mean nothing to him.

Using derogatory terms: David Hassan -- his father is Egyptian, his father is American. I used these derogatory words for the Arabs. The military is not just a job, it’s a culture. And when you are surrounded by it 24 hours/day it seeps into you.

They say that we do not have the crusade any more but in US army in Vietnam and recent wars it is part of the culture of the military to dehumanize the enemy. This is part and parcel of the culture of the US armed forces. When they are going to fight against Muslims, it is going to be a fight in exactly in the same way that they fought in history.

The Muslim ethics are based on the Sunnah of Prophet (pbuh) and those ethics are on very good grounds. The purpose of Jihad is to bring Islam to them and make them brothers in Islam. When we are trying to bring Justice of Islam to a people then one cannot look at them as ‘animals’. The dehumanization was part of Crusade in Christianity but was never part of Jihad in Islam.

With respect to Crusade itself, the people emphasize the fact that the war on terror is not a war on Islam. There may be some aspect of truth to this statement but there are enough influence and force in US that this kind of thing can easily be turned as a war on Islam. May be not under Obama administration because the evangelical mentality is not there in his administration.

Lt Col Matthew Dooley: Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism - 8-week course for the US Joint Forces

Some of you might have heard about what he taught; including the idea that there is no such thing as “moderate Muslims” -- ie. non-extremist terrorist -- taught this material in August 2010 at the Joint Forces Staff College. From among the things he called for was a “total war on Islam” -- nuclear weapons against Makkah and Madinah. His class was stopped but he did not lose his job.

They can use it to help their goal to help fighting Islam. There is some truth to the statement when they say that war on terror is not war on Islam however, it could become a crusade.

So given that is the case, does it make sense for a Muslim to participate in such a military?

c. Just war theory

Let us assume that when a country gets involved in war, it is a just war? This is the question March is getting into. So do these liberal democracies go to war based on Just war theory.

2013-03-03 Class Notes

Back to the question of what the liberal democracy fighting the war for. We discussed Pacifism last week and we discussed the Crusades. Today we discuss the ‘Just war theory’.

When USA goes to war it is not crusade but it has some elements of crusade where they dehumanize the enemy. Due to Christian influence, there are some other crusade type concepts existing in the US armed forces. For example, today Muslims are dehumanized as enemies due to these Christian influences. Some of the christians also believe that constitution is almost a revelation from God. Hence they think that US gov’t and armies are doing God’s work. Shaykh believes that these negative feelings come out even more against Muslims compared to say communists or someone else.

c. Just war theory

This approach to war is rooted in Roman philosophy but developed by catholic scholars over the years. It was christian war theory and now it has developed into secular war theory. It combines moral abhorrence to war but with some room for moral war to be necessary. In “what we are fighting for” it argues that the natural moral law can be and should be applied to the activity of war.

The christian scholars discovered very quickly that new testament does not have much guidance for war. So their scholars (like St Thomas Aquinas) went for natural philosophy of morality where the human Aql can figure out what is rationally good (تحسين العقلي) or what is morally ugly (تقبيح العقلي). This idea is that there is some kind of universal morality that we can leak into and based on this universal morality we can determine when war is acceptable and when it is not acceptable.

There are some good aspects to the theory and there are things which are good aspects. Others aspects might be called “interesting”.

Footnote: Proof that relying on ‘aql alone with reference to revelation, is not always prudent.  A scholar Francisco Victoria from Spain, was asked whether they could use force to convert Indians to christianity. He said it is not allowed for Spanish army to force to convert Indians to Christianity however, Spanish by natural law had the right to preach Christianity to Indians and to pass through their lands. If Indians refuse then the natural law allows Spaniards to attack the Indians.

His thinking was later developed by another Spaniard scholar Sepulveda. Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda Sepulveda claims that the Indians are by natural law destined to be slaves so this allowed them to attack. So the racist mentality is running in their minds. Mamdani’s book, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim discusses this.

[Edit: The Valladolid Controversy was organized by King Charles V (grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella) to give an answer to the question whether the Native Americans were capable of self-governance. Sepúlveda defended the position of the colonists, although he had never been to America, claiming that the Amerindians were "natural slaves" as defined by Aristotle in Book I of Politics. "Those whose condition is such that their function is the use of their bodies and nothing better can be expected of them, those, I say, are slaves of nature. It is better for them to be ruled thus." He said the natives are "as children to parents, as women are to men, as cruel people are from mild people". He wrote this in Democrates alter de justis belli causis apud Indios (A Second Democritus: on the just causes of the war with the Indians). Although Aristotle was a primary source for Sepúlveda's argument, he also pulled from various Christian and other classical sources, including the Bible. Las Casas utilized the same sources in his counterargument. According to Las Casas, Jesus had power over all people in the world, including those who had never heard of Christianity. However, he thought that Christianity should be presented to natives as a religious option, not an obligation as Sepulveda believed. Las Casas thought they should be governed just like any other people in Spain, while Sepúlveda thought they should become slaves. Today, Sepúlveda's opinions would be considered extremely racist, though in the 16th century they were not extraordinary. At the end of the debate, Charles V adopted neither Sepúlveda's or Las Casas' arguments, and adopted Francisco de Vitoria's recommendations.]

This natural law idea was taken to extreme by Geologist Charles Lyell -- “if other creatures have killed their inferior groups, then why as we, the lords of Creation, do what they did?”.

Edit: See http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Charles_Lyell

Charles Lyell’s student was the famous Charles Darwin who wrote the book Descent of Man after which genocide was easily justified.

This is the problem when one is freed from revelation, that men then can start justifying their own prejudices and somehow justify genocide and torture.

They have something called jus ad bellum which can be used as criteria for engaging in war, and then jus in bello, which means just operation within war. The points below are from James Turner Johnson, based on Thomas Aquinas:

1) Sovereign authority -- which can be a person or body of authority (like the khalifah, UN). But notice there is already a bias here against rebel groups.

2) Just cause: the protection and preservation of value in the face of injustice. “the defence of the common good and innocent against unwarranted attack.” -- the nearest Islamic concept is removing thulm.

3) Right intention -- (niyyah). The intent must be just cause and not territorial aggrandizement, coercion or injustice.

4) The aim of these points is peace. This may include nation building and disarmament for peace. The Islamic equivalent can be to establish Islam.

5) Proportionality of ends -- the overall use of the greater force must be greater than the harm expected. This is almost like the law of necessity.

6) It should be the last resort

7) Reasonable hope of success

8) Non-combatants protection and immunity

9) The proportionality of means -- in a given tactical situation the means used must be proportional to the objective at hand.

In international law there are some laws which are close to this. Suppose a liberal democracy is going to war then one would think that it will not go to war except under the principles mentioned above. Suppose liberal democracy X has Muslims and X decides to attack country Y which also has Muslims then can Muslim in X goto war?

Let’s say country Y has no Muslims and it is crystal clear that country Y is being unjust. In this case what is the answer? The next question is what causes the Muslims to go to war. That is what can help us answer this question.

The above theory of just war is all nice in theory but in reality it is never the case that the wars do not have ulterior motives. It is very hypothetical and it has good in it but it is not lived up to. We will start from here next week, inshaAllah.

Footnote: James Turner Johnson and John Kelsay also have written books to say that Islam has its own just war theory.

Footnote: In time of Prophet (pbuh) after the Hudaybiyyah treaty, it was the ally of Quraysh which attacked the ally of Muslims which became the reason for marching to Makkah. The attack was both at life and wealth by the ally of Quraysh.

2013-03-10 Class Notes

We have been discussing theories of war and why countries enter into war. The last thing we discussed was the just war theory and it looks like that it has good ideas to it. The war sometimes is unavoidable and war is of value, which is close to what Quran also mentions.


كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Sahih International

Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.

The other question is the applicability of just war theory. It takes people of great moral fortitude to stick to these rules. War is about power, control and wealth. If people are secular in their hearts, you should not expect that they are going to war according to just war theory.

Example: The Vietnam war is an example of a war that doesn’t meet the criteria. The war was undeclared. But even the Persian Gulf War (1991), the reality is that even there it didn’t require it. It was definitely not a last resort. The destruction to the Iraqi instruction was not proportional. Especially the turkey shoot that happened at the end of the war. Different international to talk about the war crimes committed. Even the world council of churches formally declared that the Gulf War did not meet just war standards.

Another theory for why contemporary countries go to war falls under many titles: militarism, realism, warism, imperialism, nationalism, hegemony.

This theory of war is that it is not a question of ethics or morality. Von Clausewitz says it (war) is simply the continuation of politics by other means.

Realism is defined by Institute of American Values that “To be sure, some people, often in the name of realism, insist that war is essentially a realm of self-interest and necessity, making most attempts at moral analysis irrelevant.”

For Muslim now to be part of such a military raises questions. Is it one of the main reasons that US goes to war and chooses enemies? Looking at literature it looks like one of the main reason why US goes to war is for the purposes of self-interest. Some of the comments are as follows:

Brig. General Smedley Butler who said in 1933 that the war is a racket. He at that time was just retired US marine and two medals of honor. He wrote a book called War is a Racket. The racket at best is what general public does not know what it means and only a select few know what it is about. I helped make mexico safe for the US oil industry and many similar comments exist in his book. The book is available online.

The white house national security strategy in 2002 shows that one of the goals behind the US security strategy is to remain a superpower and not allow any nation to emerge as threat to our status as the superpower. This does not sound like a just war theory at all. ….. said that this is exactly the excuse the Imperial Japan used to attack Pearl Harbour. The author ….. said, “The purpose of American military is to make the world safe for the American business and to maintain the cultural assault.”

From the point of view of liberal democracy, is it allowed to break the principles of liberal democracy internationally. There are many forces working in the US, who are pushing for this “realism” view of the military. There are forces inside the USA for clash of civilization which want to direct attacks towards Islam. In the past it was Soviet Union and US built up its military against Russia.

The US warned its citizens about the threats of Russia. George Kennan said that it is pretty clear that the probability of Russia actually attacking mainland USA was unlikely. Many US generals at that time believed that the Russia will never attack Europe except possibly for small battles.

They used the enemy to strengthen the military to use that military to spread the dominance of the USA throughout the world.

So when we think of some of the actual reasons of joining the military, just war theory just doesn’t fit the observed data.

The dominant idea is that the USA is looking to control resources. George Kennan said: “The US has 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of the world’s population. We will not fail to be the objects of envy and resentment. We need to maintain this position of disparity without any sentimentality. We should cease to talk about vague objective like human rights and democratization. We will soon have to deal with straight power concepts. The less we have to deal with idealistic concepts the better.”

Michael Klare wrote about this very extensively in his book Resource Wars. Even Jimmy Carter said that “we have to protect our oil fields in the Middle East” ” despite the fact he is pro-human rights.

Why, for example, intervene in Somalia? Conoco, Amaco and Philips said that they had just done a deal with the former dictatorial leader.

In the 1950’s that Dwight D Eisenhower, former General of the US military warned about the strength and power of the military-industrial complex, but very few people heeded the warning he gave. Thomas Friedman said “the hidden hand of the market will never without the hidden fist. McDonalds cannot flourish without McDonnell-Douglas and the thing that allows for the silicon valley to flourish is the US Army airforce navy and marine force.”

David Wurmser. On the other hand we also have the Israel lobby and their strength can be seen in the Iraq war of 2003.

Ha’aretz reports on April 5, 2003 said it was conceived of 25 neo-conservative intellectuals. The US is soon likely to go to war to Iraq; through the magazine of the American Jewish community.

Robert Novak, in private conversation with Chuck Hagel, Sharon leaves no doubt that the greatest assistance to Israel would be to overthrow the Iraqi regime.

Now comes the question that are such wars acceptable to the Muslims? Noam Chomsky has also written about this in his books that the US do not want any other kind of system that can bring any kind of system other than the Western model of the USA.

Obviously this is what Islam is really about since it’s about an alternate way for things to be. Example: the Japanese Economy. The aspect of the Japanese economy is that the one that had a mix of capitalism and socialism, right labor markets and subsidies. It seems that international capital led to a collapse of the Japanese economy. The IMF forced Japan to “fix” the economy by demolishing the last welfare state.

You can see in the USA make a strong movement against labor.

If you present another example to the US model, e.g. Cuba, Venezuela. This model won’t survive -- any alternative is definitely a threat. If an Islamic society ever becomes strong, this in itself will become problematic.

There’s another strong thread in the USA, is that you need to construct an enemy and if that enemy needs to be Islam, then so be it.

Creating an enemy has a long history.

A German scholar named Carl Schmitt that peace at home is defined by what we are up against. Leo Strauss is another person at Univ. of Chicago (Wolfowitz was his student). Samuel Huntington is another author who espouses similar arguments that we need to know who we are and what we are against. Huntington also said that liberalism brings about lethargy.  

Islam and Islamism is being turned into an enemy and about the politics of fear. Based on that you can substantiate many things, like going to war and killing. Many of the motives as to why a liberal democracy might go to war. It’s probably about other reasons and sometimes they are manufactured.

It’s about power, control, self-interest. Is this the kind of fighting that can be justified for Muslims? If not, then perhaps a Muslim does not belong in these kinds of armies. Self-defence is one thing. But what of the question of entering the military to defend the USA.

When you join the military, you must sign a form that says that you are not a conscientious objector. In addition the SCOTUS ruled in 1971 is that a conscientious objector means you object to war in general. It does not apply to those who object to a particular war. Robert Seeley they may be recognizing that someone can enter the military then have a change of heart. But it’s very difficult. Because now you are going to have to prove that you are against all wars. This is what you might call a selective objector. Even if you are sure for saying that you are a selective objector. So this avenue of conscientious objector is not practical for the Muslims.

2013-03-17 Class Notes

When some liberal democracies go to war, such as the United States, they go for war for different motives. Some of the motives maybe decent but many of them might not be decent. If you plan to join the military, then you should be aware of why countries enter into war.

In some countries such as Uruguay or Bolivia might have different motives for war, they are not aggressive, so they might be entering war for defensive reasons, or they are part of UN Peacekeeping force and they are entering to defend some countries. So basically you have some countries that are aggressive just based on their status and some countries that are defensive.

Of all the countries, America has a unique position because of the concept of American Exceptionalism. This idea goes back to many centuries, to John Winthrop he described the Massachusetts colony as the city on the shining hill, he wanted America to be an example of democracy etc.

Justin Litke -- American exceptionalism started as an exemplar and became an empire and it started to justify actions that would have previously considered being unacceptable. The USA now sees itself as the world’s policeman. So US can be involved in Muslim countries as well as non-Muslim countries (like Korea) for purposes of war.

Muslim attitude towards war or in general towards killing human beings

War is about killing and controlling people, so what should be the Muslim attitudes towards such wars. In general we should ask what should be Muslim attitude towards fighting and taking an individual’s life.

Allah swt says in the Qur’an Surah Maedah verse 32,

مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَٰلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا ۚ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُم بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فِي الْأَرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ

Sahih International (5:32)

Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.

This verse has been commented on by the earliest times, it describes the attitude of a muslim towards killing human beings. Basically if you kill one or kill many, the punishment for you is still the same, it is the death penalty.

The gravity of killing one individual illegally is like killing everyone and saving one life from being killed illegally is like saving the whole of the mankind. Killing also has to be according to the ways of the way of Shariah.

This statement is mutlaq, it does not have any exceptions, it is unrestricted text.

Ibn 'Umar (May Allah bepleased with them) reported:

Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "A believer continues to guard his Faith (and thus hopes for Allah's Mercy) so long as he does not shed blood unjustly".


وعن ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما قال‏:‏ قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ “ لا يزال المؤمن في فسحة من دينه ما لم يصب دمًا حرًا‏"‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه البخاري‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

We have texts that describe the gravity of killing muslims, this does not mean that there is no gravity for killing others.

But if two Muslims are fighting and one kills another, then both of them will be in hellfire since both had intention to kill the other.

It was narrated from Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari that:

The Prophet [SAW] said: "If two Muslims confront each other with swords and one of them kills the other, they will both be in Hell." (Sahih)

أَخْبَرَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيدُ، - وَهُوَ ابْنُ هَارُونَ - قَالَ أَنْبَأَنَا سَعِيدٌ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنِ الْحَسَنِ، عَنْ أَبِي مُوسَى الأَشْعَرِيِّ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ "‏ إِذَا تَوَاجَهَ الْمُسْلِمَانِ بِسَيْفَيْهِمَا فَقَتَلَ أَحَدُهُمَا صَاحِبَهُ فَهُمَا فِي النَّارِ مِثْلَهُ سَوَاءً ‏"‏ ‏.‏

It was narrated from Abu Bakrah that :

The Prophet [SAW] said: "If two Muslims confront each other with swords, each of them wanting to kill the other, they will both be in Hell." It was said to him: "O Messenger of Allah, (we understand about) the killer, but what about the one who is killed?" He said: "He was determined to kill his companion." (Sahih)

أَخْبَرَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ الْمِصِّيصِيُّ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا خَلَفٌ، عَنْ زَائِدَةَ، عَنْ هِشَامٍ، عَنِ الْحَسَنِ، عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ إِذَا تَوَاجَهَ الْمُسْلِمَانِ بِسَيْفَيْهِمَا كُلُّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا يُرِيدُ قَتْلَ صَاحِبِهِ فَهُمَا فِي النَّارِ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قِيلَ لَهُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَذَا الْقَاتِلُ فَمَا بَالُ الْمَقْتُولِ قَالَ ‏"‏ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَرِيصًا عَلَى قَتْلِ صَاحِبِهِ ‏"‏ ‏Hadith: Whoever kills a muhaiid a dhimmi (one who is protected by Muslims) will not smell the smell of Janna even though one can smell it from a distance of of 70 years.

http://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/16#19: that the Prophet (SAWS) said: "Indeed, whoever kills a Mu'ahid that has a covenant from Allah and a covenant from His Messenger (SAW), then he has violated the covenant with Allah and the covenant of His Messenger, so he shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise; even though its fragrance can be sensed from the distance of seventy autumns."

We must stay away from killing individuals who have no right to be killed.

Allah swt says in the Quran: Do not kill except in the line of justice.

You see this in a few places in the Quran.

Surah Al Furqan (25:68):

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَامًا

Sahih International

And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.

Hadith: Prophet (pbuh) described seven destructive deeds and told us to avoid them. Shirk, sorcery, killing soul that is protected by Allah except for due purpose...

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Avoid the seven great destructive sins." The people enquire, "O Allah's Messenger ()! What are they? "He said, "To join others in worship along with Allah, to practice sorcery, to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, (according to Islamic law), to eat up Riba (usury), to eat up an orphan's wealth, to give back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and to accuse, chaste women, who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers.

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ بِلاَلٍ، عَنْ ثَوْرِ بْنِ زَيْدٍ الْمَدَنِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي الْغَيْثِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَاتِ ‏"‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَمَا هُنَّ قَالَ ‏"‏ الشِّرْكُ بِاللَّهِ، وَالسِّحْرُ، وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ، وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا، وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ، وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ، وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ الْغَافِلاَتِ ‏"‏‏.‏

Sometimes it is necessary to fight, as described in the Quran.

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Sahih International

Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.

It is not the case that Muslim to like and fight in wars, but sometimes it becomes necessary to fight and when it becomes necessary, it becomes a good thing. But it has to be based on the correct principles of shariah and for the sake of Allah swt.


It has been narrated through a different chain of transmitters on the same authority, i. e. Abu Musa Ash'ari, that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) about fighting in the way of Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, a man who fights out of rage or out of family pride. He raised his head towards him-and he did so because the man was standing and said:

Who fights that the word of Allah be exalted fights in the way of Allah.

Hadith: Prophet was asked what does it mean to fight for the sake of Allah swt. He replied so that Allah’s word is superior....


Narrated Abu Musa:

A man came to the Prophet () and asked, "A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them fights in Allah's Cause?" The Prophet () said, "He who fights that Allah's Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights in Allah's Cause."

حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ عَمْرٍو، عَنْ أَبِي وَائِلٍ، عَنْ أَبِي مُوسَى ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ يُقَاتِلُ لِلْمَغْنَمِ، وَالرَّجُلُ يُقَاتِلُ لِلذِّكْرِ، وَالرَّجُلُ يُقَاتِلُ لِيُرَى مَكَانُهُ، فَمَنْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ قَالَ ‏ "‏ مَنْ قَاتَلَ لِتَكُونَ كَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا فَهُوَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ‏"‏‏.‏

Hadith: Fighting under banner in which it is not clear, he is called into fighting for asbiyyah (nationalism or tribalism), whoever is killed under blindness or asbiyyah, then his death is under jahiliyyah..... sorry did I delete something by mistake, please pardon me.......


It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Abdullah al-Bajali that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said:

One who is killed under the banner of a man who is blind (to his just cause), who raises the slogan of family or supports his own tribe, dies the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya.

حَدَّثَنَا هُرَيْمُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الأَعْلَى، حَدَّثَنَا الْمُعْتَمِرُ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبِي يُحَدِّثُ، عَنْ أَبِي، مِجْلَزٍ عَنْ جُنْدَبِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الْبَجَلِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ مَنْ قُتِلَ تَحْتَ رَايَةٍ عُمِّيَّةٍ يَدْعُو عَصَبِيَّةً أَوْ يَنْصُرُ عَصَبِيَّةً فَقِتْلَةٌ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ ‏"‏ ‏.‏

It has been narrated (through a different chain of transmitters) on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said:

Who defected from obedience (to the Amir) and separated from the main body of the Muslim-then he died in that state-would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya. And he who is killed under the banner of a man who is blind (to the cause for which he is fighting), who gets flared up with family pride and fights for his tribe-is not from my Umma, and whoso from my followers attacks my followers (indiscriminately) killing the righteous and the wicked of them, sparing not (even) those staunch in faith and fulfilling not his obligation towards them who have been given a pledge (of security), is not from me (i. e. is not my follower).

وَحَدَّثَنِي زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ مَهْدِيٍّ، حَدَّثَنَا مَهْدِيُّ بْنُ مَيْمُونٍ، عَنْ غَيْلاَنَ بْنِ جَرِيرٍ، عَنْ زِيَادِ بْنِ رِيَاحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ مَنْ خَرَجَ مِنَ الطَّاعَةِ وَفَارَقَ الْجَمَاعَةَ ثُمَّ مَاتَ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً وَمَنْ قُتِلَ تَحْتَ رَايَةٍ عُمِّيَّةٍ يَغْضَبُ لِلْعَصَبَةِ وَيُقَاتِلُ لِلْعَصَبَةِ فَلَيْسَ مِنْ أُمَّتِي وَمَنْ خَرَجَ مِنْ أُمَّتِي عَلَى أُمَّتِي يَضْرِبُ بَرَّهَا وَفَاجِرَهَا لاَ يَتَحَاشَ مِنْ مُؤْمِنِهَا وَلاَ يَفِي بِذِي عَهْدِهَا فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي ‏"‏ ‏.‏

Footnote: In response to a question from a student: There are many prerequisites and steps for jihaad and many people are ignorant about them. It has to be done in a proper way. The benefit of the act has to be taken into consideration. The result of the act should not be damaging and make matters even worse compared to the event that you are responding to. There will be a separate class sometime in the future that discusses the Ahkaam of Jihaad.

In general we avoid taking the lives others unless we have a clear sign that this is sanctioned by the shari’ah. There are many Shari’ah reasons for qitaal. If you to review the contemporary scholars, you would see that if Muslims are attacked then that is a reason for invoking Jihad (Al Udwaan ala-al muslimeen wa huwa Ailaan al jihad). Most of the scholars say that attacking the non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic state is the same as attacking the Muslims.

Injustice (Thulm) being perpetrated on the non-Muslims that have alliance with the Muslims could be reasons for Jihad.

Injustice being perpetrated on non-Muslims -- even if they don’t have any alliance with the Muslim state -- there is difference of opinion.

If liberal democracy goes to war which is against an aggressor, and it is clear that one party if oppressed and the other is oppressor. However for liberal democracies the problem is that their war is not to bring the name of Allah (swt) to the highest. The liberal democracy will go for war at best with the war where it fights for one form of Thulm which is less than the other form of Thulm. This can be the best case scenario for a liberal democracy. In the light of the above ahadeeth even this war is not based on the clear evidence. When in doubt a Muslim cannot continue and go on to fight.  


Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. A man would be a believer in the morning and turn to disbelief in the evening, or he would be a believer in the evening and turn disbeliever in the morning, and would sell his Faith for worldly goods."


فالأول‏:‏ عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏ "‏ بادروا بالأعمال فتناً كقطع الليل المظلم يصبح الرجل مؤمنا ويمسي كافراً ويمسي مؤمنا ويصبح كافراً، يبيع دينه بعرض من الدنيا‏"‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

The qitaal of fitnah is the one where the side that is being fought for is unclear. “A time will come when people go out of fight and they won’t understand what they are fighting for). Imam Abu Hanifa also considers that war qital al fitna in which it is not clear who is on the right side of the dispute. Other scholars also have said similar things in defining the qital al fitna.

The self-defence is something else as Prophet (pbuh) said:


Narrated Zaid:

that he heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying: "Whoever is killed over his wealth then he is a martyr, and whoever is killed over his religion, then he is a martyr, and whoever is killed over his blood, then he is martyr, and whoever is killed over his family, then he is martyr."

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ بْنُ حُمَيْدٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي يَعْقُوبُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي عُبَيْدَةَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَمَّارِ بْنِ يَاسِرٍ، عَنْ طَلْحَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَوْفٍ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ زَيْدٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ "‏ مَنْ قُتِلَ دُونَ مَالِهِ فَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ وَمَنْ قُتِلَ دُونَ دِينِهِ فَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ وَمَنْ قُتِلَ دُونَ دَمِهِ فَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ وَمَنْ قُتِلَ دُونَ أَهْلِهِ فَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ ‏.‏ وَهَكَذَا رَوَى غَيْرُ وَاحِدٍ عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ سَعْدٍ نَحْوَ هَذَا ‏.‏ وَيَعْقُوبُ هُوَ ابْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ سَعْدِ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ عَوْفٍ الزُّهْرِيُّ ‏.‏

This can include Muslims living in the non-Muslim lands, while at the same time making sure that Muslims are not allowed to be aggressors in any situation.

Back to the question: Can Muslims be ‘Pacifists’ today? There was some classroom discussion on this question and students gave all sorts of answers.

The problem with Western countries is that they have so many ulterior motives when they go to wars that one cannot even know all these motives. In a situation of qital al fitna widespread (similar to today) where one cannot know what one is fighting for then it is better to be some sort of Pacifist rather than fight.

On the overlapping consensus with liberal democracy, the liberal democracy has no right to act as aggressors towards any other nation. If liberal democracy can give this to us in today’s situation then there can be some hope for some sort of overlapping consensus. Else at this point these Western countries are not true liberal democracy anyways, so all sorts of agreements are hypothetical. We have Quakers in this country who are also Pacifists.