[4:135] O you who believe, be upholders of justice - witnesses for Allah, even though against (the interest of)your selves or the parents, and the kinsmen. One may be rich or poor, Allah is better caretaker of both. So do not follow desires, lest you should swerve. If you twist or avoid (the evidence), then, Allah is all-aware of what you do.
The emergence of ISIS in Iraq & Syria took many by surprise. The declaration of Islamic Caliphate (IS) for many during Ramadhan 1435 (around 29th of June 2014) was equally unexpected, yet nostalgic. Generations of Muslims around the world having grown up without a caliphate were euphoric and joyous not knowing the background and emergence of this group. The euphoria even affected seasoned Scholars such as Shaykh Salman Husaini Nadwi (HA) who issued fairly positive messages of good will towards IS.
As we collate various opinions on ISIL (ISIS and now IS), the PR mask has slipped and the fangs are visible for all to witness. It is our hope that by collecting together the opinions of various Islamic Scholars and experts on IS the naïve amongst us would wake up and realise this brutal, hateful group for what it is.
The reality of this group can be summed up by the following well known English saying:
All that glitters is not gold!
All that glitters is not gold!
South African Ulama on ISIS, 22nd of April 2015:
On the evening of 22nd of April 2015 in Roshnee most senior 'Ulema of South Africa gathered for a conference on ISIS and not only gave their opinions in a clear manner but also guidelines how to deal with this situation. The scholars include the following:
Shaykh (Maulana) Yunus Daya (HA):
Graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband. An expert on apostasy. Senior member of Muslim community in South Africa. Spiritually been connected to Mawlana As'ad Madani (rh) and now Mawlana Zulfiqar Naqshbandi (db).
Shaykh (Maulana) Muhammad Saloojee (HA):
Graduate of Darul Uloom Zakariyya and son of it's principal. Heavily engaged in Humanitarian activities and many times travelled Syria for that purpose. Gauteng Project Coordinator of the Al-Imdaad Foundation.
Shaykh (Maulana) Shabbir Ahmad Saloojee (HA):
Principal of Darul Uloom Zakariyya. Student of Mawlana Yusuf Binnori (rh). Scrupulous piety & deep concern for the Ummah are amongst Hazrat Mawlana's sailent features. Khalifah of Mufti Mahmudul Hassan Gangohi (rh), Hazrat Khawja Khan Muhammad (rh) & Hazrat Nafees Shah (rh).
Shaykh (Maulana) Ebrahim Bham (HA):
Graduate of Jamiatul 'Uloomul Islamiyyah, Allamah Binnori Town. General-secretary of Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal (the Council of Muslim Theologians in Johannesburg). A profound and well-known orator.
Shaykh (Maulana) Ridhwan Kajee (HA):
Young teacher at Darul Uloom Azadville. Regularly gives talks for the sake of spiritual upliftement of especially the youth. Prior spiritually connected to Mawlana Hakeem Akhtar (rh). Khalifah of Mawlana Abdul Hameed Ishaq (db).
Mawlana Abdul Hameed Ishaq (HA):
Principal of Darul Uloom Azadville. Graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband. Abundant love for Allah, His Rasul and Islam and his kind nature are amongst sailent features of Hazrat. Senior Khalifah of Mawlana Hakeem Akhtar (rh).
Shaykh (Mufi) Radhaul Haq (HA):
Grand-Mufti of South Africa. Shaykhul Hadith at Darul Uloom Zakariyya. Senior student of Mawlana Yusuf Binnori (rh) and Mufti Wali Hassan (rh). A prolific research scholar and walking library. Prior spiritually connected to Mawlana Ghulam Habib (rh). Senior Khalifah of Mufti Mahmudul Hassan Gangohi (rh).
What is the right path?
1 Love for Allah in our hearts
2 To abstain from all types of bid’ah
3 Love for Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) above everyone
4 Follow Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) in every facet of our lives
5 Spending our lives in learning, teaching and spreading deen
The matter of khilaafah:
There are two ways that a khalifah can be appointed.
1 The ulema of that particular era unanimously appoint someone. In the case of Mullah Umar of Afghanistan 1500 ulema took bay’ah on his khilaafah and at the appointment, he initially did not accept that responsibility.
2 The previous khalifah appoint someone to succeed him.
Regarding Isis and Baghdadi, most ulema of Syria, Iraq, Arabia and all around the world oppose his nomination and the modus operandi of this so called Islamic state.
Mullah Umar (HA) while being the leader never did pass any fatwa of kufr on those that did not take bay’ah
Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) came as Mercy to the entire world. A mercy to mankind. He spread Islam by good akhlaaq and exemplary character. This group's actions are directly opposite of what Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) preached. They slaughter the people in barbaric ways, and publicise and boast about it. What kind of negative impression does this create about our beautiful and most just and peaceful religion of Islam???
This group has been fighting against the Sunnis, and have killed hundreds of ulema in Iraq.
What is surprising is that in the war against Afghanistan any movement detected in the troubled areas was immediately bombed, whereas in this case there is no action of this type. All their movements and advances are detected but no action is taken. It is apparent that the enemies of Islam have an alliance with this group.
The actions which classify them as a deviant sect.
1 Their wholesale announcements of kufr on those that do not agree with them. Unnecessary killing, killing of journalists, Christians and Muslims. Allah says
مِنۡ أَجۡلِ ذَٲلِكَ ڪَتَبۡنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ أَنَّهُ ۥ مَن قَتَلَ نَفۡسَۢا بِغَيۡرِ نَفۡسٍ أَوۡ فَسَادٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَڪَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ ٱلنَّاسَ جَمِيعً۬ا وَمَنۡ أَحۡيَاهَا فَڪَأَنَّمَآ أَحۡيَا ٱلنَّاسَ جَمِيعً۬اۚ وَلَقَدۡ جَآءَتۡهُمۡ رُسُلُنَا بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنۡهُم بَعۡدَ ذَٲلِكَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ لَمُسۡرِفُونَ
[5:32] For this reason, We decreed for the children of Isra‘il that whoever kills a person not in retaliation for a person killed, nor (as a punishment) for spreading disorder on the earth, is as if he has killed the whole of humankind, and whoever saves the life of a person is as if he has saved the life of the whole of humankind. Certainly, Our messengers have come to them with clear signs. Then, after all that, many of them are there to commit excesses on the earth.
2 They propagate the usurping the wealth of other people.
3 They instruct people disobey their parents. To them hurting anybody in the process of joining them, is acceptable. How can this be accepted when at the time of joining them, they disobey Allah by disobeying their parents??
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ وَبِٱلۡوَٲلِدَيۡنِ إِحۡسَـٰنًاۚ إِمَّا يَبۡلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ ٱلۡڪِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَوۡ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّ۬ وَلَا تَنۡہَرۡهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوۡلاً۬ ڪَرِيمً۬ا
[17:23] Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and do good to parents. If any one of them or both of them reach old age, do not say to them: uff (a word or expression of anger or contempt) and do not scold them, and address them with respectful words.
Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said that paradise is beneath the feet of the mothers.
عن أنس بن مالك – رضى الله عنه – قال : قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه و سلم – الجنة تحت أقدام الأمهات
Also a man was turned and sent back to serve his parents and this was termed as Jihad.
حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ قَالَ ثِنَا مِسْعَرٌ وَسُفْيَانُ عَنْ حَبِيبِ بْنِ أَبِي ثَابِتٍ عَنْ أَبِي الْعَبَّاسِ الْمَكِّيِّ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو قَالَ : جَاءَ رَجُلٌ يَسْتَأْذِنُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي الْجِهَادِ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : أَحَيٌّ وَالِدَاك ؟ قَالَ : نَعَمْ ، قَالَ : فَفِيهِمَا فَجَاهِدْ
4 They propagate lying in order to join the Isis. All those who leave to join them lie about their intentions. This action of theirs is one of the beliefs of the Shia, called taqiyyah.
5 They brand the tabligh jamaat as the army of dajjaal.
The lies and deception
Jihaad will remain till qiyaamah; Jihaad has certain conditions and limitations.
The teacher of Abubakr Baghdadi, a very senior aalim of Iraq has published a book;
الدولة الاسلامبة بين الحقيقة والحق
In it, he mentions that this group (ISIS) is a deviation and has nothing to do with deen. They are the khawarij of our time. Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) says their salaah will be the same as yours and their fasting will be the same as yours but they will have nothing to do with deen.
The enthusiasm of our youth is commendable. The problem is that the connection between the youth and the elders is not present and almost lost altogether. As a result of this, they have now channeled that enthusiasm in the wrong direction. Remember show respect towards your elders and compassion to the young. The backbone of every community is the connection between the masses and the learned. Allah says
فَسۡـَٔلُوٓاْ أَهۡلَ ٱلذِّكۡرِ إِن كُنتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
[16:43] So, ask the people (having the knowledge) of the Reminder (scripture), if you do not know.
In every facet of life the golden rule is the correct and pure intention and following the way of our beloved prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam).
The ulema who oppose this deviant group cannot be accused of standing down while the Muslims are being oppressed, but rather as in the case of the battle of Ahzaab when the Muslims were attacked and took a defensive stance by digging trenches. There are different methodologies that deal with oppression and the method used by the ulema does not diminish the courage and enthusiasm of their desire to protect the Muslims.
The world media and governments' focus of attention a year ago was of the brutal invasion of Gaza and since this group came into the spotlight all the attention is on them and everyone has forgotten about Gaza. We can see the negative effects of their actions. All indications point towards a ploy by the foreign forces and agencies to divert the attention away from Palestine and it's surroundings.
This recruitment ploy of their's only damages the Muslims' reputation in the respective countries and the freedom they enjoyed will soon be curbed as they will be seen as a third force.
We should make shukr of the countless bounties Allah has bestowed upon us. Having the freedom of religion is one of the greatest bounties which we enjoy. So let us make shukr for that bounty . There are those who have joined this deviant group and in the process of joining them, they have committed grievious sins. They have disobeyed their parents, lied and have been ungrateful to the bounty of Allah. They have discarded the bounty of freedom of religion and went in search for something better. They have discarded the responsibility of spreading Islam and went in search of killing people who hold the kalimah in their hearts.
We cannot fall for every slogan on the basis of emotion. The Islamic state of Syria and Iraq is a catchy and emotional slogan that every Muslim aspires for; to live in an Islamic state. Upon careful inspection and after seeing the modus operandi of this group, the are not an Islamic state, they are nothing but a deviant group who seeks power.
A peaceful and harmonious society is an objective of Islam. Not a society that rejoices upon the killing of humans as is evident from the people who live in this false Islamic state. All their news is about how many they have killed. What kind of men will emerge from this kind of society in the future? The slogan may seem rosy but the long term effects on your children will be damaging and beyond repair.
Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) during the treaty of Hudaibiyyah, made so much effort on peace even though apparently the treaty was in favour of the kuffaar.
When you show hostility and hatred, people will never see the beauty of your religion, and then your nobility and contribution to the country will hold no weight. The moment hostility and hatred is put aside then people will begin to see the beauty of Islam. This was the case in the treaty of Hudaibiyyah that Nabi (saw) orchestrated so that peace would reign.
The purpose of jihaad is peace. The sword that is used in jihaad is like the scalpel of the surgeon that he uses to remove things that are harmful to the body and not the sword of an executioner in which he takes delight in taking peoples lives.
Don’t be used and abused by deviant sects.
There are more negatives than positives regarding Isis so let's put the emotions aside and use our intellect to decide by the discussions above if that is what we really aspire for. Joining and supporting such a group that puts your aakhirah in danger should be avoided, and strive for your Jannah by being an example of the excellent character of our beloved master Nabi Muhammed (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam).
This article was composed from the lectures of our senior ulema who spoke regarding this deviant sect in Roshnee on the 22 April 2015.
Mufti Radaa ul Haq
Ml Shabeer Saloojee
Ml Abdul Hameed Ishaq
Ml Ebrahim Bham
Our sincere appreciation and Duas to the team at Darul Tahqiq for making these recording available. The notes were sent to us via WhatApp with no name or references. Google didn’t reveal the source but if someone knows the source please email it so due credit can be given, in the meantime our duas for best of success in this world and the next for all those who summarised the program and the notes.
Shaykh Salman Husaini Nadwi (HA):
The Shaykh (HA) originally issues fairly positive message regarding IS but his assessment darkened as he became more aware of the facts on the grounds leading him to his latest open letter:
In the Name of Allah (SWT) the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,
All Muslims are informed that the ongoing public revolution against the oppressive regimes of Iraq & Syria had given us a beacon of hope in the form of liberated areas (within Iraq & Syria) from the likes of brutal oppressors (from the Government of Nouri al-Maliki) under the leadership of Abu Bak’r Al-Baghdadi leading an organisation Da’esh (IS). I had requested Al-Baghdadi in an open letter that he should strive to establish peace, justice and harmony and take active steps to bury the Shia-Sunni rivalry and to act with mercy and benevolence in the liberated areas.
I had written my letter on the 7th of July which was deliberately misrepresented by those who seek to inflame sectarian tensions and “Aag” in particular on its front page with a huge headline deliberately spew venom to stoke sectarian flames. I had to give several press statements in response, (Aag) set an example of worst form of Journalistic dishonesty. Message of peace, harmony and justice was deliberately trampled upon and Shia-Sunni unity was deliberately misrepresented to sabotage unity.
In any case, I kept a watchful on the proceedings but I must admit (with great disappointment) that IS not only didn’t fulfil any of our demands but their actions have resulted in us losing all hope (for good). Some of their actions have been as follows:
1 Murder in the name of religion or sectarianism
2 Extreme bigotry, Takfeer and apostasy based opinions regarding other Islamic groups and organisations
3Oppressive treatment of (Mosul) Christians when Sayyidina Umar (RA) had not only treated Christians of Jerusalem well but kept their Church and prayed outside (of Church premises). Sayyidina Amr ibn al-‘As (RA) after conquering Egypt didn’t destroy the mummies and idols (of the land). Sahaba didn’t break the idols of Afghanistan. In Short, the precedence was to treat minorities with compassions which resulted in them entering Islam while the activities of IS are not only against Islam but have resulted in defamation of Islam.
4 Their extreme actions also encompass destroying Mosques and shrines (instead of reformation) and they deem their actions (of destruction) to be Islamic (which is incorrect). Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) had said أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى (I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until) regarding idolaters of Jazeeratul-Arab (Hijaz) particularly and this commandment was revealed in Surah At-Tawba (Chapter 9). The full Hadeeth as follows:
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الْمُسْنَدِيُّ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو رَوْحٍ الْحَرَمِيُّ بْنُ عُمَارَةَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ وَاقِدِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبِي يُحَدِّثُ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ " أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلاَةَ، وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ، فَإِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلاَّ بِحَقِّ الإِسْلاَمِ، وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ "
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger (ﷺ), and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah." [Bukhari]
This is because Jazeeratul-Arab (Hijaz) was given a special distinction and Sahaba (RA) didn’t perform these actions in other areas (which were conquered). Therefore the actions of IS reveal their bigotry, extremism, and representation of (false) Salafi Islam!
After these facts have become apparent, I would like to warn the believers not to be misled by load slogs of IS until they (categorically) prove the benevolence, inclusive and justice of Islam.
Concurrently, I would like to request the Shias not to adopt a methodology of hurting the feelings of the Sunnees. Associate yourself with Islam, refer to the Qur’aan and don’t distinguish between the Sahaba and Ahl al-Bayt (family of the Prophet). I am from the progeny of Sayyidina Hussain (RA) and I am telling the history and actions our forefathers and our Ahl al-Bayt which is of respect and reverence (towards all). Sayyidina Hasan (RA) and Sayyidina Hussain (RA) are leaders of the youth of paradise and those who make peace with Sayyidina Hasan (RA) we make peace with them and those who fought with Sayyidina Hasan (RA), we have a fight with them! This joint (agreed upon) opinion should be adopted and then strive to unite the world of Islam and Muslims.
I appeal to all believers to stand firm with Hamas, al-Qassam and Ikwan and to assist them with all you can against Israel. Demonstrate your hatred and disavowment from policies of the (current) Israeli backed Egyptian regime and those of its supporters in the Gulf.
The news of IS preparing 500,000 soldiers to fight the Saudi regime (attributed to me) is pure hogwash! I thought that the English newspapers had a higher level of (honest Journalism) but this baseless absurdity has dashed my hopes.
It is hoped that this will be considered my last and final opinion of this matter and no more falsehood will be attributed to me.
(Shaykh) Salman Husaini (Nadwi) [HA]
1st of August 2014
The Islamic State (IS) has provided a lifeline to young Muslim militants in search of giving expression to their pent up frustration with the political, social and economic servitude in their respective countries. They are attracted to the Islamic State’s narrative that governments in Muslim countries of the Middle East are corrupt, irreligious, and heavily influenced by the United States and other Western powers. Joining them, they argue, is a real fight in defense of Islam.
Despite the ‘Islamic’ appellation, the ideology of the Islamic State is starkly unrelated to Islam and critically misguided. The IS has not only weakened the resistance against state sponsored terrorism in Syria, it serves as a whirlpool engineered to attract aspiring ‘jihadists’ from every nook and cranny of the globe to one single location and to pre-occupy them with sectarian conflict so that the imperialists can continue unhindered in their business of entrenching global hegemony.
The Islamic State (IS) is guilty of unambiguous and obvious violations of Islamic Law; it has perpetrated brazen brutality in the name of Islam. It’s litany of felonies include:
1 Declaring an Islamic State with no legitimate Sharia procedure or consultation
2 Branding Muslims as disbelievers
3 Rejecting rulings of Islamic scholars
4 Killing Muslims who differ with their ideology
5 Accusing whoever opposes them of treachery and betrayal
6 Refusing to subject themselves to an arbitrated settlement as demanded by the Quran
7 Fighting fellow jihad military divisions in Syria
8 Capturing and kidnapping activists, journalists and religious figures
9 Brutally murdering non- Muslim ‘enemies’
10 Compelling non- Muslims to embrace Islam
The IS draws its cue from the dogma of the Khawarij sect which is premised on Takfeerism – Branding those who differ with them as apostates. The progression from Takfeerism to the spill of blood is both rapid and obvious which the IS has flaunted like emblems of pride, video- taped and uploaded for the whole world to see!
The Islamic State (IS) stands condemned by the United Ulama Council of South Africa l (UUCSA) as a misguided political enigma which has distorted the teachings of Islam. Its duplicity is only outmatched by its savagery and barbarity. It has divided and weakened the Muslim world, legitimized murder in the name of Islam, and shifted focus from the actual hot spots around the globe. Joining or supporting the Islamic
State’s genocidal cult because it projects itself to be the most obvious counterpart to the West is misplaced and will prove to be a FATAL ATTRACTION!
Statement Issued by the United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) which is an umbrella body of major theological formation in South Africa.
UUCSA Affiliate Members:
Jamiatul Ulama South Africa – Established in 1923 | Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa – Established in 1945
Jamiatul Ulama KZN – Established in 1955 | Sunni Jamiatul Ulama of South Africa – Established in 1978 | Sunni Ulama Council of South Africa – Established in 1992
Council of Ulama Eastern Cape – Established in 1999 | Eastern Cape Islamic Congress –Established in 1996
The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa condemns the reported acts of brutality and mass murders of the people of the regions of Iraq and Syria where a group said to be led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has declared an Islamic state, and, hence a caliphate.
A caliphate is an aspiration of Muslims who reflect of the golden era of Islam that was characterised by sound rule of law, protection of rights of non-hostile minorities as well as the entrenchment of justice and equity.
Warfare does not absolve the members of any Islamic caliphate, state or entity from the responsibility of observance of human rights and the rules of engagement where women, children and the elderly as well as all civilian non-combatants, their lives and property, are never targeted but safeguarded.
It therefore comes strange to us that an Islamic state would be founded on atrocities, massacres and extra-judicial punishments that include summary executions of individuals suspected of crimes.
Many years of foreign policies that prop up client regimes and illegally wage imperial wars of occupation have resulted in alienation and radicalism. It is this phenomenon that has brooked groups harbouring a sense of humiliation, leading to vengeance and giving rise to militarism and the upheavals we see in the Middle East.
Regardless of this reality, we see no reason why the Islamic state can position itself as a political order with an attractive prospect for the masses when their record of governance is no better than those polities it seeks to replace.
E.I. Bham (Moulana)
(083 786 2859)
19 August 2014
A Muslim's Approach in Times of Fitna (ISIS)
Shaykh (Mufti) Abdur Rahman Mangera (HA)
WARNING to Sisters going for 'Jihad' in Syria
Shaykh (Dr) Haitham Al Haddad (HA)
The Crisis of ISIS: A Prophetic Prediction
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (HA)
The Modern Jihadists: Khawarij or Mujahideen?
Shaykh Yasir Qadhi (HA)
The following is an approximate translation of a statement released by Hay’at al-Shām al-Islāmiyyah, the Islamic Sham Association. It is an independent body that carries out various relief and educational work which also includes a fatwa and research department to issue fatwas concerning Syrian affairs. Its members include a number of Syrian scholars and activists.
The official announcement from the Hay’at al-Shām al-Islāmiyyah of Syrian scholars on the ‘Caliphate’ of al-Baghdadi
All praises are due to Allāh the Lord of the worlds and there exists no enmity except towards the oppressors. May peace and blessings be upon Mohammad salla Allāhu ‘alayh wasalam who came with clear truth and may peace and blessings be upon his family, his companions and all of those who follow him until the last day.
Trials and tribulations continue to arrive in succession, afflicting the Muslims until the Muslim Ummah is purified just as the fire removes impurities from Iron. The most recent of these trials is the declaration of a ‘Khilāfah’ or an Islamic Caliphate, announced by al-Baghdadi’s group. This follows the countless wounds afflicted on the people of Syria; killing, Takfīr (accusations of disbelief), intended hindrance of their revolution and Jihād and breaking apart their unity.
We never thought that such a hollow and void claim would require a public statement in response, but al-Baghdadi’s group have mastered the art of public deception through magnifying their organisation in both status and number and by hijacking the victories of others. This has been exacerbated by the media, portraying the entire revolution as one led by ‘ISIS’ in a general attempt to discredit the sincere Mujāhidīn.
These events need to be leant the full consciousness of every individual, and bring forth new responsibilities on scholars and analysts wherever they may be. Remaining silent or looking for excuses is no longer an option, but rather it is now incumbent upon everyone to speak the truth like never before.
The invalidity of this ‘Caliphate’ can be seen from a number of angles:
1 The declaration of the ‘Caliphate’ was by a dissident group that practices Takfīr and sheds blood as religion in and of itself. This methodology is totally perverted from the example of the Prophet salla Allāhu ‘alayh wasalam who taught the Ummah true leadership and how to establish a noble and upright Khilāfah (Khilāfah Rāshida), exemplified by his companions.
2 The absence of the (necessary) elements that compose a ‘state’, both legally and by what is understood through custom. Even if they truly had authority in the land and prevalence they would have appeared in person, thus they are closer to being a gang than a state.
3 The unilateral declaration of Khilāfah without the consultation of scholars or the Muslims in general, due to al-Baghdadi’s group’s belief that they are exclusively the people of Shura while others are apostates or members of ‘Sahwas’. Such unilateral action totally disregards and undermines the authority of the whole Muslim nation. ‘Umar radiy Allāhu ‘anhu said: “Whoever gives the pledge of allegiance to a man without the consultation of the Muslims should not be given the pledge of allegiance, nor should the one who he gave it to out of deception, lest they will both be killed.” Ibn Hajar may Allāh mercy on him said in Fathul-Bāri: “this means, whoever does this, has deceived himself and his companion, subjecting both to the possibility of being killed.”
4 The forcing of people to give al-Baghdadi the pledge of allegiance while it has not been given to them in the first place. They said that “due to the declaration of the Khilāfah it has become incumbent upon all Muslims to swear allegiance to it and to give victory to Ibrahim…” and that “he has become the leader and Khalīfah of Muslims everywhere”! They added, “whoever wants to cause division should be shot in the head, whoever it may be without dignity.”
5 The appointment of a completely unknown ‘Khalīfah’ (apart from his name), not recognised by any scholar nor the masses of his own group let alone the majority of all Muslims, completely disregarding the conditions set out by the scholars that form a leader. This is a form of ridicule towards the Ummah, and is similar to the behaviour of dictatorships.
6 The overturning of al-Baghdadi’s original commitment of allegiance to his leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Previously al-Baghdadi had said: “We owe it to God that you are our governor and upon us is to listen and obey as long as we live.” Al-Zawahiri had long issued an instruction to abolish ISIS in Syria. Will treachery, betrayal and failed promises be the first thing the “Khalīfah” of the Muslims gets up to?
The following are some of the countless evils, calamities and tribulations brought about on the Muslims by this illegal declaration:
1 Announcing a Caliphate in this manner demolishes the real purpose of the Caliphate which is to preserve the sanctity of Islām and govern the land by it. It furthermore distorts the image of Islām by showing that its system revolves around killing, criminality and savouring the cutting off of heads and hands.
2 Considering that the whole Ummah has committed an offence by not pledging allegiance to the unknown ‘Caliph’, therefore permitting that it is fought and that its blood is shed if it refuses to subdue itself. Allegiance can only be for someone who is followed by the majority of people and by whom the matters of the general public are rectified. This is what is intended by the Hadith: “Whoever dies without having given bay’ah (a pledge of allegiance) has died in a state of ignorance.” This bay’ah cannot be imposed by a group that does not recognise the Ummah to start with, nor does it recognise its past or present scholars.
3 Weakening the Muslims and scaling back their victories in Iraq and Syria, creating dissension between them and preoccupying them from fighting their main sectarian enemy.
4 Disabling efforts in Da’wah, education, Jihād and aid carried out by the groups and battalions that do not fall under its banner.
5 Strengthening the enemies of Islām in Muslim countries and giving them the excuse to appropriate Muslim countries all over again. The policy of these people is to support this “Caliphate” model by facilitating its expansion, easing the delivery of weapons to it and helping it to surround territories held by other fighters. Their expansion will then be used as an excuse to demolish and split apart Sunni regions, before turning against the rest of the Muslims under the guise of fighting terror and extremism.
Sheikh Abu Abdullah al-Masry:
Sheikh al-Masry was previously a member of ISIS but withdrew from them on the basis of their ideology and methodology. He justifies his withdrawal by mentioning ISIS’ defamation of the people of Syria, claiming they were ideologically misguided, asking how this could be the case if the Prophet salla Allāhu ‘alayh wasalam said: ”If the people of Shaam corrupt, there is no good in you.” The Sheikh adds:
“The behaviour of many elements in ISIS including leaders consistently is offensive towards the people of Syria and its Mujāhidīn, accusing them of misguidance in belief and action.” He further said: “They moreover repeatedly accuse the people of Syria and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) of disbelief (Kufr).” The Sheikh also argued that ISIS cannot be theoretically classified as Khawārij although practically this may be the case since they throw around accusations of disbelief without evidence and without understanding the gravity of such a charge. Rather, they may indict someone as a disbeliever merely on the grounds of disagreeing with them. Many of them believe that the people of Syria are originally apostates before creating justifications to this effect, raising weapons in their faces for the most trivial of matters.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Tarifi:
Sheikh al-Tarifi is a Researcher in the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Riyadh. The Sheikh is deeply erudite in the sciences of Islam, known for his profound ability to retrieve evidences and issue meticulous verdicts. Among his teachers are Sheikh Abdul Aziz b. Abdullah b. Baz, Faqih Abdullah b. Abdul Aziz b. Aqeel and Sheikh Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Shanqeeti. The sheikh has an extensive number of printed works. He states:
“It is impermissible for anyone to make his group or party a milestone against which loyalty and hostility are measured, such that he believes that allegiance and leadership should belong to him exclusively. Whoever believes that sole allegiance applies to him (or his party) from amongst all Muslims, then upon him apply the words of Allāh: “Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects (all kinds of religious sects), you (O Muhammad salla Allāh ‘alayh wasalam) have no concern in them in the least [6:159]. The Sheikh added: “it is incorrect that while in a state of fighting and factions that one group should request individual and general allegiance and all that it entails. The allegiance is to the Jihād, constancy, patience and reform. It is incorrect that one individual who leads a particular faction to call himself Amīr al-Mu’minīn (the leader of the Believers), rather he should call himself the leader of the army, the battalion or the battle. General leadership is determined by Shūrā (consultation) between believers, not for an individual to assume. Titles cause exclusivity that can lead to dispute, conflict, strife and evil… [Therefore], participating with ISIS so long as it does not agree with the law of Allāh, independent of it is impermissible.”
Sheikh Sulaiman b. Nasser al-Alwan:
The Sheikh began pursuing knowledge at the age of fifteen. He has written comprehensive explanations of Hadīth books including Sahīh al-Bukhari, Jāmi’ Abū Issa al-Tirmidhi, Sunan Abī Dāwūd, Muwata’ Mālik among many others. He quotes:
“Al-Baghdadi is not the Khalīfah of the Muslims for him to do whatever he pleases; rather he is a leader of a faction. Requesting a pledge of allegiance, killing those who refuse is the action of an aggressor, not the action of a person of good and righteousness.” He further said: “If his own leader does not agree with his actions, how can he expect allegiance from others?”
Sheikh Muhammad b. Salih al-Munajjid:
Sheikh Mohammad al-Munajjid is a renowned scholar of Islam with an array of recognised works (including IslamQA.com). His teachers include Sheikh Abdul Aziz b. Abdullah b. Baz, Sheikh Abdullah b. Abdul Rahman b. Jibreen and Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Barrak. He is currently the imām of the Mosque of Omar b. Abdul Aziz al-Khobar. He says:
“If a group thinks, for example, that it has established the Islamic state, its leader is the ‘Leader of the Believers’, that he should be listened to and obeyed by everyone, that anyone not under his command has rebelled against him, that [this ‘state’] has the authority to draw up borders, elect leaders over towns, that it has authority over public wealth, petrol, wheat and so on, that others should forcefully submit to them while they can stop whoever they want, that they have the sole authority of establishing Islamic courts and judges and that every court besides theirs is void, it has deviated. This will no doubt create competition over control of regions and eventually lead to a great Fitnah and bloodshed.”
Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi:
Sheikh Muhammad al-Maqdisi is considered the guide of the ‘Jihadist Salafist’ movement in Jordan. His name is Issam Barqawi but is famously known as Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. Far from siding with ISIS,he says in a letter to the Mujāhidīn of Syria after hearing of ISIS and their behaviour with other fighters:
“…and we do not feel ashamed to declare that we are free from the actions of those who dare spill the blood of Muslims whoever they may be.” He further added: “How can you be expected to accommodate all Syrians including Christians and other sects [if you cannot even accommodate other Muslims]?”
Dr. Hassan Saleh b. Hamid:
Dr. Hassan Saleh has a PhD in the principles of Fiqh and Sharī’ah, he is the Director of the Institute of Higher Islamic Education at the Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah and is a Member of the (Islamic) Advisory council.He says:
“No one going to Syria to fight is excused to be part of al-Baghadi’s faction for even a moment… they are a faction that brings Fitnah, whenever they are called to a court for religious arbitration they turn away and whenever a truce is declared, they reignite the war.”
Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Fawzan:
Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Fawzan is a member of the Council for Human Rights, a Professor in Islamic Jurisprudence and the Head of the Department of Comparative Jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Imam Muhammad b. Saud in Saudi Arabia.He says:
“ISIS is a rogue, external criminal organisation. Whoever knows of what afflicted us in Iraq and Afghanistan and the blood that was spilled unjustly at the hands of some ignorant individuals in our nation will understand the gravity of what is happening in Syria.”
Dr. Abdul Karim Bakkar:
Dr. Abdul Karim Bakkar is one of the leading authors in the field of education and Islamic thought, who seeks to provide a deep-rooted analysis into matters concerning Islamic civilisation, renaissance and Da’wah. He has more than 40 books in this area. Dr. Abdul Karim Bakkar is a member of the Advisory Board for the Islam Today magazine (Riyadh).He says:
“I met a number of students of knowledge and Islamic jurists returning from Syria. I swear by the One besides whom there is no god that the only thing they spoke about were the repulsive actions of ISIS and their crimes. ISIS and the Assad regime are two faces of one evil.”
Dr. Shafi al-Ajmi:
Dr. Al-Ajmi sought knowledge under the supervision of Sheikh Muhammad b. Saalih and Sheikh Yahya al-Yahya. He studied at the University of Imam Muhammad b. Saud and is now the Imām of al-Ghazali Mosque in Kuwait.He quotes:
“I have not heard of a single scholar inside or outside of Syria who has praised this faction, had good suspicion of them or defended them, rather they have unanimously agreed that they are aggressors. Al-Baghdadi’s aim, since entering Syria is to weaken the fighters and he has indeed weakened al-Nusra Front and Ahraar al-Shaam and continues to do so.”
Sheikh Abu Basir al-Tartusi:
Sheikh Abu Basir al-Tartusi has played the effective role of the Syrian revolution’s Mufti. It is said that Sheikh al-Tartusi was the first Arab fighter to travel to Afghanistan in 1981, accompanying Abdullah Azzam on one of his trips. He has authored many books and is the founder of several of the revolution’s coordination groups. He says:
“The group known as ISIS are from the fanatical Khawārij, rather they have surpassed the Khawārij in many of their characteristics and actions, combining between fanaticism, aggression, hostility and shedding inviolable blood.” He further said: “We call upon all sincere individuals who have been fooled by them while still with this misguided group to severe their ties with it and to declare their freedom from it and its actions.”
Sheikh Abdullah Saad:
The Sheikh and notable Muhadtih Abdullah b. Abdul Rahman b. Mohammed Al-Saad Al-Mutairi is one of those at the forefront of 20th and 21st century Muslim scholars. His teachers include, Sheikh Abdul Aziz b. Baz, Sheikh Mohammed b. Saalih and Sheikh Abdullah b. Abdul Rahman al-Jibreen. He has authored tens of books and has explanations of Bukhāri, Sunan Abī Dāwūd, Jāmi’ al-Tirmithi and others.He says:
“I plea to whoever joined this faction (ISIS) to leave it and move away from it, and for its leaders to return to the truth and to repent to Allāh from the grave mistakes they have fallen into…”
Sheikh Abdullah al-Mahiseny:
Sheikh al-Mahiseny is a specialist in Islamic Jurisprudence, acquiring a PhD in Comparative Fiqh in the subject: “Rulings Concerning War Refugees in Islamic Jurisprudence.” He says:
“By Allāh, I have never witnessed the scholars who speak about matters of Jihād agree on criticising and opposing a Muslim movement as they have agreed on condemning ISIS.” Sheikh Mahiseny concluded by saying: “I implore you by Allāh O Baghdadi to allow a general Islamic court mediate to uphold the injunctions of Allāh.”
Sheikh Adnan Mohammed al-Aroor:
Sheikh Adnan al-Aroor is currently the Director of Research and Publishing in Riyadh. He grew up seeking knowledge in Syria under several scholars including Sheikh al-Albani and Sheikh b. Baz.He is one of the most notable scholarly icons of the Syrian revolution and has a multitude of published works. Sheikh al-Aroor says, directing his question at ISIS:
“Did Allāh set conditions that must be met before accepting that the Qur’ān arbitrate [in the affairs of difference]? Then where did you get these conditions [that you set] from? Why do you leave military fronts such as Homs and dedicate your efforts to the areas near the Turkish borders? … Who are the people of religious authority (ahl al-hal wal-’aqd) who you consulted before establishing your ‘state’? Do you aim to overthrow the sectarian dictator or to fight others [who want to achieve this]? … What is your Islamic proof that justifies your pledge to someone unknown?” He furthermore states: “ISIS are either Khawārij or infiltrated by the [Syrian] regime. It is composed of three groups of people: brutal Takfīrīs, wicked infiltrators and people deceived by them.”
The Scholars of Aleppo Front:
The Scholars of Aleppo Front issued a statement encouraging the sincere members of ISIS to leave this faction and join the legitimate revolutionary forces in Syria for the crime that has been perpetrated by this group, including:
Accusations of disbelief (takfīr), their shedding of inviolable blood without a second thought, kidnappings and documented armed robberies of weapons and ammunition from other rebel factions, their refusal to allow the Sharī’ah to arbitrate between them and the other factions and sowing the seeds of discord between fighers. ISIS’ takfīr sometimes extend to the entire population of Syria. This includes takfīr boldly levelled at the Free Syrian Army, accusing Ahraar al-Shaam that they are misguided ‘Surūrīs’ and that al-Nusra Front have defied their alleged ‘Khalīfah’.
A Joint Statement of 47 Scholars in Saudi Arabia
Including Al-Ghunaymaan, Al-‘Umar, Al-Mahmoud and Al-Jalali Al-Mahmoud
The joint statement asserted that it is impermissible and of tyranny for one faction to impose itself as the only holder of legitimacy and that it is necessary that all other groups pledge allegiance to it without consulting the Muslims, otherwise they become of the Khawārij and their blood becomes permissible. It argued that this is the main reason for divisions and internal fighting. Sheikh Hamoud b. Ali al-Omari added: “The reality of the matter is, every drop of blood shed between the (rebel) factions in Syria is due to al-Baghdadi’s refusal to allow the Sharī’ah to arbitrate while implementing his own innovated Sharī’ah.”
There is no act, the punishment for which has been mentioned more sternly than that of killing a believer intentionally where a collection of five severe retributions have been listed: “But whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allāh has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.”[4:93]
ISIS: Historical Analysis of Its Ideology (Kharijites)
Shaykh Waleed Basyouni (HA)
DH: Bilal tell us a bit about yourself. Where were you born? Do you have siblings? Are you married? Do you have any children? Where are you currently living?
BAK: I was born and raised in New York. I have one brother and a sister. I’m currently living in Doha, Qatar. I have six “babies” who aren’t really babies anymore as they all want iPads and mobile phones now instead of dolls and play dough. Where did the time go!
DH: How far did you get with academia? Did you go to university?
BAK: I went to the State University of New York where I studied creative writing. I also studied studio composition as I was heavy into music at that time.
DH: What were you doing before you became a journalist and film-maker?
BAK: I was the Programming Director for Huda TV based in Cairo. Additionally I did some other work such as translation of religious materials from Arabic to English, and I did lots of sound recording of books. But if you mean what was I doing years ago before I became Muslim, then the answer would be very different. I used to do stand up comedy and some other stuff years ago.
DH: Why do you think so many foreign fighters have left for Syria to fight jihad in comparison to other conflicts that have or are currently taking place in the Muslim world?
BAK: Syria or “Sham” as it’s better known as has a special place in Islam. Additionally, it is a conflict that is easy to access through neighbouring countries.
DH: How do ordinary Syrians and rebels feel about foreign fighters joining the war against Assad? Are foreign fighters actually helping or just fuelling the flames of war?
BAK: Initially Syrians loved and welcomed foreign fighters. Many of the foreign fighters settled down and married Syrian women. This is how close the bonds was between the Syrians and the foreign fighters. They ate on one table and drank from the same cup. The regime was not in a position to resist. This union between foreign and domestic fighters was very potent and the results speak for itself. The encounters where much of the territory was taken from the regime demonstrated that foreigners were the fiercest amongst all the fighters. This takes nothing away from the Syrians mind you, but by all accounts the foreigners were the ones who were eager to liberate the country from Assad as much as the Syrians and were very willing to die while trying. Jabhat al-Nusra housed many but not all foreigners. Jabhat al-Nusra was the “darling” of the Syrian revolution much more so than the FSA could have hoped to be.
Then ISIS happened. They split from Jabhat al-Nusra after a fall out between Abu Muhammad Al Jawlani and Abu Bakr Baghdadi. They would claim territory that they as a group didn’t liberate and claim it as their own. Of course the local Syrians remember that it was other groups that cleared the area of regime forces and grumbled about it.
Many ISIS members do not see the majority of Syrians as Muslims and therefore they began to treat them as second class citizens. I am not saying ISIS as an entire group is people of takfir but many of them are, not due to malicious behavior but due to a lack of Islamic knowledge. This caused major friction between ISIS and the Syrians in general including Syrian rebel groups. ISIS consisting of nearly all foreigners were perceived as occupiers rather than liberators in territories they controlled.
ISIS began a series of kidnappings and assassinations of other group’s commanders such as Dr Hussein Sulayman of Ahrar Al-Sham and returned his badly tortured body to them. They also executed Jabhat al-Nusra’s commander, Al Hadhrami after kidnapping him. This began to turn public opinion against foreign fighters which was unfortunate. All foreign fighters had to pay the price because of ISIS’ actions. This hurt the revolution very badly and it has been backtracking ever since.
DH: How much has the rebel infighting affected the Syrian revolution and the march to Damascus?
BAK: It was a disaster. ISIS concentrates its forces on fighting the other Mujahideen. There are virtually no fronts with regime forces that ISIS participates in. So the other Mujahideen forces are forced to fight both the regime and ISIS. This has spread thin the resources of the resistance. The Islamic Front, Jabhat al-Nusra and the FSA amongst others seem to be united against ISIS.
DH: Who’s to blame for the infighting? The split between al-Nusra and ISIS, Al Qaeda or solely ISIS?
BAK: It is difficult to see all rebel forces on one side of the divide in relative unison and ISIS alone on the other side and not feel something is wrong. The coalition of Mujahideen forces has one major problem with ISIS (among other issues) and that is their refusal to have an independent Islamic judiciary to settle their disputes. ISIS believes that they are a state and thus have no reason to go anywhere to settle their issues outside of their group. The other Islamic fighters feel that the foundation they are fighting for is to make Islam the judge in all affairs and the best way to do that is for an independent council of scholars to settle the disputes. They feel they have been left with no alternative but to fight ISIS. There lies the stalemate. I think many of the fighters feel that Al Qaeda’s main leadership needed to do more to rein in their rogue commander in Abu Bakr Baghdadi as well.
DH: What implications does ISIS’ declaration of Khilafah have on the Syrian revolution and the Muslim world in general?
BAK: Its declaration has had some impact on the ground in Syria as its galvanized their fighters who are taking on the coalition of Mujahideen. Other groups who are resisting them seem to be adapting and continuing their resistance. Hassan Abboud, one of the leaders of the Islamic Front said that they are “continuing their struggle to save the Syrian people from all forms of oppression whether it is from the regime or from Baghdadi’s group”.
Jabhat al-Nusra came out with a statement few days a go stating that: “We are determined to unify ranks to face the dangers which threaten the jihadi front (in Sham), whether these threats are from the Nusayri regime or from the group of Khawarij and extremists.” Of courses this is a thinly veiled condemnation of ISIS. I think the other groups see the potential threat that ISIS poses to them and they are trying to increase cooperation in ways they never did in the past.
DH: Do you believe it’s a Khilafah?
BAK: My personal view is that this declaration of “Khilafah” is an insult to the Muslims of Syria, Iraq, and around the world. The global Ummah is not a puny or ignorant people. It is full of intellectuals, doctors, historians, scholars, you name it and those people are willing to help build a unified Khilafah.
How Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and those with him thought he would go from complete obscurity to leading this calibre of people without so much as even telling them who he was in advance and what his program was is beyond me. If he thought people would accept him as an unknown figure then that would mean by default that they would accept anyone who made that claim. He is unknown even to members of his own group. No one even knew what he looked like up until two weeks ago.
I think if he truly respected the people he wants to govern, he would have had more respect for their intellect. The Khalifah’s job is to look after the interests and affairs of the Ummah, which can be done in an infinitely better capacity if those being governed willingly accept you and thus they would lend to you their undying support even through difficult times. Is Baghdadi that naive to think that everyone was going to simply rally to his side? This is my opinion.
DH: Have you ever visited or stayed in ar-Raqqa or any areas under ISIS control?
BAK: I’ve been in many areas under their control but never Raqqa. ISIS areas are territories where the people are not in harmony with them. They may or may not be able to do anything about them, depending on the area, but I do not know of areas outside their control wherein the people are asking for their presence.
ISIS is not friendly to those who have dissenting ideas. I am constantly threatened by them simply because I don’t subscribe to their claim to the caliphate and thus many of them don’t recognise me as a Muslim anymore and have called for my execution. This is how Syrians are treated by them as well. How can this style of governance prevail and bring benefit to an already oppressed-weary people?
In an exclusive interview with 5Pillarz, a resident of Mosul describes life under ISIS and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s first public Khutbah.
Abu Abdullah is a Sunni born and bred in Mosul. 5Pillarz made contact with him via a third party who was also his relative. He offers a first-hand account of the situation with ISIS in Iraq’s second largest city, including details of the Jummah Khutbah given by the leader of the “Islamic State.”
On Sunday 29th June, ISIS declared the territory under its control from Diyala in eastern Iraq to Aleppo in northern Syria as a Caliphate (Khilafah in Arabic). This announcement caused controversy around the Muslim world, resulting in wholesale rejection from veteran Islamic groups and scholars that have been working and fighting for the restoration of the Caliphate for decades.
The "Islamic State" has declared the restoration of the Khilafah
The “Islamic State” has declared the restoration of the Khilafah
Questions were raised by Muslims worldwide regarding the validity of Al-Baghdadi’s Caliphate, and whether it was truly a state with control over the security and resources of the land, or if ISIS were acting merely as a militia that has military control over a city without the necessary resources or capabilities of a state.
Speaking via one of the few functioning telephone lines in Mosul, Abu Abdullah speaks of both good and bad that has come from the presence of ISIS. He said: “The presence of Al-Maliki’s forces in the city was an oppressive presence hated by everyone in the city. It felt more like an occupation than anything else.
“ISIS has proven itself to be less oppressive than Nuri al-Maliki’s government, and most people agree. Although the people dislike the presence of ISIS, they disliked the presence of al-Maliki’s forces more.
“Additionally, the ISIS has removed barriers around the city that hindered movement within the city and travel out of the city, which has improved life.”
Whilst Abu Abdullah admits that life for ordinary Sunnis has improved in comparison to when Mosul was under the control of the predominantly Shi’a Iraqi government, he notes that these good things have come at a cost.
He added that, “After the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Mosul, the government cut all power, water, gasoline, and public-sector wages from the city. Most phone lines were also cut a few days later and have not yet been restored.”
According to Abu Abdullah, local residents (including him) have been told by ISIS to go home and not to work, as there are no wages to be paid. “The people are struggling to survive now,” he added. He told us that the people have no power, they are running out of water, they have no gasoline, which prevents them from travel, and people are not being paid for their work in the public sector. He indicated that ISIS had not announced any plans or shown any capability of restoring any of the services.
These findings have cast doubt on the capability of ISIS in their own Iraqi stronghold and the surrounding region. Are they truly an independent state, or are they simply occupying parts of Iraq? External political analysts would argue that one of the basic requirements of a state is to have physical control over its resources. According to Abu Abdullah, ISIS’ inability to prevent the disconnection of electricity and water by a neighbouring state, leaving their citizens without any services or utilities, indicates that it is anything but a viable independent state.
Abu Abdullah also relayed the frustration of his family members, friends and neighbours about the armed presence of ISIS. “They [ISIS] have little to no presence in the outskirts, and mainly exist in the centre of the city. People are frightened and do not feel secure.”
He also informed 5Pillarz that the majority of people of Mosul are not loyal to ISIS, but are tolerant of them for the time being because “they’re better than the oppressive sectarian army of Al-Maliki.”
We are told: “Many have a strong dislike for their behaviour towards local residents. People have complained about excessive religious policing, where people are threatened with 50 lashes if they do not attend the five daily prayers at the mosque.” He reminds us that the Muslims of Mosul are renowned for their religiousness, and that such threats are unnecessary.
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s First Khutbah
The emir of ISIS led the Jummah prayers on Friday, the 4th July, at Jami’ Al-Nuri (Al-Nuri Mosque) in Mosul, the city’s largest mosque.
According to numerous media reports, the people of Mosul were not informed of al-Baghdadi leading the congregation, and Abu Abdullah confirmed this. The emir of ISIS’ appearance was “sudden and last minute.”
A curious piece of information that Abu Abdullah informed 5Pillarz of was that this was the day that phone lines were cut off throughout the city, that morning, hours before the Khutbah.
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi addressing the congregation at jummah in Masjid Al-Nuri, Mosul.
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi addressing the congregation at jummah in Masjid Al-Nuri, Mosul.
Regarding the Khutbah itself, we are told: “The Imam of Jami’ Al-Nuri was approached by ISIS officials just minutes prior to the Jummah prayer and was told to allow al-Baghdadi to give the Khutbah in his place. The front line was taken over by al-Baghdadi’s entourage,” which may explain why, in the video, the faces of the worshipers in the front row were blurred, whereas the remaining worshippers’ faces were left showing.
Media outlets stated that after the sermon and prayer, he left quickly, and the mosque was put on lock-down for fifteen minutes afterwards, preventing anyone from leaving for the duration, possibly as a security measure to allow al-Baghdadi to reach a safe distance before allowing the worshipers to exit.
This raises the question of why so much security was required to attend a Jummah prayer in his own state.
Abu Abdullah was afraid of discussing these details over the phone. We were told that “The people of Mosul are frightened to discuss what ISIS is doing in the area, and especially frightened to discuss the details of last Friday’s Jummah Khutbah.”