Let there be no compulsion in religion. --Qur'an 2:256

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Indian scholar debunks ISIS claims about slavery in Islam

Zafarul-Islam Khan, senior Indian Muslim scholar, who is an alumnus of Al-Azhar and Cairo universities and holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Manchester, said it is a lie to claim that Islam allows enslavement of ordinary men and women of conquered lands.

The Indian scholar, who is the head of the Delhi-based Institute of Islamic & Arab Studies and a core member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said this lie has been concocted by ISIS propagandists whose knowledge of Islam is highly doubtful. Dr Khan is the current president of the Indian Muslims apex body, the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat.

The Qur’an never says that the captives could be kept for ever as slaves (33:26, 76:8, 8:67, 8:70 and 2:85). In one of these verses, it offers solace to the captive by saying that God willing his condition will change for the better (8:70). In another verse, the Quran says that believers are those who though themselves hungry feed captives (76:8).

It is correct that the Islamic Shariah (law) allows slavery but the only way someone may lose his/her natural freedom is if he is captured while physically and actually fighting in a battle against a Muslim army – in other words, he is a prisoner of war (PoW). There is no other way to deprive someone of his natural state of freedom. There is no instance where the Prophet (pbuh) or his immediate successors ever enslaved ordinary people who were not actually fighting a Muslim army. The Prophet used to give his armies clear instructions not to touch children, elderly men and women and people who are not involved in fighting.   »»» Indian scholar debunks ISIS claims about slavery in Islam

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Four Egyptians behind ISIS takfirist ideology

Four Egyptian men are at the heart of attempts by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to find religious justification for its bloody attempts to forge a new “caliphate,” a number of experts on fundamentalist movements told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday.

The sources said the four men formed the “core” of the group’s ideological leadership, and oversaw its attempts to administer its own brand of Islamic justice in areas under its control, despite having little education in mainstream Islamic scholarship.

They are Helmi Hashim (known as “Abdul Rahman Shakir Naamallah”), who hails from Upper Egypt and is the group’s main jurisprudential authority; ISIS’s head Shari’a judge Abu Muslim Al-Masri; another man bearing the same name, who is now believed to have been killed and who was the group’s main Shari’a judge in Aleppo; and Aboul Harith Al-Masri.

Hashim, the most influential on the list, is regarded as ISIS’s chief ideologue, and is the author of a book, The People of Cessation between Doubt and Certainty. In this work, he argues that since all “abodes” around the world, including Muslim-majority countries, are not truly “Islamic,” they are legitimate targets for armed violence, and the practice of takfir (declaring others, including other Muslims, to be infidels) should continue.

Hashism therefore declares those who have “ceased” in declaring others infidels and fail to spread the message of Islam are also infidels. ISIS, like other modern extremist takfirist groups, regularly labels other Muslims who do not follow its own doctrines infidels, including fellow Sunni extremists not fighting alongside them, such as the Al-Nusra Front, and followers of other Islamic sects, such as Shi’ites.

Sirri is adamant, however, that these four men should not be regarded as genuine religious scholars.

“The problem with these people is that they did not take their knowledge from those who actually have it [i.e. respected scholars]; they merely browsed a number of books and then went and declared some fatwas—without the proper knowledge. So they went astray [from Islam] and led others along with them,” he said.
   »»» ASHARQ AL-AWSAT (London, U.K.)

In the Amman Message as amended in June 2006, over 200 Muslim scholars who signed it declared that “takfir” (declaring other Muslims as unbelievers) is forbidden. They said:

It is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any other group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him), the pillars of faith (Iman), and the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.

There are “good” Muslims and “bad” Muslims according to their degree of righteousness or sinfulness, but no one who does not knowingly violate the precepts of the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) can be declared an appostate or unbeliever. The practice of ISIS in declaring fellow Muslims to be unbelievers and apostates who may be killed, is contrary to the laws of God (Qur’an) and the traditions of the Prophet (Sunna). Such a practice places the people of ISIS in the camp of the heretics, renegades and blasphemers.

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Another battle with Islam’s self-appointed ‘true believers’

If they ever gained strength, they would surely corrupt the whole of the Earth, Iraq and Shaam [Syria] – they would not leave a baby, male or female, neither a man or a woman, because as far as they are concerned the people have caused corruption, a corruption that cannot be rectified except by mass killing.

This prescient description by 14th-century Muslim theologian Ismail ibn Kathir alluded to the Khawarij, a fanatical sect that broke away from both the Sunni and Shia traditions of Islam. The very name is derived from the Arabic root kharaja, which means to leave.

Contemporary theologians have been drawing comparisons of the extremist beliefs and actions of the Khawarij to those of the Islamic State. The analysis illuminates the dangerous allure of this militant group, and Muslims’ duty to combat them by all means. The sword and the pen have now joined forces: Nations have mobilized to destroy the Islamic State, while more than 100 international Muslim scholars have issued a refutation of the group’s anti-Islamic ideology.

The Prophet Mohammed had warned the nascent Muslim community about a sect that would emerge from Iraq; its followers would pray, recite the Koran, call for sharia and invoke God in persuasive fashion. Yet, the Prophet warned, they would have nothing to do with Islam, for their actions would betray the very fundamentals of the faith. In the name of God, they would kill those who did not agree with their interpretation. They would consist mostly of youths with “foolish dreams” of grandeur. And, if he were alive when they emerged, he would fight them, for they would be the “worst of creation.”

The Khawarij emerged shortly after the Prophet’s death, during the seventh-century Battle of Siffin near the Syrian-Iraqi border, between the fourth caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muawiyah, the Muslim governor of Syria. They killed in the most brutal manner, and revelled in bloodletting.

Today, theologians are warning Muslims about the dangers of the Islamic State by pointing to the movement’s similar theological underpinnings. Don’t be fooled by the flowery language, the invocation of God and the Koran, the readiness for martyrdom or the call to sharia – this is a fanatical cult that has deviated from the path of Islam, and its actions belie its adherents’ professed faith.

As with the Khawarij, the Islamic State has attracted misguided youth with “foolish dreams.” The Khawarij declared those with theological differences as “disbelievers” warranting death; the Islamic State has killed thousands of Muslims – Sunni and Shia – during its takeover of villages in Iraq and Syria. The Khawarij demanded the enslavement of women and children during the battle of Siffin (the Caliph Ali refused); the Islamic State has carried out this abominable practice. Both groups are willing to die in a heartbeat for their “beliefs.” Like the Khawarij, Islamic State members believe they are the only “true Muslims” while the rest are disbelievers, worthy of death. It has threatened all opponents, including Muslim theologians warning against its fanatical ways. Their self-professed piety is built on a foundation of arrogance.   »»» Another battle with Islam’s ‘true believers’ – The Globe and Mail

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British Muslims unite in fury at Isis murder of Alan Henning

British Muslims have expressed fury and anguish in the wake of the brutal killing of Alan Henning by Islamic State (Isis) militants, as the family of the Salford taxi driver said they were “numb with grief” at news of his murder.

Many in the UK Muslim community had been hoping the aid convoy volunteer might be freed on the eve of the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha (commemorating the sacrifice of Prophet Abraham, peace be on him). Vigils had been held in his home town and more than 100 high-profile Islamic leaders had appealed for him to be released. But the posting of a gruesome video on Friday night, appearing to show his beheading, ended hopes and unleashed a torrent of condemnation.

Harun Khan, deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain – the largest Islamic organisation in the UK, representing more than 500 organisations – said: “Yesterday was a huge day of significance because it was the day when people seek forgiveness and salvation. It’s a time of peace, this was really shocking to a lot of people. If Isis really wanted to win the propaganda war, they would have released Alan. They are not really Islamic: nobody recognises them, and they are hijacking the religion.”

Suleman Nagdi, of the Federation of Muslim Organisations, heard the news after returning from a vigil for Henning in Leicester. “We have to disassociate from the two words Islamic and State,” he said. “There is nothing Islamic about these individuals, nor is it a state. My question to these young people [who might be sympathetic to Isis] is simple: who is living closer to the message of the Qur’an? Is it Isis, or is it somebody like Alan Henning?”   »»» The Observer (U.K.)

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Alan Henning ‘killed by Islamic State’

A video purporting to show UK hostage Alan Henning being beheaded has been released by Islamic State militants.

The Salford taxi driver was delivering aid to Syria in December when he was kidnapped and then held hostage by IS.

IS threatened to kill him in footage last month showing the death of Briton David Haines, and in this video they threaten US aid worker Peter Kassig.

David Cameron said Britain would do all it could “to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice”.

The prime minister said the killing of father-of-two Mr Henning, 47, showed “how barbaric and repulsive” IS was.

“Alan had gone to Syria to help get aid to people of all faiths in their hour of need.”

IS has previously released videos showing the apparent beheadings of two US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid worker Mr Haines.

The video released on Friday is yet to be verified, but it appears to show Mr Henning kneeling beside a militant, dressed in black, in a desert setting.

The footage ends with an IS fighter threatening a man they identify as Mr Kassig.

In a statement, Mr Kassig’s family said he had converted to Islam and referred to him as Abdul Rahman Kassig.

They asked people around the world to pray for his release and that of “all innocent people being held hostage in the Middle East and around the globe”.

They also asked people to pray for Mr Henning’s family, adding: “We have read about his work and his generous character with great respect and admiration.”

This latest murder video from the jihadists who call themselves Islamic State is likely to dismay and disgust even many of those who disapprove of western military action against IS.

While countless Muslims have already condemned the extreme and graphic violence of IS, the case of Alan Henning struck a special chord with his many Muslim friends.

Even individuals whom the UK government suspected of extremist leanings had pleaded for his release.

The fact that their pleas fell on deaf ears may now possibly convince others sympathetic to IS that their actions are beyond the pale.

US President Barack Obama led widespread condemnation of the killing, calling it a “brutal murder” and saying it was a “great loss” to the Syrian people Mr Henning had been trying to help.

Dr Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted: “Saddened by reported murder of Alan Henning. A despicable and offensive act. He helped Muslims. My thoughts and prayers with his family.”

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said: “This barbaric killing is an attack against all decent people around the world.”   »»» BBC News

Several days ago over 100 Muslim clerics signed a letter to ISIS warnings them that warning that killing him would go against Islamic law. The members of ISIS have again shown that they do not follow the commandments of God, the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) or the principles of Shari’ah law. They are heretics, renegades and blasphemers. A group of Australian imams recently said, “These criminals [ISIS] are committing crimes against humanity and sins against God.

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Muslims in Germany protest against extremist Islamic State group

Thousands of Muslims in Germany have taken part in a “Day of Peace” to protest against the Islamic State extremist group.

The event was organized by mainstream Muslim organizations to emphasize that the vast majority of believers reject the group’s ideology and its brutal actions in Syria and Iraq.   »»» Fox News

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Muslim extremists account for far less terrorist attacks on U.S. soil than of all other major religious groups.

According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database, Jewish extremist terrorist attacks account for 7% percent of all acts of terrorism, compared with 6% committed by Muslims on U.S. soil. These Jewish extremist groups are no different than Al-Qaeda or ISIS in their sociopathic ideology. However, most Americans are unable to name even one of the 18 terrorist attacks committed by Jewish extremist groups, such as the Jewish Defense League.

This is because of the disparity in media coverage, in which one-dimensional reports on Muslim extremist terrorism completely neglect the other 94 percent of terrorist attacks committed by other religious extremist groups on American soil.

It is time for these long-time detrimental stereotypes to be broken. Islam is not a perennial and existential threat to the West. Islam is not an intrinsically violent or a terrorism-fueled religion. Every terrorist attack is not committed by Muslim extremist groups, contrary to mainstream media reports. The proof is out there. Just open your eyes and see.   »»» AddictingInfo.org

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Muslim scholars call on Islamic State to release British hostage

Three high-profile, conservative British Muslim clerics have made a direct appeal to the Islamic State (Isil) to release the British hostage Alan Henning, warning that killing him would go against Islamic law.

The latest plea to free Henning, an aid worker who was kidhnapped in Syria last year, comes from a judge on the Sharia council in London, a Manchester-based cleric and an Imam from Lewisham. All belong to the highly conservative Salafi strand of Islam.

In a video posted on YouTube on Friday, Shaykh Haitham Al Haddad, a judge on the Sharia Council, said: “This is to confirm that executing this man is … impermissible, prohibited according to Sharia.”

Henning, 47, a taxi driver from Eccles in Salford, was driving an ambulance in an aid convoy when he was kidnapped just half an hour after crossing the Syrian border on Boxing Day 2013. He is the latest hostage to be threatened with beheading by the Islamic State, appearing at the end of a video in which fellow British hostage David Haines was murdered.

Ustadh Abu Eesa, Manchester-based cleric, said he would “personally vouch” for Henning, warning that killing him would “deface” the religion of Islam.

Imam Shakeel Begg, of the Lewisham Islamic Centre, quotes from the Koran in the video, explaining that there is “no justification in our religion that allows you to continue to hold him let alone harm him”.

They were joined by a jihadi ideologue based in Jordan.

Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, who was released by Jordan in June after serving a five-year sentence on terror charges, said in a statement posted on his website that non-Muslims who aid needy Muslims should be protected.

Al-Maqdisi said Henning worked with a charitable organisation led by Muslims which sent several aid convoys to help the Syrian people. “Is it reasonable that his reward is being kidnapped and slaughtered? … He should be rewarded with thanks.”

“We call on the (Islamic) State to release this man (Henning) and other aid group employees who enter the land of Muslims with a guarantee of protection… according to the judgment of Shariah law,” he said, adding that he hoped to “protect the image of Islamic Shariah law from being disfigured.”

Their appeal follows a statement signed by more than a hundred Muslim leaders from various groups, including the Muslim Council of Britain, and published by the Independent, calling for Henning’s life to be spared.    »»» Telegraph U.K.

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Isis NOT Islamic, Australian imams say

Australian imams have called for the term “Islamic” not to be used when referring to the Islamic State (Isis) group, saying it serves only to give credibility to the group’s claims of religious authority.

There was nothing Islamic about its murderous actions, the Australian National Imams Council said, and the phrase “Islamic State” referred to an era when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together harmoniously.

“Since the Isis group was established we have been very clear about denouncing their lies and betrayal of our faith,” the grand mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, said in a statement on Monday.

“These criminals are committing crimes against humanity and sins against God. Forced eviction, threats of execution and burning of places of worship including churches have no place in any faith.”   »»» theguardian.com

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French Muslim leaders denounce Islamic State

The most prominent Muslim leaders in France have joined in an unprecedented condemnation of the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians.

In a “Paris Appeal,” issued on September 9 at the Grand Mosque in Paris, the French Islamic leaders “unambiguously denounce these terrorist acts, which are crimes against humanity, and solemnly declare that these groups, their supporters, and their recruits cannot lay claim to Islam.”

The Paris Appeal condemns the “barbarians” for their brutality, and insists that “their rash calls for jihad and their campaigns to indoctrine young people are not faithful to the teachings and values of Islam.”   »»» CatholicCulture.org

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