On journalistic responsibility: Media and


Tensions between Western liberalism and imperialism have deformed mainstream
journalism's outlook.
Last updated: 08 Jul 2014 12:30
Palestinians can be a drag sometimes - even paranoid. They reckon all Westerners are out to
get them. And judging from their reaction in recent days, it's clear they never met a media
channel they liked. Their criticism of CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera America is a testimony of their
It's not like all their homeland is occupied! Or most of their people dispossessed!
Oops. Okay, actually, it is. Yes, they are.
Indeed, Palestine is under siege, and Palestinians are revolting once again.
But so what? Should being victims of five decades of military occupation and seven decades of
dispossession put them above questioning or criticism?
It's not like Western media is out to get them.
Or is it? At least those Palestinians in the West seem to think so.
Complaints, complaints
The unabashed bias has led some, including Jerusalem Fund Director Yousef Munayyer, to
question if "CNN has officially become Israeli state TV". Munayyer cites CNN's June 30 coverage
of the death of three Israeli settlers, featuring three outspoken Israeli guests: Israel's former US
ambassador (who became a CNN analyst); the present Israel ambassador to the US, and Mark
Regev, official spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Yet how many Palestinians were invited to speak about the large-scale violence and collective
punishment of civilians wrought upon them by the Israeli military machine? "Zero", according to
But why the exaggerated dismay! That's, basically, as many Israelis CNN invited to speak about
the missing Malaysian flight.
Fortunately, the same can't be said of Al Jazeera America, which does invite Palestinians to give
their perspective. Yet, Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian who spoke on air, lamented that AJAM host
David Shuster "was like Israel's defence attorney cross examining me".
Empire - What Future for the Arab World?
Indeed, many of Abunimah's Twitter followers bemoaned that the interview sounded like
"something from FOX news".
Abunimah seemed dumbstruck by the question: Why isn't Hamas expressing sympathy and
expressing condolences to the settler families? Worse, instead of condemning Hamas'
unwelcomed indifference, he went on a rampage about Israel's occupation and apartheid, acting
as if this was the time or the place to make such assertions, when we were all supposed to lower
the flag and declare three days of mourning just as Israel does after the death of each and every
OK, Israel doesn't do that. But it does open investigations; lots of investigations leading to more
investigations. At any rate, the whining doesn't stop there; it's also contagious. Now Palestinians
and those in solidarity with Palestine are taking the BBC to a tribunal in a bid to find out why
the British corporation is promoting Jerusalem as an "Israeli city".
Why the constant nitpicking? When all of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, also referred
to as "Judea and Samaria" are finally back under the control of their "lawful owners", who cares
how the BBC refers to Jerusalem. Crazy.
Alas, none of this is funny. It's rather sad considering the suffering that comes along to all those
in proximity to Palestine.
Speaking of fact and fiction
A journalist's responsibility is first and foremost to try to establish the facts. People, Israelis and
Palestinians included, have a right to their opinion, but not to their own facts.
Without the facts, fiction or propaganda is more likely to complicate political issues, not clarify
them. And once the facts are established, journalists must do all they can without prejudice to
make sense of them in order to come as close as possible to the truth of the matter.
Is Palestine occupied? Yes. Is East Jerusalem occupied? Yes. Is Western coverage of Palestine
overwhelmingly slanted towards Israel? Of course. These are verifiable facts.
Is Hamas a by-product of the Israeli occupation? Yes. Just as Hezbollah is a by-product of the
Israeli occupation of Lebanon, al-Shabab a by-product of Ethiopia's occupation of Somalia, al-
Qaeda of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the Islamic State, of the US ' occupation of
Iraq. Historical records make that clear.
Why is Hamas inciting violence against Israel instead of expressing condolences and sympathy
when Israelis die? Because they represent what they best see fit as the resistance spirit of a
people under a repressive and murderous occupation. These are the facts.
Was it Hamas that killed the three Israeli settler youths?
Journalist as policemen
There's nothing wrong with a journalist investigating with the skill of a prosecutor in order to
understand the root causes of complicated issues. Like policemen, journalists report facts, but
unlike policemen, they do not enforce the law - theoretically or otherwise.
Journalists are bound by a great duty: to trace, examine, and question the salient, indirect and all
too often, the political responsibility for creating an environment conducive to violence.
In that way, a military occupation is a violence-based system managed through force; one that
breeds more of the same. No act, terrible as it might be, could or should be seen separately from
the larger system of violence governing an occupied territory. Separating individual cases of
violence from the larger context of collective violence is morally irresponsible and journalistically
The occupation is not a theological or religious issue. Not a question of Muslim and Jew, Arab
and Israeli. It's about power, its pretexts and ramifications.
The same applies to a civilian occupation imposed by force, as is the case with Israel's
settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories which the United Nations Security Council
deemed unlawful in contravention to the Geneva Convention (IV).
Analytically speaking, when Israel continues to expand settlements, despite the onset of the
peace process, one could make the case, as the Palestinians do, that those who impose
settlements illegally and by force, are responsible for the violence that results from both sides:
the settlers and the indigenous population.
Journalists are no diplomats
Bridging the gap among conflicting claims through compromise is not the responsibility of
journalists - that's a role for a politician or diplomat.
A journalist's first and foremost responsibility is to highlight the relevant angles and perspectives
of any event without prejudice or orthodoxy. But it shouldn't stop there.
Journalists must question the nature of the systems of power at play, as well as their uses and
Giving a Nazi and a Jew equal time doesn't make for a good discussion of the Holocaust. Just as
providing a racist and victim of racism equal time doesn't make for an investigation into
Apartheid. Such claims of "balance" to prove "neutrality" is at best misleading.
Likewise, providing ample time for two authorities' spokespersons to decimate each other's
official lines makes for twice the propaganda. Bridging the gap between occupied and occupier in
the shadows of occupation doesn't make for good journalism, it makes for bad media.
Indeed, the media's attempt at playing devil's advocate - while it is healthy and allows for a
degree of scepticism - must break out of the false dichotomy of pro and anti, to shed light on
more nuanced discussions that go beyond official lines, and recycled claims and banalities.
Sensitive and controversial?
The tension between Western liberalism and Western imperialism, and discrepancy between
Western values and politics, have long deformed the mainstream journalistic outlook towards the
developing world. Likewise, intimidation, fear tactics and worse of all, accusations of anti-
Semitism have all too often undermined Western journalism's approach to the Palestine-Israel
topic. That's not to say there is no anti-Semitism. But its misuse by Zionist propagandists have
undermined it to a large degree.

The conventional wisdom is that the Israel-Palestine topic is a sensitive and controversial issue
that journalists need to tiptoe around, for fear of upsetting powerful elites, or the Israeli camp in
the West. To journalists, it's not exactly a good career move to open themselves to accusation of
anti-Semitism, unfair as that might be.
Alas, there are enough bigots with prison guard-type mindsets who will literally throw garbage at
anyone who dares to question the Israeli occupation until it sticks.
But that mustn't discourage those carrying out this honourable profession to carry their work
ethically. In this case, this includes the misconduct of the Israeli government, the Palestinian
Authority and the Hamas regime in Gaza.
Even if journalists are not licensed like doctors are, and face no malpractice lawsuits that bar
them from practising their profession, their responsibility towards a healthier society cannot be
Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al J azeera.

Conclusive scholarly opinions on ISIS

The Syrian conflict has raged on, leaving conscious Muslims experiencing an agonising dilemma: to watch
helplessly while thousands are oppressed and killed or to help with whatever is in their capacity. A number
of Muslim youth have opted to join the revolt, offering their lives to the cause. This has prompted the
government to adopt or suggest punitive actions against them citing fear that they would become
„radicalised‟.[1] Years prior to this rather uncertain position assumed by the British government, scholars
in Syria and abroad had warned foreigners of travelling to fight in Syria. This was not due to fears of
„radicalisation‟ as these are not substantiated by any empirical evidence, but rather for concerns that the
course of the revolution would be hampered since manpower was never required as much as financial and
medical resources.[2]
Years into the mass uprising, certain elements sprung up and spread in the revolution, that severely stalled
progress against the Syrian regime. In addition to this, certain groups began perpetrating crimes against
Syrian fighters through internal provocation and conflict[3] and through targeting aid workers and
civilians[4], whilst following a warped reading into Islam unrecognised by countless Syrian and
international scholars.[5] [6] Scholars had previously communicated their position to the masses, but their
incapacity to take these scholars seriously[7] developed the catastrophe the scholars had warned of. The
catastrophe culminated in predominantly misinformed outsiders bolstering the strength of the „Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant‟ (ISIS), duped by the group‟s buzz-words (Khilāfah, Bay‟ah, Amīr al-
Mu‟minīn, Hijrah and so on). In reality, if ISIS are not part of Assad‟s regime as some claim[8], they have
either been severely infiltrated by the regime or their ideology is starkly unrelated to Islam and critically
ISIS have not only weakened the fighters in Syria against Bashar, but have murdered arbitrators and
committed heinous crimes against Muslims. The regime has benefited greatly by the presence of ISIS,
even avoiding them in pursuit and attack.[9] ISIS have furthermore shackled the progress of some of the
most effective Islamic rebel groups by waging war on them for their refusal to „pledge allegiance‟ to them
and to their warped ideology. The government and media suggest that many of those who have gone to
fight in Syria have joined ISIS while recent videos might be seen to confirm these claims.[10] Assuming
these claims to be accurate, it becomes binding upon those who are sincere in yearning for an end to the
oppression to reveal the unmistakable reality.
Sadly, many eager individuals do not recognise the authority of Syria‟s scholars, dismissing their views
while accusing others of being “politicised”. Who did they follow and what did they risk? No doubt the
scale of the crisis in Syria is unparalleled, thus what is at stake for those who travel there is most probably
death. Death will lead to Paradise or the Hellfire. For those who opted to join ISIS, on what basis and
through what justification are they willing meet Allāh when this faction has shed the blood of thousands
unjustly? The question remains, did these individuals refer to the Book of Allāh, the injunctions of the
Messenger salla Allāhu „alayh wasalam and the guidance of our leaders in understanding and faith, the
recognised scholars of Islam, before embarking on thisākhirah-focused risk? Those who truly care for the
course of the revolution and desire that it achieves the best end will categorically stop at the injunction of
Allāh if nothing else. If our pride fails to lend Syrian scholars their worth, take the following international
statements and verdicts regarding ISIS, issued by the following diverse list of scholars.[5] [6]

Most scholars used the Arabic abbreviation „Dā‟esh‟ in reference to ISIS. „Dā‟esh‟ has been substituted
for ISIS for the convenience of the reader.

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[11], 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.[12]
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.”[13]“ 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.[14] 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.[15] 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,[16] he says in a letter to the Mujāhidīn of Syria after hearing of ISIS and their behaviour with other
“…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.[17] 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.[18] 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).[19] 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.[20]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.[21] He says:
“The group known as ISIS are from the fanatical Khawārij, rather they have surpassed theKhawārij 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 20
and 21
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.[22]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.”[23] 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.[24] 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?”[25] 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, accusingAhraar al-Shaam that they are misguided „Surūrīs‟ and that al-Nusra Front have defied
their alleged „Khalīfah‟.[26]

A Joint Statement of 47 Scholars in Saudi Arabia
I ncluding Al-Ghunaymaan, Al-‘Umar, Al-Mahmoud and Al-J alali 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.”[27]

Above are only some of the verdicts issued against ISIS by Muslim scholars. Such an agreement between
scholars, analysts and intellectuals across the board should shake the heart of any individual who has
participated in hampering the revolutionary effort while imposing an innovated ideology on its people.
This neither pleases Allāh nor is it to the betterment of Syria. Syrians are in no need of further repression.
Sincere individuals who have joined ISIS believing it endorses the true purpose of Islam should rush to
change course and avoid further gambling with their permanent abode, and with a Syrian future that
balances on a knife‟s edge.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/growing-fears-over-britons-radicalised-in-syrian-
[2] http://www.islam21c.com/politics/8744-a-plea-from-syria/
[3] http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/01/07/Al-Qaeda-groups-fight-each-other-in-
[4] http://www.thejournal.ie/syria-aid-workers-missing-1249026-Jan2014/
[5] http://eldorar.net/science/article/9246
[6] http://www.almokhtsar.com/news/ Title/author: أقوال العلماء والدعاة في داعش / إبراهيم بن عبد الرحمن
ي كرت لا
[7] http://www.islam21c.com/politics/association-of-syrian-scholars-on-isils-actions/
[8] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-islamic-state-of-iraq-and-the-levant-isil-vs-syrias-moderate-al-qaeda-
[9] http://syriageneva2.org/?p=242&lang=en
[10] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27947343
[11] http://aseft-alshamal.org/?p=1107
[12] http://ar.islamway.net/scholar/1223
[13] Al-Qur‟ān 6:159
[14] http://ar.islamway.net/scholar/245
[15] http://ar.islamway.net/scholar/44
[16] http://www.aljazeera.net/news/pages/84a822d8-0f92-4ed0-8225-972bccf35cdc
[17] http://ibnhomaid.af.org.sa/
[18] https://twitter.com/Abdulazizfawzan
[19] http://www.drbakkar.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=53
[20] http://islam-call.com/authors/v/id/1228/
[21] http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/201838
[22] http://www.alssad.com/publish/article_39.shtml
[23] http://mhesne.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=121
[24] https://www.paldf.net/forum/showthread.php?t=614220
[25] http://albadee.net/news/12989/
[26] http://halabnews.com/news/42813
[27] Qur‟ān 4:93

Do we go for Jihad in Syria?
All praises be to Allah and may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet.
The situation in Syria undeniably compels every human being, let alone every Muslim, to help those who
currently face one of the most brutal regimes on earth. Allah says:

“The believers are nothing else than brothers (in faith).”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“The Muslim is the brother of his fellow-Muslim; he does not wrong him or abandon.”

In another narration the wording has it, “and does not forsake him.”[3]
al-Hafidh ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, the famous commentator on Sahih al-Bukhari wrote, „He does not abandon
himmeans he does not leave him with someone who could harm him, or in a situation where he could be harmed,
but instead helps him and defends him…It may be obligatory or recommended, depending on the situation.‟ Ibn
al-Athir in his book Jami‟l-Usul fi‟l-ahadith wrote, „Abandoning someone refers to when he leaves him to his fate
and does not protect him from his enemy.‟
The famous Shafi‟i scholar, al-Nawawi, wrote, „And he does not forsake him – the scholars have said forsaking
means failing to help and support. What this means is that when a person is asked for help to ward off an
oppressor and the like, he is obligated to help him if it is possible and where he has no legitimate shar‟ii excuse
(for not doing so).‟
Recently, and in many circles, discussions have begun in relation to the Islamic ruling on participating in military
fighting, Jihad, in Syria. The fact that people are concerned with the affairs of the ummah is a great blessing as it
shows that many still have a deep connection with Allah and a strong belief in tawheed. It also shows that they
righteously seek to worship Allah by aiding the oppressed – Jihad is one of the most virtuous acts to Allah. There
are numerous verses in the Quran which establish the virtue of Jihad. For example, He, the Most High states:
“How many of the prophets fought and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if
they met with disaster in Allah„s way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allah loves those who are firm
and steadfast [in battle].”[4]
“Those who have believed, emigrated and strove hard and fought in Allah‟s Cause with their wealth and their
lives have the highest rank with Allah. They are the successful.”[5]
Additionally, Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked as to which action was
greatest. He replied, “Faith in Allah.” He was asked, “then what?” He replied, “Jihad in his path.” He was asked,
“then what?” He replied, “An accepted pilgrimage.”[6] According to the hadith of Abu Dharr who asked the
Prophet as to which action was greatest, the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Faith in Allah and Jihad in
His path.”[7]
Having established the virtue of jihad and its lofty station in Islam, we must now analyse a number of issues that
are repeatedly neglected by most of those who explore this topic.
Firstly, it should be established that due to the complex nature of conflicts that occur in modern times, attaining
victory is not merely a matter of success on the battlefield. Wars are fought on many fronts – politics, the media
and economics are all but examples. While many may argue that these mediums are merely a way to deceive the
masses, we are forced to recognise this fact since the Quran establishes it. For example, Allah considered
financial forms of jihad an essential aspect of combat – all Quranic verses pertaining to Jihad except one mention
those who perform Jihad firstly with their wealth and then physically. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used
popular mediums that would now function in the form of media, such as encouraging Hassan ibn Thabit to
perform poetry to give confidence to the people. Military victory is very much dependent on gaining the upper
hand in these realms as well. A strong army but with low morale or insufficient strategic planning can be defeated
easily. It has been seen in our times that political and media engagement can achieve more than guns and
bullets. Altering ideological or political views of people is in many cases more effective than ending their lives.
Winning over hearts is far better than burying them.
Secondly, based on the above point, it may be noted that help given to Muslims should not be limited to
participation in physical combat. There are many effective ways to aid the Syrians such as facilitating their cause
through the media and other channels of engagement. Helping them financially is a key factor for the continuity of
their struggle. Thousands of orphans, widows and the disabled are left with no support. Medical aid either by
sending medical equipment or paying for doctors to provide relief is one of the greatest forms of support that the
Syrians need.
Thirdly, participating in physical Jihad becomes compulsory in certain circumstances, and on certain people. A
very basic example of obligatory physical Jihad is when the enemies of Islam attack Muslims or Muslim lands
where there aren‟t enough men to defend their lives and/or their land. However, if there are sufficient numbers
but they simply lack other resources to defend themselves, other forms of jihad become compulsory. If there is a
lack of finance, then financial Jihad becomes the obligatory form of Jihad upon those who can afford it. The
principles which must be kept in mind when helping the needy people of Syria are that a) the necessary
resources should be provided, and b) in a way that is likely to lift the calamity. Failing to observe these two
conditions might add to the problem rather than solving it.
The regime in Syria is one of the most inhuman and tyrannical regimes in the world, having been engaged in a
war against Islam and Muslims for decades. The number of Muslims who have been killed by Hafiz al-Assad, the
father of Bashar al-Assad, exceeds the number of Muslims killed by the Israelis. History can never forget the
women raped by the army of Hafiz in Hamah and other cities in 1982. However, the son is no better than his
father. This regime, in both periods, has waged war against Sunnis carrying out religious cleansing in every
possible way. Thus there is no doubt that Muslims in Syria fight to defend their religion and protect their lives,
honour and dignity. According to all Muslim scholars defending the religion is a fundamental reason for Jihad.
Defending life and honour also takes the ruling of Jihad. Allah says,

“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed,
Allah is competent to give them victory. [They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right
– only because they say, “Our Lord is Allah.” And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of
others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name
of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful
and Exalted in Might.”[8]
With all that has been discussed, it is evident that both military and non-combative Jihad in Syria is compulsory
upon the Syrian Muslims. The question that follows is: what is the ruling of jihad upon Muslims who live beyond
It is well established in Islamic jurisprudence that if the Muslims of a certain region are attacked and unable to
protect their lives, honour, land, or the sovereignty of their faith, then it is incumbent upon other Muslims to
provide them with whatever support is needed.
As is evident, the purpose of this obligation is to lift their afflictions. Hence the ruling is based on a legal cause
(„illah) which is to do that which leads to elevating the calamity that has befallen them. It is known (and quite
logical) that in the absence of the basis of a ruling, the ruling itself becomes non-existent. For example, if the
military participation of a disabled person will bring about losses for the Muslims then the disabled Muslim must
desist from engaging in combat so as not to harm the efforts of the Mujahideen. Similarly, it is completely
unjustifiable for a Muslim to participate in combat where he might cause harm to the Mujahideen merely because
he seeks martyrdom (rather than the greater goal of victory for the believers).
It has been confirmed by scholars and military personnel living in Syria that they have no need for foreign Muslim
men intending to join the cause. I have personally contacted a number of scholars, activists, and students of
knowledge as well as a Syrian scholar (who is a member of a board of scholars and activists) in order to consult
with him in regards to those who wish to travel to Syria to aid in repelling the oppressive regime. He informed me
that they urge foreign brothers not to travel to Syria to participate in military activity. He stated firstly that that this
is the opinion of the vast majority of scholars and activists in Syria (that they do not need men), and secondly,
such participation will lead to many problems that are evident to those who know the situation from inside. In
other words, the obligation of Jihad for Muslims outside of Syria is of a non-combative nature. This is what they
inherently need, and in the situation, this is the effectual form of engagement.
I know that many Muslim men are keen to help their Syrian brethren; indeed, this noble feeling is an obligation
upon us. However, we should look to help them in the way that they need and not in the way we assume. We
should be careful not to misleadingly veil our own desires for martyrdom with expressions such as „helping our
Muslims brothers and sisters‟ which will ultimately cause more harm to their cause. I am also concerned about
the intention of some of those who travel, who desire to fight out of a sense of frustration many Muslims feel due
to the beleaguered state of the Ummah. Although some may find it difficult to digest, the reality of the situation is
that, as it stands; to travel to Syria intending to participate in jihad without the express permission of
the recognisedSyrian revolutionary leaders is closer to sin than virtue. It is not allowed to interfere into
someone‟s affairs without his clear approval and furthermore, it is totally prohibited to do anything that may cause
harm to others.
The possibility of incurring sin becomes greater when a person abandons his immediate family for whom he is
directly responsible, or leaves his parents grieving in the wake of his departure. „Abdullah ibn „Amr (may Allah be
pleased with them both) said, “A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked
for his permission to go for jihad. He said, „Are your parents alive?‟ He said, „Yes.‟ He said, „then your jihad is with
them.‟”[9] According to another report, a man came and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have come to participate
in jihad with you. I came and my parents were weeping.” He said, “Go back and make them smile as you have
made them weep.”[10]
It was also reported from Abu Sa‟eed (may Allah be pleased with him) that “a man migrated to the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from Yemen. He [the Prophet] said, „Do you have anyone in the
Yemen?‟ He said, „My parents.‟ He said, „Did they give you permission?‟ He said, „No.‟ He said, „Then go back to
them and ask their permission. If they give you permission, then go for Jihad, otherwise honour them.‟”[11]
As I have already stated, the leaders of the Syrian uprising have not yet called for the involvement of external
personnel in any military activity and thus have declined to co-ordinate the arrival of foreigners. Those who do go,
join small unorganized units under the leadership of an individual who normally coordinates with like-minded
people in isolation from a centralised authority recognised by the local people. This eventually leads to many
internal conflicts whilst causing more immediate strategic problems. Additionally, these small groups lack the
presence of qualified scholars able to provide impartial and well formulated legal guidance, and as a result they
fall into many shar‟ii errors. In fact, it has been confirmed that such conflicts provide fertile grounds for developing
ideas and views alien to the shari‟ah. Such ideas include participating in activities that involve the killing or
harming of innocent people who are protected by the covenant of the shari‟ah itself. It has been also witnessed
that some brothers develop a very narrow-minded mentality by which they see everything through the medium of
combat rendering them unable to participate in any productive non-combative activity once they return to their
home countries. They eventually become receptive to many unIslamic ideas that promote an incorrect
conceptualisation of combative Jihad.

We must learn from the past. Whenever incidents like this take place, many nations of an imperialist design use
the situation to their own benefit. For example, they might infiltrate the cause and pit some of the
foreignMujahideen who are unaware of the social and political situation in the occupied land against
local Mujahideen. These powers then monitor these brothers who have left for jihad until they return to their own
respective countries and then manipulate them or use them for their own political agenda. This has been the
case with many brothers who participated in Jihad against the communists in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Whilst
many governments have refrained from addressing the issue of „Jihad‟ in Syria (since it is not in their favour to
make it an issue at the moment), it is undoubtedly a matter of time until the entire context will be used in some
bad intentioned way.
Finally, I ask Allah Almighty to make the imminent month of Ramadan a month of mercy and victory for Muslims
in Syria, Myanmar (Burma), and wherever else they are oppressed.

[1] al-Hujuraat 49:10
[2] Narrated by al-Bukhari, 2442; Muslim, 2580.
[3] Muslim 2546
[4] Aali Imran 3:146
[5] al-Tawbah 9:20
[6] Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim
[7] ibid
[8] al-Hajj 22:39-40
[9] Narrated by al-Bukhari, 4/18
[10] Narrated by Ahmad, 2/160; Abu Dawood, 3/38
[11] Narrated by Ahmad, 3/75-76; Abu Dawood, 3/39

The „Caliphate‟ of al-Baghdadi – Announcement
from Syrian Scholars
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 MuslimUmmah 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 Prophetsalla 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.”[1] 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
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.”[2] 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.

It becomes an obligation upon everyone to stand in the face of this major violation, the first of whom
should be the people of knowledge and deep insight who must take initiative in the following

1. Clarifying the concept of an Islamic Caliphate and that it cannot come about except in accordance with
the set, patterned Laws of Allāh concerning the nature of victory and the emergence and establishment of
states. It is not merely an allegation that can be adopted by anyone without the presence of its means or
components. Outward names and proceedings are not conditions to establishing the Religion of Allāh in a
state. It is furthermore impermissible for people to rush to establishing rule without its necessary
constituents or to claim that leadership is exclusively to them or to their group. Historically, many liars and
imposters have claimed to be prophets, Caliphs and the Mahdi.
2. Confirming the illegality of this declaration due to the aforementioned and because those who have
declared it are dissident Khawārij who have divided the Ummah. It is impermissible to submit to their will
and only permitted to a conquering leader who strives to protect the Muslims. This group moreover
possess no authority and surrendering to them will only spill more blood. It is attributed to some of their
leaders that they said regarding the noble Mujāhidīn: “Our drink is their blood and our entertainment is the
removal of their limbs.”
3. Clarifying the strategic damage this declaration puts the Ummah at due to the aforementioned.
4. Educating people about the actions of the Khawārij historically, their role in weakening the best of the
previous generations, their hindering of Islamic expeditions, their fighting against Muslims and their
abandonment of non-Muslim enemies in addition to their treachery towards their own kind.
5. Explaining the role of the Khawārij today, exemplified in al-Baghdadi‟s „state‟ starting with their
denunciation of scholars, the headship of their ignorant and in the most deviant people penetrating their
ranks including some Shi‟ites who have become part of their leadership. Their battles on some fronts and
their war against thieves and outlaws do not legitimise them, just as the abundant Salāh and Qur‟ān did not
legitimise the earlier Khawārij.

Secondly, the responsibility is upon the Mujāhidīn and leaders of the revolution who have earned the
trust of the people. The deliverance, after Allāh, is reliant on them, and their duty is as follows:

1. To stick firmly to the scholars, striving to constantly seek their counsel and that of experts across many
disciplines. The aim should be to form a common vision and to form an action plan that deals with this
calamity and its implications.
2. To give foremost priority to agreement and unity, expending all means to meet this objective and to
pledge allegiance to Islam above any group or faction, dealing with others on the basis of truth and
3. To be determined and resolute in removing this malicious group from Muslim lands with no hesitation
to do so. Nonetheless, to balance between fighting them and fighting the main enemy, subject to
circumstances. Never should something „apparent‟ fool the fighting factions and never should the effect of
(unsound) ideology be neglected.

The third group is the Muslim youth whom we advise for the sake of Allāh with what follows:

1. To be patient with regards to what is happening and to ask scholars and people of knowledge about the
confusing matters. Muslim youth should know that there is not a single scholar in the ranks of al-Baghdadi
that the Muslim Ummah testifies to (the knowledge of). Ibn Abbās radiy Allāhu „anhu said to the ancestors
of these people from the Khawārij, exposing their ignorance: “I came to you from amongst the companions
of the Messenger of Allāh salla Allāhu „alayh wasalam, theMuhājirīn and the Ansār, to tell you what they
say. Upon them the Qur‟an was revealed. They are more knowledgeable concerning the revelation than
you and amongst you there is not a single one of them.”[3]
2. To avoid being dragged towards emotions or behind the glorification (of this group) by the media. It is
now clearer than ever that ISIS uses lies and fraud while copying the Shi‟ites in theirTaqiyya, concealing
the truth of their matters.
3. To rest assured that the Caliphate declared by ISIS is invalid since they are far away from the prophetic
methodology in both form and substance. ISIS is an oppressive group, one that has transgressed from the
Path of Allāh. Allāh gives the Khilāfah to those who believe and do righteous deeds. Not to those who kill
the Muslims and leave others.
4. To revere the people of knowledge, to defend them and not to accuse them of being envious to al-
Baghdadi‟s faction, competitors of it, against the establishment of a Caliphate or subdued by dictators. All
of this is slander.
5. To maintain the instructions of Allāh concerning lives, and to be patient before any resulting harm,
repelling falsehood and being wary of the whispers of the Shaytān in confining the commandments of
Allāh to be all about dying for His sake as opposed to living for His sake. Martyrdom is through Divine
selection by Allāh, not a decision that can be taken by the individual.

Finally, our advice to all of the Muslims who compose the Ummah and are its pillars, is as follows:

1. To expose the reality of this group and its danger upon the Ummah to the layman, as much as one is
2. To be careful where your charity is going. You are responsible for this and the genuine charities are well
3. Your children are your responsibility “and each and every one of you is responsible for his flock.”[4]
Look after them and ensure that they do not join this heretical group, thus becoming a tool in the hands of
criminals which will be used to fight the Muslims.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah alone.
[1] Bukhāri
[2] Sahīh al-Jāmi‟ – al-Albāni
[3] Al-Hakim
[4] Bukhāri