Are Muslims Really Not to Blame for the Paris Attacks?

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A frustrated Imam approached me and wanted help in writing an invective about the de facto Salafi monopoly on terrorism. He couldn’t fathom how Muslims could improve their public image if they call for unity with the very same orientations within Islam which are responsible for the violent acts for which Muslims face censure, violence and discrimination. Interestingly, he uses his own ‘madrassa’ students as an example.

Although I may not agree entirely, it is increasingly obvious that the very same Muslim scholars who denounce a terrorist attack when it occurs, often play no small part in feeding individuals to Salafist organisations, some of whom do indeed engage in violence against civilians. When anyone points this out, rather than absolving Islam and putting the blame on Salafist organisations, most Muslims nowadays rather allow Islam to take a beating for the idiosyncratic opinions and practise of Salafi groups, thereby normalising them and further alarming wider society, so I am glad someone in the ‘mosque community’ wanted to open up about this.

A useful companion piece is found here:https://asharisassemble.com/2015/07/05/many-muslim-leaders-denounce-isis-out-of-convenience-not-conviction/

The recent terror attacks in Paris have once again put the Muslim community under a microscope and led to inevitable questions about the role of Islam in fomenting violence in the world. Since 9-11 (and before), we have three general narratives:

  1. Islam is a barbaric and medieval religion that demands territorial and sexual conquest of the ‘other’. This can be stated in various ways – for example at the ‘mild’ end of the spectrum by saying that Islam needs a reformation or version 2.0 to save it from these tendencies, to the extreme end that regards Islam as a death cult which abhors life and pleasure for putative satisfaction with celestial virgins after a bloody and violent death. As a rejoinder, this orientation encourages a suitably robust response (i.e their own death cult). This group is mainly composed of people on the ‘conservative’ end of the spectrum – in the US the GOP as well as of course the far right and nationalists the world over. It is generally thought by most (but not all) Liberals and Muslims to be devoid of any intellectual or moral relevance. Yet terrorists themselves seek to exploit and invoke these forces to create a rift between ‘host’ communities and immigrant origin Muslims as well as provoke a response from and a rise of the far right which will lead to further recruitment for them from disaffected Western Muslims and from people in the Middle East and elsewhere radicalised by adventurism by these individuals in retaliation. The French National Front for example may now be poised to win the next election, helped in no small part by the terror attack (which is very curiously in time close to the election)http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34821164
  2. It’s all due to foreign policy: the West is always provoking and killing Muslims and Israel is a thorn in their side. If the West would only just adopt a ‘fair’ foreign policy, terrorism would not be such an issue, if one at all. If it wasn’t for the invasion of Iraq, we would not have ISIS for example. Also, Islamophobia at home causes alienation of Western Muslim youth and causes them to join foreign jihadist groups. This is the general position of (many) Liberals and Muslim apologists, for example, Asghar Bukhari and Yvonne Ridley. Despite various nuances and glosses, according to these people, terrorism and ISIS are largely the result of foreign policy.

What is immediately evident about these two groups is how everything is the opposing groups’ fault: to the Christian Right and nationalists, Islam is the answer to the problem and to the Left it is the foreign policies of the Right that is diagnosis of choice.

In reality, there is at least one more alternative that neither group finds palatable:

3. Both sides are partially wrong (or partially right if you like) – foreign policy causes instability abroad but does not mean that people have an excuse for nihilistic violence against their own civilians: Muslims exacting ‘revenge’ on the civilian population of their own countries is not wholly or largely explicable by foreign policy. The wanton targeting of civilians was absent from earlier campaigns such as that of IRA or Baader Meinhoff group. It isn’t ‘just the same thing anyone else would do’ if they were ‘angry’. In fact, the only time you find this kind of violence perpetrated against random people is in riots, sectarian or otherwise. Furthermore, ISIS type groups and recruits are not exactly all International Relations graduates (any more than they are theologians) yet they frame their justifications in religious terms and not as part of some kind of international class or anti-capitalist struggle. And there are no non-Muslims joining ISIS.

It will often be pointed out to the right, who are very fond of quoting violent hadith and fatwas from Muslims, that all religious people and especially Christians, have much worse verses in their scriptures or equivalents of ‘fatwas’ or religious rulings.

But there is a problem here too: Muslims are generally rather proud of being more ‘practising’ than today’s Christians. But this cuts both ways. Although Christians have genocidal violence in their scriptures, both Old and New Testament, they simply tend to ignore these and in most cases Christians in the West at least are thoroughly secularized. Take Ireland for example – most people there are Catholic by their own confession but at the same time have no issue supporting gay marriage. So they are more able to reinterpret (or perhaps rather disregard) scripture. The situation with Muslims is very different and this has been brought to the fore by the problem of ISIS using religious texts and rulings to support its well publicized and self proclaimed actions of burning prisoners, sexual slavery and mass murder. In this they are only following Osama Bin Laden and too many others to mention in adducing religious textual evidence for their actions. Refutations of ISIS by both Muslim scholars and their friends in the West focus on the fact that most ‘normative’ Muslims do not follow these beliefs. Although this is true and is often further emphasised by opinion polls and signed petitions by lists of Muslim scholars, they do not have the impact that one might expect.

The reason is simple: most of the hadiths and scholars’ opinions that ISIS uses to justify its actions are held as sacrosanct by the very same scholars denouncing their actions. For instance, if we take the hadith which maintains that there is no punishment for the killing of a non – Muslim,

‘A Muslim will not be killed in retribution for the murder of a Non-Muslim’ (Bukhari and Tirmidhi)

we see that it is found in the canonical collection of Bukhari and accepted into law by three of the Four classical legal schools of Islam (the Shafis, Malikis and Hanbalis). In fact, these schools go even further and to varying degrees trace opinions to their founders, the venerable imams, that even Muslim women, slaves and children are not ‘protected’ from homicide by a legal sanction. There is a very obvious problem with denouncing ISIS and yet sanctifying the same texts and scholars they use to justify their actions, and Islamophobes and even not-so Islamophobes have picked up on this inconsistency.

What this usually comes down to is a bit of a fudge from the Muslim side: they argue over the application of these narrations, seek excuses (in the case of the lack of earthly punishment for killing babies for example, we are reminded of the fact that it is still ‘bad’ and will be punished in the hereafter). However, the group this works on most poorly is the Muslim youth: ISIS recruiters are quite straightforward in justifying their actions: you believe in Bukhari and Sahih hadith right? Check. How about the opinions of the Imams? Check. Then they say that no earthly punishment for killing non-Muslims in peacetime and here we are at war with the kufaar brother!

Of course, in following certain heretical orientations of the past which have now become ‘accepted’ into the Muslim community, ISIS is also at liberty to ‘abrogate’ any verses of the Quran it finds to be inconvenient or conciliatory.

It is really a bit fresh for many leaders and scholars in the Muslim community to insist that everyone accept certain hadiths such as those that say, in essence that bloodshed of non-Muslims is not a big deal and then act alarmed when some people act on this.

The reality is that in Classical Islam there was a robust debate on these issues and common sense and the moral message of the Quran prevailed, as well as an understanding of ethics as opposed to the blind imitation of legal opinions no matter how flawed. In the case of no punishment for killing non-Muslims and slaves, this was rejected by Hanafites and others (unsurprisingly that school went on to be the most popular in lands with lots of non-Muslims, a situation that continues to this day).

Yet today Muslims are so paralysed by the need to pay homage to a certain hadith methodology, the various strands of Salafism and to not offend the coffers of ‘petro-Islam’ that they cannot even bring themselves to say that rape is bad – as we saw in the dismal case of Jonathan AC Brown who could recently only bring himself to say that coercive sex was not rape because in Islamic law a female slave ‘doesn’t have agency over her own vagina’ https://asharisassemble.com/2015/08/21/isis-and-the-theology-of-rape-and-the-rubbish-responses-by-muslims/. Yet if this individual was to grace our shores, young, educated Muslims would flock to his talks (you can see the denials and fanboyism prevailing over common sense in response section of the article above, where most Muslim responders were more interested in defending Brown than the rights of slaves or captives).

If this is the best we can come up with, then I fear that the ISIS recruiters will win the day – or at least enough of our youth to keep themselves in cannon fodder for years if not decades to come. We have in Jonathan Brown as a sample case; an academic who is too paralysed by his fear or by kowtowing to certain Salafist orientations to bring himself to say that forcing people to have sex is bad. Likewise, people just cannot bring themselves to say that Bukhari was wrong to include a certain hadith or that Imam Shafi was having an extremely off day when he gave that fatwa based on it. 

With interlopers like these then, who needs enemies?

In fact the issue is not defending Islam from these accusations – that is easily done. It is rather that Muslims are trying to do it with both hands tied behind their backs: if you want to be ‘cool’ with the Salafis and various other groups, then you can’t deny a hadith in Bukhari (you’ll be labelled a modernist), or the opinions of certain (favoured by them) scholars (you’ll be labelled a modernist) or actually think for yourself about ethical issues as the Quran tells you to (yes, you’ll be labelled a modernist). What is in fact ‘modernism’ is how Islam has been homogenised to conform to the latter day developments in the various strands of Salafism (literal approaches, excessive inclusion of certain opinions and scholars as well as an emphasis on hadith and puritanical Hanbalism and a concern with state building with one eye on funding from Qatari and Saudi interests – themselves the purveyors of the type of ‘Islam’ that is on display in it’s unrestrained form by ISIS [1])

One searches in vain for Sufi or traditional Muslim terrorists (I am still awaiting news of the Sufi Taliban and the Maturidi ISIS . I suspect I will be waiting a long time yet) and yet terrorism is an ‘Islamic’ problem as opposed to a Salafist or Wahhabi one (indeed in the US it is often argued that extremist and heterodox Shi’ite equivalents of Sunni jihadists such as Hezbollah are ‘Islamic’. Sunni Muslims recognise this for the nonsense it is but fail to see the normalisation of Salafism and its exclusive dominance of the jihadi movement as being in anyway problematic).

Indeed, it is most sad that the same youth who are radicalised by the foreign policy excesses of the West such as Iraq are largely radicalised and funded by countries such as Saudi and Qatar who were complicit in those excesses both financially and militarily (not to mention their own adventurism in places such as Yemen and Bahrain). The very fomenters of jihadism and instability in Libya and Syria fail to accept a single refugee from these countries whereas NATO members have at least taken many from the conflicts they helped create [2]

Tragically, radicalised Western Muslim youth are being sent to fight and die in foreign lands in revenge for acts supported and perpetrated by the very people radicalising them.

I have been teaching in mosques in and around the Northwest for nearly twenty years now and I often find students asking me (or worse, discussing amongst themselves) hadith and fatwas which are problematic. I confront the problems head on. Why did Imam Bukhari narrate that hadith? Because he messed up. He made a serious error. And why did Imams follow suit? They likewise messed up. God never promised that any of these people are protected from gaffes and even the most serious errors.

In issues as serious as rape or killing it is already alarming that some of our youth (and Jonathan Brown) lack the moral compass to tell them what is right and wrong and instead have to be guided by ‘scholars opinions’ or ‘ijma’ (consensus) rather than by glaringly obvious moral imperatives and the Quran. But it is even more alarming that for the sake of sparing the reputations of these Imams we are unwilling to say ‘Yes, the scholars did narrate what ISIS claim they did but it is rejected because it is wrong. Those scholars are not infallible and Islam is not a personality cult but a religion’. For that is what actually works. But Muslim scholars are too busy worrying about being labelled modernists or ‘soft’ on the West to say what needs to be said.

We never hear this: in convoluted and weakly constructed glosses and apologia for quite frankly nonsensical opinions attributed to the scholars, the strong denial that is needed is lost and the Islamophobes are left empowered and the children confused.

Confusing the matter with excessive diatribe about foreign policy does not help: most of the people in the Stop the War coalition and most of the prominent anti-Zionists are non-Muslims: they achieve plenty without resorting to murder. The fact that campaigners like Asghar Bukhari need to wake up to is that challenging the global hegemony is a lot harder than sorting out our own community. Just because the Islamophobes would like us to take responsibility does not mean that we should not. And frankly, it is entirely conceivable that the emphasis on controversial hadiths, narrations and fatwas as well as the alienation and exclusivity created by Salafist groups and scholars (the vast majority now) is in large part contributing to the factors pushing idiotic Muslim youth into the arms of ISIS from the West. These campaigners know very well that there are no recruits ending up in ISIS after reading the books of Said Nursi or Gai Eaton and yet they pretend that the entire Muslim community is ‘one body’ (after their corruption of a hadith attributed to the Prophet) under siege in a burning house. But who set fire to the house?

It is well known to everyone (but likewise denied by everyone) that all jihadis and terrorists operating in the European arena are from Salafi groups. However, no such identification let alone accountability is asked for in the Muslim community. In times of crisis, the call is for ‘Muslim unity’, usually with the same people who caused the crises. It is rather like arguing that catching an STD should bring a couple closer together. Rather Muslims should be more wary about Salafist infiltration of mosques and universities given their exclusive ‘rights’ to jihadis – but this also never happens.

I am not arguing for a ban on Salafism, but it is absurd to have ‘scholars’ such as Akram Nadwi and Haitham Haddad, who anathematise people for rejecting the same narrations that ISIS use to justify their acts, coming out and ‘denouncing’ terrorism. Regardless of their personal stances on civilian casualties and bombing, the fact remains that these types of people, by telling students at well funded retreats, lectures and courses that people such as me who question violent hadith and reject them (as per classical Islam) are nonetheless ‘modernists’ and ‘sell outs’ and not part of Sunni Islam, are making the job of guiding the youth to non-jihadist versions of Islam impossible.

After two of my students had attended a weekend session of one well known speaker, they immediately attacked me in class for saying that the hadith of Bukhari where it says that killing non-Muslims deserves no sanction is incorrect and conflicts with the Quran. They sent a group email to the students and even went so far as leafleting parents asking them not to send children to the class of a ‘hadith rejecter’. I immediately lost nearly half of my students before I could even mount a defence – and this was despite the fact that the class was Hanafi Brelwi and I quoted the relevant classical sources instead of rejecting it on my own. If this is the response one gets, then no wonder scholars are ineffective and would rather not deal with the problems. Again, I’m not saying that people like Haddad and Nadwi are radicalisers or encouraging people to join ISIS. But they certainly are not helping the problem either by deliberately and wantonly labelling Sunni, Brelwi and Sufi Imams who want to tackle these problematic narrations as ‘heretics’ and ‘modernists’ and positioning everyone who is simply not a Salafi as tantamount to the Quilliam Foundation. But they are being allowed to do so.

So yes, there is a problem with Muslims (but not Islam): on the one hand vilifying ISIS for using fatwas and hadith to denigrate the name of Islam and encourage nihilistic violence and on the other insisting that we accept all hadith in Bukhari and all of the opinions of the scholars. If we do that, then ISIS has a good pair of legs to stand on. You can’t refute the devil by agreeing with his evidences.

[1] https://theintercept.com/2015/10/26/bbc-protects-uks-close-ally-saudi-arabia-with-incredibly-dishonest-and-biased-editing/

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/31/cameron-galloway-saudis-bahrain-dictators

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/31/combat-terror-end-support-saudi-arabia-dictatorships-fundamentalism

[2] http://www.zahrahankir.com/saudi-arabia-math-syrianrefugees

http://theconversation.com/saudi-arabia-doesnt-do-refugees-its-time-to-change-that-47307

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anhvinh-doanvo/europes-crisis-refugees_b_8175924.html

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52 thoughts on “Are Muslims Really Not to Blame for the Paris Attacks?

  1. Sectarian rant.

    If Salafism was not so successful there would be Shiite or ‘normal’ Sunni extremists. What’s the difference between these groups anyway? It’s only sectarian theology. All of these groups have the same views about non-Muslims and Jihad. It’s just that Sunnis and Shiites usually don’t follow them that strictly. Although Iran?

    • Uhhhh, if that’s how you want it, then like Burger King, have it your way:

      Atheist hater rant.

      Mao and Stalin Co. were the REAL atheists and they are all intolerant, immoral genocidal maniacs. Any time they ever get in charge of anything you always see them act the same way. Any atheist or secularist who disagrees is just a sectarian bullshit artist.

      It’s just that many Westernised or modern atheists are influenced by the West’s Christian and religious heritage and don’t follow their true leaders Stalin and Robespierre that strictly. They can’t act up and show their true colours but as soon as they get a chance they are all the same and start enacting their retarded shit asap.

      Enjoy!

      • There is no must for atheists. Being moral or socialist is a choice. I don’t believe that someone will punished me for not being it.

      • I am afraid you are just waffling and dodging the issue. Your whole argument from the very beginning is ‘I don’t have to explain myself and have no standards’.

        This is even lazier than sophistry or making the rules up as you go along, since you are proud of declaring that there is no epistemology to which you can be held.

        Everything is a choice. Same with religious people. So silly of you to even state that.

        You are just waffling I am afraid and just as Catholic Commentator said, you brought nothing on the issue of apostasy or anything else.

        You have this annoying habit of giving the credit to ‘modern enlightenment values blah blah’ everytime a religious person says something which you find difficult to caricature. Anyone can play that game. Atheist morality is just borrowed from Europe’s Christian heritage for example.

        Also, you talked nonsense about the Ottomans – they executed no one for adultery and I never saw any authentic report of them executing an apostate – so you just made that up. Bring your proof if you have it. In the entire history of the Ottoman Empire there was only one case of someone being stoned for adultery and that was an extra judicial killing and was punished (or at least tried to be punished) by the governors.

        I can give you dozens of fatwas from ‘medieval’ scholars denying killing of adulterers and apostates (although we both know that the best at killing ‘apostates’ have always been atheists, don’t we dear?). In fact, a whole SECT from the earliest period even BEFORE any of the Imams and even before the Mu’tazzila, the Murjis, denied it explicitly. So do many of Abu Hanafia’s Mu’tazzila students. Although yes, most Muslim scholars accept it. So what? It isn’t in the Quran and the hadith about killing apostates is narrated by Ikrima, a kharijite, who himself does not regard hadith as evidence! So I don’ think you studied this as well as you claim. You think I don’t know atheists’ ‘research’? Didn’t you read some crap from the Council of Ex Muslims and they named some scholars and said ‘everyone’ believes this. Calling the council of Ex Muslims as an expert witness on Islamic theology is almost as bad as calling Himmler as an expert witness on the Talmud. If you had done some proper research, you would have paused to note that not killing apostates is the official position of Al Azhar, the worlds OLDEST extant Islamic ‘institution’ or university. So your research and knowledge sucks a bit. No stress, most of us are like that in some field. But then you lack the necessary epistemic humility.

        As for adultery, many top scholars denied it. Just from past couple of centuries: Abu Zahra, Ahmad Mustafa, Ahmed Shaltut (Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar), Khudri Beg. Or even more famous, Imam Samarkandi. all of their books and fatwas are availible. Do you want to study their evidences of books? Or just from Islamophobes/Wahhabis?

        No offence to you, I am not saying you are like this, but in general, Militant Atheists are some of the most self congratulatory and blinkered thinkers out there. They should just form a mutual dick holding society with Wahhabis and Ex Muslims. All of them have exactly the same mindset.

      • https://selfscholar.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/defending-asia-bibi-blasphemy-and-legal-reform-in-pakistan/

        This is a liberal Muslim who admits that there is death penalty for apostasy in classical Islam while especially talking about the Hanafi school you belong to. It’s part of academic work to give citations for your claims. You cannot just claim Islamic scholars said something totally untypical for Islam without bringing evidences. I say no classical scholar has ever denied the Hadith about apostasy or the law itself. The same goes for stoning and Jihad. I’m claiming the commonly known.
        I don’t want you to believe in apostasy law. I just don’t like that you represent your position as somehow traditional. This is an insult to the long fight for secularism.

        If you want to believe there was no punishments for apostasy in the Ottoman Empire (hello?) then go ahead. Regarding stoning you’re right. There was just one case. But the point is that many witnesses have to find a couple together in action and that’s difficult to achieve. It’s not that the Ottomans negated stoning like you. And they didn’t negate Jihad for sure.

      • So your waffling already got exposed. I don’t allow posting of uncommented links on this site. So your next post was deleted.

        I suggest you take a good lesson from Catholic Commentator.

        BTW – no sources for anything, including in your article, and no proof of Ottomans stoning or killing adulterers. Plus no actual responses to anything.

        Embarrassing and time wasting behaviour.

  2. @Eraser

    “Being moral or socialist is a choice. I don’t believe that someone will punish me for not being it.”

    Just try not being socialist for a day in Cuba/North Korea and you’ll see your belief corrected. Non-socialist opinions about the migrant crisis are currently banned in the European mainstream media.

    • A ‘non-socialist’ opinion about refugees is usually nothing more than racism and nationalism. Right-winged people should not have a perspective for the future.

  3. “You can’t refute the devil by agreeing with his evidences.”

    This is very true. Thanks so much for this article.

    Has anyone here been on Ummah forum? You’ll find a lot of nutjobs on there. I guess if one wants to see how salafism has negatively affected our youth they can take a look at any Muslim forum online. There really are people who believe that killing innocent civilians is permissible. They claim that the blood of people who do not have a covenant with Muslims is not protected. And mind you, they’re not making a qisas argument here. They are saying that whether theres a war or not, there is nothing wrong with spilling the blood of a non Muslim. And after they spew their nonsense, they claim that they do not support ISIS (????). And the biggest shock is that these people are barely in their twenties. Some are as young as 16.

    The writer of this article is right. I grew up on Said Nursi’s works. I have yet to read his Risale-i Nur but from what I’ve learned about him through lectures and lessons, I understand how great a person he was. Too bad a lot of Muslims will probably dismiss him because he did not grow a beard… Or they might hate him because he described the Christian Armenians massacred by the young Turks as “martyrs”.

    • Excellent points!

      Do you have that reference from Said Nursi about the Armenian’s by any chance? I have been looking for it for a while now!

      • But in Turkey we think very good about Said Nursi. He was a very good author and he also said good things in religion. But someone who knows better about religion knows that much of what he said was against religion. But only when you go into the deep. Therefore I say you can read Said Nursi without much problems.

        Regarding Armenians it looks like you don’t know anything about Turkish people. If he said this about Armenians then his books would be burnt everywhere in Turkey!!!

      • I’m Turkish like you. In fact we have the same name. May I ask you, who understands Islam better? How is Said Nursi’s book Islamic at a surface level but anti Islamic at a deeper level? Who made that accusation?

        Why would his book be burnt. Because he defended Armenians? The Turks need to get over their phobia of Armenians. Armenians made huge contributions to Ottoman society. And The Ottomans committed a great injustice against their Armenian citizens in 1914. Said Nursi said what he said for a reason.

        I’m still trying to find the source of his sayings. Once I find it, I’ll post it here so you can then decide if he was deviant or not.

      • The biggest problem is natural discrimination. This is the discrimination of women and to some extent homosexuals. Women are forced into the worst kind of situation. Islam only blames women never men. Therefore the prophet said the best amongst you is the one who is the best to his wife. Since a man has so many rights over his wife he is the best when he chooses to be good to her. In Turkey men don’t treat their women like this and they didn’t back in time too. Saudi men are like bedouin Islamic tradition prescribes. Allah created women so beautiful and men so disgusting. Allah is on the side of men. He created discrimination and oppression. I don’t accept His creation.

        And being Armenian is not something ‘natural’. You can choose to become a Muslim Armenian instead of Christian Armenian. When I was Muslim I didn’t believe in the genocide anyway but from a Muslim moral perspective I would say this killing was no problem. They could have converted to Islam and they wouldn’t be killed. But a woman cannot convert to being a man. A woman has to bear the worst oppression. An Armenian has a choice and if you consider Islam to be the truth you should think that converting to Islam is the only right and just solution.

        And as a Turk I will tell you that Armenians plotted against Turks. Therefore all of that happened.

  4. “Has anyone here been on Ummah forum?”

    I used to be on Ummah forum but that was a long time back (between 2004-2008 I think). It seems to attract the worst of the British Muslim youth. Among the things I learnt there were: make 70 excuses only for the Muslims you like but disparage those whom you don’t, it is okay to live off welfare benefits financed by the tax money of disbelievers because the money belongs to Muslims anyway, don’t pay taxes, Shiites are worse than dogs, all terrorists are Mujahideen, don’t believe in the Western media unless you agree with the things they like, etc. Ummah forum is literally a gathering place for extremist trolls.

    • Precisely – this is my point – the lunatics have always been there, they just need something to latch onto and ISIS gives it to them. Furthermore, most of us are living in LALA Land and thinking of excuses like ‘Well, most Salafis are not violent or do anything about their belief’. But that’s true for any group, including the Far Right> That does not mean we should put them in charge for God’s sake. if the Far right get into power Muslims are rightly alarmed. but when the crackpots in Muslims raise their head above the pulpit it’s MashaAllah, what a knowledgeable scholar etc.

      I think it is enough to know that the Muslim community approves of people like Haitham Haddad and gives him senior positions. It’s total fantasy to believe that such a community would not be susceptible to radicalisation.

  5. I found this article to be a little disappointing. There is no real evidence directly linking puritanical ‘Islam’ to terrorism or violence, even the most nutjob salafists are for the most part not physically violent. Yes puritanical Wahabism and Salafism are damaging and dangerous, but not because they will eat up the youth and produce a zombie army of terrorists via “radicalisation”. They intellectually damage and harm Muslim communities by ripping apart, diluting and poisoning their Islamic and cultural traditions that were already mowed down by the nightmare that was colonialism. Nor will our ‘good Islam’ stop terrorism or violence if it prevails, terrorists will latch onto other ideologies to justify their violence so long as the social and economic root cause of their turn to violence lays unaddressed.

    That being said some of the points of the author are understandable. Puritanism and Salafism seem to have penetrated into all strata of Muslim communities, we have crazy muallahs with their nonsense fatwas everywhere and a new shiny generation of scholars proudly flashing their Saudi creds peddling all kinds of bull, all does a great disservice to Muslims by confirming non-Muslim assumptions about them and making groups like ISIS (who fail even by Puritan standards) look Islamically legit. The Muslim community is, in general, pretty unhealthy, and this issue is often sidelined or fogotten. But buying into the ‘good Islam vs bad islam’ idea and pushing Classical Islam as a new ‘good Islam’ in place of state sanctioned ‘modernist/ahmadi/liberalpussy Islam’ to fight the ideological war against the evil jihadi salafi-wahabi (whatever you wanna call it) hordes, isn’t helping.

    • So then what helps?

      Thank you for your comment and it was very well put and largely correct, but I nonetheless have to challenge what you are implicitly saying, especially this whole ‘sell out’ thing you are implying in the last sentence.

      Where are the non-Muslim youth from France, Britain and Russia doing terrorist acts and what groups are they joining if people just will ‘latch on to other ideologies’ apart from jihadism? How come fifteen year old non-Muslim girls from the UK aren’t going off to war zones to get ‘husbands’?

      And if the jihadis are not following Salafism what are they following? Quran? Sunnah? Science?

      Or is it Zionist conspiracies and foreign policy to blame for everything again?

      Excellent points overall as I said, but what is the ‘non-pussy’ Islam? Do tell.

      It’s easy to make these types of comments while remaining silent or agnostic on the cause of the success of ISIS in attracting Muslims as opposed to anyone else. BTW, there isn’t any group like ISIS for non-Muslims to join anyway as you well know.

      Also, if ISIS is not ‘bad Islam’, what exactly is it? They and their followers and sympathisers, just as in the case of Osama Bin Laden (who enjoyed huge approval amongst Muslims BTW) claim to do things in the name of Islam. There are thousands of these people and millions more who sympathise – see the first part of this article for example:https://asharisassemble.com/2014/09/11/what-really-radicalises-muslims/. If they are not Muslim make that clear. Likewise if they are anything other than Salafists please tell us so that we can benefit and refute or avoid those groups. Don’t keep us guessing! I am not being facetious, my aim is to try and giver pointers ot the Muslims and to myself, so I actually want to be corrected – I am not enthusiastic for Divine punishment either.

  6. By using the logic of this article, beer is halal.
    The early hanafis held the opinion that only khamr (grape wine) was haram (as it is stated in the Qur’an), but alcohol made from other sources is permissible (under some conditions).
    Although there are several ahadith in bukhari and muslim forbidding intoxicants and countless scholars that would object to drinking beer, a hanafi can decide to ignore them and by referring to the early ulema of his madhab and using their opinion and credentials as proof for him drinking beer.

    That’s my problem with you guys at ashariassemble, you lack consistency. Mmmclmru, you reject the opinion of a majority of scholars on a certain issue and choose to follow one that is held by a minority just because you think it is not ”moral”. But I’m sure, on issues such as drinking beer, you will drastically change your methodology by saying it is haram (and going with the majority opinion).

    • You are dumb. There is no such thing as following the ‘majority’. That means Malikis should not exist then.That is just the Salafi innovation – lets see what the imams are dong and then follow the majority. That’s not even Taqleed. That’s ‘democracy’. Soooooooooooo stupid.

      Fist go and study the basics: alcohol from other than dates and grapes being fine is the ACTUAL and well known opinion of Hanafis, in particular Abu Hanifa himself. Every kid who studies Hanafi madhab knows that. He didn’t put any ‘conditions’. Imam Abu Yusuf and Muhammad are the ones who disagreed. And of course, Deobandis.

      It is a valid opinion of Abu Hanifa, he says Quran only forbids ‘intoxication’. So you just want to throw out the opinions of Salaf and Imams for hadith of Bukhari, even though Imam Bukhari did not specify anything about his fiqh.

      So who lacks consistency?

      Silly.

      • ok, you’re rather quick at throwing insults. I’ll use the same logic. The hanbalis have their own madhab with its rules and imams. If they adopt a certain opinion because of their methodology, who are you to object to that? Your western sense of morality is not a valid objection, you have to provide an Islam objection. Just like you want people to respect your madhab, why won’t you do the same for them?

      • That’s even dumber. You were asking about Hanafi madhab.

        Completely foolish. You are basically saying that Hanafis have to follow Hanbali opinion, and all the others too.
        And at first you were saying to go with the majority.

        Stop talking gobbledegook.

      • Never said that, just read my previous comment. What I said is that why do criticize the hanbali opinion, on what ground. I did not say you should follow it, just stick to your own madhab and let them stick to theirs.

      • Who criticised the Hanbali opinion?

        Stop posting irrelevant garbage.

        YOU were the one criticising the Hanafi opinion and insisting they don’t follow it due to Bukhari etc.

      • Reply to WHAT?

        You are just a waffling time waster. You don’t even know that there is no such thing in Islam as having to ‘like’ the opinions of Hanbalis/Shafis or anyone else. You just have to follow a school in fiqh. You are just too religiously illiterate to be talking about these things.

        That’s so dumb: ‘stoning adulterers is not the opinion of my group but I like it anyway’!

        Go and learn so e basics before trying to have a ‘dialogue’ in public and wasting people time

      • Let me put it to you this way: ISIS (let’s say they were not khawarij) asks the Yazidis to either convert or die. To support their ultimatum, they cite the Shafi and Hanbali scholars who held the view that non-Muslims that are not form the people of the book or from the Magians have to either convert to Islam or face the sword. Why is this wrong according to Islamic teachings? Aren’t they just following an opinion?

      • There is no such thing in Islam as ‘all opinions are correct’ or all opinions are valid. That’s nonsense and moral relativism.

        Also, there is no such thing as blind following or taqleed in matters of life and death. That is against Quran and is kufr in issues of belief according to Asharis.

        BTW, these issues come under belief anyway.

  7. And if the jihadis are not following Salafism what are they following?

    Saudi Salafism on its own doesn’t seem to be enough. It really is its marriage with Qutbism that is the cause of this kind of mindset. There are plenty of Salafis who don’t have a political thought in their mind.

  8. @Eraser

    “This is a liberal Muslim who admits that there is death penalty for apostasy in classical Islam while especially talking about the Hanafi school you belong to. ”

    Unless I misread, not one of the sources quoted in the article supports death penalty for apostasy.

  9. look at how Salafi psychopath ”scholars” nutjobs twisting Quran verses and hadiths to legalize terrorism. Only in Salafism!!!
    credit source : reliablefatwas.com (Deoband website)

    a well-known ruling quoted by many Salafi Jihadis. In Shaykh Ibn Uthaymins explanation of Bulugh al-Maram Tape 3, side 2 is found the following extract:

    ”And the second [benefit]: the prohibition of killing women and children during war.And if it is said, if they did this to us, that they killed our children and women, can we kill them [their women and children]? What is apparent is that it is allowed for us to kill their women and children, even if that were to cause us to miss [the opportunity of] taking them as wealth (slaves), due to what this contains from breaking the hearts of the enemies and weakening and belittling them, and due to the generality of Allah’s saying,“And whoever transgresses against you, then transgress against themthe like of what they have transgressed against you.” [Surah al-Baqarah]….

    (The questioner continues]…then we are allowed to kill their women and children. But O sheikh, they, the men are the ones who killed the women, and the women are innocent, so how can they be punished due to the crimes of men?

    [The sheikh says] This is because of the greater benefit, the greater benefit to those who are fighting. Because if we do not do to them what they do to us, this would be humiliation in front of them.

    (Another questioner asks question and sheikh answers)[The questioner says] If they kill our women and children, how can we kill their women, meaning this is a great loss!

    [The sheikh says] Yes, but there is a greater advantage in it, which is the honor of the Muslims, because of we don’t kill them, this is an humiliation for us, and the honor of the Muslims is more important than wealth.

    (After some questions, a questioner asks question and sheikh answersas follows)[The sheikh says] … “then transgress against them the like of what they have transgressed against you.” [Surah al-Baqarah]

    [The sheikh says] What justice?[The questioner says] Justice with their women.

    [The sheikh says] Never……..[incomprehensible…] They killed our women, we kill their women. This is justice. It is not justice that we say, if they kill our women we will not kill their women. Also, we note that this (killing them) influences [or hurts] them (the Kuffaar) much and greatly.”

    comment : Such is the subjective nature of ijtihaad today, that for every Salafi/modernist who attempts to brush the above ruling off as just ‘a slip’, there will be another Salafi/modernist who will agree completely with Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin’s fatwa and use of dalaa-il (evidences).

    >>>> second fatwa :

    Shaykh Yūsuf Al-‘Uyayrī states:

    “So from amongst the situations in which it is permissible to kill those protected kuffār– is when the Muslims punish the kuffār with the likeness of which they (i.e. the Muslims) were punished. So if the kuffār target the women, children, and the elderly of the Muslims- then indeed it is permissible in this situation to do the samething to the kuffār.As Allāh (Most High) has said:“Then whoever transgresses the prohibition against you, you transgress likewise against him. And fear Allāh, and know that Allāh is with the pious.”[Al-Baqarah:194]

    (….)
    So if the Muslims equally dealt with America [in a similar fashion], it would be perfectly permissible for them to kill around 10 million American civilians…(…)

    But there is one condition- It is not permissible for the Muslims to kill more than 4 million non-combatant American civilians, nor is it permissible to banish more than 10 million Americans!! And this is so that we do not surpass the equality of our retaliation. And Allāh knows best.”

    [“Haqīqat Al-Harb As-Salībiyyah Al-Jadīdah”]

    >>>> third fatwa :

    ShaykhNāsir Ibn Hamad Al-Fahd states:

    And whosoever looks at the transgressions of the Americans against the Muslims and their lands in these recent times, will realize the permissibility of this (using weapons of mass destruction against America) – by merely basing it upon the principle of “Equal Treatment”; and it would not even require mentioning more evidences.

    So if a nuclear bomb was dropped upon the Americans, killing 10 million civilians, and destroying their lands to the extent that they have destroyed our lands – This would be permissible without any need to even mention another evidence. More evidence would only be required if we wanted to kill more than this number!!”

    [“Hukm Istikhdām Aslihat Ad-Damār Ash-Shāmil”:Chapter 2]

    >>>> fourth fatwa

    Taken from audio tape “Questions and Answers from California Masjid” (side B) [1988]:

    Questioner:Final question – Is it permissible to avenge the American Jews who are present in America specifically, [based on the verse] ‘Kill them wherever you find them’”?

    Abdullah Azzam:“Of course it’s permissible.”

    author’s comment :

    Strangely, whenever there are reports of massacres of civilian populations perpetrated by these Salafi Jihadis, their supporters are the first to deny their occurrence, pleading to everyone not to trust the news conveyed, despite the fact that the fatwas above labelling the killing of non-Muslim civilians, and Muslim civilians who have been deemed to have apostasized, as Jihaad, and as such the greatest of deeds.

      • I’d love to but I’m not the author, I just take them from a Deoband site mentioned above, Reliable Fatwas, an article titled ”Salafi and the Genocide of the Deen”. The fatwas quoted here are just a bit fractions. But they all misused the same verses that lead to misguided fatwas.

        To one of commenter above, Humayun, these fatwas are themselves evidence about Salafi Jihadi and terrorism. You can even follow their twitters or place such as ummah forum (no longer active like since 2013, but recently lurked again & some members there are actual ISIS fighters. Even their ”Hanafi” resident scholar supports ISIS! When I researched a bit, found out his teacher had migrated to Raqqa to join ISIS) to see their perverted view of Islam. By Allah I’ve seen one of them even copy pasting daleel from WikiIslam and work of Ibn Taymiyyah that never exists (aka fictive) to ”prove” that Islam and Prophet loves massacre.

        For example, Anwar Al-Awlaki also supports the killing of civilians by twisting hadith ”they are from among them” and Ibn Uthaymin fatwa above. The reason why he called civilians bombing as ”martyrdom operation”. It’s clear as daylight. I don’t say every Salafis are terrorist supporters, but the Salafi (pseudo) Jihadi types certainly are. Never trust your deen and akhirah with them.

  10. Please could you correct this very incorrect statement: “Christians have genocidal violence in their scriptures, both Old and New Testament”
    Yes in the OT. But Christians are under the New Covenant, ie NT. Where is the genocidal violence in the New Testament?

      • And even the OT is still scripture as you know, that’s all he said. Thus it is indeed in Christian’s ‘scripture’.

        Like I said, I don’t like the choice of words but he didn’t say Christians act on this nor that it is Church teaching, in which case I would have not allowed it.

        However, Evangelicals and church teaching is a complicated question, and not something I understand.

      • However, I don’t want to shirk responsibility here: I did help write the Imam write that article, so no stress if you have a valid point.

      • Thanks. The violence isn’t committed by the believers, though. Isn’t that why people object to the OT and the Koran – because the violence was committed by believers who think they are serving God?
        Useful quote from Jesus: “The time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. This is because they have never known the Father [God] or me”. (John 16)

  11. @mmmclmru

    I am quite pleased to see you showing consideration for “Church teaching”. A very unexpected blessing for a Muslim website !
    It is true that your Imam’s article is not christianophobic at all by today’s Muslim standards (though this “violence in Scripture” stuff is mostly emotional sophistry used by every side in religious debates).

  12. “Jesus commits the genocide/slaughter of children in both the OT & NT: see 1 Samuel 15 and Rev 2:23.”

    Typical random, anachronical, juedophobic/christianophobic rant. No Christian sect however tiny or crazy understood those verses as a justification for genocide.

    Regarding Jews, even though the Talmud says “the best of Goyim deserves to be killed” (Zarah 26b Tosephoth), it is a paradoxical historical fact that no rabbi was ever involved in the revengeful mass killing of non-Jews by Jews- those were always defended and carried out by Jewish progressives, communists, atheists. It is true that today you will find rabbis in Israel identifying Palestinians with Amalekites, but it is quite a recent phenomenon, unknown before the triumph of Zionism – which itself was universally thought to be antithetical to Judaism before the Holocaust, and still is by some minority groups within Judaism today. One could say that Zionism is to Judaism what Wahhabism is to Islam.

    If any Muslim believes that “God is genocidal in the Bible” nonsense, let him or her file a formal complaint to the International Tribunal at La Hague. That person should also clarify that the complaint does not extend to God being “genocidal and homophobic” in Qur’an 26.172-173, because this would harm the Ummah’s unity.

    • “Jesus commits the genocide/slaughter of children in both the OT & NT: see 1 Samuel 15 and Rev 2:23.”

      It really is quite simple:

      i) You believe Jesus is God

      ii) God ordered the genocide of innocent women, children, babies and animals in 1 Samuel 15 (yes, they really were innocent – go read)

      iii) In Revelation 2:23 (and passim) Jesus slaughters his enemies

      The meek and mild Jesus of the gospels (though he had his violent moments too) seems to be but a brief interlude in his career of slaughter and genocide on an industrial scale.

    • I think the general point is that there are or were idiotic and immoral people in both Islam and Christianity who use verses to justify genocide and all round dumbness.

      I must take a small issue with this understanding, which is also shared by most Muslims, that God destroyed Lot or Noah’s people completely or a ‘genocide’. In each case where God destroys nations in the Quran, he makes it clear that he destroyed the ‘disobedient’ ones or the ones who refused the warning. There is no bit in the Quran where God says he ‘killed al the people’ or ‘and the women and children’. This is not to offend the Bible either, which I am not qualified to speak about, just to illustrate that collective punishment is not allowed in the Quran and nor does God avail himself of it: so taking Surah 26 [and you will find the same ‘get out clause’ in all such incidents in the Quran – Noah, Moses etc]:

      26:169
      [And then he prayed:] “O my Sustainer! Save me and my household from all that they are
      doing!” (26:70) Thereupon We saved him and all his household – (26:171) all but an old
      woman, who was among those that stayed behind;71 (26:172) and then We utterly destroyed
      the others, (26:173) and rained down upon them a rain [of destruction]:72 and dire is such rain
      upon all who let themselves be warned [to no avail]!73

      So the rain is dire only on those who do not let themselves be warned – so the immature people cannot be warned or held accountable, nor the insane or innocent etc.

      For contrast Asad’s comments;

      73 Or, in the past tense: “dire was the rain upon those who had been warned” – in which case this
      sentence would refer specifically to the sinful people of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, it is
      much more probable that its purport is general (see note 115 on the last sentence of 11:83).
      Zamakhshari’s interpretation of the above sentence is analogous to mine.

      Of course, a lot of commentators understood it differently, but then these people, like many Muslims today, don’t have any problems with bringing in external evidence to ‘specify’ the Quran, and they are the same people who today see an earthquake in Pakistan and see that as ‘punishment’ for not having sharia law or whatever, without stopping to ask about all the children or animals killed. But the Quran does not support these commentators linguistically. But be warned, Muslims are reluctant to interpret the Quran according to linguistic analysis (as Zamakhshiri did, and was lableed a Mu’tazzilite for his trouble, like Asad) as it tells them things they ‘don’t like’

      I think what is pertinent is that whereas in Catholicism we have the Church as a buffer, and likewise ‘traditional Islam’, what about the ‘protestant groups such as Wahhabis and Evangelicals? I feel that each Evangelical and each Wahhabi makes up his own religion as he or she goes along, which is rather dangerous.

  13. @mmmclmru

    “I think what is pertinent is that whereas in Catholicism we have the Church as a buffer, and likewise ‘traditional Islam’, what about the ‘protestant groups such as Wahhabis and Evangelicals? I feel that each Evangelical and each Wahhabi makes up his own religion as he or she goes along, which is rather dangerous.”

    There are indeed, several similitudes between Protestants, Wahhabis and Pharisees. Pharisees are by far the most successful in posing as the only, true representants of their religion. Pharisees started pushing their way to power long ago by advertising themselves as guardians of the correct ritual details, not unlike Wahhabis today who add
    many conditions for Islamic prayers or rituals to be valid. They used their mob of militants to force re-execution of rituals that they deemed invalid, until their authority was universally accepted.

    In the period just before the coming of Jesus there were many Jewish groups such as the Essenes who reacted to the growing Pharisee hegemony. You could call those groups pre-Christians.
    The Pharisees were great book-burners or destroyers too. It is because of them for example that we no longer have the original Matthew in Hebrew for example. They succeeded in removing the Maccabees from their Jewish canon, and tried and failed for Ezekiel.

  14. I just fear the day when not a single Muslim alive on Earth will no longer look at the spiritual teachings of Rumi, Hafez, Attar, Jami etc. as a source of inspiration and compassion to help Mankind and improve the condition of the Muslims on a community level. Or even the spiritual teachings of the the Teacher himself, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
    But instead tred down the cold, sterile path that disguises itself as the “true” Islam ironically devoid of any spirituality as well as literally killing it at the same time. (Allah have mercy on the Sufis that have died needlessly)

    Oh wait, we’re on our way there now 😦

  15. With this article you are actually disproving Islam. You admit that Islamic sources lead to terrorism. By simply negating these sources as inauthentic you have not proven anything. You cannot deny historical facts without using a historical approach to criticize them. This would be like me saying Alexander the Great was a holy man/prophet and all atrocities attributed to him are false since he is holy. That is your method to deal with narrations about Muhammad.

    As a Muslim I have never though that Islam allows terrorism. There are Hadiths that forbid killing of civilians. So why do you as a still-Muslim believe the Hadiths permit this? You have a worse view on other Muslims and Hadiths than I have as an ex-Muslim and atheist.
    Maybe you should stop hating so much. Then you could also clearly see how ridiculous your defense of Islam is. But your hate for stupid Salafis keeps you up and you think you have real arguments.

    • That’s totally ridiculous.
      Define ‘historical’ approach.
      And who says you can only use a field to criticise itself?
      So physics can only be criticised using physics?
      That’s nonsense.
      So we have one guy saying Alexander the Great was blonde or something and thus that’s undeniable?

      Which atrocities attributed to Alexander are well attested? So one author says Caesar is gay so Caesar is gay? Totally irrational and unscientific. About as reliable as aliens probing people’s asses in Arizona or whatever (actially quite well attested, or at least by more people that Alexanders massacres) That’s why no one gives a crap about historians nowadays.

      Your ‘view’ is not an argument or a proof of anything.

      Your view of Muslims is that they are ‘ridiculous’ but it is better than mine?

      That’s just jibberish. Where’s the proof? Because I don’t accept every single chain narration as you would like?

      Atheist? My ass.
      Show me your rational proof for single chain narrations. Show me scientifically that the crucifixion took place.

      If you have some arguments or refutations of mine then bring them. Otherwise spare us this information free emotional diarrhoea.

      You ex-Muslims usually have only one agenda: to justify (usually mainly to yourselves) that your decision to leave Islam was the right one.

      But I’m guessing it is as emotional and incoherent as this contribution. You guys and Salafis NEED each other to legitimise each others existences.

      And there is no need to try and play the LGTBQ lobby game of changing language: just because there are Ex-Muslims doesn’t automatically create such a thing as ‘still Muslims’. They are just called ‘Muslims’

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