Open Letter
To Al-Baghdádí

Response To Daesh (Not ”IS”)

Part 09 - Declaring People Non-Muslim

With over 125 leading ulemas' signatures*


Finally, one of the most important principles when it comes to the manner of jihad is that only combatants may be killed; their families and non-combatants may not be killed intentionally. If you ask about the instance when the Prophet MHMD was asked about bystanders and women being killed with idolaters and he said: ‘They are from them’29, this Hadith refers to the killing of innocents by accident and in no way indicates that the intentional killing of innocents—such as in bombings—is permitted. As for God’s swt  words: ... and be harsh with them ... } (Al-Tawbah, 9: 73); and: { ... and let them find harshness in you ... } (Al-Tawbah, 9: 123), this is during war, not after it.

Declaring People Non-Muslim

9. Declaring People Non-Muslim (takfir): Some misunderstandings about takfir are a result of the exaggeration of some Salafi scholars in matters of takfir (declaring people non-Muslim), and in their exceeding of what Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim have said in many important aspects. In brief, takfir can be summarised correctly as follows:

a. Quintessentially in Islam, anyone who says: ‘There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God’ is a Muslim and cannot be declared a non-Muslim. God swt  says: { O you who believe, when you are going forth in the way of God, be discriminating and do not say to him who offers you peace: 'You are not a believer, desiring the transient goods of the life of this world. With God are plenteous spoils. So you were formerly, but God has been gracious to you. So be discriminating. Surely God is ever Aware of what you do. } (Al-Nisa’, 4: 94).

The meaning of { be discriminating } in the above verse is to ask them: ‘Are you Muslims?’ The answer is to be taken at face-value without questioning or testing their faith. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad MHMD said: ‘Woe to you! Look! After I die, do no return to being non-believers, striking each other’s necks30. The Prophet MHMD also said: ‘... so whoever says: “There is no god but God” saves himself and his wealth except as permitted by law, and his reckoning is with God.31’ Ibn Omar and the Lady Aisha also said: ‘Declaring the people of the Qiblah as non-Muslim is not permissible32.’

b. This issue is of the utmost importance because it is used to justify the spilling of Muslim blood, violating their sanctity, and usurping their wealth and rights. God swt  says: { And whoever slays a believer deliberately, his requital is Hell, abiding therein, and God is wroth with him and has cursed him, and has prepared for him a mighty chastisement. } (Al-Nisa’, 4: 93). Moreover, the Prophet MHMD said: ‘Whoever says to his brother “O disbeliever”, it will certainly be true of one of them33.’

God swt  has warned, in the strongest terms, against killing anyone who verbally declares his Islam: { ... And so if they stay away from you and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then God does not allow you any way against them. } (Al-Nisa’, 4: 90). The Prophet MHMD warned against accusing people of polytheism and of taking up the sword against them; he said: ‘The person I fear for you the most is the man who has read the Qur’an ... cast it off and thrown it behind him, and taken up the sword against his neighbour and accused him of polytheism34.’

It is not permissible to kill any Muslim, (nor indeed any human being), who is unarmed and a non-combatant. Usamah Ibn Zayd narrated that, after he killed a man who had said: ‘There is no god but God’, ‘the Prophet MHMD asked: “He said: ‘There is no god but God’ and you killed him?!” I replied: “O Messenger of God, he only said it out of fear of [our] arms.” He said: “Did you see inside his heart to know whether or not he meant it? 35”’ Recently, Shaker Wahib—who was affiliated with what was known at the time as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—appeared in a YouTube video where he stopped unarmed civilians who said they were Muslims. He then proceeded to ask them the number of prostrations (rak’ahs) in specific prayers. When they answered incorrectly, he killed them36. This is absolutely forbidden under Islamic Law and is a heinous crime.

29: Narrated by Muslim in Kitab al-Jihad, no. 1745.

30  Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Maghazi, no. 4403, and by Muslim in Kitab al-Iman, no. 66.
31  Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Jihad, no. 2946.
32  As related in Al-Hafiz Al-Haythami’s Majma’ Al-Zawa’id, (Vol. 1, p. 106).
33  Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Adab, no. 6104.
34  Narrated by Ibn Habban in his Sahih, (Vol. 1, p. 282).
35  Narrated by Muslim in Kitab al-Iman, no. 96. Another narration reads: ‘“Did you kill him after he said: ‘There is no god but God”. I said: “He was trying to save himself”. [The Prophet] kept repeating his words ...’ Narrated by Al- Bukhari in Kitab al-Maghazi, no. 4369. 


[continue with part 10]

Read the full letter here: Open-Letter-To-Al-Baghdadi [pdf]
Original URL: [ ]

* One of its signatories is Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, from Syria.

Other Links:
CNN: Syrian Scholar, Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, condemns ISIS [ youtube ]

STARTGo to next part

next page





latest update: 2016-02-14

* living Islam – Islamic Tradition *