About The Need Of Expanding On
Shaykh Afifi's fatwa
Title: Defending The Transgressed By Censuring
The Reckless Against The Killing Of Civilians
< LINK >

Shaykh Afifi's fatwa has to be rigorously expanded to engage the views of writers such as Muhammad al-Ghazali and al-Qaradawi, who seem to hold that suicide bombings of the kind going on in Palestine (and now elsewhere) are allowed. It has also to be expanded to cater for new contingencies, without having to change the basic definition of the fatwa. and there are certain questions we need to address in order to present a comprehensive and encompassing jurisprudential decision based on the Shari`ah which addresses the actual happenings around us.
Important points are numbered and marked with a


A F:

Regarding the hadith:

"I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify there is no God except Allah...."

Our beloved Sh. Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti said:

"As for the meaning of "people" [al-nâs] in the above well-related Hadith, it is confirmed by Ijmâ' that it refers to the same "mushrikîn" as in the Verse of Sura al-Tawba above, and therefore what is meant there is only the Jâhilî Arabs [muskhrikû l- 'arab] during the closing days of the Final Messenger and the early years of the Righteous Caliphs and not even to any other non-Muslims."

Could someone please kindly provide some references from commentaries of the earlier scholars which support the ijma of the ulema upon this understanding of the hadith - namely that it refers only to the mushrikin of that specific time period.



Yes, it is good if further, detailed documentation can be done to enhance the probative value of the fatwa, including cross-mazhab references.



I came across this specific meaning to this hadith (see above: "I have been ordered to fight) in Imam Muhammad bin Hassan Shaybani's al-Siyar al-Kabir the student of Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik. Sarakhsi's commentary to it is very useful in this regard.  



This [ specific meaning to this hadith in Imam Muhammad bin Hassan Shaybani's al-Siyar al-Kabir] is great for expanding on the fatwa.

When is it going to be out in Arabic, the foremost language of the Muslims?

and someone would really need to do a "Sharh Mufassal" (detailed commentary) of the fatwa in BOTH English and Arabic.



We need to expose the pseudo-ulama for what they are, vulgar popularizers of the kind not much better or rather much worse than the smooth talking teleevangelists of the West, ... and confounding point for point their very words, for they are the ones behind the Muhajirun and such kharijite groups. QaatalahumuLlaahu annaa yu'fakuun!



This [that one shaykh said he did not see anything to support an ijma' of the ulema that the hadith refers only to the mushrikin of that specific time period] further reinforces the URGENT need to critically explicate Shaykh Afifi's fatwa further in order to especially clarify some of the more general even ambigious statements therein along the lines of Shaykh Keller's Port in a Storm.

Someone has to go and appeal to Shaykhs Keller, or Nyazee or Abdul Rahman or al-Buti or al-Ya'qubi.

Already in Malaysia and sold in IIUM books containing pseudo-fiqh articles condoning suicide bombings.


A Y:

I think that careful reading of the text of the marvellous and much needed fatwa will reveal that Shaykh Afifi contends that there is ijma that the hadith refers to the verse of sura tauba (as in sabab nuzul/context), and NOT that there is ijma that the hadith refers to the mushrikin of Makka/Arabia.


O M:

If my memory serves me, and if my source was reliable, Shaykh Buti's permission was restricted to Palestine, and then as a last resort in extreme situations.



If a shaykh has given a mistaken opinion/fatwa in public it must be retracted in public without waiting for us to petiton him en masse, especially when that mistake is blowing up babies to pieces the world over. They MUST publicly endorse Shaykh Afifi's ifta unreservedly in WRITING and in their khitabahs on their mimbars and talk shows.



Question: Is it right what some jurists say in some Arab countries that Martyrdom Operations which our brothers in Palestine perform in the Occupied Lands against the Israeli enemy are not considered Martyrdom in the cause of Allah?

Answer: Sh. Al Buti’s Response Committing suicide is that a person kills himself by some means because he is disappointed with his own life and feels very much straitened in it; whereas Martyrdom Operations you are speaking about are performed by those members in the aim of withstanding the aggression and having revenge on the wrongdoers and usurpers, though they are very much clinging to life. Nay, they are, in fact responding to God's order offering their dear lives as a sacrifice in the cause of repulsing the horror of aggression. Thus, they are undoubtedly martyrs when we take into consideration the goal which them to take such sacrifices. The contrasting legal verdict (fatwa) you have heard of is a widely known American verdict.


O M:

A number of suicide bombings have explicitly targeted uniformed, on-duty soldiers; they can be censured for suicide, but not for attacks on civilians. Shaykh Buti nowhere makes any excuses for attacks on civilians, let alone babies. He is only addressing the suicidal aspect of these operations (which he thinks are not really suicidal after all).


F D:

I personally heard a prominent traditional Sunni Mufti (of both Hanafi and Shafi'i Schools), very anti-Salafi, and Shaykh of the Shadhili-Hashimi way (same Way of Sh Nuh) from Palestine, supporting the suicide bombings in Palestine and very harshly condemning anyone who "has the audacity to doubt the fact that those brave young men are Shahids of the highest calibre".



If that is true [that their support or silence on the issue is also due to public pressure] then the Ummah has lost both its brains and its conscience.


A Y:

I think the point is that Shaykh Afifi's fatwa is a starting point, not a final word. It is, after all, a fatwa, and I am sure that he does not expect everybody to automatically agree with it. Having said that, I know that he is aware of the fact that other ulama disagree with him, but he strongly stands by it. Issues such as bias can easily be resolved by examining the text of the fatwa itself. Are there demonstrable errors of omission or comission? Where and how has bias or emotion crept in to the dispassionate logic of usul and furu'? The whole point of Shaykh Afifi's fatwa was that it presented a clear-headed argument whose conclusions are clearly derivable from their premises. There seems to be a vast gulf between this approach and off-the-cuff responses like, 'Palestinians are oppressed, so they should be able to defend themselves,' or 'suicide is obviously haram and so is killing civilians.' The latter two seem far more prone to bias.

The best solution is simply to get the fatwa translated into Arabic and passed on to the ulama of the Middle East to either commend or refute - point by point. This is the way of our scholarship since time immemorial. I wonder whether any of our kibar Arab ulama have even seen it yet, and if they have, it would be interesting to know what they make of it (and more importantly, why).



The Ulamas of the West must collectively write to the Ulamas of the East to demand that they take positive action on this issue [to support in public Shaykh Afifi's fatwa]. SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION.



Are there any quotes available from the classical works which support the view that the hadith refers only to the mushriks of that specific early period. [of the mushrikin of Makka/Arabia] Correct me if I'm wrong but Fath al-Bari says all mushrikin, not just at that time.



The Fatwa of Shaykh al-Afifi and other Western based scholars should be presented to the Eastern Ulama and their opinion on it should be sought. This should clear things considerably. ... We may differ with his opinion on this, but we will have to (grudgingly) accept that there are prominent Ulama who support these bombings in Palestine, as much as it is embarrassing for us to acknowledge that in public spaces in the West. It therefore becomes incumbent on us to clear this confusion, and bridge this sad gap in understanding between the Traditionalist Fuqaha in the West and the Traditionalist Fuqaha in the East.


Re: "accept[ing] that there are prominent Ulama who support these bombings in Palestine].


The question here is not "prominence" for "prominence" in itself is no argument either for or against. The question here is "ilm" and "dalil" and "hujjah", which, in this matter of the gravest import, must be rigorously and explicitly shown, not simply assumed. ... but in this particular issue they have shown misguidance rather than guidance precisely because they allow themselves, wittingly or unwittingly, to be coopted into the INTIFADA-INDUSTRY of the PLO and Hamas and all the other disparate Palestinians groups.



Also, Shaykh Afifi says therein [in his fatwa] that even if we except the nusus concerned in their literal sense, then these are of the nusus 'ammah subject to takhsis in the light of other nusus and the actual reality on the ground. and this is no mere intellecto-fiqhi hair-spliitting, for failure to realise this and teach people to realise this, will give rise to hot-headed jihadists burning and destroying hindu temples all over the world and to kill people and themselves in the process, a phenomenon that happened in Malaysia some years ago. ...

So my URGENT message to all the august members of this blessed Fellowship of the [SP-group], especially those with personal contacts with the august Ulamas of both East and West, please see them personally and ask them to perform their duty to Islam and the Muslims and to all Humanity.



If that is so [that Shaykh al-Buti supports suicide operations], then that will be very terribly disappointing to me (and I'll appreciate the specific reference to examine his legal arguments if he actually has any), then his name MUST be named and his “answer” REFUTED in detail, regardless of his or anyone else's reputation or "prominence". "Haatuu burhanakum in kuntum saadiqin."



When the people go astray it is because the learned among them have gone astray first, either by their support, or worse, by their silence. The real ulama are those whom nobody knows, dispersed in the deserts of the of the Maghrib or hidden in the jungles of the Mashriq or in the hollows of Yemen.

... For one Malysian pseudo-fatwa which I read invoked the Qur'anic story of the people of the trench ashab al-ukhdud.

Consensus cannot be rejected but what contravenes the consensus is rejected, so targetting civilians is rejected and no khilaf is allowed here, whereas there is khilaf about targetting combatants, but Shaykh Afifi prefers the more careful view to avoid ambiguity based on the principle al-khuruj 'an al-khilaf mustahabb.

Now, as for the REALITY ON THE GROUND: can those suicidal criminals claim to be exclusively targetting combatants? If they claim so, can that be actually shown? What are mere words minus manifest works?

Why don't one of us do a little scientific research and come out with some empirical statistics?



But in the case of sinking the ships, it is NOT beyond reasonable doubt that the Muslim soldiers would survive the sinking, for they could swim away, cling to parts of the wreckage, wear life jackets, or be speedily rescued by awaitng rescuers in fast-rowing boats. ...

Moreover, in the case of the suicide bomber, he actually has to intentionally and quite deliberately kill himself first and foremost before he can (hopefully) kill others. I said hopefully, because in many cases, the bomber himself is blown to pieces, while many, or even all, of the targetted victims, survive, albeit with light or serious injuries.

Looks like we're practising how to expand on the fatwa!



Shaykh Afifi actually discusses this very aspect quite clearly in his fatwa - regarding the issue of the "lone charger" and dhann in his actions that lead to his own death. The qawl sahih, according to Shaykh Afifi, is that such an individual is considered a martyr because it is not certain whether he will die.


A G:

... I personally feel that what is more urgent is obtaining opinions of the ulama on the attacking of civilians. For example, brother F posted an excerpt from Shaikh Buti, and brother O wrote that it was exclusively in justification of attacks on combatants. However, I can see nothing in the text quoted that supports such a restriction. That says nothing about what Shaikh Buti's intent is, but it says alot about what people who read it will take away.

From the point of view of stopping violence and bloodshed, the question of whether these murderers kill themselves in the process is secondary. The recent rash of bombings in masajid across India has not been carried out by suicide bombers, but as I see it that only makes it worse, as the same team has been able to continue carrying out these attacks. The more categorical statements we can get from ulama of every school of thought that the killing of civilians - Muslim or non-Muslim - is a crime and a sin worthy of punishment in this world and the next, the better.

The pessimist in me says at this point that you have to recognize that most of these young bombers are coming from a perspective which considers all of the mainstream ulama - even the Salafi ulama - as corrupt and selfish and utterly untrustworthy. In which case the only option is ruthless suppression using all the powers of the State - which is in fact as much a tradition of the salaf as trying to teach them.



(Re: status of those people who are considered 'insurgents' among the iraqi people, since they are not clearly not acting on the authority of the government of al-maliki [who is the official leader]? the same question can apply to afghanistan also.)

The irrefutable cold concrete objective fact on the ground is that Iraq has been thoroughly defeated by the US. So a centralised military jihad is simply out of the question, while a decentralised "jihad" is pure anarchy, as we are witnessing now, which causes very much greater damage to the people, resources and religion of the country, both in the short and long term. ...


(Re: Syria and Israel presently do not have a ceasefire, and are therefore officially in a 'state of war' - does this not make israel dar al-harb?)

We don't have to change the basic definition, we need only expand it to cater for new contingencies, for even in the past we have many cases in which the enemy striked from miles off-shore through naval bombardments of coastal cities like Algiers and Acheh (though in the case of Algiers that can be seen as divine punishment for their centuries of arrogant greedy indulgence in piracy and the cross-mediterranean white slave trade masquerading as jihad to avenge Granada).

As for the statement "from the muslim soldiers, who are at best to decide the rulings since they are more aware of the realities they face. this is by no means a justification for attacking civilians, but perhaps off-duty soldiers who are in occupied land," that's complete nonsense, for the ignorant soldier can judge nothing, they can't even tell reality from illusion, and off-duty soldiers are civilians, that's the bottom line; and moreover, striking off-duty soldiers serve no military purpose and a waste of resources. ...

The Jihad of this Age is the Jihad of the Word and Positive Action (an article on this will be forwarded soon, in sha Allah), simply because the West is pregnant with Islam, as Nursi puts it (and Nursi, by the way, is no armchair alim, he was the foremost scholar-mujahid of his time), and we should facilitate the safe and healthy delivery of the baby. and moreover, the secular West and the Islamic East are no longer separate geographical entities hermetically sealed of one from the other, they are now both physically and culturally entwined in an intimate embrace of life or of death, depending on how we handle that delicate relationship.



What of the individual's right to self defence in the absence of proper authority or incapacitated  authority. He or she does not need any centralised or non-centralised government to declare jihad, if his home is attacked, his wife (or wives) and daughters (or sons) abused and and  his sheep stolen. Consider also if a whole village is in that particular situation and the inhabitants of said village decides to band together to defend their homes, and extend this line of consideration further if said village decides to help a neighbouring village in the spirit of Islamic solidarity. and such scenarios undoubtedly involves violence and bloodshed especially if the perpetrators themselves are part of the authority regime.


Are there no provisions of permissibility in the realm of fiqh for the victims to defend themselves inevitably with violence in such situations above ? Or is it obligatory for him to wait until his nation has rebuild itself before he takes action ?

If this discussion is to discuss the boundaries of fiqh for suicide bombing and fiqh of war then the compass has veered. I have not seen in fiqh a pre-condition of effective means before one is permitted to retaliate in defense of one's home. Our liege-lord Ibn Zubair radiallahu 'anhu certainly did not have have the material strength when he resisted the war engines of the Umayyad, nor did the Companions of Badr, nor did our liege-lord Khalid radiallahu 'anhu when he faced the Persians.


O M:

However, if the intention is what distinguishes these two cases, then a suicide bomber who attacks invading Israeli soldiers (as happened in Gaza not long ago) could appeal to intention to justify his own actions as well, and to distinguish them from suicide.



The qasad of sincerity is not an integral part of an action thus having no effect on the outward validity or invalidity of an action. Nor can it render an unlawful action lawful. It serves only to increase the value of the actions. A prayers with all its integral  fulfilled but with an intention of showing off would not render the prayer invalid, its performer would not be censured in this world.

Also, "al-tarku laa yahtaju 'ila al qasd" (Suyuthi : Ashbah); Avoidance of  the prohibited does not require an integral intention or to put it simply "a non-action requires no integral intention".


since it has been established that the suicide bomber is a "al-qatil nafsahu" which is an unlawful prohibited action to be avoided, it requires no integral intention to validate its prohibition and likewise no amount of intention of sincerity would validate it.



(Re: I have not seen in fiqh a pre-condition of effective means before one is permitted to retaliate in defense of one's home. Our liege-lord Ibn Zubair radiallahu 'anhu certainly did not have have the material strength when he resisted the war engines of the Umayyad, nor did the Companions of Badr, nor did our liege-lord Khalid radiallahu 'anhu when he faced the Persians.)

Not only that, but in wartime personal armed action was undertaken by some Companions against the enemy without permission from the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, whether single-handedly such as by Salama ibn al-Akwa`, or at the head of a clandestine group such as by Abu Basir, Allah be well-pleased with them.



I hope the fatwa can also be translated into all major European languages, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Russian, Turkish, etc. Another way is to annotate aspects of the fatwa, and collate and share them on the list for critical feedback from us to us and to Shaykh Afifi. I'm sure many of us are teaching, telling aspects of Islam to people, formally or informally, and when out of the blue someone invoke Qardawi, we should know how to response properly without blinking.

Again, suppose someone invoke out of the blue the centuries-long so-called Barbary pirates' attacks on European coastal CIVILIAN villages, or on US merchant shipping that launched the US onto the geopolitical stage of world power (how ironic!), how shall we response (in this case we may have to qualify the fatwa's claim that the Assasins are the most recent precedent prior to 1994), etc.

Also, although the fatwa implies that it cuts across the madhahib, that needs to be made explicit in detail, so more annotation there.

Ideally, there should be a separate Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali version of the fatwa, which could then be integrated into a common fatwa.

plus biohistorical synopses of great mujahid of very recent history like Nursi, Umar Mukhtar, Abdul Qadir, Dan Fodio, Shamil, Tipu Sultan and many others.

In short, nothing less than THE book on military jihad from both the fiqhi and historical aspects, if only to demonstrate concretely that these fiqhi precepts were observed and realised in recent history, not pie-in-the sky idealism, and they continue to be realizable now and forever. 15.11.



Therefore, it is not incumbent upon an individual whose country has been overran by kuffar forces to surrender, he can continue to fight. Granted, there are other factors that would come under consideration, but the basic principle is that he is allowed to continue fighting. Now apply this to Iraq or the Palestine or anywhere else in conquered Muslim lands.

Further, this second condition "the women are not molested" needs further elaboration, what level of molestation ? what is the legal definition and implication of the word "faahishah" in the text ? what if an individual is alone with no women relation ? is this qayyid still effective ?

These, in part, are the questions we need to address in order to present a comprehensive and encompassing jurisprudential decision based on the ligh of the syariah which addresses the actual happenings around us.

Let us be critics in the way our traditional scholars are critics, producing commentary elaborating the original discourse in support or in refutation but with impeachable courtesy. It does not become of scholars to criticize, for example, the "foolishness of the Arabs for supporting Lawrence which is why God is punishing them now", the sins of the fathers do not pass to the sons [though they may be affected by it].. ...

So perhaps, a gathering of traditional scholars discussing the issue rather than "the Fatwa" would have greater positive implications and benefits, not the least being the agreement to the contents of "the Fatwa" which would be a semblance of authority and addressing the various related masa'il related to the issue (instead of read the fatwa !!! you'll find all answers there).

The *accidentally* suicidal mujahid is termed a shaheed: LINK ( x ready)

shaheed is also defined: LINK/popup-window ( x ready)
the defining criterion by which the mujahid is
considered a shaheed, whether in both worlds or in the next world only,
is his dying in conditions of war with the disbelievers regardless of
the way or agent of death, even and including by way of accidental
suicide which, furthermore, kills no-one else but him and therefore is,
in itself, detrimental to the Muslims rather than benefiting them.
The sources I cited here only show that the basic hadd of the mujahid
is the Muslim who fights the kuffar, while the basic hadd of the
shaheed is the mujahid who dies or is killed in that activity, of
which the objectives are to harm the enemy and empower the Muslims.

The phrase "even and including by way of accidental suicide" was
meant to highlight that such shahada paradoxically includes an
abortive scenario which, in military terms, is a worthless or
wasteful act since it fails to achieve any such objective; the
mujahid, furthermore, dying by his own hand. Why is his act included?
Because of the overriding rule of matters being evaluated according
to their objectives.

By the same standard, intentionally suicidal warfare would
be included a fortiori into the hadd of the shaheed, since the
subject not only fits its definition (being killed as a mujahid),
with the same objectives regardless of success - except his act
also more nearly achieves the objectives which the accidental suicide
failed to achieve.

GF Haddad

the highest example of shaheed: LINK ( x ready)
Abu Dharr narrated that the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace,
said: "Three are the ones Allah loves." Then he mentioned: "A man who
met an enemy troop, then his own troop became vulnerable, so he
fought from behind them until he was killed, or until Allah gave him
victory; a man who travelled by night with some folk until they
alighted to sleep, then he got up and prayed until he woke them up so
they could resume travelling; and a man who had a bad neighbour and
endured his harm patiently."

Narrated by Ahmad, Ibn al-Mubarak in al-Jihad, Ibn Abi Shayba
(`Awwama ed. 10:263-264 §19701), and Ibn Abi `Asim.

GF Haddad

A book has to be written: "The Sword and the Spirit: A History of Jihad in the Lands of Islam."

The Muftis of Palestine have generally justified these operations, on the basis of either it being similar to the example of the 'lone Charger' who rushes into the enemy ranks knowing that he will die but after killing many of the enemies of Allah, or due to Darurah as Palestinian Muslims do not have any other affective means to resist, injur or scare the consistently brutal, inhuman and ever-oppressing Zionist occupation Army: LINK ( x ready)

This is 'inghimas', which has many proof-texts supporting it. The
most explicit legal textual proofs that are relevant to deliberate
suicidal warfare are those that fall under the rubric of inghimas or
"self-immersion into enemy ranks," which is licit from any individual
"without permission from the leader since one is asking for shahada
and neither victory nor resistance is expected from it, contrary to
duelling" (al- Buhuti, Kashshaf al-Qina` 3:70).
read: < Inghimas In ' Suicide ' Warfare, by Sh. G. F. Haddad >

A renewed jihad? a o

1.Are there any formally written fatwas for these bombing operations on
the part of the Palestinian muftis ... ?

2. How does the lone charger appliy to so-called "unconventional" warfare?
Where's the wajh shabah here?

4. A thorough historical
analysis of the Palestinian fiasco over the past century or so till today is needed and
will undercut the historical basis and conditions invoked by
Hamas for their actions.

5. When did the Palestinian ulamas
become effective moral and intellectual leaders if not political ones of
the PLO and Hamas commanding real respect and obedience from them? More
specifically did their fatwas and opinions came after (hence
rubber-stamping) or before (hence guiding) the actions of the PLO and
Hamas? ...

But is what Hamas and other groups doing qualify as inghimas? Surely the
munghamis didn't first have to kill himself?

Among the Palestinians, none say civilians can
be targeted. Including the Muftis. Rather soldiers and Israel have a
conscription system where also for women. Men serve for at least 3
years and women for 2 years. Thereafter they become reserve soldiers
and serve regularly in intervals.

In addition to an "intifada industry",
there is also a "denying oppressed people the right to defend
themselves" industry. Because that is what a rejection of "martyrdom
operations" amounts to in the case of the Palestinians. and that is
yet another reason to be very cautious concerning what judgments we
make on this issue.

A Mauretanian shaykh said that it was
fard `ayn on Muslims to work for the liberation of Palestine.

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