Open Letter
To Al-Baghdádí

Response To Daesh (Not ”IS”)

Part 04 - Oversimplification & Difference of Opinion

With over 125 leading ulemas' signatures*

But it is not permissible to invoke a specific verse from the Qur’an as applying to an event that has occurred 1400 years after the verse was revealed. How can Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani say that ‘God’s promise’ is this so-called Caliphate? Even if it were supposed that his claim is correct, he should have said: ‘this is of God’s promise’. Moreover, there is another linguistic error; wherein he has appropriated the word ‘istikhlaf’ (succession) to refer to the so-called caliphate.

Proof that this is not the correct usage of the word can be seen in the following verse: { He said, “Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors (yastakhlifakum) in the land, that He may observe how you shall act”.} (Al-A’raf, 7:129). Succession (istikhlaf) means that they have settled on the land in place of another people. It does not mean that they are the rulers of a particular political system. According to Ibn Taymiyyah, there is no tautology in the Qur’an5. There is a difference between ‘khilafah’ and ‘istikhlaf’. Al-Tabari says in his exegesis (tafsir) of the Qur’an: { make you successors (yastakhlifakum)}: Meaning He will make you succeed them in their land after their destruction; do not fear them or any other people.6’ This proves that the meaning of { istikhlaf } here is not rulership but, rather, dwelling on their land.

3. Oversimplification

It is not permissible to constantly speak of ‘simplifying matters’, or to cherry-pick an extract from the Qur’an without understanding it within its full context. It is also not permissible to say: ‘Islam is simple, and the Prophet MHMD and his noble Companions were simple, why complicate Islam?’ This is precisely what Abu Al-Baraa’ Al-Hindi did in his online video in July 2014. In it he says: ‘Open the Qur’an and read the verses on jihad and everything will become clear ... all the scholars tell me: “This is a legal obligation (fard), or that isn’t a legal obligation, and this is not the time for jihad” ... forget everyone and read the Qur’an and you will know what jihad is.”’

People need to understand that the Prophet MHMD and his noble Companions made do with as little material means as possible, without complicated technology, but they were greater than all of us in understanding, jurisprudence and intellect, and yet only a small number of Companions were qualified to issue fatwas. God swt  says in the Qur’an: { ... Say: “Are those who know equal with those who do not know?”...} (Al-Zumar, 39: 9). God swt  also says: { ... Ask the People of the Remembrance if you do not know.} (Al-Anbiya’, 21: 7); and: { ... If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them; those among them who are able to think it out, would have known it from them ...} (Al-Nisa’, 4: 83).

Thus, jurisprudence is no simple matter, and not just anyone can speak authoritatively on it or issue fatwas (religious edicts). God swt  says in the Qur’an: { ... But only people of cores remember.} (Al-Ra’d, 13:19). And the Prophet Muhammad MHMD said: ‘Whoever speaks about the Qur’an without knowledge should await his seat in the Fire7.’ It is also high time to stop blithely saying that ‘they are men, and we are men’; those who say this do not have the same understanding and discernment as the noble Companions and the imams of the Pious Forebears (al-Salaf al-Saleh) to whom they are referring.

4. Difference of Opinion

In regards to difference of opinion, there are two kinds: blameworthy and praiseworthy. Regarding blameworthy difference of opinion, God swt  says in the Qur’an: { And those who were given the Scripture did not become divided, except after the clear proof had come to them.} (Al-Bayyinah, 98: 4). As for praiseworthy difference of opinion, God swt  says: { ... then God guided those who believed to the truth, regarding which they were at variance, by His leave ...} (Al-Baqarah, 2: 213). This is the opinion expressed by Al-Imam Al-Shafi’i in Al-Risalah, the other three imams and all the scholars for over a thousand years.

5 Ibn Taymiyyah says in Majmu’ Al-Fatawa (Vol. 13, p. 341), ‘Tautology in [the Arabic] language is rare and in the Qur’an, it is even rarer or nonexistent.’ Al-Raghib Al-Asfahani says in Mufradat Al-Qur’an (p. 55), ‘This book is followed ... by a book that informs the use of synonyms and their subtle differences. By doing so, the uniqueness of every expression is distinguishable from its synonyms.’
6 Tafsir Al-Tabari (Vol. 9, p. 28).
7 Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi in Tafsir Al-Qur’an, no. 2950.


[continue with part 05]

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 ]

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latest update: 2017-02-21

* living Islam – Islamic Tradition *