Open Letter
To Al-Baghdádí

Response To Daesh (Not ”IS”)

Part 10 - Peoples’ Deeds & Intentions

With over 125 leading ulemas' signatures*


c. Peoples’ deeds are tied to the intent behind those deeds. The Prophet MHMD said: ‘Actions are but by intention, and every person will have what they intended ...37.’ Furthermore, God swt  says: { When the hypocrites come to you they say: ‘We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of God’. And God knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and God bears witness that the hypocrites truly are liars. (Al-Munafiqun, 63: 1). God swt  thus describes the words of the hypocrites regarding the Prophet’s message—an indisputable fact—as lies, because their intention when saying it was to lie even though it is true in itself. It is a lie because they uttered with their tongues a truth that God swt  knows their hearts reject.

This means that disbelief requires the intention of disbelief, and not just absentminded words or deeds. It is not permissible to accuse anyone of disbelief without proof of the intention of disbelief. Nor is it permissible to accuse anyone of being a non- Muslim without ascertaining that intention. It is, after all, possible that the person was coerced, ignorant, insane or did not mean it. It is also possible that he misunderstood a particular issue. God swt  says: { Whoever disbelieves in God after [having affirmed] his faith—except for him who is compelled, while his heart is at rest in faith—but he who opens up his breast to unbelief, upon such shall be wrath from God, and there is a great chastisement for them.} (Al-Nahl, 16: 106).

It is forbidden to interpret the implications of a person’s deeds; only the person himself or herself may interpret their own deeds—particularly when there is a difference of opinion among Muslims regarding that particular deed. It is also forbidden to declare others non-Muslim (takfir) based on any matter in which there is a difference of opinion among Muslim scholars. It is forbidden to declare an entire group of people non-Muslim. Disbelief applies only to individuals depending on their deeds and intentions. God swt  says: { No laden soul will bear another’s load.} (Al-Zumar, 39: 7). Finally, it is forbidden to declare people who do not doubt the disbelief of others, or refuse to declare them non-Muslim, as non-Muslim.

The reason this point has been discussed in such detail is because you distributed the books of Muhammad bin Abdel-Wahhab as soon as you reached Mosul and Aleppo. In any case, scholars— including Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah—distinguish between the actions of a disbeliever (kafir) and declaring people non-Muslim (takfir). Even if a person performs a deed that has elements of disbelief, this does not necessitate that that person be judged as a disbeliever for the reasons presented earlier. Al-Dhahabi38 related that his teacher, Ibn Taymiyyah, used to say near the end of his life: ‘I do not declare any member of the ummah non-Muslim … The Prophet MHMD said: “Anyone who maintains his ablution is a believer”, so whoever observes the prescribed prayers with ablution is a Muslim.’

This is a crucial point; the Prophet MHMD said: ‘Subtle shirk [i.e. associating partners with God] is when a man stands to pray and embellishes his prayer for an onlooker39.’ He thereby described ostentation in prayer as ‘subtle shirk’, which is minor shirk. This minor shirk, which some worshippers fall into, is not considered major shirk and cannot lead to takfir or to being cast out of the fold of Islam.

For other than prophets and messengers, everyone else worships God swt  according to their capacity, and not as God swt  deserves. God swt  says: { They measured not God with His true measure ...} (Al-An’am, 6: 91); and: { And they will question you concerning the Spirit. Say: “The Spirit is of the command of my Lord. And of knowledge you have not been given except a little”.} (Al-Isra’, 17: 85).

Nevertheless, God swt  accepts such worship. And people are not able to conceive of God swt , because: { ...There is nothing like Him ...} (Al-Shura, 42: 11); and: { Vision cannot attain Him, but He attains [all] vision ...} (Al-An’am, 6:103). Nothing is known of Him swt  except for what He has revealed through revelation (al-wahy) or He imparted to the Prophet Muhammad MHMD : { ... He casts the Spirit of His command upon whomever He will of His servants ...} (Ghafir, 40: 15).

36 YouTube video, [content warning!], June, 2014.
37 Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab Bad’ al-Wahy, no. 1; also narrated by Muslim in Kitab al-Imarah, no. 1907.
38 Al-Dhahabi’s Siyar A’lam Al-Nubala’, (Vol. 11, p. 393).
39 Narrated by Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Zuhd, no. 4204.


[continue with part 11]

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: 2015-12-08

* living Islam – Islamic Tradition *