Washington – A group of top Muslim-American
scholars issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, July 28 condemning
all acts of terrorism and religious extremism as being fundamentally
Reading the text of the fatwa at a press
conference, Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America
Muzammil Siddiqi said, “Islam strictly condemns religious
extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives.
There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism.
Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide
bombings or any other method of attack is haram –
or forbidden – and those who commit these barbaric
acts are criminals, not ‘martyrs.’”
The Fiqh Council is a body of 18 Muslim
scholars who have been trained in Islamic jurisprudence
and are deemed qualified to interpret Islamic law as it
is revealed in the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet
The scholars based their ruling on several
Quranic passages, including the verse, “Whoever kills
a person [unjustly]… it is as though he has killed
all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he
had saved all mankind.” (Quran 5:32)
The fatwa also cited the words of the Prophet
Muhammad, who said, “All creation is the family of
God, and the person most beloved by God [is the one] who
is kind and caring toward His family.”
The fatwa made three basic declarations:
first, that all acts of terrorism targeting civilians are
forbidden in Islam; second, that it is forbidden for a Muslim
to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved
in acts of terrorism or violence; and third, that it is
the civic and religious duty of all Muslims to cooperate
with law enforcement authorities in efforts to protect the
lives of civilians.
As many as 130 Muslim organizations in the
United States already have endorsed the fatwa, and representatives
from several of the groups participated in the press conference
to show their support.
“We’re here to underscore that
this is the mainstream, moderate voice of Muslim Americans
and Muslims worldwide, as opposed to the extremist forgery
of Islam by radicals,” said Salam al-Marayati, executive
director of the California-based Muslim Public Affairs Council
(MPAC). “The radicals do not have any Islamic legitimacy.
They have no Islamic foundation. It is artificial, what
they say, and it is outside the norms of Islam.”
MPAC recently launched a public awareness
campaign within the Muslim-American community aimed at reaffirming
Islam’s rejection of terrorism and training members
of the community to be aware of those who would attempt
to use the open environment of the mosque to pursue criminal
Al-Marayati said that MPAC’s anti-terrorism
campaign and its support of the fatwa are not a matter of
political expediency, but rather an expression of religious
duty, particularly toward the younger generation.
“We hope that this would influence
other parts of the world, but more importantly, I think
we’re doing this for our children and our future.
Our children need to be very clear on these matters. There
should be no confusion, no ambiguity,” he said.
Representing the younger generation, Rubina
Khan, treasurer of the Muslim Students Association of the
U.S. and Canada (MSA), added her organization’s endorsement
of the fatwa.
“MSA national denounces in the strongest
possible terms any terrorist attack. Attacks and bombings
of this nature are not only attacks against the innocent
people of the world, but attacks against God’s divine
revelation, which condemns indiscriminate violence and the
targeting of innocents,” she said.
Khan said the MSA regards terrorist attacks
as “repulsive and cowardly acts, irrespective of the
motivation or perpetrator.”
The Muslim scholars closed the fatwa with
a prayer for the triumph of peace and harmony over extremism
They said, “We pray for the defeat
of extremism and terrorism. We pray for the safety and security
of our country, the United States, and its people. We pray
for the safety and security of all inhabitants of our planet.
We pray that interfaith harmony and cooperation prevail
both in the Untied States and all around the globe.”
Text of the fatwa
issued by the Fiqh Council of North America is available
at the Web site of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Washington File Staff Writer