By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam
19 January 2019
News reports are coming from various sources that ISIS attack killed 19 people including four Americans in Syria on 16 January 2019. The attack is reported to have targeted an American military convoy in the northern city of Manbij. While the troops were inside the Palace of the Princes, a nearby suicide attacker wearing an explosive vest blew himself up. This attack has raised new questions about President Trump and vice president Mike Pence who declared that “ISIS has been defeated”. To put it in simple words, ISIS has not been defeated and if it can be defeated it is only when the world adopts the counter-ISIS narratives presented time and again by NewAgeIslam.com.
Newageislam.com has so far posted hundreds of articles which purposely present counter-ISIS narratives. The people around the world can forward them among their surroundings so as to reach global trends and be result-oriented in defeating ISIS.
I intend to present here a bouquet of ideas proffered by NewAgeIslam.com columnists on the subject of defeating Islamism and Jihadism.
A regular columnist of NewAgeIslam.com, Mr Naseer Ahmed, poses a question in one of his articles, “Is Suicide Bombing a Shi’ite Bid’at or Innovation?” and then concludes his article by giving its answer that “Shi’ite Bid’at of Suicide Bombing Gets Adopted by Sunni Islam”.
To reach this conclusion, Mr. Naseer Ahmad first presents some excerpts from the paper of Bernard K. Freamon entitled “Martyrdom, Suicide, and the Islamic Law of War: A Short Legal History” as follows;
“The current justifications for self-annihilatory violence are the result of a major reinterpretation of the theology and religious law on martyrdom and the military jihad advanced by Shi'ite theologians and jurists in Iraq and Iran between the mid-1960s and the late-1970s. While there are great similarities between the Sunni and Shi'a approaches to the regulation of behaviour in war, the Shi'a approach to martyrdom is significantly different from that of the Sunnis. Husayn's example, with its emphasis on extreme self-sacrifice and militancy as a weapon against tyranny and injustice, has always been among the most important paradigms in Shi'a theology, although the “Twelvers,” the majority Shi'a sect, did not emphasize its militant aspects for over a thousand years. Beginning with the advent of European colonialism in the eighteenth century, the paradigm of Husayn's martyrdom began to take an increased importance as a normative reference point for anti-colonial activities among the Shi'a. Although the paradigm of the normative example of Husayn ebbed and flowed as a political rallying point for over two hundred years, it ultimately reached a zenith when an important group of Shi'a Ulema came together in the Iraqi city of Najaf in the 1960s. This group began to robustly revive and reinterpret the paradigm in a way that eventually led to self-annihilatory violent behaviour by Shi'a military jihadists, fundamentally altering the Shi'a conception of the religious law of martyrdom.
“This new Shi'a discourse on jihad and martyrdom emerging from Najaf--led by Imam Ruhollah Khomeini and a brilliant Iraqi jurist named Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, and later by Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, spiritual mentor of Hizbullah in Lebanon--rapidly proliferated throughout the Muslim world. It became an important factor in the achievement of several practical successes, particularly the Iranian Islamic Revolution and, sometime later, the ejection of Israeli, French, and American forces from Lebanon. While Sunni Islamists also worked a similar re-interpretive revival of the Sunni sources on the military jihad during this same time in Egypt and elsewhere, they never advocated self-annihilation and they did not achieve the kinds of spectacular successes accomplished by the Shi'a jihadists. The Shi'a reinterpretation of the theology and law on jihad and martyrdom, first articulated by Khomeini and the Ulema in Najaf, and later elaborated by Fadlallah in Lebanon, went much further than the Sunni reinterpretation and has profoundly influenced the behaviour of all subsequent military jihadists throughout the Islamic world.
“This revived Shi'a approach to martyrdom now dominates all Muslim conceptions of the military jihad, whether Sunni or Shi'a. This transformation of religious doctrine, championed by the Shi'a Ulema and emulated first by Hizbullah, then by the Palestinians and later by Al Qaeda, resulted in the appearance of a new norm of jihadist battlefield behaviour--self-annihilation--a norm that is now accepted as a valid discharge of religious obligation under the law of the military jihad by a great many Muslim jurists, Sunni and Shi'a. This conclusion effectively debunks the conventional wisdom, popular in many quarters, that self-annihilatory violence by the Palestinians and by operatives of Al Qaeda flows from either a nihilistic sense of despair growing out of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza or from adherence to Wahhabism. Wahhabism actually has very little do with the current jihadist use of self-annihilatory violence, and that Arab and Muslim despair, while an important factor, cannot provide a satisfactory explanation for such violence. Rather, it is the Shi'a theology that provides the linchpin for such behaviour.”
He then concludes saying, “The Sunni militants dropped the use of the word “suicide” and re labelled their attacks “martyrdom operations” (‘Amaliyat Istishhadiyaa), since Islam forbids suicide. By calling suicide bombing “martyrdom operations”, they have achieved the difficult task of legitimizing suicide as legitimate, legal, and laudable” (see: “The Politics of Religion and the Changing Concept of Shuhuda over the Years”
First we should know which sects of Sunnis are these that are calling their suicide attacks “martyrdom operations”. We know there are different sects in Muslim community; with two major ones being Shia and Sunni. There are many sub-sects among Shias. There are groups who call themselves Sunnis. The sect whose members and followers are committing terrorism around the world feel pride in calling themselves “Salafi”, “Ahle Hadith” and “Sunnis”, while they are widely known as “Wahhabis”. Another sect whose members say they are the mainstream Muslims and are real “Sunnis” and real followers of “Salafs” and “Ahadith” while sometimes they call themselves “Sufi-Sunni followers or Sufis” and thus are also known as “Sufis” or “Barelvis” in Indian sub-continent.
What is meant by the “Sunnis” committing suicide bombings or “martyrdom operations” is “Wahabis” as per the popular term used in mainstream media.
Our concern of problem is that these Wahabi suicide bombers or attackers are trying to give “Islamic justification” to their suicide attacks or “martyrdom operations”. Their labelling suicide attacks as “martyrdom operations” can’t be justified.
Suicide attacks or bombings, even if they are called “martyrdom operation”, are forbidden in Islam in all cases, even in wartime. The Quran and Sunnah have asked the people not to go for suicide attacks.
Allah says, “Do not kill yourself” (Quran 4:29).
The verse “do not kill yourself” has general application and means that suicide is forbidden both in public and in person.
Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi interpreted this verse (4:29) and wrote:
“This verse, “And do not kill yourselves”, prove that it is unlawful for one to kill someone else or oneself unjustly” (Al-Tafsir al-Kabir of Imam al-Razi, 57:10)
Allah Almighty says:
“But whoever will do that through transgression and injustice, We shall soon throw him into the Fire (of Hell) and that is very easy for Allah” (4:30).
Here Allah makes the law of punishment for the suicide attackers. From the general application of this verse we learn that suicide bombing is forbidden in all circumstances and anyone who justifies it in certain circumstances as a war tactic is violating Islam and for such a terrorist is punishment of the hell-fire.
Allah Almighty also says:
“And do not cast yourselves into destruction with your own hands; and adopt righteousness. Verily, Allah loves the righteous” (2:195)
Islamic jurists (Fuqaha) and exegetes (Mufassirin) quote this verse as evidence to prove that killing oneself or perpetrating suicide attacks by any means is forbidden.
Imam al-Baghawi quoted the verse 2:195 while interpreting the verse 4:30 and said, “It is said that He mentioned the Muslim who kills himself”. (Tafsir al-Baghawi also known as Ma'alim at-Tanzeel: 1:418)
There are a number of Ahadith in which the Prophet has condemned suicide attack and made it forbidden (Haram) under all circumstances. Please see some of them as follows;
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“The one who commits suicide will go to Hell, and will keep falling into it and will abide there forever” (Sahih Bukhari, The book of Medicine, Chapter: Taking poison and using it for medical treatment or using what may be dangerous or impure)
“Whoever stabs himself to death will continue to stab himself in Hell. And whoever throws himself off a cliff will continue to throw himself off a cliff in Hell. And whoever hangs himself will continue to hang himself in Hell”. (Sahih Bukhari, The book of Funeral Rites, Chapter: What has come to us about someone who kills himself’?)
“Whoever swears by a religion other than Islam (i.e. if he swears by saying that he is a non-Muslim in case he is telling a lie), then he is as he says if his oath is false and whoever commits suicide with something, will be punished with the same thing in the (Hell) fire, and cursing a believer is like murdering him, and whoever accuses a believer of disbelief, then it is as if he had killed him.” (Sahih Bukhari, The Book of Good Manners, Chapter: If Someone calls his brother a disbeliever without any legitimate grounds, then he himself is what he said’, Sahih Muslim)
“Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling down into it and abiding therein perpetually forever. And whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon (stabbing himself), will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.” (Sahih Bukhari, The book of Medicine, Chapter: Taking poison and using it for medical treatment or using what may be dangerous or impure)
It is reported that:
“The Prophet peace be upon him, dispatched an army and appointed a man their commander. Then the man-made fire and said (to the soldiers), "Enter it." Some of them intended to enter it while some others said, 'We have run away from it (i.e., we have embraced Islam to save ourselves from the 'fire')." They mentioned that to the Prophet, and he said about people who had intended to enter the fire. ''If they had entered it, they would have remained in it till the Day of Resurrection.'' Then he said to others, "No obedience for evil deeds, obedience is required only in what is good."
(Sahih Bukhari, [The Book of Accepting Information Given by a Truthful Person, Chapter, Acceptance of the information given by one truthful person in about all matters, and Sahih Muslim, [The book of leadership]
“There was amongst those before you a man who had a wound. He was in [such] anguish that he took a knife and made with it a cut in his hand, and the blood did not cease to flow till he died. Allah the Almighty said: My servant has himself forestalled Me; I have forbidden him Paradise”.
This Hadith has been narrated in Sahih Bukhari [The book of the prophets, chapter: What has been mentioned about the children of Israel], Sahih Muslim [the book of faith, chapter ‘the severe prohibition of killing oneself and if someone commits suicide with something, he will be tormented with the same in the Hellfire] and Ibn Hibban in al-Sahih)
“During one of his Ghazawat, the Prophet peace be upon him encountered the pagans, and the two armies fought, and then each of them returned to their army camps. Amongst the (army of the) Muslims there was a man who would follow every pagan separating from the army and strike him with his sword. It was said, "O Allah's Messenger peace be upon him! None has fought so satisfactorily as so-and-so (namely, that brave Muslim). "The Prophet said, "He is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire." The people said, "Who amongst us will be of the dwellers of Paradise if this (man) is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire?" Then a man from amongst the people said, "I will follow him and accompany him in his fast and slow movements." The (brave) man got wounded, and wanting to die at once, he put the handle of his sword on the ground and its tip in between his breasts, and then threw himself over it, committing suicide. Then the man (who had watched the deceased) returned to the Prophet peace be upon him and said, "I testify that you are Apostle of Allah". The Prophet peace be upon him said, "What is this?" The man told him the whole story. The Prophet peace be upon him said, "A man may do what may seem to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of Paradise, but he is of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire and a man may do what may seem to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire, but he is from the dwellers of Paradise."
(Sahih al-Bukhari [The Book of Military Expeditions led by the Prophet (pbuh) (Al-Maghaazi) Chapter: Ghazwa of Khaibar], Sahih Muslim [The Book of Faith » Chapter: Clarifying the emphatic prohibition against killing oneself; The one who kills himself with something will be punished with it in the fire]
We have read above in the Quranic verses and Ahadith that suicide attack is categorically forbidden under all circumstances and that the suicide attackers will reside in the Hell forever. Therefore, those who think that by suicide attack they will enter Paradise are at wrong. So, they should immediately go for repentance and disassociate themselves from the militants or terrorists who justify suicide bombing, otherwise they too will be the part of this heinous crime.
For detailed refutation of Jihadist concept of Suicide attacks, please read Mr. Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi’s article entitled “Suicide Attacks By ISIS or Any Other Muslim Militants Are Brazenly Un-Islamic and Categorically Forbidden [Haram] Under All Circumstances: Evidence from the Quran and Hadith”
As for the jihadist terming suicide attacks “martyrdom operations”, it is absolutely wrong and can’t be supported on the basis of claim.
Mr Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, an Islamic scholar and regular columnist of NewAgeIslam.com, has written a very good article on the concept of martyrdom. Here are some excerpts from his article.
“The Quran calls martyrs as Shuhada. This word is the plural of Shaheed and is derived from the Arabic verbal root Shahada, which means: to 'see', to 'witness', to 'testify', to 'become a model and paradigm'. The Qur'an uses the word Shaheed (witness) primarily for "those who bear witness to truth” (Quran 16:89) and those who lay down their life fulfilling a divine commandment, and secondarily for those who have died fighting and defending their faith or family. In Islam, a Shaheed (in the sense of a martyr) is ‘a person who bears witness to the truth’ and stands by it firmly, so much so that not only does he testify it verbally, but he first struggles peacefully, and then, if the situation does not change for the better, he gives up his life for the truth, and thus attains martyrdom.
“There is no denying the fact the martyrdom has a great place in Islam. But the true Islamic martyrdom is completely different from the self-styled jihadist concept of martyrdom, which is synonymous with wanton killing of innocent civilians. For quite some time now, terrorist organizations like Taliban, Al Qaida, and Boko Haram and their theological ideologues belonging to radical strains of thought have been misusing the Islamic doctrine of martyrdom in a bid to further their nefarious ends. They lure poor, naive and gullible Muslim youth and indoctrinate them into believing that serving as human bombs against non-Muslims in general as well as ‘deviant’ Muslims will earn them the lofty position of martyrs in the sight of God and that they would be accorded the same great rewards as promised for the martyrs of Islam in the Quran.
“Such extremist ideologues mobilize religious sentiments by misusing the term Istishhad (‘seeking martyrdom’) in order to seek false legitimacy for suicide-bombing, which is not only Haraam (strongly forbidden) but also akin to Kufr (infidelity) in some cases.” (See: Understanding the Islamic Concept of Martyrdom (Shahadat) in the Ongoing Islamic Month of Muharram)