Saturday, December 12, 2020

Refuting Islamophobic Claims That Jihadists Represent Traditional and Mainstream Interpretations of Islam: Part 1- On the Hakimiyyah

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam  

12 December 2020

Islamophobes frequently spread their claim that Jihadists represent the true version of Islam just as it is recorded in traditional interpretations of Islamic laws and sources. As a result, some non-Muslims develop hostility even towards peace-loving Muslims. Confronted with each other, both sides seem to be breeding hatred in their hearts. Muslims are expected to simply become apologetic and repeatedly state that Islam does not justify the terrorist acts of Jihadists.

The present-day scenario is something like that—a state of affair that a noble person would not like to face. This write-up outlines some traditional and classical arguments to substantiate the fact that Islamophobic claims associating Islam and traditional theology with Jihadism are not correct. Such claims are simply mischievous or based on ignorance of Islamic theology.

Traditional juristic principles of applying war-and-peace related rulings contrast with Jihadism. Moreover these traditional rulings too, apart from the modern techniques employed to counter terrorism, are crucial to refuting the legitimacy of Jihadist narratives.

In a bid to present the contrasting points of view between Jihadist and Classical interpretations, this writer has compiled the most striking details on subjects such as the concepts of “Hakimiyyah”, “Darul Harb and Darul Islam”, “Al-Wala wal Baraa”, “Reclaiming Muslim Land”, “Treachery Towards One’s Country”, “Suicide attacks”, “Targeting civilians”, “Killing Mushrikin and Kuffar” and “Application and conditions of Jihad for fighting” and so on. The intention is to deal with these subjects in parts—for each subject, one exclusive part. So let us start first with the concept of Hakimiyyah. 

Hakimiyyah (Sovereignty) between traditional and Jihadist Ideologies

In his book ‘Risala al-Iman’, Salih Sirriya, a Salafi Jihadist ideologue (1933-1974), pronounces takfir of the Muslim rulers, describes common Muslims as belonging to Jahiliyyah community and declares their state ‘Dar al-Harb’. He further says, “The present governance in all Muslim countries is undoubtedly the infidel governance and the communities in all these countries belong to Jahiliyya (pre-Islamic age of ignorance in Arabia).”

In the so-called Islamic State’s training camp textbook “Muqarrar fi al-Tawhid”, they declare as apostates all those who do not implement God’s laws. In their writings, be it ‘Dabiq’, ‘Rumiya’, or India-specific propaganda magazine ‘Voice of Hind’, they repeatedly quote the following two Quranic verses 5:44 and 4:65 in a bid to strengthen their claim that those who follow laws other than what Allah has revealed are Kaafir or disbelievers, infidels.

These two verses of the Quran are as follows:

“And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers.” (5:44)

“But no, by oath of your Lord, they will not be believers until they appoint you a judge for the disputes between them – and then whatever you have decided, they should not find opposition to it within their hearts, and they must accept it wholeheartedly”. (4:65)

On the basis of these two verses of the Quran, the Jihadist ideologues put great energy into arguing that the present-day Muslims who do not implement Islamic laws are infidels or Kaafir. To notice the difference, one can see that the traditional or classical interpretation of these two Quranic verses does not do takfir of Muslims who do not implement the Islamic laws as they are not definitely applicable in view of the changing circumstances and definitive necessity.

The classical and traditional interpretation of the afore-mentioned verses is that ‘whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, denying its divinity, faith and truthfulness is indeed a Kafir. As for the Muslim who believes that this verse is truth, divine revelation and divine command but fails to implement its message under compulsion, changing circumstances or otherwise is not a Kafir.

In his book of commentary on the Quran, “Al-Tafsir al-Kabir”, Imam Fakhruddin Razi writes,

 “Ikrimah said, the ruling of Takfir, as mentioned in the divine statement “whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed is a Kafir”, applies to the one who denies the truth of the revealed law of Allah in his heart and by his tongue.  As for the person who believes in the truth of the revealed law of Allah in his heart and acknowledges by his tongue that it is the revealed law of Allah, however he acts against it, he will be regarded as the believer of what Allah revealed, but he will be known simply as a non-practicing believer in this case, and therefore he will not be considered a Kafir according to this verse”. After quoting this statement, Imam Razi said, “This is the correct answer”. (Imam Razi, Al-Tafsir al-Kabir, 5:44)

Sheikh Usama Al-Azhari writes, “Having studied the explanations of mainstream jurists, we come to know that Ibn Masu’d, Ibn Abbas, Barra bin ‘Aazib, Huzaifa bin al-Yaman, Ibrahim al-Nakh’I, Al-Sudai, Al-Dahhak, Abu Salih, Abu Mujlaz, Ikrimah, Qatadah, ‘Aamir, Al-Sha’abi, ‘Ataa, Taaus and then Imam Tabari in “Jami’ al-Bayan”, Imam Ghazali in “Al-Mustasfa”, Ibn Atiyya in “Al-Muharrir al-Wajiz”, Imam Razi in “Mafatih al-Ghaib”, Qurtubi, Ibn Jazi in “Al-Tashil”, Abu Hayyan in “Al-Bahr al-Muheet”, Ibn Kathir in “Tafsir al-Quran al-Azeem”, Aalusi in “Ruh al-Ma’ani”, Tahir bin ‘Aashur in “Al-Tahrir w al-Tanwir” and Sheikh Sha’arawi in his Tafsir - all such Islamic scholars unanimously agree with the same commentary of the verse 5:44. (as mentioned above with reference to Imam Razi’s Al-Tafsir al-Kabir).” .”(Al-Haqq Al-Mubin Fi al-Radd Ala Man Tala’ab bi Al-Deen, Arabic, p.23)

The contrast between Jihadist and classical interpretations of the verses of Hakimiyyah are too obvious to need further elaboration. How can Islamophobes rightfully claim that Jihadist Ideology is based on traditional and classical interpretations? Does it not seem that the Islamophobes have shaken their hands with Jihadism to spread and give strength to the Jihadist narratives? Then the Jihadists too must be happy with Islamophobes.

The synergy between Islamophobes and Jihadist terrorists are so obvious to be missed. Both have the same goal: encourage mainstream Muslims to take to the path of violent extremism.  It is easier to destroy a violent person or community than a peaceful one. Muslims have to equally beware of Islamophobes and Jihadists. They are both our enemies. They both look for justifications of violence in Islamic theology. It will be clear from a study of this series, no such justification exists.


A regular Columnist with, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.


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