Muslim scholars to Islamic State: “Your practices have nothing to do with Islam”

"Islam is against the killing of innocent people, against the killing of children, against torture, against the killing of emissaries, ambassadors, journalists, against the destruction of places of worship". In a long letter addressed to the self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, hundreds of theologians, scholars, imams, preachers and specialists of the Qur'an around the the world point out, with specific arguments and quotations from Koranic scriptures, the reasons why the Islamic Caliphate violates the precepts of Islam itself.

A man walks past a graffiti of verses from the Koran at downtown in Cairo August 21, 2014. The verse reads,

Among the signatories, Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the dean of the Faculty of Theology of the University Al-Azhar in Egypt, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, the Sheik of the Great Mosque of Tunis and theologians and professors of universities and institutes from Indonesia to Morocco.

“Who gave you authority over the Ummah [Muslim people]?” the letter asks “Was it your group? If this is the case, then a group of no more than several thousand has appointed itself the ruler of over a billion-and-a-half Muslims. This attitude is based upon a corrupt circular logic that says: ‘Only we are Muslims, and we decide who the caliph is, we have chosen one and so whoever does not accept our caliph is not a Muslim”, the document said.

Killing of innocent people, journalists and jihad

“The slaying of a soul—any soul—, the document says, is haraam (forbidden and inviolable under Islamic Law), it is also one of the most abominable sins (mubiqat). It is known that all religions forbid the killing of emissaries. What is meant by emissaries here – explains the document - are people who are sent from one group of people to another to perform a noble task such as reconciliation or the delivery of a message. Emissaries have a special inviolability. Ibn Masoud said: ‘The Sunnah continues that emissaries are never killed’. The letter then goes over the heinous beheading of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. “You have mercilessly killed the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff even after Sotloff’s mother pleaded with you and begged for mercy. What you have done – it concludes – is unquestionably haraam (forbidden)." Then, after explaining the difference between Greater and Lesser Jihad (the first, spiritual, is the struggle against one's ego, the second is the struggle against the enemies), the letter says: “Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct”.

People of the Scripture: Jews, Christians and… Yazidis

Speaking of Arab Christians the documents says: "You painted their homes red, destroyed their churches, and in some cases, looted their homes and property. You killed some of them and caused many others to flee their homes with nothing but their lives and the clothes on their backs. These Christians are not combatants against Islam or transgressors against it, indeed they are friends, neighbours and co-citizens. From the legal perspective of Shari’ah they all fall under ancient agreements that are around 1400 years old, and the rulings of jihad do not apply to them. Some of their ancestors fought alongside the Prophet’s  army against the Byzantines”.

As far as the Yazidis, the letter says “You fought the Yazidis under the banner of jihad but they neither fought you nor Muslims. You considered them satanists and gave them the choice to either be killed or be forced into Islam. You killed hundreds of them and buried them in mass graves. You caused the death and suffering of hundreds of others. These are all abominable crimes. From the legal perspective of Shari’ah they are Magians, because the Prophet said: ‘Treat them as you treat People of the Scripture.’ Thus they are People of the Scripture”. The letter also condemns the use of torture, the reintroduction of slavery and the destruction of places of worship, practices largely widespread in the ISIS Caliphate.

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