Foreign Relations & International Law Terrorism & Extremism

New article from Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: "Why Did I Not Name Them Kharijites Even Until Now?"

Aaron Y. Zelin
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 10:56 AM

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Some who love to criticize me and those who do not love me are angry with me; why do I not name the group ISIS explicitly as Khawarij even until now; and many youths and seekers of knowledge postpone the fight against them because they need my classification of them as Khawarij. I say:

1. Me refraining from this title does not mean my praise for them in any way, sometimes I see some of them even as worse than the Khawarij:

# The Khawarij made Takfir on big sins, but among them are those who make even Takfir on downright obedience (towards Allah), after they change its name into a sin and betrayal and an act of the Sahawaat.

# And the regulations of Takfir for many of their followers is based upon desires (Hawaa) and rivalry, and ignorance is predominant among them next to lack of awareness and foolish dreams.

# And the Khawarij did not lie and I experienced some of them and dealt with them and found some of them lying more than the Rawafid and being more slanderous than the Jews.

# And they massacred the best of the Ummah of Muhammad (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) from the Mujahideen. And they made their blood and wealth Halal, and they are bolder and faster in killing them than killing the original disbelievers, because they see them as apostates, and an apostate is worse than an original disbeliever. And in a Hadeeth: “Whoever indiscriminately attacks my Ummah, killing the righteous and wicked among them, sparing not even the believers, and fulfilling not an oath with those who were given a promise of security, does not belong to my Ummah. And whoever fights under a blind banner (of a people whose cause is not clear), to kill for partisanship and is fanatic and supportive towards his party, and is killed, then he dies in a state of Jahiliyah (pre-Islamic ignorance).”

How can you think I am praising them or making compromises with them after this position which I repeatedly described, and my position is not clouded by the fact that I settled with quoting them in naming them (Khawarij), after the communication I had with their jurists in which they said and acknowledgment that there are Khawarij in their ranks and in the ranks of their jurists. There is no relation between the fact that I refrain from this absolute description and between praising them! I likewise gave a verdict (Fatwa) to repel their aggression when they attack the Mujahideen, and the Mujahideen are allowed to help each other in repelling their aggression if necessary, without supporting the apostates against them.

2. I add to this that I have not denied statements of my brothers, the scholars from the investigatory theologians, who named them Khawarij, like Shaykh Abu Qatadah may Allah protect him. Because I know he does not make these statements, like some do, because of profanity due to hostile feud, or revenging their tyrant masters, or in accordance with their desires, or other malicious reasons. Rather no one does this except those with correct view and those who follow the truth and experienced their likes. That’s why you see him separate and implant that this description does not necessary mean that all their individuals are Khawarij, rather it is enough that this description is verified in their leadership, and the refraining party (who refused to be judges by an independent Sharia court) is described as such. Because the leadership of this party are the ones who direct it towards shedding the blood of Muslims and making Takfir on the Mujahideen, and there is no trace (to be found) of their mislead followers even if they are the most devout and righteous of creation. But I knew and know that most people do not know and do not understand this difference (detail), so I did not choose to adopt this name at the same time I did not reject it (when others used it).

Add to this that the Shaykh emphasizes that their fight against the Rawafid and the Nusairiyah is praiseworthy, and if you were in Iraq and did not find anyone else besides them who fight the Rawafid then you can fight with them. So how can you compare this with the profanity of those say that the Rawafid are a lesser evil then they are? And those who made the tyrants and Obama better than them? And where is the differentiation of those who judge them all as Khawarij without any elaboration, only out of hostile feud to incite against them in order to eradicate them? And he does not take in to account the misled youth by them, who came for the sake of Jihad but were lured by the title of Khilafah; to achieve their eradication according to the wishes of the tyrants who want to get rid of them without any scrutiny.

3. I know that the feud of some groups in the Syrian battlefield with ISIS is not a religious Sharia feud, rather it is a mundane worldly feud or by orders, directives and wishes of the backing masters. I do not like names to be thrown in this dirty game. So refrained from giving them what they could use in this dirty war of theirs. I refused to be a tool in the hands of the conspirators. So I stayed a slow grief in their hearts and an opening for those who come back and repent from among the youth who were misled by ISIS, so that they would listen to my advises and they would accept it because of my fairness with them. And to protect the blood of our brothers who are waiting for our verdict (Fatwa) to carelessly run with it to battles in which we do not have any share.

And one must not say that Abu Qatadah does not take this into account according to my opinion. Never! I keep him above my head and in my eyes, and his choice is respected by me. But each of us has a turf and its supplicants, who are looking at it and are waiting for its speech. And we complete each other, all praises are due to Allah. And we are setting up an important balance in the fields of Jihad, even if the counteractive ones reject it or the deniers disapprove of it. Me and the Shaykh known that the Syrian battlefield became a field of international conspiracies and a play tool of the intelligence services. And ISIS with its foolishness and the stupidity of its leadership and many of its followers became a stone among stones in this game, exploited to achieve their goals. It is not necessary for them to be agents, rather they are used through the stupidly of their leadership. And we refuse to let our positions and verdicts be exploited in this dirty game and its filthy goals.

4. So that’s why both of us even until now did not permit fighting them except in the case of repelling their aggression (meaning defensive not offensive), so that our verdicts will not be used in achieving the wishes of the tyrants and the Crusaders behind them. And those that seek to eradicate them (ISIS) in this stage will make it easy for them to irradiate Jabhat An-Nusra after that and similar factions who refuse to obey to wishes of the enemies of Jihad.

5. The (religious) term Khawarij is connected to Sharia rulings which will be exploited by those with foreign agendas in the deviant factions; using the call to fight and eradicate them like the people of ‘Aad were eridicated (a ruling about the Khawarij found in the Ahadeeth), without discriminating between those who were fooled and others. I refuse to open this door for people from whom some of them could be even more evil than the extremists and the Khawarij. Especially since these people have opened it with verdicts of their jurist and scholars of Irjaa (opposite sect of Khawarij known as postponers), and with domestic and foreign state scholars, until the enemies of Allah were happy with it and the Rawafid and the tyrants used it in describing ISIS absolutely (without any details). So why would I enter this ring which is not my ring, and we disagree with its people in the fundamentals as well as in the branches (Aqeedah and Fiqh). That’s why we are happy when the Khawarij of the extremists fight against the Rawafid and the Nusairiyah, and we hope for their victory, as long as there is no Sunni alternative to confront them. While we see some of them wish victory for the Rawafid over them (ISIS).

6. The tittles ‘the Caliphate’ and ‘the Islamic State’ are one of the most loved titles to my heart, and the heart of every Muslim. So my hostility cannot be due to these tittles, rather it is against those who distort it with their extremism and Takfir on Muslims and by spilling the blood of the Mujahideen. Is has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that ISIS makes Takfir on Jabhat An-Nusra as well as other factions. And they make the blood of its supporters legal, like they make the blood of every Mujahid they overpower (catch) legal. And the Mujahideen and scholars whether they are from Shaam or Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya or elsewhere, under the pretext of standing against the project of the Ummah and the Khilafah! They painted themselves exclusively with these tittles to describe everyone who opposes them with Sahawaat, agents, treachery and apostasy. And they deceived their flock with it so the blood and lives of Muslims became cheap to them because of it, so they made spilling and wasting it easy.

7. I did not take my position regarding ISIS based upon inaccurate communications I received from hostile parties to them, like many of them claim. Rather I took it based upon personal and direct positions in dealing with them, which let me know that these people do not raise their head for the Sharia rulings except if it’s in their benefit. And that they are not protective of Muslim blood and their honor. And one of the most clear examples I experienced with them concerning this domain is:

# Me inviting them to a Sharia court which abides by their set terms, and after months of postponing they explicitly refused to refer the matter to a court. And this happened between me and them, and this matter would be enough for him who has a heart with some shame; to know that they lied to me, and did not want to refer to the majestic Sharia of Allah, and did not wish its judgment.

# And add to this also them shedding the blood of our sister Sajida, and giving priority to the publication of their movie over her live, when they were warned and alerted that Sajida would be executed if they killed the pilot, and the warning has reached them. Despite that they gave priority to publish their movie of them burning the pilot over her live. This will let you know that they do not safeguard the blood of Muslims, and that they are not qualified to be leaders who are merciful with Muslims.

I am prepared to swear a Mubahalah over these two situations with the leaders of ISIS; they refused the arbitration which I presented according to their conditions; and that the warning of Sajida’s execution reached them if they would kill the pilot. Despite that they insisted on publishing the movie of the burning. After they lied and connected his fate to her release, even though they had already killed him according to their Sharia judgment of similar retribution (Qisaas).. So she and Ziyad Karbouli were executed because they insisted on propaganda and excitement and gave this priority over the lives of Muslims.

And from their slanders and lies and forgery and calling things with other names in order for them to base ruling of treachery and apostasy upon it, is that they named me because of my attempts to save the imprisoned Muslims with “An agent of the secret intelligence services and a defender of the pilot..” And the intelligence services had much better suspicions of my religion than the ones who are calling themselves the Khilafah and claim that they belong to Jihad, when they said to me “We know that if it was not for Sajida you would not intervene in the issue of the pilot.” This is a disgrace in the face of those who until recently were calling me “My Shaykh” and “Our Shaykh.” And after that they made this an opportunity for hostile profanity, and defaming me in my religion, and to open an arena for their flock to betray me and make Takfir on me.

8. These people if they stay on what they are on, they will be the most far away people from the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam). Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) said: “Indeed, from the most beloved of you to me, and the closest of you to me on the Day of Judgment, are the best of you in behavior (character). And the most hated to me and the farthest away from me on the Day of Judgment will be those who talk uselessly (blabbers), and those who talk harshly to others and put them down (ranters), and those are haughty and show off when they talk (the proud).”

I contacted and dealt with some of them, and I found out that they are the worst of people in character, and most despicable in social interaction. It is enough for the student of knowledge to know that they used to call me “Our Shaykh, our Shaykh..” during the negotiations, and after a month of lies and postponing they sent a file to my phone, locked with a password beginning with “The pimp Al-Maqdisi..” And I will hold Al-Baghdadi and Al-Adnani and his henchmen responsible for this slanderous name-calling, I will stand in front of Allah with it, and I will not let them get away with it, until they present a way out from this accusation with which they slandered me and my family.

And their jurist and disputants who taught them this carry the responsibility for all of this. I am not mentioning this out of grievance and complaint to anyone from the world, but so that the misled ones by them know what kind of leadership this is, who leads them and blows their bodies up. Do they deserve to be entrusted with their lives, the likes of this leadership which is void of noble character and religion and responsibility? Think about what I am saying, and I entrust my matter to Allah, He is All-Seeing over His worshipers.

9. The attacks of ISIS against me, and their slanders about me, and their fabrications and lies, and the Takfir of some among them on me, and their insults and curses, despite my mentioned position; indicates a lack of mind among most of them, and foolishness and a filthy heart among many of them.

And insisting on my position mentioned above, despite their hostile profanity, proofs that my position is not reactive, nor that the governments have dictated it. Because the most loved thing to the governments is that I paint them with the name Khawarij, and I did not do this even until now. And I do not have backers, all praises and grace are due to Allah, who influence me in my positions. Nor am I afraid that they will cut of their funding to me. This judgment of mine is independent, it will not be influenced nor pressured inshaAllah by people who are enemies with ISIS. Like I am not influenced by the slanders and fabrications of ISIS. On the contrary, their insulting, their lying, and their fabrications against me, became the biggest reasons for refraining from my feud with them by calling them Khawarij. Because I am enormously eager to not let this feud turn from a Sharia feud, with which I debate them in front of Allah, into a personal feud. And if I increase my pace of responses against them, it will result in a disaster or it will renew a calamity (meaning the result will be counterproductive).

10. This position of mine is a legitimate (Sharia) position, which I make clear for the sake (benefit) of Jihad and the Mujahideen. And I know that unfair minded people from among the Murijah (postponers) and allies of the tyrants will criticize me and say “The Shaykh said that they are worse than Khawarij to avoid naming them Khawarij.” I repeat what I said above, I said; among them are those who are worse than Khawarij, and I do not believe that all of them are Khawarij or that all of them are worse than the Khawarij. And the worse among them is their leadership who dragged them in to Takfir and in to spilling the blood of Muslims and the Mujahideen. And it is a wrecked leadership from the most evil of leaders, who cannot be entrusted with even its own youth who came from all over the world to support something named the Khilafah and the Islamic State. So it made blowing them up cheap, and put them in jeopardy here and there. And I make clear that this differentiation is the specific preference of Shaykh Abu Qatadah himself, but I wanted to explain it. And I do not want to release its publication (meaning the label of Khawarij) because of my knowledge about many ignorant people from all parties who do not know the details of this publication. The biased people and those with foreign agenda’s are happy with that release without any explanation nor details. And this release will also repel the hopes of our advises towards the ignorant followers of ISIS who are misled by them. It was as if I contributed in Shaykh Abu Qatadah’s description, but I explained it in detail.

I know that the battlefield is mixed and infiltrated, it contains a lot of personal whims and worldly agendas, and domestic and foreign conspiracies, and secret intelligence tricks. That’s why this verdict of mine is issued for the Sunnis and not for the innovators, and to the supporters of Jihad so that they don’t remain an object tied to the extremist and their transgression, nor to the secularist and their supports the tyrants, or the likes who saw and still see that with my mentioned regulations the battle of their hopes is restricted, and does not please them, and does not work for their agenda, all praises are due to Allah.

This is what I have, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and all his companions.

Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi
Ramadan 1436/June 2015

Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a visiting research scholar in the Department of Politics at Brandeis University, and the founder of Jihadology. He is also the author of the book “Your Sons Are At Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad” (Columbia University Press, 2020) and the recent booklet “The Age of Political Jihadism: A Study of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.”

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