Dagestan Document on Jihad (struggle), the land of war and the killing of imams

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Dagestan Document on Jihad (struggle), the land of war and the killing of imams

This is a scholarly document wherein the Secretary General of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) and a number of the union members participated in editing and approving it in addition to a huge number of scholars and muftis in Dagestan. The document revolves around a number of issues related to Islamic thought in the Russian Federation in general and the Republic of Dagestan in particular where some incidents took place and resulted in the death of a number of mosque imams and speakers. This document stems from the Moscow Declaration issued by a group of scholars established and renowned as having deep knowledge and sincere effort for the truth and is approved by the IUMS. For this reason, we hope that Muslim youth will accept this document, tackle it seriously, effectively, and wisely as it presents a true application of the moderate methodology.

The Dagestan Document reaffirms all the ideas raised in the Moscow Declaration concerning jihad struggle, the application of Sharia rulings, the Caliphate or Muslim rule, but also adds and highlights some issues that took place in the Republic of Dagestan. These are:
First: Stirring division and sedition among Muslims is among the major sins in Islam according to scholarly consensus based on hundreds of Quranic verses and hadiths (prophetic sayings) that imply the danger of such act among them the verse {for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter} [Quran 2: 191] and asserting the same meaning in the verse { for tumult and oppression are greater than slaughter} [Quran 2:217] and the verse where Allah speaks of unity and the torture for those who cause division: {And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Signs clear to you: That you may be guided.} [Quran 3:103]. Hence, the document calls opposition or armed brothers for unity, reconciliation, returning to the all-gathering sphere of the ummah, fulfilling the role of calling to Allah and educating people.

Second: Killing Muslims who pray to the Islamic kiblah is among the major sins in Islam according to Muslim scholarly consensus and based on the definitive texts of the Quran and sunnah (prophetic tradition) including the verse {If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.} [Quran 4 :93] and we should not fail to observe how Allah mentioned five great punishments for someone who deliberately kills a believer: 1- hellfire 2-eternal torture there 3- God’s wrath over this person 4- God’s curse over them 5- preparing great torture for that person. Al-Bukhari narrated in his Sahih book and Ahmed in their chain of narration that Prophet Muhammad – peace and blessings be upon him – said that (a believer remains in a space of his religion as long as he doesn’t not hit a forbidden blood (i.e. kill someone unlawfully)) and in another hadith - classified as sahih by the scholars - the devil crowns his soldier that incites a person to kill another and tells him that "you’re the one! And crowns him” [narrated by Ibn Habban in his Sahih, and Al-Hakim, authenticated and approved by Al-Dhahabi].

Third: Declaring jihad – meaning armed struggle – is not the right of a person or group or organization but is a right of the whole Muslim nation. It is not permissible to declare jihad with Muslim consensus except in cases of self defense and expelling occupying colonialists as in case of Palestine. Reviewing all the verses of jihad and fight in the surah of At-Tawba, we will find that they assert that struggle is but against aggressors and enemies seeking to cause harm and that jihad and struggle are for defense not attack. Based on the abovementioned, we affirm the following:

The killings, assassinations and explosions taking place in some countries are religiously forbidden, logically unacceptable, and do not conform with the rulings of Islam and its principles in addition to the fact that they distort the image of Islam and provide justification for enemies to attack Islam and label it as a terrorist and cruel religion thus preventing its spread; at which point these acts in addition to being forbidden become a barrier standing in the way to the spread of Islam and a repelling act for non-Muslims.

Giving the title "jihad” to these explosions aimed at civilian Muslims or non-Muslims is a major injustice and distortion of this profound Islamic term that refers to exerting utmost effort to spread the call of Islam, educate the people, and defend the religion in all means possible. These operations on the other hand fall within the arena of forbidden violence and terrorism, unjust assault, and evident injustice against the innocent victims killed of children, seniors and women. Allah Almighty has clarified the prohibition of assault against the human soul in its entirety for no justifying right {if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people} [Quran 5: 32] and Prophet Muhammad said in an authentic (sahih) hadith that (Verily your blood (lives) and your property and your honor are as sacred unto you as this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this city of yours.) [Sahih Al-Bukhari with Al-Fath 1/145,146, 8318 and Muslim 1679].

It is logically known in Islamic Sharia that people’s rights are preserved and protected, that it is not allowed to assault them, and that good deeds even jihad and death for the cause of Allah do not retaliate or cover up for people’s rights taken unjustly. An authentic hadith mentioned that Abu Qatada asked the Prophet – peace be upon him –"Do you see if I were killed for the cause of Allah, does it atone for my sins? God’s messenger said: yes, if you were patient, counting your reward [from Allah], and not turning your back (fleeing the battle) except the debt, for Gabriel told me so.” [narrated by Muslim 2581].

Fourth: Accusations of Apostasy and Fisq (disobedience):
Almighty Allah sent His messenger to all people with guidance, mercy, and healing and made his nation the best ever brought to benefit people, to call them to Allah through wisdom, good advice, arguing with the best word, to guide and serve them, achieve justice among them, repel evil and defend using the best method.
Accusing a Muslim who observes the prayer and kiblah with apostasy is not the path of the Ahl Al Sunna Wal Jama`a (the collective Sunni tradition) and the god-knowing Salaf scholars (former early Muslims) and jurisprudence scholars but is the method of Khawarij (a general term embracing a group of Muslims who rejected the leadership of the final Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib) who allowed labeling people who commit major sins as apostates as opposed to the Murji`ah who saw that sins whether minor or major do not harm a person as long as he/she has faith. Both of them are erroneous methods that contradict with the Shariah texts of Quran and sunnah. The correct is the mediate method followed by the Ahl Al Sunna Wal Jama`a who depended on merging all approved texts which state that a believer who commits a major sin – except idolatry – is not an apostate but is a sinner that deserves torture and is left to God’s judgment who said that {Allah forgives not (The sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgives whom He pleases other sins than this} [Quran 4:116]. Imam Al-Shawkani pointed out the danger of accusing a Muslim of apostasy in his book Al-Sayl Al-Jarrar `Ala Hada`iq Al-Azhar (1/981) saying that "And here we shed tears and grieve over Islam and its people for what fanaticism in religion brought over to the majority of Muslims who exchange accusations of apostasy with no ground in Sunna or Quran and with no evidence from Allah but due to extremist fanaticism in religion and the devil’s ability to divide the word of Muslims and dictate them with obligations over one another that are like dust in the air and mirages. And what an ordeal in religion has this been and the greatest of evils afflicting the path of believers!”
Ibn Taymiyah further said in his book Majmu` Al-Fatawa (12/466) that "no one has the right to declare a Muslim an apostate, even if that Muslim commits sins and mistakes, until evidence is proved and verified. And a person whose faith was proved definitely, does not lose the adjective based on doubt but only loses it after evidence has been established and doubt removed”. Thus, decisions from jurisprudence complexes and prominent scholarly associations have been issued stipulating that it is not permissible to accuse any Muslim of apostasy even if they are sinners.

Fifth: the issue of dar al-hard and dar al-Islam:

It is established that the terms dar al-harb (the territory of war) and dar al-salam (the territory of peace or Islam) are terms related to fiqh or jurisprudence that do not exist in the Quran or sunnah. For that reason, a large number of older scholars of jurisprudence viewed the existence of a third type which is the dar al-`ahd or territory of the pact or treaty which, according to our modern terms would be the countries that share diplomatic relations with Muslim countries. It is established through jurisprudence and evidence that Islam preserves the pacts made with a country and its conventions even those made with individual citizens as Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him said "and their pledge is taken (and applies) from the least in rank among them” and as Almighty Allah told us in the verse {O you who believe! fulfill (all) obligations.} [Quran 5:1]. Jurisprudence scholars therefore have agreed that a region or country where Muslims live, where the rites and rules of Islam are practiced, and where Muslims enjoy freedom of religion is not considered a territory of war but is a territory of peace and Islam even if it’s dominated by a non-Muslim state as clarified by fatwa edicts issued by a select of our major former scholars concerning the Mongol and Tatar domination over some Muslim countries that maintained their Islam.

Based on this understanding and on established evidence, the undersigned herein view that the Republic of Dagestan and similar republics where Muslims live, enjoy their freedom of religion, and where the rites and rulings of Islam are established is not a territory of war or pact but is a territory of Islam and peace and so it is not permissible to declare struggle in these countries against Muslims and there is no religious justification for such act.

We recommend the following:
(1)Promoting the role of scholars, fiqh scholars, Da`iyas or callers for Islam, as well as general scholarly institutions specializing in spreading awareness, combating terrorism and dealing with its root causes.
(2) Urging all media to seek accuracy in presenting their reports and news, especially in issues related to terrorism, and avoid linking terrorism to Islam since terrorism has been carried out – and continues to be carried out – by the members of other religions and cultures as well.
(3) Calling on scholarly, educational and media organizations to show Islam in its bright image that promotes the values of tolerance, love, communication with the other and cooperation for common good.
(4) Urging all religious ministries and departments to continue to devote utmost attention to this issue by holding specialized seminars, intensive lectures and detailed scholarly meetings to demonstrate the range of religious rulings regarding the prevention, suppression and elimination of terrorism. Moreover, we recommend a very speedy formulation of a comprehensive religious frame that covers all the sides of this issue as well as the regulations of jihad struggle and its conditions, in addition to manner of application of religious rulings, achieving their essential core, and the jurisprudence of priorities and balances.
(5) Calling on western countries to reconsider their educational curriculums and parts that offer a distorted view of the Islamic religion, prevent practices that tarnish Islam in the various media as a step to underscore peaceful coexistence and dialogue and prevent the culture of animosity and hate.
(6) Calling the government of the Russian Federation to exert more effort and provide financial and moral support for the sake of achieving harmony and positive integration between the Muslim minority and other components of the Russian nation to become a model to follow in peaceful coexistence and constructive cooperation.
(7) Calling the republics inhabited by a Muslim majority especially the Republic of Dagestan to establish a fiqh (jurisprudence) complex that gathers a number of Muslim scholars in Northern Caucasus region, Tatarstan and other areas in cooperation with the International Union for Muslim Scholars to be a fiqh authority concerned with resolving contemporary issues.
In the conclusion, the attendees express deep gratitude to the Republic of Dagestan with its people, president and government for holding this conference, as well as their hospitality, warm welcome and generosity.
Likewise, the attendees, in the name of the Dagestani people, their government and president, expressed gratitude to the IUMS for the kind efforts they exerted, and the sincere desire to serve the Dagestani people, and to the delegation attending the conference which was formed of sheikh Dr. Ali Mohyi Al-Deen Al-Qaradaghi, IUMS Secretary General, sheikh Abdel-Rahman Abdullah Al Mahmoud, member of the IUMS Board of Trustees and Stewardship Officer, Rashid Omari Olwi, IUMS Executive Director, and Dr. Louay Yusuf, IUMS Coordinator in the Russian Federation.
And our last call is all praise be to Allah

And peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, his family and companions!