Louis Palme / Sep 28, 2014


Graphic ISIS Videos Force Hasty “Revisions” to Sharia Law by CAIR/Fiqh Council


Thanks to ISIS’s well-oiled social media publicity campaign, Muslims and non-Muslims around the world are seeing just how gruesome and barbaric the actual provisions of classical Sharia Law truly are.   This has forced “moderate” CAIR and the Fiqh Council of North America to publish an “Open Letter” admonishing ISIS for being a bit too zealous and literal in their implementation of commands in the Quran and Sharia Law.  (See: http://lettertobaghdadi.com/index.php ) Careful reading of the 28 page letter reveals some new spins on Sharia Law that are intended to make it more palatable to Western consciences.  If they were implemented by ISIS, they would certainly tame ISIS, but the revisions also confirm that classical Sharia Law (as documented in al-Misri’s “Reliance of the Traveler”) has no place in the 21st Century.  The references below apply to the numbered topics in the CAIR/Fiqh Council Open Letter. 

  1. Forget about understanding the Quran, Hadith, and Sharia: Ordinary Muslims should not try to understand the principle sacred texts of Islam. To do that competently one must know Arabic, syntax and parsing, textual abrogation, the fundamentals of jurisprudence, and “legal intuition.” 
  1. Knowing Classical Arabic is a must: While most Muslims and non-Muslims in the Middle East speak Arabic, that is not enough for understanding the Quran and other Islamic texts.  Classical Arabic is needed – a language established in the 7th Century, akin to the Old English of “Beowulf” and Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”   Fully eighty percent of Muslims today do not understand the Arabic in which the Quran is written. They merely mouth the sounds. In addition, to have adequate knowledge of the language, one must also be versed in Arabic grammar, syntax, morphology, rhetoric, poetry , etymology, and Quranic exegesis.  Not understanding the nuances of Arabic might lead one to believe something the scholars don’t want you to know. 
  1. The Quran is NOT simple: While the Quran calls itself “clear” in Surah 5:15, no one should assume he understands Surah 9:5 when it says, “When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them.”  CAIR and the Fiqh Council will have to tell you what that really means.  This may account for the fact that 75 percent of U.S. converts to Islam leave the faith within one to two years. (See: http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/211427 ) 
  1. Always choose the easiest option when there is a difference of opinion: According to CAIR/Fiqh Council, Islam should be implemented in a way that is merciful and enjoins kindness, just as Muhammad preached in Mecca.  Muslims should ignore the later, harsher commands of the Medina period, such as Surah 9:123 which commands, “Believers make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them.” Taking booty and capturing women for sex slaves would also be forbidden by this interpretation.  Death for apostasy would be forbidden, as that is clearly not the most merciful and kind way to deal with someone who leaves Islam. As the Quran says, “There shall be no compulsion in religion.” (Surah 2:256) 
  1. Sharia must adapt to the time, place, customs, and circumstances: CAIR/Fiqh Council calls this concept “practical jurisprudence,” and it would imply that Sharia should abandon such outmoded practices as headscarves, halal food, a calendar that is off by 11 days a year, confining women to the home, FGM, chopping off hands of petty thieves, stoning adulterers, etc. 
  1. No killing of innocents: This new requirement of CAIR/Fiqh Council is a virtual ban on terrorism under any circumstance, since the sting of terrorism is in the killing of innocent people. All suicide bombing, invasion tunnels, and unguided missiles used by the HAMAS in Gaza would be banned and condemned by CAIR/Fiqh Council. 
  1. No killing of emissaries: CAIR/Fiqh Council declares honest journalists to be “emissaries of truth” and says they have a special inviolability. That means they should be allowed to cover the terror activities of HAMAS, the weekly beheadings in Saudi Arabia, and kangaroo court trials in Muslim majority countries. 
  1. Jihad should only be defensive: Since only a properly-selected Caliph can initiate offensive jihad, Muslims must refrain from attacking non-Muslims unless the non-Muslims attack them first.  Such an interpretation would have prevented the 9/11/01 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., the train bombing in Madrid, the attack on Mumbai, and the London subway and bus bombings. The Open Letter by CAIR/Fiqh Council devotes almost six pages to a discussion of jihad, and they clearly condemn many of the actions taken by ISIS in this regard, including killing prisoners (See Surah 8:67), killing non-combatants, looting, and destroying crops and livestock.  Finally, CAIR/Fiqh Council somehow believes that the ideology of Islam can “prevail over all other religions” without use of jihad force, despite its failure to do that in Egypt, India, China, and many other regions of the world.    
  1. Muslims may not declare other Muslims to be non-Muslim (takfir):  The Quran prohibits a Muslim from killing another Muslim without “just cause,” and usually this “just cause” is that the person has left Islam.  Most of those killed by ISIS have been Muslims – Shiites or nominal Muslims who reject Sharia Law.  CAIR/Fiqh Council now declares that anyone who recites the Shahada is a Muslim and cannot be killed. Of course, the ISIS flag itself declares the Shahada, so this means that, according to the CAIR/Fiqh Council Open Letter, Muslims may not kill members of ISIS for being non-Muslims either. 
  1. Christians are your friends, neighbors, and co-citizens: The CAIR/Fiqh Open Letter summarily dismisses the edict in Quran Surah 5:51, “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number.”  Also, the Open Letter stipulates that if jizyah is collected from Christians it is to be deposited in the state treasury and distributed among all citizens, including needy Christian citizens.  Right. 
  1. The Yazidis are to be treated like the People of the Book: CAIR/Fiqh Council was shocked by the killing of hundreds of Yazidis by ISIS.  More would have been killed had the U.S. and Kurdish forces not intervened.  Of course, ISIS was operating under the Sharia Law provision in R of T, Section o9.9 which states, “The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim,” meaning people who are not given the option of keeping their old religion and paying jizyah.  CAIR/Fiqh Council seems to realize this provision of Sharia Law is a bit harsh. 
  1. Slavery is forbidden: Apparently, the CAIR/Fiqh Council would overturn the provision of Surah 23:1 that allows Muslims to take and abuse sex slaves. They would also extend that prohibition to all slaves.  That would be good news to the 600,000 slaves in Mauritainia, the 900,000 slaves in Niger, and the millions of virtual slaves (“guest workers”) in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Middle Eastern countries. 
  1. Coercion and compulsion are forbidden: As ISIS swept across Syria and Iraq, the captured cities were forced to comply with ISISI’s strict application of Sharia Law or face persecution and even death. As the CAIR/Fiqh Council Open Letter states, “You have coerced people to convert to Islam just as you have coerced Muslims to accept your views. You also coerce everyone living under your control in every matter, great or small, even in matters which are between the individual and Allah.”  Apparently, CAIR/Fiqh is urging ISIS to relax their requirements and allow people to find their own way to Islam and in Islam.  That’s refreshing. 
  1. Don’t treat women like detainees or prisoners of their homes: CAIR/Fiqh Council urges ISIS to let women wear what they want, to allow them to leave their homes, to let them go to school, to let them work, and to let them marry whom they choose. CAIR/Fiqh Council is particularly opposed to women being forced to marry ISIS fighters.  The Open Letter even quotes Muhammad saying, “Treat women well.”  Somehow that quotation was cut short. The entire statement by Muhammad was, “Treat women well for they are [like] domestic animals with you and do not possess anything for themselves.” (Al Tabari, History, Vol. IX, No. 1755) 
  1. Don’t engage children in war and killing: CAIR/Fiqh Council laments that “some children have been thrown into the fray of combat and are killing and being killed.” The Open Letter says, “These are crimes against innocents who are so young they are not even morally accountable.” According to R of T, a child is morally accountable when he reaches puberty (c8.1).  The Quran says, “The believers who stay at home . . . are not equal of those who fight for the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. . . As for the helpless men, women, and [young] children who have neither the strength nor the means to escape, Allah may pardon them.” (Surahs 4:95 and 4:98)  CAIR/Fiqh Council was not specific at which age they would allow children to engage in jihad. 
  1. When you chop off hands and feet and stone adulterers, show mercy and don’t be cruel: While CAIR/Fiqh Council endorses hudud punishments specified in the Quran, they insist that the administrators of those punishments have clear procedures, provide sufficient warning to potential misbehavers, and meet the highest burden of proof for convictions.  Since the dollar value of theft warranting the chopping off of a hand is specified at $41.38 (R of T, o14.2), that lifetime penalty is of itself cruel and disproportionate. 
  1. Do not torture or humiliate your captives: CAIR/Fiqh Council is horrified by ISIS videos showing captives paraded through cities like animals and then killed in front of mass graves. Perhaps they need to re-read Muhammad’s biography where Ibn Ishaq proudly reported that Muhammad ordered a fire built on the chest of Kinana b. al-Rabi, had an elderly woman (Umm Qirfa) torn apart between two camels, and beheaded 600-900 of the Banu Qurayzsa tribe in the market square of Medina.  These are the actions of Muhammad, who the Quran calls a “good example.” (Surah 33:21) 
  1. Do not mutilate corpses: ISIS has shown the world videos of their warriors using severed heads as soccer balls and displaying crucified corpses on fences. CAIR/Fiqh Council is aghast. They write in the Open Letter, “You have provided ample ammunition for all those who want to call Islam barbaric with your broadcasting barbaric acts which you pretend are for the sake of Islam.  You have given the world a stick with which to beat Islam whereas in reality Islam is completely innocent of these acts and prohibits them.”  The acts of Muhammad and his followers, cited in 17 above, were barbaric in the 7th Century.  They are even more barbaric today, but Muslims are still instructed to follow Muhammad’s Sunnah (“good example”). 
  1. Do not attribute crimes to Allah: CAIR/Fiqh Council wants ISIS take responsibility for their own crimes. However, Sharia Law stipulates in R of T, para. o8.7(15), that it is an act of apostasy “to believe that things in themselves or ay their own nature have any causal influence independent of the will of Allah.”  Further, the Quran asserts regarding the Battle of Badr in 624, “It was not you, but Allah, who slew them. It was not you that smote them: Allah smote them so that He might richly reward the faithful.” (Surah 8:17)  
  1. Do not destroy the graves and shrines of the Prophets and Companions:  Once again, CAIR and the Fiqh Council are shocked that ISIS is leveling graves and rival mosques.  Little do CAIR and the Fiqh Council realize, apparently, that these acts reflect Muhammad’s own example:  Returning from a raid on Tabuk in 631, Muhammad ordered a rival mosque in Medina burned and destroyed. (Ishaq, para. 906 and Surah 9:107) 
  1. Do not rebel against a leader: According to the CAIR/Fiqh Council Open Letter, Muslims may not rebel against a leader unless he has declared his disbelief in Islam or has prevented Sharia Law from being practiced. They quote Mohammed as saying, “Listen and obey even if an Abyssinian whose head is like a raisin is given authority over you.” Because the leader of ISIS (Abu Bakr al Baghdadi) has proclaimed himself the new Caliph and ISIS has taken up arms against the elected rulers in Iraq and the President of Syria, ISIS is deemed to be in rebellion. Of course, CAIR’s parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, has tried twice to overthrow the government of Egypt. According to Sharia Law, there are only three ways a Caliph can take office – by an oath of fealty by the scholars, leaders and notables representing all 1.5 billion Muslims, by appointment by the predecessor, and by forcible seizure of power.  (R of T, para. o25.4)  Obvious to ISIS, only the latter option would be feasible in the 21st Century. 
  1. The Caliphate must be formed by consensus: Muslims have been without a Caliph since 1924, and CAIR/Fiqh Council confirms that it is an obligation of Muslims to form a Caliphate. The only objection they have is regarding how this is accomplished. CAIR/Fiqh Council feels that without consensus of the 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, there could be a proliferation of rival Caliphates.  There was an Indian-sponsored Pan-Islamic Khilafat movement (1919-1924) to shore up the Ottoman Empire after World War I.  This movement collapsed when Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) ended the Ottoman rule and the Caliphate in 1924.  The dilemma for forming an international Caliphate is that there are at least four rival powers today – Indonesia (Asians) the most populous Muslim nation, Saudi Arabia (Arabs) which controls the holiest sites of Islam, Turkey (Turks) where the previous Caliphate was based, and Iran (Persians) representing the rival Shiite Muslims.  None of these countries would risk losing its sovereignty or cultural identity in order to form a world-wide Caliphate. 
  1. Muslims must not usurp the rights and resources of other countries: CAIR/Fiqh Council is concerned that ISIS is invading towns and cities and taking over the homes, businesses, and natural resources of other Muslims.  Not only does this “occupation” create a pretext for future regional conflicts and civil wars, but it also destroys the HAMAS/Muslim Brotherhood argument against Israel.  However, this is exactly how Muhammad eventually took control over Medina, driving out or destroying the rival Jewish clans there.  Also, it was through adverse immigration practices that Muslims were able to control and dominate the vast regions of the Middle East and parts of Europe during the 7th and 8th Centuries.  The Quran boasts, “Can [the unbelievers] not see how We invade their land and curtail their borders?  Is it they who will triumph?” (Surah 21:44) 

CAIR/Fiqh Council is rightfully disturbed by the actions of ISIS, but their Open Letter fails to make the case that any of the barbaric acts committed by ISIS is against Islam or Sharia Law.  As the topic headings above indicate, the recommendations of CAIR/Fiqh Council would emasculate the on-going spread of Islam not only in the Middle East but elsewhere if they were actually implemented.  Rather than promoting the new Sharia interpretations outlined above, CAIR/Fiqh Council is probably more concerned with burnishing Islam’s myth among non-Muslims that Islam is a “religion of peace.”  They accuse ISIS, “You have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture and murder.  As elucidated (in the Open Letter) this is a great wrong and an offense to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world.”  Perhaps CAIR/Fiqh Council should be thanked for so eloquently describing and expressing their horror regarding the true evils of Islam as performed and broadcast over the Internet by ISIS.  Non-Muslims have been warned.

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