By EDD K. USMAN
March 4, 2010, 5:23pm
Muslim leaders in the Philippines welcomed Thursday the “fatwa” or religious edict of a Pakistani-born Islamic cleric declaring that suicide bombing is not a form of jihad and goes against the principles of Islam.
News agencies reported that Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri, a Muslim scholar and head of the Minhaj-ul-Qur'an movement, issued on March 2 in London, England, a 600-page fatwa in response to rising suicide bombings in Pakistan.
In his fatwa, Qadri unequivocally condemned as "non-believers" the practitioners of suicide bombings.
"There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to be considered jihad," he said.
"They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim Umma. No, they become heroes of hellfire, and they are leading towards hellfire," Qadri said.
He took a shot at the Al-Qaeda group of Osama bin Laden, describing the terrorist organization as an "old evil with a new name."
Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Mehol K. Sadain welcomed Qadri’s fatwa.
“I agree. The Qur'an prescribed rules for warfare, and the Holy Prophet exercised mercy during times of war and victory. And there has never been a practice in the time of the Prophet where children, women, the aged and other non-combatants were deliberately killed; not even in battle," said Sadain in a post on Facebook.
Al-Haji Ahmad Bayam, former chief propagandist of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), also agreed.
“Suicide is purely un-Islamic as declared by Allah in the Holy Qur'an. Life and death belong to the exclusive domain of Allah. Precisely, why, there is no such thing as untimely death in Islam," said Bayam.
Baibonn Sanguid, co-convenor of the Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN), believes Qadri must have studied the Islamic Holy Book and all the volumes of Hadith (the prophet's sayings) before arriving at his fatwa.
Qadri is quoted in a Reuters wire report as saying that his fatwa condemned terrorism and "is the first, most comprehensive fatwa on the subject of terrorism ever written."
Saying Islam is a religion of peace, the Minhaj-ul-Qur'an leader said the Islamic faith forbids attacking innocent people and suicide bombings.
Islam, he said, "promotes beauty, betterment, goodness" and "negates all forms of mischief and strife."
"Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into good, they cannot convert an evil into good," Qadri said, rejecting any justification for attacking market places, etc.
"Terrorism is terrorism and violence is violence. It has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts," the Muslim cleric said.