GSM C4ads : No Place for Terror in Islam: Fatwa Reemphasizes Separation

Author: Andrew Baer
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

At a news conference in London on Tuesday Sheikh Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri issued a fatwa condemning suicide bombing and decrying terrorism as a perversion of Islam. The 600 page religious ruling by Dr. Qadri, a renowned moderate Islamic scholar, emphasized the Imam’s overarching declaration that “terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it”. Dr. Qadri hopes his fatwa will serve as precedence for future rulings as “the world needs an absolute, unconditional, unqualified and total condemnation of terrorism."

The Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank in the UK, stated that the fatwa was “arguably the most comprehensive” refutation of terrorism to date. The 600 page edict cites Quranic text, Hadiths, and other examples within Islam to solidify the anti-terror stance. Although numerous fatwas have been issued since 9/11, Dr. Qadri’s is the first to declare terror as an act of ‘kufr’, or disbelief, which disqualifies a terrorist from even being able to consider themselves Muslim. The fatwa will be circulated in numerous languages worldwide, including a version in Urdu to be released in Pakistan next month, a nation where many clerics have been assassinated by radicals for speaking out against terrorism.

Critics are skeptical about the actual impact Dr. Qadri’s fatwa will have on terrorism and the Islamic community while others believe it is an essential step forward in cultivating relations not only between the Islamic world and the west, but between Muslims themselves. Tim Winter, an Islamic studies lecturer at Cambridge University, doubts that the fatwa will affect hardliners but it may influence “swing voters” or “poorly educated and angry Muslims, who respect mainstream scholars”. The edict may also help to clarify misperceptions among non-Muslims concerning violence and Islam.

Sheikh Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri emerged as a revivalist scholar in Pakistan in the 1980s after completing his Islamic studies and founding the Minhaj-ul-Qur’an (MQI). The MQI was founded “ to promote religious moderation, peace, love, harmony and modern Islamic sciences” and it maintains centers in over 90 countries with over 5000 active members in the UK alone. Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri has written over 400 scholarly works on Islam and an influential voice in promoting religious moderation especially among Muslim youth.

The amount of attention finally being given to moderate voices within Islam working to lead and guide the ummah at large is a significant development. Dr. Qadri and his organization, the MQI, are just one of many scholastic Islamic bodies who have always and continue to separate terrorism from Islam. Such scholars are illustrating that terrorism contradicts the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad, pervert Islam, and blaspheme Allah, all elements which make it very clear that the faithful should not, cannot, and will not tolerate radicalism or violence within their communities. Dr. Qadri’s fatwa sends a very powerful message not only about Al-Qaeda operatives, but also about radical individuals within the Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood who have been known to employ violence as a political mechanism. Perhaps a key component in counter-terrorism should focus on further lending credibility and support to Muslim leadership dedicated to decrying the violence and completely isolating terrorism from Islam.

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