Central Asia Online : Qadri: Jihad without state sanction is massacre
By Hasan Khan
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Islamic scholars and leaders have been reluctant for too long to speak out publicly against terrorists who justify themselves on Islamic grounds, says Tahir-ul-Qadri.
A religious scholar who has written hundreds of books and founded Minhaj ul Qur'an International, Qadri attracted the attention of the entire world this month for issuing a 600-page Fatwa, “Terrorism and Fithna Khawarij”, declaring suicide bombers and killers of the innocent in the name of Islam to be terrorists.
“Religious leaders condemned terrorism in their own ways, which could not be rendered into a collective stand against perpetrators of terror”, Qadri told Central Asia Online in an email interview.
Qadri appealed to religious scholars to condemn terrorism in all forms.
“I have declared and published this Fatwa ... as my religious obligation to protect Islam from offensives of Khawarij”, Qadri said. ““After launching it…..many scholars from different parts of the world supported my Fatwa and it seems this is the Fatwa the world has been waiting for”.
Qadri said his organisation, Minhaj-ul-Quran International, has stood against extremism and terrorism when practitioners of such models enjoyed a heroic reputation among many.
Other scholars, he said, have limited their denunciations of terrorism and suicide bombings to brief statements. Yet another group of scholars stayed silent to protect “vested interests…or ... because of their sect’s beliefs”, he said.
Qadri blasted those Ulema (Muslim scholars) who argued against offering janazas (funeral prayers) for security personnel who died after fighting extremists throughout Pakistan, labelling them as ignorant.
“It is mandatory for a Muslim Army to fight against terrorists, and those soldiers who sacrificed their lives are martyrs in the true sense”, Qadri said.
Qadri reserved scorn for religious parties that justify insurrections, terrorism or suicide bombings by saying government or foreign troops have abandoned dialogue. Such justifications have been heard in Pakistan, the disputed Kashmiri region, the Palestinian territories and Afghanistan, but Qadri rejects them in all instances.
“I have ... made it clear in the light of Quranic injunctions, sayings of the Holy Prophet and jurisprudential opinion that foreign coercion and oppression unleashed against the Muslims cannot be a justifiable reason for terrorism ... or to wage an armed rebellion against the Muslim state”, he said.
“Raising a banner of rebellion under any pretext is strictly prohibited in Islam”, a religion that counsels peaceful means to solve problems, he said. “Under no circumstances are terrorist activities against non-combatants and civilians allowed in Islam”.
As for Pakistani-based organisations fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Qadri said the indigenous Kashmiri struggle lost its international appeal when Jihadists infiltrated the Kashmiri self-determination movement.
“These so-called Jihadi elements developed their own agendas, which were harmful for the Kashmir cause, and when Pakistan tightened security on the border with Kashmir (after) 9/11, (the Jihadists) turned their guns against the state”, said Qadri, twice a member of the Pakistani parliament.
“The extremists invoke (the Palestinian territories and Kashmir) as a reflection of the world’s double standards for recruitment of Muslim youth”, he said.
Talking about the concept of Jihad in Islam, Qadri said the Islamic concept of Jihad is quite dynamic and inclusive, but that extremists have reduced the idea to one of killing.
“A straight and big ‘NO’ ”, Qadri wrote to Central Asia Online in reply to a query about declaration of Jihad by non-state actors in Islam.
“Power to declare Jihad has been vested in the state and no non-state actor is allowed to do so in Islam. If it does ... it would be nothing but massacre of humanity and revolt against the state,” Qadri said. Qadri said the possibility of a militant leader challenging him to a debate on the merits of his Fatwa did not concern him. Most militants, leaders and followers alike, are ignorant, even illiterate, he said.
“Most of them are criminals and have masked themselves as Jihadi leaders. They know only the language of arms”, he said.
However, should his opponents be serious, “I would ask such a person to come up with even a few-page academic rebuttal of my Fatwa”, he said.