Table of Contents
- Jihadi Hacking Fatwas And Attacks Ongoing For Past Decade
- Hacking Deemed Permissible By Top Muslim Religious Authorities
*2000: Saudi Grand Mufti Issues Fatwa Permitting Cyber-Jihad
*2001: Islamweb.net Issues Fatwa On Destroying The Enemy's Online Networks
*2002: Saudi Professor In Support Of Hacking
*2006: Ph.D. Dissertation By Dean Of High Judicial Institute At Imam Mohammad Bin Saud University: Hacking Emails Is Permitted And Will Benefit Muslims' Army
*Sheikh Fahd Al-Mish'al, Professor At Imam Mohammad Bin Saud University: It Is Permissible To Destroy Un-Islamic Sites
*Islamqa.info Fatwa: In Time Of War, Hacking The Email Of Enemies Of Islam Is Permitted
*2008: Sunni Islam's Most Influential Body, Al-Ahzar University In Cairo, Issues Fatwa Permitting Hacking U.S., Israeli Websites As Part Of Cyber-Jihad
- European Council For Fatwa Research Member and Denmark Islamic Association Director Sheikh Supports Al-Azhar Fatwa
- Muslim Brotherhood Supports Al-Azhar Fatwa
- Jordanian Sheikh And Professor Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Zaghoul Supports Al-Azhar Fatwa
*2008: Saudi Sheikh Salman Al-Odah Issues Fatwa Allowing Cyber Vandalism
*2008: Fatwa On Salafvoice.com Permits Hacking: "It Is A Duty For All Who Are Able"
*2010: Kuwaiti Sheikh Calls On Hackers To Destroy Anti-Islam Websites: "It Is A War"
*2011: Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid Issues Fatwa Permitting Hacking "Jewish Websites"
*2011: Prominent Kuwaiti Islamist Preacher And Leader Of Muslim Brotherhood In Kuwait Tareq Al-Suwaidan: "I Strongly Encourage Young People To Undertake Electronic Jihad"
*2012: Islamweb.net Issues New Fatwa On Hacking Anti-Islam Websites: "It Is A Legitimate And Blessed Act"
*Religious Leaders Respond To Hacking War Between Saudis And Israelis With Fatwas
*2012: Kuwaiti Professor And Sheikh Dr. Nabil Al-A'oudi Issues Fatwa In Support Of Online Attacks On Israeli Sites: "This Jihad Should Be Expanded And New Methods Should Be Created"
*2012: On Twitter, Al-Suwaidan Calls On Hackers To Unite In Cyber-Jihad Efforts
*2012: Saudi Ministry Of Religious Endowments Researcher Permits Use Of Israeli Credit Card Numbers Obtained By Hacking
*2012: Saudi Lecturer In Islamic Jurisprudence Fahd Bin Sa'd Al-Jahni In Support Of Cyber Jihad
*2012: Saudi Cleric Sheikh And Former Supreme Judicial Council President Saleh Al-Luhaidan In Support Of Hacking And Crippling "Evil" Websites
*2012: Al-Azhar Scholar Dr. Mustafa Murad In Support Of Cyber Jihad
*2012: Al-Gama'ah Al-Islamiyya Spokesman 'Assem 'Abd Al-Maged In Support Of Electronic Jihad
*2012: Egyptian Salafi MP Mamdouh Isma'il In Support Of Electronic Jihad: Hacking The Websites Of The Enemies Of Islam Is "A Religious Duty"
*2012: Saudi Lecturer Dr. 'Abd Al-'Aziz Bin Ibrahim Al-Shibel Issues Guide For What Websites Can Be Attacked
Over the past year, there have been thousands of high-profile hacking attacks against important websites, including those of the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, the White House, the Justice Department, and other government websites, and banks throughout the world.
Tens of thousands of other Western websites have also been hacked, some by Muslim "hacktivists" acting on fatwas sanctioning their activities; some of these fatwas were issued by leading mainstream Muslim scholars. Jihadi groups have also used such religious justification for hacking attacks, some of which caused major damage and financial loss online.
Already this year, on January 7, 2013, police in Thailand arrested an Algerian cyber-crime suspect sought by the FBI for allegedly stealing millions of dollars by hacking banks' websites. The suspect, Hamza Bendelladj, was arrested while en route from Malaysia to Egypt. U.S. authorities believe that he hacked private accounts in more than 217 banks and financial companies worldwide, causing about $10 million in losses per transaction. According to reports, he was associated with several hacking groups, possibly the Izz Eddin Al Qassam Cyber Fighters.
Also, on January 2, 2013, several American websites were hacked by one Abu Ubayda Al-Masri ("Abu Ubayda the Egyptian"). The message he left on the websites, which appear to have been chosen at random, stated that the attack marked the anniversary of the December 30, 2009 suicide bombing by Humam Al-Balawi, aka Abu Dujana Al-Khurasani, against CIA and Jordanian intelligence personnel near Khost, Afghanistan.
A Website Hacked By Al-Masri
Al-Masri's actions were praised on leading jihadi forums. In a post on the Ansar Al-Mujahideen Arabic Forum (AMAF), one Abu Jafar welcomed the attacks against the "American Crusader" websites. He also offered his services to jihadi forum members, saying that he was willing to start a workshop on "device hacking, encryption, and [computer] programming."
Hacking is part of the larger cyber security threats challenging Western capitals. This debate over how to counter this threat should, but does not currently include the issue of online jihad and terrorists' use of the Internet.
Jihadi Hacking Fatwas And Attacks Ongoing For Past Decade
Hacking episodes such as those by Bendelladj and Al-Masri have been going on for a decade (see MEMRI's groundbreaking study by Dr. Eli Alshech, Cyberspace as a Combat Zone: The Phenomenon of Electronic Jihad, February 27, 2007). One of the earliest such episodes occurred just days before 9/11. On September 5, 2001, the Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh published an interview with the Saudi hacker "Robin Hood," aka Abu Walid. In the interview, the 23-year-old hacker spoke of his "hobby" of targeting websites, both in the Arab world and the West, in order to expose their vulnerabilities; regarding American and Jewish websites; he said that his aim was to cause them maximum damage.
Abu Walid also said that he had targeted a number of American websites, such as those of the FBI and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as a Department of Defense network center, from which he claimed to have obtained military data. He claimed that he had also hacked websites in the Arab world, including those of several Arab banks and a number of Saudi and Gulf-state government ministries, and a large number of public forums.
Abu Walid told Al-Riyadh that his most famous cyber attack targeted the website of Israel's Knesset. He also mentioned that he had conducted attacks against a number of Israeli Internet Provider Service websites, the Nuclear Research Center Negev website, and the websites of several Israeli banks. Abu Walid said that he had hacked at least 1,000 Jewish websites, noting that this large number was the result of his practice of targeting host servers, not individual websites.
Hacking Deemed Permissible By Top Muslim Religious Authorities
Thirteen years ago, online activists began asking their spiritual leaders for permission to wage cyber-jihad. Since that time, multiple fatwas have been issued permitting it – complete with religious justifications, including Koran verses and quoting Hadiths. From that time forward, the issue of permitting cyber-jihad has been a frequent topic of discussion on Arab television programs, as cited in this report; groups for it have been established, and it has been promoted and propagated in numerous other ways as well.
Since 2000, cyber-jihad has been repeatedly declared against the U.S., Israel, and other Western countries. The thousands of hacking attacks and attempted attacks on the websites of Western government and military bodies and many other Western websites since then are directly connected to those declarations.
Even though some of these fatwas have been identified through MEMRI research, the scope and depth of the phenomenon have nevertheless gone virtually unnoticed by the West.
2000: Saudi Grand Mufti Issues Fatwa Permitting Cyber-Jihad
Saudi Grand Mufti Abd Al-Aziz Al-Sheikh
The first known fatwa on cyber-jihad was reported by the Saudi government religious magazine Al-Dawa on May 11, 2000; the fatwa, which approved of sending viruses and other methods of online attacks, was issued by Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abd Al-Aziz Al-Sheikh (the position of Grand Mufti is comparable to that of a government minister) in response to a question. Asked "If there are websites on the Internet that are hostile to Islam, and are disseminating immoral materials… is it permissible for me to send viruses to disable and destroy these websites?" The mufti replied: "If such a website is hostile to Islam and you counter its evil with good, and respond to it, refute its falsehood, and show its void content – that would be the best option. But if you are unable to respond to it, and you want to destroy it, and have the ability to do so, it's okay to destroy it, because it is an evil website."
2001: Islamweb.net Issues Fatwa On Destroying The Enemy's Online Networks
Islamweb.net Fatwa No. 12161
On December 26, 2001, Islamweb.net, which is hosted on a server in the U.S.,  posted Fatwa No. 12161. In response to the question "What is the ruling on electronic jihad which weakens and destroys the enemy's networks?" this answer was posted: "When you find a website that attacks Islam, you should first talk to them to stop; if they do not listen and continue, then you can do your best, even if it leads to destroying the site."
2002: Saudi Professor In Support Of Hacking
Khaled Bin Ahmad Babitain, a professor in the Shari'a Department at Um Al-Quraa University in Saudi Arabia, is also the director of the university's Center of Islamic Studies. In an interview on cyber jihad, he stated: "I see no problem in destroying and hacking anti-Islam websites which are totally against Islam, such as Israeli websites."
Khaled Bin Ahmad Babitain
In answer to a follow-up question regarding the permissibility of hacking infidels' websites, he answered that if these sites call for apostasy and are against Islam, it is all right to destroy them.
2006: Ph.D. Dissertation By Dean Of High Judicial Institute At Imam Mohammad Bin Saud University: Hacking Emails Is Permitted And Will Benefit Muslims' Army
According to a July 6, 2006 article on Islamweb.net about the ruling on hacking of emails, "hacking emails which belong to the enemies is permissible during war time to learn about them, their numbers, and weaponry, because it would benefit and empower the Muslims' army." The article cited a Ph.D. dissertation titled "Jurisprudence for electronic transactions" by the now-Dean of The High Judicial Institute at Imam Mohammed Bin Saud University. MEMRI is in possession of this dissertation.
Dean Of The High Judicial Institute at Imam Mohammed Bin Saud University
Sheikh Fahd Al-Mish'al, Professor At Imam Mohammad Bin Saud University: It Is Permissible To Destroy Un-Islamic Sites
Emblem of Imam Mohammed Bin Saud University
In his answer to a question about the Islamic ruling on showing Muslims how to destroy websites, and the ruling on destroying wholly or partially pornographic and un-Islamic websites, Sheikh Fahd Al-Mish'al, a professor at Imam Mohammad Bin Saud University, said: "I think it is permissible to destroy any sites which fight against Islam, distort the creed, or insult the Quran and Sunnah."
Sheikh Al-Mish'al enumerated three conditions for his fatwa: a) Such destruction should not lead to a greater damage; b) the would-be hacker should consult scholars about the targeted websites; and c) the owner of the targeted website should first be warned and advised.
This undated fatwa was published on denana.com, which is run by Sheikh Sultan Al-Amri.
Islamqa.info Fatwa: In Time Of War, Hacking The Email Of Enemies Of Islam Is Permitted
Fatwa No. 114836, published on Islamqa.net, asked, "What is the ruling of shari'a on email hacking? Is it permissible to hack emails which belong to Jews and infidels?" The answer given was that it is prohibited to hack people's emails, as shari'a prohibits violation of people's privacy. The sheikh issuing the fatwa listed several exceptions to this rule, one of which is that in time of war between Muslims and others, it is permissible to hack emails to obtain information about the enemy, their number, their location, and their weapons.
Fatwa No. 114836 on Islamqa.info
2008: Sunni Islam's Most Influential Body, Al-Ahzar University In Cairo, Issues Fatwa Permitting Hacking U.S., Israeli Websites As Part Of Cyber-Jihad
On August 25, 2008, the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee issued a fatwa permitting the hacking and damaging of American and Israeli websites that harm Islam and Muslims, as part of "electronic jihad." The Al-Azhar fatwa, issued in response to a question regarding attacks by Muslim groups on American and Israeli websites in retaliation for these countries' actions against Muslims, states: "Jihad is set out by Muslim religious law so that the word of truth [i.e. Islam] will be supreme, in order to aid the oppressed, and in order to defend the religion, honor, homeland, freedom, and human dignity. As Allah has said on this matter: "Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but do not transgress. Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors. [Koran 2:190]… Accordingly, electronic jihad on [Internet] networks is permitted by Muslim religious law because it is one of the means of resisting the enemy, particularly [when it is] an enemy that disseminates statements online that harm Islam and Muslims. Wars today are different from wars in the past; [today] the enemy uses various means such as ideological attack and electronic war."
The fatwa also states: "The Muslim must stand up to the brutal attacks on Islam aimed at presenting it inappropriately. [This should be done] by means of electronic raids, and all possible resources should be directed to such wars."
European Council For Fatwa Research Member and Denmark Islamic Association Director Sheikh Supports Al-Azhar Fatwa
Dr. Muhammad Fuad Al-Barazi with U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Laurie S. Fulton
Dr. Muhammad Fuad Al-Barazi, director of the Islamic Association in Denmark and member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, which is currently headed by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, thanked Al-Azhar for issuing the fatwa and stressed that attacking websites that harm Islam was considered a kind of jihad.
He added: "We need now many types of jihad. Anyone who thinks that jihad is limited only to going out to battle is mistaken; there are many types of jihad, including media, economic, and verbal [jihad]... Anyone with [access to] a certain technology can dedicate it [to the cause] and assist [in electronic jihad operations]. [Jihad] is an obligation incumbent upon all... [Likewise,] if [those waging electronic jihad] need economic support, those [who can help them] are obligated to do so."
Muslim Brotherhood Supports Al-Azhar Fatwa
According to reports in the media, The Muslim Brotherhood praised the fatwa, which comes in response to dozens of questions from Islamists asking to be allowed to destroy United States and Israeli websites.
Jordanian Sheikh And Professor Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Zaghoul Supports Al-Azhar Fatwa
Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Zaghoul
Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Zaghoul, dean of the Shari'a Faculty at Mu'ta University in Jordan, expressed support for the Al-Azhar fatwa, stating that electronic jihad was included in the category of "jihad carried out by means of the pen and the word." He said: "The Prophet [Muhammad] urged [the believers] to defend Islam and to attack the infidels by all means – and electronic jihad is included in this framework."
2008: Saudi Sheikh Salman Al-Odah Issues Fatwa Allowing Cyber Vandalism
Popular Saudi preacher Salman Al-Odah, who is currently supervisor of Islamtoday.net and of the Al-Dalil satellite channel, was one of the leaders of the radical Saudi Sahwa movement, and spent four years (1994-99) in prison due to his opposition to Saudi government policy during the 1990-91 Gulf War. In recent years, Al-Odah has moderated his views and has publicly rebuked Osama bin Laden. In 2012, he was ranked No 1 of the 100 most influential Arabs on Twitter, with 647,690 followers.
Asked on October 31, 2008 about his view of hackers, whether groups or individuals, active in destroying infidel or Israeli websites, or sites that attack Islam, Sheikh Al-Odah stated that doing so was acceptable if the websites targeted were un-Islamic. He recommended that hackers choose their targets carefully, and not base their choice merely on personal opinion.
Saudi Sheikh Salman Al-Odah's fatwa
2008: Fatwa On Salafvoice.com Permits Hacking: "It Is A Duty For All Who Are Able"
On December 24, 2008, the Islamic website Salafovice was asked a question about hacking:
"Question: I am working on hacking websites which defame Islam, and because these websites contain security measures, they force you to enter a username and password on one of the websites. What is the ruling on this matter?
"Answer: The destruction of websites which are offensive to Islam is a duty for all who are able, with the help of Allah."
Fatwa on Salafvoice
2010: Kuwaiti Sheikh Calls On Hackers To Destroy Anti-Islam Websites: "It Is A War"
Sheikh Nabil Al-'Awadhi is a government-appointed preacher at a Kuwaiti mosque and in the past had a television show called "An Hour of Sincerity" on Kuwaiti Al-Rai TV. In August 2006, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowments suspended Al-'Awadhi from his post as preacher for three months, after he gave a Friday sermon inciting jihad and calling for harming Jews.
In an interview posted November 3, 2010 on the Islamist website Emanway.com, Sheikh Al-'Awadhi stated: "Are you aware that there are over 10,000 websites dedicated to the cursing of our religion? There are 10,000 websites that attack our religion of Islam. Where are the hackers? Where are the people who destroy websites? This is a war…Just like they destroy our Islamic websites, destroy theirs."
2011: Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid Issues Fatwa Permitting Hacking "Jewish Websites"
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajid, a well-known Saudi Islamist lecturer and author, and a former staff member of the Saudi Embassy's Islamic Affairs Department in Washington, D.C. until he was stripped of his diplomatic credentials, frequently appears on Saudi TV channels. Sheikh Al-Munajid has a large online following, with 327,173 followers on his Twitter page.
On January 21, 2011, on Al-Majd TV, Sheikh Al-Munajid issued a fatwa on hacking "Jewish" websites and in support of cyber jihad.
Muhammad Al-Munajid: "In principle, hacking into websites and sabotaging them is forbidden. This is not allowed because Allah has forbidden spying. You are not allowed to go into other people's secrets without their permission. In addition, sabotaging these websites constitutes corruption, which is displeasing to Allah. This is aggression, which is displeasing to Allah.
"As for hacking and sabotaging Jewish websites – this is a special case that requires a special answer. The people whose property and websites are protected do not include criminal aggressors. These Jews are bombing from land, air, and sea, perpetrating genocide against our brothers, killing women and children, and destroying homes and mosques with people inside... There is no doubt that they are criminals, corrupters, attackers, and saboteurs. Their websites are targeted in the context of the war against them…
"So spying on their websites and penetrating their communication airwaves is, without a doubt, legitimate in this war. [This hacking] is a type of electronic jihad, which, together with media jihad and economic jihad, is needed by the Muslims, along with military jihad..."
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here
2011: Prominent Kuwaiti Islamist Preacher And Leader Of Muslim Brotherhood In Kuwait Tareq Al-Suwaidan: "I Strongly Encourage Young People To Undertake Electronic Jihad"
Kuwaiti preacher and lecturer Dr. Tareq Al-Suwaidan, is director of the Islamic TV channel Al-Risala which is owned by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. In a June 4, 2011 interview on Al-Quds TV, Tareq Al-Suwaidan called for armed resistance and electronic jihad against Israel:
Al-Suwaidan: "Israel cannot withstand the will of the people. Ultimately, there will be a decisive battle. We must postpone this battle, because we are not ready, but we will get to this battle...
"The entire nation, and especially the countries bordering with Israel, must provide direct support to the armed resistance, and not just pay it lip service. Secondly, the Palestinian youth must realize that it has no alternative – and indeed, none of us have – other than armed resistance.
"There is such a thing as media jihad, political jihad, and a form of jihad that I strongly encourage young people to undertake – electronic jihad. Some of our youth are extremely clever. I hope that a group of hackers will get together, and will wage resistance over the Internet, targeting Israeli and Zionist sites and destroying them electronically. I view this as better than 20 jihad operations..." 
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here.
2012: Islamweb.net Issues New Fatwa On Hacking Anti-Islam Websites: "It Is A Legitimate And Blessed Act"
On May 22, 2012, Islamweb.net posted Fatwa No. 179907, in response to the question, "I am against hacking and stealing private information from people, but would it be Islamically allowed to hack a website and stop it from spreading lies about Islam, or did I commit a sin and have to repent? Is it okay for a Muslim to not get upset, angry or displeased in any way when seeing such tremendous slander, and is it wrong from my side to become angry and upset?"
The answer given was: "As regards [to] destroying the existing sites on the Internet that are attacking Islam, defaming it, and inventing slanders and lies against it, then this is something required, and it is a legitimate and blessed act."
Religious Leaders Respond To Hacking War Between Saudis And Israelis With Fatwas
OxOmar on PasteBay
In January 2012, a cyber war raged between Arab hackers, mostly Saudis, and Israeli hackers. A team of Saudi hackers led by an individual calling himself "OxOmar" published personal details, including tens of thousands of credit card numbers, of over 400,000 Israelis, and a few days later Arab hackers attacked Israeli websites, including those of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the national carrier El-Al, several banks and hospitals, Israel's fire and rescue services, and the Haaretz daily. In response, Israeli and pro-Israel hackers attacked the websites of the Saudi and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges, and published the details of Saudi credit cards and of thousands of Facebook accounts belonging to Arabs.
Responding to these events, a number of Muslim clerics issued fatwas sanctioning the cyber attacks on Israel and defining them as "electronic jihad."
2012: Kuwaiti Professor And Sheikh Dr. Nabil Al-A'oudi Issues Fatwa In Support Of Online Attacks On Israeli Sites: "This Jihad Should Be Expanded And New Methods Should Be Created"
On January 21, 2012, on the Zawaaya program on Kuwait's Al-Watan TV, host Sheikh Dr. Nabil Al-A'oudi received a call from Kuwaiti professor Shafi Al-'Ajami asking: "Sheik Al-‘Ajami, many people are asking about what (the hacker) Omar did. It is said that he broke into many financial institutions in the so-called Israel, causing them great financial losses. He didn't steal anything for himself. What is the shari'a ruling on this?"
In response, Professor Al-'Ajami, said: "This young man broke into the accounts of enemy fighters. This Jihad should be expanded and new methods should be invented, in order to cause them damage, because they do not hesitate to harm the Muslims."
Al-A'oudi concluded the interview with the following question, "So to conclude this interview, you are openly calling upon anyone capable of harming the Zionists in Palestine this way to do so, as it is considered jihad for the sake of Allah?" Al-'Ajami responded, "Absolutely. Anyone capable of supporting his Muslim brothers in any way has a duty to do so." 
2012: On Twitter, Al-Suwaidan Calls On Hackers To Unite In Cyber-Jihad Efforts
On January 17, 2012, Dr. Tareq Al-Suwaidan posted in his Twitter feed: "I see the need in uniting the efforts of the hackers within the electronic jihad project against the Zionist enemy, and it [i.e. the project] is an effective and important jihad, and its reward is great – Allah willing."
Al-Suwaidan's Twitter page, January 17, 2012
On another occasion, he said: "I think that the hackers must pool their efforts in the electronic jihad campaign against Israel... [This campaign is] an important and effective [form of] jihad, and its rewards will be great, Allah willing."
2012: Saudi Ministry Of Religious Endowments Researcher Permits Use Of Israeli Credit Card Numbers Obtained By Hacking
In January 2012, Saudi cleric Sheikh Abd Al-Aziz Al-Taraifi issued a fatwa permitting Muslims to exploit information obtained from hacked Israeli credit cards, in an appearance on the Saudi-owned Al-Risala TV. Noting that Israel is "not a peaceful country," Al Taraifi exempted Israeli targets from Islam's ban on dealing with or profiting from stolen materials:
Host: "Is it permissible to use stolen Israeli credit cards?"
Abd Al-Aziz Al-Tarifi: "With regard to stolen credit cards and bank accounts, there are two types of bank accounts. The first type is an account in a bank that is protected, like the Muslim banks, or banks in countries that have peace with the countries of Islam. With regard to countries that have peace with the Islamic state- a person is not allowed to take money that does not belong to him. But if a certain country does not have treaties with the Islamic countries, this is not a peaceful country, and taking its money is permissible. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with using the credit cards of Israelis, or of people from other countries without agreements with the Islamic countries. Therefore, using these credit cards is allowed if they are available."
'Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Tarifi
Al-Taraifi has a large Twitter presence with 234,383 followers. In response to a later question on his Twitter feed to whether this fatwa could be applied to all non-Muslims, Al-Taraifi confirmed that this exception to Islam's moral teachings pertained only to Israel.
2012: Saudi Lecturer In Islamic Jurisprudence Fahd Bin Sa'd Al-Jahni In Support Of Cyber Jihad
Fahd bin Sa'd Al-Jahni
In January 2012, Fahd bin Sa'd Al-Jahni, a Saudi lecturer in Islamic jurisprudence, wrote that the texts of the Koran and the Sunna on jihad are applicable to cyber-warfare. He noted: "Among the various types of jihad are jihad of self [sacrifice], jihad by money, and jihad of the word. The last category includes intellectual jihad, as well as jihad by writing and by da'wa...
"Any act that aggravates the enemy and helps the [Muslim] religion, and is carried out by legitimate means, is sanctioned by the shari'a. Therefore, there are numerous and diverse ways to support the religion [through activity] on websites. Some call this 'electronic jihad'... Any [act carried out] by the Muslims using legitimate tools... [and aimed at fighting] deviant thinking, websites [that spread] corruption, and websites belonging to those who attack the Muslims... such as the aggressive Zionists... counts as jihad, as long as it does not contravene the laws of warfare set out by Allah."
2012: Saudi Cleric Sheikh And Former Supreme Judicial Council President Saleh Al-Luhaidan In Support Of Hacking And Crippling "Evil" Websites
Saudi Cleric Sheikh Saleh Al-Luhaidan
Sheikh Saleh Al-Luhaidan is former president of the Supreme Judicial Council and a member of Council of Senior scholars. "If anyone has the ability to shut any source [which produces] evil for the sake of Allah, it is considered a form of jihad." Question: "These days, there are many corrupting websites, and immoral content on the internet. Is it permitted to hack into these websites and cripple them? Is this considered a form of jihad for the sake of Allah?" Answer: "Whenever there is a door leading to evil, one is permitted to close it. Enough said. We believe that this is jihad for the sake of Allah."
2012: Al-Azhar Scholar Dr. Mustafa Murad In Support Of Cyber Jihad
Dr. Mustafa Murad
In February 2012, Al-Azhar lecturer Dr. Mustafa Murad wrote in response to Saudi hackers attacking Israeli websites: "Electronic jihad is a kind of jihad, for Allah the Almighty said in the Koran: 'And those who strive in Our [cause], We will certainly guide them to Our paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right [Koran 29:69]'... Jihad is not [confined to] jihad by the sword, by weapons and by other means of inflicting pain. It is permissible [to use] any tools that can realize the goal of attacking the enemies of Allah and punishing them for usurping [the Muslims'] rights and holy places."
2012: Al-Gama'ah Al-Islamiyya Spokesman 'Assem 'Abd Al-Maged In Support Of Electronic Jihad
'Assem 'Abd Al-Maged
In February 2012, the spokesman of Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya in Egypt, 'Assem 'Abd Al-Maged, said in response to Saudi hacking attacks on Israeli sites: "Anything [that can be used to] fight evil and the plans of the enemies is a good thing. However, this requires clever planning, so that we do not open gates of harm that will be impossible to close again."
2012: Egyptian Salafi MP Mamdouh Isma'il In Support Of Electronic Jihad: Hacking The Websites Of The Enemies Of Islam Is "A Religious Duty"
Egyptian MP Mamdouh Isma'il calls to prayer during a parliamentary session in February 2012.
In January 2012, Egyptian Salafi MP Mamdouh Isma'il, deputy chairman of the Egyptian Salafi party Al-Asala, said in response to Saudi hackers attacking Islamic sites: "Electronic jihad is one of the ways to fight Israel, though there is no substitute for armed resistance, for Israel is occupying sacred land... There is no choice but to wage campaigns of inflaming and inciting [the people], [write] books, studies and articles, and [use] every effective means to fight the enemy...
"The hackers' activity against the Israeli websites, and the websites of the Mossad and of anyone else who harms Islam and the Muslims, constitutes a religious duty that is incumbent upon anyone who has the ability to perform it..."
2012: Saudi Lecturer Dr. 'Abd Al-'Aziz Bin Ibrahim Al-Shibel Issues Guidelines On Which Websites Can Be Attacked
Dr. 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Shibel
Dr. 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Shibel, a Saudi lecturer in Islamic jurisprudence at the Imam Muhammad bin Sa'ud University in Riyadh, issued a fatwa drawing a distinction between websites that may be attacked and those that must not be attacked. He said that it is not permitted to attack "honorable" websites that fulfill the following conditions:  a) They offer educational, commercial, medical, governmental or entertainment services that are sanctioned by the shari'a; and b) They belong to individuals whose life and property are inviolable according to the shari'a, which includes Muslims, ahl al-dhimma (namely Jews and Christians living under Muslim rule), and people living in countries that have agreements and contracts with the Muslim countries.
He then went on to define "dishonorable" websites, including those containing pornography, occult materials, games of chance, etc., as well as those whose owners are nationals of the countries of dar al-harb – that is, non-Muslim countries that do not have agreements or contracts with the Muslim states.
Stating that according to shari'a these websites may be attacked, he stresses that hacking such sites expose the hacker to immoral materials, and, since there are so many such websites, attacking them may be a waste of valuable time that would be better spent performing da'wa and spreading Islam on the Internet. He added that the hacker could also be punished, while the site owner is likely to rebuilt the website or even launch more similar websites.
Al-Shibel emphasizes that websites should be hacked only if the benefit of an attack outweighed the possible harmful consequences.
*Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of MEMRI.
 http://www.symantec.com/threatreport/. According to a 2012 report, Symantec blocked more than 5.5 billion malicious attacks in 2011, an increase of 81% over the previous year. Moreover, the number of unique malware variants increased to 403 million and the number of Web attacks blocked per day increased by 36%.
 The original Al-Riyadh interview is unavailable online. The article is based on a repost of the same interview.
 Al-Dawa Magazine, Issue 1741, May 11, 2000.
 Islamonline.net, August 25, 2008.
 Kuwaiti Cleric Sheikh Nabil Al-'Awadhi, The Internet, November 3, 2010.
 Alarabiya.net, January 29, 2012.
 Saudi Cleric Sheikh Saleh Al-Luhaidan, The Internet, March 26, 2012.
 Al-Wafd (Egypt), January 22, 2012.
 Islammessage.com, January 31, 2012.