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In Letter, Leading Indian Islamic Scholar Maulana Salman Al-Nadwi Congratulates Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi On Assuming Role Of Caliph: 'You Are Bravely Standing As A Rock'

Globally renowned Indian Islamic scholar Maulana Salman Al-Husaini Al-Nadwi has written a letter to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS), congratulating him on his declaration of himself as the caliph of all Muslims. Maulana Salman Al-Nadwi is the great grandson of noted Islamic scholar Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi.

In the image above, the July 17 edition of the Urdu-language daily Aag, which is published from the northern Indian city of Lucknow, carries the following two top headlines on the front page: "Maulana Salman Nadwi congratulates militarist Abu Bakr Baghdadi through letter; Baghdadi had appealed to Indian Muslims to wage war against their country [India]"[1]

Maulana Salman Al-Nadwi's letter was sent via WhatsApp, a social media messaging and telephone service. Salman Al-Nadwi, who teaches at the world-famous Nadwatul Ulema seminary based in Lucknow has said that he sent the letter via WhatsApp because he did not know the address of the Emir-ul-Momineen (Leader of the Faithful Muslims). According to a report on the Indian website, "In his two-page letter, Maulana Salman Nadwi has addressed Abu Bakr Baghdadi as Emir-ul-Momineen and has praised Abu Bakr Baghdadi for establishing the much desired Islamic Caliphate."[2]

The website wrote: "It is doubtful that Maulana Salman Nadwi would go to these lengths without instigation from the Saudi Embassy in New Delhi."[3]

Maulana Salman Al-Husaini Al-Nadwi

According to, the content of the letter, which is written in Arabic, is roughly reproduced below:

"Respected Sir (Aali Janab), I had been keeping abreast of news about the Islamic State for a long time and was very excited about it. Earlier, I kept myself aware of the jihad of Islamic organizations in Afghanistan which was in fact against Russia. Then there was the American attack on Iraq. I am also aware that in Syria, the differences between [Jabhat] Al-Nusrah and the Islamic State have intensified. Moreover, differences among the organizations that were fighting in Syria were a bad omen for us. However, during the same time, we heard the good news that you have captured Mosul in Iraq and have attained victory over the tyrant [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-]Maliki. At present, Maliki is very aggressive and has left no stone unturned in spreading religious strife. This mischief is serious and the one who is spreading it is a great tyrant."[4]

Maulana Salman Al-Nadwi refers to Baghdadi's first speech: "I have listened to you very attentively though I have not seen you. But I have listened to one who has been appointed as your representative. You are bravely standing as a rock and have embarked on a path which is filled with thorns and stones. I listened to your speech which you delivered two days ago on Friday in Ramadhan in the Jama [Mosque] of Mosul. We are aware that all the Sunni tribes are with you. Apart from them, the jihadi organizations do not want to fight against you. All have accepted whatever role you are playing and have accepted you as Emir-ul-Momineen.

"I would also like to say that justice should be delivered and oppression should be done away with. All the groups should be seen on one platform. I wish that the Islamic State turns into an Islamic Caliphate. Followers of one religion should not target the followers of another religion. Shias and Sunnis should not be killed. Followers of all religions should be given justice. No one should be killed without justification except when it is permissible, that is those who fight against God and his Prophet PBUH [peace be upon him] and spread mischief. The killing of women, the old and children is not permissible in any circumstances except when their crime is proved and the sentence is pronounced by God-fearing Qazis [Islamic judges]."[5]

Following is A copy of the letter:[6]



[1] Roznama Aag (India), July 17, 2014.

[2] (India), July 17, 2014.

[3] (India), July 17, 2014.

[4] (India), July 17, 2014.

[5] (India), July 17, 2014.

[6], accessed July 20, 2014.