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On Telegram, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Fatwa Justifies Killing Of Civilians In Martyrdom Attacks

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On June 28, 2018, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan ("Movement of the Pakistani Taliban," TTP) released a video on Telegram in which a fatwa ("Islamic decree") was issued in response to a question on civilian casualties in suicide attacks by the mujahideen.

As fatwas are delivered in response to a question, at the start of the video the following question is posed: "On many occasions, to target the military or police, the Taliban use martyrdom attacks in which common people are also killed... Are you not responsible for killing people who were not involved in these issues [of jihad and counter-terrorism]?"

Mufti Arshad Iqbal, a judge of the TTP's Central Darul Qaza ("House of Justice"), responds by arguing that there is a difference between ordinary situations and jihadi situations, but people's inability to differentiate between the two adds confusion. "In modern times, martyrdom attacks are the basic element of the mujahideen's operations. Generally, common people have concerns over them... This is because people are removed from the jihadi problems," he says.

Islamic scholars have discussed the issue of civilians getting killed in situations of war under the subject "tatarrus" (using a person or thing as a shield), he says. There can be many situations of tatarrus, Mufti Iqbal says, adding that Islamic jurists have defined tatarrus as situations in which kuffar ("infidels") and murtadeen ("apostates") may use innocent civilians as shields to save themselves from the mujahideen's attacks.

He uses the term masoom uddam for such innocent civilians, whose killing is not permitted whether they are Muslims or "children and women of kuffar." Mufti Iqbal says: "Some innocent civilians live in the midst of kuffar. In attacks on the kuffar, such innocent people receive losses, whether of life or wealth. Is it permissible or not [to launch such attacks]? In brief, I would like to say that this is permissible..."

After having made this point, Mufti Iqbal cites a hadith of Prophet Muhammad. Mufti Iqbal points out that during the time of Ghazwa-e-Banu Mustaliq, the Prophet Muhammad was asked by his sahaba ("companions") about the children of mushrikeen ("polytheists"), as to whether they can be killed, and the Prophet responded: "They are from among them."

The TTP commander also cites a companion of the Prophet as saying that the companion had killed seven of the family members of the mushrikeen. Even when civilians are used as a shield by someone and it is not possible to distinguish between those whose killing is permissible and those whose killing is not permissible, then they can be killed, Mufti Iqbal explains.

He adds that such civilians can be killed even if they are Muslims. Toward the end of the video, Mufti Iqbal quotes the Prophet Muhammad as saying that such civilians can be killed even when hiding in the House of Allah, i.e. the Kaaba in Mecca.

Source:, June 28, 2018.