March 23, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 4601

Arab Clerics Call to Kill Assad, Fight His 'Illegitimate' Regime

March 23, 2012
Syria | Special Dispatch No. 4601

Senior clerics across the Arab world have issued fatwas stating that jihad against the Syrian regime is a duty incumbent upon every Muslim, and even permitting to kill Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Some of the clerics also called to support the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is fighting Assad's regime.

The following are the main points of some of the clerics' fatwas and statements:

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: Assad Must be Opposed and Killed

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, told Al-Jazeera that clerics across the Muslim world agree that Assad must be fought against and even killed, because he is using his weapons against the peaceful Syrian people. Therefore, he said, the Muslims must wage jihad against him in their hearts, with their tongues (i.e., with words), or with weapons, as the FSA is doing. He added that it is a duty to fight this arrogant and tyrannical regime that is behaving as though it is God, and that the task of fighting it belongs first of all to the Syrians themselves, though the rest of the Muslims must assist them.[1] It should be noted that in August 2011, Al-Qaradhawi signed his name to a fatwa that was published in the Gulf, which called to sever all official ties with the "heretical" Assad regime.[2]

Safwat Hijazi: Whoever Kills Assad Will Go to Paradise

On March 16, 2012, the Egyptian Preachers Union held a conference titled "The role of the Muslim Nation and Muslim Faith in Supporting Syria and Palestine." Preacher Safwat Hijazi said at this conference that killing Assad is a fard 'ain (a duty incumbent upon every individual Muslim), and that whoever carries out this task will attain Paradise. He added that, had he not been a known figure, he would have undertaken this task himself, and added that, if any other Muslim undertook it, he would take responsibility for the killer's action upon himself. He claimed that over 400 scholars had signed fatwas permitting Assad's killing.[3] Hashem Islam, member of the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, said at a March 15, 2012 conference in Cairo that Assad must be assassinated to stop the killing of Syrians, and that the FSA, which is fighting Assad's gangs, must be assisted with money and arms.[4]

Syriam Iman: Allah Orders Muslims to Fight Tyrants

The imam of the Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas mosque, the largest in Syria's Idlib province, said in his March 2, 2012 Friday sermon: "O Muslims, Allah ordered you to fight [every] tyrant until he obeys the word of Allah, let alone [a leader] who has permitted [to spill] your blood [and violate] your honor, and has committed heresy against Islam. [The members of Assad's regime openly] publicize their hostility towards God, and their war is against [all of] humanity." The worshipers left the mosque crying "jihad! jihad!" and "millions of martyrs are marching to Paradise." The Algerian daily Al-Shurouq, which reported on the event, stated that this was the first time a cleric inside Syria had called for holy war.[5]

Saudi Preacher: Assad is an Infidel

Saudi preacher 'Aidh Al-Qarni said to Al-Arabiya TV that it is a duty to fight and kill Assad, because he is an infidel and his regime is an enemy of Islam. He added that "the Muslim religious scholars must assist the Syrian people against this treacherous regime... The Syrian people must take up arms against Bashar... [who] has lost his legitimacy and must be killed... He has killed hundreds of children and destroyed mosques instead of fulfilling his duty to defend the Golan." Al-Qarni said futher that 500 clerics have issued a fatwa against the Syrian regime, and explained: "These clerics believe that the regime is illegitimate, and that it is the duty of the Syrian people to wage jihad and take up arms against it. At the present time, killing Bashar is a greater duty than killing Israelis."[6]

General Guide of MB in Jordan: Muslims Must Assist Free Syrian Army

The general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Himam Sa'id, likewise ruled that fighting the Assad regime is "a religious duty," and that "the Muslims must assist the FSA, which is confronting [Assad's] army of crime, evil and aggression." He called the FSA fighters "mujahideen" and said that their dead count as "martyrs." At the same time, he called to continue the wave of non-violent popular protests in Syria. His statements implied that the duty of fighting the regime applies only to the Syrians themselves, i.e., that the war against this regime is not a holy war in which all Muslims must take part.[7]

Saudi Mufti: Monetary Support for FSA Counts as Jihad

Saudi Mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz Aal Sheikh said in a meeting with Kuwaiti clerics that supporting the FSA with money counts as jihad for the sake of Allah.[8] Saudi writer Ahmad Al-Saloum wrote, in an article posted on an oppositionist Syrian website, that the FSA must be supported in every way, and that fighting the 'Alawis [i.e., the sect to which Assad, and many others in the regime, belong] is more important than fighting the Jews or Christians: "There are increasing calls by clerics throughout the world to help the Muslims in Syria and defend them... Jihad against the Nusayris [i.e., 'Alawis] is one of the most important religious duties in the eyes of Allah... Jihad against them is more important than jihad against the Jews or Christians, because the damage [they inflict] upon Islam is more severe. Muslim scholars, both ancient and contemporary, ruled that it is a duty to wage jihad against them... It is the duty of every Muslim to assist the Syrian people, according to his abilities... Anyone who can do so must wage jihad against [the 'Alawis] with his soul [or] with money, and those who cannot, must at least support [the Syrians] with words... Anyone who has demonstrated against [the regime], fighting it with words or stones, or by burning tires, or in any other [way]... [thus] angering the infidel enemies of Allah, is [waging] jihad and counts as a mujahid.

"The ones who are currently helping the Muslims in Syria are the FSA [fighters]. This army must be assisted in every way... for it has raised the banner of defending Islam in Syria... If a Muslim, anywhere in the world, donates his charity money to the mujahideen of the FSA, it is better than donating [this money] to the poor in his own country... because giving [money to the FSA] benefits the entire [Muslim] nation. Undoubtedly, occupying Syria and liberating it from the ['Alawi] infidels will be the best [gift] for the Muslim nation this year, and even for the world as a whole."[9]


[1] See MEMRI TV clip no. 3370, "Sunni Cleric Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Bashar Al-Assad Deserves to Be Fought and Killed," March 4, 2012,

[2] See MEMRI Special Dispatch no. 4094, "Fatwa in the Gulf, Signed by Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Syrian Regime Is 'Heretical'; Sever Ties with It," August 22, 2011, Fatwa in the Gulf, Signed by Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Syrian Regime Is 'Heretical'; Sever Ties with It.

[3] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt),, March 16, 2012.

[4], March 16, 2012.

[5] Al-Shurouq (Algeria), March 2, 2012.

[6], February 27, 2012; Al-Sabaq (Saudi Arabia), February 26, 2012. See also MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 812, "The Global Jihad Movement versus the Assad Regime," March 16, 2012, The Global Jihad Movement versus the Assad Regime.

[7] Al-Sabil (Jordan), February 12, 2012.

[8] Al-Anba (Kuwait), March 11, 2012.

[9], March 16, 2012.

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