March 18, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9837

Fatwa By Muslim Leaders In Russia: 'Military Operation' In Ukraine Is 'Preventive Strike' Russia Was Forced To Carry Out To Defend Its Citizens Against 'Real Threat Of Use Of Nuclear And Biological Weapons By NATO And Western Countries'; Muslims Killed 'In The Operation' Are Martyrs

March 18, 2022
Russia, Ukraine | Special Dispatch No. 9837

At a March 16, 2022 conference of leaders of Muslim religious organizations in Russia, held in in the city of Vladikavkaz, a fatwa was published expressing full support for the war against Ukraine and gave full backing to Russian policy. The fatwa stated that Russia's military action in Ukraine was permissible and justified according to Islamic law, as "a preventive defensive measure that Russia has been forced to take" due to "the concrete threat of the use of nuclear and biological weapons by NATO" and the West. It added that Muslims killed in the operation are shahids, i.e. martyrs, and will be rewarded by Allah.

The March 16 conference of leaders of Muslim religious organizations (Source:, March 16, 2022)

Following is a translation of the Russian Muslim leaders' fatwa:

"Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, peace and Allah's blessings to the most venerated Prophet, our Prophet Muhammad, to his family, his Companions, and those who follow him until the Day of Judgment!

"In Russia's centuries-old history, there have been some tough times, but whatever the difficulties, our  multinational people has always successfully overcome them. Undoubtedly, the events of recent days clearly illustrate that our country's might lies precisely in the unity and cohesiveness of the peoples inhabiting it and in their unparalleled love for the homeland. Russia has always been rich insincere, pious, and strong-willed people who valiantly and selflessly defended their homeland, and resisted the enemy with dignity.

"The Quran says: 'So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you'[1] (2:194). We recall the heroism of our forefathers in the years of World War I, the Great Patriotic War [World War II], and the Dagestan militias – ordinary men who, in the 1990s when they encountered a terrorist invasion, stood up for their country without hesitation.[2] [We recall] their heroism, their courage, and their extraordinary efforts in achieving victory over the enemy.

"Today, Muslims from our country's various regions are, as members of the Russian Federation's armed forces, are likewise ensuring peace, security and well-being for the people of Donbas. Today we are giving appropriately deep respect to our heroic compatriots, who when times are hard place their homeland's interest above their own [personal interests]. We wish to express appreciation and esteem to the parents who raised such sons in whom all Russia justifiably takes pride .

"It must be noted that the situation in the world today has escalated, and enmity and confrontation have intensified, as have media and economic pressure on our homeland, from the countries belonging to the 'collective West' that are exploiting the situation in Ukraine to conduct open aggression against Russia and discrimination against Russian citizens for their own devious ends, and for the sake of unscrupulous competition

"In this context, we, the representatives of the Muslim organizations in Russia, wish to declare our support for the leadership of the Russian Federation and our full endorsement of the defensive framework of its military doctrine. The nationalists who ostensibly represent the Ukrainian people [i.e. the Ukrainian government] have, over the course of eight years, continuously violated the Minsk agreements. For eight years, the Ukrainian leadership has been murdering peaceful residents, and has prepared for a blitzkrieg aimed at completely annihilating the population of the People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and to then bring NATO with its nuclear and biological weapons directly to Russia's borders – [thereby] creating a direct national security threat to our entire country and all our citizens.

"We recall how the 'collective West' annihilated countries such as Iraq, Libya, and Syria, illegally and inhumanely, violating moral and legal norms. Thus, its 'approaching our homes' constitutes not a theoretical but a direct military threat. For this reason, a preventive strike aimed at stopping a repeat of 1941 [when Nazi Germany launched its surprise attack on the Soviet Union], in which weapons of mass destruction are being used [sic], is a legal, moral, and justified method for conducting defensive policy.

"Islamic history has many examples of permission (halal) and justification for a preventive strike against an aggressor. The military actions of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) were defensive wars, not offensive wars. [In the early days of Islam] there were instances of preventive measures for defense, carried out following confirmation that the enemy had violated an agreement and was working zealously at treachery and aggression. [The Prophet Muhammad's] campaign against the Banu Mustaliq [627], the Battle of Tabuk [in 630], the Battle of Khaybar [628], and the Battle of Mu'tah [629] can serve as examples. All these [wars] were preventative-defensive in nature.

"We would also like to point out that on October 14, 1914, when there was a German military threat against our country,[3] the mufti of the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly (in the city of Ufa), Muhammad-yar Hizrat Sultanov, published a fatwa that stated: 'We the Muslims, together with the entire Russian nation, must help our country in these difficult times... During previous wars... the Russian Muslims showed tremendous self-sacrifice. Allah willing, they will again abundantly display their patriotism in the current events that are unfolding before us.' The words of this fatwa retain their relevance in the current situation as well.

"In light of the aforementioned, and based on the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), we affirm that the Russian military action in Ukraine aimed at forcing the aggressor to sue for peace is an obligatory preventive-defensive move in order to secure Russia and all its citizens from the genuine threat of the use of nuclear and biological weapons by NATO and the countries of the 'collective West.'

"Allah the Highest says in the Holy Quran: 'So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed – I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah, and Allah has with Him the best reward'[4] Based on this, and on the consensus of the ulema concerning the status of martyrs, we declare that all Muslims who are killed believing in Allah and carrying out their duty to protect their homeland, the Russian Federation, and its citizens are martyrs. Likewise, we have the utmost respect for members of other religions in Russia who were killed while fulfilling their duty to protect the homeland and its citizens, and we believe that Allah's reward awaits them.

"We call on all Russia's Muslims to strengthen [national] unity, to more actively explain and defend their position and the interests of the homeland in the framework of discourse with their coreligionists [i.e. Muslims] from other countries, and to repel all those who attempt to blacken the heroism of our brethren. Allah is with us! Victory is ours! Allahu akbar!"[5]



[2] A reference to the 1991 invasion of Dagestan by Chechen forces under the command of Shamil Basayev and Al-Khattab, which led to the second Chechen war.

[3] At that time, Imperial Germany and Czarist Russia were already at war, and Germany and the Ottoman Empire were negotiating the Ottoman Empire's entry into the war on the side of Germany, and this entry was to be accompanied by a declaration of jihad by the Turkish Sultan. The Germans believed that the call for jihad would stir up Muslims in the French, British, and Russian Empires. Although the Ottomans only entered the war in November 1914, the Russian authorities were aware of these plans. Additionally, in October, the Ottomans were already allowing German ships disguised as neutral Turkish vessels to bombard Russian targets in the Black Sea region.


[5], March 16, 2022. A different version of the text included the heading "Fatwa" above the second to the last paragraph., March 16, 2022.


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