November 20, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6225

Morocco's High Council Of Ulema In Fatwa Following Paris Attacks: 'Terror Is Forbidden In Islam; Only The Ruler May Declare Jihad'

November 20, 2015
Morocco | Special Dispatch No. 6225

The following report is from MEMRI's Counter-Radicalization Initiative.

The day after the November 13, 2015 terror attacks in Paris, Morocco's High Council of Ulema issued a fatwa on the distinction between jihad for the sake of Allah, which is legitimate, and terror, which is absolutely forbidden in Islam. The fatwa listed the different kinds of jihad (such as "jihad of the mind" and "jihad of the pen"), and stressed that armed jihad is a last resort, to be used only in extreme necessity, when the Muslims have been attacked and all peaceful avenues have been exhausted. The fatwa emphasized that, even then, only the ruler has the authority to declare armed jihad, and nobody else may do so at his own discretion.

Morocco's High Council of Ulema consists of 47 senior clerics and is headed by the King, who, according to the Moroccan constitution is the Emir Al-Muminin (Commander of the Faithful, a title usually reserved for the Caliph). The Constitution also stipulates that the High Council of Ulema is the only religious body in the country authorized to issue official fatwas.

On the order of King Mohammed VI, on November 14 the Moroccan Ministry of Endowments also issued instructions to preachers and imams on teaching the people the correct Islam and the true meaning of jihad.

The following is the text of the council's fatwa, followed by the instructions of the Endowments Ministry. [1]

The Fatwa Of The High Council Of Ulema

"In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful,

"Following the events that took place in France and brought about the death of innocent people under the excuse of waging jihad for the sake of Allah, and in order to remove any doubt as to what is jihad and what is not jihad, the High Council of Ulema is happy to clarify the truth in this matter. [It wishes to explain] what really [counts] as jihad in Islam and what is not jihad but rather [and act of] terror, aggression, terrifying peaceful people and killing innocents and is absolutely forbidden in Islam, as Allah said: '...Do not commit aggression, for surely, God does not love aggressors' [Koran 2:190], and also: 'Whoever killed a human being -except as punishment for murder or for spreading corruption in the land - shall be regarded as having killed all mankind' [Koran 5:32].

"As for legitimate jihad, it is of several kinds, the most important of them being jihad of the soul, which comes to shape, tame and cultivate the soul and prepare it to bear responsibility. Next come jihad of the mind, which is performed by training and polishing the mind and using it in a way that benefits humanity; jihad of the pen, performed by writing books and essays that enlighten the mind and confront doubts and false accusations directed at Islam and the Muslims; jihad of money, [performed] by making generous donations, which is one of the 'gates of good' [leading to Paradise], and also by contributing to social and economic development.

"As for armed jihad, Muslims do not resort to it except in cases of extreme need, when their enemies attacked them [first] and all peaceful options have failed. Jihad in this case is the last resort, and even then, it can only be declared on the order of the supreme imam [i.e., the ruler]. This is the sole prerogative of the ruler, for Islam has granted him alone the authority to declare [jihad], to call [on Muslims to join] it and to organize it - and no individual or organization may launch [jihad] at their own discretion.

"The religious scholars of Islam, past and present, have been careful to stress this [sole] prerogative [of the supreme imam] for the sake of the unity of the [Islamic] ummah and in order to keep it from disintegration, from internal struggles and from failures that would blacken its image.

"[Signed:] Mohammed Yessef,

 "Secretary-General, the High Council of Ulema"

The Endowment Ministry's Instructions To Preachers And Imams

"Following the criminal acts perpetrated by sinful hands in Paris, which resulted in injuries and deaths, and since the perpetrators of these unlawful acts purport to be members of the Muslim faith, and... justify their crimes based on [Islam], and lie about the religion to the extent of claiming that they carried out [the attacks] in defense of Islam... the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, on the instruction of Emir Al-Muminin [the King], may Allah preserve him, calls on the religious authorities, including the preachers and imams, to continue indoctrinating the people and guiding them on the straight path, while presenting religious and logical arguments to remind them and enlighten them, as follows:

1.      In order to understand the true definition of jihad one must appeal to the religious scholars of the [Muslim] ummah.

2.      Violence and coercion of every kind are alien to the [Muslim] faith and da'wa [preaching].

3.      Those who tarnish the image of Islam must not be allowed to do so, for this image is [the image] of all Muslims in the eyes of Allah and in the eyes of other nations.

4.      Individuals and groups must keep the gang of misguided and misleading [people] from imposing an erroneous understanding of the religion.

5.      Examining the events taking place today, it is clear to all that neither Islam nor the Muslims benefit from them, nor does humanity [at large], whose wellbeing depends upon peace, dialogue and compassion.

6.      The message of Islam includes values of [doing] good and of love, and the acts of the extremists hinder this message from reaching the world.

7.      The religious model that exists in the Moroccan Kingdom - both its ideological and practical aspects, and the concurrent activity towards a comprehensive revival - is a model that can repair the image of the faith and convince others. This requires [us] to keep this model unblemished.

8.      In addition to the inculcation of the correct religion, there must be awareness that the terrorist plan is based on intimidation and on [sparking] doubts [in people's minds], and that it will be thwarted someday thanks to the dedication of the ummah, the faith of the believers and the guidance of the reliable religious scholars..."  





[1], November 14, 2015.

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