Against the backdrop of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorism across the region, and the Arab regimes' struggles against extremist ideas, veteran Saudi journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh published a series of articles in the Saudi government daily Al-Jazirah in which he stated that the Koran explicitly bans suicide operations. In the articles, he argues that the permission for them given by Muslim Brotherhood (MB) clerics, and their depiction of them as martyrdom operations, is bid'a - a forbidden innovation in the religion - that violates the directive of the Koran.
Aal Al-Sheikh writes that this innovation has led Islam in a dangerous direction. It is this innovation, he says, that has given rise to the ISIS terrorism that is raging today and it is what encourages young people to carry out such operations despite the explicit Koranic prohibition.
He also states that the spread of the phenomenon of suicide attacks requires the reasonable Muslim clerics to take firm action to stop this deviation, and to fight the fabricated fatwas that define suicide operations as martyrdom.
The following are translated excerpts of several of Aal Al-Sheikh's articles:
Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh (image: kn19.com)
MB Is Exploiting Disturbed Young People To Carry Out Suicide Operations
"Salafi clerics who do not support the MB insist that suicide is forbidden by religious law and therefore 'suicide operations,' for whatever reason, are forbidden. Anyone who carries them out is not only not a martyr, but is destined for Hell.
"Among these prominent 'pure Salafi' sheikhs who are not MB supporters and who ban suicide operations and see them as a crime are [Saudi grand mufti] Sheikh 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin Baz [d. 1999], [prominent Saudi] sheikh Muhammad bin 'Uthaymin [d. 2001], and the authoritative [Saudi] Salafi sheikh of our time, Saleh Al-Fawzan. These three distinguished Salafis agree unanimously that suicide is forbidden, based on Allah['s statements in Koran 4:29]: 'And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you.'
"Therefore, when both MB and MB-supporting clerics permit suicide, they are going against an explicit and indisputable Koranic text; in addition, they are violating an ironclad principle of [Islamic] religious scholarship, according to which it is forbidden to issue an [independent] religious ruling regarding an issue on which there is an explicit text [in the Koran or the Hadith].
"ISIS, which split off from Al-Qaeda, which in turn split off ideologically from the MB, who support [Sayyid] Qutb, is undoubtedly a blatant mubtadi'. In religious jurisprudence a mubtadi' is one who invents, innovates or creates something [in Islam] for which no precedent exists in the previous generations... This is fully applicable to the claim that suicide is permitted, for no [tradition] has been handed down that attributes this claim to any religious scholar, not even among the other religious schools of thought [i.e., schools other than the Hanbali school dominant in Saudi Arabia] - except among a very minor group that was not Salafi and which advocated an allegorical interpretation of the Koran. [This group] emerged in Persia [and existed] for a short while before vanishing completely and [today] it no longer has any followers. It was called the Nizari Ismailiyya... In the West they called [its members] Hashishiyyoun [Assassins], and it was confined to the pages of history until the MB and its Salafis came along and revived [the idea that suicide is permitted] and associated it with the Sunna. [Moreover,] they called this an action of 'jihad.' Anyone who reads and investigates will easily discover that this is not part of the heritage of the early Muslims.
"This religious innovation developed in a particular direction, and came to the point where gullible young people with psychological problems are enticed by the MB movement, which pretends to be devout and which presents suicide as [an act of] martyrdom that purges the soul of sin and which is rewarded with the eternal bliss of Paradise. We must take firm action against this innovation and eliminate it from the root..."
We Must Fight Fatwas Permitting Suicide Operations And Eliminate This Phenomenon From The Root
"The divine prohibition on suicide is absolute and has no exceptions, and those who violate it are threatened with severe punishment, for it is said [in Koran 4:29-30]: 'And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you. And whoever commits this [act] through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into the Fire, and that is easy for Allah.' I do not understand how some of the MB innovators had the temerity to prefer dubious stories and traditions... over this clear and explicit text, which constitutes religious evidence for [issuing] rulings - let alone rule in a way that contravenes [the edicts of] the Creator by associating suicide with jihad.
"The spread of this forbidden phenomenon [of suicide operations] among the movements of political Islam, [and] its portrayal as [an act] clearly permitted by the religion, requires the reasonable Muslim clerics to take firm action to stop this deviation and fight these fabricated and groundless fatwas with all their might. [These fatwas] contravene the Koran to such an extent that only a religious scholar with sickness and hatred in his heart can innovate and take the words of out context [in this manner].
"If the religious scholars of the [Saudi] kingdom, launch an initiative to realize this noble goal in coordination with Al-Azhar and the other religious authorities, and permit the rulers throughout the Muslim world to monitor, punish and deter anyone who sanctions suicide operations - we will not only tie the hands of ISIS and Al-Qaeda but also protect Islam against those who toy with it and disrespect it. Preaching [against] terror and condemning it have not achieved the goal. So there is no solution but to come out against the religious infrastructure used by those who purport to be devout political Muslims, and fight them by treating them as criminals and pursuing them."
The MB Is The Source Of All The Current Evil That Purports To Be Muslim
In another article, Aal Al-Sheikh accused Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, and the MB in general, of issuing groundless fatwas sanctioning terror, which ultimately led to the terror of ISIS. He wrote: "One of the most prominent scholars who sanctioned the religious innovation of [permitting] suicide... and deceptively presented it as istishhad [martyrdom seeking], is the liar Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, of the MB. Their crime of [issuing] groundless and fabricated fatwas... resulted in [explosions that caused] limbs to be scattered everywhere... [perpetrated by] young people, most of them mentally disturbed, whose goal is to attain the Virgins of Paradise in order to satisfy their perverted sexual desire...
"The history of the Islamic shari'a included no genuine precedent for what is called istishhad until Al-Qaradhawi and his associates came along and fabricated it so as to serve as a political tool in their hands, satisfy their whims, and constitute a means for murder, bombings and violating the honor of women. The same goes for the term "istishhad operations," which they use to describe their actions... and to present them as a kind of jihad, when they are actually a kind of murder that is forbidden by the shari'a... The first ones in the modern era who defined these acts of murder as jihad were the MB, especially the MB's 'secret organization.' Mahdi 'Akef, the former supreme guide of the [Egyptian] MB, admitted the existence of this organization when he said, in a rare statement: 'We grow closer to Allah thanks to the actions of the secret organization'... The MB is responsible for [the phenomenon] of political murder [in the Muslim world], and for its repercussions and the terror it generated, from the assassination of [Egyptian] president Mahmoud Fahmi] Al-Nuqarshi [in 1948]... to the mosque bombings that are perpetrated [today] by ISIS suicide bombers, which are [likewise] the fruit of the MB ideology from the school of Sayyid Qutb... This organization is the source of all the evil that purports to [represent] devout Islam in the current era."
ISIS Leaders Guard Their Own Lives While Sending Others On Suicide Missions
In a third article, Aal Al-Sheikh accused the ISIS leaders of sending young people on suicide missions while carefully guarding their own lives, and added that anyone challenging the validity of the Koranic ban on suicide is similar to ISIS: "The leaders of ISIS, and its ideologues and sheikhs, carefully guard their own lives, hiding and taking extreme precautions. They themselves do not exhibit the courage that is displayed by the young ISIS [fighters] who carry out suicide operations... In my opinion, anyone who claims that suicide is permissible, [anyone] who fraudulently [denies] the absolute ban on suicide that is unanimously [accepted] by all the schools of Islam... must be similar to ISIS. This, because no student [of Islam], let alone a Muslim cleric, can read verse [4:30, which bans suicide]... and say, 'no, go ahead and kill yourselves, and forget about this verse, even though it is unequivocal' - unless he has characteristics in common with the members of ISIS."