“An explosive gift…to our mujahideen brothers in general and the mujahideen in the Levant in particular.” This is how online forums are promoting for a takfiri book making the rounds recently in North Lebanon. Takfiri ideology declares Muslims who do not conform to it to be apostates.
The book, authored by Egyptian Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Ali, was originally titled Issues of the Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence] of Jihad, but the pro al-Qaeda cleric Sheikh Maysara al-Gharib called this book – in his own work Al-Zarqawi as I Knew Him – The Fiqh of Blood. The book thus became known by this name in jihadi circles.
The book’s author delves into 20 issues related to jihad, presenting the view of the Hanbali and Maliki schools of Islamic jurisprudence on each of these issues, followed by what he calls the “consensus view of Muslim scholars”. Sheikh Ali then reaches his final conclusions, which are translated into religious edicts that must be followed in each case.
The first issue deals with the so-called dur al-harb (houses of war). During his research, the cleric, who is known in jihadi circles and Islamist websites as Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir, builds on an established rule that divides the world into two parts: Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Kufr wal Harb (House of Islam and House of Apostasy and War). By definition, the House of Islam consists of the places where Islamic Sharia is enforced.
The second issue was discussed under the title, No Right to Protection Except Through Faith or a Covenant. Here, the author, based on hadith – the sayings of the prophet – goes on to say that “every infidel that has not been given protection by Muslims through a covenant whereby he pays tribute money, or is granted truce or safety, then he shall not be safe in his blood or his money.” In this regard, the cleric uses the hadith and verses from the Quran to reach a conclusion that anyone not enjoying the right to protection may be killed.
The book then discusses the killing of women and children, beginning with the hadith that “prohibits the killing of women and children if they do not fight, but allows it if they do.” Yet at the same time, the book points out that “women have a great impact in warfare, including their roles in funding, and incitement of fighting.” Based on this premise, the book finds that killing them is permissible.
With regards to the distinction between civilians and combatants, the Sheikh believes that this distinction is false, given that Islam does not differentiate between civilians and combatants, but rather between Muslims and Infidels. Muslims are therefore safe in their lives in all circumstances, while infidels are not in any circumstance. Based on this principle, the cleric concludes that killing “infidels is permissible, be they women, children or of the elderly.”
According to Muhajir, killing infidels is lawful using whatever weapons available, even if they live with Muslims, whom it is unlawful to kill. He justifies this by invoking the higher goal of upholding the word of God.
Despite acknowledging that “killing Muslims is a major transgression,” he believes that this is “permissible, and is even mandatory, in order to avoid an even bigger transgression, which is the disruption of jihad.” He further reinforces his hypothesis by citing the fiqh rule which says that safeguarding religion takes precedence over safeguarding lives.
The book also deals with the permissibility of beheading infidels. The book interprets a verse in the Quran to say that “God has ordered that infidels and heathens be beheaded.” The book also relies on several sayings by Sunni imams to conclude that “Mowing necks and severing limbs are lawful practices.”
The author argues that “God did not only say ‘kill the infidels,’ because the phrase ‘strike the necks’ implies cruelty and severity that the word kill does not denote by itself. The killing was portrayed to be performed in the most dreadful way, namely beheading.” Thus, Muhajir surmises that “Beheading was intended and even favored by God and his Prophet, whether objectors like this or not.”
He also indicates that “the hadith mentions of striking necks are abundant,” and cites the incident where “Khalid ibn al-Walid in his wars against the apostates beheaded one of their leaders, then ordered the head to be cooked in a pot before eating from it to terrorize the Bedouin apostates and others.”
Sheikh Muhajir then addresses the provisions of mutilation, meaning the mutilation of the bodies of the dead by severing their limbs and gouging their eyes. Although he initially says that the Prophet had outlawed this practice, he stresses that it is permissible as a response in kind or in order to terrorize the enemy, at which point it becomes favored and even mandatory.
In the book, which is almost 600 pages, the cleric maintains that “it is permissible to use infidels, apostates and deviant sects in warfare,” because that would be “the equivalent of using dogs to fight heathens.”
Additionally, dozens of pages in the book were devoted to the Shia, whom the cleric deemed to be Rafidah (Rejecters) – a pejorative term whereby Shia are accused of rejecting Prophet Mohammad’s successors. Muhajir thus encourages the killing and punishment of Shia, claiming that they are a bigger threat to the nation of Islam than all enemies, and says, “those knowledgeable in Islam know that Shiites always side with the enemies of religion.”
Al-Muhajir, The Jihadi
The author of Issues of the Fiqh of Jihad is considered a prominent figure in the world of jihadis, who closely adhere to al-Qaeda’s ideology. Many senior leaders in al-Qaeda have sung praises of Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Ali, who is also known as Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir. These include prominent al-Qaeda figures Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The Egyptian cleric, who received his Islamic studies in Pakistan, had close ties with Zarqawi. Ayman Zawahiri is also quoted as saying that Sheikh Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir is one of the best mujahideen al-muhajireen – those who left their lives behind in order to live a life of devotion to Islam.
Zawahiri said that the cleric graduated from the Islamic University in Islamabad, and volunteered in Afghanistan, where he founded a scholarly center for Islamic preaching in the Khalden camp. He also taught at the Arabic language center in Qandahar, and then taught the mujahideen in Kabul and Herat.
Sheikh Muhajir was tipped to become the head of al-Qaeda’s Sharia Committee, had he not been apprehended. Despite rumors that U.S. troops had managed to capture him when he travelled to Iraq, Salafi jihadis maintain that he is “detained in Iranian prisons.”
Al Akhbar, 11 September, 2012.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.