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the fatwa of the 26 clerics: open sermon to the militant iraqi people
About 26 Saudi theologians and missionaries addressed the Iraqi people in an open sermon at Friday prayers on Nov. 5, 2004. They asked for unity and solidarity in resisting the occupiers and stopping internal conflict. The clerics stressed the legality of the [Iraqi] resistance and the obligation of the Iraqi people to defend themselves, their honor and land. In addition, they issued a fatwa decreeing that it is forbidden to collaborate with the occupiers against the resistance.

Following is the text of the sermon originally published on the Web site Islam Today. For more about the fatwa, read an article that appeared in the Arab News by Prince Amr al-Faisal, a Saudi columnist, who was interviewed for FRONTLINE's program, "The House of Saud."

Open Sermon to the Militant Iraqi People

Thanks to God, Lord of the two worlds and his Prophet (peace be upon him).

The exceptional circumstances that our people in Iraq are going through brought about this sermon. These are times when we need to be in solidarity and support of each other. Also we need to exchange opinions and consult and get advice, which is the right of every Muslim.

And we won't hold back any effort to interpret what we think is right and beneficial to our Muslim brothers in this ancient country [Iraq] now going through a very dangerous war on all fronts, especially [since] this country might -- in all possibilities -- fall into civil war, division and the rise of an oppressive government occupation. We have summarized our opinion as follows:

  1. The most important advice is to yield to God's will and his directions and give up all the earthy ambitions, personal interests, interests of a party or a faction. God said: "[In the] House of the Hereafter, We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth; and the End is [best] for the righteous" (Al Qasas, 83).

And God knows what is in your hearts, you people of Iraq, especially those of you in position of power or influence be it material or spiritual. The righteous path [is] good intentions and giving up personal calculations and following the way of life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), as God said: "If Allah findeth any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" (Al Anfal, 70).

And let [this] be the beginning of solidarity, prevalence of justice among you and compassion towards one another. … [Avoid] conflict and all that it entails as we see this threat peering at us in this critical situation. The most important cause of conflict is when each is seduced by his own opinion and believes that he alone is capable of truth and righteousness and others [are full of] dubiousness and bad intentions. This is what paves the way to the war that the enemies of this [Muslim] nation are waiting for, and they would be pleased if [it] happen[ed] by our own hands instead of theirs.

  1. One of the conditions of success is [having an] understanding of the situation, [its] peculiar stage and the reality [of what] one is living. Any ambition or aspiration that does not involve a realistic vision and does not read the map with all its complexities, contradictions and colors will result in a failure, as God has said: "Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power" (Al Anfal, 60).

The greatest strength is the strength of the mind, analysis and strategic vision. Most problems arise from a difference in ways of looking at reality and not envisioning it righteously, or looking at reality from just one angle; also, relying on building a future without basing it on the present and understanding its difficulties. This is a matter that is difficult to apprehend for many and needs a collective vision based on living, knowledge, training, wisdom and experience.

  1. Without a doubt, fighting the occupiers is a duty of [all] who [are] able. It is a "defense jihad," and it comes under the law of rebutting the aggressor. It does not require a jihad of initiative or demand. It [defense jihad] does not require leadership but is employed as much as possible, as God said: "Be as pious as much as you can."

Those occupiers are -- without a doubt -- warriors of aggression, and divine laws have agreed about fighting them back so they leave humiliated and diminished, God willing.

All of the human [or earthly] laws included the recognition of the right of the people to resist them. The basis of this call to struggle against such [aggression] is what God [meant when he] said: "To those against whom war is made [waged], permission is given [to fight], because they are wronged; and verily, Allah is Most Powerful for their aid"
(Al Hajj, 39).

And God has instituted the right of defense to preserve life and build up justice and the rule of law. He said: "Had not Allah checked one set of people by means of another there would surely have been pulled-down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily, Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might, able to enforce His Will" (Al Hajj, 40).

The resistance is not only a right granted by law but also a duty by [divine] law, obligating the Iraqi people to defend themselves, their honor, their land, their oil, their present and their future against the colonial coalition as it resisted the British colonialism before that.

  1. It is not allowed for any Muslim to harm any of the men of the resistance, report on them, or harm any of their family or children. On the contrary, the obligation is to support them and protect them.

  1. It is forbidden to give any support or help to military operations executed by the soldiers of the occupation, as that will constitute a help for aggression.

  1. One of the conventions of the divine law (sharia'a) -- no contentions about it among Muslims -- is the preservation of the blood of Muslims, their wealth and their honor.

In the Quran, the biggest sin after apostasy is the willful killing of another believer. God said: "If a man kills a Believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (forever). And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him" (Al Nisa'a, 93).

In the book Sahih Al Bukhari [about the teachings and sayings of the prophet] "If two Muslims meet with their swords, the killer and the killed will go to hell."

And in the Sahihine [anther book of the prophet's sayings], Jarir said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his farewell hajj said to him: "And the people listened," and then said, "Do not become after me infidels hitting on each others necks [killing each other]".

And in the Sahih Al Bukari, Omar said that the Prophet (peace be upon him), said, "One is always free in his religion as long as he has not killed willfully." [The meaning of this saying is one can repent from all other sins but not from willful murder.]

We do not know a language that is stronger, clearer than this, it gives a proof and leaves no excuse to whom over interprets, maliciously interprets or is lax . … There is nothing better to protect the lives of the Muslims and their honor than this wise prophetic language. That is why it is necessary to keep in mind this rule that immunes the life of the Muslim, and protects his wealth and honor and leaves no room for interpretation. …

  1. It is clearly in the interest of Islam and the Muslims in Iraq not to target the weak, those who are not taking part in the military effort, and those whose country is not taking part in the military campaign against Iraq, like those who are doing humanitarian work, information work, or just have nothing to do with the military effort. God said: "Kill of the sake of God those who are trying to kill you and do not aggress [anybody else]. God does not like aggressors."

It is confirmed in the Sahihine [a book of prophetic sayings] that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stopped killing the hypocrites [around him]. And he did justify it by saying: "So people don't go around saying that Muhammad is killing his friends." So if the Prophet (peace be upon him) takes into consideration such a thing and makes him refrain from killing people that deserve to be killed, others should do the same. Especially that the media today is focusing on what is happening in Iraq and all that the Muslim people are doing. The duty is to measure the consequences of every act and evaluate its influence on Muslims and others.

  1. The preservation of the unity of Iraq is vital and necessary. There are invisible hands trying to kindle the fire of conflict and to tear down Iraq into different factions. They stimulate internal conflicts between Shi'a and Sunna or between Arabs and Kurds. Such internal war, [which] people from each faction get drawn to, is an evident harm and a free service to the Jews who are sneaking in to Iraq and to the coalition forces that use conflict to strengthen their hold. The aggression of one faction against another, the killing of leaders, the revealing of secrets and at the end each faction would say: "The Americans are better than those."

That is why all Iraqis should agree that it is their right to live in peace under the rule of Islam, one next to the other. This has been true historically for many long centuries. This critical stage of Iraq's history is not a golden opportunity that each group should turn to his advantage. The priority in this stage is to strengthen the unity of the country and the internal agreement and to avoid the causes of conflict and war. Each faction should leave the other alone because [they have] a common interest.

  1. It would be great if the people of Islam in general, those belonging to the da'wa [people propagating the Islamic faith, ie: fundamentalists] would direct their efforts to reform, to physical and moral upbringing, to humanitarian work, to educational and scholarly work, and to the vital activities. They would be close to peoples' hearts and feelings and would be characterized by kindness, patience and openness of heart. They would leave their differences aside, if at all possible, and they would have a tremendous impact on the building of the country and the leadership of its institutions.

The country is now is a formative stage, and the initiative is of a great impact, especially if it is coming from someone who masters the arts of management and organizational teamwork. That is why it is necessary to take advantage of the mosques, schools and other [media] to direct people and to communicate with them. One should invest in mass media, radios, satellite channels, newspapers, magazines; also give classes, lectures and seminars based on good judgment, vision, knowledge and right foundation away from subjectivity, personal stances or that of a party. One should not force people into specific denominations, into strict positions and sectarian conflicts that only lead to fragmentation, separation, difference, and conflict.

  1. We call on our Muslim brothers in the world to stand by their brothers in Iraq with sincere prayers and support as much as possible, as stressed by the Prophet (peace be upon him), especially that they are in hands of aggressors, victims of random raids, death and destruction that reached most regions of Iraq as we have most recently witnessed today in the city of Al Fallujah, which stands resilient and victorious, God willing.

We call on you to help your brothers with the good judgment and strong vision, and to not fall in hasty judgment, and to refrain from issuing fatwas right and left that only cause trouble between [us].

We call on you to stand by the Iraqi people in this painful ordeal and to rush in humanitarian organizations to fulfill the Iraqi needs of medicine, clothing and the necessities of life.

We ask God to protect the Muslim people in Iraq and Palestine and everywhere, and that He may stop the harm of the infidels [for] He is mightier and stronger and God is most knowledgeable. Prayers be upon his prophet Muhammad and his companions, and we thank God the Lord of the two worlds.


Dr. Sheikh: Ahmed Al Khadhiri, theology professor at the University of Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud

Dr. Sheikh: Ahmed Abed Al Latif, religion professor at University of Um Al Qura

Dr. Sheikh: Hamed Ben Yaqub Al Farih, professor of Koran at the teachers college in Dammam

Dr. Sheikh: Hatem Al Ooni, professor of prophetic sayings at University of Um Al Qura

Dr. Sheikh: Khaled Al Qasim, professor of Islamic studies at King Saud University

Dr. Sheikh: Saud Al Finnessan, former professor of Koranic studies at Imam University

Dr. Sheikh: Said Ben Nacir Al Ghamidi, professor of religion at the Law (Sharia'a) school- Abha

Dr. Sheikh Safar Abed Al Rahman Al Hawali, former professor of religion at University of Um Al Qura

Dr. Shiekh Salman Ben Fahd Al Awda, head of the organization "Islam Today".

Sheikh Attorney: Suleiman Al Rashudi, Attorney

Dr. Sheikh: Salah ben Muhammad Al Sultan, professor of Law(Sharia'a), University of Al Qasim

Dr. Sheikh: Abed Al Rahman ben Ahmed Aloosh Madkhali, professor of prophetic sayings at teachers college.

Dr. Sheikh: Abedel Aziz Al Ghamidi, professof of Law (Sharia'a) at King Khaled University in Abha.

Dr. Sheikh: Abed Allah ben Ibrahim Al Tariqi, professor of Islamic Culture at Imam University

Dr. Sheikh: Abed Allah ben Azeez Al Zaiidi, professor of Islamic Culture at Imam University

Dr. Shiekh: Abed Allah ben Wakeel Al Sheikh, professor of prophetic sayings at Imam University.

Dr. Sheikh: Abed Al Wahab ben Nacir Al Tariqi, deputy head of the "Islam Today"

Dr. Sheikh: Ali ben Hasan Assiri, professor of religion at the Law (Shari'a) School, Abha

Dr. Sheikh: Ali Badhadh, professor of Prophetic Sayings and Koranic Studies, King Abed Al Azeez University

Dr. Sheikh: Awadh ben Mohammad Al Qarni, former professor of fundamental Law, Imam University

Dr. Sheikh: Qasim ben Ahmed Al Qatradi, professor of Koranic studies, Law (Sharia'a) School. Abha

Dr. Sheikh: Mohammad ben Hassan Al Sharif, professor of Koranic studies, King Abed Al Azeez University

Dr. Sheikh: Mohammad ben Said Al Qahtani, former of professor of religion at Um Al Qura University

Dr. Sheikh: Mahdi Mohammad Rashad Al Hakmi, professor of prophetic sayings at teachers school, Jazan

Dr. Sheikh: Nacir Al Omr, head of the web site "The Muslim".

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posted feb. 8, 2005

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