Just over a week ago, a new clerical body was formed, al-Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham (Advisory Council of the People of Knowledge in Syria), which includes Islamists from within Syria and from outside. Among the notable foreigners are Umar al-Hadushi, a Moroccan jihadi-salafist, and Muhammad Ould al-Dedew, a Mauritanian who is more in line with the Sururis. There is also Abdallah al-Muhaysini, the Saudi jihadi cleric who is very close to al-Qaeda’s leadership inside Syria. From among Syrians, there are two Ahrar al-Sham notables, Dr. Ayman al-Harush and Mohamed Ayman Aboul-Tout (Abu Abbas al-Shami); Sa’ad al-Uthman, the son of Abd al-Karim, a major figure in the Hama wing of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmad al-Salum, a Sururi (an activist/political Salafi).
The Council’s first statement condemned the 25 July assassination of the Faylaq al-Sham commander Mazin al-Qassum by Islamic State (IS) operatives with Jund al-Aqsa, and demanded that all groups clarify their stance on IS and cleanse their ranks of IS agents and sympathizers. Today’s fatwa, “Concerning cooperation and coordination with the Turks in repelling Daesh and the PKK,” licensed Muslims to work with the Turkish government against IS and the PKK. The fatwa is reproduced below.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
All the praises and thanks be to Allah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon the final Prophet, and his family, companions and those who follow him.
As to what follows:
We bring the people of al-Sham (Syria) in particular and the people of Islam in general, the good tiding that a large group from the students of knowledge in Syria joined and formed a Shura Council, to study calamities that befell the area of Syria.
The Council will issue fatwas and decisions that take the maslahah (public interest) of the umma (Islamic community or nation) into account. With a plain effort from the virtuous ones from the scholars and students of knowledge we respond to doubts of the people of disbelief, deviation, and whims.
Al-Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham (Advisory Council of the People of Knowledge in Syria) is aimed at accuracy of fatwas, elimination of chaos that is present in some fatwas, and for it to be a reference for the factions and brigades from the people of jihad, sincerity, and piety.
The topic of our fatwa:
A calamity befell us—the community of Ahl al-Sham—after two years of jihad against the Nusayris.
It is the emergence of suspicious deviant sects [is the Islamic State] that speak in the name of Islam and distort texts, mislead the minds, does takfir on the Muslims, kills the righteous and wicked of them, the pious of them and their dhimmis, with various crimes and sins.
They corrupt in the land and transgress against the wealth, person and honour.
Before, the likes of them spoiled the jihad of the Muslims in all the fields. And they were a hobby horse for every enemy that is scheming against the people of Islam. They caused a great evil in Syria and they split the ranks of the mujahideen with a horrendous separation.
The mujahid factions avoided them and the disaster with them became enormous. It added fuel to the fire against the people of Syria in their fight against the Nusayris, Rawafid, the evil Daesh, and the atheist PKK party of the Kurds, an extension of communism and the defunct Marxism.
They narrowed the ways of the sincere steadfast mujahideen. All the people of justice from the people of Islam in Syria suffered tribulation due to them.
The nations and people deserted them except for a few of them, and all friends and companions deserted them except the Turks, government and people—may Allah reward them.
They received displaced persons and honoured them. They opened the Turkish hospitals for the wounded, gave the needy and vulnerable food, drink, clothing, and furniture. So Allah thanked their efforts, and provided for their donations, and made their country safe.
Whereas the trouble on Syria was severe, conspiracies contrived against them non-stop and there was no way for them to salvation except through reliance on Allah the Glorified and Exalted, their private and open supplications and their invocations to remove the calamity, send down mercy and relieve the agony.
The Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) said: “You gain no victory or livelihood except through (the blessings and invocations of) the weak amongst you” [Narrated by al-Bukhari].
So Allah responded to them. While the people of Syria were experiencing this great disaster and dread, all of the sudden Allah let something occur and he changed for them some circumstances, at which the evil Daesh and traitorous party of the PKK became a dangerous exporter and a dread for the Turks. They exploited and occupied Turkey with some matter, so they became a threat to its security and stability. They frightened its people, fought and bombed, so the Turkish government acted to repulse their tyranny and aggression. It took the decision to wage war, decided to fight and hit these two shady groups and that was for the people of justice in Syria a relief and way out, provided that they excel in the usage of shar’i politics and the exploiting of the present circumstances.
So, as a fulfilment from us, we—al-Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham—for protection of the word, and commitment from us to support the vulnerable from among the people of Syria, it declares the following:
The government of Turkey is from the best existing governments in the Islamic and Arab world, without reference to its hukm (religious arbitration), and considers the closest the interest of the worshippers and country compared to some other governments and has many standpoints concordant with correct general denotations of the Islamic religion and the Sunna like helping the oppressed and aiding the distressed.
The Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) is a Muslim party, generally, even if it failed to establish the ahkam (legal codes) of Islam, because they don’t possess the ability to decide what they want and desire. There are powerful obstacles preventing them from the announcement of shari’a arbitration in the country and we don’t find an offense with resorting to Muslims similar to these to eliminate this criminal misguided sect that claims Islam and kills Muslims [IS]. The government of Turkey in a general form is reliably on-side and reliably aware of the dangers; most probably there is no force more worried about the success of the revolution in Syria than the Turkish government. It is capable of stopping the danger of this evil surrounding the Muslims in Syria, represented by the criminal Daesh and the party of the atheist PKK.
The present leader of Turkey inherited an immense inheritance from his predecessors, of shar’i contradictions in the laws and agreements that contradict the religion. They cannot be removed except with gradualness and a lengthy effort. This is required from the shari’a and the intellect; we don’t endorse for them a continuity of these evils, but we excuse them and we interpret them for them. Our evidence in that is that since they [the AKP] came to power the power of Islam is ascending and the power of disbelief is descending.
Hence, al-Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham issues a fatwa to the mujahid factions, declaring lawful coordination and cooperation with Turkey led by the Justice and Development Party against Daesh and the PKK in what serves the Muslims and pushes the harm and destruction and extermination away from them, without harm by anyone from them nor damage, and that is what we hope from the Turkey’s government and assume from it.
PKK is a group that apostatized outspokenly from the religion, and they are a natural extension for the worldwide Leftist communism. In addition to its historic aggression towards Islam and the Muslims, they have a damaging influence on Islam in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.
Daesh is a faction of shady Khawarij. It has corrupted a lot, damaged the great goals of the people of justice and Islam in Syria, and carried out aggression against them. It contradicts the summary of its creed—the creed of ahl al-sunnah wal-jama’ah—and the West and the Majus [Iranians] use it to fight us, to thwart the emerging Islamic project in Syria, like it did before in Iraq.
That’s why fighting [IS] and pushing them back is required, and tracking their supervisors, killing their captives, and seizing their funds for the benefit of the jihad. Because they have a group aligning with it, and it has been established that they were returning each time to fight the Muslims and mujahideen. Benignity and kindness towards them didn’t avail with them and the sanctity of the blood of those deviated misguided ones is not greater than that of the blood of the mujahideen.
Allah the Most High said: “And indeed whosoever takes revenge after he has suffered wrong, for such there is no way (of blame) against them (41) The way is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth without justification; for such there will be a painful torment (42)” [al-Shura].
Ibn Jarir al-Tabarani said, may Allah have mercy on him: “If it would be obligatory in every disagreement between two groups to flee from it and the need of the ranks, when I substantiate a proof and I don’t abolish the falsehood, the people of hypocrisy and immorality would find a way to make everything that Allah made forbidden for them halal and keep the hands of the Muslims from them”. And that opposes the authentic hadith: “So, if the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari].
We—al-Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham—looked into the events of the offensives the PKK and Daesh carried out against Turkish soil and Turkish Muslim nationals and that were a direct cause for the setting up of the Turkish campaign to keep her borders and people of her country safe. That’s why we—al-Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham—see a necessity to support the Turkish government by the Syrian mujahid factions in its operation, to break the spine of these two misguided groups, and since it returns with a great impact for the support of the mujahideen in the Land of Syria (Bilad al-Sham), and to elevate the word of Islam, a realization of the words of Him the Most High: “Help you one another in righteousness and piety; but do not help one another in sin and transgression” [Al-Maidah: 2]. And since the Turkish government included varied parties besides the Party of Justice and Development, the alliance with them is from the category of his words, may peace and blessings be upon him: “I witnessed a treaty in the house of Abdullah Ibn Jud’an, I do not like to violate it even if I was given red camels, and if I was invited to take part in it in Islam, I would accept it” [Narrated by Ibn Hashim in the sura and others with a Hasan Sanad].
It is allowed for the people of justice from the people of Islam to resort to disbelievers to fighting the Khawarij, especially in necessity.
Some scholars allowed resorting to ahl al-dhimmah to fight against the Khawarij and their likes from the tyrannical Muslims. Al-Sarakhsi said in Al-Mabsut: “And it is no harm if the people of justice ask for help from a group from the people of injustice and ahl al-dhimmah against the Khawarij, if the verdict of the people of justice is manifest; because they fight for the sake of the religion”. And the mujahideen of Syria are as such and their characteristics can be found in the hadiths: “The people of the west will continue to triumphantly follow the truth until the Hour is established” [narrated by Muslim]. And the people of the west are as Imam Ahmad said: They are the people of Syria, and they are the people of justice, and they fight for the sake of the Religion.
Our last call is that all the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds and may peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and on his family and all his companions.
Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham (Advisory Council of the People of Knowledge in Syria)
19 Shawwal 1436 [4 August 2015]