A council of ulema (clerics), some within Syria and some abroad, al-Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham (Advisory Council of the People of Knowledge in Syria), was formed late last month. Its first statement was to condemn the 25 July assassination of the Faylaq al-Sham commander Mazin al-Qassum by Islamic State (IS) operatives with Jund al-Aqsa, and to demand that all groups clarify their stance on IS and expel IS agents and sympathizers from their ranks. A fatwa early this month said it was permissible to work with Turkey against IS and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which in Syria operates politically under the name of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and militarily as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Among the leading names associated with this new council are three foreign Islamist scholars: Umar al-Hadouchi, a Moroccan jihadi-salafist; Muhammad al-Hassan Ould al-Dedew al-Shinqiti (not to be confused with Abu al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti), a Mauritanian more closely aligned with Sururism than outright jihadism; and Abdallah al-Muhaysini, a Saudi jihadist who is inside Syria and a member of al-Qaeda in everything but name. Prominent Syrians involved include Dr. Ayman al-Harush, associated with Ahrar al-Sham, and another Ahrar member, a shar’i, Mohamed Ayman Aboul-Tout (Abu Abbas al-Shami), who fought against the Assad regime during the revolt in the 1980s as part of the most extreme Islamist splinter from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Fighting Vanguard. There is also the son of Abd al-Karim, an important figure in the Hama branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sa’ad al-Uthman; a follower of the ideas of Muhammad Surur that mix Salafism with political agitation, Ahmad al-Salum, and many others.
Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham put out a statement today, “Response of the Ulema of Sham to Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi”. Al-Maqdisi’s real name is Issam al-Barqawi; he is based in Jordan and is the most influential jihadi-salafist cleric. The Council attacks al-Maqdisi for what they perceive as his softness toward IS. The statement, translated by @nasrshahada, is reproduced below.
All praises due to Allah Lord of the Worlds Who said: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves” [4:135]
And peace and blessings be upon the One sent as a Mercy and Guidance to all Mankind Who said: “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion amounts to the worst form of lying.” (Narrated Bukhari)
The purified Islamic shari’a has warned us about slandering the believers with kufr (disbelief), and calling them kuffar (disbelievers), except with strict and precise conditions and rules, that only qualified people of knowledge extract. In those days unfortunately, we have been afflicted with a wave of takfir (excommunication) and treating Muslims as “traitors and agents”. In a time when Muslims in Sham (Syria) suffer the worst forms of massacre and killing from different enemies, it is down to the people of knowledge to help them, support them and stand with them. Here is the city of Marea, Icon of the Revolution, land of the mujahid shaheed (martyr) Abdulqader al-Saleh, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, being attacked in a heinous way by the Khawarij of our Time [the Islamic State], who are near of besieging it completely, using all of their weapons, on top of their “Human Bombs” [suicide attacks], and each time people are nearer to taking a final, determinate stance on Daesh, some theoreticians comes out to stir up confusion with irresponsible statements, while claiming to speak haqq (truth) and speaking about fulfilling the duty of balagh (spreading the truth).
One of the most recent false statements is what Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi said in his Tweets, making implied takfir and describing as traitors large groups of the mujahideen in Syria. This was done in the course of him replying to the ones rejecting his stance against the illegal way of slaughtering of people, a bid’a (innovation, which has the same connotation in Islam as heresy in Christendom) introduced by Daesh, and al-Maqdisi accused those who punished Daesh members in the same way of having “Daeshi” behaviour, while he is far away of the jihadi scene of Syria and doesn’t know the reality of the situation. Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham has many remarks about Shaykh al-Maqdisi’s tweets, and we present these as advice for him and an excuse in front of Allah:
1) Leave alone your confused stance about Daesh, you shouldn’t have made an equivalence between those who made slaughtering of people halal (permissible) and made it their Sunna [IS], and the reaction of one person who made a mistake and whose jamaat (group) doesn’t allow the slaughtering of people [in principle]. How is the Khariji equal with the Sunni mujahid in the path of Allah? We see Daesh as Khawarij, and we see it allowed itself to kill Muslims whether on the offensive or fleeing, and to kill the wounded as well as their aseer (prisoners). We disapprove of the act of slaughtering; we want you to be balanced in your stance and clear in your expressions, for you not to be an aid for this rogue sect.
2) You gave a precious service to Daesh by consolidating their convictions that the ones who are fighting against them are murtadeen (apostates), and you have weakened the ranks of ahl al-sunna (the people of orthodoxy, i.e. Sunnis) by increasing confusion and hesitation in them [when it comes to confronting IS].
3) You have to know, our brother, that hesitation and reluctance in the [taking of the] blood of the Khawarij is indulgence towards [the dangers to] the blood of the Sunnis. We are your debaters in front of Allah for your forsaking of the Sunnis; if you don’t support them with even one word, at least don’t be against them.
4) We request from you, since you are proud of speaking truth, to clarify who are the awliya (allies) of the tawagheet (tyrants), and the Soldiers of the Mukhabarat (intelligence services), or else be silent; silence will suffice if you want peace and safety.
5) You have to know, brother, that the time of silence is over; we will not be silent about your dangerous allegations, including takfir and takween (calling people traitors) and backstabbing. It is enough. May Allah guide you, you have to review yourself and hold firm to the scholars. Beware of bypassing the Scholars of Syria: they are more knowledgeable of the ta’seel (extracting rules from the Qur’an and Sunna) and tanzeel (applying Qur’anic rulings and the Sunna to the reality in different situations). As our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon Him, said: “The one reported to isn’t like the one who saw and surveyed” [Narrated by Ahmad, Saheeh by Albani].
Our last supplication is: all praises is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon all of his relatives and companions.
Date: 15 Dhu al-Qi’da 1436 Hijri [30 August 2015 Gregorian]
Signatories of the Response from Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham:
Shaykh Ibrahim Hassun
Shaykh Abu Abbas al-Shami [real name: Mohamed Ayman Aboul-Tout]
Shaykh Abu Basir al-Tartusi [Abdul Munim Halima]
Shaykh Ahmad Idrees al-Ta’aan
Shaykh Ahmad al-Hasan
Shaykh Ahmad al-Alwaa’n
Dr. Ahmad al-Najeeb
Shaykh Ahmad al-Nadaaf
Dr. Ahmad Fares Salum
Shaykh Usama Sayed al-Qassem
Shaykh Usama Uthman
Shaykh Ayman al-Harush
Shaykh Bassel al-Ibrahim
Shaykh Bara Ourfli
Dr. Sa’ad al-Uthman
Shaykh Samir al-Jaloul
Shaykh Shareef Huzaa
Shaykh Suhayb Sayed al-Isa
Dr. Adel al-Hamad
Shaykh Abd al-Jaleel Zaynedeen
Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Jamili
Shaykh Abdallah al-Athari
Shaykh Abdallah Rahhal
Shaykh Abdallah Ghanoum
Dr. Abd al-Munim Zaynedeen
Shaykh Fayez Husain al-Salah
Dr. Muhammad Abdalkareem al-Shaykh
Dr Muhammad Musa al-Sharif
Dr. Mudather al-Bahee
Shaykh Muhannad Bouydani
Shaykh Nash’at Abu al-Haytham
Shaykh Yasin Alloush