Former Muslims Testify About Islam/Program 4
|By: Dr. Ergun Caner, Dr. Emir Caner; ©2003|
|The Thousand Years After Muhammad. How did his followers carry out Islamic beliefs? How were Christians treated? How were Jews treated?|
What evidence could cause devout Muslims today to leave Islam and embrace Christianity? Today on The John Ankerberg Show, two former Muslims tell why they turned away from Allah and placed their faith in Jesus Christ as God, knowing that their decision would cost them the love and acceptance of their family?
- Dr. Emir Caner: And so I told my father, necessarily, Allah and Jehovah are not the same gods. I worship Jesus Christ now. And he told us to make a decision between our religion and him, or better said, between our Heavenly Father and our earthly father. So I got up and I left. He disowned us.
These two brothers went on to get their Ph.D.’s, and now Dr. Ergun Caner is Associate Professor of Theology and Church History at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, and Dr. Emir Caner is Assistant Professor of Church History at Southeastern Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. In countries outside of America, if a Muslim leaves Islam and embraces Christianity, what consequences does he or she face?
- Emir: In many of the countries, what happens is, on a Friday day, the Jumaa prayer, they will take you to the city square, they will bury you up to your waist in your burial cloth….The indictment is read that you have converted to Christianity, and then everyone picks up the stones and you are stoned to death in the city square–for the sole indictment of being a believer in Jesus Christ.
Everyone in the world should understand what the religion of Islam teaches 1.6 billion Muslims of what they must do to have any hope of going to Heaven; of how they are to treat Christians, Jews, and other unbelievers in Islamic countries; how women are to be treated; the role of Islamic leaders in government, and when Jihad, or Holy War, is justifiable.
- Dr. Ergun Caner: If the numbers hold up right – and 16 percent of the Muslims worldwide believe that the bombing of the World Trade Towers was morally justifiable – if those numbers continue out, we’re talking about somewhere in the vicinity of 100 million Muslims who believe that jihadic acts are morally justified. And so you see that there is this divergence of opinion about jihad, but what we hear here in America, we have never heard anywhere else in the world. We’ve never heard certainly in our background that you would say jihad was only an internal struggle.
Today, we invite you to join us to hear two former Muslims talk about Islamic belief and practice on this edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’ve got an exciting one for you today. We’ve got two former Muslims who came to believe in Jesus Christ. Their family disowned them. They went on in their education to get their doctorates, and now they’re professors in two different Christian seminaries. They’ve written two best-selling books. And we’re talking about the overarching question of, Is Islam a peaceful religion? And in order to answer that question, we’ve been looking at a couple of areas. First, the life of Muhammad: is he the example that we’re supposed to follow? And today, we want to look at the thousand years after Muhammad. How did his followers carry out his teachings? And we’re going toward the Hadith (the Tradition), as well as the Qur’an. What does it say explicitly about jihad? And this is just crucial in light of all the things that are going on in our world that are part of the news every night. The aftermath of the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Arab conflict, the Palestinian conflict in the Holy Land, and the turmoil that’s in the rest of the Arab world, we need to understand Islamic beliefs and where folks, to the tune of a billion, six-hundred million people, are coming from.
- Guys, we’re glad that you’re here today. Emir, start us off in terms of what happened after Muhammad died. How did the people take his teaching, and how did they follow it up?
- Emir: Muhammad dies in 632 A.D. His first convert, Abu Bakr, outside of his wife, then takes over and really secures the Arabian Peninsula for Islam, which has been since that day and to this day an Islamic peninsula. He takes over Damascus, Syria. After Abu Bakr is out of the way, with other caliphs such as Uthman and Umar and so forth, they take over Damascus in 634, Baghdad in 636; they take over Jerusalem less than a decade later. They sweep through North Africa, places like Cairo and so forth, all the way up through the Iberian Peninsula, which is Spain and Portugal today. And exactly 100 years after they started, in 732 – a hundred years after Muhammad’s death – they’re finally stopped. And in of all places today, France, when Charles the Hammer, Charles Martel, at the Battle of Tours, stops the Muslims in their tracks. Their goal was to stop oppression. This is absolutely key with jihad. Oppression to the Muslim is anything that is not sharia law, that is not Islamic law. And so they were going to sweep through the south side of Europe, take over Europe and create this worldwide Islamic religion where theocracy is the key, politics and religion merged. Where the imams have a say, the mullahs have a say in which you’ll never have a separation of politics and religion.
- Ankerberg: Slow that down for us because, they swept through basically the known world at that time except for the top of Europe. What was their motivation to do so? Why did they do so?
- Emir: Because of the call of Muhammad.
- Ankerberg: Which was?
- Emir: That you must go to jihad – Surah 2:216; that it is “good for you,” and that jihad is good for those to whom you go because if you go to them, you relieve them out of oppression, out of their monarchies, and oligarchies, or today, their democracies; that you put them in a place where they have the perfect law, the straight way, the sharia law. And that those, then, can become Muslims, and if they refuse to become Muslims, they at least live under the perfect law, that is, sharia law, and they then have to abide by the laws that are found in the Hadith, the jurisprudence for Islam.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. I found it interesting in your writings that you were talking about the writings in the Qur’an actually say the blessing of Allah is evident in those who rule. In other words, that’s part of his blessing to people. If you get the position of power to rule, Allah has blessed you. Is that correct?
- Emir: Absolutely.
- Ankerberg: And then the second part of that is the fact is, if you are given that position, Allah expects you to do things. What are the things he’s expecting you to do as the ruler?
- Emir: “For the sake of Allah,” that is, to set up his laws, his ways, his morals, his jurisprudence, and that’s your responsibility. When we come to rule here, if you’re a Congressman of some sort, we are to uphold the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If you become a leader within a Muslim community, you are to uphold the laws of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad in what he spoke.
- Ankerberg: Ergun, take us into Iraq for a moment, because we’re trying to set up a democracy there and the fact is, is that in the first few meetings of the leaders, they all wanted to join Islam with the state. And tell the people why.
- Ergun: Well, what’s interesting about Iraq is this. It has always been, since it was formed as a country out of the Mesopotamias in 1921 – Winston Churchill, head of the Admiralty, gave it away – it has always been ruled by Sunnis. And this has been greatly infuriating to the vast majority of the Muslims who live in Iraq who are Shiite. You have about 20 percent are Kurds, maybe 20 percent are Sunni, but 60 percent are Shiites. As soon as Iraq fell, as soon as the regime of Saddam Hussein fell, the first song, the first sound you heard were Muslims who are Shiite who believe with all of their hearts that what Saddam Hussein had was a secular government, not secular because he didn’t always wear his headdress, but secular because he was a Sunni.
- The Sunnis and the Shiites, immediately following the death of Muhammad, you have that split. Muhammad did not know he was going to die. He did not leave marching orders, so to speak. So now the fight is on. Who will lead Islam? In 632 we have so many followers now. Muhammad’s last words were, according to the Hadith, “Push the pagans out of the Arabian Peninsula.” Well, how are we going to accomplish this? There was the group that wanted it to be a genetic leader, a trail of blood, so to speak, and they, the Shiites, believed that Ali needed to be the first leader, the first caliph. There are no more prophets, but a caliph. The rest of them said, “It has to be Muhammad’s best friend, the first convert, the richest man, the wealthy merchant, Abu Bakr.
- The vast majority of the people went with Abu Bakr and thus the vast majority of the people went with the Sunni. The small group split off and they became known as the Shiites. From that time, there has been warfare between Sunni and Shiite. The Shiite will never recognize any Uthman [e.g.], Umar. They will recognize no caliph until Ali. And so you have this fight between the two. In Iraq, whether we set up an Islamic republic of Sunni or an Islamic republic of Shiite, if we do not do as we did with Japan in World War II – give them the opportunity for free voice, a democracy – I hate to say it, but I think we’ll be back there in another ten years.
- Ankerberg: Okay. Go back and tie the second caliph to some of the things that are happening today. He defined the laws of mercy, that is, the protection to be given to Christians, Jews, and to non-Muslims. What was that all about and is it still in effect today?
- Emir: Well, Umar said, How do you handle when they surrender? This is something Muhammad didn’t have to deal with because it was all within one Arabian Peninsula. But now you’re dealing with different cultures and different people, and so the Pact of Umar [See appendix B.], one of the earliest documents that you see, he says you cannot build churches, rebuild churches, remodel churches. That when a Muslim wants to sit down, you must get up. When you have these things, you are a second-class citizen. And you must pay an extra tax, the Qur’an says. Now the Pact of Umar really makes the salient points and practical points of how to deal with these Christians, these Jews, or these polytheists. Now, oddly enough, the Christians and Jews found protection, but many times the polytheist had no right because they were not “people of the Book.” They were not people who had perverted the gospel of Allah, but nonetheless, they were polytheists and had no right to exist.
- Ankerberg: So that when the caliph would come in and the troops would conquer the people, they were given a choice, in essence. They had to submit and they also had to pay a tax, didn’t they?
- Emir: Jizyat, yes. You pay a tax, they say, because you cannot fight in a Muslim army. You cannot fight jihad. You cannot fight in a Muslim army. And so this is paying your conscription. That’s what a jizyat is.
- Ankerberg: And what if they didn’t pay the tax, and what if they didn’t submit?
- Ergun: You live under the Pact of Umar, you either submit or you are “submitted.”
- Ankerberg: Yeah.
- Emir: And that’s when Surah 5:33 comes. That’s when you can exile. That’s when you can imprison. That’s when you can crucify or execute. And when you can do those things: in Morocco you have imprisonment today; in Pakistan you have the “blasphemy law by execution.” And all of these things are what modern Muslim purist countries, Islamic republics, adhere to today, and it comes straight from the Pact of Umar.
- Ergun: Islamic republics, by their very nature, cannot allow for religious freedom. They must allow, at best, for religious toleration. Religious toleration means you, as a Christian, you are allowed to live in our country, the laws we just spoke of; but you cannot paint the walls of your church. You cannot expand the land upon which your church builds. You cannot do the very thing that Christianity calls us to do, which is the Great Commission. If you win your child to Christ, fine. They aren’t going to care. If your child becomes a Muslim, you cannot prohibit him. If you win a Muslim to Christ, at best, you are deported.
- Ankerberg: Take about a minute. Give me a prediction on Iraq. I mean, we aren’t prophets here in the sense that we can tell the future, but the fact is, according to the information that you know, if they do set up a democracy that is tied to religion in Iraq, where are we heading in the future?
- Ergun: It could be the grand experiment. What our president, I think, with very strong prescience and biblical wisdom, said is, we want to give them the right to speak. If you allow women the right to speak, as well as the men, and say, “Do you want education or do you not? Do you want to be part and parcel of society or not? Do you want religious pluralism, freedom of the press or not?” – I absolutely believe, I absolutely believe, given the choice and given a voice, that the people in Iraq will choose democracy. They will choose freedom. If not, if they are “voted for,” so to speak – if someone votes for them – we will be back in Iraq again. We will have to, because they will become harbingers and harborers of what we would call terrorists, the Muslims who call themselves purists.
- Ankerberg: But Emir, isn’t this, if they take the freedom, and the women talk, and they get the education, isn’t this the very thing that some of the Muslim historians have looked at and said, “We’ve got a problem, because now, the faith itself is being destroyed”?
- Emir: You have a rise of purist Islam over the last 20 years, but since September 11, now we are no longer in a “cold war,” we’re in a confessional war. And they recognize this as a war of worldviews. If you introduce freedom, then by negation they will have to take what Muhammad said only historically, or allegorically. They’ll have to somehow modify it in one way or the other and truly remove much of Islam’s tenets, and place inside of it instead freedom to believe however you wish to believe. And so this is a grand experiment, so to speak. But this happened in Japan. This happened in the Korean Peninsula. And since that happened, Japan has become an incredible democracy. Korea itself has become, one of two are Christians now because where you have an open Bible and an open mind, it will make a Christian every time.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to talk more about who is actually going to speak for Islam in the days ahead. We need to finish out the thousand year period of history, so people have a historical perspective of where Muslims are coming from when they look back on their own history. What have they done? What did they think they do? What do they want to do in the future? This is going to be fantastic information, so stick with us.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with two former Muslims who became Christians. Their family disowned them. They went on in their education and became professors in two different Christian seminaries. They’ve got two best-selling books, and we’re talking about, Is Islam a peaceful religion? It’s the key question of our day. What do 1.6 billion Muslims across the world believe and hold to.
- And to understand that, we’ve been looking at the life of Muhammad; is he the example that we should be following? And now we’re talking about the thousand years after Muhammad lived. How did his followers carry out his teachings, especially in terms of jihad. Emir, keep us going here. Summarize where we were at and where we need to get to here.
- Emir: Well, after the Battle of Tours in 732, the Muslims basically have to regroup. I mean, they have the Iberian Peninsula. That’s why Spain, until 1492, is under Muslim control, under the Moorish control. But the empire is so expansive, all the way through the North African continent, all the way touching China to the other side, all the way to Europe, you have this incredible empire. So now the question is, who’s going to be the center? What’s going to be the epicenter of Islam? It was Damascus. It moves to Baghdad. After Baghdad, it goes to Cairo, where we see, even today, what is the most popular Muslim, most authentic Muslim seminary in the world. And so they internalize it for two or three hundred years, while still conquering. And then come the Crusades.
- Ankerberg: What happened in the Crusades?
- Ergun: Well, in the Crusades, sadly, Christianity decided, well, if it’s good for the goose, it’s good for us. The Muslims had taken over Jerusalem and it had cut off pilgrimages. The Church had split, East and West, obviously starting in the eighth century, but had finalized in 1054. And what you had was, nobody could send pilgrims to Jerusalem and follow the steps of Christ, the stations of the cross, so to speak. So the leader, the emperor of the East, writes a letter to the pope, Pope Urban II. The pope, who has got warring to deal with himself – I mean, he’s got the Teutons against the Gauls, etc. – he decides, “I’ve found it. Find a common enemy and we will stop fighting civil wars.” He stands up at the Council of Claremont in November of 1095, and on November 27 he says with a resounding voice, “Deus Vult,” “God wills it!”
- Well, everyone decides to go, but he throws in the caveat which is, in my mind, in our estimation, the darkest day in Christian history, post-Pentecost. He says, “If you die in battle, Christ will forgive your sin.” Now, we had always had Christians in the military. I mean, from the thundering legion of Marcus Aurelius we’d had Christians in the military. But this was different. This wasn’t a “just war” criteria, this was holy war. Christianity, for one dark moment, adopted Islamic jihad. We had, in effect, Christian jihad. He said Christ will forgive you if you die in battle. Christ will forgive you. You are given heaven as your home.
- Ankerberg: And Christ never said that.
- Ergun: No! When Christ disarmed Peter, one of the patristics said, He disarmed Christian holy war, in the Garden of Gethsemane. We cannot fight in the name of Christ. We can fight as Christians; we live and operate by the just war criteria, but we do not fight as a Christian army.
- Ankerberg: So we admit that that happened, and it’s terrible…
- Ergun: Oh, yeah.
- Ankerberg: …and we can use Christ to condemn it.
- Ergun: Yes! And it’s horrific. And this is salient, this vital for our discussion. Because in the name of Christ, we slaughtered Jews at Antioch, the siege at Antioch at Acre. We slaughtered Muslims. We called them to convert or else. We did Inquisitions. We burned heretics in the name of theocracy. We allowed it, even Calvin and Servetus. Because of this, to this day, Muslims call Christians “the Crusaders.” Bin Laden, in his first released videotape following the bombing of 9/11 said, “I have gotten to the Crusaders.” We as Americans say, “Wait a minute. America wasn’t even a nation at this time.” But see, in a Muslim mind, this was a battle against the Crusaders.
- Ankerberg: Okay, keep it going here. The fact is, the Crusaders came and they started to attack Muslims. What happened?
- Emir: Well, the first one was, we were successful. We took Jerusalem back. We got the pilgrimage going once again until the hero within Islamic theology, Saladin. In 1187, he recaptured Jerusalem, and truly, until 1187 until 1291, you have the Muslims conquering over and over again, and the Christians being defeated over and over again. And it got so ugly that Christians not only fought against Muslims, Christians fought against each other. The West versus the East.
- Ergun: We had the darkest day of 1212, when our men had been defeated so often, we decided to send our children. The children’s crusade. This little boy in France named Peter said, “I will lead the children. The children will lead.” And it was a wholesale slaughter.
- Now, the reason we bring this up is because Christianity had six subsequent defeats. Constantly! And every time we said, “God wills it! You will die, you will go as a martyr. You will go as a martyr for Jesus,” and we kept getting defeated. All these promises of victory, I think God had to use the darkest actions of man to show us that Christ did not call us to warfare. Christ called us to love our enemies. To this day, if somebody in the name of Christ says, “Go and kill,” no! In the name of Christ? No! We are subject to the authority of our country, absolutely. But in the name of Christ? Absolutely not! We are not called to this. And so we condemn the Crusades. We condemn the Inquisitions. We condemn killing “in the name of Christ.” We have never met a Muslim, a Muslim leader, who is willing to call other Muslims to lay down arms, to quit jihad. They won’t condone jihad, but neither will they condemn it.
- Emir: And that’s the contradiction in Christian theology, 2 Peter 3:9: “God is willing that none should perish, but all should come to repentance” compared to Surah 5 where, if you do anything against Islam, you should die. And then in the Hadith 9:57, if a Muslim changes his Islamic religion, kill him. To the Christian, we want Muslims to be here because this is the only chance which any of us get. This is not an “us against them” mentality, this is a “Christ for them” mentality, and it’s wholly different. When we send missionaries, they see us as if we wish to conquer. We’re not there to conquer them. We’re there to give them the only hope that the world has in Jesus Christ.
- Ankerberg: Now Emir, isn’t it true to say that Muslims, looking back at their own history, through their eyes, they saw themselves as being successful, as being blessed by Allah, by actually carrying out the commands of Muhammad in the Qur’an, and that Allah was blessing them? Okay? But then, there came a period of time where they started to experience defeat, and what did that feel like to them?
- Emir: Well, to them, they had to somehow rationalize: How can Allah lose? Well, perhaps Allah made them lose because they were arrogant (Surah 4). Maybe it was something they did. But all of a sudden, for the first thousand years they were on the offensive, and now they’re on the defensive. Colonialism comes to be. The Brits and the Dutch and the French and others win over so much parts of Africa but also the Mideast, and now they’re in subjugation to those who they should be subjugating. And to this day, colonialism has a bitter taste in their mouth because they were the colonizers for the first thousand years. And it’s not bitter just because of colonization, but because those who have no right to subjugate, those who are infidels and inferior, are all of a sudden, for the next 300 years until the time of 1940s, 50s and 60s, are the ones who are in control of a land that they shouldn’t even inhabit, according to many listeners.
- Ankerberg: So, for a thousand years they were successful, and then they got beaten back, and for the last 300 years they’ve been, what?
- Emir: The last 300 years, it was colonization and now, since 1940s up until today, you have this re-emergence of Islamic purism. You know, the re-emergence of Islamic states all across the Mideast, the re-emergence of an offensive Islamic jihad in the Sudan, in Nigeria, and in Kenya and Malaysia. And across the world you see it over and over and over again. People are persecuted for their faith. And we must stand and recognize that more people will die perhaps in this century, in this new millennium, than in all 20 centuries previous to this. It will come under the hand of Islam and the rationalization of sharia law.
- Ankerberg: Ergun, in terms of the two points, of the life of Muhammad and the thousand years after he lived, what do those two things say in reference to jihad to Muslims living today?
- Ergun: When we first started speaking out on this and referencing jihad as far as it’s in the Qur’an and in the Hadith, Muslims would jump up and say, “No, no, no, no, no. Jihad is personal holiness.” And we would say, “Well, yes, of course. But it is also public acts of warfare.” And they would say, “No, no, no. You are misinterpreting this. You’re misinterpreting this.” We have 1,300 years of history on our side. We have 1,300 years of active, consistent, constant warfare. We have in Israel the Palestinians. We have a constant warfare that will not let up, will not shut up, will not back up. This will not let up, I do not believe, until the Prince of Peace returns. The best we can hope for is a truce. But when you have a worldview that says it has to be established as a theocracy, i.e., sharia law, or a democracy, this is going to clash because the two can never be twain.
- Ankerberg: Because of the modern era coming in, of women starting to be educated and children being corrupted because of the West and so on, and they look like Islam is being beaten back, both physically as well as spiritually, people that come to the West are being corrupted and so on, and they’re not following the Qur’an as much, now you’ve written in your book that they feel like they’ve got no choice. What does that mean?
- Ergun: It means they feel jihad is the last option they have.
- Ankerberg: They’ve got to fight back.
- Ergun: Twenty-five years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini said, “We will make America a Muslim nation.”
- Ankerberg: Alright, what about other countries that are examples of this right now while we’re sitting here doing this TV program?
- Ergun: Seven million people in France are Muslim. They say that they have six children per family; Christians only have two. Biologically, they will overtake us.
- Ankerberg: What about Kuwait?
- Emir: In Kuwait, we freed them in 1991. They were grateful for it. Indeed, they are still grateful, you can see at least to a degree. But, you still have theocracy. You still have sharia law, and indeed, in Kuwait you cannot proselytize. In Kuwait you have restrictions against any of the churches. In Kuwait you have religious persecution. In the same very fact where we freed them, they will not have freedom as a primary essential tenet.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. I was shocked to find out that they have actually outlawed non-Islamic education. You can’t have any Christian education. What about Kenya?
- Ergun: Well, there as well, you have restrictions on any type of what they call proselytizing, we call sharing the Great Commission.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, but they declared jihad against the Africa Inland Church as well as World Vision.
- Ergun: World Vision which they see as a trick. They see these “social Gospel,” things that we use to open the door, they see these as a trick. And if you come in and feed us, that’s fine. Clothe us, that’s fine. If you tell us about the Gospel, you have betrayed us.
- Ankerberg: What about the Brunei government?
- Emir: Same thing. Brunei and Morocco, you can be fined, imprisoned, executed because of these aspects of what they see as immorality, perversion; that they’re destroying their culture; that the West is coming in and missionizing them. I mean, the absolutely worst thing you can do is not come in with an army but come in with missionaries.
- Ankerberg: Bangladesh. The constitution guarantees religious freedom, yet in 1998 it was amended. Now you only have Islam as the state religion. Tanzania banned all religious preaching outside of churches. Is this where we’re going in Iraq?
- Emir: This may be where we’re going. We have to remind ourselves it took 150 years in our own country to find freedom. The Bill of Rights didn’t come until 1791. We didn’t have religious freedom until really in the nineteenth century. And we cannot, overnight, make a democratic situation, but we can make something better than it was.
- Ankerberg: Ergun, wrap it up here. What’s a positive word in terms of Christianity versus Islam?
- Ergun: I think what we’ve spent 17 years of our life doing – which is calling Christians not to defeat the Muslim, not to hate the Muslim, not to abrogate the Muslim or to try to kill the Muslim. It is our job to love the Muslim because that’s the message we share with them. Jesus Christ died for you. Jesus Christ died not to kill you, He died to offer you grace and salvation so you don’t have to shed your blood. And I pray that Christians around the world have started praying for our people, praying that they may be saved. Praying that bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and other Muslim leaders come to a faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Appendix A – Text of the 1998 Fatwa Against America
Statement signed by Sheikh Usamah Bin-Muhammad Bin-Ladin; Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Jihad Group in Egypt; Abu- Yasir Rifa’i Ahmad Taha, a leader of the Islamic Group; Sheikh Mir Hamzah, secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan; and Fazlul Rahman, leader of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh
Praise be to God, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)”; and peace be upon our Prophet, Muhammad Bin-‘Abdallah, who said “I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but God is worshipped, God who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders.” The Arabian Peninsula has never — since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas — been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies now spreading in it like locusts, consuming its riches and destroying its plantations. All this is happening at a time when nations are attacking Muslims like people fighting over a plate of food. In the light of the grave situation and the lack of support, we and you are obliged to discuss current events, and we should all agree on how to settle the matter.
No one argues today about three facts that are known to everyone; we will list them, in order to remind everyone:
First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.
If some people have formerly debated the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it.
The best proof of this is the Americans’ continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, still they are helpless. Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, in excess of 1 million… despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation.
So now they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors.
Third, if the Americans’ aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews’ petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there.
The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel’s survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.
All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his messenger, and Muslims. And ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries. This was revealed by Imam Bin-Qadamah in “Al- Mughni,” Imam al-Kisa’i in “Al- Bada’i,” al-Qurtubi in his interpretation, and the shaykh of al-Islam in his books, where he said “As for the militant struggle, it is aimed at defending sanctity and religion, and it is a duty as agreed. Nothing is more sacred than belief except repulsing an enemy who is attacking religion and life.”
On that basis, and in compliance with God’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, “and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,” and “fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God.”
This is in addition to the words of Almighty God “And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated and oppressed — women and children, whose cry is ‘Our Lord, rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will help!’”
We — with God’s help—call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.
Almighty God said “O ye who believe, give your response to God and His Apostle, when He calleth you to that which will give you life. And know that God cometh between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom ye shall all be gathered.”
Almighty God also says “O ye who believe, what is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of God, ye cling so heavily to the earth! Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For God hath power over all things.”
Almighty God also says “So lose no heart, nor fall into despair. For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in faith.”
(As published in Al-Quds al-‘Arabi on February 23, 1998)
Appendix B – Pact of Umar
The Status of Non-Muslims Under Muslim Rule
After the rapid expansion of the Muslim dominion in the 7th century, Muslims leaders were required to work out a way of dealing with Non-Muslims, who remained in the majority in many areas for centuries. The solution was to develop the notion of the “dhimma”, or “protected person”. The Dhimmi were required to pay an extra tax, but usually they were unmolested. This compares well with the treatment meted out to non-Christians in Christian Europe. The Pact of Umar is supposed to have been the peace accord offered by the Caliph Umar to the Christians of Syria, a “pact” which formed the patter of later interaction.
We heard from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam [died 78/697] as follows: When Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, accorded a peace to the Christians of Syria, we wrote to him as follows:
In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. This is a letter to the servant of God Umar [ibn al-Khattab], Commander of the Faithful, from the Christians of such-and-such a city. When you came against us, we asked you for safe-conduct (aman) for ourselves, our descendants, our property, and the people of our community, and we undertook the following obligations toward you:
- We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks’ cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.
- We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.
- We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims.
- We shall not teach the Qur’an to our children.
- We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.
- We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.
- We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair. We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas.
- We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our persons.
- We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.
- We shall not sell fermented drinks.
- We shall clip the fronts of our heads.
- We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists
- We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets. We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.
- We shall not take slaves who have been allotted to Muslims.
- We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims.
(When I brought the letter to Umar, may God be pleased with him, he added, “We shall not strike a Muslim.”)
We accept these conditions for ourselves and for the people of our community, and in return we receive safe-conduct.
If we in any way violate these undertakings for which we ourselves stand surety, we forfeit our covenant [dhimma], and we become liable to the penalties for contumacy and sedition.
Umar ibn al-Khittab replied: Sign what they ask, but add two clauses and impose them in addition to those which they have undertaken. They are: “They shall not buy anyone made prisoner by the Muslims,” and “Whoever strikes a Muslim with deliberate intent shall forfeit the protection of this pact.”
from Al-Turtushi, Siraj al-Muluk, pp. 229-230.
(From Internet Medieval Source Book)