More misleading talk and half-measures, this time from Pakistan’s top Muslim clerics. From the BBC via the Pakistani Newspaper, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
Lahore, July 29: Pakistan’s top Muslim clerics have said it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to preach the real concept of jihad, or holy war, to young Muslims.
“The situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine is radicalising young people,” says Mufti Rafi Usmani, one of Pakistan’s highest-ranking clerics.
“And an angry young man is in no-one’s control,” he said.
In other words, what these angry young men do is no one’s responsibility. Thus Mufti Rafi neatly deflects attention away from the jihad ideology that is being preached all over Pakistan — young men aren’t joining jihad because of that, you see. They’re just angry young men, out of control.
Other high-ranking Islamic scholars have also endorsed these views.
Mufti Rafi Usmani heads Darul Uloom Karachi, one of Pakistan’s most respected religious schools, or madrassas.
“Islam does not allow killing of innocent civilians and non-combatants under any circumstances,” he said in an interview with the BBC News website.
Here we go again. Who is innocent? What is a civilian? When a moderate Muslim spokesman addresses and refutes the assertions by Muslims that various Western non-combatants are neither innocent nor civilians, I will begin to think that the moderate Islam that is supposed to be the solution may actually have some chance of appearing somewhere in the world.
Asked to explain the concept of jihad as expounded in mainstream Islamic thought, Mufti Usmani said it had been laid down in great detail precisely to avoid any confusion.
“To begin with, jihad is not incumbent on all Muslims and a call for jihad can be given only under special circumstances,” he said.
Right. Traditional Islamic law teaches that jihad is an obligation incumbent on the community as a whole — fard kifaya. If some people in the umma, the worldwide Muslim community, are fulfilling this obligation, the others are freed from it. However, if a Muslim land is attacked (a highly elastic concept that Osama bin Laden and others use artfully today), jihad becomes fard ayn — compulsory for all Muslims either to fight in or aid in some way. But as Islamic jihadists today routinely claim that they are fighting in defense of Muslim lands, they also claim that jihad today is fard ayn — in other words, that the “special conditions” to which Mufti Usmani refers do exist now.
Islamic scholars – or ulema – agree that injunctions explaining the circumstances for jihad and the people’s conduct during jihad constitute the core principles of the doctrine.
According to three top scholars interviewed by the BBC News website, jihad can only be called in the following circumstances:
If a Muslim community comes under attack, then jihad becomes an obligation for all Muslims, male and female, in that community
If that particular community feels it cannot fight off attackers on its own, then jihad becomes incumbent on Muslims living in nearby communities
That’s why so many Muslims from neighboring countries have been streaming into Iraq.
If a Muslim ruler of a country calls for jihad, then it is incumbent upon the Muslims living under that ruler to join the jihad.
Mufti Usmani says that even in such circumstances, jihad is obligatory only on as many Muslims as are required to defend the community under attack.
But others must aid it materially — hence the proliferation of “terror-supporting charities.”
“If Pakistan is attacked but its army is sufficient to deal with the threat, then Pakistani civilians are under no obligation to join jihad,” he said.
The second principle relates to the conduct of the jihadis. Under no circumstances are Muslims allowed to attack women, children, the old and the meek, the sick, those that are praying and civilians, say these ulema.
Unless they are perceived as aiding the enemies of the Muslims (cf. Mawardi, al-Akham as-Sultaniyyah, 4.2; ‘Umdat al-Salik o9.10).
Muslim militants argue that if innocent Muslims are killed in enemy action then Muslims are allowed to kill innocent people in retaliation.
But clerics strongly disagree with this line of thinking, arguing that Islam does not allow Muslims to respond to “a mistake” by another mistake.
“Islam is absolutely clear on this issue. Two wrongs do not make a right,” Mufti Usmani said.
“If they feel that the US or the UK are killing innocent civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan, it does not give them the right to kill innocent citizens in London or New York,” he said….
Very well. But here again he doesn’t address the core issue: are those civilians in London or New York innocent at all? Osama and his ilk would say no. How would the Mufti respond? Can he refute this view on Islamic grounds? If so, he should do so, and do so quickly.
“When a Muslim visits a Western country or if he is living there, then he is under a kind of a contractual obligation to abide by the law of that land,” explains Mufti Usmani.
“Islam is so strict about honouring commitments that a commitment cannot be revoked unilaterally even in times of battle.”
This is ridiculous in light of Muhammad’s own behavior, particularly regarding the Treaty of Hudaybiya which the early Muslims concluded with the pagan Quraysh. After the treaty was concluded, a woman of the Quraysh, Umm Kulthum, joined the Muslims in Medina; her two brothers came to Muhammad, asking that she be returned “in accordance with the agreement between him and the Quraysh at Hudaybiya.” Muhammad refused because Allah forbade it: he gave Muhammad a new revelation: “O ye who believe! When there come to you believing women refugees, examine and test them: Allah knows best as to their faith: if ye ascertain that they are believers, then send them not back to the unbelievers” (Qur’an 60:10).
In refusing to send Umm Kulthum back to the Quraysh, Muhammad broke the treaty. Although Muslim apologists have claimed throughout history that the Quraysh broke it first, this incident came before any treaty violations by the Quraysh. Breaking of the treaty in this way would reinforce the principle that nothing was good except what was advantageous to Islam, and nothing evil except what hindered Islam.
Mufti Akram Kashmiri, the head of Jamia Ashrafia in Lahore – another top madrassa whose students have risen to top posts in various Islamic countries – says that the existing circumstances are making it extremely difficult for the ulema to preach this message to disaffected Muslim youth.
“Angry young Muslims are no longer satisfied with this doctrine,” he says.
“That is why they go around to all kinds of ulema with dubious credentials to seek religious sanctions to deal with the rising tide of anger inside them,” he says.
These ulema are convinced that the solution to terrorism no longer lies in the hands of the Muslim world or the clerics.
The West, they say, must seek a resolution of all the conflicts involving the Muslim world and hit at the root causes that have spawned terrorism all over the world.
Sure. It’s all the West’s fault. Yet I seem to remember a good number of jihads being waged long before there was any Western “imperialism” or “colonialism” to speak of.