Al-Zendani, or al-Zindani as he is styled in other reports, grounds his call to arms in explicitly Islamic terms. Will any Western spokesman for the Religion of Peaceâ„¢ step forward to refute his martial and bellicose vision of Islam? What do you think? “Yemen Qaeda chiefs killed in air strike: official,” by Hammoud Mounassar for AFP, January 15:
[…] In a Friday sermon, meanwhile, powerful cleric Sheikh Abdulmajeed al-Zendani said it would be “a religious duty dictated by God” to defend Yemen through jihad, or holy war, if it is occupied by a foreign power. […]
“From the moment the enemy invites itself onto our territory and occupies us, our religion imposes (the obligation of) jihad on us,” said Zendani, whom the US administration labels a “global terrorist.”
“It is a religious duty dictated by God,” he said during his sermon.
“This order of God cannot be annulled by anyone… not a king, not a president, not ulema (Muslim scholars),” Zendani added.
Yemen’s council of clerics, which includes Zendani, had made a similar call for jihad on Thursday if foreign forces join the fight against AQAP.
“If any party insists on aggression, or invades the country, then according to Islam, jihad becomes obligatory,” said a statement signed by 150 clerics.
The clerics stressed “strong rejection of any foreign intervention in Yemeni affairs, whether political or military.”
They also rejected “any security or military agreement or cooperation (between Yemen and) any foreign party if it violates Islamic sharia (law)” and the “setting up any military bases in Yemen, or in its territorial waters.”
On Friday, Zendani urged Arab and Muslim states to support Yemen “before a catastrophe occurs.”
“The Islamic nation will not stand by with its arms crossed in the face of these Crusades,” he added.
“To defend ourselves and defend our country and our territory, we only fear God… And we are confident in victory,” he said to cries of “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater)….
This is in line with the Islamic doctrine that jihad becomes obligatory upon all Muslims whenever a Muslim land is attacked. (Provocations by Muslims from that Muslim land don’t factor into this equation — if the non-Muslim enemy strikes back, that constitutes an invasion of Muslim land.) All the schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that when a non-Muslim force enters a Muslim land, jihad becomes the individual obligation of every Muslim (fard ‘ayn) rather than a collective obligation of the entire umma, from which one is released if others are taking it up (fard kifaya). Bulghah al-Salik li-Aqrab al-Masalik fi madhhab al-Imam Malik (“The Sufficiency of the Traveller on the Best Path in the School of Imam Malik,”) says this:
Jihad in the Path of Allah, to raise the word of Allah, is fard kifayah [obligatory on the community] once a year, so that if some perform it, the obligation falls from the rest. It becomes fard `ayn [obligatory on every Muslim individually], like salah and fasting, if the legitimate Muslim Imam declares it so, or if there is an attack by the enemy on an area of people.
The Hanafi, Maliki, and Shafi’i schools of Sunni jurisprudence further declare that jihad, once it is fard ‘ayn, is no different from prayer and fasting — in other words, to engage in warfare with non-Muslims in that case is a religious devotion that cannot lawfully be evaded. Hashiyah Ibn `Abidin, an authoritative text of the Hanafi school, says that jihad is “fard ‘ayn if the enemy has attacked part of the Islamic homeland. It thus becomes an obligation like salah [prayer] and fasting which cannot be abandoned.”