Say, “I seek refuge with the Sustainer of Men,
“The Sovereign of Men,
“The God of Men,
“from the Evil of the whispering, elusive Tempter,
“who whispers in the hearts of Men,
“from all temptation to Evil by invisible forces as well as Men.”
I can see how this could be used to portray those who take the path of terrorism and murder of civilians as having had a djinn whisper in their ears. Convinced of some divine reward, they awake after immolating themselves and others to see the fires of Jahannam and a pyroclastic flow of Maalik’s flatus.
Maybe Zalambur will offer them a way out, only to betray them to Zabaniya which then force-feed them zaqqum.
Claiming a Quranic injunction against suicide when discussing suicide-terrorism misses the point, I think, as not only can self-killing be redefined, but an exploding truck may come as a surprise to many of the bombers: as Saudi, Ahmad al Shayea discovered when he narrowly avoided become the 13th victim of a truck bomb he drove into an Iraqi public street.
Although he should not be excused for his murderous intentions, he does appear to have gone through some de-Nazification process by explaining to others that “if you join al Qaeda, they will use you, and maybe you will die”.
Mohammed Odeh, one of those convicted for his role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in East Africa, delivered a truck bomb to the Nairobi embassy but left the scene before detonation. He reportedly told his FBI interrogators that his role was not self-killing, so allowing himself to have been killed would have been suicide, and therefore a sin (but not so much for the hundreds of ordinary Kenyan workers immolated that day).
A Pakistani Barlevi scholar, Tahir ut Qadri has issued a fatwa (in the original sense) against such barbarism. I am unfamiliar with him, although he heads the Minhaj ul Quran movement with a minor following in the UK and some dozen or so mosques.
For obvious reasons, ut Qadri’s home country currentlyhas an extremely painful relationship with murderous jihadist violence.
From what I can glean, this fatwa does not follow the same warped circumlocution of Obed and al Shayea, but flatly prohibits, through theological argument, the killing of innocent civilians (my emphasis).
There will be signatories to terrorist documents and/or senior members of the Muslim Council of Britain who make vague statements about opposing the killing of British troops, or insist they oppose the killing of “innocent persons of faith” (leaving open the possibility of supporting the killing of civilians they designate as guilty); just as there will be very boring and very predictable anti-Muslim bigots who rationalize observant Muslims’ not conforming to their preconceptions asan example of takiyya.
They both are the enemies of Muslims.
And the accompanying picture? A 15th Century Persian art-work of the Islamic Prophet visiting Hell during the Night Journey (those being punished are women who showed their hair in public, but let us not dwell on that).
UPDATE – Indigo Jo provides a pessimistic view of the influence of this fatwa, such as the observation that ut Qadri is most likely to be listened to by Muslims who would not have supported suicide-terrorism in the first place.
Plus, in possibly the first, and hopefully last time, I am in agreement with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who was cited in Indigo Jo’s missive. She discusses a ‘romantization’ of Islam by well-educated, professional and affluent Western women (and, being one herself, she should have an insight) who imagine a conversion to an exotic religion to be a civilizing influence.
Allegra Mostyn-Owen, Bojo Wife One, has converted and married a younger man (despite what picture caption, reproduced here, may suggest, not illegally young) and now runs art classes at a community centre in London. YAB says:
She runs art classes there for Muslim women and children. Muslim minds and lives are being closed down worldwide by fanatics who deny young people art, music and books. This intrepid white woman dares to push aside the curtain of ignorance.
Several of my close Pakistani and Arab friends are happily married to European wives, with both sides compromising on lifestyles and values.
That is not what Mostyn-Owen has opted for. First she has married a much younger, fit man and maybe feels excessively grateful. Then she is going for complete surrender, an uncritical acceptance of the most regressive practices of some of my co-religionists. The reactions of her family are subtly xenophobic and must hurt. But her actions are as inexplicable to Muslims like myself too. My mother’s generation fought for equality and monogamous marriages, a struggle that carries on. To see the daughters of Britannia carelessly surrendering these rights is almost unbearable.