As Muslims, we strongly condemn all the terrorist attacks around the world, including those on the innocent people in Nigeria, which has so far caused the death and injury of thousands of innocent people. Muslims are united against terrorism irrespective of the identity of the victims or the identity and motives of the perpetrators. Below are some of the powerful voices of Muslim leaders and organisations across the world against the terrorism of the Boko Haram group and the group’s defilement of the noble teachings of the Qur’an and the examples of our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him, PBUH) and the established rulings of Islam.
"It is a very serious situation and we have to close ranks as Muslims, we have to close ranks as Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic or political divide, and not play politics with insecurity." "Terrorism has no place in Islam," "We must rise up as always, with one voice to condemn all acts of terrorism, condemn those terrorists wherever they are and try our best as Muslims to ensure peace reigns in our community," "We are committed to helping the government at all levels to bring peace in Nigeria. Whatever we can do, as long as it is not against Islam, we are ready to do it 100%,"
Sultan Muhamadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, CFR, the Sultan of Sokoto and leader of Nigerian Muslims.
“These groups are not on the right path because Islam is against kidnapping, killing and aggression”
“Marrying kidnapped girls is not permitted.”
- Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheik, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti (the highest official of religious law in Sunni Islam). As Grand Mufti, he is the head of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas.
Kidnapping is “a gross misinterpretation of Islam” “Right to education is a fundamental human right, and is in consonance with the basic tenets of Islam,”
- Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world’s largest Muslim body representing 57 countries.
Kidnapping “has nothing to do with the tolerant and noble teachings of Islam.”
- Al-Azhar, founded in 970, the chief centre of Arabic literature and Islamic learning in the world. It is the oldest degree-granting university in Egypt.
“Crime and other crimes committed by the likes of these extremist organizations contradicts all humanitarian principles and moral values and violates the provisions of the Qur’an and Sunnah,”
International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
"You do not represent Islam or what Muslims know to be the teachings of Islam. Your attempt to transform a central tenet of Islam into a vile lie used to kill and maim innocent Nigerians of all faiths is transparent. You treat children like cattle. It is abhorrent and sinful to pretend to be a Prophet to whom Allah has spoken."
Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim member of the US Congress, leading American Muslim leaders in a call to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
The group (Boko Haram) is itself “haram”
“You cannot kill innocent kids at school and claim to be Muslims, this has driven you out of Islam because your action is an act of disbelief in itself.”
Shaykh Dr. Bilal Philips, United Arab Emirate
“The NSCIA in the strongest terms condemns the attacks and the attackers while wishing the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss.
.... it urges all Nigerians to be united and resolute in unmasking and fighting evil in whatever guise it appears. It is a notorious fact that, from its emergence to date, overwhelming majority of the victims of the terror are innocent helpless Muslims, thus our prime concern is the halting of this heinous crime rather than hustling for compensation since the affliction is unquantifiable.
The Council reiterates that Islam denounces terrorism and terrorists are not Muslims even if they claim so. One does not become a citizen of a country by making claims but by meeting some conditions. One is not a Muslim by bearing a name or hailing from a particular area but by fulfilling the tenets of Islam. Terrorists are terrorists and we should stop draping them in religious toga.
The NSCIA uses this medium to appeal to the perpetrators of these atrocities to think of the Judgement Day and stop all hostilities in the interest of the religion they claim and our common humanity. Nigerians are sick and tired of this bloodletting and they are strongly advised to halt it with immediate effect, please.”
Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA
This is a totally un-Islamic act. It is contrary to the Sharia and what is in the Koran. There is no place for this in Islam no matter who does it, regardless of whatever cause they try and perceive it to be"
South Africa Muslim Network
"The actions taken by Boko Haram are pure terrorism, with no relation to Islam, especially the kidnapping of the girls."
Egyptian Religious Endowments Minister Mohammed Mohktar Gomaa
“Islam, a religion of mercy to the worlds, was the first religion to give great care to women’s rights” Boko Haram’s act is “an indication of how the hearts of some Muslims have deviated from Islamic Shari’ah” “The Union asserts that Islam is completely innocent from these acts deemed far from his teachings and rulings”
– The International Union for Muslim Scholars.
"MUSWEN wishes to reiterate its consistent and unreserved condemnation of the evil actions of the so called Boko Haram, as their actions clearly contradict the teachings of Islam on the sacredness of human life and on peaceful co-existence.
"Once again, MUSWEN calls for fervent prayers that Allah, in His mercy and wisdom, name and shame all those that are behind the Boko Haram menace and give the nation victory over all the forces of insecurity and disunity.
“Meanwhile, once again, we urge the government to address the socio-economic causes of insecurity with all the seriousness that the matter deserves"
Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria
“For the vast majority of Muslim Nigerians, any act of terrorism perpetrated by anyone represents a direct attack on our values and beliefs. The cowardly terrorists who perpetrate acts of indiscriminate violence and unjustly target the innocent base their actions on an extreme distortion of the tenets of Islam. One of their deepest deviations from the sublime values of Islam was once again highlighted in the kidnapping of hundreds of innocent schoolgirls in the middle of the night, and holding them hostage.
“Islam rejects acts of vigilante terrorism, upholds the sanctity of life and forbids crimes against humanity. Their actions therefore endanger and offend the basic principles of Islam, which are mercy, justice, freedom, forgiveness and human dignity.”
Muslim Public Affairs Centre, Nigeria
“… Boko Haram is Haram. For whereas Islam teaches the halting of hostilities in Ramadan, Boko Haram chooses the same Ramadan to kill with reckless abandon; while Islam teaches the pursuance of education by both sexes from childhood to old age, Boko Haram forbids education for the girl-child; while Islam teaches peaceful coexistence, Boko Haram pursues a barbaric agenda of killing and maiming,”
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Nigeria
“The irony of all these madness is that unknown to the majority of Muslims and non-Muslims, Boko Haram and all groups like it have no place in Islam. This is why they are 'hell bent' on fitting in.
Unfortunately ignorance, stereotypes and religious bigotry from the media and zealots seem to be aiding and making it easy for these criminals.”
Movement for Islamic Culture and Awareness, Nigeria
“Boko Haram sect is a misguided group with satanic motives, which are far from Islam's humanistic principles. The group is strategically sponsored by evil-minded individuals to promote Islamophobia and to create a situation where Muslims would be stereotyped in their country.“
The Muslim Congress, Nigeria
"We the Muslims of Nigeria hereby, unambiguously condemn in the strongest terms, the Boko Haram terrorists. Boko Haram are not our brothers, we reject to associate with them," "The actions of Boko Haram are in clear contradiction of the tenets of Islam. Islam forbids the killing of innocent victims," "Islam forbids the attack of women and children."
Muslims Against Terror, a Nigerian Muslim Group
“Due to the gravity of such offences, these actions, perpetrated by anyone, whether Muslim or otherwise, have been classified under the category of Hirabah or terrorism, according to all schools of jurisprudence”
– Islamic Institute of Toronto, Canada
Boko Haram actions are “disgusting and un-Islamic”
– The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Boko Haram actions are “un-Islamic and obscene”.
– Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), United States
“Boko Haram has committed a heinous act that defies all faith, reason and humanity. Their ugly distortion of Islam to attempt to justify their evil actions is outrageous and must be challenged. In the Quran, God calls on us to liberate those who are oppressed and enslaved and that is exactly what we must come together to do now in response to this act of extremism.”
Muslim Public Affairs Council, USA
Boko Haram are “terrorists and enemies of Islam and Muslims”
– All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organizations.
“Boko Haram is not on the right path and contradicts Islamic values”
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world.
“We absolutely…assert that it has no religious or logical justification. We implore this group to return these innocent girls to their homes and families, and to desist from these vile acts that all revealed religions unite in prohibiting, especially Islam, whose image has been vilified and its sanctity violated at the hands of individuals who do not comprehend its reality nor consult its learned religious leaders.”
Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies
Boko Haram is "a group of misguided terrorists who wrongfully identify themselves as Islamic."
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
“I think they haven’t studied Islam yet, they haven’t studied Qur’an yet, and they should go and they should learn Islam,”
Nobel Laureate and 16-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.
For centuries, various acts of terrorism have been carried out in different parts of the world by different groups for a variety of purposes. Sometimes a communist organisation, sometimes a fascist group and sometimes radical or extremist religious or atheistic factions assume responsibility for these acts. The nature of terrorism changes with changing world conditions and increases its impact and power with the new means made possible by developing technology. In particular, mass communication tools such as the internet extend the scope and influence of the terrorist activities considerably. What each of the above statements maintains is that the source of the terror that we condemn is definitely not from a divine religion, and that there is no room for terrorism in Islam.
In the Quran, Allah Commands….
“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.”
“O ye who believe! Remain steadfast for Allah, bearing witness to justice. Do not allow your hatred for others make you swerve to wrongdoing and turn you away from justice. Be just; that is closer to true piety.”
Sanctifies All Human Life
“…whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.”
“Nor take life- which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law)”
(Imam Al-Ghazali has quoted this verse [Quran 17:33)] and drew the conclusion that "in respect of the sanctity of life and the prohibition of aggression against it, Muslims and non-Muslims are equal. Attack on the personal safety of non-Muslims invokes the same punishment in this world and the Hereafter". [Muhammad Al-Ghazali, Huquq al-Insan, p. 54])
to Patience & Forgiveness
"Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.'' (Quran 7:199)
“Those who spend [in Allâh's Cause - deeds of charity, alms, etc.] in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allâh loves Al-Muhsinûn(the good-doers).” [Quran 3: 133-134]
"The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e., Allah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient - and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e., Jannah and of a high moral character) in this world.'' (Quran 41:34,35)
The way (of blame) is only against those who oppress men and wrongly rebel in the earth, for such there will be a painful torment. (Quran 42:42)
"And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah.'' (Quran 42:43)
In the Ahadith…
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Says:
“Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al- Tirmidhi)
Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "A believer continues to guard his Faith (and thus hopes for Allah's Mercy) so long as he does not shed blood unjustly".
"Those who are kind and considerate to Allah's creatures, Allah bestows His kindness and affection on them. Show kindness to the creatures on the earth so that Allah may be kind to you." [Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi]
“Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
“Do not practice treachery or mutilation. Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees. Do not slaughter a sheep or a cow or a camel, except for food.” (Al-Muwatta)
“If one fights his brother, [he must] avoid striking the face, for God created him in the image of Adam.” (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
“Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)
“Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle.” (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud)
“Do not wish for an encounter with the enemy; pray to God to grant you security; but when you [are forced to] encounter them, exercise patience.” (Sahih Muslim)
“No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire.” (Sunan Abu Dawud).
In his book, “Islam: The Religion and the People”, Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and among the most influential Western scholars on Islam in the past half-century writes:
“At no time did the (Muslim) jurist approve of terrorism. Nor indeed is there any evidence of the use of terrorism (in Islamic tradition). Muslims are commanded not to kill women, children, or the aged, not to torture or otherwise ill-treat prisoners, to give fair warning of the opening of hostilities, and to honor agreements…The emergence of the now widespread terrorism practice of suicide bombing is a development of the 20th century. It has no antecedents in Islamic history, and no justification in terms of Islamic theology, law, or tradition.It is a pity that those who practice this form of terrorism are not better acquainted with their own religion, and with the culture that grew up under the auspices of that religion.” (emphasis added)
Furthermore, writing in the Wall Street Journal shortly after September 11th, Lewis states:
“[T]he laws of Jihad categorically preclude wanton and indiscriminate slaughter. The warriors in the holy war are urged not to harm non-combatants, women and children, “unless they attack you first.”….A point on which they insist is the need for a clear declaration of war before beginning hostilities, and for proper warning before resuming hostilities after a truce. What the classical jurists of Islam never remotely considered is the kind of unprovoked, unannounced mass slaughter of uninvolved civil populations that we saw in New York…For this there is no precedent and no authority in Islam. Indeed it is difficult to find precedents even in the rich annals of human wickedness.”
Although Lewis is a widely acknowledged and decided opponent of vigilante terrorism, and even served as a policy advisor to the Bush administration to lend support to the infamous 2003 invasion of Iraq, his understanding of the classical Islamic view on the rules of engagement constitutes an elegant summary of the different prophet traditions cited above.
There is a common misconception amongst some Muslims and non-Muslims who translate Jihad as “holy war”. In Islam, war cannot be holy. In a purely linguistic sense, the word "jihad" means struggling or striving. The arabic word for war is: "al-harb".
In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), "jihad" has many meanings. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslim, working to establish justice within society as well as working to inform people about the faith of Islam. If military jihad is required to protect the faith or the Muslim community against unprovoked aggression, it can be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic and economic to political means.
This means that the use of force, in a limited context, must follow strict rules of engagement. Innocents - such as women, children, or invalids - must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted. The religious military campaign has to be declared by a proper authority, advised by scholars, who say the religion and people are under threat and use of force is imperative to defend them.
Invite (mankind, O Muhammad SAW) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islâm) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur'ân) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided. [Quran 16:125]
The MPAC is an incorporated public service agency working for Muslim defence, Muslim empowerment and the promotion of individual liberties, religious, civil and political rights of Nigerian Muslims. As an experienced and independent voice within the Nigerian Muslim community working for the good of the society, MPAC operates on the core Islamic values of justice, mercy, human dignity, freedom, sanctity of human life and equality for all.
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