Sheikh issues fatwa against all terrorists

Muslim leaders urged to denounce suicide bombers as hell-bound 'unbelievers'

British imams must do more to condemn terrorism without any "ifs or buts" and should pronounce suicide bombers as "unbelievers" who are destined for hell, a leading Islamic scholar declared yesterday.

The comments were made during a remarkable assault on the ideology of violent Islamist extremists by Pakistani-born Sheikh Tahir ul-Qadri, a prominent theologian who launched a seminal fatwa in London yesterday condemning terrorism in all its forms.

The 59-year-old scholar, who has written more than 400 books on Islamic jurisprudence, told fellow Muslims: "Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses of ifs and buts. The world needs an absolute, unconditional, unqualified and total condemnation of terrorism".

He also denounced those who try to justify suicide bombings by claiming Muslims who carry out such operations are martyrs destined for paradise. "They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim umma [Islamic community]," he said. "No, they become the heroes of hellfire and they are leading towards hellfire. There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to be considered jihad [holy struggle]."

Although numerous fatwas condemning terrorism have been released by scholars around the world since 9/11, Dr Qadri's 600-page ruling is both significant and unusual because it is one of the few available in English and online. Those hoping to combat terrorism have long spoken of their frustration at the traditional Islamic hierarchy's inability to exert their influence on the internet, where violent jihadists and Saudi-influenced Wahabis have long reigned supreme.

Dr Qadri's ruling also goes further than most previous edicts by describing terror acts as so morally unjustifiable that they represent acts of "kufr" (disbelief). Most previous rulings only go as far as calling terrorism "haram" (forbidden). Kufr acts are so serious that those committing them essentially forfeit their right to call themselves Muslims.

A version of the fatwa in Urdu will also be launched later this month in Pakistan, where leading scholars have been killed by the Taliban for speaking out. Last year Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi, a respected cleric and close friend of Dr Qadri, was assassinated days after issuing a verbal fatwa on national television condemning terrorism.

Dr Qadri's fatwa is unlikely to sway committed extremists. But counter-terrorism officials and mainstream scholars hope it will help to persuade those who may be moving towards a violent extremism but have yet to devote themselves fully to terrorist activities.

Rashad Ali, a former Islamist who now runs the counter-extremism think-tank Centri, said Dr Qadri's view that a terrorist is an unbeliever would cause many would-be extremists to think again about the religious justifications that they use to rationalise their path towards violence.

"[His] essential point is... someone that seeks to make licit what is explicitly illicit in religious terms, and agreed to be so by Muslim doctors of scripture, would then be considered to have permitted what God forbade, and to do so would take someone outside the pale of Islam," he said. "This is something that will have an impact amongst Muslim communities both in the East and in the West."

Finding fluent and approachable Pakistani scholars is important because most British-born extremists involved in domestic or overseas plots have family or cultural links within the Pakistani community.

Dr Qadri is a "sheikh ul-Islam", one of the highest positions in Islamic jurisprudence, and also the head of Minhaj ul-Quran, a global Islamic group with about 25,000 UK members, mostly from the British Pakistani community. Although his teachings have Sufi leanings – like much of Pakistan's Barelwi school of Islam – as an Islamic scholar he is considered part of the Sunni mainstream.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicHunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original  manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... while following the referendum
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
Arts and Entertainment
tvBut something’s not quite right
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week