After the Islamic State announced its Caliphate on the first day of Ramadan 1435 (Sunday June 29th 2014) it was to be expected that Shaykh Abū Muhammad al-Maqdisī, one of the most influential Jihadist ideologues, recently released from a Jordanian prison would react on it.
This text was published on his website just a few days after the Caliphate was re-established by the Islamic State:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
All praise be to Allah. Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah.
These are some of the points and observations that I wished to write down in this Blessed Month (Ramadan), the month of the Qur’an. We ask Allah to grant us the blessing to be able to distinguish between right and wrong, and to use us in support of the truth, unafraid of any enemy or affected by contradictions. May Allah guide us and all our brothers to the right path. (Ameen!)
First: Due to the flow of visitors, I heard much in the past two weeks. I was unable to read much and I still have a lot to read, but from the little that I have read, every side was eager to attain victory for the faction (party, group) to which they pledged allegiance. They worked hard to show its evidence, data, and arguments, and many of it has no juristic (fiqh or shar’i) basis. Much of it was given to me and I looked at it prior to my release from prison. I will not dismiss completely what was presented to me as I see no usefulness in it. Either affirm the truth or admit that you were wrong.
Second: In the parties I heard from there are certainly wise and virtuous people. Both parties have those who seek righteousness and desire its success, and they do not wish for evil but reject it, even if it comes from those with whom they are allied. I was pleased with them and decided to continue to communicate them and they strengthened my assemblies. Such people are counted upon for reform and closing the rifts. And in those parties are also fanatics and on whom the saying applies: “the fanatic does not distinguish”. They did not provide much use to the assemblies, but enflamed issues and they must learn to listen and understand.
Third: Moral pressure was exerted on me to retract that statement that I [previously] issued after a productive and lengthy communication between the parties involved in either the reconciliation or the arbitration that was refused by the State’s (ISIS) group. A large number of people claim that the statement is null or will be voided. None of it was issued by me (promises of recantation) and I did not promise anyone of it [in retracting the statement].
What I have said in front of them and still say: The statement and its author are not flawless. [The statement] came about as a result of fruitful communication between all those involved especially those who refused the previous initiatives and who refused to resort to legal (Shariah) arbitration. Some of them claim that I only listened to one side only.
[Yet] in my prison cell, I had a supporter of the State (ISIS) who used to call weekly about Syria and often provide us with pro-State (ISIS) news. I received State (ISIS) news, reports, and writings that are pro-State (ISIS), as I also looked at the State’s scholars’ response to such news. The replies are saved to keep-off those who doubt it. I reiterate that if I appear unjust to one side in my statement or deviated from the truth, then I will immediately and without hesitation retract it as truth is my guide and it is easily followed as I am not committed or biased to either side.
Regarding the statement, its issuance was borne from those who refused to go down to the judgment of Allah, and in it I advised to stand by the side of those who arbitrate with the Shariah of Allah. That does not mean that the party in which we called to stand aside is infallible or that we recommend them with an absolute recommendation, but the matter is as Sheikh al-Islam (ibn Taymiyyah) said: “Pure justice in everything is impossible, by knowledge and work, but the ideal is idealized.” Fatwas (10/99)
Fourth: I still repeat that fairness is the suit of the honourable, and the honourable are few among the contesting parties and their supporters in all the countries. The result of this lack of fairness by many among the prominent ones in the media and the muftis of the contesting parties is that negative phenomena have spread among the youth of the current in many of the countries. They found bad examples and follow them in swearing, lacking manners, having mistrust, and lacking in polite dialogue.
Before my release, I heard about abuses by some of the media spokesmen and jurists of both contesting sects, and I relayed some of this and rejected it. After my release from prison I read about abuses and abasement from people who do not deserve to describe the Mujahideen or jurists in such a way. If they had described street people instead of jurists it would have been better. They accused the offenders as being bastards, sons of whores, and other obscene and vulgar language, and uttered other than that of lies, falsehood, and slander – and this is not worthy of those who issue the signature of Allah and give fatawa in the religion of Allah – to inciting for the spilling of protected (Muslim) blood and devaluing it (the blood and lives of the Muslims).
They became bad examples for youth of this current all-over the world and not only in the Syrian field; affliction overran them, lack of manners spread among them, as well as insults towards young and old, and scholars and educators. The assault even spread to offenders among the Muslims, and their blood and souls were made permissible. Sufficient for us is Allah and (He is) the best Disposer of affairs from these mistakes that they spread among the public and the villainous among the people.
We are surprised by anything that comes from the like of those jurists, muftis, and spokesmen who are characterized by such base morals and daring against the blood of the Muslims! Therefore, we disavow their falsehood and we demand their officials from all the parties be concerned for the religion of Allah, the purity of this current, and the character of its people and the affair of Jihad and the Mujahideen. We demand that they exclude them and keep them away from positions of directing and giving speeches, for everyday they repel from this religion with their contradictory speeches, and they flee from its correct method with their crooked method, and they deform its honourable morals with their base “ethics”.
Whoever seeks the interest of Jihad must exclude the low ones, the misguiding ones, those who incite to shed the blood of the Muslims, who spread bad morals and obscenities among the Muslim youth. Instead, make them guiding advocates who are merciful with the Muslims, who adhere to the ethics of the Prophethood and follow its guidance in the Ummah and know how to address all the people.
Fifth: Some good people conveyed to me that some people in Sham, in an attempt to influence me to retreat from the statement, saying that blood was shed because of it, or at the time of its issuance, a bombing was dedicated to me under name of “Millat Ibrahim” (a famous book authored by the Shaykh) from parties hostile of the State organization (ISIS).
This is intimidating talk and pressure as much as possible to obtain greater portions of concessions, and it is a technique which might be useful in negotiation or buying and selling, but it is not useful in arguing, convincing, or fulfilling truth and aborting falsehood. Therefore, it is not beneficial to use it in this aspect. The complaint is lacking credibility, because the statement did not incite to shed blood of a Muslim, nor did it not mention a call to kill or fight.
Rather, all the efforts exerted over the past eight months resulted in this statement, which was for the sake of stopping the bloodshed and keeping the rifles from being directed at the chests of the Muslims and the Mujahideen; and for the sake of stopping the negligence of others among the Muslims or objecting to perform their rights; and for the sake of stopping from devaluing their blood and money, under pretexts of interests of the State (here he means both the interests of the true Islamic State and also the organisation ISIS), building the (Islamic) State, etc, as if everyone else (other than ISIS) does not want to build an (Islamic) State or empower the Shariah of Allah.
In any case, whoever refused the arbitration will be the one to bear the responsibility for the ongoing bloodshed, just as whoever embarked in shedding it (initiating the fighting to begin with) will bear it from all the parties. On my part, I praise Allah, He who saved me from shedding one drop of Muslim blood. I ask Him the Almighty, [for me] not to be a cause, not even with a single letter or half a word in that. I say that those who apply pressure in such these techniques: “I am not a man who heeds the sound of hatred”.
I say: To whoever dedicated any operation to me that shed the blood of a Muslim from any party of the parties: “Nay it is ye who rejoice in your gift!” [Al-Naml, 36] Dedicate to me if you like, but obey my advice and respond to my calls to stop the bloodshed and accept arbitration, reform, and straightforwardness on the guidance of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in Da’wa and Jihad. This is what we demand of you to dedicate it to us if you love us or love to delight our eyes.
Our eyes cannot be delighted with the shedding of Muslim blood from any party that is within the circle of Islam even if they were disobedient. We do not give permission to fight any Muslim at all but to push away the assailant, and it is known that pushing away the assailant does not mean killing specifically, but to push away first, and what cannot be pushed by the tongue or hand then it is not permitted to push by weapon, because the origin is the sanctity of the Muslim blood and his money and honour.
Sixth: I was asked about the victories of the State organization (ISIS) in Iraq, so I said: There is no believer that does not rejoice for the victories of Muslims, no matter their condition, (over those who) their description is as Rawafidh and apostates. The fear is for the consequences of these victories and how the Sunnis and the other Da’wa or Jihadi groups and all the Muslims in the liberated areas will be treated? And against whom the heavy weapons will be used that were taken as spoils from Iraq and sent to Syria? This is my question and my concern. We are afraid of the answers on the ground, because we do not trust the minds that hold these weapons for many reasons.
Seventh: In the morning today I was asked: Do you know about the writings of someone about the Caliphate and his saying that its empowerment is not a requirement!
I said: I did not know about it, but the writing is read by its title, and the announcement of their naming their organization the Caliphate must be soon.
Then he said: And what is your opinion if they (ISIS) announce that (Caliphate)?
I said: The name and its announcement do not bother me and I will not waste my time refuting what someone blackened in his writings, because all of us wish for the return of the Caliphate, the breaking of borders, the raising of banners of Tawhid, and the dropping of the banners of denouncement. No one hates that but a hypocrite. The wise lesson is through matching the names with the facts and its existence and to apply it truly and, indeed, on the actual land. Whoever rushes something before its due time will be punished by being deprived from it.
But what concerns me the most is what those people will require for this announcement and the name in which they developed it from an organisation (AQ in Iraq the ISI), to the State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), and then to a general Caliphate (IS). Will this Caliphate be a safe haven for every vulnerable one, and a shelter for every Muslim? Or will this name be considered a sword hanging over those who disagree from among the Muslims? Will it write-off all the emirates that preceded their announced state? And will they abort with it all the groups that do Jihad in the Cause of Allah in all different fields before them?
The brothers in the Caucasus have already announced their blessed emirate and did not require that all the Muslims everywhere comply, and neither did they shed inviolable blood for the sake of a name. What then is the destiny of the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus to those people after declaring aloud the name of the Caliphate?
The Taliban announced an Islamic Emirate before them, as well, and its Emir, (Amir al-Mu’maneen) Mullah Omar, may Allah preserve him, is still fighting the enemies, he with his soldiers. They did not require the shedding of inviolable blood or untangling a complex knot in the name of the emirate, which was truly founded on the land for years. So what is the destiny of this emirate to those who speak in the name of the Caliphate today and announced it?
What is the destiny of all the active Muslim groups, those whose members pledged allegiance in Iraq and Sham and all-over the land? And what is the destiny of their blood to those who speak in the name of the Caliphate today and have yet to stop threatening those who offend them among the Muslims by tearing apart their bodies with bullets?
These are the important questions that I have that require answers.
And here we are, before the day is over, al-Adnani shouts out the expected questions. He was like we have expected. We did not do him injustice.
O Allah, have mercy and grace on the Muslims, O Lord of the Worlds. Distance evil and malice away from them. (Ameen!)
I conclude with a warning to those who wade in the blood of Muslims, whoever they are: Do not think that with your loud voices you will silence the voice of truth, or that with your threats, your shouts, your lack of manners, and your aggression that you will silence our bearing witness to the truth. No, a thousand times no… We will stay loyal guardians for this religion, protectors who stand on guard for these groups, defending them from those who tamper and do wrong, from the slander of the fanatic and the intransigent and others who maim… Either you reform yourselves, repent, and keep away from the blood of the Muslims and distorting this religion, or we will strike upon you with words like swords, striking with evidence the livers of mounts and moving with its sayings the riders.
You and others know that we will not be silent in prison or behind bars, and we will not be silent after escaping the jaws of the jailer. By Allah, He who raised the sky without pillars, we will not leave anyone to tamper with this religion and devalue the blood of the Muslims, even if they accuse us of hostility, distortion, and lies, and slander everyone near and far… We warn you about distorting the religion of Allah and corrupting and staining with the blood of the Muslims and the Mujahideen. Be pious and always speak the truth.
For every event there is a Hadith, and for every situation there is a saying.
I say: This is some of what I have and not all of It… I put it forward in this Blessed Month (Ramadan), recalling the Hadith of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “Whoever does not give up lies and false conduct, Allah has no need that he should give up his food and drink.”
It was said that Abu Mas’ud, may Allah be please with him, had asked: How do you welcome the month of Ramadan? He said: “None of us would dare to welcome the crescent [moon] and in his heart with malice on his Muslim brother.”
Fourth of Ramadan, 1435 (July 2014) from the Hijrah of al-Mustafa, Peace and Blessings be Upon Him