Muslim scholars from the United States and Canada have issued a "fatwa" against terrorism. While many American Muslim groups have repeatedly condemned acts of religious extremism, the new edict carries the weight of an official judicial ruling.
The fatwa comes from the 18-member Fiqh Council of North America, the group of Islamic scholars that decides judicial issues for Muslims.
The edict says all acts of terrorism targeting civilians are forbidden; that Muslims are forbidden to cooperate with any individual or group involved in terrorism or violence; and that Muslims have a "civic and religious duty to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians."
Below is the text of the edict, as released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations:
Text of the Fatwa
The Fiqh Council of North America wishes to reaffirm Islam's absolute condemnation of terrorism and religious extremism.
Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians' life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not "martyrs."
The Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, states: "Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind." (Qur'an, 5:32)
Prophet Muhammad said there is no excuse for committing unjust acts: "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)
God mandates moderation in faith and in all aspects of life when He states in the Qur'an: "We made you to be a community of the middle way, so that (with the example of your lives) you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind." (Qur'an, 2:143)
In another verse, God explains our duties as human beings when he says: "Let there arise from among you a band of people who invite to righteousness, and enjoin good and forbid evil." (Qur'an, 3:104)
Islam teaches us to act in a caring manner to all of God's creation. The Prophet Muhammad, who is described in the Qur'an as "a mercy to the worlds" said: "All creation is the family of God, and the person most beloved by God (is the one) who is kind and caring toward His family."
In the light of the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah we clearly and strongly state:
1. All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam.
2. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.
3. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.
We issue this fatwa following the guidance of our scripture, the Qur'an, and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him. We urge all people to resolve all conflicts in just and peaceful manners.
We pray for the defeat of extremism and terrorism. We pray for the safety and security of our country, the United States, and its people. We pray for the safety and security of all inhabitants of our planet. We pray that interfaith harmony and cooperation prevail both in the United States and all around the globe.
Muzammil Siddiqi, center, head of the Fiqh Council of North America, speaks at a news conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss a "fatwa," or religious edict, against terrorism, July 28, 2005.
Muzammil Siddiqi, center, head of the Fiqh Council of North America, speaks at a news conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss a "fatwa," or religious edict, against terrorism, July 28, 2005. Reuters